Saturday, January 29, 2011

First Right of Refusal

"You've - You've earned it"

Welcome to the blog's 50th post. It seems appropriate that I'm confronted with a minor dilemma that is the subject du jour. But first, a moment to reflect on the past year, and how this got started. The squeamish or otherwise disinterested may skip this section and jump straight to the good part, assuming there is one, below. Or - consider it like 2 postings in one!

After reading my son's now extinct "On Being a Goddamn Prince" I wanted to show my support as a "follower" which required the creation of an account, profile, etc. I decided to surf around on the dashboard page to Bloggers of Note and found Kristine had just been listed for Wait In The Van. She seemed genuinely excited from the excerpt provided and I was intrigued. I went to see more and it was apparent to me why she was of note. Great writer. Fabulously intricate site. Lots of followers. I decided to follow there too.  But I do not consider myself a follower and have never been much of a "joiner" for that matter.

I liked my son's blog. Contemporaneous events large and small, and at some point he decided each post would be 50 words, no more or less. I'm sure at this point you wish I had adopted the same rule, but no.

I was in the middle of reinventing myself. I decided to stop drinking after 37 years of practice which wasn't making perfect.  For the third and probably final time, I left the company I had over 20 cumulative years with. It was time to focus on my own sanity, to rebuild and strengthen the strained 30-year relationship with Mrs. Fantastic as we prepare to move into another chapter in our story. I wanted to share what I was learning with my kids, but how?
And so the blog emerged.

When my father would try to pass on his sage wisdom, they were known as "lectures". Our eyes would slowly glaze over (well ok, it only took 5 seconds, enough time to identify that the lecture was going to occur or was in process). We would slow our heart rates to near death, conserving energy for the apres-lecture. So from firsthand experience I know that method didn't work. And kids really don't listen to any story you tell them, no matter how relevant you're sure it is. Why? Because it happened to you, not them.

I have to say we never got too many lectures in the homile mold, but generally they were equally ineffective. And so to make amends for all those lectures I missed, the title of the blog is an homage to yet another of my father's many sayings, that "an intelligent (person) could be satisfied for a lifetime with 1 cubic foot of dirt."

Along the way I've made new cyber-acquaintances. Becca and Firespark came with Kristine after my first Product of Silence attempt. My first "outside" readers! I dutifully reciprocated but now follow their work by choice. I went to Simon's to see what he put up for the POS - as we were the only 2 entrants that day. I find his blog is interesting and well done, so I follow there too.

The last Product of Silence challenge had a lot more participation. I had another follower! The 3 postings I entered are my most widely viewed and I'm following a few more blogs as a result - most recently the antics of the TexaGermaNadian.  So the blogosphere turns out to be an interesting place but like most internet things (Facebook), needs to be tempered with a balanced life away from your computer.


And now, we return to our regularly scheduled programming - the dilemma.

I know, I've really got to wrap this thing up. Apparently my good friend Simon has provided me with an award. This bothered me a little because it seemed kind of like a chain letter, and maybe I just happened to be the 7th blog he needed to complete his mission. Just as I was struggling with my response The Didactic Pirate confirmed my neophyte fears; however, I don't want to be rude or ungrateful. There are a lot of unwritten rules of etiquette here that I am certainly unaware of. But here's the thing (finally!)

It's kind of a strange ego-trip to have earned some interested readers. And the Stats page! I count all the different countries that read my posts as they fill in a darker shade of green on the world map (boy Africa seems hard to crack, not to mention Elbonia!). But I'm not kidding myself. All I have to do is look at the work of others.

In Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft, he mentions an experiment done with children and coloring that seems to apply here. 2 groups were formed. One group was given awards for their work, regardless of quality, and the others - zilch. Weeks later, it was found that the 'award' group had lost interest in coloring altogether, while the 'zilch' group continued to color.

The Zilches retained their original desire and they continued to experiment and improve. So I will respectfully decline the passing of the torch to 7 others, or provide 7 heretofore unmentioned factoids about myself. I choose to continue coloring. I award those blogs I find excellent by following. But feel free to put it on your shelf if you wish - you've earned it.

Wait - did I include those 7 things in Part 1, and list 7 blogs? Oops. Thanks Simon. And new readers! I promise to make Post #51 shorter.  


  1. Congrats on the award! How ever tongue in cheek you might take it, it is still pretty nice to know you are loved in bloggyland. Plus, how could you not be, anyone who references Bill Murray in their post is a winner in my book! Thanks for the shout out and glad you are enjoying! And please, keep coloring. :)

  2. congrats on your award and lovely post thanks for the mention and the blog love

  3. Thanks to you both for making it to the end.

    @TGN: There is no richer target field than Ghostbusters. Can't wait till 3 comes out. As a fellow fan, I found the greatest website for screen shots:

    @becca: one more for your gallery sweetheart.

  4. Awesome, thanks for the link! Can't wait to use some of those in my upcoming post :)

  5. Ah, again with the catching up. I love this post! The explanation of the title of your blog made me smile... I get it... and I think it could be true, if a person allows it to be and makes the most of their cubic foot. I am heartened to see that you are making the most of *your* cubic foot (of blog) and using your powers for good. :) (... and... you quit drinking after *how* long? Egads, man! You deserve a medal just for that! I'm proud just to have read it. Well done, sir!)

    Thanks for the mention. Your blog was a true find and has turned into one that I read consistently. Oh, and, thought I'd mention - you are now on "the wall" (my "Other Worlds to See" list of blogs I follow posted on my blog). Don't know how much good that does anyone, but I only put blogs up there that I truly love visiting. So, cheers!

  6. @ Firespark: Thanks. I visit all of the worlds in your margin out of respect for the source. I am honored I must say.

  7. great post rusk.

    so, i feel really un-intelligent now, not being able to understand that "cube of dirt" quote. you should explain this to me sometime.

    i even google'd it multiple times and still couldn't figure it out. fail.

  8. @Cullen: Ah but you did figure me out. If everyone continues to Google on those keywords eventually I will DOMINATE the Googleplex - no longer a 10th page afterthought! Hahahahaha! Tomorrow - the world!