Sunday Drive ... On the Internet Highway

Today was a gloriously bright fall day--a day for leaf raking and stacking cords of firewood. I surely would have raked leaves, except that I live in an apartment and don't have leaves to call my own, nor am I so civic-minded that I'm going to volunteer to rake someone else's leaves. Instead, I hauled recycling to our building's garbage room, once again prompting the question, "Why do we subscribe to two newspapers and drink so much wine?" Perhaps there's a connection?

Speaking of leaves and recycling, a fellow resident of our building left a pair of leaves from an old dining table leaning against the dumpster. Eyeballing them, I thought, "Do you suppose ...?" And, yes, they turned out to be the exact right width, and had an edge contour that is precisely the same as the leaves that have been missing from our dining table for years and years. And just in time for Thanksgiving. I credit this serendipitous turn to be more proof that Obama's election will bring bounty.

Chores finished, I killed time by cruising the internet this weekend, making three discoveries I would like to share.

First, I tripped over “The Black Cab Sessions” – a collection of music videos, each filmed in a single take without fancy sound engineering, featuring artists -- famous and obscure -- while they perform in the back of a taxicab as it maneuvers through the streets of London.

As described on the Black Cab website, “The sessions are all about great music and the venue strips this to its essence. We aren’t picky about genre and will happily open the cab door to anyone who blows us away.” The quarters are cramped, the music is raw and the results are intriguing. As of this writing, the series is at episode #65 with the band, Stricken Cities.

Here’s a sample session from Britt Daniel of Spoon, singing "I Summon You."

That video sent me to Spoon's own website, which now has a home page comprised of 16 YouTube videos filmed on the evening of November 4th showing celebrations from around the country. The Portland party appears to have been shot on street outside of the newly renovated Grand Central Bowling on SE Belmont. Very fun. Wish I had been there.

Finally, last night I discovered the "Internet Archive" -- an incredibly vast collection of electronic ephemera, ranging from vintage high school sex ed films to Grateful Dead concerts, with old books, radio shows, poetry readings, scanned books, stock footage, oldtime radio shows, NASA images, newscasts and podcasts in between. According to the website, "The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." One could spend hours and hours wandering around this site. One did.

The site also offers the "Wayback Machine" featuring 85 billion pages of website snapshots archived since 1996. Enter your choice of URL and find archived pages you thought were lost to history. Why would you want to do such a thing? As electronic forms of communication increasingly supplant print media, how else will records be stored for future historians?

Which reminds me of the other thing we did this weekend: We collected all of our election campaign ephemera -- from the Obama-Rama air freshener that graced our car's rearview mirror, to the November 5th editions of the Oregonian and NY Times -- and created our own historical archive. Years from now, we'll be able to pull out yellowed newsprint and remember how we felt in 2008.


Anonymous said...

"I credit this serendipitous turn to be more proof that Obama's election will bring bounty."

Hilarious. And the optimism hasn't worn off yet for me, either.

MightyToyCannon said...

Let's just call it "The Obama Effect."