Archives for category: Imperfect Blogging

Hi Random People Doing Weird Searches and Comment Spambots,

Gosh, I haven’t blogged in such a long time it feels weird to be sitting here wondering what to write about. Wait, what are you doing here anyway? What am I still doing on your RSS feed? Actually it’s because I was cleaning up my Google Reader did I actually remember I still had a blog. Poor blog.

It’s not that I’ve stopped being imperfect or being a mom, just that I don’t really feel like writing about motherhood anymore. I’ve never really grasped why people would want to read about my mundane goings-on or look at pics of my kids pretending to be the best kids in the world when they really are just most of the time NOT listening or wanting to eat their veggies and NOT wanting to pick up their toys, just like everyone else’s kids.

I guess I SHOULD do a little update once in a while, for the benefit of you. Yes, you, mom. And dad. And See Ming. 

Rae will be seven in three months. Gosh, what can I say about Rae that doesn’t end up being some cathartic revelation on the stress of having a high maintenance kid. She’s everyone’s dream guy – smart, sensitive, silently brooding. Sky is almost 4 and a half. She’s into Power Puff Girls these days and will walk around kungfuing total strangers (in a cute, not-annoying-at-all-way, of course). She’s still our little foodie, always interested in what’s on your plate.

I am still on my weight loss journey, although I’m not very motivated these days. Lokes is still sickeningly thin. And yes, still doing my photography. And that’s it. 

Well, I’ll think of something better tomorrow, hopefully. Or maybe it’ll be another six months, who knows?

Read my take at Seattle Mom Blogs!

This is Paula.

I am amazed and humbled at people like Paula, who have suffered so much and yet are able to just tell the world their stories, not for pity’s sake but because they understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of. We all make mistakes, we all do wrong, we all feel shame and fear and pain.

The Internet, especially, is filled with hateful people (Google blogher+Dooce) who may or may not be as bad as they portray themselves to be in real life because hey, it’s the Internet, where it’s much harder to resist saying what you think, than you think.

Try telling someone in the face though, now that’s courage AND honesty. People (ironically, people who aren’t even involved) just can’t handle it. They Freak. Out.

Or maybe it’s just another Saturday night in San Francisco for all I know.

Boy I’m glad I’m not as serious about blogging than I used to be.

No no, I’m also lazy but I’m also not as serious.

This month, I celebrate five years blogging, on and off (of which the three of you are fully aware).

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been any good but I do know that most of you are my friends or friends of friends or just people who’ve made some cheeky Googles and have accidentally landed on my blog (sorry!) but here’s the thing: I just can’t turn a profit with this blog thing (without PPProstituting, begging your pardon, dear friends on the take). 

Should I post more pictures of me and my fake white teeth? Perhaps a little more cleavage? What?

I dunno. I read Dooce and I just don’t see people flocking to read my daily forays into (failed) potty-training or to catch more cute kidspeak (they are adorable but have no literary quality whatsoever) and I’m certainly not getting a couple of dogs (I just cleaned the bathrooms today – there’s already enough hair without pets).

I mean, that’s 400+ comments right there, about dog hair, if it were Dooce’s dogs’. I guess when you’re the pioneer of an American revolution, you deserve 400+ comments even if it’s only dog hair. Makes me wish I had a job just so I can get laid off for blogging too.

Plus I just checked out Blogher’s directory of Mommy blogs. I am four pages deep under “T”. Why do I even try?

So, more naked pictures then?

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Woohoo, tags. Can I work that SEO or what.

Turns out my last theme doesn’t support WP2.3 so I had to change it. And my host hasn’t provided their nifty one-click WordPress upgrade to 2.5 yet but I’m cool. I don’t need to be current.

No really, I don’t.

House status: Disaster zone since the girls are up and about. Knocking things down. Pouring stuff on the carpet. Singing. Screaming. Scream-singing. It’s like my whole last week of posts never happened. To think I was praying for normal.

My status: Tired but relieved. And wondering what the heck I’m going to do with that big tube of Nupercainal.

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I just received an email from a Malaysian couple who’s taking their wedding blog to a whole new level (ah, the perks of being ‘famous’ – more spam).

This is how it went:

As blogs continue to gain popularity and credibility, two bloggers from (blog URL) are aiming to have the first fully sponsored wedding in Asia (turns out it’s in Malaysia). The bloggers are offering free publicity for any company that chooses to sponsor their wedding.

C and his fiancée M, are two influential bloggers from the largest blogging networks and understand that often blogs are a go-to source for consumers. The blog serves as an information source for future brides and grooms, with the couple sharing details on how to find great wedding deals.

With a wedding planned in December, the groom-to-be and the bride-to-be blog about companies that have helped finance their wedding event via Paypal (how they get their money is itself a business since Malaysians can’t withdraw money from their Paypal accounts).

In addition to writing about these companies, the couple includes a sponsor’s logo on their blog. Sponsors of the wedding include (list of sponsors).

"With the winter wedding season under way, and couples planning for their 2008 weddings, many future brides often turn to the internet, especially our blog, for advice," said the bride-to-be. "Companies who choose to sponsor our wedding will gain exposure for their organization from a global audience, as well as an increase in traffic to their Web site."

It took me a moment to digest what I was reading since I was neither

a) an Internet savvy bride-to-be; or

b) a company that could sponsor something unless what they wish for is a free lesson in What Not To Do To Cheapen Thy Wedding, in which case, here you are – my heartiest congratulations.

But I am glad their email found me because now I have something to blog about that’s not about nothing.

Firstly, a summary on how a typical traditional Malaysian Chinese wedding goes (you’ve not seen cookie-cut until you’ve seen one of these):

1. Couple determines budget. Traditionally, Chinese weddings are big budget events that are expensed to the bride’s family, who in turn receives a sizeable dowry from the groom’s family in the form of gold, jewellery, a barbecued pig, a nice big house, so on and so forth. These days, such formalities are often just that – the cost of the gold, the bling, the pig, are shared by both families or even by the couple themselves. In the case of C and M, their wedding will be paid off by sponsors, who in return receive mentions in the former’s wedding blog. Ingenious, no? A little tasteless, but what do you expect from a couple of pro-bloggers? Monetizing is in their blood, they’d say.

2. Couple determines auspicious date using birth dates and birth times and perhaps even conception times to ensure health, wealth, fertility and a long and happy marriage.

3. Couple consults with parents (living and dead) on appropriateness of date.

4. Couple makes invite list with parents (only living) to determine how many tables of guests to book. This is also a great time to make some projections about future earnings from ang pow or ‘red packets’, which are little red or pink gift envelopes containing money – a timeless tradition. The going rate these days, I believe, is RM50 per person (correct me if I’m wrong), AT LEAST, depending on how ‘classy’ the restaurant where the wedding dinner will be held is, which determines the going rate per table. Each table typically seats ten. If it costs RM1,000 a table, you will need to bring a RM100 PER head (so if you are attending with your family of five, you’d better make sure there are five big ones in that tiny little packet). This ensures that the happy couple can at least cover their cost of feeding and entertaining you for the evening even though you are a guest. Question: C and M have a restaurant sponsor for their dinner. Are guests still expected to bring ang pows?

5. Couple books wedding dinner restaurant.

6. Couple books wedding photography studio, which is an institution in itself in Malaysia – and an exceedingly lucrative one. You go in, select a ‘package’ that includes the photography, the rental of gowns AND the make up as well as hair. The price eventually comes down to how many gowns you wish to rent but more remarkably, how many pictures you wish to have processed into fancy hand-made albums or enlarged to epic proportions to be placed at the head of your bed. These days, couples love having their wedding photos taken in the great outdoors, parks or atop hills, perhaps reminiscent of movie stars in similar locales. You may have started with a measly RM3,000 package but can end up paying RM13,000 because the thought of tossing the other 2,000 shots they took of you, who spent 12 hours changing into 13 dresses, posing and smiling in two inches of make-up and 12 inches of fake hair, just seems irresponsible. Question: C and M have a sponsored photographer. How does that work? Did they get the full deluxe premium platinum package? I am curious.

7. Couple books the wedding matchmaker-wedding-usherer-lady-person (‘tai kum che’ in Cantonese – my Koo Ma was one). I have no idea how much they cost. When my Koo Ma used to do it (in the 90s), she charged RM100 for a whole day, since she provided make up AND the ‘ushering’ itself, where she shouts good tidings at the top of her voice during the tea ceremony (where most of the ang pow and gold are given by relatives) and is also the ‘MC’ at the dinner reception, crucial during toasts. These days, I believe they sing as well as flirt shamelessly with uncles who have had too much to drink. Another RM200 for ‘value-added services? Any Internet-savvy tai kum ches around who need some link love?

8. Couple goes for honeymoon (which is a non-event, unless of course it’s also sponsored and thereby the couple has to blog about their impending trip). Business is business, right?

I am not sure how I feel about the whole affair. On one hand, I applaud C and M for their brilliance – and audacity. Not a lot of people will think of asking total strangers to pay for their wedding and fewer still will gather up the nerve to be so bold as to mail-blast the blogosphere. On the other, I’m wondering if all this does not cross some line somewhere – the line between entrepreneurial and just plain cheap and/or greedy (particularly so when ang pows are undoubtedly still expected). After all, this is a wedding, a momentous event between two people, a celebration of love and commitment.

What next? Sponsor my pregnancy blog? The birth of my first child? My funeral?

And how is this different from what I’m doing now, with my Kontera and Text Link ads and my asking for Amazon donations?

Crass or not, this is a sign of things to come, dear friends. Of sponsored soirees, monetized marriages and pay-per-pregnancies.

Welcome to new media!

Now who wants to sponsor a blog post about me making a trip to the bathroom?

I’m always a little at a loss when someone refers to me as “the famous blogger” or “the writer”.

For one, I am neither.

