Actor, Film Maker, Model, Restaurant Hostess, Receptionist, Special Education Teacher.


I was planning to save this post for when my daughter Nicole graduated from college with her Masters in Special Education but I decided it was time to brag a little about my firstborn.

People often think that things come easily for beautiful people. You’ve heard people say that your entire life, “Oh, I bet someone hired her just to watch her come to work every day.” Or “I know how she got her job.” It just seems that things come easily for people who are attractive.

And at times, I’m sure people think that about my daughter. She’s the typical father’s nightmare. Pretty. Thin. Curves in all the right places. (Her college roommate actually gave her the nickname ‘NikkiBoobs.’) You know, the kind of girl that makes you want to go out and buy a shotgun.

But actually, nothing came easily to Nicole. She was an average student who had to work extremely hard to get average grades. She had no idea what she wanted to do after college – so deciding on which college to attend was a struggle. Her grades weren’t that great, her SAT scores were average and her after school activities were limited. But what she had was a winning personality. She had an ‘I can do this’ attitude. She never gave up. She worked hard.

But the path was not easy for her. She did a little acting in college. But she didn’t want to make a career of it. She worked in various restaurants to pay the bills, but knew that was not a long-term option. She was a production assistant on a feature film, had a modeling portfolio shot, works as a receptionist at an agency I work for and basically did anything she could until she could decide her career/life path.

But then she had a thought. She loves working with children. She loves helping people. And since learning was so difficult for her, perhaps she can help other children who needed extra help learning. So Nicole decided on special education.

In May, Nicole will graduate with her Masters in Special Education. She’s working very hard. She’s stressed every day. She’s working with special needs children during the day and taking classes at night. She’s found her calling.

And her professors clearly like the work she’s doing. Her grade point average is a perfect 4.0. That’s right, the ‘average’ student, and the person who always struggled, made the choice to work her butt off to help other students who were struggling. And she’s become a shinning star.

As a parent, I’m as proud as I can possibly be. And yes, I may be bragging. But every once in a while, I think a parent is allowed.

2.29.12

I Can Believe What My Son Wants To Do


After watching me blog for the past few weeks, my 9-year-old son asked if he could be a ‘guest blogger’ tomorrow. “Of course,” I said, “what do you think you want to write about?” Then he replied, “I think I want to write about all the funny stuff you do.”

Hmmmm, how do I tell him that I already write about all the funny stuff he does. Plus I don’t think I do a lot of funny stuff. Amusing perhaps. Interesting maybe. But funny? I don’t think so. I think he’s much funnier than I am.

So tomorrow there’s going to be a post that says something like “Stupid Stuff My 50-year-old Father Does.” I’m going to let him write tonight. He gets to write anything he wants. I will not edit. I will correct spelling. But I will not change or correct the content at all.

And if you all like what you’re reading – please comment. After all, he is only 9-years-old.

2.28.12

What Happens When You Strap a Video Camera To A 9-Year-Olds Head?


This weekend, I mounted a GoPro Hero 2 video camera to my son’s ski helmet and hit the ‘record’ button. What happened for the next 2 hours was funny, boring and an interesting view into the world of 9-year-old. Here are some snippets.

I’m Going To Be Famous
My son gets on a chairlift with a certain ‘girl.’ This girl has already told everyone that she has a little bit of a crush on him. I think he has one back. This conversation was funny.

Girl: Turn the camera toward me (Head turns – now she’s looking directly into the camera) some day; I’m going to be rich and famous. And you’re going to be my assistant.
Son: How are you going to become famous?
Girl: I don’t know, maybe some reality TV show. Like ‘Mary’s Got Talent’ (Name changed)
Son: Maybe, ‘American Mary’ or ‘Mary’s Voice’ or ‘The Amazing Mary.’
Girl: I know ‘Marry Mary!’
Son: So you’re not going to famous too soon, right?
Girl: Why?
Son: I think we have a race tomorrow.
Girl: Well, I won’t be famous by tomorrow, unless someone discovers me while skiing and wants to put me in a ski movie.
Son: That would be cool. Can I be in your movie?
Girl: No, but you can be my assistant.

Birthday Parties Suck

My son was also discussing his upcoming birthday with another boy. He’s a bit of the conversation.

Boy: What are you doing for your birthday?
Son: I don’t want to do anything. It’s too much pressure.
Boy: I love parties. You get lots of gifts and stuff.
Son: I don’t mind the presents; it’s the people that drive me nuts.

