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MISCmedia MAIL for 9/30/16: SATELLITE OF LOVE?
Sep 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

As the calendar turns a new page into the darker and wetter months, we can’t unsee Jeff Bezos’s (non-pocket) rocket. Plus: the feminist bookstore seen on Portlandia won’t be seen on it anymore; a lesbian pastor at PLU; how to make the police more diverse; good (non-French) press about a coffee genius; and a sorority’s “sacred secrets” get revealed (as if anyone cares).

SAY, YOU THAT THING I’VE BEEN TALKIN’ ABOUT LATELY?
Aug 27th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

So I’ve been hinting, occasionally loudly, about an old book of mine that I’ve been trying to get back out one of these years.

Well, it’s out now.

At this link.

Or at this link.

Get it now. Hope y’all like it.

Oh, there’ll also be an e-book version soon.

And a release party’s in the works, perhaps in October.

And we’re working on getting it into local stores. More on that later.

And if you want a signed copy, contact me direct.

SOME HOUSEKEEPING UPDATES
Aug 20th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

Still don’t have the comment functions repaired.

Still don’t have an online menu of past newsletters.

Still don’t have printed flyers to help you spread the word about our scrumptious morning email newsletter.

But I DO now have a lovely icon for our site.

It’s the same logo you’ve loved for almost six years now, in handy self-contained form.

On a phone or tablet, you can use the “Add to Home Screen” function to instantly come here. (Handy, no?)

Or, if you’re on a regular ol’ computer, you can just include this in any social-media links back here.

new logo 512px

 

MISCmedia @ 20!
Jun 8th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

BargeIcon

One of the site’s first logos, from some time in the mid 1990s.

Twenty years ago this week, it was an age of dial-up modems, Windows 95, Internet cafés, and the media hype over an alleged “Seattle Sound.”

I hate to use the old cliché “it was a simpler time.”

But in some respects it was.

The ol’ World Wide Web was a child just learning to walk. It seemed so full of possibilities. It hadn’t yet been tamed, corporatized, or commodified.

The “free”/”sharing” ideology of Grateful Dead bootleggers hadn’t yet taken completely over. There was still hope that journalists, musicians, and other “content” people might one day make a buck from this medium. (I know, crazy, right?)

I was in what turned out to be the middle of a seven-year writing stint with the Stranger. The paper itself had little interest in going online at the time, but allowed me to put my own material up on my own site.

I’d already been a regular at the Speakeasy Café in Belltown, essentially Seattle’s first Internet café. I’d been customer #23 on its then-novel home broadband service (which outlived the café, eventually becoming a business-to-business operation owned by something called MegaPath).

The Speakeasy people helped me learn rudimentary HTML and get a site up. I created some simple .JPG graphics, and reformatted (and, in some cases, retyped) columns and zine pieces I’d written over the previous nine years.

I didn’t call it a “web log” or “blog” at the time, but rather an online version of a classic “three-dot” newspaper column format. It originally wasn’t dependent on links to other websites, and it was only updated once or twice a week.

But it was one of the first sites anywhere to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that, curated and compiled from assorted info sources local and worldwide, based on an individual sensibility.

It allowed me to keep writing MISC after the Stranger fired me the first time.

For a while, it got me enough freelance work to live off of, at least until the first dot-com crash in ’01.

And I’ve kept at it ever since, more or less.

There have been times (such as most of last year) when I haven’t really felt like adding to it.

Times when I didn’t even want anyone to think of me as “a writer,” especially if that meant I was expected to gladly work for for-profit companies for free.

(I am not, nor have I ever been, independently wealthy, despite occasional rumors to the contrary.)

Even more than in the past, I’ve been obsessed with finding something, anything, that I could do specifically for money. Not for coolness, and certainly not for that dreaded term “exposure.”

And having the public image of “a writer” meant many people thought I couldn’t do, or wouldn’t want to do, anything else.

But the Seattle corporate world isn’t a fully welcoming place these days for someone who’s neither young nor a programmer.

And reinventing myself at my age (yes, it’s my own birthday today) would be possible, but perhaps more trouble than it would be worth. Especially if that reinvention involved student loan debt.

