By Paul Ford
A day for "Bob"
Unable to sleep. Within an hour--it's six thirty as I type this, the Xists will arrive and X-day will be unleashed upon all
I have waited 11 years. I first found the prophetic Book of the Subgenius at age twelve at Chester County Bookstore in the Parkway Center of West Chester, PA. The store has since moved to West Goshen
Shopping Center, to give you a sense of history.
The Subgenius faith may be a goofy thing--sort of in the realm of Dungeons and Dragons and men who wear cloaks--but the 1980's
were boring for a kid. Computers were slow, TV sucked, punk rock was scary, but "Bob" gave real hope that you weren't the
only creative dorky kid in the entire homogenized cosmos. When we had to make stencils in eighth-grade shop, I cut "Bob",
complete with pipe, and decorated my room with his grin. Through "Bob", I knew about really good conspiracy theories when
I was thirteen, and was enlightened in the nature of the Pipe, and the need for Slack, by the time I hit high school.
I never joined; I never sent in my $20. "Bob" specificially asked me not to.
Maybe I should have gone to Sherwood for the big Devival. Crashed out smashed in a tent, met some people. It's been a part
of my life. For a while I actually believed in the Xists, or at least was worried that it could be true, that our physical
selves would be sucked out into the ether, suddenly.
Wait--someone at the door--
Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some
There is a Facebook group.
You will regret following me on Twitter here.
About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit
things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.
If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at email@example.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am
glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.
: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
© 1974-2011 Paul Ford
Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose.
As a hobby I write.
Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out.
Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley.
Welcome to the Company.
“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”.
Forgot to tell you about this.
“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
An essay for TheMorningNews.org.
People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.
Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford.
Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford.
Nanolaw with Daughter.
Why privacy mattered.
0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford.
It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so
that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So:
Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand
below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every
Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came
unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...)
That Shaggy Feeling.
Antilunchism, by Paul Ford.
Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford.
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford.
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and
the historical fallacy.
The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar.
(1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie.