Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sage Blogging Advice From the HoseMaster After 199 Posts

 
According to Blogger, this is my 200th HoseMaster post, at least in this incarnation. I stopped being funny about #23. Every single day I wonder why I do this. I think I finally know the answer—the retirement package. It’s so generous. The same pay as I’m making now, and free health care at any emergency room. And I’ll receive a plaque in the Wine Blogger Hall of Fame, currently under construction in Hell, thanks to a generous grant from Robert Parker, who is planning to move there in the near future from his own private Hell. 

For those of you new to blogging, I thought I’d share some of the hard-earned wisdom that has come my way via HoseMaster of Wine. I wish someone had warned me about this stuff before I started typing. It would have saved me a lot of grief, heartache and hate mail.


NEVER READ ABOUT YOURSELF ON OTHER BLOGS

It’s depressing. Especially if you read about yourself here. That’s really depressing. In the beginning, I got very excited if someone mentioned my name in their blog. Now it’s like when they call your name for jury duty—you know you’re in for a long, boring ride. Once in a while, I used to Google my blog’s name. It’s a pretty distinctive name, shared by a band, a plumbing company and a bunch of black guys who gangbang white girls. I’m not making that up. I’d sue them, but I’m basically scared of them. They each have several inches on me. I mean, they have a longer reach. No, wait a minute, it’s because I once belonged to Big Brothers. Oh, I don’t know. But I’ve stopped Googling my blog name. When I read what others say about me on their blogs, I’m stunned. Not by what they say, but with how poorly they say it. I like a nasty remark as much as the next guy, but, for God’s sake, it should have some wit. What’s the difference between the Wine Bloggers Conference and the morgue? Toe tags. Though I think Randall Grahm has one. And, anyway, writers should never read their reviews. I seem to be much loved and much loathed. But I knew that without reading my name elsewhere. Take my advice, do not read about yourself. And while you’re at it, don’t read about me either.


NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY

There was a time when I wanted the word “monetize” banned from wine blogs, but the most annoying word now is “journey.” Yes, life is a goddam journey, is that the most original idea you’ve had during your damned journey? No one cares that you’re going to write about wine and that you want us to join you on your journey to discover it. REALLY. No one gives even one little teeny-tiny yeast fart. We might care about your journey into nymphomania, or into gay Scientology, or maybe into soft tacos, but your journey to discover wine is about as thrilling as a Tony Danza film festival. The minute people see the word “journey” in your About Me profile, they leave your site. It’s a dead damn giveaway that the last original thought you had died of starvation. If you currently have that word on your blog, get rid of it. It’s part of your blog journey.


NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY PEOPLE READ A WINE BLOG

All that crap about “I have 30,000 hits a month” is just that. Crap, and mostly aimed at getting free stuff. There are dozens of ways to measure the number of visits to a blog, and each gives a vastly different number. It’s like the paid attendance at a baseball game—who cares? Eighty per cent of them aren’t paying attention anyway. Those 30,000 hits a month?—picture all those empty seats behind home plate when you watch a game on TV and it’s declared a sellout. Most of the people who visit wine blogs—empty seats. The vast majority of wine blogs—sellouts.


THE COMMENTS ARE NOT ABOUT YOU

If you’re lucky enough to get comments, remember that the comments are not about you, they are about the commenters. This is unlikely to be a problem for you. Recently, I looked at a bunch of the nominated Best New Wine Blogs, and only once or twice did I see a post that had more than 1 comment, and that was usually from WineHarlots, so that doesn’t count. (By the way, DO NOT look at those nominated Best New Wine Blogs, especially if you’re pregnant or will be operating heavy machinery. They’re either written by Aussies on Quaaludes, or perhaps as Quaaludes, or mostly plagiarized from Wikipedia.) Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the regular cast of misfits, evil geniuses and misanthropes who comment here. But I’m just the ringmaster, here to oversee the three rings where they display their polished acts. Just stay out of your commenters’ way and they’ll be happy.


MEMORIZE THE TOPIC THAT WILL GENERATE THE MOST COMMENTS

Wine Bloggers
 

46 comments:

Alfonso Cevola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

please come and pick up your feral cats that we spayed and neutered. It has been three months now and we need the space...

