Random musings, observations, squeaks, whimpers and perhaps the ocassional rant. About what, I'm not sure.

Friday, March 25, 2005

"Great" Friday...

Today’s not just Good Friday in the religious sense, but Great Friday in a roof sense.  At 8:30 sharp a troupe – gaggle – SWARM of guys showed up in two trucks and started tearing off the roof.  With a vengeance.  Must be 15 guys working away it it.  Bet they have the old shingles off by noon…

I’m psyched!

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Power of Persistence...

Two excellent posts about Persistence with a capital “P” here and here on Joe Krauss’ Bnoopy blog.  I started to write a comment and then it turned into three pages of a Word document.  Joe’s stories are very cool, and whether you’re a budding businesswoman or a seasoned entrepreneur, you should take a read.  Actually, the second post is more about not taking “no” for an answer then mere persistence – these are two very distinct things to me.

My story is about one of the most amazing things that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of in business, and an excellent example of shared vision and teamwork.  David beating Goliath, if you will.  I’ve been thinking about these subjects a lot for the past week.

I’m not sure what to do with what I wrote – pare it down, certainly, but its way too long for a comment.  If I don’t decide to trash it, maybe I’ll take a chance and post it here as installments.  Tonight was the first time I’ve thought about it in a long time, and I have to say it stirs the most fond memories of my past partnership, and certainly was one of the pinnacles of achievement for our company – we all benefited from it.

If any of you guys from Shana are reading, I should thank you again for all the opportunity you presented me with.  Your collective strength of character, your sacrifices and your personalities (frustrating as some of them were at times) all created fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of greater success – for you and for me.  Not everything we planted were roses, to say the least, nor tasted good, but we grew the company, grew personally and professionally (and certainly financially), and did some good for our customers, shareholders, partners and employees along the way.  The Boeing deal was one of the most difficult things we ever did, but had great rewards.  We calculated and took our chances, we did it well, and we stuck together doing it.  There’s a lot to be said for that…

Reaching the Goal Line...


Over at the Bnoopy blog, serial entrepreneur Joe Krauss (co-founder of Excite, if you remember it) posted recently on goals, goal setting and measurement for startups – and the fact that most goals in business are never achieved.  I’ve written a bit before about the Fast Forward MBA in Business Planning and Growth – if you’re struggling with integrating goals across the organization, melding them into a coherent plan (or ideally, setting the goals as the stepping stones of tactics to execute your vision), you need to read this book.

We’ll start an exercise on vision, goal setting and planning very soon in at least one of my endeavours, if not three of them.  In order to grow an organization in such a manner that all stakeholders can know and see the direction, buy off on it and then smile as it wends its way toward further success, planning is a necessity.  But its also big thinking in many ways.  It will make people nervous – like any change typically does.  With enough support from the execs who drive the business, though, this should be somewhat easier.  Although like any change-management exercise, benefits have to be evident to all involved.  THAT will be a challenge.

I’m looking forward to this project.  I’ve applied the methodology before to differing degrees and also use it in some of my business mentoring; once an organization understands and buys-off on the process, its very effective and brings quick results.  Guiding the cultural change in this organization – helping move from the reactionary nature of the business to being more proactive, making plans and measuring progress – will be a tough job, although I expect lots of folks are incented to help.  I hope so.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Fame Here... Will Fortune Follow?


Wow.  A blahgKarma post on religious wars in the tech business got an entry in Scoble’s link blog.  That makes one think.  That stream has to be read by everyone on the Internet by now (OK, maybe not EVERYONE…).

I had posted on a topic that involved Robert Scoble and someone else and a bunch of comments on the subject, and the next thing you know, *poof*, I’m on the link blog.  I wasn’t looking for or expecting this (as opposed to Hugh shamelessly begging for a link to English Cut, the world’s only blog on bespoke tailoring) but I like it.  Thanks Robert.

And BTW, Robert – keep doing what you’re doing.  There are a lot of voices in the blog world (is the term blogosphere  starting to sound corny to anyone else yet?) – yours is one that sparks thought, and lots of us enjoy reading it.  Even the ones who don’t can’t say you don’t highlight interesting issues (generally, they like the issue – they don’t like your point of view.  They don’t have to read or agree with it, either… just like they don’t have to read or agree with mine.  Isn’t America great!)


Friday, March 18, 2005

Hi Sandy!


An old friend popped up on the radar tonight.  Sandy Kemsley, a former exec from FileNet I had business with, sent me a change-of-email-address form and we reconnected a bit by e-mail.  Sandy’s one of the folks who “got” the whole electronic forms thing at FileNet, and her forward thinking was largely responsible for the attention our solution got there (thanks Sandy) and also helped moved FileNet to buy us before we could pit them and Microsoft against each other (you bitch!).

Sandy is one of the most forward-thinking and knowledgeable tech executives I know.  She’s an entrepreneur at heart, having founded and run a couple of successful businesses in addition to cracking the code at FileNet (she worked directly for the President.  Business Process Management is one of her areas of knowledge, although she’s also a great system and business architect (you reading, Harry?) and is equally fluent in the language of systems and the language of business.  An extraordinary woman, and she has a sense of humor like you wouldn’t believe.  Truly a joy to work with.  She’s consulting on her own again, through her company Kemsley Design.  Good for her.

I remembered tonight that Sandy was the first person I knew other than Harry that had something like a blog.  It wasn’t called that back then, but she travelled extensively and put travelogue entries and photos up on a website and updated it often.  That’s what a blog is today.  Wonder if she still does/has that?

Good to hear from you, Sandy.  Lets keep in touch.


p.s. just make your trip to Miami a couple of weeks instead of one and drive the convertible down.  By the time you reach Georgia you’ll stop freezing your ass off!

Fruit of the Day...

Apple got flamed today in an article by CNET senior editor Molly Wood entitled “The Strong Arm of Apple”.  The article was designed to spark controversy (good articles often do, don’t they) and Ms. Wood did a good job in that, but I was amazed by some of the comments.  I’ve written before about the religious war that still seems to be present in some minds between Apple and Microsoft, and the comments again prove the battles are still raging.  Here’s how the article started:

Poor Apple. It must be exhausting having to constantly run around threatening and even filing lawsuits, developing new schemes to get money out of iPod accessory makers, convincing Motorola to delay the launch of its most hotly anticipated phone since the Razr, and convincing would-be Shuffle imitators to dump their product or face--you guessed it--"legal options."

Apple is growing up – it has been for some years now.  With the return of Steve Jobs, the company has very successfully added a lucrative line of business, and not just hardware, but great services – some would argue the iPod' target=_blank>iPod and iPod' target=_blank>related stuff ARE the business of Apple today.  But some long for the “good old days” of the Apple club/cult (hey, I was a member – still am in some ways) rather than the reality of today.

Here’s part of what I wrote:

Its interesting that as Apple works harder to monetize the iPod phenomenon and to better protect their secrets, which many (including shareholders like me) expect makes it a BETTER company, they get lambasted for being a WORSE company. C'mon. The article was slanted to get a rise, and it clearly did.

I don't recall anyone forcing the accessory manufacturers to sign up for the iPod program. If they're not using the logo or other Apple IP to promote their product, who cares? If they are, they have the choice to stop infringing and gain permission (some will do this), ignore the issue (some will do this) or sign up for what will very likely be a lift in their revenues and profits by better riding Apple's coattails, and having the direct not indirect benefit of Apple's well oiled marketing machine.

Grow up, folks. Its a business, not a knitting circle. In business you pursue profits, build channels and protect your brand and your intellectual property.


I like what Steve is doing with the company, I like seeing the diversification, and I love the stock price.  He’s smiling in this picture because he can hear the sound of the cash register ringing Keep up the good work Steve Jobs.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the 2005 Bloggies “Best American Weblog” category I sponsored is…

Dooce. Congratulations, Heather. Your $20.05 is on its way…

Runners-up in this category were Go Fug Yourself (apparently a fashion blog, or blog on ugly fashion), Eschaton (blog by Florida Congressman Allen Boyd), Tequila Mockingbird (I’m not going to try to describe this one) and Wonkette (a very popular gossipy political inside-the-Beltway blog). Of these, Dooce is the only one I’ve read and that only occasionally so I can’t recommend them (I voted for Halley’s Comment, but she didn’t make the cut). But a bunch of other people must have liked them… Internet democracy being what it is.

Dooced also won the Most Humorous Weblog and Best Tagline of a Weblog Bloggie categories. That’s like $180 total. Rock on, sister – but don’t spend it all on that crazy “girls going wild” outing or you’ll be sorry.

p.s. before I get flamed for allegedly taking credit for someone else’s work I should point out I was only one sponsor of this category – eventually The Blog Herald and Julie also piled on. I wonder if they’re taking credit for MY work?

Good Evening, Mr. President...

OK, I’ve finally given in and added the Bill Clinton Daily Diary blog to the blahgRoll.  I laugh my ass off every time I read this thing.  It took me two posts when I first read it to figure out its a spoof.  Its funnier than a three-legged dog.

Whoever writes this thing has captured the essence of what I think Clinton’s writing would be like if he did author his own blog.  Which is absurd in and of itself, since he’d never do it (if the former president did have a blog, I’ll bet there would be loads of editors involved).

His politics aside, if you didn’t get enough Clinton Comedy while he was in office you have to check this out!


p.s. if you’re reading, Mr. President, I’m sorry.  I know its cruel but the devil made me do it.

Speak Up, Why Don't You?


These Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 2.0 desktop PC speakers got a stellar review and “Editor’s Choice” designation from PC Magazine Online today.  Great user reviews on Amazon, too.  I’m always leery of the sound quality of PC speakers – unless you’re up at the high end, over $150 range they’ve all tended to sound crappy to me.  But these look promising – good sound quality at a sub-$100 price according to the reviews.  Might be worth checking out.

I Found a Joint Today...

Like Robert Scoble, I am, in fact, a “fat white guy”.  And, I love to eat.

Driving around today looking for a bite, and I stopped into a place I used to frequent for breakfast years ago.  Changed hands a couple of times – a little hole-in-the-wall place.  Which, as it turns out now, makes an AWESOME burger and fries.

Check out the Whistlestop Cafe in Port Salerno if you have a chance.  Its a tiny burger and sandwich joint on the west side of A-1–A just south of Salerno Road.  Great eats – I had a hard time deciding between the sausage and peppers and the burger until I saw one.  It was great!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Higher Learning...

