Archives for February 2014

57 More Reasons To Hate Bloggers

Trouble brewin'

The same words keep jumping off the pages today which some might say is because the universe is trying to get my attention. Perhaps it is true and perhaps it is not either way it matters not to me because when people ask if I am boring I always answer by hitting them in the head with a giant shilelagh.

57 More Reasons To Hate Bloggers

I probably shouldn’t surf the blogosphere when I am as out of sorts as I am now. My back feels like someone is pounding upon it with the aforementioned giant shilelagh and some nasty demon is feasting upon my brain, working on gaining his freedom by eating from the inside out.

Naturally your sometimes lovable curmudgeon is crankier than usual and tired of reading posts in which new bloggers talk about all of the ways we are killing blogging.

It is easy to play the pretentious old timer and tell you how much better it used to be but it gets old. I can tell you how to get more comments and how to build your presence. I can give you all sorts of tried and true measures to make your mark here but it only works if you are willing to put the time into making it work.

The foundation of making your mark is simple–build relationships with other bloggers.

If you have spent any time in the so called real world you know that the most talented people are not always the ones who get the best jobs/promotions/accolades.

Those often go to those who are the best self marketers/promoters. In the blogosphere writing gigs, notoriety, brand ambassadorships and trips often are extended to bloggers who aren’t particularly good writers but they are friends with someone who knows someone and that leads to an introduction which leads to opportunity.

If you want more from blogging make the commitment to put the time into it. Unless you are the rare prodigy you didn’t become an expert piano/guitar player overnight. It took a commitment, a time commitment.

Blogging is no different. You have to put the time in and you have to understand that it is not just about putting out content.

Don’t You Dare Say Epic

The next person who tells me you can only be successful by producing epic content is going to be slapped, beaten and smacked around because you have stripped epic of all meaning.

You know what is epic? A 7.1 earthquake, lightning strikes, tornadoes and burning rivers. Those are epic, your post about how to make money online, potty training and beating up Santa Claus are not.

What you need to do is produce solid content on a regular basis and you need to read other bloggers and comment on their posts. If you want to build your presence on Twitter/Pinterest/G+/Facebook you need to dedicate the time. You need to be there to engage with the people that are there.

Do that and you will start to build relationships. You will make friends. If you want more opportunities build relationships with people who are doing what you want to do.

It takes time.

Are you willing to put it in?

I am here because I have a sickness called I am compelled to write…daily. I have five different blogs and I produce more content than most bloggers do and I do it daily.

Some of it is because I have some talent. I am a better writer than most people I encounter, don’t have to try that hard. Did I mention I am funnier, more handsome, clever, stronger, smarter and faster on my feet too.

I’ll let you decide if that was intentional or just bait.

Words That Must Be Shared

I was going to talk about The Inigo Montoya Method For Building Community but decided against it. Instead I will leave you with the words below because for me they are part of the foundation of blogging.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting again tonight.

What Happens When Blogging Isn’t Fun Any More?

fun

I’ll be 45 in May but I still can’t tell you what she meant when she hoped I didn’t break her fun button. But I can tell you that I helped Sister Mary see god…more than once and that if you are going to go to church that is the only way to it.

I suppose you might think it is sacrilegious to have sex in church but I figure if the goal is to bring people closer to god than the clergy ought to thank me for finding a way to keep the pews filled with people. Hell imagine what life would be like if when you passed the collection plate it was to grab a hand full of condoms and not to leave a handful of cash.

Yeah, I know some of your faces might be turning red now because old Jack Steiner is committing blasphemy. I could tell you to keep your shirt because I believe in sex in the synagogue too.

I could tell you some stories about the rabbi’s daughter, hell I could even tell you some stories about the rabbis too.

What Happens When Blogging Isn’t Fun Any More?

I’ll let you wonder how much of what you read above is fact and how much is fiction because the real focal point here is for the people who wonder what to do when blogging isn’t fun any more.

The people who last in this game are having fun because it is too much work to keep on keeping on. It is too hard to keep trying to figure out what to write, how to promote it and wonder if your words measure up against the others…unless you are having fun.

