Meanwhile…

tangledI find myself feeling “at loose ends.” If you search on that phrase, you find a big part of the definition involves the idea of “not knowing what to do,” although sources differ a bit on whether that’s due to having nothing to do or due to not being able to decide what to do. More to the point, most identify the main feeling: being restless and unsettled.

A key reason my ends are loose is obvious given my last post, but this river has other tributaries (I never met a metaphor I couldn’t mix). Certainly in my case, the problem isn’t having nothing to do; I have plenty of projects. The problem is the utter lack of fulfillment in doing most of them.

And, sadly, this blog is turning out to be high on that list.

What’s heart-breaking to me is that so are movies and music, two things I’ve always cherished. In the case of movies, my problem is that so many of them seem hardly worth watching and easily forgotten. There is a clone-like similarity to all these action-thrillers: the same fights, the same CGI, the same endless destruction. (One does still find a few gems now and then.)

ear hornsMy problem with music is more personally tragic: my hearing has gotten so bad that music no longer sounds right (or even good) unless I really crank the volume. And that makes the hearing progressively worse, so it’s a slippery slope. It’s to the point that, short of a rock concert, I must wear headphones to listen to music.

What it really boils down to, perhaps, is that aging means loss. I’m old enough to have lost peers now (let alone a growing count of elders). I’ve been struck several times seeing that some famous person has died and realizing they were born after me. I’m outliving people now!

I expected blogging to become a big part of post-work life. The reality is that it’s been increasingly unfulfilling, and part of me just wants to wrap it up and move on to something else. But I have a hard time quitting something I’ve committed to.  And I still believe I’m worth reading, even if hardly anyone else does.

workingOne problem is that this blog often feels like work. I’m writing for a general audience and trying to open interesting doors and encourage thought (and hopefully participation). I did a lot of that sort of thing at work over the years; authored several department websites, wrote acres of documentation. Honestly, I work my ass off on this stuff, and the general response (both at work and here) is no response.

Okay, fair enough, message received. Y’all ain’t interested. But what happened to all the curious people? Has the world become so filled with stuff we must handle, and so complicated and technical, that we no longer venture into new territory just to check it out?

I’ve always been branded a “weirdo.” I’ve never been popular; I never expected to have a popular blog. I just thought a few other “weirdos” (the intellectually curious) might have found me by now.

Enough whining; just wanted to express my dismay.

Having an Engineer’s Mind, I’m a Fixer, so I react to problems with possible solutions. I’ve decided to make some changes in my blogging life.

The Hard-Core CoderFor one thing, I’ve started a new blog: The Hard-Core Coder. It’s a blog devoted solely to the topic of computer programming. It serves two purposes:

Firstly, it off-loads any such posts from this blog — those I’ve done here were hugely unread, and I understand why. For coders, they were the rare raisins in the raisin bread; for non-coders, they were the occasional sinkhole post. Either way, they didn’t really fit here, but coding is a huge part of me, and I want to write about it.

Secondly, it gives me a place where I can write about it and to a presumed knowledgeable audience. Hopefully, it will be a win-win situation. It seems off to a decent start. (I have enough material for the immediate future; it will be interesting to see how prolific I can be once I work though it, though. I asked myself if I really thought I could sustain a one-topic blog. After giving it some thought, I finally answered, “Dunno! Let’s find out.”)

Book of BOOLMy other blog, Book of BOOL, is taking up a lot of my blogging energy. That blog is a place to document a personal pet project; I’m not expecting readers, let alone followers (and, oddly, yet I have some). After over twenty years of messing around with my personal computer language, BOOL (Basic Object-Oriented Language), things are coming to a head. (It’s a project that has been fulfilling, so it’s easy to spend time working on it.)

Which brings me back to this blog. In both my other blogs, I write posts without all the images I find for the posts here. I’ve found that makes it much easier to post; finding just the right images sometimes takes me hours. It sometimes takes days (even weeks) if I decide to create special images.