I’m all for continual learning, and was happy to hear a friend telling me about his entering a Masters of Public Administration program at the Wayne Huizenga School of Business.  Good for him – it will be a lot of work, and he’s doing it for the right reasons – knowledge first, piece of paper second.

Seth Godin recently posted on the topic of 30 business books that having been read equal an MBA.  Tongue in cheek, of course, but you get the point.  I’d certainly put a book on business planning from the prolific Fast Forward MBA series on the list.  The book is Fast Forward MBA in Business Planning and Growth by Philip Walcoff, is 240 (small) pages short, and is the most effective resource I’ve seen on bridging the all-too-common gap between what I’ll call planning for operations, strategic planning and the “traditional” (i.e. “we’re looking for money and need one”) business plan.

One of the key tenets of this book is that strategic planning and action planning/ops can’t really be separate endeavours – they have to be integrated.  I agree.  During the Tech hey-day, companies thought they could write a couple of points on a cocktail napkin and *poof* get funded.  Some in our company thought it was that easy (to be fair, they had a very vocal outsider in their ear whispering that point).  And, to be fair, a few companies DID get funded on cocktail-napkin business plans.  Which didn’t do a damned thing to help their business, their employees or their investors!  With the plan you can easily generate from this three-step methodology, you’ll have a tool to help you better manage and grow your business, and if you need something to raise money from, this will be way more helpful than that cocktail napkin!

The planning methodology in this book is very simple to understand, and not much more difficult to implement.  The concepts can apply to businesses of nearly any size, and I’ve seen it effectively implemented in two small businesses.  If you’re interested in the topic, spend the 15 bucks or so and give it a read.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Summer's Here...

Summer arrived today in South Florida.  Early summer, granted, but summer.  The way I know is that today is one of the two significant weather days of the year I’ve written about before – the day when the humidity returns.  Oh, sure… we’ll get the tease of a few more nights with the windows open, maybe even one more cold front, but its so humid right now that it HAS TO BE summer.


I hate having the AC on with the house all buttoned up for months at a time.  Doesn’t seem right… must be my New England upbringing.  I want that fresh air, but not when its so thickly-humid I can cut it with a knife…

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Religious Wrong...

Chuq von Rospach got kind of pissed off last week when some bloggers wrote about him as “[insert name of employer here] employee Chuq von Rospach…”.  I dropped the employer’s name ‘cause Chuq doesn’t seem to like it when you write about him, his blog and his employer in the same sentence, so why not humor him?  Wasn’t any news to me – Chuq is sort of known in some circles as working with who he works with.

I popped over to Chuq’s site, Teal Sunglasses (which is pretty cool, BTW) to comment on the whole “blogger as individual vs. blogger as employee” debate.  My short take on this subject, much like my view on e-mail and other forms of communication is is…

  • don’t write anything you’d be sorry to see attributed to you on the front page of the L.A. Times (goes well about commenting about your employer or his/her business as it does for your family and friends)
  • its generally not a great idea to say stupid things in public about your employer in public (regardless of medium)
  • realize you’re representing your organization (not speaking for them, representing them) whether you’re “representing” them or not.

What I found when I went to comment, though, was reminiscent of old time computer religion from days (I thought had) gone by.

Isn’t this a religious war that’s run its course?  To flame Robert Scoble as a Microsoft marketing flack when he popped in to make a couple of comments as someone who knows a little about Chuq’s original subject was cheap and childish.  Sheesh… have any of you read Scoble’s Blog?  He’s not always that complementary about MS, whether you think he’s their bitch or not (I, for one, don’t).  Guess if you’re passionate about your work and your employer you’re fair flame game these days.

I love free speech as much as the next guy, and I can go either way on the topic of bloggers as journalists, but jeez – give Scoble a break, will ya?  If you don’t like what he writes, don’t read it.  If you don’t like his employer’s stuff, don’t read it use it buy it.  Either way, grow up folks.  Its a world with a lot of ideas in it, and yours may not be that stellar, either.

Congrats to the Newlyweds...

Angel & Marcel2

Angel and Marcel’s wedding last night was awesome. Joe Ferrara presided as Justice of the Peace, with the ceremony held lakeside at Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach. Beautiful setting – beautiful wedding. Its always something to see love firsthand.

Marcel had friends and family in from Switzerland, which was a blast. The reception was held under the stars at Flagler Park in Stuart. Eventmakers provided a beautiful tent, tables and chairs (thanks for the help, George) and Manero’s Restaurant catered. Much fun was had by all. Around 9 pm we all got an unexpected treat when Wayne Huizenga’s Floridian Club set off their fireworks (I have to find out when they do this so I can get up on the Roosevelt Bridge and photograph them – the fireworks are professionally done, and spectacular).


All in all it was good times, good food, good friends – what more could anyone ask for. Natural stress relief, Florida-style.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Buzz Bruggerman is NOT a Marketer...


Buzz Bruggerman of ActiveWords is NOT a marketer.

Neither is he a/an:

  • Lawyer
  • Businessman
  • Visionary
  • Salesperson
  • Evangelist

Oh, sure.  Buzz practices law, has a business or two, is a visionary, sells and certainly evangelizes, so I’d understand if you mistook him for any of these things.  But first and foremost, Buzz Bruggerman is a story-teller.  And a pretty darn good one at that.

