Public Consumption

Readability Index: To blazes with this index as it’s not doing shit for anybody.

Sounds like this post is going to be about tuberculosis. But what I’m talking about is also a kind of disease that I’ve come to recognize, first in myself and now in the blogging world at large.

Me and people like me, we are scared that people won’t want to read our shit. We are pretty sure they won’t want to. We are also nice and we don’t want to waste people’s time. So we try to warn people not to read our shit.

This could end up being the subject of my first essay as a part of my new project.

I was just looking at pricklymooseprincess’s blog…I think I got that right, but can’t look it up because time is running out and anyway I’ll come back and do all the proper research before posting to my new blog…which I haven’t decided yet how to handle…but anyway her tagline says, “This will not enrich your life.” It was a very familiar sentiment to me, because I could have used it for my own blog. I thought before I started blogging that all this amateur feelings driven diary type bullshit was meaningless to everyone. I wouldn’t want to read someone else’s bullshit so why would they want to read mine?

Seth Godin calls these kinds of blogs “Cat Blogs” because you basically tell long stories about your cat and have pictures and people are just as bored by that as they are by you in real life. He says these blogs add little value to the world. And maybe he’s right, he’s pretty fucking smart. And he has the most viewed blog anywhere, or he did two years ago when I was reading his posts every day.

So you think, well shit I’m going to go ahead and throw up some words on a blog and tell everyone not to read them, that way they can’t blame me when they find out that I can’t write for shit, that I have nothing interesting to say to anyone. That’s what I thought when I started.

But there I was reading pricklymooseprincess’s blog and I thought, well god damn, this shit has enriched my life. Who would have thought?

And hers is definitely not the only blog that I have found this to be true about.

For my essay I’ll give specifics, but just to get a general idea…well when I look for new blogs to read I just type in “Random Bullshit” or “Rambling” or “Not fit for public consumption” and there are lots of blogs to choose from. Everyone is hedging, they want people to read their writing and be moved by it, but they think that this is a lot harder than it is. I think so even now as I type and imply that it isn’t. Because maybe it isn’t.

So anyway you got a guy who fancies himself a writer but has never published anything because he doesn’t think it’s good enough. And then he can just get on a blog and hit publish all day and no one can stop him. But he still says every time, well this shit’s no good, but if you want to waste your time reading it…well I won’t stop you.

Next thing you know people are liking that shit. Now this doesn’t always happen because a lot of writers will hit publish and then never go around reading other people’s shit. I did that a few times before I made this blog and no one has looked at those blogs to this day. So in order to have people connect to what you write, you have to at least make an effort to connect to what they’re writing. And personally I didn’t think it would be worth my time to do that, since I already knew my blog wasn’t worth anyone’s time, and I held a deep seated belief that even though my work was crap I was a better writer than most people. Even authors who have been published. So this arrogance and this self-loathing…or work-loathing leads to isolation. No one does look at your work and you’re proved right all along.

But it’s crazy. I had some free time and I started this blog and said fuck it I’m just going to write whatever dumb shit comes to mind and I don’t care what Seth Godin says. And forget all the advice I’ve read about blogging and capturing audiences and creating tribes and all that shit. Fuck that shit. Fuck making money on this…fuck everything. And then after I wrote it I decided fuck it, I bet I can get some people to read this dumb shit. So I went out and to get some comments going on and to like some stuff purely so people would come back and read my shit. But when I got out there on the blogosphere suddenly I found myself engaged in these other writers. Then I really did like what they wrote. Then I decided to comment the same way I was blogging. I’ll just say whatever comes to mind, no matter how dumb it is, no matter how uncool it might seem. And bam, what the fuck, here I am with some real shit going on. My whole outlook on blogging and even life has changed to a degree. And definitely my idea of writing.

So anyway, I have to go to this god damn super bowl party now. But I’ll be back tomorrow to further explore this idea this thing I’m trying to get at. And to call out some people who seem to be going through what I was, too.

