Sunday Espresso: Baby photos 2.0, X10 surprises, Gilt memoires

    The latest game, though, involves... making money. Who doesn't want to make money, right?

    Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

    Sunday Espresso Editorial Clint

    Some Sunday mornings I can fly on this MacBook keyboard, others, like today, I stare into space and dream that some Elf comes along and magically types this weekly column while stunningly exotic, ethereal nymphs rub my feet while I gormandize.

    When the dream wears, I realize it’s just me and the white space. Must type. Must type. And type some more…

    Baby Photos 2.0

    Remember the days when someone would pull out their wallet and show you baby photos? Of course you’d know the second they’d reach for them that you were in for at least a minute or two of glowing pride. Hey, why not, right? The world can use more of these special moments.

    With social networking these moments are happening a lot more often. And at the least expected moments… like when I might be working on a deal or business opportunity for one of our web sites. Maybe we’re talking media sponsorships, lining up interviews with actors or directors, or trying to figure out how to “scale” in style. You know, stuff like that. Then, whammo! Up comes the baby photos…

    Facebook has this amazing–and well publicized–propensity to make your life tremendously public, whether you want it or not. Granted if you don’t like it, the answer is simple: Sign off.

    Years ago, though, I made the decision to jump in whole hog (aka, just like SF Chefs) into social networking, warts and all. It meant that I had to (try to) park my cynical, burned-by-the-bubble-and-Silicon-Valley-hype-more-than-once self to the side, and ride the next wave, again. Twitter and Facebook can be gigantic distractions. That, we know. But something like StarkSilverCreek would not exist without these tools. Not only that, I really enjoy being able to track what all my family and friends are up to in Canada… something that would’ve been much more difficult ten years ago, even with email. Plus, connecting with others with similar interests is a bonus. Like many I’m sure, I pull up Twitter on trusty Droid and give it a spin to see what others are doing, or, perhaps, pretending to be doing.

    But those baby photos!

    As you know, “tag” and you’re it.

    Once someone associates your name to a photo, then you might as well pick up a megaphone and shout, “HERE I AM — LOOK HOW CUTE I USED TO BE!” (btw – I love this photo of me and Mom at the Ottawa Ex where she worked in a Lemonade stand… I especially like the way she’s paying more attention to me than the customer trying to order a Candy Apple) Everyone will know. And, of course, you have no say in the matter.

    I look at these photos and I realize a few things.

    First, we’re in the era of eternal scrap-booking. When you post digitally, no more worries about the fire that burns down the house.

    Second, the best stuff on Facebook is the personal.

    Third, I used to have a lot more hair.

    Fourth, I admit I had it good in the day: Kit Kats in the morning, Candy Apples in the day, and Roast Beef by night.

    X10 Surprises

    There was a time I had this house under control. And I’m not talking about Loni, that is an entirely different cupcake. I’m talking tech run amok. Five years ago, we wired this place up: home theater, wine cellar, irrigation, landscaping, etc. At the time it was really easy to know how everything worked. It was a snap. We had a controller there, a timer here, and computer somewhere that made it all possible. Like DeNiro in Casino, “And the eye in sky watches us all…”

    Then, time passes.

    I forget things as others are wont to remind me.

    All of a sudden we’re in Amityville: Silicon Valley goes to Hell Director’s Cut.

    When we pull into the home after a night out (usually in San Francisco for the show) it’s always a surprise. What lights will be on? How bright will they be? What wiring will be on fire or charred? And how many fuses and wire caps will I need to play with before a glass of Chard wins me over, as I sit in our dark yard?

    Here’s the thing. X10, a wire-based control system for lighting commands, is great when it works. But, man, when it’s flaky, your whole home becomes a giant lighting experiment (admittedly the new wireless mesh technology is helping improve matters, but why mention that when it could ruin a perfectly good yarn?). The wine cellar spots are on – ever so dim. The fountain stopped working. But the front lights are at all out max and lighting the neighborhood brighter than a San Jose Sharks game at HP Pavilion. I know, woe is me. Robinson Goldberg would be proud, although if I could just wear something on my head to control the whole contraption I’d look so much crazier than I already do sitting here typing; typing into the void…

    Gilt

    You know I like to sometimes discuss games here. Not the PS3 kind (Tops: Oblivion and Bioshock), but the punch-buggy-yellow kind. Old school. Recently, you may recall I wrote about the joys that come from reading negative Yelp reviews (Yelp for laughs)… it’s an art form; some of the best undiscovered comedy writers are commenting on the social networking with stuff you’d never see on Leno or Stewart.

    The latest game, though, involves… making money. Who doesn’t want to make money, right?

    This technique is guaranteed to make money. You will have money coming in.

    Perception and psychology are key components of the game.

    Here’s how it works.

    First, you need to spend money. Preferably on one of those addictive sites like Gilt or Groupon. As you spend the money, tell yourself that: (a) it’s long overdue, and your wardrobe really needs an upgrade or two — you’ll feel better, you’ll perform better at everything you do, and, of course, you’ll look swell; or (b) you’re saving scads of money, by the bucket-load… miraculously spending more results in even more savings…  it’s so incredible, it’s obscene.

    Then you amass this stuff. Pile it for effect.

    Circle it. Eye it. Discuss it.

    This is the feel good stage. Sure you had to spend money, but wait for it. You’re going to start making money shortly. Now in fact! Okay, let’s go ahead and make some money…!

    Now, start realizing that: (a) you really didn’t need those items, they were decadent to begin with and who are you kidding anyways?; or (b) you’re buying coupons for stuff that you don’t really need (come on, a massage in Berkeley?!).

    Start pulling stuff out of the “free economy” pile.

    Then find imperfections: too small, too 80s, too glittery, too puffy, etc.

    Now here’s the key part, that enables you to make money. You must now return it. It’s easy… return, return, return. All of a sudden, the money that had been previously committed because it was needed, now magically returns unencumbered. Finally: enjoy all that new found money. (My thanks to Loni for the research required to produce this story).

    Word of the Day: again, can you spot it?

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