- There are a few of my son’s pieces mixed into the series titled “Little Man Specials.” This was a nod to those parents out there fighting to keep the creative spirit alive. He was captivated by the project and inspired to start plugging away on his own versions.
- I also had some heavy hitters that didn’t quite make the cut… Matt’s, CC Club, Electric Fetus. I can’t remember why exactly they weren’t included. I felt a sense of pressure to get the work out there and be one of the first Minneapolis inspired collections on-chain.
- While there was beauty in the limitations of the 612 pixels, there were also some challenges in getting the landmark at the right scale / perspective.
- There are 12 collectors that have all three.
- There are 21 collectors that have the most recent two.
- A total of 85 collectors have at least one of my birthday tokens.
- There are 8 reservations from 2022 and 7 from 2023 that have not been minted.
- Creating Content: Most notable activities here include writing the introduction, adding any “Currently” topics, taking and setting the picture for the week. Some of these I can do immediately, others I defer until a few days into the week. The writing is done in Drafts.
- Curating Links: I try to curate links and various points through the week, but I have two “deadlines” for the publishing cycle. Links are curated in Pinboard.
- Building and Sending: Content and Links are done, time to build and send. I’ve automated this to be pretty simple. See how I build the Weekly Thing for more.
- Finalizing: After the issue is sent and in peoples mailboxes, I need to do some final activities and most importantly create the project for the next issue.
- Changes: Not having it repeating means I can change and alter any given instance however I like. I might add a special task to one issue, like adding a POAP for the anniversary issue. Or a special section I’m only doing that time.
- Schedule: I may move the due dates for one step or another and I love knowing that will not persist to the next iteration.
- Mint POAP for trip!
- DL2589 from MSP to EWR.
- Massive police incident at Newark.
- AirTran to air train
- Arrived at New York Penn Station
- Took 1/2/3 to Times Square
- Check in to Hyatt Centric
- Left to explore city
- Donuts at Dough
- Nintendo Store (girls underwhelmed)
- St Patrick’s Cathedral
- LEGO Store
- Walk thru Central Park
- Walked to 7th Street Burger
- Giant delicious cookies at Levain
- Beacon Theater for BONO!
- Put our devices in Yonder bags
- Amazing show
- 1/2/3 train back to Times Square
- Return Hyatt centric
- 113 Al’s Breakfast (1 of 2) contributed from thingelstad.eth
- 015 Midtown Global Market (1 of 8)
- 099 Wells Fargo Center (1 of 8)
- 137 Grain Belt Sign (1 of 8)
- 244 Foshay Tower (1 of 8)
- 277 Goldy (1 of 8)
- 368 Capella Tower (1 of 8)
- 432 Riverside Plaza (1 of 8)
- 437 Gold Medal Building (1 of 8)
- 451 Target Headquarters (1 of 8)
- 493 IDS Tower (1 of 8)
- 609 Northrup Chair (1 of 8)
- 197 Campbell Mithun Tower (1 of 9)
- 294 Martin Olav Sabo Bridge (1 of 19)
- 538 Washington Avenue Bridge (1 of 23)
- 346 Basilica (1 of 24)
- 473 Lake Nokomis (1 of 24)
- 522 Bde Maka Ska (1 of 24)
- 564 Lake Hiawatha (1 of 24)
- 416 Minnehaha Falls (1 of 25)
- 111 35W Bridge (1 of 28)
- 207 Lake Harriet (1 of 28)
- 396 Lake of the Isles (1 of 28)
- 401 Hennepin Ave Bridge (1 of 28)
- 555 Cherry and Spoon (1 of 29)
- 118 Guthrie (1 of 32)
- 212 The Walker (1 of 32)
- 275 Stone Arch Bridge (1 of 32)
- 299 Lowry Ave Bridge (1 of 32)
- 349 Witches Tower (1 of 32)
- 509 Lowry Ave Bridge (1 of 32)
- 128 MIA (1 of 36)
In October 2022 I found the 612 Series by Erik Halaas. This NFT collection resonated with me as a Minneapolis resident. I knew nearly all the landmarks and had fond memories of many of them. I decided to purchase five of them, which turned out to just be the start. I also shared the collection with others and even sent one as a gift. Eventually I acquired a complete set of the landmarks and got to know Erik, the creator of the 612 Series and StayNftyMpls. Erik even agreed to donate a collection for Minnestar to give away in a POAP drawing at Minnebar 17.
I had some questions about the 612 Series so I asked Erik if he would be up to do an interview to dive a little deeper. He was happy to, so here we go!
Q: What was your inspiration to create the 612 Series?
A close friend of mine extended a loose invitation to an art opening in NYC in the fall of 2021. Being cooped up in the midst of the pandemic, I was itching for an adventure and didn’t need much of an excuse to hit the road. I loosely heard of art “on-chain” and the growing energy around NFTs but knew nothing of the artist, Jeff Davis co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Art Blocks, or the folks orchestrating the show, Bright Moments a DAO curating, promoting, and producing unforgettable physical showcases centered on creating art live, on-chain, in real life.
NYC would be the 2nd stop on their 10 city journey around the world, an effort to build a thriving community of “CryptoCitizens.” At face value, it was a growing collection of simple and silly pixelated characters but there was something more there. Folks were having powerful shared experiences in person (this meant a lot in 2021), being exposed to seasoned and often unsung artists, and learning together by exploring uncharted territory (e.g. crypto, NFTs, generative art).
Long story short, I left NYC with a strong desire to replicate this energy back home — to dust off my long-dormant creativity quelled by kids and full-time work; to build community with fellow creatives, curators, and collectors; to explore this new world of digital art, NFTs, and the value of content on-chain; but to do it in a way that was specific to my home, Minneapolis. As we waited for the plane, we were talking about the immense pride folks have in the city of Minneapolis and how we might capture it. We joked about “the 612” and something clicked…
What if I made 612 Minneapolis characters? Unique snapshots? Landmarks? What if we leaned into the pixelated energy of the era and confined the creation of each landmark to only being 612 pixels?!
The project was born from there.
Q: How did you pick the landmarks to include? Do you have a favorite?
The first was the Witches Tower — a favorite landmark from my childhood growing up in Prospect Park and one of the most beloved block prints I created years ago. I had played around with a pixelated version of the tower before the NYC happenings. With all that in mind, it is probably one of my favorite 612 Series landmarks.
From the Tower, the landmarks were essentially pulled from personal or shared Minneapolis memories. The city skyline, favorite parks or lakes, iconic bridges, memorable events, concerts, or shows. Whether historic Minneapolis landmarks or simply places I had visited and revisited with family and friends at various points throughout my life, these were all places etched in my memory as representative of home. I thought about crowdsourcing folks for key landmarks but the following for the project just wasn’t there.
A couple of fun notes…
Either way… there are definitely some could’a, should’a, would’a landmarks out there.
612 Series Landmarks: Minneapolis Institute of Art, Guthrie Theatre, Lowry Ave Bridge, Stone Arch Bridge, The Walker, Witches Tower, Cherry and Spoon, I-35W Bridge, Hennepin Ave Bridge, Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, Minnehaha Falls, Basilica of Saint Mary, Bde Maka Ska, Lake Hiawatha, Lake Nokomis, Washington Avenue Bridge, Martin Olav Sabo Bridge, Campbell Mithun Tower, First Ave, Capella Tower, Foshay Tower, Gold Medal Building, Goldy Gopher, Grain Belt Sign, IDS Tower, Midtown Global Market, Northrup Chair, Riverside Plaza, Target Headquarters, Wells Fargo Center, Al’s Breakfast, and The Kid’s House from Purple Rain.
Q: What software and tools did you use to create the series?
Funny enough, the work was all created in Excel. As someone who has traditionally worked with relief block printing as a creative outlet the switch to digital was a stretch and, thanks to work, Excel offered a familiar toolkit. I had also heard of other artists using excel for their work — be it code-based generative art or simply documenting cross-stitch patterns.
I decided to put the project on the Ethereum blockchain because it was something I was familiar with given Bright Moments and ArtBlocks use, and OpenSea, which operates on Ethereum, was growing in popularity at the time, offered a no-code entryway to the market, and supported “lazy minting” which allowed me to put the collection up at no cost by deferring the gas fees associated with minting the piece to the buyer (“minting” is the process of officially writing the piece onto the blockchain).
Q: What plans or ideas do you have to bring the 612 Series beyond pixels? You’ve done some paintings?
I worked with a group of folks a little over a year ago to explore the interplay between digital and physical work. We hosted a dozen local creatives, half of which had a presence on-chain and the other half with no experience with NFTs, crypto, web3, whatsoever. The end result was a curated experience weaving traditional 2D and 3D mediums in with a variety of tech forward, digitally inspired content at the Hewing Hotel gallery. You can learn about the artists and get a flashback via this collection of Instagram Stories. It was a blast!
