Blogging

How Original is Original?

The blogging platform I use (WordPress) has a number of very cool analytics, including the ability to see the search strings people are typing into Google that leads them to this site.

As I’ve noted before, some of these are rather…um…unique.  But I’ve noticed that there is one search query that shows up quite often:

“Write an original 40-60 word poem about your current or most recent job.”

A little back story:  In 2011, I was applying for different jobs, which meant I was filling out a lot of online applications.  One of those applications requested an original 40-60 word poem.  I found that request odd – especially for a non-creative, technical position – so I did a quick post about it.

Ever since then, that post gets multiple views every single week, and is probably my most searched post.

I find it ironic (and rather sad) that when asked for an original poem, many people turn to Google to (presumably) find something they can copy and paste, otherwise using some custom writing service.

Roses are red Ctrl + C is blue. Writing poems is easy When Ctrl + V is through

Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.  After all, the internet likely contains millions of term papers, book reports, and job application poems.

To those who would borrow my job poem, please know two things:

1.  If you can find a poem online using Google, your future employer can (and will) to.

2.  Feit Can Write is a freelance writing service, ready and willing to assist with all of your writing needs – including employment poetry.  Contact me – I’ll work cheap.

RIP Martin

Today I saw a random tweet that said “NBA Efficiency Rating Inventor Kills Self, Explains Via Website”.  I was intrigued (and bored) enough to click the URL and I got a shock.  Martin Manley committed suicide.

I realize that 99.99% of my audience has no idea who Martin Manley was, or why I would care about his passing.  At the time I became familiar with him, Martin was writing the Upon Further Review blog on the Kansas City Star website.  The blog tried to be different from most of the sports blogs out there, which is not easy to do.  Most sports blogs are typically comprised of the same types of posts:  (“Athlete/Team is the greatest or doing something nobody has done before”, “Team/Conference A is better than Team/Conference B”, “Why does Athlete/Team suck so much?”, along with miscellaneous rants about the BCS and other sporting injustices).

In that sense, UFR was a typical sports blog, because those were the types of things Martin Manley wrote about.  But there was one key difference, which his tagline (“analytical commentary and insight”) proudly proclaimed.  If Martin said Alex Gordon is doing something nobody has done before, the Big XII was better than the Big 10, the Chiefs suck, or the “BcS” was an injustice – you knew he was going to back it up with fact, raw numbers that he collected and analyzed himself, and a table that showed his work.  You may not like his opinions or how he used the data, but the numbers rarely lied.

I read UFR rather faithfully for a couple of years, and I’m proud to say that I’ve incorporated some of his traits here.  In my Husker writings, I try to incorporate statistical information to beef up a point – it’s one thing to say NU’s punt return game sucked in 2012, it’s another to show that in almost eight full games they return yardage was less than that of one return immediately prior to that slump.  Most of the numbers and stats I use are things that I collect.  It can be a laborious pain in the ass sometimes, but it is worth it to know that you’re not just another keyboard pumping hyperbole into cyberspace.

Martin Manley gave me one of my first breaks as a writer.  In 2012, he was gracious enough to use my piece on Blowing Up the College Football conferences as a guest post on UFR.  It was damn cool to be able go to the website of the Kansas City Star – known for having some great writing talent – and see a link to content I created.  I’ll always be grateful for that.

A few months later, Martin left the Star and they shut down Upon Further Review.  Martin then started his own blog, Sports in Review, where he did a lot of the same things he did on UFR.  I’m sad to say that Sports in Review slipped out of the rotation of sites I regularly read, and I hadn’t visited in months.  Upon learning of Martin’s death, I went to his blog, and found the following in a post dated August 15:

“The reason for my departure is 100% within my ability to control. You see, earlier today, I committed suicide. I created a web-site to deal with the many questions a person would rightfully have. It’s called martinmanleylifeanddeath.com. It went live today. In my opinion, there is no question which you could conceivably ask that I have left unanswered on that site. My goal with this post is closure for SIR.”

As of this writing, the new website is offline (I receive a 503 – Service Unavailable error when I click on it).  From what I have read, Martin pre-paid the site fees for five years, so I am hopeful that it returns at some point in the future.  As macabre as it may sound, I am intrigued to read his rationale for his suicide – which took place on his 60th birthday, outside of a police station in a Kansas City suburb.  From what I have read, the site is has a ton of content – some rationale, some not*, and almost all of it in past tense.

*Apparently, within his website, he referenced having buried a small fortune of gold coins in an arboretum near his home – complete with GPS coordinates.  This was proven to be a hoax, and police had to ask people to refrain from digging up the park.

I’m curious to understand the why, when, and how he came to this decision.  Depending on how one interprets this excerpt from an October 2012 post on closing the comment section, he had been planning this for a while:

“As to not having time, I’ll get into that in more detail at a later date, but for now, all I can say is I appreciate the contributions which have been made in the past and I hope the blog continues to provide a source of information and/or entertainment.”

Mainly, I want to see how Martin Manley, a man who defended every controversial opinion with numbers and fact, defends this.  I don’t expect to agree with him, but I expect his rationale to be well thought out.

And that, will be vintage Martin.

May he rest in peace.

Back to School

August already?

Boy, how the summer flew by.  Clearly, many of those well-intended plans would have to be scrapped – or significantly reduced.

Diet?  Er…that didn’t happen.

Finish that class for her Master’s?  Good intentions, but sleep and afternoons at the pool won out.

Having a garden full of vegetables and herbs?  Is crabgrass edible?

Janie hated the pressure she put on herself – the big expectations only led to big disappointment.

Kindergarteners – a whole new class of ’em would be starting their scholastic journey in a few short weeks.  Little faces full of fear, hope, and potential.

(Maybe there was still time for another weekend getaway before the reality of another school year set in….)

Nope, her principal kept nagging her for the list of required school supplies.  Only seems to get earlier every year.  Probably they’ll start back to school shopping for the 2014-15 school year in October….

Quit bitching, there were plenty of chances to do the things she wanted to do.  Really, Janie knew she had chosen to put off her responsibilities.  Stupid, selfish, and shortsighted?  True, but deep down Janie knew she was okay with it.  Understood that being a teacher is hard, underappreciated work for paltry wages.

Very soon she would be back in that classroom, teaching 26 letters to 26 kids.  Worrying that her failures could impact the rest of their lives.

(Xmas break was just over 100 days away, Janie reminded herself…)

Yet, as Janie hung the oversized letters above the pristine whiteboard, she knew it would all work out fine.

Z…where the hell was the Z?

*   *   *

Author’s note – The preceding was in response to a WordPress Daily Prompt entitled “Orderly”.  On the off chance you didn’t catch it, the goal was to start each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet.  I’d like to apologize to any teachers reading this for all of the grammatical and punctuation rules I broke.

You’re looking for what?

WordPress (the blogging platform that I use) provides some nice statistics and analytics, including how folks view my various posts – via Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.  For web searches, I’m able to see the words entered into the search engine.

Today, somebody arrived at this site by entering the following words into their search engine:

large nipple feit

I’d rather not form a mental picture of the person who is searching the interwebs for “large nipple feit”, nor am I all that curious to know if they are looking for just a single nipple, what quantifies “large” versus small or medium, or if what they were hoping to find.

But I feel safe in saying that you have come to the wrong place.

End of Year Blowout!!!

We’re all friends here, so I’ll cut straight to the chase….

A year ago, I set some goals for what I wanted to accomplish with this little ol’ blog.  I won’t go into the raw numbers, but I had some rather advantageous goals for views, followers gained, and content posted.

I’ve knocked the first two out of the park (and a very sincere, heartfelt thank you to those of you who helped make that happen), but I’m a little short on the posts goal.  I’ll be honest, I’ve known for most of the month that I was going to need two or three more to reach the bar I set.  That is fairly easy to do, so I didn’t feel bad taking some time off and focusing on Christmas and spending time with family.

But I miscalculated.  I’m six short.

What does that mean for you, dear reader?  Well, it means that I’m going to be going through my backlog of drafts, notes, and the deepest recesses of my brain, in an attempt to crank out six* blog posts in the next 23 hours and change.  To ramp up the degree of difficulty, I’ll be spending the day with my two kids (4 and 9 months) as daycare is closed, and I’m pretty sure my wife would greatly appreciate it if the house is clean(ish) when she gets home from work.

So I would like to apologize in advance for the avalanche of emails/Facebook posts/new content that I’ll be publishing today.  But I’ve put a lot of effort into getting this close and I’m not going to fall short if I can help it.  Rest assured, I’ll do my best to make sure what I’m putting out is not crap for the sake of hitting a number.

*Technically five more blog posts in the next 23 hours, as you can bet your ass I’m counting this disclaimer/apology towards the magic number.

Life Lessons from a Football Shoe

Yesterday, I posted about a viral video teasing the football cleats Nebraska will wear against Wisconsin.  I wrote about it because the topic had a number of things that appealed to me – Husker football, uniforms, a timely topic, marketing, and the opportunity to be creative and sarcastic.

I figured it would be one of those things that would primarily appeal to me, and a handful of others.  I acknowledged this with an asterisked aside in the post:

The video does a decent job of generating interest – at least for those of us who are moderately obsessive about Nebraska, uniforms, or fancy shoes*

*Writing about such broad and popular topics, it is a wonder that my readership isn’t in the millions.

So obviously this post racked up the views yesterday.  Thanks to this piece, FeitCanWrite had its best readership day yet – a 50% jump over my previous best day*.

*I won’t bore you with the numbers (or make you sad with my pedestrian stats), but my readership still has not reached the millions….Yet….

It just goes to show two important life lessons:

1) In life, whenever you are sure of something, you should prepare yourself for the opposite to happen.

2) Never underestimate the passion of Nebraska football fans.

Year in Review

Today marks the 1 Year Anniversary of Feit Can Write.  What started as a (in part) a vehicle for me to further a freelance writing lifestyle has turned into a major creative outlet and a platform for me to share my views and opinions with the world*.

*Or at least the microscopic corner of the world that is friends with me on Facebook.  Also – I am definitely available for any freelance writing needs that you may have.

 

Random Feit Can Write facts and stats from the past year:

  • Over 8,000 page views, at least 40 of which came from people outside of my family and Facebook friends.
  • Readers (or at least accidental clicks) from over 60 different countries, including Sri Lanka, Luxembourg, and Northern Mariana Islands.
  • 138 posts (not including this one)
  • The most read post was about my plan to blow up college football.
  • The Thought of the Day from Nov. 30 has drawn four measly views (which is sad, because I think this one is pretty good).
  • 139 reader comments.  Let’s pick it up a little bit here people.  Most of these comments are either me responding to somebody or the…um…interesting dude who berated/threatened me pretty for my thoughts on Penn State.  This year, I’d like to see some more interaction from my dozens of faithful readers.  Tell me what you like, what you hate, or feel free to be like our pal Marty and threaten karma on my ___ for no good reason.
  • My work has been co-posted on huskermax.com and the Kansas City Star’s website.
  • The two Google search phrases that have driven the most viewers to this site?  “Meaning of Feit” and “Zuri Garibovi“.
  • Other Google search phrases that led people here include:  “normal looking guy”, “mizzou trough urinal”, and “gays per capita city lincoln, ne”.  I hope you found what you were looking for.

Without turning this into a weird mix of the clip show episode of a sitcom and an awkward awards ceremony thank you speech, I’d like to thank you all for reading, commenting, Liking, sharing, and any other feedback you give me.  While I’d probably still be doing this if I was the only one reading it, it definitely makes it more special for me to know that others are drawing enjoyment from what I’m doing.

Thanks again!

dave

Posts (Not) Coming Soon

I’m getting a little more space between my posts than I’d like, but it is not for a lack of content.  I’ve got a handful of things that I’m working on*, tinkering with, and planning to write about.

*And by “working on”, I mean that 30 minute window after the 3 year old goes to bed, the house is picked up, the baby is fed, my wife is done with the laptop, and we catch up on our DVR; but before I get too tired or lose the motivation to write. 

But fear not…there are many great pieces in the works.  So to tease you a little bit, here is a quick list of posts I’m (not) working on:

  • Do the Kansas City Royals Have the Best Pitching in the AL?
  • Double the Kids, Double the Productivity!
  • How Allowing Gay Marriage Has Ruined My Marriage.
  • The Musical Genius of AC/DC
  • My Summer Without Air Conditioning
  • How A Small Blog Has Made Me A Millionaire!
  • How to Win At “Scramble With Friends”
  • Why The Bachelorette is the Best Show on TV

And…to make it more fun:  Leave a comment with the post you’d like to read, and I’ll (truly) make it happen.

The Greatest Thing I Ever Wrote

A lot of my writing for this site occurs at night.  This is primarily due to the following reasons:

  1. I’d rather sleep than get up early.
  2. My employer prefers my writing be about things related to my job – most of which do not make for very interesting blog posts.
  3. I usually do not have a lot of free time in the evenings until my daughter goes to bed and my wife settles in on the couch with a cop show (Law & Order, CSI, etc.)

For the most part, this arrangement works pretty well.  I’m able to get my random collection of thoughts, ideas, and Husker opinions out of my head, and still get a decent night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that.

A week or so ago, I was working on a new post*.  I was getting sleepy, but I wanted to push on and get to a good stopping point, knowing that I could always revise it later on.

Two hours later, I woke up.  In the chair, laptop still on my lap.  Hands in the standard home row position.  I had dozed off.

*I’m not going to say which post was so dry it put the author to sleep, but there will definitely be some heavy revisions before it sees the light of day.

It turns out that while I was sleeping, my fingers had continued to type.  A lot.

So what did I write?  Well, I initially tried to copy that text and paste it into a new post to write this, but there was so much text (and so few spaces) that I was receiving all sorts of weird WordPress errors* when I tried to edit it.

*That’s right.  WordPress likes to brag about how many bloggers (431,761), posts (919,743), and words (199,186,566) are on the site each day.  But it was my writing that caused WordPress to crash.  Time to update the resume!

After a week of the site running very, very slowly for me, I was finally able to open the original post and cut out the offending stuff.  Out of curiosity, I pasted those into Word.  Here is a quick recap of what I sleep-typed:

d
s  (2,350 times)
v  (5,300 times)
j
n
v  (120 times)
c
d
k  (40 times)
b  (325 times)
g  (21,215 times)
f  (55,250 times)

Maybe it is time to start working on the writing over lunch…

 

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