Abdpbt is a blog about me and the world as I see it. The first stories of this blog come from the days when I was working on (and having a hard time finishing) a dissertation. Balancing my day job as a legal secretary with procrastination from my academic work led to a lot of pooch-screwing on message boards designed for women with relationship angst. There, I met some great friends, waged some bitter flame wars, and learned about the Diamancel foot file (a life changing experience). Eventually, I got married, had a baby, and finished my dissertation. Around the same time I came to terms with the fact that I’m chiefly interested in myself, anyway, so why bother with the whole pretense of interacting with anyone else and/or seeking their advice on anything?
This blog documents the present tense existence of a wife, mother, popular culture enthusiast, and resident of Los Angeles. The past rears its ugly head in flashbacks of me as a practicing alcoholic, aspiring academic, and a frustrated and snarky online dater. I have the good fortune to have been sober since June of 2001, though I do not always go to enough meetings. After nearly 100 dates arranged with the help of sundry online dating sites–most of which were one-hit wonders–I finally met Mr. Right-Click, the man who would become my husband, on match.com in September of 2004. When we got engaged, we considered writing a testimonial for them, but they expected us to do it for free. Hah!
ABDPBT explores the paradox of life in Southern California, where I was born, bred, and had always planned on leaving but inexplicably never did. Los Angeles is a force against which I have constructed my identity and as such is figures heavily into my writing.
When I started this blog, I was a new mother and a newly minted PhD with no desire to continue my academic career. Over the past two years, I have struggled to make this blog into my career. Every step of the way, I have chosen to ignore the many people who have said that there is no money in blogging for anybody except a special few who were in the right place at the right time. I’ve also ignored the people who have said that the only people making money in social media are the people selling products about how to make money in social media. Bit by bit, I’ve carved out a niche for myself that grows, slowly but surely, at a rate commensurate with a healthy startup business in a down economy. The process of how I’ve monetized is documented for anybody who wants to learn in the Personal Finance section of ABDPBT .
There are days when I am more successful at being my best self than others. There are also the days when I know I have not done what I could do to the best of my ability, and I write about those too. I built ABDPBT to document the whole of me, and so I try always to come back and take another swing at things, to see what I can do. I hope you will stick around and see what happens.
What does ABDPBT mean?
“ABD” stands for “All But Dissertation.” It refers to the status at which a doctoral candidate arrives after finishing all of their coursework and passing all of their exams. At this point, they have finished all of the requirements for the degree but the dissertation (by far the biggest part). This period of intellectual purgatory can last for years and, in some cases, lifetimes. It was during my own ABD period that I first thought about starting a blog.
“PBT” means “Pretzel Brain Twist.” Both a noun and a verb, it is a term used on certain message boards to describe the state of mind of a woman in the midst of relationship and/or dating crisis. During such periods, the woman in question tends to think about her relationship issue in so many different ways, and with so much attention to minute detail, as to end up with her brain twisted up like a pretzel. It is a state of mind in which–as my online dating chronicles suggest–I have spent my fair share of time. PBT also accurately describes the state of mind of a PhD student who cannot seem to finish their dissertation.
I’d like to think that the “abdpbt ” is my own invention, but I think I am just the first to give a name to it. Being ABD gives one lots of time to PBT. And the result of this is the stuff blogs are made of.
Who is your husband? Where can we see pictures of him and your kid?
Despite the self-revelatory aspects of this blog, I am determined to protect the privacy of both my husband and my kid (or kids, if we ever have any more–we are still in talks regarding this). For this reason, I do not share pictures that reveal their faces, or their names, or any specifically identifying aspects of their day-to-day lives. For the purposes of this blog, I refer to my husband as Mr. Right-Click and my son as, simply, Mini.
Are your product reviews paid or compensated in any way by sponsors?
No. All of the product reviews that you see on this site are for products I have purchased with my own money and used myself. I am recommending them simply because I like them. I also feature products on the Commodity Fetishism section of the blog that sound interesting to me, but that I have not purchased or used myself; these are also unpaid placements. I never do paid posts or advertising in exchange for samples or free products. However, when you see a link in my product reviews for an outside site (such as Amazon), this might be an affiliate link, so if you purchase the item through that link, I will get a (very small) commission from the sale. If this bothers you but you are still interested in the product, you can use Google to find another vendor for the product.
I have done one product placement on this blog for my son’s birthday party, a relationship which I disclosed at length several times both on the post itself and on several others documenting how I put together the deal for others who are interested in putting together similar deals for their own blogs. Should any other product placements arise in the future, I will use similar disclosure procedures; the inclusion of any product brand names in my posts are uncompensated editorial mentions unless otherwise noted.
Who does your web design? What kind of software do you use?
ABDPBT is a self-hosted WordPress site, which means that I have my own domain name and use WordPress, an open-source blogging platform, to power it. The WordPress theme that I use is called Thesis, and it is a premium theme available from DIY Themes. The wordpress theme provides the “skeleton” of the site, and the more decorative elements (background, headers, sidebar buttons) are my own design.
Do you have any technical recommendations for bloggers who are just getting started?
How and where you start your blog is dependent upon a number of factors, e.g.: 1) how much time and energy you have; 2) how much technical experience you have; 3) how much you want to learn; and 4) what your intentions are for the blog (i.e. will it be a business? a family site? a business tool? etc.). There are many free services for blogs, including Google’s Blogger, which are quite good. I chose self-hosted WordPress because I wanted to have design freedom and the ability to run ads. My technical ability is about medium level, and I spend time learning more to make changes to the site. If you don’t want to spend the time on the technical side, then I would suggest beginning with something like Blogger, or Typepad, which is a premium blogging service/platform used by many bloggers.
I work with XXX Publishing. We have a new book coming out that we think you will enjoy. I’ve been reading your blog, and I think it’s wonderfully entertaining and well-written. If you like the book, perhaps you could list it in your books section or, if you don’t think it fits there, you could mention it in your blog?
By all means, send me the galleys of books you have coming out if you are so inclined. However, I cannot make any commitments as to the content of this blog, or of my book recommendations, or if I will even have book recommendations, for several reasons. First of all, my time to read books is limited these days. Secondly, book reviews only appear occasionally in this blog, when I feel very strongly (one way or the other) about a book, and I don’t plan on getting into the habit of having a regular book review section, particularly if my review of the book is colored by the fact that I received it from a publisher for free. Thirdly, there are many more talented people out there, such as the writers for the New York Times Review of Books, who are paid to review books for a living. I would prefer to leave the book reviews to the professionals and use my talents where they are best employed, viz. making fun of ad campaigns, Republicans, the Religious Right, and B-list celebrities. But thank you for thinking of me.