Alex Schaefer set up an easel across the road from a Chase bank and began painting the building in flames. However, before he had finished the police arrived, asked him for his information and if he was planning on actually carrying out an arson attack on the building. Later they turned up on his doorstep asking about his artwork and looking for any signs that he was going to carry through an anarcho-terrorist plot based on his paintings. [...]Homeland Security considers drawing or photographing "sensitive" locations and buildings is suspicious activity. But my painting protest is different because it's so slow and blatant. I was not "casing" the location. I was standing on the street in full view painting for four hours, talking with people, interacting. I suspect it was someone from the bank that notified authorities that they are "threatened" by my painting. And that was the exact word the police used when first confronting me. Someone was "threatened" by my art and called them.
Once it was sketched out I started immediately with the flames. [...] The reaction of everyone who commented was positive. Thumbs up. [People would say] "They suck." "they screwed my checking account," "my brother's losing his home." I could feel that the image was a catharsis for lots of people. Three hours into it the police came and the rest is history.
It's one thing to take a product that is already cheap and just fine and replace it with a vastly more expensive version that locks people into exploitative proprietary systems for years in exchange for giving them a 15 second hit of dopamine derived from Going Digital. I mean, Quip and Juicero and whatever Silicon Valley dildo company is selling dongs with DRM-equipped replaceable heads are actually fundamentally selling you a product. It's a horribly, uselessly expensive product that could only be embraced by chumps, but it's a tangible thing. The real next level is just inserting yourself into someone else's transaction and collecting a % while offering nothing. (When this is a job, we call it "consulting.") Why charge a lot for the blades when you can charge a lot for literally nothing?
RentBerry is useful here because the word "rent" is literally in the name. Here's the value proposition that RentBerry offers. For landlords who are already raking in record profits, RentBerry provides a chance at making even more, as potential tenants must set upon each other in a dystopian nightmare auction system that compels them to ask, how much am I willing to pay to avoid sleeping in the park, really? For tenants, RentBerry offers... well, the opportunity to pay more in a pre-existing housing crisis, the chance to make the process of finding an apartment an even more horrific exercise in stress and disappointment, a reason to hate faceless strangers with even more intensity, and more reason to view city life as a ceaseless Nietzschean struggle from which they will never escape. What RentBerry gets in return is, eventually, a % of your already hideously overpriced rent, for the duration of the lease. I bet you can't wait to know a portion of your rent check is going not just to the landlord you hate but also to a company that did nothing beyond giving him the ability to take more of your money! Of course, if you live in New York, your "landlord" might very well be a hedge fund that also funded RentBerry! Sweet, right?
Speaking of commerce...
Our online store supports discount codes. We don't use them all the time, but sometimes promoters or bands want to give cheaper admission to their pals. But since there's that shiny, candy-like text field on the checkout page that says "Discount", you know what that means, right? Yup, people just try to guess them, all the time. It's a treasure hunt! One you cannot win.
Some of them read like those lists of the world's worst passwords:
Remember, if ever have children, the name of their first pet should contain at least eight characters, a capital letter, and a digit. You should also change the pet's name frequently.
Some of them are clearly based on rumor, or are from other sites' past discounts:
Would we be this obvious? Really?
HUBBA HUBBA REVUE
Would we mis-spell the name of our own club? Really?
If you say so, I guess I'll take your word for it:
Nice try, but still no:
Aw, thank you! But still no:
NOT MY PRESIDENT
Older farmers in the countryside have made a trip to Erla and Bjarni to look strangely on the beast with their blinky eyes.
"This furious bump has been named Einhyrningur. We saw what was happening in the sheepfold in the early spring when he came into the world, the horns were already gathered and only at the top. They have grown then straight up from the head of the ram, so now he looks like a monkey. We were really sorry for him when he was in search of retirement shortly before Christmas. As a result, he lived for a longer life, but most of the lamb shrubs that came into the world at the same time last spring, they went to a slaughterhouse this autumn afterwards, "says Erla Þórey Ólafsdóttir, a farmer in Hraunkot in Landbrot, but in the cabins Her and Bjarni Bjarnason, her husband, find the fantasy creature Einhyrning.
Although Unicorn is so pleasant, unusual as it actually shows, it does not make it a living.
