Song Reviews and Such

So – I mentioned back in September I was starting a second blog about songs, poetry, and writing. After much ado, I finally got around to actually launching it…

There is not much yet; soon there will be more, since I’ll likely be posting more frequently there than here. If that sort of thing interests you at all, feel free to check it out. 🙂 I may also start posting film reviews on that blog instead (haven’t quite decided on that detail yet).

Also, if you have any good ideas for songs or albums to review, I’m open to suggestions! I like many different genres, lately more on the acoustic side of things.

Why I Moved to WordPress

Well, folks – after blogging for over a decade on Google’s Blogger platform, I’ve decided to move to WordPress.com.

It took me a long time to come to this decision. Apart from sentimental reasons, there were numerous features I loved about Blogger, including:

  • Short learning curve
  • Free and ad-less
  • Fully customizable
  • Integrated with Google (yes, this was a plus for me)

I stayed with Blogger patiently through its recent major milestones: Followers replaced with Google+, user interface overhaul, evolution of the Reading List, removal of third-party gadgets, and two rounds of new themes, plus other changes I’ve probably forgotten. I didn’t like every change, but for a number of years, there were plenty of improvements and nothing got in the way of my blogging. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I got my computer science degree, discovered the Blogger API, and dreamed of developing my own themes. Overall I was happy with Blogger and planned to stick with it indefinitely.

A few things have come together in the last year which finally changed my mind:

  1. Mobile design. I think I have tried every one of Blogger’s mobile designs and found it problematic in some aspect. While most of my site traffic comes from desktop computers, this is a deal-breaker for anyone wishing to reach a wider audience.
  2. Social media. After starting the podcast and rebranding as Classics Considered, I realized the need to integrate better with Instagram and other social media platforms. This is completely doable in Blogger, but WordPress has tools to make it faster (in great part due to its better selection of themes).
  3. Ease of use. I think WordPress’s usability has greatly improved since I last tried it (years ago). I’ve been using Medium and LinkedIn for my professional blogging and have been spoiled by their post editors and friendly formatting. Having that capability in WordPress, I feel like blogging will be much faster, and these days I’m all about time efficiency.
  4. Blogger makes me sad. Only half-joking. Seriously, it seems like every so often, Google remembers Blogger and puts in some development to improve its features. But it still feels like a neglected corner of the Google empire, which is a pity since it has incredible potential. As a software developer, I am not seeing iterative design on a continual basis, and that saddens me. Blogger no longer seems like a competitor to WordPress – it feels like a legacy product Google is supporting for sake of the people who still use it. I don’t know if that is the case, and I hope not. That’s just how it looks from the outside.

I have transferred Classics Considered over to WordPress, but there are still plenty of broken links I’ll need to fix, so please bear with me over the next month or two as I get those cleaned up.

Also, if there’s any features or nice-to-knows about WordPress you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them!

Septober, Octember, Nowonder…

WHERE did October go??  Two weeks since my last post, can’t believe it.

Book-wise… I did finish The Art of Loving and need to write up my final post this weekend.  For a short book it was quite a journey, and thought-provoking – I’m grateful Cleo hosted it as a readalong!

Also in non-fiction land, I read Permanent Record, Edward Snowden’s new autobiographical memoir.  I knew very little about him previously, and it actually blew me away.  It might be because I’m a millennial: I saw bits and pieces of my own life experience in his, and it was kind of surreal reading it in book form.  Of course it focuses on his path from dutiful employee to whistleblower, which was fascinating from a psychological and technological perspective.  Definitely recommended.

The one classic I read was Macbeth.  To be honest, I found it massively underwhelming, which is probably just me.  I may try to share some thoughts about it.

I am still reading Moby-Dick for Brona‘s readalong…and hanging on by a thread!

Life-wise… Some of you may know I left my beloved first workplace and started a new job working entirely from home.  This has radically changed my lifestyle and schedule (EST, yep!), so I spent most of October getting acclimated to it.  The upshot is, I now have a great deal more free time than I used to.  In November I plan to work on writing/editing, plus plowing through the stack of books left over from my botched 24-hour readathon.  I am still trying to figure out the logistics of starting up my podcast again as well (can’t make any guarantees yet).

On a personal note…I did travel by myself for the first time last month, not a small feat for this armchair traveler.  It is a weird experience and I can’t say I’d recommend it unless you have to.  But I am pretty pleased I managed to make it There and Back Again without missing a flight or wrecking the rental car!

It’s been a year of surprises, tough emotions, and unlikely decisions, and I don’t know to what extent my reading has influenced that, if at all.  For probably the first year, out of 25 books-read the majority have been non-fiction.  I haven’t read a single novel this year that I really loved.  The year’s not over yet, so here’s to hoping that changes!

A Comment Conundrum

A couple of you brought it to my attention that the embedded comment form was not working for you…  I have changed it to pop-up format to see if that fixes the  issue.  If you have a moment, drop me a comment to let me know it works for you now, or if it doesn’t, please send me a note using the Contact Form in the sidebar on the left. On mobile devices, you can pull up the sidebar by clicking the hamburger icon:

Sorry for the inconvenience, by the way!!  I’ve been debating switching to WordPress, and this might be the catalyst for that. 

Autumn Plans

It feels as if my reading has been slipping by the wayside, but that’s not really been the case.  Most of the books I’ve read this summer just haven’t blown me away, so it’s been a bit of a disappointment.

Reading status update on a few of the better ones:

  • Tesla biography – I do like this book, a beautiful balance of academic and popular science.  It’s very Educational, so it’s taking me a while to get through it.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Reading this for the 3rd or 4th time.  It is my favorite thing to read when I really want an escape.  
  • Nostromo – Still chugging along, now in part 2.  New characters, new goings on.  I’m surprised actually at there being new characters; not sure where Conrad is taking it.
  • Moby-Dick – Still participating in the read-along, but very much behind schedule.
  • Brave New World – Started strong, then realized I needed a break from dystopian.  Will continue shortly.
  • Psalms – Finished them!  Now re-reading Proverbs.

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately (which unfortunately I can’t elaborate on yet), but I expect things to settle down quite a bit in October. 

I have all kinds of plans for when that happens.  Finishing these books is naturally a priority.  Updating the blog is also on the list (I never did get it set up the way I’d like).  The podcasts and the vlogs ARE coming back… that is, I have every intention of starting them up again, this time not to stop.  It might not actually happen till January, but it’s on the radar for sure.  🙂

I’m also planning to launch a second blog, where I review songs and share poetry and other snippets of writing.  I’ve shared some song reviews here before, but it doesn’t seem like the right place for it.  I found a lot of great music this year and have started writing poetry again, so having a separate blog for that kind of thing just makes sense.

Writing…I will be doing more writing in general.  I must edit my book – which some of you kindly read as alpha-readers 🙂 – incorporating your feedback and my own second impressions into the next draft.  I also started another story which I’d like to publish as a web serial, putting out installments a few times a week if I get ambitious enough.  It would be more or less unedited, just an experiment to see if I could write a story that way. I actually did something like that before, in high school, just didn’t share it with anyone (which was just as well). 

Nanowrimo is coming up in November, too, which I will participate in, so as not to break my “participation streak.”   🙂 

So yes… fall is here and I have too many plans as usual!  But I am excited for life to slow down and the chance to get back into doing all the things I enjoy.