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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time for the scrapyard

It's time. My poor old car has finally reached its end. A car can be a metaphor for life. At first you are real excited about it and what you can do with it. Later it starts to drag on you and be a burden and you begin to entertain ideas about trading it in. But after a while it becomes quite comfortable and it becomes harder by the day to replace.

The auto in question isn't that old, less than 20 years. It will never make it to classic, I fear. I picked it up used and put a lot of work into it to make it run. It took a little while but eventually it purred like a new born kitten. It was fast and shiny with its new paint job and refurbished engine. But over time the restoration began to fade and wear started to show. I really didn't notice at the time. Regardless, anything broken with it, I could fix, I had done it before.

But I took some bad advice. Instead of addressing the real issues I let myself be convinced that I should replace the engine completely. It seemed like good advice. What better way to reset the car than with a new engine. Although this is a fairly straight forward mechanical procedure, I had nothing but issues with it. First, the engine, although new, wasn't completely compatible with the car. The manufacture who made the engine had taken some short cuts in the process over the years to the point where the first engine was actually in better shape than the "new" engine. It took much longer than expected to get this done. For one thing, I had to keep using the car daily and couldn't afford to not use it. This made even the simplest issue very difficult to complete. Months turned into years and I still couldn't get the car back to where it was before.

By this point, I had truly begun to hate the car. It was taking up all of my spare time, and I was making no real headway. The advice I got was no better and the only real options were to sink some serious money into it, money I didn't have, or to scrap it. For some reason I wasn't ready to scrap it. I had owned this beauty for almost 10 years and to let it go seemed wrong. Regardless, I had to do something. My family could see that I wasn't happy with it and it had begun to affect even my daily life. Absurd!

Fortunately I found a collector who had several of the same make cars who was interested in taking my baby and getting it restored back to where it was before. Unfortunately for me, I had used the car as collateral on an investment some years before. I was at the mercy of the investment group and through months of back and forth discussions just could not come to an agreement. I become more disgruntled than ever through this time and finally reached a breaking point. I really wanted the collector to have the car. It would have a good home and he said that I could come take the car for a drive when I wanted. But the investment firm wouldn't let the car go for what the collector wanted to pay. I explained to the investment firm that if the deal didn't go through that I would scrap the car. They didn't care. I'm amazed at how often people are willing to throw something away instead of getting something in return. Perhaps they think they will get a return, but not from me. Not this time.

So last night, I opened the hood to take a look at the car one last time. It had brought me a lot of pleasure but also a lot of pain. Again, a metaphor for life. But though I love it, I also hate it and its time to find something more reliable. As I closed the hood I was almost driven to tears thinking about all of the time that old car had been with me. The car is dead, long live the car.

So, should I go new and speedy, or classic restoration? Until then. I'm on the bus!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Zombie Land

Have you ever taken one of those stupid tests on Facebook that judge how long you would survive in a Zombie Apocalypse? How did you do? Most people get a "You will die in the first hours.." Not me, I would survive indefinitely. I don't even like guns, but I've already been through the best training in the world to survive.... children.

Children are wonderful. They are little snapshots of you each with their own personalities and foibles, an imperfect you (not that you are so perfect mind you). Children are like copies of copies, they look a little like the original, but are different in very subtle ways. But all children are born with several minor genetic variations to allow them to survive in a harsh world.

The first mutation is Vampiric power. Even as a newborn, a child immediately starts sucking the energy from any and all adults nearby. The first few months with a newborn will almost kill an adult, virtually stealing all of their energy. Newborn parents are often hollow shells of themselves the first 6 months. Fortunately, this power wains the older a child gets.

By the time a child is 20 years old, the Vampiric power is almost completely gone and mutates into a no less devastating power called Canihavesomemoney. As the child gets older and becomes unable to siphon life force from an adult, they quickly determine that small silver and copper coins can fill the gap. As their powers continue to change, green slips of paper are needed more often until eventually the adult is free of the Vampiric power but is completely ensnared in the other.

But a child's most devastating power is that of the Zombie. The other powers tend to be subtle and most adults don't even realize that they are being affected. However, when a child victimizes an adult with their Zombie power, the adult is often left a gibbering, slobbering shell of their former self. These attacks come in two powerful forms: Incessant arguing, and Repetition.

It doesn't matter how many children are involved, however the more that participate in an argument, the more powerful the Zombie power hits. My own children conduct coordinated strikes against their parents. They marshal their forces in advance and immediately upon sitting down at the dinner table launch their attack.

"I'm sitting there"
"No, I put my drink here first"
"Did not"
"Did too"
"I'll lick your fork so that I can sit there"

And on, and on, and on, and on...

Often I've seen them uncoordinated, yet still launch an offensive and start an argument even when there is nothing to argue about.

"Oh, there is cheese on it"
"That's not cheese that egg yolks"
"I don't even have eggs"
"But it is egg yolks"
"You aren't even looking at my plate"

Adults immediately take evasive action and attempt to ignore the tendrils of power seeping into their brain. But the children slowly raise the volume of their attacks until an adult cracks (and it only takes one to crack for the Zombie power to take hold) and begins to start screaming themselves for peace and quiet. Energy transferred, attack complete.

Repition is perhaps the more powerful of attack. It starts small and low and builds to a breaking point. All children cut their proverbial teeth with the simple, "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM." This attack can be overcome with practice and an experienced adult doesn't even hear this after the first few years.
However, in my experience, I've found that really talented children learn how to overcome this by finding just the right combination of words. My children can call my name for hours and I'll never hear it, but a chorus of "I always come to work at three AM. This is when I count the sesame seeds" from my children will inevitably put me over the edge (I think Spongebob was created by Zombies to help the other little Zombie wannabe's). All of this Zombiefication eventually wears down the adults so that the other powers have an easier time.

So when the Zombies begin their final take over, I'll be ready. I've had many years of training already and can survive until the end of time. Anyone for some brains?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Deep Thought was created to answer the ultimate question of the life, the universe, and everything. It took 7.5 million years to come up with the answer. Does anyone remember that?

Yep, that's right.


I am now the answer to that ultimate question. Strangely, I don't feel like the answer. In fact I don't feel any different at all. If anything I feel like I have no hidden knowledge of anything extraordinary. I suspect that this is just a cruel joke by the late Douglas Adams.