To highlight the 612 Series, I shared the initial relief block print of the Witches Tower that inspired the imagery for the series alongside an Infinite Object frame displaying a variety of the 612 Series Witches Tower NFTs. The show actually motivated me to revisit the original block printing method but reimagine the landmark in its pixelated form. I have gone on to create a few more of the landmarks in both the original and pixelated block print form (including one for you!) and would love to continue exploring how the pieces can be reimagined in the physical.
Q: If you fast forward a decade how would you like the 612 Series to be thought of?
I took great pride in being the first Minneapolis-centric NFT collection. Part of the importance of that to me was experimenting with blockchain technology and the capacity to track the work over time. Putting the pieces on chain memorialized this moment of creative inspiration and will allow me to track how interest and engagement with the collection grows, changes hands, ebbs and flows, is valued, etc. I know, for example, the exact moment that first piece moved and will know if, when, and loosely to whom that piece is handed off to down the line.
I would love to see this added narrative behind the original work build beyond simply documenting transactions — perhaps a way for holders to document and share the stories, memories, experiences that connected them to each of the landmarks they own. There was some of that starting to take place on social media.
Ultimately, these softer social interactions were the real impetus behind the project: to build community and spark creativity. This has been realized through “in real life” experiences like the show at the Hewing Hotel, collaborations with you at Minnebar 2023, connections with MN Blockchain, and so on.
My hope is that the project will continue to inspire local folks with a shared interest in the arts, technology, and community to connect, collaborate, and create locally!
A big thank you to Erik for creating this series and for sharing more about it. I wonder if we will ever see a 2nd collection of the 612 Series with a new set of landmarks? Or maybe some ability to work with Erik and create a special 1 of 1 for a set of unique landmarks in the 612 Series. How cool would it be in fifty years to see bronze plaques setup at the various landmarks highlighting these early NFTs that commemorate that spot.
Want to own a piece of this collection? There are still many 612 Series collectibles available to buy! 🛍️
A year ago (exactly!) I shared my POAP Wishlist which included three areas that I felt would be great additions to POAP. It is a year later and I still think POAP is a wonderful product, and I continue to issue and collect these proof of attendance tokens.
One of the areas that I called out was Web2/3 Onboarding. Specifically I noted that while token claim codes could be used to reserve a POAP (not minting it), the reservations themselves weren’t actionable. There was no email engagement to encourage the person that reserved it to mint the token. I also highlighted that POAP should make it easier for people that do not otherwise have an Ethereum wallet, and create a non-custodial wallet for them to use instead.
A couple weeks ago I noticed that POAP had a new beta onboarding process so I requested to be part of it, and they activated it for my 52nd Birthday drop. I gave it a try myself and I was excited to see that they had addressed everything I had wished for in this process!
Let’s take a look at the new process!
Just as before, when you get a claim code you are presented with the option to get the token and you can provide a wallet address or Ethereum Name Service (ENS) name to directly mint it. You can also provide an email address to reserve the token to mint in the future.
With the new onboarding process when you provide an email address to reserve the token you get an email informing you of the next steps. Critically it presents options for you to act on!
Smartly they use language that people should easily identify with. Rather than saying “I don’t have a wallet” instead saying “Create an account”. To give this a test I chose to Create an account.
After clicking on this you are presented with a page where you can setup your account, which really means you are creating a brand new wallet address. I love that you can even specify an ENS name. I created thingelstad.onpoap.eth which got a brand new address
Behind the scenes this is powered by Privy to create an embedded wallet. The flow worked really well. After creating my new wallet I was then able to easily mint my POAP directly into that new wallet. Magic! 🪄
So this is great, and for a lot of people that only collect POAPs and do nothing else with crypto this is probably all that they ever need to do. But now that this wallet exists, I wanted to get access to it directly. After creating the wallet POAP send another email and this one includes those steps, and even points you to downloading Rainbow if you don’t know where to start.
I followed the directions, copied my private key, and was able to easily add the new wallet that POAP had created for me into Rainbow. 🌈
I’m incredibly happy about this new onboarding process. I’ve created 58 POAPs and most of my events are distributed to people that have never done anything with Ethereum before. I even created my own how to claim a POAP instructions to give people.
