The blog recently had a milestone. 100 published posts! Cause for some self-reflection.
What makes a good blog?
I think sticking to one topic would help. Most of the blogs I go to exploit one theme over and over. I can’t do that. I am addicted to diversity.
When I started out, I got this advice : Quantity over Quality. There’s two main justifications
1. Blogging is like throwing darts at a board. The way the internet works, 99 percent of stuff gets ignored, and one percent goes bananas. There’s a small chance you’ll hit the bullseye without expecting to. It’s important to throw as many darts as possible.
2. This urban myth: there was a pottery class, where the class was split in two. One group was told their mark would depend on the quality and beauty of pots they made. The other group was told their mark would depend on the volume of pots they made. By the end of semester, the group that had been focussing on sheer volume was making rounder, better pots than the group that had been trying to focus on beauty. Sheer repetition of the actions improved their skills.
Occasionally I may use the motto of quantity first as an excuse for dross! But I think my blogging has improved a little. I hope it improves even more.
How do I blog?
I have a contract. I have to pay my girlfriend 20 bucks every afternoon if I haven’t turned in a draft for an article. I pay her another 20 if I haven’t published something by 11.30 am. Highly motivating, although when the contract expires I sometimes stop writing altogether.
This website called stickk inspired me. It uses this technique to commit people to their goals. Great for people who have lofty ambitions they sometimes fail to meet in their day-to-day life.
Some people have misinterpreted this and said ‘a bet is a stupid reason to write a blog, you should write a blog because you want to’. I do want to, I just find the moment-to-moment motivation harder to harness than the grand ideas. The great thing about this is that she doesn’t get rich. I’ve only missed a couple.
How much money do i make from blogging?
Here’s the revised top twenty pages.
|Modern Warfare 2: glorifying violence?||407|
|Inglourious Basterds – a review||169|
|iSnack Two Point – Oh dear…||118|
|Riders’ rights and responsibilities – have your say
|My first (and last?) car.||81|
|Travel Disasters – the rat.||77|
|In which your correspondent is horrified||77|
|Eight things I don’t miss about the public service
|Mt Hotham – a book review||67|
|To Err is Devine||67|
|A stab in the back for the heart of the nation||64|
|Costco – A review||60|
|Accents eh, bro?||60|
|Something-something and over it||49|
|Are we dense?||49|
What’s frustrating is the most-viewed posts are not the best ones. The audience depends mostly on how well I link them. If I put a link in an incisive comment at the bottom of a good article in a popular newspaper, then the traffic can be massive. If I don’t even put it on facebook, it will be minimal.
Comments are a better guide to what has got peoples attention. Here’s the top ten articles, by numbers of comments.
Garbledy gook 5
Eight things I don’t miss about the public service …6
Bruno Sprunkelstein part 1 6
Should I run through the rain?…………………………….7
Inglourious basterds 7
Coffee safari ………………………………………………………8
My first (and last?) car ……………………………………….17
Riders rights and responsibilities 20
A stab in the back for the heart of the nation ………. 20
You can see that the blog remains pretty modest, traffic wise…
I like chocolate, but I’m not a chocolatier. I like rum, but I’m not a distiller. I like dags, but I do not breed hounds.
Is what you’re good at going to be what you like? Could someone who has never drunk rum make a great one? Could a blog-hater be the best blogger the world’s ever seen?
Do what you love, they say.
It could be that I would have been the world’s greatest plumber, but I never got to find out. My girlfriend might be the world’s most dominant computer gamer, but she’ll never know.
Continue reading On Maroon 5, Art and mad blurry skills
I attended the Meredith Music Festival, centred around a grassy downhill just outside the town of Meredith, in rural Victoria. Two nights and three days of bands and celebration. I had never been before, but I loved it. Before the festival, everyone was talking about the ‘Meredith experience’, and noone was talking about the bands, which made me worried. I was happy to find the music is still the centre of the experience.
I thought the best of the festival was Paul Kelly. His set at 7pm on the Saturday night kicked off an epic night. Mr Kelly’s music is so familiar it’s easy to disregard, but live, the familiar veneer is taken off and you remember why you (and everyone else) listened to it so much that you still know every word. The crowd was moved to tears, and in what is apparently a Meredith tradition, indicative of ultimate respect, everyone took off their shoes and waved them at him. Continue reading Meredith Music Festival – A Review
Don’t get offended by the following list. It’s just my experience. Many of these thing probably apply in any organisation, not just government. I’m sure many public servants find a challenging and rewarding niche and work their guts out. It just wasn’t me.
I read Rabbit, Run by John Updike. It’s a mid-century American novel.
I got one of those orange Penguin Classics that sell for ten bucks. I love those. I think that’s how much a book should cost. I’m far more likely to spend money on books if I get three for thirty bucks than if I only get one.
Anyway, the book is considered a classic, hence its inclusion in the Penguin collection.
Whenever I go back and read books written before my time, I expect classic themes and minimal social critique. This is because I am a poor student of history and assume that everything that existed before I was born is irrelevant. Continue reading Rabbit Run – A Book Review
355,000 google hits for ‘I hate buses’.
294,000 google hits for I hate trains’.
214,000 google hits for ‘I love buses’.
849,000 google hits for ‘I love trains’.
Clearly trains are the George Clooney of Public Transport.
My suburb is dotted with flexicars.
Pay a once-off 30 dollar joining fee, a 70 dollar annual insurance fee, and an hourly rate between 9 and 15 bucks, and you get a car. Petrol and insurance included. When you book online you get a code that pops the car doors open. The keys are on the console.
In Melbourne they are very much an inner city thing. The northenmost is in Brunswick the southernmost is in St Kilda. It’s only in these burbs that the economics of parking are so bad that sharing a car with someone else could make sense.
Continue reading Flexicar
When I went to Russia, I bought a Vladimir Putin T-Shirt. It says bce putem. it means ‘going the right way’ and it’s a gentle pun on his name. That was 2003. Now I keep it in a drawer with my Hitler and Idi Amin tshirts. It’s hard to get a really good macchiato in the bohemian inner north when you’re wearing a genocidal dictator around. Continue reading Vlad the bastard
Cars are too big. Traffic would be better if cars were smaller, like bikes. We can easily reduce the length of cars. People like to be high up, as SUVs have shown. Put the engine under the cabin and do away with the bonnet.
Cars don’t need the engine hanging out the front there mainly as a crumple zone. Why carry round a crumple zone you’re not using? People also like to be safe, which is where this plan gets it’s incredible voodoo mojo from. instead of having an engine as your crumple zone, you have airbags. On the outside.
They’d have little sensors that would pop them if they saw a solid object approaching at high speed. I guess a technical problem arises here: The power of the airbag that can absorb a cars collision is enough to splatter a pedestrian. Smaller lighter airbags would have to be deployed for a pedestrian collision.
If this sounds pie in the sky, think about the incredible amounts of coin that are spent on road safety. And a quick google reveals that while I came up with this idea independently, so did Toyota. They’ve got a pedestrian saving device complete with radar and infra-red sensors under development in Japan as we speak. Mercedes has also installed an external airbag under the car, to add to braking power.
There’s a big push to include new pedestrian safety standards in Europe’s car crash ratings, which could make this a reality by 2012 !