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.

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.

Does Freshly Pressed Still Insult My Intelligence?

As most of you already know, Cats Insult My Intelligence was selected for Freshly Pressed on Friday.  I’ve been blogging here for over a year and I’ve heard the moans and wails of downtrodden bloggers desperately wanting to be featured there.  I’ve seen a “Never Been Freshly Pressed” club spring up among those whose lives had been destroyed by not being picked.  I’ve seen lots of people claim that their posts outshine the ones that were selected.

Unlike me, a lot of those people are full of crap.

I’ve seen bloggers dream of being picked because they believe it will launch their blog to new heights.  And then I’ve seen people become clinically depressed when the jump in visitor stats proves to be short-lived.  And then they take their ball and go home and complain to mommy that the mean people are being big bad meanies.

But what is the experience like?  It’s overrated in some respects but beneficial in others.  Let me explain:

1- If you had put all of my  blog posts in front of me and asked me which one would land on Freshly Pressed, I probably would have guessed correctly.  However, I wouldn’t have based that choice on post quality.  The cat post was cute and fun and, of all my posts, clearly the one that would most likely appeal to a broad audience. Kind of like Garfield.  Garfield’s no Dostoyevsky but people line up to read Garfield.

And have you ever heard of someone wanting a Dostoyevsky birthday cake?  (I think that sounds kind of cool, actually.)

I predicted last summer that I would never be chosen for Freshly Pressed because my usual brand of intellectually-infused humor has never struck me as suitable for McDonald’s-like mass consumption.  However, as it turns out, cats were perfect for McDonald’s.

2- My spike in stats did not break a record for daily views.  It probably didn’t break into the top three.  Here’s what my daily views look like for the past month or so:

My date of freshly pressing is in orange and the current day is so low because I took the screenshot before 9 AM.

Don’t be an idiot.  My date of freshly pressing is in orange and the current day is so low because I took the screenshot before 9 AM.  Premature conclusions are unnecessary.

Spike?  Yes, and sustained over a couple of days.  But it’s nothing earth-shattering.  I get more spikes around here than a teenager who loves his hair gel.  You can tell this more clearly by looking at my weekly stats:

Again, the current week is so low because this screenshot was taken on Tuesday morning.  And yes I know that the numbers on the graph are missing.  I did that on purpose because I like to be obnoxious.

Again, the current week is so low because this screenshot was taken on Tuesday morning. And yes I know that the numbers on the graph are missing. I did that on purpose because I like to be obnoxious.

So what do we conclude from this?  Not much.  I just like math.

Anyway…

3- It’s too early to know whether the stats boost will fall off.  As you can see from those graphs, my stats haven’t been significantly higher than normal.  However, I seem to have gained more than 100 followers as a direct result of being Freshly Pressed.  A sustained increase in traffic, if only a small one, is therefore expected.

However, I may consider feeling guilty for a while because I can’t check out the blogs of my 100+ new followers so quickly…

4- The Freshly Pressed badge is nice.  It’s a perfect aesthetic match for my blog.  Also, since virtually no blogging awards exist that aren’t determined by popular vote, it’s as close to an official certification of quality as I can get.

Even if the Freshly Pressed posts aren’t always wonderful…

5- I’m glad my blog wasn’t Freshly Pressed when it was young.  New followers will bring fresh perspectives to the discussions around here, but my old followers are still the definite majority.  That means I’m not tempted to change.  As my long-time followers already know, I write this blog for me.  The content can swing wildly at times and I’m sure most of my readers have been less than happy with the opinions they’ve encountered here at one point or another.

What do you expect from a blog about “things that insult my intelligence?”

I don’t worry when I lose a couple of followers after a particularly controversial post.  And despite my brief travels into mass distribution, this blog remains a small independent undertaking.

Giftless Anniversaries Insult My Intelligence

Here we are, the one-year anniversary of Bumblepuppies.  That means it’s time for you to give me presents.  Big expensive presents.

And you'd better give me a wad of cash or a job to go along with this because I can't afford so much gas.  (Photo credit: M 93)

And you’d better give me a wad of cash or a job to go along with this because I can’t afford so much gas. (Photo credit: M 93)

I also have a present for you.  Of course, it doesn’t cost anything because I’m a little low on dough these days.  Nevertheless, I think you’ll like it.

Blogging advice.

To celebrate my anniversary, I would like to present a new ten commandments for blogging.  But fear not… I will not prohibit you from taking the name of Bumblepuppies in vain, for such references still count as free advertising for this blog.  However, I do ask that you not worship any other blogs besides mine.  (“Thou shalt not steal my content” seemed too obvious…)

1- Thou shalt not obsess over how low thy stats are today.  One of my posts reached 500 views recently even though it only netted 9 the week I originally released it.  You never know what people will rediscover from your archives.

2- Thou shalt not rely on shortcuts to obtain thy almighty traffic.  My #1 post was just a regular post.  I did not advertise it in any way beyond my social media feeds.  It was not written just to get a top slot on a Weekly Challenge pingback list.  I did not use illegitimate SEO tricks.  And there was no explicit sexual vocabulary.  Instead, I watch as it steadily lures people who actually want to read a post on that topic:

These are daily stats for my #1 post.  Hopefully, some visitors stick around for more. After all, they’re not the ones who wanted to find “huge wide hips” or “big boobs wide hips” or any other variation on the theme.  The folks who search for that are probably disappointed when they read the post they are surely directed to.

3- Blogging is a hobby.  Thou shalt not treat it as thy job unless it really is thy job.  It is not fun to advertise posts beyond your regular social media feeds.  It is not fun to write things just to get a high-traffic slot on a pingback list.  It is not fun to sit around and create SEO manipulators.  It is not fun to deal with the idiots who find your blog by searching for “big breasted librarians.”  However, if you happen to be a big-breasted librarian, I’d like to meet you.

4- If you inadvertently (or not so inadvertently) crop a picture to make a WordPress staffer’s husband look dead, thou shalt blame Art.  He likes the attention.  Thou shalt also kindly link to thy #1 commenter in thy anniversary post.

5- Thou shalt not dream of becoming Freshly Pressed.  An early follower of mine landed there in his second week of blogging but the blog didn’t last much longer.  A lot of people seem to get depressed when their traffic statistics soon return to normal and they throw themselves in front of a bus.  (Figuratively, I hope.)

6- Thou shalt not be long winded.  I have a Ph.D. and I can handle mass volumes of text.  If I think your work is too long, it’s too long.  Let’s not belabor the issue.

7- Thou shalt not spend excessive amounts of time on individual posts.  The post I spent the most time on netted little reaction.  Your muse should inspire you, not bloviate.

8- Thou shalt not always agree with the WordPress staff, for they are not defenseless children and they have a sense of humor if you play nice-ish.  I had an interesting debate with the lovely and talented Krista early on about a weekly challenge topic;  I ended up lampooning the challenge with a post.   No challenge participants got Freshly Pressed that week but I did receive my first like from Krista on that one.  (And yes, that post revisited the one I mentioned in #7… so all that work wasn’t useless after all.)

9- Honor thy mother and thy father and anyone else who can make your offline life miserable.  Therefore, it may be in your best interest to honor the glorious and morally superior NSA.

10- Thou shalt pace thyself.  I did 7-8 posts per week for my first few months… and going high volume early on is often recommended.  However, other commitments crept in and I ended up doing 3-4 posts per month for the next 3 months.  Eventually, I settled back into a comfortable schedule of 3-4 per week.  For a more extreme example, I follow a very talented idiot blogger who did 5 per day for several months before taking an extended break.  The point is, you don’t have to release your posts as soon as you finish them.  Save them for a rainy day.

Bonus Commandment (because we don’t go strictly by the Bible around here) – Thou shalt provide free advertising for Bumblepuppies as often as possible.  Go visit my newly updated Greatest Hits page and share a few of the entries with your friends.  Do unto me as you would have others do unto you.  Then do unto me again and again and again.

That’s all the advice I have for you today.  Thank you all for your continued presence here.  I didn’t expect to have so many great people so soon.  Emphasis is on “so soon” because I expected to attract a following.  Not having a broad and engaged audience would insult my intelligence…

mapyear1

The countries that have given Bumblepuppies at least 100 views are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Philippines, France, Switzerland, Indonesia, and Sweden.  Do your patriotic duty and help get your country on this list.

