Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Tony Pierce is the Shizzle Dizzle. Fizzle.

Addition to the link list #1 -- Tony Pierce. Gotta start with the man himself. Hands down, the best writter blogging today. How he manages to post upwards of three or four times a day and still make every single word he writes resonate is a mystery to me. If you're not reading him, you're making a huge mistake that must be rectified immediately.

Facelift.

So it begins -- the step-by-tiny-step adjustment to the layout of this page to start pulling it away from the generic template. I'm droping (or, as of this writing, trying to drop) a list of links over in the right hand area.

Wish me luck. My HTML knowledge is circa 1996, soooooo, this might get ugly.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Incoherence.

It's been...uh, a little over a week since I started this stupid thing. At no point in that time have I felt like I was even remotely coherent while communicating through it. Even now these words feel too thick and malformed even as they push their way through my head.

I don't know why that is.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Shut up and listen to me, goddammit.

The thing about blogs, I think -- actually, the thing about any form of self-publishing -- is that you have to have a bit of an egomaniacal streak. You've got to assume that what you have to say is important enough, insightful enough, witty enough for others to take time out of their schedule to come and read whatever it is you've got to say.

It's like the vanity press -- people who pay a printing company to print their own book, either because they haven't bothered trying to get it published in the traditional way, or because the traditional way got them nothing but a kindly worded rejection letter. The problem is that sometimes there are very good reasons for an editor to be there, either saying "Cut this part out," or "Can you make this section longer?" or "This whole thing is a gigantic piece of shit. Please don't waste my time."

If I don't assume people are coming to read this, why on earth would I bother to try to post something at least once a day? On the other hand, why on earth would I be pompous enough to assume that anyone would feel the desire to visit this page once, yet alone on a regular enough basis that I should bother to update every day?

Ah, blogs are stupid.

See ya tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Um, g'morning.

It is, for the record, my intent to put some kind of content in this blog each and every day. Except for Sunday. And it's not that I'm particularly religious, I just wanted to have one day of the week that I didn't have to think about something to post here, and that seemed as good a day as any, and besides, after work, and then the Sopranos, I'm usually to brain dead to compose a sentence, not to mention a dozen.

So, anyway, yeah. This is the post for today. Hoo-rah.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I vant to sahk yuhr bluhd.

Okay, so there's no such thing as Vampires, right? That's something we can agree on?

Okay, good.

I'm not sure exactly what it was the really grabbed my interest about these "Real Life Vampire" web sites, and those people claiming to, in fact, be those real life vampires. It was partly, I think, their sincerity and in it, their desperation to be something different, something mysterious, something bordering on frightening, instead of just being a plain, boring human being, like the rest of us.

It was also, I think, the extremely exclusionary nature of this vampirism's design. You couldn't be turned into a vampire by anyone else -- no bite on the neck would send you down that long, dark road to damnation and immortality. You either were one, or you weren't. And if someone who wasn't already part of the club came knocking at the door, wanting to join, the only answer they got was, "Sorry, you can't."

If you weren't already a vampire, there was no joining up later.

It would seem to me -- and this, of course, is just a guess -- that these "Vampires" were the sorts of people who found themselves excluded from groups earlier on in their lives and who now adore the ability to be able to exclude others from the group that they have since created for themselves.

Just as entertaining to me is listening to the vampires complain about how gosh-darn difficult it is to be a vampire. How the sun hurts their eyes, how their "more empathic nature" makes them more prone to depression, how...blah blah blah. It all comes down to the same thing: "Poor me."

Which really isn't different from a lot of people. A lot of people aren't happy with their lot in life. They don't like their job, they don't like their girlfriend or their wife. They don't like their computer or the CD they just bought or their car that has started to make funny sounds while driving to a job that, have I mentioned, they don't like very much.

But these vampires...oh, they've taken it a step further. They have even more things to get all angst-y about. The sunlight, their empathy, that insatiable appetite for blood...oh, you couldn't *possibly* understand the pain I'm going through right now...

You're just...you know...a *mortal*...

