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Tuesday, June 17, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

It occurs to me that I should mention that I'm once again in odd circumstances, connectivity-wise (I'm pretty sure that this particular WiFi connection I'm using here isn't actually supposed to be working, for instance, but at least for the moment it is; gosh, I feel like such a hax0r), and updates may be sporadic or missing for the next few days. Or not! You never know.

Sunday, June 15, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Happy Father's Day to all and sundry fathers, and children of fathers, and everyone else, even if you're someplace where today isn't Father's Day and for that matter maybe there isn't any day that is Father's Day, and maybe even having a day be Father's Day would run counter to your fundamental moral beliefs.

M gave me the complete second season of Babylon 5 on DVD for Father's Day, even though I'm not her father at all.

(Note how bizarre and counterintuitive the evolution of the Web is being: it would at one point have been obligatory for me to make something like "the complete second season of Babylon 5 on DVD" into a link, or even a bunch of links, to the show, and the DVD set, and whatnot; but since I don't have any special links to them, it's more sensible to let you look them up in your favorite looking-up places, and that's so easy for you to do that I don't feel unacceptably selfish letting you do it.)

I've never finished watching the first season, so various of us sat around tonight (after getting back from a noisy chaotic Father's Day dinner at the crowded but fun local Chinese buffet place) and watched "Believers" and "Survivors" from Season One (which I might not have done with the kids around if I'd pre-screened them, but they don't seem to have been traumatized by either homicidal religious lunacy or alcoholism).

Lesee. Read Arthur Miller's "An Enemy of the People" (adaptation of the Ibsen play; see remarks above about links). Good solid stuff about the importance of truth and the danger of power and so on, very relevant to the Dark Times In Which We Live. On the other hand it strikes me that Dr. Stockmann bears a certain amount of the blame; expecting the truth qua truth to be automatically convincing however presented is dangerously naïve. Which may be part of the play's message.

Read C. J. Cherryh's "Port Eternity". Not bad, but if I were her editor I would have told her to pare it down to about half the length.

Just started Iain M. Banks' "Against a Dark Background". Good so far. But we demand more Culture novels!

Steve points us to the very happy Medical Marijuana Activist Ed Rosenthal Freed by Federal Judge. Good thing, too. Moral bankruptcy of Bush administration, hypocritically selective belief in "state's rights", etc, etc.

A spammer asks the critical question:

What do Regis Philbin, The LA Times, The Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri have to do with you becoming a MILLIONAIRE?

That's what I'd like to know.

In sharp contrast, a reader writes:

There's something about these 'well known' (I've seen them labelled as 'A-list' blogs') blogs that I find oddly repellant. It seems that many of these (apparently) hugely read logs are trying for either public attention or celebrity status. It's possible that it's a jealousy thing 'cos what I write isn't read by anyone, but then again, I write for me and not for anyone else (which is why I don't write much at the moment - nothing to say). I'd be interested (in a non-major but off-beat sort of way) what you think, David. It doesn't seem to me that your log tries for celebrity, nor to put over a view. It is, in my opinion, a log about you which people can read. There's no intent to do anything other than that.

Yeah, well. I mean, I generally don't much like the most popular points in any mass-media space, and weblogs are now over the line (not far over, but over) into mass media. So it's not surprising that I, and perhaps by extension that my readers, don't find the most popular weblogs to be the most interesting.

I'm not sure that there is an A-list anymore (I may be about to contradict that last paragraph, but then I contain multitudes). There may once have been few enough weblogs that it was plausible to talk about a single blogging community, and that within that community there may be have a group that formed some sort of center. But nowadays there are photologs and moblogs and livejournals (and deadjournals) and warblogs and political blogs and so on and so on, and while there are inevitably most-read sites within each category, I don't think there's anything I could point to and call "the A-list" in a non-relative way, without reference to some category or ontogroup.

I suspect that some of the sites that I read (hm, that list needs updating again) are much more widely-read than others, but I'm not very conscious of it. I do run the stats on my own site now and then to see if anything amusing's happened, but in general the curve is nice and flat (with a slight upward trend if I squint real hard), so it neither rewards nor punishes the effort it takes to generate it, so usually I don't bother.

I do very much like the occasional letter of reader praise; on the other hand it also seems important to my motivation and enjoyment that, as you say, I write very much for myself, without thinking anything remotely like "what can I write that will get me lots of readers?". I wouldn't want to do that. I have no problem with sites that do do that, although I suspect that I don't read many of them.

So, did I attain "non-major but off-beat" there? *8)

(Oh, and I can't let you get away with "nothing to say"; the eagles take no excuses.)

Quite possibly the same reader writes:

(still thinking about your log, sorry for the extra comment !) In the dim and distant past I remember you saying that you tried to find something interesting to tell your little girl every day; I don't want to pry, but did that keep going ?

At least nominally. Nowadays she forgets sometimes, or she stays up later than I do (!), or sometimes she bargains it away for something (ten more minutes of reading, say). But sometimes she goes to bed before I do, and remembers to ask, and doesn't bargain it away for anything. And it's getting hard to come up with anything interesting that () she doesn't already know, and () doesn't take a semester to explain the background for, and () doesn't feel like scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Tonight she got three somethings, in fact: one story about a really cute position that she once fell asleep in when she was tiny, two recent wireless access point sightings (a Borders café and the lounge at The Club (coming soon)), and the news that the camp she's going to this summer now has an Amazon wishlist (at least partly at my suggestion, and containing some of the books that she suggested; go buy them something!).

And finally a reader sums it all up:

Researchers in Singapore have created a swimming robot that moves like an amoeba

Surely it was "that walks like an Egyptian"?

"The avalanche has already begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."


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