Begging The Question

Saturday, August 28, 2004

So...
**Why did you get into blogging in the first place?
I was an avid reader of a few blogs, and thought it was something I'd enjoy (and hopefully that people would enjoy reading).

Really, though, I figured that if I wrote some of my ramblings down, I'd stop annoying my friends so much. (Wrong about that, as it happens.)

**What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you?
The best part about blogging is that it's fun. I recognize how vague that sounds, but really, I blog because I enjoy it, not for commercial interests or to find a girlfriend or to add to the discourse on foreign policy or to remind the whole world how many supermodels want to date me. (That I'm nonetheless able to accomplish that last one is merely a happy coincidence.)

My least favorite aspect is the feeling that I'm letting someone down when I don't post or when my posting is hurried and not up to the bare posting standards to which I'd prefer to adhere.

This has especially been the case this summer. It started with me trying to get as much golf and fun in before bore down for bar study, then I had the bar exam, and since then I've been trying to play as much golf as humanly possible (among other things) before my job starts in a few weeks. During those few months, though, I've posted less than my normal high rate, and often of a diminished quality.

I'm fortunate to have built up a regular readership -- judging my the comments, an excellent readership -- and I'd like to keep doing whatever brought them to SMP? in the first place and kept them coming back.

**Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one?
I use pMachine, a php/mysql-based posting system. I decided on it because (a) I had trouble installing MT on my server, and (b) I already knew some php so I figured it would be easier to play with the code.

PS - I hate Blogger.

**Do you have comments on your blog, and why? If not, do you see your blog as a monologue, or still a dialogue between you and readers (and how do you accomplish that without comments), or some other dynamic? Do comments work? In other words, do they add anything to your blog, and if so, what? Would you rather not blog than have a blog with/without comments (whichever is the opposite of what you have now)? Is the decision about comments that crucial to your blog experience?
I have have always had comments on my blog. I don't know that they're crucial to the success of my site, but I consider them crucial to my enjoyment of SMP?.

As I mentioned, I'm fortunate to have a kick-ass readership, and I love hearing what they have to say about something I post. Most of my posts are just me riffing on something, and it's fun to have likeminded people get the joke and pick up where I leave off.

Also, you can learn a lot from commenters, or at least I do from mine.

I actually view my blog as monologue-ish, but in the sense that I'm the only one posting but that great discussion follows.

I would blog even if I couldn't use comments, but it wouldn't be as fun. When I've guest-blogged at sites without comments (e.g., Crescat), I've felt that I was missing out on great comments.

Finally, note that I enjoy leaving comments at other blogs.

**How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? How useful do you find them, and is there some piece of information about your readers that you'd like to have but none of these offer? Have your readership numbers moved in a way you expected? Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog? Do you post with readership in mind? In other words, do you write about something because you think other blogs will link to it, for example?

Let's take these in order:

-I care a bit about readership, in the sense that I greatly value my readers and commenters. I'd blog if 10 people read the site (and my readership started with about 3 friends), but it's more fun to blog for several hundred.
-I'm not obsessive about number of visitors, which is to say I check it every week or two. I'm a little more attentive to referrer logs, because I want to know if someone's linking to a post of mine. Sometimes I'll look at my referrers 3 times a day; other times, 3 times a week. It's sporadic, and based wholly on whether I happen to remember that I want to check my referrers.
-I use SiteMeter to look at traffic, and don't use Technocrati or TTLB. I have my own internal referral program to check referrers.
-My readership numbers have risen pretty steadily in my 20 months of blogging, which is to be expected as more people discover blogs and SMP?.
-I occasionally will send something to another blogger if I think they'll find it interesting (personally). If they want to blog about it, so be it, but that's not why I'm sending it.
-I don't campaign for my site in comments sections, other than an occasional "Hey, I posted something on this topic, so here it is..." or the like.
-I don't post specifically with readership or increasing traffic in mind, other than the occasional post querying my readership on a particular question.


**Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? (For example, I am reluctant to post on things that might reveal my location or employer, but I am also reluctant to post on some sports topics and some political topics because I fear they will lead to insoluable and insipid arguments. But sometimes I have things to say about these topics, even if I don't post them. There are also topics I would like to know more about, but don't want to reveal my lack of knowledge by posting.) Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it?

Taking the last part first, I occasionally post on something because it's in the public conscience (as opposed to merely the blogospheric conscience). I think that whole "everyone's talking about it so I have to" phenomenon is a bit overdone. A sentiment I captured in one of my first posts.

As for what I'd like to post about but don't, there's not much. At her request, I keep blogging about my girlfriend to a minimum, or at least within a range and manner that she's comfortable with. My job starts in a few weeks, and I have no idea whether I'll want to blog about it, but I won't be, at least not with specifics. (I will be working, so I don't mind saying, "At work today, someone asked me whether I had seen any good movies lately. ... In conclusion, Steven Seagal sucks," but I won't be posting things like, "So I'm writing this memo, and the partner's like, 'Dude, this sucks,' and I'm like, 'Dude, you're a wanker,' and he's all like, 'You're fired,' and I'm all like, 'I'm gonna kick you in the nuts.'")

**What is the strangest web search that led to your blog?

Man, there are so many weird ones. I get some seriously worrisome searches that include the word "poon." I just looked and saw "sissy boys and gymnastics pics." Jeez. To me, the funniest searches are the ones that make you think, "...and how the hell did that lead them to my site?!" -- and I think that qualifies.

Ah, here's a good candidate.

(Of course, now and then, I gun specifically for particular web searches.)

**Do you have a blog-crush, and if so, on whom?

No. Well, I love me, does that count?

**Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? This is your chance for a shout-out for a deserving blog.

I've been stumping for my main man Plainsman for some time now. He's one of the best out there.

Also, not to state the obvious, but the blogs on my blogroll are there for a reason: because I think they're worth reading.

**On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? (Feel free to avoid this one, but I'm curious about it. Or maybe I'm just looking for naked emporers or something.)

I think The Volokh Conspiracy is now overrated, because I think it's severely declined in quality over the past several months.

I also think Instapundit is WAY overrated. The guy's a schmuck, and if you want right-leaning commentary, there are a million better places to find it.

**Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated?

My blogroll's just a bunch of blogs I think are worth reading. I use it just to provide links to my readers. I have a smaller list of blogs that I read every day, kept in a bookmarks folder in Internet Explorer.

