The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.
Most know, or will quickly find out, I am no blog business guru and to be frank, StPA is purely self-expression via my own mindful meanderings covering a multitude of topics from the environment to photography.
Therefore, you might, as I initially did, think this Rudolph exercise holds little relevance in the blogging world and is akin to writing one of those verbose, but glib ‘mission statements.’ [Groan]
Those two words, ‘mission statement,’ is enough for me to tune out and yet, reading further, I quickly realized that I did want to know where I might be headed blog-wise, and that a little blogging self-examinationmay indeed be useful, at least to me. Add to that, Ally mentioned that she was curious to see where the framework would take other bloggers. Thus, I’d dive right in. I may have taken it in a tangent way off the original intention, but it IS an experiment so who knows where we will end up.
Following are the Framework questions. One fills in the blanks for how it pertains to your blog. Like one of those grammar exercises back in school. Easy, right?
Something to Ponder About Blog’s Rudolph Framework
Once upon a time, there was a blog focused on information important enough to share with others that promoted open, independent discussion called Something to Ponder About.
It has the capacity to question, to inform, to frustrate and possibly to validate aspects of environmental change, in addition to various other topics.
Some people doubt it because they’re sure technology will be the saviour in any environmental disaster and the blogosphere is merely filled with rank amateurs who not only ignore contradictory information and opinions, but seem hell-bent on locking up the planet, subverting business progress or fixate on their own capitalistic endeavours. [which is incorrect].
But one day, the earth shouts at ALL its people so loudly that heads turn and deaf ears and closed eyes open.
Which means that more folks become interested in environmental change and start to connect with bloggers and others who recognize we all live on one heavenly body.
To help the awareness of planetary health and survival for all sentient beings.
And that matters because the global population needs access to independent information and different opinions, from many diverse sources which results in an informed global community, who might be more proactive about positive change, mindful of equity and respectful of differences.
In the process, you help coalesce a community of global cohesiveness and egalitarian understanding with blogs being one small catalyst.
The Planet gets a kiss!
Applying the Rudolph Framework to Your Own Blog
If you wish to try this writing experiment with your own blog, check in with Ally. Blogger etiquette would suggest you cite Ann Handley and include a pingback to The Spectacled Bean.
Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.
Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.
It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.
This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.
Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.
My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.
Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.
We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.
Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.
Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.
Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.
Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?
I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.
Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.
I decided I should speak up.
“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.
Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.
“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”
“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.
“Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.
“Umm.I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.
I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.
“Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”
I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.
Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.
Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.
Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.
Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.
After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.
We had arrived.
Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge
Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?
Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.
After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.
Experts lay the origin of certain mental health complaints squarely at the foot of one’s early life experiences. That said, can they really account for as much as is suggested? If not, should psychological interventions be tailored to take this thought into account?
Environment and Genetics – Nature versus Nurture.
Marsha hosts a Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge –#WQWWC which I am joining in a little early today – as it is Wednesday here, already.
I believe the theme this week is Trustworthiness. My take on this theme is a little skewed, but I thought – Can I trust my intuition, my own thoughts? Should I trust my intuition?
Yesterday two things came to mind, nothing serious, just thoughts and today, those two things were most significant in events, both, in my house and the larger region where I live.
Intuition or coincidence?
Does this ever happen to you?
If you have pre-cognitive thoughts, do you or should you, trust them?
Sometimes, Australian Slang causes problems. Every Aussie uses it. When you’re born here, the meaning of those strange, shortened words are absorbed by osmosis. We are hardly even cognizant we’re saying them. We assume everyone understands what we mean.
However, being so different to standard English words, the Australian Vernacular makes it difficult for non-native English speakers to understand, especially for those whose exposure to English has only been within the classroom, or via TV sit-coms. The full meaning of slang is often lost.
Mail Order Brides in Australia
Before the days of Tinder and dating agencies becoming mainstream, older single or widowed Aussie men might meet a prospective wife via a newspaper ad and through letters from The Philippines. Mail Order Brides wasn’t a nice social practice, but this story is not so much about that issue, as it is about the language barrier where slang is concerned.
