poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

September 29, 2010

I was lost – then I was found. Vol. 2. Welcome to Tashkent

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 4:47 PM

Vol. 1.

I have a blog for the same reason I have a Twitter account. To spy on YOU.

Phrases people enter into search engines to arrive at this site:

a person who’s lost their taste
agitprop нет! to alcohol
al capones jewish friends
anne applebaum + space exploration
antiintellectualism
art mightier than reality
capitalist crying
cat in a body cast
celebration cash for first menstruation
communist cat
cute russian boys
depressing culture
f.s.b.
fully naked beach babes
hysterical realism
i had a lunch with kasparov
is dmitri orlov right?
медведев дмитрий анатольевич еврей
mower made into go kart
please stand up my russian people
putin naked
putin shirt off on horse
putin vladimir is six fingered
putin vs cthulhu
putin’s financial advisor
revolutionary war teletubbie
russisan pathology
russian propaganda
scott spires
serbian canned luncheon meat
trashy girls
vladislav surkov scientology
welcome to tashkent

I am pleased to welcome back the FSB and naked Putin, who also made appearances in Vol. 1. A round of applause. This “scott spires” fellow, however, seems to spend a lot of time googling himself. Is he paranoid or some kind of egomaniac, or perhaps just bored?

I should take this opportunity to clarify that I have never had lunch with Gary K. or received a cash reward for my period. Sadly.

If I were to draw any conclusions about your deeply disturbing web-surfing behavior, I guess it would be that I am attracting people interested in Russian politics and hot Russians. That is, I have successfully nabbed my target audience. I am a communist who is also a marketing genius. The Kremlin’s chief propagandist can hire me now.

Also, people like to look at cats.

Also, you Russians need to get over your creepy Jewish thing. Seriously people. Grow up.

Also … Well, it’s rather upsetting …

… By now I am used to the p0rnography and all. I’m not opposed to sexy photos or whatever on principle. It’s the trafficking and women in crap situations with few good alternatives that really pisses me off. If it is some kind of fair trade, in accordance with standard Western labor laws, between consenting adults p0rn, get your groove on – I don’t care. Anyway, so I keep finding these searches for sexy Russian boys in my stats, and I am like, oh you know me – I do like sexy Russian boys. Boys as in, not girls (and preferably over the age of 30.) Then I see searches for trafficking Russian boys, and realize that maybe they mean boys as in, not over 18. I’m freaking out and thinking I should like, call INTERPOL or something. Right? And then I realize that a google search is not an endorsement. I wouldn’t want to be judged for my online searches. Still, I’m really upset. I don’t want horrible evil sick psycho criminals visiting my blog.

Listen up, scumbags of the Internet! THIS IS A CHILD-FREE SITE. NO KIDS HERE, SO TAKE YOUR SICK ACT SOMEWHERE ELSE! Thanks.

The only sexy things to see here are a certain shirtless premier and my intellect on display. And how that can possibly not be enough for anyone, I will never understand.

May 14, 2010

Is an explanation in order?

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 1:41 PM
You may or may not have noticed that I recently began using a fabulous new template, inspired in part by Anatoly Karlin’s giving me a 3 out of 5 for design.  I live to please… But also because it was a truly fabulous looking design.  It took a while to figure out and set up.  But it looked spectacular.  And I began writing.  And the HTML wasn’t working.  And WordPress wasn’t returning my e-mails.  And I kept writing drafts.  And waiting in front of the inbox.  And in the meantime everyone and their mother re-posted Tolya’s Top 10 Russia Blogs post (at which I am ranked 6, for which I am outwardly gracious and inwardly deeply ashamed because I’m the kind of girl who went home and cried when I got a B in school) and there I sat with a lemon of a blog! 
 
I’d prefer to return to that sleek design, but in the interim, I have to write. Well, as an artisanal cheese monger once told me: nothing is better for grilled cheese sandwiches than Kraft singles.  And grilled cheese beats starving any day.  So we’re back at square one of cheap and delicious blog mediocrity.  Grab a napkin.

April 6, 2010

I was lost – then I was found.

