Time AS Money. The Dayton Time Bank

A long time ago, barter was replaced with currency, and a lunatic science called economics was invented- which later gave us “finance” which led to the insanity of Wall Street having the ability of turning our economy into a joke.

The idea of paper money being worth something is something you were just born understanding in America. You don’t question it, you just take it for granted- “In God We Trust” is all you need to think that greenback actually means something.

But, there are other economies- the black market, the barter economy, the secondary markets of used goods, and then, well, there’s now a TimeBank- right here in Dayton.

I went to an orientation tonight- the first step, and a required one, to become a member. It’ll take about 2 hours of your time- and then, you never have to go to it again. They hold them the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at 624 Xenia Avenue in Dayton’s Twin Towers neighborhood- and the Third Sunday at 4 p.m.- with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. on that Sunday- more on the food later.

The concept of TimeBanking is that everyone has value- and can do something for someone else- and in exchange for that hour, you get an hour in your Timebank- to spend with someone else. You get 2 hours’ credit just for attending orientation.  The system relies on software to match up offers and requests-  I offer an hour of marketing help, you offer an hour of weeding. Your hour is worth my hour. An hour is called a time dollar. One for one. If it sounds like socialism- it sort of is. Neurosurgeon or nanny- your hour is the same. It’s up to you on how many hours you want to earn- or spend and with whom. The site is sort of like a dating site- with reviews of your work, and keeping track of your hours.

The cool thing is- non-profits- who usually beg for volunteer hours, can now reward volunteers with hours for hours- and they are like the Fed- they can keep giving away hours as long as they want. So, my neighborhood can pay me for running my neighborhood soccer program, or for an alley cleanup, Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together, could “pay” its volunteers with hours- and they can then collect from others. All of it- unreported to the IRS- sort of like Bitcoin in the beginning.

You can register as an individual, or a business, or a non-profit. Then, make requests for services if you can’t find someone already offering it.

It’s already happening in over 430 communities around the globe, with over a million hours swapped. And, your hours in Dayton can be spent in those other communities.

The driving force behind this has been Kate Ervin, who got interested in this 10 years ago- before the software was available. Then, the cost of administering the program would have been high- but, now- it’s easy. Some communities charge a cash membership fee- but, with the help of East End Community Services, where Kate now works, they are able to offer it with free memberships.

If your church is a non-profit- and you do community outreach, think about joining. If you are a member of a non-profit that does any kind of community volunteer work- join. If you like helping people- join.

The really interesting part comes from being a part of a community of volunteers who meet monthly for the pot-luck. It’s here, where you meet others who are offering their services- and you can find out who you want to spend your time dollars with.

This is a great way to fill in your professional schedule- and meet people you might not be able to work with using normal dollars. I plan on offering a limited numbers of seats to my www.websitetology.com seminar for time dollars. I’ve got a client who is a psychologist who isn’t set up to take all insurances- who may grow her practice this way.

I hate gardening- and weeding. I love helping people with marketing. Well worth a trade for a few hours a week. In some communities- dentists and doctors have joined.

Here’s a video- and a link to the homepage: https://hourworld.org

and a link to a PBS piece on it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business-july-dec10-maine_11-17/

RIP FLY 92.9, you can keep your soft rock to yourself, thank you

I grew up lucky. I got to experience the greatest radio station in the nation at the pinnacle of its success in Cleveland, listening to WMMS 101 (really 100.7- the FCC made them change midway through my years as a fan) in the mid-seventies. The post I wrote about it on my business blog, got hundreds of comments- and even press releases when the music director was launching his book about “the good ole days.”

Dayton has seen its share of radio station controversy- mostly centered around WYSO and how much locally produced content should be on the air. There have been other format changes that have ticked a few people off- personalities getting let go- the normal comings and goings of radio. I doubt many people will remember this format change either- but as of today, I’m giving up on radio in my car unless it’s during “Morning edition,” “Fresh Air,” “Marketplace” – all on WYSO. The rest of the time- it will be CDs or podcasts via my cassette adapter (yes- I still have one) until I install a newer radio with a Bluetooth or a USB connection. Commercial radio- you’re dead to me.

The funny thing is- during the day from 9:15 to 4:30 I have WDPS on my office radio- and can live with it. It’s the closest thing to a “Jazz station” Dayton has- although what they call Jazz for the most part wouldn’t pass for elevator music. I love George Balog when he’s on- I can’t stand the baby talk of Joe Woodford who enunciates like a cooing mother. “The Hippie” graduated high school long ago- and unfortunately hasn’t gone away- he still sounds like a teenager, and I’ve learned to tune him out.

So why do I care that FLY 92.9 just became “Soft Rock 92.9″ and why does it bother me? Because it was the “station for everyone” that parents could listen to with their kids and compromise. It had new stuff, old stuff- and a lot in between. They were making efforts to reconnect with the community- bringing back the idea of real live people on the radio- like Dan Edwards, who you might actually know and want to hang out with. Now, it’s a toned down version of Mix 107.7 that’s suitable for doctors offices and playing in prisons if you want to make the inmates miserable.

Don’t get me wrong- I didn’t think FLY 92.9 was great. It was a format change too- one that saw a whole bunch of people kicked out of their jobs at what was the white kids’ music station. The black kids at first could listen to U92- which eventually skewed older- and then 102.9 that went full urban hip-hop.When Z93 died for FLY- it was the end of an era too- and people were pissed.

The format of FLY was the “Jack” format that had already had a 5-year track record starting out on the West Coast. The idea of a radio station programmed like an iPod on shuffle- with just great hits was the antithesis of “programmed” radio- where some program director thought they had the golden ear and knew what the audience wanted. This was how Clear Channel ruined radio- by allowing a few program directors in Texas making decisions for groups of stations across the country. Didn’t matter if your local weather was rain- and they were playing “Walking on Sunshine” or it was sunny- and they were playing “Here comes the rain again”- they knew, and radio blew.

The days of DJs picking the songs and carrying on a conversation with the community with music as the language died long ago. But, the beauty of the Jack format- is that it was unpredictable and might trigger old memories- or introduce you to something new.

Granted, many people do this with Pandora- or any other streaming music service, which may be why terrestrial radio is having a hard time. I believe local radio is still an important tool in carrying on a community conversation- and I wish “Soft Rock 92.9″ well on their way to mediocrity- but, when I think of Dayton- I don’t think the word “soft” ever applies- we’re too hard headed.

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to stick a “Soft Rock” bumper sticker on their car, or wear a t-shirt with it on. The one thing radio station “owners” have yet to learn- just because you pay the bills- doesn’t make you own the station- it belongs to the community. Always has, always will. And you just stole my station.

What are your thoughts on radio in Dayton? Format changes you still hate?

And one more note: if you are a commercial business- it was generally OK to play commercial radio in your establishment- since the licensee paid the fees to ASCAP etc. But, you can’t just play your personal Pandora account- even if paid, without a commercial license. Pandora has one for about $25 a month. Don’t risk ASCAP coming down on you and taking you to court. It’s a painful fine.

How to get fast affordable business internet in Dayton

Hint- it’s not from Time Warner, it’s not from AT&T and it’s not Cincinnati Bell (they use AT&T’s pipes).
In Dayton- the city- you can’t and won’t get fiber from any of the standard providers.

T-1’s and fractionals are expensive. DSL is dog slow. And you can’t get real upload speeds from cable.

What’s a small tech firm to do?

Call Norm Wentland at Dayton Digital Development (937) 371-3192- and hope and pray you can get an antenna outside your building that can go line of sight to Downtown. Norm is running a peer to peer network over radio waves- and will give you a fixed IP and at least 8Mbs symmetrically up and down for $100 a month.

I mounted my antenna yesterday on the chimney- hooked it up- and got this from www.speedtest.net

Ping 25, download speed 41.43Mbs and upload of 29.64Mbs

Speedtest screen shot from Dayton Digital Development

Yes- the ping is high – most of the time it’s around 19- but the download is a good 10mbs faster than what Time Warner does on downloads and the upload is 6x faster.

Finally- uploading video to YouTube won’t take an entire weekend.

My client at the Dayton Mall with the 3d scans and prints- is struggling with the DSL that’s available there from AT&T. He needs at least 5MBS up- and they are only able to deliver about half that.

How are we supposed to attract business with our water, when our internet flows like frozen molasses? Why are we building parking garages for real estate developers on Water Street when we should be building internet infrastructure for online businesses everywhere? This is the infrastructure of the future- who will need a parking garage after Google perfects the self driving car?

Watching the people from Miller Pipeline destroy South Park streets to put in new gas lines- I’m wondering why we haven’t demanded that all new utility work includes adding fiber to the home? Why should we have to dig everything up again? Unfortunately our digitally delayed politicians have no clue how important basic internet connectivity is.

I posted this on Facebook this morning and already a friend has called Norm. I’ve known about this technology and Norm for years- I’m not sure why I suffered slow internet for so long.

Say good bye to the telco and cable crooks- and get your business up on the fast track.

Here is the real facts on what you get from Time Warner- warning- not quite safe for work:

 

And as a side note- almost all of TW cable and internet was out most of today in South Park because it was windy. Why do we allow ourselves to live in third world internet land?
When Estonia and Vietnam are almost entirely covered by WiFi- and S. Korea has access speeds 20x faster than us, our leadership should have some explaining to do.

In the meantime- you can call Norm.

The ultimate gift for the holidays – your doppelganger!

There is a reason Esrati.com hasn’t been posting as often over the last month- it’s a new kiosk in the Dayton Mall, and they are my client.

On Oct. 15th, a local entrepreneur contacted my firm, The Next Wave, looking for help to open the first of its kind business in North America. The business makes scale sculptures of you- by taking thousands of photographs of you in a 12-second span. The photos are interpolated to build a 3D model, that can be printed in a 3D printer- and delivered to you in about a week.

Great idea- huge success in an ASADA store in Manchester England (ASADA is the name Walmart uses in the U.K.)- where they did gobs of them in the first month they were open. Only thing was, he was to have the machine delivered and installed on November 1st.

Photo of the booth for Doppelganger Labs

Designed and built in a week by The Next Wave for Doppelganger Labs at the Dayton Mall

Normally- naming, branding and marketing plans take months to prepare- but we worked a crazy number of hours- and “Doppelganger Laboratories” was born. Unfortunately, shipping the scanning booth took a bit longer, and while we had the booth ready to go on the 2nd, the scanner didn’t make it here until the 8th (last Saturday). The assembly took 3 people almost 2 days- and at 9 p.m. last night the first scans were completed.

Here is what a scan of Howard from the Big Bang looks like online in the preview, note, the software prefers Firefox or Chrome for the full webGL experience:


And here is Dayton’s finest miniature painter, in full reenactor garb:

The figurines are pretty cool- even though they are made of a melted plastic powder (laser-sintered polyamide to be exact) – that’s colored to match the scan. It comes out feeling like sandstone, and must be handled much like a porcelain figurine would be. Oddly, the statues aren’t waterproof- if they get wet, the colors may bleed.

The actual sculpting/printing takes around 9 hours and isn’t done locally at this point. Turnaround is about a week.

Photo of a graduate with his doppelganger

Memorialize a special event in your doppelganger

As always, people ask how much they cost, and they start at $149 for a 1:12 scale model going up to $249 for a larger 1:8 scale one. How big they are – depends on how big you are. My old friend, RIP, Dan Obravac who was a bit over 7′ would be 7″ for the “small” 1:12 scale and  10.5: for the large 1:8 scale. Vern Troyer- the original MiniMe – who tops out at 2’8″ would make a real small model of about 2.6 inches for a 1:12 scale. The prices for all the versions are here: DoppelgangerLabs shop

The first 150 people to order a Doppelganger will also get one of our cool shirts- which say “Say hello to my little friend”

What I find most interesting is the what is old is new again. Before photography, people had basically three choices to be “memorialized” for others- a drawing, painting or sculpture of themselves. The little sculptures Doppelganger Labs produces are a return of the sculpture as a way of sharing your likeness.

Some of the coolest things we’ve seen are some of the double scans- there is a large model of a guy with his girl getting a piggy-back ride that’s just awesome. Of course, the pregnant sculpture is a way forever to remember the nine-month miracle of birth and share it later with your progeny. Wedding cake toppers are also popular- although big, poofy gowns with lots of lace and super long trains aren’t the best for scanning.

A few things to avoid when heading to the Dayton Mall to get scanned:

Wear big prints or solids. It doesn’t like shiny shoes, shiny belt buckles or earrings. Glasses are a no-no. Fingers do best when held clenched or touching a flat object like the side of your leg, or crossed arms, especially on the smallest scale builds. And remember, the output is more like an artist’s rendering- not a 3d model avatar to play you in Hollywood. Check out the selection of samples at the booth.

There are photos of people holding their statues on the site- I think the ones where the people are wearing the outfit they were scanned in are the coolest. We’re encouraging people to come back in the clothes they wore to be scanned so we can take a photo with you and your Doppelganger. Happy scanning people!

