Mar 4, 2008

Time for introspection

Layout Note - Because you people are way more important than I will ever be, I've added a "recent comment" widgiemaholic to my sidebar and placed it right up there on top for all the world (or 3-4 deviants) to see. Enjoy! - Earl

Have a few things on my mind today, and they all involve blogging, my blog (in particular) and/or the wonder of the Internets. I've also got some questions for you, oh my readers and only friends, so be prepared to gimme some of that feedback lovin'. Here goes:


I've been thinking about the very idea of anonymous blogging lately. My blog, as most of you know, is fairly anonymous. I don't use my real name. I never post pictures of myself or my loved ones...except the cats. Only a few friends and Gia have been granted an all-access pass to peruse, and I'm pretty sure I wanna keep it that way. I've been wondering, however, why. I don't really post anything that is really embarrassing. The peeing on the carpet story was bad, but sister was in the very next room and we told her all about it the next morning. Which means it came up this past Thanksgiving after most of the crowd had left and another sister brought up something that involved peeing indoors. So it all got out there anyway.

I think the original idea behind making this blog anonymous was the opportunity to discuss just about anything. Believe it or not, there are still some things I have not brought up yet and maybe I never will. I know that Slyde has mentioned that he occasionally wishes that he had kept his blog anonymous, especially when I remind him about funny and embarrassing exploits of our foolish youth. But he can also freely post photos and stories about his family, so I guess its a trade-off.

Questions: So I think I wanna know if the "grass is always greener" on the other side of the poopie fence. If you are anonymously posting, do you ever wish to shout out your name to the rest of the blog nation? And if you are not posting anonymously, how often do you wish that you were?


Someone commented about the abundance of profanity on my posts just the other day. It was just an off-hand comment, they really weren't complaining or asking me to change my style. It was just a comment. But it got me to thinking. I guess that (going back to my first topic) having an anonymous blog allows me to just be myself without any form of self-censoring. That being said, I'm not nearly this profane in real life.

I believe that, like many people, I have two fairly distinct personality types in real life. Lets call them "The Winner" and "The Loser", although I would like to stress that there is no real winning or losing going on here. I'm just as comfortable with being The Loser, if not more so, than when I am The Winner. <Insert snide comment from Slyde here>

The Winner is great in business meetings and for first impressions. He is smart (kinda) and well-read. He can talk with surprising knowledge on a wide variety of the extant that some find him snobbish. He likes to go out for expensive dinners and spend weekends at luxury hotels. He enjoys not only the act of going out for a few cocktails with friends, but he can talk for hours on end about the complex flavors of the expensive beers/tequila/whiskey that he is drinking. And he doesn't curse. Much.

The Loser is a bit more of a regular guy. Although he still maintains his witty intelligence (c'mon!), he feels most at home watching a baseball game at a dive bar with a bunch of guys who probably would have made fun of him in High School. He likes to eat fast food and spend weekends on the couch with his hand down his pants while he watches Big Trouble in Little China for the 200th time. He likes to drink to get drunk, at times. Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life and Budweiser are about as snooty a cocktail as he will ever order. Maybe a shot of Jack Daniels. And you had better believe he curses. A whole fucking lot!

I enjoy both personalities. I really do. My true self, of course, lies somewhere between the two, and wouldn't that be a yummy sandwich, eh? My best friends and my loved ones can easily detect when I slip into one or the other, but most of the time its an amalgam of both.

Questions: How much profanity to each of you use in your every day life? Do you tend to be more or less profane in your blog life than your real life, or is it the other way around? Do you think I, on occasion, am too profane? Be honest.


I think not. This past weekend, Gia and her mother were watching a documentary called Grey Gardens. It's about Jackie Bouvier/Kennedy/Onassis' aunt and her first cousin and the strange existence they lived out in their formerly wonderful Hamptons Estate on the East End of Long Island. I remembered that one of my college friends was related to the Bouviers, somehow. I hadn't spoken to him in 5 or 6 years, but I was pretty sure that his mother's maiden name was Bouvier.

So I started doing some simple Google searches about Jackie O's family to see if I could find a family tree or something with her in it. Striking out on that, I started searching for stuff on my buddy and his father. Didn't find anything about the Bouviers, but I found some cool stuff about what had been going on in their lives. My friend had become President of his father's company after his Dad stepped down a while back, and he was on the Board of Directors of a number of other companies. The Internet is really an amazing thing. He was doing really well for himself, and I made a mental note to shoot him an email when I got the chance. I told Gia all about him and his family, and some stupid college stuff that we all did together. I really should stay in closer touch with my old friends, but I think we all know how difficult that is sometimes. Especially when we don't live near each other.

The very next morning I jumped on the computer to check my email, and what did I find? A "touching base" email from my above mentioned friend. My friend who I haven't been in contact with for 5 or 6 years! And he sent me the email the day before...the SAME DAY I WAS THINKING ABOUT HIM!!! C'mon...that's just plain weird. He was going through some old emails, and he found my email address that was given to him a couple of years ago by another college friend. So he thought he would just drop me a note. I remain startled, however, at the timing of it all. His mother, by the way, was a cousin of some sorts of Jackie O's. Nothing wrong with my memory.

This stuff happens to me all the time. If I told this story to another one of my friends, a friend who I shared an office with for a few years, he would only yawn. Me bringing something up and then it happening occurred so often that he came to accept it as an everyday event. I could call him right now and tell him this story and his only reply would be "Of course he wrote you on the same day." But this doesn't just happen, or does it?

Questions: Does this kinda thing ever happen to any of you? Do you get freaked out about it? Would you like to know the future? Ask The Great Earl.


elizabeth said...

I dunno. I think there is just enough anonimity surrounding my blog to keep my comfortable with it. I think it's the perfect medium.

As for swearing - I don't mind it. I probably swear more in real life than the blog life.

I'm just glad you blog. ;-)

Kat said...

I like the anonymity of my blog. If someone really wanted to find out who I was they could piece together bits and strands from my early posts to now. But all and all I like my privacy. Of course there are those who know me that read it but I don't think the whole world needs to "know" me to appreciate the randomness of my blogging ;o)

I swear a fuck of a lot. Except around my grandparents. They don't appreciate it and I'm not an ignorant shit, so I respect when it's appropriate. I think casual blogging is the perfect fucking atmosphere for a little swearing. And Liz is a trucker. Where do you think I got it from?

Coincidence is only that which you choose to see. Life is full of it if you take the time to notice. To me it's as simple as being in tune.

Verdant Earl said...

Liz - i can see where a "happy medium" would be, well, a happy medium.

Kat - Being in tune, eh? One of my favorite Who songs as well. Good fucking stuff!

badgerdaddy said...

I swear MUCH more in real life than I do in my blog.

I can't remember any of the other questions. I'm a dumbass.

Verdant Earl said...

badger - like most things I post about, they weren't very important anyway. I do wish I could say "cunt" more often without sounding like a jackass, but Americans just can't seem to get away with it...and American women absolutely hate that word.

Avitable said...

While I originally thought about anonymity when I started blogging, I realized that it's just not for me. I think that it works for many bloggers, though, because of concerns about privacy.

white rabbit said...


my blog is rated 'restricted' :-O
cos the rating thingy says....

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

crap (5x) suicide (3x) shoot (1x)

Verdant Earl said...

Avi - In terms of what I post about and how long I've been doing this, I still consider myself to be a baby blogger. Maybe when I reach adolescence I will lose the anonymity.

White Rabbit - sounds okay for the general audience to me. I think they just randomly make crap up. Oh no...another "crap" instance. Shoot!

Artful Kisser said...

RE: anonymity, I think it depends on whether your motivation is for good or bad deeds.

A person I knew who blogged divulged to me that one of her links was actually a blog she wrote anonymously - a year after I'd been reading both blogs and a little while after I told her I didn't care for this chick's writing style. Oops! On her regular blog she wrote a lot about her love for "her boy" which everyone assumed was her husband. But she was writing on her anonymous blog about her other boy and their adulterous affair although she insisted it was all pure fiction - cept that they did in fact run away together. The main issue I had with it was that none of the many people who commented on her regular blog knew this and still don't and she let me know that many of them had written emails to her alias of their own problems and replied as her alias. I thought this was deception on a grand scale and a reminder not to take what you read too seriously - even if the person is/was a friend in real life.

