City planning, why do you do this?

One of the packages that I ordered for myself for birthday (arguably the package I deem most important) is lost.

FedEx had been sending me tracking updates and this morning sent me an update saying the package was on the truck and out for delivery. At 10:30 am I got a text message saying that the package had been delivered and was left on my doorstep.

Only it was never left on my doorstep.

No FedEx truck, van or vehicle came down my street today.

My theory is that the Fedex Driver likely went down the wrong road. Probably because my neighbourhood is stupidly planned.

To point out how stupidly planned in it… I’ll explain it in hypothetical terms. Let’s say I live at 432 Smith Street (I don’t, I’m making up an example as to not give out my address on the internet). All of the streets in this neighbourhood are Smith Street, Smith Place, Smith Court, Smith Boulevard, Smith Lane, Smith Circle, etc… There’s about 15 streets around here with the same street name.

Each and every one of those has a 432. So there’s a 432 Smith Street and a 432 Smith Place and a 432 Smith Court, etc… etc…

Who plans neighbourhoods like this?

Honestly.

I’d like to talk to the people in the city planning department who approved this. All of the ‘S’ options in the world and they have to use the same one for every single road/street in the neighbourhood.

No wonder my package is lost.

Now that I’ve discovered there’s a 432 on every street, it makes me wonder if I’ve had any other mail lost in the past few months.

Nevertheless, FedEx has assured me they delivered it to my front door and that I just must not be looking in the right place. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place. Maybe I need to be looking at 432 Smith Place and 432 Smith Court, etc… to find my package.

I’m going to start a petition that says all streets need to have original names. Or, at the very least, streets in the same neighbourhood can’t all be named the same. (I’m really not, I’m just bitter my birthday present isn’t here)

Alexa, tell me I’m pretty.

One of the things I purchased with the winnings from my recent work awards was an Amazon Echo Dot. I’ve always wanted to try one, but I just never really got around to it. Now that I didn’t even have to spend my own money on it, it seemed like the perfect time. I also have a somewhat smart house already. (Can control lights, thermostat, etc… with my phone)

Oh Alexa.

She’s nosey.

She’s smart, but she’s nosey.

This is possibly because I haven’t quite figured out how to use her yet. I was watching the Corona Virus Press Conference this afternoon (to learn more about the continuous nightmare unfolding in this city) and they were taking questions from reporters. One of the reporters acknowledged herself as ‘Alexa [Insert Last Name]’ before asking her question. The Echo Dot heard the question and said ‘I’m not sure’.

Apparently I didn’t properly set up the voice activation cues.

Anyways, I’ll be getting on that tonight.

Does anyone else have one of the Amazon Alexa devices? What do you use it for? What can I use mine for that I haven’t discovered yet?

It’s my birthday

When we first started hearing about COVID in February, I would have laughed at you if you’d said that we’d still be dealing with this come my birthday.

I remember trying to plan a birthday parade for my niece at the height of restrictions in Western Canada. ‘We can do this’, I thought to myself. People were going to buy into staying home. People were going to buy into wearing masks and we could contain COVID.

I was so naive.

There was 114 active cases in the province when I helped to plan the birthday parade for my niece. Today there are nearly 4,000 in the city that I live, nearly 8,000 in the province.

It’s my birthday. There’s a snowstorm outside and a deadly disease sweeping the city, province, country and world. There will be no parties, no going for drinks, no visiting with friends. I’m just hanging out here, being antisocial. Nobody’s going to get sick on my watch.

My family and friends have come through in droves to send me presents and cards, text messages and phone calls. I’ve received more cake than I could ever eat. (see below)

A beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered this morning. I also got a pair of Vessi shoes for my birthday. My brother even sent me some slippers from Denmark.

Another year.

What a year it has been.

Who I was last year and who I am this year is two completely different people. I’m thankful for how far I’ve come and I can truly say I’m hopeful for what the future holds.

Here’s to another year and the adventures it has the possibility to bring. Hopefully it won’t all be spent in quarantine hiding from the world.

Thank you Carrie

Last night after I wrote a blog post about how I feared I’d broken the Dyson Vacuum that came with this house, someone who reads this blog reached out to me to ask me what the specific issue was. She said that her husband was pretty good with fixing appliances and tools around the home and that if I could tell her what was wrong, she would see what he had to say.

About an hour ago I got an email back from her/her husband explaining a step by step guide of every possible item that could troubleshoot the issue that I was having.

Not only did their email adequately explain to me what was wrong, but it also explained to me how to fix it.

The vacuum works now.

Not only that, but it works better than it did the day I moved into this house.

Thank you Carrie, and thank you Steve. You’ve put this anxious mind at ease tonight. And all it took was a someone who knew to tell me where to look and what to adjust.

