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2003 (Fathom this!)

2003



Poetry.com

The first thing I noticed about Poetry.com was the contest that features big cash prizes. Entry is free, so I couldn’t figure out where the award money comes from? Reading through the FAQ, I spotted the question: “Where can I buy the anthology with my poem in it?” It must be like the Who’s Who books that are made explicitly to sell to those who are included in them.

It’s not a bad pitch, though. Wouldn’t you buy a book that had your poem in it?

Ilya

Before weblogs

Matt notes the similarities of newspaper clippings and blogging. My American grandmother not only includes oddly random articles in her letters, she used to collect about a week’s worth of clippings and then share them with my grandfather. Unfortunately Grandpa never seemed to appreciate her efforts. He was pretty grumpy, at least when I knew him.

Here’s an article my grandma once had me scan in and send to my parents in Finland.

PS. I donated. Have you?

Ilya

Paluumuuttaja kuittaa

Joku sentään noteerasi Fathom thisin ilmestymisen Blogilistaan. Olen tosin yrittänyt välttää Suodattimen nimen liittämistä tähän blogiin, koska tämä on ennemmin haircut-kirjoittelua kuin Suodattimen jatke. Ja olisihan se helpompi kylpeä sen toisen “legendaarisen blogin” loisteessa kuin joutua kilpailemaan paikastaan auringossa. Tämä peli top-listan herruudesta on raakaa, Henry—älä luulekaan, etten ole sitä jo pannut merkille. (Olo on kuin olisin palannut entisille kotikulmilleni vain huomatakseni, että ajat ovat muuttuneet, ja että katuja hallitsevat nyt akateemisesti kypsytetyt jengipomot, joiden sanat ovat konekiväärin tulta ja linkit kultaa. Missä ovat kaikki vanhat tietsikoista innostuvat uusmeedikot? Jotain tuttuja vielä onneksi on.)

Kielen valinnan kanssa uin taas jotenkin vastavirtaan. Englanti on äidinkieleni ja sillä mieluiten kirjoitankin. Mutta siihen aikaan kun kirjoitin Suodatinta, oli täysi työ ja tuska saada ystävät ja sukulaiset edes käymään saitilla, saatika saada heidät vielä lukemaan sitä englanniksi.

Silloin valitsin paikallisuuden yli mahdollisuuden vaihtaa ajatuksia ja linkkejä suuren maailman (tai ylipäätänsä kenenkään muiden) bloggaajien kanssa. Nyt taas olisi suomenkielinen blogiyhteisö, jonka kanssa vääntää ja vipeltää, mutta kirjoitankin englanniksi. Marginalisoin itseni jälleen. En tiedä, missä on vika. (Tai ehkä tiedänkin: yhdys sanat ja pilkku, virheet, on niissä tarpeeksi syytä välttää koko suomen kieltä.)

Mietin nyt, oliko tällä merkinnöllä mitään virkaa. Ehkäpä ei; tämä taisi kallistua lähinnä interblogisen diskurssin puoleen. Vaan Jarno: taitaa silti olla vähän liikaa pyydettyä—edes parempien hakutulosten nojalla—vaatia bloggaajia julkaisemaan vain sellaista, joka parantaa lukijoiden elämää. Kissakuvien päällehän koko internet on rakennettu.

PS. Saas muuten nähdä kuinka kauan sitä jaksaa italisoida kirjojen ja saittien nimiä. Kivaltahan se näyttää, mutta käsin koodamisen vaivan lisäksi se tuntuu jotenkin... teennäiseltä.

Ilya

Where is Jorn?

This is strange. It appears that Jorn Barger is missing. Although I’ve never been a reader Jorn’s Robot Wisdom, I’ve always known of him. For those of you who don’t know, Jorn’s the guy who coined the term weblog.

Ilya


Double u’s

When I asked about other words besides “vacuum” with two U’s in a row, the one I was thinking of was “continuum.” Janne found two other ones: “menstruum” and “triduum.”

Ilya

Publishing the past

Old news is no news. But is this true with weblogs and web diaries? Recordings of daily happenings rely on timeliness to be of any interest. Other kinds of entries, observations and little stories, probably keep a little longer. Still, it isn’t at all obvious to me whether old entries have any place in weblogs.

Fathom this is for me more than a running report on my life and thoughts. It’s a place to reflect upon and restructure experiences I’ve had and the way I see the world. So for me adding old notes and diaristic entries makes sense. The question is: does it make sense to make them public?

This line of questioning goes awfully close to the quagmire of whether there is any point in keeping a public journal in the first place. It is, inescapably and always, a narcissistic endeavour. But there’s more to it. Writing regularly is something everyone should do. And the pain and pleasure of doing it publicly is an encouragement at the very least.

I just recently heard another very good argument for keeping a weblog that had never occurred to me before—at least not as clearly as it was put to me. A personal weblog allows you to meet amazing people you would never have met otherwise. Perhaps this point was driven home by the fact that the person who told me this was someone amazing I met through her weblog.

As for whether or not putting up old writings is of any interest to anyone, I don’t know. But I’m not gonna let that stop me.

Ilya

  • Oh look, Taneli’s logo was on MTVE. It’s the one where it’s snowing.

Missing Sundays

I miss Sundays. Without a week behind you and a new week ahead, there’s no magic in them. I live in a perpetual state of summer holiday.

Ilya

Christmasmonth

So yesterday Helsinki opened its Christmas Street. I happened to be walking by, and I couldn’t resist the pull of the crowd. I didn’t stay long, though. I was hungover, and the crowd and the music of the military band were too much for me to stand.

Is this beginning of waiting for Christmas? December, in Finnish, is joulukuu which literally means “Christmas month.” But it’s not December yet, so there’s not even any calendar windows to open. I think Christmas calendars are what got me through December as a kid. That, and advent Sundays, which I remember best for the Hoosianna song we used to sing at school.

Ilya

Listalla kummittelee

Tuntuu aika uskomattomalta, että Suodatin pitää sijaa 165 Suomi-blogien Top-listalla. Tämä saitilta, jota ei ole päivitetty yli vuoteen. Itse asiassa koko Top-lista on syntynyt vasta Suodattimen “kuoleman” jälkeen.

Itse en muuten missään vaiheessa uskonut Suodattimen kuolemaan (“ei kulta, se vain nukkuu”). Kai se on kuitenkin uskottava, että tuonpuoleisesta ei ole nousemista.

Ilya



Friends, strangers, and Net people

Maybe because I’m not a photographer myself, the moblogs I’ve seen haven’t interested me much. But when it’s a friend’s moblog, and you know the people in the pictures, it’s a whole new story.

I don’t think it’s so easy to meet someone in real life that you only know through blogging. If there’s time and opportunity, you may become acquainted, maybe even friends. But it still takes time.

I’ve had people walk up to me and know who I am through a weblog. Hanging out with them always feels like a first date. There’s the attraction and the shared interests, but there’s also, of course, the awkwardness.

However, meeting someone familiar through a weblog is—hopefully—not the same as meeting an author of a book you’ve read. (The other day I was reading stuff on J.D. Salinger, an author famous for the way his readers felt like he was their friend.)

Last year, at some lecture, Ville and I were talking about blogs and web journals. We had noticed that if you see a friend many times a week, it’s better not to read their blog or web journal. Otherwise they’ll constantly be telling you things you’ve already read.

This was a positive discovery: it shows that what you write is what you’d share with your friends anyway. And that, I think, is a nice thing about blogs and public journals.

Postscript
Since Janne answered this entry (which was an answer to his) on the same day as his original post, and his weblog has only daily permalinks, I’ll just tack my reply here. It gets confusing, I know.

