Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oooooh, 5K

Also, it appears that my funky little counter has recently clicked over the 5,000 hits mark. which isn't terribly remarkable, but still a decent number. So thanks to all of you who visit here often enough to gradually push that number up, and also to those of you who hardly visit here at all -- your efforts should not be ignored either.

And a special thank you to who, according to my referral logs, was the lucky number 5,000. I'd like to tell you there's a prize, but it'd probably just be some leftover cheese. And trust me, by now, you wouldn't want to eat that stuff.

You may or may not be person of the year

Okay, so, Time Magazine decided to name "YOU" the person of the year. Yeah, you. And you too. Also, you. And you over there. Yeah, you, put that drink down and pay attention, I'm talking to you.

Anyway, yeah. You. Person of the year. It has something to do with the whole Web 2.0 thing, and user driven content, and blah blah blah, but really it's just a great big pile horseshit from a magazine that really should have done better. I guess they had a Christmas party to get to, or something, and sometimes when that deadline's looming over you, you just send whatever random, last-minute crap happens to run through your head.

Nice work, Time Magazine.

Expect a full discussion of the horseshittiness of this topic in next week's column (including, of course, absolutely no use of the word horse, shit, horseshit, or horseshittiness -- which probably isn't even a word, now that I think about it). Until then, here's an entertaining little coincidence that could only happen thanks to the lack of communication between editorial and advertising departments.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So, yeah, I wrote something

Maybe it’s not entirely obvious. I had sort of thought that by now it would be, but maybe I haven’t spelled it out for you. So here it is. All spelled out.

I don’t have a lot of good things in my life.

I haven’t for years. And for a long time I stopped caring, stopped noticing. Good things are only good things in relation to other not-so-good things. We judge the good in contrast to the bad, and the bad in contrast to the good. And when you go long enough without any good things coming along, you sort of forget that you haven’t seen any good things in awhile. When you spend all your time stuck in ugliness and negativity, you forget what it feels like to be happy, what it feels like to be optimistic, what it feels like to believe, if only for a second, that tomorrow isn’t going to just be another total bag of shit.

And in a way, it’s good that you forget all that. Because it’s the only way that a life like mine could ever be bearable. If I had to spend all of my time thinking about how much I’d lost, how much pain I’d been through, if I found myself constantly reminded how much happier, how much more fulfilled, how many more reasons to be alive the people around me had, I’d probably go insane.

Maybe I have.

Maybe I have and I don’t know it. Maybe I have and I’ll never know it.

Something must have kept me going, in spite of everything else. Something must have kept me going, even as I wanted to throw in the towel, give up on the world, spit in the face of God. Something must have kept me going.

I can’t think of what that something could have been.

At least, until now I couldn’t.

Now I can tell myself, I kept going for this moment. Now I can tell myself, I kept going for Summer, because if I hadn’t kept going, then I never would have met her, never would have had her slip into my life, never would have felt the warmth in my heart that I had thought would never come again. Now I can tell myself that the reason I kept myself alive was because, on some level, I knew that eventually I’d be glad to be alive again. That I knew that something was going to happen, something inspiring, something beautiful, something that would fill me with light and joy.

But seriously, fuck off, I didn’t know a thing.

Love makes you dizzy. Love makes you giddy. Love makes you lose your judgment and your common sense. I was watching as all these things slipped through my fingers, and all the while, love made sure I didn’t care.

Fine, I thought. I’ll be dizzy and giddy and stupid. I’ll be all of those things, and I’ll be glad to be, just give me something real. Give me something I can care about. Give me something worth staying awake for, worth staying alive for.

Because it’s been so goddamn long since I had anything that made either of those things worthwhile. It’s been so goddamn long since I had anything good in my life.

And I know it’s a risk – a massive goddamn risk – to put so much importance on one person. To give the keys to my salvation to Summer. I know that sometimes giving yourself a reason to hope can be the worst thing the world. Because as long as you stay at the bottom, you can’t get any lower. You surround yourself in what you know, and what you know is awful and ugly and meaningless, but at least you know it. You’re never going to be surprised by it. But sometimes, when you see the light that hope can give you, I don’t think it’s possible to do anything except follow it. Even knowing better, you follow it, looking for a way out of the darkness, looking for a way into something, anything else. Looking for a way to find meaning again. Looking for a way to feel alive again. Looking for a way to justify the fact that you’re still walking on this earth, still breathing in the air, still taking up space.

