Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blog 52

This is my 52nd weekly blog. When I started this project last September I was unsure whether I could or would be able to write an interesting short entry every week, but I've gradually learned the rhythms. I find the discipline it imposes helpful. I write for an hour a day from about 4-5 am. This fits my schedule as an early riser and pleases Joli the dog. She's in the mood for play, pats and eating her daily meal as I write. I work on a few different story ideas each week. Often I don't settle on the final topic until Saturday morning, then I assemble the fragments, rewrite, have Merry edit the result and get her help finding the appropriate photographs mostly from those she's shot during the week.

In retrospect I'm glad I decided to also post these reflections on the internet. Since I started posting to Blogger back in March, about 800 people have visited my site. Thanks to a handy little tool called Sitemeter I can tell a bit about each visit. By far the most visits were from people who somehow already had my web address. The pages with the next highest number of visits due to the use of search engines like Google were the stories about towboats, catfish, Lemp Junque, Devil's Back and the black fly derby. I have no idea why these subjects are the most popular. The average number of daily visitors has increased over time with my current average at 8. I've had hits from all over the world, but most are from Central NY and the St. Louis area.

The number of visits to my site jumped dramatically when I got a plug from Bob Crowe, a local lawyer who posts the amazing blog called “St. Louis Daily Photo.” Bob mentioned his photography hobby in court last spring and gave me his blog address. I've been faithfully checking his site on a daily basis since. He has a terrific eye for portraits. His weekly photographs of the St. Louis Arch are a revelation. Check him out at

Bob's photo blog inspired Merry to start her own daily photo blog and join the group of dedicated amateur photographers who record daily events in cities around the world. Merry's blog can be found at Merry's daily posts also appear on the site of City Daily Photo where you can find beautiful images of everything imaginable. I recommend this site highly, but be warned, you can easily spend hours at Merry and I were both surprised about a month ago when a fellow in England decided to include our blogs in an index he maintains of all the blogs he can find focused on specific localities. He includes blogs that are active as well as those with no current posts. His site called “Around the World” is a treasure trove of photos and written reflection at

Using the internet to post publicly accessible personal reflections started in the mid 90s. The first blog is credited to a Swarthmore College student, Justin Hall, who started in January 1994. The term “weblog” was coined by John Barger in 1997 as a contraction for “logging the web.” Peter Merholtz shortened “weblog” to “blog” in April 1999. The first free web tool for blogging was “Blogger” released by Pyra in August 1999. When Google bought Blogger in 2003 it had 200,000 active users. Now there are a host of free tools for blogging and millions of users.

As a result it is now possible to catch quite intimate glimpses of life everywhere on the globe. There are also blogs on politics, sports, and some that are just plain crazy rants. Major news outlets have gradually come to style their web-based presentations after blogs and promote feedback from readers. My favorites are those that just focus on the surprises, mystery and beauty of everyday life. I enjoy the images. Most people who post such entries love the places they live and want to share that love with others. It promotes understanding in a way not possible before the development of the blogosphere.

Another big advantage for me is the heartfelt response some of my posts draw from you. The post last week about cleaning out my mother's house brought a number of quite beautiful email replies from those of you who have done the same, or who anticipate the experience. Thank you Barbara, Chris, Margaret, Allison, Aaron, Kerry and Dan for sharing your stories.

Now, on to year two.

1 comment:

  1. Ed, one of my favorite workers' comp bloggers in Colorado recently linked to your blog. Imagine my surprise when I saw your name on the blogsite! I'm glad to hear you're doing well and enjoying your new life as an ALJ. You have a beautiful blog here.