December 31, 2001

the school of dreams

I wake up before I leave the OR, before any pain medicines hit my veins. I wake up with a hurt so strong I wish they would kill me--take me back in and kill me. The agony is unbearable.

Because the surgery takes nearly seven hours, the anesthesia is light toward the end. You cannot hang that long between life and death, while anesthesia balances the body there as the soul dances in and out of the light.

This is a state of dreams. Of needing to leave behind a pain so intense that to not leave will kill you. So it's not surprising that I wake up too soon, before they wheel me into recovery, with the rawness of every cut and stich so fresh I can only gasp, "help."

the school of the dead

As I waver between life and death in my own hospital bed, 30 years after his death, on his birthday in fact, I am somehow not surprised. Terrified, yes. Facing death is not something I'm prepared for. My new baby is just 9 weeks old. How did I get here?

When you lose a parent early in life, you wonder if you'll make it past the age they were when they left you. Every child of death wonders this. That's why I'm not surprised to be near death myself at 36, the same age he was when the luck of the Irish eluded him.

In my hospital bed, hemorrhaging uncontrollably, I am violently enrolled in what Cixous calls, "The School of Dreams." Because I don't die; I live. But in walking the line between here and there, I dream. Images as vibrant as those five-year-old memories, scenes that will carry me through the next half of my life.

Bleeding to near death. Watching helplessly as my lifeforce leaves my body, playing tricks with my mind and taking small pieces of my soul with it, my sanity too. The emptiness is unfathomable. As a new mother, instincts of self-protection battle with the responsibility of caring for this new life. I don't want to see her; don't want her to see me, not like this. My one gift to her: protect her from images of her dying parent--I know how they haunt.

But she comes to visit just before surgery. My sister carries her down the elevator toward the operating room, this small life that has almost cost me mine.

Anxiety gives way to resolve. Once again, I cannot control. I cannot fix myself, I cannot fix my family. I let go, I go to sleep. And I dream. Dreams of pain. Dreams of loss--where is my baby? My husband is gone--no, there he is. And I hear talking, outside of myself.

I am a dream within a dream. A death within a death.

December 30, 2001

None of this should matter to you. Because it's mine. It belongs to me. My loss, my gain, my death, my life. And yet, others who descend the ladder of writing with me must absolutely experience this school of loss-gain, death-life, grief-joy. If not, we have no common ground. If not, my voice will not resonate with you. If you have not taken that step down, then you and I live in different worlds. Sometimes I glance your way, and it's envy you feel heating your neck, and sometimes it's sadness for you too.

Don't be sorry for me; be sorry for you. I saw the open door and walked on through.

the school of the dead

Cixous writes: "For a long time I lived through my father's death with the feeling of immense loss and childlike regret, as in an inverted fairy tale: Ah, if my father had lived! I naively fabricated other magnificent stories, until the day things changed color and I began to see other scenes--including everything I could imagine that was less consoling--without overinvesting."


I tell all my friends growing up that my father died of a gallbladder operation. Because no one tells me otherwise, even though he lived another six months after that operation. My fourth grade teacher tells me it is very unusual for someone to die of a gallbladder operation. She says, "Are you sure?" And I wonder if I'm hiding something.

I'm 21 before I ask.

My mother tells me the truth then, about the day he had his operation and the doctors took her in a room, there by herself, to tell her that her husband's gallbladder is fine, but his pancreas isn't. The diagnosis is pancreatic cancer. The prognosis, much as it is today, omonous. Six months maybe. My mother tells me the news rips her apart, and her first and strongest instinct is to wail for her own father. "Bring my daddy here. He'll know what to do. I need him." But there is no comforting to be done for this family.

There will never be comfort again.

the school of the dead

Cixous writes: "Of course, I'm only talking about the death of the loved one, it's only a question of love here. And of everything loss brings as it takes away. We lose and in losing we win. This doesn't happen together, it can happen in a deferred, sustained, or continuous manner... This misfortune or fortune--which will make our lives an unending struggle to be fair--is that in losing we have something to gain. Mixed loss and gain: that's our crime. This is what we are always guilty of, guilt we can't do anything about with these unexpected and terrible gains."


