I managed to miss posting about my tenth blogiversary ON that date, February 25, 2013, but ironically posted my first in ages goofy quiz result, after a break of almost two months. Blogging in the early days relied heavily on such quiz posts.
So. Ten years! Of blogging. Sort of. It’s an anniversary, but it might mean more to me had I blogged more regularly. On the other hand, I was very nearly a “big name blogger” in my heyday. It’s just that my heyday was essentially the first year, and to a lesser extent the next year or two, coinciding neatly with Changes.
For a long time, I have been something of a homeless blogger, spread thin by life and the pursuit of side income from this writing. Wringing income for the family from past glory that had more to do with editing and managing than writing was all well and good, while it lasted. Who knew! Their turned out to be a way to make money from Carnival of the Capitalists after all, and if it had been active and the site I used for administering it updated regularly, we’d still have that. Or if I had even kept updating it as a general business blog, as intended. Anyway, things got rocky for Deb and I, and it was reflected in volume and location of my posts. I saw income opportunity, and that made me try to spread things around by category: food, tech, business and economics, politics, even culture. I went back to blogging solo. I went back to blogging jointly. I had and abandoned ideas. I had and didn’t launch ideas. My interests changed. Life intervened, yet not writing makes me feel empty. At this point, I see writing as my only logical career path, which is absurd, considering how hard it might be to make real money, even with self-publishing what it is. If I never make more from blogging, I really need to post, to feel right. Facebook isn’t the same, however much it contributed to making blogging a “dead medium.”
In the early days, blogging was social media.
There grew to be what I thought of as overlapping circles of bloggers. Each circle being a group of like-minded or otherwise friendly with each other bloggers – or sometimes non-blogger commenters – who would comment and share among the group in particular, but who were sometimes effectively part of more than one group. There are people I call friends, met through blogging. Oh, and a wife, who gave me three lovely children. Nothing virtual about that.
I posted anything I wanted, though not in the outrageous details of, say, Acidman, not worrying who might read it. I didn’t worry about the topic, since it was a general blog. I’d like to try going some of the way back to that, though unless it were an anonymous blog, I’d still pause and consider who might be reading. Family didn’t know about blogs, at first. Now having a pen name is not enough. At least, not the pen name they all know. We were at Blogblivion for a long time, so people might not look for us here. Same goes for having posted sparsely so long, and for my having blogged solo in places.
My goal has been to import stuff, if not ALL the things, from the old version of AV, from BB, and from some of the topical or solo blogs, bringing it all back here. You can see how far I got, considering it is May and that was one of my “yay, the kids are in school” projects. But then, my goal has also been to write longer things, like a book about my business experience.
Maybe I can’t write for a living. Maybe it can only be an outlet. Blogging was made for that. That’s not what this post is about, but I have no idea what I might do for a living otherwise, to step it up beyond a part-time job, however well paid. I seem to have lost all interest in computers, and between the changes inherent in the passage of time since I closed the business, and the lack of keeping current that was part of why the business had to close, I have limited confidence. Not zero, since I know how inherently brilliant I am at learning and figuring these things out – or intuiting them – but you gotta have skills to get work that pays. Which has been a problem for us, the donut hole situation. What I make on about 22 hours would need to be about five times as much on a 40 hour job that had to pay additional taxes, health costs, and daycare… to break even, but lose time. Add in the confidence I lost when I was unable to interview successfully, for what little I got that far at, and my lack of desire to make the economy look good for this administration, and you have a bit of an impasse.
Remember when my tagline was “but I digress…”? There’s a reason for that!
Here’s to many more years of digression, and hoping the blogosphere doesn’t die entirely.
|You Are a Red Gummy Bear|
You are the gummy bear most associated with raspberry and cherry flavors. And like a berry, you pack a lot of flavor.
You are an intense person with strong feelings and reactions. Life can be very sweet for you – and sometimes bittersweet.
You feel like your life is full of ups and downs, but you just notice them more than most people. You are very emotional.
When you love someone or something, you develop a strong obsession. You don’t go halfway on anything.
