my first blog: years of planning & focus groups

Some of my posts are really long. I have tagged them as “~long”. Some posts are really short. I have tagged them as “~short”. There are also medium length posts, tagged as “~medium”.

If you want to, you can go to the category/tag search page and read only short, medium or long posts. It’s up to you.

Because the default tagline assigned to the WordPress default Twenty Thirteen theme  is “The future is fantastic” and ultimately I chose that same theme, (see earlier post) and ultimately I landed on using  something very close to the default tagline with “The future is fantastical”, some might think that this was straight-forward decision, since the only difference between the default tagline and mine are a mere two letters, more specifically “AL” tacked on at the end.

But truth be told (and since there is no one else alive who can say otherwise, in this case you must believe my version of the truth, and if required I would even swear to it in a court of law with no fear of perjuring myself, since it is only I who in this matter actually knows the truth and therefore I am it’s perfect and only arbiter plain and simple.) there was a wee moment when I considered using the Twenty Thirteen default tagline “The future is fantastic” without alteration. But upon “googling” its use (And I must say that I do love to say “googling” and I’m so glad that the OED has accepted it as a new verb) I found that the field of blogs using the “The future is fantastic” was way too crowded. See?

And not only was this tagline used in an abundance of other WordPress blogs, but it was also used for all other kinds of hokum and snake oil and who knows what else, that really was’t even properly part of the blogosphere. So it was destiny that my search for the perfect tagline continued.

As an aside, truth be told (see discussion of this figure of speech in the paragraph just above) I had at one point almost decided to use a different default WordPress tagline “Just another WordPress site”. With this, I thought I had a classic, because with the exception of the Twenty Thirteen template using “The future is fantastic”, I do believe that “Just another WordPress site” was the only other default tagline that WordPress.org has ever offered.

And while this type of brand consistency normally appeals to me, I just felt that “Just another WordPress site”was somehow just not catchy enough. So I did a did an extensive study of the matter, or in other words, I added and changed and rearranged the words and stuff like that.

For example: I tried “Just another amazing WordPress site” and “Just another awesomely cool WordPress site” as well as many other variations of that ilk. And at one point, I thought I really had something when I came up with “Just another really super-cool one-of-a-kind can’t-miss-it WordPress site”, which really seemed most excellent to me and not only because I really love to make up compound words.

But then I noticed another problem. When I “googled” (I will never stop loving to use that word. ) “Just another WordPress site”, I found that it’s use, while not omnipresent, was certainly quite ubiquitous. So even with a large change in wording, the general common-ness of it  would ultimately make my tagline less unique than I had orginally desired.

But more significantly, I also saw that many people were confused about how to change or remove “Just another WordPress site” as their tag line. This really started the alarm bells ringing. Not only did it seem that so many people had used this tagline and later lost interest in it, (so there must have been something lacking right from the start, right?) but also using this tagline seems to have caused a state of confusion in many people as to how on earth they would ever change or remove it. See? Clearly I wanted none of that.

So still undaunted, I continued my quest.  And in part, because I had once thought I was so close with “The future is fantastic”, I ultimately returned to it. And in the end I decided to use it while making one minor modification by adding “AL” to the end thus producing “The future is fantastical”.

For me, this added wordplay gave this tagline new life. And even for about two seconds (or maybe a minute) I thought that “fantastical” was a new word that I had just invented.But then I “googled” (Ahh!) it and found that “fantastical” had actually been in use since perhaps 2003.

According to the internets, my not-new-word “fantastical” could mean some combination of “fantastic” and “magical”. Or alternately, it could mean that something was too much of a good thing, that it was really too good to be true, just too much, “too good” in a sarcastic sense. See?

Used in a sentence: “The rapid advance of technology allows us to experience previously unimaginable opportunities for non-stop entertainment and multi-tasking thus giving us fantastical powers of concentration and the ability to truly “be here now.” Used in another sentence: “The future really is fantastical.” It really is.

So in all seriousness and yes all (at least most) kidding aside I really do mean this to be a mostly very serious blog. So I really mean it when I say that I truly do believe that the future is fantastical. Right now (which at least heavily implies the future, doesn’t it?), there are some truly fantastic things happening. And some truly magical things are definitely happening too. And some of the things happening are just too-much-all-at-once in your face in a way that many people just seem caught up in the flow when it can be hard to tell exactly where all of this is really going.  “The future is fantastical”: It may be just another tagline but you must admit (actually I don’t know what you’d admit to, or wouldn’t admit to, but you might) it’s so much catchier than “just another really super-cool one-of-a-kind can’t miss tagline”. And I’d like to think it’s kinda’ fantastical all on it’s own. Used in another sentence: “My tagline, “The future is fantastical” is fantastical.”

