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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Monday, October 03, 2005

My Name Is


I'm not sure if I know you, and I'm not sure if you know me either. Either way, allow me to introduce myself. You may find that you've seen something I've done in the past, and if you already know me, you may discover something horribly constructed and embarrassing from my past projects that you can use against me at a later date...and really, I'd love that.

Online, I started posting rants and diatribes somewhere around 1997-98, when I discovered I could design free web pages on sites like Geocities and Tripod. The free web space was great, but I was most fascinated by the pop-ups these sites generated. The Internet was fairly new and exciting to me at the time, and pop-up ads were just the cutest thing I'd ever seen. The casinos, the naked-women sites, the classmate-finders. Oh, how thrilled I was to be constantly reminded of all the possibilities the World Wide Web held in store for me!

Yeah. So.

Armed with my dazzlingly limited knowledge of HTML, I slapped together a piss-poor little page called "Anxiety's Toxic Snowglobe". At first, it was nothing but a whole bunch of words with a little picture of a chicken at the top of the page. I believe the page itself was light purple. It won many awards, and for some reason this early version of the site was extremely huge in Antarctica.

With time came boredom, and with boredom came that inevitable curse to which I am reluctant yet powerless: Growth. I bought a how-to book on HTML. I opened a new free account on Tripod and used it as a laboratory for my cruel and merciless experiments, and wound up with a second version of The Toxic Snowglobe that actually employed things like illustrations, links and site architecture.

But it still featured my beloved pop-up ads, which of course was the most important part.

I quit updating the Snowglobe sometime around 2000, but it still comes back to haunt me. Some folks have stumbled across my "Goddess" tribute pages to ladies like outsider music diva B.J. Snowden and staunch character "Little" Edie Beale, and to this day I get a couple of e-mails a month from people sharing their enthusiasm over "Grey Gardens".

I still also get a lot of feedback about one of the major projects I undertook on the Snowglobe, which was a full-blown mud-slinging countdown known as The Top 100 Trainwrecks of the 20th Century. This was a list of the most ill-behaved, poorly-raised, socially inept public figures who drew breath between 1901 - 2000, and it was probably the most ambitious chunk of the entire site. The Trainwrecks pages drew scads of response - positive and negative - when it first went live. It hit a high point a few years ago when a producer from a cable network contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in creating a series of television specials based on my Trainwrecks list. We got as far as registering the idea before the project went in the don't get any big ideas, dammit.

After I finished the Trainwrecks project, I was thoroughly tired of producing a full-on web 'zine with pages and link buttons and sections and all of the new ideas necessary to create and realize in order to keep all the plates spinning. I confess, I was tired of spinning plates. In fact, I was tired of plates. Give me Chinet. No, just heap it on a paper towel and let's call it a day. Enough with those pesky round things on which food is served. To hell with them.

Luckily for me, blogs were starting to happen. I could just puke my day's ramble into a little white box, click a few clicky things that would provide the appropriate links and pictures, et voila - low maintenance web project!

I bid my beloved Tripod pop-up ads a bitter adieu.

Just about all of my past blogging has been on Diaryland, which I hope I can mention on here without being tied to a tree and forced to walk a plank, or whatever it is those nasty sea pirates did when they robbed chuckwagons and referred to their feathered caps as pasta product.

I blogged for about a year under the name Anx, which was of course an abbreviation for my previous Anxiety's Toxic Snowglobe site. People ask me why I chose Anxiety as an Internet nickname, and why I've been using it in one way or another over the years.

My answer? I don't know. Simple as that.

I'm sure it's somehow subconsciously profound in a way that would trigger the psychiatric breakthrough of a lifetime, but really, all I know is I like how the word looks. I like that there's an X and a Y in the word. I like that people shorten it into "Anx" or "Anxy". I like when people say "HI ANXIETY!" as if they were the first ever to come up with the joke (I always let them believe it, by the way).

A friend from college once said that when I'm under great stress, I tend to be highly entertaining. Maybe I got the name from that comment. But as far as some deep personal/philosophical reason for the name? I really couldn't tell ya. Feel free to make something up for me. I may give you a prize if I like your fabrication.

I must have gotten tired of answering the "why Anxiety?" question, because a year after I started blogging as Anx, I dropped that page like a cold potato (Why drop a hot potato? Put butter on it and don't be wasteful) and started a new page under the name The Great Gadfly.

If Anxiety was a weird name, The Great Gadfly was just plain dumb. I don't particularly consider myself a gadfly, and I would not tag myself as consistently great. I'm aggressively okay, and I think it's prudent to let people believe what they're going to believe, whether it's bullshit or not. Iconoclasts and contrarians get on my nerves unless they have some kind of point, which most iconoclasts and contrarians do not, other than "I'm far more hip and cynical than you," which I'm sure is true, but how will that get me a hot potato for dinner, and how would I eat that hot potato since publically eschewing all forms of plate?

Still and all, I posted on the Gadfly blog for about a year and a half, and it was by far the most involved and perhaps the most rewarding experience of all my little web endeavors thus far. Lots of people started reading the blog, and lots of them sent me lots of nice presents, which eventually overwhelmed me and made me feel like a damn pig for perpetually being too broke to return the generosity.

I discovered and followed many blogs which I considered to be ridiculously brilliant, which I hope to re-discover with the launching of this here wee slice of e-sexiness. I also gained readers who found my blog by googling phrases like "Nude Dolly Parton sits on dead cat" and "Brad Pitt's dingleberries speak Mandarin". I welcomed these charming reprobates with open (but covered) arms. If you've found The Glee Club by way of the phrases I just wrote in this paragraph, then welcome. You have found your proverbial mother ship, you mothers.

I eventually tired of the Gadfly blog, for several reasons. I was getting a lot of readers, but I wanted to write something that didn't have to be experienced online. I wanted to write magazine articles, a short story, a play or two. I wanted to engage in creative projects that involved moving around and doing stuff with other people. Except for the drug-soaked Jell-O orgies and tri-state goosing sprees (Diaryland was WILD, honey), blogging did not afford me any of that kind of experience.

Also, with more people reading my blog came more problems. And honest, I only have SO much patience for problems. Internet trollery in the guestbook region and delightful follow-up e-mails inspired me to double-lock my door at night...and prompted me to shut the door on the Gadfly blog for good.

I felt like blogging built up a lot of great connections and rewards - National Public Radio even contacted me at one point about the idea of creating a radio spot riffing on the style of the Gadfly blog (and I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for that pesky Iraq War!) - but I also felt like it had built up more than its fair share of pent-up energy and bad juju. I felt bad for walking away from so many amazing people with such consistently great ideas and fabulous daily rants, but I had eaten my hot potato and all that was left were so many starchy crumbs. Which could easily have been cleaned if I'd only had a plate.

I should let you all know right now, I have since learned to love plates again. I'm stronger now.

Since quitting the Gadfly blog, I've been a busy boy online and off. I've studied improv at Chicago's Second City for over a year, where I begin classes in comedy sketch writing this month. I have become hopelessly embroiled in a relationship that for the past year has been creatively nourishing and weirdly emotionally stable (sick, I know). Also, for the past year I've experienced the crazy world of moderating a web site, when I signed on to organize news nuggets on a Prince fan site during the thick of his 2004 comeback onslaught. I hated the experience so much, I continue moderating at the site to this day. I've been forced to do horrible things like interview former bandmates and attend concerts and parties where people recognize me and are nice to me. I hate it all. It is torture. Please, Sir Royal Badness, can I have some more?

Most recently, I have channeled my music geek passion into one other site run by people who are not me: As an ongoing writing exercise to get my record review chops back up to snuff, I've taken on the task of tagging my entire record collection online (and it ain't just a few Jesus Jones tapes, kids) and I've vowed to review every single disc, slab and/or tape of music I own. It's extremely gratifying. I highly recommend it. It's better than plates.

