February 28, 2004

That Tom.

There are times, there have been several, when Tom Matrullo unwinds his yarn balls of syntax and meaning in such a way as to define the yet-to-be-defined, and to define it precisely. Two dozen posts across a dozen blogs from the rest of us don't sum it up as aptly as Tom can when Tom does.

This, on social software in general, and orkut specifically, is one of those:

"On an only slightly less naive level, software that is social could try to imagine what is involved in the development of a society. I don't think Social Man began when a bunch of australopithecines began swapping cave art faves around a dead moose."

Damn he's good.

February 27, 2004

You know social networks are hot when reporters are too stupid to know what they aren't.

Doc, you have to tell me that this Amazon PriceKut-Chicago Tribune thing is a joke about a joke. Right? Can't be so. Just say that you were foolin' and that you got that little search result to show up in google somehow. Humor me. So I don't think the entire U.S. media has lost what's left of its collective marbles.

Oh dear. A correction has been issued. It really was a real dupe. K-o-o-o-l.

Props to Brian Dear for the fine release.

Why the Gay Marriage Plight Doesn't Equate with the Civil Rights Fight

Ever since I weighed in on Shelley's comments in response to her tought-provoking post about gay marriage, and how it bothers me to see the struggle of gay couples to marry compared (every day this week someplace in the media and blogdom) with the struggle of Black Americans to achieve the bottom-line basic human rights as citizens, as humans even, I've been wanting to write something on the topic. I've been struggling to communicate what bothers me, specifically, about linking the civil rights fight with the gay marriage plight. I have been wondering why it's so hard for me to communicate how heated I get when I hear the comparison made.

I came to the conclusion today that my discomfort over my inability to write about what's wrong with this is justified. Let me clarify: my discomfort with not being able to tell this story exists for a reason. No matter how I say what I have to say, I'm not going to come across as either credible or tolerant. I am both, I think. But words fail to do me justice on this one. You had to be there, as they say.

Let me state, for the record if you will, that I feel happiness for the gay couples who have been commiting themselves for the long haul in San Francisco. I'm still fuzzy on what these new unions should be called. I am also sympathetic to the desire of gay couples to win legal rights as one another's spouses.

I am not happy, however, with the privileges desired by rich, white, Rosie O'Donnell, for example, -- who can afford to hop a jet out to San Fran as easily as she can walk into the nearest fancy restaraunt and dine as she wishes -- being equated with the fight for human rights carried forth by the likes of Rosa Parks, whom Shelley mentions, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

To compare the desire among gays to marry with the "bound-and-shackled, ripped-from-their-country-to-toil-in-servitude, whipped-lynched-raped-WITHOUT-any-protection-under-the-law" experience of those who fought and died as a direct result of the legacy of slavery during the civil rights era, is wrong.

If I can't make the argument effectively, I can at least be a vector for others' discussions on the topic. I wish there were more Black, Liberal, Gay and Straight (upper-case, why not?) bloggers who would weigh in on this. From my searching, I have found most of the commentary coming from the more conservative side of the spectrum. It's an easier call for them.

As for what I've found, I suggest you read some thought provoking blogging on the topic, with which you may or may not agree. Either way, you will probably feel some discomfort around the discussion.


Begging to Differ - Geidner openly compares himself to civil rights activists who faced fire hoses and dogs in the 1960s, repeatedly invoking Martin Luther King and his Letter From Birmingham Jail. Without apparent irony, Geidner writes from law school to complain about stray remarks by professors with whom he generally agrees. Geidner proudly declares the extent of his dedication to the cause, stating, "If securing equality in marriage means we're going to have to stir up a hornet's nest, so be it." Why, if only Martin Luther King had been a blogger, he might have changed the world.

Be careful what you wish for (my title, not the post's) -- My question - my caution - is that such legal victories might postpone societal assimilation of gays, perpetuating hostility that is already dying a natural death. If it is true that American gays in 2003 have an easier time of it than blacks in 1963, we should consider the cost/benefit of raising a generation of workers who resent the boss that "only got his job because he is gay." Consider whether in 50 years it would be better for homosexuality to be "no big deal," or for there to be fully funded Queer Studies departments at every major university, self-segregated social and professional associations, and an army of professional fundraisers loudly insisting homophobia is worse than ever.

