Posts tagged with "interesting sites"

Missing The Old

I’ve been read­ing Andrea’s blog late­ly. Normally, I don’t read blogs of peo­ple I’ve nev­er met1, and even though I’ve met Andrea, I’ve nev­er had a pen­e­trat­ing con­ver­sa­tion with her, let alone got­ten to know her. Andrea’s blog is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent though. To the unini­ti­at­ed, it’s a reg­u­lar jour­nal, but there are bits of insight and emo­tion scat­tered through­out that leave you feel­ing like you’re look­ing at some­one stoned, naked, and through their kitchen win­dow. The ordi­nary mixed with a dash of extra­or­di­nary is what tru­ly gives one a sense of empa­thy, and it was this that drew me in.

It’s been mak­ing me feel so fuck­ing nos­tal­gic.

I remem­ber being in that stage of life. Back in school. Getting drunk. Chasing girls. Unsure of any­thing but the way I was feel­ing in that exact moment.

It’s made me real­ize that I don’t write like I used to. My entries used to be so exper­i­men­tal. Aside from a sin­gle sen­tence as a last, con­clud­ing line2, and a pen­chant for being a lit­tle too per­son­al, I had­n’t devel­oped a par­tic­u­lar writ­ing style. Back when I post­ed some­thing almost three times a day because I had to. When my posts had no titles (the same way Andrea has noth­ing but an incre­ment­ing num­ber and loca­tion stamp) because they were about every­thing and noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar.

Now, there’s too much pur­pose to my writ­ing. Carefully planned out posts, try­ing to express some­thing spe­cif­ic, with­out the stream-of-con­scious­ness I used to enjoy. Lost is the old whim­si­cal nature, the ordi­nary mixed with the extra­or­di­nary. I nev­er used to care whether some­thing was sig­nif­i­cant enough to post, and would just write it and hit that pub­lish but­ton.

I miss it.

But I can’t tell if it’s the way I used to write, or my life back then, that I miss.

  1. Blogs rarely inter­est me when I don’t have a bit of per­son­al insight from a first meet­ing. []
  2. Almost every sin­gle pots in this blog ends this way. []

A Blogger Passes On

Many years ago, I received an e‑mail from a read­er named Winston Rand, look­ing for some blog­ging advice:


I have been to your equiv­o­cal­i­ty site numer­ous times over the last cou­ple of months and always come away impressed. Having vis­it­ed many oth­er “blogs” — God how I’ve come to hate that term — I keep com­ing back to yours as my gold stan­dard. Been think­ing of start­ing my own, even have 2 domain names paid for, but being an engi­neer and an IT pro, I’m too hes­i­tant to start until most of the answers are quite clear. That is a strength as well as a fail­ing…

In my quest, I’ve looked at many dif­fer­ent blog­ging tools, host­ing sites, etc., and am still not sure which route to take. My temp­ta­tion is to say to hell with all of them and just post my stuff using sta­t­ic html pages (Dreamweaver) since I’m not real­ly inter­est­ed in feed­back or com­ments that much. But I do like the abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly inte­grate cal­en­dar, archives, and oth­er fea­tures that most of the blog pack­ages seem to include by default. And who knows, one of these days I may care what oth­er peo­ple think of my work.

Among the pop­u­lar pack­ages, I’ve got it nar­rowed down to WordPress, Moveable Type, and SquareSpace, but I’m wide open to sug­ges­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions.

Could you share your thoughts on what you use and rec­om­mend? Any advice will be great­ly appre­ci­at­ed.

Keep up your excel­lent work! I look for­ward to see­ing more of it.

I steered Winston towards WordPress, and soon after, he start­ed his own blog at Over time, he devel­oped a sig­nif­i­cant read­er­ship, as he would write quite lucid­ly about pol­i­tics, humour, and the occas­sion­al geek talk.

Although our blogs cov­ered dif­fer­ent things in a dif­fer­ent style (Winston called it “[spin­ning] in a slight­ly off­set par­al­lel uni­verse” when describ­ing my blog in his one-year anniver­sary post), we would check up on each oth­er now and then.

During one of my last vis­its, I found out that Winston has died after a 38-hour ill­ness and 3 surg­eries. While I nev­er real­ly knew him in per­son, I still feel like some­one close is gone.

And I wish I could explain why.


I gen­er­al­ly don’t like blog net­works. Too often they’re super­fi­cial, cheap­ly con­struct­ed com­mu­ni­ties used by the cre­ators to give them­selves a sense of belong­ing and pur­pose in the blo­gos­phere. Some of the most promi­nent exam­ples of this are on Livejournal, where any­one will cre­ate a clique if they’re an emo kid, a self-pro­claimed “hot mom”, or even hap­pen to hate Rachael Ray.

There was only one com­mu­ni­ty that caught my eye in the four years I’ve been blog­ging. Several pro­lif­ic sites I fre­quent, such as graphicPush, Snook, 456 Berea Street, and even Lorelle fea­ture a small leaf on their site. I had to learn more about this lit­tle uni­ver­sal logo that was on many of the sites that inspired me, and the net­work called 9rules.

9rules logo

I dis­cov­ered that they’re the only com­mu­ni­ty with a phi­los­o­phy and qual­i­ty with which I agreed. As on their web­site, “9rules is a com­mu­ni­ty of the best weblogs in the world on a vari­ety of top­ics. We start­ed 9rules to give pas­sion­ate writ­ers more expo­sure and to help read­ers find great blogs on their favorite sub­jects. It’s dif­fi­cult to find sites worth return­ing to, so 9rules brings togeth­er the very best of the inde­pen­dent web all under one roof.”

Their phi­los­o­phy is based on a set of nine rules to live by:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Never stop learn­ing.
  3. Form works with func­tion.
  4. Simple is beau­ti­ful.
  5. Work hard, play hard.
  6. You get what you pay for.
  7. When you talk, we lis­ten.
  8. Must con­stant­ly improve.
  9. Respect your inspi­ra­tion.

Although I can say that I agree and fol­low every sin­gle one of them, num­ber eight par­tic­u­lar­ly res­onat­ed with me. It’s one of my rea­sons for liv­ing, and par­tial­ly why I start­ed blog­ging in the first place.

For once, I felt com­pelled to join a com­mu­ni­ty.

Becoming a mem­ber, how­ev­er, isn’t a sim­ple task. Every few months, they open a 24 hour win­dow for peo­ple to sub­mit their blogs. 9rules does­n’t have a spe­cif­ic cri­te­ria for what to accept. Sites are judged on con­sis­ten­cy and qual­i­ty of mate­r­i­al, as well the pas­sion for the sub­jects being blogged.

The com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers go through every site togeth­er, often sev­er­al times, before decid­ing whether to let some­one join. They also main­tain an exclu­siv­i­ty clause; mem­bers aren’t allowed to be part of any oth­er com­mu­ni­ty. There was even a purge once, to clean the net­work of any sites whose qual­i­ty had dropped.

In the past, the accep­tance rates have been between 8–16%. The most recent round (the fifth) was last October, with 1190 blogs being sub­mit­ted. At the end of this round, the num­ber of accept­ed mem­bers stands at a ten­ta­tive 134.

Two weeks ago, I found out that I’m one of them.

Thanks, And No Thanks

I’ve offi­cial­ly switched from Movable Type to WordPress, the lat­ter of which I’ve decid­ed is a far supe­ri­or plat­form. This involved man­u­al­ly copy­ing con­tent from the old data­base, includ­ing every entry, com­ment, time­stamp, and ip address logged. Even though it took me near­ly a month, I was able to go through my old entries and make the thumb­nails, links, quotes, and for­mat­ting con­sis­tent.

Thanks to the expe­ri­ences of every day life, for the peo­ple I hate, the peo­ple I love, the ones I respect, and the ones who inspire me to do more. It’s these that make sure I nev­er run out of things to say.

Thanks to Trolley, who reminds me with his com­ments that I always have at least one read­er.

Thanks to Aaron and Pat, for show­ing me that they care when they tell me that they keep up-to-date with my life through this.

Thanks to Bronwen, with whom I’m the per­son I’ve always want­ed to be.

Thanks to Number18, for giv­ing me hope with her dai­ly life, and her über cool input jacks.

Thanks to Tina and Aurora, for their enig­mat­ic entries that inspire me to write bet­ter.

Thanks to Winston and Barb, for let­ting me know that I, in turn, could inspire some­one to start writ­ing for them­selves.

Thanks to Sikander for being the guy who shares music with me, even though we’ve nev­er met in real life.

Thanks to Sophia, for intro­duc­ing me to music like CocoRosie, and quot­ing my own old archived entries back to me.

Thanks to Dru, a design artist I’ve admired for years, for unof­fi­cial­ly steal­ing from me, an unspo­ken com­pli­ment I hold dear to my heart.

No thanks to the stalk­ers, who say they’ll nev­er vis­it, yet con­tin­ue to read on a dai­ly basis. The ones who hide behind ser­vices like Anonymouse, naive­ly believ­ing that all their http requests are masked. The self pro­claimed hyp­ocrites, who have the FUCKING AUDACITY to tell me about the vices of blog­ging, yet blog them­selves. The exact rea­son why I nev­er answer my phone any­more.

No thanks to the sequa­cious com­men­tors who say stuff but don’t say any­thing, or those who com­ment for the sake of per­son­al adver­tise­ment.

No thanks to the hotlink­ers, who con­tin­ue to steal my images, and in turn, my band­width and mon­ey.

When I was con­vert­ing my data­base and going through the old entries, I could recall each and every emo­tion that drove them. My writ­ing has become less ram­bling, less depress­ing, less cryp­tic since I start­ed back in 2002. As time goes on and the entries become more recent, there seems to be a sub­tle, bur­geon­ing hope, a reflec­tion of the expe­ri­ences I’ve gone through and a chang­ing world­view.

And from the begin­ning of this blog to the entries I write now, the most impor­tant thing is that I always have more peo­ple to thank.