I update about once every one or two months. Usually I'll be reading a blog I like, and then notice that it's not in my blogroll. Since I don't use the blogroll to read blogs, this happens somewhat often. (Perfect example was my failure to add Soupie until after I wrote this post! Not sure how I managed not to notice he wasn't there, but there's your example.)


**Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how?

A lot of people I know read the blog. People find it through web searching my name (I'm only semi-anonymous!), by checking out my domain name and clicking through (since I use it for email too), or because I told them about it. I would say -- and this is a rough guess -- about 20-35 people I know read it daily.

I wouldn't change my content based on readership.* My brother once wisely explained that you should "never write anything in an email that you wouldn't be comfortable telling to the entire world." I think that's even more true for a blog, and a good guide.

I would be surprised to find out that people I know think that my blog persona differs from my real-life persona, since I think of SMP? as just me channeled into a blog, but without the nudity.

*Except for that stuff I said about Fabio. I wouldn't say that if I thought he read my blog.

**Do you know any other bloggers? Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who?

Other than a person or two out there, I don't really know any bloggers. I do instant message regularly with one or two, and email regularly with others. I hope to meet several long-time blogging aquaintances at some point.

**What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)?

Pass. Too serious. Involves too much thinking.

(Commerical blogs will increase, and hopefully political blogs will have an impact on big journalism. I think blogs will look pretty different in 10 years, but that we won't notice the evolution as it's happening.)

**Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years?

Assuming none of my future employers ask me to stop, and assuming I get a computer in jail, I expect to blog as long as it's fun. Which should continue for a while.






Tricktickler Larry Slick in the hizzy
I feel as though I ought to step up to the plate and actually guest blog, per my temporary position here. Thankfully, someone (not me for once) got too drunk to stand by 11 PM, and thus I am home early on a Friday night with nothing else to do.

Why did you get into blogging in the first place? I don't exactly recall the rationale. It was May of 03, very close to the time I graduated, that I first started blogging. I think blogging was something I wanted to try, and law school simply gave me an obvious topic to start with.

Best aspects of blogging Instant communication. The ability to know what is going on in someone's life, or have someone else know what is going on in your life, depends on the click of a button.

Worst aspects of blogging Fear of being "found out" and outed in a major way with people I know.

Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one? Blogger. It's the default system. Status quo at this point.

Do you have commonets on your blog and why? Yes, I have comments. I have them because they are what make blogging fun. It's a form of interaction.

Do comments work? For my blog they do. For a widely read blog that took positions on controversial topics, I'm not sure they would work. In those situations, comments can quickly degenerate into flame wars, which get tiring to moderate. I think it makes sense that The Volokh Conspiracy doesn't have comments, for instance.

How much do you care about readership/links? I think this is where I differ from most people. I am always interested to know who is linking to me, but I'm not particularly interested in "drumming up business," if you will, and increasing the number of people who read me. In fact, I tend to view more readers as kind of a bad thing. It increases my chances of being outed. Do you take any specific steps to increase readership? Nope. Sometimes it makes me a little anxious to find out that I've been linked on a widely-read blog. For instance, it was almost heart attack-inducing this summer to discover that several lawyers at my office read How Appealing. I'm linked there. The link is pretty far down the page, but I still get hits occasionally from How Appealing. Additionally, I know of several blogs written by practicing lawyers in my area, including one maintained by a professor at my law school who is friends with another practicing lawyer who links to me with some regularity. If I didn't write about drunken adventures, Journal Scandal '04, boys, or stripper-related injuries (SRIs), maybe this wouldn't be an issue.

Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? I have no clue how many visitors I get per day, month, etc. I can, however, tell you who's linking me.

Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? SiteMeter I use for seeing how people using search engines hit my blog. Technorati I use for seeing what other bloggers are linking to me. TTLB I don't use.

Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? The content of my posts has changed in a major way since I first started over a year ago. It used to be much more personal. When I first got to law school, I blogged about how my new roommates, Florida and Pittsburgh, were appallingly mean to me. In December, at the 1L end of semester party, a co-1L came up to me and asked, "Do you have a blog?" I said no, walked outside of the bar, called up a friend, gave him my l/p, and had him delete everything. That was a wake-up call. I may mention Florida or Boston (who took Pittsburgh's place in our apartment when she moved out) in posts now, but I always ask myself first, "How would I feel if she read this? Would it create friction between us, or would it make her laugh?" I generally try not to post gossip about my classmates, but I do have a policy that if a classmate says something utterly and unbelievably stupid/galling in front of me and several others, I have no problem posting it. Additionally, I don't like to announce where I go to school, although most regular readers have figured that out. I am anonymous, if only constructively so at this point.

Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it? I generally don't know what topics du jour are because I really only read a couple of blogs on a daily basis.

Do you have a blog-crush? Nope.

Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? I'll think about this and get back to you. Like I said, I don't read all that many blogs on a regular basis.

On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? Yes. Wait, no. (I'm so fired, aren't I?)

Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated? My blogroll is for me. I put blogs there that I read. I also reciprolink.

Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? My friends from college and some from high school all know about my blog. A couple friends from law school do. A few non-friends from law school do, but that's not by my own choosing.

Would your blog be different if all [your friends, classmates, professors, and co-workers] read the blog, and if so, how? My blog probably would not exist.

Do you know any other bloggers? Yes. I know Dave, Dave, Soup, Butter (or Boston, as I call her), Mr. Red Swingline, F, Bootchaser, Brocyourworld, Pedro, and musclehead.

Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who? Sure. Pretty much anybody.

What do you think is the future of blogging? More integration with other platforms-- like cell phones, PDAs, etc.

What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? Blogs will become sources of authority. Already, I've seen news articles that reference particular blogs.

Do you see yourself blogging in one year? Yes. Five [or ten] years? Not really. I just don't think I'll have time after I graduate from law school and start my job. When you only have so much free time, do you want to spend it in front of a computer, typing?



Friday, August 27, 2004

Ladies, lock up your sons!*
**Why did you get into blogging in the first place?

I got into blogging because I was annoying my friends by cutting and pasting things from other people's blogs that I thought were funny and sending it to all of them via email. Essentially they told me to get my own blog where they could go read all that stuff at their leisure or they would hate me forever and never talk to me again. Not really, actually I just wanted a place to vent about the law school experience, post funny stories, and just sort of be anonymously goofy.

**What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you?

Best: Getting to be a part of the blogging community, which is composed of some really smart and funny people that I respect very much. Having my own little internet kingdom that I get to be the boss of and make decisions about. Being able to interact with readers and make friends that are far outside the range of people that I would meet in person in my everyday life.

Worst: I try really hard to keep my blog upbeat and lighthearted, so sometimes it's hard when I don't have anything nice to say, or I can't express myself the way I want to because of the rules that I've set up for myself on the blog, one of which is to try not to talk about people behind their backs (too much)...unless they work at the Financial Aid Office, in which case they are fair game because they are minions of Satan. It's also hard when you sort of get a little bit burnt out and don't really want to post but feel obligated to put something up, and then you know you posted something kind of lame just to have it up there.

**Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one?

Blogger. Just because that's how I started and what I know how to use. I am definitely moving to Movable Type as soon as I get settled back into school and have some time to make the move. I've been guest blogging at Blawg Wisdom which runs Movable Type and it's just a much more enjoyable platform to work with.

**Do you have comments on your blog, and why? If not, do you see your blog as a monologue, or still a dialogue between you and readers (and how do you accomplish that without comments), or some other dynamic? Do comments work? In other words, do they add anything to your blog, and if so, what? Would you rather not blog than have a blog with/without comments (whichever is the opposite of what you have now)? Is the decision about comments that crucial to your blog experience?

I LOVE comments. I try really hard to have a dialogue with my readers, all 10 of them. I like to hear what they have to say about things, and I'm interested in who's reading the blog regularly and whether they think something I've posted is good and interesting or stupid and I should be ashamed of myself. The comments, for me, are crucial to the experience. I love to get emails as well, but I think that as a reader of other people's blogs, I'm always more likely to leave a comment than send an email, because it's less intimidating and more informal…and as a blogger I love comments because they are so easy to respond to, plus I like to see how the readers interact with each other, not just me.

**How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? How useful do you find them, and is there some piece of information about your readers that you'd like to have but none of these offer? Have your readership numbers moved in a way you expected? Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog? Do you post with readership in mind? In other words, do you write about something because you think other blogs will link to it, for example?

I am somewhat obsessive about checking my readership stats. I mainly use Statcounter.com which is pretty comprehensive and has lots of neat colorful charts and stuff…and pie graphs too! I don't generally send emails about my posts to other bloggers, but I will email other bloggers if they've written about something I am really, really interested in and I want to tell them my experience or say "Hey, I wrote about that too...." So, I guess I don't take specific steps to increase readership, and my number of readers stays pretty consistent day by day unless I get a link at a particularly well-read blog, in which case the numbers will go up for a couple days and then back down. I never choose subjects based on whether another blog will link to it. I just write about whatever comes to me and don't think must about it after that.

**Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? (For example, I am reluctant to post on things that might reveal my location or employer, but I am also reluctant to post on some sports topics and some political topics because I fear they will lead to insoluable and insipid arguments. But sometimes I have things to say about these topics, even if I don't post them. There are also topics I would like to know more about, but don't want to reveal my lack of knowledge by posting.) Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it?

I try not to post about people I know, unless the story is funny and I have their permission. I NEVER, EVER post about my friend's private lives, or really even my own, just because I value having friends and I think they might not appreciate their lives laid out for the entertainment of others on the internet. I think many people have a general idea of the city I live in and the school I go to, but I don't name names, only because, as I've said before, I'm trying to stay under the Google radar.

I also shy away from real hot-button political topics for a number of reasons. First, I think that there are other blogs where the authors know more than me, and present it in a better and more comprehensive manner than I have the time or interest to make happen. Second, I feel like my niche in the blawgosphere is pretty well set at this point, and it's a place I'm ultimately happiest...trying to make people laugh and spreading the gospel that going to law school doesn't necessarily mean you have to follow the rest of the herd into anything, including jobs, life choices, or being arrogant pricks.

I generally don't pick a topic to post on based on what everyone else is doing...with the exception sometimes of quizzes and things related to the military, which I will often get on my soapbox about, if for no other reason than to stop the free flow of misinformation.

**What is the strangest web search that led to your blog?

I don't keep too good of track, but one time there was something about Chad Lowe+Grocery Store+Naked. This is something I wonder about though, because I only get about 10 people a week who get to my site via a web search, and it always seems like everyone else gets way more than that and end up with these great funny stories to tell about searches that led to their site…maybe I don't write about the kind of things people search for. Who knows?

**Do you have a blog-crush, and if so, on whom?
I don't know if I would say they're blog crush...but there are boys, who, if they weren't married, otherwise taken, or barely legal, I would pine over a little bit. And let's not forget Larry. She rocks.

**Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? This is your chance for a shout-out for a deserving blog.

There are two blogs that I read constantly and that I think are hysterical, and I'm not sure how much publicity they get, or if they need any from me, but they both deserve a plug. First is Waiting for the Punchline, which is always funny and well written. If you go over there make sure to read through her archives about her trip to China this summer...hysterical! Also, Naked Drinking Coffee. Soupie gave a shout out to this guy as well, but every time I go over there I think he's so funny, and then I usually think about how hot he probably is, and then I think about the fact that he's 9 years younger than me. That's usually where the weeping starts.

**On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? (Feel free to avoid this one, but I'm curious about it. Or maybe I'm just looking for naked emporers or something.)

I think many blogs are overrated, but I'm sort of into live and let live. If I don't like them I just don't read them or link to them...and somehow, I doubt they feel my absence too much.

**Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated?

Ahhh...the blogroll. I finally got mine all automated this past weekend. I hate updating it, but try to do it anyway every couple of weeks. No particular method, I generally link to people who link to me unless they have something pretty objectionable on their site or they only update once a month. I make an effort to update much faster when people email me, introduce themselves, say they like my site (hint hint) and then ask if I'll link to them.

**Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how?

I'm not sure who the hell reads my blog. I think most of my friends did, at least for awhile, but judging by the questions they ask me, I doubt many do now. There are perhaps 5 people that I know in real life that read it on a regular basis. My family absolutely does not know about my blog, and I hope to always keep it that way. Part of the reason I can be so honest on it is that for the most part it's anonymous. I told a couple of the interns I worked with this summer about it, but not until almost the end of the summer and not until I was sure I trusted them and thought they were cool people. I've only been called out at school once by someone who just came up to me and said "Hey, are you Energy Spatula" and it was very strange...but I've heard rumblings through the grapevine that quite a few other people know about it and have asked my friends if it's me.

**Do you know any other bloggers? Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who?

I've met Ambivalent Imbroglio, Jim, and a friend of Milbarge and Fitz-Hume.

I would love to meet Soupie, Larry, NDC, Dylan, Rufus T. Firefly, Stag, SMP?, Scott, Beanie, and of course, Milbarge and Fitz...and I could go on and on, there are tons of really funny, smart people whose blogs I read every day who I would enjoy having a chance to sit down and talk (or drink) with.

**What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)?

I hope blogs don't get co-opted by Big Media. Part of what makes blogging fun is being the sole proprieter of your own little street corner, where you can get up on your soap box and shout at the world, or be left alone in your thoughts just sort of ruminating on the meaning of life.

**Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years?

Definitely, as long as I have something to say and it doesn't turn into a hassle or an obligation, I will still be blogging. As I recently told someone, I can definitely see myself not being a lawyer in 10 years, but I will most likely still be blogging.

*Tank Girl.





Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.* Part 2
Things not to do when interviewing for a job:

1: Appear desperate by having the first thing you say be, "I need a job. I've been unemployed for 3 months, so I really need a job."
2: When asked to tell the interviewer about yourself, talk for 15 minutes straight about every job you've had going back to washing dishes in high school. This especially applies if you are in your late 40's.
3: Talk about people you've worked with as though everyone knows them.
4: Admit to being a couch potato, and having no hobbies except for reading fantasy books because they let you "escape".
5: When asked why you want to work for a hospital services company, say "I want a stable industry, and people are always gonna get sick."
6: If one of the interviewers is female, look at her breasts more than her eyes when answering her questions.
7: List the groups of people you don't get along with, including "people who don't take their job seriously," and "overachievers, cause they just make everybody else look bad."
8: Mention how you don't really talk to anyone in your family.
9: Talk about how difficult the commute would be. This is especially true if you live closer than the interviewers.
10: Misspell "Imediately" on the form question stating when you could start.
11: Never directly answer a question targeted directly about past experience that relates to the open position.
12: Ask who owns the company, and when told, respond "Good. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't owned by Name withheld Ventures. I'll never work for them again."
13. Do no research into the company for which you are applying. When asked why you want to work there respond, "Well, they gave me this information packet at the front desk. This thing the doctor is holding looks like some interesting technology that I would be interesting in working with."
14: Show up in slacks and a polo shirt, and recline like you're sitting out on your porch in a rocking chair.
15: Make a comment that could be taken as a racial comment, and make no attempt to clarify yourself. Example: Question - "Why did you decide to get out of being a chef and get into the computer industry?" Answer - "Two words. Juan and Jose. You might think chefs make alot of money, but they don't."
Note: All of the above were accomplished by 1 candidate I interviewed this week in the span of 30 minutes.

Follow these handy tips, and you will be well on your way to gainfull employment.

*From my favorite Despair.com poster.



Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends

The idea of music has been on my mind lately. While the height of coolness involves having an artist whose music I listen to leave a comment on my blog, my mind today turned to what makes a good road CD. My purchase of an iPod has dramatically altered how I listen to my music. Having over 6400 songs at your instant disposal will do that. One of the unexpected side benefits is that I can very easily make mix CD's for friends. I'm a huge fan of mix tapes/CD's as they have led me into making purchases that otherwise I wouldn't have made - exposing me to great new music.

I had two friends heading on a road trip to Kentucky (from NC) so I put together a mix of things for them:

  1. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
  2. Looking Forward To Seeing You - Golden Smog
  3. Long Time A Comin' - Bap Kennedy
  4. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
  5. Regarding Mary - Patty Griffin
  6. Blue Moon Of Kentucky - Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys
  7. Road Buddy - Dar Williams
  8. Walk Away - James Gang
  9. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - The Dramatics
  10. Jump, Jive An' Wail - Louis Prima
  11. Friend Of The Devil - Grateful Dead
  12. Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
  13. Positive Friction - Donna the Buffalo
  14. Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
  15. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
  16. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
  17. Westby - Kathleen Edwards
  18. Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
  19. Evangeline - Matthew Sweet

Mostly upbeat. Some are things that I am listening to now. Some are songs that I hadn't listened to in quite a while. I wanted songs to which they could sing along, but some of which they would have never before heard. It's a pretty tall order.

Even if I didn't own High Fidelity on DVD, I would empathize with John Cusack's character and his view of mix tapes (from the last scene of the movie):

The making of a great compilation tape like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch but you don't want to blow your wad. So then you gotta cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway...I've started to make a tape. In my head, for Laura. Full of stuff she'd like. Full of stuff that'd make her happy. For the first time, I can see how that's done.

It really is that important. Mix tapes (I still want to call them that - "mix CD" is just too awkward) can say a lot or nothing at all; either way you need to say it well. I made individual CD's for each of these two friends to go with the road trip CD and each had its own message. One friend is a very close friend whom I had a lot of history. Her's is almost chronological starting with a bunch of song about where she is from (Canada) and then something from all the places I have seen her (in chronological order). The other CD is to a new friend but one whom I instantly hit it off. This one has a few songs that have a bit of meaning, and the rest are songs that I am listening to now and think she would like though I don't really know her musical tastes.

Cusack was right, there are a lot of rules. I like to start things out quick, but sometimes a songs that starts slow and then builds is a huge hit with me. Songs have to go together musically. The meanings of the chosen songs should be mostly obvious, or it should be very obvious there was no meaning other than good tunes. There is a lot of important stuff that goes into all this.

Which brings me back to my original though - road CD's. What makes a good road trip mix? Peppy tunes? Sing-a-longs? I'm curious to see what people think about this. I'm ready to start my next road mix (just for myself on the iPod). I even know the first track - Superstitious by Stevie Wonder. I'm curious to see what people think about this, and think it might be fun to make a blog-input mix.






Well, There Goes the Neighborhood
Being from the South, we always learned that one should be fashionably late to a party. Making my introductions, I am Mr. Fun Ball of tauntinghappyfunball and I think the last guest blogger to rear their head. Most will recognize the name as coming from the Saturday Night Live commercial parody Happy Fun Ball which comes with a long list of instructions, one of which is "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball." I'm also a recent Southern (of course) law school graduate who is waiting on bar exam results from the great state of North Carolina.

I'm plum tickled to be guest blogging here at BTQ. This is one of the blogs I first started reading back in the day, and I follow it regularly. Besides, I'm always happy to help out a fellow Dukie whenever I can.






Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Part 1
I was at the bar yesterday evening getting dinner, as Mrs. Haff was out with friends. Two guys come and sit next to me at the bar. The Olympics happens to be on the TV in front of us. Now, to set this up, the two guys are not joined by anyone, and I am in the middle of eating dinner. In the middle of a women's track event, this guy (white, by the way, as am I) makes the comment to me, "The only way I would ever date a black chick was if she was a runner or track athelete." I glance sideways, assuming he is talking to his friend, but no. He's looking at me. I continue chewing and turn back to the TV. He continues, "Because the black runners don't have the big booty's, they're nice and trim." And after every statement, he looks in my direction and says something like, "You know?", expecting a response. I give him none.

This whole time he is completely ignoring his friend that he came in with, who is sitting on the other side of him. So he leaves me alone for a while, and another women's track event comes on. The TV shows the Greek runner who is the favorite. She happens to be blonde. He turns to me again. "The Greeks have a lot of different colors. Not as many as the U.S., cause the U.S. is, you know. But most countries over there don't really mix much. But the Greeks have dark haired, dark skinned people, and then they have white, blonde haired people. Funny, you know?" At this point I am gauging the size of the guy, and seriously wonder what the repercussions would be if I just clocked him. Being non-confrontational in nature, I continue to stare ahead and eat. During the race he makes a comment about how most of the white runners are beating the lone black runner in this particular heat.

I have a few minutes of peace, and I'm eating quickly trying to get the hell away from him. Then a women's diving event comes on. A Chinese lady goes up to dive, and takes the opportunity to make fun of her name. The very next diver is white, and I get this gem, "She's not as good looking, so I bet she's a better diver."

My question is, why was he talking to me? If you are a racist or sexist, why would you assume that a stranger at the bar shares your same worldview? How is it that he hasn't gotten his ass kicked by someone not nearly as nice as me? If anyone can explain to me the need to share offensive comments with complete strangers, I would be happy to hear it.



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tommy Franks' autograph it ain't
A day that will live in ignominy (as excerpted from Fitz-Hume's cross-country travel log, stardate: Sunday, August 15, 2004)

Motoring across the emptiness that is southeastern Wyoming in a 15-foot moving truck with only a dog for company and the AM radio for entertainment, the Small Talk Express (piloted by yours truly) experienced history in the form of a fleeting encounter with the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign wagon train. Heading west at a Red Rocker infuriating 55 m.p.h., I spied a long line of blue busses east bound and down. As our vectors converged, I could make out the "K" and "'04" on the side of the first bus. I'm no rocket scientist, but I put the pieces together. Sure enough, although those blue busses raced by at a considerable rate of speed, I was able to confirm that the "Two Americas" tour busses had just passed me, headed in the opposite direction. A young lawyer and his dog crossing the country to start a new job and a new life headed in one direction, and the Kerry-Edwards '04 busses headed in the other. A metaphor if ever there was one.

The finger I gave them in the rear-view mirror was not metaphorical, however.





Crockery
Greetings good BTQ readers,

Many props to Milbarge for inviting me to guest blog over at BTQ. May the Scwartz be with him. Always.

For those of you wanting to know more about me, head over to my blog, Trivial Pursuits (not shameless plug, just don't want to take up BTQ's space with chit-chat blah blah stuff). I'm a lawyer, I'm 27, I live in Texas, and I practice hand-to-hand combat, mostly to keep Milbarge intimidated.

I used to post a lot more political material than I do now, mostly because I'm exceedingly dubious of the prospect of changing anyone's political opinions about anything, and also because I loathe politics. But, I have maintained a relatively long-running 'interest' in the concept of tort reform, and so I thought I'd simulpost a quick update on it as it proceeds in the great nation [sic] of Texas. Mayhaps it will stir up some discussion. If not, I'll pull a Soupie and post a picture of a smokin' hot chick.

Rates of malpractice insurance have yet to come down in any significant quantity as a result of tort reform.

This is unsurprising, because, as we've noted ad nauseum here at TP, large jury verdicts have little to do with high malpractice premiums. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

So far, only one of five major insurers in Texas has agreed to lower rates. The Texas Medical Liability Trust, the state's largest medical malpractice insurer, agreed to lower premiums by 12 percent this year.

In May, state insurance regulators blocked an attempted end-run around regulations by G.E. Medical Protective Co., which had asked the Texas Department of Insurance to approve a 19 percent rate increase.
[. . .]

Gov. Rick Perry today begins a weeklong trip around the state to "talk about the great success the passage of Proposition 12 has had on patient access to health care," said his spokeswoman, Kathy Walt.

Walt said the fact that many doctors have not seen their liability rates fall is because of a "rush to the courthouse in the three months" prior to the law becoming effective.


Don't be ridiculous. How many of those cases have resulted in large jury verdicts? The mere fact that they have been filed cannot possibly be responsible for the maintenance of high rates, especially when those rates were not caused by large jury verdicts to begin with.



Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Who Are 3 People Who Have Never Been in My Kitchen?
More than you ever wanted to know about Scott from L-Cubed:

**Why did you get into blogging in the first place? I was interning at DOJ, and someone in the office sent out an email about How Appealing. I started reading it, and other blogs linked from there, and decided that I wanted my own. I had always emailed news stories and commentary back and forth with friends and relatives (most frequently with Matt, my co-blogger), and this was just an easier way to do it and organize my thoughts. Plus, I have a lot to say, and I crave attention :)

**What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you? I agree with Soupie on this one. The best part is getting feedback about posts, either in comments or via email. I especially like it when someone (usually Matt) disagrees with what I write, and points out a counterargument, because it forces me to focus and clarify my own thoughts on the subject. The worst part is coming up with something to say all the time.

**Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one? I currently use Blogger, but (hopefully) not for much longer. I have recently secured my own domain name and server, and when Mr. P gets back he will be walking me through how to use MT. Hopefully it will result in a better blog, at least style-wise. (If nothing else, it will force people to link to my blog with its proper name, instead of listing it as "DC Law Student," as some people do, driving me nuts.) (Yes, I know it's my fault for picking that when I signed up.)

**Do you have comments on your blog, and why? Yes. See above answer about my favorite part of blogging. Do comments work? In other words, do they add anything to your blog, and if so, what? Yes -- they allow people to react and respond, which forces Matt and I to be better writers, and, hopefully, encourages us to keep an open mind about some of the things we think about. Would you rather not blog than have a blog without comments? No, I'd still blog. It'd be less interesting, but people could still email me, and I would still have a forum to get things off of my mind, which is what's important to me. Is the decision about comments that crucial to your blog experience? No. See previous answer.

**How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? Do I care? Sure. Everyone wants to be noticed/read. Am I obsessive? I wouldn't say so. I check my visitors daily; or, if not daily, whenever I check the blog for new comments, posts by Matt or guest-bloggers, etc. Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? I have all three. I primarily rely on SiteMeter. If I see a spike in readers, or some new or odd referrals, then I check Technorati to see who it was that linked to me and in what context. I only check TTLB if I change levels, and then only to see why I moved up or down, and how close I am to a different level (and occasionally, if I'm curious, who is above or below me that I've heard of). How useful do you find them, and is there some piece of information about your readers that you'd like to have but none of these offer? They work like they're supposed to. I wish SiteMeter kept the information on recent visitors and referrals for longer than they do, and I wish all of the other services that are "locked" were free, but I really don't care that much about who is visiting. I have an "open door" policy -- all are welcome. (Of course, it's always fun to see stuff like this.) Have your readership numbers moved in a way you expected? My readership has steadily increased in the year and half or so that I have been blogging, with plateaus every few months. I can't point to specific reasons for the ensuing raises in hits after the plateaus. Of course, there are certain days/weeks, like when I get linked to by Howard or Wonkette, in which I see a significant spike into the thousands, but generally these tend to be one-time visitors; perhaps I pick up a few regulars after that. Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog? Nope. If they come, they come. However, I do use trackbacks on occasion, to alert someone that I responded to their post in case they want to start a dialogue. Do you post with readership in mind? In other words, do you write about something because you think other blogs will link to it, for example? I'm tempted to say never, but there may be examples that I can't recall right now.

**Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? I try not to get too controversial, but I've blogged about a lot of crazy things. I also try to remain semi-anonymous, in that you can find out who I am if you really care, but I don't overtly post specific details about myself. There hasn't been a situation where I've really wanted to say something and haven't -- at least that I can remember. Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it? I don't usually feel the need, but I've joined in on occasion.

**What is the strangest web search that led to your blog? I listed some interesting ones awhile ago in this post. I don't pay much attention, but since you asked, today visitors found L-Cubed via:

"brain development and classical music" (apparently Matt wrote about this)
"Emanuel Cleaver and fat woman" (huh?)
and a ton of "Kerry Walsh ass" searches (my bad)

**Do you have a blog-crush, and if so, on whom? I previously alluded to this in a comment here at BTQ, but I've had a crush on Bekah for a long time.

**Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? I have no way of knowing how many hits she gets, but I know that I don't read Tequila Mockingbird as much as I should, so I'm sure there are others that don't as well. She's a great writer and a beautiful person.

**On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? Oh, God, yes. I will get flamed to death for this, especially because the proprietor is a BTQ reader, but I think Will and the crew at Crescat Sententia are definitely overrated.

**Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated? My blogroll is a mess, so there's no real answer to this question. When I make the move alluded to above I will be completely revamping my links. When I started it was just sites that I read regularly; then it became a bunch of reciprocal links; then Matt joined and we added his links; then we started playing games back-and-forth. I haven't looked at it in months, so some blogs have moved, some I don't read anymore, and some have shut down. I used to use it for checking blogs I wanted to read, but now I use Bloglines for that.

**Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how? All of my family and most of my friends know that I blog, but they comprise a very very small percentage of my readers. Most are strangers. A few professors know, but that's because they either blog themselves or I talked about them and they found out (either because I told them or they Google themselves). As for co-workers, I didn't tell the firm I worked for last summer, and to this day I don't know if they ever found out. This summer, I also didn't tell anyone, but a high-profile blogger "outed" me and word quickly spread around the office. Thankfully, I got nothing but positive reponses. My judge doesn't know yet. Despite the brief public outing, I'm still pretty much below the radar. Would my blog be different if I advertised who I was and told my current and prospective employers? Fo shizzle. I certainly wouldn't post pictures of female volleyball player ass. And I might not use the phrase "fo shizzle."

**Do you know any other bloggers? I know Howard Bashman (although we're in a tiff right now). I know all of the GW Law bloggers (AI, the boys from Veritable Cornucopia). I've met Gary O'Connor and Tom Goldstein. Orin from the Volokh Conspiracy taught me Crim Law and remains a friend. There are others, such as Adam from ALOTT5MA and Mr. P, that are "e-friends" -- we've never met in person but we email a lot or whatever. I was supposed to meet E-Spat when she was in DC, but the timing was off. Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who? Sure, I think that would be fun. Some people, like Fitz and Milby, and all of the current guest-bloggers, are people that I think I'd get along with in real life, so if the opportunity arose I would grab a beer with them. I don't think I'd go out of my way to meet anyone in the blogosphere, though.

**What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)? I like Soupie's answer. Plus, my brain isn't working well enough right now to predict the future. As for the last question, I hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised. If eBay can try to buy Craig's List, and Legal Affairs can make Howard sell out, then anything is possible (Glenn Reynolds on Fox News, for example?)

**Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years? I'll blog until I get sick of it or I don't have the time (or it's not allowed, like when I'm Solicitor General). The blog may change, but I'll probably keep doing something.

(Note: the title of this post is from a classic Cheers episode)





Catching up
The cool thing about guest blogging for someone a second time is that you can take things for granted. For instance, I am just going to assume that you all know me and skip the how-do-you-dos. I'm going to further assume that at least one of you has read my blog before and, for that, I thank you. Finally, I'm going to assume that Sebatian and I did at least a passable job last time we were in this space (otherwise we wouldn't have been asked back), but not so great as to convince Milbarge that he could leave the thing in our hands for an extended period of time (which is probably really smart on his part).

Speaking of our gracious host, he posited a list of Bloggery-based Questions. Always the polite guest, I'm gonna take a crack at 'em.

**Why did you get into blogging in the first place? Not sure, really. I asked Larry one day if she had a blog. She said (after some hesitation) that she did and suggested that I start one, too. I'd done one for about two months back in 2002 (venting about work and whatnot), so I figured I'd give it another shot. It started off as amusement for me and quickly turned into my trying (and, usually, failing) to amuse others.

**What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you? The best is easy... it's the interaction. My favorite posts are the ones that garner the most comments and/or emails. Anything I post on the blog, I post because I want to see what people have to say about it. It could be something as simple as my plans to move, but I like the feedback and the input and the tangential discussions that spring from blogging. I've even got some e-mail friends because of it.
The worst? Probably the feeling that you need to post something, even when you have nothing to say. I'm guilty of filling three or four posts with only marginally funny or interesting news links, just to have something up for that day. Also, I sometimes force myself to post some crap just to separate the Just Because pics a little more (i.e. make myself look less perverted).

**Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one? I use Blogger simply because I started there and am comfortable tweaking stuff in their templates. It was enough of a pain switch templates a few months back, so I have no interest in switching over to a whole new system and starting from scratch.

**Do you have comments on your blog, and why? Do comments work? In other words, do they add anything to your blog, and if so, what? Would you rather not blog than have a blog with/without comments (whichever is the opposite of what you have now)? Is the decision about comments that crucial to your blog experience? I touched on this above and I've posted on it elsewhere. Yes, I have comments. I have them because I feel they are the best format for writer/reader interaction. I think they "work," too, in the sense that they allow other readers to communicate with one another regarding something I've written (as opposed to email, which really allows only communication between me and the reader). Honestly, I can't imagine blogging without comments... it seems too much like virtual masturbation.

**How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? How useful do you find them, and is there some piece of information about your readers that you'd like to have but none of these offer? Have your readership numbers moved in a way you expected? Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog? Do you post with readership in mind? In other words, do you write about something because you think other blogs will link to it, for example? I care a great deal about readership and not quite so much about links. It seems to me that the point of all of this is to write something that someone else would care to look at. So an increased readership means that you are doing something right. The links? I think they are more a sign that people enjoy what you're doing. I don't think I've ever asked, either in email or comments, for someone to link to me. I just go on the assumption that people who like what you're doing will link to you. As for software stuff, I use SiteMeter to track hits (though that number can be pretty misleading) and Technorati to see who's linking. I'm generally good about providing reciprocal links, too. Finally, I am always surprised when I think about the fact that there are people reading my stuff, so readership increases always shock the hell out of me.

**Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it? I generally stay away from uber-serious topics (death penalty, abortion, war), if only because the arguments that spring from these are usually just cyber-shouting matches. I find that there are others who handle these topics much better anyway. Same with the topic du jour... by the time I get around to such things, someone else has said what I was going to, only much more eloquently.

**What is the strangest web search that led to your blog? Uh... "Girls Pissing At a BBQ" was pretty weird. Just looking at the most recent searches that led people there, I see "virginal rash," "three testicles," and "Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball". Yep, folks, these are my readers.

**Do you have a blog-crush, and if so, on whom? Uh, no comment.

**Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? This is your chance for a shout-out for a deserving blog. I've got two. First, Dylan at The Slithery D is one of the better writers in the blogosphere. Second, Naked Drinking Coffee is some of the funniest stuff out there right now. I'm not sure how many hits he gets per day, but I am sure it's not enough. (Of course, it would help if he would post more frequently, but whatever.)

**On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? Jeremy Blachman. It's not that it's a bad blog, but other bloggers are always talking about how funny the site is. I don't think I've ever laughed at one of his posts. Not one. Which isn't to say he's not funny... it could be that my sense of humor just runs more to the Mr. Poon, NDC, Wings and Vodka sort. Jeremy's biggest problem, really, is that he tries too hard most of the time.

**Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated? I link to the blogs I read as well as anyone who links to me. It's usually pretty up-to-date.

**Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how? I think three of my readers know me in real life... two from my law school and then my wife. None of my non-law school friends knows about it, nor does any of my family. I do this only because I post about some of them sometimes and that would probably change if I thought they were looking at it. I mean, it's hard to call your mother-in-law a redneck if you think she's gonna read it.

**Do you know any other bloggers? Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who? I know Larry the Longhorn and Pedro. I was supposed to meet Fitz-Hume two weeks ago, but I had to go out of town. There are a ton of bloggers I'd like to meet, including (but not limited to) E-Spat, Milbarge, Poon, and Steve.

**What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)? I think blogging will go the way of internet porn. Back in the day, you could get all sorts of free nudie pics online, with nary a pay site in sight. Nowadays (so I hear), all of the "good" pics are behind credit card doors. I figure the blog phenomenon will become rather large and people will find more and mroe ways to make money from it. I can't imagine ever paying to read a blog, but such a thing would not surprise me one bit.

**Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years? 1 year? Sure. 5 years? Eh...





get barefoot
This post from E-Spatch reminds me of the following bit of wisdom:

Q: What's the only reason why a woman would wear a watch?

A: Because there's no clock on her stove.





Questions For Guest-Bloggers (And Other Bloggers, Too)
To give my esteemed guest-bloggers something to write about if they run out of material, and in the probably futile hope of starting a little meme, I thought I'd leave some questions for my guest-bloggers to answer. Feel free to copy these into your own posts, or just link here, whatever works for you, but please do use a separate post rather than just answering in the comments. Other, non-guesting, bloggers should also feel free to answer these. (I'll have something else coming aimed at non-bloggers soon.)

This is mostly an attempt to start a conversation about blogging. When I first thought of a post like this, I considered including some biographical questions and questions about other issues (like the election, for example), which would make this more like an interview, but decided against it. Mostly, I couldn't think of many good questions, and partly, this is what I was interested in, rather than who you think will win in November, for example.

Fitz and I brainstormed some questions in a phone call a week or so ago, and of course I forgot some before I could grab a pencil. So -- and this is key -- feel free to add your own questions (and answers) if you feel like I've left out something important or you want to follow up on a topic. (And feel free not to answer all of these, although it would make me sad if you do that.)

**Why did you get into blogging in the first place?

**What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you?

**Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one?

**Do you have comments on your blog, and why? If not, do you see your blog as a monologue, or still a dialogue between you and readers (and how do you accomplish that without comments), or some other dynamic? Do comments work? In other words, do they add anything to your blog, and if so, what? Would you rather not blog than have a blog with/without comments (whichever is the opposite of what you have now)? Is the decision about comments that crucial to your blog experience?

**How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have, and referrer logs, and the like? Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? How useful do you find them, and is there some piece of information about your readers that you'd like to have but none of these offer? Have your readership numbers moved in a way you expected? Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog? Do you post with readership in mind? In other words, do you write about something because you think other blogs will link to it, for example?

**Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not? (For example, I am reluctant to post on things that might reveal my location or employer, but I am also reluctant to post on some sports topics and some political topics because I fear they will lead to insoluable and insipid arguments. But sometimes I have things to say about these topics, even if I don't post them. There are also topics I would like to know more about, but don't want to reveal my lack of knowledge by posting.) Also, do you ever feel a need to post about the blogosphere topic du jour, and if so, do you then post on it?

**What is the strangest web search that led to your blog?

**Do you have a blog-crush, and if so, on whom?

**Although it might not rise to the level of a blog-crush, do you read a blog that you think needs more publicity or that more people ought to read? This is your chance for a shout-out for a deserving blog.

**On the flip side of that coin, is there a blog that you think is overrated? (Feel free to avoid this one, but I'm curious about it. Or maybe I'm just looking for naked emporers or something.)

**Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated?

**Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how?

**Do you know any other bloggers? Would you like to meet other bloggers, and if so, who?

**What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)?

**Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years?

Thanks, folks. Again, please fill in any blank spots I've left with your own questions, and assume I intended open-ended questions even if they look like yes/no questions (that is, tell me why your answer is yes or no). When I'm back to full-time blogging, I'll post a wrap-up collecting all the answer posts and providing my own answers.



Monday, August 23, 2004

A long list of stuff you're probably not interested in.
In my inaugural post for Begging the Question, I thought I would follow in the footsteps of Milbarge and have an "Energy Spatula At Large" post. So, here we go (by the way, Hi, I'm ES from Will Work for Favorable Dicta...I'm assuming at least some small portion of you already know who I am...for the rest...uh, I'm a 2L at a school in the Pacific Northwest and I like beer and pink shiny stuff and Jimmy Buffett...that about sums it up).

What I'm Doing At Work: Ooooh...this one is easy. I don't actually have a job, but we'll count school as my job and talk about that. I am actively procrastinating finishing up my resume and sending it out by working on this post. Most of the government agencies are just now opening up their application processes for next summer, so my plan is to hit the ones that accept resumes via email first, and then try to get motivated to go buy some nice paper and start sending out packages to the others. I thought about enclosing money or something in the envelopes as sort of a bribe, but I don't have enough to make it worthwhile (I don't think a half roll of pennies to each place would do the trick...). Hey, do you think they would take those McDonald's coupons you can buy in a book at Christmas-time? I think I have some left over that my grandparents gave me last year. So, I guess that's what I'm doing at work, trying to find a job that can be swayed to hire me by the receipt of $1 off a quarter pounder with cheese. Anybody have any ideas?

What I'm Doing at Home: STILL going through my stuff and trying to force myself to get rid of some of it. My things have been in storage since April of last year which is when I went on terminal leave from the Air Force. I lived in Glorified Graduate Student Dorm last year, so I only took a small percentage of my things with me...but now that I found my own place it all has to go back with me. And I love opening all the boxes and seeing my things again, it's like my birthday every day -- all these great things I haven't seen in a year and a half. I don't WANT to get rid of anything, even though I know I probably don't need that talking cookie jar anymore...or the Magic 8-ball collection (I have 6...seriously). So, I'm trying to be disciplined about it, but not really succeeding. I think in the end most of the junk will end up in my new apartment and I will be complaining about this next time I move. Won't that be fun for all of us?

What I'm Listening To: In an homage to the more emotionally fragile years of my adolescence, I am listening to Maroon 5. And I mean, it's on rapid rotation and I can't stop listening to it, and I might even be mooning just a little bit. I'm also listening to the Jimmy Buffett box set here and there, especially Boats, but I'm in a bit of an obsessive Maroon 5 rut right now.

What I'm Reading: Trashy romances. I am especially addicted to the kind where there is some mystery or murder going on, and then the big strong man comes and solves the mystery and also falls in love with the heroine who is inevitably not at all what he expected. I know it's ridiculous, but I can't help it. The series of choice right now is by Elizabeth Lowell and chronicles this family of brothers (the Donovans, if you care) all involved in different aspects of the gem and mineral trade and they are all big and tough and dangerous (but in a nice, sexy way) and they solve murders and inevitably fall in love by the end of each book. Sigh. This is sadly about as highbrow as I get when it comes to literature.

What I'm Thinking About: Going to the coast. We leave tomorrow for a couple of days out on the coast of Oregon...gonna do some hiking and biking and hopefully spend some time collecting seashells and watching seals and other nice relaxing activities that don't involve me going through boxes in a storage unit. I love the coast, so this is a big treat for me...we try to go a couple of times a year, and with school and everything, it is especially nice to get away whenever I can (and frankly, whenever my parents are willing to pay).

Also putting some thought into when Jimmy is going to announce his West Coast tour dates, whether or not I need to buy another pink throw rug to replace the one my roommates demolished last year, where I can get some nice bowls that match the pink plates I already have that are decorated with starfish and other sea creatures, and whether or not I should replace the clip-on reading light that I accidentally broke when I stepped on it the other day. I like to read before bed, so the clip on light is a must...there is nothing worse than getting all settled in and then having to get up to turn off the overhead light...blech.

What I'm Not Thinking About: School starting next month. Looking for a job (OK, I'm thinking about this one a little bit). Registration. Financial Aid. In-state vs. Out-of-state tuition. Keeping my scholarship. Grants. GI Bill. Moving (yeah, thinking about this one a bit as well). Packing. Unpacking. Paying bills. The election. Anything without rhinestones.

What I'll Be Doing Tomorrow At This Time: Trying to maintain my dignity while being forced to play the Alphabet Game on the two hour drive to the coast. For those of you that have sane parents, this a game where you have to find all the letters of the alphabet, in order, on signs and semi-trucks and whatnot. This is made all the more unappealing by the fact that (a) I am almost 30 years old, (b) my mom LOVES to play and won't take no for an answer, and (c) she changes the rules pretty much every 3 seconds in order to make the game LONGER (NO, it has to be the FIRST letter of the first word of the second sentence and only on green signs...that's the way it's played...IT IS!!!). It's just so fun that she never wants it to end. Yeah.

So, I'll be back Wednesday night...maybe with funny stories, maybe traumatized from the Alphabet Game, but back nonetheless. Don't forget to leave the light on.





Brother, can you spare a sign?
Since so many of you called in to ask what I was doing tonight, I'll tell you. I'll be at Barnes & Noble standing in line for, quite possibly, a couple hours. All in order to get the autograph of a man I have never met and will never see again.

General Tommy Franks will be in my town signing copies of his new book American Soldier. I'm generally not an autograph hound, and in my previous meetings with mildly famous people, have never asked for one.

It got me thinking about why people get autographs, and why I'm going to get this one. Most autographs aren't worth much (at least until the person dies). They could be proof that you were actually in that person's presence, but if your memory is that bad then the encounter couldn't have been very special. If you have friends who don't believe you, then you need new friends. My thinking on Franks is that you won't often get to be up close with someone who has had such an impact on world history. That and Monday Night Football doesn't start for a few weeks yet.

*(Unrelated side note) The Soon To Be Mrs. Haff refuses to touch my books anymore because I'm anal about keeping them in pristine condition. I lent her a book once and was horrified to learn that she sometime marks her place by folding down the corner of the page.



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    The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.

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