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I’ve moved.

http://WaitingfortheAliens.com

Over the last few weeks, while I haven’t been blogging, my average visitor numbers increased. INCREASED! I have no idea how or why. And they’re coming from schools in North America and all over the UK. Again, no idea why.
*shrug*

With regards to the new direction I mentioned yesterday, I will outline it over the next week. But it’s similar to the overall heading that was part of the “Return Home” plan last year.

Hi all,

This is the last post here.

I’m registering a domain name – I’ll come back and edit this post and tell you what it is once I’ve done it – and I’ll sort out full WordPress at the new site. WordPress.com is ok, but has little niggling restrictions, and it’s kind of like typing with one hand behind my back.

Stuff like not being able to have javascript on pages and restrictions on templates. That’ll all be resolved with the fresh start though.

So until I see you on the other side…

There’s stuff I know about. Because I’ve had such an eclectic range of work and study, it’s hard though to nail down a specialty subject for me. I wrote about it kind of once before. But having said that, one topic I do know a bit about is politics. Not surprising I guess. I’ve studied it at uni, worked for two politicians and one party office, managed a candidate’s campaign in a state election and been politically active for the last fifteen or so years. So I accept that not everyone knows as much about the topic as I do, but in recent weeks, everyone’s had an opinion about it.
For the most part, their opinions fascinate me. Why do they form the opinions they do? I’m interested in the reasons behind them.
Not surprisingly for one interested in such a question, I have left a lot of comments on blogs recently questioning people about their ideas. As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s my job to sell anyone on any belief. I’m just curious about the logic-steps they go through to get where they get.
So it’s kind of annoying when some bloggers rant their opinions and when questioned, when asked the reasons, they get abusive. Like questioning their opinions is tantamount to insulting them.

Of course, the reason is simple – they haven’t put enough thought into their statements, and so they have no idea how to back up what they say.  I just don’t like intellectual laziness. And especially in my specialty subject. It’s kind of like if you were a lawyer, and I met you at a dinner party and proceeded to tell you my half-formed and uneducated ideas about what is wrong with law and justice in the country. It’d just make me look stupid. (I have to admit, I have been guilty of that, but at least when I am, I know I’m not arguing from a position of strength)

I’m stopping. Maybe I want a break. Maybe I want to stop. But until I want to un-stop, stopping is what I feel like doing.

Crab, you were right. They are.

Mick, I’ll come to one of your gigs this weekend.

Everyone else, why not come to one of Mick’s gigs this weekend?

I have been reading The Piping Shrike for a few months now. He’s a blogger who writes mainly about politics, but in a way I find refreshing because he’s got his own opinions, they’re very well written and he doesn’t seem to be just ranting a party line, as so many bloggers of a political leaning are prone to do (maybe even me?).

Anyway, the other day, I asked Shrike why he had disabled comments on his blog. His response was to say he didn’t think the world needed another forum for wild political arguments. I guess I agree with him.

But the question of the day therefore is – why have comments? What do they add to a blog? To your blog? To other blogs? Leave feedback, preferably lots of it.

I didn’t name the blog I was criticising here. Although was I really criticising them? Or just saying they’d gone in a direction that I no longer found highly readable? I didn’t name them though.

The reason is that a couple of years ago I read a blogpost by someone who referred to cricket and all the way through the post, he’d give “translations” to foreign readers explaining what he was saying. I wrote a post in response, pretty much saying that I wouldn’t ever do such “translations” because if someone was reading my blog, and didn’t understand something, they could either look it up, assume the meaning from context, or just accept the way I wrote. But I made the mistake of actually referring to the post I disagreed with the style of. Amongst some people, that was some crime on par with killing baby harp seals.

The way I look at it though: if I were writing “I like what this person said here”, then linking to them would be okay. But why is it not okay if I’m disagreeing with them, saying that I would never write like example? Why is positive comment okay, but negative comment not?

I think the only difference is that some people cannot handle criticism. And if that is what they’re like, then really, I don’t have a lot of time for them.