However, even with that it has proven too difficult for most people. With this new process, people will be able to claim and mint POAPs with nothing other than an email address! This is a big deal! I also think there are many crypto native people that may choose to do this as well. I isolate by crypto assets so I keep all my POAPs in an address just for them. Having POAP manage the wallet for me would be an even easier way to do that.
I’m eager for this new onboarding process to be the default and I think I can get rid of my “how to” page and simplify POAP distribution significantly. With this new process, POAP ease-of-use is much improved!
I’ve made it a tradition since my 50th birthday to issue a POAP token for my birthday and share it as a gift from me to others to celebrate the day. I’ve now done this for three years. Each year I’ve used a POAPathon bounty to create the image and have featured a different artist each year. POAP launched POAP Family a while ago and one of the features it has is the ability to show collectors across multiple POAPs. I like how this works when you have a series of events like my birthday POAPs.
I’m often asked about how I create the Weekly Thing and how I’ve been doing it for over six years. People are usually curious about how I find things to write about or how I build the Weekly Thing. However, there is a critical part that is invisible to others but key to the consistency of sending every week for 262 issues — project management!
With the recent rebuild of my automation I needed to update my project template which seemed like a good time to share how I do this. I’m a Getting Things Done practitioner, and my tool of choice for as long as I can remember has been OmniFocus. Everything here is in OmniFocus or supporting automation.
A detail to share on dates and times for the publishing schedule. My target for sending the Weekly Thing is Saturday at 7:00 am CT. If I miss that it’s fine, I can shift things. However, the content cutoff is actually Thursday at 11:59 pm CT and that never changes. This allows me a window from Thursday night to Saturday at 7:00 am CT to publish. One odd side effect of this is that a blog post I publish on Friday will not be in that issues Journal on Saturday, but will wait for the following week. Nobody seems to notice this and it is necessary for me to have the time to do the publishing.
Here is what the project to send Weekly Thing 264 looks like in OmniFocus. The two dates on the right are the defer and due dates. Defer dates are critical for me since they keep things off my plate until they need to be. Note everything in gray is deferred. You can see that right now, there are only three tasks available. I’ve expanded select tasks so that you can see the helper links and text that make things a bit faster for me.
There are four major steps to publishing each issue:
All of these steps are sequential. And the tasks in them are sequential, except for Creating Content which can be done in any order.
This project is not a repeating project. That is the reason for the last step in the project, to create the next project. Why not repeating?
So how do I get the repeating project without doing all the work? Plus, there are tons of date references that need to be calculated, where does that come from? This is where TaskPaper and project templates come to the rescue.
TaskPaper allows me to have a template for sending the Weekly Thing that I can “run” via a Shortcut. You can see the Send Weekly Thing Taskpaper Template for all the details. Take note of two special “tokens” in the template: «Issue» and «Date». These are not part of TaskPaper, but instead two “variables” I handle.
Before I hand OmniFocus the TaskPaper to create the project, I’m going to process those two tokens using a Shortcut. My Send Weekly Thing shortcut will get the “Publish Date” and “Issue Number” from Data Jar. It will set those “variables” in the TaskPaper and the rest of the data offsets are magically handled by OmniFocus. Most critical thing here is making sure I format the «Date» as
yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm aa so that OmniFocus understands it.
The Shortcut also puts a time block on my calendar for Thursday night to send the issue. This is a nice benefit of combining Taskpaper and Shortcuts together.
Creating the Weekly Thing isn’t a single “Send Weekly Thing” task on my list. Instead I’ve focused on “next action thinking” to try and make each component a simple task. Overall this works really well for me. It doesn’t solve writers block, but frees me up to focus on the creative aspects instead of the tasks.
You might be curious how this works when I take my summer or winter breaks? In those cases, I still create the next project for the issue when I come back from break, but then I set the defer date for the whole thing to the week before that issue publishes. I also usually add a housecleaning task to the beginning of that issue to clean out my Safari Reading list and Pinboard Unread links.
Today we held our 5th Annual TeamSPS Kubb Tournament! This event has now become a real tradition and many of our team look forward to playing Kubb together in early fall every year.
We had 16 teams of 6 people, with a full registration of 96 players. Plus plenty of folks came down just to watch, hang out with team members, and cheer on the players.
