My Daily Dose Of Spam

Want to get more comment spam on your blog? 

Well then may I suggest that you post a quiet little tale about an evening at an Italian restaurant and a visit to the zoo.  A post like this one that I wrote on Friday, for instance.

And for good measure, in your blog post be sure to mention Bourbon + uppity sheep.  Because, apparently, it’s this combo that gets comment spammers interested in your sweet little bloggy. 

Or so it seems.

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To me the fascinating thing about comment spam is that some of it is rather thoughtful and pleasant.  As if someone I know really cared about what I had to say and then took the time to post a comment.

  • I could watch Schindler’s List and still be happy after reading this.
  • Great hammer of Thor, that is powerfully helpful!
  • Unbelievable how well-written and informative this was.
  • So that’s the case?  Quite a revelation that is.
  • You put the lime in the coconut and drink the article up.
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Pity spammers aren’t sincere because what blogger wouldn’t enjoy seeing such unique comments underneath his or her blog post?  Makes me wonder why comment spammers do what they do.

My guess is that they are clever and misguided individuals with too much time on their hands– looking to make a quick buck [somehow?] from someone else’s work.  Not really my type of people.

But you have to admit that sometimes they’re kind of funny.

I’m Dreaming Of A Gray Christmas

random thoughts on a very dreary December morning… 

~ We decorated the outside of our house this year.  We don’t always do that, but this year we decided to put some lights on the bushes out front, a few wreaths on a few windows, and one long strand of lights wrapped around the deck railing out back.  So far the decorations are surviving our record-breaking rainy weather without any prob.  They’re all on pre-set timers, so they know what to do and when to do it.  Wetness be damned.

~ After we decorated the outside of the house, we decided to put up a Christmas tree in our TV room.  We don’t always do this every year either.  Naturally the old lights that we had weren’t working, so Z-D drove over to Lowe’s and then Home Depot to buy a total of four boxes of the same GE multicolored lights to put on the tree.  All of our ornaments from past years were in good shape, so we used them without buying anything new.  The tree is pretty and colorful– the perfect antithesis to the bleak weather outside.

~ Most people who know me know that I’m not a fan of the holiday season.  I tolerate it with gritted teeth and a quiet grace.  I dislike the phoniness of it all.  Too many people telling me too many ways in which they’re overwhelmed– by decisions that they freely made.  Commitments they accepted for reasons they can’t explain, but will whine endlessly about fulfilling.  To me, it seems like a time of faux friendship and forced frivolity.  Not centering and joyful at all.

~ Zen-Den may be taking some vacation days at the end of the month.  This will depend upon whether problems develop at work.  We’ve made no formal plans to go anywhere, so if he does take the days off I think that we’ll be taking a staycation.  Lunches out at some upscale restaurants that we like;  a visit to the zoo to see the lights;  a few rounds at our fav English pub.  Nothing elaborate, just doing some fun things– because we want to.

[Hello FTC!  As you may recall, I do not accept money or any other sort of graft for writing about any product.  So you need not worry yourself about anything nefarious happening here on my sweet little bloggy.   I like what I like– and I write about it because I want to write about it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just my opinion.] 

To Comment Or Not To Comment

Here are assorted musings on one topic.  Make of them what you will.

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For the past few weeks I’ve made a point of reading new-to-me blogs– and then leaving a comment on the blog.  I’ve found that I’m not alone in doing this.  Many people have stopped by The Spectacled Bean for the first time during November and have left me a first time comment.

I appreciate that effort very much.

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I know that I’ve seen some bloggers write about how easy it is for them to visit someone else’s blog and toss out a comment.  (Or to hit the “like” button available on some blogs.)  For them interaction via comments is a given– and they do it as a matter of course without any hesitation.

I envy their ability to get involved so easily.  I’m not like that at all.

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For me, an introvert, it takes a bit of effort to leave a comment on someone’s blog.  Perhaps that’s how all introverts feel.  I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m self-conscious about inserting myself into someone else’s life.  My goal is to encourage with what I say in a comment, but I’m never entirely sure that I carry out my goal.

Good intentions, dubious results.  Perhaps that’s the reality of all earnest people.

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I realize that there are always lots of people who lurk on my blog.  Through my stats info I see you out there.  You arrive here at the same time every day, from the same place, and stay long enough to read what I’ve written.  But you never interact with me.  I don’t take it personally– and honestly, I rarely even think about it.  I understand that’s how some people consume blogs– detached and anonymously.

It’s safer that way.

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I’m always concerned that there will be a misunderstanding about what I say in a comment.

I try to be clear and specific in what I say in comments, but without visual clues there’s no way to know exactly how what I said is being received.  And it’s this sense of vulnerability that slows me down when commenting.  I want to tell my truth and I want to do it with grace– while honoring the thoughts of the blogger who has written the post in the first place.

It’s a delicate balance to do.

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Behind The Scenes With A NaBloPoMo Blogger

As of today I’m one-third of the way through my commitment to post something on this blog every day this month.

√  I’m amazed by how easy it is for me to come up with ideas about what to write here each day.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised;  I’m a generalist after all. 

  On the flip side, I’m worn out by the actual writing and posting of said ideas.  Daily posting takes more time than you can possibly imagine– says the free spirit who usually keeps this blog on a more casual basis.

  As per my desire to meet more bloggers, I’ve introduced myself to 10 bloggers who are also doing NaBloPoMo Seven have stopped by here to say “hi!” right back.  Good to know that there are other people who are willing to reach out and meet someone new.

  The total word count on my posts to-date is: 2765.  If I was doing NaNoWriMo, which asks a person to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, I’d be at the 16,667 word count mark by now.  Clearly, I’m a blogger and not a novelist.  A woman’s got to know her limits.  

~ ~ ~ 

[And the seven bloggers who have stopped by to say “hi” are: alejnaJaneKristenLauraMelisaPollyZazzy.  Click on a name.  Meet someone new.]

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Let’s Get It Started In Here

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NaBloPoMo 2011

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Guess what I’ve decided to do.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait while you figure it out.

[HINT: look to your right and read the details on the big square.  Click on it, if you so choose.]

Yes, I’ve joined something.

[I know… it’s not like me, the free-spirit, to get involved in anything organized.]

And the something that I’ve joined is National Blog Post Month– informally known as NaBloPoMo.

[Cute nickname, huh?  It’s fun to say really fast as you type it.  Don’t judge me… we all make our fun where we find it.]

So, what does this really mean?

[If you’ve read this far down the page, then you must be a skoosh curious about what I’m up to this time.]

It means that I’ll be posting to this blog every day in November.  Contributing as much flapdoodle and twaddle to the blogosphere as I can.

[Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  A challenge.  An adventure.  A way to make bloggy friends.  Plus,  for a limited time only, “Glorious Madness.”]

So for the next thirty days, I’ll write.  You’ll read.  And we’ll chat in the comments below.

[Any questions?]

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Autumn, Attitude Adjustment, And Ambush Journalism

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “A.”

•  Loving.  Now that it’s mid-autumn, the leaves on the trees behind our house are at their best.  In fact, this year, the wettest year ever on record, the trees look stunning.  There are more show-off colors among the leaves–shimmery gold, crimson red;  less dreary colors like rusty orange & dried-up grayish brown.  Amazing, really, how letting go is so pretty.  A lesson for all of us who hold grudges and keep objects long after their usefulness has passed.  Move on, people.  Let it go.

*Amen*

•  Laughing.  I’ve always been one to drink whatever alcoholic beverage is set in front of me [the exception being rum which I hate].  I loathe being perceived as fussy.  Yet, thinking back about our very social summer, I’ve realized that the parties/dinners/events where I had the most fun were the very ones where I did not drink any wine.  At all.

This got me wondering why I even drink the stuff to begin with.  I don’t like the taste of wine all that much and it often makes me itch.  What I decided is that I drink wine because I have this notion that it is good for me.  And I drink wine because I am polite.

My logic– such as it is— goes something like this: in the Bible, Jesus made wine and the party continued.  So, by drinking the stuff without complaint I don’t offend Jesus & I’m not a party pooper.  In theory, this seems like a win-win. But in practice it just sets me up to do something I don’t really want to do– which is drink wine.

Pity Jesus didn’t turn the water into a fifth of bourbon– or a few bottles of beer.  Then I’d have no problem at all.

*Capiche?*

•  Learning.  I was watching CNN the other morning.  The conversation was about “ambush journalism.”  I’d not heard of this term before.  It means that through deception and aggressive behavior a journalist inserts himself or herself into a situation hoping to provoke controversy by launching into a series of challenging questions. Apparently, some guy did this with VP Biden earlier this week, and Biden refused to take it.  Biden fired back with: “Don’t screw with me.  Let’s look at the facts.” 

Politics aside, I’m with the VP on this one.  Hassling people is not a substitute for journalistic inquiry;  it’s just stupid, attention seeking behavior.  In fact, it seems to me that if journalists want to continue to have access to our political leaders, then they need to grow up, use some common sense & not engage is such antics.  Bad dog, no biscuit.

*Meh*

Suitability: An Explanation Of What The Heck Is Going On With My Blog Template

[… for those who have wondered why things look different around here… and have taken the time to contact me about said… allow me to explain…]

Having the right look for my blog is important to me .  In fact, since I started this sweet little bloggy last January, I’ve had four different [free] templates. 

Let’s review, shall we?

#1  The one with the glowing orange candle up top.  It is called Coraline & described by WordPress key words thusly–  clean, conservative, generic, light, minimal. Yep, it was.  But in the end, it was not me.  So I moved on.

#2  The one with the lonely little pine cone up top.  It is called Pilcrow & described by WordPress key words thusly– clean, conservative, formal, generic, light, minimal, simple.  Again, yep it was.  But it had some features that I didn’t like, so I moved on.  [Also, I accidentally deleted it late one Friday afternoon.  There was drama.  There was swearing.  We’re not going to re-hash that event here.]

#3  The one with the bunch of bananas up top.  It is called Fruit Shake & described by WordPress key words thusly– artistic, colorful, faded, whimsical, yellow.  Again, let me confirm that this was an accurate description.  However, its cheeriness drove me bonkers and the way it scrunched up my words on the page was difficult to read.  So I moved on.

#4  The one with the big black rectangle up top.  It is called Quintus & described by WordPress key words thusly– calligraphic, elegant, formal, nostalgic, retro, textured, traditional.  Yep, it is.  And of all the ones I’ve tried, this one is the easiest to use, the most clear to read and the least annoying for me to look at.  In fact, a further description of it says:

“A theme that has an old-style appeal with semi-academic graciousness and elegant typography. Fitting for displaying either text or images, Quintus offers a fresh look with room for customization….” 

Now this is a look and description I like.  So I’ve stayed here.

Why have I been changing my template so often? 

While my academic background is in words/relationships/communication, my later-in-life inclination is in images/color/design.  The result is that I like to change things around and that I’m never satisfied with how things look… until I am.  All this trial and error here is really just me attempting to find the most suitable look for my sweet little bloggy.  Which I think I have with this gracious, elegant, fresh template.

At least for the moment.  😉