The Real Lance Brown

"Thank God you aren't important." – Jake Pentland
December 7, 2012

The Little Things – “Might as Well Jump”

Author: Lance - Categories: Creative endeavors, The Little Things - Tags: ,

Here is the latest edition of my comic strip The Little Things:

(You can click the image to have it pop up for easier reading.)

The Little Things - "Might As Well Jump"

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February 4, 2011

(Nearly) Comprehensive Guide to Comedy Podcasts

Author: Lance - Categories: Across the Blogosphere, Humor, Social Media, Videos - Tags: ,

I listen to quite a few comedy podcasts, all of which are included in Joe Berkowitz’s A Seriously Comprehensive Guide to Comedy Podcasts.

His guide starts out with a lot of detail, and then the size and depth of the reviews shrink as you get nearer to the end. I’m assuming this is because for Joe to truly listen to and fully review all these podcasts would take a great deal of time. As it is, I’m sure his guide is a work of passion that has eaten up at least a few minutes of his day. Because it really is seriously comprehensive. (Though I don’t see the Onion News Network’s hilarious podcast there, so it’s not completely comprehensive. Just seriously.)

I haven’t listened to most of these podcasts, so I hesitate to suggest my favorites as preferable to what may be equal or better alternatives on the list. I will say that I look for and look forward to new episodes of the following regularly: WTF w/Marc Maron, Doug Loves Movies, Pod F. Tompkast, Never Not Funny, The Nerdist, and most newly, Judge John Hodgman. All of which are linked to in Joe’s guide. (And the Onion News Network, of course, which as of this writing is not. Which doesn’t make my first sentence here false, BTW, because the ONN podcast is a video one, and I said all the ones I listen to are in Joe’s list.)

<demystifying>A “podcast” is simply an Internet show (audio or video) that you download, or view or listen to on the Web. The name comes from the fact that they originally grew popular via iPods, but they are just regular .mp3 files, usually. </demystifying>

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February 3, 2011

Day off (but if you have a second…)

Author: Lance - Categories: Creative endeavors, Miscellaneous, Site admin - Tags: ,

Various things ranging from technical difficulties to the fact that yesterday’s blog post was inordinately huge are keeping me from getting a solid blog post done within this calendar day, but I will definitely (retroactive edit: almost definitely) have two for tomorrow. I have a new comic that’s been ready to get made for days now; I’ll (retroactive edit: probably) have that out tomorrow, plus at least one more post.

In the meantime, how about going over and “liking” the Facebook page for my One Minute of Nature project? Thanks!

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February 2, 2011

The Salad That Ate Sacramento (and/or Healed the World)

Author: Lance - Categories: Biographical, Humor, Social Media - Tags: ,

I’m definitely not one of those people who sticks my nose up at folks posting relatively ordinary occurrences from their day on Twitter.

I’ve been on the Internet for a long damn time, and one of the things that makes it great is its ability to bridge the invisible divide that has grown between “strangers” in the world. (And between the haves and have-nots, and the powered and the powerless, and so on.)

As we become more distinctive and narrowed in our daily lives–honing in on what we know and love, and excluding the rest–it’s more important than ever to remember that we’re all still human beings, and we all have a lot in common. Including mundane things, like eating, dealing with traffic, flying on planes, watching TV, whatever.

Mini-mountain, yes...but self aware? Not yet-- maybe.

Especially with the flattening power of social media, where people who were formerly at a mythical distance from us are sharing themselves directly with fans and followers on a daily basis, it’s the mundane commonalities that help us to restructure our thoughts in a way that helps demystify the unhealthy societal hierarchies of the past. (Reality TV does the same thing in a way, but we’ll save that for another time.)

Put plainly, it’s a hyper-extension of the old mantra “we all put our pants on one leg at a time”. While I don’t know if there is a social media site yet that focuses on that specific mundane activity, people are sharing so-called “boring” details, vignettes, pictures, and snippets from their lives all the time…and while it’s popular and easy to sneer at such sharing, it’s also short-sighted and snobbish.

So don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re having for dinner, and how you feel about it, isn’t important. It is. I’ll explain more why that’s so as the year goes on, but for now, just trust me. You go ahead and share whatever the hell you want, and screw the haters. Send your frustrated partner, friend, or parent here if they have a beef with it. (If you’ve been sent here in accordance with that instruction: I know better than you about this stuff, and the person who sent you here is right about the sharing. Get off their case!)

Wow…I had no idea what was going to come out when I started to introduce my salad tweets from today, and the salad of which they spake. And I ended up creating a bridge of healing for divided couples everywhere. You never know what you’ll get when you tap into the Lance well!

