YouTubers I’m A Fan Of

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time consuming content on YouTube. Some of the content I’ve been watching has surprised me in that I’m actually interested in the subject matter when I didn’t think I would be. Here’s a list of some of the YouTubers I’ve been watching.

Post 10

Post 10 is an individual based in Maine. He travels local areas as well as far distances in search of flooding caused by poor engineering, beavers, or unfortunate circumstances. He also mixes in videos of the “What if? variety. One of my favorites though is his exploration videos of places that are deep in the woods or sometimes right off the side of the road.

This is one of the channels where I didn’t think the subject matter would interest me, but here is why it does. When Post 10 unclogs a culvert or a blockage, seeing immediate results from the water rushing to equalize itself is pleasing. On top of that, when he’s unclogging a culvert in a somewhat powerful stream, the lack of him talking with the sound of rushing water is soothing. In fact, there’s one video in particular where the water running through the river is so loud, I sometimes watch that section of the video repeatedly with headphones on as it calms me down. He’s also a rail fan!

Here’s an example of what Post 10 does. On this day, he explores an abandoned railway that is being turned into a paved hiking trail. Some of the things he discovers is pretty cool.

Post 10

Ace Videos, High Adventure Videos

Ace and High Adventure Videos are brothers that live in different parts of the country now but share a passion in fishing and trying new things. Their videos feature a lot of catch and cooks and I have to be honest, their content is inspiring me to get into fishing. Because of their videos, I’ve purchased more seasonings and have eaten more fish. While commercials can be boring, High Adventure Videos puts a lot of effort into making them entertaining and worth watching. Skipping over them is a crime!

Ace Videos
High Adventure Videos

Me Ancient

Me Ancient is the father of Ace Videos and High Adventure Videos. After spending a few years being featured on both channels and acting as judge for catch and cooks, he started his own channel earlier this year. If you watch through Ace’s videos, he explains in one of them why they call their father Me Ancient. I think it’s a cool name

Me Ancient is a Veteran of the United States Marines and in his videos, he tries C-Rations and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) that he has kept in storage over the years. It’s pretty funny to see what is still edible after 30-50 years. Hint, it’s always the Gum. When he goes into story mode, it’s always a good time.

Me Ancient

Wild Life

This channel features Payton, a Wild Live conservationist who does a lot of catch and release videos. He also throws out his net to see what there is to catch in various waterways. What’s fascinating about this channel is how much fish there is to be had around the city of Houston, TX through the various Bayous, drainage areas, and creeks. I don’t think most of Houston realizes they’re not far away from monster sized Sturgeon.

Crazy Quady

Quady is a guy I’ve recently started following for his down-to-earth nature and his growing ability to take people into remote areas of the country while sleeping in the back of his truck. In his video series where he travels from California back to Nebraska, he goes through some of the most awesome terrain along an Interstate I’ve ever seen. Of course, I’ve never driven past Chicago when going out west. He recently hit the 20K subscriber mark! Congrats Quady and keep up the awesome videos.

Crazy Quady

Hobo Shoestring

I’ve been following this gentleman for a long time and I’m so stoked he finally hit the 100K subscribers mark. He takes you on rides via his freight train adventures. He’s got plenty of stories, including how he went from practically dying to going sober and staying sober. He also battled Covid and survived. He was also hit by a car about a year or two ago and he survived that! If you end up questioning what happened to his hand, it was crushed by a rail car in an accident. For Shoestring, riding the rails is what makes him feel the most alive.

Hobo Shoestring

Report Of the Week aka ReviewBrah

It took awhile to get used to ReviewBrah but once I did, his videos have brought me joy. He reviews fast food items ranging from the latest in chicken sandwiches, to the craziest pizzas. He does these reviews in a classy suit with a matching tie without getting any of the food on them. The comment sections of his videos are some of the most positive you’ll see across YouTube. His sense of humor is on point and his way with words is unmatched. If you’re thinking about picking up the latest fast food creations, don’t do it until you’ve watched his review.

I’m in A Mental Conundrum

It’s 2021 and it’s finally starting to look like there’s light at the end of the tunnel as far as Covid-19 is concerned. Last year was a doozy, not only for being in a pandemic but for my personal health as well. Anxiety attacks, trying to kick alcohol to the curb, loss of weight, gaining of weight, it was a bit crazy.

