Friday, June 03, 2005

For what purpose is this blog?

It seems that all I do here is whine and bitch and moan about my troubles. Well, ok, I do post my "comments" on the F1 races. But that's it. You'd think that I'd have something meaningful to say but it seems that I don't. Or maybe I haven't given it a try. I know there are people who have recognized blogs (on the local, regional, national and global level) who know and understand half of what I do. That's strong words which only say I can rant and comment on many things better than some others who do. Sour grapes? Maybe. I've been in some communities longer and been more involved than some who come in later and get recognition. But honestly, that's just the way life works. Life. That's also an interesting topic.

At this time in my life I have lived in many worlds. I see my life as having certain cohesive parts. Like eras but on a much smaller scale. There is the beginning. The years from birth to high school. A lot happened to me and the family during these years but I have very little memory of it. I'm told by my mother that this was partially due to being abused by a teacher in early grade school. I do have some tattered memories and emotional impressions of this time but they are very small and disjointed.

Then come the high school years. I remember most of this time and, for the most part, they were happier times. We'd just moved to Germany for the last time the beginning of my freshman year. Prior to this time I hadn't been much for organized sports. I played Little League once and we won the championship in '71. I still have the trophy somewhere. But now I was entering into high school football. Not only that, my father was going to be the head coach. That first year I was umpyumpth string no-real-position on a JV squad of 88 kids. My father had a rule that if a kid wanted to play they were not cut from JV. I saw very little game time that first season in '76. My sophomore year I was second string defensive end. I got to play on occasion but mostly did defensive team in practice for the starting offense. The summer before my junior year my dad and I decided to see if I could play center. I learned how to snap the ball and block. When the season started I made second string Varsity as center. There were guys who were first string JV the previous year who were still on JV. This caused some "you only got on varsity because of your dad" things but they didn't go vary far because I wasn't starting. My senior year was incredible. That year I made first string center. During camp, when it started to look like I was going to be first string, I got into an "altercation" with the meanest, baddest, kick-ass killer on the team. Mark Rife. That was the beginning of my ascension from dork to semi-cool. The first three games of the season we won but the offense didn't look good at all. The defense was the best ever so they kept us from losing. After the third game my dad, uhm, I mean "the coach" completely re-did the offensive line. There was a wholesale change of every position by center. There was a little grumbling about me staying only because of the blood-ties. But during the week leading up to the next game something happened in practice that made all the grumbling and speculation about my fitness for the position go away for good. The noseguard on our team was a guy known as Big George. He had the most deadly forearm in the league. He'd knocked other players out cold with it. Up to now I had been doing everything I could to avoid it. But that day, for some reason, I decided to stand up to the monster forearm and see if I could take it. Well, Big George lay back and threw a really good one at me. After it hit we both were standing there looking at each other with expressions of disbelief. He reared back and threw another one. The results were the same. I remember a huge grin busting out on my face. That's because I came to the realization that I was going to have it easy for the rest of the season. Not in practice but in the games. I would never run into anyone better and more powerful than Big George in a game. This was the completion of my ascension from dork to semi-cool. The rest of the season we beat the crap out of everyone and went to the championship game. We proceeded to beat the crap out of Heidelberg and won the title. Man, it was absolutely wonderful. It also marked the beginning of the end of this era in my life. I graduated on June 8th, 1980 and thus moved on to a new time.

This era was the "sowing my oats" time. I spent a couple of semesters dabbling at the university thing but dropped out for good in '82 Now, I was never a really wild one but I did venture into parts of the world that were very fun but also potentially dangerous. This time ran from when I turned 18 until we moved to the States in '88 then was 25 years old. During this period I was working and living the Heavy Metal life. I worked mostly evenings and nights so I didn't get to see my family much but we kids, my two brothers and my sister (all younger than me) would go out on weekends. I would often go out after working the second shift. It was ideal. I'd get to the bar or club between 11pm and midnight. The only people left out at this time were the hard-core headbangers. I'd stay out 'till closing, drag my ass in around 5am, sleep till around 2pm, then I'd get up and do it all over again. I met a lot of very fun and interesting people over this journey from boy to man. We lived in a number of different places in this era. From '80 to '82 in K-Town, then from '82 to '87 in Neu Ulm, from '87 to '88 in Frankfurt. Also during this time my siblings and I were a rock/metal band that played some of the clubs and bars. We even went into a studio and cut a demo of 10 tracks which were all original songs written by us. The master tapes are somewhere in a box in my brother's house. This time in my life was very volatile but always moving and usually happy. Even when things were bad it was still good. This is the part of my list that I'd pick for the old, "if you could live your life over again..." thing.

