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Jason Kottke is the Everyman of the internet. Long ago he started his online journal, the earliest of the blog genre, and his impact picked up speed. People emulated him, people whote about him, and he regularly appears on industry panels. I've never been certain of what sets him apart from anyone else, but his appeal comes from the lack of separation from the public. kottke represents the average internet user.

A look at his blog today emphasizes this -- there are two little pictures, submitted by readers of his website. At first glance, I thought they were pictures of kottke himself, what with the short hair, sideburns, and the geeky build of a twentysomething dot-com survivor. No: these are the followers of kottke, members of the society which kottke represents. This isn't a random occurance of overlapping style; a goodly sized chunk of users out there are almost indistinguishable from kottke himself. Even those who are unable to achieve a high level of kottkeness still reflect his influence, whether in format, style, or fashion.

So much on the internet is modeled after kottke; writing style, photography style, minimalistic layout of straight lines and solid colors. For whatever reason, he is the alpha and the omega of what a netizen is: a product of what the online society is, and in turn he is copied by those who aspire to be part of this society. In this way, kottke is a meme in and of himself, something that's part of society as a whole. His influence is so ingrained as to become hard to tell where the separation between individual and collective begins.

Today is my grandfather's 80th birthday. He grew up in the Red River Valley of western Minnesota, the region he & most of his family still live within. In his early 20s he was drafted into the Navy shortly before the end of World War II, and served as a boiler operator on a ship in the Pacific through the post-war period. He returned to Minnesota after his service, and returned to farming. He married shortly before his 30th birthday, and raised a family of five children. Which, eventually, resulted in my existence. I lived on one end of the family farm until I was nine, opposite grandma & grandpa's home. One aunt, only a few years older than me, often wondered "is he SILL here?" when I played at their house. I've spent a lot of time with Grandpa Dahlsad over the years, and I attribute a lot of my characteristics to the moments I've spent with him & Grandma. Happy birthday, Grandpa.

Lame, yet entertainingly lame: Wil Wheaton pays $5 for a collection of teen-heartthrob pinup posters....of HIMSELF. Was the $5 really worth it, Wil? Also note that he was the only bidder.

Daily Condition:

in CD player: moby, 18

my condition: hate housework. HATE. The more I clean, the messier things seem to get. maybe if I stop cleaning, the paradox will work itself out.

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"Well, hello, Destiny! How are you doing?"

"We had to go shopping for shelves."

"I see that..."

"Do you know why we needed to buy shelves?"

"No, why?"

"Because my dad throws all his stuff on the floor."

Daily Condition:

on radio: Voice of Turkey, 17705Mhz

my condition: happily preparing for my family's visit, yet dreading the housework.

I saw Episode II yesterday, and man that's a good movie. The complaints of critics seem to be revolving around minor bits of the movie. I believe there are two reasons that critics have been so negative: First, there are many, many, many surprises which would be spoilers to release in a review (like when Obi Wan dies at the - oops - I've said too much). Second, there's no easy way to define what kind of movie it is - they've tried calling it a romance, they tried calling it sci-fi, they tried calling it an adventure, but it's hardly any of that and as such the critics has no comparison to base their reaction on. The movie is actually very complex, and there's a lot that's inferred rather than expressed. I like this style, because nothing is more annoying than characters explaining everything vocally. The movie moves fast, and if you aren't paying attention you'll miss a lot. Yes, it's a lot of eye candy, yes, there's some bad acting, but the movie establishes nearly everything that happens in the original trilogy, a large feat to accomplish in a little over two hours. It was done well, and it prepares for Eposide III - after Episode II, we know what has happened, but we've already seen Episode IV. Lucas has established where we are, he established where we're going, but now we need to know how we get there. Episode III is the keystone of the entire trilogy, and I think all the pressure is resting on it's shoulders. Episode did exactly what it was supposed to do, and so much more, actually. There's lots of action, motion, suspense, and a glut of things to look at. I recommend everything about this movie; the problems are ignorable, sit back, pay attention, and enjoy yourself.

Things overheard in the theatre, waiting for the film to start:

"He came running up to me and said, 'hey, I won't be at D&D this week,' so I asked why, and he said he was moving away that day."

"That was pretty cool, they moved all the Star Wars video games over by the line to wait to be seated!"

