Thursday, April 30, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, and the Blogsophere. Not just for dicking around

April is quickly coming to a close. This month I have seen the power of social networking on a whole new level. Many times when people say social networking, they think Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and maybe Adult Friend Finder.

Over the past few months I have been experimenting with FaceBook and Twitter as a sales tool. I have been in sales for quite some time. From my days as a showing intern on a radio sales call, to slinging checking accounts and Home Equity Lines of Credit, to selling Burgers at Chili's, to selling myself and my ability to give you an unique voice for your commercial, to now cell phone solutions, I have tried it all. I have been to formal networking organizations, to just calling my friends to help me out.

Out of all of these ways to grow your influence, grass roots self promotion has always worked for me. I learned a long time ago that embracing your company's business model is the key to success. No matter the industry, no matter the product, embracing your company's model is your key. The best advice I have ever heard also ties into that, once you stop drinking the kool-aide, leave. Quit. Do something else.

Now with this economic panic, the slow nationalization of our auto industry [RT @SenJohnMcCain President purposes government/union takeover of GM and Chrysler – Lenin would be smiling...] getting an edge in the sales business is how you continue to grow. Many people spend their time calling cold calls trying to find that one person who needs a new phone, and they are banging their head against the wall. They are meeting answering machines, and leaving voicemails that no one is going to listen to. They stagnate and like lions picking over a dead carcass, they are all feeding on the same dieing animal, the walk-in customer. I won' lie, I have gotten my fair share of walk-ins, but many of my new sales have been from my ability to create my own customer traffic into my store.

I am in retail, I can't leave my store during the day and prospect for new business. So when I am not at work, I am prospecting. That woman holding the iPhone in the grocery store trying to get a signal, I have talked to her, handed her my card, and said, please let me help you. That woman signed on 3 lines this month and got a better phone.

I am giving you the answers to the sales IQ test. Shameless self promotion. This month I have started to really use the technology at my finger tips to make myself money. This month, more than any month prior, I have pulled more new lines of service from my personal network on FaceBook than any other month. I have used Twitter to keep that network briefed on my progress and I have sent up SOS.

This past Friday, as I started to hit the final stretch of the month, I told my network I needed 15 new activations by Tuesday. I asked for help. With in minutes I had Direct Messages in Twitter, FaceBook, and my e-mail with names and phone numbers of people who have been looking. I got a new lead from one person that garnished me 7 new lines of service. That took care of about half of the activations I needed. I got 2 more from another. I one person who added lines on for her parents. This is networking, and shameless self promotion at work.

Last night I drove to Pittsburgh from my home to deliver 2 BlackBerrys to a friend of mine who put me over the edge. I not only hit my goal, but I was put well over the mark and ahead of the other sales reps.

I can remember a few months ago when I was a manger sitting in a meeting sending out FaceBook messages to friends whom I haven't connected with in a while, and I got put on corrective action. Now that I no longer work for that manager, I made sure she knew that I took FaceBook and put it to work for me. I am now making an impact on a team that needed someone to change the game. For the first time in a year, my location is now over their gross activations goal. For the first time in even longer, I am a rep who made 100% to gross activations.

FaceBook and Twitter can be tools. They are also fun ways to keep in contact with your friends, which is the main purpose of these sites. My friends understand what I expect and I make no secrets that I love the company I work for.

If everyone could love their job as much as I love mine.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

PodCast #5 feat music from Dot Dot Dot

Welcome to PodCast #5!

This week we are featuring music from the band, DOT DOT DOT. Fantastic Band from Chicago.

This week's highlights.

1. Steve from All My Friends Are Make Believe was in the house. Listen to all the nonsense that ensued.
2. Pirates and Navy Seals. Fun
3. We are gonna talk about taxes and how NOT to pay them.

Enjoy this week's PodCast. Rambling Mess. Lots of microphone noise, the stupid mic stands, don't hold onto them.

Mobile listeners, click here.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

No One Seems to Care!

