If you are blogging for more than minute or two, you become aware of the superstars of the blogging world. They speak to you. As in, “You just keep dreaming your little dreams, sad little blogger. Because the top of this particular mountain? SPOKEN FOR.”
Remember “King of the Mountain” on the school playground? At recess, we used to race to the mountains of snow pushed up by the plows and climb to the top. The biggest, fastest kids would get there first, and they would spend the rest of the recess lording it over the rest of us. Why did we agree to play? Such a stupid stupid game in which I was always pushed down the icy hill. Always. And then, off-balance and humiliated, I would race flailing down the mountain, trying desperately to keep my legs beneath me as I ran.
Sometimes, I would just keep running across the playground, trying to give the impression that I hadn’t just been cruelly pushed down the hill and out of the game, but had instead chosen to leave. Really speedily and awkwardly. But by my own choice.
One of the Queens of the Mountain in the blogging world is named Heather Armstrong, and she runs a blog called Dooce. It’s not really a blog so much as a multimedia empire . . . but whatever. She’s the Queen.
She’s been around forever, and the word “dooce” has entered blog vernacular, meaning the loss of one’s job due to blogging.
As in, “Be careful when blogging about co-workers, or you are likely to be dooced.”
Luckily, I have no co-workers.
I have nothing to say about Ms. Armstrong’s writing, and feel fairly confident that I wouldn’t be her favorite cup of tea either. But I found myself seduced by her blog. Seduced by a desire to have . . . all . . . of . . . that.
She sells shit like you wouldn’t believe. So much linkable shit for sale on her website. I was idly flipping through her “Daily Style” photo archives of shit I could buy, and I wanted it ALL. The lantern-shaped salt and pepper shakers? Need them. Cute little animal calendar? Have to have that. Hippo cards? NEED. Baby jammies. NEED. Exquisite tea cups. MUST HAVE THIS INSTANT.
And it got worse. I flipped through her “Photo of the Day” archives, and I wanted her dogs. SO BADLY I COULD FEEL THEIR FUR AND SMELL THEIR DOGGY BREATH. I wanted her stunningly beautiful children. And her living room and her bedroom and every single item contained within.
Just to be clear . . . this is not who I am. I hate shopping, buy very little for myself, and tend to wear and use things far past their expiration date.
Clothing should come with an expiration date, by the way. That would be very useful.
So I am drooling over her website, and Mark leans over, “What the hell are you doing?”
I am startled out of my covetous reverie, “Babe, we need to buy these salt and pepper shakers. LOOK AT THEM! They are perfection.”
I wave him over to my monitor, “Look at all this stuff I need. I want it all. I want her dogs. LOOK AT THEM! They are perfection.”
Mark pulls her website up on his own computer and clicks a few times. A few more clicks.
“You don’t want her dogs, goofball. Or her salt and pepper shakers. What you want is her camera.”
I look again, and damned if he’s not right! I don’t want the stuff at all. What I want is the ability to take pictures like that. Ms. Dooce has reached through the computer and grabbed me by the neck and made me want salt and pepper shakers so badly I can feel my body craving sodium.
If I could take pictures like that, I would be like a god! Or a Queen. Of my own little mountain.
I am about to be pushed down the playground snow-plowed mountain, however, because research reveals that in addition to developing photography skills and an artistic eye (things that I have never possessed), I would need to spend approximately $5000 on equipment.
Ok, so that’s out. “Didn’t want it anyway,” I call out over my shoulder as I pretend I meant to race all pell-mell down the blogging hill and over to . . . here. By the drinking fountain. Where all the cool kids hang out.
With our iPhone cameras, snapping crappy pictures.
And then? A miracle!
A beautiful blue-green tinted photo of trees and flowers on the Dooce blog, with a note underneath stating that the photo had been taken with her iPhone. Are you kidding me? Using a new app called Hipstamatic that costs . . . $1.99.
I had never before purchased an iPhone app, but you bet your ass I bought that one.
I have been taking awesome photos. I will share one with you now. You will wish you had been there to cavort on the beautiful beach in the gorgeous ocean with my stunningly beautiful daughters. Begin the envious coveting of my life . . . NOW.
But here’s the thing. Dooce is powerful, and she’s not giving up her place as mountaintop Queen that easily. She shared the iPhone app with her mostly female and not-rich audience, a large percentage of which are bloggers. And now WE ARE ALL USING THE HIPSTAMATIC iPHONE APP.
Seriously, these gorgeous and very identifiable photos are all over the blogging world. ALL OVER IT.
Which means, as I am sure you realize, that none of us is more special or more talented than we were before. Because we ALL have the camera app, none of us is able to get a foot up that icy mountain. Damn.
Heather Armstrong is a fucking genius.
And I still want her dogs. They are perfection.
And mine suck.