Friday, February 08, 2013
I'm sitting in a McDonald's on the south side of Chicago and there's a man going off. Screaming obscene statements. I haven't turned around to be able to describe him, but it's obviously not offending the management enough to call the police even though it'd been a good 30 minutes since he'd started his rant.
As for courtesy, how difficult is it pick up a tray and deposit your trash in the can before you leave. There are two trays with trash among the dozen or so tables within my line of sight. And one has been there since I arrived about two hours ago.
I love McDonald's but this just doesn't make sense. The uninterrupted offensive disruption and the failure to make a quick housekeeping pass through the dining room.
Am I wrong or just from a lost generation of civilized behavior.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
As I reflect back on my many years in drum corps, I learned that...
1) As bad as things seem right now, the sun will still rise tomorrow.
Coming in 13th in prelims really sucks for an age out, especially when you're in a corps that was consistently placing between 7th and 10th in big shows. Doing a show to determine the "Associate" Champion right after missing finals by a few tenths of a point is really brutal, and knocking it out of the park with a show that would have placed 7th the next night isn't much of a consolation.
The reality however, really struck me the next morning when I woke up on the gym floor and saw the sun coming through the windows on the far wall. As bad as I felt the night before (it was devastating, like the world was coming to an end), life went on. The sun came up and time continued to move forward. Nothing that I was going to do or say was going to change the day before. I had a choice, I could either stew in it and be miserable, or just move on with my life. I chose the latter and am better for it to this day.
2) Don't isolate yourself from the rest of the corps by sleeping in a short dead-end hallway off the main gym floor is a bad idea when you're a snorer.
I had a tendency to separate myself from the corps from time to time. Whether it was when we were bedding down in a gym, or driving by myself to or from shows when I was in a senior corps. What I realized is that I didn't give myself the opportunity to get to really know others as well as I could have. Don't get me wrong I have some extraordinary friendships that remain to this day, but I have to wonder how much richer these relationships could have been.
As for sleeping in a hallway when you snore, lets just say that waking up with a sock stuffed in you're mouth is not the best way to start the day.
3) Nobody cares that you're sore, tired or hungry. They are too. Get over it!
There's not a lot to say here. As tired and grumpy as you might be, telling everyone isn't going to get you any sympathy. Chances are pretty good that they're tired too. Whining doesn't make it any better and in-fact makes it worse. Forget that you ache, and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Its much more rewarding.
4) Share your passion for drum corps (or whatever else lights you up) with everyone you meet.
Don't be obnoxious, but let people know about the things that make a difference in your life. If you're passionate, they might take an interest and we gain a new fan. If they're not interested, no harm, no foul.
Years ago, I was researching Word of Mouth marketing for an article for DCI Today about sharing the drum corps experience. What struck me was how effective and cost effective this is to grow or reconnect the fan base. I'll dig through my archives and see if I can find it and post it here at Odd's and Ed's.
5) And finally. Don't finish a 1.5L bottle of gin with four friends the night before a show!
It leads to a bus ride totally unremembered, brutal calisthenics the next morning, a horrible headache during warm-ups and a two day hangover. (NOTE: I was over 21 and in a senior corps at the time.) I really don't think its necessary to elaborate, but if you'd like the full story, buy me a beer after a show next summer. (when I don't have to drive of course).
Friday, November 05, 2010
Here's the lead...
Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where you're being chased down the street by a group of crazed zombies, ready to munch on your brains for a post show snack. And then it happens, your years of drum corps training kick-in and you're taking 'em down faster than a pile up of contras on the front hash at the 35 yard line.
Here are the Eight Ways Drum Corps Could Help You Survive a Zombie Outbreak.
You write the rest...
Let your thoughts flow in the comments below!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Have you ever noticed that on a long trip it always seems to take less time to return home that it did to get to your destination. Could it be that it already seems familiar. That its no longer an adventure. Or is it that we just can't wait to arrive, and when we get there, destination reached, we're pretty much ready to go home now.
Isn't this how we so often go through life. When we're a kid, we can't wait for the next day, and they always seemed to last forever. When we got there, we couldn't wait for the next day and the next and the next. Time seemed to take forever. But as we grow older, as we arrive at these various points in time, we look back and can't wait to get back to where we've been. And in the process time seems to move much, much faster. It's not that time actually moves faster, but having lost our ability to look forward in anticipation of the unexpected, when we can only look back, its familiarity plays tricks on us. Change is so slow that we don't realize it until we look back and ask where did the time go.
I know this has been my life. I'm really just beginning to realize the need to savor the moment with an eye on the future and while the past is there to learn from, its no place to live. I can't wait for tomorrow and the adventures it brings. And when I get there I can't wait to take in every moment, no matter how small. And finally, if you see me not savoring the moment, feel free to call me on it and kick me in the behind.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
I came across a website a while back while doing some research on new trends. It's for a company that provides mobile bunkhouses for remote job sites.
Could this be the future of touring drum corps housing? Probably not practical now, but who knows, one day it might be more cost effective than staying in schools.
Short term however, this might be a good way to open up far more non-traditional housing sites without showers or restrooms.
For the more details check it out at
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wow, I thought drum corps were physically demanding. Imagine the possibilities created by the combination of the Firecrackers jump rope dance team and a world class drum corps or color guard. Special thanks to Ken Levine for posting the Naval Academy performance clip on his blog.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This is a great little instructional video for orchestral trumpet players. I can totally imagine this product in use by drum corps musicians each summer.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
There's a great group called Improv Everywhere that stages a variety of "stunts" just for they sheer joy of playing with people's heads. They're all volunteers or as they prefer to be called "agents". Check out this clip of one of their gigs at mall food court. This is absolutely the best use of theater I've come across in a while. Enjoy!
Thanks to Jamey with Beneath the Brand for finding this.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I recently took on another personal development exercise and I have to admit it too was harder than I thought. I was asked to write about the personal accomplishment that I was the most proud of. When I really thought about it, there are a lot of things that I've accomplished in my life. Many that I'd really taken for granted over the years and just wrote off as "Well, yeah. No big deal." The truth is they really are a big deal. To list just a few:
- Marched for 15 seasons in competitive junior and senior drum corps
- Worked three seasons for the Baltimore Orioles
- Judged my first parade at the age of 15
- Worked as one of the youngest professional Santa Claus' in Baltimore retail history
- Photographed a variety of events for McDonald's Baltimore regional office before I was 21. Including Ronald McDonald appearances, store openings and McDonald's crew competitions.
- Took a three day temporary staffing assignment as a courier and stretched it into a four month project as a team member of a task force on mortgage banking, a subject I had no prior knowledge of before the project.
- Invited to apply for two positions at Maryland Public Television after serving several temporary assignments. Used the second invitation to secure a position in the copy center that then opened the door for my position with MotorWeek.
- Created the position of Manager, Strategic Alliances at Drum Corps International.
I don't advocate not getting a degree as it will open even more doors when I'm finished, but remember that the lack of a degree should never stop you from pursuing what's important to you.
Who are my heroes?
This has been a hard question for me to come up with an answer to. I really never considered having heroes in the traditional sense of the word and have struggled with this for a while.
If I had to define who my heroes are, I most identify with people like Walt Disney or Ray Croc (McDonald’s founder). I would also have to add into that list people like Bill Veeck and his son Mike. While Apple is in fact a brand, it's corporate manifesto reflects why I think I of it as a hero as well.
To the Crazy ones.
Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them,
quote them, disbelieve them,
glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine.
They heal. They explore.
They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty frame
and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song
that's never been written?
Or touch a rock on a planet
where no one else has ever stood?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
And it's the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, who actually do.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Okay, this is one of the more interesting combinations of two of my favorite pastimes, food and music...
For all you drum corps fans out there, the next question is, does a cucumber/pepper qualify as a woodwind or brass instrument?
Check out more clips of vegetable musical instruments
Sunday, February 10, 2008
This an update to one of my posts from last summer...
I came across one of the better commercial for a new car dealership this afternoon. Its for a dealer group in Norwell, MA. The Clay dealerships and their agency Boathouse Group get it. They understand how to disarm the buyer by poking fun at the retail auto industry and in the process gain an enormous amount of exposure not only locally, but internationally.
In a nutshell, the spot features a slightly overweight car salesmen, explaining the unseemly tactics traditional dealers will use to get your business. Why does it work, they get your attention as they guy disrobes as he describes how Clay will show you the naked truth about the pricing for the car that you're looking to buy.
The 4 spots debuted on YouTube.com back in early April and will soon appear on local cable. To view the spots and play a little game that helps re-cloth the nearly naked salesmen, go to http://dontgettaken.com/.
The only other auto dealership spot that I've seen in this same category would be the "Trunk Monkey" spots for Suburban Auto Group in Oregon. While the spots are fun and memorable, I don't think they do nearly as well at communicating a message that in the end distinguishes them from the competition as a place worthy of your business.
Bottom line for both is they get your attention and at the end of the spot your very likely to smile. And that's always a good thing.
