I used to blog.
I used to blog with such grace and fervor bitches were all like “damn, this motherfucker is majestic.” (That may be a slight exaggeration.) I don’t blog much anymore. One might look at the archives and see that I haven’t blogged in almost a year. One might be overly critical. One might also be a unicorn, and if one is a unicorn please write. That shit is fabulous.
I have some mostly OK reasons for the silence.
First, I’m a grown ass man and I do what I want. Second, the amount of negativity that blogging over the last year would have sent forth into the world would have been an insurmountable deluge of filth. With the combination of the loss of loved ones, family tensions, and really uncomfortable shoes I found it best to just take a break. Nobody wants to read my dirty laundry, I am not that delusional. (I am however self absorbed enough to think maybe one or two people might have liked it. We all have our demons.)
Third, too much has been going on for me to just sit down and write about it all. I started a new job. We bought a house. I received a lateral promotion in aforementioned job from part time to full time. We got a new dog, and fed the old one to it.
Jokes aside, it has been a really exciting and stressful year that can probably be summed up in one word: Fuck.
Today I brought my car in to get a bunch of work done I’d been putting off. (Break and transmission fluids, coolant, timing belt, and the fuel system service.) The time estimate was about 7 hours, so I left the dealership and bussed back downtown. (It was cold so I hopped on the link and read my book for an hour or two. I love trains, deal with it.) When I was finished doing that I hopped on a bus again and rode it to get some froyo, because I love froyo. At about three in the afternoon I rode the bus back to the dealership where I waited for my car, naturally it wasn’t going to be finished on time so I went to go ride the bus back home.
On my walk to the bus stop, trouble struck. Actually it was a puddle of water, and by struck I mean an asshole bus driver ran right over it as I was walking by. I was soaked. Normally I’d have just shrugged it off, except that the bus was driving on the shoulder. It didn’t even stop at the next stop. So the driver wasn’t paying attention.
I called the dealership and asked if they could get me a rental and they did. I didn’t want to wait at the bus stop covered in dirty road water. In the cold.
The rental agency gave me a Nissan Altima. It’s huge, ugly and has too many buttons.
I want my car back. Fortunately I won’t have to wait much longer, it should be done by ten tomorrow.
In two days I’ve earned $0.44 doing something that I do all of the time. Unlocking my phone. My husband? An entire dollar. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s basically free money. We’ll find out if it’s legit in about three months when the funds become available to be transferred to our bank accounts. The price? Displaying ads on my lock screen and giving my Facebook profile information to complete strangers. I mean, fuck, I do that anyway so why not get paid? Those strangers? They appear to be four adorable young asian men—but who knows, they could be horrible fat ugly women for all we know…this is the internet. The app is Slidejoy and you should download it.
I’ve earned 88% of a gum ball. I can already taste it.
(I swear, nobody is paying me to write this. I’m just legitimately stoked about freeish money.)
At the moment I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas, eating ice cubes listening to the sultry sounds of Bon Iver and contemplating life, and cold teeth, amongst other things. I should write a book. Perhaps about the cramp in my foot right now. Or maybe about the cheeseburger I just ate. Or maybe about how sad it is that that’s what I have to write about. My life is easy, so I can’t write about that. The story of some middle class asshole eating cheeseburgers, who’d read that? Fuck me, you’re already reading it.
It’s Katy Perry time.
Levi broke my phone. (Broke is probably more closely described as obliterated, but in an attempt to minimize hyperbole I chose to write broke. Deal with it.) It’s no secret to anybody that I loved my yellow iPhone, so much that I paid for it unsubsidized even though I had a perfectly good iPhone before I bought it. (I hope that sentence didn’t annoy you as much as it annoyed me. Yeah, I’m that guy.) But it’s all over now. What started as a small lover’s quarrel quickly turned into a spectacle involving one banana colored telecommunications device flying through the air to its doom.
It was sad to see the most delightfully colored phone in the world now trying its hardest to be three separate devices—a super convenient lithium ion battery with torn ribbon cable, an extra gorgeous 4 inch display whimsically clinging to the rest of the phone and of course the most beautiful cold dead yellow shell of my once beloved phone. After berating my husband for his $800 temper tantrum, I found the nearest phone I could—a BlackBerry Bold 9900—and went to Walmart to buy a new sim card for the BlackBerry.
Fuck that shit.
I was going to try to live with the BlackBerry, but I realized almost immediately that it wasn’t going to happen. The once loved keyboard was something I just didn’t want to relearn how to use. And many typos later, including the most delightful “keyboarf,” I found myself in the T-Mobile store checking out new phones. I wanted a new iPhone but I also didn’t. I didn’t want to spend the money on another one. I decided to give something else a chance, something I’d once tried before because it was the closest thing I could get to an iPhone at the time—I bought an android phone.
This was easily one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. (OK. I exaggerated that last one, but just go with it.) There I was staring at a gorgeous Nexus 5 thinking to myself how terrible it would be, and just knowing how much I would miss the seamless integration of my iPhone with my computers at home. It stared back at me, right into my soul.
I bought that mother fucker, and I love it. I didn’t think I could, but I can.
I’ve been blogging for a long time, and as such I’ve pretty much seen and done it all. Back in 2002 when I started blogging—at the age of 12—I made every mistake in the book. (OK, there is no book…but if there was…I’d have been the subject of that mother fucker.) Unsurprisingly, I see new bloggers making the same mistakes I did and wondering where their viewers are, and why they aren’t getting comments.
If an official blogging handbook existed, rule number one would probably be “Be Interesting.” The truth is, it takes years to build up a readership, and maintaining it can be difficult, but it is possible as long as you’re interesting. Unless you’ve already made it as a blogger, nobody wants to see or read about your lunch or your kids or various other mundane topics in your life. Your lunch doesn’t make anyone want to come back and see more of your work. The only thing you, your blog and your lunch have in common is that your lunch is turning into actual shit inside of you and on your blog as you write about and publish it. It isn’t interesting. Coincidentally, a post with more photos of your children than paragraphs isn’t going to incite awe and wonder in potential readers either. Not even mommy bloggers publish as many photos of their children as I’ve been seeing lately on a lot of “Lifestyle Blogs”—cut that shit out.
If you’re guilty of these things you might be thinking that it’s OK, because you blog for you and not for anybody else. Unfortunately, if that was true you really wouldn’t be reading this.
Blog memes and weekday themes are another thing I see a lot of that aren’t going to generate more readers for your blog. They’re cheap content. I am also guilty of participating in “Wordless Wednesdays” and cheap survey type posts among other things and they did nothing to benefit my blog. Sure, every now and then a post that is only a photo might be beneficial to break up the wall of text that some blogs become—but is it doing anything more than creating cheap filler? No. Don’t rely on it. Also, that 50 question survey? I might comment on it but you can be damn sure I didn’t read it and I’m only doing it to leave my link behind.
Consistency is key. I find that the times when my blog is most active I have the most visits. Right now, I’m coasting on traffic regarding pine needle cleanup but I know that after January all of the pine needles will be gone and it won’t matter how high I am on the search results about pine needles stuck in carpets. If you blog often, you will get better at it and your visitors will keep coming back because they will expect new content on every visit.
Lastly, proof read. If you want me to take you seriously but your blog reads like a 5th grader’s creative writing homework you’re insane. My eyes roll a little further back into my head each time I see an uncapitalized “I” or the misuse of there, their and they’re. You’re a blogger, and bloggers are short format writers. Act like one.
I sat down to blog last week, because it had been so long since the last time I’d done it. I remember writing something about responsible website owners and how they update often and how I don’t even update on a monthly basis, it would appear. I wrote about my anniversary and how much fun Levi and I had had. I wrote about our lunch, it was delicious.
But… none of those things felt right to write about. But what is right to write about?
I don’t want to write about the seemingly infinite sadness I’ve fallen into, the tears I cry when I think about never seeing my mother again, the fact that I share more text messages with my husband than actual words these days, and my inability to get out of bed until noon. It’s not all sadness, I have good days but even on my good days there is always something to remind me of everything I’ve lost. Nothing seems right anymore.
I think the worst thing is how people react when I talk about my mother, how they cringe and squirm as if they want to avoid something uncomfortable. I’m not uncomfortable, why should they be? My mother was a very happy person. I hope that one day, like her, I’ll be able to still laugh and find happiness in the little things even with all of the shit that life finds a way to fling. I hope that one day I will be able to be as amazing as my mother was. I hope that one day I’ll be able to talk and joke about my mother without the apologies and condolences and prayers and thoughts.
A week or two ago I found the receipt from my mother’s funeral.
On the bottom is printed “THANK YOU!!! PLEASE COME AGAIN!!!”
We’re almost completely moved out of our old apartment, which of course means we’re almost completely moved into our new apartment. Today was one of our last moving days, and we should be completely finished next week. All that is left is to remove boxes from both apartments, some empty and some full. Our new place is starting to feel like our home, and our new neighborhood grows on me every day.
