Tag Archives: blogging

Lame Adventure 413: Lucky Numbers

I am going against my blogging rule. I’m writing about something I detest writing about: blogging. I hope I do not give the impression of being a gloating cur. On the four year and two month anniversary of Lame Adventures’ debut, I was the recipient of WordPressian validation. I was notified that last week’s post, Lame Adventure 412:The Deodorant Debacle, was selected to be Freshly Pressed. My stats had a nice spike.

What a nice spike looks like numerically.

What seemed like a million percent increase to me.

I thank all that took the time to visit. I welcome the increase in my following. To my 125 new followers, I will make an effort to visit your sites. Please accept my apology in advance that I anticipate this mission could take me two hours shy of forever to complete. I lead a very active life: I work full-time, I write humor pieces that do not appear on Lame Adventures (in 2013, I self-published a book; my worst seller), I work out four-five times a week, I usher off-Broadway theater and I make time for my posse. Please be patient with me. If you are inclined to post several times a week, several times a day, or your posts are long-form, I am easily overwhelmed. Until a day is 36 hours in length, I have neither the time nor the energy to read a barrage of posts from one blogger or the blogospheric equivalent of Ulysses. To me, less is enough. If you receive a like from me, I guarantee that I read your post and genuinely liked it.

I was Freshly Pressed once before. It happened 196 Lame Adventures ago, on a Friday in August 2011, the era before Freshly Pressed badges began adorning sites. I had about 70 likes, 99 comments and a monumental hangover from quaffing my weight in sake the night before. When it happened again last Monday I was stone cold sober. That morning, I groused to Godsend, my colleague at The Grind, that traffic was slow.

Me: It’s obvious to me that this post is a leaden soufflé.

When I received the email from Krista at WordPress alerting me that I would be Freshly Pressed later that week I was surprised. I noticed the number 1,788,883, in our correspondence. I asked Krista if my post was the 1,788,883rd to receive this recognition. Was my lucky number 1,788,883? This prompted me to Google how many hairs there are on the average human head: 100,000. I wondered how many grains of sand there are on earth? Robert Krulwich at NPR’s answer:

“…[I]f you assume a grain of sand has an average size and you calculate how many grains are in a teaspoon and then multiply by all the beaches and deserts in the world, the Earth has roughly (and we’re speaking very roughly here) 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand, or seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains.”

I concluded that my post, the possibly 1,788,883rd Freshly Pressed, fell nicely in-between the average head of human hair and all the grains of sand in the world. Krista answered my email. She explained that 1,788,883 is a numerical ID code. There have been less than 12,000 posts that have been Freshly Pressed.

1 in 12,000.

1 in not quite 12,000.

I intended to write that deodorant post a week earlier, but that week had been hectic. I prefer to publish posts whole-assed rather than half-assed so I held off writing it. Delaying writing that post was one of the smartest moves of my life ranking with when I left my desk at another Grind a nanosecond before the ceiling collapsed directly over my chair.

The cynic in me, who comprises 99% of my being, is aware that so many other deserving bloggers have never been granted this validation once. This brings to mind a quote from the author Gore Vidal:

Gore Vidal: Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

I knew that feeling through my first 215 Lame Adventures. I returned to feeling like chopped liver through the next 195. You can never predict when your lucky number will come up, but hopefully it will be well before 1,788,883.

Regularly scheduled Lame Adventures will return next week.

Look, the Mona Lisa's in Manhattan!

Look, the Mona Lisa’s in Manhattan!

Lame Adventure 345: Stiffed Again

Three days after I needed a tenth quarter to do my wash at my local Chinese laundromat, the 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2012 were announced.

Above at the Ansonia, below lies my laundromat.

Those selected in the arts included a flutist and arts entrepreneur in Brooklyn, a writer and professor at MIT, a mandolinist and composer in New York City, as well as a novelist and journalist in Washington. Recipients with singular talent also made the cut including my personal favorite a stringed instrument bow maker in Boston.  He must have appreciated the irony in receiving what the New York Times called “a no-strings-attached $100,000 a year for five years”.

I could not help but notice that many of the artistic recipients reside in the East, but once again no web writer, such as a blogger and numismatist on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, made the grade.  One would imagine that “blogger and numismatist” has enough of an esoteric ring to fit in with that elite crowd.

The MacArthur Foundation awards, also referred to as genius grants, cannot be applied for.  According to Wikipedia, “People are nominated anonymously by a body of nominators who submit recommendations to a small selection committee of about a dozen people, also anonymous.”  Therefore, nobody involved knows anyone, but then every year — poof — a select cluster receives half a million clams paid out in quarterly installments over five years.  Nice award if you can win it.  The chosen could afford air conditioning and an iPhone.  In fact they would not need to tear their hovel apart in search of that one elusive quarter.  They could afford to have their laundry done.   Unfortunately, once again, bloggers, the Rodney Dangerfields of the written word, were given no respect.

Three days earlier I had nine quarters when I needed ten to do my wash.  I looked through the quarters in my coin tray, but alas, every one of those eight dollars in quarters were either from the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful series or the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program.

Coin tray full of rare coinage.

There are six coins in that program but thus far, I have only collected five.  It infuriates me that I’m still missing American Samoa, not that I have a clue where to find that territory on a map.  I have four Puerto Rico’s and three D.C.’s, but not a single American Samoa.  I also have five Grand Canyons and five Yosemite’s; rather popular tourist destinations with shoppers in my neighborhood unlike Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve quarter.  I think I will sooner see dead people than that one.  Even though I have duplicates of several coins in the America the Beautiful series, I refuse to subject any of my rare change the indignity of being ingested by the quarter quaffing machines at my laundromat. Although it is likely that when my niece, Sweetpea, inherits this fine collection, she’ll forget its distinction and will feed each and every one into a parking meter.

When I arrive at the laundromat, lacking a common Washington quarter circa 1998, I give the clerk two dollars and in exchange she gives me eight quarters.  One happens to be a Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter, a quarter I did not know I lacked for a place in New Mexico I never knew existed.  When I regain feeling in my mind I celebrate and toss that quarter in my coin tray.

If a time arrives when the MacArthur selection committee either collectively slips up or lowers the bar to floor level and lifts the ban on awarding their fellowship to web writers, possibly a blogger, maybe one that wears a second chapeau as a numismatist with a now $8.25 quarter collection, will be considered to share the wealth. Or maybe that blogger and numismatist will sooner gain the ability to see stiffs.

I see balloon people.