I was thinking about how connected the world has become with the social aspect of various websites. It really is amazing how connected we’ve become with other people. I think that in the future we’ll be even more connected. For instance, right now if we want to become friends with someone we have to add them to each social network we use. This becomes tedious when we use a lot of different websites. In one scenario I might make a new friend. I’ll add them to IM to keep in touch. Of course, I’ll want to know what the person is up to so I’ll ad them to Twitter and Facebook. Maybe I want to know what their interests are and what websites they find interesting, so I’ll add them to Delicious and Digg. Oh, and when we get together and have a blast and take pictures I’ll want to see them, so I’ll add them to Flickr as well. I’m sure in the future in the natural development of the web, adding a person to all these will be much simpler (for instance, check out HelloMyNameisE.com for how they are doing it with mobile phones). Since this isn’t widely adopted yet, you still have to go and add one by one. That brings me to another problem. Deleting people.
When you finally want to break ties with someone, you have to go and delete them from every service and website. This is a giant pain. It’s amazing how much of our lives we share with others and even more amazing how much it takes to get them out of your life completely. Of course, even if you do remove them from the services, that doesn’t mean they are completely out of your life. They have the potential to keep tabs on you via your personal website, checking status updates on Twitter, checking images on Flickr, etc. It’s amazing how open we are with our data these days and how truly hard it is to break ties with someone. I wonder if services like HelloMyNameisE will allow you to remove the users just as easily as you add them. I think it is definitely something to look into. I wonder if, say in 10 or so years, we’ll see our openness backfire on us, or will we become even more social?
A natural part of growing up for most of us is the loss of imagination. It doesn’t totally disappear, we just stop using it as much or start using it in different ways. Instead of imagining being an astronaut and flying to the moon we imagine that two-story house with the white picket fence. Our dreams are more down to earth. I think that’s why books that have magical qualities, books that stretch the imagination and push it to its limits are rare in books written for adults. There are obvious exceptions. For example, sci-fi and fantasy genres are full of magical and imaginative settings, characters, and adventures that take us to our youth. When you look at those books though, those are targeted to a specific set of people, people who never lost that great imagination. It’s rare that something will grab the mainstream and make us feel like kids again. The Lord of the Rings, thanks to the movies, found a new generation of fans. The Harry Potter series made adults remember what it was like to be a kid. Those seem to be exceptions to the rules though.
A couple years ago I read a book entitled The Iowa Baseball Confederacy. It was written by W.P. Kinsella, the author of Shoeless Joe (which became the excellent movie Field of Dreams). This is one of those books that is so over the top and out of reality that it makes you feel like a kid again. It makes you feel the magic as you read it. It’s not only about that though. No, not unlike Shoeless Joe, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy also has deeper meaning, and that is about a young man’s relationship with his dead father. The setting is in Iowa where a young man is trying to save his family’s legacy that a game played by the Iowa Baseball Confederacy All-Stars and the Chicago Cubs was played in 1908. No one remembers it ever happening, and there is no proof of this game ever existing, except in the main character and his dad’s heads. What ensues is a story so magical that you can’t help be caught up in it. It’s so good, I just started reading it again. Do yourself a favor, forget you’re an adult for a day, or maybe two, or three, and pick up this book, or any book that hits you with that same type of magic that you felt when you were a kid. It’ll be worth it, if only for a short while.
Do you ever watch television and in the credits you see Special Guest Star and then the person’s name? Then after all they list all of the special guest stars they list the people that are Guest Starring. My question is, when you’re an actor, when do you go from being a “guest star” to a “special guest star?” Is there like a check list worked into the SAG contracts? “Once the actor has met these qualifications they move from Guest Starring to Special Guest Star. Do actors aspire to make this leap? Is there a pay increase with this change in title, and if so, is it a percentage, or how is that worked out? I get that the actors that are deemed special are usually more well-known, but I can’t help but wonder, who makes the decision on when you can make the switch. Who decides that you are now mainstream enough to be classified as special? One person may be more well know to some than others. In fact, I know I’ve seen television shows where the special guest stars weren’t all that famous, but had been around (Hollywood, the producers, directors, or writers of the show) long enough to be deemed special. It’s things like this that keep me up at night (not really).
You know, it’s funny what a young man recollects. ‘Cause I don’t remember being born. I don’t recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don’t know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. Oh wait, that was Forrest Gump, not me. It really is funny what you do remember though. The past couple nights I’ve fallen asleep listening to music. Then I remembered something that for some reason always in the back of my mind. When I was really young I remember being at my Grandma and Grandpa Schepker’s house. They had cable and we didn’t. I remember watching MTV. Now, I couldn’t have been any older than 9 at the time. I was probably younger. I remember watching a black and white music video there. What stuck out in my mind about it was how the video was shot. Not only was it in black and white, but there were a lot of unfocused close-ups and what I would now call “lazy” camera work. This was intentional. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the same style of camera work that made the tv show NYPD Blue famous. Those things, and not who was on the video, made an impression on me. Years later, after seeing that video again, I realized that it was a video for a song called “Brenda’s Got a Baby” by Tupac Shakur. Those who know me know I’m a huge Tupac fan. It’s funny how I was connected with him that young, years before I became a fan of his music and it’s funny that I would still remember seeing a single video over fifteen years ago. It was a good video though.
My favorite channel on XM is The Rhyme: Hip Hop from Day One. It’s an old school hip hop station. After listening to it almost exclusively since I got XM, I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m getting old. Real old. It used to be that old school was applied to the ranks of Kool G Rap, Eric B and Rakim, Kurtis Blow, Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, and other artists from that forgotten era. Every once in a while you’d see some late 80’s and early 90’s artists in the mix, like Tone Loc, NWA, and others. What made me realize I’m old is I was listening to the station one night and Tupac’s “Me Against the World” came on. Tupac is now old school?!?! I grew up on Tupac! How can he be old school unless… I’m old! More and more I notice that the songs I grew up on are hitting the old school stations and mixes. When did Leaders of the New School become old school? When did Snoop and Dre and Bone become old school? I’m going to be 25 in April. A quarter of a century old. Wow. I might as well retire now and go around yelling at little kids about how their music today sucks (it does) and how everything was so much better in my day (it was).