Oh, I suppose that I do have some of the answers. Age, if nothing else, makes sure that we are never as smart as we thought we were, yet ensures that we are smarter than we think. With youth, we are consciously incompetent and thus more likely to think that we are greater than we actually are. As we get older we become unconsciously competent and thus are much greater than we actually think. If that is true, and 42 is the answer, then logically, I should now know everything, but be completely unaware of it. Oh shit, I'm Arthur Dent.

Don't get me wrong, 42 is pretty awesome. Somehow I've found myself in the best shape of my life. The last time I weighed 187 was before the freshman 15 hit me, and then I had no confidence, and no muscle tone. Such an awkward period for me. But those lessons helped shape me into the man I am today and although it pains me to look back, I'm grateful that it happened as it did.

42 is wonderful. I am surrounded by people who love me. I've received more well wishes today than most decades. Most of that was my fault. I've always been a bit of a hermit. As a child I spent a lot of time in my room reading comic books and dreaming I was somewhere else. It's nice to know that dreams can indeed come true. Funny how all my dreams had me as the dashing heroic lead, always getting the girl. I may not be exactly dashing (although my Speedo Wetsuit gets me pretty damn close), but I did get the girl.

So maybe I am the answer. Now if we can just figure out the question. I can tell you one thing, its NOT 6 by 9.

Monday, October 12, 2009

When living becomes too painful

Before I start, please note that this entry will not be a happy one. If you are ok with that, then read on, but don't say I didn't warn you.

When does life get too painful to go on? It's a question that I've never really pondered and hopefully I never will. I've many times stated that if for some reason that I'm in the hospital in a vegetative state to pull the plug, but that is a very specific incident and honestly out of my hands by that point. Rather, what would make you want to do something to yourself to end your own life?

Perhaps as I get older and my body begins to degrade and fall apart, that would be a consideration. However, I can't see my wanting to not go on as long as I have love in my life. I'll have my children and my grandchildren (one day in the far, far future) and hopefully my loving wife will still be with me (health willing). If that exists, I can see no reason to not live with what life gives me.

But what if that support wasn't there? What if I had lived my life in such a way as to alienate that support? Would that affect my will to live? I suppose that if my children wished nothing to do with me that would influence me in a negative way. If my spouse became so unloving that being around her was pain in itself that might influence me. But grandchildren would never have such bias. For that alone I would be willing to live forever.

But here I am talking in the hypothetical sense. How about a real world example? What if I had been through several surgeries over the past few years, unsuccessful, imprisoning me to a wheelchair for the rest of my life? What if my smoking habit had finally caught up to me, impairing me and forcing me to breath through a trach for the rest of my life? What if after all that I still couldn't give up smoking and my only escape from the pain were the pain pills that I downed like sugar cubes? What if my wife had become a controlling, domineering harpy who threatened to take away my pain pills as punishment for my inability to stop smoking? What if during this time, I had somehow managed to drive away my only son for some foolish argument as I was unable to swallow my own pride? Would all of that drive me to put a gun against my temple and pull the trigger? Would my pain be so great that I could only see one alternative?

I could not. Not when all of that pain still left me with a loving grandson. I would have persevered. My uncle chose differently. I can not even entertain what he was going through to have come to such a decision, but he did. He died yesterday after they took him off of life support. I don't know about the rest of his immediate family, but I do know that his grandson will miss him. I was never close to that side of my family and had often wished ill of most of them. My worst curses would never have wrought this. His pain is over now and others have just begun. He lacked a week to have been 63 years old. His twin mourns him even though he had driven her away many years ago.

I truly hope he is free of pain now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The "It's not exactly swine, and it's not exactly flu" flu

I had started to feel the effects late Friday evening. I was having a great time at Texas Hold'em at a friends house. I've been playing with the same guys for years and I've changed my style quite a bit recently, so much so that one person grumbled, "last year I would have known he was bluffing, but this year I can't take the chance." It didn't matter, a few hands later I had his chips and he could only wait for the eventual cash game. It wasn't until my pocket aces met a pair of pocket kings that I slowed down. A king on the River ended my night (curses!) Normally I would shoot pool for the rest of the evening, but I suddenly didn't feel myself. I headed home early and went to bed long before I normally would have.

Saturday morning, I woke and felt like someone had taken a pool cue to me (not that I know what the feels like, I'm just imagining). My body ached, my throat hurt, and my chest was full of something disgusting. To top it off I had a 102.5 fever. The wife immediately wanted me to go the the local immediate care, but I'm not that fond of doctors in general, much less the poor slob who got stuck on a Saturday handling the really sick. I told her I would, but I really had no intention of going. 2 hours later when I still couldn't shake the headache that came with it, I grudgingly drove to the clinic.

Most times I've been in immediate care clinics were with my children. And typically, I've found that the children's version tends to be cleaner and all over more fun (hey, they have video games for the kids [which is another great way to spread disease, thus keeping those places rolling in the dough, but that is a topic for another day]). Adult versions tend to be dark office spaces with gloomy people sitting around. They always make me feel worse than I already feel. And they are always over crowded, with too many sick people for the few doctors on duty. Sit back and enjoy your swim in the sick soup, because if you weren't sick before, plan to be now. "Hey doc, I may be fine, but give me a prescription for the last 4 people you saw..."

Imagine my surprise when this clinic was not only bright and cheery. It was empty. With the exception of one young woman who, judging by the expressions on her face, was about to die (not really, but she was in some serious pain). Even with the lack of crowd, it still took them 45 minutes to see me. By then my headache had finally subsided, but the rattle in the chest had become more severe. I explained my symptoms to the nurse: headache, congestion, 102 fever, body aches, weakness, etc. "Let's test you for strep," she said. First, let me clue you in on something, there is a "just short of epidemic" occurance of the Swine Flu locally. Three kids on my block have already had it, a couple of colleagues have had it (one still has it). It's all you hear on the news each night. You would think with that much exposure, her first instinct would be to test for that, just to alleviate the patients already preconceived notions, right?

Have you ever had the strep test? They take a cotton swab on a stick and shove it down your throat until you gag up any germs that may reside there. I almost bit the stick in two with my automatic reaction. That was extremely unpleasant. 30 minutes later - No Strep. "Let's test for the flu." Really? Are you sure?

I thought the first test was unpleasant. Holy crap! For the flu, they stick a smaller version of the swab on a stick up your nose and swirl it around. You can't gag with that! Remember that scene in Total Recal where Arnold pulls out the tracking device from his nose? Imagine how that would feel. Trust me, it feels just like you think it does. Another 30 minutes of waiting and then I finally get to see the doctor. In walks a short, obviously pregnant, and obviously paranoid about it, doctor. She was wearing a mask to keep people like me from harming her future progeny, but she at least drew a cute cat face on it, complete with whiskers. Why is it that when you go to these clinics, you have to tell everyone exactly the same thing. The doctor asked, "so what brings you here today?" My first instinct was to reply, "well, I told the receptionist I had the clap, and I told the nurse that I have Lou Gerigh's disease, but for you I've currently got Baron Munchausen's Syndrome." Don't they compare notes at all? Why is it that I have to repeat the same damn thing over and over again. I had already been at the clinic for 1:30 minutes, 30 of that just relating the same story over. But I didn't, because I'm really a nice guy. Really!

"Well, you don't have strep, and we don't see any signs of that nasty flu. You've picked up some virus and there isn't anything we can do for you except to let it run its course." Great! A wasted morning. At least the wife was relieved that I wasn't about to start the mother of all plagues.

It may have not been the flu, but it kicked my ass worse than any flu ever has. I slept off and on all day Saturday while drinking plenty of fluids. Saturday night, I ended up with a chill that rocked my body so bad that I was violently shaking to the point that even going to the bathroom was impossible (and yes the wife made me clean up the next day). Sunday and Monday came and went with me sleeping an average of 18 hours a day. Today I feel fine and I've got that after party sexy voice going on (at least it sounds that way in my head). This was so bad that I've got to give it a name. From henceforth, this no name virus is called the Run Amok Virus (because that is what it did to me). Aptly named! Regardless, I'm back and feeling only a little under the weather for all my trials.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your Ass or Your Life

It was January 2008 and I was sitting in my doctor's office.  He was looking at my test results and he didn't look happy.  "Ok, your fizywangle is a little high and your good jomba juice is too low.  Additionally, your flux capacitor is a little jiggly and it may be a sign of corrosive degenerative decompression."  I blinked.  "What the hell does that mean...  In English, please."

"It means, that you've got hight cholesterol and that you are on the brink of having diabetes."

I was floored.  At that point, that statement meant to me that my life as I knew it was over.  I'd spend the rest of my life taking drugs, getting shots, becoming more and more decrepit by the day.  I was dying.  My children were too young to lose their father.  Oh, my poor bride, what will she do without me.  I was on the brink of completely loosing it when I asked, "Is there anything I can do to stop it?"

"Lose weight and exercise." He scowled from saying that same statement to too many of his patients.  "But in the meantime, I want you to start taking some medicine."  And he gave me a prescription for several drugs.  I took his slip of paper and it burned my fingers.  I could almost see the demon there, inviting me to "go on and take the first one, it's free and you won't have to diet and exercise."  As I walked out of his office, I understood my Dr's skepticism as the majority of the patients in the waiting room were overweight middle aged men.  I crumpled that evil piece of paper and threw it into the outside smoking bin.

"NO".  I vowed.  I would not become just another statistic.  I would not become a slave to Lipitor or Vytorin.  I would NOT take the easy way out.

It wouldn't be easy.  True the last few years had been rough on me.  About 2 years prior, the company I worked for purchased another company in New York.  I was key to getting the offices integrated and I literally was on the road 3 out of 5 days each and every week.  When traveling, it is extremely hard to get into any sort of routine and I failed to exercise properly during that time.  Also, when on the road, eating healthy is next to impossible.  Also, being away from my family so often increased my stress and while on the road I often imbibed more than I really should.  All of these were simply excuses and I knew that at that moment.  Regardless, all of that was a primary factor in what led to my then current state.  I was 243 pounds, a solid 58 pounds overweight (at least according to the BMI calculators) and I was badly out of shape.

Who was I kidding.  This was an impossible task.  Sixty pounds?  My ass or my life.  Make my choice.

My Doctor wanted me to return in 6 months so that he could evaluate my progress with the drugs and see if we needed to adjust.  I went back as expected and did the standard drug tests.  Two days later the phone call came from the nurse.  "The doctor wants to increase your cholesterol medicine as it's not making as large of a change as he would expect.  And it looks like the diabetes medicine is working perfect so he'll want to renew that medicine for another 6 months."  I drew a sharp breath and responded, "Hold on a second.  Why does he want to increase my dose and renew the other medicine.  I never took them in the first place."  She paused.  "Then how did you get the results that you did."  When I explained to her that I had indeed followed through with my vow and started loosing weight, she immediately scheduled time for me to see the Dr. the next day.

When I explained what I had done to the doctor, he gave me a look that was both awe and pride.  I guess he doesn't often see people actually refusing the crutch.  At that point I was down 20 pounds and the diabetes threat had gone away.  I was still low on the good cholesterol, but the bad was gone.  He congratulated me on a great first step, but warned that I still needed to drop more weight.

On this past Friday, I looked down on the scale to see "193".  Fifty pounds.  Gone.  My life was mine again.  Honestly, I have to say that I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.  I exercise daily and watch what I eat.  More importantly to me, I'm playing adult league flag football.  I'm easily the second oldest in the league, yet during our last game I was MVP and came in second for player of the week.  That's twice that has occurred since I've been playing (second season).  My body reminds me that it isn't 18 anymore and it takes me a little longer to recuperate after games.  But the point is that gave up my Ass and I saved my life.  Right now, everything is so different than it was even a year ago.  I enjoy rough housing with my children, I can out pace and outlast them on hikes, and only all three of them together can defeat the "pool monster".  I have more energy than I've had in years (much to the chagrin of my wife) and I'm finding that other things that used to be barriers to my life are no longer the big issues that I face.  My wife is going through a similar transformation now ( and she is both proud of me, and hates me at the same time.  Make no mistake, this transformation wasn't easy, but the results are well worth it.

I've still got 10 pounds to go before I'm completely comfortable.  At least now when I go to the Dr's office, I don't feel dread.  There is nothing stopping anyone from doing this, just a will and some time.  At a later date, I'll document what I did to get here as it certainly wasn't traditional.  Until then, just know that you too have a choice, "Your ass or your life."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Vonage missed the mark

I'm a big fan of Vonage and it's voice over IP.  Several years ago, before we moved into our current home, we had to temporarily live in a 2 bedroom apartment while our home was being built (and with 3 kids that was a tough situation).  I was attempting to move my DSL from my old home to the apartment, and then again to the new home 6 months later.  BellSouth was going to charge me 4 separate times for the move.  One was a connection disconnect at the then current home because I was in the middle of their contract (even though I had already had their service for a couple of years).  The second would be for establishing a connection at the apartment.  The third would be for the disconnect at the apartment because we were going to be there less than a year.  And the fourth for establishing a connection at our new home.  In the first and third cases, I was also to pay for the remaining months left on the contract (4 and 6 months respectively).  In other words, BellSouth was going to have their way with me and it was going to be neither gentle nor pleasant.  I'm not a naturally angry man, but I admit I lost it with the poor woman on the phone that day.  At least she was local to the Atlanta area and not an offshore flunky.  Regardless, I vowed (actually screamed) to her that "BellSouth will never be welcome in my home again!"

