Saturday, August 10, 2013

Get Paid to Write 3 Tweets (More or Less) on Bubblews

Over the 4th of July holiday, my brother-in-law told me about a website where he's been writing short articles and getting paid for it.  Getting paid quite a bit for it.  For writing small, sometimes silly things.  I said, "SILLY?  GETTING PAID FOR IT?  I'M IN!!" ...and Adam showed me, my wife, and her parents how to sign up at  We were off and running.

Here's the short version: Bubblews is an revenue sharing site. They make their money from ads and page views, they share that money with the writers that generate content.  You write, people click on what you write, money builds up in your account.  After your account hits $50, you can cash out to your own PayPal account.  It's been about six months, and so far I've cashed out about a dozen times, making around $600.  Some good LEGO money for not doing much, and it ended up paying for a lot of our Christmas.  

To sign up, click here: REGISTER AT BUBBLEWS . Sign up (it's free) by creating a user name and password, and then clicking on the link at the confirmation email they send you.  All the usual stuff we're experts at, like coming up with a profile pic--you know how the internet works.  

Write an article and submit it.  Bubblews has 15 different categories, and chances are pretty good that what you want to write will fit into one of them.  There's a misc. category if you can't find one that fits.  And you can really write about anything. They do have a "flag this as inappropriate" button, so I don't know how raunchy you want to make it, but hey. Worth a shot. To give you an idea of how broad-ranging your writing can be:  I LOVE AQUAMAN  ELYSIUM MOVIE REVIEW  MAKING SANDCASTLES  PATRIOTISM RANT  I ALMOST BOUGHT A UKULELE 4 STAGES OF A ROAD TRIP WITH YOUR KIDS  ...I mean, really, you can write anything.  And some people do.  

The rules about writing are pretty simple--no plagiarism, it has to be at least 400 characters to post (characters, not words--that's like three tweets), and you need to credit any photos you use. ...and that's it.  Some people write poetry (honestly I rarely read those), some write personal things about their day (I don't read those often either), some write movie and book reviews, some write about politics or religion, some just write funny things.  My advice would be this:  Write interesting things that you would want to read.  

There's a social media component to Bubblews, and you want to take advantage of that.  A big one is that you can make Connections with other writers on Bubblews.  That just means that you click a green CONNECT button at the bottom of their profile page, and then when they write a new post, you'll be notified within Bubblews.  Not an email spamming you (in fact, I don't think I've had any emails from Bubblews except the confirmation and the cashout notifications), just a little counter on your page telling you how many notifications you have.  You can also post what you write via a little button on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and a few other social media platforms.  When you connect with someone, it's a good idea to read a few of their articles first--see if it's someone whose stuff you WANT to be reading.  Leave comments on what they write, that way they know you're there, and chances are good they'll connect back with you, and read what YOU write. 

Some weird/interesting things about Bubblews:  it's an international community, and that means people are writing 24 hours a day.  So you can write an article, go to bed, and it will have accrued page views, comments and money overnight.  It's sort of become an addiction, seeing how much is in the bank the next morning, or after a shower, or while I'm away at work.  I like it.  A lot.  You know how Twitter uses @ and # in ways that are hard for newbies to figure out?  Bubblews is very similar, but it uses & and +.  So to tag another user (it'll show up in their notifications) you use &JediKermit (for example).  To tag content, you'd use +Movies or whatever you happen to be writing about.  As you read on Bubblews, you'll figure it out.  

How much can you make?  I made $50 my first month, but that's probably going to be low for me. I tend to write--a lot--and about a lot of different topics.  My next goal is to make $25 within the next week, and then maybe I can get to the magical cashout point within 3-4 days.  There are some writers who are getting $25 a day, but I'm guessing that's rare.  

If you like to write--at all--you should sign up and check it out.  Bubblews is also one of the more....forgiving online writing sites I've seen; they'll take you under their wing and help you with your writing as you're learning.  My wife (&Tulips721 on the website) has always been kind of hesitant with her writing, but she's getting better and more confident as she goes, and has made about $100 in the same month.  And she's not giving it to me.  

Go ahead and sign up, check out the site, and start writing.  There are a lot of these startups that are around for a year or two and then fizzle out--but I've cashed out about $600 by now that tells me this one works.  For now.  I'm not sure how long it'll last.  So bring it. REGISTER AT BUBBLEWS 
And yeah, you should definitely connect with &JediKermit .  He's the most handsome and the best.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Muppet LEGO: I like it--how do I vote for it?

Lately I've had a few questions from from people who have viewed the Muppet LEGO proposal, but aren't sure how to vote for it.  So here are some instructions on how to do it.  Hopefully this will help you out.  The first step of course is to go to the Muppet LEGO page of the LEGO CUUSOO website. Click on the big green Support button.  