The Moth’s (Man of the House), elderly Aunt had been divorced from her husband, Bob for some time, even though he still attended family gatherings. As Bob aged, he longed for company, so no one was particularly surprised when a delightful older lady, named Mary, accepted his offer to leave the Philippines, marry him and live in Australia.
Australia Day Family Barbeque
One Australia Day, Mary and Bob attended a family barbeque not far from their new home. Most of the farmers in the area were also extended family members, so Bob introduced his new wife to the family and also to country hospitality: ie barbeque food: meat, sausages, pavlova and loads of Beer. Very traditional, if you are Australian.
A few hours later, it was clear to all that Mary’s new husband had consumed far too many beers to drive either of them home.
Lost in Translation
As Mary was impatient to leave, she started walking home along the long, dusty road, herself. As she went to leave, an approaching car pulled over. Leaning out the car window, a neighbouring farmer shouted:
“Where ya headed, luv?”
“I go home,” Mary answered, eyes a little downcast. Guessing she was the newcomer who lived at least a half hour’s walk away, the old farmer flashed a big grin and said:
“Come with me, luv. I’ll run you over.”
Terrified, with eyes as big as saucers, Mary turned around and dashed back to her husband’s side, crying,
“I not want to die. He kill me.”
Aghast and confused, Bob stuttered, “Steady on, luvie ….Whad, whadya mean?“
An ever so slight adaptation of a quote from William James.
When things are grim for Christmas in your part of the world, it may help to ponder an old Norwegian saying: “behind those those dark clouds, the sky is always blue”. The old Norwegians did not have an easy life through the long, harsh, unforgiving winter. One group of settlers died out, literally starving to death in Greenland, but even so they balanced their negative thinking with such a positive saying.
In olden times, a negative attitude may not have been conducive to a successful community. They may have had to put emotions on the back burner and concentrate on sourcing or rationing meager food supplies. Life priorities were vastly different and yet, all that time these old people were fostering self-reliance and resilience to adversity.
We can learn much from their attitude if we are open to it.
What do you think? Is action correlated with our level of happiness?
We spend a lot of time in our own headspace, either at work or at home relaxing. In lockdown, some of us might be alone with our emotional thoughts, much more than we have ever experienced before.
This level of introspection, or mulling over problems, can get to a person, especially if they are a deep thinker or highly sensitive.
Concentration, Energy and Motivation
The extent to which we are occupied by our emotional-driven thoughts is often the extent to which energy is diverted away from our working memory, our concentration and motivation. We find it hard to concentrate on our work when we have something on our mind. The monkey mind, it is often called.
Caught Up in Our Emotions
We talk about being caught up in our emotions and it can feel like being trapped inside your own head. At these times, it is hard to re-focus on matters at hand. Our worry or frustration centres switch on and at times, go into, ‘overdrive.’
But those thoughts in our worry centre, are not reality-based thoughts. They are magnified, exagerrated, skewed or biased. We are so much more than those thoughts. Thoughts are not who a person is. Yet we give them power over our moods.
Just like a loud noise that bothers us, trying hard to block it out, will inevitably make the noise appear louder. This is because our focus on the noise has increased. We might even become angry and frustrated.
If we can’t remove the offending noise, we must decrease our focus in order to tolerate the annoying noise, or the many frustrations of our lives. If our attention is diverted away from focusing on the noise or the frustrations, we tend not to notice it and its persistence wanes.
Practising Mindful Strategies to Prevent Worry
Similarly, we can re-focus our attention away from the abyss of introspection, by practising ‘Mindfulness‘ techniques, which are designed to assist us in staying within the present moment. The only time we can act and live is right now, in the present moment. Everything else, the past and the future is only a construct of our minds, so focus on the here-and-now.
The Glennon Doyle and Buddha quotes may have been at odds, but one might assume their objectives were the same.
As if Covid isn’t enough to contend with, have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go as it should? Where it seems the forces of the Universe are set against anything going smoothly? Yes, it was one of those.
