Blog Stats 4-13-16 to 5-14-16


Damien: If we were having coffee, I’d show you my blog stats and explain what the different numbers mean. You might compare yours there at the table and you’d likely kick my butt because I’m never very good at these. Archived posts are here if you’d like to read what I posted last week.

Here are the stats from Google Analytics:

Here are the stats from and Jetpack:

Damien: It was another awesome week edging toward June 2nd, my last workday. This Summer we are going to Hawaii so my anticipation is growing by leaps and bounds. I started report cards and hope to have those done this week.

You: Insert comment below.

Damien: This time of year teachers are overwhelmed. Not only do we have a ton of little things to do, we deal with the bond break from the kids we’ve taught all year. Sometimes even the behavior problems are missed. I’m sure my #weekendcoffeeshare will be much more eventful from Hawaii so visit me later too!

#WeekendCoffeeShare – My Life as Café au lait

Hello there. If we were having coffee I would offer you cream and sugar but I would take mine black … usually. Today we had milk so I poured some into my black coffee making it a Café au lait. It was a good week at work using my new flat screen to project my lessons to the students. That thing has a lot of potential.
UntitledIt’s Sunday as I’m writing this and then I have just one more week of teaching before my Winter break starts. I’m looking forward to reflecting on my year in blogging and setting the ground work for blogging projects in 2017.

I’ve been turning attention back to this primary blog: Riley Central where my first interests in blogging started. Reviewing films continues to be a passion as well. You’ll find them here first as minimal thoughts with text only and soon after cross posted at Riley on Film in a dynamic presentation and some photos. If you come here for my reviews, I’d be much obliged if you set your bookmarks to Riley on Film and follow me there. This blog aims to be a more personal blog, less niche in reviews than the other one.

I’ve come up with a flowchart to blog from every day. It includes photoblogging, diary blogging, movie reviews, and my longstanding weekly column.

On a personal note, I have a bike now and hope to use it more. It’s like an apple a day, the bike keeps the doctor away. Easier said than done! My movie podcast is going well also. We are over 30 episodes strong. Talking Stars is where I and 3 other people (plus guests) talk about movies.

Looking forward to going back to work tomorrow and modeling lessons for my students via a laptop, a doc camera, and a giant flat screen. Gotta love the tools!

Blogging in the Free World

guitar_cup (1)If we were having coffee I’d tell you about this guitar coffee cup I’m sipping from. It was part of a bag of gifts I got for a post 40 birthday party, I’m turning 47 this June. I think 47 will be the best, most effective, most enjoyable year ever. At first I hated it, it felt weird in my hand. After running out of cups several weeks, since I take them sloppily to work and leave them there daily, it because my “home cup.” Now, it’s the one I see to enjoy the most. Happy to be drinking from it this afternoon 🙂 What do you think of it?

tiana_pic (1)It’s my daughter Julianna’s 9th birthday today. As you recall I have 3 kids and she is the youngest. We got her an ipod which was an amazing gift, according to her. She asked to go to Chuck-E-Cheese for her party. We’re just doing a small get together there. We have about an hour and a half until that. I want to eat pizza so badly, I ate a tiny lunch. I’ll tell my family “don’t mind me” when they go to play because I’ll be playing the flour, salt, cheese, meat, and chewing game. I almost have my report cards finished. You see my cat here getting impatient for love time. The end of every school year always has the lovely chore of report cards. On the horizon is: Last day of school/my work as a teacher is June 2nd. We leave for Hawaii on June 6th. We’re going to take it in and relax! I’ll be blogging from paradise I am sure. Until the next coffee, keep on blogging in the free world.



Weekend Coffee Share 4.3.2016

If we were having coffee the conversation would probably go like this:

Me: Ok so it’s weird shifting from social blogging prompts to my column to movie reviews to this, sometimes. I have a lot going on. I’ve found that writing these coffee diary entries helps me sort out what’s been going on in my week and plan better for the one ahead, so here goes.
You: Well, what did you do today for starters?
Me: This morning I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting ever. I need to lose some weight, and it’s all in my belly. Seriously, I am a stick figure with a pot belly. This is the least healthy body types of all. Others include a pear shape and an apple …
You: What made you go to that particular method?
Me: I don’t have a ton to lose but I really want to get as healthy as possible. Being 46 now I value that much more than in past years. It was a supportive environment. The best part about it for me is the routine I get to have with my wife. We’ve already started walking after work. We have different diet goals but both of us are good at staying faithful and showing up for things. It should be fun.
You: Your wife sounds great. So, I notice you are posting a lot more movie reviews lately. How’s that going?
Me: I’ve had the wondrous opportunity to see a lot of movies, most of them horror lately. I’ll get back to other genres soon I think. You’ll find my reviews in the Movie Review category up in the horizontal menu of my blog. I’ve also been writing my column steadily but lately it’s become political.
You: Oh yes, the election.
Me: I’m voting for Hillary Clinton and I’m finding out a lot of people on my Facebook can’t stand her. They are quite vocal about it too. Still, I keep sharing posts from her timeline. They are great, really well made.
You: How’s teaching going?
Me: State tests are coming up for my 4th grade students. I wish they weren’t so hard. Still, I make mo excuses. I’ve prepared them as best I can and I’ll continue to get them ready. These Common Core tests are bears for some kids, mine are struggling. One day, we will have a reasonable test. I liked what we had in 1997 but for some reasons politicians always have to change things.
You: So, any last things to add before we part?
Me: That’s about it. I asked my lovely wife for some short sleeve button downs in plain colors so I can wear some of my ties. She brought them home and I’m excited about wearing them. The kids always notice. My colleagues always wonder if they missed hearing it was an event at work. LOL. I’m usually a real laid back guy. Til next coffee, have a good one.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: 3/20/2016 – Riley Central

I found myself at a far away Starbucks yesterday after a scattered, abruptly woken up morning. I had to rush an ID to a loved one who had forgotten it to take a high stakes professional test. As I entered the Riverside Starbucks, I saw people talking and laughing and enjoying as denizens there must do. I felt captivated. My texting all alone in a corner and posting to my blog seemed antisocial and I felt like I was missing out on a greater thing that these people do far away from where I live. With that, I begin the meme.

Me: Hi there! How’s your coffee? Mine is grand. Let me tell you about the posts of my week.
You: Awesome dude! Let em rip!
Me: Egg Test, A brief response to the SoCS meme I try to do every Saturday. It includes a short video this week. Blinking for Dollars, A response to the humorous Mama Kat post about Snipe hunting. The topic I chose was to write about a time when I was tricked. Unknown via monalisa-mon, A quote I ran across last week that really haunted me for a couple days so I had to share it. Something about a chapter we all have that we never share. Follow Friday: Movie Reviews 101, I’m starting to do #ff on Twitter and my blog where I recognize I blog I thing y’all should know about and check out. This week it was Darren’s “Movie Reviews 101” blog. 10 Cloverfield Lane, I saw this new release and reviewed it. Light, I tried to wax poetic here. Actually, I just let it come out. This is an example of what reading y old posts can do for my inspiration. That is, when I find some decent phrases.Where are We Going?, One of my column pieces. The Final Girls, Another moview review I wrote. Covert Idea Theft, This was a response to a word meme from TDP. Not Like I SaidBreakup Artifacts, Another of my column focused pieces. This one is based on an art exhibit in which old breakup items were on display. Sub Note I got a bad sub note. She derided my students and I wrote a little about it along with a mish mash diary post about the rest of my day.
You: Looks like a post or more a day, wow. So do you have a blogging schedule you follow through the week?
Me: Yeah. It always mutates, which I think is good, but here it is nowadays: MON movie review, TUE tumblr share, WED: Column, THU: Mama Kat, FRI: #ff Twitter post/embed on Blog, SAT: SoCS, SUN: #WeekendCoffeeShare
Me: Don’t let me put words in your mouth, leave a comment 🙂 !!! …

The Teaching The Blog The Passion


Source: #WeekendCoffeeShare: 2/6/16 – Part Time Monster

You: How are you doing?
Me: Feeling good and relaxed, which is important to me on a Sunday because tomorrow a measure of stress and challenge always appears weekly without question. I need my wit and candor to teach kids and thrive as a teacher.

You: Anything particular?
Me: Yes and no. Every week requires change and shifting paradigms, especially this year. You have to stay flexible. I once heard an analogy of tall trees that never blew down in high winds and short one that did. It was because the tall ones could bend and be flexible. Grade level standards have changed a lot in a few years and all teachers are scrambling to provide an education to our kids while respecting those and showing improvement for our school’s API with the state.

