6 days down

As is customary, I made a silent and half-hearted resolution this year… to blog more and, more importantly, to blog regularly. It’s harder than it sounds.

The main roadblock that I have in keeping up any sort of regular blog is that I doubt myself. No one has less faith in me than I do. I’ll occasionally think to myself a random passing thing that strikes me as being something that I could very easily write about, and I’ll even sit down to do it… then I’ll immediately psych myself out, deciding that I actually don’t have anything to say after all, and that I should probably just play World of Warcraft or something instead.

I’m going to make an attempt to limit the amount that I do that. I’m never going to get better at this unless I actually do it. Self-discipline isn’t exactly what you’d call one of my stronger points! Excuses are just excuses, though, and I’m done with them. I hope. The truth is, I stopped typing for a second a thought about deleting this entire thing. So instead, I’m going to click Publish and let it go. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be present.

Starting Over. Again.

I’ve had many blogs in some form or another over the course of the past few years, but one thing has stayed irritatingly constant… the stark white background that represents my canvas, and the blinking cursor sitting atop it that represents my not knowing what I want to say.

Are you ready? Here’s a peek into my thought process.

In the small, quiet hours I can think of so many things I want to say — things that I want to tell the entire world! — or at least things I think the world needs to hear. When the moment comes, and I’m sitting in front of that cold, vast void that I’ve declared my own to fill, I come up empty. During my daily life, I’ll think to myself about how I should write a blog post about egg noodles, or how I should write a blog post about not really understanding why any given thing is the way it is.

What can I say? The world and all it holds are mysteries to me.

I’ve often used a blog as a way to vent, too. I took a sick joy in spewing out flesh-eating diatribes against the everyone and everything that I decided in my own (closed and underused) mind was wrong. A little word of advice that I learned the hard way… just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. Morals are not binary. It took me more than 30 years to learn that simple lesson, mainly because I’ve been a very judgmental person in the past, which I’m going to blame with a nudge and a wink on being raised a Southern Baptist.

In reality? It was just that I am was scared to death of everything and everyone.
Humans fear what we don’t understand, because… well, we’re hardwired to. The hypothalamus gives us two options when faced with something we don’t get but are sure is going to kill us, and on present day Earth, everything is going to kill something. Take raisins. For us, they’re a great, moderately healthy snack. For dogs, though, they’re poison. For us, yummy dried grapes. For dogs? Yummy kidney failure. Eat this, not that! Oh wait, we’ve been wrong for the past 20 years and you should really be eating that, not this. In the 1940s cigarette ads used doctors to tell you how ridiculously smooth their product was, and that you’d be a damned fool not to smoke. Now we understand a bit more about the fact that cigarettes, much like the air in a heavily populated metropolitan area, will kill you until you are dead, and medical professionals no longer tell you that smoking is the coolest.

You know what this is? A literary leitmotif.

I’m not going to use this blog to complain. I’m not going to use it to talk about things that I don’t like. I am going to use it to talk about things that interest and/or confuse me, which should offer a deep enough well to last for years to come. For now, though, I really just want to thank you for reading. I probably don’t know who you are, but since you’re ready this, I’d certainly like to, especially since you made it this far.

Hi, my name’s Erik. What’s yours?

Blogging about blogging. SO META.

Blogging is a tricky business. Now, when I use the word “business” there, don’t think I’m making any money from posting once a month. If you are making money from posting once a month, be a pal and tell me how that works. But I digress. So yeah, blogging is kind of weird. There are SO many places you can blog, each one with a different audience. I know from personal experience that if I post something in one place it might not see any activity, but if I post it somewhere else I get tens of views! That sounds sarcastic, and while it was clearly intended to be, it’s like most sarcasm… said with just the slightest hint of truth. If I post something and anyone responds to it or interacts with me in the slightest because of it, that’s a win. That’s a victory for me. If one person reads my stuff or likes my photo or whatever, then I’ve just used this amazing thing called the internet to share a little part of myself with a complete stranger.

That’s why I don’t do it that often.

The truth is, I’m terrified. Sharing something you’ve created with the world means that it’s no longer safe. It’s out there. Anyone can attack it, can pick it apart, can spit on it and belittle it. That little piece of yourself that you gave away is going to get hurt, and by extension, so are you. You’ve got two options. One, you do what I’ve always done, and you quit. That’s the easiest thing to do. Just quit, stop any creative juice you might have flowing, and run. Cut your losses, because that’s the safest thing to do, right? Option two is harder. You suck it up, use the negativity to see if there are things you could do better while still creating what you want, and let the positivity prop you up. In the upcoming new year, that’s my plan.

