Today is Burnt Embers’ 6 month anniversary. I was not going to mark it, but since I really need to do something about acknowledging awards that I have been receiving, I thought I could get a start in the context of celebrating that I have made it to one half year. This is post 189, with the first post being on September 14th, the second on September 17th and one every day since then, including some days with two posts (usually by accident). At times that has been difficult, and on those days I tend to not have very much to say. Things that keep me going include an every growing list of subscribers (189 WP and email followers and a bunch more through places like Google Reader), all the lovely comments that people make, ideas they share and things they teach me, the community that blogging has introduced me to and of course the recognition by some great bloggers through awards that they have given me.
On January 2nd Burnt Embers received its first honour, a Versatile Bloggers Award from composerinthegarden – thanks Lynn for setting that ball in motion, and for so many great comments over these past few months. In the subsequent weeks I have received the Versatile Bloggers Award 4 more times!, the Liebster Blog Award, the Kreativ Blogger Award and a 7×7 Link Award – these are the ones that I know of (two of these awards were posted without notifying me directly, possibly there are others). I am astonished and pleased and honoured. I am surprised also that there is quite a lot of work to getting an award 🙂 Each award comes with rules, and each comes with a preference that I pass the award on to other bloggers. This is the hardest part as (a) I don’t have a huge list of blogs that I frequent and (b) decreasing time to do so as my blog grows and takes more time to maintain (all those lovely comments!) and as I often take more time with each image that I include and (c) choosing between the blogs I do frequent is in many respects just not fair.
I find these awards a very interesting phenomenon. They are akin to a pyramid scheme and in theory with their exponential redistribution rules it should not be all that long before there are more awards to go around than there are blogs in the whole world. If my math is correct (and it may be totally wrong), and if each person that received the award followed the rules of, for instance, the Versatile Bloggers Award, which is supposed to be passed on to 15 other bloggers each time it is gifted, after just 8 cycles of re-giving by each recipient there should have been 2.5 billion occurrences of the award springing from that first one (this could occur in just 8 days if each person passed it on the day after receiving it).
If after the first award was given to 15 bloggers only 4 of 15 passed it along in each cycle, it would “only” have been given about 250,000 times after 8 cycles.
If only 2 passed it along each time, it would have been awarded nearly 2,000 times after 8 cycles.
However, something is very strongly limiting their distribution. There must be many reasons why these awards are not blanketing the blogosphere. I think that many people must not pass along the award when they receive it either because they object to them for some reason, or because they have already received one and feel that they have participated, or they find it a burden to blog about blog awards when their blog is about other stuff than themselves. There are probably many people that feel negatively about these awards, and if I searched the right place I would probably find lots of negative chat about them, but why would I go searching for that kind of thing? I do know that they can be considered a kind of currency – you award me, I pay you back which would also defeat the purpose, and cheapen them as well.
But, they can serve a very useful purpose. Most importantly, they serve as a great mechanism for recognising a blog that one really likes and enjoys. Another reason is that if there were some way of quickly indexing blogs based on these awards it could be a form of pooling blogger’s ideas about particularly interesting sites and prove to be a useful communal tool for sorting blog wheat from blog chaff. But, there are other mechanisms for that, such as like buttons, comments and if displayed, numbers of views. Perhaps in time the shine will wear off and they will become equivalent to a like button, or a comment. In fact, and although I have not been reading as many blogs of late, I think that might already be happening as I see fewer references to giving and receiving blogs in the past month or so.
I bet that there is all kind of statistical theory that could be brought to bear, and likely somewhere graduate theses are being written about the spread of awards in the blogosphere. Anyway, I digress from my purpose, which is to thank those people that awarded to me this recognition and to pass along the awards to others.
So, what I am going to do today is to pass along the 7×7 Link Award because it allows, well ‘requires’, that I review my own blog and list 7 that I think are worthy and that seems like a good exercise for a 6 month anniversary, and more than enough work all on its own for a Tuesday evening. The other rules are to tell you something about myself that you are unlikely to know and to nominate 7 other blogs for the award that have not received this award before (at least as far as I can tell). But first, I must thank mathiaslphotos for this award. Mathias is one of my most frequent visitors and commentors. His blog is a photo blog, a very prolific one that I have trouble keeping up with. He posts in French and English and is based in France. One of his photos that has stuck in my mind is the top one in this post, but there are many many other great photos there. So, Mathias – thanks so much for the award, and for your great photos, and for the all your support of my blog. People like you make a big difference to my blogging enthusiasm.
