On the Finale: The Puzzle’s Last Piece

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Thought I’d have an opening song. For me, the tone of the first word fits this post.

 

In life, I’m not a “Look at me – see what I did” type of person. There are times I even prefer walking away or without fanfare. Of even do something without recognition. A friend told me that one of the reasons they like dancing with me is because I don’t bring attention to myself or the couple. I just dance. That’s a private side of me, but I must admit – I appreciate positive praise and recognition when it’s timely – more during because (to me and at times) after-the-fact seems shallow – contrived.

It is interesting how I’ve ended this place that has been part of me for over a decade. I knew I couldn’t just walk away from my regulars – leaving them wondering “Whatever happened to Frank?” I just couldn’t. On the other hand, just maybe – this formal closing series is something I needed for myself along while respecting my readers.

When I started my little corner of the world on 28 August 2008, I had no idea what I would do and for how long. Beyond writing a post and having people read and comment, I had no clue about what was to come. The respect, friendships, encouragement, and more have blown me away.

Some say a blog’s average life span is 3 years – and to think I’ve gone strong for 11+ years. Guess that means I did OK. Well, at least in these terms.

Many stats are worthless, but I’ve enjoyed watching them: 2,304 posts, 13,531 categories/topics, 442,397 visits, 96,911 comments, 8,017 followers. They cause me to smile – but I’m most proud of my longevity, versatility and the way I’ve handled myself here. Stats will also make me laugh in the future when I receive notifications of a new follower in the days to come. You know that’s going to happen. Maybe I’ll see the day when the counter rolls over to 500,000.

My first post was short – a mere 11 sentences with 166 words. The excerpt below is from that 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.” (28 Aug 2008)

With much unknown ahead of me at that time, little did I know how those words would resonate in this final post over 11 years later.. Yes – I accomplished it!

I plan on leaving this blog up and hope to continue visiting and commenting on blogs. Maybe not as regular, but yes – you are important to me! You are part of me. We are friends who have never met. But, I hope to stay away for the rest of the month of February – or at least only be limited because I have some things I must do. Maybe I will start snooping around sometime in March.

My future plans? As long as I’m able, I want to keep doing what I’m doing: ballroom dance, walking, travel, golf, working at the golf course, and whatever else. I’ve started playing a bit of pickleball. In terms of blogging, wisdom tells me to beware of saying “never” because one never knows what lies ahead. I don’t plan to post here again – but I’ll let the future determine what I do on WordPress. Maybe I would use the mailing list here as a future announcement post.

Personally, I would love to turn the beach walking series into a podcast. That’s easier said than done, I’ve done the research – I know that endeavor requires a lot of work, especially for what I visioned – so, I doubt if that happens because I don’t want to dedicate that much time to the task.

I can say that I secured beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com just in case I proceed. If I move forward with the idea, I can’t imagine not letting many of you know. If I don’t do the podcasts, maybe I’ll return to blogging by solely focusing on beach walks. Maybe I’ll use this platform for an announcement to get the word out. Time will also answer that question. Therefore, I ask you to keep me notification active. 

I enjoy research. I enjoy writing. I enjoy interacting with visitors. To me, those are very important factors of blogging. I try to practice what I believe. If someone takes the time to comment, I feel obligated to be welcoming and reply with something meaningful. Then again, that’s time consuming – let alone reciprocating and visiting my favorite blogs. One of the reasons I’m stepping away is failing to meet my self-imposed values and standards.

I’ve tried to be true to myself here – that is, being who I am – well, at least who I think am. Each of us are different and complex in our own way – that defines humanity – and, I know I’m far from perfect.

In person, I try to be personable, friendly, and kind (but some people make that difficult). I have a sense of humor (that some don’t understand). I’m definitely a thinker and a contrarian one at that – yet not confrontational. Yes, I’m a talker, but not a nonstop talker who continues talking when they inhale. Emotional endings to movies can cause a tear or two. I’ve shed more than a few tears here recently – and YES, my eyes are blue. I’m average size and build (5’10.5″) and 67th birthday is coming soon. Cheers to other Aquarians.

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The closing process has been a reflection opportunity. Throughout my life, and no matter the endeavor, I’ve wanted the following: acceptance, respect, and appreciation while being part of something. I think those build my self-esteem. My work career is where I discovered my contrarian nature. Overall, I didn’t feel valued – the feeling of swimming against the current or being alone on an island. But, I had the desire and confidence to push forward with my ideas and approach – and in many ways, mission accomplished.

My contrarian nature, desire, and confidence continued here, and my readers here have made me feel valued – yes; accepted, respected, and appreciated. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me! Because of you, I’m a better person today than when I started this blog on 28 August 2008.

I also believe YOU are the ones that kept me going for so long! For me, some of the praise you have given me the past few weeks is a bit of a shock. Appreciative yes – but I’m still surprised. Simply put, I’m wired to think more what you have done for me as opposed for what I’ve done for you. After all, I’m just being myself. Maybe just a different view of selfishness.

I recently received an email about comments on the closing agenda post, and the person asked if I realized how much I had affected people. To be honest, I had not – so the message caused me to look at those comments in a different light. My impact on people here has never entered my mind. I’m not one who focuses on himself. In the comments of the final two posts I’ve included locations of commenters, which says two things to me – the world has touched me – and it seems I have touched the world. Now that’s an overwhelming thought. All I can say is, “Wow and thanks for allowing me into your life!”

It’s been a fabulous 11+ years – and I have no regrets. Blogging has been a gift, and you the treasure inside that gift. Thank you for being you and for visiting my little corner of the world. Thank you for accepting me and my quirks. Thank you for your role in making this a friendly place. Thank you for making me a better blogger. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for building my confidence in humanity. Hosting has been an honor and a pleasure that you have made easy.

Thanks to everyone for reinforcing my belief that the majority of people in the world are good, and for helping me take my little corner of the world beyond my wildest dreams. I love the people here! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

 

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

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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