PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

December 6th, 2005

The Surprising Allure of Fancy Notebooks

So, have you ever wondered what it looks like when a modest little blog gets linked by a moderately popular one?

It looks like this:

A big thank you to the folks at who linked to me, and I hope my visitors found something worth their while here.

November 7th, 2005

Shoddy Work, Indeed

I’ve gotten two pieces of spam on my email account lately, both of them indicating that an email I had sent was undeliverable to certain of the addressees. The only problem is that I never actually sent them.

The most recent email helpfully informed me that my email titled “Find local sexaholics” could not be delivered to the recipients [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

The email was putatively from “Wallace Gaston” at my email address, and included the unusually literate body:

“Where love reigns the impossible may be attained”
a insightful man said long ago:)

And shortly you can get joy for yourself aswell,
without the pointless dates;-)
If its either a One-Night stand or something
more serious, you’ll obtain it here;-D

followed by a hyperlink to a website that included the phrase “get-me-laid” in the URL.

While I am glad that the four mythical recipients above were spared from this kind of godawful spam, I wondered how many other random alphabetized names DID get through, to land in someone’s mailbox at

Curious, I surfed over to, to discover to my dismay that they are a Memphis law firm, specializing in “representation of management in the areas of labor relations, employment law, and human resources in both union and non-union environments”.

Terrific. It wasn’t bad enough that an email with my address on it and the subject “find local sexaholics” could have been received by some housewife, pubescent girl, or indignant boy scout. No, it had to be sent to a law firm.

The thing about attorneys is, they’re more than happy to sue your ass with little or no provocation. This is for two very simple reasons. First, when the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, pretty soon all your problems begin to look a lot like nails. Second, the biggest hurdle to filing a lawsuit, if you are a member of the great unwashed, is the cost of the attorney. If you are the attorney, your time is free, greatly decreasing the barrier to unleashing a maelstrom of punitive litigation.

Hopefully the fine folks at Kiesewetterwise are IT-savvy enough, or employ someone IT-savvy enough, that they realize that email addresses and paths can be spoofed, and that it is unlikely that poor little ol’ PAgent has embarked upon a lucrative career as a spammer.

After all, if I was going to send a spam message, it would be free of typos, have a decent rhyme scheme, and be at least moderately persuasive. I do have standards, after all.

October 20th, 2005

The Lure of Crass Commercialism

I am blessed to have a few die-hard friends that check the site pretty often for updates. There are a few more that check in from time to time. Looking at the usage stats for this blog, there are a couple of visitors that stumble in here every week, look around, and never come back.

But now I’m starting to get folks stumbling in from unrelated Google searches. This didn’t happen much until recently, and I started wondering what had changed. I checked my Google pagerank, and it has jumped from 0 to 4 (on a scale of 0 to 10). That’s kind of amazing. I could actually start getting real traffic through here, whether that was my original intention or not.

This could really go to my head. But it’s not a bad thing. More traffic = more fans, more fans = more demand, more demand = bestselling memoirs, early retirement, and hitting the talk show circuit. Cool.

But, every epic journey begins with a baby step. And one thing that successful bloggers do is open a Cafe Press store, and hawk their hats, T-shirts and mousepads, each emblazoned with their logos, witticisms or obscene mottos. It got me thinking about it. Wearing a hat with my blog on it would be a hoot. It would certainly be a conversation starter. So, I mocked one up at Cafe Press to see what it would look like (click for full-size):

That looks good, but it’s a Trucker’s cap, with a foam crown. It’s what the good ol’ boys called a ‘gimme’ cap. I’d rather see something of a little more quality.

That’s a nice-looking cap, but the placement of the logo in the patch is kind of awkward. It’s a rectangular logo, in an oval patch. Doesn’t work that well. Maybe just the plain cotton cap?

That’s nice. That’s a good looking cap. But I bet I could move beyond just hats. What could be better than a hot cup of coffee served in a PAgent’s Progress mug?

What a great mug. That’s a mug that folks would talk about around the watercooler. A mug like that would improve a cubicle just by sitting on the desk. But why limit myself to hats and mugs? If you have a devoted fan, they want to really advertise. They want the website blazoned across their chest for the whole world to see:

Looking good! That’s a really handsome T-shirt. But I’m not much for T-shirts, myself. I prefer long-sleeved shirts, and really like sweatshirts.

Now that’s awesome. A sharp, stylin’ hoodie, spreading the word about my website. I have to admit, that logo looks good on just about everything. Caps, mugs, shirts–

GAH! Too far! Too far!
Never mind.

August 1st, 2005

A Wider Audience?

I started this blog partly under the influence of peer pressure.

I have been a member of the community over at LinkFilter, and had experimented with keeping an online journal there. My posts there had varied from bad poetry to stream-of-consciousness rambling. But I had enjoyed keeping it. I think some of the things I wrote were pretty good.

So why start a new blog? I still enjoy LinkFilter, and am still a member of that community. But several of the people whose contributions I enjoy had left LinkFilter, to start their own blogs. And the tone of the interactions there had taken a darker, more confrontational turn. It seemed like an opportunity to take a new direction, and to have more control. And all the cool kids were doing it.

Even so, I didn’t think anyone but a few LinkFilter alumni would read this, if they did. I sent an email to a few old friends, in case they were interested in tuning in. But I really believed this would be more of an exercise for my own benefit.

And then tonight, someone I didn’t even know left a comment on one of my blog entries. It freaked me out, a little. Intellectually, I knew that other bloggers could find me, but it didn’t occur to me that any of them actually would. Hrmmm.

I hope this doesn’t affect the writing I intended to do in this space. When I started journaling at LF, I didn’t know anyone there, either. And some of them became terrific online acquaintances. I hope I can keep an open mind and a positive outlook.

And thanks for your attention.