Here you'll have a choice to make.  If you're already on either Facebook or Twitter (which you probably are) you can click on one of those.  You follow the same steps of "do you agree that LEGO CUUSOO can access your blah blah blah" that you do for any other thing you click on as a registration through Facebook or Twitter.  My experience with LEGO CUUSOO has been that they don't post anything on your wall, friends walls, etc; but some people don't like even the semblance of a big Danish toy company accessing their friends.  I get it.  

If you don't want to take the Facebook or Twitter route, follow the steps on the left that say "NEW to LEGO CUUSOO?" -- you need a user name, password and email.  I've been using CUUSOO for just over a year, and I can tell you I've never received any sort of spam or reminder or anything except the activation email.  If that's a concern for you, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.  

After entering your information and hitting "Sign Me Up!" It sends you an activation email.  

Go to your email and click on the link, it will bring you to the page below.  Click on the "Discover page" link.

There's a lot of awesome ideas on the Discover page, but you don't care about them right now, because you want to vote for the Muppets.  So in the Search Projects window, just search for "muppets."

Only one project comes up, and you should click on that one.

Click on "Support" again.  Don't worry, because you're logged in as a CUUSOO member now, it won't ask you to register all over again. 

It asks you for your country, your gender, and profession.  You don't need to click on the box at the bottom that collects data on the weirdos that vote for these things.  But you can if you want.

I know a lot of people get to this point and they aren't quite sure what to enter.  The site asks you three questions: How much would you pay, how many would you buy, and why are you supporting this?  For my proposal, I have Muppet sets at several different price points, from about $8 to $60.  If you think you'd buy say, a $20 set, just put that.  If you think you'd spend $5, put that.  $500?  Groovy.  I don't know if it matters.

When it asks how many you'd buy--if you'd "buy them all," put a high number, which in this case would be 10.  If you think you might buy one, because you have an irrational love of Kermit the Frog (who doesn't, really?) just put a 1.

The rationale--"why you like this project"--is all you.  Pour out your Muppet-loving soul.  You could also say something like "maybe if this reaches 10,000 votes, he'll shut up about this whole thing."  Acceptable.

Then click on "Support," and you're done.  You've done your part.  Then you need to find ten other people--friends, family members, pets (if they have an email address), ex-girlfriends, boyfriends and spouses, strangers in bars, children on playgroun--wait, I'm getting off track.  Share the idea with others.  If just one person believes in you, and all that.  

Now a sneak preview of what's coming next:

Because I can.  And we should.  And LEGO should.  They have a license with Disney for the Muppets, and with Star Wars--it's possible.  If you vote.  Go to, vote for it, and share with others!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Join Our Team for the MS Walk in Salt Lake City April 26

Dear Friends (and enemies, acquaintances, family members, ex-family members, churchy-types, not-churchy-types, Facebook friends, Tweeps, Muppet freaks, stalkers, former students, random people who stumble across it...)

Please Join Our Team.

My wife Melissa (who you may know or may not, depending on which category you fall into above) was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, nine years ago. For those of you that don't know what it is, the short version is that your body attacks your own central nervous system, destroying the myelin "insulation" that covers the nerves of your spinal cord and brain. You can get a better understanding of the different kinds of MS here:'s a pretty simple description of it.

I have to say, that with the many different ways that MS can hurt someone, we've been fortunate. Melissa's biggest symptom right now seems to be fatigue. That doesn't sound so bad, and there are certainly effects of MS that would be harder to deal with. Essentially, she's in bed more than she wants to be. Some days that's okay, other days it's very frustrating for her. She still manages to work her job (which she loves) up at the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City, 20 hours a week. She still manages to do things like help get the boys to their soccer games, and help other people with things that they need. But sometimes we need help too, even when we don't know how to ask for it.

In 2011 we decided to sign up for the Salt Lake City MS Walk for the first time. We had about twenty family members and friends and co-workers who did it with us. It was a fairly cold April morning, and as we were driving downtown, we were worried that we'd dragged people into something that was going to be miserable. It turns out that the three mile walk was a lot of fun. Starting at the Gateway, the route loops up into the Marmalade District, and then back down to the Gateway. And there are thousands of people walking with you.

(pictures by my friend Sean Hansen, who happened to be out taking pictures of downtown that day)

(Another picture by Sean Hansen) (Cool, right?) (I know)

Each year, we've tried to get more people to come, and we've added about 20 people each year. Our goal is much more to support Melissa more than to raise money.  Last year we had about 60 people walking with us, and we raised about $900 in donations.  Which was great.  We dressed up like heroes--Melissa was Batgirl, I was Aquaman, the boys were Finn from "Adventure Time" and Robin, because Carter likes being the sidekick instead of the superhero. Less pressure.