Hot damn. Blogging is the shit.

Son of a Bitch

Readability Index: Unreadable

Well the internet decided to up and not work yesterday and you know how Saturdays are around here, it’s QT with GF so that means hardly no computer anyway. But I wanted to jump on and write something quickly anyway since I’m part of a blog challenge stipulating I have to get one post in a day for five days straight. So I had no choice but to tap a little rectangle and out came yesterday’s post. So that was a bitch. Then Comcast told me they would call me when service was restored but they did not. And I had to reset my own router and then the shit decided to work this morning.

And the other son of a bitch is that I somehow committed myself to going to a party. A superbowl party. Well I never much gave a damn about superbowls but working at the bar with a TV behind you changes things pretty good, and then there’s the fact that the Ravens are in it against the 49ers, which is how I predicted it would turn out about four weeks ago, though few believed me. And Joe Flacco, the Ravens quarterback, and I were at the University of Delaware at the same time. So I had to be a little interested this year, and then my friend from work is into the 49ers and invited me over so how could I refuse.

By now it’s almost time to go and it’s a long way to his house on the 86 bus, the worst bus ever besides all the other buses I take, and GF is not feeling it at all. And I’m there, too, because we are sitting in this heated ass house on the couch doing the only thing we ever wanted to do in life, and we just cooked up this artichoke dip and it smells so good we just want to sit here  and pass out. I hate going outside. And it’s cold too and snowing. Looks great from in here. Son of a bitch! I wish I could teleport over there. Or at least had a car.

Oh well.

Man shit I can’t think of anything to write for my new project. Fuck it I probably just need a day to do it and get to it and that’ll be tomorrow. I’ll just sit at the computer and let shit fly for a couple hours and I’ll have something to work with.

I saw this book at the library by “The Blogess” who I have never heard of before but the book had some funny shit on the cover so I got it. I hope it’s awesome and has something to learn about blogging in.

Man I am feeling so upset about leaving the house and shit…I think I’ll just read some other people’s posts. I can’t even pull it together for this shit. The well is running dry over here. The thrill is gone. But I still like reading other people’s stuff so that’s good.

I’ll get it back. All I need is too much coffee. And I need to read more. Spend more time reading.

Happy Feet

Readability Index: Readable

Hot damn can’t hardly work around this bitch cuz I got my man’s house mix keyed up and this shit is hot! You ever get something from your friends like a story or a CD or something that they made and you think to yourself shit I hope this is good because I don’t want to have to pretend I liked it next time I see them? Well, thankfully my boy shut that shit down and came out with some infectious house masterpieces. I remember the last time a friend gave me a CD it was this dude made his own raps with some friends and it was just embarrassing.

Ho but yeah I wanted to be up early to get down on this new idea I had. But I couldn’t. I got home last night at 3 in the morning after working until 2:30. I remember thinking, it’s probably getting towards one o’clock as I was cleaning up and then looking at my phone it was almost two. Yeah but it was a great night. We were slammin the whole time but we held the line and in the end I made almost four hundred bucks. Bartending is the truth!

Yeah so I didn’t get up at 8:30 like I thought I would. And I got to pay the rent today. And somehow I had to figure out how to outsmart those American Express bastards. They’re not so bad, it’s the Wells Fargo dudes. Ah shit I guess I’m really to blame. Sounds like Margaritaville in here. But anyway I figured out how to shut that shit down and it only took about half an hour. Which is more than I wanted but less then it could have been. And there goes another hundred dollars spent and still haven’t replaced my shoes with holes in them. But fuck it. Least that’s nearly taken care of.

Ha and I did the dishes before I sat down to this bitch. And got dressed too. Man I ate some chicken that GF made for me the other night. Was banging like a storm door and I could really feel the love in every bite.

So I basically got about an hour before I got to exit the doors and find that crazy landlord of mine and get him paid up.

