Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday At The Tournament - Bloggers' Panel

The bloggers' panel was first. Amy Reynaldo, Ryan Hecht and Brian Cimmet, Jim Horne and Michael Sharp.

Michael Sharp - He says "the community boggles my mind... it's opened up a whole new dimension in looking at the puzzle." Michael was grateful for the early support of Amy Reynaldo.

Amy Reynaldo passes to Ryan and Brian.

Ryan and Brian - They found the blogs of the others, then struck out on their own. The boys don't claim to be the best solvers. Ryan started the blog and Brian really took it off by adding the "Fill Me In" podcast. They also discussed their Lollapuzzoola tournament.

Brian passes.

Jim Horne - "Never follow dogs, children, Ryan or Brian." Jim talked about shutting down his own crossword blog due to being asked to do an official one for the New York Times.

Amy Reynaldo - Her blog started in 2005, discussing not just the NYT but all the major syndicated and little online puzzles. "You take your solitary hobby of doing crosswords... you can read what other people have to say about it... it's a lot of fun."

Q&A's from the audience! Michael Sharp says he doesn't read the other blogs. "The last thing I want is someone else's voice in my head." Amy reads 'em all. "I just can't stay away." Ryan tends not to for the same reasons as Michael. "I don't want to get sued by these three people." Jim reads the others via RSS. "It's fun for me to read about puzzles, and if I get contaminated, I get contaminated."

Michael talked about his "Rex Parker" pen name. "I couldn't imagine writing a blog with my real name." His name comes from a Hawaii beach trip where everyone got fake names. Will asked about porn names, first pet and street you grew up on.... "Mine would be Alice Teelman," said Rex.

Jim was asked why more male bloggers than female bloggers. "Blogging is this ridiculous commitment that a sane, normal person wouldn't do." Jim has had a related question about solvers being roughly half male and half female, but why are there more male constructors? Jim just chalks it up to it being a small sample. Amy said "most mommy bloggers are mostly women."

Blogging is a 365-day a year commitment. These things just grew out of whims and have now pretty much become fulltime jobs for them. Amy says she has had to have guest writers when she wants to go away. Ryan does not want to let the 10-15 people who read their blog down. Jim says, "People find you because they look for clues." Jim also mentioned that no one is going to get rich doing blogs, so it's a labor of love. The bloggers also discussed what they all do to pay the bills.

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