Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Blogging Confessions

The good folks at The Broke and the Bookish have a weekly meme post called Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is blogging confessions, so I really must join in. Here are ten confessions from me.

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1. I need absolute silence to write. I can tolerate a low level of white noise such as an aquarium pump. Music, never. If there’s noise around and I must write, I tune it out and write more slowly.

2. Sometimes I blog about political things. I am always conflicted about that, right up to the moment I press the publish button. I have a strict rule (80/20 max) about the ratio of pop culture and social media content to political content here. I don’t want to be a political blogger. Usually, when I write about political stuff, it’s because I’m looking at something that I view as either too ugly to let pass or patently ridiculous.

3. I’m not really a social media wizard, despite the persona. I’m a speed-reader, I’m good at research, and I have a talent for figuring out what works and sticking with it until it doesn’t. I also have a talent for letting things go when they don’t work.

4. I’m always stressing out about not reading and commenting on other blogs more. The kind of social media network I want is one that runs on interaction and reciprocity. I often feel like I am not holding up my end.

5. I blogged at Blogspot, years ago, under a pseudonym. Later I had a WordPress blog for a few years that I’ve since deleted. During that first WordPress phase, I was experimenting with cross-network engagement, but the tools weren’t there to make it workable for a guy with a full-time job to manage.

6. Diana, my sister, credits me with the idea for these blogs. I suppose that’s fair enough. I never would have jumped back into blogging, though, if I hadn’t had contributors offering to pitch in and if Diana hadn’t pushed me along. When she called me last October and told me she’d started blogging, I kicked my own plans into high gear.

7. I wish we’d blogged for the first month, but not published anything. We’d likely still be a couple of weeks ahead and the last 8 months would have gone much more smoothly. I also wish I’d taken the number of photos I’ve taken this summer last summer before we started. An archive of original images is a real asset.

8. My goal from the beginning has been to get three blogs posting every day, keep them posting every day, and answer comments. Aside from a couple of hiccups, I’ve managed to do that with the help of contributors and by virtue of the fact that one of those blogs is Diana’s responsibility. I’m proud of this accomplishment.

9. I just love Twitter. If I suddenly found myself the sole content producer for all the blogs I contribute to, I’d keep one going, post every couple of days, Tweet like a madman on the days I wasn’t posting, and grow my Twitter following to 100k.

10. I am amazed at the awesomeness of the bloggers I’ve met since I started. Absolutely amazed. The conviviality and the conversations on the threads are my favorite part of blogging.

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P.M. Roundup

I haven’t done a roundup lately, and I’ve seen lots of good stuff today, so I thought: “Why Not?”

Rose Fischer has joined the 2014 Blog For Mental Health project. I haven’t had time to read the project description carefully, but it looks promising. You can find more information about it at A Canvas of the Minds.  And be sure to check out Rose’s interactive series “Redefining Disability.”

Quaint Jeremy’s thoughts has a contributed post today, “Nerdy is the New Cool,” from Candice of Carving out a Space. If you have a second or two, head on over there and chime in on how you feel about the epidemic of nerdery in media and pop culture, and the subculture itself becoming more socially acceptable.

The Leather Library and Taylor Grace, Author both posted Very Inspiring Blogger Award nominations yesterday. If you looking for a big bunch of new blogs to follow, you should check out their posts and check out some of the blogs they’ve nominated. Thanks, Taylor, for nominating me as the proprietor of Just Gene’O.

Celebrating One Year of Blogging!

Congratulations, James! I hope your next year is as good as the last.

A Tolkienist's Perspective

Header (One Year)

It’s been exactly one year since I wrote my first post for this blog (‘The Journey Begins!’).

Back then I was uncertain how things would develop and I certainly couldn’t see myself still writing about Tolkien 12 months later.

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True Blood: “Fire in the Hole” Review

We’re about 1/3 of the way into True Blood‘s final season, and I’m still ambivalent. There are good moments, but the show just doesn’t have the bite (sorry, vampire humor) that it used to. And this week, we saw the return of Sarah Newlin, a character I hate with the fire of a thousand suns. Seriously, I think Harry Potter’s Dolores Umbridge might be the only character I hate more thoroughly. We also get a few more deaths, some flashbacks from Eric, Pam, and Bill, and a confrontation between the angry mob and our heroes.

At the episode’s opening, we’re in a yoga class. A yogi stands at the front of the room, and after a few moments we realize that the brunette in the front is none other than Sarah Newlin, and then there’s a cut to the theme. Cue annoyance from me. Newlin is just too much a distraction from the plots that are already forming—she’ll stretch the plot too thin in this, our final season, I think. And I’m just tired of her as a villain, too.

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After the break, we see Eric and Pam talking. Evidently, he left St. Petersburg some weeks before, aware that he was infected. He’s lethargic and sad, resolute to his death. He’s been alive 1000 years or so; his maker and his sister are dead; and he’s tired. Pam is understandably angry and frustrated.

Eric then has a flashback to France in the 1980’s. He’s in a vineyard with a woman named

And he has awesome hair

And he has awesome hair

Sylvie, a human lover. Enter Nan Flanagan to interrupt the sexy-times. Eric hasn’t properly registered with the Authority and isn’t paying his taxes. And he’s pretty open about being a vampire. Oops. There’s a conversation about the possibility of True Blood, a substance in-development by the infamous Yakimono Corporation, a ruthless Japanese company that doesn’t like what Eric is doing. Eric shrugs off Nan’s warning rudely and comforts a worried Pam after Nan leaves.

