Ein weiteres großartiges Tool von Google*!

Do you speak GermanI received an interesting comment on my last post Euphemism, Anyone? I said to myself, hmm, this is not an English comment. Why, I believe this is in German! This is a German comment! Someone in Germany likes this post well enough to leave a comment. How swell is that?

Wonder what it says? was my next reaction. Of course, here I probably should have stopped to consider that perhaps someone offering a comment in German just possibly might not understand the nuance of English euphemisms anyway. Or wouldn’t they have written the comment in English?

But no, I didn’t think that. My first reaction was to figure out what it said. I found Google Translate. I did not know about this before. This would be a handy tool to use if you want to include foreign text in your writing. Once again, I am amazed at the WWWWW (Wunderbar, Wunderbar World Wide Web).

The German comment:

Denn auf unserem Geschenke und Geschenkideen Blog präsentieren wir schöne Dinge und Wohnkamine. Wir ziehen umher und sehen kontinuierlich mal was uns besonders gefällt und das präsentieren wir hier. Freilich können Sie die meisten Produkte auch sofort kaufen, jedoch ausschließlich via amazon, damit der Einkauf sicher ist natürlich!

The translation:

Because of our gifts and gift ideas blog we present beautiful Living things and fireplaces. We move around and continuously see something we really like, and present the [what?] we are here. Of course you can also buy most products immediately, but only via amazon so the shopping is safe of course!

So while I was initially intrigued by a German visitor, it appears they are really pushing their own agenda here and not offering to contribute to any thought process dealing with euphemisms or why they are so popular.

Thanks, anyway, Moodlights! I appreciate your stopping by to leave an advertisement! Vielen Dank for that! Here’s my reply:

Danke für den Kommentar. Allerdings wäre es besser gewesen, wenn Sie hatte in den Inhalt und nicht als ein Mittel, um Ihr eigenes Geschäft zu fördern interessiert worden. Und es würde helfen, wenn ich Deutsch verstanden, was ich nicht tun. Aber es machte mich neugierig genug, zu wollen, es zu übersetzen, und ich fand diese große neue Google Translate-Tool. Also für das, ich danke Ihnen sehr.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this makes any sense.

Anyway,Google Translate could be another great tool for writers. Or anyone who needs a translation. As you type text into one box, it is translated into the chosen language in another. There are 72 languages available. It’s doubtful you’d need anything else.

I’m bookmarking this site for future reference. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to vouch for the actual translation. That may be an issue.

But at least it looks authentic.

Blog Update: You may be happy to hear that the popularity of euphemisms is not slowing down. A full 46% of the hits against this blog last week were for 20 Examples of Great Euphemisms. Gah!

* Another Great Tool From Google!

I’m a Blogger, but am I Versatile?

Ms. Blogdramedy has kindly nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award. You may remember, Blogdramedy sponsored the trend-setting Blogfestivus this past Christmas season, where a number of gluttons for punishment ambitious, aspiring bloggers signed on to write a 243-word story about each of Santa’s reindeer, one per day, for a nine-day period.

versatileblogger
Ms. Blogdramedy, who wisely keeps her true identity hidden, is a house-fixer-upper, a martini-drinker (or so she says) and a wise, yet sarcastic, writer of amusing and insightful bloggery.

So, now I too, can be known as an official The Versatile Blogger, and for such an honor I am probably unworthy. I have been nominated because I “embrace my Boomer babedom in all its glory”.

Is it really that, Ms. Blogdramedy, or is it more like you were desperate to find someone else to offload this award onto? Did you feel that you couldn’t, in good conscience, accept it without duly nominating other under-appreciated bloggers, those who might be just a teensy bit sub-par, the straight man to your comic genius, the Jerry Lewis to your Dean Martin, the Tonto to your Lone Ranger?

Hah! Ms. Blogdramedy probably doesn’t even know who those last two duos are!
But seriously, I am humbly grateful for The Versatile Blogger award, and to earn it I need to pass it on. In order to do that, I have nominated a few bloggers in the BLFBE (Boomer Lit Friday Blogging Extravaganza), who take part to be awarded this auspicious accolade.

Here are the rules. (I just knew there had to be a downside to this.)

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award. (Okay, that’s easy enough.) Thank you, thank you, thank you! to Ms. Blogdramedy.
  2. Include a link to their blog. (I did that. Seven times.)
  3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers whom you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I have selected a few Boomer Lit authors taking part in Boomer Lit Friday. To qualify for this award, one must have a blog upon which the Holy Seal of Versatility can be proudly displayed, and also, it must not have been aforeto affixed.)
  4. Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Nominated bloggers have the option to ignore this propitious award. Voluntary cooperation is appreciated, but not mandatory.)
  5. Share seven things about yourself. (Seven things? I am not sure I can find that many items even remotely interesting. You nominees, however, feel free to share as much as you like.)

