Thursday, July 10, 2008

Melon Collie and the Infinite Posts

Sometimes, reviewing blogs makes me tired. Every once in a while, we hit the blogospheric jackpot, but more often, writing this blog and looking at reviewees is like sifting through a shitheap to find a diamond. It's a thankless job, and I hope you appreciate how we suffer for you. Today, I stuck my hand into the shitpile, and pulled out...wait for it, y'all...some shit.

So, in honor of Jess, I give you:

The Top Ten Bad Blogging Habits That Make Me Tired

1. Skinny little content columns that make posts sprawl endlessly for 22 inches down my computer screen.
2. 20-somethings and their limitless capacity for angst.
3. Reading about people's medical problems online. We all have them, sweethearts, and no one really wants to see your incisions.
4. Paragraphs like this:

And it was. Apparently he'd used the bathroom right after arriving at work and discovered blood in his urine. And oh my god, do you know how scary it is to hear that your fiancé has been peeing blood? I can't even imagine how scary it was for him to actually SEE the blood. Somehow the idea of blood coming from a place where it just really should NOT be is petrifying, much more so than a lot of other medical issues. It's just so immediate.

Anyway, he was calling from the road, because his boss was driving him to the ER to get it checked out. Of course, not the ER of the hospital I was currently at. So I raced to the outpatient lab to get my blood drawn, almost screamed when I had to wait five minutes for it to happen, and then got a cab over to the hospital to meet Torsten in the ER waiting room.

It's amazing how frustrating it is not to be with someone when you think something is happening to them. Like, what could I do? I don't know shit about medical anything, and I had no idea what could be causing him to pee blood, and even less of an idea how to fix it. He was already THERE, at the hospital, with doctors who might actually be able to help him. But it was KILLING ME that I wasn't there with him. Like my presence would somehow, magically, make a difference.

Jesus God almighty. Because it's all about ME ME ME ME ME!!! That's some fun shit to read, right there. This post is a good example of "stuff I should write in a spiral binder I keep under my bed and never show to anyone," because it totally makes you look like a self-absorbed twit.

Ehem...back to the list:

5. The fucking blogher network and their big ass annoying ads.
6. "Follow me on twitter."
7. Flickr photo boxes.
8. Blogs with 20 gazillion categories.
9. Archives that spill all the fucking way down a sidebar.
10. Long ass linky love lists. (Alliteration, though, is fun!)

Where to start?

Think of this as a how-to for all the noobs out there who don't know this stuff yet.

1. Ads
Don't do them. You won't make dick from them, and they make you look stupid. Some folks in the blogosphere don't need any help in this regard, y'know?

2. Blogrolls
Clean them the fuck up. If you don't want to change your template, do this:

a. Create a post on your blog with your entire list o' links. Publish it.
b. Go to "edit posts" on blogger or whatever the equivalent is on your blogging platform.
c. View the post you've just created.
d. Copy the link to that post.
e. Put that link in your sidebar under "Linky Love" or "blog roll" or "People I'd like to verbally fuck up."

Whee! You've just cleaned 17 inches off of your sidebar.

3. Archives
Use a drop-down format that you can find here. Whee! Another 5 inches, gone like the wind, bullseye!

4. Twitter
Do you like twitter? Then fucking learn from it. Learn that brevity is the soul of wit, so shut the fuck up. Keep your posts trimmed, edited, tidy, and actually readable. If you wrote good posts, you wouldn't need twitter.

5. Photos
Use the same strategy shown above to deal with the blogroll. Put your flickr photos on that page and/or create 2 or 3 photo pages and rotate the photos of yourself. We don't really want to see that much of you, dear myspace generation.

6. Categories
If you would, darling, do you think you could limit yourself, to, oh, I don't know, 5 or 6? That would, of course, require you to actually put some thought into these categories, and create several broad, entertaining ones, and you know, shit like that. But, you know, real bloggers DO that sort of thing.

7. Posting
Fucking edit yourself, bitches. I am so damn tired of posts about nothing that go on for fucking ever and practically kill my little brain. Write the post. Put it all out there. Then go through, with a mental red pen, and force yourself to trim out all of the repetition, the unnecessary phrases, the redundancies, the I's, and everything else that makes a post fucking torture to read. Do it. Choose your words. Put actual value on them. Don't just spew them out there to the blogosphere like I spewed cheap beer in the bathrooms of frat houses when I was in college. Take some time to actually craft your posts.

Until you've done this, please don't submit to us. Kthxbai.

I give today's blog a big ass


On the other hand, damn, I like this post. I may have to add it to our FAQ. Also, don't look now, but I got a wild hair up my arse and updated our top-rated blogs. Check them out.

57 comments:

  1. i'm confused what you think blogs are for if not to write about ME ME ME ME. that's the point of them. they're journals about each person's life, and their thoughts, so i don't know what you're expecting them to be about. how to repair cars, perhaps? that's a website, not a blog.

    the categories complaint is sort of bizarre. do you only ever write about 5 or 6 things..? because then maybe you should think about widening your scope. what a weird thing to complain about. if you don't want to read about flowers or puppies, don't click on the link for that category. i find it MUCH MORE annoying when i'm looking for something specific, and my only choices for categories are "all about me!" "the boy" and "cat." every single post you write shouldn't fall into those 3 categories.

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  2. @ Alice Re: ME ME ME.

    This is a common mistake of immature writers. Blogs are personal journals, but the best ones tell a story. They don't go on and on and on with a repetitive thought process that would be better left unwritten. Some good examples:

    The Story of a Boy I Knew
    Taking Care
    This is My Goat Song
    Switcheroo

    See how these posts are like, you know, actually INTERESTING? It's because the authors took the time to actually craft a post ABOUT SOMETHING. A constant recitation of one's inner thoughts is fucking some boring shit unless you take the time to work at it.

    Hope that helps.

    And, insofar as categories go, here's a good example of categories done correctly:

    A Widow for One Year

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  3. I think if she edited her posts by about 30-60%, they would actually be pretty good. I found her writing very readable from a construction standpoint but sooooo wordy that I stopped after 2 posts, just too much to wade thru to get to the good bits.

    Some ruthless editing could improve this blog bigtime. Hey Jess, at least they didn't tell you to burn the whole thing and start over.

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  4. keep your accusations of immature writers to yourself, thanks. i'm a reader.

    you're right. a story about someone peeing blood is so totally boring. and also not a story at all, just a "repetitive thought process." what was i thinking.

    your example of categories is EXACTLY the kind that is completely useless. if i want to read more about something specific she's mentioned in her post, weeding through one of 4 categories that contain every post she's ever written is not going to get me anywhere.

    not really sure what point this website serves except to crap on peoples' blogs, without offering any valid critique. not my cup of tea.. enjoy yourselves.

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  5. Dear Alice,

    Pray tell, you wouldn't be one of our reviewees, incognito, would you? ;) Because, you're like, awfully defensive. As far as immature writers go, the comment was directed at the blogger in question, not her readers. I can only think of one person who might have taken it so personally....

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  6. Meow.

    Hey Love, thanks for updating the Top Rated Blogs, and the hair up your arse, I have a wax for that.

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  7. This is where people don't understand the difference between a blog and a journal. With a journal, you write for yourself, you can go on and on about incredibly boring bullshit no one cares about but you, you can write in all lowercase and no one minds, you can even dot your i's with little hearts if you so chose. It's where you can be ME, ME, ME and no one calls you on it.

    A blog, however, is public. You have an audience. Consider them.

    I wouldn't mind all the categories if she'd just roll them up where I don't have to see them. Although she might want to reconsider categories with fewer than 10 posts.

    And I prefer a narrower reading space, although not this narrow, and not that small a font size and leading.

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  8. Oooooohhh, disgruntled reviewees! Here's a bandage and some literal gauze, you bleeding axe wound. That's slang for 'pussy'. Also slang for pussy: cunt. Look, there it is again.

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  9. I'm kind of stuck on how to respond to this constructively. I hate bitter, defensive author responses to bad reviews, and I don't want to give one. So, thanks for the advice on the sidebar, and I'll try to clean up the blog a bit. I'll also keep an eye on the length of my posts. There's a difference between being long and being tedious, and I will work on avoiding the latter category.

    But I guess I was expecting a bit more. Some of your reviews, like this and this, talk about merits of specific posts. They give the impression of having gone back and read the last few weeks' worth of posts, and maybe the top posts from the sidebar. This review, on the other hand, makes me feel (and I realize I'm probably wrong) like you clicked over to my blog, saw a bunch of your pet peeves on the first page, and gave up there and then. I guess the blame for that falls to me, for not making the first page good enough for you to want to look further. I'll work on that too.

    And no, "Alice" is not me, incognito. My blog might be too angsty and wordy for your taste, but I would not be on here, hiding under a pseudonym. I already submitted my blog for you to tear apart, so I think I can handle being bitched out in the comments under my actual name.

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  10. I just wanna give Jess a bit of applause. Take it on the chin, girl. Or, since it's LB who gave the review, way to take your spanking.

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  11. Damn, the HTML links didn't work. The two reviews I was referring to are http://iwillfuckingtearyouapart.blogspot.com/2008/06/can-i-be-your-guru.html and http://iwillfuckingtearyouapart.blogspot.com/2008/06/lockdown-in-midtown.html.

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  12. But I guess I was expecting a bit more. Some of your reviews, like this and this, talk about merits of specific posts. They give the impression of having gone back and read the last few weeks' worth of posts, and maybe the top posts from the sidebar.

    I felt your blog would benefit more from basic advice. The blogs you've linked to were farther along, as blogging goes. The biggest advice, Jess, is that you are JUST WAY TOO DAMN WORDY. That holds true for every single post I read. I didn't even want to get into your wedding posts.

    You find all this shit interesting because hell, it's your life, and you get to be fairy princess for a day soon, and you're getting married. A lot of the rest of us have already been there, done that. We've lived the 20s. We aren't hyper interested in ourselves, and we specifically aren't interested into 20-somethings who are completely self-focused.

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  13. Fuck - when did this review go up?

    Ooopsie-daisy.

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  14. Yeah, our e-mail miscommunication is fucking killing me, NJ. Though I love your review. LOVE IT.

    Dear Jess:

    I get it. You were hoping for the nice reviewer (Calamity). Well, you spun the wheel, and lost. But, the odds were stacked against you because there is only 1 nice one, and 4 or 5 mean ones, depending on the week.

    Better luck next time.

    Love,

    Bites

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  15. I can be mean, you know. Really, really mean.

    I'll just feel badly about it later.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dude - rad link-up. Me me ME!

    As for the reviewers, I have no problem believing that Calamity could be mean; maybe it's just that the other are more remorseless in regard to their nastiness.

    Of course, that's just how it looks from the outside...

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  17. Well, I'll never go ask Alice shit.

    Here's the thing. You can write about me, me, me but you know what it says about you, you, you as a person?

    You are probably self centered and suck hard at life.

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  18. I suck hard at life, and life likes it. It's because of that little swirly thing I do with my tongue.

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  19. Ryan: I think your mask fell off.
    Calamity: Life comes on you prematurely I would imagine.

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  20. The problem is, Love Bites is absolutely right. The sidebar is for shit, she is completely self centered and obsessed, and also has no idea when to tighten/tie up her posts.

    Furthermore, picking out specific posts to give criticism/critique on would be entirely useless because nearly every post is exactly the same.

