Category Archives: Profiles & Interviews

Los Angeles Magento Developers and Programmers

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

Magento is an extremely powerful shopping cart platform, and if you use it for your business, you have probably already seen how it can improve not only your sales, but also the ease with which you can manage day-to-day operations. But are you ready to take your Magento experience to the next level? As the founder a successful design and development firm, I have seen time and again how custom development can take a good Magento website and make it truly great.

Los Angeles Magento Developers

Magento – The Basics

For those not already on the Magento bandwagon, Magento is a comprehensive content management system and ecommerce solution for online businesses. Using Magento, you can build your online store from the ground up, with custom designs, product pages and more. With your store up and running, you can manage and track your sales, run promotions, interact with customers, and so much more. Magento is one of the oldest and most popular ecommerce platforms out there, and it remains the Gold Standard for many loyal businesses. You can try a free download of Magento by clicking here.

Taking Magento to the Next Level

If you already use this versatile platform, or if you’re interested in building a powerful and intuitive website for your online business, consider just some of the benefits of hiring custom developers.

  • Enjoy a website that’s truly tailored to your needs. As powerful as Magento is, the platform cannot automatically conform itself to the needs of each individual business. Professional custom development ensures that your site is fully your own, set apart from the competition and assembled in such a way that guarantees the maximum revenue at the end of each day.
  • Remove all of the guess work from optimizing your site. Magento has everything you need to run a successful website, but that doesn’t mean you’re using it to its full potential. For instance, ProTools software has everything you need to record and mix a hit record, but unless you understand professional audio engineering, it’s not going to do you much good. Custom Magento developers can help you to utilize the software to its fullest benefit. This is nearly impossible to achieve using the general configurations.
  • Avoid the common issues that hold other companies back. Even when you use a great system like Magento, the fact is that things break. One misplaced piece of code can cause errors throughout your entire website. Sometimes the errors are obvious, like when you an encounter a “404 Not Found” page in place of an important product, but some important errors remain completely unseen, like sitemap problems that prevent search engines from indexing your pages. Some of the most common errors can prove devastating for traffic and sales, and a professional developer works hard to prevent such oversights from occurring.
  • Benefit from the maximum traffic. A good developer knows how to code web pages, but a great developer understands the role of search engine optimization in helping a page to truly soar. You may not realize this, but development is essential to enabling search engines to properly index your site. From customizing your sitemaps to proactively eliminating the potential for content duplication, custom development is paramount in ensuring that your site is able to achieve the kinds of search rankings that result in maximized sales.

Choosing a Magento Developer

Once you decide to inquire about custom Magento services, the next big step is choosing the right company. Not all Magento partners specialize in development, and not all developers specialize in using Magento, so the key is to find the best of both worlds. You must also factor in other variables like cost, experience and scope of work.

First and foremost, make sure that the developer that you choose not only understands the Magento platform, but is a certified Magento partner. This ensures that the developer isn’t just giving you lip service when they say that they can handle a Magento project, and it demonstrates an intimate familiarity with the platform. In addition, Magento has a wealth of tools available only to its partners, as well as premium customer service.

Second, find out about the developer’s experience. How long have they been using Magento? What businesses have they worked for in the past, and how have they benefited those businesses? Ask to see portfolios and examples of client testimonials. These factors can go a long way in helping you to determine whether a particular developer is worth your time and money.

Consider Coalition Technologies

If you want the benefit of having a truly knowledgeable and accomplished Magento partner on your side, consider Coalition Technologies. Our full-time team of Los Angeles Magento designers and developers boasts more than a century of combined experience, and we have helped business owners to take their companies to new heights of online success. But don’t simply take my word for it. Let me show you exactly how Coalition can help you. Call us today at 1-888-800-9101 for a free quote.

Interview of Peter Pan Man (Randy Constan)

Friday, February 27, 2009
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

Randy Constan | Peter Pan Man

Randy Constan | Peter Pan Man

Previously, I wrote a post about Randy Constan aka Peter Pan Man and announced that he was kind enough to allow me to interview him for my website.‚  Below is the interview:

Joel: What do you do on a daily basis? Are you employed or do you participate in other activities?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): I’ve always been in high tech. Mostly electronic design and embedded software coding.‚ How old are you and what area of the country do you live in? Why did you pick that region?
I’m in Tampa Florida, currently 5-1/2 (I only count decades now), and I’m here because New York was too “freegin” cold!

Joel: Why do you dress up as Peter Pan and in other non-traditional outfits? Do you wear them daily or just for special occasions?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): I dress to express an androgynous and gender fluid personality. The central Peter Pan theme is mainly because it is a symbol of not growing up. It has always seemed to me that especially for males, society insists that an adult have a clearly defined gender, something normally not imposed on very young children (except by very ignorant parents). Therefore the character suits me well. Peter Pan also is a fairy tale character, and being a “boi fairy” is a notion that brings me joy.

Joel: Do you consider yourself a member of a group of a people who dress like that? If so, what is the group?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): No. While I’ve found many venues where I can express myself in this way, I don’t know of any group in which I could honestly say I’m one of many. Some groups with some shared interests, lots of costuming groups obviously, but I suspect the majority of others that might feel as I do might be very private about it, fearing rejection. Although I have no specific intent to create such a group, I do understand that what I’m doing is an encouragement to many, a testimony of God’s diverse creation (despite what organized religion may teach), and certainly it is a great joy to me.

Randy Constan, his fiancee and a Giant Bunny

Randy Constan, his fiancee and a Giant Bunny

Joel: What charities do you try to promote? Why did you pick those charities?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): The charities are mainly to underscore the fact that what I’m doing, at least at the moment, is truly a labor of love with no immediate monetary income goals. With the exception of the CD sales, 100% of all income from the website that exceeds expenses is given to Kid’s charities. The reason for the Kid’s charity emphasis is because it both relates to the Peter Pan theme, and because it parallels the wishes of the author of the original Peter Pan story, who gave the copyrights over to a children’s hospital in England.

Joel: Do you travel much?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Not as much as I’d like to someday. Never been out of the USA except to Canada.

Joel: I saw on your website that you were engaged to be married. Is this still on or are you married already? What does your wife and her family think of the way you dress?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): We’ll we’re a bit on in years for family concerns. Not many living relatives. But those that are with us, along with our friends love our outfits and the way we express ourselves. We’re planning to have the wedding sometime this year (2009)

Joel: Do you consider yourself heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual? Or do you identify in a different way?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): I’ve never had any physical attraction to anything but grrls. Strange though, I consider myself to have a strong feminine side and have often thought of myself as a boi lesbian. So you can see where the answer to your question is a bit multifaceted. Indeed, were we to have a society where all manner or gender, attraction, and sexual variations were at least out in the open and accepted, I can imagine a very much expanded vocabulary would need to evolve, to categorize them all.

