A Simply Questionable Post: Answering Four Questions, Acknowledging One Reality

THE ANSWERING FOUR QUESTIONS PART

We’re on staycation again this week, busy morphing a guest bedroom into a reading/yoga room. More on that later. In the meantime here is something I found when I read THIS POST by Martha at Seaside Simplicity. Because of her I know about the Tuesday 4 questions and this week the 4 questions are about blogging.

1.  Tell us about your blog.  When did you start blogging?

I started my first blog in 2004. My intentions were good, but our computer was unreliable and our internet connection was dodgy, resulting in an arbitrary posting schedule. Still, I stuck with it.
 
2.  What prompted you to begin blogging?

Pure curiosity to see if I could do it.
 
3.  What was your first blog about and why did you choose that subject/title?

My first blog was called sweetlyPAZZO. I don’t remember much of what I wrote about but the title came from my point of view. I was much sweeter back then and I thought that ‘pazzo’ [which means crazy in Italian] was a cool word so I used it in the title of the blog.
 
4.  How has your blog changed over time, and has it done for you what you hoped it would do in the first place?

Like many longtime bloggers I’ve had a few different blogs. For me this has made sense because I’ve wanted to try different approaches to blogging, different points of view, different platforms. Over the years blogging has helped keep my brain clicking by satisfiying my curiosity, so it has done what I hoped it’d do for me in the first place.

THE ACKNOWLEDGING ONE REALITY PART

I sometimes say that irony is my closest friend. In this case I’m referring to how difficult it has been for me, an accomplished blogger, to write this cute little post. It has been anything but fun; in fact it’s been hell.

There has been nothing simple about it.

The WordPress Block Editor has thwarted me at every turn, often blocking me from editing my words in a block so that I had to rewrite what I’d written again… and again… and again. Also there are some links in this post, but the system has inexplicably taken away the blue color from the links so you, kids, cannot see them anymore.

I guess you’re just supposed to know they’re there.

Whilst I’d like to say I’m filled with righteous indignation and the fervor that comes from knowing that there’s something wrong going on and you’re going to stop it, I’m too tired to do so. WordPress is slowly stealing the fun from personal blogging. I don’t know why, but I know this to be true.

Jottings About The Opposite Of Purple Prose + A Question About Endings

THE JOTTINGS PART

Purple prose is writing that is too elaborate or ornate. It detracts from the narrative instead of moving the story forward. [More here]

My way of describing purple prose is that it is fussy, unfocused, and old-fashioned. I don’t write like that.

I’m a straightforward writer. I tend to have a point, get to it, and make it snappy in the process. Photos and images help me make my point. I like pretty.

I edit mercilessly because while I can be chatty I shall not dither, possibly wasting someone’s time. That’d never do.

And when possible, depending on the topic I’m discussing, I prefer to come to a conclusion, whether it be my reasoned opinion and/or a specific question.

Thus I give you, my gentle readers, the following. It’s something I’ve been thinking about of late, for a reason you’ll understand.

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THE QUESTION PART

The longer I write this blog the more I wonder how much longer I’ll be writing this blog.

As many of you know I had blogs before this one, starter blogs as I think of them, but when I created this blog in 2011 I told myself that if I hit 1,000 posts I’d call it quits.

Welp, after hitting publish on this post I’m 15 posts away from 1,000. Meaning that if I’m true to my original plan, I’ll soon be faced with a decision about what to do with this blog.

Which brings me to my question to you:

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO END YOUR BLOG?

As June Begins, I’m Doing Not Much Of Anything Enthralling

WHAT DAY IS THIS?

I’m scattered this week. I tell ‘ya, begin a week with a Monday holiday and I’m confused, more than normal, for days after. But then what kind of weirdo who isn’t? Hmmm…?

Anyhow, the title says it all. Well, everything except the deets about the Not Much Of Anything Enthralling. That’d be things I’ve done, or tried to do, or hope to do.

I read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero and it’s wonderful. Originally published in 1984 I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. Oddly enough I thought of each short succinct chapter as a blog post; the style of this book is prescient vis-à-vis today’s blogosphere. This book was part of my own unique 2021 reading challenge.

We’ve been enjoying Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs [thanks Katie] and Corn and Black Bean Salad [thanks Dorothy]. If there’s one good thing about the pandemic, it is that we’ve tried many new recipes and that’s fun in my worldview.

We’re on Season 20 of Midsomer Murders. Almost every night this spring we’ve sat down to watch one episode. They’re charming and light and often have an unexpected twist that’s plausible. Also, if we can’t travel to England, then we can look at it and listen to posh accents.

I skimmed through The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. It’s a deep academic book about trauma; there are many extensive case studies. While I found some of the chapters interesting, like the ones about how yoga and meditation help you release the negativity/emotional hurt in your body, the rest of the book was too deep for me.

I revised my About Ally Bean page and added a Blogging Hints page. I’m contemplating having an old-fashioned blogroll page again, but don’t know if there’s a need. I’d base it on the results of the Bean Personality Quiz that I shared in my previous post. Where do you stand on blog rolls? Yay or nay?

I’m hoping to go to the Le Creuset outlet store to look at, and maybe buy, new coffee mugs. I broke my favorite orange coffee mug this week and had a sadz. But then I decided I wanted to buy four new mugs that all match and are the same color. [Can you imagine?] There’s no better place than to see all the colors available than at the outlet store.

We’re hoping to to go to Summerfair at Coney Island, an outdoor art show. It’s this weekend and is an annual event that we missed last year because of… oh you know why. I like going to this particular art show because I enjoy walking around outside by the river; seeing, perhaps buying, some art; and indulging in some kettle corn freshly made in front of me.

LET SUMMER BEGIN!

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING LATELY? ANYTHING ENTHRALLING?

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Darn Straight Skippy: I Have Things To Do, Links To Share, & A Fact To Tell

PLEASE NOTE: No story or article this week because we’re on staycation mostly doing projects around the house and in the garden. Instead of writing my usual flapdoodle & twaddle I’ll share a few interesting links I’ve saved for no reason in particular. Enjoy!

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About your style… As you may know ‘cheugy’ is a slang term adopted by Gen Z as a put down for Millennials. From what I can tell cheugy has two different, but maybe overlapping, meanings: 1) anything that is out-of-date, not trendy; or 2) someone who is trying too hard. Go HERE to read more or HERE to see a diagram [scroll down] that lets you decide if your style is cheugy.

About your spectacles… Naturally the topic of eyeglasses is one of great interest to me. Remember the name of this blog, my little seraphim. Go HERE, watch a short TED talk about the history of spectacles and be informed.

About your pee… I’m at a loss as to how to introduce this link other than to say I never would have thought to use Pantone colors in this way, but that’s just me. Go HERE to see a color chart plus some information about staying hydrated [including drinking beer!] for good health.

About your personality… I give you a way to determine your bean personality because who the heck doesn’t want to know that? Go HERE, answer a few simple questions, and then through the magic of a delightfully accurate algorithm discover your true bean personality.

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FUN FACT: When I started blogging this is the kind of post I planned on writing, lists of links with a bit of commentary. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to read about my daily life and random musings. That stuff I saved for friends and family.

However eventually it dawned on me that I could write about more personal things here and people would appreciate it. Thus it came to be that The Spectacled Bean was born.

Comment Confidential: The Perks And Pitfalls Of Reaching Out To Newfound Bloggers

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I feel the need to confide.

One change brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic is that some bloggers, often longtime bloggers, have stopped posting. As a result many of my bloggy friends, ones who were here and I was there all the time, aren’t around anymore.

I miss them but understand why they’ve moved on and I realize that my blogging community is different, a bit emptier, without them in it.

Thus a couple of months ago, as I was sitting here at home still, I decided to be more extroverted and started reaching out to bloggers who were new to me. I felt that as a longtime blogger I could be proactive about creating bloggy friendships, especially with newfound bloggers.

These newfound bloggers came my way: 1) by leaving comments/likes on my blog; 2) when I saw them comment on blog posts elsewhere; and/or 3) when I saw they were part of the A-to-Z Challenge.

To be clear I only commented on blog posts that I found interesting, never as a way of ingratiating myself to someone hoping for reciprocity, never as a troll. I just said what I was thinking in the moment, like I always have, hoping that my first contact didn’t seem too weird or too nutz.

Then I waited to see how I would be received.

Below is a list of the perks and pitfalls that happened when I reached out to newfound bloggers. ‘Twas an enlightening experience. I’m glad I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone and do this, but now I’m back to being my more introverted [ambiverted?] self, happy to chat with friendly bloggers who show an interest in what I have to say here.

Thank you very much.

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ONE: Encouraging. Many bloggers seemed pleased that I jumped into their comment section, replying in a timely fashion that made me feel welcome.

TWO: Confusing. Some bloggers sent out mixed signals. Despite generic polite replies I couldn’t figure if I was butting into their circle of blog friends or if I was wanted and they were just surprised by my interest.

THREE: Different. A few bloggers have tightly structured comment sections reminiscent of the singsong Episcopalian worship service’s Collect of the Day. Everyone who left a comment got a pleasant reply [blessing? response?] but the conversations in the comment section never went any farther.

FOUR: Duly noted. A few bloggers ignored my comment, or marginalized it by only ‘liking’ my comment, so that I got the clear impression I was not wanted.

FIVE: Perplexing. Some bloggers have commenting systems that ate my comment not indicating if it was being held in moderation or was not accepted. Should I try again? Do they want comments? [Was WP screwing with me again?]

SIX: Questionable. A few bloggers don’t seem to reply to comments at all, even though they had many of them. Without clearly stating how they process comments it was impossible for me to know if some commenters get an email reply behind the scene and I wasn’t worthy of one or if everyone doesn’t receive a reply.

SEVEN: Uplifting. After leaving a comment for some newfound bloggers, they were curious to see who I was and came here to this blog, often immediately jumping into my comment section.

EIGHT: Sociable. Often when commenting on a newfound blog I came across bloggers who also comment here. As a way of introduction in my first comment to the newfound blogger I’d mention our mutual bloggy friend because interconnectedness is one of the best things about blogging, right?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you inclined to leave comments on newfound blogs that you come across in blog land?

How do you feel when you do that? Do you assume the blogger wants your comment or do you figure you might be an intruder? Or some point in-between?

What’s the best thing that can happen when you leave a comment on a blog post?

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