Like everything else in my life in this insane year this post is a day late and a dollar short. The seventh anniversary of this blog was yesterday, December 3. But things in my life kept me from putting the finishing touches on the post and getting it published on the big day. On some level that's unacceptable. On others it is entirely in character this year. But then, maybe we'll see that change in the new year.
Seven years. (and a day) That's how long I've been presenting the Ink Blot Awards as my way of recognizing the anniversary of this blog. It's been a fun ride. It's been full of laughs. I'm hoping this year's awards will also provide a few chuckles to folks who stop by and give them a read. Although the history is mostly ancient and perhaps bordering on the irrelevant, I think it is important to provide some of it as context. So here goes:
I created The Life On The Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards as a celebration. Yes, it's a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of this blog. But it is more than that. It is a celebration of a community that I have come to know and admire. The Tableteers that make up the Tablet PC Community are an amazing collection of individuals who know and work with the Tablet PC platform. They are fiercely protective of it, insatiably curious about advancing it, very intelligent, often wickedly funny, at one time very forgiving and patient, and in the same breath, scathingly critical when the need arises. They are also exceedingly willing to evangelize the platform to anyone who will listen, and in my humble opinion, have helped keep the spotlight on The Tablet PC in ways that may, in the long run, prove to be responsible for keeping the platform thriving.
So much has changed in the time I started blogging that first year. It's changed with me and also that community has certainly changed. Those around me have changed as well in an eerie parallel to how things with Tablets have changed. Tablets mean different things now-a-days, although some of those who make them seem to have less penchant for success than Microsoft did.
What hasn't changed and what's consistent about Tablets is that they are still the very personal devices that they started out to be. Microsoft never recognized that. Apple did. Others tried to emulate without acknowledging the core reasons for Apple's success. And by and large they failed.
What's also changed is my attitude about politics, cultural happenings, and other things that I observe on this blog. I've also changed how I observe and remark about them. The convenience of Twitter and Google+ take something away from this blog. Sometimes I worry about that. Sometimes I don't.
I've become increasingly disenchanted with quite a few things this year. To be honest, I don't know why. I used to find it all entertaining in a "Human Comedy" sort of way. I don't find it that entertaining anymore. The ins and outs of life begin with the foibles of humans. It used to be that somewhere along the line we acknowledged that, celebrated it, and moved on, bettering ourselves in the process. While I think we still acknowledge it, and we might celebrate it, the only benefit we're deriving by moving on is to repeat the same things over and over again with an increasing frequency. I think this year's Ink Blot Awards reflect that with the number of repeats. Or they reflect my warped sense of things.
This was a year that so many things resulted in a "FAIL" that I think we have to look for a new buzz word for failure. Politics and the circus around it started performing without a tent and nobody cared that the clowns weren't funny any more. It's not that the clowns weren't funny that is maddening. It's depressing that no one cared anymore. Major tech companies became exposed for what can only be described as abhorent stratagies. New gadgets now depend on the same fickle first weekend sales that movies do. Of course if we had better gadgets being released, we'd probably see better results. Social networking became a parody of itself and all of that sharing resulted in a few shares too many or not nearly enough, depending on your perspective. Big media continued to prove that it doesn't have a clue. Little media seems to inexplicably want to follow that path as well. Oh, and Mother Nature reached up and smacked the planet around trying to get our attention. But aside from watching the compelling video and pictures we continued to just be thankful it wasn't us feeling her wrath, and sympathetic to those who did. The 99% became the Tea Party without the tea but with lots of party, because in the end the complaints are the same. For its efforts it got criticized by the 1% for being unorganized, dirty, and partying too much by the 1% that defines itself by making money and not making anything else so it can party. I think the 1% are just jealous because they feel like they have to dress up and shower in order to play their game. There's an old saying in show biz that if you put real life on the stage no one would believe it. I think if you put this last year on the stage, not only wouldn't anyone believe it, but Groupon would have a hard time selling discount tickets to it.
Last year's many repeats were due primarily to me spending the year dealing with my mother's terminal illness and ultimate passing. This year's repeats, I think, deal more with the fact that nothing has really changed. Change used to be a constant. I don't think it is as constant presently. On some levels I find that depressing, on larger levels I find that extremely human. I also find that it focuses those who are looking at life with 20/20 vision into a clearer view that someday may pull us out of the rut we're in.
Any pretense at aspirations aside, the rules for inclusion on the list are the same. Award winners are subject to my own whims and fancies. Some are best in class, some are just frivilous, some deserve the small heaping of scorn these awards might cast their way. Human nature, no matter the field of endeavor, is ripe with that which needs celebrating and that which needs derision cast its way. Good friend, Tablet PC MVP and fellow GBM contributor, Mark “Sumocat” Sumimoto, christened these awards with the nickname of ‘The Blotties’ in year one, and that sorta stuck. So we'll let it keep sticking. And finally, if you don't like the list, go make your own.
So, as always, hit the jump, cue the dancing girls, beat out a tattoo on the drums, sound the trumpets (or the theremin) and get ready for the Seventh Annual Life on the Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards .