Category Archives: blogging

The Award-Winning…

Jaquandor was kind enough to bestow upon me a “Kreative Blogger” award of some sort.

I feel a certain obligation to pass these kinds of things along, based on the theory that, back in the olden days when I started blogging, some 4.7 years ago, it made the blogisphere – dare I say it? – FUN. Blogging should be fun, even if one’s venting one’s spleen to do so.

You’re supposed to reveal seven things about yourself. Of course, the problem with that I’m almost out of stuff to “reveal” that 1) I didn’t reveal before, 2) require more than a line or two, or 3) I’m not planning to reveal at this point, or quite possibly, ever. No guarantees that the list below might not have bumped into the first category:

1. I receive an irrational amount of pleasure when I delete one piece of spam in Gmail and it says I’ll be deleting “the one conversation”, or “both conversations” when I delete two, as opposed to those programs that will delete “all 1 conversations”, or some such.

2. I once got a B in art in 7th grade. My parents were at a loss as to how I did so well. This explains almost everything you need to know about me and doing art.

3. I once almost flew with someone who was traveling on someone else’s ticket. He got detained by airport security and the police for about seven hours until he showed his security clearance. This, BTW, was before 9/11.

4. I have no tattoos. I’m not opposed at this point, but 1) it would keep me from donating blood for a while and 2) my wife would hate it. Then there’s the pain and permanence thing, but those are secondary.

5. At least twice, I took jobs because of affairs of the heart. Neither was worth it; the jobs weren’t, that is, but the affairs of the heart were.

6. I tape sporting events then watch them later, going through lots of machinations (no news watching/reading or e-mail/Facebook/Twitter). Sometimes it works (Jets/Bengals, Eagles/Cowboys Saturday games I watched on Sunday; Packers/Cardinals Sunday game I finished Tuesday morning); sometimes not (the Patriots loss on the front cover of Monday’s Wall Street Journal).

7. I’m allergic to penicillin and Naprocyn, have been for years, yet I’m too lazy to get one of those tags. But we have one for my daughter with her peanut allergy.

Then I’m supposed to pass the award along. That’s a bit tougher. I’d have considered Jaquandor’s Byzantium Shores. I’d also have picked SamuraiFrog’s Electronic Cerebrectomy, except he gave the award to Jaquandor and that’s a bit too circular for me. Then there are the bums gentlemen who stopped blogging in the last year, who I used to follow.

Still, there’s:

1. Arthur @AmeriNZ – your usual, everyday blog of a gay man from Illinois who moved to New Zealand for love. OK, there’s a LOT more to it: talk about politics, comparative US/NZ culture and whatever enters his fertile mind. He also has a couple podcasts, one on politics, the other, more general.

2. Coverville – the blog is primarily a support mechanism for Brian Ibbott’s great podcast “featuring unusual covers of pop, rock and country songs by new and established performers.” But in the last year or so, he’s added a song rating system to the site. Also, he and his listeners have found some nifty videos of covers that he’s posted.

3. Progressive Ruin: Unfortunately, I gotta give props to Mike Sterling, even though he’s a cheater pants, not just for his persistence – I think he posted 364 days last year – but for some of his regular features, such as his deconstruction of the absurd items Diamond comics catalog, and especially Sluggo Saturdays. Still his obsession with the comic creature Swamp Thing is…disturbing.

4. And speaking of Swamp Thing, its best renderer, IMHO, my buddy Steve Bissette posts his Myrant, a mix of digital comics, comics & film history, political tirades and more.

5. Scott’s Scooter Chronicles is about music, books, beer, and hockey. Truth is that I’m not a big fan of the latter two, but he even makes those interesting. It’s also about his two young sons and being unemployed in America. SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN A JOB!

6. Anthony Velez’s The Dark Glass is a series of theological musings. Sometimes I don’t understand, but he always explains it, or tries to.

7. Gordon at Blog This, Pal! is mostly a pop culture (comics/TV/movies) blog. He knows more about Doctor Who and Kids in the Hall than anyone has a right to. I happen to particularly enjoy those too-rare glimpses of his personal side (his mom, St. Louis vs. Chicago). He also has a podcast that he’s rethinking. He knows I’d always vote for keeping the music, but really, he should do what brings him joy.

ROG

2009: A Blog Review

Gordon reminded me of this New Year’s tradition: “…go through the blog, randomly select one entry per month, and post it. It’s a great way to review the year…”

I used the Random Integer Generator and a formula too convoluted to explain here.

