Monday, August 30, 2004

My Dinner with AJ

I wasn’t sure about meeting a fellow blogger. I mean, everyone seems pretty cool, online, but what if they turn out to be freaks in real life? Or what if they recognize -- I mean, think -- that I am, too?

Well, with AJ, there was nothing to worry about. I’d bet he’s the most down-to-earth real person emerging from cyberspace. Easy-going and friendly, and so talkative, I ravenously finished my lobster ravioli long before he made a dent in his al dente pasta.

It was a relief to talk to someone within, and about, our blogging community. I’ve spent so much time here, that I forget my real-life friends aren’t in on the Internet interactions. I can’t tell them, “Hey, Gooch is a dad!” or “What happened to Crayon?” or “You see that funny thing from the Countessa today?” (I do anyway, though. Making sense is overrated.)

AJ told me a lot about his life, stuff that’s both on his site, and secrets he may not have the courage to share. I did the same -- you’ll either see these tales on my blog in the future, or you’ll have to inject AJ with sodium pentathol for the ugly truth. He explained the meaning of the grammatically incorrect “All Your Blogs Are Belong to Us”, which is a lot funnier story than the origin of “Make Mine Mike”. (A variation on an old funny British movie, Make Mine Mink. New Year’s hangover was overtaking any creativity at the time, and if I put any more effort into a title, I wouldn’t have started ’04 with a weblog at all. Also, I think the superduper clever “Michael’s Blog” was already taken.)

The truth and blogging was largely the topic of conversation. How and why we’ve used this medium. He wanted to chronicle his family story; I wanted to tell funny ones, and display my cartoons, photos, etc.

Then I discovered, like he and many people, Life at TJ’s Place. It not only inspired me to write simple, humorous anecdotes, but I was impressed with the amount of comments the site was getting. That’s how a lot of us found each other.

This led to the subject of what AJ called, “party blogs” -- ones that get tons of comments, and even more daily visitors. TJs got notoriety when it was listed on Some sites are full of raunchy sexy stuff that draws people in, and still other people spread the love out there and get plenty in return -- gotta write the comments to get ‘em. AJ and I acknowledged there are some fine writers on each other’s sidebar -- we see them Haloscanning -- but we just don’t have the time to add them to our roster. We admitted sometimes getting jealous of the party blogs, (especially when they get more visitors for a mini-post than we do for a funny or thought-provoking one) but we remind ourselves that we’re not in it for popularity. Still, it’s so satisfying to get responses, to know someone’s out there reading your entries.

I always thought of these blogs like LA restaurants. And you’re the chef. Some places become hotspots, due in part to the atmosphere in the joint. You can go out and drum up business, go into the comments section like you’re mingling with the diners, but at the end of the day, the important thing -- to me -- is to serve fine cuisine.

AJ and I agreed, as we finished our bottle of chianti, not every dish will be delicious (though our meal certainly was), but we try. Bon appetit and party on.


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