I had the good fortune to meet Buzz (thanks for the meal, BTW) this week and hear his story – or stories, to be more exact.  Fascinating guy, and fascinating product and vision.  Active Words is truly a productivity tool I can use, and I’m going to.  But what impressed me more than the product was Buzz’ energy, his passion and his vision.  All quite refreshing, if a little exhausting (sorry Buzz – it was already late in my day!).

If you’re not familiar with ActiveWords, its a utility that will basically allow you to set up keywords for nearly any type of action or activity with your computer.  Which you can type anywhere.  In any context.  Others can certainly describe it better than I can, but that’s my short version.

The product is cheap for what it does – about $50 a year to keep current with free updates/upgrades, tech support, etc. – and should easily save you many times that.  Its already saving me time, money and aggravation.  And that’s without even touching the TabletPC features.

Thanks for taking the time for the personal demo, Buzz, and for telling at least part of your story.  I’m eager to learn more.

Advice I Hated to Give...

“I think you should hire an attorney.”

I hate saying those words, for so many reasons.  I have a friend that’s a bit mired in a real estate deal he really wants to do, but thats getting more complicated by the minute.  The seller isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, and despite best and reasonable efforts the trouble’s not getting resolved.

In my experience, if someone’s considering hiring an attorney AFTER something’s happened, its not a good thing, although plenty necessary in many cases.  I’ve given this advice out twice in a month, and the other case won’t be any fun for the other friend, either.  I hate to see anyone shell out the dough, but you get what you pay for, and when you need them, attorneys can be invaluable.

I’ll save the lawyer joke I’m dying to tell right now.  I just hope my friend takes the advice (of course, its only as good as what he’s paying for IT, too), and that everything works out.  He and his family deserve it!

Going Out of One's Way...

I’ve experienced going out of one’s way literally and figuratively in the past 24 hours.

Figuratively – I was in Orlando on business that tied me up until 6:30 pm, and then took one of our pilots up on his offer of a home cooked meal, about 40 minutes from the base. I’m never happy about the drive to or from Orlando, but I figured I’d eat, and then decide whether I wanted to drive a couple of hours and hoof it home, or just get a place to crash. Instead Pat and his wife invited me to stay over, which I did, and it turned into a nice, relaxing social evening. Michelle cooked a lasagna bake, topped off with a chocolate cake (my favorite food in the whole wide world), then we watched Ladder 49 (which I’d seen before, but enjoyed again), and then hit the hay (but not before opening the bedroom window, setting off the alarm!).

Literally – this morning, on my way back from Orlando I’m tooling along listening to Bocelli’sSogno” CD when I took a wrong turn and before I knew it went 10 miles out of my way – so I had to go another 10 to get back where I was supposed to be, and then had another 2 hours to drive home. Bummer.

Driving back this morning was certainly preferable to the night drive – I actually enjoyed it, largely due to the great hospitality the night before and this morning. I-95 was a mess, but I took in a couple more CDs – Bocelli’s “Cieli di Toscana” and a new one from David Francey called “Waking Hour” – both excellent.

Off to a wedding this afternoon, and then tomorrow I hope to move into my new office at the temporary LifeStar hangar.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Finally done with Blogger. Server was down this AM, then got pages all jumbled up, stuff missing, posts that show up in the blog but not in the Blogger control panel. Any feedback on the alternatives greatly appreciated - I have web real estate available so I'm leaning toward hosting my own with Movable Type. I'd rather not spend $99, but on the other hand, its worth it if I can get rid of the aggravation...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"Hey, the Ceiling is Wet in Here"...

Damnit - enough of this hurricane-related bullshit already - this roof shit has officially gotten old. Its not just raining OUTSIDE, but now its raining INSIDE, courtesy of the hole I had to drill in the ceiling drywall to let 2 gallons of water go where it wanted to go - down.

Good news is - only two to four more weeks before I get my new roof.

(don't even get me started)

At least my attic is accessible. And I only stuck my fat head on maybe a dozen shingle staples sticking through the plywood (probably the only dozen on the original roof shingles, pieces-of-shit they were) on my way to the EXTREME remote corner of the attic.

I so want to cuss a blue cyber-streak at the moment, but who would care or listen.

"Sheeet. Son of Beetch."

I'm Officially a Rebel...


I’m officially a Rebel, in more ways than one (not including the Sweet Home Alabama way if you’re wondering).  The way I’m referring to at the moment is related to being the proud owner of a new Canon Digital Rebel XT camera.

I haven’t gotten to the camera yet, I’m still unpacking it, but first impressions being what they are, I thought I’d relate a couple of observations...

Number one, Canon could benefit from studying Apple in terms of the packaging experience.  I appreciate that shelf space is something a manufacturer has to factor in when planning and shipping the product, but their jamming this piece of art into a typical “squeeze all the space out of the package you can” box didn’t do anything for my chi.  The Apple experience is so phenomenal that its hard for anyone to meet/beat the expectation, but others do.  Tiffanys comes to mind, as an example.

Two – can we kill some more trees?  I can appreciate that you need a printed manual for the camera – and I want one – but the hundred or so other separate documents you include seem like overkill to me.  Consolidate, maybe?

OK, how about something to actually do with the camera?

Three –  “Canon – why’d you cheese out on the battery charger?”, one might ask.  First, there’s no cord – its a “plug me into the wall only” model (they could have done an iBook kind of thing and had both available, but just having a cord to put the charger on my desk would have been nice).  Second, it only accommodates one battery – in contrast to my D30 charger.  With the added battery capacity and improvement in energy management, I’m not sure I’ll need a second battery, but it seemed cool (and was useful) to have two slots with the D30.

More when I actually get to the camera.  Right now, I have real work to do.

Drowning in Liquid Sunshine...

Crappy day here today; raining its ass off.  We need the rain to combat what many think could be a terrible wildfire season (lots of new fuel courtesy of the hurricanes)but too bad its today too bad ‘cause it probably cancelled/postponed the golf benefit Greg Norman was sponsoring at his chi-chi Medalist here in Hobe Sound for Tsunami relief.  In which, I understand from the Stuart News, former presidents Bush and Clinton were scheduled to play.

Ghwb  Wc 

For you W haters out there (I know who you are!), don’t get all excited – he’s still firmly in office.  I was talking about George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States.


I was hoping to see GHWB here in Hobe Sound, unlikely as it would have been.  Worked a detail for him when he was VP and his mom lived here on Jupiter Island – wonder where that letter is... hmmm.  Anyway, it was a blast; I liked the guy and his politics (I can see the comment flamethrower coming now).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

An Open Letter to Lee Allison...

8 March, 2005

Mr. Lee Allison, Big Cheese
Lee Allison Company
1820 West Webster Avenue, #401
Chicago, IL 60614-2927

Dear Mr. Allison,

I’m writing to you personally today due to the serious – nay, grave – nature of issues I had with one of your famous Lee Allison Company Four-in-Hand ties. Your name is on the product, your name is on the company – hell, its all over the place, so I figured you must be The Big Cheese, and that you’d at least want to know the personal and irreparable harm your product has caused me.

I had one of your ties once. A snappy little “retro TVs all over it” model. Like a boiled egg it looked innocent enough at a glance, but proved oh-so-deadly to my self-esteem – my life – over time.

Oh, sure, my tie – your tie - was exquisitely crafted, hand sewn, a true conversation piece on my otherwise unobtrusive person. Made of the finest silk. An object to be admired; worshipped, some might say. No issues with workmanship or any of that; it was a work of art. Hell, I liked the tie enough that I sent you a note about it – we even talked by phone. I believe I called the Lee Allison Company “the Nordstrom of Ties” for your customer experience. Simply remarkable.

No, the tie wasn’t poorly made, and your service wasn’t bad; quite the contrary. What pissed me off is that this tie had an attitude, and not the “I’m a very chic fashion trinket and the man who wears me is successful; pay heed to him” vibe. It was more like “I’m beautiful; screw the guy who’s wearing me” kind of riff. The tie didn't like me, period. At all. Not one bit. As David Spade would say in a Capital One commercial, “Non-ka”.

Now, I know what you're thinking... something like “Security to Mr. Allison’s office - right away please”. But hear me out. This is a story that must be told.

I bought the tie as an extravagant gift for myself, having closed a big business deal. I was a struggling entrepreneur at the time – ‘96 maybe? –like you were once. I’ve continued the tradition of small self-rewards on good fortune – I’d have even bought more ties if my experience with this one hadn’t been so disastrous. A Ghurka wallet here, a fountain pen there, but no more ties. Too painful.

That Four-in-Hand tie was the coolest thing I owned for the longest time. Not only did I look good in it, but it was always a springboard for my “yeah – its great. I bought it when I closed the Motorola deal – have I ever told you that story? story. Little did I know how the pleasure of the story, told over and over and over, would turn to the pain I’ve endured for so many years now.

I admit I should have spoken up sooner; I knew something wrong with this tie right away and should have sent it back. It was a feeling – keen instinct; gut feel – a sixth sense, in retrospect. When I opened the box, the tie was gorgeous, not doubt, but it was also all “who the hell are you; how did I get here?”. I was taken aback. But, I figured “I suppose when you’re this well made, you can have an attitude”, and also “maybe that’s how ties are in Chicago”. I wish that was it; it wasn’t.

First, the tie didn't like living in the closet with the rest of my clothes. Granted, the wardrobe was a bit shabby back then, but it was what it was. "But I'm better than they are” I remember the tie saying. “I'm hand crafted, damn it!” A pretty elitist tone; not pretty, and what I expect nor tolerate from any of my clothing. “But Lee Allison made it” I remember muttering to myself. “Maybe it’s just me. I’ll give it some time”.

Next, it was crap like "you're going to wear me with THAT? Are you DRUNK or STUPID?!". Now I'll admit I'm not the most fashion-savvy guy around, and I’ll have a cocktail or two on occasion, but hey - sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. But what a mouth on this tie. What an attitude.

