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12:53pm on Thursday, 24th February, 2011:

The Days before QBlog


31/7/95 Don't believe those labels on beauty products products that say "not tested on animals". I buy those same products and test them on my pet rabbits to make sure they're safe. Boy, do they cry when I get home from the store with a new batch.

It was always my intention to blog every day in QBlog, and to date that's what I've managed to do. Doing something on a daily basis is fairly easy if you have some guaranteed subject matter (eg. you keep a diary), but QBlog doesn't have that. How did I know that I'd be able to keep it up?

30/5/97 I was on the bus and this pregnant woman got on, but she didn't take the special seat reserved for pregnant women. She just stood. Maybe she got pregnant for some other reason?

In 1995, I started an experiment. I'd heard that P. G. Wodehouse wrote down a joke every day of his adult life, and I thought, "I wonder if I could do that?", so I tried it. Well, not for my whole adult life, but just enough to fill an exercise book. I allowed myself the luxury of not having to do it when I went on holiday (so I didn't have to take the book with me), oh, and the jokes all had to be original, at least as far as I was concerned. I'm sure that some of them will have been reinvented many times over, though, like this one:

31/5/97 I'll never understand longevity if I live to be a hundred.

I finished the book on 3/3/96. Here's the last entry:

"Mothers know nothing", said my friend, Al. "Mine told me that if I didn't wash my hands after meals, I'd die of germs. Hasn't happened, though.". Yes, Al, but you still sterilise the hooks you got from the grenade accident, don't you?

The jokes above with a later date are from the first page of volume 2, which I decided to begin the following year. It wasn't actually difficult to write a joke every day, I found, but I did generally have to make them up on the spot when I realised I hadn't written a joke for the day (which is what I now usually do with QBlog).

26/2/98 My friend had a wasps' nest appear in his hallway when he was away on holiday. He opened the front door and hit it when he got back, and had to go to hospital with all the stings. I felt really sorry for him, but it was his own fault. If he'd let me go on holiday with him, I wouldn't have put the wasps through his letterbox.

By the end of volume 2, I'd noticed that many of the jokes were written from the perspective of a particular persona (authority-mistrusting, casually cruel, conspiracy-believing working-class guy). The above, which is the last entry from volume 2, is an example of this; you'll note that it's the same "voice" as the first example I gave, which is the first joke from volume 1.

7/4/02 By the time I tell someone I have a stammer, they already know.

I started volume 3 four years after I finished volume 2. As you can see from its first entry, above, the jokes aren't all exactly politically correct. It's easy to make up politically incorrect jokes, though, and it's not as if I was planning on developing a stand-up act or anything, it was just an exercise. People with stammers are so selfish: it's all me, me me. See? Easy.

8/4/02 I didn't marry my wife for her money. I married her for her father's money.

This volume started off with traditional one-liner kinds of jokes, but some were a bit longer. Here's a random one from a few pages later:

27/4/02 If I were evil, pretending to be good so I could carry out my plans for world domination unmolested, I'd make sure I had a pretty garden and was helpful to my neighbours and gave them little gifts so they wouldn't suspect me. That's why the next time the lady across the street comes round with some of her home-made fudge, she's going down.

The longer and more storyful they get, the more they turn into paranoid-guy anecdotes. I did keep up the variety right to the end, though. Here are some jokes from the last page of volume 3, which is the final volume:

7/1/03 Now my girlfriend has glasses, she's not so good looking. She says the same thing about me, but I don't wear glasses.

8/1/03 I have to take the rubbish out today, not that my wife will appreciate it. She hates being called that.

9/1/03 Someone built a snowman in my garden today, but I don't know who. I think it's Frosty.

10/1/03 I used to be able to tell whether I was dreaming or not, but now I can fly in real life it's much harder.

12/1/03 Why is milk like an alarm clock? They both go off.

13/1/03 Someone caught my cat yesterday and shaved it. What kind of idiot does that? It plays merry hell with your razor.

There are two other jokes on that page that I haven't listed as they're not suitable for work. As you can see, though, they're a bit hit and miss. Some aren't actually funny at all, and I only wrote them down because the experiment demanded that I wrote something, even if I didn't think it was all that great myself. There's usually at least one joke on a page that I myself do actually find funny, though.

20/10/02 Cure for constipation: use a public lavatory and don't lock the door.

Anyway, as a result of these experiments, when it came to deciding whether I could write a daily blog, I decided that yes, I probably could. The subject matter is more varied so I don't have to write any old junk just to make the day's quota post, and I can include pictures and things, too. No problems so far (although there's plenty of junk).

18/9/95 Trepanning? I need that like a hole in the head right now.

Don't expect me to take up Twitter, though...

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).