Trey Gowdy is very very very Annoying!

Let’s revisit term limits for the good folks on Capitol Hill.

Vote in November

thank you.


Tiny Startup Dwolla Pushing Back Hard at Credit Card Companies, Paypal and Google Checkout

…and changing the way we buy (and sell) goods and services on the internet and around the corner.
I have been hearing a lot of good things about Dwolla, a startup based in Des Moines, Iowa. Their founder wants to do away with credit card companies in the next decade, and is already succeeding in replacing their bloated ripoff fee-heavy system with a new, simpler, transparent, and, yes, better way.

According to their website Dwolla is “a new payment network that works with your financial institution to offer a cheaper, safer, and overall better payment experience.”

This is so cool- you really should sit down, then read this excerpt from their blog written by Ben Milne, the mind behind Dwolla:

“Dwolla gives everyone the ability to exchange money without paying interchange (credit card fees). This is the core reason our network was created and we’ve grown considerably by concentrating on solving that single issue.
High fees, while exchanging money, is a pain point that millions of people share.

However, as we began solving that pain point, we began to realize just how fundamentally broken the whole system is, and that the fees levied were in place to subsidize the costs of an expensive legacy architecture that is over 50-years old. Consumers are losing their identities as merchants are eating the costs of compliance, and we are all paying the price:

    Why should you exchange your financial well-being for a latte every time you swipe your card?
    Why do billion dollar industries, which feed off of securing the financial information inside credit card transactions, need to exist if the data doesn’t need to be there?
    Why should transactions under $10 be considered “cost-prohibitive” for merchants?
    Why do you need a Harvard MBA to understand the fees?
    Why are there so many costs?
    Why can’t members be in control of their information?

So we built Dwolla, a new network that allows people to exchange money without bringing in the fees of other payment options. We deconstructed the rails, changed the game, and built our own.
How? We removed the threat of credit card fraud, built unique privacy controls, created new security standards, eliminated financial information from transactions, integrated new social technologies, and provided the nation with its lowest-cost sustainable payment network. More importantly, we created a company dedicated to finding and solving pain points.”

Wow, right? (I told you to sit down, silly blog reading person!!).

I love the idea of a company successfully offering an alternative to mega monster banks and especially greedy credit card companies. Theyu just implemented another facet of their service theu are calling “Instant” which gives loans of up to 500.00 without a bunch of inflated fees in real time, hence the name Instant.

Sounds too good to be true, but my instincts tell me this startup is legit and has promise. The press page on their site has hundreds of articles listed, most in very mainstream, venerable publications such as:
Business Insider
NY Times
The Atlantic
Fox Business News
…the list goes on…

Visit their simple and straightforward website to learn more, then spread the word. I mean,  if they have something,  we ought to be trumpeting their name from the highest mountaintops.

Really, have any of you ever tried to deal with Google Checkout as a Merchant or tried to borrow just a small amount of cash for a short period of time? Still waiting to hear about that loan, right? Can’t believe the fees on every payment you receive from a customer with a credit card? Still waiting to get an answer from Google Checkout’s Customer Service? Yeah, me too…
Their site’s URL is
I might just sign up…

The Dog Whisperer and I Have Something In Common

This post is about dogs portraits, dog whisperers, and an artist / dog trainer named Lesley Zoromski.

One day while at work at Skylark Images, a ball of energy named Lesley Zoromski stopped by to check out our services-or rather, she slowed down, switching speeds from fast to normal for a few minutes. I doubt that there is a stop button on that girl.

Lesley showed my colleague and I her work, and requested a scan.We started talking about dogs,  as her “piece” was a beautiful delicate portrait of a dog. It was so realistic and full of personality; it was really wonderful.

Lesley told me about her dog, Cricket and I introduced her to Syd, who came over to say hello. Lesley had an immediate rapport with my dog, and for good reason. Turns out, she is also a dog trainer at a very reputable, high-end canine training facility in town.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago; Lesley came into Skylark as she has every few months, but this time she came for a special reason-to present me with a pastel portrait of The Bean, her first pastel work. Honestly, I knew about the portrait and I knew she would create a wonderful  portrait for me. I was wrong. What she made is truly awesome, colorful and true, my dog laughing right off of the paper as if alive once again. Wow.

see it now

Ms Zoromski also had other portraits for us to scan, including one of Junior, one of The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan’s dogs. She told me she hoped to present the portrait to Cesar personally at a conference in LA in a few weeks. No, it was not a commission, just a gift accompanied by a hope that she would be able to express to Cesar personally what his work has meant to her.

Judging from the pictures Lesley sent me, I would say she succeeded. Have a look at that excited, happy, and almost star struck gal on the right.

Looks like junior liked the portrait as well.


Photographs © Darrell Zoromski and are being used with the permission of the photographer.

So Cesar and I have a Lesley Zoromski original work in common-Sydney in pastel, Junior rendered in colored pencil.

Looking at Sydney dancing and laughing that sunny day I can’t resist  putting words in Sydney’s mouth: ” Hey Cesar, Dog Whisperer, train this.”


 © Sara Silver Photographer 2011

My Therapy is a Photo Scrapbook

This has helped me. I have to give a little plug to Mixbook where I made this personal book. The best photo book editor I have ever encountered online or otherwise.

You are welcome to see what Mixbook can do- click on the book cover and flip through my book, or take advantage of one of their incredibly good promotions like a free printed photo book when you sign up.

Photo of book cover

Sydney in Dreamland

Sydney in Dreamland

This is a very short and silly iMovie, my first, and features the mind of my 18 + year-old puppy, Sydney, a 1960s tv clip, and awesome sound effects. Really. (Would I lie?)
Note (July 7 2010)
Pup-A Roo Syd has been diagnosed with cancer and while she still acts like she could live forever (that was my plan) she actually has very little time.
Sorry for the downer. The movie will cheer you up, I hope. It does give me cheer.

Originally uploaded by sara silver

Bent Out of Shape Over Copyright Thievery?

You should be!

This is a subject  similar to one I  wrote about a few months ago -losing your intellectual property rights by signing them away online. It’s a  different side of the same cube – having your written content, designs, photos, (“stuff”) stolen and used without attribution or remuneration.

It happens all of the time, not in a small way due in part to the internet’s vast and unrestricted frontier atmosphere. That, and some people are

  • unaware of intellectual property rights. or
  • pretty sure no one will ever find out, or
  • thieves

To read a very clear and concise article on this subject, please visit Freelance Switch . A really informative website and well worth a visit.