Artist Lorenzo Ross, Psychic Janet Wright, Their Pet Cats, Dogs and Friends.
Category: Fun Modern Stuff: cool websites, internet deals, tech toys, etc.
There are lots of fun things we have now that weren’t here even 30 years ago: yelp.com for consumer reviews of everything, pandora.com for free cool music, etsy.com for cool art, money-saving sites, iPhone 4 with Facetime video chat, etc. These blog posts relate to those things. If you are already a pro at this or want to catch up and join the fun, these posts may interest you.
Last month I closed my Etsy store for good. Sales had been in the crapper for about two years so it was way past time to pull the trigger. Looking at the shop stats confirmed what I already knew and that was that out of 10 years on Etsy the shop only had 3 years where it was kinda profitable.
So, in August I moved the store to Weebly. It’s still a work in progress but so far I’m pleased with the results. Without the coattails of mother Etsy to hang onto, promoting the site is all on me now. IMO it can’t get worse since for the entire year of 2020 there were only 3 sales. Haven’t had numbers that bad since my first couple years on Etsy when it was just a whim and not a full time business.
I’m excited because this will force me to learn more about SEO and promoting on social media. Earlier this year I finally wiggled free of Godaddy’s slimy grip and found new web hosting. Right now this blog and alternativecitycomics.com have the same hosting while the store is hosted by Weebly. For now that works because they handle all the financial transactions since they are owned by Squarespace. Depending how things go I may move them all to the same host but for now it feels like we’re moving forward.
I love that the vinyl record has made a comeback. For me it’s mostly a nostalgic thing since I know that digitally recorded music is a more accurate presentation of sound, but with vinyl it’s all about the experience.
Growing up in the 60’s & 70’s playing records was kind of a big deal. When you broke out the albums and started playing them back to back that was an event. Usually there would be friends over or it would be the weekend. Otherwise you’d just turn on the radio. There was no streaming or mp3 players.
Just watching the record spin on the turntable is kind of hypnotic. Not to mention all the extras, lyrics and artwork that come inside the album jacket.
We are blessed with one of the coolest record stores on the planet here in Olympia, Rainy Day Records. I have spent hours on my hands and knees going through their 98 cent records. New vinyl is more pricey than I remember. A single album today can run as much as $30 so it’s worth it to look through the bargain bins.
Along with used stereo equipment, used & new cds and dvds, there’s a wall of rare records displayed as a comic shop would show their prize silver and bronze age books. They even have 45s!
Rainy Day is going to get a lot of my business in the months to come as I replace my record collection that was mostly given away before our move. Any records new or old I’ll get buy from them because places like this are a treasure and should be around forever.
On December 7th, 2011 I bought a pair of pink V-MODA Vibe headphones on Amazon for $24. I had purchased several of these before because they short out after 2 or 3 months. Even though they only last a short time I kept buying them because they have a great sound for the price. Actually the order was for 2 pair, a pair of gunmetal phones for me and the pink ones for Janet. The gunmetal set was $38.
Fast forward 2 months later, my phones short out as usual so I borrow Janet’s pair. She hardly used them and mine were in use all the time when I work, at the gym, even overnight I wear them so I can use the sleep machine app and listen to old time radio to help me sleep. I never gave them back.
This morning, the forever headphones (which is what I named them after they just kept going) finally shorted out in one ear. It was the end of an era. By some fluke, some miracle of modern manufacturing, I had been able to use a product that is surely created to fail in a short period of time, for almost 5 years.
Just looked on Amazon and the few remaining sets of this model are now $39. I’m reluctant to buy them because the odds are so against the next pair being anything like the last pair. They will never surpass the forever headphones. A moment of silence please.
Sometimes you just get stuck. For whatever reasons we have a hard time doing things we know need to get done. That was the case when it came to updating my website. My site was built back in 06 and looked like it was even older. The look was cluttered and was hard to navigate. I knew it needed updating but the task seemed insurmountable so it just kept getting kicked down the road.
About a year ago Janet & I bought RapidWeaver a WYSIWYG software that’s pretty affordable compared to the Adobe CC monthly subscription commitment. Jan built her site and it came out great, but for some reason I had the impression that it was hard and confusing so I made excuses to not use it. Finally, about a month ago I started playing around with it just to see how it worked. It couldn’t have been easier. There are a lot of third party add-ons you can get but my site was finished using a third party theme but nothing else.
It did take me a while to finish the new site but a lot of it was spent preparing content. Once all content is prepared assembling the site itself was a breeze. I fell behind on the Ninja Bunny webcomic but ended up finally creating the YouTube channel I’d been putting off making and along with the motion comic you see here. Man, feels good to be un-stuck!
Last night I went to the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Props to Terry Gant of Third Coast Comics who puts together a bunch of movie premiere parties as well as monthly meetups & Karaoke events that are awesome. Usually I’m the kind of person who waits a week or two then catches a matinee when a movie I like comes out, but this time I decided to be “among the first” to see this mega blockbuster.
I had been to one of Terry’s premieres before (Guardians of the Galaxy) and had a good time but I remember having to get up during the flick to use the washroom because I’d had too many cocktails from our private bartender. I still don’t know how they escaped the prison! This time the plan was get there just before the movie starts, have one drink and nurse it through the movie. Turns out that wasn’t such a good idea because every seat was either taken or being “held” for folks who weren’t there. Luckily I was able to squeeze in between two middle aged ladies, one of whom was already half in the bag.
