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site(s) news/discussion

I know we just introduced 100 Words or Les Nessman last week, but I need to re-introduce it because we moved it over here. Please check it out - we have a new theme each day and each of us posts a 100 word story to go with the them. My co-bloggers on this one are incredibly creative and fun to read. You can view the entries by issue (date) or individual person. And if you feel the urge, you can join in by leaving your own story in the comments of the theme post. Read it, link it, love it!

Also, new stuff up at Inappopriately Dressed. Kind of frightening and maybe not safe for small children.

And do you know what today is? It's Pete and Pete day!

Speaking of my sites, I'm trying to figure out what to do with this one. I've already mentioned that at the end of this year, I'll probably switch to photoblogging with some fiction, and that's about it.

I'm almost bored with blogging, mainly because I think I've run out of original things to say. After four and half years, what's left? I've made every pop culture reference there is to make, I've bitched about every tv show, ranted about every album, made lists of every movie - I don't know what's left. And when I do find something interesting (to me, at least) to write about it, I'm left wondering if anyone even reads the longer stuff anymore. I always said I write here for me, but when you spend a couple of hours putting something together, it's almost disheartening to see just one or two comments on it (and I think most bloggers will tell you the same, no matter what their topic).

It's not that I want to stop - I do enjoy this for the most part and most of what I enjoy is the interactiveness of it - I like making lists and whatnot and having people add their own stuff to the list. Maybe where I've gone wrong is the wide focus of this blog. The photos, the stories, the quizzes and lists, the sports blogging and movie blogging and all of that makes it unfocused (much like myself right now).

I'm feeling both directionless and the need to do something creatively at the same time. So I'll ask YOU - what do you like best here? What brings you back? What turns you away? What can I do to keep interesting (to both myself and you) for the next seven months or so? Have you had enough of the lists? Do the long posts turn you away? Etc.


Update: Thanks so much for the feedback. I appreciate it and I'll use it to figure out how to proceed from here, which may involve not changing anything at all.


I actually like the grab-bag approach. It's refreshing to know that I can come here every day and find something and I have no idea where it's coming from - could be a post about being a mother of a teenager, could be a post about 80s songs, ... whatever.

The strength of your blog is that it doesn't have an agenda. Right now you see that as a weakness, but I see it as a strength.

(although I'm personally not that crazy about all the lists).


I also like the grab-bag approach. Quite frankly, I think "focus" is overrated. I do enjoy the lists, I would, however, prefer more movie related lists and fewer music related (our tastes in movies are similar but I differ with you on music). Thank you for not doing politics anymore. Its not that I disagreed with you its just that Im sick of all the crap from both sides. Another thing I like: LINKS! I never would have found some very enjoyable sites without you. I especially got a kick out of the darthside blog. As a Little Leaguer from way back I also enjoy the DJ updates.

I hate it when I don't get comments, but I think you should know that folks are enjoying stuff even when they don't comment on it. Sometimes, especially if it's a sincere work of fiction, I feel like any pithy/smartass comment or compliment I append to it would have a false ring (also, I've been trying to comment less in general because I realized I was unintentionally becoming a well-meaning but rather annoying troll).

Michele ... I read it all. I don't comment a lot, but that's ... just me. Being a bonehead.

I love the lists, I love the photos, etc. It's always great fun to come here. I know what you mean about people not commenting ...but at least believe me when I say: sometimes, especially if the piece is really personal, or nostalgic or whatever ... I just need to sit with it for a bit. I need to let it sink in. I don't feel like commenting, is what I'm trying to say. I experience your words, your writing - I love it. And sometimes, good writing leaves me in a wordless state.

Anyway;. That's my two cents.

I'm feeling both directionless and the need to do something creatively at the same time.

Well, one idea is this: You could videoblog your learning a new hobby - say, juggling - and post the results to ASV.

Think about it: No more hours of writing and editing, no more catching memories, putting them in a coffee can with cotton balls filled with nail polish remover, and pinning them to the page.

You'd have more time spent in physical activity with the added benefit that nobody ever flamed anybody while they were learning 'Mill's Mess' ...

juggling is a world of encouragement and 'try again',

a place where left and right work together to keep the pattern going

a place where your creativity can expand as your skills increase

... plus juggling is a hobby that's almost as peer friendly as G Scale Garden Rairoading. Everybody's nice.

Plus, if you include audio on the ASV blog, the world will benefit from learning new and creative uses of profanity.

If you already know the rudiments of juggling (for example, you dated a stoner/Ringling Bros. clown back in the mid-80s), you can always pick up another ball, try clubs, practice with rings, or do it on a unicycle.

How many bloggers in the EcoSystem's Top 100 can juggle on a unicycle?

Maybe 10? Maybe 11?

There's no reason one more newly minted Juggling Unicyclist couldn't be on that list.

Added benefit - juggling baseballs at a practice is a great way to mortify your kid. Other kids think it's kind of cool, your own kid will think your a total dork put on Earth for the sole purpose of embarrasing them.

Trust me.

Do the words "uncoordinated spaz" mean anything to you?

That'll just make the profanity more creative.

