Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving,

I was looking at my web stats and realized that I probably shouldn't have written posts favoring vouchers. I see that most of the people who had links to Salt Lake Sites pulled 'em in the last months. Going against a group as powerful as the UEA has consequences.

I used to get about $400 in ad revenue on the sites in the fourth quarter, which I would use to pay the hosting fees. I still hope to get $300, although I am really braced to see nada.

I am extremely grateful to live in a free country. I was able to risk starting some local sites. There was interest in the project in Missoula. Not surprisingly, I only saw hostility in Utah. Of course, the goal of my project was to show the diversity of the community. Utah is a place where people strive for conformance.

I am thankful for living in a country where I was able to experiment with ideas without being hung up by my thumbs in the towns square as a result. I would be hanging by my thumbs in the town square if I tried this in a progressive country like North Korea or Cuba.

I am thankful for free thinkers like Patrick Byrne who are willing to state opinions despite the fact that the pack will try to bring him down.

Speaking of people who try to do good, I am thankful to live in a world where a person who dedicated himself to advancing the Boy Scouts prospered in the process. It is inspiring to know that a person made six figures by doing good.

I wish it were possible for teachers to make six figure salaries. They could if they were allowed to start teaching companies.

Professors at state Universities routinely make six figures. Most do so by thrusting daggers in the backs of the peers and graduate students. So, I guess I wouldn't count the wealthy professoriat among the class of people doing well by doing good.

I am extremely thankful this year for the brave men and women who served our nation abroad. I've known several people who served abroad and lost their lifelong friendships at home as a result. These veterans shrug and say that their schools buddies must not have really been friends ... still it is painful to be made a pariah for trying to do good.

The people in this world who stand against group think to do good are real heroes in my book. They, above all, deserve thanks.

I am thankful that General Patreus and George Bush stood against Pelosi and Reid and did the troop surge. There would have been a slaughter if they did not stand against group think. I we can find a way to exit from the area with a functioning democracy. I suspect that the US government will continue to be bumbling and inept in its doings.

Speaking of Exit Strategies ... During the decades that I've lived in Salt Lake, I've been asked some twenty or so times to leave. Mormons tell people to leave in firm, steady yet polite voices. Progressives do so with black slurs and backstabbing. I've become too jaded living here. So, I put a pull asking for thoughts on where I should go next.

I was born in Denver. I can actually claim to be a third generation Coloradan!

I love the Grand Junction area. It has access to both mountains and desert. I could be happy living on the Colorado River. Grand Junction just doesn't have a good University. I still have fantasies that someone might be interested in my mathematical research.

Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Missoula and Durango all have universities that blow the socks off anything Utah has to offer. There used to be a University in Boulder. I visited Boulder a few years back thinking to make that place my home.

There was a large progressive church where Colorado University used to stand. I went to some pagan religious ceremonies in the buildings that once housed classrooms. The priests at the CU Church seemed more interested in indoctrination than in teaching, the initiates seemed more interested in conforming than in learning.

There is a new Wyoming Catholic College in Lander. I understand that WCC wants to revive the classical liberal curriculum. It would be cool to live in an area with a school trying to revive the classical liberal world view, although I would prefer to see a nondenominational effort. Of course, it is entirely possible that you have to have a well stated religion that is separate from science to avoid the trap of trying to elevate science to a religion.

Wyoming is cold, and I don't know if there is a market for my skill set (database and web programming); So, I didn't put Lander or Laramie on the list. In Colorado and Utah, you can always just turn the heat off and wear a sweater when money gets tight. In Montana and Wyoming: if you turn the heat off; you die.

Damn, my thanksgiving post is coming off as jaded.

I am thankful for the efforts of so many to help clean up the air in Salt Lake Valley. Salt Lake is prone to inversions. Due to some very hard work and dedication to the environment, the population of the valley has been able to double without a corresponding increase in pollution. The valley is still smoggy in the winter, but it is far better than it was in the 70s.

I am thankful that most of the things I prayed for as a youth never happened. Things would be a lot worse if God had listened to me. I am thankful that most people ignore what they are taught in school. I am thankful that most politicians are inept. Things get bad when politicians realize their grandiose dreams. I am thankful for the billions of people who work to achieve their modest dreams. A collection of individual dreams is so much more interesting than singular dream of a collective.

I am thankful for each and every American who is working to achieve their modest dream, and am thankful that America has so far avoided the nightmare of a collective.


Scott Hinrichs said...

I too am grateful for those that go about working to achieve their modest dreams. I'm sorry that you've been made to feel unwelcome in Utah. While there are pros and cons to any place one might live, and Utah has its share of cons, there are also many good things about Utah.

Like you, I am a native Coloradoan, having been born outside of Boulder. But I've lived in Utah most of my life. My mom is from the plains of Wyoming. I have spent some of the greatest summers of my life in the mountains of Wyoming, but darn, the plains are cold and windy in the winter.

There are indeed many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. I too am grateful for ordinary Americans that go about working to achieve their modest dreams. Their pursuits have benefited my life in many ways.

y-intercept said...

Feeling unwelcomed really isn't a problem. Utah just doesn't fit with what I was wanting to do web site wise.

I scripted a business plan for making community web sites. It works in other places but fails miserably here, and I've been beating my head against the question of why.

The basic idea of my model is to make something that is reflective of the community.

All of my attempts to build interest seem to generate hostility.

Of course, since my plan is to reflect the community, I, myself, become hostile.

I've been reading many of post of the full frontal assault going on against Patrick Byrne for trying to improve education by supporting vouchers. It is just disgusting. I know that many local progressive bloggers who were rude to servicemen. I a society that is supposed to value critical thinking, we end up vilifying anyone who thinks differently from ourselves.

I helped another company successfully set up independent community portals. The model works, it just isn't working here.

The model that works here is one where you create an exclusive diretory. An LDS only or "progressive" only directory would work here. Not one that includes both groups.

I am not interested in that. I want to create somethat this is reflective of a community and not something that tries to define the community.

I really want to live in Utah, but the business I want to do will never fly here.

I don't think the model I was working on would work in Boulder simply because Boulder is filled with people trying to define the community.

Of course, I am also scared that the window of opportunity for what I wanted to do closed is quickly closing and will be completely crowded out by national sites like Google and Craigslist.

Tyler Farrer said...

Well, it sounds like staying isn't an option or I would have voted for Salt Lake. I don't know those other places well, or I'd vote for one of your choices. In any case I think you've made a huge contribution to dialog in the blogosphere here, and I'm not just saying that because you agree with me that BSA executives should be well paid. ;)

In any case, I've never thought that Utah would be a place that a cooperative, all-inclusive website couldn't work. My mind reaches for another explanation, but can't find one. To tell you the truth, I invested my time on your blog where I saw the most value.

y-intercept said...

I am quite sure that the directories have pulled several millions dollars of commerce into the valley. I've been extremely agressive at getting national attention.

The site has increased exposure for local bands, musicians, artists and local bloggers.

I have good keywords in Google.

But I've been beating my head against the local market and really haven't gotten the feedback to make the site work.

Most of my traffic comes from national or international people interested in Salt Lake.

I have actually received more feedback from people in Salt Lake City, India than those in Salt Lake City, Utah. The people in Salt Lake City, India think the idea is great. They love their little town built on the salty swamps of Calcutta. Salt Lake City India looks like an interesting place. It has more big buildings than Salt Lake City, Utah.

I've even managed to get great keywords. I score tops in Salt Lake Photo, Salt Like Night life, etc.. I just can't get local interest.

See, the way the program works in other towns is that there would be widgets like calendars, annoucement boards and things to stick on blogs and web sites. That way people could build their local community while they built their personal site.

Of course, I am also outspoken, and really don't mind when others are outspoken as well. I would never attack a person for having an opinion although I might openly tell them their opinion was silly.