Daily Prompt (January 26, 2023)

Name an attraction or town close to home that you still haven’t got around to visiting.

I would say Jacksonville, Florida. I have been to St. Augustine, Disney World, Epcot, Universal, the beaches, and even the downtown areas of Orlando, Daytona, and Tampa. However, the closest place I have yet to go to is Jacksonville. I would love to go to Hanna Park and Hemming Park, visit the TIAA Bank Field (where the Jacksonville Jaguars play their home games), and just explore downtown. Maybe someday I will check it out because I live 2 hours away so it’ll be an interesting trip to take

2023 Update

Happy (belated) New Year, friends

First off, my blog hit 1000 views while I was out, so thank you so much to those who came by while I’m still on hiatus. It’s nice to see people reading my older posts and my blog performing when I’m not around (I only started blogging in August 2022)

Secondly, I’ll most likely return to blogging regularly in March. By then, the Eurovision pre-selection season would be over, but I am currently working on an unrelated project and it’s expected to wrap up then. I’ll update you on how I want my blog to go when the time comes.

This is just a short update, but I want you to know that I’m fine. I’m just taking a break to do other things

Post Hurricane Ian Update

NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

If you’re wondering… I’m doing okay. My home lost power at 6am yesterday and came back about 2 hours ago (at the time of writing).

Volusia County got hit hard by Ian, but compared to the damage done in Southwest Florida, where Ian did significant damage, I can say that I am blessed that my family and I are alive and well, my other family in Orlando and Port St. Lucie are also doing okay.

With that, this will be an impromptu random Friday post. I scheduled some posts that will go out this weekend and on Monday (although I have to work on Monday’s post over the weekend). If you’re reading this, your girl is fine

EDIT: I did this post using Reader because, at the time, my power had been restored, but the wifi wasn’t. Now that I got wifi again, I’m just posting this update on my laptop. Anyway, tomorrow we go back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Analyzing My Stats? Why, Yes, I am

The notification I got on Monday
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

This past Monday, WordPress sent me a notification saying that I have hit 500 all-time views! First off, I want to thank everyone who came to my site and read at least one post or just landed on my homepage. Secondly, and it’s really not mind-blowing, I started this blog over a month ago to give my thoughts on my favorite hobbies and topics. Because I was not socially active on social media (read: social media lurker) and was absolutely shit at marketing my blog, I wasn’t really expecting anything but 5 views in the first week, so to get to 500 all-time is just awesome. I thought I would look into the insights for this very blog.

All of the photographs are as of Monday, September 19

As of the time I took these screenshots, I had already surpassed the threshold at 521 viewers. With 287 unique visitors, that’s 1.82 pages per visitor. 26 comments were left across all my posts, with 15 of them from me responding to others. And as you can see, August 26 was my best day so far with 64 views, owing to me updating older posts to add TTS video posts that day

Apparently, Friday at noon comprises of a bit more than 1/5 of all views. Weird, since this very post will be out today (Friday) at noon.

Moving on to my most viewed posts. Not counting the two home pages (yes, two. One was the standard boring latest posts page and the other is the actual home page that I am still not satisfied with), these posts are the 11 most viewed on this blog. As of the time of the screenshot, Anti-MLM Mondays: Manipulation Tactics netted 22 views, followed by 30 Things I Learned From Watching (and Reading) Anti-MLM Content with 16 views. Writing Prompt Wednesday and The Smugness of Social Media are tied in 3rd with 14 views each. You guys also dropped views on my most recent episode of WordPress Adventures (number 5 comes out on Sunday), my posts about being new to the platform and an update a week later (which inspired the WordPress Adventures series), the two hunbros, weight loss, Junior Eurovision, and CNN International, among others.

Moving on to referrers aka where my views came from. I did remember commenting on Renard’s post about promoting on social media and he mentioned that the WordPress Reader app got him the most views. I noticed that too, and when I saw the stats, it was obvious. 118 views came from the reader, followed by search engines with 16 (with 12 from Google, meaning my site isn’t sandboxed anymore). Twitter came next at 13, then Instagram at 12, with Facebook rounding the top 5 at 8, although how someone found my website through likewordle.com is baffling to me.

As for the countries, those 521 views came from 44 countries (11.84 views/country), with my home country the United States coming way on top. Here’s a breakdown of the countries and the number of views I’ve gotten

The US sits alone on top at 247 views (47% of all of the views recorded), with Kenya in second with 53, Trinidad and Tobago is third with 30, Canada in 4th with 24, the United Kingdom with 21, and India rounds up the top 6 with 20. The other countries all recorded less than 10 views. Slovenia was the latest country to enter the database.

