Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paleo: Day 2

Hmmm... bacon with no guilt? Check one for "Paleo Pros."

Ate what I was supposed to eat today. Except I snuck some peanuts. Sneaked some peanuts. I stealthily popped some Planters peanuts.

No, I am not drunk. Not hungry, either.

Breakfast: Eggs and Bacon. Uber Original, right?
Lunch: Raw veggies
Dinner: Tilapia with cilantro pesto and sauteed squash. DOUBLE YUM!
Cravings: cooookies.
Energy level: It's 1 in the morning. What do  YOU think?

Talking about bacon is making me feel fat. How late is too late to run a lap?

In other news, television networks should put me in charge of deciding what gets to stay on the air and what gets yanked. Every time I see a Facebook post/Tweet that goes something like this "What? Blankety Blank show got cancelled? Nooo!! That was the best show on television! I hate tv....."

I'm all like... Hey girl, I feel your pain. Let's watch reruns of Minute To Win It and The Sing Off until people start listening to us.


Monday, November 12, 2012

PaleO Lord, Give Me Strength

I'm going Paleo. And you're gonna hate it.

Disclaimer: Remember when blogs used to be like journals? You made a blog and updated it, just for yourself, to document the mundane happenings of your life and give yourself something to look back on. Remember Xanga? Eesh. My mom still has my Xanga printed out in a folder somewhere.

Well, guess what? TravWise, the famous dormant blog of a struggling writer and SEO ranter, just got reassigned. Because I'm starting what I like to call "Travis's Campaign to Not Kill Himself." You can keep reading this if you want. I'm probably going to start ranking really well with hipsters and vegans, so if you're not interested, I won't be offended.

But seriously. Unless I write about this new campaign every day, I will not survive. I'm taking back my blog. I'm getting selfish. I have to. Please don't judge me.

Disclaimer over.

Did you know that five letter words starting with "P" and ending in "O" are automatically popular? Think about it. Every hip trend, viral movement, awesome travel location, and dangerous communicable disease is a five letter word like this: "P---O" For instance:

Plano, Popular Texas City

Plato, Smart Guy

Parvo, Dangerous Dog Disease (Ranking for dog lovers, check.)

You get the picture. So, when I stumbled across the word "Paleo," my internal P---O awareness meter started pinging.

"Oooh," I said. "A fad diet that must be cool because of its hip, roll-off-the-tongue name. Let me research this." I started reading blogs, like Mark's Daily Apple and The Paleo Diet. I kept reading. I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading. I gasped. I sighed. I rolled my eyes. And I realized one thing.

I'm going to die, like soon, if I don't start doing this immediately. Living in the South, I've become accustomed to a certain cuisine. Breakfast dishes like deep fried pork blitherings in oil-enriched gravy slop are quite common to this area. We're the ones who voted Paula Deen for President. We're the ones who ran Panera Bread out of the area. We're the ones who pick our churches based on the side dishes offered at a monthly fish fry.

We are the fat ones.

So, I'm starting the Paleo Diet. Correction: I'm starting Paleo Lifestyle: the caveman's legacy. The premise is simple: stop eating crap that the cavemen couldn't have eaten. If you keep eating the stuff you've always eaten, you will die. Hydrogenated, enriched, polyunsaturated bubbles of poison will inflate your intestines and melt your brain. It's happening all over the world to people like Lindsay Lohan and Dick Cheney.

I don't want to die. I want to be hot forever. I want artists to sculpt my body out of expensive slabs of marble. Mostly, though, I don't want to die. Yet.

So, Travis's Campaign to Not Kill Himself starts today. The wife, bless her everloving soul, is doing it with me. Score one for "misery loves company." Stay tuned for gobs of research supporting this lifestyle. In the near future, I will convert each and every one of you to my hippie-lifestyle.

That is, unless I grab a Twinkie in the next several hours. Then, all best are off. And I'll probably be dead.

Breakfast: None. Wasn't hungry. (WHAT? You skipped breakfast? You're dead. NOPE. Paleo people eat only when they're hungry. Sticks out tongue.)
Lunch: 4 boiled eggs. Raw broccoli and cherry tomatoes.
Energy level: Too soon to tell.
Craving: Chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Reading Project: Classic Adventure/Horror

So, my self-assigned summer reading project for 2012 was to make it through a list of some of the great classic adventure/horror novels. You know the ones I'm talking about.

