Has it really been almost a month since I last updated? According to the dates, it has. I won't say that the diary's become a chore, but many times I've had the urge to update it, only to say "I'll get to it soon enough and I'll just post it all at once," with the inevitable effect that I've forgotten a large part of what I wanted to address in the realm of all things new and interesting.

Jessie got a LiveJournal account last night, or early this morning depending on the context. Having run my diary now, in fits and spurts to be sure, for over two years without the need for any special software or such, I look at
such tools with a dubious eye. Perhaps it's elitist, but I wonder what it is about LiveJournal and other tools of the sort that make it so much better than a set of pages.

Of course, there's an obvious answer to this, but for me it's not a positive one: the community attitude. I'll give an example, because I know that seems highly questionable. One of my family has a LiveJournal. She says it's easier to update her diary that way. I suppose, whatever, if it works. I know I just got done saying "I don't see it," and I guess what I should say instead is "I don't see it for me." If others benefit from it, fine. She does, actually; she adds stuff on a fairly regular basis. However, there's a drawback: most of what she says about anything really important is vague and deliberately obscure. I can't always tell to whom she's referring when she says things, and sometimes whole events will be reduced to statements like, "went to visit people" or the like, and a lot of detail that would make understanding what she's trying to discuss will be pixellated and self-censored.

She's actually made mention, at one point, about how she wishes she could be more open about things like that, but she can't lock her LiveJournal to "friends only," because some of the people she wants to have see what's going on her life don't have LiveJournals, and apparently the locking mechanism that LiveJournal uses allows only other LiveJournal members to read entries. This is, in fact, the only reason Jessie got the account in the first place: to get on her Friends list and make it easier to see what's going on with her.

When ICQ first shat itself onto the internet, everyone around me became instant and early adopters. "You can see who's currently online!" That's all well and good for people whose access is spotty, but it did absolutely nothing for me. If I was online, I was reading my email and sitting on IRC somewhere. If I wasn't answering my mail or sitting on IRC, I wasn't available. I don't get online without keeping one of those channels open. Thus, it really didn't give me any added benefit. The code was unstable, and a lot of people I knew had problems with it crashing their computers. Yet, they all clung to it and stuck with it, citing it as this brilliant advance for which I had absolutely no use.

Now, I've gotten myself involved in a GBA development team; Jessie got involved as a musician and then I heard that they needed coders, so I volunteered to pick up ARM and Thumb assembler to add to my list of languages, and at this rate it looks like I'll be taking over the memory manager. The hitch, of course—as if by this minirant you couldn't have guessed—is that the development team meets weekly, by how? ICQ. Well, AIM specifically.
"It's really advanced; I mean, you can set up these group-chats where everyone involved can see each other talking, just like an IRC server!" Excuse me? Why couldn't we use IRC? "Well, we all already had AIM
accounts." I don't, and I run an IRC server. You all have IRC clients, too, do you not? "Well, yes, but you can get an AIM account!"

I will, at this point, grant that I am not an early adopter of much in the way of technology, unless the benefit is blindingly obvious from the word "go". This has happened, I think, twice: once when my primary development language switched from C to PERL for work (I do mostly large-scale textfile manipulations and database interactions), and again when I saw the disk space savings that OGGs would give me over MP3s on my hard drive for the same sound quality. Other than that, I tend to lag behind the curve simply because what I have works, and I'm happier using what I know for as long as it serves my needs.

Now, though, I feel as if I'm being dragged into things not because they actually benefit me, but strictly because the early adopters have succeeded in driving the market in those directions. I have no need of a LiveJournal. I have no need of AIM. Yet, it seems that others around me are expecting me to pick up these things not for my own sake but for theirs, and the price of not doing so is just unpleasant enough to make things frustrating.
They're things that, on my own, I would have no interest or need of doing, but that because everyone else has I feel left out of the loop.

It shouldn't bother me as much as it does, but there's a part of my brain that craves companionship and approval, and things like this always make me feel awkward, for reasons that seem "silly" when stated explicitly. I want to be an active part of my circle of friends, but my friends are doing things that I wouldn't normally choose to do and, it seems, hoping that I'll do them too or at least altering their behaviors because they know I'm not doing them. This leaves me with the unpleasant choice of doing things I don't want to do because I want to be part of my peer group, or not being part of my peer group and standing by my principles. It's a no-win situation on my
end, because any choice is going to leave me feeling uncomfortable. 

So much of my life feels like it's like this sometimes; I should be used to it by now.

For a few days, I had made a change to one of the links pages off of my site. I had done it in frustration, and looking at it last night I realized I shouldn't have, but at the moment I did it, it seemed like the least painful

I have a knot of emotion about Lurene that I can't explain except to try to pick loose threads from it and point to the threads and say that they're all part of the whole, but the whole itself remains frighteningly tangled. I still very much care about her and feel that she is my sister, but about six months after she got to college, it seemed like she became someone I didn't know, or didn't want to know. It feels like she's entered this little bubble of unreality vastly different from what I'm experiencing in my own life, or even what I experienced in university, and much of how she leads her life now seems less like the person I came to love in the years I saw her grow from a child
to a mature-for-her-age teenager and more like a caricature.

I can't even say that there's any one behavior pattern that sets me off and says that she's changed, but everything all sums to the viewpoint. Her headfirst leap into "lesbian subculture," from reading "On Our Backs" to using "dykey" as a positive adjective; her habit of punctuating her speech with meows and other "cute-kitty" actions;
her views of Objectivism that seem so skewed from my own; even her advocacy for OpenBSD and seeming hero-worship of figures like Theo de Raadt; all feel to me less like actions of a person and more like actions of a character in a poorly-written novel. She's stopped feeling "real" to me, and in that she makes me very nervous.

We tried to share a room at Anthrocon. At the time, we all thought it was a good idea. Things very quickly went sour, and Jessie and I ended up leaving the hotel to stay at our apartment for every night past the first. Shortly
after that, Lurene cleaned out her account on my server. I don't know how long it was between the end of the con and the purge, but when I found it I just tarballed the remainder and deleted her account. It felt like saying goodbye. 

The most painful part of this is just how much I still do care about her, and thus how hard it is for me to see what she's become and reconcile it with my views of her from our shared past.

When I was in my first relationship, I grew apart from a lot of my old friends. Six years can change people a lot, and in the times between when I met Rod and when I finally had the courage to leave him, both I and my old
peer groups had evolved. When I went back to them, we all tried to act as if we were the same people we had been before, and we all hurt each other very badly in the process. One of them told me my new mate wasn't welcome in his apartment, and I stopped speaking with him for quite a while at that point. Then when we started to reconcile from that, world events blew up in everyone's faces, and my rather unorthodox response led to a whole new round of hurt feelings that isolated us from each other again.

It's like we keep trying to interact with each other as if the intervening years had never happened, and we keep running into discrepancies between who we were and who we are, and learning to reconcile those takes time. Now I just have to figure out how to do that with my youngest sister, if I can.

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