Stuff People Seem To Like #5: H1N1/Swine flu

14 11 2009

Don’t get me wrong. People don’t really “like” swine flu, H1N1, but they sure are obsessed with it. I think I darn well might have it right now. Every respectable health source I’ve looked at seems to be indicating that the standard flu isn’t here yet and most cases of the flu that are surfacing right now are in fact H1N1. (Don’t quote me on that, however.)

I suppose I should go to the doctor, but what’s the point? The most I could hope for is a dose of Tamiflu and at this point, I’m not sure if it would really help. I’m just going to ride out this awful, awful storm. Now, you may be wondering what this flu experience is like. Here’s my personal experience with this mystery respiratory ailment:

On Monday night of this week, I started feeling chilly at the office. My coworkers reassured me that it was cold inside, I wasn’t getting sick, etc. But I felt like something was not quite right. I made it to work on Tuesday and  continued to worsen, but still wasn’t all that bad. It was raining pretty hard that night and I returned to my apartment soaking wet. After drying myself off, I collapsed into bed. By the next morning, Wednesday, I could hardly get out of bed. I was so sore, my chest was heaving and wheezing, and I was having trouble breathing. My tonsils were swollen and were collecting tonsil stones, which added to my sore throat. I hadn’t had this tonsil problem in probably a year. In short, I could barely make it the few feet across my quasi-loft apartment to contact my colleagues, much less go to work.

I’ve read unsubstantiated rumors that H1N1 attacks the lungs first, versus the upper respiratory tract as in most ailments. That seems to jive with my experience, as I’ve never heard my lungs wheeze like that before. It also theoretically  would make it pretty dangerous for people with athsma. The CDC advises people with lung problems to be cautious and seek help immediately if they come down with flu-like symptoms.

Anyway, I rode out Wednesday night and felt hungry, so I went out for a quick dinner and drinks (one alcoholic, two cranberry virgin). I felt fine, and thought the worst was over, but felt like collapsing as I walked across the street to my complex. That night was the worst of the worst, as I shivered nonstop for about eight hours. Thursday settled down a bit but I had no food or good drinks in my fridge, so I summoned the energy to go shopping that night. I made it back without too much trouble, but was pretty much a rock. On Friday, I decided that I would just take the day off and then ride out the weekend.

Unfortunately, my coworkers alerted me to the fact that Friday was also the deadline for health benefits election. This time, it was mandatory, no skirting, no exceptions. So I summoned my last reserve of energy and slowly trudged to work to do my benefits election. It became clear that I was not capable of making it through a full day of work. I had a terrible coughing fit and almost thought I might have a fit of vomiting. I calmed my queasy stomach and downed as much water as I could, and blew my nose and coughed until things settled down. Then I finished the deed on my computer, e-mailed myself some crucial notes and got the Dickens out of there. I thought it ironic that I had to put my health and others’ health at risk in order to get health benefits. Life is funny that way.

I’ve retraced my steps for the past week, trying to ascertain when I was exposed. I was around a lot of crowds the past weekend and could have theoretically picked something up at that time, but none of my compadres who I hung out with last weekend are feeling the way that I do. Thank God for that. So how did I get so sick? Hard to say, but I’ll be happy to have some semblance of immunity if I make it through this unscathed.

My consolation is that symptoms should be improving starting on days 4 and 5, namely this weekend. I doubt that I’ll be able to join friends and colleagues in partying it up, but hopefully things will be a bit more comfortable. Which is good, because I miss drinking beer and not having such a remarkably short fuse.

Did I mention the mood swings? I have felt horrible both physically and mentally. I am the kind of person that likes to live life to the fullest (yes) and to be in this kind of shape is torturous and causes my thoughts to drift in unhappy directions. I’m trying to think about joyous things, like looking over my vacation photos and planning future trips abroad. Anything to get my head in the clouds and out of the dumps. I’m certain that by the time I am better, I will be a new woman and I will be prepared to take the world by storm. Until then, I wait.

