Joinings and other celebrations.

Tuesday, June 13th, 1995

It’s a cool night, and here, that’s an enormous relief after more than two weeks of unrelenting blastfurnace heat and humidity. Just past midnight in the eastern time zone, and I’m sitting back and relaxing after an event-filled weekend. Literally.

Saturday and Sunday (and several days leading up to the weekend) were consumed by the hoopla of Jennifer and Guy‘s wedding (Guy’s name is pronounced in the French manner, with a hard ‘G’ and an ‘eeee’). They were married in a fairly orthodox Jewish ceremony in Sandy Springs, a neighborhood on the north side of Atlanta, and the days (and our house) have been filled with comings and goings of friends of theirs and those of my wife Sammy&emdash;mostly anthropologists and archeologists who love to celebrate.

On Monday, we celebrated some more &emdash; at the home of my brother James, who marked the passing of another year with family and friends (and with a reflection or two&emdash;see his home page). That’s his picture at the top of this page, in a more serious, hardworking moment. Hey, sometimes he is serious&emdash;and hardworking.But last night, he was celebratory&emdash;and hungry. We had ice cream cake and an enormous submarine sandwich, and his daughter&emdash;not quite three&emdash;sang a very passable version of that ‘Happy Birthday’ song. He’s now webspinning at full v.34 speeds, as am I&emdash;if I can get the CRL Atlanta nodes to connect a bit more reliably.

This week webwise, I wanted to mention that my most frequently flown airline Delta has established a web-presence, largely unpublicized at this point. It’s a page that calls up Delta schedules for you. Give it a try. Also notable: The Village Voice and L.A. Weekly have joined forces to put together an ‘Essential Guide to New York and LA at Night‘. Hmm. Finally, I’m not that much of a sports fan (that is, not a fan-atic), but I am really impressed with the job ESPN does in porting its comprehensive coverage to the WWW. (As opposed to the WWF.) They call it ESPNet SportsZone, and it’s a great place to go when the news concerns sports.

A megabit blowtorch.

Tuesday, June 6th, 1995

A gracious good afternoon from here, although we all know it may be just about any time when you get this document downloaded from some mysterious server somewhere. It’s yet another component of how cruising through the World Wide Web reminds me of the old days of surfing through clear-channel radio stations–those 50,000 watt ‘blowtorches’ that made a voice come out of your AM radio on dark 2 lane roads…a voice, from…from where? Is that, too, a kind of one-way Cyberspace, the mysterious ‘where’, the confluence of your imagination and some lonely person in a dark room surrounded by acoustic tile and faced with a microphone and a transmitter log…?

I dip into these pages–lately I’ve enjoyed and been impressed by student pages–everywhere from Ames Iowa to just across 10th Street at Georgia Tech, where a heck of a lot of young(ish) people are learning to do this stuff as a career. I dip into these lives–and find many similar threads. They’d like a good job after school (or have one.) They’re trying to balance work in front of computer screens with A Life, and so make a big point of talking about music or running or biking or coffee or whatever it is they use as an antidote to sitting and typing. They link us to their friends, who have similar interests and lives. They show us their pets, and say that although everyone shows off their pets, they must, too. One person in Seattle is very proud of her bright, bright yellow new Toyota, and shows us three views of it. (We have a new vehicle, by the way, and are proud of it as well, but I’ll try to keep that insufferibility off the net.) If they’re women, often they link us to a page that addresses the challenges of Women in Computer Science, and discusses the issues and attitudes that make it difficult for women to punch through the gender crap and do well. I read in these documents about men who have set up pages that are merely collections of links to women’s home pages, as if that’s some sort of dating resource, and some genuine weasels who rate the women’s pictures of themselves, forcing old misogyny into a new medium. Desperation, disregard, and, above all, loneliness.

I visualize all of these people as I was many years ago at a small 10 watt radio station in Vermont, sending out as faint and solitary signal, pleased if my voice touched even one person in the blackness of night.

Little transmitters, reaching out etherward. We seek connections, traces of humanity in a medium that can leach that away, and send out signals, familiar and bizarrely new.

Yesterday (June 5th) was my brother-in-law Gordy‘s birthday, so that must mean that next Monday is my brother James‘s. June is, as always, a dizzying array of birthdays, weddings, and preparations for getting out of town at the end of the month, when Atlanta’s heat becomes truly brutal.

I’ll see if I can take you along on our trip this year. (Don’t do me any favors, you say.)