Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tap tap...

So I faithfully write a 3-4 page post every 9 days and post it here, using my phone, and when I stop to admire my work -- gone.  Nothing. Well, that'll learn me for putting too much faith in technology. Still, I was using a rotary phone and it was incredibly difficult to get my hard returns to format correctly. So annoying.

This is the problem with social media, or perhaps the 'net experience in general: Convenience juggled with content, juggled with audience. I could just switch on Foursquare and let my phone leave a digital crumb trail, but the only people who care about where I am right now are right next to me, right now (unless I'm Christmas shopping -- don't look, kids). Or I could step it up a notch, cry Twitter and let slip the tweets of war. It's convenient but content suffers. I won't tweet TXT SPK and it's always a struggle to get it under 140 characters. Facebook gives me a little more room to prattle on, but I keep the settings locked so serendipity won't help strangers stubble upon my bon mots (read: political rants and ecard funnies). Pinterest? Nah. No one wants to see what I ate for dinner last night or the colors I've picked out for the bathroom remodel.

So that brings me back here, my Webbed Legions. My readership (both of you) know I'm not the most verbose of bloggers but already I'm past the "tl;dr" mark for Facebook. Here, I'll throw in a kitten picture as a reward for keeping up with me this long.

Maybe the solution to a balanced web presence is to compartmentalize, designate specialties. I have a LinkedIn account for business; that's a no-brainer. I've already resolved to use my Google+ account as a resource for my science and maker habits. By now I've reaching the point where most of the people who haven't unfriended me on Facebook are close friends and family, so I'll connect with them there. And I've never seen a better format than Twitter for humor. Arab Springs aside, it's like it was just made for one-liners and puns.

Note that this is all based on content, not format. Yes, YouTube reigns for videos but I'd much rather catch an embedded a video than browse their listings (and don't ever, ever read the comments). And Flickr is great for maintaining photo albums but have they ever figured out how to link through to other venues? I haven't checked recently but I doubt it. They're not still shacked up with Yahoo, are they?

See, it's not these elements alone -- not just videos, not just photos, not just prose -- the real trick is in joining them into something more. Like my friend in the picture above: it's not enough just to have a picture of a pudgy, annoyed cat. You need the caption. But more than anything, you need an audience.

...Is this thing on?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shall Not Perish

Yesterday, Seth and I toured the battlefield and cemetery of Gettysburg. During the Civil War, the states sent their own battalions so everyone from a certain artillery group, for instance, came from the same place. And because each battalion had its own position on the field, the battalions suffered casualties at different rates. Some states lost a dozen or so while others, like New York, lost almost 800. Numbers are misleading, of course. A loss of 262 meant 82% of a Minnesota regiment died on a hill in a small town in Pennsylvania. And no one quite knows how many Confederates died, either. "We cannot consecrate..."

I read all the names of the soldiers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island who died there. The names from Massachusetts particularly were haunting. I recognized so many of the family names, I might as well have been browsing my high school yearbook.

Reading these names means that "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." In a time when it seems like our own countrymen are willing to pull to this country apart, it's important to remember others efforts and sacrifice "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Carefully Balanced Decore

We're in Gettysburg for our last day of the Texas Road Trip. Our room at the General Lee's Headquarter Quality Inn was nice, probably one of the nicest examples of the classic motor lodge I've seen in a long time. And as befitting the locale, our room -- and just about everywhere else in this small town -- there's a careful balance between North and South. For instance, Seth's bed was under a painting of General Lee plotting his next move against the Union Army while mine sported a painting of the Boys in Blue routing Johnny Reb.

I like to think that my side of the room won.

Off to explore the town, including checking out a collection of ghost photography in this, "the most haunted town in America."

Monday, April 26, 2010

So Angry I Could Blog

We just got stopped by Tennessee K9 corp.

Yep, driving along at the speed limit we passed an officer's SUV. Not long afterwards, said SUV is travelling along side of us in the left hand lane. So, we do exactly what you would do: slow down. He slows down. We slow down. We get wigged but keep driving. That's when he pulls behind us ("Finally!") and puts on the lights ("F*ck!").

He comes to my side of the car -- the passenger side -- does the whole "license and registration" bit, and asked Seth to walk with him behind the vehicle. I sit and fret and try to read as much body language as posslible through the rearview mirrors. The officer doesn't shoot him and eventually walks back to me. I give him my ID and he asks me who Seth is, where we're going, etc. It's a corraboration thing, and evidentially my answers matched Seth because I too did not get shot.

Seth comes back to the car, turns the key in the ignition -- which is not so great because the car's running already and doesn't need to be started -- and we're back on our anxiety-filled way. No ticket.

Turns out that slowing down when a police officer stares at your car from the lane next to you is the kind of thing that drug runners do. Hence the momentary detection. To Seth's eternal credit, he didn't lose his temper.

Indignant comments: "Just another example of the militarization of the police force." "Yeah. 'We're just trying to keep you safe from the bad guys.' Just what Stalin said to his people."

Auric Goldfinger

There's something about taking a long road trip that brings out the best and the worst in people. Well, at least the worst. And just in me, really. By the time I got out of the car I stank like the stinkity stankiest stunk I've every smelled. Seriously, I offended myself deeply. Remember that marathon treadmill run in the boiler room of that senior center? The one next to the cheese factory? Yeah, I smelled like that.

I have to show you the pictures from Graceland. It was everything I thought it would be, and a lot more. Now I really know why people consider it the American Pilgrimage. I took lots of pictures with my phone, which is about as low quality as one could imagine, so I'll clean them up a bit before I post them all. If you know where my Google photo album is, you can see a few of them now.

Now we are traveling from one corner of Tennessee to the other, Memphis being in the lower left and Knoxville in the upper right. Anyone hoping for a "souvenir" from our nations gold depository can just go on hoping. This car is loaded up enough as it is.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Elvis Presley Blvd.

So, we had dinner in a great Indian place in Little Rock, Arkansas (you can find the best restaurants tucked away in strip malls) and now we're in a Days Inn room on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ain't America great?


We are going to Graceland. Memphis, Tennesee.

Poor boys and pilgrims with families and we are going to Graceland.


Yeah, I know Paul Simon didn't say "squee." I did. I'm excited.