Bad At The Internet

Lithmeria, the multi-user dungeon I’m the Head of Building for, is running a meme contest. Now, while I’m familiar with the concept of memes, I only discovered a few weeks ago, via a forum topic at Scribophile.

This, apparently, makes me bad at the internet.

It’s not the first time I’ve come to the party late. I rarely trawl youtube and I don’t have a very large presence on tumblr. I go months at a time without touching my twitter and heaven knows I’ve had bad luck keeping a blog going — it wasn’t that long ago that I was, for all intents and purposes (why yes I do know it’s not intensive purposes), offline for four months. The first time I got a glimpse of the video showing a guy walk into a bear while texting was this tweet, the very premise of which is “but come on, everybody knows about that!”

But I don’t think a lack of familiarity with memes or an infrequent usage of facebook makes me bad at the internet. I think it means I hang out in a different corner of it. I’m frequently one of the first people to find out about the various epic!fails — amazon!fail, the readercon debacle, #romneyshambles — and I’m tied in pretty tight to the blogosphere’s discussions of e-books, self-publishing, feminism and glbt concerns.

If I had to pick one side of the fence to be on: lolcats or jezebel, well, I know where I’m staying!


On Deadlines and Accountability

More than anything I’ve ever done in my life, working on the Lithmeria project has taught me about how I handle the surprisingly difficult task of getting shit done. I’ve been the Head Builder for Lithmeria for longer than it took me to complete law school or college, for longer than any paid job I’ve ever held, and for longer than I’ve ever focused on writing one particular book. Heck, I’ve been working on Lithmeria for longer than I’ve ever had an active domain name (though not web presence: I’ve been around livejournal for a long time now, though I rarely post there, just comment).

There have been dark periods in my productivity, of course. That week I spent in the hospital, the summer I spent studying for the Bar Exam, those awful four months when my internet connection consisted of something boosted from across the driveway and was split between three routers. But other than the very beginning of the project, when everything was shiny and new and exciting, I’ve never been as productive as I am now… and the reason why has taught me something about myself.

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The Obligatory

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

Enchantée, and welcome to Quaff Nepenthe.

First, a brief aside about the name. Quaff Nepenthe is taken from the Edgar Allen Poe poem, The Raven. I chose this poem both as a Baltimore native and a Ravens fan, and because many a productive afternoon in Poe’s Lounge at the University of Baltimore School of Law, but mostly because I’m a fan of 17th – 19th century poetry: particularly Poe, Lovelace, Tennyson and Kipling.

Quaffing is a wine term to describe a category of wine that is ‘simple and everyday’; that is cheap enough to be consumed in large quantities, usually available also in bigger containers (like the boxes we drank wine out of at philosophically-minded parties in college). Such wines are literally called “quaffing wine”. Because of this, the term quaff has come to mean “to drink (something, esp. an alcoholic drink) heartily.”

Nepenthe is a medicine for sorrow, literally an anti-depressant – a “drug of forgetfulness” mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Greek mythology, depicted as originating in Egypt. Figuratively, it means “that which chases away sorrow”; so, literally, it means ‘not-sorrow’ or ‘anti-sorrow’. In the Odyssey, Nepenthe is a magical potion given to Helen by the Egyptian queen Polidamma. It quells all sorrows with forgetfulness.

As a suicide survivor, the notion of drinking heartily of an antidepressant has special meaning for me… and what better way to stave off depression than to liken oneself to Helen of Troy?

Second, a little about myself: these days I’m a twenty-four year old living in the Baltimore suburbs. I value family more deeply than anything, a fact you can tell because I live in a treehouse apartment situated neatly between my father and uncle. I have a BA in Philosophy and a J.D. but a confluence of events have left me on the path of becoming a teacher. Currently I work two jobs: I sell jewelry for the Boscov’s Department store and I assist disabled children in Special Education while I pursue the certifications necessary to teach Social Studies. In addition, I’m working on a science fiction novel entitled THE GENOCIDE DRAFT and serving as the Head of Building for Lithmeria, a MUD that has been in development since before I went to law school. It is scheduled to release in October.

I have a fairly patchy web presence, under a variety of names, but projects I feel strongly about supporting include Archive of our Own, Twitter, Blood Rites, Scribophile and Pandora.