poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

July 31, 2009

Odds & Ends: New Blog Edition

Filed under: Culture: U.S.,Odds & Ends — poemless @ 2:44 PM
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What do they call a christening when atheists do it?

I have not the time for a proper Odds & Ends. But I would like to get some actual content – content that is not about me – up on this blog. (Ok, that part is about me too, fine.) But while I (fine, it is always about me) will be spending the weekend learning how to win elections and influence voters (I almost don’t want to know, you know?) perhaps you are looking for a book to take the beach, a bit of humourous, light reading, or more reasons to weep for our county? Perhaps you haven’t done something so daft as to pay people to give you homework (they said there would be drinks, not homework) and are looking for a way to fritter away your hard-earned leisure time? Perhaps you would like to come with me … into my little fun house of horrors? (more…)


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.

July 28, 2009

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — poemless @ 7:10 PM

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