Sunday, December 27, 2009

An outlet for creativity

It's with a mixture of pride and guilt that I write the first line on this new blog.

Guilt because...nah, let's start with the pride. For the inspiration behind this blog, I credit my long hours and days of sitting with my good friend Taekjin in countless cafes, poring over books and looking into screens, gazing into laptops, scoping out the scene, searching often in vain for available electrical outlets, even occasionally deploying unconventional tactics (how many cafe-goers do you know who carry extension cords and desk lamps?)...and other sordid details that will no doubt become clear as the Spring 2010 semester at Berkeley unfolds.

Chronicling these experiences, the hundreds and no doubt thousands of hours spent in and around cafes in the Berkeley and San Francisco area, has long been a desire of mine. Yeah, I'm proud, and I was even thinking about writing "dream" or "fantasy of mine", but I'm not sure it quite qualifies for either of those. That's where the guilt part comes in. Because, truth be told, every word of every post written on this blog represents (already) and will no doubt represent, at least in part, some form of procrastination from the work that I should be doing in order to get this doctorate written, PhD finished, and no doubt well-paying job landed. I guess that's a tension that's going to run through these pages.

But thanks to conversations with certain friends about New Years' resolutions, I thought, what the hell--why not just hit the "create" button and start writing, and see what comes of this. Of course, the world does not need one more blog. And there is no way in hell that the thoughts here are going to--can come close to--approach the kind of insights and coverage of local cafes and their menus, prices, and atmospheres so well chronicled by the thousands of pithy and opinionated users on sites like Yelp.

But I do have dreams for a project like this--that something of the bent for qualitative description and reflection that are the tools of the trade in the area of educational research that I'm working in, and something of the literary, critical, and digitexual interest that animates my own online ventures (how else to justify the vanity of having something like 20 or 30 profiles on different social media and other sites?), will give Caffeinated Nomadology some insights into cafe life in Berkeley and surrounding domains that are worth reading. Or at least worth writing.

OK, I said it: I have dreams about this.

But I don't have my heart set on doing this alone! In fact, dear reader, if you think you've got a thoughtful or funny angle on the subjective side of plugged-in cafe life--the tastes, sights, sounds, smells, attitudes, events & perspectives only visible to those who've spent a good part of their lives alternately on screens, surfing, reading, talking, meditating, and living in cafes--I'd love for you to join the team.

So I'll stop there for now on the platitudes and mission statements for this first post. I guess what this blog's about will become clear as it actually gets written. For now, having moved from Cafe Leila where there was nowhere to plug in a 3-pronged cord in the front room where computer use is allowed (smell a future topic, anyone?), to Local 123 on San Pablo, I'm glad to have finally found an outlet for creativity.

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