It’s Been Awhile…

When I first started this blog/website way back in 2006, my intentions for it were for it to be some sort of online business.  Seven years later and I have not earned a red cent from this blog.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t really tried that hard, but that’s mostly due to my various medical conditions stemming initially from a brain tumor I had about 10 years ago.  I get bad eye strain from typing for too long, and writing 1000+ word blog entries just didn’t seem appealing at times, and I didn’t really have anything valuable to share, at least nothing original.  But then again, there are hardly any original ideas out there anymore.  Everyone is a collection of everyone else’s ideas and thoughts.  I’ve heard from someone that most people go through their entire lives without having an original thought.  Isn’t that pathetic?

For the past six months or so, on and off, I’ve been going through Steve Pavlina‘s archives.  I started way back in 2004, and now I’m somewhere in the late 2008 phase of his blog.  That man is a true legend in the blogosphere and in the personal development field.  For me, he’s the person who started me on the right path after I was expelled from college for doing things that I would describe as bullying and passive-aggressive behaviors.

Now I’ve got a job that pays decent enough, I’ve saved over $26,000 in the past 4 years, and I can genuinely say that I’m happy where I am in most aspects of my life.  Sure, I may work the graveyard shift, and I may not always feel my best, but I definitely feel my life is far more under control than it has ever been before.  I enjoy the one person I work with each night, and there have been many that I have worked with.  I’ve accepted my disabilities and my limitations, and people who know what I have been through consider me a miracle, an inspiration to others not to give up.

For those of you who do not know, I had a pineal gland malignant germinoma, which resulted in me going through a very traumatic brain surgery, where the surgeon actually separated the two halves of my brain in order to pull out a piece of my tumor to see what kind it was.  It was a 9-hour affair.  I’m just glad I was out for all of it.  They took the back of my skull off my head and went all the way into the center of my brain to pull out what I believe was a few pieces of my tumor.  I certainly wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have to go through it.

After that ordeal, I had 30 days of radiation treatment, 15 days which were whole brain radiation, and the second 15 that were targeted radiation treatment to specifically melt the rest of my tumor.  I was 16 years old when I had the surgery, and 17 when I had my radiation.  It was one of the hardest challenges of my life, and it has affected me in oh so many ways, both positive and negative.  Sure, I might not have a college degree or a high-paying job, but I can say for anyone who is going through a similar experience that I never, ever gave up.

I am in no way perfect, but that’s not the point, now is it?  I’ve simply done the best I can with the cards I was dealt.  At least I have a supportive family who will stand behind me.  And I’ve got tons of interests in various things, including the nature of reality, reading (audiobooks mostly), writing from time to time, music, comedy, David Icke’s material, healthful eating, meditation (to the degree I can focus my mind), raising my level of consciousness, personal development, and others I can’t really think of right now.

Mama always said that God only gives people the things they can handle.  I guess God thought I could handle brain cancer.  I’ve only met one other person who has ever had a tumor in a similar part of the brain, and he had a far worse cancer than I did.  My type of cancer and its location were one in a million.  And I was born with it, and it slowly grew up until I was about 16, and that’s when it started pinching off a ventricle in my brain, causing headaches you can’t even imagine.  It’s been a long journey getting back to where I feel like I found a job I can do and have been doing for close to 4 years now.  As for making money from this blog, it’s not a pressing issue, although the extra income would be nice.  I’ll have to give that some consideration in the near future.

Peace out, world.

Steve Pavlina’s Passive Income Series

Steve Pavlina has been writing an entire series on passive income lately, and although he hasn’t exactly got to the how-to aspects yet, his posts are pretty enlightening on this subject.  First, he is trying to weed out the pretenders, the people who are considered self-help junkies, those who consume vigorous amounts of material, but never do anything meaningful with it.  I am truly enjoying the posts he’s written so far, and it has helped me really see the mindset of someone who earns passive income, rather than active income.  The series starts here.  So far, there’s been around 8 or so posts on the ideas of passive income, and these will help you build a foundation to figure out if you are the kind of person who wants to earn passive income.  I’ll definitely be following along myself, and even attempting some of the passive income streams on this website if I can figure out how to implement them.