So here's the deal. We really try not to talk about the MS thing too often. Sometimes it's too sad, sometimes I feel like it's just frustrating for people, because when they say "what can I do..." there's really nothing they can do. Well, this month there's something you can do. Sign up for our team for the MS Walk.

How you do it: Go to  ....that takes you directly to Melissa's team, which is called "CAPED CRUSADERS." At the top of the team roster is a link that says "JOIN TEAM." Click on it, and sign up. The walk is April 26th, at 10:00 AM. We'll probably be down there at about 9:00 AM, and I think we're meeting in the area of the fountain towards the north end of the Gateway. We're going to wear capes instead of being superheroes again, because any excuse to wear a cape, you know?

There's no entry fee, there's no gathering pledges or sponsors. You can donate money to the cause of course, but it's not required. We're not buying the T-shirts for our team--if you wanted to buy the t-shirt, instead take that ten bucks and donate it. For our family, it's more about raising awareness than money. Whether you realize it or not, you do know someone that has MS. There's a lot of effort going into finding a cure. There are currently medications available that help treat the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, but no cure. We're optimistic that someday, thanks to efforts like the MS Walk, there will be a cure someday.

Your Excuses:

1) "Well, I don't really feel like you want ME to join your team..." I do. I really do. If you feel like we're not close enough that I'd want to see you there on Saturday, you're wrong. That kind of support, from anyone, means a lot to me. If you know me well enough to still be reading this, you know the kind of jerk I am, on the surface, and for about fifty layers beneath that. Somewhere, deep inside, I'll appreciate it, more than I'll ever be able to express. Because I have Issues.

2) "I already have something that Saturday..." I'm sure you do. But you can GET OUT OF THAT by coming and doing THIS! I'm partially kidding with that. We're all very busy, we have a lot of stuff going on. If you can't make it down there for a few hours on a Saturday morning, I understand. You should know that A) it really was fun last year, and B) you get that good feeling/brownie points with the deity of your choice, and C) it's kind of a fun walk through a part of Salt Lake City that most people haven't even seen. That last part is for you architecture/urban planning nerds in the audience.

3) "I don't even live in Utah, you idiot..." Ah-HAAA! If you don't live in the Beehive State, you really should. It's not as bad as you think. Except for all the bees. And by bees, I mean Mormons. Not really. I mean, there are a lot of them. Us. Whatever. IF YOU DON'T LIVE IN UTAH, I suggest the following course of action: A) there's probably an MS Walk that's close to you. You could sign up for that, and the karmic support will be like a burning lamp that lights my very soul. Or, you can just tell me you signed up for it. I'm not going to know. B) you can donate to the Caped Crusaders team by going to this link and clicking on the orange "Donate to Melissa" button on the far right thermometer-looking thing on the page. Honestly, we're not doing it for the money. We set a goal of $500 for the whole team, but it's really more about the support. For those of you that are out of state, this could be a way to show that support. Five bucks. Ten bucks. If you're going to donate more than that, then I'll just say that Quinnmas (my birthday) is June 12th, and I really like LEGO and Muppets.

4) "I already signed up for the MS Walk with a different team..." That's awesome. I'm glad you did. And I'm saddened because that means you probably know someone else with MS. Support them. Stop by our little team on Saturday and say hi. Don't hug me or anything. I can't handle that.

I think that's kind of it. If you have other questions or concerns, you can either e-mail me or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. Your support would really mean a lot to me, to Melissa, to my boys. I really really hate MS. If there's anything we can do to stop it, it'd be nice to have some help.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DC Comics LEGO - Lois Lane, Black Canary, Green Arrow

Today is Valentine's Day.  I like Valentine's Day a lot more now than I used to.  I'm married to a hot wife, have two boys who are just starting to figure out the V-Day thing and will probably be much more successful at it than I ever have been, or ever will be.  They're both kinda players, now that I think about it. In any case, I figured it would be a good day to highlight a few super-couples that I made out of LEGO.

Superman was finally part of a LEGO set in 2012, and I picked him up and dig him lots.  But he didn't have a Lois Lane with him.  There will be a Lois Lane with the new Man of Steel LEGO sets coming this May, but super-love can't wait that long.  So I made this Lois Lane to go with him.  Awwww.  That's her um, phone in her hand.  Or iPad.  Or iPad Mini.  It's something shiny, okay? 

