The Year of Friends

Visits (49 of 90)

The last few days have thrown my summer into a tizzy. Not in a bad way. Just the way that my life, unattached to things, is sometimes tizzied.

On my way to Austin, I received word that my presentation on “The Living Learning Classroom”, a fancy name for deploying social technologies in a way that allows previous knowledge to be aggregated for future classes (and for former students to participate in current classes), was accepted at a conference in Anaheim. In June.

When I was supposed to be in London.

That’s okay. No plans were set yet so changes can be made. (And I can hustle up the cash to do this, I guess. Anaheim isn’t that far from Redlands and my friend Kris said her house was empty after I left.) Anyway, The Soho Theater is in flux (good flux mind you, but flux nonetheless) so switching things here and there isn’t a problem.

Anyway, it gives me an excuse to spend a good, solid month in Austin. Something I haven’t done in a few years. Something I desperately need to do more often. I’m getting closer to shutting down the travel caravan for awhile and this might help me with that decision.

But we’re not there yet.

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The Year of Friends: Cleveland Fail (29 of 90)

I’m not supposed to be writing this. It’s 10 pm on Friday night and I’m sitting in Muncie, watching The I.T. Crowd, sending intermittent and flirtatious texts to a girl, and writing.

But I’m supposed to be in Cleveland. In a big, Greek household. With my friend, her husband, their kids and her family.

Until the snow came.

The snow that mucked up our visit. One we planned months ago. Because that’s what you have to do when you get older. You plan trips months in advance.

They will move into a new house that’s being built sometime in the late Spring. Now, they are living with her parents. Which makes scheduling a bit tough.

And that doesn’t even begin to touch on my life. The next weekend I have free – or roughly free – is mid-April. Even then, I will have to find a WiFi hotzone on the Friday I drive to Cleveland so that I can deliver a lecture at Berkeley by way of UStream or Skype.

These are the events of our lives, the pull that has somehow kept us from seeing each other since 1994. Sixteen years since I’ve seen one of my best friends from college.

We are grown up now. She with a family; me slowly re-assembling my life in sobriety. Our lives are happily complicated. But it wasn’t always so.

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Mentor (7 of 90)

I’d planned on writing this post on the plane last night, but the best laid plans and all those things.

The travel delays and obstacles, though, brought new opportunities my way. I had the chance to sit next to a young woman from Charlotte on the flight from Memphis to San Francisco. We chatted about our lives, our work, our families. The kinds of small talk strangers sometimes make when they feel safe. Or alone. Or tired.

“You give great story,” the woman said. “Everything sounds so fascinating.”

And both of those statements – if I can say this without sounding more egomaniacal than I normally do – are absolutely true. I’m a pretty good storytelling. And everything does sound fascinating.

But the two are not always related.

***

Thirteen years ago, I visited San Francisco for the first time. Although if I’m being honest, that’s not exactly true. I visited Berkeley.

I’d sent off my graduate school application, written in a flurry of alcohol and drug-induced spasm the day it was due. I was in the throws of what would become a pattern of self-destruction, but at the time it just seemed like a regular week. A regular day. A regular hour.

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The Year of Friends: San Francisco

The first stop in The Year of Friends will be San Francisco. After months of conflicting schedules, I’ve finally found a window (and a cheap flight) to the Bay Area. It’s quick, considering the meandering travels from which I just returned, but I’m excited.

I’ll arrive late Thursday, February 4 and return home Sunday, February 7. That gives me two full days to catch up with some old J-school friends and visit lots of little kiddies whom I haven’t seen in far too long. I suspect I’ll have far more pictures and videos than you care to see.

The Year of Friends

Since I’m taking 2010 by the horns with The Year of Health, I thought it good to handle the other side of things as well.

One of the problems (I use this term loosely as it’s not really a problem) about being single is it’s very easy to get caught up in the dating game. I’ve certainly done that. That’s not entirely a bad thing; however, I’ve invested too much time in people who really had no intention of investing time back.

To rectify that situation, I’ve declared 2010 The Year of Friends.

This doesn’t mean I won’t date, but it does mean that whoever comes along in my life is going to need to either buckle up and join or take a back seat. There’s no compromising on this particular detail. The right person will get this, and I suspect this will be a very good filter for the wrong kind of person.

As with The Year of Health, I’ll be writing about my progress as I visit some of the coolest people on the planet: my friends.

Here’s a basic itinerary.

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