You: Oh I see, so normal teacher stuff.
Me: Yep, ‘aint it fun? That high stakes test is in 2-3 months so we don’t have much longer to prepare our little guys for this thing. It’s a big deal, the scores are given to the newspapers etc.

You: How’s your blogging going, I notice you’ve made a few changes lately, nice!
Me: Yeah, I am always sweeping up here and there, clipping and pasting code to make this thing fly better. I had 2,000 unique visitors last week so it must be working.

You: Tell me what you did to your blog, the changes you made I mean.
Me: Well, here’s a list. I’ll try and limit it to the stuff that might help others out. For example, “changing my background slivers to orange” is just my mercurial thing this week:

  1. Changed my tagline/site description to make it shorter, which is always better sharing-wise.
  2. Learned how to do “pullquotes” with my theme. These are amazing. Here’s a sample of how I used them last week. Notice how the photo and quotes are “pulled” out of the margins. This has been a very exciting discovery for me. It doesn’t lend itself well to an interview format post though.
  3. Changed layouts on my theme to include the “Showcase” template and built the slider for featured posts. Also added code to make it auto advance.
  4. Wrote three movie reviews and posted them.
  5. Did my various writing challenges and writing prompts that I do through the week.
  6. Went around at least once a day and commented on some of the blogs I follow. I’m still getting to know some of the good people that do the #weekendcoffeeshare
  7. Repurposed a few “best ofs” from 7-8 years ago and polished them up as current posts. (I highly recommend this if you have amazing posts that are sitting way back in your archives).
  8. Made a goal in Google Analytics.
  9. Made sure to take pictures every day as much as possible so I’d have some for posts.

You: You’ve been busy.
Me: Yeah, my wife wishes I was busier around the house so maybe it’s time to let the river run its course next week 😉

You: I get that.
I’m gonna get a refill and head out, thanks for the coffee! Good luck with all YOUR blog endeavors.
You: (write your response in the comments).

Amazing #weekendcoffeeshare

I enjoy being part of this blog ring where we write news of our week just as if we were having coffee with our reader, one on one. Something that comes to mind immediately is the news that I fixed my mailbox. Well, rather, my father in law Al fixed it. I posted photos earlier today. It had been broken out of the ground when our neighbor backed into it. Rather than make a long post about the rest of my news, I’ll make a list. I’ve always heard that blog readers love lists:

  • My difficult student finally brought me his mother’s phone number and we had a very productive chat.
  • I got new writing graded and up on my walls.
  • On Friday, I was teaching a lesson that was really working when my Principal and Asst. Principal came in and observed the meaty part of the lesson. It felt like a miracle! Usually they come by when not much is happening but Friday was very different.
  • I had lunch with my 17 year old son and we talked about priorities and goals. We haven’t connected for a while and that felt really great. He’s a good boy.
  • I’m happier with my blog theme than I have been in a long time.
  • I started a new post type for posting blog tips and strategies, I did my first post yesterday.

As is true with life, there is always more to tell. I hope you get to enjoy a good cup of Joe when you read this. I read a lot of these out there but sadly miss some. eave me a comment won’t you? I’d love to read yours. Thanks for the coffee time!

Weekend Coffee Share 1.23.2016

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how the last week of teaching was both rewarding and challenging. One of my lowest math students had learned all his times tables and he showed it to me. It was awesome, I am so proud of him. Another student continues to push my buttons and I have to keep a large patient spirit toward him. He’s one of those I just think to myself “Make it to June.” The sleeping in this morning helped a lot and plan to spend some time coming up with interventions for this child. Getting rest can help so much when one is discouraged.

I’d also brag about how much my wife and I did today. We were DIY maniacs. We worked on 1. The mailbox, 2. the garbage disposal, 3. the sink fixtures, and 3. the refrigerator. I am so proud of our accomplishments today. There is still a bit to do but major progress was made and we didn’t have t break the bank calling repair men. I’m thankful for Sunday tomorrow to really relax, work on that rti stuff for work, wrote my lesson plans, and just basically let my cells relax for a new week starting Monday.

My blog is making me very happy these days. I’ve made it a sort of tumblr/wordpress hybrid. I have 10 icons for different post types. If you know tumblr, you know what this can look like. I have to style them by hand, placing the icon at the top of each post but somehow, I find that exciting. It reminds me of the old old early days of blogging when we had to do things like that through homepage services like Geocities. Icons are below:


Meet me next weekend for coffee!