March 18, 2005

RSS feed moved

Posted by shonk at 02:30 AM | permalink

For any of you that may be reading this via RSS, the change from Movable Type to WordPress means that the RSS feed for selling waves is now located at

If you’re interested, that is.

March 01, 2005

Comments dead

Posted by shonk at 11:24 PM | permalink | comment

I just got an email from my hosting company…apparently the old Movable Type comment script is causing some sort of server malfunction, so they’ve disabled all comments on this site.

Since I refuse to pay for the new version of MT, I may end up doing what I’ve been thinking about for a while: namely, switching to WordPress or some other alternative. Which seems to be the thing to do these days, anyway. Fortunately, spring break is coming up next week, so I may actually have some free time to wrestle with it.

In the meantime, feel free to email any comments you may have.

July 20, 2004

External Links

Posted by shonk at 01:00 AM | permalink | 2 comments

Spurred by the example of, I’m introducing a new feature here at selling waves: a small linklog. Since recently I seem not to be able to write much of anything in the way of interesting posts, it seems only reasonable that I should at least point our two remaining readers to people who do have interesting things to say.

The biggest problem with this sort of thing is, of course, the formatting. Ideally I’d like to integrate links into the front page as seemlessly as Jason Kottke does, but, unfortunately, I don’t have the technical expertise to do so. There’s always the possibility of presenting the links in a sidebar, like Scribbling or No Treason, but, just having done a significant reformat to get rid of all my sidebars, that seems counterproductive. Hence, I’ve compromised and placed the external links on the front page directly below the topmost post. That makes them prominent without being too prominent and without disrupting the layout or the flow too badly. So, at least for the moment, look for the links-of-the-moment to reside just below the top post on the main page.

Also, it would be nice to implement this sort of thing using a Python script like Scribbling does, but since I know nothing about Python, that doesn’t seem too likely. So I’ve just created a new weblog and used a PHP include (much as is done on the books page). It ain’t pretty, but it works (hopefully). To see a complete list of all external links posted under the new system, check the archives page.

Please, let me know what you think and pass on any suggestions you may have.

July 15, 2004

Move (almost) complete

Posted by shonk at 12:16 AM | permalink | comment

Okay, we’re up and running on the new server. If you didn’t notice any difference, that’s good. If you did, please let me know if there are any continuing problems.

Substantive updates coming soon…

July 12, 2004


Posted by shonk at 01:33 PM | permalink | 1 comment

I’m in the process of setting up new hosting for this site, so don’t think we’ve disappeared if you run into any weird errors in the next day or two. We’ll be back online as soon as possible. Thanks.

June 27, 2004

In case you've got some spare time

Posted by shonk at 12:45 AM | permalink | comment

Some topics of note:

  • Fahrenheit 9/11 — Michael Moore’s newest movie is out and is, according to most of the reviews I’ve read (and not terribly surprisingly), an unabashed and unapologetic piece of propaganda. Which means, depending on your ideological persuasion, you’ll probably either love it or hate it. Christopher Hitchens hates it, whereas the subtitle of David Edelstein’s review pretty much expresses his sentiment: “Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is unfair and outrageous. You got a problem with that?”. At some point, I’ll probably watch it and post a review here.

  • Globalization — A topic we’ve discussed here a few times already, but I came across two interesting articles today that explore some new themes. In the first, “Low Taxes Do What?”, Thomas Sowell argues that jobs “exported” from the United States by globalization have been significantly outweighed by jobs “imported” by that same globalization. In the second, “Beggars Can Be Choosers”, Bob Murphy makes the surprisingly controversial case that charity doesn’t hurt people. Both are worth a read.

  • the gravey train — That’s the name of John Graves’ new weblog. John is a quantitative researcher at the Urban Institute, a fellow Sewanee alum and a good personal friend. Check him out.

May 21, 2004

New look

Posted by shonk at 02:49 AM | permalink | comment

Although my own hair continues to get longer and shaggier, I decided today that selling waves needed a trim. As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I pretty much went at it with a razor blade. Pretty much all of the features are still here, but I’ve tried my best to clean up the look a bit. Why? Well, aside from the fact that things had been far too cluttered for far too long, there’s been some weird bug that’s been overlaying the right sidebar on the main content in Internet Explorer (yes, I know this has actually been going on for quite a while now). Needless to say, not a good thing. And, of course, I figured out exactly what the problem was (and how to fix it without changing the entire layout) after changing the layout. Big surprise, I know.

Primary inspiration came from Petya and Daring Fireball; hopefully I haven’t ripped either one off too blatantly.

Anyway, if you have strong feelings about the new look, drop me an email or leave a comment. If you’re looking for something that used to be found in one of the sidebars, I’d suggest checking the links in the new navigation menu directly under the banner above. For example, the RSS feeds are in Resources and the information on what book I’m currently reading is in Books. If there’s anything that’s been cut that you can’t live without, let me know.

Hope this works better for everybody.

May 20, 2004


Posted by shonk at 04:12 AM | permalink | comment

A few things of note:

  • The Jesus Landing Pad — Apparently, the Bush administration is consulting with apocalyptic, evangelical groups with a self-decribed “theocratical perspective” on issues relating to Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, etc. Ironically, the most radical Zionists are apparently no longer Jews, but rather evangelical Christians who are convinced that the rapture cannot occur without a unified Israel. Apparently, the most outspoken of these groups is a Pentecostal group called the Apostolic Congress which, aside from appropriating the Great Seal iconography, is apparently represented in Israel by a missionary who fears witchcraft emanations from Harry Potter books. Needless to say, somewhat disturbing.

  • Michael Moore Hates America — A new documentary being directed by Mike Wilson, who apparently intends to turn the tables on Moore a bit. Be sure to check out Wilson’s journal page, currently detailing a couple of offers made to Moore to live up to his own professed principles. For more, check out the Telegraph article, which also references one of the most tasteless jokes I’ve ever heard, wherein Moore apparently suggested in jest at a recent live show that if the doomed 9/11 flights had been populated by blacks instead of “pampered whites”, the passengers would have fought off the hijackers. (Links via Catallarchy)

  • Atkins News and the Technical Interpreter — Also from Catallarchy, Jonathan Wilde uses recent Atkins-related reporting as a jumping-off point for a more general critique of the presentation of science and scientific results in the media. Along the same lines, check out John Allen Paulos’ Innumeracy, which I’ve mentioned before.