 

 

Why Historic South Park should be in your future: reasons #2438, 2439

Poster for Historic South Park in Dayton Ohio's Shakespeare production of "The Comedy of Errors"

Historic South Park has it’s own neighborhood theater.

Do your neighbors get together and throw together a play? And not just any play- Shakespeare?

Didn’t think so. Not only that- do they invite the world to see it for FREE?

Yep- you can do that tonight, tomorrow and Sunday nights-

Show: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Director: Susan Robert
Producers: Galen Wilson, Phyllis Tonne

How To Go:
Dates: Friday-Sunday, September 5, 6, 7, 2014
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Location: South Park Green, 601 Hickory Street, Dayton
Admission: Free (donations gratefully received)
Bring a lawn chair or blanket

via The Comedy of Errors | Shakespeare in South Park | Sixth Season | Sept. 5-7 – Historic South Park.

You can park in Emerson School lot, or Hope Lutheran lot- or on the street.

And if the stodgy speaking of the Bard just ain’t your thing-

Poster for the Food Truck Shindig in Dayton Ohio's fabulous Historic South Park Neighborhood

First the Bard, then the lard- gourmet chefs on the go come to South Park

Yep, we have our own food truck Shindig & Street party on Friday Sept 20th from 4-8pm. The party will be down at Burns and Nathan one block South of Coco’s. We’ll have trucks, tunes, t-shirts and more- and the event is free, even though the food isn’t.

These community initiatives are one of the reasons why South Park’s property taxes go up. Come see what the neighborhood you wished you lived in does to keep things interesting.

Check out www.historicsouthpark.org for info on events, rentals, homes for sale and what makes South Park the best neighborhood in the State of Ohio, and a National Neighborhood of the year winner. The site, btw, is hosted pro-bono by The Next Wave, Dayton’s greatest and finest ad agency, which has its global HQ in South Park.

Note, both these fabulous posters were done by other fabulously talented South Park residents.

Making Dayton look good

Today, the second video went live that was produced by my friends Michael and Sandy Bashaw, along with Andy Snow. They involved a ton of local musicians, dancers, performers and showed Dayton at it’s best. The production values are as awesome as their first video- and the song, “Where the rivers meet” is beautiful.

Take a look on this rainy day:

If you want to see the first video- “Where there is love” I wrote about it here: http://esrati.com/where-there-is-love-dayton-ohio-welcomes-everyone/10070/

I think my favorite part of the new video is seeing my friend Nicky Kay- Nick Kzirnis, wailing on his Rickenbacker in front of the yellow sculpture at the corner of 5th and Patterson. While a lot of people made fun of this sculpture when it came out- it’s becoming one of my favorites- I just wish it was someplace other than a traffic island- where more people would interact with it.

When downtown businesses shoot the city in the foot: Parking wars

You know those parking meters at The Greene? The ones where payment is optional and goes to charity? You know how you don’t have to pay for parking at any business anywhere in the suburbs? That The Greene has not one, not two, but THREE parking garages- and they are all FREE?

And then we have downtown Dayton. No, this isn’t one of those get-rid-of-parking-meter rants by some idiot. Parking meters serve a very important purpose- making sure there are spaces for people who just have to run in and run out. Otherwise, the early bird downtown workers would all fill the on-street parking spaces- and no one would go downtown. At least not in a car.

But, we have meters- and the dreaded parking meter maids. You get a ticket and it’s $5 or $10 and it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Not so in the Oregon District. While everyone knows not to park in the lot next to the porn shop – which sits empty most of the time (even the people going into the porn shop don’t want to park there for fear of being singled out)- recently two establishments have been having a feud and pissing off patrons galore.

Roost and Lucky’s Tap Room are going at it hot and heavy. Lucky’s is probably pissed about losing the spaces out front for Roost’s valet service- and decided to start towing people who park in their little side lot- adding a $100 towing fee to anyone who doesn’t take heed. Now, granted- it’s a private lot, and there are signs. And, it’s happening often- so the first thing Roost should do is to ask where you parked- and have the valet move the car if it’s in Lucky’s lot.
However, if the Lucky’s owners really want to keep their spots free for their customers, they could make their first move by asking the people at Roost to please stop in after their meal to have a beer or two at Lucky’s – or make a donation to a charity much like they do at The Greene. Instead of calling a tow company- get a boot- but, label it a charity boot.

