(Happy-Birthday-Chimp-Note-Card-C117, originally uploaded by Z F Soo & made available under a creative commons license)

The oldest restored post from my archives is dated July 22, 1997 so I’m declaring this my blog’s birthday.

I hate the word blogiversary.

After littering my drafts file with post ideas for today, I scrapped them all and decided this: you’re going to get a present.

Not all of you, one of you.

A few of you.

Not sure how many yet.

Leave me a comment with an actual email address I can reach you at (no one else will be able to see it) and FRIDAY I will devise some arbitrary scheme for selecting winners.

update: you have until 5 p.m. EST to leave a comment on this post that will make you eligible for strange and exotic prizes.

The prizes will be groovy, but I’m not going to post pictures here because the contents of each prize might change slightly depending on where I need to ship them.

Then, you can spend the rest of your day celebrating any old way you wish.

Not sure how to celebrate? Start with a how-to video on proper Opossum pedicure techniques from our old friend M.E. Pearl:

I’m not sure if opossums should be pets. Or if you should give them pedicures. I am sure it’s an excellent video to start your day with. Don’t end your day with this video – that way lies nightmares.

If you want to get really crazy, you can encourage all your friends to like my facebook fan page, because facebook popularity plays some arbitrary role in whether a publisher wishes to publish me in dead-tree form.

And what could be more appropriate on a 16th birthday than some angst about popularity?

I know my blog is a mess. I really need to remedy the poor categorization and sloppy archives code. Too many exports and imports and re-exports from platform to platform have really done a number on the place.

You’d think that being sick and stuck in bed would afford ample time to do this work. You’d think that if you didn’t know that the cough medicine my doctor added to the pharmacological cornucopia contains a powerful antihistamine and a narcotic.

I have a flipchart page mapping out the blog maintenance, writing, and updating I need to do to bring facebook (personal page + fan page), linkdin, my blog, flickr, pinterest, twitter, and ravelry into some sort of harmonious arrangement. Fuck MySpace. They can send me all the press releases they want, I’m not signing back up for that one.

Yes, I have my own flipchart. It’s the kind that’s sort of like a pack of giganto post-it notes. It’s awesome.

A few months ago Husband realized I have my own flipchart. He was horrified. He tried to cover it with a weak, “That’s nice, Dear,” but in his eyes I could see him thinking, “I don’t even know you anymore.”

I didn’t tell him GhostCat and I hold staff meetings in the afternoons after he leaves for work. We’re going to wait until after the Spring team-building retreat to share that with him, so don’t spoil the surprise, okay?

We haven’t decided whether to invite Husband to the retreat yet. He’s not a team player sometimes.

I didn’t implement anything from the chart yet because I left the cap off the marker and the fumes spaced me out even more than I already was but I didn’t realize this was happening because I couldn’t smell the fumes. Antibiotics have wrecked (temporarily, I hope) my sense of taste and smell. The upside to this is that I can’t taste the cough medicine, which has a rather alarming color and viscosity.

I never get tired of imagining the kind of advice HP Lovecraft would have offered had he ended up as the editor of a Home & Garden-type magazine. I can think about that for hours. Currently, I can’t think about one thing and do anything else at the same time so the whole point of this post seems likely to have to wait.

EvilAgent sent me a link to textsfromlastnight. She found it at UrbanDaddy:

In short, readers send last night’s drunken exchanges to text@textsfromlastnight.com, and the site posts it, blog-style, along with an area code. And that’s it. Suddenly, your tiny masterpieces of pith and wit (“Do you think they could tell I was high on that conf call?”) can live on in eternal infamy, next to epic tales of hangovers, waking up in bathtubs and the occasional Chewbacca mask.

Of course, you don’t have to participate—you could easily lose an afternoon scrolling through the hundreds of exchanges the site has collected so far. (“I’m half single.” “Please tell me it’s the bottom half”; “Incredible sex, Maddow, more sex, spoon, sex again.”) It’s the best combination of the Internet and voyeurism since Al Gore invented the damn thing in the first place.

Now, where did we put our pants…

The most recently posted txt when I checked out the site was, “(619): Good news! Whoever used this stall at Target earlier…not pregnant!” I suspect the novelty kinda wears off after a few minutes, but it was an entertaining way to spend a few minutes before class.

Today I got to meet the evil geniuses behind Lost Zombies.

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I was afraid my infected sticker was going to get caught in my scarf and fall off so I moved it to my notebook:

IMG_1978

Since I’m zombified, does that get me off the hook vis-a-vis lucid conference coverage? No? Darn. Well, tomorrow I’m going to play a bit of catch-up, I didn’t feel like dragging my laptop around all day today and I’m not the best iphone blogger ever. Or at all.

In the meantime – you can follow some of what’s going on at sxsw at the sxsw interactive + film site. You can search twitter, too, but the s/n is pretty fucking high – it’s driving me crazy and I’m here.

On that note – time to think about heading over to the opening night party.

