5 Ways That Clickbait Will Help My Site Traffic


I love the human condition sometimes. All you have to do is create a bullet list or an infographic and presto! You get people clicking the link thinking, ‘Oo! What’s this?’ or the more insidious trollers, ‘How many ways is this bitch wrong?’

Ah the internet. Here’s my plan!

 

  1. Create titles that have numbers and insinuate that a bulleted list of ‘facts’ will be discussed, or at least, listed so the first line can be read and the rest of the text skimmed or skipped.
  2. Don’t do any actual research, but instead lift commonly known tidbits of information off the interwebs.
  3. Two words: Cat Photos.
  4. Actually offer sound advice for commonly known issues, problems, gripes, moans, groans and general complaints.
  5. Just have a list of my favorite My Little Pony characters.

 

And there you have it! My recipe for getting more site traffic by manipulating the populous’ tendency to click on anything that will break information down in to snack sized pieces.

Thank you,

The Management.

Holy Christ, I Almost Hit a God Damn Coyote


Yes, friends. The title says it all. Why is this night different from other nights? Because it’s Passover and on the drive home from a lovely Seder dinner, I almost hit a goddamn coyote.

I was behind the wheel, driving down the Saw Mill Parkway at around 9:30pm, going the speed limit with my husband, sister-in-law and her fiancé. This road is poorly lit on a good day and the stretch of road we were traveling on had no lights for the most part and a speed limit of 50. It’s a twisty road as well, so driving with caution is always a good idea. I’ve always prided myself on my killer night vision and tonight it saved the life of a very scared coyote and spared the rest of us minor injuries.

I saw something far down the road scurry across through the darkness and my brain yelled to me, “Slow down! Object ahead!” My brain gets right to the point. My headlights hadn’t even got to it at that point, but when they did I started a controlled brake. I think I said “Oh shit” but to me, everything got quiet and I was super-focused on the object ahead of me. My brain was already running through things I’ve been told:

  • Mom – if it’s a deer, brake or turn. Something that big can wreck the car and really hurt you
  • Dad – use the shoulder if you have to. If you’re going too fast and it’s small, keep going.
  • PETA, HSUS, ASPCA, etc.. – coyotes are living things. They do not pose an immediate threat to humans. Do not engage. Do not kill!
  • Me – I brake for animals. Please don’t be a cat!

So my brain does the calculations for me at light speed, which as a dyslexic, was pretty freaking awesome and correct. I kept applying pressure to the brake, first slowly, then harder until I was maybe 5 inches from the animal as it hauled ass across the front of the car. Thankfully, no one was behind me. That would have been a disaster. Everyone was buckled up and because it was a controlled brake, no one got whiplash and the coyote vanished into the tree line. I would have felt terrible if I hurt it, and worse if I killed it. It all happened so fast, and there really wasn’t anywhere to pull over and catch my breath, so I just kept driving, super concentrating on the roads and watching the sidelines with frequent glances, as was everyone else in the car.

My focus was able to split back into the normal multitasker that it usually is after a few minutes and I realized that my passengers were talking about what just happened. The different reactions upon realizing that there was a coyote in the road were priceless.

  • Hubby – what the—OH SHIT?!
  • Sis Fiancé – is that-OH SHIT!
  • Sis in law – shit. –braces for impact and thinks this is how it ends. Damnit

Can I just say I love my family? Because I do. The fiancé said flat out, “If you had hit that, there’s no way we were going to let you stop.” Which is totally fair and valid, but let me tell you, I would have had a hard time with that. At the very least, I would have insisted on calling the ASPCA or the local police. The irrational part of me still wants to go in the woods, find it, bring it home, and give it chicken soup because I’m a crazy tree hugger and I still feel bad that the poor thing had such a close brush with death. Luckily, the other parts of my personality screamed in my mind, “are you stupid????”

Yes. Sometimes. But not today.

I get that there are a lot of people who want coyotes dead or relocated or whatever, but my feeling is, it is a living, breathing thing. I can’t get upset over a coyote acting like a predator because that’s its nature. It’s like getting pissed at the rain for being wet. By the same token, if a bear was chewing on my leg, I wouldn’t pass him the ketchup. Let’s not get crazy here. (editor’s note: leg goes better with A1)

The night ended with everyone safe at home, the coyote still alive and in the woods, and me with a cup of tea and my cat as I write this. First chickens, now coyotes. I wonder what else is going to get in front my car without being aware of its surroundings.

Updated: The Library


I started work on a story based on a memory my mother had back in Scotland growing up. I’m not sure how many of you knew that or how much any of you know about mom’s childhood. To say the least, I took liberties with the plot, but the essence of how she felt about The Library is accurate. When she used to tell me about the place I always saw it as something magical and alive. I hope that this first, very rough, very ugly draft catches some of that.

I’ll go through it about a hundred times more before I give her the finished piece and get her feedback on where I can fix the character development, but even after she saw the first crack at it when I had much less written down, she still was blown away. My goal is to get this in her hand, proofed, printed and hopefully published by her next birthday.

For those of you who would like to read the work as it gets hammered into shape, here’s the link to the perma-page. Any time I update you’ll see the alert in my feed stream. I hope you like it.

https://kittyletters.wordpress.com/stories-snippets-and-in-progress/thelibrary/

Pet Pictures 2014 (Plus Bonus Ghlaghghee Update)


Originally posted on Whatever:

Here’s Ghlaghghee resting in a papasan chair in the basement, which has, post congestive heart failure, become her favorite place to hang out. I’m fine with this because it’s only a few steps from the litter box, and given that the medicine we feed to her twice daily is a diuretic, this means that the incidence of Randomly Appearing Cat Pee is greatly lessened. Plus, she’s all comfy and cosy, and I like that. Sick kitty needs to be happy.

The good news is she’s still with us, which I would not have counted on a couple of weeks ago. The less good news is that for the rest of her life I’ll be shoving medicine down her throat twice a day, which means that two times daily she is very intensely pissed off at me for several seconds. Which is sad for both of us, but not as sad…

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A Note on New York Comic Con’s Anti-Harassment Policy


Originally posted on Whatever:

First, you literally cannot miss it — it’s on several human-sized signs right at the entrances to Javits Center (the other side of these signs say “Cosplay is not consent.” Second, the examples are clear and obvious and the policy is not constrained to only the examples — but enough’s there that you get the idea that NYCC is serious about this stuff. Third, it’s clear from the sign that NYCC also has a commitment to implementation and execution of the policy, with a harassment reporting button baked right into its phone app. This is, pretty much, how an anti-harassment policy should be implemented.

And as a result, did the floor of the Javits Center become a politically correct dystopia upon which the blood of innocent The True (and Therefore Male) Geeks was spilled by legions of Social Justice Warriors, who hooted their feminist victory to the rafters? Well, no…

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The Importance of Being Honest with Myself: Motherhood


People lie constantly. It’s true! They lie about how long it takes them to get to work or get something done so they don’t look like slackers. They lie about where they’ve been so mom and/or dad don’t yell at them. They lie to law enforcement. “I swear I only had one beer, ossifer!” And they lie to the clergy. “I go to (church, temple, etc..) every day!”

We lie so much that we have different flavors of lies!

  • bold face
  • white
  • exaggerations
  • fabrications (made up shit)
  • deception
  • slander
  • gossip
  • omission

I feel like this last one is bullshit. If you don’t ask the right question you’re not going to get an answer. That’s for another blog post.

The person we probably lie most often to is the one we really shouldn’t – ourselves. I try not to lie to myself as much as possible and that can really suck, but most times it keeps me safe and prevents me from making choices that would upset the balance I’m trying to achieve in my life. So when people challenge the beliefs and truths that I hold close, I tend to get a little ruffled. It can range from mild annoyance to “I will cut you” depending on how close-held the belief is and how insistent the opposing party gets.

Which brings me to my point and why the title is what it is.

Those of you who are child-free may stop reading, unless you really want to keep yelling, “Preach on, sister!” You’re not my intended audience. You already get me. -internet fist bump-

Those of you who love to promote the joy of motherhood, grab a chair and sit with me for a moment.

I totally get it. Some of you have wanted to be a mom since you got your first doll while some of you came to the notion after you found your significant other and wanted that type of family. And that’s awesome! A lot of dads have the same life journey, and that’s great too. Planned, unplanned, accidental, or convinced, parents come in more than just 31 flavors and you’ll find most of them love or come to love the job.

I’m not part of that group. I never will be, and yet -mostly with the older crowd- I still get a reaction when the subject of whether I have kids comes up. The first follow-up question is usually, “why not?” Fair enough, but when I answer, no matter which of the dozens upon dozens of reasons I call on in the moment, I notice that the opposite party finds counter arguments to an otherwise closed discussion.

For example:

I said, “The timing wasn’t right for me.”

I was told, “It’s never right. You just have to lean in and go for it.”

Reality Check: At the time I heard this I had no job, no prospects, no savings and I was living with my mother. Yes, there is a right and a wrong time to make major life changing decisions and THAT WAS NOT THE TIME.

Another one:

I said, “We don’t have the money.”

I was told, “You’ll find it.”

Reality Check: My husband and I were in debt up to our ears and had little concept of how to work within a budget. Tossing a baby into the mix would have been financial nightmare fuel.

The most dismissive and patronizing example:

I said, “I don’t want kids.”

I was told, “You’ll change your mind.” “You’re still young.” “You don’t know what you want yet.” “Who is going to take care of you when you’re old?” “You’ll be lonely.”

Reality Check: I thought having kids was supposed to be a selfless thing? 15 years later I’m still happy with my choice.

Having and raising children is promoted, aggressively even, in our entertainment. I’m not surprised since the wedding and baby/child industries are multi-billion dollar affairs. There are a ton of comedies about sudden parents, incompetent parents, anxious to the point of silliness parents and so on and so forth; in the drama genre you’ll meet the devoted parents, in-crisis parents, single parents, and dealing with the death of a parent. Romantic comedies start with a wedding and having kids is always implied or discussed right then and there. It’s rare that media will produce romance stories of women or couples who choose to be child-free, which ignores an entire growing demographic of young people who are choosing not to have children.

In How I Met Your Mother, Robin Scherbatsky went through a hell of a time over that, the Ted Mosby obsession not withstanding. Kevin, the character she was engaged to, left her because having kids was that important to him. The writers could have gone a different route with that and explored a couple who was child-free, because even though Robin couldn’t have kids, she still didn’t want to raise any.

Women who are child-free or childless seem to be portrayed in the media as having a problem that needs to be fixed instead of being accepted the way they are. There is nothing wrong with these women. Those who are childless have their own challenges, but because -to my knowledge- I don’t have this life experience I don’t feel qualified talking about that part of womanhood. I’ll stick to what I know.

I get that people are well meaning, and that’s fine! Kindhearted people are always in short supply, but when the response to the “do you have kids” question sounds a lot like “I didn’t want them” the conversion should probably stop. If you are curious as to why someone would make that choice even if nature hadn’t interfered, ask to understand and not to respond. Child-free couples have talked about this far longer than the ten minute conversation you’re having with them. My husband and I had the talk for 10 years, going back and forth on pros, cons, and reality checks. We decided we wanted to be together as a family without children.

Notice I didn’t use the word family until right now. I believe that my husband and my two cats are my family. So are my brother, mother, in-laws, and extended family. I don’t classify a family as two adults and 2.5 children because it takes meaning away from those of us who are committed to building a life together but don’t want or can’t have children. Some states will still block gay couples from adopting children, but that doesn’t make them any less of a family.

I was honest with myself when I got engaged, which let me be honest with my husband about how I wanted my life to be. By doing so it prevented a lot of resentment and regret, because once those kids are on planet Earth it’s your duty to look after them and do whats best by them. They never asked to be here, so if you’re not sure you’re ready, it’s going to be an uphill battle and it’ll be the kids that lose in that game.

I was honest with myself when I weighed my limitations. I didn’t want that responsibility. It was just too much for me to face. I’ve also had many nights, even since being a little girl, where I was angry at not having a choice to be alive because it’s really hard sometimes! As awesome as it can be, life can be vicious, dangerous, and completely unfair. I looked at the world around me, at the people around me, at the challenges that my children would face and I decided against it.

I was honest with myself when I looked at my fears. The physical undertaking that is pregnancy is one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen and that’s not even taking into account the cultural bullshit that pregnant women put up with. Going to the doctor terrifies me beyond normal jitters or discomfort, to the point of fainting in the waiting room, in the exam room, getting blood drawn, and shaking with fear the few days before having to show for an appointment. Even with the most amazing problem free pregnancy, that baby has to get out of your body some way. I saw Alien. Fuck that shit.

Choosing to have children or not is a very personal choice, especially if it’s going to grow inside your body. Trying to talk someone into something like that is extremely invasive and none of anyone’s business except the person or couple. So here’s a chance to be honest with yourself, if you are a promoter of having children.

Why is it so important to you for someone else to have children?

An Anti-Feminist Walks Into a Bar: A Play in Five Acts


Originally posted on Whatever:

PROLOGUE

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

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