Applying A Business Framework To This Personal Blog To Tell A Tale

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Above is the Rudolph Framework. It’s from marketing guru + author Ann Handley’s newsletter called Total Annarchy. The framework is a lighthearted take on the Christmas song and children’s book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

While the Rudolph Framework is meant to help a business clarify its purpose, it’s applicable to personal blogs. It’s easy to conceptualize a personal blog as a business. As such the blog provides customers [that’d be you] with a product [my blog posts] that solve a problem for you.

I know that I’m getting abstract here, but I have a tale to tell and I feel the need to explain how I came by it, lest you think I’m nuts. Which I probably am, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Just go with it.

Thus using the Rudolph Framework I give you the following story created by moi by filling in the blanks, occasionally adjusting a few words so that it makes more sense. See what you think.

In fact, should you like to fly your freak flag, you could get jiggy and try applying the Rudolph Framework to your own blog, even. I’d love to see what you come up with. ‘Cuz, you know, I’m nosy curious.

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THE TALE OF THE SPECTACLED BEAN AND THE COMMUNITY IT HAS CREATED

Once upon a time, there was a delightful personal blog called The Spectacled Bean.

It had the capacity to be a catalyst for conversation based on the tales, thoughts, and tribulations of a free spirit in suburbia.

Some people doubted it because it was not all about the benjamins.

But one day, the woman who writes the blog realized she was perfectly happy doing what she was doing in the way she was doing it.

Which meant that the blog could be as varied and wonderfully idiosyncratic as the cool kids who read and comment on it.

To help them have sense of belonging online where they are understood and accepted, as long they’re polite and not spammers and not stealing my content.

And that matters because the cool kids are the heroes of this blog and what make The Spectacled Bean fun and engaging.

Thus in the process, this blog has helped coalesce a community of articulate + good-natured lurkers, readers, and cool kids who have the savvy to know a good thing when they read it.

Everyone gets a kiss. And a big ‘ole thank you.

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Exit, Pursued By A Dragon: My Video Directorial Debut, Take One

Keeping in mind that I’m stuck at home now because of a Winter Storm Warning [or maybe it’s a Level One Snow Emergency at this point], I give you the following…

Some days you slay the dragon, other days you befriend it.

I’m nothing if not good at entertaining myself with goofy little projects. Blame it on my curiosity and a creative spirit and a lonely only childhood that taught me to make my own fun. Thus as an adult, who just happens to write a personal blog, I’ve no shame when it comes to trying new things here– and making obscure references*.

This is especially true when there’s a potential source of flapdoodle and twaddle sitting in our family room while waiting to be discovered.

Hence I give you the following 18 second silent video of our Christmas Dragon** who never got packed away at the end of the season this year. Instead he’s been lounging on an outdoor swivel dining chair that is, for reasons too complicated to go into, currently residing in the corner of the family room.

Clearly the dragon looks good sitting on the chair: you might say he’s a natural. In fact, in a moment of pure genius complete kookiness I realized I could make my first [and only?] action video, thereby showcasing my directorial skills and testing the waters to see whether Christmas Dragon could be a regular*** on this blog.

In other words, tell me if you think he has star potential.

* The title of this post is alluding to William Shakespeare’s famous stage direction in The Winter’s Tale.

** I’m sad to say that our Christmas Dragon has no official stage name. Polite suggestions welcome, but he is not magical so don’t even go there.

*** Years ago I occasionally featured a star critter named Fuzzy the Squirrel [here and here and here] who, may he RIP, annoyed & entertained in equal measure.

In Which I Explain How I Created My Own Unique 2021 Reading Challenge

I’ve been meaning to write about how I arrived at my personalized 2021 reading challenge, but somehow got off track. I was probably reading a book…

For those of you who enjoy numbers: this is a 12″ high stack of 12 books with a total of 4,248 pages that I plan on reading in 2021. 🤓

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I barely read any books in 2020. My focus was too scattered, my anxiety was high, and I couldn’t stick with it.

I forgive myself for slip sliding away from reading for pleasure last year because I am still here in one piece, healthy, relatively sane– and with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to reading.

Allow me to explain.

As some of you know I’m a fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and get her newsletter. When I saw that she had created a questionnaire that I could use to make my own CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE reading challenge I downloaded the worksheets.

By answering her simple questions, I set my 2021 intention, evaluated my reading needs, and then made a list of twelve prompts that resonated with me based on the concepts of variety and escapism. As Modern Mrs. Darcy says: “Remember, your goal isn’t just to get through this challenge. This challenge is a tool to develop the reading life you want.”

Hallelujah!

But then after further contemplating the reading life I wanted, I had a brainstorm, one in which I devised a way to make this reading challenge more personal– and a bit less costly. Please keep in mind that just because I didn’t read much in 2020 doesn’t mean that I didn’t buy books in 2020.

