Writing for RealGM.com (@realgm) – My 13 Year (Failed) Quest

I don’t remember how I came upon RealGM.com in 2005. I think I found it because I was looking for basketball news and NBA.com didn’t provide me with much of anything. When I did find it, I immediately began contributing to their online forum and checking their news section. After a few years, I drifted away from their forum, but I still came back to keep up with what was going on in the world of hoops. Throughout it all, I tried to become a writer for their website. I wrote to them. I found emails and sent messages. I got absolutely no response.

I would understand if I got a rejection message or any sort of response whatsoever. I have gotten nothing and it has left me utterly baffled. You would think that I would give up at some point and realize that I have no chance writing for that outlet. You would think that…if it were true. I still want to write for RealGM and I will always want to write for RealGM until I see my name in a byline. I want to know what I need to do to make my content appealing to them.

Websites that publish content and change their staff of contributors on a regular basis confuse me when they do not make their selection process obvious. I’m aware that this particular website would have a hard time navigating their submissions if they opened things up to the masses. I also understand that I’m not the only writer out there. I’m one of many and a website like RealGM has the opportunity to choose whoever they want to work for their website. I just want to know what process I need to go through to become a contributor on their website. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I’m hoping that this article will get me somewhere and I’ll have the ability to write for RealGM once and for all. I will be submitting this article to them in the hopes that we’re able to start a dialogue. It’s either that or I am left waiting for another 13 years to receive my call. I’m willing to write about anything or submit any kind of material to make my candidacy seem more appealing. I want to make my interest known publicly because I have exhausted all the other means I had privately. Here goes nothing.


Connecting Service Providers to People in Need

I have yet to find an entity that effectively connects nonprofit organizations or people who are homebound due to age or disability or both with service providers.

Some organizations exist that provide these services directly; however, they’re either so overworked that they can’t meet the demand in their community or they lack the necessary expertise to perform an adequate job.

I recognize that service providers have to make money to stay open and manage their lives. I’m hoping I can find providers that are willing to render their service for free or at least a discounted rate. 

In creating this list, I’m hoping to eliminate instances where homebound people with fixed incomes are living in substandard conditions.

I’m still trying to figure out how to prevent people whose intentions might not be pure from taking advantage of the providers. That’s something that will likely remain a work in progress for quite some time.

I can’t imagine the horrible conditions in which the most vulnerable people among us are living. I feel like it’s unacceptable for those who have the capabilities to help to stand by and do nothing. We all have the responsibility to care for our fellow human beings regardless of any belief or personal characteristic.

I’m not saying the service providers with whom I’ll collaborate are unwilling to help out or have avoided helping in the past. On the contrary, I’m sure many of them do it on a regular basis. I want to connect those providers and many others with the people who need them.

The scope of this project will remain wide open as I believe geographic barriers mean nothing when it comes to helping out those who need it. I will start with the United States and move outward. Each state will have its own page. At a later date, if needed, I will create pages for individual cities as well.

Service providers who participate in this program will not be left empty handed. Their involvement will serve as a high quality public relations tool. People will be able to see that their organization has heart and cares about their community. Those are two things that any amount of marketing dollars can’t buy.

There are so many ways to help out. I am not done exploring what I personally can do. If I reach what seems like an end point, I’ll press on, knowing full well that it’s an obstacle that’s more the result of diminished effort than actual lacking opportunity.

Misadventures in Hot Dog Consumption 

I love hot dogs. I don’t care what’s in them. I just love them. They have to be done right or else they’re nothing more than a supporting actor to the leading dynamo known as hamburgers. I have found some places that succeed in this regard while others produce a hot dog that’s so insufficient that it might as well be served by the dozen. The area I live in is not loaded with a large amount of quality eating establishments. I know I need to venture outside of my immediate area to find other contenders. I will probably do that at some point. First, I need to find out what’s out there.

One thing that’s always surprised me is the ineptitude of the fast food juggernauts to produce a decent hot dog. McDonald’s has tried it a few times with less than impressive results. Ray Kroc, the man who’s commonly referred to as the founder of McDonald’s even though he was just the guy who bought the company from the actual founders, the McDonald brothers, prevented McDonald’s from serving hot dogs due to the unpredictability of their ingredients. Burger King has one on their menu right now. I don’t trust it.

