Man, time sure does fly when every day is a new waking nightmare, eh? Once again I’ve allowed myself to get sidetracked and not blog at all for a whole month. Part of it is there’s so many terrible things happening with our government right now that I don’t have time enough to finish one entry about the latest outrage before two more have occurred. So I end up trashing what I was working on to try and write something that covers the latest shitstorm and nothing ever gets finished.
So too have my attempts at vlogging and streaming fallen by the wayside. I’ve got no excuse not to be doing those things as I have a pretty good setup for it these days. I just haven’t been doing it. Sadly, I’ve fallen off the bike riding bandwagon as well. It’s been over a month since I last got on that and peddled around. I step outside and it’s like walking into an oven and I turn around and go right back inside.
This week I’m on vacation and the only really notable thing I’ve done was had my first, small LAN party yesterday. Friends Bob, Greg, and Andy came over and we were all really bad at surviving in Left4Dead 2 and then, after Bob had to leave, we played a little bit of Diablo 3 as I helped Andy get back into playing it.
Other than that it’s been eat, work, play video games, sleep, repeat for the past few weeks. Anne has been unemployed so we’ve not been going out and doing things because the budget is tight. All in all, other than keeping up with politics, my life has been relatively quiet. I will try not to let it go a month without posting something again.
Back in 2016 the E.U. passed a new law to protect user’s data called the General Data Protection Regulation that goes into full effect on May 25th, 2018. This is why you’ve been getting emails from so many online businesses on their Privacy Policies and how they handle your personal information. According to Wikipedia, the general gist of the law is this:
Superseding the Data Protection Directive, the regulation contains provisions and requirements pertaining to the processing of personally identifiable information of data subjects inside the European Union. Business processes that handle personal data must be built with privacy by design and by default, meaning that a system must be designed from the start to adhere to the principles of data protection, and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately. No personal data may be processed unless it is done under a lawful basis specified by the regulation, or if the data controller or processor has received explicit, opt-in consent from the data’s owner. The business must allow this permission to be withdrawn at any time.
A processor of personal data must clearly disclose what data is being collected and how, why it is being processed, how long it is being retained, and if it is being shared with any third-parties. Users have the right to request a portable copy of the data collected by a processor in a common format, and the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances. Public authorities, and businesses whose core activities centre around regular or systematic processing of personal data, are required to employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who is responsible for managing compliance with the GDPR. Businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy.
From what I’ve been able to gather, any website that captures so much as the IP address of someone visiting it is at risk of being in violation of this regulation and thusly possibly liable for fines for up to €20 million for non-compliance.
Now, I’d be surprised if the E.U. suddenly decided to come after me and the blogs I host for myself and friends and family as we’re decidedly small fish in the ocean of the Internet, but I’ve noticed a sudden influx of new user registrations on SEB from a bunch of people all using the same domain name which is a known SPAM account domain and I have to wonder if there’s going to be a trend of scammers trying to blackmail non-compliant bloggers into coughing up some dough. Which is why I’ve been trying to learn more about how this law applies to people like me.
In short, the whole thing is a huge pain in the ass and could bring about the end of Stupid Evil Bastard if I can’t figure out what I need to do to be in compliance. Turning off user registrations and disabling comments wouldn’t be enough as IP addresses would still be captured and that’s enough to be an issue. Short of blocking all traffic coming from the E.U. (and that wouldn’t stop users on VPNs), I don’t see an easy way to deal with this and I’ve got three days to figure this out.
Considering I’ve been researching it for a couple of months already, I’m not sure I”m going to be compliant in time.
Apologies for being away for so long — I just realized I didn’t get a single post up in February — but I am still alive and kicking. My recovery from the pinched nerve issue has been slow, but steady with my pain levels being mostly background noise these days. I had my second steroid injection into my spine on February 19th and it has helped considerably. I doubt I will need a third one.
Sitting in most chairs and on the toilet isn’t much of an issue anymore and I can bend over to pick up stuff from the floor without too much issue as long as I’m careful in how I do it. Putting my sock and shoe on my left foot is still a struggle, but I can do it on my own most days. I still have weakness in my left leg/foot/toes with numbness in the calf, big toe, and pinkies of my hands, but pain-wise I’m close to being back to normal. I can also sleep more than three or four hours at a time.
