04 April 2011

Blame It On the Icicles

Listening to: The Dø, "Unissasi Laulelet." I have no idea where they are from, what language they are singing in, or what that the "ø" in their name is called. Normally I'd research the hell out of this band but I think I'll just live in my ignorance. And put this track in repeat.

I've been offline for a week and the Internet is still here? How can this be? I thought without my presence a corner of the web would collapse. This is not so apparently. We were in Tahoe last weekend, with snows coming down hard over Donner Pass, which threw my friend's fine advance planning all out of wack. The first night we were forced to camp out in a town nowhere near a snowboard slope (by "camp" I mean motel). We didn't have to resort to cannibalism but there were some grumbles to be had. As a mental exercise, we did pick which of our party would most likely to be eaten first. Obviously I was a big contender for that title as I'm pretty useless for anything survival related, however my saving grace would be that I'm good for team morale. Plus my skinny ass would hardly be delicious and that's never high on the list of potential good eats.

With heavy snowfall and delays all weekend long, the actual snowboarding portion of the weekend was a disaster. I got in a grand total of four runs, all of which were navigated with very little vision. Snow is white people, and white things do not stand out from each other when other white things are right next to it. My New Yorker friend, out to claim his coast's superiority, was talking all sorts of smack pre-trip. Halfway down our first run he said to me, "I think I'm getting vertigo." I'd call him names but that would be ungentlemanly. Our third annual Tahoe trip ended with a woman down, as my friend threw out her shoulder. Luckily our other friends were on hand to Flip camera it all for the post-trip video. What are friends for if not to capture the moments when you're in pain and waiting for the snow patrol to arrive?

Most disappointingly, we brought our A-game outfit wise but couldn't even display them. The weather was too fierce and our mis-matching ties and ugly shirts from the thrift store weren't able to be fully displayed. Plus, because we only had one day of riding, I didn't even get to debut my secret team swag that I had prepared for. I had stickers to give away! Maybe next year.

I forget sometimes that most of my friends actively avoid having an Internet presence. Their personal relationship with the Internet is essentially negative. They don't want to be found -- especially by co-workers. I'm constantly pressuring people to do things online and their concerns are always security orientated. "Who can find me? What will they see? Can it be anonymous?" I'm of the opinion that the Internet will find you so you might as well establish a site and take control of the situation before someone Googles you and the second hit is something really embarrassing. I don't quite understand where people think the future is headed, as if they could hide forever from search engines. Information about anyone will be out there -- like it already is -- and the question is which bits of it are accurate.

I guess I don't quite understand the stakes as I have the luxury of mixing and matching my online and offline selves. In theory potential employers could read this and not hire me, present/future friends could read this and hate me, but really, who cares if they do? People will judge you however they want, a few extra tidbits probably won't make a difference. Then again, if you're a budding politician or a priest, you may want to censor yourself some.

For the record, there's a part of me that keeps wanting to use "IRL" but I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't get behind this acronym, even if it seems to be quite useful. In real life I'm just like this, but more prone to falling asleep on you.

For the past two weeks I've been slogging through this article: "The Social Network, the End of Intimacy, and the Birth of Hacker Sensibility." From what I can tell, other people are reading this article too, also one or two sections at a time. Maybe we could all have a discussion soon. There's a lot to think about in here but the writing isn't engaging so it's taking me awhile.

Another article I've been referencing a lot recently is this "Models of Identity Development" thing forwarded to me by a friend who is studying racial identity from a psychological side. It'll be good for you to identify which "-ist" you are, as that is what I'm trying to do. On the drive back from Tahoe, part of our conversation was about affirmative action. If you care about such things, here's my friend's ex-professor using the analogy of a race track to frame the issue.

Lastly, I must share this fantastic Believer article about runners, Michael Cera, and being comfortably uncool. I ran cross country in school and tried to go for a leisurely jog six months ago. It was an absolute disaster. I'm never running again, except in fear. Or from love.

"With [Michael] Cera, we at last have an actor who effortlessly honors the American teen male anti-athlete, a boy who populates so many high-school cross-country teams. He is not a genius, he is not pathologically shy, and he is not widely loathed. Rather, he is a little shy, a little marginal, and a good bit quirkier than his classmates. He does not necessarily read constantly, but when he reads -- or listens to music, or skips school to go to a matinee by himself -- it is with an outsider’s wistfulness, with a hopeful eye on the world beyond high school. He is a character who resonates with a kind of kid -- and that kid is everywhere -- who turns to movies for reassurance that he is not alone. That boy wears short shorts, and he runs."
-The Race That Is Not About Winning-