Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thank You, Readers and Contributors

Thank you for making such a rewarding project this year.

I would like to take a moment to thank the readers, correspondents and contributors of this site. The site would not have its current vibrancy without your input, critiques, recommendations and contributions. The site is "of two minds" not just because I try to remain open to a variety of points of view but because it is the result of two minds: yours and mine.

Many of the features of the site are the result of reader suggestions. There are adverts because readers suggested I sign up for Adsense. There is a readers forum because a reader offered to set one up. There is a subscription option because readers kept asking for one, even though there was nothing being offered in exchange for their generosity. A longtime friend and reader suggested I offer financial contributors and subscribers a modest "thank you" in the form of Weekly Musings, which are a pastiche of my notebook scribblings, works in progress and selections of my amazing, roaring river of email correspondence.

I ask the forgiveness of email correspondents who did not receive a reply over the past six weeks; I do my best to respond to email, but I have been distracted by a massive writing project, my new book titled "Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change." The first draft is now complete (36,000 words) and now the editing begins. There is no way to write this sort of thing without blocking out everything else and devoting oneself slavishly to its completion.

Though I studiously try to avoid making this site a Channel of Me, I am an actual real individual, and I am acutely aware that you too are an actual real individual. So it seems natural that I should occasionally speak to you as an individual, just as you write me as an individual.

A new correspondent (K.K.) wrote that she only emailed me after seeing some photos posted here that humanized me from "journalist/commentator" (or whatever I am here on the blog) to a real person. This dynamic was new to me, and it encouraged me to post a few more photos today, though this runs perilously close to indulging in a Channel of Me.

Another reader recently suggested I run a year-end fund-raiser of the sort that other blogs run. This was a kind and generous suggestion, and it made me realize that you've already given enough--thank you. Even if you collectively gave only $5, it would have been enough, because the site will march on regardless of what is or is not contributed. (I was delighted to receive Qatar Riyals and euros recently, as well as hand-made manzanita-wood kitchen tools and local farm-bottled honey.)

Readers insist on contributing, knowing that this amount of work is tough to sustain without compensation, and I am grateful for your understanding of this.

But even if nobody contributed a dime, the site would continue on in the present chaotic fashion.

Another very generous reader suggested I consider a tiered system of contributions. This is also a very common feature of established blogs/sites. Since the contributions and subscriptions are entirely voluntary, then my philosophy has been to offer some sort of modest thank-you to those generous souls who choose to contribute something. I confess this is sort of haphazard--a signed book for contributions of $50 or more, and the Weekly Musings for subscribers and major contributors.

The Musings is not intended as a mass mailing list; rather, they're intended to be a more intimate circle where I can share thoughts that may not be ready for prime-time, so to speak. My friend G.F.B. recently characterized the difference this way: the blog is the equivalent of speaking to a large auditorium of people--roughly 15,000 to 25,000 at a time in terms of base readership. The Musings are more like speaking to a small room of people you trust to forgive your half-formed ideas and occasional rambling.

I realize I need to formalize the Musings list so subscribers will be offered the same signed book when their subscription reaches the $50 total. I also realize I don't have enough time to stand in line at the post office to mail books, so I'm thinking of restricting the signed books to those under 13 ounces, so I can mail them without waiting in line. That will trim to the choices to "Survival+: the Primer," "Weblogs & New Media," and the new title, "Resistance, Revolution, Liberation." I intend on adding some similarly sized short books to the offerings in 2012.

This is a one-person shop. Since I lead a complex, over-committed life in the real world and there is only so much I can accomplish per day, I'm constantly adjusting the priorities and workload here to maintain some minimal level of mental and physical health. This site is like a giant chaotic ball of loosely connected stuff rolling down a hill, and it's all I can do to keep it from flying apart. Your understanding of that is greatly appreciated.

OK, Channel of Me time. One of the most interesting letters I ever received was from a contributor who wrote that he wondered if the site was in fact the work of one person, or if CHS was a sort of avatar. That possibility had never occurred to me.

Another longtime reader recently said he felt a certain nostalgia for "the old days" when he felt like this site was the semi-secret find of a select few. I want to reassure you that 15,000 people is still a select few on a planet of 7 billion people.

One of the highlights of 2011 was being asked to walk our young Chinese friend down the aisle at her wedding in Las Vegas. The couple had traveled to the U.S. specifically for their wedding at a ritzy Las Vegas hotel that is apparently favored by Chinese celebrities. Here I am helping the groom prepare.

The stand-in "uncle" walking the beautiful bride down the aisle. I am the nervous one.

This is my favorite photo from my recent visit to Versailles, France. This was snapped from the second floor, overlooking the entrance courtyard.

My brother took this snap of me with the founder of Cartesian rationalism.

I took this self-portrait in a Palace mirror, though not one in the Hall of Mirrors (too many people). The mirror crack'd, etc.

No assembly of my real life would be complete without a photo of our garden veggies in one form or another: zucchini stir-fry, yum.

Here's a recent shot of my niece and I.

Digging into the archives, here's a photo of me circa 1974 in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii, taken by one of my favorite photographers, Ian Lind. A few of us had gathered over a weekend to plot our peaceful plans to change the world for the better. The project is still underway.

If your gift-giving philosophy favors 1) everyday utility 2) durability/high quality and 3) cost between $5 and $23, then this is the list for you: Favorite Practical Kitchen Tools (All Under $23, many under $10, most made in U.S.A.)

If this recession strikes you as different from previous downturns, you might be interested in my new book An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times(print edition) or Kindle ebook format. You can read the ebook on any computer, smart phone, iPad, etc. Click here for links to Kindle apps and Chapter One. The solution in one word: Localism.

My Big Island Girl(song) Thrill the players to bits by buying the tune from CD Baby or (99-cent MP3 download)

Readers forum:

Order Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation (free bits) (Kindle) orSurvival+ The Primer (Kindle) or Weblogs & New Media: Marketing in Crisis (free bits)(Kindle) or from your local bookseller.

Of Two Minds Kindle edition: Of Two Minds blog-Kindle

Thank you, Camille G. ($5/mo), for your wondrously generous subscription to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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