7.31.2006 : 4:41 PM :
this morning, i sent out a mass email to just about everyone i know. this is what it said.

As many of you know, I've been working on my first book for about a year now. Today, July 31st, it is scheduled for release in the US -- it was released slightly earlier in the UK.

The title of the book? "The Rough Guide to Blogging." Rough Guides, a division of Penguin Books, is known for their excellent travel books but have recently ventured out into pop culture and other genres. The blog book is technically a "computer" book but trust me, it's non-technical and is focused more on the impact, back story, and function of blogs. There will be no math on this exam. My first print run is 15,000 copies. Ideally, it'll go into more print runs and then yearly editions.

But before that can happen it needs to get off to a blazing start and do well. A book like this will hardly rocket to the top of the New York Times book list (it contains no dog-centric stories, people you'll meet in heaven, or chicken soup), but it can have a good lifespan in its own right.

Basically what I need you to do, if you're so inclined, is to support the book. If anyone you know mentions the word "blog," or anything that even remotely sounds/rhymes like "blog," feel free to shamelessly promote the book. If you happen to work for someone or know people who could hook me up to write, review, interview, showcase, teach, etc about blogging, feel free to say that you conveniently know a personable blog expert. I'm also available for weddings, birthday parties, and the occasional non-denominational bar mitzvah.

In addition, if it isn't too much of an imposition on your wallet, you can also buy the book. I am working on my "personable and encouraging autograph messages" now so when I see you I'll be more than happy to sign the book and pose for cheesy pictures. You can say you knew me when.

While ordering through Amazon is fabulous (and many of you already have, thank you), walking into an actual bookstore to (loudly) request "The Rough Guide to Blogging by Jonathan Yang" is even better. Buying it in a bookstore helps to create buzz. Plus it's just more fun all around.

Also, when in any actual physical bookstore, feel free to re-arrange my book and put it cover side out on the shelf. My book has a wonderful cover depicting an eskimo (yes, an eskimo) and a pink colored title band. Eye-catching and quite fashion forward, even if it wasn't my preferred cover choice. I also do things like covertly change all monitor display windows to my book's Amazon page when in Apple stores. But that's just me.
Link to the book's Amazon page: Rough Guide to Blogging on Amazon

The book's companion blog (feel free to email me any good blog articles, events, that you see): www.jonyang.org/blog
Anyway, thanks for being my friend, thanks for your time. Tell your friends, tell your families, tell everyone. "Blog or Die, 2006"

(If you weren't able to concentrate long enough to read this email in its entirety, shame on you. But I still like you, don't worry.)


7.28.2006 : 12:07 AM :
family business. it started out as a simple meeting of friends of friends, and somehow in the past twelve months, we became a psuedo-family. it would be an affront to put the "psuedo" there actually. we decided long ago to become "the family." for The (three) Girls, they worked together in boston, teaching and educating and doing lord knows what else. stirring up trouble to be sure.

then they collectively moved out to san diego last august and plopped right into me and james' world. the two of us were convinced that they hated us the first few times we hung out. in our limp attempts to show them the good times of san diego, we encountered wack clubs, lots of standing around, and numerous ridiculous moments.

ultimately, it was those ridiculous moments that somehow pulled it all together. since none of them had thanksgiving plans last year, we all ate at our apartment. turkey, buns from the oven, fruit tart. when kanye west's "family business" shuffled onto the speakers, it was the perfect encapsulation of a moment. you can't really plan moments like these, they just happen.

there were times when we didn't gather for weeks/months, as we tended to only hang out if everyone would be there. a voltron-esque quality resonated with our hangings out. without everyone it wasn't quite the same. of course, of the things we did end up doing -- many of them animal themed (dvds, sea world, animal game, etc) -- almost all of the time it was a blast. to be quite honest, we could probably count on two or three hands the number of times we've all hung out, which is in direct contrast to how most of my friendships are. usually i see people very often, never not enough.

so time grew short and here we are. the family is splitting up. grad school, potential librarian school, san francisco, a roommate swap. anyway, long story short, there's nothing like family right?

thanks beauts.


7.26.2006 : 5:17 AM :
"part of being a geek in my mind is actually loving something so much, being unabashedly in love with it, in a way that it opens yourself up to ridicule. and there are people that are extremely obvious human beings, and those are the people that bully. they can't allow themselves to be vulnerable. they can't allow themselves to love something and have anybody possibly put them down for it. and it comes from a place of fear, obviously, bullying, but being a geek is, in a sense, being...either envied or feared or just loathed because you've found something you relate to."
-charles ross on being a geek-


7.25.2006 : 11:19 PM :
bofa (deez). stunningly, in a mere fifteen minutes, i was ushered red carpet style onto the treadmill of adulthood. today, i got a bank account. i've lived bank-less and credit-less for about six years now. no checks, no debit cards, no atms, no credit cards, nothing. once, a friend said that she thought highly of me for daring to take a stance against our credit-based society. of course i corrected her and told her that was i not exactly voluntarily rebelling against the system.

in fact, i've been on chex systems all of this time. if you don't know what chex systems is -- and many people in the banking industry don't even know what it is -- it's akin to the lowest level of hell. once on chex systems, it's incredibly hard to acquire a bank account and/or a credit card. leasing a car, renting an apartment, all pretty much an impossibility.

how have i survived this long without a bank account? well, there is my really advanced banking "system" which has for many years consisted of a cinder block located by my bed. the top portion of the cinder block is petty cash, the lower part is savings. not exactly the safest or most secure way to hold onto your money. any checks i've had to write or anything i've had to buy online, i've had to ask either (a) mom (b) sister (c) friends. you can imagine what a pain in the ass i am about it too.

and none of this is undeserved either. i'd always been bad with bills, taking care of responsibilities and that kind of thing. although i do have a semi-defense here. when my bank went down with the world trade center (and leading eventually to my leaving the new york / new jersey area), i didn't close out my bank account. guess what? there was some money left owed to the bank. a few trips to china and england later, whereupon i never received notice of my impending doom, i was on chex systems -- for up to seven years.

i've been a banking nomad for all of these years. any time i'm paid by a job or an individual, i have to go stand in line at the teller and go cash my check with that specific bank. each time i do that, they charge me a fee to cash my check. and of course, they ask "so, do you want to start an account with us?" then i reply that i'm on chex systems and they look knowingly at me, shake their disapproving heads, and just hand me the cash.
on the plus side, i always had lots of big bills in my wallet and now i know the best places to break 100s -- gas stations. some of the ancillary "benefits" of not having a credit or debit card is that my gas tank is almost never full and i get such sheer joy out of seeing a full tank of gas. life's little pleasure for me.

it's hard to gauge how much money you'll need to deposit to get near full, and then to walk back and wait in line for the change is just too much trouble so i never do it. some would say that being on chex systems and having no bank account (or financial responsibility) is too much trouble. details, details..
anyway, the joy i felt today today, when i finally got a bank account (and a healthy credit card maximum), almost brought me to tears. here i was, a grown man finally being offered a chance to redeem himself for sins committed in the past. here was a checkings account with all the trimmings and no restrictions. i felt like a man blessed. thank you bank of america. i know everyone says washington mutual is better, but because you gave me this chance at eternal salvation, i will stick with you bofa. i may not always be fiscally responsible but i am loyal. that's gotta count for something right? oh if only my father could see me now...


7.23.2006 : 11:37 PM :
friends are friends forever. i'm reading a lot about friendship these days, and my thoughts turn to organizing and categorizing my friends constantly. some would say it's ego-centric, self serving, and ultimately a waste of time; i'd like to call it research. the study of friendships fascinate me. how they're formed, how they're maintained, how they're lost. each friendship has its own story, its own way of working, its own importance in your life.

hearing someone else talk about their friends can often be terribly boring. i try not to unload all my thoughts about my friends unless provoked. it's impossible to show another person what your friends mean to you -- or why you get along, etc. the dynamic between two people can never be fully experienced by an outsider and usually it's futile or frustrating to try. it's best to just make relatable comparisons and leave it at that. we use terms like "good friend, best friend, acquaintance, used to be close," in an attempt to generalize our experiences, but they often don't come close enough to what we actually want to convey.

the divide between "being close" and "feeling close" to someone can often be very large. being close to someone is knowing that you've experienced many things with them, that you can count on them, that you understand and know things about them that any good friend would. some people, you know nothing about them, but you just feel close. like you could disclose things to them and given the time you would be super close, but you just never have had that opportunity yet.

friendships for me used to always start at "being close" and then move along to "feeling close." nowadays, for some reason or another, that feeling close often precedes the actual being and knowing close. you know what i mean? part of the reason for this is i think that as you get older, you become better attuned to what type of person you know you can be close to. you cut out the getting to know you and move right along to the i know/trust you stage.

this is both wonderful and detrimental to friendships. on one hand you can have insta-friends, on the other, you can rack your brain about the things that you know about a "good" friend, and really come up with nothing. it's not a bad thing per se, just an observation on how some (relatively) recent friendships in my life have developed. like putting the milk before the cow almost.

i miss the getting to know you parts sometimes. the talks and the experiences that lead to deeper friendships. i know those times will most probably come, but i always fear that those moments might never appear. i wonder if that's a silly thing to be worried about.


