31

2015: A WordPress Odyssey

Even though I haven’t mentioned it here, most of you know that for the past month I’ve been doing a blogging experiment. For those of you not in the know, what I decided to do was find, follow, and comment on 15 new blogs a day, every day, for the 31 days of January. Mostly for fun, but also to attract some more visitors to my blog, because it’s always fun to have more friends. I accomplished this goal, and made 465 new WordPress friends. Well, maybe not that many, since not everyone followed me back (you know who you are), but I got an average of 4-6 follows a day, which is pretty good.

Here are some more nifty numbers for you to ponder upon:

  • My followers count jumped up to 721. I can’t remember how many followers I had prior to this project, but I was hoping for at least 1,000 followers. Oh well, you can’t have everything.
  • In terms of views, this month has been my third-most successful ever with 2,868 as of 10:07 PM CST, following February 2014 (9,228!) and March 2014 (7,230).
  • I have had visitors from every continent, and from 92 countries total, with first-time visitors from Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Aruba [as of today – welcome!], Ethiopia, The Gambia, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mauritania, Mayotte, and Monaco.
  • From the USA, I have had visits this month from 46/50 states. I guess the fine people of North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had better things to do.
  • Several six-continent days including today, where I welcomed North America (Canada, USA, Mexico, and Aruba), South America (Colombia), Europe (UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands), Africa (Tanzania), Asia (India, Indonesia, Japan, and Philippines), and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).

I know what you’re all thinking now…my Reader must be going crazy. Not so much, though; As I followed blogs each day, I unfollowed some others. I’m hovering around 900 right now, but will probably weed out some over time that don’t capture my interest. I don’t like deleting any blogs, but if I just want to kick back and read some stuff, I don’t want to be constantly bombarded with new posts showing up every 30 seconds. And I didn’t just follow any blog; I followed blogs that were interesting, fun, unique, unusual. People I could relate to, and people I couldn’t relate to. I only had a few criteria for deletion. I unfollowed blogs that…

  • Had been deleted by their owners. That’s simple enough.
  • Were only photos, with no captions or anything, no matter how pretty the pictures were.
  • Were primarily in a language I don’t speak.
  • Were only depressing poetry. I enjoy the occasional well-written poem, but post after post about lawn chairs, dead birds, and lost loves just don’t do it for me.
  • Had not been updated in 3 weeks or more.
  • Started preaching, or contained messages that were mostly ad hominem/ad feminem/inflammatory/indecent content.

If there was a blog that was on the fence, I would read the five most recent entries and see if they interested me, and if not, I hit the unfollow button. Oh, and if I know you in real life, you’re not getting deleted no matter what, of course. And as January is done, as is this little project. But maybe I’ll do something fun for February, like write a few comments every day or something.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you all, I made some especially interesting discoveries and awesome new friends, which I’ll share with you presently. I don’t normally accept awards or advertise other blogs on my blog, but just think of this as an exception because I am feeling particularly mellow and generous today.

Awesome Content

  • Andrea Reads America. This girl (whom I’m assuming is called Andrea) posts her travels to all fifty states – via literature, that is. Another list of books that I’ll probably never get to read but I’ll die trying. I started a similar list awhile back of my favorite books set in each state, but I think after about 6 states, I realized that I don’t read that many books that take place in different states or in America at all. Ambitious project, cool chick.
  • La Petite Paniere. This blog has awesome and delicious-looking French recipes that make me want to drop out of school and catch the next plane to Paris.
  • The Dictionary of Victorian Insults and Niceties. Because who doesn’t need one of those from time to time.

Awesome People

  • Aran ArtisanThere are tons of craft blogs out there, but Melissa really has a knack for it, and she is a nice person as well. Plus, she lives in the Aran Islands, which I have always wanted to visit.
  • Keep Karyn. Fun and irreverent slice of life. Karyn tells it like it is.
  • Rebekah Koontz. Another very nice person who seems like she’d make a kick-ass big sister. No offense to my own big sister.
  • That Girl in Glasses. The very day I found Adele, we had a cross-blog comment-a-thon that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on WordPress. It also got me through the Illinois leg of the drive back to Madison. (FYI, my dad drove that one, and then I took over in Belvidere, IL, where he started telling me the horse meat story). This girl is one lovely little buttercup and I hope we are friends for a long long time.
  • The Strange HerShe calls herself Baby Ruth, and if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. Funny, talented, and a devotee of Taylor Swift, go visit Baby Ruth and lose yourself in her world for awhile. After you’ve read all my posts, of course.
  • Tribal Mystic is none other than Joycelin, a Papua New Guinean living in Australia. After I mentioned Nora-Vagi Brash and my admiration of her work, she told me she went to school with Nora-Vagi Brash and was friends with her which pushes her to the top of my list. Plus, she just seems like a generally nice and polite person, which I like.
  • Vodka Soda EscapadesYou had me at Vodka Soda, and kept me with fun and quirky humor.

