Party like it’s 2016

In about a month, I have a pretty momentous anniversary coming up. It’s not the kind of thing one would usually celebrate, being that upon first glance it seems to be a pretty big negative.

On the other hand, I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out since the event in question transpired, and that’s kind of worth celebrating.

So maybe a party wouldn’t be entirely inappropriate, eh?

Anyone want to come? I’m thinking shawarma…

I no longer hate everything

One of the main things that jumped out at me when I was looking at old content for the anniversary retrospective a couple of weeks back was how incredibly pissed off I seemed to have been over the past twenty years or so. It seems like I hated pretty much everything. That wasn’t really the case, of course, but the whole site did seem really negative…not that I necessarily thought (or think) of that as a completely bad thing.

I’m still pretty ill-tempered, cynical, and curmudegeonly. A lot of things irritate me, piss me off, and just generally compel me to ridicule the individual(s) or orgnization(s) who are responsible for them. It’s part of who I am and part of what many people seem to have liked about me over the years. I think, though, that I’ve gotten a lot better–especially over the past couple of years–at focusing on things I do like, both in my life and in the virtual representations thereof. If someone is an idiot, I will not hesitate to call him one, particularly if that idiocy is harmful or potentially harmful to someone else. But I don’t get off on hating things anymore, or at least not like I apparently used to.

I think this is due to the fact that I do kind of enjoy things and take more pleasure in life now. I’m happier in general than I have been in a long time. Either as a cause or an effect of that fact, I tend to focus more energy on things and people and issues that make me happy than on those that don’t–which explains why I curate my Twitter feed so carefully, among other things. I mean things like experiencing music and history and cities and buildings and food and life rather than bitching (quite so much) about what stupid people do.

It’s also due to the fact that hating everything gets really exhausting after a few years or decades.

On the road (foreshadowing)


So I’ve kind of started pondering a pretty monumental road trip for this fall, the like of which I haven’t attempted in many years. No real details yet, but most of my ideas center around Winnipeg, and one of my drafts got me as far west as Alberta.

I know I have some readers in the prarie provinces, so if any of you want to remind me how boring I will probably find some of the vast spaces between all these cities (seeing as how I don’t much care for nature and the great outdoors) now would be a good time to rein me in a bit.

An alternate agenda would replace the western provinces with time in the US Midwest–specifically my first trip to Minneapolis in almost two decades. But I’ll probably still go to Winnipeg either way. It fascinates me. And after this year–what with the tenure process, all the teaching, and all the consulting work on the side–I deserve a big trip.

Inspiration includes this, which led to much geekerage and to this.

Otherstream at 20: The anniversary

So yeah, twenty years ago tonight, I logged onto my dialup connection and used Fetch (which I still us on occasion) to upload the original set of HTML and JPEG files that became the first version of Planet SOMA (now Otherstream). A lot has changed since then–the fact that the site no longer runs on static HTML and I no longer have a dialup connection, for example–but it’s till here after twenty years, even if far fewer people care nowadays, so I guess that’s saying something.

Maintaining this space since 1996 has done some really good things for me. It’s how I met some of my closest friends and it also led pretty directly to a midlife career change for me. It’s gotten me laid several times, and it got me married once…even if not till death did us part. It’s given me a record of an interesting period in my life and helped me frame the way I thought about that period, and it’s resulted in no small number of adventures.

In recent years, the traffic and the content have been diminishing, which is to be expected because the personal website/blog is not the cutting-edge medium it once was, because social media has taken over many of the roles a site like this used to play, and frankly because my content has become less interesting to a wider audience. The proportion of posts that mainly involve me babbling about me has increased, which is not really a good thing.

But I don’t care all that much, really. While I’d be lying if I said that reaching other people is not important–otherwise this would be a diary rather than a public website–it’s always been more about amusing myself than amusing anyone else. And it will probably continue to be that way until i decide it’s time to stop. Until that time, I hope you’ll keep coming by, either here or here or here or even here. And many, many thanks to those of you who already do, and especially to those of you who have been doing so for a long time. I appreciate it.

Back to the fun…

Guns in the house

This article pretty much sums up one of the major reasons I don’t want guns in my house. I speak from experience here, because this almost happened to me once when I was about twenty years old. I was working late, but I came home earlier than my dad expected that night. I got to my room and closed the door, but I had to use the bathroom. When I opened the door, my dad was standing there with a gun pointed at me.

A few of my cousins couldn’t quite understand how willing I was to get rid of my father’s guns when he died. They thought I might like to save them as mementos. Frankly, though, I didn’t really want to remember my dad holding a lethal weapon that was aimed at me. I loved him way too much to hold on to anything that reminded me of that particular incident.