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Friday, September 30, 2005

Great Blogs are like Krispy Kreme Donuts

Do you remember when you first heard about Krispy Kreme Donuts? It was probably a friend or acquaintance who told you about this delicious puck of flour and sugar. A donut so good that people would line up by the hundreds to buy them. Word of mouth advertising at it's best.

Great Blogs are like this! Delicious morsels of information served hot off the press.

Rosa Say's "Talking Story" is just such a place. Her blog has so much warmth and friendliness. Her Hawaiian values make everyone feel welcome. Yet her content is compelling. This is a place you just have to experience for yourself. Take a trip out to her island today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Subtle Influencers Running Beneath the Radar

Troy threw an invitation my way and then tossed the gauntlet - We all have our favorite blogs. Likely, we all have a dozen or two favorite blogs. Pick one and tell the rest of us why in 50 words. Given my own propensity for silence of late, I felt reluctant at first, but this is something I can do, but I'll list two blogs joined by one person.
-----
I'm not sure exactly when Mary Godwin stumbled across me or why. Probably some flip comment I made during the BlogHer doings, which I highly supported. I found myself stumbling back to (Pro)Claiming Age and found someone I felt an immediate connection with, although I'm not quite sure why. Mary's insights into life, family and the truly important things are perhaps what I enjoy most. She doesn't sidetrack into metablogging or the self-flagellation so many of us wander into.

Her own masthead says it best
Blogging as a Woman of Age and Adventure tackling graduate studies at Purdue University, though currently most the mom of Tommi, a soldier-daughter in military intelligence serving with the National Guard on the frontlines of Mr. Bush's War just outside Baghdad in Iraq. This is a story of survival we are living together, the story of a walk with my daughter through her own daily adventure. Her name is Tommi, a woman of strength in her own right.


I was fortunate enough to catch her own spinoff of herself on Body Electric and post a barbaric yawp in response to her arrival.

Mary's daughter Tommi also brings some wisdom and insight that I can only respect and admire in her role as Sentinel 47: Keeping the Gate.

Perhaps it's a common age. I think it's much more. There's a kinship found there that spans miles and very different lives. But Mary and Tommi are people I've come to pay attention to, listen for, and feel a bond with. If you haven't discovered them yourself, go click the links and explore.

Change of Pace, Change of Direction

While I am pleased with the response to this project and our hit count has increased each day since the onset, 100.bloggers hasn't exactly set the world on fire. I attribute this to a complete lack of leadership on my part. "No guidelines, no themes, no constraints" is not a vision. "100 posts by 100 bloggers in 100 days" may be a SMART goal, but it isn't very interesting. Therefore, I am proposing the following change of pace and change of direction to get the ball rolling.

We all have our favorite blogs. Likely, we all have a dozen or two favorite blogs. Pick one and tell the rest of us why in 50 words.

Lens caps, viewfinders, Grand Canyons

In rereading Walker Percy’s book of essays, The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other, I’ve gotten stuck on his essay, “The Loss of the Creature.” Perhaps these twenty years after first reading it, I’m in a different place which is why it is all the more significant to me now, or at the very least, significant in a whole new way. Perspective really does matter. Where I am on the wall matters…if rock climbing is my metaphor, what are those slick surfaces where you can’t grab hold, those overhangs that cast such a big shadow, those tiny crevices where no piece of your body is small enough to connect?

The essay means something different to me now, and it means something about direct engagement in life. Or not. Is blogging a direct engagement in life? Or is language always a deflection, a thing to hide behind, a way to be clever?

I found my way from Walker Percy to an essay written by a student for his English 101 class, entitled “Cameras, Gun Shops, and the Grand Canyon.” I’ll let his words speak:

“I have never looked at anything as intensely as I have through the viewfinder of a camera. It may seem odd that my most intense experiences of reality have come through an artificial lens, but a camera is a close cousin to both a magnifying glass and a microscope. It is not only the ability to see things in more detail that commands our attention. It is something else, something about the art of photography that forces us to examine the world as we don’t normally do. Normally we don’t see things as they are. The familiar is forced into the background of our focus. Objects become ideas.

