Planning Ahead

… following Belle of the Carnival’s lead, I’m writing and posting my blogging obituary.  Read more about this exercise in “what-if-ness” here

My Pretend Obituary As A Real Blogger

Ally Bean, guiding light of the blogosphere and quiet voice of sanity in the real world, has passed away peacefully at her home while reading blogs in her Google Reader.

Ms. Bean first came to the world of blogging in 2004 when she decided to keep a personal blog of her own.  Said blog was filled with much flapdoodle and twaddle.  This was a tradition she continued in all her subsequent blogs– taking care to not take herself too seriously.

In the real world Ms. Bean was a tireless advocate of all things bloggy.  In her early days of blogging, she spent lots of time explaining yet again to the uninformed masses what a blog was– and where it was– and why everyone should read hers.  Which is to say that Ms. Bean talked to concrete walls quite frequently back then.

Later as blogging became more mainstream, Ms. Bean helped many people start their first blogs.  She was always willing to talk of cabbages and kings of html and links.  She was more than happy to explain the details of her experiences in various blogging platforms as well as to commiserate about the suckiness of comment trolls and content thieves.

In later life when asked about her contributions to the blogosphere Ms. Bean demurely suggested that as a warm, down-to-earth, quirky blogger she had reached tens of tens who considered her posts to be amusing, insightful & informative.  She wryly noted that she did not reach a single, solitary person who had any interest in paying her for her work.

In lieu of flowers Ms. Bean asked that comments be placed on her blog, The Spectacled Bean.  She also suggested that everyone who keeps a blog and reads this post should do this same thing i.e. write your own blogging obituary.  And then link back to me [no, wait… I meant to say] this post [wait…] obituary.  That’s it: link back to this pretend obituary.  Please.

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After I posted the above, Mike, who is Notoriously Nice, tweeted me the link to Tombstone Generator.  Here’s what I made for my pretend blogging grave.  😉

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An Explanation Regarding The “Absurdities Of My Week” Post That Is No Longer Here– Absurdly

I went on a blogging binge this past week.  On Monday I decided that throughout the week I’d comment more on other people’s blogs… that I’d write and publish more posts on my blog…  that I’d tweet more on twitter… that I’d be a SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTERFLY.

I started out strong– connecting, linking, making myself visible to the world, but by Friday afternoon my blogging mojo was waning.  Still I pressed on thinking that I’d write just one more post about some of the absurdity in my week.

*bad idea*

And that’s when the absurdity of all absurdities happened.  For reasons I cannot explain, but suspect that I caused (somehow), WordPress published my post before I’d finished writing it.  Then WP, for reasons unbeknownst to me, would not let me edit/finish writing my post.

So I deleted my post, thinking that I had a back-up copy in my files.  But I didn’t have a copy… and it was late Friday afternoon… so I GAVE UP on writing anything and wandered away from the blogosphere.

*sigh*

Little did I know that my half-finished, now deleted, post was winging its way to all of you who receive this blog via email.  And that part of the post was showing up on RSS feeds everywhere.

And that many of my gentle readers (new and old) would become concerned that something was wrong with my blog and would take it upon themselves to contact me to tell me that there was something wrong with my blog.  That a post was missing.  And to make it come back because THEY WANTED TO READ IT.  Right now.

*oh dear*

Having said all the foregoing (in a rather wordy fashion), here is what I’ve concluded:

  • I was successful in generating some interest in this blog… and then managed to make a mess of things while everyone was looking. NATCH.
  • I have a new rule: NO BLOGGING ON FRIDAY AFTERNOONS.
  • I have the best readers in the world who care about what’s up with me… and this blog. THANK YOU.

The “Randomness” Meme

Cheri of Naples Girl Blog tagged me with this randomness meme.  Fun, huh?  But me being me, I will play along… to a point.  I tend to make up my own rules when it comes to memes.  So here we go, okay?

The REVISED Rules:

  • First, post these rules on your blog.
  • Second, post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Third, answer the questions posed to you by the blogger of the blog where you first read this meme.
  • Last, create 11 new questions for any blogger who chooses to do this meme next.
  • No need to tag anyone on your blog or on twitter.  Those bloggers who want to do this meme should do it [linking back to original source, of course]… and those bloggers who don’t want to do this meme should not do it [forgetting that they ever knew it existed].

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. My eyes appear to be blue, but in actuality I have a little bit of green around each iris.
  2. I don’t like popcorn very much.
  3. I played the violin from the time I was in second grade until I graduated from high school.  I couldn’t wait to get to college and give it up.
  4. I’m fond of tulips.
  5. I went online for the first time from my home in January of 1997.  It changed my life for the better in ways that I never could have imagined.
  6. I’m allergic to mold spores.
  7. I recently gave away my grandparents’ dining room table.  It was in great shape, but we had tired of it.  I thought about selling it, but decided that giving it to a couple who needed a table right now was more in keeping with my values.
  8. I have narrow feet.
  9. My favorite Bible verse is: “Be strong and let your heart take courage.” Psalm 31:24.
  10. I have lots of old photos that I’d like to put into this blog, but we have the world’s most ridiculous printer that only allows me to scan when it is in the mood.  Which isn’t very often.  There is no fussier machine in the world.
  11. I think that Glee is delightful.

11 QUESTIONS FROM CHERI

  1. What is your fave book?  Winnie The Pooh.
  2. Are you a healthy eater?  Some days, yes.
  3. Do you believe in prayer?  Yes.
  4. Do you own any pets?  No.  We had two cats, but they died… and we never got around to getting any more pets after that.
  5. Who does the cooking in your house?  We both do.
  6. Are you working in the field of study that was your major in college?  Yes.
  7. When is the last time you laughed so hard your stomach hurt?  Watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory… Sheldon can make me laugh like no other character on TV.
  8. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?  You know, I don’t really know for sure.  Somewhere with more sunshine than around here, but not too muggy and buggy.
  9. Which is your fave season?  Autumn.
  10. Who is your fave artist?  Vincent Van Gogh.
  11. Do you consider yourself crafty?  No.  Both in the ability to make cute things with my hands definition of the word– and in the sneaky, conniving sort of person definition of the word!

11 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER FOR THOSE BLOGGERS WHO CHOOSE TO PLAY ALONG 

  1. What color are your eyes?
  2. Do you like popcorn?
  3. What instrument, if any, did you play while in K thru 12?
  4. Do you have a favorite flower?
  5. When did you first go online in your home [that is, not at work or school]?
  6. What, if anything, are you allergic to?
  7. What do you value?
  8. Do you find it difficult to find shoes that fit your feet?
  9. What’s your favorite Bible verse?
  10. Which machine in your home is the fussiest?
  11. What TV show do you find delightful?

Pieces Of Winter

~  We awakened to snow this morning.  Just a dusting.  Falling softly, no malicious intent.  Unlike last year when we had 30″ of snow by February, today’s snowfall brings our yearly total to just under three inches.  I can live happily– angst-free during a winter like the one we’re having this year.  Hallelujah!

~  I read Leo Babauta’s book, The Power of LESS, while on vacation.  It’s a fast read that I recommend to anyone who is trying to figure out how to live a simpler, more meaningful life.  After reading the book I made a few notes and began contemplating my life.  Consequently, this week I’ve decided what I value, what I love, what my goals are.  I can live happily– focused on what means the most to me.  Yes!

~  We finished the puzzle.  Even though it had 1000 pieces it went together quickly.  With that many pieces I thought that we’d be fussing with it until March.  But it turned out to be easy-peasy mac & cheesy.  I can live happily– satisfied with something going better than planned.  Yeah!

~  I sent away for some business cards for this blog!  I’ve always wanted to share my blog with people in real life– not depending on them to scribble down this blog’s name & address on a scrap of paper.  This will allow me to easily and smoothly introduce people to The Spectacled Bean.  I can live happily– contented with the knowledge that I’m doing my best to promote this sweet little bloggy.  Ever onward!

When A Blogger Goes MIA

Am I:

a.  walking on a beach?

b.  lounging at a resort?

c.  seeing attractions galore?

d.  snapping photos of stuff and things?

e.  getting lost frequently, but not really caring?

f.  eating delicious meals prepared by trained professionals?

g.  wondering why I don’t paint my toenails bright fuchsia more often?

h.  contemplating why we don’t live like this every day?

i.  remembering that we’re not made of money?

j.  realizing that I need to write a blog post?

k.  doing absolutely none of the above?

l.  doing some of the above?

m.  doing all the above?

My 5 Suggestions For Writing Better Blog Posts

Even though I’ve blogged off and on since 2004 [read more here], I’m not sure that I’ve ever written about how to write a blog post. When I first stumbled upon blogging years ago nothing like this list existed.  Back then blogging was all trial & error, but eventually I figured out how to write a post that was understandable & interesting.  Now, of course, advice on how to blog is EVERYWHERE.  Which got me thinking that maybe what I’ve learned might be of value to someone.  So, without further ado, I give you…

My 5 Suggestions For Writing Better Blog Posts

[from www.thespectacledbean.com]

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1.  Have a thesis statement for your blog.

this is vital.  you need it to help keep you grounded as you write each post.  without it, you’ll flounder and your blog will go nowhere.

2.  Be specific.

details, baby!  tell us exactly what interests you and why.  show us how you did something.  explain your point of view.  i’m not talking about being wordy, here.  i’m talking about presenting your life in a clearly defined way that tells us about you.

3.  Write each post with one or two people in mind. 

pretend like you are writing– or talking– to one or two people who you know care about what you have to say.  tell them your story, and don’t worry about what anyone else will think of it.  you can’t please everyone, so you might as well focus on the few people who will appreciate what you have to say.

4.  Give your readers something to say “YES” to.

can’t emphasize this concept enough.  readers engage with you because you are sharing ideas & experiences that ring true with them.  they want to talk about things, and it is so much easier to comment when there is a way to say “yes.”

5.  Make it stylish.

each individual post must look inviting and polished on its own.  you need to become familiar with all those little buttons in your text editor that allow you to do jazzy things like bold, italic, font sizes, font styles, font colors, text placement, image sizing.  effective communication is much more than a string of words on a page.

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