The Mic Is on at the Neighborhood Hangout

It’s Like Open Mic Only Different

Here’s how it works.

open mike night

It’s like any rambling conversation. Don’t try to read it all. Jump in whenever you get here. Just go to the end and start talking. EVERYONE is WELCOME.

The rules are simple — be nice.

Tonight we’re hanging out!

Saloon Opening Day

We might also talk about

  • The people we meet
  • The places we where we used to hang out
  • The weirdest hangouts
  • The crazy people in them


Basil the code-writing donkey.

–Me “Liz” Strauss

Related article
The Mic is on and We’re in OZ!


  1. says

    Susan, Jessie Skinner, HART have already joined. I’m hoping to tap some more experts to help disseminate (?) helpful information.

  2. says

    Sorry, Scorpia,
    about misspelling your name there.
    You’ll find out quickly that we have a rule here. The comments get going so fast and furious that we don’t worry too much about spelling and punctuation for this open comment sesstion stuff.

  3. says

    Hey Wendy,
    With 14 writers, maybe you should do individual About’s.
    Maybe you did and I just didn’t read far enough yet.

  4. says

    Belmont Harbor, huh? Hey Ya’ll – Liz lives in the ritzy part of town.. 😉

    We’ll get our coffee in. I have some business development ideas brewing and I could use some help. I’m meeting with FeedBurner tomorrow :)

  5. says

    I listened to the song. It made me wish I still a vinyl record player so I could pull out some Chuck Berry. Hanging out with friends listening to music has always been one of my favorite passtimes.

  6. says

    Joe, I have to be really strict with myself not to do forums either but I’m glad to add a few things to yours for the sake of good will :^) – Besides, I’m too nosy to have you to build a forum without me admiring it.

  7. says

    Games I understand.

    But emoms? Wendy do they have in home virtual mommies now? I don’t have kids, but I could see how that might be a good thing to have! 😉

  8. says

    Ah, the BlogJolt isn’t really a group of writers in that respect. We band together and flood a weekly target blog with inbound links, tags, and traffic. We work together to totally boost each other – one blog at a time.

  9. says

    Heh, Civ is a strategy game, and I’ve always found them boring myself. Nothing is as dull to me as resource management. Well, okay, maybe watching paint dry would be worse 😉

  10. says

    Not so ritzy. I live a little north of ritzy. Shoot me an email. I love business strategy.
    I’ve been down to Feedburner. They’re really great there.

  11. says

    Thanks Susan,
    Anything you add will be appreciated, not only by me, but anyone looking for direction in being self employed.

  12. says

    So far we’ve only done one – and it went really well. I wanted to target the members a little more than LIB’s because it was always such a big complaint. Would love to have you!

  13. says

    I know exactly what you mean. When my big brothers when to college they left me all of their 45s and then I started my own collection. Music is like a time machine.

  14. says

    Joe, I signed up for your forum. But I haven’t thought of anything worth contributing. You know I don’t really work from home. I’m a blogger with a day job. Besides the $8 and change that AdSense has earned me hardly counts as a working wage!

  15. says

    You always have good insight on your blog, if there isn’t a subject you feel comfortable with, create your own topic.
    You don’t have to work at home to have insight into how it is… you have 2 cats and a wife that I know of, not to say anything about a visiting code-writing donkey.

  16. says

    Liz, I’m not surprised. But he should keep it on. Then he’ll play until burnout, after which, he’ll never look at it again. Have a friend who burned out on the first Civ. He hasn’t touched it since. Overload has its uses.

  17. says

    Morning everyone.

    Joe, I checked out your forum and will get to it later on. Seems a grand idea. Like Liz, I’m a bit leary of getting stuck in there for hours. Forums can be so addictive.

    Susan, I see you are a designer who blogs. As soon as I get the database fixed on DWB, I’ll come to you for some bits if you are game.

    Drat database problems. And the WordPress help is no help in this situation. Neither is posting to get help but a solution may be at hand …

    [[ let’s see if Liz’s blog likes me this morning. This is my week of computer/internet problems ]]


  18. says

    Liz, back then it was only $6 and change. 😆

    Wendy, I have different problem with AdSense that gives the same results. I ramble all over the place and it can’t figure out what kind of ads are relevant. I’m game for other ideas.

    Joe, I think Ben would be better to speak of the donkey…

  19. says

    Hi Joe – well, Basil was a handfull. I took him to Boston with me and I lost him; turned out he ran into “Donkey” from Shrek and they had quite the weekend before Basil managed to get back to Connecticut

  20. says

    Mari Elizabeth Monterastelli –ME

    AdLib plays for months and doesn’t burn out. I don’t think the burn out overdose thing works on him. He’s really intelligent and capable of hyper focus

  21. says

    Liz, neat how that worked out! You can say ME and get away with it. I like that.

    Hmm, yeah, AdLib sounds like one of those rare ones. In that case, yes, taking the game off is the only thing to do.

  22. says

    Hey Cat,
    It’s only addictive if you let it be… besides, I know you have a lot of smarts in that brain of yours that could help someone, somewhere.

  23. says

    Hi Chris. Hi Rick!

    Liz, Akismet must have known the week I’m having and just wanted to rub salt into these poor wounds.

    Off I go to fiddle with the wp-config.php … wish me luck …

  24. says

    Hey Rick, Ben!

