Whoever You Are; Wherever You Go

 

I’ve been cleaning the attic at the other house. This means I’ve been stumbling on caches of stuff my kids just put up there to avoid really cleaning. I.e. when I said “clean your room” they’d run upstairs and stuff papers in the spare room. There, all clean. (Sigh.)

It’s a bit like an archeological dig. You find things you never expected, things you expected but didn’t know where there precisely, and then things that make you shake your head and say “you were there all the time.”

What I mean is, you go through life changing, right? I mean I know both my political orientation and my reading interests, not to mention my writing interests have changed drastically since even my early thirties (when I was a Libertarian with a capital L and no compromises. Before that I was more European.)

Even then there were certain facets of continuity. For instance even in my younger, waffling days, I always hated communism for the abomination it was. Having read Gulag Archipelago and been forced to study Marx in all courses in school for three years, I really had no illusions about the emotional/psychological mechanics of communism.

I just sometimes didn’t recognize early stage communism, or the dangers of other authoritarian regimes, particularly anti-communist ones.

But I can look back and think “Wow, I was someone else.” And then…

But we were talking about my kids.

I’ve mentioned here before that younger son found his “vocation” and his interest in school when he was thirteen and we went to a presentation at the natural history museum, and he got REALLY interested in space science.

I never thought he paid any attention before.

But I found an exercise from when he was 8 and he says his favorite things in life are fried chicken (hey, I make good fried chicken), comic books, and the space wing of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

I never noticed his interest before, possibly because we also had to drag him away from the dinosaur wing (he takes after me.)

But it was a moment of recognition, a moment of “oh, there you were all along.”

The same thing with stumbling on a drawing from Kindergarten from Robert with a cat (wearing glasses) named Tom. This was years before he even thought of writing Cat’s Paw.

And weirdly there is the fact I often can’t tell whose exercise book/composition book/fragment of story/picture I’m looking at. And neither can they. Now if you’d asked me, I’d have said that my kids are different as night and day, but apparently the continuity is there.

(Or to quote older son “Well, mom, it’s a kindergartner with an incredible vocabulary who, nonetheless, confuses m and w. We can’t say anything but that he’s yours for sure.”)

What I mean, other than bragging about the boys (semi-bragging. Man, before ten did they creative-spell. And sometimes creative-word) is that there is a continuity to you even when you don’t see it.

It reminded me of talking to my best childhood friend, 4? 5? Years ago (too long. She divorced, my life got crazy. I lost touch. And now I don’t even know how to get in touch with her.)

This was at a time I was fighting agents trying to push me in a literary direction (over a fun direction, I mean.)

And she said “Oh, yeah, I can see how you’d hate that, of course.”

Now, people who knew me later and met the more airs-adopting me thought I wanted to be literary, or even to join academia. But Isabel who knew me in elementary (she was my desk mate) saw the continuity. (The short tale is that literary is easy for me to do, and at some point you’ll do anything to break in. Easy to read and fun is much harder. I’m still working on it, okay?)

So, you know the thing about never forgetting which voice is yours? We all have to put on masks to survive (these days, often political masks. I came to realizing it wasn’t worth it, but to each his situation and judgment) but never forget who you really are.

Because in the end, one way or another, who you really are, what you really love and what you really believe, at the heart of it, have a way of surfacing.

And you’ll never get far running from yourself.

145 responses to “Whoever You Are; Wherever You Go

  1. Back when I was still blogging, I had an unexpected visitor to the site: my very first girlfriend, whom I had not seen since 1973. She told me that even if my name hadn’t been on the website, she’d have recognized my writing style instantly — “I actually heard your voice when I was reading your articles.”

  2. Good one.

    It’s a touching story – how your boy had really liked space all along.

    Dishonesty with oneself, even masks, are tiring.

    The easiest masks are those where you censor yourself – tone down the language to not seem arrogant/whatever – but they still wear at you. You’re still spending time and energy reframing rather than thinking and experiencing.

    The most difficult are the ones where you actively misrepresent yourself. The psychic toll is horrible.

    • keep forgetting the bloody checkbox

    • The most difficult are the ones where you actively misrepresent yourself. The psychic toll is horrible.

