Archive for the 'Self-reference' Category

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On Creative Efforts

I’ve decided to finally return to this space, after almost 3 years away.    While it’s true that my last real post coincides quite neatly with a week or so before I met my wife, it’s not really due to my courting and marrying her that I left.

Basically, I have trouble with consistency.  I’ve posted before about this, and, well, nothing is new.  But I’m going to give it a try, because, as Neil Gaiman puts it,

…creativity isn’t always a matter of magic and inspiration. Mostly it’s a matter of work. Of doing it. And I hope we did that too. There were songs that didn’t make it, things that never gelled, but with all that, the best part of it was when when stumbled away from the studio, six songs that hadn’t existed before existed now.

It’s true. I have to stop thinking about writing, and just write. Because, frankly, I have lots to say.

Ok, first installment is in the near future (read: within a week). I believe I shall title it “In which we discuss the voice in my head, and its tendency to yell at me.” Good fun.

Who knows? I may get get back on this bandwagon yet. Wish me luck, cyberspace.

From the Vault

I’ve been busy, this time justifiably so.

But I thought that I’d share some of my favorite pieces from the archives, which include at least 3 of the 5 pieces in the “driving” category.  Check it out.

Here We Go

So, apparently, due to this unexpected (though totally appreciated) plug, I now have some fans. Like, people I don’t know personally in the real-world-out-there. Weird. To think, all it took was an hour with a digital drawing program and my twisted take on the uncomfortableness of first dates. (Ok, ilan, enough with the linking to your own posts, already!) Problem is, it looks like to fulfill people’s demands (and anyone who knows me well knows that I need,need,need to please people, sometimes to the point of psychological malady) I’m going to have to come up with some more comics, when I wasn’t really planning on making a series out of it. It was just another one of my dabblings. I tend to try various media on for size, and in that vein, I’ve made movies, mixed music, and played with Photoshop and other digital imaging – that sort of thing. Some of those results appear here and there on this site. I thought I’d give the comic a shot, but didn’t plan on continuing. But here goes. Expect another comic, say, within a week or so, ok? We’ll see where we go from there.

Ah, the burdens we bear. I already feel like a martyr to the holy cause of entertainment.

The Ending is Where We Start From

Notice: This post is cross-posted at both of my old sites. Read on, and you’ll understand why.

Life’s a funny thing, they say.

I started blogging in 2003, as a sophomore in college. It was at the encouragement of a few friends who found my goofy sense of humor funny, and were willing (even eager) to read humorous pieces I had written. And boy, were they goofy. Some of the most creative (and dare I say inspired?) stuff I’ve written came out of that period, actually. And much to my surprise, people started reading. Not the ‘public,’ whoever they are, but people I knew – my siblings, and other friends and family – people who I wasn’t even writing for originally. They actually found me genuinely funny. It was weird. My siblings, both older, never seemed to really admire me for anything, and now, it seemed, I was impressing them, and their friends. It was very cool, a real ego boost. And time went on, and I continued updating, with the occasional 3-month dry spell. I never got to the point of posting regularly or particularly frequently, likely due in a large part to my commitment to producing original work, rather than linking to other people’s creations. Well, that and procrastination….

Allow me to digress here for a minute. I was something of an oddity in the blogging world. Most bloggers maintain readership by posting often. Typically, either these posts involve descriptions of their day-to-day lives, something which one never really runs out of material for, or they’d post links to other creative work, occasionally with added commentary. I was not prepared to broadcast the details of my life to the general public, and I didn’t want to exist remora-like, living off the scraps left by the real producers of writing, images, music, and video. I wanted to be one of those producers, by writing relatively impersonal, humorous pieces. And that’s pretty hard to do regularly, or it was for me, anyhow. But I kept at it, because even though my number of daily hits rarely crept above 10, it also didn’t really sink down to zero. People were reading, so I continued writing, albeit sometimes infrequently. About a year and a half after starting blogging, it occurred to me that I had what to write that wasn’t goofy and humorous. The material I had in mind was downright serious. And so I had a problem. I couldn’t just post those pieces on the original blog, like nothing was different, because I didn’t want to turn away readers who had come to expect humor. But I still wanted to share my thoughts on weightier matters than the odd contents of my fridge.

So I started a second blog, this site.

