This whole blogging thing is a strange bird. I have been blogging for almost three and a half years, getting close to a thousand posts, and I still do not get it. Sure, I know more or less how WordPress.com works (but fear the uncertain too much to venture into the crazy world of WordPress.net).
But that is not what I mean.
I also have a pretty good understanding of articles that will get a lot of hits (controversy), but quite frankly I am not sure why other posts get any hits at all (let alone comments).
That is not it either.
I also have yet to figure out how I can force myself to sit down and get articles done–there is one in particular, an interview I did with Mike Drash, that I am still working on. I know that when I eventually publish it (and I will), I will have put a ton of time into it and even though I won’t think it is perfect, I will be more than satisfied. And then it will only get 87 hits and I will be devastated.
I will address that problem in a later post.
Then there is the whole blogging etiquette thing (if that even exists). Basically, if I get a notice that someone started following my blog, I will follow them back. I am not sure if that is common practice, but it seems like the right approach. Well, the end result is that I follow a ton of blogs and there is no possible way that I can read all of them every day, but I try. Is it disingenuous to follow a blog and not always read it? Maybe. There are certain blogs, though, that I always read. To paraphrase a favorite orator of mine, you can read all the blogs some of the time, some of the blogs all the time, but you can’t read all the blogs all the time.
But that is not my main conundrum about blogging either.
No the thing that I can’t really understand is how to figure people out who blog. I like to think in “real life” I can figure people out fairly quickly—I can generally tell within a few minutes whether a new acquaintance and I will get along. Is that judgmental? I guess, but it is also very valuable—no need to waste a ton of time developing a relationship only to have them discover that I am an insufferable jerk (unlike my blog, my fragile ego can only take so many hits).
I have found, however, that this ability of mine does not work when it comes to blogs. There are some blogs that I really enjoy and then I meet the writer and he turns out to be a anti-social recluse who really should stay in his mother’s basement and avoid all social contact (which is probably what he thinks of me as well, but again, remember my fragile ego).
Then there is the type whose writing is excruciatingly boring or simplistic, but turn out to be really interesting and compelling personally.
[OK, I am not sure that second type of person exists–I just put that in there as a counter-balance to the first one: a sort of a Yin/Yang. I have yet to meet the person that is a terrible blogger but an interesting person. If you are he/she, please send me an email—I’ll follow (but won’t read) your blog, and we can get together, pull some corks, and talk about how we should really run the world.]
Occasionally, however, I meet the author of a really good blog and they turn out to be relatively normal, interesting people.
Such was the case a couple of months ago when I met up with Danielle Irwin, author of perhaps my favorite “trade blog” Danielle Dishes the Vineyard Dirt. Her husband, Derek Irwin, is an accomplished winemaker, who among a bevy of other projects, makes the wine at Naggiar Vineyards. The blog is part of the winery’s website, but Danielle writes with her own voice in a folksy, welcoming style. Every profession has its own jargon—technical words, abbreviations, even slang that is used to keep the lay person at bay. Danielle’s approach is to break that wall down a bit; she taps into Derek’s vast knowledge of the wine making process and then “translates” it into an every day vernacular.
I have written about Danielle and Derek before, and Danielle and I have exchanged countless comments, but we had never met. So finally, on our last trip to Napa, after a full day of tasting (at Mumm and Alpha Omega), we met the Irwins for dinner. When we were finally face-to-face, there was that awkward moment: do I hug her? Shake hands? Stuff my hands into my pockets, lean back, and say “Yo, wassup”?
I settled on the hug.
We had a great time at dinner (well at least my wife and I did—maybe Danielle sees me as one of those that really should not venture too far from the basement).
Upon leaving, Derek asked if he could send me a bottle of Naggiar wine to try (clearly, he doesn’t read my blog).
2011 Naggiar Vineyards La Bohème Sierra Foothills: Retail $42. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot. Wonderful interpretation of the classic Bordeaux blend. Blackberry, plum, and a bit of forest floor. Good, but restrained fruit—this shows California at its best—sure there is great fruit, but it is held in check—a modern interpretation of the Old World style. What does that mean? Well, it is fruity, but not overly so. It is earthy, but voluptuous, great on its own, but better with a meal. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
Before I started reading Danielle’s blog, I really did not give the Sierra Foothills much thought. I knew there was a growing wine industry and culture there, but not much else. Now, it is at the top of wine regions I need to visit.
One last thing—I just could not let it go—if the people at Naggiar read this, I implore you to fix the accents on your blog. As a former French teacher, it pains me to see: “La Bohéme” and “Le Pére” on your site. Cringe worthy stuff there….