Sunday, December 12, 2004

Stuck in a rut, er, shaft.

As I write these words I am stuck in an elevator. No fooling, honest-to-God stuck in an elevator. It will be another 40 minutes until the service worker comes to the rescue (eyes fluttering, I leap into his hairy arms and coo “my hero”).

And so I’ve turned on my laptop and am writing down my observations for future posterity; listening to music, over the din of the working elevator which continues to yo-yo beside its stationary brother, the first song which my random selection plays is, of all things, “Stairway to Heaven.” Let me relate for you then, the events of my story:

I had just finished my last final of the semester, and had almost completed the journey back to my apartment. I arrived in the building, quickly checked my mail, and pushed the button to call an elevator. We have two elevators in my apartment. Elevator 1 and Elevator 2 I suppose. Elevator 1 is known to those who live in the building as “El Elevator de Muerte” or “Clarence.” It has always behaved suspiciously; doors closing with an ominous sloth, the buttons bathed in an eerie luminous red, and occasional tremors which shook the elevator as if it were possessed by an epileptic demon.

It was Clarence which greeted me that fateful day (Saturday), and I stepped in eagerly, excited to arrive home and begin celebrating my completed semester. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so distracted by thoughts of leisure, I would have noticed that when I stepped into the elevator it shook severely. But other than the shaking of the elevator, I noticed no such thing. As I pressed the button for my floor the elevator slowly started to carry me skyward. Then, without warning, the warning bell sounded, and the elevator, which had reached the fourth floor, stopped quickly, and began a short, swift descent. The fall, fortunately, came to a quick stop – it seems Spiderman must have been waiting in the elevator shaft to catch the elevator with his webbing. Or maybe there was a break mechanism. Either way.

So now here I sit, stopped in an unresponsive elevator, just below what I believe to be the third floor. The digital display inside the elevator shows a 3, and peeking through the crack of the door I can see that the top of the elevator has reached the bottom of another set of doors.

I am contemplating a daring escape: I figure that if I can pry open the doors a little more I might be able to slip through and steal a spoon from the cafeteria. I can then dig away at the floor every night, slowly creating a tunnel which will lead 50 yards past the outer wall, beyond the reach of the search lights. After building the tunnel I will sneak some hair from the prison barbershop, and, using wood from the shop and papier-mâché which I form from the books in the library, will birth a dummy which looks just like me. I will then construct a rudimentary bomb from all of the natural elements on the planet’s surface, as I try to avoid the giant lizard creature from the other spaceship, and use that bomb to blow my effigy to pieces. Then, when the guards think I am dead, I will be free to switch places with my recently deceased mentor, crawling into his body bag just before it is thrown off the side of a cliff. After surviving the fall I shall use the call of a dying giraffe to alert my contacts in Le Resistance that I have escaped. Le Resistance will help me acquire a knife, which I will then use to whittle a gun. I will cover the wood with shoe-black, completing the appearance of the faux-weapon. Only then will I sneak back inside the prison, and, using the fake gun, take a guard hostage. Using the captive guard as leverage I will explain to a negotiator that most of the force is on the take and that I have been framed for the murder of my best friend, who it just so happens, looks exactly like me and so was able to take my place at the guillotine so that I could return to my family. Oh hey, the elevator guy’s here. Good, I think the air was starting to get a little thin.

Friday, December 10, 2004


I noticed the other day that on my side-bar you can read my archives from 3 different months. True, there's not much in October, and we're not far into December, but I felt it warranted comment; According to the side-bar, I've been at this for an entire quarter of a year. That might not sound like much, but, for me, it really is. Especially given that so many of my other projects never lasted nearly this long. (I once purchased several bags of skittles, a stick of glue, and a gigantic sheet of posterboard because I wanted to make a skittle-mosaic. When I got home I began separating the colors into large baggies; red in one, green in another, etc. 4 months later my friend Gina opened one of my desk drawers and summarily concluded that I was a skittle racist. I responded by indiscriminately gorging myself on handfuls from each bag. The posterboard became a gigantic paper-airplane, and I glued impotence-treatment ads to the pages of my textbooks before selling them back to the bookstore). So 3 months of semi-regular posting seems somehow significant. And when you consider that in 22 days the side-bar will list months from two consecutive years, well, that's clearly impressive. It seems Philosofickle is here to stay.