This just compounded my problems. Ideally, I would have a regularly updated blog, with many readers and an active and lively comments section. By creating a second blog, for my ‘serious’ stuff, I was splitting my efforts and my readership, and ultimately hurting my progress in reaching my goals. But what could I do? I kept updating both blogs, and people (still very few) read both. I wanted to upgrade. But how? Well, for starters, if I was going to maintain two blogs, when one could probably suffice, I could at least make them both stand out. Thus began the big redesign. After a few false starts, I redesigned each blog in turn, from the bottom up. The functionality remained the same, but they got all dressed up in what I thought were nice makeovers. Still, while I wasn’t getting at the main issue, I ran into others. Blogger wasn’t giving me the flexibility and control I wanted to have with my site, nor did I have online storage to use. Plus, the web addresses were long and cumbersome – there were regular readers who sometimes forgot them. So I decided on a new non-solution, something I’d been planning on doing anyway. Enter the as-yet-unused bitsofink.com. I thought it was a neat little title which happened to be available – using a play on the word “bits” to connote digital writing, and a kind of meshing of the past and present, something I try to aim for in my writing. (Ok, so I guess that sounds a little pretentious. Mea culpa.) So then the question was “now what?” Well, I could (and did, actually) import the two blogs into one, hosted at bitsofink. But this wasn’t a solution either – not yet, anyway. People would need to be redirected to the new site (actually, not such a difficult problem to solve), plus, what would become of the new designs? They centered around their banners, and the new combo-blog would be called something different. So if I wanted a new site, I’d need a new design. I got as far as designing the banner, which I just dropped into a (fairly boring) pre-made template. But I continued updating the two Blogger sites, and nothing really changed.

Finally, the final straw came. You see, as I continued writing in the ‘serious’ blog, I found that I was writing more and more personal material. And life has a way of not being easily placed into ‘humorous’ or ‘serious’ boxes. Life just is, and we just live it – lovely and crazy and giddy and depressing as it is. It’s sometimes so terrifying you have to laugh, and sometimes so laughable you have to cry, and sometimes, it’s just wabi-sabi. So I was coming up with posts that didn’t belong in one of the two blogs, but somewhere in-between. So I decided I’d just have to bite the bullet and do it. So I worked on a redesign that I think is nice enough to justify the move and the abandonment of the old sites. I’ve imported all of the old posts and even marked them with which blog they originally came from (using fun little icons. I still have a few things to tweak, and I need to clean up the old imported posts so they look right and such, but things are more or less up and running. Now I can get back to posting in earnest, and maybe even persuade some of the other bloggers who read my stuff to throw a link or two my way (hint, hint) to help me finally get this operation off the ground. The old sites will remain up, and I’ll put up a notice to that effect within a week, but all new updates will be at the new site.

Phew, who knew blogging could be such hard work?

Listen Up

So a few days ago, I posted an audio post, expecting accolades, pats on the back, and a possible Presidential Medal. But alas, I forgot that few people read this, fewer would be willing to sit and listen to 5 minutes of me prattling about waffles and Monopoly and how every male citizen of the Republic of Tonga has a crush on the same girl from Liechtenstein (a country whose primary claim to fame is that they are the largest exporter of false teeth – no joke!), and even fewer would be so bold or generous as to actually post a comment or give me a backrub. No, I’m here, commentless and with an aching back.

But I decided to invesigate why I had gotten no real response. I realized that though more people than usual had visited my site – likely due to the actual presence of a new post, of all things. But I don’t think people actually bothered to listen to my audiopost because – get this – it was pretty boring. You had to wait till the middle just to get to anything halfway entertaining. I think maybe if I try another time, I should start with a song and dance. Well, you’d only hear the song, but the dance would be hella cool, I assure you.

So it seems that instead of actually posting, I posted about how I should post. In other words, I blogged about blogging. It is a well-known fact that bloggers love blogging about nothing more than themselves, the narcissistic ingrates.

Note to self: a fun side project/post-modern digital perfomance art: make a blog whose every entry is about why I’m blogging, how I should stop blogging, that I’m thinking about stopping blogging, why people blog in general, or why the sitcom Becker was never really given a fair chance. Find a way to make ridicuous amounts of cash money off of this blog – enough to purchase Gary Coleman, or at least rent him once a month.

In the meantime, I leave you with an excerpt from my in-progress novel, Limestone:

Mac woke up and instantly regretted it. He concluded that waking up would just be the first of a series of bad moves that day. He had no clue just how right he was. He rolled sideways and off of the bed. He realized it was not a bed, but a couch. Craig’s couch. He was in Craig’s apartment, he decided, as that was the standard location for Craig’s couch. The word apartment seemed to hold some special importance. He wasn’t sure why. Finally pushing himself up to his feet, Mac decided it was as good a time as any to open his eyes, and tried to. Succeeding on the third try, he discovered that the normally level ground was writhing and twisting like a python, or like he imagined a python might, were it a hardwood floor with furniture on it. He realized that his stomach was trying to tell him something, something urgent. He ran to the bathroom and vomited with gusto. Deciding that he had had such a good time of it the first time, he vomited again.

