March 11, 2019: Zero day

I’m still kind of impressed when the site reports no hits at all, like it did yesterday, March 11, 2019. Sometimes, in a remote and distant way, it bothers me that it can happen, that absolutely no one, not even by accident, will happen upon the site.

But then I remember there’s nothing specific to draw people to the site, there’s no hook, no “omg this site has the best listicles/photos/articles/kitten pics ever” and I’m okay with that, because I never intended for this site to have a big audience. In fact, having virtually no audience is kind of nice in a way. Traffic is low, expectations are similar, it’s more a place for me to exercise my writing discipline (certainly not the quality of my writing) without worry. A journal of miscellany mostly relevant to only me.

Or am I actually crying tears of anguish as I type these words, crushed at being left all alone on the web, which is now 30 years old. Also, how do people put so many links in their posts and articles? That stuff takes serious time.

I am way too lazy to have a good website.

But I’m still posting something every day.

And a random list to complete this post:

  • Apparently bananas are in danger of going extinct again. This makes me sad, as I like bananas.
  • I still think it’s weird no one has gone to the moon in 40+ years. It’s right there!
  • The amount of plastic in the ocean is gross. I had a soda at a restaurant the other day and it came with a paper straw. I could have eaten it, if I’d wanted to, a small step to saving our world.
  • Even weirder than not going to the moon: I’m actually starting to kind of like the horribly flat keyboard on my MacBook Pro. This would be about the point that it starts failing, so that I may hate it again.
  • Speaking of Apple, its March 25th event, presumably to reveal its streaming service, excites me in the same way as putting on my socks. To clarify, I find minimal excitement in donning socks.
  • I hope my efforts to reduce the soreness and discomfort in my knees work, because I can’t afford bionic replacements. Also, I don’t think they exist.

Clickbait secrets revealed #1

The world is a busy place and the internet is part of the world, so it’s also a busy place. I’m here to help.

Instead of having to click on a clickbait link and then read an actual article and junk to glean the valuable pearls of wisdom within, just read below for the actual clickbait content*. Save time, save money!

Clickbait title: Self-Made Billionaires Like Warren Buffett and Elon Musk Prove If You Don’t Make Time for These 6 Little Things Every Day, You’ll Never Be Successful

Clickbait secrets revealed:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Breathing
  • Pooping
  • Not getting run over by a bus
  • Dumb luck

* not actual clickbait content

The MacRumors drinking game

MacRumors has a large and active forum and each news post on the main site also gets automagically turned into a forum thread in the news discussion subforum. Certain people will use some of these threads—well, really, nearly all of them—to dunk on Apple and the various things the company is or isn’t doing (or is perceived to be doing or not doing). The actual topic of the thread is often irrelevant.

Here’s a fun (?) drinking game. Take a drink any time someone mentions the following in a MacRumors news post discussion thread. NOTE: I am not responsible for any blood alcohol poisoning that may result.

  • Refers to Tim Cook as:
    • Timmy
    • Tim Crook
    • A bean counter
  • Fire Tim Cook
  • iSheep
  • iToy
  • Emojis
  • Animojis
  • Memojis
  • Watch bands
  • iWatch
  • Touch bar
  • Butterfly keyboard
  • Apple is now just a fashion brand
  • Where is the new Mac Pro?
  • More to come…

Cold weather writing prompts

Apparently Vancouver set a record for low temperatures in February and I can vouch that it was pretty chilly for this particular patch of the planet. What better way to celebrate (?) than a bunch of questionable cold weather writing prompts.

  • It’s said there are 500 ways to say “snow.” Come up with another 500.
  • Write an action adventure about a snowman caught in a hothouse. Throw in some vampires, too.
  • Imagine you were caught up in the mountains during a raging blizzard. That would really suck. You’d probably die or lose all your hands and feet or something. So write a romantic comedy featuring anthropomorphized raccoons instead.
  • List 10 things to do with snow and hard liquor
  • Write a story where one night a magical frost gnome appears and grants you anything you want, as long as it rhymes with frost
  • The first time Betty went ice skating she fell and fell and fell. She just couldn’t skate. Everyone laughed! But Betty wouldn’t let others get her down. She practised and practised and got better and better. Then she got got run over by a Zamboni on the night of her Olympics competition. Write the story as a safety brochure on Zamboni driving.

Important preferences

Here they are. All very important.

  • Salt over pepper
  • Chocolate over vanilla
  • Strawberry over vanilla
  • Vanilla over maple
  • Pie over cake
  • Cake over bad pie
  • Bigfoot over Loch Ness Monster
  • Blue over red
  • Red over yellow
  • Green over red
  • Pizza over anything else
  • Fudge over not-fudge
  • UFOs over cryptids
  • Playing over working
  • Working over starving
  • Good shoes over cheap shoes
  • Underwear that’s fun to wear over other underwear. That can be read two different ways, figure it out.
  • Hot tub over steam room
  • Kiddie pool over diving board
  • Running over elliptical
  • Sun over moon
  • Stories over poems
  • Pencils over pens
  • Life over death

2019 Bestseller instant success template

Easy steps:

  1. Write a book about something. Whatever, it doesn’t matter.
  2. Include f*ck in the title, in the manner of “not caring/don’t care”, not in the manner of the carnal act
  3. Include girl in the title, in the manner of a female human
  4. OK, just use this title: The Girl Who Didn’t Give a F*ck
  5. Market it as both a thriller and self-help
  6. Rake in $$$

Tune in next year for the next word/phrase to add to sell even more copies.

Random thoughts, February 2019 edition

  • After three days of non-use, my AirPods have died a mysterious death and will not charge, pair or play. This has forced me to go back to wired earbuds and it makes me realize how nice it was to not have to untangle the spaghetti of wires every time I listened to music. I will probably look for an alternative for now, rather than paying what would likely be a ludicrous repair bill from Apple.
  • We had a more traditional Vancouver snow this week. It started out like recent years, with it staying cold and several days of snow piling up. Then it warmed up past freezing and started raining. Fortunately there was a gap between the snow and rain, so we have not seen a slushpocalypse. Also, the rain stopped and the snow is just melting on its own. Yay.
  • The Lego Movie 2 was all right, but not as good as the original. Several of the new songs are catchy, but “Everything is Awesome” is still the one that got stuck in my head after.
  • Nic did not want to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind, despite never having seen it. He is now DEAD to me. Or mostly dead.
  • It seems like people have mostly and finally stopped quoting from Monty Python now. I’ve watched some of the original episodes on Netflix recently (Nic will watch those) and it’s very stream of conscious, clever, funny, but also uneven, with some sketches not really going anywhere.
  • Speaking of watching things on Netflix with Nic, the Star Trek animated series is not bad at all, but the animation is terrible. Too bad there isn’t money in redoing the episodes with modern (good) animation, while keeping the original voice work and music.
  • Let’s keep talking about Netflix. Jaws just turned up and I must watch it again. Nic also won’t watch this because he doesn’t like movies about sharks eating people or something. I loved sharks as a kid (after seeing Jaws). I would draw sharks all the time. And dinosaurs. And roller coasters. But never all three at once (which I would totally do now).
  • I broke my rule of not snacking in the evening tonight and feel bad. And full.
  • I have been weirdly and correctly predicting little things lately, like I’m a low wattage psychic.
  • I have actually started working on Road Closed again. One might say Road Opened, ho ho.
  • Somehow my iTunes folder has bloated to around 50 GB. That is a lot of “onion on the belt” (old guy) pop music.
  • As always, I like lists

Six super powers that might not be so super: A short list

  • Flight: What if you had a fear of heights? Also, flying into electrical wires would be a constant hazard.
  • Super strength: Almost everything you could do (and pretty much anything fun) would get you charged/arrested or kicked out of some place.
  • Invisibility: A lot of stuff could suck if you’re invisible. You could have the type where only your body is invisible, so you’d have to run around naked to be unseen. Would not work well in the winter. Or if everything you touch also turns invisible, you’d never be able to check your watch for the time or use your smartphone. That could be an upside, too…
  • Telekinesis: Assuming you didn’t go full Carrie, the utility of this seems limited. You’d be a sort of living smart home device, able to turn on the stove or adjust the lights without having to touch anything.
  • Manipulating fire: You’d be a hit at barbecues and beach bonfires. Anywhere else, not so much. Also, probably really easy to accidentally burn down your house.
  • Super speed: Running into something would probably hurt a lot. Like, hurt you to death.

Things I may or may not believe in, 2019 edition

Who really knows?

  • God: Maybe?
  • Bigfoot: Seems plausible, but probably not
  • Loch Ness Monster: Got to say no here. We’d have found some tangible evidence by now.
  • UFOs: By definition, these exist, because people do see objects flying in the sky that can’t be identified. I’ve seen them, though they were probably meteors or distant planes, rather than spaceships piloted by grey-skinned aliens.
  • The innate goodness of people: Sometimes
  • The soul: Yes, I think there is some part of us that exists outside of the physical body. There is some scientific evidence to suggest this. Think of it as being a kind of energy that persists after the body has kicked off.
  • Ghosts: Although I can’t say they’d exist as the traditional ghosts we think of in the western world, I can see them being some form of the soul (see above). So…maybe!
  • Aliens: Absolutely. It seems silly (and arrogant) to think the only life in the universe could exist on one planet. Ancient Aliens? Not so much.
  • Alien abductions: Maybe? There is some physical evidence and I believe a lot of alleged victims are sincere, but the mind is a strange place and isn’t always trustworthy.
  • Reincarnation: Maybe. Again, this has some evidence behind it.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: No. Ships and planes crash or vanish in equal numbers all over the world’s oceans.
  • Fate or destiny: No.
  • Global warming: I’m not a right wing politician who rejects science and logic, so yes.
  • World peace: Maybe, eventually. Odds seem low right now, but the optimist in me hasn’t been completely snuffed out.

30 day check-in on 2019 resolutions

The first month of 2019 has passed. Let’s see how the ol’ resolutions are doing. Remember, I have 11 more months to make “course corrections” in the event of resolution recidivism.

  • Drop to 150 pounds. Realistically, I was not going to drop 17+ pounds in a month. I did drop 0.2 pounds, though. At that rate I will hit 150 by 2026. I may need to re-examine my current diet.
  • Write something every day. I am 100% on this so far, though some days have been a struggle. I don’t have any momentum yet, but feel I am on the verge, so I expect better in February.
  • Run at least once per week. 50% on this, so room for improvement. But I am running!
  • Read at least 52 books. I’m close to finishing my third book, so a bit behind. On the other hand, I went an entire week without reading, so I handicapped myself.
  • Eat better. Definite improvements here, especially with evening snacking. More improvements to come.
  • Learn and practice meditation. I have not started this yet. I kind of feel like I need to get a few other things sorted first, but maybe I’m just stalling.
  • Stretch. I finished reading a book on stretching, but have yet to stretch. Some preliminary “stretching” left me mildly alarmed at how incredibly inflexible I am.
  • Redo the Complaint Free World 21-day challenge. I haven’t formally restarted the challenge, but I am being a lot more mindful about saying negative things to others. I want to make myself and things around me better, and I know that bellyaching–though satisfying–is not the way to do it.

Overall a mixed bag, but nothing I would consider an outright failure at this point. I am cautiously encouraged.

Things I miss, Part 27

  • My beard. I sort of have a stubbly version going right now, because when it’s really short the white doesn’t stand out. The reason I don’t have a full beard is because it would be white and I don’t fancy the “distinguished gentleman” look. Yes, I’ve thought of growing a beard and dying it. I think it would be weird, but I’m more open to weird these days.
  • 10 cent candy bars. This is the lowest price I can remember, circa 1970 when I was six or seven years old. This is not a bad thing, though, because if they were still 10 cents apiece, I would weigh 300 pounds.
  • A full head of hair. I shaved my head seven years ago, and I’ve made peace with never having a proper head of hair again, but I still kind of miss having hair on my head.
  • That section of my National Novel Writing Month novel that got eaten when Scrivener didn’t sync properly. My fault, I’m sure, but I’ve never experienced that “afraid to lose stuff” with software before and it is always in the back of my mind now when I use Scrivener.
  • My original copy of The Ever-continuing Saga of the Round Balls comic I wrote back around 1984 or so. I did 11 issues of varying length and at some point tragically lost them, probably left in a box under the stairs of a townhouse I used to live in.
  • Not completing my swimming lessons in 2007. Technically I can swim, but it’s more accurate to describe it as “not drowning.” Living on the coast it always seemed like a good skill to have. But water kind of terrifies me. Probably because I can’t swim.
  • That childhood sense of time, where the summer stretched on forever. Now it goes by in a blink. There’s actual science behind this.
  • World peace.

Rejected blog ideas

Because sometimes I’m lazy, sometimes I’m not timely enough, and sometimes my ideas stink.

  • Depends squirmy legs ad and Meta user Michael Strahan’s poo dance
    • Reason for rejection: I used to see these two commercials a lot and wanted to riff on them, then they stopped airing them.
  • Video games of yore (home)
    • Reason for rejection: I actually mean to get around to this one. You can read the arcade version here.
  • Reality TV shows I actually like
    • Reason for rejection: There aren’t that many and it just didn’t seem that interesting. For the record, a few I enjoy are Forged in Fire and The Curse of Oak Island.
  • Apple Watch revised review with pictures and stuff
    • Reason for rejection: Lazy, waited too long. Who wants to read a review of a watch that is two generations behind? Not me!
  • Google maps, now with melancholy
    • Reason for rejection: I actually quite like this idea. I’d use Google Maps’ Street View to “visit” my hometown and lament the loss of old corner stores I went to as a kid and so on. I felt there wasn’t enough there to work with, but I may revisit this.
  • Amusing photos from my phone camera
    • Reason for rejection: It turns out I have very few amusing pictures on my phone
  • Best and worst super powers
    • Reason for rejection: This seems like such an obvious thing. Maybe too obvious. Every time I thought about it, I found my mind wandering on to other things. Kind of weird.
  • Internet of Things comic: standing at the fridge saying “Open the fridge door, HAL.”
    • Reason for rejection: Too much effort for a pretty lame joke
  • Bad design: glossy keyboards
    • Reason for rejection: Pretty think subject for a blog post, but for the record, glossy keyboard are bad because they reflect light back at you, and are fingerprint magnets
  • Places I’ve lived
    • Reason for rejection: After some thought, I didn’t find it interesting enough to pursue, but I was thinking too literally. I may come back to this someday, because I’ve lived in a few places that might be worth talking about.