March 22nd, 2004

hopper_ground_swell

Treading Dawn

The sound of a lawn sprinkler and the hint of mist it leaves on the cool morning air has me wishing for one of those fresh spring rains -- the kind that break up while the sun is in the west, so that its light sparkles on the wet world and big, white clouds sail the afternoon sky. Late March can usually be expected to provide a few of them, sometimes with thunder and lightning, but none are in sight this year. At least there have been some nice cirrus clouds, and more are expected later in the week. I see a few now, gray and shading toward lavender where the eastern sky pales with dawn's approach. If I lived near the ocean, these would be good days for watching the white sails of boats catching the wind, being drawn over the swells of glistening sea toward the horizon of the world.

A flock of migrating waterfowl just passed, vibrating the morning air with their calls. They were flying low, and far enough west to be concealed by the trees. All I saw were the crows they stirred into flight, who cawed loudly at the strangers. I'm not sure what species they were, or if they had wintered in California's wetlands or somewhere farther south. Many pass by in their journey this time of year, and I sometimes wonder if I am hearing calls that recently rang over Mexican lakes or Central American swamps, or even the Andean highlands. It is likely that some of these birds have visited distant lands that I have never seen. They make me feel like a dull crow, though I have no desire to scold the travelers on their way. It is only that I, rooted in this place, feel a twinge of envy for their adventure, as I do for the bright day before those on board the boats which I know must even now be leaving harbors, venturing seaward with morning breezes, letting the stolid coast recede, seeking a perfect circled horizon.
caillebotte_the balcony

We Will Not Get Rich Doing This!

One of the features of the free version of the Opera web browser is those little generic ads in the upper right hand corner. They are fed to the browser by Google, which chooses them through some clever program which relates them to the site the user is currently visiting. Thus, each time I log in to LJ, I get a couple of links to similar sites, or to blogging software of some sort. Today, I noticed one which offered money for blogging. Well. Could I resist checking that out? Of course not! It's a site called Blogit, and the way it works is sort of explained here. For a mere $5.95 a month, one can join a scheme in which some part of the money (they don't name a specific percentage) is redistributed among the users, based on popularity. I have no idea if any of the writing is any good, since they only allow registered users of the site to read the full posts. Judging from the few lines of each post displayed to casual visitors, it's pretty much the same sort of stuff that appears at any other web log site. It's an interesting notion. I predict failure. Sure, they might think they will skim the cream of writers from sites such as LJ, attracting to their site people with large lists of readers, but it's the unpopular people who would provide the income for those who are successful, and how many unpopular people would stick it out in the vague hope that they might eventually succeed and begin raking in the petty cash? Without the failures, there isn't all that much income to be redistributed to the more popular writers, so the latter have little incentive to keep writing for so limited an audience. So, no cigar for Blogit. It's like the proverbial city whose citizens survive by taking in one another's laundry. Once everybody's clothes wear out, there's no more work.

Meanwhile, we unpaid LiveJournalers get to see pictures of koalas for free! Good deal.