Home > Computers and Internet > Entry 05/09/2009 02:29:54 AM – Mentat 509

Entry 05/09/2009 02:29:54 AM – Mentat 509


     An acquaintance of mine from another site
has reached the point between anger and frustration that comes to all of us
that have been online for so long and seeing the works being produced
overlooked and underappreciated for pieces of flotsam that are popular at the
moment.  Further, this acquaintance has
reached the point of disgust that people simply don’t know how to behave with
one another and are either flaming or badmouthing whenever possible.  This acquaintance also mentioned the routine
disgust that sycophants and toadies seem to get ahead because of the disgusting
schmoozing that they do, while the rest of those that try to be morally upright
end up being the brunt of whatever ire these sycophants and toadies have for
someone being morally upright. 


     As an Ancient that has been online since
1989, I’ve seen many good people come and go. 
I’ve seen a whole lot of flame wars, and socially inept people use the
Internet as a playground, completely uncaring of whatever anyone else submits
or shares — trashing any and all because such individuals lack the social
tools to act responsibly.  I’ve seen
sycophants and toadies lick whatever administrative ass they can get their
tongues wrapped around in order to gain the shadow power that they cannot
personally obtain in real time, because people in authority can spot their
disingenuous attitudes from spy satellites in space.  I’ve seen morally upright and great people
end up the brunt of attacks from packs of people because someone within the
clique didn’t like the way they said something and decided to use peer pressure
to force them out of a forum, off of a section of the Internet, or offline

     And I sometimes wonder…  "how in the 20 years that I’ve been
online, have I remained online when so many good and bad people have come and
gone like the tides?" 


     One of the reasons, I think is that when
my hobby of being online, is becoming more work than my actual career; I take a
break.  Sometimes it’ll be for only a
week.  Sometimes it can be for
several.  It’s not unknown for me to take
extended breaks that can last anywhere from a couple of months (like I
routinely do from Usenet when shows that I’ve been watching go into reruns for
the Christmas break) to up to 6 months… 

     Yes, this is a hobby for me — even if I
can routinely be found online talking with friends, participating in forums,
reading articles about geeky computer things, offering advice in places it’s
asked (or not asked), and even volunteering in one such place to cleaning up a
category that seems to be a dumping ground for teens and tweens that have no
clue what the category is and dump their traces, boob (AKA bewb) photos that
should be put to MySpace instead, and anything else that simply doesn’t belong
where it’s being put.  When this part is
no longer a hobby, and when I find myself going to report these mis-categorized
submissions and loathing to do it — I begin to realize then I’m no longer
volunteering my sight and my time to doing it and treating is like a job.  A job, that I’m really not getting paid

     So I take a deep breath.  Stop what I’m doing, and walk off to find
something else to do.  Heh, sure it’s
playing some game I can kill wantonly and indiscriminately — but it’s
certainly a better stress reliever than cleaning up people’s apparently


     Another thing that I had learned early on
is to having a thick skin when dealing with folk online.  Contrary to the popular belief, back when the
Internet became popular around 1995-1996, the Internet really wasn’t as polite
as people thought it was before then.  In
fact, there had been just as many flame wars, in fighting, ass-licking, and
generally sneaky and underhanded backstabs as there are today.  It has been as polite, and wild, and hostile,
and fun, and horrific back then prior to the popularization to the general
public as it is today.  The thing is, we
often remember that time more fondly; perhaps even through rose-colored glasses
because we were naïve or maybe even shielded because when we first came on —
the world wasn’t as wide as it is now that we’ve learned how to walk through
the ethers of the Internet. 

     One of my favorite stories when I first
came online was the LGBT e-mail list server that I had joined early on…  I had accidentally used the bastardized
saying, "Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.." (instead of "Too
many chiefs, not enough Braves….") of which I was called a "racist
fuck" by at least 40 different people within the first 8 hours of my
posting that egregious mistake.  And took
another couple of days of flaming because people thought I was some sort of
straight and homophobic infiltrator trying to destroy the happy little
environment that they had established. 
Had I withered and shrunk from that flaming as I had originally
intended, I would’ve left the Internet back in 1990 and gone on to the greener
pastures everyone talks about when they leave the Internet never to be seen
again.  But I didn’t…  And believe me when I say, I have been in a
lot of flame-wars, verbal fencing matches, and outright intellectual (not to
mention Denial of Service) fights since then. 