Vomit jokes. Will they ever get old? No. No they won’t.

Back, and better than ever!

Any Superman fans out there?
So do you remember how he died, then was gone for a while, then came back, only more powerful than before? Well, the same sort of thing has happened to me. only I don’t wear tights. Not in public, anway.
But I am more powerful than before. Scary, isn’t it?

In any case, I’ve been a busy bee. First of all, as you can see below, I’ve migrated all of the old posts from the xanga site to here, right down to the comments. Everything you need should be available through this domain, so to those of you with blogs, change your links. So what have I been up to, you ask? Well, quite a bit, as I will likely discuss in future posts.

Let’s see…so I’m back in Ithaca, and surprisingly happy about it. Aside from taking a class, I’m working on a super-cool project in Human-Computer Interaction group at cornell. (Take a sec to look at their logo. Yes, it is a little stick figure with a squiggly line to a box, presumably representing a high-tech computer. Apparently, not only is the Information Science department on the cutting edge in HCI, but also in squiggly-line development technologies. My theory is that at some point they needed a logo, and someone drew out this one, likely on a napkin. And then they forgot about it. Silly researchers.) We’re developing a nifty little system to help directionally impaired people such as myself find their way around Cornell’s sprawling rural campus. I do not know how to tell if a campus is sprawling or not, but Cornell’s campus definitely sprawls. It sprawls the begeezus out of Columbia’s campus. The system, using GPS and wireless technology, will show a person using a palm computer or a smart phone where he/she is on a campus map. In addition, it will direct users to “hidden collections,” such as the kinematic model collection or the brains collection. Supposedly, the brains collection, a set of (disembodied) human brains, are the possession of the Department of Psychology, though I was under the impression that psychologists studied living brains. If my suspicions are correct, the brains really belong to Cornell’s Department of Necromancy and Zombie-Related Activity (NeZRAc), but let’s just keep that between you and me.

So I think that brings you up to date, with the big things at least. I’ll give you some of the little things here and there, which much more regularity than once every four months. Oh, and one more thing. If you haven’t yet noticed, I’ve started a second blog, one which will be for more serious stuff – my musings (some Jewish, some not) and maybe a bit of poetry. I have a couple of poems up there, but look for a real introductory post there in the nearish future.

Before I sign off, in the interest of full discretion, I should make a few rather important clarifications. I intentionally do not follow the style of many bloggers, who frequently link to humorous or interesting pieces scattered throughout the web and in other blogs. For the time being, at least, I have dedicated myself to bringing you a set of somewhat more original humor than your average blog. Which is not to say that I don’t occansionally borrow other writers’ styles, but that’s an altogether more acceptable and clever form of plagiarism. And being clever is what counts. But the material on this site is original, to the benefit of both the reader and my ego. Which brings me to my next point.

This blog, this whole hours-consuming enterprise, is merely an elaborate attempt to boost my ego. As the third of three children, as the kid picked last in gym, as the kid who (no kidding) was fed worms and put in the dryer by his older siblings, it’s time to fight back aginst a world which has ignored me and all it has to offer me for too long. I am self-possessed, hear me roar!
This blog is for my ego. That is its purpose. The more people read it, the better I feel about myself. I suspect that this is true of many blogs out there, but I am coming out and saying it. You, my readers, are here for my amusement, for my enjoyment. Dance, monkeys, dance!

Ah, this is the life.
If only these tights didn’t chafe so much.

All Beginnings Are Hard

Ok, so I think I’m supposed to start this way:

Hi! My name’s Ilan, and I started this blog to show you just how truly awesome I am. In fact I am so awesome, I sometimes forget to breathe from the sheer exilhirating joy of being just so cool. Wow, I’m great. So now you can read about my life, which is, of course better than yours. After all, I am better looking than you – yeah, I know about that unsightly mole. You should really get that removed. Also, I have SO much more money than you – I own three cars, a yacht, and Paraguay. Also, I am WAY smarter than you – you can even see the “smart waves” (that’s a laymen’s term for you simpletons) coming out of my head. They look like this: ~~~. Did I mention that the laws of physics don’t always apply to me? Yeah, I’m that great. So, basically, in addition to being an all-around amazingly wonderful and swell guy, I am also generous. Therefore, I have chosen to share some miniscule iotas of my vast knowledge and wisdom with lesser mortals like yourself. But first, take care of that mole. Really.