All of this is just amazing considering that one of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve gotten when I started out was a general “slow and steady wins the race” advice, but it’s a good one. Obviously, it’s not a big blog (yet) but I feel great and motivated to bring more anti-MLM, writing prompts, Eurovision, WordPress Adventures, and other content to you, so I will encourage you to follow this blog, like, share, and comment on posts. I don’t really have a desire to have a mailing list right now, but when it gets big enough, I might go that route. For now, I’m happy with the direction of this blog. Tomorrow, we’ll do a musical wrap-up on the week.

Content Thieves and What to Do With Them

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

This blog post was inspired by fellow WordPress blogger Renard Moreau. He’s a Trinidad and Tobago blogger and currently has over 7,000 followers on WordPress. Last week, he made a post about his content being stolen. If you want to read his experiences, read his two blog posts “Why Do People Steal Our Blog Posts” and “Stop Stealing My Blog Posts”

I’m also writing this because my sister, Ana, is a digital artist and she posts her artwork online. She has a strict no-repost policy due to her and other artists having their work and clout stolen. She currently has over 3000 followers and she has an amazing talent. You can follow her on Instagram

Sometimes, it can even be a legal matter. In January 2020, Jonas Jödicke, a digital artist from Germany, had his artwork stolen by Aaron Carter. Jonas politely asked Aaron to take down his artwork, but not only did Aaron refuse, but he also went on to his YouTube channel and bashed Jonas for even putting it out there.

Renard, Ana, and Jonas are just three of the people who have put their time, effort, and value into their work online just for other people to steal their content and claim it as their own. Think of it as if it’s shoplifting.

Why do people steal content? Maybe it’s because they want the clout without the hard work. Maybe they’re too lazy to make something original or even have an original thought so they find something they like and copy it. Maybe they had no idea they had done it and will try to rectify it. Whatever it is, there are content thieves out there. Content thieves can be your random joe blow or it could be someone who does have street cred. Well, whatever street cred they have left. Here are a few people that came to my mind when it comes to plagiarizing.

Rachel Hollis

Okay, you know I have to put some anti-MLM content on here. Rachel Hollis comes up often, though she, herself, has not been in MLMs, she has spoken at MLM conventions such as Arbonne. Buzzfeed wrote an article about accusations of plagiarism against Hollis stemming from the quotes she posted on her Instagram, including one from fellow motivational speaker and author Robin Sharma, who said “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life”.

Jayson Blair

Jayson Blair was a former journalist for the New York Times. For all the troubles NYT has had over the years, this might seem minuscule. But at the time, this was the biggest scandal in New York Times history. He rose quickly in the newspaper industry, stealing content, plagiarizing from other journalists, and even making up stories as he went along. He, a managing editor, and an executive editor took the fall in the end, but I found an NPR interview with the director-producer of the documentary that focuses on Blair and his scandal.

Fareed Zakaria

Okay, I’m gonna be honest with you… I don’t know how the hell he got out of this unscathed, but when I was still in the CNN International circle on Twitter, this scandal popped up. Fareed Zakaria hosts “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN and you would think that with his own plagiarism scandal he would actually not have a show on CNN, but what do you expect from CNN these days, right? In 2008, Zakaria published his book “Post-American World” in 2008 and the second version in 2011. It was so popular that it even made the New York Times Bestseller. You would think with that honor the book would hold up well, right? Wrong. In 2012, he admitted to taking a paragraph from a New Yorker article and passing it off in his Time Magazine article as his own. It didn’t stop there, as “Our Bad Media” made two posts 8 years ago detailing Zakaria’s serial plagiarizing campaign. (link) (link)

What to do with them

Okay, so I went to A Self Guru’s blog post about stealing content and she has put out some of the tools we could use to fight back when we see our work reposted without permission. Some of this you can also do with other stolen content like filing a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) or directly contacting the person who posted it. You can also contact the hosting site for the offender and send screenshots to all involved.

Here on WordPress, Renard has told me that he had removed the Reblog option, but so far it hasn’t stopped people from stealing his blog posts

Ana and Jonas always made sure to sign their digital artwork to prevent people from reposting it on Instagram and other sites. Ana has a strict “no repost” rule on her page and has not had any problems since she placed it on her social media bios.

As for me, I’m going to remove the Reblog option from here on out, but I will encourage you to share this post with your closest circles. I’m always trying to generate more quality content on my blog, so if you have any tips, let me know in the comments below

NFL Season is Upon Us

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to the blog post here

Okay, I’m not committed to one team, but I’m actually happy that football season is back

Yesterday, the season started with the Buffalo Bills beating the defending Super Bowl champs the Los Angeles Rams 31-10.

If you’re not in the United States, let me tell you this… the NFL is huge here. We’re talking athletes making bank, companies paying (and making) millions in advertising, podcasts after podcasts talking about every single move for their leagues and local teams (The Locked On podcast series has every single podcast for every team in the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and beyond), analysts having a steady workflow, fantasy football leagues competing for top monetary prizes, and so on. And don’t forget the storylines

Like I said, I’m not committed to one team, however, I am cheering on two teams this year… the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals. I’m also following the New England Patriots, but that’s because they don’t have Tom Brady anymore (I’m not against Tom Brady tho)

I’m not going to get technical on player stats, team stats, depths, betting odds, and all of that because I’m dumb and don’t really know what any of it means, but I can tell you that a good team should have a great offense and defense, and a solid quarterback/head coach relationship.

With that being said, I’m gonna watch the Eagles and the Cardinals this season to see how they do (and they actually play each other in Glendale, AZ, on October 9). If you have a favorite team, drop it below in the comments.

Qmee: The only survey app you need

From qmee.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

UPDATE: Qmee featured my story

Before you ask, I am not sponsored by Qmee. I am only doing this because I love it

For the past 6 years, on and off, I have been taking surveys on Qmee. Out of all the survey apps I have used, Qmee is by far the best app that I ever used. The usability, the offers, the bonuses — this survey site exceeded my expectations. Today, I’m going to give a very short review of Qmee.

About Qmee: Qmee is a survey service founded in 2012 by Jonathan Knight and Nick Sutton. According to the website, it was created to bring brands and their users closer together, and it’s usually done through surveys, offers, deals, and gaming. When I started, they only had surveys and offers.

Creating your profile: When you create your profile, you will be presented with profile details to fill out. This will help you land surveys that best fit your description. You’d want to get to 100% as soon as possible to get the best matches. Among the categories listed are home, work, gaming, shopping, and leisure. You can change these at anytime

Explore Qmee: Click on Explore Qmee and you’ll be given 11 challenges to complete. Some can be done quickly, like checking out a deal or completing your profile details. Others can take a while to complete, like unlocking 5 oinq’s (yes, that’s what they call it) by taking part in a daily poll and/or filling out a survey

Finishing your first survey: You can actually take part in a survey right away. The cool thing about Qmee is that because the site finds the best surveys based on your profile, you have a higher chance of completion. That doesn’t mean you will complete each survey, but you will find yourself completing multiple surveys daily. Once you successfully complete the survey, you earn the reward and you can actually cash out right there. Surveys are where I made the majority of my money on Qmee.

Cashout options: In the cashout options, you can either send your earnings to your Paypal account or your Venmo account, you can obtain gift cards, or you can donate to charity. With these options, you get to decide where you put your earnings. Just make sure you connect your Paypal account to your Qmee account before you cash out your earnings

Daily polls and pop quizzes: You can also take part in daily polls and have a chance to earn money by answering a pop quiz. You have 15 seconds to answer the question and it runs twice a day. A correct answer will net you 3 cents. Participating in the daily poll will add a day to your active streak

5-day Oinq streak: You get an increase of 10% in earnings for surveys when you log in at least 5 days in a row. The deal resets if you miss a day, and you’ll have to log in for 5 days to reactivate it.

Offers/deals/gaming: Besides surveys, you can also earn a percentage of cashback or actual cash by taking part in offers, deals, and gaming. They all have different rules on how to obtain the reward, so whichever one you choose, make sure you follow all the rules to receive your reward (usually you get them in 30 days). Usually, they pay out in 30-60 days.

Browser extension: You can download the browser extension to earn while your search on Google, Amazon, or wherever you shop online. Besides surveys, I have made some cash searching for things online. Just remember that you have to do this naturally for it to count. I had it installed on my Google Chrome literally the day I signed up, and it’s fairly easy to do it.

Qmee app: The app is available on the App Store and on Google play. The functionality is the same as the web version, so you can fill out surveys and receive cashback as you go. I have the app installed on my phone and on my tablet.

What I have noticed when I use both web and app versions is that some surveys are only available on one of two platforms. That’s why when I fill out surveys, I make the habit of using both web and the app to maximize my earnings. Overall, it’s pocket money and it has so far helped me save for things and filled a void that my freelance job couldn’t.

You get three referral links when you sign up and you get the rewards based on which link someone clicks on. Here are my three referral links: the first link I keep $1; the second link splits $0.50 each; the third link you keep $1. Whichever one you choose, I hope you have a great experience on Qmee.

First referral link

Second referral link

Third referral link

Anyone up for a game of UNO?

My two UNO decks that I bought in 2014
NEW: You can listen to the blog post here

If you were to ask me, UNO is my favorite card game in the entire world. I love matching colors and numbers and discarding them in a pile and the variations that came out since the game premiered in 1971 have made it even more fun

In my 33 years on earth, I have owned the two you saw above — the original and UNO Dare — as well as UNO Attack which was my birthday present in 2001.

The rules are the same somewhat throughout the series… you draw 7 cards to each player, then whoever goes first puts a card in the discard pile and the next person to their left has to either match the color, or the number, or has to draw until he or she gets the first card that matches the criteria

Sometimes a player can play those special cards like reverse, draw, wild card, draw 2, and wild plus draw 4. A player wins the game after discarding their final card (or cards, if necessary). Beforehand, though, they have to yell out UNO when they’re on their final card.

It’s always fun when I play it with my family. We actually played this many times in the early months of the pandemic. Though I haven’t played it in over a year, it’s still my go-to game when I have downtime.

I bought these two decks in 2014 from a nearby Walgreens that have since shut down. The original UNO deck had been well known for decades, but the UNO Dare deck had just come out. I still have them 8 years later, but I have placed them in sandwich bags.

Yeah, I tried the apps too, but nothing beats the old classic game

The Smugness of Social Media

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

If there is one thing I learned about being on social media, it’s that people are smug. They will show their smugness out in the open. They will also hide it behind cutesy words. This was especially prevalent when the Biden Administration announced plans to forgive student loans for 20 million Americans last week

Of course, I was happy for those who still have them even though I never had student loans. Some, like me, who have never had student loans or have paid them off, think this is a bad idea because “if I could do it, so can they. It was the attitude I was seeing as I was scrolling through Twitter on the day of the announcement.

With high education costs in this country, I see not having student loans or paying them off as a privilege. I recognize that, and I’m using it to tell those struggling to pay them off that I’m happy for you.

Of course, the other part of the announcement is the cap on interest rates at 5%. The unlimited interest rates plus the predatory lending are why many people owe more than they borrowed.

As I mentioned earlier, people who gained an upper hand in any situation love to feel smug about the less fortunate. They feel that because they could do this and that with ease, everyone else should do the same. And it’s not just those who no longer paying student loans before the announcement came, but also I see this with MLM huns, billionaires, multimillionaires, bankers, politicians, and CEOs, and some of them didn’t actually work hard to get to the top.

Speaking of politicians… I’ll leave this here:

A thread from the official White House Twitter account where they dunk politicians who had their PPP loans forgiven for bitching and moaning about students having their student loans forgiven

All I’m saying is this… even if you’re like me and are not affected by the announcement, at least have empathy for those who are. Empathy goes a long way and you and others will be better off for it.

I used to watch CNN International 24/7 but…

From 1000logos.net
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

I haven’t really watched in forever

It all started one day in 2004 after Ronald Reagan’s death that I just wanted to see what was happening. But I quickly wanted more out of it. I knew there was more of CNN than I was seeing, given that I’m living in the United States and did a bit of digging on the internet or how global the channel is. Enter CNN International.

I started watching because I wanted to know what was going on around the world. I love learning about countries, so I’m always down for Eurovision and the Olympics (and the World Cup).

I ended up tuning in to CNN International religiously (even when we got hit with 4 hurricanes that year) because of the news happening all over the world, but also because the anchors and reporters were top-notch (I’m one of those people lol).

I stopped watching in 2005 and didn’t get back to it until one day in 2009 when I was flipping through the channel at the end of my day in college and I saw that my local cable provider had added it in three days earlier. So, again, I started watching religiously.

During that time, greed took over on their part. The management (and the ones that came after) started gutting the journalists I got to know and love and replaced them with the ones that keep making headlines themselves despite the old adage that journalists should never be part of the news. I stopped watching in 2016

My last run with it went from 2019 to early 2022. It had carried me through the pandemic, but I also saw that the most meaningful shows only came on in the middle of the night, morning hours, and afternoon my time. The US primetime lineup is exactly the same as the main CNN primetime lineup (they had this for 10 years now), and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Plus, it’s hard to find the channel when you cut the cord.

So why am I bringing this up? One, I wanted to be a journalist. I love writing, but at the time, I didn’t feel like I would want to pursue the career. I always admired them, sometimes much more than most people. Two, I was in college pursuing a degree in Accounting, and this was a way for me to unwind from the coursework. Three, I got to meet other CNNI fans all over the world at the height of it between 2009 and 2011 and I felt like I have a solid network (and I still follow them on social media to this day, even if we’ve gone on to other things).

I will say this, despite the troubles… the journalists at CNN are real and credible and nothing in this world will convince me otherwise. However, the greed from both management and some of the anchors had taken over and while the new boss is trying to clean up the act, I don’t think it’ll be enough to get this longtime fan to come back. So, in short, I have moved on to getting news mainly from local sources and some independent news outlets (and no, don’t take anything at face value, no matter who is saying it).

Let me know your thoughts on the news industry as a whole.

%d bloggers like this: