Moving the midden

I’ve been writing an ass-load of haiku in the last two days, for the simple reason that I’ve never been very good at repetitive tasks. When I decided not to renew payment on my premium account at Shutterchance, where I’ve kept a photoblog for the past two years, I knew I’d have to move all the posts to a new site one by one or else let the archives go. My enthusiasm for photoblogging has gradually waned, giving way to a newer enthusiasm for video, and it didn’t make sense to keep paying almost $70 a year when I could move the blog to vianegativa.us and pay nothing other than the time and effort to move it (Shutterchance provides no export script). The only reason to stay on there would be for the very active community, which I’ve neglected for months, and the links and visibility, which I don’t care too much about since I’m not selling my photos. (Though getting more than 15,000 hits on a single post was an undeniable thrill, which I’ve never come close to equalling here. People on the internet sure do like to look at pretty pictures.)

The premium account expires on January 3, after which only the 30 most recent posts will still be visible. There are 245 posts in all. So three days ago, I decided to get started, found a slick, free photoblog theme for WordPress, and started moving photos into new-old posts, making sure to match the original posting dates for whatever absurd purposes of archival fidelity.

And after about fifteen photos, I began to slip up. When faced with any repetitive task, such as stuffing envelopes or driving an automobile, my mind soon starts to wander, and the results aren’t pretty. So to make things more interesting, I decided to start writing haiku — or at least, haiku-like things — to replace the original captions. I might run out of steam on that before I get through all 245, but we’ll see.

I was originally going to wait to blog about this until the move was complete, but I figure a few people might want to pick up the RSS feed now and follow along. This time I’m calling it Woodrat Photoblog, with the tag-line, “a midden of images from a Pennsylvania mountaintop.” The theme is a little slow-loading, but I really dig how the text appears when you mouse-over the photos on the archival pages. Check out, for example, the haiku category page. It’s cool the way it strips out my line breaks in the mouse-over view and makes the haiku appear in a single line. As for the new title and description: if you’re wondering what a woodrat or a midden is, see the About page.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

8 Comments


  1. Wow, Dave, your new photo blog with Haiku is so beautiful that I’m in awe… with a tinge of jealousy thrown in :-) Great work! I know what you mean about repetitive tasks and you sure found a great release for that. How you find the time for so many blogs and online endeavours amazes me.

    Your greatest hit image just sings for me. I remember it but revisiting it again gave me quite a jolt. As you know I’ve done some prints with my own hands printed on them and that’s what seeing this brings back for me. If it were mine, I’d print this! Have you considered making prints and selling them?

    Reply

    1. You mean the handprint image? I’d be happy to send you the file — I’m sure you could do a better job printing it than Red Bubble could. I’ve considered setting up a shop with them just for friends and readers who request things like this, but a little bit of investigation turned up some people who were very unhappy with the quality of Red Bubble prints. Etsy is a possiblity, but i would have to pay to join — it’s only for serious sellers.

      Thanks for the kind words. Your good opinion of my images means a lot to me.

      Reply

  2. Midden!

    The site is great, Dave. Very sexy presentation of your photo collection.

    Reply

    1. Hey, glad you liked it. I think that’s the first time anyone’s used the word “sexy” to describe something associated with me in, like, forever.

      Reply

  3. I’ve been reading on reader, enjoying (tremendously) the photos. Will have to go poke around the site now.

    (I’m also envious, of your gift of words matched by images. You continue to inspire me my own meager work.)

    I *love* the word midden. Had known it, but not as that use. Perfect.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for reading and looking. I wouldn’t call your work meager, though.

      A pack rat’s collection of detritus is also referred to as a midden. In some areas of the American Southwest, middens have been built in the same spots for thousands of years, and can be subjected to pollen grain analysis to reconstruct former ecosystems. There’s a U of Arizona Press book called Packrat Middens: the Last 40,000 Years of Biotic Change.

      Reply

  4. There’s not a plug-in for everything yet on wpmu (WordPress’s multi-user blog software), so when a new student showed up last month, I had to update the same blogroll on the class’s blog site eighty-four times — once on each existing blog. My mind started wandering around the third blog, and I frequently forgot where I was.

    The association with driving sounds right. I really don’t like driving because of the boredom and the danger boredom brings. If I drive for more than an hour, I’ve learned to take podcasts, a book on tape, or a pretty compelling playlist along.

    Reply

    1. Wow, it sounds like you’ve got that — whatever genetic flaw that is — almost as bad as I do. My sympathies.

      Reply

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