    Savannah’s a great southern city. One of the few with older buildings still standing. I guess Sherman got tired of burning by the time he got here…

  25. says

    Joe — Basil’s costing me a fortune, if that’s what you mean…how he managed to nab my credit card on the way out the door, I’ll never know. Donkeys aren’t known for their stealth.

    Rick — Thanks. It was a ton of fun doing it, I can’t wait to see it filled with little markers!

  26. says

    I’m always interested in traffic generation Wendy – the real issue for me is that I am dependant to some extent on the art income and I rely on the blog to drive some of that. So readership numbers for their own sake are less important than a certain kind of “interested” reader. I may need to start designing some mom-centric things, some work-at-home things, and stuff like that huh?

  27. says

    Wow, I just realized how much time I’ve spent here already. Have to go, there are dungeons to delve, critters to kill, and goodies to grab!

    All, take care!


  28. says

    Hi Wendy and Scorpia. Well it’s a bit of a rambling tale, so let me see.

    Basil is a donkey. He writes code for me on another one of my little businesses. (

    We named him Basil here at open mic some time ago.

    During another open mic session we got on the topic of Fawlty Towers. I ran a contest saying that I’d send the winner the Fawlty Towers DVD Collection. The winner was Cat; but she asked me to send the DVDs to Starbucker.

    Instead of just sending the DVDs, I sent Basil. And now, anyone can have Basil visit their house with the DVDs.

    You get the DVDs for 1 week before you ship them to the next person on the list. You send a postcard and anything else you want — and you can guest blog on the site (

    The result is a hysterical community building project surrounding a donkey and Fawlty Towers.

    That about right? *grin*

  29. says

    See ya Scorpia…
    @ Susan, Darren wrote a post not long ago about targeting readers (or maybe it was Brian at CopyBlogger guest writing). I’ll see if I can find the post.

  30. says

    Chris — approximately 3,500 hits and counting. Was pretty hysterical. I had no idea that would generate so much traffic.

    Feedburner went from around 50 to 328.

    It won’t last :)

    Joe and Susan are talking about exactly the problem with my real estate post — not targeted really; although IGotNewsForYou is a consumer product, but since it’s not linked with real estate it didn’t equate to any real business.

    Still fun though!

  31. says

    Hi Wendy!

    Well you don’t have to watch the DVDs I guess…*chuckle*…they are worth it though. Even if you hate TV. Fawlty Towers is too classic to ignore.

    And hi Big Roy — can you tell me what your blog is about, maybe I’m a bit out of it this evening, but I don’t quite get it right from looking at it.

  32. says

    And Wendy — I think my wife would like your blog. She’s just dipped her toe into the whole sordid affair of blogging but I think she’s getting hooked. Being an actual writer (unlike myself) her stuff is well-written; she just has to take the time to network, and figure it all out.

  33. says

    It’s a niche blog for sure…about the Imus in the Morning Show…he has millions of listeners on the radio and tv (MSNBC) so there is a potentially large audience.

  34. says

    Wow Ben, how awesome – 3,500 hits! I must say you did hit the nail on the head with that post. I’m new to this Reddit thing – who put the post there?

  35. says

    You know the exact same thing happened with my “3 free Web Tools” post last week. Just about as many page views too. And still counting.

    But like you said, no real traffic increase because it was off topic. For me it was more an exercise in Headline writing after last week here.

  36. says

    Send her over Ben. I didn’t really intend to be a blogger. I had “bigger ambitions” to make my millions as an affiliate marketer. But blogging has me hooked now. Working from home is a beast in and of itself. I let two businesses crash and burn (before this one) because I made so many mistakes – so I have lots to blog about 😉

  37. says

    Doug — traffic boost was due to reddit.

    Chris — I put it there.

    I didn’t think it would take off like that, but I was curious. I think the last time I checked it had 70+ boosts on it and nearly 20 comments.

    I think I hit a nerve with it somehow.

    I considered it my “Monday Morning Musing” where I go a bit off topic to talk about something funny, nagging, etc.

    Liz – I do have a wife. Beautiful seems like an appropriate name. Just passed our 5 year anniversary. And a 23-month old son.

  38. says

    Hey Douglas!

    Big Roy – It’s amazing what you can do with basic tweaks to themes. Mine started life as the WordPress default.

  39. says

    Very interesting way to get traffic – but I guess the trick is to get it while still being consistent with the “theme” of the blog, so the traffic comes back. Always a catch I guess.

  40. says

    Doug – Chris took those pictures. Did a mighty fine job too. Basil’s in a few of them but I shrank the pictures a bit too much so he’s hard to see. I’ll be doing a better photo montage of some sort later on when we have more.

    Big Roy – Still a good looking site over all, theme or not. There’s lots of good themes, still have to be implemented well. So kudos there.

    Wendy – I will send her over. I think she’d make a great blogger; great writing style and a good sense of humor. So we’ll see…

  41. says

    We’re talking about traffic spikes from posts off topic.

    Here’s some cold ones from the sidebar.

    Hey you guys mind your manners. Say hello to the new guys.

  42. says

    Hi Sasha! Welcome aboard! It’s great to see a handful of new faces already this evening…

    Reddit is a social bookmarking site like or digg (and others). It’s the only one that’s generated any real traffic for me.

  43. says

    Oooh…on Sasha’s blog she mentions a skinny jean giveaway.

    Do you guys know how GOOD I look in skinny jeans? Wow.

    Basil can’t really find a pair of jeans that fit…

  44. says

    Perhaps this is a good place to ask how to make a great traffic-generating headline, huh?

    Excuse me if you’ve already answered this bit but the 100+ comments is difficult to keep track of. Hahaha.

    HI LIZ!!

  45. says

    Wendy, Don’t feel bad. None of us really know what we are talking about, except perhaps our esteemed hostess. I’ve found this bunch to be a very forgiving lot.

  46. says

    WOW really nice site Ben…You have the white with Red post titles..I like that it looks good.

    I’ll have all kinds of blogs to check out now.

  47. says

    Thanks, Big Roy. I basically do it as a hobby, too.

    Reddit seems like it isn’t as oriented toward the tech crowd as or digg.

  48. says

    Sasha — best I can recommend is Brian over there is the master headline writer.

    My few bits of advice (in no particular order):

    1. Use numbers: 5 Ways to Wear Skinny Jeans and SNot Look Ridiclous

    2. Make Bold Statements: Guaranteed Skinny Jean Secrets

    3. How-to’s: How to Find the Best Fall Fashions Cheap!

    4. Be Funny / Shocking / Attention-Grabbing

  49. says

    Big Roy — glad you like it. My blog is entirely custom designed really, using Blogger (ssh…don’t tell anyone). It was designed off of my website though, which is why it’s fairly custom looking, although it’s not exactly some radical website design. Phew, I’ve confused myself.

  50. says

    I found a good traffic builder in StumbleUpon a while back. The good thing about that is you can develop community with folks who have similar interests. Then you are referring your stuff to folks who are much more inclined to actually read it. And because they share your interest, you don’t have to feel bad about a self referral.

    My traffic has gone up considerably since I started with it.

  51. says

    Hi to Rick, Wendy and Ben!

    Wendy: I do love low-rise jeans. But skinnies are sexier. Hehehe. Either kind doesn’t do wonders on my arse, though. Sadly.

    Ben: I don’t. =P How good do you look? Anyway, who’s Basil? =)

  52. says

    Hey Big Roy, I usually watch Imus while I’m reading my E-mail.
    Hey Sasha, You can’t be too new, you found open mic night…
    @ Cat, I’ve seen some of your work, you got it.
    @ Chris & Ben, you wrote the posts, reap the glory.
    I’m tired of playing catch-up to the comments…

  53. says

    Reddit is definitely less tech-oriented than digg and So it might work for the non-tech blogs out there at generating good traffic, and hopefully sustainable traffic.

    I’d say my traffic has generally increased using Reddit from some of my topic-focused posts — like the one about being an entrepreneur for 10 years. That did nicely and I think some of that traffic stuck around at least.

    Overall, I’d say most of those social bookmarking sites cause the same phenomenon when you hit it: big spikes and then zzz…

    Still fun to watch 3,500 people visit your site in a couple days. But in the end that’s not what it’s all about.

  54. says

    Sasha – Ok the truth is out there, I’d look terrible in skinny jeans. *sigh*

    Basil is a code-writing donkey that’s traveling the globe with the Fawlty Towers DVDs visiting people. Anyone can sign up and join the community. Just click my name to visit the site or click here: Where Is Basil?

    Chris — it’s interesting you mention StumbleUpon. I’ve gotten traffic from there but not because of my doing. I’ll look at it more tomorrow.

  55. says

    I am SO out of sync in this conversation!

    – So, welcome to all the new folks
    – Thanks for the link Joe – you are on top of it
    – And I apologize to everyone who’s comments I missed
    – Liz, you throw quite a soiree’

  56. says

    Susan, Don’t feel bad. El Dorado is on AMC and I keep running back and forth. Fortunately TIVO is catching Eureka for me for later. I wouldn’t want to try to watch that and this. I’d end up disappearing from here completely until it was over.

  57. says

    Big Roy – going controversial can’t be a bad thing for blog traffic, if you can back it up with quality points that create conversation around the “in your face” blog titles…

    I tend not to be too controversial in my blog, although my real estate post stirred some debate.

    It’s a valid approach and I hope it works out for you!

  58. says


    I have been in an oxymoron stage lately. For something related to blogging, I suggested doing a press release stating that something new was happening. I was quickly reminding that was an oxymoron.

    I’ve had a few others as well.

  59. says

    Liz — what do you mean, where have I been? Tonight? Was putting the kid to bed.

    In terms of the spammy trackbacks you mean the ones on the Where Is Basil site?

    I took care of those I think, by setting up Askimet yesterday.

  60. says

    Thanks, Chris. Yes — clothes are important! So, excuse your wives when they go out shopping alright? =)

    And you do have a point, Joe. But it was because of Liz! Who doesn’t know uber-nice Liz anyway? Hehehe.

    Ben: Thanks. I’ll definitely check that one out. Your suggestions aren’t bad. I particularly like number 1. Hahaha.

  61. says

    Web press releases are still a good idea. I’m think you should get a second opinuion on your press release idea. Some folks are too Web2.0 They’re throwing away the good stuff that still working.

  62. says

    Well with me you are either an Imus fan or you hate him…I may get some traffic that stops in from a google search but in the long run it’s going to be fans of the Imus Show….if you’re not a fan the site doesn’t make a lot of sense..though it does deal with a lot of political stuff. I hope to increase the political stuff more as time goes on.

