Thursday, September 29, 2005

Million Dollar Homepage...

The Million Dollar Homepage. Congratulations to Alex Tew, a 21-year-old British college freshman who made $155,000+ through his site in only a month's time. He was able to pay off three years of college tuition in the first month of attendance at college. Wish I had acted on the idea when I had it years ago.

When I first came online back in 98, the Web was in the process of becoming AOLified, and the collegiate snobs for which the Web had been something of a private playground were having fits. I know the Web was first made available to the military, other government agencies, and academia, but many of the academic types were snobby about "having" to share their sandbox with the Great AOL Unwashed.

Not knowing just what the rules were (I was part of the Great AOL Unwashed at the time, but I had no desire to look like one) I looked up Netiquette and found out that anything that seemed the least bit commercial was frowned upon, and usually resulted in flaming, and sometimes emailbombing. I wasn't interested in experiencing either, so I kept my idea to myself. Unfortunately, it seems I took too long. Not only has Alex Tew achieved 15% of his five-year goal within 30 days, but there are already dozens of copycat sites up, though most of them crow about their copycat status. (That page was posted almost two weeks ago, so the numbers there are a little off.)

I may still come up with some variant of the idea, but not for comedy value. I'd love to sit down and put it all together right now, but if I tried to go live with it now I'd have to use a free webhost, which means bandwidth problems, and I wouldn't be able to do a thing about it until next Thursday, 10/6, when the eagle flies again, hopefully without having its wings clipped again by the finance department like the last few times.

Lingering illness, lingering lingering-ness on the part of doctors I depended on to fill out paperwork so I could get paid while I was at home recuperating from the lingering illness, and some non-medical issues have depleted my finances to the point that, though I expect to get a nice fat check next Thursday, I'll be scraping the barrel until then. My car's registration expires on Saturday, but before I can do that I have to pay parking tickets that total almost as much as my last (skimpy) check. On Thursday I'll be like the guy who rolls up at the lottery office to pick up his multimillion-dollar winnings in raggedy clothes, in a car which ran out of gas just as he coasted into a parking space in front of the building, with a tow-truck tailing him because the car was in that bad shape. (Thankfully the car part isn't true in my case, though the car does need brakes and an oil-change, neither of which I have the funds for right now.)

Million Dollar Homepage. That coulda been me...

Blast the Spammers (part one?)

I don't know if it will make any difference (probably not) but I'm going to start posting the email addresses and "stories" of the perpetrators of the Nigerian-style scam emails that I get so many of. I hate to call them that, because I hate to paint a whole country with a brush like that, especially since, as these emails make plain, the perps are fanning out to other countries (or scammers in other countries are catching on).

Here are some of the ones I've gotten lately:

  • Email:
    Claim: ANDREW NDAZI, the first son of late chief JOSEPH OKOYE NDAZI, from mende District in Sierra Leone
  • Email:
    Claim: I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting those fundstransferred under the cooperation of my new partner from Nepal. Presently i'm in Nepal for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.
  • Email:
    Claim: My name is Mr Ashi Chukwu, I am the credit manager of Queen Premier Bank. here in the United Kingdom. I am contacting you of a business transfer,of a huge sum of money from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that everything has been taken care off, and all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
  • Email:
    Claim: Am the director of bills and Exchange in a First Generation Bank in Nigeria.
    REPORTED TO YAHOO, which is taking the appropriate measures, whatever those may be.

Friday, September 23, 2005

If you have to say something...

... then PLEASE make sure you comment on an appropriate post. Someone just posted a comment to my rambling Strange Days post about treasuring loved ones, but the post is basically spam. Had the poster commented on one of my Smells Like Mass Media posts, it might not have set off my spam alarm, but as it is, I felt I had no choice but to delete the post. Not something I like to do, but again, if people make sure their comments are on topic, I wouldn't have to take such, for me, drastic steps.

Strange Days

I just got word online that the founder of and the Subreality Cafe mailing list, Kelle, passed away last night from colon cancer. She was only 33 years old.

This hasn't been a good year for people whose ideas have sparked my own creativity. This past May, Dennard Summers, who produced a public access TV show in Pittsburth called The House of Yes (which later morphed into Steel City Video Mix) passed away suddenly in his sleep at 38. Dennard used video effects to make the hostesses and models on his show invisible, while their clothing remained visible. I had always especially enjoyed movies which depicted invisible characters, especially when the character was female. Occasionally I would fantasize about meeting and )getting involved with) an invisible woman. Seeing Dennard's site told me that I wasn't the only one that had such thoughts, and that got me started writing stories and editing photos, and also got me started looking around online for other expressions of creativity.

Among other sites and ideas, I found Subreality, which is depicted as a kind of way station for story characters between stories or even between chapters of a single story. That also got ideas flowing, including a kind of Subreality fanfic I'm in the middle of now. Kielle wrote comic-book-inspired fanfics, and came up with an idea of an interdimensional place where different versions of the same character could interact with one another. The stories set in and around Subreality also depended heavily on character muses (muses "created" by the writer, rather than the classical muses of Greek myth, though they're also included), who inspire(d) the creativity of those who added stories and/or artwork to the sprawling online complex that makes up

I guess hearing of the passing of these people who played a part in unlocking my own creativity are reminders of my own mortiality. I had no idea that Kielle had been sick until I saw a post last night from Kielle's husband, stating that she probably had only days to live. And as far as I know, Dennard hadn't been sick at all, though I don't really have much info to back that up. I, on the other hand, have been battling with illness of one kind or another for about eleven years now -- kidney and heart problems, leading to dialysis and a kidney transplant in 2004, and a hip operation in 2005 -- though the evidence suggests that I've always had a hampered immune system.

I guess what I'm trying to say here, though I've been rambling, is that we have to treasure each day as it comes and make the most of it, since we don't know what's waiting around the corner. Reach out to other people and let them know how much they mean to you (and let them show you what you mean to them). Friends and loved ones will do and say things to get on your nerves -- they meay even cause you great pain -- but do what you can to make and keep peace, since no one knows when those loved ones may be taken away, or when we may meet with our own demise.

Natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita underscore the point I'm trying to make. When Katrina clipped Florida, no one knew what devastation was to come. In fact, they still don't know the total scope and may not know for months. Rita is a category 5 and may remain one when it comes ashore in Texas or Louisiana tonight or tomorrow, causing untold destruction and loss of life in the impact zone, and adding to the problems in the New Orleans area and southern Mississippi. Imagine some poor soul who hadn't spoken to a parent, child, or sibling for many years, only to find out that the person you should have treasured is no longer there. Suddenly the argument that seemed so important no longer matters, and the opportunity to apologize and make peace is taken away.

Again, I know I'm rambling, so I'll cut this short. But treasure every day as the gift it is, and treasure family and friends as the gifts they are.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Smells Like Mass Media 2

And on that note... reports, as has just about every entertainment website in creation, that Britney Spears has given birth this past weekend. Zap2it, though, went tacky by calling their story "Britney Gives Birth to PMS," supposedly because her son's name is reported to be Prescott Michael Spears. Tacky, or as Phylicia Rashad might have said it back in the day, "T-(pause)-acky!"

Smells Like Mass Media

For anyone who might be looking for the Smells Like Mass Media blog, I deleted it. Too much overlap between that one and this one. I decided it made more sense to just use that title as a running theme on this blog instead...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush: IF Anyone Is To Blame, I Am

In a quote from a news story at, the president of the United States (all 50 of them and everyone in them, to the best of my knowledge) fixed his lips to say, "to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility." In other words, 'I'm not saying that there is anything to blame anyone for, but if you absolutely HAVE to point a finger at someone, point it at me.' Lately everytime I see that man I think of Alfred E. Neuman from Mad magazine smiling that gap-toothed grin but instead of his usual line, he says, "What, me care?"

By the way, I can't say that I agree fully with Kanye West's claim that Bush doesn't care about black people. I don't think it's a matter of race so much as poverty. Bush doesn't care about poor people, supposedly because he can't relate to them. I don't see how not having been poor can stop a person from having empathy and acting on it, but that's because I have a brain in my head. Apparently, in more ways than one, I'm in the minority.