The list of nine nominees are:

drumroll
Shelley Lieber (Elyse Grant) — Author of the Prince Charming Hoax
Checking Off the Bucket List (Sarah Gordon Weathersby) — Author of Tell Them I Died
Claude Nougat The Blog — Author of A Hook in the Sky
Mutinousboomer (Marsha Roberts) — Author of Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer
Incomplete Passes (Linda Lange) — Author of Incomplete Passes
Goodbye Emily (Michael Murphy) — Author of Goodbye Emily
I.O.U. Sex A Novel (Sandra Nachlinger and Sandra Allen) — Authors of I.O.U. Sex
Baby Boomer Novels (Lillian Wade) — Author of Girlfriends
The Crone Club (S. V. Peddle) — Author of The Crone Club

I only nominated nine. .

Please, nominees, feel free to ignore this invitation!

Please. Just leave me alone, already.

Please. Just leave me alone, already.

Seven things about me that 1) you might already know, and 2) even if you don’t already know, you probably don’t care about:

  1. I don’t like sweets. I never eat desserts, except I do like one Dove Dark Chocolate piece after dinner. (See, I told you, you won’t care about this stuff.)
  2. I used to be a pretty good dancer, but alas, I am no longer. (Now I can barely make it through one round of I’m a Wanderer before calling 911.)
  3. I am really good at cleaning out clogged up drains, which I am including here because I just did it. (Blech.)
  4. I like to stay indoors for days at a time. (Especially in winter.)
  5. I avoid left turns, unless at a traffic light with a green arrow. (There is almost always another way to go.)
  6. I like to knit. (The bigger, and more boring the project, the better.)
  7. I am going to write another book. And it might take me a long time. And I’m taking another class first. (And the title might be No Left Turn, but I’m not sure about that.)

3D Man photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.

Unknown Blogger Ages Ten Years After Receiving Negative Comment!

lovehateHow I love getting those emails from WordPress which announce a new comment! Maybe, in time, I will choose not to receive a notification for each and every comment, but for now, they aren’t so much in abundance that they are annoying. In fact, they pretty much make my day, they make my world a little brighter, they are my walk on the beach, my birdsong in morning, my wine after sunset… okay, enough with the mundane metaphors.

So imagine my surprise, nay, utter humiliation, when I received a very negative comment, which critiqued not only my post, but slandered my very character, and hurt me deeply, a cut to the bone.

Doctors Amazed by Premature Aging!

Doctors Amazed by Premature Aging!

In September 2011 I published a post, Writing With Music, about listening to music while writing. There is a particularly haunting piece that I played over and over and it worked so well for me that I thought I’d pass it on to fellow writers, or maybe just alert some people to a great audio experience. It wasn’t a successful post. No one appeared to care much about it. I don’t believe anyone even clicked on the YouTube video provided within the post.

But fifteen months later, I received notification from WordPress that I had a comment on the Writing With Music post. It was from someone named “Anonymous”:

I find it amazingly careless, ignorant and unprofessional for someone
who claims to (and may very well) be an author and reviewer of fiction to not research first, something they’ve chosen to write about, with the intention of presenting it to an audience of their readers.

It diminishes the credibility of the writer and the trust a reader invests in them:

ADAGIO – is an italian musical term that marks the tempo in which a piece of music is to be played as “slow and stately.” It means literally, “at ease.” An antonym would be ALLEGRO, meaning “fast and lively.”

Op. or OPUS – is a composition, piece of work, work of art or creation.

Holy crap. My life is over. I am shutting down this blog. Right now. I’ve been found out. Not only am I careless, I am amazingly careless. And ignorant too? Isn’t it enough that I’m just amazingly careless? So, I picture it this way: Amazingly careless is the Hostess cupcake, ignorant is the chocolate frosting, and since that is never quite enough, unprofessional is that white curly thing on top.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Really?

I “claim to be an author and reviewer of fiction”. Well, sir, I can’t make that claim any longer since I have acted in such a lowly and reprehensible way.

And I’m not sure why I believe this commenter to be a male, it’s just a gut feeling I have. I could be wrong about this. God knows, I’ve been wrong about a shitload of other stuff in my life.

After rereading the post again, though, I found that what Mr. Anonymous most likely had taken it upon himself to object to was the following:

“I’m not sure of the meaning of “Adagio” nor what “Op.” stands for…”

That was the only thing I could find.

What?