And there you have it. I have once again bared my soul, and perhaps shared too much about my innermost feelings, and I will probably apologize for something I wrote here. But hey, at least it’s cathartic. See you on the other side of the dark side of the moon, world.





Now you go chase that dream

14 11 2009

I have had a case of the flu for the past few days and it’s gotten me down a bit, but it’s also given me a chance to think about things that are awesome. In particular, I was feeling Star Trekky the other morning (jotting down Captain’s Logs and calculating the actual stardate) when I saw the story of how infamous “last lecture” professor Randy Pausch loved the Trek universe. He got a cameo in the latest movie, even, as well as a small clip of his voice in the film.

Pausch got a signed photo and momentous quote from William Shatner, the prototypical edition of the elder James Tiberius Kirk:

Over the years, some of my sophisticated academic colleagues have turned up their noses at my Star Trek infatuation. But from the start, it has never failed to stand me in good stead.

After Shatner learned of my diagnosis, he sent me a photo of himself as Kirk. On it he wrote: “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.”

I got to thinking about this guy who dealt with a terminal illness with so much courage and how I was sitting here miserable, thinking that this flu (probably H1N1, let’s not beat around the bush) may never go away. Paush did push-ups and all sorts of demonstrations of his strength during his 2007 speech. He was dead just a few months later. But he took that time in stride, carefully analyzing all the things he’d dreamed about doing as a child. He succeeded at a lot of things and would never get a chance to do others.

So, at the risk of sounding a bit dreary and morbid, I’d say let’s use every minute that we have healthy and alive. If I do sound a bit melancholy, blame this mysterious flu.





Dragon*Con redux: Part Deux: The Recap

9 09 2009
 


Thriller creep

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

So just a few days ago, I made my third expedition into Dragon*Con. As usual I was overwhelmed by the schedule, the possibilities and my own physical limitations. It is difficult to stand up for hours and wander around. Heaven forbid that you are wearing a sweaty Klingon outfit and carrying a bunch of memorabilia around. I’d hope these folks have a hotel room that they can retire to.

The impression that I get is the 2009 event was the largest ever. It was super-crowded. We got to do a few things and it was fun, but we had to fight a little and be smart about it. No doubt, the fact that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were making appearances must have drawn in the crowds by the thousands. It was, by all accounts, a magical exchange. I was at work, but I was there in spirit. Now, if only I cared about all these newfangled shows the kids are watching. Im an old-school Trek and TNG fangirl. Buffy, Babylon and Battlestar don’t really do it for me. And the new Star Trek movie? I have to admit, it was a bit of an affront.

I managed to get myself up for the parade (my second year doing this) and enjoyed it, although it was much harder to see than last year. After that, we objectified ourselves by looking at wings, masks, corsets, bellydancing suits and other geeky and nerdy thingamajigs. It was good because one of our non-Con-membership-$$$ friends was able to sneak in with us and buy some things, thus helping the tourist E-Con-omy — someone who otherwise wouldn’t go. That’s how we justified it; I think it’s just like how BART overcharges for travel to SFO airport — because tourist dollars are sought after more than resident dollars. When the Patrick Stewart line had gone through (our mouths were agape at the fact that it stretched through the Marriott and into Peachtree Center mall), I asked the ushers if I could get inside and we lucked out. Captain Picard was on fire, exchanging hot remarks with the Trek Trak show hosts with the sharp, barbed wit of a bald, Shakespearean science fiction actor. We sought coffee and were immediately besieged by geeks with cameras and horrible pickup lines. 

After that, we marched around some of the show areas where art is on display and went to see a concert by Abney Park that was right in the middle of the Hyatt ballrooms. The fire marshall was literally pacing back and forth like Darth Vader, and his D*C minions were adamant that people were to “keep moving” and not linger in the area around the concert. Clearly the demand exceeded supply. I don’t know why the fire marshall didn’t don a villainous constume, because it would have befitted his cretinous ways. I was tired at that point and could hardly see what was going on because the crowd of ewoks and other ridiculousness had gotten thick. I heard some clapping and cheering going on. Turns out, there was a marriage proposal during the concert. Too bad I couldn’t hear. But, congratulations to the lucky couple. We had run into a coworker who was working on a video piece about love and romance at Dragon*Con (not as much of an oxymoron as it seems) and we let him know about this as well.

