Y2K Retrospective

I write this entry for the Carnival of Genealogy on the 107th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth. The theme for the current carnival is Y2K and the new millenium. Though I could mention the “party like it’s 1999 events” – and shall even do so – what happened in the new month of the new year that began with a 2 and not a 1 – is something that affects my life, this site, and even this carnival to now.

(Y2K itself took place at the recently visited cabin, the one that survived the Slide fire. On new year’s eve, it snowed, and the trip up the mountain was a slow, slidey trek. I came with friends. My parents came up later. The Y2K bug manifested itself in my dad’s carbide cannon that would not fire—turns out the water into which the carbide pellets were dissolved to create acetaline gas was, in fact frozen. On the Thanksgiving visit—interspersed with trips down the street and in the village to survey burned down cabins from the fire, I looked over the cabin log book. The books of entries of cabin visits that stretch back to 1968 are the only items truly worth saving from the cabin. The Y2K entry has my friend’s drawn cartoons and our written descriptions of Y2K doings. Here’s a foto of me on Y2K that I posted on my newly created weblog, 2020Hindsight. [Cartoon caricature says “Ba-boosh-ka” under the drawing of me wearing that hat.])

10 days ago I just marked my 8-year blogiversary, for my everything blog at 2020 Hindsight. I went and read through the first month and a half worth of entries on the blog, starting around here and, a few posts later, really getting under way here. That’s when I visited my 99-year-old grandpa for a few weeks in the cold of January, and began posting on my new weblog in earnest.

In late summer of 99, I’d quit my job working at MetaCreations in order to work on a promised book revision for Bryce 4. Just before this time, the company made a big announcement about changing directions. I took my laptop, external disk drive, and brand-new digital camera back east with me to upstate New York to hang with my Grandpa. I had book chapters to revise, but the work didn’t require that I be at home to complete it. So I worked, and cooked, and visited, and read through my Grandmother’s books of correspondence from her years working at the General Electric Company.

I asked him to adjust his dial up internet service from 5 hours/month (adequate for his daily email check) to unlimited connection time while I was there. (I tied up the fone and he got fewer telemarketing calls). I was part of an enthusiastic community of new bloggers, and I had a blast writing and posting instantly. It was such a blissful contrast to the way I was straddling time, information, writing and publishing. Writing a few paragraphs and instantly publishing was so different from the normal experience of tech book writing, especially for this doorstop of tome: In October 1999, I went on a tear and wrote a 100-age book chapter that would not see light of day for another year. I still got email questions about the topic, to which I’d say, Oh, I’ve written the answer to that, but you’ll have to wait till it’s published to get the full benefit. Nope, today I could take fotos of the thermometer and write a few words and publish them. Just like that.

In the meantime, my grandpa had been given a tape recorder—for his birthday, 8 years ago today—and the tape recorder stood on the dining table and recorded many mealtime and post-mealtime conversations. Grandpa’s birthday present ended up unleashing a whole new line of how-to technical inquiry and writing and effort on my part. It didn’t happen right away, but took its time during 2000, and skipped a few years until 2004 or so. But it began 8 years ago today and got rolling during the season of Y2K. (I didn’t realize it was from the birthday 8 years ago today exactly until I just wrote this!)

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 15, 2007 in • Personal History
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