How to blog by tony pierce

http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/2004/06/how-to-blog-by-tony-pierce-110-1.htm

This link just won the best essay about the blog or web log. Highly recommeded for anyone who regularly blogs or want to make their website better.

Here’s some of the excerpts and my comments to that:

1. write every day.

2. if you think you’re a good writer, write twice a day.

True, this will keep your weblog interesting and someone will know that you’re gonna have a new entry into your blog and that keeps drawing your visitors. It also means you’re constantly thinking and contributing your thoughts.

4. cuss like a sailor.

Hmm, can see why as it keeps your weblog humorus and not to be taken too seriously and reveal your true emotions too.

12. link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you’re trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if youre full of shit.

Makes sense, it encourages making connections, :-)

14. remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. similarilly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song youre listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day.

In other words, be yourself and don’t be such a fake-ass.

17. people like pictures. use them. save them to your own server. or use Blogger’s free service. if you dont know how to do it, learn. also get a Buzznet account. several things will happen once you start blogging, one of them is you will learn new things. thats a good thing.

My bad. I gotta put up more pictures here; I even have a brand-new Sony camera. :-(

21. write open letters. make lists. call people out on their bullshit. lead by example. invent and reinvent yourself. start by writing about what happened to you today. for example today i told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.

Be honest and don’t hold back.

22. when in doubt review something. theres not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

Ok, will do more reviews from now on then.

29. dont apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again.

30. read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.

I’ve heard of that blog so many times. Will do my best to read blogs as many as I can and leave comments often. :-)

Hope you’ll do the same. Peace out.

Where art thou, Bacterium!

There is no point in trying to hide from your bacteria, for they are on and around you always, in numbers you can’t conceive. If you are in good health and averagely diligent about your hygiene, you will have a herd of about one trillion bacteria grazing on your fleshy plains—about a hundered thousand of them on every square centimeter of skin. They are there to dine off the ten billion or so flakes of skin you shed every day, plus all the tasty oils and fortifying minerals that seep out from every pore and fissure. You are for them the ultimate food court, with the convenience of warmth and constant mobility thrown in. By way of thanks, they give you B.O.” pp. 302, Bill Bryson.

Before you start checking how bad your armpits smell, there are bacteria everything and there’s a reason why. They were here before we ever got here and ultimately, they are THE reason why and how we got here. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their plant, and we are on it only because they allow us to be. (more…)

“Good-Bye To All That”

For about a week since, I have been reading this really mind-opening book called “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” by Bill Bryson. At first, I thought the author was joking about the title—how could you explain everything about Earth’s history and how we come in form in one book? I’m no scientist or geologist myself so I thought it’d be rather difficult reading this book but it’s surprisingly not. The sentences aren’t laden with all the technical words and the author did his best to give a brief background on each scientist that contributed to the history of Earth and us.

As I read through the book, I realize that this is not just a literary book but also a textbook cuz it has a lot of information with tons of theories, explanations, and names. It’s 100 times better than any science textbooks I’ve ever read in middle school or high school. In fact, the author criticized a lot about textbooks we used in secondary education. They were either already outdated or some theories were misinterpreted as proved by recent scientists. Anyway, back to the topic, I read a cool paragraph that summarized everything about Earth’s history. Imagine, Earth’s history in a single paragraph? Could you write like that? Bill Bryson did. Here’s the vivid paragraph.

“If you imagine the 4.5 billion odd years of Earth’s history compressed into a normal earthy day, then life begins very early, about 4 a.m. with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish, and the engimatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 pm, trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 pm, plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.

Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 pm the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scence just before 11 pm and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. ” pp. 337

Ok ok, so it’s not one but two paragraphs–close enough but what about this next paragraph?

“Perhaps an even more effective way of grasping our extreme recentness as a part of this 4.5 billion-year old picture is to stretch your arms to their fullest extent and imagine that width as the entire history of the Earth. On this scale, according to John McPhee in Basin and Range, the distance from the fingertips of one hand to the wrist of the other is Precambrian. All of complex life is in one hand, “and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history.”

There you go, you have the entire Earth’s history right across your extended arms. Isn’t that better than what we were reading in HS science textbooks?

Before you start thinking about becoming 100 years old, our existence in Earth’s history is very SMALL, no more than a few seconds into Earth’s modified 24 hour history and can be easily wiped off with a nail file. Bill Bryson says that one certain thing about life is that it goes extinct. Nobody knows when but we all will become extinct. So, what do you do? Focus not on the length of your life but the width of your life. Try to make your life as wide as you can and you shall die a rich, fulfilling life. :-)

Before I end this post, average species last 4 million years. :-)

“Around the Block” story

I wrote this story last summer and I thought of this story while I was running. Is that called inspiration? Anyway, I have been meaning to publish this story somewhere because I think it’s one of the better stories I have written by myself. Then I realize, “Why not publish my story on the www? on my website?.” So, here’s the story. It’s about a young guy who went out for a run.

At the far side of the wall, the green LED on the alarm clock showed that it was a quarter to nine o’clock, well, 8:46 pm to be exact. He never really liked that alarm clock because for one, the LED was a tad too bright and two, the green color made him feel as if he’d been abducted in an alien spaceship. But he didn’t really have a choice when he first bought the alarm clock because it was a special kind of alarm that vibrated the bed like a motel bed in Las Vegas, so he could get out of the bed more convincingly. When he saw what time it was, he knew it had already begun to become late…

He’d promise himself that he would do his daily run, not exactly daily but about four times a week and today would be his third of the week. He glanced outside the windows, just behind the alarm clock and he could see the sun separating itself from the blue sky into the horizon. He wondered if he should postpone the run till tomorrow and the darkness crept to remind him that not one but two vehicles had come close to him in the past week and he had to retreat to the gravels on the side to avoid the contact. It wasn’t even dark as it was in a broad daylight, he thought to himself. While he was thinking that, one of his legs was already into the running shorts. He went on to put his Asics and he was still thinking if he should run. A devil on his shoulder told him that he should run so he could burn off the Whopper burger he’d ate for lunch. He could feel his stomach quenched when he thought about that but he told the devil that it’s not really his fault because he forgot to bring his own lunch and he only had three dollars in his pocket and the Whopper was the only available sandwich that both fit his budget and satisfied his hunger as he didn’t even eat breakfast the following morning. He had started a diet a few weeks ago after he noticed the flab hidden in his lower tummy. He tied the last strings on his shoes and felt motivated that he needed to slave off some calories. He stepped out of the front door and tested the humidity to see if he needed a tank top first. He could see the clouds piling up together and it told him that it’d be a bit of a breeze, so he went back into the house and put on his tank top.

There were two routes that he had mapped for himself and he disliked one-way routes in which he would have to turn around and run the same path back. Those two routes were like two blocks that if you put them together, they would be like a rectangle sharing one same street in the middle. One square was a little bigger than the other square, by about a mile. However, the other square had a more steep elevation and would give him a good stability workout whereas the first square has a smooth elevation, testing his endurance. As late as it already was, he decided to take the stability route and his average time was roughly twenty minutes. That should give him an adequate time before it becomes too dark.

When he first hit the street with strides, he felt like he was straddling through the mud water. “Must be the whopper I ate.” he said. As he had been running for some time now, he knows that that feeling would fade away, like a car needs a warm-up first. He got through the first leg of the block rather slow and he told himself that he’d increase his pace when he turned the corner. The corner somehow felt farther than usual but he stayed with it and finally arrived at the corner. The street was going downhill, so he could start a faster pace with longer strides. He imagined he was like a Kenyan running with incredibly long strides and galloped like a deer. However, he couldn’t hold that pace long enough when he arrived at the bottom of the hill and had to shorten his strides as he worked on his way up the hill. He could feel himself panting and had broken up a sweat. At the top of the hill, he could see the stoplights, which showed passing cars. He knows he had to be careful when he got there because that’s where he almost got hit by cars.

The stoplight turned green just before he reached there. “Perfect.” he thought. So he didn’t have to stop his run and look out for any passing cars. He peeked over his left shoulder and his eyes said it was all clear, he moved to the left lane and proceed to turn the corner again. The street changed into two lanes with rock gravels on both sides. He didn’t like running on the rocks because it somehow felt slippery and he had to be more careful, which changed his strides. He’d try to stay on the white line as long as he could. His shoes were pouncing onto the white line, and already, several cars were coming at him. He remained on the line, seeing if cars would move a little to let him pass. He could see the first car starting to move away from him and the second car followed the car but the third car didn’t move at all. He jumped to the gravel just before the third car passed him. He tried to look around and see who’s the driver. It was a teenage girl yapping on her cellphone, apparently not even seeing him at all. He shook his head and continued with his run.