Cobb on Ass Backwards Activism - I want to leave that question hanging, but I'm coming to believe that there are a bunch of nutjobs who love living in analogy-land. And in that topsy-turvy universe they can start talking about MLK and unfair discrimination and try to make parallels between this aspect of gay liberation and the Civil Rights Movement. Fair warning, such crap will not be tolerated at Cobb. See also: Cobb on Right vs. Privilege.

I know there are more bloggers out there exploring the underside of the proverbial coin. If you have links, leave em please.

closed eye writing

watching a movie on the inside of my eyelids--i like to do that while I type. It's purple, images like clouds, and yellow eggs inside the face of a monster--yellow eggged eye sockets that glow neon. The monster sproutts eyelashes, thick ones, imagine, thick black lashes over neon gold eyes, oval, and the teeth do come next, with the firey red glowing of lava in the throat of the beast. Nothing really, when you add green ears and a turqouise spiney tail.


The farm is more than pastures, it's the white rail fence and boulders as tall as a healthy man of 35, a picnic table with a checkered tablecloth toss it over the shortest boulder, and the cool pitcher of lemonade and ice sits on the fence post--I wait for it to fall.

February 26, 2004

I get down like James Brown.

I smell like Charlie Brown.

I feel like charlie brown.


I didn't write here today. Guess you could tell. You know, I've been all about trying to gear myself up to write this most recent web site for a client. And, you know, I've been all about having zero energy and -3 motivation. And I've been all about smacking myself for whining about it because I'm happy to have the work, I'm just not happy with myself having no energy.

Last night I went to bed early. I was ready to be responsible. Get my rest. Get up. Get Jenna to school, and then work my ass off all day. No blogging. No flickring. No no no non-grown up sports.

Then I turned on TV and found out that the 1/8 inch of snow we had (which is gone now) meant that all Atlanta schools were closed.

Oh for holy cowedness! Curses, foiled again.

So I worked during the in-between moments, of watching Jenna use her beach toys to build sand castlels of slush on the porch, getting cross with her for no apparent reason other than my own f-ing off that led to this being such an IMPORTANT work day to get stuff done, and being mad at myself for being mad at the snow day.

Hopefully this blizzard that kept everyone locked up all day will be over by tommorrow. I swear. They were getting nervous the whole winter would pass by without a reason to cancel life. But we didn't quite make it.

have a slushy evening.

February 25, 2004

are we there yet?

What's wrong with me lately? Clues? Anyone? It's like I can't accomplish anything unless I'm completely wrapped up in, excited by, pushed to the extreme by, or enamored with something. I used to be able to take a task--any task, name one--and pride myself on how well, how fast, how good I could get it done. All the better that most of the important tasks involving $$ had to do with writing, which was something I was pretty good at, and after so many years at it, something that just kind of happened every day. Never a "writer's block." Never a deadline missed. Jeneane the Machine. Garbage in, Diamonds out.

Not right now. I'm having a weird time. Just weird. I'm missing my buzz. I used to get a buzz out of it from the challenges I'd give to myself. Like, let me give them this little bit extra; they'll love it. Or, Let's see if I can get it back to them this afternoon instead of tomorrow--blow their minds. And so I would. And so they would. And I'd get my merry little buzz, smile, good job, and hop onto the next assignment. Seeing the finished product, weeks later, would always be rewarding as long as I didn't look too closely at what I'd actually written. That always gave me the creeps because I never knew what it would say. I'm a purger. Once I write it, I dump it from my hard head drive.

Anyway, there's nothing here for you. I'm writing this for me I guess. I almost always approach the blogger window empty handed. In this process of reading, writing, and rewriting myself, I figure out what I'm going to say. Usually someplace in the middle.

Every poem I've written here has been written on the spot. Usually in three minutes or less. When I wrote the poem about my dad the other day, I didn't come here to post about that. I came here to talk about my day and my wanderings in and out of social networks.

