Wednesday, April 01, 2009

State of the Website Address

Given the tough economic times, it should come as no surprise that Atlas Quest has been hurting. Premium memberships are down, subscription renewals are down, and ad rates for the few areas that show ads are down. No one is immune—and when someone has the choice to pay for food or buy a premium membership, understandably, they'll choose food first.I've been cutting back expenses. The location to store the nightly backups have been moved from a service that cost $60/year to one that costs about $10/year. Planned upgrades have been put on hold. Amanda got a cheap home-made tote bag for her birthday. These actions, however, have not been enough.

But thanks to recently passed legislation, Atlas Quest qualifies for some of the money from the economic stimulus package directed towards small businesses! Hey, I'm as surprised as you are!

Now that I'm in business with the federal government, they will have a greater say in how things are run. For instance, I'm not allowed to pay myself more than $250,000/year, and bonuses will be capped. You've probably heard about those types of restrictions already—they get most of the publicity from the news media. There, are, however, additional strings attached, some of which may affect you.

  • I may not refer to this money as a 'bailout.' It is an economic stimulus or economic recovery—not a bailout.

  • I am not to tell people that I am not allowed to call it a 'bailout.'

  • Ooops.

  • The name Atlas Quest, they have decided, is not appropriate. It sounds more like a bunch of students looking for their geography books the night before an exam than a bunch of crazy people with inky fingers looking for rubber stamps. Hearings will be held to decide on a new name, but Crazy Bunch of People With Inky Fingers and Looking For Rubber Stamps are currently being favored.

  • Due to the buy-American provision, support for countries outside of the United States will no longer be supported. It is feared that letterboxes in foreign countries may encourage Americans to go abroad and spend money there. This should have little effect for most people, but could hit Canadian letterboxers hard.

  • Don's contribution to the Letterboxer's Code of Conduct must remove all references to guns, unless to suggest that they are dangerous and should be outlawed.

  • Blue Diamonds are considered discriminatory, since only a select few boxes get special recognition. To recognize everyone's efforts, additional levels will be added including purple cats, rubber chickens, and—for the lowest tier—brown turds.

  • Marjorie will henceforth be called Betty, a good, solid American-sounding name. It's a low blow, I know, but the feds wanted to deport her to Canada! I could only change their minds by making her more 'American.'

  • I will be required to publish at least three books about letterboxing, to help the printing industry. Only one of them may be a children's book. A ghost writer may be used if I do not want to write them myself, but any ghost writer must be an American.

  • I must charge carbon offsets for every clue distributed. (Exact rates still to be determined.)

  • With the federal government now standing behind Atlas Quest, I'm optimistic that we can strong-arm the NPS into allowing letterboxes everywhere on their property.

It'll take some time before I can implement all of these changes, but look for them coming down the line in the next few months. Changes can often be a difficult thing to adjust to, but with our share of the economic stimulus package, we have a solid base for decades of successful growth. These are difficult times, but remember in these dark times, you have nothing to fear but snakes and spiders.


Anonymous said...

I am shocked, shocked!, at this blatent plenepotential, fiduciary, submission to federalist meddling, and bureaucratoxic commingling. Something must be done! We must prevaricate against all such demons. Call the zouaves! Send the elephants! Dump eggplant and brocoli in their driveways! They must be stopped!

Phineas T. Boch

Anonymous said...

Poor, poor Marjorie... (oops, I mean "Betty".) That just ain't right!

Anonymous said...

April fools=Government!

Teresa said...

Will you be receiving any funding to work on that rock stashing site?

Anonymous said...

I agree with my comrade-in-arms from our circus days!

But please, we Italians love-a da broccoli.
Please dump some French cut green-a beanz.

Marco Peperoni

Anonymous said...

Atlasquest has hit hard times
Which urges me to pen these rhymes.
Young Ryan had to slam the doors
To turn away his creditors.
His webpage teeters on the brink;
His business plan he must rethink.
To his surprise the government
May soften his predicament.
The stimulus may mean that he
Won't have to file for bankruptcy.
Of course, it comes with strings attached;
It is a scheme the Feds have hatched.
New names and terms you must select
And all politically correct.
"Letterbox" belongs, I guess
To bureaus of USPS.
Where workers under gooseneck lamps
Push papers with THEIR rubber stamps.
Our hobby's name may have to change;
New terms may seem a little strange.
So let us come to Ryan's aid
And face the future unafraid.
Step up now; don't pout or sob
Or he may have to get a job.


Bobguyman said...

Haha! And I was thinking that the April Fools' Joke was never going to come ;)

Haha... "Betty" ;D

who actually fell for it for a minute

Anonymous said...

I think you can get one of those H-2 visas for the writer, because we all know no American would take the job. I hope Betty, nee' Marjorie is not too traumatized.. and right before Easter, too!Hopefully won't affect her egg laying capability.

Hey did you know that Where the Buffalo Roam (photo on blog) is a box by Lisascenic in SF CA (yes we DO have buffalo roaming in San Francisco, so there). VERY American!

erichr said...


jackbear said...

This was very smart of you to go with the gov't. We have to stop the commies some how.

ipsquibibble said...

Poor Amanda.

Poodle Dudes

Anonymous said...

"I must charge carbon offsets for every clue distributed"

Heh. This is from the guy who probably has the world's smallest carbon footprint


Anonymous said...

""To recognize everyone's efforts, additional levels will be added including purple cats, rubber chickens, and—for the lowest tier—brown turds.""

Lowest level...brown turds...only one possible name for that level...

Fearless Colon

Anonymous said...

Great Joke!!!!!!!!!!!
Makes wonder about the state of AQ though. If memberships aren't down yet, they probably will be soon. But more so due to the level of redundant and inane crap that goes on with the boards and the ridiculous people with no lives who stay on them.

Anonymous said...

An American ghost writer? I nominate Edgar Allen Poe!


Sarcasmo said...

Thanks're so shockingly in touch with the reality of the, shh stimulus plan and so articulate as well. I did some research on this and you forgot one thing. Since you are now working with the Feds, as it were, we Atlasquestonians will be receiving a tax break for using your website and have been notified via class action team Blender and Blender. 1.5% of the premium dues have been asigned to all users to offset your clue charge, no charge for broccoli. It's true! I read it on the internet!

Anonymous said...

Now that the snow has been driven away by early Spring temps, yet it will return next week again, I have yet another fear. My face, right arm and part of my scalp are blistered by some form of botanical poison. I knew those oils and dusts were laying dormant to strike. Maybe the "hill" in D.C. needs a touch of Ivy, Oak or the dreaded Sumac. That's plenty of stimulus for anyone's package when you're trying to sit still and not scratch.


Anonymous said...

This has GOT to be a joke. I don't believe it for a second...

♥ Lady Lilac