Category Archives: Work

What’s Dan Done?

I’ll admit it, my vision and attentive care for this blog have faltered.

I’ve been so busy tending to the new website, I haven’t been sharing the personal side of things over here. I don’t know what the future holds for us here on The New Dialogue, but I will give you the scoop – and it’s a good one – on what’s been making me wish I could stuff a few more hours into each new day.

Pencil and Paper in a Virtual World

Friends, family and followers – my ever more dextrous fingers have been wearing my keyboard thin over these past few weeks. There are a few factors behind this frantic foolishness.

Website Reviews

When I first conceived of The Parrington Review, I didn’t actually see web review as something either relevant or important to my plan for a reviews-based website. I was going to write about films and literature, you see – almost just a professional extension of The New Dialogue. I was going to tell you what I thought about my favorite (and least favorite) books and movies.

I haven’t abandoned that aspect of my new project, you know; it’s certainly taken a back seat, though, with the sudden and radical emergence of my website reviews. I’ve gotten involved with a number of neat groups and resources on LinkedIn in the past month and a half, see, and I figured something out pretty quick: everyone with an online professional life seems to have a website showcasing their value to the online world.

It’s a great concept, building a home for your online working presence. You pay an acceptable fee for the power to represent yourself, your work and your ambitions in any way you see fit. You create a doorway to the world: one that you can open as wide as you like, and through which the virtual community can visit and do business with you.

Everyone wants to share their corner of the web. What I found in many cases, unfortunately, was this: while many voices are raised across the internet in an effort to draw some much needed attention to themselves, few of us take the time to listen. The internet is a big mouth with tiny little ears.

As a longtime lover of all things technological, and as someone with an intuitive grasp of user experience and web interface, I soon saw that there was a small way in which I might make a difference – all while building a reputation for myself that would reflect my values and priorities.

I started to ask people for their website addresses, promising to give my feedback in exchange for their willingness to share. People began to open up, and then the process picked up momentum. Soon I was swamped with requests for website review – not as an expert, but as a peer and an average user.

Now here we are. I’ve written over 30,000 words in website reviews, and have even kicked off a paid service for more advanced versions of the basic review. I have a business partner who takes care of the technical side of evaluation, and I cover content, aesthetic and navigation. It’s a lot of fun, and it feels good to help make my part of the web just a little bit better.

Content and Copywriting

As a natural extension of my love for writing and getting involved in the projects of those around me, I have also been offering a wide scope of user- and internet-friendly writing services.

I write in quite an array of contexts, from blogs to web pages to corporate communications. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new set of data and a way of presenting my client’s business or subject matter in a way that appeals to their audience; I enjoy getting to know each new audience, and figuring out what they need from me as the communicator. are a few of the very diverse situations in which I am currently writing.

(1) AtContent

These digital content distribution experts from Russia were my very first formal client. Their business is in enabling authors and producers of other content to extend the reach of their audience and influence. They accomplish this by means of a system that grants commissions to those who successfully share other folks’ content across the web. It’s pretty neat tech stuff, and I’ve enjoyed working with them so far.

Check out their Features, FAQ and About pages to see some of my work with them. I wrote those pages entirely! I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see the first of my professionally produced content appear on the website.

(2) Baldrige Resource Library

My second venue was a referral from my friend Brian Loebig of Loebig Ink. It doesn’t pay me a dime, but writing for a blog belonging to this prestigious national award organisation has provided me with widened distribution and visibility for my work. Brian, another gentleman and I write reviews and summaries on quality improvement articles for business applications.

Sound dry? Well, it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. In fact, Aura seems to genuinely enjoy proofreading my posts for this site. Here are my two favorites, in case you want to have a look:

Around the Bend: Eight Factors That Will Change Our World and A Global Social Responsibility Standard.

(3) Eye Spy Electronics

Dave Rogers, my client at Eye Spy, runs a security camera and alarm sales, installation and service business in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s one heck of a pleasant guy to work for, and pours a lot into his work. Dave has asked me to rewrite all the content on his site, which I’ve been doing page by page. I’m expanding my fairly raw web development skills through this process, as well.

I also write two articles per week on his company blog. I can’t express just how much I’ve learned through preparatory research about home securitytechnology! Here are my two most recent contributions:

Understanding the Security Camera and Part II.

(4) Criminal Thinking

Brian Loebig, who I mentioned above, has a past career in criminal rehabilitation. One of his major projects, particularly since leaving that field, has been the establishment of a website full of resources for those who still work it. Brian has created a great deal of material for instructional applications, and now he is converting a lot of it into web-friendly formats and expressions.

My role is as editor for new articles on the Criminal Thinking Deterred blog. Brian essentially passes me old instructional material, and I rewrite it in a more conversational style. It’s fun work – and again, I’m learning something new every time I prepare one of these articles.

Here are a couple more links for you to check out: Misguided Sentiments and Anger Unmanaged.

What’s Next for The Parrington Review?

Expect to see a lot of growth and change on my site over the next year. It’s only been up a month, and in that time the business has grown to what I’m sharing with you now.

In the near future, I intend to bring into play a reviews service for self- and e-published authors. The freebie aspect of this new feature is going to be modelled loosely on the website reviews service – a free option for anyone to take advantage of, with featured articles on great independant work.

We’re also considering having some of these same authors write their own reviews of given ebooks, providing them with the opportunity to have their voices heard on a platform of our provision. It’s just an idea, and we’ll have to see where it goes.

I do also want to get the film reviews rolling out with a little more regularity, if at all possible. I love film almost as much as I reel in books, and it would be satisfying to get some of that personal content out onto the site. It can be difficult to write content for my own site, however, when I’m so busy writing it for others.

