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Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka

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ANNOUNCEMENT [May. 1st, 2009|11:02 am]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka

After almost half a decade on livejournal, this blog is moving to:

alanlastufka.com/blog
.
(please go re-"follow", update your RSS, links,
re-bookmark, change your socks, whatever you need to do, man)

There are really only two simple reasons for this, which I am willing to share:

1. Comments. I get numerous emails and @replies on twitter from people telling me they can't leave comments here, that OpenID isn't working, or they couldn't find the tiny "reply" link. The vast majority of those people use blogspot. And as anyone who knows me will tell you, comments, interaction and discussion are the top reasons I do any of this. I do my best to reply to as many comments as possible. Without the thought-provoking discussions, this wouldn't be half as fun as it is.

2. Monetization. Livejournal still doesn't allow for third-party ads or even an internal system for monetizing posts. While this isn't the main motivator, it will be nice to monetize the tens of thousands of views this blog receives every month.

After today, I will be privating all of the posts here with the exception of this month's BEDA posts. I don't want to lose them, so privating allows me to keep the earlier posts to myself. A lot of them are from a much younger Alan and sound as emo and whiney as you'd expect a college kid writing in his livejournal to sound. I've been systematically cleaning up my web presence because in the next year or three I plan on applying for editing and writing gigs with some real production companies. I don't want to lose that job over a post about a three month crush that never developed, or scribblings on why spending birthdays alone doesn't suck as much as one would think.

Thanks to all of you who've shared your time and experiences with me here. If you don't make the leap over to reading me on blogspot, I totally understand. But you will be missed.

I'm kicking off my new blog with a three part series on eBooks. The first part examines thoughts from an eBook reader (me!), while the second part is a discussion with NY Times Bestselling author, John Green, and his feelings about eBooks as a working writer. The third and final part is a discussion with Scribd.com, one of the largest online eBook publishers and distributors after Amazon and its Kindle store.

Thanks again guys. See you at alanlastufka.com/blog (hopefully)!
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BEDA No. FINAL [Apr. 30th, 2009|06:06 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
So as of midnight tonight, BEDA is over. Everyone's getting all nostalgic in their blogs, so I won't bore you with my own fond memories of days past; you all know I love you and the comments you leave. Instead I'm going to do something very un-internetery... I'm going to talk people who aren't me! (ZOMG, is that even allowed?)

New people I met (and fell in mostly platonic love with) during BEDA:

- Karen (xperpetualmotion) - Karen completed VEDA (Vlog Every Day...) and her videos were amazing. Each video discussed a various aspect of vlogging or YouTube'ing, and she almost always got some good video responses. This was the most memorable BEDA series for me, blog or vlog. Go check out her vids if you have the time.

- Chelsea (supernovakgirl) - Chelsea blogged her way through April, but I'll remember her more for the collab I participated in on her collab channel, and her singing in the YouTube Chorus for the collab Hank and I made, which appeared both on my YouTube channel, and the vlogbrothers.

- Hayley (hayleyghoover) - Why hadn't anyone told me about this girl before April?! Her blogging is... dare I say, awesome. Apparently she makes videos on YouTube sometimes, too. =P

New people I just subscribed to this week who you might also want to check out:

- Bobby (themefund) - Bobby left some interesting comments and video responses to Karen's VEDA videos, so I had a few discussions with him in the comments section there.

- Bre (onebre) - Bre made this epic almost-10-minute vlog in which she answered a number of the questions Karen posed regarding YouTube, vlogging and online friends. I haven't seen any of her other videos yet, but if they're even half as good as this one, should be a fun getting to know her too.

So there it is. Go flex your subscribing fingers and enjoy meeting some new people if you aren't already subscribed to the above.

See you tomorrow, kinda. ;)

Subscribers: 14,634 (+50 subs today)

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BEDA No. 29: accomplishments and books and misplaced question marks [Apr. 29th, 2009|10:20 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
W00! Accomplishment of the month: I just read a whole book in one day! I've never done that before. I'm a terribly slow reader. But at noon today I sat down with Maureen Johnson's Devilish, and aside from a dinner break, and stopping to watch the DFTBA Radio Hour earlier, I just read and read and answered emails and read. It's a wonderful book about selling your soul and about best friends and yeah, if you don't already own it, click here and pick up a copy.

