Letters from Somnolescent December 14, 2019

Reflections (and Reveries)

by dotcomboom

It’s your local four-portraited lad, dcb. I’ve been here for a full year now, and it’s time to reflect a bit.

It was late and I was on my iPod touch (Discord on iOS 9.3.5 will be missed) when mariteaux first reached out to me about joining in late August of 20181998. I didn’t read into what he was talking about, and I left him with little but a “sounds neat, best of luck” five minutes later, a move I still kick myself for even now.

[10:46 PM] mariteaux: http://mariteaux.neocities.org/images/bulb.png
[10:46 PM] mariteaux: you know the bulb in my footer?
[10:46 PM] dotcomboom: si
[10:46 PM] mariteaux: that's the somnolescent bulb
[10:46 PM] dotcomboom: ohh, so that's what it is
[10:47 PM] dotcomboom: nice
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: it's basically a bunch of us with these kinds of shared ideals about experimentation and nothing ever truly being obsolete
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: problem being
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: we're a very odd group
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: everyone says that
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: but even people who i thought would take to it didn't
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: and i don't wanna just turn it into my damn private server
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: because that's absolutely not what it is
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: but yeah, we all make stuff
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: we have artists in there, we have mappers, we had a writer but bulbizarre is still a fucking baby so lol nope
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: it's pretty chill in there
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: i dunno why i'm rambling about it really
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: but i wanna get more people in it
[10:48 PM] mariteaux: since we're talking about it and all
[10:53 PM] dotcomboom: sounds neat, best of luck

The thing is that I never thought of myself as a creative person. I was just a programmer, so there would’ve been no place for me, right..?

I ended up joining Somnolescent when he dropped a link in the old Neocities server admin-only channel a couple days later, August 31st:

[8:51 PM] lynx lynx: http://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/282940636477521920/485265303203479562/unknown.png
[8:51 PM] lynx lynx: nailed it
[8:51 PM] Cammy: nice
[8:51 PM] Cammy: ?
[8:51 PM] lynx lynx: this is why I reinstalled macos
[8:51 PM] lynx lynx: xd
[8:51 PM] Cammy: if you don't, you don't
[8:51 PM] Cammy: not a huge deal
[8:51 PM] lynx lynx: I suppose
[8:51 PM] Cammy: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
[8:52 PM] Cammy: if you really don't wanna stick around you can bolt
[8:52 PM] Cammy: i'm not gonna be offended
[8:52 PM] lynx lynx: alright then
[8:55 PM] leather daddy: NEW PEOPLE NEW PEOPLE NEW PEOPLE
[8:55 PM] lynx lynx: don't get too excited
[8:55 PM] leather daddy: sup!
[8:55 PM] lynx lynx: :blobwave:
[8:55 PM] leather daddy: but excited is my middle name
[8:55 PM] leather daddy: >:)

I was worried about not being the type, that I wouldn’t be ~creative~ enough. I didn’t know I would stay, or just how much being in Somnolescent would mean to me in the end.


Leading up to late 1998, we formed Districts on the Neocities front, through which we dealt with some crazy site people, and later had enough. That’s when we found DreamHost, and somnolescent.net was formed.

In writing this, I put together a graph of my activity. Note the drop going into 1998+1, and the recovery into summer.

Early 1998+1 brought several hardships and growing pains for the group, with people coming and people leaving. We lost a couple of long-time members who we had turned out to be better without and a couple other Neocities exiles who turned out to be utter thots still holding Districts for ransom. (Thank goodness Seb found Apricot Bay.) To pour salt on an open wound, we had a couple come on who just turned out not to be the type.

But, in the end? We prevailed.

[10:01 PM] dotcomboom: I've been kinda awkward at responding, and I don't think I've been able to make this clear but
your perseverance is why we're all still here, afloat, making stuff and considering everything you've had to deal with these past months and all of the cheren and neo stuff that almost cut the power entirely I'm just really proud of you
you just keep going and that's admirable
[10:03 PM] dotcomboom: thanks for being here
[10:34 PM] mariteaux: mannnnn
[10:35 PM] mariteaux: you guys are why i keep doing this man
[10:35 PM] mariteaux: came in and made somnolescent worth being in, every day, all the cool stuff you guys do
[10:35 PM] mariteaux: wasn't gonna let a bunch of tumblr kids ruin it for all of you
[10:36 PM] mariteaux: gonna keep this going, for me, for all of you
[10:36 PM] dotcomboom: heck yeah
[10:37 PM] mariteaux: good times ahead
[10:37 PM] mariteaux: glad you stuck around, a lot
[10:37 PM] mariteaux: even through all the jack shit
[10:37 PM] mariteaux: way back when
[10:38 PM] mariteaux: no one can kill the bulb
[10:38 PM] mariteaux: no one
[10:38 PM] dotcomboom: *no one*

1998+1 could’ve been the bulb’s death year, but the events and complications leading up to summer only made us stronger in the end, and that is something I am grateful for.


I don’t remember the specifics, but something was said about Somnolescent a while ago about how we’re all just in it for our own individual stuff, and that’s not true. While we’re experienced in different areas, we still have influence in each other’s work.

Take AutoSite for example, currently my main large project. It simply wouldn’t be what it is if I was the only person who used it. It would still be a tiny Python script, restricted to just inserting title/description/content. It took present feedback to even think of it becoming a GUI application.

Could you imagine AutoSite without attributes or conditionals?

While I would love for AutoSite to be used by more people, it took the Somnolians to give me a true purpose for working on it.

If Somnolescent weren’t here, I could’ve approached a public server like “I’m thinking of making a gui for my static site generator”, or “I made this, anything I could do to make it better” and get no more than a “huh”. More than half of what’s in AutoSite could be attributed to input I got from Cammy and the other Somnolians, including borb and mon who have been new to the site thing and haven’t used it yet.


There are things I haven’t even scratched the surface of here, and I can’t stress how important being here has been to me and just how much I care about all the Somnolians. I’ve never, ever been in a group like it and there’s nothing more I could ask for. Next year, there’s all sorts of things I’m hyped about, and I’m so excited to see them shared. We’re going to own this decade.

About dotcomboom

Avatar

Software developer, photographer and tinkerer from Minnesota. Author of AutoSite and Windows Live Messenger fanatic.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *