snapshots of an idle mind

February 25, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — sassinak @ 6:23 pm

(late friday)
so i’m sitting here crying. shush not like that. i’m at ‘the farm’ and i was just playing with the woodstove and i sorta got my face too close and i smoked myself. so there’s tears running down my face and yet i’m in a perfectly acceptable mood.

also not sober very much at all.

i let so much smoke out and i totally didn’t mean to. i was kind of staring at the fire in a bit of a wasted daze and suddenly the kitchen was all smoky. i know it’s a woodstove and the draft doesn’t work with the top up but i wanted to stare at the fire.

i love fire.

i think it’s actually a response to fear. i’m terrified of this shit. it’s scary and it burns and you never have control of it even when you think it’s contained and there were a couple of fire incidents in my youth.

but lord is it ever beautiful as it dances through whatever you feed it. it licks and darts and flames as it wraps itself around everything and slowly consumes it.

how can you not watch it for hours?

shut up, i know i filled the house with smoke.

but it’s so pretty. right now it’s sort of quiet and just quietly cooking the log on the bottom. the top log is hot too but the bottom one is all coals and shimmering redness while the top one is just showing glints of redness even though it’s turned black and shiny like charcoal.

every now and then a little flame will lick out and sort of tease at a piece of relatively unscathed wood and you can see the shape it will have in an hour or half an hour or even as it collapses into ash.

and you imagine how the two pieces will slowly fall together and melt into red coals and black charcoal as the fire eats them and you find yourself wanting to watch.

for hours.

ask anyone who has ever sat around a fire with me, i can stare at that shit for days… and if there’s drums? and some dancing with bare feet and no morons with beer bottles?

mmmm bliss.

(saturday evening)

offensive drivel regarding bloggers as posted in the globe and mail (one of canada’s national newspapers)

My reply:

Dear Ms. McLaren’s editor and incidentally Ms. McLaren;

I have been a relatively regular reader of Ms. McLaren’s column for several years. In fact her “Just one thing can change your life, sort of” of June 30th, 2001 is still posted to my personal website as a marvelous piece of writing and inspiration.

I mention this to illustrate that I am a) not the type of being who writes to a newspaper regularly and b) that I didn’t just find her name in some chatroom “full of bitter unpublished writers venomously slagging published ones.”

That said; how dare she! How dare she paint me and the people that I consider part of my personal blogverse with a brush covered in “terrible spelling, poorly constructed sentences and outrageous amounts of displaced hatred and envy…” We are none of these things.

For one thing? I am fully capable of spelling AND of constructing a sentence as are a majority of the people in my intimate circle of bloggers. We are absolutely connected and definitely have something to do with each other regardless of how many of us know each other offline. That she doesn’t dig a little deeper than celebrity trash demonstrates only her own lack of depth and not ours.

For another? I am neither a professional commentator nor a “talented up-and-comer.” What *I* am is a Pilates instructor with a grasp of language and the gift of insight. In spite of counting professional writers, English professors and journalists among my regular readers I do not ever expect to be offered a book deal. Additionally, none of us expects or seeks to be published because of our blogs. That said, if I were offered my dear miss lost me as a reader McLaren’s column I would take it in a second and begin with a rant about newspaper writers who take swipes at things that they cannot be bothered to understand.

I also feel that I must address the question of why the blogger blogs. Not that it was a question, more of an excuse to insult couched in question and answer rhetoric. Her assertion that what I have to say is unfit for publication is grossly insulting and rude and she then adds insult to injury by informing me that I teach because I cannot do. Clearly she has never tried teaching or she would stop speaking disparagingly of a difficult and often unrewarding profession that very few people can do well.

I do not blog because I cannot publish, I blog because I like to find out what I am thinking about and because the comments on my posts allow me to see my own thoughts and actions through the eyes of others. It’s called self discovery and self expression.

Just because she doesn’t look past celebrity trash and people who don’t like her writing (and suddenly I find myself immensely sympathetic to their feelings) is no reason for her to disparage the rest of us.

I am grossly offended that the Globe and Mail sees fit to publish such ridiculous drivel and understand better than ever why traditional news outlets are losing their audiences. Of course you are, you drive us away with your lack of respect for us. People who blog are literate and interested, we are the people you’re writing for and to call us bitter and untalented is particularly uncalled for.

I would be delighted to furnish anyone who asks with a list of blogs written by smart, talented, interesting people who also happen to be capable of writing in English but I’m afraid that no one would be interested.

I expected better of the Globe which has provided balanced and well written articles for me to enjoy.
-angela xxxxxxxx

(and yes i posted this to my blog here:

If you choose to publish this letter or parts thereof I ask that I be referred to as Sassinak as I do not publish my given name.

look boys and girls, auntie sass actually knows what capital letters are for! :)



  1. fire is fun.

    Comment by factory_peasant — February 25, 2006 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  2. 1. The Stove: When we discussed “smoking”, Sass, I didn’t realize that you meant *everything*!!! :-)

    2. The Press: It would seem Ms. McLaren has quite forgotten why she became a writer, herself. Apparently, she labors under the impression that she has a fanbase not because of her ability to write thought provoking and engaging commmentary, but rather through a sense of entitlement. Clearly, she feels threatened by the blogging community. The “countless chat rooms full of bitter unpublished writers” she refers to may very well be the same people who look to her for inspiration. Bad move.

    To be blunt: The day you tell your audience to eat shit, you die.

    …in news…

    Thanks again for supporting my toe. :-)

    Comment by I Am Scorpionic — February 25, 2006 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  3. Correction: That last bit should say, “in other news”.

    mUhst bEe meye POrly kun-kun-kunsztrukted sEntenzes AnD tEribal sPElLing. aND sTuff.

    Comment by I Am Scorpionic — February 25, 2006 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  4. Fire good!!!


    The urge to blog – it’s such a personal thing, and the motives vary as widely as there are personality types.

    To make a sweeping generalization about bloggers is patently ridiculous.

    To her I say, F you and the horse you rode in on, range rider.

    Oh, and I owe you a letter and a picture and some chocolate. Been busy as hell and will continue to be for about two weeks, but I will get to all of the above. :)

    Comment by Matt Vella — February 25, 2006 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  5. peasant: yes, yes it is.

    scorp: well i tend to prefer my eyelashes au naturel but a little smoke never hurt an eyeball. and yeah, i was smoking in several definitions.

    i have never written to a newspaper before. i’ve been tempted but i’ve never done it. but this was so uncalled for i couldn’t not defend myself. i felt personally attacked as a teacher AND as a blogger. how could i not respond?

    she can write, she’s a little self absorbed but she’s written a few columns i quite liked… the one in my site is here assuming i didn’t screw up the html.

    i’m sorry that we piss her off but i don’t see how attacking us will make her life better.

    i love that line about telling your audience to eat shit.

    your toes are always welcome scorp :)

    also? i laughed out loud AND made my friend read your comment because it was just that fuuny. mUst b me bad spEEling 2.

    matt: fire fantastic.

    everything you said to ms. mclaren is seconded by me. she has some nerve calling me unreadable and a bad speller. i’m pissed.

    i owe you a picture and some chocolate also. no huhu we’re busy.

    Comment by sassinak — February 25, 2006 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  6. oops i mean here

    Comment by sassinak — February 25, 2006 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

  7. i just read that mclaren piece… not very interesting. she makes sweeping generalizations and doesn’t qualify her statements. she writes “…the Internet and all its unregulated glory was going to supplant the mainstream media, in reality the opposite has happened.” okay, so one or two vague examples somehow proves her point? say what?

    well, gee whiz. if Vanity Fair ran an article about three bloggers then whatever goofball viewpoint mclaren has must be proved beyond any doubt! yay.

    so most bloggers are boring to her. the whole point of having a web log is that it allows people a way to communicate their thoughts to others quickly and easily. sure, we aren’t professional writers with editors. i don’t see a problem with that. don’t like it don’t read it and that’s exactly what she claims to be doing from now on. problem solved!

    i suspect nobody will miss her in the realm of the blog.

    time to go listen to more Android Lust now. toodaloo.

