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15 Jun 2021 06:35:55 EDT (-0400)
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From: clipka
Subject: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 08:01:30
Message: <60ace71a$1@news.povray.org>
It's been a while, I guess.

One of you folks tried to contact me earlier this month, and having just 
gotten around to reading their message, I'd like to take the opportunity 
to say hi, and drop a few lines about my absence. I guess they're okay 
with me quoting part of their message, but as I haven't yet contacted 
them to verify, I'll do so without disclosing their name:

 > You know many people in the community would have their spirits lifted
 > up if you just dropped by with a casual hello there one day. Unless
 > someone there did you wrong / harm in any way ? Or maybe we
 > disappointed your expectations as a community ? If we are too slow to
 > get up to them, know that even if we never catch up, we will always
 > try. If on the contrary, too much was expected from you, we can take
 > it easier. Many souls there are very sensitive.  We all miss you! even
 > if you came by without adding any code ! :-)

I trust that their words - not the least the last sentence - reflect the 
sentiment of most of the community. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to 
muster the courage to "walk across that burning bridge", as Michelle 
Shocked phrased it in her song "Anchorage".

It's a bridge I myself had set on fire single-handedly. None of you had 
any part in it. I want to repeat that: None of you. Not even the very 
few I have, on some occasions, gotten into heated arguments with.

Then again, maybe that bridge never was on fire in the first place. I 
just crossed it one day, and never found the courage to turn around and 
walk back, too afraid to find the bridge ablaze. I couldn't have blamed 
you. After all, I just up and left without so much as a word, leaving 
behind half-finished work I had promised - to you, and also to myself - 
to keep working on.


Some of you may have picked up hints in 2017 that I lost a person dear 
to me. I'm not sure I ever dropped any hints that only a few months 
later I lost another person equally dear. If you put two and two 
together to surmise that these two loved ones were my parents, you would 
be right. I won't say any more about this here despite its importance to 
me, because it is something I consider very private, and I'm sure it 
doesn't need much explanation how it could be relevant to my falling silent.

Coincidently, I had just found the perfect job earlier in the year, 
which helped prop me up a bit; but in 2018, and through no fault of my 
own whatsoever, I lost that, too, which didn't help either, as you can 
probably guess. Neither did all the crazy stuff that had been happening 
out there in the wide world.

I had a difficult time coping with the situation - I still have - and my 
contributions to POV-Ray and its community are but one thing that has 
suffered - though arguably it might be the thing that has suffered the 
most dramatically. For quite some time, it was pretty much the only 
remaining thing I put any energy into whatsoever. When I could muster 
the energy, I would dig my head deep into the source code. When I 
couldn't, I would browse the newsgroups and see if there were any 
questions I could answer, or topics I could at least throw my $0.02 at. 
And then one day, I just never picked up where I left off the day before.

Ever since, I haven't had a single look at the POV-Ray source code, or 
even a single message on these newsgroups. I have no idea what you folks 
are currently discussing, what works of art you're currently producing 
with POV-Ray, which features you are currently finding unexpected uses 
for, whether William Pokorny is still boldly ploughing through 
floating-point precision issues, whether someone else has picked up my 
work and maybe dragged it into a totally different direction that might 
irritate me if I saw it but that I'd have no right to get infuriated 
about, or whether anyone has picked up the task of building new 
versions, if only to fix the occasional bug. Pretty much all I know at 
this point is that one of you managed to get through to me, with words 
encouraging enough for me to say hi.


The job I mentioned earlier might warrant further mention at this point. 
Pretty much all my adult life I had been convinced that software 
development was the perfect career for me. I love the challenge. I love 
the inherent logic. I love how it captivates me. I also love the pay.

This one job, however, was not in software development, but rather in 
education: I trained noobs and semi-noobs to use computers in general 
and office software in particular. And contrary to all my fears, I found 
that I loved it. And thrived in it. It's a totally different occupation, 
and it's a totally different brand of people to work with.

Most of all though, there's one thing this line of work does _not_ do: 
It does not _captivate_ me. And I found out that's actually not a bad 
thing. Not for my well-being anyway. While I did still find myself "in 
it" while teaching, at the end of the day I could easily set it aside. I 
can't remember ever having done that as a software developer. Not unless 
I had just happened to have cracked a particularly tough nut at the end 
of a day.

With that lesson learned, I have decided for my own sake to never go 
back into software development as a career. And I've also become wary of 
picking it up as a hobby again.



For now, I just want to say "hi". Let you know that I'm alive, and 
reasonably well. Try to explain a bit why I left so abruptly without a word.

