Category Archives: personal musings
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. I hope you get to spend it with loved ones. We here at Le Blog have lots to be thankful for starting with readers like you.
This past Saturday, we celebrated Jodie Foster’s birthday. I took the occasion as an opportunity/excuse to share my Jodie Foster story. I have been telling it for about 25 years now, so I’m always a bit reluctant to trot it out again for fear that everyone has heard it already. But a few readers hadn’t, so I went ahead and told it all again. Then I figured, hey, why not just make a post out of it and share it with everybody. So here you go.
I like making people laugh. I’m not especially good at it, but that doesn’t stop me from trying as regular readers know. Although an introvert by nature, I have always looked for outlets where I could try to get a laugh. These days, I entertain myself and hopefully a few readers here at Le Blog. But back in my pre-internet days, I played to a somewhat smaller audience as an amateur stand-up comedian.
This month marks a couple of important milestones for Le Blog. I started the site six years ago. The first article posted May 17, 2010. Ordinarily, I would let a six-year anniversary pass unremarked on. But on top of that, the site reached 10 million hits this morning! In celebration of that landmark, I thought I would look back at the first six years of Le Blog.
2015 has been a difficult year. Personally, my family and I have spent the bulk of the year trying to sell our house and move into a new school district. We have faced a number of challenges in pursuit of that goal. Thankfully, the finish line is in sight. We close on our current house next week and should be closing on the new house some time in January. Obviously, that leaves us in limbo for a week or two which is pretty much par for the course in this process. Looking at the bright side, we will finally complete this long term goal within a span of a few weeks.
Back in my misspent youth, I worked as a movie theater manager for several years. It was a lousy job, but perfect for a movie fan like myself with no real responsibilities. When I started, I was working for a chain of rundown theaters in central Kentucky. The company I worked for was looking to pull out of the area. They had already sold all of their other holdings in the state. But no one would take the central Kentucky theaters off their hands, so they were stuck with us. What follows is the story of how I came to run my first movie theater.
Every once in a while, I am approached by a relatively new blogger who is looking for tips on starting a site or increasing traffic to their existing blog. The most important things will always be content and consistency. If you don’t have content worth reading, no one’s going to visit your site. And if you never post, your readers will find other blogs to read. Those are the basics for any blog.
But once you get past the writing, what else can you do? Most bloggers have a presence on social media. Like everyone else, Le Blog has a FB Page and a Twitter account. Those are considered essential and they are relatively easy to set up and maintain. My blog posts automatically go out to both. But for most of us, there’s too much noise on FB and Twitter. Very few people actually take the time to click on the link and read the article.
Reddit, on the other hand, is very different. When used properly, Reddit can drive a lot of traffic to your site. But here’s the thing. Reddit can be very hostile. The reward of new readers and traffic comes at a relatively high risk. Reddit can be a very scary place and you don’t want to go in there unprepared. I know because I have been experimenting with Reddit on and off for the last few years and I learned a lot of lessons the hard way.
The purpose of this article is just to share a few of the things that I have learned. The best part is that we bloggers can really help each other out.
October is one of my favorite months. I love the moderate fall weather. And the whole month leads up to Halloween which is just a fun holiday. I like Christmas, of course, but Christmas is a lot of work. Halloween is easy. And there are horror movies on all month long. I’m not necessarily a big horror guy, but during the month of October, it’s nice to know I can probably find a scary movie to watch if the mood strikes me.
If you’re a regular here at Le Blog, you may have noticed a few changes over the last month. I have been playing with some new ideas and doing some reading up on some things and it all just kind of came together for me as the summer was ending. I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know what’s been going on and what’s coming up here at Le Blog.
We’ve been talking about movie heroines here at the Le Blog for the last couple of weeks. As the father of two little girls, it’s a subject that is always on my mind. I am constantly frustrated by the role models my children are presented with. This isn’t limited to any one medium. It’s across the board. Recently I saw a TED Talks presentation that really hit close to home. It dealt specifically with the lack of female superhero toys. And it’s pretty eye-opening.
That’s it. Another year has come and gone. 2014 was a great year for Le Blog. About this time last year, I did a little bit of projecting. I figured based on the way site traffic had increased over past years, that the site would likely cross the “5 million hit” mark this year. I even considered that maybe, just maybe, we could hit 6 million. But then I put that figure out of my head. It was too big of a goal and I didn’t want to be disappointed at year end if we fell short. 5 million was plenty ambitious.
When the site crossed the 5 million hits earlier this year, I revisited the 6 million hit goal. Was it within reach? It would require a bang-up final quarter. I didn’t think we’d quite make it. But it turns out that the site has enjoyed a very healthy holiday traffic flow (thank you all) and this morning we crossed the 6 million hit threshold!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 1,000,000 people visit the Seattle Space Needle every year. This blog was viewed about 3,800,000 times in 2014. If it were the Space Needle, it would take about 4 years for that many people to see it.
Recently, I shared a personal story about the day my youngest brother died. Today marks the 10 years anniversary since my brother passed. It’s hard to believe a decade has gone by so quickly. Our lives have changed so much in the last ten years. Our family has grown. Life has moved on as it always does.
Ten years ago, life stopped for a little while. I knew consciously that life would go on. But in the moment it was hard to imagine how. Obviously our lives would be different. We had lost a member of our family. Surely we would feel that loss for the rest of our lives. Even though I knew that the pain would lessen in time, it was hard to really believe it.
But the events of that terrible day was not the end of the story. I thought today would be a good day to reflect on what happened next.
Last night, I came home from work. It was a Monday which is never the best day of the week. We had to take the girls up to school for an open house. It was not fun, but it had to be done. When I got home, I got on my computer to check social media. The first message I see hit me in the gut. It simply read “RIP Robin Williams”. My immediate reaction was skepticism. Since I write about celebrities, I’ve seen my share of dead celebrity hoaxes. Hopefully this would turn out to be one of them. I quickly checked a reliable news source and confirmed that one of my childhood idols was in fact dead.
At times like this, words always fail. I obviously didn’t know Robin Williams, so my loss is not a personal one. But I grew up with him. When I was a kid, Mork and Mindy was my favorite show. I dressed as Mork for Halloween one year. I even wore the plastic mask which recreated Williams’ distinctive smile and wild hair. As I grew up I followed him into stand-up and movies. For a time, Williams was one of the most dynamic and interesting actors in Hollywood.
Much digital ink is being spilled today eulogizing Robin Williams. We have all read moving stories and tributes from the people whose lives he touched. I don’t have much more to contribute to this mass outpouring of emotion. Instead, I wanted to talk about the disease that claimed Williams’ life; depression.
Over the weekend, I was invited to be a guest on Annie and Danny’s FastPass Podcast. As the name implies, the show is about Walt Disney World and all things Disney. So we discussed some Disney news. But the bulk of the show is about movies and entertainment. We talked about Saving Mr. Banks and a little about this year’s Oscar nominations. But mostly, we talked about Val Kilmer. Because as the title of the episode makes clear, it always comes back to Kilmer.
I promised Annie and Danny one million new listeners. So I ask that both of my regular readers listen to the show 500,000 times each. If you do check it out, please provide some feedback below. I had fun recording the show and am kicking around the idea of starting a podcast for Le Blog readers. I’d love to know what you guys think.
And thanks again to Annie and Danny for inviting me. We’ll have to do it again sometime.