I do also spend a lot of time crafting the articles I write here. I like to play with words and ideas, but some of it is performance art, and it seems to be largely missed by the audience. This one is (at least partially) on me; I’m too subtle for my own good sometimes. (There are times in relationships when I’ve been certain I’m sending a specific (unvoiced) message, but the other person equally certainly isn’t picking up on it.)

changesSo the big change around here is that, since I have almost no readers (and fewer participants), I’m going to take a vacation and stop trying to so hard. Gonna cut back on all the Wiki links. No more pictures unless exactly the right one really begs to be included. Not gonna watch my words so carefully anymore, either. Just not gonna try so hard here anymore. Not for a while, anyway.

[On the other hand, may slip even deeper into metaphor and word play. Not watching my words so carefully also means letting the Weird out.]

I mean, what’s the worst that will happen? No one will read my blog? (That is no different from now.)

Let’s call it an experiment. Blame it on the life and death weather that surrounds me. Or the chilly winter and cabin fever. A true Web-log; freedom to just post whatever, and skip the polish. The con carne du jour is cold-cuts! (With a word salad of mixed metaphors and languages. (But hopefully no mixed messages.))

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

34 responses to “Meanwhile…

  • dianasschwenk

    Hey you. You sound sad and that makes me a bit sad. I think you have to do what makes you happy because you’re retired my friend – you no longer have to do stuff that doesn’t breathe life into you and feels like work. Write what is like a second skin to you, the stuff that gives you joy and feels more like fun than work and you will attract those who have a common passion.

    You’re right when you say not everyone cares about coding, I know I don’t, it’s way over my head! At the same time, there are those that would consider my blog to touchy feely and head in the clouds dreamy unpractical, etc…and those folks wouldn’t read it and I get it and I’m ok with that. This post sounds like you get that too.

    Having said all that, I will miss you if you go Smitty!!

    And also, that post about your folks – well, you are a good writer and story-teller even if that is not your thing as much as coding may be, I just wanted to say it out loud.

    (smiling) I’ve grown to appreciate you very much and I hope whatever you do will make you happy.

    Diana xo

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Aw, you’re such a sweetheart! (I should advise you, though, I’m saving all those “x”s and “o”s in case I ever happen to meet you, and then you’ll have to pay up on all these “IOU”s!! :D )

      I’m going to try to do exactly what you suggest about writing. The problem I have is that, often the stuff I want to share is that technical stuff. Not coding… I don’t expect that to appeal to anyone but a programmer geek. But the sciencey, mathy, philosophy stuff… there’s so much that is so cool about our world, and I just wish I could share it. It does make me sad no one seems interested.

      So your blog doesn’t appeal to everyone. It clearly appeals to a lot of people! Rightfully so. You’re one of those people deeply in touch with the other trait I think defines us as human: our compassion and ability to care. It’s not a trait I express much myself, but I do hold it in very high regard. It says something about how you present your topics that they reach a larger audience than just the “touchy feely” folks. Not normally my cup tea, but how you write always seems to connect with me on some level.

      So, yeah, I totally get the different strokes for different folks thing. I just thought I’d have found more of my own kind by now. Seems like lately life is handing me a lot of messages about just how much of an outlier I am. It’s fucking lonely out here on the flats of the damn bell curve. Tumbleweeds and crickets.

      • dianasschwenk

        (smiling) Careful, I bite!

        I hate that you feel like an ‘outlier.’ Have you searched out other sciencey, mathy, philosophy blogs and followed and commented on their stuff? It’s a good way to start a community. I follow over 200 blogs (Egads!) Thankfully they don’t all post every day and obviously I can’t read every post, but I do try to read at least one post from every person I follow each week.

        Love the bell curve image by the way!
        Diana xo

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Well, one way or another I have been all my life, so it’s not a new feeling. The part that’s bumming me out is realizing how much of an outlier in how many areas. I’m kind of like, how the hell did I wind up way out here?!

        I have made forays into the science blogs. The better ones tend to be by actual scientists (which is very cool), but there isn’t much I can offer them. (Some of them are absolutely amazing if you’re into their topic. One can learn a lot!) So far I haven’t managed to draw many visitors that way.