RE: cursing, I find your swearing entertaining. Many people do it badly. I tend to write the way I think rather than the way I speak, which means my thoughts must be littered with expletives.

Julie said...

Interesting post, and not too profane. ;-) 'Too profane' for what, though? I think it's down to personal taste and comfort zones. I don't swear much on my blog - more so in real life.

I've never blogged anonymously, or wanted to. Anyone who knows me would soon be able to identify me through my posts, so there wouldn't be much point. If I want to say something which some people may not like, I either resist the temptation or just go ahead and say it anyway. My family and friends mostly don't read my blog because they either find it 'stressful' or just aren't into reading blogs, so I don't feel too restrained by what anyone I know might think.

RW said...

I have a kind of semi-anonymity. I filter my identity with proxies and screens, then tell you my name but in a whisper, then tell people I lied, then point somewhere else, then put a video of myself up on YouTube. It's sort of like a shell game because I actually have seventeen personalities. No I don't. Yes I do.

As to swearing I really don't swear much in person at all, I have to really be animated about something to swear. I probably swear more on the blog than in real life but I think it means more if you don't make a habit of it. If you're mostly sedate and clean-worded and you drop an F bomb people notice. I'm manipulative like that.

elizabeth said...

KaT!!! I'm not a trucker!!!!! (I so need to stop that- let's start a quarter jar)

Slyde said...

i think you need to finally pony up and show us a picture....

Suzi Q said...

I'm gonna let the cat out of the bag here...I don't blog under my real name either, there's a few people in the blog world who know who the real Paige Stanton is, but they've kept it under their hat for me. I don't use names of those close to me or pictures either. But I'm sure if you really wanted, if you knew me, could figure it all out by my post content.

At first only The Diva knew who I really was and she doesn't judge anyway. I felt like I could write whatever the hell I wanted b/c no one knew it was me. But now a few family members have gotten ahold of my site and every once in a while I feel compelled to censor myself. That's a bit frustrating. I want to be able to put it all out there, it's my space for my opinions.

So maybe one day I'll come out of the closet so to speak and share the real me. But not yet...

Anonymous said...

It's funny... I have a draft on a post about anonymity as well. I think there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument and in the end it really depends on what the blogger is most comfortable with. Personally, while I started out as anonymous, eventually some things leaked out there. I'm not going to just "out" myself for the sake of doing so, but at the same time I'm really not that worried about what is out there.

There once was a blogger who was not anonymous, and one day she walked into her local pizzeria and got "recognized". I thought that was pretty cool... but she didn't. Of course... I didn't understand why until I got recognized in my local Borders from a CW video I had done. Needless to say, at first I freaked... but then... well I got a good laugh over it.

I think the anonymous thing depends entirely on the bloggers comfort level with the world knowing who they really are.

As for the personality thing... yes... as my sig usually says... "In each of us, two natures are at war..." So having two or more personalities is not only a possibility... but a probablity.

I really have nothing to say about the coincidences... since nothing like that ever happens to me... and I think I said enough already.

Verdant Earl said...

Artful Kisser - That's just plain weird with your "friend" and her two blogs. I really don't think I could do way or the other.

Julie - Thanks for stopping in! Yeah I hear you about how folks would know it was you anyway, but how would they know to stop by?

RW - Schizophrenic and manipulative. I like the combination. :)

Liz - Trucker!

Slyde - I've got a picture in which I'm wearing a Captain America mask. And nothing else. Too scary.

Paige - Interesting! Using something that really sounds like a real name as a pseudonym. I'm sure I've said it before, but "B.E. Earl" stands for "Bug-Eyed Earl" who is a character in a series of cartoon strips over at Never thought to use something like "Ted Reilly", though.

NYCWD - Thanks for stopping by, dog. Actually, your post about "personal blogs" got me to thinking about my blog and from there came this post. Kinda. That and Julie's profanity comment.

badgerdaddy said...

Oh yeah, anonymity. Well, you remember what happened to me when my identity came out... But that was in a town of 5,500 people. Now I'm more careful, but because I'm in my home town my observations are completely different anyway.

