Welcome to my Blog. Or, perhaps more correctly, my second attempt at blogging.
This whole electronic media/non-traditional publishing thang is a multiple-beer discussion. So pull up a chair.
Many people want to write about themselves and publicize their opinions. Very few are interesting. I am going to stick my neck out a bit and see if I can't offer some content, at least to a select audience. Or a demented audience, as the case may be - back in the early days of the HumourList we certainly did some free-spirited things. My travel stuff is still pretty wild (who else has pointers on hookers in Mexico and Daytona Beach, for example?). Perhaps we can recapture some of that spirit of good-natured upbeat rowdiness here.
Folks today are busier than ever and we are being overwhelmed with content. Decades of national policy in the USA are being reduced to one paragraph soundbites, for example. We are living in a dog eat dog world as far as publishers are concerned. The technology is changing rapidly, and it's becoming more and more difficult to be heard above the roar.
At the same time a small publisher or small commentator has an equal opportunity to be heard as many commentator with national network backing and finances. Love him or hate him, Matt Drudge showed that an individual with some lucky breaks and a web site could compete with the big dogs. So hope springs eternal, just as I keep buying those Florida Loto tickets. Could happen, I guess.
My late, sainted father was an author of legal textbooks. He had his own legal dictionary in print at the time that he died, for crying out loud. Do you know how hard it is to argue diction with a man who has published his own dictionary?
Anyway, Dad was a great guy. He was involved with a periodical that was, at the time, promoting the idea of the small press wherein every man could print his own books. Pretty radical stuff in the pre- small computer days of the late 70's and early 80's.
Another thought sticks in my mind when I think about Dad. He always wanted to write fiction, with him doing the technical legal aspects (Dad was a practicing attorney with a second graduate degree in Library Science) and Yours Truly writing the fictional plot aspects. Dad complained that Perry Mason and such was terribly incorrect. Some years later a Tennessee attorney by the name of Gresham came along and wrote more technically correct works of legal fiction (and with interesting plots - let's not forget the obvious); Dad might have been on to something after all and in one of my few regrets in life I wish that we had taken a stab at that format, just for funsies.
Back to what we are trying to accomplish here, my interests over the years have grown and grown in many directions.
Almost 15 years ago I started to distribute the HumourList ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HumourList/ ). At the time sending jokes over the 'net was pretty radical. I would hear my stuff on the local radio pretty frequently, but when Playboy Magazine sent me a couple of royalty checks, and when I heard my stuff being mentioned on the radio in Guam, I figured "Hey ... that ain't bad!"
Today the HumourList is pretty mild, and as we know EVERYONE redistributes jokes over the office email, but I am happy to say that almost 1,400 loyal souls still subscribe to the HumourList.
Since then I have put up a couple of websites ( http://www.piratejohn.com/ ) to take a stab at showcasing my interests and some of my writings. My current site is way past due for a makeover, frankly, but I figure that I'll get there eventually. Sort of a what-am-I-going-to-do-with-this/what-should-I-do-when-I-grow-up thing.
I also contribute quite a bit on various Jimmy Buffett, motorcycle, motorhome, travel, and other mailing lists and web sites. I run several mailing lists myself, and when I tell folks that I am on something like 350 mailing lists it's not a joke. Doesn't mean that I read every one in any detail or anything, but that's beside the point ;)
Lately I have been developing an interest in what can best be described as "mobile architecture" or the modern gypsy lifestyle. As much as I love my current hometown (Greater Jacksonville, FL) I have a yearning to move elsewhere, even if only for a year or two. There is so much to see and do and so little time, as many of my friends have sadly discovered.
A couple of years ago I published a free revised guide to the Florida Keys ( http://www.buccaneerpublishing.com/AdventureGuide.htm ), which was followed by a 250 page print book on motorcycling in Northeastern Florida ( http://buccaneerpublishing.com/products.htm ).
The Keys Guide has been very well received, even if co-author Captain Ron Thomas Smith has turned out to be a jerkoff and frankly an embarrassing buffoon on some other issues, and the Northeastern Florida book was VERY successful. When I say that the Northeastern Florida book was a roaring success you have to put this into prospective; most first time publishers, publishing their own materials, lose their asses big time. I broke even, which is a major success in the eyes of most of us who have actually tried publishing our own books (a lesson there - critics are plentiful, but few of those critics have the balls to do it themselves.)
Yet something is lacking ...
My jokes, commentaries on miscellaneous things, and my travel materials often appeal to different audiences. Oh, there's some crossover, but it's a difficult balancing act at times to keep the various mailing lists separate.
And I haven't had the time for the last few years to really write about the ins and outs of life, most of them pretty funny if not out-and-out exciting. I am hoping to get back to doing that, even as I begin new directions in my life and take on new tasks (more on that in another post).
But the big thing that I am trying to do these days is to organize my travel materials into a format that is indexed and easily accessible. Ideally, something that goes quickly from being online (and presumably readily updated) to something that can be printed out or put into PDF format pretty quickly. This blog, and it's feed to XML, is a bit of an experiment to see if myself and an associate or two can come up with a system to close that gap on the mythical ideal of push-button publishing. Sound like geekspeak to you? Does to me at times too, but we'll see what happens.
Organizing my travel materials may require a separate blog, or perhaps even a completely different format. I started a dedicated travel site many months ago using a popular software designed for chat boards but haven't populated it beyond a few entries. That site has never been publicly mentioned that I am aware of. Until now. Check out http://www.piratejohntravel.com/ if you dare.
I hope to see some of y'all drop into this blog every so often. Your comments, both public and backchannel, are welcomed, although I do warn you that I delight in deleting comments from those silly anonymous trolls that are popping up all over the 'net these days. Fun's fun, but you would think that some of those children and old geezers would have better things to do with their time.
Y'all drop back in, y'hear!