Then, the tie started to get a little mouthy when I’d wear it. I don’t know about you, but for me, ties in public are like kids in public – they shouldn’t speak unless they’re spoken to, and then not much. Not this tie, though… oh no. I'm talking with the most beautiful woman at a function one night, she glances down to admire the tie and the next thing you know, the TIE is talking to her. And its not being nice. “Forget about him – he’s a loser. Lets go back to my place and get busy”. ‘My place’ my ASS; I was the bread winner; I was the deal maker, I worked my fingers to the bone to put a roof over our heads. I was the Man. Talk about getting pissed off; I liked the tie, but hitting on my chicks and putting his highly polished tie-Nazi jackboots to my ego was where I drew the line, mister.

I put the tie in the closet and left it there in exile. Not for long – maybe 3 months a clip. I took it out now and again to see whether it had been rehabilitated – hey, it worked for Martha Stewart – but no joy. I started to hate that beautiful tie, and it hated me.

Now like many relationships, I didn't really know how wrong things were, but the signs were all there. Sure, we were seen together at functions, but always seeming a little on edge – a little cold to each other. Kind of like Diana and Charles near the end. And that was OK with me – I just figured “this is as good as it gets. Until one day it was gone. Vanished. Right into thin-fricking air. Not a trace. The only thing I can figure is that the tie got tired of our constant bickering and the next thing you know, up and leaves.

Which, and I’m sorry for the strong language, is bullshit. Helluva payback for shelling out what I think was probably something like $65 at the time. Plus, if I can’t have that tie, then no one can!
I know. An outsider reading this might remark – “are you sure you didn’t just lose the tie, like on the trip to Canada a couple of years ago”, but you and I know the real story. I notice you don't have any spunky little retro TV ties in your catalog anymore. A testament, I'm guessing, to how these disobedient, ungrateful and wholly unforgiving ties treated THEIR owners.


Sorry - I'm trying to get a grip, but through the tears I have to tell you I must have really loved that little tie – its golden hue, what I think were its little blue TV highlights – the memories are starting to fade, to tell you the truth. Sure, it was a back-talking little bastard but hey - so am I. But I still think its wrong for you to hand-make and sell a product that's fundamentally as flawed as this one was.

Please refund my money, start some sort of relief fund for customers who’ve had my kind experience with your products, or go on Dr. Phil – something; anything. But whatever you do, please, please – stop making ties folks will fall in love with. God, I don’t know if others are strong enough to stand what I’ve gone through.

Dejectedly, but ever-so-thankfully yours,


p.s. I’ve heard the Lee Allison Company Loft is pretty nice. If my tie happened to slither back to Chicago and its hiding out there, please send it back to me for the thrashing it sorely deserves.

Sorry, but I'm Tied Up at the Moment...


Tell me this isn’t cool:

My name is Caspar and I would like to welcome you to my webpage on how to tie a tie!

You know, I created this site for people just like you:

  • the working professional who switched jobs recently and needs to wear a tie now but doesn't know how to tie it,
  • the college graduate figuring how to tie a tie before that first job interview,
  • the high school senior needing immediate advice on tying ties before leaving for the prom,
  • and, basically, anyone else who's interested in learning how to tie a tie simply for the fun of it. Yes, for the fun of it!

I have two confessions.  One, I don’t enjoy wearing a tie.  Part of the deal is it just seems like a bother.  Part of the deal is I don’t like feeling like I ‘have to’ dress a particular way.  Part of it is wearing casual dress like a badge-of-courage (I still pride myself on not having owned a suit of any sort for the past 12 or so years).


Being the organizational-culture if not -style chameleon I am, though, there are times when at least wearing a tie, and ocassionally a jacket, too, is the right thing to do.  And, so you don’t think I just hate ties, I once bought a great, hand-made Lee Allison silk tie that had little TVs on it.  The company offered outstanding customer service, too; am amazing experience and product all the way around.

Sorry, I digress.

Confession number two – I suck at tying a tie.  Always have.  Never really learned the “right” way, I suppose.  Its not that I don’t WANT to tie a good knot…


So, I’m loving Caspar’s gift to manly tie-dom…  Several knot styles, step-by-step instructions, more detailed pics than I grabbed here… how could you go wrong?  I’ll be a frequent visitor, at least until I learn how to tie the blasted thing right.

Wish I still had that Lee Allison tie… it got away from me some years back.  Pity.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Weather or Not...

There are two weather days that interest me in Florida; they signal the change in seasons (we don’t really have 4 of those here).  The first day is typically in late September or early October, and its the day you can walk from you front door to the car and not have broken a humidity-induced sweat.  Its a glorious day – Winter has arrived, even though its probably 80 degrees or better, and the anticipation of cooler, more comfortable days and nights is palpable.

We’ve had a lovely winter this year.  Warm days (and a few “cold” ones), crisp, clear nights.  But all of that is going to slink away soon on the second weather day – the day when the humidity returns. 

Its a gorgeous morning; about 75 degrees, sun is shining, the birds are chirping.  I’m going to miss all of that when we become sequestered in the world of air conditioning and life-threatening humidity.  Coming to a South Florida hamlet near you soon…

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I HATE Administrivia...

I coined the term Administrivia at my old company, and used it to refer to all manner of paperwork I had to do that seemed to bring me little value-add. Today was sort an Administrivia sort of day, with a significant portion spent on on doing expense reports. God, I hate doing these. Guess I have to, though, since I expense all manner of things for work, and expensive things too, and since the fiscal year has ended and I need to get my stuff accounted for.

Guess even when it brings me money, I still hate Administrivia.

