Monday, May 27, 2013

Edwards Farm Day 2013

On June 2, 2013 the annual “Afternoon on the Edwards Farm” will once again be taking place complete with baby animals, ice cream making, quilting, weaving, and. . . 

Photo by Charlie Bevington

1- 4pm at The Sayville Historical Society's Edwards Farm
39 Edwards Street, Sayville, NY

Call 631-563-0186 or E-mail for information.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Homegrown String Band Friday Night at St Paul's

This Friday night, May 17, 2013, at 7:30 pm, The Homegrown String Band will be featured as part of the Friday Night at St. Paul's Concert Series in Exton, PA. We played there last spring and a good time was had by all. We are surely looking forward to returning to see old friends and hopefully make some new ones too. Exton is about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia, if you're in the area stop in and lend us your ears.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rocky Point Farmers Market

Opening Day Sunday May 12, 2013
8 am - 1 pm

Corner of Broadway and Prince Road
Rocky Point, NY

View the Promo Video

Every Sunday May through November
Vegetables, Meat, Beer, Nursery Stock, Crafts

Happy Mothers Day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bob Brozman 1954 - 2013

Photo by Franz Pisa

Last week I was saddened by the news that Bob Brozman had passed away at the, relatively, young age of 59. The sadness was deepened when I learned that he had taken his own life. What a terrible loss for the traditional acoustic music community. Bob was an author, teacher, musicologist, and instrument designer, as well as a virtuoso musician. Beginning his career as a busker, performing on the streets of Santa Cruz, California, Bob would eventually record about thirty albums, several instructional videos, and travel around the world entertaining audiences with his unique interpretations of jazz, blues, and Hawaiian music.

A couple months ago I purchased Bob's Ukulele Toolbox DVD for Georgianne. I posted the following review on and on a forum for ukulele enthusiasts.

"The other night I sat down and watched Bob Brozman's Ukulele Toolbox Volume one. Bob is a great player and a great teacher. On this video he teaches you how to play the ukulele; not how to play songs on the ukulele. There is a lot of information presented here, some for the complete beginner, but mostly the lessons seem to be aimed more towards people who have some musical background but may be new to the uke. He starts out with some right hand techniques that are applicable to players of any level. He then moves on to chord positions, progressions, and turn arounds in several keys. Bob does a good job explaining but, given the limited time, he goes over things pretty quickly. I think a person with some basic knowledge of chord structure and chord progressions (things like, I - IV - V, or I -VI - II - V- I,  etc.) could get a lot out of this video. Basically you get couple lessons with a master musician for only 20 bucks, too bad you can't stop him to ask questions or pick his brain, but I think if you watch it and take what you can, you'll get your money's worth and more."

The talents, wit, and wisdom of Mr. Brozman will be missed.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why I Closed My Etsy Shops

From December 2007 through April 2013, I maintained two shops on It seemed like such a warm and fuzzy place and the ideal market to sell my Navajo spindles, pewter buttons, jewelry, copper bowls, and other handcrafted items. Over the last five plus years I had made over 650 sales, attracted about 1,000 admirers, and had a 100% positive feedback record. I always paid my monthly fees in a timely manner and had  been using their credit card and shipping label services, so they were receiving a nice chunk of change from me each month. I was basically using the Etsy site as a shopping cart for my own website, I didn't participate in any of the social media type activities they provide and promote, so I was blissfully unaware that the once cute and cozy community for artists had become a  big corporate, cut throat, internet marketing juggernaut. I remained blissfully unaware of the trend until I had a problem that required some intelligent human interaction, sound reasoning, rational thought, and a little good judgement. Like many of the big new internet companies, Etsy has no customer service phone number. After contacting them, via email, I was truly surprised by the treatment I received. When I contacted Etsy all I received were numerous form letter-like stock response communications from their "Trust and Safety" team. As I tried to make my case, I was confronted with nothing but stupidity, incompetence, and apathy. My frustration over the initial problem was quickly eclipsed by the frustration of dealing with the seller support and customer service (or lack there of) of this greedy impersonal corporate entity. I owned and operated a brick and mortar retail business for over 20 years, so I am no stranger to both sides of customer service issues. I'd like to believe that this is just a case of a company getting too big to be what it was intended to be, but I think this goes deeper than just being a giant corporation on autopilot. I decided to poke around the internet to see if mine was an isolated case or this was just business as usual for Etsy. Etsy does a good job of promoting and protecting their homespun image, but I didn't have to dig too deeply to find a plethora of complaints, by both buyers and sellers, ranging from blatant violations of privacy, to security issues, censorship, data mining, cronyism, deception, and just plain old bad customer service. It seems that the good folks at Etsy are quick to shut down or ban anyone who questions their policies, but are quite willing to look the other way when they benefit from users who clearly violate the "Terms of Use" they routinely use to intimidate dissenters. I know that the thousands of dollars in revenue I was generating is only a drop in the bucket to a behemoth like Etsy, but I still expected more from a company that markets itself as a kinder and gentler alternative to internet giants like Ebay and Amazon. At least those sites are not pretending to be something that they are not. I won't go into the specific issues I had with Etsy, but suffice it to say that after learning of Etsy's corrupt and odious business practices I could not, with a clear conscience, continue to do business with this corporate entity masquerading as a, mom and pop friendly artist's co-op. As I stated in one of my initial email contacts with Etsy "Help"(a misnomer if ever there was one); the Etsy marketing platform was a convenient way for me to sell my one of a kind handcrafted items, but they are not the only game in town, especially since I was pretty much bringing my own traffic to Etsy. It took me about ten minutes to find half a dozen alternatives, with real customer service, and more attractive fee structures.  I have since closed my Etsy shops and moved all my online commerce to my website: using Storenvy's shopping cart service.

Here are some other alternatives to Etsy:

Though I haven't used any of these sites or services myself, I may have chosen one if I didn't already have a website and domain name. Storenvy suits my needs well and was very easy to incorporate into my existing web page design.

If you don't have your own website Craftstar, Zibbet, and Artfire offer online shops and markets similar to what Etsy offers. Craftsar's shop layout looks really nice, very clean and neat. They also have a video feature that lets you post a spot on Craftstar TV. UPDATE: Craftstar has recently (as of June 2013) eliminated listing fees and sales commissions and gone to a flat monthly rate like Zibbet and Artfire. Zibbet also has a "Basic" free option. Indiemade and Retailr, for a flat monthly fee, will set you up with your own multipage website.

Interesting Link for and about the Trolls lurking under the bridge.

From Psychology Today September 8, 2014
In this month’s issue of Personality and Individual Differences, a study was published that confirms what we all suspected: Internet trolls are horrible people.

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