With Sarah working, and me not, I have become both Keeper of the Flat (aka House Husband) and de facto dog walker. I get up when Sarah does, and while she gets ready for work, I take the dogs out for their morning walk, feed them and then have breakfast with Sarah before she has to run. I take the dogs out individually, mostly because they are difficult for one person to control, but also because they seem to do their Duty faster when their colleague is not around. And with winter approaching, getting them to go quickly is a good idea.
Today I had the pleasure of running into two local bloggers while on the individual walks. When I was walking Haley I bumped into JDS, and later while walking Mickey I met Morgan. Both apparently recognized the dogs first and then asked me if I was the guy behind this website. I must admit I was surprised it took so long for us to run into other locals who maintain websites, but it was neat to run into two people 30 minutes, or so, apart.
Hopefully, with Cathy’s help, there will be an area meetup in the next month or so, but in the meantime, please feel free to stop me—and whatever dog I have in tow—and say hi. As JDS and Morgan can attest, none of us bite.
Video chat is like conversation ping pong. It takes practice. It is not as simple as it might seem, and isn’t similar to other forms of communications with which we are familiar.
When you chat with a friend on the telephone, you can do other things. You can multi-task! You can prep dinner with the phone cradled against your ear, and still make out the music coming from the CD you have on in the other room. Your friend might be attending to personal hygiene matters—such as clipping their nails, you dirty-minded gutterheads—while sneaking peeks at Jeopardy on the tube, for all you know.
With instant message (IM) you can juggle even more tasks. You can check the weather, catch up on the news, check e-mail, listen to music, and still be able to discuss the unimportance of Janet Jackson’s bejeweled mammary on IM with a friend halfway around the world. Your friend, in turn, might be chatting with their partner, reading an article you just sent about what an asshat our president is, while listening to BBC radio. Whatever your “buddy” may be doing, you can rest assured, they are not sitting there with baited breath waiting for you to reply. They are doing other things. Just. Like. You.
Even in-person conversations can flow uninterrupted while participants do other things. Dining probably being the most popular, I’d assume. One small difference with face-to-face interactions is that—more intimate ones, at least—can often involve silence. Silence is a beautiful thing. Not the silence of sitting in front on the telly, waiting for the commercial break. The silence of sitting in front of a fireplace, or reading in another’s company.
But none of this is preparation for video chat…
I’ve never been a fan of webcams or video conferencing. It’s not that I’m against the idea of video cameras, I’ve just never quite understood the appeal. What’s so great about seeing a friend just after they’ve woken up in the morning? I’d rather wait until the person’s had a chance to comb their hair and wipe the crud out of their eyes. And I’ve always been frustrated by the refresh rates for webcams. It seems that more often than not, you end up looking at the side of someone’s head, or up their nose, or at their backside as they get up to walk away. What’s so interesting? And why would I want to share my most unattractive/stupidest candid faces with the world? Up until now, I’ve been stumped.
But yesterday, I changed my mind. Yesterday, we got an iSight.
Last night, Sarah and I were supposed to go see Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, Strangers on a Train, which was playing as part of Screen on the Green. We got as far as meeting for a bite to eat before deciding that there were more important things to attend to at home.
So while Sarah started a few loads of laundry, I installed the network card and set up the DSL modem. After a brief setback—encountered because of our second phone line—we were up and running. A happy dance ensued.
After a nice walk around the neighborhood, I took over laundry folding duties while Sarah tackled and conquered the wireless set up. Within a few minutes we were both surfing the web, and there was much rejoicing. Although she was quick to rebuff my advances when digital flirting ensued.