Repeatedly Busted for Hopping Freight Trains

I have a thing for people who hop freight trains either for fun or for travel. It provides an insanely high adrenaline rush because it’s illegal and incredibly dangerous. But the views, the wind, and the feeling of going somewhere away from wherever you’re at is priceless.

Watch as Jeff Seal tries to hop a freight train to get to Mantauk only to be busted multiple times by police. This is entertaining to watch. Hat tip: Jason Lemieux. (Has strong language)

My First Day Back On Twitter Results in a Shitstorm and Being Called a Dumbass

So today I reactivated my Twitter account after two weeks and right now I wish I hadn’t. Things started off ok as I participated in some dialogue about GoDaddy acquiring ManageWP.

After I published my article on the Tavern about the news, I received the following tweet.

The first thing that goes through my head is great, here we go again. PostStatus broke the story on September 3rd but I didn’t write about it until today. Since that post was published, both GoDaddy and ManageWP published posts of their own, sources I deem more official than PostStatus. I linked to ManageWP’s post and I linked to the Advanced WordPress Facebook Post that links to the article on PostStatus.

In writing the story, I felt like I didn’t need to link to PostStatus because it was a few days after the fact and it would be better or more accurate to link to the official sources of the news. Apparently, it’s known throughout the universe except by me that providing a hat tip to the first source of the story even days after it broke is not only a courtesy, but seen as good practice according to the AP.

So here I am in a shitstorm for not linking to a site. It could be worse, I could be dead. Had I written the article on the day of or over the weekend when PostStatus was the only source, I certainly would have linked to the site. The editorials I have to write that explain why I did or did not do something is getting fucking ridiculous.

I apologize for not linking to PostStatus in the post and crediting sites that break a story days after it happened is something I’m going to discuss with my fellow editor. Oh, and the cherry on top is that I was called a dumbass but I blocked the individual who said it so I can’t link to it here.

Not Every Disagreement Is Drama Dammit

Folks in the WordPress community have created ingenious ways of sweeping things under the rug. The three most notable are Don’t read the comments, #wpdrama, and bikeshed. It’s pretty much gotten to the point where mild disagreements are viewed as drama which is stupid.

At any rate, this tweet by David Bisset is something that needs to be repeated across the WordPress echo chamber. I’m happy to see someone else speaking up and saying this as I haven’t been able to get it across to anyone.

My First Week of No Twitter

Earlier this week for the first time since I joined the service, I deactivated my Twitter account. In recent weeks, I’ve waded through a lot of bullcrap thrown at me from people because of some of the articles I published on the Tavern.

Last Saturday evening, as I was enjoying my weekend, I opened Twitter to see what people are up too. I read a response aimed at me for one of the articles I published and it immediately enraged me. I responded back the best way I could but I was livid. It took me an hour to calm down. Other interactions have led to me feeling nauseated or exhausted because I don’t have the energy to defend my thoughts and opinions.

Then on Monday, I had a brief interaction with some folks and that was the last straw. I needed to take a break because I was ready to unleash vitriol and anger at some people and it would have turned into a disaster. This is when I decided I needed to get away from Twitter for at least two weeks.

The minute I deactivated my account, I felt a sense of relief, as if a weight was lifted off of my chest. I no longer had to worry about what replies I’d see that would trigger a severe emotional reaction.

Since deactivating my account, I’ve notice a couple of things. I like to use Twitter to fire off thoughts and opinions that I have at the moment partly to archive them and partly to engage in conversations with people. This week, there have been several instances where I take out my phone, open the Twitter app to publish a thought and realize I can’t. So, I tweet it in my head where it’s probably better that way.

One of the other major changes I’ve noticed is that I feel like I’ve gotten a chunk of my daily life back. Twitter is an important part of my job and I spend a large amount of time on the service every day looking for stories and talking to people in public and private. I sort of miss bookmarking things and reading what people are saying about a particular subject, but it’s been refreshing not having it in my daily routine anymore.

I feel so good after a week without Twitter that I’ve been thinking about abandoning the service for good since I can request my archive. However, it’s too important for how I work so I can’t do that.

What I plan on doing when I come back is unfollowing the people who trigger severe emotional reactions. Delete the app from my phone and only look at and use Twitter during the times when I’m working. I’ll also stop tweeting ideas and opinions on Twitter because it doesn’t give me enough characters to explain the WHY and allow me to add tone. I’m sick of defending myself and the only way to stop giving everyone ammo is to shut up. The good old personal blog will be getting more use in the future.

It Looks Like I’m on Another Planet 

On my flight from Oklahoma City, OK, to Chicago, IL, it looked like the planet was blanketed in white. Thanks to the sun’s angle during the evening, the clouds displayed interesting textures, with some fluffy clouds larger than others. 

It was a majestic sight worth remembering. At some points during the flight, it looked and felt like I was on another planet. 

A Glimpse into Big City Life 

I’m in Chicago, IL where a thunderstorm is occurring and as I stare out the window at the sky, I notice the apartments across the street. It’s always interesting how windows in a big city like Chicago provide brief glimpses into people’s lives.
One person is working in the kitchen getting dinner ready. Someone else has a tripod setup and is cleaning the apartment possibly preparing to record a video. Other rooms are dark but you can tell the TV is on. Someone is texting as they browse on their Macbook Pro.

Each apartment is filled with different furniture helping to make the room unique. I wonder what these people do for a living. I also wonder why so many leave their blinds wide open, I certainly wouldn’t.

Three Years Later

Next month marks three years of full-time employment contributing to WP Tavern

Three years later and I’m still having a difficult time molding myself into a (good) journalist from the shoot-from-the-hip way of writing I did a few years ago. I can’t just write stuff and hit publish. I have to check and double-check for accuracy and then get it checked again. Get quotes from people. Wait hours, or a day or two for a response back. Edit posts because I fail at grammar all the time.

The publishing process sucks and it’s not something I enjoy putting myself through every day. After three years of doing this thing full-time, the job should be easier but instead, it’s more difficult. I gotta use proper English, be professional, put quotes in the right places, start paragraphs in the right places, know when to use a block quote versus an inline quote. Fuck quotes.

The funny thing is, I did a lot of this stuff naturally in the early days of the Tavern (probably incorrectly) but for whatever reason, they’re pains in my ass now adays.

In the last three years, there are quite a few challenges I’ve worked through and ones I continue to struggle with on an every day basis while working from home. No need to get into those here but I’ve formed some pretty bad habits.

You know what, this post is just a stream of conscious thought and it’s beginning to ramble into different directions like my mind does all the time so I’ll end it here. Here’s to another year of figuring shit out, including quotes. On second thought, fuck quotes.

I Know Someone Who Committed Suicide

When I worked at the grocery store, there was a gentleman older than me that I got along with and who I could tell anything too. He’s one of those individuals that are hard to find now a days. After years of friendship, he decided to take his own life.

I’ll never forget the day I went into work when it happened. People crowded around me as I punched into the time clock. You see, I’d hangout and work with this gentleman several hours a week.

First it was my best friend then it was my future wife who told me the news. My friend and co-worker had taken his life the night before with a shotgun. I attended his funeral wondering what signs I missed, what could I have done to prevent this tragedy?

Sometimes, I run what if scenarios through my head to try to bring him back but no matter what I do, he’s gone from this realm of existence. There will always be a bit of guilt on my part for not recognizing something that may have saved his life. At the time, everything seemed just fine and this individual was hard to get personal information out of.

If you know someone who’s committed suicide, please don’t feel guilty and put the burden on your shoulders. It’s a choice the individual made and it’s likely their mind was made up well in advance.

Society sometimes looks at suicide as a way out, an end to all that is shitty in their life. Some may also consider it a cop-out or a selfish act of desire. Unless you’ve been at the brink, that point where you decide if you live or die, who are you to judge?

I sometimes dream it, think it, wonder it, but it’s the same conclusion every time. My good friend is gone and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I’ve thought about it but have never reached the point of doing it.

Please don’t put yourself in a depressive state because someone you know has taken their life. It’s sad yes, but if you put guilt on your shoulders at the same time, it will likely drive you into an unhealthy state of mind. Be strong, support loved ones who cared for the individual, and be the light in a time of darkness.