There are so many things that most of you don’t know about me, such as my name and even my gender for some of you, though there are clues enough. I am going to leave it that way as it is liberating to be anonymous and gender neutral in a corner of one’s life. What I will fess up to is being a dual national – British because I was born there and naturalised Canadian having emigrated here as a baby.
Now for the fun part, finding seven of my posts that I find worthy of an award. I have decided to choose ones that represent various themes that have developed during the past 6 months, and hopefully people will agree that they are worthy and among the better of these kinds of posts.
Cocktail Windmills – this is included because it is celebratory, but also it is from my kitchen table as so many shots have been, is a macro which is something I do a fair bit of, and deals obliquely with the Hitty Dolls that are a major (though small) part of my surroundings and crop up in my blog from time to time.
Fennel Fail – I choose this image for the backgrounds. Quite a few of my photos, many of them close ups, find their beauty in the out of focus backgrounds and the bokeh. I love the first photo for its water colour like quality. Also, this post is an example of one where some good thoughts were expressed in the comments.
Cat Paradise – The Cat crops up in my photos, or words, from time to time. This is a typical winter scene, though we did move the 1830’s hand woven wool blanket off ‘Her chair’ as it seemed a bit excessive for a Cat that likes Her quality to be learned by more subtle means.
Sunrising Rock II – As a representation of the long exposures I have been doing in the past three months and of the ocean and Harling Point which are so prominent in my blog. Not to mention the stunning colour.
Sahsima and Chikawich – as the first in what is turning out to be a fairly large collection of posts about places in Greater Victoria that in some way recognise and honour the First Nations of this area and of British Columbia. I am learning a lot as I compile this series, and I hope in the long run it will be a part of my blog that is useful and not merely pretty, including in particular the Google map that I have been compiling to go with those posts. Also, this is the first of very many posts that feature the many personalities of Sahsima, the transformer stone on Harling Point.
Aerial Landscapes of Moss – as one of several posts that seek to fool the eye with apparent aerial views taken close to the ground. And this shot has water, moss and lichen which are pretty hard to escape in my posts, one way and another.
Wildlife Photo Exhibit – included mostly because I like the design that I conceived for it, but also because it is wordy as well as full of photos and taken indoors, all things that are not so typical of my posts and thus in a list of representative posts this one stands for the atypical.
The next part is to recognise 7 bloggers who don’t seem to have received this award before. This is the hard part, choosing and by choosing creating a false impression that those not chosen are somehow lesser. It’s been the stumbling block to getting down to recognising these awards and passing them on as a sign of respect and thanks to those that gave them to me. I have made it harder for myself by including a post from each one that stands out in my mind. I hope you have the time to explore each of these blogs. I list them in no particular order other than the first is because if I had to give just one award it would be to Doug, for the reasons stated. To all of you that I name below – please feel no obligation to do anything with this award, I wish only that you see my regard for your blog, not that you receive a burden to deal with.
words4it. Doug Peterson does what has to be the ultimate local blog – it concentrates on the Mill Pond in his town in Michigan, and frequently features ducks. But really it is a nearly daily chronicle of the lives of the creatures and plants that occupy the pond illustrated with great photographs and filled with interesting information. In only my second post I managed to draw Doug’s attention with a comment about one of his posts using a gate “merely for design” when it turns out that design is Doug’s profession. But he was so friendly and good humoured and nice about it all, and when he realised I was an extreme neophyte, jumped in with great blogging hints and help and links to useful places. He comments from time to time, and his comments are always insightful. I have learned a lot from Doug and really enjoy his blog, the Mill Pond, the muskrats, ice, ducks, leaves and other small things that go into making a special place. Many of his images float around in my head, but one that really sticks and that I think of quite often is repair patterns on asphalt in Asphalt Expressionism, 2011 Edition
Travels with Blonde Coyote. I stumbled on Blonde Coyote, Mary Caperton Morton’s blog, through an article about sustainable housing in the American desert. Her blog is endlessly fascinating as she and her dog move from one part of the country to another (and sometimes to other parts of the world). Her current posting, Writing on the Wall: Navajoland, is a great example of the kind of fascinating and well illustrated topics you will find there, in this case a story that introduces Navaho street artist Jetsonoramawhile describing the environmental movement associated with the coal burning power plants on the Navaho Reservation.