At the top of every hour on news talk radio, the lead story is about Chrysler and GM and their impending bankruptcy. Despite the Obama administration's influx of cash, our cash, and 'leadership' from the President, GM and Chrysler cannot keep their companies from bankruptcy. The American auto maker is dieing. Now what? Most Americans, financial advisers, and even we, the taxpayer have been very vigilant in crying out about a bailout. What was going to happen in September and October still happened. It didn't matter. We still gave Chrysler and GM billions and billions of cash to keep their businesses afloat, and now what? They are going to go into bankruptcy with billions of OUR money. Our investment wasn't on the line. If I wanted to invest in GM, I would have bought their junk stock. I didn't, but I guess that isn't true, we all bought into GM against our will.

Where are the TEA parties now? Why aren't we more pissed off about this. The mainstream media has yet to hammer this point home. What the hell?

Right behind this lead off story about the eminent demise of GM and Chrysler, is angry UAW workers chastising Americans for buying foreign cars. Who gives a hell what KIND of car it is, as long as it Americans who are building it. Quick economic lesson. If you buy a car in Ohio [insert your state here] you pay something called sales tax. It is usually 6-8% of the total value of your purchase. So if you buy your car in my county in Ohio, you pay 6.75% sales tax. You buy a foreign car, with an average sticker price of $14,800, you are paying $925.00 to the state of Ohio. Do you know how much you pay if the same car was made by GM or Chrysler because it was made in America? The same exact amount. Do you know how many Ohioans are employed by Honda vs. GM? The same exact amount. How many Ohioans have Honda laid off? Zero. How many has GM laid off? Too many to count, but they have also shut down their plant in Lordstown for 3 more weeks than normal.

Why do I want to buy a GM or Chrysler car again? Oh right, it's American.

Well let's talk about what American made is all about. American made is not getting handout, which is something the current administration is getting all too familiar at giving. From welfare, to bank bailouts, Obama's administration has given more of the taxpayers money away in bailouts, so that those companies can still fail. Some might say that it was inherited and he is just trying to do the right thing. Well let's talk about principals and convictions. If I was walked into a situation where the previous person was doing something I was fundamentally opposed to, I would stop that practice, scrap it, and start over. Let those who built their businesses upon sand fall, and let those who built their businesses on rock, stand. It's Darwin's theory of natural selection, economy style. We are a free market, and let the market manage itself. Sure we have gone into Depression based on poor business practices of greedy CEO's and monopolies. So if Obama thought what Bush was doing was wrong, then why is he still writing checks with money he has yet to print?

In all of this, no one in the media has commented on a HUGE story. The Ford Motor company announced today that, it posted a loss of $1.4 billion dollars. That doesn't sound like a success, but when you look at what the analysts were saying the loss was going to be, it beat their forecast. That is great news. Once you look into what Ford has done, it can be considered nothing less than a success. Sure, posting a loss of $1.4 billion dollars is horrible, but you have to look into what kind of money they lost. Their own. They have accepted absolutely zero tax payer dollars to stay afloat. The leadership of Ford was able to restructure their debt by renegotiating their contract with UAW and restructuring their debt. They cut back on everything. They did something not a single other car manufacturer did, they refocused. They turned away from dumping money into the SUV bandwagon and moved back into the European model, small fuel efficient cars. Phase 1. Stop burning through cash. They did that. Phase 2. Refocus on the Focus. Fuel efficient, small, compact, cheap. Notice the Focus is a better looking car now. That isn't an accident. Let's check Phase 2 off. Phase 3. Reintroduce the cars that were successful before the SUV. Enter the new Taurus sedan. It will launch in '10 line-up. Phase 4. Hybrid technology. '10 is bringing in the year of the Fusion Hybrid. Already in the line-up, but they are heavily investing to ensure the success. Sure Ford knows Hybrid technology is much like putting a nice dress on an ugly woman. It is what we want to see, but you still might not want to buy it, but this is what WE are asking for.

Now let's bring it all together. There are unhappy people working at GM and Chrysler who think that Americans need to buy American. Their ignorance astounds me because it doesn't matter what kind of car you buy, the government gets the same % on taxes. Sure the profits go overseas to foreign owners, but shit, look what the American car makers are doing with their profits. They fucked it up. We are ignoring the fact that Ford Motor has taken losses year over year, but still have not gotten a penny in bailout money. Where are the high five's? No where.

So what can WE do to help? Buy a Ford. Ford has done their part by not taking our money. Now we need to do our part and support their product. Before I get into my pitch for Ford, you can also buy a Camry from Toyota, Accord from Honda, and Civic from Honda, as they are all made in the United States as well.

Now why buy Ford? There are a number of different reasons. First and foremost, their CEO's have recognized what it did wrong and are making their adjustments to change to the demand in their products. From spinning off subsidiary brands such as Volvo, Land Rover, and Jaguar they have simplified their portfolio to cut their cash expenditures.

They are using technology and green technology better than any other company. They are using the ideas that I have told you about by consolidating many different devices into 1 device using an investment from Microsoft and their SYNC system. SYNC is a bluetooth package that allows you to play your tunes from your phone, through your car speakers. It also allows you to take phone calls from your car as well. Did you know they have over 100 pending patents in their 'full' hybrid technology?

Innovation. From Henry Ford's assembly lines to the Fusions 3 different interior packages, Ford is redefining what it is to drive American. Their ability to change to the demand of the public is much better and more nimble that other American car makers and even forgein cars. Did you know Mercedes doesn't even have a stereo bluetooth technology in it? Honda doesn't have it either.

Ford is the way to go anymore. They have what it takes to make it through this recession. This is the redefinition of the American car maker. Their cut backs have made it easier to position itself for a bounce back. By the time GM and Chrysler finish their bankruptcy proceedings, Ford will be turning a profit.

As of this post, Ford's stock price was up 11.36%.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Do something

Well today, I fell like I helped someone.

Before you read further, go read tangobaby's post. And this one too.

It's nice to see another human being doing something for another human.

Last weekend I won what my company calls a Recognizing You. It's a reward for doing something that lives with the mantra or credo of my company. I won it for outstanding sales in 1 day. I won a contest and my manger gave me $25.00 good as cash. There are thousands of merchants that I could have redeemed it at, but I decided on I enjoy Amazon, and it gives me the most bang for my buck. Amazon sells pretty much anything, so if I decided to, I could buy baby stuff with it, or surprise Jenn with it, or get Audrey something with it, or spoil myself with it.

I decided that I would wait. I added the gift card to my Amazon account and started back into the morning routine. Blog reading. A few weeks ago I saw a story on Tangobaby's blog.

Today Tangobaby posted a follow-up to this story. She encouraged us to write to her so she could give her a message of luck. I sent in a message, but it all suddenly came together. I could use this $25.00 gift card for this woman. Now, $25.00 doesn't go far, and I wanted to give her something meaningful. So I ordered her a moleskine and a great pen. So she can document what is going on in her life. Writing has a very special place in my heart, and without the encouragement from others, I would have never continued writing. I now do it daily, mostly in the form of nonsensical things, but every once in a while I write something good.

So let's hope that she finds inspiration in the Moleskine like Hemingway did. Even if it's used for something as simple as writing down names and phone numbers of people she needs to talk to, at least it's into something nice, with a nice pen. Even if her kids use it to pass the time, at least its something nice.

Besides helping around the house today, with laundry, and dishes, and dinner, I feel like I made a difference to someone other than myself and my family.

Good luck. Good night.

What have you done to help someone else today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's about that time

You know that nagging feeling you get when you forget to turn off the iron? You sit back and wonder all day long if your house is going to burn down, or if the auto shut off on the iron is going to work.

That feeling has nothing to do with how I am feeling right now.

I feel like a kid again. I am back doing what I really love to do, and that is talk into a microphone and create some form of entertainment, however stupid and insignificant it may be, people are starting to take notice.

After posting PodCast #4 I went into the actual PodCast tools from podbean [my podcast hosting service]. I realize 2 things. The first thing is that I have used almost half of my server space already and I have only posted 4 PodCasts. The second thing is that PodCast #4 has gotten a great response. By great response, I mean, in 1 day, the hits on my PodCast went from 43 to 532 hits. In 1 day.

That is just amazing to me. I only use this blog and it's 18 registered followers, twitter, and FaceBook to market it. Just by posting a tweet pointing people to my blog, got over 500 hits in a day. That is just amazing to me. Out of those 500+ hits, 22 people actually downloaded the PodCast. That is cool too.

I feel slightly accomplished. I have a ton of cool things planned for the PodCast too.

1. Going to Chicago to visit my brother in May. Looking to do a PodCast with his improv group, Legitimite Beef.
2. Planning a live acoustic set the The Ohio Sky for May as well.
3. Looking to redesign the blog to support my blog and PodCast habit
4. Looking to give free stuff away!
5. Found an announcer for the PodCast too! Can't wait for the new microphones to have the bugs worked out to unleash him to you!

