2014: A Pivotal Year

Zika is spreading, Italy faces new earthquakes, and the Republican Party continues to destroy itself with an empty candidate.  (And with electoral vote projections, selling out big time for nothing.  It’s sad to see faces like Mike Huckabee kind of die on the inside on TV trying to speak for a camp with zero solid positions… other than the positions of blaming and hating those who are blamed.)

It is during hectic and poorly represented times like these— difficult to recover from or difficult to cover in what to write, that it is important to find time to unwind and reflect on where we came from, and that no time in history is without flaws.  Remember how wonderfully weird the ’90s were?  I was there.

Would you believe me if I told you I never saw the “How I Met Your Mother” finale? (Image source: Huffington Post / CBS)

With events leading up, 2014 was a pivotal year and a new beginning (as far as new beginnings can go, anyway): China claimed a leading role in running the world economy; the Russian military invaded Ukraine; Janet Yellen became Federal Reserve chair; Robin Williams died— everyone that got to know him felt that… and still do; How I Met Your Mother and Jay Leno’s gig at the Tonight Show ended, and Silicon Valley began.  I would even say that standards were noticeably better in some areas…

(Side note: I had a laugh with the wording— chair; Janet Yellen was the only woman in her class at Yale to receive a Ph.D in ’71; she came all that way to become… a chair. …Anyway.)

For me, 2014 was a bit liberating.  Despite the darkness and my decline in health, a new love spilled out of me.  And I was inspired right from the beginning:

In January, with the effort to write a decoder for the sounds in old Macintosh ROMs (led by the interest in decoding CD/XA compression used by some of the sounds, which Apple never supported in software), I took on expanding the decoder to a mixing and playback library, and then on to high-precision graphics to improve upon the old.  Long story short, the inspiration led to a whole system layer which was used to port a Mac-based video game project to an entirely different platform.

June was also the turning point in my non-code writing.  A daydream inspired me to write down whole scenes, which led to a chapter, and another, and before I knew it I was writing a basic novel.  Not the best piece of writing, of course, as it was the first elaborate story for someone in over his head.  But, in getting deep into that well (along with some “situational” idea help from some well-written TV shows), what was brought out of me changed me.  I gave up on things that were toxic, including some of my own crap.

And the visit.

ll-bean-boot-vehicle-freeport-maine
Special Red Sox version of the “boot mobile” at the L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine. (Dreamstime stock photo.)

Later that summer, just over two years ago this day, after informing aunt J about my living conditions, she came all the way from Colorado to visit me and my mother.  The three of us had a bit of a three-day “vacation” from our daily lives, driving to the big L.L. Bean sites (and be sure to check out this article), a few restaurants, and a few other things.  I was very awkward and reserved for the first day or so; she gave me a long hug from the very start, and I didn’t return one or even talk until midway of her temporary stay.  I tried to write down as much as I could, but enough of what was discussed was private enough— not to mention lacking in whole— that it was easy to let blogging about it slide.

I have two of her photos— the ones of me and my mother in front of the big blue Red Sox shoe-mobile, above, and the brown one.  But… those pictures are far from appealing (we are disconnected, worn-out people) nor do they help convey the “vacay.”  (I did post one of them on Google+ … where it will probably only be seen by one person.)

Part of why I didn’t blog about the visit was because I didn’t have internet access at home since the ’90s.  But thanks to aunt J (major thanks), I finally did, come November.  I could finally have success in the attempt to join other social media sites.  (I still don’t trust Facebook enough to bother trying again there.)

Faced with writer’s block and the opportunity to connect 24/7 with the blog, I gave up on the obviously fictional and incomplete “novel,” and went full-steam-ahead on social media.  With my priorities and sleep patterns disintegrating (not to mention pains of conscience from misunderstandings online), by fall of 2015 I was so burned out that a new medical problem emerged…

But 2014 was a year of change, one with notable death and life, with flaws, like any other time.

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