Writing in the Sand

August is winding down. If you aren’t down under you have access to sand, somewhere. Even the landlocked places can drive to a lake if they need a last dash for a summery day at the beach. Sand, water, seagulls and things washed up on the shore – those are the elements of the beach for me. Did you build a sandcastle this year? Just take a bucket, a container from yogurt, cottage cheese or some other food will do as a bucket. Pack in wet sand and dump it out upside down. Stick some bits of driftwood, pebbles and a seagull feather in it and you’ve made a simple sandcastle.

I like to draw and write in the sand too. Bring a camera (protect it from the sand – you know how it gets into everything!) and take a photo of your name/ your blog/ your favourite quote in the sand. Decorate the letters with swirls like waves or dot it with pebbles or draw something uniquely you along with it. Photograph your creation. No one else in the history of the universe will ever have a creation exactly the same and no one ever will in the future either. Writing in the sand is never permanent but it is always unique.

Before you leave the beach, do you leave your sandcastles and sand writing there or do you wreck them with buckets of water or walking through them after you’ve packed everything up?

Write a Guest Post for Seven Sentences

Seven Sentences – How much can you say in just seven sentences? Pick a topic and go for it.

While my butt is glued to this chair I’m still not writing one word. My fingers are on the keyboard, replying to an email. My eyes flick up to the computer screen, someone replied to me on Twitter. I’ve got coffee, mostly still lukewarm. My trusty hair clip is holding back the straggling tendrils that might brush my face and distract me from writing. I even cleared most, some, well a little, of the clutter from my desk. Everything is in place, even me, but I’m not writing one word, still.

Descriptive Food Words

These are just the words I picked out from the list of words to describe food on World Food Wine. Read down the list yourself and see which words you may not know or may not be sure of. Then try using them, describe eating something you like, then describe eating something you don’t care for at all.

Gustatory, relating to the sense of taste, to the sensation in the taste buds.

Nectarous stands for ambrosial, delicious or sweet; something that reminds you of nectar, the drink of the gods –in Greek mythology, therefore it would seem more to the point using it for liquids than for solid food. Any sweet, stimulating drink could be nectar to your lips.

Rancid food is bad, stale, rotten, completely off; the opposite of fresh food.

Sapid, saporific, or saporous are certainly full of flavor; that is to say flavorful, flavorsome, flavorful, flavorous. Better not pronounce, just write; those are not every day words

Scrumptious is shouting “eat me!” It is delicious, delectable, mouthwatering, tasty, delightful, gorgeous, lip smacking, yummy, wonderful in taste and aroma; never unappetizing, unappealing, or tasteless. Think of a scrumptious pie is very appetizing, pleasing to your taste; your sense of taste.

Sec is another way to say medium dry, un-sweet. This word is borrowed from wine world.

Toothsome, strictly used, refers to edible and pleasant food, or you could even write tasty, appetizing or delicious instead, something really pleasant to the sense of taste. But you will see it very often meaning healthy food, good tasting food that has something more than good taste going for it. The opposite will be inedible, tasteless, disgusting or foul… yucky!

Exploring with a Camera

From The Kat Eye View of the World- Exploring with a Camera.

The Exploring with a Camera series is intended to inspire you to see the world around you in a different way, using the camera as a tool to deepen your experience of life.

Why “Exploring” with a camera? Why not a “challenge” or an “assignment” like other photography blogs? I wanted to capture a sense of wonder and playfulness with this series, and “exploration” seemed to fit perfectly. Learning more about photography and your self – what you have to show the world – should be a fun experience.

I’m currently posting a new exploration every two weeks and include a link tool where you can join in and share. I also welcome suggestions and ideas for future exploration topics. Come and explore, and share your view!

The Job of a Movie and Television Production Assistant

I’ve seen a Production Assistant at work. When I lived in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) my Mom and I phoned in and got tickets to watch Dini Petty‘s show at the CFTO (now CTV) television station. We went to several of her shows, until we moved farther out of the GTA and soon after Dini wasn’t doing the show any more. (She missed us?)

