On Shadows

 

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows. (From the introduction to the radio series, The Shadow)

 

Friendship is the shadow of the evening, which increases with the setting sun of life. (Jean de La Fontaine, poet)

Shadow – partial darkness cast by an object affecting light passing through

Shadow – a reflected image

Shadow – a shelter from danger

Shadow – a faint representation

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. (Nathaniel Hawthorne, novelist)

 

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. (Michelangelo, artist)

Shadow – a dark sense

Shadow – a shaded part of an image

Shadow – to follow someone

Shadow – a sense of gloom/unhappiness

Everything we see is a shadow cast to that which we did not see. (Martin Luther King, Jr; activist)

 

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it. The tree is the real thing. (Abraham Lincoln, statesman)

Shadow – obscurity

Shadow – to conceal

Shadow – to secretly trail

Shadow – a two-dimensional silhouette of an object

Shadow – a personality’s unconscious side

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. (Helen Keller, author)

 

Special thanks to Robin (MaidinSun Photography) for providing the photographs. I encourage readers to visit her at Breezes at Dawn. All photos are copyrighted by MaidinSun Photography.

 

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On a Happy 10th

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On 28th August, 2008, the first post on my little corner of the world appeared. It was short, but as I look back, that first post causes me to smile. When I started, I had no idea that I would still be blogging 10 years later – but today, even though I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, I’m happy with what this space has become.

With a bit of encouragement from my friend Tim (who remains a faithful visitor) A Frank Angle started as a politics and sports blog. After all, 2008 was a presidential election year with John McCain and Barack Obama battling for the White House. Ah yes, the time of The Nincompoop. Late in 2008, I began expanding my tent that lead to the eclectic nature of this place.

Many frequent visitors have passed through my posts. Besides Tim, I’m guessing Debra in Pasadena, CA has been with me the longest. We laugh at how much we seem to have in common. Although I enjoy researching and writing, positive interactions with positive people has always inspired me. I greatly appreciate those types of encounters that many people have given me at my little corner of the world. That’s the way I am.

To those who take time to comment and engage – thank you.

To those here in more recent times – thank you.

To those who have passed through and have had a positive impact on me – thank you.

To those who have encouraged others to stop by – thank you.

To those who have stayed with me the longest – thank you.

To WordPress for making the world smaller – thank you.

To anyone I’ve forgotten – thank you!

I could go one, but people here understand how much I appreciate others – especially those supporting my belief that the majority of the world is good.

Here’s a by-the-numbers look the 10 years of A Frank Angle (based on several hours before this posting time).

2,087 posts (including this one)

77 categories

12,577 tags

1,759 shares

2 Fresh Pressed posts

7 blog musicals covering 65 acts

345,595 views

4,915 most viewed post

80,514 comments

705 average comments per month

95,121 Akismet protected spam comments

7% space used

7,350 followers (such a worthless stat)

For me, this is an excellent video to share on this day. Yes – two dancers – but it’s more than that. Keep in mind this may be a well-rehearsed Boogie-Woogie routine – however – many of these steps are lead-and-follow. More importantly, look how much fun they are having. Yes, I see maintaining my little corner of the world as fun. I see interacting with people here as fun – so thanks for the part each of you have played in my enjoyment.

PS: Happy birthday Shania and my paternal grandfather (125 today).

On a Blog-Break Reflection

Image from 123vectors.com

The previous post announced the start of a blog break. That was April 5, and I was thinking 2-3 weeks … not 2-3 months. Although I did some visiting and wrote very little, my little corner of the world occupied my mind. After all, it’s been part of me since late August 2008.

I built my little corner of the world the old fashioned way – hard work. I responded to comments, and visited and commented on the blogs of those who visited me. Who knows how many blogs I visited without establishing a relationship. After all, this place was about honesty, respect, and kindness – not trash-talking brashness and without a even a small dose of shock and awe. I was simply being myself. Here is a snippet from my first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.

I not only achieved that, I stayed true to the initial course!

During the break I thought about the many WordPress regulars that no longer post – people like Virginia, Guapo, Mags, Starla, and many others. Some have died, such as Third Stone, Larry, and Cynthia. Many others have cut-back – and I understand that perspective now more than ever. Some of us as Elyse, Debra, and Marina have a long history together. Were we all together during the Golden Era of Blogging? Maybe … but maybe not. After all, maybe our time has passed and a new generation is carrying the torch forward.

Some of us have been together a short time. Nonetheless, the power of the relationships built from blogging is one of the biggest surprises that I didn’t anticipate when I started … and that is what I cherish the most.

Conversations in 2008 with a good friend (Tim, who comments here) planted the seeds for this place. Did you know AFA started as a sports and politics blog? After several months, I knew I needed more. The “Categories” in the sidebar now displays a long list of topics. As I like to think – there is something here for everyone!

My topics grew as a response to my audience and my interests. Eventually I saw myself as a weekly magazine with Monday Morning Entertainment, Tuesday’s a specialized topic, Wednesday Satire Bits, on open topic on Thursday, Friday’s Opinion in the Shorts, and the Saturday Morning Cartoons series was absolutely one of my personal treasure …. and to think 6 blog musicals covering 62 acts found a way into that schedule. Whew … that was a lot of work … but I loved it … and I was also visiting many blogs during at the same time

Over time, the weekly magazine slowly changed as I stopped various sections for a variety of reasons. After all, I couldn’t keep up the pace I had established for myself.

OK – that was the past, but what about today? What does all this mean? Is A Frank Angle over?

Nope – it’s just a reflective post looking back at eight-plus years and over 1,900 posts with almost 73,000 comments from over 281,000 visits. I still have more to say and more to share – and as they always have, the friendships built here still touch me. On the other hand, I know I can’t rebuild this community as I did in the past because I realize that level of energy is missing.

I have my eye on one statistical goal because I like milestones: 2,000 posts, but my aim is without a timetable – without a regular posting schedule. It will simply happen when it happens.

As the opening image indicates, I’ve engaged the Play button. Yes, I’m slowing down – but I’m not done yet. There are more beach walks to take, more Opinions in the Shorts to share thoughts (but maybe not every Friday – maybe even a different day). Maybe a challenge or two are in the works, and who knows, possibly even another blog musical. Time will tell.

I close this reflective drivel with a musical video that I find to be amazing, amusing, and entertaining. Have a good week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Parallels of Life and Blogging

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Just like in life …

Bloggers come, bloggers go

Blogging interactions can be brief, without words, yet others are deep, interactive, and lasting

Boggers link around a commonality

Worry and wonder stoke the blogger’s mind when one hasn’t encountered someone in a while

 

Just like in life …

Bloggers encounter a wide range of emotions

Bloggers are saddened by the news of personal trauma, tragedy, and death – and happy for triumphs and celebrations

Bloggers seek trust, honesty, reliability, genuineness, and respect matter

An important decision for bloggers is the choice of acquaintances

 

Just like in life …

A blogger’s words can encourage and hurt

Bloggers can be real and honest while others are fake or hide their identity

Some blogging personalities seem to sync, yet what is preferred by one is looked upon as a negative by someone else

Some bloggers are givers, others are selfish

Blogging is a house that is open, thus requiring the host to be welcoming – but not every blogger has the same welcoming skills as others

 

Just like in life …

Blogging involves an etiquette, but one size doesn’t fit all

Bloggers have a variety of sensitivity levels

Bloggers vary in interests and communication skills

Blogging involves priorities – but sometime life and blogging conflict

 

The Final Touch

Bloggers blog for different reasons – to market … to think … to share … to make money … to interact … to promote thinking …. to learn … to reflect … to network …. to write … to challenge … to create new opportunities …to meet … to document … for personal growth … to inspire …. for enjoyment … to reduce stress … to build rapport … to create opportunities … and more

Every blogger want something different – some want laughs … other a friend … some want their voice to be heard … others simply want respect … some want community … others want followers … some write for themselves … others want interactions

Blogging is like a picnic – some brings the humor … others provide the photographs, art, and philosophy … others bring the recipes for food, drinks, guidance, and success … others are the informative thinkers … others tell stories

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On the Blogging Blues

Not long ago I read Vanessa Chapman’s post about bloggers losing their mojo. Our short interaction got me thinking because the Blogging Blues are real!

Regulars here know that I’ve been blogging about 6 ½ years (an anomaly) – and the archival record shows I’ve been fairly regular. There are times when personal, family, medical, or work issues take a blogger away from their normal routine, but as a whole, I’ve been a faithful steward of my little corner of the world.

Nonetheless, the Blogging Blues are real … and I know I’m not immune to them!

One can trace some symptoms of the Blogging Blues back to this question: Why do you blog? The collective reasons are many, but only the host blogger can answer this important question, and they must answer for themselves. Maybe – just maybe, the cure for the Blogging Blues lies in the answer to that question.

Image and Logo Property of Word Press

Image and Logo Property of Word Press

I enjoy sharing and interacting with others. Given the type of posts I do, I obviously also enjoy researching. My eclectic nature helps me to avoid ruts. I see this blog as a weekly magazine that releases one article per day, then the patterns repeats the next week. However, the Blogging Blues are real … and I am not immune from them! Can you say that to yourself? Come on … try it.

Publishing frequency can factor into the Blogging Blues. Each blogger faces the frequency question differently – and that’s OK. Schedules are a double-edged sword because while providing a rhythm, it can also be a burden on the blogger – a heavy burden of obligation leading to a self-imposed pressure – thus easily leading to a case of the Blogging Blues.

The solution is easy to say, but for some bloggers, hard to do. It took me several years to overcome this pressure, but I’ve learned not to force a post. It’s OK to miss a post. Repeat after me – It’s OK to miss a post.

Because of my posting frequency, I had to streamline my approach in order to relieve blogging pressure. That is, if I wanted to continue a certain pattern, I had to streamline my approach into something manageable at the blog end while balancing my blogging life and my life outside of blogs. Monday Morning Entertainment, Satire Bits, and Opinions in the Shorts are examples of posts requiring less effort than a deeper topic. Even with this approach, I maintain that it’s OK to miss a post.

I’ve also learned to reduce on my posting schedule when necessary. Although my posting goal is 6 per week, if I have to reduce to 2 or 3 per week, I’ve learned that it is OK – so I tell the regular readers because they appreciate knowing.

Although I like to say, Life gets in the way of blogging, in reality, periods exist when life outside of blogging demands more time. For that, I offer these suggestions:

  • Tell your community that you won’t be posting because of whatever
  • Give yourself a blogging break

Say this loud – Blogging breaks are good. Say it again, but this time with some gusto – Blogging breaks are good!

Blogging breaks are times away from your blog. They can be planned or unplanned, and for many possible reasons, including giving yourself time for whatever.

To me, there are four levels of blogging breaks.

  • Level 1: Complete removal of yourself from blogging for a designated time period. No posting, no writing, no visiting … nada, zilch, absolutely nothing. Stay away and don’t worry about it. But as BloggingBreakspreviously stated, tell your community about your upcoming absence.
  • Level 2: Similar to Level 1 because you have no online presence. However, you spend your time preparing posts.
  • Level 3: No posting, but you spend time visiting and commenting on other blogs. This keeps you connected, provides time to reconnect with old friends, and make new connections – and this may be a re-energizing experience and even spark an idea or two for your future posts.
  • Level 4: Similar to Level 3 because of your online absence, but you are drafting future posts. After all, writing is a process and some of us like to have drafts in the queue. Meanwhile, you are still in contact with your community and potentially expanding it.

Regardless of the level, blogging breaks are good, and bloggers should use them as a way of preventing the Blogging Blues. As a matter of fact, a calendar year should include multiple breaks at different levels.

Here are some of my secrets to blogging longevity.

  • Focus on your community over stats
  • Support your community, including reciprocating
  • Interact with those who comment on your blog, and comment elsewhere
  • Be true to yourself and to your community
  • Communicate with your community
  • Don’t force yourself into posting
  • Discover a blogging balance
  • Take the appropriate blogging break multiple times a year

None of us are immune to the Blogging Blues because they are real. Do you have any suggestions for the Blogging Blues?

Let’s close with something for music lovers … that is, a touch of the blues that may make you smile … but I’m not the breeze. Enjoy.

On an Autobiography: Blog Style

BabyPic1) I was born here

2) … but grew up 4,614 miles (7,26 km/4,010 nautical miles) to the west of my birthplace

3) … and A, I, and O are were important letters

4) I wasn’t consider a troublemaker, but this strange night happened during my senior year.

5) Upon graduating high school, I traveled to the opposite corner of the state for college 

6) … where one of my favorite things was this, which delivered a surprise moment 

7) Since college graduation, my home has been this metropolitan area

8) I married my college sweetheart on this date

9) … spent most of my professional years doing this

10) One of my proudest moments was delivering a strong message at my mother’s funeral 

11) We now live in this town

12) … and we enjoy travelling like this way

13) This is our favorite local pastime

14) … but I also did this for about 12 years before stepping away this year

15) All in all, a good life, a happy life, with its share of ups and downs … yet my heart is still with my heritage (one and two in the same region)

16) Blogging here for the past 6+ years (since August 2008), and I’ve grown to appreciate goodness of so  many good people across the globe.

On a Word Choice

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I imagine many sports fans are like me – that is having one team – that is having one team they detest under any and all circumstances. Instead of many, it may even be most sports fans … but I’m confident this isn’t true for all.

For me, it’s the University of Kentucky (UK) – especially in basketball. After all, I’m unhappy even when they lose. I can honestly say that their fans drove me to that point because I find UK fans to be arrogant, condescending, blind, self-centered, and more uncomplimentary adjectives.

I know that UK fans haven’t cornered the market on that behavior. After all, a large school in the center of my state exhibits similar behavior regarding a ball of another shape that bounces funny.

I’m confident that my statement isn’t true for all UK fans – and I’m unsure if most qualifies because I don’t have the numbers to support the statement. Yet, I find many is a good descriptor because being a relative term and a bit vague. After all, on first thought a million is many, but is it when compared to a billion?

However, this post isn’t about sports or the University of Kentucky because the above sets the stage for my experience and point.

Sometime in January 2014 I was reading a humorous post about the start of a new year. It was quite amusing and very well done … well … until reading one important sentence. In the blogging world, I tend to take the high road to avoid confrontation, so I didn’t comment – but the statement kept festering in my mind – so I returned to add my thoughts to the comments section.

My comment wasn’t disrespectful to the host – not even snarky – but I made my point in a respectful manner, and the host reciprocated the same way. We exchanged several comments, and in the end, while agreeing to disagree, I moved on … and yes, I have returned since the encounter.

To me, at issue was the word all – a word that is quite inclusive. Because many or most wasn’t used, I don’t positively know that my reaction would have different, but because I focused on all, I’m confident that my reaction would have been different.

Is there a difference in using many, most, and all? Is blog writing so informal that we should overlook the use of these descriptors?