Monday, February 15, 2010

Angry Like Kevin Smith...but not quite so famous? Read on...

Here's the run-down, really fast, because I don't know that everybody who reads this (all ten of you) will necessarily be up on this particular news bite.  Kevin Smith, the director of Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy, was booted off a Southwest flight this weekend for being "too fat for the sky," as it was so aptly put by one of his twitter followers.  The resulting shit-storm by Kevin, via twitter, was a thing to behold.  He came down hard and fast on Southwest, causing the company to apologize by way of the poor sap who has to run the @southwest twitter feed, and via their blog, which I won't bother linking to;  it hasn't worked for me once since I started trying to view it.

As I listened to Kevin's podcast, the Smodcast, it was really nagging at me.  What do you do if you get royally gnawed on by the corporate machine, but you don't happen to have 1,651,646 followers on twitter?

I'm not exactly sure, but it really bugged me all night, and I thought I'd try something.  What if you could use a twitter hashtag, that little # that makes people know you're talking about something that others might want to talk about as well, and people would take up your cause, and re-tweet that mother, so that the corporate douchebags might take a little notice of your tiny twitter account with all of 18 followers?

That's why I'm taking this absolutely longform attempt at creating such a hashtag.


If you've just been screwed over by the man, if some corporate douchebag just made you cry like a fat man thrown off a plane (I know, Kev, you didn't cry, but that girl sitting next to you wanted to, and I don't want to pick on her.  I know you can take it), then maybe we can find a little help in Kev's army, and bring some light to places where there needs a laser-powered spot-light.

And maybe only ten of you will read this, and it'll die right here, but this was really eating at me all night, so I had to try.  Tweet this mother of a blogpost, and let's get started.  Let's do it for that girl sitting next to Kevin on that second Southwest flight.  Let's do it for her, whatever her name is.

Friday, February 12, 2010

So I stapled together that first one. Staples are NOT seams.

These are the first two attempts at turning Hank, into what I'm calling Pocket Plush. The final will be a limited edition red suede, with possible later editions done in something a little more felt-ish. (and cheaper)

I'm happy with the way he's turning out. The first one is really horrible, but it was really just a way for me to see what something like this might look like. I've got his string down pretty solidly, I think. It's raffia wrapped heavy gauge wire, and it stands him up very nicely.  It also means that you'll be able to wrap him around your desk-lamp or the neck of your least favorite Munny.  There are some tweaks I'll do to the final pattern, I think, but overall the image is there.

In other news, it's Valentine's day and you don't have a date.  I'm not judging.  I'm just saying maybe you should stop hanging around the water fountain, filling up your Hello Kitty water bottle, and pick up a Milo Pocket Art instead.  All the good Valentines include one.  Even the LATE Valentines.  And man, are you late.

Me, I'm totally not late.  I got mega reservations for tomorrow night.  Dinner, dance, and a swank hotel.  I love me some Valentine's day.  Give your sweetie a squeeze, and if you ain't got a sweetie, then go squeeze a stranger.  Just don't blame me if you get slapped after.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Ease of Starting Something...

I was struck again last night at how easy it's become to Start Something.  I use caps because it's one of the themes I've been wrapping my brain around lately.  How do you Start Something that others will find value in, and how do you get those people who would find value in it to know that it's there?

My main source of experience in this at the moment is obviously Milo, and I'm having some luck there in getting eyes on the site, and getting folks to know what's going on in Milo's world.  But this weekend I was asked for some help in getting an online presence for someone, and not in creative circles, but just in terms of a landing place on the web so that they might try some online advertising.  You need a place for the clicks to go, if you're going to be paying for clicks, and you have to have at least some bare bones information out there if you want the possibility of anyone finding you and what you can do for them.

So, for 14 bucks, I put up a free-hosted site for Dan's Construction Services.  It's not slick, and it's not flash-animated, but it's definitely not ugly.  So, for 14 bucks for a year, I got up a real honest to goodness web presence that has the capability of growing into something that IS at least a little slick, even if it does have a Godaddy advert at the top, and for a little more, we might make it even slicker.

We can do some youtube videos for them, or a photogallery of the kinds of jobs they do.  There's so much possibility.  And that's really what I'm talking about here.  I spent a little more money on Milo, but ultimately it isn't that much.  I've recouped the cost in selling Milo Pocket Art, and it's now in the black. 

I'm obviously not saying that all you need to do is throw up a website and all of a sudden you'll have 14,000 followers and people building cults around you.  But, it's so easy to build something, and if you're excited about truly building it, the excitement shows.  People will find it.  And maybe it'll take advertising to get them to find it, but THAT's not that expensive anymore either.  I'm going to look into it soon.  Because I think I'm ready for that.

What are you ready for?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go Home and Practice.