Which, j'suppose, brings me to The Glee Club, and what the hell I'm doing on a blog again if the first two attempts made me run screaming.

Well, what can I say.

No, really - what CAN I say? I have no idea!

I began this particular blog months ago, when I told myself I would attempt one last shot at bloggery, provided I was able to snag a good enough name. I nearly threw in the towel, as most of the names I wanted to use were taken. "FryingEggsOnDollyPartonsThighs" was free, but I didn't want to encourage the raincoat Googlers any more than I already have.

Finally, I pecked in "The Glee Club", and the rest would be history if there were anything more to say about it. Which, lucky for you, there is:

I posted a few experiments on this blog, and shared it with a few close friends, who gave me some very positive feedback and then promptly had their phone numbers and e-mail addresses changed (I miss you guys! Re-think the restraining orders - please? Kisses!).

I considered limiting this blog strictly to comedy essay writing, partially as a sketchbook for my ideas and partially because I'm the kind of person who will scrawl some stupid little combination of words which someone will see and say, "Hey, damn it! That is funny! You just better send that to McSweeneys or The Onion or Shouts and Murmurs or something!" And so I do, and I am rejected with such quickness by these fine publications, the earth's rotation has actually hiccupped backwards a couple of times, as if God were a DJ and he were doing a fresh scratch on our phat blue marble, yo. So if you felt a disturbance in the rotation of our planet, not to worry - that was just me sucking.

Given my sparkling success rate of work submitted for publication (if mud could sparkle, that is), I decided to create a blog that would be my own little McSweeney's Discount Outlet for damaged and irregular funnies. The New Yorker may not think I'm up to snuff, but that doesn't mean I can't pass the savings along to you!

So, upon christening this space the Big Lots of comedy, I fell into a creative abyss. Well, not really. I just didn't want to write funny stuff every day. Or, really, every week. And I was busy improvising and moderating and boyfriending and working, all the while trying my damnedest to come up with newer and lamer ideas for the magazine world to deny with even higher levels of dismissive zeal.

Which brings me to now.

Long story short: oh wait, it's too late.

Long story less long: For the past few years, I've been working a night job, ostensibly because I wanted to use days for writing and nights for making money to pay bills. Once upon a time this worked. Over the past year or so, I've noticed this set-up is kind of crap. I've managed to seal myself off from mildly interesting things like a social life, prime time television, and the sun. As a result, I grew terribly suspicious as to why I was running out of things to write about, finally deciding that I'd try returning to the land of the living in hopes of the ol' creative juices perking back up as a result.

It's been a week since this change in schedule has gone into effect, and now that I'm among large groups of other people on a regular basis again, and now that I no longer have the sleeping habits of Courtney Love, all I can say is WOW.

I feel like I have a lot of things to say again, just like that.

And that seems to be as good a place to end this introduction as any.

Welcome to The Glee Club. Help yourself to whatever's in the fridge.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for you blog, it is outstanding Do you want all the boys to notice you hair night prom style Ultimate hair night prom style

7:09 AM, October 04, 2005  
Blogger Glee Club said...

Oh my god, I've been obsessing over what I'm going to do about my prom night hair style! Who knew all I'd have to do was write a rambling autobiographical blog entry and I'd have all the answers! I was thinking about highlights, or maybe even rocking a DA. Or both! Oh thank you, Hair Night Prom Style fairy, for heeding my call. Thank you.

7:13 AM, October 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog inspires me to do a blog so i make this blog comment on your blog.

12:44 PM, October 05, 2005  
Anonymous Frank said...

Hey there... I actually found this by googling your name, finding the snowglobe, and other things besides... was trying to see, as you do, if you were still out there in this crazy world. It is cool to see you doing your thing still. It makes me smile.:-)

Frank. (and if you're wondering... is it that Frank? yes it is! if you're wondering "who the hell is Frank?" then you need some ginko baloba.. lol! as Cherita says.....Chut Up!"

3:28 PM, November 18, 2005  

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