Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over, thought I'd something more to say
-- Pink Floyd, "Time"
March might be a more appropriate time to post this. 30 years after Dark Side of the Moon was released and all that. But I realized a couple parts of this post recently, so I'll jump the gun a little.
I remember the first time I listened to Pink Floyd. It was in the spring or summer of 1995. I was lying in my hamock. Probably reading something. My dad handed me his copy of Dark Side of the Moon. Told me to listen to it. I popped it in my Performa 636 and heard it in mono (my stereo system has a dirty switch and I didn't realize I was only getting one channel). Pretty cool. Then he showed me the pictures in his copy of Mix magazine (or was it Studio Sound?) of the Division Bell tour sound system. I listened to it a couple more times and fell in love. For a period of several months I would put the album on repeat before I went to bed. My mom would turn it off in the middle of the night, concerned about my brain waves and sleep patterns. I don't think it would be a stretch to say I listened to the album over 1000 times in a three year period.
At some point I reflected on the lyrics of "Time." "And then one day you find / Ten years have got behind..." I recognized that I spent a lot of time doing the not so productive. It was high school and I'm a geek. Of course that's what I did. But I thought to myself "Ten years ago I was 6. I think I've gotten a lot out of that. Hopefully I can say that down the road."
Ten years ago was 1993. I was in 7th grade.
Ten years ago on the Thursday before Martin Luther King Day (observed)* I visited Johanna Riely, certified Chinese medical practicioner. She talked to my mom and I for a while and had me lie down on a table. She had me hold out my arm and resist getting it pushed down by her light application of force. No problem. She set a box of small vials on my chest and asked me to resist the force. Voop! My arm goes down. She took half the bottles out and tried again with both halves. One half I could keep my arm up, the other I couldn't. Continuing this log n process we got down to one vial, containing a mole or so of dairy, and found that I couldn't keep my arm up with dairy on my chest. Weird. I was instructed not to eat any dairy products for 30 days. I was upset and skeptical, but agreed to try. I was to start the following week. My mom and I went across the street to get a Dairy Queen Blizzard. I had a bunch of ice cream that weekend too. The night of that weekend before school sucked. I was lying about on the floor in tears, frustrated by an assignment to color in parts of the anatomy. I thought it was a stupid assignment -- I can learn without coloring -- and I was annoyed by the detail and focus required to do it easily. My mom correctly identified this as a response to dairy, but I denied it.
30 days passed and I was feeling better. Where I had missed 15 of 45 days in the first quarter due to illness (partly due to a nasty weeklong illness, but also with plenty of "blah" days), I probably missed less than 10 days the rest of the year. (Part of that may have been shock from poor performance first quarter and a willingness to go to school feeling less than 100%.)
I did pretty well the rest of the year, though not seemlessly. I handily won the Centennial Geography Bee (thanks to hours spent memorizing data about countries and watching Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego?). After taking a test following that, I was in the top 100 people in the state. In the midst of preparing, the problems of the world were really making me depressed. I was very staunchly an environmentalist, and was utterly depressed about the perceived weight of the environmental damage. I felt that humans had no right to exist, since we caused so much damage. I decided to kill myself. I was open about this fact, and didn't want to do it violently. I had heard that people can last four days without water, so I decided to not eat or drink anything over a weekend. Hopefully I'd die before I had to go to school. My mom took me to see a psychologist. I don't remember much about that visit, aside from the fact that it was in the Boulder Medical Center. While hanging around while my mom was doing paperwork at the desk, I found a wallet in the same style as mine behind the stairs. I returned it at the desk. The psychologist asked me to promise not to hurt myself over the weekend, which I did. (My internal commentary was saying "I can't promise that. I might trip and stub my toe or something. But I decided to correctly interpret his request so as not to cause a scene.) I wasn't planning to hurt myself, just to end all hurt, to remove myself from an unjust society. On Sunday my mom took me to the library to check out some geography books so I could prepare for the state competition. I was fairly weak; I hadn't had anything to drink in over 48 hours. We talked about it and I decided not to kill myself then; that it was kind of silly to prepare for something a month out if I was planning to die in a few days. Maybe I would, like my mom said, have a net beneficial impact, saving the planet in my little way, by continuing to live, rather than ending my resource usage on the spot. This existential experience may have been brought to you by the residual chemical lactose.
