Once upon an empty desk...

Far across the Ocean is an empty room I once called home.

As most of you may know, my feet are currently planted on US soil.  It’s true, I’m back in NY, enjoying the last bits of summer.   I hit the ground running two weeks ago and have just now found time to post something.  I’ll quickly summarize what’s going on.

  • I’m currently penning up my dissertation which is due at the end of September, until it’s done, I’m on a strict study regiment so my presence may be a little scarce.
  • Over the past couple of months I’ve taken on a few exciting new challenges.  Among them two archaeological research projects that I’ve designed.  More about them later.
  • I’ve eaten at Tin Pan four times so far, but still feel a deep hunger for more, MORE!
  • I’m balancing my stuffed French toast diet with a very strict Crossfit routine.  It’s extremely satisfying to be back in the game.  I have Eric to thank for that.
  • I’m connected like never before with my new BlackBerry so expect me to embrace Verizon’s wonderful 3G network and exploit the shit out of it.
  • Matthew Good is releasing a new CD on October 6th called Vancouver, but he’ll be streaming it a month early on his website.  What I’ve heard so far is great and I think this may be his best work since 2003’s Avalanche.

Finally, thanks to everyone for the phone calls, emails, text messages and expressions of happiness at my return .  You’ve made my return home feel extremely special and it means a lot to me.

More soon.

Photo of the Day – Severn Estuary Sunset


Severn Estuary, UK
November 2008

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feelthe breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson

The Collapse of Social Interaction?

I live in a world that has seen the unprecedented evolution of communication within a half a generation.

Stop to consider this fact.

If you had told someone twenty years ago that a majority of their conversations in the future would take place in front of a computer, they probably would have written you off as a nutcase. Yet here we are. Look anywhere; look around you- at the cell phone by the bed, shit look at the screen in front of you. Facebook, MySpace, mobile phones, ringtones, profile songs, instant messages, text messages. Were so saturated in the shit we sometimes forget how prevalent this technology really is. Understand that for the first time in history, human beings have the ability to communicate anywhere, anytime and in several different ways with almost no restrictions. But how have we chosen to use this ability? Where has this unprecedented evolution gotten us?

In a world with 6.6 billion people we find the most effective way to transfer information is by not communicating at all. At least not verbally. In this increasingly technological world, we communicate with our fingertips. We omit the subtle complexities of a smile, or the raising of ones eyebrow or the silent but effective implications of body language and cut straight to the chase. Why just talk to someone when you can dedicate a song to them, change your mood, and put up a clever away message all in one fell swoop?

Whatever happened to good old pen and paper? Whatever happened to good old face to face? Do you even remember what you did before you had a cell phone or a Facebook page? Calculate how much time you spend each day in front of a computer and how much time you spend in front of a person and you might be surprised.

By no means am I condemning the evolution of communication. I’m as guilty as the next person. I enjoy talking to my friends overseas or my old roommate in Texas and without technology it might not be possible. My point is to highlight the absurdity of it all. Organizing our top friends? So sorry Jim, but I like 12 people more than you. Buying virtual drinks for what, a virtual buzz? Some websites even offer the option to buy gifts… a 50×50 pixel picture that costs a dollar. But hurry kids, this is limited to only a million and once they’re gone they’re gone. You’re telling me there are actually a million people out there spending money on this shit? Blowing dollar bills on a picture that if you printed it out wouldn’t even fit on the face of a quarter? I bought you this cute dog, fuck me please!

Look how fucking ridiculous we’ve become.

And where are we headed? Are we on the edge of something great? Are we holding a first class ticket into an unimaginable realm of communication and interaction? Could the next few years open the door to a realm of social relations that we never could have imagined? Or are we sliding quickly around the toilet bowl of social retardation ready to flush ourselves into an emotionally impotent and completely incommunicable world?

I don’t know the answer.

Ask yourself this: Fifty years from now are you still going to be checking MySpace? Will you still be organizing friends, posting comments and putting up away messages before you take your dentures out? Will you be buried with your cell phone so those left behind can text you when they are feeling sentimental?

Maybe this is the natural progression of communication. Maybe we have to hike our way through this ultimately pathetic middle stage to reach the next level some sort of golden age.

Or maybe its time to check ourselves and realize what we’ve become.