First things first: I am incredibly lazy do not lack for well-considered (and self-serving) reasons not to do something.
This site has always been something I worked on when I couldn’t do the things I’d rather be doing — be it playing video games, napping next to the puppy, or staring into space for hours on end. Any notions of the pandemic shutdown being a golden opportunity to get back into the writing groove died a quick and ignominious death before the first week of lockdown had ended.
The only bit of self-discipline I did observe and stick to was to jump off the treadmill of “live service” gaming. While I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill the next two weeks two months two-and-a-half years, I didn’t want to spend them chasing the shiny bauble du jour in Destiny, DCUO, GTA Online, et cetera.
It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made, because the contours of my pandemic period experience rapidly took shape along lines which I hadn’t expected yet I probably should’ve. In the half decade leading up to the spring of 2020, I’d been engaged a multi-front attempt to revisit/reassess/reclaim/reconsider various artifacts from my past — rebuilding a record collection around stone cold favorites, obtaining representative samples of childhood playthings, consolidating my funnybook collection into trade paperbacks covering the parts I’d actually re-read on a semi-regular basis.
There was no grand plan involved, just the multimedia meanderings of a middle-aged nerd caught up in a nostalgia-trauma loop. That’s what has kept me from writing about it until now even though the notion of doing so came to me sometime last fall. My sense of narrative coherence kept demanding a contextual framework for it all, even though it was an impossible task. Diving into the nostalgia middens is a convoluted and very personal process. An old magazine ad for A reminds you of B, the search for which uncovers C which in turn leads to D.
Or you just wake up one morning and think “jeez, I’d love to play Burning Rangers again,” and a whole month of tooling around with Sega Saturn emulation flows from there.
I also held back from documenting this process because I didn’t want to fall into the performative “did it to blog about it” routine. That short pipeline lends itself to snarky zingers and shameless mugging to the crowd, which runs contrary to the whole reason I took a header down this warren of rabbit holes — I was doing it for me, not for the fleeting dopamine rush of pageviews and comment section plaudits. I wanted to be able to digest my discoveries, feelings, and reactions on my own time, see how they internally settled, and how they meshed with other shit I’d absorbed.
And again, I’m an incredibly lazy person.
The upshot of all this is that I plan on making an effort to spotlight some of the things which helped keep me (arguably) sane during the pandemic era. I think it’s a good fit for this site, which had a recurring focus on the conflict between nostalgia and reality as filtered through one grumpy old Gen X nerd.
If a greater framework emerges, great, but it’s not going to be a priority for me here. Expect some repetition when it comes to related items, because if I try to start grouping stuff together, I’ll never get around to writing about any of it.
I didn’t know where this process was going when I started and I still don’t, so why start pretending otherwise now?