Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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NaBloPoMo – Day 30 – On A Roll

And so endth another National Blog Posting Month. As predicted, I mostly blogged about inconsequential minutiae, but at least it got me back in the habit of writing everyday. I just looked at last year’s end of NaBloPoMo posting to see what I wrote about and it reminded me that I should probably check out how I’m at writing blog postings relative to my 2017 goal:

  • when I hit “publish” on this posting, I will have published 68 blog postings1 so far this year
  • my goal for 2017 was to publish 117 postings
  • that mean I’ve only reached a mere 58% of my goal
  • and I will need to write 49 blog postings in December to meet my goal

So that would require me publishing 1.6 blog postings per day, or just a little more 3 postings every 2 days. It would be a lot, but it’s doable2. I’m kind of on a roll with writing now *and* I do have two weeks off at the end of the month, so I think I’ll give it a go!

  1. that means nearly half of my blog postings for 2017 were written in November! []
  2. I wrote 40 blog postings in Dec 2015 and a whopping 69 blog postings in Dec 2013. []

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WordPress’s Annual Blogging Report

WordPress just sent me my annual blogging report, which informed me that my blog has been viewed 34,000 times this year! My busiest day was Nov 23, with 513 views, mostly on this blog posting, which for some reason got pingbacks on two sites that stole this article from the Guardian.

The report also claims that I’ve posted 110 blog postings in 2015 – though my spreadsheet that I keep of such things says that I’ve only posted 103. So I’ve just double checked and found some errors in my spreadsheet (the horror! the horror!) and when I also add the postings I’ve done today and yesterday that it appears were too late to be included in my blogging annual report, plus this one that I’m writing, I’ll actually have posted 114 postings, so I only I have one less to go! And given that I have a few standard year-end blog postings (review of this year’s goals, goals for next year, nerd stats), I’ll easily be able to exceed my blogging goal this year. It’s a Holiday miracle!

You can check out my WordPress generated annual blogging report, if you are so inclined, here.

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93 down, 22 to go!

With just 4.5 days left to go in 2015, I have 22 blog postings left to go1 to reach my goal of 115 postings, so I’m going to see how many blog postings I can power through this afternoon. Apologies in advance for flooding your Twitter stream/Facebook feed/RSS feed!

  1. Once I post this one. []

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Completeism

I started writing this a few days ago, but didn’t finish it. Which is pretty hilarious since it’s a blog posting called “Completeism”. In my defence, I’m trying to get my students’ papers marked – my last teaching task I need to do to wrap up the semester – and once I do that, I’ll have lots more spare time to write my eleventy billion blog postings. I’m only finishing this one now because I have only one more assignment to mark, but not enough time to do it before I have to leave for hockey, so I’m quickly doing this in the time that I have right now.

As Jan mentioned in a comment on my earlier post, my quest to get to 115 blog postings in 2015 is a case of completism, which is apparently a form of perfectionism, and so I should probably let it go if I’m not having fun with it. And, I thought about this comment as a perused the list of blogging prompts for Dec 2015 because they just don’t resonate with me1. But I still want to do my 115 blog postings because completeism, so I checked out last year’s daily blogging prompts for December and I like them better2. Hence, I shall be using those as inspiration – and if there are ones I don’t like, I’ll look at other months’ prompts instead!

Now, I’m off to hockey!

  1. I was going to say “they suck”, but that’s not true. I’m sure they are wonderful for some people, but they seem to be all stuff that I’ve talked about ad nauseam already, so they aren’t really useful for the purpose of inspiring me, which is what I wanted out of this. []
  2. The theme was joy and I could really use a little joy in my life right now. []

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68 down, 47 to go!

BlogAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve ramped up my blog writing as of late, but I haven’t quite been hitting my target of 7.25 blog postings per week in order to make my goal of 115 blog postings for this year. By my latest calculation, once I include today’s posting and one for tomorrow, I will have to publish 47 blog postings during the 31 days in December – or 1.516 blog postings per day. I do have a list of stuff that I want to blog about (plus a few other items I’ve added to my mental list since I published that list), but I certainly don’t have 47 blog posting ideas. And I find that when I challenge myself to a blogging goal like this, it tends to lead to the dreaded blogger’s block.

