In Spite of Ourselves

I was fiddling around with my i-pod the other day and listening to some music from home. I thought maybe I’d share some of my favorites.

I haven’t really been able to keep up with my ‘editorial calendar’ I came up with on assignment from the Zero to Hero Blogging Challenge. I was going to do a feature called ‘Wild Wednesday’ (or creature feature) and another on the weekends called Song of the Sea, but the time just flies too fast.

So much of my time is spent offshore where I’m lucky to be able to get online at all and the connection speed is pretty slow. When I’ve been home lately I’ve been so caught up in just trying to get caught up, I haven’t had much time to work on my blog at all so it’s been kind of hit and miss as to what I post and when. πŸ™

I’m still trying to post at least a couple of times a week and keep it interesting. I do like the photography challenges and I like to post good stuff I find to share, things like good recipes, interesting articles, beautiful pictures, cool ideas, and good music.

I thought some of you might like this song. I love John Prine, he’s a great songwriter. I always love a good story-teller. Iris Dement is the perfect match for him in this song. Listen to the lyrics, I think you’ll enjoy it. πŸ™‚


I noticed last night that I was at 499 posts. So this is my #500 post since I started this blog.

For some reason, I keep thinking of Molly Shannon doing Sally O’Malley (I’m 50!). πŸ™‚

I was little surprised to see that number. That’s averaging a little over 1 post a day. I did try to do 1 a day for a while. I did a post a day challenge a while back. That was for the Zero to Hero challenge. That was just too much for me. It was stressing me out trying to keep up with the blog while I was also offshore working.

Since then, I’ve given up on the once a day posting and have settled for the once a week challenge instead. That seems to be working out just fine. πŸ™‚

I tried to do the Blogging 201 challenge, but I was too busy with other things and could not keep up with everyone else. I didn’t get as much out of it as I had hoped to. I am still working on the last couple of ‘assignments’. Maybe I’ll actually finish it up here in the next week or so. πŸ™‚

I don’t feel like I have to find something to post about. I post something when I have something interesting to say. Something I think is interesting. You all may or may not agree, but I hope it’s at least something to distract you for a minute or two. Maybe even get you to think about something a little bit different than your usual day to day stuff. πŸ˜‰

So, here’s to the next 500!

Behind the Scenes: Capt Jills Journeys

I’m still home. I’m still on the hook, waiting to hear if/when I’ll be going back to work. I’m still having computer issues. πŸ™

I thought it might be a good time for me to catch up and reflect a little on what I’ve been doing here- on my blog.

I started this blog last August. August 15th, to be exact. I was going to a travel writing/photography workshop in Boston which had an add-on blogging workshop and I wanted to have something to work with there.

By the time I got to the workshop (which started Aug 21), I had my blog up and running and already had 1-2 followers. I had it linked with my personal Facebook page which is where most of my ‘followers’ come from. Now I had actual BLOG followers! I was so excited just to see my first real follower!

The next month I was thrilled to see my numbers increasing across the board! I had steadily increasing viewer numbers and a total of over 1000 views for the month! I was really excited to think my blog might be one of the few to grow so fast. πŸ™‚

But the next month I had to go back to work and so I couldn’t keep up with the posting like I had been earlier when I was home and could concentrate more on my blog. My numbers fell off a cliff. πŸ™

I joined the Zero to Hero challenge in January, which helped me grow my blog. πŸ™‚

January turned out to be my best month yet, even to this day. It really was a challenge for me. I was at work, so I lost a lot of sleep. Not that the tasks were that difficult, they were but I had already figured out how to do most of them on my own after a lot of time and stress. I wish I had known about this challenge BEFORE, when I was first starting my blog, it would have been a lot more useful to me then. πŸ˜‰

Since then, I have been noticing that when I can find the time to post a lot, once (or more) per day, then I get lots of views. When I can’t manage to get here to post something for a few days, my numbers take a dive.

I’ve been working on this for 9 months now, my stats show I’ve made 480 posts which have received Β 614 comments (thanks everybody!). According to my blogs home page I have 841 ‘followers’. I don’t count all of them as followers tho, since they are coming from a few different places.

For instance, 388 of those 841 are just Facebook contacts (from my personal page). Contacts may never even see what I’ve been posting. I do have a few regular people who like and comment on my Facebook page, but I’m sure it’s nowhere near 388 people!

I recently learned that the Facebook page I started for my blog has not been working at all. I just started a new one. Now I’m trying to build traffic there instead of only on my personal page. I hope more people will find it and ‘like’ it. πŸ™‚

I also started a google+ account and page. I just started it so there’s not really much there yet.

I have 12 followers on Tumblr. I have never seen anything from any of those people, so I have no idea if they’re really seeing or liking my posts.

I have another 90 on Twitter. I do see a little bit of interest from Twitter, but I really would expect more interaction with 90 people looking at the kinds of stuff I post. Especially to Twitter! I think I put more out there than to anywhere else (check out the feed at the bottom right of my blogs home page). Maybe most people are like me and have a hard time limiting themselves to only 140 characters so they never comment?

The followers I’m most happy to see are the ones who follow this blog. Today (last night) I passed a milestone. I now have 351 followers of this blog! Plus another 8 that follow “comments” (I’m not sure what that means).

So, in 9 months, I’ve managed to grow my audience from a low of 0, to 350+ followers of my blog. If I keep going like that, I could hope to double that by this time next year. Maybe I can increase my followers on my other networks by the same amount or more. πŸ™‚

I wonder if there’s anything else I could do to increase my reach? Other than just posting more since I already post as much as I can find time to do. Does this seem Β normal? high? low? for numbers?

I’ve been trying to sort through my stats to see if there are certain things my viewers like more than others. From what I can tell, they actually seem to be interested in a lot of the same things I am. πŸ˜‰

I was a little surprised to see that they liked the maritime stuff as much as they did. People really liked the videos of the Costa Concordia and the Rat Infested Ghost Ship. πŸ˜‰

I’m glad to see they appreciate my photos. πŸ™‚

I’m not too sure where they stand on my politics, but since that is such a huge part of who I am I’m just going to keep on with that anyway. πŸ˜‰

I did notice a big (relative) increase in traffic when I was involved with any of the blog challenges. The photo challenges, the blogging 101 (zero to hero) and blogging 201 were all great for getting out there into the blogosphere. I did (barely) manage to finish the zero to hero challenge but still haven’t finished up the blogging 201 challenge. πŸ™

I was traveling (in Korea) for most of the time it was going on and so I just didn’t have time to check in and do the assignments every day. I started on it so late that I missed out on the whole community aspect of it. That is really the most important part IMHO.

I’m still working on it, it’s still in the back of my mind, but I hope the people behind it at WordPress will do another one when I’ll have the time to really focus on it. I do think their challenges are helpful in making better bloggers. πŸ™‚

I’m still trying hard to improve my blog and hopefully to increase my numbers. In the meantime, I’m still having fun with it and love to hear from people whenever they want to comment. πŸ™‚

So, that’s what’s been going on behind the scenes here at Capt Jills Journeys.



Zero to Hero- Day 30: Think Big Picture

Well, sad to say, this is the last day of the Zero to Hero Challenge. It HAS been a challenge. I’m not really computer literate and it’s taken me some real effort to figure out how to do some of the things they suggested.

Todays assignment is to…

Β Extend your brand, think about a bigger strategic plan for promoting your online presence, and set a goal for theΒ nextΒ 30 days.

I’m not sure exactly what they mean by “extend your brand”, how to do that or how to ‘promote my online presence’ more than what I’m already doing. I’ve linked my blog to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr already. I’m also on Pinterest.

I don’t think I really want to put a direct link to my blog on my Linkedin account, although I do mention in my profile (at the bottom) that I am the creator of this blog. I am a little concerned that my political ‘rants’ will cost me some job opportunities.

I would like to be able to freely promote my blog on there since I have a LOT of contacts on Linkedin. That site is focused much more on work and business than any of the other websites I’m on and I’m trying to keep my posts on there businesslike.

I am not at all happy that employers are looking into what you do on your time off and I am in TOTAL disagreement with that, but it is what it is. I am still working for others, so I do have to take that into account. Yes, self-censorship. I hate it, but I would hate it more living out the rest of my life as a bag lady living in the streets and eating catfood. πŸ™

So, that’s what I’m doing to ‘promote my online presence’. Does anyone have any other suggestions? If so, please leave a comment and let me know what you think I should do.

As for my goals for the next 30 days…

I do plan to start a weekly series I’m calling the ‘creature feature’. I’ll post about interesting animals in the news or that I come across that I think others might like to learn more about. I’ll start it next Wednesday and will probably concentrate on marine animals, but will probably branch out and cover everything. πŸ™‚

I’ll be committing to posting at least 1-2 times a week. I’ll probably be able to do more, but with my schedule I never know where I’ll be or if I’ll have decent internet access. So, I’ll just promise the minimum. That way I won’t disappoint anyone by breaking my promise.

