Sunday, December 31, 2006

Buh-Bye 2006

It's kind of interesting to wave goodbye to 2006. I'm not sure if it's a happy or sad wave. More happy than sad, I suppose. But not quite the same as joyfully bidding 2005 adieu, either, for a variety of reasons.

If I had to wager on it, my money would be on 2006 improving with age, as far as looking back on it as the start of many good things. Buying a second house introduced a lot of short-term headaches, but it's the first necessary dominoe to tip over if I'm going to get out of the corporate monkey cage and give real estate investing a go. Throwing in the poker towel and giving up any notion of playing full-time or semi-full-time makes me a sad monkey, but I'm just not wired to be successful at poker under those conditions. Having virtually all of my extra income from affiliate sites wiped out by the UIGEA shenanigans and being forced to rebuild things from scratch sucked pretty royally, but I'd been getting kind of lazy in regards to that stuff anyway, and needed a jolt to get my ass in gear again.

Nothing bad happened to anyone close to me, so there's that to be thankful of. As a country, we inched a year closer to the 2008 elections and our collective waking nightmare at least easing a bit, regardless of who ends up being elected. Hopefully the economy can continue its precarious balancing act for a bit longer until some of the damage of the last eight years or so can be unwound, lest we fall head-first over the cliff.

See you in 2007. Be safe and have fun.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You've Been on Vacation Too Long When You Pine for the Salt Mines

I hope everyone had (or is having) a very nice Christmas holiday, assuming you celebrate such stuffs. Ours was pretty low-key, which was nice. ScurvyWife and I agreed not to go nutso with the gifts this year, as there's a million things we want to do with the new house, and, unfortunately, houses have pretty damn expensive tastes.

All this time off from work this month has left me in the third or fourth level thinking of: "I need a vacation from my vacation from my vacation". Don't get me wrong, not having my soul sucked from my ears and nostrils at the place I work is the best thing in the world, but I am starting to miss the social interaction, even with the mouth-breathing, gold-chain wearing, calliope-ringtone-playing types. My wife is very cool and my rat is very cool but I'm starting to miss, oh so very slightly, that slant ego boost one gets when working on a daily basis with some of the pettiest, insecure, and/or vindictive people that corporate America can churn out. Kind of like how watching Cops can always make you feel a bit better about yourself, no matter how much your life is currently sucking. Unless it doesn't. At which point you know you're in real trouble.

Some interesting posts and experiences here (Early Retirement) and here (Retiring young, happiness), in regards to the whole-make-lots-of-money-retire-early line of thinking that many of us (myself included) are obsessed with. I flip-flop pretty regularly on the subject, as far as imagining what my life would be like if I'd socked away enough money to simply do whatever I wanted at any given time.

In many ways, it'd probably be largely similar to what it is now, except with lots of travel thrown in. We'd probably live in the same area we currently do, in a similar house (except maybe more in the country with acreage for horses and donkeys and what-not), drive the same cars, etc. I'd probably still do all the affiliate marketing stuff, buy and sell real estate, finally get around to seriously trying to write a book, and continue to fail miserably in trying to trade the precious metals markets.

Travel is the one thing that'd be drastically different, though. That's the one thing that I feel like I'd have really dropped the ball on, if a safe crammed full of rubies fell on my head tomorrow. And not for any socially-aware, mind-expanding reason, but simply because there's so much shit out there in the world to see, for the sheer sake of seeing it. Everywhere. Pick a continent.

In the end, I suppose that's pretty hopeful, as I'm reasonably close to living how I'd like to live, if money were no issue. I'm blessed/cursed with the busy gene, with a healthy dose of the greedy monkey acquisitive gene, so I doubt I'd wrestle too much with struggling to find something to keep myself occupied with. But it is interesting to ponder, especially at the end of the year when it's reviewing and/or resolution time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Amazing, Flying (Well, No) Rat

I honestly don't know how you breeders manage it. ScurvyRat somehow consistently manages to, at any given moment, do the exact thing that will maximize trouble, consternation, and/or woe. I mean, he weighs like a pound and a half. How that much trouble-causing can be packed into such a small mass, I do not know. We could probably solve all that stuff over there in the Middle East by simply releasing a few rat bombs to wreak utter havoc and doom, until the "terrorists" capitulated and all was well in the world.

He managed to bung up his hand last night, doing his best impression of a flying rat (which in reality was pretty poor, flight-wise), and is moping around now, not eating much. Which would normally be fine, as he's fine and just cut his hand a bit, but we're supposed to drive to Dallas on Saturday and had planned to just load him up with food and leave him to his own devices until we got back on Tuesday. Which will probably still be the plan, given that he gets insanely car sick and hates even short car rides, much less trips to Dallas. But now of course I get to worry too much about him, with the added bonus of irrationality and consternation that always accompanies me worrying too much about the rat, because, umm, dude, he's just a rat.

Nice work, non-flying rat.

Absolutely no one in the office today. Thanks for making me come in, instead of the normal schedule of today being a telecommuting day. Watch as I amaze you with my lack of productivity and ability to sit here all day, mashing keys on my keyboard, accomplishing nothing. Whee...

Many thanks for for assorted support (especially you, Senor Falstaff) of the Gadooney affiliate project. It's been pretty refreshing to work on something like that that I truly enjoy rambling on about, which isn't always the case with some of the affiliate work I've done.

Not much else going on these days, other than scurrying around to finish up the Giftmas shopping. Visiting assorted malls and retailers this time of year is pretty much my own personal vision of hell, but I suppose that's what I get for putting off shopping past the point of no return, as far as buying anything online and getting it shipped to you in time.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We Have Liftoff

So I've been threatening to launch a new blog detailing everything you ever wanted to know about affiliate marketing, and lo and behold, here it be:

Gadooney.com

It's very much a work in progress, but that's the plan for the site, as I'm enjoying setting it up as a project that is by nature a work in progress, with it being a meta-y affiliate site that shows you all the steps in setting up a successful affiliate site.

I've been surprised at the volume of emails I've gotten asking about it, but it makes some sense when I thought about it. Many bloggers play poker to make money, so it's pretty natural to be curious about other ways to make cash, armed with nothing more than a keyboard and the ability to write well. I also like to think I have a decent track record of showing people assorted ways to make cash, so there's that, too.

Since it's still in its infancy, it's still very much at the nuts-and-bolts stage, and I plan to get into more technical stuff as it unwinds.

Any and all links and bookmarks are, as always, appreciated.

Brandi, Brandi, Brandi...

Sweet Jebus, but that Brandi Hawbaker thread is some amusing stuff. On the one hand, there's no reason to believe any of that is true given the sources and participants involved, but so many of the strange details (Huggles and back penises and what-not) are weird and bizarre enough that I end up believing much of it.

Storytelling is an odd thing that way. We're prone to equate specificity and attention to detail with honesty, but that's a pretty easy puzzle to decode and reverse. And it's odd, too, as far as why we'd equate those things in the first place. Why does providing lots of details make something more trustworthy and legitimate? It's just more detailed, nothing more, nothing less.

ScurvyWife and I listen to a silly radio morning show while commuting and they had a bit the other day about how guys will always corroborate and cover for their guy friends if either needs a good cover story and did a mock conversation where two dudes are working out what they did after work, to explain to the wife of one why he was a few hours late getting home. The cover story was fairly convoluted and involved moving furniture, helping some lady in a blue Taurus who had a flat, then getting stuck at a light when a parade for disabled vets, etc (which they had actually seen while driving back form the bar, which was where they really were). Very specific, and it sounded good to me. And then a female caller phoned in and told them she always knew when her husband was lying when he busted out such things, because he NEVER normally talks to her that much about anything, so when he unreels all of the insanely specific details it's a sure sign he's lying, instead of grunting that he had a good day and disappearing.

Poker, poker, poker. Just when I think you're done with you and I'm finished then I go on a nice heater. It is interesting, though, as I've been playing NL again of late, and I have to agree with the general perception that seems to be floating around out there that the games have changed a good bit for the worse. Maybe it's because the last serious batch of NL I played was on the blessed iPoker network that I no longer have access to, but I think it may be a little more widspread than that. While the UIGEA didn't quite have the killer asteroid effect that some imagined, I wonder if much of its impact was imply delayed a few months, as far as the deadest of money not being replaced as quickly as it had been in the past. Yes, indeed, US citizens can still play at any number of sites, but the Party juggernaut isn't spending loads of cash on advertising to keep replenishing the supply of dead money that was propping the whole thing up, as far as attracting new clueless fish with cash.

