My Favourite 12 Tweets of 2012

December 29, 2012

twitterHello again, everyone!

It’s been another great year, and I continue to enjoy Twitter –my account is @faceintheblue— beyond my wildest expectations: I’ve live tweeted political debates and playing tourist in foreign cities; I’ve complained about the weather and my distaste for shoe shopping; I’ve championed things I like and rubbished things I don’t; I’ve made new internet friends, and entertained some of the people I know in real life; most of all, I’ve killed time waiting for a bus, and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.

A few years ago I started a tradition as New Year rolled around. I blogged my favourite 10 tweets of 2010 and my favourite 11 tweets of 2011. Now another year has come and gone, and my foray into micro-blogging continues to distract and amuse me in odd moments that I would otherwise have wasted while waiting for something to happen. As I did last year and the year before, I’ve put together my top twelve tweets of 2012. Here they are!

January 27th

Who decided to give the CP24 traffic cam guy the ability to draw arrows on the feed? “No kidding? The cars go that way? Top-notch analysis!”

February 6th

What happened to you, Monday? You used to be cool. (Don’t ask me to cite examples right now. That’s such a Monday thing to do.)

March 7th

Just watched a baby snatch a set of jingling keys out of her mother’s hand and hurl them the length of a city bus while Mom wailed, “Nyet!”

March 31st

“Sara Three Cats: That’s a great name for a pool shark,” I said to Sara Three Cats as she proceeded to hustle me.

April 18th

Sorry, I never do this, but my April morning is cold: Please send it back to the kitchen, and I’d like to speak to your manager. #Toronto

July 17th

I’m not an incompetent hyperbolic scientist, but I play one on Twitter: If my calculations are correct it’s a billion degrees out today!

July 21st

Random Thought: If plants had ‘the sex talk’ it would literally be about the birds and the bees. Practice safe pollination, saplings…

September 14th

I just saw a squirrel panic at my approach & try to bury a nut into interlocking brick. Conclusion? Winter is coming & squirrels’re idiots.

September 19th

Cooking a premade frozen pizza that promises, “No unpronounceable ingredients!” I am not reassured: I can pronounce lots of awful things…

October 11th

The new guy at work just asked if I stayed late last night. I did. He laughed and said, “Classic Geoff!” Not sure how I feel about that.

November 23rd

Walking through a mall, my buddy mocking all the Black Friday shoppers. Mid-sentence he stops, and now we’re shopping for luggage.

December 1st

I’m sitting next to Typhoid Mary –patient zero of an Irish Wedding that saw dozens fall ill– but she coughs into her elbow, so we’re cool.

– – –

My criteria for the top tweets has evolved this year: They need to be self-contained and stand-alone, flippant, and ideally people enjoyed them on my Facebook newsfeed as well. There were half a dozen more that could have made the cut if only this were 2018. Ah, well. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just mind find you get what you need. I look forward to continuing with it in 2013. All the best to you and yours in the New Year!

My Top 11 Tweets of 2011

January 8, 2012

Hello everyone!

Another year has come and gone, and my foray into micro-blogging continues to entertain and distract me in odd moments that I would otherwise spend staring into space waiting for a bus. As I promised this time last year, I’ve put together my top eleven tweets of 2011. Enjoy!

November 5, 2011

Sudden thought: Why is there a jail in Monopoly? I’m playing a capitalist with huge swaths of real estate. My kind don’t go to prison…

October 27, 2011

Lipton could bottle today’s weather and market it with a series of claymation parodies (it’s brisk, I guess is what I’m trying to say).

(For those of you who don’t get the reference, here’s some context.)

September 6, 2011

My reaction to the first day of school: “That will take care of all those troublesome kids.” I think I’m becoming a Scooby Doo villain.

August 28, 2011

Got my good deed for the day out of the way early (caught an escaped dog for an older lady). Now I can dedicate the rest of my day to evil.

August 21, 2011

I’m in a used bookstore. Along one wall are shelves for Religion and for Science. The bookcase between the two is labeled ‘Unexplained.’

June 4, 2011

Things you learn at 1 a.m.? Card-carrying communists bring tambourines to karaoke. Who knew?

April 24, 2011

Bachelor achievement unlocked: I have worn out my can opener.

March 28, 2011

Geoff of the Future? Buy cat food. The natives are getting restless. Sincerely, Geoff of the Past (your biggest fan!)

February 14, 2011

I like the word lampooning: It’s like harpooning without the attempted murder. You’re only stabbing someone with your words.

February 8, 2011

Okay Tuesday *rolls head left and right until a pop-click sounds from both directions* let’s dance!

January 8, 2011

Had some company over to see the new apartment. Best compliment? “Now there’s the television of a man who reads books!”

– – –

Anyway, I make no claims to any of this being great writing, but I have a lot of fun with Twitter, and I look forward to continuing with it in 2012. All the best to you and yours in the New Year!

My 100th Blog Post: Faceintheblue, 100,000 Readers and Counting

November 8, 2011

Hello everyone,

I started this blog on October 24, 2009, at the urging of a friend who has also dragged my reluctant self kicking and screaming into an appreciation of hip hop, Twitter, and e-publishing. Apparently, I owe him a great deal of thanks for his well-meant browbeating: This is my 100th post in a little over two years, and sometime early next week I can expect to welcome my 100,000th reader.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable ride so far. I am still impressed with the number of people who run a Google search for ‘Guns used during the Great Depression.’  I remain less enthused at the lack of interest in my long and rambling annecdotes, but as those are the bread and butter of a personal blog I’ll keep putting them up as the spirit moves me. One day, someone is bound to enjoy them half as much as I do.

I marvel at some of the people I have met through this site. Thanks to my post about one of my ancestors founding the town of Kenmore, Ontario, I got in touch with a 102-year-old fourth-cousin four-times removed who helped me trace one branch of my family tree back to 1720s Scotland. My deep and abiding appreciation for the Beatles on Ukulele project has put me in contact with the organizers and some of the artists. I’m long overdue for a new post on that site, and I suppose I’ll have to set aside a Saturday this December to do it justice. I’ve also connected with several people whose fathers and grandfathers served with my grandfather, Murray Anderson, on the HMCS Drumheller during the Second World War.

There are a number of things I’ve been proud to share with you all over the last couple of years: My grandfather’s eulogy, the publishing of my first novel, my love of notable quotes, everything I know about dancing, how men feel about barbers, and just about anything I have to say about poetry. Your positive feedback has meant a great deal to me, and  I would like to encourage you all to add your comments whenever you like. I write for me, but I’m also writing for you, and I’m happy to produce more of what speaks to you, whether that’s Canadian history or Russian art or things I’ve eaten with my fingers. I’ll do what I can to give value for your visits.

Anyway, that’s the update from FaceInTheBlue 25 months in. It’s been fun so far. Thank you all for reading. As I said in my 1000th Tweet, “Without you, I’m just whistling in the dark.”

My Top 10 Twitter Tweets of 2010

December 31, 2010

Hello everyone!

I wish I had posted more this month: I’m afraid between my recent move into a glorious new apartment and killing my last netbook with a careless spill, this hasn’t been a blog-friendly December. Still, I have recently joined the 21st Century in acquiring a smartphone and creating a Twitter account. This foray into microblogging has been even more fun than I was told, so I thought I might mark the last day of 2010 with my Top 10 Tweets, out of a total of 260 so far.

To qualify, a post has to not be a retweet and not directed at any particular individual. I also narrowed down the finalists to cover all four months of my participation. I imagine this will be a much more difficult process in the future, and so you can look forward to a ‘Top 11 of 2011′ and a ‘Top 12 of 2012′ and so on until either this blog or my involvement in Twitter dies out.


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I’ll be trying my hand at NaNoWriMo this year

October 19, 2010

Hello everyone,

As part of my endeavours to get back into the habit of writing regularly, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. It’s an internet community project where thousands of people around the world try to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1st and November 30th. Last year’s contest saw 165,000 participants, more than 30,000 of whom succeeded in crossing the word count threshold by midnight at the end of the month.

Because of the limited time frame, the emphasis is on getting words onto (virtual) paper, rather than polishing a well-rounded, carefully editing work. The idea is to inspire creativity, without worrying about the end result. I expect to write tens of thousands of words of dreck, but I’ll have fun doing it, and that’s the main thing. Normally my genre is historical fiction, but in a format like this I hope a stream-of-conscious approach inspired by Kurt Vonnegut might see me through to the end. I don’t want to give away too much at this point, but I have a hazy idea for a plot involving a man who has been alive since the last ice age meeting and falling in love with a physical incarnation of death. It will definitely be a departure from anything I’ve done before, but it should be an enjoyable experience all the same.

Wrimos, as we are apparently called, keep in touch through the website, blogs, and hopefully meet up in early December at bars all over the world to commiserate and swap war stories. In that spirit, a friend of mine has set up a blog, Stranger Than Truth, and I’ll be submitting my content there, here, and hopefully on the NaNoWriMo website as well. My profile on the site is also called Faceintheblue, so I should be easy to track down; I encourage anyone reading this who is also doing NaNoWriMo to add me as a buddy. A community is only as rich as its members, after all.

I also encourage you to follow me on twitter here, as I’m bound to complain heartily over the course of the month, and everyone likes to hear colourful rhetoric in the place of thoughtful prose from time to time.

For anyone who’s interested but not already involved, you can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Perhaps we’ll fail spectacularly together, but I suspect we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it.

Good luck to you, to me, and to all of this year’s Wrimos. Cheers!

