Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I Find Myself at a Crossroads

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I miss writing for the #WeekendCoffeeShare linkup. I also miss writing the pop culture posts, and wanking about social media, and occasionally ranting about politics. Writing — especially high-frequency writing that’s done just for fun — has to be a habit if you’re going to do it consistently. Sadly, I’ve gotten myself out of the habit.

newcoffee

I’d tell you I miss reading a dozen blogs a week and chatting with people on comment threads even more than I miss publishing my own posts. Facebook has somewhat taken over my social media life, because for the last several months, my internet time has come in unpredictable 20- and 30-minute blocks. And let’s just face it. Communication on Facebook is way easier than communicating on blog threads.

Well, I have a lot more free time than I am accustomed to this weekend, so I’m planning to spend quite a bit of time in the blogosphere. After I add this post to the linkup at Part Time Monster, I plan to check out the Princess Bride Linkup Party at WriteOnSisters.com.a-princess-bride-linkup-party_

I may even re-watch that movie this afternoon and see if I can rush out a post for the linkup myself. You can check out the FAQ here and you can add your own post to the linkup here and you can also share Princess Bride links using the hashtag #PrincessBrideParty. Check it out! It’s sure to be a lot of fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you we’re closing in on the time of year where I typically cut back on my blogging and start planning for January. I do this because in my experience, mid-November to late December is the worst time to try and get anything except holiday-themed content seen on the Internet. I’ve blogged so little this year, there’s really nothing to cut back on, but I am still taking stock and trying to make some decisions about what I’m going to do next year.

Part Time Monster and Comparative Geeks have both moved recently and they are both still thriving, so I feel as though I accomplished the two most important goals I set for myself when I came back to the blogosphere three years ago. My blogging, in the first instance, was always about giving either Part Time Monster or Sourcerer a chance to break out. And about forming a community of bloggers that was loose enough to tolerate a broad spectrum of worldviews, but close-knit enough to hang together whether I remained at the center of it or not.

I think Part Time Monster still has a chance to break out, and a lot of the contributors I recruited for Sourcerer during the two years I ran that blog are still talking. In fact, a lot of them are contributing for the new-and-improved CompGeeks. That makes me unreasonably happy. I feel that all the energy and sweat I put into the blogging between 2013-15 was worth it, even though I am a peripheral part of the operation at best (for now).

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

All this said, my own blogs are practically dead. I wasn’t able to bring Sourcerer in for a soft landing. I’ve almost slapped a coda on that blog several times just for the closure, but when I sit down to write the last Sourcerer post ever, I just can’t bring myself to do it. It hasn’t been updated in nearly a year, and the last post is a comics post Luther published for me in the last days before I decided I had to let it go for awhile. Sourcerer at this point is a like a story with no ending and that pains me. It’s still the most valuable piece of internet real estate I’ve ever developed, though — especially when I include the twitter account I built for that blog. That’s hard to let go of.

As far as this blog is concerned, it’s been through several iterations, and it has never performed to my satisfaction. I have around 350 Facebook friends and followers. More than half of those are bloggers and people I met through blogging. Even if I go back to posting a couple of times a week here on a regular schedule, I’m not convinced this blog is ever going to get me more than I’m getting with well-timed public Facebook updates.

So I am not sure where to go with my blogging in the next year. I feel as though I need to either commit myself to publishing one high-quality post per week, or else I just need to walk away. And I have no blog of my own that’s good enough at this point to post my very best stuff, because I can’t get enough readers on my own blogs to make it worth the time and energy I put into my very best posts.coffee

I’m still thinking, but it looks like I’m going to be a contributor at CompGeeks and occasionally at the Monster for the next little while — if I am able to get back to blogging consistently at all. This blog will be for infrequent personal posts and political rants, unless I can find a way to get Sourcerer running again.

I’d love to have some input from those of you who have followed me for a long time, and from those of you who have more blogging experience than me.

This post is nearly 1,000 words long, so I’m calling it a day. Maybe I’ll see you for coffee again once or twice before the holiday season kicks into high gear. Have a photo of my puppy, who I’ve talked about here a time or two before. She’s nearly a year old now, and this was taken a couple of days ago.

20160813_172819

Have a great weekend, and keep blogging!

A Serious Personal Finance Question

Calling all you finance geeks. I have a “friend,” *cough*, who is using a balance transfer credit card with a long zero-interest introductory period to freeze the interest on some debt and aggressively pay down the principal over the next year or so. He is seeking advice.

He’s gonna be smart about this and do things like not use the transfer card for any purchases, and not use the other cards going forward for anything he can’t pay off in one month. He is disciplined enough to do this. Here’s his question with context.

credit-card_public-domain

He has 60 days to transfer balances with no fees and no interest until 2018. The limit on the transfer card isn’t quite enough to absorb all the debt he’s trying to close out, but will cover most of it, and we’re not talking about a huge amount of money. He’s already consolidated two accounts and the transfer card is at 89% utilization. He stopped there because credit agencies consider a card that’s at 90% maxed out.

1. So does he pay down as much interest-bearing debt as he can in the next billing cycle, then go ahead and max the transfer card completely out just before the 60-day window closes?

2. Or is he better off stopping with the transfer card at 89% and working from there?

I’m leaning toward telling him to take the transfer card to 100%, because he’s done applying for credit until next summer at the earliest. Credit utilization is a huge factor in credit scores, but it’s just a monthly snapshot. Not tracked over time. This is why paying down 50% of your debt in one go is one of the quickest ways to improve your score, and why running up a bunch of credit cards in a short period of time is one of the easiest ways to damage your score.

I’m only leaning, and I’m not an expert, so I am interested to know if anyone else has better advice.

Adventures in Middle Earth – First Impression.

It’s out!

I downloaded my electronic copy this evening. Just spent an hour scanning it. My first impression is this is a clever and well-executed adaptation of Middle Earth into the Wizards of the Coast d20 system. Highlights, etc.

D&D “Playable races” are translated into #MiddleEarth cultures. I can’t wait to roll up my first character, which will no doubt be a Rider of Rohan. Equipment lists are #Tolkien-appropriate, so lots of standard D&D items missing (though you could always bring some of it in if you wanted to.)

The add-on rules required to make a campaign world function the way Middle Earth does are well-thought out and seem intuitive. I’m talking about things like a point system to quantify the influence of the Shadow on mortal hearts & spirits.

At first blush, this is a setting for experienced players and Tolkien freaks. Novice players who are still learning the core rules might have trouble with some of the add-on rules unless they’re so new they can use only what they need from the D&D player’s handbook and focus on learning AME first.

D&D purists and magic junkies are not going to be happy in this setting for long, but any role-playing nerd with even a passing fondness for Tolkien should jump at the opportunity to try it out.

This supplement isn’t going to play or feel anything like your standard high magic, dungeon-crawl-of-the-week fantasy world because Middle Earth just isn’t like that. The campaign structure is entirely different than what most DMs I’ve seen do when they design their own adventures.

There are no spellslingers and no clerics with direct access to divine power unless the gamemaster allows core character classes to be brought in (and I’d discourage that because those are wrong for this setting). But warrior and rogue classes, and lots of abilities like Trackless Step and music-based magic, are incorporated seamlessly.

Worth a look if you can get into a game for free or know someone with the books. Not something to invest money in casually or out of curiosity without reading reviews, though. I bought it because I have friends interested in playing it, and so far I am pleased with the purchase.

Cubicle 7 Entertainment is going places.

I can’t wait for the print copies🙂