Once upon a time, I was in the fourth grade, lo these many years ago. 1970/1971, to be exact. I had my first crush, which was not something I understood or could have labeled at the time. She was in another classroom, I never learned her name, and when I tried to figure out the next year who she’d been, I couldn’t. Nobody looked like her. It was formative, in that the way I felt was how I expected love to feel, and it may have helped set the stage for my addiction to unrequited serial crushes that started in seventh grade. The closest thing I had to a crush between those two times was the year-younger sister of a friend in sixth grade, with whom I now work. If anything, that one set a pattern of being terrified, rather than merely clueless. Anyway, in fourth grade, the peak experience was when we were in much-hated gym class at the same time, doing some kind of dance thing, and I got to hold her hand briefly in the course of that. It was like… magic. And she looked nothing like Meg Ryan.
Much later, in 2007, I was invited to Facebook, which I joined under my given name, but didn’t use for an extended time. Basically just had a couple of former colleagues as FB friends. I forget the impetus, if there was one, but before it quite got to where everyone was on Facebook, I became more active and added a lot more people. I thought it was cool to find people from as far back as elementary school, in most cases getting to know them as I never actually did before. In the most extreme case, I friended someone I’ve known her entire life, since she was nine months younger than me. Her father was my father’s best friend, and her parents were the witnesses when my parents got married.
I was surprised some of them even wanted to connect with me, since from my perspective maybe I was embarrassed, which for me tends not to fade or be forgotten, or didn’t like them, or thought they didn’t like me. Time. It passes. There are clear exceptions, and some I don’t understand, as they tend to be people I did like, remember fondly, or have no reason to be embarrassed about.
So it came to be that I even had many of my crushes as FB friends, especially the most major ones, including the first major one, from seventh grade, and the last major one, notable for having finally broken me of fixating on some girl or another – or more than one at a time, sometimes – and convincing myself I was in lurve, capturing That Feeling. Or trying to. The huge exception is my ninth grade crush, arguably my biggest, who strangely, since we never dated, was the first ever to say “I love you” to me. I even have one of the only two girls I think of as people I dated before meeting Deb, whom I arguably didn’t date, just married. Quibbling would give you a couple more, including the one of the major crushes who convinced me no girl would ever have me, and one whose sister’s wedding I was her date for.
But who was the mystery girl?
Finally, this girl named Cheryl came along and friended me. I didn’t really remember her, and only vaguely recognized her maiden name. I never knew her at all. Then someone posts a class picture, with her front and center, in sixth grade. There she is. Looking identifiably the same. She looked completely different, later, with the short hair I actually remember enough to associate with the name.
So I discussed it with her and learned she had not been at the school in fifth grade and part of sixth, thus not being able to identify her the next year. I am so close to certain it was her as to make no doubt. She described our gym teacher as sadistic, and was pleased she brightened the experience a tiny bit. Heh. He wasn’t like the elementary teacher, but the main high school gym teacher I had is one of those Facebook people I have steadfastly not friended. Between my elementary gym teacher and my moderate degree of disability, I was put off gym, or the more recent fad of going to commercial gyms voluntarily, forever. She was tickled, because she didn’t think anyone liked her in elementary school, and pretty much had only one friend. Made worse by an abusive dad. In a fit of synchronicity, she once lived in an apartment just three houses away from where I am now, her favorite one ever. Now she’s in another state, with a superb husband, grown kids, and cute grandkids.
Privacy? All the internet are belong to us/AOL revisited? Scary data mining? Well, yeah. I have a friend who won’t go on FB, or anything else, because she is convinced it will make it easier for the scary conservatives to round her up when they liquidate all the Jews, forgetting that fascists who did that and the like are of the left. Yet I can see being concerned, while it’s also going to have to come to fighting technology and non-privacy with the same. And yeah, it stole the thunder of the blogs circa when I started ten years ago, where you had a sense of community and cross-commenting and linking, but the mega blog sites that want to be news sites also did that (we always talk about how we missed the monetization boat, yet it might not be all that) I will always be appreciative of Facebook resolving that longstanding mystery for me, as well as connecting me with the lives of people I might never have crossed paths with again. That is what it’s all about.
Some of us have been saying this for years.
|You Are Grounded|
If slow and steady wins the race, then you’re going to be crowned grand champion. You are consistently consistent.
You pride yourself on being dependable and reliable. You are a rock, and you are especially loyal to your friends and family.
