April 06, 2002
Blogger vs. Kafkaesquí
Note to Blogger
: I'm throwing in the towel. I can't fight you any longer. You win.
It's an acceptance of defeat that I'm spending this time writing about the online system I use for my Blurried Musing posts. And it's sad beyond that personally, because I'd planned from the outset not
to do any such thing. Even a short piece describing aspects of Blogger in comparison to the myriad other Web log setups out there could be as boring and self-medicating as writers' ditties tend to be waxing melodramatically over computers, or typewriters, or quill pens. It's a tool, nothing more -- no mechanic I've yet encountered has gone off on a sentimentally garrulous dialog about his Stillson wrench. But this is yet another example of how Blogger has won a fight it fashioned between us, and I must give in to my loss gracefully.
I really don't know why it picked a fight with me. I'd done nothing I'm aware of that would denote a challenge on my part. I never berated nor used profanity against it in its presence. True, I've come across my share of nuisances with Blogger, attempting to access it at times when it was down or acting erratically. But through it all I've accepted the problems and delays with aplomb. Hard to get angry over something that's a regular occurrence on the Internet (one can, but it accomplishes little beyond an increase in blood pressure and ticking off Web site admins due to the incessant griping). The one time I was unable to post a daily abstract here, I was quick to brush it off
and move on.
So what brought out the white flag on my part? What's the cause of my retirement from Blogger's contest?
I spent three hours attempting to publish yesterday's Blurried Musing
. None of this period was tied to composing it, as I tend to write my stuff off-line (maybe a lack of trust with my material until I'm good and ready to submit it has Blogger up in arms). And there was no involvement in posting and editing through the online editor, since it did -- after a time -- accept it. The three hours were my attempt to publish to this site, which means that for those three hours I watched and waited and walked away from my desk for a snack and stopped my Web browser's session out of frustration and came back later to try again and watched and waited some more and finally started smashing my forehead against the computer display. All this time Blogger did nothing in response.
Well, that's not completely honest. Blogger was
doing something, only what that was I can't say. There were no error messages, no authoritative DNS warnings from the browser, no silly "this service is beyond your reach"
type response of any kind. Instead it was blank pages. Or empty pages. Or no pages at all. Basically the server was timing out; giving up on my submission. But you'd never know that from what was -- or was not -- on the screen. And pretty much the entire Blogger site for those three hours was, to put it kindly, unresponsive to my clicks and reloads.
So I had to give up. No need to tally the votes of the judges. Blogger won hands down. I was finally able to publish the piece (it's online, after all), but later, long after I'd capitulated. A bit of software and a Web site working in tandem had beaten me roundly. Victory was squarely on their shoulders. How humiliating. How humbling. How typical.
Now that that's over, I have to get back to my quarrel with Microsoft Word
April 05, 2002
A Brief Story Interlude (Mother of Saint Street)
Susan was a hooker on Saint Street, but a hooker who cared deeply for the well being of her fellow streetwalkers. She was a whore, of that there could be no doubt, but a whore who wore her heart on her sleeve when it came to her sisters
Susan was well known for bringing pots brimming full of hot chicken soup, or going for prescriptions when someone came down with one of any number of work-related illnesses, or sit with them in the hospital after they'd been in an unfortunate altercation with a client. On occasion she'd set up collections for those trying to go for night classes to better themselves, even though everyone knew it never came to any good. And often she would take in a girl just starting out, freely sharing her apartment, along with her voluminous knowledge of the business of turning tricks.
In time, the other Saint Street prostitutes came to see Susan as an important figure in their lives, going to her to ask advice on how to deal with some of the weirder requests of their customers, or ways to go about avoiding police sweeps, or which pimps were the best ones to hook up with. And sometimes they would visit when they needed nothing more than an ear and a voice, just to talk about nothing at all. To anyone willing to notice, it was obvious that Susan loved the other harlots like they were her daughters, and in return, they loved her as if she was their mother.
So the night she died in a freak motel fire, while on the job no less, Saint Street was awash in the wails of mourning and tears of grief as a host of fallen women came to know that Susan was no more. All the windows grew dark, and all the doors were closed and bolted. The loss to these women was unmistakable. It caused police officers to walk a different beat, johns to start in early for home, and pimps to drive their Cadillacs straight through to Market Avenue.