So my grand scheme. I was thinking of something the hilarious MrGhuxley wrote on his post about trousers or something: Newspapers are just comic books for people who take life too seriously. And I was thinking about the books I look at most: Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, Hunter S. Thompon’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Gonzo Papers, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Man Without a Country, and how they’re all at least sort of non-fiction, or kind of new journalism. And I thought about how I like to draw stupid little comics on napkins. And I thought I could make some kind of faux-journalistic blog about random bullshit with comics in it. Yeah that’s pretty much what I thought.

I thought I might use this blog as a place to write the rough drafts and think about what I’m going to write before selecting and winnowing out (winnow) what’s useful to the project at hand.

By the way, anyone reading this should totally go read Suffering With Meaning. It’s worth much more than the five minutes it will take to read it. And it says so succinctly what I’ve been trying to get at with a lot of the weird rambling posts on this blog.

I’ve got about twenty minutes before I have to leave so I’m going to try to think of what my first article/essay is going to be about.

What I’ve Learned So Far About Blogging and Life

Readability Index: Unreadable Due to Length

Alright what I’m going to try to do here is create a unique field theory…I mean a unified field theory of blogging by me. A unified field theory of my life and what blogging means to it. What has writing this blog done to me over the last week and how can I make it useful to my life. How can I enjoy it more fully. How can I do something…how can I feel good about it.

Well, like the first time I started blogging on this mother fucker, I’ve got The National keyed up. Playing “Anyone’s Ghost” over and over again. Great song. I can lose myself in the rhythm of it.

Sometimes I feel like cursing and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel nice and sometimes I’m itchy. Someone just called me. I hate phones because they interrupt everything. People are mad at me all the time because I don’t pick up my phone. But I can’t plan for that shit. I don’t know how they made it back in the day with regular phones just ringing all the time and you couldn’t even see who was calling. Screening your calls meant listening to the answering machine.

But that’s all beside the point of course.

I washed the dishes and ate another muffin. I should eat again before I go to work. I was thinking I should enjoy work and stop dreading leaving the house, but that’s just part of me, dreading leaving the house, I can have as much fun as I want when I get out there but the next day I’ll be dreading it all over again. Much like taking a shower.

I still feel like this blog is a kind of fleeting addiction. I have them all the time. Sometimes I’m really into drawing, or basketball, or wine, or…well anything. The one activity I have done throughout my life is writing. So maybe that bodes well for the blog. Because this is a good kind of writing. A kind of writing that motivates me to keep writing. I really like just spitting out my thoughts. And the craziest thing about it is that people read it. It’s there for people to read, like a well dressed pamphlet fluttering down a busy street, but unlike the pamphlet that gets stomped on and waved away and stuck to car bumpers, this blog gets read by people from all over the world. They take time to read the words that came straight out of my head, without any revision or intense labor over them. It’s crazy to me that people like to read that much. Now I like to read that much, but I never thought that so many other people did. It’s the difference between knowing something and feeling it, is something I always say. I know that people are like me, but I don’t feel it.

But along with the addiction idea, is the feeling that perhaps this isn’t healthy. Perhaps I should be going outside and running around, or cleaning the house, or getting a part time job, or toiling away at writing a novel. This is just a part of how I feel about everything except actual paid by the hour work, the feeling that I should be doing something else, that I could be doing something more productive at that moment. The times I snap out of this feeling are usually when I consider that some people don’t have any time or any choice of what they do at any time of the day. A man with no lets can’t decide to cut his toenails, and a starving child can’t decide whether to eat coconut almond muffins or just skip lunch. So that usually gets me focused back on the crazy thing about my life which is that I have the world available to me, as unfair as that may be to other people.

And I use the word crazy too much. It’s kind of a catch all for things I don’t understand or can’t grasp, as well as something I aspire to, like ‘damn that dude is crazy!’

So I don’t want to feel like this is an addiction. Something I think about all the time, that I can’t wait to get back to, that I’m unhappy if I’m not doing it…unless I do want to feel like that. Isaac Asimov felt like that about writing fiction and I’ve always admired him. A lot of people say about writers: “If you can’t not write, then you’re a writer.” I’ve always replied, “well I guess I’m not a writer because I could sleep all day, wake up drink and watch Downton Abbey reruns and I won’t be worried about a damn bit of writing.” Writing is usually something I do because I’m good at it and I like it. Not because I need it. But maybe being addicted to this blog will be like needing to write, which would then put me in the company of great writers, which would then perhaps make me a great writer.

The most wonderful thing about this blog, and I mean wonderful in the truly literal sense as in it creates within my mind a great sense of…wonder…is that I have been able to in some way make at least one person’s life a little more interesting. It’s really weird, actually, to have the effect on someone through writing. I like to think that I make people’s lives better in general when I know them, because I’m hardworking and nice and charming; but it’s super weird to think that my writing has affected someone I don’t know outside of the written word relationship of blogging. Of course I’ve always known that that was what writing is all about, but I didn’t feel it. And when I say feel and know, of course they are happening in the same place, in the mind with the chemicals and neural pathways and all that, I’m really differentiating between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. In theory writing is communication with other minds…but I’ve never before felt the practical application of that knowledge. Just had to make a note for those Ayn Rand types who would laugh at my use of the word “feel.” Ah see, sometimes I worry about impressions for long periods of time without even realizing it. Then again, you can’t say you’re not thinking about the impression you’re making if you’re writing for people to look at it. You’re writing expressly to create an impression, whether in your own mind or someone else’s. What I don’t want to do at least on this blog is to worry that I’m making the wrong impression. Because as I’ve stated before I spend most of m life doing that.

The practical uses of this blog, and by that what I mean to say (or meantersay, as Joe Gargery would say) is the uses of the blog that I would be happy with even if no one ever saw it, are numerous. Being namely that words look pretty on this blog, my thoughts are organized with tags and categories, and even while I’m typing this information is being saved on the internet so that even if my computer should spontaneously combust, I would not lose any of this. So those are good things. Before I started blogging I would write this kind of random bullshit gibberish, but I would save it on a Word document. I would lose all those with my computer. Also with this infinite display of the articles in reverse chronological order, I can more easily reread these posts than I can read all those word documents that are separated and whatnot.

Hm yes but what is the overall idea. What is the purpose? Of course, we all know how I feel about the purpose of life. Since we’re doomed it really doesn’t matter what we do. Except that we can’t. But that’s a load of horseshit.

What then is the difference between bullshit and horseshit?

I do want to create something of value. And I do love writing in this extemporaneous style. Revisions have always been a bitch to me. I have always thought of art as revision, controlling the impression you’re making on people. And that’s well and good. You can’t have a wonderful novel like Freedom without revision. You can’t have an awesome movie like Spartacus without editing. Hm but maybe you can have an incredible novel like On the Road if you practice writing a lot a lot and fill your head jam packed with experiences and information and then sit down at your computer with a gallon of coffee and type for a week straight.

Maybe I will write something in the vein of On the Road, with a Hunter S Thompson slant, with a subject that is truth, that is not fictitious. I will be like Chuck Klosterman, perhaps. The more I blog the more I like that mother fucker and I never once really thought about it before, except right after I got done reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. I’d pretty much forgotten about him until it came up while I was commenting on someone else’s blog and now I find myself quoting him a lot. And what he does is pretty cool. He talks about the world we live in in a funny way. And an insightful way. I bet I could do something like that at least 10 percent as good as him if I really worked at it.

I think my style of writing is pretty engaging. If I were to talk about something people cared about, I think at least some people would find that worthwhile. Hrmph well…shit

Art as Transient as Life

Readability Index: Slightly Readable

Yesterday I met the people from Pretty Things Brewing Project, at least I think that’s their name. They are brewers who don’t have their own brewery. They are doing pretty well. Their beer is pretty good.

While I was sitting in the little class we had I thought, their working so hard to produce something that’s going to be consumed and then gone. This is not an original thought, of course. The same has been said about wine and food and whatever else. Graffiti in a way.