Thus I found myself thinking back to a decade ago when I read a wonderful memoir, Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.

In this book Hill writes about her decision that for one year she would only re-read books already in the house. That is, she read what she had on hand, then mused upon what her life was like the first time she read the book. This practical approach to deciding what to read next made an impression on me.

Obviously, I guess.

Anyhow, to be clear, I won’t be re-reading anything this coming year, but I will be reading what is here in the house, pre-purchased in good faith you might say– and meant to be read by me, dammit.

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MY 2021 CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE READ-WHAT-YOU-HAVE-IN-THE-HOUSE-ALREADY READING CHALLENGE

a thriller

a memoir

a fantasy novel

a cozy mystery

a book of short stories

a recent NYT bestseller

a novel previously abandoned

a NYT bestseller from a while ago

a novel based on something literary

a non-fiction book set where I live now

a non-fiction book set somewhere I’ve never visited

a book I’d never heard of yet is on many required reading lists

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Do you do any reading challenges? Have you ever made your own? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Waiting For The Inauguration, I Snark + Laugh + Celebrate A Blogging Milestone

Tomorrow is THE DAY when 81,009,468 Americans finally will get to say: “Don’t let the door hit you on the butt as you leave, Donald. You’re fired.”

[Lock him up.]

I tell ‘ya, what a clusterfork these last four years have been*. I’m emotionally exhausted by the hate, intellectually tired of the stupidity, and morally outraged by the greed.

You probably are, too.

However, be that as it may, as we wait for better days ahead, here’s a smorgasbord of four images I’ve saved over the last few months, waiting for the perfect time to share them here.

Why today? Two reasons.

First this is something to do until the adults take over the government tomorrow. And secondly, yesterday was the ten year anniversary of this blog** and I wanted to quietly make note of it.

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I saw this sticker on a car, an old Impala sedan. A bit of fast research and now I know that it’s a way to say “Baby on Board.” I’m unclear if this is new or old urban slang, but it caught my eye on a car out here in suburbia.

Have you seen this sticker before?

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I’m seeing this saying all over the place, however I’ve no primary source for it which is a bummer because it is clever. I realize that attempting to overthrow the government is serious, but this sentiment amuses moi.

Thoughts, anyone?

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When I opened an old family cookbook out fell this newspaper clipping for a drink called a Trojan Horse. One of my ancestors, probably my father, must have saved this absinthe, anisette, and gin drink that is described as: “infiltrates slowly without your knowing it and then hits you all of a sudden about an hour later.”

None for me, thanks. And you?

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Moira Rose of Schitt’s Creek is one of my favorite TV characters. Thus I shall leave her immortal words here as a way of thanking the wonderful people who read this blog. You’re the best.

I’d be nowhere without my own wolf pack, now wouldn’t I?

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* Don’t blame me, I voted for the lady with the emails.

** First post is here.

In Which The Beans Disagree Over The Value Of Texts Announcing Emails

Not seeing eye to eye, but that’s okay.

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To be clear this is NOT a strong opinion tightly held situation.

It’s just that Zen-Den and I disagree over something.  Nothing large, a quiet disagreement.  In fact it might be best described as a puny opinion half-heartedly held situation, but one that does lend itself to consideration and conversation.

Never would I have thought to write about it here except that I’m reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and in her memoir she talks about that which we disagree on, i.e., the value of texts prompting you to do something now.

In fact if you’ve read what she has written about texting you know that she says: “Texts are not the boss of me, and neither is anybody who texts me.” She is not a fan of them, in general– allowing for a few specific situations in which they are good.

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Getting to our particular disagreement.

Zen-Den, Esq, finds it mildly annoying when someone texts [or worse yet phones] him to say that this someone has sent Z-D an email that they want him to read.  Z-D considers that to be a remnant of old-school business practices left over from when everyone used snail mail and wanted you to know that the document was in the mail.

It is totally unnecessary in today’s electronic world. He thinks of it as weak sauce [my term for his thoughts].

I, on the other hand, like it when someone sends me a short text [no phone calls please] to alert me to the fact that this someone has sent me an email they would like me to read soon.  I consider it a polite heads-up to Ms. Bean, a woman known for forgetting to check her email accounts regularly.

It is not necessary but a good precaution if you want me to read your email on a timely basis.  I call it an act of random kindness.

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So what do you think, my gentle readers?  

Do you like to know when someone has sent you an email? OR do you prefer to find them when you find them?

When receiving a text message about an email that’s been sent to you, does the context, business or personal, influence your answer to the first question?   

Also, do you consider text messages to be bossy? OR do you consider them to be like a polite wave from a neighbor across the street?

Please discuss in the comments below.

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