        One thing about technical material: it takes time to read and absorb. For those used to more breezy material, meatier topics may cause readers to just move on. It also limits how many blogs you can follow; it’s easy to get behind if you decide you’re tired of astronomy for a week. It may be that my blog, too, sometimes asks more from readers than they have time to give.

      • dianasschwenk

        ahhh, you’ll figure it out!

  • Michelle at The Green Study

    I am one of the weirdos that reads your blog, although I am just doing less blog-reading in general due to time constraints. I especially enjoy your posts about words, cultural commentary and enough science so that I learn without being made to feel stupid. You have something to offer here. I do think parsing out some of the heavier technical topics to other blogs will help.
    Smart people hate to feel like they are writing down to suit an audience, but communication is an art that can be as challenging, maybe more so, than what you’re best at. Maybe that is what is unexpected – how hard it can be when it doesn’t come naturally. I’m a writer and I have had moderate success blogging (in terms of interaction), but it takes me 3-4 hours to complete an 800 word post and then, as you point out, the search begins for the right images. As an unpaid hobby, it can wear on a person rather quickly.
    And aging can be a beastly process. As I sit here in front of my computer, humidifier on, eye drops at the ready, switching glasses depending on the task just so that my corneas don’t rip, it is amazing how quickly one can adapt to new conditions.
    Without outliers, the world would be a much less interesting and challenging place. But undoubtedly, it’s not an easy place to be all the time.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      You’re actually one of the people I have in mind when I think about opening interesting doors for people. You’ve commented on digging into a technical post before; few others have. Completely absent is questions or feedback that might help me adjust course (or help me connect the dots for someone). Maybe it’s just me, but the complete lack of questions seems to signify lack of interest.

      I get you on lack of time; likewise. A problem for me is that I can’t read and not comment. But when I comment, I often end up feeling like a gorilla at a tea party! I’m tired of feeling like I hurt someone’s feelings every time I open my mouth.

      What makes living in outland hellish is being an outlier on just about everything. Cookies? Ginger; a cookie so unpopular many places don’t sell them. Beatles? The band everyone adores? Meh, they were okay. I mean I fully appreciate what they did, but… meh. Even the Rolling Stones aren’t my favorite Brit Mega-Band. For me, it’s The Who. The common brand fresh salsa I found; most stores don’t carry it. The list goes on and on and on. It’s really tiresome; I’m always settling for second, third or fourth options!

      A long time ago a friend said to me, with an odd tone of accusation, “You go out of your way to be different, don’t you.” At the time I was, like, duh, isn’t that the point? But sometimes I wonder if I didn’t travel Frost’s other path too far into the woods!

      The new blog should make things better all around. On my BOOL blog I’m mostly talking to myself and that’s the intent of that blog. But the high-level writing possible is … refreshing. And freeing. The new programming blog should feed that need.

      Around here, I dunno, I’m going to do whatever strikes my fancy. No rules for a while. Gonna go all arty and avant-garde, maybe!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      And another thing… sometimes I really, really wish I was taciturn. The strong silent type.

  • Michelle at The Green Study

    I’m a soft touch when it comes to reading and commenting on blogs. It is apparently the one arena where I use the “if I don’t have something nice or edifying to say, I don’t say anything at all”. It can also be a time issue or something I really need to think about before responding.

    There are simply too many nuances in communicating with people, but online, doubly so, since so much can be misinterpreted. It may not be Socrates-like discourse, but I don’t think that’s the intent, at least not from my perspective.

    I went to sleep pondering the outliers issue. I feel a post coming out of it. Being an outlier is not simply a matter of having non-mainstream choices, but also a mental distancing of one’s self from the mainstream. I am an oddball in many respects, but I know so many other oddballs – people you’d never suspect of having eclectic and/or eccentric proclivities. It is the inability/ability to be okay with that in a crowd that makes the difference. And a love of ginger cookies never hurts (popular in our household).

    • Wyrd Smythe

      My grandmother had two major sayings, the one about “a place for everything,” and the one about saying something nice or nothing at all. I think about that a lot, but don’t seem to have the knack for it. I tend to feel a comment like, “Great post!” is a wasted comment unless it adds something (like why you thought it was great — compliments without a reason often feel empty to me). I get tripped up mostly by that “or edifying” clause you added. (My grandmother didn’t have that escape clause!) I usually feel I’m adding something when I comment; I just get the feeling others often don’t take my additions well.

      I’ll give you a fairly recent example. Blogger wrote a touching post about her daughter. I commented that I could really relate to some aspects of her daughter’s personality, because I shared them. I later realized everyone else commented about the mother or daughter (a lot of “you” and “she” words) whereas I’d commented (seemingly) about myself. It made me feel like I’d gotten it wrong. Again. Wrong approach, you know?

      In my mind, I was commenting about the daughter, saying how I could really relate to her personality, but it came off like a guy (once again) turning the conversation to himself. Gorilla at a tea party. I feel like such a clod!

      I think you’re right about the mental distancing. I do have some aversion to mainstream, just because it’s mainstream. I took the Frost poem to heart early in life. There is also that I have genuine disdain for much of what is popular, the pop songs, the pop movies, the pop whatevers. I find a lot of it pointless and shallow. But it is downright weird sometimes how, even with trivial choices like cookies and bands, I somehow end up liking the less popular choices.

  • wakemenow

    Hey Smythe! I’m back around. Thought about you again today and decided to hit your blog. Sad to learn you’re feeling like you’re not receiving enough feedback and interaction, and I can relate with how that goes. Been off in my own orbit for over a year, trying out a new blog project (that wound looking a like the old one — go figure — turns out I’m a one-trick pony! ha!), and figured out how to create videos on youtube (should’ve never granted me access to a handycam). Nothing terribly interesting, just pondering and wandering mostly, as to be expected. Trying to relate with others and find new ways to share, but I’m still not too good with it, even now with access to a wider audience. Probably just showing myself to be a damned fool, but I suppose the truth wasn’t worth concealing.

    And my relationship crashed and burned as well. It seems I positively suck at romantic matters and have the bad habit of selecting sorely incompatible mates. Think I’m done learning that lesson for a few years, and now it’s a question of what to do with my free time. Any ideas? Been reading and watching online lectures and jumping into the youtube dramafest, but there’s just so much time to fill. Even watched all seasons of Desperate Housewives (haha, yeah, didn’t figure I’d swing that way either) and am currently finishing out Dexter. Working as needed. Arguing with practically everybody. Did cut down on drinking somewhat though and rarely visit bars anymore, so that’s been positive. Also been trying to conquer some “compulsions” that lead me into trouble, with relative success, though again, leaves me with more time to sit on my hands. So I’ve been delving into learning more about the wide world of philosophy, thinking that may prove helpful.

    There are days I envy busy-bodies for their ability to keep themselves occupied with chores and rituals and whatnot. When so much time is given over to thoughts and ideas, a person risks getting trapped in their own head and that can make all the more harder to relate with common others we come into contact with. So I hear what you’re saying about people shying away from “meatier” topics, preferring soundbites and lighthearted humor. Coming up against that over and over again has become the bane of my existence.

    So, if you happen to have time on your hands, feel free to reach out to me. I could use the stimulation and feel you have plenty to teach a fellow oddball like myself. And I won’t disappear again, at least not for such long spells. It was cool that we connected online, but the timing wound up being off unfortunately. Anyway, take care and I hope you’re enjoying your retirement and the creation of your new programming-related blogs!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Hey there, Amiga!! Very cool to have you back; I really did miss that connection we had! So few enjoy detailed intellectual dissection anymore. More to the point, I don’t find many people whose minds run in channels anywhere even close to mine, so a similar thinker is a cherished discovery!

      You caught me “headed out the door” so to speak, but I wanted to say, “Hi! Welcome back!”

