ebogjonson.com's ebog housekeeping archive

about this particular blog; in the main only of interest to the hardcore

June 15, 2007

gone fishing

I'm off to Seattle to attend Clarion West. See you in August, maybe sooner.

Posted by ebogjonson at 5:35 PM | Permalink

May 26, 2007

i'm just loving the world into a crisis of change

Sorry for the non-posting, but your droog and humble narrator has been a bit distracted the last month or so. The list of stuff that's gotten in the way of the bloggery is long, but the main culprit has been a fairly mundane and workaday time-crunch, some pals having employed me since the start of April to think about the Internet for them. As a result, '07 has been crap when it comes to the posting, and those of you who are still around to read this update-cum-apologia really do walk super-saintly in the light of the god/patron saints/loa/whatever of personal publishing. I mean, I have literally stopped telling people I have a blog, such is the wasterlandery of EBOG'07: January I was recovering from Kenya, February I was tending to a sick nana, March I was recovering from tending to a sick nana, and April and May I was out earning the Yankee dollar, bringing us up to the present, five months with a grand total of 10 posts tops. Crap, I tell you!

More cryptically, I will also confess that since about New Years I've been in the throes of one of those periodic, every 7-years or so psychic spasms, a kind of transformative life-seizure that threatens to reset about everything before it wanes, leaving me with little in the way of spare cycles to devote to, say, Alberto Gonzales or Imus or the new LCD Soundsystem record. It's a shame, because so much is happening about which I think I have a cent or two to throw in, but thems be the proverbial blogger-breaks. Fortunately, the world is so chock-full of smart, entirely google-able people who are constantly saying things I would have said, just as well and better. Everyday I read the blogs and feel outraged and depressed, sure, but also old-fashioned inspired at how many fine people there are out in the world putting words and ideas and pictures and things together. My only regret is that all of you don't live in Downtown LA, thereby allowing us to have a pint together, develop crushes on one another, run around and plot world domination, or, barring that, utopia. My template for the way I feel about my blog-roll and daily blog reading habits is Fort Greene, Brooklyn in the 1990s, a time and place when everyone I ever wanted to know lived a few blocks away from me and did the same work I did, when we all belonged to the same dial-up BBS (!), i.e., Omar Wasow and Peta Hoyes' New York Online. Aging "golden age" cranks are a bore, I know, but I really do have to say that I have seen the rise-and-fall of our era's last/best promised land, and its lingering hold on my thoughts and inclinations is precisely why each and every one of you seems so familiar to me. It really and truly is like we all got high together once in someone's park-facing apartment; it's completely amazing.

Since we're all buds here, I feel like I have to warn you, though, that posting will likely continue to be similarly thin heading through August, this because on top of everything else I've been accepted to, er, an intensive six-week workshop for writers preparing for professional careers in science fiction and fantasy, held annually in Seattle, Washington, USA. So I might be out of the loop a bit. I head to Seattle in couple of weeks and won't be "back" (whatever that means. I'm barely here now) until 8/3 or so, and I've been warned that the pace of writing (a story a week for six weeks) has made it difficult for bloggers and journalers to get their entry-a-day in. We'll see.

I went to a graduation (not mine) a few weeks ago that was complicated and bitter for a bunch of reasons best explicated elsewhere, but in the midst of what was a classic downward spiral I was literally shocked out of myself by a speaker on stage exhorting the exiting class to "love the world into a crisis of change." (Does anyone know where that line is from?) What a strange and random and dangerous thing to hear while brooding your way into a comfortable and easy funk! Because, first off, there are underlying ways in which loving the world runs counter to the grain of my temperament, brain-chemistry, outlook and so on. I mean, the world sucks most days, it seems fucked and populated by vast numbers of annoyances and mediocrities, so the thought bubble over my head at any given moment tends to be something along the lines of "what a moron you are!" or "jesus fucking christ can you stop making bullshit sounds with you mouth!" or "my only (other) regret is that there is no actual hell for you to go to!" To love such a world calls for a fundamental re-orientation, and to love it into a crisis of change requires (as I understand the idea, at least) not just a passive encounter with the world's notional lovable-ness, but the active, constant introduction of newsness and goodness into said word, a commitment to making true and useful and decent things for other people in hopes that your honorable work of addition might engender something similarly new, who the fuck knows what but it better be better than this shit.

So, if you ever find yourself wondering exactly what I'm up to at any given moment and the blog is no help just tell yourself: oh, right! Gary is supposed to be out loving the world into a crisis of change! I have no idea what that actually means but lack of info seems to me to be the valuable part. It's like that scene in The Matrix when Trinity tells Neo he's been down that street before, he knows exactly where it leads. That movie is bullshit on a bunch levels, but it's right that you might as well be dead the day you get sure nothing will ever change.

