Category Archives: internet

Have a Fabulous Holiday Full of Food and Love…

…and football, if you’re into such things!

I’m going to be off-line until next Tuesday at the earliest… Even more than a premature jonesing for my daily internet fix, which I have survived many times, this is the first time in my life that I feel like I am actually going to miss my internet community.  I’m going to miss reading all the amazing, funny, original and/or wacky things that the blogs I visit provide me on a regular basis, and I’m going to miss sharing my world with my regular readers, and also the thrill of seeing that a new face has dropped in.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful time.  I will be looking forward to when we meet again.




Filed under internet

Never the twain shall meet…

I’ve been inspired by a post I read over at Idea Jump! and wanted to describe the garden path I ended up wandering down.

I have long pondered the split between one’s public and private life.  My parents have always held this divide as sacred.  Heaven forbid anyone should know what color the couch is.  It’s nobody’s damn business.

If my Dad had been born into the tribal life, where the community was by necessity a cohesive, intimately entwined group, he’d have been the village idiot, either from genuinely going insane due to all that touchy-feely closeness or just as a ruse to scare people off so they’d leave him in peace.

But we’ve evolved from tribal life to urban facelessness into the suburban carbon copy lifestyle and beyond… to what may be the pinnacle of anonymity: the internet.  I could have a blog wherein I am an old man who hates everyone.  I could have a Facebook page where I am a 20-something woman who flirts shamelessly.  I could join one of those online RPGs and have a totally new life.  There is no limit to who I can be and how many whos I can be.

But after this thrill has worn off, what shall we do next?  Shall the ultimate act of daring be to reveal our truth?  I know it’s dangerous.  There are stalkers and serial killers and identity thieves.  For all my excitement about truth-telling I still don’t ever reveal my home address.  There are, obviously, common sense limits.

And if you enjoy professing some radical belief, say you passionately believe that Northern California, Oregon and Washington state should secede from the union to start an independent nation of hippified, pot-smoking free-thinkers, but you happen to work for the school system in LA, perhaps you’re going to want an alter ego so the mortgage gets paid.

And so the split between public and private persists.  

We’ve only lived in this area for five months now, so I am still meeting people.  I sit at a public park while my kids make new friends on the playground and I dance along the surface of my private life with a mom I just met.  When I give a detail, “I lived in Oregon for 15 years,” I am acutely aware of how paper-thin this statement is.  It is a sticky label on a drawer of days lived whose events are an intricate memory-sculpture of streets and faces and smells.  But the mom says “oh” and nods her head.  We move on to discuss how cute it is that my toddler son is trying to wipe sand off his tongue with his sandy hand.

Maybe this will be one of the projects I save for when I’m old: in addition to telling strangers on the street exactly what I think, good or bad, I’ll make it my goal to bridge the divide between my own public and private selves, to politely decline the possibility of anonymity and instead embrace the project of total integrity, consequences be damned.

For now, I guess it’s best to practice juggling the flaming torch details of my life and hope I don’t drop one on the wrong head.


Filed under internet

No future for nostalgia?

A couple of years ago I wasn’t in touch with anyone from my past.  Not because I’d burned any bridges, not because there wasn’t anyone dear.  Just lost touch, moved away, got lazy, whatever.

Then when we left Oregon for North Carolina I got on Facebook and found a few people from the recent past.  But in the last few months, and most especially in the last few days, I have found a whole lot of friends and family that I haven’t spoken to in, well, not to make myself sound old, but… decades.

It is blowing my little mind.

Pretty soon everyone will have at their fingertips access to everyone they’ve ever known.  We are all starting to make our way onto the Net, that vast container that begins to encompass all of humanity, and we will be able to see how old or beautiful or successful or pitiful or broken we have all gotten.

And then what is to become of nostalgia?  When it all comes out of the past, all the old photos posted onto profiles, all the stories relived, what will become of memory?  Our entire past and present will exist on pages networked throughout cyberspace.  Instead of making up a perfect image of the good old days, I will simply enter a search and retrieve it from a database.  Instead of telling an embellished story of adventure, carefully amended for the whims of the audience I wish to entertain, the tale will be told on a blog with everyone adding comments.

I’m not complaining!  It is all new and exciting.  I am not afraid because I get to make it up as we go along, same as the next guy.  None of it has ever been done before.  No one has ever lived like this, on such a scale, inside such a network.

Does it blow your mind too?


Filed under internet

RapLeaf based in California… of course

RapLeaf, the site dedicated to helping people to trust one another, is based in California.  Of course.

Being from the Golden State myself, it makes perfect sense to me that this is where they would come up with such an idea, to “help” people trust each other.  Here in North Carolina, where I am currently in residence, if you told someone that before they do business, they should get advice from an online reputation rating site, they would most likely chuckle and look puzzled.  What a crazy idea.  Citizens of this area, why, they’ve done business with the same people their whole lives.  If they needed a new service, they’d talk to their friends and get a recommendation.

It’s only in a place like California, in the Wild West, where the cowboys roam and the gold diggers are ready to stab you in the back, that they would suffer such a crisis of untrustworthiness.

And what is the solution?  Not get to know your neighbor better, not develop a face-to-face network of trustworthy humans, not conduct the bulk of your commerce with people in the real world, not guard against losing yourself in the online capitalist free-for-all.  No, just log on to a self-appointed reputation judging site and let them decide for you!  After all, the members of the team have stellar ratings themselves!  So of course they are trustworthy!.

I’m up to a rating of 12, not sure how.  That’s 12 out of a million, don’t forget.  So, honestly, trust me, you shouldn’t believe a thing I say. 

Leave a comment

Filed under internet, society