Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Fun with Keywords!

Every once in awhile someone will stumble across one of my sites by searching for an odd string of words. Because I use an an analytics program on both of my blogs, these searches get saved and I get to see what you perverts are looking for.

For instance, on MSN's search engine, my "When Is It Time To Quit?" blog is ranked #3 when you search for this string:

But to my amazement, it is ranked #1 on MSN's search engine when you search "time to quit"!

Hopefully this means I will be getting some more traffic over there pretty soon, and more frequent postings of stories from readers. Heck, I just put one over there today. What are you waiting for? Check it out already!


I am also #1 on Google when you search for "Barnacle Scraper".

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mom Always Made Me Clean My Plate

I have talked about some of the things that are going on in my life right now, other things I have not. I am working full-time, going to graduate school, searching for a new job, losing 85 lbs. (30 down, 55 to go), writing a book, starting an Internet company on the side, and learning Adobe GoLive in order to start said Internet company. Oh, and I have a wife and daughter to pay attention to, as well.

I have never been this busy in my life, and I credit the weight loss and exercise with giving me the energy to do so.

The most difficult thing I have found is staying focused on one task. I know what I have to do on any given day, but I don't schedule myself well and even if I did, I would probably not stick to my schedule. It's exciting to have so many opportunities laid out before me, but I need time to create a plan of action.

This morning, Guy Kawasaki posted a great essay about 11 qualities of successful entrepreneurs on his blog. Here is a bit of #11, my favorite:
Take the “red pill.” This refers to the choice that Neo made in The Matrix. The red pill led to learning the whole truth. The blue pill meant waking up wondering if you had a bad dream. Bootstrappers don't have the luxury to take the blue pill. They take the red pill--everyday--to find out how deep the rabbit hole really is.
What he is getting at is the fact that you can't lie to yourself if you are going to be a successful entrepreneur. Whether it is about finances, product capabilities, target markets, or your employees' loyalty, you need to be completely honest with yourself everyday, or else you run the risk of failure.

I took this to heart. This weekend I will put together an action plan to get the Internet company really rolling. I have a syllabus for each of my classes now, and have already compiled a schedule of assignments. I can work the new business around my school schedule, and based on industry cycles, the real crunch time will be about a month after I graduate.

This just might work!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Soy un Perdedor...

I am a skeptical, cynical person. So it comes as no surprise that when I receive an e-mail message telling me that I have won an iPod Nano, that it is most likely spam, and I should just delete it.

Today, however, I wanted to believe.

The e-mail I received was different than the usual "YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY WON" junk mail we all get. First of all, it had my full name in it. The spammers usually get the first but not the last.

Secondly, there was a Word file attached containing an affidavit to sign. I opened it with a document viewer in case there was a macro virus inside. Nope. Just an affidavit requesting my agreement for my name and likeness to be used for promotional purposes. The only personally identifiable info they needed was my name and address, which they could easily get without my involvement, and my e-mail address, which they already had. Plus, they needed it notarized and mailed back to their offices.

Third, I checked the website tha corresponded to the sender's e-mail address.


I DID enter a contest on that site last week!

F*ckin' A'! I won a freaking iPod!

I guess I can no longer say I never win anything.

UPDATE 1/31:
The promotions director who sent me the original e-mail notification sent me another message again today. She was concerned that they didn't hear from me, and wanted to make sure I got the message. I let her know that the release was in the mail.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Normally I refrain from quoting other blogs on mine, but this rant about lobbyist extraordinaire Jack Abramoff on Scott Adams's Dilbert Blog had me in stitches:
"Most of the allegations aren’t that interesting. But one scheme, according to Time magazine, caught my eye. They say, 'eLottery – This Internet gambling firm hired Abramoff and invested some $2 million in an intricate campaign in 2000 to kill a bill that would have outlawed most online gaming. Abramoff used Christian groups to block the bill on the grounds that it didn’t go far enough.' Yes, the man convinced Christian groups to support gambling. Now THAT’S what I call an effective lobbyist."
Adams adds that Abramoff didn't go far enough, and lists the following other laws that he should have had religious groups support:
"Ban prayer in churches
Mandatory homosexuality
No more wearing “Wally” glasses
No riding motorcycles and pretending to be the good kind of bad"
Adams finished the list with this gem:
"The only thing I wouldn’t change is that I’d still allow Pat Robertson to blame God for smiting people who he believes “had it coming.” That’s too funny to stop."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

World's Greatest Blonde Joke

This is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.

I present, without further ado, The World's Greatest Blonde Joke!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The High Cost of Technical Ineptitude

Ok, I admit the iPod is one of the coolest gadgets of the last 5 years. I also admit that I am insanely jealous of anyone who has one, as my budget has not yet allowed me to own one myself. But I am compelled to seething ire by this story. People are actually paying Selfridges department store over $100 for lessons on how to use their iPod.

I don't blame the store. They are most likely bombarded day in and day out with frustrated customers begging for an explanation on how to use one of the most user-friendly consumer electronics devices ever invented.

If you are too inept to use a computer, you should not buy any peripheral accessory that requires a computer for its optimal use. This means you all of you grannies who can't figure out your digital camera (not you Nancy), all the parents who ask their kids to program the VCR (don't get me started on Tivo), and anyone who can't figure out how to get their songs off of a CD and onto their iPod.

I know from personal experience that the majority of these people who will buy the iPod lessons from this department store will forget most of what they learned within a week. From the late 90s up until about 3 years ago I made quite a lot of money on the side going to people's homes and teaching them how to use their computer. Most of them just wanted to learn how to send an e-mail or get on the Internet. Every month or so, I would get a call from the same people I helped last month, asking me the same questions they asked before. They wouldn't mind paying me again, could I come show them one more time. No problem.

I actually charged a woman $60 just to teach her how to use the mouse. I billed by the hour and it took her that long just to get comfortable with the damn thing.

I feel sorry for these poor schmucks teaching the iPod class at Selfridges. Eventually their customers will realize that they just don't get it and give the iPod to their grandkids.

Hey, maybe I can convince my grandmother to buy one...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Claim Your Hits

Since mid-November, Google Analytics has been logging my blog's website statistics for me. One of my favorite gizmos in this tool is the geographic listing of the visitors to your site, complete with number of times someone from each city has visited.

In just two months, I am astonished at the number of different places where my blog has been read. I am also astonished that very few of you have actually responded with posts of your own. I would love to hear from each and every one of my returning visitors. Simply leave me a comment claiming your city from the list below and I will add a link to you on the list.

I have only included the cities where I have had more than one hit from, so returning visitors are the focus.

California: San Diego
Florida: Fort Lauderdale - Fort Myers - Orlando
Georgia: Calhoun - Atlanta
Massachusetts: Lowell - Southbridge
New York: NYC - Brooklyn
Ohio: Cleveland - Cincinnati - New Knoxville
Pennsylvania: Haverford
Texas: Houston
Virginia: Richmond
Canada: Okotoks, Alberta

And for some reason, there were no cities listed for the following states. It just grouped each state in one big bunch. There could have been 7 random hits, or one person viewing it 7 times. I just can't tell.

Indiana - Missouri - Illinois - Michigan - North Carolina - Oregon - Wisconsin - Arizona - Mississippi - Connecticut - Washington - Utah - New Mexico - Kansas - South Carolina - Alaska - Maryland - Louisiana - Wyoming - New Jersey - Alabama - Minnesota - Oklahoma - Delaware - Arkansas - Tennessee - Nevada

Here are the one-time international visitors, who probably found me by clicking on the "Next Blog" button that throws random pages at you. I assume they will not be coming back to claim their hits, but who knows? I have been wrong before.

Australia: Coorparoo, Queensland - Perth, Western Australia
Canada (home of Rush, the greatest three-man rock band ever): Calgary, Alberta - Toronto, Ontario - Weston, Ontario - Montreal, Quebec - Nanoose Bay, British Columbia
Germany: Hamburg - Egartenhof, Baden-Wurttemberg
Italy: Rome
India: Bombay
New Zealand: Auckland
Russian Federation: Moscow
United Kingdom: Slough - Edale, Tameside

There were also several hits that could not register a location. If I missed your city, please let me know where you are logging in from, too. I will add your city to the list and link you to it, too.

UPDATE—Hits Claimed:
Missouri: Kansas City - Independence
South Africa: Pietermaritzburg
Virginia: Richmond

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I Made It

I got through the holidays without completely blowing my diet. I plateaued at -25 lbs. since before Christmas, but through festivities at A's uncle's place on the 23rd, Christmas Eve dinner at her mom's house (complete with overabundance of gift-unwrapping), dinner at my mom's house Christmas night, and travelling to Michigan for my brother's wedding/New Year's Eve festivities, I seem to have made it through unscathed.

I caught a glimpse of a photo of myself at my brother's house. Since I look at myself in the mirror every day, I only see the incremental changes in my appearanceon a diet. It's difficult to see how far I have progressed until confronted with a year-old picture showing what a lardass I was. I must have lost half of that 25 pounds of fat directly from my face.

Last night we flew in to Orlando. Our flight was delayed, and we didn't land until almost midnight. Then we had to drive home, dropping my mom and sister off on the way. We didn't get to bed until 4:30 this morning. Needless to say, A and I spent most of the day in bed. I slept in B's room as she played with her new toys and watched Nickelodeon. She snuggled up with me for a short nap in the afternoon.

This evening, I stepped on the scale, expecting the worst. I only weigh myself once a week, and I missed my check-in last weekend due to the MI trip.

No change since my last weigh-in before Christmas.

Life is pretty good.