The rest of the time around then is a little fuzzy. At a later point we were wandering around the art show. And at still another point, we attended a panel discussion by some people who worked at Battlestar Galactica (but were not key players like writers or actors). In the words of a friend, they “towed the company line” in regards to fans’ questions and disappointment about the series ending. I didn’t know what they were all talking about, but I enjoyed getting this sense of the kinds of reactions fans get to work that people put out, as well as a way NOT to act when receiving criticism and affection from devoted followers. It was enlightening nonetheless. I also remember we tried to sneak into the Leonard Nimoy panel just as we did with Patrick Stewart only to find that it was canceled. Oh well, at least we didn’t have to wait in line to find out.

And then, sometime later in the evening, we went to go get some food and had some geeky conversations, and then we attended a panel on skepticism (a bit baffling to me coming from a crowd of folks dressed in Spandex alien suits), followed up by a “filk” concert by Tom Smith. I always forget what filk is, but it’s basically a geeky version of folk music. The music guests that I saw were a lot better last year. Voltaire and folk duo Paul and Storm were there. I know the latter joined the likes of Jonathan Coulton and Wil Wheaton at Penny Arcade Expo this year. Hey, I can’t blame them for wanting to go to Seattle. In fact, I’m thinking if I do a Con again, I might seek out a change of pace by heading out West instead of looking outside my back door.

After that, or maybe before that, my memory fails me, we had some time to kill and went in search of amusement. We found it in a tiny, dark room showing bizarre films. We watched the last act of “Black Sheep,” an apparently foreign film (Australian? I’m going to get myself in trouble here…) about evil mutant sheep that attack humans and try to turn them into additional members of their kind. Yes, I said evil mutant sheep. The film is a hoot. After that, we saw the beginning of a horrible movie about lesbian vampires. Meh. It was kind of entertaining, though.

We closed out the night with a rousing concert by Cruxshadows, a funhouse-mirror reflection of Depeche Mode; I would describe it as the band’s brooding, younger, goth-ier brother — the one who cuts himself for attention. No, but Cruxshadows rocked the carpeted ballroom floors in stylish fashion. The band isn’t all that well-known, so they were hungry to bond with fans. That made this a great show. The lead singer dude came into the audience right in front of us on a couple of occasions, standing on a chair in one instance and doing some sort of a dance in another. And then at the end, everyone jumped up on stage and the singer picked up a young child that had been sitting on someone’s shoulders (!) much to the crowd’s excitement. Everyone was singing along and it was awesome.

That was the conclusion of day one. Day 2 found me sleeping in, going to a brunch at Straits in midtown, venturing out to the Decatur Book Festival, and then heading back intown just in time to join the world’s largest thriller dance. It was chaos when I got there and I almost didn’t get to dance. They were only going to let the first 1,000 go in, and they weren’t giving out any more ribbons. I was lucky that someone in the gift shop heard my pleas for a ribbon and mentioned that her pelvis hurt too much (or something along that line) and soon I found myself with three ribbons in the 400 group. And thus I had admission for my friends as well. It was a good time. The way I see it, the count is MORE accurate this way, even if it’s not the same person.

The dancers included a giant Michael Jackson single shiny glove, Cookie Monster in an orange jacket, storm troopers, zombie Elvis and some other colorful folks. It was a good time. The dance was more involved than I thought. I tried to recreate it for my coworkers the next day when we went wading in a fountain near the office, but was not very successful. That MJ. So talented was he. And such a great zombie.

And then more dinner and talking and a little more gawking and soon I was back at home, celebrating and mourning the end of my Con experience at the same time. Maybe next year I’ll go to PAX in Seattle for a change of scenery. Maybe not. I’m certain that there’s something magical about Dragon*Con and I hope it stays that way.





