Where I've been
I haven't posted much in a while, and for a number of reasons.
First, I was just discharged once again from the hospital yesterday. The long-time reader may recall an incident once before where I got a massive strep infection through a skin break and was in the sickhaus for a week. This time it was a bacterial infection which snuck in through some cracked dry skin on my heel. I was in for a much shorter period this time - on Sunday when my fever soared to a toasty 105.3 and I had uncontrollable chills under 3 blankets, we headed right for the hospital rather than seeing if Advil'd work. So hours after the fever set in, I was getting IV antibiotics. I've also had some additional health issues lately which have been a source of some stress. I'm home now and the infection appears to be on the run.
Secondly, I'm just in a general period right now of trying to assess my priorities, chief among them my involvement in the ever changing world of tech. When I left my job at the Times about 5 years ago to work at Oxygen, the promise of the web seemed like a relief from the endless jobs building yet another corporate database interface. You know what happened next. I'm not saying that it's entirely dead yet, but it becomes more and more difficult to see any of this as "alternative" in any way when it's obvious to me that blogging is the next technology to go "mainstream." (see also Denton, Nick.) I don't necessarily think this is bad. I don't even know if it's even preventable. What I'm trying to determine is how much of it I'm interested in putting up with. Increasingly my interests are leaning towards my family, given what I've been through lately. The idea of working 50-60 hour weeks for companies redefining the word "sweatshop" and dependent on a nation of 20 year old kool-aid drinkers seems less appealing. Yet on the other hand I have that family, and that mortgage, and need to make a living. So it's a struggle. I have no answers as of yet. Maybe never will.
As for blogging. I just don't know. In some ways I think that the technological advances that made blogging possible also contained the seeds of its doom by assimilation. You can already see it starting to shake out. Technorati is Webtrends is Nielsen - it's ratings for blogs. Six Apart is ruthlessly corporate. Podcasting is trying to be a combination of NPR and ham radio, at least in its DIY aspect. I'm still finding some interesting subcultures - there's a number of political, library-related and food-related blogs I've really been enjoying lately. Maybe that's where the promise of blogs still lies. I read the kind of stuff Jeff Jarvis wants for blogging and it makes me remember why I especially dislike media business people so much. Whenever a businessman starts talking about populism, look for the snake oil bottle. In the seventies, one of the record labels advertised how radical their product was with the slogan "The Man can't bust our MUSIC!" Which music was of course being sold you courtesy of The Man. Blogging is starting to seem like "The Man can't bust our MEDIA!" A lot of people and companies now want to be The Man rather than the MUSIC, but they want you to still think that blogging is rev-O-lutionary.
I may continue here, I may not (although, damnit, I did just renew the domain). There are a few people whose support have made me continue - Ed Heil, Michael Hall, Karel, and Luke Melia come to mind - and I'd hate to lose that conversation. But for now, that's kind of where I am coming from.