Write what you want.

Sometimes, you have lots you want to say, but no real way to say it. I'm not going to go into detail about 'why I haven't been writing as much lately'; I'll leave stuff that to the sensitive egos who think that the world stops when they're not blogging.

My work, meanwhile, is as interesting and as challenging as ever. I can't remember the last time I didn't like what I was doing, and the folks I'm working with are all people that I would also consider to be good friends. On the other hand, things are coming in faster than they're going out, and the to-do list keeps getting thicker no matter how fast I manage to thin it out. I have a couple of important tasks to finish that I should've done a couple months ago, and that's not a great feeling at all.

Nobody blogs about what they want to; this medium is not conducive to that. We all write about everything through the prism of how we want to be perceived. It's too easy to be misleading or dishonest about our intentions; there's no real reason to be straightforward about ourselves and our thoughts. I've met SUV owners who blog passionately about the environment, Apple users who act like experts about open source issues, Net Neutrality advocates who call Facebook a (gasp!) 'platform for social change', and other blatant examples of sheer lack of integrity. It's what I like to call "opinion roulette"; everyone has what they think is a 'winning' opinion and keeps throwing it out onto the table, until they get some kind of acknowledgement that their entire hypothetical construct is not completely retarded, or until they're intellectually bankrupt and just STFU.

The house usually wins.

Steve Faguy wrote what I thought was a very good piece on what I had gone through with trying to close my Facebook account last year. I liked that the article was more general than just the hot topic of the day (Facebook), that he used more of my quotes to illustrate it as a wider problem, and that he didn't address his readers as total mongoloids who need to be gently eased into every single concept of what Facebook was before going into the privacy issue.

Funny thing, though - people I know actually asked me "Hey, why didn't you tell us / post this before / write about the article before / during / after it came out?" Just like the NYTimes article and the CBC Daybreak interview, I guess we're supposed to thoroughly and pre-emptively document each and every time a news outlet so much as breathes our name, let alone does a write-up on us. Make no mistake: I think it's awesome that issues like the privacy one are being talked about, and I think it's far more important to raise awareness of things like that with the general public than with the usual geek demographic on the web (mostly 16 - 45, mostly white or asian, mostly male).

But, see, I don't really want to blog about the work I do as much anymore - that was never why I started writing here (or on stevesgallery.com, my old, abandoned blog). I don't use this as a "professional" blog - if such a thing exists - and I never really worry about what I put up here in terms of how it will affect public perception of me. A constant stream of information "about me" isn't all that interesting to you unless you're a reporter or a hot girl. Or both? That would be fun.

I'd much rather write about, well, the things that I want to write about.

  • Food recommendations, which I get asked about all the time (Gibby's, APDC, M:BRGR, and Moishe's, with regular, liberal sprinklings of Amelio's, Cuisine Bangkok, La Paryse, Tandoori Xpress and Mekdalla all in the same month? Say it ain't so, wallet / belly...)
  • Gym / exercise - I've reached a point where people at the gym come up to me on a semi-regular basis and ask me about my workout program.
  • Music and Fashion, like why The Long Blondes' Kate Jackson is the most stylish woman on the face of the Earth, or the myriad reasons why Kanye West is irrelevant.
  • Why the non-techies I know are all moving to Ubuntu Linux.
  • Stuff like that, y'know?

The work we do helps define us as professionals or citizens, but the things we feel define us as people. I'm far more interested with building an internet that enables people to share feelings than one that acts as a showcase for our achievements. That's exactly why I've been caring less and less about infrastructure, data and protocols - most of that stuff is already in place and what part of if that isn't will only be solved with disruptive change. The more pressing questions are the ones of knowledge, culture and dialog: all things that the Internet should excel at facilitating. Insofar as building cultural bridges in a sustainable and seamless manner goes, the web has hitherto been a spectacular failure. We're far more interested in Google Ads, dumb catchphrases, whoring ourselves out to the general public, brand / tech fetishism, and appealing to our shallow need for vanity and self-importance. There are glimmers of hope here and there, but the Internet is proving to be an even less-inspiring shadow of the real world - colonialism and all.

Geek Tangent: Yes, as a pragmatic humanist I will keep referring to "The Real World" as the "Real World". You know, the one where we walk and talk and work and play and eat. Virtual Reality / Cyberspace / Second Life / etc are not "real", we are not constructing whole new worlds, and consciousness does not, as of this writing, exist on the Internet. Everything there is an extension of something that's already out here, and the entire network is still dependent on laws (electricity, magnetic fields on disks, etc), that exist out here. Sure, for all we know we could all be plugged into some machines somewhere and just dreaming up all of this Matrix-style, but until someone proves that, I'll leave that kind of thinking to the transhumanists, "futurists" and other assorted quacks who think that we should all become cyborgs and expand human intelligence into the cosmos.

If you're one of those people, kindly leap out the nearest window.


Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
oso's picture

I think you should start a separate work out blog. No, scratch that, a work out vlog. Scratch that too, a vlog of transhumanists jumping out of windows. That would be a smash hit.

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
elizita's picture


Nice to read you again. But wouhou!! like you say here... you write when and about what you want, well I appreciate reading it as is, as it comes and when it does.

True, it had been a long break and now 3 posts so close take a little longer to read in one shot, but hey that is my choice and I enjoy doing so. So many avenues on this path around the tecno block, so many back allies and main avenues, but it is nice to see someone like you who criss-crosses from one sidewalk to middle lane to plain forest fields and mountains. I like that you break boundaries and bring into light some issues that are not!

Today, I was moved by this post here, in particular by this passage of yours. I think it is because you have, yet again, put in simple words what I feel in complex terms:

The work we do helps define us as professionals or citizens, but the things we feel define us as people.

I thank you once again for that and for sharing.
Welcome to feeling, as you are and have been!;P


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