Lose Weight And Feel Great In Three Simple Steps

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and this is my latest post on a blog I like to call James Proclaims.

It’s not really a blog about weight-loss or fitness, although occasionally I have used my own lacklustre attempts to improve my health and wellbeing as the basis for some of my posts, which for the most part are meant to be amusing rather than inspirational.

I can’t tell you how to lose weight and feel great in three simple steps. I doubt there are three simple steps. Assuming you have no underlying medical conditions, if you eat healthily and do a reasonable amount of exercise you’ll probably be fine. I don’t think there are any obvious short-cuts, but I’m no expert. I don’t wish to dismiss how difficult it is to eat healthily and do regular exercise either – I find both to be soul-destroyingly difficult. Nonetheless, I think that is the only route that will yield results.

Obviously if you’re a regular visitor, you’ll have probably worked out that the title for the post was a continuation of a theme I started last week, when I decided to write a post with an obvious click-bait title to see if it attracted more people to my blog. I mainly did it for a laugh, but I also learned a valuable lesson. Which was that writing click-bait titles that have little or nothing to do with your post does actually work, if your sole goal is to attract more visitors to your blog.

And to be fair, although I did acquire some new ‘bot’ followers, I also did get lots of comments and engagement from real people. I was unduly rewarded for my Machiavellian ways and it was a busier day than normal over here at James Proclaims Towers*. Certainly, busy enough for me to try the same trick again this week.

Last week’s click-bait title was specifically pitched at other bloggers, and ultimately, although my post did not help anyone to generate additional followers for their blogs, the post in question was at least about the whole concept of blog followers, so hopefully none of my new visitors left feeling hugely short-changed.

It would only seem fair, then, to dedicate the rest of this post to the topic of weight loss.

But that does seem a bit boring.

So, I’m not going to do that.

 

*I’m trying out ‘James Proclaims Towers’ as the new blog nickname for my home. You obviously don’t know what my house looks like, but if you did, you would know that ‘James Proclaims Towers’ is hilariously ironic.

Massively Increase Your Followers In Three Simple Steps

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and you are currently reading my latest post on a blog that I like to call ‘James Proclaims’. There’s a chance that you already know this of course and that you came here to sample my latest offering because you generally find my output tolerable. However, if you’ve stumbled here by accidently clicking on the wrong link or some other internet-related mishap (we’ve all been there), then I still want you to feel welcome and appreciated. We at ‘James Proclaims’ value all of our visitors, regardless of the circumstances that led to them finding themselves here. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I sometimes like to pretend this is a team effort, but it isn’t. This blog is entirely my fault and my fault alone.

There is, of course, a chance that you’re reading this on the basis that you were enticed by the ‘click-bait’ title I decided to give this post. If that is the case then I’m genuinely sorry. It wasn’t my intention to mislead you (well it was, but only in a misguided attempt at humour). In all honesty, there is very little chance that continuing to read this post will help you to get more people to follow you on whatever social media platform you’re currently operating on.

Because I don’t know how to do that.

Certainly not in three simple steps.

I don’t have that many followers.

Actually, at the time of writing I do notionally have something like 850 followers. Some bloggers would consider that a lot, while others would look on me with condescending pity as they bask in the glory of having thousands of followers.

850 is fine with me. It would be even better if there really were 850 people regularly reading my posts.

There are not. I think there are reliably about twenty people worldwide who actually read most of what I write and then maybe another twenty or so people who occasionally read what I write. I could be wrong. There could be more than that, there could actually be far far fewer than that.

The other 810(ish) followers either consist of people who did used to read my blog but haven’t for a while, other bloggers who followed me despite having no interest in my blog, solely in the hope that I would follow them back (I’m sorry to disappoint those people but I tend not to do that, although they aren’t actually reading this so it’s probably a redundant statement to make) and quite a lot of my followers are what we in ‘the business’ like to call ‘bots’. I don’t know what a bot is, but I do know that if I write about specific topics, things that normal people write about like health and/or fitness, then the bots go crazy for it. When I write about ducks and puddles, the bots seem less interested.

Anyway, the point to all of this, if indeed there is a point, is that in the month that has just gone, the month in question being June in the year 2020, my blog has enjoyed something of an upturn in fortunes. It was, statistically speaking, the most fruitful month I’ve ever had based on all of the different criteria that WordPress uses to measure the success of my blog. I had more visitors, more ‘likes’ and more comments on my posts in June than in any other month since I started blogging, way back in May 2015. And while you might expect a blog to get more successful over time, that generally isn’t how things have gone for me. My stats for June 2020 eclipse every other month by a considerable margin. The only month that comes close is August 2015 and that has always been an outlier, a beacon of shame if you will, reminding me that every other month has been a spectacular failure by comparison.

There are some factors which may have helped June, not least the fact that I’ve been producing content on a much more regular basis than I have in the past, but as this is my hundredth post in as many days, one might wonder why I didn’t enjoy a similar upturn in fortunes in April and May. Ok, May could be explained by the fact that I wrote exclusively about Star Wars for thirty-one consecutive days and April was fairly niche too because I mostly wrote about 90s indie music. But I’ve had blogging streaks before and they’ve never resulted in a massive increase in my blogging stats. Perhaps the pandemic has meant more people have time to read blogs. Maybe my particular brand of ‘whatever-it-is-I-actually-do’ has been more appealing during these coronatimes than it was when there wasn’t a world-wide health crisis.

Or maybe, somehow, I have finally nailed the art of blogging and June 2020 was the beginning of my humble little online journal joining the stratosphere of the ‘superblogs’. Maybe this time next year I’ll have 8000 followers rather than just 850.

