Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

Signing off

Monday, June 30th, 2008

G’nite, all. See you on the other side.

The end

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Guestblogging is turned off, and I’ll be shutting down comments in a few minutes, and redirecting this URL to the new blog shortly thereafter.

Thanks for the memories, everybody.

Oh, and don’t be deceived by the title of this post. Much like The Return of the King, this blog will have more than one ending. :) One final “signing off” post will follow…

P.S. Since I’ll be signing off as the “Irish Trojan,” I should probably link one last time to the post that started it all, in regard to that name.

More on the big blog move

Monday, June 30th, 2008

In anticipation of the imminent end of this blog — and redirection of its traffic to a new, weekly blog — I figured I should give y’all a little more detail on what’s happening.

Although I’ve focused on the weekly blog in discussing this issue, I’m actually replacing "Irish Trojan in Tennessee" with three separate blogs:

  • a weekly blog, named "Hopefully Considered";
  • a photoblog, named "Light and High Beauty";
  • and a moblog, named "Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost."

Yes, the latter two titles are both Lord of the Rings references. :) As for "Hopefully Considered," it is, as I explained before, a reference to my Papa Loy’s old newspaper column. I appreciated all of your suggestions, some of which were quite good, but I ultimately decided that I liked my original idea best. (The subtitle is "Brendan Loy’s Weekly Musings," adapted from David K.‘s suggestion. I decided to drop the "Irish Trojan" moniker altogether, though it’s still referenced, at least for now, in the new blogs’ sidebars.)

All three new blogs are powered by Blogger and hosted on Blogspot’s servers, but with domain redirection to make them look like they’re on my server. Thus, the URLs — which are already active, though the blogs are still works-in-progress — are weekly.brendanloy.com, photo.brendanloy.com, and moblog.brendanloy.com. (Regular readers may want to bookmark those.)

The major change tonight, aside from some final tweaks to make the blogs ready for prime time, will be that www.brendanloy.com, blog.brendanloy.com, and www.irishtrojan.com — all of which currently point here — will instead redirect to weekly.brendanloy.com.

You may be wondering why on earth I’m replacing one blog with three blogs (or four, if you count the Linklog, which is a "companion" to the weekly blog; or five, if you count my Pajamas Media hurricane blogging), when the whole purpose of this switch is to cut back on the time I spend blogging. I know it’s a bit counterintuitive. But I actually think it’ll work well, when you consider my twin goals of: 1) spending less time blogging, while 2) continuing to have outlets for the types of blogging that I can do without eating up all my free time.

(more…)

Thank you, Brendan…

Monday, June 30th, 2008

…for all your hyperactively-excellent :} work on This incarnation of the ongoing Brendanblog; and in its Next Generation may you compile a tomorrow worthy of all the yesterdays (but less time-consuming :).

Thank you too, for the honor of having been Included on your suspicious auspiscious roster of usual suspects distinguished Guestbloggers ;]. The opportunity to Ventilate my odd opinions (and in my Own peculiar diction, unpasteurized! :) has been Important to me. Seriously, it has.

You’re a Good one, old Kiddoe. / And now (as Nana Loy would say:) ~ Onward & Upward!

Love,
~ Dad

One day more

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

I’ve been working hard this weekend on the back-end tasks necessary to make the big blog switch happen Monday night, and I think I’ll be able to do it on schedule. So, sometime after 7:30 PM EDT, this blog will disappear, and will be replaced with my weekly blog (and my photoblog… and a linklog… and a new “moblog”…).

I’ll save the details of the new blog(s) for later, but I wanted to mention this now so you’re all aware. Guestbloggers, if you have anything you’ve been itching to say, today would be the day. :) And readers, if things are a little screwy in this space Monday night, you know why. Hopefully everything will be humming along smoothly by Tuesday morning, albeit in a brave new world wherein I’m no longer a hyperactive blogger.

P.S. Incidentally, I’ve decided, upon reflection, to drop the “Irish Trojan” moniker from both the titles and subtitles of the new blogs. The sidebar of the weekly blog will still mention my USC and Notre Dame affiliations, and that I used to blog as the “Irish Trojan,” but officially speaking, these are my final 24 hours blogging as the “Irish Trojan.”

Help me name my new blog!

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

All right, I know I’ve been dragging my feet on this, but I have indeed decided — as I alluded last Friday — to try out the weekly blog format. My intention is to make the switch on Tuesday. (I figure July 1, the halfway point of the calendar year, is a good arbitrary date to make such a change.)

However, the timing of the switch may change, depending on how much free time I have this weekend. There’s a lot of back-end stuff that I need to do, both to close down this blog and to set up the new blog. If I don’t make the switch on Tuesday, it probably won’t happen until July 14 or thereabouts, because Becky and I will be traveling over July 4 weekend, so I won’t have much free time again until the weekend of the 12th-13th.

Anyway, I need help from y’all on something. In switching from this "hyperactive" blog to a new, weekly blog, I want to make a clear, clean break by giving the blog a new name. I figure the subtitle could include the phrase "Irish Trojan," in order to maintain some semblance of "brand" continuity, but I want the title of the blog to be something different — and a more drastic difference than my switch last year from "The Irish Trojan’s Blog" to "Irish Trojan in Tennessee." I want a real new name.

Ideally, the new name would in some way emphasize the blog’s weekly/occasional nature. But at the same time, I don’t want it to be something totally pedestrian, like "Brendan’s Weekly Blog" or whatever. The problem is, I’m terrible at coming up with good, non-pedestrian ideas for things like blog names (as the "Ably Nerd On" fiasco demonstrated). So, I need your help. I need some suggestions for what I should call the new blog!

So far, the only decent idea I’ve had is to call it "Hopefully Considered," which was the name of my Papa Loy’s old weekly newspaper column. (The subtitle, I think, would be "The Irish Trojan’s Weekly Blog." So, in toto, the title and subtitle would read "Hopefully Considered: The Irish Trojan’s Weekly Blog.") But although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m not sure I like the idea of simply copying exactly the name of Papa’s column. Something that alludes to "Hopefully Considered," without being precisely the same name, would be great… but I can’t think of anything good.

Don’t limit yourself to spin-offs of "Hopefully Considered," though. That’s just one idea. Any and all other ideas are welcome! Please, submit ’em in comments, and please feel free to comment on other people’s ideas as well. This isn’t a democracy, exactly, but at the same time, I’m definitely curious to know what my "regulars" think. 

(more…)

R.I.P., Robbie

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

I’m afraid I have some very sad news to report. A few days ago, while we were out west visiting Arizona and Colorado, our beloved greyhound, Robbie, died unexpectedly and suddenly of bloat. He was two months shy of seven years old.

6/2/07

It happened overnight last Sunday night at the kennel where he was staying. It wasn’t the kennel’s fault; bloat strikes rapidly and without warning, and there was no indication anything was wrong until too late. I got a call early Monday morning giving me the news. I didn’t mention it here on the blog until now because I wanted to wait till I had had time to put together a proper photographic tribute. I’ve now done so; you can view 186 pictures and 12 videos of Robbie, from 2004 through 2008, on Flickr. (Slideshow here.)

The photo gallery traces not just Robbie’s life, but our lives over the last four-plus years: getting our graduate degrees at ASU and Notre Dame, moving in and out of various apartments, and criss-crossing the country by car, from Mesa to South Bend, then to Glendale and back to South Bend, and finally to Knoxville. In each place, we’ve found new places for Robbie to play, from Mesa’s Quail Run dog park, to the tennis court and lawn at South Bend’s Clover Ridge apartments, to Jay & Ashley’s back yard in Loudon, among others.

And of course, geographic changes haven’t been the half of it. Since adopting Robbie from the Arizona Greyhound Rescue in March of ’04, Becky and I have gotten engaged, married, and had a baby. We’ve both earned graduate degrees, and have gone from being 21- and 22-year-old kids to 26-year-old adults. Oh yeah, and I briefly became a national media sensation — to the point where Robbie himself made the New York Times. :)

Through all these changes, we’ve had our gentle giant — our very own “40 mile-an-hour couch potato” — as a constant presence in our lives. Needless to say, he will be sorely missed.

Much more after the jump.

(more…)

The end of all things — or not

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Two weeks ago, I announced that I intend to close down this blog on July 20 — one month from today. But, like Frodo standing at the edge of Sammath Naur, looking down into the fires of Mount Doom, I find myself wavering and wondering whether I should "choose to do what I came to do," if you will.

In my June 6 post, I mentioned that Becky had initially suggested an alternative solution to my bloggy dilemma: I could simply "cut back drastically… by maintaining the current blog but committing to do just one post per week." But I explained that I had rejected this idea on the grounds that it "wouldn’t work" (because I’d cheat) and that ultimately, "it wouldn’t be desirable" (because "the Irish Trojan community would die a slow and painful death," waning due to bloggy inactivity rather than "go[ing] out while I’m on top").

In comments on the post, however, several readers endorsed the weekly-blog idea. Bea, for instance, wrote, "I like Becky’s idea of a weekly column of sorts. So what if you spend a
little time every week thinking about the topic and a little time on
research? I think it’s doable, a great outlet and, hey, the WIFE is ok
with this!" Christine also made a compelling case:

Life is about limits and prioritizing and relaxing (oh and a few other things). But if you enjoy having a blog (which I get the feeling you do, as well as your mentioned past blog-like antics), then you really should keep going. Just tweek it. … I LOVE the idea of a weekly column of sorts. Gives you something to ponder (nothing wrong with that) all week AND an outlet! And your loyal fans have something to look forward to! If something is particularly intriguing to you, you can blog more on that topic, but I would hope it would allow you to not feel like a slave to brendanloy.com but still give you the freedom to write and get your ideas out there.

If you have a problem with setting limits, then set some (I personally hate limits) but it’s kinda like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water … Life (or blogs) don’t have to be all or nothing.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come around to the idea that a weekly blog might work, provided that I structure it in such a way as to reduce the temptation to "cheat." The goal would be to create basically the same situation that I described with regard to the photoblog: making the new blog so obviously different from the old that I won’t "be overly tempted to co-opt it" for the old-style "hyperactive" blogging, because doing so "would be so foreign to the nature of the blog itself."

If I can manage that — and if I can prevent my blogging "schedule" from feeling like an obligation or assignment — then I think a weekly blog would be worth doing, and preferable to the alternative of quitting cold turkey. In other words, I am increasingly tempted to declare:
"I will not do this deed. The Blog is mine!" :) But for me, unlike for
Frodo, I think this actually might be the correct decision. (And
hopefully I won’t lose a finger over it!)

For one thing, blogging weekly would be a new challenge, as it would effectively force me to hone a very different writing style: the lengthy, essay-ish, often multi-topic blog post (a la Lileks’s "Bleat"), as opposed to the clipped immediacy of hyperactive blogging, usually about one topic at a time (but many per day). To keep things flowing, interesting, and adequately focused in such a format can be difficult, and trying to become as good at writing in that style as I’ve become in the current format would be a worthwhile endeavor unto itself, methinks.

Furthermore, although my audience would undoubtedly shrink markedly, many of the die-hards would presumably stick around, and that’d be nice; I’d hate to lose touch with the Nadines and kcatnds of the world. :) Also, maintaining a textual blogospheric presence would mean that I won’t have to improvise something — like temporarily co-opting
the photoblog — in the event I’m caught up in breaking news, or otherwise have
a burning desire to share my thoughts on a particular topic with, say,
InstaPundit’s readers. I’d still have a public blog for such things;
I’d just use it less often.

But perhaps most importantly, I’d be following the sage advice of the fourth one:

Make sure that, in addition to dedicating yourself to family, career,
and community, you have at least one important outlet that belongs just
to YOU, and that speaks to you in a way that nothing else does. In my
own life, I have found that kind of independence and release to be
vital, not only for my own personal well-being, but for energizing me
in a way that allows me to give even more to the people I love.

Or, as Alasdair put it, "be careful that you don’t make a void in your Life without having something useful and positive with which to fill said void."

The reality, as I said in my June 6 is post, is that "I’ll still need some way of
expressing myself, of publishing my thoughts to the world, of letting
loose the occasional rant; I’ve always had, and needed, such an outlet,
at least since seventh grade." My original thought was to satisfy this need by way of the photoblog and Flickr, my Pajamas Media hurricane-blogging, and perhaps the occasional Facebook post. But if I’m going to post bloggy rants on Facebook anyway, why not channel that aspect of my creative energy in a more productive direction by still maintaining a public blog, just on a weekly basis? With the right amount of structure and discipline, I think the latter solution is better than the former.

Crucially, the calendar gives me time to do a "trial run" of this weekly blog idea, before the impending changes in our lives. If it works, I can keep doing it; if it fails — whether because I can’t resist the temptation to "cheat," or because the scheduled nature of it (most likely, I would try to blog every Sunday) makes blogging feel less fun and more obligatory, or for some other reason — then I can go back to the original, cold-turkey plan.

I haven’t yet finally decided what to do; I’m going to sleep on it this weekend. But if I do decide to switch (on a trial basis) to a weekly blog format, I will actually move up the date of this blog’s retirement — most likely to June 30 — and start up my weekly blog (which would be a new blog, separate and distinct from this one) in early July. That would give me time to test out the concept and see how it works.

I will, of course, keep y’all informed about what I decide to do. In the mean time, your feedback is much appreciated. One big question for my regulars: do you anticipate that you would continue to regularly read my blog if it were updated only once a week, provided of course that those weekly updates are interesting and worth reading? Also, in terms of keeping the discussion going and the community alive, would it make a difference if I disabled purely anonymous commenting, such that you’d at least need an OpenID account, or perhaps a WordPress.com account, in order to comment?

[Bumped from 12:07 PM to 5:00 PM. -ed.]

Colorado and Arizona

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Over on my photoblog, I’ve posted pictures from my trip to Phoenix and Denver.

We’re back safe & sound in Knoxville, by the way. Loyette was once again a champion flyer — though I think we’ll be paying for the disruptions to her schedule in the form of weekend fussiness.

The clock tower and the Moon

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. I haven’t moved up the date of my blog retirement, I promise. :) I’ve just been super-busy in Denver. And speaking of Denver, here’s a cool photo of the D&F clock tower and the Moon last night:

Clocktowermoon

During a previous trip to Denver, it became something of a running joke among Becky, the SHA girls and myself that I was constantly taking pictures of the clock tower. But I think that one’s actually pretty neat!

The Moon and clouds weren’t the only things in the sky over Denver last night. All evening long, a pair of military helicopters was circling over downtown. They were making a lot of noise, but at some points their lights appeared to be off, as if they were operating in some sort of (admittedly rather ineffective) stealth mode. I have no idea what that was all about ("we’re being invaded by Utah," I hypothesized at one point), but it was a little creepy.

Oh, and speaking of, uh, security and stuff: I’m now at the airport waiting for my flight back to Phoenix. This will be my third of four flights in less than a week (Nashville to Phoenix, Phoenix to Denver, Denver to Phoenix, Phoenix to Nashville). So I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports, and I have a question. It’s now been almost two years since the implementation of the "new" security measures involving liquids and gels. Yet all the signs and announcements still talk about these as temporary steps, due to "increased" security. At what point will we end this charade, and acknowledge that these measures are here to stay permanently, or at least indefinitely?

Another great lightning show

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

We’re safe and sound in Phoenix, having flown in from Tennessee yesterday with no Friday the 13th complications. :) Loyette was amazing; she didn’t cry or fuss at all during takeoff, and she literally slept through landing. At one point in the middle of the flight, she woke up and cried for about 10 seconds — but that was it. Otherwise she was completely calm for the entire flight. She’s an amazing baby. :)

Also amazing: the view out the left-hand side of the plane, where we were sitting, looking south directly into a thunderstorm over west Texas. Neither the photos nor the video that I took remotely do the sight justice, but just for a taste, here’s a photo:

Tstormair_3

It was really, really cool to see — the second time in a week that I’ve been treated to a great lightning show. This time, of course, we were watching it from 36,000 feet, so it was a very different sort of view. There was lightning every couple of seconds, flashing across the sky and lighting up the clouds in all sorts of awesome patterns. Absolutely incredible.

Here’s an archived radar image of what I believe is the line of storms that we were looking into:

Tstorm11pmradar

How am I not on this list?

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Hehe.

Friday the 13th

Friday, June 13th, 2008

We’ve got a big weekend coming up, in terms of the calendar: tomorrow is Flag Day (and the 233rd anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Army), which of course means it’s also Becky’s birthday. And then Sunday is Father’s Day — my first as a dad — and thus the final day of the U.S. Open, which will be kind of a big deal since we’ll be visiting the golf-loving Zaks.

But before any of those special occasions can arrive, we have to get through today, which is… [cue horror-movie music]Friday the 13th!! AAAAAHH!!! ;)

So, has anyone had any bouts of bad luck yet?

Personally, I don’t suffer from Paraskavedekatriaphobia — and a good thing, too, because tonight Becky, Loyette and I are flying to Phoenix! The drive to the Nashville Airport will be Loyette’s longest car ride to date, followed by her first-ever plane trip. Wish us, um, luck!

UPDATE: A Friday the 13th fire and power outage in Washington, D.C.!

Commuters should expect major delays on Metro’s Red Line this morning
after a fire on the tracks near the Dupont Circle station, officials
said. At the same time, a power outage in downtown Washington is
affecting thousands of homes and offices, as well as traffic signals
and Metro elevators and lighting.

It sounds like the fire and power outage were unrelated and coincidental. LOL! Friday the 13th is off to a rip-roarin’ start. (Hat tip: ChrisN.)

Boom! Crash!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Big thunderstorm over North Knoxville. Lots of lightning.

Nyah, nyah

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Still under $4 here in Knoxville! Of course, it's pretty sad that $3.79 on regular unleaded is now considered a *good* price…