• Bruce Shields

The First of many new things to come


I have been blogging for years. Maybe even long before anyone called it "blogging." Back in the day, my friends and I would set up BBS systems. These Bulletin Board Systems were available for anyone with a home computer and a modem.


We would write about the latest computer hardware, boasting the incredible power of the coming 286 CPU or the new disk system, which used a floppy disk rather than the relatively slower cassette tape of the day.


The internet did not exist yet, and it was challenging to get people on your BBS. Mine was limited to four guests before it would crash, and I had to re-boot the system.


It was fun to share files and ideas about what the future would hold for computers and technology. Even with our imaginations, we would have never believed the advancements in the last 40 years would have ever come in our lifetime.


One of my dreams as a kid was to have the Star Trek communicator. To hold a device in the palm of your hand that could reach out to another person anywhere on the planet or above was terrific to me and not to be achieved in my lifetime. Yet, here we are, with a cellphone that has that very ability, and more! Captain Kirk would have sacrificed every red shirt on his ship to have the technology we have today in a typical cellphone. More than just communicating, we can text, receive, and send pictures, access a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Of course, this has also harmed our society as well. Most today say, "Why learn something when I can just look it up?"


If our internet ever crashed, we would have a world full of people who could no longer cook, change a tire, or know what happens when you microwave an egg too long.

So here we are, or rather, here I am, starting another blog.


I have found over the years that sometimes it is much easier to re-boot than repair. I have had many, many websites and social profiles over the years, some lasting over a decade. To me, after a while, all of the data begins to bog you down. We live in a society where things are no longer "forgotten," thanks to large capacity hard drives and nothing is thrown out, even if it needs to be.


I find myself keeping things that do not need to be saved, only because it has become easier than sorting through things. My photographs are a perfect example of this. I currently have approximately 60,000 photos on one of my PC's. I love sitting with the family and looking at all the pictures and videos we have saved over the years. However, when we do, we must scroll through dozens of blurry pictures, photos of the floor, images that have no redeeming value and irreverently eat up space on my hard drives. Yet, I have not deleted them.


Why? They have nothing of value in their images. No memories are brought about by gazing at them. Is it laziness? Or perhaps the overwhelming feeling of having to sort through so many to delete the junk?


At one time, there were only 20-30 pictures. In the beginning, it would have been simple to sort. But instead, we put it off and add more and more, and over the years, we reach an amount so large the task seems impossible.


I would imagine this is how hoarding is. It starts with throwing that wrapper on the floor to take care of later or buying just one more Beanie Baby for your "collection" that you intend on going through, sorting, and selling for millions of dollars "one day."


As days pass, the task becomes greater and greater until it seems there is no logical way out, and there must be an intervention and TV crew to come sort out your shortcomings for the world to see and mock.


Or, perhaps, there is a quick fix?


Maybe not so much for images on your PC, but for data and things in your life?

I have an extensive book collection. I love books—the feel of them, the smell of the pages. There is just something soothing, relaxing, fulfilling in the touch and scent of a real page. Maybe the nostalgic memory of my teenage youth reading countless novels or the fact they fed my imagination with thousands of stories?


My wife and I recently moved from the town center, where we lived in a Victorian house, into a country setting. We love the quiet country with acres of woods, ponds, streams, and wildlife. We ended up in a place with far less square footage than the Victorian, which meant my office was smaller, and many of my books would have to be stored because I could not part with them.


After ten years, I finally sat down and sorted my books. I have many copies of books I love, so I can share them with others and not have to worry about getting them back. I would instead give them away. So, a habit I have is picking up copies of my favorite books whenever I come across them in vintage shops, bookstores, or local sales and markets. I found half a dozen copies of Lord of the Flies.


I began giving them away faster and made a new rule, no more books unless I do not have a copy or find a better one. I also had to give away many other books that I had kept for a reason I no longer remember.


The point all of this is coming to is why I created another blog, a new blog when I have had so many over the years and so many social accounts. The last time I "purged" my accounts and blogs and did a massive "re-boot" was probably about ten years ago. So, it is time.

Time to reset, regroup, reformat, rebuild, and start fresh and clean.


There are no TV crews to come and shame me into deleting old irrelevant posts or throw away old pictures of my thumb into the rubbish bin. No fancy doctor to explain that all my hoarding ways are due to the loss of my favorite computer nearly 40 years ago or the fact that I never dealt with the loss of my 1541 drive on the eve of my showing off my equipment to my grandfather.


No cleanup crews to come in and defrag my drives or argue with me about the viruses my collecting has brought into my data's abode. No family members to say they had no clue it had gotten this bad, or they would have never guessed I let things go for so long.


Just my new PC with a new hard drive, unsoiled with mountains of cat memes I have already shared, music I will never listen to, pictures so distorted and without shape that even forensic scientists could not tell you what they were, a new start at home base, which has inspired a fresh start online.


So, it begins, a new website, a new blog, a new social presence, and with it a new adventure.


Be sure to follow my new accounts and check out my weekly newsletter to share a lot of exciting information on my writing, new artwork, props, cosplay, or other adventures, such as 3D printing and model design—a little bit of everything.


I leave you with a snapshot of an old BBS screen, you know, for nostalgia's sake.




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