My First Time

The ever inquisitive Rory has asked us about our first time. Our first time doing what, you ask? Well, to give us focus, he said that his question is about our early days as a writer online, or a gamer online.

He wants to know:

When did you first get an internet connection? Was it dial-up or broadband? When was your first ever blog or forum?

I got my first personal computer in 1982. It was the original IBM PC, with a blazingly fast 4.77 MHz chip and two 5 1/4” floppy disks (i.e., no hard drive), and with a Princeton Graphics monochrome monitor. Shortly after I got it, I added a 10 MB hard card, figuring that would suffice for the rest of my life. My next addition was a Hayes 300 baud dial-up “Smartmodem.”

My initial connectivity experience was with so-called bulletin boards that, if I recall correctly, I accessed through CompuServe. It was all text-based and rudimentary. Eventually I upgraded to a faster computer with a larger hard drive and a 1200 baud dial-up modem. Woo hoo.

At some point I discovered Prodigy, the first of the early-generation dial-up services to offer full access to the World Wide Web and to offer a graphical user interface. Then America Online (AOL) began giving away floppy disks and soon, with its email, instant messaging, and chat rooms, it displaced Prodigy as the internet access point of choice. It, too, was primarily dial-up.

It wasn’t until the early 2000s when broadband internet connections supplanted dial-up and most cable companies became internet service providers (ISPs).

But I don’t think Rory’s question was about the history of my personal computing. I started my first blog in 2005. It was on Blogger. I had no idea what to blog about and a friend of mine suggested writing about what interested me and what I cared about. So on October 10, 2005, I published my first post, which was about the Boston Red Sox. So was my second post. And here was my third post, which was published on October 12, 2005:

If a tree falls…

…in the forest and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I’m new to this blogging thing. My initial impression of blogging is that it’s an egocentric exercise and that all who blog have this self-centered belief that they have something worthwhile, interesting, and noteworthy to say and can do so in an articulate, intelligent, and entertaining manner. Even more amazing is that they seem to think that others, besides themselves, will have some desire to read what, based upon a small sampling of blogs I have read, appear to me to be idle…and often boring…personal ramblings.

Nonetheless, being a sort of techno-junky, I thought I’d give it a shot. Even BusinessWeek devoted considerable space in a recent issue to the blogging phenomenon and how blogs are changing the whole nature of the internet. I don’t want to be left behind if everyone else is busy blogging. So here I am, feeding my very own ego.

Of course, I have no expectation that anyone, other than me and my ego, will ever read anything I post to my blog. And I really don’t care.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I must care a little. You see, I gave my blog URL to that friend of mine. Other than my wife, he’s the only person, besides me, who knows about my blog.

My first two posts on my brand new, experimental blog were related to something that was recently, as a loyal member of Red Sox Nation, at the forefront of my consciousness. They were frustrated musings about the Red Sox feeble post-season effort in the American League Divisional Series against the Chicago White Sox.

Anyway, after I gave my friend my blog URL, he said he’d go check it out when he had a chance. The fact is that this friend is not a sports fan. In fact, I think he has almost no interest in baseball. Perhaps, in hindsight, he was not the best choice to be the first person with whom I shared my blog address, given the subject matter of the postings.

With this in mind, coupled with my stated expectation that no one (besides me) will be interested in reading what I have to say in my blog, I was surprised that I was actually disappointed that the one person who does know about my blog had no reaction to it. In fact, several days have passed since he said he would read it, yet I’ve heard not a word from him about the blog.

I am now more convinced than before that, with a few notable exceptions, most blogs matter only to the blogger and serve no purpose other than to feed the blogger’s ego. And yet, here I am, about to publish my third post on my new, experimental blog.

So I have to ask this: If a post is published on a blog site and nobody reads it, does it matter?

Blogging Insights — Electronic Versus Print Media

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know…

Have you written (or do you still write) for print media? How do you find that different from blogging or writing for electronic media? Which do you enjoy more, and why?