I have a theory that all the Roman female bloggers I read live in Aranda (essept Enny, coz I know she doesn’t)

I dunno why. I just think so. If you have evidence to support or discount this theory, please do not share it.

I find that evidence only upsets my theories. I’m anti-evidence.

There’s a blog I used to read a lot. I really liked it. But then the writer became popular. And lots of blogs were pointing to them, so presumably, they gained a lot of readers.

I’ve mentioned before how I have read a lot about SEO, blogs as marketing tools, monetising blogs etc. So I know the methods that people use when they want to pimp their blog, make cash from their readers.

Anyway, this blog I used to read did all the tricks. Different streams of income; becoming an active part of the blog community; link-swapping; gradual changes to become “slicker”; becoming a recognised authority in their niche.

But ya know what? In the process, they became less interesting. I’ve recently been offline for a few weeks. Since getting back, I’ve been catching up on the blogs I used to read. And the blog I used to look forward to has changed.

jimbo_jones.jpg“You’ve changed man, you used to be cool”

I like to tell myself I write this for me, and to an extent that’s true. But like all bloggers, I like – and am a bit flattered by – the existence of an audience. I once said before “Here’s a trend in blogging and shoot me if I ever go down that path” and I gave an example, and was castigated for it. So this time I wont. Give an example I mean. But still shoot me if I take that path.

target.jpgI knew someone once who would often write blog posts and then delete them. The ones he deleted were the ones that were the most raw – the ones where his soul was on display to his readers. Of course, this was the very reason he’d delete them. Having your soul in the public domain isn’t an easy way to live. I told him “the ones that are the most painful are the best posts”. He interpreted my words as saying that I liked reading about him in pain. I didn’t. I just liked the vividness of his words when he wrote such pieces.

This highlights something that has been on my mind a lot recently – that how words are received is about the reader more than the writer.

In earlier incarnations of my blog, I argued constantly with various readers. I’d write something, they’d put their own spin on it and turn it into something it wasn’t, and then I’d be expected to defend their mis-interpretation. I never realised how much of what I wrote was caught up in this maelstrom. Last week, I was reading the archives of some of my previous blogs. I was surprised how much of a dominant theme it was. And how many times I was ignored when I said “I write, you read” or “Try only abusing me for what I wrote, not for the words that aren’t there”.

I realised though when I was reading the earlier posts (and more particularly some comments that have been left) on the current incarnation. When I wrote this post, I didn’t respond to the comments, and I just remembered the comments as critical of the idea. So I thought I’d put the idea away for a while, and think about it some more. But when I went back recently, I discovered the comments weren’t critical at all. So maybe at the time, I was misreading what the commenters were saying?

A couple of weeks ago, I met another blogger. That’s how I’m doing it now, after the failed blog-meet of last month. Now, I meet bloggers one-on-one for coffee to chat and get to know each other a bit offline. Anyway, while having coffee at Tilley’s, he mentioned he was soon off to Bougainville. Except the mention of the place came just after a chat about my habit of naming everything and everywhere in my blog by pseudonyms. So I thought he meant some place he considered to be so full of bogans that he was calling it “Bogan-ville”.

Not everyone thinks the way I do, huh?

I am constantly fascinated with who reads this blog, why and how they got here.

There’s obviously people who knows me outside Cyberia, people whose blogs I read or have commented on, people who sail by on a random Google and then hang around a while. And occasionally, there’s something from way out of left-field, like a band I mentioned once a long time ago who began to read (and I’m flattered that they who write such brilliant songs bother with my words).

Just for the record though, if you read here, and I don’t *know* you read, drop me a line. It needn’t be a comment that’s publicly visible. And email to m.f.aurelius@gmail.com is fine. I’m just curious. Why you’re here, and what you like or don’t. Don’t worry. Unlike other bloggers, I have a tough skin so I can handle hearing what people don’t like without turning into a psychotic flame-warrior. I’m just curious.

