fall and the things that tend to accompany it
It’s October 18th and beautiful for me here in Denver, Colorado.
One could argue it is perhaps the most beautiful time of fall.
The freeze has yet to happen (an event that serendipitously
seems to coincide with Halloween) and the leaves are golden
(or as golden as they can be here in semi-arid Colorado).
Fall, I feel, will always have a feeling of rebirth for me.
The kiddos are back in school with their fresh pencil cases
the leaves are falling because perhaps they feel tired.
New sports are televised, pumpkins are carved,
an exorbitant amount of money is spent
on variations of clothing we already own.
But still, it is fall
it is a beginning during the middle of the end.
For me, it is a time of contemplative introspection.
Is this where I thought I would be at 24? 13? 39? 57?
Am I good enough? Am I living to their expectations?
More importantly am I living up to my own?
Here, Kurt Vonnegut might add something witty
like, “See the cat? See the cradle?” But then again,
maybe he wouldn’t have.
I perhaps would tell Kurt that I see the cradle.
Because every time a leaf brushes past my nose
I realize that a more (most) part of fall is the leaf,
that transitory leaf, and how it falls with such precision
I’ve just noticed that my red string bracelet has found it appropriate to leave my wrist. A Buddhist priestess put it there roughly two months ago when I climbed up the 8 steps of a temple hidden in the jungle, sparsely roamed by tourists in the maze of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thomh temples that litter the jungles of Cambodia.
In Buddhism, you must remove your shoes and bow below the head of Buddha when you come to worship. Incense is nearly always burning and sometimes people will rub Buddha’s feet for good luck.
My most prized possessions always seem to be the ones that cost very little (I gave this woman some change for the string and three incense sticks she shoved in my head, as nothing is ever really free).
It’s been something I’ve grown very fond of in these past weeks, just 3 or 4 red strings, tied with a simple knot.
But now it’s one more reminder that my time there is sleeping further past my fingertips, the smell is getting weaker, the pictures dimmer, it seems more like a facebook album than a reality.
That is memory. It’s temporary and a cruel mistress with time. The images fade, the bracelets fall off and I’m left with this half-hearted tempramemory, that fades and fades until.
Apples, Reflections, and the Anato-Emily of a Blog
This post is in response to an assignment in my Communication and Technology class at Regis University. I was asked to read a chapter in the book Exploring Web 2.0: Second Generation Interactive Tools - Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis, Networking, Virtual Worlds, and More, and write a reflection of it.
Well, I picked the chapter on blogging. I blog and have been blogging for a while now.
Ann Bell, the author of the book, says: “A blog is similar to an empty book; it is how you use that book, which makes the difference.”
This is my 122nd post on Emmy Appleseed.
How am I using my book? My initial idea was to use this blog to share my writing and bits of intellectual fruits with all who care to have a read.
Well, I’ve been tracking the traffic this blog receives for a while now and have come to one unequivocal conclusion: Not too many people are wild over Emmy Appleseed. This comes as no surprise to me, and as the chapter mentions, linking to blogs, tagging keywords and active engagement are all huge components of driving traffic to your blog. I don’t do this too often.
It should also serve to remind the reader that not many of the billions of blogs out there are well-read. Many people serve their heart out on a keyboard, hit the Submit button and wait for the reply that never comes.
For all the community the Internet provides, some people out here are still quite lonely.
But all that aside, I can tell you the chapter on blogging tells me a lot of things I already know. I know that people use blogger, WordPress and Xanga to host their blog. The chapter however, says nothing of Tumblr, which is my hosting site of choice. And Tumblr is starting to gain momentum in the social media circuit, the New York Times recently profiled them: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/technology/02tumblr.html?dbk
It’s a nice blog interface because there is community on Tumblr. And as the article says, it allows you to do things you can’t do on Facebook or Twitter.
I personally like the design, it’s sleek, uncluttered and intuitive.
The way your blog looks says a lot about the blog itself.
There is an interesting section in the chapter which details “How to Write Meaningful Blog Entries.” Let’s see if Mrs. Bell’s ideas line up with mine:
1. A constant theme for your blog.
Emmy Appleseed is a bit sporadic, pieces of my creative writing spread over months and pages. The unifying factor: it’s all from one person, despite the occasional set of song lyrics.
2. A consistent tone for your blog.
I disagree, I think a good blog can surprise its readers with content you hadn’t expected of it. It shouldn’t always be funny and it shouldn’t always be sad. Readers appreciate variation and could easily lose interest with a blog that always sounds the same.
3. Honesty and sincerity
A component most personal blogs do not have to worry about.
4. Be informative and up-to-date.
Depending on the subject area.
5. Differentiate between facts and opinions.
Important for some blogs and less important for others. A blog that features only fictional pieces needs to be less concerned with this than a New York Times blog, for instance.