The outside suddenly looked much darker after three cars went past him and the sun had already dipped below the horizons and he now only could see the sun’s rays, painting the blue sky orange. Meanwhile, he was relieved to see that he could not see any headlights in the far sight, so that means he could keep running on the white line.

Several minutes later, as the corner came approaching, so was a car. But the headlights looked almost too big for a car. He was right; it wasn’t a car’s headlights—-it was a semi-truck roaring along. He knew…that he would have to step off the line and tiptoeing on the rocks far from the road. His face was illuminated with bright white lights and he used his arms to cover his eyes from the semi-truck’s big headlights. The truck swooshed past him and he could feel himself spinning but that was just the air effect circling him. He closed and rubbed his eyes from the dust. He tried to turn around and catch the driver’s face but it was too high for him to see over the windows. It didn’t really matter because he kind of already imagined that it was an overweight, unshaven man with a cigar, wearing a cowboy hat, and yet worse, it wasn’t even his fault that he didn’t see him because two big fat dices were hanging from the mirror, blocking his marginal view. Finally, the air was back to a calm quiet air, like he was sitting back at the front porch. He wished he was sitting there instead of running like he was right now. His tanktops were drenched with sweat and he wished he didn’t put on his tanktop in the first place. Now, he saw the corner coming and he gladly turned.

This time, it was going uphill and he was really panting now. He wished he hadn’t eaten that whopper; he wished he didn’t run at all. He would give anything right now to be back at the house and be watching sportscenter from his bed. “Stop it, you have started running and you are more than halfway to the finish now.” his mentality told him. “You’ve come this far; finish your run.” He willed himself to keep running, not even realizing that his strides were now reduced to stutter-steps.

In spite of everything, with the stupid teenage girl, the semi-truck driver, and that darned uphill, he was glad to be back on the street and his shoes by the white lines. Now running on the third leg of the block, he tried to stay near the curbs so that the pole lights would illuminate him below. He kept running and he started to realize that he had been running at a slow pace but he needed to be patient if he wanted to finish the run without stopping. He reached the top and that would be the last uphill he had to run. He took a big breath and started to run downhill. His strides becoming longer and longer, like a Kenyan again he imagined during his first leg of the run. There weren’t as many as pole lights on that fourth leg of the block, unlike the previous leg he ran on. He was focused on his fast pace now and his sole concentration was to finish the run strongly. Little did he know, a car had turned the same corner he recently turned and was rolling on the same street as he was. With the heart pumping hard, sweats dripping like there was a rain, he did not see the car coming, so was the car.

The person driving the car was an old lady who decided she wanted to see his husband at his grave. The street was curving and they were coming up on a short bridge over the creek. By the time when the old lady’s headlights saw him, the old lady saw him too and tried her best to steer the car but it was all too late. The physical corner of the 1988 Buick had already caught him and sent his body falling toward the white line on the street. He had no idea what had hit him and he laid flatly on the bridge with his arms open and you could already tell, he looked like Jesus Christ on the cross. The sweats that were dripping like a loose faucet had slowed down to like a tear on Mary’s face. But his heart was still beating, though not as fast as it was a moment ago. His body began to stir and then he opened his eyes. He noticed that the grounds were not under his feet but right under his cheek.

“What in the heavens did just happen to me?” he thought. He managed to get himself up and back on his feet. He checked his body for any wounds or injury but there was none. He had expected something painful would pop out somewhere on his body like a warning signal would flash in the car instrument panel but there wasn’t any signals. He remembered he was running, so he tried to run again. He started slow, testing his body again, but nothing seemed out of place. Now, he could see one more corner, so he ran straight to the corner. When he got there at the corner, he stoop down and panting. Then, he saw an old lady walking in arms with her husband. He thought they looked like nice sweet couple who’s been together for a long time. His attention was turned to this man in robe.

“Welcome, you made it.” He said.

My First Kim-Chi

Kimchi is the most famous korean food. It takes a role for Korea what Scotch did for Scotland, and what pizza did for Italy. Next to boiled rice(bab), kimchi is the most important component of a Korean meal. It is spicy and fiery, yet earthy and cool.

I realize I haven’t really told about myself as I’m slow (or is it a habit) to complete this website design. I’m 24 years old who shares same birthday as George Washington, currently working for U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as IT specialist. If you think the title is a bit vague, that’s because I do different things around here—from working on a website to making some SQL queries in databases for those managers who want some statistics. As for my own identity, I was born deaf in Korea and obviously, that made me Korean. However, I was adopted at age three by deaf parents—Wayne and Pam. That would make me Korean-American but there’s something wrong with this picture—I was never raised as a Korean-American but as an American solely. I’ve never heard of a Kim-Chi (a very popular spicy side dish in Korea or in other words, you’re not Korean till you eat one) till I was about 18 years old. My very first meal when I got here in America was a happy meal at McDonald’s. I’m dead serious and not kidding you.

A few hundred happy meals, big macs, and quarter-pound cheeseburgers later, I’ve played every sport that is popular in America—football, little league baseball, soccer, basketball, track/field, and ice hockey. That sounds very American, doesn’t it? I went not to a public school but a deaf institution at Jacksonville, IL. I wouldn’t call it a school because I grew up there since I was 4 years old and my parents graduated from there too. I was the only Asian there for the most part of my life, though there were some Asians but weren’t in the same class with me. So, I grew up being American without having an Asian friend till I get into a college…

It so happened that I know a friend named Christine who was a college student working at my institution and she received free board/room in return. She was dating a guy who was a Korean. Yes, a rare occurence when a white girl actually dates an Asian guy, not the other way around. On my long road trip to Washington, DC, I stopped by her place in Columbus, Ohio. It was during that time when she asked me if I ever ate Kim-Chi. When I said “nope, never”, her eyes practically fell out of her sockets and her jaws dropped. She thought I was kidding! Then slowly, she started to realize that it all made sense. She’d meet my parents back at my old deaf school and that I didn’t have a lot of exposure to other cultures, so there wasn’t a reason or even a chance for me to eat kim-chi. So, she took me out to a small Korean grocery store that was near her apartment the first thing we got out of the doors.

When she opened the jar, a strong smell came out of the can that only said one thing: it’s very spicy. I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it, despite I was a Korean myself but Christine assured me to eat it with rice as it helped the taste or at least make it less spicy. I took the bite, chewed, and shallowed it. My first thought was that it was unlike others I had eaten. It doesn’t have the same spiciness that you would find in hot salsa or eat hot buffalo chicken wings. Because it’s served cold, it’s cool to the touch and after you chewed it, it became spicy but not to the point where you have to run for a water foundation. I took another bite, then another bite and before I know it, I was already halfway through the jar. Christine had to laugh at me–I’m not sure if she’s proud cuz she was the first person to introduce me to kimchi or that she can’t believe I was instantly hooked to the dish. When it was time for me to go back on the road, she was kind enough to wrap the jar in plastic and told me to take it. My first kimchi.

In perpetual construction

For some reasons, I seem to have a severe deficiency, or severely lack the ability to complete a project. I get started on something yet I never finish it. It’s as if there is no finish line for me to finally cross and say “Yes, I finished it.” I started designing my new website when I bought a domain address under my name last summer—around July or August. And it’s been in “construction” ever since. I changed from movable to blogger, back to movable, then changed to WordPress. I have to re-learn codes since they differ in publishing and functions. Now, it’s been a week since I’ve started digging into WordPress after I decided that it will be my primary blog tool (the best part is no waiting for the static pages to be updated). The current progress is somewhere between 40% and 50%. I realize that since design is an appearance, you have to spend an exceptional amount of time on tweaking your look. You don’t try on one dress and said “Yes, this is the dress.” You try on different dresses ( I hope to God not in a number of hundreds) to find the look you think is the best. So, this applies to web design that I’ve been playing and experimenting with different designs. But the problem is that while you can get in and out of the dress and put on another, you can’t do the same with design. You have to come up with ideas and create a rough draft in Photoshop or Fireworks, then implement the design into CSS and see how it looks. If it doesn’t work out the way you’d like it, then you go back to square one and start all over. This can take up a lot of time and factor that with my lack of ability to finish a project. Now you see why it’s taking up so long. :/

So far, I think this design is the one. I hope to finish this design soon and hopefully, at last, to cross the finish line.

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