I need to write something

15 Jan


I’ve been swamped with work, family, and company management stuff as of late so the blogging has taken a backseat. I’ve been wanting to write about a lot of topics as of late, but time is always an issue for me. So, another random thoughts column peppered with links to stuff I found interesting and I’ll be back to writing in a couple of days.

  • If you’re not watching “The Wire” on HBO, why not? The similarities between the depiction of Baltimore’s gritty reality and that of Buffalo are striking. The writing is phenomenal, the characters flawlessly developed and complex, and the subject matter crucial for any urban denizen. If you need to catch up on the first four seasons, watch this and then get to steppin’ on watching this season’s episodes. You can also read a fantastic interview with the show’s creator, David Simon at The Atlantic.
  • This is how you build a new sports stadium. The “build a new stadium downtown” crowd needs to take a look at what modern stadium construction looks like in the year 2008. It isn’t a small footprint like The Ralph anymore, it’s a massive mixed use development with tons of parking. Urban stadiums can be built, but they require more space than local proponents assume in their off-the-cuff remarks.
  • If you could create a slogan that sums up the last 40 years of Buffalo History and what you presume the next 40 years will bring, what would it be? I used “The City of Broken Dreams and Irresponsible Hope” in a conversation last week and it has been jangling around my noggin ever since. Since I am so pleased with myself for coming up with it, I thought I’d see what others think of it and perhaps solicit some new ones.
  • If we started selling WNYMedia t-shirts, would you buy one? They’d come with pithy sayings and/or local iconography as well as our logo. After all, providing a website of this size ain’t cheap. We needs some money!
  • After reading this Phil Fairbanks fluff piece on Lynn Marinelli, I almost regretted voting against her in the past two elections. Then, I came to my senses and realized I had done the right thing. However, the most striking part of the story came in the form of a Len Lenihan quote about bipartisanship in the Erie County Legislature:

“To me, it’s the same old, same old,” said Lenihan, who suggested Marinelli’s alliance with Collins is akin to “crossing a picket line.”

Wow. Lynn did what was politically necessary to retain her leadership position, but she has always been willing to work with members of the Republican caucus. This old machine style attitude of “us v. them” is exactly what discourages progress in this county.

  • I just can’t get down with any of these Presidential candidates. On the Dem side; Hillary’s constant parsing and race baiting has me nauseous, Obama’s economic plans are a bit sketchy for my liking, and Edwards is a used car salesman. On the Republican side, McCain is looking for a century long commitment in Iraq, Giuliani can’t discuss dinner plans without working in a 9/11 reference, Huckabee is too creepy christianist for me, Ron Paul is…well…Ron Paul, Fred Thompson seems like a Texas Sheriff, and Mitt Romnobot3000 is completely uninspiring. What to do? I liked Biden and Richardson, but they’re out.
  • The flippant nature which Dreamhost uses to deal with massive technical problems drives me insane. We’re going to find ourselves a new webhosting company, but that will result in a day or two of downtime while the DNS records in the Internet tubes are changed. I will not host with Online Media since they repeatedly insult us, so I’m wondering if there is another local service which anyone prefers. If you have a preferred national partner that offers dedicated web and MySQL hosting, let me know that as well.
  • Anyone have leads on work-from-home jobs that aren’t pyramid schemes or indentured servitude? I know someone who, due to health reasons, is looking for a work-from-home position of a clerical or bookkeeping nature. It seems as if every opportunity is some “Make Millions On Ebay” type scam or repackaging someone’s Ebay scam. Any help is appreciated.
  • If you haven’t picked up the latest issue of Block Club Magazine, do so. The design, as always, is top notch. The content lacks pretension and focuses on “regional” hyperlocal matters. A great read and good for the community. Two thumbs up

12 Responses to “I need to write something”

  1. Pauldub January 16, 2008 at 2:26 am #

    I believe I brought up the shirts on day 1.
    WNYM’s day 1. Not Elliott’s

  2. Jack January 16, 2008 at 7:42 am #

    When I read Spree, I’m hit over the head with advertorial sections, but the writing is of a high quality and I love the way it looks.

    In BR, I am hit over the head with bad writing and parochialism. I don’t like the look and feel of it, but that’s just my opinion. Don’t gang up on me!

    I absolutely love Block Club Magazine, it’s a mix of the best parts of Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising with cool design and nice little articles.

  3. Lildub January 16, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    I’m looking for some work at home stuff myself. If I find any leads I’ll send them your way. I agree that most work at home stuff seems to be pyramid schemes or general wackiness.

    As for the webhosting stuff I’ll ask James. See who we go through for our site and if he has any recommendations.

    Buffalo-The City of Hidden Diamonds

  4. Phil H January 16, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    I was thinking that the sooner Len Lenihan exits stage left, the better off we’ll be. Then, it occurred to me that the next Dem chair will be just as partisan and be borne of the machine. Rinse, repeat.

  5. Eric P. January 16, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    Various –
    Let the Bills move to Toronto or Las Vegas or China. Maybe they can build a nice downtown stadium there….
    … I would buy a car from John Edwards or from Kucinich. I would make sure, however, that I got my extra key fob at the time of purchase.
    …The internets don’t run on tubes anymore, I’m pretty sure most of it is solid state. ..
    “City of broken dreams and irresponsible hope” isn’t exactly bumper stickerable. Maybe:
    Buffalo, we’ve got issues. or
    Get Real, I’m from Buffalo., or.. not.
    Mottos and mascots really don’t get you very far…, and
    I would buy a WNYM shirt if it were pithy enough.

  6. MediaWatcher January 17, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    If you’re desperate enough for revenue to sell merchandise like t-shirts, you might want to consider turning into a non-profit and seek out funding from foundations. This ‘network’ seems to have a community spin to it, so it probably wouldn’t be terribly difficult to find some non-profit funding for your efforts. That, of course, requires wnymedia be a non-profit entity. I’m guessing you’re non-profit now, just not in the eyes of the law.

    The non-profit route would likely require you lose some of the tone and nastiness of this site (and the other sites on the ‘network’) which seems to drive so much of your content and traffic, so i’m not sure that’s appealing to you. You can’t really get funding from the Wendt foundation and proceed to rant about every other media outlet in town, hammer away on citizen groups, and generally bemoan the state of the area.

    Really, I think the choices are:

    1)Continue to try to be snarky with unpaid writers and no real business plan which ensures this ‘network’ stays irrelevant or
    2)Raise a meaningful amount of investor capital and try to build a real media company like Artvoice
    3) Convert into a non-profit and seek funding from foundations, though this option would require the site somewhat change its focus

  7. starbuck January 17, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    Re. choice 1, apparently they’re not quite irrelevant enough to lose Media Watcher’s attention.

    Re. choice 2, Artvoice is a “real media company” not a front for prostitution ads?

    Re. choice 3, no matter how they changed formats it would be a crazy waste of any charitable foundation’s money to pay for a few opinion blogs.

    Three stupid points out of three attempts. Not easy. Take a bow.

  8. MediaWatcher January 17, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    1) I pay attention to a lot of irrelevant shit. While I wish my attention span dictated relevance, it isn’t the case. But thanks for the complement in the form of your super snarky rebuff.

    2) My definition of a real media company is one that generates real revenue and has real reach in the community. Playboy would qualify, though you might not like their content. Fox would quality, though you may not like their content either. Artvoice, while remarkably scummy, generates real revenue with a real paid staff and people all over WNY know the publication. So yes, Moses is disgusting and they make a nice nickel from hooker ads, but that doesn’t undo the rest of their business.

    3) You’d be surprised at what foundations around WNY fund. You must have read the posts on this site where the authors here fellate themselves about all the good public works they – and this site – have done. If they wanted to make that the mission of this little network, and they could gain access to a decent grant writer, they could grab some funding fairly easily. If, as you write, they want to carry on with operating just a few ‘opinion blogs,’ well, then, sell some t-shirts and call it a day. And I guess to you that equals relevance and legitimacy.

    Thanks for your input, though, Starbuck.

  9. Jaquandor January 17, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    I click the Patriot Place link, and the first thing I see on the site is an ad for their already-built-and-open Bass Pro. Yeesh.

  10. Christopher Smith January 17, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    Your continual interest in the state of our business is commendable. We’re doing just fine as a company, thank you very much. As a “MediaWatcher”, you understand the value of marketing and the role of merchandise in a small marketing campaign. T-Shirts would be a nice little revenue source that would generate a few bucks and get the company name out and about. It’s really not anything more than that.

    When we started out, we had visions of a new media portal which combined local news from mainstream sources, micronews from the community, and lots of opinion and multimedia from our bloggers. We’ve done alright with that, although we’d certainly like to invest more time into that part of our business and eventually realize the vision.

    However, we found another line of business in which we have been able to make money, employ a few people, and do some good things that we’re proud of. As you undoubtedly assume, this website is not the revenue driver for the company, nor will it probably ever be. Funny thing is, a lot of businesses start out with a particular goal or product in mind and then find themsleves in an entirely different line of business after a little while. You go where the money is.

    So, while your counsel is much appreciated, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and have some fun on these here websites while we make money with services.

    As I have offered in the past, if you’d like to discuss those goods and services, our client list, or anything else…feel free to shoot me an e-mail with your real name and I’ll be glad to chat.

  11. Snarky Snarkmore McSnarkamaphone January 18, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    1) not watching the wire because I’m too busy. One day in the summer or in my dotage, I’ll watch them all at once, back-to-back.
    2) that sports stadium is not urban, it’s foxwoods. point taken, though- a multiuse building (if not a full-on, ragin’ consumer campus), BUILT TO THE CURB (heh), with lots of parking would take up a lot of space, but that’s not the issue. it’s: who’s got the greenbacks.
    3) “I’m from Buffalo: sue me!”
    4) I only want a wnymedia t-shirt if it says: “BRO- not ALL amputees, heroin and pitbulls.”
    5) Gabe’s right and Ethan’s got science, so how can you disagree? More beer reviews!
    6) Not a single damn one of them are talking about reining in the insane expansion of the Executive branch under El Arbusto–did you know the president can now order state militias (national guard) units directly, bypassing, let’s see… the Second Amendment? So, they can all suck a nut for all I care, but especially huckleberry- who should suck jesus’ nut what he’s at it.

    I can see Canada from my house almost…

    7) I know nothing of hosting companies, but I agree with Eric P- I myself, in fact, have a vacuum-tube server.
    8) work-from-home jobs that are for real? “President, new media company” ought to be.
    9) Block Club reminds me of the original BRO, with better design. So, I hope Block Club can grow yet avoid turning into total advertorial vapidity.

    If you’re desperate enough for revenue

    assumes something, don’t you think? t-shirts aren’t typically thought of as huge revenue streams, so, if you assume what you do, I guess you also assume these guys are pretty amazingly dumb. I’ll counter your assumption: maybe, they just want to use a pretty old-school, yet very popular in Buffalo, marketing tool: the lowly t-shirt. I know, I know, going out on a limb on that one.

  12. Kevin Pritchard January 19, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    Selling t-shirts shows desperation?

    Man, Old Navy is fucked.

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