I Think I'm Living Office Space

I had really hoped this evening that I would be reading comments about a post I would have written this morning about all the things I’m doing with my site to get it ready for next month. But alas, work is eating me alive and I haven’t quite finished all the stuff I want to do on my blog.

And so instead of that post, you’re reading this one about how my life is mirroring Office Space.

Oh, it’s Bad
I’m a programmer at my day job. I guess that’s my first mistake.

I’ve been given a project to update that was started by a VP of my company who is not a programmer. As a result of this, the project’s code is scattered in 5 different locations and my lead told me last week not to bother the VP with questions essentially because he’s too important. The last couple of days my eyes have been glued to pages of code, bleeding with pain.

The World I Know
At lunch today I had to get out of the office so I sat in my car eating a Wendy’s Kids Meal – Because it’s cheap. And because it was really hot outside I sat in my car with the air conditioning on looking out at the world…A world that is passing me by. LATELY, I’ve been sitting at my cube for 8-9 hours a day while I know the outside world keeps moving. At lunch it’s funny, because even though I’m technically out of the office, it’s not like I’m really outside. It’s like I’m a dog on a chain. I can move away from the house, but it’s not like I can go swim in the lake.

I go back to work and there’s an e-mail telling all of us that there’s birthday cake in the kitchen. Boy, that’s grand.

A Vicious Cycle
Today I get home late (like yesterday) and my wife asks me why I’m not playing softball with my company’s team like I try every Tuesday. I explain to her that I’m up against a deadline tomorrow that I have no chance in hell of meeting, and couldn’t make the game. I find that after I spend an hour or two with my kid (the only good part of the day), I basically have to go to sleep so I can start this cycle over again tomorrow. The difference of tomorrow being it won’t be as good as today.

Everyday is worse than the day before it.

I have to make a change.

Trying to Get Ready for Next Month

Hey everybody. I’ve gotten some wicked advice lately in regards to the site and AdSense, and I’m racing to implement it all so that I can “stand back” in August and see how things go. Unfortunately, there are quite a bit of things I need to do both programatically and design wise and it’s taking a good bit of time to get through them all.

Furthermore, I know for a fact that the ol 9-5 is going to be more painful than usual this week (which is from where I do a lot of my blogging) so I’m really hoping that I find the time to implement the changes. And don’t worry, I know some of you are very interested in what these changes are and I’ll cover them all soon, I just need a second to write a decent post.

Stay tuned true believers!

Michael Vick, Deion Sanders and Dog Fighting

This story came out last week, and I’m sure most of you are well aquainted with it. For those of you who aren’t, here’s the background…Michael Vick who is a professional football player in the NFL and quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was indicted last week on charges of dog fighting.

That’s pretty bad. BUT it gets worse. Then, the news came out that he allegedly saw to the death of many dogs who weren’t “game” for dog fighting by shooting them, drowning them, hanging them and electrocuting them.

Me and Aminamals
It may not sound like it at times with my best friend the cat, but I’m very much an animal person. Ever since I can remember I’ve been around dogs. When I was little we had a poodle, and after that it was German Shepard after German Shepard. (Hey! – They’re the best dogs out there!) After that I met my wife and I was introduced to her two awesome dogs and the multitude of other animals she had including guinea pigs, ferrets, gerbils, a rat, rabbit and birds. Obviously, she loves aminamals too.

Animals are Wondrous Creatures
There seems to be a general consensus on that front. They are beautiful, intelligent and unbelievably loving. Your pets will be there for you when no one else is, giving you more affection than you could ever want only asking for food, water, and a show of affection in return. Personally, there have been may times when I was growing up where I felt like my only friend was my dog. When he was happy I was happy. When he was sad I was sad. And when we had to make the painful decision to put him down after something like a 13 year life…It was the most empty and pained I had ever felt before.

It’s for reasons like this that I’m writing this post…One that has been a long time coming to be sure. Nowadays, there are so many things on the news that aren’t really news. And as such I don’t bother to comment on them. They’re really only reported on because there’s nothing else interesting happening and in truthfulness, they don’t have any bearing on me. THIS on the other hand disturbs me so much that I literally feel sick deep in my stomach every time I think about it.

