March 02, 2002

The Derivation of Fucknozzle and other Life Mysteries

It goes something like this: Wired runs an article in which it reports that Xybernaut's CEO--offended at some random posting that said something about the fact that the company has never turned a profit and so he must be an idiot--decided to sue the poster. For my part, I've noticed that companies failing to turn a profit are often led by incompetent short men with napoleonic leanings. I'm just saying.

Next, RageBoy weighs in with a post urging us to decide for ourselves whether or not this CEO is a fucknozzle. Well. That is an interesting question, since you can use that same said "own mind" of yours to run through conjured images of what a fucknozzle might be. But more on that later.

Next, b!x blogs about this matter, putting RB in perilous legal danger by stating that RageBoy called the fucknozzled CEO a fucknozzle.

Rageboy sets the record straight with this post, in which he categorically denies calling the CEO a fucknozzle, although he would urge us to do so.

By now you are maybe wondering, why all this noise over fucknozzle? Either that or you've already clicked off to Doc's blog, where things make more sense.

Those of us familiar with RB know he is litigation-phobic. You need only to read his latest book to see how careful he is in his writings about companies, other authors, and especially his past employers. Kiss up much, RB? So let's dig a little deeper. Why is RageBoy--champion of the common man and business automaton--so often silent on important matters that may be perceived as controversial--even slanderous?

As with all truths, the answer is buried in his past.

When RB was 14, he was seduced by a powerful female lawyer, who shall remain nameless because I too am afraid of litigation. This unscrupulous 30-something adultress coerced RB into becoming first her pool boy, and next her underage lover. One evening, her husband away on business, she called young RB to her lair. What was he supposed to do? What would any 14 year old hormonally-challenged young man do? He slapped on some acne cream and ran all the way to her house.

She greeted him at the door, led him up the stairs, and sat him on her bed, where, expectantly, he licked his dry lips and oogled her as she walked provacatively to her dresser. As she opened the top drawer, he craned his neck to see what was in store for him. And he saw. "Wow," he gasped. "Um, what is that?" he asked, his shy young voice barely audibile.

"This, my dear young man, is a fucknozzle."

Fade to black.

February 28, 2002

I am putting this here... that I remember to talk about it as soon as I can rip myself away from the lady's team blog, Blog Sisters, where I continue to add members at a rate of one an hour. I'll be back as soon as I can.

February 27, 2002

where am I?

I have started or joined so many blogs in the last four months, I'm not sure where I live anymore. It's disorienting, the discussions I'm having, or those having me. Here on allied, I talk about jeneane-centric stuff, observations, stops along my journey, my blog friends, you know. Things.

But I didn't have this place at first. My first blog was Gonzo Engaged. This is where I launched into the world of blogging, five months ago, under the wing and watchful ear/eye of RageBoy, as I chronicled my journey through his book, Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices.

When I got to the end of the book, I wasn't sure what to do with Gonzo Engaged. In his usual psychic kind of way, Chris emailed me, as I wandered my way through the Index of Gonzo Marketing, boring the crap out of readers. He said, "I bet you're wondering, what now?" He was right. I was wondering just that. So I reviewed Blogger's "Team" feature and used it to open Gonzo Engaged up to others interested in discussing gonzo marketing and business as unusual. Today we have 27 members, and the discussions remain lively.

Next, I wrote this article about what it's like to work from home, raise a child, blog, and generally live in a hyperlinked space: The Hyperlinked Mom. At first I kept it a private blog. Then something I was discussing with David Weinberger made me click the "public" button. But, truth be told, haven't posted on that blog since I wrote it. I guess I should make it a page off of allied or something. It's just kind of sitting there out in blogspot land right now. Child of allied.

Even after the "what do I do with hyperlinked-mom?" question, I guess I still wasn't satisfied that I was spread too thin. I started a blog with our four-year-old daughter, Baby Blogger. That one is fun. Probably the most fun. My best hope for keeping it up to date is sitting on our bed with my laptop while she's in the tub making up some of the most amazing songs and adventures I've ever been privileged to hear.

