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203 Birth of Lutume – A New Business

Lutume booth at arts show with a sample of handmade ceramic planters

Mark talks about the energy, planning, and hard work that has gone into starting a new family business, Lutume, a retail mobile and web boutique selling handmade, one-of-a-kind ceramic art. He discusses the importance of marketing, using writing, visuals, name selection, a website, networking, and well-made promotional items to build and promote the brand. Adele asks him about the value of online or print advertising. They talk about Mark and his wife’s experience selling as artisans at a large farmer’s market, and why they do not offer “sale” prices. Adele asks what some of the adjustments were they had to make in response to feedback gained from their experience of selling at various events. Mark explains how he has helped one of his clients, Diaz Gates, grow that business substantially by applying some of the same principles used to build Lutume. Mark plans to invite Diaz Gates on the show for an interview in an upcoming episode.

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202 From Los Angeles to Rural Montana

Melstone Montana on Highway 12

Mark and Adele have a conversation about life in the tiny rural Montana town where Adele lives and works. Adele explains why she loves small-town life on the edge of the prairie, and how much she did not love the daily Los Angeles commute she left behind. Even though you have to drive a couple or several hours to get “somewhere,” like for shopping in Billings, or sightseeing in Yellowstone Park, it’s worth it to live in this remote area of Eastern Montana, often referred to as the “last best place” and “God’s country.” The sky is endless and everyone is friendly. Unlike in the City, people you pass on the street actually take the time to stop and talk. Neighbors always help neighbors, because otherwise survival in the harsh weather extremes would be difficult. And the natural landscape is a photographer’s dream. [Recorded March 2015]

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– Mark and Adele are back with new episodes for 2015! In this episode they talk about how busy they have each been with many new projects over the past months which will be the topics for some very interesting upcoming conversations on Oyster900. Mark shares a tip for businesses and individuals who are struggling in this uncertain economy: Don’t give up! Get creative. Expand your existing business or diversify and create a new one. Look for much more on this subject to come.


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002 Adele’s Garden

Adele talks about growing veggies and herbs in the unseasonably warm California winter in a yard with limited light, and shares a tip for an unusual party gift for baby shower guests. Mark talks about shopping at farmers markets in the Pasadena area for a great selection of produce and specialty mushrooms.

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012 Tips for Starting a New Business

Mark and Adele discuss steps for starting a new business with limited resources, using a hypothetical example of a cupcake company. They discuss naming, branding, budget, pricing, and maketing. A website with a good domain name and professional writing is a must-have, along with a social media strategy, because “social media is the wave of the future today.” Adele talks about how a creative business, like a writing or photography service may be different. Mark describes how he helps clients brand their business by partnering with them to discover and develop a complete concept, vs. design firms that may just provide graphic design only.

Mentioned in this episode:
Avidero Photography

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011 One Year of Green Drink

– Mark shares his personal story about making and consuming 2 liters or more per day of green drink for 365 consecutive days, about 750 liters total. He talks about buying organic or spray-free fresh produce at the farmers market and about the juicing process using his Omega Juicer and Vitamix. As a cyclist, Mark may ride 60 miles in a day around the Los Angeles area, at a full speed of 19-21 MPH. Drinking the green drink beforehand gives him energy for these rides and for long hikes. He talks about his commitment to trying the green drink, which began when Adele asked him for some recipes to include in a book about walking for exercise. He started with 20 days, which he logged in a diary, then increased his goal to 30 days, then to one year, without missing a single day of green drink. In fact, Mark says he juices more than he showers (although he claims that he does shower on a regular basis!). When Adele asks him what he puts in his green drink, Mark explains that he uses mostly vegetables (kale, cucumbers, beets, carrots, and whatever is available), some fruit (for instance, fresh pineapple, apples, blueberries), and no ice or water. He cautions anyone thinking about trying to do this to start with “baby steps,” because he himself did not start slow and he thought at first that he might have overdone it to the point where his system wasn’t going to be able to handle it. All turned out well, though, and he is healthy, happy, and very fit after 365 days. Adele reiterates that anyone thinking of making extreme changes to their diet should always check with their doctor first. Mark talks a little about how his palate and diet have changed. His weekend diet is mostly raw vegan, although he eats chicken and turkey on other days of the week. He recounts a recent trip up to San Rafael to photograph a friend’s family’s wedding, and how he transported the green drink for traveling, and was so full, and was enjoying photographing the special day so much, that he barely had an appetite for dinner and breakfast. Mark talks about how now he enjoys salad greens without salad dressing, and that he is losing his taste for cooked food, something he is not necessarily happy about. He doesn’t go out to eat as much, but he does not intend to live his life just drinking green drink without eating other foods. Adele asks about the difference between juicing and blending, and Mark explains that his green drink is “like water” and not like a smoothie, because he juices the vegetables and discards the pulp, using as much as he can for compost in the yard.

