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My Experience as a Mentor at #SRQHacks in Sarasota

I found myself standing in front of an eager group of students and mentors, none of which I had ever met before. Let the hacking begin…

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What To Do When A Local Web Developer Takes Credit For Your Work

Hello internet.

I wanted to share this story with you because something I saw on the web today really got under my skin and I thought it was something you should know about. Especially if you are looking for credible WordPress developers in the Sarasota market.

I recently googled Sarasota WordPress to see what would show up, and wouldn’t you know it, one of the top results was a small web development agency who was touting their awesome WordPress skills.

I’d tell you their name and link to their website, but as I explored their portfolio I found out that they were passing my work off as their own and I am not ok with sending my audience to people who feel comfortable stealing online.

Their portfolio with my work in it

Their portfolio with my work in it

You see, as one of the organizers of the local WordPress Meetup group, I love meeting other WordPress users. I love interacting with the WordPress community as a whole and learning more about the people and businesses who use this powerful content management system to manage their online operations.

Related: Learn more about WordPress

WordPress has changed my life so I am passionate about sharing that online toolbox with others. I also regularly give of my time and resources to the WordPress community. That being said, it is also something I do for a living, which is why I felt the need to share this post with all of you.

Because if we want people to respect us as digital entrepreneurs, we must start respecting ourselves and the work we put into our projects. And we cannot be ok with others passing that work off as their own. In any regard.

I was even more let down to see that the new web developer was not only taking credit for my work, but they were also shit talking the previous “web firm” aka – Me.

An excerpt from the new web developers website.

An excerpt from the new web developers website.

But that was not the case. What we have here is a client that does not understand the value of what they got and a web developer who apparently has no clue about how it all went down.

But then I thought to myself- Self, let’s not jump to conclusions.

I thought, maybe the new developer had gone in and made some major modifications, maybe they made some serious improvements and took the website to the next level, so I went and explored the site.

NOPE…

What I found was a website which was almost identical to what I had delivered… Which is when I really started boiling.

ICEpodz-portfolio

A screenshot of the website I designed for IcePodz back in 2014.

Actually, here is the case study I wrote about the project itself back in 2014 – And here is a link to the wayback machine with a record of that article going back to 2014.

It shows the work I put into the website and includes a detailed explanation along with images that describe how I optimized the design of the website, improved the page layouts and simplified the ordering process.

As I explored the “new” website vs what I delivered, I saw no major changes or updates to the design, layout, navigation, etc. However, the developers website claims graphic design, responsive web design, ecommerce, etc. as services provided.

Sarasota Web developer misleading people about work they did

At the top of this image you can see the services they are claiming on this web project.

In actuality, the only thing that has been added to the website was a blog, and a page about their new product which is just a picture of a flyer, not an actual page on the website. Not to mention that the articles on the blog don’t have any content in them. They are empty articles, inside a barebones blog, on a content management system that was built for blogging. Which leaves me wondering…

What the heck did the developer do to feel like they deserved to throw this website in their portfolio as a project they produced?

And while I do not typically put my pricing information on blast, in this instance I feel it is necessary in order to clear the air about why this stuff really bothers me.

You see, I built the original IcePodz website for $1,500 dollars. In 5 days.

I was at a point in my career where I need to grow my portfolio, and was willing to work for a fraction of what I was worth because I was trying to build my consulting practice and wanted to add a company that I thought had a cool product to my portfolio. Silly me to think a client could ever understand the value of what they were getting when I was giving it away so cheap.

I spent countless hours working with the client, invited them into my house and even tried to train them on how to use WordPress. We even recorded an hour long screencast showing them how to navigate their new website. I showed them how to add content and took the time to explain the why behind what we were doing. I put real effort and hard work to build them that website and to have someone else claim it as their own, or dismiss my efforts in order to make themselves look better is disingenuous at best.

I gave the client the best work I could inside of their budget and time constraints, and any objective observer would see that I delivered a website that was beautiful and dynamic and delivered on everything that I promised the client.

Obviously the site was nice enough for this guy to think it belonged in his portfolio. But no part of this is acceptable in my book, and I felt I needed to say something about it.

It is our responsibility as web professionals to build value in each other’s work, not diminish it. We should be looking for ways to bring more credibility to our industry, not steal from it or those who are bringing that value.

So to the asshole who is claiming credit for my work…

I see you. And you have been warned. I sent you a personal message yesterday, and now I am calling you out publicly.

Either credit me with the design, or better yet, take the site off of your portfolio entirely. Because I looked at the rest of your work, and it is clearly above your skill set. You are deceiving potential clients, misrepresenting your abilities, and outright lying to anyone who visits your website.

You would also do well to remember that Sarasota is a very small city and most of us in the local tech world know each other. Just ask yourself if any of this is worth the impact it might have on your reputation as a web developer. Locally, and online as a whole.

Anyway, rant over. You have officially taken up too much of my time.

Goodbye internet. Until next time.


Anyway, what do you think? How would you have handled this situation? What would you do if this was you? Has this ever happened to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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6 Ways You Can Use Game Mechanics To Mesmerize A Crowd

Steve Shenbaum from “game on” shares some time tested tips for how to mesmerize a crowd and take control of a live audience.

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WPW#3 – How Dealers United Is Using WordPress to Run A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business

In this episode we interview Pete Petersen, the CEO of Dealers United, and dive deep into the details of how they use WordPress to manage their multi-million dollar web based business.

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Homeless Guy In Sarasota Practices Piano Instead of Panhandling

Meet Steve. He’s homeless, but instead of panhandling for money, he works when he can, and practices piano in his spare time.

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Calling all Creatives in Sarasota

Learn more about the Sarasota Underground and how we are empowering local creative entrepreneurs.

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WPW#2 – Mason James – Making Money With WordPress

WordPress Wednesday is sponsored by zoing.ly


Last week I interviewed Mason James, the founder of Valet.io (formerly WordPress Valet) as part of our WordPress Wednesday Interview Series.

The interview explores his personal WordPress journey, and is filled with insights on how to run a successful WordPress based business.


Valet.io works with brands like Etsy, TimeInc, Nvidia, Harvard University, Mixergy, and more, and is well respected in the WordPress community for top tier development and support services.

If you are looking to start a WordPress business, or want to learn more about how to grow and scale your WordPress business then this might be a good place to start.

If you are in Sarasota, you can attend these MeetUps in person. Learn more on our MeetUp page.


Show Notes

1:45 – Starting out as a freelancer

We start out by talking about the path from freelancer to entrepreneur.

4:15 – Picking WordPress as a platform

I asked Mason how he decided to pick WordPress as the platform for him to build his online business.

