Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Blog Like No One Is Reading

February 23, 2015

Blogs can serve many functions besides just selling products. Mine never sold any products, anyway, so I need to find another reason to justify wasting my time on one. At first blogging seemed like it might be a temporary thing. Something we all did, like citizen’s band radio, then moved on to the next trend, but now that some of my blogs are nearly ten years old, and the platforms they exist on seem stable and semi-permanent, I’ve really started using blogs in different ways.

The first way I use my blog is as an external memory source. Like an external hard drive. I make notes to myself about movies I enjoyed watching, events I want to remember in the future, ideas I want to explore further etc. In the past I wouldn’t have done this because I didn’t trust any of these platforms to be there in the future. When My Space blogs went belly up it really crushed me because I had been unwise enough to use it as my primary blog. I had no other online presence. But it taught me a valuable lesson. Aside from using a blog as an “internet presence,” I had to make a place primarily designed for me. Like a study or a den or, and I hate this word, mancave. If not one other person ever entered my study I’d be fine with that, because it’s a room built for me.

Now, that might be a terrible way to look at a blog if you’re trying to sell something, or reach a mass audience, which I am, but it’s no longer my primary goal.

Another thing I use blogs for is to create a space where I create a fanpage for one particular movie or pet issue I know I care way more about than anyone else on the planet. An example is the blog I curate about the movie Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, or even more frighteningly, about a single character in the movie The Monster Club, Raven Shadmock. I don’t want to waste everyone’s time trying to convince them they should read these blogs, but I know there are a few hardcore fans who do. For instance, I was on Ebay recently tracking down a piece of marketing memorabilia for the movie The Monster Club, and the seller had actually read my blog about the very item he was selling. Unfortunately, I was outbid on the item, which kind of stunk because it was signed by Vincent Price, but the search goes on.

Point? Oh, you can use your blog for a lot of different purposes these days. One doesn’t always have to be doing the hard sell. I think most of us by now run our own business, and with that business comes new responsibilities and stresses we couldn’t imagine when we went to school for something else. Promotion and sales might be the worst. It’s good to have some sort of diversion from all these tasks. Really, there’s no wrong way to use your blog, as long as you make it your own.


Mr. Snoodle Doodle Doo To You

February 17, 2013

It’s hard to take anything seriously while watching two kids run around the kitchen table singing Mr. Snoodle Doodle Doo, not that I had much of anything serious to say this evening, anyway. I’m just in a habit lately of making an attempt to write something every day. This isn’t the type of Saturday night I remember from my recent past. Thankfully. After the pizza and Play-Do I’m contemplating nothing stronger or more decadent than a cup of tea with honey. 

Who is this guy?


Ponies. Ponies.

Yes, it is true I may be on the dizzying precipice of a mild form of temporary madness, induced by sugar, white flour, and having small, energetic creatures whir around me in a frenzy, but I’ll take that over nights a decade ago where I wouldn’t even know where I was by this time on Saturday night. 

The only villain this night is Dr. Strangeglove. And with that I have some tea to brew.

I Should Have Stopped Writing Long Ago… But I Didn’t

February 15, 2013

I never really wanted to do anything but write. We took a vocational assessment test in 10th grade and everyone got back a book length printout about the careers they had chosen, where they should go to school, and how much money they would make, where they would live, and how many children they would have. My guess is those assessments were probably spot on, but I got back a single pag. One page. Because of the hundreds of ovals I had to choose from, I filled in only two: writer and baseball manager. I never really believed I would be chosen to manage the Chicago Cubs so there wasn’t much left to do except write.

One of my teachers called my parents in. She was concerned. She informed them I was serious about this writing thing and that was a problem.

And she was right.

It has been a great source of consternation to me all these years. In retrospect I probably had a better chance of being the manager of the Cubs than a good writer. Writing is harder. And doing it well is one of the most rare and elusive abilities in this world.

After twenty five years working in the service industry and delivering appliances, doing security, and cleaning buildings to support my unfortunate poetry habit, I have no further delusions my writing will ever amount to anything. I do it now for the same reason I did it then: I love it.

My parents never made any serious effort to talk me out of writing. Or enlisting in the Marines. It was my life and I was the one in charge of it. Hopefully there’s still a lot of time for me to write the best words that I’m capable of, but if they never come I don’t feel cheated by the process.

Rockford Gray

February 10, 2013

Crayola should create a new color: Rockford gray. It doesn’t get much grayer than Rockford, Illinois anywhere. Maybe one of the remote moons of Jupiter. On days like this in the middle of winter where it’s nothing but slush and sledge and stuff that looks like the ooze that might come out of a Vasoline jar, you have to make your own reason to get by. The kids are upstairs with the noses to to whatever screen they can find all day. I already botched up one of my blogs by trying to manually enter code today so now the rest of the day promises little more than just retracing my steps and trying to fix whatever I’ve broken.


