Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mike of Mikey Likes It!: One Month of Blogging

C.I. pointed out that Mike had just celebrated his first month of blogging. Besides being worthy of note, we also thought it merited checking in with Mike. Mike started blogging on June 20th. We first interviewed Mike on July 3rd so as we close out the month of July, we sit down with Mike again.

One month and what have you learned?

People like to talk about sex. Seriously. Even if they say they don't like sex, they want to weigh in and all. This comes up because the middle half of my posts are usually where I dip into the e-mails and note something someone's written.

Sometimes you provide an immediate reply and other times you just note the question and open it up for people to weigh in. Is this because you're uncomfortable with a question or because you're not sure you can weigh in?

Sometimes but sometimes it's also, honest, because I've got to get out the door for a date. Cedric's attitude is if he's got a date, he's got a date, so the blog can wait. I try to blog Monday through Friday and some on the weekends. Usually what happens is I've worked and gone to school that day and I come home and eat dinner, then hop in the shower, towel off and sit down and type up an entry. If I'm moving quick, it's a longer one but if I'm slow, it's a shorter one.
And honest, a lot of times, it's tossed out just because I don't have time to deal with the question because it deserves more thought than I have had time to give it and all.

What's been the biggest surprise?

From readers or like a technical thing?

Start with readers?

That they share so much. I summarize their e-mails when I note one but they go into real detail and stuff. I'm glad they feel comfortable sharing stuff with me.


How much work the whole thing is. I mean like links. You've got to find what you're linking to, copy and paste the quote or quotes, then make the hyperlink and if you've got several in one entry that can take a lot more time than I ever thought it would.

We're lucky because Dallas helps out every weekend by looking up our links. The other thing that takes up a lot of time are fixing the spacing or punctuation on something you copy and paste.

Right because like punctuation, if they use a certain font, you fix it or you end up with little blocks or question marks where quotes should be. And like spacing gets completely tossed out the window a lot of times when you carry something over with a copy and paste.

Which is why we understand Cedric's decision to use Blog Spot and not Blog Drive.

Yeah, like he post one of Isaiah's cartoons and he just has to run the mouse over it and hit copy, then goes to his page and click paste. It's up. But like in Blog Drive, we have to either e-mail it to our site or use the thing where we insert it in an entry which means finding out the web address, clicking on the image icon, waiting for the next page to load and it always drags on my computer, then putting in the web address, then clicking done and waiting and waiting for it to pop up in the post. And it's the same for Cedric with text. He just has to copy and then paste. He doesn't have to fix it up or anything.

Cedric's talked about how his starting blogging meant you were no longer the newbie. Do you feel that way?

Yeah cause I mean I was always asking C.I., Jim and Rebecca questions, for instance. And it's nice to be on the receiving end some. A lot of the questions I would ask weren't technical and that's how it is with Cedric. He'll be like, "Can I run something by you?" and that's cool. I really consider him a bud. I know he runs stuff by C.I. too and I'm really glad that he wants my input too which is mainly just saying, "'Yeah, I can follow that' or 'Wait, you lost me.'"

You'd spoken before about how your parents read your blog and how your mother was fine with any topic if you made it funny. We noticed that this week she weighed in with some advice to your readers.

Oh yeah, that was so cool. It was on crotch rot. (Laughs.) That was an issue that had been raised twice by readers and I'd dealt with it and all but like Ma had another point of view on it that I'm glad she shared. Like the smell factor can also be caused by your drawers. And I didn't even think about that because I live at home and we got a washer and dryer. But like if you're living on your own and you're having to pay every time you wash or dry a load, you may be tempted to scrimp and just pull the clothes out when they're done. Ma's point was that sometimes underwear's not dry. This really applies more to guys because their underwear is usually thicker, I guess. I mean y-fronts and boxer briefs and stuff like that usually have more layers than say a thin pair of boxers or most women's panties. So like the pouch can take a little longer to dry. If it's not dry and you're tossing it in the basket and heading home, you really need to hang those up to dry all the way out or they will mildew and they will smell. You might not even notice it. But I love that Ma weighed in.

You're also noting Democracy Now! each day.

Yeah, that came up here and I thought, you know I should do that. Because we do have the power over our own sites. So like I can complain about how this mainstream thing or that got it wrong and give them a link which adds to their traffic or popularity or I can steer traffic and help the popularity of something I believe in like Democracy Now! and even if people don't go there, they're aware of it and it does add to their online popularity. But that point really made sense to me and I try to do that. If I believe in a site, I want to make sure that people know it. I don't want to be one more blogger going, "ABC News reported today" or something. That's cool if someone likes ABC News but I don't.

You're also noting other community sites a lot lately.

Yeah, Rebecca called me and asked me to do that while she was on vacation and I'm happy to do it. She did that at her site and she believes in it so I'm doing it. She knows that links can be a pain in the butt and she didn't want to put more pressure on Elaine. So I told her sure thing. C.I. wrote about feeling bad this week that it wasn't happening over at The Common Ills but I mean, the computers got screwed up, C.I.'s got work and volunteer stuff on issues and there's only so much time in the day. So I'm happy to fill in for Rebecca.

What are your feelings about Kevin Benderman's sentence?

Private Benderman cause they busted him down from Sgt. which was disgusting in and of itself.
I think Elaine called it right two Fridays ago when the larceny charge was tossed and she noted that this didn't mean to get excited. They, the military and the administration, wanted to make an example of him and they did. But the thing is, he'll get through this and he's the one setting the example. The administration just looks petty and vindictive.

Other than sex, what do you readers like to talk about?

Recruiters. I don't think a lot of people get how mad people my age and younger are about them being on their college and high school campuses. And like this past week, the DLC was calling for something like unfettered access for the recruiters. It's hard for me to believe that they're that unaware because most of that group's so old that they can remember the protests from the sixties over recruiters on campus. I think it's just that, as usual, the DLC is out of touch. And they honestly don't care about actual people, just about how they look, you know? But my readers are really bothered by recruiters and there have been some blistering e-mails about the DLC this past week. Which is good because that group's dying out and when they do something idiotic like they did, it just makes it even more obvious to people my age that the DLC stands for nothing.

We got positive feedback on the "1 Book, Ten Minutes Amy & David Goodman's The Exception to the Rulers" from last week.

Me too. You know I posted it over at my site and people were really interested in that book. Hopefully, that means a few more people read it. And great if they bought it because the money goes to support Democracy Now! but the message is so important that it's great if they just pick it up at the library and read it.

You really enjoy participating in the discussions.

Yeah. Even if I'm just listening. I just like the give and take and how someone sees something that somebody else might not notice or when someone builds on a point that someone else's has made. I just really enjoy that. They're fun to do and fun to read when they go up. I know they take up a lot of time and it's a lot of work for Dallas to hunt down the links and for Ava and C.I. who are doing transcriptions. And then there's the editing and all. Like tonight that whole point that C.I. had about The Times that got taken out --

C.I. took that out.

Right. Thought it was way off topic. But I really liked that and thought those were strong points. I wish C.I. would speak more and all but I know there's the "I don't want to dominate the discussion." But it's like there's thought behind it and all. And like, I'm a Common Ills member and there's stuff that comes out in the roundtables and all that won't make it over to The Common Ills. That's another thing about the give and take. Because there are other people present, I think everyone's a lot freer in their comments. When we're doing our sites and stuff and writing stuff, there's this attitude of, "Wait, am I being clear?" Or "I need to make sure to point this out." But when it's a group, you can usually count on someone else clarifying something if you've been confusing or making a point you might have forgotten. So that's really cool. But I did like C.I.'s comments about The Times and I know they won't make it over to The Common Ills. I was also expecting Jess to make his point that we're all like the Mamas and the Papas of the internet in his opinion.

Jess: I completely forgot about that, Mike. Sorry.

It's cool. But I really liked that point because we do believe in peace and like Cass Elliot was political and a lot of people don't seem to know that. But she was and so were the others. And I like seeing us like that, you know? We're just doing it our way and if someone likes it great, but if not, we ain't sweating it. And Kat would say we're very "organic."

Kat: (laughing) I'll get you for that McKinnon!

But we are. We're just doing our own thing. And I mean Elaine's really a strong voice.

Elaine: Thank you.

I'm serious. You are bringing up issues like war lust and peace and you're just so focused on that. I really respect what you're doing. And I think your voice makes a difference. And like if you put all of us together as a group, we're covering so much and all. Like Cedric's post that you're highlighting and all. I mean Cedric just let it hang out and I respected that. And like Betty's offering that humorous, ongoing critique about neoliberalism and colonialism. I mean there are just so elements that, as a group, we cover. So I really do like the idea of us as the Mamas and the Papas of the internet, keeping it real and standing for peace. It's like you got a bunch of Beach Boys or somethings trying to make justifications for the war and doing all this blind flag waving and then you've got us over here the hippies and peace lovers. And like how dare anyone trash people like Jess's parents cause they stood for something and stand for something. And Jess is so cool today because he was raised with some real values. So yeah, put me in with the Mamas and the Papas because I think that's a supreme compliment.

When you spoke of the documentary, renting it with your sister, you said that you ended up dreaming you were in a band. The documentary on the Mamas and the Papas.

Yeah. That was a pretty cool dream. I wish I'd have it again. It was Jess on guitar and stuff. Kat was doing keyboards. Me and Ty were drummers. (Laughing) The band had two drummers! Jim was on bass. And like Rebecca, C.I., Betty and Ava were singing.

Jim: What about Dona?

She was producing the album.

Jim: I can see that.

Now Cedric's joined the "group" so if I have the dream again, I'll need to figure out what he's doing. But it was a pretty cool dream. One of those dreams where you wake up with one eye and since you don't have to get up right away, you shut your eye and try to go back to the dream. Pretty cool.

Well before we close, we need to discuss the Chinese Zodiac because we've found out more about your sign the Ox.

For real?

No, we're joking.

Thank God because that really did freak me out last time.

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