, Black Apple and Raveling

Black Apple Anais printI must be on an art kick. Today I discovered, a sort of online store/eBay for the handmade hipster crowd. The stuff on there is gorgeous and all of it handmade. I’ve especially enjoyed the Black Apple store, though that’s probably because the artist, Emily, has her own blog. To the left is her Anais print, which is still available for $13. I like the way it’s printed on a fabric. It reminds me of this painting done on an old book cover, which is just a cool concept.

Seth Godin talked about Emily, how she just graduated with an art degree and has her own blog and MySpace profile and Godin guesses she’s made more than $20,000. [Every time a dollar amount comes out people start to pay attention, though you also have to realize she’s sold more than 800 items, only two of which were over $100 (neither over $200) and only a small percentage over $50), and has to make most of them herself (though she also has a fair number of prints and the like that I assume she has to order from somewhere). She’s probably made a decent amount of money, but she’s also a talented artist and obviously a hard worker.] Godin’s point was that the Internet is raveling, which I think he intends to mean that it’s all coming apart–the giant structures that make famous people famous and keep unknown people lik Emily unkown. Though Godin says raveling means the same thing as unraveling, I read it to mean to opposite–that things are coming together for unknown people like Emily. How many artists could do what she’s doing 20 years ago?

Continue reading, Black Apple and Raveling

One Thousand Paintings

One Thousand PaintingsThis has to be the funkiest, weirdest, coolest idea: One Thousand Paintings.

The guy made 1,000 individual, unique paintings all featuring a different number, 1-1,000. They’re all painted in the same style, in the same font, just a different number on each one. He one made one of each, and he’s selling them based on some mathematic formula where the lower the number the more it costs and the more paintings sold the more expensive the remaining paintings get.

So painting 960 is $40. Painting 16 is $295.20.

It’s a pretty brilliant idea. So far he’s sold 258 paintings. At $40 each that’s more than $10,000, and of course most of the paintings have sold for more than $40. The math-inclined can check out his formula themselves and figure out how much he stands to make.

I love ideas like this. Of course coming up with them and pulling them off is the hard part. I’m tempted to buy one, but I have no idea what I’d do with it and I can’t decide what number to pick (and I’m cheap, so I’d be looking at the high numbers, which really limits my choices).

Update: I bought one. #985. Call me a sucker, but I’m buying inspiration. I love the artistic and mathematical ideas behind it, and just the downright cleverness. Plus I like the idea of being one of a thousand people to own one. I’m in good company. See if you can guess why I picked 985.

Update 2: Turns out I didn’t get #985. With the flood of traffic PayPal hasn’t been fast enough in verifying funds, so somebody else bought #985 and their funds verified before mine did. So they get the painting. Doh.

Now that the lowest price is over $100, it’s a bit rich for me, so I won’t try again. I have noticed the sales have slowed (it’s at 449 sold right now, it was at 401 last night, down from the 10 per hour the site was doing for a while), and I’d guess it’s due to the rising cost. It’s an interesting little experiment, and I’m curious if the continually rising cost will mean fewer and fewer sales. Or will the limited availability kick in and make that cost worth it?

Oh, and for the record, I picked #985 because I started blogging on December 5, 1998. 98-5. It’s a stretch, I know, but my wife’s birthday was sold and my daughter’s was too expensive. And 1985 is a fun year, immortalized in that Bowling for Soup song and Back to the Future.

Developing Good Habits

I have pretty poor habits. Good intentions, but poor habits.

I used to read 50 books a year. So far this year I’ve read seven. Three were in the last week. So I haven’t been doing well with the reading fix, but I’m trying to get back on the horse. This past week has reminded me that I can read and I do still like it and I do have time for it, even with a baby.

I’ll be honest and admit I’m not a very active guy. My lifestyle got the “sedentary” label in a college health class, and it pretty much still does. But about every year or six months I get the exercise kick and decide I’m going to be healthy. It lasts for a week, maybe two. I hate exercising. I’d rather just play a game to stay active, but that never seems to happen either.

Last week I picked up one of those stationary bike trainers, where you can ride your bike indoors. I’ve always wanted one because I get the bike habit going but eventually it gets cold or it rains or it gets too hot or too something and I just give up. I only bought the trainer because it was at the youth group’s missions dinner auction, so it went to a good cause. So twice this week I’ve been exercising, riding my bike on the front porch. I know, it’s May. It’s beautiful in Minnesota and riding your bike indoors in this weather has to be the stupidest thing ever.

With one exception–I discovered I can read while riding a stationary bike, and this doubles my productivity.

So I’m returning to two good habits, reading and exercising. At least for this week.

Comments Open

I think the smoke has cleared and we can try opening up the comments again. We’ll see what happens. If my site dies, you’ll know why.

If this fails we’ll try comment authentication and see if that works.

Update: Less than two hours and we have comment spam. Ug. Not a site-crushing flood, but still spam. We’re going with comment authentication. I just don’t have time for deleting hundreds of spam comments every day.

Time to Upgrade My Computer

More than two years ago I switched from PC to Mac (yes, I’m still loving it) and I think it may be time to upgrade my system. Actually it was time five months ago, but the money wasn’t there. First we had a baby and I didn’t want to be surprised by the hospital bills (which, by the way, come in small, slow installments so you don’t realize how much you’re really paying). Then our tax bill was approaching, and well, that’s a big one. Then I had to wait for a few projects to come through and make sure our cash flow was good. But finally, I think it’s time.

So what should I buy?

Continue reading Time to Upgrade My Computer

Drunk Monkeys

Drunk monkeys, it seems, are a lot like drunk people. They drink more when they’re alone, they like to drink after a hard day’s work and they’ll often drink until they fall asleep. You can’t make this stuff up. Apparently you need a team of researchers at the National Institutes of Health Animal Center in Maryland working to find primate parrallels to human alcoholism in order to treat symptoms of relapse. Or they just wanted to see monkeys get smashed.

The Invisible Children: Night Commuters of Uganda

Sometimes the world sucks. I’m not often reminded of it in my comfortable North American lifestyle, but every now and then you remember that running out of Pepsi isn’t such a bad thing.

Today it started with an interesting marketing story: How to Raise $500,000 from Middle Class White Kids (and Why the Red Cross Never Will) from Seth Godin. But as I read the story and watched the videos, I stopped caring about the interesting marketing techniques. I cared more for the invisible children of Uganda who every night walk miles to the nearest town to sleep on the floor in relative safety so they won’t be abducted, raped or killed by a rebel group.

Continue reading The Invisible Children: Night Commuters of Uganda

I am a Squidoo Master

Apparently I’m a master of the Squidoo lensmasters. Look out!

As of today, out of 25,000+ lenses…

Now if only I could get some of my other cool lenses like How to Get Into Dog Modeling, The Tick and Messiah’s Missions Dinner 2006 to be as popular as that one.