#365Grateful – An outing with my Girls

I had the chance to go out for a morning jaunt with my wife and daughter today. Being out with them reinforces how much I like them.

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An open letter to my Wife and the World

It’s funny how music can be a motivator, a hinderance, or a controller of emotion.

Right now I’m underway working in my office.

I have this great playlist that has about 250+ songs on it that range from high tempo hard techno to slow loving and emotionally charged ballads. The music has driven me in many directions. And while sometimes it is merely a distraction, some of it has actually driven me to be better.

As some may know, I’ve been on my own for the last 10 months of my life. Those 10 months have been the most difficult of my life.

I have had experiences that have reduced me to tears. Brought me to the edge of the bounds of sanity. Destroyed my ability to function. And for a period of time, dragged me down into the realm of suicide.

Nearly everything in my life that is of value was removed from me by my own actions leaving me no one to blame but myself.

To anyone reading this, That is a VERY difficult pill to swallow.

Since I have been alone, a lot of things have taken place. I have learned. I have observed my mistakes and the mistakes of those around me. I have made alterations to my life, my personality, and who I am in an attempt to restore a modicum of order to my existence.

I am slated to transfer from my current unit within the next few months.

I have spent three years stationed at a facility that has beaten me, broken my will, and destroyed my faith in the service to which I have toiled for the last 10 years of my life. I was, and sometimes still am, in the position where I don’t even know if holding on to this job is worth the stress.

I look forward to the day that I walk across the brow of this ship for the last time, never to return. Only to turn back one final time to flip the bird and dust my feet. I have plans for getting away from this three year disaster that has made up the most recent chapter of my life.

The plans I speak of are simple. But because of the pain, the suffering, the lonliness, and the constant heartache that I have suffered, I will execute these plans with such vehement passion that you would not recognize it as coming from the man writing these words.

I am moving across the country. 2034 miles from here.

I will rent me a home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and off street parking.

I will have my lovely wife Andrea by my side. My two Children Hayden and Lillie will be there as well.

I will work my required 8 to 4 shift each day. Traveling as required.

I will ensure that two Fridays each month my lovely wife will have the uninterrupted hours dedicated to a night out as a couple.

I will ensure that my children have the time each night dedicated to them as people instead of wasting my time on a computer.

My kids will be read a story each night at bedtime. They will be tucked in, kissed on the forehead, and told that they are loved.

My eternal companion, my spouse, my lover, my wife… Andrea will receive her nightly foot rub as I did each night when we were still together. She will get her backrub as often as she desires just as I did for her before.

Each time I have the opportunity to do so, I will tell her that I love her. I will not only show her through my usual deeds of cooking, cleaning, and watching the kids, but I will buy her flowers. I will get her little gifts just because I was thinking of her.

Weekends will be dedicated to taking the kids to a park, a movie, or just playing on the beach.

As I have done for the last 10 months, the “noise” that only my wife knows of has ceased, and it will continue to stay that way.

I am a horrible person as judged by my history.

No sane person would consider associating themselves with me if they knew of my personal atrocities.

I am dedicated to resolving my personal failings.

I am committed to exceeding the expectations laid out by my loved ones.

I am committed to being the best Father, Husband, Lover, Spouse, Companion, and Friend that I can be.

While some involved are apprehensive, I have too much riding on the line to fail.

If I have learned anything in the last 10 months of my life, I have learned that I can succeed.

Now… I just have to show the right people so that they can judge for themselves.

My wife made a comment on the 4th of July back in 2011. She told me to find out what makes me happy. To find what I enjoy in life and to seize it.

I did.

I figured it out.

It’s kind of funny how you can find contentment in life with the things that make you happy, but still know that there is that last piece that makes the good things even better.

My name is Garen Anderson.

I am going to retrieve my family.

We are moving to Oregon where I will fill my role as Father and Husband.

I fucked up!

I’m fixing it.

God as my witness!

Picture Tagging: You’re doing it wrong! (Google Juice)

If you are here trying to figure out how to get more hits on your blog, then you came to the right place. Keep reading.

GOOGLE JUICE: The stuff you pour on your blog to make it show up on google!

google, juice, seo, more, blog, hits, meta, tags, rage, face, comic, wordpress, blogger,

So, I write a blog.

I enjoy writing, it makes me smile.

Recently I did a post based on the cheapest drug an internet junkie can get. I talked about page hits and getting people to actually click on the links and read the site. I hadn’t figured out how to actually get people to this place.

Well, while I was on the phone with my amazing wife Andrea recently, and I was saying how I was SO excited that I got 21 hits in one day one time.

I know what you are thinking, “Garen, 21 hits is LAME!” and you are right, 21 hits IS lame. She told me that she was getting upwards of 60 hits off of a single post each day on something she hasn’t written about in months. I wondered how the hell she was pulling this off. After talking to her a bit, she explained that I had to put information in to my meta tags for the pictures themselves.

So, after a bit of playing around I figured out how to add my tags. I went back and filled in the tags on a half dozen posts and suddenly, within actual MINUTES, I was getting hits on the site. I was very impressed. Something so simple and it was generating interest in what I was writing. Well, actually, it wasn’t generating interest, it was actually just letting people find me a little easier.

So, how do you tag your pictures so that you can get more hits?

What You Don’t Know About Your WordPress Title Tag

When you upload a picture to your WordPress site the uploaded picture automatically is given the same title as the one you gave the file in your computer.

Showing the photo upload window in WordPress, arrow points to the sections labeled 'Title', success, baby, how, to get, more, hits, on your, blog, easy, quick, free

This of course means you optimized the picture file title from ’249384.jpg’ to ‘freds_fine_fish.jpg’ before you uploaded the photo to your website.

For a lot of you, the next step from there is to select the size and placement of the photo and move on.  No more optimizing work to be done here.  Picture title optimized.  Success.

Wrong.

What you may not have realized is that in WordPress, the option in the photo editor that is red starred as required, is not where you optimize your pictures.

Nope.  To optimize your pictures for maximum search engine goodness, you want to be sure you’ve entered your keywords into the second selection labeled ‘Alternate Text’.  That’s right, the spot that sports the red star, while required by WordPress, doesn’t actually do much for optimizing your website photos.  That second line, that’s where your google juice is.

So there you have it. That’s how it’s done.

Go back, fill in your tags, and you’ll be good. Instant fame, success, and a new car in the garage*

(*Fame, success, and new car not guaranteed)

Holler if you wanna see something posted here, maybe click the follow the blog button. Possibly share whats going on here on reddit. It could be a good thing.

-Garen

Valentines Day and Asphalt

Odd title for a post, don’t you think?

Well, since the 14th is valentines day, I believe that a V-Day post is in order. But the problem is that my valentine is currently 401 miles away from me. That’s a big of a haul. Attached to that is the fact that I can’t take any time off of work right now and it kinda puts me in to a bind.

So, here I am.

Sitting in Cheboygan Michigan.

My Valentine, my lovely beautiful and amazing wife, sitting in West Allis Wisconsin.

And 401 miles of asphalt between us.

The best I can do is call her, let her know I miss her. And do my best to make sure she knows I love her and I miss her.

So, since I don’t have a paper valentine right now… I’m hoping that I can make a small mental impact with something of the digital variety.

So, Andrea, I offer up the following because it makes me smile and think of you.

It’s true ya know…. All of them!

I remember watching BSG together and being SO pissed when Saul Tigh turned out to be a cylon. PISSED!

Yeah, no explaination required here.

I saw this online and I could help but chuckle at the humor.

battle, BSG, day, galactica, Love, star, tetris, valentines, warcraft, world, zelda.

Simple, pure, tetris, truth.

I love you Andrea. Don’t forget that.

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 6

Okay, day 6 states that I have to post a picture of somethign that makes me happy.

I looked at that challenge and said, “This is simple. BAM! A picture of Andrea”.

 

But I realized that this is what I ALWAYS do. No, not this time.

As much as I LOVE and adore my wife and children, this time this will be about something other than my family that makes me smile. Don’t get me wrong, my family makes me happier than most anything on this earth, but since we assume that this is a given, we’ll move on to the next best option.

 What you are seeing here is a rendered version of a scene from Descent. Now, it isn’t this game in particular that I want to write about. The shot is more of an analogy. Maybe a metaphor. Possibly some other word that says it means something other than it looks like. I forget, but that’s not important.

The thing I’m trying to represent here is video games in general. I play them. I enjoy them. Some of them make me smile. Some piss me off. Some make me think. Some I just like to look at. Others I am finally begining to play.

There is so much of my life that has been affected by video games.

I have a few that top my list of favorites and those I believe I will point out in the future.