      Very briefly for now: Bummer about the relationship, that sucks. Don’t think we’ll be watching much TV together. :D (I did just discover Grimm, which I like.) Would love to hear more about your other blog. Good on the self-development stuff; I can relate. Life can be such a challenge sometimes. As my Buddhist-leaning friend sometimes says: Life is suffering. Very true about having a rich inner life (totally relate); we’ll definitely have to talk about that! And much more! :)

      You YouTube Too? (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) I finally dumped my Facebore account… only to open one on Google+ a few months later. [big sigh] Seems you can’t exist online without having some “base of operations.” I’ve wanted to explore making movies of 3D computer models I’ve been making. I can generate the animation frames, but animated GIFs were the only way I had of resenting them (and who wants a 50 meg GIF?). I found a freeware product that can make MP4 (and zillions of other types of) movies. The whole video creating thing is very complicated, and I haven’t come close to mastering it yet. My movies suck! But you can check’m out if you like:

      https://www.youtube.com/user/TheWyrdSmythe

      Until later!

      • wakemenow

        Cool! Will check out your videos on there momentarily. If you happen to find mine, I recommend not watching them. lol Except maybe the music and book excerpt videos. The rest are either student loan-related or general TMI blatherings while I figure out that whole social networking dealie. Catch ya later!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Videos… one more thing I used to turn my nose up at, but which I’ve been forced to admit can sometimes be very cool. I have major hearing issues, so a lot of video is inaccessible to me if it’s heavily dialog-based. And I still think it’s an inefficient way to disseminate mostly textual information. There’s really no way to make someone talking visually interesting. And I continue to see harbingers of The Death Of Reading in the current lust for videos. Thank god I’ll never have to work in an office where everyone talks to their computers!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        On the other hand, it is pretty interesting to put a talking head to a person previously only corresponded with, and so far the volume is a-okay. On the other, other hand, a 28-minute one-sided conversation without being able to get a word in edgewise… It’s hard to comment (and I want to), but I can’t remember it all! (I shoulda took notes.)

        One thing stood out: you spoke of achieving your own brand of success. Totally! I’ve been thinking recently that, whatever else I can say about my life (and I suspect this is true of you, too), I’ve kind of lived the Frank Sinatra song. I did it my way. That’s not nothing.

      • wakemenow

        Yep. Had to do it my way, or else let myself get screwed for the rest of my life. Probably gonna wind up screwed regardless, but perhaps it’s possible to sidestep certain traps. Time will tell. Either way, stepping away from the herd and choosing not to along with conventional wisdom comes with its own drawbacks and costs, as I’m sure you’re aware.

        Glad to hear the video volume was loud enough. That isn’t the case in all of my videos and some do have distracting background noise, to forewarn you.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah,… there are an awful lot of parables about side-stepping one pitfall only to fall into another because you side-stepped. The universe is perverse that way. Cosmic irony!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      When so much time is given over to thoughts and ideas, a person risks getting trapped in their own head…

      Mos Def! A lyric that’s been stuck in my head for a couple weeks (thanks to a CSI episode) is from the Yes song, I’ve Seen All Good People: “Don’t surround yourself with yourself (move on back two squares).” I’ve been pondering exactly what it might mean to “surround yourself with yourself” and whether that’s something I do (and, if so, should consider changing). I’m obviously biased, but I’ve decided it’s more related to what’s now called “the internet bubble” — the tendency to surround yourself with only information that confirms (or at least doesn’t mess with) your view of the world. It’s about not challenging yourself, not growing, not expanding.

      Obviously that tendency pre-dates the internet pretty much by the entire age of humanity. Calcification of worldview seems to affect even the young. You’d think the way the internet opens the world would open minds (and perhaps it does or will), but it requires an open, curious mind and the willingness to explore and face the Demon of a Different Opinion fairly and squarely.

      As I look back over my own life I see a constantly evolving worldview that has changed as I’ve explored new ideas. I surround myself with new things all the time, because I crave that exploration of new territory. The “road not taken” appeals to me not just because of my raging misanthropy, but also because it’s the road where one might find new things!

      …and now it’s a question of what to do with my free time. Any ideas? Been reading and watching online lectures…

      Those are exactly the things that fill my time. I love to read, and I’ve discovered that there are some pretty interesting online lectures (although I still have a lot of impatience trying to sit still and listen to someone talk at me — reading is sooooo much faster and efficient). There is a wonderful world of fiction that offers, not just intelligent escape to a new world, but also great truths. Good fiction is an interesting proposition: lies that serve Truth (yes, with a capital “T”). English teachers sometimes say there are lies, truths… and fiction (which is both and neither). And storytelling is as ancient as humans.

      Another way to use one’s time might be trying to learn some new skill. I know some who’ve really gotten into learning to cook interesting things. Or learning music or carpentry or whatever appeals. One trick is to find something unexpected (to not surround yourself with yourself). I discovered baseball back in 2010, and it really grabbed me (no one is more surprised by that than me — was never a sports fan). Turns out to be complex enough to fascinate me and to provide untold years of investigation. It’s a stats-crazy (no, stats-insane) sport, and that appeals to the mathematician in me. And there’s a surprising amount of subtle tactics (and unwritten ethics!) involved, which appeals to my love of complexity.

      So I think the basic answer to your question is: explore everything! Seek out the things that grab you, but to find them you need to get off your usual paths and find entirely new ones. Dabble, dabble, dabble… like panning for gold… lots of grit and dirt and water… but every so often, a gold nugget!

  • reocochran

    I agree about the movies taking a turn for not too interesting and not intelligent enough. They have ‘dumbed down’ movies. Here is a suggestion of a movie I rented from the library, “Unknown.” It is a little like a Hitchcock thriller, with Liam Neeson trying to figure out why his wife is not admitting that he is her husband and another person, played by Aidan Quinn, has taken his place. It is set in Europe for a conference. I did not reveal much more than what is on the (2011) cover. I think there are some interesting characters, a little too much violence, but I liked it anyway. As far as new movies that are funny, they are harder to find. I tend to check out British movies, I liked one set in the 70’s called, “Cemetery Junction.” It has Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson in it.
    I think we are ALL losing some of our hearing, Wyrd! Sorry to hear that sad sounding tone in your writing. I hope that it is just a phase, or winter blues. Retirement should be fun! Maybe looking for people that are in a specific area of your interests. I have thought about going to a senior center, ours has a pool. I would like to join a book club, once I retire. Hoping and wishing for you to find something to get you motivated! You have some good friends here! Smiles, Robin

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, yes, I’ve seen Unknown! I agree, it was pretty good.

      Sorry to be brief, but it looks like the storm I mentioned a few posts ago is about to hit. Word from California is “any time now.” Hard to focus on anything else right now (hard to see or think straight). Thanks for your smiles and wishes!!

      • reocochran

        I am saddened, but not too much since you are fine overall, with your loss of hearing. I hope that you will be hearing enough that you will still enjoy things, especially whispers that are meant to reach your heart. The ones of the wind, the lapping waves, the chirps of birds and other sounds of nature. I was not totally ‘in synch’ in my above comments, so had to come back and be a little more sympathetic friend. Are you excited about the ‘boys of summer’ getting back into play? Smiles, Robin

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Well, the sad thing is that “pillow talk” is beyond my hearing. The bitter irony is that woman’s voices seem to be smack dab in the zone of worst hearing. And birds, no way. (Many years ago when I did finally try hearing aids, I was astonished when I walked outside and heard birds like I’d never heard them before. Unfortunately, the whole hearing aid thing didn’t really work out — chronic ear/sinus infections (to this day) for one thing.) It sucks, and I’m not at all fine with it, but it is what it is. Like a dog with three legs, I just have to deal with what is. I don’t rage against things I cannot change.

        I am indeed happy about those boys of summer! The season has already started, the L.A. Dodgers played two games against the AZ D’backs this past weekend… at the historic cricket grounds in Sydney, Australia! The first game was on at 3:30 AM USA central time — that was really hard to stay up for. The second game was at 4:00 PM that same day (here… in Sydney, it was a night game followed by a noon game the next day). Dodgers won both.

