Post Number 200

This photograph was captured four years ago with the Lumix FX01. Mike Harmon and I had spent the better part of a Saturday riding our motorcycles through the San Bernardino mountains without any particular agenda or destination in mind, and stopping whenever we saw something interesting to capture a frame or two with our cameras. Toward the end of the day as we rode though the long curves south of Running Springs on Route 330, we were both peering through breaks in the trees along the road and noticed what looked like a promising sundown developing in the west. We opened the throttles on our bikes simultaneously and raced through the curves for a few minutes, pushing up against the limits of our tires’ abilities to hold onto the road, until we reached the overlook where we could take in this view.

200

This is Crossings post number 200. If you were to go through the recent posts and the archives and count, though there is no reason to think that any reasonable person would, you would find that there are 199 posts that precede it. But that number is somewhat deceptive.

Crossings originally appeared on Blogger.com, running there from May, 2009 until May, 2011, when I switched the location of the blog to WordPress.com. The switch was prompted by my frustration with the very limited control offered by the blogger layout software. I figured that since the layout software had become increasingly unreliable, and I had become increasingly aggravated by it during the previous two years, there was little to be gained by continuing to use it. In fact, toward the end I was spending more time dealing with the inconsistencies of Blogger’s layout software than writing the posts, and I was beginning to loathe the idea of using the software to publish a post.

When I moved the blog to the present WordPress address, I eliminated several posts and incorporated several others into the Galleries and Motorcycle Rides pages that were located (at that time) in the left column. So this isn’t actually post number 200. But it does give me an excuse to write an “anniversary” post of the sort that journalistic culture is so found of. It is a sort of survey of the history of the blog (and I’m using the term “history” in the lightest, most inconsequential possible sense).

Why Bother?

For a dozen years or more, I was in the habit of sending frequent email messages to friends and relatives. The messages often had my photographs embedded and the subjects were my frequent motorcycle trips throughout the western U.S. or things I found interesting, beautiful, bizarre, or insane. I spent considerable time with each email message, trying to determine who the recipients should be. It depended on what the subject matter was. I’m not sure that I ever got the recipient list right.

In 2009 I realized that my time would be better spent if I stopped worrying about who the recipients would be, and simply started posting the messages on a Web Blog.

Where The Name Came From

Crossings was the title of a 35,000 word nonfiction story about motorcycling that I wrote in 2007. I cut up the story into twelve sections and posted it on the original blog. I liked the title for the blog because it implied an intersection of things.

After a couple months I realized that the story was not well served by the blog format. It appeared to be the wrong medium for the story, and cut up into a dozen sections, it seemed fragmented. I removed the story from the blog, but retained the title. I keep toying with the idea of publishing the story as an Ebook. Perhaps I will actually do that someday.

Photography, Motorcycling, and In Between

The “In Between” in the blog’s tag line covers anything I feel like photographing or writing about, which is a fairly wide open range of subject matter. Many of the subjects, such as the historical relationship between writing technologies, beer brewing, and UFO sightings, are not serious, though the posts on motorcycling and photography generally are.

No SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

I recently received a comment from someone who pointed out, quite unnecessarily, that a particular post was not optimized for search engines. That person also pointed out that I hadn’t included the proper keywords in the text of the post, and what was equally bad from their perspective was that those few search keywords that randomly happened to be in the text of the post were in the wrong places. It was another self-serving comment, since they wanted to sell me a $75.00 software application to allegedly make sure that I got the maximum ratings and attention from search engines such as Google, Bing, Alta Vista, and et cetera. In addition to the self-serving advertising, the biggest problem with that comment was that I’m not interested in that sort of robotic writing.

I am a writer, not a machine. And sufficient and increasing numbers of readers are finding their way to this blog via Web search engines primarily because of the tags I apply to the posts, which is the way I want it. No SEO is needed or wanted, thank you very much. The tags are working just fine.

If I wanted to write like a robot, and corrupt the language in the process, that could easily be accomplished by blindly following the advice offered by Microsoft Office’s Grammar Checker, which was programmed by engineers who are generally brilliant when developing software, but rarely can communicate, either verbally or in writing, in a manner beyond the most elementary level. Microsoft has been very consistent with the Grammar Checker, insisting in being wrong about the same things for well over fifteen years.

I don’t believe that anyone who has read even one of my posts was looking for anything written by a machine.

I Just Want To Have Fun With It

As Terry Gilliam of Monty Python once noted, not pandering to the widest possible audience is a kind of arrogance, though not necessarily a bad approach to creating something. “That you’re not out there to want to be loved so desperately that you’ll do anything. Its about maintaining your own integrity and your own view of the world, whatever that is, and trying to be truthful about it”.

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