I feel silly for previous complaints about the cold, since it’s about to be minus zero for a week. Well, it has to happen. (Narrator voice: no, it does not - hold on, this isn’t a documentary. Is it? Is it a documentary about an overused literary device that’s worn out its welcome? Damn) It’ll make February seem welcome, even though it’s the lamest month of the year.
The stores are full of Valentine’s Day stuff now. Cookies in plastic bins that will be edible 3 weeks, the plastic frosting still yielding to the tooth, the plastic colored pink-and-red shards still as hard. At Target Wednesday night there was a hand-chalked sign that said “This is a special and wondrous time” and there were two balloons tied to the sign, one of which said Happy Birthday. We’re just lost.
I was making a check on the link health of the Gallery of Regrettable Food the other day. There’s a massive update coming, starting Friday, and I wanted to make sure the rest of the pages were good, and some of the horrible, wretched, idiotic design decisions I made a few years ago had been expunged. Oh Lord. I still remember the mantra I told myself: site-wide consistent navigation elements. I was right about that, but wrong about the implementation. There was one fatal piece of bad code that stunk up everything, and it’s been a long chore to chase it down.
Well, since we’re fixing things, let’s take a look at some other sites . . . ugh.
Okay, there’s a font problem in this subset of this subset of this site. That’s a half-hour of clicking. But it’s therapeutic, calming, and I listen to radio or podcasts. How about the main Institute interface . . . oy, haven’t updated it since 2014? Really? Fix.
Hey, there’s the Gobbler site. I know I did that a while back, and it’s fine. Let’s check.
Oh. Hmm. Last revised in 2008. Things have changed since then. The design worked for 2008, but not for today. Everything is centered now. Nothing hangs on the left side of the page.
So I redid the whole site. (Not yet posted; I'll give you a wave when it's up.)
This was the fourth time. In twenty years. Why? Because it’s an early piece of internet history. The Gallery and the Gobbler gave this site a boost and some Internet Cred a long time ago; a lot of people came here first through the Gobbler. Imagine if they got a jones to revisit the early days, googled, and whoa it’s not only still around it’s modernized and has more stuff.
One of these days I’ll go back.
Yes, I was there, before it closed. That’s why I have a napkin and a matchbook. Took a trip to Wisconsin with a girlfriend in 1984, and she wanted to stop at the Gobbler, and so we did. That’s why I have the brochure. If you’d told me that I would be working on a website about the place 35 years later I would have asked what a website was, and then I think I would have been delighted.
Really? That’s what I do in the future? Cool! What about the gi-
Never mind about her. Let’s just say you wore out your welcome. It doesn't matter. The Gobbler really doesn't matter either.
No, no. It does. It’s a place of a time, a spirit, a style, a moment. It matters. Why am I charged with keeping it alive on this internet if it doesn’t matter?
You’re right. You’ll see. It matters. But a lot of things matter more. The need to memorialize and capture and testify to the way things were, it’s going to fade. It’s going to seem somewhat . . . irrelevant? No. Outmatched by all the other options? Perhaps. But it’ll be your corner, your place, your spot, and you’ll find that old need to remember is renewed by habit. And it’ll go on, and on, and on.
It sounds like a job.
It’s not. But it is your calling.
Oh come on man
Your. Calling. Here’s the thing. The eighties?
The Eighties are rough! Reagan, recession, hard times -
When you look back, you’re going to love the Eighties.
Because the Nineties are worse?
No. It’s like this. You have the ability to look back and find the brightness. Anywhere. It’s not always correct. But it’s a necessary corrective.
In the future the clever people will think they’re better than everyone who ever lived, and that the present is the worst it could be, and the past was almost as bad in general and usually worse in specific. They only trust the future.
We are worried about the future. I saw Blade Runner. It rains a lot.
It’s not like that at all. No hovercars. No rain. No androids. Let me just say . . . you’ll be surprised.
Okay! Well, thanks for the chat.
Is everything else okay in the future?
It's a long story.