    That said, it is not a bad blog, and she is not a bad person.

    From the looks of things, though, she will take these comments and this review as a personal attack, which it is anything but. This site just wants to see quality writing from semi-decent writers, and that is a noble goal. By submitting to it, you are subject to whatever comes your way. If you're smart, you will freeze the bitterness that likely comes after hearing negative commentary about something personal, and learn from it.

    Jess, you need to work on your storytelling skills, simple as that. There is something there, something that gets people to come see what you're doing. Take what they said seriously, then you will be so much further.

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  21. The problem is, Love Bites is absolutely right. The sidebar is for shit, she is completely self centered and obsessed, and also has no idea when to tighten/tie up her posts.

    Furthermore, picking out specific posts to give criticism/critique on would be entirely useless because nearly every post is exactly the same.

    That said, it is not a bad blog, and she is not a bad person.

    From the looks of things, though, she will take these comments and this review as a personal attack, which it is anything but. This site just wants to see quality writing from semi-decent writers, and that is a noble goal. By submitting to it, you are subject to whatever comes your way. If you're smart, you will freeze the bitterness that likely comes after hearing negative commentary about something personal, and learn from it.

    Jess, you need to work on your storytelling skills, simple as that. There is something there, something that gets people to come see what you're doing. Take what they said seriously, then you will be so much further.

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  22. Calamity can be mean- she's given many a flaming finger!

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  23. Key: I think that "Ryan" asshole tore his mask off after he realized he had forgotten the "s" in "others", threw it on the ground and, in an ode to Calamity, thought about urinating on it.

    Anonymous: Why the anonimity? And, more importantly, why twice?

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  24. Life comes on you prematurely and then leaves you cold and alone.

    It's not a new story.

    Perhaps life has a blog where it self-centered and redundant. I bet life has a lot of blinky shit on the side-bar too.

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  25. NJ: I assume you are familiar with this 'Ryan' character. He's fucking worthless for sure.

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  26. Jubblies, I think you've illustrated my downfall. I have to think about things. It's my cross to bear. Baby Jesus wants it back, though. Masochist.

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  27. Life is basically a cunt. Or a dickhead, depending on how you look at it.

    Tell me, Cal. How much would I have to pay you to learn how to do that swirly thing with my tongue?

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  28. @ Jess:

    One more thing...

    I'm kind of stuck on how to respond to this constructively.

    You say, "Thank you, ma'am for that instruction." Then, you actually pay attention to what was said, and use it constructively.

    There was a lot of feedback in this post, if you have the balls to actually lose the ego and learn from it.

    I'm not sure you do, though. Pity.

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  29. Calamity: thinking sucks.

    Key: Total fucktard, that guy is. Copied my hairstyle and everything.

    Bites: If you & Calamity get to practicing and I'm not invited to the party, I'm going to have to stop making you those personalized dildos.

    Think about it: do you really want the prosthetic-fun to end?

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  30. I'm working on the sidebar now. Twitter updates and Flickr photo badge have been removed, archives and categories are rolled up, and I'm in the process of rolling up the blogroll as well. By the way, if you dispense this same advice in future reviews, just an update--I discovered that Blogger now has a built-in option to roll up your archives, so you don't need to direct people to that Wikipedia page anymore. And if people are interested in rolling up their blogrolls instead of putting them in a separate post, you can direct them here for instructions: http://technicalbliss.blogspot.com/2006/12/drop-down-menu-for-blogger-beta.html

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  31. NJ: He really leads a miserable existence, doesn't he? Copying your hairstyle, blogging on and on incoherently. Douchebag.

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  32. Shucks, hook up? Domination.

    This blog boring.

    Will get drunk, read again.

    Sidenote: Pissing blood is hilarious, how the fuck did she make that sound boring?

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  33. However, if you ask me, This post is wonderful. Prolly because I don't think I've read anything truer about fat girls.