The days and months that follow are a mix of images without resolution. Technicolor hyper-reality cinema interspersed with sudden fades to black. Black stays for a while as I knock the side of my head trying to remember. Then the show starts again, a new scene, the exhaustion of not knowing how the last scene ended.

The most vivid memory is Saint Patrick's Day, 1968. Mrs. McCarthy knows my father has been ill. She asks if I think he would like some get well cards from the class. I'm pretty sure he would. And that day, we all make shamrock cards for my father, luck of the Irish for a Sicilian, and I am sure that day I have become a kind of kindergarten celebrity. More than once, I am glad my father is sick. I am glad for the attention. It is a wanting that will haunt me the rest of my life.

At the end of the day, Mrs. McCarthy bundles the cards up in a sack for me to carry home on the bus. I can barely stand the ride home, so excited to be bringing some St. Patrick's day luck for my father.

I fly in the front door and up the carpeted steps toward his bedroom, where I know he'll be resting. My mother meets me at the top of the steps. "Look!" I shout, as happy as I've been in six months, "I have cards my class made for daddy!" She doesn't let me past her to the bedroom door. She takes the sack from my hand and tells me my Aunt Penny is in my room--she wants to talk to me.

That instant I know.

My luck is too late.

Slowly I walk to my room. I pass a TV where I hear the soap opera drama of "The Edge of Night."

I love my Aunt Penny. She is my second mother, and would grow to be more so over the years to come. She sits me down and tells me that sometimes God chooses special people to be in heaven with him. He needs them for reasons we don't understand. She really is trying.

"My dad is dead, isn't he?"

The wind knocked out of her, she whispers a soft "Yes."

My father, her big brother, dead at 36.

I don't cry. She tells me I can if I want to. But I really don't want to. I look back often and wonder why, and I find that my thoughts that day are still sensible some 35 years later: He's gone. There's nothing I can do about it. He didn't even get to see the cards. He's gone. Okay.

When I come out of the room my mother is waiting. "It's just you and me now, and we'll be okay." And at that moment, I quake with fear that my brother and sister have succumbed to death too, because she doesn't mention them. I still don't know why she chose those words, but she was a 33-year-old widow with three children, no life insurance, a farm to sell, a job to get. That she chose the words she did is somehow okay.

the school of the dead

Cixous writes: "The first book I wrote rose from my father's tomb. I don't know why; perhaps it was the only thing I had to write then. I had to write then, in my poverty, in my inexperience, the only asset: the only thing that made me live, that I had lived, that put me to the test, and that I felt because it completely defeated me. It was my strange and monstrous treasure."


In school on the day of his operation, it was a kindergarten day like any other. I remember the smells the best... exhaust from the school bus, the mixed aroma of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, balogna sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and 30 little half-pints of milk all pulled open at once. My mat, where I take my nap. My teacher, Mrs. McCarthy, who knows my father is getting rid of that gallbladder and who touches my shoulder a few more times than usual that day.

And then it stops. Fade to black.

December 29, 2001

the school of the dead

Cixous writes: "The dead man's death gives us the essential primitive experience, access to the other world, which is not without warning or noise but which is without the loss of our birthplace. So it gives us everything, it gives us the end of the world; to be human we need to experience the end of the world. We need to lose the world, to lose a world, and to discover that there is more than one world, and that the world isn't what we think it is. Without that, we know nothing about the mortality and immortality we carry. We don't know we're alive as long as we haven't encountered death. These are banalities that have been erased. And it is an act of grace."


A bad gallbladder. The doctors tell my mother, my mother tells the three of us. I'm five now. Not knowing what part of the body hides the gallblader, I know it must be somewhere in the middle--because I see him doubled over from the spasms, I watch from behind the couch as he climbs the stairs after dinner to lie perfectly still, bearing the rhythm of pain. No one seems worried. I take my cue from them. The doctors are ready to take this gallbladder out, and my father will be able to eat sauce on his pasta again, not butter. He'll be able to sit through dinner. He'll feel like playing his bass again. The dark circles, the sullen look, the whites of his eyes growing bigger, his stare more distant--these are things doctors can fix with gallbladders, I believe. But I don't forget the red brick building.

December 27, 2001

I'm four years old, in the back seat of our oversized station wagon. It's 1967 and all the station wagons are big enough to swallow a child whole. Without a seatbelt, riding is more like rolling, swimming around in cool blue cushioned seats.

