Tag Archives: Blogging

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.

https://parrington.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=300&action=edit&message=10Following 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 πŸ™‚

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.


We’re Live.

We're Live BannerThe Parrington Review is open for business!

Have a look at my new site – it’s a day old now. Thanks to those who came by yesterday for the grand opening – it was a wild success, with over three hundred and fifty visits in twelve hours. If this is the way things are going to be, we’re going to have a blast over the next while. Lots of great content coming your way, even if the first while is a little chaotic.

It’s my hope that as things normalise to some degree, we can pick up the pace again here on The New Dialogue as well.

In the meantime, cruise on over to the new digs and tell me what you think!

Cheers, Dan


Nearly there!

Internet banner

Hi everyone!

For those of you who wondered about what was happening – or more appropriately, not happening – on the 25th, this should bring you up to speed.

The 25th – this past Tuesday – was meant to be the release date for my new web, film and literature review site, The Parrington Review. The process of getting that website up and running has been what’s kept this blog from being active for the past two weeks, and promises to continue to slow things down for almost another week yet.

My new projected release date is Tuesday, October 2nd. I was offered a major technical upgrade free of charge by my ever big-hearted uncle Doug Bowker, so of course I took him up on it; unfortunately, getting my hands on the new stuff and implementing it has created a bit of a delay. My apologies!

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I won’t say too much about it here, but when things do get underway, I’ll be very excited to share the work of several talented and innovative web writers and developers with you. Over on LinkedIn, I’ve developed something I call the Featured Five – from the many free web reviews I perform there, every so often I select five to be spotlighted on The Parrington Review.

Those five will be featured on a regular basis when the new site comes out. The best of the independent web awaits!

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We’re also going to be having a look at a handful of films from the past few years, and a number of older gems as well. This is all stuff I loved. Here are just a few:

Blue Valentine – Inception – Avatar – District 9 – Sherlock Holmes

No Country for Old Men – Aliens – Taxi Driver – Lost Highway

Dr. Strangelove – Blade Runner (of course!) – Natural Born Killers

Unforgiven – Jacob’s Ladder – The Princess Bride – The Godfather

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There is the odd film I despise enough to write about, as well. Sorry to those devotees who find the following offensive:

The Expendables – Watchmen – Gran Torino – Synechdoche, New York

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem – Timecop – Highlander – Poison Ivy

Pet Sematary – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Many films fall somewhere in between, naturally enough – and many such will be given their due! See if you can find your own favorite among these:

Limitless – The Hangover – 127 Hours – Machete – True Grit – 9

Inglourious Basterds – WALL-E – Naked Lunch – Jurassic Park

Boys Don’t Cry – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Trainspotting

Escape from New York – 12 Monkeys – Wild At Heart – Rush

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We’re literate, too, over on The Parrington Review. I’ll be covering a number of my own favorite reads:

The Waste Land and Other Poems – The Doors of Perception

One Hundred Years of Solitude – A Fan’s Notes – Watership Down

The Beautiful and Damned – The Once and Future King

The Writings of St. Paul – The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer – Crash

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I hope you’ve found something on the list that appeals – there’s a lot more than this, too. As always, I’m open to hearing any sort of suggestion you want to throw at me. The Parrington Review is for you, after all, as much as I’m going to be having a blast producing it.

Cross your fingers for me as I continue to dabble in the dark arts of web development! I’ll try faithfully to keep you posted.


A Moment’s Pause

Stack of papers banner

Hey there, faithful readers!

Just a word of warning from yours truly: as I gear up for September 25th’s release of The Parrington Review, things are going to be slower here at The New Dialogue. Just one of the little inconveniences of life.

A few things to look forward to, even if their arrival is delayed:

(1) Between Dreams, Pt. 2. This is the final installment to my hitchhiking saga. We’ll have a look at a few of the strange and wonderful rides I took South of the border, and the various helpful or terrifying strangers I met while on the lam. Catch up, in the meantime, by reading Going West and Between Dreams [Pt. 1].

(2) Aura’s guest post. She’s a busy girl with school these days – way to go, honey! – but I’m going to try to coerce her into sharing her side of the story. She’s always got a lot to say, but doesn’t necessarily slow down long enough to say it. I’m pretty excited about this one.

(3) More fiction! As per Tom’s request, I’m going to post at least one work of my own fiction at some point over the next while. It’s all on paper – now to edit it so that it’s actually worth reading.

(4) University of Toronto: Revelations. This one is Aaron’s request, and it’s high time I bit the bullet and let you know what REALLY happened with all my dad’s hard earned tuition money. Eek.

