TL;DRWhat You Need To Know:
  • Wishing you a Happy New Year for 2011
  • Warning - approx. 4000 words to follow...
  • Laneth.com
    • After close to a decade of waiting for the domain to go up for sale, Laneth.com finally went down and offered itself up. I snatched that mother up for a measly $50 US! I think I know who got the best deal there *wink*
  • It Takes 10 Years To Become An Orphan
    • Started on my 27th birthday in August 2010, the story of my life from the time I got kicked out of home at age 17 through to the ten year anniversary (when I actually, finally became an orphan) has grown much bigger than I could ever have anticipated!
  • Blogging
    • Quick run down on how I got into blogging and where I'm taking it in 2011.
  • Causes / Activism
    • Still pretty broad and unfocused on exactly where I'm taking this, but I find that my most passionate posts revolve around issues like whaling, or plastic water bottles, or inhumane treatment of humans and animals, etc.
  • Proofreading and Editing
    • An update on my lack of progress and general scaling back of the business idea / model originally planned for Sffarlenn.net
  • Creative Writing
    • Quick word on some creative writing I’d been engaging in to help me relax, despite the fact that I had to leave the forum I was writing in due to lack of time and the stress it was causing just to continue writing.
  • Fitness / Martial Arts
    • Reminiscing about Ju-Jitsu from my childhood and dreaming of picking up Wing Chun Kung Fu at a local martial arts school.
  • Work
    • A brief overview on my current feelings regarding my job and my dreams for my future.
 Full Blog Post

First off, I wanted to say Happy New Year!

I know we started off the year with quite a sad turn of events in Australia’s northern states, however the floodwaters have begun to recede in most areas and the cleanup process has begun. A long way to go for the survivors of the QLD floods, but at least they’ve taken that first step as a community, with the backing of the rest of the country.

I wanted to take the time to write a little about what was happening with me (yes, this post is about me…what else is new?) and what my hopes are for 2011.

Before you jump down my throat and tell me I should make plans with solid steps on how to achieve said plans, I just want to let you know that I haven’t settled on any one direction as yet for this year – there is much in my life that is in a state of flux at the moment that could change anything that I put into motion in the first half of the year, but we’ll get to that later.

Secondly, a warning…

This post is almost 4,000 words long. You have been warned…

Laneth.com

Firstly, I want to share some exciting news.

About ten years ago, I was looking into what it took to register a domain name and host a website; I was seventeen and broke, so it didn’t go ahead. Still, the domain I really wanted wasn’t available anyway, so I lost interest pretty quickly. Can you guess what the domain was? That’s right, it was Laneth.com – my name.

A lot of folks don’t recommend having your name as your domain, but there’s several reasons behind wanting it (mainly because Sffarlenn is just too bloody hard to remember how to spell, let alone remember it at all or pronounce!)

Laneth.com has no clearly defined future, other than it’s mine finally. I have wanted that domain and monitored it on-and-off for the better part of a decade in the hope that it finally lapses and is up for sale. I lucked out on Thursday of this week just gone (13th January) when I was writing a post on my other blog, It Takes 10 Years To Become An Orphan (it will be posted on 21st January), about when I first registered Sffarlenn.net in 2007.

Making sure that all three top-level domains were still taken (.com, .net and .org), I noticed that .com was a parked site and that all the previous information was gone. It had been replaced by a whole heap of generic crap from GoDaddy.com, with a link saying that the site was for sale, make an offer.

Taking a chance, I sent through my offer and within an hour I had an email back from the owner of the domain saying that they’d accepted the offer and would transfer it as soon as the money hit their paypal – I was ecstatic!

By the time I was heading to bed that same night, I’d received the transfer instructions from the former owner (they were really nice and helpful – thanks Franklin!) and I’d processed it all and am now, as at the time of writing, just awaiting the final acceptance of the transfer from Franklin approving the transfer. UPDATE – 15 minutes later: The domain transfer confirmation email just came through telling me that the transfer is complete and is now MINE!!!

It was really exciting! I’ve never actually bought a pre-registered domain before like that, so it was definitely a learning curve. (Bet you I was really lucky too and the next one I go to do is a little more stressful than this one…)

So, now I own my name as the top-level domain and am well on the way to becoming the world’s “official” Laneth :) I’m pretty touchy about my name and like to register it wherever I can.

You know what’s frustrating though? When you go to a brand new (even beta) site to register an account and they say your username is taken, yet when you visit the profile page it would exist at, it isn’t there? I hate the way they restrict usernames these days…I just want to be “Laneth” on every site I visit, no numbers, no extra words…just Laneth.