    Comment by factory_peasant — February 25, 2006 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  8. Nice one, Sass.

    I particularly like this bit:

    I blog because I like to find out what I am thinking about and because the comments on my posts allow me to see my own thoughts and actions through the eyes of others. It’s called self discovery and self expression.

    P.S. I know caps too.

    Comment by stoned.nerd — February 26, 2006 @ 12:46 am | Reply

  9. as much as it pains me to contradict the great Frankenstein’s monster, who famously said, “Fire bad!” … I say “Fire good!”


    And thanks for telling of the pretentious biotch for us! LOL

    Comment by DZER — February 26, 2006 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  10. peasant: it’s ridiculous in fact. even for the style section that level of sweeping generalisation combined with a total lack of fact ckecking is unbelievable in a national paper. one that people RESPECT no less. i’m really truly more disappointed in her editor than her, i mean everyone writes something shitty sometimes but that her editor published it???

    yup cause vanity fair is for sure the arbiter of all things cool and good. well and naked celebrities of course.

    if she finds a blog boring noone says she has to read it… but to make sweeping generalisations about my friends and i and expect no backlash? good luck with that one lady.

    nobody will miss her for certain. i won’t miss her column either… well maybe a little but not enough to read it again.

    nerd: thanks!

    well you know i don’t tend to use them but that would just have made her think that she proved her point. i decided that demonstrating command of formal english might be more effective.

    dzer: fire good!

    you’re welcome dzer. it was handy to have you and nat and em in my comments section for this one let me tell you. i nearly pointed her to nat’s rant about teachers doing and teaching but i wasn’t sure how nat would feel about that one. :)

    Comment by sassinak — February 26, 2006 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  11. Awww, Sass! I’m so glad I could take away your tears of smoke and replace them peals of e-laughter! I’d say it’s a trade-up. ;-)

    Don’t take Ms. McLaren’s missives too much to heart, Sass. I dunno about you, but I become suspicious of anyone who begins their diatribes with a disclaimer (“The day I decided to swear off the blogosphere..” and “…a place I have recently decided to vacate for good.”)
    If you’re leaving, then WHY are you bitching about it? Who will be helped by your middle-finger to the blogverse as you run out the door? Damn, woman. All those sour grapes will give you diarrhea.

    Sorry for repeatedly beating this long-dead horse, Sass. Her whole angle just sounds petulant to me – like she’s throwing a tantrum or something. I can see that she’s intelligent enough to write well on occasion, but painting all of “us” with the same broad brush is just ignorant.

    Also, I’d be happy to send you an “Eyebrow Repair Kit” (it’s really just a a few strips of Velcro and a bottle of glue – that Ron Popeil guy is a shady SOB, isn’t he?)

    Comment by I Am Scorpionic — February 26, 2006 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  12. Personally, I’d like to see her start a blog. If Antonia Zerbisias has taught us anything (and she most definitely has) it’s that columnizing and blogging aren’t separate and distinct, they’re two sides of the same loonie. :)

    Comment by Peter J. — February 26, 2006 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  13. fire heh heh FIRE!

    i love my fireplace….makes my apartment so cozy.

    oh my god! capitals and punctuation! *gasp*


    Comment by da buttah — February 26, 2006 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  14. Excellent letter to the editor. Very well written. I do have a slight issue with it – if you care.

    I’ll tell you anyway. First, since tone of voice doesn’t come through on comments, I just want to specifically point out that I am not ranting at you. I just want to provide you with my pont of view. Also, I didn’t read the article you were refering to so I am in no way defending it.

    That said – Some of us do blog because we can’t get published. Some of us are hoping that our blogs will land us a book deal. Some of us do shamelessly promote our self-published work. That said – so what? It’s cool that you write to write – so do I.

    I love writing so much, in fact that I would like to do it for a living, but I can’t quit my day job. Since I have no way of knowing whether or not my writing is any good because it is impossible to get anyone to read it, I decided to start blogging. Because I am blogging and people are actually reading my material, I will know for a fact if I have any talent or if I belong in the group of hopeless wannabes.

