19 January 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise


I don't know how this guy does it. He has four blogs which he updates frequently, and he is one of the most... maybe the most prolific commenter I've encountered. So just for fun, I'll ask.

"Bruce? How do you do it?"

"Seriously, do you have a routine, some kind of schedule? Do you just write really fast? Underneath all that dash, there has to be discipline. Tell me about it."

I touched on the topic of how writers have different styles and different voices. This is different from "finding one's voice." No, I'm talking about an evolution that is beyond that, wherein a writer has long since discovered that he or she has many, many modes of expression and likes to move from one to the other.

"Is that part of your prolificness, Bruce? Do you rest from one kind of work by doing another?"

These are my first thoughts. I know Bruce will see them, and he'll answer. He's good that way. I probably should have interviewed him first, but it is too late for that now, so I'll just roll on by introducing his blogs in my own peculiar order—probably not the order Bruce would, but I have my reasons.

The first then, is Bruce's professional blog: Dreamodeling.

I like that word "Dreamodeling." I think Bruce invented it. It's a new blog with, at this writing, only two posts, but Bruce talks about his work there. He's a contractor. The first post is a funny story about doing some work for his folks, and the second is advice about the costs of remodeling. It'll be interesting to see where he goes with it, but one thing I can tell you, if I were in the market for a remodel in his area, and I came across this, I would have the feeling that this guy is someone I can ask for advice and get honest answers. It is intimidating to try and find a good contractor (mechanic, dentist, doctor, lawyer, et. al.). It would be nice to be able to screen them in advance by getting to know them on a more personal level.

As a customer, I would want to know, "Is this guy honest? Does he have my interests at heart, or is he just trying to make a buck?"

So you form a good impression that way, Bruce. If that was your intention, you succeeded. I am curious about your thoughts on that though.

I would ask you, "Would you like to share where you are going with that blog?"

But let's not stop there. He also has this... I can't think of the right adjective! Never mind. He has a blog called The Guy Book. It is literally, a book, as yet unpublished. The tagline is, "The Book About Guys Written by This Guy...Not a Pc Book...Not for the Overly Sensitive...a Satirical View..."

You get the idea. The blog has excerpts, but extended excerpts.

When I first looked at this blog, the very first words I encountered were these:

Men relate and talk to each other differently than women. We communicate to each other in PackSpeak. It is a fact. We will use phrases like “Blow me!” or “f* you!” These are not requests. When men say these types of phrases they are not asking for a sexual favor. They are using these phrases to express displeasure. This phrase is often equated to the phrase, “Whatever.”[From Chapter 6: Communication]


I'd like to get Bruce's take on this blog; actually, I'd like to read the introduction to the book. I can, and as I inevitably will, theorize.

First, one time I was talking with one of my sisters, and I observed that though at least half of my total conversations in life had been with women or girls, something like three-quarters of my favorite conversations were with females. I find this statistic interesting, and I do not think I am much different than a lot of guys that way. Women can be so profound! In many ways they are so much better than us with their alluring magical powers.

But guys talk differently with each other than they do with women. It is just a fact, but the fact is, more often than not, those conversations are hardly conversations at all. It is often a kind of ape language or dog language or something. This is particularly true of things like routine work, sports, or combat. It is not about expressing one's feelings or being artful. It is about the rapid exchange of information with the least effort. It is not conversation, it is code, and it's objective is coordinated, cohesive, action. There is actually a beauty to it.

Here is something that women can relate to, for you have all experienced this. You are having a great talk with your friends, and along comes some dumb guy who wants to join in, but you cannot talk about what you wanted until he leaves. The same thing happens with guys. No mystery, and no big deal, really.

So though Bruce makes all this very funny, there are underlying truths he's getting at. Interesting reading. I recommend it for both men and women.

The third blog, is not actually written by Bruce. It is written by his evil twin. Warning! The code I used in the foregoing link bypasses the content warning. Bruce is a family man, you know? So he knows where to draw the line. His evil twin's site is not for kids, but we are all adults here. This blog is called, "Stupid Stuff I See and Hear." The tagline is, "Sometimes all you can say is...what the fuck??? Bruce's EvilTwin IS the voice inside your head that you normally keep quiet...restrained and fettered..."

[Hey Bruce, er, could you tell your twin there's a typo in the title, I fixed it above. See "restrained." And all apologies for messing with his use of caps or their lack. I tried it both ways. It works in a title, but looked odd when placed inline in a paragraph.]

He goes on:

sooner or later i will piss you off... consider this an appology in advance. no. fuck that. get over it!

You get the idea. This the "other guy's" chance to rant. I am actually quite intrigued by the idea of this blog. There have been many times I caught something on television or saw something in the papers, and I had to restrain myself from going ballistic over the idiocy. There are things that happen in our world that are nothing less than totally evil. Bruce talks about, for example, the recent shenanigans with Citigroup dipping into reserves it wasn't supposed to have, having been recently bailed out—at taxpayers expense!

Yeah. It pisses me the fuck off too. It's like a great big god-damned circle jerk between government and financial institutions.

Except Bruce's twin does have a knack for softening the rage with humor, and if there is one strain in all of Bruce's work that I would single out, it is his sense of humor. I am SO jealous!

On that note, here is a one Bruce's evil twin posts that is so laugh out loud funny, I thought I would faint. sooo.....what? Yes. Quitting drinking and smoking feels. just. like. that.

I wish I could be such a funny guy. I much rather read that than my own stuff. Fact is. like I said in the beginning, I have no idea how he does it, but he does it...

Oh yeah, before I forget. Bruce and his twin both have a knack for playing with typography. It's a part of it. Neat.

