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The Blogerati Files: BeatnikPad

This week in the Blogerati Files, BeatnikPad

Describe your blog in 10 words or less.
Warning: contents may have settled during shipping.

Why did you start your blog? Blogiversary?
I originally started blogging because I'm a pompous ass who actually thought (past-tense) that someone somewhere in the world would actually care what I think. Isn't that why everyone starts blogging? That, and the perks are stupendous, like having old ladies yell out my URL at me on the subway and roving stevedores carrying placards with my geek code emblazoned on them.

BeatnikPad was born on May 28, 2001, but I was blogging on Blogger for about half a year before that.

How long have you lived in Toronto?
Off and on for a total of 5 years so far.

What are some of the changes in Toronto that you have seen in your lifetime?
That's a great question. I suppose the death of rent control was a change that directly affected me -- I had moved here just after rent control was changed and it was a real eye opener after living in the west. The condoization and gentrification of the GTA is another notable change, I suppose, though it's arguable that this isn't something notable about Toronto. It's happening everywhere.

What era, day or event in Toronto's history would you like to re-live and why?
I think by the end of this profile if readers come away with anything about me, it will be a) I praddle on too much, and b) I really am a Prairie boy at heart. The honest truth is I just don't know enough about Toronto's history to really answer this question definitively. One event I do wish I was here to have experienced was the blackout; I've had many friends recount fascinating stories about Toronto during the blackout and that would have been something I would have liked to have seen for myself.

Who's your favourite Torontonian?
There are a lot of candidates, but David Cronenberg is as good a choice as any for me. He was one of the first people I became aware of (besides Rush) who was proud of being from here and made that point clear in his work.

Can we believe everything you post on your blog?
On the whole, yes, though I'm nowhere near as interesting in person as some people think I am from reading my site.

Fav post from your blog?
Not really. I have a few that I can tolerate but because I usually whip them off really quickly I tend to feel, at best, indifferent about them afterwards. If you asked me about which one's I hated, on the other hand... we'd be here all day.

Has blogging changed you or enhanced a personality trait?
Surprisingly, it's made me a more private person in a lot of ways, at least online. Albeit I've never used my site as a dumping ground for misplaced angst or wanton blubbering, but I've posted some stuff in the past that made me feel uncomfortable later on.

A perfect example: A couple of years ago when I moved back to Toronto for the umpteeth time I ran into a guy I had not seen in a long, long time. I basically didn't know him from Adam and yet because he read my site he knew pretty much all of the key things that I had done in the past three or four years. That pretty much of put the brakes on the more personal posts.

Ever met a stranger who already knew you through your blog? How was that?
Yes, tons, and I'm good friends with many of them now. That's the other reason I'm glad I started my site; it's been great for my social life.

Have you had your 15 minutes yet?
I'd like to think so, but it was probably more like 5 minutes. My firefox builds have been very, very popular, which is nice in a geek cred way but not that impressive to the ladies. One moment when I was thankful I had a personal site was when film critic Roger Ebert wrote me and asked if he could quote part of an obituary I had written for Quebec director Jean-Claude Lauzon.

Agree or disagree with him, I think we're very lucky that arguably the highest profile, mainstream film critic out there is also a passionate. intelligent lover of film and a great writer. So it was really an honour to get a tip of the hat from him.

Being chosen as the "Best Local Weblog" in the Now. The irony is I had literally just moved back to Toronto about three weeks before I got this nod, which was kind of amusing to me.

Lose any friends or muck something up because of a post?
Nope, never. I'm good enough at doing that off line, and with command +z and drafts I have no excuse on the web. That would be my #1 wish if I stumbled across a genie in a bottle: life undo.

Fav bloggers?
Sadly, most of my favourite sites are very rarely (if ever) updated these days, like Paul Ford's ftrain, Leslie Harpold's Hoopla500, or Dean Allen's Textism. But Kevin Fanning is still posting at whygodwhy and the awesome Knowledge for Thirst, as is his KFT co-author Joshua Allen at fireland. I'm a big fan of anything that Merlin Mann touches (43folders.com, 5ives.com, etc.) and Scott Adams has been really kicking some serious ass lately. There really are too many to list here.

What's happening in Toronto right now that the rest of us should be watching?
Oh, geez, I have no idea, really. I suppose the civic minded thing to say is the election, right? I know I am.

You have the opportunity to gather with 5 of your regular readers - who are they, where do you meet and what do you talk about?
They'd probably be people close to me, like my girlfriend and some close friend here and out west. We'd probably meet at the usual places we tend to go - the Foggy Dew on King Street West, C'est What, or Volo on Yonge. And, of course, we'd talk about all of the usual nerd stuff.

Have you ever had a question you wanted to ask random people throughout the world?
Yes: What would you rather be doing right at this moment, and why aren't you doing it? I ask myself this all the time.

If your blog were a food, what food would it be?
I'd like to say my site is like butter chicken - tasty, incredibly rich, but something you can only have on occasion, but in reality with my rather unpredictable posting habits of late it would probably be more like Kraft Dinner: only in emergencies, and you hate yourself for it afterwards.

If you could gather all of the bloggers of the world together into one room and tell them one thing, what would it be?
Probably something meaningful like:

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel sticking out of his fly. The bartender says "hey, you know you got a steering wheel sticking out of your pants?"

The pirate replys "Aye, I know, and it's DRIVING ME NUTS."

I love that joke.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Just: a-goonie goo goo. Thanks!


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