kenizl86 dot com

What Goes Around Comes Around

28 Mar, 2022

I thought this was going to be a short one, but as usual…. It’s not. Either way, perhaps some other people can relate to this as well!

A Briefe Historie of Computational Devices

Back when I was younger, I used to really be into computers. It all started when I ended up with a hand-me-down little Windows 2000 laptop. I loved that thing. The little noises it would make, the sound of the hard-disk cranking away whenever you opened a piece of software, the little Windows Paperclip guy… Now, to be fair, I never really did much on the computer. I was just happy to have one. Our family was never really rich, everything I got that was tech was always older. But I think because of that I garnered a real appreciation for older things. I grew up jamming on an NES we found in someone’s garbage, perfectly working with the controllers and the Super Mario / Duck-Hunt combo game. Eventually we got a Sega Genesis with Batman Forever and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This was while the PS1 was out mind you, and the PS2 was just about to come over the horizon. Despite that, I loved these older games. Challenging, but a perfect time waster!

Anyway, back to that old laptop. I really only played the Hot Wheels racing game on there, and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 when we got that later on down the road. I remember one time my teacher requested we write an essay for school, and the only way I could get my document off of the machine was through a diskette because we didn’t own any thumb-drives! Man… Those were the days.

That laptop initiated my entry into that world, as it was my first computer. However, I didn’t really start working with computers more heavily until… hmm…. maybe 6th grade? I’m really not sure. There was this one guy I knew who seemed like a computer wiz, and he showed me how to use Google. I was so surprised: “What? You can type sentences in here and it will know what you are looking for???" I was dumbfounded! What an intelligent piece of software I thought (although now I know… that’s for later though).

I eventually ended up with a crappy desktop computer. I don’t remember where I got it from, I think it was an old one from the school I went to or something. And that there was my first playground. I was hooked. Most days I would come home from school, slam my homework and chores, and hop on my computer and mess around (or else hang with friends or jam on Sly Cooper (I wasn’t a total nerd you know)). I was doing everything I could with it. I downloaded games, learned about emulators and ROMs, found out about Open Source software and how cool it was that all this amazing stuff was FREE (especially for us since we could barely afford to buy me a used bike), learned about coding and how to mess around with Command Prompt (this was Windows XP mind you; big upgrade from Windows 2000), and the list goes on. It was with this computer I think that I started to mess with Linux, although it was a bit out of my league at the time.

A few years go by and eventually I get my own laptop from someone who begged their parents for a brand-new Windows 7 with Sony Vista on it (never found out what that was…) and gave me their old Windows XP laptop. Oh yeah baby, now we’re cooking withFIRE. My emulation and ROM craze blew through the roof. I played everything I could get my computer to run. This was the time I eventually tried Linux on the laptop, and thought that that was cool as hell. I did so much on that laptop. I downloaded piano sheet music, learned more about coding in C and Batch files, I delved into the crazy world of virus making (don’t worry, I was just fascinated by the ideas they presented, never did anything with that knowledge though). Basically, it was my own virtual playground, and I loved every minute of it.

A Chaynge of Mynd

I messed with computers well into high-school, learning how to crack the computers in the school library with things like Hiren’s Boot CD and Ophcrack (had to look that last one up, it’s been so long!) and how to remotely shut them down and send system messages to other computers in the lab. Honestly, the world of computation provided an escape from things I struggled with at the time: no friends and new schools caused me to sink into myself a bit, and computers gave me something to ply my mind at. That and piano. But that’s for another day.

Depressing things aside, I eventually went to University and figured I wanted to work on computers. So I decided to go for a Computer Science Bachelor’s degree.

And then something changed. I don’t know what it was, but during that time in college I became jaded. I was still having fun with computers still, but something was… different. I ended up dropping out of Uni and went to work elsewhere. During that time, I completely lost all interest in pursuing computer work like I had in the past. I still enjoyed technology, but my relationship with that tech fundamentally changed. After a while, I almost came to despise it. That which had previously brought so much joy and exploration turned to bitter distrust and loathing. What happened?

A Theorie

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what really happened, but I can speculate. And I think this new theory I’ve chanced upon can reasonably account for some truth in all this.

I think I enjoyed computational exploration as a hobby. I was then told I need to follow my passion (by silly people who don’t know what they’re talking about), and this seemed the most logical step. So with my limited knowledge of the world and myself, I decided to pursue that as my career path. Then my hobby was smacked in the face with brutal reality. The reality that the tech world was not at all the same landscape that I thought it was. Remember, I grew up with old things and open source things. I didn’t know the corporate world. My understanding did not match with reality. And once I discovered that reality in College, I soon felt that I needed to change my hobby and interests to suit the business world. And once I did that, it all went KABLOOIE.

Again, I was a computer enthusiast. One who thought I could reasonably find a job with my skills of coding in C and ASM, and who thought that businesses would love someone who knew how to operate Linux and who could build Windows 7 machines. But then I learned how wrong I was, tried to change my frame of mind to match reality, and my hobby crumbled to pieces around me. And for the longest time, I equated that heartless world of corporate computation with what I needed to do to be interested in computers. And I just couldn’t bear that.

What I Thought Was Once Dead

Well, here we are now. Almost 7 years since all that in College. It’s been an interesting journey. I came to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never do anything relevant with computers anymore, and that my interest had died.

But I think recently my view has changed. I came to that conclusion I wrote earlier about my mismatch of realities. I also have given myself the space to try other things, for I apparently am and probably will forever be the kind of person who just can’t seem to do just one or two things and be happy and content and good with that. But that’s fine. I’m learning that there is nothing wrong with that, and how hobbies and work are separate and how the way I enjoy things can just be because I enjoy them, they don’t have to make me money or land me a job.

That last bit was really important for me to learn. NOT EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND MONEY. That may seem like a “duh” concept, but it’s difficult to reach that conclusion when we are constantly hammered with the capitalistic values of America (being an American that is). These values aren’t bad, they just need to be tempered with wisdom and moderation, and learn to put them in their place where they belong.

So with that frame of mind, I had recently re-discovered the people who keep computation alive and fun. The people of Neocities, the people who run Open Source projects, advocates of privacy and freedom online, and many more. These passionate people are what reminded me of what I loved about computers: their exploratory nature and the fact that it doesn’t matter what corporate America wants from you. It’s YOUR LIFE, carve out your slice yourself and eat that cobbler!

And now, with all that written out, we come to today. I find myself on the precipice yet again of that rabbit-hole. It calls to me again, that which I thought was dead, swimming amidst the flotsam of all my other hobbies and interests. Yet another thing to lose my curiosity to. I’ve recently been considering daily-driving Linux again, just for the fun of it. Heck, I’ve made this website. I even (about 2 years ago) built a script in Batch that I use daily at my work that I’ve been considering re-building in C just because I can. And I’m LOVING IT. Somehow, I’m filled with determination to step back into the ocean yet again.

you are filled with determination

Final Wyrds

I hope dearly that perhaps someone else out there can relate to this. How we can have an interest, an enthusiast passion for something, and yet lose our way because we lost what made that thing special. And hopefully they too can have hope that they can perhaps find it again. I will say that I won’t be in the same place as I was before, my relationship with it has fundamentally changed, but that’s what happens when we change and grow.

I have so much more I want to say, and could say, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. Perhaps one day I’ll write about what it’s like to live as someone who has so many interests and ideas for many different fields, and how I cope with that. Anyway, be well!

kenizl86 out!