Tag Archives: blogging

Don’t be scared, but this blog has been phoenixed

Dolores Park San Francisco Another year, and my computer is humming just a little bit louder, a hipster choir boy wearing skinny jeans underneath his robe on a chilly morning. One day ‘ol compy will hit that high-c and leave me to audition on The Voice. Until then, grease spots and Cairo dust will speckle this beautiful machine in peace.

And beautiful it is, just as all of you are (especially you, Mom), glowing with opportunity in the now-slightly-used New Year.

I’ve already thrown away six pairs of underpants. What have you done? Share it in the comments while I move onto a different topic.

Three of you are (or were) avid readers of this blog. 80% of you are 30% related to me and at least one of you knows what I’m about to say, but here it goes anyways:

I’ve phoenixed the blog.

This blog, the one you see before you, the one graced with the semi-unfortunate “Let’s Ovulate” post and other posts of various quality, this very blog has been transformed. It was burned to the ground in a bonfire worthy of being Freshly Pressed and its ashes left to blow forsaken across Google image search results, a sad few stumble-uponers mistakenly subscribing for a blog that was no more.

But a dead blog this shall be no longer.

From the ashes, a fire has been woken. A blog from the tombs has sprung. The blogger awakened has been. And posts, glorious posts overflowing, shall once again tumble like jewels from the mouth of an enchanted sea lion.

This, however, is not the same Snotting Black that it once was, born in the land of Egypt and raised in various apartments in Giza.

Just as Gandalf was transformed after falling into the depths of Moria, so has this blog been changed. After months of rumination, countless tears, and several poptarts, I have decided to redirect this blog’s focus, and the most creative thing I could come up with was “a blog about San Francisco.”

Luckily for me, it doesn’t seem like anyone else has thought of this topic, so I hope to take over the market fairly quickly.

For some reason (possibly the chip in my brain), I’ve been finding the world and the humans in it more fascinating by the day. My goal in Snotting Black 2.0 (which will retain its original name and not be called Snotting Black 2.0), is to impart some of the wonder of the world to you, through telling stories about San Francisco. It’s as simple as that.

In contrast to this blog’s previous life, I will now try to impart knowledge, meaning, or some kind of feeling into your very being, whether you want me to or no. This means there will be facts. There will be interviews. There will be real pictures of real places with real people who didn’t want their picture taken.

I may have already said too much, but I hope I set the bar high. I don’t know how long I have in this city before it’s incinerated by God’s wrath, and I aim to do a lot of exploring before then.

See you around town.

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Life Would Be Easier if I Didn’t Blog

the blogging muscle is close to the trapezius muscle.

Boom. I’m sitting on a borrowed airbed in a small room with one window that faces into a courtyard full of construction and home-maintenance equipment and old shoes.  My fingernails are getting too long and doing that thing where they click on the keyboard and it’s driving me insane but the cure is far far away in the bathroom.

It’s early-ish in the morning, and I’m in the part of the day I designated as “blogging time.” My hair is clean, my face is puffy, and I’m sitting at my computer still coated in Cairo-dust. And as I go to blog a blog, I find I’m gosh-darn-it stumped and have no idea what to write about. Should  I talk about my new job in a way that doesn’t reveal the fact I’m only doing it for the granola bars? Should I discuss cats? Should I try to write a fiction post about popsicle sticks and fish scales?

I was having a real time with it, and then the thought occurred to me, “This would just be easier if I didn’t blog.” Ding! Ding Ding! We have a winner! Balloons fell from the ceiling, a man with a kazoo and a clown’s nose started parading around my room and I had to ask him to leave, the band struck up a number, and I knew I had my blog topic.

If I didn’t blog, I would never have to worry about what to write on. I would never feel guilty for not blogging or delayed responses to comments, or have to figure out how to describe my blog to other people. Me: “It’s a humor blog….I write about things I think are funny….” Other person: (eyeroll) (swift kick in my gut). My life would be marginally easier and I would have more free time to fill with poking other people on facebook.

