Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

Ready

I stand on the edge of a precipice, breath in throat, poised to leap into the great unknown. A thrill runs through me, tinged with the shadows of familiar fears and doubts. But on the eve of my old life, anticipation for the breaking dawn steadies my trembling legs. It roots me as it spreads through my flesh and bones, infusing my life blood with a demanding pulse of its own that will no longer be ignored.

And so I jump.

I fall.

I fly.

Filed under: Reflection

Del Close Marathon

The Del Close Marathon starts today in New York City. $25 gets you into over 150 shows running nonstop Friday through Sunday. Come check out my group if you’re in town!

Falling Anvil
Sunday, 12:15 pm
Urban Stages
259 West 30th St (between 7th & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10001

http://www.delclosemarathon.com/

Filed under: New York, Stage

How the Internet is shaping our brains

There is an interesting article in The Atlantic about how the Internet may be shaping our thought patterns. The author makes the generalization (based on anecdotal evidence) that people tend to skim rather than read online, and that our ability to read with deep, sustained engagement becomes impaired as a result. He claims he cannot even read a long article anymore without getting distracted.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but it sounds to me like the author is taking web surfing and multitasking to extremes. I get a lot of information from the Internet, but I don’t consider it a replacement for in-depth magazine/journal articles and books, and I still enjoy delving into a weighty tome for an hour at a time. Or several hours, if my newly arrived copy of Breaking Dawn has anything to do about it. People get information from a variety of media presented at different density levels, and that seems to me like a pretty healthy state of affairs. Sometimes we just want an overview, and sometimes we actually want to learn enough about a topic that we can carry on a conversation with others about it. How deep we want to go just depends on where our individual interests lie.

Admittedly, magazines nowadays (MIT Tech Review being one guilty party) are trying to appeal to the stereotype of a skim-happy public by encapsulating their articles in blurbs at the front of the magazine. Reading these predigested morsels in print, however, strikes me as a waste of time. After all, if I wanted shallow summaries, I could always go to the web site. (Well, actually, I’d check my RSS feed, but that’s beside the point.) If I have gone to the trouble of procuring a physical magazine, with pages I can stare at without getting computer monitor glow fatigue, that conforms to the shape of my grip and doesn’t mind getting rained on or stuffed into a bag alongside sharp metal objects like keys, I’m going to read whole articles. But maybe that’s just me.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Web 2.0 Whatnot

I got an iPhone this weekend, and now I find myself swimming in a sea of Web 2.0 – you know, that lowercase, twitterific, round-cornered, how-is-this-making-any-money, privacy-what’s-privacy thing currently popping up like mushrooms all over the Internet? Yeah, that. There are so many shiny little logos to choose from in the iTunes App store. On which productivity-enhancing widgets will I squander my time on next? So far I’ve sampled urbanspoon, Remember the Milk, Jott, reQall, Bloomberg LP, Remote, and WordPress.

My favorite so far is the location-sensing urbanspoon. No more agonizing over which restaurant to choose – just shake the phone and go eat where it tells you to. Of all the apps I’ve tried, it is by far the most genuine time-saver. Plus, it kinda makes me feel like I’m at the Vegas slot machines when I use it. Come ooon, big dumpling!

Jott, reQall, and Remember the Milk are all web-based personal reminder systems. Jott and reQall are notable in that once you sign up for an account, you can call a phone number and leave voice notes for yourself, which their systems transcribe into written notes that get stored in your account. There’s no speech recognition training (thank goodness), and both services coped fairly well with my basic phone tests. Jott even boasts the capability to transcribe posts and send them directly to your blog. In my mind, that brings drunk dialing to a whole new level. You can also create lists and say which list you want a note added to when you call, so if you are on the go and suddenly remember you need to buy apples, you can call the number and save a reminder to your grocery list. Jott has more open-ended capabilities – sending to other applications like blogs, for example – while reQall can be clever and automatically sort your notes into lists depending on keywords it detects. So if you call reQall and say, “Buy apples,” it will know to store that note on your shopping list without you having to specify which list you mean.

I figured since I already dived in, I might as well check out Posterous, the blog service that lets you post to multiple places at once. Productivity-enhancing, right? Well, the name makes me giggle, anyway, because it looks like “posterior.” Or “preposterous”…but later. I haven’t found an iPhone app for it yet, but I’m sure if one comes out, the news will spread like wild (mushrooms on) fire.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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