Remember when the internet started? I do. I was an elementary school principal and the promise of this new technology seemed overblown to me. I mean, how could one thing change the world so much?
Just another example of how wrong I can be.
The internet (or world wide web as we used to call it) is a wonderful, remarkable, miraculous, beautiful, ugly, horrible, vile, disgusting presence in my life.
Sometimes I think it ought to be called the "Disinformation Highway" or just "Bullshit Central". When I was a school administrator it was often used in the local press by commenters that seemed seriously deranged and just plain arbitrarily hateful if nothing else. The anonymity of Twitter and places like YouTube make some of the most venomous and vulgar commentary that I've ever seen (including men's bathrooms). Mostly though it's often DUMB. Attributing quotes to the wrong people and making juvenile political points steeped in raw ignorance is just part of the normal online experience these days. Clearly, we have not invested enough in schools.
So, it was with trepidation that I created this website and started a more public online presence. Linked In seemed smart when I was working although, in candor, it didn't do much. Facebook was just a mess and I found that people I used to like didn't seem so likeable after looking at their posts for awhile. Further, it seemed like an invasion of privacy at the minimum and tawdry, embarrassing exhibitionism at its' worst.
So, I started a twitter account (@hubbardjeff) and started following environmental policy wonks, favorite authors and musicians, and landscape photographers. I also looked for fellow desert lovers and nature freaks. I will readily acknowledge that I have been delighted with the results.
I thought I might take a moment to extol the potential virtues of Twitter and give a shout out to the friends I've made online. Let me add a cautionary note, Twitter, like everything else online can be a slimy cesspool of hatred, vitriol, negativity, racism and will occasionally give you insights into humanity that you may not want to be exposed to...so be careful when you follow and do not fear using the block button- blocking idiots sooner rather than later is good advice. Take it. The joy is that 140 characters forces people to be succinct. After years of reading so much crap in academia and at work and telling people to be clear and concise this medium works very well. "Brevity is the soul of wit"- Shakespeare. Also, pictures look pretty darn good and the ubiquity of phone cameras makes creating and posting fairly easy- even for newbies.
Where do I begin in discussing my friends? With my family of course, I follow my boys and their wives and my wife. They don't post a lot of messages but I'm always pleased when they do. My wife is @mexcelentegirl.
Recently, I mentioned Twitter and my web site on the Casita Forum- a member responded that she's on the Forum and that's all she needs! It was another reminder of how popular it is to be narrow minded these days.
At any rate- in no particular order here are some people I've communicated with and who I enjoy knowing "online":
PJ Finn and I have actually met a few times in person and he's a fascinating man with tremendous talent for photography (street and desert). He lives a simple life out near Joshua Tree most of the year and he is an environmentalist and nature lover like me. He is blogging more these days and his commentary is, like him, incredibly interesting.
Chris LaTray is a man after my own heart. He's a musician and a very good photographer (although he downplays his abilities in both). He lives in Missoula, Montana and writes reviews for the local papers and is just a fascinating person. He has turned me onto some wonderful movies and books and writes a compelling blog.
Tucson Kathy is a Southwest lover like me and, although we've threatened to do it many times, have not met out on the road yet. She is an underrated photographer and a Harvey Girl and House expert. We travel in similar circles and one day she, her husband, and me and Lupe are actually gonna run into one another out there. Love her stuff...
Eric Temple is, from my perspective, one of the coolest people I've communicated with not just online but in life. We chide each other that we're "brothers form another mother". He is the director and producer of some of the best films I've ever seen. I was astonished to find out, after meeting him online, that he directed and wrote a film I'd purchased and watched many, many times; "Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness". It is the best film out there on our literary and southwest loving hero. Further, he directed a movie that deserves a much bigger audience called, "With One Voice" which examines, through great thinkers and mystics, profound issues of spirituality and human existence. He's also a Maynard Dixon and Everett Ruess fan. His musical tastes are right on and, one of these days, we're gonna go camping.
Speaking of music and nature lovers- Lisa (@buffalo_road) of the band Mojave and CC (@echosparksband) are buddies and I love these two talented women very much.
A cactus and travel lover from the North is my amigo Ian Phillips (@cactusjoe333). He is a funny (in a punny kind of way) man who travels to the most intriguing places- like me he's working on his Spanish and loves the Southwest. His "Canadian perspectives" (like Lisa above) are illuminating and he often shares my shock and revulsion with American politics.
On Twitter I've also had conversations with people like Piper Kerman (Writer of Orange is the New Black), Fran Drescher, Jamie Pressley, the soccer genius Ray Hudson, Tom Arnold, Ry Cooder, Garland Jeffreys, Kathleen Edwards, Piers Morgan and George Lopez. Pretty cool, huh?
I could go on and on and I do feel I'm neglecting some great people which is always a problem with lists like this...
Just follow some of these folks and others and you'll be educated, entertained and, at times, even enlightened. The internet doesn't have to suck...
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.