January – One review in particular irritated me: “The exceptional The Times of Harvey Milk won the Oscar for Best Documentary 24 years ago…. Yet, all this time later… Hollywood wants us to applaud its courage for finally–finally–telling this story?”

February – Ultimately, though it was a story of heroism, changing from a state of inertia to a state of action.

March – The 2010 Census is coming up and the Bureau will be using “American Indian or Alaska Native” as the designation for native peoples, just as it did in 2000.

April Both parts are recyclable, with a 1 or 2 in a triangle.

May – The makers of the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine also made this movie, right down to casting Alan Arkin as the grandfather; it’s a different role, but not so dissimilar that one couldn’t find it a variation on the theme.

June – It is true that one-third of all Americans now own an HDTV, putting market penetration at an all-time high.

July – I need to explain that Aunt Charlotte was one of my closest relatives, not biologically but in terms of the effect she had on my life.

August – When Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks spoke the truth about George W. Bush in March 2003, just before the US invasion of Iraq, and took a lot of heat, immediately, I ran out to the local Rite Aid and bought the Dixie Chicks’ then-current album.

September – Stories on both 60 Minutes (along with Barack Obama and Teddy Kennedy, FCOL,) and CBS Sunday Morning showed that the institution was finally getting its due, even if it was to sound its death knell.

October – Going back to the earliest days of rock and roll, there have been spoken lyrics within the context of a song.

November – But it wasn’t just the Muppets that appealed to me.

December – From my favorite Petty album, Full Moon Fever.

Interesting that 3 of 12 are movie reviews, as though I saw all that many movies. 2 of 12 (1 in 6) are of the ABC variety, which makes sense, since 1 in 7 of my posts are of that variety. Movies, music and television dominate – sounds right, though I watch less and less TV, and the music I listen to isn’t always the newest.
***
Then, looking back, I noticed that I DID make resolutions last year. How did I do?
* to play more backgammon. That I did, playing an average of once every three weeks or so, perhaps an average of four games a session. Mich more satisfying than online.
* to play more cards, specifically hearts. Nope, 1 time.
* to see more movies. I haven’t tallied the movies that I saw; whatever I might have gained count-wise earlier in the year totally fell apart by mid-year.
* to play more racquetball. About the same, maybe slightly less.
* come spring, I need to BUY a bike to replace the one that was stolen. Done.
* read more books. Not done; more partials.
* listen to more music at home. Marginal improvement.

Good reason NOT to make any for 2010.
ROG

NaBloPoMo

What’s the new public trend
That’s a sex turnoff to all the folks?
(NaBloPoMo!)
You’re damn right

What is the thing
That would risk one’s rep with the brother man?
(NaBloPoMo!)
Can ya dig it?

What’s the trend that won’t cop out
When there are deadlines all about?
(NaBloPoMo!)
Right on

You see this meme NaBloPoMo is a bad mother–
(Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ about NaBloPoMo
(Then we can dig it)

It’s a complicated trend
And no one understands it, man or woman
(NaBloPoMo!)

A little 3 a.m. silliness about National Blog Posting Month.

Do I NEED NaBloPoMo? Well, not exactly. As of tomorrow, November 2, I’ll have blogged daily 4.5 years. I often say I’ll take a day off, but I don’t. It’s like my father’s cigarette habit; he never quit, just stopped smoking for a day, then another day until it was over 25 years. So actually, NaBloPoMo is more of a THREAT to blogging than just keeping my head down and just doing it.

I can’t help but to wonder if it’s all in response to National Novel Writing Month, which, perhaps not coincidentally, ALSO starts today.

Anyway, that’s 1 of 30.
***
Oh, I’ll be here today, but probably mot until 1 p.m., in case anyone cares.

ROG

Climate Change

I agreed to do this bloggers unite to save the world thing today on climate change, but my heart’s not in it. I mean, there are still people who deny that we are slowly, or not so slowly killing ourselves and our planet. No wonder they called a movie about the topic The Age of Stupid.

President Obama gave a nice speech on climate change at the United Nations last month. Of course, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show rightly mocked the amount of fuel used by the leaders getting to New York City.

