Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Are Words For?

The first two people who can either identify the song or the group, without using the Internet, that this blog title is connected to, will have a very nice blog post written about them.

With that being said, what are words for? Kind of a philosophical question but really, what are words for? When you string a bunch of them together, you form sentences and paragraphs, which in turn conveys an intelligent message (hopefully) to the people who may peruse them during a moment of free time. But really, what kind of message are you trying to convey with these words that you have chosen to string together to make sentences and paragraphs?

If you're like me, you're trying to create an interesting story that will resonate with someone, preferably an editor, and make them say, "Hey! That's a purty durn gud story!"

With that in mind, let's take a short look at the various stories that I've created in the past year to see what, if anything, is going on with them.

1} Short Story #1! One of the short stories that I wrote about a year and a half ago, which was originally called "A Day At The Office" and originally posted on my closed story blog, is currently being submitted to a couple of e-zines. However, I did tweak and tighten the story a little before I decided to submit it. It's worth noting that I did make sure that the e-zines I'd submitted had ambiguous guidelines as it specifically applied to previously published short stories, so hopefully if it does get rejected, it will be rejected on it's own merits and not because it was previously published on my blog.

2} Short Story #2! Another short story that I wrote almost two years ago, which was originally featured as a serial on my short story blog, is also making the rounds. Originally titled "The Right Thing", it was also submitted to a couple of e-zines with ambiguous guidelines, after it was re-written and tightened to bring it under 5K words.

3} Short Story #3 & #4 & #5! These are three short stories that I'm debating on submitting, simply because they were also previously posted on my blog. #3 was originally written between one and two years ago and was originally featured as a fractured serial on my closed short story blog. I did some extensive re-writing and successfully joined all the parts together and gave it the title of "Singularly Married". #4 was the story that I posted last month on Partially Yours called "Patience Is A Sin". I liked the re-written version so much that I'm willing to wait about six or several months before making the rounds with it. #5 is the original story that was the opening salvo of my current writing project, which is simply titled "The Backpack". I think that it has enough oomph for it to be a very nice stand alone story somewhere.

The one common theme that all of these stories (save #5) have is that they were originally published here. Hopefully that won't be a deterrent in the long run, especially since I decided to tweak and tighten the content of those stories.

4} Line 21! Not much going on with this one. I'm still waiting for a final response from a submission back in July and the subsequent follow-up e-mail back in October from one particular publisher, and I'd just sent off a query to an agent (which you'll find the particulars on the Line 21 page) that was featured in the blog Novel Spaces about a couple of weeks ago. I do have one question connected with this update: is six months the normal wait time for a response from a publisher?

5} Blackness In The White Sand! I'm making slow and steady progress with this novella, especially since I decide a couple of weeks ago to make an effort to schedule blocks of writing time for myself. Internet withdrawal has been difficult at times, but I am getting better at dealing with no online surfing. I just completed chapter five and started on chapter six over the weekend, with probably one more chapter to write before I consider this particular story to be done. Still haven't decided on whether I should have a definite ending to it, or something a little more ambiguous. The reason as to why I'm undecided is that I have another story called "A Troubled Conscience" already written and so far I've been unable to find a home for it, so I was thinking about using that in this particular novella, sort of like a part two to a planned trilogy of sorts.

6} The Unknown Story! Well, not really unknown, as the story has already been published, but I got to designing a nifty little bookmark for it last week. Hopefully I'll have something to show everyone in the coming weeks, but just the same, that particular story is still available for purchase from me, for the low price of $7, and I'll pick up not only the sales tax, but the S&H as well.

And that's all the writing news that this moderate Republican sees fit to commit to computer screen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Baby By Any Other Name Is Still Your Baby

note: Blogger is being notoriously difficult in directly uploading anything longer than two minutes. Overall, it took me about an hour to upload this to YouTube, and yes, Google also "improved" YouTube just like they "improved" Blogger, which is why it took me about an hour to upload.




