Category Archives: Music

You Have Me ALL WRONG!

You might, by now, have the impression that I will do virtually anything to get out of work.  You might think that I fabricate excuses to avoid long walks, heavy lifting, any event precipitating a line, shopping, listening to really long explanations of mundane things, etc.   (You get the idea.)

You might get the idea that I have little tolerance for fools (in my eyes of course) , controlling people (other than myself),  religions of any kind, lack of patience in others, and that I go overboard expressing my love for my children and my wife.

You might think that I have little patience for the likes of Rush Limbow, Bill O’Reily, and Howard Stern.  That I find their bombastic oratory inane and pedestrian.  Might even think that I enjoyed seeing our Black Irish president O’Bama verbally castrate O’Reily on national TV.

You might think that I feel that everybody deserves to love who the freek ever they want to. I don’t necessarily need to hear about how, where, and how often, but I also don’t feel the need to share that part of MY personal life either.

You might feel that I have an opinion that the Internet is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to mankind.

You might think that I cried when I thought the reactor in Japan had melted down.

You have me ALL WRONG!

I don’t go overboard expressing my love for my children and my wife.  They deserve every bit of it.


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If You Have Had Trouble Accessing a WordPress Blog…

Alexia Tsotsis Mar 3, 2011

You have no idea how hard it was to get this post up, as, our blog host, is currently under a denial of service attack. It’s been almost impossible to access the TechCrunch backend for the past 10 minutes (everything seems to be stable now) and users have been receiving a “Writes to the service have been disabled, we will be bringing everything back online ASAP” error message.

From the VIP blog post: is currently being targeted by a extremely large Distributed Denial of Service attack which is affecting connectivity in some cases. The size of the attack is multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.

We are working to mitigate the attack, but because of the extreme size, it is proving rather difficult. At this time, everything should be back to normal as the attack has subsided, but we are actively working with our upstream providers on measures to prevent such attacks from affecting connectivity going forward.

We will be making our VIP sites a priority in this endeavor, and as always, you can contact us via for the latest update. We will also update this post with more information as it becomes available

WordPress did not mention the origin of the attack (DDoS =! Anonymous) and I have contacted founder Matt Mullenweg for more information. currently serves 30 million publishers, including VIPs TED, CBS and TechCrunch, and is responsible for 10% of all websites in the world. itself sees about 300 million unique visits monthly.

Update: Automattic and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg tells us that this is the largest attack has ever seen, and is likely to be politically motivated:

“There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our datacenters in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.

This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.”

You can check here for the latest status updates.

Image via: blogohblog

Update 2: Looks like everything’s back to normal.


Monday morning wisdom

An old man once said …There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living!!! Thanks Doug for this!


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Top 10 Shockers from the Republican War on Women
From redefining rape to drastic cuts for health care, food assistance, child care, and more, Republicans are waging an all-out war on women. Check out the top 10 list and share widely today.

Parting With an Old Friend – Part One

Since I was a young, single, just out of business school, full of piss and vinegar, strapping young buck I have owned a boat.  There is a forest service lake just north east of Marysville that I have been going to for the past 28 years religiously up till last year.

Every Fourth of July about 100 of us would descend on the lake and camp in the old loggers’ camp at the far end of the lake. It was rustic.  We brought our chemicals and toilet paper and dug our own latrine.  There were a couple of tree stumps fashioned into benches, a few more into tables, and a huge fire pit surrounded by those benches and huge boulders. There was no gas on the lake, only dirt roads into it and nobody but us at it.  Mine would be one of 5 or 6 boats, and always Pete’s power dog (Dodge truck) with a 55 gallon barrel of gasoline on the back.  Those were wild and crazy days.  We used to ski all day long, and party all night long, playing our instruments and singing old classic rock songs around the campfire.  I remember one stellar evening of serious intoxication that someone had put a full 4 x 8” panel of plywood in the fire (yes, the pit was THAT big).  In the middle of one of our favorite songs “Secret Agent Man” I jumped onto the plywood and was “shooting” all my friends with my flute as the flames surrounded me and began to melt my boots.  Good times.

Then after a few years people began to lose their wild oats, find mates and settle down.  I fell in love and started bringing my girlfriend to the lake and taught her how to water-ski.  John and Jan Pellizzer (called the fuzzzy’s because, well, they were) were the first to sport a baby but many more followed.  My first, Kayla, was born in December so she was just 6 months old when she had her first trip to the lake, sleeping under the bow cover as her mom and I took turns skiing and teaching our friends.  I guess in all the years I probably taught over a hundred people how to ski for the first time in my boat.

Gradually the number of friends started to diminish and the number of families increased.  Over the years we had various combinations of in-laws (my wife came from a big family), families from our church, and just good friends that we had known since the “good old days.”  The constant was the lake, and the boat.  Serious waterskiing gave way to floating on the lake with the sisters, nieces and nephews, dogs and other critters.

One year when my second water baby (Kelsey) was just 5 months old, we had a fuel mishap and the boat burned down to the water line.  It was a bit dodgy as mom and I were alone in the boat with Kayla.  I told mom to jump in and handed her a seat cover to float on and the baby.  Thankfully Kelsey was on shore with the rest of the families.  A fishing boat picked us up, and another boat kept my burning flotilla from igniting the forest by driving around in circles and swamping it.  That boat was replaced immediately upon my return home.  The thought of not having one never entered my mind.

As the kids grew and started to make their own friends, several of them started to join us.  We had great nature walks and camping trips, all revolving around at least 6 hours a day in the boat.  I was the driver for most of it, so the passengers came in shifts or waves but I rarely got off of my ship.  There were all sorts of waterfalls and rock slides to explore, rope swings, and beaches.  The kids sometimes took kayaks off to faraway beaches and set up their own camp for the day.  We were always summoned via walky-talky to come and rescue them in the late afternoon when the junk food ran out and the wind picked up in their faces, making the paddle back to base beach quite unattractive.

As the years past the logging camp was gated, the road paved, and the campground expanded to accommodate trailers, RV’s and the eventual onslaught of personal watercraft and mini-bikes.  What was once our serene personal getaway became everyone else’s too.  People that we had shared our sacred find with began to bring up their own groups and word inevitably got out to the masses.   Mostly it was a friendly bunch, and as we went up the same time every year we became pretty good friends with many of the campers and boaters.  There was kind of an unwritten code that if one boat went into
“skier’s cove” for that early morning “glass” the next boat would go the other way down the lake to avoid interfering.

My good friend Martin, who came up with his family for 6 or 7 years, named the place “Shangri-la.”  It fit.  The kids went to church together, we had lunch together every Sunday, and I played softball with them every Sunday afternoon for years.  There is a world full of memories with those friends, but none as special as camping, the lake, and the boat.

To be continued…


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This is a most lovely grey day. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, all of you! It is great to be alive!!!

When I woke up this morning my head was pounding. My mouth was dry and my lips cracked from breathing through my mouth all night. I opened the curtains and it is cold and raining outside, the kind of grey drizzle that does no good, just keeps the sun away. The lawn is littered with fallen debris. As the house is inspected it reveals dirty dishes in the sink, an unmade bed in the guest room, clothes spewed all over our bedroom where I have been living out of a suitcase for the weekend, books and papers scattered about the living room. There are used towels on the floor in my bathroom, and we are out of toilet paper.

I cannot remember a more beautiful morning in my life. The dishes, clothes, and towels are all over because we just had my wife’s father and my brother-in-law down from Portland for the weekend. One of the papers cluttering the living room was a beautiful Valentine card from my wife. We are lucky enough to have a lawn for debris to be scattered over, and this rain is the first we’ve had in over a week and it is mid February.

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. What makes this such a beautiful morning is that I have the wife, the lawn, good friends, a new family (after I was divorced I got to keep the old one, so now I have two) and more importantly my heart is beating regularly.

Yesterday was one of those “ah ha” moments, or wake-up calls. Atrial fibrillation is a condition of cardiac arrhythmia usually reserved (at least in middle-aged men) for those either on a drinking binge reminiscent of spring breakers in Cabo, those with heart conditions, or those extremely dehydrated or on stimulants like caffeine or cocaine. I had none of those conditions so it was a bit of a surprise when I awakened to find my heartbeat rapid and shallow and about as regular as a ping pong ball in a clothes dryer.

This happened to me before, so I tend to downplay what does not seem immediately life threatening. The in-laws, wife, and I were scheduled to drive down to Pebble to join our wonderful sponsors at Hertz for a day of fun, food, and watching Bill Murray and Matt Cain. Oh, yes, and there was also golf being played. They having flown down from the great Pacific Northwest to attend the event, and my wife being the driver and also a great fan of the “amateur” celebrities it made no sense for them to miss the event to watch me lie in a hospital bed tied to all sorts of tubes, wires, and monitors. With a little reluctance they dropped me off at the ER at 8:00 in the morning, kissed goodbye, and all said they hoped to see me sometime again, in THIS lifetime.

The emergency room was jammed, but having a heart disorder no matter how trivial (guess there is no such thing as a trivial heart disorder in their minds) guarantees you a bed immediately. Having done this before I know was somewhat hoping to have the opportunity to spend an hour or two in triage watching the AT&T before being admitted. No such luck.

Having to suffer the indignity of immediately disrobing and being connected to an intravenous drip, an electroencephalogram (EEG), blood oxygen monitor, respiration monitor, linear accelerator, and wind tunnel, I was now prepared for my treatment. The first time this happened within 30 minutes they had me on blood thinner, my second drip bag of hydration, and 60mg of Soma to try and regulate my heartbeat which was vacillating between 100 and 300 beats per minute. My normal resting rate is 60.

This was not the case yesterday. The ER was jammed, so basically I got a bag of saline and was left alone – completely alone – for about three hours. There were some other brief encounters, but in general no progress, and no human contact for almost eight hours. There is no better format for meditation and introspection that comes to mind than sitting, watching your heartbeat racing in the “danger, warning will Robinson” zone on a monitor, trussed up like a thanksgiving Turkey, and just waiting. The occasional alarm would bring in a worried nurse/technician to look at the monitor, adjust the alarm threshold and DO NOTHING. I have no disrespect for Kaiser, but there are some horror stories that leave its reputation somewhat short of Johns Hopkins, so being left alone with my own mind it was quickly apparent that there was indeed the distinct possibility that there would be no future in my future.

With even this remote possibility, however self-created, comes certain clarity. I need to treat my loving wife, all of my friends, and family with more than mere respect, with palpable gratitude. That rainy blustery morning outside the bedroom window is one of the most beautiful things in creation. Every single person that can be helped by what we do as a marketing agency is precious. Every opportunity to turn someone’s business even more slightly towards the path to success is a unique gift from God to help. Random acts of kindness like sending $100 to help a friend I haven’t seen in ten years sponsor a short film even if it never amounts to a thing, every $10 check to the Southern Poverty Law Center, heck a $5 check to the Rush Limbaugh drug rehabilitation fund, anything anyone can do to help another is your great karmic responsibility.

Let’s all redouble our efforts to include what we share on the net. Is what is being written and broadcast truly intended to be helpful or is it self-serving? When we host an event is it truly crafted to educate our audience, or is it a veiled attempt to provide just enough information to “hook” them into being customers. Question the ethics, even the karma if you will, of what you are producing. The Buddhists call this “right livelihood.” It doesn’t take much explanation. When you speak at a convention or meeting, when you teach a class or sponsor a meet-up sincerely ask the question of your audience “are you being served?”

After eight hours of an extremely uncomfortable experience lying on a hospital bed, unable to turn, bleeding from the holes in my arms, and dying of hunger the doctor comes in and tells me “it’s not working.” This is sobering news as it means that they are going to have to stop my heart and start it again with electric shock. Although time is a factor, since my wife is in Monterrey with her family, they asked if “just in case” anything were to go wrong the procedure could be scheduled when she could be there with me. Short of asking if I wanted a priest, that was somewhat devastating news. We decide to postpone the procedure until the next day.

Since the sole reason for my fasting all day was in case I need what they call “cardio conversion” ( which is doc-speak for killing you and bringing you back to life) I was finally allowed a turkey sandwich (my now most favorite of all foods – ever). Figuring it to be symbolically my “last supper” I abandoned my diet and even had real mayonnaise on it.

Upon completion of said meal I took one last look at the little heart monitor which had been so disappointingly displaying rather random blips and squiggles for the last eight hours, and started crying. It revealed a sweet, absolutely regular, normal heartbeat.

A mandatory “safety” hour later I was released. I kissed the orderly (not sure he totally enjoyed that, but what the heck) promised to name my next pet after the doctor, and would have paid the bill with antique silver dollars had they asked.

Since my wife was still at the Pro-am and I didn’t want to bother any of my friends (whom I now adore one and all) it was decided to walk the two and one half miles home. What’s that line from “My Fair Lady?”

“I have often walked down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before…”

The exhilaration and resolve for re-dedication to a more skillful position of loving-kindness towards all that is, can be fleeting after such an experience. My earnest prayers are that if only for a moment, it will be remembered and take priority over the usual knee jerk reaction to the next person that cuts me off in traffic.

Go hand a perfect stranger a flower today!


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What if I stumble? What if I fall?

What if I stumble?  What if I fall?

When is the best time to get out of the womb and stretch your figurative marketing legs?  Are baby steps the only way to get started?  Is it better to sign on with a big company?

With the recession and baby boomer phenomena occurring at roughly the same time recently, we have had a “perfect storm” in the job market.  Many, like myself, have had the opportunity through layoffs or burn-outs, to step back and take a look at who we are.

I had to re-asses my skill set and be honest about what I want to do with the rest of my life.  That ended up in my returning to school to take a master’s program in internet marketing.  Upon completing this last year I was faced with an interesting dilemma.  Although I have 20+ years of business development and traditional marketing, my exposure to internet marketing to this point has been limited to a few email campaigns, a pay-per-click ad campaign here and there, and selection of a few keywords to give to our developer in the vain hope that somehow our site would get found and we would make more money.

There are so many specialties in internet marketing it can be daunting.  I could spend the rest of my working life studying search engine optimization.  I do read the search engine land publications most afternoons to keep up with what Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Apple have done that day.  It DOES change every day.  There are webinars almost daily to give you a sampling of valuable information at the cost of an hour of your time and exposure to not so skillfully cloaked sales pitches.  It’s like taking a software class (for me); five minutes worth of valuable information surrounded by an insufferable amount of dribble.  Unfortunately one can never predict exactly when that five minutes of insight will occur.  It invariably does occur.  I have learned that it is almost never in the first 10 minutes of the session.  That is usually reserved for the self-aggrandizement of the presenters, followed by shameless self promotion of the event or service the webinar is actually promoting.

There are also a plethora of “free” white papers and e-books designed to fetch your email address in exchange for a glossed over explanation of yet another tried and true or cutting edge internet marketing practice guaranteed to make you tons of money by making your clients tons of money.  Not to mention the other various and sundried podcasts, videos and other media events designed to hold your attention long enough to sell you while you sift out those few pearls and try not to nod off.

At the base of this lies the crux of the decision.  It is not an easy one for a senior marketing dude, and the word senior in this context has several interpretations.  The first consideration is that of honest fear.  Not having played on this field of 20 something’s there is a fear of failure.  Some of these kids have twice the internet marketing experience we oldies have by the time they are 20.  Then there are the Frank Kern’s of the world that were just smart and good and applied Tony Robbins like principles to web marketing and are now legitimate gurus.  There is never going to be a good time to step on to the court and shout “next game.”

But sooner or later you must. There comes a time when the “rubber meets the road.”  I could spend 12 hours a day for the next 20 years studying and practicing and never be as good as all of these kids at what they do.  What I need to be is better in a few areas than they are at what I do. There will always be someone who can write code faster, automate a link building program, or interpret analytics better than we, but there are damn few with the general expertise in small business that we old farts have.  In the past months it has become apparent that there are a multitude of small and medium businesses out there that desperately need to be taken out of the dark ages.  The grey army is here, relatively more educated than most, and ready to charge onto the online market.  The front line may get hosed by the first few machine gun nest, but we will trudge on, and WE WILL PREVAIL!


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OK, If it’s free why do you need my credit card number?

Could it be that the word free, as defined by Webster Online as: open to all comers

free·ness  :open to everyone \-nəs\ noun
for free     : without charge

does not apply to your transaction? 

Could it be that you have just used the most famous bait and switch of all time to get me to not only sign up for my FREE invoicing software but give you a profile of my company, a sign-in word, and create a password?

 God that pisses me off!

 There are reasons that the current Google Ad words regulations will kick you off (supposedly) for advertising something for FREE when it is not.

Of course the hope is that when your FREE trial period is over  you will forget to cancel and they can bill you for something you really don’t want for another few months until you finally call your credit card company up and FORCE THEM to reverse the extortion payments.

As internet marketers we have a responsibility to police ourselves.  The social environment won’t put up with these “USED CAR SALESMEN” forever.

 Shout it to the mountain tops every time you see one.  If you must, YELP!

All I wanted was a freaking template so I can bill my first months website re-works.  It’s not rocket science and I sure as hell didn’t have an extra half hour to dick around with Intuit only to find out that it would have been faster (and more honest) to just say that they aren’t about to help ANYONE for free.

Good advertising karma in an information age.  I wish them well.


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New app for iPhone; iLaugh. This had me literally in tears for an hour, I had to read it twice.

For all of us out there that are too lazy to really x out all the auto-correct errors that the folks at Apple have generously supplied us on our iPhones.  In this era of iEverything it is helpful to reflect on the absurdity of life as reflected by the ailing Jobs and the wonderful humor his company has unwittingly created.  Enjoy your friday, even if it IS a foggy day in California.



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