So yeah. Like I said, the rest of that year went pretty well. I finished 6th in the Colorado Geography Bee. I was elected to be a Head Officer of student council. (I won for one reason, I think. Not because of my dynamic speech, which was fairly cool, but because everyone came down and saw there were 11 girls and me. The guys in my grade were chanting my name. I didn't even put up an advertisement like most of the other canidates. Probably because I was raised on public broadcasting. Hehe.) That summer I went to SEP and Cheeley Leadership Camp, which I've written about previously
(near the middle of the post).
It's been 10 years, almost to the day, since I've had a glass of milk. I've had a few slices of pizza (more often the crust with a little bit of cheese still on it). I've had ice cream twice in 10 years. So baked goods are really my only dairy source anymore. I still get dairy occasionally, and I'm able to deal with it better, but it still keeps me relatively ineffective. (We had a dessert potluck last night, and I got about 6.5 hours of sleep, which is why I've been watching football and writing LJ entries all day.)
Ten years ago, circa February or April, I logged on to the Internet for the first time. bvsd.co.edu at the time. I think they were on the verge of getting bvsd.k12.co.us. (I note now that the main servers are no longer at CU. (220.127.116.11 has no record.) I learned about elm (with *shudder* med as the default editor) and finger and who. Mr. Dixon taught us about cd, ls, the directory structure, and everyone got confused. I'd occasionally
cd ..; ls; cd <randomuser>; ls;
and poke around. Or go even further afield and get lost in /etc/ or /lost+found and have to
. We learned about gopher and ftp. An advanced presentation during computer club talked about archie. I think I successfully used archie... once in my life? I remember being all excited and impressed when I found a copy of Huck Finn, of e to 50,000 digits, of an ascii "Kanji of the Day" on gopher. Sit down at a Mac SE running MacOS 6.07 (?), not even enough ram to run MultiFinder. Open NCSA (Super Computing!) Telnet.
finger; finger <randomuser>; talk <randomuser>
Hi. I go to Centennial.
I like your .plan. What school do you go to?
Cool. Are you in a writing class?
The next year I took Microcomputing again, and kept going to computer club. I learned about lynx and this thing called "The World Wide Web." I'd stumble around, link to link to link. Like gopher, I'd try to remember paths that lead me to neat places. There was a sheet posted on a wall with some interesting URLs. You had to know the URL back then. I can't remember We had two or three computers in the lab that could run Mosaic
. On www.whitehouse.gov you could hear President Clinton's inauguration speech. You could see picture of Socks the cat. Just think how amazing! Mr. Dixon cut every article out of the Daily Camera that mentioned the Internet and put it on the wall. I participated in The Reynoldsburg Geography Project
, sort of an international ePals program. (Do people still have pen pals? Or has AIM removed that from our culture?)
I wrote my first pages in HTML in late '94, around the time I found out about the cool new idea -- a search engine and web directory. I just had to remember Yahoo's URL (http://www.stanford.edu/akebono/
) and I could find what I needed. Some frighteningly old pages
are still on my website. I'll have to do a more extensive history of my web use later.
I visited Computer Club near the end of last school year. It was a very different experience. No high school students hangin' out. No college students playing chess. Nobody running around the halls shooting each other with rubber bands. Nobody was there because they didn't have an internet connection. The monitors are all color :-) Mr. Dixon said "I don't get kids of your caliber anymore." I said I thought part of that was because they've all got even better computers at home, they don't have to hang out at school to use them. They're not fascinated by new technology. (I see that Vocal Point
is still around. "The World's First Electronic Student Newspaper." That's right. I hung out with a bunch of Internet pioneers.) Internet users on the whole are kind of disappointing. I was astounded when someone in Brackett last year knew how to see who else was on the system. (He told me he liked my .plan
.) The vast majority of Internet users have never seen a UNIX prompt. They probably haven't even used FTP, and gopher is a rodent once more.
*: This is a guess. It was right before an extended weekend. Possibly Presidents' weekend.
Just so I don't post again, it's been totally gorgeous non-stockshow-weather out here. Upper fifties. Clear skies. I think Boulder's gotten two hours of snow since early December. Good thing I'm planning to visit deserts this summer, 'cause the front range is gonna have to start recycling piss or something.
Those of you who have me and neverireven
on your friends list are probably astounded at how huge and busy your friends page is this week. When it rains it pours.