PS: WordPress thinks my anniversary is the 29th because that’s the date I created this blog account.  That’s kind of like celebrating your wedding anniversary on the date you proposed to your wife instead of when you said “I do.”  My first post is dated May 31 and I fully intend to honor commandment #8.

 

Innocence Insults My Intelligence

The wonderful folks at WordPress who host this blog published a most interesting writing prompt today:

Daily Prompt: Pour Some Sugar on Me

What is your favorite sweet thing to eat? Bread pudding? Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? A smooth and creamy piece of cheesecake? Tell us all about the anticipation and delight of eating your favorite dessert. Not into sweets? Tell us all about your weakness for that certain salty snack.

Really?  Am I the only one who is having a hard time NOT reading this as an invitation to write pornography?

Bugs Insult My Intelligence

English: High detail closeup of a cockroach.

I’m sure you know what this is already.  I try to avoid them.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who likes cockroaches?

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I nabbed a free 2-week trial of WordPress’ custom design upgrade on Black Friday.

I promise to comment in my usual cheerful, positive fashion.

I created a new design for this blog with a lot of help in the WordPress forums and a little coloring advice on the sidebar from kokkieh.  The WordPress employee was great and the volunteer helper usually was too.  (The volunteer gave me one incomplete piece of information early on that had huge ramifications down the line, but it’s something I could have and probably should have double-checked on my own.)

So who likes bugs?

La cucaracha!  La cucaracha!

As you can see, the new design is up.  And since I finished Christmas shopping below budget, I can funnel the remaining cash into paying to keep this design.

I will say, though, that I got incredibly lucky on this.  WordPress launched a few upgrades shortly after the trial period started and this caused a parade of bloggers to have problems with their display and their ability to upload and attach media.  I suppose someone at WordPress forgot the first rule of real estate: one should exterminate most, if not all, of the bugs before one hosts an open house.

And in the spirit of exterminating bugs, I’d like to invite my readers to comment on anything they especially like or dislike about the new design.  My eyesight is good, so I hope I didn’t create any readability issues for those of you with vision problems.  If I did, please let me know.

English: An oriental cockroach (female Blatta ...

Some bugs are big.  Some are little.  Most get on people’s nerves.   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Same Old Blogging Awards Insult My Intelligence

Traditional blogging awards require the recipient to do a lot of work.  I’d like to change that; winning three awards at once entitles me to create something new and visionary.

(BTW: thank you to Sweetness6645 of That Montreal Girl.  She nominated me for the Best Moment Award, the Semper Fidelis Award, and the Reader Appreciation Award.)

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce the Bumblepuppies Award for Reciprocally Geometric Blogging.

Slide1

Here are the rules:

By visiting my blog you have demonstrated good taste in blogging.  Therefore, your blog is obviously good too and you deserve an award.  No nomination is necessary.  Since you’re reading this, you win.  And you can accept the award without having to spend vast amounts of time notifying the people you would normally have to nominate… because you don’t have to nominate anyone.  They win the award by clicking on the post in which you accept it.

You no longer need to list a bunch of things your readers don’t know about you, but you do have to include a link to the blog where you won this award.  The whole Ponzi scheme aspect of blogging awards can’t be allowed to die.

However, I have added some new and exciting tasks to this award:

1- Because this is the Bumblepuppies Award, all winners must write a short poem (3-4 lines is enough) praising the author of bumblepuppies.wordpress.com for creating the award.  Additionally, winners must include a link to bumblepuppies.wordpress.com with the poem.

2- Winners must write two things that will insult their readers’ intelligence.  One sentence each is enough.

3- Winners must encourage their readers to accept the Bumblepuppies Award because it’s such good advertising.  That’s what all blog awards are for, right?

And don’t forget to pass along this list of rules.

Now go forth and generate free advertising by accepting the Bumblepuppies Award!  You won the award, you deserve the award, and you should revel in your awesomeness.

Here’s a smaller version of the award graphic in case you don’t want to use the huge one:

Slide1

Inconsistent Statistics Insult My Intelligence

English: Histogram of sepal widths for Iris ve...

These statistics make a frown face. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently visited a blog that had over 750 followers and fewer than 350 page views.

I assume the blogger must think we’re all really stupid.  This person most likely included an exaggerated follower count in the Follow Blog widget’s text section.  It’s not that hard to do.

But let’s look at some other possibilities.

1- This person has lots of friends and family (or perhaps Facebook friends) who promised to read his stuff and never did.  If this is the case, the blogger needs to find some real friends.

2- If the blogger has been around long enough to amass so many hundreds of empty followers (you know… salespeople and others who click “follow” from the WordPress Reader without looking at the blog) and has only garnered 300-something page views, the blogger may need to rethink how he presents his blog.

3- The blogger may need to repeat kindergarten.  A five-year-old can figure out that 750 is more than 350.

4- The blogger may need to think bigger.  If you’re going to fake the number of followers you have, why not go higher?  It’s not like he had any credibility left to lose.

5- The blogger may have entered a fake 350 hit count several years ago when he started the blog and then he forgot it was still there.  If this is the case, how sad that someone thought 350 would be impressive.

6- The blogger may need to advertise on my blog.  Given his expert grasp of statistics, I’m sure I can develop a pricing plan that maximizes my profit and his pleasure.

Freshly Pressed Insults My Intelligence

(365+1)/365 - One Last Bright Idea

(Photo credit: djwtwo)

Here it is!  I have finally written the post that will explain how to improve your chances of being Freshly Pressed. Having recently noticed a blog being Freshly Pressed twice in four days, I was rather curious about how something so mathematically improbable could happen.  (In case you’re wondering, it was the Quartz blog.  One post covered the definition of cancer and the other dealt with Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post.)

I also noticed that the Quartz blog uses WordPress VIP, which means WordPress probably gets a lot of money from Quartz for various services.  I wondered to myself if VIP customers are permitted to buy a spot on Freshly Pressed.  I still wonder that.

This inspired me to perform a non-scientific study of the most recent 100 posts to be Freshly Pressed; this comes out to about 17 days’ worth.  I wanted to learn if a disproportionate number of selectees are paying for one WordPress upgrade or another.  I should warn you that there are limitations to this study: I could only count blogs that use VIP services, custom domain, custom design, or premium themes.  The other services and products WordPress sells are not immediately discernible from viewing a blog.  (I also failed to record one entry along the way, so I counted it in the “spends no money” category.  Because of how I collected data, this was almost certainly an accurate guess.)

And let me also remind everyone that WordPress is a business and therefore they would be justified in giving some extra preference to the people who keep their company afloat.  Those of us who spend no money are a financial liability to them.  Nevertheless, they advertise Freshly Pressed as something everyone can aspire to and they ought to be held to their word.

THE RESULTS:

Out of 100 blogs, 47 pay to use a custom domain.  Some of these may also pay for other upgrades; I didn’t check.  (Technically, there were 99 blogs because Quartz appeared twice.  However, I counted Quartz twice because they had two posts.)

Another 2 purchased the custom design upgrade.  (Overall, there may have been more than 2.)

Another 1 uses a premium theme.  (Overall, there may have been more than 1.)

Any VIP blogs in the lot were not noted because their custom domain already counted towards “pays money.”

According to these numbers…

WordPress is currently receiving (or has received) money from at least half of the last 100 Freshly Pressed inductees.  Although my study came out with an even 50-50 split, I would remind you that there are still VideoPress, Ad-Free, Guided Transfer, Redirect, and Extra Storage services that I could not account for.  Therefore, the percentage of Freshly Pressed inductees who are paying customers may be significantly above half.

It’s impossible to say with 100% certainty that there’s disproportional representation of paying customers on Freshly Pressed because we do not know what percent of bloggers purchase upgrades.  Based on anecdotal evidence, the 47% figure for custom domains seems awfully high, though.

So if you want to be Freshly Pressed, an effective first step might be to buy a custom domain.

