Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 2010: @coljungt

    The title of my personal blog is The Other Side of Fifty. While I have never actually stated my age, it is pretty clear from my postings that I am on the older side of the half century mark. Amongst my peers, the aging baby boomers, we are often reminding ourselves of the slow but perceptible increase in what are called "senior moments." Certainly, the notion of "senior" or old or aged or whatever you want to call it is relative to the age of the perciever. I am old to a teenager and yet a spry whippersnapper (does anyone use this word anymore?) to folks in their eighties.
I truly believe that one is as old as one feels. It is a matter of attitude. Attitude, health, and appearance is what others see.
I bought a new phone this week. As our company email service is Google based, I switched from the ubiquitous Blackberry to an Android based phone. Android phones are based on the Android operating system by Google and very fast at syncing my Google e-mail, contacts, and calendar. The Blackberry did this but the delay was an hour or two. My new phone is instantaneous, as they say in Boston, wicked fast.
A new phone means new technology and features. It means different sequences for pushing the different buttons for what was rote on the old phone. Seemingly, the older we get the harder this is to adapt to. Comedians have joked for years about the VCRs (oh how I continue to hammer my age here) in their parents' houses blinking 12:00 forever. There are also articles about the over technologization of just about everything. The deadly accuracy of the Pareto Principle applies here. 80% of the time people only use 20 percent of the features on their phones, computers, software, DVD players, mp3 players, and so on. Most people snap photos or video in automatic mode on their digital cameras... period. Yet, there are endless features that are there to confuse the elderly which by large are blissfully ignored by the youth.
Getting back to my new phone; I was delighted that I adapted pretty quickly. I added my favorite apps and just love how wicked fast it syncs with Google. Did I already mention that? My new phone is the Motorola Droid. I bought it for a few reasons. It will get the Android OS update first, which will make it even faster. Verizon has a buy one get one free deal going on this phone which is cool. But most importantly, the phone has a real keyboard that slides out from under the screen. Being used to the real, and real small, keyboard on the Blackberry, I thought I would need this feature versus other Droid phones that only had the video keyboards a la the iPhones.
Sidebar: As I type this, I must note that the speakers inside this particular Starbucks are playing Judy Collins singing the best Beatles song not many think of when queried about the best Beatles song - In My Life. It is a beautiful song.
So, for these reasons I bought a couple of Motorola Droids and gave one to my wife. I was impressed how well and quickly she adapted from a basic flip cell phone to this smartphone. I was reasonably impressed with my transition as well with one exception. The keyboard is just different enough that typing is a challenge. I have to learn the subtleties of finger or rather thumb positioning to type only the letter I want with each keystroke. I had the same learning curve when I first got a Blackberry. I am amazed to people, of any age, that can whip out long texts and e-mails on this little keyboards without even looking. I thought being a string musician of reasonable skill that I would have the tactile dexterity and sensitivity to be good at this. This is not necessarily the case.
My friend and fellow musician, John, texted me yesterday with a simple request: "Aug 14 15 St. Gregory fest same as last year. OK?"
This was basically letting me know that we had a two day band gig, the terms were the same as last year, and was I available.
I intended to respond: Count me in!
I was admittedly distracted as I was awaiting a call from a colleague and when I looked down I saw that I had typed: @coljungt.
This was not even close to what I wanted to type. Though looking at it now I do see the "count" part if you take out the @, l, j, and g. While I was looking at this word, @coljungt, in amazement, the fat thumb on my left hand somehow decided to touch the "send" box on the screen. I was further amazed when I saw the text being sent. I was just about to send another text to John explaining what I meant to say, when the phone rang and I began the schedule conference call. I would text John after the call.
As soon as the call ended, like immediately, the phone indicated an incoming call from John. I answered the phone laughing out loud (yes a real LOL). I explained and apologized to John. Fat fingers, new phone, @coljungt instead of count me in, accidently hitting send, getting the call before I could fix/explain my error, and then getting his call just as the other call ended... whew.
John then said: "you are usually so precise in what you write, that I wondered what '@coljungt' could possibly mean. I even Googled it." Now, I was really laughing. I did appreciate the compliment but found the whole story hilarious. It is kind of a virtual slapstick sketch. You cannot make this stuff up. It is simply "@coljungt!" I will simply coin a new word: coljungtivitis which means a combination of fat fingers and a senior moment. Remember, you heard it here first.