Dragon*Con redux part I: My Con history

9 09 2009

Star Trek Experience
  

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

The wonderful magical microsociety of Dragon*Con, contained entirely within the mazelike confines of three connected hotels and one satellite a few blocks away, is something I think everyone should experience once. Do it, if only to get in touch with your inner geek and your secret furry. Everyone has one lurking inside, I like to think. There has to be a part of you that yearns to don a cape and prance around as if you were faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap freight trains in a single bound. If you don’t, you’re probably not much fun to be around anyway.

I remember being an outsider who had never been to a Con save for a couple Star Trek conventions when I was a preteen. It was all for research I was doing for a class, mind you. I remember stuffing myself into the circa-1970s orange bleachers inside the Phoenix Veterans Memorial Coliseum so I could listen to Garrett Wang from Star Trek: Voyager, and John DeLancey, who played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I found both actors’ schpiels to be engaging and expected such from all cons afterward.

I also had high expectations from having seen “Star Trek: The Experience” at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel, long before the forces of economy and practicality took away one of these old holdovers from Sin City’s drunken flirtations with family-friendliness, whimsy and imagination.

Having long ago left my preteen years in another galaxy, seeing these geeks (an affectionate term) standing on the train platform took me back to those geeky days of my youth when I used to thumb through an encyclopedia of information about “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” There was a time when I could describe the plot of every episode in great detail and tell you all about the various quirks and life stories of each character. I don’t know what happened to that part of me, but I don’t have it anymore and I kind of want it back. Looking at these current-day con lovers made me wish I was one of them. Not to mention that marveling at powerful superheroes’ ordinary means of transit made me laugh. Hard.

Another thing that’s important to consider is that Labor Day weekend is a busy one in Atlanta, and it’s a time when you might find yourself with a decked-out football fanatic on one side and a storm trooper on the other. One year I passed the time on my 45-minute trip intown by making interesting conversation with a chatty pirate’s wench. She had a lot to say about piracy and about life in general. I wished I’d had the gumption to capture that moment on film.

At some point, I’d seen enough of this fantastic tomfoolery and decided I had to be part of it. I decided to give it a shot. The journey began by standing in line for about an hour to buy tickets onsite. Lucky me, I could by a second year’s membership to Dragon*Con for just $10 more (or some ridiculous sum like that). So I did, and by that point, I was locked in for two years of this wonderful nonsense.

My first year at Dragon*Con, I approached the scene with a lot of trepidation. I went by myself into the wild and wooly crowd, armed with a camera and the excuse that I was just a journalist passing through. I told myself, “This year I’m just documenting a scene.” I opted to remain a detached observer of the absurdity around me.

My second year was the best. I had a plan. I even brought an iReport kit with me and interviewed people. With the help of coworkers and friends, I saw quite a bit of things and had lots of fun. Not to mention, I took way too many pictures. Afterward, I made my television debut talking about the event with a viking hat on.

My third year’s expedition to Dragon*Con was predated by an exhausting run through San Diego Comic-Con, which is a totally different animal and yet much the same. The focus is on comics primarily and it’s about twice as big, but not necessarily as cool or fun. I think at some point I just got a little tired. I realized that the Con experience has its limits. I look forward to it, and at the same time, I know that I will be fatigued and frustrated by it.

I’ll want to kick myself, but I’ll go to another con, and I’ll enjoy it. That’s the way it goes. After all the lines and crowds and odoriffic science fiction costumes around you, the memories are what remain.

It’s a unique thing, something you can’t really get anywhere else, and a surreal exploration of that part of us that still likes to dress up and pretend to be someone else. I hope that we can all dig deep and find it within ourselves, even if we wouldn’t be caught dead in Spandex.





Sunday schedule

25 07 2009

I’m planning my schedule RIGHT NOW on the Internet access enabled plane ride over. My belly is full of pretzels, cookies (yes, pretzels and cookies), and cherry Coke (yes, Cherry Coke, on a plane, with refills) and I’m in the right frame of mind. Saturday is up in the air. I don’t have a ticket, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily going to stop me. 🙂

Sunday, I do have a ticket. It’s a short day, so we have to make it count.