And finally…

The tendency towards paying customers might partly explain why so many of us are often less than impressed with the results of browsing the Freshly Pressed selections.  (“Less than impressed” does not mean “we don’t like them.”  One can be impressed with something that does not suit one’s tastes.)

Ignoring Your Love Insults My Intelligence

Natasha of Natasha’s Memory Garden has nominated me for the WordPress Family Award.  That means it’s another exciting day of shameless self-promotion here at Bumblepuppies!

To celebrate, I’ve designed my own award logo:

Slide1

Somehow, the traditional touchy-feely version didn’t quite do it for me.

And now it’s time for seven more things you don’t know about me.

1- I enjoyed teaching (which is how I could afford to get through grad school) but the one type of job I don’t apply for is teaching positions in my major.  I’m demonstrably competent and qualified to teach related subjects but I’ve had no luck on that front.

2- Even though I occasionally make jokes that imply otherwise, I have no fear of math.

3- I do not have a library card, probably because I don’t read the kind of stuff public libraries tend to offer.

4- Off the top of my head, I cannot name five movies that have been released over the past five years.  So… I’m not exactly a film buff.

5- Off the top of my head, I can name dozens of varieties of central- and eastern European pork products.

6- I also think turkey is tasty.  This is why I’ve never needed a cardiologist.  (Not that I could afford one anyway…)

7- I would love to try chocolate covered grasshoppers.  If you know of a shop in the U.S. that ships them, send me a link.  Seriously.

The 15 blogs I’m nominating will appear after a few more paragraphs.  Blogs that were nominated last time were not considered for this because everyone should have the opportunity to advertise my blog.

If you need help advertising me and weren’t nominated for this award, you can always tweet about me or like me on Facebook.  Facebook and Twitter may insult my intelligence but your expressions of love and admiration do not.  (On the other hand, the only things I send out on the blog’s token accounts are the automated notifications of new posts.  I don’t think I’ve logged into either since creating those accounts and connecting them to this blog.)

(A note to the nominees: you may use my award logo if you wish, even if you’re not dysfunctional.  Since it displays the “Bumblepuppies” name prominently, I would be more than happy to see it go viral.)

Balladeer’s Blog

http://glitternight.com/2013/08/06/liberals-conservatives-intelligence/

Dad’s Political Cartoon Scrapbook 1939 to 1940

http://dadspoliticalcartoonscrapbook.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/keeping-him-happy/

dental eggs

http://dentaleggs.com/2013/07/18/root-canals-for-ultimate-profits/

fisticuffsandshenanigans

http://fisticuffsandshenanigans.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/because-woodland-creatures-have-inhabited-my-car/

Games, Eh?

http://gameoncanada.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/lara-croft-product-of-sexism/

Homeward Bound

http://carlosddvieira.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/we-mustnt-cry-more-than-the-bereaved/

Is Everyone an Idiot but Me?

http://iseveryoneanidiotbutme.com/2013/08/04/idiot-of-the-week-an-open-letter-to-the-old-navy-director-of-email-marketing/

Kitchen Slattern

http://kitchenslattern.com/2011/09/30/saturday-night-is-bean-night/

muscleheaded

http://muscleheaded.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/anais-nin-says-3/

NOWHERE TO RUN

http://drlisamallen.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/what-would-mima-do/

ONLY IN NIGERIA

http://onlyinnigeria.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/lagos-roads-where-is-dis/

overlandscape

http://overlandscape.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/geiranger-trollstigen-and-briksdal-glacier/

See! Travel Mag

http://seetravelmag.com/2013/08/06/raging-bitch-and-heady-topper/

Seven Years Late

http://sevenyearslate.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/proposal-congressional-shock-collar/

Tabula Candida

http://tabulacandida.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/humanities/

Aesthetics Insult My Intelligence

WordPress has been getting pretty bossy lately.

First they posted advice for bloggers who photograph food and they suggested certain ways of using light, staging formations, colors, and stuff like that.  And then they created a weekly photo challenge that doubles down on the whole light issue.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

It all seems so superficial to me.  Everything is better when you remove the intellectual component and capture life in its rawest form.

Therefore, I present to you a masterpiece of food photography:

Ketchup

Behold the magnificent ketchupbeest in its natural habitat!