Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well alrighty then--time for some blog gossip!

Jen Finally Talks..
Originally uploaded by karroozi.
Well, I finally crossed the line two nights ago, and wound up actually sleeping with Herman, my trusty Mac.

Addicted to the blogosphere to an unhealthy degree? Arguably. Having the time of my life? Absolutely. Having blog dreams? All the time.

But this latest development does seem really sick, doesn't it? Though I'll admit to enjoying a deep, consuming, and meaningful relationship with Herman, I just didn't think it was going to get quite this hot and heavy. Last night, the cat joined us, which was even kinkier.

What happened is this: I have been keeping weird hours. I may nap in the evening and then wake up at 2 or 3 am, turn on Herman, and do some blogging or commenting til I get tired again. So I"m on and off the computer at various times all day and night.

Thing is, that when I'm at BG's I blog on the far end of his small futon/couch in the living room. When I'm done for awhile or want to nap on the couch or watch TV, I typically turn Herman off and move him down to the floor to the left of the couch so he's out of the way. But this repeated moving of Herman has resulted in my computer wires fraying, and it's a pain in the butt to have to reboot every time I have an urge to get back on.

So two nights ago, I just kept Herman on at the foot of the couch, laid down for a nap, woke up, and started playing again. Then when I tired, I repeated the above. I'll leave it to anyone who cares to comment to decide just how far gone I really have become.

Anyway, blogging here was addictive enough, but as I've repeated ad nauseum, I've recently also joined BlogCritics, and love it as well. The site gets a huge amount of traffic, and is designed to be both writer and commenter friendly. When a member posts a story, there is a large space at the end of the piece and before the comments which links the interested reader to the writer's other BlogCritics posts, as well as a providing a link to their personal website. Comments are considered an essential part of the "conversation," and there are plenty of them. Personal attacks are not allowed, and a comment moderator is on the lookout for epithet hurling, which is later edited or removed if necessary. But this is done judiciously if at all, and always taking into account the context of the conversational flow and overalll intent.

Now the next bit may seem like I'm bragging, and I cringe at the thought that I might appear to be doing so. But I present the following simply as a lead up to a kvetch I have about the BlogCritics site--or rather, regarding one long-standing member who I think may actually be a bit jealous of my "overnight success." That's probably too extreme, as I think this fellow specializes in being contenious and cantankerous, which I can deal with and have already done with aplomb. But I think with this particular fellow BlogCritic, there may at the very least be some sort of initiation ceremony going on as far as trying to burst the upstart newbie's little pink bubble of bliss.

OK, deep breath--
I've published 14 posts to BlogCritics since I began on January 3rd--some of them new; some adapted from old Shithouse tales. Right now, I have three posts on the BlogCritics Hot Topics board. Hot Topics are posts which have had the most comments in the past 72 hours, and they stay there as long as applicable. A fourth post was up there also til a day or two ago. Being on the Hot Topics board is also beneficial because your story remains on the front page longer. A story routinely only stays on the main page for four days before it's archived, and with each passing day it goes lower down the front page line, thus making it less visible to the average reader.

My piece Pro-Life or Anti-Sex, posted on January 14, has garnered 378 comments thus far and was cited twice under this weeks Editor's picks page. My old Shithouse post Those Army Ads are BROILING my BUTT!, which I posted to BC on January 17, has amassed 128 comments. I'm also enjoying and commenting to other posts, since the variety and quality of articles at what is essentially more an online magazine than a blog is mostly top notch.

For the Editor's picks of the week, the Politics editor chose the "Anti-sex" post, as did a fellow blogger who'd had a piece picked out last week. (Writers who've been picked have the option of doing a pick of their own the following week). Here's an excerpt of what Writer alpha said:

"Pro-Life or Anti-Sex? by Elvira Black:....I really chose this post as a performance: both the writing and the moderation of comments. She answered critics, thanked commenters, found good things to say whenever possible and attempted to keep the thread on a fair and thoughtful rather than personal track. A Blogcritics strength is the comments make each article interactive. Elvira used and guided that firestorm to make her article, the Bambanek post and the comments one long conversation. Kudos."

