Will A Blog By Any Other Name Still Be Thorny?

Who gave it that title, gangsta rap? It’s reality rap. It’s about what’s really going on.” ~Eazy-E

For Day 2 of Blogging 101, we were to address the first thing readers see when visiting the blog, the Title. The Tagline is also important as it’s intended to give a general idea what the blog is about. That’s tough when the blog is really about everything, or nothing, at least not in particular. I’ve struggled with the title for as long as I’ve been writing my blog.

Cautious Realism stems from considering myself to be a Realist where others might call me a Pessimist. I’m not a doom and gloom kind of guy, but I’m not going to pull punches. I’ll tell it like it is as I see it. Maybe I should change the title to be more of a warning to potential readers? “Caution, Snark Imminent!” or something like that?

SNARK

Leave me a comment with any suggestions on a new name and thanks for reading.

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Why I’m Here

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.

~Henry Ford

Years ago I decided that I would start a blog and it served primarily as a way to engage in self-therapy. I figured that if I could just start talking, even to myself, I might be able to work through some issues I was having.

I’ve always been a writer at heart and I still feel that way though I seldom make the time to be one in practice. This blog became a means to that end when I told myself I’d make a post every day, or when I started publishing bits and pieces of my writing (fiction) here via various prompts and/or activities, like the Blogging 101 class, for instance.

When I started blogging I never cared much who might read it or if anyone would read it, it was mostly for me. As time has gone on I’ve found I really enjoy engaging with readers and other bloggers with regards to the opinions or thoughts I share on my blog. Getting a huge audience has never been a priority, but I definitely enjoy the fact other people read my words and I’m probably a bit more careful with the presentation as a result. I’m not going to censor myself because others are reading, but I’ll probably proofread a second time or be more mindful of my composition. I’m vain and I wouldn’t want people reading my blog thinking, “This guy sounds like an uneducated imbecile.”

Readers may think that because they don’t agree with my opinions, but that’s fine. I’m not asking anyone to agree with everything I say.

Onward & Upward

Having my own blog led me to start writing about the St. Louis Blues on other websites. You can currently find my hockey posts at The Hockey Writers. I’m definitely still looking for opportunities to write more and I would love to be writing for a living. That chance hasn’t presented itself yet, but I’ll continue looking for it.

Whether you follow my blog or just come every once in a while to check out what’s new, you’ll find me occasionally voicing my opinion on current events, sharing recipes, restaurant experiences, baseball insights, or samples of my favorite music and books. Since I’ve taken my specialty writing (about hockey) off-site, my blog remains a sort jack-of-all-trades kind of entity. That’s not to say it couldn’t become something more focused in the future, but I enjoy a lot of different things in life and for now I’m content with them all being a part of my blog

Thanks again for taking time to read, I hope you’ll leave comments during your stay.

Commenting with Confidence

Thanks again to Blogging 101 via The Daily Post & WordPress U. This course has been fun and I look forward to more each day.

Today’s assignment: read six posts written in response to yesterday’s prompt, and leave comments on at least two of them.

Going to list the six blogs I read for yesterday’s prompt response, just to give a little linky love:

Brainwashed Beautiful Mind

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Lizard, Spock)

Serena.

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

The Sunny Narrative.

Reflections

I chose to comment on more than 2, because the posts jarred some bit of memory loose from the clutter in my brain. Interacting with readers and other bloggers is part of what I enjoy about the entire experience, especially when you come across those of like mind or interests.

 

 

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 BleedinBlue.com 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!

The Missing Sidebar & Making it Count

During the course of Blogging 101 I’ve completely revamped the look of my blog. In doing so, I’ve done away with the Sidebar feature in the spirit of drawing focus on the content of my posts. That makes this a little difficult:

Today’s assignment: add and/or customize two widgets, one text-based and one image-based.

I have a long list of widgets already set on my Sidebar, but my current Theme doesn’t show them. That could change moving forward if I decide on another make-over, but for now I’m sticking with my look. Please enjoy the following post as I completely ignore today’s task 😉

Photo Challenge: NIGHTTIME

I enjoy taking photos of the sky, be it daytime, nighttime, cloudy, sunny, or any combination of those conditions. I tried capturing a shot of the last Super Moon of 2014 recently with my iPhone camera. I’d love to have a DSLR, but until I get a job as a professional photographer I can’t justify the cost! 

Super Moon, Saint Louis, MO Sept. 23, 2014

Choices

I’ve been participating in Blogging 101 from WordPress U, and yesterday we were asked to make comments where we hadn’t previously. The new task is to “Be Inspired By the Community:”

Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

I found Live & Learn, where David Kanigan will often share inspirational quote, poems, and some fantastic photography. I enjoyed his post and it prompted me to think about how I feel we’re shaped by the choices we make in our daily lives.

Whether good or bad, past choices make us who we are in the present. You can certainly choose not to think about or dwell on the unpleasant ones, but unless you’ve reflected on them enough to learn not to make those same mistakes again, shutting them out and denying them as an integral component of your current makeup isn’t healthy. Just as we enjoy remembering the positives, we must embrace the negatives as growth opportunities. They’re all part of us.

I made choices over 10 years ago to get married and have a child. My marriage didn’t last, and ended in divorce, but had I not taken that path I might not today have my wonderful daughter. I might also have pursued a direction that wouldn’t have led to the amazing woman I’m with now. Those choices play a role in how I look at the world and challenges presented on my present road.

What kinds of choices do you think about? Does one stand out in your memory? Regret isn’t a productive emotion, but sometimes we can’t help feeling it. The key is to try to focus on how we can use the choices we’ve made to make new ones we feel better about now.

Blogging 101: Start Personalizing

This Blogging 101 task is somewhat easier for me because I’ve had this blog for a while now. Most of the personalization is done already, but there’s always room for improvement.

Today’s assignment: create and upload a simple header, background, or both. Already done? Try a custom widget.

I did add a new custom widget, since I’d already had my header completed. I’m not so sure about the “mission statement” part of it though. It feels too vague, but then again I’m not sure who I am these days or what I ultimately want to do. Pretty scary for 41 with a family. That’s a post for another day.

I really like the theme I chose last week, but it doesn’t show the Sidebar where all the widgets, including my new one, are usually visible. I’m wrestling with the idea of finding another new one that will show the bar, but probably not today. What do you think? Do you like the uncluttered look or would you prefer to see the bar right away, with things like Twitter, badges, blogroll, etc?

Blogging 101: Make Your “About” Page Irresistible

Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page, and adapt it for a widget on your home page.

The “what” of my blog has always been a bit hard to pin down, as I’ve not been ready to commit to any one genre or topic. It’s been a potluck- just whatever I decided to bring on any given day, often based on prompts found on other blogs and websites.

Who I am, on the other hand, is fairly simple to present, and I’ve had my About Me page published for as long as I can remember. Thanks to this assignment from Blogging 101 through The Daily Post I’ve made changes to my page that more accurately reflect current conditions. It was sorely out-dated.

Thanks again for reading.

Blogging 101: Love Your Theme!

This is a fun exercise from Blogging 101:

Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.

I’ve been using Piano Black for quite a while and I’ve really liked it. Maybe I was long overdue for a change but regardless, I’ve not taken much time to look and see what’s out there so this was a great nudge in a positive direction for me.

Here’s what I chose to look at today:

“1. Pick something that speaks to you.”

The simple but bold look of Flounder stood out to me. I also was instantly drawn to take a look at Eighties (though yes, it was near the top of the list and so easy to choose quickly.) Another was Bushwick, for the (radically different, for me) layout with the large cover image.

“2. Consider your content.”

I don’t rely heavily on images but I do like to include some kind of media in my posts whenever possible. The content of my posts is what matter most to me, so I ended up going with a theme I felt brings that to the forefront.

“3. Think about your priorities.”

I’m a huge fan of customization, so that played an important role in my choice. I like the freedom to add and change things around if I want to, even if I don’t do it. In the past it seemed very important to me to have all the things in the sidebar but I’ve decided it would be better for people to focus on the posts themselves.

Ultimately, I chose to change my Theme, feeling it was indeed time for a different look. The black background of Piano was elegant, but also dark, and I’m definitely feeling like my life is brighter these days, and moving in a happier, lighter direction. Current hardships feel more like temporary challenges than simply a way of life. I hope you’ll keep reading and enjoy the update as much as I do.

Blogging 101: Dream Reader

I’ve got a little catching up to do, missed yesterday’s post so this will be 1 of 2 for Friday.

Yesterday Blogging 101 asked us to:

publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

Maybe this post will serve two purposes. I can publish this post for my “dream reader” by asking for some feedback. I probably have multiple types of readers and various industry specific people I’d love to have reading my blog such as publishers, magazine editors, and anyone directly involved with the St. Louis Blues.

At a very basic level though, I’m interested in interaction with my readers, so with this post asking a question I hope I’ll find that. Leave answers and feedback in the Comment section below and I’ll be a better blogger for it. Thanks!

Now, I’ve included many different elements in my blog posts over the last few years. Videos, images, embedded music, quotes, and even Tweets. I don’t Pinterest so I can’t put any Pins in a post, and I’m not sure what else I could include.

What’s something new I could include in my posts?