        On the flip side, it’s not looking great for the MN Twins this year… again. [big sigh]

  • Outliers: Contradictions Us All | The Green Study

    […] post was inspired by the post Meanwhile… by Wyrd Smythe at Logos con carne . He had several poignant observations about aging, his sense of […]

  • John Hayden

    Reblogged this on LIVING ON THE GRID, THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX and commented:
    I stumbled upon this post, “Meanwhile” serendipitously via Michelle at The Green Study. Thanks to Michelle and also to Wyrd Smythe for putting into words the thoughts I’ve been repressing. Maybe bloggers of a certain maturity are all channeling the same frustrations. It feels like cheating, but since I can’t force myself to write a worthwhile post of my own this week, at least I can repost a really good post by someone else. (Regarding our shared perception of readers and still fewer commenters, the WordPress blogger “Time Thief” has some insight — over at “One Cool Site” — on the possibility that people are seeing our stuff on the WordPress Reader, so they no longer have to visit our actual blogs.) Thanks to Michelle and Wyrd Smythe for helping me understand the “loose ends.”
    — John

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thank you for the reblog. I’m increasingly of the opinion that multiple factors are at work here. A key one, I think, is the vast amount of content generated hourly. Most of it is shallow and ephemeral beyond words, and that kind of utter mindlessness seems to be what many people crave, but I suspect that even the interested and thoughtful have trouble picking out wheat from chaff (because there is so damn much chaff).

      Way back in the days of USENET and BBSes (when it was mostly us geeky types), a very common metaphor was of a public park (beware of dogma droppings!) where everyone stood on a soapbox yelling and no one really listened. Compared to the environment these days, those days feel like a small intimate party with lots of fascinating conversations and debates and a sprinkling of unwanted (but sometimes interesting) guests.

      Now the park is overrun with chimps, clowns and children.

  • bronxboy55

    Dear Weirdo,

    Your only problem is that you’re extremely smart, and you work really hard, and you care a lot. Right there, you’ve narrowed your audience down to about eleven people. Most want fast food and mindless entertainment, and that isn’t the business you’re in. I haven’t visited your blog nearly enough, but I’m always happily surprised by what I find when I’m here.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I just don’t understand it. (And for some weird reason I’m suddenly struck by the question: Why have I never pondered whether it is possible to overstand something? Nachos for thought.) When I signed The Life Contract, I was told that geeks were the new heroes and got all the beautiful women and money and fast cars. I think maybe my Recruiter lied to me. :(

      Obviously I should have been standing in the Sports and Movie Stars line!

      (Seriousness aside: Thanks! :D )

      • wakemenow

        heheh It’s true — most folks are seeking simple, mindless entertainment. It’s all about escapism that doesn’t stretch their brains too far or cause them to worry. Sorry hon.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah,… chimps, clowns and children. I live in a world overrun with chimps, clowns and (emotional, intellectual) children, and I’m not sure which group makes me crazier. I’ve always views the entertainment world as a good litmus test of general public sensibility, and it’s appalling (and not a little jaw-dropping) to me the crap that’s on TV. For example, I’d heard a buzz about an ABC show, called Scandal, so I checked it out. The only way I can think to describe it is “vile filth” (which, I know, makes me sound like some uptight prude).

        The main character (whose acting style makes William Shatner appear a master of subtlety and might best be described as “constantly looking like she’s about to break into tears”) talks about morality and then throws herself in the arms of the married POTUS. It’s like some sick porn version of The West Wing with a dash of government conspiracy, black ops, murder stuff thrown in to offset the porn.

        It’s not clever, it’s not original, it’s not smart — it’s just vile filth with no redeeming qualities I can see. It makes me angry and ill in my stomach to watch (so, after powering through several episodes to give it a fair chance, crossed it forever off my viewing list and added it to my “speak out against this shit” list).

      • wakemenow

        Glad to have never heard of it then.

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