Somewhere along the way--after babyblogger? before?--I decided to join Frank Paynter's blog sandhill trek where we discuss any number of oddities, including Frank's oversized dog Fang, who is prone to eating lizzards among other things.

Now, I've decided that the women of the blogging world need a place to hang. To feel free and unencumbered. To talk about things that interest us and might either frighten or bore the menfolk silly. Hence, Blog Sisters.

Have I forgotten any?

So, now that I've evolved into a multiple personality blogger, I'm finding something odd. Even with all of these homes, I feel homeless. My stuff is strewn across five or six friends' houses. Where'd I put my fricking hairdryer? Which way is the bathroom? Don't they have whole-wheat bread here?

Not that this is a bad thing. Perhaps a necessary evolution. I will either land someplace I needed to be in the first place, or come right back to where I started from. Either way, I think I will be happier for having taken the trip.

But this night?

I'm still looking for my hairdryer.

multiple personality disorder

In an effort to split my attention in half yet again, I've started a community blog for ladies called Blog Sisters, where men can link but they can't touch. Women of the blog, join us there. Men of the blog, link and learn.

February 26, 2002


In a self-posted blog comment on his own Chris Pirillo blog, Chris wonders aloud, "Hey, what's it called when you post a comment to your own blog?" Interesting and playful question. Is it a comment, or is it more like an answer, or an interjection, or maybe a comment2? Ah well, I'll leave it to those better at blogging terminology than I am.

And Chris, if you grab the Ramen Pride, they have a new "roasted chicken" flavor that rocks. The cheapest and saltiest meal on earth at Target this week--just 16 cents each!

This is why I love Kalilily

From Elaine's blog, an inspired reflection on a moment of meaning shared with her son. I look forward to looking back on memories like this one with my cherished babyblogger one day.

"Remember, b!X, when we marched on the Pentagon to protest our government’s involvement in Guatemala? That hot summer day among those thousands and thousands of banners and signs and sweaty chants for justice and peace? You were only about 9 years old and you got a bloody nose just before we got to the Pentagon, and dozens of people appeared with ice and kleenex and advice on how to stop it. And we sat in the shade on a little hill to eat our lunches and wait to see if that other bunch really would “levitate” the Pentagon, as they promised they would."

February 25, 2002

Mr. Dvorak, I Beg You to Lose Your Computer...

In my critique of Dennis Mahoney's recent take-down of the amateurish writing in blogs (earlier today), I agreed with Mahoney on something he says: "The advice ‘write only what you know’ increases the likelihood that you will know the same things forever.”

When it comes to PC Magazine's John Dvorak, I amend myself. I wish he would stick to writing about what he knows. He doesn't know blogs. He doesn't know marketing. And he's not a technologist's technologist either. I could write a week's worth on what John doesn't know, but since that's just what dorkvak wants, I will slip into silence, hoping he follows me there.

For more on the topic, see the people I love kissing up to:

Doc Searls
David Weinberger

Now, I must go wipe the shit off my nose.

Mr. Mahoney, I Beg to Differ...

In a recent article on A List Apart, Dennis A. Mahoney gives his take on why so many weblogs today are boring and not worth the clicks it takes to get to them. His answer--they are badly written. He also offers advice for bloggers who want to become more readable contributors to the cyber dialogue. As I understand it, the article is an attempt by Mahoney to offer positive suggestions to offset the complaints he’s levied on

Simply put, I disagree with Dennis, especially with his basic premise: that amateurish writing in the blogging community is a bad thing. He says:

"Amateurs are writing as they’ve always written. Self-consciousness, self-doubt, awkwardness, and overcompensation are perennial hallmarks of the beginning writer. The reason today’s amateurs seem more profoundly un–profound could be a simple matter of exposure.”

Let me start by admitting this: I am a “wordaholic.” I've made my living at writing and editing since 1982, and I’ve come across the range of writing talent (and lack thereof) over the last two decades.

I'm not sure whose weblogs Dennis has been reading, but they must be different than the ones I’m reading. It makes me wonder, are we on the same net? For my part, I’ve come across astounding “amateur” writers in my blog travels—folks who didn’t know they could write, who still don’t think they can write even though they’re doing it every day, and who today put my blog to shame. The words they choose are inspired by emotion, not by years of study in the finer workings of grammar. Their thoughts are free from corporate confines, usually for the first time. They are expressing what’s meaningful to them—from cat shit, to divorce, to Linux—in a way that’s meaningful to them.

And I can’t get enough.

Mahoney points to the lack of “gatekeeping” as a reason why we are burdened with poor writing on the net:

”There used to be impenetrable gatekeepers. Now, CNN roundtables, documentaries, independent films, MTV, and the web—which has no gatekeepers in most countries—are broadcasting every poorly crafted phrase and half–cooked idea imaginable. Patience, readers. All is not lost.”

Message to Dennis: Nothing’s lost. Everything is found.

Give me every poorly crafted phrase and half-baked idea. And then give me some more.

I want to get lost and stay lost--lost in the world of possibilities, of mining gems from this fertile online playground. I want to be the first to find the amazing, and then share it with everyone I know. I want to unearth ideas, not good sentence structure. I want to read all of the asides, all of the streams of consciousness. I want to ride those streams as they wind and intersect with others and find amazement in those intersections.

And, call me strange, but in the constructs of blogging, I’d rather read this (Mahoney’s example of amateurish writing):

”I know this is a cliché nowadays, especially after 9/11, but I live in New York, which is much cleaner and safer now because of Giuliani, who really ought to be president after handling the crisis so well, and I know I’ve had some issues in the past with the mayor’s handling of the NYPD in regard to African Americans and his war against art involving sacred religious icons and feces (hello!? freedom of expression!?), but when all is said and done, New York, as maybe the best example of the ‘melting pot’ etc. etc., is a great city, especially when it starts getting warmer and people go outside more, like around March or April.

…than this (Mahoney’s example of professional writing):

New York is magnificent in spring.

Much of the advice offered in the RULES section of the article is helpful. I’m not sure Mahoney’s rules are necessary, but they’re helpful. I don’t agree with his advice to discard the first person (“I”) when possible. After all, if we are “writing ourselves into existence,” as David Weinberger says, then it’s hard to throw ourselves aside in favor of “good” writing.

I do agree with Mahoney on a point he makes toward the end of his article, and one he makes nicely: “The advice ‘write only what you know’ increases the likelihood that you will know the same things forever.”

This is sound advice for bloggers. Blogging is exploration. Good blogging is not always writing what you know about—often it’s writing about what you don’t know, what you can’t understand, the mysteries that have been tugging at your shirt sleeve since you were a kid. Uncover those, and I’ll read you every day, I don’t care how few periods or how many commas you use.

I again agree with Mahoney in his recommendation that bloggers get personal.

”Readers crave your anecdotes and stories. They really do. So give ‘em the whole megillah. Instead of, ‘The party was a riot!’ or ‘I’m depressed today,’ carefully explain why. Elaborate. Parties and depression are perfectly good writing subjects. The Great Gatsby, for instance, has plenty of both.”

I suppose my biggest problem with the article is this: I just don’t see this level of writing lameness that Mahoney asserts is rampant in the blogging community. What has stunned me all along is the lack of lameness, the overwhelming brilliance of so many people. When I click close on my browser at the end of the day, I wonder, “Where the hell did all of these smart people come from? And where have they been?” They aren’t professional writers, but they are becoming professional thinkers. And that’s even better.

In his conclusion, Mahoney advises bloggers to pay attention to their readers:

”No matter what your audience size, you ought to write as if your readership consisted of paid subscribers whose subscriptions were perpetually about to expire. There’s no need to pander. Compel them to re–subscribe.”

I advise you differently:

Write like no one’s there. Write like everyone’s there. Write as if you have no audience, because you don’t. You are part of a conversation. You are completely and perfectly free to explore, to not care, to lose yourself in conjecture. You are free to destroy notions you’ve always had. You are welcome to challenge me and everything I thought was true. You are advised to listen, to reflect, to engage.

And then, when you are done with all of that, do it again tomorrow.