Back when I was working I used to write and submit articles to various trade journals and had about a dozen published in several such journals. Other than that, the only published items I wrote were angry letters to the editor.

One of the things I find different about print versus electronic media is that once you’ve posted something on a blog, it’s out there in cyberspace (or the blogosphere, if you prefer) pretty much forever. But I’ve no doubt that my letters to editor that were published and my trade journal articles, especially those published in trade journals that no longer exist, have faded into oblivion. In fact, I’m sure that the courtesy copies of those articles the publishers gave me are the only ones in existence anymore. And I know this because when I Googled my name, not even one of those old published printed media articles came up in the search.

As to which format I enjoy more, it’s blogging. Why? Because it’s 100% mine. I own it. I choose what to publish and when. And there’s no one telling me I have to submit a 1,500 word article on a particular topic by a certain date in order to get it published in the next issue.

Thursday Inspiration — The Catacombs of My Mind

“The butterfly leaves no footprint,” Todd said.

“Did you say something, honey,” Monica asked.

“I said…” Todd started to answer but then stopped himself. “Never mind. Just some random thought rattling around inside my head.”

“Ever since you got laid off,” Monica said, “you seem so introspective. You should get a hobby, do something with your hands.

“I like to hide inside my head,” Todd said. “With all of the crazy antics going on in the outside world, I’m loving spending most of my time wandering around the catacombs of my mind. It’s a fascinating place to be, and I’m discovering so much about who I really am.”

“Maybe you should start a blog,” Monica suggested. “That way you could share all of that fascinating shit rattling around inside your head with the rest of the world.”

“Great idea,” Todd said enthusiastically. “I’ll get started on it right away.”


Written for this week’s Thursday Inspiration prompt from Paula Light, where the theme is “butterfly.” Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (footprint), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (introspective), The Daily Spur (hide), Your Daily Word Prompt (antic), and WordPress of the Day Challenge (loving).

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 28

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 28th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on my blog on August 28, 2017.

The Pretender

This quote by author Kurt Vonnegut resonated with me. Don’t we all, at times, pretend to be someone we aren’t but perhaps would rather be? The quote struck a chord not so much with respect to my real life, but when it comes to my blog.

In real life I am who I am, for better or worse. And I’m at the age where, with more than six decades behind me, I’m not likely to be changing who I am. I guess you might say that I’m set in my ways.

But on my blog I am not limited by the physical properties of the real world. I’m not just some random senior citizen, an old fogie with internet access who has time on his hands and who rants and raves to anyone and to no one.

On my blog I can be whoever I want to be — or at least I can pretend to be whoever I want to be. When I write my posts, whether they are political and societal rants, casual observations, or short works of fiction, my words transcend physical and environmental characteristics. My age, gender, background, where I live, what I do, and my life situations are not important. It’s what I write that defines who I am to those who take the time to read my posts.

That doesn’t mean I’m living a lie or that it’s all just an act. I may be making up stories out of my imagination when I write my flash fiction pieces, but the opinions I express in my non-fiction posts are my own. And they are deeply held and voiced with conviction.

Yet I’m not sure I would share them the same way or to the same extent in the real world as I do here on my blog. Because, in the real world, people see me for what I am — or for what, to them, I appear to be.

Thus, their perceptions of what I have to say are colored. They may dismiss my rantings and the expression of my opinions and perspectives as those of some old coot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And so, in the real world, I tend to keep my mouth shut.

But here on my blog I can be a writer of short stories. I can be a pundit, a journalist, an editor. I can act as if I know what I’m talking about. I can pretend to be witty and engaging. I can pretend that others are interested in what I have to say about whatever is going on in the world around us; that my opinions matter to anyone other than to me and that they are worth sharing.

Most important, I can pretend to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.

And if, as Vonnegut says, we are what we pretend to be, that works for me.