See me, hear me and walk with me – that’s what many websites try to achieve; in other words, connect people by creating some kind of online sensory experience. The people factor is a two-edged sword: on the one hand demographics are often unreliable and wildly variable, on the other hand, the Internet’s particular appeal is that it allows people to break physical, geographical and even time barriers to access information. For the individual, it is a mostly win-win situation. Continue reading
Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers often present original concepts in their novels, but Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross not only invented new ideas for The Rapture of the Nerds, but an entire new lexicon. It is missing a glossary, but if you’re not the kind of reader who immediately needs to make sense of a book, then you can just let all those un-English words and speculative notions roll over you, and eventually something will come out in the wash. I had to read it three times to get the gist of it, but a couple of new words stuck in my head. One was “meatsuit” – the bodies that humans are in: as much as one would like information and even personalities to be in code and uploaded to the Cloud somewhere, we all live in meatsuits and if we leave the meatsuit we die. At least, that is what one would suppose. Continue reading
I read Jenny Lawson’s first autobiography Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, with a sense of having made a happy discovery, and that, I thought, was that. Of course, that wasn’t that at all. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was the first friendly, funny introduction to a dark subject. Lawson gently pulled us into her world, and allowed us to talk and laugh about it. In Furiously Happy, she pulls us into her world again, but this time with little claws and a grin like a crazy raccoon. She pins us to a wall and pokes us in the eye with the truth, saying hey you, this isn’t all fun you know. The theme of Furiously Happy is that she will survive and be happy, even if it is furiously, determinedly, maniacally so. Lawson gets very serious here (not all the time, but enough to make her point) about the fact that she has health problems and depression and mental illness, but that knowing that others have the same problems makes it easier for her. Her friends, online and in real life, and those who eventually meet her in person, help her to keep going. I thought that was rather sweet – kind of a love letter to weirdos like me.