OK, so here's my point. This post brought up a lot of emotions in many people, and represents a subtopic of a very controversial pro-life/pro-choice debate. Although I do my best to respond to every comment on Shitrat if at all possible, on a piece with so many comments over at BC I simply let people "talk amongst themselves" where appropriate, and chiimed in from time to time after commenting more frequently when the first comments came trickling in. As I said there, I love a post that makes its own gravy even when you're not attending to it!

I was having a similarly positive experience on the comments to "Those Army Ads are Broiling my Butt!" Though the comment count is not as impressive as the even more "sexy" topic mentioned above, the discussions remained well-tempered yet lively for the most part. The first hint of real trouble came when "ArmyGirl" logged on, demanding that I click on a link she provided to a partisan Conservative think tank on army recruitment stats, and called me an Idiotarian to boot.

This was all well and good, as I am quite capable of fighting my own comment battles. But at some point a BC regular writer and commenter, who had written very supportive comments to the "Anti-Sex" post, suddenly came on board and without making clear his political stance on the issue (pro-war all the way) began to pick at me for supposedly being mean to ArmyGirl.

With every response I made to him, his retorts became more and more absurd and off the main topic, finally devolving to a dismissal of the quality of my post (this despite the number of comments from him and many others). So I finally dismissed him as a troll and stated that I was posting a "please don't feed the trolls" sign in my comment. His last statement was:

"You don't know trolls until you've met X and Y. And they can't read signs.

And blowing off legitimate critics as trolls is going to leave you all alone with your fan club of one."

Let me hasten to add that though I don't know X, Y was an early and "loyal" ally of mine in my comments sections----though I take it he's not a fan of this guy--who by the way, doesn't agree with the "no personal attacks/moderated comment" policy. Gee, wonder why?

All this after adroitly handling 300 plus comments on one post and 100 plus on another. As I say, the blogger in question had a problem with my point of view, even though I tempered my anti-army commercial stance with the fact that I do support our brave troops--just not necessarily what they are being asked to fight for, and how they have arguably been deceived in the process.

So although I literally laughed this off, it did indeed take the bloom off my BC euphoria. Here was a fellow BC writer who had decided to lay into me by claiming I hurt a critical commenter's feelings, while not revealing his political affilation which was the real reason for the off-point commentary that followed. Then he siimply started attacking my post and my commenting savvy and skills in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

Finally, I felt so low that earlier this evening I actually turned Herman off and stashed him on the floor by the side of the couch, just like the "old days" and fell into a troubled sleep.

Boo hoo!

But here I am again, this time venting on my own personal space. What a relief to always have my little Shithouse "home" to run to when the big bad bloggie world gets to be too much...


At 10:13 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

I gotta say E--your articles on these juicy troll topics really captivate me--well, not to say the less gossipy ones dont ... its just, well you know --lol. hey-Im human too! and since I am too ashamed to read tabloids, trashy mags at the market or online, instead I can get it right here where Im much more comfy.-it gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling.

anyway, you just keep on truckin and doin what you do best--that critic of critics what's his name, alpha was right--youre good at what you do and you deserve your successes. I mean not many people devote as much time and mental energy as you do to make it this good and you deserve to reap the rewards! Yes indeed! Kudos to you!

At 11:00 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Hey, glad you like Elvira the yenta! Maybe I'll do more of this gossipy stuff from now on.

Meanwhile, here's another up to the minute tidbit:

My newfound pal Y (um, considering the context below, I'll have to reveal that his "name" is Shark) responded to X's claim that he was a troll thusly:

"X, you're not worthy of annointing my fins.

Oh... but you can blow me."

Although I can generally handle the blog bullies, flamers, and trolls just fine, it's still nice to have a "knight in blogging armor" on your side every now and then!

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

yeah I gotta say--oh man, I am so addicted to your post there on blogcritcs about abortion--Ive ended up wiling away the hours reading the comments section. I read your article several days ago, but hadnt checked back before this AM and what can I say but WOWeeeeee! lol. what a trip. Im tempted to chime in but what I would have to say wouldnt be very controversial or interesting to most Im afraid. Oh well, I may just do so anyway.

Now I have to unscrew myself from the dang thing and get some shit done today! damn near impossible.

thanks again for the grand entertainment--wouldnt surprise me if some big paper offered you a position as an editorial writer--you know how to stir it up!

At 3:15 PM, Blogger dan said...

Dammit? There's a fan club?

Where do you sign up?

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Webmiztris said...

I never turn my computer off - I just keep it on constantly and only reboot when necessary... there are two other computers in my house that are always on too...we definitely need

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Rohan Venkat said...

Wow, you're really having the time of your life over at BlogCritics. I was going to comment on the Pro-Life or Anti-Sex article, but just looking at the other comments....just came in too late to join the whole debate....

Anyways, good going!

At 4:55 PM, Blogger fugusashi said...

What Dan said...where do I sign up?

Sounds like the guy at BC is indeed jealous of you. Interesting story, thanks for sharing it with us. I love stuff like that.

I think it's cute that you named your computer Herman.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger jane said...

That BC guy sounds like a bonafide asswipe. Interesting how he won't come out & state his political stance, as though his overbearing opinions aren't transparent! What a jerk!
I remember you battline, who was it? Satan and oh, those 2 others, remember? This guy sounds like kids play compared to those guys. So my recommendation to him would be to grow some balls & get off his soapbox.
I'm really not surprised your posts have so many comments, you're such an exceptional writer. Sign me up for the fan club, too.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Walker said...

AH your just a shit disturber and you love it.
Your articles were great and to the point well your point that is.But it is all food for thought and I can relate to touching subjects that garner opinion.
As for your addiction I can relae o hat o as I remember siing by my desktop for hours on end either writing or reading and very rarely going to any of the other rooms.
I have gone through 4 office chair in the last year and a half.
I have since managed to stay away from my computer desk and saving the new chair.
Mind you I have now installed a computer(laptops) in every room LOL

At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Temple Stark - said...

So what's a blog dream like? Are they different. I have a few BC-related things to say, but it's not the right venue here. ...

- Temple

At 4:44 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Sometimes, people are just stupid. Simple fact.

I don't have it in me to have much sympathy for the troops for one simple reason. This isn't like other conflicts: they knew what they were signing up for. If they want to live out some deranged, badass Bruce Willis moment, congratulations, they got it. In our political science textbook, the basic American culture is referred to as ultranationalism.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger jessie said...

people like that havent a life. at least that's the way i see it. they are so one sided and refuse to accept that others have their own points of view and things so they feel personally attacked and feel the need to retaliate. guarantee they have your page bookmarked and will be monitoring everything you post as you may has well have made it to their shithouse. dont let it get you down. keep posting and ignore them. for the most part people will ead their comments and think they're a psycho, unless of course they're one themselves, in which case they're gonna chime along with the bell ringer. hell with them. if you have the delete comment option over there as you do here then i suggest utilizing it and not respond to their antagonizing. people like that despise being ignored for their efforts. you may even burn such a hole with them they may post about you, in which case a friendly but firm comment may be in order.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Awesome! So glad you're enjoying those wild and wacky comments. It truly amazes (and saddens) me that there's so many people out there who are led around by the nose and simply spout epithets. They seem to be much more interested in their dogma than in trying to reach some sort of common ground.

Hey swing on by and put in your two cents if you wanna!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Fan club? Registration can be completed by going to the BC website and leaving a comment in the box of any piece written by moi. (lol).

I may have to have some sort of intervention if things keep up. Or join some support group--an online one, but of course!

At 7:50 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Good to hear from another new BC recruit! I'll be checking out your pieces too. Hope you'll reconsider and add your two cents....

At 7:53 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

I may talk about BC from time to time, but not get too "heavy" because I wouldn't want to bite the hand that's feeding me, and I'm really very happy to be there so I don't have a lot to kvetch about.