But the very next day the hookers of Saint Street, their sorrow still at the surface, gathered together and decided as one that they shouldn't be lamenting Susan's death, but instead they must be thankful for their good fortune in ever having known her. They shouldn't lose themselves in rage, but rejoice over having had Susan as a part of their lives, if only for a short time.
So that night, call girls were seen running here and there with wild abandon, through Saint Street as well as in many a side street, and far off into the city. They waved streaming banners and cried out in glee, and gave away hand jobs to the men as they passed by. Because for them, there would be no more moans of sorrow. There would be no more pain. This was a night of celebration.
There was joy that night and there were freebies. But mainly there was joy. Joy over the life of Susan, the mother of Saint Street.
April 04, 2002
One Hundred Percent Perspiration
I've been thinking lately on the nature of creativity for a writer and how most regard it, and here's what I've come up with: it's a wash.
(of Lord of the Rings fame -- not the movies but the books) called the process he used or perhaps lived through to develop his ring-compelled tales sub-creation
, by which he meant that all works flow in some fashion from the hand of the Original Mastermind. Thing is, I don't see it. When I sit down to pull words together in what I perceive to be a creative manner, it's a chore. Sometimes a very difficult one. I'm not lifting heavy objects or performing anything considered physically strenuous, but I'm certainly sweating; on the inside at least. So I don't accept the end product of my labors to be a gift from the muses. I don't remember noticing them slip past the cracks in the door as I lounged at the television and drop several thousand words in my word processing software.
I'm certain there's a kind of nature that drives the power behind creativity, but it's built-in, a shoddily wired but substantial component. There are several billion humans on the Earth as I'm typing this, and chances are a percentage lucked out with the right DNA mix to be able to sit (or lie, or stand) and write with a modicum of inventiveness, style, and often enough insight into themselves and the human condition that it reaches some of the rest of us. The art is in the genes, you might say. To me it's no different than the gender we take on, or that we have blue or brown eyes, or show a propensity for roundness about the waist. Some of us run fast. Some are good at math. Some create a readable version of the world. It's a chance component in the birthing brew.
I'm not claiming possession of this imagineering accessory. Not here at any rate. Though I have an opinion on it, don't expect objectivity from me when it comes to my own hardware.
So creativity is rigged into us, but it should be obvious that I refuse to accept it acts like a radio receiver, only there to pick up angelic broadcasts from the transcendental-wavelengths. If this is the case, the Designer doesn't appear to be all that good at His work, considering how rare it is we're able to tune in the proper station. That He (It? Them?
) chats us up and we're allowed to ignore it seems a dreary spectator's way to interpret the creative act: those who take the time to listen. I'm all ears! And if He really is a major talent in organic electronics and we're designed to work this way, freedom of the will has come down with a potentially fatal illness, and the marionette puppets better get used to the idea of limply dangling. However, puppets can't complain about the strings, and we sure are noisy instruments.
All of this is a damn concrete way of viewing the character of creativity, isn't it? But to me it's just as astonishing, just as mystical as believing a supranatural force forms a link with us to let inspiration dance through our consciousness. That the talent lies in the helix
and not in the heavens should strengthen our fascination with it, in that it's a miracle (in its purely secular connotation) it ever came to be in us at all.
I don't shake my fists skyward when the creative spirit fails to transmit. Banging them on the computer keyboard is much more satisfying.
April 03, 2002
A Sparrow, Maybe a Hawk, But Not a Parrot
I want to be a bird.
There are the blatantly obvious reasons for this. The opportunity to leave behind the impersonal exterior envelope of an airplane and instead have the power of flight jacked straight into you is a tough one to pass up. To stretch out your arms -- I mean wings, flutter them briefly, leap to the sky and head upwards. The image of it almost leads to a state of bliss.
There's the freedom that being a bird entails, and not just of the air. Oh sure, birds have their own particular kind of avian responsibilities to assure the continuation of their life and kind, but honestly, how much time can such duties take up in a day, or at the very least average out to over a year? In comparison to our lives, it must be a small amount indeed.
