August 17, 2006

Interviews With Bloggers Part 19: Collin of "Fizzle and Pop"

The Bella Rossa Interview With Collin of "Fizzle and Pop."

Collin is a graphic artist in Colorado who is busy negotiating the vagaries of homebuying, and recently wrote something very funny about a weight loss spam that landed in his inbox. He writes cool posts that track the evolution of arts projects he does for work, as well as stuff like clips of videos that make him laugh. Lately he's been rocking out to Dinosaurchestra, by Lemon Demon, is still puzzled about what, exactly, the "fizzle dance" is, and encourages all bloggers to embrace their inner nerds.

 Film_reelBELLA: What current books, music, tv, movies, hobbies, sports, etc., are currently holding your interest?

always been into gaming, both video and traditional, however I'm not
terribly interested in sports. The only TV I watch anymore is on DVD.
For awhile I was keeping up with the current shows I liked by
downloading them through Bittorrent, until I got a cease-and-desist
letter from CBS. And it wasn't even a cable show. Regular old broadcast
television. Can you believe it? As for music, I'm quite happy with my
recent purchase of Lemon Demon's new CD, "Dinosaurchestra".

BELLA: How would you describe your blog?

COLLIN: It's a place where I try to be funny and artistic, occasionally at
the same time, with varying degrees of success. I used to try to post daily. These days, not so much.

Writing_journal_3BELLA:  Why
do you blog? What was your original goal or intention when you started,
and has that changed with time? Is your blog a means to an end (finding
work, developing creative ideas, making money, meeting people), or does
it exist for its own sake?

COLLIN: Originally my blog
started after I told my long-time friend and coworker Derek that he
should start one. He said he would if I did. I said "yeah, sure" not
expecting anything to come of it. Then he did it so I had to as well.
I've kept up with it, for the most part since. His site gets two to
three times as much daily traffic as I do. Not that I'm bitter. There
was a time around the end of the first year that I hoped it might
attract some attention and turn into a huge creative springboard that
would catapult me to happiness. That lasted about three months. Now
it's more like a rusty old ironing board that I use to smooth out the
unsightly wrinkles in my brain.

the advent of blogging, was there any similar activity that you
enjoyed, that served a similar purpose (keeping a written journal,
participating in newsgroups, e
tc.)? If so, how is blogging different from/better than that previous activity?

COLLIN: I had sketchbooks for
my drawings, and for a few years before the internet took off I would
goof around on local BBSs, participating in group writing projects and
thinking up games to play in text only chatrooms. It was totally geeky,
but that's nothing I shy away from. Blogging is different in that it
has the potential to reach a much larger audience than my previous

BELLA: Is there one particular post that you think exemplifies your work, or represents your best writing?

learned that I'm not even remotely qualified to determine what is the
"best" of anything I've done. I'm just too close to most of what I do
to be able to view it objectively. Also, judging by comments, I'm
almost continually surprised by what my readers like compared to what I
think they will like.

How often do you Google yourself, check yourself on Technorati, see how
many people link to or bookmark you, and/or pore over your referral
logs and visitor statistics?

COLLIN: I used to be fanatical in my
tracking of visitors to my site until it just got too depressing.
Yesterday I checked my "Free Hit Counter" for the first time in months.
It was still depressing.


Have you ever noticed funny, unlikely referral links from a search
engines that, while a logical word-for-word match with stuff you have
on your blog, are puzzling?

largest amount of search queries I have are related in some way to
"fizzle dance". I have no idea what this "fizzle dance" is, but a lot
of people seem to be looking for it. I hope they aren't too sad when
they don't find it at my site. Unrelated I've had five people arrive
looking for information on "bangin hos". I'm sure they didn't leave any
more satisfied than the fizzle dancers did.

Many bloggers say that the best thing that's come of their blogging
experience is the connections they've made with people - meeting new
people and sometimes reconnecting with old friends. Has this been your

COLLIN: Indeed. I haven't reconnected with any old friends,
but I feel that I've made a few new ones. Probably not the kind of
friends that will loan me money or take a bullet for me, but certainly
people worth talking to and sharing ideas with.

Hand_writingBELLA: What kind of person is the likeliest reader of your blog? What would you hope they get out of reading you?

COLLIN: Someone
of impeccable taste and culture. Someone for whom only the best will
do. Someone with multiple cars, servants and houses in the country.
That person: slumming. Seriously, though, I have no idea if my site
attracts any particular type of person and there are times when I
wonder that it attracts anyone at all.

hope that anyone visiting my site manages to find something that amuses
them, either in my writing or in my art. Occasionally I might do a
"serious" post or illustration, but that's not the norm. It's not what
I like to do. I really like to be entertaining or amusing.

