An artist's rendition of the Internet. I guess dropping super strong acid before creating artwork is still a popular pursuit.
True story - I first heard of the Internet in the summer of 1994. I was in New York for The New Music Seminar, a music industry gathering that has now been gone for years. While walking around the small trade show portion of the seminar, I came across a small pipe and drape booth decorated with a few foam core signs. There where a couple computers on a table. There was no one else there except for me and the girl and guy working the booth.
The guys name was Marc - I somehow remember that. The girls name? I have no clue. But she was cute. So being 24 and single, I ignored Marc and tried to chat up the girl. She started telling me about the Internet and a program they had called Mosaic. She was explaining that Mosaic was a way to view the "World Wide Web" using an easy to use point-and-click graphical interface. But I didn't really care, and my attempts to woo her where going nowhere. So I moved on.
I found out later that Marc's last name was Andreesen. Mosaic changed their name to Netscape, and then Netscape changed the world.
I like the Internet, even though it lost it's "last frontier" romanticism years ago and in many ways has turned into a commodity business. I just saw a commercial for Microsoft IE 8 that practically promises that it's security features are so good that they will save you from yourself. And last week, when I was on godaddy.com buying a URL, I got the same feeling I get when I'm at the car dealership - "Sorry friend, "sucker.com" is no longer available, but "sucker.info" is....and it's on SALE for only $1.99!!!". But of course it's not only $1.99. Checking out at godaddy.com is like being in the auto dealership finance office, except instead of trying to sell you a car alarm, GAP insurance, or an undercarriage sealer, they try to sell you the enhanced e-mail package (Best Value!) or an off-the-shelf e-commerce package. I'm sure many people hit the "purchase" button asking themselves "What the hell just happened? I just got fleeced in my own living room."
But I don't control the marketing & merchandising department at Godaddy, so it is what it is. And though the WAY they sell may not be my cup of tea, WHAT they sell is truly awesome - they help us regular folk easily get our own piece of the most important technological and social development since, I dunno, fire?
I was on Godaddy buying theroadmultisport.com. I'll admit I was doing this to keep up with "Mr. Early Adopter" Kovas Palubinskas who had just bought midwestmultisportlife.com for his blog. theroad.com was taken. theroadblog.com was taken. theothertheroad.com was available, but I deemed it too cleverly based on a joke that only I would find funny. In the end, I'm happy with what I got.
My interest and appreciation of our little blog world continues to grow. I was on the phone with Kovas last week and we where talking about how the blogging community had so many similarities to the punk scene that we grew up in. Blogging is a very "do it yourself" endeavor. So was the punk scene. The content of the average blog tends to be very personal and not overly slick. So was the music we where making. Many bloggers work hard to "give back" through cool product giveaways and contests. We used to put on our own shows and put out our own records. Podcasts like TriTopics are independently produced and distributed in support of the community. The punk scene had a support system through college radio. But most importantly, it's the passion. Both scenes had/have it. I know you can't compare endurance sports to punk rock very easily, but passion is passion.
Triathlon swim start v. punk show. Is there really a big difference? By the way that's me sitting on the side of the stage in the white track jacket...I'm thinking this is 1988.
It's nice to find a new scene that gives back as much as you are willing to put in. And the overtones of the "old days", at least for me, are pretty comforting too.