Peer to Peer

I worked for the Centre College IT department during my senior year. It was 2002. BitTorrent hadn’t reached critical mass yet, and the filescape was fragmented: finding music or software cracks meant risking your boot sector on Kazaa or Limewire or eMule, and I spent weeks cleaning malware off the computers of those who tried. Even so, I knew I had it easy. Just a couple years beforehand, IT had been dealing with Napster.

I had been part of the problem myself, then. Music is so ubiquitous now, from so many services, that it’s hard to remember when it only came in physical form. I only brought a couple dozen CDs with me to college; they, and what my friends would loan me, were all the music I could listen to. Then I downloaded this piece of software, and—while the network creaked and shuddered—my Dell became a boundless playground.

There was so much weird stuff out there, and so many obscene delights: old TV themes, rap skits, Prince B-sides, that wildly misattributed cover of “Gin and Juice.” Oh, also every song I’d ever wanted. Before the advent of decent portable MP3 players, we burned teetering stacks of sharpied CDs, or stuffed them into fat binders; we blew out car stereos and hijacked theater sound boards. Most people go through some kind of music epiphany in college, but I’ll never be able to separate my own from the opening floodgates of P2P distribution. It couldn’t last.

The courts didn’t really kill Napster: money did. I’m afraid for Twitter.

Twitter has to start making money. They’ve decided to make money via advertising. Faruk AteĊŸ can explain why that’s a bad idea, both in selling one’s users and in stifling innovation. I wish I could just pay Twitter to let me keep posting from my third-party client and stop serving ads.

Yet I regret intensely paying to join Everything I love about Twitter comes from the fact that it’s free, anonymous, open and inclusive: my broke friends won’t be on, nor will the horse books or identity thieves or psychotropic stumble-spelling genius joke poets. But will they be on Twitter? Or will Twitter fuck this up and commit suicide by cash?

It’s mindlessly easy to get music now: free if you want it, fast if you pay. But there’s no playground. The weird is dead. I have no doubt that we will retain the ability to type out 140-character sentences in any number of places for some time to come, and I know that the (vast, vast) bulk of those sentences are throwaways. But some of them are the best sentences we have yet made in English, and they can only exist in the atmosphere of Twitter, the alacrity and transience and irony and fierce, fleeting joy.

Right now, I can carry 281 people I love in my pocket, and pull them up whenever I need to learn something new. Twitter is how I talk to the world. I know this isn’t entirely healthy, but intoxication rarely is. For the second time in my life, I’m high on sharing, and I don’t want it to end.

Mom, you might want to skip this.

Today’s DAR is sort of about our cocktail party!


I now know empirically what I’ve long suspected: the Infield is a vast and sickening waste of flesh, all of which would serve the world better as low-grade taco meat. I hate Derby.

Oh dear.

What do sober people do?

A high incidence of drug use does not speak well of one’s loyal fanbase

Want to see me having a field day? This is me having a field day. I am having a field day, right now, with the correlated results of Doonesbury’s poll regarding Hunter S. Thompson.

Got a new buzzword for you. It rhymes with “Zarqawi.”

“It’s going to be damp and smoky, and it’s certainly going to be crowded and loud, and I’ll be the one cold glass in the middle of all the hot fuzzy overmedicated haze. Last time I was introduced to Lucky Boys Confusion and Manu Chao, and my hat smelled like campfire smoke for months. I don’t know where I’m going to sleep.

Once I went into cold water. Once I went to the farm. Tonight I’m going in again, and I don’t know if I can articulate why.”

I wrote that, earlier tonight, and didn’t post it. I didn’t go. I stayed here and played video games with Lisa and Flora, hung out with Eric and Emily and Ian and Adam, talked to Maria for a long time, and was generally very happy with everything. Very glad.

I could maybe have been happy at the farm party tonight, in a reckless lost uncertain kind of way. I could also have been miserable, and I would have been breaking plans with someone who matters to me more and more as the end of college grows in my mirrors. But I made the right choice. As it turns out, I’ve got angels everywhere.

A friend of mine has been questioning me with regard to the inner struggle in which I am pretty consistently engaged. I said I think it’s the way I’m trying to train myself into maturity. She asked why. This is my answer.

Katie’s passed out on our futon in the front room; I put out a trash can and a bottle of water even though I don’t think she’ll need them. Her friends say she’s been like this since around 6 pm. It’s pretty clear none of them made an effort to stop her.

I don’t mind that Kim and Danielle and Will left her here. I’d rather she be passed out in our apartment, which is at least a safe environment, than at fucking McNally’s house. I don’t mind taking on the responsibility of taking care of her tonight. It’s something for which I’ve made myself available, and something I’m willing to accept.

I will defend the letter of the law in that it allows adults to ingest drugs like alcohol if they want to abuse themselves. It’s a right. We have rights for a reason. I’ll defend that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hate it.

People think alcohol makes them more interesting because it is essentially a self-centering device. All drugs are. And all drugs make you less interesting to everyone but yourself.

I will not deny that fucking yourself up is a valid choice to make with your life. I will not agree that it’s ever a good choice. There’s a difference. I want to scream this at people, but I’m incapable of that even if I thought it would do any good.

The things I actually hate in life are deliberate blindness and stupidity. They never accomplish anything worthwhile. They never make anyone happy in the long run. And living in Kentucky (or college, or America, or the world), I’ve seen so much of it that sometimes it makes me want to throw up.

I never want any part of that to be a part of me. My definition of maturity is not complete open- and empty-mindedness, but the unflinching refusal to be blind or stupid. It’s considering the needs of others before your own, and choosing to act in a way that takes into account the consequences of your actions.

I’m not there yet: thus the struggle. It’s me finding the parts of myself that won’t listen and trying to dig them out with whatever tools I have, and it’s my choice to never turn to chemicals to let me out of the job.

I feel like I lived two lives tonight: one where I went with excited people to see a really entertaining movie and stayed happy about it for an hour afterwards, and another where I sat in here being bitter and hating alcohol while a helpless, silly person sleeps on my roommate’s couch.

I keep believing that if I can find the anger and precision to hammer out every word of what I feel correctly, it’ll have to reach someone who’ll listen. That’s why I choose to articulate instead of screaming. Then again, of course, we all know that nothing ever changes.

I swallowed at least five distinct gnats today, running. I hate gnats. I wish a plague of giantflying gnat-eating spiders would descend on Danville. Granted, this would be horrifying, but atleast the gnats would be gone, and I could carry a wiffle bat or something to knock the spidersaway.

The Elvis show last nightwas totally sweet; as Jon put it, “He’sEIGHT HUNDRED YEARS OLD and STILL rocks harder than almost anyone I’ve seen.” A posse of drunkenassholes directly in front of us did their best to ruin the show, but we stubbornly enjoyed itanyway. And then there was some more rocking! (In that he did two really good encores.)

The thing I have with concerts is this: I really, really like going to them. Our trips to see BNL, Ben Folds and of course Angie have been some of the best parts ofthe past three years, for me, and even concerts at school (like Cowboy Mouth and homegrowns KincaidFamily Farm) usually rock me hard enough to give me whiplash for a few days.

Also, it may be like this for everyone, I don’t know, but still: I have really sensitive hearing.It’s like my secret super power. I had to learn to tune out conversations in other parts of thehouse when I was younger because I felt guilty about eavesdropping, and I still know whensomebody’s at the house before anyone else–I can hear the garage doors reverberate when a car doorslams.

So the upshot is that what most people seem to consider “wow, this is a loud concert but it’s okay”is actively painful for me. My ears make tearing noises and it’s usually a good half hour in beforeI’m numb enough to really enjoy the show.

I guess if I keep going to concerts long enough the problem will fix itself, but I don’t reallywant it to.

Tonight I’m going to a (recurring) party that I’ve been avoiding for three years. If I’m gone formore than a week, check Frankfort first. Bring some water or RC or something, because I still don’tplan on drinking and I don’t know how much other liquid will be available there.

she’s starting toyawn
she looks like she was born to it

So I turn 21 tomorrow. I’m not exactly planning a big bash, because a) I don’t much like big bashes and b) it is (as has been the case for eleven years) on a performance date. Anyway, these are the last free hours I’ll have for a while, so I thought I’d get this entry out of the way.

I’m not going to drink. I’m not going to start drinking. I don’t think that’s really a big deal. I don’t mind answering when people ask me why I don’t drink; I have plenty of answers to go around (“it’s not what I do” is the most popular lately). What gets to me is the sheer shock in some of my friends’ eyes when they find out.

“Like at all?” they ask. “Ever?”

I have friends who drink, and I don’t treat them any differently than my friends who don’t. Their choices don’t define who they are; I don’t think I’ll ever understand why mine apparently does.

I’m going to enjoy being able to get into clubs for 21-and-over concerts. That’s really the only difference this birthday makes to me. Having gained the right to do something doesn’t mean you have to go out and immediately overindulge in it (how many people go binge voting when they turn 18?). In fact, it doesn’t mean you have to do it at all. A privilege is a privilege, a choice, not an obligation.

Alcohol’s a good disinfectant. The day I see it accomplish anything other than that, or aid anyone or in any way contribute to the general good, I’ll try drinking it. I’m not holding my breath.

Also! Has anybody else heard Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” lately? I’m not even going into the mess Everclear made of it (they had to slow it down because their bass player wasn’t good enough to play it at the original speed), I’m talking about the original recording, the one you might hear at a supermarket or a party with a DJ. IT’S THE WRONG VERSION.

I LIKE this song, and I own one of the CDs it’s on (a re-release actually titled “Brown-Eyed Girl,” with about eight other songs), and I know the lyrics. Toward the end, the original lyrics go

…sometime I’m overcome thinking about
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium…

And the version that’s getting played now, all the time, is as follows:

…sometime I’m overcome thinking about
Laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey
Behind the stadium…

It’s pretty badly done; the line is obviously copied from where it appears earlier in the song, and you can hear that the bass and drums are different in the background. It’s jarring and annoying and stupid. I’ve been kind of hovering between “annoyed” and “outraged” about this for years, and today I looked it up and found out why.

That’s right: the version you hear now was originally a censored single in 1967. Let’s say that out loud, to make sure we read it right: 1967. My mother was younger then than I am now, and somehow the censored version is still getting played.

I could make some point about how this proves censorship is pervasive and insidious and, well, annoying, but that’s kind of redundant. What’s more important is getting the REAL SONG out there, on Morpheus and Kazaa, and replacing the stupid stupid 1967 single. Download now and strike a blow for not-stupidity!


(That’s kind of a weak ending. Hmm. Opening night and the school show went well; tonight’s the real test, to see if we can keep it up. Wish me broken legs.)

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