So I looked into what I could do that would exploit what I’m already known for doing.

Blog ads don’t earn a lot any more, unless you’ve got a really high readership in a national “market niche.”

And asking people to contribute money to a personal, occasional blog wasn’t much of a proposition.

But, perhaps, an information service that would contribute to people’s lives might be something people would want to support.

In 2007-8, I was involved with a group trying to start a local news site.

The project fell through for several reasons.

But the initial notion, of a single handy source for the day’s Seattle-area headlines, stayed with me.

There have been several attempts, but nothing that came close to the type of service I’d like to see.

So I’ve made my own.

It’s MISCmedia MAIL, and it starts today.

Each weekday morning, your email box will be filled with a brief, breezy summary of what’s going on around here.

It’s everything you’ve learned to love about this site, only in a much more useful form.

You can sign up for it at the handy box in the upper-left corner of this page.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be looking into ways to monetize it.

But for now, I’m working on building its audience.

Won’t you join us?

 

WHERE THE HECK HAVE I BEEN (AGAIN)?
May 19th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

For months now, I’ve hinted about my new ventures on social media sites, while this site has again become dormant.

Now, I am at last ready to reveal all, or at least most of it:

MISCMEDIA.com relaunches in early June (the blog’s 20th birthday) with a new format. It will be a daily email newsletter, combining my skeptical-yet-sincere takes on the passing scene with headlines gathered from some three dozen local and regional news sources (all picked by hand, no RSS algorithms involved). I’ll be experimenting with ways to “monetize” it over the first few months.

The 20th anniversary of the book LOSER is coming in the autumn. It will be republished, in a third edition, with new and vastly improved scans of the original edition’s pages, plus a “whatever happened to…” addendum. I’m still working out the business side of it, which may include a crowdfunding campaign. Stay tuned.

AN APOLOGY, A PROMISE, AND A REQUEST
Dec 24th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

frederick & nelson christmas display, via 'patricksmercy' on flickr and sandra bolton on pinterest

I’ve not been in the mood to make blog posts for the longest time.

The mood I’ve been in has been something other than the positive, assertive persona I’ve maintained in the blog and its print precursors over the years.

Besides, the ultra luxury-obsessed, alpha-techie ruled city that is much of modern-day Seattle is, in many aspects, so different from the funky, spunky, and, yes, grungy city I had known and loved. To truly cover the “pulse” of such a place, one would need to care about hedge-fund-financed dotcoms and hundred-dollar-a-plate bistros a helluva lot more than I ever will.

And then there’s the matter of trying to convince people, even long standing acquaintances, that I need a job.

NOT an idea for something to write about, but a job.

NOT an unpaid writing “opportunity” for a commercial website, but a job.

It doesn’t have to be “writing” work, just paying work.

I’ve told this to everyone, sometimes repeatedly.

But some people I’d known for years didn’t get it.

They seemed to believe that, since they had identified me as “a writer,” all I needed was to “write” all the time.

(“Don’t worry about the money,” one dude sincerely exhorted me one evening, after I’d almost lost my second apartment in one year.)

The only way I thought I could convince these folks that I needed actual monetary income, not sub-minimum-wage (or, worse, “for the exposure”) freelance crap, was by ceasing to “be a writer.”

It didn’t really work. Either at convincing these well-meaning but ignorant folk, or at getting me a real for-the-money job. (I have gotten a long-term-temp, part-time dishwashing gig, but that’s it.)

So I’m quitting the quitting.

Actually, I have been posting on so-called “social media” sites all this time. I like the knowledge that someone’s at least reading my stuff when I post it there.

But the MISCmedia site, I promise for real this time, will be back in full force in Two Ought One Five.

I’ve got a major publishing project in the works (still), and a plan to revamp the site into a daily local news “aggregation” and commentary source (still).

But we’ll start the year, as we always have, with the mellifluous MISCmedia In/Out List, always the most accurate list of its type seen anywhere at any time.

And, as always, we need YOUR input to make it happen.

In the comments box below, please recommend what will become hotter and less-hot in the twelve months to come, in the fields of music, fashion, food/drink, the arts, architecture, socio-political trends, etc. etc.