Last year at this time, I was gearing up for the launch of WP Mainline before the proverbial shit hit the fan. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about WP Mainline and I’ve fallen into a mental conundrum. I keep coming up with reasons as to why WP Mainline shouldn’t be a thing or how it wouldn’t fit into the WordPress space. There’s already WP Tavern and there’s already PostStatus, what can I offer and can I make a living doing it? Can I reinvent the glory days of the Tavern elsewhere on the web?

I guess what I’m seeking is a bit of positive reinforcement of the idea of WP Mainline and some encouragement. The goal of WP Mainline is to be a hub to discuss what’s going on in the WordPress scene and to make it a large, helpful, friendly community of folks. Normally I wouldn’t ask for this kind of help but I think it would do me some good and help get the train rolling again.

Idea: Creating Yet Another Site About WordPress

Before I was hired to work on the Tavern full-time, I was asked to write a proposal describing what I wanted to accomplish with the Tavern and where I wanted the site to go. In a nutshell, I wanted to make the Tavern the second largest WordPress community outside of WordPress.org.

Over the course of five years, I didn’t make much headway into that goal but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I’ve been looking for work for the past few months and have been unsuccessful. The skills I used via the Tavern do not translate well to many businesses in the WordPress space as I’m not a developer or a support guru. I also don’t want to be a content farm for anyone other than myself.

I’ve had a few people suggest that I start a new Tavern like website and I’ve been pondering the idea for quite awhile. Five months away from all things WordPress has provided some much needed rest, distance, and a bit of clarity.

A lot of things have changed in the WordPress ecosystem since I started covering it in 2007. While the thought of independence and building something from scratch again is scary and exciting, I have a few questions.

The first is similar to one I asked in 2008. Should I start yet another site devoted to WordPress? Is one necessary or needed?

Prior to being hired to work for the Tavern full-time, I was asked to write a proposal on where I saw the site going in the future. Here is a snippet from my proposal.

WPTavern needs to reinvigorate itself as a place where ALL are welcomed and ALL can participate. Those two principles were a large reason for the initial success of the website.

This mindset would be the foundation of the new site. Between comments and a forum, I would create a place where WordPress folks can gather and feel welcomed. Where collaboration is encouraged, and we as a collective group could work to make WordPress better. Sure, there are plenty of Facebook groups and other watering holes that exist, but nothing beats a well managed forum.

I’d bring back the weekly podcast of course which would cover WordPress topics and what’s going on with the site.

I believe I could get webhosting, and other aspects of the site for a discounted price or for free thanks to the relationships I’ve built over the years.

One of the biggest issues is income. My two largest bills each month is the Car $375, and Mortgage $770 payment. I’d need some immediate financial support from individuals or businesses in the WordPress space to take care of these bills for a few months to provide enough time to bust my ass and get the site rolling.

I don’t want sponsorship as I don’t want to be tied to any specific company in order to maintain independence. I’m hopeful that individuals and companies would look at the funding as contributions. I plan on having a page on the new site that lists contributors who contribute a certain amount or more.

As far as the domain goes, I have no idea on what to call the new site. WP Tavern was perfect because of what a Tavern provides. A place to gather, talk, and hang out with the occasional bar brawl. This is the friendly atmosphere I want to establish with the new site. I’d like to hear suggestions and ideas on domains that are related to what I described above.

If there is not enough interest or I can’t muster up some financial support upfront, I’ll pass on the idea and get my butt back into the physical workforce. But the thoughts of sitting on my patio in the summertime managing an awesome community around WordPress is pretty enticing. It would take a lot of work and effort to get the new site up to the level of the Tavern but I know I could make it happen and I know I wouldn’t have to do it alone.

This is simply an idea that’s rough around the edges. Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

My Final Goodbye to the Tavern

This has been a long time coming and for people who are close to me it won’t be a surprise but as of this week, I am no longer a contributing writer to WPTavern. If you’d like more background information on how I’ve reached this point, check out the second half of this interview with Bob WP.

I’ve been writing about WordPress since 2007. That’s when Mark Ghosh, founder of WeblogToolsCollection.com contacted me based on the WordPress articles I was publishing on my personal site and asked if I’d like to be paid to write for him. Two years later, I founded WPTavern.

It is weird to be closing this chapter of my career as the Tavern has only been my second place of employment and WordPress has been part of my daily routine for 12 years. At the same time, I’m hopeful for a fresh start, something new where I feel like I’m performing purposeful work.

As for WordPress Weekly, the goal is to finish updating the archive so that all of the episodes are available. I will not be recording any new episodes.

I’d like to thank everyone who has followed and supported my work over the years. I’d especially like to thank Matt Mullenweg for not only purchasing the Tavern, but for providing me with such a great opportunity to continue my passion for the last five years.

I’m currently unemployed and looking for remote opportunities. I don’t know what I want to do, if I want to stay in the WordPress scene, or get out of the WordPress bubble. I’m pursuing opportunities that I come across. Feel free to pass along any opportunities you think I might be a decent fit for.

Since 2009, I’ve said goodbye to the Tavern a few times but this is the final time. What a ride these last 12 years have been.

Last Ditch Effort

For those who follow me on the Tavern, you may have noticed a substantial drought in the articles I’ve written and published since late last year, outside of WordPress Weekly.

In the last 4-6 months, I’ve been in a pretty low place emotionally, mentally, and at times, physically.

The Tavern started out as a fan site, a blog all about WordPress. A place to discuss what was happening. A place to help each other out. In the past five years, the Tavern has grown from a hobbyist blog to a place of professional journalism thanks in large part to Sarah Gooding. Sarah has done an amazing job, has a great work ethic, high standards, and has taken the site to new heights.

I have not faired well in the Tavern’s transition. In the past few years, I’ve struggled to find a place, maintain my written voice, and become more of a traditional journalist. I’ve admitted in the past that I’m not a good journalist and I still feel that way. I enjoy writing how I feel, what I think, and evolving the narrative over time. But with the Tavern becoming a more serious and professional industry source of news, that kind of writing is getting phased out.

The way in which I write stories on the Tavern now a days is akin to Ben Stein’s voice. Dry, boring, accurate, no personality, that I sometimes wonder if it could be accomplished better by AI.

One thing that I’m proud and that I’m good at is WordPress Weekly or podcasting in general. I get to be myself on the show and I enjoy talking to people about WordPress and learning about other’s experiences. I’ve had a few pep talks lately and I’m going to try expanding my reach and produce three different WordPress podcasts a week.

  • The first will be a daily podcast that covers the pressing topics of the day.
  • The second is WordPress Weekly
  • The third will be a Friday night podcast where for one hour, I’ll invite members of the community to join me on a public Google Hangout to talk about whatever WordPress issues they want. I’ll literally be giving people in the WordPress community a chance to have their voices heard.

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to expand the Tavern listener base while at the same time, trying to bring back some more community elements to the site. Most importantly, what these shows will do is give me a sense of purpose. Let me tell you, when you feel like you have no purpose, no sense of well being at work, it’s draining.

So, that’s what I’m working on. I realize there are already plenty of other podcasts that cover the things I mentioned above, but only one of them involves me. I’ll still be writing but I’m hoping that the podcasts provide enough time for the site to be redesigned and install some sort of community software such as bbPress. This way, I can move into community management or something and not just a writer.

The Train Ride

As we ride the public transit train into downtown, I stare outside the window and watch brick building after brick building go by. Some with the lights still on while most have broken windows and other signs of abandonment.

I wonder about what’s inside each building, what products were made, how many people made a living working there, and what happened. At one time, the buildings were new, bustling with activity right next to the tracks. Now they’re just relics of a different time period.

Before my mind can wander off any further, it’s time to get off the train as we’ve reached our destination.

WordCamps and I

Later this week, more than 2,000 people will attend WordCamp US in Nashville, TN. It’s the largest WordPress event in the US and is home to Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word. This year, I won’t be in attendance. In fact, I haven’t attended any WordCamps this year. Here are some of the reasons why.

