The Readers Have Spoken!

Voter turnout for the Fandango gravatar election was amazing, with slightly more than one percent of my loyal followers casting votes.

And now that all of the votes have been tallied, there is a clear winner. Yes, 83.3% of you voted for me to keep my existing gravatar. Coming in a close second, with 16.7% of the vote, was, “Frankly, Fandango, I don’t give a damn.”

And so, having received an overwhelming vote of confidence, I’m going to stay the course. My gravatar will continue to be Fandango! Hip hip hurray!

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Image Shift

I screwed up. Yesterday I accidentally hit “publish” when I meant to hit “update.” Those are the two WordPress editor options on my iPhone app when I’m drafting a post. So if the post you’re about to read feels familiar to you, as if you’ve seen it before, you may, indeed, have seen it before. Especially if you get an email notification each time I post something new. My bad.

After realizing what I had done, I changed the post’s status from “published” back to “draft.” Maybe I should start using my laptop more and my iPhone less.

Anyway, in case you missed it, this time I meant to hit “publish.”


So I bit the bullet and shelled out $48 to upgrade to the “personal” WordPress plan from the “free” plan. That supposedly eliminated ads that have appeared at the bottom of my posts. It also enabled me to drop the “.wordpress” from my blog’s URL, which is now simply “fivedotoh.com.”

And in the interest of change for change’s sake, I’m thinking about changing my avatar (or as they’re called on WordPress, “gravatar”). You know, the image that represents me online. The little picture that appears next to my name when I like or comment your posts.

I’m concerned that the gravatar I use now (below) might appear to be a little too angry or scary. Maybe even malignant.So I’m considering an avatar that is a little less threatening; more benign. Like this one:

img_0727But then I wondered if readers might not take me seriously or will think of me as a fool.

So maybe something that reflects me as a person who pens blog posts, like a fountain pen tip.B9AC9DE3-7B61-46B2-859D-350C93B0073FOr a typewriter.2A459B50-36F4-43C6-9023-DA5726217D74Or maybe just an emoji of me.img_0747What do you think? Take this brief survey. Do your civic duty and vote.

What’s That Word I’m looking For?

3CB7273E-B962-4AD4-9352-6977261FF1B2There are occasions these days when I can’t quite conjure up that exact word — one I’ve used a million times before — that would be perfect for what I want to say. And yes, my memory for names or events isn’t quite what it once was.

But after all, I am a senior citizen; a card carrying Medicare beneficiary.

Okay, just saying that makes me feel kind of old. But then I have to remind myself that age is really just a number. It is what it is. I didn’t choose when I was born, just as I can’t choose when I will die.

I admit that my body ain’t what it used to be. My mind, though, except for occasionally being unable to conjure up the precise word I know is out there, is still sharp. And I believe that blogging is a way to keep it that way.

Blogging forces me to exercise my brain. It challenges me to keep up with what is going on in the world around me — news, politics, science, society, technology. It requires doing research, checking facts, and being able to see different perspectives. It necessitates logical and critical thinking.

It also gets my creative juices flowing when I see an image or am given a word or a phrase and must try to conjure up a short, fictional story about what that image, word, or phrase brings to mind.

It means needing to be able to express myself articulately and in a clever, entertaining, and witty way. Or at least attempting to do so.

Blogging also puts me in touch with people from around the globe. Fellow bloggers of all ages, from various backgrounds, with unique experiences, and with varying world views. It provides me with insights into what others are thinking about, writing about, and doing.

Who knows? Blogging might even delay the inevitable onset of old-age — oh, what’s that word I’m looking for? Oh, right — dementia.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “conjure.”

Write What You Know

2FDA176F-2613-4A2D-9187-3EB5AA5B0F2DWhen I started my first blog back in 2005, I asked a lot of people for their advice. “What should I write about?” I asked. The advice most people tended to give me was, “write what you know.”

And so my posts on that blog focused on what I knew: sports, my family, my pets, and my job. I enjoyed the writing part, but despite how fascinating my life was to me, few others, including my own family members, seemed to care about the ins and outs of my activities of daily living. Even I got bored reading my blog. So I quit blogging.

But I missed writing, so a few years later, I tried blogging again. That time I decided, rather than writing about what I know, I would write about how I feel. That didn’t work out so well, though, because I’m not really in touch with my feelings. So I once again quit blogging.

When I started this blog last May, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Then I started seeing all these writing prompts. Write a story about a word. Craft a tale about a photo or an image. Create a fantasy built around a song lyric. And that’s when I discovered that I have an imagination.

And that’s why many of my posts these days tend to be short flash fiction pieces. Sure, I still post about what’s going on in the world around me, but my true blogging bliss comes when I just make shit up. When I let my mind wander through scenes, characters, and worlds that exist only inside my own head.

So thank you to all of the bloggers who create these wonderful prompts that enable me to express myself with a creativity that I never knew I ever possessed.

If you’ve never tried writing flash fiction you should give it a try. It sure beats playing solitaire.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “tend.”

Intrusive Ads

Is it just me, or have others also noticed that random ads seem to be appearing either at the top of or somewhere in the middle of people’s posts? And not just one ad, but multiple ads.

I’ve known for a while that, for those of us with the free WordPress option, one or two ads might appear at the bottom of our posts. That placement is not that objectionable, too me, anyway. They’re out-of-the-way and totally ignorable.

But recently I’ve notice that, in several bloggers’ posts, advertisements (like the one below) are interspersed at various places, often between paragraphs. And I find that to be extremely annoying.

img_0559tI use the reader on the WordPress iPhone app to read other bloggers’ posts, so maybe these annoying, intrusive ads just appear in my iPhone’s reader and are not there on regular computers. Or maybe they are there, as well.

Are these ads something some bloggers agree to in order, perhaps, to earn some money from blogging? Or is this something WordPress has started inserting into posts, either in lieu of or in addition to those at the end of posts?

I can deal with the ads at the end of the posts, but those that appear within the posts interrupt the writer’s flow. I wish there was some way to get rid of them. Or, if bloggers are purposefully including those ads in their posts, be aware that it’s damn annoying.

I’m just sayin’.