Mermaid’s February 2019 WordPress Tea Party

The very courteous Little Mermaid returns, for another tea party. Her theme, this month, is making confessions. The tell I want to bring, to the party, is how roadblocked, I’ve been, by Zork.

I know I am in a sense very old. Have you played Zork? It’s a game where you explore a dungeon and combat monsters.

Your commands for playing Zork typically consist of two words apiece, often a verb and a noun, short and sweet.  It commands hours of your time if you are among the dedicated.

Did you run Java? It once boasted a solid three billion devices did. I’d sit, sometimes, on the main page of a Java site, to read chat remarks.


Photographer:
Elliott Chau

In college, a savvy young woman from Scarborough got to know me a little. Her name was Julie, and she was a singer. I’m sure she knew nothing about Zork.

All the same, Julie was outright a rock star on Livejournal. Her email was routed by beer.com, appropriately fashionable for that subculture.

When she wrote, ”it’s called myspace, and there are millions of brilliant people,” I was taken aback. I’d played Zork, in a retro edition. Facing the myspace site, I had a silent question.

“How do I move to the next room?” It was weird. Years later, Christmas, 2016, my very smart nephew referred to that, nonsense in the distant past.

I remember, because of Rogue One, a Star Wars Story. About IRC, “Justacrap,” my brother’s boy pronounced with scorn. Discounting me?

For wasting time with websites? Can you believe that? Sure, I made friends one way or another, but those people are now gone.

It wasn’t the sum of my activities, I guess. Truth be told, I was rotten at Zork, too.

The tea parties are great. You can find that blog here: https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com

Weighing What’s Next in 2019

Dimensions: 4818 x 5346
Photographer: sasint

This month I reached two hundred followers with my WordPress blog.  I am satisfied with the achievement, and I am grateful to the people following this blog for spending the time they do.

Publishous is a newsletter reaching several thousand subscribers and counting.  I began reading it in December.

The writing’s pretty good, I agree, articles published on Medium.  Medium introduces newcomers to a few free writing selections each month.  Then, you either need to wait for the next month or to move up to a paid membership.

Soon I noticed the newsletter delivered writing prompts.

Writing for prompts feels like a shared experience.  I miss the Daily Prompts organized by WordPress.  I had thought Publishous could be a great new opportunity for quality blogging.

An example of the style of blog post I write can be found at the following link:

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2017/08

Since the last time I wrote, I received two more editions of Publishous.  I enjoy them, but I have not seen another writing prompt.  The newsletter exploded by 1500 subscribers in only several days.  Did they abandoned their prompts?  Or the prompts are not weekly, contrary to an assumption I made.

I feel like I’m getting behind.

In 2019 there are a lot of posts being written, I’ve long known.  Expert and YouTuber Neil Patel suggests quality over quantity.  He pitches one post a week or once a month.  

Neil Patel is a gentleman with an ad agency, but I don’t want to wait the span of a month between posts.

#NeilPatel #ContentMarketing #Blogging

I’ve never tried tips such as Patel’s, but they could help.  I try to think how I could deliver a better post.

If I’m fortunate, Publishous will again include a writing prompt.  I will handle it as though I am alongside great people.

I’m ending with a question, one of Patel’s tips.  Do you blog?

You’re welcome to “like” this post and/or subscribe.

Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in

This is the tale of a Christmas gift.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman come to life.

Dimensions: 5213 x 3580
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its distance from crime, detachment from wealth, indifference to romance, makes the character of Batman seem re-imagined.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise heroic star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful, owing to poison in beauty products delivered by the antagonist character The Joker, is clever.

The action sequence in a chemicals factory, when Jack Nicholson faces his character Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker, is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Hollywood fame owing to earlier roles in The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.  In 1989, my mother clipped for me a newspaper column detailing synopses of films which starred Nicholson, the other actor of Batman making a star turn.

In 1989, I thought certain films making it to the video market were important, despite evidence to the contrary.  Films, I surmised, enjoyed but one opportunity to become available for home theater fans.

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in
DC’s Batman characters in comic books and magazines

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the staff of the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf in their New Releases space was full of the Batman video presentation.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed three hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree, one tape for me, one for my brother, and one for my sister.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, the second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film!

