There’s times I cross around online to find other smaller blogs and the content they have, usually because the content is typically unique compared to what you see on major sites.
However, I do have a major gripe with some I’ve come across….
First thing you and I both know already, your page views are going to be small.
Second, not every user has a 50mbit or higher internet connection. Cramming 30MB of ads onto the sidebars, top and bottom of the page is stupid. That many ads will likely not recoup your server costs, and if you think you can make a living off of that, you’re insane.
Third, forcing your users who may perhaps have a metered connection (think mobile) to download all 30mb worth of ads before they can view your content is pure greed. Also, some of us who do use mobile connections, like me who’s in the process of moving, put in adblockers to SAVE our data.
Basically, what I’m saying is if you’re running a small blog like this one, cut out the bullshit. You’re denying yourselves regular readers all in the name of making a buck.
(Blog names omitted currently because wordpress likes to do pingbacks to them.)
This post was done from my phone. It might be edited for clarity later.
So, being done with college now and having a somewhat more predictable free time schedule, I decided it’s time I attempt to dedicate more time for my very neglected projects.
I’ve never been quite too fond of the current theme I have setup, I wanted something a bit more… neonish, dark but somewhat scifi for a theme. Older versions of this site that I never got off my butt to finish always had a black background with either blue or green text, attempting to mimic the old monochrome monitors of the early 80s. I still want a variation of that, but themeing WordPress seems to take up a bit of my time. I have a prototype theme I think needs a bit more work, so I’ll clean it up soon and launch that as the primary theme.
Next is the logo. I’m a horrible drawer, personally I haven’t done much besides cad drawings and schematics in probably 5 years. Stuff for fun even longer than that. As a kid, a few friends and I used to draw these really embarrassing (in my eyes now) comics depicting humans fighting various alien species and some times humans of the opposite sex or different countries. It was something that led to me being made fun of by people, which I honestly didn’t really care about at the time since I thought they were wonderful. That stuff dropped off in middle school, when I started to gain interest in doing fanfiction and began to teach myself about computers. I rediscovered the comics I drew as a kid a few years later in high school when I was trying to find leftover school supplies. On the back of one of the comics was a plot guideline for the entire series we had planned. That guideline became the rough edges for my incomplete story Space Junk.
As for the logo, the idea is a variation of some of the old Strangeness Networks logos I made on paper back in high school when this site was set up to be an “alternative media” website. It never took off because we all lost interest a week in. Basically, the site was supposed to display a different logo every 24 hours, usually something unusual. One logo was the sites name drawn with a smoke trail of a Saturn V rocket (yes impossible). Another was with frogs. Some were kinda plain, for example one was a schematic drawing for a building but instead drew the site name, whereas some were super unusual as they involved measuring equipment or kitchen utensils. My idea for a logo was a combination of all of the above, each random object representing a letter for Strangeness Blog. I was thinking of a rocket drawing an S, the T being a fork and spoon, the R as a ladle, and so forth. I know I did want the L to be a ruler and the G a extension cord. Think of it like the Google logo when it changes for special occasions. Also, if I could figure out how to integrate the lochness monster for the “ness”, that might be awesome, who knows?
I purchased strangenessblog.net the other day, and I intend to move the site over to that. What happens to strangenessnetworks.com, I’m not sure yet. I intend to set a 301 “Moved Permanently” message for any webcrawler that hits this blog to be sent to the new domain. I don’t intend to do away with the old domain as all my emails go to it, but I’m debating having a go with possibly doing a media hosting site a year or two down the road again. For now it’ll meet the same fate as bigbiteindustries.net, mainly a redirect to this blog. I don’t feel right letting that domain go even though I have no idea what to do with it. I do offer subdomains for strangenessnetworks.com if people are interested, for now.
