There are three different ways of approaching a project. My way, my wife’s way, and everybody else’s way. Let’s take painting a cupboard as an example. Here’s what everyone else seems to do;
1. Measure the cupboard.
2. Go to the shop.
2.a Buy enough sandpaper or paint stripper to strip off the old paint.
2.b. Buy enough masking tape to cover the hinges and locks.
2.c. Buy some primer.
2.d Buy some paint.
2.e. Buy some paintbrushes.
2.f. Buy some solvent to wash the paintbrushes with.
3. Lay out some old newspaper on the ground outside.
4. Take out the cupboard.
5. Strip off the old paint.
6. Cover the hinges and locks with masking tape.
7. Paint with primer. Give it a day to dry. Wash off the brushes with solvent.
8. Paint a first coat. Give it a day to dry. Wash off the brushes with solvent.
9. Paint a second coat. Give it a day to dry. Wash off the brushes with solvent.
10.Take the cupboard back inside.
This technique will give you a sparkly, new looking cupboard. It will also leave you feeling hollow. Empty. Unfulfilled. Your cupboard will look just like everyone else’s. How sad your life is. Next time do it my way;
1. Go to the garage and find a half empty, congealed can of paint.
2. Find a bottle of solvent and pour half of it into the congealed paint. Shake.
3. Find an old, used brush. Smack it into the ground a few times to loosen up the bristles.
4. Take the cupboard out onto the driveway. Don’t worry about newspaper. You’re not going to make a mess are you?
5. Paint the cupboard. There is no need to use a primer since there’s sure to be a layer of it under the old paint that you’re not stripping off. Try not to get too much paint on the locks and hinges.
6. If anyone asks why the paint is all streaky, describe it as “a decorative paint technique I read about in “Better Homes and Gardens””.
7. Do not, under any circumstances, apply a second coat. If it looks this bad after one coat, imagine what it will look like after two!
8. Leave to dry for two hours.
9. Take the cupboard back inside. This will leave you covered in streaky white paint, but don’t worry, you still have half a bottle of solvent. If anyone asks why the driveway is covered in streaky white paint, describe it as “a decorative outdoor paint technique I read about in “Better Homes and Gardens””.
This technique will leave you feeling practical. Independent. Fulfilled. It will also give you a cupboard that is a one-off. Unique. A work of art. It will also be ugly, but, hey, you can’t have everything.
And my wife? She’s the most fulfilled of all;
1. Buy a single can of white spray-paint.
2. Shove a single sheet of newspaper under the cupboard.
3. Spray-paint in situ.
4. Throw away cupboard. Be sure to buy a new one that is big enough to hide most of the spray-paint stains on the carpet.
Why am I telling you about cupboards? Well, I’ve been messing around with my blog. While my technique may work a charm when it comes to interior decorating, it has let me down when it comes to blogging.
As those who follow this blog may know, I recently resigned, so I’m keeping an eye open for ways to support myself. And the other day I found one. WordAds! WordPress will put a few advertisements up on your site, and in exchange, will give you a share of the revenue they generate. Yay!
I immediately went and signed up for PayPal. This might be easy where you are, but not here. First of all, I needed to open a new bank account (there is only one bank here that will let you withdraw funds from a PayPal account). I had to wait five days for my new credit-card to arrive before I could sign up to do internet banking. Then I had to wait three days for PayPal to withdraw and redeposit some money from my account so that they could leave me a code in my bank statement. Then I had to wait for another three days for the bank to explain why my account had mysteriously disappeared.
But I made it. I had a PayPal account. I was ready. I had already picked out the colour of my new Mercedes and was trying to work out where to berth my yacht when I decided that it might be time to actually look into WordAds. Oops.
It turns out that you don’t choose WordAds. WordAds chooses you. And even if they were to choose me, it turns out that a humble blog like mine would make about $2.00 a month. You can only withdraw the money once you reach $100.00. So I would have to wait for four years before getting anything out.
I am willing to concede that this might have been something I could have found out about before signing up for PayPal, but that bird has flown. So here I sit. With a PayPal account. That I can do nothing with.
Never mind. They don’t call me “Mr Glass Half Full” for nothing. In fact, they don’t call me “Mr Glass Half Full” at all. But that doesn’t stop me from making the odd stab in the dark. I’m going to work out how to make money from my PayPal account. And you’re going to help me. I feel a poll coming on!
I’m going to throw a few ideas at you. Let me know what you think!
This one is a real shot in the dark. But I feel it has real potential. In days gone by, artists were supported by wealthy patrons. The patrons got to bathe in glory reflecting off their pet artists, while in exchange, the artist got to eat. The patrons could even go a step further and commission specific works, like the Sistine Chapel or Michelangelo’s David, and get themselves associated with them in the minds of the public. And we think marketing is a new thing!