6. Double-check spelling, grammar and punctuation.
This is always important, many personal blogs seem to find this step less important, however.
7. Select key-word rich titles.
Very important for purposes of tag clouds and SEO.
8. Update frequently.
This is true and something that I am currently not doing. When I first started my Emmy Appleseed blog, I posted once a day and the traffic to my site greatly reflected my persistence.
9. Correctly maintained RSS feed will increase your blog’s readership and distribution.
This is also something I don’t do. Hey, I never said that this list couldn’t teach me a thing or two!
10. Select specific tags that reflect the theme of your blog.
This is a great suggestion and something that I do practice. I tag every post with tags like #poem, #poet, #poetry, #writer, #writing. It is also very important to tag variations of the same word to come up in more search results.
11. Select category labels that best describe the blog.
Tumblr doesn’t use category labels. This suggestion is only applicable for some hosting sites.
In summary, I find this list to be helpful for the novice blogger. Much of the information however, is too vague and doesn’t necessarily apply to all kinds of blogs. And after letting this information percolate for a while, I noticed that Bell leaves out one major tip for writing meaningful blog entries:
You have to write for an audience, or at least be aware that an audience, a reader exists out there. Whether your audience be HR executives or 13-year-old Justin Bieber fans, it’s a component of blogging that is not to be taken lightly.
And so there you have it, and with a focused pen and an audience in mind, I think a novice blogger should have no problem at all getting their bits of appleseed out into the world.
Cambodia so it seems
—> It is July 7th and I sit here in an eleven dollar fifty cent hotel room scratching at my mosquito bites and hoping for breakfast. Last night after our bus drug us into Phnom Penh, we went to Dream Bar (LP recommended) where the Westerners were plentiful.
What else? [A sickening crunch I can’t forget in downtown Phnom Penh, watching as a motorbike merged into where the left wheel of our gas-gulping bus was, the motorbike vanishing in my blind spot, a telltale crunch and a couple of bumps and forward we went. The ladies sitting across from me had a look in their eyes that requires no translation. Elisa looked at me, wide-eyed, “Did we… ?”
"Yea, I saw the bike turn left and merge on to the road until … crunch."
We decided to not believe it, but I’m fairly certain some part of that motorbike, human or metal was left mangled by the rear wheel of our giant bus. Away we go.
We pulled into a bus stop area and everywhere men with laminated maps with hotels circled in black swarm those exiting the bus. I’ve yet to put on my armor and chat with a guy about getting a ride, Elisa and I had decided to stay in a hotel (LP recommended o course) on the Tonle Sap River, a veritable hotspot of hotels and hostels. She asks the bus driver, who directs her inside and she’s making a call to a verifiable taxi company while I tiptoe over broken English with my prospective taxi driver. Elisa secured us a ride and the cab arrived immediately. My cabbie suitor glared us over as we entered the air-conditioned cab.
"Fuck U S A! Fuck America! America is crazy!"
And that was the worst anti-American sentiment I heard the whole trip, in Cambodia of all places as opposed to Vietnam.
I shook the insults off me (as any patriot would ) and we glided over to the tourist part of town—so grateful for a safe ride that we tipped the cabbie one dollar for a three dollar cab ride.
That’s over 16,000 riel.]
The boardwalk reminds Elisa of Cuba and me of a more exotic Puerto Vallarta. Angkor beer is the brew that bubbles round these parts and last night I downed two for sixty cents a piece while Elisa and I nibbled peanuts and watched a not-so-much attractive Cambodian whore proposition a rather dashing Aussie dude. Such is the stage of Dream Bar.
We’re living frugally, but springing for $12 hotels instead of $4 hostels.
Our room has 2 twin (hard) beds, linoleum and thankfully no creepy critters. Our bellboy sprayed the cracks and floorboards when we walked in, lingering longer than likely necessary to ogle at that odd yellow hair.
Today will be my third “official” day here but we did so much yesterday, it feels like many more. Elisa’s tastes are very humble, our meager dinner on the bus yesterday sustained us all night (save for some bar peanuts and a couple of Goldfish before a platoon of critters usurped the rest while we had our passports stamped).
There really aren’t too many Americans over here— Brits, Irish, Aussies, etc. and according to Elisa’s boyfriend who traveled these roads circa o seven, many other Westerners assumed that people in the U.S. vacation only in the U.S. or Mexico. In many ways, they are right.
But me no. I love this travel, where I am forced to come face-to-face with my own absurdities, how our inflatable pillows and iPods are odd to many, how their sitting on brightly colored plastic children’s chairs while cooking on the sidewalk is odd to me.
I love it though.
This ‘I’m out of my element experience’
though it occasionally frightens the fuck out of me.