  • AIM viruses — Lucky for all of us, we can now get viruses over AIM. The worst offender so far seems to be BuddyLinks, which is using a viral dissemination approach for its games.

  • “Half the world has never made a phone call” — Ever heard this claim? Well, it may have been true back in 1994, but certainly not anymore, as Clay Shirky demonstrates pretty clearly in this article (which itself is from 2002 and is, therefore, almost certainly out-of-date in its own right). Of course, he’s also quite correct to point out that the sort of thinking that lies behind this phrase is exactly the wrong sort of thinking:

    Something incredibly good is happening in parts of the world with dynamic economies, and that is what people concerned with the digital divide should be thinking about. If the world’s poor are to be served by better telecommunications infrastructure, there are obvious things to be done. Make sure individuals have access to a market for telephone service. Privatize state telecom companies, introduce competition, and reduce corruption. And perhaps most importantly, help stamp out static thinking about telecommunications wherever it appears. Economic dynamism is a far better tool for improving telephone use than any amount of erroneous and incomplete assertions on behalf of half the world’s population, because while The Phrase has remained static for the last decade or so, the world hasn’t.

  • And, last but not least, Tim is back in the blogging game, even though he promised not so long ago never to blog again. Be sure to check out his post on the preposterousness of “owning” a word, a follow-up to the notorious EULA.

May 12, 2004

News you need

Posted by shonk at 11:01 PM | permalink | 1 comment

Just a couple of news updates:

  • If you want to keep up with the various comments around here, I’ve added a couple of RSS feeds that should keep you up-to-date. The feeds contain summaries of the last six posts commented on as well as the last five comments on each of those posts. The links are over on the left side of the screen, available in both RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. If there’s interest, I might consider adding comments at the bottom of each post in the full-text feeds, but for the moment I’m keeping the comments on a separate feed.

  • I’m in the process of looking into getting new hosting. The errors that have been popping up recently appear to be a hosting problem, not a Movable Type problem, so I’m planning on ditching my current hosting. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know. I’ve heard good things about Verve Hosting and I know a lot of weblogs use Hosting Matters, but I’m open to suggestions.

  • I’m leaving town early in the morning tomorrow (Thursday), to head to Ohio for a couple of days, and then will drive to Colorado from there. Which, I’m sure, doesn’t interest anybody, but it means that I’ll probably be offline until the middle of next week. Try to contain your excitement and pretend to be deeply aggrieved that I won’t be posting during that time.

April 22, 2004


Posted by shonk at 01:04 AM | permalink | 1 comment

Just wanted to let everybody know that we’ve been having some weird errors popping up lately. If you try to post a comment and, instead of going back to the comments, end up on a “500 Error” page, don’t be alarmed. Your comment probably was posted and should be visible if you close the comment pop-up window and then re-open it. I want to apologize for these problems, which I’m going to try to fix as soon as possible, but given that finals are currently upon me, it may take a little while. Thanks for being patient.

April 20, 2004


Posted by shonk at 12:05 AM | permalink | 2 comments

Props to JTK for sending me an email pointing me in the direction of the newest web resource with a stupid name, Furl. John Battelle points out why Furl might just be a killer web app, especially among bloggers (link via Brad DeLong. After all, aside from the obvious advantages of no longer having to worry about dead or broken links, there’s one distinguishing characteristic of bloggers: they love sharing links. And the Furl public archive, where you can share your list of links, is basically the lazy man’s version of Jason Kottke’s remaindered links or Brad Choate’s sideblog; no need for any technical knowledge other than the ability to click a button on your toolbar. Which, of course, means that it will be abused by the idiots of the world, but, then again, what isn’t?

Also, there’s got to be a creative way to combine the usefulness of Furl and, say, Kinja, another cool web app with a silly name. Any suggestions?

April 04, 2004

New metablog

Posted by shonk at 02:02 PM | permalink | comment

Just the other day, Gina and company launched Kinja, where you can create what they’re calling a “digest” and what JTK and I have been calling a “metablog”. I like Kinja better than Rollup for several reasons, so I’m switching the metablog link at left to point to my Kinja digest.

So why is Kinja better? Like I said, several reasons. First off, I’ve been reading the weblogs of a couple of the people who developed it, so I feel like by using it I’m supporting people I know. More importantly, though, the design is much cleaner: nice graphics, including a small, individual icon for each weblog, a useful right column and, best of all, much better excerpts that actually make some semblance of sense. Most important of all, though, is the fact that, unlike Rollup, people not using IE on XP can actually use Kinja. Which means I don’t have to use someone else’s computer to edit my account.

April 03, 2004

Future-proofing: one tip

Posted by shonk at 09:57 PM | permalink | comment

If you’re going to try to use my technique for future-proofing your weblog, make sure all of your old entries actually have titles. Not all of mine did, and it caused me a week’s worth of 500 errors before I figured out what the problem was (at least, I hope that was the only problem). Anyway, all the pieces seem to be working now, or at least working as well as they ever did.

And I apologize for the lack of updates this week. Between the mysterious server errors and the fact that I spent 18 hours each on Tuesday and Wednesday working on math (and then needed Thursday and Friday to recover), I didn’t have any time for writing. Hopefully, I’ll get back in the swing of things this week.

March 29, 2004

Future-proofing selling waves

Posted by shonk at 01:53 AM | permalink | comment

After thinking about it for a long time, knowing I should but dreading the process, I finally went ahead and future-proofed my URLs, which is #5 on Gina’s list of nine ways to make your website better. As it turned out, it went more smoothly than I had hoped (of course, the bugs won’t start popping up until tomorrow, but as of right now it looks pretty good).

Anyway, for those that don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, basically I wanted to make sure that web addresses of the various posts, archives, etc. on this site would look more like this:

than like this:

See, in the first we avoid two key issues. The first is the use of a file extension, in this case .html. Now, the file extension is fine, so long as I never want to change the format of the pages on this site. But if I decide I want to make .php pages instead, all of a sudden everybody’s links to my pages are broken. Changing to .php is unlikely, but what if, some day in the future, something newer and spiffier comes out? That’s why it’s called “future-proofing”.

The second issue is that in the second example above, the URL refers to some internal identification scheme. Which is usually a big no-no anyway, but is especially bad since, due to this, exporting and then importing your entries can “break every link to every entry(Movable Type’s non-permanent permalinks). On the other hand, in the new schema, not only is this not a problem, but the entry URL actually tells anybody that looks at it something about its contents: specifically, in the example above, that the entry was written on March 29, 2004, and that it probably has something to do with the words “future proof”. That way, even if somehow that link gets broken, it gives the reader something pretty helpful to plug into the search engine, whereas a six-digit string of numbers doesn’t mean anything to anybody.

