Thursday, October 14, 2021

John Parsons Blogging History

Got blogs in my blood...

I probably started blogging in 1986 but didn't know I was blogging back then.  That's when I bought my first computer.  I would write daily entries on it and print them out on an old noisy dot-matrix printer.  When Windows 3.1 came along, I really amped up by daily writing.  As soon as I figured out how to post narratives online I did so.  That would be about 25 years ago, plus or minus, but probably 1995 and definitely no later than 1996.  That's back when buying a domain name and creating an actual hosted website was heady stuff.  I actually created the very first watershed website in all of America back then!  Seriously.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation bought an installed the latest, greatest computer for the Verde NRCD somewhere around 1995 and then they paid to connect us to the web with the best available local internet service provider.  Since it was easier to post text that photos back then, I would write frequent, sometimes daily entries about The Verde River and its watershed.  So, that would qualify as my first genuine "web log.."  You see, that's what the word "blog" actually means.  The two words "web log" were shortened to "blog" long fact, so long ago that most people don't even know.

Anyway, things proceeded merrily along for the rest of the 90's.  I was happily blogging away even though it still wasn't yet know as blogging.  In late Y 2 K, we decided to retire at the ripe old age of 53.  We decided to take a really long Road Trip from Arizona to the north tip of Vancouver Island.  Naturally, we named our trip: "Western Space Odyssey 2001."  And, naturally, we bought a domain name to that effect.  And, naturally, we began writing long daily tomes to post on that website.

What eventually became today's Google Blogger wasn't even invented until 1999 and it was so obscure I never even heard of it until a few years later.  The word "blog" was just beginning to echo in the lexicon of internet-related jargon.  To me, daily writing was a Way Of Life and it was just something that I did whether anyone was reading it or not.

Our last day at The Verde Natural Resource Conservation District was January 10, 2001.  On January 11, the very next day, we arrived on the beach at Rocky Point, Sonora, Mexico.  That's where my blogging really took off.  Of course, I STILL didn't know that IU was blogging!  To me it was just the daily habit of writing and then posting the words on the web.

It was rather difficult to get my writing actually posted on the web.  I had an ancient Windows 3.1 machine that used a floppy disk.  Remember those?  So, I would sit in our little pop top camper and peck away at the keyboard to write a long narratives of each day's doing's.  By and by, we would drive out little Suzuki Samurai into "downtown" Puerto Penasco to what was then known as an "internet cafe."  We'd pay our pesos and be granted access to a clunky desktop computer connected to the internet via one of those despicable 14.4K dial up phone modems.  Talk about S-L-O-W!

Each day we were eventually successful and posted out writing.  One of the visitors to Palmar RV Park that season was a retired airline pilot from an upscale East Coast area.  He became very curious about my writings.  So, he returned home and printed out each and every single day's worth of writing.  Then he had the printouts professionally bound into three booklets and sent them to me!  Seriously!  So, I have actually physical PROOF of my early 2001 blogging.

This whole archaic method of blogging continued unabated through that summer 20 years ago and then into the next couple of years that followed.  Sometime perhaps in late 2001 or early 2002, I actually heard about the Blogger platform. Back then it was owned by Pyra Labs and sounded decidedly cumbersome, unwieldy and expensive.  I ignored it.

Well, by and by, Google bought Pyra Labs in early 2003 and that was the down of the new Blogger.  Google made everything free and began a steady drum roll of amazing improvements.  I was one of Google's first "early adopters" for the Blogger platform.  I can't seem to remember or find my first Google blog but it's out there somewhere---probably in more ways than one of being "out there".

Google really had Blogger running slick by 2004 and that's when we started out first summer of Forest Service volunteering at Bowery Guard Station.  In the next few years and especially in late 2007 and all of 2008, I really latched onto Blogger and began creating blogs of all types and stripes, a trend that has continued to present.

As of mid-October 2021, I don't even know how many blogs I have, let alone where they all are.  I would guess I have at least 70 blogs but it's probably much closer to 100.  Seriously. I have somewhere around 20 Gmail addresses and each of those accounts has quite a large number of blogs.  I bet my primary Gmail account has more than 20 blogs.  One of these days we will count 'em up.

Google doesn't care how many blogs you have and they are all free so why not?  I often create a blog for any reason...or NO reason at all.  A few weeks back I created about six new blogs for which I have yet to create even a single post.  Why?  Well, I read about a new trend that hasn't yet caught on and figured I might as well lock up some relevant blog names "just in case" the trend takes hold.  I think they call that "blog squatting"...or something.

Obviously, THIS blog is my Number One Primary blog and it has it's own domain name: Live Simple, Care Much.  So whazzup up with that?

In the Fall of 2005, Susun and I spent a lot of time talking about the then new trend of "voluntary simplicity."  Back in '05, it was all the rage.  We both decided we ought to buy a website domain name capitalizing on that phenomena but we couldn't think of a name that both of us liked.  Time passed.  

On Christmas Morning 2005, we were getting ready to go to Christmas Dinner with Our Dear Friends, Brad, Kate and Joshua.  Suddenly about 30 minutes before our departure the name hit both of us: Live Simple Care Much.  BAM!  Just like that.

So we jumped online and bought the domain name and dutifully continued to pay our annual dues to keep it.  However, we really didn't know what we wanted to do with the name.  We just knew we WANTED THAT NAME! Time passed.

Back on Halloween 2009, a juvenile jerk badly vandalized our Arizona home  by breaking out numerous windows.  We rushed from our job in Idaho Falls down to Rimrock and began an incredibly labor intensive, long-term rehabilitation project.  It took nearly two months of non-stop work to get the house repaired and safely "vandal-proofed."  Then we headed back to Idaho Falls to resume working our paid job as Director of The Eastern Idaho Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).  Well, we got snowbound in Nephi, Utah, and had to hole up for two days at the Safari Motel there.

That's when I learned my boss has been fired and everything was going to change at my job.  We decided right then and there to retire from the job just as soon as we could get everything in order.
And that's when we decided to document the entire transition with a blog dedicated solely to the documentation process.

We created a Google Blog called "y2ten" and began blogging away.  Man, that blog took off in a heartbeat and I was writing up a storm on it.  As time passed I realized the name was totally inadequate and that's about the time Google decided to let people link their own domain name to a blog.  

BINGO!  Finally, we knew and understood the reason why we had the domain name "Live Simple. Care Much" and had held on to it for over 4 years.  We quickly linked the domain name to the y2ten blog and carried on blogging there for many years.

All-in-all we put up over 1,700 blog posts on Live Simple Care Much before we were kidnapped by Facebook.  Now that we have broken free of the Facebook cult, we're back to our roots here happily blogging once again on Live Simple Care Much.

We're not going back to the Facebook gulag. Yes, we will visit our account every day and like and share stuff but we will no longer write our own stuff to be posted there.  Whatever we write will be posted here.  We might occasionally link a blog post from here to Facebook but, as a general rule, we won't.

We're going back to writing purely for the sake of writing, just as we once did long before the word "blog" was openly spoken.  Whether anyone reads our writing is irrelevant to us once again.  It's a wonderfully liberating feeling and we're already immensely enjoying our born again blog buzz.


Sue Malone said...

Dramatic history, John. I can't even imagine managing that many blogs. Do you sleep?

Gaelyn said...

Great story. Sure wish I'd been online blogging when I first began traveling in the 70s. Instead I wrote every day in my journals, which sadly are all gone from either flood or fire. I was introduced to blogging in 2008 and have been posting every since, at first daily but now usually twice a week. Started with blogger but moved to WordPress. 3300 posts later, I am certainly addicted to blog. Thanks for starting back up again. I love your writing and stories.

Susun said...

No love your writing and history info so much. Thank you.