But, and here’s the cheesy awful part. I lurve blogging, and the less I do, the harder it is. The times I feel most on top of my blogging game are when I’m crushing it with 5 posts a week and can feel those blogging engines primed and ready to shoot off into unexplored areas of the human intestine. It’s when I lower this standard that blogging becomes more difficult and it’s easier to imagine my life without Snotting Black.

Blogging is a muscle. Writing is a muscle. The heart is a muscle. The airbed I’m sitting on is a muscle. And if we don’t use these muscles, they die and go to the place where atrophied muscles soak in hot tubs all day and get pruny while talking about their former glory. It’s disgusting and I don’t want my blogging muscle to go there, yet.

I wrote this meta-post so it could get some exercise. Now it’s your turn to exercise the muscle of something you love to do.

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Please Love Me

I’m looking for housing. Unfortunately, I live in San Francisco, where housing prices operate on some sort of looped scheme from the future so everything’s too expensive. In other words: it’s a long, pricey journey to find a place to rest my head.

Take a look at the first couple craigslist postings and you’ll see what I mean. One person asked me to write three paragraphs on myself just so they could consider whether or not they want me. And I did it knowing I’ll probably never hear from them. I’d have written a short story, composed a poem, or emailed them a video of me dancing. I would do whatever it takes. We all would. We are the housing seekers, and we are something less than human.

It’s not enough to have friends in the city. You need to have 800 friends in the city, and not so they can let you know if anything’s opening up in their apartment building, because there isn’t. And if there is, it’s too expensive or there’s a drug lord that lives downstairs or it’s a 20 minute walk to the nearest pharmacy and you don’t like the idea that one day you’ll have to debate letting that infection fester or walking a mile in the dark to pick up the prescription, your mind addled with fever. You need the friends so you can stay with them indefinitely, so that when one friend tires of your presence, you can move onto the next who will welcome you with open arms and a warm place for your head.

If I could say anything to the people with an empty room in their apartment out there in this city, especially if they’re closer to downtown, the Mission, or Alamo Square, I would say: please love me. I’m out here trying to make it, just like you. If it pleases you I’ll be quiet and clean, and if not I’ll be loud and messy. If you want, I’ll chat with you in the kitchen after you get home from work, maybe make you a cup of tea or offer you a cold one or a wet one if you’d prefer that. I might kiss you on the cheek, if you really need that kind of support, and I’d certainly offer to tuck you into bed at night and turn the lights out and say I love you even if I don’t mean it. I’d do that for you.

And one day, when I’m a famous author, I’ll mention you to the crowd as I accept the Pulitzer Prize for best work in science fiction humor journalism, and say that it was Cynthia Crabblestick after all who helped me be who I was today, because she let me into her home and let me pay rent and wash my dishes (and hers sometimes), and didn’t complain when I woke up early or when I was laughing by myself in my bedroom.

Thank you, Cynthia. This is for you. Let me take you out to coffee with my millions of dollars of winnings.

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Weather: The Forbidden Topic

I read once that an author should never start a book with the weather. I don’t remember who said this. It was in the context of a Guardian article in which writers shared their wisdom on writing, and this particular author (I believe it was a woman) mentioned one exception, that there was an author that was allowed to start a book with the weather  (I believe it was a man). The reason I bring this up is because I want to talk about the weather but couldn’t lead with it, so instead I introduced the whole topic of weather-discussion through the very fact it is forbidden at the beginning of a work, such as a blog post.

Let’s start in San Francisco, where I’m looking out the window through the gaps between the blinds. I can’t see much, but what I do see is shades of grey and raindrops, but it’s not sensual. It’s cold and I want to get back into bed and see how many months I can sleep.

If I were the heroine of a romantic novel, I would probably choose this time to go wandering the streets in inappropriate footwear. If I were a detective in an action movie, I’d smoke a cigarette on the street corner somewhere and remember an afternoon all dappled in sunlight in my life before I started police work and got caught bum-deep in the grime of the city. Part of me wishes I had stayed in the sun, but the other knows I didn’t have a choice. I take one last drag on the cigarette and toss it to the ground, waiting to hear the “tssss” of the embers dying in the water.

