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New blog! At last! August 23, 2010

Posted by Emily in blog, design, things that make me smile.
1 comment so far

Yep, you read correctly. I’ve jumped ship.

I’ve decided to move this blog’s content and work to a more personalized, flexible platform. Check out the bright and shiny Endlessly Creating Myself blog.

Also, please be sure to update your RSS feed.

Let the fun begin! Looking forward to seeing you there!


Happy happy anniversary…to me! May 16, 2010

Posted by Emily in blog, photography.
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1 comment so far

Kind of hard to believe, but today marks the 3 year anniversary of this blog.

What started as a way to keep in touch with friends while I was in Spain and traveling around Europe has morphed into something…else. From Spain, the blog’s theme was so easy – it was about writing about my experiences. Letting people know what I was up to. Venting, from time to time. And some sort of journaling, too, though not the super confessional sort. And in the end, the writing was cohesive enough that I turned it into a book.

Since then, the “theme” has wavered a bit. Some people who used to follow religiously have taken me off their blog reading lists – and that’s OK, too. I go through phases of writing about design. And others where I want to post poetry. Or random YouTube videos. Or photos from whatever.

So I’ve gone back and forth lately, wanting to do something more but not knowing what to do. Should I self-host and have the option of posting music and more photo slideshows and things of the sort? Should I change the name, since Mensajes isn’t exactly the catchiest? Should I go with a “theme,” as most successful blogs seem to do? Should I let this thing die, as so many bloggers have done lately?

The question becomes – what is the point?

It’s something I’ve been tossing around for a while. I’m not too interested in trying to make money from it (and it would be basically impossible, at this point – let’s be honest). And I don’t want to feel obligated to stick to a really consistent schedule, since I don’t seem to consistently have interesting things to write about. But when the mood strikes, I like blogging.

I like posting photos here. I like working through strange, awkward, hard, or exciting and beautiful times via sitting down to write. Or photograph. I like that a few friends and friends once removed and I have formed a little online community. Because isn’t that sort of the point? To feel connected, somehow?

And so, really, the “theme” hasn’t changed. It’s still about writing about my experiences. Letting people know what I am up to. Venting, from time to time. And some sort of journaling, too, though not the super confessional sort.

As Dooce‘s Heather Armstrong said in a recent interview, “My website has remained about my life over the last eight years…So my subject matter – being about my life – hasn’t really changed, but my life has changed.”

And as for Mensajes? I’ve come to like it. For those who haven’t figured it out, it means “messages.” It’s also a word I just like the sound of. And it’s become this online identity for me, in some form or another. So, at least for now, I’m thinking I’ll stay with it.

Coming soon: my shiny new blog space. Keep an eye out for it.

And of course, when it’s ready, I’ll make the big announcement right here.

Catching up: Portland April 8, 2010

Posted by Emily in blog, Blogs I read and like, photography, things that make me smile.
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1 comment so far

With an online presence comes online responsibilities, of sorts. One of my favorite blogs announced yesterday that they are going to stop posting so that they can devote more time to other things in their lives. And I respect that prioritizing, even as I’ll miss reading their blog.

As for me, I don’t make money from my blog or from posting to Flickr or Facebook. When I get home from work, where I spend the whole day online, I often have zero interest in pulling out my computer to do some of my personal stuff online. And so I’m perennially a couple of months behind. And sometimes it bugs me – I’d like to post more up to date photos and not play catch up all of the time – but I’ve just decided not to let it stress me out too much. When I have something to write about, I post. When I have a night at home and nothing else I’d rather be doing, I upload photos. Maybe one of these days I’ll get all caught up. Or maybe not.

At any rate, thought I’d take advantage of the new WordPress slideshow option to post some photos from Portland, a trip that took place…just under two months ago, over President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend.

Pardon my tardiness.

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These photos and more in my Portland Flickr set.

Spring cleaning April 20, 2009

Posted by Emily in a few of my favorite things, blog, Blogs I read and like, jobs schmobs, Missoula, photography.
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The weather gods may keep threatening snow here about once a week, but I’ve got spring fever. So many great blog posts lately with such bright spring colors have left me with an overwhelming desire for the days to be warm and long. I had forgotten how gray winter can be here—how headlights automatically turn on in the middle of the afternoon (well, for those with cars newer than 1987, I’m told).

I don’t have a house to spring clean (or at least sort of organize…) so I thought it might be time to clean things up a bit around here. I just realized that my “About Me” section in the upper right hasn’t been updated in about a year. Oops. So that’s a work in progress. I’m also planning on adding a couple of new features in the next couple of weeks. And I just uploaded a bunch of photos to Flickr, finally.

Things have been really slow around here for a while, but I have all sorts of ideas. I’ve spent the last monthish working on a very long, tedious project (which just finished up!) and while watching pages slide through the scanner all day, it’s amazing where one’s mind wanders. The newfound sunlight is increasing this feeling of energy, excitement, creativity. Even the page flags I remove all day have me thinking spring!



Blog overload (and a little daily beauty) February 10, 2009

Posted by Emily in a few of my favorite things, blog, Blogs I read and like, design.
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I must admit that until about a year and a half ago, I didn’t pay any attention to blogs. I had read about the Huffington Post and some of the other big hitters, but never actually read them. To be honest, I didn’t really understand why normal people would write blogs—most people don’t have genuinely interesting things to say about themselves on a daily, or even weekly, basis, I figured. But when I was trying to prepare to move to Spain, I started reading the blogs of some teachers who came before me in the same Spanish government-led program and enjoyed their personal take on the experience.

And so, I entered into the blogging world with trepidation, not wanting to be overly narcissistic (or worse, just boring) but wanting to take advantage of one single spot to write about my experience in Spain, post photos, videos, and other ephemera without resorting to mass emails. I figured that with a blog, people can read you (or not) at their leisure and you’re not just adding to their ever-growing unread email collection.

And you know, it’s been fun. I initially tried to post something every ten days or so—and proudly stuck with that basic schedule longer than I anticipated. I’ve been a little quiet lately, but so has life been. And when I post something, I’d like to write something I’m not embarrassed to throw out into the cybersphere. (Or whatever they’re calling it these days.)

Since I’ve been back Stateside, I’ve discovered Google Reader. And my interest in design has grown to somewhat obsessive proportions. And so, taking a moment today, I started really marveling at how many blogs I read—on topics from photography to design to Spanish politics. When I’m asked how I know that the Orla Kiely collection will arrive at Target on February 15, I can say, “I read it on a blog.” When I comment about social customs in Turkmenistan, I can say “I read it on a friend’s blog. She’s in the Peace Corps.” It’s kind of awesome.

But it’s also unsustainable at the current rate. In not too long, I’ll have to slim down my daily reads, unsubscribe from some and use the “mark all as read” button a bit more liberally with others I can’t seem to part with. But there are a few that will stick around.

One of those, which I just recently added, is called Urban Sketchers. It’s a collection of people from around the world who submit sketches, some small in scale—rough outlines on the back of a napkin—and others that deserve a frame and a place of prominence as Art with a capital A. Of all the skills I don’t possess, I think I long to be able to sketch more than anything else. How cool are the people in museums with notebooks, analyzing art with their own art? I ooze with jealousy at their talent and general chicness. It’s not in my cards—people have mistaken my attempts at “art” for elementary school projects. But I envy these people, who in their quiet ways are documenting the mundane world around them every day and making it beautiful. And in turn, adding a dose of beauty and awe to my day. I am overwhelmingly impressed.


Urban Sketchers

A few of my favorite sketchers:


Álvaro Carnicero (who lives in Córdoba…I always wonder if I might have seen him sketching somewhere and not known how awesome his croquis are.)

The private made public December 12, 2008

Posted by Emily in blog.

Ever since I decided, about a year and a half ago, to start a blog, I’ve been a bit wary of the medium. I never wanted to have a LiveJournal-style place to ramble and air out all of my emotions and angst. Most of my “deep thoughts” will be permanently contained within my (real) journal, thanks very much. But as time passes, anyone who reads this blog can learn a lot about me, my life, and my way of seeing the world. And mostly I’m OK with that.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about the weird public nature of the internet lately. Even though I made my facebook profile and photo albums private a long time ago, I am still sometimes concerned about what conclusions future employers could come to if they really dug through college photos of me and friends posted somewhere in cyberspace. A friend just announced her engagement–via facebook. And since she was in the UK at the time, it didn’t seem like such a strange decision, even if a phone call from here might have been more fun in a perfect world. I’ve learned of more engagements and marriages via facebook in the past few years than any other medium, mostly high school acquaintances and plenty of people I haven’t kept in touch with. And yet I know things about their lives. It’s really a little odd when you take a second to think about it.

Or maybe it isn’t, and I’m just being old fashioned. I’m one of the few people who still keeps the U.S. Postal Service busy, 42 cents at a time. I look forward to the mail every day, even though all I usually get is the occasional magazine. A postcard makes my day, a good letter, my week.

So it’s funny, I guess, with so much presence online–between this blog, Flickr, facebook, videos posted on YouTube and Viddler, reviews on Tupalo–that I’ve been really hesitating when considering joining last.fm. For those of you who don’t know, last.fm is sort of like internet radio–except each person has their own station. You install this little plug-in and the music you play on iTunes is posted online, as well as information about the artists and recommendations for similar artists you might like. And I love the idea of it. I love trolling people’s stations and listening to new music. But I’m also a bit weirded out by it.

In general, I am OK with my music taste. I don’t have a big secret Celine Dion fetish or a deep, abiding love for the musical stylings of Kenny G. Even though my friend made their video, the “comeback” of the New Kids on the Block this year didn’t really have any effect on my playlist. But if I’m in the mood to listen to Michael Jackson all afternoon, do I want the whole world to know? Or if I go into a Neil Halstead barely breathing funk, should anyone passing by know it’s not been a good day? Even stranger would be any old day, when my choices (sometimes governed by whatever comes up in shuffle, sometimes not) could only be described as a bit schizo. So I don’t know. I’ll have to think about whether I’m willing to share my music choices with anyone out there.

I recently posted a ton of photos on Flickr from my little trip to Butte and have gotten lots of feedback, mostly from hardcore fans of the city. It’s been sort of funny. But maybe all of these thoughts about privacy were brought on by this message I received on Flickr:

Dear Mistress Emily,

i hope that i do not overly intrude. i was randomly roving around flicker and happened upon a photo of the M&M cigar store in my good old hometown of Butte so of course had to pop in and see the lovely Lady’s photos and say hello. Not often that you encounter a world class Lady lingering in Butte and documenting the visit. Please be well and take very good care.

It’s nice enough, but there’s something kind of weird about a total stranger calling you a “world class Lady,” even with the most innocent and honorable of intentions. Right? And hey, I put those pictures up for the world to see. Maybe it’s just the capitalization that weirds me out.

What do you all think? Am I being paranoid? Does anyone really care what music I listen to anyway? Does “world class Lady” seem sort of funky? Does this post have any point?