October 23, 2002

Rising the Comments Above

You know, the comments a couple of posts back really got humming with great stuff I don't want to lose. It all started when Tom threw me into a depression by pointing me to Clay Shirkey's article on why blogging won't pay. Now Tom and I and Clay have bantered gonzoite ideas before, and maybe it's my current reflective (read depressed) state, but Clay's saying something here. Let me layout the ensuing conversation by raising the comments up a level for further exploration....

Matrullo Drops the Bomb

Tom said: "J., I know we've had some discussion with Clay Shirky about gonzo issues before. Here's his bit about blogging for dollars - it's worthy of inspiring counter-arguments."

Partington Kicks Corporations in the Ass

Then, George Partington contributes this: "The best way to get paid for blogging is to have people, not corporate entities, pay you. Corporate involvement would just corrupt this thing we got goin on, because, as RB has pointed out, despite the fact that they are comprised of people, they have no body and no heart. Let's cut out corporations and build communities. Not saying I have any answers. Just my two cents."

Mays Wants to Pay AKMA Partington's Two Cents

To which, Jonathon Mays says, "Dang, I just want to make money. Gekko type. How bout AKMA and Frank become my editors (better still, ghost writers). You could write. I could make money. Therefore, keeping everyone's integrity intact? Yes?"

Jeneane Gets Depressed, Talks Too Much

Then I chime in with my big ole mouth here: "Wow. I just read Shirkey's piece. I need to go drive around for a while before I pick up Jenna. I have seen this parallel within the music business--In Boston for example, mom and dad pay for many a college student to attend one of many very fine colleges. Too many of these kids are also amateur musicians, who will likely use their fine degrees one day to do anything but perform music for a living.

"Yet these same passionate (and some even likeable) amateurs play for free--some even pay to play. They clog up club after club, event after event, venue after venue. Some are good, some are not. Most will remain amateurs. They don't need to get paid because their real job is going to college. And they are going to college to not play music professionally one day. But to have a "career" or at least a "fallback."

"It's no secret that you have superstars in the business who make the majority of the money, most not through recordings (where the labels gobble it up) but through touring. Then you have amateurs who play for love and not money. And then you have a whole professional class in the middle who eek out sometimes okay livings from a business not set up to pay them. The world Shirkey could end up just like this. We pay to read the superstars. The up and comers and tech flashers blog for free. And what will become of us in the middle? When will we decide to put down our axes and get a day job? :-( " [i.e., end of jeneane's big mouth]

AKMA's in the House and He's Bringing His Crash

When blogosipher AKMA jumps in with an idea I really liked because it meant something for ME ME ME: "But we wouldn't accuse someone of corruption if she accepted a free Zildjian for her drum set, right?"

[to which I responded with some lame statement about send me stuff. and saying sorry to AKMA about never sending his peanut brittle, and he tells me how Margaret and the kids are doing.]

Partington Loves Courtney

Followed by that smart George Partington responding to AKMA's cymbal analogy with:

"No, not out of hand. But if the drummer's tour was sponsored by Zildjiian, and Zildjiian was part of a company that included big ol X Co. that had lots of nasty practices in the name of profit, our drummer might feel a bit compromised (not to say corrupted, the "thing" is corrupted, the person could be or not, maybe just caught in a not-so-healthy situation), not wanting to write a song about unfair labor practices, for example.

"Courtney Love had some interesting things to say about such a situation. I think it was Pepsi that sponsored one of her tours, and they pressured her to say things in favor of the product, etc. (wanting to get their money's worth). She says they acted as if they owned her and she should be grateful for it. And, she says, she took every opportunity to slam them instead, so she'd never be tempted by another, similar deal. See her rant, Courtney Love does the math, for more.

Frank, Where Have You Been All Day?

At which point Mr. Paynter chimes in with:

"Oops, gone for a full day and the whole thread morphs in a zillion directions... oh well, I like Jonathon's idea of ghost written blogs, but I don't think the business model is right. How about y'all talk to the rich and famous people you know about the new Sandhill ghostblogging service. We (me and my hand picked stable of professional ghostbloggers) will create a unique and authentic voice for you online in a blog of your own! Why waste time writing when someone who enjoys it can do it for you?!?

"And to offset ghostblogging costs, we will hook you up with an ad agency that will create a banner ad revenue stream for you! Drink Coke!!! And for the ad agency, to offset the costs of those banner ads, we will provide 'bots that harvest email addresses from comment streams so you can direct sell those people on Bose radios and organ and glandular enlargement therapies. After this little engine of commerce gets humming, we at Sandhill hope only to exert ourselves endorsing checks to deposit. Cyber Paradise."

Steve "One Pot" Splits Frank's Hairs

To which Steve responds thoughtfully:

"Re: Zildjian and Pepsi, to my mind there's a difference. If Zildjian chooses to give free cymbals to drummer x (would that it were my poor, sold-his-congas-last-week-to-buy-new-traps brother!), it's generally because drummer x is already using the product. Or because the company is developing--a la Eric Clapton--a new product specifically along the lines dictated by the sponsored 'name'. The company does so in hopes that other drummers will see drummer x actually using the product, and note its quality.

"When Pepsi or Budweiser sponsor a tour, they're doing nothing but cash in on something totally unrelated to their own product. It's no different than going to an expensive charity dinner just to have my picture taken with famous people. There's no real connection between us, but I'm implying one for purposes of my own gratification. In other words, whether or not Courtney Love drinks Pepsi means nothing to her concert; the type of guitar she plays does. One allows her to do what she does *ahem* 'better' and more easily, the other doesn't. Maybe I'm splitting hairs unnecessarily, but to me it seems more insidious to sponsor something simply to get your name attached to it gratuitously rather than because it's actually relevant."

And that's where we are. So continue, please. This is too tastey to drop off now.

tuesday ramblings

Hey, stop over to allied--it's the hot place for comments this week, and boy do I love that! Many wonderful side conversations are taking place beneath this surface layer where I type shit in. Everyone should have comments (have I said that before?) They put the groove in groovy. Let's keep that up. Makea da blogger happy.

When you're done commenting here, hop over to george's blog and see what mess the sessums have gotten themselves into this time... does the word dog excrement mean anything to you?

In other news, I'm tired.

Have I mentioned that we may be headed to Florida for some sunshine at the end of the month? Anyone have tips on Clearwater Beach, please use that nifty comment link below and tell me all about it.

Did I mention I'm tired?

Besides our eventual vacation, there doesn't seem to be any good news anywhere this week. Bloggers not making money, bloggers sniping at each other, sniper shooting people left and right, the right edging closer to war, companies not wanting to spend a spare dime on anything, friends and loved ones in varying degrees of anguish. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Then it's time for Jenna to go to bed. I climb in beside her to pat her back while she settles down, drifts off. Her arm drapes over me. I hug her little bottom close and she passes out wrapped around me. I look at that sleeping face--I am so blessed. She is so sweet, so beautiful, so calm. Finally she is still. She is never still, you understand. She is motion. Motion and words. These are things to be thankful for--signs of health, signs of life. But at the end of a long day, I welcome sleep when she is still, and most of all, quiet. As animated as she is awake, she is the oposite asleep. Like a rock. Nothing disturbs her slumber except a rare (thankfully) bad dream.

She had one last night. She cried without easing up until I went into her room at 4 this morning. I held her. I passed out. She finally drifted back to sleep. In the morning she told me about the nightmare.

Daddy and I had gone to a wedding to get her a baby brother, and we didn't take her with us. She was devastated. Crestfallen. How could we?

All of this, Freud doesn't need to tell me, as a result of our "night out" on Saturday when we had the first night as a couple without her in a long, long, long time. She had a blast, went to a festival, rode ponies, had a wonderful time, mind you. I don't think she thought about us once. Well, maybe once.

But then she heard me. It was my tone I guess, since I didn't say anything in particular. I was on the phone telling my friend that we had a good time on Saturday, saw a movie, that I slept until 1:30 in the afternoon the next day.

The relief in my voice must have been evident. I now can tell you that five year olds get "tone." Even subtle "tone."

Where was I when she learned to infer?

I hear her bedroom door slam, hang up the phone, go upstairs to see exactly what the matter is, and there she is weeping in her bed. "You had fun without me! You and Daddy had fun and I wasn't there! Don't ever do that again. It hurts my feelings."

I explain about grown up time, how the movie would have been boring to her, how she had a lot more fun riding ponies than looking for used cars.

Her mind is unchanged. She has already infered that we had fun not as three, but as two. That we were capable of enjoying a moment where she was not the center of it.

