Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Because they build up to bountiful ski seasons, that's why. Which reminds me of Moonlight Basin, my client who went from a frou-frou add-on to a real-estate endeavor to a legitimate local's hill in one ad campaign flat. (Why the change? You must not be from here. They went bankrupt due to external factors, bye-bye, real estate driver.)
Our tactic—bond with real live skiers over shared winter weltanschauung, and...no, wait that's all.
The year these ads ran, Moonlight saw a 20% increase in skier visits. For comparison, a nearby competitor (really nearby...hint hint) saw only 4% more visits.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Having drooled copiously on my keyboard for long enough tonight, I decided the creativity bucket was thoroughly scraped and sat down to pen a letter instead. And, then, this emerged. Unintentionally. After months or years of barely drawing (which came after months of years of always drawing). Hmm.
A reminder that while my brain may be computered out, it's never entirely bottomed out, thankyewverymuch.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Magic Mouse, you are so. Not. Magical. You're about as magic as those "magic moments" at prom—you know, vaguely disappointing and really slobbery.
This magic moment...when I'm thisclose...to throwing you...awaayyyy...
Or across the room. You see, I fought for you. I spent HOURS trying to get your "one click" installation to work. (Open-computer surgery + three hours, and you finally side-scrolled.) I hurt for you. (Like day one, when I contracted "mouse finger", or yesterday, when my whole arm hurt from your slick yet useless design.) I even paid for you, unfortunately, and even by wrangling a discount, you were still half-a-benny. Ouch.
And things were adequate, for awhile. While I was writing, you gamely, more or less, did your job. But now? That I'm designing up a storm? You SUCK, magic mouse. SUUUUUUCK. The barest accidental swipe sends me reeling through pages, computer locking up at the breakneck scrolling speed. A resize attempt? Foiled by an oversensitive trackpad. In fact, any attempt at any design function whatsoever sends you scrambling for anything but the intended action—did I want the page bigger? Smaller? Deleted entirely? No, no no!
Yes, you're attractive. Trendy. Superficially cool, and decidedly trim. But you're not the mouse for me. I need grit, practicality, and a meaty hold. I'm sure you'll find someone perfect for you...some image-conscious hipster girl with ironic glasses. But you and I, we're through.
I'm finding a mouse that supports my career, collaborates with my intentions, and doesn't ever make me hurt—no matter how much time we spend together.
Goodbye, Magic. I'm not settling.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Most days I walk by a house with a nice porch, and on nice days, there's a freelancer guy perched on it. Okay, maybe he's not a freelancer, but clearly this is a dude who works on his own terms: he's got the skype headset on, the laptop fired up, and usually waves cheerily (if somewhat busily and haggardly) from his porchy perch, in between yammering at 900 miles an hour to his broker or whomever.
Happy, busy, frantic, sun, breeze. Yep, being a freelancer type is pretty good work, if you can get it. (And thanks to all of you, I do. Thank you.)
However, the last nice day I walked past the house, the scene was different. High-Roller Man was out on the porch, but there was no headset. No laptop. No wild conversation and deal making. He was napping, eyes closed, feet up. A huge bandage wrapped around his head. A fat cast enclosed one unlucky foot. A cane poised for action right by his elbow. It was peaceful, and sad. I wondered what had happened to the guy...unlucky ski accident? Car crash? Beaten by a crazed jealous mistress?
The man looked broken, but incredibly serene, taking in the breeze quietly from the porch he never had time to really enjoy.
Not to make this one of those annoying (cue acoustic folk stylings) "sometimes, you just have to smell the roses" kind of blog posts. This is one of those, "go chase your dreams before your jealous mistress beats you to a bloody pulp because you work too hard" kind of blog posts. One of those, "love your job but love your life too, or someone might break your legs" numbers.
Interpret as you wish.
Soon, Flying Bicycle will be landing for a bit, just a short bit—while I'm most likely scouting for international office locations and researching for more GetLostMt.com trip ideas. Taking off in mere weeks, back at it in June! Because it's good to work hard, just not ALL the time.
Hope you feel better soon, porch freelancer guy.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The first year of business? Don't starve. Check. (Well, with the help of selling my bicycle.)
But not starving sometimes meant writing ads for causes or products I wasn't really that into. So year two, stop selling out. I started focusing on ski resorts, sustainable products, local underdogs who deserved alpha status, and companies that gave back.
So it was time to give back. My resolution for year three? Give more work away.
Which is how I ended up taking almost an entire two months off to plan and market (with a ton of help from the BORN organization) a "Roll the Hiawatha" Train Day event, to bring back the Amtrak route which once rumbled through Bozeman (and beyond).
We planned a whole shebang with an agenda: get more letters written into local policymakers, in hopes of keeping the momentum up from a promising feasibility study. Jawbone Railroad played for free out of the back of a truck; my buddies ran a letter writing station complete with envelopes, stationary, pens, and salient points to press on policymakers; we had a few speakers (including the mayor); and we held a wicked raffle. Hundreds of letters were written that day, hundreds of questions were asked, hundreds pledged their support.
I felt like we had moved the world forward, made it better, just a tiny smidgen.
Plus it was fun. I had no idea how to arrange an event and I still probably don't, but the point is, we pulled it off, with both a lot of help and a lot of responsibility. Even being an inch closer to seeing a train rumble through Bozeman made 2 months of free work well worth it.
Next project given away: I made a free website for my mom, because she's my mom. Again, no experience with websites, which is why I brought in the big guns (Drew Schug, SEO extraordinaire) while I directed the project and co-wrote the copy (I got the writing gene from mom). We went from a 1995-esque yellow monstrosity to this: a site mom can edit whenever she likes, allowing her much more advanced communication with her customers.
Once that was wrapped, I had a chance to pay back BORN for all their help with the Train Day event. They were hosting a Harvest Dinner, which would feature the culinary skills of Montana Epicurean applied to crops and meats from local suppliers. The growers and farmers would be on site to speak about farming in Montana, and attendees could get a closer picture of where their food came from. My job? Posters, handbills, and the like, for a pro-bono rate and two tickets to the dinner.The dining hall was packed, lots of hard questions asked and good food shared. Eating well, and even moreso sustainably, is a huge privilege, and I felt lucky to be in the top echelon of the world that has the financial power, at least some of the time, to choose between ethical eating and processed foods, instead of choosing between whatever is available and starving.
I felt lucky because, not only can I work for myself and not starve (see year 1), I can work for myself, charge little or nothing for it when the time is right, and still not starve. This luxury I owe to my amazing non-non-profit clients, who have generously loaded me up with more and more paying work. While I gave away several projects last year, my bottom line stayed the same as the year before.
The goal is always to help my clients (both paid and not) get a large return from my efforts, but the truth is, I get a lot out of this gig too. Thank you to all of my clients, for helping me push my boundaries, for getting creative, and for fighting the good fights in 2010.
Monday, May 18, 2009
When I first saw that pretty-boy Chris Pike was trying to fill William Shatner's moonboots, I sighed. The humorless trailer confirmed the worst: my favorite childhood show had become commodity fodder for overly intense acting. I mean, how could a cast of slick, name brand actors like Winona Ryder and Zoe Saldana carry the dorky sentimentality of a show that only rejects (and closet rejects) loved? Loved? NO. Obsessed over: this was the TV show that spawned its own language (Klingon dictionary, anyone?), a host of inside jokes ("Beam me up, Scotty!") as well as conference-attending fans with an encyclopedic knowledge of the show's fictional realities. And - even an encyclopedia, as if a true fan couldn't tell a Romulan tricorder from a Klingon one.
Ahem. So, it was only with intense persuasion (and a severe lack of other Friday diversions) that I agreed to see this unforgivable marketing ploy. Then 11-year old Captain Kirk drove his stepdad's vintage car off a cliff (in Iowa? They have cliffs?) and clawed his way back over the top. I was hooked for the rest of the movie. Like, rewind-it-and-watch-it-again-hooked.
Overall, the film was an outstanding tribute to Star Trek, as well as a kickass action flick in its own right. It had enough nerd-fodder and self-depreciation to tickle Trekkies, but not so much as to alienate (heh.) future fans or the casual moviegoer. In fact, the story is completely palatable without even a working knowledge of Star Trek - however, the impact might not be quite so strong. My little Trekkie heart soared to see the Enterprise floating on the big screen once more, and virtually crumbled at seeing Leonard Nimoy (the franchise's true long-lasting champion) looking so old but starshipping it up nonetheless.
Hell, Star Trek was better than Star Trek. Face it: Kirk was never this hunky, Scotty was never so funny, and Uhuru was never as hot in the original series. But, like any good nostalgic look into the past, it's always better in hindsight. This photo-album into the futuristic show's past nails it. Not only has Star Trek lived long, it has most certainly prospered.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Last week, the Eugene Weekly was "Pregnant with Possibility." This week: laying off five of its media darlings, among them, my writer buddy Charles Quincey Adams.
With a recession-proof spirit defying paystub-less blues, Chuck's glib: off to fence, travel, and climb. But for a budget-strained weekly, the future looks grimmer.
Weeklies are newspapers' hipper foils; blogs' papery counterparts. Good for tearing apart mass media conventions, excellent for grassroots and local business advertising, perfect for blending art and sass, and even better for papier mache. And now: disintegrating faster than they do in a dirty gutter, fueled by a Eugenian drizzle.
We gave up gasoline. We've given up our foreclosed homes. Now...we're slowly bidding farewell to the paper-thin fabric that binds an artistic community. That, and an excellent commode companion.
"Love your local newspapers this year," warns Chuck. "In a year, they will all be gone."
Also, all in favor of the new moniker of Apocassession - say aye. Courtesy of CQA.