Subject to change at any time, below are the programs that I’m eyeing to attend. Of course it won’t be possible to attend them all, but I think I’ll get a well-rounded day.

10:00 a.m.: Tie between Comic-Con film school (postproduction) and the Dr. Who panel. Also Phineas & Ferb.

11:00 a.m.: Lots of great stuff including Women of Marvel, American Dad and Emily the Strange. Also some cartoon voices.

11:30 a.m.: Newspaper editorial cartoonists. I’d love to go to this, but don’t think I”ll make it.

Noon: Random stuff. Good time for lunch.

12:30: Scooby Doo

12:45: Marvel video games? Some recognizable names on that one…

1:00: Ghost Whisperer stars panel will have a few big-shots. Expecting hard time getting in.

1:00 alternate: Comics in Museums

2:00: Future of HP *or* BBC America (Being Human/Torchwood)

2:30: Ethnographic analysis of Comic-Con attendees

3:00: Starship Smackdown

3:30: 501st costuming

4:00: Buffy the Musical





25 (or more) things to do in PHX and ATL (done and not done)

4 01 2009

Here’s a rundown of 25 fun things I’ve done in Phoenix. I have started this way to get the creative juices flowing, outing-wise, and I’ll be throwing in Atlanta next and THEN will get into the things I’d like to do.

  • Stroll the Heard Museum or the art museum
  • Visit the Botanical Garden
  • Visit the zoo
  • Ride the light rail
  • Walk through Steele Park
  • Eat Mexican food
  • Go to Wildlife World Zoo
  • Take a historic house tour
  • Browse old-town Scottsdale
  • Grab a tea at Tempe Marketplace
  • See a ballet or performance at Symphony Hall
  • See a performance at ASU (or browse the art museum)
  • Have Japanese food fire-grilled in front of you at Ah-So
  • Stroll by the side of Tempe Town Lake (and catch a concert there or get a gelato)
  • Dance at one of the Mill or Scottsdale clubs
  • Grab a daiquiri at Fat Tuesday’s
  • Go to a ballgame at a field or arena
  • Hike at one of the mountain parks (North Mountain or Squaw Peak)
  • Visit Lake Pleasant or Woods Canyon Lake
  • Browse the Biltmore Fashion Park or Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • See a movie at the Cine Capri (in the BIG theater)
  • See a show at the Orpheum
  • Go to the Arizona Science Center or history museum; heritage square in general
  • Browse the Burton Barr library
  • Browse Encanto Park and kiddieland
  • Attend a marching band festival
  • Go to Organ Stop Pizza and eat, well, pizza
  • Gawk at the funky sculptures in downtown Mesa
  • Ride the roller coaster at Castles & Coasters
  • Hall of Flame
  • World’s tallest fountain (Fountain Hills)
  • Rawhide
  • Indian Casinos
  • See a show at the Valley Art Theater or the Camelview theater
  • And here is 25 things I’ve done in Atlanta:

  • Attend a show at the Shakespeare theater thingy
  • Wander the Atlanta Botanical Garden/Piedmont Park
  • Visit Zoo Atlanta and wave at the panda
  • Walk through Grant Park
  • Georgia Aquarium, Coke Museum
  • Ride MARTA around town
  • See an Improv show at Dad’s Garage
  • See a local play or production
  • Traverse the establishments on Crescent Street
  • Wander Little Five Points and Candler Park
  • Visit a bar in the Virginia Highlands
  • Drive along the edge of Lake Lanier
  • Stroll through Oakland Cemetery
  • Eat dinner at South City Kitchen
  • Grab a delicious hamburger at the Vortex or Five Guys
  • Stone Mountain
  • Six Flags
  • Visit Criminal Records and see a performance
  • Attend a sporting event
  • Wander around Emory University
  • Eat at Sundial
  • See the Big Chicken
  • Visit Discover Mills/Medieval Times
  • Luckie Lounge
  • CNN Center
  • The Varsity
  • See the breakdancers at MJQ
  • Grab a drink at the Trader Vic’s in the Hilton
  • Drink beer at the Brick Store pub
  • Whirlyball in Marietta
  • See a show at the Tabernacle
  • See a movie at the Plaza Theater
  • Go to the Atlanta Puppet Theater
  • Here are 25 things I’d LIKE TO DO in PHX