"...and when Yoda's fight started, the guy behind me went totally ape-shit, yelling "oh my god, oh my god," and I was like, get a fucking grip, man!"

First, I must thank the proprietress of for taking the time and putting such thought into my life on the internet. Actually, I think this is the first document ever to pull together all of my websites, threaded together by the one constant - me. I admit I haven't really looked at things in this way, either, and I'm pleased with such a new and unique perspective...I am awed, I am humbled, I am giddy, and I am happy with M. Thank you.

In the vein of unique perspectives in weblogs, I hope I didn't get anyone into trouble today with the link posted on I Am to See, the entire URL didn't fit into my 45-character limit, so I just posted the root, which I couldn't get to from work because it was blocked by my employer's content firewall. Because of the lack of frames in my referrer logs, I never knew there was more to be seen, other than the diary.

I should have trusted the firewall, which prevents us innocent worker-bees from accessing porn, MP3s, or streaming audio from our work computers. Unfortunately, is a porn site.

But, buried within the porn is a great little weblog/journal from a pornographer. She's tattooed, she worked for Microsoft as for a while, and she writes porn. Her blog is pleasantly non-standard. So many online journals are completely interchangeable and inspecific. They could be written by any 20-something, and most of the time even gender is irrelevant to the boring text. There's a great range of life included on Lydia's site, encompassing everyday thoughts about the coming of spring and aching due to a workout, to her cats, touching on detailed BDSM encounters, past the joys of housework, to masturbating with her own blood. All at once shocking, intriguing, repellant, and empathizable, this journal really has everything necessary to hold an audience in one way or another.

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Yeah, the Receipt Site gets a lot of publicity, and I had been kinda sad about the lack of attention my other "works" have gotten. Things are starting to pick up, though -- here's some recent attention paid to my artsy stuff:

What, you think I'm bringing anime porn to your computer!? Shame on you! The snippet to the right is from Sinfest, an online comic reveling in it's trouble getting published. I spent all morning going through the two years of archives online. If you've come this far on the information autobahn, you've probably already seen this strip. Well, I'm gonna tell you about it anyways.

The strip isn't for the faint hearted - plenty of swearing and sex and blasphemy, but that's what makes it great. In a Bloom County kind of way, it uses these extremes to make it's points. There's no story, save subplots which last a week or so; each strip is written in a newspaper 3-5 panel style, with setup, delivery, punchline. If you've read Garfield lately, you can see how this structure can fail in a miserable, disemboweling way. Sinfest suceeds. God is embodied by disembodied hands, with handpuppets, there's the devil, there's a zealot, there's the manly-man-in-a-child's-body, there's the sexpot, and the list goes on and on. There's even a tip 'o the hat to Tom Stoppard, and a bit of strange comic-strip self-reference. Sinfest takes on some pretty heavy and taboo concepts, but it's handled in a smart, funny way. Oh, and to break things up there's a cat and a dog, who don't seem to live in the same universe as the others, but are just as relevant and funny. Go have a look - be amused.

Boy, I must have a fan - 11111001111 has made it onto 306WD's secret page of links, only days after the Receipt Site achieved similar greatness. At first, I thought 306WD was some radio station, but 306KHz falls into the realm of a radionavigation beacon. Lo and behold, it's an ugly house. Just as this website is pronouced "one-one-one-one-one-zero-zero-one-one-one-one", their website is pronounced "three-oh-six-doubleU-dee." I prefer "zero" instead of "oh", but they can call their site whatever the hell they want.

I have to go to lunch now, so you go dig around in 306WD. I'll have to do it later. Have fun.

OK, this is getting spooky - first, it seems NTK takes leads from my 'blog, and now Moby changes his blog's name:

'updates' was originally started as a way of providing news from the road while i was on tour, a la 'last night we played in tennessee and it was awesome and now we're on the bus...' sort of thing. does 'journal' sound dumb? 'moby journal'? what else are we going to call it? 'updates' seems more like news, right?

Read what I posted only days ago:

So, Moby blogs his tour, and anything else he can think of. The blog isn't all "I played this club, and the girls were so hot, and then I played this club, and it sucked, and..." It reads like the journal of someone who once in a while needs the chance to empty their mind onto paper.