A friend sent me an email asking if there was such a thing as a "Darth Vibrator" (she's gullible)

A quick google check later -


You're #2 with a bullet.

What do I like and what keeps me coming back? The honesty.

I also think the supposed lack of focus is a strength. Quite a few political blogs are still doing well, but you can tell a difference between now and say, eight months ago.

As for interactiveness and looking ahead, have you given some thought to opening up ASV to group blogging?

Shawn, I thought about it lot. And then I remember how much of a control freak I am.

Count me in as someone else who likes the grab-bag approach. I like the lists. I like the posts about gaming consoles, Star Wars, random camera phone shots, etc. I don't comment a lot in general, but I read and enjoy pretty much everything.

I LOVE all of your “kitchen table” stuff - the family issues, teens, holiday ideals vs. reality - your take on all that is so poignant, unpretentious and often f’n hilarious. Please keep writing - you have many fans who may not comment often, but feel privileged to read your work.

I think some of your best work is in biographical sketches. Describing a sensation or experience in exactly the right words really makes you shine.

The art-inspired short stories are great, too. They frequently help me break out of the box when I'm in a rut.

Focused poetry contests are good fun, too.

That said, I love the spontaneity and randomness. Keeps me checking ASV first every day. And throughout the day.

Your site isn't #1 on my Daily Reads for no reason, Michele. But if you're not going to blog, you should write a book. Or three. Or seventeen. I'd buy 'em.

I'd hate to see you go, the range of things you cover is really a blessing in disguise. Where else will I find the lyrics for rap songs about Boba Fett?
Also, your honest parenting stories are really great.

I used to comment here more, but I never have anything to add that hadn't already been said. That's why I am a reader and not a blogger.

I don't comment much because I'm a big, shy chickenshit and I intimidate easily. Before I go back into hiding, though, I just felt the need to tell you that I enjoy everything you write, but mostly I like reading about your life. I've been reading you forever now and I feel like I know you, so it's interesting to read about what you're doing and get to know you more.

This is one of maybe 3 blogs I check on a daily basis. But I've commented perhaps half a dozen times? And even that is usually when, like now, you directly ask for reader participation.

Mostly, I don't comment because I either have nothing to add (you are way more attuned to pop culture than I am, for instance, so I can't really be unique or clever) or because I do have something to add, but it's a fucking anecdote.

(I never read the anecdotal comments other people post, so why post my own?)

Okay. The good. Recollections of your childhood/young adulthood and horrible first marriage. The latter makes me run for the tissues - I'm divorced myself, and my husband was a First Class Asshole, so those really hit home. Stuff about your kids. YOUR anecdotes, because you write them well. Camera phone posts. Silly poetry. Rants - not angry political rants, but "people suck and traffic sucks" kinds of rants. Critiques of movies, TV shows, albums, food, etc. It says a lot that I read your entire review of the new Weezer album. I don't like Weezer. I have never read anything about Weezer in my life and never wanted to. But you write an excellent reivew.

The indifferent. I have to admit, hate me if you want, I skipped over the 500 songs posts.

The bad. Hmmm. No real complaints since Election Season ended. It used to get way too dramatic around here sometimes, but happily not anymore.

Long posts? Not a problem, but sometimes I do skip them if I'm short on time, and come back to them later. Then, even if I had a worthwhile comment, it's usually late and I feel silly commenting two days after the fact.

you have threatened us before.

we keep coming, like lemmings.

I don't know.
perhaps to give you gratis when you do a post like this.
perhaps because we like what we see and read.

stop wondering and revel in it.

I get like 100-150 hits a day, mostly search engine hit & gits.. you get a ton. People read. keep it up.

Threaten? There was no threat implied.

I actually found this place via a link to your MFY site on Soxaholix and now I visit every day. I like the variety.

I like to read about your thoughts on music. It makes me learn about songs and bands I had never heard before, which is cool.

I have been on a Misfits kick ever since you posted 'Some Kind of Hate' a few weeks back...

Anyway, my attitude is, its your site, do whatever you want, as long as you are having fun at it.


I think you are a natural writer - pure and simple. Your essays about memory and experience, of childhood, of moments (e.g. about autumn - "spectacular ballet of nature..." and about your children growing up) are superb. Marcel Proust writes of remembering things past. You also write about the past in a way that is more than just a recollection. Please continue to write about your memories.


I keep coming back because I love you!!! I just feel like I can personally relate to a lot of your writing; the kids, your musical taste and stuff :) I like the baseball stuff too. The lists are fun! They bring back memories and get ya thinking!

I keep coming back because I love you!!!

One of the best things about this place has been making friends like you.

It's funny that you posted this today, since I was just about to send you a general "Thank You" for all the work you do maintaining this thing.

I don't post much, but yours is one of the few blogs I check on a regular basis. Your tastes in politics, music, sports etc. only overlaps mine by about 30%, so I'm not reading you either for validation or to keep track of what the "other side" is up to; I read you because I like your "voice" - the things you choose to write about, the way you string words together, and your general approach to life, the universe and everything - serious when called for, but usually with an underlying sense of humor and the absurd.

