Hatching new Alaska bloggers: Henkimaa edition

Hanging out with bloggers

Hanging out with bloggers: Me with Phil Munger of Progressive Alaska and Janson Jones of Floridana Alaskiana at the Loussac Library on June 23, 2009 during public testimony at the Anchorage Assembly on AO-64, the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. This was the first time I met Phil or Janson; there are other bloggers I admire & respect — including Steve Aufrecht — who I “talk” with but have never yet had the chance to meet.

This past Tuesday, I was honored to be asked by Steve Aufrecht of the blog What Do I Know? to be a guest blogger for class he’s teaching on blogs and blogging.  Other guest bloggers for the class (to be held later today) include Phil Munger of Progressive Alaska, Kellie (aka Tea N Crumpet) of Stress Management and Other Things, and Peter Dunlap-Shohl of Frozen Grin and Off and On:  The Alaska Parkinson’s Blog.

Steve blogged about the class on Wednesday, in a post entitled “Hatching New Alaskan Bloggers” — whence comes the title of my own post.  The class he’s teaching is an offering of Olé! (Opportunities for Lifelong Education) — which is, as my coworker Barbara Armstrong wrote Wednesday at the UAA Justice Center blog, is a UAA community partner.  Olé describes itself at its website as

a IRS-recognized 501c3 nonprofit corporation created to give Anchorage adults a place to continue learning together.

It defines lifelong learning as,

an attitude embraced by people who find life continually interesting and engaging and who welcome opportunities to learn.  In later life, perhaps in retirement, lifelong learners are people who have developed such a penchant for learning that they simply can’t stop; the habit has served them too well.

I can get behind that.

Steve’s post about the class introduces five of the blogs created by his students:

Those who had already created a blog:

Dorothy had set up a blog Meanderings by Dorothy to write about some of her interests such as Tai Chi, contract bridge, and Anchorage Opera. It was very basic, but now she has  added pictures, has a hit counter, and has set up links in categories.

Joe’s blog, HodgePodgepourri,  focused on documenting family history and personal recollections, has been around a couple of years.  There’s an interesting series of tales, last November, of his childhood working in the “Buckingham Palace” a hotel his family owned in Indiana.

Ed  has a very focused blog, Building an Alaska Wilderness Sauna, on the family’s sauna at their cabin.  There are dramatic pictures of it burning down.  He’s recently put up a lot of step-by-step pictures of the rebuilding.

Michael had begun a WordPress blog, but wasn’t doing much with it.  Since the class began, he created a new blog, Reflections, to share his interest in philosophy and particularly the ideas in his book, The Reality of Being.

The last one for this post, is Lynne’s first ever blog, Koralling Genius. Lynne can’t actually see her blog, because she is blind.  But she can hear it.  And you can tell she has a lot of thoughts on how the world tends to dismiss people with disabilities.  I think this is a blog that will give people a view of the world they don’t usually hear.  And give her a platform where she can speak without being prejudged.

Check them out: good stuff, & great new additions to the Alaska blogosphere.

* * *

After I accepted Steve’s invitation, he sent me an email with some ideas I (& my fellow guest bloggers) might want to talk about:

  1. Getting started blogging.
  2. How much time a day do you spend
  3. What they get out of it
  4. Are you addicted?
  5. What you’ve learned from blogging.

Those are good enough questions that I might answer them not only in the class, but here as well.  Just not in this post, since my lunchtime isn’t long enough!

I can, however, write a partial answer to question 1:  I’ve been blogging: off & on since 2003.  My first blog is even still hanging out on the Internet at http://www.henkimaa.blogga.nu/.  This blog was an extension of my first website at Henkimaa.nu (which is no longer online) and used what I’d now call rudimentary blog software offered through the .nu domain.  Some (but not all) of those posts have been moved over to my present blog site  — mostly those having to do with the visit of members of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church to Anchorage during Pride 2003, which was in fact the topic of my very first blog post on June 20, 2003. (I removed posts from the blogga.nu blog as I moved them over, so they no longer show up at the original site.  I need to get around to moving the rest of them, too.)

In 2005, I started Henkimaa using Blogger software, & eventually had an assortment of blogs there devoted to different issues that were important to me: Terveys, from the Finnish word for health, Field of Words on writing, and Eyes Remain Open, which was supposed to be a photoblog.  Although those blogs are still live, I never blog there anymore: all their posts were copied over when I decided to change over to a self-hosted WordPress blog at my current side at Henkimaa.com.

(I still have a couple of private Blogger blogs too: one contains the frenetic thirty days of writing from my first National Novel Writing Month novel Cold in 2007— a work I’m still working on — and one between my ex-but-still-very-loved-partner, which we just talked today about moving over to WordPress.)

I also blogged during the summer of 2006 at a University of Alaska website dedicated to a UA employee fitness program called Start Walking, which encouraged employees to walk at least 10,000 steps (or perform equivalent exercise) ever day.  Those posts got moved over to my old Blogger Terveys site sometime later in 2006, & have been duly copied over to the current blog.

I currently blog at my own blog Henkimaa, as a contributor and coadministrator at Bent Alaska (Alaska’s LGBT blog) a, at the Alaska LGBT Community Survey, and without byline for my job at the UAA Justice Center blog. Some of my more politically oriented posts have also appeared (usually as crossposts) at Progressive Alaska, The Mudflats, Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis, Alaska Commons, and (before I became a regular contributor there) Bent Alaska.

My blogging history gives some idea of what I blog about: all kinds of stuff. As Steve told his students in introduction, “poetry, short story writing, personal reflections, and GLBT issues” — but also at various times Alaska politics, the justice system, depression & despair, insulin resistance & diabetes prevention, fitness & fat loss, and the incredibly true adventures of the Rev. Jerry Prevo.  Lately, I’ve been focusing on becoming (with limited success) somewhat less of a political blogger & more of a “I’m trying to do my own writing, dammit!” blogger, & also on “god stuff” & religion, which stems in one part out of a sporadic & difficult conversation with an important person in my life, in another with my lifelong interest in religion (which amongst other things earned me a B.A. in Religion), & in another with the endemic use of religious ideologies to batter LGBT people.

And now my lunchtime is over. Therefore, so is this blog post.

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