Sep 30

The Abysmal Quality of Spam

Even after several months SB continues to get hits on the posts “Messing With Spammers” and “Messing With Spammers, Part Deux.” Seems the gr8tits2play racket is alive and well.

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What’s really scary is that Gr8tits2play.org got more ad clicks than SB this month.

I’d write more about dating scams, but I haven’t been trolling Craigslist recently.

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Jul 16

You’re On Report!

Last week’s writing primer proved to be very popular. So much so that I’m seriously considering devoting Tuesdays at SB to a writing workshop of sorts. I’m glad y’all enjoyed it.

When I wrote last week I wasn’t thinking about writing as a school assignment. I personally haven’t done anything like that in over 15 years. However according to my search stats that’s what people want to read about. I should have known better.

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It takes a special kind of mutant to do what I do.

This week, I’m happy to oblige.

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May 05

Relics of a Geek

Earlier today I stumbled across a Facebook conversation regarding those wedding dress shopping shows on TLC and what not. Like my friend, I fail to see the allure of something like Say Yes to the Dress. Beachy, however, is steadily moving away from Disney Channel and towards TLC. That show is one of her favorites.

“I’m pretty sure second-graders are in TLC’s target demographic now,” I commented to uproarious approval.

Then the conversation turned to what sort of things we watched or played with at that age. Some like to play “marriage.” Others liked to play “doctor.” I suppose I had more in common with the latter.

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Although I’ve never been terribly fond of roleplaying.
Image source: crackedmoon

They were my sister’s Barbies. Weirdos.

Anyway, Beachy’s sometimes odd behavior has plenty of precedent. In 1981 my class made Easter Bunny figures out of eggshells. Naturally most of my colleagues went with springy, pastel and/or religious themes. Finding that shit boring as hell, I dressed mine as figures from the then-recent assassination attempt on President Reagan.

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“Chasing Jodie Foster’s tail, up and down the bunny trail ….”

Then as now, not all of my interests revolved around the prurient and/or borderline psychotic. Not even close. My most cherished childhood possession? That’s a no-brainer. It’s my copy of the 1976 World Book Encyclopedia, which I still possess. Every time I sit down to write SB they’re on a shelf less than five feet away, acting as something of a talisman of a simpler time. Or one when Jerry Ford was still president, anyway.

Although I don’t refer to them anymore in this era of Wikipedia, they still rest in a place of honor here in the Command Center, all 22 splendorous volumes. I also have the complete 1945 Book of Knowledge, an encyclopedia set originally owned by my grandmother.

So while other kids were reading stuff like Charlotte’s Web and various Judy Blume titles, this was what I was reading. A lot.

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A LOT.

I wasn’t entirely a mutant, though. As a matter of fact, I have an original Optimus Prime from around 1985 in the staff car trunk right now. It’s not in Antiques Roadshow quality to say the least, but I still can’t bear to part with it.

I also can’t figure out where else to put it. It’s been in my trunk for over four years now.

Apr 29

When Did I Turn Into a Hippie?

Like virtually everyone else in this world, I’ve held a few workaday type jobs in my day. I’ve been fired a couple times. I’ve been promoted a couple times. I have a fair amount of experience in management and such. On paper I have to say my resume looks pretty damn good.

The problem is I honestly think I couldn’t hold a job like that anymore, at least not for any significant period of time. I’d much rather work for myself doing something I love, such as writing and publishing. Also, being bipolar means it’s not a question of if I use all my sick days, but when. Accordingly I haven’t had such a job for nearly two years now.

If you’ve seen the “About” page here, you know that I have an LLC. I set it up with the thought of becoming a book publisher. Eventually I’d like to make that happen, but being sick with bipolar disorder effectively ground that process to a halt. As a result the business became more about writing Wikipedia articles, which I don’t do anymore.

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Why? Because dealing with Wikipedia is like trying to get a rabid wolverine through Chinese customs.

I’ve thought about going back into insurance, or some other type of sales job, or even participating in one of those MLM things. Unfortunately, I’m simply not cut out for that sort of work. After years of denial, I’ve come to the horrible conclusion that I’m fundamentally one of those artsy-fartsy types.

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But without the patchouli oil. That stuff is nasty.

That said, instead of resigning myself to a life of shopping at thrift stores so I can save enough to go to Burning Man – which really isn’t my thing, either – I need to reconcile who I am with economic reality. This is not to say I’m trying to avoid working. Absolutely not. Ambition is alive and well here at the Command Center.

I suppose until I put a plan together, I’ll have to be content with providing y’all with your daily dose of snark and cynicism. You’re welcome.

But hey, if you have any ideas, you know how to contact me.

Apr 16

Bits for Vanity

There are two types of people in this world: people who occasionally Google themselves, and damn liars. Last night I felt that self-congratulatory urge.

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Wait, Myspace is still around?

I’ve been on the Internet for some time. It’ll be 20 years in October as a matter of fact. As a result there’s a lot miscellaneous electronic flotsam related to me. For example, a Google search might lead you to incorrectly assume I’m still an insurance agent or even running for Governor of Idaho. Sadly, neither has been the case for years. You might also notice I edited a book many moons ago. That remains true.

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Pictured: Hardcore writer’s narcissism.

I admit I have an easier time finding information about myself on Google than some. “Lane Startin” is a fairly distinctive name, much more so than, say, a “John Smith” or a “Jennifer Jones.” That means I can reasonably assume anything that turns up is about me.

Which makes results such as this all the more perplexing:

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Flabbergasting.

I suppose when and if this blog becomes an integral part of society they’ll let me have a Wikipedia article again. But knowing Wikipedia as I do, probably not.

More Facebook Crap

Hey! Did you know SB’s staff cats Djoser and Sneferu have Facebook pages now? Click on their names to “like” them. They’ll be eternally grateful, I think ….

Oh yeah, I have a Facebook page to “like” as well. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!