What About The New Dialogue?

I’m not abandoning you, faithful readers! I may not be posting as often on this blog, but I will be here from time to time. When my schedule permits, I’d love to share with you the daily experiences, small victories and defeats, that come with this lifestyle. I have more stories to tell about friends and family, loved ones and special places. We’ll get there.

Did you guys get a chance to read Kieran and Emery‘s personal blogs? Each of them started one a couple weeks back, and they’re very proud of the result so far. Drop by, take a look, and leave a comment – these boys live and breathe for comments 🙂

That’s all for now, everyone. I’ll be back as soon as I can – I promise! In the meantime, hang out with me over at The Parrington Review, and join me as I continue to pursue my adventure in online work.

We’ve got a lot more ground to cover, folks, and I look forward to every step of it.


The Wheels

Ah, the Wheels. This was our colloquialism for a special place I will not name here, a decrepit cesspool of a water park that lies just outside city limits. And by we, I’m referring the privileged souls among the human race who were singled out to have a really great time at a really tough joint.

First of all, let me make it clear just how truly degraded that place is. Yes- if they ever find this, I’ll lose all hope of a reference from the old goat who captains the ship. But it’s a pirate ship, as you shall see, and I’m thoroughly in the right. Hilariously so.

Let me take you on a tour, as a faithful ex-employee. My love and my contempt should balance, rendering me the most objective guide you could ask for. If your standards are higher than that, look somewhere else. Good luck. Most of us lived in terror for years afterwards, the cap’n himself haunting our sporadic sleep. It’s just that I’ve decided that this will be part of my healing process.

No one seems to realise, as they walk innocently through the front gate, just what sort of danger they’re putting themselves in. They pay exorbitant fees for a chance to ride the go-carts we barely keep kicking. I mean, each one of those deadly vehicles is on its last legs. Our mechanic- who gets the world’s biggest kick out of telling dirty jokes to us kids- is the only one who has no fear of the boss. As a result, he does as little work as possible keeping the miserable things alive.

If you make it through the go-carts- with which incidentally, you nearly killed the guy collecting tickets- you might just head up to the water slide for a cool-down. It’s a good thing they keep lifeguards up there, or you might drown in the malnourished two-inch-wide trickle that washes you down to the pool below. Actually, this part of the park is probably the safest. It’s also the most proud environmental accomplishment of the management: you could barely fill an inflatable pool with the water that’s used on the attraction.

Now you find yourself getting hungry. You proceed downward to the concession area, in behind the ticket booth. The boss-

Hold on a moment. Let’s talk about the boss. And let’s talk about his henchman. Our boss was the guy who also owned- still owns- the Wheels. We called him the Lion, and a lion he was. Built like a tank atop a pair of fragile stilts- the scrawniest leg of chicken you ever saw- the Lion was most fearsome when drunk. And he was most drunk when working. And he worked every hour of the day. Sometimes he took a quick drive up the road to his favorite diner for a whiskey- but you always knew he’d be back the moment you goofed off. Stomping around like the predator he truly was, the Lion brought the Law to us. I only looked him in the eye a few times, so great was the power of that enormous greying mane.

The Lion’s sidekick was a funny little character we’re going to call Moe. Moe had been running the rival concession stand for some time when he finally decided to call it quits and join the competition. The Lion tossed Moe around like a wee hyena, a minor threat on the Wheels savannah. Moe tried to toss us around, too, but it’s hard to pull that off when you get to watch a guy get his dignity smeared all over the inside of the administrative office day in and day out.

So you were headed for the concessions area. Little do you know, the Lion has smoked like a big old train all over that pizza you’re eating. And we purchased it early in the morning. It was the same pizza you could have eaten eight hours ago.

You walk out of the stand with an uneasy feeling in your gut, but you brush it off. It’s a hot day, after all. In fact, it’s time for some more water fun! You move to the next good thing coming: the bumper boats. This isn’t a big deal- yes, the pool is as full of spilt gasoline as water, but it will only turn into a blazing inferno if you ignite it. I mean, you’d need to be running something with ignition to run that sort of risk. Something like a bumper boat, if you see what I’m saying.

But you’re still alive and well, in spite of everything. Well, it’s time for the Big One: our very own gravity-powered, muscle-propelled roller coaster! Yes, it operates on gravity alone, requiring only the ergonomically uncertain thrust of a lone coaster operator to get you going. When you get to the bottom, a large plank will be raised under your cart to decelerate it sufficiently for a full stop. Is this foolproof? Go on with you, it’s not like anyone’s ever been given radical whiplash by an inexperienced brake operator. Well, in any case, it’s not like anyone’s ever failed to make it all the way around the coaster, then fallen prey to the next oncoming coaster cart, the occupants of both carts being banged up pretty thoroughly. Okay, maybe I’d better stop.

Believe you me, the absurdity of the whole setup was a never-ending source of cheer to we of the deranged employee base. Deranged, because we had to face day after day of trying to cope with the insane dereliction of health and safety standards. Cheerful, because we got to hang out all day watching people risk their wellbeing for a good time.

Shucks, I’ve really painted this place in a negative light. You should know that I have many pleasant memories rooted in the Wheels. I did want you to get a sense of the place, though, and I suppose you have. Next time you visit this park- fictitious though I must insist it is- think about just what your ticket is buying you. I’d rather be the one watching, though, if that’s alright with you.

[Editing note: Oops! The first posting of this article contained real names. My goof. Please don’t tell the Lion.]

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