Another day, another dollar. Naw, I’m only kidding!

It’s August folks and I am about seven days away from a full-on, end-of-summer panic. (I’ve been daydreaming about how awesome next summer’s going to be for about two weeks now.)

Summer is my season. June is my favorite month, and I even see that as romantically bittersweet because it’s ‘the beginning of the end’. Really; in my fantasy land I’d spend every June day blowing bubbles in a field and lounging near a sparkling body of water while laughing gaily with an ever-so-slightly-open-mouthed smile.

On chilly, stormy days, I’d sit near an open window with an organic cotton, beach-colored throw almost covering my perfect pedicure while sipping a La Croix Sparkling Coconut Water and reading old, hardcover books, or writing out my deepest thoughts on saving the world. Some days I’d sketch the ‘essence’ of a particularly sentimental tree in my Moleskine with my Copic drawing pens.

Every day would end with a bonfire and an off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirt. My diet would consist of fresh fruit, grilled vegetables and meat, punctuated with an occasional Rocket Pop or Dark Chocolate Klondike – and maybe a funnel cake delicately torn into bite-sized morsels by thumb and index finger-tip with partially extended pinky while wistfully frolicking at a charming, old-fashioned street fair.

I’d wear the perfect outfit to every outdoor concert and spend hours on end waxing poetic about clouds and sunsets and children’s laughter.

[insert empathetic mind-wanderings here]

WIPjenni's Summer 2016 Dream

Summer 2016 Dream

The reality is that this summer in particular, has been disappointing. Circumstances conspired. Attitudes faltered. Countless ‘cheap-chic’, spring wardrobe-lifting shopping efforts dragged into numerous summer attempts, and nearly all resulted in thankfulness for well-planned-ahead “free returns”.

I ended up thoroughly immersed in the hopeful plans and hopelessly missing the realities of community pools, dollar-store sketchbooks, discount flip-flops, backyard barbecues and all the blissful pleasure of watching lightning bugs from the second-hand patio furniture. I did manage to squeeze in a few Klondikes. ;)

My tragedy of pride (or “taking the high ground”, if you prefer) in March – the heartbreaking decision to distance myself from a dishonest ‘business partner’ instead of moving forward with WIP Arts in some-form-is-better-than-none fashion – really set me back. I’m an optimistic person, but I take things seriously and I take them to heart. I can make allowances for another’s naivety and I have no qualms about a certain amount of selfishness – it’s akin to self-preservation (Hey, human nature, good to see you again!) – but even “you’re too kind, WIPjenni” (shoutout to Bootleggers Media) has limits and draws a very heavy, very dark line at publicly being called a “loser” for putting ethics ahead of financial gain.

There have been more than several false starts since I first realized that encouraging and creating opportunities for EVERYone to experience some sort of ‘artistic’ expression and appreciation was something I needed to do, but there does come a point where tenacity leads into the distinct impression that one’s barking up the wrong tree.

I’m still not utterly convinced, (tenacity is a tough nut to crack), but I’m pretty confident that White Oak is the wrong tree for me.

They (the all-knowing “they”) say that setting clear goals is the key to achieving success; well, kids, my main goal has been very community-centric all along. Pretty much since my 6th birthday party when all my friends left because I insisted on a “democratic vote” to decide which game we should play. (It was an election year and my Libra cusp demands a nod to fairness. What can I say?)

Now here’s the 2016-Summer-Down-the-Drain Epiphany… it turns out there’s an “I” in “community” and that’s all most folks can see! I have love for all the letters.

I’m not without personal motivation, though. My “I” is the feeling of accomplishment; the satisfaction in helping/making/inspiring/enabling someone else to experience something good and positive. Putting a smile on someone’s face is joyous for me. When that smile comes from some new knowledge or perspective, my joy becomes downright rapturous. And like all things that feel so gosh-darn good, it’s a little addictive.

My drive toward that satisfaction can be interpreted as condescending, aggressive, or plain old snobby, and let’s face it, none of us enjoy being ‘spoken down to’. But the thing is, my gentle readers, that’s not where it comes from AT ALL. As far as I can tell, it comes from a deep-down urge to share. I want to share. I need to share. My enthusiasm, intelligence and that cumbersome tenacity create a perfect storm of near-desperation for understanding. Honest, it’s like a I need a fix. A big, juicy hit of “Oh, yeah, I get it!”.

