Noder Interrupted

Or how I spent my E2 vacation

....and then, one day, our little internet town, just disappeared. This sort of surprised a whole bunch of us.  On Tuesday, we were hanging out in the Chatterbox, just like most of us normally would be on a random Tuesday.  Only this Tuesday, we were kinda doing a countdown on when the servers were going down so our community could be loaded into a car and driven 3000 miles east for eventual relocation at the University of Michigan.  Finally, in the late afternoon somebody pulled the plug and our little town went up in a puff of digital smoke.

So a day went bye, then a couple more, no worries, crossing the United States on the autobahn takes awhile.  But then, not unexpectedly, we all started to get lonely.  It was like there just wasn't anybody around to talk to anymore.  We were all in our places, but everybody else was gone.  At least everybody from E2.  Real Life™ was suddenly more real than usual.  All sorts of projects that had been gathering dust came to the forefront and, as a group, we noders made a significant contribution to the recent jump in the U.S. productivity rate

After a week or so, even the most stoic of us began to get desperate, and so we resorted to IRC, and email to hook up with our closest E2 buddies for a quick dose of virtual companionship, and a furtive exchange of E2 rumors and innuendo.  What if it never comes back?  That question hung over us like a pregnant raincloud.  This had all come to pass so quickly that nobody seemed to have the whole story.  Information was hard to come by and compulsively checking the placeholder homepage wasn't particularly revealing or satisfying.  

We were delighted at finding that a picture and a snippet of positive-sounding text appeared one morning on the temporary E2 homepage: "We were always coming back..."  Several Byzantine interpretations of this pithy proclamation appeared on the site, where many of us had temporarily taken up residence.  The crowd of E2 exiles began to get restless and uneasy, but at long last, our curiosity was assuaged by the gentle and wise JayBonci, who enlightened on the progress that had been made and the tasks that lay ahead.  

We'd made it to Michigan in one piece, thanks to Nate, and we were awaiting installation in the bosom of the UMich server cages.  If all went well, the E2 servers would be hosted in a facility with multiple broadband pipes, backup generator power and secure server rooms.  All at a sweet price.  Great news, but all these positive outcomes dangled out before us like forbidden fruit.  Nobody could say with certainty when E2 would come back online, only that it would.

Take the red pill

This was, the hour of my discontent.  I'd already caught up on every project that needed catching.  I'd avidly exhausted every scrap of news available on LiveJournal, and had a pleasant email correspondence with some of the gang, and even blown off five days on a family Thanksgiving roadtrip that took us over 1500 miles in five days and included a micro-nodermeet with a dear old friend along the way.  I returned home to a new picture on the temporary homepage and more reassurance from Jay that E2 would return....sometime.

Caught at my weakest moment, so to speak, I succumbed to my lower instincts.  I'd read several months worth of the New Yorker magazine, listened to Heart of Darkness on tape, and annoyed all my consulting clients with my sudden and anomalous attention to their needs and desires.  In short I was bored stiff.  So I did what all good nerdboys do when they're bored and bought myself a new gizmo and learned how to make it sing.  

After a week of prowling tech specs and consumer reviews, I slammed the plastic for some minor ducats and received a shiny Philips DVDR-80 DVD Recorder on the doorstep.  I've totally resisted DVD Recorders up to now because of the "format wars" the DVD manufacturers have been struggling with.  There's also that sucky copyright bullshit on commercial DVDs, that makes the recorders less useful than they might be. But I have a ton of family memories on aging VHS tapes that are starting to wear out, so I justified the purchase on that basis.  Yeah, an early Christmas present for the family.  That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

Now if you knew me well, in fact if you knew me at all, you might know that I don't watch much television.  When our first child was born, my wife and I both decided that we didn't want the constant river of drivel flowing through our kid's lives, so we just unplugged the cable.  That was over 16 years ago.  We watch movies though, lots of movies.  We go out to see them and we've rented a zillion of em from Blockbuster and more recently Netflix.  So the television gets a workout, but none of us have ever seen an episode of Seinfield, or Cheers, or Survivor or even The Simpsons.  

And that, my friends, is why it was a little strange for me to hook up the DVD Recorder and have it suddenly present me with an onscreen TV Guide showing every program coming in on my cable (which we have for broadband net access) for the next couple of weeks.  Thousands of em. And every one had a nice little plot synopsis, and a button you could push to capture it onto the DVDR-80.  

The last time I'd checked in on evening TV, JR Ewing was plotting against Sue Ellen on Dallas and unless you had a satellite dish, you made your choices from the half dozen channels that made it to the antenna on your roof.  I think that the DVDR-80 automatically found over a hundred channels available on our cable and, according to the instructions there's a good chance it may have missed a few.

Well, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I caved in to the this vast treasure trove of entertainment delights.  Solely in the name of science you understand. One must fully explore the capabilities of ones technology, right?  So I scanned the listings carefully for something on which to test my new techie prowess and there before me was a show I recognized: The Simple Life.  

I recognized the name of course because it's somewhat notorious.  This is the show that the new "It" girls Paris Hilton, and her buddy Nicole Ritchie finished making just before an ex-boyfriend of Paris' leaked a video of he and Paris having sex onto the Internet.  So Paris and The Simple Life got a lot of exposure lately and since it was the only show name I recognized, I pushed the Green Button to automatically record every episode.  Stay tuned for details.  

This was roughly equivalent to eating the red pill and heading down the rabbit hole and is probably best saved for another time.  Suffice it to say that after a headspinning brush with some razor sharp technology and a sordid wallow in the bathos of pop culture, I awoke to find that Avalon has reappeared in the mist.


Howdy everybody, it's good to see you all!


PS, pls drop me a /msg if any of the E2 migration details above are incomplete or incorrect. I'll happily update.