Since entering the so-called "blogosphere" some nine months ago, I've been sporadically queried via e-mail odd handfulls of seemingly random questions about what my intentions are for this site (and other sundry matters). I've noticed that a few weblogs out there feature FAQ sections ("frequently asked questions"). Since the questions I've been sent haven't really adequately earned the adjective "frequent," I figured I'd tweak that acronym just a bit. I doubt it will end up as its own category, but should you wish to add your own question, please feel free to e-mail me (look to the top of the column on the left hand side of the screen). Lastly, I should point out that most, if not all, of the questions below are entirely trivial (as you'll doubtlessly surmise as you read them). Anyway, here goes for now....
I wouldn't have thought it was that mysterious.
v. flamed, flam·ing, flames
To burn brightly; blaze.
To color or flash suddenly: cheeks that flamed with embarrassment.
Informal. To make insulting criticisms or remarks, as on a computer network, to incite anger.
pab·lum P Pronunciation Key (pblm)
Trite, insipid, or simplistic writing, speech, or conceptualization: “We have to settle for the pablum that passes for the inside dope” (Julie Salamon).
Pretty simple, really.
(2) Why do you go by Alex in NYC?
Fair enough question. Some time back in the latter portion of the previous decade, I finally got around to getting a modem for my home computer. Once I'd effectively hitchhiked myself onto the "information superhighway" from the comfort of my own home, I dove right on in and simultaneously subscribed to the Firewatercircus and the Gathering, two separate online mailing groups devoted to the bands Firewater and Killing Joke, respectively. I can't honestly remember on which list the moniker originated, but to distinguish myself from a different individual named Alex, I appended the "in NYC," because....well, I live in New York City. It made sense and it stuck and I've gone by it ever since. Should I ever move to Bozeman, Montana or Thule, Greenland, perhaps I'll change it. Until then, I'll be Alex in NYC.
Despite rumors to the contrary, it has nothing to do with Lucifer nor Vassar College, and it's really not that sexy a story. The arguable truth of the matter is that it is supposedly the name of a genus of venomous spider. Back in my uber-geeked out junior high days as an acne-speckled roller of twenty-sided dice, a fellow AD&D afficianado/pal of mine named Ted was rifling through a book of entomology, looking for a name to call his new ranger character (I told you it wasn't going to be a sexy story!). He'd decided on a first name, "Elon" ("Lone" jumbled up.....he's a ranger, geddit?) and plucked out the name "Vassifer" as a surname. For some reason, the word stuck in my head. Decades later, when I'd landed a gig as an assistant to the TIME Magazine News Desk and got my first AOL account, I needed a screen name, so "Vassifer" it became. As with Alex in NYC, it has stuck.
I ran into Ted again a couple of years back, after his sister spotted me at a photography workshop in Rockport, Maine. We got together for a few beers. He too had largely moved on since our days as hapless gamer nerds, and was currently obsessed with in-line skating and other "extreme sports" (quite a turnaround). At the end of the night, we exchanged e-mails. He spotted mine and was incredulous that I'd remembered the word (but mercifully didn't sue me for copywright infringement).
(4) What's up with your Killing Joke fixation?
I get this one a lot. What's the problem? Can't a guy really like a band? What can I say? Ever since I first saw the video for their single, "Eighties" some time in the spring of 1984, I've been completely and utterly hooked. "Eighties" was three minutes and fifty-one seconds of absolute malevolent perfection (and still is, goddammit). The band has since explored a series of hills and valleys but continues to make indescribably unique, provocative and cathartic music, and as far as I'm concerned, everything else pales in comparison. If you're getting tired of reading about Killing Joke here, might I suggest reading another weblog, or maybe even turning off your computer entirely, stepping away from your desk and going into a closet to suck a carton of eggs.
(5) What makes Flaming Pablum any different from anyone else's weblog?
Abolutely nothing. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
(6) Why did you start Flaming Pablum?
Well, originally it was solely to piss off my then-colleague, John, who had only recently launched his own weblog, dubbed Hot Johnny. I thought, "well, if that slackjawed carnvial ape can start one, why not start my own?" And so I did. I then figured it might be a great way of showcasing my entirely dubious "writing skills" for the purposes of landing a new job (and having since landed a new job, if you see a pronounced dip in quality control here at Flaming Pablum, you'll know why). Lasty, it just seemed like a fun experiment. When it stops being fun, I'll invariably stop doing it.
(7) How come I can't find anything on your site? It's so confusing!
For a start, it's not that confusing if you simply take a little time to get the lay of the land, so to speak. On the left hand side of the page (under that out-of-date photo of some beardy goon in a Brak t-shirt) is a handy navigational bar which presents you with a variety of items, including the option to search the weblog by either category or date (seek ye CATEGORIES and/or ARCHIVES). There's also a handy list of the ten most recent posts. Everything you need to find anything on Flaming Pablum can be accessed on said bar. Failing that, you can always do a Google search.
(8) How come there's only one post in the Food and Drink category?
Evidently, I don't get out much anymore.
(9) Do you use MySpace or Frienster?
I've addressed my feelings about Friendster already on this weblog, so clearly someone's not paying attention. That said, I belong to both, but have yet to really feel any sense of progress or point to either. Friendster seems to have somewhat stalled these days (or "shit the bed," as a colleague of mine recently so eloquently put it). I seem to have amassed more friends via my MySpace page, and there seems to be more cool features therein, so I suppose I prefer MySpace. In any event, if you give a great goddamn, you can find my Friendster page right here and you can find my MySpace page right there. Happy clicking.