This may seem like good news to all those regular and semi-regular readers out there (to the semi-regular reader: I'd recommend more fiber). In some ways it seems like people are interested in what I have to say. But mostly it seems like they're paying attention just long enough to determine that they're more interested in something else. Anything else.

Actually, anything else might be misleading. It seems there is a very specific other-interest which my blog has sparked: the desire to create one's own blog. Mom, Gina, Josh, Kendrick, Emily, Theresa (apparently), Maria, Anna, Eric, Eric (a different one), Kajsa, Dykhoff, and apparently even Joel, who already has his own website, is contemplating a blog. These in turn are spinning off other derivatives. It seems I've created a monster.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm excited that so many other people are blogging. I like reading about Gina's wedding plans and what Emily had for lunch. I'm interested in Anna's petition and whether Dykhoff is living in a palace or just a plain old mansion. The problem is, for a little while, I was one of the only people I knew with a blog. And, for most of those who know about Philosofickle, I was also one of the only people they knew with a blog. It made me unique. All I had to do was post periodic rants, or original humor about peeing into a sink and people would say, "did you read Philosofickle?" But now that so many others have blogs they don't ask such questions. Instead I have to distinguish myself by content!

As is to be expected, I am indignant. It seems I was unable to keep others from entering the market. Actually, I encouraged others to enter the blog market (and still do)(anti-trust, my ass). But now, because of my very noble unselfishness, it appears that competition and the invisible hand are driving the quality of the product (why Adam Smith ever put a transparent, unattached appendage behind the wheel, I'll never know). Sure, I've got a low overhead, which means my only real costs are variable and therefore I can afford to stay in business as long as it suits me, but the pressures of competition are not without effect. I don't just want people to read my blog, I want them to love it. But with so many other terrific blogs out there, I'm afraid I won't be able to cultivate that somewhat awkward romance between two camp counselors on opposite sides of the lake that sweltering summer when she was 19 - Wait, sorry, that's a totally different story.

Now, as we all know, I'm trying to keep this from becoming a "typical" blog. I don't want it to be too journally. You know the type, all "I found six dollars on the street today" or "I can't believe they voted Chad off of Survivor - he was such a dreamboat!" And I don't want it to be full of trite opinions like "The Portuguese suck!" or "The Apprentice 2 is a total ripoff of The Apprentice."

The problem is, most of the other blogs I read have some of these elements. I get to read about what is going on in the lives of my family and friends. And I really enjoy it. I've been checking each blog several times daily. I feel more closely connected. And I worry, because maybe this isn't a good thing: Maybe in some way this technology is hurting us. If I want to know how Gina is planning her wedding, and get some suggestions, I just read her blog instead of calling her. If I want to give Kendrick my opinion on his love-life, I post a reply, instead of writing a letter. And in some way, there might be something wrong with this. In the past month I've felt really close to my family and friends because of the blogs - it gives me a chance to get updates that I wouldn't normally get, to experience things I wouldn't otherwise. But what if this becomes permanent - what if every single one of us blogs until the next big technological shift? Will we lose some of the depth in our relationships? Will they become just superficial updates? Will we still call home? Write letters? (I don't think I've ever written a letter to home in my entire life). Will we just splash our lives on the screen and paste our hurried thoughts to the end of an entry, without giving real time and thought to the people behind the post?

The answer, I guess, is "I don't know." But maybe it isn't really so dangerous. After all, this is a pretty terrific opportunity. We get to share our thoughts and opinions. We get to keep connected. We get to be more directly involved in the lives of others. Overall, this sure looks to be a good use of technology. And a good use of technology can never be dangerous, can it Mary Shelley?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

All I want for Christmas

Because some people might be a) planning out of their own goodness/insanity or b) otherwise obligated, to get me a Christmas gift, and because as I sit here studying I realize how crappy my headphones are, here is a short Christmas list. If I think of more stuff, I'll add it.

A really nice pair of headphones. You know, the kind that cover your whole ear and immerse you in the sound... mmm...
Some instrumental jazz. I've already got Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and John Coltrane's Blue Train. But something along those lines.
The Godfather (not the book).
Pants. Probably of the blue jean type.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Maybe I'm not growing as a person?

Hmm, whadya know? Random round-the-clock jackhammering outside my window during finals week bothered me last year too.