Archive for December, 2009

My 7th Blogiversary!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Yes, it was seven years ago tonight, back in that medieval year of 2002, that I first started a blog, back when 80% of the country had no idea what a blog was.

Oh, those were heady times for us brave pioneers! Networking with other foolhardy cyberdiarists, catching a glimpse of our blog names in a screen shot of a blogroll on local TV news, trying to explain to clueless coworkers and family just exactly what a blog is, posting every stupid little thought that popped into our heads (but without the competition of half the country like on Twitter these days).

Yes, it was almost exactly a year after I started my blog that ABC News named Bloggers their Person of the Year; coincidence? Oh, sure, keep telling yourself that.

My blog was originally on Blogspot, which apparently got hungry and ate the thing, but you can still download my archives in their entirety from a link in my sidebar on the right.

But of course, blogging is passe now, replaced by “tweeting” and “status updates” and “life”. Even I have my Twitter & Facebook & posts funneled into my sidebar here, but I still keep this blog as a central hub for my domain name and blogroll, and of course my “content network”: Original music, photography, video, t-shirts, etc etc etc, plus my own Twitter posts (“tweets” will someday be looked upon as one of the most idiotic words of the early 21st century) and Facebook updates.

Still, it was extremely worthwhile for me to have a blog. It finally gave me daily practice in writing and web page creation skills (HTML and graphics, for instance), opened up several new friendships and networking opporunities, and provides me with a written history of my life for most of that time.

Bonus points: It also gave me a nagging sense of superiority for the first time in my life, as well as bragging rights and a notch on my resume.

One of the most interesting things about blogging was that most of the people reading my personal little blips and rants were all over the country, and even the world. My own family and coworkers were never that interested in my blog, and most of them only read it after they deliberately did something stupid that they knew would tick me off.

THEN they would read it, to see if I was griping about them, but only temporarily.

But seven years is a long time, and the MantraSphere (i.e., my life) is a vastly different place that it was back then.

Probably the biggest event in those intervening years was the discovery, in early 2006, that the bronchitis and pneumonia that I’ve suffered from all my life was caused by a neuroendocrine tumor in my right lung — a tumor which began before I was even born and had grown to 5 centimeters in diameter.

So, long story short, after teetering on the brink of death from pneumonia and losing half a lung to surgery to remove the tumor, and after a long recovery process (mostly because of the havoc that the surgery wreaked on my back and ribcage), I’m now in better health than ever, and haven’t even had bronchitis or a serious sinus infection (much less pneumonia) ever since.

piratedaysposter1smThe second biggest change from back then is that I have finally made good on my long-time threat to compose and record music, even being one of the winners of a local music contest this past October! (Did I fail to mention that? Hey, I announced it on Facebook and it showed up in my sidebar. Keep up.)

But you can listen to my music on AloneTone (for free! And get free downloads and ringtones! For free!)

So do that, won’t you?

And there are more changes, but for now, I have to cut this short so I can go DJ in Second Life (another change! Huzzah!).

More later.

Barbarian’s Guide to Gift Wrapping

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

This is hilarious. These gift-disguising hints are by GameStop, but they can apply to a wide variety of presents.

10. Disguise Box
Put game box in bigger box. This make little barbarians confused like bear staring at own reflection in lake. Hah, crazy bears.

9. Heavy Lifting
Toss heavy rock in box with game to add weight and confusion. “Too heavy for game. Must be rock.” Good guess, little barbarian. I fooled you.

8. Decoy Gift
Wrap game in awful holiday sweater. Barbarian get coal one year. Best gift ever, but disguised with moss. Was angry first. Now think very clever idea.

7. The Misdirect
Insert yoga DVD cover art inside plastic game cover. If little stinkers open gift early, they see woman doing “downward dog.” Joke on little stinkers.

6. Clinking Coins
Place nickels in box with game. They go crazy trying to figure out what make jingle sound. Plus when they open box, they get a game and contribution to college fund. Education and fun in one package.

5. Gift Too Thin
Wrap piece of paper with name of game on it. Gamer think it probably IOU at first, but then you hand them game and they go crazy for hugging you. Big reward for big barbarian. Hooray.

4. Ticking Package
Put inexpensive ticking wristwatch in box with games. Everybody wonder what gift is. Could be watch. Probably not bomb, right? Surprise! It games. Way more fun than other possibilities.

3. Music Box
Tape one side of musical greeting card to game. Then tape other side of card to gift box you put game in. If little barbarian shake package, the card falls opens and plays. Everyone wonder why gift sings “Silent Night.”

2. Disguise Scent
Spray box with perfume. This make gift stinky like skunk. Smell keep little barbarians off the scent for sure.

1. Inflatable Games
Put games in large plastic freezer baggie. Then blow up baggie and wrap it. Little barbarians call this UFWO, or “Unidentified Fat Wrapped Object.”

I used to give my Dad subscriptions to Sports Illustrated every year, so I’ve wrapped a few cinder blocks and pieces of paper with the name of the gift on it in my time.

By the way, the Game Stop site also has “The Ninja Guide to Gift Hiding”, which also has some clever and useful holiday pointers.

Quick Post

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Check out this cool technology blog, Underdog of Perfection, by Room34, one of my RPM challenge friends. The latest is No Design is Good Design, a list of sites that make the best of minimalist design — and includes a shout to my Twitter persona regarding an obscure Simpsons onomatopoeia joke.