Archive for the ‘Music City Bloggers’ Category

MCB = Much Crazy Bullshit? But maybe it can still be better

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

I’ve been completely out of the loop on the drama and goings-on over at, which I say in part to apologize to those for whom I’ve not been able to be supportive and in part to claim that I take no part in the madness. The mess is expansive and the scars are starting to look like they run pretty deep.

While I wasn’t completely naive about the possibility it might blow up, I really had a very optimistic outlook for it in the beginning. But I and many other contributors have never been nearly active enough to spread the workload out evenly enough, and possibly as a consequence, the voices have become too much of a shrill monotone.

So much of the nay-saying about MCB seems to pertain to a lack of balance in political opinion, which I find unfortunate. I have found that blog, at times, to be a great source of reasoned debate between people of differing viewpoints. I don’t blog often about politics, per se, but like most people, the majority of my opinions can be taken at some level as an indicator of my political leanings. After all, you don’t meet all that many vegan (well, mostly vegan), child-free, atheist, bisexual… conservative Republicans. I’m not saying it’s a foregone conclusion from my writings that I’m a liberal/progressive/Green/what-have-you, but I think the overlap between my lifestyle/preferences and political viewpoint is easy to spot.

What’s my point? I guess it’s that I don’t think a community blog need necessarily be overtly about politics, and I don’t think politics need necessarily be a policy discussion every time in order to be meaningful. But it’s often the topics that do deal directly with policy that turn the most vicious — or maybe that’s because those discussions somehow attract the most vicious commenters.

I don’t have any answers; I just find it unfortunate and I hope that the next era of MCB corrects course and is stronger for the growing pains.

Gifts that really do keep on giving

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Over at Music City Bloggers, Malia asks:

will all your holiday dreams come true if there’s a little velvet box waiting for you under the tree?

My holiday dreams? Do not involve jewelry boxes. At all. As I said in the comments at MCB, diamonds suck. That whole industry is evil and I don’t get why they’re so damned expensive. Sure they sparkle and sparkly things are appealing, but I can get a heck of a lot of pleasure out of looking at and wearing much less expensive sparkly things.

As for my jewelry preferences in general, I’d much rather have an unusual piece with semiprecious stones — something that reflects my personality. One year I asked Karsten to have my favorite ring — one that I made when I was in high school, and I wear every day — polished as a Christmas gift, and that was a wonderful treat. (It could use it again, now that I think of it.)

For that matter, why limit it to jewelry? I prefer unusual gifts that reflect my personality. Besides the aforementioned ring polishing, one of the lovelier gifts Karsten has given me was, at my request, to have one of his original art pieces framed so it could hang in our bedroom. I love that piece, and it meant a lot to me to be able to look at it every day.

Was the gift any less wonderful because it wasn’t a surprise? Not at all. I love surprise gifts, but meaningful gifts trump surprises, in my book.

And hey, it’s hard work to think up a meaningful, surprising gift just in time for the holidays. And that’s the thing: I really prefer not to play into the pressure of holiday gift-giving too much. I LOVE the idea of giving gifts; I just don’t like the idea of being socially obligated to give gifts.

After all, I buy myself indulgent little things all the time; if I’m going to be given a gift, I prefer it to be something meaningful and representative of my relationship with the gift-giver; the cost and timing of the gift truly have nothing to do with its value to me.

The editor’s note in the latest issue of Domino magazine talked about great gifts: how they’re special and surprising, but most importantly, they reflect the best interpretation of the relationship between giver and recipient. That’s one of the biggest things that bother me about the consumer-driven holiday culture we’ve (d)evolved into: it feels so much like checking an item off your “to do” list.

Which is why, as a side note, I hate the trend of giving gift cards as presents with a burning, boiling passion. In the past ten years, it seems to have become so common that I feel like all people do is end up getting the same amount in gift cards that they give. If they’re lucky.

We all might as well write each other $1,000,000 checks and tear them up — at least that’d be more memorable. In fact, why not? Let’s all get together, drink some Silk Nog, write checks to each other in ridiculous sums, talk about what we’ll do with our gift money, and then laugh and tear them to pieces. Who’s in?

Half-wrong? Mostly right? Natural or unnatural? Who cares if it’s funny!

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Over at Music City Bloggers, we’re debating choice and levels of wrongness, among other things.

Meanwhile over at the Onion, they get it half-right — well, mostly wrong, but still funny.

(That last one reminds me of a postcard I found one time that was captioned “San Francisco Parenting,” in which a parent was calling out to a child “Don’t forget to go both ways before crossing the street!”)

HT: Jon

Might as well kick the tires on this thing

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

I’m not finished uploading old content yet, and I don’t quite have the layout and functionality I’m planning to have, but let’s go ahead and get this show on the road, shall we?

I’ve moved, and the majority of my blogging will now be done at The Bee Hive over at Honey Bowtie Music. I’d claim that you can expect a tighter focus on songwriting and music, but if you’ve read me at all you probably know I’m going to talk about whatever I feel like talking about.

Setting up a blog at has been in the plans for a while. I’ve wanted to tie the time I spend on blogging back into an area of my life that I’m passionate about in a meaningful way. And I wanted to give Karsten the opportunity to contribute in a way that would be relevant and interesting to him. Don’t expect to see too much from him — he hates typing. But if anything could get him to contribute anyway, it’s having the discussion take place here, in this context. We may bring him around yet.

Even with genuine motivation to get started, though, I was pretty put off by how much work I thought it would be. It helped so much for me to be so involved in setting up Music City Bloggers so I could get some heavy exposure to the inner workings of Wordpress. I wasn’t really wrong about the level of effort — I’ve spent the entire weekend getting this thing set up and migrated. But so far I’m pretty impressed with the flexibility of this platform. I think I’m going to like it here.

Anyway, for the time being, I will be replicating content and comments between The Bee Hive and High Holy Mass of Contradictions, but that may not be the case for long. I’m still deciding how best to use the LiveJournal account — it has a pretty respectable presence for a blog I never really put much effort into promoting. That may come in handy.

In the meantime, though, the main action is now at The Bee Hive. Please update your feeds and your blogrolls. Speaking of which, if you read me regularly but haven’t had me on your blogroll, now might be a nice time to add me. I could sure use the link love while I’m getting this thing rolling. Thanks!

Environmentalism vs. economics as personal responsibility

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Reading over the thread at Music City Bloggers about mortgage foreclosures and such, I’m struck by a disparity I notice in the voices of the regulars there and in other online fora.

Why does it seem that so many of the people who get most passionate when it comes to matters of personal financial responsibility and conservation of fiscal resources are not equally passionate when it comes to environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources?

If these people can applaud and embrace the concept of budgeting dollars and curbing consumption when it is out of scale with the economic resources available, why can’t they applaud and embrace the same principle when it comes to things like water, oil, clean air, trees, etc?

Is it because they don’t think of it as a personal responsibility? Is it because no one has told them convincingly enough that it’s the right thing to do?

You know what I think we need in the U.S.? We need a pro-environment activist who speaks from a conservative / Christian basis. Sort of like — no, scratch that, exactly like the Dave Ramsey of environmentalism.


Sunday, August 19th, 2007

originally uploaded by lesley s.

Ha! Here’s me all nerding it up at BarCamp and liveblogging the goings-on. (And that great-looking guy next to me? The one and only musician/restaurateur/blogger Nashville Knucklehead.)

It was already sweltering by this point at Exit/In. I was desperately thinking about exiting.

Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing
Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Or, in other words, about Music City Bloggers.

I’m headed to camp!

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

I’ve mentioned it here and there, but I thought I’d put it right here: I’m going to BarCamp today! I’m going to savor the geeky flavor, or if I don’t, I’m going to escape to Fiesta Azteca for a Negra Modelo or three. See? There’s no risk involved.

But anyway, I’m psyched! It should be great. I’m excited to see several of my brainy friends speak on the primary stage: Jackson Miller, Chris Wage, and Brittney Gilbert.

And then my other brainy friends will be speaking on the secondary stage — Kat & Ivy & maybe some other folks from Music City Bloggers will talk about “Hyperlocal self-publishing portals.” As if they have any experience with that! Ha, I kid.

And then maybe we’ll all go out for drinks later. For serious! Why can’t that kind of fun be an every-night experience?

I haven’t figured out what I’m wearing, but I have, like Jackson, deliberated about what technology I’m bringing with me. And unlike Jackson, I’ve decided to bring my laptop. I may do a little live-blogging; why not?

Favorite Treo-ready web sites

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

I’m buried at work, but since Ginger did me the honor of calling me both cool and hip for using a Treo, I want to at least reply with a list of my favorite Treo-ready web sites. Ever helpful, that’s me.

I also wanted to do this anyway, since I had the opportunity the other evening to visit the Apple store (yes, I’m slow, but I avoid the mall like it’s toxic) and got my hands on an iPhone. Short recap: I went in inclined to fall in love with it. I’m an Apple fan in general, and I love a slick interface. But after working with it a bit, I was left feeling a bit, eh, it’s nice, but my Treo can do most of this stuff already and with a much easier-to-use keypad. Sure, that large iPhone screen is beautiful and when you don’t need a keypad, it’s a sweet interface. But that virtual keypad sucks. I’m curious to see what the next-generation iPhone looks like.

But anyway, while I stood there scrutinizing it, I overheard the couple across the table from me talking about how amazing it is. The man was telling the woman about how you can visit this site or that site, and she stood agog at the idea of visiting web sites from your phone.

And no, I didn’t tell them that was old news. I decided to let them revel in their fandom.

But I did decide right there and then that I should put together a list of my favorite PDA-ready web sites. (And I thought about doing a Treo vs. iPhone comparison, but I see a good one’s already been done.) So here’s the quick and dirty version of my links reference: all bookmarks borrowed from the Blazer browser on my Treo. I’ve tried to designate which use WAP or WML (which means they’re efficient on cell phones other than Treo-like PDAs) and which are simply designed for a smaller screen.

My Indispensable, Specifically-Designed-for-Small-Screens Links:


A small part of a big moment

Friday, July 6th, 2007

I’m really excited to be part of a new blogging project. There’s a lot that it can become, but right now, the core group of people behind it are just trying to pull together everything we need to do right now. There’s been a flurry of email, a few of us met for lunch today, and there’s talk of a field trip for some research and networking, but more on that later.

The blog’s most basic purpose is to serve the community of middle Tennessee that was built through Nashville Is Talking, and which has been left wondering what comes next ever since Brittney left.

My take? This. This is what comes next. It’s grassroots, it’s cooperative, and it’s people from differing social and political views coming together with a common purpose. That just rocks my little world. After wondering what would happen to the community without a central voice to pull it all together, I feel really good about the way this has the potential to come together.