Texas

Texas Toast

In June of 2013 I was scheduled to run a trade show booth at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Antonio, Texas. At the time I was working for a small educational software developer, and we were right on the cusp of some pretty dramatic success. This show was to be an important step in that process.

When you work for a small company trade show budgets are very small, forcing you to make do with nothing but a few bucks and your wits. You stay in hotels with free breakfast, you eat inexpensive fast food, you don’t expense adult beverages, and when given the choice of a cab or an invigorating walk… you walk. I flew Southwest, so the entire “booth” was stuffed into my two “free” checked bags. […]

cry

It’s Alright To Cry

When I was kid, there was this hippie musical mashup thing called Free To Be You And Me. It wasn’t exactly a proper musical, or an album, or a movie. It was this flowery 1960’s collection of sketches, songs, love and a little propaganda. For example, one of the songs was called “William Wants A Doll.” Looking back, it was rather progressive for its time.

cry

A whole lotta hippie in one record

My favorite song on Free To Be You And Me was called “It’s Alright to Cry.” It was one of those intentional dichotomies where they chose a huge NFL defensive tackle named Rosie Grier to sing it. I remember the chorus going something like:

It’s alright to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
Raindrops from your eyes
It might make you feel better!

I found the song to be equal parts fascinating and off-putting. Pretty much in line with my feelings for the whole production. Free To Be You And Me was released in 1972… I was three. Although I didn’t do it often, I always took comfort in knowing if I needed to cry… it was alright; even for giant football players. […]

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. […]

Rules

My God, What Have I Done?

From what I can tell, the term “college radio” is no longer a thing, but it use to be. It was actually so much of a thing that there was an organization called the College Music Journal (CMJ) that held conferences, and put out sampler CDs that were at worst, an inexpensive way to get music, and at best absolutely prescient.

My first exposure to college music was actually in high school. My high school had something called the radio club and they served two critical needs: The morning announcements and (much more importantly), they played music in the Junior/Senior cafeteria every minute of every school day. […]

Tattoos

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

There is an expression in Las Vegas. Sometimes when a gambler wins a hand, someone (usually the gambler himself) shouts out loud for all to hear, “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner.” The origins of this idiom are not completely clear, but if you click here you can read about it. Several years ago I was involved in a bet that included dinner, but was I a winner? That, I will let you decide.

My wife Emily is fairly straight-laced. I mean this only in the very best way possible. Her social history consists of: one boyfriend in high school that ended very badly, one boyfriend in college who is now a priest… and me. Of course there is more to each of these stories, but facts are facts, right?

As many of you know, my wife is an Intensive Care Pediatrician, and when you work overnight shifts in a hospital, you often end up in some pretty strange and revealing conversations in the wee hours of the night.

One day after a run of 3 + days in a row, Emily came home and said, “you know that hospital wedding we’re going to next week? Well I made a bet, and we’re gonna get a free dinner out of it, but I need your help.” […]

Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions

There’s an old dad joke that goes, “What’s the definition of mixed emotions? Watching your Mother-In-Law drive your new Cadillac off a cliff.” Of course, to be funny, the joke presumes two things:

  1. You really like Cadillacs
  2. You really DON’T like your Mother-In-Law

In the case of me personally, even as a self-admitted car guy, I’ve never been a huge fan of GM’s luxury brand.

My Mother-In Law on the other hand… her I liked.

I met Barbara Braunstein just about two decades ago, and without a doubt my life has been the better for it. […]

honor

Honor In The Overspray

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, which honors all those who died in the service of our nation. For those who made the ultimate sacrifice, there are not enough words to express the debt of gratitude all Americans owe. That said, I’m going to try anyway.

My regular readers know I like to tell stories to make a point, and today is no exception. As you read, you may begin to think I’ve gone off the rails, but soldier on, you won’t be disappointed… I promise. […]

Shut Up

The Day I Finally Shut Up… and Saved My Own Life

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary. Nineteen isn’t a round number, nor a significant one, but I will say that other than “not stop breathing” I’ve done nothing else continually for nineteen years.

Depending on which website you believe, my wife and I should have exchanged gifts of either jade or bronze yesterday. That did not happen, but we went out for a nice dinner and decided to give each other deposits into our kids’ 529 accounts.

Whenever anniversaries come around on the calendar, people often ask… “How did you guys meet?” Well, today I’m going to tell the story, how the first date almost didn’t happen, and how I almost completely blew it. […]

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. […]

Story

Tell Your Story

As most of you know, just after Christmas last year, we moved from Rochester, NY to Charlotte NC. The primary impetus for the move was my wife’s work. With that as an anchor, we have had to make many changes, adaptations and adjustments as a family.

A few months into our new life here in NC, I was looking around for something beyond work, house and family. I discovered a little group called Charlotte Storytellers and I began attending their weekly meetings. […]

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. […]

fathering

Inadvertent Fathering

Today we celebrate Father’s Day. I have written before about lessons I’ve learned from my Father, however the things I’ve shared to date are lessons he knew he was teaching me. Today I’d like to share two important ideas I learned, simply by observing him… being himself. […]

Marriage

I’d Do It All Again

Today is the 18th Anniversary of the day my bride walked down the aisle to be by my side. It was a beautiful May day on the eastern shore of Virginia. All of our families and most of our friends were there, and later that day when we headed off to our honeymoon, nearly every detail had unfolded exactly as planned.

Since that day we have, spawned four children, owned three houses, churned through nine different cars, and two dogs. My wife and I have served more meals, wiped more butts, washed more clothes, and driven more miles than either of us could possibly count. […]

better

Sometimes Better Isn’t Better

It has been said that smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. Think about it… how often do you walk by a restaurant or an ice cream parlor, and the smells wafting into your nostrils transport you back to another place and time?

Last week I decided to cook Italian Sausage with peppers and onions for dinner. As the sausages were sizzling in one pan, I dumped a bowl of sliced green peppers and sweet onions into another.

As the aromas rose from the stove and co-mingled around my head, I was immediately taken back to an event from my youth, one that occurred every September. This annual experience was one of my very favorites, until the year someone tried to “improve it” and in doing so, ruined it forever. […]