Last 100 posts, part 3  AUG 18 2004

August has been a tough month so far...this past week has been one of the worst of my life. Everyone I know is out of town and there's not a whole lot happening online. Hopefully my loneliness hasn't permeated my writing and bummed you all out. Now, on to what little has been going on around here.

I moved kottke.org to a new Web server. If you're still not seeing this site at it's new location, please send me an email. (Wasn't funny the first time either...)

So many people, including many who should (or I wish would) know better, wrote really dumb things about the Google IPO. Me? I just want it to be over, one way or the other.

Advert-esque: kottke.org readers get $300 off their registrations to the Pop!Tech conference. If five of you sign up, I get in free...and then I'll tell you all about it. It's like we all get in free. Well, except for the five of you saps that paid. Suckers! I mean, sign up now!

Still haven't been to Shopsin's. And I may have mentioned that everyone I know is out of town?

For some stupid reason, I never opened up comments on the Gigli entry. Too late now. But I'm curious...if you've seen it, what did you think?

In case you missed them, a few gems from the remaindered links: aerial photography from Yann Bertrand (Eliot was inspired to post some of his own), Nicholas Nixon's photos of the Brown sisters, and satellite photo of thousands of planes at the Oshkosh Airshow.

Mr. Sun is rocking my socks. He points to the Amish site. Wuzzah?

Folks seemed to like my noodling on the Web as a platform. Here's Marc Canter's enthusiastic reply and some thoughts from the folks at Feedburner about their feed splicing.

Lots of activity in the RSS advertising space. We discussed RSS ads here two years ago when very few companies were serving up RSS files. The fun part's gonna be when RSS/Atom ad delivery becomes standardized, the feedreaders start offering ad blocking, and the content providers get all pissed off about it and complain to the folks that make the feedreaders. What will the newreader vendors do? Listen to the users or to the feed providers?

Last week was funny typos week. In the space of three days, I wrote about a giant Argentinian art colony threatening natural biodiversity in Australia and the Recall Toolbat.

Fair warning if you're reading along: I'm gonna post about McSweeney's #13 in a couple of weeks.

kottke.org readers are extreme sports enthusiasts.

Here I said, "a bigger house, the newest gadget, finer clothes, a shiny car...those things don't appeal to me that much" while earlier in the week, I said, "I would buy this Marc Newson-designed mobile phone in a second". Oops.

And in the Killers thread, kottke.org readers explore the age old issue of music coolness. Apparently, if you're listening to the wrong type of music, you owe it to society to start listening to better music. "They" won't tell you what the better music is because if you don't know already, you're obviously not cool. And if you're not cool, you're listening to the wrong type of music. It's a vicious little circle. Me? I listen to what I like. And if you're looking to me to provide you with the latest in musical hipness, you're barking up the wrong weblog.

There are 23 reader comments

Anil Dash56 18 200412:56PM

Man, I'd be up for Shopsin's, too.

christopher crippen25 18 2004 1:25PM

i agree with you, gigli wasn't great but it certainly wasn't the worst movie ever made. thanks for the updates i really like this feature.

Mark42 18 2004 1:42PM

This is great! You're your own ombudsman!

Lalitree59 18 2004 1:59PM

Sorry to hear that you've no-one to go to Shopsin's with, because it really is awesome. Just remember to turn off your cell phone or (so goes the rumor) they'll kick you out if it rings!

Matt59 18 2004 1:59PM

If you need a dining buddy for Shopsin's, I'd be game. Granted I'm someone you don't really know posting this offer in the comments, but I thought I'd offer nonetheless.

kathryn58 18 2004 2:58PM

aw, geez. all you had to do was ask, jason! check your mail as i'm trying to find some people to go see the new ramones documentary this weekend. and if that doesn't work, would you be up for some nintendo on sunday? (and did you end up going to the killer show, by the way?)

JBR08 18 2004 3:08PM

I never used the word "cool" in describing music. Nor did I ever use the words "good" and "bad" (which some guy named Grant said I did). I used the word "original." Somehow Kottke and a guy named Grant interpreted "original" as "cool," "good" and "bad." This misinterpretation in itself is quite telling - a lot of people don't want to be associated with what's said to be *cool* and, with good reason, attack such proclamations wherever possible. Hey, I'm the same way. Aren't you? It's not cool to be cool.

Of course, we're all arbiters of taste. Kottke and "Grant" both said, to paraphrase, "Oh, I just like what I like. I'll never tell you that your music is good or not." Bulls**t. Every single one of these people, I'm sure, if their life was filmed could be heard (no doubt numerous times) to give their opinion of what's good and what's not to someone - music or otherwise. So let's not go with that holier-than-thou non-judgmental bulls**t. I'm not telling anyone that their taste is "bad" per se. All I'm saying is that a lot of contemporary music that falls under the broad rubric of "rock" is derivative, uninspired and unoriginal. The Killers fall into the group. If you want to associate unoriginal with "uncool" or "bad," that's up to you.