My Son Sings While He Skis
Who knew? But on every run down the hill, my son can be clearly heard singing. His song choices were interesting.

1st run: Kelly Clarkson “Stronger”
2nd run: China Anne McClain “Unstoppable”
3rd run: Katie Perry “California Gurls”
4th run: Don McClain “American Pie”

Although he did get some of the “American Pie” lyrics wrong, ‘…. then good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing I’m going drink ‘til I die.’

Adults Mug For The Camera
The last little tidbit, is how comfortable kids are in front of a video camera, but how silly adults act. Virtually every adult made some strange face into the camera. While the kids just acted normally. I guess the kids have grown up in the video age, so having their life on film is nothing out of the ordinary. But funny.

So that’s partially what happens. More once I finish screening the rest of the footage.

2.27.12

Spring Break – A Long Time Ago


I don’t know why, but I had a dream last night about my college Spring break. It was a time I hadn’t thought about in a long, long time. I was at Rider College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey studying journalism. My goal was to be the next great investigative reporter – you know – the next Woodward and Bernstein. I was in my dorm room in Switlick C (I know, it’s a strange name for a dorm) when my room mate, Weazer asked if I wanted to join him, Space, and Breeze on a road trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. By the way, their real names were Dave, Jim and Paul. I think the real reason they asked my to go was because they didn’t have a car to drive down and I did. But that didn’t matter, I quickly agreed and off we went.

That was the amount of planning.

We jumped in my car with a backpack full of clothes, virtually no money, no plans, no hotel reservation or place to stay. We just assumed we’d figure it out on the way down.

And we had the time of our life.

We drove all night. Decided for some strange reason to stop in Orlando on the way and spend a day in Disney World. The only reason I remember stopping in I have a photograph of Space standing in from of the Space Mountain sign. He has this shit eating grin on his face. I’m pretty sure he was drunk. I seem to remember that we knew someone at a college in Florida – and we crashed in their dorm for a night. Had a fairly late party, and decided in a drunken state to go visit Mickey Mouse. I’m sure at some point in the night it seemed like a good idea.

Next day, off to Fort Lauderdale. We somehow found a place to stay. I think we crashed with other guys from our college, because I seem to remember we had seven of us in one room. We stayed for a few days. Went to a few bars. Met a few people. And then we decided Fort Lauderdale was lame.

So all seven of us packed up our two cars and drove further south to Key West. Again, no plans, no reservations, no hotel. Just seven guys. Two cars. And a few six packs of beer.

By the way – you’ll notice I never mention eating food. From this entire trip, I have no recollection of ever eating. Probably because we didn’t eat. We used all of our available money for beer. But that’s beside the point.

We get to Key West and can’t find a place to stay. Nothing. Everything is booked. So we decide to sleep on the beach. Can’t be too hard to find a place to sleep. Some of us can sleep in the car. Some on the beach. But then a miracle happened. As we’re driving to the beach, we see a beachside shack. Sitting on the porch (and I’m not making this up) are seven local girls drinking beer. They wave at us. We wave back. We head over. Before you know it, we’re drinking their beer, sleeping on their floor, and basically crashing at their shack for the remainder of the trip.

While in Key West, we also ran into another friend from school that had become stranded in the Keys when his group from school left him behind. So he crashed with us. We drove him back. And that was a good thing. He had money for gas. We didn’t. One thing we forgot to figure into our plans was money to buy gas for the return trip.

It’s funny; I often talk about my daughter and how they’ll leave the house with no plans, no money, and no idea where they’re going. And it always works out. Maybe I should let it go – because my Spring break trip proved to me long ago – that some times the best memories are the ones you don’t plan.

Spring break was one of those times.

2.25.12

Big Ideas, Bad Presentations and Everything In Between


Last night was the first graded presentation in my portfolio class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The students were a little nervous, the room was ridiculously hot, and a case of the stomach flu was running through the room. (No pun intended.)

But through it all some amazing ideas were presented. I was incredibly proud of the students. They did a great job.

Here are some standouts.

The best idea of the night belongs to a student who didn’t even want to present her idea to me last week. She didn’t think it was good enough. Or she thought it was too simple. Or she was concerned because the idea came to her in five minutes. But once I saw the idea I knew that – as Charlie Sheen would say – it was a ‘winner.’ The best part of the idea – was that she got all the key points of the strategy across in a very, very simple visual. Congratulations.

