The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Happy 2nd Blogday

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the creation of Ramblings of the Bearded One. So in honour of this auspicious day I thought I’d answer a few questions about this blog that no one has ever asked me, but somehow seem pertinent on a day like today

Why is your blog called “Ramblings of The Bearded One”?
When I was at university “The Bearded One” was as an in-joke, hinting at the idea of wise men, religious mystics and hermits contemplating the universe. I had a beard and was studying philosophy so that was a good enough reason for some of my friends to label me with it. The “Ramblings” is due to the fact that I knew any blog I wrote would struggle for a central theme and ramble all over the place, much in the way my thoughts do.

What was your first post?
My first post was simply called First Blog and was written to see how posting worked. And although it’s dated in April 2005, it was in fact written on August 11th 2005

Why do you have posts dating back before you started the blog?
*cough* ... er… I tend to feel wary about looking like a complete newbie, even when I am, so thought I’d establish a bit of fake presence with a few things I’d written before I started blogging.

Why did you start blogging?
After selling my web design business I decided I would try my hand at being a writer. I figured that if I had a blog then it would force me to write at least a couple of times a week and so drag me out of the natural tendency to procrastinate. I also thought I could do with the practice

How did you find out about blogging?
El-Branden Brazil is an old family friend. His parents and mine were close friends so as kids we would play together when they came to visit. We kept in touch over the years, then one day Branden started referring to his Blog, Mystic Traveller, in his emails. It took a year for me to start thinking it was something that I could do myself

What site did you first comment on?
Once I’d set up my own blog I went in search of others to enjoy. Unfortunately I discovered there's a vast amount of crap out there on the web. In among the angst-ridden, self-obsessed teenagers writing in text speak, non-English speaking sites and blogs trying to sell me holiday insurance, porn and viagra, there are only a tiny percentage of blogs worth reading.

The first one I found that I thought was worth the effort was Boobs, Injuries and Dr Peppers. There were aspects in her writings that I found really funny and engaging, but others that were irritating too.

As a complete neophyte I was also intimidated. She seemed so confident and her commenters all seemed so part of the in-crowd - I didn’t want to feel like the one who walks into a room, laughs too loudly at the host's joke and everyone stops, goes quiet and stares at the unwelcome intruder. So my very first comment was anonymous.

Not getting lynched or humiliated, I got braver and started commenting under my own name. However, eventually the irritations outweighed the enjoyment - I found other blogs I preferred spending my time reading, and I stopped visiting.

Which was the first post to get a comment?
The first post anyone commented on was Down’s Syndrome is not an Issue. Interestingly (for me anyway) it continued to get comments for about a year afterwards

Who’s your longest standing blogging buddy?
While Branden introduced me to the concept of blogging, without doubt my longest standing blogging buddy is BStrong from Down Syndrome Life, who was actually the 2nd person to ever comment on my blog. From the outset we realised we had much more in common than both having daughters with DS. Unfortunately his blogging is much more sporadic these days but there are few posts over the past 2 years that either of us has written that the other hasn’t commented on.

How many blog entries have you posted?
275 including this one.

How many visitors have you had?
At the point of posting this - 34,105

Which post has the most comments?
That’s a tie between If God has a message for us then He is an incompetent communicator and Do you still love me despite my...? which both received 41, although Do you still love me despite my...? actually just takes the lead as less of the comments are my replies.

What’s your favourite post?
Being an egotistical maniac, I have a certain fondness for all my posts. In the end, however, I think my favourite is one that is quite unlike any of the others I’ve written – And I’m not looking forward to the journey home, which chronicles my experience of a delayed train journey.

As well as being one that still puts a smile on my face, what it did was make me realise was how lifesaving blogging could be. Normally being stuck in Kilmarnock Station for 2½ hours would have had me screaming from the rafters, but being able to document little details of things going on all around me, while thinking of the potential blog entry I was going to get out of it, helped me keep my sanity.

Anything Else?
Here’s your chance to ask me anything you want about this blog. If you have any questions related to Ramblings of the Bearded One that I’ve not addressed here, then post it in the comments and, if appropriate, I’ll add them in updates to this post.

34 comments

Sayre said...

That was a very interesting post, Kim. I've been doing it a little over a year and a half and there are days when it truly saves my sanity.

I was wondering, do you you know where most of your commenters are from? I know you have a couple from Scotland, where you are, but I always find it interesting that so many of MY readers are from Canada. What is it about my blog that attracts so many Canadians?

Jupiter's Girl said...

Happy anniversary, Kim. And thanks for the inspiring and thoughtful posts you've made, and the personal encouragement you've given to me. It's been a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

One of my favorite of your posts has to be the button stuck up your daughter's nostrils. It gave such good visuals and stirred such tender feelings.

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Happy Blogday. You remain one of my closest cyber-friends, and long may we continue to populate virtual reality together!

Crystal said...

Hey Kim,

Thank you for your honesty. I'm wondering, if you don't mind answering me here (or you may email me at skydive1973cdr@gmail.com) what aspects caused you to stop reading me? I'm always curious about that and I'd love to have honest feedback.

And I'm sorry to see you go.

Crystal
aka boobs, injuries, etc.

Restaurant Gal said...

Happy 2nd, Kim. A great milestone to celebrate.

My question: How did I find you--through El Guapo or Rev. Steve or another blogger entirely? I think I found you before you found me, yes? Not so very important, just trying to remember.

All my best to you and fingers crossed for a lottery win for either of us,

The Gal

Attila The Mom said...

You ARE wise, Oh Bearded One!

Your insights have really made a difference in my life. I mean it.

Happy Bloggiversary, my friend!

Kim Ayres said...

Sayre - I think the majority come from the USA, although I have a few from Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland. There are a couple of ex-pats too, dotted around the world. I think I have one or two from the Southern Hemisphere as well, but not everyone has their coutry of origin in revealed in their profile.

Jupiter's Girl - thank you, the pleasure has been mine too.

The button post was written immediately after it happened

Dr McCrumble - aw, shucks. I'll raise my glass with you to cyber-friends!

Crystal - That was a surprise on a couple of levels - that you found the post, and that you got in contact.

Excuse me while I have an embarrassed cough...

*cough*

Maybe "irritated" was the wrong word - now I have to justify myself to the person who wrote the blog I referred to, I should try and be clearer - "disillusioned" is probably a better description.

The reality is it felt like a one sided relationship. I linked to your site and would regularly comment, but not only did you not link back (I don't think you linked to many sites back then - Dooce was about it I think - so I could forgive that), you never visited my site and never commented here.

As such I felt like I was an irrelevance.

Now as I have an ego the size of a large country, that was the most irritating aspect, and the reason I eventually gave up visiting.

One outcome of the experience, however, was that I now make a point of always visiting, and commenting at least once, on the blog of any new commenters, if they have a link to it.

Hope that makes sense

Restaurant Gal - I think it must have been through El Guapo - I don't know Rev. Steve

Attila - *blush* - thank you.

BStrong said...

Blog Anniversaries? Does this mean that I'll be able to walk in to a store and find a card with this heading? It will probably be right next to the "Happy Virus Download Day" card.

We do have much in common. I thank you for the mention, but more importantly your friendship.

My posts have been a bit sporadic. Has it really been 3 weeks. I must find the time. I fear that it's not going to get any better because Robin starts back to class in a couple of weeks. I'll try an post something soon.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Congrats on making it 2 years :) I've only been reading your blog for a short while (comparatively), but it's one of my favourites.

Peace

Crystal said...

Hey Kim!

thank you, again, for your candor. I told you this in my email, but I'm terrible about responding to comments; however, I will always answer emails. I just find that more personal. However, as far as visiting people's blogs, I'm bad about that, too, and I need to work on that. thanks, again, and I hope maybe someday you'll give me another chance?

take care and be well,

Crystal

Archie said...

I'm blown away to realize that I've had a blog a few weeks longer than you (your fake posts fooled me) - although our visitors were primarily family and friends, until very recently when I began dipping my toes in the blogopool.
My question to you is this: is there anything else you are currently writing?

Kim Ayres said...

BStrong - you mean you didn't get me a card and present? *sniff*

FLG - glad you're still alive - your blog is great when you write in it (nudge) :)

Crystal - oh go on then, you've guilted me back into it - I'll be across shortly :)

Archie - writing... hmmm... well I do have a handful of super fantastic brilliant things started that have been put on hold while I struggle with the CFS/ B12/ Baffling-my-doctor thing.

Unfortunately my lack of energy, motivation and enthusiasm, interspersed with bouts of chronic depression is making it extremely difficult to move forward with other writings. Blogging, at least, keeps my hand in to an extent.

fatmammycat said...

Congratulations! What song and photo combo can I come up with for this august occasion I wonder, leave it with me.

Carole said...

I am curious, if you have ever deleted anyone's comment. If so how many?

Mary Witzl said...

Happy 2nd anniversary, Kim. I hope that I can celebrate at least one anniversary; my plan is to run my blog for one year, then stop cold turkey and see if I can bear it.

My question is this: do you do what I do and think of a good idea for a post, then neglect to note it down and forget it? Please allay my fears and say that you do!

I have also wondered about the etiquette of visiting other blogs and commenting. If I've commented three or four times on a blog and the blogger does not reciprocate by commenting on my blog, I do feel a little deflated. I suppose the trick is to find other beginning bloggers who are not swamped with commenters and try to build a blogging friendship with them. How have you handled this rather delicate situation?

TheAmpuT said...

Happy Blogiversary ;-)

PI said...

Great to read this. Two thing s occur to me. Do you ever - when feeling arid, post wise, also feel pressured and consider stopping?. The average age of a blog is said to be 2 years.

Do you ever consider - as some people do - not commenting on your comments?

And may I say that, especially just now when so many seem to be away or resting, that I hope you keep on at least as long as I have a computer. And also I persoally appreciate the conversations one can have in your comment box so please keep on keeping on.dk

Kim Ayres said...

FMC - I'm intrigued :)

Carole - very rarely. I went through a stage of having to delete a load of spam messages daily until I introduced the word verification, but it's very rare for me to remove a genuine comment.

I'm not one of those who feels I have to keep anything up for reasons of free speech - this is my blog and is not a democracy, but someone has to be needlessly offensive before I'll consider it.

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - There have been many fantastic blog posts that never been written. These days if I have an idea I try and write it (or at least the bones of it) there and then. I nearly always have a notepad nearby - one in my coat pocket, another in my car.

As for blog visits and comments I don't know that there's a standard etiquette. Like you, if I comment several times on a blog and they don't reciprocate, I tend to feel they're not interested in the relationship. There are exceptions - El Guapo, for example, rarely commented on his own blog or anyone else's - but I knew from email exchanges that he did read mine, and he linked to me, so I accepted it.

I don't think you necessarily have to stick to beginner bloggers - I think it's about what makes you personally feel comfortable. I think most established bloggers love to get new visitors and comments - I know I do.

Kim Ayres said...

TheampuT - thank you :)

Pat - I have definitely gone through phases where I felt like I was under too much pressure to deliver and felt like stopping.

I think most bloggers go through it, especialy once you realise you've got an audience. Suddenly you start writing for them rather than for you, and as soon as you start trying to second guess what they might want, the pressure builds.

And if you then change your style to suit what you think someone else wants you can end up losing the very thing that attracted the visitors to your site in the first place.

In the end I think you have to be true to yourself and write the kind of things you want to write - then those who like your style will stick around and maybe tell their friends.

And by just allowing yourself to be you, the pressure goes and the fun comes back into blogging.

As for not replying to the commenters, sometimes I create a post where the comments become part of the debate and I think little is contributed by me trying to answer everyone.
And sometimes, if my mood and energy are low and the comments are heavy, I can't always face giving detailed replies. In those cases I will at least do a "thank you everyone" comment.

But mostly I tend to feel that if someone has taken the time to comment then they deserve some kind of acknowledgment or reply.

If I was getting hundreds of comments I might feel differently, but when the most I get is a dozen a day, I think it's courteous to reply.

PI said...

Thanks honey; that helps me a lot.

Archie said...

Kim, if you bound up your blog and sold it on Amazon for $24.95 I'd buy a copy.
And I hate to do this, but have you ever looked into celiac disease? I know a few people with CFAS and B12 deficiency who went gluten free and it changed their lives. The tests for it suck, too, which makes it a bigger pain to figure out.
-Dr. know-it-all-trying-to-fix-everything Archie

no longer anonymous said...

I read & enjoy a number of blogs on a regular basis, But the thing I love about yours is it covers such a wide varity of subjects & tones. Congrats on 2years & for my sakes I hope you have many more

Thank You

sarah said...

HAPPY BLOG DAY KIM!!!

2 years is quite the achievement!

did you write the El in front of Branden to hint at the fact of his identity?

is he the co-creator of B.C.?

also.. your new profile pic is TRES PICASSO!! very creative!!

Eryl Shields said...

Happy, happy...

I probably do have a squillion questions to ask of a seasoned blogger like you but can't think of any right now.

I must start doing the notepad thing. I do keep one with me at all times but rarely think to write my own ideas in it. I guess the fact that you're so organised is one of the things that makes you so good to read. It seems effortless because of the effort you make.

Very impressed with your new piccie.

Nicole said...

Congrats on your anniversary. I think people read you solely because you are handsome AND funny! ;) Love the pic of the tooth below. Seriously though, while you are those two things, thanks for sharing your heart and being so open and honest. You are a great writer and I enjoy visiting here when I get the time...with four girls that is a bit too rare.

Monstee said...

Congrats Kim!

Wow, 2 years! Good for you.

Me love idea you did for posting what with questions and such. Me think me going to steal it for me next blog day. You really hit most of high notes in questioning. And with all me have learned me just wanted to let you know that, for me, you am well traveled exit on info highway. Me not comment here much but me do read.

As for me question... You have commented few times about 'real people' like us vs. people who blog under persona. Have YOU ever been tempted to make new blog and try posting as person you am not? All this am assuming that Footeater was wrong all them months ago.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - :)

Archie - The idea that someone would buy a bound copy of this blog, even if it was just one person, makes it quite tempting...

As for the gluten-free, my wheat consumption dropped quite significantly when I started the healthy eating drive 2 and half years ago. I look to avoid it when I can, but I don't really think it's likely to be a big factor in this. However, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

No Longer Anonymous - thank you for your warm words, but I still have no idea who you are...

Kim Ayres said...

Sarah - El-Branden's real name is El-Branden - check his blog and you'll see. If he has any other secret identities I wouldn't reveal them if I knew about them, which I don't.

Eryl - I amanything but organised. I might keep a notepad to hadn, but that's the sum total of my organisational ability I'm afraid.

Thank you both for your comments about my new pic.

Kim Ayres said...

Nicole - thank you for your warm words, though if you're attracted to the tooth picture, I'll take your definition of "handsome" with a pinch of salt...

Monstee - steal away :)

As for your question, what a deeply personal one! In order to answer that I would have to expose an aspect of myself I've kept hidden for years.

OK, I suppose it's easy enough to work out if you really look, and Foot Eater's already mentioned it inpassing before now - I am in fact Joke Mail.

I set up Jokemail as a place to put all those silly jokes people email you but wanted it to be separate - i didn't want to become known as the guy with all those terrible jokes. Then I found it had advantages to have an alterego. It meant I could visit sites that initially intimidated me and comment without risk.

But I ended up finding it extremely difficult to try and keep a separate identity going so Joke Mail dropped into the background where comments were concerned.

Eventually I ran out of jokes and Jupiter's Girl took over running the Jokemail site, which she's been doing for several months now.

Mauzy said...

Happy belated Bloggy Day to you, chachacha....

I hope you know BidDawg is obsessed over meeting you. Maybe its the thought of raising a pint that gets him going....

We will be in Ireland in 2009! Is that close enough?

Kim Ayres said...

The other option is to call on my services as a first class, superb, fantastic, guru-esque web consultancy abilities and get the company to fly me out for a week for some top-level consulting. Friendship trips disguised as business trips are a great way to get around a lot of how-can-we-afford-it problems :)

El-Branden Brazil said...

Thank you Kim for the mention! Happy anniversary.

My blog has been put on hold for the time being, because I have just been too involved with something exciting I am working on right now. BUT, it will run once again some time in the future...

As you may know, I have been in Cambodia and I am now in Thailand (Kanchanaburi, to be exact, famous for the Bridge Over the River Kwai), so sorry for the slow reply.

Love to all the folks!

El-Branden
Creator of B.C. ??????

Kim Ayres said...

Branden - I look forward to the tales and photos of your journeys when you have the time.

and B.C. is referring to Blunt Cogs

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