This day, I'm more carsick than usual. Windows rolled tight against the upstate New York cold, the smell of hair spray and cigarette smoke, mixed with whisps of black coffee, make every breath uncomfortable, and I teeter on the verge of gagging and vomiting most of the way there.

When we pull up to the red brick building, my sickness turns quickly to fear. I'm overwhelmed with panic and the primal urge to flee. Danger. I know we're in terrible danger. And without the words to express it, I do what four year olds do. I wail. Hysterical, high pitched screams fill the car. "Don't go in there! You won't come out! P-L-E-A-S-E, Daddy, don't go in there! Mommy, he won't come home! He won't! He Won't!"

Husband and wife locked in a glance I remember to this day, they slowly turn to me, there on my back-seat ocean of blue cushions, and give words of comfort that shroud their dismay.

"It's just an appointment honey. Don't get so upset. He'll be back in 15 minutes. Calm down, honey, calm down."

My mother climbs in the back seat with tissues for me, and together we watch my father, 35 years old, pull his collar up against the wind and walk briskly toward the building.

As he walked he was dying.

But we didn't know that.

I did.

It was my first day in "The School of the Dead."


Ahhh. Blogger's back up. This is good.

Can't blog much right now--I'm having a sort of epiphany, and it's never good to blog in the middle of one of those; you can ruin it--much better afterward. The epiphany is coming to me courtesy of a book I'm engaged in:

I won't give away much, but consider that blogging is writing. And consider today that you are dying as you blog.

December 22, 2001

Love among the blogs

Well, well. Seems that one of my predictions for 2002 is already outdated. No Miss Chloe, I admit, still I thought I was being really forward-looking with my prediction of blogger marriages in 2002. Seems I'm behind the times. Got this email from Medley at Uncorked...

Assuming you're talking about people who write weblogs in general, and not just those who use the 'Blogger' tool, there have been a few weblogger weddings already!
My own, for one.
Rebecca's Pocket to JJG
The authors of BackupBrain (if I'm remembering correctly)
... and I'm sure there have been a couple of others.
I'm just sayin'...

-Medley -- A weblog about IT, policy, current events, and more from an INTJ-feminist-geek perspective.

How cool is that? So now they are on notice--we're waiting for the conception part, guys!
Friends, family, workfolk, they all ask me--who is this "RageBoy" you keep talking about? (same folks who keep asking what a blog is). To understand someone, I always say, take a look at where they came from. This week Steve Larsen gives us poignant glimpses into RageBoy's early rants in chapter 1 of a book he's working on, "What Were We Thinking?" Locke has posted the chapter in an EGR Send. Here's an example of the sensitive, empathetic and sometimes passionate character we know as RageBoy:

"I've been stuck at IBM for a year with my thumb up my ass and I'm waiting for someone to figure out what the fuck is going on and they've got plans I give them all the time and they file them and say 'Yeah, Chris, that's great,' then they take me into some fucking egg carton room and tell me what I've got to work with, which is nothing, no money no equipment no staff, and then they give me a check and I fucking go home and sit there, where I've got better tech stuff anyway than IBM where it took me three solid months to get an internet hookup, and this is what they want me to do, see, they want me to do the internet thinking, and get them into it, but the first fucking thing they tell me is you've got no resources and 'Oh, by the way, don't talk to anyone about this stuff without clearing it through channels.' A fucking year. And I sit here and some of what I'm hearing is how to work in the system. Well I say fuck the system -- it's dead it's stupid it's non-responsive it's counter productive it's fucking socially evil and if we put any more of our goddamn time into propping up these dead-ass morons we deserve what we fucking get."

December 20, 2001

Blog Predictions for 2002

Some iteration of instant messaging and chat functions will merge with blogs for folks to talk amongst themselves--taking 'blogback' to the next level.

More idiots will begin blogging, annoying the hell out of blog pioneers and increasing the velocity of insult hurling.

Doc Searls will announce the first blogger wedding mid-year, when friends who met blogging decide to tie the knot. The conception of their first child will be bloggerized. RageBoy will be all over that shit.

More celebrities will jump on the blog bandwagon.