So I’ve decided that for the month of December, I’m going to use the “daily blogging prompts” from the BlogHer website. These prompts take the form of a list of questions, one for each weekday1, and then you just write a blog posting to answer that question. So that gives me content for 23 blog postings, which means I only need to think of content for 24 blog postings. I have 12 items on my list that I haven’t yet posted about, so that just leaves 12 things that I’ll need to come up with. And given that there are lots of things going on in December – and there’s my usual end of year postings2 – I feel like this goal is do-able! Now I just have to hope that the daily prompts are actually interesting so that I don’t bore you all to death!

Image Credit: Posted by Got Credit on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. So technically they aren’t “daily”, as there are no prompts on the weekends. []
  2. Nerd Stats for the year, Review of 2015 goals, Setting of 2016 goals, just to name a few. []

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Write Blog Postings –> ? –> Profit!

I was searching Flickr for images for my slide deck for the class I’m teaching and stumbled upon this one:

BLOG IDEAS

It made me smile!

Image Credit: Posted by Owen W. Brown on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

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Goals 2015 – 317/365ths of the year check-in

So apparently I’ve rediscovered that I have a blog. Sadly, I totally forgot that November is NaBloPoMo1 – the month where you are supposed to publish a blog posting every day –  until about 2 days ago, which was 11 days to late to realize such a thing. I have, however, rebounded from one of my worst ever months for blog posting – I only posted 2 postings last month. Two! – having already posted 4 blog postings this month2 and the month isn’t even half over.

Rediscovering that I have a blog has reminded me that I have a list of goals that I aimed to accomplish this year, something I haven’t really thought about since, well, basically since I started working on the course that I’m currently teaching, which has pretty much taken over my life (outside of my day job) for the past three months3.

The last time I checked in on the list was in July, at which time I had completed 4 of my 15 +1 goals4

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m knocked 3 more items off the list:

  • run two half marathons (Vancouver and Montreal)
  • run 800 km (this one warrants its own blog posting!)
  • add 5 new medals to my collection (as does this one)

I’m also on track to achieve:

  • read 15 books in 2015 (I’ve read 14 so far5.)
  • complete 15 items from my 101 list (I’ve completed 11 so far)
  • bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work (I currently sit at 49.7%, so I need to bump it up to at least 50.1% and I have 22 work days left in the year, so as long as I bring my lunch 12 out of those 22 days, I’ll achieve this one.)

I’m not on track, but could get back on track with a Herculean effort, for this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings (I’ve published (including this one) 57 blog postings this year, which means I need to publish another 58 postings in the next 48 days (or 7.25 blog postings per week) to achieve this goal.)

I failed to achieve this one and am not going to have the opportunity again before year’s end (so I guess it goes on next year’s goals list!):

  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.

I’ve continued to neglect:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

and the second and fourth ones of that aren’t going to happen without a miracle. But the first and fourth are things that I can still tackle – and now that I remember them, perhaps I will start on them!

  1. National Blog Posting Month. []
  2. 5 is if you count this one that I’m writing now, which will be published by the time you read this. []
  3. Incidentally, I teach on Wednesday nights and since yesterday was a holiday, there was no class. Which gave me a bit of a breather and reminded me about the gloriousness of having free time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving teaching my class, but it is so much freaking work to put together three hours of lecture ever week, plus marking, plus communicating with students and guest speakers, etc. I’m really going to enjoy the break I’ll get when this is done. []
  4. +1 because I added in a bonus goal in that blog posting. []
  5. A few too many of these are textbooks for my liking, but I needed to read them to prep my course and they still count! []

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Blogs I’m Reading These Days

So I know I recently said that blogs are dead, but that may have been a slight exaggeration. There actually are people who still blog on a somewhat regular basis and I thought I’d share some of those blogs with you. Just don’t stop reading my blog when you start reading these ones, k?

In alphabetical order, so as not to give any of these blogs a complex:

  • The Bloggess – Her stuff is hilarious. She’s actually written two books now, which I’ve been totally meaning to get.
  • Consumed by Wanderlust. Written by my friend Dr. Dan. Not super frequent these days (apparently being a super productive Assistant Professor with eleventy billion students to supervise, one million grants to work on and one gazillion papers in various stages of writing and publication, among various other endevours takes up his time or something). But always worth reading when he posts!
  • Delicious Juice Dot Com – Hilariously written, this blog is by a local Vancouver woman who write about her random ideas and experiences. It’s generally NSFW – in fact, my work network blocks it, saying it’s “pornography”. It’s totally not pornography, but I’m sure Kimli would be delighted to hear it described as such.
  • Dividend and Conquer – A relative newcomer to the blogging scene, my friend Michelle writes this blog about finances (including creative ways to be frugal as well as her investment experiences), plus answering legal questions (as she is a lawyer). I’m looking forward to watching this blog continue to blossom!
  • Inspiration Rick – Written by my friend, Rick. This blog is a must-read if you like hiking – he blogs all the gorgeous hikes he does in the Rocky Mountains!
  • Patrick Johnstone.ca – You may recall Pat as being my friend who ran for, and won a seat on, New West City Council. Pat blogs about goings on around the city, information and opinions about political issues, and, what I like the most, he writes a blog posting about every city council meeting in plain English! So I don’t have to read a giant council report (which, quite frankly, I’m not going to read) to know what issues my city council is dealing with.
  • VWXYNot? – You may recall my friend Cath from our Paint Nite that confirmed our respective decisions to become scientists instead of artists as being wise decisions. She occasionally still writes on her blog and when she does, I read it. Because she’s hilarious1
  • Wait But Why – His tagline of “new post every sometimes” is pretty apt, as there’s no pattern to when he posts. But absolutely, hands down worth waiting for because his posts are always interesting, well thought out, and extremely well researched. They are very, very long, so when I see one in my RSS feed, I don’t read it right away, but save it until I have a good half an hour to an hour of uninterrupted time where I can curl up with a cup of tea and become absorbed in it. I have learned a tonne from this blog and am always entertained too.

I have a tonne more blogs from which I haven’t seen posts in ages set up in my RSS feed, but I keep them there in the everlasting hope that they will one day be resurrected!

So there you have folks. Blogs are dead, long live blogs!

  1. She’s much more active on Twitter and is totally worth following if you like science, cats, politics, and/or tea. []

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Goals 2015 – Mid-Year Check-in

So it’s just past the halfway point in the year and I figure that means it’s a good time to do a check-in on my goals for the year!

Of my 15 goals, 4 goals are completed:

  • Organize all my closets
  • Set up a new investment plan
  • Pay off 7.5% of my mortgage principal – I’ve actually paid off 9% of the principal I had owing at the start of the year – and counting!
  • Make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before – this one warrants its own blog posting!

6 goals are on track:

  • Run two half marathons – having done the BMO half, I’m 50% complete on this goal and I’m registered for the Montreal half as my second half of the year.
  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon – being less than 3 minutes off of hitting this goal in May and into my training for Montreal in September, I think there’s a reasonable chance I could get this one done.
  • Run 800 km – I’ve run 500.3 km so far this year, which puts me at 62% complete. I’ve got another 9 weeks of training left for Montreal, and then I’m running a 10 km in October, so I’ll be motivated to do some more runs after Montreal… so I’m really hoping I can complete this goal this.
  • Add 5 new medals to my collection – I’ve got two so far – BMO half marathon and the Florida virtual half (which I just realize that I have failed to blog about!) and am registered for three more races (Montreal half, PNE Donut 5 km (also warrants a blog posting), and the Vancouver Rock’n’Roll 10 km – so as long as I do all those races, I’ll have 5 shiny new medals in my collection…. plus, since Montreal & Vancouver are both Rock’n’Roll events, I will also get the “double beat” medal for running two R’n’R events in one calendar year – so I’ll actually add 6 new medals!
  • Bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work. I have a spreadsheet to track this one (because spreadsheet) and I currently sit at 49% of my lunches having been brought from home so far this year, so I really should make a more concerted effort to bring this number up to give myself some breathing room!
  • Complete 15 items from my 101 list. I’ve completed nine items (looks like that’s another blog posting I need to write!) and have booked something for next Monday which will, if all turns out well, allow me to knock item number 91 off my list.

