Friday, June 01, 2007

A Few Early Steps
Liz Strauss has posted the first submissions to her "Metaphor Project," which asked for bloggers to tell what metaphors they use when talking about this method of online communication.

I'm excited because I've received very positive feedback from a number of sources on my "Whale Metaphor." Big thanks from me to Liz for including my metaphor in this early round!

Heres' the list - they're a richly varied group, and hopefully one will catch your eye and deepen your understanding!

What metaphor do you use to explain blogging? at Ian’s Messy Desk
Blogging Metaphor–The Salad Bar Blog at Word Sell
My blog is a smorgasbord, come and eat… at Juggling Frogs
Feeding on Plankton at krooz
My Preferred Metaphor for Business Blogging at Business and Blogging
10 reasons why blogging is like dating” at Romance Tracker
Equestrian Ecstasy - Portal to another Reality at INNside Innkeeping in Montana
Blogging Metaphors: Bridge-Building at Middle Zone Musings
Blogging Metaphor: Blogging is like Exercise at Virtual Impax
My Blogging Metaphor: BNI at Kiss2
Why Conversational Blogging Is Like A LineConga at dawudmiracle
Blog 101 and the New Cocktail Party at What Would Dad Say

It's taken me awhile to get used to comments, memes, and other online conversation builders. I hate to be thought of as a "lurker," someone who reads blogs and doesn't leave his mark through a comment or some other means. There's been times I've drafted a comment, but end up deleting it, thinking it's bogus or uninteresting. So, when I receive great comments like Dawud Miracle's and Maria Palma's on my Passion series, it builds up my confidence and energy to get out there and talk some more!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Then There's The High Cost Of Gas
I've been considering how much time I've spent over the last twenty years on getting ready to go to work and the actual travel to work. The past few years I've been lucky enough to have an office within walking distance of home. But I've also spent countless hours commuting in traffic as well as doing the sardine thing in public transportation. Those hours add up. Hours that I could be doing something else - hours that I could have actually been working.

And I'm not the only one focusing on this issue.

There's an awesome article in today's New York Times all about the amount of time we waste every day at work. (Although Lisa Belkin seems to think that time surfing Amazon is time working.)

The Times article comes on the heels of the CBS Sunday Morning piece* (May 27) on Extreme Commuters - workers who travel two hours or more to get to their jobs. (Although no one mentioned their enormous carbon footprints.)

And both are related to a recently published productivity book: The 4-Hour Work Week.

I'm currently working out of my home - and I love it. I get up early and BAM! I'm at my computer. I do research at all hours. I take advantage of the current gorgeous DC weather to laptop it outside (and give my brain additional stimulation other than four beige walls.) I don't have to make my lunch until I'm ready to eat it.

I could get used to this. I'm exploring how to make it my permanent work situation.

Plus, just think of the massive increase in quality work as well as huge savings in energy consumption if telecommuting were available on a widespread basis.

Now if this weather would just continue...

*No link to CBS because I mad at them for cancelling Jericho.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It May Not Be Your Passion If:

#11 - Your passion’s in a field where there’s a huge gap between amateur and professional – and you won’t be happy until you ascend to the very top.

I’m not talking about neurosurgery here. Or the always-identified “rocket science.”

I’m speaking about Olympic downhill skiing, Broadway musical composing, WWE wrestling, and other endeavors that take a certain type of talent, years of learning, body type and/or physical expertise.

The key here is knowing where you’re going to be happy. If your passion means that you’d be blissful just being associated with these types of areas, then by all means go for it. Flexibility will get you far.

But if you’re betting the farm on scaling the heights, and disregarding anything else until you reach it (or don’t), then maybe it’s the wrong mountain to climb.

Trouble is, we’re bombarded with images and stories every day of the “everyman/everywoman” who labors in a non-glam career, then makes it through The Labyrinth and is acclaimed the “next American Idol.”

Realistically, we have better chances of being struck by lightning.

I’m not dissing anyone’s dreams here. Dreams are important. They’re motivating. Sometimes they can get us through a particularly awful day. They even come true.

I’m saying that there’s bliss in being “amateur,” if you get “professional” right.

