A New Direction

Le blog c’est mort… Vive le blog!

It occurs to me that my slowdown in posting over the last couple of years has been an effect of changes in my life, resulting in some uncertainty about the direction it should take. However, I’m gaining clarity in this.

What I’m going to be writing about more is the challenge of becoming the person I want to be, and being more authentically the person I am. I’ll be writing even less about spiritual “ideas” (of course, I already have been writing less about that), and more about challenges in living. However, I might expand and separate some of my preexisting material into ebooks.

I’ll be writing more on things I find helpful and interesting, rather than traditional reviews (those have been sliding too).

In short, this will be a new blog; it may have a different name (or not, not sure yet), but it’s going to be a bit different. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

The Quieting Blogosphere

OK, I’m blogging less, and I’ve admitted it. But what about you? Out of my formerly blog-active friends only Carl and Bob keep on at their impressive posting paces. It seems to me that most of my blogging friends have slowed down, just as I have.

So, just curious:

  • Is it my imagination, or are you blogging less?
  • Is it just my circle of friends, or is this a broader phenomenon?
  • What’s the reason?
    • Too busy?
    • Said it all already, nothing left to say?
    • More real-world and "wetware" activity?
    • More online community / social networking activity?
    • Changing interests?
    • Lack of interest / comments from others?
  • Assuming this is a trend, what is it’s implication for the Web? What takes its place? Is it a negative phenomenon or positive?

Talk to me!

 

WordPress woes

This is the second time in the last two weeks that I’ve lost a long post that I was working on just a bit before I was going to click the "Publish" button. Somehow, it seems to happen in between the auto-saves and, yes, I AM too dumb to remember to manually hit "Save" every 5 mins.

Also, the Akismet spam filter is getting annoying… I’m being asked twice a day now to manually flag absurd random spam posts which any spam catcher should be able to recognize.

WP and I have come a long way, but our relationship is going through some difficulties now. We’ll get through this, I’m sure.

Resurrecting WildWebWeaving

Well, it’s never really died, but my “techie” site, WildWebWeaving is being resurrected. I realized that not only do I really want to share more of my thoughts on the Web, CSS, browsers, and Web programming, but doing so will help reinforce what I’ve learned and what I’m learning.

This will also probably siphon off a lot of my “geekstuff” posts from this site, which most of you probably won’t miss. But for the few of you who do want to track my tumultuous relationship with code, go ahead and be the first to subscribe to my RSS feed at WildWebWeaving!

Open Mind, Empty Mind

Well, I’m honored (and a little embarrassed) that Darrell Hamsa Grizzell has awarded me the Open Mind Blogger Award, a recognition of “respect towards others, research and consideration of opposing views, free-flowing conversation with commenters, and an overall spirit of civility and openness.” Well, I often lack those qualities, but I do deeply respect his initiative from Politics and Religion. And I can easily name five other people who deserve this recognition more than me:

(There are more of course, but most of the ones I would think of have already been awarded by Darrell.)

I’ve generally been growing indifferent, if not negative, to the “pass it on” memes that pop up on the Web, but this one means something. Regaining the open mind (and when we were kids, we all had open minds) I think is an essential part of Jesus’ “come as a child” teaching. It’s certainly an essential step in pursuing the “empty mind” of Zen practice. You can’t empty your habitual thoughts, identifications, prejudices and biases unless you’re first open to the fact that you might need to. And you can’t empty anything unless it has an opening.

These folks, and the ones Darrell awarded, definitely fit the bill–they show that wonderful quality of opening and emptying–presenting themselves to Isness anew, ready to engage the world as bias-free as possible. Thanks to you all.

Writing my first Firefox extensions

Firefox logoOkay, if you’re tired of hearing me tell you that you should get Firefox, don’t worry… that’s not what this post is about. However, if you do use Firefox, you probably know that its rendering is only a part of what makes it so great; the Firefox community has developed thousands of plugins and add-on tools to enhance the Web experience.

Among these are hundreds of search engine plugins. Besides Google, IMDB, and Amazon searches, I constantly use the Wikipedia search plugins. To aid in searching foreign-language Wikipedias, there are plugins available for most. (I’ve been using the Catalan, Spanish, and Esperanto Wikipedia search plugins for months now.) However, one huge problem with Wikipedia is that the Wikipedia search engine truly sucks. A slight misspelling of a word (even an accent) generally returns no results, and searching for a word or phrase that doesn’t match the actual title of the article usually returns nothing helpful.

Fortunately for English readers, there’s a wonderful plugin that allows you to use the Google engine to search the English Wikipedia. This makes searching for relevant articles in the English Wikipedia a breeze.

Tonight, I finally wondered: why doesn’t someone do the same for the other Wikipedias? Well, I’m someone, so I did. It was extremely easy; the guys at the Mozilla project did a wonderful job in making it a piece of cake to create them. Check out the list of Wikipedia search plugins, and note the big green ‘N’ for new by three of them, made by yours truly.

Blogs That Make Me Think

Thinking BloggerKay just tagged me as a “thinking blogger.” The rules of the meme are that now I need to tag five other blogs that make me think. These are mostly chosen for their “seniority” on my blogroll. Since everything on my blogroll qualifies (as well as a couple of dozen other blogs that I don’t put on there because I simply don’t have time to read them all), I went with the “seniority” approach. I’ve been reading all of these for years now:

The Sound of Diesel Musing:
Trev’s blog has always delighted me with his insight, positive spirit, and beautiful acceptance.
The Blog of the Grateful Bear:
I’d been reading Darrell’s site for years before he even began to blog. A has been never-ending well of thoughtful writing on Spirit in the world and in his life.
Eternal Awareness:
Mark’s blog is unique for its tight focus on discipleship and the essential (though hugely neglected) role of the spiritual teacher.
Isaiah Knows Nothing:
Where else can you find posts like this?
Steve Pavlina:
Steve is more than just another self-help guru. What he is, I cannot say, but he always makes me think.

Blogjam vs. Block

Everyone’s familiar with “writer’s block,” the point where a writer working on a specific project either can’t start or can’t finish. (The movie Stranger Than Fiction not only gives a great portrayal of the problem, but some wonderful spiritual analogies and philosophical questions as well.)

Bloggers—at least those of us who share our lives and insights rather than links to news releases and such, have a different problem: it’s not a block, but a logjam. Blogjam. There’s not a scarcity of stuff to write about, but everything touches on the theme of your blog, and choosing what part of everything to present is the challenge.

Here’s an example of the challenge as I’m experiencing it:

  • I came back from a mini-vacation to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Blog material there? Not really.
  • I’m still processing the ongoing ideas that Mark and his sensei have been sharing this month at Eternal Awareness. Blog material there? You betcha. But I’ve little to add because Mark says it all so well.
  • I watched West Side Story last night for the first time in ages. It made me cry as it always does. I thought about just putting up a post asking you to share what movies make you cry. Seemed kind of flimsy, though, like my last real post this month on studying Spanish!
  • And then there’s just this thought that’s been in my head today. It’s from an observation that Fr. Matthew Fox made in The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. that the Greek god Chronos ate his children, but Christ gave himself to his children to eat. I’d thought I’d give some nice, deep, philosophical observation on the destructive and constructive principles, time vs. eternity, or some similar bullshit. But I’d feel that it’s bullshit, so I wouldn’t. Except that I just did. Oh, well.

So that’s my blogjam. In fact, I’ve got four drafts ready to go on different subjects that I thought I’d use when I didn’t know what else to post, but none of them feel appropriate to the day either.

So take your pick, comment on whatever you like–blogjams, movies that make you cry, metaphysical principles, what’s going on in your lives.