Dude. Mr. Anonymous. This is a writing blog. Not a music blog. Why all the blow-it-all-out-of-proportion nastiness on your part here? Couldn’t you have worded it a little nicer? Maybe just implied that I might have my head you-know-where, rather than pointing out for all the WWW to see? A little subtlety would have been most appreciated.

Then I thought: But wait! I have no idea what was going on in Mr. Anonymous’ life when he decided to expose me for the ignorant, music-illiterate that I am.

  • Maybe his Significant Other of n number of years just called him a Music Bigot and walked out on him?
  • Maybe he’s writing a music blog and no one is commenting and/or even reading and he’s getting damn tired of it?
  • Maybe he’s just in a really rotten mood, and he’s annoyed that someone with no music clue would deign to comment on Vaughn Williams?

Any or all of these things could be true. So, I’m giving the benefit of a lot of doubt here and accepting Mr. Anonymous’ critique with the dignity it deserves.

Here’s my response:

You are so right! I am careless, unprofessional and certainly ignorant. As a “maybe” author, these are traits that will affect my career — and ultimately render whatever life I have left — worthless. A broken woman, that’s what I am. Finally found out.

The only argument I have, the only trivial little thing I can conjure up as even a hint of an explanation is this: It’s a writing blog, not a music blog. I was trying to give my readers some ideas about what types of music might inspire them while writing, but unless I can define Adagio, I suppose that information is meaningless.

I may never blog again. But wait! I should blog about this very thing. Look for your comment, blown up out of all proportion in a post January, 2013.

Again, thanks so much for setting me straight. Consider my credibility duly diminished and I’m sure there isn’t a reader out there whose trust I can safely say I still have.

(And, Mr. Anonymous, I don’t mean to be picky here, but “italian” should be capitalized.)

On the other hand, could this be a positive thing? Is the fact that I have received such negativity a sign that I have arrived in the World of Bloggery? Can I compare it to Amazon reviews of Jonathan Franzen novels? He gets as many one-star reviews as five-star! And wow, we know what a successful author he is, so can this be a step up for me, from total obscurity to relative obscurity?

That would be, well, amazingly spectacular.

Love/Hate Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Crying Old Lady Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blogger Award For Unusual Excellence!

Did that title grab you? Good, because I just made it up. But I did receive my first nomination for a blogging award.

Thanks to Daniel Nest over at Nest Expressed for thinking of me.

At first I was thrilled! It’s my first nomination! Then, OMG, I have to answer ten questions. And they have to be funny. Or, in my case, attempt to be funny.

Ain’t that nah-ice?

Batman or Superman? Superman, because he is way hotter than the sexually ambiguous Bat Man.

Hani Amir / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Yah, it’s Superman!

What musical artist do you absolutely hate? I hate a lot of them. From the forties, I hate Bing Crosby because he is a horrible person (buh buh boo). From the sixties, I hate Neil Sedaka because he is a finger-poppin’ slimeball. From the seventies, I hate Led Zepplin, mostly because of Robert Plant and the group’s sleazy lyrics (although RP later redeemed himself with his version of Sea of Love). Lastly, I hate all Rap “music” – it really isn’t, now is it? This includes you, Granny.

 

Who framed Roger Rabbit? Why, I believe that would be Judge Doom. Haven’t seen this particular ‘Toon noir in a long time.

You can plainly see, Jessica, that he is looking at your face.

You’re forever trapped on a deserted island. For some contrived reason you get to pick two people and an animal to live with you there. Who are they? First of all, should they be two men? Two women? One of each? Two men might be good but what if they fight over me, because after all, I’d be the only woman. Or, what if they ended up talking guy talk? I’d be left out. Two women? Hmm. That makes three women and we all know when three women get together, one’s going to get the back thumb. One of each would be nice, but then we two women might fight over the guy. But since I get to pick, that means I’m kind of the boss here, so they’d each be sucking up to me, right? How about Herr Schneider then, and that guy from Gilligan’s Island, the Professor? He’s been there, done that, so I think he’d be a good addition since Herr and I are both a bit DIY-challenged. And a parrot, one who would entertain us with profanity and profundity.

Etrusia UK / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

My name’s not Polly and I’m on a low-carb diet, so screw you.

You can visit and live for a while on any planet in our Solar System. Which one? Pluto. Because I just want to get away from it all. And, I’d weigh about 10 pounds.

Photo credit: Ricardo Machado / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

What do you enjoy most about blogging? I like searching for funny photos. But mostly I like seeing the emails from WordPress telling me someone “liked” my post or, better yet, a comment! Whoohee!

Pink Sherbet Photography / Foter / CC BY

Why did chicken cross the road? To boycott the Chick-fil-A.

