Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Social Networking Old Style

So we have seen that blogging is just not my thing. It takes me forever to think up what I am going to say. Takes longer to get it written, edited, posted, re-edited when I notice misspellings and mistakes in grammar. Takes even longer to find out if I feel comfortable posting it because it may offend my friends or family and then if it passes all criteria I usually cut the text back and start all over again.
The modern (pronounced Moe-dern) approach to self expression got short circuited when I got a Facebook account. I could drivel in short amounts and deal with things being taken out of context in minutes. I could post pictures and sit back and wait for the comments to roll in. I could look at the posts of my "friends" and make a few comments about the things they were interested in. I could look at photos of friends with more interesting lives (in my eyes) than mine and applaud their courage in their causes, delete their FARMVILLE requests and gifts and then move on. It was pretty addicting and I checked it often or stayed logged on to follow a comment stream. Then came the inclusion of family into the mix.

With family I tempered my posts, set up rules for my following their posts and photos, made fewer comments and even hid some of my friends because they posted some pretty raunchy stuff or some things that were questionable and worse to filter the comments of their friends from my page for the same reasons. It was something about my niece ( a wonderful mature woman who has achieved much in her short life so far) looking at these things associated with me that made me cringe. We as a family are like many others. We have our family face and our rest of the world face. Now how could I ever not accept a family member as a FB "Friend" to keep them from the raunchier side of my existence?

Now as for their posts, their friends, their pictures I glance at the public stuff and let the rest reside in their worlds of FB. I do not make comments unless it is encouragement. I do not follow photos back to albums. I do not question them about what they were thinking or doing in a certain situation. It's none of my business. They are all adults now and do not need to be judged by me. Anyway their lives are much less questionable than mine.

So now to the Old Style stuff. I spent the past 5 days in the company of family back east. I stayed with two of my brothers and their families and we celebrated birthdays. We talked and laughed. We ate bad Buffalo, NY food and bad Salamanca, NY food. We tossed back a few brews and a couple of shots. We saw friends and extended family and then we dealt with the consequences of our obnoxious behavior. At one point I actually said to a family member "Damn, I wish I were as drunk as I am acting" as I had become very loud and free with the jokes. Hell, I would have kicked me out of the bar we were visiting but the owner is extended family and we made their month with our bar tab. There was no blogging, no FBing, no tweeting and no texting during that 4 hours of fun. Well having not seen these people for nearly two years it was time to do some real connecting. But with the number of people present, the number of hugs and swigs to be had during that short period of time it really was like internet chatting or micro blogging after all. I needed more time with them, less distractions and a little less beer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The next step

Who knows what the next step is gonna be. OK why all the confusion Shawn? What's the problem? You had a plan. You were gonna travel the country and find a place to write about and sample the local flavor and try the local woods. What happened to all of that?

Easier said than done these days. Sure I live in my RV, haul my tools and wood and goods along with me as I go but, there has been no go for over a year. I made my trip to Alaska, turned some birch at Stonekettle Station, made the trip to Arizona, turned and carved some Mesquite, made the trip to Salamanca, NY home of my childhood and turned some Maple and Walnut back there. And though I have my Navy retirement to live off and had the dream of paying for my hobby through sales but here is the rub. Of the hundreds of pieces I have turned, I have only sold a few dozen. My forms started simple, I experimented with combining turning and carving, did some pretty ornate stuff but, still I schlep my boxes to the Saturday market in Mesa and then schlep them back again. My RV is getting full of finished work and unfinished projects. So I took a job selling tools and wood for others to create, taught a few classes and made some contacts but, again the pile grows. Where is the outlet? ETSY, nope but it doesn't cost much so I keep the account. Face Book? Worked for a while but, these are my friends and family and I care to give them away more than sell them to those people. At Work? Nope the owner of the store discourages that and is pissed when we sell to each other too. And on top of that the people who come in there are in the process of doing things for the same reason.

So I keep piling it up in hopes of the outlet making itself apparent to me.

But still I hear the success stories (mostly from Pen guys) who sell some crappy writing implement for $80 - 150 each. Do I begrudge them of their success? Nope they have something they can carry with them, use in front of potential customers, and coyly say they can probably work one in for them (the potential customer that is.) Can you imagine seeing some guy walking down the street with a bowl or bottle stopper in their pocket? Can you see yourself saying "Hey where did you get that bowl?" or more likely "What a freak!" So suggestions are welcome. If you know someone who desperately needs a bowl, bottle stopper, miniature lidded box then hey send them my way. Keep me from being the freak with the bowl walking into the restaurant asking if I can use my own bowl for my soup.

There are also a number of local galleries here in AZ. You figure they may want to discover a local artist with a unique sense of style and some pretty cool forms but, NO! They want the guy from Connecticut or New Hampshire who makes one bowl a year (and not much different than mine) and asks $1500 each. Go figure. So walk-ins are not welcome here. Maybe I will start mailing stuff to Connecticut or New Hampshire. Ok search engine let's find a bowl, bottle stopper, lidded box deprived shop out there in New England and get this party started. Then Maybe I can get the hell out of the desert before Hell temps return.

I am returning to the road in April. I may be in a town near you sometime in those months as I find a temperate climate with loads of trees and eager shoppers who wish to stuff their shelves with affordable art and keep this boy turning. For those who may drop in here is a sample of the stuff I am schlepping around. Drop me a line if you have a question or want to gather some wood products to stuff on your shelves with other stuff.

Claro Walnut Lidded box ($45)
Maple Platter ($125)

Black Cherry Bowl ($45)

Birdseye Maple Diffuser/Oil Lamp ($35)

Madrone Burl Bowl ($45)