I've been doing a lot of site updates in the last few days. If you look to the sidebar on the left, I've added a lot of Minnesota and Wisconsin bloggers to the Neighborhood. There's a wealth of good reading there and the biggest problem is knowing when to stop!
I've been reading Swiftee's comments at Mitch's place forever, so I found him blogging at Pair 'O Dice. You know those links you run across that are great but you neglect to bookmark them and they get lost? Swiftee helped me find Amor Gedden again, an amazing Mil blog.
I've been writing a post titled "This Blog is Dead" in my head for about the last three months. I've even begun typing it more than once. I've always stopped before I hit the "post" button. The last time was this week. I stopped because I had just given the URL to a visiting soldier, on leave from Iraq. Even if I quit posting, I want the links to be available to him so he has a place to start to find military blogs.
I don't want Brainstorming to die, but it's also very painful to limp along, not producing anything of value.
It's not that I don't have anything to write. On the contrary, there are a ton of posts I would have loved to publish.
Right now, there are too many real life things that demand my time and attention.
My husband and I own a business. We're good at what we do, but it demands very long hours. We also have two kids, growing up faster than it should be legal. They deserve my free time more than this site does. (The Boy just stopped by to report on the progress of sighting in his first .22, just received for his birthday.)
I made a decision today that instead of killing it off completely, I'm going to go on hiatus. Maybe with some time to get caught up at work and at home, get our new employee trained, etc., I can get back to a place where I can post on a regular schedule.
Brainstorming began almost a year ago, and since then has had 55,000 visitors. Thank you to each and every one of you who has stopped by or promoted this blog. Remember, only I could have the bad timing to stop blogging immediately after the week that blogs and pajama clad bloggers have made headlines in every MSM outlet. (grin)
Please follow the links on my sidebars. There are some great sites there that are written by great people.
My husband and I attended the Blog Bash at Keegan's last night. It wasn't really fair to bring my better half, since he's more of a Best of the Web and Town Hall kind of guy so it didn't hold the same level of excitement for him as it did for me. Yet even though we were only there about an hour and a half, just going to the cities and back consumes so much of the day, (while we're down here, we should stop here, oh and we could get that done too, kind of thing), that I was selfish for his company. After twenty years together, he's still the best. Love you babe.
On to the Blog Bash.
"Isn't it ironic....dontcha think?.....Alannis Morisette
It occurs to me that Minnesota is the only state, (out of 50!), that voted for Mondale, (50 I tell you!). How then is it possible that the same DFL dominated state has produced such star power of conservative thought on the web? Maybe it's because in order to develop and maintain a conservative viewpoint in a place where liberal thought permeates the very air you breathe, one has to develop the skills of independence and critical thinking? Is it that the atmosphere demands a conservative be ready and able to defend their views in a point by point fashion?
Don't get me wrong. Bloggers from both sides were in attendance last night. Yet one can't ignore the fact that the most influential blogs from "the state where nothing is legal", (shamelessly stolen from Soucheray), are right leaning.
Mitch was the first person to greet us. It's hard to believe some great conservative gal hasn't taken him off the market yet. His post about the party is here. We also met Pinkmonkeybird, a frequent commentor at Mitch's place who is considering starting his own blog. Go for it Pink!
As a mother of two kids who will eventually be off to college, I always appreciate the insight into higher education from King Banion, of SCSU Scholars. We didn't get to chat too long, but I did share a little of the direction I'm thinking of taking Brainstorming with him, and he had already noticed. (Bless you, King.)
We enjoyed chatting with Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson of Powerline fame and his lovely wife. We talked about the great guests they've been able to book on NARN. Trunk's party report is here.
St. Paul, Atomizer, and the Elder from Fraterslibertas were in attendance and has the most comprehensive list of guests who blog. I had a blast talking about Shanghai with the Elder. I've been traveling to Asia for business since the late eighties so I'm willing to trade stories for hours. Lucky for him the conversation got broken up sooner than that.
I finally got to meet Ed from Captain's Quarters! He and I started blogging around the same time. It's been fun to watch his meteoric rise to the top of the blogosphere. In his opinion the gathering was a Rousing Success!
Lileks was there. Yes. James Lileks. Sir Screediness! High Master of the Bleat! The man whose work makes me despair of ever writing anything but dreck.