RageBoy and Winer will go at it again, likely using biological and chemical weapons this time. There will be no winner, but lots of memes.

Corporations will get wind that employees are blogging during work hours and issue anti-blogging policies.

Smart companies will get wind that employees are blogging during work hours and imagine the possibilities.

A major motion picture will feature a character who blogs. The character will be a psychopathic alcoholic intellectual head case.

The part will be offered to Jack Nicholson, who will turn it down because bloggers don't get cute chicks.

Some company, somewhere, will take Gonzo Marketing to heart and underwrite some blog, somewhere, somehow. Please.

Community blogs--or "party blogs" like Gonzo Engaged--will grow in residents and in numbers, morphing into their own form of blogging. These forms will separate from one-man blogs, which will lean more toward journal and journalism than community.

David Weinberger will stop blogging again, only to start again in 2004.

December 18, 2001

tis the season to take pot shots
fa la la la la la la la la

Wow, someone got up on the wrong side of the blog today. Wouldn't have come across this rant by Cameron Barrett on Dave Winer's blogger of the year contest, but RageBoy in a rare two-EGR-send turned me on to the Contest, and later in his blog, to Cam's rant on the unfairness of it all.

My first suspicion: That Cam's relying on memic propagation to boost his OWN standings in the contest as we rush in large numbers to Winer's defense... In other words, me thinks he doth protest too much:

"I was not surprised then, to find my own site (CamWorld) nominated in the Blogger of the Year category. I have a feeling that Dave wanted to include some non-Manila weblogs in his list of nominees, so as to appear less one-sided. Well, thanks but no thanks Dave. I don't care one bit for this awards contest. My site has been around for a long time now, and I have never once asked for it to be nominated for any kind of award. Nor have I ever intentionally submitted it for any awards consideration. Even for awards that actually mean something like the yearly SXSW Interactive competition, where Web site excellence is actually celebrated by a large group of well-repected peers, and not by some overly self-important, egotistical, software programmer in Silicon Valley with a Web site."

Because if he really means what he says, then Cam needs to summon the spirit of the Blog and remember what we're in this for. It's not about democracy. It's not about uniformity. And it's certainly not about being "unbiased." The days of pretend-not-to-have-an-opinion journalism are over.

Blogging is all about what I think. What Dave thinks. What RageBoy thinks. What Doc thinks. What bloggers who've not yet blogged think. It's saying what I want. How I want. It's making up whatever fucking contest strikes my fancy. It's about the Five Fish Blog Award and the Scripting News Awards. And if Cam decides to throw up a CamWorld contest, then I'm down with that too.

And one more thing. You don't see us blog-girls taking pot shots at each other. More proof that blogs imitate life? So boys of the blog, take a deep breath, make peace, and go get your vote on.


December 13, 2001

If the words of Osama Bin Laden recounting his joy over the WTC attack doesn't leave a lump in your throat and a dull ache in the pit of your gut, the poem he recites at the end of this videotaped meeting with his counterparts will:

I witness that against the sharp blade
They always faced difficulties and stood together...
When the darkness comes upon us and we are bit by a
Sharp tooth, I say...
"Our homes are flooded with blood and the tyrant
Is freely wandering in our homes''...

And from the battlefield vanished
The brightness of swords and the horses...
And over weeping sounds now
We hear the beats of drums and rhythm
They are storming his forts
And shouting: "We will not stop our raids
Until you free our lands''...

December 12, 2001

A co-worker today asked what a blog is (we get that question a lot these days, don't we?). I said, "It's a cross between journal and journalism." I said what I liked, liked what I said, and blogged it here. More later.

December 11, 2001

online narcissism

Funny. Just before reading Mike Sanders' entry about being Number One on Google, guess what I was doing. Go ahead, guess. Yep, I had just done my every-few-day jeneane sessum search on Google to see if I had shown up anyplace new. Unlike Mike, no one else has my name. So my personal goal with Google has been different than Mike's goal of making his way to the top Mike Sanders spot. Instead, I've been racing my husband, with the fairly unique name of George Sessum, to see how many pages of google search results we can accumulate. I'm up to five. I've left George in the dust as he anxiously waits to bump to page 3. The difference? I blog. He, on the other hand, hasn't gotten a grip on this time-consuming sport just yet.