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 1:27 PM

Phrases people enter into search engines to arrive at this site:

an elitist snob can wear everyone down
beautiful smelly convict women
cat eating pie
cat in a body cast and pie
crazy dmitry rogozin
eduard limonov “russian women” lazy
femdom: woman hanged man
flavored vodka graph
fsb
how to say by me some candy in russian
i do ignore you cat
is vladislav surkov jewish
la times column “dissolve switzerland”
medvedev no you fucking can’t
mikhail in north korea
old time photos of native american women
our enemy is our laziness
putin naked
putin sexy
putin shirtless
red lipstick
russians speak like champagne bubbles
scott spires
the world capitalist system
tsarist site: http://poemless.wordpress.com
“vladimir putin” overweight
you’ve got this really wrong
шартуни али насер
тыва!

Now I know what people who work at Google are doing all day. (Looking at ridiculous searches instead of improving their algorithm so the poor soul looking for old time photos of native american women doesn’t waste her time here.) I wish I knew the culprits behind these searches. Some of them deserve a medal. And “medvedev no you fucking can’t” and “putin sexy” have gotten my hopes up that Vova’s reading my blog. ;)

April 2, 2010

Thoughts on the new look? [Updated]

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 2:42 PM

[Update: I was about to go blind reading that new font, and my header on the old theme has been magically fixed, by wp gnomes responding to my complaining, I assume. So, a return to the devil we know.]
(more…)

February 27, 2010

Уважаемые читатели! Your input is requested!

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 12:35 PM
Tags: ,

Or, on the passing of the 6-month anniversary of Poemless (the blog.)

I began this blog because I was told I wrote well, I identified a niche and I was sick of following other people’s rules. I didn’t set out with any grand plan or concrete goal. I tend to avoid concrete goals. I prefer my failure to be open to interpretation. I did not seek to make money (the wealthy are generally crap writers), advance my career (career?), put a political party in office (that’s what I do when I am not blogging) or achieve enduring celebrity (I’ve faith history will see to that). I just wanted an outlet where I could purge the madness from my mind when the mood struck. Hygiene – that’s all I was after. If someone found it helpful or enlightening, wonderful. If people just stop in to gape at the freak show, well, step right up. But the aim was: Low Maintenance. It’s no secret that I can be infuriatingly high maintenance, so I expect you will appreciate the challenge I created for myself. I got a WordPress.com blog that does everything for me but write the content. Free and pre-assembled, all I need to do is write whatever I want.

How hard could that be?

A List of Grievances:

1. I originally didn’t care much what the site looked like. But the header is not displaying properly. And I can’t post videos from their original sources. And I’d like to be able to move things around. And have subject fields for comments. And more distinctly blocked quotes. And I’d like to not have to deal with this new onslaught spam. However, I’m largely technologically illiterate. I don’t have the the first clue how to do these things, which seem like they must be the most tedious and boring things to do. They didn’t teach this in school. (They didn’t have the Internet in school!) So I begrudgingly google about… But it seems all the sites about blogging are focused on 1) how you can make more money, 2) how to advance your career or 3) how to become well known, all of which end up telling you to clean up your grammar and learn to game search engines. What if you just want to know how to have a classy little blog? Where are the instructions for those of us with souls? Halp.

2. WordPress.com tells you how many visitors you’ve had, but not how many are unique or where they’ve come from. I’m one of those people who do not give a damn what anyone thinks of me, except that I still I need to know. In the way I need to know if there is a bit of basil stuck between my teeth. I need to know! WordPress.com stats are like the crack dealers outside schools for people like me. They give you a taste. “Look, at the hundreds of visits, little girl… Yeah, you’re all that. What, like what you see? you want to find out more?, that’ll be $60/month.” I don’t have the first clue if the last 90 visitors are high school kids who accidentally wound up here trying to find a poem less than 10 lines long to memorize for English class, if they are spammers, friends, prophets or the KGB. Who are they? Why are they here? What do they think? What do they want from me? What if they are zombies?

3. As a result I find myself being unacceptably narcissistic. This is not good, given my natural diva-esque tendencies. I suppose you have to be an egomaniac to have a blog and take it seriously in the first place. To assume anyone in the world but the people already obligated to listen cares about your opinion on missile defence or German honey. But that, in addition to pontificating day in and day out, you are forced to be aware of your audience … Uhg, it’s all too terrible. It’s one thing to be an armchair policy wonk, another to be an egomaniac with a blog, counting your visitors, googling your name, wondering what people are saying about your (“opinionated,” “out of touch” …) or panicking because they are not saying anything at all. And suddenly, instead of writing for fun, you are writing for your share, for the lure of fame, for attention, for power, to defend your position, stake your claim.