Napa valley SPCA

Anonymous said...

please come and pick up your ferrari red go carts which we sprayed and neutralized. we need the space

Sears Point go-cart liquidators

SUAMW said...

You forgot: "Don't have conversations with yourself in your blog posts - no matter how ¡important! you think you are."

Thomas said...

"misfits, evil geniuses and misanthropes"

To the circus acts: do you know which one describes you?

Me--just a spectator (can I use that word on a wine blog?).

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh, Oh! Can I be an evil misfit?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

I'm clearly the clown, which encompasses all three.

You, a spectator? Hardly. You're one of the star attractions, like the Bearded Woman or the Poodle-Faced Boy. The circus can't afford to lose you, or have you just spectating.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

No. But you can be an evil perfect fit.

Comment Deleted said...

Now I will never know what I said.

Thomas said...

Ron,

Will it be ok if I expectorate instead of spectate?

Samantha Dugan said...

Thomas,
He gives gold stars if you pontificate while you expectorate...or so I've heard.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

200 of these stupid posts seemed like a landmark to me. Or a tombstone. Take your pick.

If someone had told me a year ago that I'd last this long, I'd have laughed. STEVE! posted today about reaching the four year mark of his blog. I have no idea how he does it. And I have no idea why I've done it. Or why any of the eight people who read it, read it.

Now I just have to figure out a reason to keep doing it. Not easy being a Poodle. Everyone thinks they're better than you. And their butts smell bad.

Anonymous said...

I give this blog post 199 points!

-James Suckling

Anonymous said...

I give this blog post 200 points!

- Robert Parker

Thomas said...

Ron,

The best thing about this blog, after the humor, is that I don't have to wait for all the ads and pictures and other stuff to load up before I can read the post and comment.

I've stopped reading many blogs for that reason alone (well, not alone: waiting that long for drivel is a double slap).

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Here's another interesting stat--your last comment was the 3500th over the 200 posts, which averages out to 175 comments per post!!

OK, I know, it averages out to 17.5 comments per post. Somewhat over wine blog averages, I'm guessing.

There was a time I had a lot of people who wanted to "advertise" on HoseMaster, but I haven't been solicited in months and months. Of course, if I had accepted advertising, I'd be richer by about $45. You're worth at least that.

For a guy who doesn't read many blogs, I sure see you commenting all over the place. How long does it take 1WineDoody to download? Heck, I didn't even know he was on the download...

Richard Jennings said...

Nice take off on Steve H's recent attempt to bestow his wisdom, or whatever that was.

Can we get an "amen" to your comment about people's "journey?" I know I tune out when I hit that word in someone's blog bio. Yeeeech.

Thomas said...

"All over the place" is relative.

Here's a joke for you: yesterday I received my share of a class action settlement against Google's Adsense for some esoteric reason that i have forgotten.

The check arrived wit this warning on it: "Pleas cash this check no later than 12/26/1012, because after that date the check will no longer be negotiable.

The amount of the check: 40 cents. I kid you not.

Apparently, the settlement represents about the same amount in earnings that most bloggers would make from the program.

Still, I can't help wondering how much the attorneys in the class action suite get to keep for their, er, service.

Thomas said...

Oops. the date is 2012, not 1012.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Richard,

Actually, I wrote this post more than two weeks ago, before STEVE! published his fourth anniversary column. I always try to work four or five posts ahead, unless something timely demands that I spoof it that week--not common in the wine biz. We're a dull bunch.

You sent me your list of Best New Wine Blogs that you had to endure as a judge of the Wine Blog Awards. I apologize that I didn't send you my thoughts about those blogs, but I looked at most and it was incredibly discouraging. But it did remind me how unbelievably pedestrian and jejune it is to describe your wine blog as a "journey," like you're fucking Odysseus when you're more like William Trevor's Felicia.

I'm interested to see which blogs you nominated, Richard. After glancing through most, I certainly won't hold you accountable. Slim pickin's, indeed.

Marcia Macomber said...

Expectorate, spectate, pontificate... wait--aren't these all part of a lyrics sequence in the Mikado? Oh, wait, no. Something of Sting's... Surely most commentors are here to pontificate. It's what we do as a substitute for NOT writing another wine blog... :-)

Thomas said...

pontif...pontificate...

Do the latter regard themselves as the former?

I'll give odds.

Kathy said...

Nothing much to add but admire your writing (would love you but there is only one truly wonderful Samantha).
And you are right, Marcia. I started thinking about writing a blog way before I went into menopause. Ron isn't menopausal and we are better for it.
Since Brad Pitt (from Springfield, Mo, corporate home of the Assemblies of God and BassPro) isn't doing Billionaires Vinegar he is obviously available, Ron. How's the screenplay going?

1winedude said...

Thomas - my check was $0.31, so beers are totally on you next time.

HMW - Me not being able to read about 1WineDoody on other blogs fundamentally eliminates 80% of the content here and on STEVE!'s blog. C'mon, man, what the hell am I supposed to do with all of that free time, taste more samples of $12 Argentine Malbec?!?? Have you no humanity??!????

Thomas said...

Joe,

Are you going to cash it?

I figure that if we don't, that's more money for the attorneys to keep. The only problem is: it costs me $2 to drive to the bank...

1winedude said...

Thomas - HA! Well, I will cash it I think, once I have real checks to cash along with it...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia,

Don't forget regurgitate, which is what I generally make readers do.

Kathy,

As ever, thank you. I haven't gone through menopause but I have gone through my old posts, which definitely gave me night sweats. And I love you too. Samantha can share.

Joe Dude,

First of all, now I'm mad I never used Adsense. Let's not forget it cost them 45 cents to mail the damned checks for 40 and 31 cents. Just my two cents.

And I rarely see you mentioned on STEVE! any more. I assumed it was an ugly breakup, like Tom and Katie, and just let it go. I use you a lot because between us we have the two coolest and best recognized nicknames in the wine blogosphere--1WineDoody and HoseMaster. Well, that and you deserve it...

Thomas,

Way to go, you monetized your old blog!

Thomas said...

Joe,

Now you see that us old print pros get the big coins.

Ron,

I meenieweenietized the old blog.

It did not cost them 45 cents to mail the check--they have a First Class Permit, not to be confused with a First Class Ticket to Ride.

But--big Butt! They did have to pay for the paper and the printing, not to mention the UPC Code rental fee.

I'm thinking of sending the administrator an email to ask if this is for real and to thank him/her for all the work he/she must have done to get this sum of money out to so many of us worthy bloggers. Then, I'm going to ask how he/she made out on the deal.

Do you think that's a good plan?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Only if you think your time is worth less than the postage and the check put together.

Sophia said...

You had me at "bunch of black guys who gangbang white girls." Seriously?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Sophia,

Yes. Seriously.

Now THAT'S social media.

Dean Tudor said...

Ron, my subscription to your blog ran out today. please tell me how I can renew and what it now costs, plus an address where I can mail you my cheque in US dollars (or, is that "check in US dollars" ?).

Funny that you do not send out renewal notices.

We really appreciate your blog in Canada, which, as you know, is a wine-free zone.

Maybe someday the Middle East Spring will arrive in Canad and we can overthrow the tyranny of state booze monopolies...

Power to the people!!

Let me know where I can send the cheque/check. This time it will not be a letter bomb.

1WineDoody said...

Ron... Give it time, STEVE! and I will get back together at some point, sort of like Mick & Keith only with less coke and a LOT less hookers and groupies...

Alfonso Cevola said...

Ron

Sage blogging advice from one sagging blogger to another

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Dean,

Hell, I haven't even renewed my own subscription to HoseMaster. The whole damned blog has expired, or is, at the very least, in a coma.

Doody,

Mick and Keith? More like Captain and Tennille. And if you have groupies, man, you don't need hookers. Only bloggers pay for it.

Alfonso,

Yeah, I know. I hate it when I wade into the ocean and my balls get wet before my trunks do.

Marcy Gordon said...

This comment is about me. This post was inspired by you-

http://www.comeforthewine.com/2012/06/five-stages-of-wine-blogging.html

You'll have to break rule number one if you read it.

Beau said...

At first, I didn't like this blog, it seemed like the bitter rantings of an angry old dude who was forced to buy wine at Trader Joe's.

Then, I read more posts, some of the short stories. I laughed my ass off. I began to see the humor that is at once self-flagellating but also self deprecating. And the myriad little hooks thrown into all who dare take themselves too seriously, glorious!

