About Blogging: 5 People Whose Unsolicited Advice Shaped Me + A Blogroll Opportunity

A RATTLING GREAT INTRODUCTION

Not long ago someone [a spammer but whatevs] told me that I write a “rattling great” weblog. No one has ever used the word *rattling* to describe what I do here.

I had to look up the word to make certain I knew what it meant in this context. It’s an adjective used for emphasis when denoting something very good of its kind. 

I’m flattered, regardless of the source, because I’ll take encouragement wherever I find it.

Which leads me to writing about the five people, none of whom blog anymore, who guided me to be the blogger I am today. Without their help, which was pretty much unsolicited advice, I never would have stuck around as long as I have.

Many, many thanks to each.

THE 5 PEOPLE & THEIR UNSOLICITED ADVICE

DAISY (2004) – was a graphic designer who sent me, out of the blue, an email in which she told me point blank that I needed to write a personal blog.

I’d commented on her personal blog and she wanted me to know that I should write my own blog because I had what it’d take. That is, I was articulate and informed with a snarky vibe. I was fascinated by this new thing called blogging so I did as she suggested.

COLLEEN (2005) – was a librarian who took it upon herself to help me. Via email she’d politely point out grammatical errors and spelling mistakes I’d made. She also introduced me to the idea of adding links + images to posts.

While today her determination to correct + teach me might be perceived as trollish, at the time I took it as a generous gesture on her part to help me write clearly, learn html, and make my blog pretty.

TARA (2007) – was a marketing professional who thought personal blogging was great, a wonderful creative adjunct to basic marketing channels.

She read something I wrote then encouraged me to approach each blog post as if I was writing a letter to a few close friends.  Pick your friends, she said. Then write only to them allowing your sincerity and joie de vivre to draw readers to your blog.

CHRIS (2011) – was a lawyer who briefly wrote a family blog that had some of the most succinct entertaining posts of any blog ever.

His advice, that I took to heart, was to make the best use of a few words, often obscure words even. He never dummied down down his posts, nor did he meander aimlessly. He had a point and he got to it with panache.

KAREN (2013) – was a teacher who one day just up and told me that my best blog posts were the ones with the wackiest titles.

I’d never considered my titles, but she was prescient about this, realizing that by letting my freak flag fly in the titles I’d draw in curious readers who’d stick around to see what nonsense I was on about that day. And many days thereafter.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you know the meaning of *rattling* without looking it up? Is that word part of your daily lexicon?!!  

If you write a personal blog what’s the best blogging advice you’ve received? Was it solicited OR unsolicited?

In general what’s your opinion of unsolicited advice? Are you open to it OR snarly about it?

A BLOGROLL OPPORTUNITY

Last year in January I crowdsourced my Delightful Blogroll. It’s unique in that it’s a compilation of blogs based on the age of the weblog. I’m going to revise the blogroll this next month.

If you’re not currently on it and would like to be included let me know in the comments below by January 31st.  No act of kindness goes unpunished. Case in point, offer closed early due to excessive spam. Thanks for nothing, dipshits. Terms & conditions are were as follows:

  1. your blog must be at least one year old so tell me the year you started it & its complete name;
  2. your blog must be primarily a personal one;
  3. your blog cannot be rude, vulgar, vindictive, or hateful as determined by me; and
  4. you must demonstrate to my satisfaction that you engage with other bloggers via comment sections. 
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The Tale Of Diligent Dave & The Wily Fiber Optic Cable

We were told that the switch from coaxial cable to fiber optic cable would happen on Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Here’s what actually happened.

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This is my DIY standing desk arrangement. It’s a wonderful use for the 1966 50th Anniversary Edition of the World Book Encyclopedia.

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The following will please the optimists, inform the curious, disappoint the naysayers, and entertain the pre-amused…

At 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday we got a knock on the front door from a man who told us he was going to be digging a trench through the yard where the new cable would be buried. He did so without any fuss.

At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, only a half hour late, a man who I shall call Diligent Dave but Z-D refers to as That Kid, pulled into our driveway to start things rolling. Diligent Dave sat inside his truck for a while goofing around on a computer, wandered around our front yard a few times, then backed out of our driveway and drove up  & down our street many times.

