Black Rifle Coffee

Veteran owned and operated…

This was actually another Christmas present I received this year. I looked the company up and then got drawn in to their over the top YouTube videos.

Black Rifle Coffee Company is a premium, small-batch, roast-to-order, veteran-owned coffee company. We develop our explosive roast profiles with the same mission focus we learned as military members serving this great country and are committed to supporting veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. With every purchase you make, we give back.

Another good batch of coffee if you want to try something different. Pretty cool that they support Veterans too.

I’m pretty easy to shop for at Christmas time. 🤣

Here’s their YouTube Channel.

Coffee for Christmas

This was a GREAT present…

I got some of this Valhalla Java, for Christmas from some friends. Strong, very bold.

Harness the power of Odin with this masterful artisan roast

Our coffee beans are specifically selected and expertly roasted to provide an ultra-strong cup of coffee that is bold and smooth

Drink your coffee with pride knowing that our beans are Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic

Very good.

GoPro Hero 7 for only $250

Of course I paid almost double this for my Hero 6 back when I bought it…

This is insanely cheap…renewed by the Amazon Renewed program so you have a good guarantee there. I vlogged with my Hero 6 at the beach a couple years ago and it was amazing.

Amazon Renewed Program

AvantLink Affiliate Application [Update and Lessons Learned]

It seems I hit a snag…

It seems that my website does not get quite enough traffic to warrant being accepted to the AvantLink partnership program. Over the weekend I wrote about applying to their program in hopes that I could be a Patagonia affiliate. Yet for now I will have to wait.

In all fairness, AvantLink does spell out what they’re looking for.

One of the sites that they point to, Alexa.com, has a tool that they use to help evaluate applications they receive. Once I went there, it made a lot more sense. I plugged in my URL and saw that Scott from California is still too fresh to rank in the top 3 million sites in webtraffic.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some climbing blogs I know.

Some of these sites are still active. The crazy part is that I remember when sites like MojaGear and CruxCrush were first launched. Heck, CruxCrush isn’t even running anymore and it still ranks in the top 3 million. So why does a site that is no longer being posted to rank higher than me?

Because they have been around for a while.

Had I been smarter, 7 or 8 years ago, when I first started my own website; I would have picked a name, stuck with it, and at least kept it running.

Lesson learned.

For now I will continue to try and inspire those I can and find quality content for you to enjoy.

How to Apply for the Patagonia Affiliate Program with a WordPress Site

This can be a little tricky…

When I started chipping away at finding affiliate programs that are a good fit for this blog, one of the first ones I had thought of was Patagonia. If you have been here from the beginning, you’ll know that the site name started off as PatagoniaDad. In fact I still have the http://www.patagoniadad.com url pointing to this site, and most of my social media handles are some version of @patagoniadad.

As a climber, I have long been a Patagonia fan. I used to live where the flagship store is, knew people who worked there and designed clothes for them, love the gear, and really respect what the company stands for. The group of people I used to work out with at my last gym, would joke with me all the time about how many different jackets of theirs I own. All that aside, I’ve bought many things from them and I have been meaning to do reviews on their stuff for a while…affiliate or not.

AvantLink is the company that handles Patagonia’s affiliate program and their verification method seems pretty standard as I learn more about how affiliate stuff works. The quickest verification method is to install some javascript on your site’s home page, click one of their links that will check to see if the script is there, then viola!…you are verified and one step closer to being approved. However, even with a WordPress premium plan, you can’t install plug-ins that would allow javascript (that requires a business plan)…so you have to do a little work around that Avant Link walks you through.

They have a specific call out for WordPress users like you and I:

WordPress: WordPress is the most popular ‘do it yourself’ website editor.

In order to get the JavaScript verification script integrated, you have to write a blog entry, select “Text” instead of “Visual” editing, and then use the “<code>“ and “</code>“ tags to surround the script. That way it will not be visible, but the confirmation script (which searches for the embedded script) would then be able to find it. 