Are there people in your life who don't "get the whole blog thing?" How
do you explain it to them without feeling as nerdy and defensive as I
usually do?

OLLIN: I'll bet my dad wouldn't get it. He doesn't even
"get" computers anymore. Or DVD players. I also haven't bothered
telling him about it because I really doubt he would "get" my sense of
humor either, assuming he ever visited the site. My girlfriend,
Heather, is a blogger as well so she gets it. My brother blogged for
about two weeks and then gave it up because it wasn't his thing. My mom
will occasionally visit my site to look at my artwork. Beyond those
people I don't really discuss my blog around the fleshy world. If I had
to explain my blog I probably could without feeling terribly defensive.
As for nerdy, heck, that's a daily feeling that I no longer fear. My
advice to you would be to embrace your inner nerd.

BELLA: What's your relationship with your readers? How much interaction do you

of my readers are friends, relatives and people who actually know me in
person. The rest I know very little about. I encourage comments and
even emails, but I pretty much draw the line at hanging outside my
bedroom window or camping in my Kia.

BELLA: How much do you self-censor, knowing that your friends and family might be reading?

OLLIN: Quite
a bit. Knowing that my mom and my girlfriend's mom are occasional
readers of my site keeps me from talking about some things I might
otherwise, as well as making me more aware of my language. There are
some stories about growing up that I would love to tell, but there
would be no end of crap from my family if I did. That said, I'm still
willing to make fun of spam promising penis enhancement, so I guess I
don't censor myself too much.

BELLA: Do you video blog? Would or will you? Are there any video blogs that you look at? What would you video blog about, if you did?

don't video blog, and doubt I would, because I'm sure that would be sad
for everyone and there are enough tears in the world already. However I
have gotten involved in doing a weekly audio podcast with Derek which
has been interesting so far.

The only two video blogs that I
check out that I can think of offhand are Ze Frank's "The Show" and "It's Jerry Time", both of which I really enjoy.

Have you ever blogged something that later you regretted and/or deleted from your blog?

yes. A few months back one of our coworkers told the owner of the
company where Derek and I work about our blogs and how entertaining
they were. Derek didn't really talk about work much on his site. I
occasionally did, and some of it could have been considered
unflattering; although no names were mentioned. So I went into panic
mode and went back through every post to the beginning, looking for
anything work related. Even if it was minor, I pulled it. I haven't
deleted anything else though.

What are your thoughts on the phenomenon of "doocing," wherein someone
loses their job because of things they posted on a personal blog? Are
you careful to maintain a clear line between your online self and your
real world self?

COLLIN: To be honest, I think it sucks. But I'm also
very aware of it, which is why I panicked when the "higher ups" found
out about my site. That wasn't a situation where if I'd hidden my
identity any better I would have been saved. That was a case where
someone who knew the site was there and mine outed me to them. So a
clear line probably wouldn't have helped much. Luckily I haven't been
"dooced" yet.

BELLA: Are you conscious of creating an online persona? How is that persona different from the real world you?

the only difference between my online and offline me is I'm far more
outgoing online than I am in real life. I'm actually a pretty quiet,
low-key guy.

How long have you been online, and what kinds of things have you done online (chat rooms, message boards, games, aimless surfing, etc.)? How has this changed your life, for the better or worse?

COLLIN: I'm not sure what year I first "logged on" to a BBS,
but I do know it was on an Apple IIc using a 600 baud modem. Upgrading
to 1200 baud was awesome. I have done chat rooms, message boards, games
and hours upon hours of aimless surfing. I would say that it has
changed my life for the better by exposing me to all kinds of things
that I never would have seen or heard of otherwise. Okay, "goatse" I
could have done without, but most of the rest of it was totally worth

Do you think blogging is a viable way for people to make money? Have
you ever been able to earn any dough from your blog? If so, will you
give me some?

COLLIN: If it is, I haven't met those people yet. I will make a
promise to you though; if I find a way to make money using my blog I'll
share the secret with you, if you'll do likewise for me. Deal?


BELLA: How long do you think you will continue to blog? What are the circumstances under which you can imagine yourself quitting?

guess I'll blog until I can't anymore, either through lack of time,
lack of computer or government intervention. Or until I finally have
nothing left to share with a mostly disinterested world. Whichever
comes first.

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