So, Derek mentions that Moby's "tour update" blog is more of a journal than tour updates, and shortly thereafter Moby's updates get retitled as a journal. Cause and effect? Who the hell knows. I promise I'll use these supernatural powers only for good, never evil.

Live View from the Fargo Forum buildingFirst, I figure I can install my new car stereo before work, but I ran out of time, so I run late, and it's raining, and I forgot my hat so my head's wet, and I haven't heard from Andrea since Saturday, and I haven't gotten child support for last month yet, and then I'm late for work, and then I get scolded for being behind on my work, and it's so frustrating, and I'm just pissed.

When I dropped Destiny off at daycare, I asked her, "you know I'm not mad at you, right?" She responded immediately, "yes, I know." "Do you know why I'm upset?" "You're mad at all the..."

And she left a long pause, before ending with "...stuff." Kindergartners know those words, the ones she almost said during the long pause. The words I rarely use, but said a few in frustration earlier this morning. If she had used one of those words, I probably would have laughed, but still "stuff" seems more appropriate.

It is just stuff. Considering all I've been through, weighing the other possible bad things which could be going on, this "stuff" isn't all that bad.

The car is still for sale - not much interest yet. Wouldn't that be a fun road trip? Fly to Fargo, buy the car, drive it home? Call up your buddies at MTV, get them to film it, and become a star -- it all starts with a 1995 Corsica in Fargo...

So, anyways, have a gander at a project which is, of course, behind schedule - the Sheyenne River Speedway. Dig those random color schemes! I think I'm going to get out of the freelance webdesign gig - I'm just too short on time. I think I've come up with a more effective business model -- more on that another time.

Random links, for those too impatient for me to get all faux-intellectual:

Daily Condition:

on turntable: herbie hancock, treasure chest

my condition: dreading visiting later this month.

For a long, long time, commercials about proper parenting have been frightfully ominous. James Earl Jones, or some reasonable facimile, reads a serious statistic about how children who are not hugged at least four times a day end up being bloodily dismembered by a cult. Heavy stuff, not very inspiring. Inducing fear can be helpful in some situations, but I think it's detrimental in parenting. A parent shouldn't act out of fear of bad things; a parent should act in order to bring good into a family's life.

This makes these two commercials a refreshing change: Faceoff (bandwidth: high low), and Back Pack (bandwidth: high low) In a world where failed parenting is ominous and apocalyptic, the parents in these two commercials are obviously the product of such attitudes. The point of these commercials is to look at the good which comes of being a faithful parent, not the evils which will result from parenting failure.

Today, I give you three websites -- not just any websites, though...they're websites of three famous people.

None of them is earth-shatteringly famous, but I can almost guarantee everyone's heard or seen these people's works. Their websites are unique because said famous person actively participates and creates the content. This is sorta unique in an internet full of commercially produced promotional websites. There's more than just these three out there (I'd include more if I had the time), but these three stick out because of their candidness...and because I'm a bit of a fan of each of them.

I'll start with Wil Wheaton - 'nuff said. I've linked WWDN several times before, and you may see a little hyperlink on the lower left side of my blog. His blog just makes him out to be a guy, with a family, and a dog, and really geeky tendencies. Sure, he's one of the few blog-writers who can sell his signature for beaucoup bucks on eBay, but still, he puts his thoughts right out there on the internet.

Next, we come to Moby. You may know him from his duet with Gwen Stephani, but he's also a dance-club god these days. So, Moby blogs his tour, and anything else he can think of. The blog isn't all "I played this club, and the girls were so hot, and then I played this club, and it sucked, and..." It reads like the journal of someone who once in a while needs the chance to empty their mind onto paper. Moby has quite a mind on him, and I think his writing style is similar to mine. "it would be hard to have a dinner party and invite someone who breathed ammonia. they would probably die. and providing a dinner party environment wherein a space-alien dies is very rude indeed." This stuff is straight from his brain, out onto his keyboard, and trickled onto the internet for our amusement. I think he should include a message area, or comment space, where there would be more two-way communication, just because he seems like a fun guy to chat with. However, if that were there, I don't think Moby would get much else done.