4. And wondering… Why? Don’t misunderstand – it is great fun. But there’s a dark side to this blogging gig. I certainly don’t have the credentials of my peers, with their think tanks and PhDs and gigs representing jailed oligarchs, so I don’t even understand why I should care about these things or consider myself in their league. But I also don’t have that chillaxed stoner mentality that lets me say, “What’ev. S’just a blog.” I’m a control freak. (Which I suspect contributes to my empathy for VVP.) So if I am going to write about something, I am going to do it effectively and with intent and you are going to be impressed. It’s true I don’t care if you agree with me (if everyone agreed with me, I would have no motivation to write) but I need you to acknowledge my import – that’s all. Though… I’m still not sure why.

5. No really, why?

A List of Clarifications:

1. I have a political agenda, and oh, is it grand. But I really have no expectations of advancing it, let alone via this blog. 35 years of life on earth has tought me not to expect anyone to agree with me. Often, I find it more satisfying when people don’t … and want to talk about it.

2. I am not Russian. I cannot, do not and will not claim to speak on behalf of any Russian or claim know better than they do what is best for that country. Ever. Period. And if I do, by some freak accident or bout of blogging-induced narcissism, it’s bullshit, and I need to be called out on it. It’s a serious pet peeve of mine.

3. I blog primarily to empty my head and to learn. And not, that’s not a contradictory statement.

4. I write for myself, about what interests me, yes, but also to untangle thoughts. Something might make perfect sense until I begin writing it down and realize thought B does not logically follow from thought A at all. But I simply cannot do it alone. I could think AND write something and still be profoundly wrong. Everyday, countless journalists and academics do it. I am surely not immune. How will I know I am wrong, or delusional, or myopic if no one points out my faulty logic? Furthermore, I could think AND write AND be perfectly correct about something and wind up stuck in a rut of rightness. I’m an atheist for many reasons, one of which is I reserve the right to adjust my beliefs when presented with new information.

5. All that said, ok, fine Lyndon, I am opinionated. But I try to let it be known when it’s an opinion based on personal experiences or weird fetishes and one I don’t ask others to share. Mostly I will not use such opinions to seriously defend a political position. I will use things like reason, logic, verifiable facts and empathy. Or will try to anyway.

The Survey! Take It!

“Ok, enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?”

1. Do you primarily read this blog for mindless entertainment, to learn, to debate, to express your opinion or to find like-minded people?

2. Does the design, style, interface matter very much to you?

3. What about this blog annoys/frustrates/disappoints you? In your opinion, what does it not do well? What would you axe or change?

4. What about this blog do you appreciate/find helpful/enjoy? In your opinion, what is its strength? What should be given more attention or expanded upon?

5. Are there any topics, projects, etc. you would like to see here? [For example, there are people I would like to interview, but have not because right now that's Andy's thing.]

[Bonus Points!] Name one book or article you think I need to read to make me a better blogger/writer/Russia watcher. [Can I just tell you how much I hate that term, "Russia watcher?" Makes one sound like either a peeping Tom or a nanny. Ick. Ick, ick, ick...]

Please post your responses in the comments. I promise I will not take offense at any constructive criticism! But I will take offense if no one posts responses. You can also use the contact form (or e-mail me) if you want to be all sneaky and anti-social about it. Yes, this post is perhaps the most self-involved thing ever written, but ultimately, I’m doing it for the benefit of you, dear readers.

(Though I’m still not sure why.)

December 7, 2009

Comments Policy

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 2:45 PM
Tags:

Allow me preface the following by saying that comments are not only welcome, but encouraged. They make me feel loved, and, more importantly, have the power to inform and enlighten. On a serious note, I am not here to dictate. I write in order to acquire knowledge as much as to disseminate it (… perhaps moreso.) So corrections, dissent and other points of view are invited.

That said, I have an authoritarian streak.

In view of the wild increase in comments here over the past few days (thank you for your participation), I’d like to remind/notify everyone of the house rules regarding comments. (more…)

August 7, 2009

i answer your questions. or, ladies and gentlemen, an act of shameless desperation.