Been thinking a lot about blogs and content and what-not lately, mostly in the very abstract. It's mostly prompted by programs like Pay-Per-Post and ReviewMe cropping up of late, and the response to both. What interests me is the notion that there's an implied compact of sort between bloggers and readers, which is typically boiled down to the following:

Blogs should be unbiased and ad-free, with nothing interfering with the enjoyment of the content by the reader. Anyything else violates the spirit of the blog. If ads are unobtrusive or otherwise do not interfere with the enjoyment of said content, then and only then is it acceptable for bloggers to profit from such ads.

There's also usually an addendum to the above, something like this:

If for whatever reason a blog has ads, then the acceptability and quanity of such ads is directly proportional to the enjoyment or intrinsic value the blog provides. Ads are tolerable on very popular blogs because they are very popular blogs.

I pretty much agree with the above, as far as my own personal take. But I'm curious as to how that line of thought developed, especially in relation to blogs, which the author is most often doing for free and not otherwise being reimbursed for. It's a bit of a chicken and the egg thing, but it seems one of the few arenas in which someone consumes something and benefits for absolutely free (the reader) yet manages somehow to dictate the terms of the engagement, as far as what is or is not acceptable. If you're a female at Mardi Gras with large breasteses and are desirous of beads, you don't get said beads by only saying "Hey, dumbass, give me those beads."

And sure, I know, bloggers can do any damn thing they want, readers be damned, but if you reduce your audience to 0 it's a pretty moot point.

I truly have no larger point that I'm working up to with all this, I just find it fascinating.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Like All The Leaves are Falling Off the Trees Simultaneously

Big huge yards and big huge trees are theoretically very nice features to possess. Except, you know, when it's fall and suddenly there are many metric asstons of leaves to rake and bag up. Save me from the leaves, wee baby Jebus baby.

Sneaky plans to not be in the office until January got slightly derailed. True to form, the powers that be decided that it was better to take the petty, completely non-sensical approach and make me come into the office on my two telecommuting days this week when they realized I wouldn't be back in the office until January. Mmmkay, that's some fine management skills on display there, cranking up the disgruntled knob and only gaining the utility of having me drag myself in for two whole days, and quarter-assing it through those.

Some interesting things floating around the poker blogosphere of late. No thoughts or comments on the drama stuff but I did think Duggle's Full Tilt account getting hacked did raise some interesting issues. 'Tis probably a good wake-up call for everyone who plays online, as far as the nature of this beast that we have fondness in our hearts for. It completely sucks that peoples' accounts have been hacked but I think you have to keep in mind that we're talking about unregulated activites that the US government has been pretty vocal about deeming illegal. Drawing parallels to banks or PayPal seems a bit of a stretch, as I doubt that any of us, if we're being totally honest, truly believe that we have a God given right for funds we leave at an online poker site to be as secure and safe and protected as money in a Chase account. I've had pretty disgusting sums of money tied up in sportsbooks in the past and would have been absolutely sick and/or livid if that money went poof, but I was also aware of the potential risk I was running.

I'm also a little surprised at the ReviewMe backlash here and there, or I suppose, more accurately, the opinion voiced here and there of late that blatantly monetizing poker blogs is somehow sullying the blog and/or content. I completely and utterly respect the opinion that there's no place for ads and related clutter on blogs, and that things like paid reviews are cancerous to the world of blogging. It does change the content and the experience, almost always for the worst, if viewed from the perspective of the user. This here blog is a good example of that. I'm the first to admit that.

What intrigues me, though, is that most of the criticism focuses on the blatant nature of it, and not so much on the principle. In my eyes, there's little difference from doing paid reviews for ReviewMe and running Party banners or Full Tilt ads on your site. We all immediately gloss over that stuff anyway and all recognize it for exactly what it is, silly shilling that puts some extra bucks in our pockets. Is a paid review any different than the same Full Tilt ad everyone runs and recognizes as a paid ad? Does quietly running a banner ad in the sidebar make you less of a whore?

Or I guess the real crux of it is that as long as I've been reading poker blogs (approaching three years now), I've been seeing affiliate links and banners. Much of the criticism seems to presuppose a pristine, wonderful world before the fall, when the apple was uneaten and poker blogs were chock full o' texty goodness, with no eye towards making money or monetizing content or any crap like that. And I do agree, that'd be a cool world, but I'm just not sure it ever existed.

But then again, I can be a pretty shilly monkey, so I'm far from unbiased and not the best judge.

Cruising along in 2nd in one of Pauly's football pools and had one of those "der" moments this week, as somehow or other I picked KC to beat San Diego straight up, despite the fact that I'd pick that roughly 0.00% of the time if I was paying attention when clicking radio buttons. Trailing 1st by two points, which isn't much on the surface but it's hard to pick up points in pools where you're picking games straight up, especially when the leader isn't going out on any limbs. The end of the NFL season does sometimes get strange though once teams have clinched and have nothing to play for,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Need a Vacation from Vacation

Two days into my year end orgy of vacation time and I'm already pretty worn out. Made approximately 182,192 trips back and forth from Austin to Lockhart in the last week or so, finally completely emptying out the garage at the old place. I'm now the proud owner of 9 tape measures. No, seriously. For some reason, I'm kryptonite to tape measures, and as soon as I buy one it goes missing approximately twelve seconds later. So I buy another one. And anoter one. And another one. Apparently they were breeding in the garage. Who knew.

Today was the Epic Day of Many Chores. Many Chores were slain. The people rejoiced.

The elderly neighbor lady directly across the street just came over and introduced herself. Then she said "My husband died in June and I haven't been out of the house since." Then we made a little more small talk and she told us she was going blind from macular degeneration. Then she wished us a Merry Christmas and left. Then I started feeling bad for bitching and moaning fifteen minutes earlier for losing another goddamn 80/20 goddamn poker hand, goddamnit.

Poker and I are currently in the sneak over at night and slash each others tires stage of the relationship. Played the last FPP satellite for the PCA event at Stars on Sunday, with the top 3 finishers getting a trip package. Played my ass off and tripled up and then lost with AA vs. KK to the other big stack at the table, whacking me all the way down to 1000 chips, with blinds of 50/100. Pillaged and stole and played my ass off again, rebuilding to about average stack until KK lost to J5o (who pushed over my 5BB pre-flop raise). Hung around on life support then doubled, then tripled up a little while later. Steadily chipped up from there until the fourth hour, when AA lost to J9o (who pushed over the top of my 5BB raise from MP), at which point I mercifully busted.

I've been trying to bust my last $1,000 or so online at Full Tilt since then, but nay, the bastards had to roll out the mixed games, and I think a short-bus riding orang could make money in those games right now. So I'm still playing, but it's with malice and blind simian rage in my heart. Which actually seems to be working out well at the moment. Who knew.

Oh palladium, why art thou so volatile?

About to take the wraps off the new websites I've been working on, so stay tuned for that.

Friday, December 08, 2006

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

So, umm, is something happening in Vegas this weekend?

I hope all of you degenerates have a great time. ScurvyWife recently started a new job so taking a trip just wasn't in the cards for us (har) as she's got essentially zero time off to spend, plus we're fairly pot committed (har) to spending time with her folks after going to Tennessee for Thanksgiving to visit mine. We're hoping to make it out to Vegas sometime soon, though, likely early spring.

I'm a perpetual hoarder of vacation days/assorted paid time off days at work, so December is usually pretty sweet, as I usually have to burn a goodly amount of vacation days to get under the cap that I can carry over to next year. So I'm taking off Tuesday-Thursday for the next two weeks, and then am off the entire week following Giftmas day. Add in the fact that I telecommute on Mondays and Fridays and after today I won't have to step foot into the office again until Jan. 2, 2007. This makes me a very, very happy monkey.

If you've ever lost money in any sort of investment and felt like a chump, hop on over to I Am Facing Foreclosure for a quick ego boost. I'm sorry but sweet Jebus, what a train wreck that is to read. Sort of like reading assorted poker blogs where you know that the person is destined for Bustoville, as not only has the kid dug a ginormous hole for himself, but apparently he hasn't learned a single thing along the way, still looking to swing more deals to get some "positive cash flow", still running up credit card debt, etc.

What is it in us that makes reading painful stuff like that so much more appealing than reading tales of success? Envy? Greed? A need for reassurance? Maybe I shouldn't say this out loud, but it's always more engaging to read about someone blowing through their bankroll and going busto instead of someone who has run up a tiny bankroll into many grandusands of American dollars. Which is weird. It's not that I'm bitter and jealous of big winners, or that I default to wishing doom and gloom to befall everyone but myself. It's simply just more entertaining to read about someone who loses the biggest pot of their life when a mouth-breather hits their two-outer on the river, despite the fact that I personally know that pain very, very well, and should instead be empathizing greatly with the blogger.

Staying pretty busy of late, mostly with Web monkey work. It's been kind of fun diving back into the world of SEO/Google Adsense and knocking some of the rust off there, as I'd gotten away from playing that game the last year or two. While building and optimizing sites solely to grab search traffic and monetize it via Adsense and similar programs is not the most exciting or rewarding work in the world, it's still amazingly easy, if you're savvy enough and can crank out content. It's also essentially cost-free (other than your time), as Web hosting these days costs about as much as a Big Mac.

While I don't really need more ways to waste time, I have been thinking about starting a new blog that's a bit like the Degenerate challenge thing I did here, as far as starting from absolute zero, with a goal of making $2K/$3K/whatever$K a month within a certain time span, likely 1 or 2 years, using nothing more than a working knowledge of affiliate marketing, a cheap hosting account, and my monkey fingers and brain. Affiliate marketing definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's an easy way to make money, and you can scale it to whatever degree you like, as far as making beer money each month or more substantial income. I think it'd be fairly instructive and helpful in general, and completely transparent "challenges" like that seem to motivate me fairly well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Argh, Ye Scurvy Guvnor!

You have to love the odd phenomenon that is college football. Only strange humanoids such as ourselves could create such a baffling monster, equal parts straightforward, exciting, and utterly non-sensical.

I absolutely love the fact that nearly every year we end up in this same predicament, debating the pros and cons of a playoff system, dancing around the almighty dollar, before finally proclaiming it all good, and that the controversy as to who should play for the national title is just a fluky, one-time aberration, and that the current bowl system (cha-ching$$$) is super. Because, you know, college football is about making sure that the players get an education. Yep.

Besides, it's a great system, and it's just this one year that things are wacky and fans and teams are pissed. What, you remember this happening in other years? Go eat the last of the leftover turkey and stuffing, Tubs, and cram those memories right out of your head.

In the category of letters I never, ever thought I'd write:

Dear Miss Spears,

For the love of Jebus, choose one of the options below:

1) Wear panties.

or

2) Keep your legs closed.

Your biggest fan,
Me


We went to see a TXRD roller derby match last night, which was pretty entertaining. ScurvyWife works with a girl on one of the teams, which was the main reason we went, but I'd been meaning to go for years. I thought it was a pretty decent turnout for a cold Sunday night in Austin, so I guess the roller derby scene in Austin is still kicking.

Last Friday night we dropped by the Lockhart town square, as they were having a "Dickens Christmas" weekend, with food and booths set up with people hawking Christmasy stuff. We found a gift for my dad and stepmom but the pickings were pretty slim, as it was more of a sell-cheap-imported-crap thing than a craft fair, as it was advertised. We were about to take off when I noticed a bunch of, umm, pirates heading our way, yelling non-sensical pirate-isms. So we sort of stood there as twenty or so high-school age kids streamed by, all dressed up as, umm, pirates. I was trying to remember if there was a less popular Dickens book that was about pirates (A Scurvy Christmas?) when one of them handed me a flyer advertising some upcoming Renaissance festival type thing, but with a pirate theme. Which made it all a little more sensical. Well, sort of.