This video is the end result of having to make an appearance at a family function and trying to keep occupied while keeping the mind out of the gutter at the same time. This is my brother's dog Baby, and this video was shot at my brother's house in Thomaston, Connecticut on Thanksgiving afternoon. And no, no football was watched because all the t.v.'s were occupied by little children's and very old adults.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I's A Little Bit Country Americana

I have from time to time, expounded on my various and eclectic tastes in music. My tastes have run the gamut over the past four decades of my life, from t.v. pop (The Brady Bunch) to 50's & 60's pop, to BMJ pop (before Michael Jackson) and the variously wonderful offshoots of Rock (you name it, I've probably listened to it) and the other interesting stuff that they play on college radio these days.

However, all of these varied musical influences can be traced back to what I originally grew up listening to: twangy country from the time period of the mid 60's thru early 70's (what is now called Americana) and folk from the mid-60's.

Today's post will cover the twangy country/Americana that still makes up the solid starting point of what I listen to today.

The other day, as I'm want to do when I'm extremely bored, I went surfing on YouTube. I don't go surfing it to find the latest viral video or other nonsense like that, but I surf it to find songs that get stuck in my head from time to time (like last week's post that featured The Beat Farmers). This time I surfed it to find videos to two songs by The Statler Brothers.

The first one that I went searching for was this:



Don't let the opening image disgust you, as this was the way it was shown to me in the menu. The song in question is "Do You Remember These?"

The main reason why I went searching for this song was that as of late, it has become one of my favorite sing-a-long songs during my alone time (shower, at work, driving, etc.). I have pretty decent range in the country genre and this fits it perfectly.

The second one that I went looking for was also another Statler Brothers song:


"Flowers On The Wall" is great country song that was featured in the movie Pulp Fiction. In case you haven't been able to figure it out, The Statler Brothers are one of my favorite country artists, and I have quite a few albums and a boxed set of their music to listen to.

I do enjoy that time period of country music, as well as folk, and even though for a time I drifted away from listening to that music, as I got older I learned to embrace it once again, and that allowed me to explore and appreciate other types of genres, like bluegrass and Americana.

However, I do know that some of you may not totally appreciate the previous videos, so I have one here feature cars. "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Commander Cody.



And finally, one of my favorite covers of a Jimmy Rodgers tune, "Waiting For A Train" by Boz Scaggs featuring Duane Allman, which I first heard on "Duane Allman, An Anthology Vol II"


Hope these videos get you into a fantastic frame of mind for the weekend, and I hope you enjoy this little slice of what kind of music makes me tick.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guidelines Are Rules Designed To Test Your Limits Of Groveling

Submission guidelines were created with the express purpose of seeing how far you're willing to grovel in order to get your short story published.
Probably said by a multitude of writers but for the purposes of this post was originally stated by me around 2007.

Four years and countless submissions later, I now say this:

Submission guidelines were created with the express purpose of weeding out people who are incapable of following simple instructions, thus leaving those who can follow instructions with a major degree of accuracy an open, honest and level playing field.

For the purpose of this post, I'm going to concentrate on short story submissions, since those publishers have the type of guidelines that don't have a lot of caveats to them and thus make it reasonably easy to submit a story.

I've found over the years that all publishers usually fall into two major categories with their submission guidelines:

New material only!

All publishers are looking for new material to publish in their e-zines, magazines and/or literary journals. However, while some have made it beyond crystal clear in their guidelines about it, others are slightly more ambiguous. While they say they want new material, they don't specifically state that the new material has to be previously unpublished. This in turn creates a small conundrum in that if you have a good story that was say, previously published on a blog in a different form and then you decided to tighten/re-write the story, does it make a new story or a previously published story? Of course, one way the conundrum can be easily solved by e-mailing the editor with that very question. Doing that, I believe, actually gives the impression that you know how to ask for clarification on a particular part of the submission guideline.

The other way to solve the conundrum is to simply e-mail the submission and specifically state in the query that the story was previously published elsewhere (like a personal short story blog for example) under a different title. That way, the story can either be accepted or rejected based either on the merits of the story or on the fact that you're submitting a previously published story.

