Friday, December 01, 2023

An absurdly quotidian twenty years. 

What's all the hullabaloo?

That was a quick twenty years or so. Somehow, I forgot to notice last January that this site, Peter Theatre, turned twenty. Now it's nearing 21. Old enough to join the army, drink or vote and certainly old enough to know better. The name originated from my time studying animation at Sheridan. Most days my classmates and I would eat lunch outside of the barely operating cafeteria. One day I was in the middle of something and when asked if I was going to join them for lunch, one friend, Wendy said, "Come on, lunch won't be the same without some Peter Theatre." I assume she was referring to my bon mot or perhaps my constant griping about life's endless indignities.

Grooveshark, Rdio, LastFM, Flickr, Postit. What is this list of invented words? These are some of the services I used that are either now defunct or so forgotten that they should be defunct. I’m kind of amazed this platform is still here. Since I've been using it, Google is now Alphabet, Facebook is now Meta and Twitter is called "X", which seems like the worst branding decision since the 16th century when Besançon Hugues suggested renaming his followers the "Hug-a-lots" from the Huguenots because he thought it sounded more friendly. I started using Blogger as a way to centralize my bookmarks and then post very short missives. The founders of this platform, Blogger, also wanted a way to post very short blog posts so they created a “Micro-blogging service” allowing you to post via an SMS message and eventually called it Twitter, thus the original character limitation (of course it is now known as “X”; see “the Huguenots”). Everything dies in the end. Everything that has ever lived has died.

Somehow though, this thing called a "blog", persists. How? Who knows? Why? To that, there is no explanation at all. The word, "blog" is inoffensive but also sounds like something that most likely smells very bad. I recall that it is a portmanteau of "Web" and "log". Why not just call it a Web-journal or e-journal or any number of words that don't catch in your throat like a phlegmy deposit.

There was a time I'd simply send out some ravens with scrolls tied to their legs, but after the ravens unionized I started to e-mail everyone I knew what I'd done that week, but who needs another e-mail in their inbox? Now, who even checks their e-mail? Keep in mind, this was before social media and data plans or smartphones that let you share your every thought or moment of your life.

What have I been doing all this time? Finding cures for obscure diseases? No… eww gross. Building homes for the unfortunate? No. It takes me 20 minutes to get the drill out of the crawl space. When do you think I’d find time to build homes? No, I've just been here, filling the space of twenty-odd years with whatever words come to mind. Mind you, life does happen and many things have changed, yet, I'm not sure in this public space you would've been aware of my many moods, career shifts, home purchases, marital changes, travels and travails. There is a sort of sanitation that happens when you make stories public that can somehow scrub them of their truth. This is really the side of me I let people see, not the dark nooks and crannies where all the good stuff collects. This site is all about the anodyne anecdotes that really are absurdly quotidian, but, if I'm being honest, it is the really mundane details that interest me.

My first post was Friday, January 31, 2003, and was mostly about the weather. Weather reports are the very blood of many diarists' work. From Samuel Pepys to Virginia Woolfe, to my own parents who wrote almost singularly about the weather, have included a nod to the type of day it was, so I feel in good company. Since then I've added 972 more posts, 52 about the weather. Not too surprisingly, 122 posts are tagged as Toronto compared to only 32 about Newfoundland. While there are 121 posts about health, 217 posts about movies probably make it the winner. Somehow I'm not sure what it all adds up to. When you read a history of major events or historical figures, they always draw upon letters to or from those involved. I'll admit that I've often wondered what you could weave together from my long trail of words from letters, e-mails, texts, online posts or notes, other than a complete misuse of the semicolon and overuse of the ellipsis. Was I thinking Margaret MacMillan would be poring through my archives someday to better understand my many conflicting beliefs and philosophies? No, but maybe I was hoping for a smidge of a legacy. At this point, I'd settle for a smudge. This piffle about the curious world we inhabit may be absurd, and it may be quotidian but it has added up to twenty years of something, and that's not nothing.



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