To everyone else – Hi. I like the readers I know about too. It’s just that I know about only about a quarter of you. Today, I’m nosey about the lurkers.

Cyberia is a land where normal rules apply, but in fast-forward. A great example is how quickly the latest fad can take hold, can supernova into the greatest thing ever, and then die off almost as quickly. Sometimes though, the fad can swing the other way and create a lot of haters. I read recently about this kind of thing at Darren’s blog. He writes about marketing online but in this post, he wrote about how a viral marketing campaign can backfire and create a lot of hatred amongst the former promoters of the scheme. I suppose that happens in the real world with pyramid schemes and whatever. But in Cyberia, it all just moves so much faster.

Because I am about a fortnight behind in reading many of my subscriptions (but catching up today on a lot of the backlog), the whole BlogRush thing Darren talks about has emerged, peaked and swung back all in that time. So I only read about their huge push and viral marketing campaign earlier this morning. And now, I’m reading of their demise. It’s interesting to see just how fast the rollercoaster has gripped them.

In a number of areas, I’ve allowed my life to wander off on its own, to find its own way, and it’s gone in ways unintended. Sometimes doing this is good, as it means I discover things I’d otherwise not have. But I’ve decided to pull the boat back onto the right course, and steer a little bit once again. And in tightening up control of my world, I’m setting some guidelines (I hate calling them ‘rules’ because we all know I’ll not stick to them). Some are related directly to my blog (such as not letting things like Eve distract me from daily writing); some relate to my other writing projects; some are more lifestyle-path decisions. But for my own benefit, I’m going to document them here in the near future, so I can have my blog as a kind of conscience, keeping me true to the course I wish to follow.

server.jpgI’m examining my options for web-hosting. Amongst the possible providers is one that deals exclusively in game-credits from the world of Eve 🙂 Another is a deal which is one of those affiliate deals – so some online mates of mine would get credit out of the deal if I went with that. And of course, there’s deals from my own work.

Whatever I choose, here’s my offer to my blog-friends: If you wish to remove yourself from those big corporate set-ups that limit the customisability (such as WordPress.com) and you want to share my web-space, let me know.

I was chatting to Nick from Whale Sushi the other evening, and he had a similar deal with someone a few years back, where he had a ‘sub-domain’ off someone else’s site when they did something like this (something like http://www.domain.com/crustacean). I also had a blog at http://www.jandell.net/lostlegionary a while back before a falling out with Willett.

But what I’m offering is the use of the space, and if you wanted to then register a domain of your own (www.YourBlogName.com) then you’d do that and point to the space. Setting up the domain will cost you (although it isn’t money you’d pay to me, but to whomever you register it with), but the hosting you wouldn’t pay for. I’d pay the $100-150 a year, you’d get the use of it without needing to pay.

Hopefully now, the saga about Honey may come to an end.

Note: This is a big post. Hit “Read the rest of this entry” to see it all.

Read More »

Translation: “to whose benefit?

Last night, being the night before starting a new job, I tried going to bed early. But it didn’t work. Much was bouncing around in my head. I got up at almost midnight and wrote the post you see here. And even though it didn’t really involve venting or ranting or generally being pissed off with the world and releasing it, I found that just writing it down gave relief.

So in future, when you think I write this blog for you, remember: I do it for me. To help me sleep.

I’m preparing two posts right now. One to tell you all about my new job. One to tell you of the decisions I have come to. But even they, deep down, are really being written for my benefit.

bono.jpg

direction_sign.jpg

The older I get, the better I come to know myself.

One thing I have learnt from observation is when things in my life are going poorly, I often retreat into some activity that takes up a lot of my time and/or mental energy and block out the compartments of my world that aren’t working.

I probably first noticed it when Caerulia and I were corroding back in 2001/02 and around then, I became an expert in Age of Empires II. And when Huniii was dying and things first went sour with Alderney, I took to Rome: Total War like a Praetorian. Just looking back at one week in May, there are four blog entries in one week. One about how I’d lost the will to blog, the next about being absorbed in the game, the next about the Alderney situation, and then one about Huniii’s death. Illustrates the point brilliantly I guess.