A double.

What did my mother pronounce, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return my copy of the film to the store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new VHS edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

Thanks to film director Tim Burton, in 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster character Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind fell into a vat of burning acid.  He lost the pigment of his skin pigment and became molded with a permanent smile on his face.

 I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of being tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

My job on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited –and I’m available on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

#gifts

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part III

Cats at play
Kittens
Dimensions: 6000 x 3376
Photographer:
Redd Angelo
Dimensions: 5616 x 3744
Photographer:
Greg Rakozy

This post is intended as the conclusion to two earlier posts, written and published recently.

Not to say that video doesn’t have many, many uses, sometimes even critical, I have thought of some observations debunking video.  Information learned from video research can be useful, particularly if it is assembled in a blog shared on Facebook.

I feel, historically, video research does not hold up given its artifice as evidence.  With good editing, that difficulty is somewhat rectified.  Here are five more ways that video research is overrated.  These are ways that video does not provide any more substantive information than where is otherwise available.

 

  1. Twitter’s Vine, now Periscope launched people with a genius for shooting six-second long videos, usually intended to be funny, meaning that if you were a creator with a knack for coming up with hilarious six-second videos.  On Vine, you could build a reputation and attract an audience.  The problem is that Vine came to an abrupt end because behind the scenes Twitter was continually working on becoming profitable and Vine didn’t enter the equation.
    Therefore the six-second video format of Vine left the Internet.  This is an example how video did not work in a specialized format that was “cool,” new and stimulating.
  2. Another way that video has failed the mainstream is the interesting but absurd idea that you can video-record phenomena, like Bigfoot, or UFOs.  An idea of going on an expedition to get a video recording of Bigfoot in his natural habitat, or UFOs in the night sky, often gets debunked by skeptics as “hoax.”  True experiences with phenomena of this kind go with a lot of excitement and potentially lasts only briefly.
    Videos of this kind are often derided, despite, of course, the additional risk that goes with trying to capture evidence of what’s alien and supernatural.  Also, there is the problem of informing on mysteries which government authorities commonly downplay.  If you want specifics about extraterrestrial astronauts, I think you will have a hard time procuring verifiable video recordings.
    It is not video research you can easily manage, despite popularity on television and on the internet.  “NASA Astronauts Discuss Extraterrestrial Life” https://binged.it/2Ga1mXi Extraterrestrial Laboratory
  3. Celebrity video recordings are not a reliable example of a video that can be examined for research purposes.  A celebrity sells a brand.  Observations made by the celebrity have an end goal in mind, not a general desire to be casually revealed.
    Researching the brand might be an approach, however, to video research that you could apply, but I think finding both a starting point and an endpoint could be difficult.  It might even take researching techniques for analyzing a brand if you’ve never studied that.  I doubt that you will find in a video the best information about analyzing a brand.
    That being said, I have no doubt you can earn the skill-set to analyze a brand as it’s represented in a video.  I think the evidence for the success of the brand would be better extrapolated by looking at the brand in the market apart from its appearance in a video context.  To be fresh, I think you would have to apply some expert touches.
  4. Coaching lessons in packages of a student-ready video may turn out to be somewhat dull in comparison to more novel approaches to learning.  A year ago I enjoyed completing a great WordPress course.  I took photos over the course of a couple of weeks, learning a little about photography with each and making something out of each lesson.
    I liked learning like that.  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/01/01/doggedly-capturing-developing-your-eye-themes-to-ring-in-the-new-year/
    If you have an opportunity to do some organized learning, I tend to think it is more fun if you can find applications you can apply in real life.  Try referencing research sources, perhaps some interactive, other than just video lessons, and I am thinking in addition about getting around the price of the video information, if it is part of a curriculum, belying how useful the information is.
    For example, a life coach offering videos to elevate your self-esteem could prove fruitless if you can’t make the lessons work, or if your intention falters and you no longer are acting in the manner required by the video curriculum.  This is important to note.  You can apply change only as much as you are mentally prepared to.
  5. I want to wrap this up with the suggestion that video research could have you preoccupied and unfocused what with possibilities opening for you that are more and more seductive and complicated.  You should remember your focus; you are not going to benefit by wasting time.
    Too much video and you are not getting done anything that’s worthwhile.  I feel if you are a consumer of video from a small number of creators who have focused themselves on something relatable, the focus that puts you amid them is what will keep you thinking consistently.  By that, I mean thinking in a way that organic learning, by a process of discovery, rather than by merely looking aimlessly, will be of some benefit to you.
    Your critical thinking may engage if you proceed this way.  I would put it to you to learn in this fashion.

