Monday, January 07, 2008

Blogaday 9 of 20

Good gravy, day nine. Not a day to take lightly.

The successful completion of blogaday will mark a pretty intense day for The Other Dentist. Two of the days came in December, leaving 18 for January. With those 18 posts, January 08 will become the second most posted-in month ever in the history of The Other Dentist (behind august 06, as it were). If I post just one more time outside of blogaday, January will tie. Two more times and it'll take the cup.

Traffic for the past eight days has doubled the previous eight days. I'm getting more comments than usual, not necessarily per post, but per day. People are reading the blog, and that's a good feeling.

Most importantly, I feel a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at what I've achieved so far here. I'm only nine days in, and I feel like a million bucks. Here's to 11 more, eh?

So current time is something like 1:39 AM. I had a 50 minute nap today, but aside from that have been up since nine thirty-ish. I feel fine right now because of the nap, but I know that it was deceptively short, and I'm betting that tomorrow will suffer because of it. I'm definitely going to need to get to bed early tomorrow, and will probably end up taking a big nap too. We'll see what happens.

I do worry about my sleep schedule sometimes. It functions pretty well for me, but I know that it's not exactly practical for the future. It'll never fly on the mission, that's for sure. I think that's primarily what I'm worried about. I could swing it for college I bet. I'm going to work on it though. It's a hard cycle to get out of, and I'm not positive that I want to right this minute. I don't feel like it's ruining my life, but I do believe that change is in order. I shall have to think on this.

I made a sandwich tonight. I only finished half of it. That's pretty surprising to me, because I almost always finish the whole of whatever I'm eating. Now granted, I had already had quite a bit to eat before it, and I had just filled up with lots of fluids, but still. It's currently sitting here right next to my keyboard. I wonder what will come of it. I know that if it survives the night it'll just get tossed tomorrow. There's very little chance that I'll get around to eating it tonight. I've already started my night time cycle, and food rarely fits in once the ball gets rolling. It's not a terrible sandwich, but definitely not a masterpiece. As far as sandwiches go, it's about a 3 on the 1 to 10 rating. It's just too dry, really.

So what's on my mind tonight? To be completely honest, I've got about an 80 percent grasp of what's on my mind. The other 20 percent I haven't quite pegged yet. That fifth is still floating around on the outskirts, not quite formulated yet, but definitely there. I'm aware that it's there, but I haven't categorized or imaged or worded or anything'd it yet. It's just out there.

As for the eighty, I've got a pretty good idea on it. I mean, I know it's basic subject at least. I'm not quite sure exactly how I feel about the subject, which leads to interesting things on my mind.

It's not a bad thing by any means. It's the way things are tonight, and that's not too shabby. I'm just mentioning it because it's blogaday- I've got to mention something.

Which is an interesting question that blogaday raises. I ran into it the last time I tried one of these, way back when. Of course, that was a seven day blogaday, which I've already far surpassed. (Two days is far surpassing in my book). ((And yes, I did just use those parentheses incorrectly. These ones too.)).

In any event, the question blogaday raises is something like this... I have to write something every day. Sometimes I have something to say, and other times I have nothing to say. Sometimes I can find something to say, and other times I can find absolutely nothing. I think the question is whether blogaday fuels thinking and ideas or whether it's just a way to get existing ones out. I like to think that it fuels new ones, but what if it doesn't? What if all I'm doing here is venting that which I already have, and blogaday doesn't do anything for production?

That would mean that once I'm out of ideas (right now), blogaday would become a detriment to the blog and the reader. I'm going to write no matter what, but if I produce a post that's nothing but boring, the reader will be less inclined to visit tomorrow to see what I have to say. I lose readers that way, and fewer readers (as vain as it is...) means less motivation to write. Under this scenario, blogaday has potential to destroy the blog as we know it.

But I do like to look on the brightside, and hope that blogaday really does fuel new thought and understanding. If that's the case, even if I do lose all my readers because it got boring after the first eight, at least I'll know I'm a better person because of it.

Blogaday has interesting mechanics. I've considered writing a few posts as drafts when I'm feeling very throughtful, and keeping them in reserve for nights when I don't have time or don't have any particular ideas. Does that break the rules? I really think it does. Blogaday is about stretching me and helping me think and ponder more. It's about giving me an opportunity every single night to explore myself and the world around me. Saving posts up would be like skipping a day of eating or sleeping. It looks good at the time, but it wouldn't be beneficial down the road.

I see the question between saving posts up and doing it every night as the division between say, a high school play and a play at Hale. A high school play aims to be incredibly good and to make some money at the door. More importantly though, it aims to teach the kids something. That's the high school play's number one goal. It's all about the kids. Hale is all about the money. Sure, maybe there's something about the community thrown in there, and maybe there's something about promoting the arts or whatever. But at the end of the day, it's a business, and it must run very professionally. It's going to be about making money.

So the question is whether or not this blog is about the kids or whether it's about the money. The kids being me, of course. Is it about my progress, or is it about impressing the audience and gaining more readers? If it's about me, I can't cheat and save up posts. If it's about the audience, it'd make sense to save posts for a rainy day.

I find that all very interesting, that balance between professionalism and training. We deal with it a lot in council. Brother Coleman is the kind of teacher and leader that thoroughly believes in letting us learn on our own. He gives very very little instruction concerning what we ought to do in what situation. I really think he'd rather see us fall flat on our faces and learn something than do a great job and learn nothing. It takes a lot of courage to be like that, and a ton of self-control as well. I think it's in most of our natures to step in if things are getting hairy for somebody else. Coleman is awesome enough to let things get at least a little bit hairy before he'll save the day. He's all about letting us learn.

Udy, on the other hand, is more of a director. He's still a big fan of us doing our thing and learning, but his priority is the successful operation of the seminary over there, whereas Coleman's priority is our education and our enlightenment. Both of them are of course working for both of those priorities, but it's pretty easy to see where they both are drawing their proverbial lines in the sand.

It's interesting to see those lines in high school. Most classes will have them. There are a small few that don't, but most that I've been in have some form of it. It's interesting to note that teachers are not the only ones that have to draw lines, but kids as well. I draw lines every single day. Any time there's any form of group work in school, I have to decide between the absolute performance of the group versus the participation of all individuals. That's really the question. Whether we will do what it takes to make the best product possible, or whether we will sacrifice some product for more education for the participants.

Lit mag last year was a perfect example of the line question. If Wessman put himself in charge, he could produce a mighty fine lit mag. The production process would be organized, deadlines would be met, and we'd probably turn a profit on the thing. But instead, Wessman puts his editors in charge, who in turn give the other students responsibilities. There's a long chain that goes down, that ultimately results in a litmag of imperfection. It can still be an excellent lit mag, but it's not going to be as great as the Wessman edition would have been.

As an editor last year, I had to draw lines as well. I had to decide how soon we needed something down and of what quality the job needed to be. There were students who I knew could handle any job I gave them, so I gave them the pressing difficult stuff. If there was stuff that was a little lighter, I'd give it to a few who still needed to prove themselves. I knew that some assignments I gave out would come back unsatisfactorily. But that was the line. It wasn't about the absolute lit mag, it was about the experience building it.

T has to do that with her choirs as well. If she was about absolute sound, her choirs would be super small and super strict. If you sucked, you'd be out. If you weren't going to work, you'd be out. But T is obviously not about absolute sound, as is apparent. She does care about the sound, but she clearly is more about the students than the performance. Is that a good thing? I believe so. T obviously believes so. But it's a personal question that everybody must determine for themselves.

Where does the high school draw the line? Where does a seminary council draw the line? What about professional businesses? Things get really confusing with businesses, because then we have to start analyzing the economic impact of those decisions.

It's crucial for a company to continuously be training their employees and future leaders. The best way to do that is to allow them opportunities to grow in the field. Those opportunities are almost always coupled with opportunities for them to fail and cost the company a lot of money. So what's the choice? Do you turn the project over to your very best employee, the man you know will pull it off and make you money? Or do you turn it over to the new guy, and give him a chance to prove himself? He won't make as much money, probably, but he might learn something and be able to make you more money in the future. He might bankrupt the whole adventure, too. It's a difficult line to call.

And perhaps we all have personal lines of that nature. Except instead of choosing whether we let the new guy learn something or the old guy dominate, we choose whether or not we'll try something new or whether we'll stick with the proven. Will we put ourselves out there on a limb? Success on the limb would definitely benefit the future, but failure would damage the present. Where do we draw the line?

Lines have been increasingly important in my life as of late. This is just one of the lines I've begun to notice. It's important because I find my opportunities directly related to how whoever is in charge chooses to draw their line. At this stage of my life, I am the new guy. I'm waiting to prove myself. I've done it in a few places. I've had successes and I've had failures. I'm still the new guy though, and it's interesting to see where different people put their lines. To be honest, I feel like I'm ready for more people to relax their lines a little bit. I wish that I had more chance in my classes to teach. I know it's kind of stupid, but I feel like I've got something to offer Calculus and English and what-have-you. I think most people probably do. I hope that once I enter the business world, that I'll be given a chance to prove myself. It'll be interesting to see.

I use the word "interesting" quite often. What does interesting mean? I think, to me, it means something that teaches something about that which is beyond our own selves. Things which are purely mundane are never interesting. We already know the mundane. When I say that something is interesting, I say it because it leads me to believe that there's something bigger than me out there. And whether that something is the movements of the economy as a whole or just one other individual or the divine, it is still interesting.

Interesting is, well, interesting.

And I believe that that, my friends, is enough for blogaday day nine. Once again we find that I got somewhere in the end. I find that if I talk about the mechanics of blogaday for long enough, something will generally pop up.

What am I? Why am I doing all this? I'm doing it because I feel like it's the right thing to do. I figure that's a pretty good reason. Be it entertaining or enlightening or a pile of dung, here it is. Is it for me? Is it for you? I believe it's for us both, in a way. It's an adventure, no matter what the mechanics of it all.

Good night friends. I hope things are going well for you. Keep up the excellent work.

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