Au revoir and god speed - Long
"Steve Hudson" <cruddy -at- optushome -dot- com -dot- au>
"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Fri, 15 Mar 2002 20:47:46 +1100
I was always blunt, so there's no need to be much different now. In good
modern style, I will summarize first, and explain after.
I'm leaving the list, but not the community. You all know my email address -
heretic -at- tdfa -dot- com, and I will be working hard to provide some quality
materials for the Whirler site. I will still be active, in a far reduced
capacity, on HDK-L, Word PC-L and the ms newservers (mainly vba, numbering
and longdocs, but quite a few others).
There were three list events in sequence that encouraged thus decision. Plus
a number of others external to the list.
In chonological order,
. Plato's personal attack which didn't raise a murmer
. The "should I give free advice" thread
. Ellen's continuing synapse collapse.
When a list wants to whinge about loose talk, whilst the question is still
answered, but completely ignores a vitriolic and personal attack, one has to
question the whether the vocal minority are worth putting up with. I have
been reprimanded on a number of occasions in the past, some of these were
quite valid, others were complete rot. Most of the time when Eric slapped me
on the wrist, I didn't take it too personally as I had already received a
dozen messages saying "That was one of the best messages I have ever read. I
was entertained immensely AND learnt something! Well done Steve." to quote
one of them.
Before we go any further, do NOT think I am pointing any sort of finger at
Eric. Eric bows to your pressure. In the Plato incident, I never asked him
to say anything as I just didn't give a damn, Andrew had already splattered
himself in the proverbial for anyone to see. Yet Andrew's cry of foul on me
for that same thread - the "Goodbye you are the weakest link" message as
someone offlist deftly suggested - prompted Eric into merely asking me if I
was OK with things. Eric rocks; you lot <waves a general finger around at
the lurking vocal minority> stink for pressuring him to do it. The Plato
hypocrit in particular. Also note the correct use of the semicolon <stitches
with some disgust>.
Then the whole free advice thread and some others straight after it, really
brought home the general hypocrisy, meanness and xenophobia that has been on
the rise and made me think really hard about what I wanted. Isaac Asimov had
spoken to me from the grave already and had given some real good clues.
One was I *AM* sick of doing nothing but writing dry, tedious rot. I love
doing it at work, but not enough to also then come home and spend hours
still churning it out. As that appears to be the only acceptable format for
this message base, I am no longer interested. I need to spend time writing
creatively, something I am sure that everyone can not help but agree with
after reading most of my messages :-)
This last Ellen thing was just the final straw. The opposite to a fast paced
startup suit would have to be the hippy feral, man. Ack, like in a million
years someone is going to give a shit and all. Part of the message for me
from it, was reading what I wrote and seeing my complete disgust with
corporate culture and its promulgating effects as well the desire to write
creatively. So it wasn't just the negativity, it was also seeing the
positive side of what transpired. Its just yet another incident that I will
continue causing with my presence, which is obviously disruptive, and I am
_not prepared to change it one bit_. Now of course, should the impossible
happen and Eric be deluged with "Steve might be a dropkick every now and
again, but generally speaking I really enjoy reading his ravings and
generally learn something at the same time - please don't ever attempt to
censure him again or be induced into thinking so", I would certainly rejoin
in the future in that role, rather than some diluted down lurkdom which I'll
otherwise employ if and when I get around to writing my non-Word
However, most of you are uncomfortable with a real Village Idiot, <bows>,
who by definition must also be the devil's advocate. Neither of these sit
well with anyone with prejudices, which is why a Fool has been valued so
highly... That IS who and what I am.
However, another major reason is my long-standing lack of time problem
because of the template development work I have so heartily thrown myself
into. I don't mind a bit of programming, but like tech writing, all things
in moderation. Of course, that is just then the excuse to finish my WIP on
Advanced Word Usage as explaining the macros, the writing processes behind
them and the Word mechanisms they use (most :-) ) is not a small work at
By the time that's finished, published and the hoohar died down, the .net
version will be ready to investigate. So that is a big chunk of my life gone
already. I wouldn't mind writing a thing or two about document control and
management as well, from purely theoretical models through to actualy
implemented tools and processes.
However, the enormous support I have had from the subscribers of the Whirler
has given me the courage to rewrite the whole damn thing - my way. Loose as
a goose and fulla juice. Have some fun while we learn this stuff.
Hell, I might even go so far as to define a ladies object for a document
object alias, and maintain a collection of ladies I can add to, remove from,
or open any of to play with their custom properties. HAHHAHAHA. Ah dear.
Sorry, bad VBA joke, but at least it was original - another of my foibles
that nevertheless aligns nicely with the main ones. A complete Fool m'dears,
I've even the gaudy outfits :-)
Where was I, ah yes. When I first met Mr MS News Server it was a bit
overwhelming. Mate, is there some Word mail generated every day or no.
