Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I and we do what we and I do

I was recently watching an interview with Anil Dash. Anil, who I've also interviewed recently, is a sort of proto-blogger. He's been running something that's more or less a blog for over a decade now. He's also turbo smart. And he was talking about the term "blogger" and how to call someone a blogger is becoming increasingly meaningless. It would be like calling someone a clothes wearer or phone user: everyone's doing it. A few are doing it on sites like this one, but way more are using Facebook and Twitter, posting updates on what they're up to, what they think, links to things they found interesting. The platforms have become easier, the posts are shorter, but the guts of the operation are the same. We blog, we talk, we post, we update, we write.

A while back, I started tinkering around with Tumblr and created a version of this site there. The user interface is much better than's, you can post more things more rapidly. I'd go so far as to say it's better.

But lately I've sort of stopped doing anything with it. I still Twitter to anyone who wants to read me, I post more personal things to Facebook to anyone who fits a very liberal definition of "friend", but the Tumblr area has become fallow ground even though it's easier.

However, beyond being easier Tumblr is also much more interactive. It's easy to re-post things from other people's Tumblr blogs, the idea of followers is a much bigger deal than on Blogger, there's a ranking for "tumblarity", which is not a word but proposes to be a numerical rating of how popular you are.

I think it's too much. I wonder if I'm now so old-fashioned (I started this blog in 2003) that I want something that could be described as "classical" even though it's remarkably new technology. I want to post things and not really know how many people read it. I want to have comments enabled, provided people aren't jerks, but I don't need any chat function enabled. It sounds horribly arrogant but I really want it to be mostly about me and not about my place in the community of people acting like me.

It dates back to starting this blog in the first place. I started it after Rewind (NPR news/satire show I worked on) got canceled as a means of keeping my writing in shape. Since then I've done a bunch more radio and a bunch more writing but I kept it going as a place where I could just write what struck me as interesting that I wanted to share without the necessary editorial pressures of commercial viability, without worrying about the reception. This clunky old stupid platform, which you'd think Google of all people would have improved by now, is the best way to keep doing that and I don't think Tumblr is.

It's odd to realize that the archaic technology is preferable. Think I'll go buy a printed newspaper now. And an 8-track player.

Here's a monkey who takes care of a baby:


Monday, August 17, 2009


Someday soon physical Blockbuster stores will close and I'll be glad. Limited selection, high prices, deceptive policies,...uh...all that BLUE, hate 'em. But what I hate most is that every time I go in there (and I do) they ask me if I'd like to sign up for their rewards club. I don't, I tell them I don't, and then they keep pushing it. And I say NO more emphatically. And then when I come back, they ask again. I've established my lack of interest but they persist.

I guess what really bugs me is that I am already buying something there and then at the point of purchase they're interrupting the process to get me to buy something more. It would be like going to the grocery store and the checker pauses and holds up some laundry detergent and asks if you'd like to buy it. You say no but then the checker talks about how great the detergent is.

But you know what? It's beyond that. It's trying to get you to sign up for something where they will take your money regularly. Like a detergent club.

So I've become upset at them more than a few times and I get the "this customer is crazy" look from the blue golf shirt clerks. And screw you, don't look at me like that, your whole enterprise will be made unnecessary once Redbox gets its act together.

Well anyway, getting mad does no one any good. So yesterday after getting the pitch ONE MORE TIME, I tried a new approach. Five minutes after leaving the store, I called them.

BOB: Thank you for calling Blockbuster, this is Bob.
ME (doing a sort of Will Ferrell on painkillers voice, verrrrry sloooow): Do you have a movie...called...Firehaver?
BOB: Fire what?
ME: Haver. Haver. Haaaaaver. Firehaver.
BOB: Could you spell that?
ME: F-i-r-e.
BOB: The second part?
ME: Haver. H-a-v-e-r. Firehaver. Firehaver. About a man who has fire. It's a drama.
BOB: I'm not seeing anything by that name. Are you sure you--
ME: How about David Was Wrong? David Was Wrong. David. Was. Wrong.
BOB: Let me see.
ME: David Was Wrong. Three words. It's a drama. About David. Do you have it in stock and can I pick it up today?
BOB: I don't--
ME: David Was Wrong?
BOB: No, I'm sorry. Striking out here.
ME: Kneebone? Kneebone? It's another movie called Kneebone. It's a comedy. Kneeeeebone?
BOB: Kneebone...
ME: K-n-e-e-b-o-n-e. Kneeeeeeebone? Comedy?
BOB: Boy, I'm really sorry. I don't see anything called that.
ME: I guess I just wasted your time then. I guess I wasted your time.
BOB: Oh, that's --
ME: Kind of like when someone just wants to rent a movie and you try to sell them on your rewards club and they've already told you many times they don't want to join but you won't ring them up until you've tried to sell it to them?
BOB: Uh...what?


Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Not Called All Being Master of Space and Dimension Hero, Eddie.

You erased Michael Anthony from history like some out-of-favor Bolshevik? Sucks.

Instead you expect people to be okay with Wolfgang “Craft Services Table” Van Halen on a ride through history? Sucks.

Though I’m no fan of Sammy, I guess that whole era didn’t really happen? Sucks.

I’ve seen better character rendering in, well, I’m thinking, something in 1993…’s butt. Sucks.

The fact that this game isn’t called Eddie’s Delusion That He Is God And Control History And People’s Minds With His Strappy Guitar? SUCKS!

This game sucks.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fantastic, unbearable, great

That's the life cycle of my experience listening to several of my favorite musicians. I'll find some music that I JUST LOVE SO MUCH that I can't stop listening to it. Entire album at least four times a week. Compulsive need.
Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen
Decemberists - Picaresque
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

There have been MANY others. But what happens is that I listen to them to the point of burn out. Then I can't listen any more. It's like I've used them up. I overdid it. I didn't take a sip of their wine or a glass or even a bottle, I was hospitalized with musical alcohol poisoning.

But then, THEN, sometimes months later or years later, I can re-discover the music and it's like an old friend. The love is deeper, fleshed out by memory.

You have any music like that? Or am I crazy?