If I forgot anyone, I am truly sorry. But to all of you who are reading this, thanks for sticking around.

Let’s fold scarves.

 

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11

Just Some Fixin’s

Today was a pretty blah day here in Baltimore: not too cold, but not sunny at all, kinda like the last few days. I’ve been basically going back and forth between the car dealership (new keys, tire pressure check, help me out with features, blah blah blah), and doing errands (haircut, bank, post office, etc.) and attempting to read at various Starbucks around town but inevitably getting interrupted by a phone call or something.

So, I decided to fix two posts that were bugging me, and I will link you to them presently:

First, my birthday post from this year. Two of the videos were not showing up, now you can watch all five of my favorite happy YouTube videos.

Second, my trip to Trempealeau County, WI and Winona, MN with Rahul. Posted originally on June 1, 2014, but I must have gotten distracted because the post ended in the middle of a sentence.

Please enjoy and take care while I brainstorm something interesting to post about for the coming week.

6

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

Today was one of those rare days where I actually had nothing to do; no commitments, no pressing deadlines (at least not until Wednesday/Thursday of next week) so I spent most of the day in bed and on the computer, and then decided I needed some fresh air so I headed out to Memorial Union Terrace for some fresh air and about 200 pages of reading. FOR PLEASURE. Clearly, my soul has not yet died.

The other day I passed the 400 follower mark, (I would love more; bring your friends, I’ll follow back!) and I realized I don’t read others’ blogs as often as I should. What usually ends up happening is that I have a few bloggers’ tabs open, meaning to read them, and then either my browser will crash or my computer will need restarting and I’ll have forgotten where I was in reading them. So today, I’m going to go to two of those tabs that are perpetually open.

First up, Antigua A La CarteI think actually it was she who found me, but either way, it’s a blog about life and random stuff. Her name is Nadine and she comes from St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. It’s kind of like mine, only with a Caribbean focus, and who couldn’t use a vacation from their real life by joining this blogger on her island? She writes really well and though I don’t know if there are many other bloggers from her country, I can safely say that in my opinion she is the best one. She also has another blog with non-Caribbean-based thoughts and ideas, so there’s two for the price of one. Oh, and coincidentally, we wrote about the same topic on the same day once, which reminds me, I should probably go edit that entry.

Here’s a recent find, Jane Thorne. I stumbled upon her blog last week. She is called Jane (obviously) and she writes photo essays about her life, including her travel adventures around fair Britannia. She has left me some nice comments, so Jane, this one’s for you.

Thank you to all of my followers for following me, with a special shout-out to those who leave nice comments/feedback.

4

The Struggle is Real

Sometimes, it’s Passover, and you have peaches for dinner with tuna for dessert.

And you have your apartment being shown tomorrow and everything is covered in matzah dust or books. Or both.

And you’re pulling out every trick in the book (games, food, Golden Girls, blogging) to avoid finishing your paper which you could do in about five minutes but you just don’t want to.

And you realize you can’t make matzah ball soup because you don’t have Kosher for Passover cooking oil which costs like $12.99 at the store.

And you realize you have about six hundred pages of reading over the next few days, in addition to APO and dance obligations.

And you’re having trouble enrolling for next semester because you probably waited too long to make up your damn mind about which classes to take.

And you just kinda feel like you’re waiting for something to go wrong.

Well, more wrong than being grabbed around the waist and freaking the fuck out in front of your entire dance class.