There are memories from childhood that make the hairs on your arms stand up and dance, in the best of ways.  This song, and specifically a few scenes from this video, do that for me.  The drum fill at 2:50 is the kind of instantaneous magic (combined with the overall fun of the cut) that can bring me out of even the deepest funk.  I remember seeing this video and thinking that there could be no better fun than dancing on top of a soundboard with two buddies, and that dancing while trading hats must be genius level awesomeness that only the British could have come up with.

Looking at it now, I'm struck by the fun again, but I'm also struck by how much Andy Summers reminds me of Harpo Marx, something that I'm sure was intentional on his part.  He makes a couple of faces that are pure Harpo, and even the dancing and camaraderie is very Marx Brothers.  It's still as fun a clip as I remember it, but having sat outside Wrigley Field and listened to these three guys a couple years ago, it's also interesting to think about where they were when this video was made. 

It's at this point that Sting is thinking about solo stuff, and the band is at each others' throats quite a bit of the time.  Soon after this the band will split, and the world will wish for years and years that they hadn't.  Having heard these songs on the radio as a small kid, when they were brand new, I loved the Police, but I grew up and became a musician in a world where the band no longer existed except in history and on vinyl/CD/magnetic tape.  (my tape recordings were so worn out that I think I have a warped sense of what key these songs should be in).

It's also pretty cool to listen to this as I'm finally starting to enjoy practicing for the first time in my life.  I've always had a really bad practice ethic.  I just hate it.  I've started to play guitar so many times, and after a few days just decided that life was too hectic, and I'd do it some other time.  But for the absolute first time today I found myself studying ii/V/I chord progressions because I wanted to, not because some teacher told me it was what I needed to do.  I've started really enjoying picking up the ukulele and practicing.  I'm not saying I'm any good yet, but I can see a time when I could be good.  I've always been a good singer.  Never had to practice much at it, and so I got by.  But this is something I DO have to practice at and I actually find that I love doing so. 

So what does that have to do with The Police or with this video?  Only that I learned "So Lonely" today, and I can play it badly.  But I am very certain that I will eventually be able to play it so well that I can do so while dancing on the soundboard, or trading hats with Andy Summers.  And that'll be a fun day.

We all hate practice in general, but for some reason I'm thinking that I just really needed to find an instrument that made me smile despite being bad at it, and not minding so much that it was going to take a while to be better.  It's just great fun to suck at this for a while, because every time I pick it up I really do get a little better.  And I keep picking it up.  That's the key.

Could just be because it's not very heavy though...  Happy Saturday night, everybody.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Slurmy/Lou update

Just a quick post before I head out to a post thanksgiving turkey party (one of the best kinds of parties) and NOT head to a gig that was canceled yesterday (meh).  Here's a bit of what I did today, aside from make stuffing.  Did a bit of painting on the Slurmy project.  I'm happy with Slurmy.  Just not all that happy with Lou at the moment.  Turns out the details I cut into the piece were not exactly how I want it to be painted, so it's going to take some more work.  Which is fine.  No big.  I dig the big goofy grin on this worm.  Gonna paint some segments on him next.  Likely tomorrow while my wife is studying.

Enjoy the weekend, everybody.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brain Dump

This is going to be largely a post for me to sort out some possible venues for merchandise.  I've gotten a couple leads from surfing the websites of other folks who are doing this stuff, and so I'm posting them here so I don't forget them.  If it's of use to anyone else, that's great.  I'm not endorsing these folks, because I haven't done business with them.  Just collecting data right now.    Just what it says.  They do custom buttons and magnets.  Thinking I might do 4 or 5 designs, and sell them in packs.

Brunetto T-Shirts    Custom T-Shirts.  The pricing looks good here.  Ariana Osborne used them to make the T-shirts for Diesel Sweeties.  I have to read Diesel Sweeties again.  I haven't read that in a while.

Also, (and here, I am endorsing) if you haven't been reading Ariana, of late, she's been on about POD, and has some really good thoughts on it.  Even if she is a bit of a meany about it.  But that's okay.  A lot of us need a meany to kick us in our collective buttock and remind us what it means to GET EXCITED AND MAKE THINGS (Thanks, Matt Jones).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Shipping Design

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Last night I did a little work on the shipping design for the Milo Pocket Art.  I think it's pretty nifty, and wanted to share it with you guys.  The bottom of the box, I'll let be a mystery until you get one in the mail.  It's nothing much.  Just a fun bit of copy that I'll likely change up every now and again.  I sent out a box last week, and at the last minute I drew Milo on there all excited that he was going in the mail, and then I thought it might be cool to have that be a ready made label that I could just pop an address into when I got a sale.

So.  There it is.  Learning and changing as we go.  Think next time I'll make copies and print out labels as I go, because the inkjet ink runs with moisture, and thus I had to tape this one up with strapping tape so it doesn't bleed.  Kind of makes it less cool, but I can't redo this one today.  Have to get him in the mail.