Remember mix tapes?

Before CD burners became inexpensive and ubiquitous, sharing music with friends and family meant making a mixed tape. Now you can share music with friends online with muxtape.com. The interface for adding songs is dead simple and it’s easy to check out the different mixes people have put up. My first mix features all live acoustic tracks. Just click on the song you want to hear and enjoy! If you make your own muxtape, be sure to email me the address.

Join Twitter

The term social networking gets bandied about a bit too often these days. Most internet veterans probably cringe at the mention of websites like FaceBook or MySpace, two of the pioneers of the genre. Although it’s likely that those sites are so disregarded amongst the professional class of internet users simply because they consider such sites to be “beneath them,” most of these users simply cannot find a legitimate use for social networking.

Personally, I belong to MySpace and FaceBook purely because my friends and family have chosen those sites as their point of contact to keep me (and others) apprised of what is going on in their lives. Since I’ve long used this website (rynosoft.com) for updating everyone on what goes on in my life, I obviously don’t need any other website to do so. Consequently, social networking websites have always been a strictly one-way affair for me. Until Rob introduced me to Twitter last year.

It’s difficult to describe what Twitter does because it lacks a close analog in the “real” world. And so there was a period of time after I signed up that I really didn’t “get” what it was all about. I pestered Rob via instant message asking, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing?” Do what it says: answer the question “What are you doing?”

Previous to Twitter, I was prone to changing my AIM status to reflect what I might be doing at work or perhaps to make a private joke to those that had me in their buddy list. Twitter provides a better outlet for that instinct and has been described by many as “micro-blogging”. Although that’s a fair description, I think it may discourage those who are not interested in or are intimidated by the prospect of blogging. Most bloggers have a theme or specific subject matter that they tend to write about, but the only theme for most Twitterers is the triviality of day-to-day life.

Don’t let that description deceive you, though. Life is mostly made up of a series of trivial events which, when taken together, provide a bigger picture. When you have access to occasional blow-by-blow descriptions, you become more involved in someone’s life in a very immediate way. Sometimes I’ll just passively digest these tidbits as they pass by while other times my curiosity will be piqued and I’ll seek more information via email and/or instant message. The end result is that Twitter brings people closer together even though physical distance may separate you.

You may have noticed the addition of a Twitter status on the right side of this blog several months ago. Twitter provides the web code necessary to display your most recent “tweet” (Twitter’s term for a single entry), so it’s very easy to share your Twitter status on web pages and blogs. Twitter also has SMS (i.e. text message) and instant message features which let you tweet even when you don’t have a web browser in front of you. For example, if you’re at a concert you might like to share that your favorite song had just been performed. Since I don’t have a mobile phone, that’s not a feature that I use.

More information on Twitter:

Getting Old Sucks

Yesterday morning I injured my right wrist in the shower. You might think that there was some sort of freak accident which involved slipping or falling or maybe both, but it was not nearly that dramatic. The sad truth is that I was simply washing my hair when it happened. The act of rubbing shampoo onto my scalp with my hand caused the injury to my wrist. I wasn’t rubbing particularly vigorously or pressing very hard. It just started hurting and has hurt since.

Since I turned 40 I have been noticing more and more that my body has become much more fragile. Injuries that used to take a day or two to heal now takes weeks or even months. Last year, on a trip to the coast, I made the mistake of hefting too many laptops in my shoulder bag. Result: a popping sensation in my left shoulder that has only recently gone away.

It wasn’t like this when I was 20 or even 30. When I was in college, I used to do crazy things so people would think I was crazy. One of the crazy things I did was to jump out of a second story window once when I was drunk. Because I came away from that experience completely uninjured, I concluded that I would never be injured jumping out that window and demonstrated my theory a few days later. Even though I “rolled” with the impact, I injured my right ankle enough that I rolled around on the ground in pain for several minutes before limping off for a beer.

