I changed the theme.
I liked Esquire; I really did. The look was the best one I’ve had. But the functionality was nil. All the widgets got stuffed to the footer. I wanted to display my business more prominently. So, after clicking idly around, I settled on Grid Focus. Sure, it’s kind of newspapery, but that’s kind of what I’m looking for right now. And if someone ever figures out away to put widgets in the sidebar/header of Esquire, I’ll go back in a minute.
Anyway, no, you’re not seeing things. I’m just never satisfied with the way this blog looks.
A blogger and essayist named Melissa Camara Wilkins, who writes about her life, family, amusing her children, lack of super-caffeinated tea, etc., has a veritable slew of self-published books on Amazon. Several of them are short essays, one of them is an essay collection. One of them is a collection of posts from her blog.
This is the economic quandary I’ve been pondering. Are people actually willing to pay for material that’s already available online for free? Presumably, an edited selection making up the best of a blog would be worth a Kindle price, if someone’s interested in the subject. But readers of the blog won’t, because they’ll have already read that material.
I don’t know what Wilkins’ sales are like, so I can’t really comment any further. But it’s been at the back of my mind for rather a long time now.
Thus far, this blog has been everything I could have hoped for. I’ve gotten more hits, more comments, more followers, the whole deal.
The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the look and feel of it. So I’ve made some changes.
First of all, no more blogroll. Based on my stats, no one was clicking over to the sites I like because I had a tiny link to them off to the side. Updating them is a pain and rarely noticed, unless you make a post mentioning it, in which case what was the point of making the blogroll addition? It defies everything we are told about blogging:
Blogrolls are static; blogs are fluid. I might make a page of Recommended Blogs later on, but I’m going to have to conceive of a reason to first.
Secondarily, I wanted to clean the place up. Too much gobbledygook and not enough white space. The colors I was playing with on the previous theme were boring me. Tag Clouds and Archives don’t, to my mind, deserve such pride of place as they often get. They’re down at the bottom now, where they belong.
Sixth and lastly, I like making these changes. WordPress makes it easy and quick to shift the look of your blog to something stark and eye-popping. That’s a feature I should take advantage of at regular intervals. We learn to blog by blogging. So expect them from time to time.
To Conclude, a personal note. I thank all of you who have liked, commented, and clicked through to read these offerings. You’ve sustained me in the hope that I might just make a go of this after all, and after nine years of blogging, that means a good deal.
My Stats page keeps locking up. As seeing who’s viewed what and how much is a needful guide to blogging, seeing this freeze up every time rather takes the wind from my sails.
Instead, enjoy this picture of my daughter and I having a frank discussion of great social and political import.
"Dad, you're just wrong."
First, in the Pledge, he shows us something ordinary — emails from a proggie radio show.
Then, in the Turn, the proggie responds.
Finally, the Prestige.
But he’s prepared to buy low and sell high:
I should make clear, just because I’m prevented from owning another team doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to sell my share back to the Packers in the event someone wants to give me a majority in an NFL team for Christmas. (Note: Please don’t buy me the Miami Dolphins. Or the Seattle Seahawks. Or the Chicago Bears as long as Jay Cutler is the quarterback. I’ve asked around and nobody is sure whether the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars still exist, but if they do, I’m not interested. Cincinnati Bengals need not apply.)
Note that he does not mention the Vikings, which is rather a glaring omission for a Cheesehead. Or he completely dismisses the notion that anyone would want to own the Vikings; the sagacity of which I cannot dispute.
Regected Riter (sic) may well be the funniest writer’s blog out there; certainly in my experience. Anyone who’s ever had to eat a rejection letter should love AG’s hilarious cut-and-paste of his own rejections (which he thereby, in his own terminology, transforms into regections). A salient example:
Thank you for applying to the We Are Edgy Because We Wear Our Sunglasses Indoors and In the Dark Lab this year. We enjoyed skimming through your work while hung over and on the toilet and getting to know your voice by pretending to read Not As Edgy As We Are.
But that may not be the best part. The best part may be AG’s ludicrously apt cartoons, usually of himself, in MS-Paint. Such as this gem from his most recent post, discussing the oft-given bit of writerly advice, “sometimes you have to kill your darlings”:
I hate him for being this funny. Which is how I justify stealing his art.
I don’t know how many people ever considered using MS-Paint’s very amateurishness as a satirical device. I do know that I have to lock my jaw into place to prevent the laughter from exploding out of me in big loud “HA’s”.
So I salute AG: One Of the Funny Anonymous Ones.