blog news, technology

My mind is a blank today…

I fear today’s post will be short. I can’t think of anything to write about now. I’ve spent the morning updating various apps, peripherals, and other assorted shit that is supposed to make my life easier. I’ve rebooted the Internet at least three times. And right now, I’m afraid I just want to get away from my computer until a compelling topic comes to me.

The dogs need a walk, but it’s so cold and damp outside. I’m also waiting for yet another Amazon delivery. I got new smart light bulbs to use in the two lamps that don’t yet have them. Those will arrive today, along with a bottle of citric acid, which I use for cleaning lime stains. I also ordered another Echo Dot for our entertainment room.

Tomorrow, I’ll get new storage canisters for things like grits and cornmeal. Why? Because I’m tired of feeding the moths that take up residence in the cupboard because we don’t use our staples fast enough.

I’ve been trying to learn about the new HomePod Mini I bought that arrived yesterday. If you read today’s post on my travel blog, you already know how that’s going… Suffice to say, I think Amazon has done a better job with home assistants than Apple has. For some reason, I cannot, for the very life of me, get my new Mini to sync with the existing HomePod. I’m sure there’s a trick to it, but I haven’t discovered it. I’m getting tired of trying.

I put a plugin called Yoast on the blog recently that turned out to be more trouble than it’s worth. It had me changing my writing style, making the process of blogging more difficult than it needs to be. The app had red indicators that made me feel negative… like I had to appease them before I could post my content. That, to me, is not what writing is about. I enjoy the process of writing, most of the time. But if I have to satisfy a bot before posting, then it’s a lot less fun for me. So I just deleted Yoast today. Sometimes, I need to write longer sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes using passive voice is best for certain situations. And sometimes, I want to start a sentence with the same word. It’s a matter of style.

I do have a book I need to finish reading… and the weather is kind of perfect for it. So is my mood. So I think I’ll fuck off of the blog today and do some reading. At the very least, maybe I’ll have a fresh book review to write. I just don’t feel like posting about my usual topics today. I’m stuck in a rut and need a change. I’d settle for a nice weekend away, so I can post something on the travel blog worth reading. Bill and I are hoping to go somewhere soon… A lot depends on Arran, our senior, scrapper dog with cancer who badly needs a dental. 😉

Maybe I’ll be back later… maybe not.

The featured photo is of the pool at the Upper House hotel in Goteborg, Sweden. It has a glass bottom and juts out from the building, some twenty plus storeys up… I could use a swim out on a ledge. It might make things more interesting.

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celebrities, Ex, mental health, narcissists, psychology

The latest big dream “job”…

The featured photo is one I took when Bill and I visited Venice, back in 2013… Ex probably could have had that herself, if she hadn’t been so hellbent on “punishing” Bill for not dancing to her tune.

It’s Tuesday, and once again, I’m finding myself reluctant to write too much about current events. I’ve been consuming all kinds of “news”/infotainment about politics, and the aftermath of Trump’s time as our “POTUS”. I just don’t feel like going there today. My mind is still on Jennette McCurdy’s book, and how much it resonated with me. I am fortunate, in that my own mom wasn’t like Jennette McCurdy’s mom was. It resonated with me, because I think Bill’s ex wife is a lot like Jennette’s mom was.

A really good interview about Jennette McCurdy’s book, I’m Glad My Mom Died.

No, none of Ex’s kids have been professionally involved in show business. But I do remember when the kids were young, we would hear stories about her hopes for them to enter showbiz. We’d hear about her wanting ex stepson or one of Bill’s daughters to audition for movies, or get involved in the performing arts. Recently, she’s been tweeting celebrities about her youngest daughter wanting to become an actress and hoping to go to a “conservatory”. I think I’ve included those tweets in earlier posts here, so I’m not going to repost them in this entry. But yes, she’s posted about that, and she’s included comments about how she wants one of her daughters to marry Keanu Reeves or someone similar. She is fixated on fame and what she thinks is “quick money”. Bonus if it’s someone else doing the work, while she enjoys the benefits of being the “mom”.

Recently, Ex has gotten back to posting on Instagram. A few days ago, she posted a few new agey “positive” memes. On the surface, the memes appear to be very nice and edifying. I’m sure the strangers who look at them, and know nothing about her, think she’s just this really kind, loving person. Below are a few recent examples:

I don’t pay a lot of attention to Ex’s Instagram, although sometimes, I do check out the comments. I definitely stopped in my tracks when I read the comments on the one about traveling before retirement… Behold:

Now… there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about travel. I did it for years, before Bill and I could finally make the dream come true. However, given the life that I have with her ex husband, it does strike me as crazy that Ex is now posting pictures of memes that reference Italy, and wistfully commenting about how much she’d love to travel with her youngest child, who has “severe autism”. She has repeatedly posted that he runs away, and for that reason, she needs a fence for her backyard. More than once, in this year alone, she has posted crowdfunding attempts to get money to finance building a fence. She has posted repeated claims that no local charities can help her, and no gadgets or gizmos designed to stop her son’s escapes have worked.

It’s possible that Ex’s post about wanting to travel is just “shit” she posted** for whatever reason** just to get a reaction– any reaction at all– from her followers. Still, I can’t help but pause. She’s commenting that she’d like to travel the world with her son, who has severe autism and, she claims (falsely, I think), that he doesn’t speak at all. Someone suggests that she start a blog about traveling with her autistic son. Her response is, “Yes… I’ve been giving it serious thought… but I need money to make it happen.”

I smell another kickstarter… and probably one that will go as far as her fence fund has.

I reflect on the stories I’ve heard from Bill and younger daughter, about the money Ex pisses through, buying worthless crap online, or taking road trips, often to see her unsuspecting victims. Then, she will try to grift, as she did last spring, when she brought Bill’s older daughter to his stepmother’s house and asked for money and “heirlooms”. Bill’s dad died in November 2020, so his stepmother has been grieving. I’m sure she’s pretty vulnerable right now. To her credit, she did tell Ex that she couldn’t help her with money. That was when Ex gave her boxes to put things in that she’d like to “pass down”. My guess is that anything Ex got from SMIL would end up on eBay.

Let’s also not forget that the only reason she even knows SMIL is because of Bill, yet she completely denied Bill any access to his daughters, from 2004 onwards. It’s only been a few years since he and his younger daughter reconnected online. He has managed to see her in person just once since then– in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit with a vengeance. He has met his older two grandchildren. Both he and his daughter CRIED when they reunited, and younger daughter explained that she was forced to send a letter disowning Bill. She says her mother literally stood over her and dictated what she would be writing. And she removed all traces of Bill from their possession, and goaded them into legally changing their names when they turned 18. But there she is on Instagram, posting memes about what speaking kindly to a human can do. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

It’s hard to know where the truth lies regarding anything Ex says. She posts these “lovey” comments about her son, and how much she adores him. Then she posts about how he breaks her heart and makes her life difficult. She posts about how her son needs a fence to stop him from escaping home. Then she posts about how she wants to take him around the world and write about how he sees it. And she doesn’t post as if it’s a pipe dream, per se. She actually states that if she could fund it, she’d do it…. again, with a teenaged boy with severe autism whom, she claims, runs away?

Based on what we’ve heard, it’s true that her son runs off. That was confirmed by a more truthful source. So how awesome would it be if she and her son went to– say– Venice, Italy, and he decided to run off into the many vast crowds that descend there? It would definitely make for an adventure. Maybe it would be one she could write a good story about… Would the stress be worth it? I don’t think so, but I’m not Ex. We clearly have vastly different priorities in life.

Bill told me that Ex has always had a lot of “big dreams”. She often starts working on her dreams, using money and resources from other people. Bill did, for example, fund Ex’s forays into Mary Kay and Nutrisystem. He said she actually was doing okay with Mary Kay for awhile, but then abruptly decided the organization exploits women. So she quit selling Mary Kay, and she sold her inventory back to the company, at a substantial loss. The same thing happened with Nutrisystem. She decided after buying the food that it was too much about victimizing women. More money down the drain.

This would all be fine if it only affected Ex. But, as you can see, there are other people in Ex’s life who are impacted by her whimsical decisions. Four of her five children are legal adults now, but one is still in that gray time period between adolescence and adulthood, when someone can vote, but not drink a beer. Two of the three other adult children have moved out on their own, but one still stays at home and figuratively wipes Ex’s ass for her. And then there’s the baby of the family, the lad with autism, who is the star of so many of Ex’s pleas for money and assistance.

Speaking of assistance… what about the therapy dog she’s been posting about? More than once, she’s written about how pricey therapy dogs are, and how she can’t wait to train one to serve her son. If they’re jetting off to Italy so she can be an autistic mommy travel blogger, won’t it be difficult to get a dog and train it? Yes, therapy dogs are used in Europe, but they aren’t as widespread here as they are in the US. Moreover, there are places here where therapy dogs– even the ones that are genuinely certified, and not just “emotional support animals”– are not allowed.

I’m sure that Ex has heard, or maybe has even seen, the lifestyle Bill and I enjoy. We seem to have a lot of what she wants, except we don’t have children. It’s mainly because of her that we don’t have children, since she convinced Bill that he should give up his fertility because pregnancy was so “hard” for her. Obviously, it wasn’t that hard, since she subsequently had two more kids with her third husband. And she’s never going to change. She’ll always be chasing her dreams at other people’s expense. Or her dreams will abruptly change, and she won’t feel like she should answer for that.

Jennette McCurdy has said that her mother had wanted to be an actress. Jennette’s grandparents wouldn’t put her mom in acting when she was a child, nor would they support her career aspirations. So, when she was a helpless child at age six, Jennette’s mom decided that her daughter would be an actress, whether she wanted to be or not. Jennette happened to have the looks and talent to make her mother’s dream a reality. And she was put upon to keep working to keep the dream going, so mom could enjoy the perks and the money that came in. I see Ex as very similar to Debra McCurdy. Someone with big dreams that she can’t really fulfill… but is always looking for someone out there to make something happen for her. And then, inevitably, it won’t be enough, and she’ll have no qualms about tearing that person to shreds. Meanwhile, she’ll put it out to the masses what a “great” loving mother she is… and what a fantastic empathic humanitarian she would like to be. It’s one hundred percent bullshit, isn’t it?

I just hope the damage to Ex’s children won’t be too severe, as it was to Jennette McCurdy when her mother died, and she realized the truth.

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blog news, narcissists, Reality TV

It’s so nice to be negative!

If you read this blog regularly, you probably already know I’m negative a lot of the time. But this time, I’m referring to COVID. I was still feeling kind of icky yesterday, but I decided to do a COVID test anyway, before I walked our dogs. Much to my surprise and delight, the test was negative. If I squinted really hard, I could see the faintest line on the test, which means that if I test today, it would probably turn up a totally negative test (today’s featured photo is of yesterday’s result). Bill did a test this morning, and his was also negative. So I guess that means that ours is a COVID free home once again!

I still have some residual gunk from the sickness, which doesn’t surprise me. It usually takes me awhile to completely recover after I’ve been sick, especially with anything respiratory. But my voice seems to be back, and I’m no longer so tired. Maybe I’ll get around to doing something musical today… or maybe not.

Right now, I’m about halfway through reading Tom Bower’s book about Harry and Meghan, Revenge. I’ve also been following H.G. Tudor’s YouTube readings of the book. I’ve noticed he’s not reading the whole thing, just the juiciest parts. He’s also adding his own observations about Meghan’s behaviors through the lens of narcissism. I am marveling at how easy it is to read Mr. Bower’s book, even though it’s a physical book, and not on Kindle. I do have to go outside to read it, since my bedroom lamps don’t put off enough light. But, Revenge is a quick and enjoyable read, and it confirms a lot of what I’ve observed about Meghan Markle. To be clear, I’m on the “Meghan is a narcissist” bandwagon. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt I am.

I hope to have the book finished very soon, so I can review it. I’m amazed at how much quicker and easier Revenge is to read, compared to Joshua Prager’s book about Roe vs. Wade. That one took me well over a month to read, but it was well worth the effort, and in many ways, every bit as juicy. I guess I just found the subject matter a lot more challenging… or maybe I need to read outside in a chair, rather than in my bed. When I read in bed these days, I invariably get drowsy and fall asleep. I also find it hard to read when I have my contacts in, probably because it’s long past time for me to get bifocals. But it’s not so simple, arranging a place to get an eye exam. Last time we did it, we had it done at the medical center on post in Stuttgart. Wiesbaden is a smaller post, with fewer facilities. We can obviously get it done on the economy, but that presents its own issues. We did buy our last glasses in Nagold, but there was a bit of a language barrier.

Be looking for a new book review very soon, those of you who enjoy them. I like to write book reviews, because they often take me away from the news cycle and comments people make on social media. I know I had at least one reader who didn’t like it when I posted about comments… and to that, I would say, this is my blog. If you don’t like it, you know where you can go, and what you can do there. I can’t please everybody, and would never try to do that.

According to Revenge, Meghan Markle had a blog for three years. She shut it down just as she was marrying Prince Harry. It was called The Tig. I never read it, and probably would never want to read it, because I don’t like the title. I had a college roommate who called herself Tigger, and I’m still traumatized by the experience, thirty years later. Meghan’s blog was named after her favorite wine, but I find her about as insufferable as I did that former roommate. To be fair, she probably found me just as insufferable. We really weren’t compatible. I’ll just leave it at that. 😉

I also don’t think I’d like Meghan’s blog, mostly because she comes across as very fake to me. From what I’ve read, Meghan’s blog was all about her trying to edify and uplift people, trying to teach them a more beautiful way to live. I don’t want or need someone giving me special lifestyle tips. I know some people live for that shit, but I don’t. I just want to sit here and grouse. I mean… people have said a lot about me over the years, but few people would ever call me “fake”. What you see is what you get, which I know not everyone appreciates. But I gotta be me! I know that some people hate me just because of what I called my blog. I figure that if they aren’t going to take the time to get to know me before dismissing me, that’s their loss. I’m really not so bad, most of the time. At least my dogs love me.