Well, it’s TECHNICALLY the future now from when you read those last lines, so I guess I’ll tell you about them now.

GAREN’S TOP xx FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES

 

5. Super Mario Bros. series on NES

I spent way too many summers playing this bugger. Be it with or without cheats, I enjoyed it. I played with my brothers and sisters in nearly every house I lived in growing up. This is the epitome of nostalgia in my book. LOVE IT!

4. Metroid

Metroid is one of those games where I love the premise of the game. I love the physics. I love the controls. I love the exploration and the ability to wind up in some really strange places…. but…. I never beat the game. Hell, in all reality, this game scares the ever living daylights out of me. Dunno why. But it’s still one of my favs.

3. Tribes

“Trust me, I work at Gamestop”. Worst words ever to hear. Best game that could have ever been suggested by that guy. I still think he was a tool though.

2. Warcraft Series

From RTS, to point and click, to MMO… The warcraft and Starcraft universes  make me smile. I love the lore. the storylines. the graphics. the ideas behind the game. And hey, Jaina is kinda hot. LOL. Regardless, with the amount of time invested in this series, it’s up there in the top 5 for a reason.

1. Descent

I played descent for way too many years. I still pick it up from time to time even. The game makes me sick to play. It’s scary at times. And no one I know plays because they were never able to get ansy good at it. Let’s not forget though, I have the super power known as ADD, so a lot of things like this I wind up being really good at. Take battletech for example. I’m CRAZY GOOD at that game.

But that isn’t the point. The point is that I enjoy video games, and some board games. And it is those forms of entertainment that give me the opportunity to escape the real world for a little bit, enjoy some time either alone or with others, and let my imagination run wild.

So, what is it that makes me happy? (Other than my family which is my true #1)

Video games.

Sorry, it’s true

 

-G

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 3

3 days in.

I’m already getting tired of this. LOL.

Okay, here we go… todays topic:

Your First Love

Hmm, this one is interesting. I know that there is a difference between love and infatuation.

Very few people will know what I’m about to talk about. You should feel lucky to hear the story.

I know that I dated a number of girls growing up. Some I dated. Some I just took on a date. Others that I was infatuated with and still others I simply lusted after. (Don’t worry, I’ll try to prevent you from being uncomfortable with this)

The first girl was Marybeth Kershaw. I liked her. She was the first real girl I spent any amount of time with. Mom and Dad didn’t want me dating her so I didn’t. BUT, that was a year long fight.

next…

I actually dated a girl named Elizabeth Harmon. She was sweet. A member of the church. She was even my first kiss. I told her I loved her, but looking back, I don’t quite think it really fell into the jurisdiction of actual love. I liked her a LOT. Don’t get me wrong, but was it love? I’m sad to say, no.

After Liz there were a few girls I was friends with. Some I spent some personal time with. Even a few I kissed. But then there was “her”.

Andrea Choate.

I actually made this girl my wife. I dated her for around two years. I spent great amounts of time with her. She made me smile. Made me happy. And while my parents wanted me to have nothing to do with her because she was considered a ‘floozy’, I fought them every single step of the way.

Eventually, my mother and I came to blows on this topic and she kicked me out of the house for it. We eventually made up, but the damage had still been done.

Back in August of 2002, Andrea and I set the date to be married for October 12th. We cranked out invitations and everything. The invitation thing is a whole blog post in and of itself. I don’t think I’ll be telling that one any time soon though.

Anywho, I prevented myself from telling Andrea tha tI loved her for nearly a year while dating. That was a trick in and of itself. I had been burned a few times with girls that I liked and I did NOT want to screw this one up. So, while sitting in the car on the beach in Tracyton Washington while eating a sack of Tacos, she let it slip that she loved me. Incidentally, it was in the same place doing the same thing that we agreed to get married.

I realized at that point that I felt the same way. I loved her too.

So, there you have it. I liked girls. I dated some. I was infatuated with a few. Hell, I even lusted after a couple. BUT… I can’t honestly say that I really loved a girl until I met my wife. I don’t think even she knws that part of the story. (Well, she does now as she reads this blog)

 

A first love? Yeah, I have one. I just happened to be lucky enough to marry her.

Maybe that sheds some light on why I fight so hard to keep her.

-G

 

p.s.

I love you Andrea Anderson. Don’t ever forget that.  ❤ +1

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 1

Allrighty, The official day 1 of the 30 day blog challenge. Today goes like this:

Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts.

So, with that in mind, here we go.

 

Introduce yourself:

Well, my name is Garen C. Anderson. I am 31 years old. I currently reside in Cheboygan Michigan. I am an active duty member of the US Coast Guard, the 5th armed service of the United States. I married my amazing wife Andrea Joleanne Anderson back in 2002. I have two awesome children, Hayden (8) and Lillie (4). Like my wife, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s right, a Mormon.

I enjoy video games, reading about history, watching most anything put out by national geographic, papercrafting, sewing, and a handful of other odd hobbies.

 

A Recent Picture of Yourself:

Hmm, a recent picture of myself. Lemme see what I got. I’ll be right back.

Okay, I’ll give you a BUNCH of them. Remember, you can click on them to see a bigger version.

Alrighty, here you go. This is MOST recent photo of me. Amazing detail, right? 

It shows the best of the best when it comes to my personality.

Let’s see if I have one with better detail of who I am.

 

Okay, this should be a bit better.No?

Hmm, let’s see if I have anything else.

 

Okay, we’re getting closer. You can at least see part of my face this time.

I’ll give it one more shot to see if I can find something decent.

Uhmmm… here we go.

yeah, this should work. I also happen to have a mustache in this picture.

I don’t like the mustache, but I point out whenever I have one in a photo.

 

Okay, lets move on to the rest of this post.

 

15 Interesting facts about me:

 

1:  Whenever I post a picture of myself on facebook, I always point out if I have a mustache or not. Dunno why I do it, but I do.

 

2: I have Attention Deficiet Disorder. It’s one of my many super powers. I don’t like calling it a disability because it actually helps me do all sorts of cool stuff that regular people can’t do.

 

3: If given the choice between a trip to the movies, and a stack of free tacos from Taco Bell, I would take the tacos. I make a lot of jokes about liking tacos, but the sad part is that I REALLY like tacos. I don’t know what it is about them. I have been known to drive two hours just to get a cheap sack of taco bell.

 

4: I replay every single one of my failures in my head on a near constant basis. From answering a question wrong in public, to making a poor choice that impacts my family, I replay them near constantly. I am very hard on myself, but no one ever sees it.

 

5: I will forgive anyone for near anything. Of everything that has happened in my life, there hasn’t been anything that I haven’t forgiven. Some really MAJOR stuff has been done to me, but I forgave it nearly moments after it was done.

 

6: I don’t have the ability to tell when people are actually being mean to me, or if they are trying to be funny. It’s just a skill I never picked up.

 

7: I have never touched an illegal drug. I couldn’t tell you what pot smells like or even looks like. Cocaine? I know it’s a powder. That’s about it. My system is clean of drugs like that.

 

8: I honestly believe that Pepsi is a superior product to Coke.

 

9: I do not like cell phones. I like having a PDA, a smart device, and access to data at ALL times… but the ability to make phone calls I can do without. I’d probably do better with a very small tablet pc.

 

10: I do not like the culture that Apple has created. The whole ‘think different’ thing pisses me off. And hipsters just drive me nuts. I’m not a biased person on a lot of things, but this one… I cannot stand. Screw apple, the Mac, iTunes, the iPhone, and the iPod. Guess I’m just stubborn about this one. Before you start asking me what I do about my massive music collection, try looking at Google Music. It’s AMAZING!

 

11: I believe that jewelry should be as essential to a girl as underwear. Sometimes more important. The little shiny baubles are nice to look at and show the girls personality as clearly as what she says.

I just bought this set for my wife. Rubies and White Saphires. See? Personality!

12: I like science fiction. From fantasy with orcs and elves, to futuristic with ships, lasers, and shields, to alternate future with power armor, and big explosions. I like the escapism of it all.

13: I have only beaten a few of the video games I have ever picked up. I think you can blame the ADD for this. The closest I ever came to beating a Zelda game was Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I was on the last boss fight when I paused it and walked away to take a phone call. I never finished it.

14: Serving people in an honest capacity makes me happy. Cleaning, providing help, offering my assistance as needed. That kind of thing. I like to help people.

15: I have a VERY difficult time with stupid people. Ignorant I deal with because that can be cured. But Stupid? You can’t fix stupid.

And with that I have handed you the three required items. An introduction, a photo, and 15 facts. Enjoy