I have realized something this morning

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    First, Merry Christmas. My kids all showed up last night and had a blast! It was a mix of party down, open presents, catch up, laugh, play. One got a little too sauced, and we put her on the couch with some water to wait it out, but otherwise, a fine time was had.

    This morning, I’m up, and the house is quiet, and I was just musing about technology, rules, law, and the “give a shit” factor always teasing me.

    Remember our many radio discussions? We’ve all come to the realization that “cool” comes from people. So when radio is run by people who give a shit about radio, that radio can be cool, given the people who care are cool enough to share, right?

    Yeah, me too.

    So then, what about the places we live?

    Doesn’t it work the same way?

    It’s only a cool place to live when the people who live there are invested in making it a cool place to live. Cool comes from people, not tech, though we often find tech to be cool because good tech enables us to get at our inner cool, or as a conduit to reach where the cool is, or it does something for us we think is cool, maybe that we can’t do ourselves very well.

    I glanced at this piece while having those thoughts:


    And it all clicked!

    Frankly, it takes work, dollars, and time investments, regularly and consistently made by people for a place to be “cool” or good for us. No set of rules, tech, etc… is going to do that.

    Those things can make it easier, more sanitary, efficient, whatever, but they can’t actually make community happen. That’s a function of people and people alone.


    Although it may be a little bit out of date, a short time ago, I ran across the first chapter of the book Cool Rules on Amazon. The book starts with a case study on the declining popularity of Levis jeans, with customers gravitating toward other brands of designer jeans. The question is then posed, “what is cool?” and it is “cool” is analyzed from a variety of angles.

    I think that the book was going in the direction that “cool” is about the values and priorities shared by a certain community. Today, “microhomes” and the neighborhoods built around them are cool to Millennial generation people. UBER is probably cool to them not simply because it is a new technical tool but because it is a useful tool that facilitates transportation (many Millennials choose not to own personal cars). People outside the Millennial demographic, on the other hand, largely do not consider microhomes cool (to me a microhome seems too much like a motel room; a claustrophobic and limiting way to live).


    By the way, Cool Rules points out that it is very uncool to define or analyze “cool.” Cool is elusive in that way!


    Yes, but you can discuss meta-cool without doing much harm. The dynamics of it, who is sourcing it, who is the source of it, how it moves…

    As to the cool itself? Yeah, comes from people, and they are as cool as their peers, and often they, think they are.


    My wife is enamored with the little house deal.

    I’m OK with it on one level, and that is having some land to place it on. I would most likely build other structures and have few worries.

    On a hobby, “needs to build stuff, tinker, etc…” level, no fucking way.

    Of course, I could easily afford hacker space fees, so maybe it’s just a different mode or way too.

    Not for me. At least not now.

    @Alfredo, I’ll add that book to the reading list.

    Right now, I’m discovering a great author I somehow missed from the “Snow Crash” era. A little piece of the 90’s, left untouched for me. Nice!


    Microhomes have a certain appeal, but frankly, try living in a travel trailer first.


    The big appeal I see is people not accumulating debt and being more focused on experiences over things.

    Given the current economic trends in climate I can’t blame them.


    Some of the microhome or small condominium communities that I have read about offer different types of shared community spaces in exchange for the small size of the living quarters. Some have clubhouses or rooftop decks that can be booked for parties. Some have outdoor seating areas for reading, talking, relaxing, etc. The living spaces are solely meant for sleeping, going to the bathroom, doing laundry, and preparing simple meals.


    In going back to radio-related “cool,” I have two examples.

    The first was Art Bell. When I started listening to his show in the late 90s, he came across as a guy with a lot of cool stuff and cool stories. I did not consider his show authoritative in any way; it was just fun to hear how he and some of his more skilled guests would tell stories. I later went to an event where a guy played a videotape of a cable access TV show with a group of talking heads speculating about the meaning behind UFO appearances; that was boring and not cool (in my opinion).

    The second had to do with my involvement in a college radio station and the university’s student musical club. I noticed that there was zero collaboration between the two organizations. I brainstormed the idea that members of the musical club record jingles for the radio station. Two general managers shot it down as preposterous and somewhat laughable. The explanation given was that contemporary rock-leaning formats on FM use deliberately dry sounding production; musical jingles would sound hokey, out of place, and too much of a throwback to AM pop radio of the 1960s. Implied was that the sound of jingles was not cool to the audience and that we could not force them to become cool again simply by playing them (even if the student musicians could have created jingles with a contemporary feel).

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