Sunday, February 17, 2008

Momentum + Inertia + Disorientation = Timeout

I have learned that I cannot write at a certain level of fatigue. Only inchoate ideas pass my consciousness. Nothing gets tapered, refined, critiqued. I thought I was learning something about recognizing this threshold at which I was actually saving time and saving my life when it was better to sleep than to struggle on.

But these days, even power naps don't seem to work. Maybe it's a mild depression occasioned by a sense of loss and of losing which clouds my clarity. What I think I need is diversion. Whether my affliction is mental paralysis and writer's cramp, mounting frontal assaults don't seem to work.

In the past, I've found that a good way to shake myself out of these 'slumps' is to comment, sometimes at length, on friends' sites. Trouble is, some of them seem to be likewise afflicted and are not posting suitable grist for me frequently enough. Others, somehow misconstrue my friendly and positive contributions as rampant negativity, delete me, and tell me not to return.

In my travels through the blogosphere I have encountered many stimulating and attractive sites which temp me to stay longer and return more often than my increasingly limited time and energy permit. On some of these, I find myself drawn into rewarding dialogues and roundtables which extend for days and are informative and challenging. Others on this point, frankly, disappoint for various reasons. I'll mention three explanations.

  • Comment Moderation: It is very frustrating to go to the trouble of responding in a thread by composing a paragraph only to see that it will not be displayed until reviewed by the blogmeister or blogmistress. This feature denies me that satisfaction of appraising my contribution with the possibility of replacing it with an alternative. This feature also denies me the right to know if some other comment was posted in the interlude between when I began my composition and when I finished it. (I am a slow deliberate thinker typist.) I like to blend in the with flow of the conversation and use appropriate segues whenever possible. Thirdly, this comment moderation feature squelches the spontaneity of discussion. All activity has to await the approval of moderator. Often when the moderator authorizes comments to be published, they appear out of sequence. Finally, it's all unnecessary. The blog's administrator can just as easily check his site and capriciously delete objectionable content as he can approve comment double-parked in his email.
  • Anonymous Comments: Another irksome feature of some otherwise fantastic blogs are anonymous comments. These are especially frustrating threads that extend over some significant column inches or days. I fooking hate it when a good topic is beaten to death with a random trail of comment after comment by someone known as 'Anonymous' or 'Anon'. There's no way you can respond to any particular participant, or take a measure of his or her logic or consistency. You can't discern WTF is saying what. It's like a bunch of drive-by tagging crews throwing up a bunch of graffiti. The randomness of it all destroys any sense of linear discussion or community. Plus, total anonymity or anonymous comments frequently encourages the hijacking of the topic down the low road, racing to the bottom, ultimately invoking the very stupid language of hate. When I happen upon one of these I think I have arrived too late to a cocktail party; every one is drunk and every one is wearing identical burqas. The point is, this is also very easy to avoid. I don't think it's too much to ask opinionated folks who want to make their opinions known, to at least establish a distinct pseudonym. One site I write on is bending over backwards to be as permissive as possible on this point. It is going to experiment with permitting the use of noms-de-blog which are not attached to email addresses. The plan would be that when comments are posted by 'Anonymous', they will be deleted. That's really not enough to satisfy me. I don't think it's really workable but at least it's a start in the right direction.
  • Time-Stamps: Whether by design or neglect, some sites are set up such that comments are stamped with only the date or the time of day designated. This formatting does not inform the reader as to how current the discussion is, and will probably discourage him from investing any time participating in the discussion.
All this having been said, I cop to being a blog-addict. I'm truly hooked on all of the sites I regularly visit. They inform, challenge, and entertain me. I also treasure my own readership, be they writers or lurkers. I may not always acknowledge my appreciation through my own comments in my pages. Often, I would rather follow the discussion here than lead it. If anyone thinks I'm ungrateful to, and unresponsive for, comments in my pages, they should review their own sites. That's where I'll be engaging in pay-back!


  1. This may be my last posting for awhile. Early evening, I became dizzy in the sense of a lost sense of balance. That has been intermittent, in and out. Now I'm practically deaf in my right ear. (Diagnostic? - LOL!) Now, I can't sleep because of high anxiety. (Also diagnostic?) When morning comes, I will most likely see that the day's plans will be scratched for a hospital visit. Hopefully thing will turn out rosily.

    Hope! What a powerful word.

    Obama '08!

  2. Vig, I'm so sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. Sending you all my best wishes and positive thoughts for a quick recovery. Please let us know how you are doing, when you can.

    Feel better, my friend. Take care.

  3. Hi Vig,

    Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Hope it's nothing serious. Take your time -- look forward to reading your next post to tell us you're alright.

    Chin up and take care.

  4. vigilante, I sure hope this afternoon finds you feeling much better.

    I have proof you were disoriented and not thinking straight last night: the WIZARD actually agrees with every word you wrote!!

    I especially dislike "pre-publication" moderation and do not bother to post (or even visit) those sites twice. I want the free flow of ideas.

    And, like you, I do not allow Anonymous posts to my blog site.

    And I've even taken my personal posting one step further: My "real life" name (Bob Keller) now is posted at the top of my blog (and has been for several months).

    I had been criticized for "hiding behind my Wizard moniker" in a national print publication for the blogs I wrote last year critizing Warren Buffett for his failure to divest stocks funding the genocide in Darfur.

    As timing would have it, two of the bloggers I respect the most in all of the blogosphere, B. Daniel Blatt and Bruce Carroll Jr. over on, made a decision to include their real names on their blog.

    So I followed their lead and added my name to my writings.

    I'm not implying any criticism of you or others who need and deserve a certain amount of privacy, but I felt I needed to stand firmly behind my strongly held beliefs.

    Hope you feel better soon.... We simply cannot be seen agreeing like this.... it might ruin your entire image!!!!

  5. Hi Vigilante - well, I've been feeling slammed to the wall the last couple o' days, but for me its from an awful case of the stomach flu. I can't remember ever feeling so physically bad in my life. Dizzy, sweaty, delusional, all kinds of stuff happening that shouldn't. Maybe it all started when Harold Ickes joined the Clinton campaign. :-)

    Hope you feel better, take the time for yourself to heal.

  6. Vigilante,
    Sending gigantic fat wishes for your improved health and sense of well-being. The blogosphere is lame without you!

  7. Just got your message today, Monday. I'll be thinking of you all day and hoping for a quick and complete recovery. Love you very much.

  8. Get well soon, vigilante. Choose your distractions wisely.

  9. I think I'm back. I surely panicked. I've never experienced that amount of dizziness since I was doing beer kegs in my 20's, yet I was perfectly sober, alert and my normally articulate self. How bad was I? Well I walked into walls and drove 1/4 of the way up an off-ramp with Trophy Wife screaming at me. (Couldn't tell what she was screaming because I was totally deaf in my right ear.) I was totally panicked Saturday Night/Sunday Morning. Was it a brain tumor or aneurysm? Expecting and prepared to die from another slow-progressing disease, I was not prepared for such a sudden shock to my system. What do I think caused this? The rental car we were driving had a hellish odor in the interior. I think maybe it was the cleansing material they had sprayed in the car to override the fact that it was a smoker's car. Nearest we can figure this out, that's the best story we can come up with. So I'm sticking to it. Whoever rents this death car next, and crashes, can contact me as a witness.

    Thanks for your good wishes!

  10. Vig,

    Hope you feel better! Maybe it's just the onset of blogging-induced vertigo? Best of luck on your visit with the doc!

  11. Vig, sorry it took so long to get back to you, and sorrier still to find you in a bad way. I hope you are feeling better. I worked in the pest control industry for years, and an allergic reaction to a chemical could easily have been the cause of those symptoms. Hang in there!

  12. It could be a temporary affliction induced by belief in incompetent and ridiculous politicians such as Obama.

    Most likely you are recovering from Voodoo induced by a group of people jumping about and yelling ''change''.

    Much like the experience now suffered through with Nancy Pelosi... Obama will turn out to be another windbag politician that will shaft the American people just as the rest are doing.

    After all his masters are the same.

  13. Great piece! I agree with everything you said Vigil, and I know how you feel. For whatever it is worth you are always welcome on my blog. Unfortunately I have been suffering burn-out for some time so I hope you can continue to visit and still be tolerant of some of my shortcomings.

  14. At the risk of repeating myself, so glad you're feeling better, Vig.