A Plot for the Dark Day

May 19th in 1780 was known as the “dark day” in Canada and the New England states because darkness fell at 2:00PM. The cause has never been discovered.

The above comes from “The Ontario Book of Days” by Robbins Elliott.

What caused the “dark day”? Come up with something that sounds possible. Test your idea on at least one other person. What holes do they poke in your theory? Can you fix it or does it evolve into something even better? Write a plot outline around the “dark day”. You don’t need to add characters to it just see where the plot takes you.

For Web Directory Builders

Have you ever thought about building your own web directory? Maybe you just want to sort out all the links you’ve had stuck in bookmarks forever or maybe you want to share the great links you have found about a  personal hobby/ interest with the world.

Creating a directory is easier with software to help you build and maintain it. You can just keep a live bookmark list online, like a portal. But, it is fun to put your links out there and see what comes back when people have the option to add their own links. Of course, you will need to moderate any incoming links. (We all know about spam and spammers).

I want to start with a web directory for Canadian rural and urban exploration sites. I know it will grow from there, I already have the stash of links to do it. But, I am keeping it simple while I work with the software and get the hang of things. Luckily, I am already experienced at editing a web directory. I was an editor at the Open Directory Project for about ten years and I am currently editing the Best of the Web directory (though not getting nearly enough time in there to earn anything from my work yet).

Anyway, a directory is a fun project. Some people will add in the feature to charge anyone a fee for being listed in the directory. To me, that messes with the integrity of the directory. If you only list paying links you will be missing a lot of good sites. Also, the sites who pay to be listed are not likely the very best sources for information on the topic. Often it is still the sites which are a labour of love which have the most information, the best resources and the real time put into maintaining them. I never fully trust any site that looks like an ad farm. I think they are more interested in marketing, money making and SEO than building a great resource.

Some links of interest to anyone building their own directory:

Directory Blogger

Talk Directories

Web Directory List

Directories Blog

triPHP Directory Discussion

Try a Bio-Poem

Write your life (or someone of your choosing) into lines of poetry.

Make the first line the first name, the last line is the last name. In between bring your character to life.

Here is a plan, as a guide to get you started:

  • Line 2 – one key adjective.
  • Line 3 – Brother/ sister of ” ? “.
  • Line 4 – Lover of “name 3 things”.
  • Line 5 – Who feels “3 things”.
  • Line 6 – Who needs “3 things”.
  • Line 7 – Who gives “3 things”.
  • Line 8 – Who fears “3 things”.
  • Line 9 – Who would like to see “3 things”.
  • Line 10 – Resident of “city/ town name”.

Aunt of Zack.
Lover of red, adventure and unusually good ideas.
Feels soft, sharp and mushy.
Needs more coffee, less allergies and yet more money.
Gives very little backtalk, creative impulses and hair.
Fears hair and teeth loss, sharp objects and entrapment.
Would like to see just a bit more snow, the book I’m looking for and a train ticket.
Resident of Ontario, Canada.

A Photo Lasts Longer

It’s funny to think that a digital photograph can last longer than a house made of bricks, steel and concrete.

I was looking at photos of abandoned and derelict places on Flickr. Some of the locations are places I have been and a few are places which are now gone. The photos remain. Doesn’t it seem odd that something as flimsy and intangible as a photo is all that is left from something as strong and large as a house?

Have you ever taken a photo of something you wanted to keep but could not keep around for reasons of storage, allergies, time and space? It is a good idea. We threw out a few things that were hard to let go after taking photos of them. It made it easier to let go. You can keep the memories yet let go of the item itself. A good thing when you have too much clutter and need more space for yourself.

Write about taking a photo of the house (or place) you grew up in. What decisions do you make about where to stand, what angle to take the photo from and what time of day you want to capture in your photographs. What do you remember as you take the photos? What little things do you move it to photograph up close?

Flickr: Ontario Rural Ruins

Flickr: Canadian Rural Exploration

The Decadent Leisurely Hostess Brunch Basket

I was reading an old copy of Chatelaine, a Canadian women’s magazine. I found a little blurb about giving the hostess of a party you attend a gift basket  which she can use the morning after the party to have herself (and family) a decadent brunch (or breakfast if there are children, to be realistic).  Chatelaine suggests you “tuck in some tea and muffins, jam and berries, plus bubbly for wake-up mimosas. I think the idea is lovely, yet lacking in some practicality. Think of the women you know. Most would find it hard to have a leisurely brunch the morning after hosting a dinner party.  I would be able to do the decadent, leisurely brunch… but I’m single and wouldn’t have been hosting a dinner party anyway. (Not that I don’t think it would be fun, I have a romantic, perfect ideal of the whole thing in my head).

What would you pack for the hostess in her decadent brunch basket? What would be both practical and decadent and not require much cooking, time and mess to make? Be creative and yet keep grounded in reality.

Will You be Blogging for Christmas?

xmsbloggingChristmas is on my mind today. I’m watching romantic holiday movies. Right now The Lake House with Keanu Reeves. I admit I have a thing for Keanu. How could any Canadian woman not have a soft spot for a hockey player who can dance? It’s just finishing up, the final scene, the last great kiss. Funny that he looks older in this movie and yet there is still just something about him… Well, you don’t really want to read my mind babbling on about Keanu Reeves.

Will you be blogging for Christmas? Do you keep blogging during the holidays or do you put your blog into suspended animation?

I will be here. For me I like having some alone time during the holidays. This year it is mucked up cause my sister is having a baby and I am the prime babysitter for her other children, those who have left the womb. I will be glad when the babysitting time is done. I am loving having the house to myself for this bit of time. I can cook things the way I like them, or not bother with cooking or eating at all. I did make the Christmas cookies. So I’m not being wicked and lazy and forgetting about the holiday thing. Later, I will haul the Christmas tree and the box of decorations out of the garage. Not looking forward to finding out if mice got in there or not. I’m hoping for at least not too much.

How is your holiday spirit hanging on? Blog about it!  🙂

Hyperlocal, What is It?

I’ve seen the term hyperlocal come up three times lately. I decided to spend some time to find out what it is exactly and how it is being used.
Of course, Wikipedia comes up first in the results I get from Google. : Hyperlocal –

refers to the emergent ecology of data (including textual content), aggregators, publication mechanism and user interactions and behaviours which centre on a resident of a location and the business of being a resident. Hyperlocal content, often referred to as hyperlocal news, is characterized by three major elements. Firstly, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area. Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area. Thirdly, it is created by a resident of the location (but this last point is discussed because for example a photo can be hyperlocal but not locally produced).

Hyperlocal World – Developments in news, people and the first law of geography.
HyperlocalBlogger.com – Tips and discussion for local bloggers.
Hyperlocal 101 – Tools and technique for the hyperlocal revolution.

Blog TO is a hyperlocal news blog from Toronto. It comes from a network, Freshdaily.ca (site is not up).

Other hyperlocal blog networks:

Individual hyperlocal content blogs:

If hyperlocal blogging is interesting you take a look at TwitterLocal, which gives you a Twitter feed by location and LocalTweeps which is a directory built with zip codes. Also, look for blog directories based on regional locations, each blog you find there is a possible source of news and events locally. You may find other locals to post their perspectives, advertising, photos and news stories on your hyperlocal blog. Of course everything local is a marketing/ promotion resource for a hyperlocal blog. You don’t need to be in to top rank of international lists for blogs, keep your focus on local in every way.

The links for networks and especially those for individual hyperlocal blogs are just a few I found when I went looking. There are masses of sites once you know what to look for. Some don’t use the term hyperlocal, they may call themselves citizen journalists, or maybe cell journalists.

How To Build Your Own Web Directory

Once upon a time I was an editor in the great Dmoz (Open Directory Project) web directory. I stayed there about ten years as an active editor. Now I am editing in the BOTW directory. I still like adding sites, caring for and maintaining a list for a topic I am passionate about. However, it is nice to do so without anyone else making up the rules. So, I guess that is how I started the idea of beginning my own web directory. Not a huge project like Dmoz or BOTW. I am just going to pick topics I like: rural exploration, urban exploration, historical places, maybe other things like arts and crafts too. Time will tell. The plan is to begin with rural exploration in Ontario, then rural exploration in Canada. I plan to start each smaller section one at a time, until it builds up.

I started making a list of sites using a Blogspot blog. Then I moved it to Movable Type on a domain I picked out. But neither of these options was working well as a software for building and keeping a list. Both were cumbersome and messy to work with in this way. I looked at other ideas for link management but didn’t find anything except bookmark lists. Then I found two plugins that would work with WordPress for building a web directory (Directory Press and Web Directory WordPress Plugin) versus a directory of links. There is a difference!

I ended up loading the plugins to have a look at them but the software I am actually going to try using for the web directory are IndexScript and SKALINKS, both are freeware. Two different web directory software packages. I will let you know how it goes as I get it figured out on my web host and domain. They both look fine in the demos available on their sites.

As I was looking for software I found a few links about building a web directory. They are all geared to people setting it up for getting paid submissions. That isn’t my plan. I will allow submissions but I’m not asking for money. If submissions are free then I don’t have to feel I owe anyone a link. I can choose to list them or not based on the content of the site rather than the content they add to my bank account. I think it works better that way.

Associated Content: Monetize Your Website by Creating a Paid Web Directory

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Blog: Some Advice Before Creating a Web Directory

SEO Blog: Web Directories – Worth Doing Well

Intelliants: How to Make Your Directory Popular

Intelliants: How to Monetize your Directory

Intelliants: Niche or General Directory? Which to Choose?

Make the World a Better Place

“I have been thinking a lot about fate lately. It seems to me that we have such a burden of responsibility to make the world a better place.”  – Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first female Canadian soldier killed in combat since WWII, writing to her parents two weeks before she died in Afghanistan, May 2006.

We can’t be perfect, we can’t do it all, but each of us has the power to do something to make the world a bit better. To help someone feel better with just a smile, simple and cost effective. If you feel overwhelmed and stop functioning realize that you can pick one small thread and pull on it and change everything, including your own outlook.

That’s what I’d write to Nichola Goddard, if I were sending her an encouraging note. If it were still possible to send her a letter. What would you say to her and the other soldiers who have died trying to make the world a better place?