Janne’s friends have wondered about the varying “intrestingness” of the stuff he posts. Janne says it’s because he needs the space to write whatever he feels like. Otherwise writing becomes affected, constrained; a chore.

I couldn’t agree more. I think Janne got it head-on.

These are weblogs. We don’t have editors. We’re not being paid to write. Not everything’s going to be great, or super-interesting everyone, all the time. That’s what you get with weblogs. And that, I would say again, is a good thing about weblogs.

Ilya

A bulge

If it were rumored that President Bush had a less than healthy, manly libido, his press aids would for sure arrange a photo op featuring a certain well-placed bulge.

This thought helps me deal with the anger.

Ilya

Of smokers

Oh, and about cliques. The best thing about being “a smoker” is that it’s a very honest grouping. People are mellow, there’s no need to talk. Just inhale, exhale. Smoking doesn’t really define smokers (at least after they’re over 18), so there’s not much assumed identity to grapple with. There is no posturing or striving for coolness. There’s just the acknowledgement of having a regrettably nasty but thankfully shared habit.

This acknowledgement does have funny aspects to it, though. Try telling a fellow smoker that you’re planning on quitting. It freaks ’em out. You either get the disparaging “good luck with that,” or then you get a more prickly reaction in which the smoker is annoyed—usually without even noticing it—and starts acting kind of mean.

Ilya

Frustrations with fisheye menus

While scanning down Jon Udell’s blog this morning, a link to the fisheye menu demo caught my eye. I’d seen the demo before, but I checked it out anyway. I started think about how it could be done with DOM. Only later that evening, while showing my demo to Elexa, did I notice that the reason Udell had linked to the fisheye menu was because someone else had already made one with Javascript and CSS. Oh well. Read more

Ilya


Irrefutable logic

Me, wistfully musing out loud: “I wonder if she’s good looking.”

“Who, the weblog girl you’re in love with? Well, she’s had a boyfriend,” Elexa said.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“She can’t be all bad if she’s had boyfriend.”

Ilya

H�rskisti vaan sarvista kiinni

Pinkoodissa on meininki�. Nuori kaksikymppinen perustaa lehden, l�hett�� siit� lehdist�tiedotteen ja tarjoaa itsest��n l�j�n kuvia vapaaseen julkaisuun. Nuoriherran titteli on tuottaja. Ilman tuota domainia, voisin erehty�, ett� temppu on tehty ilman pilkett� silm�kulmassa.

Ilya

Benjamin Anastas: An Underachiever’s Diary

“I’ve kissed lots of boys,” she said out of the blue.

“I’ve kissed lots of girls, but then they reject me.”

She buttoned her cardigan against the chill. “I just don’t think I’m ready for a serious relationship. Not until I’m twenty, at least.” Read more

Ilya

Weblog or blog, not “web blog”

I was only recently convinced “email” should be spelled without a hyphen. I still don’t know if I should spell website “web site,” “website,” “Web site,” or “Website.”

One thing is sure, though: there is no such thing as a “web blog.” Read more

Ilya

A fast-forwarded history of Denmark

My mother undertook (or was undertaken by) a project this summer in which she studied the local history of Helsinki and put together a tour of sorts for the benefit of guests visiting from abroad. I wasn’t all that appreciative of her endeavour—tourist-y sightseeing isn’t all that high in my priorities—though that might be due more to her habit of spontaneously sharing her newly gained trivia with anyone around the house who couldn’t escape the sound of her voice. Read more

Ilya


Jealous tongues wagging

From Zoe Trope’s interview at Powells.com:

If Zoe Trope were some other teenager, I would not want to read the book. Fuck her! She's young and famous, and I hate her! People that are jealous of me or just bitter about it, I'm like, "That's so okay." Because I would totally feel the exact same way. It's fine.

She’s so right. Age seventeen and she’s already published her first book. Elexa and I DO hate her. Sort of.

Gotta read Please Don't Kill the Freshman.