To belong to the first, you’d have to be in the ranks of Xia Xue, Robert Scoble or Violent Acres. Since I am not any of these people – or belong to their social circles, not even in the blogroll sense (which is, I think, the true measure of whether one has ‘made it’ in the blog…scene. To have one’s blog linked in list of perhaps eight other bloggers, semi-permanently until they run out of ad space or when they remember to update their blogrolls and take you off because they can no longer remember who you are).

To belong to the second, well, you have to first write a book that’s not only been published but must’ve been accessed via a bookstore (online or off) or a library by at least, oh I don’t know, 30 people? People who aren’t related to you or are your friends or know you at a molecular level. A total stranger who thought your book was good enough to fork out $14 for. Or make the trip to the library to check it out. Or perhaps even deign him/herself to borrow from a friend. That’s when you know you’ve made it. Random people sacrificing time, spending money and exerting effort to read what you’ve written.

That’s when you allow yourself the title of “writer”.

Yes, I do set very strict standards for myself, standards which I’m bound to live by (the binder being yours truly) and therefore am destined never to meet. It is a wonder I am able to function at all, what with mild delusions of grandeur one minute, and the slightly psychotic self-berating the next.

“Pff, I can write better than that!”

“Then again, I’ve never even tried.”

“You suck.”

“No, you suck.”

And yet, I can’t help feeling a little pride seep in once in a while (it is a sneaky feeling) when someone addresses me that way, although I can’t be sure most of the time if he or she isn’t actually mocking me. Sometimes, I pretend it’s genuine, basking a little in the misdirected (or misinterpreted) admiration. Most of the time, I have on my ‘blur’ face, that mask of uncertainty, as though I am preoccupied with the delicate task of wiping yet another snotty nose or tying yet another errant shoelace, when I am doing everything I can not to cry and feel sorry for myself, a 34-year old fraud who will perhaps spend the rest of her life starting novels without finishing any because she has the attention span of a tick.

“You’re that Mommy blogger, aren’t you?”

I’m not sure at which word in the label I’d cringe. “Mommy” or “blogger”. Or “you?”

“I loooooove your writing!”

What this person means is, of course, my blogging, since I’m sure she’s read neither of the two stories I’ve written that’s been published in a country 12,000 miles away – a country she thinks is in Micronesia.

Again, the cold fingers of embarrassed panic seize me. Should I do the polite thing and thank her. Or the right thing, and correct her?

“Blogging isn’t writing, lady,” Obnoxious me would say. “Any idiot with two fingers can blog. But thank you anyway. I appreciate it.”

But in blog world, I do what all bloggers must do. I’ll take what I can, enjoy every morsel of fame thrown my way, holding each piece of praise gingerly between my Magic-marker stained fingers (much as one would those gourmet cheese samples they give away at the fancy deli sections at the grocery store), and slowly nibble as though it is the last goddamn piece of cheese I will ever eat.

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Daringyoungmom and Goodisenough, two fellow lady bloggers who will be going to Blogher this year.

DYM is a well-known blogger (who’s speaking at the conference on Day One about the need for an intolerance intervention in the blogosphere).

At the playground, we got to talking about blogging for money. As you know, this is an issue that I’ve been been struggling with of late. Essentially, both DYM and GIE disagree with directly sponsored posts from companies like Payperpost. And after I told them how I gave PPP the boot after finding out its business model of rejecting posts even after the posts have been published for weeks, they were even more aghast.

FYI, DYM has a thriving business running ads on her blog from Blogher (which I’ve just applied for!) and she’s made quite a name for herself in the American blogosphere after just two years. She’s been on the Today show and even writes for a parenting site, The Parenting Post.

So the contention here is, which is the lesser of the two evils? Monetising your blog through ads, or writing paid posts? Of course, people who do both would not be asking this question as they HAVE NO SOULS (points at me).

Having gone through a little over two weeks of PPP, I am now only on SponsoredReviews, of which there have been bids few and far between. While the money’s good, what one of the moms said this morning – I don’t remember who – struck me as very true: That after a while, the readability of your blog degrades because your readers stop reading the real posts as well.

And after a while, even the quality of your READERS degrade, because no matter how well you write, your quality blog readers, those who really come to you for your stories and anecdotes, your honest reviews, don’t read paid posts. Sadly, it’s already happening. Traffic has gone down about 30% for me since I’ve gone all money-minded. Of course, if you don’t care about that sort of thing, it doesn’t really matter since neither PPP nor SR lists ‘quality of readers’ (nor quantity, which is odd) as one of the requirements to be paid.

After an afternoon spent pondering this whole messed up issue, I’ve decided to stop bidding from today onwards at SR, and to commit what I’ve bid on, if they are accepted. I am going to stick with the ads and hope that my attendance at Blogher (and acceptance into their ad program) will help me gain some exposure as a writer and to pursue, instead, alternate – and more ‘honourable’ – ways to earn some money.

Wish me luck. Sorry to make all of you a part of my whole monetising my blog rollercoaster. If only I wasn’t so damn fickle…