Birthday Wisdom

Patsy Porco's Blog: Free and Worth It!

via Daily Prompt: Partake

My father used to tell me, “When you have to make a decision, make it, and then do the exact opposite thing. Then, you will have made the right decision.”

I was annoyed when he said this, but looking back, I see there was wisdom in his words. I tend to being impulsive, so my immediate reactions and decisions should be put on a back burner for a few hours and allowed to simmer and reduce to a rational response. I don’t know why I used a cooking metaphor. I certainly don’t reduce sauces or do anything fancy in the kitchen. I have been watching “Worst Cooks in America” on the Food Network, so I suppose that’s where that came from. (Maybe I should simmer that metaphor.)

But back to me (my favorite topic). I made an executive decision this weekend. I was given the…

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Day 4 of the Bradbury Program

I started a bit early today to give me more time before shift to work out, but here it is:

Story: “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Poem: “Question [1]” by Langston Hughes

Essay: “The Figure of the Fastest” by Isaac Asimov

I’ve already decided to exhaust my Langston Hughes collection before I move on to any other poet. It will take the majority of my allotted 1,000 days (I think there’s over 860 poems in this book) but hey. I can say afterward that I am an expert in Langston Hughes’ poetry! Then I can just do a new poet a day after that to even it all out.

But at least I’m reading…

100 Twitter Followers

I set up my Twitter back in 2011, 2012 I think . This was around the time I made my very first blog, and it’s primary purpose was for my blog posts to have another avenue of advertising. I would log back on over the years as my other websites came and go, and with the exception of two or three friends who also used Twitter, the handful of followers I got were all from people I either followed first or who somehow managed to catch a glimpse of whatever blog I was working on and gave me a sympathetic follow.

During the entire span of 2011/12 until May 2018, I had 40 followers. Ever since I started CrapPile and more and more of my posts have been Tweeted, the number has slowly but surely grown.

I know that 100 followers on one of the biggest social media sites in existence is really sad compared to the 610 followers my blog has as of this writing, but it was something I never put too much effort into. Moving forward, I am going to do all I can to expand on Twitter so that, naturally, more people follow me on there and are able to see my blog posts.

They say that writing is an art, but if I could go back to school tomorrow I’d probably enroll in marketing classes than English. Building the Siebelink brand is a lot of work, especially when you’re winging it.

Day 3 of the Bradbury Program

The short story I chose for today was “The Cook’s Wedding” by Anton Chekhov.

Poem: “Negro” by Langston Hughes.

The kicker for today was the essay/lecture “On Fairy-Stories” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Like anything written by him, that one took both a lot of time and a lot of work to get through. It took every ounce of intellectual stamina I could muster, but in the end I learned so much about every aspect of fantasy and fairytales it’s not even funny. I don’t think I’ve ever read something short that gave me such a rough time before.

Damn you, Mark Zuckerburg!

As I was walking to the gym earlier, I spent a good chunk of time checking Facebook and WordPress notifications. Ever since I set my blog to post to Facebook for me my phone has been vibrating off the hook.

It also gave me a little time to reflect on my own life and how I seem to have been born at a really great time in history. I am old enough to remember the days before much of today’s technology; indeed, one of my earliest memories is being in the car driving somewhere when my dad’s pager buzzed. He and mom pulled off to the side of the road and worked together from memory to see whose number it was that was trying to reach him. Most people today can’t even remember their own phone numbers, let alone anyone else’s. Caller ID still belonged to the realm of science fiction. Social media was all but a dream…

Fast forward to the year 2018 and it’s tough to picture a world without Facebook. It is so deeply embedded in our societal bloodstream that the world would fall apart without it. Entire businesses operate from Facebook pages, and the edges of the screen are peppered with advertising of every kind. Instead of phones or email, many of us keep up with our pen pals and relatives through Facebook messenger. And if you’re like me, you get most of your news from the soon-to-be-defunct Trending section. I even met my girlfriend on Facebook, but let’s not get into that now.

It has grown far beyond a simple website with billions of accounts–it is an entity in and of itself. And at the head of this many-tentacled monster is Mark Zuckerburg.

I call it a monster because it has allowed the world to come together in a way it never could without it. Because of this, it also had the unfortunate side effect of allowing the worst of humanity to converge on top of all the smart, wise, good people. Whenever the very best and very ugly meet it is never a good thing.

Outside of Facebook I have never witnessed so much hateful garbage and cruelty spat out of the assholes of other human beings before. Propagandists and yellow journalists have found a safe haven for their lies and a breeding ground for the next generation of fake news broadcasters. Groups dedicated to protecting the public coexist alongside groups who would like nothing more than to tear it apart. It also serves as a constant reminder that our country really isn’t as free as we’d like it to be…

Yet for all its pitfalls, we all should be grateful that while other Harvard students were out partying and wasting away their pocket change Mark was in his dorm room creating an innovation that will have a lasting impact on the world for years and years to come. Maybe it’s a good thing that the entire world has finally been brought together. I would never have met my wonderful lady, who lives in California, had it not been for Facebook. It is one step closer to total human unification, so at least we are getting a sneak peak at what the rest of the world is like before the potential Super State comes into being.

So thank you, Mark Zuckerburg. Thank you very much indeed.

20 Questions for John Siebelink, the Average Guy

(The third part in a series of 20 Questions post about myself. This will be the final one for a while. Maybe when I become a husband and father one day or businessman I will do some more then. But for now writer, blogger, and average guy seem to be the three different sides of John Siebelink.)

What is your full name?

John Wesley Siebelink

What city were you born in?

Greenville, Kentucky.

Do you have any siblings?

I have two younger brothers, Drew and Cy. Both of them have girlfriends who I look at as sister-in-laws.

Are you spoken for?

I most certainly am!

What are some of your hobbies?

Writing and blogging take up the majority of my time, but when I can I also play video games, read, watch random videos on YouTube and hit up the gym. When the weather is nice I try to take the Chihuahua for a walk once or twice a day. When I have extra cash, which is rare these days, I also like to shop.

What kind of an education do you have?

I graduated from high school in 2008, and earned college credits during my time in the Marine Corps. I have a little over one year of community college completed as of this writing.

What was the most memorable event in your life?

Earning the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor at the end of the Crucible on October 2, 2008 at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, California. That is when I officially went from being a recruit to a full-fledged Marine. That was something else, let me tell you.

What is one thing you are most proud of?

I am most proud of my old-fashioned morals. I treat people with respect, hold doors open for people, am extremely loyal, and a hard-worker. You don’t see that much often anymore.

What is something you are not very proud of?

I ran away from home a couple of times when I was younger. I always seemed to be a big troublemaker who gave my parents the roughest of times, especially in late middle school, early high school. I am very glad I grew out of the trouble-making stage. They were not my finest moments…

What are some of your biggest dreams and goals in life?

On a personal level, getting married and having a baby have always been my biggest dreams. Professionally, I wish to become a full-time writer and start up a business of my own that I have been looking into for a few years now. Being able to work from home, be my own boss, and spend as much time as possible with the future family would make my entire life complete.

Who were some of your biggest role models growing up?

As with a lot of folks, my parents were major influences on growing up, and still are to this day. They taught me the value of hard work and loyalty, and Dad always drilled the point in that one has to do what they need to do and get their priorities right before anything else. My grandparents on both sides have always been kind, loving, and always there when we needed them without being judgmental. These are all the kind of parent and grandparent I want to be when the time comes. I couldn’t ask for such better people in my life. My aunts and uncles fall into this exact same category. We are such a strong and amazing family.

What are some things that have caused you to have doubt in your life?

Reading successful books and blogs and feeling like nothing I write could ever be as good as any of that is what kept me from writing for a very long time. Since I started dating at age 19, I have had many short-lived relationships, in which all but one of them ended with me being cheated on and my heart torn to pieces inside my chest. I doubted for a long time after that that I would ever find love and that there was just something about me that women didn’t like. I felt very lonely. Then I met Alexis on Election Night 2016 and life hasn’t been the same since.

What do most people not know about you?

I’ve only ever mentioned me being a published writer on my blog, so that is probably not something the average person knows about me.

Could you go a week without the internet?

I have, actually, both because of the military and when I moved into my apartment. I can certainly go without it, but now that I have an increasingly large blog presence I don’t think I ever want to go without it again. It’s too important to my work nowadays.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Still to this day my dad will remind me to not worry about anybody else, and to worry about myself first. It is truly the very best advice anyone could give you, if you think about it.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Jaywalkers. Especially when disabled people attempt to cross a busy street on crutched or with a walker…or worse, a mom with a stroller. I don’t understand why people take such STUPID risks likes that.

Are you religious?

I consider myself a Christian, although I don’t go to church and otherwise don’t practice my religion. I grew up in an ELCA Lutheran church and have read the Bible cover to cover many times and make it a point to pray before I go to bed at night. It has helped me develop my moral compass, I think.

Do you concern yourself with politics?

I’m not big into politics; I don’t attend rallies or sign a lot of petitions or write Congressmen or anything like that (with the occasional exception). I do, however, vote and write about political topics on my blog when I feel a post is warranted. I identify nowadays as a right-leaning moderate, though I am also very liberal when it comes to a few specific issues.

If you could go back in time and give your younger self one sentence of advice, what would it be?

Never quit, never give up, and NEVER STOP WRITING.

How would you want the world to remember you?

I would just simply hope that they saw me as a good man, above anything el

Plant Sex

Patsy Porco's Blog: Free and Worth It!

Sex confuses me. Not human sex. My husband and I have a son, so we figured out the basics on that.

Not animal sex, either … except for those species that reproduce without a mate, through parthenogenesis, also known as virgin birth. That’s just crazy.

Plant sex, however, is beyond my understanding, even though I took a botany course in college. What I mainly remember from that class is getting accused of smoking pot with other students during our break. We were smoking a plant, but it was the tobacco plant, not the marijuana plant. (This was in the 1980s when smoking was allowed in the hallways. Ashtrays were outside of every classroom.  Oh, the good old days, when everyone wasn’t so uptight.)

I also recall learning that there are female and male plants. There are also some plants that have both male and female flowers. Then there are…

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