Gatekeeper Chronicles

May 26, 2017

            Is it really the end of May already? Although I could not BE more excited for a three-day weekend, even if it is supposed to be dreary and rainy for the next couple of days.

            Lots has happened here- we’ve done 3D tours for Razzle Dazzle, the Unitarian Universalist Society, and the Cottage Day Spa. You have to check them out at oneonta3D.com.

            Razzle Dazzle has such a variety of cute, aesthetically pleasing gizmos and whatsits and home décor items. It’s a store that I bring my friends into when they visit as we’re walking down Main Street, and they’re always endlessly entertained. The 3D tour of Razzle Dazzle has these great little interactive videos that tell you about her products.

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            As I was getting the matterport tags for the Cottage Day Spa 3D model, I was seriously tempted to just let myself fall into the comfort and tantalizing pampering that the massage tables, the hair salon, and the nail services promised. Walking into the building you’re immediately put at ease, your blood pressure drops, and you just want to make yourself at home. They offer such a large variety of massages that, as someone who hasn’t experienced the magic of a spa before, it would be incredibly difficult to choose the best one. They even have a charming little tailor shop with the amazing name of “The Golden Dragonfly.”

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            And we’re beginning the 3D tours of the churches! As I was getting in touch with the ministers and pastors to set up a time for the shoot, it was heartwarming to hear how excited the responses were. This is something the entire congregation of these churches can enjoy together, and it’s a great way to welcome newcomers who are searching for a community. And as I’ve mentioned before, there’s something beautiful about being able to appreciate the stained glass windows and arches of these magnificent structures. So far we’ve completed the tour for the Unitarian Universalist Society, that lovely little stone church on Ford Ave.

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             Scheduled for Tuesday, the 30th is the Red Door Church, the First United Presbyterian Church on Walling Ave. I had no idea, but they share their worship space also with the Quakers and the Christian Scientists. I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious household, but I think that it’s uplifting that different sects are able to worship in one space.

red door church

         Aside from the 3D tours, the new Everything Oneonta directory is coming out in a month and half or so. Mark asked me to include a written piece, titled, “The Art Of,” with the goal of capturing what makes these small business owners different from chain and warehouse stores- how what they do and the process and motives behind it is art.

        Art itself is a broad notion. I’m quick to add anything into the category of art as it all depends on how you think about it. I hope to include businesses like Artware, who provide the means for others to create and can facilitate the process with knowledge; the Decker School of Ballet, which gives the gift of classical dance to young minds; and possibly the Northern Eagle Hop Processing Co., who are continuing a tradition of brewing that dates back to the Agricultural Revolution, and who are still perfecting their hops for the best possible brew.

         Art, defined, is “The expression of application of human creative skill and imagination.” These business owners are not only putting their very selves and passions into their life’s work, but their processes and the care and attention that goes into planning what they do and how they do it can differ from anywhere else- and that’s art.

 

       And while we’re on the subject, CANO’s EcoArt exhibit is opening tonight from 5-8! I’ve done a little bit of eco art myself, for school projects and otherwise. I love the idea of recycling, a crucial act that can help our planet’s growing climate change and ecosystems, being framed as art. It’s the act of taking something that is harmful and wasteful and ugly and turning it into something thought provoking and fulfilling. I hope to attend myself!

       The Mansion Show exhibit is also opening next Friday, with the theme of “Resist” in which artists may use their own interpretation of the theme: political, personal, formal or otherwise. I’m expecting some powerful pieces.

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Have a great Memorial Day Weekend! Don’t forget to visit the “Wall that Heals,” the Vietnam Veteran Memorial at Neahwa Park.

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the wall memorial day

Gatekeeper Chronicles

May 11, 2017

Earlier this week I went over to Nina’s Restaurant with Mark to see what kind of matterport tags they wanted included in their 3D tour. The 3D Tour stuff is probably my favorite to work on. I like getting the business owner’s perspective on what they consider the most worthwhile information for their customers to know. For instance, at Nina’s he wanted it included by the kitchen that they don’t pre-make anything, or freeze anything- everything is made to order.

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These are some of the other ones I added that I liked:

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I can’t wait until we do the 3D Tours of the churches. This sort of technology is perfect for that type of beautiful, vast structure.

There’s also been talk of starting a Kickstarter campaign to try to make 3D tours for every shop on Main Street, which would be super exciting. It would also serve as a little demo model of a virtual shopping town. Imagine being able to stroll (or scroll, haha- my attempt at computer puns) into every store on Main Street right from your phone!


 

Some other news: Sweet Home Productions is hiring! We’re looking for someone who knows their way around web design and is able to learn how to use other technologies, including app design, 3D recording, etc. Spread the word!


 

Later today I’m going over to CANO to record their matterport tags for their 3D tours. A little art in the afternoon? Don’t mind if I do!

And it was absolutely beautiful. Three exhibits created by different women, titled “Maternal Matters,” “Crewel Embroidery,” and “Portraits of Women.”

The Portraits of Women exhibit included beautiful paintings of women, and in the description was the name and occupation of the subject.

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This is Swee Peck, Biology researcher, UC Berkeley, Harvard PHD, and mother.

 

I love how Nancy Gossett is able to beautifully capture these ordinary women, women whom anyone might dismiss if they passed them on the street, but then by declaring their accomplishments and capabilities, make them grow beyond themselves and glow with an inner strength.

 

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This is Lynne, an engineering geologist and a mother. And the style of this painting, with the layers on layers of colors that make it all up, it’s breathtaking. From a distance you can see the whole, but moving closer reveals this complex painting made up of individual strokes.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is Wean, in the Maternal Matters Exhibit created by Suzanne Schireson and Carrie Mae Smith. It’s bold and moving and I don’t know if they meant to, but I love the way it seems to mock the “taboo” of the nipple on the woman by covering hers but having a nipple in the background by her head. The small handprint on her breast is powerful as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are some of the crewel embroidery that is on display, created by Mayumi Sarai. The time, patience, and dedication spent as she created layers on layers of embroidery… the painstaking attention to detail is beautiful. She created these after moving from the city to the country and noticing nature on a closer, more personal in a way she hadn’t before. I can relate to that, and admire the media.

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Then there were some very interesting examples of birthing chairs, like this:

Reclaimed by Douglas Fir.

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The Miraculous Palermo, 15th century Italy, composed of plywood and hinges

 

CANO also has some cool stuff going on, like the Writer’s Salon next week where members of the public are welcome to read their work. They have EcoArt coming up in a couple weeks, and then some big events planned for June.

And they’re always looking for volunteers to host the events! You’re sure to meet the coolest people.


 

My next matterport tag adventure will probably be the Cottage Day Spa, which I’ve heard is pretty interesting, from my coworker who shot the 3D tour footage.

Gatekeeper Chronicles

May 9, 2017

It’s been quiet here, for me at least. I’ve mostly been focused on trying to get in touch with people on the phone. That usually involves leaving the same message on a countless number of answering machines, having people tell me “this week/next week is no good, call back,” and “no we aren’t interested.” It’s getting to the point where every appointment I book is a total rush. I have been able to rassle down a few…

  • I’ve also edited some online menus and made boatloads of Facebook posts.
  • My picture was officially added to the company website page.

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  • And I got to stare at my own face some more as it’s used for an electric supply company. I had to dress like my alter ego, “Lucy,” today, in the same outfit you see in my jungle shot below. I met the people at the electric supply company and got some great shots of me looking at light bulbs. That’ll definitely be an interesting commercial….

At least I got this totally radical pic of me in the jungle:

Amore_JungleOne of these days I’ll have my own set of playing cards from these pictures.

Lava Amore trumps Rainforest Amore, that’s a given.

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I definitely have learned about some interesting places I want to stop by. HannieBee Lane Boutique on Main Street looks adorable. I have noticed that one before but I’ve never gone inside. That and The Underground Attic are my Saturday plans.

Also, I update a menu weekly online for Soda Jerks, over in West End Oneonta. They have a great gluten-free menu, and my mom is celiac, so that’s on my list of places to try out.

Gatekeeper Chronicles

May 2, 2017       

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It’s already May! And what a way to start off the month with that crazy storm Monday night and all this rainy weather.

Three weeks in- I sent out my first batch of invoices today. Turns out, this is your brain on paperwork-

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Besides that, there are a lot of fun moments. I’m really getting to know Oneonta, and explore some cool places. I talked about the Marketplace on Chestnut last week, but I’ve also now been inside The Underground Attic on Main St and the Wilber Mansion- and the little studio behind Wilber Mansion. Not to mention the dozens of places I’ve passed out flyers in.

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The Underground Attic is the most adorable little boutique; the kind you would expect to see in the city, with vintage clothing and gorgeous interior decorating. There are actually a few of these types of shops in Oneonta that I never even knew about!

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And the Wilber Mansion, where CANO (Community Arts Network of Oneonta) is centered, may just be one of the most interesting places in Oneonta. And the people there are just lovely. They were telling me about the sip and sculpt event that’s going to take place later on in the month, which will involve lots of wine and pottery wheels, and it sounds like a blast. I’ll definitely be talking more about that!

IMG_1856I’m even getting more used to calling people, however it’s made easier due to the fact that 85% of people never answer their phones.

I think it should be professionally acceptable for businesses to communicate over text message. That way you can see for sure that they got your message and that the correct information is conveyed. And of course you wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.

And that would be a great app for business owners- like a business IM.


At the end of each day we do have a little “show and tell” time, all of us in the office. It’s pretty cool seeing the websites and apps everyone is working on, and how quickly they can just punch an html code in and change something on a website. It’s a nice little way to build office camaraderie.

Gatekeeper Chronicles

April 26 & 27, 2017

What a beautiful couple of days! I’m sure everyone has been jonesing for a little sunshine after the recent rainy weather. And I got to be out in it! Walking up and down Main Street passing out the Sweet Home Savings flyer. A little sun does wonders for the attitude.

ESPECIALLY when the entire morning is spent alphabetizing HUNDREDS of contracts, after of course I organized them into the correct year.

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But even the paperwork makes the day go by fast.

Despite my introverted nature, I actually really enjoy meeting local business owners. They’re always happy to accept flyers or articles- I hardly even have to explain what I’m doing there. And there are sometimes perks:IMG_1768

Like this HUGE rabbit I found at Finn and Feather.

This is only the second time I’ve handed flyers and such out, but people are already starting to recognize me. A lovely way to spend an hour.

I’m also able to do more writing than I expected- and not just for the blog. I’ve been writing descriptions on website pages and many social media posts.

On the 27th, I spent an hour in the Marketplace on Chestnut for mattertags for the 3D tour. That place is so HUGE and they have so many cool things. They’re an antiques shop and they have stuff ranging from Persian rugs to Adirondack antiques to vintage clothing to boats to antique beds. And a whole bunch of stuff in between. And they had a little table set up with cookies and apple juice. That’s the dream business right there. They were actually telling me about how when they first opened up 32 years ago they were going to be an art gallery, but that hadn’t worked out. Isn’t it sad that art is a luxury? People love to look at it but….

It is a lot of fun meeting business owners and learning about how they started.

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This is the front entry display of the Marketplace. I grew up right down the road from a buffalo farm. That big ol’ head makes it feel like home.

Gatekeeper Chronicles

April 25, 2017

Well, officially into my second week here at Sweet Home Productions! Since the last time I’ve talked to you guys, I have:

  • Had a photo shoot in a hard hat
  • Got my own business cards
  • Finally noticed the plant in my office
  • Organized a video competition with the OneontaHUB app
  • Tackled the chaotic paperwork which involves many extreme headaches

The photoshoot with the hard hat was for a client that provides electrical supplies to contractors, but who is looking to attract the average Joe to his store. Although this isn’t the picture he chose, I think it’s the real winner of the series:

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It’s got excitement, fire, distant places, danger- doesn’t it just shout, “BUY ELECTRICAL SUPPLIES!”

Maybe not, but it’s a work of art in any case.

If anyone else is interested in fiery volcano/construction advertising, here’s my snazzy business card:

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This is the plant I’m responsible for keeping alive.

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He’s a swell guy, kind of balding on top but otherwise he really gives me support when I’m digging through the files-

filing cabinetsIn these guys. We have contracts from the future of 2018 for some reason…..

*cue Twilight Zone music*

My theory is that such a dense amount of chaos spawned a worm hole, giving us access to contracts we haven’t even signed yet…..

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……. Or someone just dated it wrong…….

Lastly, the video competition for the OneontaHUB Facebook page is pretty cool. There are four recorded sound clips and they sound absolutely ridiculous. The goal is to have people post links to videos they make about these clips. It’s a fun little project that friends can do together and win some cash! Here’s the link to the sound clips, guys- let’s get creative!

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l7mp63iczlyrymp/AACzLSfZH0JAPKWaGnEYPsfia?dl=0

 

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So, it’s been an interesting week….. let’s see if I can keep up!

 

Gatekeeper Chronicles

April 18, 2017

 

Day Two.

Mission: Contact a client about the mattertags he wants in his store before he goes on vacation tomorrow.

Status report: Two messages left, one unsuccessful visit. Will try again after lunch. Will try not to feel too much like a stalker.

