BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West

17Jun/180

Sunshine and Flamingos

Lately I've had this song in my head... It's called "The Cat In Center Field".

Basically there's a group or band or whatever you want to call them, and they make songs out of news clips, or, basically anything really.  They used to be called Autotune The News all the way back in the day... But they have expanded to be more than just news.

It's a whole thing with lots of history.  Anyway... TLDR... All you need to know about is this catchy song about a cat and sunshine and flamingos... So here's the video on YouTube.

 

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15Jun/180

13 Reasons And Seasons

So, I started this 13 reasons why show.  It's good.  I'm on episode 3.

Maybe I already mentioned that.  Maybe not.  Oh well... If I did... I did!  Hah.

But yeah, it's a good show.  I'm sipping and savoring.

I'm not much of a binge watcher.  I like to enjoy an episode at a time slowly.  I mean, I watch the episodes at normal speed, obviously, I don't slow them down... that would be weird.  Watching movies and TV shows in slow motion.

True story, we used to do that with movies as kids because our VCR had a slow motion button.  And now I'm just like... WHY is that button even there?

Anyway... I usually will watch one show on my list per night, or sometimes ever other night, or every few nights...

I'm a fan of a show with dinner.  Dinner, a craft beer, and an episode of something.  Usually I alternate between like 2 or 3 shows, so I get a new episode a week.

Here's the thing though, right now, I watch Netflix in my office/study.  Okay so, my cats have decided that they really like my current seating arrangement in my living room.  So even though I have a TV hooked up to everything, I can't really make sure of it.

I was going to buy a new couch but didn't have the heart to kick the cats out of their favorite area.

Soooo I just watch elsewhere.  For now.

Eventually I'll probably relocate the various furniture items to another room and then convince them to use that room so I can buy a new couch and make a comfy spot to watch Netflix on the couch.

Cats.

Anyway, back to this episode I'm watching before I head to bed.

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5Jun/180

Replacement Parts

So, my dad had some surgery today.  He had to have something replaced because it was in danger of breaking.  So, now he has a new aorta or something like that.

He seems to be doing okay.  He's recovering in the ICU.

We'll know more in a few more days.

But he's got new and improved stitchings inside of him now to patch up some worn out tubing.

Hopefully everything turns out A-okay.  I think the recovery timeline is at least 6 weeks or so... So, it's going to be a bit of a journey for him, but he seems to be taking it well so far.

Just a reminder at how fragile life is and how much of a gift it is.  And as well the wonders of modern medicine!

Anyway, I'll post another update when he's back to normal and kicking.  For now, he's doing better than expected so far for day one out of the operation.  So, that's a good sign!

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28May/180

A Cat Joke

Two cats walked into a cat costume party. One cat was dressed as a lobster and the other in a onesy ready for bed. The lobster cat went over to the food table while the sleepy cat in the onesy was chatting up another cat at the party. The lobster cat, while no one was looking, took every last bit of the cat treats provided for the cat guests from a bowl sitting on the table. A few moments later the onesy cat walked over to the treat table and, noticing the treat bowl was empty, asked the lobster cat to share some of the treats being held in the lobster cat's paws. The lobster cat replied "No way! I got here first, you snooze, you lose." The onesy cat growled angrily and then replied... "YOU'RE A SHELLFISH CAT!"

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25May/180

Hi Ashburn!

So, someone in Ashburn, VA visited my blog 104 times.  104!  WOW.

Now, as it turns out in the analytics report... Those visits show them going through every page of my blog, and as well my main site.

Interesting.  Let's find out who they are...

So, the network domain is amazonaws.com... Sketchy.

My guess is, it's a bot.  it looks like the time spent on my site/each page, was only a matter of seconds.  Who reads that fast?

 

The referral path isn't set.  So, that's of no use.

The entry and exit pages were each individual page.  Kind of weird.

It's almost like it was a new session per page... Again... Smells bot-like.  They were probably screen scraping for something.

So the browser used was Chrome, the OS is Windows but the version is XP.

Weird, because who uses XP anymore?  No one.

Very much so "bot like".

My guess is it was some sort of virtual cloud PC that was being used to browse the site.  But why?

Very interesting.

Let's take a deeper look... So the Service provider is something called Hubspot.  Hmmm... I'm going to Google a little and see what I can find...

Search terms, "Hubspot" "Ashburn" "Amazon Web Services".  Let's see what comes up!

Interesting...

https://www.statusbureau.com/blog/2017/04/analytics-bot-traffic-ashburn/

So, it looks like there is indeed an AWS bot making the rounds.  That's 104 hits in the last week accounted for on my blog...

There are 3 other cities showing...

Hmmm... #1 is San Diego and #2 San Francisco.

Kind of cool.  Could also be bots, but they do show that the people spent a good 5 minutes reading posts... So, those are most likely real people.  What about #3?

Okay, there's one last city that shows it was a returning user instead of a new user.  All the other cities are new users... This one shows a returner...

Return reader!  Cool beans.  It looks like a blog regular.  Hi number 3!  So, who is #3 of the 3 extra cities?

The final city is named Plantation.  Hi Plantation... Thanks for tuning in. :)

Hope you're doing well down there.  Hmmm okay, well, I suppose... That's all for now!

Until the next post enjoy this video of a bot named #5 laughing...

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21May/180

Dating Coach Teams

Okay, so I had an idea for a website... I'm pretty sure I've had this idea before... But, I've refined it.

The idea is that there's a site, that isn't a dating site... And it's not affiliate with any of the dating sites... It's just a site that helps with dating.

Here's how it works...

Anyone can sign up.  There are two choices when singing up... You can choose one, or both.

Choice one is to be a coach.  Choice two is to build a coaching team.

Let's say you want to build a team.  Okay, cool.  So, you sign up, you make a profile, you upload some photos... and you post your current situation.

Now, you build a team.  This is where the coach part happens... Who are the coaches?  Anyone really... Anyone can sign up to help.  Or just follow your dating/love story.

But, they have to request to be a coach and you have to okay it.  You can also ask someone to be a coach, and you either get approved, denied, or waitlisted.

Waitlisted?

Yes.  See, some coaches are pro coaches.  Which means they are actually a paid service.

What?

Okay, so there's tiers of coaches.  Now, when you build a team, you could just choose to have random strangers coach you.  Hey, you get what you pay for though.  Now, if you want, you can convince your friends and family to sign up as coaches and then they can request to be part of your team, and you add them.

Another option is to have pro dating coaches.

How does someone become a pro dating coach you ask?  Easy, they have to get pro dating game on-point points...

If you get enough points and build up your coach profile you can become a pro coach and get paid to coach.

But this isn't a dating site?

No.  It's just a site where you post things about your dating experience and get coaching or feedback on it from your team.

Let's say you like someone you work with, or you like someone you see on a daily basis on your morning commute.

Or a friend of a friend.

Or you decide to go speed dating, or online dating.

Whatever it is... You can post things to your team and get feedback.

Build a team as small or as large as you'd like... You could have a mix of strangers, family, friends, and pro coaches that you pay a fee to... Or, you can just have one friend if you'd like.

When you first start, you start a love story.  Your love story starts somewhere, and more than likely it starts with you home alone signing up for the love story site with no dating prospects what-so-ever.

It's just you and some internet, and some wine.

Let's say you make a profile and you write that, single, drinking wine, watching cat videos.

Hey, that's where your love story starts.

Now let's say you send an email to your friend and tell that friend to sign up as a coach, look at that, you now have a coach.  They can comment... maybe they give their first bit of advice...

"You should go on a date with my friend."

You can decline the advice or accept it.

"I already went on a date with your friend, remember?"

"Oh yeah."

"Just go get your haircut... That will help give you a fresh look and some confidence."

You accept the advice and go get your haircut.  You post that you got your haircut and post a photo.

Some random strange now wants to be a coach.  You accept.

The stranger says... "Try going to a meetup group!  Great haircut!"

You reply, "Thanks!  And okay.... What kind of group?"

The stranger says... "Try a game night."

Your friend chimes in... "No do something more exciting!  Go out to see some comedy or something."

You accept the advice and go out to see comedy with a group.  You meet someone there but you weren't sure how to hint that you liked the person.

So you come back and tell the details to your friend and the stranger.  You say, I think one of my family members would know how to handle this... So you tell your family member to sign up for an account and now they are linked up to your story too.

Suddenly you're building a team of coaches.

They tell you the right thing to say to get a first date... You're in!

WOW!

But what do you wear?  Ask the coaches.