UPDATE: Before I get flamed, turns out everyone in the world uses the term Administrvia. If you really invented the word, forgive me. Case of spontaneous invention, perhaps.

Blog Migration Tools?

Anyone know of a tool that allows migration of a blog from one platform to another?  I almost don’t care what the new platform would be, but the old platform needs to be Blogger.  I’d like to move somewhere (my own site, another hosted service, etc.), but would like to take my words with me…

BlogJet Blues...

Seems like my workaround for Blogger eating posts in progress isn’t much better… BlogJet is a cool little app, but its definitely not fully cooked yet.  Lots of simple little interface things that aren’t quite right – which I can live with or work around – but it has its own hungry little appetite for hogging down post bits and bytes.

I think I’ll write the author and see if there’s a new build forthcoming.  If so, I’ll probably stick with it a little longer.  If not, its back to the drawing board, I guess…

I'm Touched...

Probably seems like a pretty small thing to anyone reading, but my son Jonathan cooked a whole breakfast for me this morning.  Which, considering at 14 he’s got WAY more interesting things to do with his time, was really considerate of him.  He’s a great little cook (chip off the old block), AND he cleaned it all up.  Hope he isn’t atoning for some unknown sin (grin).

Sometimes I wonder what life will be like when he and Leeann head off for college.  Leeann’s a junior this year, so I’m already feeling like we’re on the threshold of her leaving home, and it doesn’t feel like Jonathan will be far behind her.  Its weird to even think about it, but its right around the corner now.

I’m certainly glad to see the kids grow – they’re really more like little adults at this point – but its certainly sad in a way too, since I know they’ll be having their own lives and careers and kids and… the whole enchilada.

I’m taking a week off this month during the kids’ spring break, and you know what – I don’t think we’re going to do a darned thing except be around.  Won’t have too many more opportunities for that…

Music Buying Bliss...


David Francey

Don’t know what made me think of it, but I remembered this morning that David Francey, a great singer/songwriter from Newfoundland was supposed to have a new CD out. Francey is part of a great folk music tradition in Atlantic Canada – if you like acoustic guitar and great vocals, check him out.

So I get this idea I want to shop, and did what any good music fan would do – popped into Amazon and sure enough the CD is there. Waking Hour was available for immediate shipping using my Amazon Prime “all you can eat express shipping” dealio, so I bought it.

Isn’t instant online gratification grand! Of course, Amazon and HBSP Online will be the financial death of me, but hey – you can’t really take it with you.

Of course, no shopping experience is complete without an impulse buy. You know, you’re standing there in line and the next thing you know you throw that candy bar into the buggy, or a magazine – whatever. Shopping at Amazon is no different – I stood in line thinking “hey, does Great Big Sea have anything new out”? Ask, and ye shall receive – their album (are they still called that?) Something Beautiful* releases this month, so it will be showing up at the door too.


Great Big Sea

Too bad so many folks look at the Canadian music scene as the farm league for the US market. You know – reach some success in Canada so you can “Make It” in the US. The folky/Celtic music the Newfoundlanders (I’d have called them “Newfies”, but found on Wikipedia that some consider the term derogatory) are making is world class – stick to your roots, guys, and thanks for making the music.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Westward Ho...

As part of my LEADERship course this week, we visited one of the oldest and most rural areas of Martin County – Indiantown. Indiantown feels like Old Florida to me, and I suspect to many of the folks who live there. There’s still a lot of old-fashioned frontier mentality there – which is a good thing in this context – and lots of opportunity. Along with a boatload of citrus groves (at least for now – not a good business to be in at the moment), ranches, etc.

Indiantown is at a crossroads – literally and figuratively. The area has several thousand residents, loads of land (mostly zoned agricultural, but also industrial, commercial and residential), and unfortunately some of the most economically blighted neighborhoods in the county. Indiantown also has its own bank, its own telephone company (which is very high tech, if you don’t know), its own natural gas company (the only one in the county), and a massive FPL generating facility (generating both power and tens of millions of dollars of local tax revenue). Its also its own Urban Service District, meaning its one of the few places in Martin County you can actually build something (and damn near the ONLY place you can build something industrial), and because the eastern USD is filling up, more and more folks have their eye on the town.

With the prospect of Scripps building a world-class biotech enclave about 12 miles or so from Indiantown proper, natural westward market forces favoring development being doused with jet fuel and folks are holding matches. Centex is already committed to building something like a couple of thousand homes there, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (hmmm… wonder what their definition of “secondary” is in “Centex will only sell to individuals who will be purchasing a primary or secondary home” is).

Good for Indiantown, I say. This little town of 10,000 could truly turn into a much bigger part of Martin County’s economic engine – an engine that’s running primarily on service sector jobs. If the people of Indiantown can figure out a way to balance industrial with commercial with ag with residential, they’d be the first in our county. And I say “the people of Indiantown”, because with the tax base they have, the demand for development and the geographic separation from the rest of the county (they’re 30 miles inland), if others push to drive what Indiantown should become, I can see them packing up their toys and going home – incorporating, contracting with the County for essential services, and taking the FPL revenue generation plant with them. I don’t think the residents WANT to do it… but I’ll bet they will if they have to…

LifeStar in Action


LifeStar had two back-to-back PR commitments before noon today, which in and of itself would have made for a busy morning, but then as they were preparing to leave the first annual St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital benefit rodeo at Timer Powers Park (one of our flight medics was riding in it), they were toned for an interfacility transport from Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce.

