Sunday, April 11, 2004


I'm interested in starting a non-traditional collaborative weblog, one with a physical presence. Maybe I'll call it a "bulletin board", but it would be a real board, maybe made out of wood, or cork so that "users" could staple or thumbtack posts to it. Does this idea have a future?

In all seriousness, I think it's time somebody took weblogs out of their traditional medium (movable type, custom built, &c). Explore novel ways of maintaining weblogs. A couple ideas I came up with:

  • Update the HEADER.txt file in an indexless directory on a webserver running apache (comments in README.txt, comment script as a file in the directory, rolls-over at midnight by creating a new daily archive directory).
  • Staple posts written on paper to a wooden telephone pole or fence.
  • Leave daily photocopied rants about capitalism lying around in the Social Work building (oh wait, somebody already does this).
  • Write entries with Sharpie on walls of abandoned building(s) or stairwell of Modern Languages Building (already been done, with great results).

At Caltech I lived for two years in a dorm called Page House that had a tradition of painting the walls of the Page hallways every year and throwing a big party to show off the Escher murals, paintings of giant super-heroes, and what-not. My senior year I lived in Marks house, a more conservative dorm full of kids who wanted a life that was a little more sedate than the one they had in the dorms. Suitably, the walls of Marks were painted solid beige, and had been that was for who-knows-how-long. Somehow, I got the idea into my head of painting something outside my room, so I sent an e-mail to housing, who resolutely vetoed the idea. Undaunted, I floated the idea round my hallway and received positive feedback. I printed out a PDF map of the world, made a grid on it, used string to make a large grid on the wall, approximately seven by twelve feet, and set to work with a pencil and eraser. Over several weeks, I worked on the map in short half-hour spurts and outlined all of the continents, spending lots of time on the Indonesian islands (who knew there were so many?) and Antarctica in particular. When the pencil outline was done, I took a Sharpie and traced the whole thing in black. It came out looking very sharp. I think I meant people to mark their hometown (Marks was very international) but I never got around to that. Besides, I didn't want to publicize it too much for fear of coming back one day and finding the wall covered in a brand new coat of beige.


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