The movie itself was everything I had hoped it would be. I don’t have the same attachment many Star Wars fans have with the franchise since I was 20 when the first movie came out so even though I really liked it, it didn’t influence my childhood the way it does some of the die-hard fans. JJ Abrams is one of those fans and he has made a movie that is a love letter to the other fans who have been sadly and in some cases angrily disappointed by the films made since Return of the Jedi. Even tho this movie introduces the next generation of Star Wars characters, it has the advantage of having the original cast included thus giving their blessing, if you will to the youngbloods. As every beloved original cast member made their first screen appearance they were greeted by thunderous applause, like we were attending a live performance. I’m not going to give any spoilers because I HATE people who do that, but I can say that if the hardcore fans don’t like this one, just hang up your robe and lay down your light sabre.
Why does everybody speed to wherever they’re going? I’m sure many of these people are heading to jobs that they hate or family they can’t stand but boy are they in a hurry to get there!
The other day I was driving south on I-57. I’m not a leadfoot anymore so I try to stay in the middle lane and go a few miles over the limit but not so fast that I can’t adjust down if a state trooper is spotted. This particular day was a Saturday afternoon and traffic seemed a bit more aggressive than usual so I moved to the right lane so all the NASCAR wannabees could get past me. This woman got right in my ass. Keep in mind that I’m going 70 mph in a 55 zone in the right lane. It was clear she was giving me the kind of tailgate that’s meant to intimidate me into driving faster. Sorry missy, if 70 in the slow lane ain’t fast enough for ya then take your ass around. Which she did and while doing so shot me the nastiest glare one human being could give another. LikeI’m the asshole!
Lately I’ve become addicted to Trader Joe’s Chicago Style Popcorn Mix. It’s the closest thing to Garrett’s cheese & caramel popcorn mix and it’s only $3 a bag. Garrett’s Popcorn has been around since 1949 and every since they opened Chicagoans have been standing in line to but their awesome popcorn. Another company has filed a lawsuit against Garrett’s over the use of the term “Chicago Mix” but everybody knows that Garrett’s is the best no matter what they call it.
Part of me feels bad as I’m chowing down on bag after bag of the TJ’s stuff because Janet is allergic to popcorn. So now I try to eat it when she’s not around. Which makes me a secret popcorn eater. God help me.
Back in 1984 I was waiting tables at The Medici in Hyde Park. One day Marsha, a fellow member of the waitstaff came to me and said, I saw this movie the other day and there was a line in it that reminded me of you. Working at the Med seems like a lifetime ago for me for many reasons, but I did get to check out that movie and have been in love with Repo Man ever since.
Made on a small budget Executive produced by Mike Nesmith formerly of the Monkees and directed by Alex Cox, Repo Man is a Quirky indie film about a punker named Otto who falls into a job as a repo man. Along the way we are introduced to Otto’s criminal friends, his mentor Bud, government agents chasing a car with dead ETs in the trunk and lots more craziness. The soundtrack is a who’s who of mid 80’s punk royalty and was a huge hit even before the movie came out. The movie has attained cult status and is filled with lines that I constantly quote to this day.
The Criterion Collection has issued a blu-ray edition of Repo Man that came out last year. I just bought a copy off Ebay and for me it brings back memories from that era that was the best of times & the worst of times. It comes with a booklet filled with lots of little known facts about the film. The disc contains deleted scenes and commentary as well as interviews with actors and Iggy Pop who did the theme song. Thanks Marsha, for turning me on to this satirical masterpiece.
Hi guys! I have blogged before about various times I’ve made loans on the website kiva.org. Basically you make a small loan of $25 and people all over the world do the same and then the person who asked for the loan gets it, gets to invest in their small business, then pays it back over time. You get to see the photo, name, and story of the people asking for loans, and you can search by gender and other factors. I search for women asking for the loan on their own rather than in a group, and pick people I feel will pay it back, and who seem to have a positive effect on others. But that’s not all. There’s an extra idea I have in mind….
I also pick people I’d like to have tea with once or twice, or people with whom I feel I’d like to have a brief conversation. People I respect and admire and would like to encourage. I do this because I want to reward positive people, and also I believe that the spirit of those I pick actually know about me and the other lenders on a subconscious level. I believe that we actually can meet briefly, in our dreams (on the “astral”), with our angels, and actually have tea. So today I picked Hedaya a Palestinian woman who is 38, married, with two children in school. She is making improvements to her women’s clothing shop.
I also picked Batbold who is 53, married with three kids in Mongolia. Both he and his wife are chefs and he is opening a cafe. I had a positive sense of him right away, but when I read that his daughter is going to a university that reinforced my sense that he has a good heart. So here’s to having tea with kind, sincere people, both while awake and in the body, and in our dreams with our angels!
Everyone has done it. How can you resist the urge? The last time I did it the first name that came up was a different Lorenzo Ross’s Facebook profile. He has more friends than me. The next item was alternativecitycomics.com so that’s cool. Then a lot of old blog posts of ours, okay that’s cool too. Then when I look under images, two of the first three photos are mug shots of two different brothers with my name, one in Texas the other in Florida. I have got to stay the hell out’a those states! Fortunately the fourth photo was my old Myspace profile shot. There’s a lot of Myspace stuff of mine out there. Lucky me.