My 5 favorite blogs of 2012

top 5 blogsBlogging is an art. We know that. It’s about the writing, the subject matter, the prose. And yes, it’s about the design, the graphics and photos, too. But a great blog is much more than that. It’s really about the personality.

When a blogger writes a post, it is a reflection of who they are and what they feel at that moment. It is not about pleasing other people and making everyone happy. It is about sharing. Sometimes as bloggers, we say stupid and ugly things, and we regret it. Sometimes we are brilliant and amaze even ourselves. And sometimes we just feel like being silly and light. It’s about allowing insight into your guts, into who you are–putting it out there for the entire world to read. No guts, no glory. Love me, love my guts. Here are my passions, my loves, my hates. Running the risk that you might offend, embarrass your family, regret being so candid. Why take that risk? Because writing without personality is dead. Boring. And while boring writing (perhaps more gently referred to as technical writing) has its place, most blogs, even the technical ones, benefit when at least a little of the authors personality comes shining through.

Here then, without further ado, is a short list of the more personality-filled blogs I’ve been following for the past year. At least for the past year. Some for many years. These are the blogs I go to late at night martini in hand, or early in the day while sipping my morning coffee. They inform, inflame, delight, and oftentimes comfort me. Their self-revealing posts reassure me that as abnormal as I may be, I really am still perfectly normal. Whatever that may be. (more…)

A great new app!

Copyright © Red Piggy Press, LLC 2011–2013

Just wanted to sing the praises about a great new app, great new book, and a great new company! “All Fixed Up” is an Interactive Storybook for iPad, brought to you by Red Piggy Press and is the brain child of founders Shelly Bowen and Tracy Hopcus Jordana. This interactive children’s book app for iPad, illustrated by the award-winning artist (more…)

The Music of My Life

Over the years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have many friends who have been gifted with amazing musical talents. Some famous. Some who should be. I am pleased that many of them have also become my design clients. Here, for your listening pleasure, is a sample of their music.

Walk for Farm Animals

Note: This fundraising event is over. Thanks to all who made donations!

Most people don’t realize that there are no federal laws protecting farm animals from cruelty while they are housed on a farm or during transport to slaughter. There are limited protections for cows and pigs at slaughter that are inconsistently enforced and no protections for chickens or turkeys. Factory farms—which raise and slaughter billions of farm animals each year—view animals as cheap commodities rather than as individuals with their own needs and feelings. The cruelty inflicted by factory farms on these helpless animals is unconscionably brutal and would be considered a felony if cats or dogs were the victims. The donations raised help educate the public about these egregious abuses and support legislation to end them. (more…)

The Greater Glory

Today, a young woman strapped into a motorized wheelchair sat waiting in front of the grocery store for a van to pick her up. Her mother stood a little apart from her, watching the rain come down. After a bit, the woman started to sing, a sounding kind of song at first, but then it started to take the shape of a melody. It was one of those haunting voices, deep and rich and sweet. One of the best I have ever heard. She was old and large; her coat was ancient and looked like it had been worn by others before her.

I got to thinking about this voice and the gift of sound. I doubt this woman has ever gotten money for singing, though her church probably benefits from her gift, and I hope the young woman sitting still and unmoving in the chair does, too.

It’s so confusing, listening to better packaged lesser gifts, wondering where the sense of things is, and how much we have lost through lack of recognition or opportunity.

There are the naturals and there are the professionals. Given a choice between the two, I prefer the naturals. They may lack in sophistication and polish, but theirs is the domain of emotion — of passion. And that is what haunts you, enchants you, worries you, and enriches you.

It also gives you sadness, because who knows why they never pursued the talent: Children that needed to be taken care of, food needed to feed them, dreary jobs with meager wages consuming all their life. Leaving them broken and bitter at the end of it, or pleased and content despite of it all.

I’m glad this woman is singing for herself, for the love of singing, and that I was blessed to hear her.

January 25, 1997 – Sandra Miller-Long