Random header image... Refresh for more!

The ALI Time Capsule


Image: inajeep via Flickr

I read a post last week in HuffPo that the lost time capsule buried on the grounds of the Aspen Institute during the International Design Conference in 1983 had been unearthed, 13 years later than expected.  It had gotten lost in the ground when markers disappeared.  Steve Jobs — who had been at the conference — contributed a mouse from the Lisa computer.

The rest of the listed contents were all things you think of when you think 1983 (sort of): “a Rubik’s Cube, an eight-track recording of The Moody Blues, a June 1983 copy of Vogue magazine and a six-pack of Balantine beer meant for whoever dug up the capsule’s contents.”

The mouse was sort of the remarkable item in the set.

I guess the largest problem with time capsules is that you have no clue what people will be nostalgic about by the time they’re opened.  Things we take advantage of today and largely ignore could become elements that define the era.  For instance, after the zombies come and we’re all living in below-ground caves (in order to avoid the zombies roaming earth’s surface and living in our abandoned houses), we may feel nostalgic about things such as kitchen sponges.  Or paint samples.  Things we used back when we were above ground and had more light and our eyes could discern colour.  And we actually obsessed over the which shade of brown to paint our walls.

Or we could go with the items that clearly define this moment in time: an iPhone, dirt from Ground Zero, a bottle of Viagra.  But the things that have sticking power — such as the Rubik’s Cube — will most likely still be around either in use or in museums.  And the things that don’t have sticking power will become these things we sort of shake our head and laugh at, saying, “I have no clue why we thought that was important.”

I always wanted to plant a time capsule growing up, but I was really impatient AND I didn’t want to bury any cherished items in the ground.  But if I wasn’t going to bury cherished items, there didn’t seem a point.  Instead, every New Year’s Eve from age 8 until college, I copied over the same poem (one I wrote at age 8, so you can imagine…) and the alphabet, so I could see how my handwriting changed each year.  Those papers are somewhat buried at the moment in our storage room, which is sort of like having a huge time capsule in your house if you never deal with that room.  And I never deal with the storage room, hence why it’s like geek hoarders in there.

I guess I am interested in the idea of time capsules but have no desire to bury things that actually mean anything to me in this time period. (What a waste!)  And the reality is that it’s the intangible that means more to me overall.

In the interest of not actually burying anything, I propose a verbal time capsule post to be returned to in a set amount of years down the road.  In this comment section, I’d like to bury the blog posts and the header images and the site titles that mean a lot to you from the last ten years or so of the ALI community’s existence.  All you have to do is list them, though if you could provide a link, it would be even better.  Feel free to put in anything that means a lot to you; that will be something you’ll remember when you look back at the ALI community many years from now.

I’ll kick off the box with these items:

What are you adding?  Since we have infinite space in which to contain them, which whole blogs, posts, headers, memes, ongoing projects, wise words, or videos from the ALI community should go in our virtual time capsule to remember the first ten years?


1 mrs spock { 10.02.13 at 8:44 am }

How about some original blog names? Like “And I Wasted All That Birth Control”, “Reproductive Jeans”, and “Coming2Terms”?

2 Jamie { 10.02.13 at 11:20 am }

Some of my favorites. 🙂 Great idea.

3 Kacey { 10.02.13 at 12:11 pm }

Oh. I had never read “Returning to the Well.” What a beautiful piece!

4 persnickety { 10.02.13 at 6:58 pm }

Interesting. My university (Smith) made all of the first years write a letter to ourselves to be read 4 years later. A bit awkward, but an interesting idea- a personal time capsule. I found it very hard at the time because I didn’t know where I was going or who I would be.

I assisted in preparing time capsule information when I was in 6th grade, for a girl scout daycamp. The group i was helping were daisies (kindergartners) so we cut out grocery pictures and prices. A record of the (rough) costs of various fertility treatments, the drugs and protocols would actually be kind of interesting- hopefully in a “look how far we have progressed” way.

5 Jamie { 10.03.13 at 12:17 am }

Welcome to Holland by Emily Pearl Kingsley.


While it is a poem written by a mother of a child with special needs, many of the same themes, feelings and stages of grief can be similar to the journey through IF.

6 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 10.03.13 at 9:21 am }

Ah yes, cyclesista.

If anyone wants to revive that one, give us a hoy! From experience, it seems it keeps its momentum better when spearheaded by someone “in the trenches”. Jen has been doing great work with it but I think we are badly networked these days.

7 Mijk { 10.04.13 at 9:21 am }

The post at so close on the 7th of january 2005 in which tertias twins arrive. So close blog. reading my contractions kicked in…..my daughter will be 9 in januari…

8 FKA Denver Laura { 10.08.13 at 10:28 pm }

I participated in 2 time capsules. The first was at my elementary school in 1985 describing what the world would be like in 100 years. I was in 5th grade and was known for being the most creative in school at the time. Other than moving side walks to get people through places faster, I can’t remember what I wrote down. Probably flying cars. Anyway, I found out last year that the inner city school that was built in 1985 was torn down in 2003. Much earlier than the 100 years. I always wonder if they dug up the time capsule or if in 70 years they’ll dig in the area and fall upon it.

The second capsule was for a neighbor on Dec. 31, 1999. I remember because I had to work that night. I donated an AOL install disk. Anybody got one of those recently? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.10.13 at 3:38 pm }

I can’t tell you how honored I am to be on this list.

I must add this one, from my Best Of file.


(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author