Before I started blogging in October, googling Jeneane Sessum brought up one sad result: My unsubscribe to the Acid Jazz mailing list. Disgusted with making other people famous throughout my career in PR, I took a liking to this blogging deal (ordeal?). It gave me a chance to be author, not ghost writer. Thinker, not gopher. It gave me a reason to BE. And now I am someone. Like Mike, it's not really "power" that I feel as I push through my google results. I guess it's a feeling notariety. Respect. Acceptance. Fame. These are good feelings--and something that the day job usually doesn't afford the common guy or gal.

And as I ponder, I'm glad that all the stuff that comes up about me on Google (so far) is good. No humiliations suffered yet.

I wonder how long it will be before search engines start to offer a paid service for NOT listing specific search results... Say you posted something rather explicit on an offbeat site, or posted an online rant about your boss or mother-in-law, later to learn that Google has outed you... Would you pay to be "unlisted," like some folks do with that old hard-copy behemoth known as the white pages? It's a thought. Maybe an odd one. We'll see.

So thanks for making us think Mike. Personally, I love the idea of leaving a legacy to my daughter... One day she'll search up her mama's name and show her friends what I thought. What I wrote. Who I was. And that I talked about her an aweful lot. Hopefully she'll be over 18 though.... I think I've dropped a few curse words here and there. :-)


December 10, 2001

One of the few moving pieces I've read about the war is this piece by Robert Fisk on his experience as a journalist beaten by an angry group of afghan refugees. A historic piece of first-person journalism, this piece depicts the character of the journalist, whose job as he sees it is to understand more than one side of an issue that has been dramatically oversimplified for the masses.

"They were uneducated – I doubt if many could read – but you don't have to have a schooling to respond to the death of loved ones under a B-52's bombs. At one point a screaming teenager had turned to my driver and asked, in all sincerity: 'Is that Mr Bush?'"

December 08, 2001

sleeping dogs

The lesson is: if you can't get him for murder, and you can't get him for road rage, then get him for stealing cable! I'm not a white male, so maybe I don't get it. But my take on the guy is similar to my take on Bill Clinton. Just give up. Leave him alone. You can't win. Maybe he's scum, maybe he's not. But if you haven't gotten him by now, then just move on, because he's obviously a lot better at some things than you are. Not to mention, don't these law enforcement officers have an anthrax killer and a few resident terrorists they need to be looking for about now?

December 05, 2001

When I got nothin in me, I tell you so. So there--got nothing. Ever since getting back from vacation the whole family lot has been plagued by some wicked intestinal thing and utter sleepiness. What's up with that? Bad bait on the fishing excursion? Anthrax-laced water? I don't know. And as December begins to wind down, and with it the whole catastrophe of a year, I'm reminded of my favorite web spoof of the 2001. I'm sure you've heard it, but if not, get your drink on and your snack on and have a laugh with me. Later.

December 03, 2001

Eric Norlin is gettin his rageboy on over on uncharted shores, where he thumbs his nose at ClickZ with his keyboard-worn finger: "Note to ClickZ: I want my shit back." Smack 'em Eric! (I always figured by that macho photo on ClickZ that you had it in ya.)
the other you

rotting there
in the hot sun
and dripping wet air
the person
once you
from the inside out.

the plan
too hard to understand
undone years before
the man.

to smell and touch
no one to revive
no movement
no breath

vision oozes
from veins
thought spasms,
fingers and toes uncurl
as limbs jerk
and go rigid.

good ideas
die hard.

December 01, 2001

cry for help

Back from vacation, I'm stumped. I thought I was over it. But the blog tugs at my pant leg. Comeon, baby, blog some more. say something else. let go. it feels so good. Meanwhile, where'd my husband go? Did my daughter just unbolt the front door and head out? Wait--just let me finish this one thought; I'll be right there... and I'll get right to those bills, those dishes, those phone calls, those assignments.... just one more thought... just one more...

Like a trip to Betty Ford, my week-long sans-Internet Florida vacation taught me something. I am one-hundred percent addicted to blogging. I got it bad. And I'm not so sure I want to stop. But I'm pretty sure I need to get a grip.

