No, I’m not dead.
Hey, I got bidness, damnit.
Nah, the truth is that a few weeks ago a website that is very popular with schoolteachers posted a link here to my site, saying it was a good place to find public domain images. The article got picked up by some education-related bloggers who also posted links, and the result of all this linkage was that suddenly tens of thousands of teachers from all over the world were visiting my site.Generally speaking, teachers are nice people, so I ended up getting hundreds of e-mails, mostly saying how much they appreciate the photos and the lack of restrictions on them. I’m not a nice person by any stretch of the imagination, but I still feel that if someone is going to take the trouble to e-mail me, the least I can do is send a reply, so instead of writing posts these last few weeks, I’ve mostly been writing e-mails.
Then all the traffic apparently caught the attention of hackers, who got access to my webserver and wiped out this site and the other 5 websites I manage. That was fun. Fortunately, my webhost was able to restore all of it, get me back online, and help me fix the problem (my fault – not theirs) that left a door open in the first place, but not without jumping through hoops for a few days.Then all the traffic apparently caught the attention of some professional photographers, many of whom felt the need to send me e-mails telling me I’m a bad person because I want to destroy their business and ruin their livelihood.
See, when I upload an image and put a ‘public domain’ license on it, that means anyone can use it for any purpose, without any restrictions, payment, or even credit required. In a very literal sense the image becomes public property. That’s a huge deal to teachers, because most school systems have rules in place that say they can only use public domain material in the classroom. They simply don’t have the budgets to pay for licensed work anytime they want to use a photo in a teaching presentation, a handout, or an assignment.Professional photographers on the other hand, tend to find the whole public domain issue threatening, because they get paid by people who want to use their photos. What can I say? I’m honestly not doing this to destroy anyone’s profession, but it also wouldn’t hurt my feelings much if that was the result.
Oh, and did I mention the garden?
I am not a garden person. In fact, I spent much of my youth swearing profound, blood-curdling oaths that I would never, ever work in a garden again. And yet, here I am. This spring I staked out a plot (a fairly large plot, in fact) in the yard, cleared it, turned it, tilled it, and planted shit in it. Potatoes mostly, but also a few rows of corn and some green beans. We’re also planting apple trees and blackberry bushes.
I keep asking myself “Why am I doing this?” I don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s not as if I’ve been unhappy with the quality of the potatoes sold at our local markets. Lord knows there are other things I should be doing – like writing posts for my website.But every weekend, there I am with a hoe or a posthole digger or a shovel or something, clearing, planting, weeding, and all the other assorted bullshit that comes with gardening.
It’s almost as if there’s some horrible compulsion at work here. Something in my DNA. Like a migratory instinct. “You are a hillbilly, you are 42 years old, and you are stunningly tedious. The time has come to Work The Land.”
Of course, my biggest single fear is that this is my mid-life crisis. Woot. Gardening. Geez, how pathetic would that be? Most guys get a convertible, a motorcycle, a boat, hair implants, a vapid gold-digging hottie and child support payments. Me? “Oh, you know… Some potatoes. A little corn.”