This post is a little cranky. I’m usually especially cranky when I’m dealing with the beginning or end of an illness. It’s probably because I want to get over the last residual sickness and get on with my life. Kind of like Kim Plath is…

I’ve been watching the latest season of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville. It’s been surprising to see how different that family is now, since a few of the kids have moved out and started embracing their own ideals. Kim decided she wants a divorce. She’s opened a dance studio, and now does liquor shots with her son, Micah. Moriah and Olivia are learning how to pole dance. Ethan still pisses off Olivia, and vice versa. I think those two will probably split up, too. And Barry… bless him. A lot of people think he’s weird and creepy. Actually, to me, he seems to be fairly understanding and decent. He does sort of have a Mr. Zip Code look to him, all wide eyed. I know some have said he’s controlling and inconsiderate. I don’t see it so much myself. I doubt we can really understand the true character of the people on Plathville anyway, as they’re on a carefully edited reality TV show.

A screenshot of Mr. Zip Code.
A screenshot of Barry Plath. He does look a little like Mr. Zip Code.

From what I’ve heard, the Plath parents haven’t yet filed for divorce. I think it’s sad that they’re talking about it, especially given how long they’ve been together, and how many children they’ve had. But I’m a big believer in people being as happy as possible. Sometimes divorce, like abortion, is very necessary and healthy. Maybe that’s true in the case of the Plaths.

Sounds like Kim isn’t happy anymore.
I can’t blame Moriah for being annoyed with Olivia. Olivia is a bit self-centered sometimes.

I did find myself feeling a little jealous that they have that beautiful farm, complete with horses. That’s what I aspired to have in my life. I got the jet set Germany lifestyle, instead. It’s not such a bad thing, I guess. Hopefully, tomorrow or Sunday, we’ll feel like going somewhere and enjoying where we live, now that I’m no longer infectious. And if we do that, I hope I don’t pick up the virus again, because that shit sucks. Glad it seems to have been kicked to the curb. Yea, immune systems!

Well, I think I’ll wrap up this post, play a little guitar, walk the dogs, and get back into my book. Hope y’all have a nice Friday… and I hope if you test for COVID, you’re as negative as I am.

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mental health, psychology, social media

You just never know what someone is going through in life…

Today’s post is about suicide. If you think that will trigger you, please move on to the next Internet station.

Over the twenty years I’ve been in Bill’s life, he’s repeatedly told me stories about his friends from high school, and how they helped him through that time in his life. Bill owes his career, in part, to his high school days. At his mother’s insistence, Bill joined Army JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), and flourished as a cadet. He had grown up without consistent access to his father, so being in the JROTC helped him immensely, by providing him with positive male role models.

Unfortunately, Ex was also enrolled in JROTC, and that was how and where she and Bill met. She later tracked Bill down when he was in Germany the first time, and managed to marry him. We all know how that turned out. 😉 But in spite of the connection with Ex, JROTC was also a place where Bill met some great kids, most of them guys who were a lot of fun. His friend Mark, who committed suicide last month, was among them.

I wrote about Mark last month, even though I never had the chance to meet him. I was the one who told Bill about Mark’s death, as another one of Bill’s friends, who also “friended” me on Facebook, had announced it. Bill was really shocked by the news. He watched as his friends posted their reactions to Mark’s death, and their memories of knowing him. I felt sad for Mark’s friends and family members. Even though a number of them admitted that Mark had “demons”, they all had wonderful things to write about him. And even though they weren’t necessarily people who knew each other, they all shared in the commonality of knowing and loving this man who had violently left life on his own terms.

Sometimes, these things tend to happen in threes. When I initially wrote about Mark, I included some commentary about my cousin’s wife, who, in April, passed away of cancer. In another post, I also included some words about a guy I knew when I was in high school, who also had cancer and died on March 31st, having just turned 50 years old. I will be 50 next month, and I have been worrying a bit about my own health, lately. I have significant issues seeing doctors. So, although I’m sure I will need to pay a visit to one at some point, I’m having some trouble doing it. What makes things harder is when I hear or read about someone who commits suicide. Especially when they are presumably young and healthy. It makes me wonder what the point is of seeing doctors.

