***pre-order special*** The first 50 pre-orders will include the first three All Things Ordinary “tribute” buttons. This set includes tributes to Nirvana, Youth of Today, and Jawbreaker.
All Things Ordinary #5, “my 10 month vacation in Buffalo”, is a 28 page half size (5.5″ x 8.5″) personal zine about what I did throughout the 10 months I lived in Buffalo. The zine chronicles my adventures from May 2010-February 2011, leading up to my move back to Portland, OR. Highlights include:
“Why I was interviewed on FoxNews.com”
“Thou/Wolves in the Throne Room show in the woods of Vermont”
The Fest 10, working at Fun Fun Fun Fest, being on tour with Lemuria, seeing Despise You, and much more!
I recently decided to uproot the entire webstore for my custom 1″ button making business and move it from Big Cartel to Storenvy. People who have slowly built up a website on one platform might cringe at this idea, fearing all the unnecessary work. While it did take a solid day to do the switch, I think it was very necessary for the following reasons:
1. No cap on items in store: For the free plan, Big Cartel only allows you to have 5 items in your store at a time. In order to have 25, 100, or 300 items, you’re required to pay $9.99, $19.99, and $29.99 a month respectively. Storenvy offers unlimited items in their stores at no cost at all. In addition to custom pinback buttons, I also have a wide array of catalog buttons I offer to customers. No limit on the number of items allows me to constantly think of new ideas to fill the store with. With Big Cartel, I was only able to keep my best sellers in the store and couldn’t afford to spare the space to try new things.
2. Stats at no extra cost: Keeping track of your most viewed items, where your traffic is coming from, and how many hits you are getting in your store are very important things for a store owner. Along with the increased item count, Big Cartel gives you access to stats on your store with the different subscription levels. This is all given to Storenvy users for free.
3. 100% off discount codes: Everyone loves discount codes. Store owners love that they bring customers in and customers love to save money. This is another feature that Storenvy gives away free while Big Cartel charges a monthly fee for. While Storenvy only offers “% off” discounts for free, their $2.99 a month fee for “Super Discounts” (Buy X, get X Free, store wide promotions etc…) offers more options than the lowest entry point of Big Cartel’s subscriptions.
4. Community is key: One of the strongest assets online retailers have is the ability to talk to someone in the same business at the click of a mouse. One of my favorite things about Storenvy is the fact they have active forums. People asking for help on their store, comparing notes on shipping methods, and mutual promotion all happen there on a daily basis. This is one of the key things Big Cartel lacks. It’s also very easy to find other stores, where as the Big Cartel store directory is not linked at all from your admin dashboard. I love to check out other people’s stores for inspiration.
There are lots of other reasons why I enjoy Storenvy more than Big Cartel (ability to tag items, much better user interface/admin section, etc…) but those are the 4 main points that drove me to make the switch. For a small business such as mine, a high monthly cost when I could get the same features for free just wasn’t worth it.
My main job right now is making custom 1″ buttons. I started Bit Part Buttons in August and it’s been going great so far. I love being able to work in my pajamas, watch movies, and listen to music and podcasts while I make buttons. Some people would probably dread the monotonous work, but I love it. I also love designing new buttons which is what I’ve been starting to do more.
With the website relaunch i’m offering a 10% off coupon for all orders in the next week. Just enter RELAUNCH2012 when you check out to take advantage of it. I’m adding new catalog buttons all week long so check back because the deal works for them as well.
I think I want a Kindle, specifically a Kindle Touch. For the longest time I thought e-book readers were stupid and would never be a good substitute for a paperback book. Then I used one briefly on tour and found that it was really easy to read.
See, i’ve hit a wall with my reading habits. I’m still buying books when I find one that looks interesting, but I haven’t finished a book in many months. The last book I finished was Record Collecting for Girls and I had to push myself to finish it. The way I see it, e-book readers are the new mp3 player. I don’t think it will stop me from buying/reading paperback books, I think it will just get me excited about reading again. Even though I have stacks of tapes and records, I listen to most of my music on my phone or on my computer.
One of the best features the Kindle Touch has that makes me want one is a built in dictionary and wikipedia look up. Far too often when I am reading, I’ll come across a reference or a word that I want to get a little extra info on to help the context of the book. So I have to put my book down and look it up on my computer or phone. Since I got pulled out of my book, I get easily distracted by other things on the internet: facebook, email, message boards, etc… I think having it all on the same device is really convenient and would really help me.
Plus, lets be honest, I’m a gadget nerd. I am constantly reading http://www.engadget.com/ and have been loving the last couple months since I bought the iPhone 4s.
My birthday is in 4 weeks, I think I know what I’m going to ask for.
So obviously I abruptly stopped blogging about our day to day travels on tour. This is mostly because it was harder to keep up with it on the road than I thought. I contemplated going back and posting each day, but have instead decided to write a zine about my experiences. I will be tabling at Chicago Zine Fest on March 10th, 2012 so I have made that my deadline. Once I have it near completion, I’ll post ordering instructions here for those who can’t make it to CZF (though if you can make it, I highly recommend doing so).