Normal stuff. Until two more calls hit for them at the same time.

We have a mutual aid system in place with other flight teams, like our neighboring program Aeromed II in Sebring, Florida. They can be to us in around 25 minutes, so when we have multiple calls, they’re usually there, like today.

Happened to catch some good pictures from one of the scene calls – you can view them here, at least temporarily. And, if you’re interested, Martin County has a web page that shows calls in progress. Its pretty basic, but you can take a look, if you’d like.

I Love To Collect a Good Magazine Now and Again...

Are any of you magazine collectors, like me? A magazine collector is someone who subscribes to magazines they're really interested in, but then lets them sit around the house once they arrive rather than reading them. Until, you know, you sit down in a marathon session one evening or rainy Sunday and then just rail your way through them.

Don’t misunderstand… I don’t collect magazines the way you used to collect National Geographic. I just let them sit around until I can’t stand it any more and then I read, and read, and read, and read them.

Since I've succumbed to my technology/photography lust, I thought I'd start collecting (notice I didn't say reading) a few Photo mags. I used to read Popular Photography maybe - oh, I don't know - a hundred years ago, and thought it might be a useful source not only of digital detritus, but useful photo techniques. So I figured I'd subscribe to it.


The Popular Photography website looks cool, too. I'm trying to research some lens options to determine whether I get the Rebel XT with or without the "kit" lens. Who knows... maybe I'll get good at this!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

High Tech, High Touch

As highly automated as our world has become, I find a lot of folks have forgotten how to balance high tech with high touch, or maybe they don't give a crap about it. In any business built on relationships (what business isn't?), its just too easy to forget or miss opportunties for high touch when high tech mighs substitute.

I'm a high tech kind of guy - e-mail reigns supreme in my business world. But, I still take the time to personally seek out face time with the folks I work with, who I need and who need me. And, although some would argue its "old fashioned", I still liberally apply handwritten thank you's, as painful as it is for me to write them (handwriting something feels incredibly uncomfortable to me after spending 15 years at the keyboard).

A small personal touch goes an incredibly long way in our high tech world. Take the time. And if writing thank-yous and personally delivering them is old fashioned, then you business leaders out there take heed - dial up a dose of "old fashioned" right away.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Victorious; Ever Vigilant

Well, our presentation went well this morning, resulting in LifeStar and our Sheriff's Department combined hangar project being funded. The Martin County commission accepted our "Safety First" strategy and delivered a nearly unheard-of unanimous vote to allow us to build in an area where we know they didn't want us to build. This in and of itself was a major victory, and astounded some of the folks on our team. And I got to make the pitch!

Second, the Sheriff's Department will be allowed to move with us. This is great news as their current site is ever being encroached and the new site will be much safer and easier to operate from. Sheriff Crowder made part of the pitch himself, which I think was one of the keys to success. Another 5-0 vote. Amazing.

The next issue was building configuration and funding. Here, we didn't get everything we needed, but we have a platform to get it from. We'll build two 8,000 sf spaces sharing a central wall, providing each agency the hangar space they need, and room to build their support spaces. LifeStar was denied the funding to do the interior buildout, primarily (in my opinion) because the construction per foot numbers didn't make sense to the Commission. They don't to me either, but hey - I'm the pitch man, not the construction guy. We're confident we can push the construction cost down to accommodate the additional $300K in crew quarters construction we need, so its only a matter of time. At least we'll have the space.

We were well prepared, made it clear what we needed and why, and put the Commissioners in a position to win on the points they needed to win on. Each commissioner asked insightful questions, and in the end we got the necessary support. I'm a big believer that given the option, folks want to do the right thing, so we worked really hard to present a decision package that clearly showed what "the right thing" was.

All in all, this was a great team effort, and it was great to see our hard work and carefully crafted strategy pay off. But it was a tough project, too - several different organizations, three different organizational cultures, politics, etc. Just keeping everyone upbeat that we could get this done was a major task.

Closing any $2M deal is a tough job - this one was tougher than many I've done. Now, I can relax a bit, maybe even take a day or two off next week!

"Kiss Me, I'm on TV"


Turns out my presentation this morning was broadcast live via Martin County's government-access TV station, MCTV. Wonder whether I looked like a blithering idiot, so I think I'll watch it. The material will re-broadcast and re-run on the web tomorrow (Weds 2 Mar) at 9 am and 10 pm, Friday 4 March at 4 pm, and Saturday 5 March at 10 am (all Eastern time).

I expect you'll all tune in. We started our stuff about a half hour into the meeting, so you might want to use that time for setting up your DVR, popping some popcorn, calling some friends over to watch... you know the usual stuff. You ARE going to watch, right? (grin).

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...

Beautiful day here in Florida. Sunny, clear, crisp cool air. Good start to what I hope will be a great day.

Despite a few minor setbacks late yesterday afternoon, I'm off to make my big presentation this morning - 9:30 am at the Commission chambers. Feel free not to come by - we'll already have an audience, although you can watch the meeting online if you're unusually bored.

Wish me luck.