I have always loved information archives of all types – starting with Sears catalogs as a young child, followed by our Reader’s Digest Condensed book set, then on to specially arranged privileges at the Olivia Raney Library in the basement of the Revenue Building downtown. Now the universe is at our fingertips, and I find that a whole neural body of outward connections awaits, and I have begun willy-nilly to construct this digital doppelganger – myself fully online – with little knowledge or perspective about the shape of the world to come – or the silhouette I will cast, based on my skills and choices. It won’t come naturally – I’m a bibliophilic boomer geezer, but I’m so fascinated by the gargantuan pile of possibilities being generated by our technology that I’m game, willing, and more or less already engaged.
But the levels of engagement are many and changing at a rapid rate. And my original quest for information has become entwined into an arena I still don’t fully grasp – social networking, which near as I can see, is pretty quickly turning into this whole partly global Thing – a Social Network that has unwritten rules and value systems different (and yet not) from the world of Reader’s Digest, or graduate school for that matter. I really like blogging as a way to publish writing and develop projects, and I don’t mind making friends online – though I’m always wanting to meet them in person ASAP. In many ways I am not a blogger, and certainly not a full-fledged member of the blogosphere. Again, I know I am indeed part of the blogosphere – just the literary/magazine, non-revenue, slow-blogging corner of it. I don’t twitter, fark, digg, instant message, facebook or mypage. For all I know, I never will. So what shape will my elderly online self be, as I watch the world go Web 3.0?
Web 2.0 denotes the movement of resources from your computer to the Internet. We don’t download software for blogging – we use the software on distant servers. Many people use these resources for everything from desktop publishing to large company operations. Web 3.0 signals the movement of all this to the mobile devices which are proliferating and competing, and to future non-existing IT services in general. The News and Observer tells me we will all be living and working on our phones in 2020. The TV ads proclaim it every day – the mobile revolution. This is a problem for me. Hell, I will hardly use my cell phone and I’ve had it for years. I hate the phone! I guess I will have to fall in love with some future web/Kindle device – if it projects perfectly from my eyeglasses, there’s not much room for complaint, is there?
Getting back to the messages of these media, open access and web publishing are by far the wildest things to happen in intellectual culture for a long time. Ideas can be connected and developed in truly new ways. You can follow connections instantly and sometimes rather deeply. It’s all certainly very stimulating. Below are my picks for some local trends that rock this new world.
Netweed, the host of my Paper Plant website, is operated by Clyde Smith, who has worked hard and longer on web enterprises than anyone I know. He was my blogging mentor and helped me build Raleigh Nature. Clyde mainly works online professionally at Prohiphop, and scans news reports, reviews and offers business analysis on anything and everything hip hop. Recently, he launched a news release service for hip hop labels. Netweed, his online headquarters, is a rich mix of cultural and social resources. Clyde is able to use Netweed as a unifying platform for his professional hip hop work, his research writings, his dance work, and his social views. If anyone can swim in the new web waters, it’s him.
Ibiblio is proclaimed on my favorites website (featured below) as simply “the best website of which I know.” Paul Jones has been an incredible guru for all this since Al Gore invented it, and he found a way to share with the world. Ibiblio.org is simply the state’s digital library, with some truly fascinating twists, but the monthly theme and features constitute a marvelous magazine as well.
Taintradio continues to offer a unique platform and format in the rapidly changing world of radio and music generally. There are reasons for the website looking, as a local pundit put it to me at party, “like it was put together with tinker toys.” Taintradio just ain’t having any friggin’ formats, and that goes for website software as well, gosh darn it! Hey, we all love what Bob is doing, and it will evolve a bit, I’m sure. This grand web experiment, with all volunteer world-class DJs, and one little donation jar for infrastructure, is enormously worthy of our support.
The personal web project of which I am most proud is the current incarnation of FARCE. FARCE has a been a correspondence art series, The Paper Plant bookstore’s newsletter, and now is a website reference for my own and others’ use. I use it for research, teaching, and providing curious readers sets of websites related to my blogging, such as local artists, book arts, museums and nanotechnology. I’d consider it an honor if you made my links page one of your favorites.
