Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Slow Chemical -- Introduction

I will be posting the full Slow Chemical story here over the next few weeks. I've gone back and modified the chapter that has been published elsewhere and added a new introduction, and I'll post the latter now. I will add chapters of Slow Chemical between every regular Blog entry until the full story is up, and I will try to do this in a somewhat quicker fashion than usual. For those who don't know, the basic idea behind Slow Chemical is to be a vampyric metaphor for the worlds I'm driven by in all of my writing: politics and the arts. Enjoy.

My name is Cloven Malcolm. I am a twenty-three-year-old student at the University of British Columbia. I was born and raised a few towns over in Chilliwack, where my mother still lives. She is alone now, with my being at school and the recent death of her husband of sixteen years. He wasn't my father, and I honestly never even liked the guy, but she has been very depressed and hopeless with him gone. I'm going to stay with her for a couple of weeks just to be sure that things are all right and maybe just because I miss her, and the country.

My friends would probably describe me as a man of few words, but they don't know all that I want to say. The words are there, they just don't come around when I need them. If it were left up to me, I would call myself a man of action -- I know what I want and will always strive for it without exceptions; never willing to settle. I lived a lot of my life as a pushover until I got out of high school, so now I'm eager to lock horns, even if not so much with words; my actions scream.

My earliest memory is of falling into a blackberry bramble when I was just three years of age. I lay in agony with thorns stuck in every part of my body, completely silent for fear of burdening anybody with having to rescue such a stupid child. I watched dozens of people pass me by for hours as I bled, and wept as quietly as I could. When day turned to night my family came looking for me -- I watched them pass as well. The following day I heard my grandfather calling out to me from nearby, begging for me to come home, and eventually I summoned the courage to let out a sheepish, embarrassed, "I'm in the bush..." Gramps came to me and pulled me out of the bush, and asked if I was okay. "I'm fine," I told him, "but I was stuck in the bush for a while." I nearly died, but felt bad for taking up a bed at the hospital.

My rebellious years were less exciting than most. The worst thing that I ever did was steal a Ninja Turtle toy from a department store, and nobody ever found out about it. However, after a few weeks I returned to the store, racked with guilt, and snuck it back into its original spot on the shelf; I hadn't even opened the package. Once that had been corrected I took up mowing neighborhood lawns and soon saved the money to buy a whole set of action figures, and to this day I still have the lot of them in their packages.

I met Ashley that same year. I was thirteen and she was a sophisticated fifteen. I remember when we were introduced by our friend Adam, who put her up to slapping me across the face in place of the customary "hello" or a handshake. Somehow, I admired her for doing it, and in an unprecedented bold move I told her that I found her "real cute." We've been together since that day; I plan to marry her when I'm done with school. Adam still thinks I'm gay.

Well, the bus is about to set off for Chilliwack, so I'll pick this up when I get back from my visit. It should only be a couple of weeks.

-Cloven :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Complete -- if abbreviated -- eStory of my eLife

The first thing I did when I got a computer with an Internet connection at home was surf to Art Bell's website to see pictures that were, at the time, realistic and frightening evidence of alien beings. Now of course they would be much less realistic than the kitty being chased by a Japanese turd. If you don't get those references, don't worry about it, you're the one who's all right. That same first night of cyber life -- when mom finally went to bed -- I went straight to and gawked for literally hours at tiny thumbnails of partially obscured genitalia, having no idea of the high-res hardcore awaiting me in the years to come. I got sick of Yahoo! Chat about as quickly as I discovered it, and within a few months of getting online I had a weblog.

The world was a different place back then, you have to remember. This was 1996, which is the year that we caught the cunning Unabomber taking a dump in the woods, Tupac totally didn't die at all, and nobody knew what the fuck a weblog was. There had been 'blogs online for years by then, but they numbered in the tens rather than the tens of thousands that they do today. My first webpage was on Tripod and it didn't have a name -- all I actually remember is that it had an ugly background texture, and flaming bars to separate content. Next was PimpChimp, a result of all the good names being taken, which was a garish orange page with a shit-load of animated gifs and hi-larious pictures, but really wasn't all that bad when I think of it now. After that, things got a little bit weird(er).

It's 1998 by now, and I've just discovered a different kind of weblog at, which today is an awful porn ad bought out by a bigger and less interesting site, but back then was a unique hybrid of simple weblog entries, and files collected from the whole of the Interweb -- like PimpChimp. The only trouble with this concept is that it suddenly takes the site away from the realm of a cute little project to work on, and thrusts it out into the competitive and absolutely baffling world of ego-maniacal, traffic-hungry scenesters who would label themselves "E/N," for Everything/Nothing. How could I have known that I would soon be crowned as their queen?

Amanda was my name when I opened my first E/N Site. I didn't do so well as a boy and figured it was mostly because I wasn't very interesting at all. However, completely mundane boy tasks are some of the most exciting things ever written when you tell everybody that a female was behind them. A Man, Duh; my writing under her name was probably often offensively sexist, but that very fact made me a wholly convincing lesbian to my readers. As far as I can remember, Amanda was behind at least thirteen domain names, and was by far the most popular. By 2001 I was the undisputed top dog in the E/N community, with soaring traffic complete with bandwidth that I could never afford, and for a moment a sub-culture and genre of sites seemingly devoted entirely to debating or philosophizing about me. One Internet Gossip site had a private investigator stalk me and -- being that he wasn't particularly skilled -- he announced as a point of fact that I was a female, because he had found my sister before me. This did wondrous things for my popularity of course, but my popularity did terrible things to my creativity, so I took the site, and persona, behind the barn to be shot.

I tried to rejuvenate the site without a persona, and it was actually doing better than it had for the past year or so, but I simply didn't have the time for all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a successful website, so I took it down again. Since then the writer in me has survived by LiveJournal, which I can't much stand because of the limitations to interface and format, and that's why I'm here now with my very first Blogger. The mere fact that a page resides under a domain with the word "journal" in it feels, to me, like an excuse to post absolute garbage because there shouldn't be any expectations from something like a journal. Maybe using Blogger means that I'll get back into my old style of more prolific and topical writings, but if you know me online then you probably suspect as I do that it's just another needless change for the sake of having something be different. Oh well, here it is; there ain't a whole lot I can do about it at this point.

This is far from a full account of my time on the Internet, but it's a decent summary and I doubt if anybody actually cares for the long-winded version. I would, though, like to be a little bit cheesy and just thank the few people who really did help me out along the way. First of all there is Kap from the old who was a great and loyal mentor, and source of traffic. Stile, who despite being a filthy rich pornographer and King of the Web, gave me the time of day as an upstart and helped me greatly early on. Samn who showed me and everybody else a different kind of funny, and on a personal level inspired me to go beyond the words and dive into the world of coding. Bertie for being an actual lesbian with at least the integrity and twice the intelligence of my character. And of course the most important person in all of my experience these past six years, the one and only Joey Michaels, who would step in and take care of my sites when I was bored with them, providing an impressive portion and some of the best of the content the site ever saw, and staying absolutely loyal as both a colleague and friend. Thanks.

::hugznluv:: okay? May all sheep please return to the flock. Here we go again.