Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Moving (sort of)

At some point soon, I'll likely be moving this blog. The URL will remain the same, or it will at least redirect to whatever this site becomes. After almost 10 years using Blogger, the Blogger team has sadly but understandably decided to stop supporting FTP hosting of Blogger-powered blogs. If you don't know what this means, don't worry – Mommy and Daddy still love you and it's not because of anything bad you did.

What WILL happen is that the feed URL for this site will change. I have no idea if it's possible to update subscribers of my new feed once I've switched blog hosts, so I'll probably post it on my Twitter account. You should follow me there (which you should do anyway): @gshellen.

Blogger, thanks for all the fun. There's a slim chance whatever solution I come up with will involve still using Blogger and a custom domain or something like that (here, have a snack and go play Wii, honey), but in case it doesn't, it's been real.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

In lieu of a holiday card, please enjoy this slideshow of 2009 in the life of myself and my lovely wife, Heather.

Our 2009, in photos from Grant Shellen on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I consumed this weekend for which my body is angry at me

  • Chicken & waffles (at the same time)

  • Fried gizzards (well, one fried gizzard)

  • Dark rum

  • Part of the film "The Animal"

  • All-you-can-drink champagne

  • Corned beef & hash

  • Belgian beer

Monday, August 03, 2009

potentially unhealthy habits I've started/resumed/increased since working at Thing Labs (formerly Plinky)

1. Drinking coffee (decaf, but still)
2. Drinking soda
3. Drinking booze
4. Eating a lot of meat and pork (specifically bacon)
5. Eating a lot in general
6. Twittering

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oakland to Nashville: The Superdrag pilgrimage

It was July of 2007. One day, I'd been listening to one of my all-time favorite bands, Superdrag, thinking, "I wonder if they'll ever reunite. I sure hope so." Not a week later, I got an email from the band's mailing list saying, "The rumors you may have seen online are absolutely true. The original Superdrag line-up are reuniting to play 6 limited tour dates in October and November!"

Of course, none of the tour dates were near me, but the band was going to play in their hometown of Knoxville, Tenn. and in nearby Nashville. Jokingly, I sent Heather an email saying, "Wanna fly to Nashville for our anniversary? You can nap during the set." (See her answer for the explanation of that one.) After going back and forth and me finding $445 round-trip airfare for both of us, we decided to book it. So we flew 2,000 miles to see one of my favorite bands reunite.

And then I drove 40 miles to see them when they came to San Francisco 9 months later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saying what everyone's thinking

Jimmy Kimmel was either really drunk or has really big (metaphorical) balls. Either way, this is a victory for brutal honesty. Kimmel to ABC's advertisers:
"Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more."
Read the full story here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm not here to make friends

(Thanks, Zack.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The things I carry

I've recently been thinking about getting a business card holder to carry around, because I now have both Plinky and Farewell Typewriter business cards I could hand out. The only trouble is that I'm out of room in my pockets. See below.

Key ring
Keys are necessary to access my car, house, office, studio, etc. There's also a Swiss Army knife in case I get into a Swiss battle.

Rental car keys
Funny story! So I was in San Francisco in a parking garage, and all of a sudden WHAM! this giant concrete support beam sneaks up on me and runs into the side of my car door, scratching it and taking off the driver's-side mirror. At least that's what I told the insurance company.

Jimi wallet
This thing is the best wallet I've ever owned. It's $15, slim and hip.

Dry lips don't get the ladies.

Extra peppermint gum
I've written about my love for Extra peppermint gum before, but I've chewed this same gum for at least 10 years. Hope it doesn't have anything awful in it.

Hipster PDA (& Pilot G-2 pen)
Merlin's simple little invention has been a godsend for me. I've found it invaluable to have something on hand to catch all the little ideas that pop into my brain or are put there by other people.

Guitar picks
Because you never know when there's a guitar to be played.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Coming of age in the Internet age

I think one of the first Internet experiences I had was using Prodigy at my friend Scott's house in about 1992. It was slow, clunky and I don't even know if I knew what the point was at the time, but hey, fancy computer thing!

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I believe Jason, home from college and hip to this whole "Interwebz," had a computer with dial-up internet access in our parents' house. I would occasionally log on to check out news from bands I liked, and specifically remember learning of Soundgarden's breakup from their website in 1997. It was also around this time that I would go over to my friend Tony's house and go into AOL chat rooms trying to convince dudes that we were a hot woman. Lest ye judge, keep in mind that we were not setting anything on fire or stealing liquor.

I got my first computer in 2000 or so, which is when I started blogging. Having my own little portal to the outside world (thankfully we had a second phone line) was an amazing experience, especially at the time (Napster was hot, blogging was still a smallish community, and Facebook didn't exist yet). Since then, I've been thankful to have my brain slowly replaced by such a huge database of information and videos of celebrity rants.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet Plinky

After months of toiling in obscurity, responding to friends' inquiries about what I do with, "You'll see," I'm proud to say that the company I've been working for has launched Plinky.

My brother Jason founded the startup last year. It's been really interesting to see the idea come to light at first from a spectator's standpoint, and then join the team responsible for building it halfway through the process.

When I joined, I already had a pretty good idea of what Jason was trying to achieve, and had some thoughts of my own about what Plinky could do for people. Jason was trying to solve the "white space" problem of opening up a blank blog entry field and not knowing what to type. He saw value in providing people not only inspiration for what to write, but rich media enhancements to make resulting posts look interesting (maps for a question about location, album art for questions about songs, etc.)

As a writer, I loved the idea of giving people this kind of helpful shove. I was hired as Plinky's community manager, and I'm also the writer/editor of the prompts that are the backbone of the service. It hasn't been an easy task, but I've tried to write prompts that will inspire people to either tell a story about something they've experienced or reveal a bit about their personality through sharing their preferences for songs, travel spots, posse members and a lot more that's yet to come.


When I started blogging more than eight years ago, not everyone knew what a blog was, and there were few forms of social media through which one could express themselves online. For the first few years I blogged, people were often surprised to learn I had my own website. Due to Jason's high profile, I was a quasi-pseudo-hemi-celebrity online and felt somehow obligated to continue posting regularly.

Fast forward just a few years to the Facebook/Twitter age, where many more people have established an online presence and post frequent (if brief) updates about themselves to various services. When Twitter came along in 2006, I had already shifted to a style of writing on my blog where I wrote very brief posts, partly for stylistic reasons and partly because I was lazy. Once I started using Twitter more regularly, I had almost no reason to post to my blog any longer, but found myself missing it.

With Plinky, I now have a reason to write something a little longer, a little more interesting, and often more revealing about myself than my often-goofy toots. (You can see my Plinky profile here, and I'll probably post updates through to this blog once in a while.)

I hope you try out Plinky (or already have) and let us know if you have any feedback. As community manager, I see it as my job to keep my eyes and ears on the users (and even potential users) of Plinky and stay engaged in conversations with them about what they like, what they don't, what they want to see, and anything else they want to talk to us about.