Tuesday, July 6, 2010

brain food


<<< Do you want this as much as I do? Seriously, don't even talk to me until I've had my 2nd cup o' brains.
Over the next few weeks I've decided to re-envision this project. You are certain to find it absolutely fabulous. The first order of business: steer this ship towards being primarily an exchange -- less about what I write and much more focus on the (hopefully) resulting dialogue. I love you for your brains (in a non-zombie way) and I want your comments.

A big reason I didn't open for comments in the beginning ... I was scared. There, I said it. It's true! My local paper has a message board so horrific that if five minutes on it doesn't make you want to drop out of society, YOU ARE DEAD INSIDE. Can't even stand to look at that crap. Same goes with several of the blogs and message boards which I casually enjoyed as a new mom. I lost the interest (and the stomach) for them as they became dominated by the hardcore-type who speak exclusively in acronyms, waste several thousand hours ranting each day, and enjoy engaging in shouting matches. I have received so much feedback from people scared off blogs and boards by these shenanigans.

<<< This zombie mama is looking for brains and a place to post crappy comments (found at bizarre zombie site)

Random aside utilizing acronyms and shouting-BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY FREQUENT COMMENTERS. Yo-yo FC-ers in the house. (What about "frequent commenter points" which you could cash in for fabulous prizes, like the giant box of Franzia my husband inexplicably brought home the other night. For obvious reasons, the prize will not be brains.)                                                                                                                     
Here you are, gently reading "Pride Prejudice and Zombies" (say, is that an ipad in your lap?) >>>

But here's the thing, gentle reader, YOU ARE DIFFERENT! The higher goal of this blog is attracting the exact right kind of person to leave meaningful comments, enter into an insightful exchange, and elevate how we discuss our differences. I love and appreciate the wonderful and quality comments that have been left. And now I seek more. Besides facilitating my growth, they truly are the lifeblood of this project. With these comments we can create a truly different space where we get the information and ideas we seek, have conversations, and enjoy special community.

I recently read an article that said one way to encourage comments is to ask for them directly (done), host a contest (read on!) and let people know that you are a "safe space," i.e., that you won't post insulting comments, mock the poster etc. I left a comment saying how f-ing stupid that was -- just kidding and just letting you know this is a "safe space." So please post away! Here is some help getting started:

Talk about carrots over sticks, can you resist the call of the box? Read on for the details! >>

1. What inspires you to leave a comment after reading a blog post? What stops you?
2. What aspects of parenting and community are not being discussed in blogs? What about in the print media?
3. How do you feel about bossy lists directing you to answer questions? And do you like e-mail chain letters?
4.Give your (other) favorite blog a shout out. I would love to know what good stuff you are reading.

Thanks friends for reading, commenting, and sharing. Cheers!
Contest particulars--it turns out there are some funky laws around shipping alcohol to and from my state (but no restrictions on shipping brains, does Kansas suddenly seem backwards to you?) At any rate, I am doing a bona fide contest. Submit a comment by July 17th and I will use random.com to pick a winner to whom I will personally deliver a box of that mother's milk, that nectar of the god's, Franzia! In the event you live outside of my progressive state, I will mail you something cool. (I won't say what, on account of how the Feds keep a close eye on this blog.)

16 comments:

  1. I frequently read blogs, I don't often comment. (that is unless someone just straight out attacks my friend who I think is brilliant and I kick into defend and protect mode) I usually feel that I don't have anything new to offer, it is not witty enough or just plain boring. However, since you have asked so kindly, I will try to get over myself and type something. OK, I would be lying if I did not admit I am coveting that boxed wine...

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  2. well I am a little bit freaking out right now because I have been working on a post for a while about how my fear of being mundane etc keeps me from talking/writing about many things. It is pretty much just a long, unoriginal, unfunny version of what you just brilliantly and concisely said! Much of life is mundane, unoriginal, and boring but we can at least make it a shared experience. You and your input are GREAT and an important part of my life. I am also loving that adorable little pic of your handsome dog. And that is sincere because I haven't had a single drop of boxed wine (yet) today! ps-good to know you can be provoked by indignation and cheap alcohol!

