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March 29th, 2006

I completed this week's COM 487 Internet & Society reading, “Shibuya Epiphany” by Howard Rheingold, which was very, very interesting and then posted my required blog entry about it.

Once again, serendipitously, I had recently listened to a podcast that was exceptionally connected to the reading, and was able to allude to it in my blog entry.



I got to the building that my class is in with about 15 minutes to spare today, so I sat outside on a brick wall, listened to my iPod, and people-watched.

This interesting juxtaposition of fashion on a young, presumably, Arab girl made me smile.


From The Front


From The Back


East meets West, perhaps. And perhaps deep in the valley at that.



Class was also very, very interesting today. We had a presentation on three Internet phenomena, looking especially at the aspect about them that involves mobile Internet technology.

Happy slapping is a term used to describe a fad whereby a person, or group of persons slap an unsuspecting victim (usually women or lone men) while an accomplice films the assault using any form of video recording device, most commonly a camera phone or a smart phone. It is thought to have first become popular in South London, but it has now spread across Europe. Of course, what started out as just a prank, has degenerated into people being punched, mugged, raped, and even set on fire while being filmed.

Thumb Tribes is a term used to describe a generation of kids, primarily in Japan, who have become extremely adept at "thumbing" -- initially instant messages, but now any commands, on their cell phones or "keitai" as they are called in Japan. They "thumb" entire text messages without looking at the keypad. And some social researches have observed that many of the members of these "thumb tribes" are now doing things with their thumbs that they used to do with fingers -- such as pointing at something, ringing doorbells, and even picking their noses.

A Flash Mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, do something unusual for a brief period of time, and then quickly disperse. They are usually organized with the help of the Internet or other digital communications networks.

I knew this fad had become "old news" when I read a story in 2003 about it actually happening in Durham, NC. :-)

Flash Mob Trend Hits North Carolina
by Danyelle McPherson

Approximately 50 flash mobbers gathered at Southpoint Mall (Durham, NC) at 3:30 pm to cause a brief distraction to Saturday shoppers.

[Saturday, August 23, 2003|Durham, NC]

It's a busy Saturday afternoon at Southpoint Mall (Durham, NC). Droves of people move about with determined faces, hoping to find the current object of their consumer desire.

New black dress for the dinner party Saturday, check. Two CDs full of the "greatest hits" to set the mood of the party, check. Good bottle of merlot for dinner, check. Now it's outside to the Pottery Barn for a set of plates that will enhance the appearance of the shrimp Cognac bisque planned for Saturday's dinner. 20 minutes later, dishes are a check.

Southpoint has really captured the feeling of community with the outdoor portion of the mall. It really does feel like main street of the small town I grew up in. Sure the old used book store has been replaced by Barnes and Noble and the local coffee shop is now Starbucks, but I still feel like a member of the community here.

It's a little past 3:30 pm. I have been shopping for hours. I think I'll head over to Starbucks for a recharge so i have enough energy to find a pair of black strappy sandals to go with my new dress.

Bang! Bang! Bang! I hear this all around as I attempt to head out for my tall mocha latte with skim milk. There are close to fifty people surrounding the fountain between Barnes and Noble and the Apple Store making fake guns with their hands and pretending to shoot one another. There seem to be teams as half are in black or dark shirts and the other half in white or light. People are hitting the hot pavement as their enemies shoot them with their hands, yelling, "Bang!" People are dumbfounded. They have no idea what they are seeing. Suddenly all of the people are dead, laying on the ground. After a minute of staring at these people, they all get up and leave acting as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. I overhear a woman ask one of the participants of this bizarre display what it was all about. His response: "School project." Then he walked away.




I got a quick haircut at Great Clips on the way home. The guy that cut my hair was way, way, way too meticulous, even for me. I was in a hurry.



Robert was waiting for me at the house when I got home, and I quickly started on our Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella Bruschetta for dinner. Yum.


Unlike this picture, our tomatoes didn't look like carrots, and they were sliced tomatoes, not chunks.

We had less than an hour to work on a crossword puzzle, and we struggled with a real pain-in-the-ass one that I'd started weeks ago. We got through it, though. Yay, us.



Dancing was fairly festive tonight. It was good to waltz and do a couple of partner dances again with Robert. He's had to miss the last three Wednesday nights, and I've missed dancing with him.

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