Did you know that Albuquerque has a monsoon season? Neither did I! It does. It’s in July, weirdly. Here’s what it looks like (it’s worth answering that irritating trivia question to see the flooded car). Those photos are from flash flooding downtown last night. I live seven miles away from this at higher elevation, and I had no idea.
It’s been storming off and on for weeks up here on the hills, but it’s always dry as a bone by the time I go for my run. The only clue that there’s been rain is that, whereas a month ago, the high desert really felt like desert, now I am coming across things like this everywhere in amongst the yellowed prickly pears:
(Forgive the terrible quality of that photo; I neglected to take my phone out of its plastic sports sleeve before taking it, but you get the idea.)
Storms in Albuquerque are extremely bizarre — they are sudden and major and they come out of nowhere. A couple of weekends ago, I had the garage door open because I was doing laundry in there, and it was in the 90s so I needed ventilation. The sky was clear and blue, and the sun was as intense as ever. All of a sudden, I heard this weird rattling sound and went around the house looking for the source of it.
It was hail. By the time I went to check on the garage, my car was sitting in a small lake. Ten minutes later, it was as if it had never happened.
This place just gets weirder and weirder.
Lately, when I’ve been grocery shopping or at the dentist, I’ve been noticing how much improved the musical selections of the various corporate satellite radios have become. They used to always be crappy dated songs from a decade ago, but now they’re much more with-it, bands I really like and songs that just came out in . . .
. . . Oh.
I read a lot of blogs, and every so often, I get bored with the ones I’ve been reading and purge my Feedly. Then, I go on the hunt for new ones.
Incidentally, there are a number of things bloggers do that will keep me from following them. Since I’m in the habit of giving blogging advice, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share these things, in case it would be helpful to anyone reading this. Note that these are just my own personal prejudices having to do with my own personal blog-reading habits; this advice is nothing official to do with my job or anything.
♦ I won’t follow you if your RSS feed is set to deliver summaries and not full posts to a feed reader. I read all my blogs in Feedly and if I have to load your entire blog in a new tab to read your work, I will just remove you from my feed reader, unless you are the most awesome of all the awesome.
♦ If you only have two posts (or you only have post summaries) on your front page, I probably won’t follow you. I need to be able to scroll down the front page of your blog and read a bunch of your work really fast, so I can tell immediately if I like your writing or not. Likewise, if you have one of those cool magazine-style formats which I absolutely love the look of…I probably won’t follow you, because I have to actually open all your posts in tabs to read them, and by the time I’ve done that, I could have read ten other blogs with a standard layout.
♦ If you have obnoxious pop-up ads, autoplay music or videos, or other forms of garish and intrusive advertising, I’ll close right out of your blog immediately.
♦ I prefer blogs that post something really great once a month to blogs that post filler content in order to post frequently. We all have enough to read anyway; please don’t add to the pile if your reason for adding to the pile is yourself (affiliates, blog traffic, keeping on people’s radar, etc.) and not us (giving us something great to read).
In sum, basically anything you do to your blog that gets in the way of my ability to easily read and enjoy your writing and photography will make me less likely to read it. Not a super complicated viewpoint, but many bloggers seem to be laboring under the delusion that the harder they make it to get to their content, the more tenaciously readers will seek it out. Not true. Us compulsive blog readers are a lazy, lazy bunch.
This isn’t a blocker, but one thing that I wish more bloggers would do is make where they live very obvious and apparent on their sites somewhere. Not their address, obviously, but their city. Most About pages don’t include this information, and one of the reasons I love reading a wide variety of blogs is because doing so gives me a glimpse into the everyday life and scenery of locations all over the world. It’s incidental armchair tourism. If you have gorgeous photos of your surroundings, make it easy for new readers figure out where those surroundings are!
So now that my lecture is over (and of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and some of them might be below), here are some wonderful blogs that I only recently discovered, and that you might love if you are at any point looking for new online reading material:
Esther From the Sticks: This style blog is by a young girl (well, college-aged now) who sews. She’s really talented and creative. Here’s a dress she made out of masking tape. I’m not really into clothes, but I’m inspired by anyone who is good at what they do and works hard at it. I followed her back when she was in high school, and then I forgot about her for awhile. Now she’s in college for fashion design in Savannah, so her blog has the added advantage of Savannah pictures.
