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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

@ The Reader - It's About This Blogging Thing!

I've been known to repeat myself many times. And a latter day (sorry, Kass) oft-heard blurt is, "Blogging is the damnedest thing I've ever done!" Looking at various blogger profiles, I can easily see that I came to it late. When I was asked, in person, to check out someone's blog, I wasn't sure I'd know how to go about it. But I'm not a woman who enjoys looking anything other than hip, slick and cool, so I gave it a whirl. Hmmmm . . . OK, my friend writes something, puts it up and people make comments to him, which he either does or does not allow to appear. I made some comments and he allowed them in. I clicked on links found on his other blog, and learned about some other bloggers. From their blogs, I went to others, and I'm pretty sure that's how it goes for most of us. It took about 14 seconds for me to know I wanted to have a blog of my own. I love to write and I have a thing or two to say.

Over past weeks, many of us have asked questions about how certain things should be done in the blogosphere or what is the etiquette or how does one edit in html or how does one manage photos and images. I probably have far more questions than answers, and I also have some observations to make. So it was my hope that this post would generate some buzz between us. Perhaps a 12 Step Program & Training Seminar for blogging addicts?

"How is it done?" I asked. I can do many things on a computer - I am far more skilled than the sum of my parts might suggest - but my initial impression of blogging was that one would need to have access to and knowledge of all manner of graphics and other things I know nothing about. Not so! "There are a myriad of templates and gadgets. Investigate it!" I was told. I have some experience developing and managing some websites. "Is it similar to using DreamWeaver to build a website?" "Much simpler," he told me. "Investigate it!" Finally I did. Creating the thing took no time at all once I landed on the way I'd like to present myself and what I had to say to the world. I've been flexible about adding certain elements or removing them as suits my whim. Some things I put up on Day One and they will remain so placed until I blog no more - "My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy" comes to mind. But then I'd like to have that tattooed on my person so I could refer to it many times daily.

Photo or no? I was extremely dicey about showing myself at the start, and to the left, you see the original portrait of LimesNow. It is a good, colorful image that projects many things about the actual me. I liked it. It felt comfortable to me, whereas showing my face made me feel very uncomfortable.

To moderate or not moderate or all things in moderation? I did from the start and I still do. When I started my blog, I felt certain I would draw comments from someone I didn't want to communicate with privately or publicly. This blogger had "picked me off" a time or two in blog comments and I didn't care for it. She did appear on my blog quite soon. By then, however, I was a pretty sturdy blogger and I have always let the comments in. I called her out publicly on my blog when I felt she was taking some potshots at me and through a very circuitous route, we have become fast friends. Life is twisty. All roads are not straight and narrow. I can state unequivocally I have only failed to publish two comments, both within the past 2 weeks, both from Kass. It may strike the reader as odd that I'd disallow anything Kass had to say, but these comments took up some difficult subjects. Kass knew I wouldn't publish her words. She said what she had to say and pointed me to her e-mail link in her Profile. That's where we deal with things that do not need to be shown the light of day.

What if I wrote for the blog and nobody noticed? (If Limes is talking in the forest and nobody's there . . . . ) It didn't happen that way. By the time of my first post, I'd been following some bloggers for awhile, commenting, interacting. When I finally said, "I've put up my first post, if you'd like to stop by," I was warmly welcomed. It felt nice. I've tried to welcome other new bloggers I become aware of - don't we all want to be appreciated? And I learned quickly and easily, that this is rather like mingling at a party. Ask a question or make an observation. See if there is any energy that flows between yourself and the other blogger. Go from there and always keep investigating more blogs to expand your circle of 'tend friends. A very humbling observation: from time to time I've written a piece that actually satisfied me - I've felt the writing was good, the subject was interesting . . . . and it never drew a comment. It puts one in one's place. Keeps one from getting a little too . . .

Photo or no redux? After some time, I wanted to put my face up. I am a woman who does not particularly like seeing herself in photos, but I was suddenly rabid to get a right-now, up-to-date picture of myself on that blog and as my icon. I'd made 'tend friends by now. I could see them, and I wanted them to see me. It might be fair to say I pestered without mercy until I was photographed repeatedly. Did the posting of my portrait cause the world to be a more beautiful place? Of course not! It just put a face with the words. I will say this, however. At the beginning, my profile was being viewed at a slow, steady pace, probably like most everyone else has experienced. One's friends, family and followers take a look and drift away. The number rises. The moment, seemingly, I put my photograph up, the number of views became exponential. It made me feel a little unnerved at the start. Rather like, "Oh, I was right. One doesn't want one's face all over the internet." I left it there. I've posted many more views of my real self over time. I'm OK with it. It's OK to do. Kass, I told you that in this most recent set of photos, I resemble your death mask tissue dispenser. All I need is the little tail of white tissue protruding from my nostril.

What is appropriate behavior? When I was nailed with words in some commentary, I was stung and asked the blogger, "Hey, is that OK to do? I was commenting on your writing. Now she's commenting on me! I don't care for it." He replied that he probably needed to manage the tone of his blog by deciding what comments to allow or disallow. Later, I watched in dismay as a couple of miscreants attacked and counterattacked Erin O'Brien, one of my favored bloggers. She was not moderating comments at the time. The cretins had plenty of things to say. I was following closely that day and finally had to ring in. The morons immediately began to attack me, but Erin sidled up and asked me if I had her back and if I'd keep at it with her. I did. It was a hilarious day of contention, but it made me feel a little unsettled. I was glad I lived in the west, maybe 2,000 miles away.

How do we interact if we're not directly commenting back and forth, or if one of us "left the room" for awhile? I've more recently interacted with a couple of bloggers who will comment on a post - any post - if they want to wave their arms to attract one's attention. I'm OK with that. The comment drops in and I can tell that someone wants to discuss something. Maybe their comment shows up as not related to anything in the post, but it is an attention grabber. Of course, we could all put e-mail links on our Profiles and make life easy. No, mine doesn't have one. ;~{} Connecting through Google Friends would also work. There are a number of ways.

The care and keeping of followers: Admit it! When Blogger screws up and all your followers disappear, you get a twinge, don't you? Kirk Jusko unveils his followers with a welcoming blog post. Once another blogger and I lost a mutual follower at the same time on the same day and we both wondered, "What did I do?" We still don't know. And the follower still follows each of us and comments from time to time. He just is no longer "declared". Conversely, when Erin O'Brien's was designated a Blog of Note, she immediately was slammed by more than 550 new followers, but now it's been a little minute and they drop off in ones and twos. And is it only me, or does everyone have pictures of some followers who've "declared" but never made one comment and you don't know whether they actually look at your blog or not? And one can always ponder why one had two followers for months and then gained 16 in a week.

But you don't really know those people! A pragmatist in my daily life says, "Come on, Limes, you don't know who these people are!" But I do. We read one another's words and exchange comments, and there often occurs a connection. How could I have known Tag must be ill and wasn't behaving in his usual ways if I didn't know him? How would he know to say he understood my character if he didn't know me? How could Kass have put her finger on so many things in so little time if she didn't know several of us who interact? How could I have divined what ailed a blogger I follow (a medical condition) if I didn't know at least a part of him? I've always felt that Doozyanner keyed in to some parts of my tapestry about the second time we interacted. We "know" each other in certain ways. Perhaps, in some ways, this virtual knowing is preferrable to actual knowing. We may only "get" isolated elements of a fellow blogger, but I believe I'd like to know about and bond to some narrow slice of a person that I really enjoy rather than deal with the whole ball of wax but I don't care for 85% of it. I guess I'd make an argument for making small connections wherever they are true.

Do I post my real name? This is the last hold out for me, dear readers. At the start, I was equally as squeamish about putting out my name as I was about putting out my face. Once I wrote a post and purposely put my name in it, but the sentence that contained it was buried by many other sentences. One sharp follower caught it and commented to me about it. Two separate commenters used my name when commenting to the one particular post - that was OK, by then. I let the comments in. I've been less than vigilant about keeping the name of my company out of pictures, so some readers have looked up the company website and figured out both my name and at least one way to reach me on e-mail - at work. I'm still just a little hesitant to openly use my real name, even though using some blogger tongue-in-cheek name can cause odd things to happen. Kass and I had become friends and started to e-mail. I said, "OK, now you know my name is _____." She was startled. "I can't get used to that being your name." But it is. She asked if no one actually calls me Limes. No one does, except when giving me the business about my blog.