The Background Story. The Background Story is one of my favourite daily reads. Some combination of four contributors put together a daily photo with a short insightful poem, usually about relationships. The quality of both the photographs and the poetry is consistently excellent, and often heart wrenching. It is hard to choose one of their posts because so many are so good, and because their appeal changes with one’s own mood. I like digging and yellow wheelbarrows, so that helps me choose Vol. 2 Ch.1 P.14 as a suggestion of a great example of their work.
David Williams Photography. David Williams is based near to me but across the border in Washington State. I am frequently inspired by his terrific and thoughtful photographs, and like to find echos of my own from the same day – a similar sky, or plant, or other subject that is so familiar to this region. But, what I really really like are his macro shots, beautifully arranged, very well lit and expertly processed. He has a separate macro blog, but more often posts on this blog. Thus, I chose his Macro Monday – Black – a classic and perfect close up of a water drop. David also is one of my most consistent commentors which is much appreciated.
Oneowner Ken Bello of oneowner is another of my frequent visitors and commentors. Ken’s is another photoblog, self declared “100% fact free” which is a great description, and this time hailing from near the Great Lakes in New York State. Ken appears to have been involved with photography professionally for several decades and his photos show it. His photos are wonderfully variable and quite often heavily manipulated as well. Many have stuck with me, so choosing a great example is tough. I have chosen 200, one of his black and white examples of the beauty found in simplicity. Another thing I appreciate about Oneowner is the great comments he garners from some very knowledgeable photographers, and the dialogue that can develop around interesting points. Thus, there is often a great deal of extra value in the comments section of his blog.
NWC Archaeology. This is another blog where the comments section add so much to the blog. I must declare my own potential bias here as this blog is the product of a relative, qmackie, a British Columbia archaeologist who writes very engagingly about archaeology on the northwest coast of North America, and areas beyond. The blog is semi-dormant right now while qmackie rediscovers his equilibrium following a family medical saga. But, he needs not write another word for his blog to continue to be a source of information, opinion and interest. His readers, not being satisfied with his current quiet period, have kept the blog chugging along with comments, often on quite old posts as they discover them. There are many fascinating subjects here, and I would recommend you set aside a half hour, or half day, and click on his random post button. You will be fascinated and educated and amused all at the same time. A post that really stands out in my memory is La Perouse at Port des Francais (Lituya Bay) which is about the history of large waves in Lituya Bay caused by calving icebergs and landslides, including the 1958 tsunami which took trees out up to an elevation of 524m, which is 100m higher than the Empire State building, or 1,720 feet. Now that is a wave. Having this blog in the family also made me think that blogging was possible and must be one of the seeds that made Burnt Embers possible. qmackie also provided invaluable technical advice in my earliest startup days that saved me a lot of time and aggro.
JamesKennedyBeijing – I was drawn into James Kennedy’s blog when I came across one of his marvelous 360 degree panoramas filed under Little Planets on his blog. But what a treasure trove this blog is, full of interesting stories about teaching in China, useful information for students, terrific book reviews of books you are unlikely to see reviewed anywhere else, discourses on diploma shopping and other modern phenomena of higher education (at least in some parts of the world), mind mapping software, jobs and working in China and so on. It is such a different world and I so enjoy looking in at it. I hope you do too. Being a tea drinker, I point you to his Mind Mapping: Tea Categories by which he illustrates how the iMindMap software works to organise data and clarify thinking and so on – I had no idea, but should have guessed, that Tea is phenomenally complex.
So that is it for passing along the 7×7 Link Award. In closing I must thank all the other people who awarded me – as you can see it takes me some time and effort to pass along an award, so it is likely to be some time before I am done with all of these. My apologies for the delays in acknowledging you, and my thanks for your kind thoughts about my blog: