Before I get to talking about my recent adventures in the social media realms, I thought I’d say a little bit about what’s going on in the physical world. As some of you know, Saturnalia / Yule / Xmas / Americana Holiday Conglomeration is upon us! And even though we are practicing atheists, (and we just spent WAY too much money on a trip to amusement park land in October,) we are still going to celebrate the season! We actually enjoy dressing up the domicile, whatever the excuse to do so might be!
We love lights and music and decorations (I wish we could do this EVERY MONTH, but the only holidays, here in small town U.S.A., that involve decorations and music and movies and costumes and gift exchanges are Xmas and Halloween. I, and a few friends of mine, have tried inventing new holidays to fill the boring months, but it’s tough to get other folks to play along…)
Anyway, we put lights outside yesterday, (surprisingly, the younger daughter actually did most of the staple-gunning this year, which is a totally new development,) and we got a tree, which we decorated with lights and a whole bunch of weird, non-matching, pop-culture objects, many of them including photos from the last twenty years in various ornamental holders. It’s funny seeing our kids when they were chubby cheeked young’uns, now that they’re both in their twenties. Mariah (the wife) keeps contemplating the idea of getting new, fancy, MATCHING ornaments to decorate the yule tree (symbolically burning brightly to keep the house warm and protect us from the demons and dangerous spirits outside during the winter months,) but it’s tough to give up the HISTORY we have with our patchwork ornaments. (I actually miss the days of tinsel, too, even though it’s an ecological disaster—and our cats would eat it—because the little strands of silver plastic helped to refract and diffuse the lights. The tree only looks half-finished to me because I grew up in the 1970s, when the last thing you put on the tree was the tinsel…)
Speaking of history and tradition, we have one weird holiday tradition that we follow every year that involves gift giving. When the kids were very young, we decided that we didn’t want to LIE to them and say that Santa brought all the gifts. We remembered being disappointed when we discovered that we’d been lied to and that Santa was just a fabrication—and, essentially, a punishment threat—so we made up a variety of different names for the tags for the kids’ gifts, and we never pretended that the gifts were from “real” people! Our kids got gifts from celebrities and cartoon characters (Aaron Carter and Hello Kitty and Godzilla and Spongebob) and weird, nonsensical objects (like “A Moldy French Fry” or “Kitty Litter.”) The point with each tag was to make the kids laugh—and now that they’re older, they’ve started writing silly things on the tags for the gifts that they give out, as well. AND (the cool part, if you ask me) we tear the tags off the presents before we throw the wrapping paper away, each year, and tape them into a notebook so that we can read them again and get more laughs, year after year. (The book with the last three years’ worth of tags in it is about three inches thick at this point, and I think we can get at least one more year worth of tags into it!!!) It’s a fun tradition, and although it probably won’t ever move beyond our little family gatherings, WE have a great time with it every year!
“I am Eloi Mustard! With my powerful RAY-BEAMS, I can irrevocably alter the future—and warm liquids to near boiling point!” (said the voice in my head this morning…)
In Primitive Entertainment news, I’ve been working like a steam engine, hammering away at the image files. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided not to pay for another year of the “premium” WordPress service, and I’m taking the blog back to the “free” plan as of December 25th. The reason for this is simple: a hundred bucks is TOO MUCH MONEY to spend on a site that had ZERO economic return last year. I posted every single day of the entire year (I’m actually on 525 days in a row without missing a single day as of this morning,) and yet, I didn’t get any Ko-Fi donations, I couldn’t sell ads (you need the “business” account for that, not the lowly “premium” account,) and there really wasn’t any benefit from paying for the fancy plan over the free one, aside from the extra memory space I got. The free plan comes with 3 gigs of space, which I (naturally) went over during the years, so I’ve had to crunch over a hundred megs of images down, so far. (I’m going backwards, day by day, through the account and looking for images that haven’t been compressed. It’s tedious work, and it’s taking me HOURS, but I need to get the account UNDER 3 gigs or bad things will happen—I imagine.) I still have about 270 megs of files to find and compress. EXCITING STUFF!!!
Eloi travels the psychic dimensional hyper bi-ways on his journey towards Earth. He hopes, once he arrives, to start a new coffee franchise!
