Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Have No Topic And I Must Blog

I realize, faithful readers, that my blog posts have been increasingly "spotty" of late. There are several reasons for this. In my last post (three long weeks ago) I wrote of how, having thought that my computer had died, I had ordered a new one, only to resurrect the old one afterward. This small victory did not instill in me any sense of obligation to cancel the order for the new computer, however. Far be it from me to forgo a perfectly good excuse for buying myself a new toy, even if that excuse becomes technically invalidated!

Since then, my new computer has arrived and there was a certain amount of disruption caused by the necessity of setting up the new machine and moving all my old files over. However, truth be told, I had the new box up and running, with internet access, the very day that it arrived, so all that hardly prevented me from blogging. It would be more honest to say that I've been more interested in showing off my new toy to myself than I've been in blogging. (Let's see now, I have an hour to myself, during which I could post something to my blog, which I could do perfectly well using my old PC, or I could take a virtual aerial tour of Seattle with the graphical detail turned up to "full". Tough call...)

There is, however, a secondary reason for my protracted silence. I've been suffering from a case of "Writer's Blog", if you will. Somehow, no topics have managed to inspire me over the past few weeks. This is where writers such as myself walk a fine line. As I've said before in this blog, I'm of the opinion that, once one decides to blog, it behooves one to post on a fairly regular basis, lest one's readers lose interest and stop returning. On the other hand, writing is sometimes like speaking. When one has nothing to say, it's often best to say exactly that ... nothing.

I always knew the day would come when I would lack for blog ideas. One strategy that I use to avoid, or at least minimize, this eventuality, is to jot down notes for future reference whenever possible ideas occur to me. These often germinate into respectable blog posts. Unfortunately, I currently have a plethora of random, unrelated ideas that neither promise to flourish into respectable topics in their own right, nor can they be combined into any sort of intelligible whole. Some humble examples:

Under the category of "Things That Bug Me" (see also "Andy Rooney Impersonations)"; Tim Hortons coffee lids whose plastic tabs refuse to stay down once bent back. They invariably pop up while I'm trying to sip my coffee, forming a small, brown, plastic, Hitleresque "moustache" beneath my nose.

Under "Editorials", a news item that I once read about a University of Waterloo professor who noted that about 25% of high school graduates that enter university are failing basic literacy exams, and that includes students who were scoring between 80 and 90 percent averages in high school English. I can only conclude that certain high school English teachers are either incompetent or, at the very least, disengaged.

Staying with literacy and writing, and under the category "Life Imitates Art", I've mused privately about the eerie similarity between acronyms used in e-mail and texting ("OMG! ROTFL! CU L8TR!") and Orwellian Newspeak ("reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unperson rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling"). Both are equally incomprehensible to the normal reader and both share the dangerous characteristic of suppressing the expression of intangible concepts by robbing the English language of expressive words and phrases (not to mention robbing their writers of their grammatical and spelling talents).

Under "Random Musings", I found myself playing a computer game at one time whose typically unimaginative introductory narrative reported that the enemy had developed "The world's most advanced weapons system". My immediate reaction was "What, another one? That's the fourth one this month!" World's most advanced weapons systems are becoming somewhat like PCs. It seems they're obsolete by the time you get them home and unpack them from their shipping crates, having already been replaced by a new "World's most advanced weapons system".

Intriguing ideas, all, yet none independently capable of standing as a blog post in its own right. However, rather than disappointing my readers by greeting them with "It's Alive!" for yet a fourth week, I've seen fit instead to offer up this buffet of bite-sized samplings from the Halmanator menu. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm suddenly feeling hungry...