Walker Percy calls this the problem of symbolic complexes. In his article ‘The Loss of the Creature,’ he describes the loss of such grand monuments as the Grand Canyon to these complexes. He states that it is almost impossible to experience the Grand Canyon as its discoverer did because people have already formed an idea in their heads, thanks to the myriad of tourist folders, postcards, and sightseers’ manuals that they have seen before the confrontation. Instead of coming upon this great thing and admiring it for what it is, sightseers come upon it and compare it to their already formulated expectations. The whole situation is made worse, Percy says, when the tourist has a camera. In this situation, the tourist comes upon the thing to behold, takes a photograph, and leaves without ever really seeing the thing. He “waives his right of seeing and knowing,” as Percy puts it, ‘and records symbols for the next forty years.’

In order to take pictures — and by pictures I mean good, interesting pictures — one has to see what one is looking at, just ‘as one picks up a strange object from one’s backyard and gazes directly at it.’”

So which is it, I started wondering? Is blogging a disengagement, a deflection, a problem of symbolic complexes, of linking only with those who support our already formulated expectations, of distance from and commodification of? Or is it a means for seeing differently and more intensely? What is my Grand Canyon, I wonder?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Five Bloggers I Admire

Jory Des Jardins. Curt Rosengren. Evelyn Rodriguez. Mike Sanders. Diego Rodriguez.

Which bloggers do you admire?

Is the U.S. ready for a woman president?

Absolutely!

Today, there are 6 active female Presidents...in Finland, Ireland, Latvia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and San Marino. Why not the U.S.?

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

Finding my voice in this sea of voices

I admit that I'm having a difficult time figuring out what to post about here. I look around and see posts on being invited here or on blogging, and I just can't make myself blog on either of those topics. Similarly, I don't know that my favorite blogging topics would fit in well here, where there really are no boundaries.

Then it occurs to me how odd a thought that is: looking to make my voice blend in with others'. I've spent most of my life working hard to make sure that my voice only blends with those around me when our goals are the same. I've never wanted to be a lemming. Lemmings don't do much, and I want to be free to do whatever I want.

Lemmings look at the past year of my life in wonderment. They look at me and ask, "But weren't you scared?" or "I could never do that. How did you do it?" The lemmings who are on the verge of breaking through and leaving the lemming lifestyle behind them tell me, "I wish I was as brave as you. Then maybe, I could run away from the things that need to be run away from, too."

It's that second group that I love to talk with. They're the ones trying to find their own voices in the sea, their courage to step up and stand out just a little bit. They're the ones who break up the monotony, and have a wide sea of potential opportunities laid out in front of them. They just haven't quite accepted that it's all right to reach out and take the chance.

So, maybe I can find my own voice among those around me after all.

because it's there

I hate the word "blog" and always have, though I find myself using it more these days; I've mostly given in. I want people to read me and that's why I continue to post online (I most often use "post" or "write") but at the same time feel my stomach churn a little bit when someone at work mentions that s/he still reads me, has been reading me since I started writing back in 2001 (give or take a few "I'm done with this website" stops followed by "but I miss readers" restarts). I post because I write. I write because I'm a writer; that's what I'm good at. That's what I like to do. That's even what I get paid to do. I post for more than because I'm a writer; I post because I need an audience. From the super-8 home movies (I'm old enough that it was soundless super-8 back then) where I danced in oversize sunglasses, to my waving about from the sea of insecurity where I usually dwell, I like attention--I'm good at that, too. I post because it makes me feel like a writer, as opposed to when I hear someone who's published in a radio interview on the way to work. That makes me feel like a loser. That makes me start constructing patterns of how my novel or novella or hell just a damn short story would go, but all in my head, and then I get to work and proofread for four hours and edit some marketing copy and look at that, it's already lunchtime. When I get home at night I'm still a writer, but I am more a procrastinator--I really need to pay this bill, pick out this paint chip, walk the dog, wash the dishes, any one of a hundred thousand things that keep me from really fulfilling what I sometimes tell myself I need to fulfill.

I'm not sure if there's a "real" book in me, though I need to sit down at a desk long enough to find out. Maybe I just want to write a book for the same reason I want to write online--I want someone to give me feedback. I like feedback.

I write online because it's easy, because it's connected, because I meet new people, because I get validated. A little pathetic. I can admit that; I always pretty much did.

I write online throughout the day because it's there.

Halfmad

Monday, September 26, 2005

I imagine the blogosphere as a virtual time capsule

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island...and best of all, you can enjoy these riches everyday of your life." - Walt Disney

I imagine the blogosphere as a virtual time capsule. Better than any collection of books, it will tell the story of our times.

"Keep focused on your constructive reasons for being involved with blogging." - Mike Sanders

Thanks to Phil Gerbyshak for the Disney quote.



