Deep In The Heart of Texas
Things are churning here. The Netroots Nation scene continues to evolve. It's a younger crowd every year it seems, though still wonky and sometimes a bit paranoid (the cute blond girl I chatted with complained of accusations of being a Republican plant), but overall everyone looks good. People have lost weight and look healthy; they know they're winning, even if the win is questionable and the progress seems too slow.
A great find has been hanging w/the coolkids behind Music For Democracy, which is shockingly familiar, and fun. I also got to play Phil Donahue -- microphone man -- in a nice little "Dean to Obama" session. You might have seen my somewhat poofy hair on C-Span there.
It all makes me consider my own future. This world is one I've grown ever more distant from over the past four years, and a world in which I feel like I've let a lot of people down, or at least not realized the great expectations that I and others helped to engender. For instance, we evangelized Drupal as a platform technology which helped break up the DC tech oligarchy and drive "the .org boom," but ultimately that promise remains unfulfilled, and our personal interests become diffused, focused on other things. The technology is better than ever, but our crucial human energy is missing, and so the value remains undelivered.
As I said before, it feels like my immediate first-degree network is coming up in the world, starting families, careers, etc. As I said before, it's a wonderful thing, but I feel the spread, the phenomena of "continental drift" as my Pa used to say.
I realize the impossibility of holding on to the past. In truth there are more people I love and cherish that could ever be knit together directly. I just worry that in the midst of everything everyone will just slip slide away, that I'll say stuck where I am and the distances will continue to grow.
It's been an interesting couple years. It'll be interesting times ahead I'm sure. What's next is unclear beyond the frenzy of the moment, but looking out over the hot Texas plains lit up with ghosts of past and future, my feet itch to move again.
And that's the rub. I can't ramble forever, and there are more people hitched to my waggon than ever before. I've done a lot of things, but I've yet to sense that anything's really been accomplished. In some dark, low, hungover moments it feels like failure, but in better times it feels like mountains beyond mountains. Not to compare myself to Paul Farmer, but the capital-t Truth is that there's always work to be done, and songs to be finished (and it keeps coming until the day it stops).
Anyway, existential ennui aside, good BBQ is a blessing, and even though there are lame-ass hipsters who stand around cross-armed at the late-night psychedelic pop show (though they get physically confrontational in defense of their posture, which is interesting and I back down), Austin is an awesome city. I wish I could spend a week or two here.