I finished Anne Frank's diary yesterday. It's hard to believe I never read this in grade school when everyone else was reading it. It's great stuff; Frank had a gift for writing. It's amazing — and heartbreaking — how close she came to surviving the war. She would have been a great writer.
Soaking in the tub this morning, it dawned on me that my birthdate is closer to the day Anne died than to (and this'll seem odd) the debut of ER and Friends. I often try to compare my birthdate with things past and things future. "I was born nearer World War II than the year 2000," etc.
This, in turn, sparked memories of the first birthday party I can remember attending. It was held at the Mormon church in Canby, back before they expanded the building. I must have been four or five. I can remember feeling overwhelmed. We arrived late. The other kids were playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and I was scared. When it came my turn, I didn't want to do it; I was afraid of being pricked by the thumbtack. The adults eventually convinced me to take a turn, but the whole experience was traumatic. From that day I also remember somebody with a shadowbox (lightbox?) and somebody else with one of those Russian-looking stringed instruments: flat and blocky. When the fun and games were over, we each got a frosted cupcake.
Somehow my thoughts then turned to the technical innovations of the past fifteen years. How is the world different now than it was fifteen years ago? I don't mean 9/11 (thought that is a significant change, I'll grant) — I mean how have our daily lives been changed by technology.
I think that you are experiencing the biggest change right now. The internet, with all of its pornography and weblogging and web-shopping and file-swapping and e-mail and shared information, is probably the most radical innovation since 1989. Two other big changes are cell phones and fax machines. Both existed in 1989, but they were expensive, used primarily by government and institutions. (The first time I saw a fax machine was in 1989's Lethal Weapon 2.) Now both are ubiquitous.
In 1989, the compact disc was new to the market. I bought my first four CDs that year (eighteen months before I actually owned a CD player). (The music companies promised us that compact discs were cheaper to produce and that they'd be less expensive to purchase than records or tapes — remember that lie?) DVDs were still a decade away. The Nintendo Gameboy hit the market — it was a shocking piece of technology: a video game system you can carry in your hands!
In what other ways has the world changed in the past fifteen years?
Kris and I started dating in 1989. During the summer, we heard the Indigo Girls for the first time. I was still a year away from buying my first computer: a Macintosh SE (with 4mb of RAM and a 40mb hard drive!). I knew Craig Briscoe and Andrew Cronk, but only barely. Batman was the movie event of the summer. The World Series was interrupted by a devastating earthquake.
These are the kinds of things I think about in the morning, as I'm soaking in the tub.
Today I was going to share with you the origins of the U.S. two-party system. I learned about this yesterday, and am excited to share. This has been one of our society's greatest mysteries to me, and now that its beginnings have been revealed, I'm eager to share. It'll have to wait until tomorrow.
Also, Kris and I sat around last night, both of us sick, and we watched Rabbit-Proof Fence. I loved it. The cinematography is gorgeous. The story, which could have easily sunk to cheap sentiment, is understated and strong. The child actors are natural and beautiful. It's a great film, perfect for families (it might be rated G — I don't know why it wouldn't be), and I recommend it highly.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Oscars 2005 Kris and I have finally completed our quest to see every Best Picture nominee. I'm here to tell you which are my favorites, and which I think should actually take home the Oscar tonight.
2003 — Subtractive Art Most arts are additive: one adds pigment until the painting is complete, one adds words until the story is complete, etc. Photography is a subtractive art.