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The constipation stranger

This is the 10th anniversary of my life as a sometimes blogger. 2002 was a very interesting year. Post 9/11, pre-Bush wars. We were a couple of years on the tail of the internet bust. Work for me was slim. I was often broke and designing web sites for crappy garage bands who wanted to pay me with free beer at their next gigs.

2002 was also an important year in that I had yet to publish either of my two novels, even though I had written the first one 2 years earlier. San Francisco was still an exciting place. Activism was in our blood, politics and AIDS and the good gay movements (not the bad ones like marriage) were abundant. Great sex, awesome travel, and my very young Beagles, then only 1 year old.

I started blogging on Blogger, back when it was cool. Years later, when Google stopped FTP support for their service, meaning that you had to host on  blogspot, I jumped ship and moved to WordPress. WordPress gave me all sorts of control and freedom and, for a time, it was good. But Facebook came along and MySpace died and Twitter was on the horizon. These events spelled a certain death for the long-form blog. After all, if you only have time to write 10 words of status update, how can you ever sit still long enough to read 500 or 1,000  words?

All was bleak, and the blogging declined. Life interrupted. Goodbye America, hello New Zealand.

The world changed, but not really. Technology changed…really.

Suddenly, the success of Facebook and Twitter spawned heaps of new services with weird names that catered to youngsters who could barely spell. Visual people. Hunters and peckers. Photographers with phones. I’ll wager that in those years iPhones for Dummies was a raging bestseller. Irony stings.

Which brings me to today. I looked at my current blog and grew glassy eyed with disinterest. A visually bland Edsel of a blog it was. Powerful indeed, but, like an old car, imperious, angular, and not very sporting. It was brownish gray, with bits and bobs of bland doodads. It was a bloody fucking bore. And so was its content.

On February 2, 2010, nearly three years ago, I made that switch from Blogger to WordPress. It was a good move and for a while, smooth moves ensued. Over the weekend, I thought of abandoning WordPress for something newer, shinier, something the kids are playing with.

I started up a tumblr account. I then poked around and spent $49 on a theme. Why did I spend $49 on a tumblr theme, you ask? Because I’m a fucking idiot. I marveled for about 15 minutes on the sheer simplicity of tumblr. Oh, how easy you’ve made it all. Wow, it is so much simpler than WordPress. Why didn’t I come to you earlier, oh, great tumblr.

But after 20 minutes, I realized that I had fallen into the trap of — how shall I put this — shit. Like MySpace, like Facebook, like so many “ermagawd it’s so totally awesome” services that spring up and sway us with their nice asses, tumblr is all boobs and no brains. It’s a tool, yes, and what you do with a tool is what counts. I’ve seen some interesting content on tumblr sites, but what I mostly see is shit from dumbasses with about as much taste as a Kellog cereal flake.

The great thing about my very brief dalliance with tumblr is that it forced me to design an actual logo, think about color and layout, and make some choices about the best container for my content. For my me, not to be all about.me about it. I went back to WordPress and figuratively asked it to do for me what tumblr could. It was able to, and then proved that it could wrestle tumblr to the ground, even under the least generous circumstances. Tumblr has no safe word for the pleasing pain that WordPress inflicts. Two or three theme upgrades later, I have a new blog. A bit like painting your bedroom. It’s all new, fresh and shiny, even though it’s precisely the same bit of space you’ve occupied for years.

So, welcome to the new Korokē Manene, successor to The Clog. Please note that Korokē Manene is Maori for “eccentric stranger,” but if you spell it Korōke Manene, it means “constipated stranger.” Do with that what you will.

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