Finally, a BBS I found through Wil: It's the website of M.Doughty, former front-man for Soul Coughing, one of the greatest groups ever. EVER. Doughty is doing solo stuff lately, but he's got this website. It's not exactly a 'blog; more of a PoMo environment which has this message area that revolves around this guy and his work, and once in a while the subject of the website participates, but in the same way as outsiders do. There's almost a "speaking of oneself in the third person" feel to it, but only because I think too much about such things. He still does do the normal personal-website stuff, like try to explain why he does things, and he posts pictures of himself, and he has a mailing list. Plus, he calls the "message area" a BBS, an "old school" language convention I highly approve of. There's a lot of stuff here, so I can't see for certain how much Doughty actually participates in the BBS, but it's clear that he at least reads it often. This site strikes me as the ideal style for a musician; websites where you download a picture and audio-clips only go so far, but when you can discuss the performer, knowing the performer will read and maybe respond, is how it should be.

You may note that I didn't add any "informational" links about any of the people above -- If you've never heard of any of these three guys, I suggest reading their websites first. WHO they are is different than what they do; with a different perspective on each person, you may think twice about what it is to be famous when you see the person on TV or hear them on the radio.

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You know, once in a while I start to think that I actually have some influence on the entire internet. I was reading today's issue of NTK, when around a third of the way down I saw this blurb:

""this week's lazy web designers (311,000 at time of going to press):"

For those of you who read my crap, this is the exact same thing (not quite word for word) that I posted here on 11111001111, and over in my Backwash column. In both, I say pretty much this:

"Some people don't know how to change the default titles on their webpages. Welcome to Adobe GoLive - around 278,000 of them."

Now, could this really be a "great minds think alike" moment, or is this direct evidence that the things I do actually have some impact via the world wide web? I've seen the microcosmic effects, in the participants and the websites themselves, but how far does this reach go? Fark has seen it's memes expand out into the internet community with immense power, but that's a site which gets half a million pageviews a day. Technically, the internet is a single unit - microcosm & macrocosm aren't exactly applicable, since there's no size. People measure the size of the internet in terms of users & pageviews, but that may not be the most important thing. A local Fargo "download coupons" website put up ads claiming thousands of daily pageviews -- but what sort of influence do they have? Minimal. Nothing that website does affects anything else on the internet, so it's actual size is miniscule. If my tiny blog with less than a hundred pageviews a day can get an international crossection of readers (NTK is a UK listserv) to think about something, then my site has a significatly larger macrocosmic impact.

So, let this be a lesson to all of you who do not have a website. Without one, you have no impact whatsoever. I've said it before: Rotating content is very important so go sign up with a service like Diaryland or Blogger and start putting thoughts into readable format. If you think computers are intimidating, or "ooh, Derek's a webdesigner, I'll have to learn how to program," you'd be wrong. Design is secondary to content. If a two-sentence comment I made gets quoted in an altculture webzine mailing list barely six weeks later, then anyone can have the same realm of influence. You just need to put it out there for all to see.

Andrea's photo from her  columnA∴, A∴, A∴ -- boy, Derek has A∴ on his mind lately, huh? Well, fearless readers, YES, I've had A∴ on my mind. I won't go into that in great detail yet, but you get the picture.

So, for those of you curious enough to read this website (including A∴, who no doubt will cringe in fear at my stalkerness), here's some webified A∴bilia. I've found much more on A∴ than worth presenting, so here's some highlights:

First, she's quite a runner -- A∴ ran the 10K in just under an hour, and she also ran the 5K when she lived in Washington -- her time was only slightly faster than the later race.

There's this cute little bit, from her time in Washington: "She says Puget Sound's attraction is that it has "many things that Minnesotans like, but without the harsh winters and insect herds."

At some point, some non-internet-savvy Christian zealots decided that the Fargo Forum's website was their enemy, so they emailed 45 of the Forum's non-website staff and got a response from A∴ - "It would really be just fine with me if you never e-mailed me again."

Like me, she helps out at a local school through corporate sponsorship, reading at Destiny's school.

On this page, A∴ B∴ says (poorly translated from German): "Hello Peter and Familie, your InterNet side became very beautiful - we are inspired!!! Love of greetings from Andrea, franc and Alicia (your youngest bus traveler) and Anita, me over the shoulder looks!! " I don't think it's the same Andrea, but you never know!

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