It's been about 60 days that I left you alone, but now I'm back. While it is clear to me that half of you didn't even notice I wasn't posting entries on Thunderstorms and the other half of you didn't care, there were a few concerned people. This entry is for those few.
I wasn't technically gone. I was simply debating with myself whether or not to continue the Thunderstorms blog. I took the time away from here to make some commitments -- to developing Web Litter and Dark Skies into blogs I could like -- and to post on them. I almost gave up blogging altogether, but then I remembered something ... a little advice that I have given other people in the past.
I don't do this for you. Ultimately, I enjoy blogdrive for me. If my blog happens to be entertaining for other people, then I'll take the bonus points. Meanwhile, I remembered that I don't care if you are entertained because the reason Thunderstorms was created in the first place was to keep me sane and happy.
Since the majority of visitors here are fellow blogdrivers, here's my shaman message:
Unless you happen to be the one in ten million people that get paid to blog, then you have to remember that you blog for your own entertainment and satisfaction.
While I wallowed around in my own indecision because of personal and business matters that seem to continue to disappoint me, I withdrew and stopped blogging. I don't like to post entries here about my personal matters. In the past, my snarky attitude about politics and the world has earned me a fair number of grouchy people who like to send me hate mail. That's fine, I like email of any kind.
I'm always protective of my personal info so the one lone nutjob in the bag of peanuts doesn't come to my house. I imagine I'd feel terrible for a few minutes if I had to double-tap someone down for their eternal dirt nap, even if they were a crazy person.
I get weird comments or contact mail because of my opinions, or from some odd story that I blog about here. When I blogged negatively about Bush and Iraq, I got my share of haters. But I also get interesting stuff from what I call the Googlers.
Googlers are people who come to Thunderstorms from a link on Google (or other search engines) after they look up their own name or someone they know. Some of the Googlers are more interesting than others. Vampire Don, from Mad Mad House, commented on an entry and we ended up emailing back and forth. Some of my Swamp Gas entries have produced comments from people in Florida, like the Squirrel Lady.
The most extreme Googler interaction was from a family of a soldier killed in Iraq. That was not pleasant. They could not seperate my dissproval for Bush's war of choice in Iraq with their feeling that I was somehow against their dead family member, or the military in general, because of it. Being a military veteran myself, their confusion and anger absolutely mortified me. That was not the reaction I intended to invoke from anyone -- but coming from this grieving family -- I felt so terrible for their confusion. A few of you may remember that as it played out in comments and on my tag board, that summer.
Since I've been speeding down memory lane, I guess I should point out that I created some yearly archive calendars for you. You can access them from the links on the left -- below the tag board and above the monthly calendar.
I guess I should warn you, too. I renewed my paid subscription with blogdrive for another year. This means several things. I will likely design more T-Shirts on zazzle to help pay for it, so look for those entries. I have developed Dark Skies and Web Litter into blogs that I like, different than Thunderstorms, and you'll likely see my hand in the BD home polls occasionally.
In addition, some cohorts and I are developing a .com website this next year, so I'll likely have to promote it here, once it is worthy of your attention. Also, if you come to Thunderstorms and it looks completely unfamiliar, it could be that I'm just experimenting that day with new graphics or beta-testing some functionality.
Here's a screenshot of some recent comment spam. I added the domain names for my own reference, before I banned and deleted these comments. The reason I am displaying a screenshot, instead of making a simple text list, is because the comment spammer wants the domain names on web pages to try to boost the search engine placement of the domains. Checking these online stores reveals that there are shopping carts for all manner of goods, but no webmaster or business contact information. They may be legit businesses or affiliate landing pages for real businesses, but it all looks really phishy to me.
Reading the comments, I think the Latvian-to-English translator needs some serious grammatical tweaking for this spam. Checking a WHOIS site told me that ceylat.com is admin'ed by Ivar Tenter, from Riga, Latvia. You can spam Ivar Tenter at these email addresses: email@example.com and Ivar@neonet.lv. I put these on this entry hoping that every spider will digest them into their viagra and penis enlargement email address databases.
The Russian Mafia gambling spammers are so much nicer, IMHO. They make me feel important and talented. WHOISing these .ru sites, I found that I should thank Vladmir A. Bolotin for this flattery. Feel free to spam firstname.lastname@example.org or even email@example.com and let them know how much I appreciate comment spam from their domains.
Even though the comment spam (or cspam) was pleasant, I don't have any need for a floorcare-store or its vacuum belts. Even more useless is gambling cspam with a russian top level domain (tld). These flattering idiots cspammed one of my conspiracy theory entries, for frack's sake.
I don't trust my own government, here in the United States, so, WTF makes them think I am going to start gambling my credit card away on some Russian Mob Frackin' Bingo?
Vanna White! Please shimmy your middle-aged flat ass across the stage, turn those letters, and give these losers a frackin' clue. Buzzzzzzz! So sorry.
Anyone paying attention to the U.S. Women's Hockey team would have thought they would be playing against the Canadians for the Gold Medal game. Today, Sweden pulled out a total upset game and beat Team USA in a tie-breaking shoot out match.
It was, after all, a safe assumption that the two hockey superpowers would play for the gold in Torino, just as they have at two previous Olympics and every other international tournament since 1990.
The players consistently talked about the gap closing in women's hockey. The questioner would politely nod and ask the next question about playing Canada.
Maybe now, people who think women's hockey is only played once every four years will realize that the cards are shuffling in the new world order of women's hockey, and that the road to Canada can also go through Sweden and Finland.
I have to say, I've been watching as many hockey games as my bloodshot eyes can soak up. I miss the near daily dose of Detroit Red Wings games that I used to watch. Apparently, even though Florida has professional hockey, no one bothers to broadcast it on television for me. I was very impressed with the women's hockey games.
If I only have one opportunity to complain, it wouldn't be that Team USA lost today. Team USA played their game -- and it's up to them to criticize themselves. Perhaps, Team USA had their 'off' game at the same time that Team Sweden had their truly 'on' game. These things happen in sports when competition is acutely focussed on just one game.
My only complaint about women's olympic hockey is the no-check rule. Women aren't allowed to check each other. The game referees end up trying to call penalties in a gray area between incidental contact and purposeful checking. The Olympic rules committee may have good reasons for this no-check rule, but it slows the games down considerably with penalties. Special teams spent more time on the ice and all the teams barely kept their normal lines on the ice.
Other than that one issue, women's hockey is an exciting and truly competitive sport with some amazing athletes playing the game. While I'm relishing the opportunity to watch my favorite male NHL players on the ice, I'm also looking forward to seeing the women's Team USA go for a medal on Monday.
WEIRSDALE - R. Jeanne-Bug Holderman, 56, died Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006.
Mrs. Holderman was born in Indiana. She was retired in 2001 from Johnson Controls in Indiana after 27 years of service; was employed at the Daily Sun, The Villages, for 1 1/2 years; and was a long-standing member of the DAV, Moose Lodge, and American Legion in Indiana and Florida.
Survivors include her brother, James (Goats) Amsden, Milford, Ind.; daughters Rhonda Burnett, Warsaw, Ind., Shelly Pease, South Carolina, Tracy Lynn Holderman, Granger, Ind.; sons T.J., Orlando; and five grandchildren.
Memorial services for Mrs. Holderman will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the American Legion Post 347, Lady Lake, with a Wake immediately following.