Personally though, I think it might be easier if publishers made the distinction clearer as it pertains to a story being previously published. As I see it, simply stating that if a story popped up anywhere on the Internet, it's considered published, is overly broad and overly punishing. If a story was previously published in an e-zine, then yes I can see where that's cut and dried. But what if you published the story on your own personal blog? If you still own the rights to the story and you have the ability to pull the story down if need be, how does that count as previously published?

Previously published material accepted!

Some publishers clearly state in their guidelines that reprints are accepted, which I think is a good thing in that these publishers are recognizing the fact that some e-zines/magazines don't last a very long time and sometimes it's good to find another home for a well written story. Some also state while reprints are accepted, the story itself had to originally appear in a magazine with a circulation of less than 5,000.

Still others, while they may clearly state that new material is accepted, they are open to reprints depending on how well known the writer or well respected the writer is, or even with the reverse of how well known and well respected the e-zine/magazine is.

However, the one consistent point that all of these publishers/editors agree on is word count. Unless you're specializing in flash fiction or micro-flash fiction, most publishers/editors want stories that clock in under 5K words. This is by far the easiest part of any submission guideline to meet, and if you can't meet that (like I couldn't for quite a years), then perhaps you should take a class on creative writing (like I should've back in the day).

To sum it up, submission guidelines, while on the surface seem to be nothing more than a sadistic ploy to make sure that you never get published unless you grovel and boot lick, are there to really prove one salient fact: That you can follow directions.

If you can't follow directions to something as simple as submitting a well written short story to a publisher, then really, what's that say about you?

Well?

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Blonde's Common Sense?

I know I'm gonna get crucified for this but as I'm fond of saying when I get a blinding case of the obvious, I had no brain cells over the weekend to write something original

Blonde #1

As a Boston trucker stops for a red light, a blond driver jumps out of the car behind him, runs up to his truck and knocks on the door. The trucker lowers the window, and she says, "Hi, my name is Stephanie, and you are losing some of your load!" The trucker ignores her and proceeds down the street. When they stop for the next red light, she does the same thing and again at the third red light. But this time, when the light turns green, the trucker revs up and races to the next light. After he stops, he hurriedly gets out of his truck and runs back to the blonde's car, knocks on her window, and as she is lowering it, says, "Hi, my name is Ken, it's winter here in Boston, and I'm driving the SALT TRUCK!"

Blonde #2

A blonde decided she needed something new and different for a winter hobby. She went to the bookstore and bought every book she could find on ice fishing.

For weeks she read and studied every book, hoping to become an expert in the field. Finally she decided she knew enough, and out she went for her first ice fishing trip.

She carefully gathered up and packed all the tools and equipment needed for the excursion. Each piece of equipment had its own special place in her kit.

When she got to the ice, she found a quiet little area, placed her padded stool, and carefully laid out her tools. Just as she was about to make her first cut into the ice, a booming voice from the sky bellowed, "There are no fish under the ice!"

Startled, the blonde grabbed up all her belongings, moved further along the ice, poured some hot chocolate from her thermos, and started to cut a new hole. Again the voice from above bellowed, "There are no fish under the ice!"

Amazed, the blonde wasn't quite sure what to do, as this certainly wasn't covered in any of her books. She packed up her gear and moved to the far side of the ice. Once there, she stopped for a few moments to regain her calm. Then she was extremely careful to set everything up perfectly--tools in the right place, chair positioned just so, everything.

Just as she was about to cut this new hole, the voice came again, "There are no fish under the ice!"

Petrified, the blonde looked skyward and asked, "Is that you Lord?"

The voice boomed back, "No, this is the manager of the skating rink!"

Blonde #3

A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a "handy-woman" and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch," he said. "How much will you charge me?"

The blonde quickly responded, "How about $50?"

The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need were in the garage. The man's wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, "Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?"

He responded, "That's a bit cynical, isn't it?"

The wife replied, "You're right. I guess I'm starting to believe all those 'dumb blonde' jokes we've been getting by e-mail lately."

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

"You're finished already?" the husband asked.

"Yes," the blonde replied. "And I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to her.

"And by the way," the blonde added. "It's not a Porsche, it's a Lexus."

Blonde #4

Dear Diary,

Last year, I replaced all the windows in my house with those expensive double-pane energy efficient kind...but this week I got a call from the contractor complaining that his work had been completed a whole year ago and I had yet to pay for them...boy oh boy, did we go around!!

Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid.

So I proceeded to tell him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year...that in one year the window would pay for themselves.

There was silence on the other end of the line, so I just hung up and I have not heard back...guess I won that stupid argument....

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm A Walkin' That-A-Way!

I'm a walkin' that-a-way and this-a-way and I's windin' up at the rootin' tootin' rock'em sock'em niftiest blog this side of the Thames (New London) River, Shooting Suburbia, and I'm carrying with me a slew of homemade non-fattening cheesy videos.

Won't you join me?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Which Way Did He Go?

There are times where I truly feel like the old Far Side cartoon called "How To Blow A Fisherman's Mind", in which you have a fisherman paralyzed with inaction 'cause the eternal question "Fish or cut bait?" is racing through his head.

Well, if you substitute fisherman with writer and add one more item to the equation, you pretty much get the dilemma I currently find myself in.

"Write, or submit short story? Write or submit novel?"

Considering that I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, this should be ridiculously simple for me to execute, right?

Riiiiiiiiiight.

1}Write! This should be a no-brainer as the current project that I'm working on, I actually like working on because I'm seeing a wealth of possibilities not only with this story (of which I have about 25K words written), but possibly connecting another story with it as well. So even though I'm gung ho about working on it, I can't help but feel a little guilty about working on it.

I mean, as I'm writing it, I have this little nagging doubt in the back of my head that I really should be concentrating more on submitting my work for publication and less on writing even though most people say you should keep on writing while you're waiting to hear back on your submissions. So I frequently stop my writing to work on my submissions.

2}Short Story Submission! Okay, this one is also a no-brainer in that the more stories I can get published, the more writing credits I can show when I query my novel. However the problem now becomes trying to find a proper home for my short stories. Why is this a problem?

Well, it's a problem simply because most of my short stories defy easy classification and instead get lumped into the catch-all genre called "Quirky" (see the links for both of my published short stories as prime examples of this quirkiness).

Now if you take the fact that most of my remaining completed short stories fall into the "Quirky" label and couple that with the fact that I loathe doing research for appropriate markets, you can easily see why this is turning into a problem. Eventually I put this aside and turn my attention to the next thorny problem.

3}Novel Submission! This one should also be a no-brainer, but as I've mentioned over the years on this blog, I have a problem with the glacial response of the publishing industry as it pertains to queries. I also have the underlying problem of trying to properly define exactly what genre my current novel falls under. The initial classification I thought it fell under (Erotica), turned out to be an erroneous assumption. So thus I have to re-tool the query process by refocusing on what kind of publisher and/or agents I should tackler.

This also raises the question of how many queries should I have out there to begin with. I mean, how many is too many? Eventually I do stop working on this issue simply because I find it to be rather large hill that I'm too tired to climb anymore and thus I revert back to working on question #1.

However, working on writing does conveniently neglect and push to the side the issue of become a bigger success than I already am. On the surface, I'm overjoyed about the fact that I have two short stories published and that I'm a moderately successful blogger.

But then I'm always asking myself, "Do I want more?"

And the problem is that my answer winds up being the ultimate waffle.

"Do I continue to write for the pure pleasure of it or do I submit in order to better myself?"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Be A Professional Today!

I was having a hard time in coming up with a topic to bloviate about when I suddenly (or inadvertently) remembered about an involuntary class that I had to take last week. Presto! Instant subject to bloviate about!

For the second time in my storied and illustrious state career...I should say for the second time during the second phase of my storied and illustrious state career....I had to take a class on professionalism with 22 of my co-workers. The first time I had this bad boy by the gonads was back in 2007, when I got fed up with an 1199 union member asking me the same question over and over, so I RESPONDED TO HIS E-MAIL IN CAPS AND FINISHED WITH THE TAG LINE "DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR, CRYSTAL OR OTHERWISE?"

Suffice to say that behavior learned in the chat rooms does not necessarily go over well in the business world.