When we moved into the apartment a week later, I instead brought in Comcast as my cable provider and purchased their ISP service to go with it.  I had always avoided cable modems because of the bad press that the teleco's had put out concerning them.  I have been happy with Comcast since that point (at least as far as cable is concerned).  But I needed a home phone.  I toyed with the idea of going all cellular and only using the phones that my wife and I already had.  Unfortunately, we were on the bottom floor and reception there was poor at best.  I found out about Vonage then and gave them a shot.  At the time the service wasn't the best in the world, but it was cheap and did give us a stable phone.

Nine months later (yes the contractor took longer than stated!), we moved into our new home.  We were the first of two homes actually sold in this neighborhood, and when our new neighbors moved in a week later, the BellSouth guy paid me a "courtesy call" as he saw that I still had not turned on my phone.  I admit I was all smiles when I saw him at our door.  He politely stated, "Hi, I was just setting up your neighbors and noticed that you still bare cable on the side of your house.  Would you like for me to get you set up while I am here?"

"No", I smiled, "Why would I want to do that?"

He clearly was puzzled when I said that and hesitated a moment before responding.  "Everyone needs a home phone and BellSouth is the only provider in this area.  How else are you going to have a phone?" 

I handed him my wireless hand set and turned it on so that he clearly heard the dial tone.  "Who indeed?  Thanks for your time, but I already have a phone service."  And with that I started to close the door.  He stopped me before it had closed completely and asked, "But who?"

"Vonage", I replied and closed the door.  It really wasn't fair to the poor tech, he was just doing his job.  But I sure felt better.  That was over 5 years ago and I still have Vonage to this day.  The service has been spotty in the past, and when they were going through their lawsuit, I did think about bailing on them.  But somehow, they have always managed to get their act straight and get their service better and better.

That's why I'm so disappointed in them now.  Since those slow beginnings 7 years ago, they have managed to create quite a following even with the teleco's doing everythign they can to crush them.  Additionally, others now have VOIP services (my good friends at Comcast have been trying to get me to switch for several years now) and there are many free services out there that compete with them, although not exactly at the same level.  What intrigues me the most about Vonage is the ability to completely wire my house for phones, with only that single internet connection.  It's very convenient and the cost is right.  But our lives are changing rapidily.  We become more wired (or wireless) by the day and communications with friends and family are no longer restricted to phone singularly.  In fact, I likely keep up with everyone via Facebook much more often than by phone or even email.  So with the internet becoming the true future of communications, a future that Vonage already has a vested interest in, why in the hell would they not pursue Skype?

My second favorite communications medium has been up for sale for some time now.  eBay couldn't figure out what to do with it, and the founders obviously wanted it back.  Why wouldn't Vonage seek to complete its internet offering with free peer to peer voice communications to complement their already stellar POTS access?  And with Skype they would have the added benefit of coupling chat and VIDEO with that.  I had my first video conference using Skype recently and I'm completely sold.  What better opportunity for Vonage to start selling phone units that had both voice and video tied directly into POTS (if wanted).  I can easily envision a small device that hooks up to my television that allows for direct video communication with your loved ones.  Why, Vonage, why?  I can only guess that the FCC or some other outdated governmental body may have frowned on that.  Perhaps Vonage is still short of case from all the lawsuits.  I don't know the reason.  I only know that they missed the boat.  Note to the new owners of Skype:  make it cheaper than Vonage, tie it to my phone system (while keeping the internet capability as well), and give me greater video capability and I'm yours.  In that respect, you could say you had me at hello.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Useless Information

As part of my quest to figure out just how this really works, I read a lot about what others are doing, and more importantly, saying about how they make money. I've said it before, but it bears repeating here. Most of this information is useless. Either the author restates the same sad matra that all others before them have said, or they have some product that they are trying to sell. I've got a couple of Google alerts set up to help me monitor news about this topic and Google conveniently sends me an email once a day with updates. A recent article titled "Get Helpful info make money at home" is just such an example of the useless information that we all have to sort through in order to actually figure this system out. First, outside of the title not exactly being proper english (although I shouldn't be too harsh here, glass houses and all), the article rehashes the same ole information; write a blog, affiliate advertising, crowd sourcing, etc., etc. But it doesn't actually offer any instruction on how to make those things profitable. I suspect the real motive of this site is the very targeted advertising on the side panel. Regardless, I think I'm going to keep a running list of sites to avoid when trying to make all of this work for you.

Ok, now that my big project is completed, I can start spending my time in the evening with my research (that is if I can break away from WOW). As of Sunday, August 30th my statistics are as follows:

SiteHits This MonthHits All TimeSubscribers
As a Fine Wine385
Fantasitc Reading 2152700
Run Amok2022121
45 by 45

Total Adsense Revenue all time: $3.70 +$.05
Total Amazon Revenue all time: $0.00

Friday, August 28, 2009

Feeds not worth it?

As a follow-up to a recent post, I found the following article that warns that there is less money to be made from feeds than through other avenues. There are some good points in the article, but the author finally comes to the conclusion to not have feeds would be limiting, he only thinks we should not encourage feeds in general. Again since I'm learning about how all of this really works together, I'll remove the feed capability from one of the sites and see if there is a difference in revenue. With my current low numbers it may not make a difference. However, I did notice a 6 penny jump in revenue when the feeds were initially turned on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 11, Feedburner

Feedburner is a nice addition to the Google family, especially where Blogger is concerned. As you may or may not know, Blogger (Blogspot) creates a feed out of each of your posts. You can turn this on via the settings menus. This is important because a lot of your potential readers will choose to read your blog from a RSS Reader. I'll discuss those at some other point, but the premise is that you can have all of your interests come to you, in one spot, without you having to go to each individual website to catch up. This is an excellent idea for the reader, but makes it a bit more difficult for the writer to monetize his/her writings. RSS feeds are very important because it extends your reach to many people who would not normally read your blog. Feedburner takes the normal RSS created by Blogger and adds some extras to it. One, it makes it possible to incorporate Adsense into the feed itself so that you can still get paid even when someone doesn't come to your site directly. In addition, Feedburner has built in metrics so that you can see just how well you are doing.

It's easy to setup. Just start by going to and claiming your blog. Once this is accomplished, Feedburner will provide you with an URL that you should use to replace the default one provided by Blogger. It will take it a few minutes to verify the site but once it has clicking on the site link within Feedburner will give you a nice dashboard with statistics for your site. Ok, day one you won't have anything there. It took mine a week to have anything of value (hey, even a single subscriber is valuable). Once its had a few days to get statistics you can start to see how many people are getting to your content via RSS and really start to get a sense of how your site is performing in this manner. One of the most important features is the PingShot service located in the Publicize tab. This makes sure that your new Feedburner feed is posted out.

I recommend that you get this set up early in your blogging experience. That way the more popular you become the better you maximize your reach via the feed. I'm going to add some additional stats to my normal set.

SiteHits This MonthHits All TimeSubscribers
As a Fine Wine2686440
Fantasitc Reading 2002550
Run Amok1731832

Total Adsense Revenue all time: $3.65
Total Amazon Revenue all time: $0.00

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 10, Quick Update

I've a huge project at work that is taking too much of my time. However, I thought that I would give everyone a quick update. If nothing else, a break gives me some time to see if the search engines have picked me up and if traffic is starting to be generated from those locations. As of now, my traffic is:

SiteHits This MonthHits All Time
As a Fine Wine233609
Fantasitc Reading 200255
Run Amok164174

Total Adsense Revenue all time: $3.65 +$.06
Total Amazon Revenue all time: $0.00

Ok, so traffic is beginning to swell (still miniscule) but overall its trending up. I'm happy that some of my efforts are starting to pay off, I still need to jump start this. I suspect that more frequent posts have a lot to do with it. Ok, that's all the time I have today. I'll catch up after this project, I promise.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 5: Statistics

I realized that I started this quest without really explaining how I was going to measure results.  Looking back at my first few entries, one could only assume that I would just be trying anything in the hopes that miraculously I would suddenly be raking in the cash.  Even with that supposition, how could I even tell that I was making money.  I assumed that you the reader was already on the same page as already was and for that I apologize.  I wanted to write this blog to make sure that whatever I learned I could pass on to others like myself and I can only do that if I explain everything that I know.

So first off, I've been talking about site statistics and how that has been working for me. I've shown you the following graph a few times (this one is up to date with the numbers as of Thursday, August 20th at around 9:30 PM).

SiteHits This MonthHits All Time
As a Fine Wine119495
Fantasitc Reading 108163
Run Amok134144

Total Adsense Revenue all time:  $3.59  +$.01
Total Amazon Revenue all time:  $0.00

So where do these numbers come from and how accurate are they?  Currently I'm getting my statistics from StatCounter.  This is a free service (although they do offer a premium service) and can be activated by simply signing up on their site.  You quickly set up your site and install using the HTML Gadget on blogger some HTML that StatCounter uses to track your traffic.  You can set up more than one site (as I have 3).  Conversely, you can do the same thing with Google Analytics.  I might suggest that if you only had time to do one, that you pick the Google brand instead, purely because it ties into Adsense and can give you a better idea of what topics or pages are actually bringing in traffic and revenue for you.  When I first set everything up back in July, I didn't even have that much information and a random article suggested StatCounter.  Although I'm happy with their stats and with the reports they run, I do think that the Google Analytics is a better product.  If neither of these meet your needs there are many other "freebies" out there that do similar things.  Just look on Google for "free site statistics" and you'll get what you need.

Initially, it is hard to measure success, even with using a statistics package.  The primary problem is that with such little traffic, a change of tactics, labels, title heading, etc. can create big swings in your traffic, but often not on the day of the change.  If you haven't been picked up by the mainstream search engines or blog specific engines, most changes at this point are meaningless.  However, if you don't have stats at all then you never know if a change makes a difference.

However, that being said, I have started to see some trends with the blog.  If you look at the stats for this blog you'll notice that although its the oldest of the 3, it has the least amount of traffic for all time.  In fact, prior to this topic, I had less than 20 over visits.  Since starting this topic, my traffic gone up significantly.  Several assumptions could be made concerning this:  the topic itself is popular, writing everyday makes a difference, writing AT ALL makes a difference :), and promotion of the blog is imperative.  The only assumption that I question is the topic.  While at most I had a peak of 51 visitors in one day on Run Amok, Chef Laura's blog received 31 visitors yesterday alone.  We wrote about Whole Foods corporate blog.  It didn't have a lot of meat to the story and was pretty brief.  Yet the blog out surpassed this blog entry with the catchy title.  Why?  I think this one is simply because more people are already following Laura's blog and any post on her's gets immediate response.  That is good to know.  Build a following.  Haven't we heard that before.  Also of note, she built that following through her own personal connections and the fact that when she first started that she was writing every day.  But then like all of us, she got discouraged and fell off.  She is also going through a crisis on the direction of the blog.  Another point to make is that your blog needs to have a focus and once focused should not waver too much off topic.  I discussed this briefly earlier in the week and I'm still debating if I can't just be me, write what I want when I want to.  I think that I still can, but I do think that you've got to get it focused first.  Readers will allow more variety once they know you.

I could talk more on statistics, but this will suffice for a primer.  If you want to know more, I can go into more detail, but this should get you started.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 4: Build your Blog traffic: Part 2

Ok, two hours a night is not enough time to do research.  There are entirely too many things to know.  I suspect that those who are successful at this have mastered how everything ties together.  I didn't really make any headway on changes to the blog(s) for traffic other than adding labels to all of my back posts and changing the name of a few posts to better take advantage of SEO.  Oops, Jargon Alert.  SEO - Search Engine Optimization.  This is basically making the most of your posts/site to have a better performance in the search world.  Take for instance the term "make money on the internet" which we looked up the other day.  With hundreds of thousands of entries, where do you think my post would show up, especially since I'm a new blogger and I've no (ok, one) followers (love ya Rach!).  I can guarantee you that it won't be in the first 30 pages (again I looked).  But the term "make money online with blogspot" has a significantly smaller return thus a better chance that this blog will be read by more than just 2 of us.

But finding those terms is a lot tougher than you might think and is not something that the recreational blogger would immediately know, or frankly have time to learn.  Fortunately, I found a really cool tool from Google (watch out, they will rule the world someday) that examines keywords against searches and gives you a relative comparison.  The only issue with this tool is that the relative competition is Adwords based, meaning that a lower competition has fewer adds on it, not necessarily fewer websites.  But this tool got me to thinking that what is really needed is some sort of Niche Finder, or Keyword Optimizer.  A tool that could examine search terms in relation to number of sites returned for that term.  A ranking of that would then help the newbie blogger start to find a legitimately profitable niche for their views.  I want to think about this idea some more and see if there is something that I can do to create one.

Outside of that my brain is now filled with terms such as Delicious, Technorati, Flixya, Moola, Feedburner, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, NewsVine, Azoogleads, Chitika, etc., etc.  I don't find it surprising at all that most people give this us after a few attempts.  We live in a time where information overload is the norm and if you can't keep up don't expect the world to slow down to wait for you.  We, my friends, are digital road-kill!  That's ok, what we really need is for someone to just sit down and discuss what each of these things do and why it necessary for you to make money (if necessary at all).  I do suspect that at some point, only a small handful of these services are actually needed and finding out which ones will make all of our lives easier.  I do know that Web 2.0 is crucial to success.  What I mean by that is that the more "friends" you have the better off you are.  On the Web 2.0 front you should do at least the following minimum (I know this because this is how I got my one reader):  get a Facebook and a Twitter account.  Allow Facebook to accept Twitter feeds as your status updates (and if you don't know how leave a comment and I'll recreate the steps).  Then sign up for TwitterFeed.  This service will automatically post your blog posts to Twitter as soon as you update it - automagically!  Thus, any new blog post is immediately posted to Twitter and then to Facebook (2 for one).  As you build your friends, so to do you build your blog.

I'll continue researching tonight and see what I should discuss next.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 3: Build your Blog traffic, part 1

Ah I long for the days when the only place to put your website for traffic was Yahoo, Webcrawler, and Alta Vista (I know, I know, most of you will only know the first one).  Listing your blog is a whole different beast.  I thought that this would be the easy part.  I would list my site in a couple of search engines and then sit back and watch.  Now, I'm not naive and I know that even that little bit will still take forever.  However, what I found out was at first confusing.  I'll try to reconstruct my research.

First, Blogger has a built in listing system.  At least that is the way that it appears.  On the Basic tab of the admin screen there is a couple of options that should help build traffic.  The first is "Add your blog to our listings".  The description is a bit vague and states that it will allow Blogger related services to add your site to their listings.  But there isn't anyway to actually control this and you are completely at the mercy of the Blogger gods.  Good luck with that.  The second setting is "Let search engines find your blog?"  Although this seems fairly straight forward, it didn't appear to do anything.  I searched Google for some very specific topics that I discussed over 30 days ago and nothing returned, not even 30 pages deep (once I started looking I was bound and determined to find it).  On closer reading the description of the feature says that "we will include your blog in Google Blog Search and ping"  I can't claim to knowing all of the things that Google has, but I had no idea that they don't include Blogger blogs into their normal search and that they have their own Blog Search Engine.  Searching for the same term listed about brings it up 4th on the list.  Ok, so that is a start.  But my concern is that if I didn't know this existed, its a good bet that a lot of people didn't know it was their either.  I still need to figure out exactly what can do for me, but I just ran out of time today.  I'll look into that one tomorrow.

I took a look around the web and a couple of extremely helpful blogs pointed me in the right direction (at least I assume so at this point).  I found that both ProBlogger and Dumb Little Man had some great information for the beginner blogger.  They also have a lot of information that is overkill at this point, but at least I now have a reference site to go forward.  Their primary advice, get your blog "pinged" by as many sites as you can.  First of all, I'm a computer systems admin at heart and the term "ping" to me means a command that is used to determine if a computer is present.  This comes from the Navy who uses just such a technology (albeit sound wave based) to determine where ships are. I can only assume that this means something similar.  In this case, "Pinging" your blog means that a service hits the blog (typically the RSS feed) and then reports updates to the myriad of blog search engines.  At this point I don't know how many truly exist, but if you go to Ping-O-Matic they list some 28 sites to send your updates to.  A good many of these sites require more than just getting your article posted in order to get any real traffic, but I'll wait and discuss that later.  I think it would be a good experience to discuss each one of these services separately to ascertain each one's merits and help you (and I) understand it better.  I ran a couple of my entries through the engine and will have to determine if it makes a change at all.

That's enough for today.  I originally thought that I could have this research done in one night, but it proved to be too much.  That and our local neighborhood men play adult league flag football and we had our first game last night.  Tigers 29 - Mayhem 6.  Not bad for a bunch of 40 something men.  I must be doing something right because I'm not in any pain this morning :)  Anyway, I digress. 

Here is the current state of my blogs:
Site                                   Hits This Months                  Hits All Time
As a Fine Wine                            83                                    459      
Fantasitc Reading                        93                                    148
Run Amok                                  35                                      69

Total Adsense Revenue all time:  $3.58
Total Amazon Revenue all time:  $0.00

Although my traffic is slightly up, no change in my revenue.  Hopefully some of the things I'm doing now will change that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 2

Last night was research.  If I'm going to find out what it takes to make money on the internet, I should be as knowledgeable as possible.  Per my own suggestion yesterday, I searched for "make money on the internet" in Google.  As I feared, I was completely overwhelmed by the results. There is a LOT of information.  Everyone thinks that they have the solution.  Most of them want to sell you something to help you along (which was my biggest fear).  But a lot of information was pretty good.  What I really find ironic is that sites that are legitimately trying to help you learn typically have paid advertisements from companies who don't.