Pretty much every book ever featured on Wishbone.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Treasure Island

You got the picture, right?

I finished Dracula and Jekyll/Hyde a couple weeks ago. One thing I'm discovering about these books is that the huge, dramatic scenes and story arcs that I've always heard of represent about (.) <-- this much of the entire book.

Also, people lie about these books. I mean, Dracula never even said "I vant to suck your blood!" Disclaimer: this is a joke. I absolutely loved Dracula. Seriously. You have to read it.

Now, I just finished 20,000 Leagues last night. What's the one thing that everyone remembers about this book? Giant squid, right? Or, if you want to get technical, architeuthis. Oooo. This guy:

I read through the whole novel, waiting like a girl at a Bieber concert for the arrival of the giant squid.


The giant squid is featured for about 2.3 pages. One guy dies. And, the word "squid" isn't even mentioned in the entire book. No, no, no. The main character refers to them as "cuttlefish."

Cuttlefish. CUDDLE FISH?

::throws hands up and goes to find something really scary. Like pictures of Mitt Romney in the morning::

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Query Woes, Crit Partner, @#$& Xmas In July

Oh, Michelle Krys, you wielder of uber-query-power, you! You and your deviant partner in crime, Ruth Lauren Steven have caused me infinite woe for the past 24 FREAKING hours! Twitter sent me a candy-gram today. It said, "Stop refreshing the site so often. It's pathetic."

For those of you who don't know, these two authors have been hosting a XmasInJuly contest for writers this week. On Monday, an e-mail address opened up for writers to send their query letters and the first 500 pages of their completed manuscript. If Michelle and Ruth chose your query, they would post it on the website. Then, 10 agents (whose names had been paraded around on the site like a Snickers bar on a string) would--gasp--REQUEST YOUR WORK! Translation: all your dreams can come true.

I submitted my query at 8:30 Monday morning. It took me all of five minutes (not counting the hours of line-by-line editing). I didn't realize, though, that Michelle and Ruth would spend all day tweeting the most TANTALIZING and CRYPTIC messages about all the queries they were receiving.

I was glued. To the computer. All day long. All night. All the next morning. You get the picture. And now, you're easing slowly away from the computer screen. You're clicking the back button.

What? Have I freaked you out? FINE GO! *sigh.

In other news, I'm searching for a crit partner, now. Someone with whom I can start a mutually profitable trade'n'grade cyberworkshop with.

Any takers?

No, not you, 14-year-old girl writing Twilight fan fiction.

P.S. Results for XmasinJuly go up on Friday. So, you should check out the winners there because I guarantee you the results will be educational. Not to be self-deprecating (defecating?), but I don't think mine made it. Got to work on raising the stakes in my letter, right? Right.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Word Vomit: Bad SEO

I'm so sick and tired of bad SEO writing. Do you know what I'm talking about? Ok, maybe you don't. Here's an example. Say you're searching for outdoor living furniture. You want to examine your options. You want to read some articles that will help you choose. You want--gasp--information. What a shock.  So, you search.

click. clack. click. click. clack. "Outdoor Living Furniture." (Apparently I'm Googling on a typewriter)

45 billion results found.


"Outdoor living furniture can be a great thing to have. With Outdoor Living Furniture, you can live outdoors. You can find Outdoor living furniture in a variety of places. Usually, Outdoor living furniture is outside. You can live in it. It is furniture. This is why outdoor living furniture is so important."

Now do you know what I'm talking about? Why in the FREAK are those results coming up on top?  I know, I know... you're going to start dropping big words at me. Algorithm. Keyword Frequency. Antidisestablishmentarianism.

All I'm saying is, "What is with all the bad SEO writing?" Isn't there an argument somewhere for high quality content that keeps people coming back? Aren't you more likely to bookmark or remember a site that does more than just vomit some keywords on your shoes?

Blah. This post came from my attempt to research affiliate marketing. I don't know what it is. After reading about four articles, I still don't know what it is. I'm going to clean my shoes now.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Textbroker, Love Mr. Jefferson

With a completed novel under my belt and a 12 month goal to send it to every freaking literary agent on my list (there's about 200 there so far; s'gonna take awhile), it was time to sit down and figure out how I was going to make money in the meantime.