Elvert Barnes / Foter / CC BY-SA

You can pick any profession or job (including crime-fighting vigilante). What do you pick? I’d like to be a world-famous novelist.

Favourite word/phrase/insightful quote? “No matter how rich you become, how famous or how powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.” ― Michael Prichard

hans s / Foter / CC BY-ND

You can watch only one TV show for the rest of your life. Which one? Boston Legal. Because there’s James Spader and Candice Bergen and William Shatner. And James Spader and Mark Valley. And, oh, did I mention James Spader?

The following are my nominations for blogs to which I will pass on this prestigious award. I follow many blogs but chose those who did not already have this particular award or who have relatively new blogs or relatively few awards. Please feel free to tell me to take a jump in a cold body of water and ignore it, if you so choose. Or accept it graciously and thank me profusely. Whichever you prefer.

  •  4 Broad Minds – I found this blog from a forum on Goodreads. It’s written by four women and has diverse discussions, many of which are writing-related. Always appreciated.
  •  Musings By Ramona – I also found this blog on Goodreads and since I am a bit of a photography wanna-be, and her blog has some really great photos, I chose it.
  •  Jasmine Schwartz Writer. User. Goddess. Again, Goodreads. Outrageous, funny and personal. Anyone who refers to her husband as “my future ex-husband” deserves this award. Seriously amusing posts.
  •  Blogdramedy – Great sarcasm (there’s no such thing as too much of it), and good, interesting reading here.
  •  Sandy Nachlinger – Not only did this nice blogger feature my book last June, but she, along with her co-author also named Sandy, writes great, informative articles and what a professional-looking blog it is! Love the Tuesday Teaser idea.

 And here are your questions:

  1. Who is your favorite author/book?
  2. What is your favorite drinking game?
  3. What brand and shade of nail polish are you wearing right now?
  4. Boxers or briefs?
  5. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would that be?
  6. What “completes” you?
  7. Which TV personality/celebrity would you be willing to do twenty years of hard labor just for the pleasure of killing?
  8. If you could trade places with one person for one month, who would it be?
  9. What is the one movie which you liked the most, but could never watch again?
  10. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

3D Man photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who Is This Person Anyway?

Today I updated my About page. Yesterday I updated my website. The more posts I write, the more I can’t stand the Goody-Goody in me to surface. That’s not me. It’s not who I am. Sarcastic, that’s who I am. So no more Ms. Nice Woman. WYSIWYG.

It’s an opportunity to get you to read the new About page. You know you want to do it and I’ll know how many of you actually clicked on it. My stats will show the counts. So go ahead. Make my day.

I started following a blogger this week, The Cheeky Diva. I don’t know how I ended up there, but it was from a link from a blog I already follow. Sometimes, I link to one, which links to another, and on and on it goes, until I can’t remember how I got there but it doesn’t matter because it’s a blog that I like and one from which I think I can learn something. Mostly, how to be yourself, how to get your voice onto the page.

It doesn’t work to deny your real voice. This is who I am. This is how I really feel. That’s what should come through. The Cheeky Diva does that. She really lets it all hang out there, from her extremely dysfunctional family when she was growing up to what’s happening to her today.

When the email announcing her new post came, I clicked on it. It was great. The first post that I got after becoming a follower of her blog, went Freshly Pressed. This is something I have talked about a lot in the past. It is probably boring to non-bloggers but interesting to the WordPress community because it is something everyone wants to achieve.  It’s just those WordPress Gods bestowing honors on posts they think are really, really good. Sometimes I can’t see why they are good, but that’s probably because I’m not always interested in the subject matter. But not the case with this particular FP choice.

Of course, it’s not for everyone. I admire her ability to be that honest, to be able to write candidly about her childhood. I’m not sure I could do it, but then I had a completely Goody-Goody type of childhood. I love the wit, the irony, the sarcasm and the comedy of some of the bloggers I follow. One of these days, I’m going to put up a blog roll which will list them all.

So, in keeping with my new quest for bloggery realism, I have been collecting pictures and data for a series of posts I will call “Why Would Anyone Do This?” I’ll be posting the first one next week. I am fascinated by certain things people do, that I find odd, or stupid, or uncomfortable, or really weird. I have several posts in mind.

While I was writing this, another blogger I follow received notification that she is being featured as one of the bloggers of the day on bloggers.com. Wow, that’s great too. Maybe it’s because all good things happen to bloggers I follow. That’s it. I am the catalyst for all the mighty achievements happening in the blog worlds of others. I need to remain calm here, squash my feelings of invidiousness.

Really. It’s okay. I’ll be all right.