So, it’s a good idea. Okay, but how do we do it? Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to figure it out on my own, so I combined two different sets of instructions from around the web. The bulk of what I did is contained in Már Örlygsson’s “Howto: Future-proof URLs in Movable Type”. Then, I used a nifty plugin, Short title, and Dave Dribin’s suggestions to be able to customize the URLs by way of the “Keywords” field.

Anyway, hopefully it all works. If there are any problems, please let me know.

UPDATE Needless to say, I spoke too soon. Got a 500 error somewhere in the midst of sending Trackback pings. No idea what the problem is, but I’ll work on it tomorrow.

March 23, 2004

Cool Stuff

Posted by shonk at 09:19 PM | permalink | comment

Technorati has a new look and new features. Check it out.

Also, check out The Untitled Project. Makes you think about your surroundings a bit. (Props to Jason Kottke for the link)

March 20, 2004

CSS Buttons

Posted by shonk at 11:47 PM | permalink | 5 comments

I’ve spent entirely too much time over the last two days making the buttons for my RSS feeds, GeoURL and W3C validation that are now visible to the left and right (at least if you’re viewing this post on the main page). I think they’ve turned out pretty well, considering that they’re pure CSS buttons. Props to Mike Golding for the original inspiration, kryogenix for the basic implementation (link courtesy Jesse Lawrence) and Chris Pirillo for a nifty trick that made the CSS less overwhelming. Hopefully my blatant theft of their designs won’t get me in trouble. These examples are scaled up a bit because the text in my center column is larger than the text in my side columns:

Anyway, here’s the basic CSS that I used:

 .sidebutton {
 border: 1px solid #333;
 margin: 2px 0 0 3px;
 margin: 0 0 3px 10px;padding: 0;
 font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;
 font-size: 1.0em;
 .sidebutton a:link, .sidebutton a:visited, .sidebutton a:active {
 display: block;
  text-decoration: none;
 color: #fff;
 border: 1px solid white;
.sidebutton strong {
 font-weight: normal;
 padding: 1px 3px 1px 3px;

.sidebutton em {
 font-style: normal;
 font-weight: normal;
 padding: 2px 0px 2px 0px; color: #fff;

 .rssbutton { background: #999;}
 .rssbutton strong { background:#f60; }
 .rssbutton em { color: white; }
 .rssbutton a:hover { background: #000; }

 .geobutton { background: #999; }
 .geobutton strong { background:#093; font-weight:bold; font-style:italic;}
 .geobutton em { color: white; }

 .w3cbutton { background: #fc6; }
 .w3cbutton strong { background: #fff; color: #069; }
 .w3cbutton em { color: black !important; }

From there, it’s simply a matter of inserting the appropriate HTML into the main index. This is the code for my RSS 1.0 Full Text button:

<div class="sidebutton rssbutton">
href="" title="RSS 1.0 full-text syndication">
<em>1.0 Full Text</em></a> </div>

For the GeoURL button, I use class="sidebutton geobutton" and for the W3C button I use class="sidebutton w3cbutton" (and, obviously, modify the text appropriately). And that’s it. Lots of trial-and-error on the front end, but now any new buttons I want to make are a snap (at most I might have to make a new CSS sub-class, but, on the plus side, I won’t need to link to an external image or worry about making one if it doesn’t exist yet).

Now, let’s all hope I recover my sanity before I have to do some actual work tomorrow.

March 17, 2004

Sewanee weblogs

Posted by shonk at 12:26 AM | permalink | 1 comment

Inspired by JC’s call for Sewanee bloggers, I’m trying to compile a complete list of Sewanee weblogs which will be permanently linked in the left sidebar. Obviously such a list can never really be complete, but if you know of any Sewanee weblogs not on the list linked above, please leave a comment there. I will occassionally update the list and hope it will serve as a useful resource for the small (but hopefully growing) Sewanee blogging contingent.

March 15, 2004

The Frontierist

Posted by shonk at 06:36 PM | permalink | 3 comments

My friend George Potter has a new weblog, The Frontierist, which is definitely recommended reading and has been added both to the links and the feedroll. His castigation of NASA is a must-read:

It is not in NASA’s interest to make space exploitation seem commercially viable or (more importantly) easier than was thought. Like all statist beuracracies, NASA is mostly worried about it’s monopoly and it’s budget. They much prefer the image of bloodless scientific drones steering robots, underfunded and ‘doing the best they can’.

Abolish NASA!

Also added to the links today was shoaf’s Real Reactionary, which is another good, new weblog.

March 02, 2004

Gaining some perspective

Posted by shonk at 01:27 AM | permalink | 3 comments

For anyone who runs their own weblog, I can’t recommend enough going back and reading your archives from time to time. For example, just now I was looking for writing inspiration by randomly reading old posts of mine and came across this gem that I posted on only the second day of this site’s existence. From that same day, and somewhat more disturbing, is my suggestion for the military; there’s no telling where the inspiration for that came from.

Looking back at these old posts, I’m comforted to realize that my lack of focus here isn’t a recent phenomenon. I didn’t really have an agenda when I started this thing and I still don’t.

One thing I have learned from the experience so far is that there’s a lot of truth in what Brian Micklethwait says: If you want to learn about it blog about it. Even though this site certainly doesn’t generate much traffic, there’s still a strong incentive to try to document assertions, to make coherent arguments and to have at least a grain of originality thrown in (not that there aren’t exceptions to the documentation and coherence standards).

The other thing about writing and maintaining a weblog is that it forces you to learn a bit about how the web works. Even if you use a user-friendly CMS like Movable Type, as I do, you still have to learn about stylesheets, scripts, RSS, etc. if you want your presentation to reflect your personality. Adding non-standard features, be they minimalist syndication feeds, feedrolls, customized error messages, correct typography or a photo gallery, probably doesn’t require any real coding, but you’re sure to learn something both from the process of finding the right code and from figuring out how to implement the damn thing on your system, which never quite behaves the way the README says it will.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that one of the things I like best about the whole blogging experience is that you can’t help but learn quite a bit from it.

And no, I have no idea where this all came from. Sometimes you just start writing and hang on for the ride.

