The crux of the FOX Entertainment 5-season, 55-episode The Simple Life starring two socialites born into extraordinary wealthy situations (Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie) was to exploit Television’s postmodern state in which it exposes the idiocies of itself in order to individually target millions of viewers who also find television and the culture surrounding those who have been made famous by it, absurd.  Lovers and haters of the two girls (women?), advocates and rejectionists of pop culture, arrived at this program on their TV sets through different means, though all were held responsible for the endurance of this annoying program.   

I do not criticize the creators (Bunim, Murray) for producing such a show — however obtuse, they were simply following well-founded beliefs (through years of comprehensive observations) that while humans vary wildly in their moral beliefs, sophisticated interests and aesthetic pleasures (even within their own demographic), viewers typically have very common prurient interests.  This is why the amount of crap on TV has increased with time.  Sure, one reason is more channels, so naturally more crap will be produced, but crap shows, or at least at their core, are the programs that typically endure longer than the edgy, sophisticated programming, so investments are made in the safe bets, however stupid in nature the product happens to be.  Who knows how many good programs have been bypassed because too close a consideration was paid (quite literally) to capital gains and stock stability.  Whatever my personal feelings towards the program, I can’t blame them for making it.  I reserve judgement on this front.

I do object, however, to Bunim and Murray’s choice of titles.  Indeed, The Simple Life assumed low-income jobs such as cleaning, working in fast food restaurants, serving as camp counselors, or toiling amongst other farmhands to be synonymous with simple.  I would argue that the life of being born into as much wealth as Hilton or Richie is far more simple than working shifts of ungodly lengths for felonious pay.  The action of taking orders from a numbered menu (note:  I’m curious about the advent of the numbered menu.  My hypothesis is that it is a product of globalization, i.e. as soon as McDonalds popped up across the fence, border or pond) or shucking corn are indeed simple labors, but are certainly dendrites of the much larger, complex neuron structure.  

Farming, for example, is wrongly assumed to be a simple procedure.  Indeed, when even given a second thought of the processes that yield that thing on your plate the complexities become apparent.  The complexities of farming and systemic processes as a whole become further apparent when you discuss them with an engineer who happened to grow up on a farm.  Simple as it appears in the title, since it does not mean simple in its traditional sense, must mean (in this context) a change from many man-made, glitzy, shiny, obnoxious, and often toxic stimuli that abound in an East- or West-Coaster’s megalopolitan to a place without all of those things, in this case, a farm.

I visited my friend NN’s farm over the summer and was quick to comprehend not only the aforementioned complexity of managing land (let alone land that produces and sustains life!) but the amount of labor involved that would indirectly add stress life’s other labors.  The neurotic stress that must be involved in considering the circle of life while sustaining a healthy economic output without putting too much stress on any one aspect of it that would thus disrupt the actions that follow (and thus precede that action, due to its cyclical nature).  Though I hold experience growing up fairly close to a mid-sized city and significant work experience in another major metropolitan area, I expected my sub- mid-household income level, Eagle Scout Award, and GOP-intensive upbringing to prepare me for a day on the farm in assisting my friends with the daily chores.  That is to say, I did not expect to feel as helpless or culture-shocked as Paris Hilton on a farm, the same helplessness and bewildered state of Hilton/Richie that the The Simple Life used as one of its central points from which to derive hilarity (thus attract viewers, duh).

Indeed, after several visible mishaps on my part, I was quick to draw a self-mocking (of course) parallel from me to Hilton.  For some reason I expected to Get Away From It All (though I was in living in State College during the summer at the time so I guess I was already Away From It All in a sense) with some minor artisanal labor.  Soon enough, my hilarious mishaps, comments/observations clearly from another place & time and general posture on the farm (similar, though less dramatic than Hilton’s) provoked the idea that maybe “simple” labor failed to be simple just because of the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but because the “simple” tasks themselves require a great deal more of skill than required.

Think of baseball for a moment.  The players look bored, as often do the people in the stands.  But this isn’t because fielding a ground ball ripped down the line, or hitting the 90+ mph fastball is any sort of an easy task.  Even as these professionals have mastered these skills, unexpected circumstances create the need for even more skills to be acquired.  Bad hops when fielding and the prospect of being thrown a breaking ball both deter any sort of player looking to put the minimal amount of work in, i.e. only being good enough to make plays from only rote drills and routine.  On the farm, it dawned on me that many the tasks I attempted, even if I got good at them per se, I would have to put in far more work when running into any sort of unexpected problem, no matter how minor.  Farmers look bored too, from what I remember visiting Shenot’s farm after Church every Sunday to pick up fresh produce and other groceries pre-teens typically do not enjoy eating, but this does not mean that they’re not exceptionally well-trained.  On one particular Sunday, I remember wandering into the stable of horses up the hill, a short jog from the main consumer area (a probably even shorter jog now that my legs are longer) and looking at all the horses.  My preconceived notion of the horses at that age was that they were friendly animals that could be bought emotionally, hence the reason why I always brought carrots. Stall after stall of horses.  I remember the feeding masks resembled gas masks I had seen on the History Channel documentaries of WWI.  I distinctly remember one time I considered asking the tender of the beasts if I could help use the hose to clean off the side of one of the stalls.  To my surprise, the loud, clattering spray sound the prompted this almost-expressed question turned out to be a large, glossy (*insert breed of horse here*) peeing in his stall.  He was being combed at the time by one of the farmhands so his stall’s door was swung wide open, allowing me the opportunity to watch him (the horse) pee.  The stream of urine seemed as wide as my (childhood) fist as it tossed up wood chips and dust into the air and against the side of his stall.  Curious as I was, I hunkered down and had a look upward at the part of the horse that was delivering such a powerful stream of liquid.  Years later, I heard an expression from my friend Evan describing himself, an expression that would have gone right over my head had I not been prone and gazing upward at that horse on Shenot’s farm that prompted a simultaneous look of horror and awe on my face so many years before.  

I digress.  I remember going to feed the bull with my friend RR and SW (NN wasn’t actually at the farm, yes his own farm, that day.  RR was assigned by NN’s mother to keep the property under control for the weekend.  What better way to do that than invite two of your friends over).  The bull’s pen smelled…thick.  Very earthy, kind of like a wet boot dragged through topsoil.  I remember looking at the bunnies, the one-eyed cats(?), refusing to go into the chicken coop, and watering the plants.  Most of all, I remember Getting Away From It All, fortunate enough to be in the company of both friends and an absolutely stunning landscape.  Considering that the chores assigned were elementary both in their relative difficulty to NN and his family and the number of chores (I assume they were abbreviated by NN’s parents not due to distrust of RR but rather out of politeness).

The point of this note was not structured above to any successful degree, but a few closing thoughts:  we should not cynically exploit complex systems by labeling them as anything but complex.  From a case study analysis, even the simplest tasks have to take into consideration the system to which it is a part, and prepare for the unexpected and inherent difficulty of what some city-folk and suburbia derive as “simple.”  Overall, however, this essay should reflect a bored musing of pomp and circumstance.

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“There should be a picture of you next to the word ‘jerk’ in the dictionary.”

I’ve heard this same sort of linguistic format to build word & definition-thru-personification many times, especially in my youth.  Since it almost always has a negative connotation, I’m thankful the comments haven’t been directed towards me most of the time, though I do recall in 2nd grade a girl named “Claire” uttering the very words in the quote above, either out that odd flirtatious/curious nature congruous to that age (that, I might mention, carried with her well into high school and for all is still her most noticeable trait) or (probably) because I wouldn’t share a snack.  The point is that although words have (to some extent) certain and definite definitions (excuse the alliteration) agreed upon (again, to some extent) and put in any of the big-name dictionaries, every time I’ve asked for a definition the word has almost exclusively been defined by examples, synonyms, pictures, and sample sentences.  In turn, I also remember definitions this way.

For some reason, however, I’ve always understood irony foremost as it’s Merriam-Webster definition…that is, until a couple weeks ago.  This story will serve no practical purpose in understanding the definition, but at least provides a nice anecdote in case I ever explain the word to a non-native English speaker or even a small child.