This blog has had its successes when it comes to traffic, but it has also had its lulls in traffic.  It is partially my fault for not shamelessly marketing myself constantly.  I’m sure if I got my blog in the hands of more people, it would pick up steam.  I could make a million excuses for why I haven’t marketed myself as much as I could, but the truth of  is that having a blog is easy, but running a business is hard work, and it requires a ton of work that I don’t even know about.  There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on that is barely noticeable to anyone who doesn’t run a business.  That, and the fact that I’m not the most apt when it comes to HTML and other programming languages.  I’ve thought about joining SBI!, but I’ve gone through their tutorials, and I don’t think I’ll be able to create a website based on some niche topic that I would easily get bored with quickly.  The best ideas I have for a website involve the concepts of comedy, subjective reality, and personal development.  I could create a website that encompasses all three of those things, but I don’t want to be limited by those things.

My writing is very stream of consciousness, and it has to do with whatever is on my mind at that particular time.  Sometimes I’ll just start writing with a blank slate and see what comes to mind.  One example of this is the post Prison Reform.  I had no idea I was going to write about how horrible prisons are and how that system isn’t working until I took a look at what my biggest fears are.  And that’s when I realized that my biggest fear is going to prison.  Above all else.  And it’s fucked up that prisons are filled with violence and rape, among other things, where you are stripped of all your individual rights and pretty much a slave.  And  most of those people are not beyond redemption.  Most of those people can change for the better, if they change their environment and the people who surround them.  Most people in prison were born into that way of life, living in places where there are no jobs, no way to escape the turmoil of a life below the poverty line.  But those in power try to keep those people down, in order to maintain power over.  What those in power fear the most is a truly equal society.

Like I said, I have so many ideas floating around in my head, and so many statements to make about the culture we live in that all I really need to do is find a way to put it all under one umbrella and then I could start a website that actually makes sense from a passive income standpoint.  If I could earn a couple thousand dollars a month from this website, or another, then I could really start to save some real money and get myself financially abundant.  I just need help in achieving that goal.  I need to learn from others’ mistakes and my own mistakes as well.  It’s all about creating a brand that is uniquely me.  I’ve seen it done on numerous websites and blogs.  The woman who used to write on Violent Acres turned her abusive childhood and unique sense of humor into a very popular and profitable site.  Steve Pavlina created a website based on his hobby of personal growth.  Leo Babauta created a wonderful site called Zen Habits simply by writing about his passion of simplicity and fulfillment.  He’s made enough money so that he doesn’t have to work anymore, except on his blog and whatever ebooks he wishes to create.  There are a wide variety of ways to create an income-generating website, and I just have to figure out the formula and learn all the hidden tricks for high web traffic and I’ll be golden.

I love to write about a variety of topics, and my small audience seems to appreciate it as well.  I write for myself as much as I write for anyone else, as it allows me to create something that otherwise would not exist.  I’m at least throwing myself out there to an extent.  But I know deep down that if I am to earn any kind of living from this kind of work, I need to figure out a way to build traffic and monetize this website to the point where I’m making enough to cover all my expenses and then some.  Sure, it will be a lot of work up front, but once I have the traffic rolling in, I’ll be pretty much on autopilot.

Anyway, check out Steve Pavlina’s Passive Income Series and see if you also would like to create some passive income in one way or another.  It certainly beats active income, where you only get paid while you are working.  It could be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself, and the downside is pretty limited.  The upside is almost unlimited, so where is the risk really?  If it doesn’t work out, it’s not like you’ve risked anything but a little of your time.  Until next time…

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A Tribute to Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks, one of the lesser known “famous” comedians, has been an inspiration to me and just a truly brilliant man.  He’s dead now, like all the great ones, although he didn’t die from a drug overdose or from suicide.  Sure, he did drugs, and he had a great time doing them, but he was more than clean and sober when he died.  He was called The Dark Poet, and some of his observations and imaginative works about different people on the news and in the media were dark and funny as hell.  He was considered an outlaw comic, and even had his entire set censored out of Letterman’s Late Night show.  It had been approved and pre-approved before, but Letterman didn’t know if  his audience could take what Bill was saying.  He was saying things that people weren’t ready to hear, and he offended tons of people, but he did it in such a way that he became the voice of reason in an increasingly insane world.  He reminds me a lot of myself, but I’m nowhere near as angry or bitter, but I have some of the same thoughts he does about the government and entertainment media.  People say he died way too young, but I think he got his message out in time.