(Note: It appears my last post was reposted this morning. All my followers will get an email about it. I was just adding tags. Honest! It’s WordPress’s fault.)

 

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Will I Ever Be Freshly Pressed?

Will it ever happen? Will I ever be Freshly Pressed?

Alas. So far, it has not been so.

Being Freshly Pressed is a big deal to WordPress bloggers. And we all know that WordPress is the best blogging platform ever (!) with the best blogging tools ever (!!) and WordPress is, well, pretty awesome. (Will this help my chances, WordPress?)

If a blogger’s post ends up on the WordPress home page, he or she can expect high stats, lots of readers, lots of likes, lots of comments, lots of followers. In turn, if the blogger is a writer of books (like me), those readers will see my books, click on the images, buy from Amazon, and write five-star reviews. And I will live happily ever after.

I have never been, nor am I likely ever to be, Freshly Pressed. It just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t the WordPress gurus find me? Why do some bloggers become freshly pressed on their very first post?

And another thing. Occasionally (and I mean this literally – occasionally) I get a notification that a new reader is following my blog. These are so scarce that I nearly always look them up, see what they are up to. I see bloggers who have been at it for four months and have hundreds of followers already. How are they doing that? I have some piddling percentage of that number! Bah!

Enough whining.

I decided to look at each blog post that was Freshly Pressed as of Friday, July 20, to see if I could figure out what was good about it. What was it that caught the eyes of the choosers?

Here are a few of the FPd posts, and links, in case you are interested.

Can a Film Ever Truly Beat a Good Book? Basically no, says the post. If it is a really good book, one where you are drawn in by the characters and the story, a movie will usually come up a lot or a little short. Exception: The Help was almost as good in its film version as the book, but not quite. A very well-written post. 

Hey Rubiks Cube, EFF You! Okay. This is not good, not funny, filled with slight profanities which supposedly gets you bumped from the Freshly Pressed list. The formatting was strange. It had a nice picture of a Rubiks cube. I thought the original had a couple of typos but those have been corrected, if there were any. It was not long, thankfully.

Why Blogging Scares Me. OMG. This was good, the blogger is young (19) and that was apparent, which is fine. I like it a little better if you can’t discern the age or sex of the writer immediately. At least until they give away details so the reader can then figure it out. That’s just me though. The really pissable-off part is that this is the first post this individual has ever written! What?! How does it work that a first post such as this gets noticed and makes the list? I don’t get it. Not that it wasn’t good but… Really? Does this blogger know someone who is calling the Freshly Pressed shots?  It was well-written, despite a plethora of italics, bolded text and caps.

Shirley the Sheepish Feminist. This is pretty good, a post about feminism and why Jerry Seinfeld, in his new show Comedians Driving Around Getting Coffee, found  no women comics to drive around and chat with, only men. 

DIY Scratch Off Cards. Okay, who in their right mind wants to waste time making scratch-off cards?  I’m sure these cards work fine, and there were detailed instructions complete with pictures on how to make them. But why would anyone do this? In the event that I am completely missing the irony intended and also duly noting its originality (i.e. that anyone would have investigated this topic enough to write about it) I’d have to say this was very good.

Why I Watch The Newsroom. I have been told this is a very good series. I intend to watch it, so I was interested to read the review, which was good. From the comments, most think the show is excellent or were encouraged to watch by virtue of reading this post. It was a good review.

Follow the White Rabbit. I didn’t get much of this. It’s about artificial intelligence or something. I started yawning as soon as I realized this. Not into science fiction or fantasy or AI. Nice photos of billboards. Some would probably think this interesting. Alas, not me. But there’s nothing wrong with the post.

Dogs Married In $158,187.25 Wedding! Why Are You Still Single? Apparently a couple of dogs were wed and this pricey event took place in order to raise money for the Humane Society. It was just okay, not great. A picture of the bride and groom would have been funnier but this was not provided. The over-the-top craziness didn’t really work for me.

To My Son…..Finally The Phone Call. Wow. Poetry? I guess it is, short packed phrases which depict this mother’s trouble with her adult son. It was moving, yet I felt voyeuristic reading it, as if perhaps something so personal might be better left to a more private venue than the internet. And then it went FPd so even more people saw it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

My 15 Minutes. I suspect most of the calamities suffered during the 15 minutes before the film crew arrived might be a bit of an exaggeration in order to make this post funny. It didn’t work too well for me. Interesting concept: The writer of this blog is giving herself 1000 single days (no relationships, no dates, no sex) in order to “find herself”. That might work, but I guess if I told my husband I was going off for three years, he’d have some trouble with that.