In Steemit news, I’m a little over one month old at this point (on the site.) There have been some ups and downs on the platform, but I’m still learning. (I voted for my first two WITNESSES today! I still need to do more research to figure out how to use my other 28 votes.) It can be a serious learning curve when you join a community of folks who have already been together for years and developed their own jargon and group specific concepts. It’s a good thing I don’t mind doing a bit of reading!
One of the real negatives that I’ve experienced on the platform is this mess: a few days ago I was “nailed” by a robot that claimed I was plagiarizing content from the web and/or involved in identity theft. Since I’ve never plagiarized any content and only post articles and drawings that I myself have created, I was more than a bit surprised to get accused of this type of activity. And I get it: PLAGIARISM is wrong, and steps really do need to be taken to stop people from stealing content that isn’t theirs and making money off it! It’s a good cause and I’m all for it—but I don’t steal other people’s content (or identities.)
As far as I know, identity theft is a criminal offense, and in addition, since I come from an academic background where plagiarism can cause you to lose your JOB, I was sincerely offended by this bot’s accusations. I spent HOURS searching through chat rooms and F.A.Q. files and various articles and posts, (time which I could have used to work on art or to write another book review,) trying to discover what obscure rule or weird etiquette prohibition I’d disobeyed—and I finally figured out that the bot required that I cite myself if I repost materials on more than one platform. I use a number of different social media sites to post stories and art: WordPress, Twitter, Medium, Ello, Facebook, Tumblr, G+, Pinterest…as well as Steemit.com (the newest one for me,) and so, even though I’ve written and drawn everything I’ve posted on Steemit, the robot spotted a drawing that I’d already posted on WordPress or Twitter or something earlier that morning and said that I’d stolen it. I had to go add links to here and there on all of my cross-posted materials, and was told by a couple of nice folks (who assured me that I just had to stay calm and not blow up) to try to post materials on Steemit FIRST, before cross posting them to other sites, since the other sites aren’t as diligent about calling out plagiarists.
Anyway, it was frustrating trying to figure out what I’d done wrong, and then taking steps to adequately mark all of my work so that the robots wouldn’t scream at me anymore, but I jumped through a bunch of hoops—and by the next morning, I’d received a note from the humans behind the bots saying that I’d been “unbanned.” Great! Pain in the ass, caused me to have a minor stroke, and took a lot of time away from legitimate work that I could have been doing to “fix” it, but we got it taken care of. (Thanks again to @ganjafarmer and @jiujitsu for the advice and assurance that I just needed to stay calm. It helped a lot!!! I didn’t punch anybody, although it took a bit of deep breathing to keep from going apeshit!)
Other than this monkeywrenchbot, I’ve had mostly positive experiences on Steemit. It’s interesting to me, though, seeing which types of content (of mine, anyway) tends to do better than others. My “art,” which is my biggest draw on most of the platforms I use, goes over like an asparagus sucker on Steemit.com—but the book reviews have been well received. I’m still going to post art and stories and rants, as well as the reviews, even if the other bits only get 1 or 2 votes and no payout—because I’m not in it for the cash, I’m in it for the GLORY! (Ha! Actually, I’m in it because I love creating stuff, and I share the stuff that I, myself, find most amusing! If it goes over, great! If not, great! I still like it!!!)
Eloi, reaching Earth, begins to transmute his body into a three dimensional, physical form that most humans can see and interact with. It’s tiring to be “real” and “visible” all the time, but he knows that, if he’s going to get a decent loan to help start his coffee shop, he’s probably going to need a physical body to talk to the bankers. (They don’t give out loans to multi-dimensional psychic emanations very often—yet. Maybe in a few years they’ll become more open to the idea.)
And thus, we leave Eloi Mustard to his coffee dreams, and Richard F. Yates to his holiday celebrations and online experiments. Their endeavors are adequately planned out at this point and currently progressing satisfactorily, although they both have a lot of work ahead of them…
But at the very least, with lighted trees in their domiciles protecting them from the cold and evil forces outside, they’ll probably do okay. (Unless the electricity goes out… Then they’re going to be in trouble!) Aaaaaaaaand…That’s probably enough nonsense for now. I’ve got to go vacuum the house before the wife gets home and finds out I’ve been sitting here writing instead of doing the chores!!! Later, kiddies!!!
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!