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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

My Post-"My Post-Argentine Life" Life

Early last year, when I started really blogging in earnest, I started looking around blogspot for other blogs I would be interested in. As I found conservative blogs, and other blogs that interested me, I would "follow" them.

The blogspot "blog follow" feature is sweet! If you don't take advantage of it I would recommend you do. It allows you to follow blogs, and then as new posts are made to those blogs, it puts those postings in an easy to follow list. It has become my habit every morning, and several times a day, to check my follow list for new postings on the blogs I follow. It is an excellent way to stay up on the reading of those blogs.

One day I stumbled across a blog entitled My Post-Argentine Life. It turns out that this young lady, Lydia, spent some months in Argentina while completing her undergrad degree, and came back with a greater appreciation for the United States of America. She also self-identified as a conservative upon her return.

This was fascinating to me. I have had a few family members and friends live outside of the country for considerable amounts of time. A lot of the times these people came back to the U.S. having picked up foreign sensibilities, and actually looking down on their home country. Mmost of the time they would come back more liberal than they left.

This young lady seemed to buck that trend. I was fascinated reading her older posts about her time in Argentina and how it shaped her conservative politics. (She also claimed to have an elephant sticker on her car.)

Since I started following that blog it has changed. It became less about conservatism, and politics in general, and more about this young lady's venture into grad school. It also become more about pop culture: music, movies, literature, art, etc. However, I continued to read the new posts, along with the new posts of the 34 other blogs that I currently follow.

I noticed the blog took a bit of a turn to the left, more so related to vegetarianism and environmentalism, but I enjoyed discovering new music and art, and continued to read the blog when new posts would show up in my follow list.

Occasionally, as with the other 34 blogs I follow, I would comment on posts that struck me. Lydia even responded to some of my responses. When she posted a about her favorite works of art, I asked her to write new posts about them so I could figure out what the art was trying to convey. I've never been a big fan of paintings, at least in the existential sense that so many seem to frame (pun-intended) paintings in. Either I think the artist has talent for painting, or I think he/she stinks. But Lydia took up my suggestion and posted about the first painting on her list. I found it fascinating.

Then a few weeks ago she wrote about high-fructose corn syrup, and the negative impact it has had on the diets of Americans. I made a comment that while HFCS being worse for you than sugar is still a question mark, that avoiding all forms of sugar would do the American diet a lot of good. (I've long held that high refined sugar intake, including the kind produced from sugar cane, is why we have a weight problem in this country.)

When I went back to see if there were any responses to my comment (a practice I regularly engage in after commenting on a blog post), to my surprise it was deleted. I didn't think anything I had said was particularly inflammatory nor abrasive. But, I figured maybe it didn't convey a message she wanted conveyed. No harm, no foul.

The next day, there was a post there about literature. One of my favorite subjects! I love reading classic works of fiction, and have read many such novels in the course of my life. I read with interest about the books discussed, and then left a comment, based on one of the books listed, suggesting My Antonia by Willa Cather. I then, as I usually do when a discussion of classic literature comes up, professed my love for the writings of William Faulkner. (Note, I left out my affinity for the poetry of E.E. Cummings!)

When I went back I noticed two things. First, there was a terse response from Lydia about her loathing of "William Faulkner and My Antonia". Okay, no biggie, lots of people disagree on the classics they like, or don't like. The second thing I noticed was that I was no longer listed in her list of "Followers". My picture in that list was rather obvious, so it no longer being there was obvious too.

When I went to my list of blogs that I follow, I noticed that My Post-Argentine Life was no longer listed there. Apparently, I have been "follow ignored". Blogspot allows blog owners to place users on a "follow ignore" list.

I received no explanation why. I guess I could have emailed Lydia to find out whether it was the corn syrup comment, or the Faulkner/My Antonia comment, or both, that got me ignored. I thought maybe it was that she only meant her blog for friends and people she knew, but there are many other forums more suited to that. Blogspot is a public forum for writing, where places like Facebook (evil that it is) are more suited to writing for just friends. Or maybe she read postings on my blog and decided she didn't want someone like me linked to her blog.

Admittedly, I have since continued to sneak back to read My Post-Argentine Life even though it is no longer in my follow list. And I am glad I did. A recent posting mentioned a company that I would otherwise not have known about. It is a company called TOMS.

Click here for more info on TOMS: http://onedaywithoutshoes.com/

Sounds like a wonderful company that helps provide shoes for children that do not normally have access to shoes. (Note, they sell shoes and for each pair bought they donate a pair to an underprivileged child. I would rather just donate since I really don't like their style.)

If the current version of My Post-Argentine Life had been in existence when I was searching for other conservative blogs, I probably never would have found it. If I had I would have moved on since it wasn't what I was searching for. However, since I did find it and followed it, finding TOMS is a perfect example of how a seemingly simple choice can later lead you to things that are very worthwhile. I am not upset that I got follow ignored, but I am very happy to have found a great cause like TOMS.

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