 

This has been a three-part post about video research and how video research is over-rated.  If you enjoyed it, you’re welcome to like this post.  You can follow and subscribe as well.  Thank you again for reading me.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Truck passing church

Kim, a New Zealand writer who blogs Writer Side Of Life, kindly nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award.  The personal connection stirred me up a touch, I must say!  What Kim published when she was highlighting her award can be found here:  

 http://www.writersideoflife.com/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

The award nomination means answering eleven questions Kim asks, then nominating eleven bloggers for the same award, and putting to them eleven questions.

SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

Here are Kim’s questions.  The number eleven figures up front in the award challenge.

Kim’s questions:

  1. What is your favourite place in the world?
  2. What do you want people to get out of your blog?
  3. Cat person or dog person?
  4. Who is your best author?
  5. What is your favourite comfort food?
  6. As a child, what did you dream of doing for a living?
  7. Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
  8. Would you trust a self-driving car?
  9. What’s the best thing about your own country?
  10. Which 3 famous people would you invite for dinner? (Dead or alive)
  11. What is your favourite quote?

The answers:

What is your favourite place in the world?

My friend’s apartment with her cats.

What do you want people to get out of your blog?

I want visitors to the blog to be amused by what I publish and to feel better about their pursuits, even if only momentarily.

Cat person or dog person?

Cat!

Who is your best author?

I recall the late Donald E. Westlake, many of whose novels published under his true name I have read in my life beginning when I was in junior high.  Many of his titles are comic crime fiction.  There have been filmed adaptations as well.

What is your favourite comfort food?

I enjoy a quick hot dog.

As a child, what did you dream of doing for a living?

Being a child, and having games of Monopoly and Pay Day at home, I would have liked big business, I think, at one time attempting to keep a Christmas savings ledger on paper.

Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

Trying to ride the Trans-Canada highway in the province of Manitoba, the VW Rabbit gave out and went off the medium, rolling three times and stopping once it was at a complete stop entirely upside down.  I was dearly lucky I was belted in the back seat.

Would you trust a self-driving car?

Yes.  I think much transportation will be self-driving come a few decades into the twenty-first century.

A truck passing Louth United Church in St. Catharines

What’s the best thing about your own country?

It is freedom.

Which 3 famous people would you invite for dinner? (Dead or alive)

  • Daisy Ridley
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Megan Fox

What is your favourite quote?

In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”  –Andy Warhol

The rules for the award challenge are as follows.

The rules/guidelines:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.

2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

4. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

5. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Nominations:

justabitfurther https://justabitfurther.wordpress.com

Everyday Strange https://everydaystrangeblog.wordpress.com

The Inner Circle https://moonknight64.wordpress.com

Lovable Literature https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com

The Little Mermaid https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com

Life Amazing https://lifeamazing.net

t e m e n o s https://thetemenosjournal.com

Ruined for Life:  Phoenix Edition https://smkelly8.com/

Wandering NerdGirl https://wanderingnerdgirl.com

Artist by Beauty https://artistbybeauty.blog

Consciousness creates reality https://consciousnesscreatesreality.wordpress.com

My questions for you:

  1. What are your favourite social media platforms?
  2. Would you rather hear rock music or hip-hop?
  3. What is the subject you most enjoyed learning about in school?
  4. What is your favourite treat that is a “pick-me-up” for you?
  5. Do you feel desktop Windows has usefulness going into 2019?
  6. If you could customize any physical object you own to make it part of the Internet of Things, which object of yours would be better with Internet responsiveness?
  7. Who is your favourite Hollywood actor (actress)?
  8. What is your favourite candy bar?
  9. Have you travelled outside of your country?
  10. What sport most interests you?