Speaking of Space Junk, yes, I will actually upload chapters soon. I actually finished rewriting Chapter 1 the other day. A weakness I seemed to notice with my writing from 2007-2008 was it was all damn dialogue, so you had little to no idea what the characters were seeing or experiencing, just what they were saying. I actually have a complete chapter guide, plotline and everything done for one story, and a transition into a second story, but that’s another blog post. I really wanted each chapter polished enough to the point that I don’t have to go back and revise anything as much so I could possibly make a pdf of the entire at the end with little modification and make it look much like a real ebook that can be read on a tablet.
I was in a debate of finishing a old fanfiction series I started writing before Space Junk. I did revise several sections and started uploading them to fanfiction.net a few years ago, but stopped right before the good part. I might possibly work on that a bit for the heck of it. I read back on it last week and noticed some continuity errors that kinda are nagging me now, which is why I’m now considering it.
Last year, I moved into a new apartment complex in a lower cost suburban area outside of town that was a bit cheaper than living on campus. It was somewhat of a low class housing complex, housing mainly bachelor’s in the 1-bedroom units. A week or two after I moved in, I was taking some trash outside to the nearby dumpster when I met one of my new neighbors. For terms of anonymity, I’ll just call him “Bob” for this story. Bob, seeing that I’m fairly young, asked me if I was a college student or not, seeing that I was living alone. I answered yes, that I was studying engineering and was intending to attend graduate school and study physics after I graduated. He then told me that he was in the apartment directly on the right of mine. I really had no interest in conversing with any of my neighbors, as I didn’t have the time then to really bother.
That night, I sat down on my bed and decided to read a book before I went to sleep. I then heard some noises coming from my wall and out of curiosity, I got off the bed and placed my ear against the wall to listen closely at what I was hearing. It was a crying noise, and someone yelling “Why me? Why does bad shit always have to happen to me?!” I walked out side to look at the apartment number that was next to mine. It was Bob’s apartment. I went back into my apartment and laid back down on my bed. By this time, the crying was getting louder, and since I had to be up the next morning for a 8am class, I walked into my living room and fell asleep on my recliner instead.
The entire night and morning, I couldn’t stop thinking but wondering why a grown guy would be balling his eyes out for. That night, as I fell asleep again, I heard the crying again. Seeing this was the second night in a row I head the crying, I decided that I would ask him what was up with that. The next day after classes, I returned back to my apartment and started cooking myself dinner. A few hours later, I noticed Bob’s two-door Ford Focus pull up and park in his assigned parking spot. By this time, I was about to sit down and eat, but the eating curiosity on what was going on with this guy and why he was crying all the time. I decided to walk next door and ask him directly. I knocked on his door and he walked out.
“Hey, what’s up?” was the first thing he answered with when he came to the door.
“I was wondering why you were crying your eyes out the past two nights.”
“Oh, you heard that? Shit! I didn’t think I was that loud.”
“A grown man normally doesn’t cry like that unless something really bad has happened to him.”
“Have you heard of a thing called divorce? It does that to you. I lost everything I had built up over the years, and nobody could do anything about it. ”
“Uh, don’t those usually split 50-50?”
“Typically, but she emptied all the money from all of my accounts, including the 401k before she filed for it. I should have been more suspicious when she’d leave every few days and return the next morning like she just crawled out of bed.”
In my head, of course something like that would be suspicious. Even a guy like me who rarely if ever has a girlfriend would notice that right off the bat. So I said that.
“Well, that certainly is suspicious,” I said. “It would set of a lot of red flags in my head.”
“Well it did for me too. After seeing this happen a few times in a row, I decided to confront her. That evening when both of us were home from work, I decided to ask her if she was having an affair on me. She denied it, and said that I was just never around when she came home and left again for work. She claimed that she was working two jobs, which I couldn’t understand why, because I made more than enough money to support the two of us. After a while, she went back to repeating her little vanishing act again. A month later, she comes to me and tells me she’s pregnant.”
Personally, hearing that kind of events, red lights would definitely go off in my head telling me right off the bat that this woman is cheating. However, a while before that, I decided I would try to take a more objective approach in life, and be a bit more questionable than I usually was. Sometimes I wish I would actually do that more often than I normally do.
After a pause, he continued.
“I knew by then, she was cheating on me. That was a fact, since I had a vasectomy performed on myself to keep from having kids at a early age. I’d rather have kids a bit later on, mainly when I had more than enough money saved up to cover the costs of everything in case something drastic happens eventually. Also, I do recommend you have one done on yourself too, because you’re never the one really in control of who gets pregnant or not when you find a significant other.”
“Uh, I’ll keep that in mind…” I answered to him.
“So, I decided to confront her. With the fact that I knew now that she cheated on me, I wanted to have a heart to heart conversation with her to see is she really loved me or not. I sat her down at the kitchen table and started to talk to her. She kept insisting that I was wrong and was being paranoid.So I told her outright that I couldn’t have a kid. Her response back to me was that ‘You’re full of shit, it’s yours.'”
“And you brushed her off and kept on thinking that you were mistaken, right?”
“Yeah, I decided at that point to wait and see what the kid would look like. ”
I started to think this guy likely picked the wrong type of person and that would have likely been the root of all his problems. So I asked him, “Where in the world did you exactly find this girl to begin with anyways?”
“You got to be kidding me.”
“Not kidding. I’m guessing you’re the type of person who never goes to one.”
“I did once, right when I turned 21. I had a gun pulled on me when I told some redneck guy that I didn’t agree with the auto bailout. Some random guy asked me for no reason if I thought Detroit deserved the auto bailout. I told him no. The guy then went bezerk and said that I was ‘unAmerican’ for not wanting to support an American company in their time of trouble. When I told the guy that’s not how capitalism works, he pulled his gun out at me. I had two friends with me too, and we all left after that. The guy followed us out and decided to bust out all our windows, calling us ‘motherfucking communist traitors’. The cops refused to do anything, just standing there watching. Never went to another one again.” (Aside: I could do a nice blog entry on this more than likely. That guy was definitely ignorant on definitions and should have paid more attention in school.)
“Well that’s understandable then, I guess..” He replied.
“I do know quite a few people who frequent bars on a daily basis. They’re all single mothers now. One of them I know goes to bars to try and find guys to raise her two kids, and she’s actually 19, but uses a fake ID to get in. Nobody usually knows that. That’s where my you got to be kidding remark came from. Anyways, what happened after that conversation?”
“We eventually learned the child was to be a girl and when she came out, she looked nothing like me. I pulled the doctor off to the side and asked him to do a DNA test while they were processing her. Looking at her and me and realizing the child looked nothing like me, the doctor decided he would comply with my request even though that wasn’t the formal procedure. I had the results delivered to a PO Box I used for work. They came in a few weeks later and my suspicions were correct. It wasn’t mine. I took the results and confronted my wife about it. She got really pissed off about that test, saying she should have been told and that I didn’t want to man up and deal with parenthood. After a few hours straight worth of arguing, she finally came clean and admitted it wasn’t my child, that she was in a relationship with 5 other guys.”
“Uh, did you just say 5 other guys?”
“Yes, she was married to me and another guy, and was having an affair with 4 other people. She gave this excuse that she would stop all of that and focus only on me and the child, and when I asked her whose child it was, she wouldn’t answer still. She slipped something into my drink then that night and I don’t remember anything after that. She didn’t realize I was recording her that entire evening with my phone. I woke up the next morning and decided to play it back, and was disgusted with what she was talking to with someone while I was passed out. I learned who the real father was, which was a bartender at the same bar we met at, and how useless I was except for getting money and she didn’t really love me. I filed for divorce papers the next day. A week later, I started getting calls from the bank that my balance was withdrawn and I was at a negative balance. Things started to randomly disappear from my apartment. I got a lawyer and asked him what to do. I eventually just left that apartment completely and got this place here. I opened up another bank account and closed my old one, however she somehow figured out the new bank account location and number and started taking my money back out again. Meanwhile she was also taking all the money out of my retirement account and I had no clue.”
“Isn’t that some type of felony?”
