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I Am an Anarchivist
January 31, 2006 — 1:53 am

At least, I was. I’ve finally updated the archives. Last time I updated them was sometime in September, 2004, and I’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time. I think the final catalyst was the fact that David M. Brown linked to us over at the LFB Blog. Well, not linked, exactly, but mentioned the URL. It made me want to tidy up around here a little, the same way my mom always insisted we clean the house before company arrived. Just in case someone decided to show up, I wanted things to look a little nicer. I still don’t want anyone looking in the closet or under the rugs — there’s plenty of code I’d like to overhaul around here at some point, as people in the know can probably tell by glancing at the source code — but you get the idea.

It took a good chunk of time to archive 16 months of the blog at once, but not as much as you might think, really, considering this site is an entirely manual production. It was especially easy archiving Justin’s posts — his months and months of inactivity around these parts allowed me to rubber-stamp his side of most of the archive pages with the standard “Slacker” non-entry I’ve been using for archive pages with no entries. No entries, that is, from either one or the other of us. I’ve decided not to create archive pages at all for weeks when neither one of us have managed the pitifully easy exercise of typing and uploading a sentence or two, as at least a token of online presence. That way, anybody clicking through the archives a page at a time won’t have to slog through page after page of absolutely nothing.

The “Slacker” thing feels like a cop-out. When we started this blog almost three years ago, we vowed to post something every day. I managed to screw that up first by missing a day, and it wasn’t long before Justin followed suit. We still tried to keep the page up, though, producing both regular content and anxiety dreams. And then things got really out of hand — only two or three posts a week, if that. And then Justin missed an entire week.

This was understandable — he had just moved to St. Louis, and didn’t have much Internet access. But what to do? When I set up the structure of our archives, it had never occurred to me that I’d have to deal with an archive page that contained no entries from one of us. A commitment to post every day would preclude a missing week, wouldn’t it? Even if we missed a day or two now and then. And my OCD meant I had to do something — it was just question of figuring out what. So I decided to fill Justin’s side of the archive page with a doppelganger, Evil Justin.

Justin got to posting again after that, but pretty soon he missed another week — so I trotted out Evil Justin again. He didn’t get the hint, so the following week I summoned Evel Justin from the depths of R’lyeh. Two weeks later, it was Weevil Justin.

By this point, Justin was looking for revenge, so next week my side of the page was invaded by Eric D. Hulkster. The only problem — Justin posted it on a Friday, before the end of the week, which I hadn’t officially missed yet. So I had to wait until the week was over to post my next real entry.

We managed to hold it together for months afterward, posting every week until one day Devo Justin made an appearance. When I finally missed a week — for real, for the first time — four months later, Justin didn’t pony up with a doppelganger. I didn’t have the heart, or the time, to make one for myself, so the lame “Slacker” bit appeared for the first time. Same thing the following week. The week after that, I was still planning to resurrect the doppelgangers, apparently:

I’ve failed to post for two entire calendar weeks, which hasn’t happened before. Surprisingly, this space remains unoccupied by satirical doppelgangers that tend to crop up during long absences. I’m sure there’ll be something before long, though — those empty spaces in the archives are like a vacuum just waiting to suck in some half-hearted attempt at humor . . .

But it never happened. The magic was gone, or something. The week after that, we both failed to post. At all. For two weeks straight. Those two blank weeks were followed by two more weeks of “Slacker” posts for Justin, then another “Slacker” for me. Then another two blank weeks. And it spiraled downhill from there. I’ve never taken five entire months off from posting, like Justin did in early 2005, or even the three and a half months he’s been gone recently. But I’ve been plenty scarce all the same. Hopefully we can both turn it around, at least a little.

So, do any of you actually care about this kind of self-referential blogging-about-blogging crap? Of course not. But at least I’ve gotten it out of my head now, so there’s more room for the voices to tell me what to do.

— Eric D. DixonComments (1)

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1 Comment
  1. […] of archiving, the chore became easier to ignore until it reached absurdly out-of-date proportions. I’ve blogged about this before, after my last stab at archiving. Before this site upgrade went live today, the archives were more […]

    Pingback by The Shrubbloggers » Shrubbloggers 2.0 — May 25, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

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Eric D. Dixon

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