You can’t start a fire without a spark.

There are times I consider shutting down Shyzer if for no other reason than it’s no longer unique. I’ve talked about this before, but back when I started Shyzer, there were only a handful of sites like it out there. In fact, there were only around 100,000 total and in Internet terms, that’s minuscule, microscopic.

But the problem with blogs is that they evolved and spread. In April 2005, reports came out that 40,000 new blogs were popping up a day. Reports this month have that number in the neighborhood of 80,000.

Eighty Thousand New Blogs.

A Day.

When The Real World first aired, it was an instant success. Same goes for Survivor. The reason for this is simple: people were intrigued by the front row voyeuristic view they were given, found it refreshing in a sort of queer way, and wanted more. And more they got. Now you can turn on the television and find a hundred knockoffs that are so lacking in quality, it’s not even remotely funny. Well blogs are no different. The blogs that were hugely popular when I first discovered the trend offered a raw and clear view into the author’s life. There were no filters on what the authors published and we got to see it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly that occurs in all our lives but which few of us ever share with others. It was the next evolution of reality TV. No longer were the stations and producers deciding what we at home got to see. People could now open up their lives for anybody and everybody to peer into and the most successful ones were those that offered the most unrefined and uncensored vision possible.

But as always, people sitting at home thought to themselves, “Pfft, I could do a much better version of this.” With reality TV, that meant they had to compete against thousands of others and get cast on the show. With blogs, that meant all they had to do was create a free account and start posting.

And for every worthwhile blog that has cropped up each day due to all the attention CNN and Fox News have given bloggers in the past year or two, 79,999 horrible ones featuring high school kids giving bad movie reviews or some pissed off patriot talking about how we need to support President Bush suddenly appear on the Internet. I had hoped blogging would be a flavor of the month with the general public, like pogs or those slap bracelets people always had in middle school. God we looked retarded walking around with those on our wrists. But instead, it looks like blogging’s here to stay with every soccer mom and NASCAR car dad out there, along with those retarded terms the news media like to make up, like soccer mom and NASCAR dad.

All this does is dilute the pool even more. As a reader, I’m sure you know how hard it is to find a decent blog nowadays. Most of my all-time favorite blogs are still the ones I unearthed long before Shyzer was ever conceived. But 2005 saw the closings of the last holdouts of that generation, most notably Doc from Doctor Grosz. And with that said, given my odds, I feel confidant in saying I’d put Shyzer up against any other random blog out there – that is, whenever I have it running on all cylinders. I don’t try to be perfect in everything, but I most certainly strive for perfection in anything I do happen to partake in. If I’m going to spend my time on something, I’ll be damned if the final output isn’t as close to perfect as humanly possible.

I enjoy the uniqueness and randomness of my personality. Given the option of taking two roads, I most certainly will always select the one less traveled. Not because of some idealistic, romanticized view I hold on life, but simply for the selfish reason that I hate being like everybody else. Remember, this is the guy who as a kid, pulled out a map and found the city farthest away from his hometown when he decided he needed to pick a baseball team to root for.

For what’s the point of screaming when everybody around you is screaming the exact same thing?

That said, I hate admitting to myself that Shyzer has slipped in terms of quality lately. I’m lucky if I have this baby operating like I do with a rough hangover, much less running to the standard I expect from myself. Couple that with the unnecessary stress of updating every few days and the fact that I’m partaking in an art form that everybody else seems to be enjoying, and you can see why the idea of closing shop seems appealing at times.

And yet I can’t bring myself to do it. This isn’t just some website to me. I truly view Shyzer as an extension of myself, for better or worse. What I want is for Shyzer to regain some of its uniqueness that it once held and to start properly reflecting some of my personality. I don’t want half of the people I know operating sites similar to it and since I know I can’t go back in time and prevent blogs from becoming a cultural phenomenon, I’m left with two choices. On one hand, I could take down all my material and replace everything with a simple splash page like most people who feel the way I do have done…

Or, I could force Shyzer to evolve. I was one step ahead of the curve last time, so why not do it again? Plus, if everybody before me is closing shop, wouldn’t I be contradicting my own philosophy by following suit and turning off the lights as well?

I think this whole post best exemplifies how Shyzer is indeed an extension of myself, for if you think things are a little weird around here, you should take a guided tour through my head. I’ve always been a person who simply does what feels right, not what he thinks he should do next. In times past, I’ve usually listened to my gut and while it’s been known to play tricks on me every now and then, things have always turned out right in the end. See: Mariners, Seattle. Girlfriends, past. Australia, best few months of my life spent in, etc. Yet for the first time in my entire life, nothing feels right and yet nothing feels wrong. I can’t seem to find a clear frequency to my gut and instead all I’m picking up is static. I don’t know what to do next with my life and frankly, it pisses me off far more than it scares me. Fuck not knowing what direction to take Shyzer in, I don’t even know what fucking direction I want my life to travel for the next few years.

