Sunday, October 15 2000
For those of you who don't know, there's this whole online journal scene out on the Web, with people writing in online journals and reading other online journals, always reacting, reacting, reacting to what others write. For the most part it's a big touchy-feely hug-fest cuddle puddle, though every now and then someone like Dave Van lobs a hand grenade into the mix and flame wars break out. That's about the only time I pay attention. I've been almost completely out of the scene for the past two years.
In the online journal scene, it's always big news when "journalers" run across each other in real life. Indeed, journal people often try to contrive situations where they can meet each other, just to find out if there is any remote similarity between real personality and online persona. Invariably, the result of such meetings is disappointment. The only person I've ever met in person who came across better in real life than she did in her journal was Nancy Firedrake.
This point was made abundantly clear during the recent much-ballyhooed "JournalCon 2000," attended by all manner of journal people from all across the Great American Internet. One only needs to look at pictures taken at the JournalCon to realize that there is a huge difference between how someone documents himself and how he documents others. People can usually be trusted to post only the most complimentary pictures of themselves online, but they actually seem to strive for the opposite with people they view as competitive threats. And, for whatever reason, despite all the group hugging and pleasant banter, despite the inherently non-competitive nature of most content endeavors, most online journal people act as if they're in competition with each other. The net result of this has been a series of truly unappealing JournalCon photo albums. Meanwhile, all the accounts of the event (with a few exceptions) seem to be crafted with extremely carefully-chosen words that, while on the surface saying uninteresting things like "a good time was had by all," or, more arrogantly, "it was like I was back in high school but this time getting to sleep with the cheerleaders," actually seem to be expressing disappointment and even existential despair. Some were so shocked by the experience that they came back from it and promptly began renouncing altogether online journals as an expressive form. But no one will say the obvious: that online journal people are, on the whole, not especially interesting people. The very fact that they keep public journals points to a number of common emotional problems: neediness, selfishness, ego-centrism, social ineptitude, and a host of other things related to their having been picked on in middle school. And these emotional problems imply a number of common challenges with physical appearance and/or social status: poverty, acne, obesity, etc. Still, that Molly Zero chick is pretty hot. I'd love to take her for a drive around my alley mattress.
But if you want the real dirt on JournalCon, or if you have something to contribute, I have a forum already set up!
I'd like to take this opportunity to retract what I said earlier about Nancy Firedrake's real versus web persona. It was a rhetorical flourish that has no real meaning.
Kim came over and picked me up this morning so I could go over to her house and do more work on both her studio and her website. The first place we went was over to her friend Dennis' house to pick up a CD containing over-engineered ray-traced replacement bubbles for the navigational homepage of her website (the first place you go off the Bathtubgirl.com superheroine homepage). Dennis, Kim told me yesterday, is an Oscar-award-winning computer graphics animator who did work for the movie Titanic.
The moment I started working with the bubbles, though, I found myself cursing the web-ignorance of big shot Hollywood animators. While the bubbles were truly impressive, they had the text integrated on top of them in a hopelessly non-changeable way, and since they were all together in one image, I had to cut them apart and black out their backgrounds by hand. While I was grumbling about these things, Kim sent Robert the Troll off to Del Taco to pick up "crew food." Whenever I'm around I get to play the role of grumpiest, most prima donna of the entire "crew." That's one of the unsung benefits of Web Development.
Meanwhile Maria (aka Dirty Girl) was going on and on about what great sex she'd had last night with a 24 year old Spanish dude, the first time she'd ever had sex with another Spaniard. It had been completely meaningless sex and she'd had to kick him out the next day, but she'd never had anything quite like it in her entire life. Part of the reason she was making such a big deal about it was because she knew I'd write about it. Unlike the rest of the social circles I frequent, all the people at Bathtubgirl Productions are keenly aware of my online journal.
I tried unsuccessfully to install an upgrade to OS 9.04 in Kim's ruby iMac. The install went fine until the Mac asked (in a computationally-generated voice) to be rebooted. From then on it flashed a blinking system folder icon. At this point I gave up on it and Kim decided to call Chris, the camera shop dude she says she's "dating" these days.
By dating, of course, Kim means that she's doing "stuff" with him. For obvious reasons, I don't really care to know what they're doing, but Kim still insisted on bringing up the fact that she'd finally found someone willing to go downtown with her. (This reminds me of a bit of video on Kim's computer showing her shaving her legs and evening up her muffin. When she starts working on the latter, the lyrics in the background say "...in your neighborhood...")
Chris is a nice guy, a little condescending, but I can be that way too. Anyway, he's having a big housewarming type party at his house in Venice on October 21st, and he printed up a bunch of flyers custom for me that call the party a "Vodkatea Party." If you're interested in coming, I'm sure you're invited. The email is
(email@example.com). Kim doesn't really fool around with him in front of me, but I got the feeling they were being affectionate whenever I'd turn my back. It didn't really bother me all that much, but it was kind of weird in the same way that seeing somebody else wearing your clothes is kind of weird.
We went to Chris's house to try to find an iMac System disk, but we didn't have much luck. Chris showed me his iCube, especially the nuclear reactor core removal function. It's pretty cool; too bad it can't run Windows. (I never thought I'd actually say that!)
Back at Kim's place, while Chris toiled unproductively with the iMac and AppleCare put him on an endless, unproductive hold, Maria's nine year old kid David was eager to get me to play a game of chess. I didn't want to and repeatedly declined his invitations, which mostly consisted of him saying,
a. play me a game of chess
b. play me a game of chess
c. play me a game of chess
d. play me a game of chess
e. play me a game of chess.
For the most part, David is pretty low maintenance. When he's really bored he just goes outside and practices skateboard tricks. Aside from all the emergency room visits, it's good to have your kids get into skateboarding.
In the evening, everyone (including Dennis the computer animation guy) went out to see a new computer-animation movie. I didn't want to go, so they dropped me off at my house in West LA.
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