Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I got my business cards in the mail today. I misspelled "cyber." Typical.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I might have a good spot in Polish Hill, but the woman who owns it lives next door to it, and wants it subdivided so she can keep some of the building next door to her. We'll see what it's like. There are two store-fronts so if we can get them both fixed up maybe I can use one, and I can make the other available to be turned into a co-op grocery store (since there are people working on starting one, and it's something that is really needed in polish hill). It looks like my buddy Todd, who is sort of obsessed with cheap real estate is on the team (so to speak). He's going to help me find and assess the prospects of cheap spaces. There are just so many places in Pittsburgh were the property needs you as much as you need it. It almost seems a waist to get a spot that's already in ship-shape condition. Besides, so many places are getting torn down there are plenty of spare parts to fix up whatever you need to, it just takes time and work--like everything.

Every day the population of our city falls. People die, or move, and leave a pile of junk behind. Similarly those still living buy more tin cans and ceramic cats than they could ever really want. Yard sales, then trash bins, are flooded and flooded again. Trash may be our city's (and our nation's for that matter) greatest resource. But it takes creativity to harness that resource. You can't just pour it in your gas tank and go.

This is part of what the cyberpunk apocalypse is about. It's about realizing what kind of world we live in--not to criticize it, but to understand it, and to try and harness its potential. We live in a world where the creative thinking is key. Where there's enough raw material to last a lifetime. The question "how do we make it," has now gained its counterpart, "how do we use it," so that parts are not only built for a machine, but the machine is also built for the part.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I got a lot of stuff done yesterday. Beyond what's on the list to the left, I had time to fix Sara's ride (using hacksaws and hammers on bikes is always a treat). Also went to Joedoe's show and went to the rope swing.

It was a good day.

I've got another couple leads on property that I'll need to look into. I need to work on URA loans for that, and draft the business plan. That's on the list for today. I'm looking for artists to talk to about revamping whatever space I get using found objects.

The board game is going really well. We're just tweaking the rules, but we should be going into production soon.

I'll be honest, the end of last week I was a little down. I thought that maybe I'd throw in the towel. I'm so new to realty, to business, to everything. I felt like I was bashing my face into walls just to find a door, and actually I still do. But, I think my face can take it, and the door's here somewhere--or else, I guess, I'll eventually wear a hole in the wall.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blade Running in PGH

My bike is fixed. I have a questionnaire printed out and ready to distribute to coffee vendors. I'm currently making a list of the vendors in Pittsburgh, and I'll go around on Monday handing out my questionnaire. I've been playing around with mortgage calculators on line, and I'm going to take a look at a property soon--do a walk-through. I have to see if I can figure out what the property taxes will be after the place is reassessed.
Next week I need to get a decent draft of a business plan to send out, because then I may be able to get more information about rebuilding one of the burned down properties in Polish Hill.
In the meantime some cool stuff is happening in Pittsburgh. Polish Hill is having its first arts festival: Art What You Got, tomorrow. Also Robot 250 has been going on around the city. It's an arts program that is having events, workshops, and various robots set up around Pittsburgh.
My question is, of course, will someone program the new open source Google phone OS to dream of this?

-until then

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On the llth I posted about what I wanted to do on Saterday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. It turns out, on Saturday, by the time I got to the fax machine the property I was looking into had already been sold twice. I did get to talk to Jenny about business plans, and I had already talked to Colin so I feel like I have a good idea of what I need to do. I'll do some research and then see if the universities have a non-profit specialist that could help me out. Monday, I did work on my bike, but it was far from fixed. I built up a wheel with the help of my friend Steve on Tuesday, and my bike should be ridable tomorrow when Kraynick's (the local bike shop) is open. That will be really good--not having a bike has held back my progress on this project more than you would think.
[Kraynick's Bike Shop]
So, I didn't end up taking over the world on Tuesday, but I did manage to design business cards, finish Philip K. Dick's Scanner Darkly, email back and fourth about a different property, talk to Susan about meeting to discuss using the civic center's non-profit umbrella, and a bunch of other little things I can't remember, which was pretty good for my day off.
Perhaps the most important thing I did was lay under the Bloomfield Bridge next to the rusted mountain bike me and Sara have been sharing. While laying there I thought of a new angle for the business side of the project. Working as a roaster predominantly might be the ticket. If we could get a number of already successful businesses to supply our coffee (which will support Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh writers) in addition to their other brands, we will have an income that is easy to research and put into a business plan, and may be more reliable.
I'm writing up a list of questions that I will use to go around to Pittsburgh coffee vendors, to see if it's a viable option.

Alright, I need to go to volunteer at the Big Idea book shop now. I know this entry is a little dense, but this is what I'm working with right now. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thomas M. Disch

On Friday July 4th Thomas Disch died. He was an accomplished writer and novelist, known for his science fiction. The man apparently had fallen upon some hard luck and in the end shot himself. For more information the Times has a decent article, and of course there's always Wikipedia. In the meantime swing by the Ds in the fiction section of your local library and check him out--in honor of a life spent speculating.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Work is being done

It's amazing how fast time flies when you've really thrown yourself into a project. It gets dizzyingly easy to imagine your life as a movie montage. I have a few leads working on a place for our project in Polish Hill. I'll go to the North Side and snoop around for places soon--once I get my bike back together (probably Monday). In the meantime my website is blocked out, and becoming more informational.
I've talked to my friend Colin (of Fossil Free Fuel) about writing a business plan, which is a main focus currently.

On a lighter note, Cyberpunk Apocalypse and Olly Olly Oxen Free (aka me and my buddy Shakes) are halfway through the drafting of a Battle-Army style board game that takes place in post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh. If you're into nerdy boardgames or just love crazy mayhem, get stoked. It's going to be tons of fun, and we expect to have put together a bunch of copies of the game by the end of summer.

Shakes is also in the layout stage of a new zine all about fan-zines from back before the invention of the mimeograph. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek, and it's really interesting.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to a fax machine so I can follow up on a property. On Sunday I'll talk to Jenny about business plans after work (she helps people with this stuff for a living). On Monday I'll fix my bike, run around the North Side to look for property, research prices and census information and whatnot for the business plan. On Tuesday I shall take over the world.

I'll tell you how that goes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today I was sitting in the quaint little office which acts as the Civic Center of Polish Hill (a neighborhood in Pittsburgh). While I discussed the possibility of starting the space in Polish Hill, I found that my eyes were resting on a small color television set. While the ever cheery and helpful Susan scanned through emails, took phone calls, and copied links for possible grant opportunities, I watched the four cameras mounted outside automatically record whenever their motion censors were triggered. "Welcome," I said to myself, "to the Cyberpunk Apocalypse."