Monday 18 Jan 10
I talked to my Mum in the bath yesterday.
OK, I should point out this was via skype. I was in my bath in upstate New York, she was in her living-room in the east coast of Scotland, fully clothed. I also skyped with my friends Sue and Dom in London from the bath. It's so great to be able to see people as you chat to them, and of course what's great about skype is that it's free to videochat from computer to computer. How wonderful that our technology has enabled us to stay more connected to our friends and family and for less cost.
I always think the mark of a classy hotel is whether or not it charges you for internet use. Hotels don't need to charge you. They already have the internet connected, so to let you use their signal is no skin off their nose. It's just whether or not they feel that it's ok to take something that is free to everyone and charge you up the wazoo for it. No matter how swanky an establishment, no matter how many bowls of fruit or little bottles of bubbly stuff they leave in the bathroom, if they charge me for internet they have crossed a line and are against everything I believe the internet stands for.
I think the internet is all about accessing knowledge and connecting people. Oh yes, and porn, which I suppose is a sort of combination of the two!!
The idea that I can actually see my Mum on the other side of the world, and chat to her for half an hour for free, is a really great thing on so many levels. Being able to see someone's face is so much better than a phone call.
Last year I did a ton of traveling. My carbon footprint was crazy. I made 57 flights in 2009, and not many of them were the short, commuter kind. For many months I never unpacked, there was always a bag half-ready in my room, my excitement to be home always tempered by the knowledge of the next departure date, and so why bother to put everything away?
But wherever I went I was able to see my man, my dogs, even see my home because of skype, and it made the travel and the absence so much easier. It was also fun to be able to show where I was, who I was meeting, even what I was eating sometimes! I know this is starting to sound like a skype commercial but I just had a moment of clarity in the bath yesterday about how greatly the internet has changed our lives, (not always for the better of course - we are all a little codependent on our computers, I think). But being able to see and hear another human being you love, in real time, for free, from wherever you are in the world, is pretty mind-blowing.
I should add that I have done something about my carbon footprint. Aside from actively trying to stay at home more (to wit, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark) I have had a wind turbine installed in the woods at my house in the Catskills, so I am making power and sending it back to the grid even as I write this. Getting this turbine up and running was no easy matter. It took forever, and when it was finally all ready to be hooked up to the grid, NYSEG was incredibly unhelpful and obstructive. It was almost as if they didn't want me to make power and sell it back to them!!
What I'm chanting for today:
That President Obama will not attend the same Washington prayer meeting as one of the Ugandan ministers who wants to kill all gays.
That the Republicans don't win Ted Kennedy's old seat.
That the Tory Party in the Uk continue to show their true colours.