You see, I got the shakes about an hour out of town. Some little DSL demon on my shoulder, looking back through the rearview mirror, wondering when he'd get his next fix. Whispering in my ear, poking at me--"We should go back. You coulda grabbed the laptop. What the fuck--we're gonna miss a lot. They'll never remember you. You gotta find a connection down there. We can't go a whole week."

Six hours of driving with a four year old, and I'm through detox. Between the road, the games, the pit-stops, next thing you know, it's a brand new day. A week at the spa--ocean breezes, good chow, swiming pools, fresh seafood. THIS is living. No news. No blogs. Who cares? Don't need 'em. I'm a new man. (well, woman). I love my husband and sweet baby girl. I'm so glad to be hanging out here with them, pure family devotion. Nothing else. Walking the pier, fishing (did someone say fishrush? noooo man. I don't fishrush no more).

That online world, the one that got me so high, is far behind. And, like I thought I'd never be, I'm glad. So glad I kicked that habit. I've been such a shitty mom lately. Not much better of a wife. Tied to the laptop. What have I been thinking? I'm so glad I'm over it. When I get back, It's billable hours only, get that paycheck, and forget the rest. RGE's in good hands. Locke's got Gonzo under control. He doesn't need me, for sure. No one really needs me out there. Wshew! What a load off my shoulders.


Don't need it.

It's gone.

I'm free.

High-five to my higher power; I'm cured.

And now I'm back home.

In total relapse mode. On this laptop all weekend, I'm right back in it, man, and it tastes good, smells good, feels good, and my senses are so keen, and my brain is on fire, and I'm blogified like never before. Gimme more. I need more. Where is everyone? Shit, RageBoy hasn't had a post since Friday. Doc's on his strict blogging regimin (what is it, two hours a day?). Steve left off with that St. Andrew's day thing. And I already talked about Mike Sanders why we blog question over on RGE.

So where's the shit? I NEED some more SHIT! Where did my connections go?

please guys, just one more time.

i need it bad.
a reverse auction, priceline-style, takes shape offline at Ohio gas pumps. How many goobers do you think drove 100 miles to fill up at ten cents a gallon?

November 30, 2001

not again

inside out by what
went down
that day
that way

leaving what
I thought I had
what I never wanted

and again
it doesn't seem real
and again
it feels sharp

so here we are
too close
to where it began
and I feel my nails
dig in
to tender flesh

don't make me
don't break me

fury is a storm
that moves in quckly
then eases out

no time
to find cover
no time
to brace
for change

it's too easy
to come undone.

something in me churns
as waves draw nearer
then repel.

at once I am separate
struck suddenly
by the expanding sky
and the swell of the sea
more chocolate
than blue.

It is night
and nothing
is with me
but darkness
and unrelenting wind.

And I am surprised
by how much
I like it.

and then there were two

On the passing of the wisest Beatle, Doc Searls, the wisest blogger, remembers. Doc's review of George Harrison's philosophy bears repeating here:

I shall love all.
I wholeheartedly pledge to respect anyone's religion, nationality, faith, culture, language, etc...
Never shall I cross a border to conquer or impose an ideology.
In no way will I take part or interfere in government politics, but will assist in every way possible to bring about better understanding without creating any conflict.

— George Harrison, 1943-2001 (from All Things Must Pass)

IMAGINE if we all lived our lives this way.

What are others saying about Harrison's passing? Daypop tells us.

November 18, 2001

Read about the latest blog slug-em-out here (past Denver's post), which will take you there. Fascinating how carried away we all get talking about this new micromedium, isn't it? You'd think there was a revolution goin on or something. jeesh!
I usually take a while to form my thoughts. That's why I haven't gotten in to the whole what are blogs debate that seems to be buzzing around blogsville these days. Journal, diary, academic rhetoric, introspective indulgence, journalism--I don't know. To me, blogging is all of these things and none of them. The one thing I know for sure is that the velocity of online interconnections is reaching warp-speed thanks to blogs and bloggers. When's the last time you went to a traditional website to see what's new? To get tuned in and turned on? For my part, now that I've become a blogger, I have one or two websites I check every now and then--primarily because I need to see how tightly I should fasten my seatbelt in light of the global turbulents that rock our world. Other than those couple of websites, though, I'm all about blogs. It's because of their freshness, newness, and with many, because of their humor. So, as I weigh in on the what-are-blogs debate, after all the profound things have already been written by my counterparts, I don't have much left to say. Except that I'm happier and smarter for having found this thing called blogging.