You’re the kind of person who finds it hard to say no to someone in need, and why would you even want to? Helping out gives you a sense of purpose.
You are agreeable whenever possible. Disagreeing stresses you out, so you only stand your ground when it’s necessary.
On this day nine years ago, we were on our way from Fresno to Las Vegas, arriving late in the afternoon at the Luxor. After checking in, we searched for the place where you pay the government for the right to be married. And searched. Eventually, we found it. A clever sales guy outside snagged our business for the Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. No idea where we’d have ended up, left to our own devices. That worked out, and we rewarded him for the good sense to patrol the opposite side of the street from the mob of other chapel sales people.
And so we got married, as originally planned, sight unseen, we’d hit it off that well long distance. Is friendship the best basis for marriage? Does agreeing on most things supply longevity that might not be there if it were mainly about an overheated attraction? Perhaps. We each had some second thoughts, even then, and we’ve not been problem-free. Yet we don’t seem to be going anywhere, and non-traditional though we may sometimes be, the kids do not appear to be doomed to grow up in a sundered household, as I and so many did. Have the rocky parts ultimately strengthened us? Arguably so.
All told, I can’t imagine my life alone, or with that hypothetical wasn’t-gonna-happen someone else. Or without the three kids. These specific kids, born of this particular mother. I can regret my age and timing, and ponder mightabeens, but wow. Just wow.
Time travel to the post I wrote after my return home, five days later, apparently my first substantive post following the wedding.
I was thinking about backpacks just the other day. My three kids all had to have them to start kindergarten. It’s required. I already knew that they were pretty much ubiquitous these days, but…
I was in school until 1979, and never once had a backpack. Not even in high school. Nor did other people, at least not enough for me to notice. Books and such were carried in your arms. It was awkward, inconvenient, even sometimes painful, but at least during school there were lockers, and generally not everything had to come home overnight. Yet I am no sure how we managed without them.
College was different. While I didn’t start college until 1982, they’d long been a given in that environment. I may not have known that until contemporaries started college in 1978 and 1979, but by the time it was my turn, I knew to head to the store and spend $30 (in 1982 dollars! For one far less good than my kids have for much less!) in anticipation of the backbreaking load of books I would have to cart around.
Funny how that works, seeing the same topic addressed right after I’ve pondered it myself.
But seriously? I would consider trying elsewhere for a part next time. Too late for this weekend, since my brother is planning to stop at one for a part for working on the truck for us Sunday. I like my local store, and it’s right around the corner, but that is unacceptable corporate behavior. No that the company I work for would behave any differently, but we aren’t a theft target and are pretty secure from non-employees. Ironically, there is a small time auto parts place in town that I’d never likely have gone to anyway, which I am already making a point never to use due to that family having been behind the local swearing fine (since held to be unconstitutional and rendered moot in a review by the state).
Via Jeff Soyer
I want so badly to keep this blog going, but I burned out a couple of weeks before the election and I don’t have my mojo back just yet. I stopped reading the news, in fact, because I couldn’t take the post-election dissection. The GOP didn’t lose because they failed to pander to Hispanics. They didn’t lose because Mitt Romney sucked. They didn’t lose because the American people are idiots, or because bread and circuses, or because people hate the rich. They didn’t lose because they didn’t get the message out.
They lost because alongside some of the right message, they preached the wrong message. And the wrong message was louder.
They’re not going to get anywhere with hate and bigotry. The entire social conservative agenda has to go. The GOP has got to divorce social conservatism from economic conservatism or they’re not going to win another election anytime soon. Some of us figure that it matters less what those folks think, because there’s not much chance of them managing to push that agenda through into law. But Obamacare, so who knows. In any case, they terrify people with this stuff, and rightly so.
The economic message was not as well explained as it could have been, either. It seems to me that these folks were preaching to the choir, counting on turnout. But Republicans seem not to trust their own party anymore. If you can’t even get them up off their behinds to vote against Obama, you’ve got serious issues. Candidates have to go so far right now to capture the base that the average voter looks at them like they’re Martians. And, culturally speaking, they may as well be.