Now we come to the longest period in my life. From '88 into 2000. Things started out with my transition from headbanger to a "responsible adult," whatever that is. There was the move from having a "job" to a "career." In '90 I got married. In 94' we bought a house. In '96 we had our son. I was living my life in the place I was born to be. I had a challenging job, interesting friends, a cool hobby (if anyone remembers the time when BBS's ruled the world), a home and a family. Unfortunately the foundation of this world was not solid. In fact it wasn't really there at all. It seems funny, locking back, that the longest era in my life had the least amount of joy (but it did have a LOT of Joy). Don't get me wrong, I was unbelievably happy when I got married and there is no way to describe the happiness of having our son. But all in all, it just seems to lay there on the track of history.

So, come to the present. It started off with "The Year From Hell." The systematic crumbling of my entire life and my whole world happened over this one year. Since then it's just been a slow decent into the abyss.

So let's see what a timeline would look line.
1962 - 1976 = 13 years (being born in November makes the numbers one off)
1976 - 1980 = 4 years
1980 - 1982 = 2 years
1982 - 1988 = 6 years
1988 - 2000 = 12 years
2000 - Now = 5 years
That's about right, give or take. I might adjust some era's by a year or so if I were to talk to my family but this is close enough.

Well, that was a lot of writing. Took me three days to get it done. And what does this all say? Does it answer the title question? I don't know. Maybe if I put more time and effort into something that would be of interest to more than just myself. But I can't think of anything off-hand. I don't have the energy to follow the Linux community anymore, though I do wish I could. Maybe do something about or on Fibromyalgia? I don't know what more I could contribute to what is already out there. What else do I know? Sports. I know something about football and track as I did spend time coaching with my dad. But sports isn't about sports any more. It's about money and contracts and endorsements.

I don't know. Maybe there isn't anything useful I can contribute to the world anymore.

"Regards to Captain Dunsel"


  1. Nothing useful ever happens when you're trying to make it happen. Forced content looks forced. Just be yourself.

    Besides, knowing more about something doesn't necessarily make blog content interesting. Eric Raymond is fairly intelligent but every time I read the blather that he writes on his site I remember why I stopped paying attention to him. Nobody loves his words (or him) as much as he does...

    Did I mention I met him once? It was a Salt Lake LUG meeting, and he was flown in to give a talk. He and I ended the meeting giving stuff away to the audience -- the two Eri{c,k}s on the same stage, what a concept. He's a very smart guy. Arrogant as hell, but very smart. And IMHO entirely unreadable.

    I digress.

    The delivery of content seems to be key. A woman in my neighborhood who runs what's known as a "mommy blog" ( has been getting lots of media attention for her blog and all she does is word things in a funny, controversial way. She's pretty foul, but that's what makes her site so interesting. She's also an ex-Mormon, and if you know any of those folks you'll know how ANTI-Mormon they become when they leave the church. I cringe when I read some of the stuff those folks write... Perhaps the fact that she's female in a predominantly male environment and the fact that she talks like a sailor makes her unique. I don't know. I love her blog, though. It's filthy, wonderful fun.

    Unfortunately, technology isn't much fun to read about unless you're way into technology. There isn't much common ground there to appeal to non-techies. So tech blogs are pretty much dead in the water as soon as they're started.

    If you want an edge, try some self deprecating humor. There are many creative blogs out there where people just talk about the ridiculousness of their environments. There are lawyers who bitch about their clients, gas station attendants who do the same... That kind of thing.

    Perhaps you're trying too hard to say something, when it would actually be better to stop saying things and start just talking about life (in a goofy -- not depressing -- way. It could be theraputic, putting a silly spin on the BS you have to deal with in your day to day life).

