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"If I didn't have disappointment, then I wouldn't have any appointments..."
There was a time, not too terribly long ago, that I viewed my life mainly as a series of disappointments. Nothing too tragic, of course - I mean, I'm a white male, I came from a pretty solidly middle class background, I haven't had any major illnesses, and never really spent any time in jail, except for that one afternoon. Until about five years ago, though, my worldview was primarily shaped by the various ways that I'd failed, or been failed by those around me.
I was never really a popular guy in school. I was a nerd, obviously - not the absolute bottom of the ladder, but, well, let's just say that I was an eager participant in some of the first computer classes offered in my area, and I founded the Dungeons and Dragons club in my junior high school. So, there wasn't really much of a social life going on for me until late high school. The first time I kissed a girl was in the back seat of a bus on the way back from a math league meet; I was 17. I had a handful of pretty close friends, but not close enough that I really stayed in touch with them much after I skipped town. I still keep in email contact with some people from college (/me waves to Brian), but except for a core group of freaks, not so much.
My folks split up when I was a kid, maybe nine years old. (I know, like everyone else.) I never really thought that this affected me much, but I guess I never really had anything to compare it to. I mean, I always had a mom and a dad right there for me, but I suppose that sort of thing puts a little wedge in a kid's brain, that doesn't really go away. I don't really see or hear from my sister much any more - she hit the road just about as soon as she could, and we catch up with each other maybe once or twice a year. Which is too bad, because I think she turned out pretty good, despite all the crap she's had to put up with. Then there are the step-parents. I like my stepmom, Jane, now, although we never really got along too well when I was younger. Overall, I think dad did alright for himself. My mom went through a series of guys, until she wound up with the guy who would become my stepdad, who was a piece of fucking work. I could tell a bunch of stories (and eventually will), but I won't right now, because it'll just be trouble. I'm already getting really pissed just thinking about it. *cooling down* So bad. Anyway, let's talk about something a little less traumatic, like work.
I never thought that my career was anything great, even before the whole "work" thing. Despite being moderately intelligent, I never really felt like I clicked in school - I knew exactly how much I could do to get by, and a lot of the things that I was interested in learning, I could find out on my own. I never even went to my college graduation - I had a couple of outstanding parking tickets, and they were kind of dicks about that. I'll probably still have to cough up that sixty bucks if I ever want to get a transcript to apply for gratuate school or something. After college, I got the usual string of jobs here and there - I've always been into computers, and had my CS degree, so that was the "duh" path to take. Again, most of the stuff that I learned, I learned on my own. Working shitty technical support jobs, I taught myself system administration and more programming. This whole web thing sort of took off, and so did I, to start an ISP in southern California, which tanked hard. I headed back up to the SF Bay area with my new webernet skillz, and worked for a series of companies that made me some money, but also made me hate a lot of the business that I was in, and a fair amount of the people in it, too. Then the web shops, and the IPOs, and the sucking and the bitter. I've been working for myself for a couple years now, and although I'm not making solid money like I was before, I sleep a lot better. Not to say that having a straight job doesn't have its advantages - I met a number of great people, and got to do some fun things - but overall, I'd have been just as happy doing my own stuff, on my own time. I feel like a lot of my energy was spent, squandered, misdirected, and just plain wasted on a bunch of bullshit that didn't make a lick of difference in the world, except make a couple of rich guys a little bit richer. And, you know, screw that. Hmm, what else?
Oh yeah, the girls. When I was coming out of New York, I actually sat down and made a list, a la Jack Nicholson's "Ballbusters on Parade" in Carnal Knowledge. I lost that list a good while ago, and I'm pretty glad I did. Every now and then, when I'm trying to get to sleep, one of them will pop into my head. This one went really bad, this one was too good to be true. This one went out in a blaze of screaming glory, that one stayed friends until she just faded away. This one laughed at me behind my back. This one fell in love with someone else, that one was hooking up with my friends, the other one just plain cheated. This one never even knew my name. This one I missed out on because I was staying faithful to the one I already thought I had, that one was being unfaithful to the one she already had. This one went crazy on me, like, walls melting and hearing voices crazy, and that one, she was just a bitch. This one lead me on for years, that one came at me too fast. This one just up and disappeared one day. This one I took off on because she got too close, that one never got close enough for me to find out.
(This one totally rules, and nobody's going anywhere.)
Now, though, things are pretty good. I'm not working, but I'm not minding not working. Sometimes I have some trouble motivating, but for the most part, I do what I like. This whole house thing is working out pretty well, and I'm liking the new town. I'm hooking up with a branch of my family that I never really knew, and they seem pretty cool. I've got me a good woman, some good friends, and a porch to drink beers with 'em on.
Every now and then, the bad stuff from the past makes its way to the surface, and maybe I dwell on it a bit too much sometimes. These days, though, that sort of thing never lasts too long. What's done is done, and there's plenty more good times ahead.(July 01, 2003 10:25 AM)