So there must be over a zillion different WordPress templates. So Envato alone sells over a million different ones. So I must have looked at at least 10,000 different templates before I picked this one. So, on another topic, you might ask why I am saying “so” so much. So that’s a really good question. Or maybe not. More about So and So.

So, after a lot of digging and research, I chose the WordPress 2013 standard theme “Twenty Thirteen”. In doing so, I felt the need to resist current trending trends in the “blogosphere” (Oh how I love saying that word) (but I like saying “so” so much more). I said to myself, be damned, all of you trendy trending “blogosphere” people. I’m resisting the trending trends this time and just choosing something that I like. And so, I even liked this theme so much that I integrated it into the name of my blog. You can call me a lot of things, but you can’t exactly call me trendy or even trending. If you want you could call me “old fashioned”.

So, why would I choose a theme that is over three years old, when so many incredible advancements have been made since then?

So, perhaps at least part of the reason lies in that I am after all, just kinda’ an old fashioned guy, with some kinda’ old fashioned ideas. (And maybe once in a while, a new fashioned one.) But some caution here blogosphere people. You may be trending and trendy, but careful not to overstep your boundaries. I may be slightly obsolete, but I’m not a relic yet.

It is still possible that I may serve a purpose, even in your trendy trending world. After all, science fiction was once considered old fashioned. Once everyone knew that only crazy old people came up with such rot. Remember how they laughed at Jules Verne, how H.G. Wells was taunted, how Phillip K. Dick had to die before he made any money? And that was way before the blogosphere was even a glimmer in Al Gore’s eye.

So call me old fashioned if you want, but it was clearly a good move to choose an American Standard theme rather than a pop forty hit. After all, I have history on my side and this theme has now made it over three years and some people are still using it. And in technological time that’s like centuries, right?

So also, this theme tested extremely well, but truth be told, my testing didn’t actually take place in the blogosphere. Instead I hired some other chaps for that. So, according to the market research firm* I did hire, the Twenty Thirteen theme made most people overall feel kinda’ happy, but not too happy so that they no longer had the potential to simultaneously feel kinda’ serious.

The balance between these states seemed to have something to do with the bubbles in the header image, that may have brought them back to childhood or possibly induced a self-reflective state, like taking a relaxing bubble bath, or potentially made them feel like they had been encapsulated by a single bubble and floating up into the air, like that cartoon dog whose name nobody can remember, then floating out of the room and into the sky, up into the clouds, and stars perhaps to meet alien life who would now reveal to them perhaps the meaning of life or perhaps how they were planning or not planning to take over the earth. Or maybe not.

So for the record, “or maybe not” is almost always a viable alternative to nearly everything that was just said. (Remember that Oh mighty blogosphere!) And in my book at least, (if I had a book), I’d say it’s possible that bubbles are exactly what the blogosphere is lacking. So, perhaps Hal David and Burt Bacharach got it wrong. What the world needs now is not “Love Sweet Love”, but instead the world needs now is more”bubbles sweet bubbles”. (That’s the only thing, that there’s just too little of).

Or perhaps the bubbles reminded people of the old Don Ho song, “Tiny Bubbles.” You do remember that song, don’t you? And if not, you must remember when Madison Avenue (remember Madison Avenue?) decided to Hawaianize (yes that’s a real word) parts of popular culture. It was sort of like the British Invasion (Oh how the blogosphere, still loves the British invasion) except instead of electric guitars, the Hawaiianization had ukuleles. And if you don’t remember any of that, of course you still remember Don Ho. Right? If not, I’ve provided a useful link just below, for your convenience.

So, I’m going to leave it at that. Twenty Thirteen is my theme. At least some people will disagree. But I think it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. That is unless, I’m later shown to be mistaken.

So now I leave you with Don Ho, here memorialized by the internets. And just a last thought regarding my Bacharachization (not a real word, YET) of this blog entry.


