Another highway adventure

Trusty SteedToday I learned that the back seats of Ohio State Trooper cruisers are not at all designed for people like me with long legs.  In fact, to fit in it at all so that the officer could close the door to lock me in and take my statement, I had to sit nearly sideways!  You'd think that if someone is already being put in the back of a cop car, there's enough difficult stuff going on in their lives such that a little bit of leg room is in order.

About 45 minutes before I found myself in this situation, we were traveling down I-70 East in the heavily falling wet snow, gusting wind, and crowded highway lanes.  It was the kind of weather that should probably have kept us off the road, but if there's one thing that car culture teaches you, it's that nothing should stand in between you and your vehicle's destination, so there we were.

About six cars up, I saw headlights, and they were in my lane.  "Oh no," I thought, "not another one of these high speed car chases."  As I slowed us down, I watched the car spin out of control, cross over the median into the westbound lanes, cross back over the median and do two full spinning rotations, and then come to a stop.  We passed a split second later, and the driver appeared to be slumped over in her seat. Continue reading Another highway adventure

My someecards cards

I think I've raved here some before about the someecards website and how lovely I think it is.  I have to stay away from drinking liquids when reading it lest I spray said liquid all over the screen in choking laughter.  Many of the cards you can send are hilarious because they so concisely encapsulate some of the more crude or dark thoughts that pass through the human mind now and then, and in a way that somehow brilliantly echo my own sense of humor.  That's maybe not such a good thing...some of them - okay, most of them - are outright offensive in their very existence, let alone if you were to actually to send them to another person, so I largely spend time browsing, and then refraining. Definitely NSFW.

Lately I've also taken up the habit of using the someecards motif to create my own cards, which often channel some dark thought or bit of sarcastic humor going through my own mind in moments of weakened self-discipline, but that I wouldn't really ever want to say out loud.  It's fun because other people on the site will vote and comment on them, and sometimes even send them to their acquaintances (er, enemies?).

So, check 'em out, add your own, and send me a card. Or...maybe berate me for indulging? It's always interesting to see how it plays out for different senses of humor...how does that stuff strike you?

Random Twitter Things

I really am sorry, but I can't help but share a few random things about my Twitter experiences lately.  (This blog post will not have any socially redeeming value, and may need to be taken as a cry for help.)

  • On Friday, I received an e-mail from Aaron Scamihorn at MediaSauce, who apparently saw one of my Twitter posts quoting a line from The Princess Bride (in Spanish, the translation for which I ripped off myself), and decided to create a bit of art because if it - see the image to the right.  Quite nice, well done, wow, I'm honored.
  • Two all-around interesting guys from Star Trek: The Next Generation (among other things) are on Twitter now - LeVar Burton and Wil Wheaton.  Rumor has it that Brent Spiner might be next - sweet.  There's something surreal and pleasant and twisted about now knowing when someone, who once played a character in a story on a show that I was thoroughly engrossed in from quite a distance, crosses the street or drinks some tea.
  • I'm starting to get over Twitter, but remain intrigued by its immediacy, intimacy and global reach.  It's the closest thing to a global chat room that can probably exist with today's slow hand/keyboard/monitor interfaces (and that may already be going farther than what's good for us).  But it's just a bunch of people, all doing their thing, all thrown in the mix, and most of the time, it's just fascinating.

Okay, that's all, I'll stop now, carry on.

Writer's block

One of my favorite magazines, and one of the only ones I subscribe to, is The Sun. It's an ad-free publication of interviews, short stories, poems, and reader-submitted material that tends to engage the human experience in really amazing ways. It's sort of a hidden treasure in the world of magazines - either people tend to love it, or have never heard of it. They have a section every month called "Readers Write," where they pick a theme and ask readers to submit personal stories and experiences that relate to that theme.

Almost every month, I see the list of themes and think about what I would write about. I start to compose the words in my head. And then I look at the submission deadline for that topic (usually just weeks away) and then at the publication target for accepted pieces (usually many months away), and I tell myself that I'll come back to it later to actually send something in.

I've been a subscriber of the Sun since 1999, and I have not yet gotten around to submitting anything to them. I'm not sure if it's because I can't experience the instant gratification of having my writing accepted (or rejected) like I can with a weblog. Or maybe it's because I still have such a hard time letting myself write about things that other people are writing about. Or maybe it's because I know I would be submitting something for someone else to judge or value, and I'm not confident or vulnerable enough. Or maybe it's pure laziness, apathy.

Whatever it is, it's a form of writer's block that seems ridiculous and intimidating to me, yet very important to overcome.

Tags, you're it

Salad, untossedI'm a nut about organizing stuff just so, and making sure bits of information are connected, interrelated, categorized, and labeled just right. The "categories" I've heretofore been using for this blog were ample for my initial purposes, but as I creep up on 200 posts, have become a less useful way to organize and access the information.

So I'm turning to tagging and tags, a fairly widespread component of many blogs these days. Basically, each post will be assigned a series of tags that help describe it, and they'll be listed on the post page when you view it on my site (currently located in the right-hand column on each full post page). You can then click on a tag to see other posts that share that tag and are, presumably, related. For example, this post will have tags of "[tag]blog[/tag]", "[tag]meta[/tag]", "[tag]website_development[/tag]" and "[tag]blogging[/tag]", and you can click on any of those to see other articles that share those tags.

I've also added a "tag cloud" to the navigation bar on the front page of my weblog, which shows the most often-used tags. A similar display is now present on the front page of my site. Soon, I will also add an index of sorts that identifies some themes in my writing, composed of groups of related tags. Eventually, I hope to fade out the use of the traditional category system.

Let me know if you find this useful, confusing, or something else entirely.