This morning, I’m realizing that the three deaths I thought had comprised that old adage of deaths happening in threes, actually weren’t that at all. Because since I wrote that post in mid April, two more people who have somehow affected my life have committed suicide. One of the people I’m referring to is country star, Naomi Judd, who abruptly ended her life on April 30th. Naomi’s death was tragic and shocking on many levels, but at least she’d lived a pretty full life. She didn’t live as long as she was physically able to, but she did live until an age at which a lot of people die for reasons other than suicide.

I wrote about Naomi, although I’m sure I’m not as affected by her passing as some people have been. I enjoy her music, and as a fellow human being who has experienced depression and anxiety, I have great empathy for the suffering she must have experienced to cause her to make such a decision. But this morning, I read an article on People.com about a man who spent some of Naomi’s last hours with her as they sat next to each other on a 90 minute connecting flight to Chicago. Strickland explained that Naomi “never met a stranger” and would talk to anyone.

At first, the man she sat next to on her last plane ride hadn’t realized she was famous. But they got to talking during that short flight, and Naomi had made a real impression on him. When he got news of Naomi’s death, he decided to reach out to her equally famous family via email. To my great surprise, I was feeling a bit choked up as I read about the man’s kind message to Naomi’s widower, Larry Strickland, who had been so concerned about Naomi flying alone. According to the People.com article:

“It’s a small comfort, I’m sure, but my life seems a lot richer after meeting your wife, however briefly,” continued the note, which visibly sparked an emotional response from Strickland onstage. 

“Obviously, I didn’t know Naomi at all, but I can tell you she spoke highly and warmly of you, and the life you shared together,” read the heartfelt email, which Strickland recited while choking up. “Rest assured she loved you and had no qualms about telling me, a stranger on a plane, that was so.”

The man concluded his letter by telling Strickland about the “measure and impact” his late wife left on him during the brief time they spent together, and Strickland told the audience the message provided “great, great pleasure and comfort to me.”

What a great gift this stranger gave to Larry Strickland. It’s a reminder to everyone that famous people are no different than non-famous people. I’ve thought about Naomi a lot, lately, but I am so glad that her husband was able to be comforted by a stranger’s loving message to him.

Now comes the part of this post when I write about third suicide that has sort of affected me on some level. It’s a convoluted story, so bear with me, and keep in mind that this is simply from my perspective. Other people, I’m sure, have different perspectives. This is just my version of the truth.

Some readers– especially those who remember my original OH blog– might recall that in 2019, I abruptly moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress. I made that decision for a couple of reasons. I had actually wanted to move the blog for awhile, since Blogger isn’t the most professional or functional blogging platform out there. But I put off moving the blog, because I knew it would be inconvenient, and I’d have to start over from scratch. I finally moved it when it became clear that the old blog was becoming a liability. I had some readers who weren’t friendly to me, and they were stirring up trouble. I needed the extra security and functionality that WordPress offers.

I was legitimately shaken by the actions of this woman I had perceived was “stalking” me, and was in cahoots with our former landlady. I’ll call her “Jodi”, though that’s nowhere close to her real name. She had lived in our previous house immediately before us. She and her husband had left ex landlady’s house in September 2014, which was about halfway through their stint in Germany. Since they were still living in the community, and back then, I was sharing my travel blog in the local Facebook groups, Jodi started following me. Because the travel blog was also on Blogger, it was easy for her to find my rawer original OH blog. She decided to follow that blog, too, which probably led her to make some erroneous negative assumptions about me, and my character.

Perhaps because she was feeling curious, or maybe even a little guilty about moving out of ex landlady’s house, Jodi was regularly monitoring my blogs, even though she’d left Germany in 2016, or so. Occasionally, she would leave me “friendly” comments, always with a fake name. At first, the comments were nice, but then when I started having trouble with former landlady, she would leave comments that were shaming or chastising. One time, she asked me to edit something I had written that she was uncomfortable with, since she claimed it had wrongly implicated her. Basically, I had wondered why she and her husband had moved out of that house halfway through their tour in Germany. She had told us that she thought of the ex landlady and her husband as parents to her, and claimed they were wonderful people. And yet, she had to move. The story she told me was one that didn’t ring true to me, based on my experiences with the Army. Jodi insisted that she’d told us the truth… but I still had my doubts. I wasn’t born yesterday.

