Tag: blogs

5 Blogs I’ve Been Reading Lately — And Looking for More

With all of the reading I do, my blog reading has dwindled a bit. In part this is because I have had a difficult time finding the kinds of blogs I enjoy reading. But there are five that I have been following lately that I enjoy and I thought I’d share them here in case anyone else wanted to check them out.

1. Melanie Novak’s blog

Melanie is a romance writer who also writes great posts about the golden age of Hollywood. As a Bing Crosby fan, I really enjoy those posts on old picture, and some of the backstories she provides.

You can find her at: https://melanienovak.com.

2. Paul Jacobson’s blog

Paul’s blog is pretty eclectic but includes some great posts on tools and technology. Dungeons & Dragons fans might enjoy his post on How I Use Obsidian for Dungeons & Dragons Games–a nice intersection of gaming and technology.

You can find his blog at: https://pauljacobson.me

3. John Scalzi’s Whatever

I’ve been reading John’s blog for as long as I can remember. Although he and I have different styles, his blog was an early inspiration for my own blogging, and I find his way of breaking down his thoughts into digestible points very helpful on many of his posts. His post on Being Poor is classic, even 16 years later.

You can find his blog at: https://whatever.scalzi.com.

4. Seth Godin’s Blog

I recently discovered Seth’s blog after listening to him on an episode of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast. This is another eclectic blog, with daily posts, many of them short and to the point, but occasionally longer ones. I like that Seth posts every day because that is what I try to do, too. I really enjoyed his post on Quality and Effort.

You can find his blog at: https://seths.blog

5. Brain Pickings

I’ve been reading Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings blog for years now. I even get the newsletters. If there is a hardest-working-blogger award, it would have to go to her hands down. I’ve been called prolific here on my own blog, but the writing she does on Brain Pickings make me look plain lazy. Plus, it is an incredibly eclectic site, where she writes on virtually everything. She tries to learn from everything she does (something I aspire to). Check out her post on 13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings.

You can find Brain Pickings at: https://www.brainpickings.org


And I’m looking for more

Reading through the above, I used the work “eclectic” an unseemly number of times, but that is what most look for in a blog. It’s what I try to do in my own, writing about anything that interests me. Given what you know of what I write about, interests I’ve expressed, and the list above, I’d love for any recommendations you have for other blogs I should be reading (feel free to include your own). Drop them in the comments, and if possible, include a reason why you like it or why you think I’d like it.

100 Consecutive Days of Blog Posts in 2021

Today marks one hundred consecutive days of blog posts that I have written thus far in 2021. 109 posts in 100 days, totaling about 70,000 words. As I said in my post of January 1,

I miss the days of just sitting at the keyboard and pounding out something that just occurred to me. And so rather than waiting for what I feel is a “post-worthy” idea, I’m going to swing back to posting here when things happen to pop into my head. What that means for you is more posts in 2021.

I’m happy to say that so far, this is true. I wrote a total of 51 blog posts in all of 2020, and have more than doubled that in the first 100 days of 2021. Comments and discussions are on the rise as well, more than triple so far than all of 2020 combined.

Overall, I’m very pleased by this. It isn’t always easy to come up with something to write every day, but it is always enjoyable, a part of the day that I always look forward to.

I am working this weekend. It is crunch time for a software project that me and my team has been working on for just over a year, and which will roll out in a few more weeks. Having this blog as a place to come to let my thoughts run free after (or before) a long day’s work is something that I am grateful for.

Thanks again for being such a great audience!

A Moment to Vent on Blogs

Allow me a moment to vent on blogs. If you don’t know want to read a “back-in-my-day” rand a la Andy Rooney, by all means, skip this one. I have a few complaints, in no particular order.

  1. Lately, I’ve been getting way more requests than normal for guest posts and other content for my blog. I have a site policy that says I almost never accept unsolicited guest posts, but no one seems to pay attention to these. Yet it seems like I’ve received half of dozen request in the last few days. Which leads me to wonder:
  2. Are blogs so hard up for content these days that they can only survive by outsourcing their content creation?

Do you ever notice how terrible many of these requests are?

  • Do you accept guest posts? If yes, I’ll provide you a well-written article and 100% related to your website niche.
  • I’m a blogger and freelancer, so you’re website is such a find for me. I’d like to contribute a guest article to your blog because I believe your audience will find my ideas interesting and useful.

In my head, I invent interview questions for these guest-blogger candidates:

  • What makes your article well-written?
  • If it is so well-written, why not put it on your own blog?
  • My blog has over 6,500 posts ranging across countless subjects. Tell me how your well-written article is 100% related to this “niche.”
  • What, in your opinion, makes my website “such a find” for you?
  • What makes you believe my audience will find your ideas interesting? Half the time, I don’t know if my audience finds my ideas interesting.

Some of these folks are persistent. Many of them, when they haven’t gotten a response from me, ask to speak to my manager.

Why my blog? Certainly, it can’t be the numbers; they are not what they were five years ago, but I gave up caring about the stats on the blog a long time ago. This is a place, where I can sit down and write about what’s on my mind. If people read it, I’m delighted. If people comment, I’m even more delighted. But the act of creation is what satisfies me, and anything beyond that is gravy.

Then, too, I’m skeptical that any of these potential guest bloggers have actually read what I write, or for that matter, have even looked at this blog. If they had, they’d notice almost at once the absence of any kind of advertising. They’d have to go back a long way to find a guest post (there have been a few over the years, but always at my request, not the other way around). If making money is the object of these guest posters, then I’d think one look at my site would scare them away.

Which brings me to my second complaint. I find myself visiting blogs less and less because, more often than not, they seem almost preposterously monetized. I’ve seen single articles take 30 seconds to load because that’s how long it takes all of the ads to load around the three or four hundred words of text. I stumbled onto Boing Boing recently, after a long absence, and, man, what happened? The site felt almost unusual under the weight of ads and pop-ups. I imagine the articles are still as good as ever, but it seemed impossible to get to them.

And what’s with all of the pop-ups? You get halfway through an article and suddenly there’s a pop-up asking you to for the love of God subscribe to their newsletter! You know what those pop-ups remind me of? They’re the digital versions of those annoying magazine inserts that I have to tear free from the paper copies of magazines I get. But the pop-ups are worse: I can’t tear them out!

Look, I get that people want to make money from their blogs. It seems to me that the real money comes from skill and value, not from buckshot guest post requests. I’ve never put ads on this blog, heck, I don’t even use that Amazon thing that earns you money when you recommend books. But that isn’t to say I haven’t made money as a result of the blog. I’ve been paid to give talks, and write articles for magazines because of things I’ve written about here. I like that better than choking the screen with ads and pop-ups. Even so, I’d be happy just writing.

Which brings me to my final complaint: I wish I had time write here more. I can’t quite describe the enjoyment I have sitting down and bashing out a silly post on bird-watching, or toilets. I don’t even mind announcing big goals to the world, uncertain as to whether or not I will meet them. I just like writing here, and I wish I could do it more.

Forgive the venting. There are always going to be people wanting to find a shortcut. Given that I enjoy writing here so much, it’s just hard for me to fathom why a shortcut would be necessary. That, and recently, it seems that everyone in the world is requesting to write an article for this blog.

All birds come home to roost

A brief note: my experiment with Word Press over for the time being.  It is a great document-management and blogging product, but:

  1. I spend way too much time trying to tweak it just the way I want
  2. It seems silly to me (now) to manage the blog myself when LiveJournal provides that service
  3. Most people reading this are already on LiveJournal and I don’t want to burden people with multiple logins and accounts.
  4. I paid for a permanent account way back when, I might as well use it.

So, for now anyway, LiveJournal will remain my official blog for the foreseeable future.  Items posted here will be relayed to Facebook.

Sorry for the confusion.

New updates on the Little Zipper

With my update on this blog earlier, I wanted to also post a reminder that Kelly and I do have a separate protected blog with updates on Zachary.  Until a few days ago, that blog hadn’t been updated in a while, but we’ve both made updates in the last few days.  Aa any parent knows, you can spend all day talking about your kids, and I didn’t want to impose that here, but for those who are interested, you can find out the latest on the Adventures of the Little Zipper and family here.

(Note: you must be pre-authorized to view that blog.  If you do not have access and you’d like to follow along, let me know.)

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Transition to WordPress

After nearly a year of playing with WordPress behind the scenes, I have decided to begin the gradual transition from LiveJournal to WordPress once and for all.  As part of this transition, the following will be taking place in the short-term:

  • All blog posts will continue to be cross-posted to LiveJournal and Facebook
  • LiveJournal posts will be closed to comments.  Instead, click the link at the bottom of each post to comment on my WordPress blog.
  • Comments on Facebook should (in theory) be picked up by WordPress as regular intervals.

I am doing this for several reasons:

  • I have a custom installation of WordPress on my  domain which I can control completely.
  • WordPress has more of the features that I am looking for, and it is far easier to tweak the styles than in LiveJournal.
  • One-stop-shopping for blog posting.

As far as LJ blogs that I read, I will continue reading them.  Most of them I read through Google Reader at this point, anyway.

The WordPress blog should be configured to allow you to register an account for comments (if you don’t already have one.)   I will approve this user account requests as quickly as I can.

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Do you like food?

I mean, really, who doesn’t right?  What about cooking?  And funny?  Do you like funny?  Well then, forget Julie and Julia and take short link hop over to the Mouse House Kitchen where gives you food and funny all in one heaping helping.  Think of it as George Carlin meets Rachel Ray:  you know, like the seven words you can’t say while spreading your EVOO once around the pan.  But don’t blame me if you come away hungry.  Or with soap in your mouth…

Backup blogs and LJ layoffs

 Thanks to will_couvillier  for pointing this out:

LJ seems to be in some turmoil.  There were some layoffs and some of the development and design has been pushed to Moscow, while other aspects (like server hosting and support) are remaining in the U.S.  This has got a lot of people nervous about LJ’s future.  Post of the talk is that LJ is not going away, but just to be safe, I’ve created backup blogs on both wordpress and blogger.  I’ve already ran an import of LJ blog data to wordpress and it worked seamlessly.  I guess it’s a good thing I archived my entire blog (3 years worth of entries, over 700,000 words) at the beginning of this month.

For now, I’ll be sticking it out here.  After all, I have a permanent account.  But should things get chaotic and LJ becomes kaput, I’ve got backups (both data and blogs) to keep going without a hiccup.