How do you explain that it is a different kind of fun? That it isn't the fun fun we have as a family, it is something really boring to little people. How do you explain that you talked about her sixteen times that night? You say it. You say all that, and your child still looks at you with those big brown eyes and says, I wanna come too next time.

And you want to tell her that you want her always, to be right here, right next to you, that if you could you would put her back inside of you and keep her there, safe and sound, as long as forever and ever, that you don't want her to go six inches from your side, that it would be okay with you if the world would disappear and there was no such thing as school and there was no work and there were no responsibilities, no commitments, no money, no world at all.

If you had a say, you would lie just as you do every night, patting her back and racing her to sleep so that you could gaze at perfection forever. That if you could, you'd zip the house up with the three of you inside where no one could get in, no one could say anything hurtful to this family, no one could bring poison in, no one could break through. The sealed up house would be music and games and toys and computers, and melted cheese burritos, and lots of ice cream, forever.

You don't say these things to her though.

You don't say them to anyone.

Because if you did, people might think you're crazy.

October 21, 2002

oh my gosh, he did it again.

AKMA took the words right out of the back of my brain and organized them just perfectly in this post about bloggers and money, and the lack thereof, and the potiential to make a few coins.

You see? We got the official word from blogging's official honest guy--NOW, LET'S GET PAID!!!

October 20, 2002

date night

We went to see Formula 51 last night, the latest Samuel Jackson flick that was pretty great, made greater by the fact that we hadn't been to an R rated move in almost two years. Lilo and Stitch can't really match action packed drug dealing, murder and mayhem. Not just a little blood and guts, but worth it. Hint: Bring your umbrella.

My sister kept Jenna over night for the first time in a couple of years. Wow. You parents know what I mean. Wow. So we didn't have to rush home. We actually got onto our street before we looked at one another and said, "Hey, we don't even really have to go home." George turned the car around and we drove to the bar in one of the plazas up the street for a nightcap. Neither of us had ever been to the place before.

And wouldn't you know it was kareokee night, with all the regulars, some very scary-to-me, way-wasted 50-somethings, the guys with polo shirts and a turtleneck sweater or two(L.L. Bean ribbed cotton maybe?), their ladies with big hair, layered makeup, and too-fake smiles. They would have been friendly enough, and they were, but it was that kind of DRUNK FRIENDLY--you know what I mean? I could have passed any one of them in the grocery store the next day and they wouldn't have remembered my face. But last night, they were so glad to have met us, leaning on our shoulders, one burly old fucker trying to massage George's shoulders after making off with his lighter, translated in the language of Wasted as, "I'm Sorry," which, if you knew George, you would know one thing--don't touch his neck.

So burly drunk guy, who apparently is a physical therapist, although I can't imagine, got a little miffed that his massage wasn't appreciated, and showed his displeasure by favoring a lean our way when his drunken sway shifted into full gear. You know, "the lean," the "I can't stand up straight so can I lean on you?" lean. Luckily, this guy had a hard time standing or sitting still, so he left us alone every ten minutes or so to check on his wife.

Mike, the official bar greeter, made sure to stop by and say hello, tell us that the place is a regular hangout for the area, that Friday nights they start early, Saturday a little later, that it's always the same people, that they love one another, swear at one another, sometimes borrow from one another--some swap wives, not Mike of course, but some, he said.

I sipped my rum and coke and wondered about their lives.

Did I mention there was kareoke?

It wasn't really the people or the lame DJ that left me with that shifted feeling. It was realizing that I'm so in between. Gone are the pre-kid days of clubs and hanging out til 3 a.m. and talking with friends over drinks after a gig. My friends are at home doing the same thing I'm usually doing: taking care of the kid, the house, the bills, the cars. that's one side of being in between. The other side of being in between is not yet being a 50-something like most of the free birds at the bar last night were. You could tell, their nests were empty; they were looking for something new, something more, some taste of something they'd lost along the way. Instead, they settle for familiar faces, vodka or gin, and someone else's husband, someone else's wife.

In other words, the movie was better than the bar.

Being able to spend the evening eye to eye with my husband, laughing and holding hands, without the constant interjection that is our love personified, Jenna, was a true gift. A regular baby sitter may just be in our future....

It is highly diggable

Do go dig this.