Which is Worse?
And honestly, I don’t know which one is…That Michael Vick allegedly did this or that there are those who apologize for him. Take Deion Sanders. In response to all this Mike Vick stuff he asks us,

Why are we indicting him? Was he the ringleader? Is he the big fish? Or is there someone else? The fights allegedly occurred at a property that he purchased for a family member. They apparently found carcasses on the property, but I must ask you again, is he the ringleader?

My response to that is: Who the hell cares? If Vick was engaged in dog fighting on a property HE OWNS and was responsible for the inhumane deaths of adult dogs and puppies, what does it matter if he was the ring leader or not?…I’m not a member of PETA, I don’t particularly like cats, but I can’t imagine how any person with a heart in their chest could ever look Michael Vick in the eye again. I don’t know how anyone could buy his jersey, put him on a football team or really be the same room with the guy. He’s a sick person, an evil person, and… and… *sigh* I don’t know what else there is to say.

I believe in our legal system, innocent until proven guilty and all that. But what’s been presented in the media so far seems pretty damning. To say that I’m dissapointed with how a lot of people have reacted (or not reacted) to this story would not do my emotions justice, so I can only hope that after all the facts come out that more people stand up and talk out against this.

(And I apologize that this post isn’t about blogging or web developement but I felt I had an obligation to say something. Sorry if I bored you).

Is it Bush or Shoemoney!?

Today is a great day. My buddy Derrik over at Flipping Rich were nice enough to give me my first free piece of blogging schwag! You should ask my wife how excited I was when she told me I had a package. Somehow I knew this was it! So thanks again Derrik, continued success over at your site, your shirt fits great and if anyone else wants me to show off their wares on this bodacious bod, just let me know!

Guest Blogging at News Notion

Hey everybody, once again I’m guest blogging for Casey over at newsnotion.com. The first time was a dress rehearsal but now it’s time for the big show!

I’ll be discussing the usual topics that Casey does – blogging, site monetization and the rest, but of course forcing my own personality on her unexpecting readers. (#):)

Hopefully this won’t negatively effect my efforts over here, but for the next couple of days I’ll be pulling double duty and I can’t wait to take on the challenge! (For some reason, I take pleasure in putting myself under stress to see how well I can come out of it. (#):) ) At the end of the week, I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish over there but maybe I help expose a great young web entrepreneur (and fellow Skins fan). So hey, if you’re a regular reader over here, stop over at News Notion too and drop me (and Casey) a line!

MySpace – 29,000 Perverts Strong and Growing!

MSNBC is reporting that 29,000 registered sex offenders have profiles on MySpace. The only thing I gotta say to this is “Shocker”.

And you know there’s way more than 29,000 on there. The way I figure, that 29,000 are the 29,000 who were too stupid to not alter their information or keep their profile more on the DL. There’s gotta be smarter sex offenders out there.

Is This MySpace’s Fault?
I can’t blame MySpace for this. It provides a service and people use the service. Just like craigslist where people can pretty much advertise anything including opportunities for one night stands and false advertisements leading to “very bad” rendezvous…What are they supposed to do? I don’t know. Like everything in this world it’s the balance between safety and freedom. Sure you could try and have background checks including criminal checks and cross referencing with SSN numbers but I mean really? Who would go for that?

Me and MySpace
As most of you know, I really don’t have any love for MySpace. Now I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t have a MySpace account, because I do. And I wish I “could” delete it but unfortunately some of my friends who are in parts unknown seem to only want to contact me through the horrible site. Furthermore, some people I have lost contact with over the years often get back in touch with me through MySpace. But guess what? I still hate it and now that I have my blog in full effect, I know why…

