Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hidden Lives

First off: I apologize for the large break I took. Lack of posting is not surprising considering my personality, but it is regrettable nonetheless. Hopefully, with Mr. Rob K living a mere 10 yards down the hall, we can pester each other into posting consistently. I won't bore you with the details of my life and instead will venture forth towards the point of this post.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that there exists a Sub-culture devoted to Barrista-ing (bartenders at coffee shops) and coffee tasting/making. People train and study and investigate everything there is to know about coffee and coffee preparation. You might not be so surprised, as Wine has a subculture much older and more acclaimed that is very similar. The point that arises from this is the fact that there is a COFFEE subculture. Peoples lives are devoted to it. People have devoted their lives to something that I will never know almost anyhting about, will likely never be in the news prominently, and will have no massive effect on the future of humanity. Thousands of people will live and die studying coffee, and had I never stumbled across it, or inquired further when it was mentioned in passing, I would have NEVER KNOWN.

Doesn't that make you think? There are some things out there, that some people will devote their entire lives to and you will never know that such a devotion even EXISTED. You know there are people who spend their lives studying law, politics, medicine, art, or literature. These are all given; they are prominent in american society. However, there are things people devote their lives to that you will just never even hear about.

This is going to be a short post simply because I don't HAVE a point. This is just something that caught in my mind like a fish hook with no line. It tugs and bothers me, but has no real affect, I dont know what to make of it, and I can't rid myself of its barbed point. Should I myself find a subculture like this and devote myself to it? Are these identities less important because they are out of the public limelight or don't affect the masses? Are they MORE important because they are the subtlies that contitute freedom and uniqueness? How does one fall into such a culture? Chance? Luck? Fate?

I do know one thing. I am going to spend some time making sure none of these cultures pass me by. Because who knows, perhaps if I dont look hard enough, maybe the one that calls to me will pass me by.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Funny story:
Years ago a Simpsons episode came out in which it is revealed that Homer's e-mail address is

I thought that was hilarious, so I put the screenname at the top of my AIM buddy list, where it stayed all these years.

Well, the screenname has just come logged on for the FIRST TIME in all of these years... with a profile full of malware download links!

I feel betrayed.

We're BACK

So, I had my 22nd birthday on Monday. I had an incredible time, thanks to my many amazing friends, wonderful family, peerless roommates and breathtaking girlfriend.

What does this mean for this blog? Aside, of course, from the fact that it apparently receives new posts now? Well, it means that I am an old man who needs to observe the habits of other old men. With that in mind, here's a trend that I find disturbing.

I've been hearing a lot of people say "My knowledge/skill set is important and valid, and yours is trivial." This is a pheonomenon you could call a "skills generation gap". I've seen countless examples, here are a few:

1) "X percent of Americans cannot locate Iraq on a map"
2) "Kids can't spell today because they rely on SpellCheck"
3) "People don't write letters or make phone calls, its all texts and im"

And so on and so forth. The first example is probably the most prominent, and is the one that got me thinking.

Does it matter that some disgustingly high percentage of American schoolchildren can't find Iraq on a map? Or that they don't know the capital of Missouri, or the year the Tet Offensive took place, or the 26th President of the United States?

The common defense of the younger generation is "I don't need to know that, because I can just Google it." This defense is met with eye-rolling and exasperated sighs from the Old Guard. And yet, it is completely accurate.

Between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey; 1968; and Teddy Roosevelt.

That took me about 20 seconds. Literally.

What is the value of equipping a person with information that he or she can access instantaneously? If I spent years packing my head with facts, figures, and dates just to save myself those 20 seconds, would that be time well spent?

Now I understand what the critics are getting at. The new generation needs to be informed. We need, more than ever, to understand the dynamics of government and international relations. We need to hold our elected officials to a higher standard than the previous generation did. We need to involve ourselves.

What we DON'T need is an encyclopedic knowledge of trivia. We live in a new era of information availability, an era in which the ability to acquire information efficiently is far more valuable than the ability to memorize facts.