Monthly Archives: May 2006

Neighbors-to-be

Who let Wrestlemania move in above my apartment? That's not cool. There is some serious stomping going on up there!

Today I was awakened by a conversation taking place outside my bedroom window. Four young people were discussing the layout of my apartment, surely unaware that they were being overheard. They spoke of their uncertainty. "That door goes into the master bedroom." "Where's my window?" "You don't have a window."

My windows have heavy screens so that when I stood watching them point at my apartment, at me, they could not see me. They seemed friendly, so I unlocked the door from the master to the patio and stepped into view. Now I would be the only expert on the layout of my own apartment.

I learned that these people had signed a lease and were moving in two floors above my aparment. They still had questions, so I invited them in to look around. These are going to be good neighbors, I thought. Pleasant and friendly and not sharing any walls, floors or ceilings with me.

You know that I could walk up to the second floor and introduce myself and ask what all the stomping is about. I wouldn't even worry about offending them if they're just a bunch of overweight people walking around normally. There's just something nice about having mysterious sounds pounding above my head and not knowing what causes them.

Is this how mysticism began?

MySpace

I am a MySpace user. Do not scorn me.

It is a new, guilty pleasure of mine. It all started when my sister told me she was getting messages from my old friends from high school. My ten-year reunion is this year and I haven't seen most of those people since graduation. Not being particularly upset with any of them, nor having any embarassing reason to avoid my high school cohort en masse, I signed up and started looking.

This isn't like Classmates.com, the site that spams you and teases you and won't let you contact your friends until you've paid their fee. MySpace makes it just as easy to find your classmates but the comparison ends there. You can be friends again without having to pay the middleman. I have recovered over a dozen old friends in as many days. This is good.

Not everything about MySpace is good. Sometimes strange people send me notes. Sometimes they request my friendship despite the complete absense of any supporting logic. Sometimes bands shamelessly self-promote in the same way. Sometimes, while I'm browsing my friends-of-friends, somebody will have crassly injected a music player into their profile so that my computer automatically plays their theme song as soon as the page loads in the browser; I usually mute all sound while browsing MySpace because of this autoplay nightmare.

The HTML markup is table-based and the CSS selectors are minimally useful. Injecting CSS into the page is allowed and not too difficult (as you might guess from the high incidence of inane profile themes) but the layout is held firm by the tables. They've dealt with their share of successful hacking attempts, too, so the CSS filtering and general security is in very good shape.

All in all, I'm glad to have joined MySpace. I don't spend time browsing strangers and looking for new friends. I don't use it as a primary source for information, entertainment, friendship or social experience. I don't even check my messages every day. But if you are already my friend and you would like to register that fact on MySpace, I'm there.