So it’s no real surprise then I’ve now immersed all my spare time in a computer game.

The reality is that for 90% of the time, I don’t even have games installed on my computer. Maybe installing them is a sign all is not right, and I’m seeking a place I can ignore what’s bothering me?

Coincidentally, the same issues of that week in May are bothering me this week. Alderney, Huniii, an addiction to a game and losing my desire to write.

I think the only solution is to make a plan. A plan to change direction, or re-find direction. So I can go forward. To that end, I’ve been thinking. Results of such ponderings in the coming days.

A little while ago, a blogger I once linked to made me a suggestion. As well as his blog that I read, he had several others. One of them is all about web marketing, and something called “Search Engine Optimisation” – in other words, he writes a blog about how to boost your ratings with major search engines. Apparently there’s bunches of different tactics and strategies to maximise it. Presumably for ad revenue. In exchange for helping him research and write such articles, he’d give me a percentage of his ad revenue. I thought about it, but in the end, because I was focussed more on my hunting for a proper job, I declined. But it got me thinking, and reading a whole bunch of different blogs on blogs, writing, productivity tips and online marketing. Some of the marketing stuff especially strikes me as the kind of things I wish I’d known when I was managing bands and promoting them online. But ultimately, something like Search Engine Optimisation strikes me as a bit like futures traders – spending all your time dealing with ideas and concepts that aren’t “real”. I’m mildly interested in the ideas of who comes here and why, but to spend vast amounts of time fine-tuning a blog for marketing purposes would drive me insane I think.
I know some of you have done the whole “monetising” your blogs, or otherwise trying to make money online. And I’d like to hear more about your experiences with it. Feel free to share?

I have it on good authority that some people showed at the Wig & Pen. Unfortunately, I failed to make contact during the hour I was there with anyone except Invig – whose blog I hadn’t read before, but who seemed an interesting enough chap. I understand that TJ and Nick both showed, but it was after Invig and I had left. And I’ve just discovered several messages left here from people who had to cancel. All up, a dog’s breakfast. Ah well, might try again another time. But the curse of Roman winters was upon us this evening – where social occasions are all cursed in winter.

I would like my own domain name. I would like to get some web-space hosted and run WordPress locally, rather than running through WordPress.com. It will allow me more control over my content and the overall look and direction of my blog.

I’ve looked into it and two issues stand out.
One is a potential problem – I am not sure I know enough about what I am doing to do the management of setting up and operating WordPress on my own site.
The second issue is that the kind of web-hosting I want would supply me with *heaps* more space and data-transfer capacity than I would possibly use.

I figured therefore I’d solve the problem by utilising the second issue. Translation: I will share my additional capacity with some friends so they can help with the technical side of things.

So here’s the deal.

If you would prefer your blog be raised up from working in WordPress.com or Blogger, you can share my space. In exchange for assistance with setting up and operating the set-up. Fair call?

(All friends and colleagues I have invited to be part of this arrangement – you’re still in. This is just an exercise in expanding the small team)

As some of you will know, one of my friends died three months ago.

In the months before she died, she wrote a blog-post which would appear shortly after her death as her way of telling her friends that the story was over.

For several months, since the death, odd things were happening. Some of us had received invites to join web services which supposedly came from her. I’d noticed that someone was using some of her online accounts. Originally, the theory was that her disappearance, and possibly even her death, were not as they had appeared. She was not that sort of duplicitous person though.

Yesterday though, one of her “friends” began adding to her blog. They’d hacked her password and so were able to edit her WordPress site. I have therefore removed her link from my blogroll. For it is no longer her site, but a pretender’s.

Only a true friend I presume would hack a dead person’s accounts to use them for their own purposes. Like all scum, I am sure they’re telling themselves the positive spin of why they are doing what they are doing, but what they are doing is disrespectful to her, and lying to everyone else. And I don’t care what their justification is, it contradicts what she wanted. She always told me she thought that after her death, her friends were not to be trusted. It seems she was right.

geeks.jpgDetails are firming up for the meet next week.

I didn’t want to be the one making decisions, because it might look like I was being dictatorial, but in the absence of anyone else making a decision, I’ve made one.

It’ll be at 7pm Friday 31 August in the Wig & Pen.

Interest in the event has been expressed by Mick, Enny, Crazybrave, Andrew, Nick, Stephen, Nathaniel and AmpersandDuck so far. So hopefully it can be a nice evening of swapping stories, bragging and consuming stout. Of course, all are welcome.

In the interests of recognising each other (I know some of you have met before), someone suggest a theme – odd headgear or something similarly daft?

stipe.jpgWhen asked why R.E.M. never printed their lyrics on their liner notes, Michael Stipe explained that a song is not just the words. It’s the music. And the way the song fits between the song before it and the song after it. And the ambiance and mood of the entire album. I guess also, in the case of Stipe, the sense of mystery about the actual words is emphasised, since he sings like he’s got marbles in his mouth. So I can understand why the question would have been asked.

There’s a similar idea behind why I don’t like reading blogs via RSS feeds. The removal from the overall context means – for me anyway – some of the point is lost. If that weren’t the case, why would so many of us care about the template we use, about the colours and the overall presentation of our sites? The way the words we write fit within the overall page is part of the whole package. It matters.

Maybe that’s why I feel uneasy to find today that someone has been using my words here in lectures recently as part of a university course.

ignatius.jpgLast year, while working in Jerusalem, DryEyedCrab and I used to swap novels – we’d read something and if it was good, the other would read it. That way, we could discuss the books we were reading with someone else, someone literate (an all-too-rare attribute in Jerusalem, or at least in the bit we worked in). One of the first books Crab got me to read was A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I wont go into a lot of detail about the book, but its central character – Ignatius Reilly – is a fantastically unique literary creation. Ignatius despairs of the world and modern culture. He attends the cinema every day in order to document the moral degradation he sees there. He writes to corporations to complain about everything imaginable and trivial. He exhibits hatreds of the most ridiculous things, including Greyhound buses. And he feels beseiged by modern society and likes to think he stands apart from all its flaws.
I say this because Crab & I recently discovered a blogger who we think is Ignatius. He uses a different name of course, but I’m pretty convinced he is Ignatius. Go check him out and you’ll see what I mean.

Who wants to do one?

Since returning to Rome, I’ve met Mick and gone to a gig with him. And I’ve been chatting to a couple of other Roman bloggers. So who thinks we should organise a meet at somewhere like Tilley’s or the Wig & Pen?

Comment if you’re interested.

romansoldier02.jpgI moved to WordPress for two reasons.
The first was that I wanted a fresh start. I was setting out on a new journey, and starting anew was a symbolic way of highlighting that change. My previous blog (The Lost Legionary) was based on the persona of a Roman legionary who was lost and had found himself in a place where he was so different to those around him that he was like the literary Yankee in Arthur’s Court. In returning home though, I was coming back to a world where I knew people, where I had long-established friendships and I was coming back with a plan, a sense of purpose. Hence why I named this new blog what I did.

The other reason I moved from Blogger to WordPress though was to lose some readers.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that some people who read my blog do it for the wrong reasons. And when I moved, I hoped they’d lose interest and go away. But of course, when I installed a proper stat-tracker, I found they hadn’t gone away. So I addressed the issue, at the same time I spent a bit of time with some people who were “collateral damage” in the dispute from Autumn 2006. The result? I now know that some undesirable people read my blog. But I no longer care. By writing what I did, I exorcised the demons. I could tell my readers what I thought, and release it. And it released the negativity for me as well. In a much stronger way than I thought was possible.

I was thinking about that this week. Thinking about how many writers in blog-land have packed up and vanished. Either for short siestas or have disappeared entirely. Some I still miss. And so often, the reason behind their departure is inappropriate or immature behaviour on the part of others, especially those who do not understand the nature of blog-land. I know that the solution I reached – unload your thoughts, and then ignore the poison – wont work for everyone because situations and people are different. So I’m throwing it open to everyone who reads here. With some simple questions.