     I am human though…  Not some monstrous fire-breathing turtle,
that can take abuse and come back in a couple of days to save the world (ode to
my favorite Japanese Monster – Gamera), but human after all.  And again, if I find myself having to fight
more than being myself — it’s time to take a leave and enjoy a bit of
breathing space before I either go back and muck knee-deep through whatever
flames are licking my ass, or ignore the perpetrators and move onto better

     Sometimes though, I’ll just simply retreat
from dealing with those often crass and back-biting folk who drive me to the
point where the only fate I’m seeing for them is my hands around their throat
and throttling the life out of them because they’re squandering it so badly by
being so petty and so connivingly back-stabbing, and stick more to my friends
and acquaintance who will best appreciate what I have to offer, and are polite
to me as I am polite to them.  Share a
laugh, a joke, a quiet time, and perhaps a game or two of scrabble, chess,
backgammon, or a frag-fest in Half-Life or Half-Life2 before going back to
proving to those petty folks, I am that much better than they are…  *grinning*


     However, one of the biggest perks that I
have had in the years that I’ve been online is something that has always
appealed to the closet optimist that I often am in spite of being a realist
most of the time.  In the time that I’ve
been online, I have chatted and met some of the most incredible, wonderful,
hysterical, and often liveliest people that anyone could possibly meet.  People that have touched my life in ways that
years later, I still find myself unraveling and re-learning how those people
had touched my life.  Like Diogenes of
Sinope with his lamp trying to find an honest human being — while I often find
myself in front of rascals and scoundrels, rarely I do indeed find myself in
front of a human being and am amazed. 
And in meeting that one human being, I have remained where I have been
— wandering the ethers of the Internet, enjoying the road that I have walked
and meeting the people that I have met. 


     In regards to the environment that this
acquaintance and I walk and what people there consider "art" in which
case is more a popularity contest than anything else, I admit that I have never
truly considered myself an artist.  I am
often either a Technomage tweaking numbers and shapes and angles into something
to behold, or a Mad Scientist wildly throwing code and script together to see
what I can create on whim and randomly… 
But an artist in the classical sense? 
Heh, I draw humans like monkeys, have an eye for balance and
perspective, but draw like I’ve been wearing a helmet and licking the windows
on the "Special Bus" for far longer than I have been actually an
adult.  The promise of my becoming an
architect or technical artist squelched because the call to being a computer
nerd was by far a higher calling than for me to being some left-handed
technical draftsman with an eye for balance. 

     I find myself at marvel through my
continuing practice and continuing understanding of script and coding and how
changing a small set of numbers can change the entire effect of the piece I’m
working on.  I find myself gobsmacked
that my little booth on this site has gotten just a little over 3,000 views in
the 14 months that I’ve been there…  That
all of my work, and pictures have gotten more than 500 favorites and that out
of them, have had more than 10,000 people stopped by to view them.  I often find myself embarrassed that my works
are praised for the colors, the vibrancy, the bizarre shapes and almost
ethereal quality to them where all I’m seeing is the code, or the millions of
"I should have tried a little harder here, or there" errors that I
think I could have corrected.  And
finally I am in awe that 28 people actually follow me, checking out the work
that I create routinely, and perhaps even occasionally reading my long-winded
and often scattered blog entries; often hoping they are entertained with what I
produce and create. 

     I know that I’ll never be at the level of
mastery of some of the people that I silently watch and stop by to check to see
what they created, and while there are moments where I am sometimes find myself
envious that I’ll never reach the page views of their booths or their
individual work that they put up for view; at the same time I feel a sort of
distinctive pride that I work with the same program these masters do… 


     So to this acquaintance of mine; know
this.  You know within your heart when
it’s time to take a break, chat with friends, enjoy the company of solitude, to
heal…  to refresh…  to recharge… 
Just stop a moment to listen to it when it tells you, "Hey, let’s
go on vacation…" 

     You’re never too old for this…  You’ve just been temporarily beaten down by
mediocrity, by scoundrels and rascals. 
In the end — you’ve made an impact in other people’s lives, even if you
don’t think you have or they’ve shown it. 
And while your presence will be missed if you make the decision to
wander to the greener pastures everyone talks about and call "Real
Life…"  the time you’ve spent here
has changed things in ways that will take years for some to figure out and


     Until the next time.

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