2

A Philosophy For Blogging

I’ve been doing this thing a lot lately – this thing where I wait until the last minute to start a blog, publish it before I’m done so I can get it in before midnight to keep up a streak I’ve had since January 1, and then stay up for another few hours working on it and editing it, therefore delaying (and sometimes deleting) any hope of getting any schoolwork done. I’ve discovered that this method is no longer conducive to healthy study habits, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: my streak will most likely end tonight (if I manage to finish and hit publish before midnight). Most of the past weeks’ posts have been almost cheat-y in that way, including last night’s. I was going to write about the Oscars, but it wasn’t until 11:59 PM that I realized that I had been glued to my TV through the entire ceremony and Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar show and hadn’t written a word. I’m probably going to go back to that post tomorrow and edit it to incorporate some thoughts about the Oscars.

Basically, I’ve been rethinking my whole blogging style.

I used to have a LiveJournal when I was a teenager (who didn’t?) and I would write mundane posts about nothing (truly, actually, nothing) just to get a 1 on my calendar for that day. I’m sort of falling into that pattern again, and I don’t like it. I know that some of my posts are significantly worse than others, and I’d like to minimize that in the future. More substance, less “word vomit.”

I’m a huge fan of Hyperbole and a Half (if you haven’t seen it, you really should; Allie Brosh is incredibly adept at capturing oft-misunderstood emotions and encapsulating them in childlike imagery via MS Paint) but what I like most about it is the philosophy of blogging that the author shares in her FAQ section.

Some of the points that I’d like to echo in my own blogging

  • Updating frequently does not = the best quality, necessarily. Though I’ve been known to write alarmingly quickly (like that time in sophomore year when I started a 15 page paper at noon on the day it was due, finished it 8 hours later, and turned it in 15 minutes before the cutoff time) sometimes my ideas are flagging since I’ve been focusing on other things all day that day and have nothing much going on inside my head that is substantial enough to share (and that bar is pretty low).
  • Sometimes it takes a while for inspiration to hit, or to find the time to get the ideas and details down to a publishable point. I have about seven drafts at any given time that I always mean to get back to, but never find the time to give them appropriate attention. Maybe this is a sign I should go back to those.
  • And yes, my details are sometimes selective. They’re not really exaggerated (at least not to my knowledge) but she’s right in that it takes the adding/cutting of details to make a “you had to be there” story into one that’s memorable and worth sharing on the Internets for all time. Basically, storytelling that has elements that keep it rolling, moving, entertaining, worth writing about and worth sharing.

This probably won’t be the last thing I have to say about my blogging philosophy, and who knows, maybe it’ll change. But for now, I guess I’ll get back to that paper proposal that’s due tomorrow over which I’ve been agonizing.

0

To-Do List for March

  1. Get my work done before deadline.
  2. Exercise more often.
  3. Clean the dining table.
  4. Clean the coffee table.
  5. Cook/bake more often.
  6. Do the dishes more frequently.
  7. Waste less time on the Internet.
  8. Clean the floor.
  9. Try not to panic.
  10. Write more relevant, insightful, and well-planned blog posts.
0

Kiss Today Goodbye…?

The other day, I got this new iPhone 5 and there’s this voice-to-blog feature on WordPress, so let’s see if this works.

I’m just feeling these days like I’m kind of just wasting the day. Not really, but I wake up and it’s already lunchtime so I feel like I haven’t gotten really started with my day, and things being the way they are, with the time of year it’s weird because the sun sets early and it feels like it’s already night and just feel like it’s a constant game of catch-up. It’s like, check my email and then all the BuzzFeed’s and everything and then all of a sudden it’s time for dinner and, oh, by the way haven’t been out of the house or anything like that, so then I have to have dinner and watch Jeopardy! and then it’s already nighttime, my parents are getting ready to go to bed and I’m struggling with writing a blog post and picking a topic.

So that’s what things are like for me right now but from now on, I’m going to at least start and try to finish a post or two a day, with the first one in the morning, and not like I’ve been doing, finishing at like 11:59 PM.

This thing is really weird.

Anyway, I feel like by the time I’ve blogged and caught up on things and watched some TV, it’s already 2 o’clock in the morning and I want to read. I brought home about 30 books and I have only finished one so maybe tonight I should call it in early and then post something in the morning. So that’s a good idea. Practical? Maybe. Who knows.

This blog post was done by phone with only some minor revisions on the computer. TECHNOLOGY.

Oh, what I’ll do for love.