      Don’t really know how to reply to that. A con man misrepresents himself with apparently no psychic toll because they don’t believe it for a moment. It’s just a role, a show to separate the mark from what you wish to gain.

      But then there’s Robin Williams, who’s death shook many because humor is a mask that doubles as armor. And one day the armor failed.

      • Leaving aside sociopaths – who feel free to rewrite reality at will, and don’t have the emotional toll, insofar as we can tell – someone who knows he is lying has a constant friction between what is true, and the model they’re maintaining in the end.

        Sure, con men can be glib and successful – thin Bernie Madoff – and yet how many end up imploding?

        How many actors put on a mask, and end up in drugs and therapy?

        Some people may be less impacted by it, but there’s always a cost.

        • This was very much true with my being in the political closet.

        • I think you mean psychopaths, as they can put on a charming front. It begs the question of whether all con men are varying degrees of psychopaths.

          Because some actors end up on drugs and therapy that drugs and therapy doesn’t mean such a fate is dictated by playing roles. It can also be a factor of the subculture. Some pop musicians also wind up on drugs and therapy, and this is arguably due to their subculture as well.

          • I think actors and musicians are burned from being always “on” and over exposed–if you share too much, without a defense, at full volume, and limited to that aspect…. ouch.

            It can’t ever be the FULL truth of yourself, sure, but if you have some distance so you don’y have to “own” the stage persona you’ve got a better chance of surviving…..

            • Which might explain the story one group told about how they were into drugs, but were helped off them by Alice Cooper.

              • I get it partly from watching teachers, group leaders, “role models” and such, and a talk from him I heard once about how he coped really clicked into it.

                It’s a tough subject; on one hand, you cannot just be uncontrolled. You will die, and I might have to be the one who kills you.
                On the other, you also can’t spend all your time pretending you’re something you’re not.

                A mask has to either be totally divorced from who you are (and good luck selling THAT, and staying sane) or it’s got to be part of you, and you have to recognize it’s made from you.

                Frozen did a really good job of showing two ways to screw up– excessive control and rejection of control.

                • a persona

                  • In the first meaning here, were it’s just the way you convey yourself
                    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/persona
                    yes.

                    I wouldn’t use the word, because it’s got too many “must be fake” and “probably malicious” connotations, and it’s too hard to know what way someone is taking it until things are way too far along.

                    I like “mask” because then you’ve got a whole metaphor about if it fits or not built right in.

                    • That’s one reason i find trade shows so exhausting.. I have to spend eight hours plus a day for three or four days with that ‘gregarious nice guy’ mask on and it wears me out…

          • As a musician, not a pop type, but plenty of my classical friends got into serious drugs: it’s the high. You get up there in front of people on stage and yeah. Wow! But you can’t do it all the time. Practicing can also be a high, but a lower one (though after a four hour symphony rehearsal I stayed up most the night last night). So people look for something that can give them the same feelings. Drugs, falling in love . . .
            Do that a while, some people realize they’re in trouble, and get therapy. Some don’t. I expect actors go through the same thing, in any event, there’s not enough difference in how I feel from performing musical theater (chorus role) and symphony to shake a stick at.

            • It’s been awhile for me and, while I can’t say I’ve ever made it to the point where I played professionally, I remember this feeling. I’ve gotten a couple of standing ovations (well, me and a large number of my instrument-playing friends. They did most of the work TBH.) and I’ll never forget that rush. I’ve obviously never played to packed house the way a pop singer/band has but I can see where a musician would be tempted to create that high artificially.

              • Actually, the same sort of feeling results from any fairly complex task performed well under time pressure. The hardest part of not cooking fast food anymore was the lack of the adrenaline buzz from a well-handled rush. (my partner in the kitchen and I had a motto: “we can screw up and fix it faster than most people can get it right the first time”)

                • Professor Badness

                  I used to get something similar working on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. A boatload of guests, with a good sense of humor, could really give you a rush.
                  As opposed to a load of tourists just staring blankly at you. That was simply draining.
                  *Yes, I am Skipper Dan.*

                  • I was never a great musician, but I was one once, so I can see the music angle. And the fast food, did that all too many times as a mostly-broke, always in-debt teenager (you help your family, that’s how). Complex tasks, heh, try troubleshooting a malfing cruise control with the gas intermittabtly sticking full on in traffic. *grin* There’s worse, and much worse in other jobs and situations out there, but those are mine…

                    Mostly though, fixing things does it for me. Taking a pile of non-working scrap and creating a machine that hums is something real, something visceral that can’t really be replicated with anything else.

                    It’s a kind of magic, see. Creation. Building and fixing. The houses I’ve helped build still stand. The school I helped plumb for heat and cooling responds at a touch to the thermostat. The cars I’ve fixed purr at idle and roar with power when you stomp on the gas. Some of those things may even outlast me. I rather like the thought of that myself.

                    What humble skills I own please me, but I remain in awe of those whose ability transcend mere competence. A watchmaker is no mere engineer, he is an artist in his own right. A good carpenter can be as well, I’ve seen things of such beauty made of wood I cannot but imagine their creators owning a quiet but deep pride in them.

                    Writers create, too. Not mere words on a page, but they paint the canvas of the soul with all the complex colors of human emotion. Don’t deny yourself pride in your creation, writers. To create is one of the most wonderful things in the world.

      • I would argue that a con man is misrepresenting himself to you and not to himself – he knows who and what he is. He knows he’s taking advantage of others – whether he acknowledges the damage and pain he’s causing – so there really isn’t room for him to cause himself psychic damage – unless he develops a conscience suddenly. The psychic damage comes in more when you are lying to yourself. I did this for a number of years – swearing off what I wanted most in the world – and found myself becoming angrier and angrier over time. When I finally sat down and admitted to myself what I really wanted and accepted what I needed to do to get there, my personality changed – angry was no longer my default setting. I’m still not where I want to be, but…it’s not out of reach, nor am I misleading myself about it. And except for the back problem, sleep actually comes easier now than it did before.

        • The nerves that should react are already deadened. Whether it’s his fault or not, it’s true.

        • I would argue that a con man is misrepresenting himself to you and not to himself – he knows who and what he is. He knows he’s taking advantage of others – whether he acknowledges the damage and pain he’s causing – so there really isn’t room for him to cause himself psychic damage – unless he develops a conscience suddenly.

          That was my first thought. He knows it’s a put-on. He’s not trying to tell himself he’s one thing and not another. It’s a mask he wears for the con. It’s very possible to do the same thing through lip service, as long as you have no qualms about parroting what you know to be a lie.

        • And this, I would argue, is what a lot of Odds do, but for different reasons. The Odd does it to reduce friction with the surrounding world, and to get along with people with whom he has little if any points of intersection. Of course, not being as moral-free as the con man, it is still more difficult for him, but usually not debilitatingly so. Though it probably does tend to account for some over-the-top behavior at gatherings of generally like-minded people.

          • You mean that overwhelming sense of relief when you don’t have keep up the mask for a few hours?

            • Yep. The release can get a bit heady.

            • As I got older I found I cared less and less about what other people thought of me for being Odd. I call it early onset geezerhood. I started going to Disney films without worrying about how it looked. I buy romance novels if I want to. I laugh on the bus or the train. I tell the self-congratulatory greenies pontificating about “natural foods” that for social apes like humans “natural” is living in trees plotting to murder the alpha male and rape his females.

              I also compliment waitresses to their managers. You would not BELIEVE how well I get treated in some local restaurants.

              Life is too short to worry about what the neighbors think. The neighbors are probably busy boinking each-other’s mates. They have more interesting obsessions than me.

              • Yes. That’s how I feel too, the older I get.

              • Feather Blade

                That happened to me when I turned 30.

                “I’m 30,” I told myself. “Technically, that means I’m middle aged. I can dress like a Victorian Schoolmarm and no one can say me nay! I can watch superhero movies alone! I can garden in a skirt! (though I should probably still wear pants when I install insulation in the attic…) I can chastise random strangers for being rude and peer disapprovingly over my glasses at obnoxious youngsters!”

                It was terribly freeing, in many ways.

    • Sometimes I think the masks can represent who we want to be though.

      • Professor Badness

        Fake it till you make it?
        Maybe. But I’m not sure about that.
        But then, we’re trying to suss out a very complex social dynamic in just a few comments on a blog.
        *Bows to our hostess from across the room.*

  3. And you’ll never get far running from yourself.
    Yeah….ummmm…

    Guilty

    I did this for awhile. It didn’t go so well. I was going to be Mr. Cool. I got drunk on the weekends a lot. Only read in the privacy of my room where no one could see me. I wrote but it was literally at the point where I’d sit at a computer and type a few hundred or a thousand words and then close the file without saving, and it was mostly just whining anyway. Hit on girls for a bit. I thought I was having fun, but well…

    Drinking can be fun. Waking up the next morning usually isn’t, even if I’m not really hung over. Maybe it’s just me but I can have three drinks, sleep ten hours and wake up feeling like I haven’t slept in a week. Deleting everything I wrote got frustrating after awhile. Reading only in my room…. Ok, that wasn’t so bad, I guess. The living room was usually filled with drunk people anyway. Hitting on girls was fun, but it was kind of weird, too. I guess that only makes sense if you’ve been there though.

    See, the problem there is that all of the girls I met were party girls. They ranged from fairly attractive up to Oh My Wow in looks but they were routinely not interested in anything interesting. Reading? Nope. Writing? Nope. Gaming? Nope. Politics? Oooh… You can’t talk about that in polite company. Granted, they all had their own things and that’s good for them, but it was nothing that caught my attention.

    Yeah. I made some friends at the time, some of which I still keep in touch with. Most of the people I hung out with around that time still remember it as one of the best times of their life. I won’t say I’ve never been through worse, but it certainly wasn’t a mistake I’ll repeat.

  4. “To thine own self be true.”

    Trouble is figuring out what you are, and what you want to make of what you are….

    • And I have a problem with that particular phrasing. Most people interpret it as, “don’t let anything get in the way of what you want,” or, more simply, “follow your dream.” That’s got a few issues. Dreams are nice and amorphous, vague things that often don’t have a whole lot to do with reality. Goals, now. Goals are solid and achievable. I prefer, instead to “to thine own self be true,” to think of it as, “be yourself, as hard as you possibly can.” That leaves plenty of room for growth and development, where the other – as it is most often understood – is almost entirely a static state. Semantics, really, I expect, but it fits better in my head.

      • It really is impressive all the really horrible advice folks stick on to justify what they want to do anyways, isn’t it?

        I don’t know about your dreams, but some of mine would’ve been very untrue to who I am, at a basic level. Figuring out who you are and what you want to do with who you are is a basic requirement to identifying what goals are even possible. (For example, I am not physically capable of the hand/eye coordination required for some of my dreams, and anything requiring a body that is not short and solid is straight out. Looking good in a pencil-skirt, likewise impossible.)

        The idea of “self” as unchanging and unchangeable seems kinda lazy, to me. Likewise the infinitely changeable and interchangeable visualization– both remove the hard work and responsibility of figuring yourself out and making judgement calls.

        • “The idea of “self” as unchanging and unchangeable seems kinda lazy, to me.”

          It also means that you can habituate yourself to bad habits while in a state of denial, believing you are merely exploring your true self when in fact you are creating it.

          • The old line – just be yourself….why does that usually turn out to mean being a jerk?

            • Trying to be fair, you’re generally not called on to justify being *nice*, except by really good friends… being more realistic, because some folks are not only jerks, they want to be congratulated for it, and for others to enable their jerk-ness.

      • Odd… I just read that quote as equivalent to, “Be honest with yourself, and don’t do stupid things that are harmful to yourself, if you can avoid it.”

        • It is, but for some reason folks tend to use it the way he mentions.

          I Do Not Get It. Put it in the same category as the idiots I’ve heard of who use Elsa’s villain song as a new life motto, rather than a corrective to excessive smashing. (The only place I’ve “seen” that is second hand, in rants similar to KD’s against the fools.)

          There’s no advice that can’t be interpreted as “run off a cliff.”

