Pages

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Maybe


For now... I'll confine personal blogging to this space. 

I keep meaning to do more but have set up too many places. And the truth is if I just blog for myself I want it simple and dumb. 

Blogger is good for that. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Well, I'm an Author Now, and I have a 2nd Book Coming Out...

... And from what I've seen it's sort of an author thing to stick with blog platforms no one actually uses anymore.

Seriously. George R.R. Martin, the mind behind Game of Thrones? Dude is still rocking the Livejournal.

Neil Gaiman held onto Livejournal long after it seemed more curiosity than useful content management system. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

It would also be cussedly impractical for me to use this when I have bought-and-paid-for URLs at Medium and Wordpress. That makes the prospect of just reverting after all the hemming and hawing to Blogger kind of hilarious. At least in my mind.

Or I may just randomly update this space once every two years. That prospect makes me smile as well. Who knows, in the end? It's all just writing on the internet, which I have learned as a professional writer is the most ephemeral thing, no matter how much you get paid to do it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Great Blizzard of Twenty-Fifteen, Among Other Things

Long-time bloggy blogger and likely difficult person in general Andrew Sullivan retired from the act of blogging today.

I never regularly read Sullivan's blog after his interest in the intersection of race and IQ turned my stomach, but I did find myself sympathetic to a few things he said in his post today about the daily grind of blogging. This is all just writing, but blogging for many--I include myself in that 'many'--seems to include an inherent demand for timeliness and relevance, and that can lead to a constant feeling of being on deadline. Even if that deadline is entirely self-imposed, it does cause stress.

After I'd been blogging for the heck of it for 5 years--for fun--it took off for me in 2005 and became a job. At the time I was probably 60 lbs. overweight. By the time I backed away from blogging as I understood it for a bit (I never "retired," really) in 2009, I was a full 100 lbs overweight. My blood pressure was insanely high and my lifelong problem with insomnia was off the charts bad. I had acid reflux and my asthma, long dormant, had begun to flare again.

Not having a single-purpose blog of my own to obsess over, just a series of freelance gigs, I was able to focus on losing that weight and feeling better again. I understand Andrew Sullivan's feeling that he'll end up healthier if he steps away from this kind of every day thing. Chances are he's right.

After reading about Sullivan's quasi-retirement I tweeted a joke about my return to blogging, because this kind of endeavor is really missing the input of progressive, middle-aged white men with underlying anger issues.

Truth is, though, I really do feel more ready than I truly have in some time to do this every day. I think I'm going to try and have just one rule: not make any rules for what I put here. I mean, there are rules, sure, but I'm going to ease this space into something closer in many ways to what I was doing when I first began blogging in 2000.

Like, this post started out to be about this blizzard. We had a blizzard where I live, in Central Massachusetts, and it was a sonofabitch. Three feet of snow, full blizzard conditions for 7 hours straight. The Weather Channel dubbed it Juno, which is fine, but I like the old-fashioned Blizzard of 2015. Mostly because such a considerable storm deserves a timeless moniker like that.

The blizzard began in earnest late Monday and consumed all of Tuesday, non-stop sideways snow drifting to the tops of single-story homes. It was epic, and I enjoyed it.

I lived in the south till I was 45, and growing up in the south, snow is introduced as a treat. It's always unexpected, and because no southern city has the infrastructure to deal with it, it enforces a respite when it comes. Whether anyone wants it or not, people get a holiday. It doesn't take much, either--in 2011, five inches of snow shut down Atlanta for a solid week.

You'd think that growing up and eventually having to drive to work in snowstorms would have robbed me of my enjoyment--it did not. And I had one job in one of the few regions of the south that sees real snow on occasion that was atop a treacherous hill. Stressful as driving that hill was in the snow, I still was glad every time it began to fall.

Today I took a 2-mile walk among plowed-up mountains of snow and down alleys of snow neatly carved by hard-working snow blowers. I normally listen to music when I walk, but this was too dangerous; I needed to be able to hear oncoming vehicles, in case one lost traction and I had to dive in a drift.

Nothing much happened; I didn't even slip and fall. But I enjoyed it. The silence, the stillness. Everything cold, and calm.

This was the second historic storm to hit this city since we've lived here. I suspect there are more in store. I'm fine with that.

****

That was the blog post proper. If I do have one goal as I write more, it is to pare these down and focus them. So, let's see where this rabbit hole goes.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dark Shadows RETURNS!

According to Dark Shadows information resource The Collinsport Historical Society, Dark Shadows is re-airing in May, 2015. The Collinsport blog links to an even more detailed about the show's rise from the dead here, at Will McKinley's blog.

A basic description of Dark Shadows is it was a paranormal themed soap that ran on daytime TV in the late 1960s and early 70s. Since the show's original run there has been at least one attempted reboot (which I watched faithfully, and found somewhat disappointing) and a movie starring Johnny Depp which was fitfully amusing but mostly a fucking mess.

My mom and sister and brother watched Dark Shadows when it originally aired, and it somehow entered my consciousness as one of the first TV shows I was really aware of, even though I was not yet in kindergarten.

I really grew to love it, though, in the mid 1990s. My first wife and I had moved to Nashville after going to school together in other parts of Tennessee and I had a job at the city's public TV station with odd hours. Syfy (it was then The Sci-Fi Channel) aired Dark Shadows reruns daily about an hour before I had to be at work and over time I grew invested in watching the show. I loved everything about it--the bad camera work, the hilariously hideous mishmash of 70s and proto-Georgian styles, the ridiculous storylines... I made it a point to watch and was bummed if I missed it.

When (Sci-Fi) stopped airing it, thankfully after finishing the show's full run, I truly missed it. Not just the characters (Jonathan Frid's mournful Barnabas, the evil vampire who tries to be good, sometimes seemed like a misplaced creation intended for a show with a much larger budget and better writing), but for whatever imaginary mental respite it provided at a time in my life which was strangely fraught and stressful, in hindsight.

So I'm glad it's coming back. I'm going to find it and watch it. For the clunking cameras. The disrobing actors who accidentally walk into a closing credits shot. For weird music. For fun.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Suggested Re-Write: "The Jet Set Life of Count Dracula's Favorite Minion--For Now"

One Sunday last spring, Brad Kroenig showed up at a private airport near Paris to meet Count Dracula, the esteemed Transylvanian bloodsucker and bon vivant. "The Count will be here 1, 1:30 a.m. for takeoff,” announced a Frenchman in a black suit and tie. “O.K., cool,” Brad said. The man in the suit performed something like a bow and retreated. It was 12:45. Brad sank into an armchair by the window and surveyed the tarmac. He pointed out a large gray hawk of a plane that stood off to the side of the slighter, dovelike jets. “It’s the same one that Oprah has,” Brad said. “It’s the biggest one. It flies, like, the longest journey. A lot of private planes have to stop for gas.”

Brad knows what kind of plane The Count travels on because he has flown on it often. As the most senior and prominent member of a group of male models often referred to as Dracula's Minions, Brad accompanies him on yearly "feeding trips" to Barrow Alaska and and to parties worldwide. He has been photographed with Dracula so often that gossip blogs have mistakenly identified him as the vampire's chief minion, but their relationship is not romantic. Dracula refers to Brad and the other models that travel with him as his family, albeit a self-selected, genetically pure one. “I hate ugly people,” The Count told me. “Their blood tastes terrible.” [...]

Inspired by this odious look at the vastly rich and vacuous: "The Jet Set Life of Karl Lagerfeld's Favorite Male Model-For Now," NYT Magazine, Jan. 16, 2015.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

AP: "Teen sweethearts blaze trail..." is some bullshit



How about the media fucks right off with headlines like this? "Police: Teen sweethearts blaze trail of crime across South."

It's the "teen sweethearts" bit that gets me. A couple of teens, one underage, are on a goddamned crime spree stretching from Kentucky to Georgia, so far, and journalists (the Associated Press being just one offender) slap them with a phrase more appropriate to a bobbysoxer and a greaser eating sundaes at a drive-through in 1958.

Because they're a semi-cute pair of young white kids they get "Bonnie & Clyde" comparisons and horseshit romanticized phrases ready-made for a promo for a Lifetime movie? Call anyone who does this what they are: dangerous, destructive--and self-destructive--criminals.

Any journalist who gives in to the impulse to glamorize such things would do well to recall Bonnie and Clyde's fate: turned into human swiss cheese, shredded by the guns of federal agents.

