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Independents Day


Saturday, June 9, 2001

Get the Scoop on Web Awards      Awards Scoop is a public relations site developed by the Web Awards Community. This site contains a monograph on the history of Web awards, an article on today's award community, and abstracts of published articles on awards as well as award-related terminology, FAQs and resources.

     My brother is going on another of his longish solitary wilderness excursions this weekend. The older we get, the more we worry about accidents and such. They ask if a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody to hear, does it make a sound? Well, we wonder if you step on a marmot and break an ankle in the Holy Cross Wilderness, then get mauled by a lynx who wants your trail mix, if anyone will come. Cell phones are useless. Flares can be helpful, but only if someone happens to be looking. So if anyone you know is hiking near Lake Lonesome this weekend keep an eye out for Dave. He'll be the one with claw marks hobbling around on one leg in the tiger-striped leotards.

     Yep, the Weblogger Trivial Pursuit Game is still underway for a few more days. Even got torched at MetaFilter, so it must be hot. 22 webloggers. 22 secrets. Great parting gifts too.

     Drop in and wish Sara a happy birthday.

     AORTAL Link of the Day: 7Rings

     Life's little instructions: Call your mother.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Friday, June 8, 2001

     Researchville is a hybrid search site that allows you to enter your query once and sets you up to get results from more than 650 sites, including more than 550 newspapers. Researchville pre-configures your query using the specific parameters required by each unique search site, so you don't have to learn the ins and outs of 650 resources. The sites searched are all generally high-quality, authoritative sources of information. For example, in the Health and Medicine category, Researchville will queue up your query for the British Medical Journal, drkoop.com, InteliHealth, MayoClinic.com, OnHealth, and WebMD. These sites are all free and offer reliable information. (link via NewMedia)

     Also from NewMedia, Jake Gorst offers Twelve Tips for New Web Designers. This isn't your average HTML or Photoshop tutorial. Instead, Jake looks at the job from a practical perspective. Tip 12, the one I always seem to forget ... Put Family First.

     New domain. New design. New colors. Same inimitable gal.

     Happened upon Sara's post about Zyban/Wellbutrin and I have some personal experience to share. During my first bout with depression beginning in 1994, the doctors and I eventually settled on Wellbutrin as the anti-depressant of choice. I took it for four years and did get better, but that's another matter since Sara is considering using it for smoking cessation. I can tell her I nearly cut out smoking entirely without even trying. Back then, Wellbutrin wasn't even known for this effect, but my smoking decreased from 25 cigarettes a day to five simply by taking Wellbutrin. Good news for Sara, but ... there's always a but, isn't there? I immediately put on 45 pounds, and also immediately took it off four years later when I stopped the prescription. Of course, your mileage may vary.

     Just a schmoe who gets too much mail. Heh-heh.

     Deb Smouse caught the spirit of AORTAL. How 'bout you? We can complain all we want about never getting any attention, but if we don't do anything about it, no attention is exactly what we can expect and deserve. A personal anecdote about Deb's URL: first time I came across it, I thought I was going to Deb's Mouse. Live and learn, eh? ;)

     AORTAL Link of the Day: Lizette &

     Life's little instructions: Keep your promises no matter what.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Thursday, June 7, 2001

     Remember that crazy meme "nine truths and a falsehood" that was making the rounds last week? Well, everyone's favorite loony John has taken it a step further and turned the silliness into a Weblog Trivial Pursuit Game. You can learn a secret fact about 22 of your favorite webloggers (yours truly included) and even win a fabulous prize. Pssst. I didn't notice anything in the rules about only voting once. So if you work out a system that casts each of the 484 possibilites, you're guaranteed to be the winner. Don't tell John I told ya. He might get loony.

     Steve Gibson, author of ShieldsUp! and a guru of Windows security, survived a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and traced the attackers. He has written an extremely readable tutorial about his experiences. It is long, but worth every minute. (link via the SANS Institute)

     I for one an extremely glad mizKitty is back on her old faithful PC. Seems that Mac she was using for awhile gave her incredibly intuitive powers.

     My weekly therapy got rather intense this time around. Basically, I'm just sick and tired of being sick, and tired. The psychologist struck a nerve with the obvious follow-up: "What are you tired of?" After considerable gnarling of synapses, my answer was I'm tired of the sameness. Her response, and our subsequent discussion, revolved around change. Whatever physical problems I may have that the doctors are still searching for, it isn't likely my mental health will improve until this ennui plague is dashed. The level of life change may have to be as dramatic as when I quit drinking eight years ago. It's a scary thought, one I'm sure my inner circle isn't prepared for, but I find myself in complete agreement. Things could get rough around here for awhile. Spontaneity is the word.

     AORTAL Link of the Day: Donaggio Art

     Life's little instructions: Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Having Fun With Sound      Having fun with sound:

     le piano graphique
     modifyme
     eye4u modular websynth
     beatnik moodmaker

     From the don't try this at home department: The Internet is good for lots of things, including getting blabbermouths into hot water. A couple of high school seniors found that out recently when they got busted for posting a website that purported to share the sexual secrets of up to 40 girls at Horace Greeley High in Chappaqua, N.Y. The other shoe dropped this week when the two boys, both 18, were charged with harassment, which carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and a year in the slammer. Wonder if they've been hanging out with their new neighbor, the ex-president?
(story from NY Times, registration required)

     Wishing only the best for Mary's birthday. Don't get too dizzy.

