I hired movers to move all the big stuff–boxes filled with books, couches, tables, bins filled with heavy records, un-filed paperwork, unorganized cables, A/V equipment, several seasons worth of clothes and more. In the days leading up to the last big push, I came down with the Flu (and probably some form of exotic bronchial plague), leaving me running at around 30%, while the task of packing and moving required 110% (yes, a mathematical impossibility). Holly sprung into action, helped me tape and pack boxes, making sure the menagerie of exotic travel treasures that once cluttered my walls and shelves were carefully wrapped in newspaper (that black and white paper stuff that comes in handy when moving) and packed in boxes. Without her help, I would still be there standing in the middle of the room staring at the empty boxes. Or, I would be serving five to life for suspected arson.
Once the movers took the majority of things to the new house, I was left with the task of cleaning up those “last few items.” In my case, these items were not just a few. I was able to organize the remaining items into four major groups: stuff to keep, stuff to donate, stuff to trash and stuff to recycle. I also had to get a 1998 Honda Passport, which had been sitting parked in my garage for 3 years, in road-worthy condition (replacing a starter, exhaust and cam shaft gasket). But that’s a whole other story.
Today’s photo comes from the recycle pile.
In the year 2000, I was working at a dot-com start-up called eBody.com. We built Web sites for doctors (cosmetic surgeons to be more specific), ran a portal dedicated to elective procedures and were on our way to early retirement–cashing in on the great healthcare dot-com race. Think WebMD, Healtheon and the others. On paper, I was worth millions. On paper. We had just closed our Series A round of financing when the bottom fell out of the market. The founders were having a fight over something as simple as one of them sleeping with their assistant (while being married to the other one’s sister). True story. I couldn’t even make this up. We went from 34 people down to 6 in a matter of a couple of months. Yet, despite not being able to raise additional capital at the time, we were making money. Really good money.
We were paying a premium price for office space that we no longer needed. I had just networked my house and jokingly mentioned the CEO, “Hey, my place is networked, we should just move the company into may basement.” Within 48 hours, I had 5 phone lines strung into my house with a U-Haul truck filled with files and equipment following shortly. Two of the sales guys lived within walking distance to my door. The tech guys worked remotely and our poor little admin just didn’t know any better. While most dot-coms started in a basement, that’s where this one would end up.
I think I told my then-girlfriend about this new business venture when the staff showed up for the first day of work at the new office. If I recall correctly, she may or may not have been in her bathrobe. She was far less understanding than I had expected. No big loss on that one.
After a few months, another dot-com venture came calling for me. I had little hopes of getting paid for my eBody.com work, so I took the job, while leaving the new remote underground office open for business during the day. After about 6 months of running the basement office, we closed down shop–partly due to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against one of the founders (you know, the one sleeping with his assistant). Note: I’m not in HR, but if you sleep with your assistant, you probably shouldn’t fire her and then demand that one of your side businesses funnel money into a secret account you’re using for legal fees. But that’s just me. I’m a prude that way.
As the office started to slowly wind down, people came less and less, phones rang infrequently and servers were slowly taken offline. I was left with unpaid invoices, countless numbers of discarded computer bodies and stacks and stacks of client files. Due to my legal connection to the company, I couldn’t just throw them out. And there was no central office to return things to. Everyone else moved on to better gigs and I was left trying to figure out what to do with the remains of this dot-com dream.
My solution: file the remains away into a dark corner storage area of my basement, to be recalled at a later date. That day never came. Over the years, these computers would serve as organ donors for various projects and new computer builds. The files sat there untouched, as a reminder of a potential retirement plan of re-starting the business from a remote tropical island. One of the unpaid invoices were for domain renewals–which included the company’s namesake. I’d say after 11 years and a lapse in copyright, I could probably do something with the domain name, don’t you think?
11 years later, I’m moving on, starting a fresh life. New dreams and new beginnings. I’m ready for the next chapter and the next start-up. This time hopefully with a better end. Although, making a throne out of discarded computer cases was pretty damn fun.
Now, if I could just find a place to recycle these things, I would be a happy man.
Knowing that the snow was coming, I quickly assembled my camera rig and attached a self-timer remote release I bought specifically for this purpose–and which lived in a box for over a year before using it that day. I set the camera on a tripod facing out my living room window, programming the shutter to take a photo every 10 seconds until the battery on the camera gave out.
In all, I’m not sure how many photos I took, but the camera lasted about 6 hours before the battery drained down and stopped taking photos. The above video is the product of all of those individual frames. It’s really fun to see what a Minnesota Snow Day really looks like…in fast forward.]]>
I love abandoned buildings, airplanes, ships and virtually anything large and creepy looking. Around the world, humanity has left these monuments as a relic of a time gone by. While the Egyptians left the Pyramids and the Khmers left us Angkor, Minneapolis will leave behind a decaying footprint of our industrial past. We hide these places tucked away from our daily commutes, but they still exist. While tragic and most likely polluting, they’re a beautiful reminder set against the skyline of a modern city who has developed a moral conscience to take care of our people and our planet.
Spring will bring more urban exploration of these sites, as I uncover the hidden and abandoned parts of my beautiful city.]]>
We woke up early and quietly packed our stuff into the car without waking up the larger group of friends who enjoyed drinking games late into the night. I went to sleep early, knowing that I would be more interested in taking the long way home the next day–stopping in every small town along the way. There were a few places we passed on the way to the cabin that I wanted to photograph. And a few antique stores that always lobby for my attention when I drive to this part of the country.
A stop in the little Minnesota town of Lindstrom brought me to the Antique Mall, where I would typically end up buying something to clutter up my already museum-like living room.
This time I decided to take a photo safari around the store, snapping photos of items that seemed better suited to stay on the shelf than to make their way home with me. It’s a trick I learned several years ago while traveling: most times trinkets and souvenirs look better on the cluttered shelves and in makeshift stalls than they do sitting alone on the fireplace mantle at home. Taking a photograph preserves those beautiful moments.
This collection of old-timey medicine bottles are a stunning reminder of how far we’ve come in the past hundred years, or so. Gone are the days when the pharmacist would need to mix up a batch of chemicals to treat your undiagnosed illness. While times may have changed, there’s something special about the remnants of time gone by that fill our antique stores. I just hope that the next generation will appreciate these beautiful items as much as I do.]]>
Our presentation was supposed to called, “The Necessity of Social Media.” We discovered that when we arrived at the event center and opened the program. While that would have been a fun topic, we feel our last-minute audible was better for the audience. We did sprinkle in some talk of social networks, but only as the purest form and how it directly related to their support systems. But this post isn’t out our presentation, it’s about what I learned from these students.
They were young, eager and excited about their futures. They’re facing a much different economic world than the one I saw when I graduated. They biggest concern is trying to find a job that fits the experience they currently have — which for most is somewhere between none and very little. Yet they power on, wearing their hopes on their sleeves. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of and I eagerly look forward to seeing what this new class of advertising students ends up doing with their futures.]]>
So now we wait. AAA is coming to the rescue and then I’ll have a nice morning conversation with a taxi driver on my way to work. Tony over at Tisdel’s will undoubtedly find the problem and get her in perfect working order. An ordinary shop would tell me to replace the transmission. Odd are that he fixes it for next to nothing. He’s that kind of mechanic. The rare kind that you can trust.
The funny (or not-so-funny) thing is that the transmission on my sister’s car went out yesterday. She had only had it for 4 weeks. What are the cosmic odds of that happening? I’m not going to argue with any of it. I just don’t want to have to buy a new car today. Or rather, I don’t want to pay to buy a new car — I always want new ones.]]>