Friday update

I had an unfinished idea yesterday. Maybe someone can pick up the ball and figure out how to run it into the end zone.

It was about 5 PM and I had spent the evening doing stuff related to my professional writing career: learning how to set up an email list, taking notes on the posts of authors on Medium I admire, that kind of thing. I felt like I was getting a little burned out, so I decided to take a quick break.

I signed into Amazon Mechanical Turk as a worker and accepted 14 activities where I would look at two pictures and determine which looked more like a reference picture. Each activity took about a minute to complete and paid 7 cents, so I made 98 cents on my break.

Now, some of you may be wondering: Why in the world would someone with a master’s degree perform rote activities for below minimum wage?

Well, two reasons, really. One is that I never have to pay for books anymore. Every so often, I accumulate enough in my Amazon gift card balance to buy a book. Alternately, I could use the money to buy other writing-related supplies (Pilot G2 blue extra-fine 0.5 mm pens are my jam). Or, since it’s Amazon, I could use the money to buy groceries.

More importantly, though, it’s the reminder to myself that at anytime I want, I can go earn myself a little money. No one has to choose to hire me for a job. It’s all up to me. Now, when my writing is earning me $500 or $1000 a month, Amazon Mturk will not be worth my time anymore. But in the early months of my writing career, it’s reinforcement that I can earn money on my own.

After I logged off Mturk, I looked out the window and saw some of our homeless friends sitting on the benches outside. I thought, how cool would it be if they could log in and earn a few bucks anytime they like? If they could earn 20, 30 bucks a day on Mturk or something similar, that money could be life-changing – not only in terms of spending power, but in the feeling of empowerment it would give them to earn their own money.

But there are reasons why I can earn that 98 cents on Mturk on my break, and they can’t. There are reasons I could earn 30 bucks a day on there if I wanted to, and they can’t.

One, I have a $500 laptop and I pay $100 or so a month for high-speed Internet. If I didn’t have those things, I could still use Mturk on my $650 phone and whatever I pay AT&T for unlimited data.

Two, I have a bank account that I could deposit Mturk earnings into. They don’t.

Third, I have an Amazon account that I alternately divert the earnings into, so I can buy books and groceries. Now, they could set up an Amazon account as well. But what they don’t have is a shipping address.

How cool would it be if they could log onto a site like Amazon Mturk or Microsoft Rewards or Qmee (a new site I found recently that pays you to take surveys) and earn a few bucks anytime they liked, and then were able to transfer the earnings onto an electronic gift card they could actually use Downtown – like a Walgreens e-card or a Jimmy John’s e-card?

Or what if they could transfer the earnings into an account that can be spent on nights at the shelter?

Just an idea. Like I say, if anyone wants to take it and run with it, be my guest.

On to the news…

Those of you who live in South Junction apartments, this is another reminder to lock your car doors. A member of Nextdoor observed two males jump the complex’s fence around 9:00 last night and start checking door handles to see if cars are unlocked.

In other news gleaned from Nextdoor, speeding is said to be a problem on Island Place East, the major thoroughfare on the “inland” portion of Mud Island.

Free A. Schwab’s shot glasses when you buy an AM/PM bourbon shot at the Beale Street dry goods store’s Harvest Fest Saturday beginning at 2 PM. While you’re getting liquored up, the kids can enjoy $1 ice cream, $2 hot dogs, balloon “carving,” and a Jones Orchard pumpkin patch.

Slider Inn Downtown weekend entertainment schedule:

FedEx will hold a job fair Saturday for positions at its hub. These positions are in and of themselves not glamorous, throwing boxes. However, they offer a major perk: A foot in the door. If you show up on time for work for a year and do your job, that’ll put you in the top 20%, and you’ll be able to bid on corporate jobs with the company. Some of the company’s top leaders started out in the hub. Pay is $15 an hour and some jobs pay $18 an hour. Also, if you’re uninsured, the health insurance alone can make these jobs worth your consideration.

Big weather changes coming today. If you go out this afternoon, take an umbrella. If you go out tonight, take a jacket.

Yikes, the morning got away from me! None of the remaining news in my queue is time-sensitive so I’ll push it until tomorrow’s post. I watched the debate last night. Trump was much, much, much more in control this time. Perhaps no pre-debate nose candy this time around? Biden stuttered and stammered a bit but his performance was in no way bad. We will see if the debate allowed Trump to catch up enough ground but I don’t think it did. Back tomorrow with more news.