“Credit (or, more likely from your perspective, blame) for my interest in the Nordic events goes to color commentator Chad Salmela, who managed to get me excited about cross-country and the biathlon through his Gus Johnson-esque enthusiasm levels.”—
A fewpeople were posting material from the zines they produced in the early 90s. And while I was in those days quite taken with the idea of creating a publication that I planned to call “Potato Famine: A Journal of Vegetable Youth”, I never got around to making it a reality. And so now, fifteen years later, I have nothing to show for it.
Which may be fitting. After all, I abandoned whatever teenage aspirations I held of becoming a man of letters and became, for lack of a better term, more of a man of octets. And this fate probably should have been obvious from the way I acted back then.
Like in tenth grade, when a friend and I adapted Henry Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” as a computer game for a year-long project in English class.
It was a simple adventure game for the Mac, where you visited different locations in Salem, grilled people, and tried to figure out who had allied themselves with the devil. It had color graphics and bizarre sounds effects. Gameplay was… limited.
We had both taught ourselves to write C code the previous year, and had barely any idea what we were doing. The Mac OS in those days had a surreal memory manager that would actually rearrange things in memory while you were using them, so you had to reference them through an extra layer of indirection. As a result, I wouldn’t understand crucial concepts like “pointers” or “the heap” until much later. It wasn’t until we were about halfway through that we figured out the right way to use the ‘extern’ keyword to export things from one file to another.
My code was, in a way, the same as my code is now — occasionally clever (I spent a weekend rewriting most of it to make the engine data-driven, which let us add new locations much more easily) but also incredibly stupid (I leaked, I think, 100% of the memory I allocated).
Nonetheless, adults were impressed. It was 1993, and we were fifteen or sixteen, and nobody knew any better.
These days, the environment is different. The internet has made the acquisition of programming knowledge incredibly easy, to say nothing of the changes in languages, frameworks, and the millions of lines of support code that are just out floating around out there for the using. Now, nerdish teenagers are producing things they can sell for a few grand on the iPhone app store, if not turn into real companies. So in truth I was lucky to be born then, when I could be very, very ignorant and still be thought of as knowing something about something.
“Also, “puked on by a burlesque tranny performer” is how it feels every time I cash a paycheck from this job. There is, without a doubt, a terrible joy to the experience.”—Foster Kamer, meditating on his time at Gawker.
“Autism conspiracists tell you to be skeptical of the entire medical community (they are pretty sure some of them are paid by drug companies!) and to trust, instead, in Jenny McCarthy. 9/11 truthers tell you to be skeptical of the government (which is often a good default position) and also of most professional engineers, aviators, and other assorted experts (a little more dodgy). Birthers are skeptical of reality. Skepticism is certainly a virtue, but in the internet age, it basically means “preferring to believe what one guy tells you over what the so-called establishment tells you.” And the guy often has a vested interest in telling you not to believe the so-called establishment.”—Pareene, Gawker.
“Karaoke-related killings are not limited to the Philippines. In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”—
“The link is more or less a video appraisal of what makes English such a Goddamned whorehouse. Trying to explain this satanic gumbo to a new speaker - my task as a father - is beyond daunting. When he wants to know why this or that bullshit is so irretrivably fucked, I’ve begun telling him that our language is haunted.”—Penny Arcade - This Lady (re: this video)
Sorry to harp on it, but this is the most wonderful newspaper article of 2010. Some excerpts (and, oh, what the heck, some italics, all mine):
“The Planet is not the only victim of what looks like a major fraud and a possible Ponzi scheme worthy of Bernie Madoff.”
“No one—except perhaps the perpetrator—yet knows where the money might have gone.”
“Clickbooks.com Inc. maintained a small dingy office in a warehouse on 98th Avenue. Clients who went there to pick up paychecks for their employees occasionally encountered founder Bill Norgren in the back room. His mother, Ellen Norgren, was a constant presence in the front—the Planet’s publisher saw her there not long ago reading right-wing political tracts and denouncing Obama’s health care plan.”
“But online, Clickbooks.com posted a glamorous professional profile to attract potential clients.”
“A number of impressive-sounding individuals were listed as providing investment and ‘board participation,’”
“Ferdie told the publisher in December that Bill and his wife, remembered by one of the clients as a Filipina, had gone to the Philippines for the holidays. Perhaps they’re still there. Or maybe not.”