TSB reaches 300, Let’s do the Twist, and Interview with Allie Larkin, Fun Chicken Memories, Thematic Photographic, more

In 2007, I started Thirty-something Bloggers, and as I say in my About section, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I’ve met so many fantastic bloggers and made new friends as we work together to make TSB and our own blogs, careers, and lives better.

Late last week, we welcomed our 300th member — it seems so recent that we were excited to hit 100! The community includes all different types of Thirty-somethings, and in addition to promoting our blogs and projects, we also chat about everything from what we miss about our twenties to how we feel about marriage, family, and kids.

We have t-shirts.

While I want to highlight each and every one of these fantastic people, there’s not enough screen space here for even half of the TSBs. So, in honor of the faithful few who helped me get started, I’m linking to TSBs first ten members, besides me, who’ve been going strong since the beginning. Others have joined since and been very active members, and I’ll highlight them soon too, but for now I thought I’d reintroduce the earliest joiners … some of whom stuck it out for a few months when there were only seven of us. If you scroll down the sidebar, you can also read the most recently updated blogs among all of the TSBs, too.

Here are the inaugural bloggers of TSB:

GrammarGirl – member #2

Keely – #3

Joe – #4

Justine – #5

Shawn – #6

Nanette – #7

A Mental Fracture – #8

LA Blogger Gal -#9

Michelle – #10

The Daily Randi – #11


A visitor‘ left this comment on 1 Sep 08
And just think, in mere months I’ll need to move on to the forty-something bloggers group (if there is one – and if not, I guess I’ll need to start one!) So sad.
Bart‘ left this comment on 1 Sep 08
Hooray for us! I mean, I know I only joined recently, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen dividends in the traffic sense, plus found some new reading materiel of my own (including this site rightcheer).

I Give Up.

I realized today that I just keep making excuses as to why I don’t blog about everything I’d like to. Readers who’ve been here for a while know that this blog continues to evolve, but it’s not just a natural evolution of things that k

I realized today that I just keep making excuses as to why I don’t blog about everything I’d like to. Readers who’ve been here for a while know that this blog continues to evolve, but it’s not just a natural evolution of things that keeps it moving — or stalled, as the case may be.

I don’t want to just write about my job as a writer, although that’s a big part of it. I also want to write about being a traveler and a foodie and thirty-something geek. I’ve done fairly well with blending all of this together into one, semi-cohesive blog. But there’s still a good amount missing. A lot that I’m wary or scared to put out there. Here’s why:

Excuse #1 – I still feel like I need some sort of theme and I don’t want to be all over the map here, thus alienating any of my readers. But, I think a lot of people blog about different things, and I also think by the masthead it’s pretty obvious what I do for a living.

Excuse #2 –  As a writer, my full name is pretty much out there. I’m not hard to find, and while this is true for many bloggers, and while I don’t have a particularly controversial blog, and furthermore my employers know I have one, I worry, because of excuse #3.

Excuse #3 – The more information I make available here, the more fodder for the Internet Stalkers. Some of you reading this are saying, ‘Stalkers?’ Oh, we all have those. Who cares if they Google your name three times in three hours?’

Well, I do and I don’t. It’s their prerogative to search their little lives away, but while they are wasting valuable time misspelling my first name and poring over old blog posts, they’re missing out on the beauty that is Web 2.0. Dudes. I can see where you’re coming from. I know how you’re getting here, when, and from what computer.

That last part is what bugs me the most. Some of the Once and Future Googlers live in the same region as me. I wouldn’t give one or two of those folks the time of day in real life, so why share personal bits here? That’s a valid point, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that if they’re spending that much time searching for info on little ole’ me (completely ignoring how boring I am, hello), they probably already know everything that I think I’m hiding.

I am private about certain things, and I always will be. Not because they’re weird or bad or shameful — I don’t have a third arm growing out of my back or anything — but just because they’re mine. 

Still. There are things I’m dying to share with my real readers who come by, maybe make a nice comment (or not, that’s cool too), and who’ve helped me in some way in the last year in particular, whether they realized they did or not. I think about some of the blogs I read regularly, and how their stories about everything from sci-fi literature to redecorating the house to cupcake recipes to Hot Blogger calendars and everything in between are entertaining, informative, and fun. Then, I think about all the stories I haven’t told, and I almost feel like I’m not participating. Like I can’t really be me on this blog until I get over my fear.

A couple of fellow bloggers have made this easier recently by ‘outing me’ on one account. They blogged about something I haven’t blogged about yet, and perspective hit. Why am I hiding this? I thought. It’s not my home address or deep inner-secrets we’re talking about. I know I have a pretty solid core of readers who make me feel more insulated. And in addition, I have a feeling I’m going to hate myself for writing this here, but in five years of blogging, I have yet to get a mean-spirited comment. Granted, I moderate them, so you’ll never see one here unless I blog about it to make fun of its inevitable bad grammar. But I’ve never received one. I’ve gotten mean e-mails, yes, but what journalist hasn’t?

