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

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Great Weekend...

Another great weekend after a crappy week at work. Lazed around on Saturday – a few honey-do’s here, a couple of margaritas there… great day. Cooked up some sea scallops to top a field greens salad with a balsamic peanut sauce dressing and a good time was had by all. Tonight it was chicken on the grill and fresh quasi-caprese salad with tomato, mozzarella, basil, onion and capers. Very easy – very good.


After dinner, Jonathan and I spent a couple of hours working with Pat to wrap up post-production on his latest project, a 15 minute short called “Milkmaids”. Milkmaids is reminiscent of a classic “B” horror flick, filmed entirely on location in Hobe Sound and with an all-Florida cast.

Pat Martin directing Milkmaids

Comic-Con 2005 is coming up in San Diego in less than two weeks, and the movie will be offered for sale there for the first time. We’re mostly done save a little more sound sweetening and fixing a couple of little glitches if we have time. We’re editing in Final Cut Pro and producing the DVD with DVD Studio Pro on the Mac, and its going pretty well. Tonight was a pre-flight on output to DVD and testing some of the DVD menus. Jonathan’s credited in the movie now, having filled the coveted job of “Gopher Boy”. He had fun – we all did…

Raining like an SOB at the moment… kind of nice with the lightning light show. Tomorrow morning brings an hour-long telephone interview for some promotional stuff for my real job, followed by an afternoon of meetings. I can’t wait… NOT!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

One Week Closer...


One week closer to Costa Rica.  Hope it works out…


Monday, June 20, 2005

Rescue Me...

I only caught a few of the first season episodes, but the FX series Rescue Me got good reviews and the few shows I saw were interesting. The cast and story lines both seemed strong, and many aspects of the plotlines were believable - beyond just plausible (OK, maybe not the drinking on the job and talking with dead people parts). The first season on DVD came out on 7 June, and I got it as a Fathers Day gift yesterday. Cool.

Denis Leary is the central character, both in and in support of the show. He's no stranger to either the job of firefighting or the social framework that firefighters, their families and their departments form in many towns. In December 1999, 6 firefighters lost their lives in a Worcester, Massachussets warehouse fire. Leary lost his cousin (Jerry Lucey) and a high school pal (Lt. Tommy Spencer), and formed The Leary Firefighters Foundation in 2000 in response. Since then, through a couple of regular fundraisers (I'll write on those another time), the Foundation has collected and funded Fire Department needs in New England and for FDNY to the tune of several million dollars. Here's the Foundation's mission statement:

The mission of The Leary Firefighters Foundation is to provide funding and resources for fire departments to obtain the highest level of equipment, technology, and training, as well as to provide resources to the families of firefighters who have perished or been injured in the line of duty.

This kind of "putting your money where your mouth is" support for firefighters is right on - more celebrities should do it. Leary is very active in Fire Rescue circles, and is turning two of his personal assets - an affinity for firefighters and his name recognition - into a plus for the community. And I like what I see as a "bookends strategy" in their focus - to paraphrase, I think they're about helping to fund investment in protective and lifesaving technologies at one end of the spectrum, but also provide resources and comfort to those families and departments affected by Line of Duty Death (LODD) at the other end.

LODD is something folks outside of Public Safety circles don't think a whole lot about. Unless it happens to your friend or neighbor or local department. Aside from the military and other Public Safety organizations like Law Enforcement, I can't think of too many lines of business where folks go to work every day with the possibility of losing their own life while trying to save another's. Selfless work, to be sure; and unfortunately, every year over 100 of those firefighters don't go home at the end of the shift, as you can see at the US Fire Administration firefighter fatalities page or at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation site.

If you're interested in the Leary Firefighters Foundation, check out their website, or read their 2003 Annual Report. I guess its not all that uncommon for an actor's on-screen performance to intersect with his or her personal mission, but appreciate that Leary's doing it, and in a way that can really help a bunch of people. If you're interested in the show, the second season premieres tomorrow (21 June) on FX.

Rock on, Denis Leary.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Life is good...

A couple of years ago, I received a great t-shirt as a gift.  It had a logo of a fish on the front, and a little logo saying “Life is good” on the back.  I’d never seen the line before, but loved the shirt.  Over time, Life is good has grown into a company, a product line and a state of mind.


Bumming around in Stuart a couple of days ago, I saw another great Life is Good t-shirt with a cartoon of a guy grilling.  I thought… “I’d like to have that”, and then two hours later by total coincidence, I’m standing in front of it in a storefront.  I bought it… its the same great quality as the original shirt.  I’m gonna wear it today while grillin’ and chillin’ on Fathers Day.

Life is Good has an awesome website.  Besides supporting your local retailer, they have a really wide selection of shirts, mugs, caps and other cool stuff.  If I’m shopping for a birthday present for you this summer, you might get some of this… check it out at

Friday, June 17, 2005

Weber Rocks!

