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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions

I've created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, to give you some more detailed information about me and this blog and all kinds of stuff. If you have any further questions, ask them in a comment at the bottom, and I'll update the FAQ with the questions and answers.


What is your name?
Alan Howard

Where do you live?
Wellington, New Zealand

Where are you from?
Canberra, Australia. I moved to Wellington in June 2000. Yes, I'm an Aussie living in New Zealand.

What is your age?
I was born in 1966 and my birthday is November 29th. Click on 'Contact Me' at the top of the page to get my email address and ask me where you can send the presents. :-)

What is your marital status?
Attached. Very happily. And have been since January 2005 now. Her name is Deidre, and she's pretty much my ideal woman, who's taken me such a long time to find.

What do you do when you're not blogging?
Work, play computer or roleplaying games (currently Eve Online on the computer), take photos, visit Starbucks for R&R & Chai Lattes, go out to dinner or brunch on weekends, or spend time with Deidre. Sometimes I go walking too, but not as often as I'd like to. Mental note: go walking more...

What exactly is your blog? Is it a personal, political, or religious blog?
I'd like to think that it's everything that is important to me. This is about life through my eyes, and what's important to me can cover so many different areas of interest. I'll write about events with my friends, if I'm inspired to write about them. I'll write about something I feel, and why I feel it. I'll write about something I do or see, and I'll write about news and political stories, if they inspire me to write about them. A great deal of my focus is on spirituality and philosophy, so a lot of what I write will be based on those topics. Some of my writings turn out to be articles, including research to back up my point of view. I used to do investigative journalism, back in the mid-90's, and I still have that interest. So if I'm inspired to do so, I will investigate a topic in order to get as much information as I can about it, and write an article about it that others can read.

Do you have any other blogs?
Yes, I have a number of them. Most of them are relatively inactive though, and mainly experimental.

How long have you had a blog?
Well, technically I've only had an actual blog since mid-2005, but I've had an online journal since 1998, which I've regularly updated over the years. I've been transferring the content into this blog though, so if you check the archives you'll see it goes back to 1998.

Do you have any goals that you hope to achieve with your blog? What are your motives, and what does it give you?
I hope to become a professional writer one day, and this is my self-training. It often frustrates me that people with no previous writing ability can sit down and within only a few months they have a top selling book as a result of their blog, or their blog is number one on the internet because everyone loves it. How does one get to that level? How do these people become writing geniuses when they've never written before? I'm trying to find that spark in me which takes me there, and this is my 'in-between' time - in between mediocrity and fame. I hope you're not suffering too much from it.

As for motives... I've actually been keeping a diary since 1985. I put it onto the internet 13 years later in 1998 as an online journal and I've been writing in it to this day. My motives are simply to record my life. One day I want to write a story of my life, and my diaries and online journals will be the source material. It's going to be a nightmare of a project when I get around to it, but it's going to be done.

What does it give me? A challenge, to present my life in such a way that people are going to want to read it. It gives me a sense of excitement and satisfaction to know that I have a bunch of regular readers who keep coming back, who are interested in what I write about and want to come back to read more. Some of them have been with me for years. Thank you, I really appreciate your loyalty and your interest in my writings. I hope newcomers who read what I write will also be interested enough to hang around for a while.

What kind of work do you do?
I'm a Systems Administrator for Gen-i, a large company that provides corporate IT support around New Zealand. We used to be known as Computerland, until we were bought by Telecom, THE major NZ telecommunications provider, and our integration into Gen-i, another large IT support company that Telecom bought a few months before Computerland, is almost finished.

What would you do if work found out about your blog?
Panic!! No, not really. A number of my colleagues and even managers have been 'fans' of my journal over the past few years, and various other work colleagues visit the site as well. I have absolutely nothing to hide, and any mention of my work is done in such a way that it's either positive or, if it's negative, will not betray the identity of anyone concerned in any way. It's really common sense. If you want to write something that may upset someone in your job, there's a simple rule - don't write it! I like my job, and I want to keep it.

Where, when and how often do you write?
In order of frequency, I write at work during quiet times, at Starbucks when I'm relaxing and people-watching, and in bed before I go to sleep of a night. I write as often as I'm inspired to. Inspiration seems to have come more easily since I turned to this blog format, mainly because it's so much easier to write posts than the way I was doing it in the past. Between 1998 and 2003, I was creating HTML web pages using FrontPage (in its various versions) and uploading them to the server via FTP. In 2003 I moved to a message board format, which was a lot better than manually creating web pages each time I wanted to write. But when I moved to this blog, it's just become so easy it's not funny! Now I just click a button on my browser and start writing, and when I've finished I click on Publish.

Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from daily events, daily frustrations, and daily conversations. News stories are a major source of inspiration, as they inspire me to express my outrage over them. Stupid, ignorant and arrogant people can also inspire me to write about them. Memories are inspiring too, and sometimes I like to share them.

Who do you write for? Yourself or your readers?
Both. I write for both me and you, but ultimately for me.

Who do you think are your readers?
Ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have stumbled upon me through online gaming, who I've shown my writings to. Some have stayed out of a sense of social obligation, while others have been genuinely interested in my outlook on life. And then there's the others who stumble upon me simply from browsing the internet. With the blog community's form of linking to various blogs that you like, or linking your blog in comments you leave on other blogs, I'm getting a few people coming here from that method as well. I hope to eventually retain some regulars.

Anything erotic in here?
There might be, if I feel the urge to write about it. Don't count on it though. While my own privacy isn't very important to me, the privacy of others is, and anything erotic you might see will first have their approval.

Do you write back to everyone who comments?
I write back if I have something to say about their comment, or if they're asking me a question, but if they're just leaving a comment, and I'm not inspired to respond to it, I won't. But I certainly do appreciate all those who take the time and effort to leave a comment. People leaving comments help inspire discussion, and increase the ability to learn something new and even make new friends.

Does anybody close to you know that you have this blog? Why do you not choose to be anonymous, like so many others?
Most of my friends know I have this blog, but most of them don't actually read it. Some have felt they're intruding on my private life, and refuse to accept the fact that if I was worried about my private life, I wouldn't be writing about it! I choose not to be anonymous because I have nothing to hide or be ashamed about. I don't feel the need to have a secret identity like others do. If there's something I want to keep private, then I simply don't write about it, or I write it in such a cryptic way that only I will know what's between the lines, when I read back on it later.

Have you had any unwanted attention in real life as a result of your blog?
None at all, in over 8 years of having an online presence. I think it's more likely that women will have unwanted attention than men.

Which blogs do you read, who are your favourites?
There's links on the right there to blogs I love reading, in the blogroll. That should answer your question. :-) I'll be adding new ones when I find new favourites, and deleting those that I lose interest in. If you like my blog, let me know and I'll link to yours too.

Posted on 8/30/2005 07:28:00 PM Backlinks


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1 Comments:

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4/03/2009 11:24:00 PM  

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(C) Alan Howard 1998 - 2006