“tragic dog video” – wtf? (January 2, 2021)
It’s a long story in my own mind, but it’s really not, outside of my mind.
But since most of my writing is intertwined with my mind, this can go on.
The nuts and bolts of this blog’s name are uninspired and anti-climatic. Lacking depth or abstraction, I shamefully recount.
See, at the risk of exposing too much personal data for no apparent good reason (I don’t care about being doxed (because I’m sure my real identity is of such importance to no one on the internet) but I don’t go out of my way to reveal my identity), I’m not so repressed and timid that I clamp down my expression to the point of excessive self-censorship because I’m petrified my personal info might “get out”. I will say my job is largely centered around a software platform most have probably not heard of. Periodically, my employer installs a major software upgrade which requires user testing on the part of regular employee users to ensure it doesn’t fall apart when it goes live.
And I, lucky I, am a “regular” round of testers who gets drawn in every time there is a major upgrade. This by virtue of my alleged familiarity and skillfulness with the software, a “superuser” if you will buy that, plus I’m one of the few people who commits without a fuss (most likely the real reason). I’m easy fodder who doesn’t say no.
So one recent weekend, I logged in (working from home has its drawbacks and perks, depending on your outlook and sycophancy) and began my testing. I had put it off and the deadline was quickly approaching. One of the testing routines involves setting up project and naming it – vague enough, right?
I usually use a name that is not horribly inspired. Something like “David’s Test Project.” Very original, but it’s software testing. What do you expect?
Anyhow, this time around, perhaps it was working from home since March that did it, but my creativity was flowing, erupting. I came up with several evocative names but none quite fit. I needed an experimental name. Assuredly not David’s Test Project now.
In a sudden burst of inspiration, it hit me. “Tragic Dog Videos!”
I laughed and immediately set up the experiment module.
I laughed and told my wife but she didn’t find the humor or amusement. In fact, she lightly scolded but I was unmoved; there’s no accounting for good dark humor.
Oh, I decided to make it the singular “Tragic Dog Video” for the sake of this blog. The tone is much different and more appropriate, a key point I will touch upon in other installments of my RAQ’s.
Is this blog name toxic? (January 23, 2021)
Well God, yeah. A bit of a no-brainer, no?
As I wrote here in describing the genesis of this blog’s name, there was nothing premeditated or concerted about it. It was a name that simply “happened” in response to a parallel thought I had about something completely unrelated.
My SEO for this site pretty tight. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, of course. This is a never-ending mission of updating, fixing and adding/subtracting. A blog should never be a static mantelpiece you sit and “admire” indefinitely. Despite the mechanics of SEO (which tend to be very formulaic), there is a human, non-robotic element to a blog’s appeal which can only be ushered in by conscious human effort, not by equations or scores.
It’s fantastic if you create an optimal environment for your site’s visibility, but what about the blog itself, its meat and bones; its content? This is the shit you can’t repair with a plug-in or algorithm. The most basic element is the name. A blog name can be curious, it can be threatening, it can be puzzling, it can be inconspicuous and it can be familiar. The name is the most rudimentary trait affecting our initial impression. We’ve been using the internet for over 20 years and have grown jaded. We are privy to the signals that scream scam and all other bullshit subterfuge to get our money, identity, passwords, maybe all of the above.
Given this, I understand most readers will instinctively discount the words “tragic dog video” when they pop up in their search results. Most people, if not animal lovers, at least like animals enough that they don’t want to see anything bad happen to little doggies. I understand this, but you know what?
I don’t care.
I like the name of my blog and I’m keeping it. tragic dog video is a filter mechanism: those who dismiss rashly and meekly are not my audience. Those who boldly stick their nose in the dirt for curiosity’s sake are the ones I want.
That said, I’ve accepted too that using tragic dog video as my communal blog identity on other sites is more harmful to my traffic as most blog owners or readers will tend to avoid my comment, and hence, a curious click, since the handle is the sole criteria as opposed to a home page or post title or content. I’ve slowly transitioned to using “Bartleby TDV” an internet identity.
Regardless, the tragic doggie will remain.
Who’s the doggie in the pic? (February 6, 2021)
There is a great deal to say about my “doggie” header image. So much that it will need to appear as a future “RAQ” detailing the genesis of tragic dog video’s unifying vision.
But for now, the nuts and bolts behind the graphic.
The image is a tad enigmatic. Lacking in relatable context, it leaves the typical reader bewildered without being outright disconcerted. We get the same effect from strange Japanese pop culture motifs or role play that don’t quite align with reality, while containing enough elements of our reality for us to hold it close to our world despite its slightly alien flavor.
The header graphic (and one which I’ve used increasingly as my icon in the internet wild) is this:
The “frame” is a file named “film fido” and is a cell from a 4-panel comic I found last year. I was struck by the deeply existential poignancy of this quirky strip.
In the scheme of this blog’s birth, the name came first.
The name did not lead to a blog idea, however. I had no intention of starting this until tragic dog video triggered a concept after I met this comic:
I added a little Photoshop snip-snip, paste-paste, trim-trim and voila: my blog header.
why you no capitalized “black” (February 12, 2021)
I don’t capitalize “white,” either.
In the interest of absolute fairness, I will no longer capitalize any race descriptors.
Furthermore, I will review all my posts and update historic mentions of race or ethnicity to lower case (hispanic, asian). While not grammatically sound, I’m going for consistency. I don’t believe ethnicity should receive any special language treatment.
*I will continue to capitalize nations of origin when describing a person’s nationality, ie, Ugandan, Norwegian, Cambodian.
Addendum: I will retain source capitalization formats when quoting external sources. I will use my lower-case structure only for material which I write.
“Bartleby” – what’s in the name? (March 26, 2021)
We know him, or think we do, but it doesn’t matter. Our thoughts do not deter his immutable presence that defies human frivolity.
He’s my favorite literary non-character of all time and one I identity with more than any other, even Gregor Samsa.
Bartleby embodies our existential map and personifies torments that have conjoined my psyche throughout my life.
What better persona than Bartleby to present to the world through my writings here, and elsewhere.
Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters, and assorting them for the flames? For by the cart-load they are annually burned. Sometimes from out the folded paper the pale clerk takes a ring:—the finger it was meant for, perhaps, moulders in the grave; a bank-note sent in swiftest charity:—he whom it would relieve, nor eats nor hungers any more; pardon for those who died despairing; hope for those who died unhoping; good tidings for those who died stifled by unrelieved calamities. On errands of life, these letters speed to death.