[Once a month I'll be annoying you with a commercial message for this site.]
First I would like to talk about not this site, but sites and projects that are similar to it. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I can't wait. (I make a mean cranberry sauce.) If there is a site out there that you're thankful for, or a band, or a youtube channel, or a podcast, or a performer of any sort, I'm recommending you reach out to them to see how you can best support them. I'm genuinely not talking about my site (although that would be nice), I'm talking about anybody who is producing content that you're thankful for. We're in a very transitional time for things like this. 10 years from now, this will just be seen as the accepted thing. Everyone will have a few specialty sites or podcasts that they donate $10 a month to and it will just be part of their entertainment budget. But now we're at a point in time where people under 30 all get this concept but may not have any disposable income, and people over 40 tend to look at things like blogs or youtube channels as hobbies or kid's stuff, so why should they be paying for it?
I will tell you what I do. I put an item in my budget (I don't really have a budget, I just do this mentally) for $30 a month. Then I decide what my 3 favorite sites/performers/podcasts are and donate $10 a month to them. Of course, I support other content providers as well by buying the things they release or whatever, but this is what I do for the three entities that provide me the most joy on a regular basis. I don't just do it for them, I do it for my own peace of mind. Peace of mind in the sense that if the site I'm supporting does eventually shut down, I don't have to wonder if my contribution could have made a difference. (And when we're talking about very small enterprises (not something like NPR), a few donations a month one way or the other could very well be the deciding factor.)
Speaking of donations. Those of you who ordered the book during the initial donation period in October, and those of you who support the site with a monthly donation via the "Support the Site" link above, should have received the first installment of my reviews/ideas/bullshit newsletter, X-Communication, in your email on Tuesday. If you haven't, make sure you check the email address that is associated with your paypal account (as that is the one I'd use unless you told me to use another), then check your spam maybe, then check yourself (before you wreck yourself), then contact me and we'll sort it out.
It's just been a few hours, but the reviews of my reviews are already coming in.
My review of these reviews of my reviews is 4 Stars. Great reviews reviews!
November's Call to Action! - The holiday shopping season is coming up and the most painless way to support the site is to use the affiliate links to Amazon in the sidebar (there is now a link to Amazon UK as well). It's easy, you just click through that link to get to Amazon and order whatever you want just like you normally would. I'm surprised how seldom this is used by people. I mean, relative to something like buying the book which is a pretty big investment. You would think for every one person who bought the book, 20 would have used one of those links, but really it's almost the inverse. Only a few people have used those links. I bet it's because people want to have a more direct role in supporting the site, it's probably less fun to do it anonymously. I get that. You want the coffee guy to see you drop a dollar in the tip jar. But this doesn't even cost you anything, so perhaps people just forget.
Let's come up with a simple mnemonic for when you're doing your shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and every other day of the year. Here's what you should think:
"I need to go to Amazon. Amazon. A maison. That means house in french. It's nice to have a house. When I lived in my college dorm I missed living in a house because one time I wanted to make a fried egg sandwich in the middle of the night and couldn't because I didn't have a kitchen. Is kitchen a german word? Let me look that up. Yup, it is. Or at least it's Latin and "Proto-Germanic," whatever that means. Germanic. Grrr... man...ick! That's what a talking dog would say after he licked some dude's a-hole. I bet if a dog wished to become human and it came true he would walk around for the first few days moving his arms in time with his legs, just because he's so used to having done that as a dog for so long. But eventually he'd figure it out. Figure it out. Figure 8 Out. One of my favorite songs on the album Figure 8 by Elliott Smith is Easy Way Out. What a heartbreaking song, but the harmonies are so pretty. I should buy that on vinyl. I know! I'll go to Amazon. Goddammit!!! My stupid mnemonic brought me right back to Amazon. Ok... how about this. Amazon. Amaz-ing. Magic is amazing. The Jerx is the best magic site online. I should go click through that link on his site before I go to Amazon." Bingo.
This is the cranberry sauce recipe I use.
You take a cup of orange juice and cup of sugar and heat that up in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then you dump in a bag of fresh cranberries (12 ounces). Then you just stir them around until the cranberries start popping like popcorn. Well, I mean, they make a popping noise. So you continue to stir and mash them with a fork for 15, 20, 30 minutes, whatever, until the cranberries are at the consistency you want. Then you're done. It will be pretty liquidy, but as it cools it will congeal. Add a little cinnamon and some orange zest if you like. Shablam!! You've got yourself some cranberry sauce. Tart but sweet and good hot or cold. (Like poontang, am I right guys? Hi-five!)
(Be on the look-out in the coming year for my new food blog where I compare everything to "poontang." It's called, "Shablam!!" (my patented catchphrase).)