The internet does weird things to how we are perceived and how we interact socially. Two recent examples:

  1. A New Zealander living in Scotland has contacted me through YouTube (where I have added a few Kiwi music videos to a personal playlist) hoping to meet a fellow Kiwi expat: "i'm from xx, north island, where r u from?" .. Denmark? Maybe I should start adding a couple of Danish tracks to that playlist of mine .. nah.
  2. Facebook sent me a message the other day. "Suggest friends for XYZ!" Today the site sent me another message: "Keep in touch with your friends! Leave a wall message for XYZ!" XYZ, a distant member of my extended family, passed away from cancer a month ago. Needless to say, the messages made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I can only imagine what it must feel like for her close relatives to be sent these messages and pushy 'reminders'.

Following on from that, I have been following a message board thread about personal identity with some interest. The thread started with a newspaper article talking about "late-blooming lesbians". The thread meandered through discussions on bisexuality, marriage and queer politics - but the one post which made me stop in my tracks asked about the idea of "always having known myself". Can we really, really lay claim to having a stable identity throughout our lives? One of my all-time favourite quotes is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses:

I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move.

I like to think that our identity is an amalgam of our experiences and a select number of personal traits. I cannot lay claim to "always having known" something about myself, because "always" is a really complicated word. My three-year-old self had a radically different way of perceiving and naming things than my twenty-five year-old self or even thirty-four year old self. I feel at peace with that idea of a fluid sense of Self, a bricolage-like identity, which keeps shifting and moving towards untravelled worlds. I feel significantly less at ease with always having been the same person.

Getting all this from a thread which was basically "u all suck an i'm rite" isn't bad.

While I remember, I'm tentatively planning an escape a holiday to Denmark. I need to recharge my batteries and I miss people. I don't know any dates yet (although it'll probably be late October/early November), but I just thought I'd give a bit of advance notice !

Fangirl Overload

I hardly ever post twice in one day, but this needs to get out of my brain, through my fingers and onto my blog so I can stop saying Holy Guacamole!!! Neil Finn announces "Seven Worlds Collide, pt. 2".

In 2001 Finn had members of Radiohead, the Smiths and Pearl Jam playing with him for a series of concerts in Auckland, New Zealand. This time around? Johnny Marr (The Smiths and, now, Modest Mouse), Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien (both Radiohead), Lisa Germano, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) and Liam Finn (of Betchadupa, own solo career and Finn junior) join forces with four members of Wilco, Don McGlashan (of fab Kiwi legends The Mutton Birds) and, er, KT Tunstall. A record of original material with be produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Foo Fighters and Johnny Cash).

And there is a NZ tour announced.


Welcome To My Head

I promised E. that I'd list the podcasts I like. I'm relatively new to podcasts (I'm slow on the uptake), so I'm yet to build up a list of definitive favourites. If someone has recommendations, I'd be happy to hear them! Left Field Cinema is an intelligent podcast looking at both arthouse cinema (like Kieslowski) and mainstream films like Alien. I like the podcast because it assumes the listener is intelligent and it covers a lot of films I enjoy.

The Knit Picks Podcast. KP is a low-budget yarn company focused on the North American market - and they've managed to produce a podcast which is both very informative and very intimate. Kelley Petkun will either irritate or amuse you - she reminds me of a good friend of mine and so I enjoy catching up with Petkun's wide-eyed middle-class commentary on travelling, dogs and golf. I kid you not.

Oxford University's Medieval Podcasts. I have really, really enjoyed their podcasts on Anglo-Saxon texts and culture. This may not be everyone's cup o'tea, but these podcasts have been right up my street. To be avoided if New Historicism gives you a headache.

Lingua Franca. An Australian podcast on language. So far my favourite episode focused on linguistic typology (i.e. classification of languages based upon structural rather than semantic or historical similarities) but the podcast covers a lot of ground: spelling, loanwords, coarse language usage etc.

I'm yet to find podcasts dealing with current literature, modernism, poetry, art history, entertainment or humanism. Anyone?

In related news - that is, "Karie starts using web tools that have been around for years" - I am now keeping up with blogs via a blog aggregator. Gosh, I'm so 2003 sometimes.

Finally, I have (re-)discovered The Phoenix Foundation in recent days. If you like your music indie, mellow, folky and kiwi ..