Peter Pan Man playing in fountain

Peter Pan Man playing in fountain

Joel: When did you first start to dress as Peter Pan? What made you wish to continue to do so? How do people react?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Well as a child of the 60s, arguably a lot of us dressed Peter Pan like. But I suppose it wasn’t until the age of about 20 or so that I really began my journey into expressing the appearance I enjoyed, despite natural fears of negative reactions. As with anything creative a person does that is off the beaten path, reactions range from praise to disdain and ultimately this makes one realize that both are equally deceptive. No one should think more or less of themselves based purely on reactions or opinions. It also makes us continually re-examine ourselves and choose between being true to ourselves or retreat.. Of course the road less traveled is always the better choice in such matters. As to why I continue, for me that is akin to asking me as a guitarist, why I continue to play the guitar. In other words, from the perspective of the artist, there reaches a point where the “Why” questions don’t make sense to try and answer.

Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man) and friends

Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man) and friends

Joel: In your pictures, you appear very youthful and athletic. What do you attribute this to?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Well I’m sure a lot is genetics, which of course is the luck of the draw. Who knows why I still have a full head of hair while so many 1/2 my age are balding already. I’m sure being a bit vain makes me watch my weight more than some, but there again everyone has a different metabolism. I do consider myself blessed, but then again a heart failure could take my life tomorrow. I could jokingly say alcohol is a preservative, but don’t want to encourage self destructive behavior. ;-) I AM sure, however, that personal attitude must have a tangible affect on youthfulness and health, and am quite sure that those placing value on their child nature are likely to fare better physically than they would have otherwise.

Joel: How do you look at your life? Are you happy? Do you have regrets?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): I am happy. The only regrets I have, looking back, are the times I knew I should have asserted myself and did not.

Joel: What are your goals for the future?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): I’d like to find a way to do the things I like for a living rather than just a hobby. Music, costuming, making people laugh, writing, encouraging others, and designing wonderful gadgets, to name some of my interests. To that end, my fiance and I are saving our money, working to pay down debts, and get to were we are as independent as possible. I’m keenly aware of how work and obligations eat away at all our time, and create the illusion that we really have no time for our own dreams. In fact, we need to believe, pray, wish, dream, and then MAKE the time for what we believe in. It’s a lifetime endeavor.

Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man)

Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man)

Joel: What do you consider to be the most formative time period of life? Why?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Can’t say. It wholly depends on your circumstances and health. Assuming you can feed yourself and have relatively good health, life should continually be better tomorrow, and the best time ever is always TODAY!

Joel: What level of education do you have? From where? Did you enjoy formal learning?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Only 2 years of college in New York. Beyond that I’m self taught at most of my skills.

Joel: Who would you consider to be a personal hero?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Jesus (the real one, not the one religion has created), my deceased dad, Robin Williams, Barack Obama, to name a few.

Joel: What music do you like? Any favorite artists?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Oh my god! Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Zepplin, The Moody Blues, Chopin, DeBussay, gee… I’m all over the map. I like rock, Jazz, and classical. But most of my favorites, as you can seem are one or more generations back.

Joel: Is there anything else you would like to share that might help me better understand you?
Randy Constan (Peter Pan Man): Don’t swallow any belief system in its entirety, be it all of science or religion. Let no one answer the big questions in life for you, but find them out for yourselves. I could tell you, for example, that God is good, loves us all, and has set fourth the challenge to us, as a planet, to get along with each other. That’s what I say, but don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself if God is real, and either way leave the question open to a greater influence, just in case you’re wrong. The answer is not in any book. And in any case, figure out what you’re here for, and make it a life endeavor to do so as much as you can. Few things are accomplished without first believing. If I can attain this level of happiness believing in such things a fairies, I’m quite sure many others can accomplish far greater good if they believe in themselves. And for a synopsis of my “message to the world”, please listen to the “Who Is PeterPan”, last song on my CD, on the music pages of my website. (If you purchase a copy, 20% goes to kids charities too!)

Thank you to Randy Constan for the interview!‚  Please support his charities by going here.

Becky Conran Interview: Brain Tumor, Brain Surgery & Recovery

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

An old friend, Rebecca (Becky) conran, who lived with me in the frat house during the only summer I spent there recently got back in contact with me via facebook. Becky shocked me when she informed me that she had undergone brain surgery for a tumor after that summer. She was kind enough to allow me to share our conversation with the rest of you.‚  I think that this will be one of my more interesting and engaging blog posts, so take your time reading it and enjoy!

Rebecca conran
Hey Joel, I just realized I know you. (sigma chi house summer 2003ish…) How have you been?

Joel Gross
Yes I do remember you. How have you been?

Rebecca conran
Not bad. Living in Salt Lake now and working in the planning department at University of Utah and just graduating this semester. I had a BIG hold-up in my schooling. What about you?

Joel Gross
Graduated a little over 2 years ago. Working as a business analyst at a tech company in Seattle. Live 6 blocks from work (love the commute lol). Really busy with work and all the other stuff I do. What was your holdup in school?

Rebecca conran
That sounds great Joel. I’m happy for you.

Brain surgery was the holdup…learning how to walk again, learning how to write again… it sucked. But I’m much better now!

Joel Gross
Damn, that’s a great excuse. Usually when people tell me their holdup on getting their life started, it is because they are lazy. I’m impressed that you had to learn to walk & write again and are already about to finish your degree! Why did you need the surgery?

Rebecca conran
I had a brain tumor. I was having symptoms clear back when I was in Seattle- deafness in my right ear, headaches, and numbness in my face, but I just ignored them hoping it was just a random part of life…think again dumb ass!!! lol

Joel Gross
Those brain tumors… their a real pain aren’t they? ;) Sorry, I’m kind of a bad person. Are you fully recovered now or do you have any issues still?

Rebecca conran
Hehe…no worries, no one makes more brain tumor jokes than I do.

I’m deaf on one side and l lost some hearing on the other side, I have some nerve issues, and I feel dizzy every once and a while…it probably sounds worse than it is. I think I’m doing ok…pretty much back to normal.

Joel Gross
Wow, sounds like you are one tough lady with a great outlook on all of this. I’m not sure I could be as positive as you. You should be proud of yourself for continuing your growth as a person so well. Did the doctors ever figure out why you got a brain tumor so young? Did you live under some power lines or did it just run in the family?

Rebecca conran
Thanks. Actually, neither. They have no idea what causes the type of tumor that I had.

Joel Gross
Well, I think I know what caused it… Too close of proximity to my incredible gorgeousness. That has caused other women to lose their heads in the past, though never have I seen a case as bad as yours. I will have to make you a case study.

Rebecca conran
lol! I think you are on to something. Rush me the results ASAP. I want my life back!