  • Taliesin West
  • Arcosanti
  • Modified Arts
  • Browse Stinkweeds
  • See a show at the Marquee
  • Visit the Roosevelt
  • First Fridays
  • Eat at Casey Moore’s
  • Visit the revived Gold Bar
  • Find some more awesome Mexican food
  • See a piano duel at the Big Bang
  • Visit the new Cafe Boa
  • Eat at Matt’s Big Breakfast
  • Chicken and waffles
  • See if Pizza Bianco lives up to the hype
  • Heart Attack Grill
  • Police Museum
  • Mystery Castle
  • Find the chopper crash memorial in Steele Park
  • See the “Mofles Museum”
  • Visit the rock & mineral museum
  • Melted Weapons sculpture
  • Hunt’s Tomb
  • Louis Lee’s Rock Garden
  • Metal Corral in Anthem
  • And here are 25 things I’d LIKE TO DO in ATL

  • Check out Loca Luna and the Tongue & Groove
  • Get into Opera for once
  • Do the art walk
  • See a show at the EARL
  • Eat at Parish
  • Go to the DeKalb Farmers Market
  • Take a dance class at the studio in Decatur
  • Take a historic homes tour
  • Eat a Ghetto Burger
  • Visit the Clermont Lounge (heh heh)
  • Trivia Night at Manuel’s
  • Yellow River Game Ranch (near Stone Mountain) or the Kangaroo Conservation Center (Dawsonville)
  • Go to the Atlanta History Center
  • Go to the Natural History museum… the one on Clifton…
  • Walk through East Atlanta in general
  • Taqueria del Sol
  • Spend some time at Lake Lanier
  • Visit the Hooch somewhere
  • Chastain Park amphitheater
  • See a show at the Fox Theater
  • Go to the Fish Market and see the giant fish
  • Go to that Blue Line cafe or whatever it’s called where they cook your food on rocks
  • Dante’s Down the Hatch
  • Track down Lord Dooley at Emory
  • See the White House replica
  • Waffle House museum
  • Kennesaw State University and the Spaceship Earth sculpture
  • Segway tours
  • Gingerbread Party (it’s a holiday thing, can do in 2009)
  • Kraftwork craft session
  • Eat at Papi’s
  • Margaret Mitchell House
  • Dialog in the Dark
  • Museum of Contemporary Art GA
  • Mall of Georgia
  • Buford restaurants
  • Korean karaoke
  • Karaoke in general (well I’ve done a little)
  • Hang out in Marietta Square
  • See a show at the Variety Playhouse and Seven Stage




  • Upside-down tree

    28 12 2008



    Upside-down tree

    Originally uploaded by N-Sai

    Talk about OTT holidays. That’s OVER THE TOP for you whippersnappers. You see, there is a home in north-ish Phoenix that regularly hosts a massive indoor holiday lights display. I decided to visit this year and found it amazing. We tried to go during the day but it was frankly scary as hell, so we left and came back at night.

    The owner came out wearing a full-on elf suit and the lights were totally up and shining, so we decided to go in. It appears that the place normally has an Egyptian theme (complete with life-sized sarcophogi), but during the season of sharing, the whole place is done up like Santa’s workshop. So… enjoy. (Here’s all the “decorations” tag pics)





    Someday, the Internet will be a virtual world.

    23 07 2008

    It’s going to happen. At least, I kinda hope it will.

    One day we’ll log onto the Internet and we’ll be able to customize our view and our environment to suit us. It will be a virtual world and we’ll operate within one tiny sphere of it.