DIY: Swimsuit Wrap. (Apparently “DIY” is big now.) Made with 1½ yards of fabric, four grommets and two chains. For some, I think this would be fine. Myself, I’m into “cover-ups” that are a little less revealing. My current cover-up is a burka. Nice post.

10 Non-fiction Books For the Novel Lover. I’ve read three, and this is a reminder that I always wanted to read Fast Food Nation. A good list.

None of these blogs rate an A+ in my opinion, although there have been FPd posts that I thought did merit that high grade. I have started following several blogs based on the post that was Freshly Pressed, and continue to enjoy every post from these fine writers. Here are three: The Write Transition, Life in the Boomer Lane, and The Byronic Man.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

5 Blogging Insecurities or Will I Ever Be Freshly Pressed?

I started reading an Elizabeth Berg novel yesterday called Once Upon a Time, There Was You. I’m not sure I should have done it and I will now tell you why I say that.

Ms. Berg is one of the very best women’s fiction authors in the country, in the world, in the universe. That’s merely my opinion but I know a lot of people agree with that statement. I was immediately hooked. There was a prologue about a couple who’d planned to marry, from each of their POVs. They each had second thoughts about the other and misgivings, serious misgivings that they might be doing the wrong thing, but went through with the wedding anyway. They were both in their late thirties and felt it was “time to settle down”.

Fast forward twenty years. They have an eighteen-year-old daughter and guess what? They are now divorced. Not surprising, given their reluctance to go through with the marriage in the first place. A few chapters in and I am still hooked, and I really like the main characters. What a lovely book it’s going to be. And what I really want is to be reading it, instead of writing this blog or editing my own novel.

Reading a Berg novel, while it may not educate you in anything other than great food presentation, or perhaps serve as a tool to demonstrate what really good writing looks like, is vastly entertaining.

Uh. All the insecurities rear their ugly heads.

I won’t ever be as good, I can’t compete, I might as well devote my life to chasing after dust bunnies and finger prints. Is it too late to learn how to cook? Maybe bake a pie? Yeah, probably.

My day is divided into thirds while I babysit for my four-month-old grandson. He is remarkably predictable, and has periods of wake, sleep and eat. Three times during my day, he repeats this cycle and while he sleeps and sometimes while he is awake, I can do things other than tend to him. I promised myself, one period of Elizabeth Berg, one period of editing Perigee Moon and one period of blog writing.

This is period three, blog writing. Speaking of blogging, check out my stats from the beginning of time. Not sure I can keep it up but it sure looks good to see the lovely graph of hits go up and up each month.

And even though I see this steady increase, still my blogging insecurities are ever present.

Here are some of the things I worry about, blog-wise:

  1. Have I remembered to answer everyone’s comment? It is not polite to ignore comments and only if one goes viral is it acceptable to lump one response to several comments. A successful blogger should at least attempt to answer each one individually. I think I may have ignored a couple, but wait, crap. There’s one from last week I forgot about. Well, I’ll respond to that one right now.
  2. Does my latest blog post suck? Does it sound like I just wasn’t in the right mood but it was time so I wrote down just anything? Looking back at some of the earlier ones, I think some of them do, in fact, suck. Some more than others. Some are helpful to writers but boring to non-writers, some are superficially entertaining and have no redeeming value to writers but may appeal to non-writers. Some are vents and some are just whatever happened to inspire me that day, like political rallies or food labels or maligning the Kardashians. Do the writing posts suck, or the non-writing ones? Do they all suck?
  3. Why don’t many bloggers “like” my posts? This is a big deal. If I have more readers now, why doesn’t anyone “like” it? Do they hate it? If they do like it, why don’t they tell me, then I can get those cool emails from WordPress telling me Congratulations! Someone liked your post enough to click the Like button!
  4. Why don’t I get many comments? Is it because my posts aren’t interesting enough, or funny enough, or educational enough? Probably all of the above. I love getting comments! Whenever I see emails from comment-reply@wordpress.com I get euphoric with joy. The email has all the information, the name of the comment and the text. It’s so exciting to see these in my inbox!
  5. Will I ever be Freshly Pressed? This may not be familiar to some readers, but other WordPress bloggers know well what this status symbol does for the old stats. This is when the WordPress gurus themselves find a blog that they consider to be original and worthy of a place on the home page. I have started to follow many blogs based upon their Freshly Pressed status. My personal goal is to achieve this someday. What a feather in the old writing cap that would be. I’m not sure how the individual blogs are picked by the WordPress people, but somehow they find them.

So I wonder. I like to post once a week. Is it better to post a so-so article, or a rather dumb article, or a completely lame article, rather than post nothing at all?

I haven’t been feeling all that funny lately, so I hope the readers I have managed to accumulate stick with me.   

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Search Terms

Every day I check my blog stats. Okay, make that several times a day. They tell you how many hits your blog had, not who, just how many. Here they are, and I am happy to say they have continued in an upward, positive trend since February 2011.

Here are blog stats from January through October, 2011:

I seem to be getting a lot of traffic from search engines, but when I checked the search engine terms used to find my blog, many times I couldn’t figure out how it ever ended up on the first page or pages of search results produced from the particular input criteria.

While I am very pleased to think that my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques, which include pertinent keywords, accurate titles and labeled images, appear to be generating traffic, sometimes I confess, it’s a real head-scratcher to understand how it works, based on the content of my blogs. Here are some of the most bizarre:

  • wally moon – Who is Wally Moon anyway? Any relation to Perigee?
  • little kid on a treadmill – All you little children, stay away from treadmills. You don’t need these until you’re older – much older.
  • beer background design – This does not sound like a good background picture to me but maybe on a Beer For Dummies book it would be.
  • punctuation takes a vacation what is bothering mr wright – Racking my brain for whatever would be in any post I have ever written that would cause a blog about writing women’s fiction to appear using these search terms. Punctuation? Vacation?
  • dental photography black background – Dental photography? Keep this away from me, please.
  • kitap kapak tasarımı – Is this Pig Latin?
  • chains black background – Whenever I see “chains” I get suspicious.
  • spine flower – Probably wanted to find information about tattoos?
  • uneducated successful businessman – This might be an oxymoron, oh wait, probably not.
  • can’t find romance novel about memory loss and love – No? Bummer. Neither can I.
  • mild indirect – This seems bland to me, should I take warning from this?
  • why i don’t feel creative – Wow, neither do I. Welcome to the Let’s Suck at Creativity Club.
  • desain sampul buku – More Pig Latin, with a Mid-eastern flair?
  • soap liquid background – Cleanliness is next to, um, I forget.
  • toast treadmill walker – Let’s see, first you have your toast, then you get on the treadmill, then you need a walker. It’s all I can figure.

I doubt that the individuals using these search terms are interested in a blog site dedicated to baby boomer issues and women’s fiction but you never know where you might find readers, so I’ll take it as a good sign that the stats are improving.

It puzzles me, how search engines work. I can’t imagine that they can search through every piece of information on the internet, examine the content of each one, and deliver a results list at the speed they do, but maybe that’s exactly how it works. I know that many of the terms used above were not in my titles, nor were they in the body of the posts. Apparently, greater computer minds than mine ever was are at work here.

And the really odd part is, when I search for these terms, I don’t see my blog in the results list returned. So what search engine are these folks using? I researched this very issue, and came up with a few blogs that addressed the subject, but none of them provided a good answer. They mostly said, your results could be located on page N (insert really big number here) but that some people actually go deep into many pages while searching.  I find that hard to believe. If it doesn’t show up on the first page, I seldom go any farther. But maybe.

And I still don’t understand “kitap kapak tasarımı”.   

Treadmills and Blog Stats and Electric Appliances

Treadmill update: Still using that great playlist. I think it’s just about perfect now, good warm up and cool down songs, and I like how the ZZ Top stuff is always about the same tempo, no matter what song it is. It’s a long, stretched-out stride because it’s just a bit slower, intermixed with the faster pieces. Because of the ZZ Top songs, this has made me think 3.3 MPH might be my top speed. Of course, a taller person would probably have different requirements but this works for me. According to my friend Mary, elevation is the key, speed isn’t as important. (More about my friend, Mary later.) I’ve started doing that, and true to my exercise-nature, I’ve started out with 1% and will continue with that until it seems “easy”, if that ever happens.

Blog stats update: I thought July wasn’t going to make it, that it would be the first month that wouldn’t show an increase in readership, but that wasn’t the case. It’s now August that I think may be a problem. See these stats. Where have all the readers gone?

Maybe I’ll slip in an extra post, see if I can bump it up to at least equal July. Is that cheating?

We (my husband and I) recently traveled to Florida by car. We discovered we could take I77 instead of I75 and it would add almost nothing to our trip. I saw that we would be going close to Charleston, SC where my friend, Mary, lives.

Mary was one of my best friends in high school, and though we lost track of each other for many years, recently, we’ve been in touch again. She hosted a one-week get together at her lovely waterfront home in April of 2010, which we coined the GTE (Get Together Extravaganza). The preparation and logistics of getting seven women together for a week was intimidating. The morning after we’d all finally got there, Mary had gift bags for all of us, and included were matching tee shirts, coffee mugs, and funny sunglasses, among other things. Here is a picture of the seven of us.