Rain

Funny thing about rain: so often, we don't want it to happen, and many curse it when it comes down. Yet, we all need the rain, to grow, to live, to nourish our land, to nourish our souls, to recover, rejuvenate, to reinvent and recover.

I find rain in my life all the time, sometimes just a drizzle, sometimes it pours, and I know it can't, it won't, rain all the time. I'd bet you're no different. It just feels like it will never stop. Really. It feels like it will never stop coming down, that it will never get any better.

Rest easy friends. After the rain, comes the rainbow, and at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold, just waiting for you. If you're willing to wait for the rain to stop.

Make it a great day. Live for the rain, even when it's pouring, and especially when it's not.
Phil Gerbyshak
http://makeitgreat.org

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Doing This For 5 Years

Since we're a bunch of bloggers, sitting around writing about blogging on this blog, let's salute someone who's been at it for five years: Gerard Vlemmings, one of our fellow participants in the 100 Bloggers Project, has been doing the excellent Presufer blog for half a decade, as of yesterday, so let's all head over and offer our congratulations for putting up with all of blogging's requisite crap for so long.

Full Disclosure: Gerard is the person who gave me the invite to join The Project, so I admit I'm a bit biased here ...

But I'd be congratulating him publicly even if he hadn't invited me, so shut up.

Breadcasting

Me, I think of blogging as an exercise in casting thy bread upon the waters and see if anything better than soggy bread comes back to you.

I do it for Fun. Not the lower-case kind of fun, but for Fun itself, for the sake of Fun, for the Fun of living in a world that's a little more Fun, a world that maybe values Fun a little more.

So when it comes back to me, like in the form of this invitation to be a 100th part of 100.bloggers, it makes me think that, yes, this blogging thing is worth the effort. Yes. It is. Because now you're reading something I have to say. And you're thinking maybe there's something that I (as in, you) have to say back to me. Or to someone else who is blogging. Some soggy morsel of yourself.

And so we build community, identify commonalities, regain our sense of self and mutuality. With a comment. With a blog post that blogs someone else's blog post. Linking. Connecting. For Fun.

Bernie DeKoven
Deep Fun - a playful path to wholeness

Blogging as a voice in the world?

I've been thinking a lot about why blogging has become so popular. My personal opinion is that the world has become so stressful that people want to experience it the way they experience a roller coaster. They don't mind being afraid -- there's a thrill there -- they just want to do it in the context of knowing that they're perfectly safe. I think there are a great number of people who want to be involved in the world, but they want to do it at a distance. They don't want to go out and protest, but they do feel a burning need to have their say. (And the ones who do want to go out and protest can't get enough of having their say, so they blog too.) Electronics, the Internet, all of these things isolate us from other people, but we're still humans, and we still have a burning need to prove somehow that we exist.

Blogging somehow fills that gap.

Or at least, that's what I'm thinking. Anybody Else?

---- Nick Chase, Chaos Magnet

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dig deep

Working on self-knowledge is not easy. Often, the harder it is, the more important it is. We dig up things we would rather not see. We resist the pain. We have a choice between a lifetime dull ache and a brief acute confrontation.

We settle for the familar and confuse boredom with depression.

We all have unexpected moments of of insight. "Oh, that's what it was all about." Few of us seem willing to push deeper.

People who refuse to do their personal homework reap crops sown in the past by their parents' influence and other powerful experiences. Unwilling to dig deep enough to set their own values and perceptions, they are caught forever working over the same small parts of their past.

Do your homework. Self-knowledge is for the purpose of contributing. You can change your perception of the past to bring peace to your present and our future.
From Jennifer James' Success is the Quality of your Journey

Too much stuff!

From Patricia Digh at 37 Days, I read:

It is Stuff that keeps us from participating fully, our mobility and sense of fun and playfulness and ability to be directly engaged muted by our concern for objects, our holding onto.

So let's dump some stuff aside as we tackle these 100 posts in 100 days.

Troy may be the centurion but let's perform more like a jazz band,
riffing on the posts, comments, and what is happening around us.

And let's leave the stuff behind ...
stuff like

prejudice

greed

pettiness

It will be good to go forth
into this new blogging venture
with only what we had at birth
with what we have learned since then
but only what we can carry between our ears

like common sense

respect

playfulness

and...

well, what would you add?

Dynamic!

Is this the most dynamic idea on the blogsphere? It must be close to that.

This is a resonant project, an idea we don´t know how it will develop, a tale with unwritten chapters.

