Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blogging about Blogging

So I managed to wait until the *second* post to launch into a whole visionary Statement of Purpose thing. Truly, I am growing up.

Well, then. What will be this blog’s focus, and what are the ground rules? The answer to the first part is going to be deliberately vague and the second is going to be defined by negative space (come to think of it so will the first one) but I hope that a little clarity will emerge nonetheless.

Mostly I just want a place to capture my notoriously eclectic thoughts, so the only unifying theme here is going to be … me, I guess. But considering that I am a pop culture junkie and it’s sometimes hard to identify exactly where the movie quotes stop and I begin, it’s a fair bet that books and movies and TV and video games and music will come up again and again. (Actually, that bet’s better than even money. At this point I’d say any future post will have 3-to-1 odds for being about some form of modern entertainment or another.)

But there are things that actually happen to me or involve my active participation, not just passive consumption, and I’ll no doubt talk about those too. I have a job, and a really long commute on what I believe to be one of the country’s worst mass transit systems. I have a wife and a one-year-old son. I have an extensive, blended, extended family and I’m currently speaking to all of them, and I have friends I try (not as successfully as I’d like) to stay in touch with. I have a good life I’m thankful for and sometimes I just want to write it all down in tiny daily pieces.

I read a lot of other blogs and some of them are very specific in their focus. And I did consider taking that approach myself, blogging about comic books (though I don’t think I could ever rival the detailed analysis of bloggers who work at comic book stores) or about raising a kid (I’m a dad with a weakness for mommy-blogs – don’t judge me) or about how much the Metro system sucks (two mentions already in this post alone!) but I just don’t think I could stay that zeroed-in. And because I’m posting this, not writing it in a paper journal that sleeps in a drawer, there’s some kind of implicit belief in an audience for it. The thought of posting a story about something hilarious that my kid does and then getting comments from readers along the lines of “nobody cares about your stupid baby get back to making fun of celebreality on VH1” is … troubling. If I label this a niche blog then any straying outside of that niche would be a betrayal. So let me say at the outset there is no niche. One day you might get my thoughts on the new fall primetime schedule, another day you might get my reaction to a movie that came out 11 years ago but I finally got around to seeing that week, and another day you might get an unironic account of a lovely day my wife and child and I spent at the dog park. (Because we have a dog. We’re not those weird people who go to dog parks to admire other people’s dogs.)

Of course, you never know how life is going to go. I may get bored with this in six months or less, or I may keep it going for years. And in a few years, my life could be radically different. I plan to write about whatever’s on my mind, and right now most of the time my mind is full of lots of idle, airy thoughts and diversions. Maybe my wife and I will decide to adopt a baby (HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE) down the road, though, and I understand that is a fairly intense process so it may end up being all I think about all the time, and the blog could shift radically from 70% Netflix-and-iTunes/30% funny-thing-happened-in-the-food-court-today to 90% tuberculosis-screenings-for-visas/10% hey-I-hear-Joss-Whedon-has-a-new-show. You never know.

Before I started this blog I had a discussion with my wife about privacy concerns, and we came up with the agreed-upon ground rules: no real names, and no photos. I have to imagine that if you’re reading this you’re actually a friend or relative of ours and therefore we’re not really fooling you, as it’s really not that hard to map “the husband” and “the wife” and “the baby”. And if you came here via a link in a forum, or were pointed to it by a friend of a friend of a friend, I'm sure you're a perfectly nice internet denizen and I'm not really afraid you're going to stalk me or steal my identity. So it’s really more Google-proofing, an ounce of prevention against people whom we wouldn’t point towards the blog accidentally stumbling upon it somehow. (Like current or potential employers. Or former acquaintances who are former for very good reasons. Or cyber-bullying future classmates of the baby’s, because Everything Lives Forever on the Internet.) We also agreed that I would not use the blog to say my wife is a giant jerkface in any way shape or form, which was an easy agreement to reach because she’s no size of jerkface at all, but the anonymity was the big point. I humbly ask that you respect that rule as well. If I leave a person, place or institution unnamed, don’t show off how smart you are by naming it in the comments. Cool? Cool.

The upside is that when I tell long and elaborate stories (which is 90% of the time) and multiple he/she coyness will be too confusing to follow, I get to come up with placeholder names. And while I am a big fan of nice, normal, easy-to-spell-and-pronounce names in RealLife, I anticipate deriving endless amusement from telling stories about my wife JalapeƱa Nina and my son Shiva the Destroyer.

So there you have it. A wide array of trivial topics and an equally wide array of ridiculous pseudonyms. That’s what you can reasonably expect.

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