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December 18, 2013

A Trip in the Wayback Machine

I'm sorry for the dearth of posts lately.

I've been consumed with Christmas and deadlines at work and a dull sense of hopelessness about the worth of this whole experiment called blogging. Back in 2004, the blog princess was urged by a certain Colorado Cat to stop snarking about in the comments section of ScrappleFace and develop her thoughts more fully. Shortly thereafter, another fellow Scrappler - Joatmoaf - asked the princess to fill in for him on his new blog.

I never thought it would last. One by one I've watched my friends' blogs snuffed out like candles. There's a melodramatic and self pitying aging metaphor in there somewhere :p

God, I miss them.

I wonder how many posts I've written over the last 10 years? There are almost 3000 remaining here. A few thousand didn't survive my serial attempts to walk away from blogging. They're archived somewhere on an old laptop - something the spousal unit made me promise to do in case I ever decided to write a book.

There were somewhere around 1000-1500 over at Jet Noise. I'm guessing the total is somewhere around 5000, not that this matters.

Years ago, if I had been asked to describe what I thought I was offering up in my random musings, I might have said an abiding faith. Or conviction. Or love for the things I hold dearest. Or perhaps simply a belief that we can make a difference in life if we're willing to put ourselves out there and take risks and trust that the basic decency of our fellow hominids has more than a fighting chance against the cynicism and ugliness we wade through every day.

I'm reading an interesting novel. It's about a woman who falls and hits her head. When she wakes up, she can't recall the last decade of her life; a decade in which she bore three children and filed for divorce from her husband. She quite literally doesn't recognize herself - doesn't know how she got where she (apparently) is today. Doesn't remember how hope was slowly replaced with a lingering sense of disappointment; love with anger; trust with guardedness.

The "how" is still shrouded in fog. I haven't gotten that far. But the "why" seems pretty obvious to me already. Maybe I'm just projecting my own silly worries onto a fictional character I don't even like very much, but the thread running through all the changes in these characters seems to be that somehow, they all stopped focusing on the immediate and allowed their lives to be hijacked by something: grief, a lost opportunity, an ancient sadness, how someone else wasn't there when they were needed most.

I have no words for the thoughts that have occupied my mind of late, and it's probably best that I don't voice them until I've had the chance to make sense of it all. Perhaps there will never a 'right time'. So instead, I offer up some thoughts from a Christmas past.

Cheers, villains. Through all the years; the joys and the grief, your friendship and the laughter you bring to each day have drawn me back here like a magnet. It seems silly, naïve somehow, to love a group of people you've never met. But I love your brightness, your wit, your curiosity.

Sometimes, your combativeness. It is comforting to know that some things never change.

Posted by Cassandra at December 18, 2013 08:18 AM

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Cassandra, as a fellow scribbler who extinguished a never-much-noticed-but-still-fun-blog several years ago as part of an ultimately futile attempt to save a marriage, I think I understand the wistful note here. Even if we never meet, I'm glad for having read (and often, been prodded by) the thoughts you share.

Posted by: Patrick O'Hannigan at December 18, 2013 04:24 PM

Patrick! How wonderful to see your name in the comments. I always enjoyed your writing too, and am so sorry to hear about the marriage.

I hope you're well, otherwise?

Posted by: Cass at December 18, 2013 04:32 PM

Howdy Cass,
Color me slightly confused by your wistfulness, which looks a little like melancholy.
Your little blog has brought some joy to me and many others with every new post; whether from the post subject (like animal pics), your humor in mocking those that deserve it, or from the collection of nice/witty/? regulars that choose to join your little enterprise.
Cherish the good old times, don't dwell on past unpleasantness, *enjoy today* and look forward to tomorrow.
Ignore the assholes in life, and revel in the confidence that they will probably make themselves miserable.

Very Best Regards,

PS: can't help but take a swipe at previous post; Obama did *not* grow up in mainland America! He didn't move to CONUS from Hawaii (after some childhood in Indonesia) full time till he went to Occidental college.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 18, 2013 05:10 PM

"...Obama did *not* grow up..."

Nailed it!!
The rest is cheap whiskey.

Posted by: DL Sly at December 18, 2013 05:45 PM

"It seems silly, naïve somehow, to love a group of people you've never met. But I love your brightness, your wit, your curiosity. Sometimes, your combativeness."

How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,

Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave.

Yea, I will bless them as they bend and love them where they lie,

When on their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky.

The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, --

You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.

I love you too, Cass.