I stopped and said, "stop going out, go in. go in" and I watched a car go by out of the corner of my eye, from the spot under the piano where I can see through the living room window. I thought about what I had seen. I thought about what I remembered. And it came to me--what didn't I remember?

That's how I write here. I had no idea what this post would say. No idea. But somehow they write themselves and I'm sitting back there in the last seat on the train, and it is only somewhere along the trip that I realize what I'm feeling and where I'm going.

Or not going.

scattered. lost. wondering. wandering.

Also momming

because i have to be one step ahead of jenna, which means, since she's going to eat at my sister's this evening, I have to go find the giant Cheer Bear someplace in this mess, because I promised her I'd bring it, and make sure wishbone is in the car, and pack up PJs so she can get ready for bed before I grab her, her asthma medicines--four to be exact--her vitamins, toothbrush, favorite pen--the one with the feather queen hat on it--her notebook, and then get her uniform ready for school tomorrow, and tights, and don't forget the Kid's Art check and ASP check and the permission slip that needs to be signed for the Dairy farm they're going to visit, and the check for that, and I haven't even signed her up for that yet, but she said last night they're changing the date--no note from the teacher, hmmm--not to mention what's up for summer camp, are we going to figure that out soon, because it's february after all...

Also perseverating

about cash flow, creditors--having not enough of one and too many of the other.
and about April 15th which is right around the corner.
and about the next 20 years of my life.
and about why I feel so tired.

Also wondering

How was it that I woke up, read blogs, and realize the U.S. Constitution's being re-written? You'd think something like that would sound the sirens we hear when there's a tornado headed through these parts. The old Kennesaw Whistle. The ominous horn that wakes you up from a dead sleep and makes you carry your sound-asleep kid to the basement, as if that will make much of a difference when the twister hits.

I didn't hear the sirens? What's up with that?

Also working

Working on a web site re-write for a client. This has not been going well as per my current state of scatter-brainedness.

Finished two cool projects last night for a big client. That's good.

I am truly rapid-cycling between mania and numbness. I'm glad it's not depression, anyhow.

Also playing on Orkut

In the Orkut Ah, Poetry community.

two-minute poetry

Joined Ray Sweatman, the poet with an attitude, on his new flickr group, You Reek of Stale Poetry. Should be fun!

posted this random access piece just now...

mr. rogers?

I wake to
wrap my mind
around invisible lands,
neighborhood upon
talk among shrubs
who gets drunk on the
on the pin-stripe couch
by 5:47 Monday through
Friday, productive 8-5,
stumbles over the fringe
on the oriental rug
on the way up to bed,
who's coveting which
neighbor's wife and
does she give
good covet in return,
who has weeds so high
they obscure the basement
that must be the widow
with the kids, that one,
she can't take care of her
lawn, parties and police
on the weekend,
that's the one with the
wild son,
living out of his car
in the grammar school

we fuck with eachother
this way,
by stepping
off our own
front porch.

Lock me in, further in,
so far in that nothing
is what I feel
no pin-stripe couch
no oriental rug
no parties, no cops,
no touching, no fucking,
no sound, no words,
no you, no me.

February 24, 2004

So... um...


February 23, 2004

Once more, with feeling...

Stewart Butterfield is a stone-cold genius. You heard it here first. Or, well, maybe in the testimonials on his flickr profile. But I'm the first one to say so in my blog. I think. At least today, in her 14th post.

13 posts today. I am manic.

is there a prize for that?


Listen to this.

For the Sicilian Impaired: "Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station."

You better believe it.

And now, My other half.

No wonder I'm confused.

Find yours here.

And thank that genius Stewart for the link.

Flickr in different words

Stewart has a link to eweek on flickr. The difference between what we've seen so far in SS and Flickr is put nicely: Rather than focusing on making connections, as in many social-networking sites, or simply on real-time communication, Flickr embraces the idea of instant media sharing, Ludicorp President Stewart Butterfield said. Its initial focus: real-time photo sharing and collaboration.

