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What I Learned This Week – 1/17/16

What I learned this week was that working in an office outside of my house is exhausting. But, I got my first week down. Hopefully, even more things will click into place next week and I can rock it.

Here’s hoping…

This week I also learned that the same guy who co-founded WD-40 also founded the Fotomat.

Now, I’m sure after that statement that you have many questions.

A Fotomat back in their heyday

A Fotomat back in their heyday

What is the identity of this wonderful man who created one of the three items that must be found in every tool kit?

What are the other two items?*

How the f*** did you discover this?

One at a time, please.

So, I had been thinking about Fotomats.

Let me back up.

I had a dream a year or more ago (yes, I remember dreams long term. I used to keep a diary of them. For more on that, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/01/dreams-part-one-dream-journal/) where a boy I had a crush on in school was poor and homeless and living in a Fotomat in a nearby parking lot. This was weird for many reasons. The first being that I don’t think we even had any Fotomat overnight film developing booths in our area. Second, Fotomat’s went out of business in the late 1980s when every drug store installed a one hour photo machine. And last but not least, said crush lives in a very beautiful house that is much nicer than mine with his wife and kids.

But the dream deeply upset me, seeing anyone in that circumstance. I was reminded of that dream this morning when I yet again dream about the same boy from school. This time he was making me tacos. Yum. Then he took off his shirt. I am sure my subconscious did a bit of a photo-shop on his 40 year old body, but who am I to argue with my subconscious.

So then I looked up Fotomats. They were founded by Preston Fleet in 1965, who just two years earlier co-founded WD-40, our favorite lubricant. Well, maybe second favorite… At its height around 1980, there were over 4,000 locations across the country.

Did you know that Fotomat was one of the first companies to offer movie rental–ON VIDEO CASSETTE TAPES?! I know, right? It was like the stone ages or something. They started the service in 1979. Customers picked a title out of a catalog (almost exclusively Paramount titles), then the customer would return the next day to pick up the movie, pay $12 (!!!), and return it five days later. When local video rental locations started popping up providing movies quicker and cheaper, the service was discontinued.

When I think of starting a business, I think of great businesses that have run for over a hundred years like A&P and Coca-Cola. A&P is defunct now (I worked at Borders. I know who ran A&P, then came came over to run Borders further down the toilet. Just sayin’.) In my head, I just assume you have to have a successful company that makes the same product that will never become outdated. But Fotomat was popular enough to be on the stock exchange. Fotomat was acquired by Konica in 1982. It served a very needed purpose of its time. Sure, film developing and VHS rental are foreign terms to a lot of young people these days. But maybe the key isn’t to predict the next big thing. Maybe it is to learn how to meet the needs faster and cheaper that consumers struggle with today. Afterall, that is how Fotomat ended up replaced.

Hmmm… Now I must be off to my thinking seat to come up with a great business idea.

And now I’m hungry for tacos >:-)

* A good tool kit needs only three items: A hammer, duct tape, and WD-40.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

What I Learned This Week – 10/25/15

I needed a binder to hold some paperwork the other day for my book business that my husband doesn’t officially recognize as a business. I rummaged through my recently-organized stockpile of previously-used office supplies.

You will never guess what I found.

My college binder with bitchin' graffiti

My college binder with bitchin’ graffiti

I found this binder from college. Appears as though I used it for Independent Study for English. But also lots and lots of doodling.

The doodling doesn’t surprise me. No, I remember that is how I primarily occupied my time during boring lectures and long periods of time stuck in the college library waiting for a ride as a commuter with no car.

What surprised me is the subjects of my doodles! These are all things I am still interested in today, almost 20 years later, most of which I have written about on this very blog. I guess my tastes are pretty locked in.

My personal cartoon character Mr. Ugly-Man is prominently featured–he even gets his own amusement park, complete with imitation Disney characters! (If you have ever picked up a print copy of one of my books, you will notice that he is on the back cover.)

There is also an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on there, next to a booth selling 10 cent wieners. Because we all know that wiener sounds more perverse than “hot dog.” This also reflects my obsession to one day drive the Wienermobile. Hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t think I’m done trying. And I might not be above a little grand theft wiener. (Hehehehe. That is so dirty to say!)

I have a thing for old Coca-Cola merchandise and advertisements, even back when I drank Pepsi and Mountain Dew all the time. That is why the sunshine is wearing sunglasses and holding a Coke. It is very similar to a postcard that I own that I bought in a tourist shop in Knoxville and the store bagged my purchase in a World’s Fair bag, even though I was there more than a decade after the Knoxville World’s Fair when they built the Sunsphere, but it always makes me think of the episode of the Simpsons where Bart goes to the “Wigsphere.”

Wigsphere. I mean Sunsphere, far right. I mean left.

Wigsphere. I mean Sunsphere, far right. I mean left.

And then we come to a picture of Jeff Gordon. There is a possibility this could be from 1997, the year he won his second Winston Cup Championship. It is so hard to believe he is retiring this year. It seems like just a few months ago that I saw him in person in his hometown of Pittsboro, Indiana.

Oh wait, it was!

At least I am staying true to who I am. I guess if that is the best I can do in life, I will take it!

Why are there no Narwhal icons?

Why are there no Narwhal icons?

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

Reader Appreciation Award!

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Wow! I won an award! lazyhippiemama nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award! While I question the authenticity of this particular award, I will gladly accept it anyway. Afterall, lazyhippiemama has been stuck reading my writing longer than we knew that the internet existed.

I would like to thank my husband, my son, my good dog, my bad dog, my car with 192,000 miles that continues to run, my quirky brain for spilling forth nonsense several times a week. But most of all, I would like to thank Coca-Cola and milk chocolate and cherry Pop-Tarts, for without whom I would not be here today to accept this award.

As I have learned is the custom, I would like to now nominate the blogs I enjoy regularly for a Reader Appreciation Award. I would urge them to pay forward the positivity as well to the blogs they enjoy most.

Friffle Thoughts

A Hundred Years Ago

The Shy Comedian

Thank you for my nomination and congratulations to my nominees.

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