Archive for December, 2006

Fantastic Four (Years)

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

It’s my Fourth Blogiversary!

Yes, it was four years ago tonight that I took the plunge into the icy waters of blogging.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

Blogging was a fairly new thing on this day in 2002; there were only a few thousand bloggers at that point (about half of them claiming to have invented blogging, and no one other than bloggers had heard of Wonkette, Andrew Sullivan, or Boing Boing.

In other words, it was mostly just a big, snobby, bloggers-only treehouse club, and outsiders were regarded warily.

Fortunately, there was a huge influx of us new bloggers — myself, Yay Kim, and Gigglechick among them — about that time that the ol’ prospectors had no choice but to stand back and observe all the chaos.

And chaos it was, because most of us had no idea what to do.

This was evidence by my very first post:


Woo-hoo! I’m a bloggist! Now to set into motion my master-plan … ! No, wait … now to think of a master plan … ! No -first things first … now to change the colors of this page!

But before I do that — remember the artist has to suffer … and not just pain, that’s too pedestrian … the TRUE artist has to suffer life’s little mundane insanities in order to create his masterpieces … so I will begin by … going to the laundrymat! And drying some towels!

Seriously. It has nothing to do with creativity. The heating element went out in our dryer, and I have to go down and dry some towels my wife washed this afternoon …

… Right after I finish feeding the dogs …

See? And you thought YOUR life was boring!

My second post was written later that evening, with pen on paper, while waiting on the laundy, and typed in the next day.

And I kept on posting, almost every day for more than three years, sometimes three or four times each day.

This past year, with my pneumonia and tumor surgery, I still posted just about every day except for that week when I was hospitalized, but in the summertime I began to consider that each new blog post was only minimally adding value to my blogging accomplishment, and that achievements in some of my other projects were a better use of that daily chunk of time — often over an hour — and thus I’ve been only posting once or twice a week. In the post of increasing the mass of my blog archive, I’ve learned Flash animation, made starting loop-based tracks for several new songs, made improvements in my photography skills (and went over 1000 pictures posted on Flickr), found out even more about my genetic heritage, worked on some video projects (including an NBC contest entry, which I’ve mentioned here often, of course), power-walked around 30 minutes every day for six months, installed yet another Linux distro on the computer in the garage, and made some hardware upgrades to my main computer.

Among other things.

See, the returns on blogging are diminishing these days: At the end of 2003, my first full year of blogging, ABC News named bloggers their People of the Year, but last week, TIME magazine selected not just bloggers but amateur video producers, song-mashup-makers, virtual reality participants, and wiki contributors (among others) as their People of 2006.

Just as I suspected, it was time to branch out.

So don’t worry, I’m still blogging, but I’m just doing it less, in order to actually have a life about which to write.

Stick around, and maybe tomorrow I’ll make a list of the things going on in that life right now.

And I’m working on an animation commemorating this 4-year milestone.

(And by the way, thanks to RennyBA, who remembered YESTERDAY that today was my four-year mark, and congratulated via the comments! And thanks to all the rest of you who keep checking back here, in spite of fewer and fewer reasons …)

To You and Yours …

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to all of you who have kept checking back here over the past year, even though I’ve decided to slack off the multiple daily postings in favor of actually accomplishing things. We hope you all have a great holiday, and join us again in the new year, when I’ll once again try to make it worth your time to keep my blog bookmarked, even if I continue posting only a couple of times a week …

Meanwhile, let me know in the comments how your Christmas is going!

Person of the Year, Right Here …

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Time Magazine has announced their 2006 Person of the Year, and it’s another one of their famous oddball choices — like past ones that have been, just within my lifetime, The Computer, 25 & Under, Middle Americans, The Earth.

So this year was another one of those, when the Person of the Year is …

ME!

Well, hey, that’s what their website said: “Person of the Year for 2006 is YOU.”

I feel so honored. I’d like to thank all the little people who made this possible.

No, but seriously: What they mean, of course, is the the person of the year is “you”, meaning individuals, especially all those who make use of the latest technologies to create and participate. Here’s a blurb:

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you’ll see another story, one that isn’t about conflict or great men. It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes. […] We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

And it occurred to me that, well, a lot of the article applies to me.

Blogging? That’s me, for right at four years now.

YouTube? I’ve done that too, both animation and directing a video contest entry, as well as other stuff like making a psychedelic light show. I’ve got several other video projects in the works.

MySpace? Check. And bonus points for the fact that I don’t use it to go trolling for dates, under-age or otherwise.

Avatars? Not in Second Life, but in Everquest and Everquest II and the There beta, all of which pre-date Second Life.

Wikipedia? Another check. I’ve lost count of have many entries I’ve edited, including a few where I forgot to sign in first (d’oh!) and thus don’t get the credit for.

Open-source software? I don’t program Linux, but I certainly participate, having a Linux-dedicated computer set up in the garage, and have installed five different Linux distributions, just to keep up to date with what’s going on. Plus, in the past I’ve dabbled in Fortran, Basic, and HTML/Javascript, so anything’s possible.

Music mashups? Present and accounted for. I haven’t posted anything publicly yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

And the online article fails to mention Flickr, but it really should: I’ve just recently passed the 1000-photograph mark, documenting my little corner of the world.

So yes, it’s good to be Person of the Year. Do you feel it too?

Readers’ Corner

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Since several of my readers have more interesting lives than myself, here’s what some of them have been up to:

Todn8r, who I mentioned last month was given the promise of a Playstation 3 for his birthday, today finally announced the arrival of a bouncing baby console, which he says is “awesome”.

He also says that someday he might actually get off his lazy buttocks and post some screenshots on Flickr.

Those might not have been his exact words …

The Spook — old college bud, country music financier, and our Lubbock correspondent — has also promised pictures, since he has finally gotten around to getting a new camera

That makes TWO sets of pictures that I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of.

No, seriously, to be fair, he has shown me some thumbnails of four of his shots, and they look pretty crisp, but I won’t be satisfied until I’ve got him totally addicted to Flickr …

Vickie sends this cool Christmas link: Simon Sez Santa 2.0. She knows my fondness for funny “subservient” websites, and this is one I hadn’t heard of before.

So you know the drill: Go there and boss Santa around. No imagination? Start with dance, jump, fly, eat, and destroy, and go from there.

We got our first Christmas cards today, and one of them was from our pal Yay! Kim. Kim and I were in each other’s neighborhoods recently (she drove through Dallas the day after our ice storm, and I was south of Austin just before Thanksgiving), but we’ve still never met, even though we’ve been blogging buddies for close to four years now. (She’s the closes thing I’ve had to a penpanl since high school!)

Pamibe is a grandma!

And finally: A reader that I see in person regularly — let’s call her “Sally” — said to me the other day, “I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready for (So-and-So)’s plane to go down!”, with “So-and-So” in this case being someone that we both know, and who has caused both of us (and many others) much grief lately.

And if you knew Sally, you’d know that it takes a lot to push this easy-going lady to the point of wishing ill-will — but apparently that has happened.

And of course So-and-So has no clue.

I smell movie deal …

Friday, December 8th, 2006

One great thing about living in the Dallas area is the fact that there’s no shortage of stories of outrageous behavior: Principal loses job over rampaging, out-of-control cheerleader gangs!

The movie possibilities are endless: “Hell’s Pep Squad”! “Spirit in Chains”! “The Pom-Poms and the Switchblade”!

Too bad Leonard Bernstein isn’t alive to write a musical about it …

UPDATE: I just added a graphic, plus these relevant links to an Everly Brothers song and some movies

Enjoy!

Another Month, Another Animated Banner

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

… so it’s time to roll out my pointless Flash animation, Christmas-style, as you can see near the top of the page. Why do I do this? Because I can; in addition to tons of clip art, both photo and drawn, I have also recently taught myself, as the kids say, “tha mad skillz”, and since I’m not allowed to do anything I’m good at at the office, I vent my abilities here.

And when prospective employers, one who might actually VALUE workers with skills, want to see samples of my work, I’ll have a portfolio compiled over time.

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UPDATE: Okay, for those of you checking this out later, here’s the Christmas banner in question: