The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

December 7, 2008

OK… Now What?

Filed under: Personal Stuff, Site Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 12:22 am

First of all, I apologize if posting has been a bit light lately.  About a week ago, my contract at work came to an end (not unexpectedly, since it happens after working for a year) and now I am on the 100-day break that comes up every year or so as part of contracting at Microsoft.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing this stuff for long enough now that I have had plenty of opportunity to plan for this, so I’m actually in pretty good shape to deal with it right now.  Most often what happens (and what, if things go well, will most likely happen here) is that I end up back on contract as soon as I am eligible to do so, either with the same team I was with previously or with a different team.  All things considered, the whole break in service bit can be a pain to deal with, but I’ve been through the whole routine several times, and have prepared well enough for it that I should be fine for a few months until I am eligible to go back.  I wouldn’t mind a chance to get into something a bit more permanent though, and I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to do so before too long.

Of course, this also means that I’ve got a bit of time on my hands for a while.  For the past week or so, I’ve been busy with trying to get my apartment back in order (the place has been slipping lately,) and starting to get ready for the Disney World trip coming up in about a week.  I expect that I will be creating a full trip report from that one, although it’ll probably have to wait until I get back, since my Internet access will probably be limited while I’m there (the connection will be available, but I’m guessing I’m probably not going to find myself paying $10.95 a day for Wi-fi access.)  Once I get past that and past the Christmas and New Year holidays, chances are that I’m going to have time available to get around to working on some of the projects that I’ve been putting off for lack of time and/or resources to conduct the necessary research.  One of the big hang-ups with some of the projects I’ve been working on is that most of the available resources are located in the offices of the local historical societies, and those offices are generally open only during times when I am at work.  Having some time off means that I should have a chance to go do some of the research I’ve been meaning to do, and assuming my attention span allows it, hopefully some of these should be making an appearance  soon.

Here are a few of the projects that I’ve been meaning to do here (read: stuff that I’ve been putting off for way too long,) in no particular order:

  • The malls:  Finish up Crossroads, find out more history on Totem Lake and Factoria, and start working on Bellevue Square.  I’ve also got a draft post sitting in my folder for Westlake Center and Pacific Place in Seattle that I should probably finish up some day.  I also need to get started on Redmond Town Center at some point, but the thick binders full of stuff at the Redmond Historical Society indicate that I’m going to have my work cur out for me on that one…
  • Redmond malls that never were:  Maingate, Evergreen East
  • The Ghosts of Boston Market:  I’ve been collecting photos of some of the former Boston Market restaurants in the area to show what they got turned into, and need to make a post on this sometime.
  • A local history mystery: Mario and Luigi’s Pizza (According to stores on the Internet, even though Mario already had his name before Nintendo moved to Redmond, Luigi’s name was derived from this local pizzeria.   I haven’t yet been able to determine if the place even existed, much less where it was located.)
  • The history of the Overlake Fred Meyer (it’s a lot more complicated than you might think…)

I’d also be interested in getting some other ideas for what the people reading this Blog (all six of you) might want to see here.  If you’ve got any ideas, feel free to throw ’em out here.

Another thing that I’ve been giving some thought to is splitting this Blog into two separate sites.  If I was to do this, my current  Blog (this one) would be used primarily for the random stuff that I come across and for more personal and family stuff.  I would then move most (maybe not all, I’ll see) of the local interest, history and mall related stuff onto a new Blog to be named later.  As you might know if you’ve ever been bored enough to actually go in and read some of the really old stuff here (Editor’s Note:  I am NOT recommending that you actually do this,) The name of Sledgehammer on this Blog is derived from a really ancient Web 1.0 site I wrote between roughly 1996-1998 or so.  Having a name like “The Sledgehammer” might make some sense for a cynical tech support drone having to fix broken computers over the phone all day (I don’t like to talk about it much,) but it has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of the content that I am writing here these days.  For that reason, I’m wondering if it’s time to move my history and local stuff to a more appropriate site.  If I take that approach, it would also mean that I could keep that particular site focused on the more research oriented projects that I’ve been working on (which, quite frankly, probably bore a few of you out there reading this,) and the more random things can remain here so those of you trying to find all the empty mall pictures won’t have to dig through fifteen pages of disturbing animatronic frogs and unfortunately named chocolate  bunnies to get to them. 

Another thing that I need to give some consideration to here is just how much effort I want to put into this in the long run, and if it might be possible to make some money doing this.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed working on this stuff as a hobby and I seriously doubt I’d be spending as much time on this as I do if I didn’t, but somewhere along the line I need to consider the possibility that there might be some money in it.  I seriously doubt that I’d ever be able to reach the point of being able to quit my day job (if I actually had one right now, that is) and Blog all day, but I’d be happy if I could figure out how to make a few bucks on the side from this.  At this point, I haven’t made any definite plans to move anything to a new site or to try to monetize this one, but it is something that I have been giving consideration to for a while now, and having some downtime from my day job means that now is as good a time as any to consider these things. 

One way or another, I doubt that I’ll be doing much of anything (aside from the usual semi-regular posting) before the new year or so.  In the meantime, I would be interested in getting some feedback on what people would be interested in reading here, and what I could improve on.  Apparently I’ve got a bit of time on my hands to work on it right now…


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