Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Collaborator Gone Sour

   I hope the last article on my uncles from World War Two captivated some of your attention. Although, it can be a tough thing to write about, I am glad to be able to do something to honor their precious memory. By the page views here, this is such a satisfying reward to see the renewed interest.


  I suppose it evenually happens to everyone that blogs for a living, or just keeps a website as a part time hobby. This may be a difficult topic to approach wholeheartedly, or even half-heartedly. A glimpse into a brief, though troubling relationship doesn't have to be too painful and should hold enlightenment to a certain future reference. Just getting something off my chest. You've been forewarned. By the way, nothing said here relates to anyone I am in collaboration with to any extent in the present. You are ever so appreciated!

   Contacts can be developed over months and years in varying ways. I might meet someone out of the blue, right on the street. That isn't usually my experience. People are able to really surprise with enthusiasm from time to time. Distant relatives become interested, maybe a little critical, or old friends seldom heard from and little seen, offer a word of advice. An off hand e-mail, an acquaintance on Social Media, a follower or subscriber, or someone you love subscribing to. A friend's friend on Facebook, whatever. I've only made so many close contacts, and maybe this is for the best, and then, those sincere individuals that truly care about someone's website are surely worth developing an association with. There can be a world of collaborators and colleagues open up a virtual door, with all this entails:

  1: You talk to new contacts with much in common. Some can become so close and in frequent communication that you bring them in, perhaps through needed expertise and valued help in different areas, to the level of co-administrator.

  2:  You sometimes find out just how little you have in common with a broad group of slightly interested folk. Sometimes.

  3: E-mails come tumbling in at an alarming rate, (many of us would only wish this was true, while some would give their lucky stars they would Leave Them Alone!)

  4: A few turn into valuable friendships, knowledgeable collaborators, and even competitive colleagues and alter egos.

  Whatever the situation or reasons, occasionally, there exist those personalities which, not only may clash, but perhaps become enamored of our purpose or goals, often a gratifying relationship we would hope to repay in some form, some day. I am not talking about romantic ties here. More rarely, there are some guys and gals vaguely and also very aggressively intrigued with US, ourselves and every darn thing about our lives. Eh? Where you feel like pulling your hair out, or it could be, theirs? No?!

   Next, is the sticky, albeit sometimes theoretical situation, and thankfully, a rare one for most.

 A Dreaded Situation

   The colleague who sort of insinuates his or herself through the benign aspect of volunteerism. Maybe you are close friends, making the relationship is all the more meaningful...and DIFFICULT to extract yourself! And maybe through no fault of their own, make serious inroads on your time and abilities. Energy drainers, wasps, backbiters, right out of the New Testament, for all to avoid. BUT, you sure didn't ask for this situation? Did you? Too polite with a large helping of guilt toward someone who holds out a hand in our direction; sometimes they are well seasoned pro's at noticing every whim, calculating reactions, marking it on a mental notepad. Not entirely a facetious  description. One just might want their input, mailings, moderation, time? Oh my, yes. Conversely,  one might rather be left alone. Rarely, there are those, usually supervisors or bosses, that so in fact test us, sure, but some will strip you of irritating responsibility and perform everything for you! A small case of paranoia finds inevitable existence in reality. Often no serious, permanent damage is done. In other extreme cases involve stalking, late night phone calls, bothering your girlfriend, drinking your last beer, that sort of thing. Software info, sometimes their own brand, a mere coincidence, rest assured. Changes in format, oh very helpful at first! At the worst they can wreck havoc to the rafters! Innovators. Attempt sudden DMCA's; stealing your prized material, re-publishing  it on mirror blogs at the speed of light, Forums. boards that are quite impressed with this new found knowledge, anything they can do to shut you down and disown you. Then, slur you as the interloping charlatan. 'TAKE OVERS'. A dreaded nightmare experience, I'm sure. Luckily, I haven't been a victim of that brand of hell and hope I never am.