  • Do you have readers who you wish you didn’t?
  • If you do, or if you did, what strategies would you put in place to deal with it?

Tonight, as I sit here, listening to Caerulia in the next room watching Crowded House’s farewell gig on DVD, a number of questions are in my head.

  • Why did my readership soar on Friday well into triple figures?
  • Why does WordPress say one of my visitors got here from googling “big smelly jobbies” when I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase? (Just so you know, most other google visitors here arrive because they’re searching on the lyrics to “Throw Your Arms Around Me”)
  • While I understand that the top countries I have readers in would be Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand, how the fuck do the next five countries make any sense? (Bulgaria, Singapore, Israel, Uganda and Italy)
  • Why are there many fewer male bloggers than female? (Something Mick asked me on Wednesday night)

Having met Mick last night for the first time, it was interesting to swap stories of what we thought of different blogs we both read. And we gave each other some recommendations.

Two in particular I recommended to Mick were Jobe, and Indiana. Especially Indiana’s bucket theory post, which I still think is one of the best things I have ever read on a blog. If you haven’t read either of these, have a visit.

We also discussed some blogs we both like (Yes, we mean you Steph) and some we actually don’t like. (I wont link to them, that might be rude)

Over at the Human Census project, today’s question is “What is humanity’s greatest achievement?”

Help out by going across there and adding your thoughts?

Cheers.

Earlier on, I was telling a story, or at least developing a strand of a story here. So it’s time I got back to it. I promise not to go all boring. Because I love writing about the tangential stuff as much as the next bloke. But this blog is about my new direction, so I’ll get back to it very shortly.

The other night at dinner, Ch@s informed me he’d been reading my blog. And not only this one, but previous ones. This, ladies and gentlebeans, stunned me.

I had no idea that my real friends read it except when I’ve actually told them to. Like when I’ve told them the address, or about specific posts here. The concept that some of them are reading without me having done that kind of scares, kind of fascinates and kind of weirds me.

Like all bloggers, I try and write well. I try to write so I get across the point I’m trying to make. It’s exercising the self-expression parts of the brain. But I never quite understand why people choose to read what I say. This current incarnation of my blog has a much higher readership than previous ones (about double most days). But I have no idea why. I mean, I prattle on the same way here that I’ve always done. Especially since I think that some previous versions were better looking, and said some good things.

Which brings me to a question you should all answer. Do you ever write something on your blogs (or anywhere for that matter) and feel quite proud of it? Feel that it’s exactly the way you want it to be? And just can’t wait for it to be read? I do that occasionally. Maybe one in 50 blog-posts. Not much though. In fact, I can only recall feeling like that about two posts here. Posts number 115 and 65 actually. Ironically, they didn’t attract a lot of comments. Most of the rest of my blog is filled with my brain-dumps. So I’ve no idea why people read it. Even less idea why posts such as this one sent my reader numbers through the roof. Perhaps it was Marquis’ clever response to it?

On a separate topic though: good things are happening on the job front. Rome’s market is topsy-turvy now and so completely different to what I’m used to. I’m being considered for jobs that are about 50% more (salary-wise) than I was expecting; such is the demand for staff here. I’d heard rumours that was happening in some parts of the country, but didn’t imagine it’d affect me. It’ll be nice if it comes off though.

While I’m away, have a look at these articles.

First, one on how a democracy can evolve into a dictatorship. It’s a little dated, and it’s American, but it’s got some decent points.

The next is on the life lessons to be found in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

As I’ve said before, I originally began using alternate names for places and people so my blog couldn’t be googled by my friends. That though was a long time ago, and now I don’t care who reads it. But I’ve kept the names as a kind of tradition and because it adds flavour to the blog. And I asked last week for assistance with a map. I am therefore eternally grateful to a chap named Mike, so emailed me this today. Mike lives on the other side of Jerusalem, and has a site where he (unlike most people in this city) identifies himself as a geek. I wont get into it here and now, but Jerusalem is the only place I’ve lived where people still think the word geek has negative connotations.

