STATE OF THE ONION ADDRESS 2017!! (lots of wordybits!!)
😊😊😊 HIDEY-HO, FRIENDLYFRIENDS!! 😊😊😊
Yup!! A big, gigantical shanksh to you for being the bestest friendlyfriends a gentleman puppy plus his baby sisterperson could everever hope for!! Seriousface, guys!! It is only 'cuz of YOU that me plus Mirabelle plus Mum plus Pop share our picturestories plus wordybits on the 'puterbox!! It means lots'nlots to us that you come visit, plus that is how come we like to say shanksh, plus tell you how much we LUVLUVLOVE you guys allatimes!! For reals!!
So... every yeartimes we stop everythings to do talkings 'bout how the last yeartimes went, plus what we are thinkingthoughts will maybe happen for this shinynew yeartimes too!! Yup!! That times in NOW, everybuddy!! Now is when I am making my STATE OF THE ONION ADDRESS!! You will see!!
So get soopercomfy, grab some treats, plus maybe somethings to slurp on, then skootch in real close 'cuz this is gonna be a DOOZY!!
All set!!?? Awesometimes!! Here we GO-GO-GO!!
Like I was sayings... what I am mostly wanting to say to alla you guys is… SHANKSH. Yes. For… everythings. From the basement of my HappyHeart, I luvluvlove you guys. Sooperlots, even. Mirabelle too. She says it allatimes, guys. I am not even joshing. We have lotsa HappyHeartHugs with extra lovings for you guys ‘cuz you put lotsa Happy in our Hearts, plus you say so many soopernice wordybits to us, plus you come visit allatimes, plus you send us letterlopes plus boxalopes plus some of you guys even come to visit us at our 'partmenthouse so's we can be inthesameplacefriends!! That is AMAYZAZING!! Basically you make everythings we do every daytimes waymorebetter waymorehappier, plus waymorefunner too. Yup.
Okeedoke!! For me, that’s a ‘bout it, guys!! Ha ha!! Yes!! I have lotsa sooperawesome thinkingthoughts 'bout what will maybe happen in the 2017times, butt now is the times for letting Mum plus Pop tell you guys alla ‘bout what happened for the 2016times, plus what we reallyreallyreeeeeeeeeeeeelly wanna do for the 2017times too, K? K!!
So here is... MUM plus POP!! ………
Hello from Mum plus Pop!!
It still feels a little odd to address everyone directly like this, but both of us appreciate our annual tradition of being able to open up to Archie's friends and to give you a glimpse "behind the curtain" of all things Brindleton. We'd like to reflect on 2016 and then give you some insights into how we see 2017 unfolding as well. We have new goals and more importantly, we have a new philosophy that will help inform how we make our way through this new and very different year ahead.
For starters, we can’t tell you how much it means to us that you take so much of an interest in, and obvious care of both Archie and Mirabelle. In fact, we are constantly surprised by how emotional we get when Archie and Mirabelle receive your messages and letters and CARE PACKAGES! It is very difficult to describe the feelings we both get when we watch how you interact with our canine kids. It’s a real gift and we are very, very grateful for it.
So… where are we, and where are we going?
All in all, 2016 was a pretty good year. It certainly wasn't without its challenges, but it was much improved over our very difficult 2015. We both agree this was a "rebuilding" year and in the end we feel that we are now in a position to start a number of new projects that should reward us with more cashflow and security than we've felt in a while. There new opportunities will require a lot of time and effort, but we also are determined to slow down a bit and to find more time to reflect and to simply enjoy life as it happens. 2015 was rough and in 2016 we were working very hard to dig ourselves out of trouble. In 2017, we want to create more, connect more, and if possible, spend more time just being a family doing family-only stuff. We hope that if it seems like we are not as active, you can understand that is not exactly the case, but it is true that we need to make more time to just be close to one another and enjoy what we have, while we have it. It's going to be a busy year and we have to do everything we can to make sure we all stay happy and healthy. Otherwise... what's the point?
Late last year, Mum launched WITH LOVE STUDIOS, and that is going very well. Her work got a lot of attention very quickly and although it was never meant to be a company that worked with corporate clients, her personal and technical skills attracted contracts with organizations such as The Canadian Mental Health Association anyway. Mum partnered with Archie's AUNTIE N and it seems like a pretty sure bet that their young company will continue to gain more interest and business in 2017. If you know anyone who is getting married and would like the event filmed in such a manner that they will want to watch it every day (this is actually happening), tell them about WITH LOVE STUDIOS. Rest assured they will NOT be disappointed.
Similarly, Pop has been working on a new venture as well.
It's early yet, but if all goes well he will be able to start doing business as SIGHTHOUND STUDIO no later than mid-2017.
There's not much we can say publicly yet, but he has completed the new logo, and we are proud to unveil it here for the very first time:
Of course, our big news was moving to a new apartment in the building right next door to where we lived previously. That would suggest it would be much easier than some moves, but truthfully it was a ton of hard work and it really wore us out. Both Mum and Pop got fiercely ill during that same period, one at a time, and so everything moved much slower than we would have liked it to. It was a crazy idea to move during the Holidays, but in the end, we really love our new home and we know the kids do too. More room, more light, and a sense of some positive forward momentum we feel we've been missing for a while.
For those of you who would like to stay in touch, our new address is:
473 Baker Street
London, Ontario, Canada
Now let's have a look at what's been going on in Archie and Mirabelle's world:
Not much has changed on Facebook. Our "LIKES" continue to crawl upward, but not at the rate we enjoyed during the heyday before the new algorithm was introduced in 2015. For those who don't know, Facebook introduced a new algorithm that changed how pages like Archie's could be shared with facebook users. It was also was designed to encourage people to PURCHASE likes because free, organic growth all but stopped overnight. We went from 100-200 likes a day, to something around 10 a day. We experimented with buying likes, but discovered quickly that this kind of follower is not at all loyal anyway, and that they just drop back off again very quickly.
We also discovered that if Archie's followers don't interact with his Facebook posts daily (meaning if you do not like or leave a comment every day), then eventually Facebook will decide that they are no longer interested in Archie and remove him from their newsfeed.
We get messages all the time that include some variation of "WHERE'D YOU GO!!?" "YOU DISAPPEARED ON ME!!" and that kind of thing. It's very frustrating because we know for a fact that many of Archie's followers are what they call "LURKERS" who simply want to read his posts, but do not want to comment or LIKE anything, and we have no problem with that, but Facebook cannot track people like that, so their algorithm punishes both them and Archie for a lack of more open interaction. And that's not cool with us.
More importantly, we discovered that we can't count on Facebook preserving old posts. Some of our favourite older posts have begun disappearing and there's nothing we can do about that. They are gone forever. We have all of his photos in storage, but his and your comments are gone. We're not sure why and we won't ever know, because Facebook won't ever comment on policies like that. That was why Archie launched his blog (archiebrindleton.com) and why his stories are posted there first and then go to Facebook to appear on his wall. It's the ONLY way we can control and protect his work.
During the chaos of our move over the holidays we also discovered that Facebook does not like how often Archie posts and "discourages" users like Archie who post more than once or twice a day by lowering their "reach". That means if Archie posts too often, his posts reach fewer people yet again, making the extra effort pointless. That is also frustrating, but we think we've sorted out what to do next.
NOTE: We have NO PLANS TO LEAVE FACEBOOK, but we aren't going to bother fighting with their algorithm either:
Archie will now post TWICE DAILY on Facebook and shortly will launch his long overdue NEWSLETTER that we think will go out every weekend. MAYBE. We'll see how much work that is. He may post a few "special" posts mid-day on Facebook, but for the most part, GOODMORNINGTIMES and NIGHTYNIGHTIMES work best.
The HappyFunTimes Newsletter:
Which brings us to the long-overdue newsletter.
Archie has been doing a LOT of work here to learn this new method of communication and we hope he'll be able to send out the first issue very soon. Many bloggers have them and several of our favourites send out a short newsletter every week. Archie would like to do that as well if at all possible for a couple of reasons: Firstly he's been taking weekends off (which has been wonderful for our family's health and happiness) and a newsletter that gets sent out every Friday or Saturday would help fill in the communication gap over the weekend. ALSO... this would be our best way of guaranteeing Archie can communicate with everyone who wants to hear from him, without any chance of us "disappearing" on them. As long as you sign up, you can be guaranteed that Archie will send you new content without having to constantly seek him out yourself. And he can restart some of the more labour-intensive articles like "NAME THAT PICTUREMOVIE" at a slower, more easily managed pace. Ultimately, we've been slow to launch because we didn't want Archie to duplicate his work by posting the same things on his blog, his Facebook page AND the newsletter, but everything seems to suggest that fewer, simpler posts on Facebook supported by a weekly newsletter that summarizes the week and also features fresh, unique content will work really well and be pretty fun to boot. We shall see!!
Archie's "long-form" storytelling style isn't well suited to instagram because it's a platform that focuses mostly on IMAGES (and more recently VIDEO), but we hope to do better on this platform this year because Mum is stepping up her game as a photographer. The quality of the image is very important on Instagram, so if we employ her new skills and equipment to create fun, unique content specifically for Instagram that is also very high-quality, then we think that will be much more rewarding for his followers there. These images will then be featured in the newsletter in a regular gallery, so that anyone who does not have an Instagram account can enjoy them as well.
Twitter remains the most elusive social media platform for us, and we know we just don't perform very well here. Partly because again, Archie's style is not well captured in so few characters, but also because we have a limited amount of time to help Archie broadcast on all these different channels and this one gets ignored first. BUT.... we do think that Archie's professional exploits as FIRE SAFETY DOG and as a THERAPY DOG would likely do well here, so he is planning on using his Twitter account to help support those efforts specifically. Wish him luck!
Fire Safety Dog for the London Fire Department:
What a huge honour it was to be asked to collaborate with the LFD in the spring of 2016!
All of us have been loving the experience and look forward to doing much more with the department in 2017. There are no specific plans just yet, and the cold months seem to be much less active, but once the department begins it's Fire Prevention Program for 2017, we'll jump at the chance to participate, so count on seeing much more of Archie in uniform visiting special sites like Malls, high-profile businesses, schools and anywhere else that the LFD can reach their audience with Fire Safety Messaging. If you have not seen him in uniform yet, take a moment to click the link below. You'll be happy you did!
Therapy Dog HappyHeartMissions:
This volunteer service remains very important to all of us in the "Brindlebunch". Last year Archie was asked to visit MCCORMICK HOME every month and that relationship is going very well. It's impossible to describe how rewarding it is and we are very thankful for the chance to go in and have Archie's unique charm warm the hearts of folks who can really use it. More recently he was asked to also visit MCGARRELL PLACE, another long-term care facility and Archie will begin his routine in that home for the first time later this month! We are very excited and look forward to making this a regular event just like it is at MCCORMICK HOME.
The really big news however is that Archie was approached by the WESTERN UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT and asked to work for them as their in-house Therapy Dog! Mental Illness has become an epidemic worldwide and colleges and universities all over North America are admitting that many students are having much more trouble than was typically the case in years past. For example, at WESTERN UNIVERSITY (located here in London, Ontario) 2,000 students reached out for help in 2012, but over 10,000 students requested help in 2014. And several have been lost to suicide. It's a serious issue and we are all very excited to participate in one part of a much larger program designed to tackle and diffuse this alarming trend.
So...in 2017 students will be able to make appointments with "Doctor Archie" and sit with him in small groups (or one-on-one in special cases), to DE-STRESS. It's a well known fact that people feel much more comfortable opening up and relaxing with a pet, than they do with any human, and this kind of therapy can often represent a very important first step in getting someone in trouble the support that they need. Archie visited the Western Engineering Student Lounge already and was invited to bring Mirabelle with him, so although Mirabelle's excitable personality is not well suited for most Therapy Dog interactions, the students loved her saucy attitude and it was great fun for all of us!
There's also talk of having Archie organize DOOP-DEE-DOOP NATURE WALKS with groups of students, so that again, we can encourage them to slow down, disconnect from their phones, and reconnect with nature on healthy hikes through the beautiful wooded areas behind the university. Archie is of course VERY excited to explore this concept further and we hope we get a chance to illustrate how valuable spending quiet time with "THE NATUREMAMA" can be for anyone, but especially for those who are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious for whatever reason.
Archie did launch his CafePress shop and a bunch of product was sold over the holidays (THANK YOU EVERYONE), so Archie plans on expanding the merchandise line and will, at some point, open up a ZAZZLE shop as well. Stay tuned!!
Truth be told this is NOT a significant income stream for us, at least not YET, but it is fun and we love that so many of you want to bring a piece of Archie and Mirabelle into your home, or share them as gifts, so we will continue to help Archie develop his product line, but because we can't afford the time to buy, pack, ship and invoice everything that gets sold, we end up giving the VAST majority of the money earned to CafePress and Zazzle to take care of everything for us. We hope that at some point this will maybe help offset the costs of Archie's many endeavours, but for now..... it's just fun.
And that is about it, everyone!! Looking back at this massive post it seems like a LOT, and truthfully Archie keeps us very busy, but it really is important to us that you all understand how blessed we feel for having Archie, Mirabelle AND YOU in our lives. It's not just worth the effort, it literally makes every other part of our lives better. Archie has proven to us over and over again that the more you give, the more you get in return.
Our plan moving forward is really simple: to do more with less. Yes, we plan on doing even more with Archie this year, but we also plan on doing LESS at times too. Not because we don't absolutely love the incredible experiences that Archie makes possible, but because we recognize now, after doing this for several years (AMAZINGLY!!) that we also need time to just be a family. And to do absolutely nothing. We need to preserve those quiet moments and to give ourselves a chance to enjoy and appreciate all that we have. We may not have a lot of money, but we are rich in other ways and we are very, very thankful for that.
Thank you again, everyone. We know that 2017 has already proven to be challenging for many people and it's hard to deny that there is a lot of anxiety, dread and fear in the world right now, but after spending years with Archie and Mirabelle, and having THEM teach US about what is really important, I promise you that if we are kind to ourselves and each other, if we take good care of ourselves and each other, and if we keep our hearts filled with HAPPY, this year can be a wonderful experience for us all. So let's stick together, K? K!! 😊💜
Nightynightimes and HappyHappyWeekendtimes to all!!
H💜 H💜 H💜