Please Be a Good Party Guest and Comment!

Comments are my favorite snack food.  I’m always interested to know who has been in the Garden and what their experience was like.  So, please talk to me so I don’t have to rely on those dreary old stats in the back room and wonder who the people are behind the numbers!  Here, have some nice, cold lemonade and a finger sandwich!

Stats: Who’d Have Thought It Would Be So Fascinating?

Well, this will be my 18th blog post.  I started it for kicks, figuring a few friends and family members might breeze by from time to time and check it out, but it would mostly be a little corner of the interwebz for me to keep my cool stuff.  When I set up The Garden Party, I didn’t know WordPress would provide such a rich array of statistics on the activity of the blog.  I can see where people are coming to the blog from, what search engine terms they used to find my blog, which links they clicked on, whether they viewed my posts on-site or through RSS and more.  It has become a mild addiction, really, wanting to see if anyone else has viewed the blog since I checked 15 minutes ago.  I’m sure it will wear off.  Please, experienced bloggers, tell me it will wear off!

But, since I’m still all tickled pink about this, I thought I’d share the initial stats with you.  There really are already some interesting stories to tell!  Here’s what my all-time views are, by name of post:

First Garden Party Stat Capture

First Garden Party Stat Capture

My total views to date are 1,190, which actually sort of floors me.  It’s a number that teases and tempts me to figure out new and innovative ways to provoke a view spike.  As you can clearly see by the post in the number 1 position, “Moose Magic,” is in the lead.  What you can’t see by this chart, though, is that the reason for that is largely due to the 245 views it received on a single day: September 2.  What could be so outrageously captivating about a baby moose hanging out in someone’s house, I asked myself? I looked a little further and found an odd url in the list of “referrers,” (sites from which people clicked to find that post).  Something called Four Winds.  I clicked through to find my post literally cut and pasted, formatting and all, into their site.  That was a mild surprise and struck me as somewhat outside generally accepted internet eitquette.  Had I wished to do that with someone’s blog, I would have asked them it if was okay and credited them with the authorship of the post.  But, since I was basking in viewers, I didn’t let my feathers get terribly ruffled.  I didn’t even notice that they had inexplicably renamed my post to “Moose Majic.”  I did, however, wish to understand what this site was all about, why they found my post so important to their mission, and what kind of visitors I might be drawing from their place.

I’m not going to link to them here, because, frankly, I find them creepy and had a rather unpleasant email exchange with them when I wrote to share with them what I have just shared with you.  They told me to grow up or take my blog down if I didn’t “want my posts to be seen.”  So, if you really want to see for yourself what I’m about to tell you, you’ll have to go and google them for yourselves.

My jaw literally dropped when I read their mission statement:

The Four Winds and The Phoenix Archives websites are committed to giving Truth to the people of our world and to revealing the lies under which we of Planet Earth have been living for thousands of years.

This website has been established to freely give Truth to anyone seeking Truth on this planet. The Bellringers are assisting to fulfill the promise that Esu Immanuel made 2000 years ago, when he said that at the end of the age, Truth would be presented one more time to the “four corners of the earth”

Whoa.  But, that’s just the beginning.  Here are their stated objectives:

  1. To reveal the Darkside’s secret Plan 2000 for total world control by our present evil world leaders.
  2. To reveal to the world’s people that Creator God Aton of Light also has a Plan 2000. God Aton and His Forces of Light will not do it for us but will work with us, as we responsibly confront evil in our day and change the “ending of the play.”
  3. To reveal the evil world leaders’ cover-up of off-world humans (our ancestors), who are here in starships in Earth’s atmosphere at this time, and who have come with good intent to help us prevent the evil Plan 2000 from being accomplished, and to help us establish the New Age of Enlightenment.
  4. To reveal the Truth presently being given to our civilization by the Realms of Light:
    • How to change the age-old prophecies, e.g. how to change the ending of this civilization without the prophesied final destruction occurring.
    • How to prepare for our future survival, if necessary, against coming Earth changes.
    • How to heal ourselves from any disease or ailment by within in combination with those things provided by Creator God for our healing.
    • How to have total and permanent protection for ourselves and our families against all darkside energies, entities and technology.
    • How to change what is and create our way, through the power of our God-Spirit within. This includes bringing balance and harmony again to our “Mother Earth and ushering in the New Age of Peace and Enlightenment.
    • How to assist our Planet Earth in her transition into fifth dimension by 2012.
    • How to make our own transition into fifth dimension and the Age of Enlightenment without experiencing physical death and returning to another 3D lifestream.
  5. To assist Truthseekers, Lightworkers, and Truthbringers alike in their search for and presentation of Truth.
  6. To spread the Truth from Creator God Aton of Light to the “Four Corners of the Planet Earth” via the “Fourwinds” website and the Phoenix Archives website. The original foundation of Truth upon which Fourwinds rests is that which has been presented by Creator God Aton of Light and the Ascended Masters in the 241 volumes of The Phoenix Journals. These Journals are also known as the “Holy Books of the Lighted Realms.”

Double whoa.  Having read that, you’d think I would not have been stupid enough to actually email them and inquire about internet etiquette.  By this point, I hadn’t considered it.  It wasn’t until I read this next bit that I felt I had to take a stand. In their instructions to their new readers, they state:

This section contains more than one hundred categories of news and information items ranging from government and political to science, health and spiritual areas. You are free to read, copy and use with good intent any article of interest you find here.

Er…you’re giving the world permission to do whatever they wish with something you don’t own?  My ethics radar went up.  I was polite and sweet, but received a rather obnoxious response.  Big surprise there.  I guess universal truth is a tough business!  In the end, this mostly served to amuse me and make me wonder what I might do to watch my stats line graph grow more interesting. I think I’ll start by tagging this post with their website names, since they seem to be so unnervingly popular! 😉

Coming in a distant (but much more reasonable) second is the viral video “The Front Fell Off,” featuring an Australian comedy duo doing a sketch about a shipping accident that resulted in a major oil spill.  At the moment, this post is getting the most views per day and is enjoying quite a lot of attention.  The Stats tell me it is the most searched-on topic on my blog…actually coming in second to the rescued baby moose.  Since both of these stories came to me through my email, and both professed to be true, I’m making the huge intellectual leap that people are satisfying their need to separate hoax from truth by googling these topics as they receive the emails themselves.  I’m particularly entertained by watching the search queries for “The Front Fell Off,” because it tells the story of how many people must have gotten the email and wondered, “Wow!  Could that really be true?”  We’re such a gullible bunch!

While we’re talking about search engine queries, I am still dumbfounded by how many people are still trying to find out the facts on how to properly wrap a potato in aluminum foil for baking!  That was a total fluff piece!  I was just getting my blogging feet wet!  And, there it is, number 4 in popularity and showing up on the search engine stats daily!  I’m dying to know what is really up with that!

Finally, there is a stat section called, “Incoming Links,” that says it tracks other blogs that have linked to me.  Something’s not right in that land.  A couple of friends and fellow-bloggers have, in fact, linked to me from their blogs.  They don’t show up here.  On the other hand, this site does!  Curious, I went there to see where I had been linked.  Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see a link to my blog anywhere on that site, nor would I expect to, since it is actually about gardening and not The Garden Party!  So, I’m seriously scratching my head there.  If you have insight on this mystery, please comment!

And, the epilogue has to do with just that:  comments.  Please post some!  I can see you guys all reading the blog from the Stats page and yet the comments section is paltry in comparison!  Let me know you were here, for crying out loud!  Just a little shout out would be fine…no need to write anything profound!  Let me know if you found a post interesting, amusing, enlightening, boring, or whatever.  Thanks!

Psalms 48:12 Walk about Zion, And go all around her. Count her towers; 13 Mark well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces; That you may tell it to the generation following.

The Internet Overdose Song

Ha!  I just got a Twitter tweet from Link Lamont of the “popular internet comedy duo, Rhett and Link.” It says, “New song and video (with free mp3),” and there was a tantalizing tinyurl that led me immediately to YouTube where I was among the first 400 people to view this:

I have come to adore Rhett and Link since their “BBQ Song,” first showed up in my email and became the subject of my third blog entry…before I realized it was a couple of guys in character.  Last Thursday, I even tuned in to their weekly live video and chat event and stuck around while they worked through some techincal difficulties.  My first visit, and they mentioned my name (well, my username)!  I found out about the weekly event because I had recently noticed one of my Twitter friends was following them, so I followed them, too and they followed back!   That same evening, I got the tweet from Rhett that the chat was on and I clicked through to it.  I already had tabs open in my Firefox browser for my gmail, this blog, Theologyweb.com, and my Netflix queue, and I was building two small websites and browsing through Firefox add-ons.  But, I stopped to have this completely new internet experience with the fellas.

Just now, when I got Link’s tweet about the new video, I was actually in the process of going through all of the other blogs I link to here and adding them to my Google Reader so I can actually keep track of when something is new without clicking through to them every day.  I’m behind the times, I know.  But, I’m no spring chicken and I am trying not to neglect actual life while I try to keep on top of virtual life developments!  So, I had more reason to laugh at this video than I would have, say, three months ago, when I didn’t have a blog and I didn’t have a single RSS subscription and I wasn’t actually following the guys who made this video on Twitter and Facebook.  Mostly, I blogged this because I think Rhett and Link are extremely cool and represent a new breed of entertainer. I wanted to give them props, help boost visibility, and send new people to their playground on the interwebz.  Go play!  They’re waiting!

Luke 6:43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Many Me’s – Indulging the Urge to Characterize

Just so you don’t think I spend all day on the internet wasting time and making no productive contribution to society whatsoever, let me say right off the bat that I’ve collected these character-ized versions of myself over a period of time…months, even.  I’m interested to know how many of these you’ve done yourself.  I believe there is something deep-seated in us that makes us need to re-create ourselves in our own image.  Wait, that sounds kind of sinful.  What I mean is, if you send someone an email with a link to one of these sites where then can make a character-ized image of themselves, chances are they’re gonna put everything else on the back burner and play with that thing for a while!  So, let’s begin, shall we?