Even so, the visit from the police was a bit much, even looking back.

Donna said...

I started out without anonimity. I moved over to a blog where while I had a 'pen name,' my real name was used on the blog though a lot of people chose on their own to refer to me as the pen name more often than not.

After my mother lost her mind and got all stalkery weird nasty, I went to a more anon level except that every fucking person knows my name, address and phone number. So, I guess anyone who doesn't know those things is new to my blog.

The problem with anon names / blogs is that any person who knows who you really are can out you at anytime for whatever reason.

I have recently decided to pare down my blogroll to almost nothing, stop frequent commenting and blogging less. I find the internet a much more scary place these last few months.

I swear all the time both blog and RL. I really need to not do that.

I can't remember ever having a coincidence kind of thing happen. I do, however, believe that some people are 'sensitive' and highly empathetic. I think it would be scary but kind of cool at the same time.

Verdant Earl said...

Badger - I remember you having to shut down your old blog, but I forgot about the specific circumstances. Police, eh?

Miss Ann - The internet can be a really scary place. It can also be a place for people to come together. Much like the real world. I've been very lucky with my experiences online thus far. Fingers crossed.

Bruce Johnson said...

1) I am quasi-anonymous. If you look hard enough, you can figure out my first name and where I live (city), but that is about it. You can be personal and have a personality on the Internet without divulging your SSN# and address. If you are totally anonymous, there is no way to tell if you are real or just a pretender.

2) Profanity has a lot to do with the subject and your state of mind. Do I use more profanity as I get older....fuck'in yes. More things piss me off as I get older.

3) Coincidence....happens to everyone, I will be expanding a bit more on this in my next blog entry. To post it all here would defeat the purpose of my own blog, not to mention being quite lengthy for a comment.

Donna said...

I've been mostly lucky too. It's that 1%...get ya everytime.

I forgot though, if I could go back and start over, I'd be totally anon from the get go, never giving out personal info and using proxies to surf like RW said.

We tell our kids not to give out personal information for a reason...people are fucked in the head crazy.

I really think we should take our own advice.

Seals said...

I like a relative amount of anonymity just so the people I have met through work don't hassle me with some of the dirty laundry I have aired on my blog.

I've thought about doing a completely open blog but I have no idea what I'd write about. Without the personal stuff, I wouldn't have much to write about these days.

As for profanity, I think you should write how you want. If people are offended by reading profanity, they should go fuck themselves. :)

Seriously, I don't think you're too profane at all. You are you you are. That's life.

I've had people contact me after thinking of them too. It's interesting, and a little freaky, but I don't think there's anything spooky going on.

BTW, I may be related to Jackie O (and Madonna) as well, but it's way, way back and probably not traceable.

I really liked this post. Pretty good stuff.

Verdant Earl said...

Lotus - Yeah, I think I have posted about my home town too. I'm not real worried about someone finding out about this I go back and look at my posts I see that there isn't much there that most folks in my life already know about. Looking forward to that next post.

Miss Ann - I hear ya! Can never be too careful.

Ajooja - Thanks! To think that Madonna and Jackie O are "six degrees" apart is pretty funny. I guess we all are, if you go back far enuff.

Poppy said...

Anonymity: I post under a modified pseudonym from high school BBS days. I let my regular readers/friends know who I really am via other methods than my blog if I so choose. I have a blog under my real name. I feel stifled by it.

Profanity: I love to swear, in blogland and in real life. I swear more on weekends. Just do. Swear more, please, but only when it feels right.

Coincidence: They happen to be all the freaking time. Seriously, all. the. time. Especially with people I know really well.

Hi. :)

Poppy said...

And by "happen to be" I of course mean *happen to me. I should proofread, since I do that sometimes as part of what I do IRL. heh.

Anonymous said...

Anonymity: I don't use my real first name or my last name on my blog, but do use it on outgoing email so I'm pretty much semi-anonymous. I'm also very easy to find through Googling my husband if someone is smart enough to know his name and what he does. He's out there everywhere but I am out there nowhere (on Google). I'm fine with how it is until someone stalks me, of course ;).