“I think it is, we finally went to divorce court. The judge was female and seemed to be biased towards my wife. Even with the evidence that the child was not mine, she ruled in favor of my wife, and demanded I pay child support. I was stuck with all the bills too, and she apparently bought a Mercedes the week before in my name. We went back to court again, this time she claimed she was unemployed and needed extra financial assistance to pay for her bills. The judge agreed and child support was raised to 65% of my income, which I think is actually illegal. I also was required to take on all her debts, $300k worth. My lawyer and I are still fighting that. All of that is illegal.”
I personally took skepticism to the 65% remark. No judge would require someone to pay 65% of their income in child support. The judge would be dooming that person financially.
So the conversation ended shortly after that. I went back over to my apartment and decided to watch a hockey game on TV and finish some homework for school. A few days later, I can’t remember how many exactly, he vanished. A knock on my door came later and I answered it. It turned out to be a blonde female who was driving a Mercedes convertible. I asked her “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, where’s asshole?”
“Uh, who’s asshole?”
“The talking dick who lives next to you.”
“You mean Bob?”
“Yeah, Bob the talking dick.”
“He’s not a talking dick, and I haven’t seen him for a week or so now.”
“That’s all you men are, talking dicks who pay the bills.”
I slammed the door in her face. I kinda found that comment offensive. I do have to admit though, for a technically unemployed woman, where in the world did she get the money for to wear super expensive clothing and drive a super expensive car? I started to take Bob’s comment about what happened a bit more seriously then.
A month later, the landlords issued an eviction notice to Bob. Nobody there had seen him for over a month, and all his stuff was still in there, minus his clothes and a handful of electronics. As the landlords were dumping the furniture outside for auction and or trash, I walked over to the guys. I asked them if it was possible I could take some of the items myself, since my apartment was kinda empty. They agreed, so I took the xbox, microwave, tv stand and end table. I powered on the xbox later that night and got a message from someone who claimed to be one of his friends. I asked for Bob’s current address and he gave it to me. I boxed up his xbox and mailed it to that address. That was the last I heard of anything about him again.
So wherever you are dude, I hope that eventually your situation gets dealt with and your life is straightened up. I’m using this as a personal experience myself, first off, don’t pick up women at bars, and be really skeptical when you think someone’s lying a lot. I’ve seen stories similar to this online quite a bit lately, which makes me wonder if the system is really corrupted. Hopefully, people will begin to notice and changes will be made for the better….
Strangeness Blog is now 1 year old. As a way of telling myself to get off my ass and actually post something, I have posted the prologue to my story “Space Junk”.
I wrote this chapter last July, and then forgot about it until the other day. Hopefully from here on out, I’ll at least try to roll out a new chapter a month or so.
I made some changes to my plot line a bit from the previous revision. This was necessary since I’ve kept the sane time and location when I started writing it back in 2007. It was set to take place in the year 2014, but seeing it was a year away, that doesn’t seem plausible, so I set a generic time somewhere within the next twenty years or so. In addition, I’ve pulled a bit more current events in relation, since I want to make the time period seem a bit like the beginning of a very doom and gloom situation.
I’m also in the middle of developing a nice looking theme for WordPress at the moment. For someone who hasn’t touched HTML in the past decade almost with the exception of using very basic tags to do posts on sites elsewhere, getting anything that looks nice seems to be an uphill battle. My goal is to try and get a retro looking theme (think the old monochrome green monitors with a melting text logo). Since my spring break is in a few weeks, I think I’ll try to spend some time working on it.
Pumps with stupid video advertisements that play when you pump gas.
One morning this week, I stopped in a gas station to fill my gas tank up.
Typically, your normal gas station pump has your little info screen that shows stuff like enter your pin, etc, or asking you if you want a receipt, basic things. Some have color screens but they aren’t that sophisticated.
