Thursday, January 20, 2005

Why Are You Here?

I can understand why it is that I'm getting about 90 hits per day on this site. I comment a lot, I read other people's blogs, and I post myself. But what I don't understand is why my average visit lasts over 3 minutes. And why I only get about 10-15 referral hits on my new blog from this one.

Let's be real clear:

I HAVE MOVED


The new site is Bathroom Reading.

Go There! Don't stay here. There's nothing new here. There's never going to be anything new here! I have moved, and I'm posting new stuff on the old site. There are links to my archives on the new site, too. There's no reason to stay here more than 5 seconds!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Site

OK, So, I'm moving.

Please change your links to http://www.bathroomreadingblog.com.

Here's the link: Bathroom Reading

UPDATE: January 14, 2005 2:25 p.m. There have been about 50 hits today on this site. For those of you reading this...you're missing the new stuff. I HAVE MOVED. Go to the new site by clicking the link above. If you have me on a blogroll...please change it. Thanks, BR

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The Story of the Banner

I realized, from LCN's comment, that the banner might not be known to all.

Well, the old-timers on the site know about the banner. I was able to put it up myself. I had a guy upload it to his site, because Flikr doesn't let me upload 2 meg files. Anyway, I was able to connected the image to my site from that guy's. Unfortunately, the guy's hosting company went belly-up. So no more picture. My site was crashing, and I couldn't figure out why. So when I did, I just removed the banner.

The banner has been off for quite a while. "Quite a while" not meaning what it usually means, seeing as how I've only been blogging for about three weeks. Anyway, it's been down, and many, most of you never even saw it. So I'm glad I was finally able to retrieve the banner.

The site is, after all, bathroom reading.

By the way, I'm still soliciting comments on whether I should stay on blogger. What do you think? Check out the new blog, and comment there to let me know what you think.

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The Banner Is Back!

Yes, folks. As you can see, the banner is back.

Also, I'm trying to decide if I want to change over to my own domain. I've put up the new Bathroom Reading site. Check out the format (including the banner.)

I haven't decided to use that site yet, so don't change any links yet. Probably I will move, because I'm paying for that one (albeit not very much).

Please leave a comment on the opening post of the new site to let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Bathroom Reading

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Trespassers William

OK, so in a post below, I mentioned how great their music was.

I've been listening to the three songs I downloaded ("I Know," "Different Stars," "Lie in the Sound"). Let me just say that they are all incredibly sung, beautifully written.

And so depressing that I want to slit my wrists. After taking a handful of sleeping pills. While hanging myself. In the bathtub with an electical appliance. After a lengthy session of beating myself with a whip, for all the horrors I've imposed on the female of the species.

Go listen.

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1,000

Wow. I've only been doing this about three weeks. Sometime tonight, or maybe tomorrow morning, I'm going to go past 1,000 hits. I'm amazed that people wanted to know what I was thinking enough to come here 1,000 times. Thanks. Bathroom Reading

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Housekeeping

OK, the way haloscan is set up, you read comments without really knowing what post they're from. So I'm going to answer some questions left in the comments, but in no particular order.

First, Talula at Talula the Avenger wants to know how to blogroll. I left some pretty detailed instructions at Karma's site, in some comments here. Go check those out. If you have any questions, feel free to write me at bathroomreading@hotmail.com.

Second, a comment that Chelse made, about how she likes text messages, reminded me of a lesson I learned, which I'll now share with you. And yes, this is a gross generalization, and no, I don't want any comments about how you are atypical. Women are all about process, men are all about results. A guy climbs a mountain to get a rare crossbreed of rose and orchid. The mountain is in Peru. He had to walk there. Uphill...both ways. In the snow. With no shoes. The trek gets reported by the news, and the woman sees it. But on the way home, the flower dies. The woman swoons. Points forever. If a woman did the same thing for a guy, he'd say, "Boy, it really sucks that the flower died." No points. It's not the only difference between men and women, but it's a major one, and you should always keep it in mind.

And finally, some people commented on my missed-opportunity story, saying they wanted to know how it ended. Well, there are two stories: first, how it ended up between me and Anne. And second, how the story ended. I'll tell you the latter story now.

Almost seven years ago, I was at sort of a convention, and this woman sits down at my table for lunch. We talk a bit. She's really pretty (amazing blue/grey/gold eyes). Says her name is Jessica. The next week I see her again, at a lecture. I ask her out.

Our first date is on a Saturday night. I take her to a pool hall (fairly upscale...they were the in thing in 1998), and then to a bar downtown where a band I know and like is playing. Blues. I love the blues. I spent my summer studying for the bar mainly in a blues bar. But I digress. So we're playing pool and talking. She's not bad, and I'm not good, so it's evenly matched. Anyway, the discussion turns to what she's looking for in a guy. And she's talking about how he should be strong, but sensitive. Funny, but not a jokester. Manly, but gentlemanly. Tall, but short. Thin, but fat. And I say, "boy, you are never gonna find a guy like that. You expect too much." I spend the rest of the evening apologizing for that remark (even though I meant every word). It turns out, she was describing me. So we go to the band, and have a rip-roaring time. I decide she's really exactly what I'm looking for. So we go back to her place. I ask her out on the second date while we're still on the first. And, in the first of my wearing-my-heart-on-my-sleeve actions, I ask her out for a movie, the next night.

So Sunday night I pick her up, and we go see The Wedding Singer. Fantastic date movie. Good guy wins in the end. Although there's not much of a victory lap, it's still good. This starts, by the way, the Adam Sandler tradition that we have. When we come out of the theater, it's drizzling. We run across the street, and she slips. Now, when I say she slips, I don't mean in a dainty, womanly way. I'm talking both feet out from under her, up in the air, coming down right on her ass kind of way. You generally only see that kind of thing in the movies. So I scoop her up out of the street (there are cars coming), and we get to the other side. We're both laughing. Her, because she's totally mortified and embarrassed. Me, because, frankly, it was really funny. So we get in a cab, and I drop her off.

She's thinking, I find out later, that I'm never going to call her again, because of "the incident." That's the fall, for you men (I assume my women readers understood that without being told). She figures she so humiliated herself that there's no redemption. She can't sleep that night. She's thinking and thinking, "why didn't he ask to come up? Because of the fall, of course. He doesn't want to go out with a klutz. What can I say, on the million-to-one chance that he calls again, that will play it off as funny, but not important?" And the like. All night she's thinking.

Me, I was tired. So I went home and went to sleep. [And let me add for the women out there: Ugh! Typical man!]

So I wake up the next morning, and as soon as manners permit, I call her.

Here's the conversation. In my own defense, I was hampered with a romantic mental density so intense that it caused a gravity field that buckled my apartment's brick walls, and a near-terminal case of heart-on-my-sleeve syndrome.

"Hi, it's BR. I had a really good time last night."
"Yeah, it's only our second date, and I'm already falling for you."
"Aw, I'm falling for you, too."
"I was talking about last night."

DOH!

So now my intentions are clear. Crystal. And we go out again that night. So after our date (I frankly don't remember what we did on the third date), we're back at her apartment. Get your minds out of the gutter, I was a complete gentleman. So I say, "I'm going to ask you to marry me." And she says, "I'm going to say yes."

72 hours. One weekend. That's all it took to change my life. I bought her a ring a couple of months later, and we made it official. But for us, we knew that third night.

It's six years later (and one month, 20 days), and we're married with three incredible kids. Or, at least, two incredible kids and one incredible baby. He's just starting to smile at me.

That's how that particular story ended. Of course, I'm making a totally new story now.


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Absolut-ly depressing

So Absolut Lilith is having a really bad day. Go leave her a nice comment.

In the midst of her angst, however, she referred to a song by Trespassers William. I pulled up my trusty iTunes, did a search, and 15 seconds after hearing the name for the first time, I was listening to the tune. Isn't technology incredible?

The lead singer, Anna-Lynne Williams, has this harrowing voice. It reminds me of Nina Simone, for some reason, but with a little Irish lilt. Whatever, she has an incredible voice. The thing I like about it is that the music and lyrics join together to create a mood. They're seamless. Of course, it's a really depressing mood, but there's room for that in the world, too.

Here's the lyrics to one song I downloaded, "I Know."

i know i'll never see you
i know i'll never run into your body walking through the crooked streets
i know i'll never hear you
i know i'll never hear you like a sound that wafts inside from outside there
i know that if i waited i know that if i wait a thousand days will lie wasted with thoughts of you
my love i've pictured this:
your violet eyelids opened to say "here's where you've been"
your lips open to say "my darling it's been so very long and i'm in pain"
i know i'll never feel you
i know i'll never get so close to you that i can't smell anything else
i know i'll never see you
i know that where you go i'll still be far from where you are
my love i've pictured this:
your violet eyelids opened to say "here's where you've been"
your lips open to say "my darling it's been so very long and i'm in pain" sometimes i picture all your fingers
sometimes they're crawling down my spine
sometimes they're buttoning your jacket
sometimes you're far but you're still mine
i know that it is raining
and i know that the rain will soak you through
and leave you like the tattered sky
i know i go in circles
i know that window panes bring only rain and not your face
sometimes i picture all your fingers
sometimes they're crawling down my spine
sometimes they're buttoning your jacket
sometimes you're far but you're still mine
i know that it is raining and
i know that the rain will soak you through and leave you like the tattered sky
i know i go in circles
i know that window panes bring only rain and not your face

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Conversations

Is it me, or have our comments sections gotten to be a little like conversations between people? Seriously, check this one out. So far, it's a back-and-forth between Darkling Child (of First, Last, and Always fame) and MooCow. Very funny dialogue, mind you, but dialogue nontheless.

