Sunday, April 27, 2014

April the Twenty-eighth

Listen closely and I'll let you in on a secret - someone has a birthday today.
Not just any someone, but a wonderfully delightful someone I adore.
A someone who taught me quite a bit about pieces of the world I never knew existed. A someone who let me see a part of the country I never dreamed I could see. A someone who let me know that having an opinion about art didn't mean that I was pretentious. A someone who saw things in my own world through new eyes, and discussed that in a way that sometimes challenged me, sometimes supported my own beliefs, and sometimes shared her differing opinions instead of nodding and smiling.

You see, there's this girl who I used to fly to visit. She's got style and a vibe that's not East Coast, not West Coast, and more than a blending of the two. She's charming and bright, and I love her.

If you see her today, wish her a very happy birthday.

She deserves happy days, because she helps make mine that way.

There are words, and there are silences, and there are smiles that don't need to be explained.  I'm grateful for all of those things.
And I'm grateful that I share them with her.

On her very special day, I'm happy to hold her hand and laugh with her.

I'm pretty sure she is, too.

Happy Birthday, Gina.
You are. And you know.
And that's perfect.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Back When I Was Someone Else


Remember when this was relevant? Remember when you had to go find the correct group for your interest or else you were flamed out of the wrong one you posted in? Those were the days, huh? Seriously, it was so much better than the current state of online interaction. Back then, you talked about anime in general with one group, specific anime with another (and many of those folks ONLY talked abut that particular anime), and you could even talk about cosplay and modeling in those respective groups. Want to talk about your specific model of car? Go find it. It wasn't just ONE BIG ROOM (as it has been described to me) like Facebook, it was a giant convention with all the different rooms available for discussions with people you just might come to know over time.

It was a very different world back then.

You built communities based on the culture of the group, and every group had a different feel. The best ones were well-moderated and policed by group members, those few off-topic posts were gently nudged as being inappropriate, and there was always the FAQ cop, ready to throw a link out to ANY offending member. It was brilliant. was one of my haunts, and it was a good place to hang out and swap info, opinions, thoughts, new projects, etc. There were other groups I ran in, and each one consumed much of my time online. Conversations were held in semi-real-time, with a response coming either a few seconds (if you were both actively refreshing the feed) or a few days (life actually got in the way back then). Today, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have taken all the waiting away, and with it our understanding of patience. Posting a binary to the group (a picture, say) was pretty straightforward (UUEncode, anyone?), but today a picture is just an MMS away.  We built communities then, not just friend lists.

There was a lot more to getting to know someone than just lurking on their FB page or scrolling through their other social media links. You had to strike up a conversation, sometimes you could discover that someone you interacted with every day lived right around the corner, or halfway around the world. There was no sending of friend requests, you had to interact with them, and there was no public acknowledgement that you were friends with them, other than your inclusion in the same news group. As I write this, I am considering how large my friends list on FB is, and exactly how few of them I actually interact with just because of the sheer number of them. It's not that I wouldn't interact with them all (hell, either they or I sent a friend request, right?), it's that there aren't enough hours in the damned year to.  Back in the day, you popped into a newsgroup and checked the latest posts. You might do this for several dozen groups, but in slow ones, there might only be 4 or 5 new headers. In busy ones, there might be upwards of 1000, but rarely were there more than a handful that were of interest to you. Threads seemed easier to manage, too.

But time marches on, and Usenet is gone. Modern social media beckons with instant response, self-gratification, and the allure of being famous in your circles. I use it to distribute this blog, and I'm okay with that, but the idea of patience is history. Everything today is so much faster, and the thought of waiting to hear someone else's opinion (tomorrow) seems almost implausible.

I'll revisit this sooner or later. I'll run through the Google Archive of Usenet groups and find some old stuff ("Chaos Returned" or perhaps "Fish219" if you care). Maybe I'll even check Facebook and see if anyone I use to know is there.

I'll let you know. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everybody's Friend

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs when you drive an old motorcycle. Everyone is your friend. There was a time, or so I've heard, when being caught on a Japanese motorcycle very well might end with your ride being trashed. Those days, as far as I can tell, are long gone. Nowadays, every other motorcyclist will look at your machine and say something along the lines of "I used to have a 750" or "my <fill in the relative or friend here> used to have one of those..."


It's really wonderful to have strangers approach you and want to talk about old times that you never shared. Stories are told about the time that this stranger or that rode hos or her 440LTD, KZ650, or old Honda CB whatever up Mount Washington a little too early in the season, or the time that so-and-so met everyone at the campground without a tent, or perhaps the time when he was in the middle of nowhere, got lost, and had to camp out in a field until daylight. There are always so many stories. Rarely do you hear about being stranded on the side of the road (after all, we're not talking British Twins here).  Everyone will tell you about their own experience when they rode, or rode with someone, having an old Japanese bike.

I'd forgotten that part of it. I first experienced it with a 1975 Goldwing, and when I was reminded of it, I smiled wide and had one more reason to look forward to a long riding season. I'm excited about all the people who will grace me with a story. After all, you meet the nicest people on a Honda.

See you on the road.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here.Have These.

I kiss those lips with anticipated need
I taste your mouth with ache and greed
I hold you in my arms and breathe
I feel you in my heart.

And a Haiku or two...

You cannot cage me
The clear open sky above
Leaning round the bend

Winter fading fast
Springtime practices her lines
The curtain is raised