That’s where I’m coming from. That’s why I’m almost certain that if a community wants an all-welcoming, all-sorts-of-options, creative enjoyment space, they wouldn’t avoid or ostracize the person trying to do it because they “use big words”* and see more value in sharing understanding than building a bank balance (or getting praised); the community might just step up and pitch in. The reality is, their “I”s are bigger than their stomachs and my “I” can see its own limitations.

“Sure, but what does all that have to do with summer or days and dollars?”, I hear you mutter.

Well, the summer days flashed by while I was reordering my priorities to try and earn some shekels with my own creativity, learning how to communicate with smaller words and abridged passions on other people’s soapboxes, and largely dealing with the mounting trials and tribulations of each passing year.

And a good many of them were spent cursing Amazon.com’s inability to offer “free returns” on off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirts. ;)


*I don’t start off with “big words”, I just end up trying ALL the words to reach that ever-elusive understanding.

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Just Cause! Just ‘Cause – Know the Difference

The world really has me down lately. Down and TBH, pretty frustrated. Frustrated to the point that I’ve finally accepted pessimism as realism. *old-school sigh* But, hey, whatcha gonna do?*

ITEMS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE ON ZAZZLE

What I’m not gonna do is write a full post to accompany my latest art vent-ure (I combined ‘art vent’ & ‘commercial venture’ into a thing. It’s my thing and I’m going to own it like a boss! – now that I’ve explained it to you.) Imma republish the sales blurb from my Zazzle store item page. There are some good words in it, so why reinvent the wheel.*

WIPjenni Just Cause! Just 'Cause - Know the Difference

This is available on all sorts of stuff like coffee mugs because the t-shirts aren’t selling. :)


INCOMING BLURB!

Current events, oh, how you vex me! Between Delusional Donald running for US president and the UK voting on things they literally don’t know the meaning of, I’ve run out of patience with stupidity and the self-defensive, holier-than-thou aggression displayed to cover it. Since it’s impossible to force folks to read a dictionary, help out your fellow humans by providing a quick lesson via your own dress sense!

Ladies, get all sorts of attention as people read your chest!* Gentlemen, look intellectual and snarky at the same time!** Non-ladies & non-gentlemen, buy this design on whatever attracts the ‘right’ crowd! Chock full of ALL the graphical gimmicks, you’re sure to impress your friends and everyone who sees your snazzy WIPjenni gear!

*And make a clever, political statement too! **Embrace your hipsterness – who knows how long it’s gonna last!

OUTGOING BLURB! (?)

Some Nights by Fun has been playing in my head all day. Probably because “some days” has been going through my mind and I can’t think of any songs with that title. :)

*I don’t know when or if to use question marks (AKA “goinks”) on rhetorical questions, so I decide on-the-fly, based on my mental inflection.

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Eeeeeeerrrr…how cheap you are! or, A long Fiverr Forum Story with Little Payoff.

The best insult I’ve ever been the recipient(?) of.

WIPjenni Eeeeeeerrrr...how cheap you are!
by WIPjenni

Away back in the day (a little over a year ago) I found myself in the midst of a heated debate about copyright, regular ‘right’, pleas for assistance, gross and not entirely unhumorous name-calling, with a wee bit of what-constitutes-good-commercial-design banter thrown in. Good times, Good times.

This altogether petty yet somehow resonant conversation was started by a colleague (wow, that word seems highfalutin for what follows) on the Fiverr.com forum. (See, what I mean?) For those of you who don’t know, Fiverr is an “international marketplace” (extra highfalutin) where all sorts of folks sell all sorts of services and in some cases, products, to really indiscriminate buyers who are usually only vaguely interested in quality, and are barely (if ever) concerned with legality.* Hence its huge success.

This particular conversation wasn’t noticeably infuriating or entertaining, but there did come a point when exasperation became the norm for myself and some of my more, uhh, how does one say… professional, ethical, associates? Unfortunately, the original thread was removed by moderators once it took on the flavor of “Yes, we all know that this site is a den of questionable business practices that are generally encouraged to ensure a steady flow of ill-gotten-gains for the owners, BUT, that doesn’t mean we all have to play along.”