Anywho, the idea behind this latest incarnation (I think) is that we (as in my whole dept.) should treat the people we are in contact with on a daily basis with professionalism, regardless of the fact that it doesn't flow both ways. Are we treated with professionalism by others?

F no!

We get dumped on, jumped on, grumped on, thumped on, disrespected, criticized, marginalized, ostracized and cannibalized. And yet we all take this abuse with a grain of salt, a pinch of saltpeter and a glop of cynicism.

I think what bothers me the most about having to take this class is that we have to take this class. Having us take this class, to me, is tantamount to saying that we're not taking all of the excrement that's being shoveled our way with the proper Stepford wife mentality.

Suffice to say no one is happy about going to a training class for seven hours to learn how to suck up to idiots who are incapable of behaving in an intelligent and rational manner.There is no way on God's green hectare that you can make a class on professionalism interesting, especially since people would rather spend the day getting a jump on their work load for the next week then sit around listening to someone lecture them on professionalism.

Anywho, that's how I spent the day before Columbus day at work, listening to three very nice people talk about professionalism in the work place. The usual topics were covered: e-mail etiquette, phone etiquette, people etiquette (aka respect) and an hour lecture on proper attire and fashion.

Yup, you read correctly, I said "fashion". Now for the other two guys that were in the class with me, it was pure hell on earth for them to listen to someone talking about what you can or can't wear in an office setting, a field setting, or even a courtroom setting (gotta remember, my agency is about 85% female to 15% men). As for me, I tried to make the best of a very sleep inducing lecture. Considering that I'm a writer and a blogger in my spare time, I spent that hour approaching the subject from that point of view.

And for about twenty minutes, I was able to pick up some useful tips on clothing and accessories, and I was even able to contribute to the conversation by explaining why I was asking certain questions in the first place (I write my stories with a lot of female characters and I need to make them as accurate as possible with the confines of the story). However, the remaining forty-five minutes were spent doodling and coming up with song titles/t.v. titles that would match up with either what the lecture was all about (Fashion, Sharp Dressed Man), or how I was feeling (Why Me?, Mr. Bill) at the time.

When all was said and done, I came away not with a refreshed purpose of self, but with a feeling of deja vu. By deja vu, I mean that all the warm fuzzies that we got would all disappear in a day, simply because the class never really addressed the underlying issues that are collectively felt by our unit each and every day.

So the question for you the reader is: Ever had to take a mandatory class on something that either really didn't pertain to you or glossed over the underlying issues that caused you to have to take the class in the first place?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Modern Day Sayings Of Zen

Feeling mighty unoriginal today, so I found this old e-mail from 2004 that I thought I would share with everyone. You know, a funny so that you can enter the weekend with a smile on your face.

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

5. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

6. No one is listening until you fart.

7. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

8. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

9. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

10. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

11. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

12. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

13. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

14. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

15. Some days you are the bug; some days you are a windshield.

16. Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

17. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

18. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

19. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

20. Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

21. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

22. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

23. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

24. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

25. We are born naked, wet, and hungry, and get slapped on our ass...then things get worse.

26. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

27. There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

28. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

29. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday...around age 11.

30. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.............

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Well, That Was Interesting

Now be honest, did you not have a refreshing break from reading repetitive updates about my writing during the latter part of October? Fess up, you know that reading a few short stories as well as a companion post about me getting my comeuppance yet again AND watching a video or two, was better than me blathering on and on about what I've been writing, or been submitting, or having rejected.

Of course it was!

And now that you've had your brain cells rejuvenated, it's time to return to that wonderful slop that you've come to like about as much as scrapple, called "Writing Wednesday". And as you know, the main feature of "Writing Wednesday" is me blathering about all things related to my (mis)adventures in writing. So without further ado, let's begin at the beginning.

1} REJECTED!I received what had to be the quickest rejection I've ever experienced for a story last weekend. I submitted Line 21 to Ellora's Cave and according to their guidelines, the initial response time is two days to four weeks. For me, it was two days. I submitted it on October 29th and received my rejection on October 31st. That rejection actually got me to thinking about what Line 21 isn't, and what it is, so a small readjustment in stratergy will be taking place in the coming weeks, mostly in the form of what publisher I should be submitting my manuscript to.

