Thursday, February 21, 2008

It was a cold, dark night...



...and it wasn't snowing. Yes, the sky was absolutely clear last night for the glorious lunar eclipse.



I watched as much as I could in the early stages, and then caught up with it again after the last volleyball game of the season.

Crazy gal that I am, I really was outside for several 15-minute stints in sub-zero weather trying to get a decent photo of the event...both to warm my camera and myself. It always seems more troublesome for the camera and my glasses with the fogging factors than it seems to be for me.

I was able to watch a little more of the progress of the eclipse from my bedroom window, and even removed the screen and poked my head out the window to try a few more photographic attempts, but they were less successful than the earlier ones. Sometimes it's really better to just stop while you're ahead!

Thank goodness for the ecliptical distraction...otherwise I'd have been even more bummed about the volleyball loss. Since it's single elimination tournament time, it's quite disappointing. Even more annoying is our 3rd ranked team losing to a team that we easily won over a few weeks ago and that was ranked in 11th place.

I really appreciate the subs who popped in to play for our players who are recovering from a sprained ankle and working to achieve success in a finance class. I'm also disappointed in a particular team member who gives up well before the match is over, but that's their chosen lot in life, I guess.

Me, I've been involved in athletics too long to know that the outcome of the game isn't over until they throw us off the field or court or rink or track. I honestly don't mind losing if the game was well-played...or, at least, can get over the loss with a good night's sleep.

On the other hand, if players aren't playing the whole game or don't put forth effort when it's the stuff they don't like to do, that's another story entirely. There are parts of having been a competitive athlete in high school and college that seem to follow me FORevA. I want to win...but I want the team to do well and work well together as a unit. I don't think there's room on teams for prima donas, whether the team is an athletic one or a business one. It always has an adverse effect...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waiting on my new dryer...

and, again for the next round of snow to start. Yes, Wisconsin has already had a record-breaking amount of snow for the 2007-2008 winter. I believe the statistics have noted that there have been 42 days so far with significant snowfall. And generally that means that my blogging, creative, and relaxation times have been significantly impacted by the piles of white stuff that remain outside. This is the first winter that really feels like the winters I remember as a kid. Of course the big differerce is that my energy gets expended moving snow around rather than moving around on the snow...

I'm home this morning for my perfunctory 3-hour time window appliance delivery. In theory, they actually will call my cell phone an hour before they're scheduled to get here. And with almost every-other-day snow shoveling activities, I have a few moments to blog after a teeny-tiny house cleaning. Crash, of course, would prefer that I be spending this time playing with him (he's not being neglected...he's got his lovely spitty squeaky toy that he drops at my feet every 70 characters or so...that I kindly toss in return as soon as I'm sure I won't forget my immediate train of thought. He's even tried to help with the writing, but he's more likely to type something from the numpad than the main portion of the keyboard...he's definitely got his own way to communicate. ; )

This 3-hour time window is today between 9am and noon. Back in the days when I was a permanent employee, taking time off like this was no biggie. It's different when it means that I'm losing billable hours during this wait time. Yes, I could have driven over to the office this morning and came back when they called to tell me they'd be here in an hour, but with the original snow prediction from last night, I expected that I'd not only be doing a little straightening up, but also taking care of some snow removal. Instead, I have a few minutes to breathe...and in my infinite wisdom, got caught up in finishing a novel before turning in last night, and pretty much am ready to take a nap rather than do anything productive. I just can't get by with 4 hours of sleep like I used to live on as a college student. Heck, I'll be in sleep debt probably through the weekend all for needing to finish a leisurely read. Yet some things remain comfortably the same: I love reading at night, have trouble putting books down, and still hate mornings.

PS. The delivery is on it's way. Yippee! Better yet, my new website is officially available for test viewing. See it now!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting the new website ready


I've been developing new content and a whole new style for my ElectriKolor website, and am about a week shy of re-launching the site. The writing part has been easy, the design part has been relatively easy, and the most difficult part yet to complete is the online transaction processing part. But I'll get that done soon enough.

Last year around this time, I began immersing my online efforts into Etsy, which was supposed to primarily be an online venue for handmade goods. If the truth is told, the major portion of the site's sales come from supplies, which are mostly commercial items being resold by online members. Of course, this is an excellent business model, in which Etsy itself profits from the transactions of creative sellers buying from their online "friends" instead of evil big box stores. It's apparently not a big deal if the individual seller sells things at a hefty mark-up, though...

The organization of Etsy itself is benefitting from those of us trying online selling for the first time, touting itself as a great community, and using the most successful sellers there as their model citizens. Of course, most of the listed "seller" members of Etsy now have shops that are either empty or haven't been updated in months. Many of the buyers are actually sellers, who love taking whatever money ends up in their PayPal account as sales proceeds and going right back and spending the money on something cute on Etsy. Again, this is an excellent business plan for Etsy. Get people in to the organization listing their items and relisting their items to gain exposure on the site, and while they're off waiting for customers to come into their store, ensure that they go off and tell other sellers just exactly how much they ♥ the other folks shops. If the hearts actually translated into sales, then that would be of interest to me...

The other parts of Etsy that I find to be most problematic are their totally FUBAR search engine and the fact that as a seller, you're expected to bring your customers to their site, but once you do, you really don't have easy and direct access to the members that you brought in. That is, unless you communicate outside of Etsy. Yes, Etsy does allow members to "convo" each other...but don't do it too often or include information that might seem repetitive. Heck, even cutting and pasting a common thank you note to your buyer can reduce your "convo" privileges. Heaven forbid if you want to contact the customers who have shown any interest in your products by marking them as their favorites...that's considered spam. No, you can't offer your customers or potential customers opt in/opt out permissions for your portion of the site.

If I were to go into more of a rant, I'd talk about the fact that the folks who are pumping the ideas into the site don't know jack about business and have been losing sellers who become successful or who just get "fed up" with the kinds of toys that they keep adding to the site. Yes, I love Flash as a tool for delivering online content, but if you don't have the simple site basics running like a well-oiled machine, what the heck do you need another shiny new useless tool that customers won't use? Etsy would benefit from a visit from a usability expert. Heaven knows they refuse to pay attention to the sellers and buyers who've been identifying their pain points for at least the last year that I've been trying to make sense of things over there.

End Etsy rant for now...
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