Ilya

Did I really just dream about fascist word processors?

This morning I woke up thinking about an aggressively auto-completing word processor. Read more

Ilya

My URIs—now with 80% less cruft!

MPT’s entry on the ultimate Weblogging system inspired me to hack off the cruft in my URIs on this site. The URIs are still not perfect, but they’re better.

Ilya

Obfuscating email addresses

The email link on the right has been obfuscated by Hiveware’s Enkoder Form 6.0. This supposedly makes the address invisible to address harvesting spiders. We shall see.

Ilya

That box I’d rather not open

I installed a new hard disk after setting up my computer here in Copenhagen. It wasn’t that easy—but with computers, what ever is? Read more

Ilya



Downloadable movies payable by SMS

Netkino offers movie downloads from the Web that are paid for with a text message. Sounds cool, huh?

A movie costs just over five euros and is viewable for only 48 hours. I don’t know what I was thinking to be so disappointed—that you could keep the movie forever?—but still, five euros? For 48 hours? Blah.

Ilya

Scrambling the letters of words

Joi Ito notes that English is readable if the letters of words, except the first and last, are scrambled. It works in other languages, too, but nearly as well. English is also quite legible even if vowels are dropped. Finnish, which relies less on whole word recognition, is much harder to read when scrambled or vowels are dropped. Jamie Zawinski has written a perl script that scrambles words.

Ilya

Q&A’s are bad

Interview of Douglas Coupland in The Morning News. And another one in Guardian. I just recently discovered author interviews on the Web. They’re more interesting if you’ve read the author’s works. Powell’s collection is great. I especially enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk’s interview.

It’s funny to see so many interviews conducted in Q&A format. A journalism teacher of mine once said to me that the Q&A format is garbage. That anyone can do it and that it’s pretentious. Journalists shouldn’t write themselves into their stories, she said. Not unless they’re Hunter S. Thompson.

Ilya

Orwell says

Reading up on William Gibson’s blog archives—I haven’t been following any blogs and only just today heard (well, read) that he’s kicking the habit to (be able to) begin real work—I chuckled at Orwell’s rules. Very strict. I wonder what Orwell meant by “sounding outright barbarous.” Is he talking about four-letter words or everything that sounds inane? His rules remind me of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

Ilya

General semantics

When perusing through Helsinki’s second best used book store this summer, I picked up slim paperback called The Use and Misuse of Language, edited by S. I. Hayakawa. Paging through it quickly, I assumed it was about English usage and grammar. When I started reading it today, I was surprized to discover it’s about general semantics. Read more

Ilya

ICQ and evidence of infidelity

I’d rather not, but I do finally download ICQ. I check out the reviews to see if anyone complains about this version of ICQ killing their computer. These things do happen, from time to time, on Windows computers. I have painful experiences.

Instead of warnings of PC-killing tendencies, I find a brief but heart-warming exchange of two strangers, one in need, and the other reponding.

PHYLLIS In NY: “I want to catch my boyfriend cheating online! Anyone know of a good spy software??? HELP!!! I need a spy software that will secretly logg what my boyfriend does on ICQ...”

LOISLame69: “SPY SOFTWARE they have a cool program called "ICE Remote Spy" on download.com!”

This is what the Internet is all about.

Ilya

WAGNC#7 slammed by critic, loved by this would-be editor

Jack Saturn’s book-length issue #7 of his zine We Ain’t Got No Car is reviewed by a local Portland newspaper. The review slams the book, but it did offer up a few placating words of Saturn’s “obvious talent.”

I thought the book was great. The writing could’ve been tightened up in places—this was clear even to my soft eye—but as a whole I found it both entertaining and inspiring.

I have to admit: that I noticed phrases and sections that could have been polished and hardened was in itself a joy for me. I identified with “lower-case jack”—the name the reviewer gives the main character—and I like to think that he’s taught me something, too.

Ilya
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