Disconnected

Monday, Laure and I got back from our annual Memorial day weekend with my family, at a little lake a few hours north of where we live. We went up on Wednesday, while the camp was still fairly empty. The rest of the usual Memorial weekend crowd began showing up on Friday afternoon.

It’s a bunch of old cabins, most of which were built back in the 1930’s and haven’t seen much improvement since. There is no TV, no internet access, and no cell service up there. Nothing to do but read, fish, eat, play board games, and nap.

It’s great. We look forward to it every year.

This year in particular though, coming back from there brought with it a sense of clarity. I’ve been glued to the internet, mostly twitter, for months. I’ve been trying desperately to strike a balance between staying informed, and letting politics occupy every waking moment of my life. It’s particularly difficult because with the jack-ass in chief we have now, there are new, and often frightening things going on every day. Literally, every single day, usually a few times a day. So much is at risk right now, I don’t even know where to start or how to begin enumerating it all.

I want to stay informed so that I can make phone calls, sign petitions, send emails, spread information, what ever I can do to help. The problem is that with this much coming at us all the time, there is no such thing as balance right now. On top of that, I’m having a difficult time seeing that anything I’m taking part in is really having any affect. It’s clear that Trump is digging his own hole, as I’d hoped he would when this all started, and soon he’ll be unable to dig out. I think that’s inevitable now. It’s just a matter of time.

Until then, we just have to deal with the barrage of shit getting thrown at us, and try to stay on top.

I thought about it all week, and decided to back off of it as much as I can. I’ve un-followed a shit ton of people on twitter and FB, to cut down on the politics that is hitting me every day. I’ve stayed subscribed to a few email news letters that have proven to be reliable, so at least I’ll know what’s going on, but I’m not going to live with it in my face every day.

If that means I’m less involved, I guess that’s how it has to be.

A few other things have become apparent to me, one is in regards to a man that used to be my best friend. I met him when we were both in grade school. From the fifth grade, up through my first year of college, I spent a LOT of time with this friend. We were the American ideal of two kids sharing the whole experience of growing up together.

I’ll say it again, we were best friends. We always had a great time when we were together. We confided in each other. We leaned on each other. We were interested in the same things and held a lot of the same views. Hell, this is the guy that introduced me to role playing games.

Things have changed though. He met someone, got married, and I felt myself moved to the back seat. Ok, that part isn’t that big of a deal. I get it. I got married too, life took me places I didn’t expect, and made it hard to maintain some friendships.  I always felt that the difference was that I was still trying. I emailed him every so often, sent texts, sent instant messages, tried to call… he had simply moved on. Every once in a while I would get a response, something half-hearted and noticeably distant, like he was responding out of a sense of obligation, and had nothing else to do that afternoon. Then we just quit talking, for about ten years.

We more or less reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. I say “more or less” because we “friended” each other, but that was it. The same pattern has continued. I’ve tried to start conversations, leave comments, post old photos of us together, and gotten nearly nothing out of him. He just isn’t interested.

Then, over the last few months, I started occasionally getting a bit more back, only in the form of rambling, disjointed rants in response to articles or opinions I post. They were the type of arguments that seemed to be purely for the sake of arguing, out of some desire to simply be contrary to anything I have to say. I get the impression that this is how he is with everyone, not just me.

This happened again today, and I don’t know if my week long disconnection provided me with a bit of clarity or what, but it suddenly occurred to me what has been going on.

I’ve changed. I’ve grown emotionally. My ideals have changed. My goals have changed. My values have changed, dramatically. I’m a different person than I was twenty years ago, and drastically different from that scared, self loathing, angry kid I was in grade school.

I can tell from his posts, and the few conversations we’ve managed recently, that he hasn’t changed at all. He’s exactly the same as he was when we were teenagers. What’s worse is that he seems utterly disinterested in trying to rekindle our friendship.

I once heard someone say that the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. I’m forty-one years old, and as I get older, I’m finding this to be more and more apt all the time. I think that need is what’s been driving me to cling to this idea of a friendship that he and I used to have. It occurred to me a few days ago that that friendship is long gone.

I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s time to do another Facebook friend purge, and I think that he is going to have to be on that list. I suspect that if I don’t email or text him, I’ll probably never hear from him again. It’s time to just let it go.

“You son of a bitch! How could you do this? Friendship is the only choice in life you can make that’s yours! You can’t choose your family! Goddamn it, I’ve had to face that! No man should be judged for whatever direction his dick goes! That’s like blaming a compass for pointing north, for Chrissake! Friendship is all we have. We chose each other. How could you fuck it up? How could you make us look so bad?”

 – Carlos in “Tequila Sunrise”

 

Possibly switching distros

I’ve been a Kubuntu user for years now, prior to that, I used SUSE, played around with Fedora, and actually started my open source OS adventure on FreeBSD.