So here’s what I’m seeing; all I need is one obscenely rich follower. If you are that follower, you don’t even need to contact me, just deposit the odd pile of cash in my PayPal account. Not too much- just enough for me to educate my children, buy a house, and take my family on the odd skiing holiday. In exchange, you get to describe yourself as a “patron of the arts”, and you will be allowed to describe 23thorns as “A little project of mine” while stroking my head in front of your rich friends.
Ideally, I would want someone who wasn’t too shy to commission the odd vanity project. Someone like Donald Trump. I can see it now. Once a month, a big old pile of cash would flow my way, and in exchange, you guys would be reading posts like “Gold Plated Toilets; Who Says You Can’t Buy Class” or “Comb overs; Too Sexy For The Average Supermodel?”
Comments. Part One.
I’m constantly taken aback by the things people come up with. I read the other day that you can get paid a respectable amount of money for posting positive comments on other people’s websites. But here’s the thing. Those are commercial sites. You’re getting paid to lie about products;
“Never before have I purchased a coffee mug so well made that it has brought me to tears. You guys at The ACME Coffee Mug Company have changed my life! I tried to send you one of my children in gratitude, but my wife threatened to break my new mug if I did. Damn tea-drinker.”
I am proposing to do the same thing for all of us ordinary bloggers out there. I won’t cheapen your products by lying about them. I’ll just make you feel good about the stuff you do for free. For a dollar, I’ll give you a like. For two, I’ll give you ten. And for ten dollars? Behold;
“Wow! Just WOW! I’ve just finished reading your poem about how you sometimes feel sad because no-one is smart enough to “get” you. What a breath of fresh air! It’s so hard to find truly heartfelt angst these days!”
“At last. Three years ago today I downloaded a picture of a crocheted monkey off the internet, and today, after months and months of searching, I finally found him a little friend. Those dangly arms, those googly eyes, it’s all just perfect. Can I just say that I would never have expected such detailed work from a fireman. Bravo, sir!”
“Hey, nice picture of your own feet on the beach! With a little practice, any fool can learn to focus and push a button. For photography to ascend to the height of art, it needs originality. And you, without a doubt, are an original.”
Comments. Part two.
I’m not a hater by nature. But, for the right price, I’m willing to learn. Not everyone wants nice things said about themselves. Some people will settle for bad things being said about others. Again, in the world of commerce, this already happens.
“I bought one of these hideous ACME mugs for my pet rat to use as a toilet, but he refused to go near it, and now I have a problem. I can’t get rid of it. I tried to throw it in the rubbish, but the guys from the landfill returned it with a threatening letter. I assure you I am not being paid ten dollars by Pinnacle Porcelain to say this.”
Again, I’m proposing we make this service available to ordinary bloggers. Does your hated neighbour have a blog? Does your mother in law keep the world updated about the imagined life of her antique doll collection? I can help. For the full ten dollar package, I will guarantee that I will include the word “Asshat” at least twice.
“I know it’s not my place to tell you what to do with your own blog, but instead of writing all those unhappy words in a funny shape, why don’t you try writing a poem?”
“Crocheted monkeys? By a fireman? Why don’t you tighten up those panties and go and find a proper hobby? Real men do macramé!”
“Nice shoes, asshat!”
This is it! my master stroke. I’m gonna be rich. I’m going to go on holiday once a year. To Greenland. A working holiday. I will sit at a computer for the entire trip, not eating, not drinking, and not sleeping. And I will like posts on WordPress. For a price. And slowly but surely, all those huge, accusing blank spots on your stats maps will begin to fill up.
At a price. A stupidly high price. And you know you’ll pay. Because that blank spot haunts your dreams. It screams at you when you check how many hits you got on your latest post. It mutters at you while you walk your dog. It whispers at you, just at the edge of hearing, while you try to work. And I can make it go away.
And if that works out, two words; Mainland China!
My father used to tell us a little rhyme when I was small;
“There goes a happy moron, he doesn’t give a damn!
I wish I were a moron. By God! Perhaps I am”
I am that happy moron! I don’t have any issues. But many people do. I think I can help. Send me a comment outlining your issues, and I will help you to cope with them by pretending they’re not there. If my advice helps, you can reward me handsomely. If not, go away. Nobody likes a whiner.
I have a fair idea of what to do with the humble comma. I know how paragraphs work. I am an expert at using spellcheck. If you need something written, give me a shout. If it works for you, and you decide to use it, you can pay me for it. If not, you can walk away feeling slightly superior. I’m even willing to do funny spelling for you if you’re American. Humor. Color. Look at me go!
I wouldn’t even need a cardboard box. Just a donate button telling you how ill I am and how hungry my children are. And just like in real life, you could pretend not to see it!
That’s all I’ve got. If you have any better ideas for becoming idly rich with PayPal account and no actual products to sell, I’d love to hear them.
If it doesn’t work out, don’t worry about me. My wife and I could always open up a home-based furniture painting business.
In the meantime, I’m healthier than I’ve been in years, and my children seem to eat like silkworms from the moment they wake up ‘til the moment they go to sleep. Buy me a beer instead. The button is on the right.