Why I Hate MySpace and Like My Blog More

  1. A Lot Less Sexual Predators on Here vs MySpace – Now even though I don’t have the numbers in front of me, I can say pretty confidently that the number of predators in my blog community is less than the number I’m “connected” to through MySpace. I could be wrong, but if I am I expect Chris Hanson to tell me so.
  2. My Site Looks Better – I know that you can change the look of your MySpace account somewhat through the limited code they allow you to use, but at the VERY LEAST on the blogging side of things, my site looks better than the blogging look over there.
  3. My User Interface is Better – You know what’s ugly? MySpace’s user interface. It has been the same crappy thing forever now, and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to get better.
  4. My Site Has Better Spam Features – When you’re on MySpace, you have crazy SPAM all over the place coming in various forms including e-mails, messages and friend requests. Sure I get SPAM here, but my plugins catch 99% of them. 99%. RESPECT.
  5. No Glitter On Here – It’s probably one of the reasons why all the pervs are attracted to MySpace in the first place. No one is going to be sending me some dumb “glittery happy birthday bear” on here where it’s on parade for days before I realize what someone did.
  6. This Community > MySpace Community – It has been said before but blogs are such a great way to engage each other an intelligent conversation. Everyone on here has valuable things to say and usually says it. Do you have these kinds of conversations on MySpace? No way. It’s like a poor man’s version of Twitter but worse. I swear, if I see another MySpace message saying “just saying hi!!!” I’m going to break something.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Finally a Game to Get Excited For!

If you’re like me, (or any other video game fan out there), you’ve been looking for a reason to buy a PS3. So far it’s been a bit of a hard sell given its $600 price tag, the lowered price of high definition dvd players, and most of all – Its lack of a game library.

All that has changed in the last couple of days with the release of a gameplay video for the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4 by Konami.

The Skinny on Metal Gear Solid

If you’ve never played Metal Gear, you take control of this guy Snake and basically weave him through intricate stories involving these things called Metal Gears. Metal Gears (if I have this straight) are essentially walking tanks that can fire nuclear weapons.

Now apart from the story and cutscenes, (which have always been the best you will find in the whole of gamedom), the gameplay has always been something special. As a player, you can basically play through the game trying to use stealth to avoid detection or you can go the other way and just shoot up everyone and everything in your path.

You will have to use every trick in Snake’s arsenal including shooting and tranqing bad guys, holding them up, dragging them away, hiding in lockers, hiding in cardboard boxes and basically using every bit of sneakery you can get away with.

Now I don’t feel like I’m really doing the series justice, but believe me when I say it’s one of the most revered franchises ever and has positioned its creator Hideo Kojima as arguably the greatest game designer ever.

Fast Forward to Metal Gear Solid 4
Basically take everything from the previous Metal Gears and amp it way up! Graphics are way up, sound is way up! *drool* Look, I’m not going to waste anymore of your time listening to me. Here’s the infamous gameplay video that EVERYONE is talking about. Tell me you don’t think this game is crazy!? (BTW, if you can – Look at it when hooked up to a proper sound system, it’ll sound NUTS!)

AdSense Trials and Tribulations

Hey everybody, “Happy Tuesday”. It’s been approximately two weeks since I first installed the AdSense code on this site and I have been less than happy with the results. So far I have made a whopping $1.21. Now I’ve had experience with AdSense before on other sites, and with the visitors I have – and the impressions I’m getting, I would think that I would have received more clicks. Having said that though, my other site is a content site so it really is a different animal compared to my blog.

Here are the big differences when it comes to AdSense on my blog as I see them:

  1. Page Impressions – A visitor to my blog averages about 3 where my other site averages about 7. Obviously, more page impressions mean more ads shown meaning more chance of conversion.
  2. Ad Placement – My other site was designed FOR AdSense ads. This one is not. Because of this, I don’t have ads in the best places.
  3. Integration – The theme I’m using is very unique in that you can change the color of the text and links on the fly. Of course AdSense 101 says that your ads should blend in with the normal color of the site. And mine probably do for say, a third of the time.

And Here’s How I Plan to Address Them:

  1. Page Impressions – I don’t plan to address this one right now. I already have the Related Posts plugin up and running so aside from this, I could use the MORE tag or just link to a lot of other posts that I’ve written but I dunno…I will link to other posts of mine when appropriate, but I don’t think I’m going to kick it into overdrive unless it’s really going to enhance my user’s experience.
  2. Ad Placement – These past two weeks have been a trial of sorts in regards to ad positions. I have everything tagged and tracked, so I know what’s getting clicked and what’s not. For the next two weeks, I’m going to change the positions once again and go back and compare. Hopefully at the conclusion of all this I’ll be able to strip off the ads that I don’t need/aren’t getting clicked so I can maximize my eCPM.
  3. Integration – *sigh* I don’t know if I’m going to do anything here at this point. It took me a while to figure out how to deal with the color themes on here, specifically how to change the header on color selection. If I want to make sure my AdSense ads are matching with the site, I’m going to have to pick a specific theme and strip the others out. I don’t wanna do that!!!

