Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Old Blog

In September, 2001, I took a three-week vacation in Japan and kept a journal. I also took a bunch of photos, and when I got back, I sent the results to my friend, the late Bob Watts, who was art director of Salon, and he fashioned the whole thing into a website with an astonishing border made up of odd Japanese art.

It occurred to me not long ago that this was, in its primitive way, a blog, and so I decided, at some point, to turn it into one. As of this moment, the text is up, and a very few photos, but I'll be building it up a bit more in the days to come.

It is, for reasons I'll explain when I get around to writing a 2008 introduction, a bit of an odd document, but if you're interested, it's over here, at least in the early stages.

I'll post again when it's finished. There may also be another announcement this week. Or not. It's too early to tell.


Don said...

An amazing journal. Time well invested for a worthy read! You have a gift for travel writing. Thanks for re-sharing.

Anonymous said...

great stuff ed ;)
why not a fanzine outta this, somehow?

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

I agree with Kean. Blogs on paper are much better than on a screen, surely?

Don said...

Much as I love the tactile qualities of paper, you guys are living in the past. This blog is proof. As are the successes of Barenaked Ladies and Radiohead in using and maniplating the new technologies to squeeze out all the juice. One solution would be to climb aboard the new reading tablet technology which has been marketed by Sony, with others soon to follow. An author including a piece with every new tablet sold would be like Gates' success in having Windows included with IBM PCs in the early days. After all, the purpose of paper and printing presses is just to get the message from the author's creative thoughts to the receptor's mind.

Ed Ward said...

Uh, Don, it's just possible that KMS had his tongue in his cheek. And I've already asked Kean what he meant, and his comment was written while juggling his kids and he admits it doesn't make much sense.

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

No, I meant it seriously.

If Ed's Japan pre-blog blog from 2001 was on paper, laid out nicely, with some good typesetting, font choices, maybe two colours of ink and the photos (maybe those in black and white), I'd really enjoy reading it.

Much more so than on the screen. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it (so far) online, but, for me, if I really want to engage with something - unless it's very short and brief, and therefore probably not worth getting too involved with, I need it on paper.

I agree entirely with Don when he wrote

After all, the purpose of paper and printing presses is just to get the message from the author's creative thoughts to the receptor's mind..

I'm sure he didn't mean it quite like that, but I couldn't have put it better. That's the purpose of paper and not of computer screens. A monitor just don't work for me when it comes to getting "creative thoughts to the receptor's mind". And I'm sure I'm not the only one (if I believe the various pieces of research into memory, internet use, and the comparisons of the effects of internet use with certain soft drugs on certain brain receptors).

On the other hand, thank god that most of the internet isn't on paper. Apart from newsagents having then to be as tall as as Crystal Palace and as wide as Olympia in order to have enough "top shelving", most of the written stuff would surely never get printed, because it doesn't deserve to. I include most of my own online ramblings in that.

(Ed: is your Japan blog somewhere in the Harvard web.archive? I'd be interested to see what it looked like in 2001...)

Ed Ward said...

Okay, one can never be sure about this stuff online. But I'm a huge fan of paper, especially for longer texts. This, I thought, worked as a blog because the individual entries were blog-length and of a bloggy informality, but were I to consider turning this into a print piece (which, to be honest, I wouldn't), I'd definitely rewrite it. I think that the novelty, such as it is, of the screen is going to wear off one of these days and those of us who have always dealt in print will be able to get some of our living back.

Incidentally, KMS, from what you've said, are you aware that the whole thing is already up? You have to click the "older posts" link a couple of times, but I purposely posted it in reverse order so it'd read in forward motion. So yeah, the 9.11 post is up. As are the 9.12 and 9.13 posts.

How would I find it in the archive, incidentally? I'd really love it if Bob's design had been preserved.

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

Thanks - I hadn't noticed the "older posts" bit. I'll read the rest sometime in the next few days!

If you still have the URL where it was originally 'published' - try searching for it at (mirror at ). It's a bit hit-and-miss; obviously they haven't got the entire net saved (and photos and so on are often missing, in my experience), but you never know.