Friday, June 1, 2007

rules of engagement (+ editor's hindsight)

So what all is this blog about?

You know. I post on topics of nominal interest to the outside world. (No guarantees there.) You all comment. In that way this blog imitates the politically- and community-oriented ones, wherein the commentary is useful input rather than banal fodder, yes? It is important that you, my friends--all twelve of you--react to some posts: if you don’t this blog will fail. I will be a failure. Please, don’t let it happen. I don’t want to come back to NYC a failed blogger—that would fuck up my street cred. I’d never be able to move to Williamsburg! Er, Bushwick!

So here you will find:

- Barcelona commentary: duh. Bcn in its full glory and grit; urban planning/architecture/life; the search for the perfect city (like the surfer's search for the perfect break, but with more concrete). Q: I've noticed that there aren't too many English-lang blogs about Barcelona out there, especially considering the # of expats here-- I've seen many more for Budapest. What's the deal? [editor's note 26/7: you actually made a lot less Bcn commentary than you initially expected]

- Cultural studies: the finest of the postmodern ‘-studies’ fields of study, in accordance with Harold Bloom. Europe, the US, the media, the world: the thoughtful critiques that you might expect from an expert blogger with the natural instincts of an investigative reporter and the senseless daring of a teenager. With a dash of cinnamon. [ed. notes 26/7: I'm still not really sure what cultural studies is, but I suppose this blog qualifies as part of the field]

- Political commentary: inevitable. Suffice it to say that this will not be a traditional lefty perspective, and that Democrats and clueless liberals will be seriously dissed. [ed. note: there was definitely a lot of political commentary. Some more dissing would be just fine, so long as you continue to make a case]

- Community of friendly interaction: I provoke, you respond, we all collective ponder and engage in stimulating dialogue and feel better about ourselves. This bl*g is not for the masses: it is for the few, the proud, you. And me. Ok: mostly me. But you too, if you want—that’s the thing! See, the utopian promise of the internet is that it allows me to ‘keep in touch’ with friends back home, while also allowing for the creation of new friendships and communicational paradigms! We are creating a dynamic, decentralized online neighborhood here, folks. A place where, no matter how bad things are in your neck of the woods, you can always turn to and be somehow rewarded. Not in an internet porn kind of way, but rewarding nonetheless. Like, when you see all the thought provoking material! [Totally! --ed.]

- Update stories to friends/family back home: The bigupdate lists are trashed. The internets done set me free. How long before everyone in the developed world has an online presence, with blog, calendar, contact info, templates for situational messaging, CV, etc? Resistance would appear futile. Hook me up to the Feed and let's move on with it! [Hmm, you're losing me. -ed]

- Creative stuff: reflections, fotos, stories, the odd sonnet, raps (mostly old skool raps), hypothetical questions, and some random input inspired by my favorite disorders, Tourette's and Schizophrenia. [this seems a bit ambitious. Though I would love to see some rap. Save Tourette's and Schizophrenia for some other endeavor, ok?]

- Languages: I am no linguist, but I do appreciate the occasional linguistic observation, translation tic, ESL teaching story, or example of why English is the richest language out there and should be mandatory worldwide. [you seem to have abandoned this idea. Not sure if the blog needs it. Or if it needs the blog... -ed.]

In sum, this is not just a way to get my voice out there, to gain a rep, to be someone. It’s not about meeting girls. I don’t roll up to the club for the VIP area and the bottle service, if you feel me. Nor is it about creating a wide readership and securing paid advertising so that I can do this for the rest of my life. No, I’m actually not concerned about how this stupid ‘my summer in BCN’ blog comes off to you, gentle reader. To quote a friend, I’m so over it. It’s not about gaining your attention, much less clamoring for your affection. It’s about my home girl Ayn Rand.

I am taking an objectivist-utilitarian approach to this thing. I am doing this in order to stop writing lists of people long emails every so often. In Rand’s spirit of the ideal man, I am doing this to protect and position myself, to test my reason and creativity, and to ostensibly encourage others to do the same, if they feel like it (if not, may they be trampled in the wake of progress—they will have deserved it). In the end we all benefit: thus, the blog as heroic act. Here there are no specific recipients, there is no reminder to write your buddy Gonzalo because it has been too long. There is only an idea, a principle. This is about being independent, visionary, and challenging your fellow man; and of course, forcing the steaming pile of communicational responsibility from your lap to theirs. How liberating it is! [this is going to be a bizarre blog, isn't it. I'm slightly intrigued.]

is this on?

Dear friends, what it be?

Welcome to big update #2. This will not be a typical bigupdate because it will be much shorter than the 9k norm. Really! There are two important items to report:
1) new email address!
2) big update is going the way of the gaslamp!

Both of these items are exciting because they represent a definitive step forward for me, both technologically and psychologically!

First, I am finally using Gmail. I know I’m a few years behind the curve here, and I must admit I move forward a bit grudgingly. But hey, that’s kind of like the Spanish approach to things, and they’re doing pretty well for themselves, the Spanish.

Please update your addressbooks: . Gmail is the best! (As many of you know. As for you others: what are you waiting for? My god! Stop kidding yourselves!)

The second exciting step forward is that I’m abandoning the archaic format of the big update in favor of the wave of the future: the Web Log, or “Blog”. Yes, it turns out that the blog format is perfect for me! Instead of worrying about long email lists of friends whose addresses keep changing, I’m just going to blogify the bigupdate. That way I release myself of all potential guilt for not ‘staying in touch’ or whatever. And all long-distance communication can be done through the blogeroo! That’s the best part. You know, all the ‘comments’ sections, right? That part.

And so I’ll have a “Barcelona” section, a kind of personal or ‘diary’ section (you know, where all the bloggers talk about what they did today, why it was so interesting, etc), a hot topics section (politics! Sports! Entertainment! Europe!), and other cool stuff. Like ‘philosophical musings of a part-time expatriot’, ‘fun Spanish insults and their word-for-word translations into English and other languages’, etc. Wow—I can’t wait, this is going to be rad!

Finally, to complete my technological great leap forward, I sucked it up and bought a digital camera. For a while I truly believed that I wouldn’t suffer the urge, so typical of our generation, to photographically record every outing, vista, funny moment. But the fact is: we need digital cameras, people. As a bit of a neo-luddite myself, sure, I was hoping to live a purer life, where pictures are special precisely because they can’t be relegated to commodity status, exchanged en masse like any other bit of information, snapped at random in hope of revealing one perfect shot. An honorable theory, but like, good luck with that in the digital age, dude!

So I’ll post pictures! No blog is complete without pix. And links—I need to link to things. The more you link to things, the better your blog looks—that’s another piece of tech savvy I’ve picked up. As soon as my camera arrives I promise to get snapping! I will bring my sunny, exotic corner of the world into your living room or cubicle. I’ll be sure to engage in some experimental photography too, which is totally crazy and an easy way for normal people like me to engage my creative side with the flick of a button.

In the spirit of all these upgrades-- and perhaps in subconscious anticipation of the blog?-- I am also trying to write like an ‘adult’, as my father would have it. This means giving up hieroglyphics and lazy abbreviation for fully correct punctuation. I think entirely correct and/or traditional grammar is a bit too much to strive for right now; however I have purchased a used copy of the Chicago Manual of Style to aid me in both endeavors. We’ll see what develops.

Well, that’s it! I told you it would be short! Packed with news, yeah?, but short enough to read within the average attention span of American twentysomethings. This is, after all, another advantage of blogs. Short and sweet. Except for the long ones—which, let’s face it, can be skipped until they are summarized elsewhere.