Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
What the hell happened?.
Published on June 4, 2005 By Draginol In Blogging

So you're a kid. La-di-la-la.  One day you're 19. At college. Trying to get through your classes. And then one day you wake up and you're 33, married with two children.

The good news: Your acne cleared up.  The bad news, your hair may be thinning. The zits are gone, but now I swear my hair is thinning. I'm not sure, it used to be too painful to comb it. But I swear it was thicker before! I hear that propecia can fix it but on the one hand, I'm married. Who gives a crap how I look? My wife's happy as long as I bathe and even then she's okay as long as I'm not stinking up the place.  On the other hand, where's that small window between zits and thinning hair? That's not fair!

Not that I'm losing hair universally.  My eye brows seem to be getting thicker! And I think there's a hair growing out the side of my nose! What the hell happened?

And the other day, some pathetic dweeb on Neowin called me "Old man" (apparently those who don't live in mom's basement qualify as "old man".)  I'm too old to be able to hang out with college students but I'm still young enough to outrage the stuffy old guys who still don't get this on-line thing where CEOs of software companeis can write "Kiss my ass" to obnoxious "customers" who think because they've paid $20 that you have to kiss their ass and thus should be able to say the most horrible, hurtful, nasty things about you. It's that middling period.

I'm old enough to worry that my 8 year old son won't be tough enough but young enough to realize that I still need my dad to come with me on my trip to the mountains because I can't quite "figure out" how to put up a tent or work a "gas" powered stove.  I'm old enough to worry that my sons are too pampered but young enough to not consider that my new S-Type R Jaguar may send the wrong message to people around me.

The good news is that I'm old enough to afford any drinks I want to get.  The bad news is that I'm also too old to really care about "Scoring" (sorry ladies, I haven't napped today and besides, my wife doesn't like me bringing strange women home, she's really..possessive).

I'm young enough to get annoyed at some geekling European (sorry, but they're always from Europe) who gets pissed off on some web forum because I actually like to talk about the stuff we make but old enough not to really give a crap that they're pissed off because if some 19 year old geekling isn't pissed off that I'm talking about what we make they'd be pissed off that I make a living off of it.  Don't worry, I don't mean to leave out the 49 year old fat, balding, single tech type who likes to start every conversation with "I've been in IT for 20 years and I...<insert dubious claim of how someone else's stuff confuses him which shows how bad it is because he's been in IT for 20 years>".  Yes we get it, Wise and Installshield installs confuse and intimdiate certain 52 year old IT guys with 20 years of experience and have attended user groups since the original Altair or whatever it was called.  Don't worry, I'll soon be joining your ranks as I recount my days of typing "load *, 8, 1" and complaining that I can't figure out how to use my next-gen cell phone.

Speaking of which, why can't I take a picture with my cell phone while I'm talking to the person? Hello??

Advice for parents: Don't rush your kids through school. If I could get away having my 8 year old son in first grade, I would.  Better to be older than everyone else than younger.  Man, if I could go to college now with what I know now. I'd rule. I already know all the Pac-man patterns for instance.

Advice for people who object that I write articles on non-Stardock products that compete with our stuff: Write your own damn articles. I'm not the government. No one is stopping you from writing the greatest msstyles vs windowBlinds or DesktopX vs. Konfabulator or ObjectBar vs. whatever article out there.  Go for it. I'll highlight it if it's legible.  Type Skin Primer into Google and THIS comes up. Boo hoo, write your own if you don't like mine.  Guess what, if the article appears on a site owned by Stardock it is probably going to favor Stardock or at least not trash it.  Here's another secret: If you read a Linux vs. Windows article on, odds are it's not going to favor Linux.  That tip is for free.

In the advice to loose canons on the net: If you're an individual, don't screw with companies. Evil corporations will almost always crush the idiot blowhard in legal proceedings unless there is personal physical injury.  It's the Internet. If you're a blowhard, know your limits.  If I'm pissed off at Microsoft or Apple, well, that's fine but if I start making legal threats against them, they'll crush me like a bug. Only if I can find a way to get that iMac to burn me or something would I have any sort of shot at "Getting back".  So shut-up and suck it up. Take it from a guy who knows, unless it's personal injury the bigger company always wins.

Speaking of small companies, Style XP 3.04 adds support for letting you change your screen savers.  So apparently for people who don't know how to change their screen saver from the display properties here's another way to do it and it'll only cost you $20 to do it.  Good for them.  Those people who bash Stardock for charing a whopping $20 to actually create a full blown skinning engine might want to look around a bit.  one can imagine v3.1 -- now can change wallpapers (oh wait, does that already, my bad).

Did I mention you get cranky when you're becoming less young?  We all promise not to do what our parents did to us.  My son is in little league and when he plays second base in practice he doesn't run over to cover second when the ball goes to short-stop.  But I remember my mom marching onto the diamond to grab me and walk me over to cover second if I forgot to cover second when the ball was hit to short. Withhold food for fielding errors? Yes. Walk on field in practice? No. You have to have boundaries.

Part of getting less young is forgetting things. There used to be a skinning site dedicated to talking about "customization" stuff from everyone except us (because we're evil where evil is defined by those who make a living doing it).  Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the site or I'd tell you.

Other advice to young software developers: Don't waste your summers working overtime. You can't get them back.  We actually schedule summers at Stardock to be free of major milestones so that no one is working overtime.  Fall may be harsh but summer is nice.  Sorry, no big releases this summer.

Okay, that's about all for now.

on Jun 05, 2005

Withhold food for fielding errors? Yes. Walk on field in practice? No. You have to have boundaries.

yer killin me here.

on Jun 05, 2005
Age is a state of mind Brad.... when you lose the mind... then you are officially old. Thinning hair, nose hairs...humph...thats nothing... Wait a few years and you'll see
on Jun 05, 2005
Brad, take a load off. The competition, especially in the skinning realm, shouldn't be worrying you as much as it is now. Believe it or not, Stardock will be riding the crest of this little niche's wave for quite a while, no matter what a few neoweenies or anyone else has to say about it. I'm just glad I can contribute somewhat to it. And I'll have to remember that little piece of advice towards the end of the article for the future...
on Jun 05, 2005
thanx for the peek inside of what makes brad tick..
on Jun 05, 2005
looks like all those schoolyard beatings have come back to haunt Brad.
Shame really.
on Jun 06, 2005


I wish more managers thought like you do. Perhaps it's the fact you actually had to work for a living before becoming a manager. I don't always agree with you or the positions that you have, but I can't argue the fact that your positions are well thought out and internally consistent.

on Jun 06, 2005
Welcome to the grownup world Brad - yep, getting old! You're handling it well though, and it's supposed to get harder....if you let it! A very funny and amusing article!
on Jun 06, 2005
Welcome to the grownup world Brad - yep, getting old! You're handling it well though, and it's supposed to get harder....if you let it! A very funny and amusing article!
on Jun 06, 2005
Oy, double post - more points for you!
on Jun 06, 2005
I love being old!
I played baseball all my life and never "NEVER"! felt bad, so now I played on Friday night and I am suddenly hobbled for the next 3 days
so getting old sucks after 21.
Hair isnt thinning, just greying
on Jun 06, 2005
Dont worry, you dont start going senile till you're over 40.
on Jun 07, 2005
little_whip, that poem is like my theme song, if songs and poems were one and the same: I sent it to my father upon graduating from college.