Peeping - politically correct or not? I've seen a lot of bloggers write that they feel a little guilty when they look at someone's blog and fail to comment or leave any trace of themselves. I'm not sure I think that's a crime. Maybe one looked and was not struck to say anything. Maybe what one would have said would have been hurtful or insulting. I try to keep in the front of my brain that I am writing in a public forum. My words and images are there for anyone to see. So far that's been OK for me. I'm baffled from time to time when someone has obviously looked at my blog, picked up something I've written about and then appears in other blogs I follow, using my words or ideas, but I can't prevent it. I don't lose a lot of sleep over it.

And lastly, YouTube or no YouTube? I've only recently started to put in music. I think YouTube is a real mixed bag of stuff. Some of the quality is so poor, I'm put off to think I'd put that in my blog so that the reader, too, could suffer poor video or a poor rendition of a song. And don't start me on the YouTube offerings that feature a great song with one still picture to stare at for 4 or 5 or 7 minutes. I guess I'd have to say I'll only present YouTube if I think the quality is top shelf. You don't need me to serve up less than wonderful entertainment!

So, bloggers, please ring in! What are the things about blogging that have baffled or amused you, frustrated or charmed you? From whom do you learn things, and who makes you laugh? Are we getting something meaningful from this or are we as bad as adolescent electronic game players who become absorbed by their devices? And please, do you mean to tell me I'm the only blogger who actually sits at the dinner table and asks, "Did you check out Tree today? How'd you like Tag's musical offerings? Erin made me laugh out loud. Kass gave me an idea for redoing that plunger device left over from when my French press cracked." I get responses, too. They show me I'm not the only one who reads a blog or two.

Photo credit for the shot of LimesRightNow: J.D. Morehouse

In my ears right now: I've always loved the song. I think Mr. Letitbleed put together a nice group of photos from their earliest days up until today. I hope you enjoy it. My little parakeets and I sure do!

Something that charmed me: I charmed me! I took a call from a customer this afternoon. He needed a patch repair and he needed it before Saturday, because on Saturday, the national chain of carpet cleaners was coming in to clean his carpet. He was concerned whether our patch repair would be good to go for a Saturday cleaning, would he need to wait longer than that, etc. Stole that $500 job from that national chain of carpet cleaners. I charmed that man, told him exactly why he'd get better service from us, and I made him mine. We needed to book that job today!


  1. Wonderful post Limes. I've been blogging for five years and I've got a few readers that have been with me virtually the whole time and a few others for two or three years. Their warmth and loyalty has surpassed that of many of my 'real friends' and I have been forever grateful for their presence in my life.

  2. Limes, I've been mulling over the whole "followers" issue lately and have been mentally writing a blog about it. You beat me to the punch. What does it mean, really, to follow someone's blog? I "follow" yours which means that my smiling face is up the corner, but...I don't get an email notification when you post something new. I don't know three of the five folks who "follow" me. They've never commented. I've looked at their blogs and felt no connection. And what about Twitter? I signed up for it months ago, then decided it wasn't for me. (Who has time for a running commentary on their every move?? Who wants to read that??) Yet almost daily I get an email saying that so-and-so is now following me on Twitter! Swell, I say. Knock yourself out! Thanks for the post. Now I don't have to blog about it myself. ha

  3. Hey, Hon ~ I was glad to see you board the bus, because it's been quiet over at your place for a few days. You're right, Tree! Some of what we get on here exceeds what we get from those who know ALL of our ins and outs. I'm grateful, as well. I've been rather empty a long time. I needed to have a little fulfillment and I'm getting it. Maybe that's as good as it gets. <3

  4. I just wrote a really long comment and got a message that there was an error and now it's lost. I admit I'm a blogger stalker. I am fascinated with certain blogs that I never leave a comment on. My daughter once met a professional dog-walker who became obsessed with her. We call her the dog-walker-stalker-blogger.

    I regularly follow several of your followers, but have never officially clicked the 'follow' button. Do you think they mind?
    WV= rheateda - rheateda tires are cheaper than new ones.

    Well, you really put it out there this time, girl. This blogging thing is excellant practice in how to handle rejection, criticism and sometimes, PRAISE.

  5. Oh, and YES, that picture does look like my death mask tissue dispenser.
    WV= entintel - entintel I notify otherwise, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

  6. {Blush} Looks like I was stumbling as I let comments in and tried to comment back. So the "Hey, Hon" is @ Tree.

    @Doozyanner ~ I've tried to activate the e-mail notifications and it seems to me to be another of Blogger's shortcomings. It works when it works and not when it doesn't. Also, we were talking about that last weekend and I'm unwilling to launch a browser on the BlackBerry frequently, which is what I'm told I need to do to to keep the notification thing active. Although you all know I spend a lot of time in front of a computer AND love my BlackBerry, I find I don't want to use that little keyboard and put my nose right up to the tiny screen to conduct my business. At lesat not very often.

    Dooz, I don't get the Twitter thing OR Facebook. Those don't compute with me. We already know I am/was kind of squeamish about sticking my face out there. Then my boss put pics of me on his Facebook and I started to get notifications of people wanting to say hello, etc. I don't know ~ it doesn't draw me. Twitter! How could I express anything in 140 characters or less?

    @ Kass-erole ~ This week I have had that Blogger "error" message more times than I want to tell it. Grrr. I also get unhappy when I write a long post, get ready to publish, and it tells me AutoSave failed and I may lose everything. Yes, I figure out ways to save my stuff. But I am a cranky woman who likes things that WORK.

    I got a comment one time from a reader I don't know. The person (I didn't know whether male, female or whatever) went on and on about the colors and layout of my blog and how appealing it is to the eye. Hmmm, OK. Thank you. The reader invited me to visit their blog, so I did. I'm not sure why a man in Florida who sells heavy construction equipment landed on my blog or what he thought I'd enjoy about his, the myriad of picture of backhoes and bulldozers notwithstanding, but I was pleasant and we've never clicked again. I wonder what made him the pink blog critic/expert of the USA?

    You are right, Kass! When we do this, we open ourselves up to all manner of human interaction. It's a little risky. I like it. I'm sturdy. I've run across some people who actually have frightened me and I've run across people I'd buy a ticket to go visit. Today!

    TOLD you I looked like that death mask!

  7. This probably won't be my only post as there's a lot of ground to cover, but, for now, some quick thoughts.

    How...done?--I originally logged into Blogger merely to READ blogs. Someone had recommended it to me. However, soon as I logged in, I saw an invitation to start a blog. As a lifelong frustrated writer/cartoonist/movie director/philosopher/lyricist/polemicist/sage I couldn't resist. And I had been on the Internet for the first time in my life a mere two weeks earlier.

    Photo...no?--As you know, I don't own a computer. I do it all at the public library. There is a picture of me with my nephew on my Facebook page. My sister somehow put it there. I imagine I can probably transfer it to my blog if I want, but I just don't feel like figuring out how it's done. Hey, just writing a blog is hard enough!

    To...moderation--My policy is if someone wants to disagree with my views, they can, and I won't erase it, as long as they refrain from calling me @#$#%^&*(*)&. If they can't refrain from calling me a@#$%^&*(*)&, then what they say goes driectly to that great comment box in the sky. By the way, the word verification device has nothing to do with abusive comments. Its' purpose is to keep out spam. You need a lot of traffic before the spammers will even notice you're alive.

    What...nobody noticed--I spent the first year
    of my blog basically talking to myself. Now I know I talk to at least seven people. The way to build an audience, of course, is by leaving comments on other people's blogs, and hoping others try the link. We all play that game.

    Photo...redux--Sorry, Limes, but I'm not sure why you addressed that subject twice.

    What...behavior--I think you also addressed this subject twice, but that's all right, I have something else to add. I know of one liberal blogger who will often leave comments on right-wing blogs knowing full well that he or she will be exposed to abusive bahavior in the process. The right-wingers will then follow that blogger to his or her very liberal blog, and leave some abusive comments there! Although standing up for what you believe in is always an admirable trait, that's carrying it to masochistic extremes.

    How do...for awhile--You're not talking about me, are you?

    The care...followers--Thanks for the free publicity, Limes, but that's really kind of a gimmicky thing that I do. If I were to land followers by the dozens on a weekly basis, I probably wouldn't do it. My fingers would fall off.

    But...those people--So what? It's not like I'm inviting anyone over my house for tea. Online, I can be a loner AND sociable. Who'da thunk?

    Do...real name--I use my real name, but that's because I'm a raving egomaniac. If you don't happen to be one of those, it's probably not a good idea.

    Peeping...not--I wouldn't sweat someone not commenting. They may not have an opinion on that particular post, or they don't feel they're good enough writers, or they have just enough time to read, and that's about it. If someone DOES leave a comment, I think you should aknowledge it, unless you're swamped with visitors. Even then, try to aknowledge them on least a semi-regular basis.

    And...YouTube--Every once in a great while I provide a link to YouTube, such as on Thanksgiving when I wanted to draw people's attention to a very funny WKRP in Cincinnatti episode. But, for the most part, I'm a blogger, not a network exec.

    That's all I have to say for the moment. You may all wake up your sleepy heads.

  8. @ Kirk, so many things you said repeat how it was for me. As soon as I SAW a blog I wanted to HAVE a blog. Also a writer wannabe all my life.

    Photo redux was because at first I was adamantly opposed and then I gor very eager to post one. Just a complete switch up.

    Re: the moderation thing. I was concerned about someone saying intensely personal things about me that don't need to be planted on the internet, even if my immediate reply was "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

    Re: the "baiting", e.g., liberals and conservatives planting comments to invite chaos - you and I have both watched it happen in the same place.

    No, I don't believe I've known you to be a "hand waver" across posts, a practice I have no problem with anyway.

    And you made me roll with the WKRP - I've remembered that for years!

    Glad you stopped by, Kirk. I'm wide awake!

  9. I was just reading another person's comment. If you become a follower, and have your own blog, the post of the person you're following should appear at the bottome of your "Dashboard" page. At least it does on mine. There's also a "Google Reader" somewhere that can be switched on.

  10. @ Kirk - agreed. Both of those things are true. And Google Friend Connect, as well.

  11. To date, I've been a lurker here, but I thought it was time I declared my interest, especially on reading this wonderful post.

    It's similar to my experience and the questions that you raise are certainly questions that have vexed me.


  12. Hi, Elisabeth, it's nice to have an Australian aboard. Thanks for your comments. I'll be visint you at your place, too.

  13. thanks for this. all your posts are thought-provoking. this one engendered a train of thought that pulled into this station: why do we blog, really? what do we want out of it? where will it take us? and will we be there by next week?
    the mechanics of blogging, setting, format, etc, are the means by which we create what we want to have happen. so what's our intention?
    you knew right away that you wanted a blog. it took me weeks of hemming, hawing, gulping and trembling in my toe socks before i worked up the courage. expose my attempts at photography and writing? aaack! well.
    not many things in life generate fear for me like this one did. so i used it to clear the fear. blogging as a path to spiritual development! who knew?
    there's more, but this is long enough!
    thanks for putting it out there-you've got guts galore!

  14. Thanks for boarding my bus, SOMH. I'm glad you commented. I must say, your questions are going to cause me to do another post. First, I don't have all the answers to your very good questions. I don't even have all of my OWN answers to your very good questions. So we need the others to ring in. I'll start that piece soon, and try to land on my own answers to present in the post.

    You mention you had trepidation vs. the fact that I knew I wanted a blog immediately. I DID (want it)! That doesn't mean it didn't scare me. We're all scared of different things and to different degrees. I'm OK with writing and with a microphone - those things don't make me uncomfortable because I've presented in those ways for decades. Now get to what I'm going to say in writing or into a microphone ~ ~ oh. That can be dicey for me.

    I'm not all that gutsy, SOMH. I have lived a life ruled by fear. I'm barely poking my head out of the cave right now. I have far to go.

  15. there is not a person on the planet whose life has not, in some way, been shaped by fear. you acknowledge that. that takes guts. and you work on it. that takes guts. sounds gutsy to me.

  16. @ SOMH ~ I agree with you - fear colors every one of us. I don't think of myself as gutsy, but then I don't credit myself with (probably) many good things that I am. Since I don't know what else to say, I think I'll simply say "thank you" and go think about gutsy for awhile.