And can I just say for a second how stupid text messaging is? Seriously, you spend 10 minutes typing in a message that you could speak in 4 seconds. And it's not like you're nowhere near your phone. You're using it. And you even have to put in the number you want to text message to! For the love of all that's holy, just dial the phone, and speak your message!

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Nice Little Turn of Phrase

I was just keeping up on happenings in the windy city, via Just Because, when I got to this nice little phrase:

"...so I, of course, couldn't help but gawk like a mentally retarded drunk on Prozac."

I don't know how a drunk person who was mentally challenged and who had taken his anti-depressants would gawk, but the mental image is there.

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A Story

One of my daughters pulled out my old photo album. (It's an old album, and it's full of old photos). Anyway, she was looking through it, yelling "Daddy" whenever I was in a picture. It was really cute, but totally beside the point.

So quite of few of the old pictures are of ex-girlfriends. I was thinking about one in particular, and what happened with her soon after we started dating. This was sparked by a picture of me, shirtless, clock behind me showing a little after 12, and I was holding a White Russian shot. It's layers of kahlua, milk, and vodka. I was good at layered shots, back in the day; but I digress, again. I know this is not how I usually post, but I thought I'd break routine again. Here's that story.

I guess we should start my junior year in college. I was dating a woman named Amy. We dated about 8 months. That was a theme of mine...dating a woman 8 months. I had had two other serious girlfriends up to that point (I told you I was a geek), but Amy was my most serious one up to then. So we broke up towards the end of the school year. We had talked over the summer about getting back together. Finally, around August (right before school started), we had an argument, and she stormed out, calling me asshole as she slammed the door. I proceeded to get a little drunk, hence the picture of me with the shot.

So now we have to go back a bit to freshman year. I was living in a triple. My school had let in too many freshmen, and double-occupancy rooms were tripled up all over campus. So I had two roommates, both great guys. In my typical procrastinator fashion, I never talked to either of them about living together sophomore year, and was a little pissed, frankly, when my best friend told me that he was going to be living next year with roommate #3. So I needed to find a roommate, because lottery was coming up.

I ended up with Jack. A nice guy, and we had hung out a bit freshman year, so I was cool with that. As we were waiting in line at the lottery for rooms, I met Jack's first cousin, Anne. Wow. Now, I'm a crush kind of guy. I'd develop crushes at the drop of a hat. But even for me, this was something. Totally smitten. She was fantastic. The first time we ate together (Jack and Anne were very close, and me living with Jack often put me in close proximity to Anne. Plus, I took every opportunity to be near her), she paid for me. Now, I grew up in Memphis. The Deep South. A woman paying for me was anathema. So we had a long talk about it. She was really smart, and forceful. I always had liked that, and I did here, too.

Of course she had a boyfriend. And of course he was long-distance, and of course she was faithful. The worst of all possible circumstances. Beaten by a guy 1500 miles away.

So, to skip forward a little bit, I crushed on her on and off for about two years. There were various and sundry women for me in between, including Amy, the serious one.

So sometime Junior year, she breaks up with her long-distance beau. Hurray!

So now we come back senior year. We're both unattached. During this time, mind you, I had no indication that she actually liked me. But we had become very good friends, and I was resolved to live with that, to take what I could get.

So we're at this party one night, near the beginning of the year. Both drunk off our asses. She says something along the lines of, "when did you get so cute?" We're off in a hallway, away from the main party, and she kisses me. This woman I've had this massive crush on for two years kisses me. I'd say birds sang, and bells rang, but I was drunk too, so I just kissed her back. Then, after that one kiss, I did the most gentlemanly thing I've ever done, or will ever do: I said, "if you want to chalk that up to the alcohol, I'll understand." Thank G-d, she didn't. And we kissed for a while longer. We talked a bit, and it turns out that she wanted to start something with me. It hadn't been for two years, but for a couple of months, she had been looking at me in a new light, and realized that not only was I her best friend, but that she was really attracted to me. (emphasis hers).

For the next week, well, I know that "feet didn't touch the ground" is a complete cliche. But damn if it wasn't accurate for me. The whole week, literally, I was walking around telling anyone who would listed, "I'm dating Anne, I can't believe I'm dating Anne." All my friends (and even most of my acquaintances) were relieved that I had stopped bemoaning our lack of a relationship, and were looking forward, I'm sure, to being regaled with tails of our budding love.

As a geek, I had done the unrequited love thing quite a bit. Here I was, though, shooting for someone way out of my league, and now I was dating her. For that week, I was as happy as I had ever been. Happier.

After a week, and I don't remember how the subject came up, we spoke about the fight Amy and I had before school started. It turned into a thing. There was something on her side too, but I don't remember what. Maybe the ex-boyfriend had called, or something. Anyway, we're getting to the point.

We decided to put things on hold for a while. Say what you will now of that decision, that's what we decided.

So I started walking out of the room. Her door was closed, and I put my hand out to open it. And froze. I just froze there. I'd say it was for a few minutes, but I frankly don't know how long I was there, with my hand out. I was thinking clearer than I ever had, knowing that what I should do was turn around and tell her that all the crap we just talked about was just that, crap. That the last week had indeed been the happiest in my life. That all I wanted was to be with her. Until she got sick of me, because heaven knows I was never going to be sick of her.

I knew, with absolute certainty, that this was a moment.

Have you ever been to DC? The streets there, it's all traffic circles leading to traffic circles (or rotaries, in the lingo of the town where our college was). So that's my view of life. The different aspects of our life, every once in a while, converge into these traffic circles. And whatever road you take out, that determines where you go, until the next crucial moment. Each crucial moment affects the rest of your life, its direction. Now, you can still get back, even if you go wrong. But you have to go out of your way. (It's how I think of HeroineGirl when I read her blog. She took a really long detour, and is just now getting back, irretrievably changed from her journey).

I knew, with total certainty, that this was one of those times. I was standing there, hand out, thinking, "this is Anne! If I leave, that's it. Maybe I'll get back one day, but it won't be the same as this week. It'll be the analytical thing to do." The past week had been all emotional connection. And I'm so analytical, it meant that much more to me. I might get back together with her, date her. But I would never surrender myself to the experience of dating her the way I had this week. You can only jump off the high dive -- for the first time -- once. The exhilaration of falling through the air, an unknown experience, of hitting the water. The impact, and the immersion. That feeling. I still remember it. It can only happen once. The next time, it's just not the same. Fun, mind you. But not the same.

I knew all that standing there in the doorway. I knew that I had one last chance to salvage that exhilaration.

I walked out the door.


Anne and I actually did end up back together. We started up again towards the end of senior year. We spent 6 weeks in Europe together after graduation, doing the Eurail-backpacking thing. We dated for a good portion of our first year in law school. Then we split up. There was another one of those moments with us, but this time it was her moment, and she blew it with no help from me.

But that's another story.

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My $.02 on her $.02

So Kicking Bitch has some movie reviews, Here's my take on her flicks. By the way, can anyone explain the whole "Texas move" thing to me? Or link to her posts describing it. That kind of threw me.

Anyway:

Troy: I will never get back the 2 hours and 15 minutes it took me to sit through this movie. Pointless. A vehicle for Pitt to show off his six-pack. Since I am unmoved by Pitt's six-pack, this was not a good choice for me. Except for when he kills that huge guy at the beginning. That was pretty cool.

The Terminal: based on a true story. About a guy I never heard of, and don't care about.

Garden State: excellent movie. No victory lap, but excellent nonetheless. And a little sappy at times (forgiving his father? Pu-lease.) Still, an excellent movie. And Natalie Portman is hot, so there's that, then.

Miracle: I cried. Seriously, I did. "Do you believe in Miracles? YES!" And me bawling. In a manly way, of course. The whole thing was incredible, from start to finish. I remember the real game. This was better. Maybe living through that period, knowing the desparate need for a morale booster right at that moment that this country had. We were getting the shit kicked out of us. Malaise speech. Iran hostages, all night, every night. How many days today? 253, Bob. That damn Ayatollah! Gas lines. Desert One. And then, they beat the Russkies! A bunch of nobodies beat the Russkies. Then the medal ceremony, when Eruzione called everyone up to the medal stand. It's not often that a small group of people can cheer up an entire country. But they did. I've re-rented this movie about 10 times since it came out. I still get choked up.

Dogville: Never saw it, never gonna.

PS. I know I promised a longer post, either my 9/11 experience, or MT v. Blogger. And you still might get it later tonight. But right now I'm just tired, and actually have work to do, so be patient.

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A Nice Woman

I came across this blog from comments on the engagement post below. It's Confessions of a Nobody.

I started to read it, and it's not bad. But I really like that she posted a congratulations, even after she commented. I took a cue from her and did it myself. I thought that very generous, and so she gets the nod.

Plus, I love the name Alexandria Leigh. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Can we all agree, though, to come up with a different phrase for this sort of thing than "shout out?" I'm sick of it.

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Engagement in the Blogosphere

Congratulations to Anonymous Coworker, and ACWF, on their engagement.

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Funny Guy

So I'm reading comments on MooCow's site, and come across this guy, Blandwagon, who thinks that "Le Petit Mort" means sleep. So I correct him, and he comes back with an absolutely hilarious reply comment. I had seen the original comment, but hadn't bothered to go read his site.

After reading the comment, I went to the site. As I often do, I went to his first post first. I came across this
(He's talking about the rewards from reading his new blog):

2. I can help to offset all those blogs written by little Asian girls who hurl pink sparkles, pictures of twee cartoon characters, midi-files, dialogue boxes, animated gifs and SMS-speak at your screen if you be unfortunate enough to encounter them.

.
I can so relate to that, I immediately blogrolled him and started this post. Of course, the next "reward" on his list is that he can post naked pictures of himself. So read at your peril. Personally, I'm going to risk it.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Cleaning Up the Blogroll

And on further consideration...I'm going to be cleaning up the blogroll tomorrow (or sometime this week.) I've found over time that I'm going to the same blogs (and skipping the same blogs) every day. Mostly, the blogs I skip are the ones that don't post frequently, or that had one good post, then got puerile, or boring, or gross.

I like to think that my blogroll is a good source of new reading, for people that visit my site looking for good reading. So the weeding process will start this week. If I take you off, and you feel slighted, well, sorry. But this is, after all, my blog, and all writing and editing is my opinion, and only mine. Also, if I've made an error, let me know. Drop me and e-mail, or write a comment. As Tina knows, I certainly ackowledge my mistakes.

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Movin' On Up

I read a lot of blogs. I like it, and when I'm not actively working, I'm looking for new blogs, and keeping up with old ones. My wife says I spend too much time on this here contraption. But I really like reading interesting things people write. I'm trying to find a happy medium between new blogs and old ones. I've pretty much given up on mainstream blogs, except for a few (on the top right of the sidebar).

I've come across some amazing blogs, by some amazing people. I love reading them. Tina, Mimi, Melina, Chelse, Jesster, and others. But one really stands out. I've mentioned him before, and said how much I like the blog.

I've also said before that I've blogged a pretty long time, as far as blogging goes. I had another blog, a mainstream blog, that was killed off. Something happened, and I stopped blogging entirely for a while. I'm just now, this past month, getting back into it. In my prior blogging life, I was fortunate enough to correspond with the biggies. And, while I didn't quite walk in those circles, traffic-wise, I was accepted in those circles, in kind of a country-mouse way.

Anyway, I say this, not to toot my own horn, but to say that I know real quality blogs when I see them, and I've scouted some major talent before.

So I'm moving MooCow's blog, Bottling Up the Crazy, up to the top section, along with the biggies. Because you read blogs, and come across one and say, "that guy could make it to the show." He's just that good.

[Please, others, don't take offense. I'm not in that league either. I never believed that one person's excellence takes away from my skills...it just puts it in perspective. I blog regardless. After all, Stephen King might not be Hemingway, but he's still sold tons of books.]

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Previews

Hmmm, what to post about?

I think tomorrow I'm going to post about 9/11, and my experience on that horrid day. I was there, and it was pretty bad. Or maybe not. I've written about it a couple of times, in different arenas, and it always leaves me feeling, if not bad, then certainly "blah."

Do you know what that's like? Not depressed, just blah. Blah, bl-, blah, blah. Unmotivated, but in a slightly neutral-but-leaning-anti kind of way. Halfway between depressed and dejected, but not quite. Clear?

Anyway, if I don't post about that, I'll post about...oh, I don't know...using Blogger vs using MT. A good informational post.

I'll tell you what...I'll leave it up to you. Comment/votes will be accepted up to noon Monday. The resulting post will be up later in the afternoon.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Ten Songs

I don't do "100 things" lists, I don't do "3 things I'm feeling right now" lists. Or, frankly, any other kind of list. But I'm going to go with the flow on this one. Mainly because I like to remain unpredictable. Routine is healthy; slavish adherence to routine is stifling.

I don't keep my songs on my computer, so I set my iPod to play all songs on shuffle. Here's the first ten that came up:

1. At Last -- Etta James
2. Symphony #5 -- Beethoven
3. I've Got a Theory -- from Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More, With Feeling"
4. Bring Me To Life -- Evanescence
5. Nobody's Home -- Avril Lavigne (Let me just comment on this song for a second. I first heard it just the other day, on the radio. It was #94 of the year's best 100. I didn't know who sang it, so I looked it up. It's a tremendous song. But (or maybe "because?") it doesn't sound like Avril at all. It sounds like, for lack of a better term, an adult rock song. Certainly not the same person who sang "Sk8tr Boy". )
6. All the Small Things -- Blink 182
7. My Happy Ending -- Avril Lavigne (I'm not such a huge fan...I have two or three songs of hers on the iPod; this is random, remember.)
8. Mrs. Rita -- Gin Blossoms
9. Vesti La Guibba -- Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci"
10. Everybody's Fool -- Evanescence (again, I only have four songs by them...randomness).

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Tina AND Christie Have Good Taste

Thanks to Tina [for having such a great blog and being a wonderful person in general] and to Christie for linking to this blog: Driving With Your Knees. It's excellent, and it's blogrolled.

UPDATE: January 7, 2005 1:40 p.m.: I'm informed by Christie that the referral above came from her. After some quick fact-checking, I discovered that she is right, and I did get that referral from her blog. Sorry, Christie. I've corrected the entry.

This is not to say that Tina doesn't have good taste; I'm sure she does. But this particular piece of good tastiness came from Christie. Sorry 'bout that!

UPDATE: January 8, 2005 8:55 p.m.: Apparently, I hurt Tina's feelings by crossing her name out. My abject apologies, Tina. Does this make it right?

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My Apologies

Please allow me to apologize if I left you a comment last night. I'm not sure how many I left, or on which sites, but I'm fairly sure that any attempted humor was either not funny, stupid, or downright insulting. I remember maybe leaving one on Mr. K's site about a party, or something, but I'm frankly too scared to go check.

I know that being drunk is not a good excuse, but it's the only one I have. My apologies.

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MY EYES!!!!

I am not a fashion guru. You should know that up front. I admit it. Through senior year in high school, it was beige pants, solid shirt. Senior year, I discovered plaid and paisley (it was in back then). Shirts, that it. No plaid pants.

Now, I'm still a very basic dresser. Today, for example, is typical. Blue chinos, white and blue checked shirt, maroon sweater. Loafers. Simple.

On the subway this morning...I can barely talk about it. It's too horrible. Nightmares tonight, for certain.

This woman. Blue jacket, almost looked like a Mao jacket, but made of a material that I initially thought was felt. I couldn't tell whether the skirt was a skirt or a dress, because I couldn't tell what was under the hideous jacket. The skirt was bone-colored, with the japanese willow and bird pattern you see around, mainly on cheap tourist plates. The material was that ultra sheer stuff that looks like it's wrinkled all the time. With the torn bottom look, like someone took scissors to the bottom hem. It ended above the knee.

She was wearing these pinkish stockings. They weren't quite fishnet, but they had an inlaid pattern that had lots of holes.

And the boots. For the love of all that's holy, why? They were tan, suede, and had three sets of buckles, one at the mid-top of the foot, another at the ankle, and another about 3 inches up from that. The top of the boot was slit in the back, and pulled over, so it kind of looked like a large upside-down cuff.

I was forced to ride with that sartorial disaster for about 4 stops. I'm still having eye-twitches.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Seriously Good

People, I love discovery. I'm coming down off my buzz, and I've been leaving comments on my regular reads that, well, I'd like to say are sarcastic and witty, but are really just stupid. Please excuse.

But in my wanderings, coming-down-off-a-buzz wanderings, I found this: The Banana Tree. Excellent, and I mean excellent, photography, but more, I love the format. Hannah (excellent name, by the way) posts the pic, what she took it with, and the story behind it. It's a photo-blog combo. Really excellent.

It's on the blogroll, and it'll be one of the first sites I go to every day. take a look for yourself.

PS It has absolutely nothing to do with my loving green eyes. Nothing. I swear. Really. Why won't you believe me?!

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I'm A Cheap Date

See, I'm drunk. Off of three pints. I had a real bad day, though, so I deserve it.

I also had an excuse. Today was a co-worker's going-away party. We all went out to a bar after work. The beers were paid-for by contributions by others (I wasn't really friends with the guy who left, so I wasn't even asked to contribute).

There was a time, back in the day, when I used to drink a lot. My friends actually got worried about me. One summer, me and a buddy would go out to bars three or four nights a week, get drunk, and pick up women. I swear my friends almost staged an intervention. I'm personally amazed I didn't end up that summer with a child, a "social disease," a dysfunctional liver, or an arrest record. In fact, I survived it entirely intact, and with some really good stories. But nowadays, if I have half a glass of wine, it's a big night. So why was I drinking tonight? What was my bad day?

Well, let me digress a little. I'm secure in my masculinity. I know that I'm a "real man." What's a real man? Well, I'm tall (6' 0"). I'm a little overweight, but not fat. A big guy. But that has nothing to do with it. I don't fight (never have). I don't act inappropriately towards women; I'm respectful and nice. That also has very little to do with it. I'm not a "man's man." I don't like watching sports, and I like Avril Lavigne, Nina Simone, and Melissa Etheridge. But not necessarily in that order.