Unbelievable. Let alone Woody's, which is well taken care of. As the Word
MVP program works out of their news servers ONLY, its the real place to go
for help with Word. So whilst I am working on the Word project, it's fairly
easy to keep up with my lowkey presence there. I don't even look at a
message until its more than a fortnight old, preferably much more. That
gives every one else, MVPs especially, a chance to answer it first. Folks
like Suzanne S. Barnhill MVP are just amazing, churning out the same dumb
answers every day to another noob. Endless patience. Endless autotext.
So I go for the ones those guys can't or won't answer. That way every one
gets covered. I might be wrong more often, but I'm dealing with much more
complex issues. Some of them are real curlers. Ergle. They too dislike my
style but I no longer want MVP. If it comes, fine, if it doesn't, there's
1000 MVPs but only one Heretic :-) Oh Asimov, wherefor art thou? I will be
doing a similar thing on Word-PC, checking every fortnight or so and only
looking at outstanding issues. There's a few savvy helpful people on there
now and the group seems have stablised its continuity well. So by
over-monitoring it I don't let other folk develop their confidence with
There has been at least one post in recent memory here on the Whirlers going
so far as to say that Word is OT entirely. That was quite shocking in it's
own way as well, but never the less whilst I would NOT suggest this be the
case, there are places with lots of Word experts hanging around. Lists
(plural, well, the cascade started some weeks ago with my deciding XML, HTML
etc are irrelevant to me, writing is what I do, and will always do. Tools
exist to empower writing in any of these environments even though the
technologies be but in their infancy. Knowing the language itself gives you
maybe a three year advantage on the rest of us who shuffle behind the GUIs.
I have been working a LOT longer than three years. So I shed a lot of
newsletters and fluff groups like www design stuff etc.
One of my chief delights after purging my life of the lists will be the
opportunity to do more practical work with Deb and Eric on their site. I
sent them a very long, quite beautifully silly in places, design skeleton
for the Website upgrade through to and including full VR immersion
technologies. About a 20 year plan. Mate <chuckles> - do I need to
creatively write or what! I am screaming at myself to do it - and its only
just now I am starting to listen to that and respond appropriately.
Anyway, whilst a lot of it is obviously and thusly excluded from present
technologies, there nevertheless remained some serious work and analysis to
do. Most of that isn't writing, it's analysing, and when the time comes to
report, that's mostly creative and offlist so I can dawdle at leisure.
There's more than that too, I want to see some serious additions to the Word
support area as it does so seriously penetrate the marketplace and if we can
empower the majority user we will have achieved a serious something. I also
have some crazy ideas regarding taking their ideas a few levels higher as
I've had exposure to some serious dudes and sometimes the craziness is
actually the only sane thing to do. But I wax lyrically again.
At this stage they DO need carefully directed volunteer work and I don't
know too many folks either prepared to put their hands up or equipped with
the skills to do some of the aspects of the work. I sure as hell don't have
all the skills either, but what I do have will be at their disposal for
quite some years to come yet. You guys should bless the Tech Whirler's
birthday, keep it holy and send Eric and Deb a thank you EVERY time it comes
around. They are too good for some of you mob, fair dinkum.
Then (sorry, still going) there's the fact I feel I am no longer as usefully
contributing as before. There are a lot of diverse and very skilled experts
out there, whose collective wisdom is always available to me. As the French
guy said the other day, "Hi, came here, went straight to archives, thanks!".
Most of my answers are there for the old stuff. New stuff I'll pick up and
run with as required.
So the answers aren't coming from me, and even if they were, my preferred
answer would be "This is the brief story, for more info see my book,
Godzilla meets Word, chapter Frodo, page 666." <stitch to "free advice">
Then editing, publishing, illustrating, designing, printing and distributing
that book keeps a lot of us employed, directly or indirectly, one way or
another. If I directly drop excerpts that are already weirded from a
published book, there's less whinging can occur. Benefits galore I say.
I've an awesome lot of good memories, and even now, before this is posted,
my inbox is filling up with messages saying don't worry about being burned.
So to those of you who did / are / will post something like that, it has
happened before and will happen again. Hell, my parents burnt everything I
wrote before I left high school in front of me and look what I do now. No,
it wasn't little smutty ditties or collages from penthouse letters (they
were better hidden HAHHAAH joke), just stories of wizards and warriors,
spacemen and jungle warfare, galactic empires rising and falling, that sorta
stuff. Every little scrap of writing, even sheets of program code. It was an
obsession and unhealthy you see. Everyone knows that <nod ... now :-) >
right? <Laughs> So it stopped becoming a problem a long, long time ago.
