Travel Ban

If I were to ban anything from traveling they would be the following…

1 – Mosquitoes would be restricted from ever flying near me and would never be allowed outside the boundaries of the natural forest where they belong.

2 – Bedbugs. Gross. These would be banned from traveling anywhere, ever.

3 – The Patriots NFL team would be restricted and banned from traveling outside of their state thereby forfeiting every away game and consequently losing every season by default. 🤷‍♂️

4 – Bears are scary and unpredictable. We can’t have bears just walking down our streets, eating from our trash cans and causing havoc. Bears are now banned from walking in any urban area, please send Gary to inform them.

5 – Clowns are no longer allowed to walk outside the circus premises and clown costumes are now forbidden during all holidays including Halloween.

6 – Sharks are no longer allowed near beaches or any area of water that is swimable or able to be commercialized. If Gary survived the bear trip please send him to the next Shark Week to inform them all.

7 – Aliens must give us a 100 year warning before traveling to planet Earth to destroy us. That seems fair.

8 – The Sun isn’t allowed to go anywhere. The moon too.

9 – Anyone that doesn’t know how to use a blinker on a car isn’t allowed to use one. Isn’t that on the test?

10 – I’m working on a travel ban on Snow. Unfortunately it is an elusive bastard that can’t be banned.

-OM

@smokendust

Blogging Me01

I think that you have to decide what you are doing when it comes to blogging. Like anything in life you can’t always focus on two activities at once. You have the act of producing posts and you have the networking aspect of blogging that requires you to find ways to get people to care you exist. You mold your blogging methods according to the platforms you are on and the rules they decide to employ at any given time. At some point you decide you want to “monetize” because everyone uses that word. If I had placed the word Monetize in my title I would have gotten 5,000 views from people looking for the next big secret… maybe I should go edit it.

I don’t use secrets or tricks when growing my blog. I simply network. I tried a few other platforms for boosting my numbers and the work never paid off. It was too much effort for what I could do easily here by just doing what I do. As a blogger I envision cutting out a corner of our shared virtual reality for myself. A little plot of nothing I can call home, I can call blog. I share my time between creating the content I desire, that I care about, and then getting people around me to care as well. This might require me to “care” about them first and in the beginning I did care. I cared the shit out of Gary’s broken toe nail and his stupid cat. I cared about his pink car getting wrecked and how no one liked his shoes at work the other day. One day I got tired of caring so much and found out you don’t have to care about it all… Gary isn’t even your wife! You can just care a little each day and in turn care more about your own stuff, focus on your own blog, and you’ll see more production.

What can I offer that no one else is offer? It is a monster question because it is THE question right? How are blogs different and how can I make mine stand out. I get the frustration and at the same time I roll my eyes at it. As old as blogging is people come up with new things every day. They start trends, they get people to care about blogging again, they find ways to form a community around an idea. No one has to be dying, no one necessarily needs a new kidney to get people to care… you have to care first and that is the step people miss.

How do you care? Uh, if you have to ask that it tells me you aren’t really in it for the work. You are in it for the prize. Everyone wants a platform where they can type out bullshit each day and people gobble it up with a spoon. But the problem is… that isn’t what a blog really is. Not unless you are famous and unless I am wanted for crimes in several countries I don’t know about, I am not famous at all. I’m not even average, I am just a guy that blogs. But I cared to get my stuff out there and I spent countless hours, hours I could have been sitting watching netflixs or sucking down peanutbutter ice cream.

I mean… I like ice cream.

Instead I was using my tablet, because I found that a mini tablet with the WordPress reader installed was so much faster to scroll through, using it to network every single day for three years. I was writing posts, current thoughts and thoughts I haven’t even thought about for years… spilling it out there to produce the content that made my blog personal.

You see your life is as unique as a blog needs to be. No one is living your day, thinking your thoughts, doing the same shit you do each week. No one is seeing exactly from your point of view and could possibly take that IPhone shot from where you stood because you stood there. You marked that spot and made that moment bloggable, worthy to be shared. That is the unique freedom that personal bloggers have that they often miss or overlook. I have been many types of bloggers to many people, but one thing I have always shared is my personal life. There is a Korean living in Colorado that blogs on WordPress, has a wife and two kids, 3 guinea pigs, and hates the fuck out of snow. You know this because he is a blogger and he decided to blog. He decided to share that information and he made people care to know it.

That is the power of blog to me and the only lesson you need before starting the steps to grow your blog. Those steps are never the same for any blogger, but the attitude and mindset, I think, for those of us that choose to really push our blogs… that mindset is one and the same. I’ve seen it in so many great bloggers I know on this platform. Annoyingly efficient networkers, tireless media pushers that never seem to sleep. They are the people I really talk to because they understand what we are doing here, how we are really blogging.

We are all here for our own reasons and goals, and yet isn’t it ironic that many bloggers still have the same complaints…

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman

44.1

@smokendust

Cultural Sensitivity

Governor’s school was a program which accepted grade schoolers into a Summer program that was intended to focus on some science or art. Well I hated art at the time and science was boring so I applied for the Governor’s school of international studies. I was astonished when I was accepted, but when I reflect upon it now… perhaps my acceptance was given once they realized my nationality. I probably had to fulfill that portion of the pie graph, but regardless the reason I was accepted into this highly selective program. I’m obviously a genius.

The program, other than the fact it was during the Summer, was actually a lot of fun. That would account for the reason why at the age of 36 I still remember the memories I made there. I can’t help but remember one incident that stood out and is the cause of my title “cultural sensitivity.” It was during this program that I learned how sensitive some people could be and I can now firmly attribute that to culture. And unless you spend time living in each and every single culture, you’ll never get why those people feel that way. And yes, I said “those people” because all of you ARE those people to me.

The group was excited because we were going to a baseball game in Memphis and it was a chance for some of the attendees from around the state to see our lovely city. I snickered when they said “lovely city” during the morning announcements, but held my tongue about what I really thought of M town. This was a hard thing to do for a tenth grader, but I was learning that sometimes it wasn’t always the wisest thing to open your mouth. Besides, the evening out would allow me to talk to her or her. The Summer had been eventful so far!

As everyone got onto the buses and filled in the rows, I looked for Jay and found him holding a seat for me near the back. The baseball field wasn’t far and even though I wasn’t overly fond of baseball, it was good to be out of the dorms of U of M campus. It had been fun living away from home for the Summer, but the rules and nightly curfew were annoying. So was the director. I noticed he seemed to be pretty lame about everything and I think he noticed me noticing him. I wasn’t sure if our mutual notice was a good thing or not.

The game went about as planned. Baseball games tend to do that. There was a first inning and after that a second one. Surprisingly a third followed. I was utterly bored by the fourth and wondered why anyone even invented this stupid game when Jay touched my arm and motioned for me to follow him and a group of our friends who had started heading towards the food stands. We were having a good time eating some great food, I was drinking a slurpee and chatting with someone cute when Jay turned around a noticed a couple rides setup. We started walking towards them when I noticed the No Food sign.

I wanted to go for a ride as well, but I had my drink and it still had some ice at the bottom that I wanted to finish. I turned around and saw one of the instructors of the Summer program, a guy I actually had spoken to a few times and felt was on good terms with. I asked him if he would hold my cup and he said “yes,” nodding his head in understanding. He wasn’t American, but it was clear we understood each other so I ran off to get on the ride with the group. I quickly forgot about the cup and became focused solely on the good time we were having.

As the groups were beginning to get on the bus and I was standing in line with my friends, I suddenly felt a hand grab my neck. It jerked me backward by the shoulder and I was suddenly face to face with the director and he was angry!

“What did you say to Andy!” he yelled at me as I tried to process what was going on and what he was even asking me. I felt and heard my friends also confused coming up to see what was going on.

“Dude… what are you talking about? I didn’t do anything to Andy!” I half yelled back, but because I was in the tenth grade and my voice was still maturing it kind of came out as a squeak. It sounded like a roar to me though!

“He said you gave him some trash. You need to go apologize to him!” he yelled as he half pushed half shoved me towards a waiting Andy near the end of the line.

I began walking towards him…

“Hey Andy, I am sorry for whatever I did! … What did I do?” I immediately asked when I saw him.

“You gave me trash and then you just run off!” Andy retorted angrily.

I was a little shocked and stuttered a second before replying “well it wasn’t trash, I meant to come back and get it. I’m sorry again!”

Andy and I weren’t friends for the rest of the Summer. The director never liked me either and I learned a valuable lesson about cultural sensitivity, asking for favors, not forgetting about cups, how distracting friends can be, and that baseball does indeed truly suck. I would also like to note that it is possible when that director jerked my shoulder it ruined any chance I had of becoming a professional baseball pitcher even if I had and will never pitch a game in my life.

-Opinionated Man

44.1

@smokendust

Public Apology

Early today I wrote a post in which I insinuated that men should dump women that have “creepy doll collections.” I’d like to apologize to a few of the creepy dolls I may have offended with this since removed post. Chuckie, Annabelle, and Walter I am truly sorry for my words and insensitive attitude when I decided to quickly post such an article without thought of your feelings. I didn’t think about what would happen Pinocchio if you grew up into a real boy and now had to carry the burden of the HarsH ReaLiTy that I thought you were creepy regardless of how human you became. Insensitive can’t even cover how careless my actions have been today. So I’ll just go ahead and get the apology over through the tears. I won’t edit this.

I apooogize to the academy. The intergalactic academy of women and the great staff there I’ve let down with my words. My tutor Ghavdkdioenehdje from the galaxy of Opinion. I let you down bud, but I promise next time I’ll be stronger. I’ll rise above and do the right thing.

To all the family members and mentors I’ve ever had. I hope you can forgive me. I’ll learn from this and hope that no creepy dolls try to kill me now.

-Opinionated Man