Chaos Rules or Life by Crisis Management
A friend I haven’t spoken to for over a year sends a message, out of the blue, with only the words, “How are you?” There was no other context to her message and yes it was her – I did check. A little odd or, perhaps, spontaneous. She was just wondering how I was, she said. After a year without communication!
My daughter rings to make an appointment at a medical specialist doctor and the Receptionist asks her to supply a full length photo for a the appointment. Weird. Full length?
Three out of three kids then had mini breakdowns of sorts on the same night, unrelated to each other, sending us scampering from one to the next in succession. It was a busy night.
That same night the neighbour sent me a message at 7pm that he wants to come sit on my garden bench for a while. Did he have a fight with his partner, I wonder? This is out of character. I only saw the message at 9pm whilst scampering to and fro, said kids.
Finally late on the same day as ALL of the above:
We discovered the new pup had eaten the TV remote control, yes, the plastic controller part. The Moth’s favourite activity is to watch television and you can imagine what the Moth said when it became apparent he could not change the channels or adjust the volume. Not to mention the possible harm to the puppy, which resulted in my daughter having to check the poo for remnants of plastic when she walked the dog around our estate, for the next few days.
Not so strange, I suppose, but given that we live in an area where there are lots of tradie workmen building new homes, you have to imagine the strident scene of strange stares and comments when they see a pretty young teen, now adult, picking up dog poo on the footpath, then examining it closely, feeling it and squishing it around in her hands, (inside the doggy poo bag of course)!
It seems the little pup has a penchant for chewing anything. Here’s more evidence of her dental disasters.
And the final piece of news – we have “worms.”
Not in our bodies thank goodness; we’ve merely purchased a batch of garden-variety, soil-improving worms and installed them in their new home at the Home by the Sea.
At least the worms aren’t having a personal crisis or feeling chocked up with plastic remote controls.
Those pesky ads that show in the body, and the end, of a WordPress Post; do they annoy you? As a reader, would you prefer not to see them? I am vacillating between paying to remove them and leaving them as they are.
So I think it is time to ask the Blogger Brains Trust, all of you clever people in the blogosphere:
Should I pay to remove ADs shown on my blog posts?
To help me in my decision, I would love you to answer the below poll.
Ad Content for Blogs
Worth remembering is that we, as bloggers can not control the content of the ads according to WordPress, particularly if we have a free plan. Interestingly, WordPress hands this important decision over to their advertising software:
We screen the ads we display for mature or illegal content. Sometimes, however, you or visitors to your site might still see ads you object to — for example, ads for political causes or products you oppose. We do not endorse the content of any ad, and we encourage you to inform your audience that ads are not selected by site owners, but rather generated by our advertising software.
I was saddened to read of the tragic death of Prince Harry. The young Prince and Father killed in a horse-riding accident in the early hours of this morning. Only hours after the news of the Prince’s death broke, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, choked on a cucumber sandwich and couldn’t be revived when ambulances arrived at his home. The world is in shock.
Then again, I could be making the whole thing up, couldn’t I?
Would you believe it?
It is so easy to post misleading information. A few twitter or facebook posts and a monster takes form, spreading like wildlfire across social media.
Taylor Swift has been declared dead in news reports, three times, but remains alive and well.
Some people stridently believe Paul McCartney died in 1966 and all appearances by him since, are mere look-a-like impersonators designed to keep the lie going. Confirmation for them is a song, by John Lennon and George Harrison which, when played backwards says, ‘Paul is dead, miss him, miss him, miss him.’
These examples are ludicrous, but is evidence that many folks will BELIEVE certain things about ANY subject.
Can we be certain just where our information comes from and whether it is grounded in fact or hearsay?
Person 1: Why are we still in lockdown? The Corona virus is nothing more than a cold.
Person 2: People don’t generally die from a cold. We must keep the borders closed.
We all have different opinions and perspectives and that makes for vigorous discussions around the world; discussions that sometimes affects our relationships. That is no less true for topics such as Climate Change and Corona.
Do you think about where your information is coming from?
Is it verified by authentic sources? What do you consider an authentic source?
A scholarly article backed up by studies? Anecdotal evidence? A blog post?
Confirmation Bias and the Dunning Kruger Effect
Is our upbringing, values, political persuasion or faith blocking our understanding? Are we only seeking out information that supports what we already think? This is known as Confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias is even more pronounced in a world where we can use our social media to filter out information we don’t want to absorb and where we follow influencers who reinforce our existing beliefs.
We all struggle with something outside of our experience level, says J. Marshal Shepherd, an American Meteorologist. Because of this, scepticism and individual biases can block our understanding and skew our opinions.
Rebecca Huntley states that focus group participants, with no scientific training or credentials, will pick apart facts and figures regarding climate science. This is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger bias.
This human tendency for people to think they know more than they actually do, as well as underestimate what they don’t know, is called the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Once people encounter a viewpoint that is at odds with what they perceive to be true, they experience discomfort, or cognitive dissonance.
Rebecca explains that when this occurs:
They then try to resolve their discomfort by arguing away the new evidence until it’s consistent with their own beliefs.
Inadvertantly they reinforce the skewed perspectives.
Is Your View the only One?
So next time you read or hear a report:
Question the accuracy of the information and be aware of what it is that might be shaping our views and perceptions, (or misperceptions), about science and the world?
I have had many blogger friends comment that they are having issues with adding images or aligning images with the new block editor.
I’ve been using the WordPress Block Editor since it was offered as the Gutenberg trial a year or so ago. Now I can honestly say I cannot remember how I ever used the old Classic version. In fact, I had much more trouble with images that were not in alignment using the Classic editor, than I do with the new version.
There are some changes, but there also are some great features I have not tried before.
For example, I really enjoyed using the new image compare block which I featured in a recent post.
I also like the new options for adding galleries, slideshows and the increased flexibility with media and text options. The best part of all is the ability to move blocks up and down. I do this all the time when writing a blog post.
Is it just me that does this?
Adding an Image to a WordPress Blog Post
Add an image to your post using the + button to add a new block, select image, then choose whether you wish to upload a new image by:
Copying a URL for an image found at another site (right-click on the photo to grab the “copy image location” on the photograph and press CTRL V or paste that URL into the prompt box provided on your post and click enter.
N.B. In sharing from Google photos you may need to check your privacy settings in Google photos or the image may not appear correctly.
Re-sizing or Adjusting Images for WordPress Blog Posts
A useful tip for new bloggers is to resize your photos to an optimum size for uploading.
There are many types of resizing tools on the net; I use a re-sizing app on my Android phone as most of my pics are taken with the mobile these days. Imgur is another useful tool for blogs if you are looking to add GIFs or internet memes.
I have found 800 x 600 px is a good size to aim for. Detailed pictures are awesome to see in high quality, however, they take too long to load. Slow loading of photos and therefore your site, is something that may turn readers off. This is especially true, if your site is photo heavy, as photography/travel blogs tend to be.
I also adjust images on the sidebar on the right. There is a drop-down under ‘Block.’ You can choose a default normal presentation for your photo, or a rounded corner view, and set the size or enter certain image dimensions. You will even find some advanced settings such as AMP for viewing on mobile devices.
Who doesn’t use their phone to read blogs?
Do you have a favorite re-sizing tool that you use?
Add a Featured Image in a WordPress Blog Post
Adding a featured image in the “Post” settings on the sidebar, of your draft post, gives your blog a professional look and secondly, gives a visual indication of what the post might be about to the person reading your blog. It can grab the attention of new readers who are skimming through the WordPress reader and you can secure a new follower, if that is your aim?
The featured image should have a size of at least 1200 by 675 pixels or you will have a blank white section around the photo in the header. (NB. This is theme dependent).
Using the Columns block in WordPress
Anne mentioned she had trouble using the columns block.
I haven’t used this much, but always lamented that a free WordPress blog plan did not offer columns.
Columns might be especially good for posting recipes if you are a food blogger.
There is quite a choice of size presentations once you select the columns block. This one I am using here is 70/30 [text versus image].
And don’t forget to add your favorite blocks to the
re-useable blocks for fast access. It is quite handy.
How do you find the new WordPress editor?
I’d love to hear how long it took you to adjust to the new editor, or if you are still struggling, what it is that you dislike about it? Let me know in a comment below.
I recently volunteered to assist an animal rescue group. I am retired so would like to contribute more to community not-for-profit organizations.
This group have a private messenger chat so that they can access volunteers quickly when someone has called in an injured animal. I put my hand up and I wanted to help. I was added to the private group chat as advised during my “induction.”
All good so far.
Recently, a message came in via the group chat that help was needed, at a location, less than 1 km away from my place. The main rescuer, it went on to say, has a bad back and needs help lifting a cage. I am new at this task, but okay, I think, sure I can help. I indicate this on the group chat saying I can be there in a jiffy.
There is no response.
Just silence, which seems highly unusual, going by what I have read so far on past chat convos. So after ten minutes or so, I again message the group: “Look I am new at this, it would be my first rescue, but I can definitely help lift the cage and am in walking distance of the location.“
The response is strange: “If you do want to help, you will have to contact Don.”
Me: “Who is Don and how do I contact him?“
After 10 minutes, the response comes: “I don’t give out other people’s phone numbers.”
I mull over this and think how, the devil, am I to help if I am not given the contact details of the person I need to contact.
So I give up. Maybe this group isn’t for me. They are clearly worried about privacy issues. Which frustrates me, well, it really pisses me off. I could discuss this later with the President, to clarify matters but right now I feel unsure if this is the right group for me in my retirement. It all seems a little too hard. Doesn’t it?
What do you think?
How many times have you, as an individual, listed your phone number on a internet sales purchase, delivery form, survey, hotel, tradesmen enquiry, or Covid declaration in a cafe, of late? If you are like me, it is all the darn time. So why are they frightened of giving out a number in a closed group within a private chat amongst volunteers who are all interested in helping animals, I wonder?
The irony is a week or so later, an unrelated email comes out with all and sundry’s email addresses listed. So much for privacy concerns.
Has privacy issues gone so far as to block communication?*
*N.B. I am not advocating advertising your phone number publicly, as no one wants unfettered offers aka spam texts or messages that contain offers of enlargement medications, bitcoin or the opportunity to be the sole beneficiary of an inheritance from a stranger from Sierra Leone, do they? Me neither.
Nine years ago, I was sipping a cup of deliciously decadent, silky-smooth, hot chocolate for a minimal price at the Rathaus Cafe in Offenbach, Germany.
I remember glancing at the temperature gauge, noting it was zero degrees celsius outside, before watching a squirrel, as he scurried around the branches of the weeping tree nearby. It was the first time we had seen a squirrel, more familiar as we were with marsupial creatures with young in pouches. We were fascinated.
The large, deciduous tree was fast losing the remainder of its pugnacious, golden-brown, Autumnal leaves and stood like a slowly wilting sentinel, witnessing the imminent passing of its foliage’s use-by-date.
To some, it might be just a tree, in a not so unique village in Germany. To me, this tree was like a wrinkled, weathered face: elegant, wise and experienced in its maturity and so very different from anything back home.
It wasn’t just magnificent, this tree had history. Not only did it provide shade and shelter, it emanated clean air as large trees do and contrasted ever so softly with the harsh lines of the historically significant structures around it.
This majestic beast framed the entrance of a park adjacent to the white neo-baroque manor house that, to me, resembled what I imagined to be a ‘Von Trap,’ style mansion. Having just arrived from the subtropical heat of a humid Australian city, I thought I had stepped into heaven!
Busing Palais in Offenbach
The Busing Palais in Offenbach was home to 18th-century entrepreneurs Peter Bernard and Johann Georg d’Orville, and the likes of Goethe would spend summers there. All but destroyed in 1943, this manor house was rebuilt to become a Museum, Library and of late, a conference centre.
Not only that but a Scloss, or Castle and Chapel completed a heritage square nearby.
As much as I enjoyed the architecture, the Festival of Leaves around me was the real jewel in the crown.