The Web In Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness in a Liberal World of Decay

People have asked why I don’t write much anymore. It’s not that I don’t it’s just that I don’t care to participate in this Inter-web thing much anymore. I long for simpler times. Every rotational period this floating orb consumes I find myself loathing what the world is becoming and missing the promise it once had.

My world is the U.S. I observe my existence through the prism of a decaying society, grotesque culture and corrupt governments. Collectively we have relented our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness to the government for security.

The young only want government safety, selfies and pleasantly rolled joints. They care not for freedom. The government approves because if they had balls they would be marching on the streets of D.C. en masse to protest the crushing debt they will inherit. But they are uneducated, compliant and docile.

The now aging hippies have (mostly) achieved their liberal nirvana in environmentalism, atheism, feminism, socialism and multiculturalism wrapped in stifling regulations and political correctness. Well done assholes. Since you obviously don’t read history allow me to remind you what happens during communism and fascism. Death. A lot of it. See Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot.

My generation. X. Raised on Reagan-eque leadership and freedom is caught between these two massive communist donkeys.

Self-medication involves turning off today’s culture and politics. There is only so much of watching the most corrupt and incompetent President this country has ever had I can take. One beheading from the Islamic berserkers watched back in 2004 was enough to last me a freaking lifetime. I cringe at the pornographic degrading culture shoved down our throats on TV and in music. We are so numb to it that no one thinks anything about it when half naked models make sweet love to their hamburger in commercials.

I find it ironic that as much power as the web has in freeing humanity we have virtually been enslaved by it. The biggest farce is the term “social media”. May as well call it anti-social media. People’s self worth is affirmed by how many likes they receive for their selfie. Please re-post, comment and like me!

I remember the days of actually talking on a phone. In fact I remember land lines. There was a time, not too damn long ago, where you would boldly ask for a girls phone number. You would find a time when no one else was on the phone and shakily dial the number. God, please don’t answer. No, please answer. You would press the receiver into your ear and hear, “Hello?” Your voice cracking as you hear her father on the other end. Oh crap. Oh crap. “Mr. Jones. Um hello. Hi, um this is Splork. May I um, um speak with Angela? Please?“…”ANGELA! There’s a boy on the phone. You got two minutes!”

Somehow you ended up with a date. Today you don’t even have to talk to anybody. Getting turned down via text or email is nothing.

Anyway, I’ve always suggested that the web is a sewer. Obviously it is not in its totality. Plenty of pipes are gummed up with social media crap, porn and the like but there are many more stainless steel numbers than sheen with the glory of rainbows and unicorns. I find value in some aspects of the web. Videos to help me create this and fix that. How glorious! Reviews. Online purchasing. Fascinating writers. Research. Photo galleries.

I’m getting to the point that I abhor comments. Anywhere. On anything. It’s toxic. It’s degrading. It’s gross. It’s bullying. It’s disgraceful. Something as simple and entertaining as a video of a baby elephant falling down and two mama elephants rushing over to help it up becomes a pitched political battle. Everything in Amerika is political.

Yea as I get older I get more fuddy and duddy. I seek authenticity. Spending time with family and friends means more. I look for opportunities to serve. Where we’ve been seems more interesting than where we’re going, though where we’re going is more important than where we’ve been.

Love and liberty baby. That’s where it’s at.

 

 

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Friday Contemplations

Re: Ebola
Doesn’t every disaster movie start with a government official type saying “don’t worry we have everything under control” at a press conference?

Re: Islam
If Islam was a “religion of peace” wouldn’t its most ardent and fervent supporters champion peace?
They do not. And it most certainly is not.

This world is a freakin’ mess.

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Kindle and the Perma-free Dance for Glory

I had an idea for a series of ebooks for Kindle. You know, the path these days to riches and all that. Fiction of course. Romance of course. You know, just like all the other get rich quick writers are slinging into the path of Kindle readers the world over.

Hey they sell. No doubt about it. Find a character or substance that really gets the herd moving and you’ll wish you had more hands to scoop up the coins.

It’s the reason why outsourcing of stories and book covers is going gangbusters. People are making money writing fiction plots for the unimaginative writer. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

So I wrote a story arc over 4 ebooks. I hadn’t had a ton of luck with non-fiction books. Fiction, they say, is where the action is. So I wrote a steamy story. Then another. And another. And another. I linked them together. Dropped the first into KDP select or whatever for the free Amazon promotion. Nothing. A follow up sale here. Another there. I got a check from Amazon Brazil for .32 cents. Ridiculous really.

I had heard that perma-free was the way to roll. So I gave that a whirl. About 4 months or so ago I dropped the ebook on some other stores and priced it at zero. After about a week they were accepted. I then went to Amazon and price matched the ebooks. Nothing happened. I did it again. And again. Over a few months. Just trying to price match my shitty little books.

A week ago I got an email from Amazon saying they were dropping my book from KDP Select. I had no idea what that meant. Eff it. A couple of days ago I went in to my account with, honest to goodness, the intent to unpublish my books.

I looked at my dashboard and there was these lines bouncing all over the place in the graph. The top one showed over 50, 100 each day of the number of free books being downloaded. The graph below showed the sales. Holy crap. I was selling 3, 6, 10 a day. The perma-free gig kicked in.

Since the books are 99 cents I’m literally making peanuts. But I found it interesting that after all this time, almost a year with this stupid book series, that the hoop needed to jump through was making the first book perma-free. Amazon doesn’t give you the option to price it for free so you have to price match it from somewhere else that does allow listing it for free.

How stupid!

Anybody without a name is having to do this exact same tactic to get their books moving. Why the hell doesn’t Amazon just let people with, say 3 books, price one for free? It’s always some bullshit trying to make a buck online.

Thus ends the fourth lesson. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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One of Many Boring Posts But it Made Me Happy Anyway

Why are people not happy? Maybe more to the point, why are people so angry? Last Easter I gave up Twitter for Lent. I missed the vitriol for about a week then discovered I was far happier not participating in it.

I used to be one of those asshats that would post all things political across my Facebook page. One day I made an announcement that from that day forward I would no longer be posting anything that had to do with politics. I had friends that I wanted to keep friends so it was time to get over that which I could never change.

My friends know I am a Christian. They know I hate big government. What else is there to say? I’m not changing anyone’s mind by posting some meme that ridicules the other side’s belief. And there is nothing anyone will ever be able to post to make me forgo my faith or become a communist. Time to move on and take the argument to HuffPo or TheBlaze. I’m done. I’m happier.

I was floating down the river yesterday with one of the adults during our youth kayak trip. Bolivia was on our minds as it tends to be when we get together. She said that since she returned that she was even more focused on contentment.

Living in America is a wonderful thing. The conveniences are unlike anyplace else in the world. But we aren’t really that happy. People are so rushed and mad all the time. It seems most are not content. They aren’t happy with where they are and what they have. Maybe the government and the games it plays at the local and federal levels are to blame. Maybe it’s bad luck. Maybe it’s greed. Maybe this is just how a pagan culture is.

We visited a poor community in Bolivia. They literally lived at the dump. We went to visit the children and provide them with a day’s rations. We opened up a bag of chocolate milk and filled their cups. We gave them a piece of bread. The next couple of hours were spent playing with these wonderful little kids. They were content. They were happy.

I wish that the poor in America would be as content but they are pissed off that the cable didn’t get turned on today. And that makes them angry. Then it boils over and one day they burn shit down.

I don’t know if it’s easier to be angry and unhappy or what. I for one surely have my moments of discontent. 1st world problems, as it was. But over the last year I have endeavored to discover those things which make me happy and stop being an ass. I’ll always have an interest in being politically and culturally informed but there is not much I can do about any of it.

I just don’t want to be angry all the time. Surrounding myself with positive and happ(ier) people, virtual or physical, is far more pleasant.

And thus ends the third ramble. Thanks for reading.

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Squidoo is Dead Long Live Hubpages

I suppose I should take a moment to express my sympathies for the demise of Squidoo. I made a lot of affiliate money with those lenses, particularly of the Halloween, costume variety. I moved as many lenses to various Hubpages accounts as practical but unfortunately they do not allow external affiliate links. Substituting for Amazon products is just not going to be prosperous. In fact most of the money I make through Hubpages is via Adsense.

Squidoo was a pretty cool community. Hubpages not so much. Google made each its bitch. I guess Squidoo got tired of it and decided to allow Hubpages more room to bend over.

Consolidating more content creation sites makes sense I suppose. Though when a Google search is likely to amount to a page full of advertising and You Tube listings I’m not sure, in the words of Madam Secretary Clinton, what difference at this point does it make?

Squidoo tried to make content creation at least fun and social. I enjoyed collecting trophies and achieving ranking. It is the last vestige of a time gone by of making money online that I enjoyed.

I’m a dinosaur of a time in the mid 00’s where money making was simple, if not easy. Where the IM world was filled with interesting characters. Nothing lasts and I knew it wouldn’t particularly when I got my first smartphone and started playing with apps. That was about the time my income from online ventures started to decline. Google shifted to a mobile world and the search algos reflected it taking many of our money making opportunities with it. The smart dudes adapted and created apps, social blogs, forums and podcasts. Those that enjoyed slinging crap ventured into Kindle books where pretty much anything goes.

Anyway, here’s to you Squidoo. Cheers to all those now adrift Squids out there creating dubious content for monetary or literary glory.

And so ends the second ramble.Thanks for reading.

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Culture Shock and Mental Pushups

Indeed it is I, the web sewer magician. For anyone still on this feed expecting grand citations of the affiliate marketing variety, I fear that I will once again disappoint. Those days are sadly passed. The 00’s of web slinging glory is now a distant memory. I had little interest or inclination to remain in the game. I let Lost Ball settle into the sludge of mediocrity and despair. As you can see the resurrection is fresh and clean. Making money online will from this point forward will likely be little more than a passing reference. Plan accordingly those few hardy souls who ventured back onto this well placed collection of words seeking coin collecting wisdom.

The giant statue of Christ on the front page is not a coincidence. I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia on a mission trip this summer. It was an experience I will not soon forget. From the straight up tripping with altitude sickness in La Paz, Bolivia to the manual work at La Trinidad to the Sunday afternoon hiking in the Andes the trip was a blessing in many ways.

Someone asked me when I returned home what the culture shock was like in South America. I replied that the culture shock was not being in Bolivia it was returning to the U.S.

I was asked what I thought about being in a socialist country whose main ally is Venezuela. I mean, diplomatically not exactly buds with Uncle Sam, right? The thing about Bolivia is that unless you want the government you don’t notice it. Unlike America where the government seems to be EVERYWHERE.

Would I live in Bolivia? Um, no. Would I live in South America? Absolutely. Chile, Columbia, Uruguay…yes indeed. The people of Latin America are exceedingly friendly.

When I first started this blog, the name, it was really a cheeky dig at my supposed ineptness at making money online. I think now it reflects my wandering educational bent that include travel, photography including digital photo manipulation, video and web design. I’ve even delved into podcasting for my church.

Even from here I can feel your eye rolls. Travel and photography. Wow. Shocking. Isn’t everyone a photographer? Doesn’t everyone want to travel?

Yep and yep. However, given that my job offers little, excluding a fat paycheck, in the way of mental challenges, I find exploring these subjects to be enjoyable and satisfying. Photography for me is not necessarily taking the photos but is learning Lightroom and Photoshop. Though technically it is a challenge if choosing the non point and shoot selector mode. Travel is not just visiting new places but trying to learn Spanish.

Education opportunities on the web are vast. I took a web design class from Skillcrush. I know HTML and CSS but suck at Javascript. I gained valuable knowledge in coding. I may not be able to code a slider from scratch but I know enough to make changes and additions to existing code. I followed it up with free classes from Microsoft Virtual Academy. A free Photoshop and Lightroom class from Udemy was pretty good. I supplemented that with any number of great resources on YouTube. I signed up but have yet to start a class on EdX on Linux. I used to know *nix but after years of non technical office work my skills have waned.

Will any of these skills amount to a paycheck? I doubt it. I’m aging and expensive. Companies are laying off and cutting costs by using cheap labor both here are abroad. Few managers would be interested in re-tooling me when a college grad has far more upside. SO unless I freelance I doubt my academic interests will amount to more than pushups for the brain. Which is fine though I will say my ebook covers are not bad. Not bad at all. I suspect I’ll start marketing my burgeoning Photoshop skills into the affiliate marketing/ebook cesspool. Kindle is all the rage and from what I understand from various forums on the matter, is making everyone fat stacks of cash. I have a couple of “ins” when/if I choose to get started.

So ends the first ramble. Thanks for reading.

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