There's no romance in something like this. Only lunacy, and tragedy.

I forget...

... What do you put on personal blog posts? Um--my daughter is using my Mac as hers has a problem with the screen. So I borrowed my old Windows laptop, which my son usually uses. I can do that because he much prefers his iPad over the laptop and typically only uses it for a couple of specific things--mainly drawing in MS Paint.

I'm writing this on the Windows laptop and to be honest, other than some minor mechanical issues with the keyboard, I can't remember why I was so anxious to give this thing to my son (full well knowing at the time that he wasn't as into laptops as he is tablets) and get a Mac. This computer works just fine, even though it's about 4 years old and I had to revert it to Win 7 after a disastrous upgrade to 8.

I guess I'm thinking that while I love my iPad and iPhone, when it comes to laptops, I may be... a Windows guy, after all?

Curls up in ball, rocks, staring.

Friday, January 16, 2015

WTF is a blog now

Serious question--but rhetorical. So, like, don't give a direct answer in the comments. Blogs have changed. They've gone from being a primary expression of whatever online to something "omg no one is doing that now, what are you, 80?" to sort of a thing again. It's confounding.

For example, Ello is essentially a blogging site. Doesn't look like it at first. Doesn't even have to be used that way. But it is. And Twitter was called a "microblog" from its inception. While there's something jokey about that word now, it's still a pretty good description of Twitter. I use it just as I once used blogs, only Twitter's character limit and accepted practices mean I whittle away all the schmutz (that's what you're reading here, schmutz) and give the basic gist of whatever I might've devoted some paragraphs to before. In the case of news, which is honestly the only thing I really ever truly blogged about in a consistent way, I usually tweet a link and a brief comment. Tumblr, which I sometimes used quite a bit, was essentially a blogging service, even if it's used for a ton of non-writing-related things now.

So, WTF is a blog? I guess it's whatever you make it. This was a conclusion it took me a long time to reach. I started blogging in 2000 and developed a very clear set of ideas about what it was, what you did, and how you did it. All that shit has changed in 15 years but some of it is still valid and good practice and I still do it.

Using what's now called an "old" blogging platform like this one seems somehow quaint now. A singular practice akin to amateur taxidermy or artisanal composting. Yet I follow some people on Twitter who still regularly update their blogspot presence. They're around my age and I don't always like how they do it, but I have really grown to admire their constancy. My wife has a couple of Wordpress self-hosted blogs she's maintained for years now. She may go weeks without new posts, but she's kept the URL alive and always gone back... and I find that almost moving.

I've been terribly inconstant with blogs, ever since 2009 or so. It's a joke in my house, something my wife teases me about. There are a ton of reasons, of course, the most general reason being that I have severe ADHD and it affects my life in a pretty global way, including my writing--personal (like this) and professional; I've lost gigs as a writer or even turned them down because my ADHD is untreated right now.

But I have also struggled entirely too much in my head with what writing is. I think I'm writing this in great part because I want to stop that. And I'm addressing that dumb, inconsequential (for a vast number of people) question as to what a blog is because I concluded there was a reason I never borked this blog address, even though I've used it fitfully to not at all--I liked the fact it was here and I had it, if I needed it. Didn't think I'd need it. And actually, "need" is a bad word for a pursuit like this anyway. I just didn't think I had any use for the space.

Lately, though, I've begun to feel I may.

So there may be more posts to come. And if so, I'll do it for the practice. To get words in front of people, even if the number of people is small. I'll also do it for the constancy. I grew up in a stable home in a somewhat stable environment, went to school with the same people from kindergarten to, in some cases, college. Once I got older, constancy like that began to scare me. Messages I received from my father, who was never happy about much, made steadiness and sticking with places, situations, even with people sometimes,  feel like failure.

Middle age has a funny way of flipping ideas like that on their heads.

Blogger has been around for some time and I know how to use it. Google is a weird entity and may blow up Blogger tomorrow, but I'd be surprised if they did, so chances are it will be around for a while. Blogger has been pretty constant. It seems to fit well with what I'm rambling on about here.

Watch this space. The next post may actually be shorter, and make sense. And it may even be consistent.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I may..

...start writing shit here again. Or perhaps the only content of this blog for the foreseeable future will be threats , hints, and intimations that I might do that. We shall see. Or not.