  63. says

    Woohoo! Shameless self-promotion! Rock on!

    Chris — I do plan on doing more for the participants on Where Is Basil; the map was just one thing.

    I’m thinking of photo albums online, more lists going to your blogs, etc. Have to come up with some creative ideas.

    Starbucker told me to design a Where Is Basil badge, which I’ve done. It’s in “beta” right now (cause being in beta is cool.)

    I’ll show you all soon once I tweak it a wee bit.

  64. says

    I use StumbleUpon for research. I’m responsible for Creative Latitude’s resources so I set it to Gdesign and surrounding subjects then stumble until I’ve gone through what’s available.

    The findings are much better than google most times as they are not swamped with those who are good at SEO and not much else.

  65. says

    Hey Becky! Welcome aboard!

    I’m still a fan of press releases online. We use them for my company. Just recently got a client because of that press release getting picked up by another source. They’re relatively easy and inexpensive to do.

    Web 2.0 can be a lot of gobbly-gook like anything tech-oriented. It’s a good principle/concept misused and massacred by people who are jumping on a bandwagon.

    Plus, I know of a company that just started (name escapes me at the moment) that’s doing press releases JUST to bloggers. Go figure.

  66. says

    Big Roy – the conversations here usually get pretty darn hectic.

    I would think you’d get some “Imus-haters” on your blog, if such a thing exists trying to stir the pot…no?

  67. says

    Becky — Basil is getting some nice mileage, he’s going to be traveling far and wide. If you mean mileage in terms of riches for me, well…not yet…*chuckle*…that Donkey is one expensive donkey to send traveling. 1st class everything.

    Fun as heck though.

    Meanwhile, no one new has signed up this evening. Ahem. Hello?

  68. says

    Folks burst into song because almost every high school does a performance of the musical.

    I love that you’re a liquor store owner, always a friend to a saloonkeeper’s daughter.

  69. says

    I started a project in which a group of mom bloggers ‘gang up’ on one blog a week, flood it with inbound links, traffic and social bookmarks. Then when that person get’s their “jolt” we move on to the next blog and jolt up her. Works quite well to raise visibility on Technorati and Google.

  70. says

    Becky, (First I like your blog, Welcome to our little corner of craziness.) Ben just had a run of the mill good idea. His genius is that he’s running with it. I’m glad he’s let me be a part of it.

    It is fun to brag about your city. Or at least the city you live in. Hmmmm…..

  71. says

    Oklahoma–also known for oil, cattle, James Garner, Reba McEntyre, Garth Brooks, Indians/Native Americans, wheat, the Chisholm Trail, the Trail of Tears, (I could go on all night)

  72. says

    I can vouch for Becky too. Great blog. I’ve been reading it regularly for awhile now. And I even commented a few times (I’m far from shy when it comes to comments.)

    Is owning a liquor store fun?

    Here they’re government run so it’s a different story, although you can buy beer + wine in any grocery store or convenience store (what they call “depanneurs” in French.)

  73. says

    I went to Susan’s site and saw a picture if an attractive sophisticated lady. I read the first sentence in her latest post and she is talking about Naked Art, surprise.

  74. says

    Liz — ya, badges aren’t terribly original at this point are they? Still I think it could be kind of cute if the people who sign up at Where Is Basil? will use it.

    And no, it’s not in the shape of Basil, although that might be pretty funny. Hard to pull off graphically when you want to keep the badge fairly small though.

  75. says

    Hey AdLib!

    It could be worse, Ben. Here in Pennsylvania the state government hasn’t given up control of liquor since prohibition. You have to go to a state store for anything but beer. Beer you have to get at a special dealer. Nothing alcoholic in grocery stores. Period.

  76. says

    Doug — it’s true.

    In some provinces, like Ontario, they also run what are called Beer Stores.

    At least in Quebec you can buy wine and beer pretty much anywhere. In Ontario you have to go to government-run operations.

  77. says

    Sounds a bit like Norway – anything beyond the alcohol content of beer you have to go to the government liquor store to get.

    Legacy of centuries of Puritan disapproval of alcohol, mostly.

  78. says

    Muhaha…someone here just signed up for Where Is Basil after I attacked you all with hot pokers. No one can resist my hot…wait a second…nevermind.


    Oh another tidbit about booze — in Quebec the liquor stores are called SAQs. And the price of wine in Quebec is significantly higher than in Ontario (the province right next door.) Why? Because of the taxes. So they have all sorts of issues with people crossing the border to buy wine. It’s plain stupid.

    And Becky – I’ll have…hmmm…don’t feel like anything sweet at this point…gin & tonic might be nice.

  79. says

    Every state is different on liquor laws, and in Texas, every county is different!

    We have some new beers….let’s see…..Joe, You sound like a Lost Lake man! Sasha, sorry no Stella Artois, I’ll special order it for you.

    And a fine whisky for Big Roy! Maybe Woodford Reserve

  80. says

    Same in North Carolina…you can buy beer anywhere but liquor you have to get from an ABC store..Alcohol Beverage Control…They make it sound very important.

  81. says

    Sasha — I’ve been drinking Stella Artois lately too. I swear while I was in Vancouver on vacation and over-eating, I had a couple of Stellas that settled my stomach.