February 29, 2004

Not Writing

Posted by shonk at 05:17 AM | permalink | 9 comments

I’m ashamed to admit that in the last five days, Curt has three times as many substantive posts as I do. For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get into the writing mood. Instead, I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last week or so making some modifications to the site. These include the feedroll, the link titles and new RSS feeds and the author info location change; tonight, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I’ve made a somewhat more visible alteration. The switch to a three-column layout was motivated in part by the fact that the right sidebar seemed to be growing uncontrollably in the old layout. Hopefully the links (now on the left) will be more prominent now. Also, I think I’m getting heartily sick of the white background and the stylesheet changes I’ve made are (hopefully) the first steps in the process of introducing some color to the site.

Please, if you have any recommendations or suggestions, leave a comment or send me an email. I especially want to hear from you if you think the new layout looks like shit or if it is being rendered by your browser in a way that is not at all similar to this screenshot. Thanks.

UPDATE Obviously, I decided to just go ahead and change the background color. Again, please let me know what you think.

UPDATE PART DEUX The orange was giving me a headache. I think it looks better now.

February 27, 2004

Who wrote it?

Posted by shonk at 03:51 PM | permalink | 1 comment

As a result of some confusion as to the authorship of Curt’s post on “The Passion of the Christ,” I’ve decided to re-arrange slightly. The “posted by…” information, along with the links to comments, should now appear directly under the title of the post, instead of at the bottom. Also, there’s a form at right where you can enter your email address if you want to be notified by email whenever a new entry is posted. Probably nobody is interested, but what the hell, it only took thirty seconds to do.

February 23, 2004

More New Features

Posted by shonk at 02:14 AM | permalink | comment

I’ve been tweaking the ol’ weblog a bit this weekend. Spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to find a solution to the challenge JTK posed in the comments to my new feature post, but didn’t come up with anything. If anybody has any ideas, please comment or e-mail. After finally abandoning that project, I decided to add titles to all the links on this page and to add a few RSS feeds. Now, instead of just the RSS 1.0 full-text feed, you also have the option of an RSS 1.0 excerpt feed, an RSS 2.0 full-text feed and an RSS 2.0 excerpt feed, all available on the lower-right of the main page via the super-cool CSS buttons, which will hopefully be a little more prominent than the old text link. For you bleeding-edge minimalist types I’ve even built an RSS 3.0 excerpt feed, based on this standard (which may or may not be an actual standard, for all I know). I don’t know if anybody actually scrapes my feed, but I figured I’d offer some more choices if you do.

And yes, it’s actually quite pathetic how much time I’ve spent doing this stuff.

February 21, 2004

New Feature!

Posted by shonk at 02:56 AM | permalink | 6 comments

As of right now, there’s a new feature here at selling waves. The latest headlines from six of my favorite weblogs, Catallarchy, improved clinch, mock savvy, No Treason!, Off Wing Opinion and Scribbling are all available in one place: this feedroll. This link is also available at right, under the “Stay Informed” head. I hope you find this useful.

PS. There are a few other weblogs I would have liked to add to the list, especially bighead, but also dooce and Old fishinghat. Unfortunately, none of them generates an RSS feed, so I have no good way of doing so (and custom-built feeds are notoriously finicky).

February 06, 2004

Web Politics

Posted by shonk at 12:46 AM | permalink | 2 comments

Over at bighead, Petya is thinking about getting rid of her links page. Why? As with most of us, I’m sure, she’s added friends’ sites to her list of links “not because I frequent them but because it’s the right thing to do.” At heart, though, her concern is the following:

This whole link-business is totally confusing. On one hand, it’s absolutely straight-forward. The internet is build on the premise that people will find information and each other through following them. On the other hand, however, especially within the blogosphere, it’s totally political. It facilitates the creation of a web-specific hierarchy where the more people link to you and the more mentions you get, the more valuable whatever you have to offer becomes. So much for the pure need for self-expression and the like.

Put another way, too many people forget the point that a URL is not a mark of quality, reasoning that a site linked to by a lot of people must be worthwhile.

I had written a very long (and very bad) response to this, but I think, instead, that I’ll just make the point that online dynamics are fundamentally social, not political. It’s tempting to ascribe the bad aspects to “politics”, but in so doing I think we stunt our ability to understand and explain those dynamics. Much as we may dislike it, not all hierarchies are the product of politics.

And yes, I’m aware that “political” has a colloquial as well as a technical usage. But I think that the misapplication of the term is an impediment to communication and every once in a while I feel the need to rant about it.

January 26, 2004

Super "Blog"?!?

Posted by shonk at 02:42 PM | permalink | 3 comments

As you may have been able to tell if you’re a longtime reader, abuses of language tend to raise my ire. So it should come as no surprise that the abuse of an abuse of language is guaranteed to make me angry.

What am I talking about? Specifically, the name of Bill Simmons’ Super Bowl project. Now, Simmons is one of my favorite sports columnists, even though he’s lost his fastball a bit since taking a job as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel show. In any case, he’s in Houston for Super Bowl week to, basically, give the fans a sense of what being in town during the Super Bowl is like. The idea is that, instead of polished columns, he writes quick-and-dirty impressions and reactions, with the goal being to make the tone more like that of a series of e-mails from your witty friend than a sports column. All well and good and, given how much I enjoyed his columns from the Super Bowl in New Orleans two years ago, I’m looking forward to it.

The problem is that his editors at ESPN have decided to call the thing “The Sports Guy’s Super Blog”. AAARRGGHH! First of all, “Super Blog” just sounds stupid. “Blog” and “Bowl” aren’t nearly similar enough words for it to work as a pun and the phrase just generally lacks any rhythm or style at all. Second, the word “blog” sort of annoys me, anyway, even though I use it occasionally to describe this site. “Blog”, of course, is a shortened form of “weblog” (Peter Merholz was apparently the first to do this), which in turn is the bastard child of “web journal”, “personal log” and probably some even more sinister influences. In any case, “blog” is an ugly word (Merholz says, “I like that it’s roughly onomatopoeic of vomiting. These sites (mine included!) tend to be a kind of information upchucking”), made uglier by its trendy popularity. I tend to agree with the following from Why I Hate Personal Weblogs

The word “Blog” is fucking stupid. … I just hear it and I think about someone standing in a Starbucks ordering a “Half-caf Venti Latte with soy milk and no foam.” To me, the word ‘blog’ represents the type of mentality that goes into a weblog; a need to be trendy about something completely unnecessary and over-hyped.