11. What is a source of inspiration for you that you can turn to when drafting a blog post?

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part I

November 22, 2018

By video research, I mean watching video content to gain information about a topic.  To render the inscrutable meaningful, I am trying to re-envision specific ideas I have about video research.  To try to make this fun, I am re-envisioning 15 ways that the progress I try to make utilizing video research actually makes an impact (for me).

This will include examples of why it is I am conjecturing the phrase video research isn’t dropped onto the page constantly.

  1. The first thing that I am focusing on is when I actively became aware of the possibility of video research.  You might say the stars aligned (nearly) and I think it was when I was compelled by my younger friend B. pointing out that I could listen to youths crying out with the Internet.  This is so sensitive.
    In my defense, I both saw I could get into hard-to-tackle specifics with a computer, and also I discarded the idea to pursue B.’s style of research, which is a misnomer, as it wasn’t video being researched, it was more like gamer hack-and-slash.  In B.’s defense, he became a teacher for a living.
    [I hope he is still doing that.  He dropped off Facebook a long time ago (without an explanation).]
  2. With an awareness like that, it has to be tempered with the recognition that humans require respect.  Interesting uses of Internet video express things which are unfathomable and also perhaps too sensitive to extrapolate.  The very most interesting experiences with the Internet, I think, and when outside elements of the world beyond the Internet enter and, I suppose, reflect the viewer experiencing the video, which is hard to concisely explain.
    If there is a simple explanation for this, perhaps from lecture halls or elsewhere, and you know of such a thing, forgive me.  Leave me a comment if you like.  On the simplest level, people can leave user comments for a creator who responds.
    I am pretty sure I have a few variations of that straightforward element of the Internet.
  3. I think in 2018 WordPress turned 15 years old, didn’t it?  A technique for growing your blog readership, if you’re on WordPress, is to leave user comments on other bloggers’ work.  The point is that if you do this respectfully and consistently, eventually sympathetic or otherwise interested bloggers who you have contacted will reciprocate by interacting with you.
    Now you may ask me, and I am prepared for this in the eventuality it happens, “How do you know that?  You don’t seem to have much readership of note.”
    “Yes,” I will reply, not impudently, “but I simply have not devoted the focus to constantly read blogs and interact with them.  My blog, as yet, is an amateur effort.”  At that point, I hope you do not disappear abruptly, although if this is the case, that is fine, as I hope to better strategize in 2019 than I have in the past.
  4. I hope to pursue this as long as it is a possibility.  What I’ve observed is that WordPress techniques are not the same as those on a more characteristically “social” platform.  I would argue that during what I’ve learned, I’ve enjoyed the process.
    I am tempted to leave this point there and then, but even with confirmation bias indicating that if I am predisposed to a set of beliefs that highly values an “art for art’s sake” attitude, the argument I want to make is that this specific confirmation bias is perfectly fine and I want to run with it in 2019.
    How then, what can you, you might ask, do to make your blog more readable?  Well, you can take it on Facebook and ask people you’ve met to read it.  That’s a tactic that can help you start a blog and potentially get results that are interesting for you.
  5. We’re beginning to talk about video research, but the first thing I think of trying to approach something that’s sensitive is some obvious problems coming up right away.  These fifteen points are geared to getting your attention away from what you should do with the video you watch, and what you are already doing with your blog, or how it is you could start a blog.  The conclusion that can be drawn, and it’s not science, but a method, is that you can draw on video research to formulate something that you’d like people to read and you can put it on WordPress.

    I had quite a bit to say just to introduce this, so I am ending this post shortly below and picking up in the next blog post.

This first part of the 15 ways has been about a few generalities that have worked for me and a few tips that could apply to what you are doing.

These first five points are trying to get to the point, saying you can take video, turn it into blog content, get a running start with your blog, and go from there.  I am going to return with what shall be two more posts, aiming to illustrate ten more ways that you can do something more with video than just watch it.

Thanks for reading.

When I last asked my niece to let me have a photo, she was in high gear to play a frivolous game of Candy Land.  She suggested I show her in the midst of unpacking the enduring board game.  My niece is in the third grade.

Mermaid’s November 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Saturday‎, ‎September‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015

“Tea parties” have been at the forefront of The Little Mermaid blog the last five months.  These are blogging challenges that span the entirety of each month.  These are free and encourage participants to blog on a specific theme along with the rest of those joining in.

This month The Little Mermaid has asked her participants for their thoughts on travel.  Where have you traveled? the Little Mermaid asks.  What’s the best part?

What’s the worst part?  What tips might you offer up to someone grappling with wanderlust?

The furthest-reaching of my travel experience was done in my life in the nineteen nineties.  I have traveled to the United States, to the United Kingdom, to France, and to Belgium.  These are the countries where I have gone, done in my adolescence and later in my early twenties.

The best part was the excitement of going to locations completely new.  For example, when I was going to the United States, passing through Detroit, seeing Walt Disney World in Orlando (and cheating a touch by going through Universal Studios, too).   Spending a little time in Chicago, staying with family in Nashville, visiting a friend in Portland, Maine, lodging in a traveler’s stop in Memphis, visiting New Orleans, visiting New York, all this was great.  I was seeing a little more of the world.

One of the happiest times in my life was my twenty-first birthday, an important birthday if you are an American, in Memphis, Tennessee.

I would say I was taking a “walkabout” on that birthday, and it made for several nice weeks.  My father’s brother-in-law thought of the label for what I’d done.  He mentioned it to me at the wedding of one of my cousins, at the reception.  The gentleman, my godfather, mentioned to me what he said was spoke about by aboriginals in Australia, a country I’ve never seen.

Years earlier, spending days at Walt Disney World in 1991 was a fine time. The members of my particularly as my immediate family went aboard “Star Tours,” an interactive cinematic ride like being in a Star Wars spaceship.

It was very exciting as come 1987 I’d got to VCR-record a tenth-anniversary television presentation of Star Wars on Fox. At that age, ten, Star Wars was my favorite film.

The worst part of travel, I’d offer to say, is the end of the “moment” when the time for travel ends, as it generally does, and it becomes time to return to more ordinary things wherever you are spending your life.  For me, I live life in the gritty small town of St. Catharines, in the Canadian province of Ontario.

What I know at my age, which is something like an unfulfilled forty, is that if you are in the midst of wanderlust, you should listen to the word itself and observe what is the best part of life in most circumstances–the people you meet and how they take to you.  I know I have not had the luckiest of experiences in my travels.  I felt unprepared for Nashville, my handsome friend in Portland eventually killed himself, I believe, despite his promise and ambition as a musician, the lodge in Memphis finally burned to the ground, where I’d left friends behind, my idea to hustle in New York led to me being escorted out of a nightclub where I had thought to pose as an NYC resident.

These weren’t great times, especially when I returned to St. Catharines from New York and my girlfriend was angry with me when I told her how it had gone.

When I saw London, England, though, in 1999, when Y2K was only months away, it was exciting, but even with my experiences in America under my belt, I felt quite the novice with only a little money in my pocket and quite clearly to locals a foreigner.  My embarrassment deepened in Paris, the City of Lights, when I realized I was in my youth and seeing the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.  I knew it would never come again, and I’d been learning French since the third grade and could barely communicate in it–it was as if my aspirations were quickly coming to naught, and I was overwhelmed by the absurdity.

Dimensions: 4525 x 3699
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I didn’t spend much time in Belgium, but I liked it a little better than France, enjoying chocolate and also seeing grim war trenches from World War I when Belgium soldiers defended their nation from Germany.

Eventually, my younger sister married a Belgium gentleman.  That was a nice occasion.  Here is a photo I took at the wedding ceremony.

Saturday‎, ‎September‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015
My sister’s wedding

The photo of myself I am showing is of a time in 2003 in a hotel in St. Catharines. I was meeting up with the friend who had introduced me to MySpace (before it blew up to become entropy) and speaking, as intended, of American writer Charles Bukowski, the beauty of whose work she wanted to impress upon me.

She and her boyfriend were gracious visitors.  It was, again, a “moment.”

2003
Image: Julie Rippl

I am grateful to The Little Mermaid for thinking of these tea party posts that are interesting for me and for other bloggers on WordPress to organize new blog posts.  If you are a touch keen on this, feel free to “like,” to follow, and/or to comment.  I wish you well if you travel yourself, and, what’s more, I wish you luck if you have a blog.

All the best.