Also today, DFTBA Records made plans to publish its first two novels (hence the stopping to reply to emails, literally 40 of them). In mid-August we will release paperback versions of Kristina and Alex's nanowrimo novels! After reading Kristina's story last week, I'm really psyched about this. I've even emailed one of the editors who worked on my YouTube book to see if we can hire her to edit our first two titles. Obviously there will be more discussion about these releases, and other titles, as the summer progresses.

Tomorrow is our last BEDA day, and I'm going to miss it. More on that in a Viral Video Wannabe post tomorrow discussing VEDA. Until then, you stay sexy, subscribers. I'm Alan Distro?

===

Insert something about Hayley that's slightly witty, while at the same time being slightly creepy, here.

Subscribers: 14,584 (+83 subs today)

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BEDA No. 28: SUPER AWESOME DAY [Apr. 28th, 2009|09:13 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
A few days ago I was on the phone with Todd and he asked me to improv a scene with him. I did. It was successful. So I tweeted "I win at improv", to which Starlysh replied: "You should try out for Second City :D" Second City is an improv training center with a theater in Chicago, many hollywood film stars and well-known comedians got their start with Second City. Second City must have a feed set up to catch tweets containing their name because I shit you not, a few days later I received a Second City 2009 Course Catalog in my PO Box (which is linked from my twitter profile). Scary how efficient the internets/marketers have become.

I got the best captcha code EVER while leaving a comment on Kristina's blog today. Check out her BEDA post tomorrow to see a screenshot of it. Also, Kristina said I was the very first person to order her new CD! Yeah, number one fan here? Maybe. I'll start making the "ihearttalkingtosnakes" buttons/badges to pass out at the next fan club meeting.

Lots of Chameleon Circuit drama today, which you can read about on Alex's blog if you'd like. But in the end, it sounds like everything is working out. Thanks so much to all of those who offered to help!

I spent a good chunk of this afternoon digging through old external hard drives and zipped up archives to find some of my graphic design work to share. I put together a portfolio here: http://alanlastufka.com/portfolio/ I'd love it if you'd check it out and let me know what you think. I have Karen (xperpetualmotion) to thank for kicking me in the butt to actually put a portfolio together.

Convo of the Day:

Hank Green says: I fucking hate this computer
Hank Green says: I still can't get youtube videos to play
Hank Green says: no sound
fallofautumndistro says: if it has integrated audio in the motherboard, sound disappears sometimes when Windows updates
fallofautumndistro says: just rollback the driver to the previous version and it's fixed
Hank Green says: where do I find my drivers?
Hank Green says: control panel?
fallofautumndistro says: device manager
fallofautumndistro says: then click on properties for the device (this case your motherboard's integrated audio)
...
Hank Green says: that worked! I can't believe you fixed my youtubez!
fallofautumndistro says: I am a genius =P
Hank Green says: omg I love you
fallofautumndistro says: (more kissy face emoticons)
Hank Green says: hahah

Subscribers: 14,501 (+48 subs today)
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BEDA No. 27: ALLLLL BY MYSELFFFFFF.... [Apr. 27th, 2009|09:20 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
Sometimes I vent to people on Skype... I should stop doing that, especially seeing as how everyone seems to have "log chat" turned on... how often do you copy and paste IM chats to third parties?

It's been raining all day, so it's been gloomy. But I've been super productive. Nothing to mention or brag about here, just bookkeeping/housekeeping stuff, I guess.

Yesterday I mentioned that I finished designing Alex's book cover. He's asked for something different. So, here's the rejected design: http://twitpic.com/43tqi Two things about this design: first, Alex really liked it, just didn't think it represented his book. As I haven't finished reading his book, I can't argue him on that point. Second, a number of people have asked me why his name is twice as prominent as the book's title. Look at any mass market paperback and you'll find that's the case. It's the author's name that sells the book in most cases, not the book title.

I also talked to Kristina about her book, turns out I'm the only person who's finished reading it! I helped her with some possible titles and might work on a cover for her in the near future as well.

My parents are going out of town the weekend of my birthday next month. They asked me to come house/catsit for four days. I'm debating whether I want to use that time for myself, and bring some notebooks to get some writing done. Or if I want to invite some lovely YouTuber over for the weekend to hang out with/celebrate my birthday, etc. I dunno. No one particular in mind, and a lot of nerdfighters will be at Leaky that weekend, but, we'll see. Anyone going to be/wanna be in the area the weekend of the 23rd?

Convo of the Day

fallofautumndistro says: my copy of Suite Scarlett arrived today! so, if I don't give much time to my BEDA today, I blame you and your lovely words
maureenjohnson says: that's okay, I blame you for everything, Famous A! Well, at least 95% of all celebrity pregnancies.

Subscribers: 14,453 (+82 subs today)

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BEDA No. 26: I LOVE TOM, by which I mean The Other Monday, of course. Suck it, hexachordal. [Apr. 26th, 2009|08:36 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
One of my blog readers, whose name is Daniel, built an iPhone app that lets you get my blog posts/updates right on your iPhone! How awesome is that? I'm going to tweak the look a little bit and then find a registered iPhone Developer who can publish it for me. You have to pay $99 per year to be a registered developer. Eff that. So, short story long; if you have an iPhone and hate checking livejounral for updates, soon you won't have to.

I designed a book cover for nerimon's nanowrimo novel, Skyers, today. I don't know if he's going to like it, or if he'll want me showing everyone before the book is out, so I'll refrain from posting it until I hear from him. But I like it. =)

I've made plans for both nerimon (July 1-6th?) and hexachordal (Aug 11-14th?) to come visit me this summer. Well, okay, Alex is coming for Kristina and Tom is coming to tour America, but I will be a stop along both of their trips. That makes me smile.

Convo of the Day:

Kristina Horner says: I wish Alex was coming to visit you at a time I could come too. I'm jealous.
fallofautumndistro says: no reason to be jealous of sitting in my bedroom for 6 days, there is nothing to do in this town and Alex will be clawing his eyes out by day two, I promise
Kristina Horner says: Hhahaha. Well I still want to meet you IRL.
fallofautumndistro says: yeah, be sad. by not being here, you're going to miss out on those 60% cuddles Alex mentioned in his VEDA video. ;)

Subscribers: 14,371 (+73 subs today)

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BEDA No. 25: 1 missed call [Apr. 25th, 2009|08:42 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
So much happens while I’m out of town. No time to reflect on it all now.

Had a good day with my parents… helped with some spring cleaning, did some grocery shopping, watched the new Bond movie.

See you lovelies tomorrow.

===

DMs are the best. <3

Subscribers: 14,298 (+73 subs today)

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BEDA No. 24: pointless [Apr. 24th, 2009|09:43 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
Like all things, YouTube goes through tides, which include really good content spurts like the one we’re currently in. You know those times when all your favorite video makers seem to be updating, and everyone’s videos are good. It probably has a bit to do with VEDA (Vlog Every Day in April). Alex is participating, and it’s no secret that he’s one of my favorite vloggers. Then there’s Karen, who I mentioned yesterday, and she’s updating/vlogging every day too. Hank’s uploaded two song Wednesdays in a row, both of them musical collabs, the first with me, and the second with the very talented Michael Aranda. Hayley posted a new Annoyance video. Buck hosted and uploaded his Miss YouTube video. It’s been a lot of fun.

I notice during these times that my Favorites box fills up quickly, and I’m more inspired to create videos (hence my four new videos in the last two weeks, jeez!) and overall I enjoy my time spent on YouTube more.

There’s really no useful moral or witty point to the above. Just an observation.

I'm out of town this weekend, so, I'll catch up with everyone on Sunday. <3

===

Hayley never replies to my emails, just sends me DMs on twitter. Sigh.

Subscribers: 14,225 (+74 subs today)
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BEDA No. 23: Fan mail in 2009 [Apr. 23rd, 2009|06:13 pm]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
[Tags|]

When I was eleven I drew a picture of Weird Al, for Weird Al, and mailed it off to his "Close Personal Friends of Al" fanclub address.

A week or so later I got back an autographed 8x10 that read "Hey ALAN, thanks for the GREAT drawing! Weird Al Yankovic, damaged in handling, please accept our apologies - your post office" The glossy had been ripped in half, scotch-taped back up and stamped with the Post Office's apology. It was the happiest and saddest piece of mail I think I had received up to that point.

I mailed the "Close Personal Friends of Al" again and told them about my mangled autographed picture. Maybe the tear-stained line paper was enough to convince them, or maybe Weird Al is just a really awesome guy, but either way, I received a second autographed 8 x 10, this time protected in a sturdy envelope with some cardboard to keep it safe from any damage.

And that's how fanmail worked. Some number-one-fan somewhere opened and read mail and sent out glossies that may or may not have been actually signed by the artist themselves. It was very one-sided, in that the fan knew so much about the artist, while the artist just scribbled on some pictures of him/herself.