If you don’t know who this man is, I would suggest looking him up on Youtube.  I don’t want to embed any videos on here because I want to keep- my website simple.  He had such a great bit about negative drug stories in the news.  He may have been a bit scathing at times, but he had to be.  To steal a quote from the movie Se7en, “When you have something important to tell someone, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore.  You have to smash their face in with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll see you have their full attention.”  I think that’s why Bill was so offensive, because if he didn’t talk in that way, he wouldn’t be able to get the ideas he was trying to spread into people’s thick skulls.  I love the joke he does in the above link, “Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively.  There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves…here’s Tom with the weather.”  It’s not just a joke, but it opens your mind to a different experience of looking at the world.

Also in that clip, thankfully, there is his most life-affirming piece of material called, “It’s just a ride.”  Wonderful, enlightening piece of material that totally blows your mind.  That is what all these enlightened teachers have been trying to teach, that life is a dream, or a ride, or something similar, and that to take it seriously, or as if it were real is only going to lead to suffering.  The choice between fear and love.  This guy got it, and he was also funny about it, which sure helps convey the message better.  He made you laugh, and he made you think, and ponder.  One audience member once yelled out, “I don’t go to comedy clubs to think.”  Bill responded by saying, “Where do you go to think?  I’ll meet you there.”  He reminds me a lot of George Carlin, although I feel like Bill went further.  Bill wasn’t afraid to bomb, he wasn’t afraid to express his unpopular opinions.  The guy was Relentless, which coincidentally enough, was the title of one of his DVDs.

The sad part was, however, that he never gained a mainstream audience in America, because he was not allowed to express his ideas on television the way he wanted to and, frankly, most people were not ready to hear what he had to say.  So he went to the UK to perform and his comedy was uncensored on Channel 4, and the people there loved him.  He was allowed to be himself, not some censored, edited version of himself.  He gained a huge following there, and he now has a sizable following in America, but not nearly as big as the Carlin fans or the other really popular comedians.  His ideas were radical and controversial, and they made sense.  He was no sellout, and would call out those who were.  He was one of a kind, and had integrity and was honest.  He told people how he saw the world and he was dead on.  But like all the other people who say, “We should all just get along, stop fighting, become one with the world,” he died young, but not too young, because he at least got his messages out.

He would mock religion, mock these popular, mediocre pop artists, like the New Kids On the Block and Rick Astley.  This was in the late 80s and early 90s, as Bill; tragically died in 1994.  It’s amazing how many people have never heard of him.  I hadn’t heard of him until late 2005.  And it took me awhile to really warm up to him, just like it did with Carlin.  But he has been a part of my life ever since, because listening to him is like getting an upgrade in integrity and consciousness.  He sure had a lot to say.  He used to joke that he was “Noam Chomsky with dick jokes.”  He used to say something like, “I know what you guys are waiting for, and don’t worry, dick jokes are coming.  I editorialize for about one hour, then we go down dick joke highway, because I know that’s why y’all are here.  Don’t worry, they’re coming.”  I’m sure he rubbed a lot of audience members the wrong way and some people probably think he is an asshole, but he was just trying to wake people up.  That’s all.  He truly wanted humanity to evolve to a higher state of consciousness, and isn’t that what we all want?  I’d say so.

