I'm Andrew. I write about the past and future of tech, music, media, culture, art, and activism. This is my blog.

Status Update - May 22nd

Posted: May 22, 2024

Hi All! It’s been a while since I had the chance to sit down and write a blog post. I’ve been incredibly busy. That’s a weird thing to hear after one of my recent posts (well, if you can call October of 2023 recent) talks about how I’ll be blogging a lot more consistently, since I don’t have a dayjob. Since then, a lot has happened! This blog post is a breif status update and rundown of my last six months or so. I’ll follow it up with some more detailed looks at some of the things that have happened in that time, each in their own post, and then probably wrap things up with a forward looking post about the future. Should be fun!

Hemlock Bazaar

We openned a bookstore! Well, really, we turned our existing coffee shop in to a bookstore/record store/cafe. We also added a pretty substantial online sales portal which can be found at HemlockBazaar.com We’re selling books, records, movies, and other stuff. It’s in the same physical location as the former Ellijay Coffeehouse, (131 N Main St, in Ellijay) we serve the same coffee and have most of the same staff.

I’m really excited about it!

But in order to do it we had to undertake some fairly substantial rennovations to the building. We would have needed to do some rennovations and make some changes either way because our big convection oven was on the fritz, so we looked over the last few years of sales data and trends and … well, now we’re a bookstore with a cafe, instead of a cafe that sells books.

The rennovations went about $15k over budget, and took an extra month longer than planned, this resulted in us missing the start of our busy season. We continued to pay our staff while the shop was closed and we didn’t have any incoming revenue. The end result was ~$45k in unplanned and uncovered expenses!

Things are stable and the future looks bright, but we have some catching up to do. If you want to help us take a look at our online store.

Mountain Town Toys

Assembly Required

Every FEB we do a toy show in Asheville NC for hand made art toys. It’s called Assembly Required. This year’s was a lot of fun! We unveiled a new hand made playset.

The playset

It was designed and manufactured by Will Dover at the Ellijay Makerspace and there aren’t very many left. For now, you can still get one from Our Toystore, Mountain Town Toys.


We also went to Toylanta! This is an event in March. We try to go every year, but it’s honestly been a disorganized mess for the last couple of runs, and this year was no different. Several vendors were bumped from prominent booth spaces or provided with much less space than they’d signed up for. It was deeply frustrating!

In spite of all that, we had a good time and met some great people. The hits of the show were definitely the Biker Mice from Mars and Sectaurs toys, both manufactured by Nacelle and available online.

Cowabunga Video

About a year ago I launched Cowabunga Video as a used video kiosk at Mountain Town Antiques in Ellijay, GA. In the time since then it’s grown dramatically. We’re working on a new podcast from Cowabunga called VHS Is The Future, which will debut on New Ellijay Television sometime this summer.

In the meantime, we’ve built a new website and expanded our selection to include new videos, including a variety from Vinegar Syndrome, Lunchmeat VHS, and more. You can shop our new inventory online in the Cowabunga section on Hemlock Bazaar.

Wandering Ellijay

We’ve undertaken a new project called Wandering Ellijay. It’s an alternate reality mobile game in which you look for small monsters throughout our town, while interacting with various points of interest. It’s powered by an open source game engine (work in progress, but progressing quickly) which we’re calling “all whomst wander”. The idea is to make a mobile ARG that’s designed to protect privacy and respect its users, while still offering the kinds of incentives to explore that are provided by games like Ingress or Pokemon Go.

We’re playtesting the prototype right now and making refinements. The first version of the game is due to launch later this year!

New Ellijay Television

I make no secret that I run a television network. In fact, I brag about it a lot. But, right now, we’re only available online. Soon that will change! I’m working with the local cable operator to get us on cable and, potentially from there we may make the jump to an OTA digital subchannel! We’re still in the early days of this discussion and exploration, but I think it’s going to work out well, and it will be even more New Ellijay Television.

Other stuff

I’m freelancing again. If you have a project you think I’d be a good fit for, check out Impractical.Computer for info. I’m prioritizing infrastructure work for hobby projects, open source stuff, and non-profits, but I’m open to other gigs as well, and I’m good at thing.

That’s it for this update! I’ll have more to say about some of these topics in their own posts in the near future.

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