I think this is close from recent experiences in virtual art . It could easily classified as a blogformance, a performance on the blogsphere. I see it has two basic traits,


Will we be graded on spelling?

Howdy, all!

I'm with Tom--all fired up and ready for besd. Bed.

Thanks for running with this Troy, should be loads of fun and fireworks.

Friday, September 23, 2005

'Allo 'Allo!

Hey all, just checking in ... just wanted to add my thanks to Troy; it's Good, Righteous Work that he's doing here, salvaging the scraps of The Project.

I'll probably do a real post on Saturday morning, but for now, here's a cool link!: Featherbed's Sketchbook and Comics on Flickr.

Check it out!

All Hail Troy Worman! - candidate for centurion of the blogosphere!

Troy,

Thanks for creating a new place to exchange ideas. I see you have already annoyed the self-appointed guardians of the blogosphere and that is a good thing. It almost guarantees the achievement of your goal.

The first 100 Bloggers project may have failed in its ultimate mission, but it showed that getting anything useful out of a century of bloggers requires a centurion. I think you will be equal to the task.

The earlier project also showed us that a realistic set of objectives is necessary to create and sell a product. If your objective is to create an entertaining and informative site at no cost to the reader, you are already halfway there.

It is up to the individual blogger, of course, but if we can provide entertaining and useful posts, we create immediate value for our readers and for ourselves. This is so simple it is almost scary.

The next thing you know, someone will get the idea to write something remarkable and traffic will start building and... well it's all downhill from there. We could end up with sidebars with BlogAds, a code of blogger etiquette, blogging purity wars, and factions. Why, it'll be just like...civilization! :)

Thanks for putting the pot here and letting us add ingredients and stir it.

All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go, So...

Well-timed, Troy: your invite arrived just as I was realizing that TGIF and I'm sitting home with the dog. I haven't a clue where this train is headed, but I'm ready to see some new country, hang out with some new folk (or more likely, some that are at least familiar from the earlier incarnation by a similar 100- name) and try to figure out what this blogging culture can become for me, and for us. Now, time for a cold malt beverage and a window seat in the Pullman Car. And give my dog here a pig's foot. -- Fred First / Fragments from Floyd

Pearl Buck on new ideas

"You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea."

I love this idea! And I'd love to post something incredibly insightful, but as Forest Gump so honestly put it: "I gotta pee."

Blogging Rocks!

Fabulous idea Troy - thanks again for inviting me to join in - happy to be part of it - why not aim for 100 in 30 days I say!!!

Blogging is important to me and my business and it is also great fun.

I love the fact that the censorship is totally down to the individual. My view has always been that if people are treated as adults they will always impose testing and high quality standards on themselves. Just trust people for God sake – when will business understand it is as simple as that - Rant over!!

My 'Simplicity thought for the day';


"When it comes to quality standards we are much harder on ourselves than any rules imposed on us"

I have just written an article about empowering front line staff - if anyone wants a copy just let me know
trevor.simplicity@gmail.com

You can find my Simplicity Blog here http://simplicityitk.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 22, 2005

No Vision?

OK. I have already received a half dozen emails from "very disappointed" bloggers informing me that I have "hijacked" the 100 Bloggers project and "bastardized" the original vision.

Cool.

Why not 1,000?

[Neat idea Troy, but why not go for a Big Hairy Audacious Goal...like 1,000 bloggers?]

Here is my post...

We just returned from a movie starring Ralph Fiennes, titled The Constant Gardener. All about the role of Britain and others (especially the drug companies) in Africa. Based on a John Le Carre book, it tells a gripping tale of corruption, deceit and murder on a continent that refuses to be subdued by western vested interests and gangsterism. Very thought provoking, and well worth seeing.

Brian Ward

What's Going On Here?

100.bloggers = 100 people, 100 posts, 100 days. Sounds like fun. So count me in.

I'm expecting the community here to be fun, supportive, and challenging. I'm curious who else will sign up, and if they don't why not? Have they not heard of this 100.bloggers experiment, or are they afraid that if their voice is heard, they'll say something they shouldn't?

Me? I'm happy to get the opportunity to meet new folks, and try something new. I'm looking forward to where this goes. I'm sure it will be somewhere good.

Thanks for the opportunity!
Phil Gerbyshak
http://makeitgreat.org

welcome to 100.bloggers

The project: 100 bloggers, 100 posts.

No themes. No guidelines. No constraints.

If you are interested in contributing to the project, contact me.

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