In closing, this guy is one of my heroes.  He had morals, he had rebellion, he had such conviction in what he was saying that it just made him either more or less likable, depending on how much you agreed with him.  I have more respect for him than any other comedian, because he was real, he was uncensored, and he would take risks that other comedians wouldn’t even dream of.  I’m pretty sure he was a reclusive type of person, somebody who didn’t quite fit in, but he sure used that to his advantage to call out those who were completely full of shit.  I just wish his work hadn’t fallen on mostly deaf ears during his lifetime.  But today, I think the word is getting out more, and although not as sizable as others, his comedy can still entertain and enlighten us for decades more.  Bill, you are a fucking hero and I hope more people get the word out about you like I’m doing right now.

Here’s some links that may be offensive, but I’m going to add them anyway:

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are so many more clips on Youtube of this man and his thoughts, so feel free to browse because I have a feeling you might learn something.  The Rush Limbaugh one is a bit offensive, just to warn you.

How to Build a Low Traffic Blog

I’m sure I can write a coherent article about building a low traffic blog because I’ve had one for around 4 years now.  Let’s not play dumb and pretend that my traffic is sizable.  It is not.  Check out my Alexa ranking.  Right now it is in the 5 millions.  I was actually surprised to see that because before it was in the 6 millions.  So I guess I’m moving on up.  My website is viewed not very often, I assume.  If there are 5 million other websites getting more traffic than me, then perhaps I’m doing something wrong.  Or maybe it’s just that people would rather read more established websites.  Perhaps my content has not been constant enough for the average reader.  I’ve talked about way too many different things on here, but that’s who I am.  I’m not a robot who only wants to write about one topic and stick to it.  I like to mix it up and go through phases, such as my anarcho-primitivist phase where I blasted humanity big time for probably about a year.  But I always said there was a better way to live and there is.

Let’s take a look back at the history of this blog.  I started this blog sometime in 2006 to make money and eventually be able to live off of it.  That was my primary intention.  I wanted to help people, too, just make money as well.  I figured that I’m a pretty good writer, and I have ideas about things, so why not offer them to the general public?  So I did.  Within a year, I bought my first domain name and went from Blogger to WordPress.  I did okay with traffic for a little while, mostly because I was posting on topics that people actually wanted to read, like Personal Development and comedy.  It was a time when I was starting to truly build a small, but sizable following, and my ranking was somewhere in the 1 millions.  I still hadn’t made a dime from this site, but at least I was getting somewhere in terms of success.

Then I started really enjoying nature and started reading stuff about simplifying my life and how we humans are destroying the Earth, which is still true regardless of how few people want to hear it.  I got my inspiration from people like Dave Pollard and Ran Prieur, both who run pretty successful websites, at least compared to mine.  Dave Pollard has been running his blog since 2002 and Ran Prieur’s website has been up around just as long.  I totally resonated with what they were saying and jumped on that bandwagon pretty quickly.  And I still feel this way today, to a point, but the more I rant about it, the more people don’t want to read it.  I know the old adage that people will listen when they are ready and only when they are ready, but the planet is dying, for God’s sake!  And there isn’t much being done about it.  But that kind of talk still falls on deaf ears I guess, or maybe, just maybe, people are so entrenched in their current way of life that they would rather die than give it up.

Finally, I started talking about stuff like who are we, and what is reality?  I guess that’s what caused my traffic “spike.”  I’ve been steadily increasing in traffic for the last few months, although it is a small increase.  I’m still not an A-list blogger, nor do I think that will ever happen with this blog, mostly because my past entries are way too chaotic and I don’t have a good framework for high page views.  I tried installing plugins like ‘Related Posts,’ and it ruined my site until I was able to remove it.  It caused all the blog entries to become incoherent lines of code.  I have no idea why all the sidebars disappear when I click on just  one entry and read it.  I am clueless when it comes to computer programming and I hate it with a passion.  I’ve never been a fan of programming, and I don’t think I ever will.  It’s just so tedious and exacting.

I wish I had the work ethic or the programming skills to make this website better, but I don’t.  I wish I had someone to do it for me, but I don’t.  I am thinking of creating another website so I can start over from scratch, but without my name attached to it, so that way maybe I can rebuild some traffic and have mostly articles I know people want to read.  Not only that, I want to create a website that is much more technically sound than this one, and I have to learn all these skills before attempting this.  I want to still keep this website, but as a secondary one.  I’ll still post here semi-regularly, as I have for the past 4 years, but it will be less of a disappointment if I can get another blog off the ground where I can actually build sizable traffic.  It will be a whole new format, a whole new platform for me.  I won’t be linking to it from here.  I’ll be promoting it elsewhere, far far away from the stigma of a low traffic website.  It is going to be completely original because I know exactly what it is I want to do with it.

I’m going to have a central theme on that website.  It will be unavoidable.  But I’m not ready to actually create this website yet.  I might just create a free blog and post there for awhile until I figure out exactly what it is I want to do with this new direction I’m taking my blogging.  I’m going to learn from the mistakes I made on this blog, albeit 4 years later.  I’m going to market it better, have a bigger following, and create truly meaningful content.  Maybe I’ll even make some money from it.  That would be nice.  Because this website has made me nothing, even when I had ads on it, and I’m so anti-advertising that I would balk at even placing an ad in the corner.  I won’t make a dime without traffic, so that should be my main concern, and creating and delivering unique and valuable content.  Content that has high social value and high personal value.  I’ve often thought I mostly blog on here for myself and whoever might want to read it.  But perhaps I’ve been doing it all backwards.  I don’t know, but I sure as hell have a great example of a blog that hasn’t really blossomed the way I hoped it would and it is nice that this failure of a blog will be here for years to come.  It will be a good example of what not to do with a blog if you want to make money from it.

Here is a list of things I have done that I suggest nobody does if they want to build a successful, high traffic blog:

  • Not having any central theme whatsoever
  • Not posting with any regularity
  • Creating content that you know is not your best
  • Ranting and raving about the same thing for over a year
  • Not knowing how to make your website have all the neat blogging gadgets
  • Being afraid to offend anyone
  • Taking all negative feedback seriously
  • Writing about things most people aren’t ready to hear
  • Not optimizing anything or marketing whatsoever
  • Thinking that blogging will be easy
  • I hope you get the general idea…

I know that some people like this blog, while most either don’t like it or don’t know about it.  I’ve received tons of feedback, most of it positive.  My next website will not allow comments.  Why?  Because I don’t want to spend my time moderating them.  I still like this blog, I’m just admitting that it isn’t successful.  And that’s okay.  I’m not willing to say that it has been 4 years wasted.  I have shown flashes of true brilliance on this blog and I can’t deny that.  I just didn’t always have brilliant posts and some of them were simply too similar to the previous posts and that is where I think I lost a lot of people.  But that’s fine.  I’m going to start fresh soon with a whole new blog and do my best to correct the mistakes I am aware of and try to find the mistakes I am still unaware of.  Just scan the archives to see what the progression of a long-term low traffic blog is, because I am a prime example.  At least I admit it and at least I am trying to learn from it.  My next blog will be at least a little better and I can move on from there.  Maybe by 2020 I’ll actually be earning money from a website, or maybe from a book I write.  Who knows?

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Brain Tumor Experiences and Inspiration

Brain cancer sure takes a lot out of you.  I’ve been cured for seven years and I still can’t exercise without having to take pain medication afterwards.  My eyes and head flare up at the first sign of cardiovascular activity.  That is what happened today.  I figured I would go for a walk for about 30 minutes.  I hadn’t gone for a long walk in awhile, but I just wanted to see if I had progressed at all in the exercise field.  Sure enough, about halfway through my walk, which was not a brisk walk, just a garden-variety walk, I noticed pressure behind my eyes and a general overall headache.  I had to keep walking or I wouldn’t get back home.  So I kept walking and now my eyes feel really stiff and strained.  I guess I should really get to accepting my limitations.  But I want so badly to be able to exercise.  It seems we have a catch-22 here.  I don’t have problems if I walk a short distance slowly, but any strenuous activity puts me feeling much worse.  I guess it is the price I paid for having brain cancer and this has been a constant for seven years.