I realize how much of your time and energy is going into this and understand the burn-out factor. If you decide it's not fun anymore, then quit. If you start to feel like what you're doing isn't appreciated, then get out before it beats you down or turns you sour. If you need to take a break, or cut back, then do it. I'd rather see two or three good posts a week than one a day you put up out of some misplaced sense of obligation.

Just know that what you're doing is appreciated, that the people who like what you're doing way outnumber the ones who bitch and moan,(even if we don't write in enough to say so), and that you've done good.

Thank you for "A Small Victory", wherever you choose to take it.

You just knew I would make an appearance on this thread:-)

A lot has already been said why we come back, however, I want to add my reasons.

First,you are a gifted storyteller. You may try to deny it, but you truly are. You provide to us readers, in words, what we feels and experence in OUR everyday living. Your words are a reflection of all of us. Of TRUE life in modern America.

When you describe how bad your day at the office was, we can relate.

When you confess your "not-perfect-but-we-don't-give-a-damn" family life, we relate (and cheer).

When you post all of those "list", we reflect back on our own vestiages of better days gone by.

When you post links from wierd websites, you keep us laughing.

We come back because we see you as a friend, as a parent, as a tech geek, as a movie critic, as a sports guru, as an entertainer,......

we see you as ourselves.

I rarely comment, but I love this place. The wide focus means I can always find something I like. I guess I don't comment because I feel like you have so many people commenting already that you don't "need" mine. Really though, don't change a thing. You rock.

This thread may be dead already so I don't know if you'll see this. I do find myself reading your blog much less these days simply because our pop culture interests overlap almost not at all. I'm sure you have fresh and original things to say about Weezer, American Idol, gaming, sci-fi and horror movies and I could no doubt learn something new but I just don't care. I'm not interested in those things and I barely have time to read about things I am interested in.

I still stop by, though, because I love the stuff you write about parenting and life's little inanities. And if you ever go back to political blogging I'll be a regular again.

I think its because at some point along the line you switched from blogging for the fun of it, to blogging for profit.

You feel like you "have to" generate content to avoid losing "customers".

And nobody likes having 2 jobs.

I think its because at some point along the line you switched from blogging for the fun of it, to blogging for profit.

Yea. I gave up the political blogging that made this blog so popular, that got me all those links and trackbacks and media interviews and switched to writing about my personal tastes in music and movies and my mundane life. I think you have it backwards, dear. I switched from blogging for links and hits to blogging for fun.

You haven't been paying much attention if you are under the impression that I thought political blogging was FUN. It was anything but. THIS is fun. THIS is enjoyable.

Profit? Hardly. Yea, the blogads are nice but I wouldn't exactly call the money a second income.

Especially when the 2nd job pays less and less every month.

That would discourage anybody.

Anyone who goes into blogging for the money is a fool. That's not why I do this.

Why are you being so purpsosefully argumentive and sounding so vindictive?

Well, I am not trying to piss you off.....anymore ;-)

But every time I come by, which I admit is somewhat irregular you are begging for more money.

It just seems to me, and I may be way off-base, but it seems to me having to generate content when you dont really want to makes you miserable.

And I must hand it to you, you are the hardest working blogger I have ever seen. The amount of original content you generate is staggering. It just seems it has taken its toll on you.

You have bared your soul until their is no aspect of your psyche you have not blogged about, and you dont want to be overly repetitive.

I think thats why Steven Den Beste quit blogging too. At some point you got to let your archives stand as your statement to the world....and leave it at that.

I sometimes equate blogging as the CB radio of 00s, and at some point it just gets old talking the same stuff, to the same people, over and over and....

But every time I come by, which I admit is somewhat irregular you are begging for more money.

Hmm. I had a very quiet fund drive which lasted three days. That was a couple of months ago. I don't remember the last one I had before that. Most of the other "money collecting" I did before the last fund drive was for various charities.

If "every time you come by here" I'm begging for money then I'm guessing you don't stop by more than twice a year or so. And if that's the case then you really have no business making the statement you did.

Do I sound miserable to you? Have you read more than the one post decided to comment on out of the blue? Looking at my own writing for the past few days, even weeks, it looks to me like I'm having fun. I just like to make sure my readers are having fun, too.

I sometimes equate blogging as the CB radio of 00s, and at some point it just gets old talking the same stuff, to the same people, over and over and....

Here's an idea then. Don't blog. Don't read blogs. Simple as that.

OK fine, I need to get back to work anyway.

I was just trying to say what I honestly thought, but there was no way to do that that would not piss you off.

Maybe I am just applying how I feel about blogging sometimes, and projecting that upon you when it really dont apply. In fact I usually only come by here when I am bored with my usual blogging haunts, maybe thats why I sympathize with your apparent desire to walk away from it on occasion, only to fear the risk losing returning readers if you do.

Sorry to irritate you today, check you later.

A) Don't attempt to psychoanalyze someone you don't know.

B) Honesty is one thing. But your original comment was belligerent and bordered on dickishness.

C) Find somewhere else to alleviate your boredom.

D) I just realized this is not the first time we've butted heads. You've been a major dick in the past (on TCP if I'm not mistaken) and your M.O. is to swoop in and make inciteful comments.

E) Adios, Bart.