Building a Better Blogroll with Blogging 101

Readers and (especially!) commenters help to enrich my blogging experience. I’d write without them, though perhaps in a different voice, but over time I’ve come to derive more enjoyment because of the opportunity to interact with other writers and bloggers. Blogging 101 continues to be a fun exercise in tightening up my blog, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s.

Today’s assignment: share a few links you love.

Below are three links to blogs you should be reading if you’re reading mine. Which you are. In the past you’d be able to see my entire blogroll in my sidebar, but I don’t want to beleaguered the point I’ve changed things up. I’m happy with the new look despite my penchant for reminiscing about my now hidden widgets.

I wanted to highlight a few that don’t usually get linked but that I enjoy and appreciate. Start clicking!

Only Here, Only Now. Thomas Ross provides much-needed affirmation, relaxation, and stress relieving posts here. I hope they have the same calming, introspective effect on you that I get from reading there.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. This is one you’ll find me linked to from time to time because of Lance Burson’s feature there: The 100 Word Song. I thought I’d share a portal to his world of fatherhood, music, and leftist snark because it’s (sadly) been a while since I made time to join in the 100 Word fun. 

Thin Spiral Notebook. I like Tara R.’s blog because it’s full of photographs and still contains her writing. I’d like to take a cue from This Spiral and put more of my own images on my blog.

I wanted to throw this last one in there because not only did I used to write for but I remain a huge Blues hockey fan. They have great articles about the team, the NHL, and all things hockey. Give them a follow!

100 Word Song – Mirrors

Written in response to this week’s 100 Word Song Challenge from Lance and Leeroy over at MyBlogCanBeatUpYourBlog.

I’m a fan of JT. I like a lot of his music, he’s a decent actor, is very funny, and seems to be quite intelligent. I will crank the volume up and sing along with this song in the car, much to the dismay of my family.

It makes me think of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” and how our reflection in a mirror is always there watching and mimicking us, whether we like it or not. The 1983 song was, I suppose, intended to be romantic, but it’s kind of creepy, yes? Thanks for bringing romance back too, JT.

100 Word Song – Brilliant Mistake

Ralphie thought it all felt like an episode of The Chicago Code as he and Max cautiously followed the officer out the door and down the hall to the stairwell. She had her gun drawn, a grim, stoic look on her face, and moved with trained fluidity. Contrastingly, it was all Ralphie could do not to trip over his own feet.

Max followed a bit too closely, his head swiveling nervously, hissing into Ralphie’s ear. “This is such a mistake. We’ll be sitting ducks going down the stairs!”

“Are you kidding?” Ralphie whispered, breathlessly, in reply. “This is fucking brilliant!”

This is my response to this week’s 100 Word Song Challenge from Lance, Leroy, and Linda, Elvis Costello’s wonderful “Brilliant Mistake.” 

100 Word Song – Never Going Back to Ok

“Chicago PD would like to talk to you both regarding your connection with this man,” said the officer, holding up a black and white mug-shot of a grim-looking, barrel-chested man. “Seen him before?”

Max swallowed the lump in his throat, nodding. “Less than an hour ago that man tried to kill me outside Lucky’s Deli,” he managed, his pulse quickening as he recalled the incident.

“What?” Ralphie exclaimed, spitting out his drink. “On the phone you said you had the grub and everything was fine!”

The cop shifted her feet. “I’m thinkin’ you’re never going back to okay, Mr. Sampson.”

This is my response to last week’s 100 Word Song challenge from Lance & Leroy. Be sure to click the image to head over and read all the great entries.

100 Word Song – Criminal

The heavy doors of the freight elevator slid open with a bang loud enough that everyone in Ralphie’s apartment stopped talking and turned, almost as one, glancing expectantly in the direction of his front door. Footsteps echoed in the hallway as they approached. There was a firm knock. Once, twice. Then silence.

Max stood closest to the door but hesitated to open it. He turned his head, seeking Ralphie and some sign of direction, maybe a nod or even a word but Ralphie, wide-eyed, simply shrugged. Max sighed. The knock came again, more earnestly.

“Chicago PD,” said a clipped voice.

This weeks 100 Word Song is Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” Be sure to head over to Lance’s blog to read all the submissions and check out the inspiration for this week’s selection. 

100 Word Song – Are You Experienced?


What follows is my response to Lance Burson’s 100 Word Song challenge this week: Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” 


Lightning flashed beyond the dirt caked windows one final time. A peal of thunder rolled away as a boulder down a distant slope and then, silence. Kurt shuddered, sitting on the cold, tile floor, his arms around his knees, as a warmth began spreading through his shoulders into his chest, his heart, his mind.

“It really will be alright now, I promise,” a soft voice whispered nearby. In Kurt’s ears it sounded like bells. “You have experienced a terrible, awful nightmare, but that’s all it was, a dream.”

Kurt opened his eyes to the bright, golden light flooding the room.




100 Word Song – Shelter From the Storm

A fitting choice this week, with Hurricane Sandy ravaging the east cost as she did last week and so many of our friends and countrymen and women and their families trying to piece together their lives in the aftermath. Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm is Lance’s 100 Word Song. This is my submission:

Kurt stumbled down the hallway in eerie silence, the overhead lights flickering. In and out of the shadows, his bare feet slipping occasionally in pools of what, he knew not, and had no inclination to discover. He ran a hand along the wall to keep his balance and to maintain his direction.

From the darkness of an open doorway a strong, pale arm reached out and pulled him inside. The door shut quickly behind him, and suddenly all was quiet.

“Stop running now, it’s safe in here,” a soft voice whispered as a warm blanket was placed on his shoulders.

100 Word Song – Faded

This weeks 100 Word Song is “Faded” by Ben Harper. It inspired the following passage. Some of you may be familiar with the setting, which you can read about in Watch Where You’re Going! As always, be sure to stop by My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog for more 100 Word goodness and all of Lance’s wonderful writing.

Without further warning, several things happened at once:

Max dove painfully to his left, seeking the shelter of a derelict newspaper stand.

Passersby yelled out, “Oh my God, he’s got a gun!” and began fleeing from Lucky’s storefront.

A shotgun muzzle flared, its blast ringing out. The tall, barrel chested man firing it grimaced at the recoil.

Where Max had fallen, the bag of sandwiches exploded in a mist of salami, bread and mustard.

Rain erupted from the sky, falling instantly in sheets, dropping visibility to almost zero,

and the barrel chested man stalked away, fading into the stormy afternoon.

100 Word Song – Chasing Cars

He stirred as sunlight filtered slowly through gauzy curtains. Muffled laughter came from somewhere beyond the half closed bedroom door. Rubbing his grainy eyes the blurred green digits of the clock showed 7:04. Her pillow was cold, her side of the bed undisturbed.

Emotions burned away the cobwebs of not-enough-sleep, firing as if from a revolver. Anger. Resentment. Confusion. Fear. Sadness. Regret. And then click, click, all the chambers were empty.

With a vacant stare at nothing he pulled on his clothes and opening the door he found her coming down the hall.

“I was just coming to bed.”

“I’m leaving.”

Go to Lance’s blog, don’t be intimidated, he wont just start beating you up for nothing, but he will share awesome writing, and his 100 Word Song of the week, which this week is Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars. It’s one of my favorite songs.

Everybody Knows – 100 Word Song

This post is a response to the 100 Word Song Challenge at  My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  This week’s song is “Everybody Knows” by John Legend. It comes in an emotionally charged week and this it what I felt reading about the thoughts behind the choosing of this song and while listening to it.






The teenager standing alone at the bus stop, unkempt clothes, hair disheveled, wringing her hands with a pained look on her face.

The elderly couple sitting in the waiting room, arms around each other, tears on their faces, whispering in prayer.

The man in the checkout line ahead of you, distractedly buying frozen dinners and a bottle of cheap gin.

The young man and woman sitting at a nearby table, picking at their food and staring into their plates.

The people standing in the rain, gathered around the grave site, black umbrellas in hands.

“Everybody knows, but nobody really knows.”