Friday, September 29, 2006

The mystery of this writing thang...

I queried an editor the other day (Not Ms. "What's In Ohio?") and received the following rejection:

You seem really good at establishing a rapport with subjects, but I don't think we want anyone on the VooDoo tour.

Thanks for writing, though. If you come across any big name acts in the future that would be good for the (publication name removed) audience who we haven't already covered, I'd be happy to hear a pitch for them.


For those of you not familiar with the joy (and I use that term loosely) of freelancing, there is a code to rejection letters that goes as follows:

- If they encourage you to query further, they think you have potential but they're just not digging your current offering.
- If they comment on your samples, they actually took the time to read the dang things and didn't just skim. This means they were INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY.

But then there's still the "fuck you, go away" that you have to contend with. And honestly, this one confuses me. There are a bajillion bands playing at VooDoo, and the headliners are Red Hot Chili Peppers and Duran Duran. This same publication had an absurd non-interview with Billy Idol over a year ago. How could they not find some artist in the line-up worthy of their pages?

In the spirit of absurdity, I forwarded this email to fellow wordsmith Brian Lisik. He suggested that maybe it was a money issue; perhaps the publication didn't think they had the financial resources to make it happen. While this had never occured to me, I have to admit that the prior editor, Yes, Ms. "Is Ohio is even part of the United States?", had begun peppering me with inquiries such as "Do you have a place to stay? Do you have a way down there?" etc. I kept insisting to her that I was already GOING to the festival, I was simply looking for a way to combine work with fun. (I'd conduct my reviews before I started partaking of the free booze, I promise! No, really.) So maybe Brian was on to something, I don't know. The irony here is that in my original query, I did state I was going, not that I was considering the situation. And I'm not particularly looking for a big payday here, but more for a way to maximize the already existing adventure.

Now cut ahead a bit in my day and you'll find me perusing an essay on Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs", as published in an alternative weekly newspaper here in NEO. Admittedly a fan of the show, I immediately tuned in to hear what this writer had to say. Little did I know I'd be treated to a barrage of "I want to fuck your brains out" and "I really want to see your dick" interspersed with some humorous commentary regarding typically obsessed fans holding court on message boards. While I can be as bawdy as the next girl (usually more so), her reference to "a case of cheese dick" really made me wonder if I was reading some fifteen year old boy's interpretation of penthouse forum and jackass.

After forwarding this mess to Brian (can you see a pattern here?) and then appropriately grossing him out by reading him the nastier bits via cell phone (and he was thinking he'd be getting some projected woody out of the deal - heh), I headed over to this author's website and blog. She's the editor a provincial local township publication - please regress to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, "There must be more than this provincial life..." - author of a book on a small indie house, errant freelancer and keeper of the blog. She seems intelligent and funny, but like most blogs, it is a commentary on her life and that of her friends and nothing of regional, state, national or global import. Yet she states it is this blog that provoked the editor of aforementioned publication to give her the column that spawned the Mike Rowe's Cheese Dick essay.

So I'm perplexed. Because whatever this writer's point, the fact Brian and I had to spend twenty minutes discussing and debating the matter says that whatever her subtext, it's lost.

Concoct relevant story ideas, the experts say.
Compose intelligent, thoughtful query letters, the how-to gurus insist.
We're always looking for enthusiastic writers with great ideas, editors declare.

Right.

Perhaps I should just start blogging about rancid greyhound farts, irritating pubic stubble, snot-encrusted nose hairs, and every instance I've stumbled upon some rockstar (or wannabe) with his groupie of the moment.

Think someone would give me a column? Cuz I could sure use the money.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy!

I'm a bad daughter, I missed my Dad's birthday. I didn't forget exactly, I knew it was the day of entrance into this world, and I thought about him repeatedly, I was just so busy with fifty other things that I didn't send a card.

or an email.

or pick up the phone.

Yeah, I suck as a daughter. Not cool at all, considering he graciously offered his financial investment in my budding business. I haven't taken it, I'm the independent sort, but the fact he offered at all means more to me than he'll ever know. He's a quiet kind of guy (except after a couple of manhattans and when he's on vacation apparently), so he's never given me much in the way of positive reinforcement. Like any self-respecting youngest daughter who tends more toward artistic impulses than conventional professions, I still seek his approval in some ethereal way.

