annie said

Annie said one of those marvelous things tonight that made me think, simultaneously, “Oh, amazing, write this down!!” and, “No one else would find this remarkable, and neither will you looking back, when she’s speaking in paragraphs and smarter than you are.”

This happens all the time. Both are true. And then the evening swept on, and I don’t remember it anyway.

who’s on twitter?

If the first thing you thought of when you read that header is the 1940s-era Abbott and Costello routine, you, like me, have probably not fully engaged with the social media bonanza that is WEB 2.0 (insert sparkles). If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me whether I saw “those pictures” on facebook (answer: no), I could probably buy a steak dinner…in 1940, to eat while chuckling over “Who,” “What,” and “I Don’t Give a Darn.” Point is, I’m a curmudgeonly 31. But as our cross-country move draws closer, it has occurred to me that perhaps I should explore this “social networking” business for the purpose of not losing all my friends.

And while YOU GUYS, the six of you who occasionally stop by or subscribed to the RSS feed back when blogging was all the rage (OH, 2005) are of course my most beloved friends, I do feel a little like I’m writing in a closet here, my little dusty corner of the internet, plugged into nothing, connected to no one. And anyway, how will the advertisers of the world know what to send my way if I don’t provide them with some data to mine? How will the poor corporations survive if I don’t create some exploitable content?

So, I am trying to decide which of my social media alternatives are a) the best tools for keeping in touch with good friends and b) least philosophically repugnant. It’s a tough call. Everyone is on facebook, but it’s almost too crowded. Any updates I’m genuinely interested in get immediately drowned out of the feed by news from people I barely knew in high school, who* I friended promiscuously in the run-up to our 10-year reunion. A friend of mine (@ElAitch) convinced me to sign up for twitter, so I tiptoed into that big party yesterday. While Alton Brown is a riot—he’s dieting, apparently, and tweeting elaborate fantasies about hunting, killing, and mating with cinnamon buns—I’m not sure how many people I actually know are in the room. And I didn’t come to hang out with strangers.

*Does anyone else feel a little twinge of grammar guilt when they replace “whom” with “who” because only douchebags say “whom”? (Is this the sort of question that one tweets? (Is “one” any less douchy than “whom”?))

So where are you guys? Or where are you most inclined to explore? Should I just suck it up and do the twitter/facebook combo thing? Is ANYONE using Google+? Or is this whole thing just a giant circle jerk, and I should just call you on the goddamn phone?

UPDATE: I’d never shut down lulu—I like to hear myself think in long form. Just considering cross-posting options. And if you care to connect with my still-never-used twitter account, I’m @LesileHall (yes, that’s LesILE, just to ensure no one can ever find me; also there were already 12 LeslieHalls).


Yes, I finally got around to rotating the masthead/backdrop. You may remember this one from fall 2006. (Has it really been so long? Remember puddledog?)

Seized by a fit of online-life-chronicling productivity, I’ve also created a few new albums in gallery, one general summer album featuring pictures from Bryan’s first climbing trip in a few years, and one from our weekend camping trip in early June.

Even better pictures, though, if you’re on facebook: Cameron has posted a collection of old family photos that feature some truly compromising outfits. Like this one:

old family pic

Guess which one’s me!

To everything, there is a season

Lululu’s got her new winter clothes on*, and boy is she excited!

You may ask, what’s so wintery about flying a kite on a green hill in the sunshine?—to which I say, move to California. It is 40 degrees outside at the moment (albeit sunny, and warming up to the mid-60s by the afternoon), and (inspired by Cameron) I’ve put up the Christmas decorations, so I declare! Winter is here!

*and a new gallery album to match


Well, it’s been quite a journey, folks! Sure, I struggled a bit early on, and put up my share of ridiculous cop-out posts (like this, and this, and this). But overall I’m quite pleased with the results of my slightly psychotic daily post commitment.

In high school I’d write my activities on my wall calendar after the fact (with arcane symbols to indicate illicit behavior) and box them up with other random paraphenalia at the end of the year. I’d imagine myself unearthing them in 30 years and being fascinated to know just which random friends I’d gone out with, the rehearsal schedule of the latest theater production, and whether we’d replaced another inch of scotch with diet coke and water in a friend’s parents’ liquor cabinet. Now, the blog fills this bizarre anthropological need. Blog as Digital Scrapbook—part of my re-imagining of my internet corner. So in 30 more years, I will be able to recreate November 2006 in my mind: a time of education policy, wedding plans, goofy pictures, and random internet detritus.

Thanks, NaBloPoMo.

I may be taking a couple days off.

Some stuff, and things. Happy November!

I’m about to leave town—more about that later—so Bryan* and I went out to our usual vaguely special occasion, nice-but-not-too-nice dinner joint, Sushi Ko. As we slurped down our sublime yellowtail, etc, I noticed that I had just finished four of his sentences in a row. Example:

B: “He clearly appreciates the finer things in life, but…”
L: “Isn’t distainful of people who don’t share those interests./?”
B: “Exactly.”

We’ve been like this for years; it’s probably terribly annoying. Anyway, I was going to write about something else, but instead I’m going to…not. More tomorrow. I’m tentatively making a NaBloPoMo commitment.

*who just, as I was typing this post, stood on top of the coffee table and sang “I’m a Little Teapot” complete with choreography. Is it clear yet why I love him?

In answer to questions

The picture at the top is from Yosemite, about a year ago. Here’s the original. I am actually zipping up my coat. But I could swear it’s navel gazing.

Puddledog archives will remain intact and online, collecting comments from random passers-by. So you can access at any time your favorite teaching haiku, rant about how busy I am, or allusion to the dark arts of regression analysis. I know this will be a valuable resource.

Those weird errors you see if you’ve tried to leave a comment should be fixed, thanks to Bryan. If you use Firefox and it was adblocking the banner pic, that should also be fixed. Thanks to Bryan.

Lest you mistake “lululu” for something meaningful, it’s a song the hopeless naif Butters sings on one or more episodes of Southpark. “Lu lu lu, I’ve got some apples. Lu lu lu, you’ve got some too…” It’s lodged in my head and Bryan’s, and periodically we sing it as we unload groceries or fold clothes. There is absolutely no significance to using it as a title; I just needed some text to type into my pictures as I messed with them in Photoshop. And now I just like it.

The best question prize goes to this one: “Do you feel like you did when you would first crack open that new diary? Like ‘THIS is going to be where I finally figure out that really important THING.’ ” And the answer is YES.

Hello world!

What. Is. Up?

The launch of a new blog (the birth? the christening? the presentation to society?) demands the sort of monumentally clever and wry-yet-moving post that intimidates me to the point of severe procrastination, so I am just blazing right through the performance anxiety and giving you the sort of first-draft writing you have come to expect. It may violate one goal of the New Blog:

Write more thoughtfully. Revise at least once.

But it fufills another:

Don’t pretend this blog is for anyone but yourself.

(I’m making these goals up as I go. They are in no particular order.)

I’d kept a journal more or less regularly (read: at least once a month, usually when I was upset about something) since I was sixteen—until the blogging began. I didn’t mean to phase out the journal, and god knows I still have three blank books in reserve, but my entries are down to perhaps three half-assed spiels per year. Important events—say, getting engaged—don’t even get a mention. It’s all on the blog, baby.

I began blogging a week after I graduated from college, May 2003. Puddledog, god rest its soul, was a gift from Clare. For about a month, the target audience was my three friends who also had blogs. Then my parents found it (hi Mom), I deleted a few illicit references, and it became a way to keep in touch with everyone I had left behind in Texas when I moved to California to begin teaching. A less intrusive alternative to mass emails. Within half a year, it had replaced journaling as a way to vent my frustration and despair (mostly caused by, as in journals of yore, teenage boys). A blog was also a way to have some online presence, to be findable, since I never got into Friendster or Facebook or, god help us, MySpace. And then it was just something I did.

But in the last few months, I have had a blogging crisis. In June I thought: I’ll blog every day! In August I thought: I’ll never blog again. By September this new site was a twinkle in my eye, but it required some hours of labor to put it together and learn the new things required to personalize it (style sheets! who knew? oh yeah, everyone). I’m not sure what precipitated the crisis. Perhaps it was reading strangers’ blogs for the first time, which confirmed what I’d long known—that many, many other people were writing much, much more pithy and compelling anecdotes about their lives. Perhaps it was the feeling that I’d outgrown Blogger. Perhaps it was the same desire for a redesign that compelled me to redecorate our bedroom. Regardless, time for a change.

Expect the following:

1. Design changes. Feedback is welcome. It’s 90% where I want it, but tweaks will be made, and I’d love to know if something looks weird on your monitor/in your browser. Or just in general. I will probably revamp the look completely at several points along the way, possibly seasonally. At the moment it’s sporting the red-brown-blue-beige colors from puddledog, in tribute, albeit in quite different proportions.

2. More variety. I have categories in mind. They are a completely self-indulgent reflection of what I find interesting. See rule #2.

3. Weird mistakes. It’s WordPress. Hell if I know how to use it.

And finally, puddledog. In Memoriam.
The first post* – May 25, 2003
A good month – March 2004
An important post – April 1, 2006

*No permalinks. Scroll down the old-fashioned way.

Lululu: like Dick Cheney, a placeholder name that’s becoming official, for lack of better idea. (Unless you, you know, have a better idea.) If she were a ship, I’d break a bottle of champagne on her bow. Launched!