Lady Gaga: I know for certain that when it comes to music, pop music, that I am out of it, not with it, and essentially have no clue as to what is going on. The sidebar above referred to Judy Collins and The Beatles. When my children lived in the house, I kind of knew which groups or singers were popular: Pearl Jam, Michael Jackson, all those boy groups that were so popular, Bruce Springsteen and, of course, Dave Mathews. Since then? Nothing.
I am aware of something called Lady Gaga. "He", "she", or "it" to quote the great Moe Howard, seems to be quite popular. I have purposely not done an internet search on Lady Gaga so that I can fully and freely express my full lack of knowledge. I know Lady Gaga is popular because I get bits and pieces in the news and have heard that this video or that was the most watched on Youtube for a micromoment last month or last year sometime. But, that is all. Is Lady Gaga an act? A band? A woman? A man? This generations Boy George or Bulent Ersoy? I have no clue and until now zero interest. For some reason, I had the belief that Lady Gaga is a transvestite.
I wrote the above paragraph early in the morning of May 26th. Upon coming home several hours later, I retrieved the mail which contained June issue of Fast Company magazine. I may be on The Other Side of Fifty but I am much younger as a budding entrepreneur and why I read this particular magazine. The cover story was entitled "The 100 most Creative People in Business" and had, serendipitously, the subtitle "From Google to Gaga, Apple to Architecture, Facebook to Fashion." Well, the Gaga part certainly got my attention. Upon turning to page 70 of the magazine, I was delighted and a tad astonished to find that Lady Gaga was number one person on the list. Who woulda thunk?
I was wrong about one thing. Lady Gaga is indeed a lady. She is a very young, very popular, and very wealthy lady. She was born Steffani Germanota, Quoting from the magazine:
Now 24, she reigns over a brand that spans music (10 million - plus albums sold), video (1 billion - plus Web views), desing (Monster headphones, Polaroid cameras), and marketing (HP, MAC Cosmetics). "No other artist commands the kind of attention that Gaga does," says Gabe McDonough, an exec at the ad agency DDB. "If she does something with your brand, it's like bam! - a million eyeballs."
Gee, I am very impressed. I did not think in this age of splintered and segregated media, that such super stardom was still possible. The Fast Company article goes on to say that Lady Gaga's success is due to, besides her talent and showmanship, her web and social media savvy. I guess she uses Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and other sites better than anyone else. I have managed to avoid Facebook to this point, but I am active on Twitter. She has 4,195,016 er... 4,195,022, I mean 4,195,037 which is now 4,195,053 followers. You get the idea. And yes, I became a follower. I mean where else can I pick up gems of 140 characters or less wisdom like "Love is like a brick. You can build a house, or you can sink a dead body." Silly me, I had just tweeted a lame Mark Twain quote, "Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company." I have 451 tweets where she has only 359. Sadly, I have a paltry 392 followers. People are not as gaga for me and that is plain old coljungt, pardon my French!
The Coljungt Oil Disaster in the Gulf: Allow me to shift gears and wax a bit on the horrible oil spill. How does this relate to generational issues? It doesn't really. Remember, I have shifted gears. I am looking for another way to use my new word: coljungt. I am also playing off of the differences in perspective across generations and just focusing on differences in perspective.
I was listening to National Public Radio two days ago. They had an in depth report on the use of the oil dispersant called Corexit. Really? Corrects it? That is pretty funny. What's not funny is that while Corexit is semi-effective in dispersing oil, it is pretty toxic stuff marine life and water fowls which the Gulf of Mexico and the Louisiana Bayou seems to be full of. The Morning Edition folks at NPR were covering this Corexit sub-story which was hot for a day or two. The government had an opinion. The opinion which everyone interviewed stated was that Corexit is bad stuff and British Petroleum needs to find another dispersant that is safer. The British Petroleum people had a slightly opposing view. The BP spokespeople said they would be happy to use another dispersant if there was one with enough inventory to meet the needs of the gargantuan volume of spewing oil.
BP has been claiming that 5,000 barrels of oil a day have been gushing out. The government believes that BP is low balling the volume and it is really 12,000 -19,000 barrels per day. There are 42 gallons per barrel. The government estimate means we are 504 - 798 thousand gallons of oil per day. Oh my, that is a coljungtish amount of oil. I suppose you need a pretty large volume of dispersant to deal with this volume of oil. How could the government and BP not be on the same page here?
The Future of Coljungt: Maybe coljungt will become popular. People will be twittering #coljungt. It will be a taoist word with many subtle intricate overlaps and opposites. Maybe some couple trying to provide their son a unique name will name the poor sap Cole Jungt and whatever last name they have. Maybe there will be a pop diva in the future simply known as @Coljungt.
Hey it could happen.

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