Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toy story

Add another local blog to the list, Bloggee, 'cause Sue and Sam Cox at My Favorite Toys have started blogging about the(ir) toy business in the University Mall and online. Their goal is to sell more toys, so if every reader of their blog would buy a toy or two, then they will be sold on blogging as a marketing medium.

Here's a headline I'd like to see for a blog about tops: "Our Top Story" -- Getting to the bottom of tops, giving a classic toy a new spin.

I was checking out yoyos at the the mall store (located near Macy's & Garfield's) the other day, and later tried to buy one online. (Some rapper should create a pro-yoyo video. "Yo yo ... wrap your hand around a Duncan.") But I couldn't find "yoyo" or "yo yo" on website. The toy business must have its ups and downs, like everything else.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Online media converge in Denver

EchoDitto Blog | Following online media at the DNC : "At the Democratic National Convention next week, 125 bloggers will hold press credentials and hundreds more will be reporting from The Big Tent." If you're so inclined and have the time, Brian Sykora explains how to follow them all, using Bloglines.

(I wonder how many uncredentialed bloggers are in Denver. Where's their feed?)

You can also follow Twitter updates from the DNC... Use Twitter Search, and type in #dnc08 or #bigtent

Musical interlude

After work on Friday, I hung out at Hangar 9, with my pal, Al, and a pale ale, to catch eight talented musicians jamming on the back porch. With six-string guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass and slide guitar, fiddle and bass fiddle, Nathan Graham, Robert Russell, Ryan Blake, John Beck, Chris Debiossi, Rick Johnson, Gary Childers, Ruth Ann Levinson, Jeff Sills.

Everyone was talking about young Graham, a cracker-jack singer and strummer. His band is called Black Diamond Highway. I'm going to see them all perform today at the Bluegrass Jamboree, 2-8 pm, at Rustle Hill Winery.

Between twitterin' and swigs, I went inside for another pale ale, and got to talk with Josh of the Jah Roots band performing later that night on the main stage. ... He gave me two of the band's CDs to listen to and plug, Crucial and Joy:
Now playing: Jah Roots - Crucial
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: Jah Roots - Joy
via FoxyTunes

I like this band. Infectious ska riffs. Would have stuck around to hear them play, but it was time for a Gyros and Greek Salad at El Greco, where Al and I discussed the difference between listening and hearing. Jah Roots hails from Springfield, MO. .. I'll add their MySpace page to MyFriends. ... Nate Graham doesn't have any web presence (although there's another Nate Graham from back east).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Civics 2.0

Struck by the number of violations of open meetings law and TIF District by the City of Marion, Mayor Brad Cole wonders why no newspaper reporters have picked up on it. I watched from a chair in the Mayor's office yesterday, as he read the striking comparisons between Marion and Carbondale, which Scott Thorne found in a comment to this story in The Southern.

I always enjoy visiting Mayor Cole at his office -- starting with a wintergreen Lifesaver from the bowl in the lobby, and a refreshing bottle of Shawnee Mist water (bottled by the City) provided by Faith Johnson, his secretary, whose sister is an American Idol fan, like me.

Those mayoral meetings mostly mean me giving him an update on my life, and very little of me interviewing him about city biz. (For instance, he'd only half-jokingly tell me that the stack of papers on his desk is "secret stuff" he's working on. (Probably the new police station at old Lincoln Jr. High site.))

Also, he would neither confirm nor deny my theory that during the minute when the tape recorder was turned off during a closed session of City Council he said, "I'm turning this off, to f*ck with the City Clerk's head, and make her wonder what was said." ... "Since the discussion not recorded pertained to possible litigation concerning [City Clerk Janet] Vaught, whose job duties include keeping recordings of city council meetings." (as reported in The Southern).

I did make two requests: 1) that the City approve an official state-highway approved city sign that says "Greyhound Bus" on Cedarview Ct. Drive, on the corner where Domino's Pizza is located. And 2) That he attend the official ribbon-cutting of new location in September. He said he'd try to do both.

I'm staging my own ribbon cutting, although I realize that for $100 membership in the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, they will send out invitations to 400-plus members. But since few, if any ever ride a Greyhound Bus -- (and even if I join, a representative of the Chamber may not show up! see next paragraph) -- I'll just send out invitations to the people in the immediate vicinity of the business. Some Dentists, and the Secy of State, and Sonic people and Rent-One and Warehouse Liquor and Today's Technology, etc. and the Mayor, along with Moonlight Taxi and Blue Star Lines representatives, along with others in the ground transportation biz, like SIU Transport specialist Mark Robinson (the original Busdog). Maybe then, Graydog's will make the newspapers, where those 400-plus Chamber members are sure to see it.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, but executive secretary Lisa Cardinale appeared to have a problem with me, until I told her it was Scott Thorne, not I, who posted the story about Welcome Fest, which mentioned the absence of a Chamber representative at the event. Seems like Executive Director Meredith Rhodes might have some 'splainin' to do, perhaps in a comment to Scott's post -- or to this one. (My advice to her, ignore it. Pretend like I didn't even stop by the office to say 'hi'.) Or send a tweet into the world of Web 2.0, like me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Every day is not Bike 2 Work Day

Saw former city manager Jeff Doherty at the BP today, looking relaxed and fit. Since retirement every day is like Saturday, he says. Lucky him. For me, every day is Thursday, except on months with 30 days, when every day is Monday.

Besides Jeff D., today, I met a video editor at Longbranch for a glass pineapple juice, and Jim Zimmerman from the Arthur Agency came to the table, so I introduced him to Mr. Video, who may be getting a gig out of it. And Amy McMorrow breezed down the sidewalk, with flyers for an art event on The Square. Since the Art Lovers blog hasn't been updated for awhile, I'm sending her an invitation to contribute. Should invite the artists, too.

I wish the commenters would reveal themselves. There's a kind of paranoia about commenting in this town, such as the helpful commenter who calls him(?)self "paranoid," who has a problem with my bicycle route to the BP (when/if i pedal there from home.) I'd probably just ride East on Main St. on the sidewalks, giving right of way to rare pedestrians.

But back to commenting. Although Bytelife has lively discussions, it also has some absurdly ad-hominem name-calling by someone who has it in for DaveX, WDBX's king of the wee hours. The guy hates DaveX so much, I don't know why. But DaveX always comes back with a counterpunch, so more power to him. In the future Bytelife should require registration to comment, like in Peoria. Would pseudonymous contributors like "gadfly" and "sam w. clyde" still contribute if they had to register? Would "paranoid"?

I'm quite impressed by Billy "3,752 Tweets and Counting" Dennis's Blog Peoria Project. Don't know if C'dale has a sufficiently unparanoid population to engage in community-wide blogging, though. Bytelife is supposed to be a "Carbondale Bloggers Blog" Scott Thorne does most of the posting with DaveX chiming in with a self-promotional spread every so often, and me dropping a community interest item once in awhile (reserving self-promotional stuff to this blog).

Speaking of self-promotional stuff, according to a twitter update, I recently uploaded a book about alien abduction to ... For my effort, I'll get $1 for each book sold, and it gave me practice for publishing my own blook in prog, which is only a few months away from publication: on Bike 2 Work Day in May.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day of Rest

Today, a break ... after a week of being hounded by bus customers. Yesterday, one of them bought a ticket from Jackson, MS to San Francisco, CA, and I hooked him up with his own blog, Bound for New Zealand right there at Graydawg's Greyhound ticket counter, where the journey begins.

Business has boomed at the BP, since the buses have been taking ten minute breaks en route. Shoplifting has, as well. ... As anticipated, my own bottom line has not increased, while the workload has. It's more like a job now (requiring motorized transportation due to distance).

But not today. Although the buses will still stop at the BP, I'm stopping for a rest. ... maybe go to the new Batman or to Blue Sky Vineyard to hear the Saloonatics from 2-5pm and surf the web. Maybe send a tweet or two. Last I heard (Friday afternoon), i was shootin' hoops at the old CCHS outside court. Must be done by now, since I'm at my home computer, listening to
Zero 7 - Distractions
via FoxyTunes Zero 7.)

I should have tweeted after getting into an accident on Friday night. Young lady in an SUV tried to cross the street from Professional Park Drive to Sonic, right in front of me, as I was heading East on Main, in the far right lane. Hit the side door. Cops said it was her fault. Gave me a sobriety test, which nearly hypnotized me. There was a witness, too, a roller skating waittress, who said she'd testify. ... Another time I shoulda tweeted, out at Arnolds Market on Saturday, wolfing down a "Boskydell Bomber" at the picnic table out in front, seeing Bruce Appleby and Bill Simeone (two former English profs) in the lot. Never thought on 8/8/80 I'd have an informal meeting of my Ph.D. committee on 8/8/08.

Saturday, I got together with an Amtrak friend on layover, and two other Sunday hoopers for a little HORSE action, but soon got challenged to a game by some young whippersnappers, Terron, Jonathan, Steffan, whom you'll probably see in the big show at CCHS in a two or three years.(Another time I coulda tweeted, but again without eyeglasses.)

The courts at Attucks Park are by far the best in town, with outdoor lighting and 4 baskets with nets (two full courts).

Haven't watched any of the Olympics yet, nor heard any coverage. ... The only bit I've got so far came from KT's twitter. My reception for Channel 6 has not been that good, even with the analog-to-digital signal converter box, I bought at Radio Shack in Murdale, with the $40 coupon from the government (which RS applied to the total price, including tax, which I questioned at the time, but they did it anyway).

But enough about me. ... What's going on in Cdale lately? The Saturday morning Farmers Market on "The Square" has more people than when it was on Wednesdays on hot afternoons.

And Jeremiah's is still standing, but not for long.

I wasn't crazy about the Git Sum lunch I tried last week, some kind of curry chicken, which was okay, but not much of it, compared to New Kahala, my favorite Chinese take-out place. I'll try another item on the menu next time, but fear this Indian take-out spot will not survive long.

Went to see Pineapple Express Friday night, a film about the best weed in the world, which seemed more like schwag, though with a good heart. I can't be too critical of the script (written by Seth Rogen and partner at age 15) since my own script has been languishing for months. Maybe I should hire Jonathan, Terron, or Steffan to punch it up.

That's all for now, Bloggee. I've got some photos to add later. ... If you want more blog news about C'dale, read Bytelife.

Now playing: Zero 7 - Simple Things
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 04, 2008

Day of no rest

If you've been following my updates on Twitter, you know my trip to Portland didn't happen, due to too much work to do, and not enough workers. But my younger son still got to go to see his nephew for the first time, and I will try again, in late September, when things are slower at the 'Hound (and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss will be performing in the Rose City) ... Meanwhile, son Chris has started twittering, at my request, so I can receive verbal snapshots.

So much work was still undone on Friday night, that hopping on a bus to Denver (from there a plane to Portland) was out of the question. Even the loss of most of the ticket money did not deter me from staying put ... So much to do that even Sunday offered little rest -- mostly cataloging and lugging boxes of books (catalugging?), then uploading a partial list of hundreds of titles into Google Docs spreadsheet. Eventually to be sold online, but now the tomes are mostly packed in boxes in a nearby warehouse for easy access.

Nearly went to the Unitarian Fellowship Sunday morning, inspired by Greener Than Thou's inspiring rant about religion and social justice, but by the time i finished reading, the clock was past 11.

Mid-afternoon on Sunday, got a Greyhound inquiry on my cell phone from a guy who wanted to know where 905 E. Main St. was ... and since I was in mid-haul of box of books, and it was Sunday, I was curt, not courteous. But then I learned the free weekly newspaper that printed a blurb about the move (no link because it's not online) did not mention that the fact that it's at the BP gas station (although that info was provided) -- only the address was given -- along with my cell phone number and an invitation to call with questions. ... No wonder the guy called me! He wasn't a thoughtless idiot, but a hard-working volunteer member of the press -- workin' on Sunday, just like me.