Jodi was “buddies” with our ex landlady, and in February 2019, a few months after Bill and I had vacated our previous house, she sent me a private Facebook message that really upset me. I had already blocked her on social media before I even saw the message, so when I finally discovered it on my Facebook page for this blog, she showed up as “Facebook User”. In that post, she chastised me for a new fiction blog I was starting. She’d read my initial posts on the fiction blog and mistakenly believed that I was going to write a “hatchet piece” about our former landlady’s daughter. She wrote that ex landlady’s daughter read my blog regularly and would be offended. Then she implied that I’m “crazy” and begged me not to “harass” the ex landlady by writing about her.

Now… the fact is, I have NEVER met our ex landlady’s daughters. Putting it lightly, ex landlady and I definitely weren’t friends, and I don’t think she would have condescended to introduce me to her family members, other than her husband. I didn’t even know her daughters’ names, and had not so much as been in their presence. I’m sure Jodi wouldn’t have believed me if I told her that, because I think she was wholly convinced that I’m a mean, unhinged, person who lies. You can say a lot of things about me, but I am generally a truthful person. I’ve written a lot of negative stuff about Ex, for instance, but now that I corroborate my posts with actual evidence, you can see where my posts are coming from. I may express things that are “ugly” and negative, but by and large, I am truthful.

One time, Bill met one of the landlady’s daughters, and he was impressed by her. He said she was very bright and articulate. She had a physical condition that made her different, but Bill did not mention this condition to me. The first paragraphs of my now deleted short story included a description of a character that had a physical condition similar to that of the ex landlady’s daughter’s. Naturally, “Jodi” read it, assumed that I was going to write a mean spirited story about her friend, and decided to pre-emptively stop me before I caused offense. However, writing a mean story about this woman I’d never even met hadn’t been my plan at all, and she hadn’t given me a chance to develop the character to what I had envisioned. I also didn’t know that Jodi had been sharing my blog with our ex landlady’s daughter, and probably ex landlady herself. It pissed me off that she was so concerned about her privacy, but had no regard for mine, even though my blog is, admittedly, public.

In her message to me, Jodi wrote I didn’t have the right to create a fiction story inspired by people in my life (from where did she think authors get their inspirations?) She implied that I’m a “hack”, and “begged” me not to drag her friends through the proverbial mud, even though they had treated us unfairly, and she had even corroborated some of my complaints in comments left on my blog (most of which she later deleted). Jodi’s false accusations, erroneous assumptions, and continuous meddling in what was my business, really made me angry with her. I felt violated and misunderstood by someone I had met in person only twice. It caused a lot of psychological angst, and I was very pissed. Some of my earliest posts in this rehashed blog spell that out.

It never seemed to occur to Jodi that I’m not a total shit. I would not have written a snarky story on the level that she was assuming. Even though I did write a few snarky fiction story posts in my original blog that had characters inspired by real people who bugged me, some of my characters are neutral, or even positive. The character she’d clued in on was going to be one of those, and was not actually based on ex landlady’s daughter. Above all, it was clearly FICTION, and very few people even bother to read my fiction.

The vast majority of readers of my blog aren’t at all connected with the military. Even if I had written a mean fiction story about people we both knew, most people reading wouldn’t be any the wiser. I figured that if my fiction bothered Jodi and her friends, they could exercise some self-discipline and find something else to read on another site. But, because we were planning to sue the ex landlady for illegally withholding our deposit, I decided to delete the fiction blog after only a couple of days. I had intended to restart it at some point, but just couldn’t find the heart to do it after Jodi’s meddling. Her actions really did some damage to me, although I’m sure she never thought about that, and likely didn’t even care. She didn’t seem to have much respect for me, and clearly expressed that she didn’t think of me as a “real” writer. I had also noticed some hits coming from places where she had family. I had a feeling some of them were watching my blog, too, and that made me feel kind of paranoid, even though most of what I write should have been of little to no concern to them.

For the past few years, I’ve had Jodi blocked on Facebook. I didn’t look her up, especially since I knew that she was very concerned about her privacy on the Internet. I really just wanted to forget about the whole incident involving my blog, as well as her seemingly shady behavior involving our previous house. However, since moving back to the States, Jodi had gotten a job with Bill’s company, and he’d noticed her on the company’s email list. A few days ago, he told me that she was no longer on the roster. She also wasn’t listed as a government employee.

That seemed strange to me, since I knew she was very much into her career and she seemed to be on an upward trajectory. But I just chalked it up to her moving on. I never looked her up online, because I knew she kept a low profile. I just wanted to forget about her, and how she’d made me feel. But, sometimes I get into trouble when I get bored. Sunday afternoon, I finally did a cursory search of Jodi’s name. I didn’t expect to find anything. Imagine my surprise when I immediately saw an obituary for her, along with a video of her memorial service, which took place several months ago.

I called Bill over and said, “I just found out why Jodi is no longer listed as an employee at your company.”