I'll write more about this later, but thought it was important to point out that I discovered the Clay dealership "We'll Show You Everything" campaign on a great web site and blog by the authors of the book Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution. It's an easy ready because its both well written and insightful. Check it out.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
This afternoon I led a discussion on the use of blogging for festivals and events. We covered a variety of topics from a basic overview of blogging as a communications tool to actually building a blog site on Blogger.
Here are a couple of key points to summarize the session.
- Define the purpose and style of your event or organizations blog. What is it you want to say and how will you say it. For me, a personal voice works well. I basically write like I speak. You might want something a bit more formal if that works best for your intended audience, so it helps to know who you're writing for.
- Select your platform. Is it a free blog like I use at Blogger or is a dedicated blog hosted on your own web site. Both have their advantages. If you're just getting started free is a great way to go. When you have some more experience, you can migrate your site to your own web hosting service which will give you a little bit more flexibility.
- Define your look and what you want you want to say. Sites like Blogger provide a variety of standard templates which can be further customized with simple changes to colors and fonts. There are also a number of sites that provide pre-built templates some are free, while others charge per template or offer a subscription to the their site for access to their collection.
- Add content to your site. How will you keep them engaged and coming back to your site? First, write about what you know. Keep it relevant to your target audience. If you're an arts festival, a good place to start might be profiles about your guest artists or about a style of painting that would be of interest to your readers. If you are a Parks and Recreation Department, you might write articles that talk about camping, crafts, game and related activities.
- Quality is far more important that quantity. A question that's often asked is do I need to blog every day, and the answer is no. You should create new content on a regular basis to keep your readers coming back often, so if you don't have time to write a lot of content yourself, consider occasionally inviting a guest blogger to write about your topic or check out some of the sites that offer free content an a variety of topics.
- Learn and grow as you go. There are blogs about everything you can think of, including blogs about blogging. Check out the links at the end of this article for some of the resources to get you started.
- Finally, let me say thank you to the folks that sat in on my session this afternoon for your input.
General Reference sites
Wikipedia Blogging page
Wikipedia List of Blogging Terms
WeblogMatrix weblog comparison
EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers
Blogging software or services
Free Blogger Templates
Great blogs about blogging...
Andy Wibbels - Author of Blog Wild
Chris Garrett's - The Business of Blogging and New Media
Yaro Starak's - Entrepreneur's Journey
Damn I Wish - Articles about Word of Mouth marketing and blogging
Other blogs to check out for ideas...
My personal Odd's and Ed's site
My resume as a blog
A news page for one of my clients using Blogger
Guy Kawasaki's Change the World blog
Mark Cuban's BlogMaverick
Monk at Work
Ted Conference Blog - really rich content. Don't miss it.
Scott Adam's Dilbert Blog
Chicago White Sox official blog
Ken Levine's - The World As Seen By a TV Comedy Writer
Jack Morton Worldwide Corporate Blog
Delucchi+ Corporate Blog (Real Estate)
Stumbling on Happiness Blog (Book)
Okay, so it's just past noon, but this is a good time to provide an update on the day so far. I attended two terrific sessions and a very insightful opening keynote.
Opening up this morning was Jodi Rudick, President of ADvisors Marketing Group. What a great way to start the day. Jodi's keynote was titled "Talking 'Bout My Generation" and it provided some wonderful insight into the differences and similarities of generations from Millenials (1982-2002), Generation "X" (1961-1982), Baby Boomers (1943-1964), the Silent Generation (1925-1942) all the way to the G.I. Generation (1901-1924).
To give you an idea of how impressed I was, I opted for her session following the keynote. It was well worth the time as it picked up where we left off and helped provide even more insight into the western world as defined by generation.
A hard act to follow for sure, but I new my next session would definitely be worth the time since the speaker was Ira Rosen, president of Entertainment on Location. I've know Ira for the better part of the past 10 years and I knew that he wouldn't fail to provide me some new insight into the process of strategic planning. The time was very well spent as it served as a great reminder of the value of strategic process, which has been a challenge as I've spent so much time in tactical mode lately. Thanks for the gentle nudge Ira.
Okay, off to lunch and the ISEN Skyscraper Awards. More this afternoon.
Friday, February 01, 2008
What can I say, its been pretty much a lost day. Snow fell until noon. Christina was under he weather and I was basically a slug. Did run out this evening to pick up a prescription and a pizza, but it was one of those evenings where everything that could go wrong did.
Pizza was to be ready in 45 minutes. Left house with 15 minutes to spare to run to Walgreen's. Two cars in front of me at the drive-thru. Took 20 minutes to get to the window and pick up prescription. Had already called pizza place to tell them I'm running late. Not a problem, pizza's in the warmer. Good.
Every possible obstruction between the pharmacy and Spizzico happened. Slow cars, traffic lights and no parking at restaurant. Arrggghh. Pulled a wicked u-turn, backed up to curb and sort of parked illegally. Special thanks to the Chicago Police Department for not saying anything. Given the night I was having, I'd have probably snapped and been arrested. Got home and stuck in snow in front of garage. (Now think it might have been a good idea to have shoveled BEFORE I left).
At the end of the day however, it all turned out okay. Good pizza, nice quiet evening with Christina, a pitcher of water and an hour of crash and burn videos on SPIKE TV. It was part of their "What the @#$% Friday" lineup. Which I'll comment on another time.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I know its been a while since I've posted and to be honest I don't have a very good excuse other than being distracted. A lot.
One of those distractions is reading others blogs. Its a great way to get fresh perspectives on a known topic, but far more often its an opportunity to learn something totally new.
Here are a few of the blogs that I read on a fairly regular basis. Check them out for yourself and let me know what you think. If you have a some personal favorites, pass them along as well...
Guy Kawasaki's How to Change the World
One of the first blogs that I bookmarked and created an RSS feed for, it cover a variety of topics including evangelism, entreprenuerism, marketing and pitching a venture capitalist. He also talks about his former employer Apple from time to time as well as some of the new projects he's involved in. One of my favorites for sure.
BlogMaverick - the mark cuban weblog
Another one that I read all the time is Dallas Mavericks owner and current "Dancing With The Stars" competitor, Mark Cuban's blog. He sounds like a good guy and his blog is very conversational. He's not afraid to speak out on any topic and the blog bounces around from the NBA to the HD television or film business (he's also the owner of HDNet, plus a chain of movie theaters, a film distribution company and a film production company). He also occasional gets into politics and business culture. He's very well versed to speak on any of these topics and his insights are always interesting.
...by Ken Levin - The World As Seen By a TV Comedy Writer
Ken's always entertaining blog is an interesting look into the mind of an Emmy Award winning writer. He's also a professional baseball radio and television announcer, which is where I became familiar with him. He was the play by play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, but that's not the only reason I read his blog. His writing is clever, insightful and just fun to read. Which explains why the shows he's written for are far more often than not, among the best stuff on TV over the years.
Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness
This blog is based on Daniel Gilbert's terrific book Stumbling on Happiness. I finished it a few weeks ago and found it to be a great read. So what's so great about this blog? Well its a fascinating insight into how our brains work and how we perceive the universe around us. His blogging style, like the book, is really easy to follow which is great for a subject that could easily overwhelm. The only downside to this blog is that its somewhat sporadic, so you have to keep an eye out for new posts. That's one of the main reasons it sits at the top of my RSS feeds page. Even if there's nothing new, its a great read, so it easily stays in my top 5 list.
NOTE: I'll post more details on the book in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Dilbert.blog - Scott Adams
If you're a fan of the Dilbert comic strip, you'll understand why I'm a fan of Scott's blog. Its funny. Plain and simple. Sadly I don't read it every day, but I've just repositioned it on my RSS feeds page to make sure it pops up on my radar each time I open my browser.
Something that dawned on me as I write this is how much I enjoy blogs that make me laugh. While it's important to get the latest news updates, I really believe that its just as important to smile and have a good laugh whenever possible.
Thanks for staying with me. Feel free to comment on my suggestions and if you have a site to share drop me a note.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Q. Why do small children cry?
A. Because they haven't yet learned how to swear.
I know, I know. This sounds like the ramblings of a cynic or a liberal wacko, but I truly believe that children cry over simple things like a stubbed toe or bumping their tush on the ground when they fall, because they haven't learned how to express themselves any other way.
For most adults, stubbing a toe or a simple fall is an inconvenience but not a grounds for shedding a tear. As adults, we might say "sh**" or the more politically correct "poop" or "crap". That simple syllable is enough of a release to get over any minor pain that was caused by the stubbing or fall.
Children on the other hand have a limited vocabulary and useful expletives are not yet part of that vocabulary.
So what happens when a child cries. We typically assume that somethings wrong and understandably head to their rescue. We say things like "it's okay" or "its just a little bump". Does this really help? I don't know that it does. We wouldn't think of saying that to a 42-year old construction worker who had just dropped a wrench on his big toe. Like the adult, the child usually gets over it pretty quickly without our even noticing it. So why do we feel the need to make a big deal of it with the child and not with the construction worker? In other words, let them have a quick cry and move on. Obviously we need to make sure that the reason they're crying is not life threatening, but give them enough room to experience the little things without having to make them big things.
