Last Friday night, the six members of "The Crooked Circle" or "Crooked House" or whatever we finally decide to call our little group, got together on a google hangout: Me, Emma Yeong, Max Czarnecki, Collin McCallister, Sudja Malik, and Valerie Bane - each of whose blogs you can see on the left. The point of the meet-up, according to Max and Emma who have become our de facto leaders, was to discuss the goals of the group, and to pick our first topic.
After forty five minutes of debate, we all agreed that eventually the group would commit to a remodeling project: a particular house, both dilapidated and large, which we would hypothetically repair and repaint. Max and I would take up light carpentry, Emma and Sudja would organize the house painting, Collin would (with assistance) refinish the hardwood, and Valerie would use her fine arts skills to paint the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. All we need now is for the present owners of the house to agree, which may take several months to work out, but Max promises us it will be done before the Fall of 2012.... although at least one of the group remains dubious. ;)
After about an hour of further argument, horseplay, veiled threats and blatant flirting, we agreed to Sudja's suggestion that the topic of discussion on our blogs be "The Multiple Self," an idea that came up on Valerie's blog a few weeks ago. My worry was that the topic was too intellectual, and that all the blogs have a tendency to get too smartypants and too eccentric. If the ultimate point of the blog-circle and the communal house is tell our stories and to document "the collisions between our creative projects" then we need to throw out the academic posturing. We're not in college anymore, my friends. We're not students philosophy, film history, futurism, paranormal science (is that really a "major"?), or creative writing anymore. Nobody out there is going to follow us if all we write about is the stuff we studied in college (with the exception of Valerie, whose previous blog had over 11,000 followers, but more about that later.)
But be that as it may, I thought I'd use the dry topic of "multiple self" as way to frame my impressions of each of the other people, who (aside from Valerie) I've known since freshman year, based on the contrast between the "Self" they present in their blogs and their online activity and the "Self" the present in person (or more specifically, on camera in the google meetup.)
SUDJA: From Sudja's blog, Whispers In Darkness, and the topics she posts on Twitter and Google+, one gets the impression of a deeply spiritual and intensely serious person. She writes about the supernatural with eloquence and mysterious wisdom. She is influenced by New Age authors like Miguel Ruiz and Carlos Castaneda. One would expect her to appear with all the poise and self-restraint of the Dalai Lama.
However, at the Google hangout, she was drunk, disorderly and irreverent. While others in the group wanted everything to run as smoothly as a board meeting, Sudja seemed to see it as more of a drinking game. Unlike the focused prose of her blog, her face-to-face persona is prone to raucous outbursts, random observations, and loud expletives. Seriously... the girl curses like a sailor... like gangsta MC... like an drunken Irish priest. Here readers probably wouldn't expect her to be as FUNNY as she is. My cheeks and belly still hurt from laughing.
MAX: I know Max by far the best of anyone in the group, and the "Self" he likes to project online as well as in person is that of a rockstar-filmmaker-hipster, and for the most part he pulls it off. You can check him out on his blog Filmmaker For the Mob, on Twitter and Google+. But man, the way he was talking about this house-repaint project, you'd think he was organizing a Mars landing. You'd think that the lives of millions were at stake, and there was no room for human error. Truth be told, this "laid back hipster" graduated summa cum laude, and the guy has a serious-ass competitive streak. This comes out in touch football games, Halo, and (after repeated taunts and jeers from Sudja) drinking games.
From what I'm told, twenty minutes after the google meetup he vomited and passed out. This is not surprising. The guy is a lightweight. To put a fine point on it, a ninety-nine-pound Indian girl drank him under the table.
EMMA: Sarcastic and unmerciful online, Emma in person has the personality of a camp councilor. So while on her blog, Speculative Surrealism, Twitter, and Google+, you might encounter an icy, snobbish intellectual serving up unmerciful critiques and sharp dismissals, in person you'd be more liable to be served Koolaid and oatmeal cookies... along with a gentle reminder to make your bed before breakfast. She spent the entire google hangout patiently trying to keep us on-topic, as if she were teaching a group of ADD kindergarten students their ABC's. Though courageous in her attempts to keep order, she was doomed to fail.
Oh yeah, she also, for reasons unfathomable to the rest of us, is dating Max. Go figure.
COLIN: He's Mr. Spock online, writing about robots and superconductors on Transapiens, Twitter and Google+, but he is all Dr. McCoy in person. If Max is a rockstar on the outside, Colin is a rockstar on the inside, composing truly haunting music, some of which he played during the Google hangout. Don't let his ill chosen wardrobe fool you. Max, his former freshman roomate, may tease him a lot, but only because he's jealous that Colin is so much smarter than he is.
During the Google Hangout Collin pointed out holes and inconsistencies in Max and Emma's grand scheme, and also caught Sudja twice trying to cheat at the drinking game. He also made the mistake of revealing to us that he knows how to refinish hardwood floors. I fear he will regret that slip when work on the house begins.
VALERIE: If still waters run deep, this girl is Loch Ness. I only just met her recently, and she has by far the biggest gap between the person she presents online and the impression she gives in person. She's a exhibitionist both in the scandalous tumblr blog she wrote in 2011 and her new blog Cocktails With Dionysus, where she is willing to share the most personal and salacious details of her life, yet she is painfully shy in person. So, while I have exchanged about ten thousand words with her in email, blog comments, and IM's online, I don't think I've actually heard he speak ten words out loud. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.
JOHN: In the spirit of objectivity, I will leave it to other's to describe me. I don't think I can do myself justice.
That's all for now.