I WILL plug the 350 event on October 24. That day, in almost every country of the world, ordinary citizens will come together in a series of events and rallies and demonstrations and glorious public art projects, all designed to do one thing: make the most important number in the world the most well-known.
That number is 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide. In the last two years, the scientific community has made very clear that it’s the maximum safe level for carbon in the atmosphere, at least if we want to have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapated.”

Perhaps huge participation numbers will light a fire under President Obama when he goes to Copenhagen in December for U.N.-sponsored climate talks.

Of course, we as individuals have to do more. I may use a reel mower, which I tend to arrogantly think of as a REAL mower. We compost. But surely our old house still needs more insulation. So it’s not just the leaders; it’s gotta be all of us as well.

I’ve mentioned this before, but someone should explain to me how cap and trade is NOT functionally like the (not so) old church tradition of selling indulgences, where the the “sinners” pay for redemption.

As the President said: “Unease is no excuse for inaction. And we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress.”

ROG

That Equinox Tradition! Ask Roger Anything!

Ask Roger Anything comes at a really opportune time. Answering your questions really revs up the batteries. Leave your questions in the comment section, or if you’re really shy, e-mail them to me.

I don’t know about other bloggers, but I need the relationship that blogging can provide. Often, and this is both counter-intuitive and slightly nerve wracking, I’ll go look at other blogs when I “should” be working on my own. This is not so I can steal from them, though a meme or six has come that way, but because I need the electronic esprit de corps.

A little bit ago, I noted that I don’t really write this blog and that I often have the content of a piece go in a different direction than I had initially planned. Likewise, I learn a lot from commenting elsewhere, including about me.

From Gordon’s noting the passing of a friend, I learned how much I regretted dropping – 20 years ago! -a methodology that I used to use to keep up with friends. From ADD’s piece on creator rights, I realized that there is a parallel between those who want to protect the status quo (“they signed the damn contract; it’s their own fault”) and some forms of Christianity, which I will call fundamentalism (not a great word, really, but understood – or misunderstood well enough for this purpose). Whereas trying to create a more equitable distribution of wealth fits into (my) loosey-goosey “liberal” theology that suggests that getting to the right end is more important than the literal reading of “the law”.

So back to the issue at hand, just about anything goes. I do not recall a question yet that I did not answer, and answer with the truth; the whole truth and nothing but the truth will cost extra.
***
Brian at Coverville played my John Hiatt-Elvis Costello request, the lowest rated song on the show, alas!
***
Also Musical: Jaquandor’s ten film scores, or filmscores.
ROG

The Random Dozen Meme

I’m Sunday Stealing again:

1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration?

The heebie-jeebies. Since I never go there on my own, only with other people, usually those with whom I am related, I find that it’s almost like suffocating.

2. What is something that people are currently “into” that you just don’t get or appreciate?

Probably a reality show that I haven’t even heard of. I mean I never knew about Jon and Kate until their marriage went south, and now I hear about them ALL OF THE TIME. Oh, I know something else: Twilight. All I know about it is what I read in other people’s blogs, none of it complimentary.

3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel “ho-hum” about?

Racquetball, the sport of kings. And I actually like to watch tennis tournaments such as the U.S. open and Wimbledon.

4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car?

Oh, there’s no singular favorite. It’s often affected by my mood or what I’ve been listening to. On the bike, though, it’s as often as not, “Keeping On Running” by the Spencer Davis Group; GREAT bass line.

5. A really great salad must have this ingredient:

Lettuce other than iceberg.

6. What advice in a nutshell would you give to new bloggers?

Write three days worth of stuff before you post your first item; otherwise, you’ll have tabula rasa every day.

7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you?

Actually, I was always going to be Roger, and my sister Leslie was going to be Leslie. I think my mom was pushing for Margaret for the baby sister, but Marcia was the compromise.

8. What in your life are you waiting for?

Very little. I find that waiting for even the weekend tends to diminish the time I’m in presently in. If it’d Wednesday and I want it to be Friday would mean Wednesday and Thursday are not being honored.

9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from?

From my sister Marcia. Something she’s passed on from my 18-year-old niece to my 5 year old daughter.

10. Today–what song represents you?

I’m So Tired by the Beatles.

11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself?

That I’m even more opinionated than I thought I was, and more disciplined.

12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you’re wearing today?
What do they say about you in general or specifically how you’re feeling today?

