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Movies on My List

Nov 30, 2006

I definitely want to pick up American Pie this year for Christmas.  I think I am going to go with the downloaded version this time so that I can keep a handful of funny videos on my laptop for when I am travelling.

I get really annoyed at hotels watching just 30 channels of nothing on, when I am so used to watching 200 channels of nothing on.

I have not seen The Benchwarmers yet, but something about the movie seems just slightly immature enough for me to laugh at it. Sometimes I just need to dismiss reality a bit, let my guard down and let out some uncontrolled guffaws,

I need to keep my eye open for some more great moview like this.

Shout Out to Help the People that Help our Pets

I do not think the world would be as happy of a place if no one had pets and too many times the people that care for our pets go without recognition.

So I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank all the veterinarians and pet hospitals and groups that help keep our pets healthy and happy which helps to keep us happy.

More and more we are finding that animals including our pets have more intelligence and greater abilities at communication than has ever been imagined. It only makes practical and ethical sense for us to help these sentient beings just a little bit more.

Included in this is the need for us to choose our veterinarians carefully. I was just reading about los angeles veterinary needs and requirements and learned that less than one fifth of veterinary hospitals voluntarily submit to on-site evaluations by the American Animal Hospital Association. As I see it, we need to support the veterinarians more so that they can build up strong enough businesses to advance the cause more.

Danny Devito Joins the List of Celebrities on a Rant

Apparently the war in Iraq is really getting under the nerves of everyone in Hollywood.  Driving people to drink and spout off at the mouth in an uncontrolled fashion, some spouting off without the influence of alcohol at all.

First there was Mel Gibson tearing into police for pulling him over for drunk driving when he was drunk.  A belligerent drunk driver is nothing new for police, but he is a celebrity and was slurring Jewish people in a rant blaming them for the war in Iraq.  Since he has created a high profile as a Christian advocate and works in an industry founded by many famous people of Jewish decent there was a lot of fodder for people to talk about.  He made the rounds apologizing, reminded everyone that he was an alcoholic and sought treatment.

Then Michael Richards (aka Kramer from Seinfeld) went off the deep end when some guests interrupted is comedy routine and started spouting off racial epithets and worse while a different audience member caught the entire episode on their video capable cell phone.  Just as in the Gibson situation Richards immediately started apologizing left and right.

Now Danny Devito has gone on The View after a late night of alcohol consumption with George Clooney and went on a rant too.  His rant was devoid of racial slurs, but packed in a number of not made for TV slurs against the President.

So who is going to be up next in the Hollywood meltdown and will alcohol be the culprit again?

Martial Arts Roots

Nov 29, 2006

When I was a kid and later as a teenager, I was very much into martial arts.  I collected throwing knives, stars, staffs, swords, num-chucks and a lot more. 

I made a lot of my own stuff and collected even more.  I studied full contact kickboxing for a long time and found that practicing and honing my skills with martial arts equipment to be an excellent way to focus and harness my energy.

These days I'm getting a bit older, my son is starting to collect swords himself. I have studied Tai Chi a bit and have been thinking about taking TaeQando.

I still have a heavy bag that I work out with these days, but I miss the training with others working to perfect movements and technique.

I think this might help me re-target some of the focus that I developed way back then. It served me very well and could be very useful today in my business and consulting life.

One more Heroes Episode to go - Greatest American Hero

I have really gotten sucked into the Heroes series.  Its a very good show, but its extremely short on content.

I sincerely wish the show had been made for cable, SciFi or HBO or something.  Its a great story line, plot and entangled web, but I swear the show is only about 20 minutes long, surrounded by 40 minutes of commercials.  I don't miss a show, but I always watch it on TiVo as there's just to much static in between.

I don't TiVo my way through all shows, but a few like this one are definitely more ad than content.

Greatest American Hero

I must be going through a Hero phase as I've been watching Smallville all summer, now Heroes and I've also been catching up on an old show from the 80's that I liked as a kid.  Called the Greatest American Hero.

The show ran for just a few seasons and featured a high school teacher and an FBI agent that came together in the desert at just the moment when aliens were landing to give them a super hero suit.

The bumbling pair lost the instructions to the super suit however and the plot line of all the episodes progress as they continue to attempt to try and save the day, while learning how to make the suit, fly, stop bullets, turn invisible and give the wearer telekinetic powers.

Its a great show with just a tinge of cold war era plot lines on occasion.  One of the season two episodes I caught gave some real clarity into why the aliens never returned to provide the instructions.

It would seem that a different dynamic duo had received a similar suit 40 years earlier and had the instructions and were ultimately corrupted by all the power.  So it would appear the aliens actually wanted the instructions to get lost so that this pair would have to learn the lessons of super suit power the hard way.

Ebates Coupons save you Money at Christmas

I came across a service that I heard about a long time ago, but never had a chance to follow up on.  Many months maybe even a few years later, I finally got around to looking into a company called Ebates. 

Ebates is a unique online service that provides consumers with an interesting method of reaping additional rebates.  In the online world many websites receive part of their funding by referring visitors to a shopping site.  The visitor that is referred may purchase something from that site and upon the purchase if the retail site can identify the referring source through cookies, they may pay an affiliate commission to the website.

Ebates has established a system where they provide coupons to their members.  They simply provide a portion of the affiliate commission to the shopper in the form of a rebate.  Its real simple.  Affiliate commissions have been around since before the internet was invented.  The technology just makes it easier to track and provide access to the masses.

There's Something About a Rainy Day Unless You fail to pay Attention

I have been deep into my laptop today, writing for a new freelance writing service and testing things out overall.

I like the concept of the service as they have a combination written, audio, and video content monetization platform.  Plus, its not a review site where you write about the topics they hand you from sponsors, instead they are looking for unique content written about anything that you find interesting.

The downside is that the articles don't get published on your site, you get paid up front and then they market your writing to the highest bidder where ever that might be.

So its a good way to get more exposure for my writing and for my name and I do get the benefit of promoting my writing profile which includes links back to my website and two of my blogs.

For anyone interested on investigating the service, you can find out more with my personal invitation.  I've only written my first article for them today, and have no earned any money yet nor been paid in actual cash. 

So I am not endorsing them yet, but will keep my readers that are interested in such things up on the situation and how it develops.  On a similar front, I continue to get some great comedy ideas from my forum discussions at MyLot where they pay you to talk.  (such a silly notion, but very fun if you go in with the right attitude.  No one is getting rich there, but I can always use a brain storm session to best advantage!)

WallHog LifeSize Posters

Here's a very cool idea for a Christmas present.  Get someone a WallHog.

What's a WallHog its a seven foot tall by a little over four foot wide graphic printed up from a digital photo.

You can create something for a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, teen agers, or even for dorm rooms.

Wallhogs are pretty simple, you can upload a picture, they'll strip out the background, and print it up.  There's no glue or sloppiness in the installation so you don't have to worry about ruining a wall that you do or do not own.  These typically are not posters, but posters are available.  These have a 10 year indoor expected durability and are scratch and water resistant, even fade resistant to UV rays.

here's an example

Moving or changing dorm rooms, they come down fast without screwing things up so your landlord won't put you through the wall.  They can be put back up multiple times (as many as five)

The prices start out at $25 and go up to just under $80 depending on just how big you want to go!

Personally, I'd go for something crazy.


My son however would probably get a kick out of this as well though.

 My wife is great with photography so this might even be something she'd be interested in for her hobby business or even her classroom decorations.  Regardless its a cool idea, a cool service and relatively pretty darn cheap for custom art work that you control for your own place!

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Don't Miss Me on ComedySoapBox

For those of you that may have lost site of some of my other writing. You can find me at ComedySoapBox in addition to my writing here at There's Something About Harry.

Recently, I have been letting my humor take me down a number of stream of conciousness ladders and trap doors.  The comedy world has been getting a real awakening first from the elections and most recently from Michael Richards melt down on stage live in front of cameras.  His comments are terrible, but it has created a dialogue across the country and that may be the only silver lining from the comments he made.

At the end of the day as long as we are all still talking it shows that we care, when we fall into ambivalence then our American relationship will have ended in a very messy divorce.

The Aura of Aurora Real Estate

I am very impressed with the performance of real estate in my home state of Illinois.  I have lived in some hot real estate markets over the last fifteen years from California to Boston to South Florida and Atlanta.  Things are still booming in some of those markets but interest only mortgages have taken their toll on markets like California's.

I visited Illinois over the recent holidays and I can see the real estate movement there starting to hit with a targeted precision that has been refined in some of the other markets I mentioned.  They are filling in the farm land rapidly with some great developments.

After reading a recent report on Aurora Real Estate, I'm becoming more and more convinced that real estate in Illinois is going to take off.  The safe money is in the immediate burbs around Chicago, but I suspect that those burbs are going to grow down to Peoria and Bloomington and Champagne and Springfield and connect with the burbs moving Northward from St Louis.

It is a very good time to invest in real estate in this particular market.  Things may be tanking in California but California does not drive real estate markets in the Midwest, especially markets supported by Chicago and St Louis, which make especially comforting hedges.

Podcasting Update

Nov 28, 2006

After hitting the road for the holidays and taking my podcasting gear with me, I am back and working on getting caught up with a number of things including my Podcasting work.

My goal is to have the show up and functional by December 1, which is 2 days away!

So I have a lot of work to do to bring that off.  For those of you that only know me from this blog, I am actually trying to bring up 3 different podcasts on 3 different blogs all at the same time.  Hey there's nothing like a challenge right!

Plus, I am trying to launch an entirely new web service site (podcast included) and get a great deal done in the contracting area so that it can be a merry Christmas and so I can fund these additional business ventures.  There is a lot to do and just soo much time, but I promise I will get this thing running!

My Niece or Nephew will be here in about 5 months

My sister-in-law or my brother's wife is pregnant.  They are expecting a little boy or girl sometime late in April and I am excited for them. 

This will be their first child and they are definitely ready.  They have worked very hard for this baby and are in the midst of doing some remodeling on their home to make room, taking the nesting notion to another level entirely.

Now my sister-in-law has been spending a great deal of time hitting up garage sales in her area and saving a lot of money.  This is great, but its making it a little tricky for everyone to get her some great baby stuff as she is covering the essentials.

I did some looking around and found a place called Corner Stork Baby Gifts that provides a unique collection of Baby Gift Baskets.

Since we do not know if they are going to have a boy or a girl yet, I have picked out my favorite gifts for each pending my wife's approval.

For a baby boy gift, I'd pick the Silver Helicopter.  Its kind of simple but looks like it would last and be one of those mementos that might get passed along. (below) 

For a baby girl gift, I'd probably pick the Silver plated bear cup.  I had a little tin cup win I was a kid, that kind of sticks out in my memory and maybe this would stick out as well for my niece.

Corner Stork has many other unique baby gifts like the golf cart rocking horse.  Then there are those creative baby gift baskets that attracted me in the first place, because some people just go get everything for themselves right away and it becomes a little tricky to join in the fun.

Now all I have to do is sit back and wait and find out what the baby is going to end up being, who knows maybe they'll even end up with twins!

Good Fortune If My Luck Holds Up I'll buy breakfast for everyone at Waffle House

Earlier I mentioned how I had been fortunate enough to have a person buy my breakfast at Waffle House and how I utilized that opportunity to explain to my son a little bit about the concept of Passing Along Some Good Karma.

Well my good fortune continued later on today.  I took my son to his dentist appointment, which went very fast.  I had an appointment scheduled for several hours later, but they were able to take me at the same time as my son.

I am going to get my teeth whitened and needed to get impressions of my teeth made.

We did the impressions, and the dentist who is a little new for the office realized that my x-rays were out of date.  She didn't want to have me put the whitener on my teeth if I had any cavities and so opted to provide a full exam on the spot.  I had X-rays taken and a quick check.

I had a failing filling with a slight cavity and another cavity in one of my molars.  I take care of my teeth, but I do have some fillings from my early teen years that seem to attract cavities.

The cavities being in the rear wouldn't impact the whitener and so we proceeded with that and made plans for taking care of the fillings later in December.

Now normally, learning that you have 2 cavities would not be considered fortunate, but the dentist's office gave me a break on the exam and chose not to charge me for the X-rays!  That probably saved me about $75 personally and my insurance company about $125.

That was fortunate indeed!  I bought a lottery ticket, and if I win a substantial amount, I'm going to buy breakfast for everyone in that Waffle House someday!

Christmas Flowers

Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is barreling around the corner.  You can make a last minute gift pretty easily these days, but a little forethought can go a long ways. 

There's a great little website that offers flowers and gift baskets online, but the flowers aren't your typical call an 800 number to send flowers to the hospital type of arrangements.  These are a much better looking and some are even down right artistic.  I learned about from a recent press release.  They offer flowers and gift baskets that are terrific. 

You should check them out, I even like their web design and web template very sleek modern and extremely effective.

Passing Along Some Good Karma

This morning I took my wife to work and then took my son to the dentist.  On the way to the dentist my son and I stopped at a local Waffle House for breakfast. 

We had a good, slightly greasy, but typical Waffle House Breakfast.  As I was finishing my food, the waitresses waived over to me and told me that a gentleman, who had sat at the counter had paid for our breakfast anonymously before leaving.

I thought that was pretty cool.  We left a nice healthy tip for the waitresses (there were two, one in training), and left for the dentist appointment.

On the way home, I explained to my son several concepts and theories including the idea of karma, and the general idea of 'passing on good fortune or luck' or the idea that 'one good turn deserves another'.  All in all it was a great way to start the day, good breakfast, time with my son, and an anonymous unexpected gift.

I told my son that we'd have to stay on the look out for the right opportunity to pay for someone else's meal someday soon.  I explained that since it had cheered us up, it might do the same for someone else if we continued to pass on this good will!

Organized Wisdom

Nov 22, 2006

Many times its important for us to share and discuss our experiences as we go through a mental healing process.  Sometimes we learn a thing or two about ourselves just from the discussion.  This effect is supplement even more when the discussion is focused with a group that has had similar experiences allowing us to relate together better and share some notes.

With this concept in mind a website is hoping to Help others by sharing 1 piece of health wisdom at The idea is simple, sign up and share some wisdom about what you have learned and connect with others that have shared their wisdom. The accumulation of experience and the wisdom from the experience helps the entire group to gain more understanding,perspective and even insight into what they might expect next. Its a terrific idea and great way to bring people together to share.

Mya gets some Good News

We received the MRI results finally for Mya and the results were good.  The doctors did not find any developmental issues with her brain so that's one more thing we can rule out now.

She has been making some great progress lately.  Its still slow and methodical but it is progress.  She's pulling up on things more effectively and even starting to cruise a couple steps on furniture.  She'll be 18 months old in a couple weeks and she's about 4 months past the stage where late walkers typically have already started to walk on their own, but we'll take progress every step of the way.

Our next big milestone for her is in January now(bumped out one month.)  She needs to complete her development and learn to walk in the next 7-8 weeks if we are going to be able to avoid the nastier tests.  We're working with her all the time, so hopefully it will pay off.

I wanted to thank all my family, friends, and readers that offered all the great support for Mya.  We really do appreciate it, and hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

There's Something About an Easy Hickory Smoked Turkey!

In just a few more minutes it will officially be Thanksgiving Day for my readers here in the Americas!  On Thanksgiving many people will cook a ham or a turkey along with a feast of a number of other items from potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberries, stuffing, and too many other vegetables to name.  And then there are the pies too!

The Turkey production is a big deal and its probably only eclipsed in effort required by a pig roast.  There is an easier way to handle a Turkey at thanksgiving that doesn't require cooking the bird for 5-6 hours or more.  You could order a whole Hickory Smoked Turkey, pre-cooked, just warm and serve!  Now wouldn't that be a great way to enjoy the holiday.

These great turkeys are available from America's #1 Gift Basket Website. They specialize in all types of gift baskets, candies and other goodies, but you shouldn't get too sidetracked by the candy. They also offer precooked Ham's and Turkeys!

You might want to get a gift basket or two sent to friends or family or even to some of your best customers., but don't neglect yourself. After a hard year of toil and labor consider giving yourself the gift of a pre-cooked smoked bird, ready to eat.

Now we're talking holiday good cheer!

Illinois Speed Bumps

We drove up to Illinois for the holidays last night. We left our place around 5:30 (we live on the north west side of atlanta) and we made it to the northeast side of Atlanta by about 7:30. That trip can be done in 45 minutes, but not very often these days.

I drove all night, and the family slept. I was listening to Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, which I've been putting off because I read a lot of the original Illuminatus books many many years ago, and his stuff seems like a sequel to me. But it was good for a road trip.

We didn't have any real problems with the drive, and then we got into Illinois, my home state. Illinois and Iowa and several other northern states have employed the use of movable rotating speed bumps on their interstate system. Their purpose is not to slow anyone down, just to keep you on your toes, or maybe I should say keep you on your does.

These speed bumps are popularly referred to elsewhere as 'Deer.' I was driving along side a semi trailer, passing it at about 70 miles per hour. I was in the left lane and right in the middle of a lane a speed bump of a deer suddenly appears in front of me in my lane.

Fortunately the speedbump was not upright, these are referred to as 'soon to be dead deer'. This speed bump had graduated from the soon to be dead deer status to the ever more practical status of temporary speed bump. I had just enough time to swerve a little bit and miss the main portion of the deers body, but I still ran over a very large portion of it. It was an extremely loud hit shaking the entire van and waking everyone up.

I pulled over to make sure we hadn't blow an tire or created a bubble in the tire, checking it with a flashlight. No holes or bumps but lots of speed bump paint.

So we got back on the road and drove the rest of the way to Peoria, making it here in reasonable time. I slept this morning and got up and went jogging and slowly recovering my bearing from the all night drive.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday if you celebrate anything this week!

There's not Something about Pea-Flavored Soda

Nov 21, 2006

Jones Soda Company out of Seattle this year has continued with their yearly tradition since 2003 of offering to the world various different types of flavored soda.

This years addition to the soda palletes of dozens, is Green Pea flavored soda.  It is hoped that the new Pea flavored soda will compliment their line of sodas which includes broccoli casserole, coron on the cob, turkey and gravy, sweet potato and antacid flavor.  They have also created fish taco and salmon flavored soda.

Peter van Stolk is the Chief Exec at Jones Soday and he refuses to touch the stuff.  He was quoted by the AP recently as saying "Fish taco was just nasty and we tried curried chicken.  That was just wrong."

Could we Survive Turkey Day without a Microwave?

A couple more days and the preparation for the feast will commence.  The refrigerators and freezers around the country are filling up with last minute buys only to be emptied sometime on Thursday.

Microwaves have been around since shortly after I was born, and so I've grown up with them for the most part.  I still can't cook an egg right in one of them, but I don't like eggs anyway.

The technology is getting simpler to use, but its also starting to combine with other technologies.  Did you know that you can get a microwave oven with a grill built in it these days?  I bet George Foreman doesn't like that idea, kind of pops him right in the pocket book.

 We're probably going to move next summer and that means typically starting over again with most of our appliances as we've designed our current kitchen with everything mostly built in to the walls.  So as I'm visiting my relatives this week for Turkey Day I'm going to be scoping out the possibilities of what you can do with a microwave and figure out more about what we're going to need.  Maybe I'll even grill up some cranberries!

Whoopi Can't talk anymore

Nov 19, 2006

I've been watching Comic Relief 2006 tonight.  Its the first time I've seen Comic Relief in probably 10 years.  I'm not sure if there has even been a comic relief in the last 10 years, maybe I've missed it.

I'm watching Whoopi Goldberg talking about her inability not to wet her pants when she sneezes.  She's wearing a diaper (on the outside of her clothing) and sneezing like a fool.

She's also extremely tongue tied and flubbing lines left and right while Billy Crystal and Robin Williams just go off on a complete impromptu tangent.

Finally, she gives up with her lines and just does an impromptu introduction and surprise!  Its funny and sincere. 

Poker Tip-How to Count Cards

I never really understood the secret of counting cards until I came across some tips the other day in a magazine.

Here's the general idea if you are playing black jack you start counting in your head by beginning with Zero.

As cards are flopped by everyone at the table, you assign a positive or negative value to the card.

ten's or face card each receive a negative one

any card from 2 through the number six gets a plus one.

As you go through the deck if the count goes negative then more high cards have been dealt. If the number go positive, then there are more high cards left to be dealt.

This can then help you assess your bets and the odds of brining in the cards you are looking for.

Now in Vegas if you count card, the house is going to figure it out by watching you with the eye in the sky, especially if you go at it as a newbie.

However, you can practice this playing online poker. You can go to VegasPokerPro and find a number of great online poker sites. You can check out their Freeroll or you can play some FreePoker without spending real money, its just plain fun.

VegasPokerPro has a great Poker Forum for discussions with other players and some great Poker Pro Blogs.

My personal preference for Texas hold em' is Party Poker, which you can sign up for at VegasPokerPro for free. You can find a number of other great tips and strategies at VegasPokerPro also. They have a great directory of blogs on poker in case that's not enough information as well!

Getting Character Names

I started a thread on MyLot (thread)asking people for names that they would never name a child.

I was hoping to get some great (bad) names so that I could use them in one of my books.

here's a list of the names I have so far

  1. Anna
  2. Birtha/Bertha
  3. Beulah/Beula
  4. Bleu Berry
  5. Apple
  6. Hitler
  7. Judas
  8. Rain
  9. Cam/Campbell
  10. Tina (person had a bad experience with a Tina and ruined it for future generations)
  11. Harry (they didn't know about my blog  LOL!)
  12. Damien
  13. ProudLove
  14. Rainy Showers
  15. Basturd (mis-spelled on purpose for MyLot)
  16. Porgy
  17. Diogo
  18. Sue (for boys)
  19. Car Names - toyota,hyundai,honda,bmw,kia pride
  20. Christina
  21. Damian
  22. Lucifer
  23. Chester
  24. Boney M
  25. Amen Re
  26. Eastern European names that are written in a way that makes them sound Western
  27. Cärolain
  28. Kätlin pro Cathleen
  29. Flower Potts
  30. Tii Oot
  31. Zephaniah
  32. Hezekiah
  33. Faith
  34. Hope
  35. Mercy

That's the list so far but off to a good start.


I already have the names of Winston and nEarl for a pair of brothers going into my next chapeter due out on this blog soon!


Credit Card Search Engine Optimization

You may have heard of optimizing a website for search engines, but have you ever heard of optimizing your Credit Card with a Search Engine?

Well that is exactly what you can do with the Credit Cards Search

You can look for cards based on interest rates, or categories like balance transfer options, cash back cards, rewards cards, gas credits and more.

Casting my lot for Paid to Post Discussion Boards

I meet and talk to a lot of people in several forums.  As a blogger its a great way to meet people and get exposure for your website.  Its also a great place to get ideas to write about whether its news of the day, or something funny, or current events or anything.

The internet being what it is a place for people to come together to play and make money at the same time, I've always been struck by the fact that I often provide some very solid advice and help to people on these boards for free.  Sometimes I'll republish a more developed version of my thoughts in a board on my actual blog, but often times my efforts go unrewarded.

Until I found MyLot!

MyLot pays your to contribute your thoughts, ideas, discussions, pictures and to get people talking in General.  Their business model pays members based on how much they discuss, the quality of their responses, and the pictures they upload. 

I was a little tentative (as I always am with get paid to do this that or the other on the internet schemes) so I ventured by to try it out Friday night.  I started two discussions, made 14 responses on various topics, and uploaded 1 picture relating to a topic.  I spent about 10 minutes getting the account setup and reading the newbie faq's.  I spent another 10 minutes learning the system (I was drinking beers and going a little slow with lots of interruptions.).  I spent maybe a total of 5-10 minutes with the actual discussions.

I earned 33 cents which is paid via PayPal as these models often do.

Now, I normally write and respond a lot more in a discussion board than I did that night, but I wanted to get a sense of things.  I earned on average about 2 cents per post with a word count of approximately 15-30 words.

Not getting rich fast on this, but it was a very good source of writing topics, which helped me generate several blog posts this weekend.  Plus, its one of those things where you can talk in one group for free or you can talk in another and earn money for it.

I'll continue to play along there and see how it goes and keep you posted!

Maybe I'm a Free Radical, or Maybe the Free Radicals are Tearing Me Apart - Either Way I'm Back on Track

Last week was a very chaotic week.  I enjoy a little chaos when I have the time and energy to savor it.  However, when I have things to do and especially when I'm behind on the things I should do, chaos can be a real thorn in my side.

Regardless, I've been getting back on track and fighting off some of the chaos around the edges. 

Soccer is Over!

My son's soccer season is over.  He loves the hell out of soccer and we enjoy seeing him have fun, but this season has been a long one.  It was literally Here is My son getting his medal!extended and it was pretty tough too.  He probably improved more than he has in any other season, but it was one of those very difficult improvements to behold as a parent.  But today he had a tournament (2 games) and now its over.  The family has Saturdays free again, and no practice on Thursdays.  We really needed the break.

 Zoe Coming Down with Something

Its that time of the year when one of the kids is sick almost every week. Zoe at the Playground This weeks winner seems to be Zoe and she'll probably get to make a weekend trip to the doctor tomorrow.  She was feeling fine early in the day and got some good playground time in between soccer games.

Mya has us Stressed

We still don't have any word from Mya's MRI results.  Mya Pulling up on basket with toys So the drag out of not knowing is wearing on us a good bit.  She was pretty active today and mostly in good health so that is great.  Here she is pulling up on something.  I hope she walks soon!

Mic Stand is here

I've been doing a lot more recording work.  Working on an audio book and also working on some of my own writing.  Mostly just trying to get lots of time talking and editing.  I haven't done any work yet with editing music or intros or sound effects in yet.  I need to do that soon.  I have gotten a good deal of initial experience inserting animation, slide shows and a little video.  The video has been hit or miss.  I worked on a video for PPP, and it had to be a minute or better.  My smart card on my camera stopped right at 60 seconds, so I thought I was in good shape.  I uploaded it to YouTube and YouTube lost 3 seconds somehow, and so the video was rejected by PPP.  I tried to edit it to insert an intro and an ending.  I had successfully done this on another video, but not on a re-edit.

I fooled with it for about an hour and couldn't get the sound and video to re-synch back up and had to abandon it until I learn a little more.  Hopefully, I can figure it out soon!

So today, I finally got arBrett with computer and Microphone in new standound to swinging by the music store.  I picked up a desktop microphone stand.  You can kind of see it in this picture, or at least part of it.  The thing is I was kind of stressed tonight(explain why in a second) and when I saw this picture, I started paying too much attention to the 'character lines' around my eyes.  I'm not one to worry too much about how I look or anything.  I'm happy with the way I look, I keep myself in shape and try to take care of me, but I have enough to do without stressing over my looks.  So every now and then, something about me will change over time, but I won't notice it right away.  So apparently I'm getting some lines or bags or whatever around my eyes.  Maybe its not enough sleep or something or maybe I need to do more jaw exercises to tighten up my flabby jowls.  :)  Whatever, no big deal, I was just catching up with myself.

The Empire of the Bills Strikes Back

I've been super busy with a couple important projects the last couple weeks and the bills have been stacking up.  I normally pay them (online) as soon as they come in, but they weren't due or anything and I just didn't have the time. 

So I start plodding through the stack, which is far too respectable in size, and I finish entering all the bills into the system.  I feel better for knocking something off the list.  I fill out a survey with one of the merchants I work with and walk outside to drop it in the mail box where I discover a box full of mail.

Of course, there's a bill in there and so now I have to crank up the old laptop(where we keep the bill system) and plug that one in too.  Then I move on to the next thing on the list, tracking down the daycare receipts to submit for the dependent care reimbursement (pain in the butt) account so that we can save 15-30% on our taxes for that amount.  Its worth the savings but is always a pain.

I don't find the receipt nor the form I'm looking for, and I'm putting away and filling other papers from bills, to the kids school work, to you name it out of this big mountain of crap that's piled up on the island in our kitchen. 

Then I see it.  There are two bills that got shuffled into the wrong stack and they are about half way down.  I suffer a gut roll and see that one is 5 days over due(student loan) and one is due tonight(credit card).  I hate paying bills late, especially when I have the money.  :)  These two slipped by somehow and that just aggravates me all the more.

So I crank up the old computer one more time.  I pay the credit card. I try to call the company about the late student loan, but they aren't open on Saturdays so I add that to the list of things I have to do on Monday.

Vitamins and Free Radicals

So I finish the bills and I'm tidying up some loose ends.  I take my vitamins (multi-vitamin, B12, and Ginko Biloba, plus a baby aspirin to keep my hear in tip top shape - last night I had 2 beers so I rotate on aspirin and beer).crypt keeper from Tales from the Crypt

I head down stairs and that's when I upload pictures from the day and notice my eye bags.  Then I start thinking, 'OK, Brett, you are going to live forever, but you don't want to end up looking like the crypt keeper or whatever that skeletons name was.

So then I start looking around to see what the latest marvels of modern bio science might have to offer.

I pick up on the topic of Free Radicals and how they basically attack your cells trying to tear them apart and steal your electrons, which sounds vaguely familiar from Advanced Chemistry in high school, but that's almost 17 years ago so its a little vague and I was never good at integrating Chemistry and Biology.

So I come across this stuff called Proleva with the L tilted funny in the logo and I start figuring out that this stuff is supposed to donate electrons to create some sort of barrier around your cells.

So this Proleva is a supplement made from fruit extracts like grape seeds, green tea, various berries and a few other items.  Basically one of the anti-oxidant cocktails with a electron donor kicker.

So I start thinking, OK maybe now is the time when you should start figuring out just how to execute this plan to live longer.  I can't just expect modern science to hurry up and figure out a way to clone me a new body yet, after all I don't even have Michael J Fox's money and that's not even enough to help him.

Proleva costs about $60 a month or you can go for the value option and get it for $260 for 6 months, which doesn't seem to be too much to live forever. 

I mean just how much would you pay to push yourself in the longevity direction?  

Don't get me wrong taking Proleva isn't going to make me live forever, but with proper diet and exercise, and other vitamins and a lower stressed life, and maybe if I take up Yoga again (met a really pissed off Yoga instructor this week, who seems to be pretty funny over at Comedy SoapBox), well then maybe I can preserve my carcass long enough in the manner to which I've become accustomed to enjoying my carcass such that when modern science does find the additional fruit extracts necessary to keep my ticker ticking like an atomic clock, well then I'll be ready.

Stressful Week: Getting rid of Stress

Nov 17, 2006

Warning to my readers.  I'm writing this to help rid myself of stress.  That may or may not be good for your own stress levels.

So if you enjoy the soap opera, then continue, but I do not want to transfer my stress, just need to air it out a bit.

The week has been filled with several little setbacks.  It started out great.  We wrapped up the new business plan for the collaboration project for a team of people working out of New York and the Northern East Coast.  The plan is together and now its just about stacking blocks and connecting the dots.

Shortly after the plan came together, the distractions started to kick in and they weren't terrible, but they were rather relentless.  Monday, I took my son to the dentist and that's not a big deal, but I worked late on the plan the night before and didn't get a lot of sleep for his rescheduled 9am appointment.

That then transfered over to some writing assignments that got hosed for technical reasons.  No big deal either as I have writing assignments coming out of my ears, but I did finish a couple that won't be utilized and I really do not like to waste the effort.

Wednesday and Thursday saw my son home early from school around 12:30 or so as there parent teacher conferences.  I had to pick the girls up on Wednesday form day care as my wife is a teacher and she had conferences those days and on Wednesday they ran late.  My wife caught a ride home with a fellow teacher, and they stopped at our house for a beer after the conferences were over, so I didn't get right back to work.

I made some progress late that night learning some new things to do in Flash, and got paid for it no less, but a simpler video project that I did came in right at the minimum length.  However when it was played back over YouTube it shaved 3 seconds off the video, and I've been having trouble all day doing the video editing to get an additional 10 seconds put back on the video.  My computer just isn't made for compiling video!

A business deal with one of my clients is almost wrapped up this week.  I'm looking forward to redirecting some energy now that it is over, but it finished 6 weeks ahead of schedule.  So now I'm working on filling in the time and replacing the billable hours.

I got a great leed early in the week, but that will be on hold probably until after the holidays.  Oh and we've been stressing over the baby's progress.  No word yet on the MRI results, and on top of everything else she had an asthma attack or something last night for the first time ever, so no sleep last night.

So today I went jogging with my son, Corbin. I hadn't been jogging for almost 2 weeks now, due to bad weather.  So we took it slow and ran about 2 miles, then walked the dog.

While we were walking the dog, we met the neighborhood burglars.  They were breaking into a house, and we walked right by them while they were at it.  We got just around the corner and out of their site and I called 911.  I was put on hold right away waiting for an operator, and finally got the 911 operator on the line and took for ever to get the information to her.  They promised to send a car out, but never saw it.  When we turned around to go back, no robbers in sight.  We must have scared them off and now they will be around to robb another day.

Silly little stuff all of it.

Next up focus on my flash training, writing, and the initial web design for the NY project.

The Complete Catfish Transformation

Nov 16, 2006

No one ever insinuated that it was hard to transform into a catfish. 

I learned how to do it with only about 2 hours worth of practice.

Now I'll admit that I had a little help from the Flash Fairy. I have neglected my flash course for the last couple weeks and so this was actually harder than it should have been.

In the mean time if you would like to get paid to make videos then you should get your blogging gills down to PayPerPost and tell them that brettbum at yahoo dot com sent yah!

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Viral Emails Translated to the Blogosphere

I just received a few of these pictures in a viral email.  I usually never pass these things along, but I do sometimes share them on my blog.

There are several of them and I am not posting all of them today, sometimes I bank them for future days when I feel like I am running a little low on inspiration.  Sometimes I save them for those days when my blog is feeling especially devoid of videos or images.  This is not really one of those days, but I have been sitting on them for a couple days now and the longer I sit on them the less likely I will be to remember to post them at all so here you go!

Where's a MegaGlobe when you need one?

OK, so there's a new search engine that is supposed to launch sometime soon called Megaglobe.

You can go there now and submit your own website or blog to be listed or indexed by Megaglobe, but you can not search there yet.  So I took a minute to prod megaglobe along, afterall there's no need to sit on the fence.

I'm frankly getting a little tired of some of the search options out there.  We haven't really seen anything that shook up search significantly since Google divorced itself from Yahoo!

I want some more options, I want a little change.

We Want Megaglobe

So I put together this little video to spur megaglobe on just a bit, this was recorded around midnight or so and yours truly could use a little sleep which may or may not be apparent in the video, but even more than sleep, I'd really like some more options!

Serving Up Online Sermons - What Would Jesus Do with disciples on Meth?

Nov 15, 2006

I'm not religious, let me state that up front.  I do not believe in religion.  I have my reasons and my reasons are based on my life experiences and the proof that has passed before my eyes.

I do understand the role that religion can plan in the lives of some people and this can be positive.  Overall, I do not believe that religion plays a positive role overall as religions are inherently exclusive of other religions and even the very few that are not, are excluded by the rest.  So despite the potential for social good, its my view that religions do more harm than good.

Disclaimer aside I do study and pay attention to religions.  I ran across an interesting article today talking about preachers that are turning to the internet to download sermons.  Now, this seems rather practical as people turn to the internet to download wisdom and knowledge and insights all the time.  A sermon seems like a natural fit.  Its not like a college student downloading a term paper, we're talking about a sermon that is going to be spoken.  Sure its possible that someone may copyright their sermon, but how many people are going to show up at church on Sunday, listen to a sermon, recognize it as copyrighted material and turn their preacher into the Christian equivalent of the RIAA?

That doesn't seem likely to me.  But I am a writer among other things.  I was struck with the notion that I could probably write sermons.  Yes me a non-believer.  I've studied many many different religions and read many of the teachings of these religions.

I could probably write a very rousing sermon and hawk the thing on the internet.  I wouldn't even really have to sell it, just make it available for easy copying on a website and run a bunch of Adsense ads on it and monetize the sermon.  Now, I know there are lots of preachers and evangelists out there that rob their flock blind morning, noon, day and night and 8 ways to Sunday.  They're believers apparently making a fast buck on religion.  Is it any different for a non-believer to do the same thing without actually stealing anything from the flock itself?  Just passing along a moral message.  I mean lets face it, there are a lot of sick twisted and morally repugnant religious leaders out there.

Would the flock be better served by some sick twisted meth amphetamine, gay bashing preacher that's having a drug induced love affair with a gay prostitute or a normal sober guy from Suburbia with a wife and kids that has studied extensively and knows a thing or two about writing?

Maybe I need to ask myself, "What would Jesus do?"

Maybe I need to ask myself, "Is this what Jesus did?"  maybe this is how Jesus started out and before you know it a dozen or so sick twisted lotus flower eating gay bashing disciples involved in affairs with gay prostitutes started making a buck off of him and robbing the flock of all their fish?


Enter Yourself for an Ultimate Home Makeover

You have probably seen the ABC show Extreme Home Makeover with Ty Pennington.  Its a very good show even if it is heavily laced with the touchy feely Disney vibe. 

One of the things that makes the show so good is that each home makeover is very very good and very dramatic.

I've done a lot of remodelling on my homes over the years and it always seems like I end up having to move as soon as I finish the home.  I'm not a home flipper or anything, it just takes a number of years to get the house right and work usually pushes us to move by the time we are getting settled. 

To be honest, I'm running out of steam for doing the wor

k myself and so I found this site offering a chance to win a home makeover

Now I'm not going to hog something like this all to myself to increase my own odds of winning an extreme makeover.  To be honest my house is almost done, and I won't be moving for another year so I don't really need it yet (I wonder if it could be delayed for 9 months . . . . :)

But some of my readers might be interested in this, so if you are interested in winning $50,000 for a Extreme Home Makeover check it out and maybe you can send me some before and after shots if you get it!

Midweek Slow Down - Turn Around Tonight

I kind of approached Wednesday with a midweek slow down.  I've had a number of different meetings and things this week that are family related and its nipping into my work.  I do not mind, but it means that I have to do even more at night to stay on top of things.

Monday, I had to take my son into the dentist.  Today I had to take my wife to work and watch the kids by myself this evening.  Tomorrow, my wife and I have to meet with my son's teacher for Parent Teacher conferences.

None of these events take a great deal of time nor are they a real big distraction.  The work complication is more in the setup and take down time involved.  Mostly I can launch into my work on a laptop about any where that I have a wireless connection.  Plus, I can record voice notes in my voice recorder and rapidly convert the dictation to something useful when I get back to the computer.  But all the coming and going during the middle of the day does break up my routine and does make it a little tough to keep things moving along quickly and efficiently.

I'm pretty far behind on my writing this week, decrease in writing compared to last week of about 40 fewer articles and its only Wednesday.  I'm also behind on my web development projects and my to do list, which I had worked down to about a dozen things over the weekend (from 30) has inflated back up into the low twenties again.

What I really need is a good mobile laptop solution.  I used to do a great deal of work with Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 and I may take a fresh look at putting that on a table device so that I can dictate some of my writing while I drive!  Let's see them come up with a state law against that!


I've got Beads coming out of my Ears but My Daughter Loves it!

I have two daughters and a very crafty wife, actually my wife has a Bachelor's in Fine Arts, so calling her crafty is a bit of an understatement.

My family has started collecting beads.  We have what I would refer to as every possible color or manifestation of a bead possible.  However my wife and daughter definitely disagree.  I don't completely understand it, however they love to string beads and make various types of jewelry.

I shouldn't be too surprised.  My wife made my wedding ring after all. 

Well, I've got a little surprise for them, because even I was able to find some beads that they don't have already!

Gilbert & Frech Jewelry, Gems and Beads have some very nice and very amazing beads and jewels available at their bead store.  I look forward to seeing their surprise when they get some Apple Green Turquoise Nuggets in their stockings for Christmas!

Because it Shows that Women Can Do a Man's Job

Nov 14, 2006

A woman posted posted an article on the Memorial Bracelets Blog site that caught my attention. She talked about how she wore a memorial bracelet for Police Officer Moira Smith who died on September 11, 2001. Officer Smith was the only Police Officer from NY that died that day and the poster, a female, wanted to show that a woman could do a man's job.

I served in the military for four years.  I started Basic Training on the day that the ground war started in Iraq in 1991.  The 'War' was over by the time I got out of Basic, but all through Basic Training we were led to believe the war was going horribly and that we would all be sent to perish soon.  For many years this deceit seemed funny to me, but these days its a sad irony, as the war that really was not completely finished is now taking so many soldiers lives.

I wanted to write about this article because I had the good fortune to served, stateside, with an officer that served in combat in Iraq during the first war.  She had testified in front of Congress on her experiences and on the capability of women to perform the job effectively in battle.  I served with some great men and women in the military and I have no doubt that a person's sex or sexuality has little to do with their ability to complete a mission or get the job done.

I'd encourage more people to consider stopping in at  Memorial Bracelets and pause and consider the people that have given their lives for the United States and the Constitution that brings us together.  For those of us here at home, its our job to insure that they have a country worth fighting for and a country to come home to soon.

Moving in the Right Comedy Direction

I made significant strides today completing the first draft of my Business Plan for my Comedy Collaboration website.  I had previously selected a name and secured the domain a month back.

I've been getting an increasing number of requests and emails and PM's from comedians interested in participating in the project.  I've specifically received some great feedback from one comedian that basically said, "We will come if there's something in it for us!"

I had some great things in there already, but I went back to the business plan and made sure there was something great in there for the comedians, and boy is there.  Next up, I need to tighten up some of the numbers in the models and start scoping out the site design requirements.  Most of scope is covered in the Business Plan, and since I map everything in MindManager(I'm a trainer too) it will all translate nicely into the actual specifications document.

Before I get to the specification document, I need to do just a little bit more technical investigation into some new coding requirements that have come up.  The algorithm has become slightly more complex as I worked to make sure the pay off to the other comedians was up front and hard hitting.  Adjusting the algorithm is easy, getting it coded into the overall site is going to take some hard work, but there are many models of this system at there already in different applications.

Very eager to keep this ball rolling!


Learning to sell on Ebay

I've been focusing a lot lately on learning to sell things online in many different mediums.  I've set up a Cafe Press site, an Amazon store, a web hosted store powered with my own shopping cart, stores powered by PayPal, and most recently a Shopster store. 

Next on my to do list is to learn how to leverage my ability to sell products on Ebay.  Rob Frechette has an Ebay ebook which discusses among other things, how he started selling items on Ebay and moved into selling a high volume of items on Ebay.  He's up to 50k in items per month, and even has a full time employee now.

I've worked professionally with Ebay specialist companies in the past.  I've worked with companies that utilize derivatives traders from the CBOT to come in and manage Ebay trading strategies.  I'm no where near that level by a long shot.  I have the accounting back ground to account for the stock options correctly, and I have the financial background to put together a stock options trading strategy too, but I don't have the experience to apply that to Ebay and that is what intrigues me about the topic.  How to fill that void. . .

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Learning to Record Audio Books

I worked about half the day today working on my Podcasting techniques.  I started by recording a chapter from a book that I have read several times.

I had previously recorded a lot of my own work and found the results to be better than I expected.  However, when I recorded someone else's work (this was for my personal recording and not something I will ever publish, just doing it for the practice), I found it to be much more difficult.

  1. I did not know the words as well, even though I've read the book several times.
  2. The words did not read aloud as easily as some of my own words had(partly because my words had been cherry picked from writing that was more suitable for recording)
  3. I found it difficult to get into a good rhythm and to place the proper emphasis on words and phrases.
  4. Editing took about twice as long as it has typically taken for me with my own work.

But I learned oh so much more than I had yet.  I found several flaws in my style and tone and emphasis that only showed evidence of existing when I was less suited for the work.  I found that after practicing with additional chapters I was able to improve greatly.

Then when I went back to my own work the results were much much better.  I suspect its kind of like learning to fly in a simulator and trying to compare that to flying a real plane only to go back and fly the simulator some more after getting some real world experience.  When I was a kid, I always wondered why my dad was so good at Pole Position at the arcade.  I didn't really learn why until after I learned to drive and went back to play driving games at the arcade.  The real life skill teaches you so much more!

Finding Great Sponsors

When I signed up to work with PayPerPost back in July, I was a bit skeptical.  The idea of writing sponsored articles for cash sounded a little too good to be true.

I've mentioned before that I didn't go all out at the beginning.  I waited until I got paid.

These days I'm getting paid in dividends from working with PayPerPost.  PayPerPost specializes in blog marketing to advertisers looking to sponsor articles.  Its a relatively new industry with very little competition.  Here's the great part about it, aside from the fact that I've made over a thousand dollars from the service so far.

The great part about it is that I'm getting first exposure to some great products, services, companies, and information about what's happening on the internet.  Lots of companies will cry about their inability to penetrate through to anyone or to ever get any good press.  They don't have a friend in the media world, or just can't get a break.

The companies that work through PayPerPost get a break into the blogosphere.  They get access to thousands of blogs around the world.  They get a number of other benefits that help their business on the internet as well.

As a blogger, I get information.  The information and connections I've made with companies working with PayPerPost have enabled me to build better blogs, write better articles, promote my own websites and blogs better and more.  I was introduced to one company after writing about them with PayPerPost.  I signed up for the companies free service.  On my web site Best of Viral Videos I now get 10% of my new visitors from that company and the services I was introduced to by PPP.

I received an email today out of the blue from a company that is a long time partner (sometimes customer and sometimes supplier).  They had read my article about a new software and service company and wanted to learn how they could combine some of their services and software with that company.

We're now working on building a video seminar to demonstrate the capability and spread the knowledge of the capability around the internet.  It benefits my partner, it benefits the new software service company and it benefits my readers and my readership.

Now, I'll be honest, PayPerPost is a new company.  They are going through many growing pains and changing and evolving almost every day.  As is the case with any start up its usually a two steps forward one step back approach, but they are trying.

Many critics have talked about the potential for PayPerPost advertisers to take advantage of bloggers by paying for reviews.  This isn't really the case.  Bloggers pick and choose what works for them and write accordingly.  There's no better way to exercise democracy than in a free market where votes are recorded in dollars. 

I've also heard complaints that bloggers own writing efforts will be harmed by taking on too many sponsors.  I've found this to be a misconception as well.  If anything, having a regular round of sponsors increases most bloggers motivation to blog more effectively.  More blogs are treating their blogs like businesses focused on pleasing their customers, the readers.  Without the readers the sponsors would not be interested in the blogs.

The money plays a huge part in allotting a bloggers priorities a little bit more to writing more, writing better, and writing more effectively.  My readership has grown since I started writing for PPP.  Much of this growth has come from Google searches.  I produce more content because I am more motivated to produce content.  The more content I have available the more people that find me, and this in turn is translating into an increase in subscribers as well.