  1. I noticed last year that when I attended WordCamps, I missed being away from home and couldn’t stop thinking about not wanting to be at the event.
  2. I’m expected to report on these events and gather information about things from people. I used to interview people when I went to WordCamps but I recently stopped doing so because the people I wanted to interview were at the event to hang out, have a good time, and talk WordPress without someone putting a microphone in their face. I respect that and agree, WordCamps are for talking off the record. It felt awful when people thought I was trying to turn the Tavern into a tabloid.
  3. Perhaps the biggest reason of them all is that I simply have nothing in common with the majority of the people who attend WordCamps. Outside of maybe a few things in life and WordPress, there’s not much room to be social with people. I don’t have kids, I don’t run a business, I don’t work in an agency, I’m not creating anything or working on any projects. I’m the person who is supposed to write about what everyone else is doing. Quite frankly, I feel lonely at these events and it sucks.
  4. Ever since my anxiety attack before flying to Chicago last year, I have no interest in flying anymore. I’m hoping to get over this some day but it rules out traveling far distances to attend events.

Next year, I hope to attend at least one local camp but these events just arn’t for me anymore and it’s my own damn fault.

Thanks for the Motivation Justin

This morning, I read an interesting post from Justin Tadlock on what he regrets the most about blogging.

What I regret the most is that I didn’t write enough about my life.

During my college years, I wrote extensively about my day-to-day existence. There were numerous experiences that I left out.

My blog painted a picture of who I was.

Going forward, I want to record more about me. Or, at the very least, record my thoughts on things. That may include writings on social issues, politics, or pop culture. I’m not entirely sure.

I feel the same way about my blog. It mostly sits here dormant while I submit things to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to publish more things here but rather, I’ve been keeping a lot of stuff inside and haven’t been able to channel what’s in my head to virtual paper. I’m also scared about what might happen if I open up about some of the things I want to discuss.

I need to recommit to this space of mine. A space where I can write and publish practically about anything I want. I need to get back to a daily writing grind and just let the words flow like the good ole days.

Thanks for the motivation Justin. Now all I gotta do is follow through.

 

Smoky Mountain Trip 2017

A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the smoky mountains. This is the first time we’ve visited during this time of year and considering the fires that took place last year, we were curious as to how much damage was still around.

As it turns out, there are plenty of scars from Pigeon Forge through Gatlinburg all the way to Chimney Tops where one of the initial fires started. Chimney tops picnic area is still closed to the public. Forest fires are a peculiar thing. Certain trees were burned more than others while a few feet away, brush and trees were untouched.

Fire Damage

Fire Damage

There are a row of hotels in Gatlinburg that were burned down with their stone chimneys the only thing remaining. The lift chairs that ride up the mountain in downtown Gatlinburg have been replaced with new poles, wires, and chairs. There’s also a new chair lift near the entrance of the city.

New Chair Lift

New Chair Lift

Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg were lit up for the holidays. It was mild weather for the most part. It began to snow on the day we left and although we didn’t get to see the mountains covered in snow, just seeing it snow in the mountains was enough for us.

As usual, we visited Cades Cove which always seems to take forever to get to as the road follows a curvy river through the valley. Here, we saw turkeys, elk, a large buck that was sunbathing, and a bear. Pretty much everything you’d want to see wildlife wise was in Cades Cove.

Overall, visiting the mountains is exactly what my wife and I needed. Our next smoky mountain milestone is visiting the area during the peak of Fall foliage. But getting the timing right is tricky and it’s also the most expensive time of the year. If you’ve never visited Smoky Mountain National Park, I highly encourage you to do so at least once in your life. Check out the gallery below which includes 89 photos from our trip.

The mountains are calling and I must go – John Muir

I’m Glad My oxyCodone Had Zero Refills

One of the prescriptions given to me to help manage the pain with my right ankle is 5mg tablets of oxyCodone. This is an opioid that I was supposed to take once every 4 hours as necessary for pain relief.

For the most part, I didn’t need to take it but when I did, it generated a relaxed, drowsy state that I started to enjoy. I was taking the pills not necessarily for pain relief, but for that feeling. I’ve recently run out of oxyCodone and I’m happy that it came with zero refills.

I can easily see based on my short experience with oxyCodone how someone can become addicted to opioid based drugs. From now on, it’s extra strength Tylenol for me.