Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

27 Oct 2012, 13:10 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Do you miss bloggers from five and ten and fifteen years ago? I especially miss Flea and John-Paul Spiro and Fugitivus. One of the things I learned from Fugitivus:

I had one professor explain it to me really well; she said, you don’t need to be trained to interpret dreams. You just ask a person, "How did this make you feel?" and when they tell you, you ask them, "What else in your life makes you feel this way?" And voila, you now know what that thing in the dream represented.

I can now add a corollary to that. If I feel disproportionately emotionally affected by something, I can ask myself, how do I feel? and what in my childhood made me feel this way?

As long as I'm plumbing my depths, a few other artifacts from the last two weeks:

  • I know more of the Lord's Prayer than I thought I did, just not the sentence ordering.
  • "You'd be happier and I'd be happier if you could look back on the Sumana of 15 or 16 years ago and see her as a person you like and are fond of, but who was sometimes silly."
  • "You're an everything person, you just don't know it yet."
  • Until this week I had never actually said the phrase "anchor baby" aloud.
  • After a Hogwarts pun: "You have me Rowling on the floor laughing." "You know I'm J.K."
  • The Internet Archive has the complete literature of a people, specifically, the Balinese Digital Library collection. It's been a long time since I had that jawdropped awe, that glimpse of a welcome future.
  • Overheard at the Internet Archive event as I wove through the lobby towards the Knuth organ solo: a snatch of a conversation about link relations, and a woman complimenting another woman's blog.
  • "I understand the you of April 2011 a lot better now."
  • "Let me surprise you."


28 Oct 2012, 2:03 a.m.

There weren't a whole lot of bloggers 15 years ago. Dave Winer, and I think that's it. Looks like Jorn Barger's first post has its 15th anniversary a couple months from now. Memepool turned 14 last month. My own 15th bloggiversary comes up next May.

(Possibly I'm defining "blogger" too narrowly; Internet diaries go back at least to 1994, and in many ways they're more like what blogging has turned into than the "weblog" format the word came from.)

I think what I miss about those days was the relative smallness of it. I could follow a few blogs, and feel like I wasn't missing anything, like I'd see a link to anything of note. <br/>

28 Oct 2012, 10:36 a.m.

I was reading internet diaries in the mid-to-late nineties (including Leonard's blog which does go back to 1997) and I'm counting them, yeah. No need to tell me that there weren't as many then as there are now.

So you are defining "blogger" really narrowly, and don't so much miss individual people but the ability to not feel out of the loop? Wow, we are of very, very different temperaments (not that that is a surprise).

28 Oct 2012, 21:00 p.m.

Well, there was a period there where I was on the inside of a growing trend, or at the forefront of some kind of forward-moving metaphorical thing, and that can be a heady experience.

There are individual voices I miss. I miss Danny O'Brien's old Need to Know newsletter (and yes, I know about Oblamovka), and Phil Agre's Red Rock Eater. I miss Jorn Barger not being an anti-Semite (or possibly just me not having yet discovered his anti-Semitism).

I suppose I also miss the newness of it, that sense of discovery. It's sort of like how I feel about the 1980s indie comics scene --- a sort of Precambrian Explosion of artistic effort, resulting in an amazing proliferation of bizarre work, much of which is known today only through a fragmentary fossil record. The contemporary webcomics scene is actually every bit as bizarre and prolific, if not more so, yet somehow it doesn't impress and astonish me as much. Maybe it's just the difference between being 46 and being 16.

29 Oct 2012, 0:26 a.m.

I smile at the image of thousands of past/present/future Sumanas, branching outwards in time, interacting with and evolving into each other. Wherever you are, you bring them all with you; the Sumana of 15 years from now is looking fondly at the 2012-Sumana who's looking at the 1997-Sumana with a similar fondness and walking through an organ solo in awe of the Balinese Digital Library.