26, 2001: Excitement, anticipation and the media circus
When I was younger, it always seemed like I was doomed to lie in that boring middle place with the people who were happy to be there. I always worked awfully hard to swing the pendulum up, generally with fleeting results. There's only so much excitement that can result from jumping off bridges, running atop freight trains with a mild buzz, or driving across town at high speeds while in reverse. And once reality kicks in and the thought of death or personal liability comes into play, those sorts of things don't even trigger the rare brain chemicals the way they did at the start anyway.
Somewhere along the line, my frantic rush to find ways to quicken my pulse died and I started keeping jobs for more than three-month stints. Once survival takes over as a life direction, the regular pendulum action goes nuts and all the familiar physical laws fall down with a booming thud like geneva towers or some aged vegas casino.
Excitement comes in a different, much less entertaining form, such as figuring out how to pay rent on time or avoid getting sued by the starbucks swilling bmw driver who crossed a painted line to change lanes in an intersection and made your right-on-red look illegal.
I can now say that even the entertaining excitement gets to be overwhelming at times. I found myself longing for that comfortable middle place several times this past week. If only things would settle down for a few hours so I could get stuff done and breathe a few times. Still, deep down I really know that the middle place is like vegas: a fun place to take off and visit, but living there is a suicide-inducing horror that scares me more than anything else, except for the turkish prison in the midnight express.
This week's excitement started last weekend with the radio interview nick and I did for cnet radio. Fortunately the radio show host was very good at using leading questions and keeping it interesting.
Then a film crew came to the house to film a segment for kntv-nbc san jose and wb20 san francisco. They actually showed up a couple hours late, leaving nick and I to fret in an unknowing sweat. We filmed a hand-trembling competition, which I think I won, but I was filming it, so I'm not sure about that. As soon as I get the film up, you can judge for yourself.
Once the camera crew finally got here, it was fine because we could diffuse the anxiety with jokes. Their piece turned out okay, but the station managed to get our web address wrong on the news. They didn't bother to run a correction after we called in, so they got a free story and we got nothing out of it.
They didn't even make us the site of the day on their website, especially annoying since they hadn't bothered to make up a site of the day for several days, so they had plenty of room for us. In reality, nobody actually watches the wb20 news in san francisco, so it didn't really matter anyway.
Once a story breaks, the press isn't at all interested in anything else to do with the subject, so having journalists get the story or its key details wrong is just plain disastrous. And in my brief connection with fame, I've found that journalists generally get the details wrong.
The next bit of excitement came from the computer channel, a french cable tv network that wanted to interview me about my experiences in working at a startup internet company. I was planning for another interview at home, but they called me shortly before I left work and asked to meet me in advance. I suddenly regretted having worn white socks that day, as part of what they wanted were shots at foot level of me walking down the sidewalk and getting into my old beater car.
Then, the cameraman rode with me across the bay bridge filming away from a very unflattering point blank range inside my car. The interview went okay, with me trying to answer their questions without too much rambling, and them trying to get me to say really, really exciting things about working in san francisco.
The most entertaining part might have been nick getting kicked out of his own living room by the french. The french can be so direct and humorless; it's puzzling that they liked jerry lewis so much.
The media attention was exciting and fun, but was also frustrating and trying. There's nothing like being at the mercy of people who need you momentarily, but have no real use for you, and generally just make things more difficult and stressful than necessary.
Besides, the people visiting our site aren't coming because of a news story on tv or because we made the newspaper, but because they stumbled into the experiment browsing for things to do on the internet. And that's the community I want to read our site and the people I want to get emails from anyway. So tell your friends about the treasure island experiment and keep visiting. Thanks for reading!
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