Backpacking Zaleski

December 4, 2012
Kevin looks out

Surprisingly, even though I’ve spent 14 or so of my 20 years of life in Scouting I had never gone backpacking until this past weekend. My Troop kind of fell away from it just as I bridged over from Cub Scouts and I never had any friends outside the Troop who were really into such things until the past couple of years. Thanks to their incessant nagging though I did manage to make time for a quick 10 mile weekend in Zaleski State Forest last week.

Armed with a 30-year-old pack that I made far too heavy with non-essentials I set out for a two-day one-night trek with my good friends Kevin and Ben. We had an excellent time and saw a very different side of Appalachia than what we typically see in and around the Ohio University campus here in Athens, Ohio.

This short little trek has already awakened a new desire in the three of us to do bigger hikes in the future leading up to Kevin’s through-hiking of The Appalachian Trail after graduation. While I’m not sure I’ll be in for that I’m certainly pumped about upcoming treks to Red River Gorge and The New River.

The New Myspace Dilemma

December 4, 2012
New Myspace

If you aren’t big into the Social scene this may be a bit shocking for you to hear, but people are actually talking about Myspace again. The once gigantic social network dwindled under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, but was recently purchased by singer turned actor Justin Timberlake who’s team has announced plans to re-brand the site as an entertainment-based social network designed to connect fans to content producers.

 

The new Myspace from Myspace on Vimeo.

 

In late September the Myspace home page added a link to a video showing off the site’s new features that ended with a nebulous “coming soon”. Social Media sites went nuts over the video and SM junkies like myself immediately signed up for the invite list. The web was getting all geared up for what appeared to be an exciting new hybrid of Tumblr, Pinterest, Spotify and the original Myspace.

Nothing happened though. It’s December and the beta invites are just rolling out, though its an extremely rough beta with a lot of freezing and crashing. We’ve been starved of the functional content Myspace ambitiously promised almost three months ago.

This is what I’m calling “The New Myspace Dilemma”, another symptom of the bubble we’ve built around the Social Media industry. There’s an ongoing push for ultra-fast innovation, but nothing has proven substantial enough to satisfy everyone. Industry leaders announce what they believe the next big thing will be and then when it fails to catch they move on rather than supporting an idea to full maturity. See Highlight and the geo-social craze started this year at SXSW, which has failed to catch on in many markets.

“The New Myspace Dilemma” comes from this incessant buzz building; but its main symptom isn’t lack of support, its lack of content. Myspace put out the announcement of their relaunch far too early without even a beta version to back it up , and so when a month or so went by with no developments people began to write the idea off. And now, though the beta is visually appealing it still has a lot of functionality issues that should probably have been solved even before the announcement. They’re losing momentum before the race has even started.

If you’re trying out the beta version of the site as well you can connect with me here.

Empty December Mix

December 3, 2012
The Flaming Lips: Once Beyond Hopelesness

I really love playlists. Particularly well-crafted ones that fit to a particular mood. Thus, about once a month I build some sort of master list of songs fitting my mood. This December I’m really enjoying sparse, empty music.

I don’t know if it was the recent release of How To Destroy Angels’ An Omen EP or what, but empty soundscapes are really catching my ear right now. I re-listened to the first HTDA EP, as well as Trent Reznor’s various ambient work for scores and such; from there I’ve been revisiting a lot of electronic stuff like Burial and some of the more atmospheric Moby albums.

Below I’ve compiled a brief list of some of the tracks I’ve really been digging in this phase.