Now, of course, my hospital bills are rolling in and I’ve definitely hit the $4,000 deductible on my health insurance for the year. I fact, I somehow owe almost $4,500 to the hospital and various others involved in my treatment in spite of my deductible being $4K. I’m going to have to call Anthem and ask them how the fuck that’s possible. Thus stress over being in pain constantly has given way to stress over how to pay my hospital bill. Not sure how I’m going to do it, but I’ve been in spots like this before and have made it through.
Other than that, I’ve been working and sleeping a lot. I missed seeing the latest Star Wars movie in theaters and I’m more than a little bummed about that and I still haven’t seen Black Panther, but I hope to rectify that this coming weekend. Thanks to some help from my sister-in-law and her husband and my buddy Greg, we got the last of our boxes out of my mother-in-law’s basement. Now our basement is back to looking like this:
It really is amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years.
I’ve started digging through the boxes and a lot of them are full of books. So much so that I may need to buy a couple more bookcases if we decide to keep them all. We have to dig through all of this soon as we’re going to need the room to hold a going away party for my daughter, Courtney, who is packing up and moving to Phoenix, Arizona to take on a new job at her company that will be a big step up for her career.
Needless to say, plans to sit down and blog, vlog, and/or stream have not been working out for me lately. Not because I don’t have the time, but I’ve been lacking the motivation/inspiration. You hear all the time about how chronic pain is exhausting, but it’s another thing to actually experience it. Fortunately, I appear to be getting better and I’ve started actually exercising a bit (25 mins or so of walking a few times a week) in yet another attempt to improve my health and alleviate some of the issues I’m having. I’m hoping to buy a bicycle soon, but with the hospital bills coming in I’m not sure I can justify the cost.
So, I’m still here and I have every intention of getting back to posting more often. I can’t guarantee that I will, but, much like trying to get back into exercising, I’m going to try.
First up, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!
This year’s classic take on the Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.
Second, it appears I am as bad at vlogging regularly as I am at blogging regularly. I’ve done a whole two videos and one of them is just me petting Cuddles. I really had planned on doing more, but I’m being overly critical of my own efforts and giving up. That said, I’ve learned a lot about editing videos and I’m probably going to try just picking a subject and talking about it instead of trying to cover multiple topics at once. Will make for shorter videos, but perhaps I need to ease into it.
I have made several gaming videos including the ones I put in my last post and I’m thinking I’d like to start streaming. Still trying to decide if I should stream on YouTube or Twitch. I have accounts on both platforms and I’d be starting off from zero either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter. One thing I need to develop is my ability to talk about what I’m doing as I play. I still get so caught up in playing that my only commentary tends to be me whinging a bit when I feel I died a cheap death. I’m also finding it difficult to monitor the stream on the same PC I’m streaming on so I may need to put together a secondary machine strictly for monitoring the stream at some point. I’m not sure how people who do this full time are doing it. I’m not even sure if I play anything compelling enough for people to want to watch.
This week sees the launch of Call of Duty: WWII and I’ve taken Friday off because A) I had the time to take and B) three day weekend and I was thinking of using that as a starting point for streaming. Of course the game unlocks at Midnight so if I stay up to play it right away then there’s likely not going to be anyone awake to watch the stream. If I wait until after a good nights sleep, well, it’s Friday and everyone will be working anyway so I doubt it makes any difference.
Picked up a new Halloween themed lantern for the front yard.
Anyway, other than that I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Halloween and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Also looking forward to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Being that I live in an actual house in an actual neighborhood and not an apartment complex for the first time in my adult life, I fully expect to see tons of kids. Or at least I hope so because we bought 3 bags of candy totalling over 700+ pieces that two diabetics really shouldn’t have access to if no one shows up at the door.
Also I did get a new Pixel 2 phone from Google. I’m very impressed with it so far and I’m debating trying to do a review of it either as a vlog or standard blog entry. Dunno that I have anything particularly profound to say about it.
