I had an HTC G1 (aka the “Dream” in other countries) when they were first released on T-Mobile in America. The iPhone already existed, of course, but this was more in my price range.
By modern standards, it wasn't a good phone. Even at the time, it wasn't great. Early Android was a bit slow, a bit weird, and the physical buttons and trackball were also a bit odd. But I loved the slide out keyboard. And I loved that, even on that slow and weird G1 I could see how Android was going to be something good.
Since then I've hopped back and forth across the Android/iOS divide a few times, never quite feeling settled on either side. It's sad that pretty much every phone is now just a flat black rectangle. The G1 promised us something so much more interesting.
Walking through the old suburbs just outside of downtown. The oldest buildings in the valley, trees that have been here as long as there have been people here.
Everything is beautiful. Light gathers and streams. Shallow pools of light waver in the little alcove between two buildings. A small green LED keeps watch over a parking lot, staring out from its perch near the ceiling. Through the windows of houses I've passed dozens of times I see early morning living rooms with dim lights. Bright kitchens where people are quietly making breakfast. Lamps redefining shadows, shining up through trees.
For a few moments I realize why I like going to work.
One of my friends pointed this out to me after my post about the 90's and the 70's.
apparently in the 3rd season of That 70's Show Lisa Robin Kelly left the show, removing her character Lori from the show. Meaning they had to change the intro sequence. But instead of shooting a new one, they just erased her, turning this:
Which is weird and creepy. I've watched the “Erased Lori” intro a couple of times, to check out how well they did at editing her out. It's disturbing if you look for it. The place where she was moves wrong, unsettled space.
A while ago, when a website fired their entire video production crew, the crew went and did a live show, one last hurrah, that wasn't online.
And it was confusing to their fans. Why would they have a celebratory final show, but leave the fans in the cold, except for those few that could travel to where the live show happened? Why wasn't it recorded? Everyone has phones these days, why didn't they let everyone else in?
But the people who made the show were fine with it; they didn't need every single thing they did to be out on the public record, examined and endlessly commented upon. Life, it turns out, can happen without being recorded. Events can happen and be recorded only in the minds of those who were there, they don't need to be shared with the world to be real.
I played all of Donut County today, which isn't hard. It's not meant to be a long game. I wish it were a bit longer, perhaps.
I enjoy games that don't mind being a short, focused experience. Gunpoint is still one of my all time favorite games, and it's maybe four hours to complete that campaign. Donut County lasts about two hours, and another hour to go back and get all the little easter egg achievements if you want to do that.
But it got me thinking, and the ideas in it are sticking with me. It's an interesting game, full of gentle pointers toward bigger topics. At its heart it has a lot to say about people who have been pushed to the edges, and how easy it is to push them over.
The 1970s was a time where everything was changing. It was the last truly “analog” decade; cell phones and personal computers started making their ways into people's lives during the 80s. It was a decade of a number of social upheavals and reactions to the upheavals of the 1960s. Every decade, every day, is “the end of an era”. The 70's just seemed to recognize it.
The 1990s, on the other hand, was blissfully unaware of its own ending. In 1999, in America, at least, everything seemed fine. Technology was booming and had yet to bust. It looked like the Cold War was well and truly over, and there was a path forward to peace worldwide. The Internet, we hoped (and still hope) would break down all barriers between nations and we could finally start having peaceful, prosperous conversations and commerce with everyone everywhere.
We didn't know, of course, that there were things moving beneath this calm surface that would culminate in 9/11.
Autumn is my favorite boundary space. The heat of the summer that cooks the world, the chaos, the activity, all slows down, cools down. Autumn is when we realize the year is ending; again. Great days are ahead, the quiet darkness of winter makes our warm gatherings shine all the brighter.
So in the Autumn we get quiet, but it's not dark yet. We get more calm, but we also get that perfect, golden light. Everything that went wrong can fall away for a while, we're almost done. We've almost made it. Now we can sit back and reflect.