(Carrie’s blog is currently set to private. I’ve asked her if I can share her URL because she’s so kind I think more people deserve to know her. If she gives me permission to share her URL, I’ll update this post)

Suspended from LinkedIn

I got suspended from LinkedIn today.

I’ve read thousands of posts containing misinformation or outright lies in the past few weeks. Thousands of posts spewing bullshit about the American election are all over LinkedIn and people are fighting with one another in comments sections all over the platform.

Did I share misinformation? No. Was I mean or hateful to someone in the comments section of a post? No. Did I say or do anything that anyone could have taken offense with? I don’t believe so.

I got suspended from LinkedIn for “excessive use of capitalization”.

Okay, so I got suspended from LinkedIn. Big deal, eh? Well, not only did they suspend me from LinkedIn but they’ve locked the company page that I maintain for the length of the suspension. They’ve also suspended the distribution of the ads until the suspension is over.

For. using. too. many. capital. letters.

What a world.

People are literally using the platform to threaten one another and LinkedIn thinks that’s just jim-dandy. I create a graphic that uses capital letters (for visual purpose) and bam… see you later alligator.

#Priorities

They’re back.

From now until November 10th, if you would like to get your hands on a #MillennialLifeCrisis shirt, they can be purchased on my Teespring store.

#MillennialLifeCrisis Teespring Store >

In addition to the original logo design, there are two new designs this year.

The first new design is the Millennial Life Crisis is written in a small chest-plate logo that has been flipped upside down. It is a shirt that reflects a lot of what 2020 has been for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people.

The second new design is Millennial Life Crisis is written in red and orange. I just love the two colours together. I think it looks like sunshine on a shirt.

These shirts are available until November 10th, at which point I will be removing them from the Teespring store.

Teespring fast facts:

  • I do not own these shirts. They are not being shipped from myself and they are not in my possession.
  • Teespring is a print-on-demand business in which you upload your personal artwork to clothing and accessories and they print items as the item is purchased and take control over shipping them to the purchaser
  • Teepsring takes a “flat fee” for the price of the shirt + labour. After that, the direct profit any one person makes is a reflection of how high they price their goods at. This why you will find some people have Teespring shirts that are $20 and some people have them as high as $40 or $45. The people who price their items higher are making more of a profit.
  • With the exception of the full-zip hoodie, all prices are marked for roughly a $5 profit for me, on the store, if someone decides to purchase. The full-zip hoodie had a minimum purchase price I had to abide by.
  • There are slight differences in the price from shirt to shirt that is a reflection of the design artwork. This means for one shirt the profit might be $4.80 while another shirt the profit might be $5.15 or $5.20
  • Teespring takes the order, accepts payment and is in charge of shipping all items. Once an item has be processed, created and shipped out of their warehouse, they will make the profit from the sale available to the creator. This means shipping of all items will be from their warehouse in the USA or the UK.

If you’d like to know what these look like when printed, here’s two shirts with the original logo. All artwork is screen-printed onto the items. They hold up really well after being washed a few dozen times.

If you would like to buy one of these shirts, they can be purchased at the #MillennialLifeCrisis Teespring store. Shirts will be available until November 10th.

If you do purchase a shirt, thank you! Please take a picture of yourself wearing it because I would absolutely love to see it. And, if you cannot purchase a shirt, or do not wish to purchase a shirt, I’m still incredibly grateful that you’re here and have continued reading this blog.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane.

Happy Halloween!

Quadruple the COVID

COVID cases around here have quadrupled in the past seven days.

Quadrupled.

Thanksgiving was just too important to skip. It was just too important that people couldn’t stay home. They had to get together. They had to celebrate together.

Well, I hope it was worth it. Quadruple the cases and snow on the ground, below freezing temperatures making it hard for people to be outside… I can do the math here and it’s not looking good for us. I hope that everyone who just had to get together for Thanksgiving enjoyed themselves because from the looks of things, Christmas is going to fucking suck because of it.

And, if anyone is following trends, we quadrupled cases in seven days thanks in large part due to Thanksgiving dinner gatherings. There’s no ‘Black Friday’ in Canada. Canadians don’t cram into shopping malls just hours after eating to buy everything in eyesight. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but if I’m being realistic, I highly doubt every retail outlet, store and shopping mall in the United States would have to close and stay closed on Black Friday. November is likely going to be a very dark and sucky month.

Okay, rant over.

SEO for WordPress bloggers

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a loaded subject. If you’re new to SEO it can be extremely overwhelming to subject to try and comprehend. Heck, even if you’re a seasoned vet with SEO it can be an extremely overwhelming subject to try and comprehend.

I’m no expert when it comes to SEO. But, I have learned a thing or two over the past decade. So, included in this post are some of my basic, easiest to understand suggestions to help you improve SEO for your blog. Whether you use the free WordPress plan or the Business WordPress Plan take some small steps and watch how your stats change.

SEO TIPS

If you have the WordPress business plan, use the Yoast plugin. This won’t be applicable unless you have the business plan. But, if you have the business plan, Yoast gives you what is essentially a step-by-step guide of how to take a post from a basic post to an SEO superstar.

Pick a valuable keyword for your content. Keywords are are words or phrases that describe the content on your page or post the best. Essentially, a keyword is what you think people will search on Google to find the post that you’re writing. It’s important to pick a keyword that speaks to what you’re sharing, and that it also be something people will search. Keep in mind that if you pick too generic, you might not get indexed. And, if you pick too specific and people might not actually search it often… if at all.

Utilize keywords throughout your content. It’s important to ensure that selected keywords (subject matter) for your posts are woven throughout your content. This means trying to include your keyword within the title, any headings and subheadings used, DEFINITELY within your introductory sentence, and the concluding paragraph. Do not put your keyword in places where it is not applicable.

Optimize any images shared. If you’re uploading a photo to your blog, include keywords in the file name. If you have a business account, use a keyword rich description in the ATF. If you do not have a business account, use a keyword applicable caption.

Reference both internal and external links within your posts. With respect to your content, you should think of your blog as a sort of… digital spider web.

  • An internal link is one that links from your post to another page or post on your site. This is really quite simple, actually. If you make a post, link other similar posts. If you frequently talking about anxiety, link other posts you’ve made about anxiety. If you talk about parenting frequently, link some similar posts where you speak about parenting. Doing this creates a digital spiderweb within your own site, which tells search engines you’ve been around for a while.
  • An external link is one that goes elsewhere on the web. You can link to posts made by other bloggers. You can link to the site that possibly motivated you to write your post. When you are linking externally, make sure the site you’re sharing a link to is one relevant to your article. Don’t just link to link. Quality links are a valuable piece to any site looking to rank higher on search engine pages and the digital spider web you’re trying to weave should speak to your blog and it’s content/value

Use social media to broaden your reach and share your blog posts. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all great resources for sharing your posts and garnering more views. You can make new friends and acquaintances on these sites, grow your audience and your blog’s reach. And, in sharing links to your posts on social media, you’re both adding to the digital spider-web of your blog, and creating valuable back-links to your website.

Have a user friendly website. If your website is difficult to navigate, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your menu is difficult to find, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your text is a neon green colour that can be difficult to read, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. The sites which rank the highest within search engines are the ones that are most user-friendly to the masses. It makes sense if you think about it – why would google recommend a website to you that’s going to give you a headache trying to navigate? If your website is confusing, maybe it’s time to make some upgrades.

Fix broken links. Broken links can do a lot of harm to you when you’re trying to get your site indexed for search engines. If you do everything you can to have your content indexed but you do have broken links within your site, those broken links are going to ‘delegitimize’ your site/blog to search engine crawlers responsible for indexing. Think of broken links like people who try to clean by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door. The mess is still there, you’ve just hidden it. Even if you’re taking every other step possible to be indexed, if you’ve got broken links within your site, your mess is still there, it’s just hidden.

Fix your blank pages. If you have a menu item on your site that goes nowhere at all, that’s going to harm your ability to be indexed. Even if it has nothing to do with your post content. If there’s a blank page somewhere on your site, search engine crawlers could possibly believe your site is incomplete and deem it not worthy of being indexed.

Make your posts content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences. Use headings. Use subheadings. Use bolded sentences when you’re trying to accentuate a point. Break up the content into small chunks so that, even if someone is an idiot, or if they have a short attention span, they can make it through your post. When you’re sharing your content you should be dumbing it down so that the stupidest person on earth could read it and understand it. The reason for this is, search engines want to rank pages highest that are easiest for everyone to read. One long run-on paragraph is going to be harder for people to get through. Content that is rich in technical language is going to be harder for people to get through. If something is difficult for people to consume, search engines are not going to rank it as reader friendly.

TO CONCLUDE

As with every suggestion, tip or trick I offer on this blog, please take all information provided with a grain of salt. Use what works for you and leave what you don’t want

SEO is such a convoluted subject that there’s a lot of advice floating around the interwebs. Quite honestly, you could probably take any number of the first two hundred suggestions that come up from a quick google search and see some improvements in your site rankings. To be successful with SEO, it’s all about doing including the small details and taking those extra little steps to make you content user/reader friendly.

If you have made it through all of this and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can.

This is unimportant, but

I bought Halloween candy back in August when I was feeling hopeful on the future and hopeful that Halloween might actually be able to be a thing this year. The Halloween candy has remained, in my cupboard, unopened, since then.

I even bought the Halloween candy that I like, and can eat, so that I could steal some of it. Which, looking back was either a smart or a stupid thing for me to do. With each passing day it’s looking less and less like Halloween is happening this year. I might be eating all of it.

I’m just proud of the fact that I’ve had candy in my cupboard since August and it’s still unopened. That is my definition of will-power.