September 24, 2010

Conversations With Greatness CCXCVIII



And no, Mariana, I don't know him. Sorry.

September 23, 2010

Pause

If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you can't have failed to notice that my output has dropped off significantly in the past few months. Partly that's a symptom of creeping real-life-itis, and my general lack of spare time between my various jobs and trying to keep some kind of momentum with the novel — but the more I've thought about it lately, the more I think it has to do with an equally creeping frustration with blogs (or my blog, anyway) as a format.

For a start there's the time thing, and not only the "there's not enough hours in the day" part, either, because increasingly the blogging itself is inherently more time-consuming: in the past it was always easy enough to find some ridiculous link I could dash off a few jokes about, but nowadays I find myself having to actually spend time searching for stuff that interests me. Maybe it's because funny links circulate so much faster now, thanks to Facebook in particular, that by the time they reach me I feel like there's no point in blogging about them; maybe it's because so many of the "news" links that pop up on my homepage now are blog posts themselves and have already distilled the story past where it's engaging; or maybe it's because I'm worried about repeating the same sorts of jokes and the same sorts of rants that I've already been making for the past seven years.

And it's that worry about constantly being "fresh", actually, that I think is the most counterproductive thing about the constant march of the internet (as I've complained about before): since "good" blogs have to be updated constantly, bloggers have to either be interminably scouring the web for new material (which, as I said, I don't have time for), or constantly generating new opinions about old material. And frankly, I don't generate drastically new opinions that often. I don't think anyone should, really — certainly my opinions change all the time, but as a sort of gradual process that doesn't lend itself to hourly 140-character summaries.

So with blogging, now, I have a choice between making the same old tired comments about the same old topics all the time, or forcing myself to take new and uninformed stands on those topics just so I have something novel to say about them. Colour me fucking jaded.

The other alternative, of course, is to do what a lot of bloggers resort to — I presume suffering from the same sort of malaise, even if they don't voice it — and scale back my own commentary to make room for insipid "What do you guys think?" paragraphs. You know the ones I mean: the few sentences at the end of a blog post that pose one or two bland rhetorical questions and absolutely refuse to take any sort of ownership of any opinion whatsoever, in the hope that an angry flamer will do it for them. But I refuse to stoop so low: this is my blog, and if I can't fill it up myself I'll be damned if some Googler looking for Colin Farrell's cock is going to do it for me.

There's not a happy ending here. I still enjoy blogging because I still enjoy writing, and CWG hasn't lost its charm for me yet, either — so I don't plan to close up shop any time soon. But I do feel a little like blogging is starting to make itself at odds with good writing, not because it isn't capable of producing great writing, but because the sheer volume of shit that is produced by internet users — and expected by them — is overwhelming that imperative to slow down, and think, and appreciate something that only comes around every week or two (or six). And until I can get a better handle on all that — or until I become a raving demagogue nutbag — I'd prefer, if I don't have anything interesting to say, to not say anything at all.

September 17, 2010

September 16, 2010

Pope-a-dope

From BBC News: Crowds gather to welcome Pope to Edinburgh
An estimated 125,000 well-wishers have lined the streets of Edinburgh to catch a glimpse of the Pope at the start of his state visit to the UK. . . .

The Devine family from Fernieside in Edinburgh, who had turned out for the last papal visit, were among those who gathered on Princes Street.
The Sinner family, meanwhile, from Clackmannanshire, stayed at home.
Holidaymaker Francis Piscopo, from Malta, was also among those cheering as the Pope left Holyroodhouse and made his way past Abbeyhill in the city.

He said: "The Pope is following us I think. We saw him in Malta. Then, when we arrived in Cyprus, we missed him by a day and now he's here in Scotland with us.
Yes, that's right: the Pope, the world's worst stalker. ("Honey, that man in the gold hat driving the giant perspex cake tin is behind us again.")

Mr Piscopo continued:
"The crowd here seem a bit more mooted though."
"Mooted"?! Was it a crowd of agnostics?

Meanwhile, senior papal advisor Cardinal Walter Kasper declined to accompany the pontiff on the visit, after likening Heathrow to a "Third World country".

The cardinal's secretary Oliver Lahl, however, was quick to reassure the world that the remark wasn't meant to be offensive, saying in a statement (and this is delightfully true):
"All he was saying is that when you arrive in Britain today it is like landing in Islamabad, Mumbai and Kinshasa all at the same time, because there are so many cultures and religions and races from all over the world.

He was simply saying that Britain is no longer a mono-cultural country. There was nothing racist or xenophobic in that."
Yes, there is absolutely nothing racist or xenophobic about referring to any non-white culture as "Third World". Can I hold that shovel for you, Monsignor?

Lahl added (and this is even more delightfully true):
"He is in bed so he can’t check the internet to look at the coverage, but he has been informed."
That is a thinly veiled request for an iPad if ever I heard one.

God bless the Catholic Church.

September 10, 2010

Conversations With Greatness CCXCVI

This one goes out to all my home furnishing boys.

September 03, 2010

September 02, 2010

Time For Applause?

From AOL News: Double Hand Transplant Patient Speaks
(Sept. 2) -- The recipient of cutting-edge double hand transplant surgery is speaking to the media today and reporting that he can already wiggle his fingers and is able to form half a fist. . . .

"I feel fantastic," he told reporters. "I'm feeling very blessed and thankful for having a new pair of hands."
Very Blessed and Thankful are the two Vegas call girls the patient ordered immediately upon realising he could grab things again.
Doctors at Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Health Care live-tweeted the entire operation, posting updates about the progress of the surgery in real time on the hospital's Twitter account.
Said Twitter account repeatedly reassures us that the tweeting was not being performed by any of the surgeons actually involved in the operation -- though the lead surgeon was pausing every few minutes to tweak the Hand Transplant Megamix he'd created on iTunes to get them through the procedure. Among the featured songs:

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles
"I Can't Write Left-handed" by Bill Withers
"Shake That" by Eminem

...plus, of course, everything by Nine Inch Nails and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.