It seems unlikely. But, while I’d like to pretend that I don’t care about things like ‘numbers of followers’ and ‘likes’ and that I’m really too cool for all of that, there is a part of me that has enjoyed this last month.

And I’d like it to continue for a bit longer.

So, I thought I’d get my July blogging stats off to a good start by writing a post with an obvious clickbait title.

Just to see how many more of the bots I could reel in.

Que Sera Sera

James Proclaims (4)

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Having been largely dormant for much of 2019, my blog has enjoyed something of a resurgence of late.

This may be a natural consequence of all that is going on in the world.

Then again, although it is abundantly clear, even to an introvert like me, that social norms appear to have changed for most of us (or at least those of us who don’t work as special advisors to the prime minister) aside from having to queue to get into supermarkets, not much has really changed for me.

Because I am the father of a very small person. A toddler if you will. So I never got to see anyone or do anything anyway.

Obviously I’m being slightly glib. I think. I’m not actually sure what ‘glib’ means, but it seems appropriate to use it here.

Yep, I’ve just looked it up and it was the right word.

I’m being as glib as a politician who tells you that they are being guided by the science.

Obviously life has changed for me in the last few months, but not as profoundly, I don’t think, as it probably has for people who like spending time with, y’know, other people. And who don’t have an adorable yet demanding small person in their lives.

But, even though I have mostly still been at work (and yes, I actually have been ‘at work’ rather than working from home, for quite a few weeks now, since I established that, as no-one else was there, it was as easy to social distance in my office as at home and far far easier to pretend to be working hard there), my job has changed quite a lot. Because I work in a secondary school, not strictly speaking as a teacher (though I could if I wanted to, I have the relevant pieces of paper that permit me to teach children how to not fail exams, which has, essentially been the main focus of the British education system for many a year now, not least since, fairly early in the decade just gone, when Mr Gove and his special advisor, a certain Mr Cummings, decided that anything resembling a holistic education for children was a massive waste of time), but as someone who attends lots of meetings in which many things are discussed but nothing is ever resolved. And though I have had to attend a lot of the same meetings ‘virtually’ and complete lots of unnecessary paperwork that no-one will ever read, the absence of any actual children in school has been different to say the least.

I’ve still been busy, but there have been fewer distractions and so I may have had a little more time to blog. On the other hand, for the last two months I’ve been blogging predominantly about music and Star Wars, and I’d been planning on doing that regardless of ‘you know what’. The birth of my daughter in August 2018 resulted in the latter part of 2018 and most of 2019 being quite unproductive in blogging terms. Because it turns out that being a new parent is both time-consuming and exhausting. Who knew? Roughly 65% of the posts I wrote between June 2018 and March 2020 were the Christmas-Adjacent movie reviews I write in the build-up to Christmas. And no-one ever reads those. So I’d pretty much decided that I needed to have a couple of ‘blog projects’ that didn’t rely on me writing about movies that may have a tenuous link to Christmas. And I’d planned my April ‘A-Z of albums’  some time in advance of writing the posts. I planned the Star Wars thing a little less well, but notionally I thought it might be fun to do a long time before May arrived. And I was right, it was fun to do.

There’s no doubt that having slightly more time, due to world events, has helped my blog stumble back into existence, but I like to think I would have written most of what I have written without the need for a global pandemic.

But now we’re in June.

And I haven’t planned anything for June.

Except to write the same sort of stuff as I was writing before my extended paternity leave from the blogosphere.

And I can’t quite remember what that was.

I have vague recollections of writing something about soup once.

And I’m pretty certain there was something about the etiquette of waving on a boat.

And I expect I moaned about Brexit a few times.

And there was definitely a lot of bad poetry.

And some stuff was just plain weird.

Anyway, the point, if indeed there is a point, is that I’ve definitely re-discovered my love of blogging, which should mean that there will be a fair amount of content on these pages in the coming months.

But I offer no guarantees as to the quality of that content.

 

 

 

May The Sixteenth Be With You: Who’s Scruffy Lookin’?

James Proclaims (4)

Much like when I decided to dedicate a post to my collection of Star Wars mugs, I’m not feeling quite up to writing a review of an 80s cartoon that no-one remembers today. Which may come as a relief, in many respects, to those of you who loyally read my posts regardless of their content (and although that is quite a small collective, you have no idea how grateful I am that you exist…).

We are, today, over halfway through May, so even if I keep this nonsense up for the rest of the month, we will soon be back to a world in which I no longer blog exclusively about Star Wars.

I don’t know what June has in store for this blog. Perhaps I’ll go back to blogging about the worldwide pandemic, or maybe I’ll focus on my usual mundane offerings.

Or maybe I’ll come up with a new theme. I toyed with the idea of another George Lucas inspired project. I was going to call it Indiana June…

Anyway, back to today and rather than writing about some obscure spin-off in the Star Wars universe, I’ve decided to post some pictures of some Star Wars attire that I own.

It should be noted though, that although I do love Star Wars, if the garments below imply some kind of obsession then rest assured I own at least the same number of tops proclaiming my love for the Welsh rugby team. And a surprising amount of t-shirts which might indicate my support for several football teams that I don’t, in fact, support.

And Superman, Batman and Spiderman are also well represented in my wardrobe.

Essentially I own too many t-shirts.

But these are the Star Wars ones:

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An Adidas/Star Wars mash-up that has resulted in more than one person stopping me to tell me that I’m wearing a cool t-shirt. Because Star Wars is cool…

 

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A gift from my lovely wife and quite probably my favourite t-shirt out of all the t-shirts I’ve ever owned.

 

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Another gift from my wife who frankly knows me too well…

 

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Sometimes it’s too cold for a t-shirt, and on those days, I can still proclaim my love for Star Wars by wearing this.