You know what else sucks about that? Twitter.com won’t release account names to individuals and someone has already registered @Laneth…They haven’t tweeted, have been online for well over a year inactive and Twitter won’t do shit about it. I want that username damnit! I have read that they intend to get to releasing usernames in the future, but that’s just really shitty right there…surely it wouldn’t be that hard to do…

Alright, moving on…

It Takes 10 Years To Become An Orphan

Exciting news on that front too!

From the humble beginnings back in August 2010 on my 27th birthday, I have successfully posted a post every day (except for a month over Christmas), sometimes two, and have just finished writing the entries for the year 2007.

That’s right! I have only to write 2008, 2009 and 2010 and the project (in its current form) will be finished. *phew*

I can tell you right now, this has been a wild ride! Emotionally, it has been a rollercoaster ride with many highs and lows. It’s never easy reliving a whole bunch of your past, especially when a lot of it is painful.

Still, it’s been a great run to date. Now, however, I cannot wait to get it finished as I have so many other exciting ideas that I want to get started on but can’t due to the amount of time it takes to write all the posts for 10 years.

This might be boring to some, but others might find it fascinating: statistics.

At the date of writing (16th January 2011) and since August 8th 2010, I have:

  • • Written 78,383 words;
  • • Written 145 posts and posted 133;
  • • Averaged a word-count of 576 words per post;
  • • Written fourteen posts over 1,000 words with many being over 500;
  • • Seventy-one (71) posts left to write and post before the end of the first week of March, some of which promise to be lengthy…

An exciting opportunity for the 10 Years project and the various sub-ideas I have while writing it has been that I’ve connected with Headspace Australia, (@headspace_aus), Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

These guys do amazing work and I’ve been lucky enough to talk to their Community Manager a bit over the last couple of months and am looking forward to meeting with her to discuss various ways that we could work together in the future.

This is an amazing opportunity and is so exciting. Something I’ve always dreamed of doing was working with teens as a peer counsellor or support worker and while I know that’s pretty much out of the question considering I’ve no qualifications, there’s other ways that I can help.

Some of the ideas that I’ve had for the 10 Years project post-blog is to work on the ten years prior to the one I’ve just written about and that takes me right the way through high school and up to when I moved out of home at seventeen. A lot of trauma, a lot of experiences, a lot of opportunity to help others that are going through / have been through what I went through or similar. Really excited to explore that.

If you get a chance, please do visit the Headspace website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube too! Spread the word, get it into schools and libraries and universities and on public message boards – there is a place you can go to talk, anonymously if you wish, to help sort out your headspace!

Blogging

If you’ve been reading my posts here, you’ll know that I’m a bit “all over the shop” when it comes to any form of consistency; topic, frequency of posts, etc.

This I hope to change in 2011. With the confirmation that Laneth.com is mine, I’ll be conceptualising a proper blog theme, layout, purpose and more and hope to begin my proper foray into the blogging world sometime in March or April this year.

It may or may not actually land on Laneth.com, but I’ll keep you informed and we’ll get going soon.

Ultimately, I’d like to join the ranks of successful folks making their living from writing a blog, so that is my first real “hope” of 2011, as mentioned earlier.

There is much to work out to get to the stage where I can hang up my off-white collar, but there are a lot of different opportunities presenting themselves to me that seem to all require the time to build themselves up before they can involve me, so things really are up in the air as to where my first little steps will be taken.

In the short time I’ve been involved in the “blog-o-sphere”, I’ve met some really interesting and amazing people, many of which are “living the dream” by writing ebooks and consulting with people from a location-independent place while planning round-the-world trips and writing blogs. These people are simply incredible to me.

They are the nicest, most generous and communal people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with and indeed I do feel humbled and honoured to call so many of them friends.

Thanks, largely, goes to Jade Craven (who has become such a great friend to me) and the Social Media Club Melbourne meeting I attended last June. If I had not sat with her, talked about Envato and geeked out about a couple more things, I wouldn’t be sitting here still blogging (occasionally, but still).

She is simply amazing at what she does and it is simply by knowing her, joining conversations with her on Twitter about various things and being actually introduced to folks by her that I’m meeting and becoming friends with so many people, a fair number of which are in the so-called “A-List” category. At the risk of sounding a little star-struck, it’s really nice to be able to have proper conversations with folks like this on Twitter and even, at times, on Facebook or by email. Testament to the fact that they are just people and have not grown their ego to the point where they just don’t talk to folks.

Anyway, blogging is going to be a BIG thing for me throughout 2011 and the future. Look out (e)world!