Anyway, thanks to Mike for this.

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I don’t agree with everything this guy says. But his post today is just excellent if you’ve a bit of time on your hands to read all the things he links to.

Because I use alternate-names for cities, I’ve added a page which shows which cities are which. Except until I get a map sorted out, it kind of requires that you know something about the cities to realise where is where from the pictures. It’ll give some idea though.

I use pseudonyms for most people and place-names on this blog. I started doing it to avoid some people finding it via Google, but now, I’m not bothered about that. And I just do it to maintain the ‘flavour’ of the blog. But I want to do something beyond my own capabilities, so I’m asking for assistance from the readership.

If you can help me create a map in jpg format, with place-names on it, then please contact me. It wont be a lot of work – just getting a blank map of Australia and adding some city names. But I know stuff all about graphic programs, so I’m putting the call out. So if you can help out, drop me an email? Thanks peeps.

I’ve added a new page – the Comment Policy page. Have a look if you like.

I find it odd that some people read my blog every day, yet never comment. In recent times, I’ve been getting a lot higher readership numbers than I ever had here, or on my previous blogs. But less than 5% of people leave comments. Why is that?

Snoskred recently set herself the challenge of commenting a LOT. And I’ve been trying to follow her lead. I’d encourage you all to comment more as well. Here of course, but also other places.

Actually, I’ll set myself a quota: if I can’t find a blog interesting enough to make a comment, I’m going to stop reading it. Because, well, there’s really no point, is there? They aren’t grabbing me. So I’ll cull it. I read a blogger recently (I don’t remember where) who said that 80-90% of the blogs he reads no longer have that spark that made him subscribe in the first place, so he was going on a cull to get rid of them. Maybe that might be a viable idea?

Well, it seems the Pasha Bulker’s still stuck fast at Nobby’s. But with the high tide tonight, and the full moon, they’re gunna give it another go. Good luck to them. I just hope it’s gone by the time I go through Novocastria in a few weeks.

Browsing the web, I found this, an interview with three guys who used to be in bands I managed, who’ve linked up and are working together now in an as-yet un-named band. The podcast though has them doing some songs, one of which dates from my era. During the interview, they get to the topic of how they’re all in their 30s, their lives have become comfortable and content, and this impacts on their productivity when it comes to writing songs. As Potsy says in the podcast, for a year he decided he’d not write sad songs, only happy songs. And in that year, he wrote nothing. Which comes back to what I said this week regarding my stalker. I sometimes wonder if not being wracked with angst and trauma from a disruptive life is meaning I’m writing less, or worse, or whatever.
But also in the interview, Blair points out how incredibly depressing the whole “married, mortgaged, bred and living the suburban dream” is. Reminds me a lot of something my friends and I used to describe as “Get a colour tele, grow old and fucking die”.

Across the blogs I read, here’s a couple of bits I think are worth checking out.

Today at All Men Are Liars, there’s quite a good piece about Men and Divorce. I’d especially encourage women to read this, and certainly those who’ve divorced someone. (That means you, Caerulia 🙂 )

And over at Mister Peace, which I started reading recently, I found this hilarious entry yesterday. which also features one of the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen.

I’ll also mention some new blogs I’ve started reading and have added to the blogroll. Life in the Country is one. I not quite sure why I like this one yet. But I do.