I think in the near future I'd like to once again pick up communication 
with you folks. Chime in here and there in the newsgroups. Maybe answer 
a few questions now and then, maybe even give a few thoughts about the 
programming side of things.

Whether I'll get back into active POV-Ray development I really cannot 
say at this point. What I can say is that it hurts not to.

I might get back into administrative-ish stuff like looking after the 
GitHub repo, but even in that regard I can't make any promises at this 
point.


So, there it is. And without any further ado:


Hi everyone.


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From: jr
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 08:15:00
Message: <web.60ace9e538738d4779819d986cde94f1@news.povray.org>
hi,

clipka <ano### [at] anonymousorg> wrote:
> It's been a while, I guess.
> ...
> For now, I just want to say "hi". Let you know that I'm alive, and
> reasonably well. ...

very good news.  cheers.


regards, jr.


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From: Thomas de Groot
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 08:35:06
Message: <60aceefa@news.povray.org>
Op 25-5-2021 om 14:01 schreef clipka:
> It's been a while, I guess.
> 

Hi Christoph!
You can hardly imagine the relieve I (and probably all of the community 
here) feel at reading your message, and at the same time feeling so very 
sorry for what you have been through. The fact that you decided to write 
to us seems to be a very positive sign that you are gradually struggling 
back to a new equilibrium. Be certain that we were worried, to say the 
least, about your sudden vanishing. Personally, I suspected that 
something really serious had happened indeed. And also, be certain that 
you have nothing to worry about where the feelings towards you of this 
community are concerned (or I must be very much mistaken!). Take it 
easy. Find your way into what you think you need to do. Do not feel put 
under pressure to be dragged back to this community (now, where did I 
put that rope and those shackles...?). Take your time and know that you 
are always welcome to chat, about code or not.

-- 
Thomas


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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 08:45:40
Message: <60acf174$1@news.povray.org>
G'Day Christoph,

Good to see you are feeling better. I felt something wasn't as it seemed 
which is why I reached out about two years back asking if you are OK, 
but didn't want to press the point. Your overall github activity showed 
you were taking a step back from other projects as well, which indicated 
something that I ought to keep my nose out of. Hence the odd 'hello' but 
nothing more.

> Ever since, I haven't had a single look at the POV-Ray source code,
> even a single message on these newsgroups.

This is good, in a way. Going cold-turkey can help split your feelings 
away from the physical reality of what you might really need to for your 
own health.

I've been burned-out before (not saying this is the case with you, but 
the treatment for burn-out is the same): sometimes you just have to 
cross that bridge and get your head into fresh air for a while.

Also adding to that the last 18 months have been a real shit-show 
globally and some of that stuff just makes my head hurt even more, and 
then that combines with some family stuff and I can understand why you 
wanted some fresh air.

If you wish to contribute in any way (even managing stuff or doing 
release co-ordination), whatever suits you, just drop me a line.

-- Chris


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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 08:57:08
Message: <60acf424$1@news.povray.org>
I'll just pop a mention in this thread about how I manage my time WRT 
the project and server. This is because I also have to keep my head out 
of the day-to-day messaging and discussions.

Some of you may have noticed that for some topics I can start 
contributing very early in the thread. This possibly leads to an 
impression that I scan the forums daily and read all messages.

While I do from time to time read full discussion threads (sometimes 
well after they have ended), I do not check the server regularly at all. 
Instead I have an NNTP to Mailing List service running on povray.org 
which gates messages from a small selection of groups onto the list, and 
then through to me. If the topic of an email looks interesting I'll read 
more and/or drop into the forum.

Disclaimer: I know I could do similar with RSS, but this works for me. I 
even installed an RSS app on my iPad to see what it felt like to read 
that way but haven't kept using it. (On the plus side, when I was 
testing this I found a number of places I could improve the RSS generation).

Just an FYI anyhow. I'm here, but I'm sort of not here, if you know what 
I mean.

-- Chris


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From: ingo
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 09:22:46
Message: <XnsAD359C7199EF6seed7@news.povray.org>
in news:60ace71a$1@news.povray.org clipka wrote:

> It's been a while, I guess.

Thanks for a sign of life.

Cheers,

Ingo


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From: Mike Horvath
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 13:37:00
Message: <60ad35bc$1@news.povray.org>
Hi Christoph!


On 5/25/2021 8:01 AM, clipka wrote:
> Most of all though, there's one thing this line of work does _not_ do: 
> It does not _captivate_ me. And I found out that's actually not a bad 
> thing. Not for my well-being anyway. While I did still find myself "in 
> it" while teaching, at the end of the day I could easily set it aside. I 
> can't remember ever having done that as a software developer. Not unless 
> I had just happened to have cracked a particularly tough nut at the end 
> of a day.