The other thing I’ve got might cause a bit of a stir amongst the bloggers of the world, at least I hope it will. I’ve a plan for a new “convention” in blogging layouts/themes for bloggers, like myself, that tend to be a bit on the verbose side when it comes to word counts.

But, more on that later.

Causes / Activism

I’m a member on a number of petition sites around the web and put my name to a fair number of petitions and share a few of them on Facebook and Twitter too. I understand that it’s unlikely that many of the petitions come to any sort of resolution, positive or otherwise, but it’s something that I believe can help in some small way by showing that there is a large number of people that are aware of the issue and are willing to speak out against it.

When the Wikileaks debacle surfaced late last year, I had reached a limit somewhere within myself that motivated me to go from just signing my name to an anonymous online petition to actually writing about it and taking a more proactive approach.

When it was unfolding, I was following it closely because the issue of freedom is one very close to my heart and not just in the sense of internet freedom or freedom of speech. Still, my motivations on the Wikileaks case are not the focus here.

Shortly before I gathered my thoughts and wrote them up about the Wikileaks issue, I was talking to a good friend of mine on Facebook about her cousin, Lynette Dawson, who’d been missing and presumed dead for the past 28 years, the prime suspect in the case being her husband.

This issue meant so much to my friend and her family and the pain came through so strongly in talking with her that I felt compelled to write about it myself and help spread word about it as best I could.

As it stands, the article about Lynette Dawson has been my most viewed article to date here on Sffarlenn.net, fetching over 470 unique views and over 1,000 pageviews on its own. The closest other article pageviews-wise fetched only 591 pageviews and had been posted far longer.

This has proven to me that, while I’ve written a few articles about tech-y that have been well received, my ‘activist’ posts have been much more popular and served to bring me a lot more consistent traffic.

So, as far as Sffarlenn.net is concerned, it’s been a successful test and has shown where some of my strength is in my writing. If I decide to keep the site active now I have Laneth.com, I’ll be using this place as a sort-of activist hub where I’ll write occasional posts about the petitions I’ve signed and the causes that I support.

Proofreading and Editing

This has been a bit of a sore point for me for a while now.

I’ve been enrolled in my correspondence editing course since mid 2008 but hadn’t made it past the fourth module. I have always been a terrible student in that way.

I mean, I’ve paid the full course fees but simply haven’t made the time to sit and really knuckle down.

I guess I’m writing about this here because I’m almost up to writing about enrolling in the course over at the 10 Years blog and I guess it’s all going to come out anyway.

The lack of discipline I’ve shown with this is, I believe, intrinsically linked with my emotional and mental struggles. It’s not something I’ve been overly vocal about, but I’ve been struggling with various emotional problems for most of my life that affect a whole range of things in my life. I think I might write a post about it soon.

As for the course, I’ve still got time to finish it. I will finish it. If writing the 10 Years blog has taught me anything, it’s that I actually can stick to something and finish it. If I can do that with my blog, then I can finish my editing course and, for the first time, actually have a qualification under my belt.

Time will tell, as always.

Creative Writing

Late last year, thanks to an advert in the sidebar of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, I found an online comic / graphic novel series called DreamKeepers. After buying and downloading the first two (available) graphic novels, I then proceeded to spend almost five hours (on my internet speed) reading the whole currently available “back story” called the Prelude, which is the web comic that gives a bit of back story to the main cast of the graphic novels. It’s really quite cool.

DreamKeepers Comic

Then I happened to have a look at the forums and figured I’d give the role playing a bit of a go (you can read the story here – I’ve recently had to step out of the story due to time constraints but the story is still really cool and I’m still reading along.

This has refuelled my desire to write fantasy. I’ve had a few half-formed storylines sitting gathering dust on the shelves in my mind for over a decade and haven’t made the time to sit down and write them out.

The problem that I’ve always faced is time. I am always trying to do too much and one task or another always ends up suffering and my creative writing is always something that has suffered first.

It’s something that brings me so much joy, however, so I truly feel that I shouldn’t hold myself back anymore. If I feel the spark of inspiration, I should definitely indulge it (so long as I’m free at the time to do so) or at least write down some quick notes so I can remember it later and get reinspired.

I’m considering doing it a little differently though, considering I’ve not been successful in pulling my thoughts together for a novel in the past, but that idea is still forming. Give it time, it might even surface in 2011 if we’re all lucky!

Fitness / Martial Arts

With my fitness and general physical shape getting a little out of control over the past ten years, going from borderline anorexic to overweight, I’ve decided that I need to do something to get back in shape.

