Starbucks Thinks I’m A Drug Dealer

This morning I woke up at 7:30 a.m., got dressed quickly, and hit the atm for some cash.

I was headed to the farmer’s market to get some just-picked corn, and fresh salad veggies (because today is SALAD SATURDAY at our house).  I get to the farmer’s market about 8:05 a.m.–a little later than I would have liked, because parking downtown, as in every other city in the entire world, is a disastrous, frustrating experience.  But I didn’t do too bad.  I found a space, and was on my way.

Here’s what I bought:

A delicious line up for SALAD SATURDAY.

On the way home, I decided to stop at my local starbucks to get a delicious coffee drink.

The Starbucks Experience

This Starbucks is the drive through kind.  I order my drink at the speaker, glance at the shopping bag of veggies sitting beside me in the passenger seat (I did not strap them in) and pulled forward.

When the barista takes my card, she gives me a funny look.  She is young and cute and energetic, and I am patiently waiting for my coffee.  After a minute or so of waiting, I look back up at the window, and find three young baristas staring at me.

Okay… this is starting to get a bit weird.

I stare back, and the uncomfortable moment stretches on until they open the drive through window, and one of the girls asks me

“Is that a marijuanna plant?”

me:  Nope.  Carrots.

Barista 2 (laughing with the two others): Oh!  I thought it was marijuanna.  I thought you was really brave just leaving it out like that.

me:  …It’s just the tops of carrots.

Barista 1: When I took your card I saw it and I was like…?

A few things wrong with this situation

1.) All greens are not marijuana plants.

2.) Carrot tops and marijuanna leaves look very different

3.) YOU DO NOT ASK YOUR CUSTOMER IF HE IS CARRYING DRUGS DURING A BUSINESS TRANSACTION.

Starbucks: please feel free to use this blog post to help train new baristas.  You can pay me in free drink coupons. 🙂

Happy Half Year 2012

So today the year is halfway gone. It’s a good time for reflecting on the first half of the year, and refocusing on the goals you want to rock in the second half of the year.

It’s crazy when I look back at my goals for the year.  My focus and intent ha shifted so much this year, it kind of blows my mind.

kapow!

Mind = Blown

At the beginning of this year, I haven’t even conceived of the business I just got all the pieces together for–and just launched!

At the beginning of this year, I made goals that are hard to keep.  I think having too specific a goal can be a defeat before the goal is begun.  An online friend (the ruggedly handsome Damian Thompson), is participating in a 90 days productivity challenge that someone, at a place we both frequent online, proposed.  90 days of time well spent, of habits changing and meaningful work done.  Damian suggests that he’s not setting goals, but rather changing behaviors.

I love this idea.

Looking back at something I wrote in a notebook, in January, I see that I am falling short of some of the goals on the page entitled “I’ll Know 2012 Was A Success If…”

I won’t go into the specifics of the goals, but they had to do with getting healthy, finding business success, and minimizing a lot of things in my life.

My 90 Day Challenge

I’m going to post daily updates on how I’m doing with my challenge at another blog, mostly because I don’t want to clog up this blog with a bunch of tiny updates.  I will link to where the other posts are so you can check it out, if you really want to.  Maybe it will inspire you to look at your goals, see where you are, and adjust.

Then rock it.

Standing Up

When I hurt my ankle while hiking in May (god, I miss hiking) I switched from a standing desk to a sitting desk.  I love standing while I work.  Sitting has been scientifically proven to be So Bad For You, and when I stand while working I feel free to move around as needed, because I have trouble sitting still, and movement helps me think and focus.

Finally, after weeks of physical therapy, I have set my office up for a standing desk.  It’s taking some getting used to, especially around my ankle, which is still pretty weak.  But I’m being careful and resting it often.

I really like this set up.  It uses a “bar table” from Ikea, and a monitor stand from best buy.

Here’s a picture of my standing desk:

 

Sean's Desk

And a picture of what my desktop looks like:

Standing Desk

 

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been really interested in seeing people’s work spaces.  It’s fascinating.  So I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at mine!

Stay tuned for a follow up post about my progress on the 90 Day Challenge.

The Future of the Internet

To spice things up, ICANN (the non-profit organization in charge of internet domain names) has opened up new Top Level Domains (gTLD) for purchase.  Currently there are 22 gTLD, including .com, .net, .co etc.  But there are going to be a lot more domain endings (to replace .com) coming soon.

What sort of domains?

Well, to be honest, anything you want.

The Old gTLDs

Everybody knows .com: it’s the standard, the worn and rusty but solid gTLD that most people want when creating a website for themselves.  The com in .com stands for commercial, and was created in 1985.

.net, .org, .mil, .gov, soon followed.  Most countries have their own domain names (called country code top-level domains, or ccTLD), such as .de (for Germany), .fr (for France), and so on.

Things Are Changing

ICANN has opened up a new registration process where businesses or organization can apply for their own ccTLD, or word after the dot.

What does this mean?  Say you were a huge internet company… let’s say, Amazon.com.  With this new registration system, you could apply for .amazon domain names, so that in the future, customers might buy music from the domain address:

http://music.amazon

instead of something like

http://amazon.com/music.

You might find movies at movies.amazon, and so on.  The .amazon would replace the .com

Pretty interesting right?  Would you like one of your own?

Sorry, that’ll be $180,000 to sign up and $25,000 (or more) per year.

ICANN is RICH!

There were over 1,930 applications for this new TLD process.  At 185k a pop for the sign up process, ICANN brought in $357,000,000.

.Who?

Google, which applied for the domains through a company called “Charleston Road Registry,” applied for over 100.  Amazon.com applied for a similarly large amount.

Here is a list of the most interesting.  (By the way, want to know what the most lucrative search terms are according to some of the biggest internet companies?  This list should lay that out quite clearly).

A sample of domain names that google applied for:

.ads

.and

.android

.app

.are

.baby

.blog

.boo

.book

A sample of domain names that Amazon applied for:

.Amazon

.app

.audible

.author

.aws

.book

.bot

.box

.buy

Other interesting domains applied for

.casa

.catholic

.chat

.cloud

.diet

.fail

.hiphop

.sucks

(You can see the full list here).

The Future of the Internet

It remains to be seen what the outcome of all these new domain names will be like.  It seems like it could be a confusing time, trying to figure out if you should go to google.com or search.goog or google.com/search, but the reality is, no one cares in the end.  If you want to go somewhere on the internet, the average user just types the destination they want into the search bar and let Google show them the way.

This will have a big impact on advertising, for sure, and it will definitely have a big impact on SEO (search engine optimization).  Will Google.com give precedence to these new domain names?  If you are an ice cream shop, will chocolate.icecream outrank yourstorename.com/chocolate in the search results?  Probably.

You can bet that spammers and web squatters are not buying up these domain names to exploit at 180k per name.

There could also be some really cool outcomes.  The site Donuts.co is bidding on a ton of new names, but it has not been revealed why, only that they have received $100,000,000 (one hundred million) in funding.  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could buy a domain name to attach to one of their new TLDs?

Imagine if I could register for the name sean.awesome (if they owned .awesome) or sean.drummer (if they owned .drummer).  There are a lot of really cool possibilities I can think of, but since this is the internet, my prediction is that I couldn’t possibly imagine how all this will shake down, and all the coolness that will result.

Change Is Scary

Change is scary, but then you adapt.  Otherwise, you’re still listening to 8 Tracks in your Ford Pinto.  No one wants that (cept these guys, maybe).

If you want to read some more articles about this, check out one from the bbc, and one from readwriteweb.

Florida Adventure

As I write this, I’ve just returned from a 10 day Florida vacation.  Two immediate thoughts

1) It’s SO GOOD to be home

2) Man, vacations are nice.

A Brief History of ‘Why Florida?’

My parents live in Florida.  It’s where we moved from Charleston, SC after our house burned down (hmm, I should tell that story on here sometime).  I lived in Florida for 8 years.  I finished high school there and started college there.  I never really liked living there, mostly due to the weather and, oh, let’s see, THE WEATHER.  It was always too hot and humid for me, but I did like to see the storms come through, and walking on the beach at night.

So I wanted to go and visit my mom and dad, as well as spending time with my nephews.

Tropical Storm Beryl

Red Dot = Where I was staying

Tropical Storm Beryl

I flew in on a Saturday, which was lucky timing, as tropical storm Beryl was scheduled to come smash through the east coast on Sunday.

I’m kind of a weather nerd, so, as long as my plane wasn’t trying to LAND during the tropical storm, I was super excited to be in Florida and experience the storm.  What was it like?  Lots of wind, lots of rain, and lots and lots of grey skies.

