OK, I guess inquiring minds want to know, so here's the list of question I got via DrDave's Diary (about putting me on the hot seat) and a couple via e-mail. I'm not being self-indulgent by the length of this, I just didn't want to leave anybody out. I tried to answer all your questions as well as I could. If you don't particularly care about Davology 101 feel free to skip this post entirely. I'll totally understand. The Quick Chat is right below and the Game Recap follows that so there's plenty to chew on.
The format here is inverted from the usual "So You Want To Be..." The questions (from you) are in grey and my answers in my usual non-grey voice.
By far the most frequently asked question in one form or another...
I must admit the rush of the season can sometimes get daunting, especially when back-to-back games, Quick Chats, and breaking news hits all at once. But I've found a rhythm that works. I work my day job mornings and afternoons and some evenings. My wife usually arrives home around 5:00. I always cook dinner in our family so we eat together, watch a movie, play games, or whatever. My wife commutes to work and gets up early to do so, so she's almost always in bed by 9:30 or 10:00. I do almost all of my writing between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Even if I post a longer piece later in the afternoon it's usually written the night before. This way I don't lose any time from work or family...just occasionally some sleep. During the day I check in at lunch or when I have a break. On days off I have a little more leisure to read and comment.
How much time I spend depends entirely on what's going on. Quick Chats are by far the longest thing I do. They're a minimum of 90 minutes, sometimes 2 hours if they're long. A full Jersey Contest scoreboard with 60-70 entries will take an hour. Game previews take 20-30 minutes of research and about 20 minutes of writing. Game recaps take about 20-30 minutes too. Writing my own stuff can be anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple hours depending on how involved the piece is. You can pretty much count the posts and figure out how much time I've spent.
OK, I suppose I do lose time with my wife while watching games, but I'd be doing that anyway.
And the second most frequently asked question (plus elaboration from Jorga)...
This is by far the hardest place to know where to draw the disclosure line. I will say this: although it's in a small way and nothing particularly fame-worthy or out of the ordinary, I do work in a job that deals with the public and relies heavily on public perception. I also rely on those things here. There are advantages to not mixing those two publics. I can be who I am here without worrying about my day-job public and vice-versa. If any of the people I see day-to-day were to read this (outside of the couple who know) I don't even know if they'd recognize it's me. And for now that's the way I like it. It avoids perceptions of taking time away from my day job (which I don't do, but you know people...) and also makes it easier to get fully mad at referees without being eternally responsible for what I say.
I'm not saying I'd never disclose my job but the incentive would have to be pretty high for me to do it, more from the pitfalls of dealing with my daily folks than for any concern about dealing with you. If the Oregonian were to come to me and ask to do an article on how a bright-eyed, devastatingly handsome local boy made good and now writes for a substantial Blazer fan blog they'd want to know and I'd probably tell them. But they'd hopefully write with enough style to make it a good angle and thus more acceptable.
The blog is a relief from the normal job and vice-versa. Again, different publics, different needs and conversation.
I have a BA in Political Science and a Masters in my chosen field. I'll likely have a doctorate before I finally kick off. I was in Oregon for my undergrad, in Minnesota for graduate work.
The observation, understanding, etc. (and thanks for the implied compliment) came first from my dad, who is good at it, and then from years of listening to and caring about people. I think you also notice it because...well...the Blazer community has needed someone to listen to and care about it for the last few years. Wanting to fill that gap is how the blog began.
There aren't many. By far the biggest one is the one I shared the other day about people ragging on each other when just making their point would be good enough. Again, if a bunch of a guy's friends all come to a party it's kind of a jerk move to be the one who's baiting and insulting the others. Even if you don't like somebody he's still the guy's friend and got an invitation just like you, you know? Debate is wonderful. Using this site as a forum to be a jerk not so much.
Among the prominent Blazer bloggers the ties are pretty close. Eric Marentette and Casey Holdahl are good friends. We talk when time allows, we've been nothing but supportive of each other, and I think it's so interesting (serendipitous?) that three people who cover the same topic have such different, and really complementary when put together, styles. Of course Eric's talent is wasted down there with K*be now, but that's another story. I'd like to know Mike Barrett better but I don't want to bug him too much.
In the blogosphere at large you have all kinds of folks, just like in public. Blogging seems to cut across a lot of lines that usually separate folks. For the most part we're very collegial and supportive. I suppose occasional jealousy gets in the way sometimes. Most artists, upon seeing someone else get credit for their work, think somewhere inside of them, "I could have done that!" But for the most part it's a very friendly arena...much more so than you'd think.
I actually started writing in a small e-mail group. Back when AOL had just gone to unlimited monthly access (I was still in school and could afford that as opposed to an hourly fee) I posted a couple of times on a message board. These guys contacted me and said they were forming a group of the best posters to talk Blazers. So I joined. That was around 1995-96 so I guess we've been talking for more than a decade now. They actually got me in practice writing. I owe those guys a lot. They made me a better writer and better thinker when it came to basketball. (We actually met in person for the first time last year, but that's another story.)
Long story short, Eric Marentette joined in our group. He enjoyed my stuff and when he went away on short notice to help with Hurricane Katrina he surprised me by asking if I could take over the O-Live blog for a while. It was sure something making that first post. It was like just learning how to drive then being handed a sports car. I didn't know what I was doing...I just kind of treated it like my e-mail group. Six posts in on Day One Eric e-mailed me and said, "Are you having fun?" I asked, "Is this OK?" In typical Eric fashion he said, "Go for it, man." Quite a few people liked it and wrote asking where they could find me after Eric got back. A couple months later I decided to start "Blazer Thoughts". That went well and when Casey left to take over O-Live he said, "Come and take Blazersedge!" And here we are.
If it hadn't been for that storm and Eric being so nice we probably wouldn't be here. Ditto for Casey.
The connections since are simple...we're either in the same network (like GSoM) or people read the blog and write to me.
Enjoy the Blazer Thoughts link while it lasts because when a new site of interest comes up it's the next one to go.
LOL...this too shall remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. Mostly I'm just a fan like you. That's the point of the blog really...that fans aren't sheep or dupes or fools (even if we sound like it sometimes) and we can do reasonably intelligent and meaningful things in this basketball world.
This is where I work. It's beautiful here and the people are nice. Besides I have a secret plan to convert most of the non-aligned states into havens of Blazer fandom. I've been hard at work in Minnesota and Iowa so far and now I'm subverting people here. Seriously, if the Blazers ever make it close to the finals again I bet there will be a swath of people rooting for them that otherwise wouldn't have cared. That's what happens when you wear your faith on your sleeve, folks.
Three egg omelet. With spicy chicken in it. And cheese, lots of cheese.
This is creepy. Just turned 38. 6'2". Otherwise dead on. What are next week's lottery numbers?
I suppose there are plenty of things that I wish I could have said better but I don't think the things I say are important or far-reaching enough to really have too many regrets about. Nobody's going to keel over because of what I say or don't.
Probably how fond I am of the site and how close I end up feeling to the people who post and comment.
Just need one. Championship. Before I die, please. If you make me choose one besides that it would be to sit and watch a game with Nate McMillan or Kevin Pritchard and to have them explain to me what they see and think. Jack Ramsay would be great too, but I'd probably faint. Or Rick Adelman.
Now if that's Jeannie, as in Barbara Eden circa mid-60's, I do have some other, non-Blazer-related wishes we could talk about...
I have a passion for my day job too, so unless I could do the blog career between 10pm and 2am and from here I'd probably have to say no unless they offered me a financial package so grandiose as to be prohibitive. Even then I'd have to think twice about it. For right now if you guys enjoy it and feel good contributing that's enough.
Communication is a big (maybe the main) part of my day job, so in that sense yes. If anyone knows how to get a screenplay looked at or a novel reviewed I could put one in your hands. I have no clue about publishing and it seems too daunting right now to try (with all of these other concerns ongoing). Other than that dabbling, not really.
I've never had the overt goal to be big or popular, if that's what you mean. I figure being good will probably lead to a lot of people but just having a lot of people doesn't necessarily mean you're good. I will continue to make it the best blog I can and let the popularity thing worry about itself.
My hands are tied because of network uniformity and my own lack of technical knowledge but the #1 thing would be appearance. I think the site's a little clunky looking. (I'm being nice here.) Again a re-design is supposedly coming down the pike. They are talking about adding features to make Gameday commenting easier, which is a big priority of mine. Keeping the prominence of diaries and reader contributions will also be a strong priority to me.
I like to play games of all kinds. I work out a lot. I have three kitties that I love. One of them regularly helps me with the blog, usually by pushing all those "F" keys on the top of the keyboard. I enjoy reading, movies, and the occasional dip into the Game Show Network on TV.
OK...I hope that's good enough. Thanks for all the questions. And don't think that I think that doing this makes me on a par with those other guests we've interviewed. It's for the sake of your curiosity only.