7.18.2006 : 2:09 PM :
"this note of confession will of course play a larger and larger role in friendship in our day - a day that has seen what i think it accurate to call the triumph of the therapeutic, in which a friend, as like as not several friends, serve one another as surrogate psychotherapists, to whom to recount disappointments, secrets, troubles little and large, so that the word 'intimacy,' so long associated with friendship, has also become nearly synonymous with 'confessional.'"

"in some ways, one of the greatest enemies of friendship is the family as we have come to conceive of it over the past forty or so years. often one feels closer to friends than one does to brothers and sisters. yet, ironically, none of the few ways we have to describe the intensity of friendship is to say of a friend that 'he is like a brother to me,' or 'she is like a member of the family.'"
-joseph epstein, friendship: an expose-


7.16.2006 : 4:59 PM :
move, get out the way. after spending a weekend spent looking for potential housing i've learned that for some reason, no matter how young or scrubby you look, rental agents are all very nice. i'm not sure if they're not paid on commission or something but they are unflaggingly polite, personable, and make no (negative) assumptions about your financial status. i was worried that we would get the brush off at some of the nicer places but nobody ever asked "so, how old are you? what do you do? how much do you make?"

contrast this with trying to buy a car if you're dressed like you just walked in from the beach or if you look relatively young. if you are either of these two things, car salesmen will give you the run-around and try to dissuade you from even test driving. a friend of mine, who just moved out to los angeles and is seeking automotive transportation, had just this problem recently.

at nearly every leasing office we visited there were open arms, offers of water, a guided tour of any apartment we wished to see, etc. i hope these people get rewarded financially or karmically. very nice people all around. having said that, we mainly visited the nicer places. i mean, we attempted to visit a few cheaper places but when the price difference between living in someone's 20 year old, yellow jacket infested home and the nice apartments is minimal, why bother?

house hunting makes me feel so grown up. like buying major appliances, that's a grown ups' job. so far in my life i've only had to look for housing, well, never. freshmen dorms were pre-assigned, all the places we wanted to live in college were easy to acquire (through lottery or friends), lynn found our apartment in new york, and all the places i've lived since moving to san diego have been friend's houses. so this is kind of a novelty for me, to be seeking out housing.

i would feel extra grown up if my mom didn't have to co-sign and vouch for me as a responsible (financial) person. oh well, nobody became an adult overnight, right?

on a side note: the michigan connection never fails. while looking for housing, we happened to be looking at the home of a friend of a dancer friend. they were childhood friends from arizona or something. how random is that? i would say "go blue" here but that would betray some school spirit, and everyone knows i have none of that in me.


7.14.2006 : 12:22 AM :
to infinity and beyond. in a move that is stunning to both me and most of the people who know me, i will be relocating from san diego to the bay area in about a month. the impetus behind this move is mainly a girl. i won't lie to myself or others by saying that many of my past actions have not been (at least partially) motivated by girls; this particular life decision is motivated by a girlfriend. note the lack of a space in-between those words. stunning, i know. i've heard it all before.

i have auxiliary reasons for moving away from san diego of course. i need a change of scenery -- i've wanted to move somewhere else for quite some time, not because i dislike it here, but because it's good to make changes -- plus i could further my "writing career" better up there, that kind of thing. but those are truly just secondary reasons. if i was to move for the sake of moving or to have a writing community around me, san francisco would not be the city that i chose. i'm urban city adverse at this point so the prospect of public transportation -- not to mention bad weather -- isn't all that appealing.

however, janelle got into a school located in hayward so that's where i'll be going. note that hayward is actually not anywhere close to san francisco or the east bay. actually, i'll most likely be living even further south, in fremont or union city; the area we live in needs to be safe and provide a convenient commute to school, hayward itself is apparently somewhat ghetto. we're going up this weekend to look at potential housing. regardless, i won't actually be near the city. there will probably be at least 20 costcos and 2 ikeas between us and san francisco.

long story short. i'm moving to the bay for a girl. to be discussed.


7.13.2006 : 12:32 AM :
"my body has conditioned things, to some extent. the life of an attractive woman is different than that of a plain one. my hair, my eyes, the shape of my mouth, the contours of breast and thigh have all contributed. the brain may be independent, but personality is not; when i was eight years old i realized that people considered me pretty -- from the moment onwards a course was set. intellgence made me one kind of being; intelligence allied to good looks made me another. this is self-assesment, not complacency."

"giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? it's the way we keep a hold on other people. plant ourselves in their lives."

