Saturday, September 17, 2016

Links to Dakota Inspired Designs and Articles

Hubpages: Dakota Inspired as GCRhoads

Zazzle Stores:

Monday, January 25, 2016

What are a grauntie and a gruncle?

Sometimes new words spring up in our language. Most are flash in the pan types - does anyone say "gnarly" anymore? But I hope "grauntie" and "gruncle" are words that never disappear.

What are graunties and gruncles?

Graunties and gruncles are great aunts and great uncles! 

I remember as a child referring to my grandma's siblings as "great aunt Alvena" or "great uncle Leonard." How cool it would have been to call them grauntie Alvena and gruncle Leonard. It would have added a level of familiarity and "coolness" to my perception of them.

I'm a great aunt now to three darling little great nieces and a great nephew. You can be sure I'm going to be Grauntie Gable to all four of them!

Now, if we can just come up with  cool words for great niece and great nephew. Griece and grephew just don't cut it!  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tips for Designing and Selling on Zazzle

If you've decided to take the plunge and market your creations on Zazzle, these 5 tips will make your venture easier and more profitable.

Tip #1. 

Do not - and I repeat - do not use the quick create function unless you have time to individually edit every design, I haven't created any design which fits well on every product Zazzle sells.

That fabulous design you slaved over may look good on a t-shirt or mug, but it probably won't work for those earrings Zazzle sells. And does anybody buy Christmas ornaments with skulls on them?

Tip #2

Don't use just any image you find on the internet. Most are copyrighted and using them is STEALING! You could find yourself in a world of trouble if you use them. Zazzle will catch most copyrighted images.

You're how old? Monkey mug
You're only limited by your imagination!
There are many resources to find images in the pubic domain. Try Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons. Flickr also has public domain images, but you have to check the license on each image or do a search specifically for images you can legally use.

Tip #3

Check the size of your image files. You may have a great idea for a t-shirt that you believe will break all sales records, but if the file is too small you will have a tiny picture on a big t-shirt. Trying to enlarge the pic will generate a "pixelated image" warning and you won't get your design onto Zazzle.

If you do not have your own graphic or picture program, Picmonkey can resize your pictures for free. Picmonkey also has premium features you can access with a monthly subscription.

Tip #4

Plan out your collections before starting. Zazzle allows you to group your products together under different collections. The collections can be anything you want, such a collection each for spiders, snakes, or bees. You can also make collections using products, such as mugs, t-shirts or cases. It's up to you how you want to showcase your products.

If you have many items with the same image, you don't want to add them all to the same category. No one wants to wade through a collection of  different style shirts with the same design on them.

Tip #5

Try to specialize, When I started, I had so many ideas for products that I ended up with a mess. I have since opened five new stores so I can concentrate on selling one theme per store. The original store is still cluttered with too many products, but I'm slowly getting it sorted out. Uffda!

Tip #6

Check all your text in the "art view" before posting for sale. When I started I lost two sales because the edge of the text was slightly outside the printable area. It was discouraging to lose sales because I didn't take the time to ensure the design didn't fit properly.

Tip #7

Put your designs on a variety of products. I never thought jewelry or puzzles would sell, but I have been proven wrong! What do you have to lose? Sometimes I have created a design and put it up for sale thinking it would be a dud and I have been surprised when it sold.

Good luck with your "Zazzling!"

Friday, January 8, 2016

Making a Murderer: Timeline of Events surrounding the Murder and Subsequent Trials

Steven Avery's mugshot after his arrest for murder


Oct. 11 

  •  Lieutenant Lenk testifies in Steven Avery's wrongful conviction lawsuit stemming from Avery's wrongful conviction of rape.

Oct. 13 
  • Sergeant Colborn and Manitowoc Sheriff Petersen testify in Avery's lawsuit.

Oct. 31
  • AM:  Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, leaves a voicemail stating she can stop by for the photo assignment that afternoon around 2:00 p.m. "or even a little later." Later that day she goes to Avery's Auto Salvage to photograph a minivan.
  • 2:27 p.m.: Teresa receives a phone call from Auto Trader lasting 5 minutes. 
  • 2:30 p.m.: Bobby Dassey testifies he sees Halbach near Avery's home.
  • Approximately 2:30 p.m.: There are two phone calls from Avery’s cellphone to Halbach’s cellphone, using the *67 feature to block caller identification. 
  • 2:41 p.m.: There are no outgoing or answered calls on Teresa’s cellphone after this time. 
  • 3:30 - 3:40 p.m.: Lisa Buchner, high school bus driver, testifies she drops off the Dassey boys during this window and sees Teresa photographing the van.
  • 3:40 p.m.: Bobby Dassey testifies he departs at this time and Teresa’s vehicle is still in the driveway, but no Teresa.
  • 4:35 p.m.: There is a call from Steven’s cell phone to Teresa’s cellphone, not using the blocking feature which lasted 13 seconds. 
  • 5:36 p.m.: Steven receives a call from his fiancĂ©e Jodi from Manitowoc County Jail; they talk for 15 minutes.
  • 7:00 p.m.: According to Brendan’s final story (not the first story), this is when Steven calls and invites him to the bonfire.
  • 8:57 p.m.: Steven receives a second call from Jodi; she believes  he is already in bed.