Understand that I'm not advocating that we teach babies how to swear like a sailor. But let's put "expletives" into context. I hope I never hear a three-year old drop an "F" bomb. It's not appropriate and, to be honest, perverse. They can not even begin to fully understand it in any context. Is there a reason to teach them to swear? No. Will they one day do it. Yeah, probably.
Maybe if they realize that it's not that big a deal when little things do happen that perhaps they'll be less likely to have to use expletives as adults. And if they do use the occasional 4-letter word, understand that they've only expanded their vocabulary and that the world hasn't ended.
Photo credit - Flicker
Friday, September 14, 2007
My journey to a new career has been both enlightening and frustrating. In fact the latter has been a major contributor to the former. In other words, my frustration has led to discovery or in many cases to rediscover things about myself. Valuable experience, but at the moment it isn't paying the bills. So what have I learned that might one day pay the bills and make the world a better place. Two things immediately have become obvious to me.
- Joy is at the core of our existence.
- When you feel like crap or get frustrated, quickly find any way possible to get over it.
On the other hand feeling like crap or let things frustrate you (which quickly makes you feel like crap), can drain the life right out of you if you're not paying attention. Feeling bad serves no useful purpose, and in fact only feeds our personal self pity machine. Self pity gets old fast which often pushes others away. The loneliness helps reinforce our bad feelings and we slip into the quicksand, having pushed away the very people that could have helped pull us out of the muck.
I'd spent several days at home feeling sorry for myself. Even with my loving and caring wife Christina sitting next to me or only one room away, I felt isolated and alone. I was so lost that it was like having my life drained from my soul. An emotional Nosferatu. It was not productive and certainly not fulfilling. It had become in Christina's words, "A life, not worth living."
Those words sent a shock through my system and helped remind me of the Ghandi quote, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." As I have always believed that joy and fun can and will change the world, I only had two choices, stay and be miserable which obviously wasn't working, or be that change, to be joyful and fun.
Life is better for sure. I have more energy, less aches and generally sleep pretty well. From time to time I do step in a small puddle getting goo around my ankles, but its a lot easier when I feel it tug at me. I can quickly regain my footing by refocusing on the joy and fun and being that change that I want to see in the world.
In the end, life is perfect. It's not flawless but it is perfect.
Hummer photo credit - Tx4x4.com
Monday, September 10, 2007
Okay, so it's been more than three months since my last post. While that's not the end of the universe, the realization a few minutes ago was a wake up call. Time is slipping by way too fast.
Do you remember when you were a kid, it seemed like the days would last forever, and things we were looking forward to, like birthdays, special trips and summer vacation would never get here.
Somewhere along the line, things shifted. We seemed to get busier and busier and there was never enough time in the day to get things done. Suddenly, rather than always looking forward to things, we were usually looking back and saying what happened. Where did all of that time go? It still clicked by 1 second at a time, but our perception was that it had for the most part slipped past unnoticed. Einstein was right, time is indeed relative. Reflecting on the last few hours, I'm coming to believe that wonder and joy are in fact, two of the keys that help slow time.
Wonder lets us to look at things openly and in minute detail. This openness creates a feeling of control like nothing else on the planet. Is it possible to open to wonder and feel anything less than being in full control of our senses and in absolute awe at the universe around us. One of the byproducts of wonder is joy.
True joy gives the sensation that time is standing still. It is a state of mind that is so natural for most, that you never want to let go. This creates a problem for most of us.
While it's true that with age and maturity come responsibility, there is a perception that there is little if any room for joy and wonder among the responsible. As this mind set begins to take hold, our experience of time begins to shift from abundance and anticipation, to scarcity and loss. I know I've been there for the better part of the last 40 years. Not sure the precise moment that it happened, but I do know that it happened.
In the coming days, weeks, months and years, I am all about rediscovering wonder and unbridled joy. I am about creating a better world through joy and fun. Its the only way that I can truly make a difference in the world and to make this happen I need your help. If you ever see me being anything less than joyful or fun, you have my FULL permission to give me a swift kick in the bottom and call me on it. There's a catch, you also have to give me a shove in the right direction. That might be something as simple as asking what's up and then asking what's next.
I know this is a lot to ask as we all have really busy lives and responsibilities, but I truly believe that if we can help light each other up, if only for a moment, that time will indeed begin to slow down, become abundant and fulfilling without having to be irresponsible. It is how we were created and wouldn't the world be a lot more fun if we could be both joyful and responsible.
I'll provide an update on the summer with my next post along with a personal promise to being accountable for providing updates on a regular basis.
I welcome your comments and when needed a good swift kick in the pants.