    The closest physical embodiment of the Internet is the universe, because the World Wide Web is bigger than any one of us and already may indeed be bigger than this planet. Someday we will explore beyond the earth and the confines of a single rock in space will not be big enough to hold all the information we possess.

    The Internet could be represented as a field of stars, with sites occupying planets and being grouped into galaxies, solar systems and the like. In the case of an errant supernova, nearby orbitals would of course not be affected.

    We’ll travel between these faraway places using what I would best describe as “spaceships” (guided by maps of course) and we’ll explore planets using transit provided on the surface and by exploring via flight or foot. Generally the “planet” idea will be mostly a representation, as only a small portion of the planets will be inhabitable, if at all. The concept of scale comes into play here, too; Second Life takes place on land because it has to be walkable, and comparable to something from the real world. In this universe, scaling is a challenge.

    Some data bits from older Web sites and such will remain as searchable pods. With existing search technologies, we’ll be able to read the Metadata of planets and pods and orbitals and satellites and such and find our way around much the same was we do the current Internet.

    The Web will still exist as a data-only form, but increasingly, sites will have a virtual form. Older sites will be grandfathered in and posted into pods. People will give up their cheesy “homepages” and opt for houses like you see in Second Life. Information will be presented in browsers and displays similar to what we already have, but the browsers will integrate seamlessly with the environment.

    Multimedia will be an afterthought; we’ll have built-in chat, video and music capabilities that far exceed what we have today. The whole system will be upgradeable, modular and open-source; you’ll be able to view the Internet as you like and even put skins on it so it looks like what you want: the universe out in space, an aquarium with fish, a golf course.

    The idea as I see it is to take current information and make it viewable in the virtual world, while at the same time creating virtual-specific environments. Information will be classified as nuggets in a hierarchy that is standardized and compatible with backwards standards. Programs will emerge that will either define or work within the confines of these standards. Many different services will do battle, and only a few will emerge as victors.

    In order for a plan like this to work, the Internet from circa 1993 should work seamlessly alongside the Internet from Now.

    The current vision of the virtual world, as a sort of fantasy life that is separate from the real world (and at the same time very similar) will continue to be valid, but will operate as its own society within the greater virtual society. Specialization will grow in the fantasy worlds and they will cater to certain kinds of clientele. The greater virtual world will serve as a pathway to steer people to where they want to go, and a platform upon which sites will create their own environments. Second Life, for example, would seamlessly integrate with the greater virtual world while remaining separate from it. Sites like Facebook and such would be emulated in a virtual form and people’s personal sites would be a matter of choice.

    Where to start? The first obstacle is technology, and then comes old habits. Perhaps a virtual world like Second Life is the future, or perhaps something else is. It’s hard to tell what will happen, but something will happen to visualize the Internet.

    The first step, I think, is coming up with a way to quantify the current Web. Perhaps sites could be viewed as fish in an aquarium. The trick is to have a virtual world that operates within these parameters and is searchable — enough to make the head spin — and is compatible. This world cannot be owned by one company to survive. It must be open-source and malleable according to different developers’ involvement. Innovation, while occasionally painful, will be required.

    Why do I think about these things? I should go to bed now; a long day awaits.





    Lengthy List of Observations

    15 10 2007

    1. I’ve discovered one key issue with social networking sites: they require some form of socialization with a network of some sort, and we’re not necessarily talking about Cartoon Network. This can be a tricky affair, even for someone as super awesome as myself.

    2. Stone Mountain Park = Piedmont Park + Mt. Mount Rushmore / Cracker Barrel

    3. As mom points out, Stone Mountain is a lot like the Grand Canyon, albeit slightly less grandiose: It’s that one symbolic thing that you have to see, and yet many people have yet to see it. I finally saw it on Saturday, and it was, you know. Interesting.

    4. A coworker attempted earlier today to explain the difference between a “block” and a “trap.” I still have no idea what he was talking about.

    5. Then again, if we’re talking about any kind of subject matter relating to No. 4, you can bet for absolute sure that I have no idea what we’re talking about.