Dini Petty had a Production Assistant. She actually seemed to be running the show from what I could see. She talked to the audience before, during and after the show, keeping us up with what was going on during delays and letting us know what we should be doing at different times. I know she was doing other things and I even spoke to her once and found out more, but I’ve forgotten what she said – it was a lot.

Since then, I have thought Production Assistant was a job I would like. Not for TV comedies, dramas, etc but the talk shows where you have more real people, an audience and guests and more stage props and such. I guess all shows have the same elements but there is something more vital and ever-changing when it’s a talk show instead of a work of fiction.

Wikipedia: A production assistant, also known as a PA, is a job title used in filmmaking and television for a person responsible for various aspects of a production. The job of a PA can vary greatly depending on the budget and specific requirements of a production as well as whether or not the production is unionized.

Production assistants on films are sometimes attached to individual actors or filmmakers.

Most jobs require some training although some jobs may hire you with no training. Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees make you more marketable because many degree programs offer internship opportunities that allow students to gain experience in the field while taking classes in school.

Does a Personal Assistant Sound Like a Glamorous Career?

What does a Personal Assistant do? I imagine they are a second-hand to whoever hires them. The job could be anything from picking up dry cleaning, making coffee to writing a speech and beyond. It seems like a never-ending job of running errands and performing personal services like walking the dog, grocery shopping and booking appointments.

There are times when I’d like a Personal Assistant but it’s just not in the budget. Also, how would I explain everything I need done, exactly as I want it to be done? By the time I sorted out the details with someone else I could have done at least most of it myself. So, not practical for me in any case. But, what a neat career. I bet the pay is more than a department store cashier makes, with more time for coffee breaks. It may be they stand in line and have a lot of customer service to do, but they can do it with a coffee in hand.

Would you want to try the job of Personal Assistant for a day? Who would you choose to assist, assuming you get to choose of course? Likely it would be someone famous, after all those are busy/ wealthy people we know to choose from. But, a Personal Assistant could work for anyone overwhelmed with things to do willing/ able to hire someone to help them.

You would have to be bondable, very trustworthy and competent under pressure too.

Personal Assistant Pro.com

Dream Careers: Personal Assistant

As a personal assistant you have to be a good communicator, a “get things done” kind of person, and cool under pressure. Ask yourself how you handle challenges and crises in your own life. Do you fly off the handle, or do you normally take a step back and think before you react?

The best personal assistants have an ability to move comfortably in the world of wealth and fame. Your appearance, etiquette skills and even your fashion sense may factor in here. You should be persuasive, a good negotiator, and your listening skills should be above average. You should also be extremely organized, a skilled problem-solver, and understand instinctively what types of information need to be kept in confidence.

Splogging with the Comment Spammers

I’ve been writing for the Spam Comment blog. It’s kind of fun, as a writing exercise. You can say anything (PG14). Be sarcastic. Be silly. Be yourself even. Next time you delete your comment spam, stop! Read some of them and pick a few to reply to.

Split it into one line before the comment and one afterwards. In the style of an opening line and a conclusion after the spam comment. Use blockquote to markup the spam comment if you decide to post them for fun.

Glad to have helped.

I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

Bothers me just a little that you think I’m a man.

Audit Your Blog

I once worked in the circulation department for a business magazine publisher. When the auditors came in we had organized chaos for awhile. But, things were set up well and it wasn’t hard to justify the subscription lists to show the statistics we had promised the advertisers. Later, I worked for a department store. Once a year there was an audit of all the inventory, tracked against what was sold versus what should still be in stock. That was a little more chaotic.

Anyway, I think it would be a good plan to audit your blog. Think of your content as the inventory. Take stock of what you have, plan for what you need and make sure it’s displayed correctly. This is what we did when we had inventory in the retail stores.

ProBlogger has written Content Strategy 101. I wrote about content strategy in 2009. An audit would be along those lines with more focus on tracking what you have done and comparing it to your original goals for the blog’s focus.

First, if you never really set out a focus/ plan for your blog you really should. Keep it as a note you can see somewhere while you are working. Think of yourself as the editor of your blog. The editor works for the publisher and part of the editor’s job is to keep the publication on track with the publisher’s needs and the focus and quality which was established by the publisher. You are the publisher and the editor of your blog. But, for a moment, just become the editor. Are you living up to the publisher’s guidelines?

Second, look at the tags and categories as you have created them so far. Which of them are really in focus and which show signs of being sidetracked and which are only used once. (Being sidetracked is not always a bad thing, in moderation). Make a list of everything not included in your original plan for the blog. Some of these could be new directions you could head into. They could even turn up a great new niche you should develop.

Of the tags and categories which have been used most? Could some of them be over used? Is it possible you could split them up into smaller ideas/ subcategories?  Give them a clearer focus and make it easier for readers to find some of the great posts you have made which ended up being grouped into an over-wide category or tag.

Think of your tags and categories as an index to your blog. What gaps can you see as you look at them? What type of content might be overlooked? Brainstorm a bit and see what else you come up with. Find other blogs and sites in your niche and read their list of tags and categories to compare to your own. They may have some you are not interested in at all or you could become inspired with something fresh for your own site.

Be aware of where you started going off track with tags and categories and the blog posts written for them. Consider another site for these topics (could there be a theme including all of them?) or just leave them in your archives and don’t worry about them. From now on you will have your plan to keep you on track.

Now, check your original keywords which you have in meta tags up in the header of the HTML (find out more and get them up there if you don’t already have them). Rewrite your meta tags for the site description. Keep it short. While it’s good to use keywords you want to keep it simple, clear and quick for readers to understand in one glance. In your list of keywords knock it down to just ten.

Don’t pick keywords that are too dead on and exact, those are over used. Instead look at your tags and categories and pick out the words from interesting niche topics you have written about a dozen times. For instance, instead of ‘writing’ you might use ‘copy writing’ or ‘creative writing’ or even better ‘niche writing’. Your site is more likely to be found by someone looking for something specific than someone looking up ‘writing’ and getting the huge list of related sites. If you focus on a smaller scale you have a better chance. Like a small fish in a big pond.

Look at your site navigation now. Log out of your blog so you can see it as a general reader who comes to your site for the first time. If you can, get someone else to look at your site while you watch (don’t help them find anything!). How does your navigation work? Can readers search your site by typing in a word in a search bar? Can they look into your archives and see how long you’ve been posting or pick something to read by date? Can the reader use your categories (or labels/ tags) like the table of contents or index in a book?

Maybe you have given them even more options. How about a list of most popular posts? How about a list of old posts from other years? How about links to posts other people read after reading the current post they have clicked on? There are some nice options. Although you don’t want to create a cluttered mess, it is a good idea to bring attention to your older posts in some way. Don’t let them gather dust bunnies in the archives.

Last of all, don’t have just one content audit. The stores and publishers have an audit every year. You could do the same, part of your regular site maintenance.

Dead Advice

Every letter on Dead Advice begins with the same first sentence: “Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things.”

Imagine, for a moment, that you have just died. If you had to look back over the arc of your life as it stands today, what stories would you tell? What lessons would you share, what things might you regret or confess?

Some letters may be specific: a note to the young, or to a child that has yet to be born. Other letters may be larger and more sweeping, choosing instead to address the whole of the world… the rest of us still living. Who you choose to write your letter to, along with what you say, is ultimately up to you.

Whether you’re sixteen or sixty, you have a story to tell – some bit of advice or guidance to give. There is someone out there who is waiting to hear from you, someone who can benefit from your experiences and your point of view.

The letters shared here are intended to give us perspective – to help us see our lives and ourselves more clearly. Dead Advice is meant to help keep the big picture a little bigger, and a little more in focus.

Netbook Needs a Better Name

Netbook Gamer
Facebook: Netbook Owners (Small group)
Netbook Users
Which Netbook

Netbook News
Netbook Files
Netbook Nomad

Netbook Network: 5 Tips for Netbook Owners
Gizmodo (2008): Why I Love Netbooks

This is the Netbook I bought. HP Mini 110 – 3744ca

The Unofficial HP Mini Blog
My HP Mini – User forum.
HP Mini Guide – User forum.
HP Mini Note PC