My full 1/3 share was reached on June 17, 2006. So the deadline passed for my return to the road.
By February 2007 my music career had been on hold for five years. There seemed no end in sight. Through frugal management, I was able to keep Standen's spending under control. Costs were kept to the bare minimum. Whenever we needed anything, I learned to do it DIY style.
My workload increased whilst Julian's decreased. As a previously unpaid voluntary moderator at Recording.org, his role as a forum leader was something he enjoyed. Though it was me who should've been on the road, it was he who jetted worldwide to trade fairs. He hobnobbed with music industry leaders whilst I sat at home on the servers.
His earnings were double mine.
Much of Standen's workload was now attended to by unpaid voluntary moderators. Advertisers were in place. Industry conferences only happened a few times a year. The site sold itself. With more time on his hands, it seemed his main activity was to fill up my schedule. Each day he seemed to invent more work for me to do. He wanted more and more toys and bloat on the site. But I thought it was overkill and wanted a cleaner, less cluttered look. For every "brilliant new idea" he had, it was me that actually had to figure out how to implement it. The 1% inspiration vs. 99% perspiration approach soon multiplied and got out of hand. I was bombarded with emails and phone calls as he created long wish lists of things he wanted.
Once their baby arrived Jules spent even less time with the business. Thanks to the site we built together, he got to be a stay-at-home Dad. Hence the profits now seemed to be split 3 ways between Julian, his wife, and me. As far as I could see, her only contribution to the workload was to chip away at my share. So instead of the old friendship based on trust between two pals who shared a passion for music production, it seemed to me that Jules became the other half of a team that took advantage of me.
I felt like a mug.
There's not much that saps motivation more than the feeling you've been taken for a ride. My shoulders hunched tighter. My frown became deeper. Standen's cheeriness and jokes became a source of irritation that rubbed up against me.
As a doted upon only child, Jules was not used to sharing. Although charitable and generous so long as he had the upper hand, he wasn't so good with equality. For charity requires an unequal relationship. Jules seemed only able to play one of two roles in life; Either as a parental or child figure but never as an equal. But those who sit on a mountaintop are often lonely. I suspect there are others without siblings who struggle with this and yearn to be invited down into the village. I think our friendship lasted because, like a sibling who always pipes up for an equal share, I fulfilled that role.
I would regularly remind Jules to come down from the mountaintop and join the rest of the village.
We had one of our classic arguments over the division of labor. Though heated, it was far from anything out of the ordinary for our years-long friendship. Back in the day, we'd even fight over portions on our dinner plates. (Yes, we actually did that). So in my usual "That's not fair you big swine!" way, I proposed a temporary re-installment of the 50/50 split of our original verbal agreement. It was supposed to only be until we found someone to take over the running of the servers. I figured if I was to be chained to the servers, I might as well get the same share as he.
But Standen had by now grown quite accustomed to his lifestyle. So he proposed that my share remained at 1/3 and instead we would work harder to find someone to run the servers. He assured me that I would continue to receive my share but with a lot less to do.
I was pleased with this plan and looked forward to the new more enjoyable era of Gearslutz where someone more experienced than I would run the servers. Then I could be freed to work on less mission-critical work, such as planning the future trajectory of Gearslutz. I'd also be able to get back to my music. This was the vision I had worked toward and it was about to come true.
But little did I know, Standen had already secretly found someone behind my back... and he seized upon our argument as the excuse.