The real question is why has the city not built a garage behind the EPA building, even with a nominal parking fee of $1-$3 – it could change the district into a really amazing place. All the parking spaces out front- could be used for extended patios- closing off the street to cars entirely would make for an awesome party district (especially since the street isn’t even fit to drive on). The garage could even have mixed uses- with more retail on the first floor- and a rooftop party deck- or housing on top. This is an economic development project worthy of tax dollars and would help many businesses- instead of handouts to single companies who promise the world and deliver squat.

For all the money we’ve poured into the Downtown Dayton Partnership- what the Oregon District is still in need of most is public infrastructure to support the businesses. Towing customers is just sending a message to take your money elsewhere and helps no-one in the long run.

(This post was for S.T., who had her car towed on Friday night.)

Hot ticket tip: Human Race does it again

Confession: I don’t like country music. And, most musicals can take or leave. That said, I’ve never been disappointed at The Loft Theater watching a Human Race Theatre (sic) Company presentation, and last night, I loved the performance of “Play it by heart” a country flavored musical.

Human Race Theatre Shot from Play it By Heart

Pictured (l to r): Sharva Maynard, Trisha Rapier and Kathryn Boswell – See more at: http://humanracetheatre.org/1314/heart/photos.php#photos

From the playbill:

It’s the passing of the torch in a country music dynasty as superstar Jeannine Jasper’s long career draws to a close. The changing world of the music industry is about to thrust her little sister, Jamie Lynn, into the spotlight. When an old flame comes calling, Jeannine envisions a quiet life offstage, but Jamie Lynn’s wild ways may cut short her time on top. Stage mother Naomi tries to keep control of her daughters until a scandalous secret comes to light and threatens to tear them apart. A musical about heartbreak and healing, this regional premiere comes alive with an exciting original score filled with new songs from the Nashville Sound to New Country and a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Brian Yorkey.

Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
via The Human Race Theatre Company : Play It by Heart.

I’m always amazed at what they do with the small thrust stage in the Loft, and again, last night, the scene switches from the tour bus, to the CMA’s to a hospital room, to a bar, to the Blue Eagle Dancehall went seamlessly and smoothly through a story that the little synopsis above doesn’t do justice. And while there is a lot of singing moving the storyline – accompanied by a tight little band sitting high stage left, the story and cast carried the show through plot twists that kept me wondering what was coming next.

And when the show was over- there was no surge of applause for any one actor- only because the entire cast worked so well together and fit their parts so well- a tribute to Kevin Moore who directed and is the soul of the Human Race.

One of the keys to this show is really the audience- and last night, I was sad to see about half the seats unsold. When I hear people say “Dayton sucks” or “there’s nothing to do in Dayton” and I see empty seats at one of our most amazing community treasures- it kills me. Please go- and think of it as attending a concert as much as seeing a play- whoop it up after the “Concert performances” – as if you were in the audience at a show at Gilly’s or Canal Public House (two other Dayton treasures).

I admit, that more than a few times, I choked up, and had to stop from tearing up during the show. But, in the end- the show is really about acceptance and the value of honesty. Things that we could use a lot more of in our community.

This is the last show of the HRTC season- please go, you can thank me later.

The play runs through next week

RIP Michael P. Osgood, candidate, community activist

Obit for Michael P Osgood

a tiny obit- for a community leader

I’ll be the first to admit it- I never got along well with Mike Osgood.

But when the second former candidate for the Dayton City Commission dies within a week, way before their time, without a real mention in the DDn- I figure I owe it to them to share the news of their passing with the community. I’m really reluctant to add an obituary category to this site, but of late, it may seem appropriate.

Michael was a friend and protégé of our former mayor, now Congressman Michael Turner.

He was also very active in the Huffman Historic Area- rehabbing and renting houses. He sat on the board of directors for Wright Patt Credit Union, and served on other non-profits’ boards.

Mike ran for City Commission 3 times– first in the 1996 special election which Abner Orrick won. Osgood came in last of four candidates, even trailing Mark Donelson II, who was married to Sherrie McLin.

In 1997- running for the same seat at the normal election time, he again came in 4th of four, with Mary Wiseman and Lloyd Lewis winning.

In 2001 he tried again- for the same seat, and came in third, this time besting Abner, but losing large to Dick Zimmer and Joey Williams.

The tiny obit in today’s paper:
“OSGOOD, Michael P. Age 54, passed, June 3, 2014. Mass 10:30 a.m., June 9 at Church of the Holy Angels. Westbrock F.H., Dayton”

Hopefully, someone can do a better job of sharing Mike’s impact on our community.

Rest in peace, Mike.