Are they clean? Are they wrinkled? Do they vaguely match? Are they torn? If the answers are Yes, No, Yes, and Depends On Where And How Much, respectively, we’re good to go. It means that clothes have never been that important to me.
***
I should note the passing of Larry Gelbart, writer of the TV show M*A*S*H (which I watched religiously), co-creator of the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (hilarious, even in a local production I saw), and co-writer of Tootsie (a film I enjoyed), among many other credits, going back to working with Sid Caesar. But I’ll just recommend this piece by Mark Evanier and also this one, which rightly points to this piece by Ken Levine.

ROG

Some Meta Blog Stuff

I have a confession to make: I don’t write this blog.

It writes itself.

By that, I mean that I experience what I experience, and then I start typing. I have a vague notion of what I want to say, where I want to go, but as often as not, something I write surprises me. “I didn’t know I was going to write THAT; hmm, that’s interesting.”

But lately, there have been a half dozen different topics that have just refused to write themselves. I shan’t name them, lest they develop a sense of self-importance: “Ha, we’ve shown him!” Eventually, they’ll see the light of day. Or not.

Meanwhile, Vincent Wright of MyLinkingPowerForum.com notes that:

“We all use search engines.

“Most of us use Google most.

“However, suppose you got search results but, didn’t know whether the BEST results for you came from Google, Yahoo, or Bing?

BlindSearch.Fejus.com does that for us.”

He typed in his Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook ID, got the results, and was “surprised that the results I preferred were NOT from Google!”

I used my name in various combinations (RogerGreen, RogerOwenGreen, with and without spaces), and the results I preferred were in fact from Google. However, when I used one of my pseudonymous tags, as I do writing LOCs on some blogs such as Salon, the Yahoo! results are more to my liking.

The obvious point is that I ought to be using a consistent name across the Intersnet. Will I go make the change to do that? Maybe. Possibly? Eh, who am I kidding? Probably not. For while I often read those Search Engine Optimization articles, and I think many of them make perfect sense, there’s only so many hours in the day. I can write or I can optimize; writing is usually fun, the above notwithstanding. SEO is work, and given the limited time resource between fun and work, I choose fun.

Now if I develop swine flu and am confined to my house, then maybe.
***
If I were writing this blog, I might note the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and desribe her as essentially the creator of the Special Olympics. But since it’s writing itself, it wants you to know that Ms. Shriver’s efforts inspired a series of great Christmas music. I bought the first album back in 1987 because I was a sucker for a good cause. But I listened to it every season because it’s good. The 1992 follow-up (the green cover) is pretty fine as well. Subsequent collections fall short but include some gems as well.

ROG

The Blogging Meme

From Sunday Stealing

1. How long have you been blogging?
4 years, 1 month

2. Any advice to beginners?
Yes, have a couple pieces written before posting the first one. I came across these tips for beginner bloggers.

3. What are the good things blogging has brought to your life?
Actually “met”, as it were, a number of decent folks.

4. What would you consider the pitfalls?
Obsessive behavior, on the part of at least one respondent. Maybe the blogger as well.

5. Tell us about your blog name. Ever think of changing it? If so, to what? Why?
It’s semi-alliterative. It was inspired by a radio show called Ramblin’ with Gamblin, or something like that. I could change it, but I have no particular inspiration.

6. Knowing what you know now, was starting a blog a good thing for you? Why or why not?
Why? Because all of those thoughts about what made me annoyed, or occasionally pleased, about the world were all bottled up, previously with no outlet.
Why not? Because sometimes I get melancholy and discouraged when I don’t seem to generate any comments for two or three days in a row.

7. How do you think blogging, bloggers, or the blogosphere has changed since you started?
More of them, of course. More tools such as Twitter to augment the blog. More toys to play with in general.

8. Ultimately, what would you like your blog to accomplish for you or others?
The usual: world peace.
***
Every week, I get a PDF of the blogs I write. You can get the same for your blogs or others that you follow, even on a daily basis, if they have an RSS feed, with tabbloid.com. It’s free, easy and you don’t need an account, just an e-mail to send it to. I know it sounds like a commercial, but I’m not getting anything for it; I just think it’s rather cool if you envision being published in a more traditional manner.

ROG

Why I Blog

Sometimes, when I get the blogging melancholy – you know, nobody comments, et al. – I get some positive feedback. All of these e-mails came between April 17 and 22.

One was a message from a new salon that noted my mention in a blog post.