Sadly, now I too am hooked, awaiting each new post with the same eager anticipation that I await my dog's morning turd.

Keep up the good work, Hosemaster. Here's to at least three more posts, before you retire once more.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Beau,

Thanks, I guess.

I've talked about this previously in the comments section of my blog. I do this nonsense for fun, and for the odd, pure and inexplicable joy of writing comedy. If I make people laugh, if I make them angry, if I make them profoundly weary, if I make them think, I'm not sure I care. I can't control reactions. I can barely control what I write.

Many of my posts are written as etudes of tone. I get an idea for a post, and then I decide what sort of tone I want to use. Angry, whimsical, pedantic, weird, satirical... I try to vary the tone as much as possible all in the context of the character of the HoseMaster. I expect that everyone who shows up here regularly will like certain posts and hate others. I'm not trying to be 1WineDoody (and I like him) or Alderpated or Tom Wark (like him too). I'm trying to be odd, unpredictable, occasionally offensive and funny. So your reaction is one I appreciate, and I thank you for your honesty and candor.

And, by the way, Beau, when I was learning about wine back in the 1970's, Trader Joe's was THE place to buy wine in Southern California. I bought the best California wines there as well as First Growth Bordeaux, Chateau d'Yquem, and great Rhone wines. No one could touch their selection and quality and price in the day. Lots of crap has mad me angry in my life, but not shopping at TJ's.

Beau said...

Ron, While you needn't explain your motives or writings, I appreciate it nonetheless, as it illuminates the Hosemaster just a little bit more.

As far as Trader Joe's, I recall some of your previous comments about the wine selection. I spent a frustrating 4.5 years working the wine section of a store in Southern California, lamenting the plonk that is now sold there. I vaguely recall the late 90's/00's when you could still get delicious wines there for reasonable prices.

I suppose when the company makes around 9 billion dollars a year at 360+ stores, something's got to slip.

Thanks for keeping us bloggers in check.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Beau,

I was speaking to a winemaker Thursday, who, to his dismay, is a fan of HoseMaster, and we were speaking about the creative process. As much as I love wine, and I love wine a LOT (I often wish more people strove to love wine rather than know wine), I am far more enamored of the creative process. So starting this blog was always about re-exploring that process as it works in my twisted mind. It's almost an accident that it's been focused on wine and wine bloggers. That the HoseMaster is often seen as an "enemy" of wine
bloggers is both validating and peculiar at the same time.

It's not much of a secret, but it bears repeating; when I insult bloggers I do not exempt myself from that category. I've never denied that I'm just another attention-barking Poodle worthy of the HoseMaster's contempt.

Lior said...

Ron,

On behalf of those who read and don't comment, which may include people other than myself, depending how many Napa merlot bottles one consumed while making this assessment - please keep going.

I read everything, laugh like a limo driver missing the turn to Opus, and get some perspective about my own writing and taking oneself seriously.

Thanks!

I'll raise a magnum of Petaluma late vintage tempranillo for the success of the next 200 posts

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Lior,

It's one thing to take your writing seriously and another to take yourself too seriously. Thank you for knowing the difference, and for taking time to comment.

I cannot imagine I'll do 200 more posts. But, as they say about any addictive and life-threatening behavior, like blogging, I'll take it one post at a time.

John M. Kelly said...

Ron - a day late and $0.31 or $0.40 short here, but I have not had a lot of time to keep up with your work lately - I've been breathlessly waiting to see who got WBC finalist.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw you on that list! Oh well.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

John.

Yes, I know, I've disappointed everyone by being a Poodle Nominee. I knew I shouldn't have nominated myself! Damn, shit just backfires.

So do you think it would be poor taste to make fun of my fellow nominees?

trriley08 said...

When will the prizes for journey-free blog bios be mailed out? And thank you for scaring me into rereading, very closely, my own write-up. And, I promise never to use journey again. Ever. For any reason. I won't even mention that music group.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Trriley,

Journey-free blogs are their own reward. And Journey-free playlists are also better by definition. Say "journey" fifteen times in a row and it's one of those words that loses all meaning. "Terroir" only takes twice.

Thanks for commenting, and even more thanks for not doing it anonymously.