AvantLink Support Site

Below is what that looks like.

http://classic.avantlink.com/affiliate_app_confirm.php?mode=js&authResponse=d5858baa6e85ab9b1f12842c85ff11864b70ef9d

You probably don’t see anything…maybe a small “play” icon. [Correction, it looks like a link…that doesn’t really work] When you are pasting in the javascript to your site, you will have to click the page editor menu (top right of your WP blog post editing page) and switch from Visual Editor to Code Editor. Paste in the javascript they provide, put <code> in front of it and </code> at the end, then switch back to Visual Editor.

Boom! The verification javascript is there. You do have to post it to your home page…so if that is a blog post like this, then you will have to post it. And from what I understand, it can’t be behind a “read more” link, it has to be visible ON the home page. Now click on the verification link and wait. They say that once it is verified that you can delete the script…but I’ll probably leave mine here since I used it for a blog post.

I will update this post once I get some sort of response on what happens and if it works.

If you are curious about some of the good affiliate program sites I’ve found feel free to drop a comment. AvantLink seems like one that has good core values and is looking for quality over quantity. Just my style.

Grammarly: An Everywhere Solution to an Everyday Need

A free and out of the way tool…

I’ve seen adds for Grammarly for a while now, and I even remember when it was just a website you could copy and paste your short papers for a good grammar check. I always thought I had good grammar.

I was a Political Science major for my undergraduate degree and received a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic studies from the Naval War College. I was able to get one of my final papers published in a monthly military magazine and it was good enough to get some notice in the DC area and garnered me a radio interview. I consider myself a fairly good writer but I know that I have my own grammatical ticks and common errors.

One of my bad habits is my over use of adverbs. Even prolific writers like Stephen King have written about how the adverb should be avoided:

I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. If one is writing for one’s own pleasure, that fear may be mild — timidity is the word I’ve used here. If, however, one is working under deadline — a school paper, a newspaper article, the SAT writing sample — that fear may be intense. Dumbo got airborne with the help of a magic feather; you may feel the urge to grasp a passive verb or one of those nasty adverbs for the same reason. Just remember before you do that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him.

[…]

Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation. Affectation itself, beginning with the need to define some sorts of writing as ‘good’ and other sorts as ‘bad,’ is fearful behavior.

Stephen King on Writing, Fear, and the Atrocity of Adverbs – brainpickings.org

Most folks, myself included, don’t have a website like this unless you enjoy writing to some degree. Additionally, I wouldn’t keep tackling having a website if I didn’t want to get better at writing. The only way to get better at writing, is to write more…and why not have a tool that helps you as you write. Literally, as you write.

So I installed the Grammarly Safari extension.

Correct all grammar errors with Grammarly!

Boom! I didn’t even realize it but Grammarly was now with me on every website with a subtle recommendation on a odd pronoun or errant adverb. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

I know for a fact that Grammarly would have saved me some heartache while I was writing papers ad nauseum for my Master’s Degree. In fact, I’m looking at continuing some of my studies in that realm and I can guarantee that I will be using Grammarly as a constant quality assurance check on my work.

Installing the Safari extension and Mac app are free. In fact, once it’s installed on your Mac, all you have to do is drop a word document onto the Grammarly icon and it will check your work.

Simply drop any existing text document on the Grammarly icon to open and edit your text instantly.

Now I won’t lie to you…there is a free version which gives you the basic features (which are still awesome) and a premium version for $11.66/month if you pay for a year up front.

The premium version is worth it for 3 categories of people who write.

  1. Students – you pay a couple hundred bucks for 1 book, why not pay less than that for something that will put your papers over the top.
  2. Professional Writers – I.E. You make a living as a writer. Write it off as a business expense, make your editor happier, and your life/work can be a little smoother.
  3. Bloggers – Caveat here…a) bloggers who make enough money to cover the cost of premium b) bloggers who want the absolute highest quality writing as the center peice of their blog and are willing to invest to get there

If you don’t fall in to one of those 3 (perhaps 4) categories then I think you can get by with the free version. I know I want to pay for premium and to be honest, I’m looking for any excuse to do just that. I highly encourage you to check it out…even the free version will make it worth your time.

Want to check this out for free? (or learn more about the advanced feature of premium), head over here.