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Thursday, September 11, 2003

Reading blogs might be sane. I said might.

I know a person who is a sophisticated web-user who does not 'get' blogs. For her, the web is about looking up information that will help her with whatever is on her plate at the moment. Random musings do not interest her much.

I disagree with her, but I see where she is coming from. The notions that are passing through a blogger's mind on a given day are only interesting in ways that match up to the reader's experience of life. Even if you are somehow able to discover a blogger who is going through a change similar to your own -- or is as obsessed about a subject as you are -- that blogger may be experiencing the change or obsession differently than you would.

Finding that someone is going through a similar experience in a very different way can cause cognitive dissonance. Who needs another source for tension?

Bloggers, apparently. Also, people who read blogs.



posted:8:31 PM

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Another sea-change for this blog

At one point, I thought a blog that was all irony all the time would be amusing. Every entry would have that "the intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning" thing going on, and people would read, and laugh, and the world would thereby be made a marvelous place.

Ok, sometimes I'm dumb.

Or, anyway, not funny.

The combination of a wrong start and the fact that I had just sold a book and was frantically trying to get it finished means that this blog fell idle for a really long while.

The book deal fell apart. I got to keep the advance. So, I'll come back to this, and see if it'll start rolling, this time.

Hi, again.
posted:5:34 AM

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a giant waste of time

If you are writing an article about the coming end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer it is absolutely imperative that you recap the basic premise of the series. Your primary audience is people who are discovering the series in the last month of the seven-year run of the show.

Avoid pointing out that the series coincided with the wide adoption of the Internet in such a way that the online fandom became an integral part of the experience. It is not worth noting that literally thousands of fan sites, forums, and online communities sprang up about the show, its actors, and even its writers. Television writers get this kind of thing all the time. Shows that help define the nature of a completely new kind of community pop up every half-hour or so.

Stick to the important stuff. The series viewer-ship peaked at about six million, in the third year, the year that Sarah Michelle Gellar's bra cup-size peaked. This is the kind of information your reader will find the most interesting.

Do not try to explore how television writers who want to write shows that have a strong, season-long arc are going to cope with the Buffy lessons: a deep canon has a tendency to close out new viewers; a deep canon attracts and holds a committed core audience. Nobody will have any idea what you are going on about.

One final tip: the article will be a complete failure without a reference of some sort to the X-Files. Reach for it.

posted:2:07 AM

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The secret of becoming a brilliant conversationalist is revealed


We discovered yesterday that the other person might not have a pet. This throws the brilliant conversationalist into a quandary. Suddenly, the need arises to invoke the other person's pet theory.

The gravest danger here is that the person may have a pet theory related to a subject for which it is impossible for the brilliant conversationalist to feign an interest. Use one of the following two ploys to avoid this pitfall.

Ploy One: Use this when it seems likely the other person works in an office. Say the word "Microsoft," and shake your head. Have your best commiseration on deck.

Ploy Two: For everybody else, muster your best neutral tone of voice and say "Reality TV."

With either of these ploys, the brilliant conversationalist is freed from any need to originate anything in the way of whole words. Laughter and commiserating noises will carry the day.

There it is. It is just that simple. Pets, Microsoft, and Reality TV. The three keys to being a brilliant conversationlist. The awesome thing about the blogsphere is that incredibly valuable information like this is just there for the taking.


posted:12:01 PM

How to be an A-List Blogger


  1. Trick other people into sifting through all the available web-detritus to find the interesting bits. Get them to send you the bits by email.

  2. Write pithy comments on each bit, little blurbs that cleverly embed a link to the original bit.

  3. Put up a section of static links to other blogs that are doing the same thing.

  4. Threaten the welfare of other bloggers who won't link back to your blog. Be vicious about this. There is A-List Blogger status at risk, here. Half-measures will fail you.


The final secret is to select exactly the right criteria for establishing what is interesting. You must place your finger directly on the throbbing pulse of the Zeitgeist. In other words, blog about what everyone else is blogging about. Under no circumstance post on a topic not in the Blogdex top 10.


posted:9:01 AM

Monday, April 07, 2003

I am a brilliant conversationalist


The art of conversation is simple to master. Ask the other person about their pet. Listen attentively. Laugh or commiserate, as required. Under no circumstances burden them with any information about your pet. They don't want to know these things, any more than you want to know about Mister Fluffernutt's herniated dewclaw.

Your pet is dull. Theirs is interesting. Keep the conversation interesting. In any given conversation, the first person to bring up the other person's pet wins.

You may allow yourself a brief moment of panic, in the extremely rare case where the other person does not keep an animal around. The adrenalin will help you remember that everyone has a pet theory. The trick is to identify the subject of the theory very quickly. This is something of an art.

Some limited appraisal of the other person is required, if not as a unique individual, at least as a member of some class of people. Go for the class thing, first. The unique individual thing is too hard, and anyway, unique individuals usually have a pet.

Tomorrow, I intend to lie to you about the ways to quickly classify a person's pet theory. This will be useful information that will transform you into a brilliant conversationalist, like me.

posted:3:19 AM

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I am surrounded by ghosts

Life takes place in America only between those years beginning in high school and ending when you are forty. Movies, television, and blogs tell us this. We may rely on this information.

The few portrayals of life in America prior to high school age are all from some distant era: the fifties, sixties, or earlier. Do not rely on these. They are fabrications.

Depictions of life in America after the age of forty are all about how things went wrong for some miserable revenant. The revenant is not really alive. It is hanging on to each breath with grim determination. It is being punished for all the stupid things it did when it was alive.

Sometimes, the revenant is male. These are morality tales about the inappropriate pretense of behaving as if one were still alive. The revenant is at best pitied, and often mocked.

Making a movie, television show, or blog about dead people is silly and will lead to economic ruin. You may rely on this.


posted:10:49 PM

A Sleeping Dog Lie


A dog has acquired me. I came home Wednesday afternoon and there he was, sleeping peacefully on the porch. We made our introductions in a matter-of-fact way, casual tail sweeps on his part and head-patting on my part. We established that he does not speak English, or at least that he is holding his peace about it, if he does.

He has no tags. He seems to be healthy and full-grown. Surely, he must be someone's pet. I've checked both my neighbors, the closest of which lives about four miles away. No one is missing a dog.

We now know that the Wisconsin woodlands can generate dogs.

If he hangs around, I will be a liar who has a dog.



posted:3:53 AM

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Well, the topic of collaborative development of footage has gone moribund. Here, anyway.


People, it seems, are willing to explore the notion of collaborative development, but not to actually do it. It seems like the single-auteur, primary-driver element is necessary for focusing real work to real ends. That's fine, really. It has worked for aeons.


For myself, I'll keep an eye on the topics of emergent organizations, small pieces loosely joined, and open collaboration approaches. Some powerfully compelling meme will eventually arise.


In the meantime, I'll turn this blog toward use as a journal of my thoughts and observations. Feel free to yack back in the forum.
posted:10:43 AM


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