So that’s it. Nothing major going on right now other than playing around with YouTube and video editing without producing much of anything in the process and getting ready for Halloween. What have you folks been up to?
Sorry for the lack of postings lately, but we’ve been settling into our new home. We’ve been here for two and a half months now and we’re mostly unpacked. The living room, master bedroom, guest bedroom, dining room, and kitchen are unboxed and more or less sorted. Just Anne’s den and the basement remains and we made a good start on the basement this evening.
If you recall back at the start of June the basement looked like this:
And tonight it’s looking like this:
A huge improvement. The stack of boxes on the right is all stuff that needs to go upstairs to Anne’s den because it’s mostly arts and crafts or photographs and it was mistakenly moved to the basement during the move. Over in the area in the far back right is where I’ll be setting up my computer lab (my actual desk is just out of frame at the bottom) and it’s full of empty boxes that need to be broken down. 10 of the 14 lights in the ceiling have been replaced with LED bulbs after I replaced their wall switches. Just the four in front of the fireplace remain incandescent as we don’t use them as often, but I’ll be swapping those out before too long. I got my TARDIS lights my real estate agent gave me hung up in the bar area too, but I need a shorter extension cord for them.
I need to think of something to put on the wall behind me as right now it’s just wood paneling and one of the platforms for the kitty tower. I’m going to try my hand at vlogging and streaming and right now it’s stunningly bland.
I am the stereotype of the fat computer geek in his basement personified. One nice thing about the LED bulbs I put in. I don’t need studio lighting as these things do the job just fine. My webcam will do automatic background replacement, but the paneling is so light it ends up replacing part of my head and I look like a bad accident victim. I have some blue contact paper that might work, but the highlights on my chair are also blue so that could be a problem.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. Working and settling in. Next Friday is my birthday and we’re having a party which is part of why we’re busy getting the last of the boxes unpacked or stored away someplace. I still have to put together my BBQ grill that I got as an early birthday present from my mother-in-law. I’ve never actually grilled anything before so that should be fun.
Beyond that I keep meaning to blog something about Trump, but the fucker is rushing from one misadventure to another so quickly that I can’t keep up. Now that things are finally getting settled around here I’m going to make more of an effort. Especially with the vlogging thing. Not sure what I’ll do it about. If you have ideas you’d like to see me try, let me know.
It seems like every day I get one to upwards of five emails from people who just love my blog and want to know if they can “collaborate” on a post or who feel they have a page that is way more informative than whatever thing I linked to in an entry written years ago and they just want me to know that if I’d be willing to link to them/let them write a post that they’d help me out by sharing my amazing website with everyone they’ve ever known in their entire lives.
Here’s an example from Tuesday the 14th with the links to their website removed:
My name is Helen Sanders, I am the main editor at <website about health stuff redacted>
I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that we recently released a very comprehensive blog post on the benefits of cold showers.
I believe our piece is a lot more comprehensive, updated and quotes more trustable sources and I think it would be a great addition to your page.
If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.
Here is the link for your review:<link redacted>
Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!
Right off the bat it’s clear that Helen hasn’t been browsing my site nor has she read the entry in question. If she had then it should’ve been clear that the last thing my entry was doing was promoting taking cold showers. If anything, it’s a humorous rant against the idea of taking cold showers regardless of how healthy it would make me because cold showers suck. As such, there’s little need for a more comprehensive or updated source of information on the benefits of cold showers. The attempt at humor is in no way reliant on the accuracy of the article I linked to.
At least Helen gave me some details on what she wants from me. Just this morning I got this exciting offer:
My name is Rick and I would like to write a guest post for your website. I think your blog is missing one great story that would be of interest to your readers.
Send me a text if you’re interested.
What could it be?? How can I allow my die-hard readers to miss out on a great story like… like whatever it is he wants to write about? How can I sleep at night not knowing what amazing thing I and my readers are missing out on?
Here’s another one from yesterday:
My name is Jenna, I am the main editor at <website about dogs>.
I just thought your readers might like to have an updated link.