    Personally, I don’t see the down side to that.

    Comment by rebeleyeball — February 26, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  15. That was awesome…judgment wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t so damn ignorant to what she was judging, right?

    Comment by Diamonds & Daggers — February 26, 2006 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  16. scorp: it’s definetely a trade up. now i have tears of cold which is fully a trade DOWN let me tell you.

    i become suspicious of any rant that starts with ‘i quit this shit’ but at the same time i often disclaimer my rants with things like ‘be advised that i have acute pms’ … one is a relevant disclaimer and one is a petulant kid.

    hee sour grapes diarrhea. such a mental image.

    please beat the horse scorp i’ve been bitching about her all day. i even surfed blogs to find other people bitching about her!

    that’s it exactly, it’s ignorant to generalise to that extreme and i expected better of her… and if not her? her EDITOR! i mean she’s sulking because some people don’t like her. fine we all do that but don’t insult me because some guy doesn’t like the fact that you got your job through your mother.

    it’s okay my eyebrows are relatively unsinged it’s just a bit smoky in my hair :)

    peter j: i would love to see her start a blog, then at least she would have some rights when she started raving about how annoying anonymous spammers are and so on :)

    but then she would be writing for free and she clearly isn’t up for that.

    antonia zerbisias? is this a name i’m going to be embarassed for not recongnizing?

    elle: oh man in home fireplace

    i know can you believe i even know what capitals are for? hey now i use punctuation! not my fault blogger eats the spaces after periods.


    it was fun to write

    Comment by sassinak — February 26, 2006 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  17. rebel: i always care, it’s why i leave the comments open. when i’m not right or i’m wrong headed or people don’t agree is when i most want to hear about it. it’s how you learn right?

    nice disclaimer, well put and sums it up well.

    i was speaking really really specifically about my immediate circle reble, the people i link to and that link to me. some of them are published writers but none of them (i think) blog to get noticed.

    absolutely there are bloggers out there that do that but i was only trying to point out how my blogverse is different from hers. i guess i ended up generalising in the other direction though huh?

    and yes i agree, so what? if you blog to get published more power to you! and good luck with it :)

    i don’t see a down side either but clearly you blog because you can’t spell *snicker*

    she was really harsh rebel, i’ve never written a letter to the editor EVER and i’m thirty four years old and opinionated.

    d&d: EXACTLY! she obviously never comes down to where the real people are and her example blog hasn’t been updated in months.

    it’s ridiculous.

    now i’m waiting to see if anyone actually ANSWERS :)

    Comment by sassinak — February 26, 2006 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  18. Sorry, thought I’d linked AZ: Further to my comment about her “teaching us”, I’ve taken this from her about page:

    Back when I was working for CBC-TV in Montreal, an editor dubbed my pieces “overlengths” because I just couldn’t manage to manufacture 90-second sound-byte sandwiches.

    Space of course is the problem in print. In the dead tree business, you only get so much real estate, or a certain shape of real estate.

    I have long envied the independent bloggers their freedom — but not their lack of pay and benefits — to post their unretouched thoughts and opinions. Now that the Star has given me this blog, free of time and space constraints, I look around and revel in how I can’t find the walls.

    Comment by Peter J. — February 26, 2006 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  19. YOU GO GIRL!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself.I hope they do actually publish it. I’m going to link to this in my next post ok??
    It amazes me that people can generalise about blogging and bloggers. That’s like generalising about flowers. There are as many individual blogs/reasons for blogs/types as there are bloggers, and they are all unique and worthwhile, even if only to the writer…

    Comment by debambam — February 26, 2006 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

  20. peter: nope, but after i watch the men’s hockey final which i successfully didn’t get spoiled for AND which turns out to be only playing about 5 minutes per period i’ll read some of it.

    i like her about piece and i look forward to reading it. thanks for posting it!

    deb: thanks!

    i can’t imagine them publishing it, they have a 200 word limit on their letters to the editor and otherwise what would they do with it?

    feel free to link it, i’m pissed at her, the more people that get pissed at her because of this the happier i am :)

    hee generalising about bloggers is like generalising about flowers! nice!

    and also you’re right, everyone’s blog means something to at least them.