I don’t know if I ever brought up how small this new apartment actually is. 340 square feet. Tiny. We like it though. I don’t like living in a large apartment. It makes me feel overwhelmed, I like to live simply—things complicate life, and I don’t need that.
Among other things I’ve chosen to give up meat from my diet, for which I can thank a very supportive husband and the discovery of meat substitutes that don’t taste like shit. (We had nachos last night, and I didn’t have to cheat for them, that’s progress.) I chose to stop eating meat because my digestive system just wasn’t liking it as much as my brain was. So far I don’t miss it—black bean burgers are fucking fabulous, y’all.
Let’s shut this shit down before it gets more detailed than it already has.
It’s been quite the busy week! Levi and I have almost completely finished moving into our new apartment. All that remains to do is for us to get a new TV stand as well as bring the couch in and some of the remaining items from the other apartment. Oh…and the cat.
The bath tub needs to be resurfaced and the pets need to be removed from the apartment for that to happen so we’ve chosen to leave the cat at the other apartment to minimize the stress for her. She will be joining us Monday night.
As far as moving in goes, almost all of our furniture needed to be replaced. The studio we live in now just doesn’t have the space for an eight foot desk, a queen bed, and the rest of the stuff we have. We consolidated the bed and desks by choosing a loft bed—IKEA Storå—and placing the desks underneath. The bed was very wobbly at first, to the point where it was terrifying to sleep in so I purchased some metal from the hardware store to create cross braces. Now, the bed is wonderful and doesn’t feel like an amusement park ride.
Internet is being installed on Wednesday, and after that everything should be in place.
Now, where to put all of these boxes…
This post is about blogging, so half of my readers are going to be all “fuck this” and the others will probably also be like “fuck this” but they’ll at least know what the fuck I’m talking about if they do intend to read this.
I’ve started using InfiniteWP to manage my WordPress installations. InfiniteWP makes administration of the blogs I administer easy, I can update all of them from a single application. I don’t have many that I am in charge of, but running your own web server means you need to have the most up to date software all of the time, and InfiniteWP makes that easy to keep up on. I no longer need to log into three—and counting—WordPress dashboards to check for updates everyday. It has some great features, but does require some functions be enabled that may not be enabled by default on all shared hosting providers. One feature I’m really excited about is email notifications…except they don’t work for me.
What’s supposed to happen is that a cron job—for those who don’t know, you can think of a cron job as a servant that does something you tell it to automatically at a certain interval—loads the application and the application then sends an email to the admin to alert them of an update if there is one. What happens for me is all of the emails get sent to the junk box under all circumstances. To prevent this from happening I need to use a different server to send my email through. No problem right? Wrong. InfiniteWP doesn’t currently support this. I tweeted at them and got this response:
So I emailed them, and they responded telling me they don’t support hacking the code and couldn’t help me. Apparently they told me to email them just to tell me no. I guess I’ll just have to wait for email notifications.
As soon as I started running into these issues, I contemplated setting up my own mail server to mitigate the issue a bit as well as solve some other issues I am having related to hosting additional blogs, but after doing my research I’m planning on waiting for the developers to implement a way for me to bypass the php mail function altogether. (I did switch my email from Google’s apps platform to Microsoft’s Outlook.com which is a nice change. Google pulled support for it’s free apps tier a few months ago and I was left without a decent option to make email accounts for the additional blogs I am now hosting. Outlook.com solves this issue by providing me with the service I need for free.)
This is my life now.
Last night I went to Target and another store to get some things that I needed to prepare for the move I discussed in my last entry. Cleaning solutions, boxes, paper towels, and a scrub brush. I did a little bit of packing when I got home—boxing up a bookcase—and then tried to gas myself with bleach fumes, but my bath tub is shiny now. At Target I saw something awful, courtesy of Nate Berkus. (As is usually the case when it comes to anything in his line of contemporary crap.)
Are you fucking kidding me Target…a wicker pineapple?!
The shock finally wore off this morning right before I went down to the new apartment building to turn in our applications. (OK.. that was some hyperbole. Deal with it.) Before the manager processed the applications, she took me to see another apartment up on the third floor that would be receiving wood floors prior to our move-in but a smaller unit than the one I was hoping for, but it had lots of light and a builtin extra closet.
It’ll do readers, it’ll do.
The building is nice, it was built in 1925 and is in the heart of Hilltop, just west of downtown Tacoma. It will still be an easy bike commute for Levi and when his drilling days with the Army start up again it won’t be a difficult bus commute for me at all.
Overall I am excited about the change and can’t wait to move, I’m almost as excited about the move as I am about Levi finally coming home. He should be flying home on Wednesday.