Profanity: I cuss a lot on my blog too. When I rant, it seems like there are way too many words in there that start with "fu" but even when I am happy, I still drop a few bombs and whatnot. I also make up swear words like cocksnuggler so I use those more frequently. I love your theory about being two people. I never swear at work or in a public setting (unless it is a bar) but I swear medium to heavy at home.

Coincidence: I have things like this happen all of the time. Just the other day, I was wondering how my friend Paul was because we had not spoke in ages and right then my phone rang and it was Paul. Creepy!

Globus said...

globus enjoys posting anonymously and doesn't miss the interaction of his inner circle in his blogosphere. of course no bugger reads the blog therefore but hey, we all need a soapbox ;-)

i am the diva said...

Anonymous: when i started blogging 5 years ago, i really only had 2 or 3 readers who i knew, so i was a lot more free with names and places and such. now i'd say i have a semi-anonymous blog. I mean i use the Diva pseudonym, but i don't hide that my real name is Laura, still most people tend to refer to me as Diva. And like many of the other folks who've commented here, with a little research i'm sure you could find out everything you needed to know about me by what i write in my posts - where i live, what i do, etc. my main deal is to remember to keep everyone i write about relatively anonymous. It doesn't take a rocked scientist to figure out what B-rad's name is, but i try to use nicknames for everyone else out of respect for them.

Profanity: i used to swear a lot on my blog in the early days, then a few cousins and other family members started reading - and i tried to hold back. But it's just not me. i curse a lot on my blog - and i'm cool with that. i used to curse way more online than in real life, but i'd say it's pretty even now. somewhere between now and five years ago i must have done a tour at sea and become a sailor.

Coincidence: many times i'll be singing a tune in my head or out loud, and i'll turn on the radio to have it pick up where i left off... and a few times i've picked up the phone to call someone and have them be on the other line because they were calling me at that exact moment. I don't get freaked out about them so much as i'm amazed by them and wonder why they happen - is it just chance? or is the universe trying to show me something?? mostly i just think it's crazy.

great post by the way.

madge said...

great post indeed. grey gardens RULES.

sometimes i wish i was 100% anonymous so i could really throw my personal life out there. am i happy to be a blandish, too-polite cat-lady librarian? ok, sure. there's no going back now.

now, i mostly appreciate your discussion re: your two selves. i often think i have 2 selves, too. or the third self that is somewheres in the middle. muy interesante.

yay, blogging. your cat photos are great. (AND, since i'm actually leaving a comment, rare!, steve and i watched that episode of intervention you posted about down a ways. was that the "christy. you are so misty. you are mine?" or-whatever episode? that dad was kuh-reepie. i esp. loved when she did math problems. are you joking me.)

Verdant Earl said...

Poppy - Hiya yerself! Should be a big ole edit button on this bloggy comment window, but they haven't figured that out yet. Thanks for stopping by.

Hilly - I'm nowhere on Google either. Well, probably not true, but there are a few famous folks in real life with my real name so about a thousand pages pop up. I've tried narrowing it down, but no go.

Globus - Yeah, sometimes it feels like talking to yourself, but its therapeutic. I guess. ;)

Diva - Hey sailor. You curse a lot on your blog? I hadn't noticed. ;)
Hows's that vagina list going? Gonna post an update?

Madge - Yeah, that was Christy, and her Dad was the definition of creep. As for the cat photos, I can only hope they come out 1/10th as good as yours.

Verdant Earl said...

Madge - and, oh yeah, I don't know if I would say I loved Grey Gardens, but Gia did. That's all that matters.

Anonymous said...

I've posted quite a bit about anonymity (just 2 days ago, in fact) and I've yet to resolve this dilemma. I'd like to be more open, but some form of fear keeps me from saying many things I'd really like to say.

It seems to me that our friends and families didn't ask to be a part of this experiment so 'outing' them is really an issue for me. Even if I tell a story under my anon. name, I feel like people can trace my internet activity back to when I was green and posted under my real name.

Verdant Earl said...

Wonderer - I try to keep my friends and family out of much of what I post. Mostly they are just side characters in my tales. Ones that look at me funny because I'm weird.