So what's a real man? I'm a man because I take care of my responsibilities. I'm a good husband. Actually, if I do say so myself, I'm a fucking great husband. And an even better father. I'm totally devoted to my family. I know what's important. I'm supporting my family financially and emotionally. My wife stays home with the kids. I'm more proud of that than anything else I've ever done in my life, because I believe that having your mother at home is the best thing that a father can give to his kids, equal to spending time with them himself.

But lately, with two kids in private school (there are reasons, none bad, that my kids have to go private), money has been tight lately. It seems that everything is getting more expensive every day.

Today I had an internal interview for a promotion. And I absolutely blew it. I was tongue-tied, not confident. My father always said, "go into an interview on the toes of your feet, not the heels." I was a heels guy today. This was on top of yesterday's ego-blow. When I asked my current supervisor whether I had a shot at this promotion, and he said, basically, that they were pretty desparate for people, so possibly, except neither he nor my next-in-line superior thought I was ready for it. And that's what they would say if asked.

So I feel like shit. Not because I'm not going to get the job. But because we needed this, the family did, and I choked. It was too important to choke. I blew it. I let the family down.

Ask a real man what scares him, and you'll never get the obvious answer. I'm not scared of guns, bullets, knives, or anything like that. I'm scared of letting my family down. Of not being able to provide for my family.

Today was a bad day.

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Why I Often Think of Giving Up Blogging

Because I'll never be as funny as this:

The main bad guy in the movie was Kingpin, played by Michael Clarke Duncan. Am I the only one who thinks this guy looks too friendly to be a bad guy? Every time he came near Daredevil in the movie, it looked like he was going to give him a sloppy kiss. These "minor" issues aside though, the movie mostly blows. They spent all of 3 minutes on Daredevil's background, 45 minutes on a stupid fight scene between Daredevil and some random chick who was introduced so abruptly that she might as well have landed in the scene with a parachute. Then there was a 20 minute bar scene where Daredevil fights another random guy who had nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Next thing you know Daredevil and the random chick were humping, some guy gets killed and then the movie ends. BORING.
This is from Maddox's take on the movie Daredevil.

My suggestion is, go to that site, and read everything he's ever written. I'd specify my favorites, but they're all awesome.

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The Victory Lap

I mentioned "victory lap" last night, vis-a-vis movies. What is a victory lap, and did I actually just use "vis-a-vis" in a sentence?

Does anyone remember Bruce Jenner winning the decathlon in '76? (Did I just seriously date myself?) Someone put an American flag in his hand, and after winning, he took his victory lap. It was inspirational. How about the '80 hockey team (and I'm not saying just from the movie Miracle.) Not the game. The medal ceremony. The medal ceremony was the team's victory lap.

So how does this apply to movies? Well, think of the majority of, say, romance movies. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. And the end? Boy gets girl...boy kisses girl...credits.

I hate that. I want a taste of happily ever after. Not a lot...just one lap.

Take the best two victory-lap movies in a while:

Star Wars. The all-time classic victory lap. Think about how much worse the movie would have been if the credits rolled when the Death Star blew up. But no. They land, handshakes all around, backslapping galore. But there's more. There's that whole medal ceremony, sly winks and all. Stirring music. Then, and only then, credits.

Notting Hill. A more modern movie with an excellent victory lap. You have the press conference. He admits to being a "daft prick," and she forgives him. Kiss, end of movie? Nope. You get the wedding, dancing, and the long, slow, follow-the-camera thing, finally showing them in the same park where they had that interlude earlier, lying on a bench, him reading a book, her lying in his lap, pregnant.

I generally like movies in direct proportion to the quality of their victory lap. There are a few exceptions...Garden State being one of them. Crappy victory lap. Maybe a victory step. Nah. It had nada: kiss, then credits. And no, the sappy speech at the end wasn't a victory lap, it was the "boy gets girl" part. On the other hand, I really did like the movie. So it's an exception.

Most of the time, when you leave a theater saying, "what a crappy ending," it's because there was no victory lap. Everyone wants a chance to cheer the hero.

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Movies, Movies, Movies

It was movies all around last night, apparently.

Let's see:

MooCow watched Shaun of the Dead.
I watched Wimbledon.
Chelse watched Wicker Park.
Tina watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. (Maybe it was a good movie, Tina, but the title is the worst I've heard in a long while...maybe even since The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, and that'd be saying something.)

Movies movies movies.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Great Movie

I just saw a great movie. It's called Wimbledon. Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst. Fantastic. And it had a victory lap. What's a victory lap? Well, stay tuned. That's my preview for a post tomorrow.

Here's the movie I'm talking about.



Click on the picture to learn more. (Quite a neat bit of html, if I do say so myself).

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Valancy is Fantastic

Valancy Jane comes up with the greatest-named series entries I've seen in a long time: The moment was NOTICED. Isn't that what all good boyfriends and husbands want? To make moments that are not just noticed, but NOTICED? You damn tootin' they do.

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How Was Your 2004?

Dee tells us all about her 2004. And what an entry it is. This is why I read blogs, people. Check it out for yourself.

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Comments, Comments, Comments

I realize I've been a little obsessive over comments recently. I don't know where that comes from, but there it is. That said, COMMENT, damn you. Sorry, that just slipped out.

OK, so someone asked me to talk about different comment systems, so here goes. I'm only talking about free comment systems.

Blogger:

Pros:

  • It's integrated into the Blogger system already, so it's no muss, no fuss.
UPDATE: Jan. 6, 1:15 p.m.: Several comments have pointed out two pros that I missed:
  • Blogger doesn't delete comments after a time (I didn't know that Haloscan did that. Does anyone know of when it does, and how many comments you're "allowed" to have?)
  • Blogger e-mails you when you get a new comment.
Cons:
  • No trackbacks.
  • You have to put in identifying information to comment.
  • You have to have a Blogger account to comment.
  • The way Blogger links to comments, when you click on the commentor's name, you don't click through to the blog, you click through to the Blogger profile, which has a link to the blog (although, since a person can have more than one blog, you're never sure which blog the comment is identified with.) This has an additional ramification: for those people who have sitemeter, or other traffic-logging programs, if you have a referral log, you'll only see referrals from your profile, rather than from the comment that brought the person to your site. So you can't be polite and visit people who refer readers to you.
  • The comment templates, while plentiful, really are all very similar.
  • You can't add any third-party programs to secure your comments area. This is more of a problem when you get popular. You start getting spam comments. Back in the day, the first hour of my day was consumed with deleting the several hundred spam comments I got that night. So no captchas. Which, besides being useful, are also really cool. Other blog-publishing software has that capability either integrated, like ExpressionEngine, or available, like MT.
  • I don't think you can ban commentors individually through Blogger (although, honestly, I've never tried.)
  • clicking on comments moves you to another page, so you have to click back through to the home page.
  • The comments page doesn't display the other comments that have been made, so if you're commenting because of another comment, or series of comments, you better have a good memory.
Haloscan:

Pros:
  • Has trackbacks.
  • Can ban individual commentors.
  • Has separate links to the e-mail and home page of the commentors. So when you click through, you go to the right place right away.
  • Pop-up commenting keeps people reading your page.
  • Pop-up commenting allows people to read other comments, and see them, while commenting themselves.
  • Easily integratible with Blogger (automatic installation), so while it's not built-in, it's relatively easy to use.
  • Since comments are stored off-server, if you ever change addresses (like if you decide to get your own domain and hosting, and start using MT or Wordpress), you don't lose your old comments.
Cons:
  • If you're using something other than Blogger, you have to know how to deal with templates to install.
  • While it has trackbacks, actually sending a trackback is a pain in the ass. I mean it, a real pain in the ass. The system actually sends someone to your house to wrestle with you while you're trying to send a trackback.
  • Difficult to uninstall.
  • No third-party spam-comment protection. I.e. no captchas.
  • Templates, while plentiful, aren't that different.
  • No e-mail notification of new comments without paying.
  • UPDATE: I just found one more con for haloscan. It'll stop you at 1000 words, without telling you about that limit. I just left a very long comment at Karma's site (she wanted some instructions on blogrolling), and I had to leave three different comments, because I'd write the whole thing out, and it cut me off, then I continued, and it cut me off. That was a pain.
I recently came across another comment system, ennetation.co.uk. I looked pretty cool on the site I was visiting, and I visited the comment-system site itself. It looked good, except I didn't see the template there that I thought was cool. It also looked like you'd need to know html pretty well to install it.

And finally,

Movable Type

Pros:
  • Integrated, so it's no muss, no fuss.
  • Has trackbacks, and they're automated, so it's no muss, no fuss.
  • Seriously malleable, so you can change it until it looks like how you want it, although you need to know some serious html to do it.
Cons:
  • Susceptible to spam. And once they find you, you're fucked. Seriously, hundreds and hundreds of spam comments. And they're not so easy to delete. It's about four click-throughs before you can delete a comment. And banning the IP does no good, because they're back tomorrow. There are several ways to spoof, or block, or kill spam comments, like captcha (I've used that term three times now. If you don't know what it is, google it.), which you can put into MT, but you need to know html pretty well to do it.
  • Costs. This is another post in and of itself. Maybe tomorrow. To get your own site, you need to have your own domain, and you need a hosting service. And you need to have someone set up the blog for you. That's about $20 for the domain, $5 per month for the hosting, and you can probably wangle the setup for free, if you get the right hosting service. For more powerful hosting, the costs go up. Meaning, if you end up with LOTS of traffic, be prepared to pay. That's the price of being popular.
I'm sure there are lots of other systems out there, but I don't know them.

My recommendation, and this is just my opinion, is if you're on Blogger, get haloscan.

In that vein, anyone that wants me to set up haloscan on their blog, I'd be happy to do it for free. I have no interest in haloscan, and they're not giving me anything. Call it my contribution to the cause. And there's not a little bit of self-interest in there, too. I hate dealing with Blogger comments.

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Problem Solved, Sort of

Well, I discovered why I was having so many problems loading my blog...and why some of you said the banner wasn't loading. I'm going to be working on getting the banner back up real soon. I'll keep you informed.

PREVIEW: Look forward to a riveting post about different comment systems. Coming soon.

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Blog Problems

I'm having slight problems loading my blog today. It crashes both my Internet Explorer and my Firefox browsers. I don't know why that is. I played with some template code, and I'm hoping that's not the problem.

By the way, at only 2 comments today, there's no way I'm going to have to sing anything. Except, possibly, "One (is the Loneliest Number)," by...5 points for who can tell me (without googling it).

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Comment Day

Today is going to be Comment Day here at Bathroom Reading. If you stop by, leave a comment. I don't care if you leave a "hi." Though I'd love more in-depth stuff, I know everyone has their time burdens. But leave something.

If I get 50 comments today, I'll post an audio blog entry of me singing...and you get to pick the song. So leave a song suggestion in the comment box, and if there are enough, my humiliation will be in your hands.

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My Education is Now Complete

This has to be the funniest thing I've seen in a while. Like I told my favorite female Chelse, if there were a book in there, I'd have been really complimented. This stuff was laugh out loud funny. It's your at-work Bathroom Vocabulary.

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Amateur?

Amateur or not, you have to appreciate a woman learning to bellydance. Michele, of blue world says she's an "(extremely) amateur bellydancer." I don't care about any word in that phrase but the last, to be honest. Go read. Should be fun.

I got to her from a comment on Poor Role Model.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Right There With You, Mate

Go over here, to A-b-c-dee, and leave a comment on this post. Deanne's gotten herself into a little bit of trouble, and there's fuck-all we can do about it. But we can leave a supportive comment, which will have to do.

And if my tone is a bit harsh, it's because I've been where she is now, and it sucks. You struggle with the numbers over and over. You re-add, and shift payments around. You say, "well, if I don't pay the insurance this month, I can pay for the gas and the electric. Which means I can let the gas bill go next month to pay the insurance...they won't cancel if I fall behind a month, will they? And I can pay the minimum on the credit cards, but only this month, because next month will be better, won't it?"

Yeah, I've been there. So go leave a comment. Tell her everything's going to be ok.

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New Blogs, Traffic, and Other Sundries

First things first...the most annoying New Year's resolution? Not to make resolutions. Do you think you're being original when you write that?

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

I once wanted to write a diet book. You see, I had this great idea about how people could lose weight. Serious weight. Take it off and keep it off, forever. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to make "eat better, exercise more," stretch into an entire book. You see, when you truly make something a priority in your life, it'll happen. All that other crap: low carb, no carb, South Beach, Atkins, is all a bunch of crap. When all is said and done, it comes back to "eat better, exercise more."

Blog traffic is sort of like that.

There are lots of techniques to boost traffic to your blog. But before we get into that, let's put one thing to rest right now: it's OK to want a lot of traffic. Of course you do. Standing on a soapbox and spouting your philosophy to the world is a lot more fun when the world is listening. Otherwise, it's the digital equivalent of one hand clapping. If an 8-megapixel picture of a tree was photoshopped so that it appeared to be falling in a forest, would anyone hear it? It's not wrong, or shameful, to want to be heard. It's natural. Anyone who tells you that they don't care about traffic is lying to you, or to themselves.

So the question is, how.

The best way to direct traffic to your site is through your comments on other people's blogs. There's a catch-22 buried in there, though, that has to do with time management. You see, in order to insightfully comment on another's blog, you have to have read it. And that takes time. Eventually, when you find blogs you like enough to comment on them, you want to continue reading them. So you end up having to spend a lot of time just keeping up with the blogs you've found so far. That leaves you with a circle of blogs which you read, and comment on.

You have to break the circle. You have to constantly read new blogs, and comment on them, if you want to get traffic. And the comments you make can't just be "congratulations!" or "Yeah, I feel the same way." That might get you a one-time visit from the blog author. You also want visits from people reading your comments. So think. Be funny. Say something witty. When you leave a good comment, you'd be amazed at the traffic it generates. Remember, though, to read blogs that have traffic already. You can leave the best comment in the world; if no one reads the blog where you left it, you ain't gettin' no traffic. Go to some of the old-school blogs. Go to Instapundit and go through his blogroll. Or to IMAO, or any of the others I listed the other day. Leave a good comment on one of the majors, and you'll get traffic, believe me.

Also, in the same vein, leave trackback pings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, google it, to learn. Trackbacks are important, both for attributive purposes, and for readership.

You can also try Blog Explosion, or things like that. E-mail blogs you read and ask them to blogroll you. Most will. Even the majors. They're real people, and in my experience they're remarkably down to earth. And they remember what it was like to just start up, with no readers. Even if they now have 50,000 a day. They'll also give you good advice, if you ask them for it. Remember to reciprocate. Blogroll others. Link to them. It's polite, and it works.

But everything I've said up to now, is the Atkins Diet, or South Beach diet, of blogging. It'll get you there. You'll have readers.

Now what do you do with them? Because, like so many things, traffic -- real traffic -- is all about the repeat business. Word of mouth. It's the difference between readers and traffic. Traffic is just someone who tripped over your site. A reader is someone who comes back, who'll comment, again and again.

So the ultimate question is, how do you get readers? The answer is so simple it defies logic.

Give them something to read.

Do you know why Rachel Lucas is so popular? Because she deserves to be. She's original. She's funny. She delivers the goods. Same with all the rest. Kim DuToit wrote the Pussification of the Western Male. And the entire blogosphere came to his door. Lileks wrote about how he was still furious about 9/11, and they came. (Of course, Glenn can write "heh," and he'll get tons of hits...call him the exception that proves the rule.) Think about the techniques above as, say, a hit tv show. Friends, back in the day. It used to be that NBC would try out new shows in the half-hour after Friends, because there'd be lead-in viewers, who just wouldn't change the channel. But if the show sucked, it sucked. And eventually it got cancelled. Because viewers won't stay to watch a crappy show.

But most of all, you have to write honestly. It doesn't have to be serious, it just has to be yours. Over at IMAO, Frank J. is rarely serious. But he's got readers by the thousands. One of the most harrowing, incredible, new blogs I've found is HeroineGirl. She justs writes about her life, and it's riveting.

If you write to be funny, and you're not funny, I don't care how much time you spend surfing Blog Explosion, you're still not going to get any readers. The blogosphere is not the Internet, where you can pretend to be anyone you want. In here, you have to be yourself. If it's not inside you, then it's not going to be in your posts. I've never liked the term "find your voice" when it comes to writing. It seems too much like a sight gag playing on the radio. But it's pretty accurate, too. You have to find out who you are, and that person has to control content. Which is why I think people blog; to find out more about who they are. Because a phony in life is going to be a phony on the blog. And people don't like to read phony.

Don't get me wrong, the blog can be an amazing tool of self-exploration. But to be good, you have to find what you're looking for inside you, or else the blog will be formless, too.

And have a little self-confidence. Just because you're not getting tons of traffic now, doesn't mean that'll stay the same. There's a large element of luck, and timing, involved with hit blogs. Keep with it. I love the adage, "most overnight successes take about 10 years." It's too true. Nobody, but nobody, is born with readers. Real traffic, like real weight loss, takes perseverence, diligence, discipline, and work. You have to keep at it. Write. Because people like new content. I think one of the better blogs I've come across is Six Degrees of Mediocrity. Seriously funny. But no posts since the 14th of December (almost 3 weeks ago). It'll stay on the blogroll, but mainly because of inertia.

And finally, have fun with it. You'd be amazed at how much "tone" comes through in a blog. If you're having fun, the reader will have fun.

And absolutely last, a word for readers. You like a comment, you see a post you like...COMMENT! Even more than seeing the Sitemeter number go up, bloggers love comments. So speak up. Part of the attraction is the back-and-forth of a good comments section. LGF's commentors have their own community. Kim DuToit's have an actual forum that the Mrs. set up for him. A typical Silent America entry from Bill Whittle will have several hundred comments! All I want is 10.

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Thanks For The Advice

Yeah, I'm right there with you. Ouch. I got to her from her comment on Fickle Whimsey.

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Just One More

I came across this one, I don't even know how at this point. It's Fickle Whimsy. Funny. Smart. Go read. Enjoy.

Can I ask one thing, though? What's the deal with that "100 things about me" post? It's on LOTS of blogs. Including some really popular, mainstream ones. Why, for the love of all that's holy, why?

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Worried About Traffic

OK, I don't have time to do this the right way now, so I'm going to do it tonight. "It" is a post about new bloggers and site traffic. I'll also post about the incredible day I had yesterday.

Hmmm...that's a new idea: previews for blog entries. We have previews for movies, and tag lines for tv ("this week, the most exciting Bathroom Reading this season!" "If you've ever read Bathroom Reading, see it Thursday night!" "Just when you thought Bathroom Reading couldn't get any better...A very special episode this Wednesday.") So why not for blogs?

Of course, knowing me, most of my hits would come from bathroomreadingjumpedtheshark.com.

So why am I delaying? Well I read La Chat Noir and she posted on wanting more traffic.

So tonight, a lesson on how to get traffic to your site.

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The Winner

The winner of the "I drank too much before redesigning my template Award goes to ... well, I can't tell the name of the blog. Possibly, it's Silently Waiting..., but frankly I don't know.

Wow. It needs to be seen to be believed. It's like someone took an html class and wanted to use all the neat tricks they just learned.

There's the snowflakes falling on the whole screen, just like on Sam's site, but hers has readable entries (and she's cool: she was the first person to comment on my site). There's that message board thing. There's moving text (I assume the html class included some javascripting) all over the place. And the whole thing takes up half a page, because each section is a separate window. I don't care if the blog's author is Joyce Carol Oates. Or Stephen King. I'm not going to sit through all the "extras" to get to the message. Maybe you'll have more patience.

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Why I'm Moving Back to MT as Soon as Possible, or At Least Buying Stock in Haloscan

Well, not really. But there's something on blogger that's really irritating. When you comment through blogger, the name of the commentor is a link. But it's not a link to the web page (most likely, a blog) of the person, but rather a link to their Blogger profile. What a pain in the ass. So every time I want to go to the blog of the person who commented, I have to take an additional step. Plus, if you care about who is coming to your site (or, at least, from where they came), and use Sitemeter, or some other counting system, you're going to see a lot of referrals from your own Blogger profile, but not from the comment you made. You can't tell, therefore, whether someone read your comment on X site, and liked it, and wanted to read more, or not.

Plus, if someone has more than one blog, you have to decide which one they're updating.

Of course, you can use this very argument as proof that our desire for instant gratification has reached critical mass. I don't even want to spend the time going through one more click. Not even one more. I need it now! But I still don't like it.

Haloscan is a little better for that. It separates the "mail to" from the "homepage." Of course, with Movable Type, and your own domain hosting, you get to use Captcha with comments, which is pretty friggin' cool, if you ask me. Of course, I'm a geek, so there's that, then.

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A New One

I'm going to spend a little time reading this one: life and times. Therese, in her own words, has "a French first name, an English middle name, and a Russian last name." Interesting enough to link, for me. And, she comments on MooCow's site. Anyone who appreciates the Moo, gets on my blogroll.

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Six Degrees of Mediocrity--Where Are You?

I don't mind people taking their time to post, but someone this good should really give us a taste now and then: Six Degrees of Mediocrity

And what I said about Jav's post earlier doesn't contradict this. I fully believe that everyone should blog at their own pace. But just as what you do on your site is your business, what I do on my site is mine. If I want to harass you to post more, I can. You can, of course, tell me to bug off, mind my own beeswax, or worse. That's the beauty of the blog.

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Kim's Mrs. Has a Really Good Point.

Mrs. DuToit has a really good point: (and i know this violates my self-imposed rule about posting like a real blogger, but I really liked the line):

Our mistake is in thinking that survival “as our primary directive” is innate in human beings. It is NOT innate. It is environmentally based. And it is uniquely Western. If you think, even for a moment, that this enemy wants to survive to fight another day, think again. It is wrong thinking. It’s AMERICAN and WESTERN thinking. To put it more directly and bluntly, we do not share the same G-d. Their G-d wants you to kill yourself. Our G-d forbids it, and sends you to the reject bin, for all eternity, if you do. That is how deep and divided we are from our enemy.
This is from her blog.

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Missing the Point

I think Jav is missing the point a bit with his latest post. I'm like MooCow (read the comments), except I've already decided.

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BoB Awards...huh?

Can someone please educate me about what exactly the BoB awards are, and their appeal. Is this just one guy picking his favorites, or is there a method? Is this like Wizbang weblog awards, but for blogger? The Wizbang awards had over 300,000 votes. That's a real award. And it went to Powerline, the blog that broke the national news story that the Bush-skipped-National-Guard documents were forged. A real blog. So that's a real award, don't you think? This smacks, frankly, of the kids that didn't get invited to the prom throwing an anti-prom party. Or one guy's delusions of grandeur. Or maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Or had a bad morning. Yes, I think I'm feeling a bit snarky this morning. "Snarky" being a contestant for my new favorite word.

I got to the BoB awards from another comment on Karma (can you tell that comments are one of my favorite sources of new blogs? Although, can someone tell me how to open up a homepage, from a comment, in my current window of Firefox?), the comment was from the art of getting by It looks like a neat blog, and I'm going to find time today to read it all.

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Funny Pictures, and a Fort

I got to this blog, Bunny Burrow from her comment on My Karma Just Ran Over Your Dogma. I followed it because her name is Chana. It's one of my favorite names.

I haven't really gone through it yet, because I actually have work to do, but I noticed that her entry yesterday had 10 comments, and her "Happy New Year" entry had 20, so she's doing something right. (I'm of the belief that hits tell you how many people know you, comments tell you how many actually like your blog.)

Now, I don't have a television, so I've never seen Desparate Housewives. Can someone explain to me why it's so great?

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Audio

Really, the audio post below is a tester. I just said hi. But I think I'm going to like it. Audio posting, I mean. See how helpful it is to read the directions? I looked on "advanced users" in blogger help, and lo' and behold, there was audioblogging. Kim DuToit just started using it, and it blew me away to hear his voice. As per cliche, it was nothing like I thought it would be.

Anyway, I had an extremely interesting day yesterday...but that's another post (I just chastised someone for posting about several different things in one post. It's not like we pay per post, so keep it simple. Otherwise, you never know what to comment on.)

And on that subject, who am I to chastise anyone? I can't really. But I can say things that make sense, and people can listen. It's not really like I know better. It's just, smarter people than me have opined on this stuff in the past, and I listened.

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this is an audio post - click to play

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

You Rule!

I had these friends, and they had these personal phrases that they used constantly. So, this one guy, he used the word "RULE" to apply to everything. The first time I hung out with him, I felt like the greatest person in the world, "You RULE!" "Oh man, that joke RULES!" You get the picture. Then I found out that he used that word to describe pizzas, socks, and bowel movements. "Man, that dump RULED!" I felt like a schmuck.

Another friend, it was "fantastic!" If a thing didn't suck, it was "fantastic." Did something good, it was fantastic. Something not quite awful, yep...fantastic.

So I've been debating what my phrase is going to be. Optimist that I am, with the flair for understatement that I have, I've been considering upgrading my often-used phrase, "that doesn't suck." But that won't make anyone feel great, especially when they don't deserve it. I want to pump people up, so that later, I can crush them. Happy new year.

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Firefox

I just started using Firefox, and I love it already (although it has a few bugs). The main two problems with it that I see are that when I use "blog this," the blog dialog box comes up but doesn't stay on top, so I have to reduce everything and then make the entry. The other problem is sometimes I can't type. I mean, the mouse click doesn't highlight the area, or move the text cursor there, so I can't enter text.

But the tabbed browsing is absolutely fantastic. I mean it, really the best thing ever.

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Chick Flicks

I'm in the middle of comment on by by Christie about how great National Treasure is (let me digress for one minute, there's a convention I've been seeing in some blogs: one blog entry, several topics, separated by a solid line...don't like it), and I remembered something my friend told me once about the difference between men's movies, and chick flicks. In a man's movie, he said, the bad guy dies at the end, and everybody's happy. In a chick flick, the good guy dies at the end, and everybody's sad.

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Friday, December 31, 2004

Well...A Little Time

OK, I have about 30 seconds. I have to shower before tonight's festivities. And some other stuff. And I have about 1 hour, so this is going to be short and sweet.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It's been an interesting couple of weeks. I set up this blog, and wanted to start something new with it. And I've been pretty successful, for the first couple of weeks, that is. I've found myself some pretty neat blogs, written by some pretty neat people, and I'm looking forward to a new set of blogs to read everyday. I can't wait to find out whether Melina bags (or, more correctly, beds) that bartender guy. Or at least to see how much she humiliates herself in the process.

I'm not much for resolutions, or anything like that. I just want a healthy year, for me and my family. And for you and your family.

I want us to win the war on Islamism.

I want the Democratic party to come to grips with 9/12. Sometimes they act like it's still 9/10.

I wouldn't mind another kid, if that's in the cards.

But I love the three I have now with an intensity that constantly surprises and humbles me. (I'm not surprised I love them, but I am surprised at how much I love them...it's more than I thought humanly possible.)

I want to control my temper.

I want a better job, or at least, more money in this one. Just because I'm a man, and I feel more of a man because I'm supporting my family. And I'd like to do that even better than I do now.