The moment I had a real job I began to write. Nobody, not a billion Ellens,
can stop me. Some, especially those who get an offlist crafting every now
and again, think I have skill with words. I tend to agree, for such dry
little black squiggles and with no or mild contextual profanity I still
manage to provoke an emotion response - another of my fortes, being a
complete Fool. I have written for magazines before as a side job and had my
own heavily subscribed and copied published online serial well before any
port 80 web nonsense cam prancing down the pipeline.
Lol, now there's a funny story in itself. I probably wrote an episode a
fortnight for about a year, and then an episode a mnoth for another two
years. About 3 years later, early nineties, my flatmate is shaking his head
whilst on usenet. He is all suss because he can't work out who the hell
wrote it. "You gotta see this! Someone knows us all, you, me, Virgil, Sean,
the girls... everyone! And I've got NO idea who the hell it is."
Someone in America, probably the girl who ended up being his wife actually,
had had one of these articles which was my Good News Flash Bible, before I
rewrote it, and upon Troy mentioning his flatmate's handle Crudd, and
knowing his name was Troy, the co-incidence was too high so she sent it
over. (Ahh, the days of ASCII only. Try having a formatting argument about
10pt Courier :-) <stitches in some disgust again>) It had me puzzled at
first, then it slowly dawned on me. "Oh," I said innocently "You mean
this..." and showed him an updated copy which still had the names in it at
"But this is in America and you don't use Usenet." I grinned back, I have an
annoying habit of doing those sorts of things to someone as eagle eyed about
certain activities as he is.
"So, how come an American has had this for years! Its an OLD file!"
"Well, you remember how the boys in the capital were mucking about with
hacking?" <carefully distances himself as an impartial narrator should of
course>. "Well, I was writing on the local BBS right, and we have a few
sisters sites around the place so my stuff was getting national coverage.
Well, when I used echomail to contact the guys at the old sites they were
dead keen to get some more of my crazy writing stuff (it'd only been four
months since I last spoke to them), and they of course offered to host the
connection (ha, fat chance of them every paying for ISD when its pricing was
UNBELIEVABLE) and let me suck down any goodies I wanted (when we first
contacted them they were so amazed that Aussies were able to do that stuff
to that we got anything we wanted whenever we wanted it anyway.
[Why was I the only games reviewer in town able to punch out a review of
Double Dragon or whatever in the issue that went to stands a month before it
hit the shores for preview? Hah. Because the hackers loved my creative
writing :-). And thus the publishers in Australia got snitty that this was
possible at all due to unreasonable delays in shipping, but we didn't have a
floppy production line big enough to deal with it back then. There was about
a 4 month lag from stores in America to stores in Australia, these days
thats much much less I've been assured by my jetsetting friends. The dude
with the manacled briefcase comes over on the plane Mr Rouke :-) But, there
was a time when I submitted an article for review on a game that hadn't even
been released in England yet (its home release)... of course they refused to
publish for a month or two - well, AFTER the home release anyway :-)]
"So, to finish the story Troy, the front end of their BBS, hiding the
backroom activities of which the less that is said is the better, was
extremely popular, and they assured me they had a Crudd's Classic Quotes
section that was also very popular. They were ultra cool and they had this
mad Aussie dude's stuff (which gave them another ace over dime-a-dozen BBS
Yhey always honoured their promise to help out anyone on the team that
smashed Dragon's Lair anyway - the Canberra team I was running with, The
Inner Circle [they loved the title I suggested, based on the fact we did
most of our best work in the son of a polly's place inside the inner circle
of Canberra] so I was double set. Then the stateside Rhomboid had to do some
time and the whole BBS got quite messily and noisily taken down by the Feds.
Them was the days. Maybe it was because we forgot to break the connection
for three days and the bill was a bit unbelievable wherever they had
shuffled it to, who knows.
Anyways, I have started to wander again. This long message is the least
respect I could repay to my many supporters, and the people I have REAL
dialogs with off and on list. Most of them will want to know why, and I hope
that I have answered that question quite adequately.
Bless you all in what you do and may you be the best you are capable of.
Dear Eric: Re your email. I am not prepared to change my behaviour, nor
apologise for posting my solution to her problem. I do apologise for the
offence caused, which isn't enough, and I'll only do it again as time has
proven. Obviously I am at peace with world and wish to be quietly freed of
this now tedious existance, please perform the last rites for this writer.
Steve Hudson - Word Heretic, Sydney, Australia
For Questions regarding MS-Word please use the news service at
msnews.microsoft.com in preference to heretic -at- tdfa -dot- com -dot-
Check it out! Get some cool freebies when you buy RoboHelp! You'll receive
SnagIt screen capture software and a 10% discount voucher for RoboHelp
Consulting. This special offers expires March 29, 2002.
Have you looked at the new content on TECHWR-L lately?
See http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ and check it out.
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.
- RE: Au revoir and god speed - Long, Justin Ressler
- Re: Au revoir and god speed (SHORT), Robert B. Kennedy
Search our Technical Writing Archives & Magazine