Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars


Posted by Trixter on June 6, 2007

I used to think that people fade out of their various scenes due to external influences — family, work, etc. I certainly used to feel that way, possibly as an excuse as to what was happening to me and trying to find a reason to blame. While I get the feeling that’s the majority, I can’t hold onto it any longer as a reason for my slow slip away. I just feel overwhelmed by it all — it’s happened before (mobygames, mindcandy) and it’s happening again, even with my small projects that benefit only myself.

When Brian and I started MobyGames nearly ten years ago, it was my life, my passion. I spent at least two years of my life on it, to the detriment of my marriage and relationship with my kids (something that has been rebuilt, but took years and was never quite the same). While there was a bit of a business shake-up internal to the organization, the core foundation of MobyGames is still there; it remains true to our vision and it is useful, self-sustaining, and well-known. I should be working on it every day… or every weekend, right? Or at least once a month? Check the boards once in a while? You would think that… and you’d be wrong. I love MobyGames with my intellectual mind, but can’t find it in my heart to work on it as you would think befitting of a founder.

My good friend Jason Scott created a demoparty using his bare hands and had a .990 batting average doing it. Everything was hit out of the park. I gave a talk, I learned I had a groupie or two, I met up with Phoenix and Necros and IC and The Finn and many others and had the time of my life. I should be working on a demo for next year’s incarnation… or at least watching new ones… something. I’m not. I hooked the XT back up, tested it, and then powered it off for going on 8 weeks now.

I have a ton of hardware and software I could sell for money. (Goodness knows we need it.) I have many videotapes that I should clean up, edit, and archive to DVD. I have 40+ sound cards that I would love to document on a new website to function as some sort of virtual soundcard museum. I have years of family videotape and film I should be editing and archiving. I have hundreds of retail games still not documented in MobyGames. I’m not doing any of these things. I spend my nights catching up on my Netflix queue or watching television after the wife and kids are in bed.

I feel lost.

12 Responses to “Lost”

  1. phoenix said

    i’m the same damn way.. i wake up, have all these things in my head i want to do, oops gotta go to work, can’t do them, get home, forgot what i wanted to do and watch dvds. it’s getting where i have to write notes for myself. noone’s really challenging us to do what we enjoy. maybe it’s just the humidity.

  2. Steve said

    I don’t know you–I got here from Jason Scott’s blog.

    I often feel the same way you do. I’m a father of two young sons, and I also have some “Jason Scott”s in my circle who seem to be capable of superhuman work. There are a million things I could/should be doing, but too often end up crawling into bed late at night having done nothing but watch TV, read RSS feeds, and chat online with friends.

    You didn’t ask for advice, so feel free to stop reading now, and just know that other folks in similar situations feel the same way.

    One thing that has helped me is that I made a very short list of things that I want to do before the summer is over. Some of these are things to do with my kids and/or my wife, some are just for me. I still have wasted days and evenings from time to time, but as long as I can look at that list and see that I’m doing *something* in the medium-term, some lost time doesn’t bother me.

    But make sure it is a *short* list of things you can actually do, and make sure you pick the fun stuff.

    Feel free to email/IM me if you want from the email in the comment form.

  3. Before I read Jason’s response, I feel moved to comment. As a single guy who works 4 days a week and lives with his parents, I’ve got a lot of ‘spare time’. As a technical oriented creative person with a penchant for accumulating ‘projects’ and all of their associated materials, I’ve got a lot of interesting things to do with that spare time. So I find myself in long spells of self-consciousness: thinking of what I haven’t done, what I have to do, and much I suck for not doing it. The internet usually serves my indulgence, lulling me with endless examples of the great things others are accomplishing every day. But this post hit me like a bucket of cold water. I feel a good bit of pain in it, but also it’s a refreshing reminder that even folks I greatly admire for their contributions to the community are dealing with similar challenges to myself. Thanks for expressing this.

  4. Accatone said

    I think it’s the feeling of the imposibility, the feeling that there’s nothing we can do on this earth. We seem to be pretending that we are conscious about our actions, but in fact we do not have even the slightest idea of what we are doing here.

