Six Months Later…

by Joey deVilla on May 11, 2002

I just realized that yesterday was the six-month anniversary of The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century. I’d like to thank all of you for your readership and kind words; I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I have writing it (and, where applicable, living it). I’d also like to thank all of you who recommended this blog, especially Will McLean for telling everyone he knows in Toronto — which makes up most of the city — and Cory Doctorow, whose influence and reach is rivalled only by that of Chancellor Palpatine.

This blog owes its existence to twerpish management at the company for which I used to work. The management had reduced the company to a skeleton crew — I was the only programmer remaining in the Toronto office — and installed new people in charge. The New VP R&D hand-picked a team of corporate cubicle drones to be his new programmers and as their numbers swelled, my role as UI Programmer diminished from oversseing the entire design to working on the “About” box and correcting the most minor of bugs. I was being paid to spend a good chunk of my day twiddling my thumbs. Out of boredom, I hit the Blogger site and created this blog.

2001 was full of big plans scuttled, career disasters and heartbreak; I found myself dumped, re-relocated from San Francsico back to Toronto after a mere four months, working for a company teetering on the verge of collapse, seeing most of my co-workers get laid off and watching the best job I’d ever had get whittled away by a self-serving, self-aggrandizing assholearchy. I wasted an hour and a half each day in a mind-numbing commute. I was put on the programming equivalent of chalkboard eraser-cleaning duty. I had more shouting matches with friends in six months that I had in the previous six years. The girl who’d dumped me moved back in with the postman I’d stolen her away from fair and square, and after September 11th, they got “terror engaged” (Fuck you, Osama, now it’s personal). If there was an upside to all these events, it’s that it gave me the fire to keep writing. While I rarely wrote about how far down to Hell things at gone (and in at least one case, I did it very elliptically), the act of writing, no matter how impersonal the topic, was cathartic.

As the days passed and the archives grew, I took the time to read what I’d written. I read some of the entries and think “well, that was an off day”, while I’d read others and swear that the writing was too good to have come from me. Good or bad, the act of reading my own writing gave me a chance to step back and look at myself from a more detached perspective. It became clear to me just how bad my current situation was; it should’ve been obvious, but I was too busy keeping my head down and trying to pay the rent. I would’ve figured it out eventually, but thanks to this blog, I did it that much sooner.

Maybe it’s one of those Heisenbergian “the presence of an observer at an event changes the event” kind of things, or maybe it’s just coincidence, but soon after I started writing the blog (and reading it, as it gained more entries), things changed for the better. Getting fired is normally a very unhappy event, but in my case, it felt as if I’d been paroled. It certainly looks that way, judging from the differences in my writing before and after I got sacked. The really fun stuff in The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century — the true adventures — started happening after that day. My examined life felt more and more worthy of living, starting with a Saturday night and expanding into new musical collaborations, travelling to San Francsico to experience CodeCon, the Lusty Lady and the Stagette, making a wealth of new friends, and various other adventures. While I was pulling down a much larger paycheque six months ago than I am now, I much prefer my present condition and the future hasn’t looked this bright in quite some time.

As I type this entry into my computer, I am also packing for another trip down to the Bay Area for another conference that I’m looking forward to. I’m in the process of starting my own consultancy, and the clients are coming in with little effort on my part. There’s one client in particular that’s working on a project that’s a lot of fun, and the story of how I landed that client — I’ve only told that story in a very cryptic way, but let’s just say there was a girl and an accordion involved — is quite funny. I’m back in a great city, well-established as a Queen Street fixture, reunited with old friends and making a lot of new ones.

I’m exactly where I want to be, and part of the credit has to go to this blog.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: