Pepperoni Roses

These are literally a spiral of pizza joy! Once you start serving these they will disappear faster than you can make more. The following list will make 16 pieces. Ingredients 1 Box, frozen Puff Pastry – I prefer Pepperidge Farm 1 can pizza sauce – I prefer Don Peppino Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – I prefer[…]

spice

The Spice Of Life

They say variety is the spice of life.

Back in October I had the pleasure of being a part of a variety show here in Charlotte North Carolina. called Chevy Does Charlotte.

The name might suggest it has something to do with cars, but in fact “Chevy” is a person, and she is the organizer of this event which occurs 2-3 times a year here in the Queen City. She is the one at the beginning of the video introducing me.

The show was made up of musicians, poets, comedians, an expert on local paranormal activity and yours truly… a storyteller.

The theme of the event was “Do you believe?” My story was titled, “Do you believe diamonds are forever?” It isn’t what you think, but to find out you’ll have to watch the video. […]

Podcast

And Now For Something Completely Different

If you’ve ever watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus, then you know where from the title comes. For more than four years, the pages of this blog have been filled with mostly writing, and a smattering of video. Today I bring you something else entirely, a serial story podcast.

Earlier this year I began doing some performance work with a new creative group called Cartage Theatre which produces live radio plays complete with hands-on sound effects.

This experience led to me being asked to perform on a this serial podcast about a gumshoe detective named Samwell Sift in a zombie apocalypse. We rehearsed and recorded this summer, and now it is available to listen on several platforms (see links below). […]

College

Already Gone

This coming Monday morning at 6:00am, we are taking our oldest child to college. With fewer than forty-eight hours to go, I am sitting in the silence of our house at 6:30 on Saturday morning. All four of our children are sleeping snug in their beds, all under one roof; an era drawing quickly to a close.

As the first day of college has crept up, I have been asked things like:

  • “How are you going to handle it?”
  • “Are you ready for this?”
  • “Do you think you’ll cry?”
  • “How hard is it going to be to drive away from your baby?”

My response to these questions has been little more than a shrug, not because I am a callous, uncaring father… just the opposite in fact. […]

Parenting

Free Range Parenting

Last week the Utah state legislature passed a new law. I don’t know its official name, but in the news it is being referred to as the Free Range Parenting Law. Essentially, this law frees parents to decide for themselves when it is appropriate to let their children do things like: play alone in the yard, walk alone to and from school, wait alone in a car, and (imagine this) play in a public park without direct adult supervision.

What is funny about this new law is that it does not nullify older laws… instead it codifies rights parents have always had. Rights that have been slowly eroded over decades by flawed assumptions, news-fueled hysteria, and flat out paranoia.

In this age of “helicopter parenting” American society has been convinced threats to children are everywhere. Furthermore, anything less than 100% parental monitoring is at worst tantamount to handing your child over to an abductor/abuser/murderer, or at best blatant neglect. […]

shoes

Shine Your Shoes

Several weeks ago I had an in-person job interview. After successfully navigating a qualifying phone interview with HR, and another phone interview with the hiring manager, I was invited to travel 150 miles to the company HQ to meet with the whole team. This was to be the third of four interviews before they would be making a final decision.

As many of my readers know, my family moved from Western NY, to Charlotte NC late last year for my wife’s work. To do this, I had to leave my job but I wasn’t worried. I’ve always been good at finding jobs commensurate with my skills and value. After spending a few months getting the kids and the house settled I set out to find my next gig, but I ran into something rather unexpected. […]

Paper

Paper Don’t Crash

“Modern marketing is all about automation.” I don’t completely agree with this statement, but if you spend any time reading about how companies communicate with customers in 2017 you will discover how “marketing automation tools” play a major role.

What is “marketing automation” you ask? Well, this humble blog uses a bunch of it. Many of you came to this post today via a link on Facebook or Linkedin. Those posts are scheduled and executed using an automated social media tool called Hootsuite.

If you signed up to receive new posts via email, then you likely reacted to a “scroll box” popup, and then the email you received was sent out using an automated platform called MailChimp. Google Analytics collects and tabulates all the traffic and visit data, which I use to adjust how I use all the other tools.

Like any other, these tools don’t actually do anything by themselves, they require content, strategy and a purpose. Clearly if you’re reading this… they’re working.

That said, sometimes the most effective way of keeping your name, brand, product, (or blog) in the forefront of the mind of your audience, can be a simple as a piece of paper. […]

Egg Salad

Egg Salad and Bug Juice

There is this idea within the American Dream, where each generation is destined to do “better” than the previous. While a noble (but potentially selfish) goal, things get a little murky when you try and define “better.” Does better mean more money and in turn more stuff? Perhaps better means more leisure and family time or a lower level of work stress? Maybe better means more (or fewer) children, better nutrition, and a longer life?

The bottom line is this… “better” is subjective and although one can tie nearly all the things above to more money, the availability of money and the conveniences it brings may not necessarily produce the “better” you’re after. […]

tool

The Most Powerful Tool

I got yelled at on Tuesday. I was at my son’s spring track meet and as he tried to pole vault over a seven foot bar, I took a “live photo” with my iPhone 6s. A “live photo” is a funky thing my phone does where when you take a picture, the phone records 1.5 seconds of video both before and after the moment I pressed the button… pretty cool.

As you can see in the video below, he almost made it over. So, being an interested (and data driven) Dad, I walked over to show my son his vault with the idea he might correct his mistakes on his next attempt. […]

Who Wants To Be In My New Book?

Every so often I run across a story of true selflessness. These are stories about people who go above and beyond to “do the right thing,” even though for many reasons it doesn’t make sense.

You all know the kind of story I am talking about. Someone sees an opportunity to help someone or something, and despite the risks to his or her own well being, reputation or personal safety, they plow ahead and do it anyway.

My next book is tentatively titled There’s Less Traffic on the High Road and it will be filled with stories like this – stories of risk, reward, noble kindness and ultimately human triumph. I have several tales ready to tell, but this is where I need your help. […]

problem

First World Problem

As we head into spring I am reminded of a task for which I used to be responsible. For fourteen wonderful years, we owned our home on Hillrise Drive in Penfield, NY and with it the pool in the back yard. Having recently moved to North Carolina, I expect I will be missing my pool any day now. That said, the ownership of a shimmering blue hole in the ground taught me a lesson I use nearly every day.

I recognize that ownership of a swimming pool of any kind is a luxury, unique to our blessed and (to be completely honest) wealthy country. With 780 Million people the world over lacking access to clean water, it seemed almost cruel for me to keep 32,000 gallons of the stuff in my backyard for solely recreational purposes. […]

Best

Fiona Knows Best

About five years ago, my friend Fiona moved to South Dakota. She and I became friends working together on a local TV show almost a decade before, and we would get together maybe once a year for lunch, that was at least until she moved. Fiona is one of those people who you don’t see often, but when you do you’re able to pick up right were you left off, as if no time had passed at all.

Two years ago, I was driving back to Rochester from a day in Buffalo and my phone rang. It was Fiona, and she said, “Hey Steve. I have this new philosophy about far away friends. Whenever I think about them I don’t wait, I just pick up the phone and call or text them. I was thinking about you a few minutes ago so here I am giving you a call. How are you?”

We chatted for fifteen minutes, about nothing in particular, and went on with our lives… 1,500 miles apart.

[…]

waffles

Waffles Are For Breakfast

The other day I dropped my eleventh-grader off to take the PSAT. As we drove the mile and a half to the high school, I blurted out the one thing I remember from my SAT prep course thirty years ago. “Scan-Discard-Select-Move On.”

In addition to all the content we covered, this was the lion’s share of the strategy I was taught, to conquer this all-important measure of my seventeen-year-old brain.

After exclaiming the one thing I remembered from three decades past, my daughter (as is often the case) looked at me like the alien creature she believes me to be. However after wiping the sour look off her face she asked, “tell me more about that.” […]