7 Unique Websites I’ve Bookmarked Throughout the Years

Some dead poet guy by the name of Henry D Thoreau was quoted as saying “I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” Never met the guy personally, probably because you know… he’s dead. But in the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot of deliberate living things. Questioning some choices. Coming to terms with others.

One of the things I’ve been doing is clearing out my Bookmarks. Over the multitude of years of using Firefox, I have bookmarked – that is, saved for some reason or another to find for later – a lot of websites! It is a confusing mess! So I’ve been going through them and removing a lot of them. Some simply don’t pertain to me any more. Others have been superseded by better links. Others still simply don’t work, lost to the ebbs of internet time.

I thought it would be neat to share a few of them, so with that in mind here we go:

1.) The Secret Teachings of All Ages – This website contains the transcribed work of Manly P. Hall, which was written in 1928. Mr. Hall was a Canadian born lecturer and occultist. The practicality of his works is certainly debatable, but I find the work to be an interesting source to pull from. It’s a solid source for learning about popular metaphysical religions and organizations at the time like The Golden Dawn or Masons, and could be useful if you are a fiction writer trying to write a story ground in some of these beliefs. It’s also an interesting look back at what sort of non-Christian faiths were prominent in North America during this time period. Fun fact: in 1930, this book cost $100 – which would be about $1400 in today’s cash. And you thought your college textbooks were expensive!

2.) Katamari website hack – this is a fun little diversion that will take the website you are on and allow you to roll it up into a ball, much like in the hit puzzle game Katamari Damacy.

3.) RumChata Cheesecake Pudding Shots – I never did get around to making these. Maybe some day I will. They take a popular alcoholic drink known for its sweet tasty and milky texture and turn it into a desert. That will get you drunk. That’s a thing that will end well, I am sure.

4.) Five Key Ways to Build Customer Relationships – This 13 year old article from Entrepreneur is just as relevant today as it was then. Something to consider for anyone looking to start a business or improve their own customer service skills.

5.) Free CSS – Solid website templates. I’ve played around with a few of these. I like that they stand on their own almost right out of the box, but found it frustrating to hack any of them down when they had features I didn’t care for or need.

6.) Worldbroadcastingsystem.com – In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, text chatting and role playing were pretty big. The Ethereal Realms script was an ambitious project that allowed like minded individuals to gather together in rooms, create characters all under one account, upload media, and otherwise participate in a fluid non-commital community. The Ethereal Realms website itself has closed, these days simply showing off its script. There was once several dozen iterations of the project that used the software; now there is maybe three or four left. Of those, WBS remains the most constant. It’s a great way to see everything that worked, and also everything that didn’t, about that software.

7.) Ren’py – Ever want to create a visual novel, or a dating sim? Ren’Py is an option that makes it easy. Also, it’s completely free, even for commercial use.

None of these are affiliate links – I get nothing out of them if you check them out. I just appreciate the opportunity to share a few places I’ve been, as I clear out literally three hundred and some odd pages I’ve saved throughout the last eight years.

Refocusing on This Blog, It’s Purpose, And It’s Future Direction

In Fall of 2015 I created this blog with the purpose of learning how WordPress worked, from the back end and as a user. WordPress to me seemed like it would be the future of content, a future once envisioned in the days of RSS feeds and personal webspaces, brought anew by the rigid policies and content curating of companies like Facebook and Tumblr. The ease of creators and small businesses of using WordPress as a business front didn’t hurt this belief.

As you can tell from my very sporadic updates, this is a project that has for the most part fallen to the wayside. My life switched directions, with me taking a job that requires me to work 12 hour shifts 6 days a week, my refocusing on the health of my family, and trying to get any sort of sleep in between everything that needs to be done.

Lately I’ve decided to put more focus on this blog. Part of this is because it has the best domain name ever, bar none. (I choose it back when I had grand visions of using it for a link shortener. No one uses this anymore; not even me!) Another part of this is a Facebook group I follow, Flav Medeiros’s Side Business Ideas Facebook group, is hosting a 6 week blogging challenge and I am leaning on this man’s business knowledge and blogging history to learn everything I can from it. I personally don’t see this blog as the sort of place people go for anything particular, because this blog’s dedicated niche is me, the user. I share what I feel is interesting, and those things can be very schizophrenic. The upside of this is that it’s my blog and content. The downside is there’s not really a dedicated user for this content, outside of perhaps friends and perhaps those that view this website’s URL from other services I share.

