Sunday, October 22, 2006

“So what” Department: New review, new sidebar, new title – nu?

This blog has been reviewed yet again – this time by the good (if somewhat gothic in appearance) folks at Ask And Ye Shall Receive. Strangely enough, they seemed to like it; probably their minds have gone from listening to the wrong sort of music. Happens to the best of us.

Having both reviews come out on the same day – particularly considering that both “Ask” and “I Talk Too Much” took several weeks to get around to my blog – was a bit of a surprise. The fact that the “Ask” reviewer was much more positive than the crew at IT2M wasn’t surprising, however; it just reinforces what seems to be the general verdict about this blog: it’s not for everyone. Most people who meet me say more or less the same thing – I’m not for everyone either. So apparently my faulty blog accurately conveys my faulty personality.

Everyone did seem to agree on a few things:

  • “Peekaboo posts” – good.

  • “Peekaboo sidebar” – good.

  • Still too much bric-a-brac on the sidebar – bad.

  • Long, abstruse posts – probably okay if anyone had the patience to read them.

  • My template – uninspiring at best.

…And while I didn’t get any particular criticism of the blog’s title, I was liking it less and less over time; it just didn’t seem accurately to convey what I was getting at. (I was also advised that it would be smart to get “Middle East” into the blog’s title rather than “Mideast”, to attract more search-engine users.)

So, after pondering the reviews and my own thoughts, I made a few changes:

  • I ditched the “link-swap” ads on the sidebar.

  • I reorganized the sidebar stuff into five categories, each with its own “peekaboo” menu.

  • When I saw that multi-level “peekaboos” worked so splendidly, a mad gleam came into my eyes (or so I gathered from the reaction of the various cats, Wolfoid Dog, and Vaguely Sinister Wife – all of whom edged away from me and eyed the room’s exits). Why not create the ultimate uncluttered blog sidebar? Why not, indeed! So I did it. I’ve now got just about the world’s shortest sidebar, until you start clicking on it. (I’m reminded of a beloved Ephraim Kishon story, “The Silver Frenzy” – evidently do-it-yourself projects make a lot of guys somewhat manic.)

  • I gave my blog a new title. Goodbye, “On the Contrary: Don’s Mideast Musings”. Hello, “You’ll come for the terrorism, you’ll stay for the taxes – welcome to the Middle East!”

So far, nobody seems to care about most of these changes; I ascribe this lackluster response to the masses’ usual inability to appreciate genius in its own time. Several readers have expressed mild approval of the change in title, although pretty much everyone seems to be concerned about how long it is. “How can we possibly ever link to one of your articles now?” they whine. “Just quoting your blog title will make our links two pages long!”

Hmph. Philistines. Art is art, and if my muse demands of me a fifteen-word blog title, I dare not argue. One dismisses muses at one’s peril – they have important friends.

But I suppose that I should show some mercy, to my own poor typing fingers if not to my readers. So now I have to come up with an official, approved shorter version of the new blog title. After deep reflection, I’ve narrowed it down to two choices:

  • “Welcome to the Middle East!” – functional, friendly, but perhaps a bit too white-bread perky for my taste;

  • “You’ll Come for the Terrorism” – darker, stranger, scarier. Kind of like me, except that most people don’t find me all that dark or scary.

So, Dear Readers: What do you think? Do we go for the bland, non-threatening “Welcome”, or shall we embrace “Terrorism”? Your opinions are cordially requested; who knows, I might even pay attention to them!

Or not.


At Mon Oct 23, 06:07:00 AM GMT+2, Blogger kitty kat said...

what about M.E.C. short for "The Middle East Connection"?

I'm trying to think of quirky things my family says about living in the middle east, and you nailed it with the taxes.

At Mon Oct 23, 03:18:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger love bites said...

I'd suggest reversing it:

Welcome to the Middle East:

You'll come for the terrorism, you'll stay for the taxes.

And get rid of the rest of the text up there (put it in your profile).

At Mon Oct 23, 03:22:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger love bites said...

Stuff to delete:

(Formerly known as “On the Contrary: Don’s Mideast Musings”.)

Put in profile:
What happens when you take a historian of science, give him a computer and a 9-millimeter pistol, and plunk him down in the middle of the Middle East conflict with ten cats for company?

Historians...god y'awl are so wordy.

At Mon Oct 23, 06:28:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Just write.

At Tue Oct 24, 02:08:00 AM GMT+2, Anonymous Bean said...

Psh, all the complaining. I like your blog exactly as it is, and I prefer the new title. Titles are allowed to be long. That's why some genius invented copy and paste. I also think the more about you that is visible on first sight of your blog, the more likely I am to read it (if I didn't read it already).

I'm just glad you're keeping that lovely pic of you with Sapir.

At Wed Oct 25, 02:44:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger Guy Barry said...

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