It probably took only a week for that injury to heal, but it has come back numerous times to haunt me in recent years. In the last year especially, that ankle has gone from normal to painful in a matter of minutes. And the transition doesn’t even have to involve movement. I can be sitting with my feet off the ground for a long period of time but when I stand I’m suddenly in excruciating pain. The extreme pain fades but a dull pain lingers for days after. I plan to speak with my doctor about it next time I see him.

Sometime between jumping out that window and now my body decided it could no longer put up with my shit anymore. Or perhaps it was no longer able to put up with my shit. Whatever the correct shit-putting-up-with verb, my actions now have consequences on my fragile body. That fragility has not only created a greater awareness of physical consquences but has also led to increased caution and hesitancy. Straining to move that bookshelf a few inches further while the body is twisted awkwardly is no longer an option. Greater planning and frequent plan re-evaluations are the order of the decade now.

And when the body says, “Pain!” – it’s time to finally listen.

Vital Statistics

Portland’s daily newspaper, The Oregonian, has an article about barefooting today that has a few paragraphs featuring me. The interview and picture sessions actually happened last fall so it was a bit of a surprise when Aimee Green (the author) called this weekend to let me know if was coming out today. The printed version appears on the front page of the “Living” section and features a rather large picture of my feet on the escalator at Pioneer Place (a mall not far from CPS). There’s a second picture of me on the Max on the inside page where the story is continued.

Update 4/27: Some editions of yesterday’s Oregonian had a picture of my feet in the teaser frame on the front page. I made the front page!

When Aimee was researching the story, she found my web page on the Internet and emailed me. She described the article she was writing and asked if I would like to participate. I answered affirmatively and invited her to a Barefoot Hike, a monthly occurence during favorable weather. As it turned out, Thomas and I were the only ones to turn up at the hike, so she walked with us for awhile and we talked about all things barefoot.

Not long after that, she contacted me again and asked if she could join me for my commute some morning. I agreed and she and a photographer met me at the Gateway Transit Center for a Max ride and a short walk to my office. Having the photographer with us was weird because he kept running ahead of us and snapping photos of my feet. Aimee also had to keep dodging out of the picture as we talked. It was quite amusing, actually.

They returned for lunch the same day and we went to the food court in Pioneer Place with the intent of encountering as many people as possible to see their reaction. The photographer took more pictures and we went to the Apple Store, where I had no particular business but I always visit when I’m close. They wouldn’t allow any pictures inside the store, so we left after a short time.

And that was it until a couple of months ago when another photographer contacted me and asked if he could ride the Max with me. I’m not exactly sure why that was necessary, but I agreed to it. That’s why I’m wearing shorts in the picture on the escalator (fall) and sweats on the Max (winter). I’m happy with the picture of my feet, but I look terrible on the Max. I really dislike pictures of myself.

The whole experience was amusing and gratifying, I have to admit. Being able to ramble on about barefooting for many minutes to an engaged audience was unlike anything I had experienced before. It made me feel important and interesting. Funny, I know.

I still haven’t read the whole article (I’ll do that tonight when I get home), but I did read the parts about me. I find it a bit disconcerting that she chose to use the quote about stepping in shit, but I suppose that’s how these things work. Oh well.

Bike odometer: 6061 miles
Current reading: Forgotten Promise by Gretchen Von Loewe Kreuter, Smoke and Guns by Kirsten Baldock and Fabio Moon
Recent listening: Shaday by Ofra Haza, Not Blue by Various Artists, Tie Your Mix Down by Various Artists, Crooked Fingers by Crooked Fingers, Rainy Day Music by The Jayhawks
Recent viewing: Medium, CSI: Miami, Wizards at Cavaliers, Kings at Spurs, Sportscenter, Countdown
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: n/a
Imperative To Do: Bike repairs, get watch fixed
Cool link: Model Denied US Entry—The story is slightly amusing but the two pictures are priceless!