"He can not live unless next fall, the gray. He is not a breeding breed, it is clear, he is mostly unclean and does not thrive well enough, he likes to be bad. But he is getting his extra summer now, "says Erla, who has not dug up unhappy stories to read for her children on the occasion of the furious quake on the farm.
We paid for it the first time with a Kickstarter, so it occurred to me that we could do a second one to have it re-installed, but even that seems foolish. If there are people out there who have $4,000 burning a hole in their pocket, and they might be inclined to aim that filthy, filthy cash in a DNA-like direction, I'd sure rather spend that money on payroll and keeping the lights on, because I think that improves the neighborhood way more than a parklet does.
So we are currently investigating ways to half-ass it, and bolt the dumb thing back together ourselves in some highly-less-than-ideal way. Stay tuned.
Oh, but if you are good at welding and willing to donate your time, we may have something for you to help out with!
Speaking of welding, apparently both of our espresso machines are broken. Some café, right, that can't even steam your coffee? We don't know yet how much that is going to cost, but probably a lot, since it seems like every time we have to even talk to the guy at the Vespa shop it costs like fifteen hundred bucks. I guess people who know how to weld pressure vessels get to charge bank. And the machines still go for $6k to $10k used / as-is (and "as-is" didn't really work out so great for us the last time we tried that). Oh, and apparently the espresso machine over at Codeword has been broken for months and I only just found out, because my staff decided that that was A) not that big a deal because who wants coffee, and B) not even worth telling me about, so that was awesome.
Maybe we should replace them with a couple of those "Oxygen Bars" they used to bring in to the raves back at the turn of the century. I'll bet maintenance on those is a lot cheaper.
I always forget to mention when I've made a new mixtape. I've made a new mixtape.
We have about 330 patrons who are donating a total of about $4k per month, which is amazing! I cannot thank you folks enough. But, you know, more would... help more. Lots of people signed up in January, but since the beginning of March, the number of patrons has stayed basically the same.
So, I need to promote it! Apparently the intrusive "donation" box that exists at the top of basically every page on the site isn't doing the job. (How annoying is that thing, anyway? A little, or super?)
So anyway, we need a poster, a slogan, and we need to run some ads.
But I'm completely at a loss for a slogan, or for a design for the poster. Maybe that's because the most boring possible slogan, "Support DNA Lounge", really is the ideal one, and I'm hoping in vain to come up with something more clever. But I still don't know what graphic to put on that other than our logo.
The ideal slogan would be something clever and pithy that says in three to five words, "Give us your money so that we can stay open and keep doing the kinds of things that you like".
Someone suggested the slogan, "Remember why you moved here?" and I loved that at first, until it was pointed out that it's easy for someone to self-consciously interpret that as an accusation along the lines of, "you don't go out any more so this is your fault". (Probably because they feel guilty about that very thing, but still.)
Got any ideas?
I suppose the Patreon page itself isn't terribly engaging, which might be a reason people aren't signing up? I rarely post there, because when I have something to say... I just post it here, on this blog. When I have something Patreon-specific to say, like this, it doesn't generally make sense to me to go out of my way to make it so that fewer people see it.
So I guess I could post blog entries there first, adding artificial scarcity, but that really rubs me the wrong way. I could cross-post to both, I suppose, but I would assume wouldn't people who are interested already read this blog by other means. I asked over on the Patreon what people thought about crossposting, and of the few who responded, most were against.
Also Patreon posts can't have arbitrary HTML and embedded images and so on (just one image at the top) so that's annoying.
We have this "Street Team" Facebook group with a bit over a hundred members who have expressed their interest in helping out. We've taken almost no advantage of that. Every now and then at our staff meetings, I ask my managers, "Are any of these tasks something we could point some volunteers at?" and they always tell me no. I don't know how to get over that hurdle and say "yes" to these people who are offering to help.
I have this habit, you may have noticed, of writing really long posts here hitting like five different topics at once. I sit down to write one thing and then the floodgates open. Which is fine, I guess, except it makes these posts really long and probably hits the tl;dr limit of some people; and also it means that in the future when I link back to an old post, the part I want to link to is usually sandwiched between some irrelevant other stuff.
So I'm gonna try to stop doing that, cut this short, and save all the other stuff that I wrote for later.
But one last thing! We have two events coming up this week that I'm excited about: Astronomy on Tap on Tuesday: the first one was really fun! You like exoplanets. It's free, and it's an early show.
Look at me promote. I'm promoting.