Poker, poker, poker... I've been playing some FPP satellites to the PCA event at PokerStars of late, mostly the 1000 FPP ones. Bumped up my FPP total to about 40,000 but I haven't had a chance to playing in either the 15,000/10,000 FPP events that pay 1/3 trip packages. Got fairly deep in a few $50-$100 buy-in tourneys, but only ended up with relatively baby cashes. AA didn't stand a chance versus 810s in one and KK couldn't hold up against A3o in the other. You know, standard.

I've pretty much cashed out my accounts, so I'm not sure what the poker future holds, at least for online play. My heart hasn't been in it for awhile and now my head and motivation have fled south for the border, as well. I'm basically a break-even player at best these days, but impatience is ruling the land and sea and leading to poor play.

I've been painting myself into an un-fun poker corner for awhile now, where I almost resent the time it soaks up, putting pressure on myself to justify the time expenditure by producing a certain amount of dollars, etc. Which I either manage to do (whew) or fail to do (bah). Perceptive readers will notice that there's no (whee) in that equation, just relief and pissed-offed-ness. Which probably is doomed to fall apart in the long run.

So what am I gonna do with all that free time, assuming that I do indeed manage to stay off the online poker crack pipe? I'm honestly not sure. Although the whole Nano thing ground to a halt pretty quickly, it did get me writing a bit again, at least enough to reawaken the residual guilt that I've never really given writing a shot. I can't get too stoked about the idea of writing more literary fiction like in grad school, as I think the world is pretty full up on that, but there's no reason not to get off my ass and write some detective novels. None at all. And yeah, odds are great that anything written will join the 99% of manuscripts that sit around in desk drawers, gathering dust, but at least I'll have given it a shot.

I need to be better about staying ahead of the curve, too, as far as projects around the house. I'm pretty good about staying busy, but I need to keep in mind that plans change and sometime opportunities arise that you can't really pass up. I got caught a bit unprepared by the timing of buying the new house here in Lockhart, as I was working under the assumption that I'd still have a year or two to finish up what I wanted to do on the Austin house (renovate the kitchen and bathrooms), and I don't want to make the same mistake here. We're planning on living in this house for quite awhile, and it'd be perfectly reasonably to plan out assorted projects over the next five years. But if I can bust my ass and do it all within a year or two, well, that's pretty much equivalent to money in the bank, even if I don't see it for awhile.

I'll likely also spend more time making artsy and/or fartsy stuff. I've had a lot of fun with the metalcasting stuff of late, and I think a big reason is that it forces me out of my recent mindset of almost unconsciously performing a cost analysis on anything I do. Yeah, money is nice, and I'll probably always be cooking up assorted schemes and plans to escape the 9-5 day job rat race, but always viewing things through the lens of whether it's a profitable use of my time is a pretty damn dreary way of living life. Aside from the fact that if I look back on the assorted things I've done in life that have made me money, most of them didn't originally stem from a blatant attempt to make money. This here poker blog has been pretty damn profitable but making money was the last thing I ever expected from it, when I started it up back in the realtive days of yore.

Not to continue the bashing of poor poker, but it's also pretty sobering to think I spent a few hours making my mom a candle holder cast from aluminum for Christmas, which she seemed to like, and will keep around the house, with it continuing to spark feelings of happiness for quite awhile. Contrast something as simple as that with all of the hours consumed by online poker in the last few years, and the tangible happiness that was created by that, for someone other than myself. I can't think of much, other than funding some trips to Vegas for ScurvyWife and myself and the happiness of socking away some money in the bank. I mean, yeah, true, I enjoyed playing poker a lot of that time, so there is a goodly amount of self-pleasure, but jerking off is fun, too, and just as impermanent.

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  • Graphics/Multimedia ad on any specific page of your choice: $100 per month with a 3 month minimum buy.

Banner Ad

  • Sitewide banner ad: $500 per month, with a 3 month minimum buy.

Product Reviews and Sponsored Posts

  • 200-500 word review of any specific product, website, or service: $75/review.

Please contact me at prufrockrocks@yahoo.com if you're interested in advertising on the site or have any further questions.