Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Anatomy of an Internet Rabbit Trail in 60 Minutes With an Explanation of Slow Amish Time

Preface: My name is JAS and I am an information junkie. I mainline it on the internet. There, I've said it.

These events are true. Well, all except maybe the timeline. Einstein and I have this in common--for both of us time is relative.

I have never been good with time. Ask my family. Ask anyone who knows me. Ask anyone!

When The Professor and I moved to western PA with our 3 adorable children, Son 1, Principessa, and Son 2, I discovered kindred spirits in the Amish. They live an anachronistic life choosing literal horsepower and kerosene lamps over mechanical horsepower and electricity.

There are two types of time for the Amish--fast Amish time(they arrive early) and slow Amish time(they arrive when they get there, maybe even the same day).

All my life I have lived on slow Amish time and didn't know it!

(Jack Bauer voiceover with countdown)
The following events take place between 2:00PM and 3:00PM on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

I go online to check out the current installment of The Pioneer Woman. Neat website with pictures and funny stories and recipes and Photoshop tips, oh my!

I am struck with the alarming realization that I've already read this. Let's check out my Google Reader. Google Reader grabs info from all the blogs/websites you like to read and plops them all in one place so you don't hafta visit all those websites. It's called a news aggregator. And you can place a button on your Google toolbar(in Firefox, don't know about Mac and Safari) so that one little click takes you straight to your pile of interesting reads.

To sign up for "feeds" merely click on the little button that says rss or atom or subscribe on all you favorite websites (ahem, just like the ones at the top right of this page, hint, hint) and you will be asked which reader(aggregator) you want to use. That's it. Nifty, huh?

Jumping into my list of info not unlike Scrooge McDuck used to swan dive into his beloved pile of cash in 1950s Disney comic books, I notice the intriguing name CurdNerds. I love cheese as much as I love information(has to be my French genes), and as I scroll down the page past all sorts of cheese wonderfulness, an article calls to me--"Does Cheese Go Bad?" But I can't stop there. A logo just below that catches my eye and before you can say Limberger I am off to Serious Cheese. I return to CurdNerds, but the internet is all about links, and I have this itchy clicker finger . . .

Being the info/cheese junkie I am, this is irresistible knowledge. I click again and am immediately transported to another blog that introduces me to a Clifton Fadimon quote, "cheese is milk's leap toward immortality", some cheesy history, and am assured that cheese does NOT go bad!

By now I am on an information high . . . way. (sorry, I also have a genetic predisposition to bad puns) As I quickly scroll down the comment section I find a link for "In Praise of Cheese."

Here I am cautioned that reading may cause me to learn something. My kind of place! This time I avoid the comments and go straight to the matter on the side of the screen--a Blogroll. That list screams to me, "if you found that article interesting, take a look HERE!"

I scroll down 2 1/2 screens worth of blog names and find Wordwright. I love words just as much as I love information and cheese, so . . .

Click! I have now left the world of cheese so far behind it is a dull memory. We're not in Kansas anymore! This site is all about "the written word in books, newspapers, lit magazines, both analog and digital". Wow! They call for contributors to Snarkmaret and Revelator. (What's a
snark? is it related to a smurf?)

I can't control myself anymore. I scroll down the page looking for something . . . familiar, and find a link to "An Alternate Praise Song", described as a personal, odd sensibilitied take on the inauguration.

Paydirt! An original graphic personal poetic reminiscence of the latest Presidential event. Maira Kalman is an incredibly talented illustrator, author and designer. Please read her pedigree at the bottom of the page and survey her other entries.

The Professor arrives to engage me in conversation as he pries the mouse from my frozen fingers.

There you have it. From cheese to art in an hour.

In the words of a well parodied tv commercial--5 year old computer, $600. Internet service, $30. Electricity, 45 cents. Finding a creative surprise that gives me a new perspective, priceless.

Of Mocha and Friends, Part 2

I love words. I love words and good stories. I love words and good stories in beautiful books.

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Cookbooks are fun. Maybe because of all the pictures. I can imagine myself slicing and dicing, sauteing and simmering those wonderful picture perfect meals for my family. And I can salivate over all the desserts with no regret or fear of weight gain.

Once on the eyes, never on the thighs.

This one's for my SIL--
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If the world is ever completely destroyed by nuclear war or space debris crashing into us, I am convinced these three will survive--roaches, Elvis impersonators, and Hostess Twinkies. But then I would expect true armageddon to occur as the Elvis impersonators and roaches fight over the remaining Twinkies. (I'm really surprised Ray Bradbury or Aldous Huxley never imagined that one.)

I love the way B & N decorates with renderings of classic book covers, especially this one:
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(Yes, I am also a classic movie nerd. And someday you will be too. Imagine life when you reach sixtysomething and Speed 2:Cruise Control is old enough to be considered a classic.)

Can you just hear Max Steiner's Oscar winning theme? I can. In fact, I lit a candle on the shelf just under the poster in honor of that great southern heroine Prissy. You remember Prissy don't you, and her classic line, "But Miz Scahlet, Miz Scahlet, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies."?

B& N also has supplies of all sorts. Scrapbooking and stamping paraphernalia(you get an extra 10 points if you can spell paraphernalia without looking it up).
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And journals and stationery (another extra 10 points if you know the difference between stationery and stationary).
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I can't help but think (while cradling a moleskine notebook in my hand) that this writing tool of legend, this companion of Hemingway and countless other writers and explorers, could help me chronicle my exploits and become a world class writer.

Or not.

I'd probably never have a pencil short enough to fit or sharpened enough to write. I would lay it down somewhere and forget where I put it.

But one can dream . . .

(fade to black, theme from Gone With the Wind swelling to crescendo)

UPDATE: Since writing this I have been outed as a white person. Read here.


Answer to yesterday's quiz:

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