    Beer…that settles your stomach…go figure.

    Usually I prefer something a bit dark — Newcastle, Sleemans Honey Brown…

  82. says

    Monaca, just north of Pittsburgh. I don’t get out of town much and thought he would be pretty bored here, unless he likes movies. Maybe I could put him to work at the concession counter!

  83. says

    Good night, Wendy!
    Thanks for coming. It’s been great getting to know you. I hope to have that cup of coffee. Email me and I’ll give you my phone number.

  84. says

    Mmm, every now and then I run off a batch of bread – it’s a bit more work than buying from the store, but fresh bread hot from the oven is one of life’s great pleasures. Even if it takes hours to make.

  85. says

    Drive throughs at the liquor store. Yup. ‘Nuff said.

    Good night Wendy…addictive ain’t it? *smile*

    Rick — Basil won’t be bored, put him to work so he can pay off his huge travel costs!

  86. says

    Ooooh Wendy, by the time Basil comes to visit you he’ll be bringing along “Flat Basil” (You know the Flat Stanley books?) Basil claims that he needs a flat alter ego for posing at the sites his hosts drag him around to.

  87. says

    Ben, I’ve had no problems with Stellas. I miss it real bad since we don’t have it here in my country. /sighs

    I like a good German beer, too! I had the opportunity to taste the Hofbrau Original at last year’s Oktoberfest in Australia.

  88. says

    Sasha — I’ve been to Bali, Indonesia — a few years back for my wife’s brother’s wedding. Beautiful place.

    Basil’s going to Australia, but that’s the closest so far. Feel free to invite him over if you want to sign up. I’m sure he’d love the Philippines!

  89. says

    Well, Indonesia’s close enough. Never been there though. Hahaha.

    I’ll definitely look into getting Basil to visit this beautiful country. *aherm* I can be biased about that, though. Hahaha.

  90. says

    Liz, I don’t know why y’all had so much trouble with him. He’s been the model of behavior with us. Of course it could be partly a result from Gorgeous overdosing on the The Dog Whisperer while she was under the weather. That guy does some amazing things with those dogs!

    Basil seems to respond well too. It’s all about expectations and being in the moment…

  91. says

    I’m sure it is beautiful. We have friends that recently moved to Manila, so who knows maybe we’ll be visiting there in the near future!

    An international post sounds like a great idea too…

  92. says

    Guinnes, Newcastle, a few local brands you lot have never heard of – mostly dark and nutritious ones 😛

    Oh, I’ve been browsing the earlier comments – sorry I missed Scorpia – and Oklahoma is famous for a couple more things. It’s also the home of C.J. Cherryh and Mercedes Lackey…

  93. says

    AdLib — what are the local ones?

    Joe — what’s the URL to your forums again? I don’t work from home all the time, but I sure do spend a lot of time at home working…maybe I can pitch in somehow…

  94. says

    Sasha I just looked at your site for a few minutes. Are you a designer? Do you make a lot from the Google ads you have? If these questions are inappropriate to ask other bloggers tell me.

  95. says

    Keep Basil away from IHOP. He knows that they have waffles. Once he knows there’s an IHOP around, he’ll start hanging out there and making a scene to get them to make him extra waffles. It can get really embarrassing.

  96. says

    Liz – Awww shucks; stop.
    I’m also thinking of taking Basil to Wolf Trap to see ballet when he’s here in northern VA but I’m afraid he might get taken with tights and tutus and want to take lessons. Where would Ben find toe shoes for the big galoot?

  97. says

    I didn’t know that about Cherryh and Lackey! Cherryh is one of my favorite fantasy writers.

    Hmm, not to many places for good waffles around here. Wait! Bob Evans has some good blueberry waffles.

  98. says

    Big Roy: I’m not a designer. Just a stylist and a fashion writer. I can’t say I’m making a lot from AdSense but I reckon I do earn something relatively decent monthly. I don’t think it’s inappropriate. Just don’t ask for exact figures. Hahaha. Kidding.

  99. says

    And oh yeah, don’t go near a Taco Bell. They have his picture up in all of them, because of the incident in California, when he mistook a burrito for a sandwich made from a small burro. it wasn’t pretty.

  100. says

    Local brands of beer: Hansa Pilsner, premium Lager, Odin beer, and Ringnes premium dark. There’s only one Guinness – the imported one they serve down at the local irish pubs. There’s some stuff labelled Guiness for sale in the stores, but it doesn’t taste right when it’s not from a tap….

  101. says

    Susan — I’m sure we can find a blogger somewhere that makes custom shoes and he can toss a pair in for Basil.

    Basil and IHOP do not mix, you’ve been warned.

    Is Wendy still here?

  102. says

    Susan, I’m not so sure. I saw something that looked suspiciously like a donkey sized tutu in Basil’s luggage. Honestly I didn’t even want to ask…

  103. says

    Right. Basil and Taco Bell do not mix. They’ll just toss him out of there. It’s all tied to Liz bringing him to San Jose, mixing with some feminist bloggers, getting arrested. It was messy, real messy. And I’m not just talking about the cheese fries either.

    Thanks Joe. You’re right, that might have been easy to figure out, but what the heck. *grin*

  104. says

    How was I to know that Basil would start reading the signs over my shoulder. If we hadn’t been with those feminist bloggers. I think I could have talked him out of the protest.

  105. says

    Rick, the IHOP thing is serious. You better be careful what he sees on TV.

    I passed a block away from one with Basil in the car on the way to church Sunday. The only way I could get him to stop slobbering all over the car was to mention popcorn. Then I distracted him after church with talk of waffles.

    He’s pretty food fixated. Fits in real well around here actually. :)

  106. says

    well, as much as I’d like to stick around.. I think I got to go and get myself some breakfast or, erm, lunch. Whatever.

    Twas great to be here! Thanks Liz for inviting me! had a great time.

    Bye, everyone!

  107. says

    Joe…no DVD player? Hhhm…I could send you one but that would probably border on the ridiculous.

    A Basil memoir sounds great. I’m sure he’ll get a book deal at some point and leave me out of it!

  108. says

    Ben, there is a link at the bottom of the page. The whole forum is written in phpbb. I don’t speak that language, I’m just learning.

    Liz, Speaking Joe to Joe??? Was I just insulted, or was that some kind of reference to the way I ask questions?

  109. says

    Joe, I don’t do insults you know that.
    It sounded like the kind of curious question you would ask. It was an interesting juxtaposition.

    (I like that word juxtaposition.)

  110. says

    Joe — maybe I can help you out with it. I’m no PHP coder but I’ve worked my way around it a bit.

    I’d say you definitely need a more prominent link cause I think your forum could generate traffic on its own, without people going to the blog first (eventually, as you have more time to market the forum as an entity), so the link back to the blog will be more important…

    Oh and I emailed you something.

    And I hope you can buy a DVD player or borrow one before Basil shows up. It’ll be hard to watch the Fawlty Towers DVDs otherwise!

  111. says

    I’m surprised you didn’t get him onto chocolate, Chris.

    I went to Hershey, once. I’ve been trying to get back ever since. I could easily live somewhere you can smell chocolate in the air!

  112. says

    Liz, I end up translating between foreign national and Southern quite a bit. It is funny really.

    I can say the same exact thing that a local has said and the person we’re talking to will say, “Ohhhh…” and nod their head as though I had really translated or something.

    It cracks me up every time it happens.

  113. says

    Big Roy — you did a smart thing moving, if you ask me.

    IGotNewsForYou is stuck on Blogger still (for a host of reasons) but Where Is Basil uses WordPress. There are a number of good platforms (like MovableType, WordPress) which are better than Blogger.

    Blogger could be great though, if Google put some oomph behind it.

  114. says

    I can just picture that translation happening. It sounds like fun.

    I love people who speak southern, especially southern boys who say, “Thank you ma’am.”

  115. says

    Oooh Hershey – I lived fairly nearby for a few years. Gotta love a town where even the street lamps are in the shape of kisses, even if driving down the street makes you drool.

  116. says

    Well Google has NO support at all or very little. Getting an email from Google is nearly impossible. I just felt putting as much time and effort into the blog I might as well pay $12.00 a month for a real site, domain name, and real bloggging software.

  117. says

    Blogger is ..a low-threshold entry platform, really – and google buying them is part of what a lot of investors have been complaining about the company lately; namely that they’re losing focus on their core business.

    Though Blogger is also the entry point for a LOT of adsense publishers, including yours truly – so there’s probably a business case for it that’s not related to what actually is…

  118. says

    I did a lot of reading about blogs before I ever started and after I started. One thing that was pretty consistent was, most people will move from Blogger if they get serious, or you Should move from Blogger or if you are serious. So I figured I might as well do it while the blog was young instead of waiting 6 months.

  119. says

    Big Roy,
    You made the right choice if you ask me, but I keep finding small little things that I never expected.
    I write about them all the time, so others will (like Ben and Starbucker) have an idea of what some of the quirks are in changing.

    @ Ben, I got the E-mail and responded, thanks.

  120. says

    Take care, Chris.

    Good luck, Big Roy. I’m calling it a night, too. Thank you, Liz, for inviting us in. I’ll see you all next week.

  121. says

    See ya Rick. Thanks for signing up too!

    Roy – you did make the right move.

    I wish I was able to move the IGotNewsForYou blog to WordPress but it would mean moving domain names at this point and I don’t want to do that.

  122. says

    Ya, IGotNewsForYou’s blog is on Blogger. The rest of the site is not of course — it’s a mix of ASP and HTML.

    Sadly the hosting is on Windows, and although you can get PHP with Windows from certain hosting companies, mine doesn’t offer it (GoDaddy). I didn’t make the hosting choice, and I’m not particularly thrilled with it; but moving at this stage is a pain in the rear, so I live with it.

    From a design perspective, I don’t have a problem with Blogger, but from a performance perspective and feature perspective it’s got issues.

    And if anyone’s curious, I’ve changed my link (that appears when you click my name) to the IGotNewsForYou blog.

  123. says

    My Writing blog is on blogger and I understand the issues. I just don’t have the time to do what it takes to move it. Oh so many picture I would have to relink. I can’t even stand to think of it.

  124. says

    Big Roy,
    Sorry, I was answering email from Ben…
    Small little things are the things you don’t think about when you import your Blog from Blogger to WordPress.
    Things like, the pics on old posts don’t show, all of you intralinks stay the to the blogger posts, there is no category list on blogger, so everything defaults to Uncategorized.
    Little things.
    Stop by my blog, I am always writing about the moving experience.

  125. says

    What, you’ve never seen “Monthy Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail”? That’s one of the many, many priceless scenes in the movie where the peasants in the anarcho-syndicalist commune criticize the basis of Arthur’s kingship…

    He gives them the flat of his blade for their insolence of course, at which point you can hear cries of “Help, help, he’s oppressing me!”, and “Come see the violence inherent in the system!” interspersed with liberal amounts of “ouch!” and “Oww!”

  126. says

    ~waves // Hi Everybody … in no particular order .. Liz, Joe, Susan Reynolds, Wendy Piersall, Scorpia, Rick, Chris Cree, cat, Starbucker, Ben Yoskovitz, Big Roy, Service Unlimited – Douglas, Sasha Manuel, Becky McCray, Advice Librarian, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. President, Queen of England (who I hear reads this blog all the time), and of course all the lurkers out there. (did I miss anybody?)

  127. says

    I’m rather fond of Sir Robin’s Minstrel and the songs he sings about Sir Robin’s bravery…

    “When danger reared it’s ugly head
    he bravely turned his back and fled
    Brave, brave Sir Robin…”


  128. says

    I’ve see Holy Grail many times, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. I remember the scene you’re referring to, vaguely, but didn’t catch that.

    I was probably…hmm…13-14 if not younger when we watched Holy Grail a hundred times.

    The rabbit was great too. Now THAT was a crazy rabbit.

    I liked the knight that refused to give up fighting even after being chopped to pieces.

  129. says

    Hey HART,
    Thanks for stopping by earlier.
    I was asking for you here when it first started. You must have taken a nap in between |-z

  130. says

    Ok folks, it’s time for me to call it quits.

    It was great seeing everyone, including the new people that joined us.

    Is 400+ comments a record here?

    Good night and good luck! (just watched that movie, was pretty good…)

  131. says

    Joe .. after posting in your forum, reality TV took over .. Big Brother, Rockstar:Supernova .. etc.

    For the past half hour I’ve been struggling here .. My stupid XP is doing an automatic download (Installing Security Update for Windows XP (KB920683) (update 1 of 8)) // I’ve stopped it 3 times today and decided to just let it go – it’s on update 6 now and slowing my computer down to heck.

  132. says

    Uh oh, do you see the time?
    This evening was quite sublime.
    But now, even Basil has said…
    “It’s time for me to go to bed”.

    So, I must bid fine adeau
    to each and every one of you.
    If the bedbugs should start to bite,
    scratch it and say GOOD NIGHT.

    Berma Shave

    Nite Liz,
    Nite All

  133. says

    Yeah, that update jumped me too today – it’s best to just let it go ahead and do whatever it wants to your computer or it’s going to waste a lot of time and effort on nagging you…

  134. says

    oh #409 I’ll just say my g’nite to you Liz now – just in case and .. I’m sure the joint will be left in good hands with Ad.Lib. // oh wait a sec .. did I just say “joint”?

  135. says

    It’s tough to get here in time when you’re a left-coaster. But, on the off chance anyone is still lurking, one place I used to love to hang out when I was a teenager was on the levee of the Mississippi in Baton Rouge.

    We’d get a group together, go hang out there and drink Strawberry Hill and “P&Q Beer” if anyone knows what that was. Money drove our selections, but we had fun.

  136. says

    Baton Rouge? Nice name for a city, that. Did the Baton Rouge levees work better than the New Orleans ones – or are they a different kind?

    (Liz left me the keys to the place, and since I’m sleepless in Norway at the moment, I stick around a lot longer than most…)

  137. says

    I used to hang out there with the “drama people” even though I wasn’t really a drama person. They were very entertaining, but some of them cried too much when they got drunk.

    But one good thing was that drama people didn’t fight like the “sports people” in one of the other crowds I hung out with.

    Now it seems I hang out a lot with “Scouters” who are adults involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. A different breed of folks (quirky, one might say) but they are some of the best people I’ve encountered.

  138. says

    The Baton Rouge levees did a lot better – they are about 50-60 miles west of New Orleans, and held up just fine. 50-60 miles makes a huge difference when you’re moving to the west of the eye of a hurricane.

    Baton Rouge population has about doubled in size since Katrina (but I live in Portland, Oregon now).

  139. says

    The story behind “Baton Rouge” is that there was a large tree on the banks of the Mississippi that marked the boundary between two neighboring Indian tribes. To make it more obvious, they stripped the bark off and exposed the red tint under the tree’s bark.

    When the French settled in the area, they used that same tree as a landmark – the baton rouge was the big red stick that people could watch for as they sailed along the river to know they’d arrived. The name stuck.

  140. says

    Well, the Beatles’ song isn’t used in commercials for wooden furniture around here – but then again, quite a lot of the wood furniture around here is IKEA-made and thus sort of swedish.

  141. says

    I love IKEA – especially the meatballs and Lingonberries in the canteen. I discovered them both when I lived in Holland for a couple of years. I had a relocation allowance and IKEA was the best place to go to furnish my apartment (especially when I only needed furniture to last for a couple of years!)

    Now, of course, IKEA has made quite a name for itself in the US – and we have some of their furniture that we bought in Seattle.

  142. says

    And how is IKEA supposed to be pronounced anyway? I’ve always said “e-kay-ah” because that’s how the Dutch pronounced it. The US folks say it “eye-key-uh” – both with the emphasis on the middle syllable.

  143. says

    Well, as long as everyone agrees what you’re talking about you can pronounce it any way you like – it’s swedish, and swedes speak Norwegian with a strange accent anyway….

    (See the local bias showing :) )

    ’round here we pronounce it i-kee-ah, mostly stressing the last syllable – anyway, since it’s an acronym the pronounciation isn’t all that important…

  144. says … that’s a great domain name Dwayne.

    I’ve just spent the last little while registering and setting up 3 new domains and websites .. well, still in the process of copying over the files actually.

  145. says

    Whenever I see IKEA .. i pronounce it .. “ick-ee-ay” .. just to annoy my wife :) Usually while I’m pronouncing everything I see – as it’s spelled .. for example..

    Alzheimer’s Notes – “ahl-ze-hey-i’m-err-snow-tes” … stuff like that.

  146. says

    IKEA … ahh the memories. When I left the nest all those years ago (’87) I filled out my apartment with IKEA goodies.

    Now have you tried piecing the stuff together from the instructions half tanked with friends popping over at all hours?

    Ay, the memories…

  147. says

    Oh yes – putting together flatpack furniture is fun :)

    Though if you’re not careful you can end up like me and a buddy last summer – we had to take his bed back apart and turn a few pieces around before it came together like it was supposed to.

  148. says

    Oh that’s par for course with most IKEA products – like a coffee table ending up as a chair – back to the instructions.

    Shouldn’t our hostess be up at this hour? You guys took all the snacks from the sidebar, especially the nachos Liz made just for me.

  149. says

    Martin .. I’m up to 33 domains now :) Basically, any text-link-ads,google adsense, and/or chitika has been financing that. I had a little extra this month, so I finally took plunge again and paying OUT for text-links… it’s in experimental stage.. I can’t afford the time to actually post on all these bloody domains hehe

  150. says

    Dwayne .. thanks re: logo. It’s funny – before that 1800HART logo/header came about I posted an entry in August 2005 asking anybody if they wanted to contribute a logo for me. Someone forwarded me the picture, and I just ended up plastering my green haired monster on it.

  151. says

    By The Way .. general question for those using Bloglines .. Have you noticed anything funny? I’ve been “Keep New”‘ing a group of articles that was up to the 900’s count … suddenly in August, I can’t access the old ones that I’ve been keeping. To make matters worse, any new ones that I keep don’t stick.

  152. says

    Hart – what I do when I get the sudden urge to buy a domain (I’m like a domain junki in that way) and then lose interest in it is build up some PageRank over a few months and sell it.

    Usually goes for around $50-$70 if it’s a PR5 – it’s easy to get a high PR and for some reason PageRank is vitally important to buyers.

    Not a bad ROI on a $10 purchase – helps build the PayPal kitty.

  153. says

    Sorry Hart – can’t help you with Bloglines. I tried using it but it kept giving me a headache. Ugly interface.

    Although I do recall reading Darren (ProBlogger) having some trouble with it.

  154. says

    I had a bunch of blogs I was posting every other day, and ended up after the google dance PR=2 and PR=3’s ..

    I’m trying to build up areas for my HART-Empire network .. and probably won’t sell them. I’m not sure if it’s best for me now to attract new members without being able to concentrate on promoting it. So far, I’ve got my “Battling” series, working on my “Lvr” series .. and now I’m trying to create something both in entertainment and business sections of the network.

  155. says

    And, [NO] my wife probably doesn’t know how many blogs I own .. I wish she would show interest. It’s enough working at home SOHO without co-workers .. it would be nice to share a hobby besides reality TV…

  156. says

    I have a few blogs and sites with PR6’s so as soon as I buy a domain I link to it from them.

    That’s the only way I figure I get such a high PR for relatively few pages.

    That’s the problem: do too many things at the same time and nothing really makes it big.

    You’d know the saying: jack of all trades, master of none.

    I tend to lose focus if I’m doing more than 2-3 ventures at the same time.

    My wife shows no interest in my blogs and online ventures as well – just show me the money or else get a real job.

  157. says

    And I’m outta here. As a soho Dad I got to pick up the kids from school – cya later. I think it’s McDonald’s night tonight … Yay…

    And Liz, when you wake up I expect nachos for breakfast.

  158. says

    Wow Liz… this is pretty cool. I found your link from a couple of SOB’s down the blogway. Over 460 comments in one night… this must be great for inbound links and search engine traffic. Even the best comment spammers have not hit my blog with anything near this volume.

    The other cool thing is the quality of the conversation… I picked up a few tips and found some great blogs. Just one thing… clicking the “notify me of further comments via e-mail” could result in a really full inbox!

    I’ll be checking back for more SOB’s in the near future… John

    Remember… Success Begins Today… but wait… it’s tomorrow already… Oh well… a new day and more success… er uh … today!

  159. says

    I’m sorry to hear they ate all of your nachos. You should know where I keep a special stash. I’m like my mother. I never run out of the staples. There’s always more for you around there. (Pssst they’re with the crayones.).

  160. says

    Hi John,
    I’ve read your site. I like. I’m delighted that you’ve made it over and even more delighted that you might find your way back here. We’re a good bunch of intelligent folks who know how to communicate. We’d be pleased to have you.

    You’re not a stranger now. You’re a friend.

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