Bill was curious, so I showed him her obituary, which listed her at just 34 years of age. The obituary made it sound like she’d had a very full and vibrant life. Naturally, we were curious about what happened. I unblocked Jodi’s Facebook profile, and eventually found out that she, too, had committed suicide.

Let me just say this, in case anyone who knows “Jodi” happens to be reading this. I am truly very sorry for your loss. No matter what I might have thought of Jodi and her actions toward me, I know there were people in her life who loved her very much and are devastated by her decision to commit suicide. I am especially sorry for her two children, who are still so young. Losing their mother at such a young age will affect them forever. All I can do is offer a sincere prayer that they will have as much peace as they can possibly have, under these circumstances.

After I discovered Jodi’s cause of death, I realized that she and I had some things in common besides the Army, living in Germany, and having had the same landlady. When I was growing up, I was a horse enthusiast, like Jodi was. I had a horse and worked at a barn to help pay for his upkeep. Jodi was a barrel racer, but my discipline was hunt seat. I spent my high school years showing my horse and going to fox hunts and competitive trail rides. I gave up my horse when I went to college, although I would have loved to have brought him with me to school. To this day, I miss having horses in my life.

Jodi was an animal lover, as I am. She had a cute little dachshund, whom I met when Bill and I toured the house we rented after her. I am a hound lover too, although mine have mostly been beagles.

I like to travel, just as she did. That’s why we moved back to Germany. I had remembered Germany as a beautiful place, and wanted to come back here to live for a year or two. I never thought we’d be here for as long as we have. I swear, when Bill and I met Jodi and ex landlady in 2014, all we were looking for was a place to live after a very rough summer. We weren’t trying to make trouble for anyone. But then, writers who don’t sometimes stir up controversy are often pretty boring and unsuccessful. No matter what Jodi thought of what I do, I am a writer. And yes, I have actually been paid to write.

Just like Jodi, I have also struggled with mental health issues. I was treated for depression and anxiety for several years, and I have felt suicidal at times, although obviously I haven’t yet committed to the idea. I haven’t been on antidepressants since my early 30s, but there are times when I think I would be better off with some chemical assistance for my moods. But again… I don’t like visiting doctors.

Jodi’s loved ones have posted many pictures of her doing things she loved, living in beautiful places, and reaching for her goals. I haven’t got the foggiest idea why she decided that suicide was an appropriate solution for her problems. I won’t even try to guess. I just feel compassion for those left behind… and yes, that includes ex landlady and her daughter, whom I know were her friends. I hope Jodi has found peace. I wish we could have had a mature discussion, so that the whole mess and the misunderstandings with my blog could have been avoided.

You just never know what’s going on in someone’s life. I had no idea that Jodi was troubled in any way. She seemed like a person who had everything going for her. Clearly, some things weren’t going right, in spite of her facade. Wherever she is now, I hope she’s out of pain.

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A grateful thank you to all of my readers…

Yesterday was somewhat less annoying than Wednesday was. There were no unexpected visitors; Aunt Flow vacated; I didn’t get involved in any online pissing matches; and as of this morning, I crossed the threshold allowing me to be paid for writing this blog. And so, today’s post is going to be focused on gratitude for everyone who has been reading this rag. Some of you have been surprisingly faithful readers, and I really do appreciate it. I know sometimes I can be cranky, negative, and gross, but it does my heart good to know that some people don’t seem to mind. Or maybe they just read so they can snark. Either way, I make a few pennies when people read, and they’ve now finally added up to enough that I can actually get paid.

Love me some Andrew Gold.

I’m actually impressed by how quickly this happened on WordPress. I moved my original OH blog from Blogger in February 2019. It was one of three blogs I had on that site, and all three were earning spare change through AdSense. During my heyday, I usually made enough money on Blogger from all three blogs to cash out every nine months or so. To do that, I had to earn at least $100. Remember, I had THREE blogs going, so they weren’t earning much individually. The original blog was the fastest earner, but the travel blog was also pretty popular before we moved to Wiesbaden. None of them were making big bucks, though.

At this point, I only have one blog left on Blogger. That would be my Dungeon of the Past music blog, which is mainly about music from the 70s and 80s. I don’t update it very often anymore, and right now, I have almost $98 sitting in AdSense. As soon as that blog earns the last two bucks I need to cash out, I’ll probably discontinue it. However, at this point, earning those last two bucks could take years! I usually only make a few pennies a month from just the music blog. This past month has been an exception. Looks like I made about 60 cents this month.