FreeBSD was pretty limiting by itself, there just wasn’t much out there for it. There were compatibility packages you could install that would allow you to run RPMs, but after a while I wondered why I was bothering, and switched over to actual Linux. I played with Arch and Fedora, and this was seventeen or eighteen years ago, which meant that installing Linux could be a trial. I found both of these to be ridiculously complicated. SUSE was fantastic in comparison. I want to say it was version 6.something-or-other. I can’t remember for sure.

I stuck with SUSE up to 9.something, not long after Novell bought them. I didn’t like where things were going then, but I had fallen in love with the Kde desktop. So instead of going with standard Ubuntu, which was defaulting to Gnome at the time, I dove into Kubuntu, and I’ve been using that ever since.

I’ve had no major complaints about Kubuntu. It’s been great. My whole family uses it and has had no issues, other than my youngest complaining about one or two Steam games that are not Linux compatible.

I won’t go into detail about why I’m wanting to move away from Ubuntu all together, because I could probably go on for pages on the subject. For the last few years, Canonical has been moving Ubuntu in some directions that I’m not so sure I agree with. I love the convenience that Ubuntu offers, but I’ve become so comfortable with Linux over the years that that convenience is more a matter of time saving than technical difficulty. Let’s just sum it up and say that my reasons are mostly philosophical.

I’ve been occasionally exploring other options for a little over a year. Gnewsense looked attractive until I ran the LiveCD. It’s years behind, even with the latest release. Also, it’s releases come agonizingly slow. So that was a turn off for me right away.

I’ve had dealings with CentOS at my previous job, and I’ll just say “hell no”.

I looked at Arch and one of it’s derivatives, Antergos, about six months ago, and the install was still overly complicated and I ran into problems getting either of them to install on four year old hardware. If the install is tough, I’m not even going to bother.

After a few IRC conversations, and reading over various forums, I’m going to give straight up Debian a shot. I’ve been running the LiveCD at work and it’s similar enough to Kubuntu that I want to check it out a little more in depth. So I’m currently backing up my laptop, and when that’s finished, I’ll install Debian and see what I think after a few weeks.

I realize that Debian’s packages are not as current as it’s Ubuntu relatives, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m not afraid of compiling things from source if I have to, but the little research I’ve done has turned up plenty of ways to get Debian reasonably up to date.

On a semi related note, I’ve been wanting to get Laure in front of the camera for a Linux wallpaper shoot, but as busy as things have been, that’s been backburnered with a whole bunch of other things I am putting off until I finish the teardrop. So no photo to accompany this post.

 

May is a busy month for us

I’ve been pretty preoccupied with politics lately. It’s taken over my twitter feed, and it’s made me more active on Facebook than I have been in a long time. I’ve been signing petitions like a mad man lately, and making phone calls, and emailing representatives. I’m trying to find a balance between staying informed and letting it keep me perpetually pissed off all day long

Still working on that one. It might be time to do a politics purge again.

On a related note, my game time has taken a serious hit. Between the politicsing and working on the teardrop, there hasn’t been much time for gaming. I fired up Steam and played a few hours of DOD last night. Still a really kick ass game. A few weeks ago, one of my RPG groups verified that Roll20.net finally has their A/V issues sorted out, so last night I reinstated my account and I’m hoping to start playing at least one game a week. I’d really like to run some one shot games, on various systems, but the time just isn’t there. That may be more of a winter activity. I do have three active games right now and I’m playing about every other weekend.

The teardrop is coming along. It is progressing much slower than I hoped but I’m making slow, steady progress, and I still expect to have it done in plenty of time to be able to camp it this summer. I’ll give a proper update on that this weekend.

Heather is moving back in with us. Her teaching job did not pan out like she’d hoped, and the experience has been… unpleasant for her. So she’s in the process of selling her house and will be moving back in with us, probably some time in June. This means I’ll be moving the nerd cave, again. Fortunately, not into the garage. We’re playing a game of musical bedrooms in the house right now. CJ moved out when he went off to college, so Evan moved into his room. Shortly after that, Heather moved away, so I moved my nerd cave out of the garage and into her old room, which was originally the nerd cave. So now, Heather will be moving back into that room, and I’ll be moving the nerd cave downstairs, into Evan’s old room.

Make sense?

Laure and I spent a Saturday afternoon taping up and priming the nerd-cave-to-be, then a few days later I got two of the walls painted. Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll finish painting down there, and then start relocating all of my crap.

Evan’s birthday is next week, but we’re celebrating it this weekend, since the following weekend is Memorial day weekend, which is always spent at a lake about an hour north of here, with lots of family, food, music, board games, and napping.

It’s a busy month for us in general, right now.

Laure, in one of the cabins where we stay every Memorial day weekend.