I need to create, and for some reason, I need to share it with people. Maybe I’m a sadist. Maybe I’m just a guy that thinks he’s got something to offer. Maybe I think I’m way better at this than I really am. At any rate, I’m here to stay, and this is probably going to be my last “wall-o-text” post. You’re welcome! For now, I’m going to sleep. Technically it’s Christmas Eve Day (…what?) and I need to get my beauty rest so I can look like a boss for Santa Claus.

 

app.net: why it sucks.

I recently decided to try App.net, which is a new-ish micro-blogging service. Here’s a brief summary of my experience with it.

First, a little nuts and bolts info. It’s basically Twitter. There’s a larger character limit, and all sorts of access to their API, and… well, that’s about it. It costs a minimum of $5 per month to use it, or $36 per year. The (only?) benefit is that there are no ads. Also, the name is a complete misfire. “App.net” doesn’t lend itself well to anything.

I used an iphone app called Netbot to actually interact with people. Netbot is made by Tapbots, the same people who make Tweetbot, and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same app. I immediately knew what I was doing, since again, it’s basically Twitter. There are far, far fewer users than you’ll find on Twitter, and the conversations are of a decidedly tech-based nature.

That sounded pretty good to me at the outset — after all, I am of a decidedly tech-based nature — but since I’m not someone who writes code, I found myself quickly at a loss as to what I was supposed to do with app.net. I decided to ask if there were any gamers about, being careful to hashtag “gamers” to make my query more visible. I decided to search for that hashtag in attempt to find some gaming buddies, and I was shock to find three results, one of which was mine

I was a bit taken aback by this. Surely that was a mistake, just poor word choice on my part. I decided to try a different search, going with #Warcraft, since I love playing World of Warcraft. Surely in this haven of geekery there would be a few MMO fans, right?

Nope.

There were 2 posts containing the hashtag #Warcraft, with the most recent one being over a week old. At that point, it really crystallized in my mind that this service is not for me. Unless you’re in one of the very narrow bands of geekdom that App.net seems to cater to, you won’t find anything there to keep you around. I’ve already canceled my account, which, to their credit, was very easy.

All in all, that’s really the best thing I can say about App.net… canceling my account was quick and easy.

Re-ignition

WHEN I AM EMPTY PLEASE DISPOSE OF ME PROPERLY

I’ve settled into a comfortable dissatisfaction as of late. I don’t really seem to enjoy anything. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m apparently stagnant by nature or if I’ve managed to wring out the last drops of fun from the activities I once held dear. I’ve seemingly lost the capacity for creative thought. It is my sincere hope that doing this, the simple act of posting something, will rekindle the interest that I once had in writing. I’ve given up on so many hobbies in my life… drawing, writing and recording music, collections of various things, writing in general… and I wish that I hadn’t. I wish that I still found time to occasionally put pencil to paper and draw. Or at least stylus to Wacom, I guess. I wish I had time to practice my guitar. I wish I had more time to write, too. I quit doing those things because the finished product in each case never came out the way I wanted it to. The way I saw it in my head. I had an idea of what it should look like, sound like, say… and when I was unable to produce that, I simply quit. I hate everything that I create, really. Except for my son, of course. He gets a pass because he’s the most beautiful child in the world. The question remains, though… is this my lot in life? To have a great imagination with no skill whatsoever to back it up? Maybe by forcing myself to blog, and to blog about this, I’ll get over this hump and the juices will start flowing again.

This is incredibly disturbing.

Apparently someone found my blog by searching for “slow comfort fucking tumblr“.

I just don’t know what to think about that.

I’ve tried to make one coherent thought out of the four words, but my mind just can’t get around it. How exactly does it all fit together? I can get several 2 or 3 words snippets out of it, but all four? I swear, it’s like I’m watching Lost all over again.

 

Finally… Publicize to Tumblr!

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I was pretty happy with the recent announcement that WordPress would begin letting you publicize your blog posts to Tumblr. I spend a pretty good amount of time that I really should be writing scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard, looking at all the funny, creative, and just plain weird things that people post. Now it seems that I don’t have to make a choice between the two! Thanks, WordPress!