Joel Gross
Haha, I’ll do my best.

I’d be interested in hearing the story of what happened with your tumor from when u discovered it till now, if you don’t mind sharing.

Rebecca conran
It’s a VERY long story, but if you really want to hear it¢â‚¬¦

When they discovered the tumor on my MRI I went in for surgery just a couple weeks later. The tumor had been growing for 15 years and was pushing on my brain stem¢â‚¬¦I probably should have been dead.

I went into surgery having no idea what the affects would be. The doctors didn’t have time to warn me, so 2 surgeons and 14 hours later, I couldn’t walk. I don’t think I minded though. I don’t even remember the first week or so after surgery, which is probably a good thing. Hospital recovery went as expected except for 2 spinal fluid leaks. Imagine your head being squeezed in a giant vise grip¢â‚¬¦it hurt like a mutha. And then it started to get almost pleasant¢â‚¬¦everything was sort of fading away when someone took an industrial stapler to my head and stapled the length of my 12 inch wound. They proceeded to wrap my head in gauze tightly as physically possible.

When I returned home all I wanted to do was practice walking. The Dr. told me that I had a window of opportunity to pick it up again. If I missed that window I was SOL. I didn’t really have an option to do anything else anyway, I couldn’t write or do much of anything with my hands, my vision was too blurry to read or watch TV, and it hurt my head to listen to anything at an audible level. I had lost about 15 lbs. at this point because I was too sick all of the time to eat anything. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but 15 lbs on my frame¢â‚¬¦I looked like Skelator.

Slowly but surely I gained everything back first came my weight, then my vision, and I started walking again in 3 months (I was still shaky, but walking on my own¢â‚¬¦except stairs… I still have an irrational fear of stairs.) I started running about a year later, which is a big deal to me since I am a runner.

I had one regrowth about a year ago, but that was easy. My middle ear was already gone and the adjustment after the loss was what caused me so many problems the first time.

Today, I am a little shaky on my right side (nothing too noticeable¢â‚¬¦I think) I have sloppy handwriting, I’m ambidextrous (from learning to do everything with my left, and because the shakes make the left easier sometimes.), I have one-sided deafness, some facial nerve issues (my tumor was too tangled up in my nerve to save it. My auditory nerve was useless, so they sewed my auditory nerve where my facial nerve was.) and the occasional headache.

Brain surgery sucks¢â‚¬¦I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joel Gross
Wow… I couldn’t imagine going through all that you have been through. Thank you for sharing your story with me. What happened with your regrowth? Did they remove it? It sounds like you are doing much better today.. you have gone from not being able to write to putting together a very well-written story. Actually, that gives me an idea- if you would like, could I interview you about your story and post it on my blog? If you don’t want to, I completely understand. If you do, I can send you my questions and you can answer them as you like. I’ll probably piece everything together after, but u can edit it as u like too.

About my blog: 40,000 readers a month, i post lots of goofy & funny stuff on it, but occasionally real stories/interviews like yours. A couple examples of previous interviews below:

http://www.blog.joelx.com/interviewing-the-senate-band/899/

http://www.blog.joelx.com/rachelle-robinett-interview-1/153/

Rebecca conran
The regrowth was no big deal. They reopened my scar to remove it. It was actually on the outside of my skull this time, but it was the same material as the first tumor.

Sure. I’ll let you interview me for a price and I’m not cheap. ;-)

What’s going on with you??? I’m bored of talking about me.

Joel Gross
I’m living and working in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle- just north of the football & baseball stadiums. My job is only 6 blocks from my studio, so my commute rocks! I work as a business analyst for Visible Technologies- I do web design/search engine optimization/ general marketing stuff. I love what I do and have learned tons of stuff- VBA, HTML, CSS, PHP, learning C# & SQL. I have carved out a pretty great existence; once a week, I meet with a group of friends including the best chef in Seattle and we take turns cooking for each other. I also play flag football in a league at Seattle Center. I am trying to launch two internet companies right now so that hopefully I don’t have to be someone else’s employee much longer… though my job is fun and i make a good living. We’ll see what happens.

Rebecca conran
You like to cook??? I LOVE food. I have considered running away to Spain to go to culinary school many-a-time…especially times like now…midterm time.

Joel Gross
I love cooking… My specialty is pasta, but I’m pretty good with seafood and meats too. I have been told I make some excellent salads as well by vegetarians. If it paid better and didn’t have such crummy hours I would have been a professional chef for sure.

Rebecca conran (Answering some questions I had asked her)
Learning how to walk again came gradually. After the first month I could walk holding on to something like a walker or a banister, and in some cases even a wall. And then at about month 3 I could walk on my own expect for stairs..it took about 5-6 months to really master stairs.

I use the word “learn” loosely. I knew how to walk, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. That was the most frustrating part about it- I knew how and where I wanted to make movements, but the message didn’t make it to my limbs.

P.S. Feel free to edit however suits you or to use the other email I sent. As long as you don’t copy and paste to say “I microwave babies on the weekend” or something.

Rebecca conran
My memory is still complete. I have slight problems with my speech that people say they don’t notice (I haven’t figured out if that is their way of being nice) I forget words sometimes, even simple ones- I have to scan my brain for the missing words and if I don’t find the one I’m looking for I just use another one. It’s a little annoying, but not an awful big deal.

There is something strange about the connection between my brain and my right hand- Messages get mixed up or don’t seem to make it to my hand. For instance, when I am writing there appear to be wholes in my sentences…missing letters and words. (You may even notice incomplete phrases as I’m typing now)

Rebecca conran
And by the way, midterms went well. I’m on fall break for the week, but I have more midterms when I return. Boo. How have you been?

Joel Gross
I would love to see you again and talk to you. Our conversation here has been completely normal- I haven’t noticed any of the errors from your right hand or speech that you mentioned. You have done extraordinarily well at completely retraining and reintegrating yourself.

Congratulations on doing well on your midterms. I have been doing pretty well. Tonight I have been hanging out with a friend from high school and we went out in Seattle to belltown and capitol hill and had a lot of fun. He got me talking about politics and economics a bit though and I noticed i tend to lecture and be an opinionated a-hole lol. I usually try to learn more from others, but sometimes i get passionate about a subject and want to talk. Other then that i have been doing well. I am taking a class in advanced web application development right now that is a ton of fun for me since I can see so many ways to immediately use it at work and in my own businesses.

Rebecca conran
I would love to see you again. My mom’s family is up there so I’ll make my way up sometime. Here’s my number in the meantime: XXX-XXX-XXXX. And I go by Becky if you don’t remember.

Next question…Hopeless, no, but increadibly frustrating. The Doctor’s rushed me in to surgery and gave little warning of the consequences. When I woke up I was too drugged and in too much pain to care that I couldn’t walk. I was forced to just deal with things as they came. I knew I couldn’t change it, buit I realized I was always making progress. I didn’t dwell on my current situation, instead I looked forward to gaining everything back.

The whole process was very emotionally hard though. Brain surgery blocks your “feel good” receptors when the brain is recovering, so chemically I was depressed. My physical limits didn’t help the situation. But it was comforting to know that I would only get better and its still comforting to know that things will never be worse.

Joel Gross
I remember your name :) … I thought because your facebook profile name was Rebecca you had decided to switch away from going by Becky. My phone number is 206-321-8373, give me a call whenever you feel like it.

That’s pretty crazy how your life changed so fast in such a big way. Not knowing what was going to happen next must’ve made it feel really strange. How long were you depressed after the surgery?

Rebecca conran
It was strange…almost like being in another dimension.

I was depressed for about a year. It wasn’t a regular depression though. I had a heightened sense of awareness when it came to changes in my body and I knew exactly what was going on when I was sad. I wouldn’t allow myself to stay in an emotional funk when I knew it was irrational, but every once in a while I would feel overwhelmed with everything that was happening. I hate to admit it, but I spent a little time throwing myself a pity party in private. I felt like I had to stay strong for my friends and family when people were around. I don’t think they even saw me cry through the whole ordeal.

I am just starting the job hunt for when I graduate in December. I may be seeing more of you in the future. I am looking in Seattle too.

Rebecca conran
I took 3 months off from work. I was painfully bored sitting at home so I went back for just a few hours a week before the doctor’s released me. Sometimes my boss would take one look at my sickly pitiful face and tell me to go home.

I took 7 months off from school and then signed up for an online course. I still had trouble writing so I took only one class when I went back to campus the following semester. I had returned to work full-time at that point so I didn’t pick up too many credits for about a year.

Joel Gross
Was your family & friends supportive of you?

Rebecca conran
My family was great. My mom still works so my dad was around to take care of me the most. In the beginning he had to help me do everything. He would help me into the bathroom and I would support myself on the counter whne he left me to do my business. One of those times he left I had a seizure. He was terrified he was doing something wrong. That’s when he called my mom’s twin (the TeSelles’ mom) to help him from going insane. She was there for about 2 weeks doing whatever I need whenever I needed. I slept most the day, but she was right by my side even while I slept. I definitely grew closer to her after the surgery. My aunt and my dad were there the most but my whole family was a great help. They would do anything to help when they could.

My friends were there too, but not who I expected. As they say, you find out who your real friends are when something terrible happens. Some of my friends I expected to be around the most were nowhere to be seen. And yet, some of my friends came out of the wood works to support me.

Joel Gross
I think you earned yourself at least a couple pity parties… I am amazed u never cried in front of your family or friends! Most women I know would have used the excuse to cry constantly. You are tough as nails :).

What sort of jobs are you looking for in December? What do you want to do?

You mentioned your dad doesn’t work… what does he do? That’s really cool that your family (aunt & uncle) were so supportive of you during this time.

I’ve found the same thing to be true… people you think are your best friends abandon you at the slightest sign of trouble, while people you never expected are there for you day after day. It’s a strange life.

Any Halloween plans?

Rebecca conran
My dad hasn’t worked for over 10 years. His has too many health problems.

I’m looking for a job in planning. It’s not easy finding an entry level position in planning so you just have to go where you can to be a slave for a couple years and then you can work anywhere.

I’m considering staying in tonight. I can’t remember the last time I spent a night at home to read and watch movies…lame I know, but it just sounds like more fun. Tomorrow I will definitely be hitting up a couple parties though. How about you?

Joel Gross
Strangely enough, I may be just staying in tonight too… I have a bunch of work/studying that I need to do. I may cut loose a little though and go meet up with some friends. Depends on how I feel later.

What is going to be your outfit tomorrow? I am going as a priest.

Rebecca conran
haha nice. I’m going as Audrey Hepburn from breakfast at tiffany’s. Kind of a last minute idea but it will be super easy

Rebecca conran
While I’m in here I might as well answer another question…I think I have more patience for life in general, but I have less patience for whiners. Especially the people who constantly complain about their lives and do nothing about it.

Joel Gross
Where was your surgery done? Were your doctors good? Did you have any problems with insurance?

Rebecca conran
I had the surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. My surgeons were great, one was a no-nonsense kind of guy who didn’t give me any restrictions. He said I could do anything I wanted as long as I felt up to it. The other was a gentle soft-spoken type who wanted me to take it easy. They balnced eachother out nicely.

I do want to mention the problems I’ve had with health insurance. The first year my surgery was paid for with no problems. Afet that my insurance pretty much black-listed me. They would make any excuse to deny my coverage even for family doctor visits. I was due from a nerve grafting surgery over a year ago, but I can’t get it because they have told me up front they won’t pay for it. I’m ready to marry anyone who has great health coverage…seriously…anyone?

Joel Gross
Hahaha… insurance companies and hospitals are hell to deal with. I got a simple gash on my chin sewn up and had to pay $1,300!!! Ridiculously overpriced in my opinion- I wish I could just go to a tattoo parlor and have them sew me up. You probably have had medical bills 100 times that amount though, right? Who is your insurance company? Can you explain more fully how they tried to screw you?

I was also wondering if you had any pictures of yourself from before/after the surgery and if you would mind forwarding them to me for the article. People hate too much text, but they love good pictures.. perhaps some of you doing something active now, as well as ones of your scar or you in the hospital or something.

Can you tell me more about your friends who supported u/ vs those who didn’t (you dont need to mention names… just explain how this experience changed your views on friendship)…

My party last night was a lot of fun btw… tons of free booze and beautiful people in silly outfits. Not sure if i will do any more parties this weekend yet though. You excited about yours?

Rebecca conran
My insurance is Educator’s Mutual. After I ended up paying a $700 bill to visit the eye doctor I Called to approve every visit.Befgore approval I would find the doctors on their website. Even when they said I was approved I would get the full bill. I called to dispute the bills every time and they always gave me the run around. They would tell me I needed to call the Doctor’s office and resolve it with them, then the Doctor’s office would tell me to call my insurance and so on until I eventually paid. They even tried to tell me one doctor was out of network because he was out of state when he was a 5 minute walk from my house.

I don’t have any pics fromn the hospital. In fact, my family didn’t take any pictures of my recovery, but I may have some when I was still wearing an eye patch and looking sickly. I have my MRI report…I can take a pic of my scar. I think there are a couple of photos posted in my peru album climbing macchu picchu. Use whatever you want from faceboook. I think there is a picture I was tagged in that shows the paralysis in my face from my birthday a couple weeks ago. I’ll have to see what I have

Rebecca conran
I just looked at the birthday pic I was refering to…it actually looks worse than it is. lol but use it if you must. There are lots to choose from.

