blog posts without any pictures

Right now, I’m camera-less. It’s torturous, nearly. Beautiful summer sunset, new items to sell on eBay, the heightening lettuce in my first garden – I can’t snap shots of any of them. What’s a (at-least-I-pretend-to-be-a) photographer to do? Remind me never to lose my camera again.

But really, it is a time of confession. When I first started blogging, I had my own camera. For a few months. I was always on the lookout for blog-worthy photos to complement my posts. Then I lost it (Take this sentence in every meaning possible.). Ever since, it’s been downhill. Yes, I borrowed my housemate’s camera, but it’s not the same. And recently, I feel increasingly guilty that I haven’t returned it to her yet. I probably should . . .

This all leads me to a little preachiness on the importance of having excellent pictures to go along with your blog posts. I really can’t say enough about it. Honestly, every time I write one of those “the challenge” sections, I end up saying something to the effect of “Include pictures of your _______.” (Fill in the blank with whatever random concept I’m telling you to start a blog about.)

I could say some pithy quote about pictures being worth a 1000 words, but honestly my reasoning is just that people like to look at pictures. Even as adults, we’d rather feast our eyes on books, webpages, instruction manuals, etc. that are filled with illustrations rather than settle for dry, word-only content.

So there you have it. What, did you expect me to include a picture or something?

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a commentary on Fresh Pressed

Bloggers are like people. Well, in most cases, they are people when you think about it. At least, I like to think so. There are occasional moments when I stumble across those captivating blogs of seemingly larger-than-life people with extraordinary lives. Or, I don’t know, maybe I’m the odd one out. Does everyone just happen to travel to Norway and Cambodia every day, take breathtaking photos, and then upload them to their photo blog for everyone to drool over? (No offense, Casey Arneson. I really just needed an excuse to sneak in a link to your incredible work.) It sure seems like it when you scroll through Fresh Pressed, doesn’t it?

I admit, sometimes Fresh Pressed makes me feel that my life is hypo-ordinary.

Some bloggers have ordinary or perhaps even hypo-ordinary lives, that is lives that are less than ordinary and which can seem to be made a bit more ordinary, at least momentarily, in experiencing the thrill of coining new words (as was recently demonstrated through my use of the word hypo-ordinary). But what makes a blogger’s life or experiences or posts the coveted Fresh-Press-worthy?

the challenge

Start a blog that is a commentary on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed. Make observations about the posts. Why do you think a certain post made it on the homepage? What are some common trends in posts they choose to highlight? Do they refer to pop culture, feature amazing photography, include corny jokes?

possible blog names

  • FreshPressMe
  • FreshPressDontMess
  • BestofFreshPress
  • FreshCommentary

hunts and finds: the pirate in all of us

everybody, everybody wants to hunt

Whether you take it in the spiritual/metaphysical purpose-seeking sense or the small, everyday practical sense, we’re always looking for something. We all like to hunt (and by this I mean search for things, not necessarily kill them and put their heads over the living room fireplace, which would be especially unfortunate if you, like Elmer Fudd, prefer to hunt innocent yet humorous rabbits such as Bugs Bunny).

A group of some good friends and I used to go geocaching quite religiously. When I would try to explain the object of geocaching to others – to follow coordinates to a specific location where others have hidden “treasure” (aka, usually a pill bottle with a log in it where you sign your name to prove you found the cache) and then keep an online profile recording all your finds – I always felt a little lame. Usually I would finish my increasingly polished spiel, and the person would squint their eyes a little and ask, “So, what’s the point?” I guess it’s one of those things that sounds stupider than it actually is. But geocaching makes perfect sense if it’s true that we like to look for things and find them, especially when they have some kind of value to us.

Three good friends looking for a cache

 

challenge

Start a blog about what you like to find, what you’re constantly on the hunt for. Some posts could be informative. Think American Pickers: they always share why their picked items are valuable, the history of the items, etc. Other posts could be mostly photographic, showcasing recent finds. The blog could be a documentation of sorts of the things you’ve seen, found, collected, or bought/sold. Maybe you want to go ancestral and start a blog that traces your hunt for family background?

possible blog names

  • _____hunter (Fill in the blank with what you hunt.)
  • PirateseekstreasureArr (For pirates.)
  • Ontheprowlforfowl (For bird hunters? Or Jack Sparrow haters.)
  • Searchinforurchin (Now I’m getting carried away, and I’ve overused parentheses in this section.)

my recent find, or the inspiration for the post

What do I like to find? I like to find abandoned buildings and houses, rundown structures, unkept places. After months of passing this old house, I finally took my photo opp.

famous quotes that somehow pertain to the post

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Jesus

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

photo negatives and unedited memories

We rarely develop pictures anymore. I, for one, upload my photos to my computer, edit them, post them to facebook, and that’s the end of that.

One of my friends was recently telling me that eventually they’ll phase out of developing photos at all in places like Walmart and drugstores, and with good reason. I’m sure the demand has gone way down in my lifetime, since technology makes it almost unnecessary to print photos. (But not to fear, because even if you’re the old-fashioned type who likes to hold photos – they have photo-friendly printers and even machines made just for printing photos on the market. Plus the ever-classic photo booths – my favorite!)

But we still have photo negatives, even with all our technology-savviness and brilliant digital cameras. We have the photos that don’t make the cut, don’t make it to facebook, end up in the Recycle Bin on our computer and in our memory. It’s so easy to edit our lives by deleting, erasing, and just never posting the imperfect pictures or experiences.

The new Facebook Timeline seems to reflect this modern evolution of memory control. Fellow blogger Writingthroughthefog said this very well:

“‘Once you get timeline, you’ll have 7 days before anyone else can see it. This gives you a chance to get your timeline looking the way you want before other people see it.’ Right here, in Timeline’s instructions, I’m encouraged to pluck out my flaws and dismiss memories that aren’t life-altering or amazing.”

Yet even the photo negatives have a place. Life doesn’t come at us neatly edited and picture perfect. It’d be neat to see a blog with all the photo negatives, the ones that wouldn’t make the cut, but are still somehow relevant.

In this spirit, I’ll share some photos that don’t really make the cut. They’re not my best, favorite, most flattering – but they’re still part of my life:

(Note: I’m sorry that this post is so late in coming, but I had planned to use different pictures I took recently and then lost my camera. For more on this, refer back to irony.)

365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012

One year. One project. Are you in?

The official WordPress blog recently encouraged readers to “Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.” Though this project is most often associated with taking one picture each day for a year (There’s a whole site for it, 365project.org, with over 70,000 users uploading one photo from each day of their project.), the concept of a 365-day project can be adapted to fit any project you hope to work on during 2012.

Another variation of the project is a Project 52 (I’m not sure if that’s an official term, but we’ll agree on it, okay?). The idea is much the same, only you do what you do to add to your project once a week instead of every day. My friend Michael Gibbons is working on a 52-week project (Check out his Scottish spiel by following the link. End shameless promo.) in which he hopes to make one video each week of 2012. He even has a theme for each week that the video must express! (Talk about project-ready.)

Now, if you’re numerical and all, then you may have gathered that 365 days and 52 weeks are two equations both equal to one year’s time. (I really don’t make these mathematical statements to insult your intelligence, dear reader. I’m just not very mathematical and like to pretend I am every once in a while.) You would be right.

Today is January 1, 2012.

So if you’re right (365 days= 1 year and 52 weeks= 1 year) and I’m right (Today is January 1, 2012.), then I believe there’s a little more going on here than math. Yes, an idea that’s brewing like hot coffee at a corporate office. Because today is the first day of a new year, it’s the perfect time to start a Project 365 or 52. So why not?

A new year is the ultimate in late Christmas presents.

Now, you know I have to throw in a little promo for starting a blog (I’ve been promoing all over the place in this post.), but I’d like to give a list of ideas for projects, and you could do these whether or not you decide to blog about it. (Of course, I’ll be the first to subscribe to your blog if you do blog about your project.)

PROJECT IDEAS

Remember: Do/Make/Take/Write (about) one per day or week.

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Meal/Dish
  • Illustration
  • Interview
  • Song
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Craft
  • Form of exercise
  • Restoration (car, antique, etc.)
  • Review (book, restaurant, movie, etc.
  • Page of your next book
  • Invention
  • Update on your ventures in …
  • Way to give
  • One Dress Protest or other social activism
  • Letter
  • Development of a skill 
  • Experience at a new job
  • Conversations
  • Tour (of your hometown, or the world)
  • ((Insert your creative idea here))

This isn’t an exhaustive list, because you could Project 365 or Project 52 almost anything. But if you do, start a blog about it . . .