Archive for the 'Toil & Trouble' Category

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 BrykMantra.com, 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 brykMantra.com 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.

First Day of Autumn!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Okay, okay, I haven’t posted a real post since July 4th, but it’s one of my favorite days of the year – the day that the hellish Texas summer is given its eviction notice – so I’m going to try to get a wrap-up posted without murdering 30 minutes to do it:

I actually have been posting on my blog — if you’ll look in my sidebar you’ll see my Twitter feed, which also includes my Blip.fm posts, which are also routed through Facebook. Those things are mostly how I blog these days, so if you want to follow me on those, click each of the links in this paragraph.

But keep coming back here too, of course. Not all of my thoughts fit into 140 characters.

All summer they’ve been tearing up the street in front of our house, but it hasn’t been as bad as I’ve feared (like it was on another street 3 years ago) and the end may finally be in sight. Still, it’s been awfully blasted inconvenient.

I made Employee of the Month for August at my job! Not bad, considering I’m just part-time and I’ve only been there 8 months.

The astounding thing is that this is the first job I’ve had where at least some level of management doesn’t have their head up it. Seriously: first job EVER. I was at the point where I didn’t realize it was possible for management NOT to have their head up it.

At this one place I worked once upon a time, the person who kept getting Employee of the Month was the one who was occasionally known to sit on the assistant manager’s lap. I’m not saying there was any connection between those two facts — hey, maybe it was statistical clustering — but I do know that she was lazy, incompetent and tended to spend all day playing on the computer, so …

But I digress: My point is that I’m amazed and thrilled that my skills and my diligent efforts were actually noticed – and shocked that they were rewarded! Wow. A small sliver of Life actually makes sense.

And for the record, I didn’t have to sit on anybody’s lap.

Another reason I haven’t posted much is because I’ve tried to dedicate September to try to get to the next plateau in my music projects. I haven’t been totally successful so far, but I’ve brainstormed more lyrics in the past 30 days than in all the years since I was in a garage band in Lubbock.

And by “brainstormed”, I mean “come up with a lot of stupid crap that I would never want anybody to see or hear”, but if you don’t do that when you’re brainstorming, then you’re not doing it right.

But there is one musical advance I hope to get out of this month: Tomorrow I start my piano lessons! Yes, yes, old dog, new tricks, shut up. I’ve been piddling around on keyboards for some time now, but this will be my first exposure to actual educated training. I’ve found a music teacher that’s looking for some very basic computer lessons, so we’re doing a swap.

I’m still occasionally Djing in Second Life, including tomorrow night at Belar Inshan Social Club. Drop in at 8 Central if you’re in the Metaverse at the time!

Our big screen TV went out in early August, so we were without it for like 3 weeks, but fortunately it was still under extended warranty, and of course we DO have other TVs in the house.

But that was the BIG one.

Anyway it’s back now and we can breathe again.

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OK, that’s all for now, and I ended up slaughtering MORE than 30 minutes.

But now you’re fed. So follow me on the other things, and keep coming back here.