Mark refers to an experience related to the green drink, that he is unable to talk about in a recording without breaking up, so he shares it here in the notes:

“Committing to drinking green drink for a year was something I did not want to share during the 365 days of the process. The only time that I wanted to share this experience was when I came across someone who I realized needed help and I felt that this information would help them along the way. This was my only exception. And believe me… I came across that road once in the supermarket, when I was able to share this information and put a smile on someone’s face. To me, it may have helped in saving a life. A lady in the vegetable section in the supermarket was was standing there, not knowing what to do. She was just watching me fill my cart with produce. When she approached me, she told me why she was there. She was sent by her husband who had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. She was told to go to the market to buy vegetables for him so he could start converting to a veggie diet. I immediately shared with her everything that I had learned up to that date about green drink. She walked away with a huge smile that she didn’t have when I first came across her path. For me personally, it was the best feeling I had ever had.”

More information:

Omega Juicers
Sprouts Farmers Market
South Pasadena Farmers Market

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010 Reconsidering the Long Daily Commute

– In this episode Mark brings up the issue of people who have extra long daily commutes because they work 40, 50, even 85 miles from where they live. Mark does the math to show how living near where you work could actually save money in gas, wear and tear on your car, and insurance, even if renting a home closer to your workplace would cost more than where you live now. They talk about other benefits of a shorter commute, such as being able to get back to your family or pets quicker in an emergency.  Adele saves time and money by telecommuting, although Mark notes that’s not possible for everyone. He drives only a few miles to his office, about 6,000 miles a year, and wishes he could drive even less. His business is not such that he can work out of his home. Adele talks about the need for separating work and home life, even if you’re a telecommuter. She also notes that it isn’t always feasible to move closer to a job, but they both agree that the goal for everyone should be to drive less, walk more, and ride a bicycle when possible.

More information:
Find local gas prices for your area at

Find walkable communities at

According to the American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau) Report, “Out-of-State and Long Commutes” at

  • Among U.S. workers who did not work at home, 8.1 percent had commutes of 60 minutes or longer in 2011.
  • An estimated 61.1 percent of workers with “long commutes” [60 minutes or longer] drove to work alone, compared with 79.9 percent for all workers who did not work at home.
  • The national average travel time is 25.5 minutes
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009 Drive Less and Walk More

– Mark and Adele talk about the benefits of walking vs. driving, including for exercise, health, mental health and happiness, and for discovering new people and places you may have driven by many times in the past without really seeing them. Mark talks about managing to get in walking time on his treadmill when his regular walking routine was disrupted recently by heavy rains. Mark doesn’t use a pedometer when he walks. He notes that he does keep track of cycling miles when he rides, and that some form of measuring is important to setting and achieving personal goals. Adele describes walking (and bicycling) years ago before she owned a car. Mark, an avid cyclist who pedals up to 800 miles a month around Los Angeles, considers riding a bicycle to the office in the future. Adele mentions that due to new bike lanes on city streets, riding a bike in traffic is safer now, and how there is a movement across the U.S. to make communities more walkable and bikeable. Mark talks about a bicycling coalition in the San Gabriel Valley, Bike San Gabriel, and plans to invite a representative as a guest on the show. Mark also talks about walking with his better half (wife!) a couple miles from Alhambra to South Pasadena to enjoy local shops and restaurants, and then being able to hop on the Metro train at the South Pasadena station if they want to expand the area they cover and visit interesting places like Chinatown. Adele encourages Oyster900 listeners to take a walk to somewhere they normally drive to, and then share their experiences. Wrapping up, the message is: Drive less, Walk (and Bike) More!

Mentioned in this episode:
Bike San Gabriel,

Metro Gold Line, South Pasadena Station
805 S Meridian Av, South Pasadena 91030
Nearby Free Parking (Independent) – 120 Spaces
14 Bike Rack Spaces

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008 Mushrooms are Growing in the Closet!

– Adele sheds light on what’s growing in her closet, oyster mushrooms. She talks about her recent trip to the Los Angeles County Arboretum for the 2014 Wild Mushroom Fair, presented by the Los Angeles Mycological Society. Adele and Mark discuss the meaning of mycology (the study of mushrooms) and talk about underground mycellial networks. They reiterate how you should never, ever pick and eat a wild mushroom until an expert identifies it as safe, because edible and poisonous varieties can look almost identical. They talk about the many uses for mushrooms, including dried mushrooms in Asian cooking, homemade mushroom soup, fabric dye, and cleanup of toxic pollutants from oil spills and urban stormwater runoff. They make a plan to visit the South Pasadena Farmers Market and the mushroom vendor booth there, and also to invite a local mycologist as a guest speaker in a future episode.

Mentioned in this episode:
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden,

Los Angeles Mycological Society,

North American Mycological Society,

Gary Lincoff, teacher of classes on mushroom identification at the New York Botanical Garden, and author of many books on mycology, including The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms

Armillaria solidipes, the “humongous fungus” in the Malheur National Forest, Oregon, known to be one of the largest living organisms in the world [Wikipedia]

South Pasadena Farmers Market, every Thursday in historic South Pasadena by the Metro Gold Line at South Pasadena Station

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Episode 007 How to Start a Business When You’re Unemployed

– In this episode, Mark and Adele respond to listener questions about the advantages of audio podcasting, how to subscribe to our podcasts through iTunes and on the web, and how we achieve good sound quality in the Oyster900 studio (which doesn’t have soundproof walls!). Then, they discuss how everyone has skills that can be useful to start a business, and how unemployment can actually be a good thing if it leads to creating a business. Mark talks about what it takes to brand and market a startup, and describes a success story of one of his clients, Diaz Gates, who will be featured in a future episode.

Mentioned in this episode:
Chefs Center of California, Pasadena, CA (commercial kitchen incubator)
Diaz Gates,

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Episode 006 Eye of the Photographer

– Mark talks about his lifelong passion for photography, the importance of lighting and filters, and his preference for black-and-white composition.  He explains why the photographer’s eye, not the equipment, is the key to capturing the essence of a subject, and that anyone can master photography skills through hard work and practice.

Mentioned in this episode
Shooting with a gopro: “Mt. Lowe Cloudy Day 11.20.13″

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Welcome to Oyster 900 Podcast

– This is our very first episode of the Oyster 900 Show with Mark and Adele. As Mark says, because it’s our very first, it’s kind of rough around the edges. We hope you enjoy getting to know us, though, and stay with us as we continue to bring you more shows about many interesting topics and people.

In this episode, we talk about:

• Why Oyster 900 was created, which was to give a voice to those who have something illuminating and worthwhile to say. The idea grew out of many conversations about marketing, entrepreneurship, writing, graphic design, photography, cycling, hiking, healthy lifestyle choices, growing food, urban vs. small town living, and a whole collection of random topics in no particular order. The power of the Internet made it easy to quickly learn something about anything, and led to new interests and new connections, both virtual and local.

Now it’s time to pay it forward. Oyster900 is a platform to share knowledge, entertain, ask questions, and explore new territory. We’ll talk, but we also want to listen. We will start by recording conversations with a short list of invited guests with various areas of expertise. From there, who knows? Do you have a subject you’d like us to take on?  Do you have a recommendation for an interview? Then please contact us.

• Getting to know us. Mark has an “off-the-wall” sense of humor, and warns everyone not to take his humor personally. Mark discusses expanding the knowledge base by learning from individuals, and connecting, sharing, and learning online. Adele, who is also an internet addict, has been an avid reader of books all her life, and believes that lifelong learning is what life’s all about. We hope that sharing knowledge through the show can be educational and beneficial to our listeners. We want to expand the information that’s out there, and hopefully have a lot of fun.

• Mark talks about how a podcast is another way to learn besides reading – the audience has a sense of personalities by hearing a voice, or they can see a visual [for video podcasts]. Mark is a professional photographer, and prefers visual learning.

• We will be meeting and interviewing people, to share with you what we find interesting. We will have individuals on the show with stories to share that we feel may be beneficial to others. We are interested in all kinds of guests, and look forward to talking to lots of different people, including recording conversations with some seniors whose insights into their experiences will leave a lasting legacy. Adele talks about an old tape recording she found of her grandfather’s voice that was priceless to her.

• Things that are really of interest to us: small businesses, local businesses. Mark talks a little about the rollercoaster ride of being a small business owner for the last 19 years. It is something that he very proud of, and would not trade for anything in the world. He talks about his appreciation of client support, and how podcasts can be a good product for small businesses.

• We talk a little about how we approach rehearsing (Mark doesn’t like to rehearse at all!), about blogging, and about our collaboration process.

• Wrapping it up. Mark states that the key thing is that you can’t go wrong if you’re dedicated, and put your time and heart into what you do. (That is what we hope to do with Oyster 900!). We thank you for listening, and invite you back for next time!