At 9:30 a.m. Diligent Dave came to the front door and told us:

  1. there was something wrong, his computer indicated that the connection to the above ground fiber optic utility box on the street didn’t exist even though lines had been installed on this street earlier in the fall;
  2. he had called the department that installed the lines to have someone come out to find out what was wrong; and
  3. he could come inside the house and start running the cable line from the basement up to the home office while we waited to see IF the connection outside on the street really did exist.

At 11:00 a.m. a man, let’s call him Happy Henry, from the outside installation department came to the front door to talk with Diligent Dave. They chatted about what wasn’t happening.

At 11:30 a.m. two trucks, each driven by one man, arrived. After conferring with Happy Henry those two men pulled out a table and some tools. They went into the neighbor’s yard where they set up the table and started messing around with the above ground fiber optic utility box, hoping to find our house’s particular cable connection inside it.

At 12:15 p.m. a miracle occurred and voilà the “missing” outside fiber optic cable connection was found, meaning that all we needed now was for Diligent Dave to finish his job.

At 1:15 p.m. Diligent Dave succeeded in getting the cable line across the ceiling in the basement, up through the wall and into the home office… behind my desk.

At 1:20 p.m. Z-D and Diligent Dave carefully moved my desk with all the stuff on it [my desktop computer, Keyzia, included] away from the wall so that Diligent Dave could fiddle around near the baseboard and attach a small magical box to the wall.

At 1:30 p.m. our fiber optic cable connection happened.  Then under Diligent Dave’s watchful eye we started testing all our electronic gadgets [computers, phones, iPad, TVs] to confirm that the wifi, now connected to the fiber optic cable, was indeed working as advertised. It was.

At 1:45 p.m. after Z-D and Diligent Dave moved my desk back into place,  Diligent Dave left and there was joy in the land.

But, of course, there is more to the story, the After Party so to speak…

Once Diligent Dave left the house Zen-Den and I ducked out of the house to go to the grocery.  At 2:30 p.m. whilst in the midst of shopping in the grocery we received a phone call from a slightly frantic Diligent Dave who had left his tool bag in our basement and REALLY needed it to be able to do his next appointment at 3:00 p.m.

Thus we quickly bought our food, rushed home [a 10 minute drive] so we could retrieve Diligent Dave’s tool bag in our basement and hand it to him.  He was pleased, expressing thanks, telling us that his next job was only 8 minutes away so he’d be there to start it on time.

Unlike our job where he showed up a half hour late BUT who doesn’t like a touch of innocent irony to go along with their new scary fast fiber optic cable?

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Questions of the daY

Regardless of the type of computer you use, do you have a sitting or standing desk? Or do you prefer to sit at a table? Or to plop your computer onto your lap?

Do you know how you get your internet connection in your home? Do you like it?

Considering that Zen-Den continues to refer to Diligent Dave as That Kid, do you believe, like I do, that Z-D the recently semi-retired is well on his way to becoming an old codger?

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Unexpected Good News Regarding Our Bathroom Remodeling Projects

➡️ If you read The Spectacled Bean because you like to see me get snarky, thank you but this post isn’t going to be one of those posts.

Instead today I’m going to share a slice-of-life story that has a positive spin to it.  One that’s left me feeling all warm and happy inside about, of all things, a home improvement company.

They’re not all scoundrels.

Also I’m going to talk briefly about money which I know is tacky but in this case, under these circumstances, I’m going to ignore that [outdated?] rule of decorum.

➡️ Here’s what happened.

You may remember that we had our bathrooms remodeled earlier this year.  We started planning the project last fall, but because of supply chain difficulties the actual destruction of the old bathrooms/installation of the new bathrooms began in May.

In the interim between fall 2021 and May 2022 we made MANY decisions about things that go into a bathroom.  Some decisions held firm, but others had to be re-decided along the way, sometime multiple times, because what we wanted was no longer available– or would be available at an unspecified time in the future.

To keep the project moving forward we changed our minds MANY times because honestly we/I couldn’t be bothered to worry about slight changes in bathroom decor.

[One transitional-style toilet paper holder in brushed nickel is about the same as another one, right?]

I also couldn’t be bothered to keep strict account of the addendums that reflected the MANY changes we made along the way.

I. just. couldn’t.

➡️ In August 2022 the projects were finished, we were pleased with our new bathrooms, and we made our final payment to the home improvement company, thinking no more about it.  HOWEVER, come to find out courtesy of their accounting department, we overpaid by $281.00.

Now this company could easily have never told us this and we’d never have figured it out, BUT they did tell us and sent along a check to reimburse us.

Below is the what was written on the post-it note affixed to the check.  It’s an indication of why we’ve used this particular remodeling company for MANY projects.

And so with that I’ll end this upbeat post about goodwill + honesty.  You gotta support the good ones.

Any good news, unexpected or expected, you’d like to share, my wordy cherubim? 😇

Please tell all in the comment section below.

Gadzooks! The Spectacled Bean Is 11 Years Old Today

[Image source found here]

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THE SPECTACLED BEAN, this weblog you’re reading right now, is a Capricorn born on this day in 2011.  The inaugural post is here.

While this isn’t my first weblog, this one has been the most fun and emotionally rewarding.  Below are 11 points explaining why this is so.

My purpose has been to inform or entertain, rather than to persuade.  Free spirit I am, Influencer I am not.

I follow a simple process for deciding what to write about.  The simple process, which is far from profound and academic, is to answer three questions.

The three questions are: 1) Does this matter? 2) Where is the story? 3) Why didn’t I know this?

It took me longer to write the previous point than it takes to answer the questions.

I also attribute my blogging longevity to the myriad of fabulous bloggers I’ve met along the way.

I am grateful.

You, my bloggy friends, keep me thinking new thoughts and questioning my assumptions and laughing at the absurdity of life.

This is good.

You also encourage me to write more openly + creatively and to comment more freely, which for an introvert is saying something.

Thus I try to spread the comment love whenever I have the time because leaving a comment on a blog post is a random act of kindness in a mean world.

And I am kind, dagnabbit.  Read my about page here.

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IF YOU LET ME KNOW HOW OLD YOUR BLOG IS, IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS I’LL PUT TOGETHER A BLOGROLL. I’LL START WITH THE OLDEST AND END WITH THE YOUNGEST. COULD BE FUN, YES?

[Blog must be one year old or older to qualify. Personal blogs only. Limited time offer. Offer has no cash value. Cannot be used with any other offers, promotions, or discounts. Some restrictions may apply.]   

My 1,000th Post: With Grit, Grins, & Gratitude

Image of Snoopy, originally drawn by Charles Schultz, courtesy of pngimg.com. Click HERE for a wonderful biography about Snoopy.

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It was a dark and stormy night. 

Literally.

I was sitting in our home office in front of my desktop computer, writing a blog post when there was a dramatic crack of thunder and a flash of lightning outside.

It startled me.

I jumped about 17 gazillion feet into the air and in the process my hand on the mouse moved erratically in such a way as to inadvertently hit DELETE, meaning that faster than you can say “waiter, waiter, percolator” I lost my blog post.

Then the electricity went out in the house.

For hours.

Because of course it did.

• • •

This morning the electricity is back on, but I’ve lost my train of thought about how I was going to say what I wanted to say.

So instead of my nonexistent elegant heartfelt essay about how much blogging has meant to me, showing me a kinder way to live my life, allowing me a glimpse into the lives of other people, I’ll be straightforward and say the following with gratitude.

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THIS IS MY 1,000TH POST ON THIS BLOG.

THANKS TO ALL THE COOL KIDS WHO READ, COMMENT, AND LIKE MY POSTS. I’D NEVER HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR WITHOUT YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT.

YOU’RE THE BEST AND I LOVE YOU ALL.

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[Here is my first blog post, Hello World! I wrote it 10 years + 10 months to this very day. It makes reference to a guiding principle that I believed then and still do. Case in point, how this post came to be.]