Sunday, December 31, 2006
This is a longer post. Watch out
TIME Magazine's Person of the Year - You
"The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.
To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.
But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.
And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.
America loves its solitary geniuses—its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses—but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.
Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?
The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.
But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious."
That make me all warm in the heart!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I am afraid of who reads this thing anymore...
Who is spying on me?? Perhaps I will do what Zachary has done of late, make it private. Hm....Then I have to approve you to read it and then no worries, right? I guess it is my fault. I did put the link on my Facebook and Myspace.
I just feel like my mind is being invaded. But then again, that is what a blog does.
There was a comment on Zachary's LiveJournal, "Keep on blogger, we read your posts." Who is that? Was it to me? To Zachary? I'm afraid.
But nonetheless I continue to allow random people to look into my crazed head.
Monday, December 25, 2006
But first, we will backtrack a bit.
Last Tuesday Ian, Merika, Miles, Zachary and I went downtown Chicago for an All-American Rejects concert. After an initial two hour confusion about Miles working we were off. One hour later of many rounds of 20 questions, a few photo shoots and dance parties, we arrived at my wonderful school. I thought I had left it in the dust!
We took the El downtown and shopped around the Art Institute. I was looking for an umbrella for Gabby and her request, but alas, it was not there. Oh well. She's a big girl!
We went up to the north pretty early. I knew the ride would take long and just wanted to get up there. I had never been that far north before, and still we were in the city. It reminds me of how much more I need to explore!
The neighborhood wasn't the best looking in the world, but we found a small and cheap pizza place. I felt like I was grinding people to get my food. It was very good and we got more emo myspace pictures out of it.
Once we got into the Aragon Ballroom, a strangely (and cheap looking) Spanish themed venue, the show began. There were three bands in front of AAR and it was getting tiresome to wait, though The Format was pretty good and I really like Motion City Soundtrack. Boys Like Girls I can forget about. When AAR did come on, I went down to the mosh pit for awhile. It was a lot of fun down there, but I got claustrophobic and felt like I needed to get out. I finished the concert upstairs with Miles and Zachary. The lead singer was either drunk, on drugs or just very VERY eccentric/weird. He threw a blow-up sex doll into the crowd to be dressed by people. Bras were flying through the air.
After the concert we went on a little city 'sploring and headed home.
Now between then and now has been basically constant work. It has been very tiresome but when I get that paycheck it should be very rewarding.
Last night, Christmas Eve, I was one of the "lucky" who had to close. Times like that make me wish I don't work at Target. We got out at 7 and I rushed over to my sister's in-law's house were we enjoyed fondue. Luckily I only missed the appetizers. It was very enjoyable though I drank too many glasses of wine and was slightly tipsy for awhile before I basically fell asleep on the couch.
Today I woke up around 6 AM due to some serious stomach problems. Damn you fondue! However I managed to sleep again until my puppies came jumping on my bed at 8.30. We opened presents and Mark/Rachael/Baby-in-Fetus came over around 10 and we enjoyed a very tasty lunch consisting of the best steak I've ever had. And now I want more thinking about it.
Anyway the whole day was lounging around with the family. I also played some new games (Zelda >_<) and tried to figure out the new wireless "thing." I got it half way, but I just don't understand! Anyway, all in all it was a good, yet forgettable, Christmas. Tomorrow, work. Again.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I'm so excited to be finished with this semester and even more excited about next semester that I am going to waste a whole post on my schedule!
History 100 - Western European History from Ancient - 1648 AD
Modern Greek 101 - Elementary Modern Greek (Kind of degrading since I am in college)
LAS110- Success in the City (crappy crappy crappy)
English 160 - English Composition I (connected to my Classics course)
Classics 102 - Intro to Classical Literature
English 161 - English Composition II (last English class ever!)
Anthropology 101 - Intro to Social Anthro (I barely got into this class!)
Philosophy 102 - Introductory Logic (gets rid of all my math requirements. kinda scared of the class though)
Modern Greek 102 - Again the elementary title...
History 223 - History of Modern Britain
By the end of next semester I will have exactly 30 credit hours making me a sophomore! YAY!
Monday, December 11, 2006
I don't post as much as I should. Going back a few weeks I have an interesting story.
My coat, the suave black pea coat, has been sent away for cleaning and repair. I lost a button and I ripped the back cause of my muscles... Anyway the past few weeks have been the coldest in a long time. That blizzard? Yeah Chicago got two inches. Stupid suburbs with their stupid snow days. I needed a coat of some sort to keep me warm. After a long search from store to store I found nothing. At last at American Eagle there was really cool hoodie that was insulated and look really warm. However the price tag was...steep to say the last. After some debate with myself, I decided to buy it. However my card did not have the funds. So my parents had to transfer the money. I kept going back again and again to see if my card would work yet, but it never did. By the end of the fiasco, the people knew my name. Now that I do have it, it isn't warm. The hell if I'm returning it at that store though! I'm waiting till I get home! I felt bad for Justin. I dragged back and forth to the north side. But he had sex with Chipotle in the end so as was well in the world.
I just turned in my English portfolio and tomorrow I have two finals. After that I'm done and going back to Batavia!! The whole situation with my last blog has improved. It is just taking time and I have no patience! What helped was the fact that they really know me now, as do most of my friends.
Nothing out of the ordinary is happening here. A lot of studying or not studying by going on facebook and other distractions. In fact I should be studying for those finals tomorrow...
Suffice to say that those four goals I made in high school are now complete... I won't go into details.
Honestly, I don't know what to blog! The city smells, the snow is black, Ogleive Station had a shoot out, and Michael is thawing out.
I'm ready to come home! I want to see my friends again and work! Yeah, I know. I have missed working at Target. But it gives me something to do and money money money! I need money! As I said before, Chicago + College = Poor Beggar. Fiscal Responsibility Michael! Remember that!
What does Michael want for Christmas? No college debts! Friends! A career! A date! World peace! Wait, scratch that last one. If I plan on going into the Peace Corps the world must be in turmoil. Evil? I know.
Why do I refer to myself in the third person...