This challenge comes at an interesting time in my life. At 36 years of age, I am starting to put a lot more thought into who I am as an individual and a member of my local and worldwide community. It also comes at a time when I am severely questioning and challenging my use of a lot of social media. As an example, I recently locked 9 years of Facebook posts so that only I could reference them (although I still use the Messenger, and participate in a couple of closed groups.) If ever there was a time to consider a blogging challenge, and to force myself to write in general, now is this time. Plus, always great to have another excuse to neglect my Youtube channel.

I’m not sure where this will go in 6 week’s time, or after. I am taking this course seriously, and in just one week feel that the course is already on its way to encouraging me to at least update this thing on a weekly basis. I will be looking at some things that have been concerns for me for a while as well, such as how this WordPress theme presents itself on most mobile devices (easy to read but hard to interact with) and how it integrates keywords, links, and media. I may also be moving away from the Adsense advertisements (which I chose because they linked well with the Youtube revenue I used to get two years ago) towards other more viable options. Time will tell!

Midrasche in the City – Or How I Enjoyed a Game Even Though it’s Older Than My Kids

Torn City bills itself as a “text-based MMO”, although it’s perhaps better described as a “browser game” (that does have its own client) . In it, players assume the role of a Torn citizen, and they can be whatever they want to be. A soldier! A criminal. A businesman! A lawyer!

I’m mostly a wall slut who spends their time racing.

Allow me to explain.

I picked up this game after a Facebook advertisement recommended it to me. Comments under the advertisement seemed enthusiastic, so I dived in. I figured I would keep my head down, lay low, get a hang of things and go from there.

Three days in someone recruits me into a Faction. Welp, so much for laying low.

It’s not a bad game. It was created in 2004, which means it is INCREDIBLY top heavy, and a lot of the older folks don’t like new players at all. So my advice to you, if you are just joining this game, is to simply not post in Help or Trade chat. If you do, you’ll get attacked out of the blue for no reason. That’s another issue – once your 14 days of newbie protection are over, anyone of any level can attack you. If they do it right, you won’t even know who it was that attacked you – just the mysterious “someone.”

There’s a lot of friendly people too though, and a lot of solid guides. It’s not hard to pick things up and get an idea of where you are going. There is a mantra repeated frequently: “Torn is a marathon, not a sprint” – encouraging the playing of the long game.

I spend a lot of my time training stats, talking to Faction mates, and racing. There is a racing side-game that is very involved in which a player starts at E class and works their way up to the mysterious A class, all in hopes of some honor badges which ultimately make the player stronger. The definition of the word ironic, I’ve been forsaking cars suggested by guides and going for cars I would consider driving with consideration for the game’s “handling” stat and I’ve been doing excessively well. As I type this, I’m about 5 more first place wins away from B class. I anticipate having that within the next two days. Multi track drifting agogo.

Of course, being in a Faction means you are expected to participate in Faction wars. In this game, wars take place by having contested piece of property, represented by a “wall.” Players who want the property and players who want to protect it jump on the wall, and the time they stay on the wall generates points. Of course, instead of jumping on the wall on either case you can simply attack and hospitalize individuals who are gaining points. This game calls newer players whose only job is to be on the wall to waste the energy of whomever attacks them “Wall sluts.” It is a shame that is the best I can accomplish at this point in the game but damn it, I’m trying.

You also can work for companies, or create your own. Different businesses have different perks but also different requirements as to what it takes to be good at the job and thus benefit the business. A factionmate encouraged me to get a job at an Adult Novelty store, which are a great way to increase one’s in-game happiness and ultimately slow down one’s opponent via “bondage.” The problem was, it was poorly run. The director was not very communicative, and did a poor job of training his fellow members. After two weeks of that, I jumped ship to work at a Mechanic Shop – a job that offers great perks to those who race, at the cost of only being useful for those who race. It’s been going a lot better, although the owner of the previous business has taken it upon himself to harass me in the most hilariously futile ways. He bountied me. His faction told him to stop, after I bountied him back and his people started asking “what’s this?” Then he bountied me again, but anonymously. When I hired someone who worked at a Cyber Cafe to confirm it was him, he started attacking and hospitalizing me outright. If only he put that much effort and energy into running a business, it might have its second star despite being open for 6 weeks!

There’s a lot of other things going on under the hood, like accepting missions from the town’s notorious loanshark Duke, or flying across the world running rareties like flowers and plushies… or drugs and weapons, if that’s your cup of tea. It is a game that completely frustrates me, yet also encourages me to keep at it. So that’s what I intend to do, for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll get strong enough to leave my own mark!

. . . on the pavement. In blood. Because I will die a lot more times. Just watch.