Being a brain cancer survivor comes with positives and negatives.  There are things I probably will never be able to do again.  And there is wisdom that I have gained from this experience.  I no longer sweat the small stuff.  The small stuff is inconsequential to me.  It has made me into more of a big picture type of guy.  It has made me think all the questions of why we are here and what consciousness itself is.  I’ve had a lot of time to think about so many things concerning the nature of this reality.  I’ve been able to read online via ReadPlease2003 (to prevent any further eyestrain) thousands of articles about a variety of topics that I have an interest in.  While it is extremely difficult for me to read pages of a book without experiencing pain and eye strain, I have the whole Internet at my disposal.  Life has not been easy, but there is always some way to adapt.  I’ve heard stories of blind people using the Internet using a program called Jaws.

I’ve maintained a full-time job for about a year now.  I have benefits and vacation time.  I work the night shift, mostly because it is easier for me on so many levels and I don’t always have to be 100%.  It’s easy to fix up shelving and take care of the occasional customer even if I’m not feeling my best.  It is a job that I can do with the conditions that I have and it has worked out very nicely for me.  I always get great reviews from my boss and supervisors.  I am even en route to becoming a supervisor.  So, I’m making decent money and working full-time, which is a hell of a lot better than I thought my life would turn out after all the problems I’ve had after cancer.

I have had periods of months where I was in severe pain in my eyes and head 24 hours a day with no relief in sight.  I have been discouraged, depressed, and frustrated to no end.  But I always seem to come out of those periods to a functional existence.  If I push myself too hard, I will pay for it for at least a couple of days with severe headaches.  My tumor is gone, but for some reason, my brain never healed completely.  I have a dural leak in my brain that is very vulnerable to opening after any strenuous activity.  Life has not been easy for me these past 8 years.  But I’m still standing.  I’m still strong.  This has to be the best year I’ve had since I was 15, which is saying quite a lot.  That was before I had the tumor.

Now that I’ve got all this positive momentum going, a lot of times I want to push myself harder, but every time I do, I pay for it.  So I just ride the wave I’m riding.  I wish I could do more, but unfortunately, unless I want to totally destroy what I’ve got, I need to play it safe when it comes to doing things.  I need ample time for relaxation.  I need to get good sleep.  If I don’t, the same rules apply as when I overwork myself.  I feel kind of fragile for someone so young (24).  But, like I’ve said, I can’t change what happened to me and it has afforded me benefits as well.  I inspire others by my actions.  I overcame something that was potentially fatal to become a productive member of society.

I just thought I would write something that shows how I live after brain cancer.  It may not be all roses, but at least I still have my mind and for the most part, my overall health.  I could have had a relapse and more radiation or even chemotherapy.  I can say that for what happened to me, I’m pretty damn lucky.  I could have ended up in a nursing home if they botched my 9 hour surgery.  The surgery where they actually separated both halves of my brain to get to the pineal gland to extract a piece of the tumor.  My headache seems to be subsiding now due to Fioricet.  Thank the Lord for that.

I think somewhere down the road I’d like to become some sort of motivation speaker for cancer patients.  Of course, being humorous in my speeches is second nature for me.  I’ve got plenty of material.  I want to show people that yes, there is life after cancer, even if it isn’t always easy.  The fact is that you survived.  You beat the odds.  You are living proof that cancer can be contained.  It may be hard to eradicate cancer, but the rewards are timeless.  Your perspective will change dramatically.  If you’ve beaten this, what else can you overcome.  What else can you accomplish?  Your fear should no longer hold you back.  If it isn’t life threatening, then what are you so afraid of?  You’ve beaten cancer, so you can do anything.

My speeches would go somewhere along those lines.  I know that my calling is to raise people’s awareness and allow them to become who they feel inspired to become.  It may not always be possible to become what you most want to, but to not even make the attempt is foolish and cowardly.  I know that we all could become greater than we are just by committing to becoming a better person each day.  Small steps or large steps, you decide.  We can all move away from fear and towards love just by deciding to.  And what an amazing world we will have once everyone is on the love side.  Imagine a world without fear.  Imagine how wonderful such a world would be.  That is my ultimate goal.  It would be paradise.

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