A couple years ago I sent a fan email to Chris Walla, the guitarist and backing vocalist for Death Cab for Cutie. I told him about how his music had been the inspiration behind my latest band and shared a link to one of my new songs for him to listen to if he was interested. Not only did he actually respond, but he gave me a pretty kick ass review of my song! (click here to read his reply/review)

I later realized fanmail had evolved and become interactive. Given my track record, I started contacting more and more people whose work I enjoyed. Zinesters, authors, YouTubers, etc. With each person I complemented or told a story to about how the sharing of their work helped or inspired me, I literally gained a new good friend.
 
Alex Wrekk, the first zinester I fangirled over, eventually came to stay with me for a week and we wrote a really well-received (and well-reviewed) zine together. John Green, a New York Times Bestselling freakin' author!, responded to my first fan email. Now we chat on Skype daily, he's making a spoken word appearance on my next album, and he calls to say thanks when I send him third-grade valentines telling him to meet me under the monkey-bars.

Given the book I published this past winter, and my small level of success in some niche, online communities, I now receive fan mail pretty regularly. I've received drawings of myself, much like that first one I sent to Weird Al all those years ago. Some emails or letters are touching, some creepy, and some pique my interest to the point where I click through on the email signatures and experience the world of content my "fans" create.

This happened last week. I received an email entitled "warning: this message contains compliments". [Note: if you ever want to get me to read your email right away, you could do worse than to spill that it contains compliments within the subject, just sayin'!] The email was from Karen Kavett (xperpetualmotion). I had heard John mention Karen in one or two of his blogtv shows, but honestly, I had no idea who she was. But her message was heart-felt, and I had a few minutes to kill, so I visited her YouTube channel.

I'm pretty sure it took me less than one video to subscribe. Karen was vlogging about, well, vlogging, and YouTube. Her video was well-edited, she had some good thoughts on the subject, she made me want to leave a comment.

The next day I realized she was participating in VEDA, and that day's video was even better than the previous one. I was hooked. I clicked back to her channel so I could visit her website, or follow her on twitter, whatever she had listed there. After checking out her website, I come to find out, Karen designed the Nerdfighter Tour map! I live-streamed every Nerdfighter Tour event last year... I spent a month of my life starring at that map! She also designed Liane's album art. I wrote a song with Liane and was one of the first people to hear Liane's album, because her and I were working together at the time. This Karen person had been in and out of my life twice already.

The next day I wrote Karen a piece of fanmail of my own. I was super impressed with her VEDA series, I loved her design work, and the people she was choosing to work for/with. And I wanted to thank her for getting in touch and infiltrating my life with her own work.

So, the moral of the story is... subscribe to Karen. Hah.. no, the moral of the story is human beings are able to share ideas and work at lightning speed with almost no walls between those who are "famous" and those who are fans. And I think we're all richer for it, and the art that we're all creating is better for it. And I think that if someone's experience-turned-art-piece, vlog, song, - whatever - has resonated with you, that you should tell them.

Have you ever sent fan mail? Have you received a response? Have you ever received fan mail? Should this entry have been a vlog instead?

===

Subscribers: 14,151 (+61 subs today)

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convo of the morning [Apr. 23rd, 2009|07:36 am]
Alan "fallofautumndistro" Lastufka
nerimon says: In december I want to move to America and one of the few ways for me to stay there more than a couple months is to get a work visa. If I'm helping out with DFTBA Records do you think that will count?
fallofautumndistro says: Well, maybe, technically you'd be a contractor for DFTBA, because if you were an employee, Hank and I would have to provide you with health insurance, a 401(k), an appropriate work environment, etc.
nerimon says: oh, yeah it doesn't look like a contractor counts for a work visa
nerimon says: oh well, guess I'll have to marry Kristina <3
fallofautumndistro says: that'd probably be more fun than working for DFTBA anyway
nerimon says: yeah, you look like the type who would file a lawsuit for me grabbing your ass
fallofautumndistro says: haha <3
fallofautumndistro says: also, I checked on those dates you mentioned for coming to visit, looks like we're good to go!
nerimon says: oh yay!
nerimon says: I remember the first time I met up with Tom, because we were both such productive people, we wrote Eyelashes and filmed a cool video and did all this stuff in just one day. With you it's more about businesses though, so we'll probably just ... I dunno, invest in things. xD
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