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Ten Years of Obscurity
April 30, 2018 by Somebody

Hello there once again, fans, critics, accidental onlookers, spammers, and web crawlers. Somehow 2018 is almost halfway over and I meant to have this column posted back in January. Hopefully some of you out there are interested in reading the latest news about this website. First of all, I'm awed and humbled to say that Somebody's Webpage turned ten years old this year. That's right, this domain was purchased by yours truly on January 15, 2008. I was hoping someone would throw us a ticker tape parade in honor of the occasion, but since that didn't pan out I'm looking into a Go Fund Me campaign to finance a float for the site in the next Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I'm not sure if you need permission from Macy's to be in their parade. Maybe we could just sneak the thing in there somehow.)

Yes, it's been a quite a ride here at "the page," as people in the know call it. Many long nights were spent trying to meet deadlines, sometimes with extremes of heat and cold due to a malfunctioning air conditioner and antique radiator. I became a skilled hat juggler as a part time writer, editor, developer, and marketer for the site. There were fun-filled bull sessions with writers at Denny's and occasional disagreements over who would pay the tab. Untold fruitless schemes were employed to promote the site, and many low-wage side jobs were taken so I could actually support myself. But they weren't all good times. There was also a lot of frustration and cursing.  What started as my GeoCities experiment to learn web design has not exactly grown into a media empire but who knows what the next 10 years holds. In any case, I am thankful for our visitors and hope you will stick around to see if this project ever turns into more than a "vanity website," as an acquaintance once referred to it.

Somebody's Webpage may not be running neck and neck with the big boys like I Can Has Cheezburger or Rolling Stone but we are definitely not out of the race just yet. Our traffic, although still very low, has begun to climb slightly which could be a sign of improving trends in the future. As I mentioned in my last post, I still need to redesign the whole thing to make it "responsive" for mobile devices. I have gotten a start on that and successfully optimized the home page so that the content on that page is now more readable on your smartphone. Mobile-optimizing the other various sections should keep me busy for at least a couple of years. Yes, I'm that slow. Web design has a way of eating up my patience, so I take it in very small, infrequent doses. I have gotten a lot better over the years, but it's still not something I do just for fun.

The development of new sections on the site is still going according to plan. Our new short fiction column, Night Train Gazette, has been well received by the general public and a new story will continue to be posted there every few months or so. We have also recruited a team of volunteer lawyers who have been working hard to create the exciting new Terms and Conditions section, which should be appearing within the next few months, depending on how much free pizza and beer we supply them with. Further down the road we still have plans for a book review section, and a new improved Gimme Some Links section will feature links to favorite websites and Internet-related editorials.

In other news, Somebody Else, the co-founder of this website, has once again gone missing and I'm not sure he wants to be found. His old cell phone number is no longer working and he hasn't replied to my emails for several months. I stopped by Club Godzilla on a Saturday night a few weeks ago and didn't see him on the dance floor. Some of his former lady friends still hang out there, but they just laughed dismissively when I asked them if they've seen SE lately. It appears they have lost all interest in him since he burned through his multi-million dollar windfall (hush money from the royal family, according to him). Whatever he's doing these days, writing for the website seems to be the last thing on his mind. So as usual, new content on the site is limited to whatever I can come up with. Sometimes Ted Crawford or General Strangeness will toss me an article, which I appreciate. As far as recruiting new writers goes, people seem more indifferent than ever to the idea of writing for us. I've been toying with the idea of going to one of these cheapo freelancer sites like Fiverr and paying people for their writing, but my funds for doing that are extremely limited. It's hard to get high search engine rankings without the regular posting of new content, which is why we need additional writers, but we have no money to pay them with because our low traffic means no ad revenue. Running this site sometimes seems like a giant catch-22 or maybe a bucket of cold water over the head.

Bill Gates takes the ice bucket challenge.

The good news for me is that I have completed my apprenticeship at Bitchin' Baskets down the street and am now a full-time employee. We arrange custom gift baskets for all occasions. The springtime busy season, which starts with Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day (believe it or not) and Easter, is almost over, but we still have to get through our biggest holiday, which is Mother's Day and then the extended Derby celebration (It's a Louisville thing). You may be surprised to know, in fact, that gift baskets are not just for old ladies. We can make you a tough-guy basket which contains items like shaving cream, work gloves, and the ammunition of your choice. Or the standard nerd basket which has a Rubik's Cube, a circuit tester, and a Bitcoin certificate. This has been a great new career for me, and Marge the owner has told me that I have exceptional skill as a basket arranger. So, with a little luck, maybe I can ride this job out to retirement age.

I've been getting more in shape lately because I joined my local YMCA. My reason for joining was not physical fitness, however. I needed a place to take showers because my sister-in-law Fiona has banned me from doing so at my brother's house. (As you may remember, I live in a small office which has no bathing facilities.) According to her, the local homeowners' association has determined that my presence in their neighborhood could bring down property values significantly. This perception, I think, is probably based on a recent incident in which General Strangeness and I ended up on the roof of my brother's mini-mansion. Fiona came outside and saw us up there and made a big scene which ended in the fire department being called to remove us and a local news crew showing up. Of course, she assumed we were pulling some kind of prank for the purpose of getting on her nerves.

The truth, which you probably won't believe, is that we had been flying on the General's magic carpet. I had instructed him to bring it down in my brother's back yard so I could run in and use the facilities, but he miscalculated and we landed on the roof instead. Normally we wouldn't have been traveling by carpet but the General's '82 Toyota broke down during our failed investigation into Russian meddling in the Kentucky Derby. (He believes that some of the horses will be replaced by the Kremlin with robot horses during the upcoming races.) We were driving out to a horse stable in western Kentucky when his engine started to overheat and we had to pull over in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for us, he keeps a flying carpet in the trunk of his car for use in such emergencies. According to him, it renders the users invisible while flying and also undetectable by radar, which is a nice feature for eluding our sometimes overzealous military.

Anyway, after our ill-timed landing that day, I got a long, angry voicemail message from Fiona saying "I don't want you coming anywhere near this house ever again." This was followed by a message from my brother apologizing for Fiona's message, and saying I was welcome there any time but maybe stay away for a few months until Fiona cooled down. So that is why I am now an active YMCA member and go there several times a week. In addition to showering, I have run on the track, lifted weights, and taken an aerobics class. The mood there is very laid back and non-judgmental. The Village People were really ahead of the curve on that one.

That's all the news for now. As always, thanks for visiting Somebody's Webpage. If you're feeling wild and crazy, leave a comment below.

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