It’s strange to have to try to track people down.

It’s also very strange to spend hours on social media at work- and get paid for it!

I’m definitely a fan of technology; the number of conveniences it allows is pretty great and it’s only ever improving and growing and expanding. But I’m also someone who doesn’t update their status or profile picture on Facebook for months at a time and who actually had to make a Twitter and Instagram just for this job. I guess it’s time to stop living under a rock!

So, another nifty little thing I’ve learned about is this app that not only allows you to order online, but it has coupons to local businesses. I may have graduated college but I still have the diet of a college kid, and this includes lots of pizza, sushi, and a “healthy” amount of alcohol. And boom, boom, boom- Nina’s, Tokyo, and Pyramid Liquor coupons with the touch of a finger. I’m honestly not just promoting this because it’s my job- I got excited. This app is called the Oneonta HUB and it’s making it easier for me to stuff junk food into my face. It also just has so many other tools for exploring Oneonta and making the most of your time.

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Basically, Sweet Home Productions has a traditional sounding name with seriously progressive values and ideas. Why fight the technological revolution when you can help bring local businesses into the light?

Just today a woman and her husband came in for their antique shop that they’ve owned for fifty years or so, looking to “bring their store more into the 21st century” because they didn’t even have a website for it. It’s kind of inspiring to see people be able to do more for their businesses instead of them just falling by the wayside. There’s no reason why technology has to be the enemy of “traditional small businesses” when it can bolster them instead and make them more available and more appealing to the changing culture. It’s like we’re bringing them into the future.

Gatekeeper Chronicles

April 17, 2017

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Charles Dederich                                                14632882_10209629305503188_6680096253690669564_n

Bright and early Monday morning, I reported to Sweet Home Productions for my first day on the job. My name is Amore Swann, and I’m the executive assistant to the owner of the multi-media company.

I’m 21 years old and a graduate of SUNY Oneonta as of May of 2016, and this is my first 9-5 job. The level of adult I have reached is dizzying. I’ve had some scattered experience as assistants and other things, but they’re mostly unrelated to this sort of job and, until now, got me as far as retail. And Sweet Home Productions is nearly another world.

I didn’t even know the company existed until I saw the job ad online, and I certainly had no idea what it entailed as I applied, or even after I had my interview. My position was described as the “gatekeeper of the office,” which was thrilling and terrifying as I resisted shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” at the postman.

The first day is nearly over and already I’ve had two forays out into the windy, sunny springtime, which had me sold on the job almost immediately. One of my missions involved something called “mattertags,” which I had definitely not heard of before. My coworker, Dan, and I ventured to The Eighth Note to finish up a 3D model of the place. This involved a camera which supposedly spins around with infrared beams, but don’t quote me on that, and anyway I didn’t get to see it in action as we had to wait outside while it did its job. Very sci-fi mysterious, and all of a sudden, the owner, Ruth, was right there in the model! Smiling and welcoming customers at the counter.

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The matter tags came into play with the 3D model. Imagine a not-so-distant future where you’re able to walk into a store, look around you at a full 360 degrees, and move wherever in the store you want, selecting items that appeal to you; but imagine doing that whole mundane routine all from your computer or phone. The 3D virtual tours allow that for several stores on Main St., and the mattertags are the links that are attached to the objects in the model that you have the option of looking at, purchasing, or learning more about.

For someone like me, with little love for the actual act of shopping in a crowded place with all that stressful noise (don’t even mention Walmart to me after a long day, talk about exhausting!), this is such a cool idea. It eliminates the need to leave your house, but there’s still a sense of environmental change and has more interaction than typical online shopping.

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The majority of the rest of the day was taken up with posting some cool carousal posts to Facebook with the company’s pages. Did I even know what a carousal post was before today? I’m ashamed to say I didn’t, but my boss, Mark, an older man, threw it at me so casually I questioned whether or not I was in the Twilight Zone (only because it would have taken my mom, who is around Mark’s age, ten demonstrations, written instructions, and accompanying illustrations to even mention it with the ease that Mark had. Those generational stereotypes aren’t all that accurate after all.)

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So, the first day is done and I’ve already learned about some nifty technology. And I started a blog! Life is funny- going from a retail job that I dreaded and that offered few mental challenges while leaving the sense that my four year degree and thousands of dollars of debt were pointless, to a job that, dare I say it, I’m excited about? So to those of you in retail jobs: you have to earn money somehow and there are those who would be grateful for any job, but you never know what’s around the corner.