If you recall, I flubbed on my sister's birthday in May too, so I seem to be developing a pattern. Do you think I can claim early onset of Alzheimers, or just blame those erratic creative tendencies?

Ah shoot. There's a book I've been meaning to buy the man. I'll just head to Amazon and make it happen. He'll forgive me. He's my Daddy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Life After Ebay...

Naturally, since beginning this jaunt into ecommerce, I've had my head firmly lodged up the ass of research, and let me tell you, the buzzword of the day is -

Multi-chaneling.

It means to diversify your options, do not put all of your proverbial eggs in the theoretical basket. It is also defined, in ecommerce terms, as removed thy heiney from ebay's greedy grasp.

For all you bargain hunters, there are legions of sellers who are no longer using ebay to hock their wares. So where do you find these fabulous goods?

Let me tell you....

Froogle, otherwise known as Google Base. On the google home page, click that "more" link on the top right of the window, then hit 'froogle'. What this will give you is a search engine (what google is best at) of all products for sale online at that particular moment. Google has announced they will be moving this little window to the front page, renaming it Google Base, sometime before the holidays.

Cons: Products must be submitted to Froogle/Google Base for inclusion. Google's 'bots do not surf the 'net looking for your next big bargain. Also, sometimes the links to a specific product listing do not work, especially in the case of ebay. I don't know why, so don't ask.

ioffer. The search function is not as thorough as I'd like it to be and it's not as convenient to complete payment for a transaction as ebay, but there are no fees on items listed on ioffer lite, anything under $4.99 until the end of the year. Also, it's not an auction format, but set price, and you can negotiate. As a seller, you can post something "or best offer" and let the fur flying begin.

Yahoo. Not just the shopping, they have auctions too! Sellers like it cuz there are no fees, but I've heard numerous seller complaints of NPB or Non-paying bidders. According to the auction watch on PowerSellersUnited.com, yahoo is actually second to ebay in terms of listings. That says nothing about the conversion rates, ie. the rate at which listed auctions sell.

Personally, I just started listing at yahoo and haven't had a single nibble. This was after however many months of fighting with their identity verification process. Yeesh.

But while on the topic of the PSU auction watch, anyone interested in buying or selling online should check it out for information on all the major online market venues.

Overstock - yes, they have auctions too, not just big merchant sellers. However, their fees are only second to ebay's. I'm registered but have yet to list anything. I'll let you know when I do and what the outcome is.

Bidville - I've been listing here periodically, and only had a couple of bites so far. Mind you, I only utilize these sites to drive people to my store, so it is possible someone purchased from me after seeing a listing there. No insertion fee, 5% final value fee (Or whatever they call it)

Although not listed on the chart, there's also Amazon. A couple of years ago, I liquidated a bunch of books I had here because they were running a sale on a month of their seller's program. Otherwise, their fees do add up in a big fat hurry, and honestly, I'm not certain anything outside of books, cds or dvds does very well over there. It's be interesting to hear someone else's opinion on it.

There are many, many other venues out there, many of which you find listed somewhere on PSU. Bidfind and Bidhopper are actually search engines for online auctions, but much like Froogle/Google Base, they only list what they're given and don't troll on their own. However, it might still save you time if you're looking for something specific rather than browsing.

Support the independent business owner. We all know by now that big corporations aren't helping us out - Enron, Exxon and the $400 million dollar parachute, outsourcing, etc.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Collaboration made in hell?

I just read that members of Duran Duran have met with Justin Timberlake to discuss a possible collaboration.

I'm really icked out by this. I mean, good and truly, ICKED OUT.

Bleh.

Monday, September 18, 2006

High in the Middle and Round on Both Ends...

In my never-ending quest for freelance writing assignments I had the opportunity speak with an editor today regarding a story I'd like to do for her magazine. As we were chatting, she asked, "Are you in L.A.?" No, I replied, I'm in Ohio.

"Oh." She sounded genuinely perplexed.

So I continued to pitch my idea, and eventually we came to the conversation ending exchange of contact information. As I'm dictating my cell phone, she again asks, "Now where is that?" and I repeat, "Ohio." After inquiring to the specific region of the state, she says, "I think you're the only person I know who lives in Ohio."

Um, okay.

She then goes on to inquire, "What's in Ohio?"
I say, "In what context?" becoming a bit confused myself.
"Oh you know, travel destinations and such."
Suddenly I've become the PR department for my home state and I attempt to concoct something reasonably exciting and substantial for this woman.

It's only after I hang up the phone and begin to ruminate a bit that I wonder if I should be insulted in some manner.

Then it dawns on me that this is no elitist snob from NYC or LA (I would expect such derision from them, actually) This publication is headquartered in Nashville, Tennesee.

So tell me Editor, what's in Tennessee? Besides the Jack Daniels distillery and a bunch of rednecks still sporting the confederate flag outside their domicile?

The difference is - I'd never pose the question.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Politics of Rock

Here's the abridged version. A certain rock critic dogged a certain platinum-selling rock band (one who's been around for a looong time), calling them 'sell-outs'. The bass player of this band emailed this rock critic and called him (I can't make this up) "a silly, silly man". This critic responded, "I'd rather be a silly, silly man than in a silly, silly band". Predictably this started an email quarrel of sorts, and the bass player posted it all on his blog, which effectively sicced his more rabid fans on this guy. Worse, this writer actually penned ANOTHER column blasting the band again.

A rock journalist's job, like that of any writer, is to be honest. If he/she wants to criticize, that's their perrogative. However, one must also be prepared to deal with the reprecussions of their opinion. (We've been there, believe me). Calling a band "sell-outs" though is just asking for trouble. Is there a more hot button term??

On the other hand, if you're in a band, any band, you should be accostomed to people slagging on you. To reply with "You're a silly, silly man" is, at once, amusing and somewhat juvenile.

But seriously, for the critic to take such offense at that retort is equally as childish. Sheesh, we've been threatened with lawsuits, called drunks and sluts, and generally been verbally eviserated. I would welcome someone telling me I'm silly! (In fact, my psuedo-neice Abbey did so recently and I took it as a great compliment!)

So let's escalate the matter and unleash the fans. I just don't think that's cool, not for something as petty as this. And the fans themselves? I won't even get started on that. Some of the statements these people made to this writer were just uncalled for, period.

To magnify this absurdity of this whole situation is that the writer admitted to one of the fans who wrote him that the first article was written 'off the top of my head'. He put no thought into it at all. I can't tell you how great I'll sleep knowing this guy is getting PAID to do what I do for free and he's not even putting any effort into it! I'm sure he hasn't spent months chasing down a publicist via email and phone only to be ignored. Yet he brings home a life-sustaining paycheck every week. Yeah I'm feeling great about that.

In the follow-up article, the guy jumps all over this band's ass for their fan club membership dues. I was totally confused by this rant because every well-established band I know charges for access to the really good stuff. It's called "capitalism" last time I checked. His disdain for this practice made me think of Robby Takac's outburst to me regarding file-sharing. If everything was free, then all of these artists would have to find J-O-BS and wouldn't be able to produce the music you're bitching about. Oh yeah, then you wouldnt have a job bitching about it in the first place!

Here are the lessons I gleened from this whole ridiculous affair:
1. Don't call someone a "sell out" just cuz you don't like the songs that made them famous.
2. Don't fall for the bait of some rock writer.
3. Be gracious when you receive criticism. Pick your frickin battles!
4. Don't release the locust of devoted fans; that's just unfair as hell.
5. Accept that in the modern music business, commerce comes before art. Way before.
6. Bear in mind that everyone is human. Take the higher road, would ya?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lawyer says FCC ordered study destroyed

Associated Press link

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped _ end of discussion," he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.

In a letter sent to Martin Wednesday, Boxer said she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."

Martin said he was not aware of the existence of the report, nor was his staff. His office indicated it had not received Boxer's letter as of midafternoon Thursday.

In the letter, Boxer asked whether any other commissioners "past or present" knew of the report's existence and why it was never made public. She also asked whether it was "shelved because the outcome was not to the liking of some of the commissioners and/or any outside powerful interests?"

The report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998. The broadcasts were obtained from Danilo Yanich, a professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, and were originally gathered by the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.

At that time, the agency pointed to evidence that "commonly owned television stations are more likely to carry local news than other stations."