The only background needed in this story is that before the 2012 Presidential election, there was a Republican-sponsored bill in Pennsylvania, among other states, that would require voters to show a valid Government Identification (such as a driver’s license) at the voters booth in addition to verifying each person’s voter registration.  If this was a Democratic-sponsored bill, it would have certainly been viewed as another layer of bureaucracy infringing on Constitutional rights.  However, it was endorsed a Republican governor, meaning that it was ensuring that it was a necessary measure to ensure the Constitutional right to a free and fair election.  Of course, both the Republicans and Democrats openly acknowledged how this ruling would help the Republicans, because it would prevent the minority voters without a driver’s license or anyone who thinks it’s a pain in the ass to go the DMV to get a valid ID just to vote.  Let it also be known that stand-in voter fraud (the kind that this bill was meant to discourage) almost never happens.  In all, it was clearly a political move operating under the guise of something remotely altruistic.  The plan was all shot down by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, to wit:

“Consequently, I am not still convinced in my predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election,” Simpson wrote. “Under these circumstances, I am obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.”

Now, since the TV Republican talking heads and the radio conservative pundits were angered by this decision, so was my father.  My father over the years has developed an intimate relationship with conservatism.  The problem isn’t so much the root word (though, a problem, in my mind), but the suffix of ‘-ism,’ indicative of an absurdly non-scientific belief, i.e. an ideology — a way of organizing large swaths of life, information and experience under a shared, carefully UNexamined set of assumptions.  He has adopted conservatism and anything it touches into sort of an athletic competition.  A loss for what he believes as “conservatism” is a loss for him, personally.

From the judge’s decision up until the election, I heard him (i.e. my father) on more than one occasion express his disdain for the decision and somehow extrapolated it to the demonic Muslim/Communist agenda of Barack Hussein Obama.  His mood was certainly affected by this decision, and I only pity him for letting something so innocuous bother him to such a great extent.  

Fortunately he got to take a leisurely weekend trip that I hope took his mind off the election the following Tuesday and of course the massive amount of voter fraud that will take place because it doesn’t pass (two things:  one, again I stress that stand-in voter fraud is a made-up issue; second, I am still unsure if he fully grasps the political motive behind the bill’s inception).  Somehow in his travels, he manages to lose his wallet and discovers it when he returns home late Sunday night.  His credit cards, gone.  His family pictures, gone.  The money inside shared the same fate.  I cannot believe that it took me until the day after the election to realize that, “Duh, his ID was in that wallet too!”  Also, knowing my father, there was no way he’d be able to find his passport within a 72-hour period.  I approached him kindly when I discovered this and inquired as to how he would have voted if the voter ID had in fact, stayed in effect.  He provided no answer besides, “I wanted that bill to pass” apparently completely unaware that fortunately for him, he was unsuccessful in his attempt to screw himself.  

So perhaps this story does not properly define ‘irony’ because in the end, my father was saved from himself.  Besides, I don’t think I’d put any sort of image of my father next to the word ‘irony’ before words like ‘caring’ or ‘loving’ or ‘faithful’ or ‘weird.’  Is there a lesson to be learned?  Yes — people often subscribe to beliefs that ultimately screw them over in the end.  

One of the most profound observations I’ve made note of as a “frictionally” unemployed “person” is that when affairs with one’s career doesn’t seem to be going well, it is rare that anything else is either.  I’ve been single pretty much my entire life, but only since I’ve become frictionally unemployed have I regarded my relationship status as somewhat as a burden, to somehow compound my existing frustration with not being able to find a full-time job that matches my interests and talents.  I’ve been reading a little about small business development in between bouts of cover letters, and I’ve come across Tuckman’s stages of group development, also known as “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing.”  Since I am not part of a small business, ergo certainly not running a small business (at least outside of the metaphorical realm) I am seeking to apply what I’ve learned to other aspects of my life, in this case, building a relationship.

Forming:  this is the stage where the forming of the team takes place.  Behavior by the team members is largely driven by a desire to be accepted by others and avoid controversy or conflict.  So this would mean is that I would feign an interest and a commonality between her interests and my own, and avoid discussing the things that I immediately identify as sources of conflict; chewing too loud, neutral-faced, lack of eye contact, to name a couple of examples in the case of the blossoming relationship between me and E.S. (the girl).

Storming:  this next stage is where different ideas compete for consideration, and deciding how each group member will function independently and together what leadership model they will adopt.  Some groups never leave this stage, as it can be contentious, unpleasant and even painful to members of the team who are averse to conflict.  My lack of ability to express more gently “exclusive but not future-oriented” prompted a quite unpleasant response from E.S. (the girl)

Norming:  By this stage, the team manages to have a mutual goal and agreed upon course of action to accomplish that goal.  Some teammates may be enthusiastic to work on this plan from the storming phase, while others who had divergent interests with the plan may have to acquiesce to share an ambition to for work for the success of the team’s goals.  In this case, the interest was shared to be “exclusive” but what was not agreed upon was the “not future oriented” part, in which case acquiesced, assuming that she would nurture dependence due to my continually-imploding career action plan.

