Restraint Insults My Intelligence

No, people… not “Restraints Insult My Intelligence.”  I’m not that crazy.

But, seriously, I do believe that the time has come to redecorate this blog.  I’ve been using the current design since April 2014 and it has this pesky little inability to be seen as-is on mobile devices.  Now that mobile users are the vast majority, I see no point in spending money to have a design that no one can view.

Unfortunately, I still have my paid upgrade until December.  I guess that means I’ll be having some fun.

Keep calm and don’t insult my intelligence.  The new design will follow boldly in the footsteps of what came before, or something like that.  In other words, the design will be more recent than the earlier versions.

I have been using the San Kloud theme since I started this blog back in May 2013.  Here’s the original background image I used with gray (yes, boring old gray) text boxes:

The San Kloud theme has a header menu and a cartoon cloud that contains the blog title.  This was designed to make the menu invisible and the cloud look like an oval.  It worked.

The San Kloud theme has a header menu plus a cartoon cloud that contains the blog title. This background image was designed to make the menu invisible and the cloud look like an oval. It worked.  Would you want to try reading a menu against this image?

That image is light, bright, cheerful, and obviously perfect for a blog about things that insult my intelligence.  Nevertheless, I decided to darken things up a couple of months later:

This was a saved file I didn't delete.  The original background image was photo edited from this one, not the other way around.

This was a saved file I didn’t delete. My first background image was photo edited from this one, not the other way around.  Actually, I think this was originally step six along the way.

So instead of white tread marks, I now had dark tread marks.  To get these images, I had tortured a close-up scan of an article of clothing.  With all those tread marks, you might think it was underwear.

Anyway…

The blog most of you have come to know, love, admire, and dream about has looked like this for over a year:

Those lines at the top left are remnants of the theme's header menu.  Eliminating those was one of the last things I learned to do with CSS.

Those lines at the top left are remnants of the theme’s header menu. Eliminating those was one of the last things I learned to do with CSS.

Now, you may have noticed that I kind of skipped 5-6 months in my little chronology.  That was this blog’s psychedelic green period.  Instead of a bright blue (with orange borders ) header and text boxes, I used neon green with blue borders.  And the background image looked like this:

Pass the weed, man.

Pass the weed, man.

Despite the drug humor, that image has a clean origin: it was a resized and recolored scan from a box of bath soap.

And now that you’ve seen a little of this blog’s history, you may be wondering where the design is going next.  Well, I ain’t telling.  The design should be up sometime in the next week and hopefully it will be good enough that I’ll want to keep it beyond December.

I even remembered enough CSS to get a lot of things programmed already.  Who says that the unemployed can’t learn and retain new tricks?

And be forewarned: don’t expect much restraint in the new design.  As you can see, we don’t do restraint around here.

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Exhaustion Insults My Intelligence

This is an odd time to celebrate the two-year anniversary of this blog. I haven’t been around much lately and I’ve more or less let my second blog languish.

These days, I am tired.  My job search has continued for longer than you could imagine and I’ve recently encountered a few other circumstances that have contributed to my energy drain.  I started this blog to vent frustrations and as a humorous diversion for myself but it’s harder to get into a humorous writing mood these days.

Exhaustion

A gentle collapsing. (Photo credit: CrossfitPaleoDietFitnessClasses)

Everything will improve once we elect Rick Santorum as President.  (Fortunately, the humor isn’t entirely gone…)

Despite everything, I still manage to submit job applications and fulfill the obligations for my volunteer commitments.  Yes, that’s plural now.  It only took a few years to make that happen.  (See here for more details.)  I am also still able to eat without vomiting.

I can’t remember the last time I had the flu…

And the volunteering keeps me sane.

However, I do remember starting this blog.  I would look at bloggers who had posted their follower count and was astounded at the ones who had reached the 800-1000 range.  And this week I surpassed the 3000 mark.  WordPress doesn’t offer any nifty little digital trophies once you get that high… which would be okay if they offered a cash award instead.

Cheap bastards.

And so, as I look ahead to year three, I see an eventual continuation to year four.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to keep going no matter what. That is the WordPress Way.

He who collapses is food for vultures.

Your Blog Insults My Intelligence

I would like to welcome the new bloggers who are reading this post.  I’m sure you’re all excited to start writing and build a large and loyal audience.  The thousands of you starting today all believe that you have something special to offer the blogosphere: unique insights, original jokes, or perhaps an especially poetic way of writing that will win you the adoration of people across the world.

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your blog’s traffic statistics aren’t what you had hoped for.  Since you’re searching in vain for that magic bullet that will generate the awestruck readership you desperately feel you deserve, I’d like to share a very important secret from the blogging world:

Your blog sucks.

I’ve seen your jokes before and your personal stories have been told hundreds of times by people with superior storytelling skills and writerly competence.  Of course, your tales do contain one unique element: instead of choosing a fun name for your dog, you call him Fido.

I see little reason why anyone should want to read your work, unless of course they’re reciprocating for the visits you give them.  Is that what you dreamed of?  Cashing in (minus the cash) on other people’s sense of obligation?

The trophy is clip art from Power Point.  As you can see, I'm trying to be as vapid and unoriginal as you are.

The trophy is clip art from Power Point. As you can see, I’m trying to be as vapid and unoriginal as you are.

And then there are the unfortunate people who work for WordPress and other similar companies.  The only way they can stay in business is to convince gullible saps like you that your work has value and deserves the added oomph of paid upgrades and services.

Of course, you’ll quit within a few months… after buying a year-long upgrade.  For that, I thank you.  Like people who buy a gym membership who actually use it, I benefit from the reduced costs associated with using a service that many people pay for in advance and quickly give up on.

The less you write, the less bandwidth WordPress has to pay for.  That means I get more free goodies.

I would also like to remind you that today is April Fool’s Day.  You are a brilliant writer, just like everyone else who has a blog.  You should also know that the various blogging companies make no attempt to manipulate your blogging self-esteem and/or comfort in an attempt to maximize their profits.  They exist for your happiness.

With that in mind, I’d like to close with a song:

If you’re happy and you know it, beep beep boop
If you’re happy and you know it, beep beep boop
If you’re happy and you know it
Then your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and you know it, beep beep boop

The Bloggies Insult My Intelligence

No doubt many of you have heard of the Bloggies, arguably the most prominent blogging award there is.  I say “prominent” and not “best” because I know a thing or two about the selection process that you may not fully appreciate.

Here’s the official publicized procedure: people fill out a web form nominating blogs in all sorts of categories.  Votes are tallied and then the organizer chooses 200 random voters to decide on the finalists from a list of the top vote-getters.  The voting form asks if you’re willing to be chosen when you submit your nominations, presumably to ensure that judges don’t complain about all the work.

Just look at that face!  You don't need to keep him from complaining...

Just look at that face! You don’t need to keep him from complaining.  (Image requires no attribution.)

This year, I served as one of the ever-so-deserving 200 on the judging panel.

The organizer sent me an extra-special link to my ballot about two weeks before the voting deadline but, since I rarely check the email account that’s attached to my blog, I did not see the message until two days before the ballot was due.

Now for some math.  Each judge reviews the semifinalists for ten categories (out of 30) and there are approximately 15-20 blogs per category.  I’d estimate that it took about half of the two days to load all those blogs.  And that’s just the home page for each one.  Also transpiring during those two days: sleep, job applications, cooking, eating, the occasional potty break, bathing, and enjoying the snowflakes outside my window.  That left me with enough time to click to a second page on most of the blogs I was evaluating.

As you can see, I focused on my judging duties in accordance with the sacred trust I was given.  Diligence is key.  It’s not like I ever promised to do a good job.

Of course, other issues did come up.  Take a look at the judging instructions:

Ten categories have been randomly selected for you. For each, select up to five weblogs (or six in the Weblog of the Year category). If you encounter blogs that aren’t eligible for their category, just skip them. If you encounter a broken link, try adding “www.” to the beginning of it. I encourage you to vote in all the categories available to you, but it isn’t required. If you don’t have time to complete the whole ballot now, you may submit a partial ballot and return later to complete it.

Um… I know this may be a stretch, but shouldn’t a blogging awards site be able to provide links that will open properly?

And come to think of it, is it too much to ask that semifinalists be pre-screened for basic eligibility before I’m asked to spend my time judging?  Or, maybe the semifinalists should have been double-checked to make sure they were actually blogs.  (Granted, some of those questionable websites may have contained blogs somewhere on them.  However, if I can’t immediately locate your blog, you lose.)

Nevertheless, I thought it would be exciting to review these best-of-the-best blogs and see if I could find anything worthwhile.  And so I checked the first category: Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog.  I must admit that I learned more about that region than I could have ever imagined possible.  For instance, at least three semifinalists had blogs focusing on culturally enlightening arguments against the existence of global warming.  I say “at least three” because two nominees were in Spanish (I think) and another refused to load.

I’m not spending my time trying to decipher a foreign language because it wasn’t in the job description.  If I can’t judge the writing quality, you lose.

You never know what task will end up requiring some heavy lifting.  Fortunately, judging wasn't one of them.  (Photo credit: tunnupus)

You never know what task will end up requiring some heavy lifting. Fortunately, judging wasn’t one of them. (Photo credit: tunnupus)

Of course, I didn’t get to delve so deeply into any of these blogs… at least to the extent that something called “depth” could be discerned.  I, like most other people, happen to have a life and it’s relatively easy to figure out which blogs are crap after a very brief perusal.  I’m not giving up my potty breaks so that I can look at an extra few posts.  I’m not even giving up my potty breaks so I can search the blog for a link to archives of posts that were published during the year the blogging award is for.  I stopped hunting once it became clear that many blogs did not include such links.

And remember, I’m not 1 of 200 who are judging these categories.  I’m one of 66 or 67.  (200 judges total, but each of us only judges 1/3 of the categories.)  My voice matters big time no matter how uninformed it might be.

Yay me.

Next up was “Best Designed Weblog” and, as some of you may know, I take a great interest in innovative blog design… even if my own blog’s design is on the divisive side.  I could select up to five blogs from among twenty choices.

I picked two.

Yes, only two.  A few were so seriously flawed that I can’t believe they became semifinalists on the basis of legitimate votes.  (On the other hand, I have an abiding belief that people are stupid… so maybe the votes were on the up-and-up.)  Other nominees were generic and, therefore, indistinguishable from the millions of other blogs out there.  Of course, I could have judged the blogs’ navigation but I really don’t think effective navigation is such an unusual or difficult thing that people deserve an award for doing it properly.

The person behind the Bloggies also decided to randomly assign me the “Entertainment” category as well as “Fashion or Beauty.”  I tend to think that blogs on these subjects are crap even when they’re well constructed.  So as not to hurt people’s feelings, I will not continue on that line of thought.

Okay, I lied.  If I hate your topic, you lose.  That may sound unfair but no criteria were given for the assessment of a blog’s quality.  I figured that my personal prejudices would work just fine.

The “Best Group or Community Weblog” category also focused on a special group of blogs.  I think it had more parenting blogs among the nominees than the “Best Parenting or Family Weblogs” category that I was also asked to judge.

I guess all it takes to become a semifinalist is for members of a topical blogging group to go vote for each other en masse.  Just a hypothesis…

And then there’s “Best Photography of a Weblog.”  Here’s the category’s definition:

Photoblogs and other weblogs with a focus on presenting photography.

Please note that the category name does not mean the same thing as the given definition; the category name implies that all blogs containing photography can be nominated regardless of the blog’s overall focus .  Nevertheless, I did find a couple of blogs among the nominees that deserve an award.  I saved a copy of my ballot so I could find these (and a few others from the remaining categories) again.

Yes, it took that long for me to think “hey, I’ll want to see some of these again.”

By the time I reached “Best New Weblog,” I wasn’t much in the mood to do the basic assessment of eligibility that the Bloggies’ administrator should have performed on all nominees before sending out the ballot.  It’s possible that I may have voted for a blog that wasn’t new last year.  I didn’t check.

The final two categories I judged were European blogs and blogs about politics.  Both had some keepers, especially the political category which had a good share of famous and commercial blogs whose writers surely couldn’t care less about the award.  I voted for a lot of those.

And then I must mention the blogs that were nominated for numerous categories.  Contrary to what you might believe, this thrilled me.  I thought a lot of these blogs were crap the first time I saw them, meaning that each repeat listing represented one less blog for me to look at.  Of course, I did return to those blogs when the category was design or photography or something I hadn’t considered as heavily in my original assessment… and that’s in spite of my suspicion that some of these bloggers may have found a way to stuff the ballot box.

Stuffing the ballot box wouldn’t be too difficult and I doubt the organizer (yes, it appears to be one person) is taking sufficient measures to prevent it.  If he isn’t reviewing the semifinalists’ eligibility, we can probably assume that the more time-consuming or technically savvy measures aren’t being pursued either.

Overall, I found the experience disappointing.  With the opportunity to cast up to 50 votes, I cast fewer than 25.  I follow a few blogs that outshine most of the semifinalists.

No explanation necessary, I assume.  (Image credit: Plognark)

No explanation necessary, I assume. (Image credit: Plognark)

And with that in mind, I would like to encourage all of you who were not nominated to disregard the disregarding of your work.  I can promise you that the awards do not reliably track quality and they may not even measure popularity all that well.  However, I’m sure they effectively predict an increase in traffic to the selected blogs; for that reason, I humbly request that everyone reading this post please nominate me for as many categories as possible next year.  I won’t even ask you to consider the possibility of opening some new free email accounts so you can nominate me multiple times.

And if you happen to be selected as a finalist, please don’t take offense at what I’ve written here.  I am a judge; you bow to me.  If you think I’m a looney or that I didn’t take the job seriously enough or that I have bad taste, I have news for you: the randomized selection of judges results in random judges and not necessarily qualified judges.  Be thankful that I’m literate above a seventh-grade level; you never know who else might have been judging your work.

Imagine the possibilities!  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Imagine the possibilities.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

And be thankful that I didn’t vote by just clicking on random blogs.

Presumably…

Matt Mullenweg’s Penis Insults My Intelligence

Anyone who blogs on WordPress or knows people who blog on WordPress or lives within earshot of people who blog on WordPress probably heard the furor about all the changes that were recently made to the notorious blogging platform.  I’m more okay with the changes than a lot of people are.  In fact, I’d like to write Matt Mullenweg (the head CEO guy) a thank you note.

This guy is the object of everyone's love as of late.  (Photo credit: Ronny Siegel)

This guy is the object of everyone’s love as of late. (Photo credit: Ronny Siegel)

Dear Mr. Mullenweg,

Thank you for the numerous upgrades to WordPress.  As a Ph.D., I can cheerfully inform you that your actions have provided important psychological insights into the internet age.  We can now conclude with 98% certainty that the length of a scroll bar is inversely proportional to the size of its developer’s penis.  Furthermore, we would also like to thank you for not incorporating a photo of said penis into the new design… even though “beep beep boop” sounds vaguely like robot sex.

If you’re into robot sex, we don’t need to know.

We, the bloggers at WordPress, appreciate your efforts to maintain a wholesome family atmosphere on this blogging platform.  We understand that the new design involved a lot of work and a lot of missed opportunities for coitus.  You could improve your sex life and the sex lives of your employees by ignoring the mountain of corrections needed on the new interface and reverting everything to the old layout.  The majority of WordPress bloggers would not riot because we wouldn’t feel stiffed.

Nevertheless, we kindly request that you purchase an expensive car the next time you feel the need to compensate for those areas where you fall short.

Sincerely,
BP

I’ll close this post with an explanation to my regular readers.  Even though penis jokes aren’t usually my thing, I find that criticism is best leveled in the absence of unfounded accusations.  Rather, we ought to make a concerted effort to understand the psyche of the people to whom we address our grievances.

Text Messages Insult My Intelligence

Happy new year everyone.

This holiday season, it’s important to remember all of the important people in your life and wish them the best.  Since we’re all busy, that wish may need to be conveyed through a text message instead of through a warmer and fuzzier phone call.

If you text your holiday greetings, you can even send a picture without having to buy a card.  (Photo credit: Intel Free Press)

If you text your holiday greetings, you can even send a picture without having to buy a card. (Photo credit: Intel Free Press)

I’m okay with that.  I don’t want to deal with all those repetitive phone calls.

However, please be so kind as to not send a single text message to everyone.  Believe it or not, lots of folks haven’t figured out how to reply only to the sender.  In other words, your recipients may be destined for symphonic digital torture as your friends and family reciprocate your performance of the agreed upon communication obligations… at midnight.

With that in mind, I would like to suggest a new year’s resolution: make friends who are smart enough to learn such simple technology.  You’re stuck with your family, though.

Ice Insults My Intelligence

Yesterday I tried a bland, boring advertisement for my new blog.  (Click here to visit.)  The new blog showcases a side of myself you don’t often see on Bumblepuppies… namely the hardcore academic side.  Around here, you get the humor end of business and that’s probably what you’d hope for from the ever popular gratuitous advertisement from me.

So, I’m trying again.  This time, I’m taking a page from the future and from the past.

My new blog, The Blacklight Candelabra, will offer writing challenges and I’m composing this post in response to a writing challenge.   Since you can only hide a brain inside a zombie’s mouth (and I choose not to do that), you might call that my professional side to some extent.

But then again, I was Freshly Pressed this year for writing a musical parody.  This is closer to the person my oldest friends would recognize and it’s the person my regular readers are most familiar with.  I suppose it’s also what makes my arrogance endearing to everyone I meet.

With that in mind, I offer you a breathtaking musical rendition of quality marketing material for my new blog.

To the tune of:

Yo, Bumblepups, let’s kick it!

Blacklight baby
Blacklight baby
All right dogs
The candelabra’s up now
Pups is back with a gift for your diction
Ideas grab a hold of you weekly
Shoot like a harpoon quick and meekly
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I don’t know
Turn off the lights and I’ll glow
To the extreme I’ll rock your blog like a vandal
Light up the cage and free your brain, it’s no scandal.
Write!
Light up the candle and glow
I’m feedin’ your brain like philosopher Rousseau.
Deadly, when I write a cruel challenge ’cause
Anything fluffy and light does not move paws.
Love it or leave it
You better gain brains
You better hit bull’s eye
The pups don’t play
If there was a problem
Yo, I’ll solve it
Check out the blog while my big brain evolves it

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Now that the zombies are jumping
With the new year in and the brain cells are pumpin’
Quick to the point, to the point no faking
I’m saving them brains like a golden kraken
Saving them if they’re so quick and nimble
I go crazy when I see you’re dismal.
And the bloggers with a souped up tempo
They’re on a roll and it’s time to plead nolo.
Buildin’ up your 4.0
With my kitchen here so your brains can grow
The zombies on standby
Waving just to say hi
Did they stop?
No, they all passed by
Kept on pursuing to another space
They busted a left and they’re heading to the next blog
That blog is dead.

Yo so I continued to Candel… hey! Blacklight Ave
Brains were smart answering all my topics
Zombies expelled, visiting the tropics,
Jealous ’cause I got all the brains
Play with a rage and attention is all mine
Ready for the pings on the back
The pings are acting swell because they’re full of great acts
Blog posts rang out like a bell
I grabbed all nine
The information gels.
Hopin’ for the pingbacks real fast
Logged in again, was not aghast
Topic to topic, the blog will be packed
I’m tryin’ to bring some friends before zombies attack
Zombies on the scene?
You know what I mean…
They’ll pass us up, and mesmerize all the dope fiends.
If there was a Zombie
Yo, I’ll kill it
Check out the blog while my big brain distills it

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Take heed, ’cause I’m a lyrical poet
The puppy’s on the scene just in case you didn’t know it
My blog, that disposed of all the brain fog
Enough to shake and kick holes in a dog
‘Cause my blog is like a chemical spill
Feasible thoughts that you can vision and feel
Conducted and formed
This is a hell of a concept
We make it hype and you want to step with this
We play through the days, slice the zombie, hell oh yeah!
Cut like a razor blade so fast
Other bloggers say, “damn”
If my blog was a drug
I’d sell it by the gram
Keep my composure when it’s time to get loose
Magnetized as I write while I kick my juice
If there was a Zombie
Yo, I’ll kill it!
Check out the blog while my big brain does fill it.

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Yo man, let’s get over there.
Word from your teacher.

Blacklight baby
Too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool

 

The Blacklight Candelabra: Protecting Your Brains from Zombies in the Coming Year