Another was a message from a former high school history teacher of mine who became a county executive and now heads a statewide nonprofit. I’m not clear which assessment he’s referring to, but it’s accurate: “Many thanks for your assessment of me as one of your teachers. Being included with Helen Foley is good company, indeed. Glad to see that you haven’t lost your interest in world affairs. At what library in Albany do you work, or have I misread the information on your blog?” Helen Foley, BTW, was my public speaking teacher, and, not incidentally Rod Serling’s beloved teacher in junior and senior high school.

A third was someone who “met Raoul Vezina in 1983 in a comic store in Albany NY. I have #1-4 signed Smilin Ed comics and a 1983 Fantacon poster signed by Raoul as well. He was a gentle person and very talented. I remember you too. You worked at the comic store…am I correct? My boyfriend at the time…purchased comics at your store. You may remember him. I’m sure you don’t remember me. LOL! [He] and I are not together now. I found your e-mail address on the web when I was looking up Raoul Vezina on my computer. I found Raoul’s Smilin Ed comics when I was cleaning out a drawer. I’d completely forgotten about them. When I saw them, it brought back so many wonderful memories. I have Raoul’s obituary clipping from the Times Union. I don’t know why I saved all this stuff, but I did. As I looked at the comics and the clipping, I wondered if anyone would appreciate them after I’m gone. I decided that no one would, except another person who knew Raoul. My daughter will probably will consider it garbage, not aware that Raoul was a special person and a talented artist. So, saying that, I’d like to ask you if you’d like them. I will send them to you at no cost to you, if you’d like. Let me know.”
Yes, I do remember her boyfriend, but alas not her, but she was most kind.

Also Raoul-related is the first comment to this post.

Always nice to get the psychic, and occasionally, actual goodies.
ROG

Blogiversary Numero Quatro

When I say that I have posted every day for four years, and I say, “I don’t believe it,” I’m not being rhetorical. Given the whimsical way I started this blog, AND my notorious lack of discipline, I figured it’d last a month or two, maybe until the JEOPARDY! saga was finished, or after I made some observations about the daughter until she hit those early milestones.

Yet here I am. I’ve really tried NOT to write more than once a day. I don’t have time. How did I do THIS year?
2008: May, September, November, December; 2009: January, February reached goal
2008: June, October; 2009: March one extra post
2008: July, August; 2009: April three extra posts
So that’s 374 posts in the past year, not to mention my other blogs here and here and here and my work blog here.

One of the things about blogging, of course, is that one doesn’t do it in isolation. I don’t think some people realizes that blogging is more than the writing. Near-twin Gordon talks about the 70/30 rule – I don’t know if it’s original with him, but it doesn’t matter – which is that 70% of the time you blog, but the other 30% of the time you spend reading and commenting on other blogs.

This has gotten more tricky this year by two factors:
1) my wife’s internship, which has made use of our single computer more difficult. Perfect example happened yesterday, when I got up at 4:35 a.m. to work on this post, but my wife ALSO got up at the same time to do school work until 5:55; given the fact that I have to wake the child at 6:30 and leave at 7…
2) my embrace of Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. I was reading the March 2009 Ladies Home Journal this week – it was left in the lunchroom – and someone wrote that Facebook is “a big time suck.”

That “other” time is important; it keeps me informed, even if it’s about weird stuff. But also one starts to actually care about those other people. When Tom the Dog tweets: “Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be better. I feel like I’ve turned a corner. About time.” a few days ago, I hope that means he’ll start blogging again. When Scott gets laid off from his job, I feel the need to commiserate. Yet I’ve met neither of them.

The great thing about this busyness is that I stopped worrying about the number of hits I get on a given day, or my Technorati score, or any of that. I AM happy that this blog is still in the top three or four when one Googles Roger Green.

This coming year, I’ve decided that I need to do a few specific things:
I’m going to continue to do ABC Wednesday because it forces me to stretch.
I need to do my long-promised list of Beatles songs in order of what I’d want on to hear on a desert island; some of the biggies will not fare well.
I need to continue my year-by-year analysis of Oscar-worthy movies so I can finally make my list of my favorite movies (though one on my list is certainly NOT Oscar-worthy).
And of course, my once-a-month Lydia piece.

I MAY miss a day or two. It’s much more likely given the fact that I’ll be away for a couple weeks this summer without computer access. Or maybe I’ll just post YouTube videos like Eddie does when he’s stressed. I will likely, in the words of Alan David Doane, reposition some stuff for sure.

Thank you all for coming by. Comments are always welcome.
ROG