Which brings me to my third and most important objection to the “Super Blog” : ESPN is simply trying to cash in on the popularity of weblogs by creating something that shares certain similarities to an actual weblog without really being very similar at all. The fact that Simmons is going (presumably) to be relating personal experiences and updating several times a day provides the similarity, but the fact that a whole slew of editors, graphics people and IT guys will be reviewing, editing, formatting, adding images to and ultimately posting each piece that Simmons writes means that this endeavor is simply not a weblog in any meaninful sense (and, of course, the fact that it will only last a week, won’t feature comments or Trackback, etc. sort of goes without saying). This isn’t personal publishing, or even small-group-of-friends publishing, this is more akin to when NBC sends a camera crew to walk around town and capture “local flavor”. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but let’s not call it something it’s not, alright?

January 21, 2004


Posted by shonk at 10:18 AM | permalink | 2 comments

Petya has some interesting thoughts related to my post on Race, Gender and Blogging :

Dana’s initial question, actually, led me to think about feminism and how we, feminists, have become so focused on our personal agenda’s that sometimes allow ourselves to build even more rigid structures than the ones we strive so hard to abolish. When we talk about women’s issues and ask questions like Why most bloggers are male?, don’t we participate in the reinforcement of the binary model of societal structure that we so vehemently criticize? In this sense, isn’t fundamentally questioning of gender and gender roles the more appropriate way to address problematic issues? And, when saying Women are often purported to be the primary social network maintainers, the communicative sex, isn’t dana herself participating in strengthening pre-existing assumptions about women and the way women are?!

Judith Butler says (I’m paraphrasing) that in their efforts to legitimize their own political views, feminists very quickly came up with universal claims and statements that supposedly apply to all women and all men, regardless of historical and cultural contexts. I agree. And in the context of the current discussion, I find it absolutely amazing how easy it is to opt for the most obvious answer. Like we need more generalizations.

I think any commentary on my part would be superfluous.

January 19, 2004

More on Waypath

Posted by shonk at 05:52 PM | permalink | 7 comments

I didn’t like how the boxes I was getting using the Waypath plugin cluttered up this page, so instead I’m just making a link at the bottom of each post called “Related”. If you click the “Related” link below any post, a new screen with will pop up that takes advantage of the Waypath search (thanks to Ton Zijlstra for the idea). I’m still thinking about adding Waypath results in a sidebar in the individual entries pages, as Dorky Goodness does, perhaps in conjunction with a short list of related posts from this blog generated by the Related Entries plugin. As always, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

Race, Gender and Blogging

Posted by shonk at 12:06 AM | permalink | comment

Over at Misbehaving (an excellent site, by the way), danah boyd asks “why are bloggers mostly straight white men?” She writes:

Women are often purported to be the primary social network maintainers, the communicative sex. Yet, the more time i spend in blogging land, the more i realize how few women blog. (Major props to the women listed on the right!) In response to a conversation about blogging as an equalizer, i wrote a note today that blogging is a privilege. Assuming that my perception is accurate, i’m pretty convinced that bloggers (note: not LJers or other journalers) are primarily straight white men. Given that this is a sociable technology, this seems rather suggestive that blogging is not an equalizer.

I have my doubts about how accurate this perception really is, but since it is just a perception, it’s not something that can really be argued. However, I would like to take issue with a couple of things.

First off, I, like many of the commenters there, question the validity of the distinction between “journalers” and “bloggers”. I tend to think of the space between a “journal” and a “weblog” as more of a continuously varying continuum than a vacuum. For example, since most of what my brother and I post here is related to news, politics or meta-analysis of online communities, this site would probably not be classified as a “journal”. However, posts like Fun with Transliterations, When You Dance or Me, Style Savant, just to take some recent examples (or, for that matter, most of the Ramblings category), are certainly more along the lines of what you might find on a Live Journal. On the other hand, Petya’s site, since it primarily deals with what’s going on in her life, would be more likely to be considered a “journal”, yet Petya herself calls it a weblog and a quick perusal of, say, the September archives and her posts on feminism will convince you that a site can be both “personal” and “serious”. In fact, I find it a little surprising that boyd would distinguish between journals and blogs in this way, since making such a distinction seems to be judging journals as less worthwhile or important than blogs.

Second, moving on to the claim that “blogging is not an equalizer”, I tend to disagree. However, it is a qualified disagreement for the following reason: blogging, in and of itself, is not so powerful an equalizer as to completely overcome all obstacles. As boyd points out in blogging is a privilege :

Privilege is a funny thing. Often it opens up opportunities that we don’t even realize. Take time, for example. Who has the time to sit online and read, write and discuss all day? A working mother? A migrant worker? Time is money. Very few people have both time and money and most people spend most of their time trying to make ends meet or trying to calm their nerves from the stress induced by the former. Having time to “waste” is privilege.

However, this is not the fault of blogging in and of itself. I suspect that a disproportionate percentage of white men are online, which fact is a result of various and complicated social phenomena, but any disproportionate representation in the blogging community is probably a direct effect of this reality (I exclude the “straight” part of the equation because I think it’s ludicrous to think that there is any reliable way of determining the sexuality of a blogger. Most people simply don’t broadcast this information). In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that, if we merely consider the simple function

f(x) = (number of bloggers from gender x)/(total number of people online from gender x)

we might well find that f(female) > f(male). Why do I say this? Because, in my personal experience, women I know who spend a fair amount of time online are more likely to blog/journal than are men who spend an equivalent amount of time online. So, in this sense, we see that, even in the area of gender, blogging may indeed be an equalizer.

Whatever the case, the claim that blogging isn’t an equalizer is, to me, ridiculous. Absent blogging, Glenn Reynolds would be just another law professor, dooce would be just another pregnant ex-Mormon and danah boyd and I would be just two more grad students with more ideas than outlets. I challenge you to find anybody who reads a fair number of weblogs and/or journals who doesn’t think they have a broader understanding and perspective than they could get merely from newspapers and television. So no, blogging, in and of itself, can’t produce perfect equality (whatever that is), but that doesn’t mean it’s not an equalizer.

January 18, 2004

Porn Referrals

Posted by shonk at 12:33 AM | permalink | 5 comments

Every once in a while, somebody does something tasteless so ingeniously that I can only be impressed by the effort. For example, today I was browsing through my referral logs and kept seeing referrals made by a certain Paris-Hilton-video-related pseudo-blog which I had, oddly enough, noticed once or twice on the blogdex rankings last month. Curious, I spent some time scouring the supposed referrer for the link. I didn’t find one and so, being a bit out of the loop, I gave up and quickly forgot about it.

Until, that is, I quite randomly came across a post on the blogdex blog (which just sounds funny) talking about an exploitable loophole in the blogdex rankings first pointed out by Peter Caputa about a month ago. Caputa’s treatment is extensive, so I’ll just hit the highlights. Basically, this little bit of referrer spam spoofs servers into logging referrals from the perpetrator’s site. The goal is to target those sites (like this one) who link recent referrers on the main page. These links, in turn, get sucked up by various spiders like that employed by blogdex, which has the ultimate effect of boosting the spammer’s site in the blogdex rankings. At least until Cameron Marlow notices.

Clay Shirky weighs in :

Open systems grow faster than closed ones, and better allow for innovation. This creates value for their users. This value creates incentive for capturing that value, but the incentive is orthagonal to the value — spammers don’t care that their behavior damages the system that created the value to begin with.

Second, we’ve learned the lesson of standards and automation, so we have better hooks into our interfaces, for automatic manipulation, but this means better automation for people gaming the system as well. … The arms race is the same, but the speed with which value is created and the ease with which the manipulation can be automated now favor the spammers.

I think Shirky somewhat misses an opportunity to connect the first sentence above to the rest of what I quote. Spammers are “users”, too, and, though their interests may be at odds with mine or Shirky’s, the open system is creating value for them as well by way of affording them the opportunity to make a living by e-mail. Which is to say that the claim that “the incentive [for capturing value] is orthagonal [sic] to the value” is a bit non-sensical.

Anyway, back to blogdex: Dr. Weevil points out another blogdex-bombing strategy which, though much less efficient, is still surprisingly effective:

1. Start a weblog and keep it up for a few months.

2. Wait until 16-20 people have permalinked it. That’s the slow part.

3. Rent a new domain name.

4. When you transfer your blog to the new address, e-mail all the bloggers with permalinks to the old URL and ask them to update them with the new URL. It is unlikely that any will refuse, and most are so obsessively attached to their keyboards that updates will start appearing within the hour. Be sure to e-mail them all on the same day for maximum effect.

The cumulative effect of all the newly-created links to your weblog, supposing enough obsessive people care about you in the first place, should be a temporary jump up the blogdex rankings.

So what is blogdex going to do about all of this? Not much, according to Marlow (again, from the blogdex blog linked above):

Even though the type of exploit Peter points out has existed for years, and been taken advantage of a number of times, it hasn’t really drawn much attention. I thought about trying to build in some sort of system to detect sites with referral links on their front pages, but truth be told, it hasn’t really warranted that much work yet.

Deficiencies aside, though, I will say that blogdex is really an excellent resource. I’ve got their RSS feed set on “Update every 30 minutes” whenever I’ve got Net News Wire running (which is pretty much all the time). Also, be sure to check out Waypath, into which you can enter any blog post or web page you like and it will return a list of similar posts and pages from around the web. They’ve got a Movable Type plugin that I’m going to play around with a bit — if I like it, you may soon see it being used here.

UPDATE: As you can see just below, I’ve activated the Waypath plugin. I’m not sure quite what I think of it; if you have an opinion, please leave a comment and let me know.

December 18, 2003

Random Information, Possibly Useful

Posted by shonk at 01:43 AM | permalink | comment

Some of you may have noticed that in my bio and to the right I’ve posted an obfuscated version of my e-mail address. Basically, the obfuscation is a small javascript that, when the link is clicked, causes your mail client to enter my “real” e-mail address in the “To:” line (and displays the proper address in the status bar when you hover over the link), but what actually appears in the HTML that spamcrawlers sift through is an address at Spam Motel.

Why do I mention this? Because just today I received my first e-mail to my Spam Motel account. Needless to say, a piece of spam. Since I have yet to receive anything undesired in my actual account (created at the same time I brought the new domain online — that is, about a week ago), I’ll take this as the initial verification that the obfuscations scheme does indeed work. So if you have your own site but worry about spamcrawlers and don’t like the “joe at joeblog dot com” thing, you might want to check it out.

December 11, 2003

Recovering Lost Knowledge

Posted by shonk at 10:53 PM | permalink | 1 comment

In the process of moving, I had to re-do a lot of stuff I had done before but didn’t keep a record of. The most frustrating, so far, has been re-creating my “Reading” head (which should appear to the right). If I ever have to do this again, I want some minimal reminder of what to do and I figure someone might find this interesting.

Basically, I made a new blog called “Reading” in which the only template is the main index template. It uses the MT-Amazon plugin to get the book title, author and image from Amazon based on the ASIN number. The MT-Amazon tags grab the ASIN number of the book I’m reading from the latest entry in the blog, where I’ve simply used the ASIN as the title of the post.

From there, I just use a php include as suggested in this tutorial.

I admit, it’s pretty quick-and-dirty, but so far it seems to work.

Sudden Changes

Posted by shonk at 03:58 AM | permalink | 7 comments

Well, if you're reading this, you've realized that the site has moved.

The old domain is dead (or at least inactive), so I've gone out and gotten a new and better one.

I just spent the last three hours transferring all the old posts one-by-one, so I don't have the energy left to write anything intelligible. Hopefully everything will be back to normal within a couple of days.

If I have a spare day or two, I'll think about tackling the problem of trying to transfer all the old comments. As it is, though, I'm focusing on fixing up all the dead links and getting the content back to where it was.

Thanks for dropping by.

November 29, 2003

Anarchy? Kosmos? Commonwealth?

Posted by shonk at 11:26 AM | permalink | comment

Jonathan Wilde at Catallarchy makes a strong case for the blogosphere being a kosmos:

Last week I wrote about how the blogosphere is a free market anarchy - a system without any top-down command authority, where property rights are fully secured, coercion is nowhere to be found, and all relations are voluntary. At first blush, if you did not know I was taking about the blogosphere, a picture of an entropic free-for-all would have likely entired your mind upon reading everything after the hyphen in the previous sentence. No leader? Pandemonium! No design? Chaos! No control? Bedlam!

Yet, the as any denizen of the blogosphere knows, it is not chaotic. Why not?

The answer given by Wilde is that individuals like James Sifry and their inventions, like Technorati, Blogrolling, Trackback, RSS and many others give the blogosphere a structure. As Wilde says,

Each of these implementations [Technorati, Blogrolling, Trackback, etc.] were created by different individuals, such as Sifry, pursuing their own ends. There was no central authority barking out orders or making grand designs. The inception of a solid anatomy to the blogosphere was an entirely peripheral phenomenon.
Now, I like Wilde's analysis, but I think he makes a much stronger case for the blogosphere being a kosmos than a free-market anarchy. After all, no matter how much some people seem to live their whole lives in the blogosphere, nobody really lives there and the potential for causing damages is relatively minimal. You can't shoot someone through their blog.