I’m also hoping to increase my readership and ‘followers’. I went from just over 200 (I think it was 202) to 242 followers of my blog in the month of January! It would be fantastic if I could keep increasing my readership at that rate! Actually, I would be happy to have ANY increase, but the more the merrier. πŸ™‚

I really do love sharing some of my personal experiences along with all the interesting stuff I come across online. I love meeting new people and hearing about what they’re doing with their lives too. I hope I can continue to keep in touch with people through my blog and my ‘online presence’.

Here’s to the rest of the Zero to Hero bloggers, nice to meet you, and well wishes for the future. πŸ™‚

Dave’s Peach Pie Moonshine Recipe

Dave’s Peach Pie Moonshine Recipe | Good Ole Ways.

I wasn’t really thinking about re-visiting this subject. At least not so soon. πŸ˜‰ But the assignment for todays Zero to Hero Challenge is to…

Find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments, and write a related follow-up post.Β 

Since my most ‘popular’ post by FAR (going by the number of ‘views’ I had that day), was the one on the Crock-Pot Apple Pie Moonshine, I thought maybe I should follow the experts advice at ZTH and (what else?), post another moonshine recipe! πŸ˜‰

I really do love apple pie, so I was looking forward to trying some of that apple pie stuff. Can’t say I feel the same about peach pie. I’m not really a big fan of peaches. I have a friend who LOVED to drink peach schnapps. He could drink it with beer or all by itself. Personally, I think it’s too sweet.

Maybe the moonshine will cut down on some of that sickly sweetness. Let me know if you try it! πŸ˜‰

PS- I really like Dave’s blog too and would have liked to comment but for some reason it won’t let me. I can’t even figure out how to sign up to follow it. πŸ™

Zero to Hero- Day 26: Mining for Ideas

Here we are at Day 26 in the Zero to Hero challenge. Almost over. πŸ™‚

Todays assignment is to look back through your past published posts…

Β What have you been most proud of? What are the common threads? Which have been most popular? Create and save at least two draft posts with ideas that come from those.

I’ve spent a little time doing that and I have to say personally I’m most proud of my political posts. That is the subject I get most passionate about in my writing. I am a very strong believer in individual liberty and it really gets me going to see how we are throwing it away here in the US. That doesn’t seem to be what attracts my readers (so far). πŸ˜‰

From looking at my stats it seems that other than my home page/archives (which could mean anything) and my about page (glad people are interested in who I am and why I’m doing this), my all time favorite post is the one about the apple pie crockpot moonshine.

Maybe I need to post more ways to make home made booze? πŸ˜‰

After that one, the maritime posts are getting a lot of attention. That’s great, since that’s what I do for a living and I love it. I think it’s a great lifestyle and only wish that I could sail foreign again.

Of course, that has everything to do with politics here.

Next most traffic getting area is photography. I’m happy to see that. I love to take pictures everywhere I go and it’s nice to see that other people like my pictures too.

Looks like next is everything to do with writing/blogging/zero to hero. I think that must be partly because of the concentration on checking out others blogs and commenting during the event. I hope some of those people will stick around. πŸ˜‰

I haven’t done much about traveling here yet. I hope to do more on that. My recent posts on New Orleans got some interest. I do love to travel and I think it’s cool to be able to connect and compare notes. πŸ™‚

Recommendations on food, books, music, things to do, things of interest is another area that people seem to like. I have got away from posting much of that kind of thing since I’ve been busy and the Zero to Hero posts are pretty much all I’ve been able to get done for the day.

I hope I’ll be able to get caught up at some point and get back to posting more good stuff on here, but I’ll be going back to work soon and who knows what the internet situation will be out there this time. πŸ˜‰

Looks like I need to just keep on keepin on! πŸ˜‰ My followers have been increasing slowly but steadily.

I passed the 200 mark of actual BLOG followers right after New Years and today I’m up to 233 (the rest are mostly Facebook friends who don’t necessarily ever look at my blog)! I only started this in mid- August 2013.

Of course I’d like to get millions, but hopefully it’ll work something like the rice on the chessboard. πŸ™‚

Video: The Be Good Tanyas- The Littlest Bird


I’m taking a break today from the Zero to Hero Challenge. Todays assignment was to look around at other peoples blogs. Find something there you really liked (not content). I’ve been doing some of that but I haven’t seen anything today that I really MUST have on my blog. πŸ˜‰

Actually, I did see something a while back, but now I can’t find it again. When I do, then I’ll do more of todays assignment. Or maybe not. πŸ˜‰ Β In the meantime I haven’t been doing much with music on here lately. I really love music. All different kinds.

I really like this band. The Be Good Tanyas. I have a couple of their albums. I thought I’d post this particular video since I just did that post on New Orleans and this video was done there (and around).

I see the street performers around the French Quarter every time I go there. I bought a great CD from a band last time I was there. OK, I’ll do another post on them. But first…