For an explanation of what I mean by that, I invite you to read screenwriter John August’s incredible post “Professional Writing and the Rise of the Amateur.” He explains it and is entertaining at the same time!

Previous posts in this series:

#1: You're in love with the idea of your passion, but you can't stand the component parts.

#2 - You and your passion have a long distance relationship (and you aren't willing to move.)

#3 - Pursuing your passion clashes big time with your personality.

#4 - In pursuit of your passion you end up doing things that might be hazardous to your health.

#5 - You say it's your passion, but you spend 100% of your "free," non-work time doing just everything else BUT working on what you say you love.

#6 - In considering your passion, you experience "Klondike Thinking."

#7 - You go into debt because the financial costs of practicing it are way too high.

#8 - You don't believe your passion's barriers to entry pertain to you.

#9 - Pursuing your passion cuts you off from family and/or friends.

#10: It's more about seeing your name connected to an outcome than your deep down enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Feeding on Plankton
The always-readable Liz Strauss over at the perpetually helpful Successful and Outstanding Bloggers has asked the blogging world for our metaphors on blogging.

I immediately thought of The Whale Metaphor. (Although the accompanying picture to this post is not a whale but a "basking shark," because I couldn't find a good whale picture to illustrate my point.)

When I first started blogging, I'd read tons of blog entries at a bunch of blogs, each entry just a paragraph or two. And each containing one or two bits of valuable information. I was a whale cruising through the vast Internet ocean, straining seawater for microscopic plankton (thousands of bits of information in my case, and the basis of nutrition in the whale's case.)

I continue to travel through the Internet in the same way - but now I'm one of the plankton in addition to the whale.

Of course, if you take an analogy too far, it falls apart. So I'll leave it at that broad brush stroke, and won't get into comparing the shark's huge open jaws to the huge open mind I find helps me understand what's out there.

So, whenever I explain what blogging is like to someone who is unfamiliar with it, I take them to SeaWorld (figuratively, of course!)

Photo by Chris Gotschalk, obtained at Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

No Mo
A nuclear shockwave went through the nation this week. CBS cancelled Jericho. After killing off Gerald McRaney in the season finale, and slamming into a blackout just as Jericho started firing their remaining ammo at New Bern, we now find that we cannot go back to this post-nuclear landscape and Find Out What Happens.

Jericho was the first ongoing-plot drama I've religiously watched in a long long time. But I've got a thing for post-apocalyptic storylines. I'm going to miss it.

But maybe not. At you can add your voice to the 88,263 others calling for CBS to bring Jericho back.

Remember Star Trek back in the sixties? (I'm showing my age here.) How it was cancelled after three seasons, to the dismay of die-hard fans? And look at today - I believe you can find a rerun playing somewhere in the world at any hour of any day.

I'm not surprised Jericho was cancelled. Without going into its ratingzzzz (which I haven't been following), or how much money it has or hasn't made for CBS, I'll give a couple of my opinions on Why The Show Is No More.

1. I felt the writers didn't know where they were going. I liked the fact that the town faced a tough winter (in spite of the fact that somehow, many of their trees stayed green.) But there's only so much a writer can do with "we don't have enough food to last until spring, what are we gonna do?"

2. The "mystery" aspects of Robert Hawkins' character became less and less mysterious. The whole FBI-CIA-whoever-they-are skullduggery seemed like it was happening in a different show entirely.

But I still liked the show! Come on, CBS - show me some customer service! If you really valued me as a customer, you'd search out my opinion on Jericho. You'd put out a call across the country and around the world for ideas. Run a contest to develop a new character! Or the plotline for an episode!

Here's one from me - develop a story that deals with how gays are treated in the "[new]SA." Would gay and lesbian citizens be seen as detrimental, due to the lower population? Would the heterosexuals see LBGTQs as people who aren't pulling their weight? people? Bring a gay character in, and let the townsfolk deal with him or her.

After major conflict, I think they'd run him or her out of town on a rail.

We might just have to face reality, though, since Hollywood only cares about money (and not even your money, but the money from advertisers). We may never find out what happens. So here's a thought: for anyone still mourning the passing of Jericho, a suggestion: pick up a copy of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road. Pretend that the father and son are characters you haven't met in the Jericho series. And take it from there...