Predecessor to the salad that will eat your family

Anyway…I’ve been on a major salad jag lately. I’ve always been a big fan of vegetables–I was one of those kids who was easy in that regard–but as a marginally-domesticated bachelor, I haven’t always managed to get salad into my life as much as my tastes would seem to support.

But, having decided to go the salad way for a while, I have been plunging in with earnest dedication–almost to a fault. (If we want to blame someone–and let’s assume we do–we should probably blame Robin Mallery and her call to create “6-color salads”.)

It takes about an hour to whip up one of my super-salads these days, and until today I was using a normal-sized wooden serving bowl and just ridiculously over-filling it, to the point where trying to serve from it, or toss or stir the salad, became a messy ordeal. And with my escalating madness, I was reaching the point where I ran out of space before I ran out of ingredients, so I’d end up with a giant-but-incomplete salad, with any new ingredients just spilling off the sides pointlessly.

So today I bit the bullet and went with the big plastic bowl–which, if I end up over-filling the way I did its predecessor, will be holding a salad that could potentially threaten a mid-size city, or more.

Such was the subject of a series of tweets from me today, as I realized the full consequences of my descent into Frankensteinishly hazardous food-preparation shenanigans.

WARNING: This is your last chance to back out before I pull away the curtain to expose the sad truth behind the inevitable hellscape future that I have unintentionally set into motion. You can still remain blissfully ignorant of your impending doom if you back out now. Read more…

3 Comments Posted in Biographical, Humor, Social Media | Tagged , |
February 1, 2011

My New Column: The Liberating Loosening of Losing Loose Ends

Author: Lance - Categories: Periodical Writing, The Not-So-Simple Life - Tags: ,

My latest column is up at Project Simplify…

The Not-So-Simple Life: The Liberating Loosening of Losing Loose Ends

I need to address something right off the bat, because it’ll be bugging me this whole time if we don’t talk it over.

I’m something of a word nerd. A word nerd, a spelling aficionado, and an editor. And in this modern age, my fellow word nerd brethren and I (if I can speak for us all) are increasingly concerned about the ongoing decline of written English language usage. On their behalf, please allow me to briefly tilt at one small windmill:

While “loosing” is technically a word, it’s almost definitely not the word you mean. You mean “losing”. I totally get why you might be thinking it’s “loosing”, but it’s not. That sounds like “loose-ing”, and if you say that out loud, you’ll agree with me that it’s not what you meant. You meant “losing”, which sounds like “looz-ing”. loose ends

So no more “loosing”. Alright? Alright.

Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s talk about the liberating loosening of losing loose ends.

Loosely speaking, losing loose ends can really lighten your load, and lead to a rather lovely liberating loosening. If you’re feeling lost in life, it may be that you’re losing yourself in loose ends, and what you really need to be doing is losing those loose ends, so you can loosen up.

Did I lose you?

(continued…)

Read the rest at Project Simplify.

(photo credit: Loose Ends by Quinn Dombrowski)

2 Comments Posted in Periodical Writing, The Not-So-Simple Life | Tagged , |
January 31, 2011

100 Sources of Blogging Inspiration from Diana Adams

Author: Lance - Categories: Across the Blogosphere, For My Clients, Social Media, Web Design and Blogging, Writing Tips & Websites - Tags: ,

Not much to be said here…Diana Adams at Ink Rebels has compiled a tremendous list of prompts to help you get unstuck if you ever don’t know what to blog about: 100 Sources of Blogging Inspiration

I’ve been planning on writing one of these “things to post about” posts myself, but it’s becoming increasingly unnecessary. Between Diana’s awesome list and the resources I linked to in this blog post here, the pool of potential content ideas is growing very wide and very deep. We may need to reclassify it as a pond soon.

Here’s a tip: bookmark this post, so you can find Diana’s list as well as my other post with three other lists on it. That should keep you busy for a while…unless you’re posting like 10 times a day or something (in which case you probably don’t need our help coming up with ideas anyway).

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January 30, 2011

“24 Ways to Promote Your Blog With NO Budget, NO Time & NO Resources” (and the truth)

Author: Lance - Categories: Across the Blogosphere, Local Business, Social Media, Web Design and Blogging - Tags: ,

I hate to be a stickler here, but before I praise Heidi Cohen’s excellent list of affordable ways to pervasively promote your local business blog, I have to take issue with her title:

24 Ways to Promote Your Blog With NO Budget, NO Time & NO Resources

A reasonable person could think from reading that title that the “24 Ways” mentioned could be achieved with no budget, no time, and no resources. But that reasonable person would be getting deceived by hype. And upon discovering, after briefly suspending disbelief enough to think the title’s promise could be true, that in fact it is the exact sort of hyperbolic overstatement that the reasonable person quietly suspected it would end up being, the reasonable person would have his mass-media-cultivated shell of righteous cynicism hardened by at least one additional layer.