However, this is by no means an attempt to discredit the importance of the blogosphere (and other online phenomena) as a counter-example to institutional or authoritarian thinking. Again to quote Wilde:

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in convincing authoritarians about the benefits of a free society is their inability to accept the fact that order can can be an emergent property of individual action. For them, all facets of life have to have some sort of grand blueprint implemented by expert soverigns. The cannot conceive of the economy, culture, infrastructure, morality, or society itself as a bottom-up result of billions of autonomous individual actions. Yet, the blogosphere is a vivid example of how wrong they are.
This notion of emergent order is one that is receiving more academic attention of late, hopefully to the detriment of those who think order can only come from dictates from on high or "democratic" legislation.

That all having been said, I think Politburo Diktat's map of the Commonwealth of Blogosphere is excellent.

November 25, 2003

Is Blogging Dying?

Posted by shonk at 02:04 AM | permalink | comment

John Dvorak thinks so. However, I tend to agree with Steve Gillmor's rebuttal, with the additional comment that blogs like InstaPundit, Doc Searls and Crooked Timber are changing the way we read and think. As are many of the less well-known, more specialized blogs like Samizdata and Football Outsiders.

On an unrelated note, for those that didn't notice back in May, an accountant from Tennessee won the World Series of Poker, worth $2.5 million, after qualifying by winning an online tournament with an entry fee of $40.

And now, you too can get fucked by religion (or, at least, religious icons). Let the Catholic schoolgirl jokes commence.

November 23, 2003

You lookin' for me?

Posted by shonk at 03:15 PM | permalink | comment

For the last 3 weeks, I've been keeping track of search-engine referrals to this site. In keeping with the most clichéd of blog clichés, here's a list of what people have been looking for when they ended up here.


-guinness commercial brilliant

-car novelty kid pissing decal

-gay "larry ellison "

-"Divide and Scamper"

-"francesco maurolico" demorgan

-nba numerical analysis gambling

-critque of austrian economics


-shockey girlfriend cuban model

-rachel boim freedom

-Kafka's worldview

-philadelphia mayorial election results

-"End of the World Animation" x2

-movie waves teacher high school hitler

Google (Bulgarian language version):


Google France:

-paul samahvalov

Google India:

-shonk technologies


-Banal industrial wastes

-"end-of-the-world animation" x2

-glorify black quarterbacks

-anecdote story on Maurice Clarett

-modern people likened to mythology

-Maurolico and induction

-Rachel Boim


-structure selling conversation


-"un chien andalou"

My favorites by far are "movie waves teacher high school hitler" and "Banal industrial wastes". I have no idea what those people were looking for, but I hope they found it.

October 19, 2003


Posted by shonk at 03:06 PM | permalink | comment

In lieu of interesting (or not-so-interesting) posts, I've been making some minor upgrades to this site. My CSS now validates (though I admit that didn't take much work; the MT template was pretty close) and I've made the "Reading" head to the right a sideblog, so I don't have to modify my index template every time I start a new book. My question is, are there any other modifications you would like to see? For example, is this page too large? Should I only display the last week's worth of entries rather than the last month? Are there any other sideblogs you'd like to see added? (see's "Thinking", "Feeling Guilty", etc. for examples of what can be done with sideblogs) Should I get rid of the little calendar-thingy at the top-right? Anything else you'd like to see either added or gotten rid of? Or is it perfect just the way it is?

October 16, 2003


Posted by shonk at 03:10 AM | permalink | comment

Added "About" pages for Curt and myself (see links at right). Mine includes my scary student ID picture. Curt hasn't written his yet, the slacker. Other than that, I've spent the entire day writing topology proofs. And you thought your life sucked.

September 21, 2003

Evil Temptations

Posted by shonk at 01:51 AM | permalink | comment

The ability to edit any and all of the comments made on this blog is, at times, extremely enticing. I just want you all to know how much restraint I'm exercising here.

September 12, 2003

How uncool became cool

Posted by Curt at 08:21 PM | permalink | comment

As my brother so graciously introduced me, I am his brother, Curt, also known by my Arabic nickname al-Curtizini (that should get a few hits from the Justice Department-viva Google!). This I think is important to note, lest my brother be slanderously accused of saying all the things that appear under his imprimateur. I must say, after I learned that he had started a blog, the first thing that came to my mind was the question: "Yeah, but does it have lots of cool text links?" This, to me, was the real mark of authenticity, the thing that really elevates a blog beyond a simple online diary and makes it a portal of information on the Internet. But what actually is the point of these links? I have always been struck, when I think about them consciously, by the degree to which the very different functions of pseudo-advertising, helpful reference and tacit boasting of cultural literacy have become fused in the form of links on most sites of reasonable sophistication. This is hardly a new phenomenon; in academia, where the sophisticated use of texts is one of the pre-eminent signs of achievement, scholarly citations, in greater or lesser degrees of formality, have long performed a similar mulitiplicity of tasks. Of course, the difference lies principally in magnitude and content. Scholarly prowess has always had a limited appeal, and not only among those who cannot construct a decent syllogism. An air of unworldliness enwraps the library, and a sort of hushed attitude towards knowledge is cultivated there. The Internet is another thing entirely, and its users as well; they seem somehow more engaged with the world, partly because they encounter a much more heterogenous portion of it on the Internet than readers do in a library. If researchers at the Library in Alexandria had had to sift through shelves full of porno to discover Euclid's treatises (well, maybe they did) academics might have been spared millenia of Swiftian barbs. For a truly discerning and perceptive congnoscento of the Internet, few in my experience will dismiss such as him as either pedantically abstract or intellectually shallow. He seems in fact, to have mastered the librarian's virtues, the scholarly corraling of information, while at the same time interacting deftly with a very wide swath of humanity, for practically everything in the world has its surrogate in digital media today, as pieces of information, and so the skills of the librarian are no longer just for the ghost-world of the library itself, but for the world-represented-as-a-library which is the Internet. This all makes me think of a story by one of our greatest librarian-artists, Borges, called "The Library of Babel," which depicts the entire world as, quite literally, a library, where different nations occupy different reading-rooms and the most intrepid explorers are librarians who venture to distant shelves searching for profound books with unnamable words in them. Anyway, the effect of such a fiction by Borges, who synthesizes an incredible array of various forms of media detritus and scraps of information into a dizzying and grand structure, would perhaps, though greatly different in degree, not be so different in kind from the effect produced by an urbane, widely ranging blog. And there you have my rough equivalence principle, as well as my own rather archaic form of boast/reference/advertisement, via allusion: Borges=Shonkwiler.

