Friday, November 10, 2006

From Out of the Smog #1

by Stormcrow Hayes

LOS ANGELES: I'm not going to lie to you, I really hate blogs. For the most part they seem to be nothing more than published journals, rants about how unfair the world is treating you poorly on any given day. Most of these blogs seem to be updated hourly and are authored by angst-ridden teenagers and college students (after all, who else would have the time?)

Then there are the wannabe blogs. These are usually written with purpose and good intentions. The purpose could be anything from "how to break into the film industry" to "this is what's wrong with politics" or "cooking tips" from a chef trying to build a reputation. The intention is to write often and build an audience. That rarely happens.

I can't tell you how many people have sent me e-mails announcing their new blog. I promptly look the blog over, favourite it and then, maybe six months or a year later, somehow find myself bored enough to check back. Inevitably, the initial bloom of love has long since faded and the last entry, usually older than my VCR is little more than a quick comment saying, "I can't believe it's been so long since I last wrote. I'll try to keep this updated more in the future."

There are literally millions of these blogs littering cyberspace; messages in bottles, floating adrift waiting for someone to find them, hoping their message is somehow still relevant. It rarely is. This is not a blog. This is a column.

What is the difference? A blog can be about anything, insights into current events, how you feel when you listen to your favourite song, or what you had for lunch. It can be long or short, and it often has "cute" characterics depicting what mood the author was in when they wrote it. My mood when I see these things is always: annoyed. The point is, blogs can be (and often are) completely pointless.

A column should have a beginning, a middle and an end. A column needs to say something. A column should be written in a professional manner.

I will try and do all of those things (though I make no promises) in this column. However, I will warn you now that there will be no specific theme or genre to what I write. One week I may rant about drivers on their cell phones, another week I may rave about a book I read. Mostly I'll just share stories and anecdotes from my own life.

I was drawn to this column for two reasons. One, my esteemed editor and colleague, Bandula Jayasekara, promised me carte blanche (i.e., I can write whatever I want!).

Secondly, a few years ago I read "Notes from a Dirty Old Man" by Charles Bukowski. The book is a collection of columns he wrote for a newspaper. He, too, was offered carte blanche. Some of them were good and some of them weren't. That's the problem with writing a weekly column, you can't always guarantee you'll have something to say.

Nevertheless, I feel up to the challenge. I hope you'll come along for the ride. Aayu-bowan!

(Stormcrow Hayes lives with his imaginary friends in Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. For more information visit

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