Saturday, December 8, 2007

Geneses of a blogger.

People often asked me about why I didn’t have my own blog. They said that I seemed to enjoy writing and commenting so much that I should have a blog.

Well, it’s fun to drop in on somebody else’s blog, where the topic has already been chosen, make a few witty comments and scurry away, without having to take any responsibility to be entertaining. Add a few anonymous zingers, point out how ridiculous that something someone said was, make a few valid points, and feel like you have contributed to the conversation greatly, then go about the other things that you should be doing without worrying about not making a fresh posting.

I saved some of what I perceived to be my better comments on other peoples blogs. I secretly squirreled them away on what I thought was my “secret blogsite”. Thinking someday I might clean them up, rearrange them, and make an interesting posting, then go public. I was just trying to save those thoughts that I had for reminding me of something that I had said, that I might use in another context. I didn’t publish the URL, and I checked the box that said I didn’t want my site publicized. I know that that was awfully naïve. But, that is how it is when you just start blogging.

When I first started commenting on blogs, I was highly offended when someone would ridicule or lie about what I had said. Most all of the hateful comments were made anonymously. Which also bothered me. Then I figured out that you could just ignore most of what “Anonymous” had to say. Then, there is the higher class of blogger that stays anonymous for some “good reason”, but they are polite enough to make up an identity to give your conversation with them some continuity. I liked that, it seems like you know who you are talking to, and it is easier to follow a thought.

My ego took a real boost when Eric posted on his blogsite, “Sohum Parlance”, that “Ernie has a Blog’. Wow, my site meter count doubled overnight. In a panic, I decided that I had better post something for people to read and think about. I had a lot of fun, and thought wow, this is great to be able to carry on a conversation with people anywhere in the world. My ego came down a bit when the site-meter stopped spinning so rapidly. I figured out what everyone already knows, that Eric’s blog is the eight-hundred pound gorilla on the north coast, and the mere mention of something on his blog is going to generate a lot of hits in that direction. But, I noticed that there is still a small, but steady stream of people that are checking on my blog. They are probably looking for the latest acorn recipe, or something equally exciting.

My family started reading and critiquing what had to say. I thought that it was funny that they all e-mailed their comments to me. They say that it’s just too complicated to put their comments in that “little box”, and that it doesn’t have spell check, and when they tried to send it that their comments got eaten and they had to start over. That was real funny to me because those were the same problems that I had at first. Then I started doing everything in my word processor and cutting-and-pasting my comments into the box, and when they didn’t send, or something fouled-up, I could just re-paste them.

Some of the blogs that I enjoy the most are a few of the less active sites, like 299 Opine, Greg and Carol, and Chocolate Covered Xanex. I’ve discovered that I have a tendency to go to sites where there are no, or few comments by “anonymous”. It just gets to confusing for me to try to follow any train of thought with so many people being purposefully hateful or disruptive from behind their curtains. Like everyone else, I check Eric’s blog like it was the latest newspaper or something, and I enjoy most of the postings, and try to ignore most of the rants that make no sense.

You probably wont see too much comment on politics or religion here, not because I’m not interested, it’s just that I value my friends more than my opinions. And, I need all the friends that I can get.

Most of what I like are Human Interest stories, Family stories, local history, local news items, and whatever you are interested in, because if a person is interested in something, the interest becomes contagious.


Fred said...

I think my favorite local ones are the non- political ones, too. 299 Opine and Xanax are the two that come to mind first.

Oh, in this posts title: I believe that's spelled GenesIs.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Fred, but the spelling is correct, geneses is the plural of genesis. I wanted to use the word in it’s context that has transcended the Biblical meaning.

It’s just part of my great, but extremely subtle wit. You believe that don’t you?

Kym said...

Your experiences were so much like mine that I just had to say thank you for voicing them.

I'm glad Eric outed your blog because I love hearing about all the local history.

Eric V. Kirk said...

To be honest, I kind of miss the days when my blog was a small, quiet affair. I had a few thoughtful people who posted, including people with differing politics, and with a few exceptions it was all very pleasant.

Now if I go two days without making a post people are actually annoyed. And one time I received a telephone call from a friend who wanted to make sure I was okay because normally I'm so "proliferate" (no, I didn't take that to mean that I'm a blabber mouth who can't shut up, though it may be true).