So what I’m saying is I’m going to open up a little. If it backfires, it backfires, and I’ll go back to protecting a little more than I’d like, because I’m a wuss. I’ll tell you one thing, though — WriterJax and The Jump aren’t going away any time soon. I wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction.

…that said (gulp) here’s what I did with my summer vacation:

…more later.


writerjax‘ left this comment on 12 Sep 08
thanks Dawn, it’s people like you that made me want to open up a little!
A visitor‘ left this comment on 12 Sep 08

Ok, I am back from vacation! (Against my will, but back nonetheless.)First of all: congratulations! What awesome news!! I am so glad you decided to share.

Which brings me to: I know what you mean about keeping some things out of view from the blogosphere. I do the same thing. I am sure I could drop some real bombs on some of my readers–I’m not married though! LOL The thing is, I am a private person in a lot of ways. I don’t necessarily have a stalker issue (although it did come up mildly a time or two) but there are just some things I don’t wish to share with the world at large & Blogger doesn’t allow me to password specific posts. I guess it’s all about finding the fine line that works for you.

It’s funny, as I was reading your post, I was nodding my head but I was *completely* unprepared for the Big Reveal! I am so glad you felt you could share this though & let us celebrate with you! =)

A visitor‘ left this comment on 3 Sep 08
Actually, everyone, the FOURTH arm is growing out of her back. The third one is kind of in the shoulder area.
A visitor‘ left this comment on 3 Sep 08
Ahhh!!! I have to log off & leave for the airport and you share something like that! I have more to say about the post but I had to say *something* before I logged off! Sooo pretty! And happy! =)

Your Useless History Lesson for Today…

In having a discussion about ‘firsts’ in the Oval Office — the potential for the first black president of the U.S., or the first woman in the Veep Seat — ArcherVision and I started wondering if there had ever been a president who was also a P.O.W., as was McCain.

After a little walk through Wikipedia, we discovered that George Washington and Andrew Jackson were P.O.Ws. Washington was captured by the French during the French and Indian War, and Jackson was captured with his brother at the age of 13 during the American Revolutionary War; he was a courier.

Other interesting P.O.W.s include Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mitterand, and of course Kurt Vonnegut.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 5 Sep 08
And I’ll bet Teddy Roosevelt knew how to field dress a moose.

C’mon baby, Let’s do the Twist


Twist, an alternative art and craft fair, kicked off last night in Northampton, Mass., and I stopped by to shoot some photos for the mag I work for (and to just check out the scene). Twist is, in a word, radical. It’s a collection of artists, artisans, and crafters, many of whom sell their wares on etsy.

From hand-knitted scarves to blown-glass picture frames to edgy clothing (like these Stank Puss panties, for instance:

stank puss

photo by ArcherVision) Twist had a little bit of everything, and put a whole new spin on the idea of a crafter’s market.

b side fruits

In addition, it was held inside an architecturally awesome building, and featured ‘adult beverages’, a disco ball, and live DJs (not to mention an after party).



It was all an effort to showcase handmade and small-run artists and crafters in a hip setting, and in my opinion it was totally successful. The place was crammed at 6 pm on Friday, just an hour into its two-day run, and sales seemed brisk. I picked up at least a dozen business cards, in hopes of buying more goods on etsy later on. A couple of my favorites include James Anthony, Lexie Barnes, BMW Ironworks, and Whispering Willow. Plus, a second Twist is planned for the spring.

After Twist, we headed to the Toasted Owl for their awesome wings and to watch a little of the Sox game, and took in some of Noho’s colorful storefront windows:

goat woman

dynamite noho


A visitor‘ left this comment on 9 Sep 08
I can’t believe I missed out on this…..Northhampton is awesome too. I’ll have to try and make it next time as it isn’t too far away from me….
A visitor‘ left this comment on 6 Sep 08
I love events/shops that support artists. This sounds like so much fun and the building is amazing. I love great architecture, especially Frank Lloyd Wright inspired windows.

Thematic Photographic #5 and #6 – Faded and Close-up

I whiffed on last week’s ThemPho, but I did in fact have a photo chosen for the theme ‘faded’ :”In Many Ways, Big Boy Never Left” 35 mm photo scanned with HP Photosmart c4800; shot with a Nikon N70, fuji 200 ASA film; 28 – 200 T

I whiffed on last week’s ThemPho, but I did in fact have a photo chosen for the theme ‘faded’ :

big boy

“In Many Ways, Big Boy Never Left” 35 mm photo scanned with HP Photosmart c4800; shot with a Nikon N70, fuji 200 ASA film; 28 – 200 Tamron lens

And this week’s theme is ‘close-up,’ so I chose a macro shot of a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture I found in the Atlanta Botanical Garden while researching for this story.

dale chihuly

“Dale Chihuly’s Art,” Nikon D70 with 18-55 Nikkor lens


Me‘ left this comment on 13 Sep 08
I am constantly missing the theme deadline so I feel your pain. I have never seen a “big boy” but this is exactly what I thought it would look like. Your close up is wonderful. I love glass and the colors are fantastic

TSB Featured Blogger: Allie’s Answers

“I feel like this is like an Oscars speech and I know I’m forgetting people!”

Nominated by: Beej

Blogging since: April 2007

Favorite Post

— Q&A: How would you categorize your blog?

Allie’s Answers is a green blog. My goal is to help people make simple, inexpensive green changes that have a big impact. I think it’s easy to get the impression that going green is hard, or expensive, or involves sacrifice. In going green, I don’t feel like I’ve made any real sacrifices, and while some green products are more expensive, others are less expensive, so it all evens out in the end. I also just started a personal blog.

What blogs do you read?

I just got back from a two week “blogcation” and was so lucky to have some of my favorite bloggers fill in for me: The Good Human Amanda from Come the Revolution Fake Plastic Fish Go Green Travel Green Howling Hill Mark from Chronicle of a Gay Marriage Nancy Pearl Wannabe Mickey from The Prettiest Denny’s Waitress Dianne from Dianne’s Dishes Courtney from Malfeasance did a great guest review for me a few weeks ago. … I read so many blogs. My Google Reader is out of control. Please check out my links page.

What’s your plan to rule the world?

Ruling the world sounds like a lot of responsibility. It would probably give me a headache. What I would like to do, as cheesy as it sounds, is work to make the world a better place. My friend, Neil, has taken it upon himself to raise twenty thousand dollars for The Cambodian Children’s Fund this year. To me, it’s so inspiring that this guy who’s just trying to get by like everyone else, is working so hard to improve other people’s lives. It’s changed my perspective on so many things. I feel like it’s opened me up to thinking about what I can give and how I can help, instead of getting caught up in that daily struggle of all the little details that don’t matter very much when it comes down to it.

What will you say to Oprah when we’re featured on her show?

Ha! I’d love to tell you I’d have something beautiful and witty to say her, but in all reality, I’d probably just make a lot of unintelligible sounds and cry. I’m cool like that.

Former featured blogger:

Helmet, Utah, U.S., of Helmet’s Blogapalooza

Fun Chicken Memories

Do you ever find yourself staring directly into your own past after spying some random person, place, or thing from your childhood?

That’s what happened to me last weekend, when ArcherVision and I went to the Cape for the Cranberry Harvest Festival and to celebrate JaxMum and JaxDad’s anniversary – 51 years!

It was a rainy weekend, and we found ourselves driving up Route 28 in search of cool coffee places. On the way, I pointed out the Zooquarium, a tourist trap in Yarmouth that I’ve never actually been inside before. We swung in with a ‘what the hell?’ attitude and paid the $9.50 to get in out of the rain — only to find that half the zoo is actually outside.

It was a fun time, though. We saw lots of animals indigenous to the Cape, including scup:



and this freaky albino chipmunk.


Outside is a petting zoo with sheep and goats and alpacas, as well as a lot of birds and a couple of snuggling tortoises. ArcherVision and I checked out the magic mirror for a minute

magic mirror

and that’s when I saw it. I don’t remember if it was in the laundromat near my parent’s summer home or the Ground Round near my sister’s college, but at some point in my childhood, I frequented a place that included THE FUN CHICKEN.

fun chicken

This is the deal. The chicken, powered by a mere quarter, comes to life by spinning in a circle and going ‘bawk! bawk! bawk!’ for about 10 seconds. Then, the machine spits out a plastic egg with a prize inside. Prizes are little rings and bracelets and bouncy balls; but if you’re super lucky, you might get the coveted golden egg, which usually has either double prizes or a cooler prize. I think I recall that, sometimes, the golden egg had actual money inside. But this may be a kid-sized urban myth.


The entire experience was damp, but a nice escape into juvenile bliss.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 19 Sep 08
That is such a neat find! I *totally* believe there was money in the golden egg. 😉

Thematic Photographic #7 – Nature

The timing on this week’s ThemPho is great –

fall is my favorite time of year, and nature photos always tend to abound in our house during this time.

I didn’t need to think very hard about which photo to post this week; it’s my favorite shot from a trip to Poet’s Seat Tower, and reminds me of new horizons.


‘It isn’t hard to do;’ Poet’s Seat Tower, Greenfield, Mass., October 2007


A visitor‘ left this comment on 29 Sep 08
Wow… just made me miss Autumn in New England so much.

Get By With a Little Help from my Tweets

I just returned from a Tweet-up held in my honor at the Northampton Brewery, and to recycle an old joke from the old, bull-pen newsroom, ‘a good time was had by all.’

I felt loved to be joined by some of my favorite Tweeps for a couple of brews and paninis, to talk about life, new projects, new directions, and the power of friends.

Who are these wonderful people? Give their blogs a gander.


World 2.0 Adventure

The Constant Observer


Round World Photo

“People first. Then money, then things.” Suze Orman

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