Performing:  By this stage, groups are motivated and knowledgeable.  They are able to function effectively as a unit without inappropriate conflict or the need for external supervision.  So far between the relationship between me and E.S., inappropriate conflict has been avoided through largely a sense of insecurity between both parties due to my stipulation of “us” not being future-oriented.  There is no need for external supervision because again, the “not future-oriented” stipulation provides a contractual agreement that ensures that nothing is really at stake (not even a toothbrush at neither of our respective residences).  

In retrospect, applying business methodology to a relationship seems unusual and probably a little fucked up.  However, it’s hard to learn something without wanting to immediately apply it, even if it is incongruous to the situation presented (think of the last time you’ve learned new vocabulary word — the first time you used it in a sentence was probably inappropriate usage).  

But I usually don’t watch the news.  I’ve understood my aversion to television news to arise from many different equal parts, but a recent news story involving uprisings in the Arab world in response to a western film illuminated one particular reason.  It’s that cable news (notice how I’m narrowing down the category of news from just “news” to “television news” to now “cable news” — this is merely provide clarity without distorting the title.  I could have easily changed the title to “cable news” and just started referring to it as such from the beginning of this post, but I didn’t want to give the read impression that by reading “sometimes I watch cable news” then proceeding into the first line of the post “but I don’t usually watch cable news” it might reflect that I do regularly watch news so as long as it isn’t on a 24-hour news station) is incredibly boring.  Not just in a sense of its bland candor or the same type-A tanning bed fried and heroin cheeked news anchors, or the predictable delay from the newsroom to the satellite-connected correspondent providing updates on seemingly nothing usually, or even the overall hideous lighting and sound effects that are designed to cover up dullness but in fact illuminate it.  It’s that the themes of depicting a stories (called “news” sometimes, more appropriately at times than others) are so very predictable.  Take back to recent riots across the Maghreb (North Africa), especially in Egypt and Libya.  When I heard that there had been demonstrations and even an attack on the U.S. embassy, I immediately knew what the theme I would hear on the major news stations based on their previous storytelling models.  Fox News and CNN essentially reported the same story — an offensive western film got those Arabs all rowelled up again, so temperamental those Arabs are, how quick they are to take to the streets over petty things like this.  One of these two 24/7 news stations fit Obama in there somewhere, but that is neither here nor there.  What’s important to notice is that the desire to make the situation appear so simple, logical and easy for the regular talking heads (guests of the show, contributors) to understand.  In an effort to make a story as simple as possible, CNN and Fox News have in fact made the story simpler than possible to fit their existing narrative.  Why?  By reducing the amount of thoughts their viewers have to think, watching the news isn’t such a chore.  It’s leisure time, just as watching a sitcom.  CNN and Fox News do not want you leaving your television set with questions, but a feeling of a total grasp on the latest stories.  I’m not saying that cable news organizations are a bullshit factory, but they’re certainly not meant to be a learning factory.  It can be argued if there is an agenda each organization is trying to push, but that’s distracting us from the main point.  They don’t want us to think.  They want us to take each event we see on their station at face value, with maybe a little air time from a contributor providing a bit of a play-by-play, but certainly not explore the issue any further.  They do not want to challenge the viewer to explore the issue further, but maybe provide for the viewer demand of “just tell me what’s going on so I speak intelligibly about it if it comes up in conversation” mentality, but I think in this case it’s more supply-side, because the human conscious seems to run counter to such simplicity.  Everything they say in addition to the very basic facts and figures are designed to lead us away from exploring more complex narratives than what they are providing.  This does not make much sense to me on how it works on this level when on a human scale, we do not operate in that way; it is far too simple for everything else going on in every day life.  I doubt the couple engaged in a lengthy, intense argument at the mall was sparked exclusively by the husband forgetting the coupon to Macy’s.  If you [the reader] have ever experienced the termination of a relationship, what is ostensibly the subject probably wasn’t what the argument was actually about, but rather an amalgamation of one or several problems that happened to boil over just during that particular heated moment.  Now relate that to this news story:  Arabs riot over film.  Were the uprisings really over a film, and not over years of misguided foreign policy decisions that negatively affected those people?   It’s not that underlying factors are discredited on air, it’s that they’re are not even mentioned.  But this is all predictable.  Simplistic.  Boring.

Frictional Unemployment is sometimes called ‘search unemployment’ or ‘a euphemism’.  For those  familiar with curves, it is visually displayed with — you got it — a Beveridge curve, a downward-sloping, convex curve that shows the fixed relationship between the unemployment rate on one axis and the vacancy rate on the other.  The movement of the curve is dependent on changes in the supply of or demand for labor.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (website here) I am currently a benefactor to the U.S. economy because I am sacrificing time to find a suitable match between my skills and demand for those skills, which in the end (story has it) that it will result in abetter allocation of resources for America.  However, if this patriotic duty [job search] extends for too long the economy will suffer because there is work — somewhere — that needs to be done that is not getting done, due to lack of personnel capable of completing the task.  Therefore, I read (past tense), that the government has an incentive to reduce frictional unemployment before it becomes structural unemployment.

There are multiple proposals that have been submitted to the government to curb this statistic, each with varying degrees of effectiveness, such as educational, informational, regulatory and tax policies.  However, the most immediate solution I can think of that was not mentioned in any of the sources subject to my brief research was for the government to just hire me right now.  This will be the first of many practical considerations in this blog.

If not revealed by context, the slightly amusing nature of being frictionally unemployed is worth blogging about, due in large part due to its overwhelming sadness and frustration.  The projection of my angst has largely been directed at places that have chosen to ignore or incinerate my resume, or giving me a lowball offer.  It has been this way for a couple of months since my graduation.  I started this blog as soon as I noticed I was channelling my discontent almost completely inward — I breakfast on regret of my choice of cereal and college major, dine on a salad and a GPA that leaves a lot to be desired, and sleep on a short mattress and skill set.  I become aware of coping mechanisms I previous had been aware of every day, some being more healthy/normal than others, but I think it’s all normal.  But I also think that claiming to be anything but normal would also be normal in a way, or at least contrived.  I also consider such claims at uniqueness annoying and congruous to the actions of a group of people I stopped talking to 3-7 years ago.  Even hearing the word unique brings about a certain physical uneasiness about me, knowing that it’s just a quick-draw term for someone who is unsure about how to describe something that, on the surface, does not have any serious literary, artistic or political value (similar criterion is seen in the Three Pronged Obscenity test, read:  Miller v. California) but the speaker, out of fear of not being ‘hip’ if he or she discredited the work, substitutes the ambiguous ‘unique’ as the adjective.  The image of a bent fork comes to mind when I hear it — probably drawing on some association I have with this poster from the classroom wall of one particularly witty teacher I had in high school.  My aversion to this term began only a few months ago when I was in D.C. visiting a friend.  This friend wears even tighter jeans than I, a scarf for all seasons and thick-rimmed eye glasses and certainly stands due to this look even in the most underground scene, where people in similar garb.  How I met him is a particularly good story in and of itself, but in an effort to stay course and consideration for you, the reader, I shall forgo this tempting aside.  Cutting out details, I ended up in a sort of bookstore/coffee shop that sold booze without a license (confirmed) in the basement to attend a scheduled poetry slam.  The degree to which I felt like an outsider in this setting pales in comparison to how uncomfortable my friend must of felt at the baseball game I took him to last time I was in town, which was a decision I made based on my affinity for baseball and also my persistent urge to fuck with people (innocuously) whenever I have a chance.  My friend had heard of one of the participants in the poetry beforehand from his friend’s friend — the typical degree of separation for most gossip  — who (he or she) described as “unique.”  Up fourth in the lineup, batting cleanup (I said aloud — baseball analogy completely lost on my hipster friend), the unique poet took the stage.  In a five minute stage appearance, the gentleman on stage said no more than eleven words in total (“incandescent” “saturn” and “corporations” were the only three words that I remember) accompanied by about seven indistinguishable grunts not to mention several extended periods of silence filled with creepy, intimate stares.  At one point he cut a doll’s hair with kitchen shears, then proceeded to take a ripe vine tomato and forcefully crush it with his bare hand, sending a mixture of pulp and seeds not only all over the stage, but into the audience as well, including a sizable portion finding its way onto my lightly-colored shirt.  The entire experience was not so bad, but the guy who my friend’s friend’s friend deemed “unique” was exceedingly awful and caused me the inconvenience of being self conscious about the conspicuous stain on my shirt for the rest of the night, and having to focus on executing strategies to hide it using my hand, a glass or my friend when chatting up the locals.

I typically keep my distance from people who make sweeping generalizations about what “most people” do or  do not do.  If I am unable to separate myself in a physical sense, I typically disengage any degree of attention to this person and instead focus my efforts on taking myself on a much more desirable, visual journey [could be happening to you, the reader, right now]; perhaps picturing a local pond in my hometown at dawn, ducks beginning to stir in the calm, morning air, etc.  To avoid sounding hypocritical, I ask you [the reader(s)] here to consider this next statement merely as a hypothetical, not an actual presumption of human behavior based on my immediate perspective, because that would be making an assessment based on incomplete data — which is just wrong:

Hypothetical 1:  Say, for instance, that most people do not talk in monologues in everyday conversation.

See?  Infinitely more palatable as introduced as a hypothetical, because I’m not suggesting I have the hubris to make such a broad proclamation about human nature, I’m merely asking you [the reader(s)] to consider something as true for the sake of this conversation.  The problem is, it’s not really a conversation, unless you consider speaking in monologues typical in conversation, in which case please refer to Hypothetical 1, seen above.  Even the structure of books, television programs and movies seem congruous to a what we consider “normal” conversation, for reasons involving the education or upbringing of the playwright, strengths of the actors and actresses, or marketing decisions from the networks involving a litany of exhaustive, quantitative studies of audience preferences of which I assume would make pretty interesting (if not lengthy) reads.

However, there are of course, major exceptions to this rule, to name just a few (in descending order from the most respect to the least amount of respect given to each person):  Shakespeare, Aaron Sorkin, and Dennis Miller have all made a living as playwrights using monologues in their performances.  And you know what?  I see the appeal.  In typical back-and-forth conversation (real life or on stage/screen) it takes several exchanges before a character’s point is made, and even more if one of the speakers is intentionally pettifogging or unintentionally deviating from the point of the conversation in which the other speaker is trying to arrive.  So perhaps, despite the abundance of adjectives, similes and metaphors indigenous of monologues, perhaps it actually saves time and is more straightforward, because the speaker typically has his or her point across by the its [i.e. the monologue’s] conclusion, due to the lack of interference from the respondent.  Perhaps the aspect of monologues I find further stimulating is the fact [hypothesis] that the chance, in and of itself, of someone in real life to delivering a monologue is low.  It is indicative of something that the speaker has probably been musing over for quite some time (finding the “right time” to deliver the message, also known as procrastinating), or perhaps some sort of catharsis.

Both of these I think are exciting.  Perhaps more appealing is that it is speech that has inherently bypassed “small talk” — a term I’ve rarely heard put in a positive context.  Between acquaintances, you [i.e. the reader(s)] have probably heard or said “enough with the small talk…” followed by a presumably uncomfortable conversation.  At introduction, I have witnessed many of my college male peers go with a full-frontal pick-up line as an attempt to forgo the small talk, or at least make it a bit more tolerable for the two parties, because it assumed that it is uncomfortable to both individuals.  Sometimes I wonder when I’m out to a bar or a similar place that is “great to meet people” (as my non-single friends describe it)  I imagine what it would be like for all of the social and cultural barriers to be stripped down and the people to kind of orbit around, saying exactly what they felt about each other.  I’ve thought about it at length…and quite frankly, it’s boring.  I am not sure what the girls would say, but I am sure you [the reader(s)] could confidently posit what the average guy would say to an attractive woman-girl who is presumably scantily-clad in an environment absent of formal/informal restrictions.  Small talk, on the other hand, can be entirely different based on the individual and what strategy he or she chooses to pursue, and whether it even happens or not is sometimes the most entertaining part.

Blogs, like most things Internet, bypass small talk much as monologues do.  There is no “Hi, how are you/good, thanks” ritual before it is expected you express the entirety of what you are thinking, feeling, or observing at whatever length desired.  I imagine “blog” was once an onomatopoeia — in any case, now it’s something else.  But let’s be thankful it’s not small talk.