Tiny Bubbles

Performed by Don Ho; Words & Music by Leon Pober

Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)
In the wine (in the wine)
Make me happy (make me happy)
Make me feel fine (make me feel fine)
Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)
Make me warm all over
With a feeling that I’m gonna
Love you till the end of time

SING ALONG

PLAY IT (Uke Chords)


What the World Needs Now is Love

Lyrics by Hal David and Music composed by Burt Bacharach
Performed by Jackie DeShannon (and zillions of others)

Replace the word “love” with “bubbles”

Lord, we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last ’till the end of time

What the world needs now is love (bubbles),
sweet love (bubbles)
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love (bubbles),
sweet love (bubbles)
No, not just for some but for everyone

SING ALONG 


*Testing performed by the Become a Millionaire Almost Instantly with Your Very First Blog Institute Brain Trust LLC**
**(very Limited Liability (and not that good of) Company)

I have attempted to construct this blog with the utmost care. I must have considered at least 200 different names. The address had to be descriptive, it had to be unique, it had to be compelling.

After a period of more than several months that included more than a little testing by focus groups, I had narrowed the name down to three or four choices. But oddly, the current name was not among them.

Then one night, I dreamed that that TV sets were no longer flat, that music was contained on large black plastic disks, that there was no e-mail, fax machines or even Fedex and the fastest way to send something was by telegram.

It was as if time had started going backward. But luckily for me, instead of continuing backward indefinitely to the cavemen, it stopped at about 1968 at which point I was lucky enough to have tickets for the theater. And there on the same stage were  Frank Sinatra, Dean MartinSammy Davis, Jr.Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. But oddly the whole lot of them remained stone cold silent for what seemed like hours.

And then finally the voice of Sammy rang out breaking the silence with a song. And the entire audience and even people outside started to sing along and some even broke into impromptu dancing. It was a song everyone knew. Sing it Sammy, “I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me, What else can I be but what I am?”

And I won’t give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

And that’s when it hit me. Why should I hide behind pretensions? Why should I try to be clever? Shouldn’t it be enough that I’m saying what I have to say? Won’t the whole world find the words of the average man to be enticing, even without all of the embellishments?

And that’s when, (right before I woke up) I decided I should simply name the blog after myself. Just like Sammy said, “I’ve got to be me, what else can I be?”

It hit me like a lightning bolt, like when water droplets in the bottom part of a cloud are caught in updrafts and then downdrafts push down ice which causes the cloud to be negatively charged at the bottom and a positively charged at the top creating electricity that just has to find somewhere to go. Like what happened when Ben Franklin flew that kite with that key tied to the string and that lightning just had to hit it, not just to make a good story, but also to make history and moreover science that even a child would remember. Yea like that. That’s what happened. I decided to name the blog after myself. It was truly an epiphany.

Soon after and a few more focus groups later it was decided to add “blog” to the URL name. It seemed that people in the focus groups liked “deanheagle” alone with everything from an ice cream flavor to an additive for gasoline. But no one clearly understood that it was the name of a blog until we added “blog” to the name. And so it has come to pass, just as it was what it was, it now is what it is. And just like forever, the future is now.

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

It was so exciting to install WordPress and get this message. I’m sure to be a famous blogger in no time.

Edit or delete it. Well of course, I’d want to edit it. Well, what I really want to do is add to it.

So as a note to the success of my first post, first I’d like to thank WordPress and the spirit of open source and all of the people dedicated to the process. I’d also like to thank the people who developed PHP and made the phrase “Hello World!” a standard in confirming server side connectivity.

And to all of the pioneers, like Grace Hopper and all of the others too numerous to mention or even remember, who toiled with bedroom-sized machines that could do almost nothing. And to Al Gore who invented the internet, (never said that, but sorta did have huge foresight in funding the idea). And of course thanks to my mother and family for their constant support and belief in me, even when it was clear that I had become a bad seed, but they kept the faith and saw me through those growth spurts until it all turned out alright anyway.

And to my fellow city dwellers past and present, like Nikolai Tesla who not only had the spark to give us modern electricity and so much more, but was also known to entertain the likes of Mark Twain with an earthquake or two.

And for Edison who lived across the Hudson, whose imagination, single-mindedness and unbridled greed and who along with Westinghouse and other financiers helped make the grid what it is today, even though by now it just may have caused a problem or two of its own.

And finally to Alexander Graham Bell, without whose invention, the world wouldn’t be the same and Apple stock certainly wouldn’t be so overvalued. For in the end it was Bell who was first to say those magic words, “Mr. Watson come here.” “I want to see you” which if you really think about it, was a lot like saying “Hello World”, so that I and so many others could say those words again and again on WordPresses all across the galaxy.

And to all of the other pioneers and friends who I don’t have time to mention. Thank you! Thank you!

It is for you, that I proudly say with great feeling and triumph and like so many others, but hopefully with my own voice, “HELLO WORLD!”