Crayola should create a new color called Rockford Gray

This is what it would look like out the window of my apartment today. If I were there. I’m here at the house waiting for the coffee to steep then cool off. I’d like to go buy a bunch of junk food and just wallow in lassitude for the rest of the day but I have an equally strong impulse to step it up, do laundry, clean, and plod forward with whatever level of creativity I’m capable of in my diminished mood. Every succeeding winter here become more and more difficult to bear. 

Well, I think I’ll go do the dishes and have a cup of that coffee. 

Consider Your Blog a Television Network

February 9, 2013

Mercifully for the reader I forget most of what strikes me as interesting enough to write about. For instance, I just wrote a blog about Sgt. Nick Yemana on Barney Miller. I leave the big game of how to solve the world’s problems and win at fantasy football to others. I used to hop out of bed at three a.m. and write down whatever inspiration I thought was going to change the world. 

Now if what I have to say isn’t more important than stopping two children from going full Omen and crashing out a second story window I let it pass. So, when i finally do sit down at a keyboard and no one is threatening to go thermonuclear I have to quickly get down whatever is top of mind. Sometime’s it’s Barney Miller. 

I have thought of being more organized as a bloggist and having an actual production schedule. Monday is poetry, Tuesday is sports, Wednesday is The Hall of Bad Dudes etc., but let’s face it, I haven’t combed my hair in a week. I think it’s useful to see your different ideas as “shows” on a network. Regular episodes will help the reader find and build a relationship with your shows.

Hypothetically it would be that way. In reality I’m happy just to slapdash any old thing together. Recently I’ve created some new blogs that need to be populated with fresh and interesting ideas on a regular basis. And I want to start a fantasy football blog for 2013. It will be a lot of work. But lately I’ve actually been enjoying writing. Hopefully I keep enjoying it and no one crashes out a window while I’m absorbed in these deep thoughts.

Caffeine, Chocolate, and Creativity

February 8, 2013

Sometimes it takes a little extra source of oompha to get through an afternoon when you’re listening to the same episode of Kick Buttowski played way-too-loud for the 358th time this week. Lately I’m having a lot of fun and deriving some satisfaction from three sources: caffeine, chocolate, and creativity. I just destroyed an entire roll of Rollo’s I had picked up at the market for the kids but when I got home they were already eating Cocoa Puffs and chasing it with ice cream, so I decided it might be best for the sanity of all involved if I just kept them to myself. 

I also have a twelve pack of Tab Cola. For ten years now cashiers at every store I shop at have been saying the same thing to me when they ring up my fridge pack of Tab Cola: “I didn’t know they still made this,” which isn’t surprising, but what they’re really saying is “I don’t know what we sell in this store.” 

So, two brownies, a roll of Rollos and six Tab Colas in I start thinking about the creativity part of my day, and something flashes into my caffeine-fueled brain… Chet Retorted. My grandmother subscribed me the Hardy Boys book of the month club and I must have read a couple hundred of those books, and in every one was the rejoinder “Chet retorted.” So, I checked to see if the blog and the domain name was available, created them, and started Chet Then I just chose random blog setting, selected an incredibly distracting tile background, and my creativity pre-requisite for the day has been achieved. 


Now back to caffeine and chocolate. 

The Endless Mysteries of Blogging

February 8, 2013

I have more than one blog. On more than one platform. Technorati’s latest state of the blogosphere tells me there’s nothing unusual about this. I have more than one blog because I have several unusual and disparate interests. I like zombie movies and fantasy football and poetry and webcomics and… well, a lot of things. In fact this blog had been all but scuttled until a week or so ago when I decided I wanted to just write. MY other blogs had become restrictive in that the audience expects a certain thing. I’m sure most bloggers resent the perception some people have that what we do is share pictures of our cats and tell people what we ate for lunch. My impression of blogland is that if you did that, and didn’t do it with some sort of interesting twist, you wouldn’t have many readers.

Because I name this blog The Dirty Tricks Squad I was leaving open the possibility that I might use it to express some of my darker, more cathartic thoughts. But now that I’ve been writing a few days I’m not sure that’s what I want to do. I’d just like to write about things that are top of mind in my thoughts, life, or in the world around me.

I see people have started tuning in over the past five days and I’m not savvy enough to know where they are coming from or why they are here, but I hope you’ll be comfortable with me trying to write about an array of topics. 

At my most popular blog I know if write about fantasy football, or any sports related issue, people will show up in droves, which has led me to dislike writing about sports in any way. It’s just my nature to be resistant to giving people what they want too easily. You can get that anywhere. 

Last night I woke up at 2 a.m. to get out of bed and write down some lines that struck me as funny. I haven’t done that in years, but this morning they didn’t strike me as funny as they did last night. But that’s alright because for the first time in years I’m enjoying writing. No pressure. No obsession with how many people are tuning in. Writing should first and foremost be a passion. If it’s not, and someone isn’t paying you a lot of money to do it, I think it’s far too demanding and sometimes painful an experience to endure. I’m enjoying it again for now and I hope I’ll be able to say something interesting here.