Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, December 19, 2003

The Terrible Twos

Well, it's finally gotten easy enough, so I herewith launch out into the fetid, overcrowded harbor of blogginess, courtesy of some computerized thingamabobber. You know, when they tapped out the old "what hath God wrought" line on the telegraph, I'm sure they figured this is where it would lead. Serves 'em right.
Thus at 11:29:35 on the morning of December 20, 2001 did Possumblog come into being.

A lot's happened in the intervening one hundred four weeks, and I just figured out that I've managed to type up about 1.3 million words, some of which even made sense.

Over the past 24 months, this silly hobby has allowed me to vent and spew and chatter aimlessly, all the while getting to correspond with hundreds of the most interesting sorts of people from all over the world, and two absolute jerks. I started this exercise partially as a way to gain some emotional catharsis from the events of September 11 of that same year. I'd been playing on the Internet for couple of years, hanging out at various message board sites and leaving the odd comment (some more odd than others) here and there. It was interesting in its own way, but there sure seemed to be a high concentration of idiots with the brains of a gerbil hanging around. Too much stupid, even for me. What I knew of weblogs at the time was limited, but I was no more impressed--they seemed awfully heavy with poetically maudlin teen angst. I did find several humor sites to enjoy, including the quirky Institute of Official Cheer, by some guy up in Minnesota. We wrote back and forth a good bit--I was one of the ones who got him to join the Straight Dope Message Board (which broke down almost as soon as he signed up).

And then, September.

It jarred something loose, I suppose. All the raw feelings, the sense of imbalance, the dark thoughts--they needed to be said.

For right or wrong, there is a stoicism I impose upon myself in the face of hard times--a jaw to the wind, hands on hips, 'don't worry kids--Dad'll fix it' sort of construct. It's dumb posturing, I suppose, but there are enough things to worry about in the world, and I think my wife and kids deserve something solid and dependable they can count on when they have their rough patches. But those thoughts were still there, and didn't need to sit around--they make mischief, you know.

So, I wrote.

There might not be anyone at work to unburden on; I might not feel comfortable even if there were. I might not want to stand face-to-face with someone and admit my limits. But I could sure put words down on paper. Think about them. Rearrange them. Get them to say what I felt. I wrote, and it felt good. Some of those things are still out there, some still stuck on my hard drive. But it felt good.

And then, one day that Minnesota guy had some links to some of those silly weblog sites--but these were nothing like I had read before. Tight, concise, reasoned, informed--better written than 95% of what passes for popular journalism today. I was hooked. Couldn't get enough of them.

Finally, it looked like there might be a way to not only write for my own consumption, but also maybe even see if there was anyone else out there who might enjoy it. A dangerous proposition, to be sure, but one that was undertaken with much vim and vitality, and occasionally the use of a dictionary.

I wrote, and continue to do so, with the idea that although I may not have a person physically in the room with me, there's at least an imaginary one sitting right over there in the chair by the door, and that person wants to hear what I have to say. I respect him enough to not feel I have to explain every little obscure reference, but if he misses one, I'll back up a bit. I figure he's smarter and better read than me, so I try to make sure I have my facts right. I know some of the stuff bores him, so he'll get up and leave--but the cool thing is, there will come along someone else! Then I blabber until he's bored.

I write about the stuff I want to write about, and for better or worse, Possumblog has steadfastly resisted easy categorization. Part of that is intentional--once someone thinks he has you pegged, the tendency is to forget about you. You're as likely to find a post on Bucephalus as you are on barbecue; on etiquette as you are on flatulence. I try to make sure the subject and verb agree in number, that the spelling is right, the adjectives and adverbs are modifying the right things, and participles are strapped in as tight as Michael Jackson's baby dangling over a balcony. [Most of the time--and sometimes it takes a couple of more swipes throught the edit tool after it's been posted. If something looks weird, wait a while and reload and maybe it'll be corrected. If not, send me a note and let me fix it.] The style, what there is of it, is conversational--I can get all thoughty and eloquent when the situation calls for it, but most of the time it just give me a headache. I don't mind making fun of myself, or anyone else that deserves it. I appreciate every single time someone mentions me or links to me, but I don't go begging for folks to read my scintillating thoughts on maritime salvage law or The Lord of the Rings. For having done this for so long (relatively speaking) and for being somewhat widely read (relatively speaking), I have a pretty paltry total number of visitors. That's okay by me. Again, I'm not trying to make money off of this or be the first name that pops into your head when you want to know about something--so, whether I get one hundred or one thousand hits in a day, I'm no better or worse off. If you come, I'm glad you're here--hang out, send me an e-mail or leave a comment, and come again.

I've thought on more than one occasion that once I got to some particular point--certain date, certain number of posts, whatever--that I would stop writing this. Sometimes it does get in the way, and sometimes it feels forced, and sometimes I can't say what I want, and sometimes I just don't want to do it. Last month, I vowed that if I got to my two-year anniversary that I would just pack up the shop and call it quits. Don't quite know why, just felt that way. Today, I think I could make a go of it all the way in to the second week of January!

Anyway, so--as Possumblog hits its Terrible Twos, I want to thank all of you who have come by and hope that you found something that made you think, or laugh, or grit your teeth, or cry, or best of all, something that made you decide to come back again. Have a seat over there, grab you a glass of sweet tea, and let's see what all else comes around.

OF COURSE, having said all that, I must now tell you that ALL of next week I will be at home for Christmas vacation, meaning that there won't be any new stupidness here until the 29th (Check the archives for old stupidness.) I will be keeping up with e-mail and comments, though, so if you get an itch, drop me a note.

Until I see you again, I wish you all good tidings and a merry Christmas.

Let no Pleasure tempt thee, no Profit allure thee, no Ambition corrupt thee, no Example sway thee, no Persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be Evil; So shalt thou always live jollily: for a good Conscience is a continual Christmass.--Benjamin Franklin

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