So I come up to this pump:
Yeah, looks like a normal gas pump, with a slightly larger screen, and those annoying messages saying “If you have a credit card or a debit card from OUR company, we will give you a *cash* discount on gas” and then the two prices on the pump saying if you are paying in cash or credit. Personally, I find that alone annoying. The lowest AKA *cash* price is displayed on the sign out front with a small small sign that says “cash” right next to it where no ordinary person would notice if they were driving down the street… That is until they pull up to the pump and start pumping gas, only to notice that the cost of gas jumped 10-15 cents when they started pumping gas since they used a credit card or a debit card marked as credit. I find that more as extortion, although they’re not violating any laws by doing that, and I kinda understand why they charge more. Credit card companies charge a 1-2% fee per transaction, but if you don’t want to piss off customers, at least put the highest price on the sign and surprise the guys who pay cash or use debit cards with the discount thing.
Oh and a lot of those, they have stickers like “debit cards are treated like cash” which is bunkus, as they designed the pump to fail automatically on the debit card option with a “please see cashier” message, or just still charge you for credit. That’s a large lie.
I wrote some SC state legislatures and some congressmen about that (and got FU replies back basically), as some gas stations I’ve seen in South Carolina charge as much as 0.25$ more per gallon for credit/debit card users than they do with cash, and they don’t even have any notice except for like a small 1 inch sticker saying its 25 cents more per gallon. That’s not even recouping a loss, that’s making a profit off of people who don’t carry excessive amounts of money in cash, like owners of gas guzzling tanks called SUVs that have to pay 50-80 dollars for a tank of gas.
Anyways, returning to the topic, that pump. So when I first started pumping gas, I didn’t notice the sticker saying I was being charged 15 cents more per gallon using my debit card as a credit card, so I quickly smashed cancel and put the handle back on the pump to abort that transaction and start back over with debit. When I did that, the screen displayed a picture ad about buying monster energy drinks. I looked at that and thought “Um, Okay, so they changed from signs to pictures on the screen, that’s not that bad.
Starting the pump again, the pump started to play a movie. Some movie ad for a movie that I’ll never see anyways (Not paying 12$ to 21$ for a movie ticket). That was a 1 minute ad that had fairly loud volume, this being at around 5 in the morning was a bit of a wakeup for me. Next, they played some ad for that one kid who sounds like a chick that little girls obsess about him singing about, I can’t remember his name off the top of my head. Regardless, the music was super annoying and I grabbed the ear plugs off my safety helmet from work and put them on for the rest of my gas pumping. As I’m putting the handle back on the pump, they played some video ad about some American idol clone show that I never watch either then another monster ad.
On purpose, I decided I’d drink a can of pop later instead of a monster just to be a dick.
Also, on a side note, when I returned to this gas station to take a picture of the pumps, I got some gas and got greeted by a super annoying pop star’s album ad. A nearby trucker who was checking his tires for some reason started screaming “[CS]damn! What is that god-awful noise?! It sounds like a girl taking a dump while eating peppers!” (I found that comment quite comical..)
Why that is annoying:
You can’t avoid the ad. You’re basically staring at the pump to see how much gas you’re putting in your car. For a car like mine, a cobalt, I put on average 7-10 gallons of gas into it every 3 days due to my summer job. For those morons who decided to buy a SUV for their one kid and the trips 3 miles one way a day, they put on average 15-20 gallons in, so they’re stuck staring at that crap longer than I was. I’m more inclined to think that they’d even buy the items that were advertised.
Why am I posting this?
If anyone has paid attention lately, advertisements are getting more and more forceful on the consumer. Heck, even tracking cookies (basically unheard of 6 years ago) are annoying. On my work computer, I was researching stuff for a project we were working on, and my ads on Pandora all the sudden changed to try and provide me safety equipment. Unfortunately, I’m stuck using IE 7 at work with default cookie settings, so it was either no Pandora or clear my cookies on each use. I decided to do both.
Off topic:Any company that decides it’s only going to make money off of getting into people’s personal lives needs to fail. Also this “lets make a lot of money in the short term and to hell with 10-20 years down the line” attitude is sickening. But that might be another post, perhaps, if I ever finish my draft post on the metric system.