Filed under: Culture: Russia,Meta — poemless @ 1:59 PM
Tags:

Mr. Sublime Oblivion, a.k.a. Da Russophile, a.k.a. Anatoly has inquired to ask if adding my blog to his blogroll with make him as cool as Sean & I. (I deny being in Sean’s league of coolness.) The answer is a resounding “YES!” It will make you rock star cool if you add me to your blogroll. Maybe you cannot afford a pair of cowboy boots in this economy. Adding me to a blogroll is free! Also, if you take a look over to the right, you will see my blogroll. If you are on it, and do not add me to your blogroll, not only will you be destined for supreme uncoolness, you will make me a sad and bitter girl. And you don’t want me to be sad and bitter. Because I am also a writer. And sad and bitter writers tend to pose a danger to society and themselves. Or they become cult-like famous and draw readership away from more talented, emotionally stable writers, like yourselves. Or they are just profoundly annoying. Know what I mean?

Oh, and if you look and find you are not on my blogroll, let me know.

Also, while you are thinking about acknowledging me in your blogroll, you may also be wondering what else you can do to be cool. You can do what Lyndon at Scraps of Moscow did and refer to this blog in a post on your own. And we all know how cool Lyndon is!

If you have done all that and are still not content with your level of personal cool, … eh, you’re on your own after that. Sorry kids.

Spasibo bolshoe, y’all. (more…)

July 31, 2009

meta.

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 11:23 AM

This little experiment is the one aspect of my I will attempt to keep low-maintenance. This means:

Template. I am currently using a pre-designed template. I’m not going to go all out to design my own website until I know if I can commit to this. Or until I learn how to design a website. Which, to be honest, is not high on my list of skills to acquire before I die. In the meantime, I might experiment with other templates. Or hunt down someone who knows what a “custom header” is and how to create one and force them to do my bidding.

Troubleshooting. I have no clue how to run a blog. I am figuring this out as I go along. You can complain but I’m less likely to yell like a banshee at you for complaining if your complaint comes with a suggestion of how to change whatever you’re annoyed with. I’m probably annoyed with it too.

Comments. Comments are currently moderated. That means I have to approve your first comment. Then you can (theoretically) comment as much as you can stand until faced with the horrible reality that you should cultivate your real life. I’ll be away for the weekend at campaign boot-camp, so don’t flip out if your comments don’t show up right away. Have patience. Or you can comment right now and I’ll green-light you for life.

That said – I encourage your comments. If you are here, you are smart and have smart things to say.

Blogroll. Currently, the blogroll consists of sites which 1) I actually read, 2) are in English and 3) appear to be active. (Hence the tragic absence of Mr. Shedd.) I can only order it alphabetically. Do you have a blog you think I should blogroll? Does it have anything remotely to do with the focus of my blog? Let me know. Have I overlooked you? Speak up!

Schedule. I will write whenever I have something to write about. My current goal is something vaguely along the lines of: Odds & Ends once a month, serious-ish posts maybe once a week, and empty-calories content whenever it strikes my fancy.

Content. There are already blogs with links to every resource you could ever desire. There are already blogs with migraine-inducing bling. There are already blogs with gadgets and widgets and new, entertaining ways to waste your valuable time. I left my job at a bookshop when we began selling singing fish. I have no interest in singing fish. I know nothing about singing fish. I don’t understand what purpose they are meant to serve. I liked peddling books. Words. Ideas. So that’s what I will be peddling here. Except, I’m allergic to Capitalism. So I won’t be peddling, but sharing with you that which was never mine to begin with and can never be yours and asking you to share too. Or something like that. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need! And all that jazz.

Yes. This is my idea of “low-maintenance.”

July 30, 2009

so that everyone is on the same page.

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 5:18 PM

About the Author:

SWF. Chicago. Virgo. I have a lovely job at a prestigious library. I have a lovely degree from a prestigious university. I was raised by crazy people and have a horrible, tragic past. People say I’m beautiful. People say I’m intelligent. But I’m not beautiful or intelligent enough to get away with anything interesting.

I’m American. A, v dushe moei…

I was raised in small town America when the Cold War was raging. A kid called me a Russian spy in the 4th grade. I don’t know why. I have a Russian-sounding name, mysterious looks and was awkwardly shy and quiet. In the 5th grade, a group of students were talking about a war with Russia, and my teacher stopped everything to show us a little film about how the Russians were not evil, but normal people just like us, but with crappy leaders, is all (I would add, “just like us.”) Gorbachev was my hero when I was 10. I went to a Catholic high school where Russian was offered. I learned the word “расстроено” in one of the first lessons and decided I liked the way this language sees the world. In college, I studied Radio, TV & Film and Slavic Languages & Literature. I went to Moscow in the 90’s and I returned to find a gaping hole in my heart.

I think America and Russia have more in common than they can admit. And I think their faults and accomplishments are two sides of the same coin. When America and Russia fight I feel like the neglected kid in a dysfunctional family.

I’m fascinated with politics. Not what we see on TV but the actual process. The ideas are beautiful and the systems are perverse, but in the end, we’re just trying to figure out a way to share a planet and make it work. In my spare time I’m active in local politics, working on campaigns, etc. in Chicago. It’s exhilarating. I knock on the doors of complete strangers and ask them what they care about. How crazy is that? I’m very passionate about what I believe. The ideals of both Communism and Democracy bring me to tears. Their failures do too. I believe even though we will never get there we must continue to try. A lot of valuable or interesting things have come from the just trying.

I’ve been blogging half-heartedly for a while. My first foray into blogging was the Dean campaign and Democracy for America. I dabbled a bit at several progressive blogs during the Bush years, and found myself at European Tribune.(Originally meant to be a European version of Daily Kos, it evolved into a more intellectual affair with a strong emphasis on economics.) Blogging has earned me the following labels: ”left-wing ideologue,” “neo-Stalinist,” “Putin apologist,” “Manta Ray of political analysis,” “genius of unique wit and erudition,” “flake,” “overly sensitive,” “truly talented writer” and “a hippie.” I am not a hippie.

I began writing about Russia right as the New Cold War began, in an attempt to figure out what the hell was going on and why. I knew nothing about post-1998 Russia, Vladimir Putin, pipelines, “shock therapy” or American foreign policy in that part of the world. I did know that 1) nothing is so absolutely mad that Russia (or America) won’t try it, 2) Moscow was a horror show in the 1990’s, 3) my personal experience has been that Russian reality is generally not reflected in American reporting about that country, 4) the same U.S. administration and media who had tried to sell me the war in Iraq was trying to sell me a new cold war and 5) all democracy is dirty and messy and managed. Since then I’ve learned a lot. A lot. And I still wont claim to know what I’m talking about when I don’t. Unfortunately, the bar for knowing what you’re talking about has been set criminally low.

My other interests come off all French: philosophy, literature, art, film, feminism, fashion, boys, coquetry. I’m a union member. I smoke, drink, and don’t believe in God. And I shamelessly adore Vladimir Vladimirovich, for reasons both noble and ignoble. I suppose I’m some people’s nightmare. It’s probably mutual…

i did it.

Filed under: Meta — poemless @ 4:59 PM

The bells and whistles are pissing me off. Always with the bells and whistles. So I can’t arrange categories or the order in which links are listed. I don’t know what is a widget. I thought that was something they invented to put Guinness in a can. I’m probably going to get crazy amounts of spam for penis enlargement therapies that I can’t control. Considering how much of that is out there, there must be a market. What is wrong with people? Find someone who fits you and move on people… My tagline appears and disappears. I don’t know what that’s about. Where is my effing tagline! Where are the evil gnomes who stole my Mayakovsky?

Do you want to know why started a blog? The European Tribune is lovely. The membership there is brilliant, the great minds of my generation, some of them dear friends. And there is a the plus of a built-in audience. A fan base, even. Ah, the fans… will they follow me here? Such a risk! I was in this relationship with a boy for 7 years. He seemed quite nice, we had some good times, and in the end I think he’s probably a decent person. But we really stunted each other’s growth. We stayed in that relationship for a good 3 years too long when neither of us were very happy. Because it was easy. The path of least resistance. Safe. The devil you know. I thought, without him, I would be all alone. Sounds melodramatic, right?, but I’m like an orphan, so it was a valid fear. Turns out, he is 1 person and there are something like 6 billion people. What I mean to say is, I do hope they come to visit, the fans. I could visit them too. It could be romantic, like a Merchant & Ivory film. But if they don’t, there are like 6 billion people. I have high hopes. My goal is to get Stephen Cohen to read my blog… and make him laugh. Can you see him laughing? I can’t. Perhaps it is too tall an order. Another goal is to get that fellow running Russia to read and fall crazy in love with me. Another goal is to create a place I can write write write and the words I write will change the world. That last goal is like my safety school. Which brings me to the downside. Writing for a community blog doesn’t get you blog-rolled. And you have to follow other people’s rules. And you have to yell at real gnomes who have real feelings when stuff doesn’t work. And, well, “L’enfer, c’est les autres,” as they say.

Wish me luck.

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