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  34. And that's the thing -- there's good stuff, but we won't get to it if we have to wade through.

    But I'm pretty confident Jess will clear up that stuff and come back with a pretty good blog.

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  35. Fuck me, I clicked on it and there's a slit fucking throat staring back at me.

    That's harsh lady, harsh.

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  36. huh, and yet some of your top blogs have blogher ads...huh. Interesting.

    I am totally on board with the rest though....

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  37. What, are you looking for consistency?

    Tsk - I know that, personally, I'm FAR too wrapped in myself to be concerned with such triviality...

    ...And, judging from that last sentence, I've become an intolerable snob. Who'd a thunk it?

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  38. Flutter: Do you know what is NOT interesting? A grown woman writing high school caliber goth poetry.

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  39. Oooooh, snap!

    [snapping fingers]

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  40. @flutter:

    Yeah. The difference is, I can ignore the blogher ads because they write well.

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  41. p.s. For Christ's sake, warn a person before you do something like this to them. You almost gave me a heart attack.

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  42. Sweet adorable mother of fuck!

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  43. She should save that one for October.

    You know, we ALWAYS rip on the ads. I don't know why anyone would consider us inconsistent. I think it's even in our FAQ.

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  44. Wow, could have fucking done without that. LB, do some shit like that again and I'm gonna have to leave.

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  45. Whew. Aside from the ads (which i am NOT ditching; it's my crack money) I think I'll okay in your template-book. I am ever tempted to give you the go-ahead.

    And, um, How much would I have to pay you to learn how to do that swirly thing with my tongue?

    You don't have to pay anything. All you have to do is find your best gay buddy, who's just found a new boyfriend and wants to stop being a pitcher only and branch into the wonderful world of catching. You give him the run-down, and then ask him for swirly tongue advice. Bring a banana.

    Oh, wait, that was just me? Shit.

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  46. PS: Alice is confusing tags and categories. That is all.

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  47. That hurt my brain, Lady. I refuse to read that again.

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  48. I guess I could always ask my boyfriend. You know what I need in my life, though? A gay boyfriend. I seriously haven't had one in years. I knew there was something missing in my life.

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  49. Way late to the party, but thanks for the link love, Love Bites. (Am I the only one who rocks a Def Leppard air guitar every time I think her name? Am I?)

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  50. HA! I love it. I don't suppose we can all come up with this "Oh, there is nothing waiting for you when you die. You just cease to exist. No heaven, no hell, nothing. Trust me on this one, I would know. So live for today, tomorrow isn't a guarantee. Thank you for shopping."

    s'cool.

    Also, yeah sorry about the giant head on that nasty placeholder blog. I figure shock therapy would do some people well. Never said I was pretty, folks.

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  51. It's not that you're not attractive, Flutter. It's that your head is so exceedingly LARGE when one clicks on it unknowingly. Tis v. v. startling. I'm sure it's normal sized in real life, though. Which, I'm sure, is a great comfort to you.

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  52. @darwin:

    Would it make you respect/fear me less to know that I air guitar, often, to all types of songs?

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  53. @ Mr. Lady:

    waaayyyyy too much shit in the sidebar. Other than that, no issues.

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  54. "You were hoping for the nice reviewer (Calamity). Well, you spun the wheel, and lost. But, the odds were stacked against you because there is only 1 nice one, and 4 or 5 mean ones, depending on the week."

    I'm not mean, just a bitch. And extremely picky. The author should feel lucky, as I was actually slated to review her blog but was stricken with the plague. You're welcome.

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  55. @LB: It just makes you ever more endearing. BTW, I want to get in on the ground floor and nominate Betsey's "Well, I'll never go ask Alice shit." for comment of the week. Nicely played.

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  56. Blogger templates are skinny..I know that sucks...but they all are. You say you don't like that..but this blog "Ask and ye shall receive" has a super skinny template too. Waz up??

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Grow a pair.