Archive for the 'Blogiversary' Category

Another Year — that makes 15 now …

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Oh Lordy, has it been another year already?

Ah, those heady days of 2002, when the concept of blogging was still fairly fresh, and wasn’t the domain of corporations and the cynically ambitious (I’m thinking “mommy bloggers” and “lifestyle bloggers”, but there are others).

15 -- 200 pixelsNobody just blogs as an informal journal any more — that’s what the then nonexistent “social media” is for: The Facebooks, the Snapchats, the Instagrams, the things that old people like me won’t even hear about for another ten years, but which are already indispensable to high school students, and twenty-somethings that think they’re still as cool as high school students.

I mean, why bother, when there’s always Facebook, and the things you post will be automatically foisted on your contacts, without them having to lift a finger to get to your page?

I guess I still maintain this cyberfootprint because it was the one time of my life that I was actually ON the curve, one of my few accomplishments.

Marie and familyI don’t even see fit to post the huge developments in my life — like, for instance, the fact that this past June I finally found my biological family. (I have a sister! And a niece and nephew!) Okay, tell you what: When I actually get to meet them in real life, I’ll be sure to post it here first.

I had been on for four years (and another DNA site for 11), with nothing to show for it, when one day I got a message from a young woman saying that the DNA test results said that we might be first cousins. She told me her mother’s and grandmother’s names, and I compared that information to what I already know … and I replied, “Well, I’m not your cousin … I’m your uncle.” Needless to say, her mom was a little shocked that she suddenly had a little brother …

Mom at Bryant farm houseAnd in other family news, my mom (adoptive mom, but my mom nonetheless) died on Labor Day of 2016, after a lengthy battle with poor circulation in her legs. She was 95 going on 96, and still had most of faculties (minus a bit of delusional dementia). The first year without her was tough, but I’m beginning to come to terms with it.

Lexi smilingOn a happier note: We now have our third rescue dog (and second Pomeranian), Lexi. She’s only about seven pounds, but she had tons of personality, and Bristol is surprisingly okay with sharing the spotlight (and laps, and treats) with her.

Aaaaaaand … that’s about it. That’s all that’s happened in my life. Sheesh, no wonder I don’t post any more.

But hey, I know life is more than dead loved ones and long lost family. It’s also about food (I tried out three of the meal-kit services in 2017!). It’s about getting older (I’ve finally admitted to myself that pretty much all of the music coming out these days sucks, and is going to keep getting worse, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, for the rest of eternity). It’s about great TV shows and movies and cheap books from the library book sales and tick infestations and things going on in politics that really piss me off.

So yeah, maybe I should post more.

I just shouldn’t expect anyone to read it.

The old Lubbock crewAnd oh yeah, I can’t sign off this blogiversary post without mentioning: At my mom’s funeral I got to visit with some old friends, three-quarters of my old Lubbock crew, seen here looking like a cast photo from a Guy Ritchie heist movie.

So anyway: Yeah, see ya around.

Twelve Year Blogiversary!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Okay, so at this point I can hardly say that I’ve been blogging for 12 years — although I post regularly to Facebook, which automatically cross-posts to Twitter — but it was 12 years ago tonight that I started my brykMantra blog, back when about 1% of the population had even heard the word “blog”, so that’s something. And I like having my own domain name, so that’s something else. And when (hopefully) I can get a bunch of my songs recorded, this can theoretically be my promotional base.

So let’s talk about that music, in hopes of making this an ACTUAL blog post, and not just a “this is a post” post. Every day for about four years now (except for that one week in the hospital after my stroke) I’ve been practicing my guitar, and writing songs. My first two albums (I’ve mentioned those, right?) were instrumentals, and were recorded without playing a note. My new songs have actual lyrics — which means I’ll have to actually SING — plus there will be substantial guitar playing involved, so it’s a much trickier endeavor.

Okay, enough about that.

Are you on Steam, the online gaming portal? You should be on Steam. They constantly have sales, so I’ve been getting some fairly recent games for dirt cheap: I scored Fallout New Vegas and Borderlands 2 for $2.49 each! I only played FNV up to level 15, then got tired of the post-apocalyptic bleakness (and the deadingly-retro soundtrack). Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is colorful and full of possibilities, plus it’s funny as all heck. I’m playing the Techromancer class, which means that my Special Skill is summoning a killer robot to spend a couple of minutes helping me take out enemies.

I’m up to level 17 with no sign of being bored.

Okay, next subject: Oh binge-watching, where have you been all my life! I’ve been doing quite a bit of that this past year, starting with Breaking Bad. Yes, I saw the finale about a year after most of the rest of the world, but it was worth it: Instead of waiting a highly suspenseful week between episodes — and a year between seasons! — I was able to watch episode after episode after episode until it was done. I didn’t have to watch each installment trying to remember all the little minutiae that makes up the complex plotting. And the series ended for me with maximum impact.

By contrast, I decided to follow that by bingeing Arrow, the CW’s interpretation of DC Comics’ Green Arrow character. I got a watch two whole seasons in quick succession, then watch the first two episodes of Season 3 online … then had to start watching the rest of the series at the maximum rate of one episode per week! LIKE A CHUMP! How did we ever watch TV like this???!!! It’s excruciating!