Posted by ebogjonson at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

March 2, 2007

frabnabbit

Despite the fact that the ebog blog has updated, like, all of four times in 2007, it nonetheless finds itself the victim of a super-annoying and rather debilitating comment-spam attack. Until I get a handle on it, I am disabling comments. So sorry, friends!

Posted by ebogjonson at 7:27 PM | Permalink

February 2, 2007

so I guess i'm back

a traditional siu door, Siu Fort, Siu Kenya

hey, friend. Nice to see you again. I figure I need to get this "where I was" post out of the way before I can to move on to other business, so I'd like to tell you about a few things that happened to me last year. But first:

1 - Happy Black History Month. You know, writing about BHM just doesn't offer the same zip now that I no longer work in corporate media. Go figure.

1.5 - I was just watching a tivo of The Stephen Colbert Show, and he was going on about how we need a Black Future Month. I actually tried that back when I was running BlackPlanet.com and it didn't catch on, but maybe the white dude will have better luck.

2 - So one way to think about what I was doing for all of Decemember 2006 is this:

LAX to BOS; BOS to LHR ; LHR to NBO; NBO to LAU.

And then back again.

3 - Like I somehow managed to say earlier, I took pictures while I was away.

4 - According to my traffic logs from December, people seem to have been mostly interested in my blackface chart. The advice that white people are advised not to fuck around with the blackface seems to be the sort of gift that just keeps on giving.

4.5 - And while I'm here, I'd like to thank mom and dad (who knew the deal). And I'd also like to thank the folks who nominated that chart for a Koufax award. That was super swell of you!

5 - rips james brown, rips Uncle Tony. rips Molly Ivins.

(I feel like I am missing another December-January draftee into the army of the dead.)

But I have this to-do list in my Treo about a Haiti documentary that I'm always planning to get working on (someday), and one of the items is "talk to Uncle Tony." I'm sorry I was late; I know you would have had great, amazing things to say.

6 - I technically got back from Kenya about a week or so [ebog note: I wrote that, like, three weeks ago, this before I had fully grokked to how broked my blog was.] It's been hard readjusting to the US and also kind of a weird explaining exactly what I was doing for most of December. The short answer is that I was attending a meeting called "Spreading the Words," which took place place in the shadow of the Kenyan edition of Summer Literary Seminar. My particular set'o'meetings concerned an international collective/publishing alliance being assembled by a globe-trotting set of literary magazines, one of them being our hosts at Kenya's Kwani. (There were a bunch of other folks there as well, but considering that the proposed collective will involve some tinkering with things like member-mags' contributor contracts, I don't want to put any editor's business in the street prematurely. But it was a pretty sweet set of people, places and literary magazines. )

achal and binyavanga

mike and binyavanga

The three threads weaving all the participants together are Mike Vazquez (of, among other things, Transition fame), Kwani's Binyavanga Wainana, and writer/copyright expert/man-about-town Achal Prabhala. Between the three of them they have edited, contributed to, written for, or are buds with all the mags/editors involved. But, as Achal often pointed out, their web of activity and connection is invisible to the, like, web (i.e., Google) because none of these publications maintain kitted-out web archives or (in some cases) even websites. Achal is, for example, a rather nicely published gent, but because he works in a particular zone google doesn't reflect the full extent of his wonderfulness.

achal and mike

My role in the meet was (quasi-obviously) related to the web issues, and moving forward I'm going to be building out a set of templatized, web-based content management and archiving tools for use by collective members. The content management part will involve some heavy lifting, as will be wrangling and digitizing everyone's back issues, but the part I am most looking forward to thinking about is the collective's e-commerce engine. Not every credit card issued by a sub-Saharan African bank works online or outside the region, so I'm going to spend some time communing with some microcredit folks who are doing some nifty things with SMS transfers. (So, for example, we could imagine a Kenyan subscribing to Kwani or paying for a back issue using their phone.)

Under Mike V's direction the collective is also going to create an online magazine that will produce new, web-only content, as well as re-publish/re-contextualize old edit from the participant journals. (Given the participants, this is always timeless and worth re-reading.) Lastly, we are thinking the site should be able to do the standard stupid-smart internet tricks, like provide group blogging functionality for the editors (something along the lines of HuffPost for non-celebs), as or online community for readers, fans, writers and the like. Maybe a writer's workshop or a hard-copy best-of anthology. We'll see.

Our meetings went pretty well and some cash has been ponied-up by funders for us to kick the project around for a few months, this before building something that will (hopefully!) be live by the end of '07. In addition to the proverbial income coming in, the gig will also have me travelling back to various parts of the Continent (African, that is) as well as to India, not to mention NYC and SF to meet with folks involved in US indie media projects. Not bad work if you can get it.

7 - Between all of this I started playing WoW somewhere along the way. You can likely guess what my name is there and I'm on Darlaran. (Don't make me kill you.) I am kind of against Second Life for obvious reasons that will nonetheless be re-iterated (by me) in a forthcoming issue of Bidoun. That said, I am buying some SL property nonetheless, just for kicks and also because I have a wackjob art project that I have been thinking through that will need a virtual house.

Conceptual art really is the is the last refuge of a scoundrel, huh?

8 - While away I very happily discovered a band called Mahogany, whose video for Supervitesse is depicted below.

(Thanks for the intro, Mike! And get a fucking blog already so that I can link to you.)

I also could not get the following snippet from Kool Keith's I Don't Play out of my head:

Yo, what are you doin lookin in my closet? Why are you tryin to try on my sneakers? Stop lookin around in my kitchen That's right it's Honeycomb up there, raviolis Everything a regular man eats I'm not the Elephant Man, whassup?

I'm not quite sure why, but those were the songs of the summer... In my mind... In December.

9 - The other thing I did in Kenya is that I went to an island called Lamu. Although I claim to be having a hard time describing my experience there, in point of fact I actually did manage to write a few emails about Lamu, and have mashed those emails into the one below:

hey! Happy new years, X-mas and associated jazz :)

The trip was pretty sweet. First I went to a conference in Nairobi which ended up with me and Mike getting some money from the [redacted] and the [redacted] to build a website for a group of literary magazines in the US, UK, sub-Saharan Africa and India. We're going to go to Bangalore in june for a coupla months to build the site and the cash should see me through 2007, which is both hot and relieving.

After the conference though I went to a fairly mind-blowing Kenyan island called Lamu, which floats on the Indian Ocean south of the Somali border. It's a Swahili sailing town: old stone buildings and narrow streets and no cars, just boats anddonkeys and donkey shit that comes in different colors and textures depending on what they've been eating. Half the women wear headgarb and the men sail and fish all day. When the wind dies down dudes either pull out outboard motors or fry fish on the boat. They smoke weed and chew chat and drink sweet tea until the wind returns. Completely idyllic and amazing and exactly what I would do on the 405 during traffic if it made sense.

We went on a 2 night sail to some of the outlying islands, an experience that kind of made me want to stay forever. Warm water with phosphorescence in it and strong winds conspired to take us to isolated towns that get visitors maybe once a year. We visited Siu, which once fought a war against the Portugesese, and we walked into the Tomb of the Last Sufi Saint, which is pretty much like saying I was in fucking Raiders of the Lost Ark only without the nightmare colonialism and racism, just once holy ruins protected by local people eager to tell you about the great, curious history of their town. Towns like Siu (where the Tomb is) are poor but green and clean, and they are full of thoughtful people trying to navigate the ever-combined problem of the present and the past, this without resorting to the usual bullshit about poor, downtrodden tradition or easy fundamentalism. Those folks were powerfully, genuinely generous, feeding us and talking us through their lives and towns. (The imprint of contact with South Asia is all over the place, but it was especially strong in the teas, samosas and breads we ate on those islands.) Saying everyone we met was beautiful and proud and charming and funny does not do justice to any of them.

somewhere between siu and lamu

Besides sightseeing and talking we went looking for a game cock for one of our hosts, so I spent a few hours checking out completely freaky roosters that look and act exactly like what I imagine dinosaurs looked and acted like. (Apparently those islands are famous for champion chicken bloodlines.) A good gamecock is 2 1/2 or so feet tall and will pretty much come right up to you, absolutely fearless. From what I understand they don't fight them to the death (relax, all you animal people, the market is your friend here: the owners are strapped for $ and a noted winner can fetch 200+ US). The audience and the two owners declare a winner long before anyone gets too fucked up. There's no particular shame in losing as the feeling is that a rooster can always get lucky tomorrow, but if your cock outright runs away from an opponent that's considered the worst thing EVER and you have to kill the cowardly little shit yourself right then and there, this to keep those bad genes from going back into circulation. (All this is, of course, under-substantiated, hearsay ethnography. I asked someone the last time a cock ran away from a fight and he claimed he couldn't remember any local birds running but swore that the roosters from the next island were straight up, well, chicken.)

