New Year's Resolutions

The comma key fell off of my MacBook Pro. Thus, my first resolution is to regain easy access to commas in 2009. Trust me that each comma in this post was a pain in the ass to type. Remember when people used to have to write out commas by hand? Not as laborious as the ampersand, but still.

Rein in my love affair with Facebook. Yes, we're still in the honeymoon phase, but I'd rather do the preemptive break-up than end up hurt and rejected. A few months ago, Facebook membership among my friends reached a Gladwellian tipping point. A lot of people who would theretofore never have considered joining a social-networking site caved in, shed their mistrust of visibility and nostalgia, and embraced the concept wholeheartedly. For the two Monitor Mix readers who are not on Facebook, think of it like this: Do you ever wonder what the guy you sat next to in high-school math class is doing? Right now? Well, Facebook answers that question. He is doing his laundry. Yes, it's that exciting. My highest Facebook achievement to date entails a mobile photo upload of a Gresham police officer issuing me a speeding ticket. But I actually do love the site for making sense of all of the disparate groups of friends I have around the world, gathering them in a single virtual sphere, and making my relationship with them present instead of past-tense. Facebook has also become a repository for our old photos — the pre-digital ones — creating a fluid historical space, linking one music scene to another, charting one decade's transformation into the next, illuminating a generation of citizens' effect on their predecessors, and acting as a simultaneous artifact and living museum. So, for the most part, Facebook has been a positive, sometimes exciting enterprise. Yet over the holidays, I found myself discussing Facebook at parties, which gave me pause. Here I was, in person with my friends, talking about our virtual friendship. Then, another friend of mine sent me a note that read, "Wow, you are taking this Facebook thing seriously." My skepticism was reborn.

Avoid free shows and spend money on worthy bands. The other night, I saw a Swedish performer called The Tallest Man On Earth perform for free at Rom Tom's. After reading a glowing preview of the show in our local weekly, I decided to be spontaneous and head out for the night. I was shocked to pull up to the bar and see a line around the block — SXSW- or CMJ-style. Apparently, Portlanders will attend anything that allows them to spend more money on alcohol by spending less on art. And that is a shame, because the self-proclaimed Swedish Dylan was a highly contrived act with a huge audience. So in 2009, I want to seek out more live music — and not just when it's free or easy or convenient, but when it's likely to be both inspiring and edifying.

Additionally: Be patient, read and write more, drink less soda pop, continue to volunteer, and be appreciative of what I have.

Please feel free to share your own resolutions for 2009.

And, lastly, thanks for being a part of Monitor Mix.
Happy New Year.

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