Now, last year, I was all gung-ho about Elance. I'd bopped my rating up to #128 out of 120,000 writers on that freelance community. Something bad is happening over there, though. The Elance job postings are being FLOODED with people who want to pay peanuts for work. I'm talking less than a penny per word. LESS THAN A PENNY? Are you kidding me? (Pictured, below: Travis trying to balance the budget)

So, I started piddling around on Textbroker again. Any of you who read my past posts know that I was seriously anti-Textbroker about a year ago. This year, though, I realized that at the very least Textbroker is offering a healthy portion of jobs that pay higher than a penny per word. I decided to give it a shot again. Knock knock. Who's there? Travis. Travis who? Yeah, I know, I've been gone awhile Textbroker. Just open the dang door.

So far, so good with the whole Textbroker thing. I'm consistently given a four star rating for my articles, which means that I have access to a bunch of articles that pay over one cent per word. Great, right? Well, yes, it is great. HOWEVER.

I keep glancing at those tantalizing 5-star articles that I can't access. Those 5-star articles pay a whopping five cents per word. Which means I can make more than three times as much writing those as I could writing the 4-star articles. Here's the problem. The only way to get access to those 5-star articles is to write 4-star articles at a 5-star level. Then, Textbroker staff will rate my articles, and after five in a row, I'm bumped up to level 5.

But hold on just a red hot second. How am I supposed to spend the appropriate amount of time and energy to write at a level 5 when I'm still only getting paid at level 4. Let me clarify this. I am fully capable of spending an hour on a 500 word article. I can do the research. I can sew together genius sentences into a high quality creation. But, I'm not going to do that on an article that only pays me $7. No, for a $7 article, I'm going to spend a maximum of 15 minutes. That's the only way I can justify the low cost of the article.

Textbroker, how am I supposed to move up in the world? If you were to give me an article topic and say, "Show us what you can do with this?" I would astound, surprise and gratify. Instead, you're telling me, "Spend valuable time writing at a level for which you won't get paid."
Again I say, "How am I supposed to move up in the world?" Is anybody else feeling this pain? Anybody else wondering how they can get a 5-star rating without spending way too much time on an article that only pays 4 stars' worth? I'm just a man trying to sing The Jeffersons' theme song.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In The Interest of Full Disclosure...

ITIOFD. I kind of wish that were a common abbreviation.  We could call it Idio-Fud.  ITIO-FD
"Hey Spike, tell me about your hot date last night."
"Aw, no, Fred you don't want to know all the details."
"Heck yes I do.  Bruno said she was a stone cold fox!"
"Well, ITIO-FD... it was with your mom."
Well, anyways ITIOFD I'd like to share with you some basic facts about recent experiences.  No editorializing.  No bashing.  No comments.  Just the bare bones facts.

Make of these what you will.

1. On Wednesday, I wrote a scathing review of Textbroker and its services that was intended to be harsh.  Textbroker is a freelance writing community. On Friday, I received an e-mail and a DM tweet from a Textbroker executive.  She asked whether TravWise was, in fact, my blog, and expressed an interest in communicating with me so that "they could get me back."  Friday afternoon I wrote a lengthy (editorializing, dang it) 300 word e-mail explaining the blog post and welcoming further discussion.  Friday afternoon I wrote a semi-apologetic amended blog post about Textbroker.  Friday evening I received another DM tweet from the same executive. "I'll get back to you on Monday."  Monday, nothing.  Tuesday, nothing. 

2.  Today, I filled out the online form for the Publisher's Clearing House $5000/Week For Life giveaway.  I deleted all of my information before sending the form.  Ten minutes later, I filled it out again.  I deleted it.  Again.  The form is still open in a tab on my web browser.  I think maybe it is casting a spell on me.

3.  This morning I missed a writing deadline by thirty minutes.  I did not care show any outwardly measurable signs of distress.  This client receives high quality work for 50% less than my other clients.  (That's not editorializing. Those are facts. FYI. Idio-Fud.)

4.  I seriously debated spent twenty minutes evaluating the pros and cons of taking a nap this afternoon.  I went to lunch with my working wife and my in-laws.  I saw at least thirty people wearing either scrubs, nametags, or business attire.  I returned to my home to continue working.  I did not take a nap this afternoon.  Guilt may or may not have been the reason.

5.  I spend too much time... an exorbitant amount of... I spend approximately 1.5 hours managing social media every day.

6.  We are going to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner tonight to celebrate my brother-in-law's (brother's-in-law?) birthday.  It will rock.  (Editorializing... oh shut up.)