I hadn’t realized how appliance-happy Mary was, until our recent visit. The first night, I don’t think we used any appliances but early next morning, we were treated to coffee via the new Keurig coffeemaker. We were suitably impressed by this very high tech device. Then Mary whipped out the Electric Egg Poacher and five minutes later she slid a perfectly cooked egg onto toast. While I watched, she went to the closet to get the Electric Garlic Baker. Yes, there really is an appliance just for that. She had a dinner party that evening, so around 5-ish out came the Electric Martini Shaker. After a few dirty martinis and citrus something martinis were imbibed, we settled into dinner (which was delicious, but to my knowledge, no special appliances were used in its preparation). At the table we used the Battery-Operated Wine Decorker to liberate about three bottles of red wine. The next morning, we had waffles on the (you guessed it!) Electric Waffle Maker. And now I hear that Mary is now the owner of an Electric Crepe Maker, and the next time we go, it’s crepes, Baby!

By the way, everything was delicious, thank you again, Mary!

I’m ending this post with a general gripe, and if anyone can help me – PLEASE! I am losing my mind, losing “it”, losing control, losing my temper. No matter what application I’m in, Word, email, any application where I am typing along (and I’m pretty fast, back in the 60’s I could do 60 wpm – that’s words per minute with no errors). Anyway, I am happily typing along and all of a sudden my cursor is somewhere else in the document! The typed words are then in their new location, whkeyboard? ich of course makes absolutely no sense. It’s happened here, as I have typed this about 10 times. Is it my laptop, is it my keyboard? OMG, it just happened, see that, up there?

Sorry this post is not about writing. I haven’t been doing much writing, but I did compose a poem to be used at the beginning of the book. I have also completed a short prologue, and I am still working on my Snowflake Methodology. Also I thought I’d like to do a post on music, what music I listen to while writing, and music that is included in my novels.

Blog Anniversary – Six Months Already

About a month ago, I went to Molly Woo’s Chinese American Bistro. I love it when they are called “bistros”. I know there will be lovely atmosphere, good wine, and servers who are young, good-looking, and condescending.

It was a hot day, and the gentleman (barely 21 most likely) behind the podium asked if we wished to be seated inside or outside.

“Inside, I think,” I said.

“Fantastic!” he said.

Really? Was that because it’s a pain in the ass for them to seat you outside, the servers having to come in and out through the heavy door? Was it because he was concerned about our comfort, on such a hot day? I was curious why he thought my decision to be inside was “fantastic” and pondered it all through the meal.

My fortune cookie said “A thrilling time is in store for you.

Great! That means my blog is about to take off? I’m going to get a call from Ellen? Oprah?

So far, nothing thrilling has happened, but then it’s only been a month.

Today is July 9, 2011 and the six-month anniversary of my blog. My first post was on January 9, 2011. I thought it appropriate to recognize this less than impressive anniversary.

The blog started out pretty well, I think a lot of my Facebook friends checked it out, and then probably found it boring. In February it tanked pretty well, but as you can see by the chart, it has steadily improved since then. June saw the same numbers as January. So far July isn’t too impressive though, so the trend may not continue.

I think a lot of the same people read it every time, and for that I thank them profusely. But I haven’t been able to attract many new readers / fans to my blog. It is disheartening sometimes, and when I check the stats and see a big goose egg (Sorry, no readers today!) I get mad and discouraged and vow to quit altogether. But then I don’t.

It’s what I have chosen to try and promote myself and my books so if I quit doing that, what next? I find myself getting lost in a circle of uncertainty, what’s the best way? What can I try next, without doing something that my introversive personality could never support?

Sometimes I spend a good portion of a day on one blog post. This past blog, about the bluegrass music, and WWII, for example, was time consuming, since I edited the chapter several times. When I got done, I still thought the story was pretty boring. No wonder the editor said to cut it out.

The time spent on writing a blog that has a small readership could better be spent on writing, but once another book is completed, if no one knows about me, they’ll never know it exists. Bah!

Vicious, vicious circles.

Surprisingly, the one post that has the most traffic is the one about Designing Your Own Book Cover. I could see that it was reached by a variety of Google searches and a lot of people read it. No one commented on it, of course, so maybe it wasn’t all that helpful to anyone. I find it difficult to get comments out of readers.

I need just one post to go viral and then people who read it may read some of the previous posts. It’s a long shot, but you never know when / if it will happen. I’m going to keep on blogging, but I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed if July doesn’t top June.

And here’s another ancient Chinese proverb: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

I take this to mean, it is better to concentrate on one thing than to go off in different directions. So I’ll continue blogging, at least for a while.