Who are you?

I’m just a bundle of curiousity here… so I have to ask:

You– who is reading this right now.  Who are you?  

How did you find this blog?  Are you a blogger as well?  How long have you been blogging?  

Do you know me personally?

Now come on… don’t be shy.  

Tell me in the comments.  Cause I’m simply DYING to know. 🙂

OK, maybe that’s a bit overly dramatic… but I really do want to know who you are!

Thanks! 🙂

*Yawn* … Good morning!

So, I’m back from my hibernation, and it was a lovely rest.

And things look different.  Again.

You’ll see that I have once again changed the look of The Launching Pad.  You’ll also notice that the name of The Launching Pad has changed.  I’m all about change.

Summer is drawing to a close, and I’ve been getting the itch to blog again.  So I took a look at things and decided it was time to do some house-cleaning… again.  If you’ve visited here before, you’ll notice that the sidebars are gone. There’s nothing but posts and comments, folks.  It’s clean and neat and to the point – just the way it should be.  I took the inspiration from the Tumblelog movement that is occurring – I figured why re-invent the wheel– just re-tool it a little bit.

Of course, if you REALLY want all that sidebar goodness, just hover over “Navigation” at the top and, like magic, they will appear.  So that’s where you’ll find my blogroll (which is being heavily trimmed, by the way), feed info, and other stuff that used to be on the main page.

I’ve also deactivated the PostReach comments – those little icon thingies at the end of every post that allowed readers to make wordless comments.  I decided that if you want to comment, you can write a line or two telling me what you think.  Plus they just didn’t match the feng shui of the new look. 🙂

**UPDATE** I’ve also just converted my comment system to Disqus, at the recommendation of a fellow blogger.  Disqus allows a lot of really great features including comment threading and video comments.  Fun fun fun!!!  So you have no excuses– commenting is fun again! 🙂

So I’m back – and what’s been up?  Well, in all honesty, I’ve been spending more time with my friends and family, and just trying to spend LESS time in front of a computer monitor.  I spend 8+ hours, five days a week, in front of a computer.  I needed a break from that on my own time.

That’s not to say I haven’t been spending time in front of my computer.. I’ve just been doing different things.  My latest obsession is SingSnap.  In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically online karaoke.  My friend Teddy clued me into it a few months ago, and in just those short few months, I’ve become something of a rising star there.  I’m not saying I’m ready for a record contract or anything, and I’m much too old for American Idol… but it’s been rather fun, and it’s been a better waste of time than looking at porn or cruising the gay meat markets.

Other than that, I’ve gone camping a couple of times, and spent a lot of time with my friends.  And, of course, I’ve spent more time with my family and my adorable nieces, Abby and Emily.  I can hardly believe they’re already 6 months old… and getting cuter by the minute.

So I’m back, I’m refreshed, and I’m looking forward to a new direction for my blog.  Posts will be shorter.  Photos will happen more often.  And I’m just going to have fun with it.  And like before, if I have nothing to say, I won’t be posting.  I decided that I really like being a part of this world, and I didn’t want to leave it… I just wanted to make it what I want it to be.  Having all of you is just the cherry on top of the sundae.

Here’s a few pictures to get things started… See you soon!

Market Days Madness under the Rainbow Pylons!
Market Days Madness under the Rainbow Pylons!
Camping in Saugatuck - with new and old friends!
Camping in Saugatuck - with new and old friends!
Beth with Emily and Abby at Grandmas house
Beth with Emily and Abby at Grandma's house

I might as well just make it official…

I’m taking a brief sabbatical.  I’ve been having a really fun summer – between traveling to Michigan to more frequent visits with the family and my nieces, making new friends and having fun with other friends, things have been pretty busy for me lately.  I keep wanting to blog about what’s been going on, but to summarize everything would either take too many posts or make one extremely long and boring post.  So… in the interest of just enjoying myself and coming back when I’m ready, I’ll officially say that I’m on hiatus for now.

If something incredibly urgent comes up, I’ll post, but until then… see you in the fall! 😀

Has Blogging Jumped the Shark?

Recently, I found myself engaged in a rather intellectual and even stimulating conversation with a fellow blogger about the future of blogging. Our discussion was borne from his concern that blogging has gone past its prime, or, in his words, “jumped the shark,” therefore he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue with his blog.

I could see his point.  I’ve actually thought for some time that blogging has seen better days.  The excitement and enthusiasm we all had four years ago is not there like it used to be.  Many people we knew back then have disappeared into the mist, or moved on to other projects.  Many can be found on social networking sites like Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku and identi.ca.  Others stick to the worlds of MySpace, Facebook and even Friendster.

So why are so many people abandoning the blogging platform?  Is it because blogging as a platform has become so mainstream that it has practically replaced the normal website as the standard platform for relaying information?  Or is it because the “big shots” of blogging have become so big that there is no more room for the “little guys” that helped start it all?

I tend to think it’s a little of both, mixed with a glut of options in the social networking world.  Sites like Twitter, Plurk and Jaiku barely scratch the surface of what’s available out there today.  A visit to ping.fm, a global status updater for social networking sites and IM programs, shows a list of 21 different social networking options available, as well as 8 IM/other services.  That number is not even comprehensive – there are probably dozens more out there that are just starting up, or haven’t quite caught on yet.

One of these is tumblr.com.  Tumblr is a tumblelog site, much like Blogger or WordPress.com, that takes blogging and shrinks it down into bite-sized posts – larger than a 140-character Twitter or Plurk post, but shorter than a typical blog post.  Some people say that the future of blogging is in tumblelogging, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s not just another fad to add to the pile.  While blogging has absolutely caught on as a medium and is, in my mind, here to stay; it seems that the glut of new options will eventually consume the market so much that nobody will know what to go with anymore.

Besides, keeping up with these networking sites alone gets to be more of a headache than it’s worth.  At present, I have accounts on Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku, indenti.ca, MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and other services like Bebo and LinkedIn.  Additionally, I have accounts at AIM, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Messenger.

And then, of course, my blog.

That’s a hell of a lot of crap to keep up with.

So is blogging truly past its prime?  Or are we over-extending ourselves with options so much that we give up trying to keep up?

Maybe it’s best to just go back to the old fashioned way of journaling – with a notebook and a pen.

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Blogoversary: 4 Years Later, Still Blasting Off

I remember it fairly well.

It was a summer’s evening much like this one.  I was reading my friend Jake’s blog, NoFo, and thought to myself, “I can do this.  Hell, I like to write.  I’m always writing stuff.  Why not do it on one of these Blog things?”

And in just a few short minutes, my first blog was born.

I’ve been on quite a journey since then.  I’ve traveled to new and familiar places.  I’ve shared many different facets of my life.  I’ve shared photos and memories and stories from my past.  I’ve lived through the death of my father and the birth of my nieces.  I’ve shared dating horrors and successes, and frustrations with the whole wide world.  I dabbled in podcasting, and became a more active member on another popular podcast.  And along the way I’ve met lots of great bloggers, made friends with others I have never met in person, but consider all of them very dear friends.

Four years later, I’m still blogging, though not as often as I used to.  And while my attention has been split in many other directions, I will always continue this presence as the “grand central station” for everything about little ol’ me. 

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and honored to be among the ranks of blogging “seniority.”  It’s been a pleasure for me, and I hope it’s been a pleasure for you as well.

So thank you for accompanying me on this journey.  It’s far from over.  In fact, I dare say, it’s only just begun.

UPDATE:  Ironically, this is also my 1,000th post.  Wow!