When a tropical storm of anytime comes ashore, even if it is tens of hundreds of miles away, it always puts on a show at the beach.  The waves are and fierce.  When the waves crash the wind sprays the sea foam into the air.  It’s quite the site.

The waves came right up to the end of the boardwalk.

big waves

Other fun things I got to do:

– Went to Charleston, SC to visit family

– Had some AUTHENTIC South Carolina barbecue, the highlight of any trip to SC

– Road Trip with dad!

– Slightly shorter Road Trip with mom!

– Rented Jet Skis and rode them at Ponce Inlet, FL

– SLEPT.  A Lot.

– Played with my parents’s MONSTER chocolate lab, Bailey:

dog running on beach

That was basically it.  Vacations where your plans consist of relaxing and visiting the ones you love most are the best.  As work was stressful lately, and the last month really wore me down, this was sort of the perfect vacation.

I’ll leave you with this final picture, because it sums it all up:

Flagler Beach

Flagler Beach, FL

Experian Fraud

Google it.

There are a lot of people angry with Experian over fraudulent charges, and I just became one of them.

There are two types of pissed off people:

1.) People who ordered their credit report for $1, and then canceled the scheduled credit monitoring charge, only to have that $19.95 charge appear month after month after month.

2.) People whose accounts get charged by Experian who NEVER SIGNED UP FOR ANY KIND OF SERVICE FROM THERE.

I am in the second group.  See, here’s what happens.

Some one, somehow (maybe through sheer guessing and entering random numbers: they have bots for that) gets your credit card number and enters it at Experian.com to get a free credit report.  If one does not cancel the credit monitoring service one is automatically enrolled in a $19.95 per month service.

Experian.com is a CREDIT MONITORING SERVICE.  Do you understand how cosmically stupid that is?  They do not require any more details than the 16 digit credit card number to charge your card.  Kind of gives you a lot of confidence in their ability to monitor your credit if they have thousands of these fraudulent charges, right?  Fail.

So I called them, and after a lengthy hold, talked to a nice woman who helped me reverse the charge and cancel any future charges.  Hopefully this works, but with the shady way they operate, one never knows.  You can be sure I’m watching my pending charges like a hungry dog watches a box of snausages.

If you’re searching for how to get this problem fixed, because you also got charged:

Here is how to get Experian.com charges reversed

– Call (714) 830-7000 for Experian customer service.  You will probably put on hold right away for nearly 10 minutes.  Suck it up and stay on the call.

– Tell them why you called (fraudulent charges appeared on your credit card account

– Stay on hold as they transfer you to the department that handles this.  Funny story: they could not tell me the direct number of this department when I asked.

– Tell the person very clearly there is a fraudulent charge on your account for a credit report, and you want the $1 charge reimbursed, as well as MAKING SURE THAT NO FURTHER CHARGES APPEAR.

– Tell them you know that after a 7 day trial period you will be charged $19.95, and you want to make sure that doesn’t happen because YOU DID NOT PURCHASE ANY SERVICE FROM THEM AND THIS IS FRAUD.

– Sit through the part where they ask you if you know the first name of the person who initiated the charge (mine was Carla), and say, nicely, OF COURSE I DON’T.  THIS IS A FRAUDULENT CHARGE.

– Stay on hold while they talk to their supervisor.  They will return and tell you everything is good to go.

– Try not to ask them if they know how eternally STUPID AND/OR HILARIOUS it is that a credit monitoring company has such a problem with credit card fraud.  One of your best weapons in situations like this is being FIRM but NICE.

– Then call your bank, and let them know what’s up.

Hope it works for you.  Hell, I hope it works for me, too.

Shatter Shatter in Audio

My story, Shatter Shatter has been turned into an audio story, and is now available for your listening pleasure.

Just click the cake to listen!

Tina Connolly, who runs Toasted Cake and reads the stories did an A-MAZE-ING job.

So go listen, it’s a mere 7 1/2 minutes long, and you’ll love it.  I don’t guarantee it, but I think it’s highly likely…

BONUS

But wait, there’s more!  I think art is for consuming AND interacting with.  As such, I’ve licensed my story to be re-used and modified (see licensing info below for the specifics).  I want you to take the story and make something out of it.  Some ideas of what you could do:

The possibilities are LITERALLY unlimited.

Why should you do this?  Well, because it’s fun and awesome to do ART.  But also, because I’ll give $40 (via paypal) to my favorite entry, and Toasted Cake will paypal $5 to an entry deserving an Honorable Mention.