4 goals have been neglected so far:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

And then there’s this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings. So far in 2015, I’ve written a mere 37 blog postings. Which means I need to write 14 blog postings per month – or 3.25 blog postings per week – for the remainder of the year to hit this target. Challenge accepted!

As a bonus goal, I decided the other day to set a goal of reading 15 books in 2015, mostly because Goodreads kept harassing me to set a goal every time I logged into the app. I’ve currently read 10 books this year (and am in the middle of a few others), so I’m on track for that one too.

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Happy 10th Blogiversary to Me!

Number 1010 years. A decade. One-tenth of a century. Whatever way you look at it, it’s an awful long time. Unless you are looking at it in geological time, in which case it’s not even noticeable. Thankfully, neither me nor my blog is a rock.

Obviously things have changed a lot during that time. In fact, blogging itself has gone from “You write a what? A “blog”? What the hell is a blog?” (when I started in 2005) to *everyone* is blogging (in maybe 2007 or 2008) to “You write a what? A blog? How antiquated. Can I Instagram a photo of you? #OldLady #GetWithTheTimes”1.

I obviously don’t blog anywhere near as often as I used to – the days of the 231-day blogging streaks are over2. Even at my peak, I never had a tonne of comments on my blog postings, but the comments section has been a veritable wasteland for years now, with the few people who choose to comment doing so on the Facebook posting linked to my blog posting.

I don’t think it’s very difficult to figure out why me – and pretty much every else – is blogging so much less these days. There are just so many more ways to publish your ideas online now. Back in 2005, Facebook wasn’t yet open to the public – you had to have a university-affiliated address to join back then – and Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and the myriad other ways we have of sharing our ideas online weren’t even invented. And it’s a lot easier to write 140 characters or copy-and-paste a link to something than it is to sit down and think enough to write a coherent blog posting. And, likewise, it takes a lot more attention to read a blog posting than to flip through a bunch of tweets and Facebook statuses. As Mitch Joel said in his blog posting Blogging is Dead (Again):

Blogging is hard because writing is hard. Writing is hard because finding the time to do real critical thinking and then to put those thoughts down in writing is even more complex. Reading, research, critical thinking, writing, editing and publishing isn’t like posting a picture to tumblr or texting off a tweet. They’re different beasts and they deserve different forms of metrics and comparison.

When I used to not have those other outlets, I channeled all of my creative energies into blog postings. Now it’s much easier to post a funny one liner on Twitter and go on about my day.

But the thing is, I’m still constantly thinking of ideas that would  take more than 140 characters to write, and I often find myself making a mental note about something that I want to blog about3. I currently have 63 draft postings sitting in my blog in various states of being written (from just a title to remind me of something I wanted to blog about to some half-baked postings that I haven’t found the time to finish baking), not to mention other ideas jotted on my whiteboard and still others floating around in my brain. But, as Joel says, finding the time to actually craft a blog posting is the real challenge. It’s not just that other social media platforms are competing with blogs, it’s that all the other stuff I do in my life is competing for my time.

Anyway, after all this talk about needing to spend time to think critically to write blog postings, I’m pretty much just rambling on at this point. So I should probably find some way to wrap this thing up. But now I can’t think of a good ending. Gah! The pressure is too much. Oh wait, I know! How about a quiz to see if anyone is actually reading this. 1000 points to anyone who actually posts a comment on this blog posting (and you lose one million points if you post a comment on the link to this blog posting that appears on my Facebook).

10th Birthday Cakey

Omg, why didn’t anyone make this cake for me today?

Image Credits:

-Number 10 image osted by draml on Flickr with a Creative Commons license4.
-Sheep cake photo posted by darkdwarf on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

Footnotes:

  1. See here for a report on how blogging is for old folks… and this was back in 2010! []
  2. Though you may have noticed that I’m currently on a 6-day blogging streak, which I started when I noticed “blogiversary” in my Google calendar. []
  3. Something that frustrates me is that I never seem to get a blog posting written on current events because I need to take my time to learn about them, to think critically about them, and to decide what I’d even want to say about them and by the time I’m done all of that, everyone will have stopped posting links to that news story on their Facebook, having moved on to the next big thing. []
  4. While searching for an image for this blog posting, I searched Flickr for “number 10” and got a lot of photos of the house of the British Prime Minister. []