ANYWAY: Twelve years ago tonight! I did a quick “more later” first post, then I wrote out my second post — by hand! Like a CHUMP! — at the laundromat and typed it in the next day.

Again, like that proverbial CHUMP.

Staking my homestead in the nascent social media landscape.

Thank you for reading this, which you didn’t, because nobody does any more. But it’s here. And so am I.


Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Yes, folks, it was ten years ago tonight that I decided that there might be something to this whole blogging think, and that it would be a hoot to try it.

Since I’ve explained it all in detail on previous blogiversaries, here’s an excerpt from my 2005 post on how it all started:

So this is it: It was three years ago that I first set up my Blogger account and wrote a couple of paragraphs.

Then I packed some wet towels into a laundry basket, and drove to the local laundrymat.

What, that’s not what you did after your first blog post?

Seriously, though: Our clothes dryer had stopped drying a couple of days earlier and I was in the process of trying to figure out which parts were defective and replace them; in the meantime, the show must go on, and by “the show”, I mean “my wife’s beauty shop”, and by “go on, I mean “dirty up a lot of towels”, which, it follows logically, have to be washed, and — here’s the crucial point for purposes of this post — dried.

Thus, after I did a quick “Hi-how-are-ya-I’m-new-at-this-blogging-thing”, I did my husbandly duty (no, not that one) and lugged a basket of laundry to the nearest dryers, much as men have done since the time of the caveman.

But don’t worry, my new blogging fever was still burning hot, and I took a legal pad with me, and in spite of almost debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome, I wrote an 800-word blog post, which I typed up the next day and posted.

That’s right: I composed my second blog post on paper — again, just as men have done since the time of the caveman.

Seriously, though: There was something very artsy, very Hemingway, scratching out a post with a brace on my wrist, and on that rickety table, and with the washers and dryers rumbling all around me. I think that intense creative immersion gave me a great jump-start to maintaining a blog; after all, work is easier when the vision is there …

So anyway, here I still am, three whole years after that initial set of primal experiences.

Who would have thought …

And here’s another observation I wrote at the halfway point, five years ago, which sums up the entire thing pretty neatly, plus gives some perfect examples of how blogging digresses into miscellaneous topics:

Today is my Five-Year Blogiversary! Yes, it was on this day in 2002 that I figured I had nothing better to do with my life, so I might as well waste it nattering away about nothing to people who don’t care.

And so far, so good.

Which is to say, I can’t believe I’m still at it.

But since I am, let’s get down to a big old pile of that nattering away about random personal things, just like we used to blog when it was still old-school:

Sure, this blog (and domain) only goes back to April 2005, but my first three years — my Blogging Glory Days! (BGD) — were on Blogger, with mutiple posts every day. Unfortunately, Blogger/Blogspot somehow ate that old blog, but I was able to save all three years, and I’m making it available in a zipped-file format. Just right-click here then click Save-As. A lot of the layout doesn’t work like it should, since you won’t be accessing it on the same server on which the links were written, but it’s still all there.

Ah, those were the days, when not every fourth-grader and their pet lemur had a blog, when blogging was new and exciting, and when everybody, bloggers and civilians too, spent several hours a day checking out other people’s blogs.

Yes, it was a veritable Golden Age of lost productivity.

And I made lots of blogging friends then, many of whom are still around and still checking in here occasionally: Yay Kim, Pamibe, Gigglechick, RennyBA, The Presurfer … but back then I had several dozen blogfriends, all of whom checked out my blog (and I theirs) daily. Everybody was always frantically searching for fresh content to post, and that led to more and more blogs and sites to have to monitor, and more friends, most of whom don’t stop by here any more, just like I don’t stop by there.

But blogging has cooled a lot since that heyday, and most of us are just casually posting now. I guess it’s the nature of red-hot trends to burn brightly until they finally burn out.

So why am I still doing this? Here’s why: It’s a map of my 100 latest visitors, according to SiteMeter:

Pretty cool, huh? Look at that: Two in the Russian Federation! Turkey! Hong Kong! The Philippines! A veritable squadron of visitors from Germany!

People in Egypt are reading about me cooking a big pot of beans for the first time in two years!

Somebody in Taiwan knows about Bristol tearing up my wife’s barley-hull pillow!

My accounts of my pointless goings-on are boring somebody in Italy! And the Czech Republic! Brasil! Israel! Thailand!

There’s somebody checking me out in The Netherlands! (That’s The Presurfer, of course, which doesn’t make it any less amazing.)

Of course, the bulk of my readers are right here in the good old You Ess of Ay: Several wise-guy types in New Jersey and Jamaica, New York, have checked in today, as well as a half dozen or so people in Florida.

And I can’t figure out who is out there in Gouldbusk, Texas, apparently getting here from typing in the URL, and not from a link or search engine. The town is close to where my old college friend Terry lives now, and I think it’s also not far from where The Spook currently resides. (It might also be close to where Mollie is …)

And for that matter: If you’re the person out there in Louth, Ireland, who visits here fairly regularly without hitting a link somehow — leave a comment and let me know how you got here, how you found out about me. If you’re shy, just send me an email at checkerspeech[at]

And for that matter, whoever is out there reading this, leave a comments!

This post wouldn’t be complete without some boring nonsense about my personal life, so here goes:

Today I raked about half the leaves in our back yard; I quit there because I had completely filled up our entire trash tote, as well as a 30-gallon paper leaf bag. Plus, if I overdo the squatting and lifting, I can really overdo those thigh muscles.

We finally got around to watching Casino Royale tonight. Daniel Craig takes some getting used to — he looks like some scruffy version of Kevin Costner that a cat dug up in the back yard — but I like the new Bond character better than all the old ones. This one has to actually work for his pay, and he gets pretty roughed up. This version of Bond is much grittier and down to earth; it just might work out pretty well.

We also watched lots of movies over the Christmas weekend: Die Hard 4 (eh — same old stuff), The Bourne Ultimatum (superhuman guy is three steps ahead of the entire U.S. intelligence community, with lots of formulaic foot- and car-chases in stock urban and exotic locales; this is the epitome of a color-by-numbers movie) , Transformers and Superbad. Those last two were okay, but nothing special.

Oh, and we also watched Ratatouille, which is excellent and hilarious, and which is serious about being about food. We definitely recommend it.

Okay, that’s all for now. Thanks for checking in on my Blogiversary, and please keep checking back.

9 Years!

Friday, December 30th, 2011

9!Nine years ago tonight I took the blogging plunge … and, well, it was an entirely different blogosphere. Back in 2002, blogging was just a stampede of dorks who finally had an outlet for all of our dorky thoughts. We huddled together on sites like Mandarin Design (here’s an archive of the site, since, sadly, Meg passed away in 2006) for HTML and graphics tips, and traded links and idea. Desperate for anything to feed our blogs’ daily cravings for content, we took pictures of our lunches and clothes and lawnmowers and TV screens and neighborhoods (and actually had to hook our cameras up to our computers to transfer the pictures!), and in the process, ended up giving the world a glimpse into our lives. Photo and video sites sprung up to help house some of this content, until finally social networking came into its own. Anybody who wants to do what we were doing in the early days of blogging (which was just a page for general expression) can do it any number of way, but usually just Facebook and Twitter, but also Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, FourSquare, and on and on.

And now, here we are, on the cusp of 2012, and blogging isn’t what it used to be. If somebody these days identifies themselves as a blogger, they’re usually focused on a topic — and an agenda, be it profit or propoganda. The word has become synonymous with Gawker and Gizmodo and Huffington Post — sanitized, soulless, bloodless, professional, churned out several times a day by people you’ll never chat with. The Wild West Frontier of blogging is over, but I like to think that there’s a little of blogger spirit in everybody that posts on Facebook every day.

And even corporations are catching on: The national company I work for started an internal social network a couple of months ago, where each employee can start a “blog” of sorts, so today, on the ninth anniversary of this blog, I started my blog, and thus launched myself into our corporate blogosphere, and immediately felt the familiarity rush over me, like I was once again behind the wheel of a machine that had years ago become an extension of myself.

So look out, Corporate Social Network: The Bryk is back.

And for the future of, I resolve in the coming year to better integrate my blog into my other social sites and media projects (and vice versa). For starters, I think that surely there must be a way to have my Facebook posts automatically publish to WordPress, or the other way around … anybody out there know how to do this? Anyway, I’ll find a way to harness all the energies I’ve got going on, and then … well, I don’t know what then, but I figure that out when it happens.

And in closing, I don’t think I can say it better than I did last year:

Yes, it was eight years ago that I started my blog on Blogspot: I wrote an initial post that was something like, “I started a blog! I’ll post more tomorrow”, then I went to the local laundromat to dry my wife’s beauty shop towels (our dryer was on the fritz). While at the laundry, I hand-wrote a two-page post (while fighting against carpal tunnel syndrome), which I typed in and posted the next day.

It was a humble beginning, but the start of a major phase in my life. That next year, 2003, was when blogging really began to take off (Bloggers were named People of the Year by ABC News), and I was there on the ground floor. I had readers from all over the world, I made several friends among my fellow bloggers, at least four of whom (Gigglechick, RennyBA, Pamibe, Kim Novak) I’m still in contact with (mostly through Facebook), and I even got some measure of recognition for my blogging. More importantly, I felt part of a huge movement that was bringing the power mass communication to everyday people.

Now, though, the Golden Age of blogging is over, replaced by the shallower but more pervasive medium of social networking. I still keep my blog around, partly to anchor what I like to call the Brykmantra Content Network — my videos, photos and music — and partly as a base through which to channel a feed of my social networking posts.

A lot has happened in the eight years since I started blogging: The tumor and its removal, my establishinment of the domain in 2005, the beginning of my ventures into music, the loss of three dogs and the acquisition of the two we have now, my job loss and subsequent new career (such as it is), and, most recemtly, my struggles with a detached retina. And, through it all, I have a record of my thoughts for each event.

And that alone makes it all worth it.

PS: Just in case I don’t get my Facebook page channeled through here, you can check it out here.