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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.

Which online dating site do you recommend? Are they all the same?
I met my husband on match.com, but I believe they are mostly the same–with one caveat. I have it on good authority that eHarmony is run by members of the Religious Right and for that reason I suspect the motives behind their matching. I should say, however, that I have heard of many nice, normal, and sane people who have met their spouses through that service, and it is therefore worth a shot, if they will have you as a member. (I was rejected!)

Will I ever find Mr. Right?
I think you will, but you have to keep looking. Treat it like a job, go out on as many dates as you possibly can and write about them here if it helps. Read my stories, in particular the story of the Worst Date Zero Ever for inspiration.

Are you nakedly stealing the New York Times’ copyrighted content?
No, I’m not stealing, naked or fully clothed, the New York Times’ copyrighted content. I am publishing it here under license and with the direct consent of The New York Times.

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 do not 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 is sometimes 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 google for another vendor or simply visit the link without clicking through.

Who does your web design? What kind of software do you use?
The Thesis Theme from Chris Pearson and DIYthemesABDPBT 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.