Stamp Act

Postal Service to raise rates. Um…OK. Do any of you still use stamps? I don’t recall the last time I purchased stamps – with the exception of Energy West, I pay all of my bills online – mortgage, credit card, NW Energy, Bresnan, Qwest, even City utilities. For Energy West – I just drive by their downtown location and drop off the payment. So what do you think? Do you buy lots of stamps – will this hit you hard? Or are you strictly an online person, and don’t worry about postage?

A Hobby By Any Other Name

How many of you have a hobby? Or two, or even three? Let’s see…I’d wager that most of you enjoy at least one of the following hobbies: hunting, skiiing, reading, exercise, outdoors, model trains, baseball cards, watching sports, working on your car, home repair, sewing, shooting, photography, bowling, gardening, community service…you get the idea. The point is, there are lots of hobbies out there. Hobbies are something that a person does for enjoyment; a hobby can be defined as: “An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.”

So how come so many people seem to simply not “get” that blogging can be a hobby just like any other? That’s precisely what it is, for many of us. It’s not simply typing a bunch of random words for hours on end for no reason or purpose. I spend time surfing lots of websites, looking for new bloggers, reading all types of local publications and sites, noticing things around Great Falls, taking pictures, and chatting with plenty of people in order to create entries on this blog. I also spend time learning about new developments in the blogging community: tweaking templates and files, understanding what brings people to the site, trying to figure out how to make it visually appealing, and so on. It’s not exactly “work,” so I’d say that the time that I spend working on GreaterFalls.com qualifies as a “hobby.”

So I’m a bit puzzled when Rich Ecke says: “How people are able to devote the time to keeping up their blogs is beyond me, but it’s clearly a popular phenomenon.” Come on, Rich – don’t you spend any time at all on a hobby of some sort? And I’m not trying to be snarky, nor single you out – your attitude is one that I encounter quite often. I’m not offended by it – just curious. I am able to devote time to maintaining my several websites the same way that your next-door neighbor is able to “devote the time to keeping up” with developments in NASCAR; and your co-worker is able to “devote the time to keeping up” with her gardening, and your boss is able to “devote the time to keeping up” with his hiking and subsequent journaling. See? My hobby is just like their hobbies: it occupies my time, takes some effort, and I enjoy it. It’s really that simple.

UPDATE: hope nobody thinks that I’m picking on Rich – actually, he was one of the first local columnists to notice blogs nearly two years ago, and I appreciate that he took the time to learn more about them. I’m addressing the general “where do you find the time?” attitude that many people have about bloggers, not criticizing Rich!
MORE: Hawkeye, a new contributor over at GeeGuy’s Electric City Weblog, does a semi-fisking of the article.

Snow Snow Snow!

Let’s recap: two weeks ago, it snowed for about three days non-stop; not a whole lot of accumulation (about 10 or 12 inches?), and the Chinook got rid of it pretty quick. And then on Friday morning, we had that snowy/rainy/slushy stuff that wreaked havoc on the roads (and caused my first-ever collision with another object). That wasn’t “fun” snow. And now today, we’re up to about, what, two inches so far? Not as powdery as two snowfalls ago, but not nearly as wet as Friday’s. I suspect that most of you know how I feel about the snow, but I’m curious – have you had enough, or would you love to see even more of the fluffy white stuff?