36 today, although I don’t feel a day over 32. For some people, birthdays seem to be the cue to ruminate over all that hasn't been accomplished. Not me--looking back, so much stuff has happened that it’s a miracle I’ve gotten anything else done.
It’s not possible to do a timeline of everything that’s happened, of course. I wouldn’t want to write it and you wouldn’t want to read it. But since the blogworld is all about technology, I thought I’d sum up a few personal technological highlights of the last 36 years:
1975: Given first typewriter, on which I bang out a number of stories and “novels.” Many of these are lost to posterity (and they intend to stay lost, thank you).
1984: Take Basic programming class at community college. Instead of meeting '80s-style protocyberfreaks, sit next to two elderly ladies who are, it turns out, friends of my grandmother. We all agree the programming seems like a lot of trouble for not very much outcome.
1987: College friend insists on sending something called “e-mail” to her dad, an East Coast professor. This involves setting up a “modem” in the dorm which ties up the “phone line.” It's not very interesting to watch, frankly, and the appearance of the modem usually spells the end of the party.
1989: Witness first use of e-mail for social interaction as college friend e-mails (clueless) guy to ask him to come over and watch movies, or play euchre (or whatever other fascinating things we did). This involves leaving the house and waiting in line at the computer cluster on campus to “log on.” I am stumped, because it seems like it would be a lot easier to just use the telephone.
1990: First use of Macintosh at campus computer cluster, to lay out our zine, Bears on Text. Ben of early Animal Review gives me my first lesson in DTP. I spend hours there keying stuff in and formatting. Back in the real world, I then go home to “paste up.” Then we “photocopy.”
1991: Join my first listserv, for fans of Robyn Hitchcock (maybe the Fegmaniax?) . Can’t wait for the release of Perspex Island.
1994: E. and I take the reins of the Indie-List. Grumpy Sean shows us the ropes. Offhand "dwarf toss" joke follows me into posterity.
1994: Take introductory HTML class. Leave with rudimentary understanding of coding. Nine years later, realize my understanding is still rudimentary.
1995: E. and I crash computer at my office trying to install “Web browser.” I get the dreaded “dead Mac” symbol. Woe is us!
1995: Move to Chicago, get new job. Must learn to use PC.
2000: QAX Project site launches.
2001: Read first “Weblog” which I think was probably this. Could have also been this.
2002: B&W launches, and it’s all history from there.
With a few notable exceptions, I’m very lucky. My life has been been ridiculously sheltered and pampered, compared to a lot of people. I have a job, a nice place to live, good friends and a husband who makes everything possible. There are some things I might change but the bottom line is, all’s well today. Pass the cake!