"i shall take a building. a building shaped like a cross, furnished neither for habitation or defence. i shall multiply this building by a thousand, by ten thousand, by a hundred thousand... the walls and furnishings of this building tell stories; they talk of kings and queens and angels and devils; they instruct and they threaten. they are intended to uplift and to terrify. they are an argument made manifest.

what i am trying to demonstrate at this point is the amazing legacy of god -- or the possibility of god -- by way not of ideas but of manipulation of the landscape. churches have always seemed to me almost irrefutable evidence. they make me wonder if -- just possibly -- i might be wrong. which is how i came once to pray."
-penelope lively, moon tiger-


7.12.2006 : 12:32 AM :
"'are there dragons?' she asked. i said that there were not. 'have there ever been?' i said all the evidence was to the contrary. 'but if there's a word dragon,' she said, 'then once there must have been dragons.'

precisely. the power of language. preserving the ephemeral; giving form to dreams, permanence to sparks of sunlight."

"we open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. we are walking lexicons. in a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve latin, anglo-saxon, norse; we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard. more than that, we speak volumes -- our language is the language of everything we have not read... i never cease to wonder at it. that words are more durable than anything, they blow with the wind, hibernate, and reawaken, shelter parasitic on the most unlikely hosts, survive and survive and survive."
-penelope lively, moon tiger-


7.10.2006 : 12:58 PM :
it's a world of laughter, a world of tears. it's a world of hopes, and a world of fears. my past experiences with vegas have been mostly positive. our family is no stranger to the city and we used to visit vegas quite a bit. all the chinese parents would take their kids to circus circus to tire them out with games and stuffed animals before descending down to the casino after hours. the next morning, there would magically be racks of oversized silver coins to play with (as well as buckets of spare quarters earmarked for use at the arcades). the benevolent vegas spirit was like santa claus and the tooth fairy rolled into one. it was fabulous.

then you get of legal gambling age and everything changes. trips to vegas -- minus parents, of course -- become focused around potential debauchery and memorable (but according to marketing, secret) times. the awesome spectacle of people, lights, and around-the-clock action you remember from your youth is transformed into a money pit festering with the worst of middle america.

i hate vegas. let that be clear.

i don't gamble, i don't drink, i don't (really) smoke (anymore). there's nothing for me in vegas. all the arcades are dead too, replaced by expensive videogames that rival the cost of a drink to play. vegas is no longer kid-friendly (by design)and all the things that i may have once liked about it are gone or have been tarnished. everyone should go to vegas once, but to go back twice? that's just inane. and to spend more than 48 hours there? even crazier.

the strangest sight from this past vegas experience was going to the club only to see the crowd filled with 70% asians. wait, i left california for this?


7.08.2006 : 1:31 PM :
the flip side to the axiom "don't say it if it ain't nice" is that automatically, people assume the things that you do not say in front of them, are more true.


7.04.2006 : 4:09 PM :
!!! so it happened. my book is here. i can hold it in my hand and flip the pages. it's weird to finally have it here, after staring at the cover for weeks and having no idea what the inside will look like. it's much smaller than i thought, both figuratively and literally. it's definitely not a tome, more like an oversized pamphlet. the cover is pretty eye-catching, and the little embossed parts are nice to the touch. most importantly, my name is spelled right on the cover. the insides are beautiful too. i've been commended on how nice the layout and organization of the book is. of course, those were things i had nothing to do with. however, i'll take all credit that even flimsily floats my way.

i've only gotten a few advance copies, most of which were a tad busted up due to the shipping. all of those people i promised copies to, well, you'll have to wait. i was hoping to get more copies to distribute but i might not be getting them so you may be on your own. i'll let you know.

i can't imagine who's gonna sit through and read the entire book but i don't think it's that kind of experience. it'll be placed in the computer section in bookstores so it'll be more of a reference book. something that sits on a coffee table for someone to flip around and sip some information before promptly setting it down. i applaud anyone who even attempts to read it linearly. (any grammar/spelling mistakes are not mine, or are they?)

the fun thing for me so far has been to see exactly which pictures/images made it into the book. whenever possible i tried to use blogs of friends as image examples. it's like looking for little easter eggs.

my greatest regret about the book is that i didn't get an acknowledgements page. i mean, i had people to thank. well, one. but she counts as a plural. so i guess the only public venue i have to thank her is here. so many thanks to lilly -- "my agent, my life."

the book is being sent out this month for marketing and promotion things, possibly to be reviewed by various outlets. i'm working on my book's blog to position myself as a blog expert.

it's exciting isn't it? to finally have this book almost ready and out the door? i can finally start to get excited because this is like really happening. the trepidation, and hesitation, of having something go wrong is almost over. i can hold a copy of the book in my hands and it looks gorgeous. let it begin.

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