Archive for January, 2008
It seems that the web continues its breakneck pace forward. I have been building websites for about 10 years. I have primarily concentrated on content to build my little internet empire. I have never been too excited about letting people comment on my webpages. This is because there are so many morons who post meaningless messages on your website. It is rather like a neighbor who lets their dog run loose in your backyard. The dog leaves behind little messes, and you spend your time unprofitably scooping them up and discarding them. You can see the quality of the average comment on articles or videos if you visit any well-viewed video on YouTube. In fact, mcgelligot.com is the only website on which I own the domain that I allow readers to contribute to the content.
But there is a trend I see that cannot be denied. I believe that it is video. So I am sticking my little toes in the water. I have acquired video equipment and an editing program. During the month of January I put six videos on YouTube. I actually enjoy the medium. It is fun making little films. But it is time consuming. I can easily write two or three articles in the space of time it takes to make a decent video. Even so, I can see the advantages of communicating in a medium that is so vivid and effective.
I have decided that it is time to start integrating video with at least my new websites. My first effort is my newest website Toilet How To. On this website, I am trying to create a comprehensive presentation that includes text, diagrams, drawings, photos, and video. I have completed most of the website, but am still working on the videos, which I intend to back-fill later. Two are complete, but only one is as yet online.
I thought toilets would be a good place to start with videos. There is considerable room for humor, imagination, and explanation even within the confines of a small room. It is kind of like making a movie and choosing the script from a play. You are sure of not needing too travel to too many locations. My favorite movie based on a play is Rope. You know…James Steward stars, Alfred Hitchcock directs.
I believe that video integration is the wave of the future.
By the way. I am sticking pretty well to my organization plan. I think it is helping me to get more done.
In the impressionable days of my long past youth, I believed that the life of a writer was the best of all possible worlds. It seemed to me that the ideal thing would be to sit for hours at a desk pecking away at a typewriter, balling up papers, and tossing them at trash cans.
Such luxury! Today, typewriters are antiques. Tossing paper is so politically incorrect that it is morally equivalent to holding a hostage at gunpoint, and trash cans? Can’t we all just recycle? Truthfully, I don’t think that this was ever what writing was all about. It was just the glamorized version we saw in the movies, or flowing from the pen of Michener (“The Fires of Spring”) or Dickens (“David Copperfield”). Writing is really about expressing ideas clearly and then promoting them with all your heart and soul.
It is really the promotion that counts. Any monkey with a little bit of organized time can produce a 50,000 word novel. I know, I have produced a few myself, some of which I now cringe to read. With a good editor and a good publicist, nearly anything could be considered a “modern classic”.
The truth is, any idea that can be expressed in a novel can be condensed into about 47 words. “War and Peace” – It is the aggregate will of the participants that determines historic events. Leaders are mere puppets of history. Pierre is an idealist. Andre an elitist. Natasha vivacious. Sonya under-appreciate. Nikolai instinctive. Maria soulful. Altogether they make up the vital force of the Russian nation. One of the great huge tomes of literature summarized (with three words to spare unless you count the title).
All of the plot exposition and character studies are really the beginnings of the marketing campaign for the idea embedded in the work. Then comes the promotion. Getting others to even read the book is a chore. Reading anything takes a commitment of that precious resource, time. This is where the real promotion comes into play. Today, it is done on the internet with everyone crying out for attention. There are blogs, and forums. There is email. There are directories, search engines, lenses, hubs, youtube, google, yahoo, stumble, technorati, digg, lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my.
Weaving through this mass of social media is where the action is. And so the promotion of an idea begins with a tiny blog entry in a massive sea of other blog entries craving, vying, whining for attention.
Sure eugenol seems like an obscure thing to write about. Yet, it is a topic that has fascinated me for some time. I first got a whiff of eugenol when I was searching for a solution to a skin problem I once had, eczema. Well, I tried several lotions, but nothing seemed to control it. I was especially disappointed by hydrocortozone which I found largely ineffective. Then I ran across Zim’s Crack Creme (the original formulation), actually quite by accident. My wife bought it for me thinking it was something else. In spite of the hokey name the stuff solved my problem in a matter of weeks. Now I just use it after every shower wherever I feel a bit itchy. This sounds like a selfish plug, and in a way it is. I am not making any money on this endorsement. I just want as many people as possible to use it so that Zim keeps making the stuff, because I would hate to have to start over looking for a solution for my skin problem.
Well, there is a very distinct smell of cloves in Zim’s Crack Creme. It seemed pretty obvious to me that one of the ingredients of this stuff is clove oil, even though it is not listed on the package. Although it does mention Mercia Oil. In any case, A couple of months ago I put a series of sites on InDepthInfo about different spices. One of those spices happened to be about cloves. It was here that I discovered that the essential oil in cloves is called eugenol and, indeed, this oil is sometimes used in lotions. Then I found out that this oil is an anti-oxidant and in other spices. All this led me to dig deeper, until I ended up producing an article for InDepthInfo on the many facets of Eugenol.
I have trouble writing about topics that do not interest me, so I hammer away at topics that do. Sometimes they tend to be obscure. But on the whole I hope they add to my knowledge of the universe, if no one elses. I tend to think of InDepthInfo as a kind of repository of stuff that I find interesting. This, I hope, keeps the writing fresh, and gives me the drive to research the topics to a depth that justifies the name I picked for the website way back in the last century.
One of the hardest things to do is organize our daily activities within the time-frame we are given. Time, I am absolutely obsessed with it. I have written any number of sites and webpages dedicated to it. One of the first things I did for InDepthInfo was a series of articles on the Days of the Week. Then I wrote the Month’s of the Year. And just recently I produced How Clocks Work.
In spite of 35 years of failure to be perfect in my quest for self-organization. I realize that the constant attempt to do so has kept me productive. I guess the attempts should continue. In this vein I am trying out a new system that harkens back to my Navy days, when every officer was issued a “wheel book”. I am going to begin the day with a blank index card and write down everything I plan to do that day. At the end of the day, I will assess my success or failure. No doubt there will be items that will fall into the next day.
It is interesting that my 12 year old daughter and I have been having conversations about this very subject, prompted by herself and not me. She tells me that she never gets done everything that she sets her mind to for the day. I did not tell her that this is the very nature of human existence. The constant struggle is what makes us better people. I had a boss who once told me that if you get only half of what you plan to do accomplished, you can do great things.
Well, I swore that I was not going to stay up late again. But here I am at 12:21 in the A.M. on a Sunday. I just installed Word Press. May as well give them a link as this program was relatively easy to install. It looks pretty user friendly as well.