Instant media sharing--that's more than text, that's more than pics. Just wait. Music's coming to flickr. I can feel the mp3s just above my left eye socket. And when that transpires mp3s will fly across this truly collaborative community and create a new territory on the map of today's online music scene (or lack thereof). Thank goodness.

Of course, I'm always an optimist.

I'll tell you though, getting image bombed in the middle of a conversation just tickles me to pieces. A way to pass the time for the radically ADD. I can only imagine getting funk bombed or hip-hop bombed.

"The point is to allow people to communicate and collaborate and to experiment in real time," said Butterfield, who dubs Flickr, "Groupware for play."

Tell Stewart I sent you. Trust me, he's waiting for you there.

You'll also find the rapidly flickering flickr flickering thing when you launch the group chat sessions in flickr. More than one flicker-er has dubbed it the seizure-inducing startup thingy.

I hate it when I get this manic

I'm talkingtalkingtalking, writingwritiingwriting, and when you do this in a vaccum disguised as your living room couch through a medium that begs conversation, that would be blogging, well then maybe you--or I as we say in group--maybe I am expecting 3,000 people to answer the 3,000 words pouring from my head into what I perceive to be this bustling metropolis of a blogcity, when really, the fact is, when it comes right down to it, to the nitty gritty I mean, I can hear a pin fucking drop around here.

The Velocity of Beauty - Social Software in Four Minutes


I launched Flickr.

I jumped into the flickr community discussion.

I shared a link to my post about flickr and social software in the chat with Jared, nerochiaro, J David, Shadow, Stewart and a couple of other folks.

They read my post and commented. "No point--I like that," someone said.

I asked where everyone was working from--if the flickr police in CorpUS had visited anyone yet.

Jared, whom I'd never run into before, said he was working at the studio.

I asked what kind.

He said a programming studio. This one to be precise.

I looked around the site, amazed. Do it. Do it now.

I found Jared here.

I looked some more.

And I found one of the points of social software.

A message popped up, and I said yes, and Jared and I are now aquaintances.

And then I found another point.

And a lot of points.

And it took four minutes.

just for the record...

I really like what I just wrote about swapping brain spit.

quote me on that, okay?


[[my mind, obviously still on trepanation...]]

got spedo?

In his post, Social Swimwear, the always astute ex-pat Tom Matrullo asks:

The point of social software, please?

I answer:

That there is no point.

The talk, the term, and the talk about the term are all misleading, and kept me away from the social software party until a couple of weeks ago. I had the "what's the point" bug too. The point of social software itself should not be the point. When it works its way into the discussion AS the point (as it does in many "social software" circles) it devalues what is happening.

The big news is what is happening--what can happen--via social software--as in, social software as a conduit for ____________ (this space intentionally left blank).

In my experience, any tool, any software, is most exciting, invigorating, and powerful when it has the most potential. That is, before it has a point. Before it is defined, confined, featured-up, buttoned-down. It's the space between the earth and the moon before we walked, the time between the first blog post and the Dean campaign in weblog history--it's the beauty of the beta.

So I say, that's the point really.

Orkut was a finished product disguised as a beta. That's obvious to me now because I don't feel the velocity in orkut. My hair isn't blown back. I'm not hanging on. They've waited to long to push the envelope. They gave me a chance to ask, "Now what?" That's too long to stand still on the net.

Unlike my summer home at Orkut, my new condo at Flickr is where I want to spend my time.

You could sit inside of flickr and wonder, what's the point here? What's the point of more communities? What's the point of the "shoebox" where you can store random images--which so far consist of rather inconsequential images? (That is, except for the picture of Joi's head on the well-endowed glitzy and barely-clad body of a Mardi Gras roller skater), my Elephant Poop photo, vacation photos of strange rock formations, and my newest favorite, downtown Cleveland at night.

Could I live without the nightscape of downtown Cleveland?

Tough one to answer. But I think so.

Could I live without elephant poop?

Undecided. Leaning toward no.

I do know that my online life would be less meaningful without the what-next of social software.

I don't know what's next. That's the point.

Maybe what's next is:

When a group forms around a specific ailment or health problem, and we're swapping pictures of rashes, or bumps, or lumps...