I’m sorry I wasted a vote on these freaks. I hope Gary Johnson runs again. How the Libertarians shoot themselves in the foot is another (weirdly related) post. But at least they’ve got principles, and ones that aren’t based on denying the personhood of women (another entirely different, but related post).
At this point my worst-case scenario isn’t that another Democrat wins the Presidency in 2016. It’s that the GOP once again doesn’t bother running, and all of the signs point that way. Balance is necessary, and I’m not seeing any to speak of.
I laughed when I saw California with the lowest proportion of the population. Massachusetts was tied for second with Maryland, with Illinois third and, it appears, Minnesota fourth. No surprises there, or with Alaska having the highest percentage and Texas the highest total.
Of course, the question of secession was settled by force over a century ago, but that makes it neither less appealing nor less of a political statement to agitate lip service toward it.
Four pound sugar bags have been an option for at least four years. I first encountered them in Stop & Shop, the company that brought you Peapod. At times, they were lower per pound so I’d buy them.
People aren’t stupid. We do notice size changes. It is frustrating, but you have to be a relatively monied, inattentive shopper not to notice 16 oz cans becoming 14, and so forth. Cranberry sauce. Tuna. I’ve even noticed smaller kielbasa for the same price as a pound. At least sugar had 4 lbs as an option, with 5 lbs remaining standard. That may have been an early instance of trying to give people on a tight budget a smaller size at an easier to take price, though there have always been one pound sugars for that.
Size changes aren’t new. It’s been happening with candy bars since I was a kid, decades ago.
Another size reduction? Potatoes in 4 lb bags. Not universal, but they exist, and are marketed at what would be a decent or sale price for five pounds, making it easy to be fooled into grabbing a bag, thinking it’s a deal. Very important to pay attention to those unit prices.
I was amused by this lament, even as I can relate to it. I forget that Jacobson is a relative blogging newbie. Thus for me it’s not 2008 that was the heyday, similar to what he described, of conservative – and liberarian and just plain interesting personal/general – small bloggers, but 2003. Thus the blog title tagline here about 2003 (until I change it, which I will sometime).
2008? At that point we’d been betrayed by Bush, and McCain of all people was the nominee. Obama won, to carry out something all too closely resembling a third Bush term. It’s hard to say McCain wouldn’t have been worse, or certainly as bad. The only thing positive I can say about Bush 2004 is President Kerry. Ugh. I mean, seriously, how could he even get nominated, let alone elected to the senate, even from Massachusetts? Then again, the idiots in Massachusetts just elected Elizabeth Warren. Then again, she has more brain cells to rub togeher than Kerry ever did. But I digress.
Anyway, the original blogs gave way to corporatization, going big or going away, and to social media having supplanted aspects of what blogging was circa 2003. I still have many online friends (and Deb) as a result of that, but there are people who are big names now whom I don’t know the same way, or who have changed beyond recognition, or perhaps whom I don’t really want to know. Either there have not been smaller upstarts to fill the void, or I have not come across them. Then again, I stopped blogging almost entirely for a while, or got muddled at it. Things change.
Daily Job Cuts. Wish I’d thought of it!
I knew there were tax changes coming, barring anything done to avert them, and I just discovered one aspect I’d not know of before in the chart here. Child tax credit is going from $1000 back to $500 in 2013. That may not suddenly mean we owe more, or even that we get less back in earned income credit, but it may be a close thing, or may matter in a couple years.
Not that the child tax credit should even exist, but since it does, and it potentially affects our finances, why would we approve of an arbitrary drop? As such things go, it seems least worst, in the manner of the EIC if you’re really into evening things out. The trouble with the EIC is the donut hole dropoff, which we start to approach, in which your effective tax rate is staggering. Even now, I figured out last tax year that each dollar of self-employment income I might add means 47 cents in additional tax. If I charge you $40 to fix your computer because I figure that’s all you can afford, or all the market will bear, I make a tad over $20 of it in reality, and no matter that I spent three hours, for which I should have charged between $120 and $300. But this is not about pricing and marketing and even the effects of self-esteem on same.
Also, the more direct impact on us is the end of the payroll tax reduction, which arguably should never have been enacted anyway. But since it was, the end of it represents a substantial tax increase on people of modest income. We’re talking about eliminating what we saved by canceling our landline, to put it in real terms, or enough to get McDonald’s 2-3 times a month… except we don’t do that, because the money isn’t there! If it’s not there for things we want or need, how is it there for a tax increase? It’s not. Nor is it there to be a portion of the additional we’d need to spend on groceries in order to change my diet to comply with what the cardiologist wants to see to maximize my lifespan and minimize my chance of additional stents or worse. Not. There. For. Health. So it’s not there for taxes, either, and if you think Obamacare is going to help me afford to eat healthier, you’re delusional.
The thing is, again, the tax shouldn’t have been cut in the first place, so nobody would be able to miss it. Or it should have been eliminated 100% in a massive overhaul of everything. As long as you pay lip service to it being a retirement account, or even if you don’t, and instead recognize it as a wobbly pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme, cutting that tax makes no sense, as it affects if either way.
The child tax credit, though… As a matter of social policy, what is it? It recognizes that people with children could use an added tax advantage because OMG expensive. By extension, it makes having children a prioriy of the government. New
subjects citizens to help keep the social security Ponzi scheme economy going in the future, replacing older workers as the retire, and some so the whole scheme economy doesn’t collapse.
Back to the donut hole. It’s more than the taxes. My 47% assumes self-employment, and would be lower otherwise, but if it’s employment or business income, if it takes time away from home, it means daycare. If I were to trade in my part-time job for full time, there would be an immediate daycare “tax” of $270 a week. Not even guessing at how much more that might be in summer or school vacation weeks. I have to account for that, elimination of the EIC, even though for us that has been on paper and being taken to cover old tax debt each year, incurring income tax on income that had none before as well as the added income, insurance costs that will change, and costs associated with commuting and having less “free” time. Working from home or doing business from home and flexibly/less than full time modifies that, but doesn’t avoid it entirely. For a specific potential job, I estimated needed $40,000 a year above the income I make part time just to stay even. Not compensating me at all for taking my time. That’s basically $43 an hour for each extra hour above what I work part time.
No wonder I still keep thinking what I have to do is make a living at self-employment and/or writing and/or part-time work from home.
Things have to change, in any event. My reaction to the election was a coldly furious resolution to be prepared to survive whatever happens. Ironically, that means improving my income. Expenses have nowhere to go but up, since we are about as to the bone as possible. I figure on being better able to cover living expenses, while continuing to keep them as low as possible, while preparing against disaster, disruption, lack of income in the future… all the things that can happen “unexpectedly” (if you have blinders on). It’s great to hope things go well and change for the better, but in reality it could take decades to recover from this depression and from four more years of fundamental transformation. If it happens at all. In the long view, the tax blip coming up is nothing, and could help things turn toward the saner sooner rather than later.
There is a mystery that has haunted me since 1971. I never knew the name of my first crush, in fourth grade. My second was not until seventh grade, and in fourth I didn’t understand what I was experiencing, except that it was magic, and how I always expected it to feel later on.
The girl in question was in my grade, but not in my class. Multiple classes would go to gym together, at least sometimes. The high point was in gym, learning some kind of dance that involved temporarily holding hands before changing partners. It was, to overuse the term, magic holding her hand oh so briefly.
The next school year, perhaps in part as I became more aware of what it was that had happened to me, I kept an eye out, but could never identify which girl on one of the classes it might have been. That seemed odd, and I was forever baffled.
I seem to recall associating her later with the song I Think I Love You, which I loved when I was in fifth grade, but don’t remember being aware of until then, though it came out in 1970 (fourth grade was 70/71).
Anyway, courtesy of Facebook, I am as certain as it is possible to be at this point that I know who she was. How amazing is that! The girl in question came late to the large number of former classmates who’ve friended me, just a couple weeks ago. I placed the name, but had no mental image of her. Apparently we rode on the same bus one year, and that’s mainly how she remembers me.
Another classmate posted a picture of her sixth grade class. It includes that new Facebook friend, looking very familiar. Two years later, but could it be….?
The clincher is that she was in my school through fourth grade, then moved away, returning halfway through sixth, in time to be in that 1973 class picture. Thus being unable to identify her in fifth grade, as if she had disappeared. It would have been easy to miss her return, and lose all track once we went to the larger school.