Posted by: Grim at December 18, 2013 10:16 PM

The ... in Chief grew upwards, but not wiser. He's over six feet now, didn't you know? (And he can put four of them in his mouth at once!)

Cass ... sorry you're not feeling your best. It seems silly, naïve somehow, to love a group of people you've never met. ... OK, it can seem silly and naive, but it's not. Blogging and participating in the comment threads is very like the old BBS systems in the way people interact, even though they don't see, smell, touch, taste, or hear each other (authors and commenters.) (I can go back and point to pen-pals, who wrote (write, there still are some) to each other for years, decades, before (if ever) meeting.)

Those senses can be invoked by the meanings that come through the bare words. It's perhaps too frequently said that 80-90% of communication is non-verbal (and while that is true, there is the rest of the message.) Our souls, though, don't completely ignore the words, and the ideas and ideals they carry. They find the attachment, caring, joy, concern, laughter, pain, in the exchange. I rejoice in it.

The comments are fibers, twisted into threads that wrap around each other into yarns, the yarns twisted into strands, the strands into ropes and cables that can hold one soul to another over the decades without ever a touch, other than those lines.

(Anyone who thinks I was a Lisp programmer, take a cookie. Well, you may be anti-cookie already; there are fresh cranberry-cheesecake bars if you will wait another hour for them to cool!)

Posted by: htom at December 18, 2013 10:35 PM

There are no cookies.

Posted by: Evil Twin at December 18, 2013 11:48 PM

Back at ya, Grim :)

Posted by: Cass at December 19, 2013 08:45 AM

The comments are fibers, twisted into threads that wrap around each other into yarns, the yarns twisted into strands, the strands into ropes and cables that can hold one soul to another over the decades without ever a touch, other than those lines.

That's a beautiful image, htom. There's a poet inside you, somewhere :)

Posted by: Cass at December 19, 2013 08:46 AM

As a relative newcomer to VC (only 3 or 5 yrs) and infrequent commenter, my writing that I appreciate VC won't have as much oomph as the comments above.

However, I note that I've looked at many, many blogs. Only about a dozen links have made it to my "check daily" list. VC has done so.

I see blogging as not only social conversation honing thinking. Princess and pals do that very well, and not just because I tend to agree with the conclusions reached. They write well. Intimidates my efforts. And challenges me to write (and think) clearly, honestly.

In addition, I think of some blogs as I think of painting, works of art attempting to capture a chunk of reality. A painting takes huge commitment of time. So, too, a blog. Thanks, Princess. And pals.

In the meantime, yesterday's (I suspect well known) xkcd site has a perfect capture of some of the ethos of these posts....


Posted by: Roy at December 19, 2013 10:06 AM

Roy, thank you for the kind words (and the comic). I am still laughing :)

And for whatever it may be worth, I greatly enjoy your comments.

Posted by: Cass at December 19, 2013 10:29 AM

I suspect the value of the blog is to solidify your thoughts.

Nothing better than evaluating your thoughts and beliefs while trying to put them into legible print form.

Posted by: Bill Wilson at December 19, 2013 03:43 PM

I suspect the value of the blog is to solidify your thoughts.

Writing helps a lot, but what I value even more are the discussions that follow. I can't imagine writing just for myself. I've had several other blogs when I took time off and it's a very different experience, not having the reaction and questions and challenges.

I think that's why I've never been much interested in writing a book. That would be all about me and what I think, and that seems so beside the point. What I think I love most is hearing what you all think.

Yes, even when you think I'd dead wrong :p

Posted by: Cass at December 20, 2013 07:51 AM

Ah Scrappleface!! Where one could debate the 18 year old Ken Stein, ( Ben Stein in disguise). Play witty comment tag with friends un met. And who could forget Ranbutan, the semi-affluent Troll who would not stop ranting about the Top 5 percent?
As Trolls go, Ran was pretty smart.
Be that as it may your style and format simply ROCKS!! I love your site and come here often. Although...I don't know if you will take this as good or bad but NMCI (Jacksonville server) has your site banned when I try to access it at work.
But seriously, first it said "unauthorized content" which can cover almost anything, but now it's saying your site is dead, i.e., no longer active.
It's somehow gotta be Bush's fault.
Keep up the good work.

I haven't really gone anywhere, I just kind of lost some of the passion. It'll come back. Especially if I think Hillary starts to become a serious contender. Obamacare is really her puppy.

Merry Christmas !

Posted by: Joatmoaf at December 23, 2013 07:53 PM