I’ve never understood this bittersweet narcissism within myself. I love to wander lonely streets in unknown cities. To find a cafe and order a coffee and think to myself — here I am, known to no one, drinking my coffee and reading my paper. To sit somewhere just barely out of the rain, and declare that my fortress. I think of myself in the third person: Who is he? What is his mystery? I have explained before how I’m attracted to anonymous formica restaurants where I can read my book and look forward to rice pudding for desert. To leave that warm place and enter the dark city is a strange pleasure. Nostalgia perhaps.

[Roger Ebert, “All the lonely people“]

The internet has a strange sense of death. There is a rush for immediacy, for action, for content of all kinds. Functionally, it’s like that unknown city, rush and bustle and bother and noise noise noise. Especially noise. There’s noise of colour and noise of words, noise of image and noise of news, noise of opinion and noise of importance. Anything less than the loud alarum clamour of constant updates is seen as death. Or at least terminal illness.

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Mr Pond is a pseudonym

I just wrote a somewhat light-hearted post about The Many Lives of Mr Galbraith over at the The Hog’s Head. Or rather, I wrote a post about how I was going to write a post, but there have been so many posts written about J. K. Rowling’s secret identity that I eventually found someone who’d already said all I wanted to say. You might want to read it if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Which, if you’re reading this, you probably are.

Also, have you been following Katherine Langrish’s Magical Classics series over at her blog? You should be. Follow it because it’s awesome, and it’s talking about all my favourite books. And as an added bonus, I’ll be contributing a post shortly about The King of Ireland’s Son, by Padraic Colum. I’ll post a link here once it’s written and live. This is a wonderful book, and I’m thrilled to have a professional excuse to reread it. You’ll love it too—listen:

Laheen the Eagle spread out her wings and flew away, and the King’s Son journeyed on, first with the sun before him and then with the sun at his back, until he came to the shore of a wide lake. He turned his horse away, rested himself on the ground, and as soon as the clear day came he began to watch for the three swans.

more fanbots

I’m rather enjoying the quality of spam that’s appearing on this blog, lately. A robot calling itself “Apartments in Mesa” is nothing short of enthusiastic:

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so
much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a
bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.

A great read. I will definitely be back.

OK, I’m a little worried that I’m reading a robot’s mind—in fact I’m worried that robots even have minds (no offence, Apartments). And I’m more than a little worried about that last part. The Terminator wasn’t even that emphatic: “I’ll DEFINITELY be back!” But maybe Apartments in Mesa will take the automated advice of its learned colleague, UV Polish:

Hello Dear, are you in fact visiting this website daily, if so afterward
you will definitely obtain fastidious experience.

That’s the thing about this new generation of fanbot: they’re definite. They will definitely be back daily to obtain still more fastidious experience from my excellent blog. Which makes me wonder if the bot known as 4Beta is being unduly critical:

I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t solid., but what if you added a title that makes
people want more? I mean whiskers. The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond is kinda plain.

Although you know what? I actually kinda like that. So forget The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond—
I hereby rename this site WHISKERS.



I had a twinge of regret today as I deleted a spam comment, generated from some insentient bot spewing random words via a French IP address, bearing the following declaration:

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

Just sayin’.

all things must pass

Hi tavqyrad! It’s been 3139 (wow, that’s a big number) days since you joined Xanga…

I’m getting ready to delete my Xanga account. Most of you probably don’t even know I ever had a Xanga account. Funny, but it’s true. I won’t link back to it, because the link will be dead before too long. There’s a Kickstarter going to to keep Xanga alive, but that should probably be called a Jumpstarter. There seem to be a few hundred people interested in paying money to keep it going, and some with very good reason—a lot of stories of loneliness and hurt and tragedy, and finding a loving supporting community on Xanga.

I’m not among them, though. Like so many of my generation, Xanga was just part of my undergrad experience, more or less. I Xangaed from November 2004 to January 2008 with increasing irregularity, so do your own calculations for guessing my age. Looking back over it, a lot of the later posts fretted over my apparent guilt-complex about not blogging enough. My penultimate post reads:

If I updated my blog, as if it were a blog, who would notice?
And for those of you who would notice, is it really the best way to communicate with you?
Does it really matter?

Posted 1/26/2008 5:57 PM

[Obligatory screenshot:image

It’s worth noting how much higher resolution my current monitor is than Xanga seems to have anticipated. Also, notice that Firefox is helpfully suggesting I meant, not Xanga. That’s interesting! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as tanga—it takes twa, no? ]

This was followed a few days later by a straw poll on what readers might like to see on my Xanga. The rest is silence.

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