And Human Census is another. I think the idea behind this one is that a question is asked every day, and readers are asked to contribute their answers. I not sure to what end exactly, but it’s the latest blog from the author of Hundred Dollar Business which I have always thought was a great idea, experimenting with a great premise. Take a look at the census and help her out by giving your answers.

dark_heart.jpg

I have a stalker.
She reads my blog.
She used to be my friend.
But she only likes friends who tiptoe around her, so nothing they do or say upsets her.
If they do upset her, she expects them to grovel.
Expects them to beg forgiveness.
But I didn’t.
I would not grovel, would not comply.
She didn’t like this.
Not one little bit.
So she lied about me, and soured mutual friendships.
She wrote me an email once, telling me she read my blog because she wanted nothing more than for me to be miserable, and she liked it when I blogged that I was unhappy.
My response?
“I am not unhappy. I am quite happy indeed. And if I were as petty as you, I’d send you a SMS every day telling you I was happy. But you’re not worth the cost of the text messages.”
That’s the calibre of person she is.
So read it now, my dear, I am happy. If my epiphany of last spring didn’t make it clear enough, I’m telling you now.
Like everyone, some of my days are better than others.
But I’m not the twisted little creature with the dark heart you turned out to be.
You can keep reading.
But you’ll be disappointed.

I apologise for the patchiness of my blog lately, and it’s likely to continue for the next couple of weeks.
My odd housemate blew our download limit this month, downloading a 37 GIG file. And then the dickhead didn’t even finish! If you’re going to blow the month’s budget, at least fucken get the thing you blew it for. But no, he stopped it after 20-odd gig. (Our limit’s 10)

Anyway, I’ll try and update when I can. I’ve got a lot to get through between now and Bastille Day.

I’d like to tell a story.
And some parts of the story have been told, or hinted at, on my previous blog (The Lost Legionary) but I didn’t get a chance to tell it fully, and in the right way. So if you’ve read bits of it before, then I’m sorry. But I need to put it in full both for my own benefit, and the benefits of those who come along later and haven’t read it all before. Not a lot of it would be repeated anyway.
It’s the story of how I got here. And it’s kind of necessary for the next bit in the saga – where I’m going next. It’ll also help explain a few things along the way. Which should help out those for whom this blog makes no sense.
Read More »

I was reading another WordPress-based blog, and discovered that – while composing an entry – if you press Shift+Alt+V, you get more formatting options.

I’m posting this for the benefit of other WordPressers, and because it’s 7am on a Sunday, so I’m sure I’ll forget it the next time I want to use it.

I’m not in much of a writing mood. I changed to WordPress because I felt the old Lost Legionary was, well, it was like a big ship, a big sailing ship. And steering it had become so difficult. It handled like, well, a sailing ship. It had a turning circle slightly less than the width of the English Channel, and have you ever seen a sailing ship with brakes? No. Of course not.

Anyway, that’s why I left it behind. Because I wanted to try something a bit easier to control, a bit zipper, a bit more speed-boaty. Rather than my huge Cutty-Sark sized blog. Laden down with all its baggage, and undesirable readers. And I wanted somewhere fresh to share with you, those I’ve invited her, some of my ideas and plans for my future, and what was happening in the world of me just now.

To that end, I would encourage every one of you to comment freely at this new place. The things I say here are me casting ideas out into the ether, to see what people think of them. They’re almost never set in stone and impermeable.

I’ve got a week without Alderney ahead of me. She’s got her sister come to stay, and that means I wont be seeing her, except in the office. So I’ll be home more, and that means every chance I’ll write more. Maybe I’ll feel inspired to write more, or maybe I’ll just do it out of boredom. Who knows?

I’d also like to ask, this habit of mine of giving pseudonyms to everyone and everywhere – does that annoy people? Or does it add to the flavour of the place? I’ve given some thought this last week, while trundling around on trains and buses, to ditching all that. Or maybe ditching it for places and not people? I originally started it because I didn’t want to be googled by certain people. But I’ve disabled the google-ability of this blog anyway. So do we like it? Or hate it? Or not care about it?

Thanks for listening this far down. I’m off to have a shower then go to the footy, because the Vikings are up against Kenmore today.

So I’ve decided to ditch my old Blogger blog. I’ve also decided that in the new world, I’ll be keeping some separate blogs – a political one perhaps? and a football one maybe? and when I return to Rome, I’d like to set up something similar to RiotAct, but with a very local focus. But that depends whereabouts in Rome I end up.