Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. As Mark Twain once said, the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. The truth is I’ve been in hibernation, building my strength so I can come back stronger than ever. I’m sure you’ve been taking good care of things while I’ve been gone, so let’s just take a quick look around…
WHAT THE FUCK?!?!? ISIS? Donald Trump? Dengue fever? Dengue fucking fever? I swear, I leave you people alone for five minutes and-
You know what, forget it. I’m going back to sleep. You can be sure you’ll be talking to your father when he gets home. And I want you to know, I’m not disappointed, just angry.
Let’s face it: I’m pretty great. No, strike that. I’m fucking amazing. And nobody knows that better than I do. I looked around for a way to reward myself for being so wonderfully me, and I just couldn’t find anything that was worthy of my magnificence, so I went out and created one (because I’m just that damn talented*). I present to you the Narcissus Award for Blogging Excellence and All Around Awesomeness.
You may be thinking, “But Bob! There are already so many blogging awards out there, and didn’t you win one already? Why create another one?” Thank you for asking. Yes, I did already win one, because that’s just how great I am. But the truth is nobody appreciates me like I do, because nobody else can. That’s why I created this award. It shows the brilliance, the perspicacity, the sheer audacious vision, and of course the humility of the recipient all in one masterful stroke.
Should you (erroneously) think you are deserving of the Narcissus Award, here are the rules:
- Nobody can give the award to you except yourself. After all, who else is wise enough to truly recognize the scope of your contributions to humanity?
- Display it prominently on your own blog. It’s not bragging, it’s simply acknowledging your greatness, which everyone else should be doing anyway.
- Be sure to link back to the blog you stole appropriated rightfully acquired it from. After all, how can others appreciate your genius without having something to compare it to?
- Be sure to copy and paste these rules along with your new award, in case someone else makes the mistake of thinking they are somehow better than you.
- Feel free to ignore any and all of these rules. After all, only you really understand you.
*It’s within the realm of possibility I may have had some design help from Navare Carter, which is completely irrelevant except to prove just how awesomely generous I am to acknowledge him in the same breath as my fantastic self. You’re welcome, Navare.
You’re not going to believe this, but Setsu of Katana Pen nominated me for a Liebster Award. Which only goes to show there’s no accounting for taste. But I am honored, even if I don’t deserve it.
1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them. (Done)
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator. (See below)
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. (Would that I could, but I don’t really follow that many bloggers, and most of the ones I follow have a lot of followers already. But I have nominated some that I consider excellent and worth your time, and I would nominate Setsu as well if I thought tag backs were in the spirit of the thing. So instead I will at least tell you why I think each of these notables is worth your time. See below.)
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer. (down further below)
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them. (Message delivered)
Up first: The Questions I have Been Tasked To Answer!
1. What’s the harshest piece of criticism you’ve grown from?
It wasn’t criticism per se, but that’s only because it was couched in terms of loving advice. I was in my late teens and being a typical dumbass teenage boy, when my Uncle Ray gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard: “you don’t bet the farm on a pair of twos.” Basically I was going all-in all the time, regardless of whether there was any chance I would win or even if I was right, and I was risking my relationships with my family, my friends, and everyone around me as a part of that. It took me a while to fully grasp the enormity of what he meant by it, but I’ve tried to remember ever since then that while you may not win big if you don’t risk big, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will always win big just because you risked big, or that you even stand a chance to.
2. If you had to be without one of your five senses, which would it be and why?
I’d give up my sense of smell, mostly because I treasure the others far more. I love to read, to watch movies, to see everything, which is slightly ironic since I need to wear glasses. I love to listen to music, to hear My Not So Humble Wife’s voice, to talk with friends. I love the feel of soft skin, hard marble, warm stoves and cold ice cream. I love the taste of food, even if I am a picky eater. I would miss smelling so many things, but I would miss the rest more.
3. What material is hard for you to write, and how do you tackle it (emotional rawness, erotica, gore, etc)?
I find it difficult to write emotionally honest characters. I don’t ever do erotica, but that’s part and parcel of emotional honesty for me. If you can’t be emotionally honest in that moment, it falls flat and becomes hollow; it rings horribly false. The same is true with love scenes, or speeches of eternal hatred, or any other truly emotional moment. The rest is easy; it’s just dialogue and description.
4. What did you have in mind when you started blogging, and how did your blog deviate from your original idea?
I really only intended to write about whatever interested me, to have fun and keep it going. It deviated in that for a while it took over my life and became a grind; I stopped doing it because I loved it and started doing it because I had deadlines to hit, and my writing started to suffer for it. I also didn’t have time for anything else in my life. I don’t blog as often (or very much at all) now, but when I do it’s meaningful for me.
5. What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever received?
This might be a bit TMI, but that’s why I’m giving fair warning. Feel free to skip to the next question. Mom and other relations, THIS MEANS YOU. Many years ago (long before I met My Not So Humble Wife) I dated a girl and we had a bad breakup. On a scale of 1-10 it was “nuclear warfare”. Needless to say she had nothing but bad things to say about me from what I heard second hand (we didn’t speak to each other for at least six months, but then I wasn’t exactly a prize back then either, so I’m not pointing fingers; just bear with me). Anyway, at the end of one particular description of the entire litany of my flaws (which in retrospect was fairly accurate) she finished by saying “he wasn’t half-bad in bed.”