    Most of Luis Bunuel’s films are based on people who could not act, who feel the impossibility of action like in Exterminating Angel, where a group of people could not get out of the house after the party they have participated is over. It’s like the puddle that Rhoda cannot cross in Virginia Woolf’s novel, the Waves:

    ” ‘It is the first day of the summer holidays,’ said Rhoda. ‘And now, as the train passes by these red rocks, by this blue sea, the term, done with, forms itself into one shape behind me. I see its colour. June was white. I see the fields white with daisies, and white with dresses; and tennis courts marked with white. Then there was wind and violent thunder. There was a star riding through clouds one night, and I said to the star, “Consume me.” That was at midsummer, after the garden party and my humiliation at the garden party. Wind and storm coloured July. Also, in the middle, cadaverous, awful, lay the grey puddle in the courtyard, when, holding an envelope in my hand, I carried a message. I came to the puddle. I could not cross it. Identity failed me. We are nothing, I said, and fell. I was blown like a feather, I was wafted down tunnels. Then very gingerly, I pushed my foot across. I laid my hand against a brick wall. I returned very painfully, drawing myself back into my body over the grey, cadaverous space of the puddle. This is life then to which I am committed.”

  5. I feel your pain, and I hope you find your way again.
    And when you do, let the rest of us know how :-)

  6. phoenix said

    maybe it’s time to start mindcandy 3. :)

  7. Unknown_K said

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. We all go through very productive phases and unproductive phases in our lives.

    We all have 3 lives Work, Family, Personal. I find that one of the three is allways in the shitter. Currently I spend quite a bit of time with the family/pets, Have lots of time for personal projects and collecting, but can’t find a decent job. Its very hard to get all three into something that works. Most people can only concentrate on one of the three with a detrimental affect on everthing else.

    You could make a list of things you want to do, thats easy. The hard part is getting the motivation to get the tasks done, not because you have to but because you want to and like doing it. I was wondering when you were going to get the sound card roundup started, but I figured you would get to it when YOU wanted to see it done and not because others are waiting for it. Some things you do just because you want them done, and not because people are waiting for it or because it would be good for the community. If you are not carefull, you can turn your passion into a full time low paying crappy job.

    In closing put the retro stuff in storage, get your work life in order, and enjoy the summer with the family. When you are at peace with family and work you will find the creative side will come alive again slowly but surely. Everything in moderation is the key too a happy existance.

  8. qkumba said

    It’s a shame, but it happens. It happened to me, too – I’m only now fulfilling the promise that I made to you in 1998 to contribute to MobyGames. :-/
    I just let things go until I was ready to return, and doing a little now and again still adds up to something meaningful. Just have to be patient.

  9. Trixter said

    Better late than never!

  10. Dan said

    I definitely know the feeling. I’m in the “make a list” group. List down the things you want to accomplish and slowly chip away at it. Read a book, watch a movie, do yard work, have some fun/take a vacation, etc. Even in the best of cases–not working, like me–you’ll find you waste a lot of time. Create a list, begin with the baby steps. Very few people have an easy life. If you want to learn to appreciate your life a little more I recommend a trip to a 3rd world country.

  11. cgm said

    As you can see, you aren’t alone. I’ve had a “to do” list that spans back 10 years. Alot was trivial stuff, others were hobbies I simply lost interest in, in the end it was alot of procrastination and lack of funds. Whats scary is when you “revisit” an old hobby that you used to be an ace in knowledge in. You post in a forum you haven’t been to in a long time with a join date from the 90’s and look really dumb and clueless. n00b all over again! Oddly enough computers is becoming this for me. One factor that has come to light for the first time for me personally in my recent “new” hobby (fixing/hacking cars) is that the social aspect of a scene can leave people very bitter. Alot of helpful people in many scenes I was/am involved in left due to hostility and mistreatment from others. Sorry for the rambling, but I’m doing this instead of fixing my project car that I hasn’t touched since I purchased it last November. :-P


  12. Red Leader said

    The previous poster nailed it:

    “Whats scary is when you “revisit” an old hobby that you used to be an ace in knowledge in. You post in a forum you haven’t been to in a long time with a join date from the 90’s and look really dumb and clueless. n00b all over again! Oddly enough computers is becoming this for me.”

    I could fill the Library of Congress with everything that I’ve forgotten about ham radio, programming, computers, etc. Someplace along the way I just got tired, and spending time with my wife or the dogs or my parents is now more important to me than reading the latest copy of QST or Computer Shopper, or going down in the basement to wire together some circuit.

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