Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mustache Patronage

Of all the kooky bizarre things the Catholic Church has to offer, the veneration of Saints has to be my favorite. Just like a pantheon of pagan gods, saints are assigned patronage to specific things and praying for their intervention in their area of expertise or causes of which they are the patron is a time honored tradition, in spite of common sense.

We are all familiar with Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland, snakes and toothaches, and of course Saint Valentine, the patron saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people. I know. Bee keepers, right?

Saint Nick? Patron of bankers and pawnbrokers, I shit you not.

National saints? Sure thing. England has Saint George, Scotland has Saint Andrew , Wales has Saint David. Austria gets five with Joseph, Maurice, Coloman, Leopold, and Florian. Italy tops out at six, with Bernardine of Siena, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and Our Lady of the Snows.
What about the U.S of A? The Blessed Virgin Mary herself is our patron, while Papua New Guinea gets St. Michael the Archangel, who also happens to be the patron Saint of Paratroopers, which is pretty badass.

The whole thing is fascinating if nothing else and you can get your saint fix anytime at CATHOLIC ONLINE .

Why all this sudden fussing about saints, you may ask? Well, after our team of four were declared "World's Greatest Santa" at the LA Santa-con yesterday for trouncing everyone in the Scavenger hunt, i figured i should refresh my knowledge of the actual Saint Nick, and see if I was wrong when I claimed he was the patron saint of beards and facial hair. Not only was I wrong, since there is no patron saint of facial hair, but i was giving the title to someone far less deserving. Saint Nick's beard holds nothing to what I stumbled on.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give ye Saint Wilgefortis.

Betrothed to a heathen king by her father, so the story goes, Wilgefortis who's name is a derivation on the latin "Virgo Fortis"or "Strong Virgin", prayed to god that she would become hideous and therefore be spared the unhappy marriage. Sad, right? So the next day, she wakes up to find that she's grown a full beard!

God is hilarious.

The pagan king is grossed out, and the marriage is cancelled. Hooray!

But Wilgefortis' dad is so pissed off that she and her god did this, that he has her crucified. Boo!


Talk about your joke backfiring, huh? You'd think God in his omnipotence could have seen that coming, right? Whatever.

The cult of Saint Wilgefortis was all sorts of popular in the middle ages, so much so that the monks at the abbey where her wooden statue was, had it plated in silver to prevent erosion from all the pilgrims kissing her feet. It is said that when a poor minstrel played at the statue, one of the silver slippers came off as a reward from the saint. Which is a nice way of saying "It was stolen". However, that explains why she has only one shoe in the statue above, but it does not explain her enormous Sasquatch feet in the same sculpture.

Needless to say,that Wilgefortis with her sad story of a heavenly practical joke gone horribly awry, should absolutely without a doubt be new patron saint of mustaches and beards in general, as well as the patron saint of bearded ladies, which she already is. I encourage the Vatican's commission on gobbledygook and totes ridiculousness to look into the matter as soon as possible.

Now enjoy this lovely music video i found of a song by Rebecca Clamp about Wilgefortis.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fallen Princesses

As I look forward to seeing the much ballyhooed and newest "Disney Princess" in THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG I find myself tickled by photographer Dina Goldstein's less than idyllic take on what the future holds for our fairy tale heroines. The super saccharine characters are easy enough to lampoon, but Goldstein manages to add just the right amount of sympathy to the general sense of comeuppance that we all crave, to make it almost as poignant as it is clever.

See the whole set HERE

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cogito ergo DM

Or should it be "DM ergo sum"? Regardless of the Latin, there's a point to made. As a marketing professional, i often have forbidden fruits dangled before me.

"I've produced an algorithm."

Is usually the first sign of trouble in Social Media. Followed quickly by the words "Viral" and "Blast". All of those connote a detachment from the wondrous teeming, bubbling, and ever evolving mass that is Teh Webz and how, despite the technology and ways of "tricking" people into receiving your message, there is nothing as powerful as a loyal customer spreading your message of his/her own accord. As my dear friend mAcslost said, "What is the ROI on a friend that helps you move? What's the price on that long term relationship?"

So true. Like any friend, a SM professional needs to know what favors to ask and what is too much of an infringement on their relationship with their followers. We often walk a fine line, understanding the necessity of mass e-mails but not wanting to go into the SPAM folder. Needing to reach out, but not be so callous and so to the point that your customers learn to disregard your message.

Two things reared their heads this previous week that I'd like to address. Both were tempting in their effectiveness and both I ultimately passed on, simply because I am personally uncomfortable with how intrusive they are.

Firstly, i had myself an apoplexy when i received a DM to my company's Twitter account from one of our competitors. "You have been invited to (EVENT DETAILS)"

I was livid. I received that message on my phone, in my E-mail, and on my Twitter. 3 messages at once from my competitors made me angry at the invasion, and jealous that their message had infiltrated so entirely. I looked to my SM peeps to validate my outrage. By a huge majority we all agreed that a mass DM was considered "Twitter Spam" and would ultimately damage them more than help. Officialy, you give people who you follow the right to DM you, and they are within their rights to do so. However it is in bad form, and a breach of "Twettiquette". Though I sit here in my SM tower and cast judgment on their SM fumbles , though our SM community dwarfs theirs in numbers and community involvement , I also know that their one Spammy, BS, DM was seen by every one of their followers. The temptation to follow suit is enormous.

The second was similar in nature. Text message marketing. I know people must opt in, I understand that its highly effective, I just don't like it. I think our brand needs as much goodwill as possible and douchey marketing like Texting, overzealous E-mail "Blasts", and "Twitter Spam" are harmful to our image.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision for SM professionals. For my money and many of the people that i work with, goodwill, respect, and a knowing nod to our community acknowledging that we "Aren't like THAT" is worth more than the potential returns from such direct and aggressive advertising. There are people who market by wrapping a building in their message, there are people who buy electronic billboards, there are those who blast and spam and plan to "go viral". I am not one of them, and my brand will not suffer those indignities. We aim to build a community out of respect and goodwill. We will talk to our customers when we e-mail them, and direct message them, we will not be talking at them.

That's just how we roll.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Social Media ROI (God. Just writing that makes me sweat)

At an astoundingly douchey mixer held by the club promoters of the digital world (Digital LA), I was approached by a very pushy young man who was hocking applications. After figuring out my position in our Company and my affinity for Social Media, he posed the question "What is your ROI?".

I thought about it for a moment, and I responded. "We don't speak ROI, we speak relationships and community."

He laughed nervously, and i ran away.

ROI? Good grief, doesn't he know that social media is all about Teh Gudwillz and teh Relashunshipz? I have since obsessed. The positive impact of our SM campaigns is evident to me, but our bottom line would still seem unaffected. How do I convince the boss folk that this is a good investment?

Below is a starting point. Obviously for a small business like ours, it's not necessarily all applicable, but its a start on what I'm sure will be a lengthy discussion as SM begins to settle into its place as in the world of brand management, public relations, and marketing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am increasingly Opposed to our involvement in Afghanistan

An exchange in the WH Situation room with The VP and the President's advisors.

"Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?" Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. "And how much will we spend on Pakistan?" Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. "Well, by my calculations that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?" The White House Situation Room fell silent.

Read more at: The Huffington Post

Friday, October 09, 2009

Barack's Nobel

It is a shock, no doubt. Nobody expected our President to receive the Nobel Prize. What has he done? He's only been in office for less than a year? Hell! He was only eligible to win as president for 2 months before nominations were closed. Is this the Nobel committee's way of giving a final insult to the Bush administration, who's critics (Al Gore, Paul Krugman) seemed to be winning prizes left and right for the last few years? Or is it more important than that?

I think the key to the Nobel Committee's decision lies in the brevity of time that Barack Obama has spent as President. Just as it is the most shocking part of the announcement that mere months into his presidency he's won a prize given to MLK and TR, the fact remains that President Obama has turned the global conversation back towards unity, hope and diplomacy in a VERY SHORT TIME. A few years ago, this country was still coping with the fact that we tortured detainees. We were mired in conversations about whether or not Waterboarding was considered torture, and dealing with a war fought under false pretenses. Remember the awful images of Saddam Hussein being executed? Remember? It seems a world away. We are now debating taking care of each other (Health care), our focus lies in bettering this world and not in creating tactical nukes and alienating friends with missile shields.

President Obama, through peaceful political means changed the entire direction of global politics by inspiring the world's most powerful nation to hope and better ourselves. We are now talking to Iran, with a heavy hand and backed by all our allies, including those who previously supported Iran. The world is already a safer, and more united place because a Hawaiian-born African American man from Chicago decided we still could. Imagine this world under McCain and Palin. Remember this world under Bush and Cheney think of how much has changed in a year, and then ask yourself in 2009 who else has done so much to bring people together? I can't think of a single more powerfully uniting figure.

Congratulations, President Obama. Well deserved.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twitter Killers?

I know. I know. This is my second post in a row about Twitter that has a question as its title. I know the posts have been Social Media heavy lately, and I know I owe you all my analysis of Chicago's failed bid for the 2016 games, but bear with me my dears, as I spin a yarn of greed, ego, and the powers that our personal accounts and engagement are up against.

Gather round Tweeps, and Facebook friends. Tumblrs and MySpace pervs.

The whole thing began about a month and a half ago when one of the top 6 agencies in town sent over someone who referred to himself as a "Social Media Agent" to meet with the celebrity I work with from time to time. Astounded at the notion, since social media doesn't pay off directly, and talent agencies are very aggressive in monetizing everything, and 10% of nothing is bupkes, I was eager if not thrilled to see what this guy knew and what his insight might be into monetizing SM.

When he arrived, I was a touch shocked. Was it possible that a man well into his forties could have insight into SM ? I'm in my early thirties and I can barley keep up, could it be that this man had the tech savvy that I lacked and therefore some sort of insight into monetization that would make everyone very rich? I listened to his pitch with five people present in the room.

The pitch went as follows:

There is a huge amount of money to be made by celebrities who Tweet.

He has a Company that is willing to pay per commercial tweet according to the amount of followers a celebrity may have.

The company hosts a variety of brands that the celebrity can choose from, so the celeb could choose brands that are applicable.

The company requires every fifth tweet to be a commercial with up to 40 tweets a day for it to be profitable.

With the formula pitched, Ashton Kutcher could make over one million dollars monthly.

Naturally there were questions to be asked.

Firstly, the Celebrity in question has an honest but unimpressive 5k followers. Not nearly enough for it to be worth it.

"That can be easily addressed with a service we employ that can artificially boost your numbers. We could have you up to 50k in 2 weeks.

They don't pay per click, they pay per follower?

"Yes, but who knows how long they'll be doing that for. So we have to get on this right away so we can get the numbers up and the tweets going."

Is the tool you use to boost the numbers Ok by twitter?

"Well, not exactly. Which is another reason why we would need to get on this right away."

Who else is doing this?

"Well, if say Ashton Kutcher would do it.."

Is he?

"No, but if he were.."

Why wouldn't he want an extra 1 million a month?

"I don't know."

Ok, so Ashton doesn't do it, but you haven't told us who. So who else would be interested in doing something like this?

"Well, we want to keep clients protected."

At this point the celebrity interjected. "Do I have to tweet and choose the ads myself or can my guys do it?"

"Oh for sure your staff can do it, 40 daily tweets is a lot."

The celeb's assistant sank into his chair. But the feeling of all in the room is that this bit of sketchiness would not see the light of day. I was glowing at being able to thwart something that would be detrimental not only to the celeb's brand, but to the Twitter community as well. After all, posting for a profit defeats the idea of sharing. Its filling a quota and manipulating. It goes against what the Twitter community is all about, and leaves the door open for the profit hungry "Man" that drove MySpace into the ground. I had come head to head with the capitalist machine and managed to defend my online socialist utopia for another day. God bless the EFF and Creative Commons, keep your filthy corporate greed out of our web, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

This was 45 days ago.

Yesterday it all resurfaced with the acquisition of 2 interns who's duties include Tweeting. Calls were made and the whole mess is a "go". Now it is up to the Twitter community to react. Do we reject advertisement as a part of feeds altogether? Is an individual endorsement more valuable when not contractual? (See? It does connect to the previous post.) All this remains to be seen. I have faith that something so sneaky and ill conceived has little to no place in the twitterverse. However, i have noticed something that insists on a caveat for this sort of marketing on Twitter.

Picture 7

Which leads to this site.

Picture 8

Although i believe that weight loss products and Acai Berry drinks are beneath LAist, their tweets are transparent, and we do not expect a personality or a connection to a website like we would a brand. Their twitter feed is simply links to their blog and their blog makes money off of ads, ergo this is fair play. This cannot be said of corporations and celebrities who use twitter to further their personal brand. Their unspoken contract with the web and in social media participation is to provide the public with information about themselves with goodwill and without trying to make a cynical buck off of us. However, if we find ourselves following celebs, and clicking on their every link with the same blindness with which we accepted hookers and club promoters as our MySpace "friends" then the FAIL Whale is upon us and we can only watch the potential of yet another Social Networking site diminished and destroyed by corporate greed. It really is up to us.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A sucessful contractual Twitter feed?

"The ways of the Living Force are beyond our understanding... But fear not. You are in the hands of something much greater and much better than you can imagine."
―Qui-Gon Jinn

A Protocol Droid fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, and able to communicate with binary loadlifters has only NOW discovered the value of Twitter? So it would appear, as Twitter-friendly nerdery everywhere welcomed Anthony Daniels, who is better known throughout the galaxy as C3PO, to the world of Social Media. His newly minted Twitter account handle bears the name ADaniels3PO and he boasts a modest following of 1700 accrued in the short time of 5 days.

It would make perfect sense that someone who owes his career to the genre of Science Fiction would be tapping into the Nerd/Geek rich world of social media, where no matter how mainstream things are, they retain an air of geeky innocence. However, such has not been the case for Mr. Daniels who's recent discovery of Twitter happens to happily coincide with a new website and the beginning of his national tour with Star Wars in Concert. Is it possible that someone in the marketing department for Star Wars In Concert was prescient enough to see Mr. Daniels as an indirect marketing tool? Contractually obliging him to a twitter feed seems contrary to the "Feel-Good Community" of Twitter, but the opportunities for the concert can hardly be ignored. When a visual music and lights show starring your favorite movie rolls into town, who better to be a spokesperson than one of the stars? It takes the notion of celebrity, product, and word of mouth to a whole new level.

Do I think it was a draconian marketing person who put him up to it as a part of some awful, greedy contract? No. Should Marketing people encourage it and make available all resources to those who are promoting their goods? You bet! Anthony Daniels should have the full support of the enormous companies affiliated with Star Wars and the concert, and they should all be touting his Twitter feed. I bet they could pump those numbers well past the 2k mark they have now, and in turn give Mr. Daniels a powerful tool for his personal brand as well as allowing him to maximize his role as a spokesperson for their brand.

Let me put it this way:

I wouldn't know about Star Wars in concert if it weren't for Anthony Daniels. Anthony Daniels would never have told me about it unless it was through his Twitter feed. His Twitter feed inspired this blog post, which in turn, touts Star Wars in Concert. The force is strong in that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Before we were "Just talking" to the Consumer, VW was "Just Talking" to the consumer

Such ballsy, non-conventional ads in an era where this was unheard of.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Traditional Cut

This is the guy who cuts my hair. He is fantastic. He charges $10 if you have a mustache gives you a glass of rum and a damn fine shave and a haircut. Every guy i know should go to him.

Richie The Barber
7303 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 935-2494

Hours: Mon-Sat. 12:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
No Credit Cards

Monday, September 21, 2009

In case you were in doubt.

A little perspective on where we are heading.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feliz Dia De la Independencia!

On this day in 1808, sick of the opression of white Europeans, white Mexican-born Spaniards threw off the yoke of Imperialism and placed it promptly on the indigenous peoples of Mexico. A practice that continues to this very day, and is celebrated with "El Grito!" or "the squeal!", where the President of the republic dons his sash and rings a bell in honor of his American and Narco Overlords.

And an old timey movie that explains the Mexican national anthem and pokes fun at Napoleon III.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Don Draper's Carousel: Lessons for Social Media Marketing

I had "One of those moments" yesterday, where something I've always felt true was verified by a moment or an authority. I met a young lady yesterday who had graduated from a University with the twin majors of Marketing and Social Anthropology, and she expressed delight in my excitement for her choices. To which I explained that i see the two as being permanently intertwined.

I have always maintained in the inherency of the human experience. A unifying feeling that we have all been through this before, and we all share basically the same journey with minor variations. In marketing, this can be applied in different ways. Our need to breed can be preyed on, the manipulation of imagery is well known, and wordplay, copy, font decisions, music and etymological wizardry can come in handy when attempting to create a reaction to a product on a superficial level. Social Media however, has the honor of having the customer come to you. The customer has found you and they will deliver the message on your behalf, but you must equip them with the ability and desire to spread your message. You must build on their loyalty and do so at a level which connects beyond the obvious and at a very deep level.

Mad Men, is a fantastic show that I adore simply for the Cro-Magnon brazenness of 1960's advertising and how different it is from what we try to achieve through the intimate world of Social Media. When print and television were the only game in town, it was absolutely necessary to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, but when the customer is coming to you as is the case with social media, what sort of message are you sending out in order to be the most effective representative of your brand?

The clip below has received a large amount of attention for the way in which the lead character, Don Draper, during a pitch to KODAK, appeals to emotions that are not sexy or exciting but deeply moving and speak to us on a much more intimate level. So much so, in fact, that one of his colleagues who is having marital issues leaves the room in a rush.

A masterfully written expression of what all social media professionals must inevitably learn. As my mentor Stephen Fry put it so eloquently during his address to the Apple iTunes festival "Deep inside we are very soft people who yearn to love and yearn to be loved, and everything else is incidental, irrelevant, cynical, and not interesting to us fundamentally."

The feelings of belonging, and community that are recreated by our online families within our social media outlets are very real and must speak to that level of connectedness. It is a powerful tool, and when yielded wisely and with sincerity it can have wonderful results. Understanding that connectedness and what make societies and individuals tick at a rudimentary level,like an Anthropologist would, will make you more likely to achieve that goal.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Social Media as the Eye of Sauron

"The Eye: that horrible growing sense of a hostile will that strove with great power to pierce all shadows of cloud, and earth, and flesh, and to see you: to pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable."- JRR Tolkien

I had an interesting real-time social media moment today that bears repeating as a warning for those who underestimate the immediate power of SM and the PR as well as promotional benefits of being able to listen to your consumer.

I have several Tweetdeck alerts for ongoing projects, brands, etc. One of these is The Comedy Store, my place of employment, which is an incredible, but badly damaged brand. It is a hard sell most of the time, and our product is still not in great shape after 20 something years of complete neglect and a pretty gnarly reputation for being unfriendly to outsiders.

My mantra since arriving here has been built around this Brand Heaven and Hell illustration that I found when I first started dawdling in marketing.

(If anyone can tell me who is responsible for it, I'd love to give him/her credit.)

Brand H&H

If you'll note, one of the most basic steps, the FIRST step, in fact, is "Positive interactions".

A customer had a negative interaction today with one of the guys who works our phones. He tweeted about it approximately five minutes after his interaction. Seconds after he tweeted, I received a notice, and read this tweet: "Just called "The Comedy Store" to find out about open mic and the guy was a dick... so nothing unusual."

With that comment, not only was the customer able to let me know that we had dropped the ball, but he also let his 198 followers know as much too. Not only did he tell them that our customer service was terrible, but he also told them we had a history of such things. BAD brand karma. I tried to recover from it, offering the usual free admissions and apologies, but the damage has been done. In real time, with a nearly immediate effect, I saw our brand depleted by one idiot employee's insensitivity and i saw that message delivered into 200 people's feeds, and I pray he's not linked his twitter ans Facebook accounts. This is the world of Social Media, where the negative can be spread as quickly if not more so than the information you export. For someone like me who spends most of his waking hours attempting to paint the kindest, most sincere and positive picture of this place, it is infuriating when that is derailed by an insensitive employee who frankly, is not doing his job. Like Sauron's evil eye, a Negative interaction will find you through social media and "pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable."


*** UPDATE!!
After my overtures the customer above decided to swing by on the day we were holding a special promotion for new comics. I was greeted by this tweet from his stream this morning which I promptly retweeted: "Had a great time at The Comedy Store... people were really nice and it was great fun watching new comics work."

What an amazing interaction.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gordon Brown: Wiring a web for global good

In my continued study on the incredible interconnectedness that is afforded us by Social Media, I've been wanting to share this TED talk for a while. To listen to a world leader discuss compassion in such personal terms is one of the most encouraging things I've seen in a long time.

Say what you will about Gordon Brown and his policies, he is a deeply sensitive and intelligent man

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kings and Queens Heroes and Heroines

“O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear
Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak
list of a country’s fashion: we are the makers of
manners, Kate; and the liberty that follows our
places stops the mouth of all find-faults; as I will
do yours, for upholding the nice fashion of your
country in denying me a kiss: therefore, patiently
and yielding. ”

Henry V Act 5, Scene 2

There are endless justifications in life. We justify happenings actions and attempt to reason away things that make us unhappy or make ourselves feel better about circumstances.I know that personally i justify a few whoppers a week, just to get by. And so do we all:

"Everything happens for a reason."
"It's just business"
"I can quit anytime"
"All's fair in love and war"
"It's God's will"
"But they really do love me"

All of these are classic examples of our attempts to make ourselves feel better about crummy decisions we make, and the general disasters that life presents us and the ones we hand each other.I blame no one for their desire to rationalize or justify but sometimes it does us well to confront that fact and be merciful to ourselves and others by being a little more plain-spoken and realistic. As I step back and momentarily become Emerson's "Transparent Eyeball" (A moment is really all I can afford of serious introspection right now), I find myself reverting to what i consider my moral center while i contemplate and justify decisions I have made in life, some not so wise, in pursuit of my own little holy grail of making this place better through my ability to engage people in a pleasant manner and bring to them entertainment and laughter that connects us all. If there is a life thesis for me at the moment, you've just read it.

So as i see my friends in their contented and married lives, many of them with children now, it gives me pause to see how much i've sacrificed in my attempts to maximize my ability to connect in a positive manner. My friend observed last night, that no one else possesses the life skills that I've had to develop for dealing with all the insanity that i bring on myself, and that which is heaped on me by the myriad of strange characters who have chosen similar journeys and are plodding along trying to make sense of it.

It is at times like this when the alienation from so very much seems to be tugging at me while I'm busy with social media, talent booking, joke telling, and the social and emotional slings and arrows of my life that I go to what I have always considered my grand justification. I am not alone.

If i were Christian, I would say Christ is with me. And he is, most certainly. He too sought more from life than a carpenter's spot in the firm of Moses, Abraham and Sons and in turn, his premature death at age 33 (An age I am a week from) resounds even to a hardened atheist like myself.

The sacrifice of comfort, both bodily and mental, the pain and suffering of the individual seeking a greater truth or a metaphorical grail is a story retold over and over in the human experience and our most revered heroes are those who gave of themselves for a larger cause succeeded and redeemed themselves and the world through their sacrifice. That story holds a sacred place in our psyche, and I posit that it is for moments like these where times try men's souls that our ancestors recorded the heroic tales, so as to inspire us mid journey, look at how far we've all come and beckon us to the universality of the journeys of our predecesors who dared step out of the comfort zone.

If we have taken a risk, we have thrown away comfort, and we have taken a step into the brave new world that propels humanity forward. The more steps you take, the greater your discomfort, and when I feel I may break and settle into a quieter version of my charmed life I look to the heroes that continued despite enormous prices exacted on themselves and those who dared support them. I stand on those shoulders and find strength in the heroes around me valiantly beautifying the world and making our communal experience a touch more special for our brief time here.

When I look around me and think what have i accomplished? What is my goal and purpose? I find the greatest justification in our shared journeys and experiences, and I am thankful for those who have kept it together for me. Those who I lean on, and those who like me, continue to charge into the fray on a daily basis at the expense of their physical and mental well-being in hopes that the next day will be brighter for all of us.

That is the mother of all justifications. It justifies why I sometimes feel exempt from certain norms, why i feel entitled to bang my head more often and why sometimes it requires a little more understanding from society and my peers. I do not ask for sympathy. I'm having a great time in my journey and when and if I arrive I'll have done it to the sincere best of my abilities. No shortcuts, no easy answers. For all you great Kings and Queens out there, for all you heroes, take heart in Henry V's words from the Shakespearean play. Be able to look at your world with an open and sincere heart and say "Your rules do not apply to me, I will lead my life as I see fit." and then act out of love.

This is what I tell myself.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Put Pocketing (The product finds you?)

The most difficult thing in Social Media Marketing is the true life application of your message and product. As we all know, a huge list and following needn't necessarily translate into bums in seats or cash in hand. Walking down the street with an iPhone glued to your hand is hardly a way to live (Ahem). Even then, there must be a merging point between guerrilla marketing and online marketing. A place where your online sense of community can be verified and validated by a very applicable moment in your life. Most marketing folk cede this responsibility to the product which they believe to be the ultimate personal interaction between consumer and brand. While technically true, non traditional brand interaction has been around for a while and a staple in urban settings. In a world like social media, where so much isn't tangible the options for extending your message outside of the realm of intangibles becomes more difficult.

MySpace continues to be the largest Social network that continually throws and promotes events independent of users. In other words MySpace has Myspace events while Twitter, Facebook etc. have only user generated events. Though I firmly believe that FB and Twitter would benefit from expanding into events and producing or at least sponsoring, they are in no danger of being overtaken by MySpace's events division which had enormous cuts inflicted on it despite being the only original and working apparatus in that horribly collapsing structure.

What about your company though? What sort of things can you do to bring that close knit online community together? Tweetups, Tweetcrawls, Facebook Invites are all in the arsenal of Social Media events but to really capture the imagination of potential consumers it takes some innovation at a basic and personal level. The UK based Phone and Broadband Company Talk Talk has taken the notion of goodwill towards consumers and bringing the message home, to a new level. A seamless application of guerilla marketing that does not involve hundreds of dancers and a train station. They have paid former pickpockets to "PUT POCKET" money wrapped with their logo and message into the consumer's pockets and bags. Risky and bold to be sure. But imagine if the evil and draconian AT&T put money into your bag with a nice note and best wishes. Not only would you tell your friends, but you'd certainly feel better about having your pocketbook raped at the end of the month.

The future of advertising will be in the bringing of goodwill and loyalty created by brands in the way that online communities and social networks create the same. By affecting people's lives, emotions,and brand interactions in a positive and relevant manner, rather than by forcing an unwarranted message on the unsuspecting. If you happen to film it, upload it, and distribute it online, then the rewards of that goodwill can be maximized.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fosse Walk it Out

Some deeply artistic mind decided to perfectly sync footage of Gwen Verdon performing a Bob Fosse routine to the Hip Hop Hit, Walk it Out. The result is what makes the internet so great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Theater Review.

This Summer saw a great drama unfold at the Little Theater of The Rockies which celebrates it's 75th Anniversary. The play "I Cup" which was based on a never published David Mamet, Tony Kushner collaboration was written and performed by The UNC School of Performing and Visual Arts, and was a monumental undertaking spanning decades. In the lead role lies the seemingly benign and flamboyant Vance Fulkerson. A toupee'd and lifted Musical Theater professor with dreams of establishing a Musical Theater powerhouse in the middle of farm country. With his hilarious anecdotes and unorthodox teaching style ( At one point he has a whole class braying like donkeys and eating invisible apples) Fulkerson quickly establishes himself as the quirkiest in a quirky department.

The first act has some solid performances with Tom McNally as the department chair, who hilariously battles ailments, and personal matters while playing Willy Loman in the play within the play. Also of note are the odd couple of Mary Martin and Heather Hollingsworth who bring some order and more wacky fun accordingly to the frenetic hilarious pace of the first act, and a cameo by Paul Mocovack who is lovably and clearly out of place in the confines of a small town. All the while a continuous parade of handsome young men come in and out of the rascally Fulkerson's office.

It is interesting to note the speed and hilarity of the first act and how they are used by writer/director Vance Fulkerson to draw attention from more sinister happenings. All the while the unseen Dr. Skinner is hot on his trail, Fulkerson manages to distract through incredible acts of stagecraft and powerful audience manipulation. But the chorus of young men is difficult to ignore, and by the end of the first act it is clear that there are severe cracks beginning to appear in the plot and believability of his acting.

The second act takes a dark turn almost immediately. The supporting characters have grown more serious, and so too has the world. Post 9/11 Greeley sees roles reversed with Mary Martin (Now Schuttler) bringing academic credibility with her PhD. Gone are Mockovack and Hollingsworth and their constant comedic presences, replaced by John Leonard and Monty Black who do an honorable job at keeping humor in the slow descent to hell, though in more of a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern manner rather than the Punch and Judy antics of Hollingsworth and Mockovack. McNally has been replaced by the able but noticeably absent David Grapes, and the omnipresent Dr. Skinner has retired, allowing Fulkerson to have complete vulgar control of the mess that is to ensue.

This is where what a once promising play takes a nosedive into a canyon in a great flaming ball of shit, from which the show never really recovers. The discovery of a hidden camera (Talk about a deus ex Machina) by one of the dozens of interchangeable young men who had paraded in and out of Fulkerson's home, inside his bathroom marks the very low starting point of the whole nasty business. Evidently filming urinating men is somehow erotic, though i fail to even remotely understand this. Unbelievably, the litany of cliched sexual misconducts continues, all leading to the inevitable discovery of kiddie porn inside a vault. The unoriginality of this development aside, you would think that this subject matter would be treated with some sort of respect or shame by Fulkerson, who has now been apprehended by the police. Rather than attempt to salvage some decency or give some credulity to an already awful story, Fulkerson, who was perfectly at home playing the rascal in the first act, casts himself into the role of benevolent pornographer. Filming willing participants to raise money for his ailing mother. Un-fucking-believable. Fulkerson's, pleasantly hammy shenanigans in the first act are now completely forgotten and he proves himself a wretch. With hidden cameras, child pornography, abuse of power, manipulation, hair pieces, botox, cave hideouts (I don't want to give everything away) , and the ever present shrill sounds of his musical theater "technique", Vance Fulkerson managed to take a promise of broadway and education and turn it into a fastidious, tacky soap opera in the worst traditions of community theater.

To subject an audience, students, faculty, friends and family to this terrible, terrible grotesque circus is criminal. I am sorry I had to be a part of it. I am sorry that terms like "sexual exploitation of children" ended up smearing themselves all over my cherished memories. In the end, Fulkerson's terrible performance and show underscore what i had suspected all along. That there was little artistic sensibility in this man's life-play. Just tacky horniness underscored by the great American songbook and barely disguised by academia. Run away from this spectacle. Do not look back and do not try to make any sense of it. It is as pedestrian as theater gets.

Please join me next week as i review The Bush Presidency as performed by The Country Dinner Playhouse.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Aaaand Iran, Iran so faar away.

This weekend, the Persian community was out en masse expressing something tied to the Iranian election in front of the federal building on Wilshire. As i drove by the throngs i saw the waving of the familiar tricolor Iranian Flag, but with one noticeable difference. A golden lion in the center holding a saber of some sort.

WHICH is different than the Islamic Revolution flag that we all know and love.

Wikipedia describes the lion symbol as "Traditional in Iranian Heraldry" whereas the symbol on the Islamic revolution flag is described thusly: "a highly stylized composite of various elements representing different facets of Islamic life: Allah, the Book, the Sword, the five principles of Islam, balance, unity, neutrality, and the universal government of the downtrodden." Complex symbolism aside, i find it stunning that the Persian community would hearken to an oppressive Monarchy while "Supporting" people who are giving their lives for a fair, democratic election.

Are the protesters in Tehran opposed to the Islamic Revolution of 1979/80/? No. Their candidate (Mousavi) was Prime Minister in the government and is certainly not a Monarchist or counterrevolutionary.

Ahmadinejad is an embarrassment to Iran, much like G.W Bush was to us, and like Bush, Ahmdinejad is widely despised in the cities for his buffoonery, but embraced by the rural communities on who's ignorance he preys. Despite the discrepancies in voting records, it seems unlikely that Mousavi won the election. We stand behind the people of Iran in this hour, because the people should be able to petition the government through peaceful demonstration without fear of retribution or death. We stand for justice and demand a fair counting of ballots and fair representation of the people. However, if we are to retain a moral high ground (If we have one left)then we must respect and acknowledge the right of the Iranian people of self-determination.

I pray the Persian community of Los Angeles isn't making the same mistake that was made by the Cuban community of Miami where manic anti-Castro sentiment has supplanted common sense. Both the Government of Fulgencio Batista and that of Mohammad Rezā Shāh were governments that collapsed under the weight of their own greed and a total indifference to the suffering of the people.

Inserting monarchist symbols into this is counterproductive, unrealistic and offensive to the memory of those who have already died protesting for fair elections, true representation, and free speech.

Friday, May 15, 2009

There's Sex & Booze, then there's Science and Sex

This weekend my little brain nerd is at odds with my libido. This weekend marks my second tour of the Playboy Mansion at
THIS EVENT. However that means i have to miss some of my favorite Pixar artists and their art at an ehibit called THE ANCIENT BOOK OF SCIENCE AND SEX. For those of you who recall, the same group of artists put together THE ANCIENT BOOK OF MYTH AND WAR, out of which I bought 6 prized prints. Seeing the art for the new exhibit is making me yearn more than I thought it would, considering the option (Which is pretty damn awesome).

In Lieu of attending, I am encouraging everyone to go to to Nucleus gallery and see some of the top artists from Pixar, give their interpretations on a fantastic theme.

Info HERE!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Future of Marketing

I have to say, that I'm in a bit of a tizzy over social networking and the new frontiers of Marketing. I have struggled to describe the importance of integrating your brand into people's behavior by being bold, kind, and adapting to their wants and interests, rather than forcing your product onto groups that would not willingly seek it out.

David Armano shared this incredible slide show, that illustrates some basic truths about the future of marketing, social networking, and the myth of "Viral" marketing.

I urge anyone who is interested in social networking and the "MEcononmy" to take a look.
Fascinating stuff.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Top 6 Life-Affirming, "We are one", Cheeseball, Grin Inducing, Online Vids.

I don't approve of lists. As a thoughtful and curious human being I relish the opportunity to study and research things i find interesting, and lists, especially "Top 5" tend to take on a definitive air that I resent and often disagree with. THAT being said, I love me a good compilation and this one is particularly touching. The power of the web to bring people closer whether through "Chocolate Rain", "Teh Kittehs" or art and acts of kindness as will be displayed below, truly highlights and elevates the human experience, and brings us all face to face with each other forcing us to accept each other's humanity and in turn our own.

#6 "Sound of Music" Train Station

Done for a Belgian cable company but with the bright eyed awesomeness "Improv Everywhere" stunts, the innocence of hundreds of dancing children and adults breaking into "spontaneous" dance to a well-loved musical, makes you believe for a moment, that the world really is a magical place.

#5 Hugging Cops

What happens when the government decides to actually fix a problem rather than punish offenders? You get a moment of whimsical law enforcement that sends out a stronger message than any moving violation ever could.

#4 Stand By Me

The Group "Playing For Change" brings us a beautiful rendition of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. With buskers, street musicians, and artist from around the globe adding their bits, this video is a remarkable tribute to the international language of music.

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

#3 Where the Hell is Matt?

In his Internet Phenomenon, Matt Harding visits several countries doing a silly jig and proving that despite international differences, everyone across the world gets a kick out of acting like a goofball from time to time.

#2 Tang Hong Mihn in Love

All the convoluted notions of romantic love, insecurities, dating, barriers, and emotion rendered useless by Tang Hong Mihn.
It is important to note that the little girl is probably Malay and therefore Muslim and that Tang is probably Chinese and Buddhist or Christian. Childhood, like love, knows no barriers.

#1 Yes We Can

Groan, sneer, gnash your teeth, flail your arms wildly, the potency of this video and of the movement that it accompanied has left its mark on history. The Obama Presidency, and even his party's nomination was not a secure thing when this video was released, and "Yes We Can" was launched into the public conscious when this video went viral . The voices of celebrities and common people in this video represents precisely the sort of social awareness and internet savvy that all the other videos had, only in a much much larger scale and with historic results.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chivalry is Dead, Long Live Chivalry

Maybe it is because spring has sprung and the lusty warm days of summer are ahead of us, but my mind has been turning to romantic pursuits as of late. I’d generally be worried about being in such a state if I were not also in the throes of my annual philosophical rebirth. My mind turning from the everyday toil to indulge in tender thoughts, has found safety in the lazy river of romantic love. So into a turbulent world of Piracy and Teabagging, of social networking and comedy, and of the beautiful paradox that is southern California that I thrust my sword and call out the ancient battle cry of the Grail King- “Amor!”

Now, if I were to follow through with the Grail King analogy, you would find me castrated by a Saracen representing nature. I hardly need a de-balling by a symbolic Taliban to remind me of the dangers of launching hips first into amorous adventures, especially while wagging my sword under the guise of more noble pursuits. Yet I am recognizing within me a clear-headedness in regards to the quest for romantic love that seems to be at incredible odds with the whirlwind of an existence that I have carved out for myself.

I acknowledge then, that this exquisite intrusion into my reality has been a welcome break, and I sense the urge is strong to bring these desires both mental and physical to fruition. But how the hell do I channel my inner Chivalric romantic self into some real-world lovin’ from a lady worthy of my mighty efforts? Moreover, what will my mighty efforts be?

The answer came to me the other day. While at work my co-worker complained of having to “Play the game”, a complaint that I’ve heard often and am guilty of myself. “The Game” of course refers to the tit for tat of modern courtship. A girl who feels a lusty desire for a man, will counter-instinctually become coy and prudish in order to fulfill some long lost moral code. A lad, knowing full well that his sole intent is to bed a lassie, will nonetheless spend time and money on her, even if that is not required. You must be interested, but not TOO interested. You must be outgoing, but not obnoxious. You can’t call for three days after you meet , you kiss on the first date, but only depending on the mood of the evening. She wants a bad boy with a career, he wants a virgin slut, you do not have sex on the first date, but if you do you shouldn’t expect it to mean anything. You don’t date someone younger than your age, divided by two plus seven. The rules continue, and it becomes obvious that you must, in fact, play a rather self-imposed game.
Why the hell? We demand that others jump through hoops and deny ourselves the gratification we seek. We bang our heads in frustration, beat our chests and scream “WTF?”. What ARE the rules for this DUMB game, and from what ring in Satan’s bunghole did they come?

Chivalry, dammit. Fuckin’ Chivalry. We owe the confusion of modern dating to the chappies who first strutted up to a lady, while sporting tights and a lute, and instead of violating her on the spot, sang her a song. She however, is not blameless. If she had fallen back and spread em at the moment she first began to feel herself swoon, then we wouldn’t be in this mess either. Instead, she gave him a hankerchief, and asked him to come back. He came back after slaying a dragon for her, and she allowed him to kiss the back of her neck, and so on until we are so mired in rules that we abandon them altogether, get drunk, and hope for the best. So why do we find ourselves insisting on applying qualifications to our amorous intents even if we have in the past been exhausted by these self inflicted rules and given ourselves to more base inclinations?

The answer is obvious to all of those who have been through a breakup. The few fortunate enough to have had a hole in one and live in the bliss of never having to look for “more”, will marvel at the difficulty of the quest for those who are single. Having achieved love once we know of the fulfillment that a sharing of hearts can bring and ultimately we surrender to the joy of companionship, friendship and the Nasty. The troubadors discovered what we know to be true. That there is a much higher bliss to be experienced and it is far more rewarding than simply bumpin’ uglies. Which sucks, because the urge to get it on can be a powerful force. But we are wary of those who fail to see the value of an emotional connection. Let’s face it, none of us seem to think that getting it on with everyone all the time is an admirable quality even to those who may practice such physical liberalism. So even those who we would consider horn dogs, or poon hounds (Canine themes, huh. Doggy style?) will opt for the truer and deeper connection.

Ok, we get it. The quest for the Grail IS the true gift , blah blah blah, the journey is as important as the destination, blah blah blah, wow Alf you are so deep and sexy, blah blah blah…how the hell does that help us in the game of love? How can we play without being playas? What sucks for us even more so than the aforementioned suckage of not being able to find fulfillment in shagging our brains out, is that we all KNOW what it takes to play the game successfully, and its not easy. In fact, its as difficult as Chinese Algebra. It is the denial of self. Ugh. It is that moment when the eyes scout out what the heart desires and the self opens up to unlimited kindness, both receiving and giving. I know. I KNOW this is coming from me, but I think or at least hope we all know what I’m talking about. Mercifully our psyches, nature, society and upbringing give us plenty of opportunities to fuck things up.
So how do I intend on keeping this heady selfless stuff in mind while I fumble my way through the beautiful women of Los Angeles? How can a walking boner ever hope to find “Amour”?

By remembering the basic tenets of chivalry:

Strength with Compassion-

Go for it dude, but don’t be a dick about it.
No one likes a wuss, but the overly aggro are being selfish and that’s just not cool. Find that chill spot on the clutch while idling on a hill and get ready to hit the gas or hit the brakes.

Integrity with Boldness-

Be yourself, but be your AWESOME self.
If you act like a party guy all the time you better be a party guy. Me, I can be a little boring and long winded, a tad heady, yes. But I can party like a soccer hooligan should the slightly boring, heady, long winded occasion present itself. False advertising is the realm of douche bags, the desperate, and teen romantic comedies.

Action with Contemplation-
Make your move, but think about the consequences.
This is a toughie, and definitely one that the walking boner has trouble with. All I can say is that you need to really tread carefully and be sensitive to the other person and on what sort of journey are both going. Don’t let your loins get in your way of seeing red flags. Then again, know which red flags you can ignore.

I think that actually covers it. For everyone. I mean, it doesn’t make things easier, but at least we know that this fight has been fought before and we see the evidence of romantic love everywhere. I’d rather try and be a part of it than sit idly by andwait for the occasional carnal delight. So don your armor, and go forth with a pure heart, like the Grail King, you have nothing to lose but your balls.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Reunion with Skippy

When i was a wee bairn in the bonnie hills of Pedregal in Mexico City, I was exposed to my first television shows. This being Mexico and pre-cable, I found myself being exposed to the odd mish-mash of programming that the Mexican network execs passed off for programming. There was Odisea Burbujas (Bubble Odyssey) an oddly educational show involving Frog, Lizard, Mouse and Bee Furries who are led across the stars by a red-headed "Professor". Bizzare, yes? Certainly reminiscent of H.R Puffnstuff. There was Disney's world of Color "De Colores", and of course classic American shows like Dukes of Hazzard, Hawaii 5-0, and the Love Boat. All of which were dubbed in Spanish by the same 5 actors who I think are still doing it. It was weird having Captain Stubing have the same voice as Roscoe P. Coltrane, but you're a kid and you go with it.

However, there was one show that blew my infant mind. An Aussie import based on the same insanity that made Flipper and Lassie such hits, but with a certain Outback/Colony feel to it that made it absolutely mesmerizing. The name of the show was SKIPPY THE BUSH KANGAROO. Basically, the premise is that in an desolate Ranger station in the outback a child with no friends ends up making friends with a genius Kangaroo that communicates with clicks. Not only this, but Skippy had bizzare animal friends like an Emu, and a Wombat who would not only help her (Yes, like Lassie) rescue people in the outback, but would even seek out and apprehend criminals. I KNOW! Your mind is blown.

When we moved to the US in 84, I was absolutely thrilled at American Teevee. Yes, there was already cable in Mexico at the time. I was getting all the latest BETA movies from my dad, grandparents and anyone who stepped foot in the US, along with Happy Meals, Legos and Star Wars toys none of which were available in Mexico at the time (I was as far as I know, the first kid in Mexico to have The Ewok Village). Nothing, could have prepared me for the magical panoply that was Saturday Morning Cartoons. The littles, The Smurfs, The Biskitts (Essentialy Dog-Smurfs), Go Bots, etc. ad nauseum.

Something was amiss, however. No Skippy. Furthermore, whenever i tried to explain Skippy to my Elementary School peers, I was met with the sort of worldly and embracing attitude that can be expected from second graders in Colorado Springs, as they are being told of a Rescue-Kangaroo by the first Mexican they've ever encountered.
Needless to say I dropped Skippy, and adopted the more socially acceptable GIJoe and Transformers. However, in my heart lay a dormant Kangaroo named Skippy.

Fast forward to 2005. I am working at Paradigm Talent Agency, and an Agent (Frank Balkin) is talking to me about TeeVee shows. Out of nowhere, jumps this fantastical tale of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, and wouldn't you know it, the Internets has arrived. After that magical moment, where for the first time I was able to share Skippy with my co-workers I have waited for the audience and the clip that would encapsulate the entire Skippy experience.

Friends, you are the audience. And here is the clip:

More, you say?

The theme.

The theme as rocked out by a rock band named the Bush Rangers, who dress as the Kelly Gang. Frankly, I almost pooped. Skippy plays the drums.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Asking a Cult Member On a Date

I had met this girl at one of the thanksgiving dinners i was invited to. I had expressed early interest but a mutual friend (Who is also "In the program") had told me she doesn't date "Outside". I friended her on facebook and then this went down. Names and Dates have been changed to protect the innocent, including the group she was pandering for.

hey Alf

Hey X.
What a pleasant surprise.

How r u doing on a raining day

I am well.
Praying for the day to end.


Seriosuly, I am beat. Long week.

yes, arent we all
i had a down day today
but i am alright now:)

Oh yeah?

I heard that u were intersted in going basic?

Being down and rain are just awful

when r u gonna go! i am so excited

Go where?

the training that *** and I went

I think you mean ***.

I dont know who *** is
So iam sure *** meant u

***'s assitant
I'm pretty sure *** wouldn't make that error

well i dono why he said that then...
well are u going then?

No, i don't think so


Yeah, not a big "Feeling and action" guy.
More methodical here.

feeling and action?

But i appreciate you wanting to include me.

hehe, its good stuff. i can't imagine how anyone wouldnt want to go
but then again, u donno what it is lol

Ah, well. We all have our journeys to make.


Not big into joint discovery. Bit of loner, finding my own way coming to conclusions etc.

i see. that is alright. we are who we are and that is what i love about it, it allows me to have my own experience. u can say its a joint, but its like doing yoga, i am with other people but i am working on my own pace and weakness

Yeah, I'm constantly working on myself just not in a group, not in front of others, accountable only to myself.

ya u didnt seem like u were comfortable with certain things being shown in public last time we hang out. i am just curious how do you do what you do being a reserved individual

I don't think anyone I know would call me reserved.
As for finding my own answers, yesterday I came to the conclusion that REDACTED

and u just came to this conclusion yesterday?
how would it be like if u had conclusions like that x100 within 5 days

It would bel like taking a life shortcut. I do not believe in shortcuts. I think discovering things on your own prepares you for the next step.
It would be like shooting a movie before writing a script
or writing a script before you have a story

I think you are midunderstanding something Alf


This process is not someone telling you how to live your life or giving you answers. because we are the ONLY one who can answer ourselves
this is a designed experience that you will go through and have a professional coach evoke your answers
its through living and quetioning we learn and grow
and someone genius enough to design something like that

Why can't life just show me the answers as i go along? Need I pay a coach?

no u dont need to

So i could get the same answers just by living a gentle life.

but i wanted to learn faster, i wanted to be free from confusion faster, not waiting till i am 50 making many many mistakes and then realize
there is a beauty to that, but we are human and we wil make mistakes no matter what

i want to be able to love and liv the way i want to

I don't feel confusion though, and i very much live the way I want.
I could stand to make more money, but i am on track with where i thought i'd be.

well like i said its like yoga, people are at different lvl, of course u r much wiser than i am

Well, if you say so. I lived most of my early life with REDACTED, and i am on equal footing to REDACTED. I am constantly overcoming obstacles and enjoying myself tremendously while doing it.

then why r u so resistant toward something so beautiful that is design for powerful people like yourself?

Is anyone ever rejected from @@@@?

there are people who walked out in the middle of the training
and i know there was one lady was asked to leave

No, i mean when they come to you.
Is there anyone who you could look at and say "You are ok. You don't need this".

hehehe. are you thinking that i think you need this????
i would never tell anybody it is ok for you to not get an education.
this is a training i personally think should have been given when we were in high school

What sort of training would you say this is?

simply put, this is a very basic life training that made me aware of myself and gave me tools, so i would know exactly when to use them and be more effective, more efficient in every aspect of my life
i dont think i would realize many things that i realized during the training in any other situation another 5-10 yrs or maybe ever

I get it, but i don't feel that something that applies to everyone can be tailor made for me. Mine has been a singular journey. Though i believe in the inherency of the human experience, i believe in the wide scope of that experience. We are all singing the same song, just using different instruments.

hav you always been this arrogant?

No, only with salesmen.


You want it back?

i never take my gift back

Wait, was it a gift or did I steal it?

u stole it first, then i gave it away

*** told me you only date guys who are on the program.

he is funny


aha what

So you date guys outside of ****?

of course, **** doesnt represent men who are up to my standards

Oh, mercy!
I would LOVE to lower your standards for you.

my standards arent that high, they are just specific

Do your standards involve ironic mustaches and bourbon?

my standards definetly includ being open to beautiful experiences
and trusting

Now THAT's something I can offer.

can i sign u up for this amazing experience then


Let, me see...

think about it

We have a seminar on the 13th.

the next one is not till march

Friday the 13th

u have one month to think about

No no

what lol

I was asking you out on a date. On the 13th, except i was being clever by calling it a "Seminar"


Yeah, a week from today.

but under one condition

Not if that condition involves ****
You have to go because you like me.
Not because you want me to do something.

do i look like someone with such a low self respect?
besides what is in it for me, i dont get anything by having u go

So what condition would you put on it?

that u will be open and seriously consider this experience of life

and i cant say i like you, i am curious about you is that ok for a date

Well, do you make out with guys you are curious about?


I think that's your answer right there, then.

do u alway expect to make out with ur date on the first nite?

I allow for the possibility.

oh well, dear. thank you for allowing me expressing this awesome experience i just went through
but i got to leave now.

No problem.

my friend is having a play tonight
have a good weekend

Ah, what play?

i am not sure. its in pasadena city college

hah! You are a good friend.
Enjoy your play and your weekend.

of course. thank you

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Text of the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery during President Barack Obama's inauguration, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:


God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

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