And have a great new year as we approach our new era! Best, John
Two measly little tomatillo plants I picked up as discards from the farm where I got my heirloom tomato plants went crazy in our organic compost this year. Tomatos have done great as well, so I’ve been playing with salsas.
Tomatillos are a new thing for me: I first saw them on a homework field trip with my son to a Hispanic grocery several years ago, but this summer was the first time I have cooked with them. The papery Chinese lantern green balloons grow first, then the fruit swells up to fill the inside. When they’re ripe, they fall to the ground and the papery covering protects them quite well. Below is a selection of our urban garden harvest: the tomatillos in the red bowl have had their coverings removed.
Here is the procedure I followed:
Start a fire. Skewer a pound of washed tomatillos. Skewer a quartered onion, 4 small serrano peppers, a quartered bell pepper, and 4 garlic cloves. Roast these materials. (Mine ended up more smoked than roasted). Place roasted vegetables in blender and puree with fresh parsley ( I dislike cilantro) and seasonings. Sautee this result in olive oil. Add a little lime juice and then a cup of broth. Simmer, cool, chill and serve.
Above are the roasting vegetables. Below is the final product with libation. To see a full album of pictures, including an alternative libation, go to the related post at Pecans and Mistletoe, my nature project blog, which is fast taking on a life of its own as a space for the fascinating issues of sustainable heritage agriculture and locavore food culture in this area, which will be adressed at an upcoming Raleigh conference.
I would have never predicted a food post for Raleigh Rambles. But Lily had exposed me to the best of the cooking shows, and reminded me of the great science lessons in cooking processes. Sarah over at Quiet Quality has provided a post and links that reminded me of food as a hot blogging topic, and last but not least, my buddy Clyde issued a kind of challenge after I bragged about the success of my first batch of roasted tomatillo salsa – that first batch being roasted over a charcoal grill.
Now I have a confession to make. Being overly enthusiastic to use my newly built brick barbeque for this project, and it being the first Friday night of the school year, with the ensuing enthusiasm and libations, I wasn’t on top of my fire game at ALL and, as previously alluded to, I trashwood smoked instead of coal/flame roasted my vegetables. The final result was an overly sweet salsa totally dominated by the powerful smoky flavor. The slightly hilarious twist is that my challenge salsa makes a truly magnificent barbeque sauce for chicken, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it that way. I’m still going to make a fresh batch for Clyde!
Here we go and you are welcome for the ride. Raleigh Rambles. A Raleigh native’s rambles. Raleighites making art and making good. The city of Raleigh rambles out to the big wide world. The big wide world rambles into Raleigh. All of the above. This is my personal blog – mostly art and culture, but whatever else as well, because it is all good, all is good. Everything we do is art – or can be. Welcome to my new blog.
This online world is a hoot and a holler, isn’t it? It’s been fun to watch and even more fun to join. I’ve been very lucky. My school had a Nando account, allowing us to use gophers and ftp’s to look at a few data bases, before the World Wide Web came to exist. I have watched my buddy Clyde take the Net by the horns and shake it like a money tree for some time, while building his hip hop web empire. My friend Richard has been hand-rolling a blog since before there were blogs – I guess that means he helped create the blog culture. Blogs seem very much to be the universal multi-media uberform that Clyde and I dreamed about in the late seventies. I like them very very much.
Raleigh is blessed with great local blogs. Raleighing was fun while it lasted. New Raleigh does a most professional job, as recently with their slideshow of Rebusfest, and a review of my new neighbor, Rosie’s Plate. And RDUwtf, of course, has my biased adoration, and is back in business after a nasty spamlink attack. Here, I’m not trying to review Raleigh – I’m portraying myself and my cultural mileu as a native Raleighite.
A fine cultural mileu indeed! World class museums, enough of a city to be a city but rural scenes a ten minute drive away. Greenways galore, which I blog about at Raleigh Nature. A decent music scene, I understand, but you will not read much about any music other than jazz here. My favorite piece of Raleigh is the whole scene anchored by The College of Design -with Sadlacks’s as its lodestone. I love to run into old friends or find out what young art entreprenuers like Sarah Blackmon are up to. And I still get to enjoy catching somebody up on The Paper Plant and being reminded it is still remembered.
So here goes my personal take on Raleigh, old and new, work and play – living the examined life in the New South. Join me when you have a chance!