In July of 2019, when I moved the travel blog to WordPress, I immediately set up ads for that blog only. At this writing, the travel blog has made a grand total of $5.09. That amount is the whole total since the blog was created, having collected ad revenue since July 2019. COVID-19 was pretty devastating to my travel blogging, since we’ve been locked down and unable to go as many places. I suppose I could have been creative and come up with other travel related content, but to be honest, I had kind of lost my motivation. Happily, since COVID restrictions are loosening, I think we’ll be traveling more soon. In fact, next weekend, we will be on vacation. I am delighted to report that the travel blog is now consistently earning more than it ever has.

This blog has only been running ads since July 2021. In nine months, I’ve earned enough revenue to be paid. As of today, the “new” OH blog has made $109.61. That’s got to be because people are actually reading this stuff. So thank you! Writing is really all I ever wanted to do with my life, anyway, and while $109 isn’t enough to live on, it’s still money that I made, doing something I love doing! I do love to write, even if I do complain a lot about first world problems. I probably won’t be getting the $109 payout until June, which is fine. I’ll possibly get it just in time for my 50th birthday!

I didn’t want to run ads when I first started writing on this space. Like most people, I find ads annoying, and sometimes I want to write about topics that advertisers don’t like. But I was curious to see if this blog could make any money, which was why I turned on the ads. At first, I did it as an experiment, but then when I noticed that this blog made a lot more than the travel blog did, I decided to keep the ads going, just to see how long it would take before I made enough to cash out.

I know I have some readers who met me on the now defunct review site, Epinions. Those people are also writers, and they know the pleasure of seeing monthly “income share” come in. I remember my first month on Epinions, I wrote a rant about my cell phone service provider. I was really just looking for a place to vent, because I was pissed. I didn’t even know I could make money writing on Epinions. But when I saw that the review made 19 cents, I decided to write more. I spent almost eleven years writing on Epinions, and I made about $12,000, just reviewing stuff I was using anyway. Considering that I usually wrote in low paying categories like books, music, and travel, I think I did alright!

Sometimes I still miss Epinions, but that site became decidedly less fun as it was dying. I like writing on my own site now, since I can curse with wild abandon, add photos and videos, and don’t have to worry about obnoxious advisors, leads, or just oddball members lowballing ratings or leaving petty criticisms. 😉 That’s not to say that I can’t take legitimate criticism, per se. It’s just that some of them wanted to criticize things like how often I wrote, or disagreed with my review… or, in some cases, they would try to correct me when they, themselves, needed to edit.

I remember one particular Epinionator felt just fine about leaving me a low rating because she felt that instead of using Preparation H on my asshole, I should be using apple cider vinegar. And, as she commented, she signed off with the annoying phrase, “sharing the light”. I ranted about that incident on the original version of this blog. I’ll probably repost it today because, what the hell… I know some readers will get a kick out of that little taste of nostalgia.

Those kinds of comments and ratings were not supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to downrate because we disagreed with the review; we were supposed to rate based on the quality of the review. Like, the rating was supposed to be based on how informative and well-written the review was, not someone’s personal opinion about the product or the reviewer. Anyway, not long after that “asshole” incident, in which I was advised to use vinegar instead of a soothing cream on my bum, I ran across a review by this particular writer. I gave her a slightly lower rating (helpful vs. very helpful). I think she genuinely earned the rating I gave her. She sent me a pissy email full of excuses as to why her review was the way it was, and why I should give her a higher rating. I couldn’t help but shake my head. A few weeks later, the site went belly up. It made me sad at the time, but then I realized that it was for the best. If Epinions were still going, maybe you wouldn’t be reading my first world rants here, and I would still be dealing with people like that person!

$109 is not a lot of money. In fact, it’s not even enough to pay my subscription fees for this site. But it’s a good start! It feels good to make money again. I do, on occasion, get weird, rude, or mean comments from drive by visitors; but this blog, by and large, attracts far fewer crazies than Epinions did. Like, for instance, the woman who went absolutely batshit nuts because she was posting rubber stamped reviews of her Canon camera under multiple listings and getting tons of “not helpful” ratings. Even though people tried to explain to her how the site worked, she didn’t get it… and she raised holy hell. It caused quite a drama! I don’t think she ever did learn how Epinions worked. After a weekend of rampaging with inappropriate comments and ratings, she was kicked off the site.

Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense here. Most everyone who reads this blog is perfectly nice. Or, at least they are basically respectful, which is really all I ask. It’s a bonus when people come back for more, even when I’m in one of my crotchety moods. So, once again, thank you! Thanks for reading and commenting– no need for ratings, here. And thank you all for being a friend. Thanks for helping me turn my opinions into something that has actual worth. It means more to me than most of you will ever know.

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