          • “There’s no advice that can’t be interpreted as “run off a cliff.””
            One of my pet hates is the fatuous assertion “A mind is like a papachute; it only functions when open.”

            Needless to say, a perpetually open parachute will drag you into all kinds of trouble….including off cliffs.

            • Muwahaha, you gave me an EXCELENT start of snark next time someone uses that on me– something like “remind me not to go in the air with you, if you think a closed parachute is not ‘functional’ and an open one is functioning correctly.”

              • Oh, bumper stickers are a source of endless annoyance. “What if the schools had all the money they needed and the airforce had to hold a bake sale to buy another bomber”

                Has encouraging the military to seek outside funding EVER ended well?

                “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

                Great, if you can arrange it. But if you are the only side that doesn’t show up, then it’s 1939 and your name is Poland

                “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican”

                So, KKK tactics are ok, if you use them on friends?

                I mean, the odds that you have discovered, in a pre-printed product, a political or philisophical statement that is actually witty, intelligent, and true are to low that they really aren’t worth considering. When you insist on that philosophy being on the Liberal Left …. well, basically you are GOING to be marking yourself as a pillock.

                • It really doesn’t help that their idea of humor tends to be my idea of being incredibly rude and/or a malicious ass.

                • All leftist writings, be they a bumper sticker or Das Kapital, have the exact same semantic content: 0.

                  • Not true. They quite often have a clear and non-zero semanitc content, it just isn’t true, or doesn’t mean what they think it means.

                  • Beg to differ. Spent a lot of fun lazy afternoons in the late 70’s designing a bicycle for a fish. Never did figure out the balance, though.

                • I used to like, “if you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.”

                  But I have increasingly realized that the first statement is seldom true, and so even that sticker now annoys me.

            • One of my mother’s favorites (not a bumper sticker): Keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.

    • Kim du Toit

      I figured out what I was at about age 16. The problem was what to make of myself. (“Virgin defloration specialist” wasn’t much of a career option, even in the late 1960s / early 1970s.)

      I jest. At age 16, I discovered that I was a polymath. Try and figure out a life plan when your goal is to know everything about everything.

      • Seems like it would be kind of sad to be so simple that you could fully know yourself— and all permutations– easily and with no experience….

        Identifying aspects like “I want to know!” (and maybe some of why) is a nice sized chunk.

        • Kim du Toit

          Foxy, maybe we just grew up differently. Possibly because of having been in a boys’ boarding school where the rules were clear, absolute and severely enforced, we boys had a firm structure wherein we could figure out our own place in the world fairly simply.
          When my buddy and I emigrated to the USA, we couldn’t believe that people in their forties were still doing Shirley McLean-type self-exploration (usually, with dolorous results), instead of getting on with their lives.
          “Experience” has little to do with it. Regardless of what I decided to do, my sense of self (the Shakespearean “thine own self”) was already established, so I could follow my chosen path(s) without too much hassle. (For the record, inter alia: professional musician, door-to-door salesman, soldier, statistician, marketing executive, management consultant, writer, three-time husband, etc.)
          I apologize if it all sounds so simple, but it was — at least for me. Your mileage may differ.

          • Probably just using different words– the folks who are my age and “finding themselves” drive me nuts. (Although not as much as the ones my folks’ age, doing the same…..)

            It’s really hard to convey stuff that isn’t objectively observable.

            The mental knowing yourself is like the physical one– it’s going to change, and some of those changes you can control, mostly. Some– *looks down at pregnant belly*– not so much, and it becomes more ‘managing’ the effects. Which may not be what you remember last time….

            I apologize if it all sounds so simple, but it was — at least for me.

            Immortality is very simple; don’t die.
            The details are where it’s complicated. 😀

            • My opinion has always been that when you can’t find yourself you should look behind the sofa cushions.

              • That’s where I found Jesus last time. It’s been his turn for weeks. I think he’s just stopped looking.

              • I’ve always felt that if you want to find yourself you need to be looking where you lost yourself in the first place. Wheras most people look for themselves in a succession of places they have never been before.