  One fine day, a well mannered friendly associate. The next, fangs and riveting attacks, unveiling your most private thoughts; reveling in evil and destruction years on end. Gosh, they claim these things happen on a frequent basis for some unfortunates. We hide our faces from it. Or, delectably look with eagerness for all the dirt. So they say, anyway. Shew! OK, calm down, start a new site, move to India or Costa Rica, wear a disguise and pray they will go away!

   The type of colleague I am referring to is more mundane. Yes, somewhere in the middle. A blessedly briefer encounter altogether. At first, this was interesting and a nice relationship. A person well off and instructive, knowing the region, though not living there since he was young. H'mmm, can you see where this is headed? Well, so many of you are intelligent, smart, perceptive, I know this.

 Chock Up One Experience For The Blog

  The gentleman was in business for himself; a wonderful thing, an entrepreneur. In the midst of a breezy chat that ran on for hours, (our first, and really only, phone conversation), the discussion ranged from personal hablits, to the old and unique bridge structure in the Upper Tyrone and East Huntingdon at Jacobs Creek., a real enigma still desperately in need of further attention on a professional platform; and discussing the likely connecting route of the Turkey Foot Road which Rodney Mosler, among others, claimed to of headed through this almost exact location. Someone that saw the situation the same as I, ah, a conversation worth its salt. Now coming across even more  excited by the discovery of the old bridge at Dexter, to the realm of obsession, (I thought that was my job?).  He then suddenly began diverting the talk into giving these odd, lengthy examples of his experiences helping people, that just didn't work out! Amish people, Florida Everglades, no he wasn't selling me land for religious purposes down under, but possibly his connections to software companies to help UPGRADE my life! Maybe this was only the nuance given, if so, never mind such outbursts. Nevertheless, I was bordering on a migraine and rather confused by now. Well, the fine idea of changing my website, turn it into something else, private hosting of the finest variety, indeed, magnificent chap. SELL YOURSELF. Well, off we go!

   But wait, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. There I am, wondering on end about this internet avenue, and he did infer helpful suggestions. Really. A better quality camera, why, of course, I will happily pay for this, no problem, who else? (Which I recently did. It wasn't as very expensive as it could of been and works fine so far). Next up, form a non- profit; intriguing concept which I am out of my element as to why and how. Many of you may know more of this than I, a bumpkin with a bare bones site, missing a few teeth, that when I am taking it easy some days, lounge around in pajamas. A slightly lazy guy with only a measly internet presence of some credible value to keep him near reality and from the abyss of absolute insanity. OK, I am exaggerating; just the last part. Oh, you figured that out already? Good. Well, the video idea is fair too, but unless we're on a train, a boat, thrashing through the jungles of forest, it can be almost the same benign experience in our Southwestern Pennsylvania counties, the moving images, awing explicit dialogue, adroitly catching yourself swearing at bugs, mumbling and saying 'ah three times in every sentence. Demanding, in depth docudramas can be a bit out of my range with my brand of regional history, as a digital camera with photos seems to usually do the trick. I'm befuddled now how this was managed! But you must use your imagination here. You know, back water, swamps, moonshine and all that; undershirts, no shoes, hiccuping and snoring the day away with fitful dreams of a normal existence like regular, city folk.  Such horrid intimations might arise in your psyche. Dreadful. Reminds me of reality T. V. Too much imagination.

  Alright, this is hardly proper, pulling your leg like this. (I do live very close to a city,and I go there once in a while-honest!).

  As a footnote, the point remains, a few of these ideas were sensible and proper. 80 to 90%, in fact. I am in the process of sorting some of this out. He told me to 'mull it over', maybe for a few hours or a day at best I was to discover, was the ordered and planned time frame. Where was my choice in the matter, you ask with baited breath? Non-existent son, eat your oatmeal, it's good fer ya! The heck with them there hanger on types. Forget their help and guidance, any usefulness. You don't need THEM  anymore boy, you got ME!  Upscale to the penthouse. Do I exaggerate, maybe a mite, or two. Well, the bottom line is that I was apparently expected me to integrate the idea by The Next Day and jump into this immediately, or I may well be some kind of traitor or renegade type. Maybe the problem was in the delivery, the pitch I heard. The last word of ADVICE was to chuck my friends, eliminate colleagues, disavow all collaboration, or something to that effect. It was rather a shocking explanation to better myself in today's competitive and cut throat market. Well, the world can be tough place I guess, this line of thinking could be, why not become like those people? I found this upsetting. Looking at it one way, why allow an outlet in myself for an express ticket for a turncoat and hypocrite to anything I stand for? Yea, maybe no big deal, we're off to the limelight in Tartarus. Do a selfie and grin broadly while deleting many e-mails. So, I am using an analogy bordering on exaggeration. It IS partly, but you understand. Am I correct in this assumption? Come on, this is a totally about face experiment to entertain while providing a basis in sheer fact and dwelling on the importance of my next historical post. Something to avoid, and another to enjoy.