It made her day to learn of this, since she thought nobody liked her back then. It thrills me to have a name, and have her as a newfound friend.
Yeah, I feel like an ass for not voting Gary Johnson. Especially in Massachusetts, where it doesn’t matter either way. I had a notion that the vote for Romney would be closer in this state than anyone would expect, and thought I’d contribute to that end. Especially since Gary Johnson was arguably the best Liberarian candidate ever.
The candidate we really needed was Bill Weld.
He got no traction with the Republican party, though, because he was a libertarian. He was what I think of it meaning to be a Republican. After him, Cellucci was close, but not quite. Jane Swift was kind of a joke by comparison, but more in an in over her head competence thing. I still thought it was rude the way Romney shoved her out of the way to start his presidential run in the form of being a governor. I disliked that before I disliked RomneyCare. Then he became presidential and outshone all the others this time. There is probably nobody who has run for President who would be a viable future candidate. Not sure who is a viable candidate. It’s possible Ryan is too socially conservative, and that part must go. But I digress.
I just don’t remember them later!
I was wrong, obviously. I forgot Wizard’s First Rule: People are stupid. Thought of that at work, while my thoughts churned.
I can’t go Galt now, or I would. Planned or not, I’ve de facto been going Galt for the past four years. I said things would get better regardless who won. I didn’t say they’d stay better, let alone get as much better, and as I conceded to a leftist acquaintance, we would crash either way. Just why sooner rather than later?
No, I have to change my life to what will seem to be better and wealthier, because I can’t go unprovisioned into the darkness, and provisioning takes money, while it still buys things.
Republicans will have to change. Mitt ran a good race, as a better candidate than I’d have imagined. Cerainly none of the crew were better, which is a sad statement. Sure, there were some near misses and some excitement, but they all were flawed. He didn’t emphasize social conservatism, yet the party has saddled itself with that to the point people assume. From what I could see, that was what people feared. While they didn’t need to fear it, republicans need to be more overt in recognizing and acknowledging it’s over, that there’s a new normal. Better to focus on the economics that will no go out of style, and improve foreign policy while keeping the general tenor of strength and world leadership.
The sad thing is, before Bush hit his second term and went crazy, or perhaps showed what was always there, when Bush was running, it seemed like republicans has overtly become the big tent party. It’s better, or at least no worse, to be gay or a minority and go republican. (Note that I am leaving out libertarians here, though I did have thoughts on that and Gary Johnson as well.) If there are loudmouths who sound like they’ll take away your right to early term abortions or stand fast in the way of marrying whoever you want, well, they are loudmouths, not representative. Sadly, democrats project. They project fraud onto republicans, while being the primary home of it. They project racism onto republicans, while being the current and historic home of it.
It was always discomforting that Mitt was the grandfather of Obamacare.
He was also too nice, too non-specific economically, and too easily associated in people’s minds with Bush, who remains poisonous. In some ways, I’d call this a referendum on Bush versus Obama. If I had to make a choice of having Bush back or keeping Obama, I’d go for Bush, but it would be a razor thin thing, holding my nose and hoping he didn’t screw it up. Mitt is no Bush, but it took me a while to get enthusiastic rather than resigned to him.
It’s just an election, at least. Hugo Chavez was elected, so how bad could it be?
On the plus side, I was not looking forward to blogging critically of the Romney administration, given the morass it faced. Oh, I would have. I may have more fun going all out on the clown who’ll inherit his own (and yes, GWB’s) mess.
As for the voters, you own it. You voted for it, and oh won’t you get it. Thanks for taking me along. Appreciate it. Especially you single issue voters (see above, and also delusions like that there’d cuts to school funding enough to matter – as if that’s a federal issue anyway) and people who grew up financially privileged as children of rent-seekers or workers of angles and influence or thuggery however polished, who seem yet to have learned of the real world. Good luck with that, eventually.
And yes, I voted, so even to you pathetic morons who spout the witless line about not having the right to complain if I didn’t vote, I sure as fuck will complain. Boy will I complain. If that were all you reaped from what you’ve sown, you’d be lucky, and I’d be thrilled. Are you ready for what’s coming?
Though I was saying it 25-30 years ago. Wish I had those portions of letters I wrote back then. It’s the end of cake.