So I get a txt message from a friend a week ago Monday. The person asked, “Have you talked to Robert Potter in a while?”
“It’s probably been a month since I’ve talked to him.”
“Did he live at (insert address)?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“His file just showed up on my desk.”
OK, there are certain people you don’t want to hear say words like that. A lawyer or a cop means it’s going to be trouble. In this case, the person worked at the morgue.
I asked accident hoping what I suspected wasn’t true – Robert had killed himself. The reason? Money and Pride.
Robert and I were decent friends as long as we weren’t doing business together. I had finally blown him off – anytime he tried to talk me into work or hiring me for something, I’d just tell him no. We just couldn’t get along that way. Outside of business, we got along fine.
About a month before his death, he had called me one night, very upset. The restaurants were failing, and soon he wouldn’t even have money for payroll. He was distraught, and even mentioned suicide – not the “I feel like shooting myself” type offhand remark, but an actual discussion on it, of which I explained things weren’t as bad as it seemed. I laid out a plan for him, how to do it, timeline, everything. The conversation ended on a high note – he saw a light at the end of the tunnel again. (Basic plan was to liquidate the diner & R and S BBQ, and ride the bad economy out for a while. The cash from them, along with a lack of outflowing cash would have went a very long way, and at the beginning of an upswing in economy, start picking up all the equipment for unheard of low prices. It was longer and larger in scope than that, but you get the idea.)
The next day, he called me with a new plan. He was going to add chicken delivery to the current setup. *SIGH* I explained why I didn’t feel that would work, and what the effects of it would be if it failed. He shrugged it off.
I never heard from him again. My guess is when it failed, I didn’t call me, because he would have to once again say I was right (something he claimed he had no problem doing, but actually had major problems doing.)
A friend of his is the co-executor of the estate, and the estate is hiring me to do some computer forensics to pull down files, passwords, etc. from his old machine. Though, from the sound of things I’ll get stiffed on that deal (but I’m walking into it with the knowledge I’ll probably get stiffed, not at the end of the project discover I just got stiffed.) Computers have become a very personal thing, so I gotta admit I’m a little concerened about what I’ll find on there – and the entire job has to be done with an executor of the estate as a witness so anything Robert had on there for secrets will be exposed to at minimum two people.
There’s no funeral, no memorial, nothin’. The estate can’t afford it, and he’s estranged from his family, though they have been contacted. There was still one more shock left during all this – the executor I was dealing with said Robert’s son picked up the ashes and took them back to Nebraska. Wait… what?! SON? Robert had always said he had no kids, etc. Apparently that wasn’t true. Now that’s some fucked up shit.
Damnit – ALL of Them Have Found Me
Quite a while back, Paul Hollis from my class in High School had found my on MySpace, and we chat off and on. I’m rarely on MySpace now (though you’ll see posts on there from me – more on that in a minute), but I’m on Facebook quite a bit since it carries part of my “professional” network and the Twitter people. Paul moved over there too.
Then the horror began at the beginning of this week. First, someone saw my picture in the paper, and deduced that, yes, I was still in the area. Then they saw me on Paul’s profile as a friend.
About twice a day someone adds me on Facebook that I went to High School with. That’s fine and all… but I didn’t LIKE most of those people. I’ve pondered this a bit though – I could very easily tell ’em all to fuck off. But there’s this oddity – most of them seem genuinely excited to have run across me again. And for the bloody life of me, I can’t imagine why. It’s been 20 years and I didn’t talk to a one of them (OK, I talked to Paul), so it’s not like I’ve given any indication that I was interested in talking again. Fortunately, two of the nicest people from the class were the first ones to find me, and I don’t mind at all talking to the two of them (Gina, as one of those odd twists our paths take is, moved a couple of times, then ended up back in Garden Plain working at the High School we all graduated from. That just strikes me as weird.)
Funny thing was, they could find me. They could find TOO MANY of me – I never considered that a side effect of Google when finding people would be an unsortable mess of information overload. They couldn’t actually find any sort of information about me, just lots and lots of links with my name on ’em without contact information. Guess that proves you can hide right in front of people even in the Internet era 🙂
Someone had created a website for our class that has a profile system. Since three people had hit me up the first day to ask what I’d been up to, I filled mine out (complete with pictures of stuff – me officiating a wedding, the TV show, singing La Grange at IGC ’02, etc.) The entry form for “What have you been doing since ’89?” is 8,000 characters long. I’ll admit it – I took that as a challenge. I hit the high points and low points of my life (actually, I skipped a number of things I felt were important) and wrote EXACTLY 8,000 characters (well, I did pad it by adding a “:-)” at the end 😉
Best response was from a guy in the class who emailed me and asked “Is all of that true???” Ya know what? I wasn’t feeling bad about my life before. But I feel really good about my life now discovering that in contract to the rest of my class, it has been an interesting life.
