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FUTURE Thanks to one of the free gifts I recieved after becoming a subscriber to Salon.com, I'm again a subscriber to Wired magazine after a few years absence. I stopped subscribing when they were purchased by Conde Nast and became more of a high fashion magazine than a high tech one. Now, they seem to be back to their old form, minus the odd color choices they used to make for page layouts and a few hundred pages. I'm glad they're back in the "future ideas" and gadgets business though, as recently I've found myself sorely in need of a connection to the future.

Albuquerque (and New Mexico in general, really) is not, to put in mildly, a forward looking place. Almost everything about it points to the past. The dominant style of architecture here is based on the millenia old adobe style invented by the local indian tribes. People here don't even try to do anything new with adobe, they either use it to build houses that any tribe member from 3000 years ago would be at home in or, even worse, they use modern materials to copy the look of the 3000 adobe home. Architecture is, of course, an asthetic choice that each person has to make on their own but here it always strikes me as another symptom of this city's absorption with the past.

I grew up outside San Diego and even though I was born in Boise, Idaho I will always think of myself as a Californian. Even when I was a kid growing up in what amounts to a small town in Southern California I knew things were happening. People were doing stuff that meant something, things that were going forward. I miss that. In Albuquerque I feel like I'm looking in the window on the future, not really participating in it. No matter how much I read or do I'm still outside looking in. We're hoping to move back to California next year and I cannot imagine how freeing it will be to my mind and personality to be back where people are concerned with moving forward. Here I can't help but feel that if I let up on the mental accelerator pedal for even a minute I'll slip and be living in an adobe looking house reading basically the same stories in the newspaper every week. Being in a place where I could do more than read about the future is immensely important to me.

So I figure that the subscription to Wired is either going to be one of my lifelines to people who are moving the culture forward and I'll treasure it, or it's going to kill me. There are two conferences advertised that I would give non-pointy teeth to attend but I have little actual hope of being able to go to. Both the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and Wired's own NEXTFEST are I'm sure going to be filled with the people and ideas that would get my mind whiring for months afterward. If I were published I could probably tell myself that attending would be great for my work but since I have yet to make money from writing, that would just be an excuse to spend money I dont have on two great vacations. From Albuquerque, a trip to either conference would be a short, expensive plane ride or long, cheap drive away, on top of the fees for attending. So I'm left with once again looking in the window and reading about the conferences as opposed to attending. This is what I meant by killing me. At least if I didn't know about the conferences I wouldn't long to go so much.