Daily Read 1.8.14

Things that have caught my attention today:

Vinyl Record Sales Increased by 32% in 2013: Seems like 2013 was the Year of Vinyl. Who knew? I guess we have something to thank the hipsters for, after all. This also makes me REALLY want to get out there and buy a record player…I mean, a turntable. That’s what the kids call them these days, right?

How to Live Like a King for Very Little: This list is awesome. The fact that it was written by a man named Thor makes it that much more awesome. Also, number 5. On the list. Not the mambo.

Arctic Blast Proves Unwelcome Novelty, Especially Across South – Apparently, the NY Times wants to remind the country that Southerners don’t like to be cold. Thanks, NY Times, for that insightful reporting.

A Night Owl’s Guide to More Productive Mornings – While I just wish mornings would go away and life would being at noon, I have a feeling that’s not going to be happening anytime soon. This handy guide from Lifehacker might help me out a bit…maybe.

And, the best thing that I’ve seen all day:

I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

Well, I suppose it’s time to dust this thing off and give blogging another shot. It’s been far too long. I tried tumbling with Tumblr, but reblogging photos that other people have already posted a million times just wasn’t quite as fulfilling as I had originally imagined it to be. I actually do like writing. It something that I’ve always been drawn to and, over the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as bad at it as I’ve always thought I was. So, that’s good.

I have started many blogs over the years and, in most cases, quickly abandoned them. But not good old Dispatches from Blogistonia. Sure, I take extended leaves of absence from Blogistonia. But I can’t ever seem to quite quit this one. Originally, I wanted to call this blog Dispatches from Blogistan. But then, I discovered that name was already taken. And I was a bit miffed about it for a bit. But then, I got over it. And Blogistonia was born. I guess that’s why I keep returning to Blogistonia. It’s my baby. My slightly derivative baby, but mine, nonetheless.

Anyway, one of my goals for this brand new year of 2014 (I don’t do resolutions. Just goals. It’s all the rage these days.) is to blog more often. In my attempt to do this, I have decided that I will do a movie review blog where I write reviews of movies from 1994. 1994 was a big year for me, so I want to commemorate it with a year-long project somehow. Anyway, more on that later (another goal for the new year: stop using the word “anyway” so much).

Peace, love and Pop Tarts…

Live and Learn

Well, November has come and gone.  And while I didn’t complete my goal of posting every day, I came really close.  25 consecutive posts is a new record for me!   I also learned one really important lesson from the process: never strive for quantity over quality.  Forcing myself to write every day just so that I can participate in an event such as NaBloPoMo doesn’t work for me.  Half of the time, I end up writing about how I can’t figure out what to write about.  That’s not exactly what I would call quality writing.   I want to write about other things in life besides writing.  And I want those things that I write about to have some quality to them.  So, now that November has finally left us, I feel free to do just that.

And, now I am off to ponder all of the quality things that I would like to write about in the future.  But, before I go,  I would like to leave you with this early 90’s gem from Joe Public -

 

Lazy

I have had such an amazing time with my family for Thanksgiving.  Just a whole lot of eating, watching TV and generally being super lazy.  I could definitely handle this kind of thing happening more often.

So, the family went to see the new Muppet movie today.  I thought it was fantastic.  Delightfully awkward and weird in the way that only the Muppets can be.  I think my favorite moment in the entire film may have been when Gonzo’s chickens performed their version of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”.  And I am positive that those chickens were performing that version and not its sanitized, family friendly radio counterpart.  You could just tell.  Naughty chickens.

And, honestly, that’s all that I have the power to write about today.  Quite frankly, I’m just too lazy to do anything else.

On Being Thankful

I have a confession to make: I have traditionally been a rather thankless person.  Focusing on what I don’t have and looking on the dark side of things are what I’ve always focused on in life.  Or, rather, that used to be the case.  In the past few years, I have learned how to combat that negative tendency in my life.  And it has made a great difference for me.  It took me a very long time to realize it, but life really is all about your attitude.  And I am extremely thankful that I finally did realize that.

In the last few minutes of Thanksgiving 2011, I want to take a few moments to list some other things that I’m thankful for.  I’m not going to list the obvious things, such as health and friends and family and all that jazz.  It goes without saying that I’m thankful for those things.  These are a few things that might not be as obvious.

  • Writing.  I’m thankful that I have started writing again.  I am especially thankful that I am having patience with myself in developing my writing.  I know that it’s going to take time and I’m ok with that.
  • Personal growth.  I’m thankful for the personal growth that I’ve experienced in the last decade.  My 20’s really sucked.  I was unsure of myself in every way that a person could possibly be unsure of themselves.  Overcoming the constant, gnawing self-doubt that plagued me for all of my 20’s (and the first few years of my 30’s)  is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
  • A place to live.  I’ve always had a place to live.  However, I’ve never really had a place of my own until this year.  Living on my own has been great.  Also, I once again live and work in the same city and that has made me ridiculously happy.  I was not meant to be a commuter.
  • A job.  In these uncertain economic times, I always have to remind myself to be thankful that I have a job.  It’s something that I really take for granted, but I could be one of the unlucky unemployed.  Hell, I suppose that could still happen.  But, for the time being, I have a job and I am quite happy to have it.

And there you have it.  My short list of things that I’m thankful for.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving…you know, if that’s the kind of thing that you celebrate and all.

Time Off

I am officially taking today off from real blogging.  However, by posting this announcement, I am still blogging, therefore, I am still living up to the arbitrary rules that I have set for myself for this month.

Now both sides of my personality are happy!  :-)

On Writing Well

Today, I realized that I really enjoy writing about writing.  This realization actually poses a bit of a quandary for me.  For a long time, I have wanted some sort of focus for my blogging.  However, the act of writing was not the kind of focus that I expected to emerge as the centerpiece for my blog.  Still, that seems to be what I have for the time being, so I’m just going to go with it.  Hopefully, I will eventually move on to writing about other topics.

I am in the process of reading On Writing Well by William Zinnser.  It is one of three books about writing that have caught my attention lately.  This one, however, has held my attention more than the other two.  I am very impressed with Zinnser’s writing style.  It flows well and is a pleasure to read.  That’s the kind of style that I hope to develop someday.  (That day…definitely NOT today.)

Also, Zinnser has lots of great advice.  He focuses a lot on simplicity in writing and avoiding clutter (which he defines as “the laborious phrase that has pushed out the short word that means the same thing”.)  As I was reading his advice in regards to these ideas, it struck me that I suffer from a lack of simplicity.  And instead of avoiding clutter, I freely incorporate it into my writing.  Breaking these habits will be very difficult for me.  They’ve been ingrained in me ever since I learned how to write.  Excessive words and phrases are what academic papers are made of.  And, let’s face it, the majority of what I’ve written in my life so far has been academic papers.  Furthermore, well, that’s kind of how I talk.  And, since I write like I talk…I can see this being quite problematic.  Still, I think it’s a goal worth pursuing.  Simplicity in writing really does make life easier on the reader.  Not just easier, but more enjoyable.  And the end goal for my writing is for me to create something that someone finds interesting and enjoyable.

So maybe the focus of this blog will be my journey to being a better writer.  At least for a little while.  I think that it will be interesting to have something to look back on a year from now to see how far I’ve progressed.  At any rate, I’m learning a lot about writing and myself.  I’m having fun with the whole thing right now.  And that’s what really counts, right?