Tag Archives: Thoughts

The Earthquake

For the last two Sundays in a row we went to ride bicycle at the Bicycle Sundays event at Bronx River Parkway (Every year from April to October a 7 seven mile stretch of the Parkway closes to automobile traffic on Sundays 10am -2pm so cyclists can enjoy the road). It was a breezy and very relaxing 2 hours ride. I saw lots of people take their kids out with them. The older kids would get their own little bikes to ride along side the parents; the younger ones, who couldn’t ride by themselves, would sit in a trailer that was towed behind their parent’s bike. It was a family event. Everyone was enjoying it and they all looked so happy.

Then came the news of the Sichuan earthquake. Tens of thousands lives lost, families destroyed. Small luxuries in life like riding a bicycle on a Sunday morning suddenly look so insignificant and precious at the same time. I think of the things I feel unhappy about in my life, then I think of those who have lost home, children, and parents in the earthquake. Things like this really change your perspective. It makes you realize what is and what is not the most important in this world.

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Happy April Fool’s Day

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April Fool’s Day always bring back fond memories for me, mostly because of my numerous successful pranks I’ve played back in the college days. Every time I think back of those they bring smiles back to my face. I guess the reason it feels so warm is that they were played on my best friends (and boyfriend, once) who now live far away. It seems back in those golden years everything was full of happiness and laughter. They were certainly the happiest five years of my life.

I dedicate this post to my husband (my then b.f. who was fooled by me into thinking the lock on our dining hall (#9) locker was hacked by thieves), my dear friend Garfy (who fell victim to my naughtiness and went to boys’ dorm to fetch a letter that didn’t exist), and friends on a mailing list that I sent a “printer-shredder” prank to. They made beautiful memories, and it’s this time of the year again.

No Subject

Lately I’ve not been blogging much. There are a few reasons for that:

  1. I’ve been spending lots of time on Facebook, which I just joined a month ago.
  2. I got into poker, Texas Hold’em Poker. I’ve been playing (mostly on Facebook) and absolutely loved it. At the time of speaking, my poker status is “Poker Pro” with about $15,000 in my bag. My goal is to get to at least “Big Dog”, preferrably, “Shark”. :-)
    Texas Hold’em is a fascinating game, so many facets to it, full of strategies and a lot are based on observations.
  3. I’ve spent quite some time reading and commenting on a couple of friends’ blogs, who have been blogging like crazy lately… (you know who you are!)
  4. I’m in a lull.
  5. A couple of other things that were occupying my mind, which I cannot blog about.

However I also remind myself that there are more than a few reasons that I should keep on blogging:

  1. I want to keep a record of my life, my thoughts, my mind so in the future when I look back, I will truly experience that famous saying, “my whole life flashes in front of my eyes”. I just hope after that I would not die.
  2. I want to engage my readers, however many, or few, there are.
  3. I want to keep up a commitment I made when I started. There are few things in my life that have lasted for longer than ten years (with the exception of family, a husband and some friends). A personal blog may not be a very significant part of life, but a will to commit is.
  4. I have a voice, I like to express, that makes me a great candidate for this modern creature called “blogger”.
  5. I consider writing artistic expression. That would make one who writes an artist (whether a good or a bad one is another issue). It feels good to think of self as the creator of something meaningful.
  6. I type fast.

DWTS Finale: A Fun Season

The show was over, champion crowned. Once again America didn’t vote for the best technical dancer (last time that happened was when Mario Lopez lost to Emmitt Smith). This time however I’m not even sure Helio was the most improved, but that doesn’t matter any more. It was a great season with lots of quality dances, tons of drama, and tremendous fun. Continue reading

To “Read More” or Not To “Read More”?

Mouse Click

By that, I mean the use of the More tag that truncates your blog post and in place put a “Read More” link for your readers to click to read the rest.

Is that a good practice? for you? for your readers?

I have been thinking about this ever since I started blogging, then today I found some fellow WordPress.com bloggers were discussing this very topic in WordPress forum. Some of my feelings were echoed there. Some were not. I decided instead of posting in the forum I will write down my thoughts in a post here.

There are two types of readers: those who have been reading your site and those who’s come here for the first time. Among those who’ve been reading, some of them read from an RSS reader and some visit the website every time. New visitors, obviously, are always reading at your website when they come for the first time.

  • Regular feed readers
    They don’t like the Read More link as it requires them to wait and load the web page to read. If all your readers are feed readers then you don’t want to use More tag at all. Getting the whole post right in front of their eyes makes them more likely to read the whole thing. It increases the readership, even if it means one less hit to your web site.
  • Regular web readers
    You don’t want to use the More tag on them either. Similar to the feed readers, they are already regularly visiting and they most of the time are just looking for new posts at the top. You want to make things easier for them, so they will read as much as possible. One less click is a couple seconds less wait time. Treat your regular readers well.
  • First-time web visitors
    This is where the issue becomes interesting. Do you get more readership out of a visitor when he has to hit page down 5 times just to see the next headline (then lose the patience after 10 keystrokes)? or do you get more when he sees 1-2 headlines per page, quickly finishes scanning all of your headlines on the front page before picking the ones he likes to click on?

    Ask yourself. When you are a visitor to a website for the first time, do you hit page down to scan the headlines first to see what this site has in store? I do and I think most people do too. I scan the headline quickly then decide which one, if any, to read. I hate having to scroll down and down and down and still can’t see the next headline. Sometimes I just lose the patience and don’t want to scroll any more.

With all those being said, they are not the deciding factors (they are considerations).

The deciding factor should be, in my opinion, based on what your last 10 posts are as of the moment, what portions of each one do you choose to be on the front page?

  • If a post has a very compelling first paragraphs, cut at the best place, even if it’s not particularly long. Do it especially if the rest of post might not be as grabbing as the beginning. Don’t deter visitors with the length. People are more likely to read when it looks short.
  • If a post don’t happen to have a compelling beginning, but gets to the best part midway or in the end, then leave the whole post on (unless it’s miles and miles long). Maximize the likelyhood of engaging your readers per square feet of your real estate. :)
  • If a post is about a niche topic that draws only a certain crowd (like my Dancing with the Stars posts), try not to put the whole post on. People who don’t watch the show have no use for them. You should make it easy for them to skip and move on to things that have a better chance capturing their attention.

Do these make sense to you?

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Something Money Can’t Buy

I’ve said in my previous DWTS posts that I didn’t really understand why Mark Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur, decided to participate so soon after his hip replacement surgery. Someone posted this on ABC’s DWTS forum and I have found the answer. From Mark’s blog post on Sep 7th, 2007:

“I’m the first to admit that I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I can honestly say I wake up every morning with a smile knowing what a wonderful family, friends and life I have. It’s the exact same way I felt when I was broke.

Money makes so many things in life easier, but it can’t buy you a positive outlook on life. Fortunately, how any of us approaches each of our days is completely up to us. It’s not something you can buy or sell. It’s not hard to put a smile on your face every day, but for some reason some people find it impossible to do. Not me.

The opportunity to do something unique that makes me smile is something I try not to pass up, Dancing with the Stars is just that.

It’s not about how well I can dance. It’s about the opportunity to compete at something I enjoy. It’s about doing something that makes me smile every minute I’m doing it or even thinking about it.

Since I started blogging sometimes I wonder which type of blogs I like to read more, a personal journal with random thoughts on everything in daily life or a blog about a specific subject. I always pick personal journal, and posts like this are the exact reason why. There is nothing like getting inspiration from real people from all walks of life and people you’ve never met before.

Truly, there is something money can’t buy.

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Write. Speak.

Write

When it comes to written and spoken English, I want to ask you these questions:

Does writing a lot help you speak better?
Does speaking a lot help you write better?

Think about it.

If you ask me, my answer to both questions is no.

I have lots of theories when it comes to language, and this is one of them. There are four elements in learning a foreign, or any language: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Here are what I think of the four and their relations to each other:

  • Reading a lot help you write better
  • Writing a lot help you write better
  • Listening a lot help you speak better
  • Speaking a lot help you speak better even more

Familiarity with written words, through reading, helps you in the process of composing words in writing. Familiarity with spoken words, through listening, helps you in the process of composing words verbally.

And of course, ultimately, as we all know, the more you write, the better you write; the more you speak, the better you speak.

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On an irrelevant note, I think if you love writing, you most likely love talking too. So in that regard, most bloggers are big talkers.

:-)
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