Misfits Vintage: This lady lives in Australia, dresses like an insane(ly fun) person, and seems like she’d be a hoot-and-a-half to hang out with.
It’s a Dog Lick Baby World: Many ‘SAHM-who-runs’ bloggers are humorless, dull, and self-congratulatory. Kara is none of those things.
GweenBrick: I only recently started reading this blog, have read only the last five posts or so, and there is no about me, so forgive me for plugging it if these last five posts are the only good ones or something. It appears that this is written by a guy who works at a learning facility for developmentally delayed adults, and the writing is fantastic — original, hilarious, and depressing.
This blog is basically what I wish blogging had turned out to be: imagine if all blogs were ongoing, well-written autobiographies authored by all kinds of different people about every different kind of life all over the world. If that ever actually happened, I think the internet really would make traditional publishing obsolete, but it won’t, so I think books will be around forever. Anyway, if you know of any other blogs on this level, let me know.
here’s that bad advice you were hoping for: Awhile back, I subscribed to the local paper, and I’ve gotten a little bit obsessed with Dear Abby and the people who write to her — it’s nice to have something else in the paper to get righteously infuriated about, other than the news. So I appreciate this Tumblr.
mimi smartypants: This is a blog by a Chicago writer, and it’s simply an entertaining read. She doesn’t have a gimmick or an insane life or a Topic or anything; she’s just a clever writer.
Tender Nuggets: I wish I had read this blog back when I lived in Brooklyn, because I would have maybe weirdly stalked this lady until I made her be friends with me (well, except that she’s almost a decade younger than I am). I have had this exact night maybe forty-seven times (I mean, uh, back when I was her age; obviously I don’t act like this anymore. Obviously.).
ohfuckiamafuckup: Hettie is funny.
Native Appropriations: If you think about cultural appropriation or the way Native people are portrayed in popular culture and treated in society, or, more importantly, if you don’t think about these things, you should read this blog. This is a topic that’s rarely on my outrage radar, so I appreciate the insight this blog provides, especially now that I live in a place where there are a lot of Native Americans.
phonaesthetica: This lady writes a lot about feminism, aging, sexuality, and fitness. I love, love, love this post she wrote about accepting she will not have children. Love.
Love, Joy, Feminism: Libby Anne grew up evangelical Christian, and is now an atheist. She writes about religion, feminism, child-rearing, and progressive values. She also takes on events in the news that make most of us rage and sputter incoherently, and she discusses them in a remarkably clear-eyed, empathetic way.
Skepchick: I’m trying to share mostly blogs that aren’t super well-known (as far as I know), and this is the exception, as I think pretty much everyone reads or knows about Skepchick. But I just love it so much. Skepticism + feminism!
“Lifestyle”/People Who Are Living More Virtuously Than You/Other
Aunie Sauce: I can’t imagine wanting to be involved in the military in any way, but Annelise here is in the Idaho Air National Guard, and she writes about basic military training like it is absolutely the most fun she’s ever had, which fascinates me.
DIY Diva: Kit and I are similar in that we are single ladies in our early thirties, but we are very different in that Kit owns a farm and builds shit.
Inked in Colour: Sash committed to buying nothing new for a full year, and recently she and her daughter have hit the road to live nomadically. They’re currently WWOOFing. She has an interesting philosophy that we should consume less in order to force ourselves to interact more and to therefore build community again, which I agree with in theory (even if it sounds like my own personal hell).
Strange Company: Do you like reading about weird disappearances and deaths in history? I do!
(Note: I would like to find some blogs about minimalist living whose authors have a sense of humor about themselves and the world and aren’t remotely self-righteous or preachy. Anyone know of any?)
The internet has somehow managed to make Americans feel that they’re entitled to unlimited consumption of all the greatest music, literature, films, and journalism of our day for free; and simultaneously, to believe that their own amateur iPhone snapshots of their children could potentially be worth a great deal of money and so must be obnoxiously watermarked and carefully guarded from theft.