You’re The Problem

But I Have a Solution


“…school shootings are more influenced by social media than other mass shootings, however social media is still able to predict that the first ten days after an attack are most contagious for another attack, especially when tweets about mass shooting reach more than 45 per million.”

Jennifer Johnston, Ph.D. and Andrew Joy, BS (2016) Mass Shootings and the Media Contagion Effect, American Psychological Association Press Release. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2016/08/media-contagion-effect.pdf

Parkland shooting: February 14, 2018
Arapahoe Charter School Threat: February 22, 2018
Elapsed time: 8 days.

I waited to share this because I didn’t want to be part of the problem. This isn’t a post about gun control. I mention this only to make the following point. All of you out there ranting and raving about Trump, about Obama, about political left, political right and all the problems of the world and how your side is right and their side is wrong…

You’re the problem.

Liberals are not the problem. Conservatives are not the problem. You and your selfish desire to have your feelings justified are the problem. Your inability to control your emotions is the problem. And every time you take to Facebook posting memes, “fact checks”, and other similar garbage, all you’re doing is perpetuating the problem.

There are two good reasons to do anything in life.

    1. 1. To make yourself feel better.
    1. 2. Because you think it’s the right thing to do.

All of you think you’re doing the right thing by spreading the news but you’re lying to yourself. All you’re doing is making yourself feel better by trying to prove that the other side is wrong. You’re not doing anything good. You’re no agent of change, no revolutionary, you’re not an activist.

You’re the problem.

You’re the puppet for the ideologies you hate most. You’re the foot soldier for the leaders you despise, spreading their message and embroiling their opposition. You and your cohorts aren’t changing minds and enlightening souls. You’re feeding your own insecurities by suckling on each others identical world view. You’re not brave or courageous or insightful. You’re the problem. And everyday you’re making it worse for the rest of us.

You’re an addict, shooting up social garbage, spreading the equivalent of dirty needles to everyone on your friends list. You see something and it aligns with your views, you share it, it feels good, it makes other similarly emotionally inept people on the other side post angry comments, now you feel even better, but minutes later… it’s gone and you need more.

You’re not doing anything worthy or progressive, you’re an addict whose spreading disease and you can’t stop because your self righteous indignation and selfish greed to prove the other side wrong has destroyed your ability to think for yourself.

You’re the problem. And you’re getting worse.

Your addiction has ruined your self esteem. You may be able to fool others but you can’t fool your brain. Your brain knows it’s doing nothing more than feeding it’s own addiction. You’re starving it meaning and drowning it in with social schwill and media fast food.

You’ve become so beholden to your emotional views of the world that you truly think they matter. Even worse, you now think that people around you actually care and that your media fabricated opinions should matter to them too. But I have news for you, no one fucking cares about your views or your feelings.

You will soon find yourself isolated and alone, accompanied only by the like minded junkies you call Friends. You’ll sit around sharing garbage on social media, high fiving each other with likes, and loves, and hahas, while your disease spreads. Meanwhile, the problems you say you care about are getting worse. And they’re getting worse because you’re the problem.

You have successfully derailed all progress in our country. Your disease has spread so far, and so wide, and is making so much money that the people who could be solving these problems can’t because they’re now bound and gagged by your disease, in a perpetual state of defense, constantly toeing the line so that they may not fall out of your profane graces because  50% of them have to share your same view.  They need you to like them as much as you need the other side to hate them.

You’re the problem but I have a solution.

You don’t posses the conviction or fortitude of a mosquito. You’re a five year old child who cries for the sake of attention and will continue on so long as someone is watching.

You and your disease thrive because people watch you. Observation is the medium and participation the action that perpetuates what will one day be looked back upon as a loathsome and pathetic time in America.

I chose long ago not to participate. Now I choose not to observe in the hopes that soon, you will all go away.

 

Dear Scum Sucking Digital Marketer

This is a public service announcement to all business owners.

Do not be fooled by your digital marketing agencies promises of increased traffic through “value added” backlinks. Backlinks probably are the number one way to increase your search rankings (especially when they come from an authoritative source) because Google sees them essentially as a vote of confidence for your content.

But just like everything in life, nothing worth having comes easy.

What you’ll read below is my response to an email I received from a scum sucking, bottom feeding digital marketing company. They want to place a piece of content on MY site on behalf of their client and they’re willing to pay me $65 for that space (because they probably bill out 5X that…)

But what they REALLY want is a back link from my site to their client’s site. That way they can show them at the end of the day, “Hey look, we’re getting you backlinks!” Unfortunately for their client, Google is much, much smarter then their marketing agency. Google understands context and they understand BS placed content like the one being solicited here.

So sit back and enjoy the exchange. If you need real digital marketing services contact my company, Circle Squared Publishing, if we can’t help you we can make sure you don’t end up working with a company like the one employing my new friend Alan.

Scummy Marketing Company Email

Hi Will,
I just read One of those Days | Will Conkwright, I’ve shown it to some colleagues and we think a collaboration between us could work well. I represent a digital marketing agency currently working with a leading auto retailer. We would like to feature a unique piece of content on your site on behalf of our client. For the privilege, we’d be happy to pay you somewhere in the region of $65.

Let me know your thoughts.

Best wishes,
Alan

Don’t want emails from us anymore? Reply to this email with the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.

My Response

Alan,

I am the owner of a digital marketing agency. I understand why you sent me this email, or rather I understand how the software works that your agency uses to scrape title tags from Google, inject them into a generic template, and send them on to the email address it also scraped from the website. I get these emails all the time. If you’re actually a real person, and a real employee, for a real agency then congratulations because this is the first time I’ve ever made some time to respond.

But you see, the title your company scraped is to a piece I wrote about the day my late father was in an airplane crash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was never the same man that I knew growing up. So take a minute and read the 17 lines below. If you’re really intrigued you can read the crash report too.

April 17th.

Today is one of those days.
Today has always been one of those days.
Today will always be one of those days.

Everyday that passes shapes us in some way.
Some days define who we are.
Some days remind us of who we were.
And some days give us a glimpse of what we may become.

But then you have one of those days like April 17th 1999.
Days like that change who you were, who you are, and who you will be.
You may never experience one of those days.
Or you may choose not to recognize it as one of those days.

Choose recognition.
Days like today are special.
Days like today make you appreciate all you have, all you have overcome, and prepare you for all that has yet to come.
Days like today make you strong, they make you humble.
Choose recognition.
Because if it weren’t for days like today, we wouldn’t be ourselves tomorrow.

April 17th, 2015
William H. Conkwright

Crash Report

 

If you’re still with me then thank you for actually reading the article. I owe you one Alan, and I hope you’ll share this with your employer. I started Circle Squared Publishing as a web and app development business. But when my clients came to me with stories about working with companies like yours, what they were paying them, and what they were getting in return, I decided to take us into the digital marketing world.

I didn’t do this just so we could offer a better service. I did it because I want to put companies like the one you work for out of business.

Of all the pages on my site, your company’s software scraped the one that tapped a nerve. My Dad was a compassionate man but he didn’t tolerate incompetence, especially not from so called business people like your current employer.

And that’s why I owe you one Alan (if that really is your name) because it’s been a while since I’ve been reminded about the low level scum suckers like the ones you work for and how they leach hard earned dollars from real businesses that provide real services, and add real value to people’s lives.

I may expand on this topic later in my blog. So please go ahead and join my email list so you can stay in the loop. Or just revisit this page [link to this post provided in the email] periodically.

Hell, who knows, maybe your spammy software will bring you back before then.

Until then I shall remain unapologetically yours,

William Hughes Conkwright

Data driven results. It’s what we do.

Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway Day 10

Day 10 Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway

A red Rorbu in Sakrisøy, Norway.

We turned in our camper van in Leknes and began the search for a ride back to our Rorbu in Sakrisøy, a 53km ride. Our plan was to rent a car and drive back ourselves but it was a Saturday and all the car rental locations were closed. We could take the bus but would have a 5 hour wait which at this point in our journey was unacceptable. So we decided to exercise our only remaining option short of walking and try to hire a taxi.

I’d had trouble getting my phone to make calls in Norway but was able to get the taxi dispatcher on the line. After she rattled off something in Norwegian I told her we needed a cab, where we were, and where we were going. In perfect English she responded that a cab was on the way. Sure enough in less than 10 minutes they’d arrived.

Now before we dropped off our van rendering us without transportation, Julie looked into the cost of hiring a taxi for our return trip to Sakrisøy. The taxi service gave her an estimate of 700-800 Kr (roughly $100 USD). When we asked for help at the local tourist information kiosk we were informed it would be closer to 1,000 Kr. Expensive, but still much cheaper than hiring a rental car for several days, more pleasant than waiting 5 hours in a bus stop, and definitely better than a 53 km walk.

Enter the Cabbie

When we got into the cab the driver asked us where we were going. When I told him he acted like he’d never heard of the place so I gave him a couple more names of nearby towns, all of which seemed more foreign to him than they were to me. This raised a huge red flag for me and Julie. At this point another cab arrived and he pulled up beside it. The two overweight cabbies had an exchange in some language that was neither English nor Norwegian. At this point we pretty much knew what was about to go down.

Our cabbie turned off the meter, looked back at me and said, 2,000 Kr for a ride to Sakrisøy. I heard him perfectly clear and responded accordingly.

“1,000 Kr to Sakrisøy?”

Slightly annoyed he reiterated the inflated cost. Julie and I took one look at each other and we were in agreement, “Nope.” We told him no thanks but his price was too much, opened the doors and left the cab before he had a chance to respond.

Julie at the Taxi station in Leknes.
Thanks but no thanks Mr. Taxi man.

Facebook to the Rescue

Fortunately we had arranged a backup with the attendant at Arctic Campers. Heidi is a super fit vagabond from Austria, former competitive triathlete with a Masters Degree in Sports Science who speaks 6 languages and lives out of her VW van with her dog Peggy, surfing the frigid Norwegian breaks, bouldering on immaculate granite stone, and otherwise living life on her terms.

Heidi told us if all else failed she’d give us a ride after the last customer returned their van. This was all well and good but as I mentioned above, I was having difficulties making calls in Norway. All of my attempts to call Arctic Campers were failing and I didn’t have Heidi’s personal cell. Shit…

We were fortunate to be inside a coffee shop with free WiFi but they were closing soon. If we couldn’t make this connection we’d be spending the next 5 hours in a bus stop waiting to take a 2 hour bus ride back to a town near our Rorbu. Then we’d have to hike it the rest of the way. This was to be our first night in our awesome little fishing hut and I was not interested in exchanging it for QT at the Leknes bus station.

I figured my best bet was to take advantage of the reliable WiFi network and reach out to Arctic Campers through their Facebook page and explain the situation we were in. Their page donned the little green “Very Responsive” badge so I was optimistic. Sure enough, just minutes after messaging them they responded and gave me Heidi’s personal cell number and told me they would also inform her of our predicament.

I tried calling the Austrian number but again… no luck dialing out. Fortunately Heidi had an iPhone so I was able to send her an iMessage that went through first go. She told us that the last drop off was running several hours late but she’d be happy to give us a ride back afterwards. Super pumped and feeling very tech savvy 🙂 we walked the few miles back to Arctic Campers to kick it with Heidi and Peggy until she was off work.

Deep thoughts at Arctic Campers HQ in Leknes, Norway.
Deep thoughts at Arctic Campers HQ in Leknes, Norway.

Freedom and Discipline

What could have been a miserable situation ended up being one of the best times on our trip. We had such a great time hanging out with Heidi, admiring the lifestyle she’s adopted, her commitment to living on her terms and prioritizing experiences above everything else. During the course of our conversation she said something to the effect of not wanting to work very much. I knew this sentiment well, because I too don’t want to work very much. I also called bullshit because earning a Masters Degree and being a sponsored athlete takes a hell of a lot of work, much like starting and running your own business, getting your MBA, or leaving your corporate job does.

Heidi smiled and responded with her thick Austrian accent that she’d been told one time by a Yogi that her words were “Freedom and Discipline”. I assume this is like a mantra of sorts, a simple rendering to help one focus. I’d never thought about it that way but it was true. Her discipline, my discipline, Julie’s discipline, the Herculean efforts we’ve made to earn the things we’ve achieved, they’ve all been done with one goal in mind.

Freedom.

Everything Julie and I do, is done so we won’t have to keep doing it later. We work all the time now, so we won’t have to work at all later. (Or at least we’ll have the option to not have to work later).

Looking at Heidi’s life packed into a several clear containers and her VW van reminded me of the time I did the same and lived out of my Toyota pickup truck. I only made it about 2 months before realizing that I was not ready to sacrifice creature comforts like hot water on demand. I also knew that my adventure was more than just exploring the wilds. I knew that business ownership would also define my life’s story.

Discipline. Sacrifice. Commitment. 

No matter how you slice it, that’s what it takes to live on your terms. It would be easy to look at someone like Heidi, living in a van, and say they were lost, lazy, and leading an aimless existence with no direction, and to steer clear of that lifestyle. You could just as easily look at my life, working long hours, studying, learning, growing a business and say that I had it figured out and to follow my example because it’s a noble and honorable path.

But at this point, in my eyes, Heidi is far beyond us because she owns the most valuable asset of all, TIME.

Time is a finite resource, with an unknown supply and you can never reclaim it once it’s gone. The sooner you can control your time the sooner you can control your life. And I think that everyone should be striving to be in 100% control of their life. Because when you’re not in control you have take overpriced rides from scammy cabbies, sit in uncomfortable bus stops far from home, and you miss out on rich experiences like the one we shared with our new Austrian friend, Heidi K.

Heidi driving her van.
Freedom and Discipline.

 

Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway Slideshow

Click any image for a fullscreen experience. Or click here to view the images in an online gallery. You should also follow Heidi’s adventure on Instagram. You can find her @away_heidik.

 

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  • Fly away Heidi K.
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Haukland Beach and Nusfjord, Norway Day 9

Day 9 Haukland Beach and Nusfjord

Haukland Beach, Norway

 

Haukland Beach and Nusfjord Slideshow

Click any image for a fullscreen experience. If you prefer the gallery layout click here.

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  • Fjord front homes, Norway.
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Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway Day 10

Haukland Beach & Nusfjord, Norway Day 9

Nordland County & Langøy, Norway Day 8

Stub nosed boat in the harbor at Andenes.

Day 8, Andenes to Hovden

Today, May 17th, was Norway Day and everything in Andenes was closed. Let me rephrase that, everything in Norway was closed so the Norwegians could celebrate their countries birthday. We drove around Andenes and I prowled around the port in hopes of finding a commercial fisherman but would have no such luck.

On the road again and headed back south to the west coast of the island of Langøy. There is a small village named Hovden that looks to be the perfect spot to capture two shots I desire, a time lapse of the sun setting and soon thereafter rising, and a portrait of the elusive Norwegian fisherman.

Scarecrow guarding dried fish.

Exploring Nordland County and Langøy, Norway slideshow

Take a look through the rain and you’ll find some interesting images. An Elk, purpose built fishing boats, and our new Norwegian friend, Geir Laupstad and his roadside attraction of washed ashore treasures. Per usual, if you prefer the gallery layout rather than the slideshow just click here.

Click any image for a fullscreen experience.

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  • Stub nosed boat in the harbor at Andenes.
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  • Elk at a open pit mine.

Traveling to Lofoten & Andøya, Norway Day 7

A brief glimpse of the sun on the road to Andøya.

The Road to Andøya, Norway

Today (March 16, 2018) we flew from Bodø (say it like Buddha) to Leknes and the Lofoten Islands to begin the core of our Norway experience. We hoofed it 2.5km from the airport to Arctic Campers to pick up our camper van, our home for the next 3 days. We could have hired a taxi but… that’s simply not how we roll.

Walking to Arctic Campers from Lofoten Airport
If it’s good enough for carrying food and water it’s good enough for carrying luggage.

After stocking up on provisions in Leknes we began our drive north to Andøya in search of… Here’s some of what we found along the way. Click here if you prefer the gallery layout.

Traveling to Lofoten and Andøya, Norway Slideshow

click any image for a fullscreen experience

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  • Midnight sun in Andøya, Norway
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  • Golden light on the road to Andøya, Norway.
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  • Walking to Arctic Campers from Lofoten Airport
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Andøya, Norway Day 8

Lofoten & Andøya, Day 7