Having joined a gym with Jenny last year, I’ve been quite neglectful in actually attending properly / regularly. This will change over the coming months until our membership expires, but I’ve been talking to Jenny about the possibility of me taking up some form of martial arts again.

As a youngling I studied Japanese Ju-Jitsu before my parents got divorced – it was so much a part of me back then that it was one of the hardest things to leave behind.

All the other places that I’ve inspected since moving from Melbourne and eventually coming back have lacked discipline, lacked any sort of real attraction, (not to mention that none of the forms I tried compared to the Ju-Jitsu I studied all those years ago).

I may, however, have found myself a solution: Shaolin Wing Chun Kung Fu. There is a school in Greensborough, only ten minutes from my house, which is almost like fate. Still, I shouldn’t get my hopes up until I’ve at least inspected it.

But, there you go. I’ve plans to see out my contract at the gym and perhaps also join the Kung Fu school.

The other incredible thing about it is that the Shaolin Kung Fu techniques gave birth to many of the Asian martial arts forms, so it is almost Fate that I should find my way to it at the rebirth of my martial journey. Couple that with my intense fascination with the Chinese culture and history and you’ve got the perfect mix.

If I do indeed get stuck into the Kung Fu training, I’ll finally have the platform to properly learn a form of Qi Gong as well, given that Kung Fu and Qi Gong share a common beginning. So, I’ll get myself a grounded centre, a base from which my emotional spring can flow forth and a serenity through which my life’s river may flow.

All sounds very nice, doesn’t it? It’s something that I’ve always wanted; a sense of tranquillity in life that seeps into everything I do so that I can see the many worlds as one intricate pattern and become a wise old man that speaks in allegory and cryptic riddles, all the while revealing hidden truths about day-to-day life to those who’ve become blind to the beauty that is Reality.

Oh, and I’ll be getting in shape too :P

One thing I won’t be doing is competing. One thing that I dislike about modern martial arts practice is that it has been, in my opinion, cheapened by being turned into a sport.

I don’t hold it against anyone who treats it thus, nor do I condemn them for making such a choice, however it really cheapens the rich history and melancholy meaning behind its necessary development and practice. Those who learned the arts and used them to defend their villages would not have used it as a sport because it was not honourable to fight without cause, especially in competition. That wasn’t the point.

At least, that’s how I see it.

Work

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many of you, especially if you follow me on Twitter, that I’ve been feeling a little discontented in my job of late. Well, a little is a lie, but we’ll not get into that.

I’ve been loath to write about this before now because I’ve not wanted it to become known, especially as I haven’t voiced my concerns at work, but I feel that I need to write it down here, at least briefly, since I’m giving a total recap of where I am. (And if you’ve read this far, then kudos to you! We’re now up to 3.4K words!

So yeah, I’ve moved on in all ways but by physically leaving. My heart and mind just aren’t in it anymore. It’s sucking the life out of me, but there’s little I can really do to change that.

Sure, I could go get a job working 12 hour shifts as a security guard out where my wife works and make more there working four days a week than I do in a fortnight where I currently am, but the work itself prevents me from doing it.

Same goes for moving to another admin position. I’d be on par with what I’m earning but I’d be starting at bottom again and learning a whole new set of tasks. Most of the jobs also require some working knowledge of bookkeeping, of which I’ve got none. I’d be more suited to a receptionist position, but even then it’d be a nightmare.

So, I’m at a crossroads and have been stuck for a while. Like Mad Martigan in the movie Willow, locked in his suspended cage…As Jenny has said to me, “It’s frustrating to be an observer, with so many solutions to the problems you (I) face but just can’t tell you (me) what to do or how to do it.”

From the inside, my situation looks much more bleak than it probably is, but for those who can look from the outside in, they probably see a lot of different avenues I could take to alleviate the stress and bother I am feeling.

One thing I’ll remind folks though is that, even though there’s a whole world of different things I could probably do, I’m just worried for my mental wellbeing in choosing something just to get out of my current situation. The short-to-mid term effects of taking on a temporary job could be much more damaging to my health and state of mind than sticking with my current job.

Still, that’s just who I am. I’ll get over it eventually and will move onto bigger and better things. I just need patience.

Until Next Time…

Thanks for sticking with me through this rambling, self-centred look at my world. It is a very small glimpse into my world, so don’t feel that this is all I’ve got going on. I’d be here for another six thousand words if I was to describe everything that I was doing, but yeah. This’ll do.

Take care of yourself and make sure you be kind to the animals. Look at what happened to Charlton Heston…if you woke up on an earth controlled by apes, you’d better believe they’d just kill you and not tolerate your “human superiority complex”…