My kvetches, as I say, would pretty much be limited to certain "colorful personalities" and their comments to my posts.

Yes, Herman is the perfect name for my Mac Powerbook laptop. The name just came to me one day in a dream.Now I can't think of him as anything else. Even BG calls him that!

At 7:58 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

When I say biting the hand that's feeding me, I only mean in the comment/blogwhore sense, not the monetary sense--lol.

Also--anyone who cares to comment there can do so under an assumed name of any sort and don't have to leave a url, so even if you wanna be a troll, be my guest!

At 8:02 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Awww, that's so nice of you to say! You know you've got a huge fan club as well, and I think of you as the touchstone as far as our bipolar circle is concerned. Well, you are, since I'm sure you're the one who started it, but you know what I mean...

I think you hit the nail on the head with Mr. X. In fact he's still putting his two cents in here and there, and I think he must be on some kind of comment alert software that lets him see when a new response has been posted.

But for now I'm refusing to acknowlege him directly, but when necessary direct comments to noone and everyone in particular. Most of his I've decided to ignore, because they are still, I think, designed to gratuitously provoke. People make asses of themselves without anyone else's help sometimes, n'est pas?

At 8:05 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Ah, a laptop in every room-even the bathroom? LOL--Do they have waterproof ones you can take with you into the shower now?

I just woke up a few hours ago from a blog dream where I suddenly had a whole bunch of cool comments on my most recent BC posts--boy was I happy!

At 8:08 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks for stopping by! I've been meaning to check out your BC posts as well, and I will. There's just such a glut of interesting and well-written stuff there. The only "bad" thing is that there's so many good posts, so little time.

Ooh, now you've got my curiousity whetted but good!

At 8:10 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

There's one 17 year old kid who's been commenting to the Army ad post and the Pro-life or anti-sex post. At this tender age, he seems totally brainwashed and close minded. He's already signed up for the army and will go there right after graduation--he's a junior now. If I were his mom, I'd have told him to get his nose out of the recruitment brochures and start applying for college. But that's just me.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thing is, that I definitely can handle someone differing with my opiinion or viewpoint, and even very spirited argument is cool. The thing that bothered me about this guy was that he was being disingenous about why he was "defending the honor" of a very bitchy ArmyGirl character who came hurling out of the gate spewing venom all the way. He thought I hurt her little feelings! Awwww!

Yes, after viewing his website and such, I could see that he was staunchly pro-war. All fine and good, but he started leaving cheap digs about my post and how mediocre or something it was, after reading and commenting to it at length. It was just a little mind game on his part.

That's the thing about trolls--their whole motivation is to throw a discussion way off track using personal attacks and slurs, trying to bait the other person by any means necessary and that have little or nothing to do with the topic at hand. He was being sneaky and underhanded. I could care less if he doesn't like my writing. I don't need his approval.

No, comments can't be deleted, and that's fine with me. The comment editor goes through them all and if someone leaves a personal attack they may put a bracket around the word so it reads [deleted].

Mr. X doesn't approve of that, though. Although I believe in free speech, if a post devolves into name calling, and one nutcase is allowed to highjack a post, it seems like a bad idea to me. So I'm fine with what they have in place there--at least so far.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Doesn't his mother have some legal ground to step in and force him to do what she wants? That is, can't she keep him from officially being considered "signed up" since he is shy of being a legal adult?

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Justine said...

elvira, are you what we would call a talkative person?

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Justine said...

Elvira I bet ArmyGirl is a 21 year old who could beat you in an arm wrestle and cries in her sleep.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


The 17 year old I mentioned is super gung ho and had his parents sign him up. He claims that he can still back out since he's a minor, but I kinda doubt it.

He's been eerily silent for the last day or so in response to my latest comments

At 8:05 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yeah, Elvira (as opposed to "Ms. X," the "real"(?) me--is quite a chatterbox--one might even say blabbermouth. But I love to get as good as I give.

ArmyGirl has not shown her belligerent face for awhile now. Heh heh.

Oh, and thank you, Walker, and everyone else who's been kind enough to comment to BC!


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