They suggest a few things, but nothing is really making you feel confident.  You bring in more friends... and another stranger... You quickly remove the second stranger from the team when you realize their advice sucks.

Add and remove anyone you want at any time.

Your cousin wants to give advice.

No.  You decline that cousin.

Finally someone suggests wearing an outfit that you wore to a previous party.  You go with that.

It's a hit.

You're going on dates... Now things start to get a little more serious and you're not sure, should you move slow?  Or fast.

Your friends and randoms and family aren't helping.  You decide to ask a pro for advice.

A pro joins your team for a monthly fee, and you can remove the pro at any time...

The pro turns out to be a board certified therapist and marriage counselor...  They give you some advice and you go with it.

Look at that... It works out well.

Now you're with the person for a few months, and then several months.

You post updates for your team about how the relationship is going... Suddenly things get rocky when you start talking about moving in together... Uh oh.

You bring in a different pro and you ask a trusted coworker to join your team.

None of their advice seems to work.  Things go sour.

You break up.

It happens...

But, it turns out that your coworker tells you that another friend of theirs is recently single too.... You ask the team, they say, go on a date and see where it goes, but be honest and say you just broke up with someone.

You click.

The team rejoices!

The professional therapist counselor reminds you that you need time to get over your last relationship and that you should be very open about that with the new person.

The person is understanding... The team rejoices again.

You begin the dating process all over again.  This time, you make it further...

Your team follows along at every up and down, every twist and turn.

You lose one member, you gain another.

You post updates on your love story... The team comments.

Suddenly you're engaged!  The team rejoices again!

Job well done team, job well done.

And that's the idea behind the dating coach love story...

From cat videos and wine alone to engaged.

And now that you're getting married, you need a wedding planner, and photographer, and a venue and caterer... Don't worry, the Love Story site has you covered with suggestions, and of course, your team can chime in as well.

It's up to you when you want to end the story, or if you want to keep going, maybe you want to update about your marriage a year in, or post photos of your first kid... Or your 12 dogs and cats that you rescued because neither of you want kids.

Love Story and the team are there... And even if things get rocky in the marriage, you can go back and get advice from a professional.

Love Story is there to help you through the rough parts and, of course, rejoice when it all goes "just right".

I think it could be an extermely useful site if done right.

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8May/180

Sly Fox Goat Race!

Sunday was the Sly Fox Goat Race.  It was tons of fun.  This was my 3rd year going.  I basically just walked around, watched the festivities, ate food, drank beer, and chatted with strangers.  Then  I closed down the place waiting for my buzz to wear off drinking a coke.

It was good times.

I imagine I'll be back next year for sure.  I got the mug and the T shirt.

I think my favorite part was taking some selfies with the person dressed in the goat costume.  Always fun times.  Who doesn't love a mascot photo?

The only sad part was that the goat I rooted for, Vincent Van Goat, didn't win.  I was rooting for him last year too.  I love his hat.  Haha.  It's just super cool and fun.  Vincent even had a Go Pro on his back, that's was cool too.  There's video on his Facebook fan page.

Another goat had a superman costume on.  I dig the accessories and costumes.  I feel like there should be more of that.  I just think if I ever decided to get a goat and then enter it in the race, I'd totally have it all accessorized out.  Do something funny or interesting or unique every year.

Well, anyway, it was just a great time.  Hung out, drank a few mugs full of beer, and had some delicious food too.  And I had several conversations about everything and anything under the sun.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next race next year, but also just looking forward to the next event that I head out to as well!

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3May/180

Online Scavenger Hunt

So, the other day I was thinking how it would be cool to do a digital/online scavenger hunt.

You know, like, basically how a real scavenger hunt works, but online.

So, in a real scavenger hunt you have people who set out with a list of items to accomplish, and they all start at the same time, and the first person to collect all the items on the list wins.

This would be kind of similar to that.  There would be a start time, and everyone would get the list at the same exact time.  And then, the first person to finish the list wins... I guess they would get bragging rights or something like that.  Although, there could be prizes.

It would work something like, there would be a list of items for everyone who participates to complete.

First item on the list could be to take a selfie.  Pretty easy.  Then the second item could be to take a selfie with a friend.  And then the next item could be to find a street sign with the letter Z in it.

Now things are getting harder to find.

Things like that.  I think that would be cool.

And then there could be different kinds of themes for scavenger hunts.