A very similar resource can be found at <link to website redacted>. Might fit in as a good replacement, if I may say so myself 😀
Just a thought – keep up the great work and have an awesome day.
Angelica here isn’t even offering to share my amazing article with her “umpteen tens of thousands, no, literally millions of visitors” for my trouble.
You need to step up your game, Angelica.
Shall we do one more? Sure, let’s do one more from two days ago:
My name is John Rizzo and I run a one man PR/marketing agency. I recently found your blog and wanted to reach out on behalf of some of my clients.
Specifically, we are interested in guest posts and sponsored posts. Is this something you offer?
If so, could you please send over more information.
I appreciate your time and I hope the rest of your week goes well!
You can tell John’s a professional as he’s using a standard Gmail account to send his inquiries. I’m sure all of those guest/sponsored posts would be of the highest quality.
To be honest, I’m surprised that I get a constant stream of emails like these considering the traffic to my blog isn’t what it used to be. The pages they want me to add their links to aren’t even in the top 10 of most popular threads on SEB. Most of them won’t even show up in the first few pages of a Google search for those topics. I can only assume they’re trying to gain page rank by getting as many places as possible to link to their websites.
Now usually I just delete these emails as they come in, but there’s a new trend as of late that has led to this rant: They won’t stop emailing me until I reply.
Allow me to illustrate with this one from March 13th:
I was just browsing Stupid Evil Bastard and saw you were interested in gaming from this post (https://stupidevilbastard.com/tag/ps3/), and so I thought you might also be interested in linking to a resource we put together on the health benefits of playing video games.
Here is a link for your review: [link redacted]
Our post is comprehensive, up to date, and quotes trustworthy sources to give our readers the best information available. We think it would be a great resource for your readers as well.
If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some more visibility in exchange.
Let me know what you think and thanks for your consideration!
Damn, but that sounds very familiar. Almost like Danielle and Helen from up top use the same automated bot to send those emails out. I love that Danielle here doesn’t even link to a specific entry, but to the category tag for posts about the PS3.
Anyway, I deleted the email and went about my business. Three days later I get this:
I just wanted to follow up and see what you thought of linking to our site on your blog.
Just double checking you received our previous email.
Looking forward to sharing some of your content across our social following, let us know what you think.
Once again I deleted it. Much like Jesus, three days later she was back again:
I just wanted to follow up on my previous email and hear your thoughts on linking to us in one of your blog posts.
We would be happy to share your blog post across our thousands of social followers in return.
Let me know what you think by shooting me a quick reply.
So too did Helen, from the first example up top, continue to pester me:
On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 7:00 AM “Helen Sanders” wrote:
I understand you are a busy person and your time is valuable but did you have some time to look at my last email? (see above).
I’d love to collaborate with your site!
On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:00 AM, Helen Sanders wrote:
I will give this one last shot, did you have time to review my proposal? I’d be really excited to collaborate with you.
These fuckers can’t seem to take a hint.
So today I replied to Helen with a very simple “no thanks” — that was literally all the email said outside of “Helen” and “Les” — and apparently that just wasn’t good enough for Helen. Almost as soon as I sent her my reply this morning I got this back:
Thanks for taking the time out to get back to me.
I was just wondering if you had any feedback on why you weren’t interested so that I can take it on board while promoting my work in the future.
I really appreciate the opinions of the people I’m reaching out to, so anything I can take on board is appreciated 🙂
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you already know that I don’t deal with annoyances all that well and I was pretty proud of myself for limiting my first reply to Helen with just a “no thanks” and not some profanity laced tirade. Helen, as I said previously, hasn’t really read my blog. My response to this latest missive strains to stay civil with her and I think I just barely managed it:
I’m getting roughly 3 to 4 of these offers every single day for the past few years. I’m surprised so many people want to associate their products with a site with the name Stupid Evil Bastard. I literally just told another person making this sort of offer “no thanks” before typing up this reply. [Editor’s Note: That would’ve been Rick’s offer of a great entry of some unspecified type that I reproduced above.] Everyone loves my content and wants to write for my blog except that it’s clear based on the couple of folks I did entertain the thought with that this is entirely for your benefit to drive traffic to your site and/or promote your product. Nine times out of ten the topic of whatever someone wants to write about for my blog has little to nothing to do with what my blog is about (mainly, things that catch my attention) or even the page they claim they saw that inspired them to contact me. It’s pretty clear these requests are ads disguised as posts. One you probably don’t wish to pay me for or, if you do, the amount is hardly worth considering. I’m often told to consider the extra “exposure” the ad-post will generate for my blog as though I needed more exposure. In short, it’s a pretty one-sided equation that benefits you more than me.
I’ve been blogging for 16 years now. For awhile, I accepted guest posts from my regular readers who wanted to participate in the community I’d managed to build up. None of those guest entries were ever anything close to an ad or an attempt to drive traffic someplace else. I’m not as active as I once was and my readership is down to the most loyal of regulars. I’m fine with that. It was never about being at the top of the search results or making a ton of money. It was a place for me to express myself for those who were interested. Nothing more. Needless to say, my blog is a deeply personal thing to me. Frankly, the number of people who wish to exploit it for their own gain is more than a little annoying.
P.S. I’m probably going to blog this.
I’ve not heard back from Helen. With any luck this is enough of a hint for her to not bother sending a reply. It annoys me that I am going to have to respond to each and every one of these offers with “no thanks” as they come in or put up with an endless stream of WHY HAVEN’T YOU REPLIED TO MY AWESOME OFFER???
So let me just say this right here and now: Dear people who think it’d be a great idea if I helped you to promote your website/product at no cost to you. Don’t bother sending me your sales pitch because it’s not going to happen. At least, not unless you’re willing to toss me some serious greenbacks. I don’t need “tens of thousands” of people to see my blog, but I would be happy to sell out for “tens of thousands” of dollars. This would be particularly handy right now as I’m in the process of buying a house and could use the extra cash.
So, once again just to be clear, I don’t need your exposure, but I would take your cash as long as it’s substantial. I doubt any of you will be making such an offer anytime soon so you may as well not waste the electrons it would take to send me an email.
UPDATE: Holy Christ on a cracker! I’ve not even PUBLISHED this entry yet and Rick Slot — of the “I wanna write a guest post, let me know if you’re interested” I quoted above to which I had replied simply “I am not” — has just replied with the following:
Thank you for the reply. Do you post sponsored articles?
Seriously, what does it take for these people to understand the concept of “no”? I’m half-tempted to send him a dictionary definition, but perhaps I’ll just send the link to this entry. Maybe he’ll offer me tens of thousands of dollars to let him write a guest post. Also, maybe I’ll be made Queen of England. Probably about equal chances of both, right?
So it appears I’ve not posted anything since the first. My apologies, but I’ve been busy figuring out how I might purchase my first house. Our apartment lease will be up at the end of May and I’ll be turning 50 in August (which just blows my mind) and I’m thinking if I don’t pull this off now it’s never going to happen. The good news is, I think I might have figured out a way to do it this time.
Of course, that’s not all I’ve been doing. I’ve also been trying to wrap my head around how crazy things are getting now that Donald Trump has become President. It’s a sort of an embarrassment of riches in that there are so many things to talk about with regard to his Holy Hairness that I can’t decide where to start and so I end up playing Call of Duty instead.
So this is basically a quick update to say I’m still here and I still plan to try and post more often even though I’m failing at that ambition so far. I did get a new webcam for Christmas that I plan to use for vlogging and/or game streaming in the not too distant future. I also hope to add in a Blue Snowball condenser mic soon for better audio quality.
In the meantime, here’s a pic of a cat toy I saw at Meijer the other day that was oddly familiar:
Does anyone under 45 even know who this is these days?
Someone sent me an email asking why I hadn’t written anything marking the 15th anniversary of September 11th. The truth is I’m done with it and have been for awhile. I last wrote an entry about it back in 2008 and I’ve not written another one since. I figured seven years of talking about it every year was enough. My opinions haven’t changed much in the eight years since.
In fact I find the annual ritual to be nothing more than an exercise in false patriotism largely engaged in by folks who think they have to out-American everyone else as though it were a contest. “Look at me! I’m a great American ’cause I haven’t forgotten!” The same sort of folks who put those stupid magnetic ribbons on their SUVs that say “I SUPPORT THE TROOPS” and think they’ve actually done something supportive. The only exceptions are the folks who were directly impacted by the events that day. I do not begrudge them their time to reflect and remember every September, but the vast majority of people in this country that wave their flags and scream about “not forgetting” are not those people.
As Jim Wright wrote on his blog, we’ve had our revenge and then some. Not only did we smash the Taliban in Afghanistan, but we decided we might as well stomp all over Iraq while we were at it even though they didn’t have anything to do with 9/11. We inflicted a death toll far exceeding what happened to us on that fateful morning. Depending on who is doing the counting, the estimates are that between 151,000 to 1 million Iraqis have died as a direct result of our invasion of their country. Again, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Assuming it’s the conservative estimate of 151,000 then that’s a 4933% difference and that’s not even counting the 91,000 people killed in Afghanistan as a direct result of our war on that country. As a reminder: 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and the rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. All countries we did nothing to.
In the course of exacting our revenge we sacrificed an additional 8,000 people to the cause — 166% more than died in New York on 9/11. We also sacrificed major chunks of our civil liberties, privacy, and moral high ground in the course of making ourselves “safer” without actually making ourselves any safer. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about Iraqis or Afghans attacking us again, right?
Apparently it’s not enough that we’ve spilled an excessive amount of blood in retaliation for 9/11 while also laying the seeds for further terrorism against us. It seems we’re required to pick at the scab every year until it bleeds anew so we can feel justified in our ongoing hatred of others. No thanks, I’ve got better things to do.
I was not directly impacted by the events of 9/11. I didn’t lose any loved ones or close friends when the towers fell. All of my connections to the event in question are indirect and consist mainly of being an American who was alive when it happened and witnessed it unfold on TV in real time. I don’t need to be reminded of it because I will never forget it. The same way I haven’t forgotten where I was when President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. or when the space shuttle Challenger exploded or any of the other major events that have happened in my lifetime. I have sympathy for and empathy with all of those folks who have direct experience with those events, but eventually we have to move on. I have had loved ones I care deeply about that have passed away that I didn’t grieve for as long as we’ve grieved over 9/11.
It’s not healthy and I refuse to let it drive me to hatred and anger. I debated whether to even bother writing this much as it feels like I’m letting myself get dragged into it yet again. I’m pretty sure this will be the last thing I write on it. In the future I’ll just point folks to this entry when they ask why I haven’t engaged in the yearly self-flagellation ritual that is 9/11.
Just when it seemed like my blogging was picking up I go and slack off again. I tried to write a couple of things about the RNC and DNC, but the truth is I thought the former was a stunning shitstorm and the latter — so far — has been impressively optimistic, but then that probably goes without saying so I didn’t say it. Well, I suppose I did just say it, but I didn’t write a big blog post about either one.
I’m not sure how many folks are still checking in with SEB regularly, but I thought I’d take a chance and start a thread where I encourage those of you who are still here to ask me any questions you’d like me to try and answer. Anything at all. I can’t promise you my answers will be particularly insightful, but perhaps they’ll at least be mildly entertaining. More importantly, I thought I’d give the responses as a vlog so you can see my fugly mug and hear my melodious voice in all its sarcastic glory.
Technically, I’ve been on vacation since a week ago and now it’s almost over. As a result I’ve not paid too much attention to what’s going on elsewhere and as such that’s why I’ve not blogged in a bit. That said, there’s been an awful lot of police shooting people who didn’t deserve to be shot in the news as of late and now we’ve had 5 police officers killed in Texas. Even when you don’t look at the actual news some of it still filters through on Twitter and Facebook.
I’m not going to spend any time on those topics right now because I’ve made my feelings pretty clear on this in the past: Stop shooting each other, you fucking idiots.
Instead, I’m going to go back to wasting what little vacation time I have left playing video games.