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“I have a boyfriend”

Meanwhile, Alcide discovers that Sookie is gone. He follows her scent to Bill’s house, but Sookie and Bill have already left. We see them in Bill’s car, and Sookie is confused about why Bill can’t sense her fear anymore. Evidently, when he was drained of blood, they lost their connection. In order for her plan (to be captured by the Hep V vamps, taken to where they are holding Arlene and Holly, and then call Bill for help) to work, she has to drink his blood. Definitely building up to a Bill and Sookie reunion, or at least an excuse to show the two actors together when Sookie starts having sexy dreams about Bill.

Meanwhile, Andy and Jessica break Adilyn and Wade out of jail (in the middle of an almost-kiss). And back in the church, the Reverend is speaking with Sam when Willa rushes in to tell him what has happened. Lettie May is right behind her, begging to be able to see Tara again. The Reverend asks Sam to go, and he concentrates on calming down Lettie May. Sam and Matt are stopped by the mob, though. Vince has usurped Sam as mayor; tensions run high, and Matt is shot. Sam turns into an owl and flies away.

At Jason’s home, he and Violet discuss the possibility of children. Oh, Jason Stackhouse. He wants them to adopt, but Violet is bored by his suggestion, annoyed that he is so “soft.” Andy and the group show up at Jason’s home in the middle of this conversation. He needs help finding a safe place for the children and fighting the mob. Adilyn and Wade stay at the house while Andy, Violet, Jessica, and Jason leave to find the mob.

Back at Layfayette’s, James shows up wanting to get high. Lafayette is out of weed, but he TB3.5concocts a potent mixture of pills, takes them, and then allows James to feed off him. The two are high as they can be. In the midst of lots of flirting, they discuss James’s relationship with Jessica, which seems to have cooled down substantially. She doesn’t even notice him, he says. I kept waiting for Lafayette to say “I notice you” or some such—but I’m glad that didn’t come.

Instead, we cut to Fangtasia, where the vampires are arguing about food. It seems they must eat on a schedule to stay alive longer. They decide to take one of the humans with them, a snack-on-the-go. They go downstairs, where they interrupt a ritual. Ooo, I’d love it if witchcraft made a comeback here in the last season. Holly is chosen to go with them after she comes forward as the circle leader. Back in the woods, Sookie and Bill have set up camp, waiting for the Hep V vampires. They talk a bit about her relationship with Alcide, and we finally hear her admit that she’s completely aware that he loves her more than she loves him. It’s nice to hear the show finally voice that.

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Goodbye, Maxine

Elsewhere, Jason and the group have found the mob. Maxine is still furious at Jessica and Jason, and she leads the charge against them. She shoots Jessica, after which Violet rips her heart out. So long Maxine Fortenberry. I’ll miss your one-liners. Jessica doesn’t heal as quickly as she should—in fact, she seems not to be healing at all. Is she sick, or is this some kind of new ammo? The mob scatters in the wake of Maxine’s death, and Violet goes to retrieve Rocky, Holly’s son.

In the woods, naked-because-they’ve-just-transformed Alcide and Sam run into one another while Sookie whines that the vampires aren’t finding her fast enough. Bill has a flashback to life during the Civil War just before he left to fight. A Fortenberry ancestor takes portraits of the family, and Bill assures his daughter that he’ll come TB3.1home. The flashback is poignant, but it’s oddly placed here, and it’s jarring when we return to the present to the Reverend’s home. The Reverend tucks in Lettie May before talking to Willa. He tells her about his past and about Lettie May’s predilection for addiction, and then he says that she must find someplace else to go, otherwise Lettie May will continue the cycle. And back at Lafayette’s home, he and James are high. They flirt, and Lafayette questions James’s feelings. James, however, says that because of his relationship with Jessica, he will not act on the attraction, and then he goes home.

Back in Eric’s flashback, the Yakimono have decided to pay Eric a visit. They capture Pam and Sylvie, and Eric is forced to choose between the two. He chooses Pam, of course, but not without a loss. Now we know why Sylvie was mentioned among Godric and Nora as those Eric misses, but it’s a misstep to have completely left her until the final season and so use her mainly as a plot device. Back in present day, Pam urges Eric to live, to fight. Apparently, Hep-V vampires are living longer than before, meaning that there have been some sort of developments in treating the disease. And then she comes upon the best reason she can think of for Eric to live—Sarah Newlin is still alive. Eric agrees that finding Newlin is a pretty good reason to try to stay alive for a while, it seems. Revenge can be a powerful motivator.

Newlin, meanwhile, is in bed with the yogi. She goes to fetch a bottle of wine for the two, and then Yakimono show up here, too. They’re none too happy about her involvement in bombing their factories. When the yogi won’t tell them where Sarah is, the chop off his head. But from the wine cellar she hears the confrontation and sees the blood seeping beneath the door. Sarah, you in trouble, girl.

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And back in the clearing, Holly finds Sookie. The Hep V vamps show up just as Sam and Alcide and Andy, Jessica, and Jason do, and they manage to kill most of the vampires. Sookie is covered with infected blood, though, and while they try to clean her off, the mob shows up. In the chaos, Alcide is shot. Sookie is offered the chance to turn him into a vampire, but she refuses. Part of this is, I’m sure, an act of mercy. But after what she said to Bill, we know that part of this is also because of her complex feelings about Alcide.

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So long, Alcide

And that’s it for this week. All in all it wasn’t a bad episode, but it doesn’t feel like a show a third of the way to its series finale. We’ll see what the group is up to next week, as I review the show from the beach! 🙂