Get to Know the New Potluck

Potluck.com was officially launched on May 27, 2004, and now it gets an early third birthday present. We’ve completed the transition to the WordPress publishing platform, making it easier for us to run the site while also providing you with all sorts of ways to get to our content. In the process, we’ve also added and updated a lot of content. In case you’re interested in more than what was said in the announcement of Potluck’s relaunch, here are full details on all that’s new.

Here are quick links to each section in case you’re interested in something in particular:

Find What You Want

With WordPress, there are now many ways to find your way around the site to get the content you’re interested in.

Categories distinguish different types of postings in much the same way that the previous site’s Offerings menu did. On every page of the site, you’ll see a box in the left sidebar with links to all the main Categories for our postings. You can also Browse by Category to see the complete outline of all Categories. Selecting a Category brings up that Category’s archive, a complete list of all postings in that Category. Links for Category archives can also be found throughout posts and archives.

Tags provide all the distinctions that Categories do while also giving a lot more detail about postings’ content. On every page of the site, you’ll see a box in the left sidebar with a Tag Cloud, providing links to all the different Tag archives, with the Tag names set in a size proportional to how commonly they’re used throughout the site. You can also Browse by Tag to see the complete list of all Tags. Finally, you can Browse by Tag Interactively, a powerful and flexible way to find the things you’re interested in. Wherever you are, selecting a Tag or combination of Tags brings up the relevant Tag archive, a complete list of all postings with the selected Tag(s). Links for Tag archives can also be found throughout posts and archives.

Browse by Author gives you a list of all the Authors on the site. Selecting one will bring up that Author’s archive, including a bio and a list of all their postings. Links for Author archives can also be found in the bylines of posts and archives.

Browse by Year and Browse by Month bring up lists of all the years or months for which there are postings. Select one and you’ll get an archive showing all the posts for the date you picked.

You’ll also find a search bar in the heading of every page, where you can search on any keywords you like. Enter some terms and wait a few seconds, and the top results will pop up on the screen without you even having to hit Enter. Hit Enter and you’ll get complete search results, just as with an acrhive.

There are also lists of recent posts and comments in the right sidebar, and on each posting you’ll find lists of related posts both in the right sidebar and at the bottom of the posting. The site also has a complete sitemap in case you want to see a list of all the site’s pages. All the Browse options mentioned here can be reached from the Browse menu item in the header of every page.

Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Another great advantage of WordPress is that the site now automatically produces RSS feeds.

In the right sidebar of every page and on our new Contact page, you’ll find links to subscribe to the general feeds for the site’s Posts/Entries and Comments.

Depending on what kind of page you’re on, you may also see in the right sidebar a link for the appropriate additional feed, whether a feed for a post’s comments, or for a selected Category archive or Tag archive, or for your Search results.

Subscribe to the feeds you’re interested in, and always keep up on new Potluck content.

Visit the Library/Store

The site now has a new, bigger and much more interactive library which is also now a store with links to purchase many of the library’s items. Taking advantage of the new Tags, items are now much more richly categorized so that you’ll be able to find many more items of interest with ease. We hope you’ll enjoy looking around the new library and store.

Watch Videos

In conjunction with the new Potluck Creative Arts YouTube Channel, we’re now able to present videos right within a number of our postings for motion pictures, theatre pieces, music events and anything else for which we want to add video. You’ll always be able to find a complete and updated listing of video content through the Video Tag archive. As of the third birthday relaunch, here are all the videos you can watch:

Lemonade — A New Comic Strip

In April 2007, the first Lemonade comic strip was posted. A collaboration between Mark S. Meritt and his old friend, cartoonist Ed Budd, Lemonade is a free-form strip about whatever tickles their fancy. As of the third birthday relaunch, here are the strips you can see:

You’ll always be able to find a complete and updated listing of comics through the Comics Category archive.

Potluck Creative Arts, planBead and New Music Content

There’s a whole new Potluck Creative Arts website, where you can find out about all of the creative services Mark S. Meritt offers — now a much bigger deal since Mark is trying to have a go at this full-time! Speaking of which, as he’s pondered diving into things creative, Mark’s thoughts about what it takes to succeed led him to write a new essay, Support Your Local Rock Star.

Mark also now has a MySpace Music Account, where you can hear full-length versions of some of his compositions. Visit and become one of Mark’s MySpace Friends!

You’ll also find the announcement of Jennifer Norris’ own new arts business, planBead, through which she creates artisan and custom jewelry.

Beyond these arts businesses, some more of the new content posted as part of the third birthday relaunch includes original music not before heard at Potluck:

  • Our Whole Lives — An original song (2007) written by Mark S. Meritt and Howard Ditkoff for American Idol‘s first songwriter contest, using Appreciative Inquiry
  • Come Out — An original song (2006) written by Mark S. Meritt
  • The Unexplainable Bonefish — Find out about this proposed television series (1999), and hear the theme song Mark S. Meritt wrote for it
  • Kornell Kinema — Two versions of the score to this short motion picture (1992), composed by Mark S. Meritt
  • Wedding March — An original instrumental (1991) composed by Mark S. Meritt
  • Pursuit — An original instrumental (1991) composed by Mark S. Meritt
  • Dirge and Fury — An original instrumental (1991) composed by Mark S. Meritt
  • Just My Luck — An original instrumental (1992) composed by Mark S. Meritt

Also, many of the songs at Potluck that used to have only instrumental samples now have sample recordings with vocals. Check out the various original songs through the Songs Category archive.

Finally, there are now postings for each of Mark’s appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, including pictures.

An Integration of the Personal

In the old Potluck site, some of the content was somewhat autobiographical. Meanwhile, Sophie’s World, the chronicle of the adventures of Mark and Jennifer’s daughter Sophia Quinn Meritt, lived inconspicuously in a corner of the site away from the rest of the content. With the new WordPress environment so suited for blogging, it seemed natural to bring Sophie’s World along for the ride with the rest of the content.

On one hand, this may seem an odd decision, integrating the tales of a child with the rest of the eclectic postings at Potluck. But on the other hand, Potluck has always valued integration in general and, in particular, promoting who people really are as they follow their paths, whatever they may be. So the Sophie’s World postings now have a new home right alongside the rest of the site’s content, and they can always be found through the Sophie’s World Tag archive.

We also look forward to more personal content from the rest of the crowd, not just Sophia, furthering the integration of all our sides and hopefully adding interest to the site.

More New Content

There’s also some recently posted material that’s more in line with the “serious” side of Potluck:

Wrapping Up

We encourage you to revisit any offerings you may have previously enjoyed, since you can now add comments right on each posting — one of the easiest and most interactive ways you can now let us hear from you. And we also shamelessly point your attention to the PayPal donation buttons on every page, in case you would like to support our work!

If you would like to get in touch with us about our mailing list or anything else, visit our Contact page.

Looking forward to your visits. We hope you enjoy the new Potluck.

By the way, this broad revision to the site was possible because of several generous contributions. We’re very grateful.

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