6:10 – Getting involved in the WordPress community 

Mason and I dive into the importance of the WordPress community, and talk about how people can get involved in the WordPress community, and why it is such a large part of WordPress success.

13:30 – Breaking the freelancer gap

I asked Mason how he made the jump from freelancer to full fledge business owner. We dive into how he landed his first clients, how he hired his first employees and more.

15:30 – Getting your first customer

We dive deeper into prospecting, networking and getting started as a small business owner.

17:25 – Biting off more than you can chew

Sometimes you have to get a little ambitious when you are trying to build your own business, but that can definitely backfire on you in the online world. Get advice on staying within your core competencies, and how to learn as you grow.

20:18 – To pick a niche or not

Some people swear by the idea that you have to specialize in order to be successful, so I wanted to know what Mason thought about being a generalist, or picking a specific niche.

20:54 – The main goal of any website

If there is one part of this interview which you should listen to, it is this section. In it Mason goes over his process for assessing websites, and outlines the order in which they approach website optimization.

24:29 – I hire people to do the things I suck at

Mason explains how he hires employees, and more specifically, how he hired his first employee. He also dives into his philosophy on how he hires people, and how he vets candidates.

28:48 – Internet freeing people to become their own boss

Mason and I discuss the power of the internet, and how it is empowering more people than ever to go out and become their own boss.

30:07 – You have to fail a lot

It wouldn’t be a proper interview if we didn’t spend some time talking about failure. Listen as Mason explains why failure is such an important part of starting and running a successful business.

34:49 – Creative processes deserve their own brain cycles

Towards the end of the interview, we dive into the creative side of running the business, and talk about the importance of spending time creating quality content, and connecting with a social audience in order to grow your online business.

44:55 – Quantifying the value and getting the money

We end the show by talking about how to stand up for what you are worth, how to set your rates, and discuss how to make sure people understand the value you are providing.

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Young Professionals Speak Out About Affordable Housing in Sarasota

Reactions from Sarasota Young Professionals about a recent survey where 46% of local YP’s were thinking about leaving town due to the lack of affordable housing.

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WPW #1 – Introducing WordPress Wednesday

Skip to the 11:29 mark to start the meeting, and to the 20 min mark to skip the introductions.

This was our first live broadcast of WordPress Wednesday, and things will get more efficient and on point as we move forward with this show concept. Thanks for all who showed up and participated in the live audience.

We will start the conversation with a compelling story about how WordPress has helped me reinvent my career, and then open the discussion up to the audience in order to get stories and feedback from others about how WordPress has had an impact on their lives.

Learn more about WordPress Wednesday

If you are in Sarasota, join our MeetUp Group

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The Best Sandwich in Sarasota?

If you’ve not eaten at Mozzarella Fellas, downtown Sarasota, you’re missing out on the best sandwich in Sarasota. Oh, and other stuff too.

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I Had Dinner With A Murderer, And Didn’t Even Know It

This is a true story, based on actual events in Manatee County Florida.

Update: A year later, Avalos is facing another Murder charge for attempting to kill an inmate in prison.

Imagine you are at a dinner party. You are at your friends house but you only know a few of the more than thirty people that fill the room. Look to your right, now to your left. Three days from now, one of these faces is going to kill three people. Who will it be? Could it be you? Could it be me?

It’s like a scene out of a movie, something you’d never expect to experience in real life. You never image you’ll get a call telling you to turn on the news because one of the guys you were at dinner with a few nights before is accused of going on a murderous rampage.

It is not something you think about while sitting at dinner with friends and great food enjoying the camaraderie of a family birthday celebration. But this particular party would quickly be overshadowed by the actions of one young man.

He wasn’t a murderer at the time, but a few days later Andres Avalos Jr. would murder his wife, a neighbor, and the pastor of a local church they attended.

He left his 6 children without a mother, 2 more wthout a father, a church without their pastor, friends without friends and family without family. And after confessing, he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Andres-Avalos-Jr-with tattoo

Image credit – Bradenton Herald – http://www.bradenton.com/2014/12/07/5517903_andres-avalos-jr-has-first-appearance.html?rh=1

At one point, he was trying to convince me that Mexican hip hop was better than American hip hop, but that argument was settled quickly as the crowd decided that the music coming from another friends phone was more worthy of being plugged into the small set of speakers that were sitting on the countertop in front of him.

He had a tattoo on his neck, coming up from underneath his shirt, something that looked like a cross with a name on it, but hey, lots of people have tattoos.

I never got a warm and fuzzy feeling while talking to Andres but I didn’t get a bad vibe from him either. He was just another guy in the room.

I could tell he was street savvy because of the way he talked and carried himself but I have a varied past myself so I try not to judge anyone based on first appearance.

Most of the nights conversations were centered around the home made Thai food that was being prepared in the kitchen and outside on the grill. It was delicious and there seemed to be so much love in the room.

I guess that’s what makes this all so hard to take in, what makes it all so difficult to comprehend. How can the same guy, who sat there talking to me about lettuce wraps and bad beer, be the same guy who just ripped the lives of three families to shreds?

I don’t know the guy other than the few hours we spent hanging out that night so I am not going to assume to know what was going through his head, but if you ask me it was not murder. Not that night, not in that moment.

So what causes a person to snap like that? What causes someone to gun down three people in cold blood? Could anyone else in that room have snapped like he did or was it his destiny to be a murderer? Was there something in the stars that said it was his time to go, or was this simply the hand of someone’s god?

Does that mean that I am capable of murder? Does this mean that we are all one missed step away from fatally falling apart?

How is it that we can seem so normal on the surface but be falling apart inside? Why are humans so good at hiding their pain? How come we wait until it’s too late before we let someone know that we are about to blow?

There have been no reports on a motive, but what motive can there be for a crime so heinous other than self hate? And if you have so much hate that you are willing to kill, then why not kill yourself instead? Why not end your own pain as opposed to spreading it like a plague by killing those you love?

I’m not one to advocate for suicide, but if it means saving the lives of innocent people, at the expense of assholes who can’t express anger, other than through the barrel of a gun, then I say go ahead and blow your fucking brains out.

Because no one’s life should ever be cut short by the actions of another man. That’s the one gift that no one should ever want to give. We have no ability to create life and should therefore think twice about taking it. Shit, you should think three, four, five or even more times about doing something so stupid. And once you think you’ve thought it through, then write about it and think about it some more. Tell a friend about it. Do something to get it out in the open and please, give someone a chance to stop you before it’s too late.

You might just learn to understand and love the dark parts of your soul. And you might just save someone’s life in the process. Maybe even your own!

By the way, this is a real story, and you can help support the families of those involved by clicking the link below and donating to their GoFundMe campaign.

 

A Sneak Peek At Sarasota Underground – Frank Maggio

In this episode of RayDO uncensored…

Raymmar talks to Mr Sarasota himself. Frank Maggio talks about being a young professional in Sarasota County and other nationally noteworthy topics. Stay tuned to the very end to get a sneak peek at Sarasota Underground and what I am working on here locally in Sarasota Florida.

2:24 – Start here to skip intro

We introduce our guest (Frank Maggio) and give a brief i ntro of what we will discuss in the podcast. I just know that sometimes you don’t want to wait before you dig right in so I am going to start including the time mark for when we come out of our intro music.

3:00 – An unplanned dip into the Global Warming debate

We hadn’t planned on talking about this but somehow Frank and I start talking about global warming or “climate change,” – or whatever other politically correct term they come up with it to hide the political agenda behind global warming. I have recently been reading research and other arguments on both side of the global warming debate and I think I have a common-sense based approach to the issue. Most of the Global Warming debate is really just a shell game that will allow corporate giants to become even more powerful as we as allowing the government to insert themselves into another portion of our everyday lives.

7:22 – How the people pendulum swings

We live in an information rich world where everything is bad for you, until it isn’t and then it is good for you, until it isn’t. Rinse, lather, repeat. We spend so much time reacting immediately to information that we just got, that we often overreact and have no real ability to understand it completely and how it really affects us. We run screaming from scientific report to scientific report that all give us conflicting views. First, salt is really bad for you, and then it isn’t. Milk is good for you, then milk is bad for you. Don’t you ever just get tired of the back-and-forth of this yo-yo style, science-saturated society, that we currently live in?

8:55 – It’s about the individual perspective

One of the biggest problems in living in such an overly reactionary time in history is that we are really only capable of understanding the world through the lens of our individual time on earth. This leaves us with a fairly limited perspective of the true impact of anything we do as humans. It’s easy to see how our overall perspectives might be a little limited, considering that the average life span of a human being is around 80 years, and most of the changes in nature, evolution and societies take place over the span of thousands or even millions of years. In this segment we also talk about minding our own business and how we might be better off as a society if we all just did a little better job of minding our own business as opposed to that of our neighbors.

11:38 – Giving people power

I talk a lot about finding your super power and in this podcast we talk about giving other people power over us and how that influences society. Are we giving away too much power? Are we sure that giving any person, or group of people, this much power on a mass scale is really a good idea? The problem behind our flawed corporate and political structures is this aggregation of power and wealth. Not in the middle class but at the very top. And inside of the structures that they build for themselves to play in. Religion is tied back into minding your own business and not having to take advantage of people in an effort to grow and we move into the next section where we talk about the coming economic revolution.

14:54 – An economic revolution

After chatting about government and large corporate corruption for a while, we dive into the transition that is happening in workplaces across the entire country. The results only work environment is allowing peple to be more productive and still live a free life. We are working towards an environment where the individual is being empowered to once again, become the entrepreneur. People are waking up to the fact that they do not have to live and work inside of the social confines that have restricted the conscious development of our entire society. The progress that we have made over the last decade with the technological advancements that have come. Take a look at our recent breakdown of the history of social media and you can get a taste for how fast it has all come upon us.

17:20 – The new entrepreneur

The future of inventions will come from the aggregation of the data that is currently being collected about each and every one of us. This creates opportunity for the resourceful entrepreneur and the individuals who strive for excellence.

19:00 – Getting back to getting good

The drive to split off from the machine in an attempt to create beautiful products. As we empower the individual entrepreneur, we are seeing true free-market capitalism flourish online because it is the last truly free market.

21:44 – Locking down the middle class

The basic destruction of the middle class and the vilification of success. Did you earn what you have? Or are you standing on the shoulders of the people that came before you.

23:04 – Becoming a self made man

Why it is important to succeed on your own and pass that on to your children as your true legacy.

26:10 – Does capitalism really suck?

I mention an article I wrote about why people who think capitalism sucks are just pain stupid and then talk a little bit about my views on the current economic system and where we are headed. Are we creating a defacto Oligarchy?

27:15 – Northwestern football players unionizing

Is college football growing out of control? How do we solve some of the issues facing the players, schools and NCAA. I agree that there might be a problem with the current system but I am not sure that unionization is the way to go. Listen to Frank and I discuss the concept of football players unionizing.

35:50 – It’s all about the hustle

College is no guarantee for success. College sports are no different and more than anything, the person behind the education and how they look at the world is more important than the education itself. The drive of the individual is more important than any education because that person will always find a way to have the right skills for whatever job they are attacking in that specific moment.

38:40 – You have to perfect your art

Get good at something. Find something that makes you happy, find a way to get good at it and push your self to become the best you possible.

41:20 Building a system of values inside of a university

How can we fight the culture in our schools when we are turning these student athletes into gods. Can a coach really change a kids outlook on life? How much influence does the coach really have to affect or instill morals and values in their players if they do not already have them when they get there.

45:10 – Everyone wants to be a celebrity

Some people get paid to perform on a field or in front of a camera but most of the real players in the world are getting paid to perform for no audience other than the people that they surround themselves with. More importantly, most of us act and pretend for ourselves.

46:05 – Medical marijuana legalized in Florida?

Is it all about taxes? We didn’t talk about it too long but we did jump into the legalization of weed in Florida and whether medical use is legitimate or whether they should just pass it as a recreational drug. What do you think?

50:45 – Introducing Sarasota Underground

Why I am going to take over the media scene in the city of Sarasota. I introduce my concept for Sarasota Underground and what we are working on here in this city to change the status quo.

Subscribe-to-raymmar-com-master

SU_CTA-for raymmar

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Raymmar.com #3 Among Top 12 New-Media Websites In Sarasota

A statistical traffic analysis of the top 12 new-media websites in Sarasota Florida. How do they all stack up? Read on to find out.

Understanding The List

People have recently been asking me how popular my website is in comparison to some other websites here in town. I usually just give them my traffic stats, but I wanted a better way to show how our traffic stacks up against some of the top new-media websites in Sarasota Florida (my home market).

I used Alexa rankings for each of the 12 websites and ordered them based on their traffic volumes and user engagement levels.

I understand that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison and Alexa does estimate some of these traffic stats, but it does show the impact of our overall reach and growing popularity compared to other influential websites in the Sarasota market.

I also understand that Raymmar.com is not a traditional media or “news” organization. We are however, a place where people come to think and ask questions about life in general. If you ask anyone in the media game, they will tell you that it all comes down to attracting eyeballs, so with that in mind, I figured it was fair to use a measurement of online eyeballs as a relatively easy way for people to understand our online reach.