My real character sits in the mostly dark of her room and types, looking out the slats of the blind occasionally and piecing together the world behind it. The day is October 22, 2012. The rain falls harder outside. Next week is Halloween and a celebration of all kinds of things the administrators of my elementary school found frightening enough to have a night at the gym called “Hallelujah Night” to counteract it. I don’t think it worked, considering many of those students later wound up as pimps and ho’s at frat parties, the dressing-up itch still unscratched. And now they’re deciding who they will be all over again.

North of here, maybe it’s sunny. South of here, it’s definitely sunny. In the lumpy parts of the United States, snow is already falling. As people are leaving their houses all across America, some grab umbrellas, rain boots, down jackets, wind jackets, suit coats, water bottles, brown-bag lunches, and keys. They pat the dog, kiss the loved one, and get in the car, run to the bus, or hop on the bike. It might be wet, dry, hot, cool, leafy, humid, gray, or bright on the outside. Maybe they wish it was a different way, but that doesn’t change what they have to do, unless we’re talking about chalk artists or hot air balloonists.

Now comes the time for some great metaphor about the weather, or better yet, a simile. I’ll say, “The weather is like a hot dog, but you don’t always have to enjoy eating it when the bun is soggy.” You can unpack that statement, or move onto the next one which is this: soon I have to leave to get on the train and go to work, where I’ll probably sing to an 18 mo-old. I’m going to read a book on the train and I’m looking forward to that, despite the weather. I hope you have something you’re looking forward to today as well.

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Lord of the Blog

One blog to rule them all, one blog to find them. One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the blogosphere where the shadows lie.

Beware of Mark.

Long ago, in an age that has been forgotten, evil covered the earth. Men struck each other down with their hands, teenagers used poor spelling in social media posts, and children dreamt nightly of living inside a television, in order to break the last barrier between them and the only thing they loved. Humans were slaves of chaos, fear, and greed. Art was rendered impossible, as was music. Only bare shrieks were heard in the never-ending nights.

Then hope came in the form of the Googles, a race sent from Outside to restore order to the earth, a daunting task. But the Googles were a wise race, emboldened with cutting-edge technology and neat glasses. They were strong, powerful, and benevolent. Through their kind words and endless tutorials, the people began to hear and see beyond themselves for the first time after years in the dark.

Decades of toil passed until music could be heard in the streets once again, spilling over from warm homes that were broken no longer. Art covered the walls of cities, and men and women greeted each other with a smile and a how-do-you-do as they went about their business.

But the peace was not to last, for living among the Googles and the earth peoples there lay a snake in the grass, a wolf in sheepskin, a polar bear in a baby seal suit, and its name was Mark. It gets a little complicated, but essentially Mark was a fallen archangel with some serious attitude problems and the overwhelming desire for everyone to worship him. Alas, through his aura of salivation-inducing coolness and his superior coding abilities, he fooled the Googles and earth peoples into giving him their trust, and they knew not that they spelled their own ruin.

Baiting them with honeyed words, Mark used the Googles to construct the ultimate weapon of all time: the blogosphere. He told them that it would be a massive art project, something of true beauty, where anyone who wanted to could write or post or share to their hearts content and thus enrich the lives of other earth dwellers. And thus it was a thing of true beauty, with one horrifying, deadly flaw.

He enlisted their help in building one Blog that was to guide the others and help them achieve their full potential. It was to be the most powerful Blog in the blogosphere, one that only Mark could use. And so it happened. He created a blog so compelling, so readable, that all others wanted to be like it and bent to its will. Each keystroke controlled an army and every post could incite millions to action or passivity. The world breathed only with the Blog’s permission.

With hearts and minds in sway, Mark soon used the one Blog to inspire the earth dwellers to war with the Googles, and the age of prosperity was no more, with darkness once again consuming the earth and cat pictures populating the blogosphere.

Ages later, the password to the Blog was lost and Mark was diminished and moved to Minneapolis. But still the Blog waits, for those who would find it and aspire to wield its power and become Lord of the Blog.

But there is only one. And he is in Minneapolis. Fellow bloggers, beware.

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