Blogging is a weird thing. If I don't do it daily (or close to daily), it gets increasingly hard to drag myself back to blogdom, and increasingly easy to just shrug my shoulders and say "Meh, not much huge and interesting is going on anyway, there's no point in babbling about boring daily crap." Which, in many ways, is sort of the point of blogging in the first place, as far as capturing daily minutiae that you'd otherwise lose, which in itself isn't very valuable as discrete words but collectively picks up some strength, when you look back at the journey it chronicles over time.
Or, you know, something like that.
The pretty much complete implosion of my affiliate business has had me down for awhile, for all the obvious reasons, and has honestly sucked a lot of life out of ye olde blog here. The UIGEA was pretty much a double kick to the junk for me, as I not only lost pretty much all of the monies from the affiliate streams I'd built up over time, but all of the freelance gigs I was pulling in as well creating content for Ongame, as they battened down the financial hatches and put a kibosh on all the money they were spending developing domains they owned. The perfect storm completed itself with the few non-gambling freelance writing contracts I had not getting picked up again at pretty much the same time.
The silver lining (sort of) was that all of the above was complete and utter gravy money, and we'd always treated it as such from Day 1. ScurvyWife and I don't spend much money or have expensive tastes, both have day jobs that pay decently well, no kids, etc. So all that money going bye-bye is far from a financial catastrophe and doesn't really impact us, as far as being able to do all the things we want to on a day-to-day basis. But it's been a dark cloud over my heads for months now, and the cause of much teeth grinding, as I kept trying to find hidden outs, some way to immediately rectify the situation, some way to replace all of that extra money. No matter how much I ground, though, there just wasn't an easy answer.
The holiday break was nice, though, as far as sorting out my head and giving myself a needed kick in the ass to get back to work. I've managed to keep my nose pretty close to the grindstone the last week or so, as far as buckling down and getting some new projects underway, revamping some older mainstream affiliate websites that I still had floating around, and other similar things. There's just no upside to wallowing and being angry about Frist & cohorts, and no sense in waiting around for some magical machine to descend from the sky, to fix everything. It's pretty painful to basically exchange dollars for pennies, as far as the monthly income I can expect to generate from affiliate sites I have up, but that's the reality, and whining and moaning won't change it.
Like many things done to us that we moan and/or cry about and/or shake our fists at, in the end I pretty much have myself to blame. I lumped all of my eggs in pretty much one basket, and didn't do much to diversify things. Instead of continuing to crank out sites in a wide range of industries or reinvesting cash into other pursuits, I was pretty happy and content to cruise along, doing what I was doing, cashing checks, etc. Granted, I did a pretty good job of being smart about pulling out profits and investing it in real estate, IRAs, and stocks, so it's not like I blew it all on strippers and blow, but I also left a godawful amount of money just sitting there on the table, and did nothing to cover my ass if the online gambling affiliate market went poof, which it essentially did if you were largely dealing with US players and traffic.
Drawing the obvious poker parallel, I'm now faced with a situation that's pretty similar to blowing through your bankroll and going busto and starting from scratch playing micro-limits. One nice thing about the affiliate business is that, like poker, you're pretty much guaranteed to make some money, if you're savvy enough and willing to put in the time. Like micro-limit poker, though, it's really slow going at first, as you build traffic, as you're literally building up an income stream pennies at a time. The obvious problem, though, is that it's really, really damn hard to play .02/.04 limits when you're used to playing 20/40, especially when you have to put in hours each and every day, because it's the only way you're going to rebuild your roll. You know it'll work, as you already have the proof of concept, but it really doesn't make starting over from scratch any easier.
Which is a really long-winded, slant apology for the blah, repetitive nature of things around these here blog parts of late. So, you know, sorry...
I've been getting back into the metalcasting stuff, and am finally at the point of being able to make stuff that looks reasonably cool. I've been playing around with lost foam casting, which is basically making something out of styrofoam, burying it in loose sand, and then pouring molten aluminum into the mold, with the metal simultaneously burning out the styrofoam and taking it's place, which happens quickly enough to prevent the sand from collapsing so you get a surprisingly detailed reproduction of whatever you originally made out of styrofoam. On the bright side, it greatly speeds up the creative process, as you don't have to make a wax model, encase it in plaster, burn it out in a kiln, etc. (which is what I previously did, which is called the lost wax process). The major downside, though, is that it's hard to get a smooth finish on any pieces you cast, as they pick up the detail of the styrofoam, so you end up with what likes like styrofoam aluminmum, as far as the finish. You can apparently coat the styrofoam with a mixture of drywall compound and water, though, before casting it, to get a smoother finish, so that's the next thing I'll experiment with.
Like anything, these hobbies seem to build on themselves, as now I'm looking at assorted plans to build a DIY hobby CNC router, to be able to be a little more precise in cutting out foam patterns for stuff.
I've also been getting back into more actively playing assorted markets, as far as trading options and dipping my toe into precious metals markets for the first time. Interesting stuff, and probably something I'll babble about in the near future.