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Fiddle Faddle and the Ansible

by Michael Southard

September 9,2010

Immediately when I wake, or after I lie in bed for two hours researching websites with videos of up-trending musicians, I become conscious of my need to have pants on. Yes, it is a fact of life that I sleep with my MacBook, but doesn't mean I am fanboy. I don't line up for the day-of release of the Apple products, and I don't own an iPhone. I prefer Android. But, I do have a romantic relationship with the Internet, and when it develops its own autonomous consciousness, I hope I have a Jane to keep me company.

This is an account of my Internet exploits. 

This morning started with me waking up listening to Antony & the Johnsons on the new iTunes 10, which I downloaded specifically to check out the new Ping social network. Ping was a bust. Apple, either work out Facebook Connect, or bend to the mighty will of Google and put a contact importer in iTunes, because there is no way I am inputing all my friends' emails by hand.

After listening to Antony’s epic voice, I went to YouTube to watch “Thank you for your love” via their UK label, Rough Trade. From Rough Trade’s channel I checked out The Morning Benders' videos “Stitches” and “Excuses” by film makers Yours Truly. The videos were reminiscent of the independent film maker Vincent Moon's work with French site La Blogothèque, where musicians are typically found in unconventional settings, e.g. vans, walking through parks, someone’s living room. You have to be selective about your background browsing music.

Moving through my browser history, I see the blue love potion vile on a pink background. This is the mark of OkCupid, the“cool" dating site, as opposed to that “square” site eHarmony, or the creepy OkCupid is the Facebook of the dating world; everyone is doing it. As an experiment, I set up my account and wrote the obligatory “What is the most private thing you are willing to admit?” and “What are six things I could not do without?”. As I checked out the site, something slowly began to register in the back of my mind that I was surrounded by nothing but virtual women. All I saw was a little pic of myself, and women OkCupid recommended to me, along with stats.  I have since learned that bi users see both sexes.

I gave the site a good go. The stigma surrounding online dating has all but disappeared. Many people I have spoken with go on it not to date, but to make friends. Unfortunately, my initial interest quickly waned. After contacting a few people, nothing really worked out except for making one friendship, which definitely makes it worthwhile. But it does make me ask what happened to American Graffiti car culture with people cruising the strip, eating at drive-in diners, and going steady? No stat can replace jumping in a car with a random person. Now that is how you get to know someone.

The site does have its pros. It opens up the dating pool to people who otherwise would never meet. It offers a great platform to get to know someone through some really good mathematical matching magic that the OkCupid founders discuss in interesting detail on their blog, OkTrends. And, if nothing else, it is entertaining and of-the-moment enough to give it a try. On the con side, there are people with completely outdated photos, and others who send you “winks,” the online version of desperation.

It was fun while it lasted, OkCupid, but my real-life romance has taken a surprising turn (in a good way), and getting hit on via email is a little exhausting. Deactivated.

After a little Internet exploration of music and love, I am off to bike around the borough. I'll stay connected with my Android phone in my pocket so I can Google cheap eats. I have my new Google Voice number activated so that all of my missed calls will be automatically transcribed to text, so I don’t actually have to check my voicemail.  Ever.

Now, if I could only find my pants.

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