September 11, 2003

New Author

Posted by shonk at 07:21 PM | permalink | comment

I've extended co-author privileges to my brother, so be prepared in the future for a few posts originating in his unusual mind.

September 08, 2003

Odd Searches

Posted by shonk at 11:48 PM | permalink | comment

Well, I knew it had to happen sometime. Today, this site was referred by some unusual searches on Yahoo. Specifically, "buying speak elvish tapes" and "how people respond to selling cocaine in philadelphia". Now, I am constantly amazed by the fact that people still don't know how to formulate a search query (and that anybody still uses Yahoo! Search, but that's another story), but I'm further amazed that this site somehow ended up near the top of the search-engine list for those queries. Neither is anything I've talked about, and I've only mentioned Elvish and cocaine in passing, but the Googlebot moves in mysterious ways.

Hmm...that sounds like a theology for the Internet Age. The Googlebot as God (or maybe just Google...the Googlebot could be like the Holy Spirit), blog as confession, comment pages as penance, and getting your first name in the top ten on Google as heaven. Hey, there are even oracles. I'm convinced we could attain tax-free status if we just pushed this thing as an official religion.

September 05, 2003


Posted by shonk at 11:06 PM | permalink | comment

As of right now, this page is the first one listed by Google if you look up "shonk". I'm so proud, especially since I'm sure thousands of people search for that particular string every day.

Also, I've added an icon to the page, so if you add me to your bookmarks (or "Favorites" for you IE people), you can see my little orange-and-white concoction. Okay, it looks sorta crappy, but nobody ever accused me of being an artist.

For some reason, I just haven't felt much like writing this week. Or, really, since I got to Philadelphia. I blame it on not having any work to procrastinate about. Which will probably change very soon, so we'll see what happens (of course, with my luck, I'll end up with so much work that I can't even procrastinate about it).

August 29, 2003

I Love WiFi

Posted by shonk at 04:00 PM | permalink | comment

As I type this on my laptop, I'm sitting in the Philadelphia airport, waiting for my flight to Toronto to board. AT&T Wireless has a free WiFi network in the airport, so I can post to the blog, surf the web and talk to my girlfriend on ICQ, all without paying or plugging anything in. God I love technology!

August 28, 2003

Michelle's Answers

Posted by shonk at 07:28 PM | permalink | comment

Michelle answered my interview questions today. They're good answers, so check them out.

August 27, 2003

Picture Me Behind the Mike

Posted by shonk at 12:37 AM | permalink | comment

Okay, my first interview victim is Michelle. Remember to copy and paste the rules above your answers.

1. Why do you keep a personal website?

2. What's your favorite way to spend an evening?

3. What do you think about self-portraits as an art form?

4. What's your first memory?

5. Why did you get your first tattoo?

August 22, 2003

Interview Time

Posted by shonk at 02:04 AM | permalink | 1 comment

Unlike most, I don't have an "About" page on my blog. Instead, I'm getting interviewed by Petya. She had some tough questions, but I'm not sure what they reveal about me.


1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.

2. I will respond; i'll ask you five questions.

3. You'll update your website with my five questions, and your five answers.

4. You'll include this explanation.

5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

1. How would you spend your dream summer vacation?

That's a tough one, because I like both seeing lots of different places on a vacation and getting to know one place really well. They're very different experiences, but both exciting. However, since I'm convinced you can never really get to know a place unless you live there, I think I'd want to visit a broad variety of locales. Eat in cafes, people-watch, go to unpopular bars, listen to local bands, go to lots of museums. Ideally, several places in Eastern and Western Europe, South America, Asia and even Africa, though it's not known as a tourist destination aside from safaris. And I'd want to go with someone I loved so that we could share the experiences, both the roaches under the beds and great architecture, both the train delays and the Joycian epiphanies on the streets.

2. What foreign language would you like to learn?

For practical and literary reasons, Russian or Chinese. For sentimental reasons, Bulgarian. Don't make me choose.

3. If you could replace George W. Bush with any woman in history, who would that woman be?

Sappho. Both because I admire her work and because I think having a poet-president would be cool.

4. What gives you pleasure and makes you feel guilty at the same time?

Books. Reading them, buying them, stockpiling them. I love books because you can hold them, you can take them anywhere, they smell good, they're permanent, and they're both fun and educational (even fiction, which I think is often more "true" - whatever that means - than non-fiction). I feel guilty about reading, though, because I often do it to the exclusion of everything else, including socializing, studying, working and sleeping. I feel guilty buying them because I could get them for free at the library and save lots of money, but if I did that I wouldn't have them all readily accessible whenever I want to look up a passage or re-read a chapter at 4:00 in the morning. I feel guilty about stockpiling them primarily in my back when I move, since, at last count, I've got about 7 boxes of 'em (plus 5 bookcases).

5. What is the best advice your mom ever gave you?

"Don't let dishes pile up in your sink." Seriously, though, I think the best advice my mom ever gave me was "Women think differently than you do." Which wasn't intended to be a put-down on either women or myself, but just to let me know that women have a different perspectives, different values, different incentives. Which wasn't to imply that women are homogeneous in their thinking, just that they tend to think differently in similar ways. Honestly, I wish I'd remembered that advice more often than I did. And, of course, it really applies almost as well to all of humanity. Everybody thinks differently than everybody else, and a failure to recognize that is the cause of most disputes, I think.

Okay, now if anybody wants to be interviewed by me, just leave me a comment (no more than 5).

Other news:

Over there to the right, just below the book I'm currently reading, I've added a link to the list of books I've read since last September. Hope you find it handy (I'm not going to link to where you can get each one, but if you can't find one, let me know and I can probably point you in the right direction).

Oh, and speaking of reading, there's a 30 story building just outside my window with a big scrolling marquee flashing messages all night. Here's five minutes worth (seven scrolling letters at a time):



















I think you can see why I usually keep my blinds closed.

July 31, 2003

Generic Layout

Posted by shonk at 04:16 AM | permalink | comment

The layout is generic and lame. I know this. I knew this before the thought ever crossed your mind. Someday, I'll change it.