November 15, 2001

awe crap. I just wrote some really good stuff over at gonzoengaged, and now I got nothing left.

November 12, 2001

Alright, so I had to see what an abuse button is. I went to the site to see what it looked like and how I might be able to get my own abuse button. Much to my disappointment, it wasn't a button at all, but instead a hyperlink to a page asking you to report any abuse to the head teacher. Kind of scary that more than two decades out of high school you can still rat on people, huh? :-)

November 11, 2001

As Dave Winer pines over mistreatment by the likes of Locke in what we hope is the end of the meme/blog blog war, perhaps one or both parties should install this simple Abuse button on their blogs. I am thinking of having one surgically implanted on my forehead next week.

November 10, 2001

All of the talk of memes, no memes, good memes, bad memes--I've got a migraine already. Are we blogging to propogate? To irritate? To titilate? To constipate? Yes -- all of the above. And, not to mention, because we have to, and because it's really fun.

The blog is the ultimate bottom-up mouthpiece for lots of reasons--not the least of which is because thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people blog while chained to their ergonomically-designed, uncomfortable-as-hell cubicle chairs during the 9-5 corporate dance. As the corporation shouts in one ear and dulls human senses with uninspired tasks, the brain presses mute, and out the other side comes the blog (with a little help from ten fingers).

The corporation doesn't know what we're doing. I've done my own unofficial poll. A chief digital strategy executive and a publication manager at one of the world's largest consulting companies had the same reaction to my new obsession: "What's a blog?"

And if the corporation knew what we were doing, what would they say? "Wow, what an amazing forum--who are you talking with? what matters to them? what the hell is going on out there?" No, I'm pretty sure that's not what's going to happen. Like blocking napster access (back in the day), I'm pretty darn sure the corporate eyebrow would raise not-so-slightly, with the ageold warning: "Don't let this affect your productivity." I'm willing to wager we'll start to hear non-gonzo proclamations of 'no blogging at work,' or worse yet, "Hey, set one of those blogs up for the marketing department, will ya? we can talk about our new product launch." egads.

But in the end, the blog will prevail. It is, as Locke says, the pure addictive joy of this blogging that keeps us at it. And we can all use a little more joy these days.
It worked! How cool is this--instant thought capture on your desktop--obscured from the view of nosey cube mates and bottom-line-obsessed bosses. This blog buddy is just the coolist little nifty thing. Talk about push button publishing. I'm so excited! Now blogging can completely take over my life, as I rush to capture every significant (and stupid) thought!
I'm testing blog buddy--can this thing possibly work? See--it's just what I'm saying about new applications that will put blogging into overdrive.

November 09, 2001

new reasons for the french to hate us

Uh, newsflash to the French: we already are.

Get your extremism on.

November 08, 2001

don't slap my goat too

Now, onto the one true voice thing (that other subject we were debating over on our sister blog). Look, I took some flack for that. The boys say I'm overusing the notion of passion. That people don't have one voice--at the core--that is THE voice.

To that end, they cite the very real example of people pretending to be who they are not, manipulating voice to masquerade false personnas. Who ever heard of such crap? Nonesense--such trickery is reserved for only the most renegade marketing hacks...

(two... three... four)

Okay. I get their point. Maybe you have to be a half-Czec, half-Sicilian upstate new yorker whose very core was fused from collected experiences that might scare you if I blogged them here. Maybe that's why you don't get it. WHAT'S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

You can do whatever you want with this voice I'm talking about. Dress it up in a foreign tongue, twist it into an outrageous redneck drawl, take on personnas that have polar-opposite views. That's great. That's called playing. That's called improv. It doesn't mean that somewhere, deep in your gut, spleen, or pancreas, YOUR voice isn't waiting--when you come home again after you've had your fun (or been stuck in the corporate grind for a decade or two).

YES YOU DO have A voice, THE voice, YOUR voice. When I say voice, I don't mean having an "opinion." I mean that primal rumbling that takes form and speaks to you inside your own head--don't tell me it's not in your head (please don't tell me that)--talks to you, and you talk back, and when you feel anything intense--from joy to pain, or just plain boredom-- it's there just WAITING to shout out.

So there you have it. The zen of voice. I don't have it figured out yet, but I know that two months ago I met an old friend, one who'd been quiet for a really long time, and I was so happy to see her again.

nightall............ (leave my goat alone.)

November 07, 2001

don't slap my goat

I've been hearing some conflicting opinions on my little theories about blogging being a self-sustaining model, and about the 'one true voice' thing we've been discussing in parallel monologues on that party-blog, Gonzo Engaged.

First, why blogs will continue to flourish through this self-propogating (het hem) model:

Okay, so blogs can get tiresome--I'll give you that. But that's because this blogging thing is part of an evolution. It's not the answer. The destination. It's not anything really except another platform for voice--a really no-cost-entry easy-to-use platform for anyone who knows how to open a browser.

Does that mean the rifraf can get in? Oh yeh. There goes the neighborhood. Good.

What we're going to see--count on it--is the emergence of self-publishing tools and platforms that take blogs to the next level. It's already happening. The first-level blogs are pretty much diaries. One guy or gal's take on the world. Second-level blogs welcome other voices into the blog. Some blogs do this by linking each post to a discussion area. has a "Team" feature where you can invite any dufus with an email address onto your blog to give their parallel or perpendicular view of the world, or on the topic of the moment.

So what's next? Maybe blogs that let you host interactive chats in a separate window--so you can talk real-time about the post of the day. Sure, you can do this now--I'm no wizard, but I use instant messaging--no reason you couldn't get the team together to chat about today's post. But who's willing to go that extra step? What, I'm gonna say, Hey RageBoy, can I have your Yahoo screen name so I can bother you all day long? No, go away, he's likely to reply in his quick-witted style. But if our little team could chat amongst our blog, that would be fun.

We want it fast, good, and cheap, so give it to me--IN my blog.

What else? When I was reading Gonzo Marketing, I wanted desperately a pop-up window, where I could read on one side of the screen, and write on another. Oh sure, I could open a couple of different browser windows and arrange them in some semi-random fashion on my screen, but you know that doesn't work for long. One gets on top of the other, then the windows start that inevitable flip-flopping behind and in front of one another--thereby defeating the pure simple elegance of what it means to blog.

These are just a couple of ideas--and not great ones. For all I know, we can do these things now. In my month of blogging, I don't claim to be an expert. Besides that, I've been working all day. So that's all I've got in me. the end.

November 06, 2001

why blog?

Not exactly an age-old question. But I've been thinking about it a lot lately, as blogging slowly but surely takes over my life. No tolerance for interruptions to this sacred task. My house, a pig-stye; my bills piled high--how many months behind am I? My kid--I'm not sure where.

If obsessive microjournalism is a crime, then let me be guilty.

I blog because I can. I blog because I have to. In my blog, I am a present, unwrapped. Presented to the universe--or a couple of people with nothing else to do--for the pure thrill of it.

It's really not a good thing, this addiction. Anyone have a 12-step program for bloggers? Higher power where are you? I can't find your link. If I could, I'd put it in my link list. Really I would.

Blog, sweet blog, take me over, release me. Sound off--1.2.

gotta go. creditor's on the phone.
Nine out of ten pediatricians agree, do not get the kids this fad gift for the holidays.

November 05, 2001's Word of the Day for Monday November 5, 2001:

gamine \gam-EEN; GAM-een\, noun:
1. A girl who wanders about the streets; an urchin.
2. A playfully mischievous girl or young woman.

And the whole world is whacked out with fear of nuclear doom, except for Claire, a French gamine who is "living her own nightmare" and waking up in lots of strange places.
--Joe Brown, Washington Post, January 17, 1992

Gamine. Really a beautiful word. Had I never come upon this definition, I might have even named my child Gamine, as it has the ring of a fine name, and rhymes nicely with my own. Ah, but I have met Claire now, the French gamine, and thanks to the net, won't make that horrific mistake, which would leave me puzzled, Guy and Marguerite leaning slightly forward in their chairs at that quaint Parisian cafe, giggling, as I wonder aloud where Gamine has gotten to.