Lightning strikes and a little help from friends

17 Aug

We got hit by lightning.  It’s like Fate looked down upon us and said, they aren’t struggling hard enough, let’s throw this at them and see what they do next!

We just couldn’t afford to replace the laptops, so boom…in one brief second, both of them were smoked in two different buildings without so much as a clap of thunder to warn us that it was coming.  Initial repair estimate?  Ha–for $50 more, we’d be paying the same as we did when they were new.  So with all of our computers now destroyed, we were at the end of the rope, and the bank account was as anemic as it has stayed here lately.

What were we going to do now?  It was during that first few days that we realized, everything we do is tied to the computers.  From my freelance writing to GM’s job hunt, its done online.  We pay bills online.  We monitor our anemic bank account online.  I do a radio show…online.  We blog, maintain a website, do email…all of it online.  We do immense amounts of research online as well.

We managed to cobble together the basics–the router and modem were given CPR and restored to life.  Fried surge protectors replaced.  Our friend’s computer was saved from the surge, and that was pressed into service by us as well, as we tried to cope with the loss of our computers.  Some juggling, a little help from friends in no better financial circumstances than us, and we managed to buy the cheapest laptop on the market, courtesy of Walmart, that company everybody loves to hate.  It is definitely a stripped down model, but it works for the basics well enough that we’re “back in business.”  GM & I have to juggle who’s using it when, which isn’t always easy since we normally are both working at the same time.  Time management has become critical, as a lot of things were normally being done at the same time in different areas by us, and that’s not really possible now.  Besides, I have to admit…I’m a computer hog.

I didn’t lose a LOT of data–most of it was backed up on the external harddrive, which survived unscathed despite being plugged into the same surge protector that failed the laptop.  (Which is why I’m certain it came in via my ethernet cable.)  Some pictures hadn’t been migrated yet, so those are lost, unfortunately.  Almost all documents were backed up on the external, with just a few lurking on the laptop.

What it did make me realize is something kind of curious.  A lot of people want to read the articles and website and listen to the radio program and download the podcasts…for free.  Now most of those people are not “well off” by American standards, but they do still have some disposable income and can make minor purchases and enjoy that kind of liberty with their finances.  A LOT of people have expressed interest in the Exogeny Center and the various projects planned under its umbrella…as soon as it obtains 501(c)3 status.  In the meantime, the handful of people that keep what will some day be the Exogeny Center alive, doing the day to day work, and paying the bills, are expected to do so, despite the fact that by American standards, they are all barely making it or less.  In short, the ones paying the bills are the ones who can least afford to do so.  Why do they bother?  They care, they are trying, they BELIEVE in a future where the Exogeny Center will be as real as your local Walmart is.  In the meantime, those who could actually afford to donate a small amount, such as $10 per year, continue to enjoy the efforts of the ones who do the work and pay the bills…without footing any of the expense or providing any of the labor.

I have fought long and hard against charging for the podcasts of Gia Scott’s Dawn of Shades.  I have resisted any other efforts to monetize the website and other productions from Exogeny Network.  We have tried advertising as a way to painlessly subsidize the cost of maintaining the website & podcast space, with little return for the amount of work.  We have an Amazon powered store, and apparently few people are interested in shopping through it either.

I’m not understanding why people are uninterested in helping something like the Exogeny Center  get off of the ground.  At this point, we need small donations to help pay for the things it needs…like filing of paperwork, basic equipment, website fees, etc.  Many people donate to large charities, and apparently are unconcerned that most of it goes to salaries, often larger salaries than the donors themselves make!

I guess what I will try next is to actually itemize a list of what we need and where it will be spent, sort of a public disclosure prior to anyone even being ASKED specifically to donate.  (We do have a general plea for donations on the website, www.exogenynetwork.com)   We don’t have extravagant expenses to cover at this point, we have worked very hard to keep expenses as minimal as possible, and no one receives any salaries at this point, and won’t until they are engaged full time in working for the center or network.  That day isn’t looking any time in the near future!

I’m also going to call for a meeting of the minds, at least those who are within reasonable driving distance, to come together for a brainstorming session and get some things hashed out.  That’s what is really all about–bringing things from outside into the whole.  So much work, so little time, and even less money…and for being a project that benefits others, no wonder some doubt our sanity! 

What brings on all of this?  Losing the laptops that we could not afford to replace made us examine our budget long and hard…and the realization that most of our disposable income is actually being funneled directly into projects for Exogeny.  For vacation, we spent $150.  We went camping in the woods for 5 days, that was our food and gas.  The food expense would have been spent even if we’d stayed at home, so in another way, we can say we spent $60 for our vacation.  We spent more than that on podcast space alone this year.  I used to spend that much just going out for dinner with friends!  (Note the past tense there…)

So, if I can get half the listeners to the radio program even to just give up one trip to a fast food joint in a year and donate that much to Exogeny…we’d be able to get our paperwork filed and get things going.  We could supplement this budget (and inadequate) laptop with a system that would actually handle the software for doing quality podcasts, acquire storage space for Exogeny equipment, and actually start setting up Exogeny Center on more than mere paper, delivering services that are sorely needed by many even now.

Positive thinking!

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3 Responses to “Lightning strikes and a little help from friends”

  1. Patrick Campbell August 18, 2010 at 12:46 am #

    http://www.chipin.com/overview

    Gia, why not put a laptop fund chipin button here on your blog?

    • giascott September 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

      Great idea, Patrick! However, unless I host my blog myself (which I haven’t tackled yet) I can’t post it on my blog…but I can (and did) put it on our website, so you can check it out at http://www.exogenynetwork.com

      • Patrick Campbell September 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

        If you want help, I have assisted with a few joomla and wordpress sites. I’m good with the backend techy stuff and will gladly volunteer my expertise to get you up and running.

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