And me, well part of the way I have fun is by writing ridiculous stories about sex with nuns or chronicling the lives of my children, like stories about the world’s strongest penis or what happens when they read the graffiti on the stall walls.

It is a mixture of serious stuff here. I haven’t yet blogged about how my mother is going in for surgery this week, they say it is benign and that this is a precautionary measure but old Doc Google can make you crazy with what he shows you.

Sort of fitting that it is coming now during the midst of this transitional time.

When blogging isn’t fun you have to find a way to make it fun…for you.

If you aren’t having fun your writing may very well suffer and that won’t make your readers like/love you any more.

Don’t Write For Other People

Don’t write for other people. Write for yourself. Tell the stories you want to tell and answer the questions you want answered. Try not to give in to blog envy and wonder why that other blogger gets more, has more, does more.

I am not always good at that. Most of the time I am, but sometimes it just chaps my hide to read some posts and wonder how they got whatever it is they have that I don’t that I think I should.

Sometimes if I am feeling particularly juvenile I think about those other bloggers and imagine that along with the great gig they got a bad case of the runs too.

Confession: In high school I had a major crush on a girl who had very bad taste in men. When she started dating one of the major jackasses I tried to convince myself that it didn’t bother me, except it did.

One day I heard him bragging about some of their sexual exploits and he said she caught him with her teeth. I damn near cheered, it was time for a celebration. I wanted to give him a hot dog bun and some mustard and a note that it was for the next time they got busy.

My best guess is that a bunch of readers haven’t made it as far as you have. They might have been offended or bored by what they have read and I am ok with that. I guarantee there are 567 ways to tell a better story.

And I can assure you that even when I bleed at the keyboard I wonder how I could have done a better job.

Find Your Smile and Run With It

The trick here is to find your smile and run with it. Figure out what makes blogging fun for you and keep doing it. If you are having fun and you sustain your effort good things will come from it.

And if you are new to the blog I want to thank you for being here. I hope you’ll become a fan of my Facebook page and that you’ll hang out in the comments not to mention you should know that some of what you read is fiction. Don’t worry because I didn’t get arrested for this, this or this.

I may or may not have taken Jersey Santa on.

All I can tell you is Don’t Look for Death Because it Might Find You and have fun blogging, you deserve it.

Things That Matter

More than a year ago I wrote A Letter To My Children- Things That Matter because I needed to remind them about what is important in life and I needed them to remember all we have is a brief window to collect a series of moments in time we call experiences.

It is part of why I collect those moments and write about them here, because it is one of the few ways I have to try and immortalize certain things so that I can save them for later.

Last night we talked about how my grandparents would have turned 100 this year and I did some digging to see what I might share…if anything.

Passing The Baton- Grandma is 94 jumped out at me. We took my grandparents out to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday and then when I drove them home this happened:

When I dropped them off at their home I had to take a moment. They both hugged and kissed me goodbye, and then without any further ado they held hands and walked off towards the entrance. When I tried to follow them in my grandfather stuck his cane out and told me not to interrupt his time with his special girl and with a twinkle in his eye told me to tell the office that they wouldn’t make it to dinner tonight.

When grandma was 90 grandpa told me she had the best ass of any 90 year-old woman he knew. I remember the first Passover seder without grandma and the tear that ran down grandpa’s face.

I knew why he cried and I know he died not from old age but of a broken heart.

What Might You Have Said/Done

It is eight years since my paternal grandfather died but sometimes it feels more recent. Sometimes I feel like I can call grandpa and tell him about just how crazy life became after he died and how very much has happened.

I remember after the Northridge Quake in ’94 I drove to his apartment and made him and grandma leave. Grandma really didn’t want to go but I knew the building would be condemned (and it was) and didn’t want to find out if it was going to come down naturally or with the help of machinery.

So we packed a bag and moved them  to my parents’ house and grandpa said if he was 65 or younger it would be an adventure but that 80 made it more difficult than he preferred it to be.

And now I think about driving through the desert from California to Texas and then from Texas back to California. I think about the things I saw, experiences I had and the moments that changed my life and I wonder what he might have said or done.

Wonder because my gut tells me I know most if not all of what he would have said or done.

He never did read any of the posts on any of my blogs, but he knew about them and he loved that I was writing,

Things That Matter

People matter. I have reminded myself of and about that a bunch of times recently. Done so because some things have happened that turned my world upside down.

My life is very different than I had imagined it would be. Don’t ask me to list them all because I won’t and it is not because I am trying to be mysterious, different or difficult.

It is because some things I keep just for me and the list of how/why isn’t as significant as my saying that the most important lesson I have learned is to focus upon what I need and what I want.

When you identify the distinction you can make a plan for getting what you need and once you have nailed that down you can look for what you want.

Grandma Did It All Backwards

Sometimes people will talk about how my grandfather was quite the dancer and my mom/aunt point out that grandma was too and that she did it all backwards.

Grandpa was much louder than she was, he liked being the center of attention and she was content to be quiet.

What I think people forget is that grandma was quiet because she wanted to be. She wasn’t the center of attention because she didn’t need it but it made grandpa happy and she liked that because she liked making him happy.

And when I think about them one of the shining moments is from their last days together. Watching them sit next to each other, each in their own reclining chair, holding hands.

If you had seen the look on their faces you’d understand.

Holding hands on a couch–timeless memories.

How To Use A Blog For Blackmail Purposes

couch2

If Couches could speak oh the stories they could tell…

This post was supposed to be about a different topic but my 13 year-old asked me to tell him why a girl said he looked hot in his suit on Saturday night. He wasn’t being coy or clever, until relatively recently he thought girls were placed on earth solely to irritate boys.

You should have seen the look on his face when I told him it only gets worse. 😉

Anyway, I didn’t tell him about all the great blog fodder he provided when he was little and about how easy it would be to make it blackmail material. 😉

During our conversation I remembered a post I wrote six years ago about a conversation he and I had about The World’s Strongest Penis.

It is more innocent than it sounds.

On a related note now that the kids are older I am more cautious about what sorts of things I share about them, there are more boundaries.

The World’s Strongest Penis

My children provide a never ending source of blog fodder. The questions they ask, the stories they tell and the things that they do provide a steady pipeline of material. The hard part is that some of these stories seem to repeat themselves over and over, with just a slight variation on how they are told/come about.

This next story comes courtesy of the lad that the good people call “Little Jack.”

He recently told me that he is the smartest boy in the house. When I asked why he explained that I don’t go to school and that I have an “old brain.” Anyway, the conversation meandered about and eventually led to our standard question and answer time. The “Q&A” session is something that we do on a regular basis. It gives him a chance to ask me to answer the burning questions on his mind and it provides me with a chance to try and pick his brain about his day.

The conversation about The World’s Strongest Penis began as a discussion about how to use public urinals. That is a conversation that we have had a number of times. In a different post I’ll have to rant and rave about how some women tried to teach him and the other boys to pee. It may sound ridiculous, but there is a reason for my irritation.

For now let’s talk about how some of the boys at camp have helped educatehim about all sorts of stuff, including new and exciting vocabulary words.

Son: Dad, Jake says that his mom told him that the penis is a man’s strongest muscle.
Me: His mom and dad don’t live together, do they.

Son: No, how’d did you know that?
Me: Just a hunch. What else did Jake say?

Son: He said that his dad had the most powerful penis in the world. I said that he was wrong and that you do.
Me: (Mental note to self: Add note to resume, “most powerful penis in the world.) Oh you did. I appreciate that, but you don’t need to tell people that. It is a private thing.

Son: Ok, I’ll tell him that you don’t want to talk about your penis.
Me: That’s ok. You don’t need to tell him. In fact it is probably better that you don’t discuss it.

Son: Why, are you embarrassed about your penis?
Me: No, I am perfectly happy with it. It works just the way it is supposed to. Remember when we talked about a broken penis. Everything is fine, it is just not something that we discuss with others.

Son: What about the doctor? Can we talk to the doctor about our penis?
Me: Yes, the doctor is fine.

Son: How about a policeman? Can we talk to the policeman?
Me: Only if you need to file a missing penis report. (Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

Son: Can people steal your penis? (you can’t imagine the look of horror on his face.)
Me: No, I just exaggerating. No one can steal your penis. It is attached just like your arm or leg.

Son: But if you have an accident you can cut off your arm or your leg. What if you had an accident and you cut off your penis.
Me: Might be kind of hard to pee. I don’t think that you have to worry about that one.

Son: You can’t cut off Superman’s penis unless you have Kryptonite.
Me: I have never thought about it, but I suppose you’re right.

Son: And Iron Man is safe. You can’t cut off an iron penis.
Me: Actually Iron Man is a guy who wear a special suit. Outside of his armor he is vulnerable.

Son: He better not take off his suit, someone might cut his penis off.
Me: He is a comic book hero, that kind of stuff never happens to them. Do you have any more questions?

Son: How strong is your penis?
Me: I don’t know. It is not like your arms or legs. It doesn’t have to be strong to do its job.

Son: Why did Jake’s mom say that it is a strong muscle?
Me: I don’t know.

Son: That doesn’t make sense.
Me: You’re going to find that life is full of things that don’t make sense. Has Jake’s mom said anything else?

Is Age Just A State Of Mind?

Half Dome

Saturday morning or maybe early afternoon, clock says it is almost noon now and I am here…with you

We moved again and even if I wasn’t surrounded by boxes I would know that I had by the aches and pains that haven’t just come for a short visit.

Hired movers because I knew this wasn’t the time to prove I can lift as much as I did in my twenties. Genetics, god or whatever you believe in has given me ample natural strength. Doesn’t require much for me to throw the iron or boxes around, but it never has.

What has happened is that the recovery time that once wasn’t needed is more important than ever. Used to be I could go all day and all night and still be good the next day because a couple of hours of shut eye was all I needed.

But those days are mostly gone.

Mostly gone because I still find those days and moments where I feel exactly as I used to and the body responds. But those moments are slipping away and they don’t occur as often as they used to.

Is Age Just A State Of Mind?

If you know me well you know I am 240 pounds of 5 year-old and that I never will completely concede that time has done away with my ability to do as I wish.

You know that I will tell you that force of will and belief is often enough to make the difference but you also know that I have lost a half step and that I can’t always do as I once did.

The Uncle Drew video below always makes me smile. Some of it is because I love playing pick up ball and I remember being the young guy who didn’t believe an old guy could take advantage of him.

Well, several old men did and I learned an awful lot from them not that I apply not just to the game but to life.

They taught me the importance of fundamentals and of knowing the rules well enough to apply them in conventional and unconventional ways.

I learned the value of picking my spots and how going full speed all day every day doesn’t mean you are accomplishing more. Sometimes that is just activity without any sort of measurable positive outcome.

Out on the court I like fooling the younger guys into thinking I can’t move that well. There is always someone who is surprised that I can still run.

Running is where I sometimes notice age. I have always had decent foot speed, might not have been the fastest guy on the court but I was close.

But what is different now is I can’t just walk on the court and turn it on. I need to warm up, until I get the first sweat I feel like a sleastack.

Some days when I get loose it feels like I can do it all as well as I ever did it.

I love those days because it feels like the combination of youth and wisdom and then there are days where it doesn’t matter what I do because my body refuses to respond.

Moving Sucks

If you read No One Wants To Read A Dad Blog you know part of my story. The hardest part of moving is it has dredged up some old memories and anger that I thought was gone has come to visit.

Part of me wants to scream at how unfair this is. I shouldn’t be unpacking now in a place I am renting. I should be in my own house, the one I bled to save.

But the thing is I always knew that house wasn’t going to be the last place I lived. It was a great starter house, but it needed some more to make it a place to stay longer.

We probably wouldn’t have put any more money into it. We probably would have moved but the distinction is it should have been a choice as to when.

Instead it was made in a more defiant manner. I wasn’t going to wait to see if the bank would say yes or not to my request so I took control of the situation and made a decision.

How You Age Is A Choice

I guess if you look at it all you can say how you age is a choice. You have the ability to take control and try to do it on your terms or  you just let it happen and see how it goes.

And right now how it goes for me is lugging more boxes up and down some stairs. Time to get back to it.

See you all later on, two ibuprofen and time in the hot tub later.