Today was my last day at Jenson Online, for a while and possibly ever, so that I can focus on school and fulfill my potential on assignments like I wasn't able to do last semester. Since I was such a good employee I'm welcome to return whenever I want, so that's a nice safety net to have, but whether I do or not depends on what progress I'm able to make on my actual career goals in the next few months. Like, it might help if I actually get something published. Just a thought. With any luck, I'll soon have a job in the USU English department, but that's contingent on whether I can out-compete people with equal or superior writing skills. My best chance is to focus on what makes me unique, which is that I'm almost the only person in any writing class I've ever had who tries to write funny things (and, if I may flatter myself, usually succeeds).
When I started at Jenson Online nearly two years ago, of course I had just escaped from the call center. After much prayer and debate I decided to quit that job so I would have time to go in for an interview for this one. Even though I had zero ten key experience. I practiced really hard to make sure I could pass the ten key test that accompanied the interview, and then I did so well that I knew I would get the job despite a couple faux pases like forgetting to stand up when the guy shook my hand. And then I realized that my hunt-and-peck method wouldn't work while I was reading the ISBNs out of the books, so I had to learn it the right way within the first few days. I was very blessed to get this job, is what I'm saying. At that time I thoroughly enjoyed it but knew the excitement would someday wear off. I compared it to a marriage, or at least how I imagine a marriage would be, where you start off crazy in love and then slowly the banalities of real life take over and the magic is lost, and you have to remind yourself how blessed you are to be with this person. So I guess this is a divorce over someone younger and more beautiful.
And I learned today that a former coworker I barely knew somehow discovered my blog and told another coworker about it who told another coworker about it, and they like it. I know I'm a great writer, but I feel like my posts all summer have been hastily and poorly written, so that was a nice confidence booster. I was actually just thinking about giving up on it. Since 2018 started my previously satisfactory pageviews have gone through the floor despite doing everything I can think of to search engine optimize the site. I don't know if it's people turning off their cookies or what. As I write this my stats tell me that today I've had 64 visitors and 424 page views, meaning that each visitor viewed an average of 6.625 pages, which is somewhat typical and makes little or no sense to me. If my site is really so compelling that people keep looking at additional pages after they first stumble on it, then it should be rising organically through the search results and getting more and more visitors. It was getting more and more visitors until 2018 started. Now it won't no matter what I do. Any time the stats start going up and I think this stupid slump is over, they plummet again.
One thing I had hoped to do was have a substantial following on my blog so that when I published a book, I could advertise it here and already have loyal fans eager to read it. I don't think that's going to happen now. I've been at this for well over three years and the lack of discernible progress has been quite discouraging. But I feel encouraged now. Even if only a small cluster of local people get enjoyment out of it, that's something and I hope I can continue to please them. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.
As most people reading this are already aware, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has started an initiative to stop calling The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "the LDS Church" or "the Mormon Church" or "Mormonism" and to stop calling Latter-day Saints "Mormons". So I'm going through my website and change most instances of "Mormon" to "Latter-day Saint" even though it will do my search ranking no favors. I'm not going through all my old blog posts because that would take far too long. These new guidelines are, of course, less than convenient, and almost certainly will be very detrimental to the Church's visibility online and in the public consciousness, but I choose to trust that President Nelson knows what he's doing. Who said religion was supposed to be convenient? A prophet who always just reaffirmed one's pre-existing opinions would be useless. President Nelson says this can't be done, but the Lord wants it done so it will be.
I feel sorrier for people in some other languages, though. In Spanish, "Mormon" is "Mormón". "Latter-day Saint" is "Santo de los Últimos Días". Spanish speakers are now expected to say nine syllables instead of two. The full name of the Church, "La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días", is twenty syllables, while "Iglesia SUD" is seven (because the letter S is pronounced "essay"). And they're probably no longer allowed to jokingly call it "La Iglesia de José Smith y Un Dios" (The Church of Joseph Smith and One God - get it, because the words use the same first letters as the actual name. Spanish humor is weird.) And the loss of recognition overseas will be even worse than in the US. Even people I met from India had some idea of what "Mormons" were from watching "South Park", even though "Mormons" in India are literally one in a million (literally), but of course they had never heard of "Latter-day Saints".
Tomorrow: Bear Lake. Monday: College. And that's as far in advance as I know anything. Fingers crossed that this semester will be less stressful than the last one.
Against all odds, while dredging the internet for Legend of Zelda stuff to sate my obsession, I discovered a snarky synopsis of the Lamp Chop Chanukah Special entitled "Lamb Chop's Special Chanukah". If I wasn't already feeling nostalgic enough from working on my memoir, this cranked it up to eleven because I watched "Lamb Chop's Special Chanukah" when it aired in December 1995. I was two and a half years old. I really want to be two and a half years old again. All I remember from it was that Charlie Horse opened his Chanukah present early, prompting Lamb Chop to taunt "You're gonna get in trouble!", and that his present did indeed cause trouble as troublemaking people kept magically coming out of it, the first being some kind of genie who kicked the furniture and made something fall off the wall by yelling at it. It was very weird. Even at that age I wondered why Shari Lewis was giving her kids/pets such dangerous presents. Learning the context almost twenty-three years later hasn't really made it less weird.
After reading the synopsis, I still don't remember anything else from it, but it fuels my nostalgia nonetheless. Since the special is inexplicably not on YouTube I'm debating whether to spend twenty dollars plus shipping on a VHS tape that I have no way of playing. And what are these other things?
Lamb Chop's existence predates her early nineties show "Lamb Chops Play-Along" by over thirty years, though, and it turns out she's occasionally been a bit less than child-friendly, as in this couple of very old clips. I must admit that Lamb Chop swearing was not something I expected to hear ever, albeit they're just a couple of minor swears that aren't even swears in the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand. These clips both end with the same weird song, and that's the part most worth watching, as Shari Lewis switches between herself and the puppet with inhuman speed and precision. She never seemed old to me despite being in her sixties, but holy crap, she looks so young here despite probably being in her forties.
It also turns out that Shari Lewis cheated by celebrating Chanukah and Christmas. What lucky kids/pets.
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C. Randall Nicholson
This is where I occasionally rant about life, the universe, and/or everything. I'm a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate me without guilt, but I'm also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual.