[Originally posted at Medium, mostly because I was curious] My oldest friend and I have just launched a boutique advertising network for independent gaming websites called Eudaimoneers. It’s about the least likely thing that me-of-20-years-ago could have imagined doing. It’s disconcerting, but it feels good, man. I’d like to tell you some of the why of both.
You’ve probably seen Bill Hicks’ advertising rant from back in 1993. Even if you haven’t, the probability approaches 1.0 that you’ve seen somebody reference it if you’ve ever read a single message board thread in the last 20 years where people were talking about advertising. But just in case, here it is (and there’s a lot of cursing and barely-suppressed anger and general billhicksiness, so: warning if it’s new to you)
Here’s how he starts, just in case you’re not up for the swears
By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself. It’s just a little thought; I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they’ll take root — I don’t know. You try, you do what you can.
Seriously though, if you are, do.
Aaah, no really. There’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers. Okay — kill yourself. Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good.
That’s a strange way to kick off an essay about trying to launch a new advertising business, I know. Stick with me.
Sometimes 30 years go by and a song you loved as a young man jumps the fuck up into your oldman mind again, and you wonder at how you are the same as you were, but not. And then because you’re an internet-grandpa, you post it on your ‘blog’. This is T-Bone Burnett singing ‘Shut It Tight’.
I find it hard sometimes to say the way that I feel
I do the very things I hate to do
I act like a child and I’m afraid of what is real
And so I try to cover up the truth
I stumble like a drunk along this crazy path I walk
I have a hundred thousand questions too
I’ll go to any length to prove that nothing is my fault
Then later on I will deny the proof
I don’t like to win but then again I hate to lose
And in between is something I can’t stand
I don’t care what you think and I hope that you approve
I am just an ordinary man
Sometimes I want to stop and crawl back into the womb
And sometimes I cannot tell wrong from right
But I ain’t gonna quit until I’m laid in my tomb
And even then they better shut it tight
We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.
Now what may a foeman’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, a mortal mans deception?
Absorbed into the heart, be sweet, O drop, as a kind father to his son, O Soma,
As a wise Friend to friend: do thou, wide-ruler, O Soma, lengthen out our days for living.
These glorious drops that give me freedom have I drunk.
Closely they knit my joints as straps secure a chariot.
Let them protect my foot from slipping on the way: yea let the drops I drink preserve me from disease.
Our maladies have lost their strength and vanished; they feared, and passed away into the darkness.
Soma hath risen in us, exceedingly mighty, and we have come to where men prolong existence.
-The Rig Veda, HYMN XLVIII
Found this. 27 years ago. Scotland. Good times.
Update, August 2016: I joined A Small Orange just before it got acquired by the Evil Hegemonizing Swarm that is EIG (a pox upon them). This post was written back when they were good, and they really were very good. Really above-and-beyondish support. They have since spiraled into a vortex of horror, as good people left or were laid off, and service levels and support cratered.
I no longer recommend A Small Orange, and I’m in the process of moving away from them to a new host (founded and staffed by EIG refugees, as I understand it), whether or not I get a refund. I’m DONE.
I started with the logging of the webs back in ye olde 2000. Like so many, I started on Blogger. Blog ontogeny recapitulates blog phylogeny — in anticipation of my current welter of wonderchicken websites, I started (and abandoned) a whole bunch of Blogger sites in those early days, most of which are happily lost to the sands of time (if not to Google).
In 2002 or so, Shelley Powers generously offered to host the newly-minted Emptybottle.org, and not knowing a damned thing about anything including a) birthin’ no babies and b) wranglin’ no webservers, I took her up on the kind offer. A year or so later, I signed up for a cheapo shared hosting account at Dreamhost, the training wheels were off, the good hot salty wonderchicken blog gravy was flowing, and metaphors were being mixed all up and down the lines.
Over the next 5 years, I launched a bunch of new sites, and ended up killing off most of them. Dreamhost actually served me pretty well. My expenses were next to nothing, and even when I got massive traffic spikes (like when /bullshit or Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken blew up and got Dugg and Slashdotted and pointed at by all the rest of those previous-web-gen traffic firehoses), everything worked without the poop hitting the Apache fan.
Have you seen Barfly, friend? That Hollywood glitzified Bukowski fairy tale from 1987, starring Mickey Rourke before he went totally off the rails? No? Well, you should; it’s pretty silly, but also pretty great, and I’ve embedded it, courtesy of whoever uploaded it to the ever-less-concerned-about-movie-uploads-as-time-goes-on Youtube. Enjoy your Friday.
Music is a thing that I like. Music is probably a thing you like, too. Sharing music that we like, well, that’s a fine and beautiful thing to do.
I know there are about a million ways to perform that noble activity on various hand-held devices promoted and sold by various corporations who are interested in drawing you inexorably and perhaps, given their understanding of the way our brains work, irrevocably into their cash-and-credit cloudy chance-of-rain walled garden. And hey, friends and other people who somehow wound up reading this because your favored search engine just doesn’t know what the fuck: that’s just fine. Hell, I own APPLE INCORPORATED DEVICES too, and I’m down with googly android plastic pals who can mediate my experiences as I attempt to make connections with other humans. I’m a PC diehard, I guess.
It’s all good, until it’s not.
Here’s a thing I’ve been thinking about lately: the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine of Emptiness — unlike the ‘traditional’ No-Self doctrine that gravity-dropped straight rectified wisdom-turd out of the Buddha’s ass and I reckon gets it just right, self as process not thing, self as flame not candle — well, that Mahayana Emptiness Doctrine is intellectually indulgent incoherence packaged up in the lame wrapping paper of ‘mystery’. There is no wisdom there, I reckon. Dude, I know the mahayana became the dominant vehicle of Buddhist experience 16 or 17 centuries ago. I know. I don’t give a shit.
Even more disappointing, and, if you sit down and actually think about for a minute or ten, offensive to the Heart Of The Buddha Matter was the introduction of worship-worthy deities — that ludicrous ‘celestial buddha’ bullshit — where suddenly WAAHEY! there are goddamn superheroes in these crazy ‘heaven’ places, like AMITABHA BUDDHA and MAITREYA BUDDHA and SPIDERMAN BUDDHA, to whom you are supposed to pray for boons and interventions. It’s all wrong, it’s all corrupt and compromised, and that over-elaborate nonsense arose and got traction around the same time and to the same degree if not in exactly the same way that the message of the historical Christ fella was and is corrupted and compromised longish and long after the Fact. It disappoints, as every modern (even if by ‘modern’ you’re going back a dozen centuries or more) religious repack does. Fuck that noise. I’m no fundamentalist, but I am annoyed by fuckery of all stripes.
Wait, what was I talking about? Right: music and the sharing of it.
I love the music, my friends. And I stumbled onto ThisIsMyJam a month or two back, and I’ve been weekly or more often pointing to songs, generally while in my cups in my ritualistic Friday night worship sessions, and I recommend them to you. No embeddies, more’s the pity, so I link.
At least until the site gets bought out, and compromised, and corrupted: please come and join me in my weekly worship.
Here in my car I feel safest of all I can lock all my doors it’s the only way to live in cars
Look, I’m 49 years old. I know Charles Bukowski was an asshole — a drunk and a bastard and a pig. I don’t even like poetry, and I spent long enough years living the life before I figured out that squalor isn’t romantic, it’s just squalor. I’ve long since grown out of needing to have heroes, and long since learned more than enough about the writerly heroes of my youth to be completely disabused of the notion that they were anything but human. Deeply flawed and weak and broken humans just like rest of us.
Every time Charles Bukowski comes up on the internet, though, at least the internet I hang out in, where people at least know who the fuck he was, comments invariably turn to the phenomenon of the young, dumb, drunk anti-bro who LOVES BUK and WANTS TO BE LIKE HIM because BOOZE UNLEASHES HIS CREATIVE POWER and STUFF. There’s nothing wrong with that, even if it can annoy, though. Most of them will grow out of it once they realize that a) the booze doesn’t make you a poet unless you’re a poet already or b) being a poet doesn’t fix your life when you break it with booze. There are people who dislike things because the… enthusiasm of other people who like those same things can get on their nerves — The Big Lebowski fans being a good example — but I do try not to be one of them.
So, like I said, I’m nearly 50, and I still occasionally read or hear something new-to-me or long-forgotten by old Charlie B that just sends chills coursing down my scarred-up old spine, like this poem I’m about to paste down below.
So, calm your shit down for second. Take a breath. Forget about the latest Twitter timeline top-up or Buzzfeed bullshit product placement. Rest your goddamned internet-shattered mind for a minute, and then just read this like you’re navigating the rock-strewn rapids of a river.
Hail friends, and well met! If you’ve stopped by on your annual rounds to see if I’ve written anything amusing since the last equinox (then clicked away, shaking your head slowly in mild but unsurprised disappointment), you may have noticed that things are looking new and shiny.
I’ve been meaning to do a redesign for a while, just to apply some of the new stuff I’ve learned, and for shits and, you know, giggles, but the great empire surveyed by my Vast And Trunkless Legs Of Web continues to grow and occupy ever-larger amounts of my freeish time, and I’ve been doing quite a bit of Paid Client Work For Cash Money Son, and so: I haven’t. How did this shiny and also new design appear then, you might well ask?
I bought it. It’s the first time I’ve ever used a non-homegrown theme on the ol’ Bottle in all these years, and I’m sure this one will slowly morph as I tinker and tweak away, but: spending less time farting around with the look and perhaps possibly more time writing words to amuse you — yes, you, my friend! — seems like a better use of my limited awake-time resources, at least in terms of emptybottling.
Anyway, enjoy. And if you’re reading this in an RSS reader, well, just nod quietly to yourself and imagine the eyeball-melting cascading stylesheety glories in your mind.
People like things a lot these days. They have favorite things, so many many favorite things. They love to vote for things. Vote them up, vote them down. Maybe it’s to compensate a bit for losing the opportunity to vote for politicans who aren’t human garbage. I don’t know.
They express these warm feelings of approbation by clicking buttons on web pages, or fingering them where they float just under their glass touchscreens, or talking to their fucking Google Glass Life Monetization Accessories™ or something. I don’t know; I’m rapidly getting to the point where I don’t want to know.
As I write this 166,333 of these upstanding citizens — who have nothing to fear from the torturers and their colleagues! — have paused long enough in their otherwise laudable pursuits of the Good Life to mash the favorite button on this:
Certainly there are other gentlemen and ladies out there, children even, perhaps, who have found themselves, as the young sometimes do, unconvinced by the ethical pantomime of their elders, who find this odd and sad and objectionable. Maybe there are some who, like me, find it goddamned horrifying. To whom this is just another toxic cherry atop the towering summertime sunstroke shit sundae layercaked out of Twitter and The Rest. Not to put too fine a point on it.
But our numbers are, I fear, dwindling, and dark times are ahead.
If you are so inclined, feel free to press one of those lovely round buttons below to express your support for my wee bedtime divagation. The irony will be delicious.
This (which mildly freaks me out that it exists) reminds me of a Another Wonderchicken Old Days Story which I’m right here reminding myself to tell to my future, possibly senile self. Later. Stay tuned, if you are tuned, but very few people are actually tuned after all this time, so: no rush, I guess.
It’s Friday night again. All hail Friday night! Instead of watching It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World yet again, or playing another round of TF2 (although I admit I did play a few), I did an iOS app thing. I’m not proud, but I was curious. But then the beer and the screen touching and everything took holda me, and some kinda Tumblr basement Twitter teenparty Facebook ditchwater impulse visegripped me right in my squishy parts. And I uploaded. Shamelessly.
Look, I’m old. I don’t like having pictures taken of me, and I have very very few of them — like a handful per decade — but I’d gotten me a bug up my butt and another in my ear I had I had and I app-fiddled and tapped and I long-pressed and with my limited selection of fodder I made these things I am about to show you, and since I made them, I figured fuck it I might as well show you, so here I am, showing you so damn your eyes look at these things that I made which are 30 years of me:
“That we as a society are condoning information destruction and core library closures in Canada is unbelievable, and in my view, undemocratic and probably criminal… that would be an interesting aspect to investigate,” adds the scientist.
“Through a misguided policy purportedly driven by the desire for cost savings in the public service, and I believe this was only one reason for this action, we have trashed a network of world-class marine and fisheries libraries, the envy around the world. The rest of the world cannot believe what is happening in Canada on this issue.”
Concludes Wells: “If I were still working for the government, I probably would be fired for being concerned and outspoken about the future of aquatic science in Canada and the impact of current federal policies.”