Wienerschnitzel has a location right down the street from my house. I went there once and never will again. Their hot dogs are a lifeless waste of the soggy buns they’re put in. Freddy’s, a joint that recently came into my area from parts unknown, has hot dogs but they’re small. I have to buy a burger to get a complete meal out of the arrangement. I love Freddy’s and would recommend them to anyone who has them in their town. They need to work on beefing up their hot dogs if they want to be a contender.

I get that I could make hot dogs at home. Where’s the fun in that though? I make hot dogs one way and they’re not that impressive. I could make those hot dogs every day of the week for very little money. That’s not fun. I want a hot dog that’s interesting. A hot dog that’s made using recipes and techniques perfected by passionate people over the course of years. I want a hot dog that I think about when I’m no longer in the place from which I’ve ordered it. I’ve found that dog and am going to write about it next.

On the Futility of Memorials

A memorial goes a long way, but it can only go so far. Remembering something is all well and good. If that thing isn’t here, you can remember it all you want. The thing you’re remembering isn’t going to come back. You will feel better for awhile having remembered it. This feeling will subside, making it even more difficult to process your loss than if you had done nothing at all. I’m not advocating for the abolition of memorials in all their forms. What I’m saying is we need to do more to appreciate and preserve what we love while it’s still here.

I’m lucky to have not dealt with a lot of loved ones passing away. Family members have died of old age, but I didn’t have good relationships with a lot of them. Only two losses were substantial. I found ways to overcome those losses because I knew we had shared many great moments and left on good terms. I miss them often. However, for some reason, I don’t miss them so much that I wish they were still here. It would be wonderful if they were. I just remind myself their number was up and anything we could have done in our relationship was accomplished and then some.

I often regret the fact that I didn’t spearhead an effort to save the Cinedome 70 in Riverdale, Utah sooner. I should’ve acted the moment I saw a for sale sign attached to the building. Public interest would’ve been up and all the damage vandals inflicted on the structure could’ve been avoided. I realize that a lot of people think I’m foolish for admiring a building that’s now long gone. I get it. I just love buildings that are loaded with personality, especially buildings that were constructed by passionate people.

Modern architecture is soulless and lifeless. Nothing but a bunch of straight edges and open windows. Corporations rule the day and they prioritize designs that are easy and cheap to replicate. Consumers go for these establishments because they’re everywhere. They pass up the little places, thinking that they should avoid them since the owner wasn’t able to plunk down the money to outfit everything with the newest and the best. Whatever happened to appreciating the little guy? I wish the juggernauts would go out of business tomorrow, allowing for the up and comers to create the jobs and make things enjoyable again.

Car Dealerships are the Worst

Words can’t describe the outrage I feel at how car dealerships treat their customers. The only entities that treat people worse are those the dealerships work with to finance the cars. Regardless, the entire arrangement is rigged against the consumer from start to finish.

I’m not saying that every car dealership needs to give customers for free or their financiers should let people determine the terms of their loans. As a cog in the capitalist apparatus, I’m well aware that goods come at a cost and, in order to remain afloat in said apparatus, businesses have to sell enough of their goods to turn a profit.

At the same time, does the provider of goods always have to make their profit while screwing over the consumer in the process?

I’m not an insider in the car industry, but I have purchased several cars in my lifetime. During these purchases, I began to see a pattern of behaviors. These behaviors appeared no matter which dealership sold me the vehicle.

I would describe these behaviors as the run around. They act as if they’re working hard to get you the best deal possible when really they’re stalling in the hopes that you will give up and pick whatever deal they put in front of your face. You might think that you’re winning the battle if you have been there a while and the terms of the deals they’re giving you are slowly improving. The reality is that they have a lot left in the tank and the best deal is so far on the horizon that you can’t even see it. The fact that they claim that they can’t do anything more to help you is ridiculous considering they own the business. In a world where car dealerships donate cars on a regular basis, more can always be done.

