The Story About When I Got My Eyebrow Pierced

Back when I was a young 21 year old dot-com worker I attempted to get my eyebrow pierced. I wanted to be one of the cool kids and stand out from the crowd. I wasn’t going to be one of those normal looking, corporate types. No! It was a new era where rebels ruled the dot-com future. I was a rebel, and rebels have to have their eyebrow pierced.

I visited The Alley, a store on Chicago’s North Side that is known for selling eclectic items, blue hair dye, skater shoes and gargoyles. I walked in and quickly made a choice on a normal, silver hoop ring, paid the fee and signed the waiver. About 15 minutes later, the “surgeon” walked out. He was covered in tattoos and had almost every inch of his body pierced. Most people would have probably ran away at this point. Not me. For some reason I wanted to be like this guy. For I was a rebel like him. Why wouldn’t I let him stick a needle through my eyebrow?

We went into the piercing room and I laid down. The room was quite clean. I was impressed by how medical it was. My surgeon washed up and got everything prepared. Before getting started though, he felt the need to tell me how if he fucked this up I could have damaged nerves around my eye forever. At that point I felt like running, but I already paid for the piercing, so there was no turning back now.

After rubbing the area with alcohol or whatever else they use to prep, the guy put on his rubber gloves and out came the needle. Into my eyebrow it went. I remember hearing the sound as the needle pierced my skin. It sounded like an exploding grapefruit. It didn’t hurt though, and I felt a calm over having gotten through the rough part. That is, until I looked up at my surgeon’s face. His mouth was wide open and he was speechless. After a few seconds he said “OK… Dude! Don’t move!”

Great! What could be wrong? I immediately thought he hit some type of nerve and damaged my eye forever. I panicked and started to scream, asking “What’s wrong, what’s wrong?!?!” In a gentle voice he says “OK, dude? The needle took part of my rubber glove with it and it’s lodged into your eyebrow!”

I remember thinking “This is what you get for trying to be something you’re not!” as I laid there with a needle and a piece of rubber glove lodged into my eyebrow. My surgeon then says “Wow, you are healing really fast and it’s going to make this really difficult.” My eyebrow was healing over where the piece to the rubber glove was lodged. So what had to be done?

I had to lay there, while he used another needle to pick and pry at the piercing hole to try to dig the rubber glove out. While the initial piercing didn’t hurt, having a guy dig away at the area with a needle fucking hurts. This process took about 30 minutes, but it seemed like 2 hours. The guy claimed to have removed the rubber, but who knows, I could have an entire rubber glove lodged in my eyebrow today now for all I know.

I was then told it would be a bad idea for me to keep an eyebrow ring in that hole. The area was traumatized and could get badly infected. So I was refunded my money and sent home where I spent my evening keeping ice on my eyebrow.

The next day I woke up and looked in the mirror to find that the entire area around my left eye was purple and swollen to about half the size of a golf ball. I called in sick at work for 3 days. I couldn’t face other people and tell them what I had done. How fucking dorky people would think I was I told people the story? Luckily it healed over the weekend, and the scab near the pierced hole was gone. I could then get away with telling people I got hit in the eye with a tennis ball.

So much for rebel Mitch!

3 Website Tweaks To Get More Pageviews

Lately I’ve been tweaking a lot of things on my sites to try to make the sites more ‘sticky’. I want people to stay around a bit longer and view a few more pages before they leave. Here are 3 things that have made a difference.

Changed Related Posts Section

I moved my Related Posts section to a higher position on the page, made the font for the title larger in size and made them more relevant. Using the YARPP plugin for WordPress, I was able to tweak the related posts section for each article and make them more attractive for visitors.

Changed Sidebar Titles

This tip I got from Tim Ferriss. I suggest you watch his presentation below. It makes it clear that little changes such as sidebar titles can increase clicks on the links below them. For example, I used to have a column in the sidebar labeled “Categories”. After changing it “Topics”, my click-rate on the section increased nearly 2%. I never believed such little changes could make such a difference, but they really do.

Increased Speed

I didn’t think much about making my website fast. I have a fast Internet connection and pretty much thought everybody did. That’s totally not the case. Many people use DSL and dial-up still. Those people leave if your site takes 20 seconds to load a page. I use the PageSpeed FireBug add-on to check what scripts are loading on my pages and to find out what I need to optimize.

With these 3 things alone, I was able to increase my pageviews from 1.2 per person, to 2.2. I’ll keep searching for more tweaks that work. Feel free to share your own in the comments section below.

14 Things To Make Your Woman Happier

I think I’ve learned a lot about women in my 33 years on this Earth. I’ve been through almost every scenario. As a teen, I was very confused with girls. Not many of them cared to give me any attention whatsoever. As I grew into an adult, things changed and I became a serial dater. I’ve been part of a broken engagement, been on dating binges, moved to a different state and finally found a partner I can live with the rest of my life.

I think I now know what it takes to make a relationship flourish. The only way I got to this point was maturing and learning with age. I wish I would’ve known many things about women back when I started dating at the age of 15. It would’ve saved me many cold and lonely nights.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned about women that have worked for me:

  • Notice and thank her for chores– This may seem like it shouldn’t matter much. A man doesn’t need to be thanked for mowing the lawn. Women, however need to be told “nice job!”. It means so much to them when you notice.
  • Listen Listen Listen – A woman loves it when they can talk. This was my secret on dates. Women would always call for a second date if I just let them do all the talking.
  • Send flowers to their workplace – A woman loves to be given flowers in person. But when you send them to their workplace, they can bask in the attention they get from co-workers. Not only do you win points with her, but with every person there she talks to every day.
  • Go to sleep with them – No more rounds of Halo or surfing the web until 4am. Try to find a time you can go to bed together. A woman likes to have somebody next to them that they can chat with a bit before falling asleep.
  • Don’t go to bed angry – Don’t choose 30 minutes before bedtime to bring up your issues. Save it for tomorrow or better yet, let it go.
  • Stop sharing web sites with her – She doesn’t care about that YouTube video where the guy gets it in the nuts. She also doesn’t care for whatever video game review you send her. (Exception – if dogs, cats or unicorns are involved, share away.)
  • Let the small things go – Life is too short to be petty. If she loves you and completes you, who cares if she spent $10 more than she should’ve at the grocery store. Small things matter very little in the long run.
  • Don’t bring work issues home – Angry at the boss? Why should your woman pay? Leave that baggage at your office door. Separating your work life from home life is very important.
  • They always look good in what they are wearing – No matter what, never say anything negative about what your woman chooses to wear. Even if she asks for an honest opinion, no matter what, always say “You look beautiful!”.
  • Be a man – A woman likes sensitivity, but you have to be a man too. When a woman cheats, they always choose a guy who has some testosterone. It’s because that’s what they want. Fix a car. Take out the trash. Grow a beard. Be a man!
  • Let her have space – We all need time to ourselves. When you’re sensing she doesn’t want to talk, leave her alone. Find another place to be for a while and let her come to you when she’s ready.
  • Let her have the remote control – You can tolerate watching ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ for an hour if it makes her happy.
  • Be old fashioned – Get the door for her. Pull out her chair. Don’t do it all the time. That will get annoying. But surprise her by doing these things every now and then.
  • Let her do whatever she wants to the house – If she wants to paint the living room hot pink, let her. Decorate the kitchen in glitter? Sure! She’ll get more joy out of it than you would. Why should you care? You have a lawn to mow anyway. This tip will save MANY arguments.

Tweeting For Your Business

I’m not really big on people telling me what to do with my Twitter account, but when it comes to tweeting for your business, it’s a whole different animal. They say you’re supposed to engage 80% of the time and advertise 20% of the time on Twitter. I would agree with that, but many businesses seem to think it should be 100% advertising and no engagement with followers whatsoever.

From what I’ve seen, tweeps will flock to the business that manage to get it right. The ones who don’t end up annoying followers and chasing customers away. Here are some examples of both instances:

Note: I had the official accounts and images of tweets posted originally, but some people get a little crazy when they see anything negative about their business. I have decided to remove the names and tweets of the businesses I refer to negatively and replace them with similar examples.

Local Pawn Shop (name removed) – We have local pawn business that uses their Twitter account to just blab about the price of random items. There is no engagement with followers. They never throw a mention in the direction of anybody. It’s all ads. Who would follow this? FAIL

Examples:

  • Motorola Droid only $59.99. We only have one, so get here now!
  • We have a great selection of old video games! Stop in now and get some!
  • We got a load of new jewelry in. Stop on in and check out what’s new!