You’ll notice I did two back to back blog entries the other day with odd links on ’em. It’s actually part of an automated system I’m using for MidnightRyder.org (my new blogging / podcasting domain for me – I needed to separate it out) and TheStoryOfGamerZone.com that blasts a single blog entry to all of my blogging accounts. Which is like, oh, 30 of them or so if you count the microblogging sites like Twitter too.
It’s only once every two weeks or so, otherwise I’d feel bad about adding extra entries to my blog here automatically (plus, some will be interesting brain fodder when I’m doing podcast stuff.) Multiply has become my “archive” for all of my blog entries since ’99, and I’d like to preserve these all in the same area too. 🙂
Though for regular blogging, I’ve been a bit quite lately. There’s just been a lot going on.
I’ll be on the news (KSN) sometime this next week, interviewed by Anita Cochran about The Story of Gamer Zone, and the upcoming book signing. I’ve also got a couple of reporters who are helping me out trying to get me into the Eagle and, well, anywhere else that will take a story about the book and the book signing.
Expect this to become a norm for me – probably once ever six months or so (when I release a book or do something ubber cool) I’ll be shooting for media coverage on it. Now, the question is IF I can pull it off or not – I’ve got good connections now, so it’s going to be easier than most people if they tried it, but there’s no telling how much I can get away with that’s “newsworthy” (anything is newsworthy if there’s the right back story, I’ve been told by a reporter.)
The automatic echoing of my blogs to various blogging services is part of that too – it’s time to try and get press on a frequent basis so I can sell books and projects more easily.
New Higher Profile Clients
Part of making those connections has also resulted in me picking up higher profile clients for web development and more. The Great Plains Ren Faire is now being hosted & maintained by Midnight Ryder Technologies, which is a bit higher profile than most of them I’ve dealt with before (though Fountain Street Productions is getting there quickly.)
One of my clients is now Anita Cochran, local news anchor who is leaving the station to go do “her own thing.” We met on Monday and set up a plan for her website, and discuss what she’s planning on doing with her life. (BTW, Anita is also a Garden Plain alum, though she graduated a number of years ahead of me.)
She started asking questions about the book, etc., and the TV show. I explained how the TV show came about, how it was pulled off, what happened to it, etc. Which boils down to utilizing big brass balls and walking into a station and saying “I’ll provide the content, you provide the airtime. Fair trade?” 🙂 She got my full attention when she asked “Do you think we could do that again?”
Hm. Did someone just say TV show? Obviously I’d end up on the other side of things this time though – post production, not talent. But pulling off creating a new show with Anita? That could be a seriously educational experience, since she’s got experience in production, writing, editing, talent, blahblahblah – basically every field.
Her site also comes with some benefits for me – she’s got a name, and intends to keep her name as visible as possible after leaving KSN. Which gives me a fairly high profile site to host and maintain.
Even better, she sends me a message today that she’s got another site she’d like me to work on (a medical company), and possible some production work for ads for them. Cool.
I Own Part of a What?
OK, I own half of a plumbing company here in Wichita now. Basically it’s another sweat equity thing – I’m handling marketing and partial management of the company, which frees him up to do what he does best: plumbing, not paperwork.
It’s one of the more insane things that’s happened recently, but, this is twice now I’ve “bought in” to a company strictly on sweat equity. I have a share in Fountain Street Productions too, based on the work I put into it “above and beyond” the original design and contract.
One of the things I’ve discovered is that this is a SERIOUSLY fucking cut throat business. Brandon put in a new sewer system, and I put up a yard sign advertising Plumb Crazy (yes, that’s the company name. I didn’t pick it, but it’s pretty funny and befitting of Brandon). The sign was there 12 hours before it was stolen. We know it was another plumber – the yard signs for a realtor in the next yard were untouched, so it wasn’t kids stealing it, and there were three other plumbers working in the same area at the time. Bastards!
So everything sounds great. New clients, part of a new business, etc. Yeah… except I still ain’t making shit yet. New clients pay at the end of projects, and the plumbing business has to get back into the black before it’s an asset for me. So I’m back to it looking like a bright future, but hell, it’s still possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory 🙂