I’m still not sure if that was a compliment or an insult, but given the circumstances I choose to take it as a compliment.
6. What question do you wish people would ask you, and how would you answer?
Question: “How can I get one of those sweet Bobapalooza shirts?”
Answer: “I’m so glad you asked! There’s actually an entire store full of Bobapalooza merch, including t-shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles, and more!”
I’m such a whore.
7. How do you deal with an unhealthy obsession (if you don’t have obsessions, I suspect you’re fibbing — but go ahead and give advice for ‘your friend’ who does)?
Usually I ignore them. When someone points them out to me, I attempt to justify them. “Eat right, exercise daily, quit smoking, die anyway.” Or else I joke about them to deflect: “Cigarettes: chock full of Vitamin R!” Eventually I may find the willpower to give them up, like smoking. Yes, I’m fixated. I only quit (again) a couple months ago. Give me time.
8. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, and what would be the first step toward accomplishing that goal?
I’ve always wanted to publish a book. The next step would be to finish polishing up the file and getting it on the Kindle store. Given that it’s taken me six months to get to this point, don’t expect it anytime soon.
9. What makes you a great friend?
Loyalty. There’s three kinds of friends in this world: the kind that ask why you have a body in your trunk, the kind that ask why you need help burying the body in your trunk, and the kind who don’t ask stupid questions until after they helped you bury the body in your trunk. I’m the third kind.
10. What does your personal paradise look, sound, and smell like?
Warm, salty breezes. The sun shines most days, but there’s just enough rain to remind you how good you have it. There’s miles of white, powdery sand. The waves crash on the shore at high and low tide, and it can get pretty high and fierce, but you can swim out a little further and the water is calm once you get past about six or seven feet deep. At night you can hear the steel drum bands playing up the way, and you can always find a bar open somewhere to serve you a cold beer or a hot steak. Parents keep their kids down to one end of the beach, and surfers stay down at the other end. There’s plenty of fun activities to be had up and down the strip, from mini golf to theme parks, and lots of clubs for the young folks. There’s even an old-fashioned boardwalk to stroll on if you get in the mood.
Just a couple miles inland it’s a bit quieter, but still lovely. As the land slopes up from the beach pastures start to take over from the sand, and eventually gentle rolling hills come in. There’s horseback riding to be had out this way, as well as petting zoos and other farm activities. There’s a few golf courses tucked away here and there, and a spa or two for folks who want to get away from it all. It’s only a short drive from the beach, but it feels like a completely different world.
And now… my nominees!
First, Gabriel Garbow. Gabriel is an artist who shares his work online for the rest of us to enjoy. You know that old saying, “I don’t know if it’s art, but I like it”? well screw that. I do know that it’s art, and I do like it. Gabriel’s work moves me in a way that few art pieces do; I can’t say exactly why, except that maybe there’s an honesty and a vulnerability in all of his work that draws me in.
Next up we have The Frazzled Slacker. What I love most about her is that I can’t define her. She writes great DIY posts that, despite the fact I have no interest whatsoever in crafty-type things, make me feel like I’m having a fun conversation over coffee with that cool lady down the street. She also has the occasional rant were she lights the world on fire with a take-no-prisoners attitude (and even took me to task once). Then there’s the posts where she just has something cool or awesome or just fun to share. Oh, and she’s my cousin, which just adds 10% to her coolness factor.
For a change of pace check out Vanessa Katsoolis at One Thousand Single Days. If you’re not sure what her blog is about, read the title again, it’s all right there on the wrapper. Vanessa’s story is inspiring, challenging, and beautiful. She presents the world in a way that I would never consider looking at it, and she has a reservoir of optimism and strength that is absolutely wonderful to behold. There is no simple naiveté here; she clearly has seen life, she has simply chosen to do and be better.
And now for something completely different… Erik over at A Very Strange Place is a special sort. When I say “special”, I mean like “early Robin Williams” special. As in “when Robin Williams was on cocaine” special. Throw in some Eddie Murphy from “Raw” levels of offensiveness and you’re getting close. What I’m trying to say is he’s not just NSFW, he’s NSFAAA (Not Safe For Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere), but if you have the stomach for raunchy humor, he’s your go-to guy, and he writes with the prolificness of a squirrel on speed.
And changing gears once more, we have Rian at Truth and Cake. Rian is another blogger that I love to read for her inspirational approach to life. She is caring, warm, and open, encouraging without ever delving into the sort of Pollyanna attitude that can come so easily when you try to remain positive in the face of everything the world can throw at you. When I read her blog I feel as if she represents a standard to live up to without ever expecting me to live up to any standard other than “be yourself”.
Flowing from the message “be yourself”, I bring you Aussa Lorens of Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy. Aussa’s blog embodies the phrase “sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction”. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you read just a little you’ll want to read it all. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve wanted to punch someone (and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way), and in the end I’ve wanted to reach out and shake her hand for just being resoundingly triumphant.
For something a little more down to earth (and in the sky), I highly recommend visiting Keri and Jeanne over at Heels First. The truth is I’m about as interested in travel as a turtle is interested in being soup, but these ladies understand the value of a good story. They make things fun, engaging, and personal. Reading their posts is like sitting down with a good friend to hear all about the great things they’ve been doing lately. Which is good for me, because they are good friends of mine.
And finally, I have to recommend Setsu of KatanaPen. Yes, I know, I said it was probably against the rules, but I’m already breaking the rules so screw it. Sestu’s blog is incredibly inspiring to me as an author and a martial artist (yes, I have done Liechtenauer style fencing, although it’s been a couple years). She is constantly giving me reasons to push myself further in my work as well as the belief that I can succeed in doing so. And she never said no tag backs.
Oh, and no tag backs.
AND NOW… THE QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES!
- What would you consider to be your core value?
- Under what circumstances would you violate that core value? (If you say “none” that’s fine, I just won’t believe you. Everyone has their price.)
- What is your ultimate indulgence, whether you can afford it or not?
- Who do you miss the most?
- What sensation reminds you of them? (A song, a scent, a food, etc.)
- If you could live a boring life without having made any mistakes or live an exciting life with plenty of regrets, which would you choose?
- If you had to live in any decade of the 20th century, which would you choose and why?
- What is the stupidest joke you’ve ever laughed at?
- Could you kill someone in self-defense?
- What would your perfect date be like?
I’ve never really been a fan of self-congratulatory blog posts, but hey, as of yesterday My Not So Humble Opinion turned a year older (and by coincidence so did I), so I thought I’d take a little time to look back and reflect on what happened.
First, and I can’t say thank you nearly enough, over 20,000 views. I have to admit I’m more than a lot astounded by this. When I started this blog I expected it to be myself, family, and maybe a few friends reading it occasionally, and that was about it. If I got 500 views I would have considered that a success.
I got Freshly Pressed a few times! I can’t even begin to say what an honor that’s been. Of course I think my writing is great, but to have someone else affirm it is something else entirely. Affirmation, even.
Perhaps the greatest thing of all is that I was endorsed (okay, one blog post was endorsed) by the always amazing Christopher Titus. Yes, you read that right. On his official Facebook page. I tell you, moments like that make it all worthwhile. That and the adulation of my legions of fans.
Oh, didn’t I mention? Over 850 followers so far, and I love each and every one of you in a very deep and personal way. But not in a creepy way. Just a very deep, personal, likely to soon involve a restraining order sort of way.
Of course I can’t forget to mention my fantastic guest bloggers, My Not So Humble Wife Leigh Bonsall and Keri Anderson of Heels First Travel and Keri on Life (both of which are great blogs and if you don’t already follow them you should go check them out now. We’ll wait for you.) Both lovely ladies have been a tremendous help in providing me with fantastic content when I needed it the most.
Most recently I managed to bring Bobapalooza to the masses. This is one of my favorite projects that I’m involved with, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.
If anyone is interested in my advice for success (such as it is), I would offer three points:
- Always focus on fresh content. Yes, I know, advertising, SEO, game the system any way you can. But here’s the thing: all of that takes time and money you can also (and more easily) spend generating fresh content, which works for you in more ways, like getting you re-posted, Freshly Pressed (why else be on WordPress?), shared, tweeted, and all the free media you can imagine. It also gets people coming back, and that’s worth a lot more than any advertising or SEO in the world.
- Pick a schedule and stick to it. When people know to expect updates from you, they get in the routine of reading you. You want to be a part of their routine. Morning cup of coffee, feed the cat, read your blog. Like clockwork. If you fall off your schedule they stop reading (even if you have a good excuse), so don’t fall off.
- Have a solid buffer. Before I even started I have 2-3 weeks worth of content in the can, and I didn’t even touch most of it for a solid two months because I was always writing fresh stuff. Eventually life caught up to me and I ran out, but I plan to refill it, and I still make sure to hit every update.
- Make friends and line up guest bloggers early. The only thing better than content in the can is good stuff from someone else. It makes your page look fresh, interesting, and expands your appeal.
That’s my thoughts anyway. It’s gotten me this far.
Now for the stats geeks out there, here’s some fun numbers:
- The most frequent search term that brought people to MNSHO was “abe lincoln”. The second most frequent was “abraham lincoln”. The third most frequent was “misogynistic tendencies”. What does that say about me?
- The most popular post of the year, not surprisingly, was “Dating Advice from Philosophers” (soon to be a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt). The second most popular (not counting the homepage/archive) was “How To Get What You Want Without Really Trying”, followed by “The War on Christmas” (being Freshly Pressed really pays off). The most popular non-FP post was “Dating Advice From Historical Figures”. Everybody needs love, I guess.
- I’ve gotten the most views from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Canada, and India, with the Philippines and Australia close behind. Hi there!
- I’ve had 170 posts so far, and I have plenty more to come.
Whether you’re a relatively new reader or you’ve been around since day one, I want to thank you again for being here. I’m committed (and some say I should be), and plan to keep going for at least another year.
Let’s enjoy it together, shall we?