July 01, 2003
If you got here by clicking the "Introduction" button, then you're reading this in another window. You can switch between here and the Rocket Jones main page to see examples of what I'll be explaining. Rocket Jones isn't my name. One of my hobbies is building and flying rockets. It's what I love to do, so I'm usually "jonesing" for rockets. Catchy, eh?
Rocket Jones is a blog, which is an ugly word coined for "web log". It's kind of an online diary or journal or soapbox or therapist's couch or all of the above. You may have heard of them, you may have visited some before or even have your own. There are as many types of blogs as there are types of people. Personally, I don't focus on any one thing but there are certain subjects that interest me, so I post more often about them. I've been doing this for about a year and a half now, and have managed to put something up here almost every day during that span (whether it's been worth reading is a whole 'nother story).
Some of the things that interest me are rockets and space related stuff, cooking and cult cinema. Looking through my archives, you'll find all this and more. I also tell stories about my family or from my days in the Air Force and occasionally bare my soul or vent when I need to.
Now a little bit about how Rocket Jones is set up. Many blogs have the same basic components and work about the same way. The main column is where the daily posts are, and over on the right hand side is the (ta-da!) sidebar. There are links to related information in almost every post, and if you click them they'll usually open up in a new window. Every post has a category too, like "history", "boring stories", etc., if you click on the category you'll get a page with all of the posts in that category. At the bottom is a little blip that says "Houston, we have a comment", and if you click that link a small window pops up and you can leave a comment or read what others before you have written. Sometimes the comments are the best part of a post. I encourage you to leave comments because everyone likes feedback and interaction.
Trackbacks are where someplace on the internet has linked to that specific post. It's a nice way to find related or follow-up information.
Oh, and to entice you to come back, the picture up at the very top changes every once in a while too, just to keep things fresh.
On to the sidebar. Do you have a junk drawer in your kitchen? A place where everything that doesn't really belong anywhere else winds up? That's what I use the sidebar for. Almost everything on the sidebar is a link. Even the graphics are usually clickable.
We'll do a quick rundown of the more static stuff, because the contents of the sidebar changes from time to time.
Near the top is a search field and button. It works just like Yahoo or Google or any other search engine, but only searches this site. Just below that is a link to the PDA version of Rocket Jones. You can find out more about that here and here.
Below that is a list of the last 10 articles that were posted. If a title catches your eye you can click it and go directly to that post.
Next is a little section called You Are What You Is (any Frank Zappa fans out there?) The first link leads to the "About Ted" category, which has various personal information, including the ubiquitous 100 Things About Me post. The section also has my Rocket Jones email address and a rotating tagline (and the tagline archive).
Poor Organizational Skills is my heading for the category archives. The categories are pretty broad and general and completely arbitrary. I try to be consistent, but I don't obsess. If, for instance, you wanted to see all the recipes I've posted, click on the "Recipe" category link.
I'm going to go off on a little tangent here while I talk about the next section: Munuvians. Blogging in general is more than a little narcissist, everyone likes to have their views heard. But it's also about community, about belonging to a group. Bloggers build a circle of friends, often people that they'll never meet face to face. Good times and bad are shared, support is lent when needed, as is the sympathetic ear. The sense of belonging is very real.
Rocket Jones is hosted on the mu.nu domain. That domain is owned and administered by an Australian chap who goes by the enigmatic name of Pixy Misa. All of us here, the Munuvians, were invited to homestead by Pixy. We are American and Canadian, English and Australian, as well as expats living in Hong Kong, London, Germany and Toronto. It really is a diverse group. My daughter Rachael (aka Mookie) is a Munuvian, although she's on haitus until the demands of high school stop kicking her butt.
Back to the sidebar and that section titled Munuvians. That's us, all those links are the blogs of the Munuvians, listed in the order that they joined the community. At the top is that NASA style symbol, click that and you'll get to our group blog - Munuviana - where we hash out general interest topics and post stuff we think everyone might want to know about.
Naming your blog has been likened to teenagers naming their garage bands. As you scan down the list, you'll find that a pretty apt comparison.
Next on down the sidebar are a few sections that link to nifty places about rocketry (Yay!), and then the Rocket Jones monthly archives.
After the archives are several graphic banners, many are links to places or categories that are especially important to me. After that are some admin type things and hit counters that you can ignore (Rocket Jones averages about 200 page hits a day, which is small potatoes). The calendar is just another way of navigating the site. On days that the site is updated, the date turns red (most every day). If you click on the date, that day's posts will be displayed.
Another quick detour. The Shark logo is for my beloved San Jose Sharks hockey team. Ever know a Redskins fan who bet a Dallas Cowboys fan about the game, and the loser had to wear the winner's hat or shirt for a day? Last year I set up the blogging equivalent, called the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree. Everyone who plays puts his team's logo on their page, and if they lose to someone else they have to put the other logo up for 24 hours. This year the idea really took off, but we've had to use the minor league AHL teams because of the NHL lockout. You saw the Jamboree logo and link up at the top of the sidebar.
Ok, almost done. Next is a list of non-Munuvian blogs that I visit more or less regularly. The first group are space and science related, then a long list of general places, a short list of comedy and fun sites, a group of serious analytical blogs, some blogging tools and utilities places, and finally a list of blogs that concentrate on sports. Once again, where they are grouped in the list is pretty much arbitrary, and they're more or less alphabetized. Some are places I visit often, some I almost never visit but we share reciprocal links. Like a lot of people, the link list (aka "blogroll") is probably used more by myself than anyone else. It's a convenient place to gather all my favorite places.
Links and page hits are two ways that many bloggers measure themselves. I tend not to worry about either, since I'd probably keep doing this even if nobody stopped by (translation: I talk to myself when nobody's around).
Hang in there, we're almost done! This next bit is a java applet that I found somewhere listing all the visitors to Rocket Jones in the last 24 hours. Finally, at the very bottom of my sidebar are two "Google Bombs". You can read the bit there and figure out what that's all about.
So that's it. Lots to see, lots to read, lots of places to explore and visit. I hope you find something interesting here and that you'll come back again. Leave a comment, feedback is always welcomed. Thanks.
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