Joining us at the smoking table, was Chumley Wonderbar from Plastic Hallway. I 've wanted to see iRobot, so I found his review helpful.
Doug Bass from Belief Seeking Understanding was there and apparently had a woodchuck encounter. Now I expect that kind of thing where I live, but on University and Hennepin? Makes me wonder how far into the evening, (and the Keegans' inventory), this occurred.
Since we were there only a short time I didn't get a chance to meet the rest of the folks, but the NARN guys will be doing a live broadcast next weekend from Diamond Bluff and at the State Fair, so maybe we'll see you there.
I was out treating myself very nicely today, (and at meetings yesterday), but I'm dropping in to mention the Blogger and Blog Fan Bash tomorrow at Keegan's at 5:00 PM. (I may not be much of a blogger recently, but I can surely qualify as a fan.)
I propose we take surveys. You know, PC versus Mac, Bush vs. Nader vs. Kerry, toilet paper roll over or under. (I could probably get a government grant to analyze the data. It would leave me more time for blogging.)
Maybe we'll divide up into teams and try the famous Keegan's trivia contest?
It's the best news I've heard in a while. My first daily read, the wonderful Rachel Lucas is back to blogging.
YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (Cue Snoopy dance.)
We loves her preciousss.
I am genuinely stunned and speechless over all of this. I had no idea anyone still gave a flying rat’s ass about my impudent blog, and knowing that plenty of people do in fact give a flying rat’s ass is just, well, totally bitchin'. I really appreciate it a lot more than I think anyone knows.
No. We appreciate you a lot more than YOU know, Rachel.
I'll have to make Eggs of the Devil in honor of the occasion.
It's taken me at least a week to write what I know I have to write. Maybe you've noticed that the amount of posting has dropped off and I haven't exactly been hitting the news hard lately? It's not due to lack of interest, I assure you. If I had my druthers I could blog all day.
Family, work, and travel are all demanding my attention.
I'm not going to say I won't be blogging at all, but I might only write once or twice a week until the backlog clears up. Now is probably a good time to says thanks to everyone who stops by Brainstorming, and I especially love to hear from you in comments.
The Uber bloggers, (sorry I don't know how to do that punctuation thing over the "U" and it is 3 AM), were guests on the Hugh Hewitt show today.
If you missed it, you can listen to the replay on the net here - click "Today's Show" under Hugh's picture, (until Hugh's show starts today, which is 3:00 PST.) I'm listening to the replay right now.
I've mentioned before, Thursday is usually meeting day, which means six hours in the van and the ability to catch all three hours of Hugh's show. (The downside being I'm still at my desk at 3 am.)
I turned down the radio for the phone. When I turned the volume back up.......What's This? ......Glenn and Lileks?.........A little piece of Bloggie Heaven!
Yet I still faced a dilemma. They're still talking and I'm pulling into the shop to get my nails done. Would you consider me obsessive if I told you I considered stopping to pick up a radio with headphones? Me? Obsessive? Me, radio, headphones, Hugh, Glenn, Lileks, Pedicure........ Should I?
Instead, I ran inside the shop on a commerical only to be told they couldn't get me in for about another 1/2 hour. OK. It would be better to get home earlier, but if I have to wait I may as well listen in the van. Glad I didn't stop to get the radio after all. I wouldn't want to have to explain it to anyone.....
Here is a stream of conciousness blogging of the show from the net replay. It does NOT quote directly, just gives an idea of what was discussed. I may have gotten caller names wrong..Apologies in advance for any errors....etc....etc....etc...
Hugh: Has the blogosphere had an impact on the campaign so far?
Glenn: Pretty substantially providing rapid reaction....sheer volume of goofy Kerry photos.....ability to compare the things said before to what they're saying now
James: Agree and disagree. If blogs were that powerful Dean would be the nominee...he had that internet thing going. Blogosphere is divided. James doesn't see people from center checking both sides and making decisions.
Hugh: What did James do on his site today? Glenn linked to it and excerpted about 4 paragraphs. Glenn's traffic about 126,000 daily.
Glenn: Agree very much. Blogs good at early primary stage. Motivating people. World James describes, Media world isn't split. Traditional liberal media was only game in town. Conservative partisans beaten down by it previously. Break their spirits and tend to get apologetic about conservative candidates. Exposes bias of traditional media
James: Agrees. In addition to blogs credits talk radio.
Hugh: Back to the MTV interview. What does it do?
Glenn: I get e-mails from Democrats. When they go read Lileks fisking, they're exposed to another view.
Hugh: Didn't see coverage of the MTV interview except on MTV and the blogs. Blog exposure can lead to water cooler discussion.
Glenn: Thinks its right. Passes info up the media chain.
James: Micro blogging is exactly what the medium is made for. I don't do that. I serve up large chunks. Through individual voices I end up places I would never go.
Hugh: The memes. Powerline post with the Kerry daisy chain, subject of a number of Instapundit posts. Who does that besides you and Powerline and James?
Glenn: Kerry daisy chain on one hand not a big deal. But he's the Dem nominee looking like a complete goofball.
Lileks: Can't write in his national column about net meme without fully explaining it. Frustrating when people who don't follow the internet, aren't aware of stories commonly known on the net. Talked to someone inside Washington Beltway about the Kerry/VVAW story, but he had no idea what he was talking about. Hadn't heard of it because it hadn't been in the Washington Post.
Hugh: Is the left overmatched in the blogsphere?
Glenn: I think it was, it's evening out. Disadvtage the left has is it doesn't have the mainstream media as a foil.
Glenn: Good idea to hire him. Good blogger. Brought Matt in to liven things up and he's done good.
Lileks:Stephen Den Beste, extraordinary stuff. extra long. Some of his posts more fascinating than pros. Blogosphere very fluid. Buzz happens very quickly. Come and go. In radio if Hugh were dull - maybe 6 months to decide to change . If someone blogging goes off the reservation, you stop going back often, then drop them from your links.
Hugh: Has it plateaued? Glenn? Most influential site? You link and destroy servers.
Glenn: Traffic climbing continuously. Increases during a big event, war, elections, but drops back, then goes past previous peak again. With 5% reading blogs now, plenty of room to grow.
Hugh:Prof. Bainbridge started 3 months ago and is high on the Ecosytem. Can it still happen? Who are new stars?
Clay: Blogosphere reminds him of The Tipping Point book. Blog correlates, different types of people, connectors and mavens. Connectors create the links, Mavens explore it. Glenn is a connector, and sometimes a maven on things like 2nd Amendment. DenBeste is a maven.
Willie, Denver: Blogs all web based, what about Newsgroups. There are 90,000 and they're political war zones.
Lileks: Art of flame war perfected in newsgroups. Arguments generate much more heat.
Hugh: Wouldn't think of Newsgroups as source material for radio show.
Glenn: Advantage in blogs you can ignore the idiots. Worn out on usenet.
DC of Brainstorming: (I met Hugh once and have called his show once or twice, but he remembers me. Amazing! A walking Dale Carnegie the man is.)
(I have to explain something. I couldn't hear Lileks the second time he started talking, so I ended up interrupting his answer to sign off. Ugh! Even listening a second time, I'm not sure exactly what he said in response. Something like this....)
Lileks: Depends if you can get groups like that together. A group that can really write.
(In any case, it sounded complimentary to the NARN guys.)
Unfortunately, the internet stream cuts off there, missing the last hour of the show.
I know Hugh mentioned he received an e-mail from Captain Ed, thanking Glenn for the links and traffic he'd sent his way. Then, they were joined by Roger Simon. I know someone, (Hugh?), mentioned BoifromTroy.
At the end, Hugh asked each of them which five blogs they read every day. Here's what I can remember, (corrections welcomed):
I do have pretty toes now. I also passed on some site names to a woman getting her nails done after they asked what I had been doing while I waited. One more potential reader added to the blogosphere. I also ran across this article on blogs as I wrote this up. Night all!
As some of you know, I live in the wilds of western Wisconsin, purposely isolated from urban society, in an attempt to prevent premature heart failure in my better half due to overexposure to talk show radio hosts, and away from our former life in the state where nothing is allowed, (which in a cruel twist of fate has now passed concealed carry, elected Norm Coleman to the Senate, and sent Tim Pawlenty to governor's office.)
As such, AM1280 is not easy to access from our home, sweet home. After trying to capture the signal on all the radios in the house and the office, I determined my only option was to sit in the van in the driveway, where we do get reception during daylight hours.