I did get a comment yesterday (which really surprised me since I didn't think anyone was reading this).  It was from a friend who pointed out that the easiest way to make money was to write a blog, turn on adsense and add an Amazon affiliate site to the blog.  Although I don't disagree in theory with her, the primary problem with that tactic alone is that you need traffic, lots of traffic.  And unfortunately, you can't get traffic without being well known or established.  Its truly a Catch-22 situation.  For the record, I've had all three blogs for approximately one month currently.  I set up adsense on the sites immediately and slowly built out an Amazon affiliate site for the book review site and for the Chef site.  30 days into it, my stats are as follows:

Site                                   Hits This Month                  Hits All Time
As a Fine Wine                            83                                    459      
Fantasitc Reading                        88                                    143
Run Amok                                  23                                      33

Total Adsense Revenue all time:  $3.58
Total Amazon Revenue all time:  $0.00                    

Ok, so my friend has a good idea, but how do we monetize it?  How do I get enough traffic to the website to increase those numbers to the point where Google is cutting me a check.  Again, I don't know, but I'm going to find out.  The leading theme on the web is to follow the path that I've started, write a blog, work at it, and over time you'll get more popular and thus make more money.  It's the "over time" part that I have a problem with.  My blogs are done in my spare time and with a family with 3 children there isn't a lot of that.  Given enough of my life I may be able to get enough followers that I"m suddenly making a little extra.  I'm really concerned that when this becomes too monotonous and I still feel like I'm writting to just see my own words on the screen, then that is when I give it up.  That I think is the number one reason why most blogs don't make money.  That most people aren't successful at this.  Returning to my friend who posted yesterday, her own blog has only a handful of posts.  Keeping it up to date is extremely difficult.

So lesson one, do you keep the blog fun and personal (so that you want to continue writing it) or do find that special niche (which everyone who writes about such suggests) in order to make some extra cash.  I'm torn here.  I think either option is not conducive to making money.  The first one takes entirely too much time to get any sort of following and the second becomes too much like work.  Who can continue to write about a small niche and still make it interesting.  I've too many interests as it is, to tune that down to just one, or worse yet, a slice of that one interest, does not appeal to me.

Ok, I don't have an answer, but I see what my homework for tonight is.  I have to find out how to truly promote what I write in order to get traffic to the site.  I just don't feel like I can write to a niche effectively and really want to write about what I want to write about.  Therefore, I need people to read it if I want to make some money.

See you tomorrow with what I find out!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot

It's funny to me considering that I've been a software developer for the past 15 years for me to be asking this question.  But I find myself wanting more out of life, especially money, and why shouldn't I get my fair share from the web?  I can code websites in my sleep.  I can make them sing and dance and do really cool stuff.  But I'm still at a loss.  How does that actually make me money?  I don't want a lot of money.  I'm not looking to be the next internet billionaire.  I'd be happy with an extra hundred every month.  A thousand a month would be nice.  Realistically, I just want to be able to supplement my income.

Easy, right?

Do me a favor, go to Google right now and search for "making money on the internet".  How many results did you get?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  Daunting isn't it?  And the majority of those links tell you just how easy it is.  Provided that you buy their ebook or subscribe to their marketing service, etc.  Those sites are absolutely correct, their creators are making millions of dollars a year...  Off of poor slubs like ourselves who are just trying to figure out how it works.  I haven't purchased any of these guides, but I can tell you exactly what they say.  "Build a website and sell guides to poor slubs who haven't a clue."  I'd say that if you did that you too would be a millionaire, but the unfortunate truth is there are so many people doing this (hundreds of thousands) that this just doesn't help you make any true cash.

So what is the answer?  I don't know, but I am going to find out.  I'm dedicated to finding out how I supplement my income.  As I find out the answers I'll discuss them here.  Currently I have two additional blogs that I'm using as my OJT (on the job training), Fantastic Reading and As a Fine Wine.  The are both on niches that are already over saturated, but its what I (and my wife) know.  The internet isn't a "Field of Dreams" as just building a site has no assurance of traffic.  Regardless, I've cleared the first hurdle, get a site.

Ideas for subsequent entries include:  website traffic, SEO/SEM, affiliate programs, site design, and ecommerce.  I don't know where this will go, but at least as I learn, I'll pass on that information.  For Free!  Not that it would be worth anything anyway. 

Fools Fate - Book Review

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

SSRS 2008 and Forms Authentication

We are currently standardizing everything on SQL 2008. While this does have some known issues with it, i was the changes wtih SSRS that caused me several days of lost time. For the most part SSRS has stayed exactly the same as it was. It still uses the report service webservices released with 2005. However, it no longer requires that IIS be installed on the SQL Server machine (this is a good thing... mostly). I had an application written a few years ago with Custom Forms authentication that I needed to move over. Everything on the web led me believe that it would function the same as before so I wasn't too worried when I moved it over.

First issue. Custom authentication wasn't something one took lightly to begin with. It requires changes to literally every config file that exists in the ReportManager and ReportServer subdirectories under Reporting Services (this is usually found under drive\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\#Installed Version#\Reporting Services\). The first issue was that Report Manager\RSWebApplication.config was now deprecated and all of its previous entries had been moved to Report Server\RSReportServer.config. This in itself wasn't that big an issue in that most of the sections were still the same and it only took a minute to get my bearings.

I completed all of the configuration changes as I did for 2005 and joyfully fired it up to get an ugly .NET error that read "Error: Session state can only be used when enableSessionState is set to true, either in a configuration file or in the Page directive." Odd I thought, this worked fine before. So I did what any good troubleshooter would do and examined the web.config(s). Ah ha, there it was . I quickly changed the value to InProc and restarted the service.

Same error.

Google can be such a fickle mistress, but she was my first choice. Apparently a lot of people have had this issue. Several links later I had my answer, I need to add enableSessionState to the section. Done. Restart.

Same error.

WTF. Again, this didn't happen with the previous version why is it suddenly a problem. My mistress enticed me again and led me to believe that I also had to add enableSessionState to the page directive on the actual .aspx file. Done. Fingers crossed. Restart.

Same error.

At this point my mistress fled cackling like a mad woman. I was lost, there was no way that this should be happening. I broke down and went directly to MSDN. It took a few hours and I was finally able to wade through that wonderfully organized content (can you feel the sarcasm) to finally discover nothing of value. I moved over to the Microsoft Blog sites before I finally discovered a mention of someone else having a similar issue. In this case he was missing the session declaration from his web.config (I think he removed it on purpose) in the HTTPModules section. This seemed like a stretch but I looked anyway.

What do you know. By default SSRS 2008 does not include the session declaration in it's webconfig. Since it doesn't use IIS, it either doesn't rely on the base .NET configurations or the statement is designed to completely disregard anything at the root level. I suspect that maybe both are true. Regardless, I added the declaration. Restarted. And.


For all of the hours that I put in, I felt that if you should come across the same issue, then at least you would be able to solve it. Sorry you had to read all of that to just get to a 2 second fix. But let's face it, if you had the same problem, you needed a break anyway. Good Luck!

Monday, July 13, 2009

SCM Ramblings

It took a while to get it installed, but Team Foundation System 2010 is a pretty nice tool for the full development life cycle. It is still Beta and the install will remind you of that, but otherwise once it's running it works fine. My biggest complaints thus far are that in order to set up any additional users to the system you have to set rights and permissions in three separate systems: one for Sharepoint, one for SQL Reporting Services, and one for TFS itself. That's a pain!

I've favored the Borland products for so long, but they are starting to struggle as a company and I'm not really sure they will survive. They were just bought by a foreign company and I'm not sure they won't just dismantle their products and sell them off. Regardless, they failed to keep up with changes in the industry and somehow Microsoft did (I know! AMAZING!). Borland's products are expensive and frankly you can get better tools now for free (open source). I decided on the Microsoft tools because the company I work for is Gold Certified (and no I can't tell you who that is, [and if you do know, please don't post it here]) and thus much less expensive.

If I were strapped for cash I would use Subversion and Bugzilla for code and defects. I have no recomendation for Agile tools yet as I'm really just starting to examine those. The ones built into TFS aren't bad, but I am left wanting more. I really should make this a more formal comparison of tools, but that will have to wait until later. Currently there is no one reading this but me so rambling fits better now. I've decided that this blog should be somewhat journal eske at first and if it starts to get some traction then I'll make it a bit more organized.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Quit

7:45 this morning I get a voice mail from one of my managers. "XXX's quit." No notice, nothing. Just "I'm done." I've been in this business for over 20 years and I've never just had someone up and quit. I've heard about professionally challenged individuals who sabotage their careers by doing something this stupid, but I've never actually seen it happen. This reminds me of the scene in Temple of Doom where Indy cuts the rope bridge in half, while he is still on the bridge. Although he survived it, it wasn't without a lot of pain and bleeding. My biggest question is "who the hell is so stupid that they would burn a bridge in this economy?"

I don't have the answer. XXX was a direct report to me, but he has yet to answer his phone. I don't know why he up and quit. I don't know why he just committed career suicide. As a friend I have to question his sanity. As an employer I'm pissed as hell. I don't care what market you are in; San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Austin, something like this is bound to follow you. I know he isn't financially secure so I just don't get it. Have any of you just up and quit? Why? Did you pay for it later?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend from a networking group. He had a very elaborate plan for quitting that entailed him telling several people to fuck off. Several of us warned him to not go to such extremes, but he was convinced that it wouldn't follow him. His arguement was that the next job wouldn't know about it and by the time he left there that it would be completely forgotten. We called him Angry Frank after that. I don't know what happened to him after that, but he hasn't been invited back to the networking group. At the very least, his peers didn't think that they wanted to be associated with him.

Personally, I've wanted to set the fire. I've hated jobs so much that I would have loved to see someone pay. But then again I was 24 at the time. I wasn't blond, but I wasn't that bright either. I fantasized about how I would say it, how I would do it, and how remorseful that my employer would be to see me walk out so. Fortunately, I was brighter than I let on and I left such fantasies to my imagination. At my level, any stupid act such as just up and quitting would make sure that the only job I would ever get again would be coding tourist websites for some forgotten condo on the Gulf Coast. Short of moving to a new time zone, you don't survive something like this. I'm still perplexed.

So as I sit, sipping on my wine trying to understand the mind of the confused, I wonder how this will play out for him. I'm sure it won't be pretty, and I'm sure that I'll contribute to his pain, especially if asked for references (which will be hard not to do). Why? Can someone please answer that?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Growing Up Redneck

By the age of 12 I already knew that I was the smartest person in my family. My Uncle Ronnie sat across the table from me with a perplexed look on his face. I had just bet him $20 that I could get 2 sides of a Rubix cube completed before he completed one side. But only 62 seconds into the contest I had all six completed. He had maybe 4 of the blocks of one side in line and was struggling trying to figure out how to get a fifth to fall into place. I eagerly waited a few minutes, hoping to make the contest a little closer when my other noticed that I was finished.

Ronnie was a long time con artist and I was pretty sure that he would make me pay dearly for the beating that I had just given him. I should have realized then that he wasn't smart enough to actually plan revenge. Redneck con artists are at best reactionary, and then only with the one or two skills that they know. His was pool, not brains. Suddenly I felt very powerful. At 12, I knew that no one from my family could ever touch me.

I was somewhat wrong, but not in the way that I expected. Ronnie did get his revenge, but not on me directly. Twenty years later as my mother lay on her apparent death bed Ronnie struck back. It was ugly and I fell into the trap and tapped into my inner Redneck. There was a lot of yelling and swearing (in a southern drawl) and in the end I came close to slugging him. The sad thing is that it would have been no contest. He was a fifty something has been that looked like he was 75. He hadn't lived well and he used his one opportunity to get back at me. If I had done something, I would have been no better than him. In the end I walked away, disappointed at myself and pitying him. Since that time I've made it a point to never visit. Other than our shared heritage I've nothing in common with him.

That's enough for now, but I have plenty more stories concerning my family. Next time, I'll talk about something else.

And so the adventure begins

Ok, so I'm a bit late to this party. I've been working in the "Internet" business since 1992, back when the only websites were coded for Mosaic. My living has always been about computers and the nerd culture that surrounds it. But blogging past me right by. Maybe I was too busy with my career, or maybe I just thought that it would never take off. Regardless I'm here now. I'm the guest that shows up late, but already drunk and ready to party.

Everyone I know suggested that I get a niche and talk about that. How boring. I'm not that guy. I like way too much to settle on a single topic. I'm a Geek, a Nerd, an Atheist, a Libertarian, a Guildmate, a Gamer, a Father, a Husband, a Son, a Craftsman, a Woodworker, a Landscaper, a Gardner, an Electrician, a Builder, an Archeologist, a Den Leader, a Neighbor, and a host of other things. I grew up in conservative Southern America and somehow wonder if I was switched at birth. Regardless, I have way too many ideas to be pinned down to a single niche. Either you like what I write and come back or you don't. Ultimately this isn't written for you, but for me! I guess part of this is therapy as well. If I don't start writing down what I think then it may just drive me crazy.

So hopefully you've found this and are intrigued. I'll continue to write here as much as possible, about all sorts of subjects. Let me know what you are interested in and if I have an opinion on it, i'll give you my two cents worth. Ok, I'm off to write my second post as I have a topic that I've been thinking about for a while. I'm sure it will piss someone off (most likely my family), but I've been dying to talk about it. See you there!