Oh My Stats!

Great Odin’s Raven! I just looked at the stats for this blog. Subscribers have dropped from 7,000 a few years ago to about 2,700. And I know some of you are bots. Unless you can introduce me to Ava from Ex Machnia, begone with you, robots. God bless the humans! Long may we wave, or something. 

If you’re still here and you’re real, then I thank you. Are you enjoying the poems? That’s all I’ve been posting for a while. I thought maybe if I stick to my core expression, engagement would improve. Wrong again honey

I guess I’m not generating enough content to maintain an audience. I could tell you about the day I watched 44 sunsets but I forgot my camera that day. And my inquiries into the survivability of blogs in the days of media blogging tell me that I need to be vlogging, not blogging. That’s not going to happen; I have a YouTube channel but it’s mostly one minute clips of our dog being awesome. I’m not an on-camera dude. I’m a poet. 

So at the risk of empowering external validation of my efforts, maybe I can do something to boost engagement.

New (or renewed) Features Here On Metaphor 

  • Commonplace Posts
  • Book Blog: What I’ve read recently, books in process, and what’s coming up on my list. 
  • Analog: my favorite notebooks, pencils, etc. 
  • Inspiring YouTubes, movies, shows, music, etc. 
  • Events in my life; observations, anecdotes, etc.
  • General essays 

What are Commonplace Posts? 

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator’s particular interests.

Wikipedia

A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations, and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organize these gems for later use in your life…in your writing.

Ryan Holiday

A final note: If you want to see more of something or you have some ideas or constructive criticism, please leave a comment. In the words of Phaedrus, no matter how thin you make it, there are two sides to every pancake.

And if you read this blog, please take a moment to click “Like.” It doesn’t have to mean you think it’s a great post. It can mean you acknowledge that another person is putting himself out there, for better or for worse. Without Likes, the Great Algorithms won’t drive traffic to a blog. I would do it for you, as far as you know.  

Metaphor Rising

I’ve been thinking a lot about my poor old blog. Metaphor will be 17 years old in March.  It began as a venue on Blog City, to excoriate George W Bush and the evil wrought by his “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad in 2003. Many of the oldest posts have been lost to the dyspeptic digestions of the Internet, as the blog moved from place to place. 

I used to write posts about writing tech pretty often. They’re called apps now but for a while I was a minor champion of FOSS, Free and Open Source Software. Then a couple of years ago, I was spending so much time trying to ferret out and build a system of apps to enhance my productivity that I grew sick of the whole pursuit. I hit a wall and became disenchanted with personal technology as the solution to my challenges. We all have to use what works for us and productivity apps on my iPhone weren’t working for me. 

On the rebound, I fell in love again with analog. In summer 2017 I learned about the Bullet Journal method and gradually adapted it to my needs. Late that year, I found pocket notebooks, then got into pencils in 2018. Those are my hobbies now, and the tools I use for my primary avocation, writing. 

I still write, mostly poems, and from time to time I’ll post one here. But it has become obvious that the blog can’t survive on my occasional poems. I need to generate other content. As I’ve said before, I really don’t want to let Metaphor die, as so many blogs have. But it’s not flourishing. It’s time for a change. 

“Without change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”  
– Frank Herbert

I sat down with my notebook and pencil. I made a list of prospective blog themes that interest me. 

  • Poems and poetry 
  • Books I’m reading 
  • Philosophy, especially stoicism
  • Consciousness and its myriad deployments
  • Personal development, especially mental focus and clarity 
  • Analog, especially reading and writing tools and their use
  • Writer’s block
  • Journaling
  • Random observations
  • Worthy content I find on my TV and other devices; e.g., good movies
  • Brookie, my dog (she has a mostly-forgotten blog and a tumblr, I think)

You’ll notice a few common blog topics are not mentioned:

  • Politics
  • Current events
  • Personalities
  • Food and drink
  • Style
  • My digestive regularity and other effluent; e.g., the executive branch of the US government
  • My opinions on other people’s lives

It’s my thinking that deciding what to think about, and what’s not worth our time, is the first task of an entity that comes to the realization that it is sentient. I don’t think about Hair Furor and his golden golf cart, except when I’m conscious of the fact that I’m not thinking about him. There are plenty of brains drowning in that obsession; mine’s not going down with the ship. If you think it’s my civic duty, sorry not sorry. 

OK, I’ll admit it: when he’s actually doing damage, hurting people, I f**king care very much. I’m literally a card-carrying member of the ACLU and the SPLC. I care deeply about human and civil rights, including those of LGBTQ persons and immigrants. I just have no near-term plans to write about this, as far as you know. 

So that’s my thinking today about what to do with the blog. Some of those themes in the first list are sort of trending culturally, based on my myopic perceptions. If any of them resonate (great newly-overused term!) with you, please click like on this post to let me know. Leave a comment please, if we share interests. I’d be glad to see Metaphor become more of a place of dialog, less a lectern of unchallenged mediocrity. 

Thanks for reading this! 

Be Free!

I am grateful for everyone who subscribes to my sporadic musings. To show my appreciation, I’ve decided to start a Patreon.

JUST KIDDING!

I have paid off the kind and capable people at WordPress to remove all  of the advertising from this blog and its sub-pages. Your time and attention are valuable.

Thank you!

And apropos of nothin’, here’s a teddy bear in the mud. Just because, you know, we can; we have the technology to post random stuff for indefensible reasons.

2017-05-25 10.04.27-2

Thinking about upgrading

This blog has ads on it sometimes, doesn’t it?

I don’t notice them very much from my end, but recently I was talking with a friend and wanted to show them a post on my blog. When I opened the post on my iPhone, it had 3 huge ugly ads about Bitcoin. It was atrocious, embarassing.

I usually don’t mind if free services are tastefully monetized, but it was gross. Why on earth would WordPress think anyone would benefit from the same ugly ad 3 times? Whoever paid for the ad is wasting their money.

I’m thinking about spending some of my money to upgrade this blog to ad free. If anyone has comments or suggestions on this idea, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks!

As Ideas Go

I had what I thought was a pretty good idea for a blog post about decluttering the mind and life. It was based on a quote of David Allen, author of Getting Things Done:

“Don’t use your mind to accumulate stuff and avoid it. …Don’t use your mind to get stuff off your mind.”

My idea was sort of like The Power of Now meets an episode of Hoarders.

As ideas go, it’s a pretty good one, because I often encounter people who are unhappily trying to use their brains like warehouses, instead of like pianos. I think you get my point.

So I was googling around, trying to confirm the exact quote and its source, when I stepped in something disappointing:

The top few Google search results for this quote are … me.

Dang it, I already wrote the blog post I wanted to write, about a year and a half ago.

https://kimberlin.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/dont-use-your-mind/

Hey, I’ve posted on this blog over 3000 times. Who can keep track of all the effluvium?

The good news is, the post I wrote in 2013 was probably better than what I was going to write tonight.

Has that ever happened to you? Do you ever have an idea for something to write, only to discover that you’ve already written it?

” It’s more like trading the two birds
who might be hiding in that bush
for the one you are not holding in your hand.”

– Billy Collins

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Big thanks to all of you who read, commented, “liked,” and shared Metaphor’s content this year.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2998

Looks like I’m coming up on a milestone here, folks. The old odometer is about to roll over.

 2997 posts

I had an old blog years ago on Blogger that had a few thousand on it, too. So I’ve posted a lot of stuff, is my point.

What should I do to celebrate 3000?

Thanks For Subscribing

I made a mental note, I think, to post some acknowledgment when Metaphor’s subscriptions reached 1000. But that’s the thing about mental notes, you know? The meat is doing the thinking.

crowd_01

There were 800 of you subscribed to Metaphor on August 1. Now on September 20, there are 1,115. That’s awesome. The blog has been active on WordPress for about a year and a half. My old address on Blogspot was active for about a decade and had 5 subscribers.

Thank you all for subscribing. And thanks for commenting, liking, and sharing my posts.

You are appreciated and I hope you have a peaceful day.

Adrift

A long time has passed since my last post here. It’s troubling, for a guy who used to post daily. But the fall and winter have found me pacing the focs’le, adrift deep in the horse latitudes. No wind in my currents, and it’s even more disturbing that through my glass I see in the distance many good ships with full sails and following seas, moving well.

So I thought I would start the new year by sharing a testimonial, a tribute to the worth, the efficacy, the abounding helpfulness of my work. Just to motivate and cheer me up, you know? This was received by email through the contact form on my website, from someone in Asia, I believe.

vbzdmaqxmm@gmail.com
Message
I simply wished to thank you very much once again. I am not sure what I could possibly have created in the absence of the actual ways provided by you concerning this industry. Completely was a horrifying circumstance in my circumstances, however , seeing a professional avenue you processed it took me to cry over contentment. I will be happier for this assistance and thus believe you know what a great job you happen to be carrying out teaching people all through a web site. Most probably you have never got to know all of us.

I truly don’t know what to say. How very kind. I only wish I had the time to follow the accompanying link, to see what sort of adventure it might portend.