I am re-reading my last post…my thoughts are kind of incomplete but the importants stuff seems to be there. Except that I climbed the Inca trail to macchu picchu (you may want to check my spelling)

Halloween was great. Went to a kick ass party. Danced like a drunken bag lady, drank lots of wine and pomegranate cocktails.

Joel Gross
I’m sorry to hear that Educators Mutual Insurance are such losers… it’s not like you don’t already have enough problems having to have had brain surgery!

I’m a little worried by the economy, so I’m thinking about moving into a cheaper place to be on the safe side. You done much job hunting at this point?

Rebecca conran
I am furiously job hunting at this point! I really wanted to have something pinned down for graduation but it doesn’t always work that way. I actually got an email from one of the cities I applied to saying that the position is being cancelled! It’s kind of a scary time to be job hunting, but at least I’m not a highschool drop out working at a gas station. I know all always have it better than that guy! lol I applied for a job in Vancouver, WA with an environmental planning firm…and I applied for another in WA state…I forgot what it was. I’ve applied for so many.

Joel Gross
Good luck with the job hunt and with further recovery from your brain surgery! :)

Fox Reporter Woman Gets Dollar Bill in Bra

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

I think this is the infamous Black Rooster….

Victoria Osteen, Wife of Joel Osteen, Allegedly Assaulted Flight Attendant

Thursday, August 7, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

Megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria Osteen, is accused of assaulting a Continental Airlines flight attendant named Sharon Brown on a flight from Houston to Vail, Colorado. Sharon Brown alleges that Victoria Osteen became incensed by a stain on her first class seat and threw her into a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast.

Victoria Olsteen has been sued for assault.

Victoria Olsteen has been sued for assault.

The lawsuit against Victoria Olsteen looks like it should be a pretty open & shut case since the FAA has already fined Victoria Olsteen $3,000 for interfering with a flight crew member. According to the report put out by the FAA, Victoria Osteen asked another flight attendant to clean a stain off of her first-class seat and when that attendant said she was going to go get another flight attendant to do so, Victoria Osteen grabbed yet another flight attendant and showed her the seat. The newest flight attendant said she would call the cleaning people and went to the cockpit, where Victoria Osteen followed her and then assaulted Sharon Brown. After allegedly assaulting Sharon Brown, flight attendants asked Victoria Osteen to leave the plane, which she and Joel Osteen did voluntarily.

Now that Victoria Osteen is getting sued, she and her lawyer are trying to get the FAA report thrown out of the court, saying “The FAA does in all due respect an incredibly incompetent investigation”. The lawyer for Sharon Brown said the FAA did an appropriately thorough investigation.

Violent Victoria Osteen

Violent Victoria Osteen

I have previously written a post on Pastor Joel Osteen, but his wife’s brazen assault on an airline stewardess just goes too far… Victoria Olsteen is on an airplane to go to Vail (legendary playground of the uber-rich) and she just cannot tolerate a stain on her first-class seat. After all, it might get on her expensive dress. The wife of America’s most popular pastor Joel Osteen shouldn’t have to tolerate a STAIN, right?! Joel & Victoria Osteen are a shame and embarassment on the Christian faith. Joel Osteen refuses to stand up for what he believes in (or perhaps doesn’t really believe in it at all!) and his wife Victoria Osteen is a snooty, stuck-up, rich baby. Not just a rich baby, but apparently a violent one too. Victoria and Joel Osteen are the perfect match: scam artist and vicious, pampered wife.

Victoria Osteen & Joel Osteen Preaching

Victoria Osteen & Joel Osteen Preaching

I simply don’t understand how 42,000 people in Houston attend Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church services each week when the leadership of Lakewood Church is so obviously terrible. Victoria Osteen should be cleaning toilets for a living and Joel Osteen should be selling cheap crap at local town fairs instead of put on a national pulpit to spew their filth.

Sharon Brown is also apparently having a difficult time getting a fair jury to hear her lawsuit allegations due to the fact that Joel and Victoria Osteen are nationally recognized figures and many potential jurors are fans of Joel Osteen’s television ministries.

I find it truly unfortunate that America has sunk to such a point that Joel Osteen and his degenerate wife Victoria Osteen are our foremost spiritual leaders.

Update August 8, 2008

The NYTimes.com wrote an article on the lawsuit today about Victoria Osteen revealing more details of the lawsuit. Victoria Osteen has been accused by Maria Johnson, one of Sharon Brown’s coworkers at Continental Airlines of even being racist. Johnson claims that Victoria Osteen barged past her and other black employees to go speak to the only white employee and that Mrs. Osteen was dismissive and abusive to Mrs. Brown because of her race. Sharon Brown also called a psychologist, Shayna Patrice Lee, to testify and she said that Sharon Brown suffers from major depression and PTS because of Victoria Osteen’s demeaning and humiliating behavior. It sounds to me like Sharon Brown is reaching a little bit in her claims, but I hope this knocks Victoria Osteen’s overblown ego back into Earth’s atmosphere. What do you readers think? Is Victoria Osteen racist? Was racism a factor in Victoria Osteen’s actions?

TheDirty.com Attacks Robinett Twins

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

TheDirty.com is an immensely popular blog (see traffic numbers at bottom of this post) that talks trash about everyone, but mostly focuses on people with ridiculous MySpace profiles and overblown self images. I have TheDirty.com set up in my Google Reader along with a couple dozen other sites for regular reading (TechCrunch.com, MattCutts.com, SearchEngineWatch.com, etc are there). Imagine my surprise when I went to look at TheDirty.com today and saw familiar faces staring back! The Robinett twins are good guys, but they do have some rather silly looking photos and theDirty.com has gotten ahold of some and put the Robinett twins on his blog. My comments are in italics as usual.

Below is Nik (thedirty.com’s author) post from today (June 11, 2008):

Robinett Twins on thedirty.com

Well it looks like the GWINS are still batting for the Gays. Seattle should be proud! They only build abs like that for infomercials. You can’t really see it, because of his serious deep thought pose in a make believe jungle of life, but one of the Gwins is sitting on a large wood log like a professional. Probably dreaming about a nice spray tan session with his brother.

So why do you call them GWINS?:

TheDirty.com then links to two other posts that he has done on the twins below this most recent one… the other posts are pretty awful too:

May 8, 2008

Robinett Twins get caught by thedirty.com

The DIRTY ARMY has knighted these two DOUCHE BAGS… from this day hence forth the twins will be named:

“GWINS” (Gay Twins)

Geez….

I guess they are at least sort of famous now, right? Here is the first post Nik did:

theDirty.com lays into the Robinett twins

EMAIL: nik- I don’t know if you’ve settled on name for the mini frogs from seattle but this might give some more ideas. the twin mini frogs dated another set of twins. the girls think they are hot sh*t because they lost a whole bunch of weight (wonder why?) and started caking on the mac make up and getting attention from d-bags. the girls actually lived down in scottsdale for awhile last year. i’m just glad they broke up before they could reproduce.