    6. Everything closes so dang early on Sunday, man. It’s such a DRAG! I guess I might as well be working.

    7. My phone gets so hot when I talk that I feel like I’m going to melt on one side of my head.

    8. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have this issue with bees who slam into the front window, thinking they can pass right through it and then SMACK! Down they go with a little thump on the glass. I like to leave the blinds open and just watch this scene play out over and over again. OK, not really, but that’s what I see when I try to catch a little sunlight. It can be a little weird to hear that when the blinds are closed, but more often than not, they can tell that it’s an impassable surface.

    9. I’ve also hinted before at a possible war of pests. The bees and the spiders are rising up now that the cockroaches have subsided and the rats are pretty much superfluous. Who will be next in this battle of bugs?

    10. Doing laundry is like the worst thing ever. There’s a term for it: “Mount Wash More.” I prefer … there’s no play on Stone Mountain. Drat!

    11. I’m gonna shoot up outta bed at 4 in the morning like “Aha! I must … go … to the … computer!” in my crappy Capt. Kirk At 4 a.m. voice.

    12. I LOVE to slowly bite the heads off gummy bears before devouring their bodies whole.

    13. ASU is ranked at No. 8 in the BCS poll and No. 12 in the AP poll. Why I care about this is beyond me.

    14. I’ve been really getting into the whole standings race, because of all the incredible upsets this season. The drama! The excitement! The exasperated sports writers pulling puns out of their literary arses!

    15. What a season it’s been … Stanford vs. USC was up there with the greatest upsets of all time, marking the point at which we could confirm our suspicions that there were Achilles’ heels afoot in Troy. LSU just got unexpectedly pawed… Clemson was stung by Georgia Tech… there’s really too many upsets to list. The one team I think is giving off that “unstoppable” aura this season is USF: University of South Florida. Those young whippersnappers seem like they can do no wrong. Whether that will last is anybody’s guess. They’re awfully new to this.

    15. Anyway, go Sun Devils!

    16. Seriously, I love reading all the crazy search terms that are bringing people to this site. It’s so awesome.





    Growing up

    29 09 2007

    There came a turning point in my life when I realized I was growing up and there was no turning back. I used to wish that aliens from the planet Zeldar or some other thing from the infinite abyss of Outer Space would land on the earthly soil and jazz things up a little for the human population. As I got older, I started thinking, “You know, that sounds kinda dangerous.” And from then on, a full-scale extraterrestrial invasion wasn’t nearly so attractive to think about.

    And now, I sit with my new Georgia driver’s license (transferred from Arizona) tucked safely in my wallet. I just got it today, and in record time thanks to the efficiency of the state’s “DDS” (not dentists) centers. Normally the DMV/MVD takes way way long, and you sit for extremely long periods of time moving your eyes between a scrap of paper printed with a cryptic letter and number and looking at the little LED signs above the booths that seem to hold the fate of the universe in their screens. You then let go for a while and listen to Robo-Woman of Doom announce the letters and numbers as you visually scan a room full of people who are scary as all heck and possibly are in there because of their vehicular violations. And then there’s the average folks and tons of teen drivers and their parents. (I did see an elderly lady come in that was hunched over and using a walker. She looked as if she could hardly direct her own body, much less a giant hunk of metal. I’m hoping she was accompanying someone else, but who knows.) So hurray for getting in and out of there in a half hour; they called my number so fast I barely got to finish my paperwork at each step before it was time to go on to the next one. And this is the South we’re talking about…

    Now, sentimental sap that I am, I have strange feelings about my new card. The AZ license is gone now, and I’m glad I took a few pictures of it earlier before handing it over. It’s a marvel of beauty, with an image of the Grand Canyon in the background. I still have my learner’s permit with a hole punched in the top. But now I have a real license that reflects my current residence, and the picture actually resembles me this time. That’s a plus. Not that it’s currently much more than a piece of plastic at the moment, but it is now free of that pesky “UNDER 21, YOU GOON” notice that has dogged me for the last three over-21 years. And now, I can start moving forward with various plans that I’ve had in the wings for a while. More on that later.