Bruce's main blog, judging by the number of posts, followers, comments, and links is the inimitable JADIP. That's "Just Another Day in Paradise." This is the blog of his which I most frequently visit, and it is the only one I have left comments on, so far, not from laziness but from a desperate lack of time.

As I said, I don't know how he does it. He's quick. It's amazing. One thing I can figure out is he has certain routines, and these probably help him to just roll rather than have to re-invent everything with every post. This seems like a good strategy to me.

Also, it is helpful for readers to know about a certain predictable pattern. At the beginnings of his posts, he has his "TRENDING NO!!!!!TRENDING NOOOOOO!!!!" in which he lists ten topical items and puts his quip in parentheses. It's kind of David Letterman-ish; except Bruce makes me laugh. (Heh.) Some of the news is actually true! (I always get fooled by pop culture and current events. Ask me about the Peloponnesian War sometime... Er, no, you probably shouldn't... Anyhow, I'm a total sucker for fake news.)

His trending spoof is followed by a mock banner ad in which you find out who is sponsoring his blog that day. This is one of Bruce's nice ways to advertise other people's blogs. He does stuff like that. He is very supportive.

He has certain regular features. There's MFFT Monday. (That's More Food For Thought. Stupid me had to ask. I'm always and forever not getting abbreviations.) There's Tucker Tuesday (Tucker is his puppy. He writes the post on Tuesday, and he's pretty good writer too.) Then there's Thematic Photo Friday. He has a Wednesday night's theme too, but he changes the title around whimsically.

Does that cover your recurrent title themes Bruce? I know I must be missing things, so fill me in.

And now look, we've come this far, and we haven't even got to the main content. I was saving that. people have a tendency to remember the last thing in a list, so, here we go. Bruce talks about everything: Quitting smoking and drinking, his relationships with other bloggers (many!), poetry about work and wistfully watching windy crests on the lake, and... Oh!


Here's a quote from an award interview:

Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people and events?

i have been known to talk about me. it is all a bout me. it is my blog, my thoughts, my stories, except when i whore it out for a guest poster. not that i have ever done that yet, but i am always open to it. (gotta check with tucker, tho')

Yeah. It is not my job to tell Bruce's stories for him. He'll tell you.

I would say one thing though, if anyone qualifies for a three column layout, it's him. Writing this article, I was spending a lot of time scrolling down, down, down to get to the lists of posts, poor me. MFFT. YMMV. IMHO. FWIW. (Heh.)

Bruce, I do especially want to thank you for your advice on blogging. I love your comments. I love your sharing the love. If you were a drinker, and if I were a drinker, I'd say the next time I'm in your area, let's have a beer, but, well, you get the idea. I feel ya' brother.


bruce said...

whew..where to begin...

firstly and foremostly...thanks! this was much more than i could have ever hoped for!

it is all about routine. and more routine....

and balance.

and building up a number of ideas that are in draft format..

but most of all it is about writing. at. every. chance. i. get.

well, that and a flexible schedule!

i will be linking to this excellent synopsis on my thursday JADIP post.

i appreciate the feedback more than you could ever know...

bruce johnson jadip
stupid stuff i see and hear
Bruce’s guy book
the guy book
Dreamodel Guy

Tom G. said...

I have an anecdote about guy speak. I was a road biking nut for several years in the late 90's and early 2000's. I was going to Belgium on business trips fairly regularly, and wanted to go out cycling. One of my friends mentioned that his father in law did a century ride every summer with a local club. It just so happened to be on the weekend I would be in country. He offered to set me up with a road bike, and arrange for me to ride with his FIL. The only catch, his FIL didn't speak any English, and I didn't speak any Flemish.

You'd think it would have been difficult or uncomfortable to spend 6 hours biking with a stranger, unable to speak. But the funny thing is, we got along just fine. A few basic words, and some hand gestures, and we understood each other perfectly. It was a great day of cycling, and as we were coming back into town at the end of it, I pointed to the city limit sign, and said "Pinche" which is a local slang for beer. He smiled, and then held up 2 fingers and shook his head. "No. Two pinche!"

It's no surprise to me that most of the blog commenters on my site are women. The medium lends itself better to their form of communication.

Richard G. Crockett said...

I went to bed at 5:00a yesterday... no, today, and woke up at 11:30a, so I didn't see your comment until just now, Bruce. What time zone are you in? Central?

Anyhow, like I said, I knew I could count on you for some fast answers. Great. It's like I thought. You do have routines, and you just plain work at it. The bit about the flexible schedule makes sense too. I'm self-employed as well. How I'm going to manage blogging and school remains to be seen, now that Winter break is over. Others do it; therefore, so will I.

Looking forward to your post and your more extended take.

Richard G. Crockett said...

Hey! Tom! Great. Thanks for stopping by.

One thing that I like about Wordpress blogs, like yours, is the ability to thread comments. But, ah well...

Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. It's really context sensitive, that kind of talk. Bruce talks about linear gray matter and networked white matter.

Here's something funny, "pinche" in Mexican Spanish (which includes California Spanish) is a slang term that allows you to say "fucking" in the adjectival sense without being profane. Great word. In Spain, I think it means "kitchen boy."

Something I've always found rather peculiar is that while on average, women are better writers than men, the writing profession is still dominated by men. I wonder what the ratios are in blogs? My hunch says the numbers favor women.

Mrs. Hyde said...

Bruce is awesomeness! He fools me sometimes with his commentary on trending topics, too. Once he had me believing that the Leaning Tower of Pisa had fallen. No, really. I Googled that shit.

a bitch called mom
the well fed spirit

Richard G. Crockett said...

Hi Mrs. Hyde,

Just popped in from work, so no time to check out your blogs, but later I will!

But yeah, he fooled me about finding Amelia Earhart. I thought that was so great, and then, oh, damn.

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