I've never seen the new Buddy (Joe, is it?), because Steve was where it was at. Steve rocked. I have a videocasette of Blues Clues episodes, taped off Nickeloden -- for my own entertainment. Steve rules.
Now, you've heard Steve has either died, or been a porn star, or gone into rock music, or been arrested for heroin posession. One would be right -- the rock music one. Steve's got a website promoting his tunes, too.
Buried deep within his website (the faq, actually) is an amazing link -- a wonderous link. A link that not only links another website, but has the power to link you to the fabric of Blue's Clues itself. Steve leads the way to a website where you can purchase a genuine Steve Shirt. No, it's not some crappy cobranded shirt with the Blue's Clues logo on it. It's a plain old long-sleeved rugby shirt, but it's the right colors and patterns. Plus, it's endorsed by Steve himself. Better buy one, friends, and bring a little Blues Clues into your life.
I found myself at K-Mart. It was the last place I stopped, after exhausting my options at WalMart, Target, Kohls, and OfficeMax.
As I tooled my little grey shopping cart through the disorganized KMart aisles, a voice burst over the PA system.
"Merry Christmas, KMart shoppers! Today our special is on the book..."
He listed off a title and author. "[author] is a local artist, er, art, um, author, he's a local author, and this book is...."
He rambled for a few minutes about the book's storyline, something about the author's 4th grade students and something about space travel, I believe.
"Well, shoppers, we've only got three copies of the book left, so hurry!"
I continued with my shopping, looking for the final gift on my list. I also checked out entertainment centers, looking for something to fit the new TV my parents got us for Christmas.
The voice came over the PA. "Good afternoon, KMart Shoppers! We still have three copies of the book left, so tell you what I'm going to do. I'll personally autograph each book purchased, so bring it up to the courtesy desk and I'll put my signature on it."
From the tone of his voice, I was fairly certain that the PA Voice was neither the book's author, nor is he supposed to have access to the microphone. Hopefully, whomever is supposed to be watching him has finally taken the PA away from him.
Less than five minutes later, his voice returned.
"I've got a new deal for you shoppers -- I'll personally sign any book you buy here at KMart today. Any book that we have for sale, I'll sign it for you."
I couldn't pass up on THAT deal. I promply wheeled my still-empty cart over to the book section and browsed the shelves. I was hoping to find something written about Sam Walton. I did, however, quickly realize why nobody was buying any books at KMart. Despite KMart's partnership with Borders Books, the literature section of this KMart was horribly barren. The racks of romance novels appeared lightly touched, but the other areas were picked over attentively. The promise of having a KMart employee autograph a book wasn't enough to induce me to spend money on a non-ironic or non-readable tome.
As I stood by the books, near the big double-doors to the "Employees Only" part of the store, a female KMart employee walked by. Just as she parted the double-doors and passed through, the Voice came over the PA again.
"Donna has left the building."
If Donna was supposed to be the one keeping the microphone away from Mr. Announcer, all was now lost. I abandoned my empty cart in the aisle and made my way back to my car.
It may not be nearly as entertaining as The Arcata Eye, it's still a pleasant time-waster, especially just looking at the dispatcher shorthand in use: "M IS ON THE FLOOR SCREAMING AND YELLING BECAUSE HE IS UPSET WITH THE DOCTORS CUZ THEY PUT HIM ON THE WRONG MEDS. M DOES NOT HAVE ANY LEGS"
Later, I happily shoveled as trace amounts of snow fell overnight, or drifts glided into our sidewalk. I felt empowered -- not quite a homeowner, I still felt like a man with his own home. It's not some giant building shared with others. This house is my home, my family's home, and I'm in charge of keeping it in good order.
Yesterday, around 6 or 7 inches of snow fell in Fargo.
In a few short hours, God took all the fun out of shoveling.
Could this be some strange example of parallel evolution? I mean, the internet is enormously responsive to people's ideas...you get an idea, you put it online, and what sort of audacity have I to think I'm the only person who could ever think of putting WalMart receipts online?
Then I encountered this tribute to me within the new Receipt Site. Mr. Fultz credits me for the original idea, plus gives a nice overview of my other creations (Voices for one), and generally gives me a big thumbs up for my internet things.
I've been linked on Fark for one site (nothing new added) at least three times that I can find, and I seem to remember four. Repeats aren't common on Fark, and while the Receipt Site was around I was one of their favorites. The last time Fark linked me, just a few months before The Site's demise, Jeff the Admin said this:
We liked the idea of commenting on Derek's purchases so much that we added comments to our articles shortly after linking to this site.
I can't take the credit for Fark's worldwide influence and it's own impact on the internet -- but would Fark be the same without the visitor comments? Yeah, parallel evolution and all that again (Jeff might be joking for all I know), but the influence the Receipt Site has had goes beyond being something emailed to all your friends with a "Look at this!" in the subject line.
So, Greg, I hope your new Receipt Site does well, as well as mine. Actually succeeding at something, as I did with my own Receipt Site, is a credit to my talents -- but being imitated and credited by another successful website, that is truly proof of my influence on the internet.
2002 was a dark year for me on the internet: no new clients, loss of the WalMart Receipt Site, and a general distaste for things online. I tried some artsier websites, like The Books of Dog, but that didn't really get anywhere. I redesigned my 'work' website several times, nothing really striking my fancy.
2003 has been much better:
- The Caring Program for Children had me design an internal website for them
- White Banner Uniform Shop has been a good customer for tech support and a forthcoming website
- RRVEPC.org continues to use my hosting talents.
- DJ Heartless was launched and is working well
- The introduction of Apathy Industries as the media production component of my business, leaving black sunn enterprises as the nuts-n-bolts business.
- The server move, which is still ongoing and frustrating, but will prove very valuable in 2004.
- And, finally, my close relationship with GlamKitty and her various ventures.
While 2003 was not particularly profitable, a lot of things were put into motion for a very good 2004.
Directly in front of us a man made eye contact and smiled at me. I smiled back, and approached him.
"I just had to see the guy with the Toyota coat," he said. "Did you sell for Toyota? Salespeople got those."
"No, I got it at a thrift shop or garage sale or something."
"Well, I won one at a sales conference, I think they sold them in the parts department, but they only had them like a year."
Neat, I say, and we chat a bit about my coat. It's red and yellow, chosen for the colors more than the automaker, and I think I paid $2.50 for it. The coat needs a good washing, but otherwise it's a good coat.
"Boy," he continued, "that must've been around 15 years ago. Don't tell anyone," he hushes his voice, "but you've got an antique there!"