Doll Character

Doll Character

I think this is the first time I really sat down and did one of these. It comes from the Candybar website, which seems to have acquired a frighteningly large fan base since I last visited the site.  When I did this, there was a boy doll maker and a girl doll maker.  That’s it.  If you follow that link, you’ll see a page that offers about a dozen options for making characters of yourself or others…or even critters that aren’t human.  I actually did this one a couple of years ago to update one I had done even earlier…I changed the color and style of my hair quite dramatically and the old one just didn’t cut it any more!  And see?  There are my two kitties, Brian (on my head) and Sarah.  I live in Florida now, so the sandals and capris are part of my everyday life, where the near-black hair and lots of black clothing and dark lipstick were more reflective of my New York self.  I also went back to wearing glasses after my lasik surgery finally gave out to the aging process.

So, looking at these two images, would you think they were the same person?  I sure woudn’t.  Yet, they both look like me in an odd way, though if I had it to do again, I would not have made my New York version’s chin quite so square.  Anyway, let’s not dwell here.  There are so many other characters in the sea!

Once I had spent hours upon hours making these dolls of everyone in my family, some of my friends, and a few celebrities, I was truly hooked on the process.  Then, some years passed and I thought I was over it.  But, I saw some people I know on Theologyweb.com using South Park charcterizations

South Park Me

South Park Me

of themselves as avatars and I just HAD to give that a go!  Now, see, you have something to compare.  Does this character look like the doll above?  I kinda think so.  Again, I went for the shorter pants, though I was not given the sandal or flip flop option this time.  And, I actually do have a shirt roughly that color with a big gold cross on the front.  The halo, however, is another story.  I have no idea how that got there. You can become a South Park character yourself here.

Around the time the Simpsons movie was on the verge of release, there was an awesome website that created Springfield and had a bunch of interactive screens.

Simpsons Me

Simpsons Me

I don’t think that’s there any longer (I’ll be honest, I didn’t really check), but the Simpsonization machine is still in operation here!  Are you starting to think you know what I actually look like?  I didn’t like any of the fashion options here, and I think I had to use a screen capture technique to actually get this image, but, hey, I’m a Simpson!  Not much to complain about there!  If you try this one, I recommend resisting the temptation to match your skin tone.  Just go yellow!  You won’t regret it!

The M &M print ads featuring celebrities made into characters is still popular.  You can make yourself an M&M, but the options are not nearly robust enough to create a likeness like those ads.  Still, I did one a while ago, and then again recently.  I rather like them both!

Old M&M Me

Old M&M Me

New M&M Me

New M&M Me

I’d honestly forgotten I’d already saved an M&M characterization when I went back and made a new one for this article.  The Starbucks cup and maniacal grin definitely complete the picture!

Getting out of the realm of rampant commercialism for a few minutes, there are also character-making machineries specifically for use as avatars…some aimed just at fun and some advertised as options for those who don’t wish to display their own photo on public forums or chat environments.

WeeMe

WeeMe

I use a WeeMe on AIM, but I hardly ever log on to AIM since I get my buddy list delivered right to my gmail interface and I love that!  But, I think people chatting with me from AIM do see my Weeme which does some funny stuff whenever I type certain things, like “LOL” or “;-)” for example.  But, here she is in still life.  This program actually allows one to choose a body shape that generally resembles reality…a new option for me.  No capris or shorts available, so I had to go with full-length jeans, but there are my flip flops!

Actually, WeeMes are part of “Wee World,” and you can get sucked into that black hole if you’re not careful with your time management.  But, you can also use WeeMes on Skype, and in other places, I believe.  I don’t know.  I’m afraid to go back there.

There’s a generic program called “Portrait Illustration Maker,”

Illustration Portrait Me

Illustration Portrait Me

that touts itself as, “Best ‘n’ Free Avatar Generater ! Available for blogs and SNS ! But Unmeasurable about the Combinations of parts.”  I suspect a BabelFish translation!  Actually, I didn’t find the combination of parts quite “unmeasurable.”  I like this least of all the characterizations.  I just don’t really see myself here.  I see Sarah Palin, sort of! With a little Dana Scully mixed in.  But, there you go, anyway.

Now, normally I wouldn’t do this on a blog, but I don’t see how you can comprehend the true awesomeness of my prowess at character-making if you don’t actually have an image of me to compare against the characters.

The Real Me

The Real Me

So, here I am, about a month ago.  I still change the color and style of my hair frequently, so don’t look for me on the street using this mug shot!

But, I’d love it if you would leave comments on this post.  Tell me about your own character-making experiences…let me know what you think of mine…post links to other sites with character making machineries!  Above all, have fun!

Cheers for now!

Isaiah 40:19 The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains.