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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Year in Review - According to Blog

Blogging About The Blog, Holidays, The Year in Review, The Mothership

It occurred to me on the drive home from the day job last night that Gas Pains is more than six years old. That’s a lot of opinionating, hunting and fishing tales, foibles, trouble-making, stories, finger pointing, recipes and music over the old interweb. There have been apologies too. Just try posting an April fool’s joke sometime.  You do so at your own peril. Sometimes I think people take things too seriously.

Anyway this blogging business can upon occassion be a thankless task. The hours are long, the Mothership is a relentless taskmistress and the pay sucks. If it weren’t for the unconditional love of my 86 readers there are some days I wonder if it is worth sitting in front of the pale, ghostly glow cast by the flat screen monitor, cigar smoke heavy in the air, with two fingers of Jack Daniels at my elbow and bleeding fingertips as I tap-out another post. Not to mention the loss of precious bandwidth.

In any event this is what the staff here at Gas Pains tells me.

If I blog about anything that has a ‘How To’ theme to it tends to be popular. It doesn’t matter if it is about how to make bratwurst, how to make tomato juice or build a deer stand or how to make crispy crunchy sweet pickles. Topics like these have universal appeal beyond just Tosa. The one thing the Mothership has going for it is fairly decent search engine optimization. 

Surprisingly enough they’re totally incapable of delivering a real newspaper to my doorstep.  Yup.  No can do.

Which breaks the heart of this old tree farmer. We’ve had to cancel the physical paper subscription and replace it with an online subscription. And in case you haven’t noticed JSOnline struggles mightly with IE10 and recently blocked us (and maybe you too) from logging-on. The work-around is to use Firefox as a web browser. It’s all so sad. Nevertheless, search engine optimization for this blogger still works.

It’s easy to become a single issue blogger and I sometimes think that after I retire from the day job I might do just that. I’ve already accumulated thirty three years of material. Retire, successfully run for mayor and publish a single issue blog.  That's a slick plan.  We’ll see. For now I’m going to continue to mix it up and not get too breathless and sweaty about the opinion stuff.  Staff also tells me that recipes, critters, gardening and anything to do with deer camp are perennial favorites. Local stuff too – such as saving the Eschweilers and local politics. You know – the kinds of topics that tend to bounce around between the walls over at The Palace of Pure Thought. Mention guns (or gun control) and people will start lighting-up the internet and burning-up bandwidth.

Speaking of bandwidth – the Mothership changed the commenting feature on the Community Blogs this year. You now have to sign in through Facebook (FB) to comment. As an individual who had previously  resisted FB for a long, long time my only comments are as follows:

  • The FB commenting requirement has cast a chill upon the old, raucous give and take that used to be prevalent on the blogs. FB may be big but not everyone has a FB account.  Fact:  Most people value their privacy and most people don’t trust FB.  Therefore the majority of readers are summarily censored without cause. That sucks.
  • FB is a waste of time AND bandwidth. Gas Pains is now on FB and I have learned since then that way too many people spend way too much time on FB. I’d be willing to bet the economy would be back to full employment by now if the nation’s workforce were somehow prohibited from surfing FB until they were off the company clock.
  • FB tracks everything. And they save it. Even stuff you might write but delete before posting because you’ve had a change of mind. They save that too. For what reason I cannot say but it sure gives me the creeps.
  • The commenting requirement change is the single-most, biggest, bad idea to come along in a long, long time.

Thanks for indulging the rant. I am going to leave you all with some advice. Free advice too. As a guy that put himself through college bartending in Tosa four decades ago – be careful out there tonight as the pubs, restaurants and roads are populated by amateurs.   I’d like to see you back here in the New Year.

Be safe and best wishes for good health and prosperity in 2014. Let’s all hope the Mothership gets rid of the Facebook commenting requirement. 


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