So don’t go too far, folks. There’s a lot more coming. My priority is to make sure that the new site gets an awesome grand opening – then we’ll see things normalise again around here, even if at a more sedate pace.

In other news, check out AtContent, who have me in their employ as of this month. See if you can find my smiling Canadian face amidst my many Russian peers there. I’m writing their website content, bit by bit, and enjoying every minute of it. This is the first time I truly feel as though my job is aligned with my passion for words.

TIme for me to get moving. Lots to do today. Third week of classes for Aura and Kieran, second for Emery. And I have a lot of work ahead of me!

See you in a few days.

Cheers, Dan


Conversation

Hope you all had a great labor day weekend – good luck to all those entering and re-entering school this year! I’m losing all three of my crew to the education system this year. Aura will be taking social work, and Emery is starting kindergarten. Kieran is going into grade three. Then there’s me, banging away in front of my computer, or stuck behind a book.

You’ll have noticed that I’ve given a new name to the blog. Welcome, dear reader, to The New Dialogue.

Gone are the first two months and their nonspecific title. I spent a long hour and a half batting ideas back and forth with my wife, and we came up with a ton of options. What we kept running into was a quality vs. quantity dilemma; whenever I would look up a nifty new potential, it was already taken by someone bigger and badder than me. On the other hand, most of the truly garbage titles were free for the taking. I believe I’ve found a reasonable balance.

Thanks to Brian L. for prompting this alteration.

At one point Aura suggested Den of Dreams. We were enthused. Great idea, I said. Den suggests home, and connotes Daniel and the lions’ den. That’s cute. Dreams can indicate aspirations, and in this case would probably mean shared goals. It’s a nice set of ideas, I said.

Just look it up. Look it up and see why I didn’t go with this. Imagine the comments:

“I was looking for something to stir my senses, and found your blog. Your writing is hypnotic, even delicious. I knew I could only resist for so long.”

Flattering, but misplaced. Thanks for nothing, Tasha Lynn.

That being said, I’m very happy with The New Dialogue. It’s surprisingly unique on the web, and describes well one of the things I value most highly in life: conversation. I started this blog as a means of conversation with you. It was going to be your window into my life, and my way of reaching out to yours. In many ways, this holds true; in others, my vision has broadened.

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I have a request to make of you.

As you’re aware by now, I’ll be starting up a reviews blog quite soon. It’s going to be covering two of the more major formats of communication today: movies, and books. In fancy talk, Film and Literature. In fact – I already have a name for the site: The Parrington Review! Easy to remember – provided my name isn’t too much of a hurdle – and straight to the point. It’s coming online as of September 25th – mark your calendars!

My request: tell me what you’d like to see reviewed. See, I have a list as long as my arm would be if my arm were as long as my hallway. There’s so much I want to share. I’ve read and admired a lot of books, seen and loved a great number of films. But hey – why write about them if you’re not interested?

So tell me what you want; I’ll do it. No reservations on my part. No conditions.

A word of warning, so long as we’re on this – The Parrington Review is not going to be family fare.

The New Dialogue – from its origin as Dan Writes a Blog through to the end of eternity – is and will always be family friendly. I don’t cuss, I don’t make naughty jokes, and I don’t deal with mature subject matter. It’s suitable for all ages, as the movie authorities say.

The Parrington Review, on the other hand, is going to be built to deal with the heaviest stuff out there. Many of the books and movies I’ll be having a look at and dealing with mature themes. I hope very much that if this perturbs you, you’ll simply stick around here and continue to enjoy what I have to offer on my personal journey.

For those of you, however, who think this sounds wicked – it is. We’re going to have a lot of fun. I’ll see you there.

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You may wonder why do I do all this. What motivates me to write, and to share it around at large? And why so suddenly?

I explained my primary motivation early on. I’ll reiterate it now, with a little perspective. I write to express myself, and to learn new modes of expression. I write because I have so much going on inside, and badly need a way to let it out. And I write because I’m happy – when I feel good, I want to reach out and share some of that warmth.

It’s challenging, writing so much and so often. It’s difficult to ensure that what I offer is worth reading. But the work itself is part of the pleasure.

This all happened at once because that’s how things changed for me – all at once. As a result of a few simple changes in my medical strategy, I went from zombie-Dan to inspired-Dan. I was fed up, and took things into my own hands. And I have the best people in the world to support me.