Summer’s Ending: Time to Shake Things Up

August 27, 2010

Hello everyone!

Those of you who count yourselves as semi-frequent visitors have probably noticed that I haven’t been updating this blog regularly in a long while. There are a few reasons for that, and I might as well discuss the issues before I set the wheels in motion to remedy them.

First, this has been a wonderful summer, and I’ve been doing my best to make the most of it. That has taken up a pleasantly large portion of my free time, and if I could have these last few months a hundred times over I doubt I would do anything differently. Adding to the usual distractions falling under the nebulous description of  ‘making the most of my summer,’ I’ve gone to three different and wonderful weddings in the last three months, I was without internet for more than a week, and my new job is engrossing, engaging, and enjoyable. When all those factors are put together, I just haven’t been setting aside the time for blogging that I was willing to commit in the winter or spring.

Second –and as a result of the first– I’ve caught myself viewing this blog as a chore from time to time rather than a pleasure. The fault lies with me, as I’ve largely painted myself into a corner: My posts so far have often leaned towards the long and rambling, and as a result I’ve started ballparking how long it will take me to put together a couple of thousand coherent words before I begin to write it; I then give up the effort before I begin, and that is a poor way to build anything of worth or merit.

Third –and this one surprises me more than I would like to admit– I’ve found myself growing bashful. I’ve never had a problem sharing my thoughts with friends, family, and all you loveable strangers out there, but over the last couple of months I’ve picked up a few regular readers whose opinion matters a great deal to me: My girlfriend’s family have googled me, and they’ve been working through my blog’s backlist with a will. Recently they have even gone so far as to ask her to ask me to write more.

(Just a quick aside: Hello, Jim! I look forward to meeting you this September. I’m told we’re going to get along famously. Your daughters humour my interest in most of the same things they humour you about, and I seem to have scored major points with them on your behalf for understanding what a gabion basket is without prompting. I probably know as much about you as you know about me at this point, so here’s hoping we can skip the awkwardness of first meetings and just start off as friends.)

– – –

ADDITION FROM SEPT 15: Fun fact, the above paragraph was not well received. I was asked to remove this paragraph from the original post in strong terms, which I did, but it set in motion a series of events that led to the end of a promising relationship. I will never meet the man now. It’s been bothering me for weeks that I took this paragraph out, and so I’m putting it back in now that it doesn’t make any difference. If I made an error, it was coming from a good place, and I will stand behind it. Anyway, I’ll let you return to what is otherwise a very dull post.

– – –

After some careful thought, I’ve decided to overcome these three challenges as this blog moves forward towards its first anniversary this October. The first issue is largely a given: Summer is ending, and I have always had more free time when the sun doesn’t shine so much. Time will also be less of a factor given my solution to the second issue: While there will always be a place on this blog for my lengthy essays, stories, and anecdotes, I’m also going to start introducing new categories whose content will be suited to just a couple of hundred words per submission. To my mind it makes good sense to post something every day or two, rather than waiting a week or more to find the time and the topic worthy of something that would require a staple in hardcopy format.

Summers come and go. This blog will be around for a long while, and I’m going to shake things up in the coming weeks to keep it fresh and new and enjoyable for all my readers, be they family, friend, stranger, or people in the process of transitioning between those categories. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you enjoy it too.



Update on My Novels, and How to Write a Query Letter

June 14, 2010

Hello everyone,

Many of you know that I’ve written two novels, both historical fiction. One is about the decline and fall of the Inca Empire, told from their own perspective, and the second is about the Zulu Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th Century. For almost two years I have had a literary agent representing me, but in the end it didn’t amount to much: I have a number of lovely personalized rejection letters for my Inca book, but no book deal.

I rewrote my earlier Zulu book, pretty much line by line, but when I recently gave my agent the manuscript to try and sell in addition to the Inca novel, he admitted he just couldn’t get my work published: His clientele is predominately non-fiction –as is most of the publishing industry– and while he was trying to expand his still young practice into fiction through my work, in the end the combination of the poor economic climate in the publishing industry and his own lack of contacts hampered our ability to get my manuscripts into print.

I am not discouraged. Honestly, this is probably the kick in the pants I need to get my work into the right hands to move it forward. It’s true, I would have preferred to give my former agent more time to see what he could do with two very long and difficult to publish first novels instead of one, but I can see where he had run out of steam. He wasn’t ever going to make any commission from my work, so he let me go. That’s fine.

If I am to move on to greener pastures, this time I’m going to make sure my new agent deals predominately with fiction and has a special passion for historical works. I’m happy to say as of my writing this blog post that my Inca book is already under consideration by an agency representing my favourite living novelist. I’ll be sure to update you all as to how that progresses.

So how does one find an agent? Why do you even need an agent? I’m asked that a lot, and as I’m going through the process again right now, I thought I might as well blog about it.
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