Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Refocus the lenses on the Handycams.

Right now my mind is racing, cruising at an altitude around 35,000 feet. It's been a crazy week. A quick recap is in order.

Last week I headed up to Boston to meet up with one of my future classmates and look for apartments. What I found when I got there was a reintroduction into my tribe, both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, insofar as Ivan (the classmate) and I hit it off insanely quickly, which suggested that the CMS program is definitely going to be a sort of homecoming. Literally, in that we spent four days crashing on the floor of the good Jared Dunn, a friend of mine from SXSW. Early on in the weekend, Ivan crashed early and so Jared and I headed up the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square, where we sat and talked about the current locations of a number of old SXSW alums. Both reconnection and new connection were very, very cool.

On Thursday Jared took Ivan and me to the Thursday Meetings at Berkman bloggers' gathering at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School. Once there, we met a whole roomful of fellow tribe members, including Erica George, Shimon Rura, Bill Ives, Malchus Watlington, Josh Ain and j Baumgart. I am extremely grateful to already have a group of built-in friends when I arrive in Cambridge, which will also include Jared's housemates. I'd been a little apprehensive of this move, since I'd only had two friends already in Boston – not to belittle you in any way, Ryan and V, but I was nervous about the circle that I'd be running around in on a daily basis. :) It turns out I needn't have worried at all.

While in town, I also got to meet with Parmesh Shahani and Dr. Henry Jenkins. Dr. Jenkins is, of course, the head of the CMS program, and Parmesh is spearheading the Branding Cultures lab in which I might be working. I knew Dr. Jenkins was a great guy, but it was a relief to meet Parmesh in person and have a great time with him as well. Ivan and I met up with Parmesh at an Indian restaurant for Sunday brunch, where I had lamb kebab and scrambled eggs for the first time, and a glass of the best freshly-squeezed OJ I've ever had. Over breakfast we discussed apartments, the mission of the branding lab, student government and the program in general. For most of it, I sit back and let Ivan do the talking, content to listen. This might come as a shock to those that know me, so consider it a testament to my instant respect for Ivan's general cred, but it's also indicative of something else.

Over the last couple of years, I've grown fairly bored with the web design routine. To keep myself interested, I've constantly been tackling new challenges like doing more in-depth Flash development or learning new techniques in CSS or XML. But guys like me do get bored with the same general thing after a while – if you're reading this, Kori, I'm sure you've seen the same thing happen in your husband – and now it's time for something different. The Comparative Media Studies program is a perfect mash-up of my interests in technology and the humanities, but it's also very much new territory for me. Working in this sphere feels raw. It feels exposed. Even writing this entry feels awkward, because I'm right in the middle of rewiring my brain for these new avenues. It's difficult to knuckle down and finish up some old client stuff because my mind is now rapid-cycling through topics like game design, transmedia storytelling, branding culture and convergence. My mind is primed and ready for it, and as a result I imagine there's going to be a ton of new posts coming along that have to do with these elements (although whether they'll appear in this blog or somewhere else has yet to be determined).

As I was flying back to Chicago, we flew over the fireworks display and I marvelled at the change of perspective. The fireworks were still beautiful, but they were beautiful from a different perspective. The fractal metaphor hit me a half-second later. My perspective on a lot of things is changing, and that's good. It's scary, as change can always be scary, but it's good. The last time I felt this way was when I graduated from high school and was apprehensive about college – I was uncertain about what pieces of my former life I would take with me into the next phase, who would continue with me and what roles they would serve, what kind of face I wanted to put forward for the new introductions, et cetera. It's a winnowing, or a small rebirth, or a form of chrysalis stage. I've described it to others as bringing my life into sharper focus, like refocusing the lens on a camera. The line that keeps going through my head is the opening of a poem I wrote back in college: "Refocus the lenses on the Handycams." The poem was about spending time in Los Angeles for the first time and the mind-expanding and perspective-shifting effect that had on me. It feels like that now, only in reverse: instead of expanding my universe, it's bringing my internal world into a clearer view and crystallizing a lot of things that I've been kind of hazy about in the last couple of years. It's making some of my grandiose schemes real, in the same way that I attempt to make things real for my clients. The role reversal is amusing, and it's the right thing at the right time. My hope is that this galvanizing effect then puts me in the right place to continue expanding my experiences, only armed with a clearer sense of purpose and the right tools to continue realizing my ideas.

Like I said, it's exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. I'm excited and nervous and spooked and thrilled, all at the same time. It's going to be one hell of a roller coaster ride, and I can't wait to get started.


So many exciting things! :)

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