 

And because sometimes it’s Christmas, I also own the following:

 

Anyway, I’m off to watch more Star Wars cartoons so I can write about them in the near future.

I might even write about one of them tomorrow.

Most Melancholic Monday

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is Blue Monday and therefore officially the most depressing day of the year. This is based on actual scientific fact and not a slap in the face to those people who are actively campaigning to raise the profile and reduce the stigma of mental health.

I actually wasn’t feeling that bad when I woke up this morning but then I remembered what day it was and got my act together. I’ve been suitably morose since around 7:45 this morning and can only apologise for the inappropriate levels of good humour I was experiencing in the preceding 90 minutes or so. Obviously, the fact that 7:45 is roughly when I arrived at work is of no relevance to my sudden dip in mood.

Actually, all of the above is a lie. I’m writing this on Saturday and in a delightful mood. I’ve scheduled this to appear in the blogosphere on Monday morning because, after a poor 2019 in blogging terms, I’m attempting to reignite my blogging mojo by having a regular blogging day. And that day is Monday.

I don’t know why.

I’m not saying I’ll only blog on a Monday (last week I also posted a bad poem on Thursday) but the aim is to post something every Monday as a minimum.

Even if that something is a meandering post vaguely, but not really, about a made-up day, which serves no purpose other than encouraging people to feel artificially miserable.

It’s all content after all. And I hope, in some small way my content makes you feel content.

But if you’re feeling content on Blue Monday then you’re getting it wrong.

So, go away and do something that makes you feel unhappy.

Fortunately, by the time this is published I will be in work and, Blue Monday or not, it seems unlikely I’ll be in the most joyful of moods.

But rest assured, I will be honouring the day by not just feeling forlorn on my own, but actively trying to make others feel despondent.

It’s the least I can do.

The (Fairly Predictable) James Proclaims New Year’s Eve Review Of The Year That Was And Indeed The Decade That Was

James Proclaims (6)

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As this is very much the last day of 2019 it behoves me to write about the year that has just happened. But because 2019 ends in a ‘9’ it behoves me to write about the last decade too. There is always some debate that the new decade doesn’t start until the beginning of a year that ends in a ‘1’, but, even though the argument for that is underpinned by sound logic and fact, the reality is that we all consider the year ending in ‘0’ as the start of the new decade (or century or indeed millenium as appropriate). So to all intents and purposes, today is the end of the decade that may or may not have been known at the teens.

But since becoming a dad approximately 17 months ago, I can’t even remember what happened yesterday let alone recall anything of significance that happened in the last ten years.

It is, of course, customary for such a ‘review’ to focus on the wider world, but I’m not going to do that for two reasons:

  1. Other people will do a much better job of that than I could ever possibly hope to achieve.
  2.  It all seems to have gone downhill since 2010 and that decline seems to have accelerated since 2016.

So for those reasons, and also because I’m a bit narcissistic, this post will be all about me.

This is definitely the first decade in which I’ve been a proper ‘grown-up’ for its entirety . I was technically an adult for all of the noughties but, whereas I haven’t really been drunk on any New Years Eve throughout this decade, I saw in the year 2000 absolutely hammered and wandering the streets of Cardiff with nowhere to sleep until the first trains started running the following morning. And that was not unusual behaviour for the ensuing decade.

So I have made some personal progress.

Beyond no longer drinking irresponsibly (or at least not as often) there have been some other developments for me in the last ten years.

I started 2010 as an unmarried childless man. I was engaged to be married to the woman I am now married to, and we were living together, but we didn’t get married until August of 2010.

My daughter didn’t arrive for another eight years, but as eight years is less than a decade it is entirely accurate to say that the ‘teens’ (which I’m definitely calling them even if no-one else does) is when I became both a husband and father.

It’s also, just about, the decade that I went from being a directionless waste of space, career-wise, to having a definite career and indeed career-path. Admittedly it’s a career-path I don’t especially want to be on, but, having experienced the ‘wilderness years’ which largely describes the preceding decade, the wrong career-path is possibly better than no career-path at all.

It has allowed me to get a mortgage if nothing else. For indeed the decade to which we’re about to bid adieu is the decade in which I became a homeowner for the first time. Again, it’s not necessarily a home worth owning, but having been mistreated more than once by the rental market, I’m happier owning my ramshackle terraced house with all it’s dysfunctional plumbing than paying double my mortgage in rent for a tiny flat owned by a shady landlord.

As for 2019, it’s not been a vintage year really. I spent most of the first four months trying to complete my MA at the expense of pretty much everything else. Except my daughter who will not be ignored even for academic deadlines.

I succeeded in my academic endeavours, but have spent the remaining eight months trying to get back into shape after making some questionable decisions regarding diet and exercise during that feverish period of study. Since April I have been largely exercising at pretty much the expense of everything else. Except my daughter who will not be ignored even for a brutal and unforgiving fitness regime.

Nothing much else of a personal nature happened in 2019, beyond my daughter’s continued development which I notionally contribute to but to a much lesser extent than Mrs Proclaims and indeed the child herself whose desire to conquer each developmental milestone appears to be voracious. She had pretty much nailed walking by eleven months old and then subsequently attempted to destroy every possession of ours that wasn’t nailed down.

Talking seems to be her project du jour and she’s making excellent progress. She’s always been a chatterbox, but these days some of what she says actually makes sense. I expect she’ll have her own blog soon. And it’ll be much better than this one.

Speaking of this blog, it was halfway through the last decade that ‘James Proclaims’ became a thing. May 10th, 2015 to be precise. And 2019 appears to be the year I almost killed it off by barely posting anything.

But I appear to have rallied at the end of 2019 and December has actually been quite a productive month blog-wise.

It’s not all been good, but it has been something.

Which is often better than nothing.

And in 2020 I expect I’ll write more posts that are of questionable quality and worth.

But I can’t commit to that today.

Because that would be a resolution.

And we all know that resolutions come on the 1st of January.

So tune in tomorrow to see if ‘blogging more often in 2020’ makes the cut for my 2020 resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Call It A Comeback

James Proclaims (4)

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It is the 18th November, which quite possibly means that Christmas is nearly upon us. It also means that I haven’t troubled the blogosphere for a good four months. At least I imagine it’s been a good four months if you really don’t like my writing. But then I would hypothesise that you wouldn’t be reading this. And you wouldn’t have noticed my lack of blogging in the last four months. So, whether the last four months were good or not would have had absolutely nothing to do with my latest hiatus from this blog. On the other hand if you do like my cyber compositions then you might have been a little miffed that I haven’t produced anything for a while. Indeed 2019 has been rather sparse in terms of content for this plugged-in periodical.

I should probably begin this post with an ablogogy.

Ablogogy is a term I’ve just coined. It can be defined as follows:

ablogogy

[ uh-blog-uh-jee ]

noun, plural a·blog·o·gies.

An insincere written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having failed to write anything on one’s blog for a considerable period of time. Ablogogies are issued in the vain hope that anyone gives a crap, but with the knowledge that, in fact, no-one has either noticed or particularly cared that one hasn’t written an anodyne post about cabbages for a while.

 

Now that we’ve got that over with, I can perhaps try and write something of substance.

Although that would be quite a departure from my usual utterings, and I haven’t changed that much in the last few months.

As it is currently November, I’m suffering with my annual state of Novemberitis. Which is absolutely a real condition and not something I’ve just made up.

Many people choose to survive November by writing novels, others grow moustaches in an apparent attempt to raise awareness of something. I have considered, but ultimately abandoned, both of these ideas in the past. Occasionally I try to overcome the melancholies of November by producing more content for this blog, but aside from five posts in January, one in April and two in July I have written nothing in 2019, so producing any content this November would be an upturn in fortunes.

Although if this is the best I can do, then perhaps my extended absence was no great loss.

I expect much has changed in the world since my last attempt to kick-start this increasingly dormant blog into existence.

Although Brexit appears to still be a thing.

And there’s another election on the horizon and they’re always fun.

My own existence has largely been dominated by my increasingly mobile and intrepid daughter.

I am very much enjoying being a father but I’m also tired all of the time. Even as I write this my beloved offspring is tearing around the room, occasionally popping over to my workspace (which takes up a corner in what is apparently now her room, although it was very much my office until she arrived on the scene. I suppose it was always theoretically an office/guestroom but given that Mrs Proclaims and I have always discouraged guests it was pretty much my space. Now it’s very much hers and I am permitted the use of a corner on the basis that there is nowhere else in our tiny abode for my computer to live) to tamper with my keyboard and insert random symbols into my prose. I imagine I will have deleted her efforts by the time I publish this, but I suppose she makes a convenient scapegoat for any typos that may appear.

Anyway, I return to the blogosphere this day in order to proclaim my intention to return to blogging more frequently from now on.

But I’ve made such promises before and utterly failed to live up to them.

And really, whether I blog or not is of no great consequence.

So, this entire post is completely pointless.

Which, in fairness, is pretty much in line with everything else I’ve ever written.

It’s All Kicking Off

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s been a while since I last blogged. Possibly that is due to a certain amount of blogging fatigue accrued during the ‘200 posts in 200 days’ marathon of blogging that preceded this latest hiatus.

Or possibly I had nothing to say.

Then again, having nothing to say has never been a particular barrier before.

So maybe it was blogging fatigue after all.

Anyway, I appear to have been inspired to post something today.

I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the World Cup started today.

I always enjoy the World Cup, although I’m not entirely sure why. I wouldn’t class myself as an aficionado of football, or sport in general for that matter. I’m definitely something of an armchair fan though.

I’ve always been a big fan of armchairs.

But I do like watching sport a bit, even though I play very little sport.

The World Cup has attracted some controversy this year, what with it being hosted in Russia, a country with a questionable human rights record.

I’m currently watching the opening game. Russia are playing Saudi Arabia, a country with a questionable human rights record.

It’s hard to know who to support really.

Then again, that sentiment could be applied to the whole tournament.

My own beloved Wales will not be there, having failed to qualify, which is not an unusual state of affairs.

I usually default to supporting England, but they never do that well either.

To be honest though, I generally enjoy watching all the matches, regardless of who is playing.

Mrs Proclaims does not share my enthusiasm.

In that regard we very much conform to stereotype.

I’d like to think that in other ways we don’t, but I’m struggling to come up with any good examples of us defying stereotypes.

It’s probably because I’m watching the football.

 

 

Multiple Milestones

James Proclaims (4)

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This post, the one you’re currently reading (if indeed you are reading this) is the 524th post to appear on James Proclaims. Which is not hugely significant in and of itself, but back on October 30th 2017, I had only written a measly 324 posts. On October 31st, I wrote a post about Halloween. Little did I know it at the time, but with that post I was embarking on a blogging odyssey. But I was, and I did and this, my 524th post of all time, is also my 200th post in 200 consecutive days.

It’s a journey which, as the mathematically more astute of you will realise, took me past the milestones of my 400th post and my 500th post, as well as my three year blogiversary. The end of April also saw me complete six months of consecutive blogging, which seems noteworthy for some reason, but probably isn’t.

It started out as me just trying to achieve the feat of writing 30 posts in 30 days throughout November, in an attempt to complete National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo). At the time I thought I’d struggle to even accomplish that, but now that looks like a miniscule achievement. As well as NaBloPoMo, I also wrote 24 Christmas(ish) themed film reviews in a sort of Advent Calendar  throughout December, and in April I partook in the A-Z blogging challenge, writing mostly about the cartoons of my youth. The other 120 posts have consisted of slightly rubbish poems, even more rubbish doodles, some lamentably pointless reviews of 90s era movies and a few short stories, which aren’t nearly as clever as I thought they were when I wrote them. I’ve also introduced two never-seen-before features to my blog – the utterly inexplicable ‘James Explains’ and the entirely self-indulgent Magic Penguin stories, which are just a bit weird.

And I will continue to post many more unfathomable utterings to these pages for the foreseeable future. This is not the end of James Proclaims. I will proclaim again and I will proclaim soon.

But not tomorrow.

Because while I’ve enjoyed the last 200 days, I really do need to stop posting everyday. I have other things I need to do. They aren’t really things I want to do. A lot of them are beyond dull. But I’ve been putting them off for far too long. About 200 days if I’m honest.

For this has been the ultimate exercise in procrastination.

In the event that anyone is disheartened by the news that I will no longer be blogging on a daily basis then I would like to point out that no-one in their right mind should be at all bothered that a mediocre blogger decides to blog a bit less. But if that news still fails to console you, then rest assured, I’ll still be pedalling my prosaic prose in the blogosphere, just on a slightly less regular basis.

But probably still multiple times a week.

If, by contrast, the news that I’m not giving up blogging is the thing that disheartens you, then I would also point out that you really don’t have to read this stuff. No-one is making you. Unless you’re Mrs Proclaims, in which case I admit that I do make you read it, but you knew what you were getting into when you married me.

Anyway, the point of all this really is that in order to produce my 200th post in 200 days I had to write something.

So I wrote this.

Which is probably something of an anticlimax all things considered.

 

 

A Triennium Of Proclamations

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is my third blogiversary. That’s right, I’ve been doing this blogging malarkey for three whole years now.

Which seems like a respectable amount of time to have maintained a blog.

It’s probably worthy of some kind of recognition.

I should at least get a certificate.

Maybe even a laminated certificate.

I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot in the last three years.

But I haven’t learned a thing really.

Still, after three years, you might think that the novelty would be starting to wear off a little.

But I still enjoy the satisfaction of writing a good post.

Obviously this isn’t a good post.

But I have written some good posts in the last three years.

Or at the very least I’ve written some adequate posts.

I mean they’re not all bad surely?

Anyway, as is customary when celebrating a blogiversary, I will now eat some cake.

It was ‘cake day’ in work today. Every Thursday is cake day. But I was in a meeting when the cake was being served so I missed it. All I got in the meeting was some water. Which is not the same as cake.

So I will have some cake now instead and celebrate my blogiversary.

Feel free to join me.

Although don’t actually come to my house because that would be weird.

 

Thawed For The Day

James Proclaims (4)

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I was struggling to think of what to write today, and almost didn’t bother posting. But I’m on such a hot blogging streak at the moment (this being my 133rd post in 133 consecutive days) that I was reluctant to not write anything. I feel the run is likely to come to an end soon, but I think if I can get over the hurdle of today’s apathy, that I’ve got a few more posts in me before I run out of steam.

On the other hand I didn’t want to just stare at a blank page for hours on end, waiting for inspiration to find me. I have better things to do than that.

Like eating the rest of that ice cream that’s in the freezer.

And watching the next episode of that box-set.

And preparing for that presentation I’m meant to be doing in work tomorrow.

Well I’ll do the ice-cream and the box-set thing anyway. I expect I’ll be employing my usual ‘winging it’ strategy for the presentation.

So, in the absence of any genuine inspiration, I’ve imposed a ten minute time limit on myself to write today’s post.

Why ten minutes?

Well that’s the optimum time from taking the ice-cream tub out of the freezer to allow it to thaw sufficiently to transfer it to a bowl without bending the spoon, but not thaw so much that it loses its delightful ice-creamy consistency.

So, while this may not be the best post I’ve ever produced, I will get to enjoy a bowl of ice-cream at the end of it.

And that’s got to count for something right?

Ninety-One

James Proclaims (4)

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Do bloggers blog about the very act of blogging when they can’t think what else to blog about?

Perhaps so.

I know I’ve been guilty of that before.

And perhaps I’m guilty of that today.

I’ve got loads of things I want to blog about though, so this post is not entirely about a lack of other topics.

For example I could blog about the time, recently, that I won a massive cake in a raffle. Or how Mrs Proclaims and I survived in near arctic conditions when we thought our boiler had broken, but in fact our boiler was fine and it was our gas meter that had broken (oh the hilarity of going for three days without heating only for the wrong kind of repairman to turn up!)

Or I could brag about how I totally won an argument conducted through the medium of email in work today.

Because I owned that email exchange.

But today I want to blog about this very blog.

Because I have been something of a blogging machine of late. Yesterday I posted my ninetieth post in ninety consecutive days. Today is my ninety-first post in ninety-one consecutive days.

That’s a pretty good record by anyone’s standards.

And I’ve brought some new stuff to the blog too. Like my slightly rubbish film reviews. Or the genuinely perplexing ‘Magic Penguin’ stories. Or the utterly unhelpful ‘James Explains’.

But some of the ninety-one posts have, I think, been quite good.

Not this one obviously.

But some of them have been.

And now I find myself a mere nine days and nine posts away from hitting a century. A hundred posts in a hundred days.

Will I make it?

Who knows?

Who really cares?

I mean I care a little bit. But it’s not really going to change my life. I won’t even get a celebratory t-shirt.

Maybe I should make a celebratory t-shirt.

That would be cool.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because I’m not there yet.

Today I’m at ninety-one.

And ninety-one does not make for a cool t-shirt by anyone’s standards.

 

Let’s All Just Take A Moment to Acknowledge My Momentous Achievement

James Proclaims (4)

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This month I have derided, mocked and otherwise made-fun of various November ‘traditions’. Many of my posts this month have been mock-ups of potential novels in an affectionate sendup of National Novel Writing Month, while I have also derided (at times with a touch less affection) such November notables as Movember, Black Friday (and it’s even stupider sibling ‘Cyber Monday’) and World Sandwich Day.

All the while though, I have been participating in the bloggiest of all the November novelties. For I have been ‘secretly’ participating in National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo) for which the goal is to produce a blog post for every day of November. That’s thirty posts in thirty days.

As a writing challenge it’s much easier than NaNoWriMo, but it’s still no mean feat I can tell you.

I haven’t been this productive on my blog since I did the same challenge two years ago.

Back then I swore I’d never do it again, because it’s really hard think of sufficient things to write about in order to produce that many posts.

Out of desperation I did stupid things during my 2015 NaBloPoMo challenge, such as writing a post on November 5th saying I couldn’t think of anything to write about. This was ludicrous for two reasons, firstly the ‘I can’t think of anything to write about’ post is all well and good later on in the month but using it up on day 5 was throwing away a potential lifeline very early on. Also, it was Guy Fawkes Night, so I should have just written about that. You’ll note I did not make the same mistake this year and Mr Fawkes very firmly had his place within my 2017 November challenge.

Anyway, today marks the day that I have achieved the thirty posts in thirty days challenge. It’s a day before the end of November because I posted on the last day of October.

Because that was Halloween, which seemed an obvious thing to blog about when trying to generate lots of content.

However, in the spirit of this being a November-specific challenge I will post something tomorrow too.

It will be an explanatory post about what will be happening on this blog during the month of December.

Because I’m extending this blogging party right up until Christmas and possibly beyond.

Do try and contain your excitement.

A Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars

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If you’ve clicked on this expecting a well-thought out classification of all the different chocolate bars available in the UK then you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Also, what is wrong with you?

Seriously, who needs to know about chocolate bars to that extent?

I mean I am reasonably well-versed in chocolate. I’m certainly no expert, but I know my Double Deckers from my Lion Bars and my Twirls from my Twix.

But this post isn’t really about chocolate bars.

Although if you’re in the mood for one you could do worse than any of the above.

But really this post is, as with all my posts, about not very much at all.

Normally I have no difficulty coming up with creative ways of writing about nothing, but recently I’ve been struggling.

Today I had a particularly bad bout of writer’s block

Indeed I have been sitting on my sofa for the best part of an hour starting, and subsequently deleting, various attempts at a blog post.

And even by the particularly low standards I set for myself, I was coming up with nothing that I considered acceptable for these prestigious pages.

And then Mrs Proclaims appeared.

I mean she came down the stairs, she didn’t magically appear in front of me like a genie.

Or someone off of Star Trek.

Upon her entering the room, I implored her to give me an idea to write about.

She looked at me suspiciously, as if having walked into a trap.

And rightly so, for I am not known to solicit suggestions when it comes to content for this blog and I can be more than a little ungracious when unsolicited suggestions are made. (This a particularly blog-specific failing on my part and should in no way be used to judge me in other areas of my life and is certainly no reflection on the state of my marriage…)

“I mean it,” I said in an attempt at reassurance, “I really can’t think of anything.”

Still with a slight sense of mistrust she pondered the situation for a moment.

“Why don’t you write a Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars?” she suggested.

I congratulated her on her brilliance and she returned to the upper rooms of our abode feeling pleased with herself.

Obviously I haven’t written a taxonomy of chocolate bars.

It’s too varied and controversial a topic for me to be able to do it justice.

But I did think it would make a good title.

And I have just eaten a chocolate bar.

It was a Lion Bar if you must know.

I’d have preferred a Double Decker, but we didn’t have any of those in the cupboard and the nearest shop is all the way across the road.

We did have Wagon Wheels in the cupboard.

I’m not sure if they count as chocolate bars, because of their shape.

If only someone had written a thorough and complete taxonomy of chocolate bars so I could find out.

Something About Nothing

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A few weeks ago, in order to maintain a regular blogging schedule, I committed to regularly writing short posts about ‘not very much’, instead of longer posts that pretend to be about ‘something’ but aren’t really about anything.

Since making that pledge, I have written anything much.

So the plan didn’t work.

And now I’m reduced once again to writing about how I’ve failed to produce any meaningful content for this blog, aside from a couple of poems, one of which was a Haiku that I wrote ages ago and the one I posted yesterday, which was about Bovril.

Bovril!

Who writes poetry about Bovril?

Anyway, I’m really just posting this as confirmation that I am still alive.

I have just been occupied with lots of stuff lately.

Some of that stuff is work related and it genuinely makes me sad that I have to spend good blogging time working on paperwork that no-one is ever going to read but nonetheless needs to be completed so that I can answer honestly when people ask me if I’ve done it.

I’m not above answering dishonestly about completing paperwork and I have employed that strategy many times in my life to get people off my back, but it generally is prudent to complete it anyway, at some point, because even though most of the time no-one bothers to read it, it only takes one excessively keen and enquiring person to start probing for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

I feel there are some of these overzealous vultures circling at the moment so I’m being particularly careful to “dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s” in my professional life.

However, all work and no play would make James a dull boy so I have also been quite busy filling potential blogging time with other fun stuff.

I could write about that fun stuff here.

But I won’t.

Because that might create the illusion that I lead a vaguely fulfilling existence.

Which might even be the truth if I really think about it.

But I think a sense of satisfaction with my lot in life would be setting entirely the wrong tone for my blog.

James Complains About Not Having Written Anything

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It’s the first Monday in September and like many teachers I’m obliged to go back to work after a six-week hiatus.

Obviously, I expect very little sympathy from the non-teachers out there. Clearly, it’s hard, if you don’t get six weeks off, to sympathise with anyone who hasn’t had to go to work for the best part of the summer (I mean it was definitely the best part of my summer anyway).

Fortunately, I know there are quite lot of teachers who read this blog.

So, it’s perfectly fine for me to have a moan about having to go back into work.

And regular readers of these pages will know I’m not a huge fan of the whole work thing anyway.

I’d much rather sit around in my pants all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

But there are bills to pay.

And no-one is prepared to pay me to sit around all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

So, to work I must go.

And to be fair, the education profession does allow me numerous holidays throughout the year when I can sit around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

Obviously, I don’t spend all my holiday time doing that. Mrs Proclaims tends to frown upon that kind of behaviour.

Also, it’s apparently not good for your health to spend most of the day sedentary whilst consuming large volumes of frozen sugar and fat.

Anyway, after a six-week break in which I haven’t exclusively sat around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, I’m back to work today.

Normally I’d be dreading it.

And today is no exception

But it’ll be fine. I’ll struggle through the first few hours, as I remember that I’m contractually obliged to do stuff and not all of that stuff will be interesting, or even worthwhile. Some of it will, frankly, be a complete waste of time. At first, I’ll want to resist, but eventually I’ll settle back into the same, slightly numb, reluctant acceptance that this is my life until Christmas.

And that’s fine, because they pay me just about enough to meet my mortgage commitments, pay my utility bills, and do all the other essential things I need to do to exist.

Like eat.

And pay my Netflix subscription.

So, while it’s fair to say I’m reluctant about going back to work today, I do understand why I have to do so, and on balance, I can’t complain too much about having to work when I’ve just had six weeks off.

But the trouble with having to work is that it tends to get in the way of blogging.

It’s hard to maintain a blogging schedule and do all the stuff I need to get done in work.

Sometimes I manage it, but there are often times when I go missing from the blogosphere for weeks, even months, on end because I’ve got too much to get done in work.

So you’d think, with six weeks off, and an unstated but implicit understanding with my lovely wife that I would not spend all of that time sitting around in my pants watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, that I might’ve had time to pen a few missives for this blog.

To get me ahead of schedule.

You’d think I’d have at least written today’s post in advance of today.

And although I did technically write this last night, it was so close to midnight as to barely count.

And I certainly haven’t written anything else in preparation for the coming weeks.

I meant to get ahead during my time off.

But I didn’t.

So, this could feasibly be the last thing I post for a while

Which, when you consider the quality of this post alone, would clearly be a tragedy for all humanity.

So let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that I churn out another one of these soon.

The Elephant In The Room

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Hello people of the blogosphere. I’m back after something of an unplanned hiatus from the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this post – on the one hand my first post in a while ought to be a spectacular affair, both witty and profound, irreverent yet informative, offering reassurances to my regular readers that I’ve not lost any of my trademark humour while ensuring any new readers who happen upon my blog might want to stick around and read more of my ramblings.

On the other hand, sometimes you can put a bit too much pressure on yourself, and when you’re out of practice, sometimes it’s better just to post something – anything – even if it’s a bit rubbish just to ‘get back on the blogging horse’ so to speak.

I’ve got a few posts in the works, some of which will see the light of day on these very pages soon, but for this post I’d thought that the best thing I could do was to address the elephant in the room.

Because it’s not often you see an elephant in your front room. Continue reading The Elephant In The Room

James Attains!

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello people who read my posts. Today is a very exciting day for two reasons, both of which pertain to this very blog.

Firstly, it’s an exciting day because today is my two year blogiversary.

That’s right it’s been two whole years since a slightly younger, slightly greener (in the metaphorical sense of lacking experience rather than literal sense of actually being the colour green) version of me sat at this very desk and typed the first ever post that appeared on ‘James Proclaims’.

Except that isn’t entirely true because the first post on that I published, on this day, twenty-four months ago, was actually just a rehash of a ‘first post’ I’d written for a different, now defunct blog.  Continue reading James Attains!

Outside The Comfort Zone

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It finally happened, after nearly three months of following a fairly consistent blogging schedule (longer posts on Monday, approximations of poetry on Wednesdays and a slightly rubbish doodle on Fridays) I’ve managed to fall behind.

I’m not worried, I regularly disappeared for weeks on end in 2016 and, nearly three full months in, 2017 is already looking like a significantly better blogging year. Not necessarily a better year in any other respect, although 2016 is oft much maligned as the ‘worst year ever’ and certainly Brexit and Trump made it a pretty bad year politically and lots of celebrities dying made it bad year for people who like celebrities, and I wouldn’t say 2016 was a vintage year for me personally because it wasn’t, but I’d be hard-pressed to say that it was manifestly worse than 2015 in that respect. So far 2017, while seemingly better on the ‘celebrities dying’ front (as far as I’m aware), is still suffering from the ridiculousness of Donald over there and the imminent triggering of Article 50 over here. On a personal level, there is much to be optimistic about but little in the way of the ‘realisation’ of any of that, so, while 2017 has not been significantly worse than 2015 or 2016, I’m not sure I could claim it’s been much better. But it’s early days and there’s the potential for some personal growth in the next few months.

But the last few weeks have been arduous and I’ve been maintaining a blogging schedule that is reasonably consistent against the backdrop of a job that is, at times, more than a little challenging. I like a challenge, I don’t want to be bored at work, but ‘challenging’ can be synonymous with ‘time-consuming’.

So missing a couple of scheduled blog posts is not the end of the world. Continue reading Outside The Comfort Zone

Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’

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Last week I was lamenting the fact that I actively got worse at blogging in 2016 when compared to 2015.

And although I rather churlishly claimed in that post that I was going to endeavour to be even worse in 2017, in actual fact I’d like to be a bit better.

Or, you know, more popular.

And having examined my ‘stats’ with a fine-tooth comb (that I bought off a dentist for a very reasonable price) I realised that 2015 was more successful than 2016 because I produced a lot more content.

Simple as that.

In the just-under eight months I blogged in 2015 I produced 153 posts, whereas a whole twelve months of blogging in 2016 yielded just 104 posts.

It was all about quantity and very little to do with quality.

I was clearly a man possessed in 2015, churning out all kinds of second-rate bunkum.

Did I really just use the word ‘bunkum’? What is wrong with me? Continue reading Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’

My 2016 Blog Report

James Proclaims (4)

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This time last year I got my first ever annual blog report from WordPress. I didn’t ask for it but they sent it anyway. And actually it was pretty cool. It didn’t tell me anything earth shattering that I didn’t already know. I was eight months into my blogging journey at that point and I was pretty obsessed with my blog’s stats. Nonetheless it was nice having it all on one report – and because other bloggers were posting links to their blog reports I could compare my blog stats with others and laugh sneeringly or bow my head in shame depending on how they matched up to mine.

It was like being back in school.

Except not at all like that really. Continue reading My 2016 Blog Report

The Night Knight Rises

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s been something like six and half weeks since I last blogged.

Which is quite a long time.

The longest I’ve ever gone AWOL from this blog before was around three weeks.
Weirdly it was around this time last year.

October, as it turns out, is not a strong blogging month for me.

I could offer some rubbish excuse about how I’ve been really busy and there’s been lot of pressure at work and I’ve also been busy working on my MA. But that would be based on the assumption that anyone reading this cares about the dull realities of my everyday life.

Which maybe people do. Continue reading The Night Knight Rises

Beware Of The Kangadog

James Proclaims (4)

I haven’t blogged for ten days or so. It’s not been for a lack of inspiration but I’ve been quite busy for the last week and I haven’t had time to write any of my staggeringly brilliant ideas down.

I haven’t even had time for my ‘trademark’ bad poetry. Continue reading Beware Of The Kangadog

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

James Proclaims (4)

linux-161107_640 It’s my Blogiversary

Or should it be blogoversary?

A google search suggests that either spelling is an acceptable way of describing the anniversary of the inception of a blog.

Most of the blogs I read seem to go with ‘blogiversary’.

So I’ll go with that too.

Today it is exactly a year since I posted for the first time on ‘James Proclaims’.

I’d started blogs before but truthfully they most petered out after a few weeks. I had no reason to think this attempt would be any different a year ago.

But it is. It’s lasted a year (a leap year to boot). And not just a year of me occasionally remembering that I have a blog and posting intermittent ramblings every few months. Continue reading Happy Blogiversary To Me!

The Game

 

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Crispin looked at the board despairingly.

There was nothing he could do. He had played into Franklin’s hands, and it was now just a matter of a few moves before inevitable defeat. He could cede the game now, but that was not Crispin’s way. If his late father had taught him anything, it was never to surrender even when all seems to be lost.

Admittedly Crispin Senior had, perhaps, taken the philosophy a little too far, and the moral certitude over who actually had ‘the right of way’ was arguably a little redundant when cycling towards an articulated lorry. Continue reading The Game

Z Is For Zeal

James Proclaims (4)

Cool Text - Z 180212900812257Z is for ‘Zeal’

I had a tremendous amount of zeal when I started this A-Z challenge but the zeal started to disappear about halfway through when I realised that I hadn’t really thought it through.

Still I’ve made it to the end and I feel a certain amount of zeal about that. Continue reading Z Is For Zeal

J Is For James

James Proclaims (4)

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What kind of a narcissist would use his own name as the subject of a blog post? Probably the same kind of narcissist who would name the entire blog after himself.

Then again, aren’t all bloggers a bit narcissistic?

To be honest I’m probably too narcissistic to care whether other bloggers are. Continue reading J Is For James

H Is For Haiku

James Proclaims (4)

cooltext176096563121782When I first started this blog, approximately eleven months ago, I had absolutely no intention of writing poetry. But somewhere along the line I seem to have been doing more than my fair share of just that. Continue reading H Is For Haiku

E Is For Everything

James Proclaims (4)

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E is for ‘envelope’. Today I tried pushing the envelope. All I succeeded in doing was moving the envelope slightly further away from me.

E is for ‘expression’. Perhaps I took the expression about ‘pushing the envelope’ a little too literally.

E is for ‘etymology’. Maybe I should look up the etymology of the expression about the envelope. Continue reading E Is For Everything

B Is For Blogosphere

James Proclaims (4)
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Sometimes people that I know will refer to something I’ve written on these pages. It always takes me by surprise. I do know people read this and indeed I actively encourage it. These are not my innermost private thoughts. Generally not much thought goes into anything I write, (except when I make the poems rhyme obviously) and there is certainly nothing secret about any of this. Continue reading B Is For Blogosphere

A Is For April

James Proclaims (4)

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I always enjoy a good ‘blogging’ challenge and apparently April is the month of the A-Z blogging challenge.

The goal, in so far as I can make out, is to write 26 posts in 30 days using the letters of the alphabet consecutively to inspire each post.

Today is day one of the challenge and thus if I’m not mistaken, A is the letter du jour.

Obviously lots of word begin with an ‘A’ so which to choose?

I’ve chosen the month in which the challenge takes place.

April. Continue reading A Is For April