                • “Be as you wish to seem” makes sense. Understand how you wish others to see you, or, better, how you wish to see yourself. Then take all actions needed to match that seeming, and none that contradict it.

                  It’s also much easier to state than do, since it requires a high level of self-awareness, a strong will, and is – always! – a work in progress.

                  Some better recent examples of this I’ve come across in fiction were in S M Stirling’s _The Peshawar Lancers_ . It comes across as a fun, fast-moving tribute to writers like Haggard, Mundy, Sabatini, and Fraser, but it’s an ongoing subtext for all the major characters.

                  It could be argued that one of the defining characteristics of human wave writing is that the protagonists *do* try to live up to this maxim. And, despite flaws, can serve as exemplars of what a worthwhile person can and should be. While a lot of the grey goo writers either ignore its existence or actively disparage it.

                  • One of the first times my husband and I fought* was when we were arguing for “the way you play is the way you live.”

                    The folks we were arguing against felt that because it was “just a game,” nothing they did mattered.
                    Not lying, not cheating, not stealing. It’s “just a game.”

                    *we’d argued ideas against each other before that; this was a basic philosophical bedrock type thing, and it’s different to be fighting beside someone.

                    • I could see both viewpoints if it is in a role-playing game.

                      If you’re playing a neutral or chaotic evil character, you *should* be playing in that manner.

                      The big problem in role playing games is many players *don’t* follow their alignments particularly well, and – from an in-game perspective – why are a lawful good paladin-type and a chaotic evil character in the same party as allies?

                      I’ll admit that I was never terribly good at playing characters with an ethos greatly removed from my own. So I just didn’t play them.

                    • I can’t play evil for that reason; my husband can play any alignment.
                      I don’t explain it very well, it’s not so much “the moral choices your characters make reflect you,” it’s…well, the way you play. The difference between body-checking in soccer and trying to kick folks’ knees in backwards.

                      Accepting and respecting the implicit rules, might be a way to say it.

                    • This is the reason I refuse to play ‘The Werewolf Game’ or most of the White Wolf (Especially the vampires) system and why my Table top games have a strict ‘no evil characters in the party’ rule. I’ve seen too much of the real kind of evil to get that close to it in the name of ‘fun.’ I bend it enough to write some pretty nasty villains both in RPGs and stories.

                    • Yes. This is why I hate writing tainted characters. I mean, really tainted. Luce is a relative innocent. Being a gateway writer is dangerous and you can get eaten. Yes, I know I sound nuts, but I can also see the few of you who write that way nodding.

                    • Yes, I know I sound nuts, but I can also see the few of you who write that way nodding.

                      I think it wraps right back around into the original post idea.

                      My mom once told me that you can’t make something that isn’t part of you– beautiful music, scary monsters, anything. Even if it’s just a tiny bit, there’s something there that has a part of you.

                      It seems like a really bad idea to encourage that.

                    • Not nuts at all. Just an awareness that he who gets too deeply into the mind of a monster risks becoming the monster.

                    • I’ve seen that statement before, but never understood it. I guess maybe it’s because I’m “special”, but I can’t imagine approaching such a thing any way other than as an engineering or other math problem, and I can’t imagine becoming a bridge.

                      I guess what I’m trying to say is that I could analyze how someone else thought, and learn to predict, but it would be an analysis, with the equivalent of graphs and algorithms, not a personality overlay.

                    • The “figure out what they’ll do” thing is a different thing– this is more “see through their eyes” type thing.

                      It may be a more girl-type thing, but when you get far enough into the world view, you risk adopting it; see the whole “mask as aspect of self” vs “mask as false-front.”

                    • yes. Exactly. It’s also a peculiar type of writer thing.

                    • It’s been tested in the lab. If you mouth slogans you don’t support, you are more likely to shift toward them.

                      Indeed the Catholic Church has a proverb, lex orandi, lex credendi, — as we pray so we believe. Note the order of casuality there.

                • William O. B'Livion

              • “I’m off to find myself. If I should drop by, keep me here until I get back.”

                • I have an alternate version of this:

                  “I think I’ve lost my mind. If you find it, please give it to a good home. I don’t use it much.”