I was going to post about how I was taking the day off from posting, but that was simultaneously absurd and meta, so instead here’s five randomly chosen blog365 bloggers for you to visit and admire:

Ramblings by Reba features a concept not exactly alien to my own readers: ramblings, by someone named Rebecca. Seriously, Reba doesn’t really ramble, that’s just her blog title. What she does do a lot is share her lifestories through photo-essays. She also wrote the first blog365 roundup I came across and I swiped some links from her. :-)

Suzanne Sez starts out the new year with a hilarious post about lucky underwear. She does have a couple kids, so I was going to make a joke about how she knows of what she speaks, but, no, she doesn’t mean that kind of lucky.

Small Reflections is written by a marathon-blogger who blogs at more sites than I can keep track of!

Ari of Beyond My Slab almost made me snort coffee out of my nose with her summary of the blog365 saga:

Lots of people who signed up dropped out almost immediately. A few months into the year, the feed was full of pompous “I prefer quality over quantity” farewells from people who wanted to make sure that we all knew the reason they couldn’t manage to blog daily was because they were too busy having great sex (btw, if you don’t have the stamina to have great sex and blog in the same 24-hour period, it’s time to see the doctor).

Ever the productive one, Jennifer has already issued a new challenge for the new year to knitters with UFOs (UnFinished Objects): finish or frog it. (with the related ravelry knit-along group, of course.

I think this post undersells the achievements of these 5 uber-bloggers, but perhaps we can pretend a link is worth a thousand words today. Happy Friday!

Recently I’ve been involved in a fair number of conversations with musicians and band managers where the topic of downloads – complete songs versus ringtones – comes up. Much marvelling then ensues about why consumers are perfectly content to “steal” musical content in the form of entire songs but pay real money for ringtones.

Now, the issue they don’t understand isn’t monetizing their work. They get that selling ringtones is a nice way to make money. They just can’t get beyond the creator’s perspective that the work only has value to the listener in it’s entirety.

The working assumption is that a ringtone is merely a small piece of a larger work, not it’s own entity. The 3 minute pop song has more value because it is “complete,” a supposition that misses some of the psychological and anthropological implications of cellphone ownership and identity-building entirely. I’ve been digging around in The Literature a bit because I’m sure there’s loads of theories about why people choose certain ringtones. I haven’t come up with any great summaries yet, as it’s slow going and I have other things on my mind.

I don’t know why it’s hard to understand that ringtones aren’t really for the phone’s owner. One exception being when someone chooses ringtones that differentiate one caller from another for convenience of amusement, rather than to tell others something about themself as the owner of the phone. Family members calling my phone are signified by the Addams Family theme song, for instance. Jim Dornan, Katherine Harris’s former campaign manager apparently programmed his phone to play the theme from the Exorcist when she called.

Your ringtone sets your phone apart from others in the crowd. Or, paradoxically, in the case of people who load the latest hit, it can help you fit in with the crowd.

Ringtone selection broadcasts information about the individual who owns the phone and it’s information that individual chooses to try and shape the way they are perceived by their peers. Ringtones are not privately consumed like tunes on an ipod, they’re broadcast into the public sphere and they’re loaded with layers of cultural meaning due to the fact that they are also musical.

If you want to focus on the issues relating to cognition, there’s loads of scholarly blahblahblah on the psychology of ringtones over on google scholar. Personally, I’d suggest ambling over to the site of the RutgersCenter for Mobile Communication Studies – they have enough information to keep you busy for a long, long time.

Do you ever go through your bookmarks and wonder just what the hell you were thinking?*

For example, I opened a folder marked “goats.” In it, I found a bookmark for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which is held every year during the first weekend in May. I haven’t been there in years.

Next was the Maryland Small Ruminant Page, a handy bookmark if ever there was one. The last bookmark was for Purina’s GoatChow page (goatnutrition.com).

On a (goat) related note, this year as a special gift to all our friends and family, we donated a goat through heifer international (with profuse apologies to the vegetarians). Mostly because I couldn’t stop saying, “Give the gift of a goat!” but also because it seemed like a nice thing to do. And giving a pig seemed like it had potential to be, um, problematic, seeing as this was a Hanukkah/Christmas type gift.

*small digression: While Dr. Noodles was on sabbatical last year I had great fun creating mysterious files of bookmarks on his computer (my favorite was “porkrinds, microwaveable.”) Somehow, I suspect that the bookmarks I just found were actually my own doing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still looking for someone to blame.

I was saddened to learn that InfraSearch’s Gene Kan has passed away. His name might not mean anything to you but I’m posting some links anyway because I want to, and because his name should mean something to you if you follow music and technology.

updated
Gene Kan, Pioneer of Gnutella Site, Dies, from the Washington Post

a touching friend’s reflection on Gene from the old gonesilent.com site.

Gene Kan: How Gnutella Happened

And, from the Atlantic online site: Peer-to-Peer: An e-mail exchange with Gnutella developer Gene Kan.

It’s just such a loss. I have nothing profound to say.

I’ve been talking with faculty in Anthropology and CompSci about developing a course in Digital Culture that I could possibly teach after I finish my Master’s Degree next year. I have to finish Comprehensive exams and complete two major projects between now and then, so I don’t want to get too excited yet….

If you were teaching (or taking) a class in cyberculture, what would you want to cover? Cyberpunk? the Digital Divide? Urban legends? Online fandoms? Gender? Privacy? What else?