Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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saturday 15 april, 2000

Sinclair Lewis somehow I consented to be a judge for the Webby Awards. I thought about Sinclair Lewis, and I was drawn to his rejection of the Pulitzer (tho he later accepted other awards). There's something strange about singling out some voice and raising it above the others as the best within a medium. Especially web pages - especially judging personal web pages!

Do I decide who I identify with best? Do I decide who weilds web tech in the most stylish individual fashion?

I asked to be a final judge, because I thought that would be easier. But it means that I am supposed to select one of five from an entire world of unique domains and sub-directory self-promoters! And knowing some of the finalists personally I feel somehow sad that they're on the block. While it's nice to be recognized, it's never nice to lose.

I rush home to beat the judging deadline by a few hours. I dropped off my longest lover at the airport kissing. GK called and I drove him a copy of Ivan Petrov since his box of books was lost from New Orleans to San Francisco. He was selling books at the Anarchist Book Fair in Golden Gate Park. I sat down at his table to help some - I still had my zine hawking skills from last year I think. There were two empty 40s on the table, and another nearly empty in a brown paper bag. And plenty on the floor. GK was excited to see me and commenced punching me in the ribs. I felt drained from the last minute packing marathon for Amy's departure and seeing my baby off, and I had to draw the line at physical abuse, in spite of my history with GK of spontaneous masculine contact to release hormones and celebrate agression. He was resentful that I was retreating (I had to do taxes and the Webbies). He introduced me to a few punk passers by with metal spikes poking out of their back packs - "this guy works for a dot com and he likes it" something like that.

We were scheduled to have time together in the evening perhaps, fortunately I was saved from having to drag my tired ass tonight in a small car over a long bridge by GKs hangover.

So on my way back to the Webbies I read over GK's first personal zine, a booklet he composed with Vasso, a guide to their New Orleans. And I guess it has a bite to it that some of these web sites lack - an obvious appreciation for a broad range of humanity, an essential "engagedness" in the world, a strong stand (on the other hand, none of the sites demonstrate a pathological reverence for drink either).

I believe that most of the widely showcased personal web sites are too formal, too pretty. And the elemental joy of hypertext is missing it seems to me - people labour to make beautiful artistic navigation and web toys and this does not necessarily make for involving worlds of web wandering. I tried to get lost in a few of the nominated sites, and some held my interest. But the authors seemed so interested in artfully displaying different sections that the HyperText comes across as surprisingly rigid - surprising considering that these people are designing stories for the web. I enjoy having a short attention span. I wish these sites resembled something more like tangled yarn, and less like a comb. Heck there's not even much grammar play.

sonny Speaking crotchety, which is my duty since I'm supposed to be a Judge, right? So here I am being judgemental.

That and fried chicken from the Southern Cafe, which replaced Dillards.


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