ARCHIVE of monodrone.org

June 5, 2005 | HARMLESS UNTRUTHS

Welcome to my nightmare

Hey there. So if people are gonna start stumbling upon this page, unfinished though it be, I guess I should at least introduce myself and give a little introduction as to what I am trying to do here.

I have tried to come up with personal website designs before (go check out this one ), never for any real reason, but because I like the web and web design. This time around, I had a couple of actual ideas of things that I would like to do.

First off, I wanted to do a more interesting design, and try to have a site that was database-driven instead of handcoding every single page. I started learning the very extreme basics of PHP and MySQL, and it was interesting, but too much work to be worth it, so I decided to try one of these blogging/CMS systems and found that WordPress could do most or all of what I was looking for. So far I have a few minor quibbles with it, but still, it is a lot better than starting from scratch.

But from a design standpoint, I am more interested in having an aesthetic. And I started sketching out a page layout that is not too far off from what I have up now (which will probably go through a lot of tweaking over the next few months). Of all the odd inspirations, a surprising one that put me on the right track is a book called “The Dinosaurs” by William Stout, a weird book I had as a kid that used art nouveau–based designs.

I made a list of inspirational material: spiders, snails, insects trapped in amber, The City of Lost Children , flowers, webs, undersea creatures, Dark City , fairies, dragonflies, The Nightmare Before Christmas , Tool videos, costume jewelry, The Dark Crystal . And more, I am sure, but I’ve lost the list. Anyhow these are the design influences I wanted to reflect, though I’ve gone off course a little from that original goal. I wanted everything to be really decorative, in an old-fashioned, 19th century kind of way, like the opposite of most websites and blogs today.

I also had some ideas for content (miracle of miracles!). I am always comparing songs between different bands, usually ones that affect me the same way, or that have a certain sound that is similar. Soon I will write up a whole intro to the “Harmonies” section and explain my ideas and motivations behind it. Similar things have been done, but I am not sure that my exact idea already exists anywhere.

I will be rolling out additional sections of the site over the next few months, if I stick with the plan. Ah, but let me quickly introduce “Harmless Untruths” right now. This is actually the first real entry. This will be my sort-of blog, though I don’t like blogs very much and prefer to write longer essays than most bloggers do. So it won’t be updated that often, but you can expect a decent chunk of writing to plow through. I think the bite-size model that has taken over the internet is just making our collective attention deficit grow even greater — kids will never read books again, just 4-paragraph blog entries. Also I just need some space to ramble on and on.

“Harmless untruths” is actually the definition of foma , a concept taken from Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle . This is one of my favorite books, so if you spot other strange terminology and unfamiliar words, there is a good chance they are taken from Cat’s Cradle .

Phew. Anything else I need to mention here? The whole site is very much a work in progress, so just be patient and eventually everything should work. Any comments or advice is more than welcome.