I thought the first hour of the show went well with Mitch, Hindrocket, Saint Paul, and Captain Ed. Starting with gang bathroom graffitti is certainly original content, but it was followed with solid points against John Kerry and his over the top characterization of Bush's foreign policy. The first caller turned out to be "James". If you listen to Hewitt, there's no mistaking that voice. I thought they were going to let him get off the line before they informed their listeners that "James" was none other than James Lileks of Backfence and Bleat fame, but they managed to identify him for the audience before he hung up, (not before he revealed his secret plan to wait until the rest of the Alliance members fade out so he can swoop in and take over the show. Shhhh.)
The host of the Taxpayers League show, David Strom, which airs from 9-11 am Saturdays on The Patriot, called to express his jealousy over the quality of the first show. Always nice to hear from new fans. Followed by more dirt on Kerry, including mention of Minnesota as a "battleground" state in the upcoming presidential election, more irony for anyone who escaped Minnesocold for now even more liberal Wisconsin. (At least we live an entire length of the state away from Madison.)
I couldn't reconcile myself to spending three hours of a Saturday sitting in the van in the driveway. Figuring I may as well accomplish something if I was going to listen to all three hours of the show, I decided to head to the cities, an hour and a half drive, and run some errands. As a result, I missed the first 15 minutes of the second hour when I ran in the house to brush my teeth and get dressed, (at least I can be a clean hick for a trip to the big cities.)
The hour included guest Britt Haugland, from the group of St. Olaf's students who sponsored Big Trunk's talk. Katherine Kersten from the Center of the American Experiement called in to add her take on the Peace Prize Forum, which she also wrote about for Front Page magazine.
Ms. Kersten is the Director of e-Pluribus, an outreach to college students to help them shine a light on the bias in higher education. Her article does a good job describing how the Peace Forum's liberal bias prompted the concern of the conservative students, their appeal to the administration, the regents, and resulted in Big Trunk's "teach in."
Having written aboutDiversity of Thought here previously, I did try to call in this hour to ask the participants to what do they attribute the apparent swing on our college campuses, with students trending more conservative in recent years? Unfortunately the cell phone kept protesting, "Call Failed." The hour concluded before I would figure out a way around this technical glitch.
The last hour started with Big Trunk relaying the story of the Minneapolis musicians that played on five tracks of Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album when he recorded a second version in Minnesota, but never received credit on the album. The musicians got together this week and played Blood on the Tracks at the Pantages Theater which the Trunk reviewed here, with a follow up here. Interesting story I hadn't heard before.
The rest of the show focused on chooosing the Biased Liberal Hack Columnist of the Week, and featured J.B. Doubtless, the Atomizer and St. Paul of Fraters fame. Having divorced myself from the egregious liberal bias of the Mpls./St. Paul press corps, to the point of moving out of state, I was less involved in the topic. Of course, this a local show so it's certainly pertinent to the audience, and I can empathize with Twin Citians who still might read these columnists and their need to vent. I recognized one third hour caller as Doug from Belief Seeking Understanding. Brian Lampert won the dubious prize for his portrayal of MPR as "nuetral-and-balance-minded."
Having determined my cell phone was working, just refusing to connect to the call in number, 651-688-3131, I found a way around it and used my AT&T calling card, finally reaching the screener, who rightfully concluded I had little to say on the Biased Columnist topic and promptly hung up on me after I explained I'd driven in from Wisconsin to hear the show. So, I'll say my congrats here on the successful show launch.
Sure, some critics may say these guys have big dog complex now that they've been given a outlet, or it's all a plot to get this guy dates. Not me though. I'm just a little dog and I know my place. Seriously though, the show was well done, moved along well and had interesting content. If they limited the scope to the material on these blogs in a week they could easily fill a three hour show. I know the listeners' of the Patriot had requested more local programming, so it's a cinch to be a big success. They definitely won't need me in the van on Saturdays, but I'm glad I didn't miss the first show. It's kind of historic, the blogosphere invading radio. I'm glad I was there, in a voyeur kind of way.
Captain Ed live blogged after the first hour of course, (with pictures) and a follow up here. (Here's a guy who can give a blogger an inferiority complex.)