Emailer forget about those girls… we have more important issues to discuss. Here are the Frog Sperm twins top 5 names for the DIRTY ARMY to choose from. (Your Vote counts, just look at Obama.)

1) Left Nut & Right Nut

2) Ambiguously Gay Duo

3) Number 2’s

4) Call them the Gwins (Gay Twins)

5) Double Bent Twins

Which one has your vote DIRTY ARMY?- nik

I am just curious as to who sent them in… It sounds like someone from Scottsdale, AZ. I know that a lot of readers of thedirty.com are sad, fat nerds who troll myspace.com searching for people to burn, so it could be someone completely random.

So are you wondering how many people read thedirty.com each day? Let me show you a traffic comparison between my site and thedirty.com from Alexa (the tiny bump at the bottom was from when I was getting 4,000 unique visitors every day… now I get “only” 1,000 visitors every day):

According to my best estimates, theDirty.com receives over 260,000 unique visitors each day! I feel kind of bad for the Robinett twins now. They are good guys and are pretty down to earth and fun to hang out with. I guess when you do modeling though you have to take the good with the bad… some people will get jealous and try to pick you apart. Hopefully the twins won’t let their newfound fame go to their heads ;)

Pastor John Hagee – Cornerstone Church Ministry, Heresy, Divorce & Dirty Deeds

Monday, May 5, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.” – John Hagee

John Hagee is married to Diana HageeSuper funny update – John Hagee has hilariously bad books ranging from Doomsday predictions to dating books
to the Financial Armageddon
(he was wrong). 
Oh boy. Another major televangelist pastor, John Hagee, has turned out to not only be a crook but a complete moron. John Hagee has made many extremely offensive remarks regarding Catholics, Jews, Islam, homosexuality, women, African Americans, Hurricane Katrina and even the Bible itself. I just don’t understand how heretics like John Hagee can gain such a huge following in the evangelical Christian world… I guess it just goes to show the type of people who are involved in such groups. Even John McCain (below right) has sought out the company of John Hagee and recently received Mr. Hagee’s personal endorsement. Previously, I have discussed Pat Robertson’s “power shakes” he sells and Joel Osteen’s refusal to defend basic tenets of Christianity, but I think John Hagee just might take the cake. John Hagee has publicly stated in a commercial peddling his newest book In Defense of Israel that “Jesus refused to be the Messiah” and that “there was a calvary conspiracy by Rome, the high priests and Herod to execute Jesus”. Wow, is this televangelist on drugs? My guess is yes and there will be another scandal like that of Ted Haggard. He claims that Catholics and the Roman Church are somehow responsible for millenia of anti-Semitism and the death of Jesus Christ. Utterly ridiculous. Pastor John Hagee has also publicly stated to the 19,000 active members of his congregation and millions of television viewers that the United States of America MUST launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran immediately. John Hagee not only publicly states that he holds such beliefs, but he contradicts himself time and again in his personal life- John Hagee had an adulterous affair and divorced his wife to unbiblically remarry a much younger woman from his own former congregation. What does John Hagee get in return for his heretical ministry? John Hagee has a $2.1 million dollar 7,969 acre ranch with not one, but FIVE lodges, a managers house, a gun locker, a smoke house, a skeet range and three barns. In the year 2001, John Hagee received $842,000 in salary and $414,485 in benefits making him one of the best paid men on earth in ANY field. For comparison, Billy Graham (probably the most well known living religious figure in America), took only $174,000 in compensation that year. I went into business to make money, but perhaps I should’ve become a pastor!!!

Pastor John Hagee’s Heresy

In order to generate controversy to help him sell more books, John Hagee created and distributed a commercial featuring him attacking the Catholic Church for helping plan the murder of Jesus (don’t ask me how this happened, considering that the Catholic Church wasn’t founded till later). A direct quote from John Hagee says, “¯¿½Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to ex

terminate the Jews.¯¿½ Watch the video for yourself and see the outrageous claims Pastor John Hagee makes:

Please take not

e that John Hagee specifically states that Jesus Christ did not come to Earth to be the Messiah. How on earth can anyone, much less millions nationwide, follow a pastor like John Hagee who publicly states that Jesus was not the Messiah?!?! I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m missing something… perhaps John Hagee is a self-help guru like Joel Osteen or something. Ugh. I am beginning to lose my faith in humanity the more I read about some of these selfishly evil megachurch pastors.

Pastor John Hagee Advocates Pre-Emptive War on Iran

Many people advocate pre-emptive war on Iran, but few of them have the ear of President George Bush like Pastor John Hagee does. Pastor John Hagee is a Zionist Christian: he believes that the Book of Revelation in the Bible specifically says any nation that does not defend the state of Israel at any cost will be eternally damned. John Hagee has sold millions of books spouting nonsense conspiracy theories from evil global financiers trying to destroy the Jews to saying that the U.S. Postal Service was trying to destroy his ministry (the USPS said Pastor John Hagee’s Ministry hardly qualified as a non-profit and as such was subject to regular rates on mass mailings). Pastor John Hagee’s current ramblings are trying to exort his millions of followers to push their elected representatives to pre-emptively go to war with Iran, before Iran can destroy Israel. To this end, has has raised millions of dollars and even had personal conferences with the President of the United States himself to try to convince him of this view. After these meetings, President Bush took a noticeably more hostile stance on Iran and much of his rhetoric is phrased in religious terms. Scary. Watch John Hagee’s video below to see for yourself what he says:


In his video, Pastor John Hagee says that if America does not defend Israel than God’s wrath and judgment will come directly down upon the heads of the citizens of America. John Hagee is a slick marketer who plays upon peoples fears and hatreds to make money and push his insane policy ideas. Peopho op

le wpose his ideas are damned according to him. Not only that but according to him, “What is the point of having free speech if you have nothing to say?” I’d say that John Hagee sounds more like Hitler, then the Roman Catholic Church who he accuses of being like Hitler.

Adultery, Divorce and Salary of Pastor John Hagee

Christians don’t steal or lie, they don’t get divorced or have abortions.” – John Hagee

A megachurch televangelist like John Hagee who spouts outrageous beliefs and has millions of followers must lead an immaculate personal life to keep his congreg

ation listening to him, right? Wrong. People apparently will follow John Hagee blindly and will not question him even when details of his adulterous personal life are made public.

John Hagee was the leader of the charismatic Trinity Church in 1975 and was the father of two children. John Hagee had an adulterous affair with a woman and admitted to immorality in front of his church. Pastor John Hagee then divorced the mother of his two children and married a younger woman (Diana Castro, now Diana Hagee) from that same congregation. Pastor John Hagee willfully abused his position of trust and power to take advantage of a younger gullible woman and cheat on his wife.

So what happened after John Hagee admitted to cheating and abusing his power? Did he repent and pursue becoming a better person and living a life based on Biblical principles? Did people stop following his ministry? The answers are very obvious. John Hagee married the woman he cheated on his wife with and immediately became the pastor of another congregation- the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio Texas.

Pastor John Hagee went on to push his evangelical, speaking in tongues Cornerstone Church into becoming a megachurch that televises his weekly sermons. Nor did he do so for free.

If you visit the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas or watch Pastor John Hagee on his television show, you will see him perched on top of an enormous white and blue throne watching his massive choir or jazz band. When they finish, John Hagee will approach the pulpit for his favorite time of the week- tithe time! Pastor John Hagee has his congregation members raise their money towards the sky and repeat after him “Give and it shall be given.” He then instructs his audience that “When you give, it

qualifies you to receive God’s abundance. If God gives to you before you give to him, God himself will becom a liar… If you’re not prospering it’s because you’re not GIVING!” Contained in those few sentences is everything that is unscriptural and wrong with the New-Age “Prosperity Message” pushed on gullible congregations by megachurch pastors nationwide. Pastor John Hagee needs to revisit the portion of the Bible where Jesus went into the synagogue and pushed over all the tables of goods. His statement above is in direct contradiction with the Bible.

Using his lies and deceit, Pastor John Hagee has grown into an enormously wealthy man. In the year 2001, his organization filed revenues of $18.3 million dollars with

the IRS. What was John Hagee’s personal compensation package worth? More than $1.25 million dollars. His nonprofit organization, GETV, has a mission statement reading “Spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. Somehow I think his nearly 8,000 acre Texas ranch does not help that mission. Not only does Pastor John and his wife Diana Hagee own that sprawling ranch, but they also have a 5,275 foot, 6 bedroom mansion in one of San Antonio’s most exclusive gated communities (The Dominion). The house is appraised at $700,000.

So who is monitoring Pastor John Hagee and his largesse? Who ensures that the millions of dollars that gullible grandmothers give him is spent to further spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? 3 of the 4 Directors who monitor the board of his nonprofit GETV foundation are his direct family members- his wife, Diana; his son, Matthew; and himself.

What does Pastor John Hagee have to say about his income and wealth?

I deserve every dime I’m getting.” _John Hagee.

What a disgusting human being.

Multiple religious organizations and other experts on television ministries have said that John Hagee has a

conflict of interest and what he is doing with GETV and his compensation package probably crosses into the realm of criminals. “We prohibit any personal profiting on a product that is promoted and marketed with

the dollars that have been donated to the ministry,” said Nelson, with the Evangelical Council for Financial

Accountability. The arrangement with the book sale profits or “royalty payments” being placed in a retirement trust – instead of being counted as ordinary income – created the impression that Hagee was trying to avoid being taxed for ordinary income, an intellectual property rights lawyer said. John Hagee basically is laundering money through his nonprofit so he doesn’t have to pay taxes on it, then paying it to himself so he can live an opulent lifestyle while the mission of his foundation goes unaccomplished and the poor gullible grandparents who send him money go hungry.

Interviewing The Senate Band

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

The Senate is a hot upcoming Seattle band that has been together for several years now and have built up a rabid fan base, including many of my own friends. Two members of the band, Andrew Pulkabrek and Oliver Franklin, were kind enough to allow me to interview them for my blog. I recommend visiting their Myspace page in a new tab or window and listen to their music while you read the interview!

Joel: I first listened to The Senate’s “face-melting acoustic riffage” at a house party hosted by my friends Jeremy, Ashley and Andy about three years ago and was impressed by the unique musical sound you have created. How did you guys arrive at making this sort of music?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: By accident, sort of. We all have very different backgrounds, so what we do is a melting pot of rock and roll, afro-pop, jazz, metal etc.

Andrew Pulkabrek of the senate band The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek (pictured at right): More than anything else, it was just a matter of trying to make something that sounded good with unusual instrumentation. We all come from musical backgrounds where rhythm and percussion were dominant forces, and in the absence of percussion, we started to develop this rhythmically intricate percussive style of playing that I think we’re still learning more about as we keep doing this.

Joel: When and why did the Senate originally form? I read a little bit about your origins in 2002 on your website, but I was hoping to hear what the Oliver perspective on how it happened.

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Andrew and I have played music together in various groups since we were in 6th grade, so that collaboration goes way back. I went to high school with Nick Drummond but never really knew what he was about until I went to a show of his with a mutual friend right after we graduated. I heard a lot in his music that was refreshing to me, a dedication to making very polished, tuneful songs. So I suThe Senate Band Oliver Franklin, Andrew Pulkabrekggested we jam, and we wound up playing and writing together all the time until we had enough material to play some shows.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I came in after they had played a few shows together and offered my services to hold down some low-end duties for them. I began to play with them after Nick got a show for the “band” at a benefit concert. I don’t think any of us knew what the addition of a bass would be like, but got together and played the show. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful either, so we kept at it.

Joel: Where did you originally learn to play music? Was it self-taught or did you take lessons?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: I started playing drums in 5th grade, and took lessons for 4 years. I’m mostly self-taught on guitar, though I did take a year of classical lessons after I’d been playing for a while. My mom has a degree in music, and she taught me the basics of music theory.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I come from a musical family, so I started pretty young. I did a few years of piano at seven, a few years singing in a pretty intense boy’s choir starting at nine, bass lessons at twelve, and private voice off and on since high school. I tend to learn best on the job, and a lot of my skills have come from being in situations where I had to pick stuff up on the fly, but my early training has been the backbone for all of that.


Joel: The Senate has been playing excellent live shows for several years now. Are there any specific performances that really stand out for you?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Our recent CD release show (for debut full-length ‘Live at Solstice’) at the Triple Door was really great for us. The room is perfect, and we got to have a lot of our very talented friends come share the stage. And I always love coming back to our home at Cafe Solstice for our monthly all-ages show there, the place gets packed and the energy is really, really high. It’s a very enthusiastic crowd, but a very forgiving one, and we can take chances there that we might not feel so comfortable with in a different setting.

Andrew Pulkabrek rocking out for the senateThe Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek- Our CD release party at the Triple Door was really fun. It was a lot of work to coordinate all of our guest performers, sound people, lights, promotions, and everything else, but it was a great night. They had a fog machine, too!

Joel: If I were to lock you in a small cage for the rest of your life and told you I was going to put one playlist on continuous loop, which artists would you include? Any songs that you would specifically request?