  Now, when I didn't call exactly as planned, a few mundane things took place. Well, I called later the next day. Yikes! He was...standoffish, temperamental...moody; 'I don't really feel like talking about this subject right now', he mumbled through his presumably gold teeth and expensive caviar and wine. Just joking there, of course. I had visitors in the room that could hear what was going down. Not dumb people, unbelieving the tone of the turn around in the conversation, just the same. He left off the phone a while and came back,  he then stated, dryly, he doesn't want to discuss any of this... bloody offended. The very idea I would mull it over a bit longer, as I had been kindly told to do, must of been forgotten and abandoned. Ponder on the details conveniently left out. What can I say on my behalf, I'm just a rebellious fool at heart, aren't we all sometimes. Or, so I was made to feel. That was that. Game over. The real clicker that echoes back to me, is that he stated, "I could probably do this kind of thing myself"...h'mmm, heard that voiced before. Then the thought arises, and why not?

  Well, I did respond to his last e-mail which stated in no uncertain terms, his 'intuition' told him I am not truly supportive of changes and this heady assistance as a volunteer in my internet army might not be required, or something near to that effect. I guess that makes a wastrel, a slovenly lackluster dude. A very harsh idea came to me that a self promoted, high class General would obviously not appeal to my better judgement. Where was this going anyway? Someone breathing enviously over your shoulder with constant opinions is not always a tell tale gift from Heaven. Yes, I am weak and desired to get the last word in, by God! Writing back of my comprehension of the whole doggone situation, but, of this e-mail, although severely tempted, I will do as a genuine colleague has seriously advised, and take the high road. I know, some of you might of relished in it. I admit to that very emotion. (Maybe you could e-mail me privately, oh, alright, never mind).

  To this day, the bottom line is, I feel an odd sort of cold sympathy, mixed with bemusement and an opportunity lost that was hardly expected, or desired. I had a bout of depression for a few days, later turning to a philosophical stance. The situation could of been something meaningful, but temperament can get the better of people, no matter how educated or fascinated they are, leading brazenly to such a gun ho attitude in one that, originally, might of been as simple as an overzealous offer of some needed help. I can handle what most dish out. A choice, sure. But, really, why NOT think it over? The guilt could be mine to be shared in being a little too sensitive in my approach or outlook, while the example above is just one of those things, and I do wish this person well wherever his further interests lie. As long as it isn't involving me.

   No more lectures on this lamentable subject. Colleagues and friends can be an important part of our work, play and all facets of our interactions in any field, in our busy moments and the quiet hours.  We might want to reflect and be thankful to those that are there for us, and likewise. I know this isn't brain surgery, and I am of no perfect example, only drawing out one unfortunate obstinacy experienced. Many of you good folks come from all kinds of backgrounds, ages and capabilities, are discerning, intelligent and, mainly, well adjusted. Life has it's peaks and valleys, isn't that the truth? Whether we ever grow comfortable with the colorful aspects that contain a few thorns, that can lean toward the white and the dark, such things we either overcome, or struggle with. Hopefully, most dealings are a balm to the soul, wishing my visitors well intentioned connections, keeping the feelings of those closest to you throughout your lives, as one's dearest possessions are sometimes the least seen and felt.

  Speaking of bridges, I will have an update soon on one that is not at all lost, the Iron Bridge. Keep checking back and it will be published in time. Thanks so much for your interest! Please take a look at the other posts and check in again soon!


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