trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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Behind the Daily

…During the trenchant daily five year anniversary party

Drunk Interviewer Adam: Five years?

Drunk Adam: I know, right? What the fuck?

Seriously. So why did you start daily? Why aren’t we celebrating the 7th birthday of blueblog in October instead?

DA: Mostly it was my attempt at a self-important exit from the “weblog community.”

I thought you specifically said it wasn’t.

I sort of said it wasn’t, and it was. Both. Simultaneously. At the same time. Post-modern ambiguity.

*You are so annoying when drunk.*

And sober.

Aren’t you considered a blogger anyway? And haven’t weblogs “revolutionized” the web? And isn’t that web site that you sold out specifically targeted at “bloggers?”

Have they? I think it’s great that weblog tools have brought the notion of a read-write web almost back to, maybe, where we were with TBL’s original vision and NeXT software back in the 90’s. Nice that it only took like a decade or so for that.

It’s not so much that I don’t like weblogs so much as I wish people would learn to appreciate silence some of the time. If you’re really in this for the long haul, saying one interesting thing a day - whatever it is - seems enough to me. It’s not that I want people to censor themselves, or overly edit or compress, but just, there’s something to be said for moderation. It’s hard to be really prolific on a regular basis for years and years and maintain any sense of quality. And it’s hard to follow the threads over time if there’s too much noise in between.

The blogger bit on Consumating is brilliant marketing - don’t knock it.

Do you think the fact that iTunes is playing the Modern Lovers “I’m Straight” right now has any significance?

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t do drugs, so it’s not really as applicable as I might like.

Is the sort of vague references to your oscillation between fucked up and non-existent love life really going to continue to be such a cornerstone of daily in the coming years?

You really think I’ll be doing this in a couple of years? I don’t know, I mean, having a real job has really cut into Sega time.

You don’t actually have a Sega video game system set up right now.

But I’m working on hooking up the Dreamcast to the new home theatre system. Maybe.

What’s changed in five years?

I was 20 when I started daily, I’m 25 now. I’d like to think I’m a little less awkward and retarded. It’s hard to tell on a yearly basis, but probably on a five year chunk it’s clearer.

I don’t have as much time for this as I used to. I was a college student when I started, and now I’m middle management at a giant multinational corporation.

It’s probably more accurate to call you lower management, right? Who’s below you?

Whatever. The point is myself and everyone else on the web seemed to have advanced one level or so in the life game, I guess, since I started.

Do you still keep in touch with the same web nerds you did in 2001?

Dakota and I still talk all the time, and I’m “producing” (funding) his new band’s album. Ben and I don’t hang out as much as we should now that we live in the same geographic area, but that’s mostly my fault for being a shut-in. And we did sell-out together. Bryan and I still keep in touch.

TheRedEye IM’ed me recently to let me know he was in SF – I may hang out with him at some point as well.

Matt still has an uncredited unofficial role for providing “adult supervision” to some extent.

The somewhat tightly-knit group of early Blogger.com users I linked to and made fun of in webloglog seems to have dispersed, I guess.

I’m still expecting greatness from the “teeny boppers” I used to read and talk to back then (who are now in college or post-college now, and should not be referred to teeny boppers) like Natalie, Bilyana, Mal and Susie, but they seem to have moved over to LiveJournal and grown out of weird web sites and such, and we’ve sort of lost touch.

Maybe you should have tried befriending Alex? Technicolor is still updated regularly.

Her site is still really good, but I prefer to admire Alex’s writing from afar.

Bacardi 151? Ugh, you’re still drinking that stuff?

Not really, tonight was mostly out of nostalgia.

And what’s with the peanut butter? Is that some sort of Charlie Brown reference?

I just really like peanut butter, even more so when drunk. It’s not so much an intentional reference as a coincidence - we both just eat peanut butter sandwiches.

What can we expect from the next five years of trenchant daily?

What a stupid question.

I’m trying to give the readers what they want.

Don’t they want to know something interesting? Ask something hard-hitting, like why the fuck there hasn’t been a texty text since 2002. Or what happened to some of the exciting characters mentioned in trenchant daily.

Why the fuck hasn’t there been a texty text since 2002?

That’s none of your business. What was the last one about?

The rat.

Right. Wow, that was a long time ago. Although it did come up recently in conversation, oddly. My life is too boring now to fit into episodic form like that.

That’s probably not entirely true.

Well, mostly true, combined with the fact that all the interesting parts happen off the record now. And I’m really lazy and the notion of writing multi-thousand word diatribes on my life doesn’t seem to be as appealing.

What about Uber - remember when Uber was “it”?

Best LiveJournal entry ever.

I think that our goal all along was basically to convince random people in Canada we didn’t know that we were cool. Because we were. Or are. Or something. So in that sense it was a wild success. And Consumating was the relaunched version of Uber Personals, so that can kind of be considered a success too.

I think Ben is going to get the archives back up eventually.

And maybe one day Pressman will grace the web with his presence again, although I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Really though, do you think you’ll be doing this when you’re 30?

If you would’ve asked me that five years ago, I think I would’ve said almost definitely not, but now it doesn’t seem quite as implausible. The notion of doing anything by choice for ten years seems a bit hard to fathom, even something I care about as much as this.

Do you think the world is more accepting of you giving a shit about personal web publishing than it was five years ago?

Writing on the web is still a fringe activity, but clearly not as fringe as five years ago, and definitely not as fringe as when I started a few years earlier.

When I went to the bloggercon in 2004 I noted the blog post I made from 2000 where I wrote that I was the only hit for “weblog” on the stanford.edu domain - 4 years later over two thousand results, and they were hosting a conference on it.

But I’m still sure it’s still not a concept that most people know about or “get” in any real sense if they do.

When I was an undergrad, it was pretty much just me and Kathryn, I’m sure now there would be dozens of undergraduates with regularly updated web sites. I’m not sure whether that would have made things easier or harder for me, but it might’ve made me seem slightly less weird.

And of course that’s not counting the insane number of students probably updating their Facebook profiles constantly…

Is it true you check Facebook every day?

Almost. In an attempt to understand youth culture and social networking I started logging in to Facebook, MySpace and Friendster regularly. This was in part due to competitive research when I was more focused on Consumating, since it always felt more like those sites than the more traditional dating sites, and I think I had a decent sense as to why dating sites sucked, but was still not entirely sure if I knew why current social networking sites sucked.

But there’s surprisingly little going on at those sites - it really does seem to be primarily homepage generation for the post-Geocities crowd combined with messaging and friends-as-baseball-trading cards.

Maybe you don’t get it because you don’t really have many friends.

That seems like kind of a cheap shot, and I don’t think it’s relevant. And I have friends.

Beer and peanut butter are not friends.

They are too. You don’t know that they aren’t. And you forgot the Bacardi, it came to daily’s party too.

Seriously, you couldn’t have thrown a real party for trenchant daily?

Don’t you think it would have been weird to throw a party for a personal web site for no real reason?

Don’t you think it’s weird to interview yourself while drunk about it?

Fair enough. Thanks for doing this though, it was totally awesome.

No, thank you. It’s been a pleasure. An honor. An experience I will never…

Ok we’re done here.

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