As for the concept of originality, of course every band, album and track is influenced by music that came before it. That's what art does. But some music is more derivative than others. To say otherwise is (a) juvenile, (b) ignorant, and (c) to misinterpret postmodernist tenets ("all cultural product is innately valueless, blah blah blah"). The current glut of NYC rockers and rockers derived from late '70s NYC is one glaring example of unoriginal music. My initial e-mail was a stream-of-conscious spiel about how seemingly intelligent people settle for unoriginal music. Am I offering an opinion about taste? Sure, guilty as charged. Good thing none of you have ever offered an opinion about music to anyone.

And now the obligatory list, not of what's *cool* but of what's more original. This is music that, when it was made, wasn't easily classified. It spawned new genres and imitators. I didn't put much thought into the list and it's hardly exhaustive - could come up with more, etc. etc. Just an example of some "rock" music (in the broad vein) that was made by people with a unique vision. If you want to call it *cool* it's up to you. Me, I don't want anything to do with *cool.* I just "like what I like." Does this make me a hypocrite, too?

AMM (check out "Newfoundland")
Swans (check out "White Light from the Mouth of Infinity")
Amon Duul II (check out "Yeti")
Earth (check out "Earth2")
Shalabi Effect (check out "Trial of St. Orange")
Nurse with Wound (check out "Automating Vol. 1")
Bark Psychosis (check out their latest, "///Codename:Dustsucker")
Heldon (check out "Stand By")
Bohren & der Club of Gore (check out "Black Earth")
M83 (check out "Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts")
Univers Zero (check out "1313"
Deathprod (check out "Morals and Dogma")
Main (check out "Firmament II")

Matt43 18 2004 4:43PM

I will confess that I aspire to be hip. Not necessarily cool, but at least an ear to the ground on what is just stepping out of the door, music/movie/culture-wise.

I will also confess that on the first pass through the "web-as-platform" entry, I didn't get it. However, after reading the "enthusiastic response", it became clear, I believe. Let me see if I can "explain it back" effectively:

What we're talking about here is outsourcing our resources; not to India or China, but to specialized web functions that handle those functions very well. This outsourcing can then be used (and this is where it gets a little fuzzy for me) to create a... a what? A singular virtual operating system running off of web apps? Regardless of what the words to describe it, what we'd be talking about is.. is.. a what? A desktop with Gmail here, Flickr there, TypePad over yonder, all in the interest of, I suppose, not buying proprietary off-the-shelf applications and installing them on your hard drive.

Does this sound about right or have I missed the point completely?

Greg49 18 2004 4:49PM

Jason, thanks for the Killers tip, your taste in music is similar to mine. I remember when you posted a Napster link to download BT Live in Washington D.C. so many years ago.

too embarassed to mention it.33 18 2004 5:33PM

Look, I don't want to be a prying web groupie, but I thought you had a girlfriend. Shouldn't that ameliorate some of the loneliness? And if you don't, then I am totally out of the blogger gossip loop, and apologize for ripping open your emotional wounds.

sixtoe16 18 2004 7:16PM

You live in one of the richest cities in the world (culturally) in the richest country in the world (financially). Almost a billion people will go to bed hungry tonight. And you're calling this one of the worst weeks of your life, because your friends are out of town and you haven't been able to hit up a restaurant that offers 300 varieties of soup? Not to piss on your fire, but things don't sound that bad to me, unless there's something behind the scenes that you haven't revealed to us.

Matt08 18 2004 8:08PM

I think if we all measured the goodness or badness of our days/weeks/years by how good or bad they were relative to the person having the worst possible equivalent period of time, it would be impossible for any person to ever have a bad day, unless you were the unlucky bastard who was having the worst day in the world.

Pleasure or the lack of is entirely in a self-referential context. I mean, when was the last time you felt really horrible/lonely, then saw some guy who had it worse than you, and that made you feel better about yourself? Ignoring for a moment how sick that is, did it REALLY make you feel better about your self and your situation, or did it just make you realize how bad you COULD be feeling, without actually feeling better in actuality?

jkottke03 19 200412:03AM

My initial e-mail was a stream-of-conscious spiel about how seemingly intelligent people settle for unoriginal music. Am I offering an opinion about taste? Sure, guilty as charged. Good thing none of you have ever offered an opinion about music to anyone.

It wasn't so much an opinion about taste as insinuating that if you listen to unoriginal music, you're dumb. I don't mind opinion, but there's better ways of expressing it than being insulting. And if you check my original post, I never said anything about The Killers being good, original, or anything really. That's why I let people download the song, so they could make up their own minds about it. I almost never recommend music to anyone because I have no idea about what is good for someone else, original, bad, derivative, phat, crunk, or otherwise. So go accuse someone else of offering people advice on what to listen to.

there's something behind the scenes that you haven't revealed to us

There's so much I don't reveal about myself on this site and this is no exception.

Pleasure or the lack of is entirely in a self-referential context.