When we set up a missing kids group to keep abreast of who to be on the lookout for, share tips for keeping our kids safe, numbers for authorities...

When 26 poets construct a poem in realtime that makes me cry....

When I play around in a chat box and am bodily dragged into a group by another participant, start talking, sharing histories, swapping brain spit, and learning that someone I thought was an asshole really isn't one...

When flickr enables mp3's to be dragged into group chats, and suddenly an ungroup of musicians strewn across the planet, or across a city, can swap melodies, chord changes, rhythm tracks--and then talk about them--building web bands, all for free, all from one spot...

VoIP, Mp3s, Images, Words--those inform this process--this 21st Century Renaissance. The Art, Tragedy, Drama. The Tears, Sweat, Salt. The Literature, Poetry, Jokes, Farts, Pasta Recipes. The Loss, Grief, Support. The Chaos, Organization, Meaning--those are the points along the curve of social software.

There will come a day when all of this names itself. And that name will make more sense than Social Software.

And No horse is needed at all.

can't find it

blogguilt. I have work to do. Big chunks of work.

Large blank spaces need words. Lots of words. Good words. From me.

Don't go to blogger, I tell myself. You're using up all your words there. Don't use up all the good ones. You can't get them bacck. Oooooo. Leave it until later. Go there later. Now, it's time to work.

Stuck. Can't.

Sometimes I have to come here, have to come.

I have to get in to get out.

Uninspired, split, punishing myself. what for? sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will slice my arteries. Bleed. Scrape, tape, drape, shape into something. what. help form me, will you? Give shape to me beyond this. Me the wind with no trees, me a grey backdrop with no sun. what does haze smell like? no fresh droplets, spray; no dry heat, bake.


Take me somewhere, take me there. Take me.

This is the strain of being nowhere.

No wall to push against, no door to hold closed, no one trying to get in, not even me trying to get out.

No Meaning.

Spring is in the Air!

The snow is melting, the trees are budding, and young men's testicles are hanging low...

Can bloggercon be far behind?

More "Con" - to your health

Must have been something I ate.

More "Con" - pros and cons

The Issues Pro or Con site discusses the various sides of political issues. On the site it says:



Great bloggers discuss people who discuss events about ideas.

Con Men

watch out for the slight of hand.

"I can't explain why I trusted them," she said.

Con Mice-n-Men

The Ten Commandments of Con Men -- a how to guide.

More on "Con" -- the con for me.


Lyrics to Con Alma

Todo lo que sueno es tan dulce
Tan dulce como tu
Y sueno con cositas tan lindas
Tan lindas como tu.

Todo lo que ansio es delicias
Delicias para ti
Y pienso en la mas tierna caricia
Que darte con amor.

Quiero tenerte cerca, y en un abrazo unirnos
Y asi pedirte que estemos todo la vida
Labios con labios, alma con alma.

Todo lo que sueno es tan dulce
Tan dulce como tu
Sueno con cositas tan lindas
Tan lindas como tu.

Quiero tenerte cerca, y en un abrazo unirnos
Y alma con alma siempre vivir.

Todo lo que sueno es tan dulce
Tan dulce como tu
Y sueno con cositas tan lindas
Tan lindas como tu.

Quiero tenerte cerca, y en un abrazo unirnos
Y alma con alma siempre vivir.

LOOSE TRANSLATION--thanks google--powered by poetic license and my very limited understanding of Spanish (not to mention English).

Everything I hear is so sweet
As sweet as you
As pretty, so beautiful, as you.

Everything I long for is delight
Delight for you and I.
Think about the tender caress
that sparks my love for you.

I want to hold you close,
to join as one in your embracee
to take you to paradise
where we are one,
Lip to lip, soul to soul.

Every sound is so sweet
As sweet as you
As pretty, so beautiful, as you.
I want to hold you close,
to join as one in your embrace,
for us to live always
soul to soul.

Every sound is so sweet
As sweet as you
As pretty, so beautiful, as you.
I want to hold you close,
to join as one in your embrace,
for us to live always
soul to soul.

one thought

If I were google, I'd wonder why he didn't call it BlogCon from the get go. Well, I'd probably know...