But despite the negatives, I've found it to be a positive experience. I think writing is a good thing. As bad as the writing gets (from anonymous, and even a couple of non-anonymous bloggers), I'm encouraged that it may represent a turn in the history of our species where wars are fought with words instead of weapons. Not that words can't hurt, as I've learned the hard way. It'd be nice if we didn't make war in any form. But it's a positive development I think.

I also tend to think the flaming is a healthy reaction between groups of people who usually don't speak to each other. Now it's very easy to communicate across political, cultural, and geographic lines, and maybe someday we'll find some common language. In the meantime, we have to deal with each other, and it's not always pretty.

The posts don't shock me as much because the discussions remind me of my own family gatherings once everybody has been drinking. My family is very diverse politically from old line communists to hardcore Catholic right wingers who think the present Pope is too liberal. I'm used to hyperbole.

I really like your posts. It's what the whole medium is about. You share a little bit of yourself, and you do it without worrying about whether it can sell, or whether an editor is going to appreciate it.

The downside for me is that I'm not submitting writing for publication like I used to. I need to strike a balance.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eric, thank-you for the thoughtful comment. You have obviously been through more “geneses” than I have.

I planned that when I started this, that I would post maybe one thoughtful post a week, but I get bored after dinner and I’ve gotten so I can’t stand the repletion of the news and the endless commercials. I find that I can usually get the information that I’m looking for on the internet. So I’ve become more prolific than I planned.

The internet is easily interruptible, if my wife wants to talk, which happens often. I take that as a good thing that she still wants to talk to me. But television doesn’t allow that interruptability, and I found myself being annoyed when the story that I had been waiting for all night came up and my wife wanted to chat, so the internet news works much better for marital harmony.

As you might have guessed by my postings on your blog, the English language is agonizingly complicated for me. I much prefer to talk the way we used to talk, but when written out into a sentence, the old way of talking becomes meaningless. The old language depended more on facial and hand expression, and emphasis on certain words than we use today.

The old language came about because for the most part people were illiterate and didn’t know how things were spelled or pronounced. Many people were also quite deafened by the sawmills and the woods operations that they worked in.

Someday I want to write a story about how it really was here before 1968. I have figured out that I’m going to have to learn to use this new and unfamiliar language that all the newcomers talk so I can tell my story.

Just like everything else in life, you can’t get help when you need it, but if you do something wrong there are many people that will tell you about it. So I started writing anyway, and it has been humiliating at times but it is getting more comfortable as I go along.

Thanks for commenting.

Carol said...

I really enjoyed meeting you the other day, Ernie! Keep up with your writing! We enjoy reading about local history from your perspective.

EkoVox said...

Someday I want to write a story about how it really was here before 1968. I have figured out that I’m going to have to learn to use this new and unfamiliar language that all the newcomers talk so I can tell my story.

Me too.

This Christmas/Holiday season, I have been very busy and winding down with Ladyfriend and her boys takes precedence over my blogging.
I've been falling asleep on the couch at about 8:30 every night.

I place sticky notes on my computer with the topics I wish to talk about. Right now, I only have one...The 1964 Flood.

Keep up the writing Ernie...and I really hope to see a Blogger's Picnic sometime next spring.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eko, I have tons of material on the '64 flood, some of it first hand. It is often the topic of conversation when talking with the old timers around here.

I have a copy of the Humboldt Times when they did a feature article on the flood. I have a photo scanner so I can put them on a web site. I had started thinking about doing some flood stories, but like you have found, it is hard to put together. I know the drama of the ‘64 flood is the most fresh in peoples mind, but the ‘55 flood was much more devastating. Maybe when you hit the blogs with your stories I can counter point with the ‘55.

I have my mother scratching through her photo albums as we speak.

Eric V. Kirk said...

If I write anything about pre-1968, it'll probably be about my dad building me a rocking horse, or my first dog.

Greg said...

Ernie, Carol and I visited a 93-year old friend at Sequoia Springs today and started talking about blogging. Carol mentioned you, and the man said "I know who he is. I sit next to his mother-in-law at meals!"

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yes, my wife is there at least once a week. I'll have my wife say hello next time she is up there. How many 93 year olds could there be?