Yeah, that's exactly right. There are lots of people in the world having a rougher time than I, but that doesn't mean I still don't really feel like shit.

sixtoe15 19 200412:15AM

No matter how bad things get, I don't think it's necessarily "sick" to think that, in the grand scheme, you might actually be pretty lucky compared to some of the poor souls in the world, and maybe you don't really deserve so many guests at your pity party. In fact, I think it's a pretty healthy response.

Dinah39 19 200412:39AM

Must be something in the air. I was pretty gloomy up until tonight myself.

I live in a great apartment in my favorite city in the world. I love my job and am doing well at it. I have good friends and get to do fun things with them. Someone I have a bit of a crush on flirted with me. I have a new computer which I'm really enjoying and which is inspiring my creativity. Most of my friends are having fulfilling times in their lives. Somehow none of this resolves the glum mood when it comes along. Sometimes I just get emotionally achy and there isn't much I can do about it but wait it out.

Sorry to hear you had a crummy week, Jason. Hope things get better soon.

Bobby Star52 19 2004 4:52AM

I will ask the web- what have you done for me? Made my life easier? More time for quality things in life? With a few rare exceptions- nothing. This corruption of ca. 1993 html 1.0 into a NEW! LATEST! "self publishing platform!!," pLog, Blog, semantics... The age of the web is done, final, over. This shit is like watching the 70's show. Isn't it obvious to everyone? The self reflection is beyond boring. Time to use the tools for something of value. And contextualize the real problems and needs, and address them accordingly. Web is the new TV: KILL YOUR WEB! SEE THE REAL WORLD.

sardonic43 19 2004 9:43AM

I'm inclined to agree with much of above. If you're feeling lousy, get off your ass. Do something about it. Take a walk. Exercise. Create something. Go to Pearl Paint & buy markerspaintcanvaspapercharcoal & make a mess. Go visit your girlfriend in Nantucket. Call your family for no reason. Volunteer. Go see the Speaking With Hands photo show at the Guggenheim. Rent a bike & ride the loop in the park. Learn to cook something new. Eat chocolate. But mostly, see the beauty that is everywhere around you.

And Bobby Star: you might be right, but you're still sitting in front of your computer at 4:52 in the morning. What are you seeing?

Dinah43 19 200410:43AM

Uh, people, maybe the reason Jason doesn't share personal stuff that often is that when he does a bunch of people say "shut up you privileged fuck! I don't care if you have feelings; get back to entertaining me! and be more significant!" Jeez.

Frankly, I've found it a great month of writing & linking here on kottke.org. Jason's mood hasn't leaked through and bummed me out, but I don't begrudge him the right to talk about what's going on with him. Given all the entertainment and insight he offers, it seems like besides common courtesy, it's compensation to be sympathetic to writers who give us a lot for free. That doesn't mean constant "oh you poor guy, that's so sad" comments, but it should mean taking the time to say you appreciate the site (when you're taking time out of your busy life experiencing REAL LIFE (and watching That 70s Show) to read it) and not to rag on the guy for having the occasional down mood.

Be nice or he'll hit you with his toolbat.

JBR06 19 200411:06AM

Now we're getting somewhere! What drama. The tension between positive and negative vibes is exhilarating.

Thanks to Bobby Star (sounds like a soap opera or porn star) I now know I was taking myself much too seriously. "The age of the web is done, final, over." Indeed! The web is such a dinosaur. I'm going to throw my Mac into the lake and experience *real* unmediated life. Viva la resistance!

Is this guy for real? Talking about the death of the web using the web as his medium? Man, that's rich stuff. That's what's great about blogs - too much navel-gazing, perhaps, but they reaffirm that life is truly more interesting than fiction. Who could have even satirized something this good?

Aw, hell, I needed the piss taken out of me anyway. The blog is dead, long live the blog.

Jon06 19 200411:06AM

If only there were an Implicit Association Test for slacker/good student. I'm sure that some of your sense of being down comes from the end of the summer drawing nigh. Whether it is a subconscious urge to return to school at the end of a long summer or a subconscious sense of doom at another year of schooling, we'd have to test your index fingers to find out. Even being out of school, that ingrained sense is hard to shake.

Happier days are ahead. Tomorrow for instance.

Take care, Jason.

tatiret15 19 200411:15AM

there's this joke about a very important diplomat visiting a very impoverished region in Africa (the version i heard, a few years old, had the pope in Ethiopia). He asks his assistant what's the problem with the children, what with the bloated tummies and the bones and the flies- to which the assistant replies matter-of-factly: "they don't eat, sir". So the mandatary grabs one of the kids by the cheek, and preaches to the kid: "you should eat, kiddo".

Just change "malnourished" with "feeling down", and "eat" with "have fun"- feeling good has nothing to do with what you have and where you live.

Anyways- there's a big chance that sunny days are on your way.

Tom45 19 200411:45AM

Have you and Meg split?

jkottke20 19 200412:20PM

Web is the new TV: KILL YOUR WEB! SEE THE REAL WORLD.

This needs to go on a t-shirt.

If you're feeling lousy, get off your ass.

Good advice to be sure, but it doesn't always work. For some people, it might never work.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting