Typing Monkeys

   Part of the “online folklore” of Original TMX were the “typing monkeys.”  There was this old Hanna-Barbera cartoon where monkeys in front of typewriters were writing the greatest novel in the world, and were paid their wages in bananas.  The “typing monkeys” were just like that: I didn’t write my own entries.  Instead, I operated a sweatshop for lesser simians who wrote entries for me.  Thankfully, nobody bought into that idea.

   The idea of “writing about everything” is somewhat ambitious, but I’m on my way on pulling that off after three years of blogging.  I wonder if I’d meet my match in writing about tampons, but if I’m known for anything, I’m capable of it.  “Everything and nothing” has always been my bread-and-butter as a blogger.  The idea behind the “typing monkeys” is that if you put a thousand intelligent monkeys inside a room, you’d basically end up with the meaning of life.

   I don’t really know – or care for – my place in the Philippine blogosphere.  While I’m known to be a social commentator or an online political pundit, I also write about showbiz, sports, and all too often, inane non-topics.  I think that the reason why I lasted so long in the blogosphere is because of my willingness – perhaps even my gullibility – to write about anything and everything that can be committed to a paragraph.

   Why should we limit ourselves?  As long as there are things happening, I’ll keep those monkeys tied to their keyboards and delay their banana wages.  Go ahead, sue me for animal cruelty.

Nein

   It’s easy to get around a problem surrounding the lack of your favorite cigarette: you look for a substitute.  In the absence of Marlboro Lights, there’s always Winston Lights or Marlboro Reds.  The same is true when it comes to drinking… or is it?

   Two summers ago, when I spent the summer term at UP Diliman, me and a few friends from the boarding house decided to drink a round of beers to celebrate the end of my exam.  I didn’t know much about Manila, so I expected that they drank the same kind of San Miguel Beer I was used to guzzling here in Baguio.  It was a relatively rural area (the irony of it), but the nearby stores didn’t carry SMB.  After a few stores – and a trip to MiniStop – we finally got San Miguel.

   For the non-alcoholics, it’s a different sort: back in those days, I literally had to train myself to drink RC Cola.  Here in Baguio, there’s no such thing as “not Coke:” you’d have to be a lowlander to appreciate Pepsi.  Coke Sakto was just about as far as the Coca-Cola continuum will go in that neighborhood, where the nearest Coke-selling place was the soda fountain at CASAA.  The soonest I got to the bus terminal on my way out of Manila, I drank Coke to my heart’s content.

   Nein.  So the Germans say.

Mixed Reactions

   In the real world, I’ve been getting some mixed reactions on my recent move to my own web domain and shifting blogging platforms from BlogDrive to WordPress.  The first impression of almost every reader is the color scheme: in Original TMX, some readers threw online fits when I changed background colors from black to white.  The Christmas theme was particularly a cause for discontent among more loyal readers, so I scrapped it.

In general, for its first few days, Marocharim.com got some mixed reactions.

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   There are mixed reactions to this particular theme I chose when I shifted to WordPress: as expected, some don’t like it.  Black, as it seems, is synonymous with the general “attitude” of The Marocharim Experiment.  I have a fairly good excuse for that: I still have to learn the works of WordPress, and as soon as I can do that, I would very probably go back in black.

Yet I’m quite surprised at the positive feedback I have received when it comes to color and page themes: apparently, this theme is cleaner and easier to read compared to the original.  I’ve gotten a small number of messages from a few readers who said that the original BlogDrive blog was quite hard to read owing to its high-contrast color scheme (the bulk of them saying that they get eyestrain).  Another positive feedback is that on slower connections, “New TMX” loads way faster.

Another thing some people observed is that here, I eliminated the bracketed tag line (those introductory notes at the beginning of entries that usually take the form of < hmmm… >).  That tag line served the purpose of what I’m writing about: WordPress comes with categories, which means that I don’t really have to “qualify” the “topic” of the article any more than an obligatory onomatopoeia.

Another convenient feature of WordPress is that it runs just as well on Mozilla Firefox as Internet Explorer.  Back when I was using BlogDrive, entries typed in IE looked better than ones typed in Firefox, so I duked it out with IE as much as I didn’t really like it.

I’m not saying that BlogDrive is a sucky platform for free blogging: I didn’t remain a loyal free subscriber of BlogDrive if it didn’t get the job done.  In fact, if you’re a relatively new blogger, I highly recommend BlogDrive: it’s very easy to customize, it comes with great themes, and it has a very good WYSIWYG editor.

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    On the matter of my own domain, I also have gotten mixed reactions.  While some are genuinely happy for me, some are genuinely unhappy: apparently, having my own web domain represents my re-initiation into bourgeois culture and marks the beginning of that day when I would very probably sell out to advertisers.  I understand the sentiment: after all, I did just fine blogging for free without having to bombard my audience with advertisements back in the old days.  But as much as I hate to admit it, times have changed.  Having my own domain means much more flexibility, but it also means having to pay for it.  Practicality – the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse – rears its ugly head and has convinced me that this domain has to pay for itself.

In the very near future, I would do the “unthinkable” and do AdSense, and eventually, I would probably write for companies who want to advertise their products online (until such time that I can establish a wider audience).  But I’ll try to keep that at a minimum: as long as I have enough to pay for the yearly renewal fees of this domain and the Coke I drink every time I write, and perhaps a few bills to line my wallet.  I’m not planning to be a millionaire.

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   Anyway, perhaps the most important thing I need now is a wider audience, and perhaps writing projects.  Spread the word.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Welcome to Marocharim.com

   It’s an interesting story, for those who are interested.  A couple of months ago, I entered the Wika 2007 Blog Writing Contest and won myself a one-year free webhosting service for winning the Participants’ Choice Award.  I don’t really know why, but I won it anyway.

   Today, 5 December 2007, I was about to access my BlogDrive page and poof, the BlogDrive domain expired.  I figured that The Marocharim Experiment was doomed, but I kind of forgot: I have my own web domain.  Who says my online writing days are over just because the blog-hosting domain I was loyal to for the past three years temporarily expired?  Besides, to echo Shari Cruz of Misteryosa.com, the very idea of me having my own webpage is a really good idea.

   So today, I’m delivering on that really good idea.  It will take a while before I really learn how to use WordPress, but for now, my loyal readers will have to settle for a free theme I sourced from WordPress (because I can’t seem to access my FTP).  Somebody out there please help me out.

   Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Marocharim.com.