Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Since I just hit my 13th anniversary of writing this here Ramblin’ with Roger blog thing, I’d thought I’d describe why I do it.

I’ve mentioned before that my friend Fred Hembeck had started a blog, that friend Rocco had tipped me off to same, and that I read everything Fred wrote, which meant going back about two years.

And Fred was prolific. He wrote every day, usually pieces a lot longer than I write currently. Then I would comment on his blog, and he would mention me therein. I gave him a couple ideas; for instance, I found a page of record album covers based on other album covers, which still exists.

So I thought, maybe I could do this myself. But what would I write ABOUT? I only had two topics that I KNEW I would have to cover. One was the Daughter, who was a little over a year old. I said to myself when she was born that I would write about her in a baby book that people give to parents of newborns, where you track when the child first crawls and walks and gets the first tooth.

There is incontrovertible evidence that I was TERRIBLE at this exercise. Instead, I would write about her every month, on the 26th. And I have, every month, although it’s often been as much about ME having a daughter after I’m five decades old.

The other topic was my appearances on the game show JEOPARDY. It was taped in September 1998 and was broadcast in November, and I was afraid the details were starting to fade.

I started writing in my Blogger blog on May 2, 2005, and I have written every day, at least once a day. In the early days, it was tough because Blogger didn't let me schedule posts. I remember writing at a library in Lake Placid during a break in a work conference.

I was inspired by what the late Steve Gerber, comic book writer of Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, the Defenders, and other Marvel comics I loved, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”

Oh, the duck. At FantaCo, I was editing something called X-Men Chronicles. I had extra pages to fill, and so Smilin’ Ed artiste Raoul Vezina and I pieced together a story about the rodent buying a case of a popular comic book. I appeared as a duck because… well, I don’t know.

Around that time, Raoul drew the duck for my friend Lynne. In 2010, when I was getting my own URL, Lynne’s husband Dan, who recognized me from the caricature when he met me on the street back in 1985, scanned the drawing, and I have used it ever since, on the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

For ABC Wednesday

After 13 years, I think blogging is easy. There are 365 days. My birthday. My two sisters’ birthdays. My parents’ birthdays, the anniversary of their marriage, and the anniversaries of their deaths. 12 posts about The Daughter, always on the 26th of the month. Music throwback – another 52.

Various holidays – a dozen more. ABC Wednesday – 52 posts. Birthday people who turn 70 – 3 score and 10. There were 21, but some became music throwbacks, so let’s say 12 additional. That’s roughly 170 posts right there. All I need is another 185. Easy-peasy.

Blogging is hard. I have no skill, and frankly little interest, in the backside of the blog, how it works. So when it doesn’t work, for reasons mysterious and frustrating, makes me wanna holler, to quote Marvin Gaye. Dustbury has been gracious and helpful and gracious in this regard.

Blogging is convenient. When I’m on Facebook and having a conversation about a movie I’ve seen or an issue I care about, it’s easier to reply with a link to a blog post I’ve already written rather than answering on the fly.

Blogging is a community. I’ve discovered a bunch of other bloggers over the years. My friend Fred Hembeck, when he was blogging, had a sidebar. That’s how I was introduced to comic book fans such as Lefty Brown, Greg Burgas, and Eddie Mitchell; maybe SamauraiFrog, as well. I was reintroduced to my old buddy, former Swamp Thing artist, Steve Bissette, who had done work for FantaCo, the comic book shop/publisher I worked for in the 1980s.

Somehow I connected with other people I didn’t know, from Jaquandor at the other end of the Erie Canal, to AmeriNZ, on the other side of the globe. Mrs. Nesbitt started ABC Wednesday, and I got involved in that early on.

Blogging begets blogging. The same month my blog started, our work blog began. Because I was blogging here, I was invited to blog on the Times Union site, something I do rarely these days, for all sorts of reasons. Alan David Doane, a young FantaCo customer in the day, had invited me to blog on a couple of his comics-related blogs.

And blogging generates connections. People from my elementary school, old friends of the late FantaCo artist Raoul Vezina, fans of donuts, and many others.

It’s even gotten me on the news: Here’s Roger Green, strolling the streets of Albany, talking about the weather. The station saw my blog post from 10 years earlier and decided to interview me.

So I guess, if I can do 13 years, I’ll keep at it for another 12 months.

I’m a guy who likes to blog. I’m the guy who HATES having to deal with the technobabble that the task entails. I noticed that the backside of my blog was running slowly. Sometimes when I tried to schedule a post, I’d get an error message. My provider wrote:

“Our monitoring systems show that one (or some) of your user accounts may be making your web hosting account operate inefficiently. We noticed you’ve frequently hit the memory limits of your shared hosting plan over the last couple weeks. When this happens, our system automatically stops web processes which could be negatively impacting your server’s performance. This means your visitors may see errors or be unable to access your website at all for brief periods of time.”

I was given the option to leave everything as-is, optimize my website (for which I didn’t understand the instructions), or upgrade to Virtual Private Server and spend a bit more. I asked a fellow blogger what I should do. Among other things, he suggested that if I were still on an older PHP (5.x), jump to 7.0. If you don’t know what that means, well neither do I.

I did that. I also did the SSL free certification for https, though I’m not sure why. Immediately, I received a Fatal error on my page. I undid the SSL.

The technical support folks disabled the blog counter, which they identified as the problem. Blog working, but there’s no sidebar! No search bar or links or way to get to 12.5 years of my posts. This made me terribly… well, DEPRESSED. I mean, the blog isn’t just the last item I wrote, it’s the body of work. There were some back-and-forth written messages with suggestions that did not change anything.

Finally, a week later I called their support guy. The solution? “It looks like the site ‘sidebar’ and counter plugin may have not been
working correctly due to them not being compatible with php 7. Once we switched your site back to run on php5.6 your counter and sidebar has
been restored.” Thanks, John!

But all of this work not only reminds me how weak I am in certain areas, it was a real drag on my finite time to actually write blog posts. At least it was fodder for one.

Arthur, the Kiwi-American, wrote about blogging recently, prodded in part by an article I sent him. One of the takeaways is that bloggers spend more time on a typical blog post (up 39% from 2014 to 2017) and as a result, posts are published less frequently.

I shared the survey with this local blogging collective, maybe a dozen and a half folks who either presently or formerly blogged at a certain metropolitan newspaper, plus selected others. As I wrote, cheekily: “I love being in a collective! It’s so early Xian, or Soviet.”

It’s designed to be a safe place to kick around ideas, maybe gripe about the inevitable blog trolls we inevitably get. (Although I almost never get them here, I’m pleased to note.)

We answer questions about our writing process. “What inspires you to write about in autumn?” I asked if any of the others write ahead like I do. Well, no. unless a vacation is planned or one is crafting a fictional piece as part of a larger whole.

Someone posed this question: “What was the first time you wrote about something OUTSIDE of your comfort zone? I.e., something in which being a blogger inspired you to try something different?”

I can’t say for sure, but it was almost certainly something that one of you posed during what I call Ask Roger Anything, probably concerning race.

This is the time when youse folk get to inquire anything of me, and I must respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability, obfuscating only when really necessary, which has not been as frequent as I would have thought, truth to tell.

As always, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

For reasons currently lost on me, I have put up a profile on the Quora site. Quora is a user-based site that where questions are asked and answered.

As is the case in human interactions online, some are sincere queries, while others, usually political in nature, and often about Obama and that guy after him. “If liberals hate Trump so much, why don’t they just leave?” Some kind souls answered that one, but not me.

For some reason, maybe because I’ve been doing it for 12.5 years, I’ve answered questions about blogging. But not all of them. One directed to me that I ignored: “Which blog content would make more money, diet and exercise or drawing and graphic design?”

Some months ago the New Yorker noted that the personal essay boom is over. A key sentence: “Personal essays cry out for identification and connection; what their authors often got was distancing and shame.”

In response, Salon posted The “personal essay boom” is dead. Long live the personal essay! “What we are instead experiencing is an evolution — of writers being encouraged to not simply mine personal feelings for a quick click, but to make connections between the personal and the political more explicit.”

Both of these pieces talk about blogs from women, and describe posts that are far more high profile than mine. Still, the discussion made me want to continue to do whatever the heck that I do each day. I didn’t get into this for money or fame. And a good thing too, because then I’d be REALLY disappointed!

I do it because makes me feel just a little less powerless. It grounds my thought process by having to write it down in sentences than to just say, “Daylight Saving Times SUCKS!” (It does, BTW.)

My Quora pieces generally have said, “Write because you have to.” Every once in a while, I check in with myself and realize, “Yup, still need to do this thing.”

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