I want to write honestly. One of the new blogs had a line about how they grew up in a loving household, with two parents, and he (or she) blamed them for not giving them angst with which to draw upon in writing. That hit home (so to speak.) I grew up in a loving household with two loving parents, no physical wants. I now have a fantastic family, a nice house, a good job, a wife who is the best a man could ever ask for, and a great community. So what do I have to write about?

We'll see.

UPDATE: January 3, 2005 1:11 p.m.: I knew that this entry looked horrible, with my own font-size problems. Hoist on my own petard is a pretty good description. So I fixed it. I couldn't quite get the "Happy New Year" in a different size, though, which was a little weird, considering there's a button to peform that very function. Go figure. Anyway, it looks a little more normal now.

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She's Got Great Blogroll

I just got to this blog through Moe, and I love it already. It's Agape's Bower of Bliss. You just got to respect her blogroll. And this entry, on Butter should be an instant classic.

And in case I can't blog any more today (got carpool to do), HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

For the Newbies

I feel like the blogging equivalent of the old man here. I've been searching for new blogs, as I've mentioned once or twice, and I've found some absolutely fantastic ones. Bottling Up the Crazy (on the blogroll), Heroine Girl, Karma, Valancy Jane, Chelse, Tina, Mr. K, Melina, HarleyWriter, and a bunch of others. My blogroll is a really good resource for new blogs who have something to say.

But I realized reading some comments (and let me just pause here to say thank you for commenting), that some of the new bloggers might not know some of the famous people involved. So, as much as I'm trying new things, here's some old-school links.

The Blogfather is a University of Tennessee law professor named Glenn Reynolds. He's Instapundit. He gets about 150,000 hits a day, and when he links to you...Instalanche baby! You get so many hits, your server crashes.

The funniest man on the Internet, Frank J., is Instapundit's nemesis. Frank runs IMAO.

The smartest guy in the blogosphere is no longer posting. His name is Steve Den Beste. But it's worth it to go read his archives, at what used to be known as USS Clueless. Bring your mental A-game, though...you're going to need it.

Next in line from Steve is a guy who just published a book consisting of a series of entries he wrote. He's Bill Whittle from Eject! Eject! Eject! His "Silent America" series, available in book form (definitely buy it), is still available, for free, via his site.

A truly amazing woman named Rachel Lucas started and popularized the Periods. Give. Emphasis. format. Her rants became instant classics. Then she up and quit. But came back. And quit again. And came back. Until we lost count. But we never lost interest. To give you some idea of how popular she is, when she had taken down the blog, she was still getting over 1,500 hits PER DAY. That's with nada posted on the page. Now she's back, and unleashed. Although she doesn't answer e-mails anymore. But to make up for it, there aren't as many pictures of her dogs. She's at Blue Eyed Infidel.

No old-school linkfest would be complete without the author of "The Pussification of the Western Male." Yes, Mr. Kim DuToit wrote that, and started a blogosphere-wide kerfuffle. He's a big believer in the Second Amendment, an excellent writer, and coming up on 3 million hits in just over a year. You read that number right, 3 million. He's turning America into a National of Riflemen, one citizen at a time.

For those of you from Minneapolis, here's a local hero. He writes a column called The Backfencce for the local paper. And he's into weird collectible stuff, and posts photos of it. He's written a couple of books. One, The Gallery of Regrettable Food, is older. There's another fairly new one out, I forget its name. Anyway, he's James Lileks. And his blog is called The Bleat.

Nor can I forget Mr. Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs. He's roundly despised by the left, mainly, as far as I can see, because he quotes them correctly. That's pretty much all he does...he takes Islamists, and their apologists, and he quotes them. It pretty bad.

There's Michele of A Small Victory. The guys at Powerline. Don't forget The Corner at National Review Online.

I have a special debt of gratitude to Dean Esmay of Dean's World, for helping me lo' those many moons ago.

Those are obviously not a complete listing of blogs. If you want that, go to NZ Bear's The Truth Laid Bear. Click on Blogging Ecosystem. This list is obviously my favorites. But it's also a list of blogs that, if you look at their blogrolls, well, you're going to see these names on there.

Take some time. Go read. But come back. Because the true power doesn't lie with them. It lies with you. With the MooCows. And Melinas, and Chelses. Because we need new voices. Write honestly. And readers will come.

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Valancy Jane...Does That Mean She's an Orange?

I got to her from Bottling Up the Crazy. She's fantastic. Its Valancy Janes Greetings From the Lobby.Link

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A Recommendation

I've been reading, and loving, a whole new circle of bloggers out there. It's been an incredible thing. Jesster, MooCow, Chelse, Melina (who has my absolute favorite name for a blog so far), HarleyWriter, and others.

One thing I've been seeing is that it's mainly newer blogs.

So I have a suggestion. The main source of blog ranking is on a site called The Truth Laid Bear. So if you haven't gone there to claim your blog, I'd suggest you do it now. It's also a great source for new things to read. Go to the "Ecosystem." I'd stay away from the top blogs. Go down the list, past 10,000, and start looking for interesting titles. For me, it's either the "next blog" button or the Ecosystem. And "next blog" is getting me a lot of foreign blogs, and some really strange ones.

When I have a minute, I'll write something on blog rankings. Be advised though, it won't be up to my usual standards. Mainly because I'm so conflicted about them.

Anyway, that's just a suggestion.

Also, although I'm not by any stretch an html maven (anyone who has seen my blog, seen my left margin hanging over the white column knows how true that is), I can do certain things, like add sidebar titles, make and add a banner, make links etc. So if anyone has questions, please feel free to ask. The worst I can say is "I don't know."

Feel free to write me at bathroomreading@hotmail.com. I respond to anything sent there. Or you can comment on any entry. I read those too.

And let me just give a politeness tip. Especially for people like us, starting (or, in my case, starting over) with new blogs. COMMENT! Say something, anything. I don't care. It's polite. I don't comment from work, but I note which blogs I like during the day, and comment from home. I don't need an instalanche, but I love comments.

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And Another One

Ever hear something that's completely meaningless, but really funny? I just did: My Karma Just Ran Over Your Dogma. From India, no less. I can't wait to read all of it.

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Calling G-d a Terrorist

Reading down this blog: First and Last and Always, I noticed her comparing G-d to a terrorist. Well, that's one way to go. Although remind me to find out exactly where you are the next time I go to Minneapolis; I don't want to be anywhere near you when the lightning strikes.

But what made me link this one was the subtitle to the blog: Goth Punk Child of Hippies Turned Corporate Whore. I know quite a few of those, as it turns out. You'd be amazed how much those laid-back, anti-big-corporation law students whip into shape when those huge firms offer them $120,000 a year.

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Six Degrees

This guy is awesome. I got to him through Tina Anderson's blog: This is the Truth; My Truth. The blog is called Six Degrees of Mediocrity. The post Tina linked is about e-mail forwarding, don't. But as I read more of the blog, I came across a recent one all about how people who aren't really paying attention to what they say will say stupid things. Like one guy telling another about a test he's about to take. His friend says, "good luck on the test!" and the response, as he turns to walk away, is, "you too." Oops

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Will She, Won't She

Go wish Melina good luck on her attempts to seduce the ex-con bartender. We're all pulling for you, Melina!

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Hey Everybody!

Good news, people. Sugar Lick is back. And yes, we missed you.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Comment, A Post

I just spent more time writing a comment than I have writing any single post for my own blog. I read a smart, thought-provoking, interesting, and insightful entry on Stupid Beautiful Lies. And I look forward to reading many more.

I also disagreed with just about the entire entry. And I said so. The post is called: An Obituary for Western Sorrow. I just finished the comment (after about 90 minutes).

I hope that the author will come over here and see this. I hope that my respect for his opinion came through, even in my total disagreement with it. I have a tendency towards sharpness, when my ire is up. Though I tried to keep my tone reasonable. As much as you can control tone in a written piece. I believe that reasoned debate is something that has been lost in this country, to its utter detriment.

The cause of that loss is something else that can be debated. I believe its because the left has lost its way. And those of us on the right look across an ever-widening divide and say, "man, those people are just nuts.

There's a thing on blogs now that I've come across: it's a running tally of the cost of the war in Iraq. Every time I see it, my eyes glaze over and my mouse leans toward the "next blog" button. I guess, after searching far and wide, I lost interest in finding someone who is actually going to argue, "it costs too much." They use that counter as shorthand to say "no war for oil," or some such similar nonsense. So immune to logic or reasoned argument, so totally given over to hate and diatribe, that I just have nothing to say to them.

I hope, I truly hope, that the author of the wonderful entry I just lambasted isn't one of those. One of the reasons I started this blog, and that I'm going about posting to it the way that I am, introducing new blogs, and searching, searching for that voice to engage, is to find an entry like the one I just finished commenting on. Have I found it? Time will tell.

But if you want something good to read, go over here.

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Here's Why

Here's why I am so in thrall with HeroineGirl. Besides the fact that it's harrowing, she writes stuff like this:

I always reveled in (and always will) taking the road less traveled. A result of this being that I have ended up in some pretty desolate places - places that no matter how much I describe , in detail, the smell or the sights - you are lucky not to know them.
This is from her Memoirs. One entry of which is here.

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Some New Ones

I've been adding some blogs to my blogroll as I surf over lunch. But I don't have the time right now to do real entries on why. Other than Heroine Girl, below. From which I'm still reeling. But each got my attention somehow.

Anyway, I'll write some more tonight, and maybe a few more entries today when I take a breather from drafting yet another document.

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Wow

No words. Just read: HeroineGirl

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Not New, But New to Me

I got to this guy through his funny comments on Melina's blog. I'm actually working today, so I haven't had time to go through his blog, but what I've read is pretty funny. Enjoy.

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They Should Count Themselves Lucky

Among the more stupid ideas in the world is pissing off a Navy SEAL. If they only sue you, you should really consider yourself extremely lucky. The SEALs usually take more, shall we say, ah, direct action.

And more seriously, anyone who endangers the life of a SEAL --- or, for that matter, any member of our special forces --- by publishing a picture of them in a newspaper, deserves to be arrested and tried for treason.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Well, Hello to You, Too

This blog has only one post, and a two-liner at that. Why am I linking to it? Because after a few seconds of thinking hard about it, I still have no idea what it means: Not to follow the Path But to Describe Your Path

I think it's the lack of parallelism that's throwing me. Shouldn't it be, "Not to follow the path, but to describe the path?" Or, to be less repetitive, "not to follow the path, but to describe it." But as is, it makes no sense. And yes, I need to find something else to do. I think it's time to go home.

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Two Words

I don't know if this blog: The Formality of Occurrence is any good. I haven't read it. I just have two words to say: Font Size. Thank you, David, for a blog that, while unpretty, is still extremely easy on the eyes.

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Sharp and Angular

Personally, I like anyone who can describe a name as "sharp and angular." So go to Mrs. Layla Katz's blog: her new name. I'd say to leave a comment, but she doesn't have comments turned on. Oh well.

If she keeps it up, it'll be a good blog.

PS. I have no dog in the whole do-I-change-my-name fight. I'm a man. My wife changed her name personally, but kept the maiden name professionally. (She would have had to change the letterhead on the law firm, so, ah, no.) My opinion? Don't care. It's a personal thing, and if someone wants to, because it's tradition, or because they don't like their last name, or do like their new one, so be it. If not, great. If it's a make-or-break thing for you, I can say, you've got your priorities screwed up. The issue arises because you've found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, that you're about to promise to love above any other, forever. And the deal-breaker is whether she takes your last name? Get a grip. Once I found that one person, who I loved, and who I wanted to grow old with, she could have called herself Ms. or Mrs., or even Rumplestiltskin. She was it. And after all that time it took to find her, I was mainly interested in making sure she didn't slip away.

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This is Pretty Screwed Up

Someone is having an Jerry Springer Moment. I mean, wow, this is a pretty f-ed up situation.

But I love the clock she has posted on the sidebar, and this post, while truly fubar, is interesting. Some other posts are good, too. And check out that clock. Pretty friggin' neat, if you ask me.

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Template Hell, and Back

Well, that was fun.

I'm trying to add Captchas to my comments. It reduces -- if not eliminates -- spam comments. And I'm just egotistical enough to believe that's going to be a worry. It's not totally baseless, though. I've had problems with spam comments before. So I decided to erase the haloscan comments I had put in, and go back to blogger comments, keeping haloscan trackbacks. That worked fine.

Then I decided, well, no, I want haloscan comments back. I didn't want to make people who didn't have blogger accounts post as "anonymous." Thus began a 90-minute descent into the eighth level of Hell. There I was, with the fraudulent, the malicious, and the panderers (anyone read any Dante?), and I was tinkering with my template. Because when I added haloscan back in, the whole thing went wonky. I suddenly lost my sidebar entirely. It was taken up by some posts, but not all, because the rest were underneath, all center-justified. Oh, and the white area where the posts were ended about three posts down. The rest were in grey.

It's back to normal now, after major tinkering. With Haloscan comments and trackbacks.

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How Did I Miss This?

I really thought I blogrolled this the other day. Or at least linked it. But I just went through my posts, and nada. So here's another title I love. Bottling Up the Crazy. Excellent.

And I see from reading him that he acknowledged where he found something, when it was on someone else's blog. More politeness that I like. And speaking of that, notice how on that same thing, I did the same. So credit goes where credit is due. Someone finding the Evel Cow thing on MooCow's site would know he got it from me. And someone checking out my site would know I got it from Skeptic Thoughts. That's the blogosphere at its attributive best.

Hmmm, maybe I should change my subtitle to, "keeping the blogosphere polite since 2004." Or not.

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If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words...

I liked this blog so much that I went and read her whole archives (ok, the "whole archives" is just from earlier this month). One thing I liked about her? She comments on other people's sites. I think that's very polite. Good job, Melina!

But she did this thing, admittedly neat for someone so new at html: she put a music video in her template, so it loads whenever you access her page. What's annoying about it? Well, first, it doesn't stop. There's no off button for it, or stop button, or anything. And because it loads whenever the page loads, if you click through to a permalink, to read the comments, it stops, and starts over. Then, when you click back to the home page, it stops, and starts over. So, as much as I like the song (she says it's something by Blink 182), please make it stop!

To be fair, she acknowledges that it could be annoying. But, Melina, for the love of all that's holy, take it off (or find out how to have it play once, and stop, or find out how to put a stop button on it...you're like Mickey, you've made the brooms dance. Now what?)

But if you're here, you should definitely go there. She's funny, she's smart, and she's got somewhat readable fonts.

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Another Title I Love

The creativity of people thinking up their blog names never ceases to amaze. Because we get Melina with "That woman speaks eighteen languages and can't say "No" in any of them." I love it. I got to her through her comment on Waxing Pathetic.

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Now this is What I'm Talking 'Bout

When I say I'm looking for new voices, this is what I'm talking about. Waxing Pathetic. Brand new, and deep. Maybe too deep, and sometimes bordering on melodrama (and, frankly, trite melodrama at that..."the stars don't care", come on, man). But when he writes about compliments he's gotten, you know he's writing from the heart.

I'm not asking for much, just writing from the heart. And he's from Columbus. One of my favorite old friends (and old flames) is from there, so he basks in reflected friend-love.

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An Exception

This is not my former blog. I'm not trying to be Charles Johnson, or anyone. I'm just writing some stuff, and linking to some newer blogs that I like. But I just read such a great Fisking, that I have to link to it. And to make matters worse, I got there from Instapundit. But still, here it is. Bob Herbert better not show his face around that site any time soon.

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An Incredible Statistic I Read This Morning

This year, we are on course in New York for a murder total of about 560. Now, that's a horrible number, and we'd all like to see it at 0. The thing that's incredible is that in 1990, that number was north of 2,200.

Think about that.

Because of the much-maligned NYPD, there are about 1,700 people walking around today who wouldn't be otherwise. They'd be dead. Shot in a robbery, or a drive-by shooting. Stabbed. Strangled. But they're alive and well. 1,700 people.

So, a hearty thank you to New York's Finest: the New York City Police Department.

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More Stupidity

I'm back out, reading new blogs (new to me, anyway), and I've come across some new ones, all now in the blogroll.

The stupidity comes because it's midnight. Actually, not really that. Or at least, that's not all. The rest is, I have a DVD of the 3rd season of 24. The first disk. And I still have two more hours to go, and I'm going to watch them. Combine that with the fact that I'm still reading new blogs, and it leads to two inescapable conclusions: first, I'm going to be really tired tomorrow, and second, I'M STUPID.

Seinfeld had this hilarious skit about the "night guy" and the "day guy." The night guy, he said, always gets the day guy in trouble. The night guy stays up late, and the day guy is tired. And the only thing the day guy can do is not work, lose the job, so the night guy won't have any money to go out, and so will be home, and go to bed early.

So now I'm going to end stupidity part number 1 (blogging), and go on to stupidity part number 2 (24).

Have a pleasant night.

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Monday, December 27, 2004

On My Way Out the Door

Here I am, trying to leave so I can catch a train, and what do I come across but this, to which I can only reply: YES! I'm not really a fan, but this one nails it. Nails it.

It gets a link, and it's on the blogroll. Just for this post. I can't wait to read the rest of the site tonight.

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Nothing Too Unusual

Normally, I wouldn't link to someone posting like this. Too personal. Not TMI, but too limited in its appeal: only people who know this guy would be interested in this post, in these pictures. Except me, for one reason. I have the same screens at work as this guy does. And let me tell you, they are gorgeous to work with. Huge. Bright. Just an absolute pleasure. I have two also, which makes life that much better. As a lawyer, I stare at my screens quite a lot. It makes the type-face that much easier to read when normal 12 point is blown up to the size that fits the screen. Seriously, it's like reading large-print books.

Does it seem that I have a font-size fixation? I guess maybe I do. But there's an excuse.

I have what's called "student myopia." And no, it's not a student taking only those classes that fit his preconception of what he wants to do (although I did that, too...but that's for another day). It's when a student reads so much that he becomes nearsighted. That happened to me within 6 months of going to law school. I had perfect vision before that. I sat in the back of the room in Property class, and by the end of first semester, I actually went up to my professor and asked that she write harder on the board, because those in the back couldn't see it. It turns out, it was just me. The next semester I apologized to her...I was wearing my new glasses. So maybe I pay a little more attention to being able to see the writing than most people.

Or maybe I just have a weird fixation on type-face.

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