In this instance, yet another seller – whom I shall call “Trumpy” for ‘her’ mindbogglingly emphatic support of her delusional perspective, that at once admitted wrongdoing and also displayed the defense of being entirely correct – was offering “100% original, custom designed logos”. For $5. With a 1-hour turnaround.

Trumpy was really something quite spectacular. She not only blatantly stole logos from the internet (with a stealth not unlike a rhinoceros leading a brass band through a Catholic mass,) she also insisted that she was being victimized because the creator of what she was using as her own logo told her to stop doing it, and some of her fellow Fiverr sellers kept trying to explain (with painstaking patience and a fair degree of tact, I might add) that stealing is wrong and that passing off the trade/servicemarked logos of multi-million-dollar, multinational companies as her own work, was stupid.

The bulk of us involved in the chat eventually came to the conclusion that Trumpy was probably several people working under the same username. (It’s a common enough practice on Fiverr, as it’s patently not allowed according to the terms of service.) There are quite a few user/groups that work 24/7 to keep their response and turnaround times unbelievably tiny – a seller is worthless to Fiverr HQ without their attention-grabbing positive ratings (regardless of work quality or moral fiber).

After a surprisingly long-lasting and intense exchange that involved numerous links to legitimate, established companies’ logos in situ, Trumpy flipped her lid. She spewed a colorful load of accusatory venom – we had no business telling her what to do or not do, and she thought we would be kind and help her get more sales – maybe even buy from her, not be mean and tell her she was committing crimes!

Now, I can be sarcastic, and I sometimes use words that are a little uncommon, outdated, or even quirky, but I do make a genuine effort to communicate in a way that works for those I’m communicating with. However, there are times (many, many times) when I get so indignantly riled that I forget my love of language; my desire to be helpful falls aside and I totally misplace any urge to give the benefit of the doubt – again. So in what was an epically weak rant, I responded with “If you don’t want people to see the stains in your underwear, stop airing your dirty laundry!”

When I signed into the forum a day or two later, Trumpy had replied with “Eeeeeeerrrr how cheap you are!” Only that. Simply, sublimely, and with what I like to imagine as not the merest hint of irony. It tickled me.

That single, enormously expressive sentence immediately projected a vision of some self-appointed, holier-than-thou, street hoodlum-cum-slum boss casting out judgments as to which of the lowly pickpockets deserved to keep a larger portion of their booty based on how clean their air-drying dainties were that day. (I should mention that Trumpy/hoodlum/boss is wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt, dirty, furry boots and more than several spiked, leather bracelets in my inspired vision.)

It also became a running joke of sorts – a combination reminder of how self-focused and hypocritical people can be, and also how easily anger can be turned to hilarity with one good onomatopoeic spelling. I have barely seen a pair of knickers or the word “cheap” without hearing “Eeeeeeerrrr!” in my head since that fateful day. It’s like having Eliza Doolittle presiding over every load of laundry and clearance sale. Which isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s Audrey Hepburn with a bunch of violets in the hand that’s not holding the gavel. :)

NB: Here’s a link to a follow-up forum thread about presumed-to-be-Trumpy. And in case you can’t sleep without knowing, I had noted (on actual paper!) the exact quote – complete with all seven “e”s – that I found about a week later.

*Yes, there are exceptions. There are actually some high caliber sellers on Fiverr. (You can usually find them by looking for the users with the fewest sales. No-one wants to pay $15 and wait a day for original website content when they can spend $5 for a 10 minute copy & paste ‘article’ that will be full of the same attractive keywords as their competition’s content. Because it is indeed, their competition’s content. Why the buyers just don’t do their own copy & pasting, I’ll never know.) I myself still have an account there. But as one of those increasingly rare people who is unwilling to churn out utter garbage no matter how underpaid the gig is, or how rude, ignorant and demanding the buyer is, I’ve moved on to less soul-nullifying, time-consuming ways to earn a buck. There are a few good buyers there too. They seem to be people who actually work for a living themselves, instead of trying get-rich-quick schemes on the internet.

Since you read it all, enjoy the reward of watching this terrible video that seems like a perfect tribute to working via Fiverr – including the copyright infringement!: Beck – Soul Sucking Jerk

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