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It's Nelly's World

Here Comes 2011

alec vanderboom

For a technophobe--not to mention an unusually negative and annoyingly stodgy person--I am loving, more and more, the immensities behind the black screen of my computer. They provide places to wander endlessly, and to sometimes find luscious prizes. You rarely go straight to them; instead, as on a great trip, you follow some road that gives a hint of promise or ask a local, standing at the gas pump, to suggest a sight, and thereby get to where you should go but had no idea you were headed.

This is (perhaps not uncoincidentally) also the process of love, where "one thing leads to another."

Another is the best destination of all.

So it was that I was led, through the long series of happenstance that is the internet's great contribution to life's possibilities, to something I haven't been able to stop thinking about. It is something small--infinitesimal, in all ways: a pop ditty, and not even a good example of the type, by the meagerly talented tween heartthrob Justin Bieber. But it has been made into something large, by someone who goes by the name of Shamantis. By applying a program (more unimaginable wizardry from the lands of technology beyond my ken, which is all of them) that slows and stretches sound by 800 percent, he has utterly transformed "U Smile" from the highly trivial to the deeply affecting.

Arbitrary transformations, accidental discoveries. There is not much more to ask for from life, is there?

That is what I wish for you, in the new year(s): strange finds, travels without maps, embrace of the unknown. And anything else that wants to come into your arms.