Theory and praxis, theory and praxis...
I was recently reminded that when you need advice, there is no substitute for experience.
We've enjoyed warmer than normal temperatures in Winnipeg this past week, which reminded me that spring is (theoretically) only a few weeks away, which reminded me of the unrealistic plans I have for my backyard, which reminded me that I had no plans, only not-so-well-thought-out ideas. Which is typical for me. I kinda make it up as I go.
With dreams of sunny patios, flowers, and Hell-spawned mosquitos, I mentally put pen-to-paper and started drawing up a plan. Having now a vague idea of what I wanted to do, I mentioned the ideas to Jill, who humored me. Steps one and two done, step three: research!
Astrid was busy drawing Teletubbies on my tablet (I hope the crayon washes off), so I dug out my laptop and DDGed my topic. My search brought up pages upon pages of Pinterest links, so to the world's virtual corkboard I went.
I spent a little over an hour going through the various pins related to my search and, while I came away with a few good ideas, I was left with no sense of how to implement them. Either there's an expectation that I know what I'm doing, or people are fond of pinning things that look pretty without context. Likely both...
Realizing I was left to my own devices, I went back to my search engine of choice and, after weeding out the Pinterest links and promoted ads, gleaned a little relevant information (did you know it was Obama's fault that my potted plants died? I didn't know his reach extended into Canada!).
I spent a little time on related internet forums and, judging from the posts, I'd say they were first cousins (rimshot). Having gleaned little more information, I figured if I was going to have to deal with trolls, the unmedicated, and undiagnosed, I may as well go to their birthplace.
I went to the Usenet. Ever experience the Usenet? It's the uncentralized, international, unmoderated, unhinged grandfather of the Comments Section. Think about that for a bit.
The Usenet was my last resort. It was my last line of defense against getting off the couch and (horror!) actually talking to people in the physical realm. If I'm going there for advice, I must be desperate!
Seriously though, apart from the lunatics, the only people still on the Usenet are us diehards. So, I tried my luck and checked out a certain newsgroup in the rec. hierarchy. To my delight, it was an active group with little spam, so I posted a couple of questions. Within a couple of hours, I had my answer. I'm currently having a pleasant exchange with a fellow diehard, who has offered a lot of practical advice. Most of which I'll use!
Lucky break? You bet. The Usenet is mostly crap these days, but it's nice to know it can still be useful.