Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster

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I'm very idly kicking around the idea of starting another journal, weblog or miscellaneous Thynge, inspired by some thoughts on the place of LiveJournal within the blogosphere at large.

Perception is the only valid judge, but I tend to perceive that the blogs regarded as coolest by the blogging world at large at the moment are those run using Movable Type, doubtless with a page design all of your own and two or three dozen graphical icons down the side. By contrast, I perceive LiveJournal to have a little less street-cred than the average blog on the street. I know that LJ is tremendously powerful and versatile; I sometimes see other blog owners crow about comment boards, blogrolling, online RSS aggregators, bloglines, Friendster and so on and think to myself "Er... we've had those already, for ever such a long time".

I get the impression that LJ is almost seen as a walled garden; LiveJournalists talk to each other and play with each other, but not with the outside world at large. Perhaps it's the way that the LiveJournal system does everything for you automatically that makes the functionality less impressive; so many LiveJournals look so similar to each other (including this one, which is as generic as they come!) that they are instantly recognisable and almost negligible as such, whereas someone who gets as much functionality in place starting from scratch is clearly a master artist and craftsman already. Incidentally, I do note there are many very fine LJs with custom layouts indeed. It's domain prejudice of the type that goes back to AOL users, but I see a great many weblogs whose maintainers tend to look down ever so slightly on LiveJournals, no matter how fine the content.

Some people have more than one weblog. Sometimes these are split by technological grounds; for instance, daweaver has a LiveJournal and a non-LiveJournal-code hand-coded blog. Sometimes these are split by subject matter; for instance, leiabelle begat healthy_erin for exercise, dr4b begat janthina for games and ericklendl begat nick_at_esc for his holiday. I know there are tons of other examples as well - for instance, people who maintain accounts on JournalFen or GreatestJournal as well as a LJ. As ever, you only have my word for it that I don't currently run other weblogs or journals myself.

One particularly interesting example is that of mssv.net, which operates three parallel weblogs, massive itself, middling and tiny. As the names suggest, the categorisation is principally on length-and-depth grounds: massive contains extended essays, tiny is your classic weblog with just a couple of sentences per link and middling is for intermediate pieces. It's an example which works well. The only downside is that the three separate RSS feeds each take up a full syndication point. (They're all great! Go and read them so I can add more syndie feeds! Plug, plug!)

Sometimes I feel that my habitual LiveJournal style has led me into some unfortunate tendencies. I am only really comfortable with these semi-extended 1500-word essays, normally with fairly extensive background reading largely hidden behind lj-cuts. (Either those, or the good old-fashioned malachan-style ten-pointers.) It works for me, broadly enough, but it doesn't half take time to write. Sometimes I feel I'd like to make a single quick point and go - a splash-and-dash drive-by posting, if you will - but I don't feel quite comfortable doing so, somehow. There's a really cool-looking Mozilla plug-in, LJPost, which would be a lot of fun to use.

This is definitely a case of my LiveJournal driving me rather than me driving my LiveJournal, which is a worrying tendency. It's the old performance art consideration again: would you still love me if I changed to four 100-word posts per day? Of course, I could start a second LiveJournal just for these quickie links - I've always liked the sound of jiggery_quickups, which I fear is one character too long for legality - but I have a gut feeling that having two LiveJournals for essentially the same job is somehow inefficient - or, at least, inelegant. All the cases in which I follow two LJs from the same person come when the split is by subject, rather than anything else.

There are many other interesting things you can do with a multiblog, a term I have just coined largely on the grounds that it sounds a bit like multiball and anything that reminds me of pinball is inherently good. Another really cool example is the twin blog Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity. Two RSS feeds, closely related. One for "positive developments in transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas" - the other for, you guessed it, negative ones. Theoretically avowed optimists might choose to browse only one and avowed pessimists the other. Yes, it's powered by Movable Type.

The neatest part, though, is the categorisation feature: each post is associated with one or more categories and it's very easy to look through the archives to find only articles on particular topics. Going back to "LiveJournal can do that!" in paragraph three, I do realise that it's possible to emulate this sort of system using the memories, but it's a kludgy sort of solution at best and you know it. I'm sure that brad has said that such categorisation is something he definitely wants to add in the future; I look forward to the feature's eventual introduction.

Getting to the point, I've booted about the concept of a crossover games weblog in the past; interesting and unusual developments from as many different media and styles of game as possible. Thinking more, that's only part of what I want. I enjoy discussing games a great deal; frankly, while I enjoy the conversations I do currently have on LiveJournal already very much, I haven't really found the weird-game community that I'm looking for on LiveJournal yet. (For instance, I've got a pretty good idea which parts of this post are going to generate discussion, and they're not necessarily the ones I most want discussing.)

I don't have a dialogue with the Gameblogs and the nimrods of this world yet. Now, to be fair, this is because I haven't publicised jiggery_pokery among the board game community yet. This is even a definite decision. Peter Sarrett has a very good model with his Game Report / Static Zombie dichotomy. I'm not sure how interested the gamers would be in reading about the Harry Potter fandom, my moods and the like. Then again, you never know, particularly with the gamer slant I put upon things.

Accordingly, here's what I'm currently thinking. I'm going to wait for categorisation to come in, be that weeks, months or years, then go back and categorise all the gamer entries. I'm then thinking of getting a URL which will point to a view of just the game-themed entries, then setting up a style and a view which looks more like a generic weblog and less like a LiveJournal. This means that the wider gamer world can enjoy Chris' games weblog on its own without having to worry about getting to know me personally and that people who see the jiggerosity warts-and-all on LiveJournal can continue to do so in the same way as ever. It would also eliminate the need for duplication on both your part and mine, and that turns me on. (Didn't that come from The Mary Whitehouse Experience?)

That's the current thinking, though. Of course it'll change thirty times more before the technology to actually enable this actually arrives...

Three rounds down, four to go, in the European Clubs Cup. At the top, NAO Paris and Ladya-Kazan-1000 handily disposed of their opponents. The big Russian derby between Tomsk and Norilsky Nikel (who I think are, sadly, a company team rather than a place) ended up as a one-win-each-four-draws match tie. Interestingly, both decisive games came where the two teams had fiddled a weaker player up in the board order for gamesmanship purposes, which strikes me as excessively fair and appropriate. Asker Shackklubb lost to Werder Bremen, but kept it very respectable by holding them on the top four boards. (Luke McShane is now at a winless 1/3, which is really not what he'd have hoped for.) Barbican will be pleased to have seen off their Danish rivals 4-2.

Swiss format tournaments are lovely in that they're (technically only nearly) effectively indistinguishable from massive multiple-elimination knockouts, just with the number of permissible defeats being sufficient that nobody ever gets knocked out of the tournament for good. Three or four rounds in, teams are finally just about being matched with people on their level. Given that match result draws are so rare, it's probably not surprising that only 4 of the 45 starters have won all three of their matches; these effectively give us semi-finals and - barring match draws - we can expect to see the winners face each other in a big effective-final tomorrow. Of course, there's still room for a leader to slip on the last two days, which in some ways is almost an indication that the Swiss is too long for the number of teams, but that's dominance for you.

The top match sees Polonia Plus GSM Warsaw take on NAO Paris. My fundamental principle of chess fandom is that chess grandmasters are inherently unreliable with very few exceptions indeed (see Vladimir Krmanik's 82-game unbeaten streak). The underperformer among the NAO line-up has been, horrors, Michael Adams, who has failed to put away two in a row that he really should've dispatched. By contrast, Polonia Plus Warsaw have been flying except in their all-Polish derby. The top three boards are all too close to call, but NAO Paris ought to be able to make the difference tell somewhere on the lower three. Can't see there being more than a point or two in it, though.

Match two sees St. Petersburg Lentransgaz have odd-numbered whites against the +16/=1/-1 Ladya-Kazan-1000. This should be a really old-fashioned clash with eleven Russians and a twelfth man called Viktor. This one is easier to call; Kasparov will win his match. Kazan's board two Moldovan Viktor Bologan was on a long streak of being a relatively big name who you could expect to disappoint, but he managed to see off world numbers two (Kramnik), three (Anand) and then-four (Leko) at Dortmund, making no sense whatsoever. Especially with Kasparov overseeing as top board, I think we can declare Blowgun to be in a dangerous mood. Kazan have a decent mid-section with Rublevsky and Smirin, but their tail end is relatively modest. Kazan manhandled St. P in the Russian team championship and we can expect to see it again here.

Matches three and four pair teams on two wins and a draw apiece; Norilsky Nikel have had unconvincing wins, but they ought to hammer Alkaloid Skopje of Macedonia no matter how they line themselves up. Tomsk outweigh the wonderfully-named A.V. Momot Chess Club Energomashspetstal of Ukraine by a good hundred points per board, which is something you always hope to see.

Lower down, Barbican Chess Club take on Werder Bremen (expect Bremen to return to form) and Asker Schakklubb face Liege of Belgium in a real 12Xer. If the law of transitivity of beatdown applies, Liege managed to sneak one win against Corpora Martin whereas Asker only grabbed a single draw, so this would weakly favour the Belgians, but that's based on a fallacious principle. I hate to put the pressure on, but Asker's best hope looks to be my old mate Jon Tisdall on board three.

Games club: our treasurer has resigned after the slightly rancourous meeting last week. Club business isn't the world's business, so no more details, but the unneeded and unexpected drama is something I could've done without, particularly as I still like all the people involved, the treasury control was excellent and the success of the club remains somewhere between remarkable and unparalleled. Accordingly, the unfortunate developments get an editorial growl from here as a needless stressor.

Finally, with more and more happy news in vogue, I have decided that I don't need a "secret crush" graph box to tell you that I have a vague romantic fascination with about twenty or so of you; in each and every case I can think of sound reasons why things must remain a vague crush rather than anything more. Besides, "you're one of twenty" is hardly "you're one in a million", is it?
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