Sometimes you can’t help it, even if you know better.

Hope will come at the strangest times. And when it does, it doesn’t matter how low you are. You’ll grab it. You’ll hang on to it. You’ll cling to it like your life depends on it. Because, you know, sometimes it does.

So, yeah, I dropped about a page on the novel tonight. Not significant in any way, shape, or form, but there it is, up above, printed for all to see.

90% of it is...well, I'm not gonna say shit, because I haven't really gone back and looked at it, so maybe it's not. It sure feels a lot like a rambling, misdirected sort of thing, though.

Having said that, I like the last paragraph. And that's...uh, yeah, pretty much it.

Here's hoping I can get off my ass over the Christmas holidays and actually get a bit of writing done. It's killing me to watch this book drift out of my hands.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dick Flicks

I've been trying to come up with a name for "Chick Flicks for Guys" after watching Sideways again last night, and deciding that, essentially, that's exactly what it is. I'm also trying to think of other films that fall into the same category, and while I'm pretty sure there aren't many, I know there must be a few. I'm just not coming up with any names at the moment.

I'd seen the film once before, and totally missed that angle on it. On a first viewing, I was simply drawn in to the story of two friends on a road trip through California wine country, as one prepares for his upcoming marriage, and the other prepares for the possible publication of his book. It was only on a second viewing that I saw through all the surface stuff -- the road trip, the wedding, the wine -- and realized that, at it's heart, it's a story really just a mushy love story. Which isn't really so bad. It's just that it's easy to miss the first time, what with all the drinking and testosterone.

It's also phenomenally well written, and according to the IMDB, the first film to win screenplay awards from all five major critic groups, the Golden Globes, the WGA, and ultimately the Academy Awards.

This exchange, in which the character of Miles essentially describes himself while describing why he favours a particular type of wine, is one of my favourites:

Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?
Miles Raymond: Sure.
Maya: Why are you so in to Pinot?
Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]
Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.
Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]
Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.

I'm not 100% sold on the term "Dick Flick." I mean, it's got the right sort of play on words, rhyming with "chick" and all, but it also seems a little bit on the crude side. Any suggestions?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Maybe I'll just have a glass of water...

Ever wondered what sort of roller coaster ride your body goes through when you drink a coke? Question answered.

It's enough to make you give up on soda completely. Thankfully I've switched addictions, and fill my fridge with Snapple. And beer, you know, occasionally.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Twice the average!

I also read today, at one of the New York Times' blogs, that according to Google, so many people have started up their own personal blogs that, on average, each blog is only read by one person.

That's right, one person.

Thanks to the somewhat regular comments left here by two -- count 'em two! -- different people, I can safely assume that this blog is read regularly by at least twice what the average blog is. That makes me happy.

Thank you Elise, than you Sheryl-Lynn. I couldn't have done it without you.

Fun with jargon

Someone pointed out a perceived misspelling in this blog post, in which I announced the "spot the literary reference" contest. Of which there are still no entries, by the way. Hint, hint. The column in question, if it wasn't entirely clear, as the one that appeared a few weeks ago on O.J.s aborted book publishing deal.

Anyway, the perceived misspelling -- the word "lede" -- was, in fact, not a misspelling. In newspaper jargon, the start of a story -- the lead -- is referred to as the "lede" in order to avoid confusion with "lead," as in the metal used during the hot-type production oh so many moons ago. Although "lead" isn't used so much in newspaper jargon, "leading" still remains, describing the size of the space between lines of type.

After the misspelling was pointed out to me, I realized two things. The first was that, really, I'd only used the word "lede" in order to look like a smarmy smart-ass who was yanking out industry specific lingo. The second thing I realized is that you only look like smarmy smart-ass if people know what the heck you're talking about.

So, for those of you not intimately familiar with newspaper lingo, here's a list of definitions commonly used in newsrooms across North America, made available courtesy of the Freep -- better known as the Detroit Free Press.

Read. Learn. Then you too can look like a smarmy smart-ass for using industry specific lingo from an industry you're not even in.