Another super-couple I've liked for a long time now is Green Arrow and Black Canary; they're always on-again off-again, and I honestly don't know their current status in the DC Universe.  Green Arrow is on the CW series "Arrow,  and that's good for him I suppose...and there's a Laurel Lance character on there who might possibly maybe become a Black Canary eventually.  Anyway.  Here's them.  And no, I didn't use her fishnets costume.  Not yet.  Maybe later. It *is* Valentine's Day...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

LEGO Batman: Enemies

With all of my obsessive compulsive problems with how LEGO isn't releasing every single character from across more than 75 years of DC Comics history, I've gotta say I have no complaints about how they've handled the villains of Gotham City. Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Bane, Killer Croc...all the A-Listers are covered.  

Then again, me being me...I wanted more. Batman has the best (or worst?) villains in comic books, and even beyond the A-Listers, I wanted more.  

Left to Right, Front to Back: Red Hood, Black Mask, Mr Zsasz; Firefly, Mad Hatter, Killer Moth; Hugo Strange, Hush.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

LEGO Batman: Allies

Huntress, Batman, Robin (Damian Wayne) Nightwing, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon
As a lifelong fan of Batman, and a nearly lifelong fan of LEGO, when LEGO announced a Batman line in 2007, I was immediately onboard.  LEGO did a great job with Batman for a few years, and then restarted the line last year, expanding it to include the rest of the DC Comics universe (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman etc.).

But when you've known Batman as long as I have, you need something more.  So I've updated some of my Batman LEGO customs and added some new ones.

Batman, Red Robin, Huntress, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon
The Batman Family has changed and expanded over the years--the Robin I grew up with also grew up, so Dick Grayson, once the Boy Wonder, has become Nightwing. LEGO released him in one set about five years ago, and the only thing I changed about that minifigure was the hair.  The others are all new, including Tim Drake (the third Robin, now "Red Robin), Damian Wayne (the current Robin), and a personal favorite of mine, Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.  I updated my Huntress and Commissioner Gordon minifigures to give them the "light flesh" faces instead of yellow faces, since the LEGO  Super Heroes line uses more realistic skin tones than classic LEGO does.  LEGO has finally released a Commissioner Gordon this year, in a set based on The Dark Knight Rises...I'm thinking I'll keep my cartoon/comics based version around too.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Proposal for Muppet LEGO

So if you know me at all, you know that I'm a fan of the Muppets, and I'm also a fan of toys.  And in my opinion, there aren't many better toy companies out there than LEGO.  I really didn't discover LEGO until I was a teenager, but once I did, I never really let it go.

Last year LEGO debuted a sort of crowdsourcing way to get ideas for new sets--fans could make proposals with text and images, put them on a LEGO CUUSOO website, and then if a proposal received enough votes, than the LEGO people would look at the practical business issues of getting the set made.  My proposal is about the Muppets.

Camilla, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear

The Muppets have been a part of my life since my childhood, and despite their toy-like nature (they are puppets, after all), they haven't ever been presented as any part of a building set.  I think there's a lot of potential there.  There could be minifigures, playsets, vehicles, and other ways to bring the magical mayhem of the Muppets home.  The key is showing LEGO that these could work.  So I put together my own version of Muppet Minifigures...there are 24 so far, and another couple of dozen in the works.  Why?  Because I'm obsessive.  And compulsive.  And sometimes, obsessive-compulsive.   

Here are a few more pictures of the minifigures:

The Electric Mayhem (and Rowlf)

 Scooter, Rizzo, Stunt Gonzo, Chickens, Pepe

Bunsen, Beaker, Sam Eagle, Swedish Chef, Waldorf and Statler

These are understandably rougher than the "real" versions that LEGO would make, but I wanted to show that it would be possible to make Muppets in the same size as LEGO minifigures.  I've also been working on  LEGO Digital Designer computer-rendered versions of some key sets, like the Muppet Theater, the Swedish Chef's Kitchen, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's Laboratory.  ...and I've got some rough sketches of the Pigs in Space Spaceship and the Electric Mayhem Bus and some other things.  

Swedish Chef's Kitchen

Muppet Labs

Muppet Theater

The key at this point is getting the word out.  As of this writing, more than 1,000 people have voted for the Muppet LEGO proposal, which is fantastic--it's enough to get noticed by LEGO.  To get the official review, it needs 10,000 votes.  Which seems like a lot.  It is a lot.  I'm hoping there are enough fans of the Muppets and LEGO out there to get it made.  If you're interested, go to the link for Muppet LEGO, register, and vote!  It won't sign you up for all kinds of spam, it won't cost you anything, it just demonstrates that you support the idea.  You know you want to.  

A few more sketches to leave you with:

The Pigs in Space spaceship, the Electric Mayhem Bus, Great Muppet Caper Hot Air Balloon, Gonzo's Stunt Cycle, and the Muppet Theater

A bunch of Muppet minifigure sketches.  More to come.