Life: That 70s Show

I found a body when I was four.

 

There is an old photograph of me, baby-faced, with a shock of strawberry-red hair showing as I looked through the glass of a green motorcycle helmet. The photograph is rounded on the corners, taken with a 110 camera. The owner of the helmet was a friend of my dad.

 

Every few years, I get a fleeting vision, or a thought of that moment. Of not understanding what that was, or why a grown man was laying there in the bathroom, why there was something all over the floor. Shampoo isn’t that color. Why is he sleeping there on the floor?

 

I remember … something … There’s a moment that’s not there in my mind anymore. Except that it’s an empty spot where a memory should be. Reading a book, you can tell a page was torn out. It’s like that, but in my head. There is a parent there behind me, and then I am downstairs in the living room again. And policemen come in. One sits down and starts reading a book to me.

 

And then it’s over.

 

The memory just ends, like a recorded conversation that’s run out of tape.

 

In later years, my parents would fill in details around the edges. About his parents. About how he did it. About why he did it. And even though I never really acknowledged it before, it has had a not inconsequential effect.

 

I often wonder about the ways our lives are steered not only by ourselves but by the events in our lives, how those events become what we consider “ourselves”. If actions are rocks dropped in still pools, how has this rock rippled through me?

 

Today, while I was tumbling this memory through my mind like a pencil between my fingers, I was struck by an irony: a man hours away from committing suicide, wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Life: nightlights

 

Midnight tolls

As thunder rolls

Out across the valley

Life: Five Spot

“Hey, this is one of the old fives!”

 

I was surprised he’d noticed. An aficionado of small bills? It was an old bill, back when dollars looked like dollars and not like overly-green interpretations of European bills with giant heads beaming from outside the scrollworked frames I’d come to know as a kid. I’d had this bill in my possession, more or less, for nearly twenty years, and now that small, covetous part of me felt a pang of regret letting it go. My uncle had given it to me along with the remaining amount to apply to a professional organization. I’d put it and the application aside and forgotten about it until going through some old boxes this summer.

I recognized the gloves he was wearing to shield his hands from the cold: the thin, work gloves you buy from the hardware store for $1.99. He was wearing a hoodie, hat, and though he looked younger, the hair on his chin was speckled with gray.

“Thanks. Know anybody that’s hiring?”

“No. Afraid not.”

“Well, thanks.”

“Good luck,” I said, and drove off, tucked warmly and safely in a new, plush, family sedan on my way to buy a frivolous coffee that would run nearly as much as I’d given him.

the more things change…

Looking back, it was a great run. Over ten years of blogging by several dozen friends. We started from nothing and we rode the wave, riding high in through the first boom and bust of the internet.

Then Facebook and the iPhone came along and attention wandered. There wasn’t as much a need for online diaries. Things changed and we took our eye off the ball. One by one, people went other places to talk and share.

And I grew more private. The guy who had a webcam in his den and then bedroom for years, the guy who wore a camera for his Master’s thesis, the guy who shared every bit of his life, stopped. There is more than one reason for this, but it happened. And I think it happened across the internet — privacy became a real thing.

Jump forward to now. We haven’t posted to here in almost a year — any of us. Traffic still comes, but it’s a roller coaster ride of odd search terms, churned up. We’re usually a pass-through, pointing to some other site.

The question comes up — what to do? Leave the site up, unchanged? Hope the tides shift back to us? Archive it? Pull it down entirely, relegated to a zip file on a harddrive?

The past several months has seen an insane increase in hacking attempts on the site. Stupid defacements and weird hacks on the user accounts. I’ve locked it down somewhat, but I don’t really have the time or motivation to deal with it daily.

It’s not what I want out of the site, out of the system.

So I think I’ve finally reached a conclusion on what to do with the site.

I’m going to archive it. And start over. As a document of ten years online, the site is amazing. 7,400 posts. 25 different authors. Spanning 2000-2011-ish.

We had an excellent ride and whatever I throw up here next, wherever it goes, in whatever direction, will be fun as well.

And if, for some reason, it’s something you want to be a part of, let me know. I can tell you that for all of my frustration with the “community” of the internet these days, I’m a long way from done with it.

almost funny

I love that my last post is about turning the site into something else…and then the site gets hacked twice within a week. No idea if they are related (probably) or why it was singled out. I think I’ve cleaned up most of the mess (maybe), though now that I have, the db won’t stay up…in my head, I’m imagining a DoS attack for no reason, but I’ve got nothing at all to back that up with.

shuttering

I’ve been on the fence for a while, but I think I’m going to shutter this site in some way/shape/form in the next couple of months.

It’s no longer doing what it set out to do and I believe it will be better served in a different form. I’m not sure yet what that means.

I do know that I won’t be deleting content; it’ll get pushed over in a corner somewhere. And for those of you writing here, I’m more than happy to provide a database dump.

This is history, afterall.

But the world has changed and, sadly, madeofglass hasn’t kept up.

Comments are open for the next week or two — I’d love to hear your thoughts on keeping this up (or not).

Parenting: Early

I check on them before I go to sleep. I’ve done this nearly every night I’ve been with them. It’s the thing I do, the thing that sets my mind at ease before I allow myself those hours of respite.

In the wintertime, they’re all bundled up. Curled beneath thick blankets, it is easy to imagine them as the small little babies they once were. And perhaps always will be in my mind, my heart. Now that the heat has started to creep back into the house, they wear the short jammies their legs are steadily growing out of. They lay long and lean on their beds with sheets and covers kicked aside.

It’s a shock. They’re growing so quickly. The time is going by so quickly. I feel I’m in this halcyon moment that is rapidly ticking away. Soon they’ll be worried about looks, about trends. About fitting in. For the moment they’re their own little bulwarks of independence, of id and ego. But even this flame is starting to flicker.