They practice a (relatively) open, live-and-let-live strain of Islam in the area, so on top of every other inneresting thing there were moments that the big town on Lamu seemed gayer than Christopher Street. At any given moment there are a fair number of comely eurotrash ladies about (over-fit, over-tanned, fortysomething Germans mostly, their noses open to the various local excitements) so the place is also crawling with bedredlocked "beach boys" who act as tour guides, day-trip boat crew, drug dealers, porters, gigolos and good will/ good vibe ambassadors. (Think Heading South transposed from Haiti.) Because it's a veil-wearing town 3/4 of the the local women are locked up after dark (likely chained to radiators by the local, islamic version of Sam Jackson), and when the foreigners run thin the beach boys find other ways to amuse themselves, like (no joke!) running around in full, trad female garb and staging fire-dance shows in banana-hammock speedos and hugging up on each other and giggling. (From what I could see the region also seems to produce - or is that attract? - highly "passable" trannies, all of whom were with thugged-out/hip hoppish white brits for some reason. Banjie realness indeed.)

Library%20-%203453.jpg

(But it all really just went to show that horny young men, when left to their own devices for long enough, invariably do get around to doing the hoo-haa on each another, this even in zones that one might have otherwise have considered congenitally homophobic. I mean, was is was like a happy-friendly, rape-free remake of Oz up in that piece after the last german matron had gone to her rest.)

The truly awful and disturbing and unfortunate thing about the beach boys wasn't their polymorphous perversity, but the fact that they will yell "HEY MON!" 30 times a day at you if you look in the slightest like a kindred spirit. Walking down Lamu's one, narrow main street was like walking through a drunken frat-house, what with all the "RESPECT!! JAH RASTAFARI! BOB MARLEY!" shouts I had to endure because of my locks. Dudes there all style themselves stoner philosopher/seekers, so during prime hustling hours I couldn't get five meters without having to stop and engage each and every man-whore sporting wormy baby dreads, this partially as a set-up to some kind of pitch (weed? boat? tourist kitsch? ass?), but also partially because dudes were engaged in a completely sincere (albeit dippy) quest for spiritual fraternity. (Just because you service white women for a living does not mean you are without your higher inclinations.)

Most of the beach boys were barely older than my oldest lock, so I found myself immediately installed as a kind of visiting, greybearded dignitary owing to the length of my hair - 16 years worth?! My dreds were misread by the locals as some proof of my virtue and dedication, this when the reasons behind my seeming stick-to-itiveness are significantly baser. (Vanity? Social power? Laziness? Fuck-you-ery? Peacockery?) I was initially humbled by my installation as (as one of my traveling companions put it) the dread king of Lamu, but soon all that power went to my, er, head, especially once it became apparent that the bulk of those kids had picked up their affectations from the same VHS copy of Cool Runnings. I forced myself to try to find genuine responses to low-grade quips like "A friend with weed is a friend indeed!" for about three days before giving up, settling into an unresponsive, surly and downright American zone of non-interaction that likely severely tarnished my halo. Oh well. You can't please all of the beach boys all of the time.

The actual king of the beach boys is a super-skinny, expat-black-Brit named, uh, [completely insane fake name redacted; but seriously! imagine he was named "beelzebub!"]. From what I was able to gather [redacted] was some kind of (wait for it!) cultural studies graduate student (!) back in the UK who came to the region to do field work and never left. More recently he impregnated the buxom [white] manager of the [redacted] and has thus been able to secure his position as beach boy king through his high ranking, semi-offical/familial connection to the island's tourist infrastructure, this as opposed to having won a Sweet Sweee(ee?)eetback type fuck-off involving dozens of German tourists.

[Redacted] talks like Tricky and is touted as the best best dj from there to Zanzibar, but when I finally heard him spin he played a completely crap set - basically some Time Life Music GOA Tribal Trance mix CDs from 1994. I told [redacted] that if he chucked it all and moved to Lamu with his records he would own the island's social scene in a year, tops, although I can imagine the beach boys and the tourists might resist his troubling newness. We went to a super-lovely beach bar/resort called Diamond Beach which is run by two hottish stoner white-girll British expats whose taste in music seems confined to the kind of chillout electronica CD you might buy at Starbucks. When we were floating in the warm water off Diamond Beach, glowing plankton trailig our movement, a canopy of stars above, Mike and I had to admit that maybe the place actually needs bad music as a kind of safety mechanism. If, say, this dude had started spinning that night, I very well could have ecstatically blown a mental fuse and drowned, which would have obviously bitten. Needless to say, Mike and I are planning to do the same trip next year and are already planning to host a party (maybe on Diamond Beach?) so we'll see what happens.

that's all I can think of for now, except that I was bitten by a sailing bug in Lamu and am investigating a sailing class in LA. There is something fairly primal and soothing about wind power, the way it's silent and tactile all at the same time. It's a shame that sailing has previously been owned in my mind by rich men and the proprieters of slave ships and I'd like to reclaim it if possible. I have been told on numerous occasions that my father loved sailing off the coast of Haiti and that as a boy he had a little boat that he went out on whenever he could. Exile in America erased that part of him and out on the boat I wondered how many of my thoughts were original and mine and how many of them were things my father had thought and that I was re-enacting/channelling. Getting back on a sailboat seems the best way to figure it out.

