What this site offers is a glimpse into the history of writers and artists bound by the 128 characters that the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) allowed them. The focus is on mid-1980’s textfiles and the world as it was then, but even these files are sometime retooled 1960s and 1970s works, and offshoots of this culture exist to this day.
Written in ink, in German, in a small, hopelessly sincere handwriting, were the words “Dear God, life is hell.”? Nothing led up to or away from it. Alone on the page, and in the sickly stillness of the room, the words appeared to have the stature of an uncontestable, even classic indictment. X stared at the page for several minutes, trying, against heavy odds, not to be taken in. Then, with far more zeal than he had done anything in weeks, he picked up a pencil stub and wrote down under the inscription, in English, “Fathers and teachers, I ponder, ‘What is hell?’ I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”? He started to write Dostoevski’s name under the inscription, but saw — with fright that ran through his whole body — that what he had written was almost entirely illegible. He shut the book.
That’s taken from the best short story J.D. Salinger ever wrote, “For Esmé — with Love and Squalor.” This particular passage can be found on page 105 of his short story collection, Nine Stories. If you think The Catcher in the Rye is the best thing Salinger ever wrote, read this story and think again. I’m not saying it is the best thing he ever wrote, but it’s a remarkable story, deserving of careful attention. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read “For Esmé — with Love and Squalor”? but I take something different from it every time. Salinger is definitely a writer worth revisiting from time to time.
I headed over to Google.com, found the “Contact Us” page and the “Report a problem” link, chunked in a brief problem description and a link to the archived copy of the long technical description from that same mailing list thread, and thought to myself, “Gee, I’ll never hear about that again.” But then one afternoon a week later I get an email that said, basically, “We’ve received your problem report, and forwarded it on to the appropriate department, if they need any further information they’ll contact you. Thanks.” Again, I thought, “Gee, how nice. I’ll never hear about that again.”
An interesting, hopeful read for computer geeks.
The story behind me getting my current job is almost as exciting: I applied for it online, forgot about it, then a year later I received an email asking if I was still interested in working there.
My mom tries to get my 4 year old daughter to go to church every Sunday, like she did with my brother and me 30 years ago. I don’t go to church, so last week my daughter asks where my church is. I said, “In the woods,” so she pictures a big wooden building in the woods somewhere. “Do you want to go?” I ask. It’s 8am on Sunday; a sunny, great day for a walk in the woods. “Is it big?” she asks. “Yup. You’ll love it,” I say. My wife is giving me funny looks.
We drive to the trail’s entrance and my daughter exclaims, “This is Dobson’s Trail! Your church is here?!” As we start walking in the woods she asks me how far away the church is. “This is it,” I say. “The woods is my church. See the logs where we rest? Those are the pews. The squirrels and birds are the choir.” “Wow,” she whispers. She gets it.
So every Sunday morning we go to our church now: a quiet walk in the woods.