Short Story because of boredom

They woke up hearing the sound of decompression accompanied by light that began to fill the chamber. These were the first signs of hope that they might survive the long night.

Felix was the first to regain some motor functions. The cold chambers weren’t kind to their bodies. He stretched his legs and began the struggle of bringing his body temperature back up to normal levels. As he moved around he examined his unorthodox companions. Horatio and Octavia were having troubles of their own. He noticed one of Octavia’s legs was encased in ice, a product of the cold chambers process. Though it didn’t take long to free herself the damage was already done. He pitied her for a moment before continuing his exploration.

With time they began to move better, but progress was slow going. Things were starting to look up again.

It wasn’t long after they woke up when they light finally filled the room enough for them to see their surroundings, and each other, clearer. That was when they noticed something wrong.

Looped around each one were long lengths of some kind of tether. This was their first cause for concern since waking up. The second was when they realized they couldn’t free loosen the loops around them to escape.

Suddenly, a shadow was cast over them and obstructed the light that brought them hope. Following the appearance of the shadow came a deep, reverberating sound and a large object floated in above the occupants of the cold chamber. It was then that Felix and his group remembered how they first arrived.

A voice rang angrily through the house “Damnit Jonathan! How many times have I told you not to put bugs in the freezer?!”

“Mom don’t! I need those for my experiment!” The adolescent Jonathan yelled back, hurrying to the kitchen to save the fly, hornet, and spider he had worked so carefully to catch.

An ice cream ramble that doesn’t end with ice cream

I was thinking I’d post this on Twitter but quickly realized how long it would get to cover everything, so instead I’m going to rant here.

Anyways, I’m supposed to be eating better (and generally speaking I have) but a couple nights ago around midnight I was craving ice cream. I hadn’t had any in quite a while so I figured why not treat myself. So my roommate and I go off to Walmart and pick up some for ourselves and our other roommate. All was good.

Last night was not good, though, for when I went to go have the rest of my ice cream and couldn’t eat it because the freezer was thawing. My ice cream was very nearly melted and my consumption of a delicious cold treat put on hold while it freezes again in the deep freeze.

After discovering that the freezer and fridge weren’t keeping temp I immediately went into Fix It Mode and started pulling things apart and cleaning the radiator fin things. In the process of doing so I accidentally broke one of the fan blades under the fridge. Now we have an angry fridge but I at least got the compressor to kick back on and temps started coming down again. Sorry roommate, I nearly broke your fridge, but then again I didn’t and probably saved you money. End rambling.

More to come

I haven’t posted anything in almost a month, and I apologize for that. I’ve been busy and caught up with work and life in general, and just haven’t sat down to write down my thoughts on a lot of things. I DID come up with an interesting short story I want to put on here, so that’s in the works. More to come!

Ads are killing discoverability

It finally happened. I’ve seen multiple Ads on Twitch when opening different streams.

I’ll admit, I use Ad blocking in my browsers and I have for years. Ads seem to pervade all corners of the Internet now, and one of the biggest draws for watching content on Twitch was the ability to go ad-free.

All you had to do was have subscriptions to your favorite channels (provided they had ads turned off) or link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account. I haven’t tried Twitch Turbo, or whatever it’s called, because honestly I shouldn’t have to when I pay for Amazon Prime but that’s just my opinion on that matter.

Twitch has been working towards changing all this for the last couple of years by injecting ads straight into a channels data stream and circumventing adblocking softwares, and there are a few issues I’m seeing as a result.

The first issue revolves around what I already alluded to with Amazon Prime and subscriptions. Those seemingly don’t matter, and others on sites like Reddit share the sentiment that it’s bullshit. Why are we paying for these things just so Twitch can put ads in our face? The idea of cord cutting, and transitioning to services like Netflix and Twitch, was to get AWAY from ads. Ads are a disincentive now for these kinds of higher level services and their subscriptions.

The second and third issue are related by the fact that they impact streamers.

The second issue I see is more specifically about ads being a disincentive for people to want to watch streams at all, so they seek content elsewhere. Let’s face it, as much as people are hating on YouTube for their business practices of late, at least theres a skip ad button in most ads. This gives people the choice of what they want to do, watch the ad if it interests them or move on. Not an ideal solution but better.

The third issue, and one that hits close to home for me despite streaming being a hobby, is that ads are killing discoverability of streamers that are looking to grow. THIS is why I’m writing this entry and I was spurred on by a couple of comments I read on r/Twitch. People are becoming aware that ads aren’t going away and can’t be blocked so easily anymore. They’re getting frustrated that every new stream they navigate to will start with an ad and knowing this they’d rather go watch a larger streamer. Why? One reason is because the ads on the larger channel generally say they support the streamer, and not “This ad supports Twitch” and another reason is they probably have a sub to that streamer and won’t get ads anyway.

Although adblocking is losing its strength, for now, I also saw another comment that I found interesting. Some people have different adblocking strategies and software that are still effective to some degree. Rather than circumvent the ad, and go straight into the stream, it replaces it with nothing. Just a black screen. And they’re fine with that. They’re comment was literally about how they would rather see up to 30 seconds of a black screen than watch an ad at the start of a stream. This is not a great solution, but if it makes the viewer happy then cool.

I’ll say it again. Ads are killing discoverability. It’s unfortunate and counterproductive to some of the other initiatives that Twitch has been working on to increase discoverability of new and growing channels.

Good luck out there, folks.

Networking is weird

Modern professional and social networking is weird, and the internet makes it as difficult as it is easy.

The way that I interact with people changes based on my goal (and theirs, if I happen to learn it beforehand) so I often end up bouncing back and forth between introverted and extroverted social and professional habits.