And there you have it. At the beginning of next month I’ll be able to show you better the fruits of my labor. Not only with AdSense but with Review Me and PPP too! And it’s also been a while since I’ve put my site stats up, so I’ll probably share that too just so we can all see how things are matching up. (#):) What about you guys? Has anyone else been experimenting and tweaking THEIR ads? Can you suggest something other than AdSense that has worked for you? Or if you can, just share your experience with Adsense!

8 Random Facts About Bush Mackel

If you haven’t seen this baby making the rounds in the blogosphere, you must be living under a rock!

Well, a WHILE ago, I was tagged recently by Tim from Listikal.com! I’ve been a bit busy so I’m just getting around to this now but hopefully you guys will find a few of these facts a bit interesting. As I wrote them, I kinda wished it was 10 facts but hey, maybe next time I’ll write a book. ha ha

Then again, maybe you won’t. (#):)

  1. For the LONGEST time, I thought I wanted to be a video game programmer “when I grew up”. Someone in 7th grade told me I would never work in the video game industry but I proved her wrong when I landed a BETA testing gig at Bethesda Softworks some 8 years later or so. (#):)
  2. Amongst my friends, I’m the only one who has ever been engaged. I’m also the only one who has ever been married. AND I’m the only one with a kid.
  3. I have a black t-shirt which has now since faded gray. It’s my favorite shirt because it’s so ridiculously comfortable. Unfortunately, it is REALLY old and during a Karate class my instructor threw me and put a horrible tear in it right along the shoulder. Not being able to say goodbye, I tried to sew it up. It didn’t really work so it has fallen into disrepair. Despite this, the love for my shirt is still there. I call my shirt – Goldenboy.
  4. I LOVE video games. If I had more time, I would definitely play them more but that’s fine for now because as soon as I find myself with MORE time, I’ll have plenty of games to discover! And in case you’re wondering, I LOVE any game in the Street Fighter series where Ken is my favorite character and I love King and his insane throw combos in Tekken.
  5. My first car was a 1986 gray Volvo. It had 196K miles on it and if you opened the passenger door, it would literally fall off the car. And let me tell you from experience, if someone is reaching for the door and you say, “Don’t open that door!”, They will open the door.
  6. Up until 3rd grade, I was a straight A student while I attended private school. When I went to public school things went downhill fast and I put my parents through hell as I tried every creative way I could think of to try and get out of doing homework and projects.
  7. If I had to do something everyday for the rest of my life, I think I would be happy making a lasting impact on peoples’ lives. When I was a server in a past life, the entire kitchen staff were really hard working but didn’t know much English. With their work ethics and personality – Knowing English would have REALLY helped them all out. I would love to one day open up a place that taught English for free to anyone who wanted to learn.
  8. And finally, if I ever had to pick a place outside the states to live, it would be Germany. I don’t like to travel but things seemed to just be great in the countryside there. Plus, I like beer, pastries and sausage. (#):)

OH crap. So I have to tag people now? Um Pete, Mark and Casey…Tag! You’re it!

*EDIT – Peg is pinch hitting for Mark since he’s too popular for me. (#);D

My New Favorite Website!

Even though it may sound like it is, this is not a sponsored post. I forget how, but I recently found an AWESOME website, www.ihateyourjob.com.

I don’t know if I’ve ever stated it on here but…Hm…how to put it…Well let’s just say that I view my job as a means to an end. While I’m there I strive to do the best I can, but I don’t lose sight of the fact that if my hard work yields my company $100, I will probably see 50 cents of it, if not lower. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read Rich Dad Poor Dad. It will completely change how you think about jobs and money.It’s because of this kind of mentality that this site really speaks to me…It addresses a part of my mind that my closest friends can’t relate to and most others just can’t understand. But you know what? I’m getting a little off base here and I could easily spin this conversation into a larger post. To sum up what I’m trying to say, I point you to perhaps my favorite post on the site so far: How Our Jobs Sometimes Rob Us Of Our Lifestyles. Trust me. It’s a fascinating read.And btw, the webmaster couldn’t be a nicer guy, so make sure you show him some love while you’re there. (#):)