Thursday, August 31, 2006

International Blog Day

Ho,ho,it's been a long time since I've written anything here. I suppose it's been a month of rethinking, or perhaps thinking about what I'm doing with this blog. I deleted my last attempt at a post. The topic of the post was something along the lines: You mean to tell me people are supposed to think about what they write? That's my problem, I can't seem to think about what to write in advance. I just open up the handy Blogger window and start typing. Alas, that doesn't serve anyone well, but if I stop to think, I'll probably never post again.

I got plenty of warning that today, August 31st is International Blog Day. And I had planned to post, but in my sloth last night one thing or another came up and I did not. A very cool idea for this event is that bloggers would find five new blogs--preferably blogs written by people in a different place and having a different perspective than you--then write to the bloggers and tell them that you are going to blog about their blogs and do it. There's some other stuff like tagging the post for Technorati so that there will be a comprehensive list of blogday post to search. It's a great idea, but I didn't follow through.

This morning, not feeling particularly bad about my being lazy, I began reading the blogs I do and saw Sokari's post at the always wonderful Black Looks. Sokari did it right and introduces me to five blogs I would never have found without her. All of the blogs she selected are blogs where the individual voices of the bloggers come through. The sometimes peculiar voices of real people is one of the aspects of blogs that I love so much. I'm not so faithful about posting, but I'm addicted to reading blogs.

Here are five blogs I enjoy reading, they aren't new to me, but perhaps will be new to you.

think:lab: Christian Long is a teacher who works for the impressive architectural firm DesignShare which designs learning spaces that live. Christian also manages DesignShare's blog. At think:lab Christian challenges us to imagine and to create learning environments and the posts run the gamut, but especially touch on the ways that new information and communications technologies can make us all lifelong learners. Christian is a great photographer and has a keen eye for beautiful images. He is passionate about how all of us can become actualized persons creating good right where we live and play.

Blahsploitation: This blog is a portal for the family Phil Jones's Synaesmedia projects--check the links in the sidebar. Most of the time posts at Blahsplotation are simply a pithy comment and a link. Phil Jones's is a British programmer living in Brazil. I'm hardly qualified to form an opinion about his programming skills--hardly qualified in any of my opinions--but Jones is brilliant in making known the implications of the wonderful new media made possible by networked information and communications tools. He's genuinely humane and a polymath. Following his links has opened up my eyes to a wide range of issues and opened my ears to many riveting discussions. Besides, his links often point to something beautiful or fun.

we make money not art: There are so many cool blogs and Web sites making any list of the "coolest" would be a daunting task, but we make money not art would always make my short list. Pittsburgh is a fairly provincial American city, and something about being on the Web often reminds me just what a provincial guy I am--some might say hillbilly. But one of the advantages of my locale, as a legacy of the steel industry which once dominated the economic engine of the place, is the diverse population of Europeans who settled here. Regine, the author of we make money not art is staunchly European in outlook. I'm not exactly sure why I mention that, but it has something to do with the impression so many of us Americans have about how forward thinking and innovative we all are. Sadly,no, I'm reminded while reading posts at we make money not art about the coolest and most cutting edge ideas at the intersection of art and technology--and all without the snark.

: I was late to get online and at fifty once online discovered a generation gap I'd been unaware of. In online discussions I came to learn that a there were ideas and a language for sharing those ideas about cultural criticism familiar to a younger generation, but unknown to me. Jennifer Cascadia writes from a perspective of a Zimbabwean translocated to Australia in her early teen years. From the perspective of betwixt and between she cuts through modernism and post modernists rumminations on the nature of what it is to be human. Cascadia is a martial artist and intellectual. What first intrigued me about her posts was the cross-cultural perspective between Africa and the West. Oh yes, that still interests me, but it's her penetrating observations about how we as human beings think that makes her posts "must read." I don't always agree with her analysis, nor do others judging by the comments. The discussions are, however, always engaging.

Vietnamese God
: As lackadaisical as I am about posting to my blog, I'm evangelical when trying to convince others to make their own blogs. I have a couple of online friends from Vietnam and mentioned to them both that they should have a blog. One of my friends is a little older than the other, and the difference of a few years makes a world of difference; the younger of the two is a digital native. He posts a blog at Yahoo!360. He blogs in Vietnamese, and I don't read a word of it. But it's fun that Yahoo!360 is a social networking site and I've gotten connected with his fellow members of the English Club at the university he goes to there. My older Vietnamese friend, like most of my American friends, finds the idea of blogs somewhat embarrassing. In my effort to convince him that blogs are cool, and knowing how much he prides himself on his good English, I sent him a link to Vietnamese God. He wasn't convinced, but I've continued to read Vietnamese God religiously. The author, God Knows works at an upscale restaurant in Ha Noi called Wild Rice. God Knows knows food and presents grand pictures and details about food and life in Ha Noi. Often he provides recipes and always just slightly skewed perspectives on his lovely city.

There are so many wonderful blogs. As many as I read already, I'm always delighted to discover new voices. International Blog Day is a wonderful opportunity for me and all the rest of us to discover new voices in this wonderful new medium.


Christian said...

My friend -- Always deeply appreciative of the time you take at "think:lab". Always. Just wanted to make sure a few things were mentioned in the spirit of accuracy.

1. DesignShare is not an architectural firm, although we do focus on the world of school design. We are a research/networking vehicle.
2. While I often do take photos and add them to the site, many are from other sources -- either the article that I'm posting about or from Flickr; in both cases, I try to make sure the links are available...and not take credit for the posts.

Otherwise, I am incredibly humbled by the underlying premise of what you wrote...and wanted to thank you!

Cheers, Christian

HASH said...

I see you actually read the rules for what you're supposed to blog about... I didn't realize it was supposed to be blogs that I don't normally read - and that my readership doesn't either. Important point, but totally missed by me. :)

Oh well, I see the value there now that I read your posting and have found a couple more that are well worth spending some time on. Thanks for the links!


sokari said...

Hi John - thanks for mentioning BL in your post.Also I now have my first Vietnamese blog.

I like the surveilliance - would go down well in Uganda possibly:) Seems the way of the world now is to spy on your friends and neighbours - depending where you are you could find a lesbian or alternatively maybe an Arab terrorist or just a plain old thief!

I'm just an old cynic John - peace and keep blogging

Beth said...

Glad you didn't read the directions, these are wonderful blogs! Thanks for introducing them.