Gone Focusing: Day 28

Heading into the homestretch of a 40 Day Facebook “fast.”  Why is it so slow?

In which our hero considers how easygoing he is lately, ways to make money, prescriptive language, and a metaphor filled whale tale.

I’m finding myself much less angry lately (and less upset with the fact I missed two days here:  you didn’t need two more posts from me ticking off progress against this arbitrary goal, did you?)  I’m facing the various and sundry vicissitudes of this mortal coil with equanimity. (Tangent:  The Dave Chapelle special on Netflix, “Equanimity and The Bird Revelation” contains some of the finest social commentary going.  He deserved his Grammy win last night, for last year’s specials and ought to repeat for Equanimity.)

But back to me and anger: The only variable that has changed is the degree to which I have been exposing myself to Facebook News and argumentative threads. Perhaps the studies are right, and FB is fomenting anger and fear in order to keep my eyeballs glued there longer? With less Facebook, I also have watched less news on TV, so that could be helping too.  Though, I immerse myself into the sewer that is American political discourse sufficiently that I can’t see that as the reason for reduced anger.

I joined “Onlinebookclub.org” to attempt to be paid for book reviews.  The initial page told me that I’d have to review one book for free, then I’d have a chance to make from $5-$60 per review thereafter.  Mind you, that’s not “salary” money, but it would feel good to earn something for the effort I put in to reviewing books, and I could expand my “professional” writing resume.

After my first book they notified me I made the cut. Now all I had to do is build up my presence and traffic to get to “Level 1,” at which point books for pay would be available to me.   How do I get to Level 1, you ask?  Post in their forums, share on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, score an acceptable level to receive points for the quality of my writing (referred to as “editorial analysis score”), add books to my shelves to read/have read/wanna read, etc.  In other words, do social networking for their site as my sole focus.

OK… I thought I should try a little. After my first review I had 5 points (out of 100), and was at level 0.  I added books to my shelf and posted comments in the forum.  Got up to 12 points.  Great… nope, still Level 0. I reviewed a second book, shared on Facebook, participated more in the forums, pushed on to 27 points… Level 1 yet?  Nope.   I dug in and found that to move to Level 1 I need to achieve 60 points! Since 40 points are locked up in “Editorial Analysis” score that I can only raise through reviewing more books, and 30 points are locked up in popularity of reviews, the bottom line on this site is that a reviewer who wants to be paid poorly must pimp like a mo-fo for them for weeks to get a sufficient score. I feel like a Bangladeshi seamstress in a sweat shop doing piece work.  No thanks.



A copy of a Steve Smith design, I built for my wife.

I have railed against the hipster-use of words, designed to imply some special cachet, but really only exposing fad advertising techniques, like “organic,” “artisinal,” “farm-to-table,” or “bespoke.”  But I think I’m coming around to “bespoke.”   Custom made product as requested or commissioned.  That is how I will write book reviews, and


A touch-point through decades of woodworking.

I’m seriously considering putting my woodworking skills to the test for “bespoke” projects.  I don’t want to churn out 500 of the same item, but would love to build heirloom commissions for people who care about quality.  Should I Etsy?

Moby Dick
Melville continues to impress, with prose ranging from simple and clear, to towering and oblique; with asides providing truly fascinating background on the whaling industry;


with philosophical insights to human nature, deftly woven into both the story and the asides. (And a nice weaving metaphor tackling the nature of necessity, chance, and free will, as they effect our daily lives and prospects.)  My online Scrabble scores are rising, as I get to incorporate Melville’s archaic vocabulary into my game, and I feel better about the digressions I’ve laced through my memoir.  Meaningful asides and rumination are good, if they serve the story.


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