The great thing about Kubb for a team event is that anyone can play, the game is quick to pick up, and I guarantee you that you are going to meet and talk to the other members of your team. The game is casual, and can be enjoyed by players of any age.
Some of our team really get into it. As the Tournament Director I’m responsible for calling matches, making rulings on anything questionable on the field. It is awesome to see the folks that really git into the spirit of Kubb.
This year we decided to up our game a bit and got 8 custom Kubb sets with SPS colors on the kings, and the logo etched into it. These amazing sets came from JP’s Backyard Games and he threw in some shirts that I got to hand out to some players as well.
It was a great afternoon to Throw Some Wood!
Just like previous years, we had a POAP for the event!
We played three Round Robin matches in four different groups (results at the end), and from the round robin we placed teams into four different brackets. The winners of each bracket got bragging rights for the year, and an awesome medal!
Bracket 1: Lead the Way
EDI Emperors (W) vs. Kubastank
The Kubb Nubbs vs. Kubbless (W)
EDI Emperors (W) vs. Kubbless
Bracket 2: Know More to Be More
Kubbcumbers vs. Simply the Best (W)
Kubbiks Rube vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty (W)
Simply the Best (W) vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty
Bracket 3: Win Today, Win Tomorrow
Ice Kubs (W) vs. Kubb Scouts
Lucky #13 vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W)
Ice Kubs vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W)
Bracket 4: Succeed Together
Kubb on the Cob vs. Kubb Your Enthusiasm (W)
Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W) vs. Kubb 2: Hyperkubb
Kubb Your Enthusiasm vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W)
Round Robin Results
Ice Kubbs (W) vs. Kubbcumbers
Kubb on the Cob vs. EDI Emperors (W)
Kubbcumbers vs. EDI Emperors (W)
Ice Kubbs vs. Kubb on the Cob (W)
EDI Emperors (W) vs. Ice Kubbs
Kubbcumbers (W) vs. Kubb on the Cob
Simple the Best vs. Kubastank (W)
Kubb Scouts (W) vs. Kubb Your Enthusiasm
Simple the Best (W) vs. Kubb Scouts
Kubastank (W) vs Kubb Your Enthusiasm
Kubb Your Enthusiasm vs. Simple the Best (W)
Kubb Scouts vs. Kubastank (W)
Lucky #13 (W) vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You?
The Kubb Nubbs (W) vs. Kubbiks Rube
Lucky #13 vs. The Kubb Nubbs (W)
Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W) vs. Kubbiks Rube
Kubbiks Rube (W) vs. Lucky #13
The Kubb Nubbs (W) vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You?
Kubbless (W) vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash!
Kubb 2: Hyperkubb vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty! (W)
Kubbless (W) vs. Kubb 2: Hyperkubb
Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W) vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty!
Kubb Me Up, Scotty! vs. Kubbless (W)
Kubb 2: Hyperkubb (W) vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash!
Cloudy and started raining at night.
Just claimed the POAP Tyler made for Tammy’s NYC Birthday trip to see Bono and much more. Love it! 🤩
Minnebar, America’s “largest and longest-running technology unconference” was held at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis and dropped POAPs for attendees, presenters, and organizers, as well as a POAP during a session on creating digital community with POAP (LinkedIn post highlighting the POAPs).
I also really like how the POAP images turned out.
Minnebar 17 is coming up on April 22nd! For the first time ever, there will be Minnebar 17 POAPs given to all attendees, presenters, and organizers. I am excited to share that there will also be a free POAP Raffle in partnership with StayNftyMpls for everyone that collects any of the event POAPs.
StayNftyMpls is a supportive community that shares, celebrates, and encourages the creativity of our community by exploring and leveraging NFTs and blockchain technology. Erik Halaas started StayNftyMpls and launched the 612 Series (also on OpenSea) as its first collection.
The 612 Series highlights landmarks around the Twin Cities area — places that many of us have memories and stories to share about. This is a local project, with local landmarks, from a local artist!
This is all completely free and for fun! And there will be thirty-two winners!
The thirty-two 612 Series collectibles are currently in the raffle.Minnebar.eth wallet. The raffle will draw 32 winners at 4:45pm on Saturday, April 22nd. The winners will be given items from the 612 Series as follows:
Once the raffle is completed, each item will be transfered to the respective winners from raffle.Minnebar.eth within three days. No action is required.
Tyler and I commemorated our New York 2023 trip with a special and extremely exclusive POAP! Only two issued. 😊