Creation is one of the fundamental impulses of human existence. As a writer, I’ve found a way to be true to that facet of my deepest humanity: I am a tool-maker, storyteller, dreamer. I respond to the call of my own nature, and seek transcendence. I seek to converse – to find illumination in the hearts and minds of others, and to illuminate what I can in return. I believe that through common dialogue, we find meaning; through conversation, we widen the scope of perspective.

This blog is just my way of taking part.


The First 2500

It’s been almost two months now since I started writing here on WordPress. I’ve been enjoying the experience thoroughly, and wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

You’ve made it very rewarding for me. The 2500 I referred to is the number of views I’ve gotten on this site since July 5th; it honors me that so many of you would choose to pay attention to my point of view. I’ve been working hard, too, to make sure my blog thrives and grows. You’ve seen the Facebook posts, the tweets, the Google+ updates. I’ve also been at work elsewhere, sowing good karma wherever it might take root. Some of the most fertile ground has been at LinkedIn, where I’ve been actively reviewing other folks’ sites. You give a little, you get a little back.

Just yesterday an online peer of mine paid me the compliment of publishing this article. I had written a review of his site, and he showed his appreciation by doing a bit of a shout out. It was awfully sweet of him, and flattering.

Two big changes loom in the future of my blogging process.

One: I intend to change the name of this blog. Watch for the new title over the next few days. The url will not change.

Two: I’m starting up a new blog. It’s called the Parrington Review, and it already has an online home. I’m not going to link it, because it’s utterly empty at this stage. The Parrington Review is a simple idea: it’ll be a home for media and literature reviews, and thoughts about reading, writing and viewing. I’m really looking forward to it – I couldn’t tell you how much.

I was going to post something quite different today – I hope this was alright with you. I’ll still put up my regular post, either tomorrow or soon afterwards. Just wanted to keep you up to speed.

It’s a real pleasure writing for all of you.

Yours always – Dan


A new look

Well, what do you think?

I was encouraged lately by an acquaintance of mine to lighten up a little. Thanks for the solid advice, Brian.

I also want you all to know that in addition to providing the very personal, Dan-type stuff you’ve come to know and (I hope) love here on parrington.wordpress.com, I’ll be starting up a Books & Writing blog within the next few weeks. Turns out I need a professional image, too! Who’d have thought. (Well, Desmond did.)

This also seems like the right time to thank a few of the people who’ve made my first (nearly) two month in blogging both interesting and rewarding. A special thanks to Jason Alan, who always speaks his mind. Thanks also to Mysterious Man from the Shadows, whose thoughtful posts never fail to get my mind turning.

It’s been a particularly good two months, blogging aside. Almost four years ago, I was in the midst of alcoholism, drug abuse and major depression. The girl I met at that time- now my wife- helped me see myself as I was, and as I had become in the midst of all this. These past three and a half years have been a time of an intense struggle for healing. I was fighting for my body, I was fighting for my soul. And she was there, fighting alongside me, every single step of the way.

If you knew me then, but weren’t aware of what I was going through- you aren’t alone. I became an effective chameleon, hiding the reality of my suffering and self-destruction from even those closest to me. Some of you did see the flip side of me. I can’t imagine it made you feel all that good. But what can anyone do, really, to help someone like that?

I am living, breathing evidence of the transforming efficacy of love. It was my love for someone special, and her love for me, that allowed me to finally summon the will and courage to face the BS and get myself on track.

After an exceptionally nasty episode at the hospital, and many tears on the part of my devoted partner, I finally consented to begin treatment. I began seeing a crisis counselor and a psychiatric doctor. They started me on meds, and asked me to stop drinking. I did. Well, for the most part, anyways.

I felt like a slug for two and a half years. The meds made me drowsy most of the time, and I gained more than fifty pounds. This, surely, was my personal hell: no energy, and a body that would no longer co-operate.

But I was getting better, behind all that. Week by week, from month to month, the anger and confusion in my heart were being overcome. I choose that word specifically: they were being overcome, not removed. I still carry them, and many other pieces of baggage, today. It was the process of slowing down and engaging in a little bit of introspection, bathed in the care and affection of my family, that enabled me to get the upper hand in my struggle for self-control. And not just self-control, but self-love, and a sense of peace with my reality.

These past two months, however, have been the best yet. I started a new medication- got my energy back and lost twelve pounds. I rebooted my online presence, started a blog and reconnected with a lot of special people. I’ve been out to spend time with friends and family more than I have in years. And all this without getting blind drunk!

You may find all this a little strange. You may not even recognise me as I have described myself here. What I’m really trying to tell you is that I’ve found my legs again. I am revelling in change, holding tight while I once again become aware of the glorious adventure that is life.

And I’m awfully glad to have you along for the ride.


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