Below you will find a screen shot of each sites Alexa rank and stats, along with a brief description of my thoughts on each of these Sarasota-centered media companies.

What is New Media?

From Wikipedia/New_media

New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation.

Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new and unregulated content.

What is Alexa traffic rank?

An excerpt from the About Alexa page

Our global traffic rank is a measure of how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past 3 months.

The rank is calculated using a proprietary methodology that combines a site’s estimated average of daily unique visitors and its estimated number of pageviews over the past 3 months.

We provide a similar country-specific ranking, which is a measurement of how a website ranks in a particular country relative to other sites over the past month.

The List

You can find a more thorough explanation of the logic behind the list at the end of this article.

#1 – HeraldTribune.com

View results on Alexa.com

It is probably not a surprise that these guys are at the top of the list considering the size of their national parent network. They have a daily newspaper and the largest online presence of any Sarasota based media company.

The Herald Tribune is also a subscription based website so they limit the number of articles you can read on their site before forcing you to sign up for a subscription.

Apparently you can get around it with some browser extensions or masking services but, with so many other places on line to get the news, I’m really not sure it is worth the hassle.

Sarasota-herald-tribune-web-presence

#2 – MySuncoast.com – ABC 7

View results on Alexa.com

MySuncoast.com is the website for ABC 7,  which is another top performer in the Sarasota media game.

With a headquarters downtown Sarasota and daily televised news broadcasts, they are one of the preeminent sources for local news here in Sarasota, although they could still use some help with their overall web presence.

my-suncoast-web-presence

#3 – Raymmar.com

View results on Alexa.com

I was fairly certain that I would be on this list, but I honestly never expected it to be at #3. Considering I am the only one-man-show on this list, it was definitely one heck of a surprise.

Raymmar.com has become virally popular over the last year and I have started to create a name for this website as a creative playground for independent thinkers all around the world. I have the #1 article on Medium.com right now, am regularly featured on the Huffington Post and just got picked up as a contributor to Elite Daily (658 Alexa US ranking).

Because of the websites increasing popularity on a national scale, I automatically gain credibility when talking about issues in Sarasota. You should definitely look for me to start infiltrating more Sarasota based search results in the near future as I start to shift some of my focus to the local market.

I am always open to online collaborative projects. If anyone reading this wants to talk about working on something with me locally, they can contact me here. Together we can continue to build awareness for Sarasota on a national level.

raymmar-web-presence

#4 – YourObserver.com

View results on Alexa.com

The Observer Group is another local media outlet that is a more niche-based print publication.

They are known for their local newspapers that are targeted to specific sections of the Sarasota market. For instance, they customize publications for Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Siesta Key and others. They even have a Black Tie section. The first one I noticed that specifically targets the Sarasota socialites. Something that many of the other Sarasota publications have in common.

This is also the first on the list that is not ranked under 100,000 globally, so there is no historical graph data. You can however still see their rank in the United States as well as their basic page engagement.

observer-group-web-presence

Just an observation:

You can see that the online competition for media companies in the Sarasota market is not that stiff. Any one of these companies could make a big jump up on this list with a fairly targeted shift in online distribution strategies. In case any of you are reading this…

From here on down the websites get considerably less popular. The next time I do a report like this I will probably open the field up to the broader St Pete and Tampa market.

#5 – SarasotaMagazine.com

View results on Alexa.com

Sarasota Magazine comes in at #5 with their popular local magazine.

I have no idea how big their print reach is, but their web presence is weak for an organization of this size.

It makes me wonder what kind of people are running the online marketing divisions at these local companies and how they justify their salaries.

The site is simple but plain and had no real pop. What I find to be truly ironic, is how poorly the present themselves online, considering how beautifully edited their magazines are.You’d think they might consider spending a little more time on building a beautiful web presence to match.

sarasota-magazine-web-presence

#6 – TicketSarasota.com

View results on Alexa.com

I actually liked the initial feeling I got when I landed on their homepage.

This was my first time on the Ticket Sarasota website. but there was a friendly image and the articles are laid out nicely so good on them, but you can tell by their traffic that it is still not that popular a resource.

I see immediately that I can search the Herald-Tribune restaurant listings and then I see the email address is ticket@heraldtribune.com and I realize that this is another facet of the #1 company on this list, The Herald Tribune.

ticket-sarasota-web-presence

#7 – VisitSarasota.org

View results on Alexa.com

Visit Sarasota cuts their teeth by preparing pre-arrival Sarasota Visitor Guides.

They were distributed to about 47,000 people last year and their website is actually colorful and vibrant.

They are so close to getting it right, but they need that final refinement to make the magic happen.

Headings, subheadings and paragraph breaks are all important to how the site content makes a user feel. There were some good articles on this site but the deluge of text on the screen makes the articles seem intimidating. Format the articles, break up the text and give your content some hierarchy and you might get people to stick around a little longer.

I understand that their priority might not be focused online but they did brag about reaching 47,000 people with their mailers. I reach more than 47,000 people in any given month and we have done hundreds of thousands of views per month so you have to think these guys are missing out on some online sales opportunities.

Visit-sarasota-web-presence

#8 – ThisWeekInSarasota.com – TWIS

View results on Alexa.com

This Week In Sarasota’s web traffic is on a steady decline if these web stats are accurate.

TWIS was founded by Matt Orr, and claims to be “The the premier site for what to do, where to go, who to know and what’s going on this week in Sarasota.” Sounds good but their traffic trends say otherwise.

There was some kind of connection between TWIS and a few of the folks over at the HuB, but that is long over and although I do not know the whole story, I do know that this website is nowhere near as popular as it used to be.

They do have a calendar on the site and have apparently partnered with Ringling Underground for their Culture Collective subscription which gives them some potential for a jump in this list if they leverage that relationship properly.

This-week-in-sarasota-web-presence

#9 – SarasotaDay.com

View results on Alexa.com

Sarasota Day is an online media company based out of the HuB and was founded by local entrepreneur, David Daly.

I contribute to this site once in a while and they have some great writers and story concepts but I really think they hurt themselves when they started requiring people to like their posts (like-gate) before being able to read them.

As of writing this article, they no longer require you to like their articles before you can read them but according to these numbers it definitely left a mark on their overall web presence.

I wouldn’t count these guys out just yet though, with the backing of the HuB and a surplus of creative contributors, they are a viable Sarasota new-media start up.

I think we can probably attribute this temporary dip to growing pains and you can expect to see them climbing this list in the years to come.

Sarasota-Day-Web-presence

#10 – biz941.com

View results on Alexa.com

Biz941 has a clean website, but it’s terrible on a mobile phone. They are best known for their magazine and also have a large daily email blast.

I am however, once again left speechless that their web presence would not match the quality of their print publication. The cost to produce and distribute online content versus print media should be appealing enough for these guys to get their web-game in gear.

I have to imagine this trend in online media in Sarasota has to do with the demographics but I also think there are enough under 40’s to warrant a strong online media outlet that really gets it right. Maybe someone should do something about that.

Biz-941-web-presence

#11 – SceneSarasota.com

View results on Alexa.com

Not a whole lot of data here and it is easy to see why when you go to their website.

It looks like it has not been updated in a decade and I don’t think much of their audience spends a lot of time online. I could be wrong but with an Alexa score above 3 million, these guys cant be doing more than a few thousand views a month online.

scene-sarasota-web-presence

#12 – SRQMagazine.com

View results on Alexa.com

To me, this was probably the biggest surprise on the list.

Their magazine is beautifully laid out and quite popular throughout the community, but their website leaves much to be desired.

It’s hard to even have them on this list of new-media companies with a website like this but they do have a large print audience and clout in the community so here they are.

If someone from this magazine reads this article, lets talk, you need my help online.

SRQmagazine-web-presence

WSLR.org

WSLR-radioI wouldn’t feel right talking about Sarasota media companies and not mention being censored by WSLR – a community radio station in Sarasota. Lets just say they were not a fan of my work.

Their website is barely noticeable in the Alexa rankings and since their signal only covers the major Sarasota metro area, they are not a player when it comes to online new-media websites.

Bradenton.com

Bradenton-Herald Traffic StatsI also felt obligated to acknowledge the largest media outlet in Manatee County, The Bradenton Herald, in this article.

Their traffic would land them at the #2 on this list but I specifically only included websites that are based in Sarasota.

There is also Bay News 9 but that is more of a super regional outlet so again, I left them out. The next time I do one of these reviews I will probably open the search up to the entire Tampa Bay region.

The logic behind these rankings

This list is by no means a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of the different media sites in the Sarasota area. I considered a number of local and regional media sites  and then selected the 12 that I thought represented the Sarasota market most accurately based on feedback from the community and extensive online search.

What I did not consider:

I did not take social media engagement into account or email list size while compiling this report. I also did not consider all of the little regional websites in St. Pete, Tampa or even Bradenton.

If you think I missed a popular, local, new-media website, then please let me know in the comments below. I want this article to be an accurate representation of the media websites in and around Sarasota, but I also understand that I may have somehow overlooked someone.

What does any of this mean?

Nothing. Something. Everything? I guess it depends on who you are.

These sites are all locally based and targeted specifically to the Sarasota market. Sarasota has an older demographic so it makes sense that some of media companies have a limited web presence.

The problem is that the times are changing and this should definitely be a wake up call for some – if not all – of the companies on this list.

If you are a retail store or restaurant owner, you might get your value out of spending some advertising dollars with a few of these companies, but based on these results, you might want to ask for some validated stats before renewing your advertising contract.

If you are looking to reach a larger audience, then you might want to consider alternative outlets for your online advertising dollars.

You might even want to consider hiring a consultant to help guide your online content strategy in order to scale your overall web presence.

Interested in having me help you increase your online presence? Learn more about what I do and why I do it and then click here to contact me

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Do Humans Survive This Virus Called Technology? [Podcast]

Exploring enlightenment; Can you find it or does it find you?

Kyle Cross helps me break down the quest for enlightenment and how to participate in the conversation. We talk about why you should not be getting your news in 3 minute segments from the main street media and why you need to surround your brain with interesting ideas from other people in order to truly stimulate your own creative process.

Learn more about Kyle Cross

We discuss the basics of enlightenment being the ability to recognize that you know absolutely nothing but desire to know everything. It is a self awareness and understanding of how significant you can really be but how much easier it is to allow yourself to become insignificant.

Between discussing the quest for enlightenment we dive into a bit of religion, drugs, graffiti and more. Kyle even dives into a bit of his personal background and talks about his childhood and even mentions growing up as an orphan.

Always A RayDO Twist

We talk about some of my favorite YouTube channels and how to find the information you need and want in the moment you need it. Quit pretending like you have to wait for the information you need to come to you, instead of just going out and working hard to find it.

You Tube References –

Here are the YouTube channels I mentioned in the podcast.

  • V-Sauce – Awesome videos about science and life. History from a whole new perspective. I promise you will love this.
  • Minute Physics – Quick videos that help you understand complex physics in a fun way.
  • Smarter Every Day – Down to earth explanations of curious topics in science. #LoveThisGuy
  • ASAP Science – More simple science that blows your mind. Short video crack.
  • Raymmar.com – Obviously you should subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Digital Connections

We also explore the growing digital network that is enslaving all of us, discuss the possibility of an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) destroying it all and how instant communication could potentially lead to a completely new digital nation.

We touch on the evolution of online commerce and understanding how we might soon be able to plug into computers. Whether for gaming, porn, gambling or any other experience that will inevitably be digitized, the human experience will be merged with the digital life soon enough.

As always, we explain why we do what we do and show you how all of these issues are interconnected and how they can let you bring all of these experiences together in a completely new understanding on the meaning of life.

Introducing Sarasota Underground

In this episode of RayDO we talk about my current city of residence, Sarasota Florida and my plans for SarasotaUnderground.com.

We begin to explore the inner workings of a city that is dead set on staying the same and why some would restrict its growth.

We also talk about the difference between Bradenton and Sarasota and how people from the inside look at it versus the way people from the outside look at it. Why don’t they work better together and why this really is an amazing place to be and will be for the next few decades as the entire culture in Sarasota shifts towards a new generation of doers.

We Always Bounce Around

This is RayDO, and we do bounce all over the place so there might be a few more surprises along the way. You’ll just have to listen in to find out what else we talk about this time on RayDO.

Make sure you grab us on Stitcher and iTunes Podcast app so you can get the newest episodes delivered to your phone immediately upon release.

The listening experience is totally customized and if you have to turn it off in the middle of an episode it will save your place and start it back up from the same place.

Finally, be sure to subscribe to Raymmar.com to keep up with all of our progress and updates about what we are doing.

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Censored in Sarasota – Why I Got Kicked Off Radio [Updated With Audio]

Listen to the audio that got me booted from the radio show.

I Felt It Coming…

Sarasota is a city dead set on staying the same. Suppressing a new creative culture. Scared of the conscious capitalist.

These are the struggles of a stagnant city. A city with no vision, just more of the same… Rich. Old. Stale.

To be honest, I was surprised when the local community radio station (96.5 WSLR Sarasota) said yes to our proposed radio show.

I actually wondered why they were letting me be a part of it in the first place. It didn’t seem like their kind of thing but they said yes; we pitched the show and they said yes.

You’re Fired

“Don’t worry about them” Said E-man (referring to the radio station) as he cancelled a team production meeting in order to meet with the station manager.

Apparently they had reviewed the tape of our first show and wanted to talk.

E-man tried to be gentle but I reassured him that I already knew what he was going to tell me.

I told him I didn’t think he put up much of a fight but I know it wasn’t his call.

Told You So

I don’t know how many times I warned the members of our radio show that the station would not just let me come on their airwaves and ask my kind of questions.

I knew they would hate me. I knew it because this is how narrow minds always react to a guy like me. But the guy they got in that show is the same guy who writes regularly on this blog, and the same guy they met in their interviews along the path to approving the show.

Which means they either knew who I was and decided to give me shot anyway, or they were woefully negligent in their screening process.

It could be that they were woefully negligent in their screening process and then decided to cover up their own shortcomings through good old fashion serving of censorship, but honestly, I think they just couldn’t stand the thought of someone articulating views that contradicted the stations politics. I think they had no interest in letting me use their airwaves to challenge their thought process. Which is kind of the purpose of community radio isn’t it?

I guess I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I figured maybe they were different. Maybe there was a chance at open-mindedness.

I figured, what the hell! If they’re game, I’m game.

I Warned The Station

Before we signed the station agreement, privacy policies etc, Arlene, the former Station Manager reassured me “that’s not what this station is about” and “we are a community radio station so that’s fine”. It was her response to me telling her that I did not agree with the station politics one last time before signing our broadcaster agreement.

I told them I was specifically not in line with their liberal progressive political ideology and that they should “tell me now if they wanted me off the show”. I was again reassured that all would be fine.

I was told “different opinions” were not a problem.

We would even read a disclaimer before the show started; a message stating that the views and opinions expressed on our show were not those of the radio station or its management.

Google It

You would think they’d have taken a moment to get to know the guy they were about to put in front of a microphone for two hours a week.

You might think that they would have at least Googled my name and read a bit about me on my website where I pretty much talk about anything and everything.

I figured at the very minimum they would have listened to me at least one of the times I told them exactly what we planned to do on the show.

We explained that we were going to challenge our audience and break down relevant issues from a fresh perspective. We were going to take on pop-culture, politics, news and entertainment from a young, diverse perspective. We were going to meet at an intersection of ideas.

None Of That Would Matter

One week is all it lasted.

One whole show before someone “complained” and triggered the censorship machinery.

The station manager requested a copy of the tape, apparently hated what he heard, and then decided I had to go.

Of course, the show could continue; just as long as I was no longer a part of it.

Intolerance Of The Tolerant

Forget getting to know what I really stand for or having a legitimate battle of ideas.

Forget about how we might have brought in all sorts of new listeners.

Forget about the fact that a little bit of controversy could go a long way to increase the audience of a station that begs for exposure.

Oh, and please, whatever you do, don’t forget to forget the fact that we might have engaged an entirely new audience. A vastly younger demographic, in a city that struggles for ways to engage the 25-40 crowd.

Forget equal airtime or freedom of speech. Forget about their own mission statement:

WSLR is an innovative, listener-supported, non-profit, non-commercial FM radio station dedicated to serving the Sarasota community. WSLR features locally produced programming and presents cultural, artistic, and political perspectives currently underrepresented in the media. Our goal is to inform and empower listeners to play an active role in WSLR and in their community. WSLR’s programming promotes equality, peace, sustainability, democracy, health, and social and economic justice.

Forget everything they claim to stand for because apparently, none of it is true.

Like everything else in the world we live in, it’s nothing more than a structure, built by and as a direct result of, individual decisions. Built by man and ultimately fallible.

So Here Are A Few Questions I Have For The Radio Station

  • Am I not part of the community?
  • Did I not fulfill my volunteer obligations, complete station training, sign a contract and talk to you about how my ideology was different than that of the station?
  • What was different in the show we produced from the show we pitched?
  • Did you stop to think that people might actually like the show?
  • Why wouldn’t you at least give the show a chance to see if we attracted a larger listener base?
  • How can you be ok with censoring a member of the local community when you claim to fight for equality in so many other issues?
  • Why is my voice not as valid as all the others you allow on air?
  • Why should any of us even be surprised anymore?

Now Ask Yourself

If this is happening at a community radio station in sleepy Sarasota, then imagine the power structures behind the larger machine that is mass media.

The end!

Image Credit – Drooker.com

Breaking News: Proposals For Sarasota Quay Property Leaked To Public

An inside source has leaked internal documents from the city that reveals alternative proposals for the Sarasota Quay property in downtown Sarasota.

This article was originally published on Sarasota Day

After reviewing the documents…

we can only assume the six proposals are being seriously considered by the City Commission as viable options. And although the staff at sarasotaday.com remain uncertain as to the identity of the whistleblower, our source revealed that each proposal could have links with local organizations

Until these leaked documents were presented to SarasotaDay.com, the only other legitimate proposal announced to the public to date had been by GreenPointe Holdings LLC of Jacksonville whose intention is to build numerous high-rise buildings on the property.

Trust us, we will be covering this potentially ground-breaking story as it unfolds at #CityLeaks.

Proposal #1: “Unconditional Surrender”

Due to the constant debate over the location of “Unconditional Surrender”, it appears a local organization is proposing to have the sculpture moved permanently to the Quay Property. This, of course, would allow more space for tourists and visitors alike to admire the statuesque conversation piece.

Proposal #2: Super Walmart

Due to last year’s denial of Walmart’s desire to build a store on Ringling Boulevard, it appears the Arkansas-based retailer has rethought their original proposal and now intends to submit plans to build a new Super-center atop the Quay Property.

We reached out to Walmart for confirmation of the proposal, but a company spokesperson declined to comment. However, an anonymous source with knowledge of the negotiations did make contact stating Walmart believes the Quay Property would be “ideal for great savings and rollback prices.”

Proposal #3: Parking Garage.

The parking garage proposal seemed to be the most ambitious and potentially best use for the property. According to experts, revenue from parking and parking meters could shunt millions of dollars into the City’s coffers.

Proposal #4: Rowing Facility.

This proposal appeared to mirror the current rowing facility in Lakewood Ranch. We can only assume the City Commission is seriously considering digging a large hole and filling it with water as a way to ensure Sarasota can compete for business and tourism with East County.

Proposal #5: Piano Park.

The recent proposals being reviewed by the City of Sarasota to place pianos downtown to encourage more vibrant activity have apparently spread to the Quay Property. It’s unclear how many pianos will fit on the property, but after talking with a City Development consultant, he predicted that upwards of 3,000 pianos could be comfortably accommodated resulting in a mellifluous by-product of tourism.

Proposal #6: Tube Dude Memorial.

This final proposal came as no surprise to the staff at Sarasotaday.com 

Let’s face the fact: everyone loves Tube Dude. It has proven to be one of the City’s main drivers of tourism. The proposal shows a larger rendition of Tube Dude which will allegedly scale over 500 feet in height. This would be the largest Tube Dude known to man, and experts predict it will be visible from Longboat Key.

As this story continues to develop, SarasotaDay.com will make sure to keep you abreast of events behind the closed doors at City Hall.

#CityLeaks.

Sarasota Day is a new media company that is highlighting the unique and rarely discovered side of Sarasota Florida.

What do you think about these plans for the city? Let me know in the comments below. 

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South

A Mostly factual account of the events that precipitated my move from Ohio to Florida. March, 2004


New Feature: Listen instead of read!

You can still find the full text below but I know most people don’t really like to read so…. your welcome!

Be sure to let me know what you think about this new feature down in the comments below.

Full Text:

There is no real ambition amongst most of my friends, no drive and no desire to escape this lower middle class monotony that we call life. I have a little side gig making fake ID’s out of my bedroom at my parents house. One of many skills I picked up and perfected during a short stint as a student at an overpriced art school in Detroit. I specialize in Georgia, Michigan and Ohio drivers licenses, and all of my friends have them. I can even replicate a hologram using this pearlescent paint I found online. They aren’t perfect but they work well enough and people pay whatever I ask, so I’m not really complaining.

I also work part time as the head lifeguard at an indoor pool where I oversee some of the lifeguard staff, manage some of the minor pool maintenance and coordinate a portion of the aquatic programming. Outside of work, whenever I am not making ID’s, I spend my nights bar hopping, trying my luck at various pool tournaments around town or drinking with friends late in to the night.

I sleep in most mornings. I’ll wake up with just enough time to do it all over again the next day. I recently found out that one of my regular ID customers is using them to cash stolen social security and tax return checks. I thought it was strange that he would need so many ID’s from me, all with different addresses, but I didn’t put two and two together until the friend who referred him to me spilled the beans.

“Do I really care?”

He pays me $150 per ID and orders multiple times per week. I know it’s not right but the money is good and it’s tax free. Between that and the steady referrals from friends and underage college kids, it’s all I can do to keep up with the demand.

I have already been warned that if I continue to make the ID’s my parents are going to kick me out of the house, not to mention the criminal charges I might face if I get caught, but I keep making them. I’ve actually been considering investing in a professional grade card printer. I found one online that will print both sides of a real plastic card and even encode all of the information on the magnetic strip. Right now I print them on photo paper, glue the two sides together and then laminate them together to get that plastic card feel.

I know it sounds sketchy but they are actually pretty realistic and will pass most random inspections. If the bouncer starts bending it, trying to fold it or really looks closely you are pretty much screwed. Most of the time a bouncer will just tell you to get lost and keep the fake ID but if there is a cop around you’re probably going to get arrested. I recommend you try another place if there is a cop by the door and eventually you’ll learn which places are the most lenient.

“If you do get caught it’s on you bitch! Drop my name and I’m coming after you hard.”

***

It’s hot. Not unreasonably hot for a local, but for a guy born and raised in the Midwest, it’s verging on unbearable. I wasn’t even supposed to be here right now but my brother couldn’t make the trip so I came instead. Mom and I on Spring break in Sarasota Florida. One of many trips to visit my dad who moved down here a year ago. They are still together but who knows for how much longer. I am not sure if they are still together to protect us from the pain of divorce or if they’re just waiting for my brother to finish his last year of high school. I don’t think they can tell but I know it’s over, it’s just a matter of time.

It’s been a long time since I was on a vacation and considering my recent decision not to return to college, it is a welcome escape from my typical routine. It’s not like I really need it. My whole life is pretty much a vacation right now. But still, here I am, relaxing in the pool, working on my tan while Dad is at work and Mom reads the paper.

“Wait… Where the hell did she get a newspaper?”

She never reads the newspaper and we don’t get it delivered to the house so it seems a little strange to see her reading it.

“Come look at this” she shouted across the pool. I make my way over to where she was sitting to look at an advertisement for a sales position at a local car dealership.

$36,000+ guaranteed first year income it read.

They would be accepting applications for the next few days and there were immediate openings for their next sales training program.

I hadn’t planned on looking for work while I was down here, not to mention that I have no sales experience whatsoever, but she insisted that we stop by and at least grab an application on the way back from the beach that afternoon.

“What the heck” I thought to myself. “That’s more money than I make now, even with the ID’s”

I’ve been complaining about not doing anything with my life. I just dropped out of school, and I don’t really have anything (legal) going for me back home. I figured “Why the hell not?”.

***

I walked up to the car dealership wearing a white button up collared shirt, half unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows. It was wrinkled as if I had just pulled it from a beach bag; because… I had just pulled it out of a beach bag. I was wearing my favorite shorts over top of a damp swim suit so there was an outline around the seat of my pants from sitting in the car on the ride over.

Before the sliding glass doors to the showroom had opened completely I was greeted by a salesman who approached me as if I was there to buy a car.

“I am here to fill out an application” I told him as I walked into the showroom.

He looked at me as if I was stupid or had just smacked him in the face and told me to “go see the receptionist” and he went back to his post, waiting for his next victim.

“Was this really the change I was looking for?”

“This is how you dress for a job interview?” Said the guy behind the table as I introduced myself.

“What? No, I…” stuttered as I tried to tell him that I was just there to pick up an application. Turns out that had I “read the fine print” I would have known that they were holding interviews on the spot.

“I can come back” I explained but he told me not to worry about it.

“Just fill out the application and have a seat over there.”

Gary came over to greet me and give me the once over. After giving me a little more grief about my attire, he invited me back to his office for the interview. I’ve always been a smooth talker so I just told him what I thought he wanted to hear, answered his questions to the best of my ability and crossed my fingers through the whole thing. I still wasn’t sure I wanted the job but I wanted to be the one to make that decision so I put my best game face on during the entire interview.

I’m not that worried, they are looking for a hustler after-all, and I’ve been hustling since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I used to help my mom deliver newspapers in the snow and I even had my own paper route by the time I was 11. I always understood the value of working hard but liked the idea of working smarter instead. I didn’t figure telling them about the fake ID’s would win me any points so I left that out during the interview, all in all, I left the dealership thinking it had gone pretty well.

The next day the phone rang. It was Gary, apparently I did enough to overcome my inappropriate attire and he wanted me to begin the sales training course this coming Wednesday.

“Holy moving too fast batman!”

It was all good news but there was one problem: my flight back to Ohio was scheduled for Thursday. It was life-changing decision making time.

I had to decide whether to:

A: postpone the flight, take the training and make a spontaneous, cross-state, move to Florida

or

B: Pass on this opportunity and fly back to my outlaw lifestyle of lameness in Ohio.

It wasn’t much of a decision really. I called the airline and pushed my flight back to Saturday so that I could take the training course. I still wasn’t sure wanted the job but I figured I would take the class and get a taste for the type of work I would be doing before fully committing.

I quickly realized that there were other hurdles I would have to overcome. Basically, I don’t own any dress clothes. Considering I am expected to show up in a shirt and tie for the training class this poses a serious problem.

Dress clothes are expensive as hell and I have about $100 bucks to my name right now. Mom saved the day though and with a quick trip to Wal-Mart, I realized that everything would be ok. I picked up a few of the tackiest ties I could find, a couple pair of cheap dress pants and dress shirts and I was ready to rock! #ThanksMom

The training was a breeze, I soon discovered that I was a natural at understanding the sales process and quickly became the teachers (Alex) pet. He was the same guy who had questioned my attire when I first came for the interview, the man behind the table that I talked to before being turned over to Gary.

We laughed at that experience as I explained the entire situation in more detail. I had fun in the training, thought selling cars would be something I’d have no problem doing and decided that I would in fact embark on this adventure.

My flight landed in Columbus mid-afternoon Saturday. I promptly loaded everything I owned in to the back of my Hyundai Tiburon and wondered how this adventure would play out over time. I had called work from Florida and let them know that this Sunday would be my last day. Short notice for sure, but I had a world to explore. The next day I went to work at the pool for the last time before my long drive back to Florida.

***

Every Sunday was Service Industry Night at one of the bars/pool halls we frequented. My friends and I would go each week for the cheap drinks and free pool. We had become friends with the bartenders over time and decided it was only natural to throw down at our favorite Sunday spot considering this would be the last time we would all be able to hang out for a while.

Family friends, childhood friends and a number of other people I hadn’t seen in a long time stopped by to say goodbye and wish me luck. We got drunk early, pounding shots, chugging beers and smoking cigarettes. I was on a mission to drink any doubts about my new adventure under the table. Everything was happening so fast.

A girl I had met before but didn’t know too well saw us all in the corner of the pool hall and came over with her friend to hang out with us for the night. There had never really been anything between us other than flirtation, but this night felt different. Maybe it was the excitement of the new job and move to Florida or maybe it was the six shots I had already thrown down but I knew I was about to get lucky. As the night passed I could feel the sexual tension between us growing. We drank more, eventually started making out and next thing you know we were at her place across the highway from the pool hall.

“Do you like to party?” She asked for the third time.

“Sure” I replied wondering why she was asking me so much considering we just left “my party”.

I would soon discover that my definition of “party” and her definition of “party” were from two different planets. Eventually, I figured out that she was trying to discreetly ask me if I wanted to snort cocaine with her. I had never done it before and I was definitely curious. Between the booze and the voices coming from my little head, my big head was having a hard time deciding what to do. I was verging on the edge of adventure.

I didn’t do it. I know I’d love it, but knowing me, I would have been instantly addicted. Within a week I would be on the corner of some crowded intersection offering to suck random dicks in order to get enough money for my next fix.

Later on I would regret not letting her snort a couple lines of coke of the shaft of my dick, but I was way too drunk to be that creative.

Instead it was off to the couch for me while she ran to her room to snort the 8-ball all by herself. There I sat in the darkness of her living room; alone, drunk, slightly erect and more than just a little pissed off.

When I woke up she was still crashed out in her room. I knocked but couldn’t wake her. I worried for a moment about her safety and then about how I would get home. She never woke up but I did get a hold of a good friend who had been with me the night before and asked him to come pick me up.

I sat there waiting for him to show up and couldn’t help but notice her purse sitting wide open on the coffee table. Right on top was a hundred dollar bill, maybe one that she had used to snort coke at some other time in her life.

I don’t know why I did it: maybe because she didn’t have sex with me, maybe because I was broke or maybe because I really am just that big an asshole. Regardless, I snatched that hundred dollar bill from her purse and walked right out the front door to meet my friend in the parking lot.

I would never see her again. Fuck it.

***

The drive began early Monday afternoon. My tiny car packed tight with everything I owned. Some miscellaneous clothes, computer and fake ID equipment along with a small TV. I had to leave some stuff behind, not knowing or really caring whether I would ever have a chance to come back and get it all.

I was looking in one direction and one direction only. Forward.

The doubts that creep into your head on a drive like this are terrifying. “What If I fail? What if I suck at selling cars? When will I make new friends? Where will I be in 5 years? Am I making the right decision? Should I turn around? What the hell am I doing?”

My bank account had a hundred or so dollars in it. I had the Franklin from the prude coke-head last night sitting in my wallet but there was no back-up plan. I’ve never been a saver, most all of my money is spent on drinks, partying and gambling on the pool table. I would be getting a small paycheck form the pool this coming Friday which will hopefully get me through to my first commission check from the car dealership.

I hate stopping on long drives. I just want to get from point “A” to point “B” as quickly as possible. This is the first trip of this length I have ever done alone but driving solo is nothing new to me. Thankfully the car is reliable and I had no mechanical issues to worry about on the way down. I do however, have to worry about exhaustion. I’m hung over and tired, but the excitement of new opportunities far outweighs my fatigue. For now.

***

I woke up to the horn of a truck honking at me from the next lane over. Half asleep, I realized that part of my car was no longer on the road.

Whizzing by on my left were the stanchions supporting the median divider. I had already passed over the rumble strip designed to alert me in precisely this situation. I could feel the lack of control in the steering wheel as the tires underneath me transitioned from asphalt to grass. My heart hit the top of my throat and I braced for the impact that was certain to follow. It never came.

I was somehow able to regain control of the car without rolling or even having any of my stuff fly all over the place. With only 60 miles left, this was all the adrenaline I needed to stay alert for the rest of the drive. It was about 7:00 am and I had driven straight through the night. I got to my Dad’s apartment as he was getting ready to leave for work. It was Tuesday morning.

I fell asleep on his bed when he left for work. I decided I would unpack the car later on after a nap. Not like there was much to unpack anyway. I had to rest, my sales life was about to begin.

 

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You’re Just Jealous Because We Get High At Work!

There is an uneasiness in the air about this place called the HuB. Part of it comes from a school-yard style game of telephone being played throughout the community, where Read more