My current work has taught me a lot about professionalism and networking, and the lessons I’ve learned there don’t always seem to sync up well with networking on social media. On the business professional side you have the mutual understanding that you aren’t trying to become best friends and are simply looking to work together for your common goals or interests. The other side, social media based networking, often is associated with trying to meet with people that have similar interests and hobbies and maybe become friends. At least, that’s my perception of the difference between professional networking and social media networking. The problem I run into now, though, is that social media networking and professional networking have meshed together through the Internet because that’s where the people are and businesses know that fact.

Half of the problem with them being so meshed together is that everyone is now in your business, whether you like it or not. This means both professional networking and social media networking play an important role in growth as a streamer.

One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard to grow as a streamer is you need to do at least some networking. You have to put yourself out there and talk to people “behind the scenes” of your stream. You have to make, and sometimes break, those connections to get the things you need to grow. Whether it’s sponsors or other streamers to help get your content some visibility. For myself this leads to an internal struggle between fear of the negative impact of mass perception and doing what I need to do to chase a dream.

“He’s just trying to be a leech.”

If that sentence sounds familiar, you’ve most likely read it, or something worded very similar, being used to describe a streamer on social media that’s trying to interact with a another streamer.

The other half of the problem with professional networking being meshed together with social media networking is that one is, essentially, a modern way to make friends. People often forget that fact when they start trying to network for a goal. My internal struggle is that I still see it as a way to interact with and make new friends, all while trying to make those important connections to grow my stream. And it blows. Majorly.

I’m afraid of wording something the wrong way and upsetting (and possibly losing) a friend, or being seen as a sellout by trying to get in the good graces of someone else because I want something that they have to offer as a resource for growth. I’ve mentioned it before, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Chances have to be taken. I only hope that if someone somehow feels like I’ve wronged them along the way that they forgive me for not wanting to miss an opportunity.

Let’s chase a dream and keep on moving forward.

Follow 4 Follow, Host 4 Host? Don’t waste my time.

You’ve probably heard the expression about doing something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Streaming is just a hobby for me right now, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent plenty of time thinking of what it would be like to do it full time. I mean, if you love playing video games and are comfortable behind a camera then why WOULDN’T you want to do it full time as your job? The problem that most people overlook is the level of effort that needs to go into building everything up to make it a viable source of income to support yourself in the same fashion as a more conventional full time job. A large part of that effort is often spent behind the scenes and can be very overwhelming if you don’t have help, and part of that help can also come in the form of networking.

In the couple of years that I’ve spent streaming thus far, I noticed a funny, yet sad, trend. This trend has been run into the ground and people the world over have already covered it in tweets, blogs, and vlogs of their own so why should I be talking about it on my own? Simple. I finally wanted to speak my mind about the topic after having been contacted a couple different times by different parties looking to accomplish this very activity for themselves.

The first time this trend of “networking” cropped up for me, I saw many different tweets from all kinds of people all pushing similar messages.

“Let’s all support each other and help each other grow! Follow everyone that responds to this tweet and go show each other some love.” or some such nonsense. I thought it to be absolutely dumb and tuned it out as a waste of time.

Eventually, someone replied to one of my tweets suggesting I join their Discord server for streamers with mutual goals to help each other grow. I was curious, primarily of the account that replied to my tweet. What I found was this Twitter account was replying to many tweets with roughly the same canned verbiage, but prefaced by a sentence relating to the tweet in question. After discovering that fact, I just couldn’t take it seriously.

The most recent example, and the one that helped me finally write this all up (admittedly, I had this topic in draft from since I started the The Dragon’s Grove) involved someone coming into my stream while I was live and say the following.

“Hey I just followed you, you should follow me back.”

I couldn’t believe it for a moment and had to process what had just happened. Someone had actually come into my stream and tried to casually request a follow for follow. Only thing that came to mind for me to do was to thank them for the follow but that I don’t believe in doing that follow for follow shit. I found out almost immediately after that this person was actually live on their own channel at the same time! THAT was upsetting, and was the straw that broke the dragon’s back. (Yes, I went there.)

So, why is all this upsetting? Why would I bother going through that rant? To help illustrate parts of why I don’t buy into the idea.

The Follow 4 Follow/Host 4 Host trend is like a shitty version of a Pyramid Scheme, with the exception that nobody “wins”. It’s all artificial. These people have replaced viewbotting with empty follows and hosts from real people. Sure it looks great when a channel has several thousand followers, but that number means NOTHING when you have nobody actually watching your stream. It also means just as little when you have those same exact people hosting you because chances are they share the same follower It’s just a collective of artificially inflated channels that are empty and devoid of content and community. It’s a waste.

You want to grow your channel and build a community? Don’t waste your time with that Follow 4 Follow garbage. It’s fake and yields nothing of actual value. Say it with me: Follow for Follow is Hollow.

Now, don’t waste my time peddling this idea in my channel or on Twitter. Do something that yields productive results and stop trying to find the easy way to success. WORK FOR IT.



Life gets busy…

The last few weeks have been sort of busy for me. Busy being lazy mostly, and I say that because of two things. The first week was filled with trying to keep up at work while being sick, only to be told I should go home and rest (which I gladly did) and also fighting that wicked cold snap we experienced at the end of January.

The second week was similar, just not as severe. Recovering from illness and dealing with the cold winter weather of South Dakota. All of this led to me taking the time to prioritize my health and limiting my focus on extra activities such as writing and streaming.

Every so often this down time is necessary beyond resting for the sake of health, though, because life gets busy and when you’re caught up in the whirlwind you can lose perspective on the things that matter. Now that I’m mostly rested up I can hopefully get back to what I want to accomplish.

See you out there folks!