I've heard PPP criticized for exposing their bloggers to advertisers that are themselves offering up services or sites that are MFA's or spammy or many other things.  I know from first hand experience that PayPerPost vigorously screens their advertisers for anything that might detract from their name or potentially harm their bloggers or even lead to something that is a scam.  Advertisers need to come to the table with a complete plan of how they wish to take their campaign to the blog market and if its up to speed, PayPerPost will approve it.  They do everything in their power to protect bloggers, the web, and their company image.  This selectivity should serve to maintain the brand staying power and the effectiveness of this new medium of blog marketing.


Note to Self(Britney Spears), Don't divorce your husband with a Text message when He owns the Sex Tape Copyright

Nov 13, 2006

Britney Spears is not having a very good month.  She recently notified K-fed that she wanted a divorce via a text-message and was then surprised to recieve his divorce paperwork requesting custody of the kids and $20m US aprox.

K-fed may not have much going for him, but in some bizarre twist of fait, he apparently owns the copyright to a sex tape he made of he and Britney having sex on their honey moon and he's threatening to release the tape to a notorious Arizona firm that pays big dollars to get celebrity sex tapes, such as the Hilton tapes.

It even appears that a 19 second clip was released onto an adult video site as an opening salvo in the divorce.  She recently lost a lawsuit where she attempted to quash a sex tape only to be further embarassed by the judge that ruled that her reputation was built on her sexuality and expression of sexuality and therefore the sex tape could not injure her reputation further.  I would have to say that was a pretty cold judgement and I have no opinion on whether or not its accurate.

Maybe next time Britney goes on a fling, marries some guy, creates a sex tape, has two kids and decides she wants a divorce, she'll be a little more diplomatic. . .

Do You Suppose Wal-Mart's Rollback Concept was Derived by the Marketing Department meeting the IT Department at the Christmas Party?

The last thing most IT groups ever want to have to do is quickly do a rollback in a system to an older version after a newer version has crashed and burned.  With that in mind, I find it rather ironic that Wal-Mart a company known for its exceptionally competent IT systems, uses a marketing strategy that pitches the 'Rollback.'

How did the marketing team steal that from the IT guys?

Was there a big turf war in Bensonville?

Maybe a poor unpopular schmuck of a marketing guy got stuck with the IT guys during the annual Christmas party and had to listen to all the complaints about Wal-mart System Rollbacks and being the creative person he was decided to make the connection to Rolling back prices.

Maybe this is how it went

IT Guy1, "So we had to roll the entire system back, the prices were all out of wack and the data went haywire.  We had to take the entire system down and do a cold boot, Sam Walton probably was rolling in his grave."

IT Girl 2, "Yeah I couldn't believe how screwed up that implementation was.  We worked to get all those new prices integrated for weeks, tested, reviewed, and re-tested.  And then that fool head of Logistics Systems pushes in his pet project for RLS and doesn't bother to get it approved or alligned with the update."

IT Guy 1, "It was pretty bad that morning, when those prices went out, some customers over paid.  We figured out later that customers must have over paid to a total of $19 million, before we did the rollback."

Marketing Guy, "So you're saying you rollbacked the prices and the customers saved money?"

IT Girl2, "Who are you?"

Marketing Guy, "I'm Jim Sales from the creative department in advertising."

IT Girl2, "How come you got stuck in this side of the convention center for the Christmas party?"

Marketing Guy, "Something screwed up with my badge, someone in IT probably had their wires crossed again.  Those people are always screwing something up.  What do you do?"

IT Girl2, "I . , We both work in IT"

Marketing Guy, "Well, I need to go get a drink, this 'Working in a goldmine song their playing is giving me a headache" 

Information can Make or Break You: Do you have a Solid Foundation?

After working for years in the belly of the beast of corporate structures working endlessly to help those same 'beasts' get to the source of problems, it never ceases to amaze me how many companies still try and get by without a solid system or means of measuring their success or failure.

Many companies still choose to fly blind.  There was a large amount of IT money spent in the run up to the internet bubble that resulted in a number of companies getting off of their archaic main frame systems and moving to a more flexible environment.  The thing is many of the middle managers have not yet realized that they are now empowered and even expected to figure out what is going on with or without the assistance of a staff of IT programmers.  The years when you could draft requirements for the IT staff to program you a new solution or rapidly disappearing.  More and more middle management is expected to learn the technical skills necessary to pull this information out of increasingly easier to use systems.

I read a release from Acorn Systems describing their consulting methodology that applies corporate performance management techniques to help the team adapt and learn how to use the systems necessary to succeed.  They help companies build or rebuild a  solid foundation and outline concrete and measurable goals and metrics.  This can and does often involve the entire business, supply chain, sales force or customer support group depending on the scope of the project. 

Acorn offers a Enterprise Profit System that includes a next generation Activity Based Costing system.  Such systems used to make accountants like myself drool, however the truth is these same systems can be used by anyone in the organization that can learn to speak the language of business, money and data warehouses.  These same tools will wipe out many of the low level accounting and analysis positions that historically have churned the same report over and over again, passing it up the chain for further churning and analysis and consolidation.  These systems can provide answers in real time that previously took a month or better to determine when handled in manual spreadsheets.

This new breed of systems is going to drastically reshape the corporate environment and lay waste to the expectation set of what is acceptable and unacceptable productivity.

Preparing for the Week to Come

I'm sitting here tonight at about 5 till midnight and I'm working on getting a jump start for the week.

Tomorrow morning I have to drive my wife to work and come home to take my son to the Dentist in the morning at 9 and then off to school after his appointment.

So from a business perspective, I'm going to need to make up a little time.  I'm working on some of my organization for the week and I've been going through my to do list that piled up last week.  For several reasons, I watched my task list last week pile up from 4 items past due to 30 items.

Once things get behind it doesn't take long for things to really get behind.  So I've been working the task list down step by step.

I set up some new Software products on my website at Softduit earlier, something I've been meaning to do since Monday.

Right now these are the skeleton pages and I've got more work to do, but the content and reviews are the easy part or at least the part that can be rapidly built and something I can do when travelling if I have to.

Here's a list of the pages that I setup tonight, all titles from Nuance, and I've used the hell out of their software over the years.  :)

More Great Software Titles

I have a good deal of work to do reconfiguring drop down menus on my site there, but I'm working to get my titles caught up and the pages built out.  For me that makes it easier to map out the pages and figure out the optimum menu structure, and just make the menus.

Well for now, I'm working on pushing out content in anticipation of tomorrow.  I'm working at a pace of writing about 20-30 articles a day across various different websites.  These are articles that vary in length from 100-350 words each with 225 about the average.

That's about 4-7,000 words a day.  :)  No biggy that since I type fast, but keeping my brain focused on the topics and pulling all that detail out of my cerebral cortex, while I read the wall street journal, surf the internet, watch the news and listen to a CD all day is good exercise for keeping me young and my brain flexible.

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