Well, there's the mission statement right there, under the title. But more importantly, why write this blog in the first place? Who or what got you inspired enough to actually write about the inanities of your life and work? Well, I have a few inspiration, and it's actually a pretty diverse group. So here are the people most responsible for inspiring me to actually do something in front of my computer other than play Facebook games and caption pictures of cats:
David Goldstein - Seattle, WA
Goldstein, better known simply as 'Goldy', started his blog Horse's Ass (http://www.horsesass.org/) as an extension of a somewhat less-than-serious jab at the voter-initiative system here in Washington, targeting right-wing activist Tim Eyman with an initiative of his own, the sole purpose of which was to declare Eyman "a horse's ass" to all and sundry - even Eyman's mother. While Goldstein's initiative was shot down by a Secretary of State with no sense of humor whatsoever, it led to the blog which was probably the first one I'd ever read. He takes his shots at people, and takes plenty of shots in return. Goldy's biggest moment so far was when he revealed the utter lack of experience then-FEMA chief Michael Brown had in emergency-management in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And he continues to annoy righties to this day.
Andrew Sullivan - Washington, DC
I've always been taught to respect both sides of an argument, so long as the people making them are factual in what they say and respectful of others. It drives my old-school liberal parents crazy, but it's part of what makes me who I am. Andrew's blog (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com) gives hope to me that there's some sanity over on the other side of the argument. Even though many would supposedly think as he does, many on the Right consider him something slightly to the left of Satan hisself. Why, you ask? Well, let's see here - he's not an American (English), he's a Catholic (and deeply critical of the current Pope and his policies), and he's openly gay, HIV-positive, and married. And yes, to another guy.
No wonder Sarah Palin is so scared of him. Which explains why I like the guy, though it's much deeper than that. Having the balls to call out people on (theoretically) his own side for their bullshit takes big brass cojones, and that's something I respect greatly.
Jason Davis - Washington, DC (metro)
The old adage goes "you've got to start somewhere." I met Jason on the comment forums on ESPN's website, talking soccer - more often defending it from dullards who think soccer is gay/retarded/socialist/un-American/whatever - and he was encouraging readers to check out his blog Match Fit USA (http://www.matchfitusa.com/). And in the space of a few years, he's gone from him and thoughts rambling in the middle of the night to running one of the best American soccer blogs on the net, with the awards to prove it.
"Elli" - Vancouver, BC (metro)
Yeah, that's her name. The name she wants you to know. Y'see, she's an independent..... oh, fuck it. She's an internet porn star. Well, she doesn't really like being called a 'porn star', but that's what she does for a living, and doing it pretty much all by herself. I came across her blog (elligirl.livejournal.com - NSFW) very much by accident. Seriously. One day I was just surfing, linking from one blog to another, pretty much at random. I can't even remember the name of the blog I was on when I saw a link that read "The Reluctant Porn Star".
I'm a guy. How the hell am I going to pass that up? Well, I didn't, and while she advertises her adults-only website regularly on her blog, she also talks about things far more normal than her latest videos. To be honest, when I cook ribs, the recipe is hers. I've swiped a couple other recipes from her as well. I've grumbled at her successful gardening. She's a good photographer of things other than herself (her archive of nature pictures on Flickr reminded me a lot of home when I lived in Reno). I've been utterly lost when she talks tech (I wager that she has the skillset to be the IT manager for a fairly large business - though that would probably mean a pay cut for her). But what really made me a fan of her blog was a post where she revealed that most of her family was none too pleased about her career choice, and that this made holidays really uncomfortable for her. I can sympathize with that. A lot. Admitting something like that takes a lot of bravery. And as you may have guessed by now, bravery is something I admire greatly.
Jamie Harvey - Fredericksburg, TX
This is almost an obituary of sorts, though I hope she wouldn't take it that way. She has enough of that on her hands right now as it is. Like Elli, Jamie is quite pretty, formidably intelligent, and very tech-savvy. Unlike Elli though, Jamie is very safe for work. Until recently, she was arguably San Francisco's premier music-scene blogger, known as the Hard Rock Chick (http://www.hardrockchick.com/). She averaged close to 100 shows a year that she attended, mostly in the Bay Area but often venturing far and wide to follow her favorite artists and bands. And her vast knowledge of Nine Inch Nails trivia, lore, and legend even helped settle an argument between Joy and I. Allow me to explain:
Y'see, Joy had told me for some time that her sister-in-law had a nephew who supposedly was Trent Reznor's touring bass player for a while. My sister-in-law is one of the nicest Mormons I've ever met, and while I've known more than a few Mormon black-sheep growing up (Thad Huhn, where are you?), including the one I've been married to for sixteen years. But I just had a hard time believing that my very normal-looking sister-in-law had a nephew like that. Jamie not only confirmed that it was so, but also provided me a link of said nephew trashing the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe during a solo performance.
And Jamie has had the willingness to reveal her darker moments as well. Concert and CD reviews could often be as much about her mood at the moment as it was about the bands she was there to see and hear. A review of Alice In Chains offered glimpses into dark corners of her adolescence that I could seriously identify with. Abusive exes and confused, not necessarily supportive family members (she once wrote that she was asked by a relative if she was gay simply because she lived in San Francisco - she worked for Sega in the videogame biz there) surfaced in reviews of black-metal bands and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. And she had a geek-out moment with the best of them when she followed NIN last summer for a few weeks, culminating in meeting The Reznor himself at an airport in Southern California when he told her through the NIN iPhone app that he was literally standing right behind her. But she recently left it all behind to return to Texas to care for her seriously-ill mother. We're friends on Facebook nowadays, but I've been hard-pressed to talk to her since she went home - how do you wish the best of luck to someone caring for a gravely, perhaps terminally ill parent?
I guess what all five of these people have in common is a certain kind of perseverance. The ability to be honest with oneself to others, to complete strangers. To hang yourself and your thoughts and opinions out there for all to see, to support or criticize, and to do so without fear. That is something I admire greatly, and aspire to emulate when I write these things out for you, dear reader.
Now if you'll excuse me, there's a chuck roast downstairs that should be thawed out and ready for my attentions. And no, I didn't swipe this recipe from Elli. I got it from Alton Brown.