     AORTAL Link of the Day: Transparency

     Life's little instructions: Compliment even small improvements.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

     Are you an Alexa user, or have you been in the past? If so, then you might be entitled to receive up to US $40 in a proposed settlement the company has made over privacy issues. Search Engine Watch has more info and links to determine if you have the necessary cookies on your PC to be eligible. It's something you really don't want, but if you have it, what the heck? 40 bucks is 40 bucks.

     Happy anniversary Jim and Sandi. Nice story too.

Copyright Muses Muse. All Rights Reserved.      Sigh :( We've still got a lot of work to do folks. It is becoming exceedingly difficult for independent web sites to receive any notoriety, or for the average surfer to even know we exist. Nearly all search engines are using some kind of pay model now. The online press doesn't help matters any by continuously pushing the humongo sites that pay for all the advertising. If you don't care if our generation's web legacy is portals and porn, then I'm surprised you've even managed to find this site. Apparently you crave something different. This community knows there is plenty more out there. Are we doing everything we can? I'm encouraging everyone who reads this weblog, and has their own, link to at least one new independent web site each week. More if you can — grass roots, y'know? Call it AORTAL, the anti-portal, 'cause we've got heart...

     Here's mine for today: The Muse's Muse.

     The medical diagnostic saga continues. According to my physician, any DHEA supplements I'm taking are basically worthless. More than 90% of the substance metabolizes in your stomach before doing any good. He ordered two more blood tests: testosterone level (must be womenopause), and a more thorough adrenal function screen that checks more than just DHEA, including aldosterone and cortisol. He is also referring me to an endocrinologist. At this point, we know more about what my problems are not, than what they are.

     Life's little instructions: Never underestimate the power of love.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Monday, June 4, 2001

     From the multi-talented Tom Coates, he of Plasticbag.org, comes the Barbelith Webzine. Don't expect the ordinary, look instead for debate and discussion from the underground subculture in the UK. This community is boisterous, passionate, sometimes acerbic, yet on occasion surprisingly tender and supportive.

     "The Food and Drug Administration has told the makers of Synthroid, one of the nationís most frequently prescribed drugs, that the medicine has a history of problems and cannot be recognized as safe and effective." Definitely raised my eyebrows considering both my wife and mother have taken the prescription for hypothyroid disease for years. {details}

     It's interesting to follow the ColdMarble experiments in infrared photography. John seems a natural teacher and is always willing to share what he learns, whether success or failure. I'm still waiting for the first ghost to appear in his night-time cemetery excursions.

     Disgusting search of the day: "naked boys in glasses." It ain't here, trust me. First off, there's no naked anything here, unless you count a few pictures of my dogs, or maybe the naked truth. Second, I don't wear glasses anymore since I had cataract surgery last fall. So move along. I've got your IP and it's in Southwark, England. I'm gonna tell yo momma.

     Life's little instructions: Don't expect life to be fair.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Sunday, June 3, 2001

     So much to say, but it cannot be said. So much to feel, but alas, it cannot be touched. So much is imagined, dreamed, visualized and ... poof, it is but an illusion. Too much time to think. Thought is painful, dangerous, the clarity is confusing. Captive in a circle — seemingly no end or beginning, just more of the same path, the same thoughts, the same. So much to say. So much to lose...

:::::

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. Internet journalism is an enigmatic and evolving field. Those with newshound skills combined with online savvy are beginning to make a mark for themselves, especially with the immediacy of weblog publishing. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     Online Journalism Review featured a combined essay instrumented by J.D. Lasica titled Blogging as a Form of Journalism in two parts on May 24th and May 31st. Siezing the opportunity to offer the layman's opinion, The Head Lemur knocked their socks off with a quick retort from a real weblogger. Journalistists may have the formal training, but in the new world of instant publishing they no longer have a monopoly on the news. Lemur explains why in these samples from his response:

     "As far as our role (yes I am one of Them), it is already here and you are just joining us. We can out code, out post, and outlink these idiots before they get out of bed. That being said, this is the perfect vehicle for folks like us to share and help each other with making the world a little bit better, whatever our motivation, from amends to paying it forward.

     "With a few bucks a month, little training, free tools, an almost flat learning curve, and the help of folks who have gone before, the internet has created an enormous outpouring of news, information and opinion, written by folks who have passion for their subjects and are only constrained by their beliefs and abilities."

     "Pixels are cheap. I can write an in depth piece on the subject of my choice and with hyperlinks give You access to the information that I based my piece on. Even with a 56K modem connection I can finish a piece, and upload it, and send you a link in under 3 minutes, not 24 hours, not 1 week, Not monthly, Now."

     "If you are going to report the news or write stories, providing links to your sources is the most important job you have. The hyperlink is the most powerful tool for building credibility and engaging people in dialog. Without it, on the web you fall into the trap that people will believe you 'cause you say so. Won't play. You will get your ass handed to you."

     "This is new media. Just because we use text and photos, make no mistake the rules have changed." — Alan Herrell aka The Head Lemur

     Life's little instructions: Feed a stranger's expired parking meter.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.


 

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