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  3. Ooh, pick me! Pick me! Is there any way to schmooze random.com? Do you pronounce it, "Frawhn-zeeah," ala the Haahn-sel & Gretel Bugs Bunny episode? Hawhnsul? Hauhnsol?

    Down to business... One of my main reasons for not reading/leaving comments on blogs is time. I find the amount of available material overwhelming and I am a slow and verbose writer, so leaving a comment takes forever (especially when my train of thought is continually interrupted by the wee ones... type a word, "Mom?" ...read everything I've written so far and type another word... "MOM!" Reread again, repeat.)

    The other thing I find frustrating about the blogging/commenting process is that I wish there were a way to get notified by email when there was a new comment on a thread. I've seen forums set up this way, but not many blogs. I've left comments on a few random blogs in the past, only to have forgotten where they were and have no idea if there was ever a response left. My whole reason for commenting is to exchange ideas, not just drop my 2-cents in because I think I am an authority on anything, so an easy way to stay "in" on the thread would be really helpful.

    Kudos to you for your gogetterism in actually addressing an issue rather than accepting staus quo. Wondering why only gets you so far... why not ask why!

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  4. Maybe if random.com doesn't pick you we can still get together for some boooohns fahrm action. Thank you for the GREAT feedback. I just could not agree with you more. It is so time consuming to be actively involved in blogs. Which it also turns out is a way to grow your blog-but I'm not really down with logging 2 billion hours on blogs, sooo I tend to be really selective about that process. Also-great thoughts on the response thing, that is an interesting point; you only pick up your end of the conversation if you remember to go back and check the thread. I will need to check into that set up feature. It is funny that so far both comments have been the same reasons that keep me from commenting. I guess I could have just asked myself, but what is the fun in killing a whole box of Franzia by yourself?

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  5. I totes agree with Kay & Anj, for starters. Additionally, my mind often goes blank when I go to write a comment and then I usually A.D.D. right off the computer before submitting a comment. I visit a lot of random stranger's blogs and almost never comment on them.
    However, I always comment on my sis's blog because she is my sis and she is brilliant and I know she likes feedback. "She ain't heavy, she's my blogger." Oh, and I know that my other sister, Terri, has a sweet blog--but YOU are the one to which I am referring!

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  6. Yeah, well that other sister of ours has yet to leave one solitary comment. No Franzia for her, ever! Question on the random stranger's blogs-do you read the same ones with regularity? Do you join/follow or just make a mental note to return? If you do the mental note thing, do you ever have problems finding it again? Thanks sis who is not Terri!

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  7. If I can find the "follow" link on the random strangers' blogs then I will add it. I just did this the other day, but have not yet gone back to the blog even though I made a mental note to do so. Then there are people who are not random strangers, but maybe people I've met a few times--like Anj for example. I love going and reading her posts but I think I've only left one comment on the blog yet it is one I visit regularly.

    Ga. I hate Terri. Worst. Sister. EVER.

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  8. Okay, sorry to be pest. Despite what you say I know you are very busy cavorting with Terri. When you "follow" do you have a home page or a reader that the blogs you are following show up on? I had previously signed up to follow a few blogs but until I figured out google reader I still couldn't find my way back to them. I want to make sure that I get all those technical issues worked out and make this super easy to track. Can you imagine all those random stranger desperately trying to get back here? They probably spend hours googling things like "hey parents lets be siblings".

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  9. You can subscribe to comments on my blog!!! Who knew. I guess I will keep my husband around after all. There is a blue line right below the comment box that says "subscribe by email" and it works! I am pretty sure there is also a way to get it to send you an email only for that particular post but I am still figuring it out.

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  10. I have determined I have three primary reasons for not commenting. The first: I do not comment on blogs because I sound much smarter when only *I* hear me...I'm pretty sure it's not me, it's all of you. See, when it comes out of my mouth or my fingertips, it's coherent, insightful, and, well, pure genius. Then, it gets scrambled in transit, and every other human on the planet is saying, "what the hell is she talking about???" Not sure what non-human planet-dwellers are thinking, but I'm working on it.

    So, I tend to keep my comments to myself and know my true brilliance will never be fully understood.

    Ok, Ok, Ok...so maybe it's not you, it's me. I have mombie brain (ask me about my theory about breast feeding sometime. I'll give you a hint: breast milk contains brain cells). I'm pretty sure I did speak in coherent sentences prior to being a mother, but that's all lost now. Don't get me wrong, it's totally worth it. I just think it's worth noting that I definitely lost some verbal eloquence (in addition to general cognitive ability) upon entering motherhood.

    And the final reason (and probably the most honest) is because I'm a bit intimidated to put my thoughts and feelings out there. I prefer to read and read and read, and develop my opinions after a lot of data. Then, and only then, am I comfortable sharing them with the masses. Now, if you know me, you know I have lots of opinions, but I just generally keep them to myself, or those close to me. (What if I don't have all of the information and make a complete fool of myself?) I tend to process while commenting (both verbally and written), and that's difficult on a blog--far more difficult than good, old-fashioned conversation.

    Well, I hope this catharsis is as beneficial to you as it has been to me. I've really worked through some powerful feelings here... ;)

    Is there a runner-up prize?

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  11. Can I get a what-what on the mombie brain? I can't even write a coherent grocery list so I feel you on that. I work on and edit my posts for like a billion years before I post them for that very reason.

    Being the kind of person who is reserved with opinions and big on information gathering means you are the exact kind of person who should put their thoughts out there. But no, it's always those ill-informed, loudmouthed Joe the Plumber types who are convinced they need to say it loud and say it proud. The world actually needs your type to talk more. So don't do it for the Franzia, do it for your country!

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  12. More on the mombie brain...I firmly believe when a baby is nursing they are sucking brain cells. Sometimes I forget I need to go to the bathroom, how the heck would I do a grocery list???

    Your comment about being a person who should be commenting got me to thinking...maybe the stereotype commenter is another reason why I don't comment.

    There are so few "good" commenters, that I tend to just not waste the time of posting and getting lost in a sea of idiocy. Your blog is an exception to this rule, however, so I'm more than comfortable posting here. ;)

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  13. Based on the size and shape of my breasts post-weaning I came up with theory they were actually sucking breast particles, but I'll buy the brain cells too.

    Glad you are comfortable, can't wait to hear more from you. No sea of idiocy around these parts!

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  14. Geez, you people are funny and witty and thoughtful and earnest! At the same time. I feel much of what you've said is true for me too.

    I think I don't leave comments mostly because of time, but it's also because I fear looking dumb. Or perhaps it's that I want my comment to be really good if I'm going to leave it. Maybe the best. The best comment ever. Why? I don't know. But I've noticed I do this kind of thing a lot. Or I stress over how something that I've done is not the best . . . or doesn't appear to be as good as it "should."

    So why can't I move beyond junior high cheerleading try-outs and stop the madness?

    I want to stop and yet I still do it sometimes. It's very sneaky, this urge to compete with each other, judge each other. Where do I fall in my own made-up mommy rankings? Well, I judge the mom in front of me in the check-out line so I can feel like at least I have defeated HER.

    So in the spirit of being sisters . . . I'm going to leave this comment as is. TOTALLY UNEDITED, BABY! I will not use spell check! I will not reread and edit and try to sound smarter. I am babbling on and I will not delete! Hooray!

    The truth is, I don't read any other blogs. Really. Is this weird? I also don't have a cell phone and I have sent one text message in my whole life. It took my like ten minutes. I really want to fix that typo, but I'm not going to.

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  15. sisterhood totally starts with typos! If this is how smart you sound when you aren't even editing I can't wait to hear how you sound when you have been plyed (plied?) with boxed wine.

    And I am queen of competing in my own personal one-woman cheerleading tryouts (see gin and dsytonic post) but now that I have turned off my spell check I can already feel the wieght lifting! Thank you!!!

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  16. Ohhh, Wendy...very good point! It's all about being good enough, and preferably, the best! That is so me! That's probably the key to the whole thing...and to many other things in my life.

    And, if it makes you feel better, I had to read your post twice to see the typo!

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