Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogging thoughts and some flowers from my garden

I regularly read 45 blogs. By “regularly”, I mean every few days – some more often. Is this a large number, I wonder, compared to other people?

On the whole, I comment every time I read. Sometimes I have something to say – though wouldn’t claim that my comments contain deep philosophical insights which will clarify the lives of the bloggers – but often it just seems polite to indicate my presence. I get the impression that most people feel, like me, that you shouldn’t (even metaphorically) go looking at other people’s diaries without telling them – even though they leave the diaries lying around with a notice saying “Read me!”
There are one or two blogs – in fact I think actually two – that I don’t often comment on, the reason being that their writers never respond. One of them gets hardly any comments, so I imagine that she doesn't comment on others’ blogs, writes just for herself and is happy with that. She has a tendency to say things without explanation (“Collected A from the airport” – who’s A? Why?). The only reason that I keep only an occasional eye on her is that I actually knew her in the past and I’m faintly curious about her. I emailed her when I first came across her blog and she didn’t respond, which seems odd to me (I can never resist replying to emails that aren’t offering to extend my penis) but there you are. The other one gets comments from many people, so I suppose she can’t respond to everyone and knows that she has lots of readers anyway.

Communication is more fun on a two-way basis. Yet I do still leave comments with a couple of bloggers who never respond. Why? Hmm. Just because I like their blogs, I suppose.

It interests me to see what sort of posts will elicit comments. There’s one blog I read that is, in one sense, not at all well written. Grammatically, it’s really not good. (I don’t mean just the occasional slip, though I’m tempted to ask some of you really good writers to reconsider your use of the word “it’s”. Quite a few people have got it wrong recently, though I’m sure it’s just a typo. Sorry to be teacherish, and yes, I’m quite sure I make mistakes too.) Anyway, this lady is very nice and unfailingly positive and cheerful, with the result that her blog is very heartwarming and the oddness of the writing doesn’t matter at all. And she gets lots and lots of comments, far more than I do, none of them (quite rightly) mentioning her grammar. What does that really matter, after all?

Reading all those blogs and commenting on them is quite time-consuming, and I do often wonder if it’s a justifiable use of time. Guilt, guilt... .I’m at the stage of trying not to be tempted to investigate any more because there are so many good ones out there with huge archives of fascinating reading. The daughter of one of my father’s colleagues has just, very sadly, died suddenly at my age – 57 – and it’s made me think. I’ve always imagined that when I retire, I’m going to do all the things I haven’t had time for up till now. I wonder if she thought the same.

But on the other hand, I do really love getting little glimpses of other lives and places and the whole communication thing with people I’d never otherwise come across is such fun. In terms of pleasure, it’s a good use of time.

Still, it would be nice to get the odd clue about the Persons from Salford, Dublin, Malta and so on who often log on and then silently and mysteriously slip away again. Hello, hello, hello.

By the way...

“it’s” and “its”.

“It’s” with an apostrophe is always short for “it is” or “it has”, not “belonging to it”, which is “its”. Pronouns don’t take apostrophes even when possessive: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their / mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs. The only exception is “one’s”. Sorry again – I know you know this really. And it’s so easy to spot other people’s mistakes and blithely ignore one’s own – this applies just as well to me as to anyone else. Please do tell me about mine and save me from embarrassment!
Kittens? What kittens?


  1. Isabelle, I am always thrilled to have comments from you on my blog! And I enjoy reading your posts, as well! Although, now I'm wondering about my grammar and "it's". :) I definitely love to read your posts, and I agree, I post on the blogs I read regularly, also.
    I always enjoy the flower photos!! Stay well!

  2. Also, I remembered you were in Scotland, but I thought I'd heard Scotland had received rain, as well... although not Edinburgh. Glad you're well!

  3. I'm sorry to hear about the daughter of your colleague. It's true that it makes you think about life.
    Am now completely paranoid about my use of its and it's and will have to dash back to my blog to make sure they are absolutely correct! First, however, I have to go and stop the FB from bungee jumping off the staircase with a piece of string

  4. I check 55 blogs everyday but me checking is due to complete job is B-O-R-I-N-G! I do not think that 45 (that's what you said right?) seem like too many! I said read on sister, read on!

  5. Aaahhh, Isabelle. So much to comment on! The haunts me 'cause I know I constantly make mistakes 'cause I'm typing fast and in a hurry. Their and They're drive me nuts -- I know fully well what their proper use is, but just get in a hurry. And then, there are the differences between your language and ours. Mostly spelling. But I go crazy trying to figure out where to put the period at the end of a sentence when it contains a parenthetical. (Was that even proper?) I think you put the period outside of the paren (which only makes sense to me), but we insist on putting it inside the paren, which is goofy, unless, of course, the whole sentence is within parenthesis. I'm sure I could list more.... On reading blogs -- I'm disgusted that I read so many. But I can't help it. And good luck on capping it at what you already read. I'll get a comment from someone new, and then just have to add them to my list. When will it stop??? Perhaps when my head explodes.... ;-) One thing's for sure...when it does explode and I HAVE to limit my list, your blog will be on it! ;-)

  6. Oh dear, please don't be paranoid! I'm sure it wasn't any of you!

    I'm just getting into teacher mode again - only 7 more days of holiday. Sigh.

  7. Hello Isabelle,

    I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now (since you started posting kitten pictures!) but haven't commented before now. I wanted to, as I agree with you that it seems polite to say that I'm here and reading your work, but I didn't have a Blogger account, and I've never thought that anyone would be interested if I did comment. (I have almost abandoned this comment several times for that reason.)

    Anyway, I set up a Google account for unrelated reasons the other day, and have discovered that I can use it to comment here. And since joining Facebook recently, I've discovered that these things are more fun if you join in, so here I am!

    I only check 3 blogs, and deliberately haven't gone looking for others that I might like, for fear of spending even more time in front of the computer. But if it's something that you enjoy, then it's not a waste of time, any more than reading a paper/book/magazine or phoning someone up for a chat is a waste of time, so don't feel guilty.


  8. Ah, you are a sensible person, Deems - both in reading my wise words (ok, you're only in it for the kitten pictures; more soon) and in not seeking out further blogs. Just wait, though. You probably will eventually...

    Thanks for coming out of the shadows, though. You're not the Person From Salford, are you? No, thought not. Ah well. Hello anyway.

  9. I taught elementary school for too many years to be able to knowingly publish posts with gramatical errors. Lol. I read a lot more blogs than I comment because it would be just too time-consuming but I do enjoy them all. How many is too many? I suppose it all depends on how much spare time you have.

  10. Hi Isabelle,

    I hope I'm not the one that you mentioned about not replying to comments made on my blog.

    I have always considered doing this, however, then thought that maybe they never come back to review the comments made. Once they have read and commented, is there any reason they should come back to have another look?

    Unless I am asked a specific question about my post, I tend not to reply.

    I am hoping that none of the people you mentioned in your blog are me, I hope my posts are not being dissected to that degree! They would be found severely wanting.

  11. I love this post Isabelle, and I put my hands up and admit that I am rubbish when it comes to commenting. I try to acknowledge comments if I can (and if I remember to).

    I also read blogs that I don't comment on... mainly because they are blogs with many, many 'regular' readers and I feel that everything has already been said by the time I get there :o)

    As for the number of blogs, I collected so many that now I tend to read through Bloglines, and that in itself means that often I'll read something, go to the next blog intending to comment, then get sidetracked and it doesn't happen, because you don't actually view the website.

    So many side to blogging that I never anticipated when I started writing one! :o)


    PS. I think the kittens are little gems for all their helping with washing and ironing of lab coats. I could do with a lab coat ironing cat.

  12. I agree Isabelle, that half the fun of blogging is the interaction you get in the comment box! Two- three- four- five- and six-way communication is much more fun than just writing for yourself. I did that for years, and have the bulging notebooks to prove it!
    I do the rounds of about thirty regulars at least once a week, with side trips here and there along the way.
    Every time I use "its" or "it's" I think of you and hope I'm getting it right! Your explanation should simplify it for all of us----thanks Teach....
    Have you read Lynne Truss' book on grammar---Eats Shoots and Leaves? Have dipped into it and come out laughing [and better informed] each time.
    BTW, love your flowers....

  13. I also abandon blogs that don't acknowledge, whether by email, response in the combox or a visit back to my blog. It's (note the spelling, I've already had my mother rag me about this) all about manners, innit?

  14. The incorrect use of apostrophes drives me crazy, but I've come to realise that there is a gene responsible for it.Some people are born with it, and some are not. I'm a bit finicky about grammar myself, but I also get it wrong a lot. And I have some really bad grammar and punctuation the misuse, abuse and over-use of ellipses...and starting a sentence with an 'and'! I purposely choose not to correct those.

    One of the most interesting blogs I read has very little punctuation, heaps of typos, and spelling mistakes all over the place. It's almost a stream of consciousness piece. But I like that it is raw and from the heart, and stopping to edit her work may result in the blogger censoring some of it. I couldn't do it myself though, I'm a multiple-times editor.

  15. Funny old business isn't it?
    I'm not sure if 45 is a lot; I don't think I read quite so many but probably will soon as I can't resist collecting delicious people of whom there are so many! I'll count and see.
    Some of the blogs I think are really the best get few comments, apart from mine sometimes, others are really unremarkable but get a lot because their writers seem to inspire affection, or because they're clearly faithful commenters themselves. I try to comment when I can, like you say it seems polite and much of the point of doing it is for the comment interaction. Some of the best stuff is sometimes to be found in comment threads, partly I think because it feels a little more private and personal. I was thinking oof doing a post with links to some good ones I'd read!
    Last lot of kittens was gorgeous!

  16. I try to always comment on blogs I read- as you say, it seems a courtesy, somehow. And I guiltily wondered if I commit grammatical crimes! Do I leave apostophes out? I am sure I sometimes do, though I do try to be accurate.
    I do dislike seeing, signs at the Green grocer saying "Banana's $2.98 Kilo" Or "Cabbage's" I guess some of the sign writers are using English as their second language, & it must be confusing.

  17. Meggie I second that - I hate the grocer's appostrophe (I think that's what it is called) and it seems to becoming more and more common as people think they need to include it to pluralise a word.

    (and I confess, I'm guilty to not always replying to comments. Will try to do better)

  18. Isabelle,
    I am always rather flattered when I receive a comment from you.

    For years and years, I only read one blog, because I never found any others to be interesting. It built up to about 3.

    For me, all roads lead to WNP...your comments were so funny I had to find out who you were so I followed your footprints via your comments and here I am. So be flattered.

    Actually, now that I have about, mmm maybe twenty, most have them have derived from that one source, and because of the comments.
    I usually leave comments, I think it both polite, and if I am interested enough to read, I am interested to respond.

    I try to respond to comments on mine, mostly I do but not always. It is a bit addictive and I know to keep offline if I have things to do.

    By the way, if I may ask,
    does Scotland have different holidays to the rest of the UK? Didn't England only just start their summer holiday, and you are already at the tail end?

    ps. Salford person may not KNOW they are Salford, because it's their IP that is there, rather than them.

  19. Oh Isabelle, you are such a delight! Don't you realise how much you are loved in the Kingdom of Blog? Despite all your teacherish ways and those dratted kittens...honk honk honk!!
    I think we all wonder about those mysterious readers appearing on our stats from all over the world, in places where it is highly unlikely that they have a good enough grasp of the English language to understand half of our waffle!

  20. Isabelle,
    I enjoyed reading your post today. I want you to know that and know how much I've come to care about you... really! That having been said, I'm going to share 'my opinion' on the topic.

    I use tons of elipses and CAPITALS when I write a post. However... that is me, my voice, and my style! I have a Master's degree plus. I've written a Thesis and many, many research papers, etc. They were 'letter perfect' because they needed to be. I know what is right.

    BUT NOW, I am just having fun, making new friends, and becoming inspired to be more creative.

    I leave lots of positive comments about the content of people's posts. I add to my "Blog List' as I come across blogs that I can't wait to read again.

    Thanks for getting a meaningful topic aboard!

  21. Hi Isabelle. Another enjoyable and thought provoking post, as always. I prefer to see it's and its used properly myself.

    When I comment on your blog I feel the need to check and recheck my expression and grammar. Sometimes it's an effort of will to leave a colloquial comment, knowing that you'll be reading it.

    I love reading the comments you receive. I often come back a few times to one of your blogs to see what everyone else is saying.

    Most of the blogs I follow are related to my current obsession, running. I found your blog through a comment you left on someone else's blog, followed the link, and found myself fascinated. It's a pleasure to see your photos, read your stories, learn about your family, and follow the kitten's progress. Thank you so much.

  22. Australia is a long Isabelle, but well worth it. One bounces back very quickly. I will be posting more garden pictures soon, as the wattles are now in full bloom and looking quite beautiful around the neighbourhood. Splashes of gold and yellow everywhere I look! Cheers!


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