1. Creating connections online
That’s what makes the Net worth it, isn’t it? Sometimes I’ve flat-out said to Person A “You need to talk to/read Person B”; other times the connections have just happened, by osmosis, and I can tell the connections happened by how friends’ Friends Lists have started to have more bolded people in common. (For the non-LJ people reading this, when you have an LJ account you choose the people you both want to read and want to be able to read your journal. And either the “Friend Of” list or the “Mutual Friends” list on a person’s profile page will show in bold the people that person reads who you also read.)
Sometimes when I tell someone to read someone, I’m trying too hard, so it may be better for the connections just to happen. But I feel a sense of accomplishment when a suggested connection “takes.” (I still remember telling Friend Of Me C to read an entry by Friend Of Me D: “I think you’d like her just on general principles. Read this, read more, be inspired to say ‘Gobble gobble gobble, one of us, one of us’…” …and Friend Of Me C did. Well, Friend Of Me C probably didn’t chant that chant…)
I doubt I’ll be the sort of flashy blogger theferrett is, for example – I’m probably way too subdued for that – but I’ve helped people connect. (I don’t know if I’ve caused hookups, but if I have, SCORE! I imagine that’s especially satisfying.)
Visit! You should! You’d get a kick out of riding the Aerial Tram or exploring Powell’s (which has store maps for navigating its original downtown location) or eating at Voodoo Doughnut or watching films at one of our several theater-pubs. Maybe the various gardens in the West Hills, overlooking downtown, would soothe you. And maybe the small trains in Washington Park near our zoo would make you go “Oo! Neat!” (Too bad no one can tour the Fight Club House. Yes, the building that inspired the Fight Club House is fenced off in an industrial area near the St. Johns Bridge. At least it’s visible from the road. It looks creepy.)
Portland’s a city of odd touches. Lots of curbs still have rings that were used for tying up horses a hundred years ago. (A local group ties toy horses to those rings now.) We also have the world’s smallest city park; it’s the size of a manhole cover. In a median.
I’m a Portland fan, and I like to announce it.
3. Cort & Fatboy
Hilarious jackasses on-air; hilarious sweethearts off-air. They have good performers’ instincts; they’re doing several characters for CBS Radio Theater (like a Peter Lorre-type villain Fatboy rasps for The Adventures of the Crimson Mist). Their media connections are subtle and intriguing; they Have Ways of finding film prints for their Late Night Movies or getting in touch with cool, worthy celebrities (they do really good interviews, too).
I first ran into Cort and Fatboy briefly at the Thursday night preview screening of, yes, Snakes on a Plane: they passed out fake safety posters outlining “Procedures to remember in the event of snakes on a plane.” (I later gave coffeeinhell my copy of it.) A year later they started reading my previews and write-ups about the Firefly screenings they were putting on, because mutual friend Mike Russell turned them on to my writing. They started name-checking me on the air, which I still find odd and amusing, and occasionally I’ve fed them comedy fodder; it’s like Harold Ramis’s line “I wasn’t the class clown, I was the class clown’s writer.” We, at least Fatboy and I – I don’t know Cort quite as well – were fans of each other and then got to know each other, kind of like what happened with me and s00j. They’re more people I can be a lending library for, too, which I always appreciate.
4. Media fandom
Probably easier than being in the media, I think. I was a writer-reporter for 3 years (1997 to 2000), I can say that.
Earlier this decade I seriously considered getting into radio, then a friend who’d been a DJ in the late Seventies-early Eighties told me Don’t. Radio’s a weird, difficult industry and it’s hard to make a stable living at it, let alone enjoy it. She told me war stories about the weirdness she’d experienced as a DJ to warn me off. I heeded that. By then, though I didn’t really realize it, I’d shifted my thought from I’d like to be in radio to I’ll be a good fan and supporter of good DJs, and that dawned on me some time later. They’re like everyone else; they like interacting with people who aren’t on the offensive with them. That’s true throughout the media: too often you have to be on the defensive because some people will assume everything you do is going to be slanted and biased and evil. For certain people, I could do no right, and I know how maddening that is…and, for a lot of people outside the media, that’s their default setting. So there’s shared experience there.
It helps that, as I’ve said before, Portland’s attracted a lot of offbeat media people. The city also seems to breed that: our homegrown media stars range from Matt Groening to up-and-coming big-voice Storm Large. So we have genuinely interesting people in our local media, and I’m drawn to this. We can talk about behind-the-scenes media stuff. I’m a geek about that.
I haven’t actually met either Matt Groening or Storm Large, but I hope to. (And, trivia! My Grandpa Irv was acquainted with Matt’s father Homer Groening; they both worked in advertising.)
My online crack of choice since 2004. I found the system nicely intuitive, and I’d been kind of proto-blogging (e-mails sent to a few dozen people) for years so I thought maybe I could do some writing. Though my first big motivation was having friends on LJ, and I didn’t want to always use “Anonymous” commenting when I wrote to them. (I’d sign my name to any anonymous comments, so I didn’t seem to be lurking. And I’ve never been anything else on LJ.) Things grew from there, and I used LJ more and more. My blog’s led me to more friends and acquaintances, and to my writing for Geek in the City, and (I hope) to more coolness…just because I’ve written, and have tried to write as interestingly as I can.
I like being here; I’ve kept pondering a long entry on why I’m fond of the site and the people using it. (I could pretend to be Morrissey: “I logged on to the website…the website called LJ…I said I like it here, can I stay…”)