@picklebarrelsf – This local sandwich shop owner has it right. She uses her company name and logo as well as her real name on the account. She engages with followers regularly and when she’s promoting her business, she provides an incentive for the customer. WIN

Examples:

@cmsreport – Owner of the CMSReport website. He engages with his followers on a personal level and tweets useful CMS related links to them. Some of the links are to his website, but most are to other resources his audience may find useful. He also sprinkles in just a bit of what he’s doing personally. This is the method I’ve chosen for my own Twitter account. WIN

Examples:

Local Band (name removed) – I see a ton of band accounts on Twitter. Most of them just tweet where they will be playing over and over. This account is like many band accounts and never gives a shoutout to fans. Aren’t the fans the ones who matter the most when you’re in a band? FAIL

Examples:

  • Come see us play at The Battle of the Bands!
  • T-shirts now for sale on our website. Only $19 each!
  • Visit our website and buy our CD. Available Tuesday!

@NickMcD – Nick from McDonald’s usually appears whenever somebody has tweeted about McDonald’s. Always searching for McDonald’s mentions, he’s there for support and tries to rectify negative situations with customers. WIN

Examples:

To sum up, here are the rules any business on Twitter should follow:

Dos

  • Engage with customers by throwing out a mention.
  • Promote yourself no more than 20% of the time.
  • Give followers a reason to see what you have to say.
  • Search for your business name to see who mentioned you. Try to connect with them good or bad.

Don’ts

  • Use your account as a sounding board.
  • Be robotic and without a personality or identity.
  • Tweet only offers, ads and coupons.

Technology Kills Jobs?

Not long ago, I noticed a person tweeting how self-checkout lines take jobs away from people. The tweets this person sent were an effort to try to get people to use a manned checkout line instead of the self-checkout in order to save jobs. I rolled my eyes in disbelief that this argument is still out there. It seems like such an 80’s think to worry about technology replacing jobs.

We know that technology has replaced jobs, but has also has created many technology driven jobs. Those self-checkout lines make just as many jobs, if not more, than they replace. Retailers save money by implementing a self-checkout system. It may even be the only thing keeping a store in business. If the store is not in business, where will the existing employees find jobs?

I should point out, this person also tweets regularly to encourage buying a newspaper to support a journalist. While I’m not one to support the idea of a starving journalist, I am not for supporting a dying industry that can’t control overhead and adjust to technology.

Look at the music industry. It took them forever to realize that CDs weren’t the future of music. Instead they sued their own customers and fought against digital music distribution. Newspapers and journalists whine about bloggers taking over as they fight to keep an old and outdated model alive. They too are suffering greatly.

Like it or not, if you fight against the new way to do something, you will suffer an ill fate. This has been clear over the past 30 years, but I suppose some people are just stuck in the past.

3 Unexpected Challenges When Working From Home

I dreamed of working on my own for many years. Finally I was able to start doing that this year. Ever since I started, people have been telling me “I wish I could do that!” and “Now that’s the life!”. Working on your own from home is not all it’s cracked up to be though. It really is work! During these few months I’ve been self-employed, I have come across many unexpected challenges. I thought I’d share 3 of the biggest ones for those who are looking to convert from the 9 to 5 job to working from home.

Discipline

Sure a boss looking over your shoulder is irritating, but at least it made me get my butt in gear. With nobody motivating me to get stuff done, I have to rely on myself. This is extra difficult when the weather outside is nice and all I want to do is take my mountain bike for a ride. I have been forced to get strict and set aside a certain amount of hours per day to get stuff done. If I don’t discipline myself properly, nothing gets done and the business suffers.

Finding biorhythm

When I first started working from home, I treated it like a normal day job. I would wake up early, start work, then end it at around 5pm. This didn’t work for me. I found that my writing was much better late at night, around 11pm to 3am. Now I schedule my work accordingly. I try to devote a certain amount of hours into working each week, and get it done when I’m feeling it. Specific hours just don’t work for somebody who writes for a living.

Being social

This one’s a big one! I have nobody to talk to all day. Sometimes I go several days without seeing anybody except my girlfriend. The result is an extra clingy Mitch when she gets home from work. I’ve tried to use Twitter and chat to get me through the day, and that helps a bit, but nothing compares to talking to a warm being. Lately, I have made a better effort to go out with friends whenever I can.

With no proper, corporate-like structure in place, working from home is always a learning process. Hopefully I can stay out of the daily grind and learn to adjust to these challenges.