20/20 Hines Sight about Superhot Ophthalmologist and Washington, D.C.

20/20 Hines Sight about Superhot Ophthalmologist and Washington, D.C.

In Blogging 201, a WordPress course I took part in, we got homework to reach out and got ourselves a blogging buddy. I published a timid call for action in this mock-advertisement and (surprise!) I got an answer! The versatile blogger behind 20/20 Hines Sight took pity on me (aww!) and agreed to be my buddy forever and ever for today (yay!).

My blogging buddy allowed me to publish here her patient answers to my naïve questions concerning herself and her hometown, Washington, D.C. Enjoy the interview, don’t laugh at my dumbness (too much) and for more, head over straight to 20/20 Hines Sight blog!


Mara: You surely explained that a thousand times to the ignorant likes of me, but once again, what is the significance of your blogging name, 20/20 Hines Sight?

20/20: 20/20 Hines Sight started off as A Chick’s Opinion and then after a couple of posts I decided my vision wasn’t terribly clear and I hated the name, so I stopped posting and got to thinking. I finally decided what I wanted the blog to be about, but still had no satisfying name.

Thanks to my superhot Ophthalmologist and his desire to get my eyesight as close to 20/20 as he could: when he said, “20/20”, I knew what my new name would be – 20/20 Hindsight. It was an “Ah Ha” moment followed by the crazy lady grin. There’s a phrase, “Hindsight is always 20/20”. So my blog name would be 20/20 Hindsight, but then another “Ah Ha” moment came and I thought I’d use my last name Hines as a play on words. Pretty clever, right? (Mara: Ah ha! Right, smart!)

Thanks, superhot Ophthalmologist, for your due diligence in trying to get my eyesight 20/20. (Mara: Can I have the superhot ophthalmologist’s number pretty please? I want 20/20 vision too. – And the superhot ophthalmologist… )

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Mara: You live in the US capital. Does living there feel special? Does it perhaps make you feel more American for that? Or is it just like living in any other US city?

20/20: Growing up in the capital of the United States is great, but there are so many things one takes for granted. I don’t necessarily feel special or feel any more American than if I were living in another US city. I’ve travelled quite a bit to various cities within the States, and they all pretty much have the same feel and design.

It’s just that some are smaller than others. It seems like every city’s capital building has a dome and it’s a Romanesque design, so nothing really special or spectacular. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. (Mara: Oh. Now you effectively discouraged everyone from Work and Travel USA, and people will go Work and Travel Washington instead!)

Mara: You share your hometown with the President. Are you intimidated by the proximity of the government or do you feel that you have the same claim to Washington as anyone else does?

20/20: Ha! Interesting question. Definitely not intimidated by the proximity. I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go. It’s really quite interesting and more often than not very unassuming. I don’t work too far from the White House and the US Capitol building and we often get the brunt of activity (street closures).

There was one time on my way to work they (the police) wouldn’t even let us walk across the street. Frustrating. Definitely going to be late for work. I don’t like politics and I don’t like politicians, but we’ve elected them and their offices just so happen to be in Washington, DC, so I guess they have as much right to it as I do.

Quite frankly, I really don’t think it matters whether they’re in Washington or in their own home states, they’d still find a way to fuck shit mess up. Perhaps the last couple of sentences went beyond the scope of what you were asking. (Mara: I share your despair. I indulge in chocolate to make the bitter facts a bit sweeter. Also I drink. Just kidding… )

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Mara: As to the practicalities of living in Washington, are there any extra security measures that affect ordinary citizens? Either permanently or only for instance when top political figures are visiting?

20/20: Since 9/11 the security measures that were put into place definitely affect ordinary citizens. They can be an inconvenience, but it is what it is. You learn to live with the road closures and permanent detours.

Mara: You are about to move to Denver, Colorado. Were you unhappy with Washington as your hometown? What was the stimulus for you to move out of Washington?

20/20: I love Washington, DC. It’s home because that’s where I was born and raised, and there are a ton of great things to do here. But at the same time it’s not home. I’ve always felt more comfortable in Denver, Colorado. I’ve always felt that was my home.

So, I made a promise to myself that after I finish school, I’m headed there. Another year and I’m there. Watch out Colorado! (Mara: Oh, now I’m envious. I want to move to a home too! Will you take me with you…?)

Mara: Thank you for bearing with me, happy moving and happy living!

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Blogging 201: And They Blogged Happily Ever After

It’s the last day of Blogging 201! Where did all the days go? I demand equal learning opportunity, give me my course back! *stomps foot and waits*

*still waits* While I’m waiting, I can very well dive in today’s task. The instructions say to organise a blogging event or attend a blogging conference. Well, how practical is that? I recall there was about a thousand bloggers signed up for Blogging 201, so if everyone threw a blogging event, who would be left to participate in them? I’m not throwing anything at this point, it’s not like I’m a Great Gatsby or someone who can throw events at their leisure. Maybe later when I’m rich / famous / brilliant / bored (delete as applicable, but I’m sure I’m not going to be any of these, not in my current incarnation).

The idea of a blogging conference is still impractical for my purpose but somewhat less impractical than a blogging event. Now, I meant to write a scathing satire criticising the americentrism of Blogging 201 because I was sure there were no blogging conferences even on my continent. Alas, I was shocked to discover that there was already one WordPress conference held straight in my country. (Again, I doubt there will be any more because we’re not this kind of guys here, but the fact that there were enough bloggers in this forsaken land to justify a blogging conferenced amazed me.)

So, I’m putting these tasks on my to-do-later list, and that’s a wrap! (*bursts into uncontrollable sobs*) Thank you for indulging me and for being my best ever classmates!

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Blogging 201: On Space Suits and Monetisation

Today’s task on Blogging 201 is to put on our SEO suit. Suit what? Is it something like an anti-radiation suit? And should I bring a gas mask too? (I’m good with gas masks, I’ve had gas mask drills since kindergarten, so I handle gas masks like a piece of cake. – And no, I don’t eat gas masks, I meant that figuratively, you nit-picker, you!)

Full disclosure: I know what SEO is, and I was just pulling your leg. (Better than pulling your hair, right?) I also know that, because I mentioned the phrase “gas mask” five times in the previous paragraph, this article will be thrown up by search engines anytime some poor paranoid soul (or police department) searches gas masks.  (Poor policeperson, you.)

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Wait. I just noticed the assignment instructions say CEO suit, not SEO suit. Now, SEO I can take, but CEO is all space suit to me. (I think the saying is “It’s all Greek to me,” but I like space suit better. It’s to the same effect too.) Apparently, I need this suit to start monetising my blog, which is the point of today’s task. So, you say my blog could stop eating money and start earning some?

That’s too good to be true. For the sake of exercise, I researched the options available and found that none of them is a natural match for me. (What a shock!) I don’t even qualify for some of the ad affiliates for the logical yet comical reason that I neither blog from nor cater for civilised parts of the world. So, with my (figurative!) tail between my legs, it’s time to crawl back in my clay hut.

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Blogging 201: Make My Blog Yours Too!

Today’s task on Blogging 201 consists in making a poll or a survey. I can create any number of polls that you like, what bothers me is the other end of the polling process. Speaking for myself, there is next to nothing that can make me take a poll, not to mention a survey. Perhaps I’m polled-out (like burnt-out) owing to over-poll (like over-work). Now I only do really important polls and tests (such as a questionnaire that tested how I would taste to a cannibal – it said I’d taste like undercooked fish).

Blogging is however an act of optimism, and so here I go with my own little poll. I’m genuinely interested in what you the readers prefer to see on this blog: pictures, texts, both? Are you aware that I stick to a weekly editorial calendar, publishing certain kinds of posts on certain days, and if so, does it make any difference to you? And above all, how on earth am I supposed to squeeze these questions in a simple poll that wouldn’t take you half your lifetime to answer? Here’s my go at it.

By taking any of these polls, you waive your right to remain silent. Once you waived your right for silence, you may as well go and leave a comment below. Everything you say may and will be used against for you. I expect there will be a follow-up task on this as part of Blogging 201, but even if it’s not, I’ll take your suggestions seriously. You feedback will help me make my blog yours too!

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Blogging 201: Blogging Buddy Wanted!

Day eleven of Blogging 201 comes with an enticing idea: to find a blogging buddy and write guest posts for each other’s blogs. Whew! The mere thought of this makes me nervous and excited. (Hence my shaky typing, sorry if it makes you dizzy.) I’d love to go for blogging bonding but I need to think over the details first. Now I imagine myself on a blogging buddy hunt.

Advertisement: Be my Valentine Blogging Buddy!

Are you socially stunted, shy and scared? Do you enjoy bleak humour, morbidity and sardonicism? Email me! Are you happy, cheerful and life-loving? Do you enjoy cooking, socialising and partying? Hands off! (I mean: I’d love your guest post, but my readers would think my blog was hacked or hijacked by some smiley terrorists.)

Nope, in the light of the above nightmarish vision, I don’t think I could ever find a blogging buddy. It was awful enough to find a life partner, so how would I be lucky twice and find a blogging partner too? (Unless I clone myself, which I’d hate to because one me is hard enough to deal with. Ask my husband. – Don’t.)

Still, on an uncharacteristically optimistic note, I issue the following call for action. If you’re a fellow pessimist committed to finding a partner in crime, get in touch and we could be depressed together! Guest posts optional. Blackly comic outlook on life not. (P.S.: Please don’t try to cheer me up. Indulge me. Thank you.)

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Blogging 201: Thou Who Workest Online

Today’s task on Blogging 201 challenge is three-in-one: leave five comments, build a blogroll and publish a comment policy. (Anything else? Are you trying to overwork us, WordPress? It’s not like I’m blogging for wages, right?)

The five comments are done with easily: I comment daily, and occasionally a swift exchange of comments turns into what is more of a live chat. (Blessed art thou who workest online 24/7. I mean: I have a convenient laptop job.)

The blogroll is a nice try, except incorporating a blogroll meant for me overhauling the entire navigation menu in order to fit the blogroll in. I hated it. But I did it. See how obliging I am? (WordPress? Anyone? Thumbs up for me?)

The comment policy I chose to ignore. I’m for open comment policy and my spam filter is working fine, so I never had to moderate comments. All comments get published right away and responded as soon as possible. (Try it out and see!)

How did you do with this multi-task? Are you an avid commenter or are you shy? Do you have a blogroll? What about a comment policy, do you need one? Let me know, your inspiration and insights are always wanted!

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Blogging 201: Only Connect

The title of this post is an allusion to E. M. Forster’s Howards End, a fine but tame novel that reads as late Victorian rather than early twentieth-century. The novel has no relation to the blogging challenge whatsoever, but as a literary professional, I’m a prey to random quotes popping up in my head and spilling on my blog. (Good luck with wading through this word spillage.)

Today’s task on Blogging 201 does involve connecting though, specifically, setting up a blog page connecting to your other social media. The instructions offer no alternative entertainment for those who have been there and done that. (I am one of those overachievers, in case you wonder.) With my Connect page all set up and ready to go, I invite you to take a look at it — and connect.

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If you share my enthusiasm for words in general and language and literature in particular, you’ll find this (and other) type of content on my Twitter feed. If you’re into photos, especially macro and decay, you’re likely to enjoy my Flickr photostream. If you like random finds, you can go and browse my Pinterest boards. I’m always happy to connect, so feel free to reach out!

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Blogging 201: Living by a Calendar

Today’s task on Blogging 201 is to create a social media publishing calendar. I’m obsessively organised, so for me a challenge would be not to create a calendar. I live by a calendar. For example, I wash my hair on even days and water the plants on odd days. I paint my nails on Sundays and do the washing on Tuesdays. I do the cleaning in the mornings but the dishes in the evenings. Whoever dares to disturb my schedule should brace oneself for my displeasure for the rest of my even and odd days alike.

My publishing calendar is as precise as my daily routine calendar. I schedule ninety percent of my posts because I insist that they get published when I choose, not when I randomly remember to. My Photo Project 365 has been always appearing daily by the stroke of midnight GMT+1; my other regular features by the stroke of noon. I even back-schedule posts. So, this very post appears with the date when this assignment was set, though I wrote it several days later. That’s how hyper-organised I am.

What about your calendars? Do you have any and do you keep them? And just out of curiosity, do you know of anyone more organised than me?

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Blogging 201: Go on Facebook or Let Go?

Today’s task on Blogging 201 made me giggle like an idiot. (Sorry about the harsh word, but if you ever had the ill luck of witnessing me giggle, you’d probably go for an even harsher word than that.) The instructions for day seven are to set up and connect one social network to your blog. What is hysterically hilarious about this are the particulars of my case with social media: I just undertook the strenuous exercise of counting all my social media – and ended up with the sum of twelve.  (Yes, I double-checked the sum and you can triple-check for yourself on my About.me page. And no, this amount of social media is not manageable for a normal person. – Luckily, I’m not normal. *insert mad laughter*)

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There is one oddity about my involvement with social media though. I’m all over the place (like an imperialist coloniser of the past, or – if I did political satire – like Russia of the present), but I’m inexplicably absent from Facebook. Besides my irrational deeply rooted dislike, distrust and dismay regarding FB, I have no reason not to be there. (Unless an irrational reason counts as a reason.) Should I swallow the bitter blue pill and register with FB? (It’s torture for free and always will be. *insert cheering sounds*) Or should I stay FB-free and proudly spread my presence all over the internet without FB? (Wait, isn’t FB the same as internet? – That was a bad joke, sorry, let’s move on.) It’s not precisely a profound metaphysical question that would disturb my sleep, but still, what do you think?

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Blogging 201: My Eclectic Sardonics Present and Past

The Blogging 201 people read my mind. Or else I read theirs. The task for day six is again one of those that I’ve been to and done before. I’m still undecided if I’m a blogging prodigy or if the powers that be are confusing the advanced 201 course with the basic 101 course. (Please tell me that I’m a prodigy, it would please me a lot!)

Today’s assignment is to highlight your archives, such as by using archives and categories and related posts widgets. For us extra ambitious bloggers, it was suggested that we make our best of page. This idea doesn’t seem that great for a blog that is as multi-focused (unfocused?) as mine (also, it could be argued that each page is my best of page)!

(Start of commercial break.) Along the lines of shameless self-promotion of posts past, I take the liberty of pointing out my following favourites:

(End of commercial break.)

I’d prefer not to call my blog unfocused, but rather eclectic. Also multifaceted. Protean. Versatile. Flexible. Variable. (I’ve just swallowed a thesaurus and now I’m dropping synonyms.) Where was I? Ah, at me being a Jack(ie) of all trades.

Also, at you and your widgets. (Widgets are not a euphemism here.) So, how do you make people dig in your archives? Share your trade secrets (so that I could steal them)! (Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to digest my thesaurus.)