I also need to go swimming more at the pool at the Y. I went swimming in deep water for the first time in my life on Lamu, so I can no longer go around telling that story I tell all the time about how "my people are island people, but my silly immigrant parents forgot to teach me how to swim!" (Silly immigrant parents!) It turns out that I can swim fine, or at least I'm competent at not drowning in extra bouyant salt water. Next up: swimming 20 yards without feeling completely winded.

10 -

Library%20-%202969.jpg

Omigod, while I was there I met Kenyan painter Richard Onyango who is the most amazing human I have met in forever. In the picture above he is re-enacting the scene painted below, wherein the great love of his life - a 300 pound Italian woman named Drossie (!) who kept him as a semi-willing sex slave when he was 16 (!!) - dressed him up in a boys lacrosse uniform (!!!) and asked him to "do the exercises with her, yes?" (!!!!) What I am trying to say is that Richard paints completely batty (yet compelling) erotic, interracial, BBW-themed, autobiographical paintings. He is supposedly coming to LA soon at the behest of some or another snarky curator to paint the world's fattest woman and I am desperately trying to be his driver while he is here.

Library%20-%203796.jpg

11 - But the really funny thing is that I spent a whole, powerfully gratifying month there and yet I never really felt any particularly powerful urge to permanently decamp to Lamu or Kenya. Don't get me wrong: I desperately want to go back ASAP, but move there? Not really. All my unleashed, native-going urges were curiously being reflected by Kenya back across the Atlantic towards Haiti, a place with which I have a more immediate "going native" relations, fantasy and otherwise. You see, getting off the plane in Nairobi, and feeling dizzy with all the first-time-on-African-continent pyschodramas, I found myself most floored by how, well, good Nairobi smelled, this in comparison to the wave of stink that greets you when you get off the plane in Port-au-Prince. As educated as I am, as much as I have read and written and watched, I realized that my entire thinking life I've been putting a false frame around "Africa," a frame that, while not quite the stuff of racist media fantasy, is nonetheless literally foreign to any given African nation I might have been thinking about at any given moment. Which is really a way of saying "same racist diff," as projecting memories of the most fucked up (and most heroic) black place in the Western Hemisphere on Kenya or Senegal or South Africa or wherever is pretty much the same as erasing them.

But the trip did make me realize that I desperately need to go spend a year or two as an adult in Haiti. All my memories of the place are a child's memories. Who can say for sure if I really know what I think I know?

And that's that.

Posted by ebogjonson at 4:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

January 29, 2007

omigod sweet jesus hell in a handbasket

so this blog has been broken for all of January. I was all jacked up with work and couldn't devote the time to fixing it and it was the beginning of the year anyway so I felt like I was on vacation. But now the damned thing seems to be fixed except that it is January 29th.

Which is to say I'm not sure where to start. (I am sure something will occur to me, though.)

This person doesn't know me, but I found this guide to upgrading your MT blog concise, helpful and stress-reducing. Thanks!

Posted by ebogjonson at 5:50 PM | Permalink

December 13, 2006

so it turns out I went to nairobi

What the headline said.

I'll be here until Jan 2007, and my internet access has been spotty. I'll try to update as I can!

be well, peeps...

Posted by ebogjonson at 3:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

December 3, 2006

ebog o'blivion

Dr. Brian O'Blivion

"The television screen has become the retina of the mind's eye. For that reason, I refuse to appear on television, except on television. O'Blivion is not the name I was born with. It's my television name. Soon, all of us will have special names, names designed to cause the cathode-ray tube to resonate."

Dr. Brian O'Blivion, from Videodrome

I've been thinking a lot about what to do with this blog, or, more accurately, how to do this blog. I'm not really getting the amount of value I feel like I should be getting from my current blogging habits, which, as currently constructed, mostly allow me to procrastinate from other stuff near endlessly without a commensurate uptick of posting on here. I also have a gut-level feeling that I want to do less essayistic posting about, say, how John McWhorter's entire politic stems from his having been beaten by a girl when he was four, and do more impressionistic/imagistic posting of lists, dreams, spreadsheets, snaps, rips, photoshop gags, and so on. To make matters worse, I'm going to Kenya for a month and I have been desperately trying to figure out how to document that in a non-trad yet nifty way. (Snaps? Uploaded video? GPS google mapping?)