But it really struck me as appropriate for humans to make art that is transient. To make something that can only be enjoyed once. It’s like life.

Smart me. On that note, a lot of blogs I found last night had first posts that said a lot of the things I have said throughout my blog, in pretty much the same way. We are all the same people really, with the same thoughts, all thinking we are original. Someone said, “All I have is my subjectivity.” Because though we all are very much the same, there’s .01 percent of our makeup that differentiates us from everyone else.

It’s good to know that we are all the same, because if you want to know how someone else is feeling, you can pretty much find out by thinking about how you would feel in that situation and you’ll probably be right. Like when you’re at a party and you meet someone, you can just assume that whatever you feel, they feel it too. In the sense that if you’re nervous, they are also nervous. At least, I’d like to think it was that way. But one never knows. And there are people more confident than others. But what is confidence really. Do they feel nervous and cover it up better? I don’t know. I guess we’re all at a loss to deal with other people because we only know ourselves, and it is that universal at a loss-ness that makes us all the same and pretty much on equal footing.

There’s a Polish writer, or there was, named Witold Gombrievicz or something like that. He said, “Everything I see is filtered through a unique Gombrieviczian filter…” or something like that.

WordPress is Having Issues

Readability Index: Unreadable

It seems WordPress is having some issues, which is a real bitch right now. I got this crazy looking stat bar up there that I can’t even see what’s going on. WordPress just keeps trying to load itself. And I can’t look at my reader either, so I can’t see what’s going on out there. I feel cut off. Abandoned. Shipwrecked. Floating on an open sea. Everyone has a destination but me. I alone…shit I’m trying to quote the Tao Te Ching or however you spell it and I can’t remember how it goes.

Before I go to work I have to do…the dishes…

And then tomorrow I have to pay another thirty five dollars to the bank and close the account and hope they don’t ask me about American Express. The bastards.

Ah shit. Just another pile of bullshit.

Here I am picking my nose with about five windows up in this office right on ground level. Smart.

To Like or Not to Like

Readability Index: Readable

Last night GF was laying on my chest so I couldn’t write any more. But I was reading blogs and liking the ones I liked. I typed in “rambling” and read whatever looked interesting. And I found quite a few that I liked. Some I wanted to comment on, but I couldn’t type, so I just liked.

Liking is a weird thing because it’s a way to say that you’ve been there and acknowledge the blogger’s effort and even that you enjoyed the post, but at the same time, if you like too much, you can be seen as parading around trying to get people to look at your blog. Nothing will bring more one time visitors to your blog then just going out and liking a hundred blogs that don’t already have a thousand likes. Nothing besides being freshly pressed or being number one in the google results for ‘sex’ or something like that. It’s all because of those emails that say maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours! I like that WordPress is trying to get everyone to interact, because that’s what I like about blogging. But sometimes I wonder if I should like so much stuff.

But that’s the censor in me, or maybe it’s the ego, or they are the same thing I don’t know, but it’s that thing that worries about the impression you are making. And I started in this blog game just a week ago to get rid of that bastard. Worrying about the impression you make on people is something I do all day in the real world. I’m pretty good at it, which means then that I have a lot of things about myself that I repress, or simply hide from view, to use a phrase less fraught with psychosomatic meaning. I always liked the word psychosomatic but I don’t exactly know what it means. So anyway…just an observation. I’ll keep liking whatever I want, which is of course the general good advice given to those people who write the kinds of posts that talk about liking. I read quite a few of them yesterday.

Light Like a Feather, Heavy as Lead

Readability Index: Unreadable

The readability index is really losing its value as I haven’t written but maybe three posts I would consider readable. I try to mark them readable if I wouldn’t mind reading them on a day when I was only going to read like five blog posts. But I should probably start writing at least one readable blog post for every three unreadables.

But anyway this is the morning. Finally at another morning where I’ve got time before work to do whatever I want. It’s a crazy feeling that I can’t quite grasp. When you can do anything, you might as well do nothing. It’s like that question about eternity. If you knew you were going to live forever, would you do everything you ever wanted to do starting right now, or would you put it off since you’ve got eternity. It’s a funny question because in the scope of eternity both options are exactly the same. Because you always have just as much time to do all the things you wanted to do as when you started. But of course, them that put it off will never do it. I’m pretty much in that category.

Well shit my stats are getting out of control here. That little bar in the left hand corner of the screen is starting to look pretty respectable.

I feel pretty sober right now. Feel pretty dead. But not in the way that I did last night. I’m pretty awake. I went for a walk and it rained. Got soaked. Soaked my jacket and everything so now I’m in the office with the heat up high trying to dry everything before work.

And I’m trying to warm up. Get the fingers going and the mind going right along, but I’m listening to Bob Marley and I’ve got a frown on my face, because I’ve already had to deal with some money issues this morning and that always is a bad start to the day. The thing is I know if I look at my bank account or call some creditors in the morning, I will be down for a while. No getting around it. At the same time, if I don’t call them in the morning, I won’t call them for the rest of the day, so I’ll play the violin and dance around while my financial future burns. Not to imply that it was built as well as Rome. Or even thought about for that matter.

The thrill is gone. That’s a song. But I sort of feel like that right now, though I don’t know why. Blogging has been a revelation. And I have a lot of stuff in my head that I want to get out. But the thrill is gone and it all seems like ash in my mouth. Let me quote from the bible here. Well in a minute. It seems I just had a thought. Maybe it’s because I’m not taking anything in that I can’t put anything out. I have just been pushing content content content and…wait that wasn’t what I meant. I’m just pushing shit out of my mouth…that’s disgusting. I’m just letting this build up of books music and moving pictures out of my fingers onto the page in a surge of random bullshit, and the tsunami that started when I first let loose on the blog has finally subsided. Has finally come to nothing. Subsided is not the right word.

It’s weird I only have two bibles in this room and they are both NIV. King James makes the real shit. Or that’s what I took from Hunter Thompson’s Generationof Swine: Gonzo Papers Vol.2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s.

I have stolen more quotes and thoughts and purely elegant little starbursts of writing from the Book of Revelation than anything else in the English language—and it is not because I am a biblical scholar, or because of any religious faith, but because I love the wild power of the language and the purity f the madness that governs it and makes it music.

The next essay in that book is one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read. It’s called Saturday Night in the City. I wish I could just reproduce the whole thing here. Or that I had just written it in the first place. Here are the last lines:

“What do you mean” he said. “you made that poor girl get tattooed? Just for a newspaper story?”

“It was the right thing to do,” I said.”We had no choic. We are, after all, professionals.”

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21:

I also thought: As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath, man has no advantage over the nimal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place;  all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Funny that the council of what’s it that made the Christian Bible would want to include Ecclesiastes. The Jews were unconcerned with the afterlife, and still are I suppose, though all I know about Judaism I learned in college so what the hell do I know about it. But this book was written by a Jewish man, and for him the fate of a man was the same as a fate of an animal, death. “Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward…?” That’s not something a Christian would say. But of course, that’s the Old Testament. Anyhow, doesn’t matter, because that’s not the biblical quote I was looking for. I was looking for one of the million that say something about such and such turning to ash in someone’s mouth. I’ll find one later. This quote here is a revelation to me. Or that quote there, rather.

Yes all there is for man to do is work, as that is his lot, and so if that is the case, then one might as well enjoy it.

Well, I seem to have broken from the funk of the morning and the finances.

Misty Morning, can’t see no sun

I know you’re out there somewhere, having fun

There is one mystery, I just can’t express

To give your more, to receive your less

That’s old Bob and shit is really starting to look up around here. Sun just cut through the mist outside the window, I broke a thousand words on the warm up, and philosophy is going through my head light like a feather heavy as lead.