Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

Given the serious nature of my last post, I feel that I should lighten things up a bit by acknowledging those who have helped expand my audience. Before I get to that, I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read what I've had to write. I would never have guessed that I'd have so much traffic in my first week of blogging. You all are the best!

My first big thank you goes to Dr. Andrew Farke, a curator at Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology and contributor to The Integrative Paleontologists blog.

Talking to Dr. Farke online played a fairly major role in the birth of this blog. I won't go into details about our conversations, but here's how they started:

I don't expect everyone to understand the meaning of this video. I've just been looking for an excuse to post it.

Since I'm working in a chronological fashion, I had better mention Jon Tennant next. As my previous post would indicate, his seemingly innocuous question put my brain into hyperdrive, resulting in my most popular post to date.

Jon seems to spend a lot of his time promoting open access for research publications, and he has a blog, Green Tea and Velociraptors. Not bad for a Ph.D. student. There's more of a bio on his blog page, so go there and read it. (By it, I mean the bio and the blog.)

Next up is Bora Zivkovic, blog editor for Scientific American. I sent him a link to my blog asking if he would promote it, feeling that while he might not agree with me, his sharing of my work would speak to the quality of it.

Let's face it. When the Blogfather takes the time to read and advertise your writing, it's a huge boost to the ego. I've always taken pride in my wordsmithing ability, but positive feedback in any form never hurts. Unfortunately, Mr. Zivkovic recently suffered a loss, as his iPhone went for a swim. Condolences may be directed to his Twitter handle shown above.

Finally, I give thanks to a man who dealt with a real loss earlier this month, Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr, who's father recently passed(obituary: Knowing what my dad means to me, I can only imagine how Dr. Holtz is feeling at this time, and my heart goes out to him.

After my second post, I felt that giving notice to Dr. Holtz was advised since I had briefly reviewed one of his books. His response caught me a bit off guard.

Because my Twitter handle was omitted, I didn't know that this was posted until hours later. (To be fair, I would probably have seen it if I'd kept up with my feed during the day. I was a bad panda.) I found out when I did because the views for that post were going up, and I felt compelled to figure out why.

My search wasn't too time consuming, especially given the discovery. As my initial message to Dr. Holtz was a courtesy that I felt warranted no more than a brief reply, finding that he had broadcast my writing to his friends, family, and followers gave me a bit of a jolt. (For those wondering, his Twitter and Facebook accounts are linked.) I felt like I had attended a birthday party and someone got me a present.

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the feedback I received from Kate Wong, Dr. David Hone, and Dr. Heinrich Mallison, the latter of whom became my first commenter(see my second post).

I could have posted the tweet of Dr. Hone wishing me luck, but this is more fun. Also, now he can't steal the phrase. He's welcome to borrow it though. While I'm feeling silly:

Back to being serious, I'm also grateful for everyone that retweeted, commented on, or otherwise shared my work. Knowing that my blog is being read by people involved with the field and those with a passion for following it is the greatest affirmation I can receive. I truly feel blessed and wish I could thank you all personally.

Now that what I believe to be the blog version of a clip show is winding down, I apologize for the lack of any new revelations. I had to lower the bar somewhat after my last post. Really though, I feel I have set a standard for myself that I hope my readers will hold me to, and my goal is to not let any of you down. (I accept this as impossible, given that I'm writing on the Internet, unless I specifically exclude trolls from my observed audience.)

Since I'm in the middle of a book, I think I'll use my next post to explain the nickname I'm using in the blog title. I accept that it isn't the most relevant of content, but I do promise that it's an interesting story. From there I can't be certain, but I suspect I'll at least be providing a progress report on my current reading, though I'm certainly open to questions and ideas. I'm going to stop now before I ramble this into a novel. Feel free to hit me with feedback. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Previously unmentioned Twitter handles: Scientific American - @sciam, Dr. Heinrich Mallison - @H_Mallison. If you don't have a Twitter account, you're getting your science too slowly. Go take care of it.

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