All of which is to say, that while I'm drawn like a moth to certain kinds of android flames, I think that moving forward I'm only going to do certain kinds of blogging in the comment sections of other people's blogs. Doing so is attractive to me on a number of levels, first, of course, being the perverse, Videodrome-ness of the gesture - "for that reason, I refuse to blog, except in blogs!" - and, second, being the kind of slack doing so might cut for ebogjonson.com, hopefully allowing it drift/settle into some other configuration. That new class of "comment post" is going to be linked to from here, but will all come with some as-yet-to-be-determined and recurring formal device, and will also be cross-posed to a new MT category - ebog o'blivion - for the purposes of neat architecture and taxonomy.

The above rule, will, of course, be immediately broken. For one, there are going to be topics that no one has written about first, and there will also be things that won't fit into a comment or a photoshop gag. (That review of Ayiti: Cost of Life that I keep needing to write, for example.) Additionally, I intend to still link to stuff via the del.icio.us box on ebog home, or, maybe, I'll implement the reblog hack instead. (Either way, those of you reading this via feed should subscribe to the new feedburner feed to at very least make sure you get those del.icio.us links in your reader.)

And that's pretty much that. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

Posted by ebogjonson at 1:44 PM | Permalink

November 26, 2006

gone to croatoan

Not exacty, but I am going to be away most of December, so posting will be light for the rest of 2006. I'm also looking to refactor ebog.com a bit during the downtime, nothing major, just a few course corrections that will mostly have to do with how I go about updating and what I choose to update with.

Posted by ebogjonson at 4:19 PM | Permalink

September 29, 2006

thanks!

Just wanted to thank all the folks who linked to the Should I use Blackface on my Blog? process flow, especially (in no particular order):

Prometheus 6, Professor Kim, Sunrunner, Alas, a Blog, the ladies at Racialicious, Rachel's Tavern, Monica Jackson, Slant Truth, Feminist Blogs", Salto Mortale, Zuky, and anyone else sent me some eyeballs!

I created the chart in response to the Jane Hamsher thing, but reading the blogs of folks who linked back to it reconfirmed to me how unsettled the problem of race remains in our politics. If engaged, otherwise thoughtful white progressives like Hamsher can't wrap their heads around basic racial etiquette, it seems hard to imagine that less thoughtful, less engaged, or generally hostile white folks will ever grok to it.

Posted by ebogjonson at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

September 11, 2006

another plug for my feed

If you subscribe to my new feed, you will also automatically get any updates to my del.icio.us bookmarks, which are (in my opinion) quite interesting.

I'm just saying.

subscribe to my feed!

Posted by ebogjonson at 3:39 PM | Permalink

September 5, 2006

a feedburner feed

I've added a feedburner feed to the site and am testing it out with an eye towards moving all my feeds over to that stream in the next few weeks.

Please update your feed and let me know if you have any issues.

I'll give proper warning if I decide to deep-six the other feed formats.

Posted by ebogjonson at 9:41 AM | Permalink

July 27, 2006

updates and reposts

I just wanted to apologize to anyone whose newsreader is mistaking my ongoing tinkering with posts in the archive section for new updates. I'm working to finish reformatting these archival posts ASAP.

thanks and sorry!

- gary/ebog

(if you're wondering what I'm doing, I explain here.)

Posted by ebogjonson at 4:57 PM | Permalink

July 18, 2006

the dust and bones of youth

So, for TOP SECRET reasons related to a gig I may or may not be in the running for, I'm going to be posting a ton of old articles of mine into the garchival category of the ebog blog. These are portfolio items of limited contemporary interest, so don't feel obligated to read them, although I am (for the obvious reasons) inclined to believe there may be a few items of lasting value.

That's pretty much it re: these reposts, although I do feel strangely compelled to add that the basic reason I've been forced to build this archeological exhibit is that AOL has completely ethered and disappeared the entire Africana.com archive. None of the links to original Africana.com content (as opposed to Encyclopedia Africana entries) in google or anywhere else work anymore, meaning that AOL effectively disappeared the work of literally hundreds of black writers from the Internets. (Lets not even get into the disappearing of thousands of black things those writers wrote about that were never covered anywhere else.) Sure, there is google cache and the wayback machine, which is where I am pulling a lot of this stuff from. But a "fuck you" remains a "fuck you" in my mind even when there are ways for the clever among you to get around it.