Maybe even philanthropic ones.  Buy something at the grocery store and donate it to a food bank.

Buy a toy and donate it to toys for tots... Stuff like that.  And then you just check-in and post a photo at each check point or item on the list.

The idea would be to compete with a group of friends or family and see who could get all the items first.

Next item on the list?  Buy some washable sidewalk chalk and write something nice for people at the park to find.

I mean, I'm just making things up as I go here, but if someone really sat down and came up with a list, I bet they could create some pretty cool digital scavenger hunts.

There could even be an app or a website that you track it all in.

I mean, anyone could just do this all on Facebook with posts.  Just start at the same time by all posting your start time in a group chat, and then post photos and such in the group chat.

That way it's all time logged and stamped and what not.  There's no possible way to cheat.

And as well, everyone would see everyone else's posts, so you'd know when that final item is posted and who won.

Just an idea.  I think it could be cool.  And maybe it already exists, and maybe it doesn't.

I would say, start with 10 things and start with 3 to 5 friends in a group chat on Facebook.  Pick a start time, everyone posts "starting".  And then everyone would go.

Now, the only thing is, without some sort of timed release site with a password encrypted release of the list... Okay, hang on, let me back up, so the way I envision it would be that you log into a site, and you sign up for a start time.  Then, at exactly the time that the scavenger hunt starts, a link appears and you can click on it and get the list.

Or an email is sent, or a text, or something.

And then everyone starts and gets a first look at the list at the same exact time.

But all that aside, someone would have to be the moderator and come up with the list and then they would be the one to post the list to the Facebook group chat and moderate the scavenger hunt.

There's really no other way to do it, because if you helped make the list, you'd already know the questions and then could cheat and already have some items completed.

Anyway, there are definitely details to iron out.

It could be fun though.  At least I think it might be.

What kind of online/digital scavenger hunt questions would you come up with if you were to plan one for your friends?

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28Apr/180

3 Likes Rule

A while back I was out at an event and in a conversation with a random stranger talking to someone who said they only post things on Facebook (Or Twitter or Instagram or any other social media site) that are likely to get at least 3 likes.

I thought that's an interesting idea.  Basically if you don't think at least 3 people will give it a like, or some kind of interaction, it's not worth posting.

I've decided to give that a shot... There's a lot of stupid or funny things the last few days that I immediately wanted to post... But then I was like... There's no way this will get 3 likes.  So, I didn't bother posting it.

Or there were things that I was going to post that I thought would be funny, but then I was like... Well, some people might find that annoying.  Basically though, a lot of stuff has not been posted because it's not likely to get 3 likes.

Plus, people can only do so much liking in a day... So, it also makes you post less because you think, if I post 1 or 2 things, or even go a day or two without posting, people will be more likely to like something I do post... But if you post 5 or 10 times a day, there's just not enough time in the day for people to like all that material.

So, you basically prune out the material you post and say, if this were American Idol of Facebook posts.... Which post would be more likely to make it to the next round.  It also makes you spruce up posts.  Add a Giphy to something, or edit a post a few times until it's worded better.

People like funny... So, that means more posts get humor instead of something that sounds more like a complaint.  People will like a complaint but more in the way that they can relate to it... So, it's tricky.

To post things that get likes... It's not easy, that's for sure.

I've also been looking at friends' posts to see which ones get lots of likes and which get very few...

Obviously, a recent post by a friend of mine with her boyfriend at a wedding where they took a photo of the two of them side by side and captioned it "We clean up well".  That got lots of likes and comments.

I suppose I could take a photo of me with my cats or something, or dress in a tux and then put my cat in an outfit and then post that and caption it... "We clean up well".  That would probably get a lot of likes.

I'm also trying to get people to interact more with the posts, that's hard too... Although the problem I think as well is that Facebook maybe doesn't show posts consistantly.  I think they have a special method of rotating posts.  Like, I'll post something that will get no likes at first, and then 2 days later, it gets 2 or 3 posts and a comment in the span of an hour.  It's weird.

So another part of the conversation was that this person also was trying to beat their record likes... So, they will kind of think of things that might get a monster number of likes.

Life events seems to bring monster likes, as they told me that since they started tracking their likes, they got the most like when they graduated their master's degree.  Makes sense.  I feel like things of that nature get tons of likes and interactions.

I mean, post a photo of you getting your master's degree with you in your cap and gown on graduation day, and then post a photo of a sandwich.  Obviously, the cap and gown will get lots of interaction.

Life events get big time likes... Life milestones... For example...

The "ring show off" post for engagements.  TONS of likes for that.  I've seen a few of those in my feeds.

I'm having a baby also gets lots of likes.  Graduations, job promotions, new cars, buying a first home... Etc. etc.

Successes get lots, like reaching a goal of some sort, one of my friends got a single on the radio in England with the BBC, that got a TON of comments and likes.

So, I mean, a lot of success in Facebook and likes is about success in life.  People respond to success.  People don't respond well to boring things, like, check out this sandwich.  Unless it's funny, like if you're on vacation and the sandwich is the size of your face, that gets likes.  I've seen that posted before, and liked it myself.

It's all about thinking of something that people might say "NO WAY!" to.

People interact with shock and awe stuff, like, if you post something crazy interesting, selfie with a celebrity is a post... Or there's always society related posts, like two of my friends always post injustice related posts because they are teachers so they post about the school systems in public schooling and there's always a comment trail like 10 pages long where people get into debates and such.

Obviously birthdays get TONS of likes... Although, that's not really a post, that people posting on your wall, so it doesn't really count.  At least in the conversation I had, it didn't count for that person.

Anyway, so this person kind of inspired me.  The thing I find completely hilarious about all of this, is that even though we talked at length about social media (as we drank a couple of beers)... We never bothered to link up or exchange any info.  SO, the person left and went his way and I went my way, and I honestly?  I have no clue any of his contact info.

I don't even know their name.  All I know is that he was in the military about 10 years ago he's roughly my age and works a super corporate-y job now in the city and lives in the city.

File that one under epic social media fail.

Well, here's to 3 likes or more, and trying to figure out which posts bring in monster likes and which ones just get a tumble weed rolling in the wind in the desert.  Or crickets.  Lots and lots of crickets just chirping away.

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25Apr/180

Kanye

I want to record a song with Kanye West.  I mean, it just makes sense for it to happen.  Well...

Okay, maybe it doesn't make sense to him, or perhaps other people on the planet.  Perhaps, everyone else on the planet.

It makes sense to me though!

Let's review really quick:

  1. I was born in LA.
  2. I grew up in Agoura Hills.  Well, I mean, I moved back East here to Philly when I was about 8 ish years old.
  3. I used to sing songs on the swings at this place called Sunny Skies, which as basically the preschool thing I went to when I was a little kid... I know, you're like, what does this have to do with anything?  I'm getting to that.
  4. Kanye West lives in Calabasas.
  5. Calabasas and Agoura Hills are like neighboring towns.
  6. Kanye likes to make music.
  7. I like to make music... and I've always liked to make music since I was a little kid... See "number 3".  I used to sing to the counselors and other kids when I was like 5 or so years old and make up random songs on the spot while I would swing on the swings.
  8. Both our last names are West.  And our first names are similar.
  9. We both have lost our mom's... I suppose that's a strange argument but, it would definitely be a bonding point.

Okay... SO... that's not really a convincing set of arguments.

Here's the deal, basically... Don't you find it a little strange that out of all the places in the world that any two individuals could live...

Kanye West and myself... Kenny West... Lived within a stones throw of one another, just at different time periods?

He's there now, I was there in the 80s.  It's a big world.

Okay, this is going to get even more weird.

I just think that him and I are like... Sort of, musical soulmates.

You know?  Like, we obviously have different genres of music that we make and we're totally different people...

But, I just think that there could be some synergistic effects.

We could totally make some interesting tunes together.  Or even just one.  I would be cool with just making one song even.

I guess I just think it would be neat.

I do find it interesting about all those coincidences.

Even tonight I read an article about how Kanye West was Tweeting about "dragon energy".  I actually followed Kanye for the first time over the weekend... And I've been writing story on Twitter, that I like to refer to as a Story Tweet, or Twitter Story... My story is about dragons.

I just think there's a lot of coincidences happening.

So, yeah, I think ti would be cool to make a tune with Kanye.  Kanye and Kenny West.  Something, experimental, something that breaks the mold, breaks boundaries, you know?  Something that let's pure creativity flow.

That would be amazing.  I mean, he's a super creative dude, and I'd love to share my creative drive with his if he'd let me.

I just think that would be really cool.

 

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