                  • Similarly. “Take my advice, I’m not using it!”

                  • My wife explains her intermittent absent mindedness as “I gave the boys (we have 4 sons) too many pieces of my mind for too many years. Now I don’t have much left!”

              • Never have much trouble finding myself. Getting too drunk to fish and losing myself for about a week, that sounds like a plan.

              • I thought you were supposed to look under the fridge.

            • Flying is easy too. You just have to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

              • Patrick Chester

                I used to play Microprose flight simulator games when I was younger. Flying was definitely easy. Landing… wasn’t.

                • Landing is even easier. It’s making a *good* landing that’s hard.

                  I used to love the flight simulator on SGI 3D workstations – so much faster and better graphics than the PC based simulators of the era. I remember amazing a visiting cousin who had a private pilot’s license – he had to be dragged away from the machine.

                  But taking off and flying weren’t all that hard. Making a non-crash landing took considerably more skill. I got all too familiar with the “crash” graphics.

                • Did you find the bug, where if you had a map display up, you could land on water and taxi around?

                  • Patrick Chester

                    Now I wish I still had the game and a machine that could run it…

                    • Have you tried “Lock On”?

                      It’s accurate enough that several different schools (that actually need results) use it to train people in what planes look like, how they move, and what they can do.

                      My husband loved flaming cliffs 2. Sums it as “It’s the Russia/Georgia conflict. I got my butt whupped.”

                      He’s now telling me all the various ways that it’s insanely accurate, including blacking out from pulling too many G’s. When you’re dogfighting multiple other aircraft at a distance, keep low. And so on.

                      Here’s the third one:

                    • Patrick Chester

                      Haven’t played much flight sim games since the late 90s but… wow.

                      I do play Galactic Starfighter on SWTOR, but that’s not really a flight simulator. Fun, though.

                      I also found Netrek again when I upgraded my XP box to Linux Mint. Oh, the timesink that was.

                    • Worked on the Amiga version, never tried on a PC.

                • A good landing is one you can walk away from. An excellent landing is one where you can use the airplane again.

                  • Patrick Chester

                    …since I usually have to start the game over, I suspect my “landings” don’t qualify as either category. 😉

            • “I’m supposed to go find myself?” Looks down. “Okay. Next?”

      • That’s kind of like a grenade trying to figure out which way it’s going to go after the pin is pulled.

  5. Off-topic, but caught my eye (mayhap yours too):
    From Lilek’s Bleat today: http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/15/0315/030415.html

    It occurred to me that I should give you some inside views at the paper before it’s gone. We move out in three weeks. Here’s something you cannot possibly identify, but it will be cool for a few of you.

    Someone sat here back when this was the newsroom. And this was the view from his desk:

    Wikipedia:

    Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 – April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo Awards and by colleagues with one Nebula Award. The Science Fiction Writers of America made him its third SFWA Grand Master and the Horror Writers Association made him one of three inaugural winners of the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement.

    That’s where he sat and those were the windows out of which he looked. I’ll bet he nodded to David Neill at the cafeterial, or worked with him. And why does that matter? We’ll get to that.

  6. The zen part of re-creating yourself is realizing that you are just re-molding the same batch of Play-Doh. The trick is not to let yourself dry out.

    • Randy Wilde

      Play-Doh, huh?

      You have a point. I keep thinking back on all the Sunday morning funny pages I copied with it.

      • I thought you used Silly Putty to copy the comics. It never dried out, but it also would not retain it’s shape for long–it copied the shape of it’s container. Hmm, that analogy has some possibilities…

        • Randy Wilde

          Oops, yeah. I think you’re right and it was Silly Putty.

          Oh well. Does anyone even take newspapers any more so kids can copy the funny pages?

          • We take the paper. The senior household member objects to extended screen reading. And our local rag is pretty good about getting community events in: my older kids have gotten their pics in several times for different activities. Never caught the kids trying to copy the comics, though, just getting inspired by them.
            Do other parents not have homemade comic strips magneted on their fridge?

  7. Professor Badness

    That’s very sweet. Finding the lost archeology of close family must be a real experience. (Even if it’s from relatively recent years.)
    Having moved every few years my entire life, both as a child and adult, I don’t get the opportunity for such discoveries very often. (Though it does happen occasionally with boxes that don’t get opened for several moves.)
    It always seems to be retrospect that brings things in focus, especially if we are reminded by outside forces.
    My wife does it for me all the time, (stupid failing memory!)

  8. Great entry today. But I’m working through a migraine, so instead of commenting I’ll mention a couple of things off the subject: List Universe today has a great “Ten New Archaeological Clues about Roman Warfare.” And the Reason site says Bryan Singer (yes, of the sexual accusations) is directing a film based on “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” to be called “Uprising,” because, ehhhhh.

    • Kinda like Jeff Foxworthy’s stated reaction to the news that the Olympics were going to be held in Georgia.

      “You know we’re gonna screw that up”

      • Snicker. The classic line from that Olympics came in a live cast of the kayak race which happened to be through the infamous Ocoee gorge from Deliverance. The country duo of Brooks and Dunn got tapped for the color commentary, and one of them pointed out where they were and said “If Ned Beatty couldn’t make it through that gorge unmolested, no Frenchman in tight bicycle pants has a chance!”

        • Jeff Foxworthy had that line as part of his routine prior to the 1996 Olympics. It was used as a lead-in to a song about a particular, er, Southern take on the event.

          Then some folks in Dublin, Georgia, went and did just that. The games opened at a dirt track south of town, with a parade of Shriners, followed by the lightning of the ceremonial barbecue grill, performed by a gent wielding a torch made from beer cans (light beer, of course).

          Jeff Foxworthy was shown clips of the Redneck Games. and it’s said his mouth dropped open.

          This proved to be a sore point for Dublin society. They had opened a welcome tent near the off-ramp of I-16, the interstate from Atlanta to Savannah, only to see cars pass them by to head for the Redneck Games. Radio Canada International even did a report from the Redneck Games. And the society folks were not pleased.

          Before it was over, someone contacted them about legal protection to prevent someone else from holding their own Redneck Games. And thus the Redneck Games were born, and were held annually in the town of East Dublin until just a few years ago.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      My great fear: the filmmakers noticed all the Russian in the book, saw it was about a revolution, and thought it must really be about the poor, oppressed proletariat of the Moon . . .

      Occupy Luna!

  9. Birthday girl

    Well on a lighter note – kids (not) cleaning their rooms … when my son was 8-ish and the legos were taking over the universe, he was too overwhelmed to clean them up … so bright idea me (not!) made a map of the room and marked a certain section to clean each day. It took me a few days to notice that the cleaning consisted of shoving the legos from the target area into a non-target area … they were pretty deep by the time those areas became the target area of the day, and then OH! the Woe!

    Creative parenting fail.

    • We announced that the rooms had to be cleaned by a certain time. If it was not, everything not in place would put in a trash bag and carted to the dumpster.

      We never had to follow through. OTOH, they knew that we would.

  10. (The short tale is that literary is easy for me to do, and at some point you’ll do anything to break in. Easy to read and fun is much harder. I’m still working on it, okay?)

    Hey, you keep working on it and we’ll will keep reading it, OK?

  11. I ran a APA/’zine for 14 years, and wrote editorials for each issue, often several. Sometimes I go back and read them and I don’t even recognize myself. Other things are still constants though.

  12. Wherever you go…
    there you are.

  13. I’m reminded of college, actually. One of my professors (quite a good one, actually) had us write a personal timeline, after which he would schedule an office appointment and talk with us about it. (I’m pretty sure this was to make sure that a. he knew who we were, b. we knew where the office was, and c. that we’d actually feel okay to talk with him later if we needed help.) After talking about some of the things on my timeline for a bit, he asked what my major was. I said engineering. He looked surprised and held up my timeline, saying, “I don’t see that at ALL!”

    And he was right, actually. Halfway through the next semester I was doing homework in a public place at a late time, someone asked me about it, I said, “I don’t even know why I’m doing this,” and before I went to bed, I was already thinking of myself as a different major. Sometimes it takes my public brain a bit of time to catch up with what my interior mind already knows.