Final result will be judged by me, because it’s my party.

How to Enter

  1. Send your remixed art to contest (AT) seanm.co
  2. Indicate if you’d be okay with me posting your art on my website (even if you don’t win, I’d like to share some of the results)
  3. If you are indicating  you’d like to share, be sure to leave a domain where I can link to for credit.

That’s it.  You have 1 week.  I will be picking the winner on Monday, April 16th Monday April 23rd.

P.S. If you win this, you will obvious have to be okay with me posting your art here for the results post.  Cool?

Go forth, and listen to the story!  And then do art.

License Info:

Creative Commons License
Shatter Shatter by Sean Markey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at toastedcake.com.

 [ois skin=”Share seanmco”]

Hiking Today

Recently, I discovered the joys of hiking.

Today, after embarking on an adventure (starting my novel), I went for an hour long hike along Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  The sun was setting; it was completely lovely.

In other news: I have an astigmatism and have to wear glasses now.  Thumbs down! 🙁

Here are some pics.

Salt Lake Valley pic

Salt Lake Sunset

Sean at 5120

me at 5,120 ft.

Hello Spring + Other Things

Spring in Utah is like this:

spring in utah

And then it’s like this:

Snow In Utah

From mid 60’s to snowing and freezing.  The weather is kind of like an adventure with superheroes.

In other news, I had a pretty fantastic birthday last weekend.  Beth and I went out to breakfast, got some gluten free cupcakes from a local bakery, and later that night, had dinner out at the delicious and dive-y Red Iguana.  Fantastic!

Due to trying to be healthy, I don’t drink chocolate milk EVERY SING MORNING like I used to, but I miss.  So I let myself have a treat on St. Patrick’s Day a.k.a. my birthday, and had one.  It was big, and it looked like this:

Delicious Chocolate MilkBIG.

For my birthday present, the coolest, most awesome wife ever rented a lovely ground floor apartment in a Victorian style house in Salt Lake for the weekend, and we are going to go have our own mini writing retreat.  What a creative, fun present.  Lucky me!

Speaking of writing, I recently sold a reprint to the too-cool Toasted Cake Podcast.  The story, “Shatter Shatter,” first appeared in a recently closed-down online zine.  I’m glad this little story gets another chance to be seen (and heard!).  I’ll post when there’s something else to say about it.  In the mean time, go check out Toasted Cake and enjoy good fiction!

###

Finally, here is a picture of a very stoic cat in a box.

Kitty in the box

 

this post is brought to you by Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain DressCouple of interesting things related to Kurt Cobain popped up recently, so I figured three things make a post.

I’m not a huge fan of Nirvana… I guess I’m not a medium fan either.  I’m more interested in Kurt Cobain himself than his music (though I do enjoy a few songs).

 I Found it Hard, Was Hard to Find…

Would people say he changed the entire face of music if he hadn’t died?

Probably.

Would he have ended up pissing a bunch of people off and not have had the huge following of posthumously adoring fans?

Also probably.

His disdain for fame and for the music that pushed him into the spotlight is fascinating.  To read his suicide letter, you get the impression he had a ocean’s worth of passion hidden somewhere inside himself, but he had no idea how to tap into it.  You can hear him trying though; it’s kind of painful to read.

For example when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun.

If you want to read his suicide not, though, you can do that here.  [I’m not going to really get into all of the controversy surrounding the note.  Doesn’t everything have its own conspiracy theory now?].

Top of the Pops

I guess the UK t.v. show Top of the Pops likes to use a soundtrack when having their guests play “live,” but with live vocals.  This has caused a bit of conflict in the past for other artists.  However, when Nirvana was the guest on Top of the Pops, they protested the requirement to sing live to a backing track by CLEARLY NOT PLAYING THEIR INSTRUMENTS, and by Kurt Cobain dropping his voice to Morrisey-esque octaves and changing the lyrics for hilarious results.  I kind of love this a lot:

A Capella

And finally, here is a studio track of just vocals from “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Enjoy.

How To Water Your Cat

Our cat, Abby, loves water.  In the summer she sleeps in the cool sink and waits for one of us to turn on the water.

If we walk into the room with a water bottle, and the water bottle makes a sloshing sound, she runs up and paws at the water bottle.

It’s quite ridiculous.

So naturally, we had to get it on video.

Enjoy this footage of our cat BEGGING for water, and then getting sprayed.