Writing on the Wall

While cleaning out my office today, I jotted these down from our whiteboard/quotes wall:

  • I’m in lunches all day – V
  • I can’t spell IMLP – Y
  • Let the rhythm flow through my body – V
  • Most things people say are words – J
  • Did you get an e-mail from me?… Because you’re not supposed to” – Y
  • We take balance for granted – V
  • “Therefore, I am one foot lighter than you” – Y
  • Actually I came in an MSG barrell – T
  • What time do we have to be here for an 8am meeting? – Y
  • Are you going to bulid a village and teach them English – Me

Good times. Good people. Goodbyes.

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10 Weeks Later

This week I wrap up my internship and Saturday I’ll be leaving Erie, PA. You may have noticed that I haven’t written much about my life in the last month or so. That happened because I have been busy lately. I have also tried to avoid talking about work in my blog, so that squashed some of the better stories. Since things are coming to an end now, I figure it would be a good time to reflect on my summer here.

Like most of the other interns here, I had reservations about coming to Erie. It took a while for me to get used to my new life here. I didn’t know many people here and I didn’t have a car, so I felt pretty landlocked for the first few weeks. Thus I projected a lot of my own feelings onto Erie. I decided it was a dreary and lonely place with nothing to do. I haven’t completely shaken that feeling yet either, but I feel better about it now than I did 10 weeks ago.

Waiting for FireworksAround the 4th of July weekend things changed though. I started to develop relationships with some of my fellow interns and did things with them. And when I didn’t have things to do, I found things to do. Finding a bus to the mall went a long way to improving my weekends (and draining my bank account). There were also a lot of things I wished I did here that I didn’t. In any case, I started feeling like I was living in Erie, rather than stuck there. And it made all the difference.

So would I come back here to live and work? I am definitely warmer to the idea now than I was back at the start. It seems, however, what people really like about Erie is not its location, its geography, or its nightlife. It is the people who live there. Nearly everyone I work with who likes Erie has families, wives, girlfriends, or drinking buddies who make Erie a home for them. These type of people make a place special. And it that sense the only thing that was wrong with Erie was that it didn’t have the people I cared about in it.

Well I think I’m over my Dorothy-There’s-No-Place-Like-Home thing now. I feel like my time in Erie and my experiences here have been worthwhile, both professionally and personally. That said, it will be good to be home.

Congress Wants to Regulate Facebook, MySpace

The Internet is an excellent medium for communication and collaboration. Possibly too excellent for Pennsylvania congressman Michael Fitzpatrick. This week he introduced his Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA, with the emphasis on dope) in the House, a bill aimed at blocking access to MySpace and Facebook in schools and libraries. The objective of this bill is to protect children from stalkers and predators on these sites, but this is a rather foolish and dangerous approach.

For starters, most of these sites are probably already blocked in schools and it doesn’t stop kids from accessing these sites at home. The only people who will be affected are poorer folks who cannot afford internet access at home. Of course, these sites are probably more dangerous for them too. Social networking is a powerful tool that has legitimate uses and should not be treated like porn.

Also problematic is the law’s wording, which describes a social networking site as a web site that “allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users; and offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, email, or instant messenger.” By that standard, sites like Blogger and AIM could be blocked as well. That would make the internet about as static as a book – something libraries do not need anymore of.

What really concerns me right now is what this means for colleges and universities (since I am a college student). Reports suggest that the law is directed at schools and libraries that get Internet access through a federal E-rate program. The E-rate program is supposedly limited to K-12 schools, so it seems that the Facebook may be safe – for now.