    Like I know how to run a good blog... I'm not even going to try. If I write something, it's for me. If others read it, cool beans, but otherwise I guess I just don't give a rat's ass. I spent a short period of time known to folks around the country. I don't know that I liked it all that much. Folks who you never met know way too much about you. It's creepy. I recommend anonymity.

    You know, that's not a bad idea. Perhaps open another blog and don't acknowledge who you are, and then just let 'er rip. No judgements, no guidelines, nothing to prove to anyone... Just you, your spleen, a thesaurus, and a rapier wit. It's something to think about.

    I'll shut up now. I have to eat again.

  2. Wouldn't this be easier with email? Oh well, it's the only way I will ever get comments to the blog anyway.

    You mentioned Eric Raymond. He is at the top of my list of people who have the ear of the press who haven't got a clue about what they are talking about. Yes, he is very intelligent but he's also lost touch with the "common man." His arrogance is only matched (and possibly exceeded) by Bruce Perens. RMS' on a different plane of existence all together. Him I would like to keep around if for no other reason than to keep the rest of the world honest. Someone's got to be the extreme in any issue. Ol' Billy-boy and his pals are on one end and RMS on the other. I gotta give props in that one guy can do as good a job of counterbalancing against all those big name companies. It's true that outside of the community he's pretty much unknown but it is within the community that he needs to be. I don't always agree with him but I'm glad he's here.

    I remember telling people that "Content was King" back in the early/mid-90's. No one listens to me. Oh well... I'll keep tilting and hope the wind isn't up.

    Damn! The meds are kicking in. I can hardly see the monitorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Crap, fell asleep again. Maybe take this up tomorrow. I'm off to bed.

  3. Would this be easier through email? Wouldn't saying anything at all be easier through email? The whole purpose of having a blog in the first place is to post stuff and get comments. Otherwise, all you have is a bloated, bandwidth intensive mail list.

    We're bloggin'. Be happy.

    As for ESR... The press still seems to think he's the elected spokesperson for the entire open source movement. It drives me nuts (not that I consider myself a "member" anymore, but still). And don't even get me started on Perens. The guy has problems. He thinks things like civil disobedience at conferences is effective. I can't remember what he wanted to do at a conference a few years ago but I remember reading about it and thinking "idiot, the only thing you're going to accomplish is (a) getting arrested, and (b) making open source advocates look like buffoons." I wish I could remember what it was. Anyway, the guy needs to be put to bed. He and ESR.

  4. I always thought that the whole purpose of having a blog in the first place is to blather and blither about life, liberty and the pursuit of women.

    But I can't do email at the moment because snowball is down (again). I think I'll blog that later on.

    Anyway, on to bashing knuckleheads... ESR and Perens seem to be a case of believing your own reviews. And the more it goes the worse it gets. At leas RMS is clear. He's always been a ranting religious fanatic from the get-go. The other two are just big mouths that happened to be yelling about the right thing at the right time. Now they get bigger egos and more self-absorbed with every passing day. One of the reasons I admire Linus is that it all hasn't gone to his head. Well, it hasn't gotten out of control with him. Even after all these years he still seems to have a very good foundation. Probably due to family and friends.

    Well, I need to get showered and go pickup Mum. We're off to have an outing together and to see if we can't drum up some financial assistance. I got a couple of "Final Notice/Discontinue Service" bills in.

    Man, I am so glad I'm on the Wellbutrin. Sometimes it's good to be doped up.

  5. I guess blathering about life, liberty, and the pursuit of women is a worthwhile us of blogs as well. :) Blather on.

    And I agree, ESR and BP seem to have "drunk their own Kool Aid." Being members of one's own cult is never a good thing.

    Good luck with the quest for $$ (it's actually too late, isn't it? That was yesterday). Financial issues drag everything down. I have quite a few myself with my meager "intern" web/graphic designer income, and although I sort of have a backup (I'm trying to not touch Brenda's money. She offers, I refuse. Pride issue? Perhaps) it's never fun looking at what you need to spend and then realizing you're about $50 short and you won't be getting any more money for a while. Suck-o.

    Oddly enough, you probably have more financial assistance options in your situation than I have in mine. It's just a matter of finding them, which it looks like you're doing. Let's hope for the best.