I’m the reasonable person in that scenario, by the way. As are you. And we shouldn’t be toyed with. That’s all I’m saying.

The reality of that title is as sad as it is obvious: there’s not a single one of those 24 things that can be done with NO budget, NO time, and NO resources. Each item on the list involves an action verb–which, as an editor, I applaud. But, as an amateur scientist, I can tell you that nothing which involves an action verb can be accomplished without using either time or resources, or both. “Make”, “Use”, “Work”, “Write”, “Offer to help”, “Place a computer”…these are not things that do themselves.

So I deduct major style points for the over-the-top hyperbolic title, and for reinforcing the cynicism of an already-cynical generation. It puts an unfortunate cloud over things–but I still think the list itself is worth checking out.

The true promise of the article is stated in the second paragraph, which has the more grounded and accurate heading “24 Low cost tips to promote your blog”:

“The most important step is to start looking for low cost/no cost promotional opportunities for your blog. It’s easy but it’s not always obvious. Here are twenty-four low cost ideas to help you get started.”

Low cost. Not zero time or money, which is impossible, but low cost, which is both possible and desirable. (But which does not make for as exciting a headline, unfortunately. Stupid boring reality!)

OK, good-natured (but serious) ribbing aside, Heidi’s article has some really great ways to up the ante on your blog promotion efforts. A lot of them involve putting a promo blurb about your blog in places you might not have thought of,  some others involve local outreach and partnerships, and still others deal with squeezing more win-win juice from your existing customers and foot traffic. They are 24 solid suggestions…and while every single one takes time or resources, and most of them will cost at least a little money (unless you own your own print shop), they are all definitely in the low-to-no cost range. And some require as little as a pen and a piece of paper.

Pick a handful of those things to do now, and make sure all the print-material-related ones get worked into your next print shop order, and you’ll have a lot less to worry about when it comes to promoting your web site locally.

Have more low–or-no cost ways for local businesses to promote their blogs? Might as well post them in the comments at Heidi’s post, since I’m suggesting we all go check that out anyway.

I might go post a comment about linking to your neighbors and getting listed in the web business directories, both of which I posted about here recently.

If you want to comment here, you could chime in on article titles that overstate their promise. Do you think I’m being too hard on Heidi regarding her hyperbolic title?

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January 29, 2011

A blog post doesn’t have to be long

Author: Lance - Categories: For My Clients, Social Media, Web Design and Blogging - Tags: ,

As long as it conveys something useful, informative, entertaining, or otherwise engaging, a blog post doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-length article.

It’s OK to post a short blog post sometimes.

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January 28, 2011

Find Sites That are Like Other Sites

Author: Lance - Categories: Social Media, Web Design and Blogging - Tags: ,

Just a quick post to mention two resources I bumped into recently: MoreofIt and SitesLike. Both sites do basically the same thing, which is suggesting sites that are similar to the one you provide. I first stumbled onto MoreofIt when looking for alternatives to ToonDoo, the online comic creator that I use to make my comic The Little Things. (Turns out that Toondoo appears to be as good as the others, as far as I can tell. If you have a favorite online comic creator tool, let me know what it is and why you like it, please.)

I lost track of MoreofIt later that week (and didn’t remember the name), so I did a Google search to try and find it again–and that’s how I found SitesLike, which does essentially the same thing. Come to think of it, you could presumably find more of similar-site finders by entering either of these sites into the other one. ;-)

Aside from finding sites with these tools, if you have a website, there is another action item you can take: SitesLike has an add site tool.  (I couldn’t find one at MoreofIt; if you know of one for them, please let me know.) So you should probably take a second to add yours, if there’s a chance it might not be in there already.

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January 27, 2011

How to Become a Celebrity in the Eyes of Your Niche

Author: Lance - Categories: Across the Blogosphere, For My Clients, Social Media, Web Design and Blogging - Tags: ,

David Garland at Small Business Trends has a nice succinct post about becoming a new kind of “celebrity” – the entrepreneurial niche celebrity (or “trusted resource”, which he suggests as a less hype-driven descriptor).

It’s funny – I’ve gotten so used to the list-style articles that are so popular these days, that when I discovered that David’s list ended after 3 items, I felt like it was abrupt or short. But when I looked back at the piece I realized he covers a lot of ground in his “short” list–each item has a lot of sub-points, especially the first two.

I read (or skim) so many articles these days that if I shared them all it would be overwhelming for both of us. So I’ve started using a rule of thumb that I’ll only post articles that taught me something, or moved me to action. David’s article gave me the final push to get my picture up on my site, and to work on infusing a little more Lance into things. (Stuff I tell all my clients to do of course, but you know, do as I say…) So maybe his quick run-through will give you a needed kick in the pants too…or provide you with a starting blueprint for your own rise to “celebrity” in your niche.

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