The list’s simple rules, as always:

  1. For every OUT there has to be a corresponding IN. These two can be related directly, or simply by clever wordplay.
  2. Remember, the future isn’t always linear. What’s hot today might not keep getting hotter tomorrow.

Good luck, and good predicting.

HAPPY BOXING DAY EVERYONE!
Dec 26th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

'he-man and she-ra: a christmas special,' part of the festivities at siff film center on xmas eve

And a dreadful sorry for not posting in the last 12 days.

What I’ve been up to: Not much. Just wallowing in the ol’ clinical depression again over my first mom-less Xmas, trying to figure out how the heck I’m gonna pay January’s rent.

(For those of you who came in late, I’m not independently wealthy despite the old rumors; a few little local photo books don’t earn anything near a decent living; and my eternal search for a little ol’ paying day job has gone nowhere slowly.)

But I have vowed to stay at it. And there will be new MISCmedia products in the new year.

And, as always, it’s the time of year for MISCmedia’s annual In/Out List, the only accurate guide to what will become hot and not-so-hot in the coming 12 months. Send in your suggestions now.

On with the accumulated random links:

BY (BUY) THE BOOK
Aug 10th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

from thelmagazine.com

There’s bad news today for the book snobs out there.

(You know, the droning turned-up-nose guys who love to whine that Nobody Reads Anymore, except of course for themselves and their own pure little subculture.)

Turns out, according to a study co-sponsored by two industry groups, book sales are actually up over the past three years!

Yes, even during this current economic blah-blah-blah!

Ebook sales have particularly exploded.

But regular dead-tree volumes are also up; except for mass market paperbacks (perhaps the most vulnerable category to the ebook revolution).

Adult fiction sales rose 8.8 percent from early ’08 to late ’10. Also doing well, according to the NYT story about the study: “Juvenile books, which include the current young-adult craze for paranormal and dystopian fiction….” (Good news for people who love bad news, to quote a Modest Mouse CD.)

Oh, as for that other commercial communications medium? You know, the medium that the book snobs call their sworn enemy?

The AP headline says it all: “Pay TV industry loses record number of subscribers.”

Has the above inspired you to get with the program, hop on the bandwagon, follow the fad, and start buying some more books for your very own?

I have a great little starter number, just for you.

KNOW THE CODE? (MONETIZE ME! #3)
Aug 8th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

The Seattle Times has affirmed something I’ve known personally for a while now.

The only jobs to be had in this town are for software programmers.

Can I learn to program at my stage of life?

And if so, any recommendations where/how?

And would it even be worth it?

I’d rather not go through a whole costly course of study, only to find the companies still want only to hire the young and/or already employed.

And I don’t want to study technologies that will cease to be in demand after I’ve started studying them.

MONETIZE ME! (PART 2)
May 10th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

As promised a week or so back, here is the second installment of Monetize Me!, my search for something to do for money. This installment is in the form of simple logical statements.

  1. I need a living wage.
  2. Local freelance journalism and little local books don’t supply this.
  3. It’s not just me. Others with far better self-selling skills are also finding freelance writing to be well nigh impossible as a career.
  4. Yet when I explain my situation to well-meaning friends and acquaintances, both online and in person, they invariably suggest “cool” new writing topics, without any idea how, or to whom, these works could be sold. (“I know! You could write about….”)
  5. Suggesting “more of the same” won’t do the trick, because the same isn’t working for me.
  6. Yet many of you know me only from these works, and imagine them to be the whole of my identity. Some of you see me as “A Writer” a lot more strongly than I do.
  7. But I can do other things. Many other things. This series of posts will explore them.
  8. Before we go any further, an additional clarification: Money is the ONLY ultimate goal of this endeavor. Not “exposure.” Not web hits. Not publicity for the low-earning things I already do. I need actual monetary income. Get it? Good.
MONETIZE ME! (PART 1)
Apr 27th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

The things I do now don’t earn me a living income. But they’re the only things some of you know me for. I’m trying to find other (perhaps extremely “other”) things to do with my skills. Things that aren’t simply more of the same, because the same ain’t working for me.

This search for a new and/or improved career will be the topic of my newest category of web posts, Monetize Me!

Further details will show up over the next few days.

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© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).