    Comment by sassinak — February 26, 2006 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  21. hey Sass,

    Just wondering if you’ve been getting your e-mails lately?

    Give us a shout when you can :)


    Comment by Daywalker — February 26, 2006 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  22. ROTFL @ smoked out kitchen. I have done that before and set off the alarm systems :)

    OMG.. I read that column and was a bit disappointed. It strikes me as he own personal experience. She saw people slagging her and didn’t like it. The thing is, if you put yourself out there, and being a journalist qualifies, then you have to expect there will be people talking about you. And you have to just make your peace with it. It seems she can’t take it and is now lashing out against everyone just because she has a platform to do it.

    It is always dangerous to lump people and label them. And while she is entitled to her opinion, her integrity and believability have been damaged.

    :) good to be back, BTW :)


    Comment by Natalia — February 27, 2006 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  23. nat: i’m glad i’m not the only one who’s done that. there is something so uberfascinating about watching fire it’s inexplicable.

    i had quite enjoyed her column in the past so i was a bit stunned to see such a juvenile sulk in print. and your take is exactly my own actually. it really is her editor that has me the most pissed. how could you let something like through and into print? don’t you know that bloggers are half your freaking audience? you know, because we can READ?

    hell her column is basically a blog anyway.

    her integrity and believability have been damaged but so has her paper’s integrity. and the globe is way too good a paper for that kind of shit.

    welcome back! i see you’re still lacking some net access?

    Comment by sassinak — February 27, 2006 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  24. i finally got around to reading that piece, and i come away with the same impression as nat… that whatsherface didn’t like what she saw about herself out there.

    and what kind of ego do you have to have to go search for your own name in technorati??

    Comment by terry — February 27, 2006 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  25. terry: um i’ve technorati’s myself. well sassinak, not my real name :)

    and i google my real name sometimes to make sure it stays off the net…

    but yeah, what a sulky childish thing to do. and still i can’t believe her editor!

    Comment by sassinak — February 27, 2006 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  26. Awesome. Couldn’t have said it better myself. That said however, I think you’re making the blogging community look better than it really is.

    What makes blogs great is that they’re written by real people, but this is also their weakness. Just as the world is full of idiots, so is the blogsphere. There are hordes of morons who can’t (or don’t care to) spell properly, don’t fact check, or even just make stuff up. But when you compare this percentage to the national moron percentage, I think you’ll find a correlation. So, while I’m not defending her position, I don’t think that we can defend all blogs in general completely against such an (obviously poorly researched) attack. Just like any publically-generated media, the a large chunk of it is crap and this column was just her trying to assert herself as the “crap-filter”, a task she’s clearly not suited for since she knows so little about this medium.

    Comment by gabriel — March 1, 2006 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  27. gabriel: thanks!

    i’m not sure that i am though. she’s making it look worse than it is so i’m only balancing the scales. and i’ve read tons and tons of good blogs and not that many shitty ones. some i personally wasn’t interested in sure but there are more good blogs than i have time to read.

    and if you don’t like a blog? click next blog. i mean she’s ridiculous and sulking because some people find her writing inane… which it is, but i used to like it anyway.

    if she had attacked a certain kind of blog or a segment of the blogverse or done even a tiny little bit of research beyond celebrity gossip and her own name then maybe i wouldn’t have felt compelled to reply. i agree that there’s a pile of crap out there in blogdom but there’s a pile of crap on the web, on bookshelves, in newspapers, on television and so on. she seems to forget that one person’s crap is another person’s treasure and i for one resent being labelled a poor speller with terrible grammar and bitter envy of a twit like her.

    it just… gets the hackles up. :)

    that said, i agree with you :)

    Comment by sassinak — March 1, 2006 @ 7:39 am | Reply

  28. awesome rant dude.

    Comment by green_hedonist — March 1, 2006 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

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