Happy Thirteenth Anniversary

No, it’s not my thirteenth wedding anniversary. I’ve been married for way more than 13 years. But it was exactly thirteen years ago today, on October 10, 2005, when I published my very first post on my very first blog.

It was on Blogger or Blogspot, which may be the same thing (I think my URL had a “blogspot.com” domain name), but it (or they) are now part of the Google family, which they weren’t at the time I started that blog.

Anyway, I named my first blog “They Took an X-Ray of My Head and Found Nothing.” It was based on something Dizzy Dean, a professional baseball pitcher in the 1930s, said. In game four of the 1934 World Series, Dean attempted to break up a double play on a ground ball. The second baseman’s throw ended up hitting Dean in the head, knocking him unconscious. Dean’s x-ray at the hospital came back negative, and Dean was quoted as saying, “The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing.”

But I digress. The tagline of my blog was “All the news, views, and commentary that I think are important…to me, anyway, because, after all, it’s all about me!” Hmm. Not much has changed in 13 years, has it?

My first post was a whiny lament about how the second basement for the Boston Red Sox made an error that cost the Red Sox the game. And it was a playoff game, too! I used to blog about sports a lot back then because politics at the time was, you know, boring. Oh how I wish that were still the case.

My “X-Ray” blog was up and running for more than three years, until December 6, 2008. It was replaced a month later, on January 6, 2009, with my second blog, which only lasted until June 9, 2009. For my third blog, which I started a month later, on July 6, 2009, I moved it from Blogger to TypePad. Then, in July of 2013, I started blog number four on WordPress.

For personal reasons, in mid-April of 2015, I took a two-year hiatus from blogging. Until May of 2017, when I started this blog, blog number five (hence, “Fivedotoh”). I realized that I couldn’t stay quiet with Donald Trump as POTUS and with all of the chaos he was creating and the damage he was doing.

I also decided that, in order to maintain my own mental health, I would dabble in flash fiction to serve as a distraction from the insanity in Washington.

And here we are, thirteen years later. So happy thirteenth blogging anniversary to me. Thank you for sharing this auspicious anniversary with me.

And Here We Are

CFAA25FC-A156-4430-9217-67A373B1CA18I started blogging in 2005. I geared my blog for an audience of one — me. It was more of an online journal than anything else. I had no regular schedule. Sometimes, life interrupted and I’d go for months without posting. Ultimately, I got bored and stopped blogging.

Then I started a new blog in 2009. This time I tried to be more “regular,” posting at least weekly and occasionally a few times a week. I also aimed this restart for a broader audience. Rather than being a personal journal, I was expressing my opinions, sharing my observations, offering my perspectives.

Unfortunately, no one was listening. I accumulated almost no followers and rarely got any comments. Of course, I wasn’t on WordPress. I was using a platform called TypePad.

I told a friend that I felt like my blog was like that tree that falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it. It wasn’t making a sound. He said, “Maybe you should restart your blog on WordPress.”

So I did. In 2013. And suddenly there were a lot of people hearing my tree fall. One of my posts got “Freshly Pressed,” and received tons of likes and comments. And my blog started getting a lot of followers.

But something weird happened. My blog took over my life. I became obsessed by it. I became driven by the number of likes and comments each post would get. I checked every day to see how many new followers I got.

My blog was running my life. And ruining my life. Everything else — my job, my wife, my kids — took a backseat to my blog. My life was falling apart.

And when I almost lost my family, I quit blogging. Cold turkey, as they say.

That was three years ago. I rededicated myself relationship with my wife and kids. I focused on my work. I pulled my life back together.

At the end of 2016 I retired. My wife, who was not used to me hanging around during the weekdays, was desperate for me to find something to do that would get me out of her hair. “Why don’t you restart your blog?” she suggested.

So last May, the time was right to once again restart my blog.

And here we are.

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

To Control or To Be Controlled


This is not my first blog. In fact, when I decided to launch this blog four months ago, it was the fifth blog I launched.

I started my first blog in 2005 on Blogger. It lasted for maybe 18 months and ended when, between work and family, I just got too busy to post consistently. Not that anyone would have noticed. My blog had no followers.

In early 2008 I started my second blog, which lasted for less than a year. That time around, I was using the blog hosting site, TypePad. I ended this second iteration because I lost my motivation. This second iteration had only a few followers.

About a year later, I started my third blog. It, too, was on TypePad, but because I wasn’t getting much traction on TypePad, even after four years, I moved my blog to WordPress. Within a year on WordPress, though, my blog soared. I had accumulated close to 3,000 followers and was averaging around 500-600 views a day.

While every blogger wants a following, that relatively large following turned out to be a curse. I became obsessed with creating an even larger following. I felt compelled to post multiple times a day and to respond to each and every comment anyone made on my posts. I “liked” and commented on the posts of my regular readers.

And so blogging consumed me. I sacrificed time with my family. I spent more time blogging than doing my job, which hurt my job performance and reputation. I hardly ever ventured outside because I didn’t want to be away from my computer for long periods of time.

I even resented having to go to sleep because it meant I couldn’t be composing a new post, responding to comments, or reading those posted by others on their blogs.

I was addicted. Not to drugs or alcohol or tobacco. I was a blog addict. And I needed to change my behavior before I completely lost myself and my real world identity into my blogging persona. With the help of, and encouragement from, my wife, I stopped blogging cold turkey in early 2015.

In early 2016 I started another blog on WordPress. I wrote my observations on the presidential race. But I kept that blog private because I was primarily writing for my eyes only. That fourth blogging go-round never saw the light of day.

This past May I decided, once again, to dip my toe back into the world of blogging. I told myself that this time I would not become obsessed or addicted. I would post periodically and I would not feel compelled to focus on getting a bunch of followers. I would post only for the purpose of writing down what I observe, think, feel, and experience.

I named my new blog “Fivedotoh” in recognition of this being my fifth blog.

And now I am, once again, consumed by blogging. I just need to make sure that this time around I can control it and that it doesn’t, as it did once before, end up controlling me.