Blogging Like It Was Yesteryear

The great thing about probation work: It is cyclical. There will be slow, boring days where I can catch up with paperwork. There will be insanely crazy days where I have two evals due on the same day, and both evals are terrifyingly bad. Currently, work is the latter. I know in a few weeks, it’ll be the former.

Its the few weeks that’ll kill me. I used to be able to de-stress by blogging about it. Usually what’s driving me batty is policy. This time its details about the cases. I can’t blog this.

There will be friday fiction this week. Till then, someone give me a blog topic for tomorrow?

Shitty Coffee

I’m having Blogger Block–and it is made worse with our shitty office coffee With a bazillion different thoughts competing for attention right now, I have chosen to “micro blog” until I have a really good post ready.

Today Obama announced his pic for Supreme Court Justice: Judge Sotomayor. I’m sure the right wing spin machine is gearing up for another round of misinformation and fear mongering. Personally, I am waiting to hear something more than her inspiring story. While it is compelling and a tribute to her hard work (and what one can accomplish in this country) I am more interested in her legal philosophy.

List Post

Today the blogosphere is awash in List Posts.  Darren, from the Build a Better Blog is teaching us to do list posts. Fair enough.

Top Three Reasons Why List Posts Will Not Help My Writing:

  • Lists are a tool, not a product

One can make lists of supporting and critical evidence.  Lists can be used to help frame a discussion.  Lists neither make the argument nor facilitate discussions.  Lists are, in my opinion, part one of a post.

  • Lists Oversimplify Issues

Lists are organizational tools to help define salient points.  They are used to divide complex issues into east-to-understand snippets.  One can make a list of topics to include in a particular project–and there by help expand one’s message–but  a list cannot convey the necessary nuance to make a cogent argument.  Modern living is a complex thing.  I recognize the need to simplify these issues, but ideas, thoughts and feelings need to be synthesized into something more than just a list.

  • Lists encourage lazy responses

Give me a list of things I am supposed to do, I’ll give you a list of reasons why I agree, why I shouldn’t do it or why I couldn’t complete the task at hand.  I believe this is a rather common response.  I recognize that people are busy, but I believe we should try and raise the bar for discourse.

  • Lists are Business Speak

This is an idea I’m stealing from Lauren. Lists are simple and easy ways for business folk to market ideas (and their authors) with a minimum of effort.

I understand the “List Post” is a fast and clean way to get information across. I recognize that they are an important tool for communication. I do not really see how this is the best idea for a better blog assignment. Am I missing the point here?


On occasion, my brain slows down so I can properly address the stresses of modern living. Some people call this slacking.

Those people aren’t necessarily wrong.

I’m working on a variety or projects at work (and at home). The most important ones are completed (evals, logs, the condo staged), but the ones I want to finish are no where near done (writing, blogging, a clean desk).

Ask A Bastard is one of these products. It’ll be done when my slow ass brain says it is done.


The Writer’s axiom, “write what you know,” led me to the question: What are the Blogger Axioms? If the rule was, “blog what you know,” then I think there would be far fewer blogs posts. One axiom I did read was, “don’t blog anything that would embarrass a potential employer.” This axiom has no flair. I recognize that an axiom is supposed to be self-evident, but it does not have to be bland.

There is something provocative about writing what one knows about. It implies that the writer has some sort of special knowledge, or a gift, that they are imparting to the world. Ignore the potential for pretension in this. Instead, think of some kind of writing–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever–that made you sit up and say, “Holy shit. This is good.” Writing that set your brain on fire. You don’t have to actually share the list you come up with (although I’d appreciate it if you did in the comments), just recognize what makes those particular stories so fantastic.

Even a good research paper, or journal article, can have that effect. These scholarly works aim to inform the world with some new bit (or twist) of information, including HOW they came across this new knowledge. In essence, this is just the story of how the knowledge was discovered. The best of the papers, in my opinion, share this information and bring you into that research.Granted, it has been a long time since I read a journal article, but I do seem to remember being blown away by Field Theory and Cognitive Dissonance papers.

When one writes what they know about, they can impart some of their own experiences. They can create, or recreate, their story in a method that makes the reader a participant, not an observer.

Good blogs should be able to do this as well.

So what do I know? Not much. I know a lot about juveniles and delinquency. I know a little about music. I know more about scifi/fantasy than I care to admit, and I pretend to know more about Irish history than I really do. I don’t know nearly enough about Chicago to write novels about–but I do know enough to post about my city.

There is another interesting facet about this idea: The more one writes, the more one learns. Part of this has to do with reading and researching a topic; however, when writing a story, or a scene, characters begin to develop their own sense of self. What a writer starts with begins to morph into something else. The same holds true for blogs. Blogs change over time, especially if the writer blogs about what they know about.

There are books that I need to read–books on writing, specifically–that I think supplement my point. However, I’d rather hear from readers about their experiences with reading and writing.

Blog This

I’m a hack. A damn dirty blog hack. I have no skills, my posts suck and my grammar makes English teachers reach for their blood red pens.

Thanks to NaBloPoMo, I inflicted my dribble on the internet for 30 days straight. Now I’m going for 31 day. At some point, the content (and the writing) have to improve.

Due to the internet woes, Thanksgiving and high stress levels, I’ve been removed from my normal news sources. I’ve even started listening to more commercial radio (and for some godawful reason, Katy Perry is always playing when I do) to find something “new.” This is why I haven’t commented about politics, news or current events. I won’t blog about music or Chicago Radio: I don’t want to whine anymore. This explains my lack of content.

For November, it was just POST. December’s theme is “Thanks!” I see two cliches here. First we have the post-modern snark that fills the blogosphere. Then we have the sappy, gooey, saccharine “thanks!” of the Hallmark crowd. I don’t want to be associated with either of these groups. I’m trying to find a happy medium, but this is not easy.