November 15, 2011



The diary I had been keeping about my experiences this year growing my first crop of tomatoes could have ended there, with the October withering of my tomato plants and the eating of my last, home-grown, windowsill-ripened, tomatoes.  But I decided, in early November, to keep the diary going, in a somewhat different form and with, of necessity, a shift in subject matter.

I decided to turn the diary into the beginnings of a blog.  Since getting my iPad in August, I had expanded my technological know-how, starting with learning just the basic functions of iPads.  I then moved on to some of the basic functions of the graphics app, ArtStudio, using some photographs of my tomato plants, taken with my iPad camera, as the foundation for my images–and a CBC contest to spur me on.  In late September, I bought a keyboard and starting to use the word-processing app for the iPad, Pages.  To get practice using the app, I started to write about my experiences “growing tomatoes”, first just about growing actual tomatoes and then also about creating images of tomatoes using ArtStudio.  Starting a blog is, from simply a technological standpoint, the next step in my quest to acquire greater competency using my iPad.  However, starting a blog is much more to me than just a technological exercise.

My main motivation for starting this blog is, quite frankly, self-promotion.  I’m in the job market now and, to be seriously considered for the kinds of jobs I’d most like to have, it seems that it would be very helpful to bolster my on-line presence in areas relevant to my possible future employment. (If you were to Google me at present, you’d think that virtually all I did was enter contests–unless you were to mix me up with the woman in Dundee, Scotland, who shares my name, and who is very active on-line.)  In particular, it seems it will be helpful to demonstrate that I have some ability in the areas of writing and graphic arts, as well as a basic competence using current communications technology.  If anyone happens to find some of my ideas, and my pictures, interesting, that would be a definite plus.

The name I’ve given to my blog is The Tomatoes Diary, even though the written part of only the initial postings (those prior to this one) is likely to have much to do with tomatoes, in the literal sense.  (I’m considering growing some tomatoes again next year, in which case I might then have more to say about actual tomatoes.)  I’ll also continue to use images of tomatoes in the blog–at least to introduce future postings.  An obvious reason for the name and continuation of tomato imagery is that the genesis of this blog was with my diary about growing tomatoes.  But it seems that the tomato motif also has merit from a marketing point of view.

Reading one of the obituaries that ran last month for Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., the makers of the iPad, I learned that Jobs called his company Apple because he had worked in an apple orchard when he was young and, at least in part due to that experience, thought of apples as “the perfect fruit”.  With no disrespect meant to Jobs, or to the products made by Apple Inc., I find that explanation for the name choice very hard to believe.  Growing one’s own produce, one is likely to see many examples of very imperfect fruits and vegetables, that never make it to grocery stores.  Surely Jobs got to see some very oddly-shaped, or worm-infested, or even rotten-to-the-core apples in that apple orchard–or, perhaps he worked in the orchard not when the apples were ripe but, rather, only when the trees were thick with fragrant blossoms, full of the promise of perfect apples.  (If he worked in the orchard only while he was a student, he probably would have been back in class before the apples were anywhere near ripe.)  No fruit is a ‘perfect’ fruit, especially if one has had experience growing the fruit oneself.  Conceivably, the main reason Jobs chose the name ‘Apple’ for his company was that he realized it made good marketing sense, considering the kinds of products he expected his company to produce (largely educational, at the outset) and for the image (non-‘techy’, approachable) that he wanted his products and company to project.

‘Tomatoes’ would seem to be a good marketing choice for my kind of enterprise.  First, a tomato is closely-related, horticulturally and graphically, to an apple, the fruit that Jobs so successfully used as the symbol for his company.  (The French word for ‘apple’ is ‘pomme’, and ‘pomme d’amour’ is an old French term for tomatoes, presumably because many tomatoes are shaped like hearts, thought to be the centre of love, or ‘amour’.)  I associate tomatoes with generally being quite tasty–although I’m not a fanatic.  (I like most Italian food, and pizza, and catsup, especially on scrambled eggs; but I dislike tomato juice, and think that Blood Mary’s are the most abhorrent alcoholic beverages invented.)  Also, tomatoes have not been idealized in the way that apples have sometimes been idealized–which makes tomatoes a more perfect symbol of this imperfect enterprise than an apple.  And, last but not least, there’s all those great images of tomatoes I created using ArtStudio.  (I think some of them turned out quite well.)

Regarding the future subject matter of the written portion of this blog, books and authors will be one of its main subjects–beginning with a discussion of that CBC Book Club session I attended in late-August, right around the time that I got my iPad, to which I alluded in the posting for August.  As I noted earlier, I’ve kept a reading diary for some time, and will be expanding upon some of my basic entries in that diary for this blog.  I’m also likely to have quite a bit to say about post-secondary education policy, which was the subject of my graduate work.  (Actually, even the upcoming post will include some discussion of recent trends in post-secondary education.)  These will be central themes, but I’m not ruling out other topics. 

Also regarding subject matter, I won’t be putting as much emphasis on acquiring new technical skills as I did in my earlier posts.  It suffices to say that my friend, Mike Smith, suggested WordPress, and that I’ve generally found it self-explanatory and easy to use.  (Thank you, Mike.)

Although I’m starting this blog mainly to market myself, as I proceed with it, I hope to retain, to some extent, the simple sense of pleasure that I had when I was writing–and illustrating–my diary about growing tomatoes this summer, that I initially thought I would keep to myself, or maybe just share with some family members.  If this blog is anywhere near as much fun for me as the diary, since a blog seems to be something that one can easily do in one’s spare time, by even those with relatively little time to spare, it’s something I’m likely to continue even after I’ve returned to paid employment.  I have an iPad now, with which I can both write and illustrate a blog, so nothing is holding me back.



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