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  • John Gallino 1:10 am on 11/03/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , shoot the freak   

    We’re Moving! 

    That’s right! Earlier than I ever anticipated, fate has forced me to take this blog to the next level. All future posts will be at our new domain: WeShootTheFreak.com

    See you there! And don’t come back here!

     
  • Meg N. Vitale 9:29 pm on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: This I Believe   

    Rocking Chair Logic 

    The following is titled “I didn’t wash my car last month” and it was submitted by a Jeff from Columbia, Maryland on April 28, 2006. It is a part of This I Believe, which describes itself as “an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives”.  It’s based off of a radio series in the ’50s. It’s really interesting to see how different people see the world. Some of them seem trivial, while others seem to tackle some heavier topics. However, although these essays are brief, each and everyone of them has a point that really touches upon what they think.

    And now, without further ado,  Jeff’s story:

     

    I have something shocking to tell you. Are you sitting down? Brace yourself. Are you ready? Here goes.

    I didn’t wash my car last month.

    Isn’t that awful? What’s worse is this: I don’t intend to wash it this month either. Isn’t that terrible?

    Washing my car is one of the things I don’t do because it doesn’t pass my rocking chair test. When I’m an old man sitting in my rocking chair looking back at my life, I’m not going to be saying “Gee I wish I’d spent more time washing my car. If I’d only scrubbed those whitewalls a little more often, I could have had a really happy life.”

    Applying my rocking chair test keeps me from doing a whole host of wasteful things from dusting furniture to holding a grudge to eating spinach. It also keeps me from doing some really stupid things. I know I’m not going to be sitting in my rocking chair thinking “I wish I’d snorted coke”

    Of course it’s not always that simple. Take television. It’s not likely I’ll be sitting in my rocking chair thinking “I wish I’d watched more television.” However I might be thinking “I wish I had relaxed more” and watching television is a form of relaxation.

    Even trickier is reading. Will I be sitting in my rocking chair wishing I had read more? Or will I have wished I’d spent less time reading and more time experiencing things firsthand? Tough call.

    The best thing my rocking chair test does is to remind me that it’s better to do than to own. I may be in my rocking chair wishing I had taken more trips, gone to more ballgames, attended more concerts. It’s not likely that I’ll be thinking “Gee I wish I’d bought a bigger house and a fancier car”

    I’ve made this essay personal because the rocking chair test is personal. Thinks that flunk my rocking chair test may pass yours with flying colors and vice versa. But there’s one thing I suspect is true for all of us.

    That rocking chair is closer than we think.

    Check out  This I Believe for other personal stories and essays. Some of them are pretty unique and they may give you some perspective on life. It’s almost like being able to see through other people’s eyes, if only for that brief moment on one particular idea.

     
  • John Gallino 12:29 pm on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blogging, SEO, tips, wordpress, writing   

    5 tips for better blogging 

    Blogging 101I am a newbie to the blogging world, but it has become my new favorite passion. And I’m the type of person that dives headfirst into his passions and learns as much as he can about them so as to get moving right away. So with that in mind I thought I’d mention some of the things I’ve learned about writing good blog posts.

    Disclaimer: This is only my 65th post or so, and my blog gets a measily 20 or so hits a day on average, but hopefully that will change if I continue the following practices.

    1. First and foremost, put yourself in the mind of the reader. What do you NOT want to hear about? You probably don’t want to hear about someone’s complaints about their kids or their cats or their accountant UNLESS there is something in the story that can benefit you. The one thing I think people want most from a blog post is a little kernel of knowledge that they can take with them. That’s why in almost every post I write, I try my best to tie in something that I don’t think most of my audience knows about. People will keep feeling satisfied and (hopefully) coming back if you teach them something new every time. It doesn’t have to be a fact, a recipe, or a how-to lesson. It can simply be a new way of thinking about an issue, or a connection to something else that may be of interest. In my last post I connected The Rally to Restore Sanity (something thousands of people have probably blogged about) with Dave Chappelle’s appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio. This not only is a new take on the issue, but connects people to another piece of media they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

    2. Value-added content. This is a journalism term that refers to the extra things you can put in your article to make it more than a wall of text. Nobody wants to read a wall of text. You should include at least one relevant picture in every blog post. It’s inviting and sets a tempo for the post. Because we’re on the internet and not a newspaper, you can take this further by embedding youtube videos or linking right in the text. If I mention something obscure in a post, I will usually link to its wikipedia page (set to open in a new window) in case a reader wants to know more about it.

    3. Tags. I realized recently that when I first started this blog, I was using tags incorrectly. I was tagging my posts with vague umbrella terms like “blog” or “project”. This is what Categories are for. Categories will enable a visitor to your blog to find older posts of yours in the same vein to the one they’re reading. Tags, on the other hand, should be much more specific. Tags are the keywords that people will search for that lead them to your post. For my recent post about the Rally, I tagged it with “Rally to Restore Sanity,” “Jon Stewart,” “Washington DC,” among others. I may never write about Washington DC again, but that doesn’t matter. Think of tags as the keywords people will search for that will take them to your post.

    4. Keep it broad. Tying in with #1, you should strive to write your posts in a way that is relatable to most people. Even if you’re writing about one specific incident that happened to you today, you should take it a step further and explore how it made you feel or what you think about a topic as a whole. There is a difference between facts and insight. I could go on Wikipedia for facts. Insight is your job.

    5. Make it easy to read! This is a key ergonomic issue many people ignore. People are used to reading articles in newspapers in magazines. Emulate that style. Capitalize when necessary. Use proper punctuation. Spellcheck. The stuff you learned in middle school. But that’s not all. If your post is exceedingly long, break it up into paragraphs. Organize your thoughts. Use bold for headings. Italics for movie and book titles. Use bulletts and numbered lists and soon a long tedious read seems much more manageable to get through. When you finish your post, go on your blog and see how it looks. See where it can be tightened up or where you could fit a picture or break up a paragraph. I usually edit every post three or four times immediately after it goes online. You should too.

     
  • John Gallino 1:12 am on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , matty & bobby, , , projects, trailer   

    Matty & Bobby Update 

    The upcoming Our Lips Are Sealed film now has its own page. It includes a brand new teaser trailer, which I will also include here because I know you are a lazy bum.

    While we’re on the topic, I’d like to present a question. You see, I’m still quite hung up on the title of this damn thing. On the one hand, Our Lips are Sealed is beautiful, poetic and takes its name from Matty & Bobby’s own activist movement. On the other hand, Matty & Bobby Kiss is direct, eye-catching, and attention-grabbing.

     
  • John Gallino 1:03 am on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jon stewart, , reddit, stephen colbert, washington DC   

    Thoughts on the Rally 

    Ah, the Rally. To be quite honest I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. I can tell you that navigating around thousands of people is always frustrating – a lesson I learned at Obama’s inauguration last January. I can tell you that they really should’ve had more jumbotrons because myself and thousands of others couldn’t see a thing. I can tell you that I saw hundreds of signs, many of them quite funny (here are some of the best).

    But I can’t really tell you what it was about. Nobody really can. Especially not the media, as this article will explain (though I don’t really agree with its LOL! THE MEDIA IS STUPID! LOL! thesis). While some were there to celebrate American unity, others showed up to mock the Tea Party movement, while some people were just there advocating the legalization of pot.

    Yes, it was a hippy fest. Yes it was a leftist event, but I knew that going in. As a leftist myself, I didn’t mind. But I do find it a bit phony to pretend that its message was “Can’t we all just get along?”

    I’ll be the first to admit that the mainstream media sucks shit. It is indeed a machine of corporate interests and fear mongering intended only to cater to its niche audiences and shill products from its sponsors. I am all for the fight against sensationalist headlines and extremist analysts. That’s a cause I can support.

    However while I was at the rally I couldn’t help but feel slightly bothered by something.

    Back in 2005, one of my favorite comedians, Dave Chappelle, abandoned his television show in the height of its popularity and took a leave of absence in Africa. Rumors flew that he had a crack addiction or had just lost his mind. When he finally returned he was a guest on Inside the Actor’s Studio, where he described at length the circumstances that lead him to ditching a multi-million dollar deal.

    Anyway none of that is really relevant to the rally, but the following thing he said stuck with me.

    As much as I disagree with Sarah Palin and Glen Beck and most conservatives, I think to classify them as being downright insane may have been a little dismissive, as Dave said.

     
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