I had a work trip last week, which, while stressful and exhausting, did serve to shake up my routine a little bit. In a rare departure from my usual personal m.o., I had a connecting flight this week – with a layover in Houston. Now I remember why I hate layovers. It was a really tough choice, though, given the timing of the flights and not wanting to violate another personal rule: “never take a redeye.” So anyway, the upshot was a couple of very long travel days flying Continental. I missed Virgin America’s in-flight powerstrips and wifi a great deal. And realized my MacBook’s battery is, to put it technically, for sh*t. Oh well.
On the bright side, I finally, finally got to meet a very long time “Internet friend” who’s been an online correspondent and philosophical/intellectual ally and inspiration for cough mumblety-more-than-15-less-than-20? years. She may out her blog in comments if she wants. I put the scare quotes up there because I actually find it more awkward now to try to qualify those kinds of relationships than just to say “friend.” On the other hand, it was a good occasion to reminisce a little bit about the old days and recall the heady feelings of online communities and correspondences of long ago.
I find the whole whole cyberutopian v. “anti-Twitter revolution” discourse to be pretty silly all-around, and (as is common) tend to find myself aligned with Jay Rosen on this question. However, it did please my cynical, depressed, and disheartened political soul a little bit to watch a true revolution happen live on my computer screen, with real-time live updates from Tahrir Square flashing by in my Twitter feed and think back and know that I knew I was looking at something extraordinary that day in Miller Library when I sat down at a dumb terminal and my friend told me: ‘type mail.’ I mentioned the other day that I remember that moment (and many other similar firsts of my time in “cyberspace” (much as the term annoys me)). Now, I was a little late to the party in some ways, just by virtue of age and economic background, but even still – it felt like something special, and every once in awhile it still does.
Related: I see and hear about a lot of anxiety and frustration with Facebook. And believe me, I share it and most days I wish I could ignore it entirely. But I just try to remember: 5 years ago, Facebook (and Twitter) were not the apparent behemoths they are now. And 5 years from now, it’ll be some other service or site or feature with which we’ll all be obsessed. That’s not to say I think they’ll go away (although they might), just that they probably won’t be the only big social games in town.
But I digress… Another fun thing on my trip: listening to music on the plane with the new headphones TheGuy got me this month (for that evil Corporatized Holiday). It’s always amazing how different (and better) music sounds with good speakers and/or headphones. Especially music that’s written to be listened to closely. I enjoyed some A.J. Roach (whose music is basically utterly acoustically perfect – where you feel every note was agonized over and honed to be just so) and I was also kind of blown away by the first track (“Walking Far From Home”) off the new Iron and Wine album (Kiss Each Other Clean).
And related to that, listening to @drgrist’s 2010 mix has made me think I need to get back to my yearly mix project. I did one in each of 2005, 2006, and 2007 if I recall correctly, and then got a little distracted in 2008. I do have a running list of possible songs to include whenever I get around to doing another. Maybe sooner than later!