When considering whether to loosen rules on media ownership, the agency is required to examine the impact on localism, competition and diversity. The FCC generally defines localism as the level of responsiveness of a station to the needs of its community.

The 2003 action sparked a backlash among the public and within Congress. In June 2004, a federal appeals court rejected the agency's reasoning on most of the rules and ordered it to try again. The debate has since been reopened, and the FCC has scheduled a public hearing on the matter in Los Angeles on Oct. 3.

The report was begun after then-Chairman Michael Powell ordered the creation of a task force to study localism in broadcasting in August of 2003. Powell stepped down from the commission and was replaced by Martin in March 2005. Powell did not return a call seeking comment.

The authors of the report, Keith Brown and Peter Alexander, both declined to comment. Brown has left public service while Alexander is still at the FCC. Yanich confirmed the two men were the authors. Both have written extensively on media and telecommunications policy.

Yanich said the report was "extremely well done. It should have helped to inform policy."

Boxer's office said if she does not receive adequate answers to her questions, she will push for an investigation by the FCC inspector general.

**that's truly screwed up. 1. Good use of my tax payer dollars. If you don't like the results, just bury it. 2. So much for trying to get at The Truth. 3. Powell is no longer the head of the FCC so there's nothing they can do to punish the guy!

A Small Victory....

If you recall, I posted on June 14th about my struggles with the identity verifcation process at Yahoo auctions. This morning I received an email saying they've decided I'm a real human being and able to proceed as a seller.

What's the date today? Oh yeah, September 14. Exactly two months later.

Good god little fishes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Adventures in Greyhound Fostering



Ordinarily this would be quite adorable. Two greyhounds sleeping happily side by side on a big cushion. Look! There's even a stuffed teddybear near by.

awwwww.....

Except that I'm not supposed to be keeping this dog. Only GrowlyHead Folly. The other one is only temporary.

Right.

We (Team Greyhound of Ohio) had a Meet N Greet on Sunday at a local Petco with Travis and a beautiful red brindle boy named Denny on display for prospective greyhound parents. This afternoon out of my life has now become known as "Travis Fucks Up Any Chance He Has of Being Adopted By Trying to Eat the Kittens, Bunnies and Ferrets, and Drags a Table Across the Floor".

The damn dog has decided we're his family.

My biggest fear is that someday they'll stage a mutiny. If that happens, there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. I am outnumbered and outweighed.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

For Kimmie....







Which Empire Records Character Are You?




You're Gina! While others may view you as a turbo-slut, you've got feelings too! When you're not dancing around in an orange work apron, you've got a hidden talent of guessing men's underwear colors.
Take this quiz!








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Saturday, September 09, 2006

This was too good to pass up....

On that note, I'm going to bed. heh.

Your Stripper Song Is

Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard

"Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?"

Break out the baby oil, you rock it old school.

See what happens at 2am?

Worse, this is probably true. Daggone greyhounds anyway....

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Nice doggy."

A No-Brainer

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite

And Again...

You Are Rouge Red

Of all the reds, you are the most energetic and vibrant.
You never need to recharge, and in fact, you often recharge others.
Gutsy and brave, you've never let your fears stop you from doing anything.
You figure that life is all about experiences, and you'll always take that leap of faith.

Does This Suprise Anyone, Really?

You Are a Glam Rocker!

You put the "show" in rock show with your larger than life self.
No doubt, you are all about making good music...
But what really gets you going is having an over the top show.
Glitter, costumes, and wild hair are your thing - with some rock thrown in!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

again with the late night web surfing...

You Were a Parrot

You are a master of language, and you use your wit to mock and tease others.
But you are also wise, and you often think carefully before you speak.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Foster Hound Travis....



Took the boy in last night. He's spent the past eight months of his live in Marysville prison, so I'm sure he's a bit discombobulated. Folly is perplexed but generally behaving. She is bullying him around; taking whatever sleeping spot he previously occupied, despite having numerous doggie sleeping places to choose from.

He's kind of a dork. For some reason, his tongue hangs out when he sleeps, right between his teeth. He wouldn't come upstairs last night so I had to sack out on the sofa, where he periodically wandered in from the office to make sure I was still there.

Yeah, he's a big baby and likes being covered up. Mr. Bear is his only worldly possession. We're all going to work really hard at finding the boy a home. He deserves one.