Sun Ra - Column for 12/25

Merry Christmas

Actually, it's the friday after Christmas already; this is about as late as I've ever put in a Cant column. Coupled with the missing few weeks when I moved out here - first time ever for that - it seems as though I've got a good New Year's resolution, eh?

Now and then I consider transforming Cant into a more typical blog. There's lots of good, free, blogging software out there, software that actually uses databases rather than flat files and is probably much more secure than the various C programs I've written that run the machinery of Cant. Although being a one-off, no one is going to be able to break into this server via Cant by accident; there's not a worm or hacking script out there able to parse the Byzantine complexities of this code.

And by "Byzantine" here, I mean "complex and rooted in the dark ages", rather than any implications of elegance or artistry. But, security-wise, uniqueness has a certain value on the Internet.

You should see all the brute-force attacks on this site, by the way. Sheesh. I guess being around for longer than Google has its drawbacks, and one of them is that I appear to be on every hack-bot's list of potential victims. I've got fewer than half a dozen users and I try my best to keep the server locked down, but my logs are brimming with attempts to log in as "sales" and "printer1" and "john" and "ixitlalt".

Anyhow, moving to a more common blog format would have some advantages; the site would probably definitely be prettier - no more of those ridiculous frames, cascading style sheets, php, the whole works. I wouldn't have to do any coding to come up with spiffy new bells and whistles, and since the code here has been static for at least five years that means that there would actually be bells and whistles. And, of course, columnists could put in columns whenever they felt like, rather than having them auto-publish once a week.

It's that last one that's the killer, really. Kind of the point of Cant was to force writing. You know, to create a deadline. And although it has failed on a regular basis - more for the various friends I have invited to write here than for myself but now, finally, for myself as well - it has also succeeded. And, word by word, week by week, year after year - and it's been several years now - the body of work has built up. Some of it even worth reading.

So, creaking and old it may be, but for the time being Cant will remain as-is. A proto-blog, back from the days before the rest of the Internet siezed upon the public diary idea and ran with it, well past our humble efforts here. But we're a precursor, dammit, and shall continue to exclaim that fact loudly to all six readers and that guy next to us at the bar.

On a different note, I hope you had a merry Christmas. Ours was marred by an elderly relative being ambulanced to the hospital, but despite that it was nice to not have to fly anywhere for the holidays, and there's something ineffably worthwhile about family gatherings. We are, despite Modern Life's adoption of the single-family living arrangements, communal beings, and having family and seeing that family feeds some deep-seated yearnings.

So I hope you got to be with your family, or at the very least were able to speak with them and let them know that, despite the distance, and despite the time apart, you're still theirs and they yours.

Merry Christmas.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra