28 October 2007

Tech Geek

I am a tech geek.

Sure, not in the traditional sense of knowing lots about new technologies coming out, or always (read ever) buying the latestGreatest new toys, or even in the sense of being able to fix and rig things to do stuff it's not designed to...
No, i'm a tech geek in the sense that i'm lousy at using technology. I look geeky doing it.

As of late, i've been walking to school a lot and listening to my video iPod... I'm listening to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: The 20th Century, read by Matt Damon (not joking), which makes me a whole other sort of geek, and i just can't quite do it right... I'm constantly getting my sleeve caught on my cord, adjusting the earBud in my ear, or bumping the pause/play/next/volume ring... I'm just a bit crap at walking down the street looking cool bopping on my iPod.

And then, (this email is perhaps becoming a bit too self-revealing, but i shall persevere), i'm also even a tech geek among other geeks... I've noticed that the "iPod nod" is mostly a thing of the past, but there is still a bit of it among late adopters... We, who've only recently discovered the joy of iPod still occasionally recognize each other (perhaps due to our over-earBud self consciousness, or constant crossing of cords) and as we bop & nod by each other (perhaps a little too eagerly) i adopt some false rhythm of an imagined song as i listen to Matt Damon drone away about the dire state of Hispanics during the Vietnam War

***Post date Note: Since beginning this post, i have finished The Twentieth Century and the iPod music world never ceases to amaze me. I love the sensation of creating a soundtrack to my surroundings, but i still clumsily search for a fitting song for each moment... late adopter indeed

17 October 2007

Searching for "yourself"

I have a friend, Ron, in the Program who has enjoyed, at times, playing this 'character' during the course of his life here at Milwaukee. The 'character' is a guy who has just discovered the Internet, is just finding all of these websites and who likes to share with other people his new discoveries: "I was at this website and any word i typed in, it would bring up, like, a million pictures of that thing, i mean, literally, a million, man, can you imagine?"

It's an amusing diversion, but it's recently gotten me thinking...am i still the only one whose sort of blown away by this whole internet thing? I mean this sort of seriously...i was googling myself the other day (does anybody else still do this? if not, don't worry, i've probably googled you recently, so i can tell you about yourself or others who share your same name) and first of all, i was appalled to find that google suggests that when you search "joel seeger" you might instead want to search for "joel siegel". This didn't use to happen, but now it's the first result. It kind of verärgers me.

I remember having a conversation with Dave Wake several years back after i'd met a cute girl at an emergency room... I'd googled her to figure out a little about her, which at the time i thought nothing of, but he informed me that "that's a little creepy." I wasn't convinced, but for the most part i desisted in looking up information on people unless i knew them fairly well, it would strategically help me for some reason (e.g. i'm going in for a job interview with them, or something), or i just really wanted to know more about them.

Anyway, i noticed in googling myself, that my Chips columns were still showing up, but no longer on anything resembling the Chips website. Some other site had co-opted them... When i went to investigate (to see if/who i could sue) they had some sort of disclaimer in their "About Us" section that the copyright for the intellectual content on the website is not theirs and their content is 'spidered' from other websites.

Not only am i continually overwhelmed by the sheer amount of 'information', but how much easier it is to maintain personal relationships with the internet. Before the internet, i would completely ignore my friends for months & years on end, miss their birthdays, steal their pants, i would have to make amends, apologize, or return their pants. Now, i can use the internet to find new friends... so much easier.

Occasionally, i enjoy typing in random words into google... Did you know, for instance, that if you search for "yourself" your first result is a site that tells you how to be yourself? Very useful information. Not only that, but the site that teaches you how to be yourself, wikiHow, can teach you how to do any number of useful things, like make deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs.

12 October 2007

Bright New Day

Greetings faithful reader(s) (Perhaps i have unfortunately downgraded you to checkers, and for that i am sorry).

Here's what's going on in the exciting world of joel. I bought a new backpack. This may not seem terribly exciting to you, but it has changed my Milwaukee life. My previous backpack, which i purchased (had purchased for me, more likely) sometime in the early 90s finally decided it was time to hang it up. Actually, Rex ate one of the buckles and it became one of those 'single-shoulder back packs' that were such a fad in the late 90s/early aughts until they got into heavy drugs and ended up dying in a fiery, quite ugly riot (you remember, PackQuake 2003, i know, it hurts to remember, but we must).

Anyway, i'm back in pack. I can ride my bike again to get to school (i'm not really a good enough bike rider to carry my briefcase/shoulder bag thing), although i haven't yet, as my tires are flat. This situation really came to a crisis when my briefcase/shoulder bag thing started coming unbolted. Each day a new metal bolt thingy would pop off on my way to school. There were a total of 6 and by my last day i was down to 2, one on each side. I knew Ken didn't have much longer to go. So, i headed up to the mall & bought a new bag. I shelled out $8 for it, so i expect to get another 15 years out of this one. It's red, though. Who knows how much longer red will stay popular.

Anyway. That's my news (huh, did you ever notice that the word "news" contains the word "new"? It's like a pluralization of new. "What is new?" "What are news?")

**Note - My shiny new red bag actually ended up lasting me less than a year. I've now bought a new new backpack - 'Swiss Army Backpack' - which I've been using for the past month and a half. Hoping it lasts significantly longer. Don't trust a clearance backpack from Kohls...