Oliver Franklin of the Senate BandThe Senate – Oliver Franklin (pictured at right): I don’t know if any music stands up to continuous looping without becoming torturous, but I would probably include more ambient instrumental stuff than anything else. Brian Eno and Debussy would probably be on the list. As far as more song-oriented stuff goes, Jason Webley would definitely be good company.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek- I would request that all records put out by the Motown label in the mid- to late-60′s be on there, along with a whole lot of rock: Aerosmith, AC/DC, Styx, and Black Sabbath would probably be on my list. I would want the Duke Ellington and Count Basie libraries as well. I’d probably get bored of it all at a certain point, but that’s when I’d trade cages with Oliver.


Joel: The Senate has been growing in popularity and has even opened for the Paperboys and Everclear. Have you started to think of yourself as a future rock star?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: No.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: No. The possibility of quitting my day job still seems remote.
Joel: Rock stars are notorious for living a hard, fast life full of booze, sex, money and drugs. Have you had any wild and crazy experiences that you don’t think you would have had if you weren’t a member of the Senate band?

The Senate band live
The Senate – Oliver Franklin:

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Yes.


Joel: Do you have any moral or political messages that the Senate supports through its music or are you guys currently more focused on being the best entertainers you can be?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Our politics definitely have a presence in our music. We’re all left-leaning anti-authoritarian types with a concern for the direction our country continues to head. But you can have the best, truest, most urgent ‘message’ in the world and still make terrible music, so the craft comes first.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: I think Oliver pretty much said it. The moral message has always been that wimpy acoustic music is sinful, and God told me the other day when we went out for coffee that he was going to personally kick the ass of everyone who comes into Heaven without a copy of our redemptive full-length album “Live at Solstice.”

Joel: Does The Senate have a specific demographic market you target in making your music? If so, who?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: We have found a lot of success targeting college-age crowds, but if you come to our shows you’ll see an age spread from 13-70. It’s really cool that we seem to have an intergenerational appeal without it having been something we’ve striven for. The balance between genders looks fairly even, weighted probably 60/40 in favor of the ladies. No planning on our part there, either.

Joel: What are your goals in the short and long term for the Senate?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Concisely, to continue challenging ourselves as artists by expanding the range of our sound while simultaneously striving to get it to as many people as possible.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Andrew play bass! Sell many records! Make riffage! Riffage! Yarrr…

Joel: Is there anything about the music that you make that you don’t like or would change?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Never reveal your weaknesses; we can always improve, and I think we continue to getThe fans of the Senate band watching them rock out consistently better as a band. We three all have different things we look for in music, and accomodating each other’s artistic needs is part of the deal. So sometimes we might have a tune that we keep around for a given audience or situation, that is proven to ‘work’, even if it isn’t our most fully-realized piece of music.

Joel: As a Seattle band, many people inevitably compare your music to Nirvana. Does this ever make you want to pull a Kurt Cobain and use your shotgun for something other than skeet hunting?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Do people compare us to Nirvana? I hadn’t heard.

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Who? I can’t see how anyone could listen to us and compare us to Nirvana. Did you just write that so you could use the phrase “use your shotgun for something other than skeet hunting”?

Joel: Pretty much, yes. ;)

Joel: Are you or other members of the Senate currently single?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Nope.

Joel: Where are your upcoming live shows? If someone can only see one or two, which shows would you especially recommend?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: The Tractor Tavern on April 30th!!! Bring your friends. If you’re under 21, then Cafe Solstice on May 2nd will be very fun.

Joel: Where can Senate fans purchase your music?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: At shows or online through senateband.com or cdbaby.com

Joel: Who would you say is your biggest fan? (family members and Jesus don’t count)

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: My mom and Jesus beg to differ.


Joel: What is your favorite sex positions?

The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: The Levitating Missionary. It’s like the regular Missionary position, except you do it floating three feet above the floor.


Joel: Do you have a middle name? What is it?


The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: Hanson. MMMbop!

Joel: Are you a full-time musician or do you have other jobs/ hobbies?
The Senate- Andrew Pulkrabek: The Senate is one of many other things I do. I sell kilts by day for the Utilikilts company, and at night I have a whole stable of theatrical and musical projects chomping at the bit.

Joel: Any Final Messages?

The Senate – Oliver Franklin: Come see us at the Tractor!!!

UPCOMING SHOWS BY THE SENATE BAND BELOW:

May 2, 2008 – 1:00 pm
Lakeside School

May 2, 2008 – 9:00 pm
Cafe Solstice
Seattle

May 22, 2008 – time TBA
Masa
Tacoma

May 30, 2008 – 8:00 pm
Conquest and WhAAM present:
The Senate @ WhAAM
All-ages in Bellingham!
Tickets $6 at the door.

June 6, 2008 – 9:00 pm
Cafe Solstice
Seattle

June 21st, 11:15 am
Marysville Strawberry Festival

June 21, 2008 – 4:00 pm
Legion Park
Everett, WA

July 23, 2008 – 7:00 pm
Auburn’s Shades of Summer
Game Farm Park, Aubrun, WA

August 3, 2008 – 2:00 pm
Everett Waterfront
Everett WA

August 9, 2008 – 7:00 pm
Olympic Winery
Port Angeles, WA

September 5, 2008 – time TBA
Whitman College
Walla Walla

September 6th, 2008 – time TBA
Boundary Bay Brewery
Bellingham, WA

Evan Lewis

Friday, March 21, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

Evan Lewis was a famous wrestler who passed away in 1919. There was also another Evan Lewis who was a Los Angeles politician. Another Evan Lewis works for my company and does some really cool stuff. That guy is interesting. I am tired and sick right now so my post on Mr. Evan Lewis probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I guess that is what fever does to you. It twists your mind worse than the professional wrestler “Strangler” Evan Lewis would twist your arm.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Evan Lewis. When you think about a great man, the first image that should pop into your head should be Evan Lewis. Just talking about him makes me swoon. That and the Ibuprofen I just popped. Yum. I don’t recommend drugs, unless you are a hardcore hero like my fave, Evan Lewis.

Ben Althouse

Friday, February 22, 2008
Posted in Profiles & Interviews by Joel Gross

Ben Althouse is standing right beside me now. Ben has a nice big drink of negroni in his hand. I saw his website and it was pretty. Ben Althouse will not get any links from me in this post though, cuz I am a selfish attention snatcher.

Nah, Ben Althouse is actually a pretty good guy who bears a striking resemblance to Jesus; big flowing mane and beard. Ben Althouse would get WAY more ladies if he shaved, though the weirdos wouldn’t chase him quite as much. Plato is also here, drinking a negroni and pretending not to be fruity. I look to my left right now after Plato hit me and hear Ben Althouse making stupid jokes and eyeing his giant collection of prescription pills he takes so he doesn’t hate the world quite as much.

Ben Althouse wants to head out to a bar now, so I will post more about this champion of humanity later.

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