I’m currently working on a new website for my button business Bit Part Buttons, putting the finishing touches on my friend Biff’s record label’s website Feral Kid Records, creating a shopping cart for Josh’s label Feeble Minds, and over the next month I’ll be helping Alex Wrekk set up a new Stolen Sharpie Revolution website. To say I’m busy is an understatement (but it’s the good kind of busy).
This was our last full day in Austin. Sheena had plans with Eva so Alex and I started the day with a trip to the post office. I had some button orders I finished on the road that I needed to mail out and Alex had a bunch of Lemuria shirt and record orders to send. Despite being thousands of miles away from home, being at the post office was oddly comforting.
After the post office we headed to the mall because I decided to buy an iPhone 4s. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I decided to treat myself to a new phone because I had just worked 80 hours in 6 days. Plus my HTC Droid Incredible had been acting up a little. When we got to the mall, there was a line outside of the Apple store which I quickly learned was just for people waiting to buy the iPhone 4s. I waited in said line for about a half hour until it was my turn.
The employee took my info and then I found out I needed the last 4 numbers of my mom’s social security number (I’m on a family plan with her). I tried calling her to no avail. I thought for a while if she had given it to me before, but I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. Then I thought of a way I could get it! My grandpa does taxes for everyone in the family so he would have it. I gave him a call and with a little digging he was able to find it. I gave it to the woman and all was set, until a notice popped up on her screen. Apparently my mom hadn’t paid her current bill yet and the account had to be paid up in order to upgrade a phone. Seeing as I couldn’t get a hold of my mom earlier, I decided to walk down to the Verizon kiosk and pay the bill since I had the extra money at the time. When I came back to the Apple store I didn’t have to wait in the line again which was nice.
But there was one problem. I had to start the registration process over again and I had forgotten my mom’s social security number. I tried several things but I couldn’t remember it at all. I tried calling my grandpa but he wasn’t answering the phone (I later found out that he had gone to a school function for my cousin right after we got off the phone). As a last ditch effort, I called my mom’s husband to see if he could find something around the house with the number on it. He couldn’t and I could tell the employee (a different one from earlier) was getting impatient. I decided to give up and come back the next day. I felt defeated. I also felt like an idiot for forgetting 4 numbers in the span of 10 minutes. I felt so bad for making Alex wait the whole time and I apologized up and down.
Feeling hungry and bored, we decided to go see Tower Heist at the Alamo Draft House. I think we were more excited about going to the Alamo Draft House than the actual movie. Getting to the theatre turned into a huge ordeal due to horrible traffic, glitchy GPS, and horrible Austin roadway systems. We finally made it and managed to see the end of the trailer for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I’m really excited to see).
The Alamo Draft House is awesome because there are long tables in front of every row of seats and you can order food from your seat. I just got a soda and a basket of fries, but being able to get free refills without getting up is awesome. The movie was pretty good too. I’m a big fan of heist movies and while this was more on the comedic side, it was still good. After the movie we went back to the house and finished counting and organizing all the merch. Tour started again the next day so we had to get ready. I was having a good time in Austin but I was ready to hit the road again.
This was a very relaxing day, and it was much needed. I didn’t do much at all. I helped Alex with counting Lemuria shirts and then we went out to get burritos at Freebirds. It had been recommended to me a bunch and it definitely was really good. The only other highlight was meeting up with Sheena, Eva, Max, and Natalie for Indian food at Clay Pot. We had tons of food and it was all delicious. Max’s raves about the place were well deserved.
This was my last day of working at Fun Fun Fun Fest. As soon as we got there at 9am, the mood was completely different. Everyone was happy because the fest went really well and all we had to do is clean things up. The first thing I did was helped Sheena clean the “green rooms”. I did a bunch more stuff, but the most memorable was when we had to return rental bikes so a pack of us hopped on them and rode them across the river. It was a great feeling and many jokes were had. This is also when we started to use “Slayer” as an adjective, ie “That bike ride was Slayer”. It seems silly typing that now, but at the time it was awesome.
We didn’t do much else after that. It felt so good to cut off my wristband that night. Fun Fun Fun Fest was a great experience, and I already am contemplating working there again next year.
I was looking forward to Sunday for three reasons: Lemuria’s set, last day of the fest, and Henry Rollins. Today was also the day Slayer was headlining so everyone was buzzing about that. I was never a big fan
of their music, but seeing their set up during the soundcheck was pretty awesome. Lemuria played 2nd on the orange stage so I helped set up a few things at yellow and headed over there to make sure I had a good spot on the side of the stage for their set.
I had never seen them play on such a big stage before and it was definitely weird. There wasn’t much of a crowd watching them since it was early in the day, but there were a handful of people singing along. Lemuria sounded really good and it was awesome seeing Sheena and Max with a lot of room to move around and rock out.
When I got back to the yellow stage, Henry Rollins was there. I wasn’t nervous to meet him like other people were, but it was definitely cool. He’s super nice and really talkative. He was there early because he was going to officiate a wedding for 2 people who met at FFF several years ago. It was a fun service, easily the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It ended with the Sexy Sax Man coming out and playing which was pretty awesome. He might come out to Lemuria’s show in LA. I really hope that happens because that would be amazing.
A few hours later Henry Rollins went on and killed it. He always puts on a great show and has awesome things to talk about. About half way through the set I heard a voice in the crowd that sounded like someone was heckling him with a bullhorn. As I was looking for the person, I realized it was Brian Posehn starting his set over on the orange stage.
Directly following Mr. Rollins was Trash Talk. They were supposed to play the black stage as that’s where most of the punk and hardcore and metal bands played, but for some reason they got moved to our stage. I helped them get all their equipment on stage and then set up near the stage right speaker to make sure people didn’t climb on them. I’m not a fan of Trash Talk, and had never seen them, but I’ve been to enough hardcore shows to know what to expect. It was full of pile ons and stage dives and circle pits. It was weird watching a show from a different perspective. In the middle of the first song, this kid John from Buffalo saw me on the stage and said hi. It threw me off because I forgot he had told me that he was going to be at FFF. It was cool to see him and I wish I could have talked to him more at the time, but I had to get Trash Talk’s equipment off the stage and then rush over to the blue stage to do security again.
The reason was because Odd Future was playing. I had heard stories and seen videos of the insanity of their shows, so I didn’t go in unprepared. I got there before they even started but the crowd was already going crazy. People were pushing on the right barrier so much that it was about to flip over. To remedy this, they were wedging a big metal rod between the stage and the barrier to keep it up. A few minutes later, Tyler the Creator and the rest of Odd Future hit the stage and the place went wild. Bodies were flying everywhere. Odd Future was stage diving into the crowd, people were crawling to the front, and a few people were crowd surfing on giant inflatable rafts.
In the middle of their set, they abruptly stopped a song and all ran off the stage into the crowd. It was pretty crazy and we didn’t know what to do and what was going on. Apparently someone had thrown a water bottle and it hit Tyler in the head so they jumped into the crowd to beat the shit out of the person. It was hard to tell what happened in the crowd or if they ever found the culprit. I thought that was going to be the craziest thing of the set, but I was wrong.
Right before they played their last song, ‘Radicals’, Tyler the Creator told the crowd to “fuck the security, rush the barrier and come on stage”. While normally i’d think “that’s awesome and super rad”, being on the other side of the fence (literally), I was not stoked. As soon as the song started, chaos ensued. Immediately, my glasses got knocked off which was terrifying to me. Without my glasses, I can barely see. At first I couldn’t find them among the bodies falling on my head, but luckily I managed to see them in the dirt and put them in my pocket before they were broken. For the duration of the song, it was non-stop stage diving and crowd surfing. It was easily one of the craziest things I have ever experienced.
There was only one performer I was looking forward to on this day and that was Donald Glover. I have been watching the tv show Community a lot lately so when I found out I was going to meet one of my favorite characters on the show, I was pretty excited. When I went behind the tent (our stage didn’t have a backstage area, just a slightly obscured grove behind the tent), he was surrounded by people. As I approached him, his agent/publicist/ handler/something Chad introduced himself and I checked in with him to see if they needed anything. He asked if I could get him a bandana that we were all wearing to deal with the dust storms. I knew the tent that was giving them out so I rushed over there and grabbed him one.
It was pretty hectic leading up to his set time, everyone wanted a picture with him. I was finally able to introduce myself a few minutes before he was going to go on. It was really awesome that he didn’t assume I knew who he was and when I said “Hi, my is Derek by the way” he replied with “Hey i’m Donald.” I then told him that I was a big fan of Community and he was really happy about that. His stand up set was awesome, super funny and the crowd was packed.
Turquoise Jeep put on a really entertaining set after Mr. Glover. Then a couple comedians was Neal Brennan who used to write for the Dave Chapelle show. He was funny as you’d imagine he would be, and really nice as well. During his set I looked out into the crowd and I saw Brian Posehn watching. This wasn’t a huge surprise as I knew he was doing stand up on the orange stage on Sunday. After Neal’s set, he came to the side of the stage to congratulate Neal on a good set. He was busy talking to other people so I took this opportunity to introduce myself to Mr. Posehn. The highlight of my night was when I made him laugh. It was awesome.
The last set for the night was a 2 hour sketch comedy thing by a bunch of people from Baltimore (featuring Dan Deacon). I wasn’t really into this so I stood outside for a while. Then my stage manager asked me if I wanted to go to blue stage and help out with security. I had never done security work before but I was bored so anything sounded like a good idea. I met up with the head of security and he explained that all I’ll be doing is standing between the stage and the barrier and making sure crowd surfers get to the ground safely and don’t go on stage.
I got to the stage at the end of Childish Gambino’s set (Donald Glover’s hip hop group) so that was a pleasant surprise. After them was Neon Indian. I had never heard them before but they sounded like a new disco band. Not really my thing personally. The headliner was Major Lazer, which was the reason why I was asked to help out with security. They put on a crazy show and I had to catch the singer several times.
Best cover song: Captured by Robots played “Thieves” by Ministry
Most awkward set: Air Sex Contest
What I said that made Brian Posehn laugh: ”It’s really nice of Slayer to offer to close for you tomorrow”