Celebrating ... my 100th blog entry
This, cue drum roll, is my 100th blog posting….
In my own distorted dream world I feel like one of the less auspicious Oscar winners. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about. He stumbles up hesitantly to the stage to receive an Oscar for longevity in sound recording, his bowtie is slightly askew, his hair is unkempt, he’s spilled red wine on his tux. and nobody is listening to his overlong speech because they’re waiting for Angelina Jolie.
Still I mumble on, suddenly conscious of the fact my flies are undone. I shouldn’t have worried about it. The magazines would only take note if I was de Niro.
“I started this blog 22 months ago on a template that looked like wallpaper from Jackie Brown. I was a lone soul in the blogosphere. Nobody even commented on one of my entries for six months.”
A lonely late shift on a chilly February night sat beside the police scanner prompted me to start blogging. It all flowed from that night.
Slowly the followers joined up to follow. I now have more than Jesus. But only if you restrict that calculation to the disciples. Let’s face it – 23 in almost as many months isn’t exactly prolific.
And while my new look and decision to make my blog sexier, resulted in a spike of visits that looked like the ascent of Everest, I was disconcerted to see my intrepid climber appeared to have fallen off a precipice a couple of weeks back.
But it’s not the raw numbers but the faces that count. In the time I have written this blog I have met many interesting people in the blogisphere and made some special friends … I’d like to thank my producer etc.
My first serious follower was Vodka Logic and I can rely on her to comment on my postings come hell, high water or an overdose of the clear liquid that always make me throw up. Cue polite applause for http://snickerbaraddict.blogspot.com/, ladies and gentlemen.
Then there’s Tim Riley, an everyday guy who succeeds in writing sane entries while working as a teacher of all things. http://tjriles.blogspot.com/
Meredith from the Enchanted Earth was a constant commentator until a recent death in her family but I hope she returns to blogging soon. Here’s her link anyhow http://www.theenchantedearth.com/
And Julie Magers Soulen is an occasional commentator who always says such nice things, even if my blog entry has been doused in sarcasm. Her pics are pretty good too. http://juliemagerssoulen.blogspot.com/
I can always rely on Nubian to bring me crashing down to earth, in the best possible way. I can’t supply an address because she recently took her blog private. Apparently there are some unpleasant folks out there who like to post written bile. The sad aspect to this is I’m sure it pushes their numbers up to the heights of blogisphere.
Former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie knew as much when he demanded the headline Gotcha on a story about the sinking of the General Belgrano with the loss of 323 Argentinian lives.
And I have newer followers to thank such as Petty Witter - http://pettywitter.blogspot.com/, Christopher of Notes from Underground, http://christophersworldletters.blogspot.com/ and Emm from Emm in London - http://missus-emm.blogspot.com/.
However, a very special mention is reserved for Betty Manousos at Cut and Dry http://cutand-dry.blogspot.com/ whose consistent praise is enough to keep one going on a cold November day when the doughnut tray is empty. I know Betty devotes hours to writing positive comments on numerous blogs and, obviously has reserves of patience that I lack. Her crisp photos and posts always make me feel upbeat.
And her furniture always looks a heck of a lot better than mine.
By now I realize my audience is groaning the aisles, in anticipation of the arrival of Angelina or Julia Roberts. I must take this tawdry plastic Oscar and return to the obscurity of my sound room. But first, ladies and gentlemen I must perform a small pirouette and take you back to the unpromising place where it all began. My very first blog post called The Scanner....
My best friend most evenings is a gray box about 8 inches by 5 (I'm not nerd enough to have measured it).
It's called a scanner and picks up messages on radio channels used by the emergency services. Given that I'm close to the scanner, physically as well as emotionally, I should give it a name, although I wouldn't spend a lot of time thinking about it as if it were a child.
We're not friends of choosing, rather we are thrown together by circumstance. My scanner is like a big, sweaty tattooed sailor who one is forced to bunk next to on a transatlantic crossing. You try to strike up a conversation but after "nice green anchor - did it hurt?" is met with a monosyllabic mutter, you give up and spend the next week listening to him snoring.
I haven't started talking to the scanner yet. That would suggest I had finally lost the plot like Max - the eccentric kid at school who talked to his feet and whose metallic voice was famously heard coming from behind a toilet cubicle on a field trip addressing the toilet paper: "OK paper -now for it."
I should be careful. In the wonderful new world of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter (whatever that is) people from school can track you down.
The other day I was contacted by the kid brother of a guy who I only have a dim recollection of from school.
"Do you remember me?"
"Of course, you were the kid who um...how is Bob anyhow."
"Just lost his job and was at home living with his parents but he's out of there now."
"Great, well that's progress - of sorts."
"He's in jail."
I digress. Max isn't the real name of the kid who was friends with the toilet paper and nor does my scanner have a name. I'm thinking of christening it Sam. It's slick and androgynous. It lends itself to inflated claims and is an ad man's dream. Nobody can scan like Sam. Scan with Sam and you'll uncover a Scam. When you need to Scan Sam's your man.
On balance Sam is probably a better name for a scanner than Sebastian.
A scanner called Sebastian wouldn't be satisfied with 75-year-old males with fluid on their lungs, or threatening groups of people with firearms.
He'd want to blow out of this place and go to a cocktail party.
And I'd want to go there with him.
Sam has limitations. I couldn't live Sam's world for ever.
At least he's kept me entertained. The talk of the suspicious sandwiches left on the seat of a Ford Taurus aroused my interest along with the suspect sighted with "unfortunate hair."
And while the language of the emergency airwaves is normally prosaic in the extreme, it has its moments when police dispatchers start shouting about multiple shooting victims and people jumping out of the window during fires.
This is a cue for me to jump up from my desk, alert my good friend the snapper and head in her (sometimes his) car to the scene of the outrage where I'll be greeted by a happy little reception party of blue lights and yellow tape.
Sometimes Sam can be wildly inaccurate to the point of requiring medication. The building that collapsed on an old woman in a storm in Hampton turned out to be a tree limb that had scraped her window.
Recently a colleague asked me if I had a portable scanner that I could take around in my car. I'm sure such things exist because the 21st century is an Aladdin's cave of portable gadgets, but I don't trust Sam in my car.
Maybe there's a small scanner device - a son of Sam - that will fit round my wrist so as I can wear it 24/7.
That way I can jump out of bed every time someone points a gun at a cashier in Newport News, dream in crackly, truncated sound bites and be at his beck and call.
It's a bad idea, though. Sam's like one of these slightly tacky people who are instantly written off when they first come to work at a company.
People mock him behind his back and say he wears slip-on shoes because he can't tie laces. It's a bit embarrassing when he quotes the company motto.
Then one day you wake up and he's your boss. That's when the problems really begin.