Yeah, a career or hobby that consumes your entire life is not always 
such a great thing. It's nice to be able to take a break or step away, 
and teaching allows you to do that! (Since you likely have summer 
breaks, and fresh noobs appear every Fall.) Also, working with people 
can be rewarding in different ways!

Best wishes!


Mike


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 16:40:00
Message: <web.60ad5f9338738d471f9dae3025979125@news.povray.org>
Hi Christoph,

You should KNOW that you are always welcome here.
You were a POV-Ray user before you took on the mantle of being a developer all
on your own, and you can decide what you want to or don't want to do.  I can
tell you from my [vast] experience what a tremendous shitshow life can be, and
how all manner of nasty surprises can come out of nowhere and T-bone you.

You haven't burned any bridges, and you shouldn't let the inertia of not being
here set in and - grow.  Take a break, find your balance, and know that you have
_friends_ who care, give a crap, and want good things for you - whatever they
might be.

I've experienced a lot of hard losses, and I am truly sorry for yours.

Sometimes things just knock you out of - the track of your life - and you wind
up finding a different way.


> Most of all though, there's one thing this line of work does _not_ do:
> It does not _captivate_ me. And I found out that's actually not a bad
> thing. Not for my well-being anyway. While I did still find myself "in
> it" while teaching, at the end of the day I could easily set it aside. I
> can't remember ever having done that as a software developer. Not unless
> I had just happened to have cracked a particularly tough nut at the end
> of a day.

Right-o.  I've put in 114-hour weeks, and having a simple job with no after-work
responsibilities is exceptionally liberating.

> With that lesson learned, I have decided for my own sake to never go
> back into software development as a career. And I've also become wary of
> picking it up as a hobby again.

Yeah - I probably wanted to be a chemist since I was 5.  And now, well, that's
over and done with.

> For now, I just want to say "hi". Let you know that I'm alive, and
> reasonably well. Try to explain a bit why I left so abruptly without a word.

Thanks for that, buddy.   There were a lot of people worried about - and for
you.  We had some data that indicated you were "alright" - but the circumstances
indicated also that something was not alright.
For a while, I was actually betting that it was a girl...   ;)  :P


> I think in the near future I'd like to once again pick up communication
> with you folks. Chime in here and there in the newsgroups. Maybe answer
> a few questions now and then, maybe even give a few thoughts about the
> programming side of things.

You are ever welcome to come and chat and play - just make some pretty pictures
for no other reason than that.

> Whether I'll get back into active POV-Ray development I really cannot
> say at this point. What I can say is that it hurts not to.

Yes.  There are things that are difficult to return to - but you need to make
your own decisions, on your own timeline, and you need to just take the time to
wrap your head around everything about your life that is different --- and that,
my friend, can can a substantial amount of time.

> Hi everyone.

Hi again, Christoph.  It is truly a treat just to see you here and know that you
are - all things considered - ok.

Best wishes, and I hope you find happiness and success going forward.

- Bill


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From: clipka
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 19:21:06
Message: <60ad8662$1@news.povray.org>
A huge shoutout at this point for William F Pokorny. From a cursory 
glance, it looks like he's kept the ball rolling after I dropped it, 
wading through other people's (mostly my) broken and/or half-finished 
code to troubleshoot bugs and other nasties.

Thanks, Bill.


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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: Just saying hi
Date: 25 May 2021 20:39:48
Message: <60ad98d4$1@news.povray.org>
On 26/05/2021 06:35, Bald Eagle wrote:
> You should KNOW that you are always welcome here.

100% this. No bridges burned (or even slightly singed). Sometimes things 
happen. We understand.

I myself have just now taken a month off from my day job (first long 
break in like 15 years) because I was simply burned out and couldn't 
function well. The only recreation I enjoy (kayaking, also my only 
exercise) was closed off to me last year when we had COVID lockdown and 
not being able to do this for a long time led to other complications - 
meaning even now that it's allowed I haven't been able to get out again.

It seems nowadays many more people have a poorer work/life balance than 
say 25 years ago (I'm one of them) and for some this has both physical 
and mental repercussions.

Honestly I think having the same hobby as your day job isn't always a 
good thing; yes you can enjoy your job more as hey someone's paying you 
to do stuff you used to do for fun - but IMO there's got to be other 
things in the mix to keep your mind healthy otherwise it ceases being 
enjoyable.

TL;DR sometimes one just needs to step back and say "that's enough, at 
least for now, I've got to do something else".

-- Chris


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