Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back and Moving Forward

HowChow and I met for coffee this morning at the Starbucks in The Mall. Though we have communicated by email over the two years since he started blogging about the local food scene, this was the first time we’d actually met face to face.

For me, this is one of the advantages of blogging locally. I can actually meet fellow bloggers and commenter’s if I want to. Since starting this blog a little over three years ago I have made an effort to occasionally connect with the those who visit and comment here as well as with those who blog. I credit JessieX for getting me started on this with the first local blogtail hour at Clyde’s back in the winter of 2006. Since then I’ve had the pleasure to meet the people behind The Hedgehog Report, Howard County Maryland, Hayduke, Free Market, The Stobist, Dinosaur Mom Chronicles, Finding Blanche, Do I Amuse You, Columbia Compass, Columbia Blog Project ,Columbia 2.0., Annethologie, and of course HoCoMoJo.

This year I’ve met a couple of commenter’s too. I’ve had lunch with Bob O and drinks with Lotsabogeys. These personal connections have made my own blogging experience that much richer.

This morning, HowChow and I talked a bit about the work involved in maintaining an active blog. It isn’t easy to post on regular basis. It takes dedication that borders on obsession. That is probably why so many blogs fade away after promising starts. For HowChow, blogging was a way for him to get acquainted with his community. He moved to Howard County from Northern Virginia and didn’t know where to find anything. He found that the traditional sources of information, The Washington Post, The Sun and, by extension, Explore Howard, gave only very cursory coverage of the local food scene. To get acclimated with his new home and its gastronomical offerings he started blogging and two short years later this relative newcomer has become the leading online source for information on where to eat and where to buy groceries in Howard County. Now it has become a labor of love for him.

For me it is also a labor of love. I love Howard County and I enjoy the dialogue that this blog sometimes generates about local issues. Of course I have my own opinion on things but I don’t stifle dissenting opinions either. That is what makes blogging interesting.

I hope 2010 will be an interesting year for Tales of Two Cities readers. With statewide elections in November there will be ample subject matter to write about and hopefully some of my posts will continue to generate lively debate and discussion.

Thanks again to all who visit and comment. Happy New Year!


Billy said...

Gee whiz, two local people who write local blogs about local issues decide to meet at a national chain? In a mall of all places?
I'm kidding a bit, but next time try one of the many (remaining) local coffee shops/bakeries/diners. I'm sure the local people who own them and work there will welcome you.

Anonymous said...

That part about not stifling discussion will go far with readers. Consider that works from the Federalist papers to the Bible attempted to be written anonymously and it really makes one wonder who the heck anti-anon bloggers (and newspapers for that matter) think they are.

Blogs that do not allow two way discussion fade the fastest because who wants to read unending opinions from one person? More voices = more interesting.

Signed, ANON (as anon as anyone can be out here, we did after all find out who wrote the bible and the federalist papers)

wordbones said...


We actually had planned to meet at the Lakeside coffee shop this morning but found it closed (due to weather?).

Starbucks at the mall was a fallback.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say THANKS for your blog! We really enjoy reading your posts! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Nice Walkability

But Howard’s Developer Community thinks this is not enough vibrancy

brian said...

Don't forget about me! I don't post as oftern as I'd like, but my New Year's resolution is to do it more. Here's hoping '10 will be a great year for every last person in Howard County.

wordbones said...


Sorry. Of course you should have been included amongst those bloggers I've met. My bad.

Looking forward to seeing more of you online in 2010.


Bob O said...

WB, although I occasionally go off on a rant in my comments, I do enjoy reading your blog (and freemarkets) just about everyday. Both of your blogs are great sources of insight into Howard County, and life in general. I'd go off on the usefulness of the clash of ideas, but several other people have already made that point!

As for all the Anons out there, I'd say sure, good point, IF this was Poland in eighties or Germany in the thirties, or North Korea, Iran, or China now. But it's not. It's the U.S. of A., and really the tradition here is to drag your soap box out into the public square and just start talking--to paraphrase anothe person, "You gotta be you...."

Anyway, thanks for all of the effort all of you make, and let's make 2010 count!

Sarah said...

Love the blog. I'm also a recent...ish transplant to Howard County and the local blogs proving helpful in getting connected to the local picture-- kind of below the official county news, but above my neighborhood.


jessiex said...

Your post title certainly caught my eye. I just wrote my own, "Two steps forward. One step back." HNY2U, wordones.

I've spent a chunk of time the last few days, going over the stack of business cards I've collected over the past year, organizing the mess of my Facebook friends into meaningful lists and news feeds, cleaning out my how-did-it-get-so-overun email address book, cleaning up my iphone contacts and -- coming up next -- working my twitter lists.

What pops up for me in this process is how much richer my local and regional engagement is in getting to know people through blogging/social media AND face-to-face interactions. A particular person I know from elementary school (Thunder Hill) has popped up in my life via blogging. Interestingly, as I get to know him again and more as an adult, my life and his have more alignments. I run into him and his wife out and about: art shows, the local Mac shop, out and about. Interesting energies.

Well, thanks for the gentle reminder, too, that it's high time for another HocoBlogTail party. I'm thinking Azul 17. Invites coming soon.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the shout-out! I hope your 2010 is full of good things.

HowChow said...

@Billy -- I knew that someone was going to notice this. I got all the way to the doors of Lakeside before I realized that they hadn't opened because of the snow. Not a crazy decision because there were maybe two other cars in the parking lot when I arrive. If it makes you feel better, my return to Starbucks just confirmed that I like the coffee better at some local places. So bitter that I had to add sugar.