Nov. 2 
  • 8 a.m.: Teresa’s voicemail account is accessed.

Nov. 3 
  •  The Halbach family reports Teresa missing.  
  • Sergeant Colborn calls in Teresa’s license plate to headquarters. 
  • At some time this day Sergeant Colborn questions Avery.

Nov. 4  

  • PM -  The police ask Avery for permission to search his residence and he agrees. No evidence is found.

Nov. 5
  • 10:20-25 a.m.: Pamela discovers Teresa’s vehicle on the Avery's property.
  • 10:59 a.m.: Sergeant Jason Orth arrives at the car lot.
  • 2:05 p.m.: During Steven's trial, Lieutenant Lenk testifies he arrives at the car lot at this time. (Under oath on August 9 Lenk testifies this is when he arrives at the lot at 6:30 or 7:00 pm.)
  • 2:45 p.m.: Sergeant Orth begins a log.
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m.: 10:41 p.m.: Lieutenant Lenk signs out of log.

Nov. 6
  • Brendan gives his first statement to investigators, indicating he has no knowledge of what happened to Teresa.

Nov. 8 : 
  • Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach's murder because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36 million for wrongful conviction. 
  • On the third search, the key to Halbach's RAV4 is finally found in Avery’s bedroom by Lieutenant Lenk. 
  • Some bone fragments are found on the Avery property.

Nov. 9 

  • Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.

Nov. 15
  •  Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.


Feb. 14
  • Avery has settles his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400,000.

Feb. 27

  •  Investigators questions Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, at the local high school. They question him later that day at the  police department.

March 1
  • Brendan is again interrogated, and  arrested after saying he was involved in Halbach's murder.
  • The police, including  Lieutenant Lenk, return to Steven’s property to search for evidence.

March 2
  • The police—again including Lieutenant Lenk—continue searching Steven’s property. For the first time, a bullet fragment, supposedly containing Halbach's DNA is found in Steven’s garage. 
  • Brendan Dassey  is charged with  first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. 

May 12
  • Dassey is pressured by  Len Kachinsky's (his attorney)  investigator Michael O’ Kelly, to stick to his final confession and to make drawings of the alleged crime scene.

May 13
  •  Dassey is interrogated by investigators  for 3 1/2 hours at the invitation of his attorney.
  •  Dassey calls his mother to tell her he was guilty.


Jan. 29 

  • A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery

Feb. 12 
  • Avery's trial begins.

March 12 
  • At the close of the trial, the judge dismisses a false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn't think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. 

March 18 
  • Jurors find convict Avery guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is found not guilty of mutilating a corpse.

April 16 
  • Brendan Dassey's trial begins.

April 25 
  • Dassey is found guilty of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault after 4 1/2 hours of jury deliberation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Court records and other documents for "Making a Murderer"

Steven Avery's 2005 mugshot.

The Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer has generated a lot of conversation nationally. I myself have doubts about convicted murderer Avery's innocence, but I am  disturbed by  the Manitowoc County's Sheriff's Department involvement in finding previously overlooked evidence.
 After viewing the official interrogation videos of Brendan Dassey, Avery's nephew, I do have serious doubts about Dassey's involvement.

I have decided to compile a page of documents relating to the Steve Avery/Brendan Dassey trials for my own, and hopefully your, convenience.

It is a work in progress and documents will be added as I find them.

A who's who list of people who are important in the documentary "The Making of a Murderer."
Who's who?

A timeline of events:

Avery's Wis. Stat § 809.30(2)(h) Postconviction MotionThe motion argued that Avery should be granted a new trial because he was not allowed to present alternate suspects in his trail. The suspects are named, including his brothers!

Transcripts concerning Brendan Dassey

  • Written transcripts of phone call between Brendan and his mom. I this call Brendan tells his mom he was involved in the murder:     Brendan61306
  • Written transcript of the initial police interrogation of Brendan, Brendan says he saw body parts. Brendan tells the officers that Steven admitted to stabbing Ms. Halbach in a Jeep: Brendan's first interrogation
  • Transcript of the nest police interrogation. Brendan tells the police he was actively involved in the rape and murder: Brendan transcript March, Video of interrogation:  Video of interrogation
  • Transcript of Dassey and is lawyer's "investigator. DasseyInvest 
  • Transcript of interrogation which happens after Brendan's first lawyer allows the defense interrogator to coerce Brendan into writing an account of what happened. Brendan's lawyer allows the police to interrogate Brendan without the lawyer's presence. Brendan gives another account which is totally inconsistent with his third account. Brendan transcript 4 May
Dassey's court documents

Photo of blood found near the ignition on the RAV4

Kenneth Kratz

  • Supreme Court regarding disciplinary proceedings relating to Kratz's sexual harassment of  a domestic violence victim: Kratz supreme

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Riding bareback - a poem

I feel your sweat
"Mishimala forma d'un sentit" by Lali Masriera - originally posted to
Flickr as mishima:la forma d'un sentit.
 Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Between my thighs,
As your muscles
Bunch and loosen.

I grip your thick mane
With shaking hands
And breathe in your
Sweet, salty scent.

The steady rhythm
Of your movements
Makes time and place
Pass in a frenzied blur.

Two racing as one
Winded and exhilarated.
In a rush we arrive home
And, slowly, I dismount.

Need extra money? Try Mechanical Turk.

My search for online work

There was a time I would have laughed at being paid $1.00 an hour. After all, I came of age when the minimum wage was $3.35 an hour. But being desperate sure makes a difference in one's perception of the value of a dollar. I even no longer suck up pennies off the floor when I vacuum. After all, 150 of those round beauties will buy a loaf of bread.

I need to make some money, but even more I need to do something productive. My self esteem is around zero, my computer is hanging on literally by a wire, and my car has been down since before Thanksgiving. I type "work at home" into the search engine. I can skip the "Make Thousands a Week from Home" come-ons. My momma didn't raise a fool.

Surveys suck!

Surveys look promising. A number of reputable sources say that even though you won't get rich, you can make some extra money from home. I'm in! I set up a new email address and follow a link to legitimate survey companies. I spend hours filling out forms with my name, age, address. Over and over. When I'm done I check my email. Eureka! Surveys await with promises of cash and sweepstakes rewards. I start the first survey, only to be kicked out after a few questions. "Sorry, you are not a match for this survey." Hmmm. Okay. I start the next one. Same thing. And again. And again. I realize that maybe the survey companies want people who actually can afford to buy a car, a new washing machine, or new shoes. Surveys are out.

I  discover a transcription company that lets beginners work at their site for $30 an audio hour. I can type, sort of. I can do 30 wpm if I look at the keys. I take a test and pass. In like Quinn. I read the rules and get poised to type. The audio files are broken into 10 or 20 second clips. The first one is awful. The audio quality is bad, and the person speaking sounds as if he has marbles in his mouth. I have no headphones, and the dogs won't quit clicking across the floor. A gravel truck seems to pass by outside every 2 minutes. The first 10 second clip takes me 5 minutes. That means that at this rate, I'll earn $30 a week. Woohoo! I'll take it! Unfortunately, they do not always have clips to transcribe, so I look for something else while I wait.

Mechanical Turk

And then I find it. The Holy Grail of work-at-home: Amazon's Mechanical Turk. This work from home gig is heaven sent. Amazon hooks up business people who need tasks done cheaply with people from around the world who will work cheap. From copying business card text for a penny, to transcribing audio files for hundreds of dollars, it is a stay at home worker's paradise.

 I start out searching the internet for a company for 10 cents. I transcribe a recipe for 15 cents. Then I discover surveys. Many colleges pay people to fill out surveys, from "Moral Judgment" to "Visual Memory and Personal Preferences". The pay ranges from .50 cents to $2. I have many opinions about many topics, and I don't mind sharing them. This is right up my alley. So far, I am averaging about $10 a day. Nice if you only need a little pocket money, but I need to support myself. Those transcribing jobs look promising, so I'm ordering a foot pedal and headphones with the money I earned last week.

The most important thing about my work-at-home dreams is that I have hope and I feel like a productive human being again. Wish me luck!

Turkopticon is a must!

If you have decided to become a "Turker" (worker at Mechanical Turk) I highly recommend installing turkopticon into your browser. It is a free extension hosted at UCSD.

Like the real world, the are some "work providers" who will take advantage of workers. This nifty extension will allow you to see how other workers have rated the "employer." The ratings are based on fairness, how fast  and how well he pays and  communication, After completing a task, you too can rate the employer. 

You will need to sign up to be able to post. 

Turkopticon is invaluable when it comes to avoiding work assigners who don't pay well, or unfairly reject work completed. You can also see the good work assigners when deciding which tasks to perform.