For those who were wondering what the second fastest rejection of a story was, it was one week, back in 2009.

2} LATEST WRITING PROJECT! Due to the ongoing aggravation that is my real life coupled with the remnants of Storm Alfred this past week, I managed to accomplish very little in the way of adding excess verbiage to "Blackness In The White Sand". However, that isn't to say that things haven't been totally quiet on that particular front, because it hasn't. To refresh your memory about my writing habits, one of the things that I like to do is to print out what I write so that whenever I have some down time, I can do a little judicious editing/note taking/outlining/etc. etc. etc. before going back to writing.

Anyways, I got to thinking about the content of this particular project and how to reconcile that to my personal opinion about crime fiction (click here for a refresher). The main reason as to why I got to thinking about it is that the last thing that I want to do is sound like hypocrite, you know, complaining about a particular genre and then kind of/sort of writing something similar with my current project.

I know I mentioned early on that I was upping the level of violence in this current project simply because I thought that the basic plot required a level of violence that I've tried to stay away from for the past five years or so.

So I would like to solicit your opinion on this particular point if I may. Earlier in the year, I posted an excerpt from the original version of "Blackness In The White Sand" because I wanted to give everyone a basic idea on where I wanted to go with the new version. This time, I'm posting an updated version of that previous snippet, and I would like to know if I'm making too much about the "Do as I say, not do as I do" angle with this.

Warning: The excerpt that you're about to read is extremely heavy on graphic sex and heavy on violence. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Also, before you even think about apologizing for not reading it, please don't. Over the years, I think I've gotten know everyone's personal tastes and values pretty well, so I will not be offended if you choose not to read my excerpt. I try to respect everyone's personal tastes and values, which is why I always put up a disclaimer/warning to let people know that something might run counter to their personal tastes/values.

And for those of you out there who might be using this blog as a pit stop before continuing on your journey, I don't consider this to be censorship. I consider this to be simply looking out for my fellow blog readers who might not be comfortable with what I write about from time to time. I write what I write because I enjoy what I write, but I also understand that what I write is not necessarily everyone's cup of coffee, which is why I have another blog that was created with the express purpose of having a home for some of my more salacious postings.

With that being said, I now present to you another excerpt from my latest writing project entitled "Blackness In The White Sand".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Statistic Shmatistic, What I Want To Know Is...Why?



The video has absolutely no connection with this post, but I'd just recently heard it for the first tim in about 16 years so I thought I would share with all of you on this bright cheerful Monday

The other day, I got to exploring the various components of the new dashboard. There were a couple of reasons as to why I did this: one, because I had too much time on my hands and two, it was trying me absolutely buggy that a particularly old post had so many F'n page views.

1,945 to be exact.

I repeat, one thousand nine hundred forty five page views to a two year old post that I eventually edited down to an explanation as to why it wasn't there anymore earlier this year.

So I got to exploring the statistical part of the dashboard that contains a wealth of information for those who are serious about blogging and know how to use. Fortunately, I ain't one of those individuals. I just wanted to have an answer to the question that is part of this post title.

Why?

Why would a post have over 1,900 page views and continue to average 85 page views a month even after I had edited the crap out of the post. So the first thing I looked at, or tried to look at, was the page views on the post part of the dashboard. It's that little envelope symbol next to a given post on your dashboard next to the number of comments for a given post. The reason I say "tried" is that the little icon wouldn't highlight for me, which was probably due to not having Google Analytics embedded in my blog.

Stymied, I went to search in the traffic source section of the stats page, but the only that stood out was a relatively new search engine that is in the same vein as Digg or Reddit. I checked out the link, but the about page wasn't too helpful beyond telling me it was a forum that was heavily moderated.

Again stymied, I wandered back to my blog and to the post to see if there were any back links connected to it, but nothing blatant stood out.

By this point, I was really getting annoyed about this particular post. Why? Well, besides it having so many page views, the fact that a two year old post from a part of my cyber life that I choose not to participate in anymore was sticking out like a sore thumb by being a constant reminder of that particular part of my life.

Because of those factors (a chapter in my life that is permanently closed, an old post that has way too many page views for the content it contained), I decided to do something that I've only done once this year and really none since 2009: nuke a previously published post.

There was one interesting side effect to the nuking of that post besides it vanishing from my top ten list: the new number one in my top ten list has almost as many page views (1,726) as the nuked post. However, I'm kind of loathe to nuke that one too, simply because it contains a link to a picture post on Shooting Suburbia and that post has about 100 page views itself. For the record, the all time second on the list is "All Points Bulletin" with 518 page views.

I did make a small visual change to the top four list though. If you take peek to your left, you'll see that the four links in question now have snippet previews. Pretty neat, don't you think?

I guess a good way to finish up this post is to ask all of you this: Have you spotted anything out of the ordinary with your blog, specifically the abnormal amount of hits that a particular post of yours has gotten?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Patience Is A Virtue Of The Vindictive

The writer stepped outside on the back porch early one morning and marvled on how purplish the morning sky was. Yawning and stretching, he casually walked down the steps and strolled over to the hammock that was calling out ever so faintly, "It's fresh and cool under these shady elms."

"Well, who could resist such an enticing invite as that," he said out loud.

He carefully sat down and swung his legs over. After spending a couple of minutes getting himself situated, he gave the hammock a small push and within a few minutes drifted off to sleep.

However, his quiet state of slumber did not last for very long as a distant rumbling started to violent shake the trees. As the rumbling grew closer and stronger, it threw the writer from the hammock and started a wild stampede of small animals and birds.

The writer tried to protect himself the best that he could but was simply no match for the multitude of irritants that pounded his body unmercifully.

When it finally subsided, the writer slowly and painfully stretched out his body, before rolling onto his back and passing out. When he came to some several minutes later, he found himself in the middle of a solar eclipse.

"What the?" said the writer as he started to crawl away from the solar eclipse's painful sun rays.

Suddenly the eclipse stepped closer and grabbed his ankles, before leaning in to give the writer a clearer picture. Much to the writer's embarrassment, it was his muse that had a firm grip on his ankles and not a solar eclipse.

She slapped his face a couple of times and said, "I'm back from my little sojourn at the other side of the valley. Got anything new for me to experience?"

"What? No hello, how are you, how's it going, did you miss me?"

"Okay. Hello, how are you, how's it going, did you miss me?"

"Cute."

She leaned in and kissed his forehead. Beeping his nose, she said, "I always am. So do you have anything for cute little me?"

"You beat everything," said the writer as he stuck out his hand.

"Yup. That's why you like me so much," said the muse as she grabbed his hand and yanked him to his feet. Hanging onto his hand, she added, "So where is it?"

"What, the story?"

"Yes."

The writer suddenly pulled her closed and whispered in her ear, "If you look over my shoulder, you'll see a pimped out Tonka 4x4 gleaming in the morning sun. In the front seat is your story. However, make sure you start the engine, because this song will be the key that unlocks your latest adventure in time."



The muse looked over his shoulder and squealed with delight. She threw the writer down and ran over to the pimped out Tonka 4x4 and dove through the open window. She started the engine and as the opening chords grew louder in intensity, the 4x4 took off and transported our mercurial muse to a world where Patience Is A Sin.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Good Thing About Storm Alfred

Got a two part post for ya today. Part one starts here while part two takes place at Shooting Suburbia.

On October 29, 2011, Connecticut got smacked with a rare snowstorm.

The video that you're about to watch shows the lighter side of the snowstorm called "Storm Alfred". Please pay special attention to what you see in the background of the video because the companion video on Shooting Suburbia will show you the end result of some of that background after "Storm Alfred" dropped its one foot of heavy sticky snow in my town.

In the meantime, please enjoy this frolicking video highlighting the good thing about "Storm Alfred".


And now, if you walk this way (and no, not like Roger Rees in Men In Tights), I will meet you at Shooting Suburbia for the not-so-good thing of "Storm Alfred".

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All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-16 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com