I'm aware of the inherent dangers to oneself when sporting wings and challenging the near heavens. And other animals, other birds lie in wait, stalking for that favorable feeding break. Life is not a waddle down the boulevard for a bird, but the same goes for a regular human being as well. All forms of natural existence have its chances for snuffing it randomly and violently, so I'm not interested in examining the bullet points on ways birds can expire. Their lives are short when matched against our own, true. But the gains one seeks as a wish maker rarely come without a huge trade-off.
Instead of all that, think of the boost to ones self-esteem when sitting perched on high, glancing down upon all those leg draggers and belly crawlers. The landlubbers can't feel the faster air coursing through their feathers one gets at a higher atmosphere, or gain altitude with the ease of a jump and a flirting wing beat, or think "I'd rather be over in that bit of tree,"
and moments later, without reflecting on it, find themselves already there!
Even the children one has as a bird must be a hoot (no pun intended
). I'm fairly good with my hands now, so I imagine the nests I'd build for my bird family would be impressive. Of course, all that squawking the chicks do is most certainly a stress factor, but you can get used to such things. And what is it, just a few months before they leave home? Now there's a flair for personal independence!
But even while they're too young to fly the nest for good, I'd love the simple demand that goes with foraging about with the missis
for food to feed the little ones, eating worms and bugs I find on the ground or the bark of trees, then regurgitating it from my gullet and spitting it up into the kids' --
On second thought, I don't
want to be a bird. What I'd rather be is a puma
April 02, 2002
Business Investor Tarot
Illusory guarantee of success and wealth; clandestine resources; metaphysical numeric wisdom. Represents initiative; innovative ignorance; esoteric financial talents; petty frugality; zealousness; vacillation on exact figures; potential leading to unraveled hopes. Drawing the CFO of Cups with a Line of Credit card can lead to generous gifts in future fiscal quarters. Reversed: upheaval in board of directors; an opportunity for stock manipulation.
April 01, 2002
April 1 Without a Net
As April Fools Day is one of only three holidays Kafkaesquí actually celebrates during the year (the other two being International Orgasm Day
, and something he calls Creamed Chipped Beef Awareness Weekend
), he's offline for the full twenty-four hours and has asked me to post in his stead. I'm not too keen on this writing thing he's got going on, so I took it upon myself to pilfer his electronic organizer and copy from it his schedule for the day, which I place here for your perusal:
April 1, 2002
April 2, 2002
- Wake up.
- Get up.
Come up with idea for Blurried Musings entry.
- If I didn't get up at 8:30 and call in sick, will have to do so at this point. Don't use regular fake sick voice. The receptionist seems to have caught on.
- Call Amino's Bakery and ask if they cook mozzarella into finger-thin sticks of french bread. If they don't, not sure where I'm going to get these. Try directory assistance to see if there's any mozzarella operations in the area, or a cheese hotline.
- Landlord said he'd be up at 11:30 to look at the leak in the bathroom. Make sure to remove the salamander from the toilet and keep it in the kitchen until he's gone.
- Catch a quick nap.
- Call Dalva and ask if she wants to meet for drinks to celebrate April Fools' Day. Call Farmer and Sundog too and ask if they can join us. In fact, call all of Jim Harrison's title characters and have them come by.
Reminder: Don't call Legends of the Fall -- he's still pissed at you.
- Check to see if the corner bookstore down the street has anything by Professor Michael Taussig. When it turns out they don't (they won't), berate them for not stocking more on anthropology and the social sciences. Also ask for something on advanced applied linguistics.
- Nap time!
- Call numbers randomly from the phone book and ask for Charmaine. When told you have a wrong number explain in detail how you were already aware of that. If a Charmaine answers, ask if she's available for drinks.
- Meet up with the gang. Bring plenty of maps to discuss the topic of bad street alignment, just in case things get slow.
- Set VCR to record last ten minutes of Nightline and first twelve of Politically Incorrect.
- Power up computer and get it ready to go back online.
- Say goodbye to another April Fools' Day.
March 31, 2002
Discarded Stephen King Titles
- Flame Girl
- The Bladdering
- What I Had for Lunch Thursday
- Really Big, Super Sweet Dead Man Walking
- The Stephen King Crash Diet
- The Dead Grave Bone Night Fire Lot Zone
- Teenage Psychic Nut Job
- Bag of Some Stuff
- Put My Name On Used Toilet Paper and It Would Sell