Monday, February 4, 2008

Captain's Blog, Day Two....

Well, I read over what it was I wrote yesterday, and while there are some nice, salient points made, overall the piece lacks proper structure and is more the stream-of-consciousness of a first draft. Something I would have gone back to and edited heavily until it made sense. And were it to have been meant for legitimate publishing, been subject to the critique, amendment, arguments and finally blessings of a good editor.

But I will simply leave the piece up as-is for all the world to see -- that is, if anyone bothers to even look at the thing! (Ah, another point to be expanded on as days go by!)

So the coffee is brewed, my ever growing on-board music library is fired up, largely thanks to Spiral Frog's free downloads. (I linked it in, check it out, it's pretty good.) I just went from ACOUSTIX to The Plimsouls, to Special Feature, to George Strait, and now to Dean Martin. Load 'em up, hit shuffle, and I go back to the days of free-form radio, just without the zoned out DJs and obnoxious commercials. And if I don't like a song I hear, I just skip through. Beats what's on the radio... this time of day is little more than bad overnight talk radio and horrible infomercials!

I just finished one of Rachel's awesome carrot/zucchini/gawd-knows-what muffins. All I know is that they just melt in one's mouth! The Old Grump of a cat, CD is snuggled in behind me in the desk chair. (That's him tucked into a desk drawer. Good cat, been with me his ten years of life, royal pain in the butt, grouchy most of the time, but loyal as all can be. The new kitten, Emily M. Scampercat has done her morning's business of playing with anything resembling a toy on the floor, and is settled into Rachel's desk chair. "Miss Emily" is actually a half year bigger than in this picture, but she still retains a high degree of "the cute factor, and could get away with murder in this household!

Funny thing happened later Sunday, after I had written the initial piece touching on the blog culture (that very little I know of it). On a forum dedicated to railroad art and literature a discussion of the slow demise of traditional published rag print railroad magazines was going. Publishing on the internet being the alternative so many go to. And a contributor made a very interesting and salient point, not far off something I touched on. He said 3. Amateur and/or first time writers are increasingly likely to cry "censorship" at the first sign of editing or questioning -- makes no sense but it does happen.

To which I posted the following response (and due to laziness, I won't even re-edit! )
Funny you should mention that. "Inspired" by (list member's) recent foray into the "blogosphere", I proved how easy it is for an idiot like me to set up their own blog and start prattling. And I spent the first hour of writing my blog, writing about blogs. And my opinions touched, ever so lightly upon Joe's third point. A theme I had in mind to go back and develop as my blogging life progressed.

In short, I opine (or plan to expand on) that this blog format, one can "publish" (a word that seems to have lost its value in the DIY cyber-age) without having to account to anyone. Anything goes, grammar, syntax, punctuation, style, be damned. The amateur author is free to "express himself", with no one pulling in the reins on his creativity. And as we all know, the flip side of that is a downward spiral in overall quality. God knows music and art have suffered. (Somehow I think much of this can be traced back to the "self-esteem movement", where kiddies got gold stars and hugs even if they answered "Five" when adding two and two.)

Years ago (my college years roughly 25 years past) I noticed a phenomenon in the "throwaway papers". Those "alternative" newspapers that have --as advertisers -- head shops, used clothing stores, massage parlors and the most creative personal ads around. These papers usually leaned a little in the leftward direction and tackled grassroots issues that no one would have ever blinked at. But what vexed me is that feature articles would go on for column inch upon column inch often meandering, repeating, lacking in continuity, and essentially tiring and confusing me as a reader. Even in my academic years, with a bit of high school journalism behind me, I could spot the possibility that good editing was not a real priority in these publications. I remember, at the time, thinking that the mindset of the staff might that of not wanting to insult or offend the writer, lest they take their pencils and go home.

And now, as I finish up this post, I can't help but wonder if some of this influence has been what has seeped into the mainstream media. If these "alt paper" folks have been those who worked their way into the legitimate media. I don't count on much disagreement that overall, the traditional media has declined in quality over the years.

If one looks at many of the web-logs out there, especially from the younger set, it seems as if the traditional rules have been thrown out the window. "New" spellings of words -- B4 instead of before -- e.e. cummings inspired lack of capital letters, and a complete lack of grammar or syntax. But again, referring to my notes of yesterday, the language does evolve over time, and I can guess it is usually the youth that drive that. I am sure that the speakers of early English were appalled when the kids started using "you" instead of "thee".

Well, I made a couple of rules for myself. I would write only as long as I felt inspired (a departure from the professional writer!) and that this thing wouldn't get in the way of other, more important things in my life! So, at five AM, I close this day's entry.....

More tomorrow... maybe!

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