The world is such a beautiful tapestry that all you can do is laugh and then die.
Damn, that’s cool. This sounds like it could be a quote from classic literature, right? Nope. It’s a quote from my wife Paula — only ten minutes after she watched a grandmother get shitfaced drunk in a Wingstop, individually single out every employee to insult their appearance, slug the manager with a heavy bottle of vodka, and finally get dragged out of the building by her family, who she then attacked in the parking lot.
I am ashamed to say that, up until last year, I had never been inside of a library. For most of my childhood, this was because my family didn’t seem to trust libraries for whatever reason, choosing to take me to the obviously much more expensive Borders for brand-new books. Into adulthood, I grew more comfortable going to other used-goods locations such as thrift stores, but just couldn’t quite jump the hurdle into just going to the damn library.
It didn’t help that they were frequently depicted as negative and hostile spaces in the TV I grew up watching. What was up with that? Between librarians being stereotyped as scary and controlling, to exaggerated tales of overdue fees, I grew up with the impression that the library was a terrible place that you only went to if you literally couldn’t afford anything else. Like the food bank. (The food bank is also fine, I learned.)
I started writing this article thinking of it as a collection of things that you could find at your local library, but that felt so broad as to be meaningless – or patronizing. I’ve chosen to narrow it down to things I have found at my library, as someone who only knew the library as a place where you could get a dirty old book that you’d forget about and accidentally end up paying $50 for.
As you may have heard, the Internet Archive has lost its first fight to defend their right to digitally lend books. This means, potentially, the loss of their millions of e-books.
It’s for these reasons that you should donate, if you can. But the people who benefit the most from a digital library are the people who don’t exactly have money lying around – so, in the Archive’s own words, actively using the archive is just as important.
That’s why I’m bringing back our Internet Archive series! Back in 2020 I had taken up the hobby of posting about things you could find on the Wayback Machine. I really do think it was one of the few things keeping me together back then, since it wasn’t like there was anything else to fuckin’ do. Tumultuous times like these feel like a good enough reason to bring it back, and why not branch into other parts of the Archive too?
Back in 2014 I had it in my head that I could make a Spyro fangame. I had a whole offline wiki for individual characters. It starred an Artisan dragon girl named Rikki (after one of the dragon eggs from YotD), and you could also unlock and play as different dragons who could go to different areas because they had different powers. Adult Spyro was also an endgame unlockable who had super flight and could do everything… lol. Totally cluttered wish fulfillment stuff.
This is all that came out of it other than a lot of unnecessarily technical text. But I think I feel more fondly about it than if I had forced myself into the game development process. And I think there should be more value in the totally rhetorical projects that never get finished, instead of pushing ourselves towards some sort of noble burnout all the time.