Archive for May 2007

Volcanoes and smouldering earth

Thursday, 31st May 2007. Filed in PhotographyNo Comments »

A Whole New World

Friday, 18th May 2007. Filed in Cross-training2 Comments »

Readers who are not new to the blog, or to me, know the troubles I have with my feet. They are sore, sweaty, curly-toed beasts. They blister and ache, but I have vowed to accept them as they are. But still, they are narrow. So, so hard-to-find-shoes-that-fit-me-correctly long and narrow. Today, however, was a happy day. In my first (yes there was more than one) trip to REI, I had (nearly) one thing in mind: investigate insoles for my new hiking shoes because my feet are, you guessed it, So. Darn. Narrow.

I spoke with Bob. Bob at REI Mountain View. He made the simplest suggestion, but I feel as if a whole new world has opened up. His tip: Not only can I use Superfeet, but I can insert them over the insoles already inside the shoes for extra, extra bulk. Oh. My. God. Why has nobody told me this before? It’s amazing! I feel like dancing! Or singing from the rooftops sickly sweet, wide-eyed Disney tunes.

I tested this trick out up at Russian Ridge this afternoon with one of my best buddies and hiker extraordinaire. I am pretty darn pleased. We’ll see how it fares in the wilds of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, but I am optimistic. Seriously folks, a whole new world.

My love/hate relationship with pollen

Friday, 18th May 2007. Filed in Random foliageNo Comments »

I appreciate pollen and its role in keeping the earth thriving with plants, trees, grasses, fruits, vegetables. Flowers. Lots and lots of intricate, beautiful flowers. And let’s not forget the good ol’ Musa acuminata, progenitor of crunchy ‘nanas everywhere.

Today, I watched a bee climb into a poppy with a big orange glob of pollen stuck to its back. It made me happy to see nature in action. But, my eyes have just reminded me. It has been three years since they have been immersed in the Californian springtime in all its hayfever-y, big, orange globular pollen-y, allegric reaction-y glory. (Despite massive fields of oilseed rape painting the English countryside bright yellow, I haven’t had many problems with allergies this year.) 

My eyes and pollen, they don’t get on.

Clearly.

Ka-BOOM!

Wednesday, 16th May 2007. Filed in Photography1 Comment »
 
 
 

 

I can fly, I can fly, I can fly!

Wednesday, 16th May 2007. Filed in Cross-training, Photography1 Comment »

“Just keep me where the light is”

Tuesday, 8th May 2007. Filed in 'Nana in training, Running3 Comments »

I will be the first to admit, I’ve fallen off the wagon. Gravity has laughed in the face of high hope and pulled me back down to the level of nearly lazy. I wish I could say it was a graceful swan dive from the cart of good intention. But, knowing me and my inability to leap elegantly, it probably was more like a plummet with a thud. Unless, of course, grace wraps itself in the package of an avocado, jalapeño, monterey jack cheeseburger (where do the restaurants here get jack cheese?!) and fries (that weren’t even very good but I ate them anyway), washed down with a chocolate milkshake and a mostly sedentary holiday weekend. Then, I’d have grace down.

Mission: Find another event to keep me exercising like I should
Launch: Operation Find New Event
Status: Opening Active Europe website

Another one for the books…

Monday, 7th May 2007. Filed in Random foliageNo Comments »

She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.”

Why yes, yes she did.

Sigh.

Patient with the paparazzi

Saturday, 5th May 2007. Filed in Photography1 Comment »
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A day in the life: Good morning!

Saturday, 5th May 2007. Filed in Random foliage2 Comments »

No one cares what you had for lunch today. Well actually, on this fine Cinco de Mayo, the folks at Flickr do. Or, they do if the portrayal of your chili cheese nachos is an artfully composed image that embodies the spirit and beauty of today’s global community. I believe it’s possible to rock the nachos theme. Maybe not with my eye behind the shutter, but we’ll see. Not that I expect to find a decent set of nachos here to work with. Yeah, like it’ll be the chips’ fault. Sure.

To get the juices flowing, I leave you with a carefully considered photograph of my fast-breaking Cheerios. Let the day begin!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Um, so what, exactly, is it you people want?

Friday, 4th May 2007. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

There is intriguing stuff going on right now at Defective Yeti. The post itself isn’t where the action’s happening, though. It’s the string of comments the post has provoked. I wouldn’t have bothered to look at them (there’s oh so many things I should be doing right now), except there were 58 comments. I figured to pass could mean missing out on something. And that would be unfortunate.

It seems one of Defective Yeti’s blog posts was printed in a book, that book is being used in a college English class, and many students have visited the post (or a repost of the original post) and are commenting. It is a bit heated. It seems fraught with misunderstandings, snap judgments and hurt feelings. With humor thrown in, apparently in all the wrong places. (But, I laughed.) It’s a little bit “us and them”. But, it made me think about blogging, blog commenting and how these things seem to work.

It’s interesting to see that many people began referring to the students as kids, seemingly based on the fact that they are students (not always true) and the lack of proper grammar, originality, insight, and wit in their comments (I know plenty of adults who lack proper grammar, originality, insight, and wit): Hi, we had to read this book for school, now I have a blog, come visit it. To some, this could give the impression they are immature, shallow, straight from the MySpace, baby. Sparky, 27, Planet Earth, wants to be your friend: hi, how’s your ass 2day? Hmmm, um, my ass is great. Boot-i-licious, in fact, if I do say so myself. Thanks for asking. Click, DENY! Your CV hits the recycling bin before you can even dream the word “interview” and the chance to prove you’ve got what it takes. (And can do it better than CrAzY 4U, 29, Anytown U.S.A. , who sadly, despite the 1980s Madonna reference, did not make the coveted top 8; however, did make it to the ranks of “you have 11,478 friends” because she used the words “free”, “smelly cheese” and “72% cocoa” in her friend request.)

At first, that is what I saw too. But I kept reading the comments because I was amused and intrigued by what was happening. And then as I read more comments, I started to consider it from another angle, an angle I know all too well. The angle to which every new blogger can relate. The fresh, eager, puppy dog-eyed hope that today your blog will get more than the two hits from your mother and your best friend. (Wave. Hi Mom! Not that you don’t count or anything…) That you have readers and they like what you provide. You will start to believe in yourself, to feel that what you write amuses people, touches people, makes people think. If you could just get people to your blog they would see how entertaining, touching, thought-provoking you can be. And then the readers would come back. And they’d comment. And then you too would become enmeshed in the blogosphere, the crazy ba-jillion-way street of continuous, rapid-fire communication. Facts, opinions, knowledge, random oddities, information, junk, input, output, up, down, action, reaction. Community. Of sorts.

Unfortunately, certain straight-forwardness looks like spam. And we all hate spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam…The trick, it seems to me,* is to know how to ask someone to come visit your blog without asking. To give a reason, not just a web address. A spark of promise, not just a phone number. One commenter suggested that if the critics were to actually visit the blogs, we might find something worth reading. I see this every time I visit Technorati: “71 million blogs, some of them have to be good.” True. The chances are pretty high some of them are good. But who has time to slog through all 71 million to find the two that would make daily life worth living? Not me. There’s so much out there, I’ve come quickly to depend on hints in posts or comments to determine what I keep in the Reader and what I chuck back out to cyberspace.

If one were to write a deeply moving, emotionally gripping post about the death of his pet ant Tommy, who had been with him through the thick and thin of it all (and he was serious and I knew it), a comment stating, “ur 2 hot. c u l8er” probably wouldn’t find me clicking over to C U l8er’s blog. Even if C U l8er threw in the apostrophe, signaling that he recognized there’s a difference between “your” and “you’re”. No, not even if I saw it was placed correctly. Okay, well maybe if I saw it was placed correctly.

But, if C U l8er’s comment showed he had read the post and it piqued my interest (oh my god, I once knew a guy who had a pet ant named Tommy too, he used to keep it in his pocket while headstanding on the hi-wire of Leapin’ Larry’s Leptoceratops three ring circus), it may garner a hit or two. Perhaps even a regular reader if it continued to amuse me.

The thing is Sparky, 27, Planet Earth could actually be a really great person. You scoff, but who knows? Someone must love him and want to be his friend. (Maybe only his mom, but she’s someone.) But, I’ll never know. Same with blog traffic. It all seems to be in the approach. Say something relevant, humorous, deep, witty, or simply odd (intriguing odd, but not scary odd– good luck navigating that!) and you’re in. And then deliver! Give the people what they want! And keep ‘em coming back for more. Oh, the flair! (I wish I had it…)

*This is all from observation, by the way. My actual experience is mighty limited. Two days ago, I was overjoyed to see my blog had 26 hits. Even though I suspect Crunchy husband got clicky with his mouse to make me feel more loved. I’m not a big commenter. So there you go.