Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The days grow short

September 27, 2017

Leaves are turning, and so is the sky.

Some evildoer swiped my beautiful desert climate while I was on the road. A fella can’t leave nothin’ unlocked and unguarded in these parts.

I should be out and about, logging miles on the Marin Nicasio. But instead here I am, in the office, catching up on correspondence and expense reports, brokering real-estate deals, and drinking green tea.

Why, I may even put on pants. That’s how dire the situation has become.

Damp, gray weather like this is why the Mid-Willamette Valley and I proved such a poor fit back in the early Eighties. It makes me want to eat everything, with a side of everything else, and wash it all down with buckets of brain-eraser. Cost me my girlish laughter it did, along with a few buttons on the old 501s.

And now Twitter is testing a 280-character tweet, doubling the previous limit we’ve all come to know and love. Good Gawd Awmighty. Has the world gone mad? Zombie Russian novelists must be running that op’ these days. Tolstoy needed more than 140 characters just to clear his throat.

What Twitter really needs is an editing function. But if we had that, I expect more of us might come to realize that we only have 140 characters’ worth of wisdom in us on a good day.

Black, white and red

October 29, 2015
Sure, the thermometer shows a temp in the upper 50s. You gonna believe me or your lyin' eyes?

Sure, the thermometer shows a temp in the upper 50s. You gonna believe me or your lyin’ eyes?

As the dark days of winter loom I’ve been tormenting people on Facebook and Twitter with photos of a sunny, warm Albuquerque, so it’s only fair that last night Herself and I both felt a tad chilly under just a sheet and lightweight bedspread, and this morning it was sprinkling as I backed the Forester out of the garage for its date with the Subaru wizards at Reincarnation.

Cycling home from the shop in a chilly breeze I had to stop to beef up my kit, pulling on a light jacket, long-fingered gloves and tuque. Happily, the rain cut me some slack and I got home without a soaking. Also without photos. I’m not good enough with Photoshop to turn today’s gray skies blue.

There’s a bit of red in the old fiscal picture, though. Subie wants a new driveshaft. Owie. I guess I’m lucky to have avoided a long walk home from this last trip to Bibleburg, the only one in recent memory in which a bicycle didn’t come along for the ride.

Meanwhile, how refreshing to find out that a Bush really doesn’t want the job before we give it to him: “Contributors detected little urgency in his voice, and some were taken aback when Mr. Bush announced that he had an hour free on his schedule and was going to go work out.”

Remember, this is the smart one.

Time Machine Tuesday

January 21, 2014

Over at Teh Twitters yesterday a gent praised a non-rant I’d written way back in 2002, saying it was one of his “all-time favorites.”

I had forgotten about it — these things vanish from my consciousness about a nanosecond after I hit the “Send” button — so I looked it up, and y’know, I kinda liked it myself. Even an old blind dog finds a tasty Milk-Bone now and then, it seems.

Written when we still lived in Weirdcliffe, it was prompted by a reader’s complaint (one of many, actually) that my stuff was too negative, which it can be. That my VeloNews.com column was christened “Friday’s Foaming Rant” didn’t help. A label like that tends to set a certain tone, and when I wandered off the Rantinista reservation other critics would jeer, “Call that a rant?” You can’t win.

But if two of us liked it, it must not be entirely lame, so here it is, reprinted in all its faded glory for your entertainment.

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Ass, grass or gas: Nobody rides for free

November 9, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when I start ringing up editors to inquire whether come the new year they will keep flinging good money after bad by continuing to accept contributions from Your Humble Narrator.

This process always involves a bit of give and take — the editor explains what s/he wishes to take from me, and I tell the editor where and how I plan to give it. A good old time is had by all, often at the top of our lungs, and before long the spreadsheets, knuckle-dusters and restraining orders are set aside and we all go back to earning our meager livings.

bite-meAnd meager is all I ask. My needs are simple, not unlike myself, and I retain no illusions about the freelance rumormonger’s position on our long list of must-have items in the 21st century. (Hint: It’s more than a couple of folds down from the top of the page.)

Today, there is no more writing, illustration or photography — it’s all “content,” and a smart fella can get that anywhere.

Just ask Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and Innertubez gazillionaire. Now one of the guiding lights behind a newish venture, Medium, Williams has moved beyond the 140-character limit in search of “thoughtful, longer-form writing,” says Matt Richtel of The New York Times.

Well, not all that far, perhaps. To be sure, Williams wants more characters for his new enterprise, but he’s offering the same level of compensation — to wit, nothing. Writes Richtel, 745 words into this paean to long-form work: “A few writers are paid, with their work solicited by a small editing team, but most are not.”

Do tell.

Medium employs some 40 folks; I assume that they are taking home paychecks, though being an Innertubez gazillionaire, Williams — whose personal fortune recently ballooned by nearly $2.5 billion, thanks to his 10.5 percent share of Twitter — may not require anything so mundane as compensation for whatever it is that he does.

Well, I do, and thus you should not expect to see my byline over at Medium anytime soon.

I don’t object to writing for free. In fact, I’ve done and continue to do plenty of it.  I kept a journal for a decade or so; covered cycling for free at The New Mexican (where I was paid for editing) just to get it in the paper; and have been blogging gratis for longer than I can prove (the archives back at the old home place date to 1992).

But it seems Williams is after something a little deeper than the product of a guy who is interested primarily in keeping the old editorial muscles loose by jotting down whatever comes to mind, just for the hell of it, without interference from editors, publishers or advertisers. Though precisely what that something is, the story never quite says.

There is chin music aplenty, however. Long form. Rationality. Nourishment. Holistic. The one thing that seems certain is that whatever it is that Williams wants to sell, he is not willing to buy.

Sounds irrational to me, even assholistic. Hey, yo, Williams! I got your long-form nourishment right here, pal.