We all want to be unique. We all want to be our own individual selves, separate from the rest of the world. When we walk down the street, there isn't one of us who wants to be just another face in the crowd, our identities disappearing in the sea of ordinary, average, every-day people. We all want to be remembered after we've died, 100 years after we've died, 1000 years after we've died. And we're all trying to figure out some way of maintaining that individuality, to make sure that we are and will always be unique beings, and not be forgotten.

And most of us -- vampires included, I would think -- are still looking for our ways of ensuring that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Oh, the glorious weed

I've spent the better part of the last year in an on-again / off-again struggle to quit smoking. It's not fun. I kind of wish I'd never started in the first place, but I do recall a lot of years spent enjoying the process of smoking, so I guess as long as I can dump the habit before lung cancer sets in, I'll be happy.

It's been eight days now without a cigarette -- without even a puff -- and I think I'm doing okay.

I'm on the patch, and that helps. I know it's worked for some people, and not been so successful for others, but it seems to be working for me. It sure helped last year, when I managed to dump the habit for three months before starting up again.

The thing with starting again is that, it's never a matter of suddenly finding yourself smoking a pack a day again. It's slow. Insidious. You cheat here and there, stealing a drag off someone, or having a whole cigarette to yourself one afternoon. You've quit for so long, you think you can get away with it. One quick smoke isn't going to send you back into the land of addiction again.

And it doesn't. But it weakens you. And you start to think, "Well, if I can handle just one, I'm sure I can handle two." So the next day you have two, and the day after that you have three. And after a few weeks of that sort of thing, you discover that you're smoking a pack a day again.

It sneaks up on you.

The patch is good for the cravings. At least the physical ones. The psychological ones are a different matter altogether. I don't miss the smoking -- and when I do feel a faint craving, I think about the taste or the way my throat would feel some mornings or how I realized after quitting just how badly smokers stink. And that'll usually take care of it.

What I do still miss -- and what I can't figure out how to get rid of yet -- is the craving for the crutch.

When things get bad or stressful or I find myself feeling a bit lower in mood than usual, that's when I really want a cigarette. Not because I have a physical craving, but because...that's just what you do when things get bad or stressful or you find yourself feeling a bit lower in mood than usual. And I haven't yet found a crutch that works as well as the smoking.

Still, eight days...that's not bad. It's a good start. And I feel better about it this time around, because I don't want to taste that again, I don't want my throat to feel that way anymore, and I definitely don't want to be carrying the reek around with me everywhere I go.

But the crutch...the crutch...

That's what's going to kill me.

At least it won't be lung cancer.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I should write about this

Yahoo! News - Possible New Net Domain Names Include '.xxx'

This...this should be a column. Two years ago, even just last year, it probably would have been. But now...feh, who cares. Should we all pop the corks on our champagne bottles to celebrate the introduction of a bunch of domain names? What difference does it make if I type "www.skankysluts.com" or "www.skankysluts.xxx"? What difference does that make in the great, grand scheme of things?

Nada.

Still, gotta come up with something to write about before Wednesday...

Because they can...

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Things get worse with Coke

Whatever it takes to make a profit, I guess. Up to and including selling tap water.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Good enough for now.

So, what's this all about, anyway?

A few weeks back I wrote a column a little different than most. It didn't talk much about computers or the Internet. Instead it was a rambling, introspective narrative that was written during a power outage.

I received a few comments about it, and most cases, the people commenting didn't quite *get it*. Now, granted, ultimately that reflects on me as a writer, and would indicate that the column probably could have been improved upon. But it also got me thinking that, sometimes, it would be nice to comment about the column itself, in a medium outside of the column. Kind of like the commentary track on a DVD.

So that's what this is for, in part. On top of that, if I can get into the blogging thing, it might prove to be a place for me to write about things that aren't appropriate for the column, or use language that isn't appropriate for the column. Or just post links to things that I think are cool.

We'll see.

Right now, to be frank, I don't much know what this is going to turn out to be. All I know is that, for the moment, it's here. Let's see what it becomes.

So...test number two

Hi again. Just testing the look of this blog with a few more lines of text in it. I'm not 100% sure that I like this look and layout, but I'm also leaning on the lazy side of things I don't much feel like designing a blog layout from scratch. May still look around the 'net for a template to use, other than this one. We'll see.

This is a test message. Hi mom!

Hi. This is a test message. That's why it's so short.