Friday, September 08, 2006

early adopter

As you know, I’m pretty much always point man in the vanguard on the forefront of technological innovation. I was rocking a Buick-size vibrating pager back in ’73. While still a mewling, puking toddler, I instructed my caretakers to invest several hundred thousand dollars of my ancestral inheritance to have a working Fremen stillsuit prototype fitted, to efficiently harness and reuse my toxic bodily discharges. My web page had reached over seventy thousand hits daily long before Steve Jobs donned his first turtleneck, and I constructed a rudimentary iPod of twigs and bark at the age of seven. Since then my level of tech hipness has been growing daily, swelling and bulging and festering into a 70-pound abdominal tumor. With teeth and hair. Of pure hipness. Metaphorically speaking.

However, somehow my unerring compulsion to prance majestically on the razor-sharp cusp of the bleeding edge failed me on the subject of blogs. Until about two weeks ago, I assumed that all blogs were complete and utter blollogs blollocks garbage.

Sure, I’ve stumbled across them here and there over the years, but never gone back again and again to read any particular one. The word “blog” alone was grating enough to make me look the other way – and then people started talking about the… ugh… “blogosphere”. I can’t go any further into how I feel about that term, because I’m worried about this vein in my forehead. In short, I never saw any redeeming features to the things until Kim started seriously researching their use for education this year.

All that was by way of admitting that I’m hopelessly behind and trying to catch up. Tonight I found that two people who (whom?) I used to think were pretty cool about 12 years ago have blogs. Perusing these sites has pleasantly reminded me of why I thought their authors were cool in the first place. These two mid-90s heroes of mine are: author William Gibson and Myst designer Robyn Miller. I’m sure everyone who cares knew about these a long time ago, but give me a break, I’m learning. Also for some reason thinking about William Gibson and Neuromancer got me thinking about Dune, hence the picture of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen above. Sorry.


Jinna said...

Simultaneously hilarious and disturbing post. I've tried to erase all memory of David Lynch's Dune from my mind.

albtraum said...

David Lynch aside, Dune is good stuff. The last few books are incredibly boring, but they're all ultimately about a very interesting subject, which is: how human culture transmits itself through time. The books bring up a lot of different ways -- religion, technology, tradition, genetic engineering, telepathy, cloning, drugs -- and so by the last book or two in the series, almost every character contains the memories of thousands of other people from the past in some way. It's sort of like Shakespeare's sonnets, meditating on love and reputation and eternity. Only with sandworms.


Jinna said...

I am a big fan of the first Dune book, though I found it sexist in weird ways (like, not just sexist in normal ways) but maybe that's too obvious to even say. I read maybe four or five about that, but honestly I don't remember them very well.

I have a vague recollection of a Children of Dune miniseries. Am I totally making this up?

albtraum said...

I think I know what you mean about the weird sexism. There's probably some normal sexism in there too. I have the suspicion that if I went back and reread all the sci-fi and fantasy I absorbed when I was a kid, I'd probably laugh out loud at how women are presented (except for in Ursula LeGuin books etc. of course). There were definitely certain authors whose female characters would jump into the sack with anything or anybody on a moment's notice, every couple pages... Robert Heinlein? Piers Anthony? It's been so long I can't remember who the worst offenders were.

Jinna said...

Kind of related, I went back and read The Horse and His Boy a few years ago. I loved this book as a kid, and I was shocked at how racist it is. It was so bad that I had to laugh at it.