Everything I think about doing next sounds at the same time great and horrible. I’m 23 years old and as conceited and naive as it sounds, I still know and believe that I can do something great in my lifetime. I don’t think I’m destined to do something specific, that some higher being put me here just so I could follow a path that was laid for me. But I do feel with every fiber of my being that I have the potential to do and be something great, that greatness is within my grasp if only I discover the path to it before it becomes overgrown with weeds. That’s what I worry about most, missing or ignoring my one true chance at greatness. I’ll never be able to settle on having a “regular” life. If a time traveler from the future came to me right now and told me that in 50 years, I’d be retiring as the district manager of some regional office, I think I’d lose my will to live right then and there. I’ve never been able to stomach the thought of simply becoming a small cog in the machine of life, becoming somebody who will be mourned for a few years after his death and then simply forgotten, becoming just like everybody else. Becoming Normal. Becoming Average. Come Hell or high water, I’m going to find a way to make a difference and achieve something, even if it destroys me and sends me to an early grave. And that, my friends, is something I give my word to.

To make matters worse is that despite having more friends than I’ve ever had in my entire life and living at home with a family that absolutely adores me, I feel more alone than I’ve ever felt before in my entire life. I no longer have that one deep and close friendship to rely on like I used to have with a few certain people and for the first time in my life, I’m staring down the barrel of uncertainty utterly and completely alone, with no one standing next to me who entirely and fully understand me. But like they say…well, my knowledge of quotes and proverbs has picked a wonderful time to fail me, but hopefully there’s a saying or two out there that would make me feel better.

I don’t know if you can tell from the way I act on the Internet, but I’m an extremely private person in real life. I don’t like talking about myself or my thoughts or plans or dreams or whatever with most people. Sure, I’m goofy as hell, but rarely in a serious way and more in a comedic relief type manner. Whenever things turn serious, I tighten up and retreat into my head. And that’s where Shyzer’s importance in my life came in. It was an outlet for me to come and say what I thought and be myself and do my thing. And yet, as time has gone on, the occasion of censoring myself has grown more and more frequent and the main cause for this has been due to the fact that I know who is reading Shyzer. I know people don’t want to read some cookie cutter crap that’s censored and refined and even if that’s what they want, I wouldn’t write it since it’s boring as hell to do so. I want to be as candid as possible, but there’s certainly more I wish I could say on here. Fuck, I’ll be honest here. In the past three and a half months alone, I’ve probably stopped myself 20 times from posting something in particular. “Shit, this is totally gonna piss off so and so,” or “Oh fuck, if she reads this, she’ll think I’m a fucking psycho,” or “Dear Christ, it will take all of 10 minutes for my phone to start ringing if I hit the Publish button.” I don’t enjoy defending myself or my actions. I’ve never subscribed to the belief that I should have explain myself to people, partially due to the fact that I don’t like confrontation and partially due to the fact that most people just wouldn’t understand.

I have nobody to blame but myself for getting all my friends and family into reading Shyzer and even as I type this, I hope everybody who reads Shyzer continues to do so. For years now, I’ve been known to pimp Shyzer on a daily basis and the last thing I want to do is say, “Hey you! Yeah, even though we’ve known each other for 15 years and you’ve been reading Shyzer for months now, fuck off so I can have the liberty to say whatever I want.” I promise you, that’s not what I want, at all. As a writer, you want as many people as possible to read what you have to say, even if it might ruffle a few feathers or force a family member or two to disown me.

But even more importantly, I’m going to stop writing what I think people might want to read and start writing what I want to write. If you find the new Shyzer too boring or too one-dimensional (ie, only shit I’m interested in), sorry mates. Like I’ve already said, this is an extension of me, not y’all, and I’m going to try my best to make posting a pleasurable experience for me once again compared to the chore I currently view it as.

So here’s the deal. In a few days, I’m going to open Shyzer’s doors again and try something out. The comments will be turned off, the tagboard will be taken down, and I’m not going to track my stats or see who and how many people are reading what. I desire no feedback on what I write here. If you want to read Shyzer, that’s great and if you don’t, no worries. I am still trying to find my true calling and while this may seem like I’m blaming my lack of vision and initiative on Clay or Fellner reading Shyzer, that’s not it at all. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, I’m merely trying to “simplify, simplify, simplify.” Perhaps if I clean things up and clear my head here on Shyzer, I’ll be able to do the same thing in real life.

And if that fails, at least I’ll have tried something, because what I’m doing not just ain’t working and I can already hear my window slowly closing.