I would never lump all car dealerships in with one another. My main grievances are with the ones I’ve patronized. I feel like you should be able to buy a car without having to jump through hoops. I’ve always heard that car salesman can’t be trusted, but I never understood why. Not anymore.

I’d love to find a car dealership that’s actually willing to do business with me, not take advantage of me needing a car. Be straightforward, honest, and cut out all the nonsense. For the life of me I do not get why that’s such an unrealistic proposition.

Reviewers and Their Unnatural Prose

I’ve reviewed things for a little over eight years now. I started with software and now I’ve moved on to whatever I feel like talking about. Over the years, I’ve read countless reviews from other people. I’ve noticed one major thing. The way reviewers write their reviews is so unnatural.

I repeatedly go back the old adage of “You write like how you talk.” If anyone reading this post were to ever meet me in person, they would be surprised by how much I sound like my writings in my conversation. I think about each word and the way my sentences are structured. None of these words were placed without a considerable amount of forethought.

That’s something that’s missing from a lot of review writing. The reviews I read sound more like Wikipedia pages than anything else. Don’t get me wrong. Wikipedia pages have their purpose. How many of those pages have you read from start to finish? Out of the pages you read from top to bottom, how many of them were enjoyable reads? Likely very few. 

The purpose of Wikipedia pages is to inform the audience. They accomplish this purpose in the most mundane way. You’re more likely to pick out the information you need than read a Wikipedia page in its entirety. Reviews are supposed to inform as well. There’s no reason they need to do so in such a dry boring way.

I approach my reviews like I’m telling my best friend about the product I’m reviewing. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is bore my best friend. I’m not the best reviewer by any means. Such a distinction is subjective anyway. All I know is I try my hardest to make my reviews as personable as possible. More reviewers should do the same.

Here’s to the Curious Ones

As once prosperous institutions slip into the void of memory, it becomes difficult to learn things about them. The people who were responsible for moving these institutions forward have long since moved on to other things or are no longer with us. This shift makes it so the only information that’s left is what has been recorded. 

We live in a time where we take information for granted. We look at all the information we have at our fingertips and think that we know everything. The reality is that the internet has not been around for as long as we think. 

The lifespan of the internet stretches back 20 years. If you consider when it became widely available and used, you’re looking at a much shorter timeframe. The era of massive amounts of information being catalogued for each event likely started 10 years ago. Before then, there were websites, but they weren’t as plentiful or as frequently updated as they are now.

Consider events that happened before the modern era of the internet. Unless they were earth shattering, there’s little to no information about them. The news media probably covered them a little bit, but the archives that contain that information are hidden behind monthly membership walls. This leaves the rest of us to bat around the same overused set of facts that have been around forever.

What happened to curiosity? Where are the people who piece together bits of a story and are left dissatisfied with the results? I’m a tremendously curious person. I like trying new things and learning about everything. I especially like getting more information about stories that haven’t been told in their entirety. I get upset when I try to get the full story and am left with scraps.

Writing a book takes too long. I could spend excessive amounts of time writing and researching a topic and then even longer trying to sell the finished product. Expending that effort seems like a exercise in futility. 

Writing on the internet doesn’t have to be lousy. I’m baffled as to why people continuously marginalize all forms of writing. Perhaps it’s all an exercise in suppressing the truth. Either way content creators need to resist and continue to tell the stories they feel like telling. Otherwise there will be gaps in the narrative whenever the medium that replaces the internet comes into existence.

I Hate In-Text Advertisements

Words can’t describe how much I hate in-text advertisements. We have come to a point in time where the creation of content has more to do with how many ads can be wedged in and very little to do with the quality of the content itself. The abundance of websites spewing out content on an hourly basis is astounding and it grows larger with each passing day. The fact that this number is growing is not a sign of progress. On the contrary, a lot of these websites are dispensing the digital equivalent of mold, crowding the landscape and distorting the conversation in the process.

I don’t mind the in-text advertisements that are automatically placed and unobtrusive. I hate the ones that lead to all sorts of menus and sidebars that I don’t want. These disruptions have a way of rearing their ugly head when I’m trying to go from the top of the content to the bottom. This journey is not conducted for any reason other than the read the piece of content I clicked on. Maybe the people who create this nonsense don’t want you to read their content at all. Instead, they churn out whatever they think you will click on in the hopes you will stumble on their advertisements.

I realize that, in writing this content, I am creating a moment similar to the one Newt Gingrich had when he created a video to marvel over a fantastic device we all know as a smartphone. In this video, he holds up a smartphone and tells the audience everything it can do. He wonders aloud what this device could be called. I am not the same way about clickbait content. I know what it is and I will tell you that it’s cancerous and a tremendous misuse of the internet.

Quality content still exists. You just have to look for it. The problem is nobody wants to invest in its creation. Anyone who needs content claims that they can create it on their own. If they farm out their content to another source, it’s almost always someone who will do it for pennies on the dollar. What’s the point? I hate seeing words so blatantly misused. They have the potential to tell stories that have yet to be told. It’s a shame that they’re being wasted on articles whose entire meaning can fit into a tweet with characters to spare.

Can We Get Rid of Ladder Climbers?

I will never understand why we have to tear each other down. I have worked with people in the past that can best be described as ladder climbers. These individuals will do whatever they can to climb the latter without caring about whose toes they step on along the way. The people in charge are often oblivious to the charms of the ladder climbers because they have been convinced that they can trust them. Ladder climbers are skilled at persuading their supervisors that they’re qualified when really the only skill they have is sabotage.

I am not saying that everyone who has made their way to the top doesn’t deserve it. On the contrary, there are so many great people whose current position in life is based on nothing but their merits. I applaud them. This article is not about them. This article is about the people who act like they’re going to work with you and be your friend when really they would be the first person to put a hose in your mouth if they came across you drowning. Someone needs to come along and flush all these people out of working life.

The worst part about ladder climbers is they’re given practical autonomy over whoever they’re assigned to supervise. It doesn’t matter how often they prove that they’re incompetent. Their bosses will still stand behind them and tell them about the wonderful work they’re doing. We have to come to the realization that everyone is paying the exact same amount of attention, which is absolutely none at all. Each of us works as hard as possible to make it so we can do as little work as possible. Our lives are a breakneck trek towards a reality where we don’t have to do work at all.

Perhaps we need to stop acting as if we’re retired now and resign ourselves to the potentially lengthy working life we have in front of us. Being a boss should not be the start of an effort to delegate every possible duty to anyone other than yourself. It should be an opportunity to impart your wisdom and expertise on people who have less experience than you. Power is quite the drug. Once you start getting steady doses, it’s tempting to let it go to your head. Avoid this temptation and become someone that people will tell their friends about. Become a person that people will want to work for.

Bosses Need to be Able to Relate to Their Employees

Why is it that the people who are put in charge of another group of people have no experience doing the tasks they’re supervising? I’ll give you an example. Say that there’s a person who has a lot of business experience, but has accomplished nothing in the creative realm. The people who are in charge of a creative company look at this person, see that they have considerable management experience, and decide that it would be a good idea to put them in charge of their creative team. This manager runs their new team exactly like they did their old team and never attempts to understand the creative process.

A new rule needs to be established where the only people who can be in charge of creative individuals are people with experience in creative pursuits. This rule should be a no brainer, yet it’s something that seems to evade just about every creative company. I understand that it’s sometimes difficult to find someone who has leadership skills; however, it’s not impossible to find someone from the ranks of creative people who is capable of leading the pack. You have to be willing to trust your workers, not pigeonhole them into their respective duties.

I have no idea why it’s so difficult for people to see creative individuals as leaders. There’s no law against someone creating new material and leading a team of workers at the same time. That’s another thing that seems to go by the wayside in these situations. Managers of creative people should continue to create themselves. Naturally, their workload would decrease as their management duties become more demanding. They should never be in a position where they’re creating nothing at all. Everyone should do their part to contribute to the overall vision of the company.

I wish bosses could realize the impact they would have if they worked with their employees once in a while doing the same thing they do on a daily basis. Again, I’m not saying all bosses are this way. There are some bosses out there that are the envy of everyone in their industry. They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty and they remain well liked by their employees. Every industry needs to have more of these bosses. Workers deserve the joy of knowing their boss can relate to them because there was a time when they were doing what they are doing.