I like to cook – its relaxing, and its rewarding when you make some thing others enjoy.  And I especially like grilling – haven’t always been very good at it, though.  One of the running jokes in my house is about my famous “Three Alarm Pork Chops”, named after an incident when I was a paramedic in Jensen Beach and literally burned up the pork chop dinner I was making for my partners and my wife.  It wasn’t pretty…

I’ve gotten a little better… with a little help from friends and the occasional “ah ha” moment.  Like the one I had a week or two ago when I cooked ribeye steaks exactly as one of my cookbooks dictated.  Best steaks ever, my guests said.  The book?  Weber's Big Book of Grilling.  Got it as a Father’s Day gift maybe 5 or 6 years ago.  I’d occasionally pulled a recipe out – a rub here, a marinade there – but I’d never really read the grilling instructions.  Scary – grilling over very high heat, with the lid closed… never done it.  But, I can tell you first hand – it works!


Tonight it was burgers.  Make burgers (however), heat grill to 500 degrees, turn the gas to Medium, put the burgers on and close the lid.  In 4 minutes, turn.  In three minutes, put the cheese on for a minute, then take them off.  Check for 160 degree internal temperature – and perfect burgers!  How easy was that?

Costa Ricanese...

Jungle Rules – 40 foot Gamefisherman

Sounds like I might have an opportunity to go back to Costa Rica this summer – early August, I expect.  I love it there.  Of course, its especially sweet to have a friend with the fishing boat there.  My friend Keith Carroll is having a new boat built and it will ship to Los Suenos soon, arriving before the first week of August.  Can’t wait – had a blast the last time and can’t wait to go again.

Fly Day 025
Keith, fighting a Pacific Sailfish
on the fly…

Here are a few pics of the “old” boat (called Jungle Rules), fishing and whatever… world class catch-and-release billfishing, about 30 miles south of the Nicaraguan border on the Pacific side. Amazing…

Jungle Rules on the way to the fishing grounds…

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Little Samba, Anyone...


Got to meet up with my old friend Harry Pierson, and meet his teammates Norman Guadagno and “the lovely Tanya” from the Microsoft Architecture Team who are in Orlando for TechEd at an invitation-only shindig they threw at Samba Room. I had an awesome time, to say the least. Its always great to meet up with old friends and make new, but besides that, the event was amazing! I had heard of Samba Room before and knew it was a latin-focused concept restaurant. What I didn’t know was how well they’ve executed the theme.

First, the restaurant is finished with dark polished wood – all over the place. Floors, walls, you name it. Second, its nicely lit. Third, its really well decorated… capturing and delivering a real latin feel. The food was great, service excellent, the cocktails better and the company awesome!


The restaurant hooked the Microsoft folks up with Sosa Cigars, a family owned and operated cigar shop with a location near the Virgin Megastore (I always get a kick out of that name) in Downtown Disney. I got to meet one of the principals, and had a chance to see one of his folks hand-rolling cigars. Great fun, and a great smoke, although I don’t often indulge. Samba Room sits right on the edge of a lake on Sand Hill Road, and that provided a great atmosphere for a drink and a smoke. It was a BLAST.

I’ll definitely return to Samba Room and entertain there. And, I have to hand it to Tanya, who organized the event, for pulling it off. Its tough to get over a hundred folks with similar interests but many of whom have never met to coalesce into a party. But, it worked. I learned more about what Harry and his team do, had a chance to talk with a couple of experts in areas I’m interested in, and even offered a little advice to one of the System Integrators that attended who’d dealing with company growth issues.

It was great to dip my foot back in the Tech world with this event. It was another reminder that Microsoft has not just the money but also the talent to do many things well. Whatever you think about the company or the products, they did that last night…

Friday, June 03, 2005

Return on Customer...


Got a galley of a new/soon-to-be-released business book called Return on Customer.  Its written by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, who are pretty much the parents of “One-to-One” marketing.  The book should be interesting.  A company picking its customers is in many ways more important than customers picking the company, as divergent customers in divergent markets with divergent needs are a death-knell for many organizations, or at least the small ones.

Customer Service is such an easy thing to say and such a hard thing to do – I think many if not most organizations need at least a little help here.  And I’m very curious whether Rogers and Pepper differentiate or discuss internal versus external customers, like some organizations do so well.  I see this kind of trouble – not understanding who the internal customer is, or not being understood as the internal customer, frequently.

I’ve started a Technorati Watchlist here, if anyone’s interested – you can subscribe to it with your newsreader/aggregator and will receive updates on blog postings from all over – if there are any.  I did a title search but nothing showed up – don’t know if the search was faulty or if the blogosphere isn’t discussing/posting on this yet.

I’ve heard there are some links pertinent to the book and its concepts, too… I don’t have them handy, but will post them once I round them up.  In the meantime, if you’re familiar with the book either leave a comment or post thoughts on your blog – lets get the conversation started.