Having managed Africana.com and built AOL Black Voices, I can tell you with some authority that this is an actual fuck you. There is no compelling technological, legal or copyright reason for AOL to have evaporated the archive so completely, making the act basically one of spite, that and disregard for the community of readers and writers associated with Africana. At some point or another, someone likely told the new AOL Black Voices staff that they had to get all the articles into some masterstroke AOL content management system, and no one on the new team felt inclined to do the heavy lifting to preserve the archive. Definitely their call and I'm really not sweating it. I'm just making sure I remember who it was that did what to who.

Posted by ebogjonson at 3:28 PM | Permalink

April 19, 2006

photo blog test (and a coffee shop view) (updated)

The view from a table in front of the Bishop coffee shop.

Let me indulge in some random geekery: My mobile photo blogging solution has been to take low-res snaps with my Treo 600, which I then "share" via Sprint's picture mail service. I don't particularly like the results, but I'm locked into my provider (mostly by inertia) and disinclined to upgrade my phone. (Sprint doesn't offer the Treo 700w yet in my area and the camera on the 650 doesn't seem like a meaningful of an improvement.)

The workaround displayed above involves taking a better res snap with my Nikon (at 1024; more pixels take forever to upload), swapping SD cards between cam and Treo, mailing snap to Flickr, which automatically blogs and ta da.

The next gambit I intend to try will involve uploading snaps directly to my server from the Treo. (Using movable type? Is that even possible?) Stay tuned for further updates in random wonkery...

update: the browser I'm using on the Treo screws up the MT publishing interface. any suggestions?

Posted by ebogjonson at 1:29 PM | Permalink

December 23, 2005

closed for black pete day



Gone to commercial Croaton until after XMA$. Blogging will be infrequent, as will comment approvals. But you be good or else Black Pete will get you.

Posted by ebogjonson at 5:27 PM | Permalink

December 17, 2005

craptastic

I post one nice thingie about a neighbor's sex habits, I get a coupla nice links from other blogs, and the next thing that happens is that my entire blog gets comment bombed.

Apologies for the crap in the comments. I'm heading behind the curtain to see what can be done.

Posted by ebogjonson at 2:40 PM | Permalink

October 4, 2005

deleting comments

So I just deleted my first set of comments. I don't mean comment-spam, but genuine response comments that said things I didn't like. The comments were in some of the Katrina posts and they were from a single right wing moron who was intent upon using my bandwidth to spew at me and mine.

I deleted some posts and also left some of the idiot's comments up, triaging on the logic that while I can eliminate hate speech in good faith, I should let bad ideas fend for themselves. I don't see a point in subsidizing (even at micro-cost) right wing racism, but I also don't want to sanitize anything.

So basically, what I'm saying is that I'll be arbitraily deleting comments at my discretion. I don't want that to be a disincentive to posting, but thems are the rules of the house. Unless you intend to curse me out or wax racist you shouldn't have much to worry about. Down the line, I may decide to keep all comments but my pool is still to small and the chemical mix is still too new to let anyone piss in it.

As Drudge says: Evolving....

Posted by ebogjonson at 5:25 PM | Permalink

August 9, 2005

a few notes on editing and revision

Two confessions:

A - I'm a compulsive tinkerer. Nothing ever feels right or finished to me, especially after it's supoosed to have been right or finished. Of course, like most things, my tinkering runs hot then gets a little cold. (Picture candle-wax being shaped and sculpted.)

B - I have a kind of editorial color-blindness, by which I mean I don't fully "see" my own writing unless it's been made external to me via some form of actual and public publishing. I can make all the print-outs in the world, hit preview till my fingers bleed and I will still miss all kinds of writing and thinking problems. Until a reader actually exists who is truly external to me I have a hard time imagining him or her, making me a fairly lousy self-editor and potentially a worse marketer. Get me on the newstand or on the public server, though, and I am about three times smarter than I was before the circuit closed.

(In so much as I can explain these behaviors, I think it has to do with the fact that shame is likely the strongest interactive force in my personal grand unification theory, meaning that unless I am at risk of some kind of public exposure I'm kind of lazy. But that's for another post.)

The above confessions are obviously a song sung in praise of editors, and I thank the Holy Virgin for them every waking moment of my miserable writerly life. Unfortuantely (and you know where this is going), ebogjonson.com has no editor except for me and (by extension) those of you kind enough to write in and tell me exactly what the fuck it is I'm doing wrong.

This is a problem.

One way that I've been dealing with this problem is to spend a few minutes every day changing already existing posts. Besides presenting a practical problem for the reader (sorry, that thing I asked you to read last week? That was the wrong thing. You should have read this thing.) this practice makes me feel a little ethically queasy. While I have zero issues with making my language stronger from here until kingdom come, I do feel honor bound to cop to factual errors as well as changes that have been motivated by the observations/ripostes of readers and colleagues.

I've looked around at blogs I like, but haven't found a solution or convention that satisfies me. Since I'm fairly new at this I know I'm probably missing an obvious and already extant motherlode of guidelines on this question and I eagerly await the world's instruction.

In the interim, though, I thought I'd cobble together the following temporary/evolving set of guidelines to govern my editing and revising behavior and make them public:

ebogjonson's temporary/evolving guidelines

1 - Any time I update a post after publish I'll flag it in the title with the date of the update. I don't intend to adopt finer resolution on the flag than date because I don't envision being able to return to posts on a shorter cycle. (But I'll keep an eye on my habits and adjust the convention with a timestamp if needed.)

2 - Any factual error will be left in the posting but get a strike-through, followed by the correct information and an [EDITOR'S NOTE: XXXX] explaining the error if needed and crediting dude that brought it to my attention.

3 - Simple word changes, grammar fixes, point modulations, nuances added/deleted and WILL NOT produce any visible version tracking unless I've substantively changed the meaning of the posting.

My thinking on this is mostly mercenary. I believe that most people will likely get to these postings via long tail search and referral links, meaning one will probably encounter a post after I've stopped tinkering with it. Burdening everyone with version tracking most useful to a minority of early risers (and true fans :( !) strikes me as a kind of false piety so I'm not going to bother. However, if I add/delete whole paragraphs I'll flag them as added and change the title. Also, if some aspect of the piece evolves in response to the news cycle I will flag that at the bottom of the posting.

[UPDATED: The above is obviously a sloppy stop-gap and is likely to evolve both in practice and presentation.)

[UPDATED: Uh, all this is going in effect from 8.9.05 9:26 PM EST on, as I did some stuff I said I wouldn't do but I did it yesterday. Note that the current time - 9:26 PM EST - is about an hour and a half after the timestamp on the posting.]

4 - Exchanges with commentors will always go in the comments. I think it's kind of talking down to people to revise the source post in response to something written in the comments.

5 - This is just a thought, but I might flag the first versions of a posting with "RAW" or "DEVELOPING" in the title, meaning I am actually online and making updates. I may not do this at all, but if I do, you'll know it.

6 - I swear to tell the truth, the whole and whatever the third part of that saying is, so help me BLOG!

That's it for now.

Posted by ebogjonson at 8:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 6, 2005

ebogjonson is seven

hey there, my name is Gary. Some things to know about me:

I grew up in Queens, NYC and just moved to Downtown LA.

My family comes from Haiti.

I am a huge fan of DDR, TiVo, GTA and Battlestar Galactica.

For the last seven or so years I've been preoccupied with building, editing, and managing websites for African Americans and their various corporate admirers, community/programming portals like Blackplanet.com, Africana.com and AOL Black Voices.

For the seven or so years previous to the above web gigs I mostly bounced around Fort Greene, Brooklyn, dating various biracial women and writing film reviews for the Village Voice, Vibe and other publications.

These days, I am mostly keeping to myself.

This site you've found is my virtual sandbox, a place where I intend to sit for a spell and play with some of the ideas and topics that have been my main concern over the years. These include (but aren't limited to) race, tech, Haiti, politics, the B.O.G., media, science-fiction, work, afrofuturism, movies, videogames, "fitting in," music, urban culture and so on. Like all good sandboxes, the kids here are going to come in a range of ages and stages but no one is going to get forced to play nice with the freaks or outliers - my dream log, for example, or pictures of people and places I love, or the occasional stab at a short story. I have a firm (albeit cliched) belief that that which doesn't kill freaks and outliers only makes them stronger.

There was a minute or two where I thought that ebogjonson.com should be a professional sort of sandbox, well-mannered and ready for its talking-head mid-shot. A measured and antiseptic e-shingle (ideally work generating) that would be reflective of my most recent, managerial incarnation. "Fuck it," is all I can really say about all that that at this point. If I wanted to keep bullshitting you or (more importantly) myself I'd have stayed in the treacherous embrace of gainful employ.

Seven years and seven years and...? Whatever's next gets documented here. All I can say for sure about it is that my score is turning over. Does the screen change, I wonder? Do I get more lives or just more bosses?

Posted by ebogjonson at 8:28 PM | Permalink