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Damn, Ichiro Knows How to Take Criticism

If you count the hits that Ichiro Suzuki accumulated during his baseball career in Japan, he’s MLB’s all-time hits leader. Pete Rose, who is MLB’ hits leader if you don’t count Ichiro’s Japanese hits doesn’t (surprise) think we should.

A lesser person would match Rose’s fire with fire. A diplomatic person would say “no comment.”

Ichiro walks this razor thin line between both and sees Rose’s commentary for what it is: fear.

Rose…has argued that Ichiro’s 1,278 hits in Japan are essentially invalid.

“I don’t think you’re going to find anyone with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to major-league baseball,’’ Rose told USA Today. “I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.”

All of which Ichiro takes in with a typically unique interpretation. In his mind, this is Rose’s method of paying homage to Ichiro.

“I was actually really surprised and happy that he was so serious about it, and so vocal about it,’’ he said. “Because in the 16 years I’ve been here, what I’ve noticed is, usually, let’s say Americans, if you’re looking at another player, and you feel you’re better than that person, then it’s easy for that person to give encouragement or give praise to that player.

“But as soon as they’re maybe at the same level or maybe they’ve passed that person, then they start becoming defensive and maybe stronger in their words. How I took it was, he really was interested and serious about that. He didn’t just let me be. He got into it. I was really happy he actually was even acknowledging the fact it was happening.

“Some people have told me about five years ago he did an interview where he wished and hoped I could pass that number. I feel like back then he probably didn’t think I could do it.”

Well played, Ichi.

Source: Ichiro still defying expectations at age 42 as he chases 3,000 hits | The Seattle Times

A pen and planner with text that says "How to tackle big projects"

I’ve learned from years of experience and observation that there’s no “secret” way to tackle a big project. Everyone feels the same way: When you’re asked to move a mountain, your first reflex is, Damn, that’s a lot.

It is, but the people who tackle big projects for a living do it by breaking the whole thing down into smaller bits.

Let’s say I’m asked to literally move a mountain. It’s not a matter of, How am I gonna lift this big-ass mountain? It’s:

  • What do you mean by “move”? Can I make a tunnel?
  • What’s my budget?
  • What are my resources?
  • What’s my timeline?
  • How do I allocate my budget and resources on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis to finish my project on time?

If you work for someone else, the last question is the only one you have to answer yourself. Figure out that equation:

(Budget + Resources) / Timeline = Work required per day to finish on time

Then, you just have to do what has to be done that day. If you can do a day’s work, you can get the project done.

A pen and planner with text that says "How to tackle big projects"

Text over a typewriter that says How to Republish Blog Posts Without Taking an SEO Hit

This blog is several years old, but a couple years ago, for a couple years, it lived on Squarespace. When I moved it back here to WordPress, I wanted to preserve all the posts I had written during that two-year span so there wasn’t some weird two-year gap in content.

As a result, I have multiple versions of the same content posted to both sites. For example, I published this post on my old site:

Screenshot of Instagram blog post on Squarespace website

And now it’s syndicated on this site:

Screenshot of syndicated blog post on WordPress website

Google doesn’t like this and will penalize both sites in search rankings—unless there’s an HTML tag that tells Google which blog post is the original.

That tag is called rel=canonical.

All you have to do to use it is add some code in the syndicated post’s HTML header section that says:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://youroriginalblogposthere.com">

That tells Google that the syndicated post is syndicated and that all search traffic should be directed back toward the original.

(Note: I use the Thesis WordPress theme on this site, so I end up just having to paste the original URL into a box in my New Post composer screen.)

If you’re curious about some of the more technical aspects of this and why it’s necessary, check out this post from Neil Patel, which I found while researching how to syndicate my posts properly. You can also read Google’s rel=canonical page if you want the official explanation.

Text over a typewriter that says How to Republish Blog Posts Without Taking an SEO Hit

Quote on top of stacks of books: "How I've Read 3 Books This Year Without Being Much of a Reader"

When I started running—struggling to run is what I should say—one of the best pieces of advice I read was go slow. You’ll run further if you slow down and pace yourself.

I came across similar advice recently with reading, which I also suck at, from Belle Beth Cooper.

When I first started to focus on building healthier habits a few years ago, one of the biggest mistakes I made was to ask too much of myself.

I would go from reading hardly ever to attempting to read one book per week. Or from getting up at 9 a.m. most days to trying to roll out of bed before 6 a.m. every morning.

The distance between where I was starting and where I wanted to be was so great that I would fail a lot. And each failure made it harder to succeed the next day.

But, she goes on to say, if you take the habit you’re trying to create and break it down into something much smaller to start with, you have much greater odds of success.

The point is to focus on repeating the habit every day, but not worrying about how effective that habit is. In other words, quantity first; quality later.

I read that post back in January. To date, I’ve read three books this year:

I’m midway through my fourth right now: A People’s History of the United States. In fact, I read a little more than one page of it last night.

A couple things help to keep me going:

  1. Designate a time to read every day. I take the bus to and from work, so both those times are easy opportunities to get a few pages in.
  2. “Pay” for other activities with reading on the days you don’t feel like it. Remember, it’s all about getting in at least one page a day. One page counts. If I want to do something else—listen to music, browse social media, whatever—I’ll “pay” for that activity by reading one page out of my book. Sometimes I end up really liking that page and I’ll read a lot more. It’s a great way to trick the mind.

If all goes well, I’ll be updating the number in the headline of this post a handful of times this year.

Quote on top of stacks of books: "How I've Read 3 Books This Year Without Being Much of a Reader"

How to Hide a Pinterest Image in a WordPress Post

This post has a nice, landscape image just above that ends up looking great if you share it to Twitter or Facebook. But you won’t see any Pinterest images in this post.

Won’t see.

Click your Pinterest bookmarklet or browser extension, though. You should see something like this:


That’s because the tall image on the left—all 734 X 1100 pixels of it—is hidden in this page’s HTML code at the bottom of this post.

It’s a pretty genius trick that I picked up from a food blog called Pinch of Yum. All you have to do to make it work is wrap your image code in a short div tag:

<div style="display:none;">Paste your image code here</div>

Viola! Image hidden.

Hiding a Pinterest image on your WordPress page has several advantages:

  • You don’t have to share a big, vertical photo, that’s a duplicate of your main title image, on every post.
  • You don’t have to awkwardly stuff a thumbnail of your Pinterest image at the bottom of your post.
  • You can share Pinterest-optimized images that are bigger than your blog post container.

There are a lot of other upsides to doing this, and I encourage you to click over to Pinch of Yum to read about them. You’ll also find a tutorial on how to build your own Pinterest-optimized (read: vertically oriented) images with headlines in Photoshop.

How to Hide an Image in a WordPress Post

George R.R. Martin Iron Islands quote

Sheer need for more Game of Thrones content, to fill the time between TV show seasons, is what got me into George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series (which the show is based on). But what hooked me in A Clash of Kings—the second book in the series—were Martin’s descriptions.

This book is close to a thousand pages long. It’s no small investment of time. But by the beginning of Chapter 11, when Theon Greyjoy comes home to the Iron Islands, I knew I’d plow right through it all:

The shore was all sharp rocks and glowering cliffs, and the castle seemed one with the rest, its towers and walls and bridges quarried from the same grey-black stone, wet by the same salt waves, festooned with the same spreading patches of dark green lichen, speckled by the droppings of the same seabirds. The point of land on which the Greyjoys had raised their fortress had once thrust like a sword into the bowels of the ocean, but the waves had hammered at it day and night until the land broke and shattered, thousands of years past. All that remained were three bare and barren islands and a dozen towering stacks of rock that rose from the water like the pillars of some sea god’s temple, while the angry waves foamed and crashed among them.

I’ve always lived near the ocean. This was one of those passages that was so vivid and accurate in its description of the sea that it pulled me right into the page.

I know what that sound is like—waves slamming on rocks and birds warbling on and on. There’s an area of my brain that can recall the smell of salt in the air, the way you’d remember a song or a password. I can feel uneven ground twisting my ankles as I walk and rocks pressing against my feet through the soles of my shoes.

Martin gets a lot of credit for his plotting, characterization, and his focus on a “realistic” fantasy world—and he should. But I’d almost argue that those points would be moot if it weren’t for his skill at painting pictures with words.

It’s an awesome ability to be able to describe things the way Martin does. And it’s a tremendous value as a writer to read—again—near-thousands of pages of this stuff.

Here’s that Amazon link to the book.

George R.R. Martin quote from A Clash of Kings


Hand holding an iphone with headline text, "Tip: Use macros to quickly share Instagram hashtags"

If you use Instagram, you know that it pays to use a lot of hashtags. It can also get kind of annoying once you start to type the same ones over and over.

Luckily, Georgie from In it 4 the Long Run has an awesome tip that will save you a ton of time. She uses iOS macros to condense long strings of hashtags into simple shortcuts.

To do this, open your Settings, click General –> Keyboard –> Text Replacement (you may need to click Shortcuts in pre-iOS 9). Click the plus sign (+) and type in your most common hashtags. It helps to group them thematically, as Georgie explains:

Example: Whenever I type the word “igfooodie” it automatically completes with all of the hashtags I like using. I have probably about 10 different keywords that auto complete whether it’s fitness, food, vegan, health or photography related hashtags. This saves me so much time and hassle.

I shoot a lot of outdoors stuff in the Pacific Northwest, so I could have “igoutdoors” autocomplete to a string like:

#outdoors #outdoorlife #outside #nature #upperleftusa #pacnw #pacificnorthwest #pnw #pnwcollective #northwestisbest

This is super smart, and it’s way better than my previous solution, which was to save a string of hashtags in iOS notes, then copy/paste them whenever I needed them. This way, you don’t even have to leave Instagram to drop in all your tags.

Hand holding an iphone with headline text, "Tip: Use macros to quickly share Instagram hashtags"

How To Build A Content Calendar Quickly

Fancy Calendar

I spend a lot of time at work building content calendars, either for blogs or for social media. It’s not easy. It sounds easy until you sit down to create two weeks’ or a month’s worth of posts and realize that posting on the same subject matter day after day can get monotonous fast.

I’ve come up with a simple solution for avoiding that fatigue, and it’s also something that can help you potentially optimize your content. Here it is:

1. Figure out what topics you want to post about

Before you even start, you should have an idea of what you’re posting about within your niche. If you’re planning content for a home decor blog, maybe you have a handful of categories like product reviews, DIY, Q&A with an expert and design inspiration. Whatever it is, figure that out and write it down.

2. Decide how often you want to post about each topic

This is key, especially if you’re interested in keeping your schedule under control. If you don’t yet know which types of content perform best (more on that in a future post) you can start by weighting them based on what takes up the most of your time. For the topics I mentioned above, DIY and Q&A will probably take the most time because they involve an interview and a lengthy content piece, respectively. A product review might take a bit less time, and design inspiration is probably the shortest because you’re essentially curating other people’s content.

Assign a percentage to each one. Don’t think about it too much, because you can adjust it later. For this, let’s just say: Design inspiration, 50%; product reviews 30%; DIY and Q&A, 10% each.

3. Divvy up your calendar per the percentages

Let’s say I’m blogging five days per week for one month, so, 20 days. Ten days are dedicated to inspiration, six to product reviews, three do DIY and three to Q&A.

4. Scatter ’em, or theme your days

I like to mix things up and keep readers guessing. You may want to set up a system where every Tuesday is product review day, or something like that. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what’s best.

I still build my content calendars in Excel because that’s what I like. It doesn’t matter what you use, but I do recommend writing the topics down, day by day, somewhere. The visualization will help keep you organized.

5. Write

This is the hardest part, but once it’s done, you’re done. All you have to do then is plug your content into the slots you created in Step 4.

The “bonus” part of this is optimizing your content based on which topics perform best. That’s easy enough to do, but it’s another set of instructions for another post, which I’ll write about soon. Check back, and let me know in the meantime if you have questions or feedback.

Photo: Windell Oskay / Flickr

When You Hear ‘Just Be Yourself’ (On Social)…

This is what is meant.

My Comment To The FCC On Net Neutrality


You can—and should—send a comment to the FCC regarding their 180-degree reversal on net neutrality. Here is what I wrote to them:

I don’t have a comment so much as a question: What is the benefit of the FCC’s recommendation in this case to the American people?

There’s an obvious and direct tie to how ISPs would benefit from this new rule—that is, they’ll be able to turn the Internet into cable TV, where there are “basic” and “premium” sites—but I don’t see how it is at all beneficial to the average American.

Currently, I enjoy the same access to all sites across the Internet. If the FCC implements this new rule, I will not—simple as that.

What is the benefit?

You can submit your own comments (Note: It took me several tries, so keep submitting until you get a confirmation page) by doing the following:

  • Go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments
  • Look for the proceeding number, 14-28, and click it.
  • Fill out the form and keep submitting it until you get a confirmation page.

Net neutrality is the only thing keeping the Internet from turning into cable TV. If you don’t want to have “premium” websites that you have to pay extra for—think YouTube, Facebook or anything else you like—make sure the FCC hears you on this.

Photo: Arbri Shamenti / Flickr