Friday, October 12, 2007

Side Effects

Blogging began for me as a dialogue between me and myselves, hence the subtitle.

Before I dipped an experimental toe into the cyberwater, my major contact was with political blogs, mostly sections of the choir seated to the left of the conductor. I tried, oh, how I tried, to find blogs about writing that were of interest to me, and even became an occasional contributor to one, Inkbyte (see my list of friends on the right of your screen)but for a number of reasons, found that writing-oriented blogs were not my cup of anything. Because of my interest in a small aspect of photography, I began looking in on the works of men and women whose images intrigued and excited me, showed me the universe from another angle. There, I met the remarkable pod, getting Australia down as though it were going out of style. And the rest was, as they say, history, a lovely history in which my daily routine has shifted from coffee with The New York Times to coffee with my blog chums, persons of quirky and wonderful interests that energize, excite, intrigue and drive me toward reevaluating the universe, both as I know it and as I don't.

In addition to the remarkable photos I find on lettuce's blog, and her perambulations about London and over into France from time to time, I became aware of another blog phenomena, one that extends way beyond mere design and format and, of course, text. One of my favorite things on lettuce's site is a counter that registers cities around the world from which other bloggers have logged in on her site. If I watch long enough, Santa Barbara comes up, and I think, Hey, that's me. And I see a nearby city and I think, wow, we could pass one another on the highway and not recognize, but we could also be reading lettuce's site at the same time. The mind may not boggle, but it chuckles.

Lori's site has a lovely refinement in which her blogging neighbors in Austin are indicated, and in addition to our own personal trackers, the Technorati ad Google analytics, and the like, there are other embellishments, and so we appear in the blogosphere like a general or at least like an officer with out campaign ribbons, and numbers of persons who have checked in, and preference in books, music, favorite flavors of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and the like. Lee's River ran a photo of a coffee house in her small town in France against which I measure Peet's, the splendidly run but woefully inconvenient place where I go for moments of real reality and companionship and in hopes of getting photos of The Milk Thief in action. The Milk Thief is in his mid fifties, drives a late model BMW, and at least twice a week, fills his thermos from the available milk supply. But he is another matter.

I notice some blog sites are admirable in design and organization. Lori takes excellent care with hers and John Eaton has provided side dishes worth a number of minutes beyond his daily content. Smiler makes an intriguing use of space and side effect, and Liz Kuball goes to great pains to let the viewer see the photos that interest her and some of the details she attends in order to get them. Mrs Dean not only posts photos, he/she (for they are a couple) often add exquisite technical detail and opinion. The Individual Voice, a voice of intense insight and reason, has posted highly charged and provocative posts relating to First Amendment Rights and meanspiritedness. Lee's River and Smiler play the intellectual equivalent of cat's cradle. It is all a joyous journey to behold.

In recent weeks I have brought students into the cyberworld, and a number of them have created dizzying effects.

I, on the other hand, have produced an index that rolls over the landscape of my blog like the excavated spine of a dinosaur. I waver in tastes between rococo exuberance and Zen contemplativeness, but the physical appearance of my site, like the appearance of my study is, alas, pure chaos and, also alas, pure me.


R.L. Bourges said...

arrrgggg!!! Is there NO privacy anywhere? I mean....if I read your "dystopia" post when I would be better advised to find the secret panel leading out of KNOW I've been sneaking into the study?
Damn! And there I was getting ready to let loose a post on that lovely enclave called Kakotopia, where LSD experiments are conducted on mental patients for the benefit of the CIA.
Not to mention Konrad Lorenz' secret Kakotopian experimental ground on imprinting patterns of migratory birds.
I, for one, started life as either the snowy owl gosling or the Potemkin baby carriage in one such protocol. Results were inconclusive and further funding discontinued. Not all records are lost, thankfully, and a few survivors made their way to Little Britain (notably, Joseph Stalin's brother aka The Russian Babysitter.)

Smiler said...

Hi Shelly, I'm tickled pink that you've included me in your list of distinguished fellow blogers. As you may or may not know, flattery will get you everywhere with me. :-)
But I'm curious as to what you mean by "an intriguing use of space and side effect"?

Lori Witzel said...

"...alas, pure chaos and, also alas, pure me."

And we wouldn't have it any other way! That's some of the fun of this all for me, looking at how folks have decided to embellish or not.

(Aside #1: You would ask that question about just what is time.)

(Aside #2: Ooooooh, snuck up on some old passenger train cars this afternoon...more will be revealed soon.)