The next grouping of ideas were all really well done – but has small flaws. Things that can be fixed. Little components that, given more time, would make them really great ideas. I was especially proud of three students.

The first took a simple idea and wrote some really good copy. She is very unsure of her copywriting ability, so it was great to see her experimenting with words and come up with a great solution.

The second took an idea that was good and made it great. The execution was so much better that I expected. If it wasn’t for some small type issues, this could have been the #1 idea of the night.

My third favorite moment was a woman who hates to present. You remember her – the woman who used the word ‘like’ 22 times in one sentence. She has been working really, really, really hard to improve her presentations. And last night was the best presentation yet. Not only was her idea crisp and interesting, but also her presentation was excellent. And not one inappropriate usage of the word ‘like.’

Of course, there were also a few near hits, a few near misses and a few great ideas that were presented poorly. But for the most part, last night was a huge success. Since the work we created is spec work for really companies, I can’t post the winning concepts. I would probably get sued. But you’ll have to trust me, they’re really fun.

And for the guy who had to leave the room because of the flu – don’t worry – I’ll give you a chance to present next week. And thanks for trying.

2.24.12

I Want To Buy Another Guitar


Let me start by saying that I don’t need another guitar. But that doesn’t change the fact that I want another guitar.

Last night, during my guitar lesson, my teacher and I were playing a song when it hit me – this would sound really good on a hollow body electric guitar. And then I realized that it was only a matter of time. I’m now justifying buying the guitar because I need it to make the songs sound better. Not because I really just want it.

Last night, I was learning four songs. Yes four. The topic of the night was arpeggios. How to make something very simple sound really amazing.

The first song we tackled was ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele. A very simple song that really sounds great. The arpeggios are mimicking the piano part. And while I’d love to sing along with my playing – this song is very difficult to play and sing at the same time. That’s because you’re not playing the melody line. The first note of the arpeggio is the melody but the other seven notes are not. But it’s great to play and a beautiful song. Of course, I was also thinking how great this would sound on the Epiphone 1961 Casino that I tried but didn’t buy.

Next we jumped into ‘Because’ by the Beatles. Ever lesson with my teacher includes something by the Beatles. I was blown away by the complexity and simplicity of this song. I was learning the part that is actually played by a harpsichord on the original. Only later in the song does a guitar take over. But again, I was amazed how a simple grouping of notes could make a great song. What kept running through my mind was that this would sound really good on a Gibson 335.

Finally we moved to ‘Across the Universe’ also by the Beatles. And while this isn’t a true arpeggio song, it has a lot of the same playing structure as the others. This song is all about the opening few bars. Once you get past that, it’s really straightforward.
Of course, I’d love to hear it through a Gibson 359 hollow body.

Last we jumped to a Neil Young song “Dead Man.” This has nothing to do with arpeggios at all. But I think my teacher wanted me to learn something fairly obscure and interesting. This was great. And sounded really good on my Martin D-35. I also played parts of it on my J-45, but for some reason, it sounded better on the Martin. I don’t need another acoustic guitar. My two main guitars are just perfect.

So it begs the question – do I really need it? Or do I just want it? Or am I just making excuses and should just get over it? Or should I just buy one because I will eventually break down.

I don’t know. All I know is that I love playing guitar. I owe it all to my daughter Nicole. Just she began my addiction. And I love her for it.

PS: You’ll notice the format of my blog did NOT change — yes — I counted all the votes. And the current format won hands down.

2.23.12

“Your site looks like crap” and other comments people have posted about my blog.


I’ve received a bunch of comments about the design of my blog. Many people feel that it’s too hard to navigate, too sparse, too simple and not nearly attractive enough. I’m not sure I agree. I think it’s very easy. I like the use of white space. And at the end of the day, it’s easy to read.  But here’s what you’ve said:

“Does anyone use that ugly teal color anymore?”
“Where’s the navigation? I’m looking for older posts and they’re all the way at the bottom. I hate that!!!!” (I love the four exclamation points.)
“Uggggg – I love the writing, hate the blog.”
“I’m a freelance designer who will happily redesign your blog for you.”

OK – I give – I’ll try some other designs.

You can be my mini focus group. Think of today as a quantitative testing methodology. Your choices will be counted and tabulated. The results will be immediate – as I will keep my blog in its current format – or in the newly redesigned format beginning tomorrow.

Vote. If there’s a format you particularly like and I didn’t include – please let me know. Click on any image to see it larger.

The Current Format:

Choice #1:

Choice #2

Choice #3:

Choice #4:

Choice #5:

Choice #6:

That’s it. Seven choices in all. I’ve picked them all for their simplicity. Some have easier navigation. Some have areas for images. Some are just nice and easy.
I can live with all of them. What do you think? Fill out the poll below. Thanks.

Random things people forget in my office


I have five or six meetings in my office every day. The average number of people in those meetings is about four. And every day, someone leaves something in my office. And the interesting part – most never come back to look for the item they’ve left behind.

Here is a short list of some of the items left behind in the past few weeks.

Eyeglasses
You would think that someone would notice that they’ve left their glasses behind. I mean eventually you’ll have to read something. But that would be logical. The glasses have been in my office for about two weeks. I finally put them on a file cabinet outside my office – and someone did claim them. I can’t believe it took that long.

Clipboard
I carry this really nice metal clipboard. It holds a small pad and is very handy when going to internal meetings. The problem – the clipboard is not mine. Someone left it in my office. I’ve asked everyone. Nobody has claimed it. I carry it to meetings and nobody ever asks ‘is that mine?’ I know it’s a low cost item, but I would certainly want my clipboard back. But in three weeks, nobody has claimed this item. So now it’s officially mine.

Coffee Cups
This is the #1 item left behind. Empty. Full. Lipstick stained. Fresh. Every day I throw away at least 3 coffee cups. And many are full and brand new. I don’t care. If it’s in my office, and you leave, I throw it away. So you know all that money you’re spending at Starbucks? It’s ending up in my trashcan.

A Leather Glove
A woman left a single leather glove in my office. Black. Size small. I could have a Cinderella fitting – come by my office and you can try on the glove. Or if you have the mate, I’ll give you the match. But it’s been a few weeks, and I think it may be time to chuck it in the trash. I don’t think anyone is coming by to claim it. But if it’s yours, please raise your cold hand.

Notebooks
Another common item left behind is a notebook. Usually I can figure out whom it belongs to by looking inside. Luckily, I haven’t looked inside a notebook and read any mass murder manifesto or some plot to overthrow the government or even an I HATE RICH rant. So far it’s been pretty tame. Although someone is practicing his or her ‘star’ signature a little bit too much.

Hot Sauce
I think someone ate something in my office recently and left an entire bottle of hot sauce. I thought that was kind of strange, since I don’t remember anyone eating in my office. And if they did, do they carry their own bottle around with them? Who does that? And if you’re reading this – I threw the bottle away, sorry.

The other things that end up in my office, pencils, paperclips, lots and lots of paper, push pins, ring binders and even an extra chair are all a part of doing business in a big company. But if you’re looking for your MacBook Pro – I’ve locked it in my desk.

See you after my next meeting.

2.21.12

Great TV Campaign – Great Idea – Great Reactions


I love this campaign.

It was created by the San Francisco office of Draftfcb. It was based on a very simple idea. If you mom hates something, it has to be cool. Especially when it comes to a video game.

I met the creative team behind the idea. Great people. And really focused on making a great idea that would connect with their audience. They didn’t begin brainstorming by trying to create ‘an award winning campaign.’ But it happened anyway. This has won multiple awards and recognition from everywhere.

I just admire the idea. The perfectly simple idea.

I hope you like it, too

2.20.12

Strange Thing That Happened Last Night Thanks To GPS


Did something ever happen that was so weird and so unusual that you’re wondering how could it possibly happen? Last night, such a thing happened to me.

Last night I was in my kitchen when I noticed someone DRIVING on my front lawn. Excuse me? Can I help you?

A woman got out of her car and asked if my house was a certain Bed and Breakfast. Now, my house does not look like a B&B. “No, this is a private home.” And then she said something really funny “My GPS said that I should turn here.”

So a woman drove down my driveway, avoided the three cars that were parked there (yes, I had friends over), drove up on the lawn, and only stopped when she ran out of space because her GPS told her to turn? Really?

How about using a little common sense? How about asking yourself ‘Does this look like the photo I saw online for the B&B?’ How about parking behind the other cars and asking before driving on my lawn.

When she realized she was wrong, she began to back up out of my driveway. Thank goodness my friend Ken recommended we move the cars out-of-the-way. I can picture her ramming into our cars on the way out.

It was so strange, that it almost doesn’t seem like it really happened.

“The GPS told me to turn.” How funny is that!

2.19.12