Let me know how you like the PodCast. Seriously. Comment and stuff.

Take care. Look for a blog tomorrow about pirates. Maybe Steve will make an appearence and chime in.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Ohio Sky Show and More PodCast #4

Here is another installment of the Throwing Quarters PodCast.

This week's highlights.

1. Opening tune is from Philo. They were 1 of 3 opening bands for The Ohio Sky. Liked em so much, I'm playing them, on top of purchasing their CD.
2. The Ohio Sky fucked my ear pussies! [For those who don't get the reference that means it was awesome!]
3. Buy Philo's stuff here
Buy The Ohio Sky's Stuff here.
4. Check out next week. I ordered 2 more microphones. Now I can have guests on and still sound good!

Special Thanks goes to Ambitious Beats. They gave me the music beds this week. I will post a link of his stuff when I get one.

Keep Rocking

Mobile listeners click here.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

In and Out

Hey guys!

I am just dropping in to say that last night's Ohio Sky show was the sickest thing ever! [Sick meaning awesome!]. Wait for the PodCast tomorrow to see how it was and what storied there are to tell from this night of rock!

I am really really tired. Working a full 9 hour day on 4 hours of sleep isn't something I do very often, I am tired as hell!

Talk to you all tomorrow!

Here is a sneak preview of the podcast.

This bands music will be pounding in your speakers tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Just a little note before I continue to waste time.

I have been working all day. Work in the sense that I was doing something besides firmly planting my ass in a chair. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and my jacket stayed in the closet today.

I was able to get a ton done today.

8am- Woke up. Took the dog out. Read the Times while in the bathroom.

9am-Breakfast with Audrey. Audrey had cereal. I had a pot of coffee. Folger's Breakfast Blend for me [9.99 for the big huge can at Giant Eagle] and Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Audrey [10 pound box from Costco $0.50].

10am-Finished the blog I started last night.

11am-Read Newsweek, Fortune, and Then moved onto the Fox News, MSNBC, and Myspace trolling for tunes.

12pm-Dressed and ready to run errands.

1pm-Out the door to Bank. Left Bank for my work to pick up my schedule for May. Left work for other bank, dropped off the car payments [we can keep them for the next 30 days now!]. Left bank #2 to Post Office. Back to home.

3pm-Ordered Tickets to fly to Chicago to visit the brother. Coordinated plans with Pat who will drive separately from Cleveland, as I am flying from Lousiville, KY.

3:45pm-Ordered 2 Dynamic Microphones for the Couch Potato Studios. Now I will be able to have more than 1 person on the show with relative ease.

6:23pm-Discovered that Google SYNC erased all the appointments from my BlackBerry that occured more than 1 month away as I was on my way home from Target picking up a new bookshelf.

7pm-Went to the grocery store to grab dinner.

7:15pm-8:15pm-Put together new book shelf then cook dinner

9pm-Audrey heads to bed and I fix my BlackBerry Sync issue.

Now it's time for my well earned drink!

Mundane yet productive day! Exciting!

Friday I get to see the Ohio Sky.

Post Tax Day: How do I feel?

Who is Paul Krugman? A shill? A hardcore Democrat? A Nobel Prize winner for economics? Opposition to Obama? The answer to all these things is; Yes.

Why does this matter? Because however raised in opposition to Bush Krugman was, he is even more so of Obama. Why is this important? Because Krugman needs to be tapped as a resource in this current economy. This guy is one of the great economic thinkers of our time, and we [Obama] has written him off as a radical, just like Clinton did in 1992.

All politicians are looking for a 'yes man'. Clinton wanted one in 1992 when he asked Krugman the question, can you have a balanced budget AND health care reform? Clinton wanted his cake and to eat it too [see also: Monika]. Krugman answered no. Laura Tyson went on to answer the same question as a yes. Clinton liked that answer, dubbed it the right answer, so he tapped her [might have been an intended pun] to be Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic advisers. So was Tyson right or was Krugman right?

Well Clinton had his balanced budget, but did nothing in the way of health care reform. Why? Because once you start putting money into health care reform, your budget sheets get a bit skewed. Once again the Dems gave the American people political blue balls. They had an opportunity to make a change and they stopped short. Clinton also did this in Somalia, Carter did this in Iran, and hopefully Obama doesn't mess up this pirate situation. The Republicans are not without blame either. See also Reagan in Nicaragua, and H.W. Bush in Iraq. With that being said, was Krugman right? Yes he was. Although his view was looked at with disdain from Clinton, you have to admit, he was right. You can't have both.

With that being said, what was more important during Bush's term? Health care reform. Bush passed the biggest reform package of the Medicare system ever, but his budget was completely messed up. Many would blame Bush for the current state of affairs for the American economy. I would say this downward spiral started long before Bush took office.

In the 90's the economy was all about growth. Businesses were judged on growth as the only metric of success. Sustainability was not even an issue. What did we get? The DOT-com bust. We saw huge growth, and companies like yahoo, and other big Internet businesses had no model to sustain their growth. What did we get? A bunch of companies that went under very very quickly. Flashes of greatness, but they missed their mark. This could have counted as warning #1 for the bursting bubble. Clinton also wanted to give more opportunity to the American people to own their own home. He relaxed standards that were already relaxed from H. W. Bush. Clinton gave more opportunity to lower income families to get into houses. What happened? America saw it's housing prices soar as more and more people were buying houses that were previously unattainable to most. This is what happens when we put our faith into the low to middle class. So what happened? In 2006 our housing market peaked. The average American home was valued at over 200,000. That is amazing, but what happens? The model for sustainability is not there, and the market recesses.

Enron was warning #2. They created false profits to show they were growing. If their earnings flattened out, they would have lost millions and the economy would have been forced into a recession. Many economists would like to think it would have been a 'correction'. With Enron going bankrupt at the end of Clinton/beginning of Bush, the slight recession that occurs has nothing to do with Bush at all. The model for growth that Clinton set out, created the situation that allowed Enron to do what it did. Corporate greed started before Bush took office. Clinton didn't combat corporate greed at all.

So here we are. The auto industry is failing because they didn't have a model for sustainability, because under Clinton, growth was the key. They put their eggs into the SUV basket and profits were huge, until that bubble burst with the housing market. Banks were lending more and more money and trading mortgages on the open market like kids trade baseball cards until that bubble burst when the slack adjustable rate mortgages came do [ARM] and all those interest only mortgages, and maybe just maybe those no document loans that only made you show your bank account balance that were created under the Clinton Administration. This is like the perfect storm. Everything is tied in together and once 1 piece of the pie crumbles, it all goes down. We had a house built on sand. Never had a solid foundation.

Now Obama is in office and he is trying to prop up what is falling down, instead of letting it go. Like any political party, they gained power on the 'failings' of another. Now Obama is over reaching to correct a problem that just needs to fail the old fashion way. This is a political strategy. Let everyone know that the current problem is the Republican problem, and we are 'trying' to fix it. Well all Obama is going to do is create some sort of stability [it will be short] to get re-elected, but that is when his 'reforms' will stop. The best predictor of current behavior is past behavior. Every president before Obama has done the same thing. Why would Obama be different?

So now that we are here, what do the Republicans need to do? They need to create a strategy that doesn't involve blaming the Democrats for anything. They need to create a better way. They need to let the auto industry fail, the banking industry eat their bad loans. Krugman says the only way to let that happen is to restructure the banks [read: nationalize] which might be true, but it needs to be done quickly.

We are reading of a banking bail out that was actually planned while Bush was in office. If Bush did such a bad job, why is Obama using his policies? Again this is propping up the status-quo. He came to power of the back of Bush's 'failed' policies, but now that he is there, he is just dumping more of Bush's shortcomings into the fire and saying that he can't fight it, because Bush screwed up so bad. Well if Obama doesn't make changes quickly he will be just as much to blame as Bush might be.

The Dems have to be regretting this. Obama has the ability to get anything he wants through congress and he is just reusing Bush's policies as his own and getting them through congress. Who is the wolf on sheep's clothing?

We have a President that has never finished a term in office and never had to get re-elected on a big scale. Finally the American people are starting to realize the er in their ways. Let's hope that Obama has the ability to make lasting changes. So far he is no different than a lame duck president. He has not passed anything worth while. He is closing GITMO, but has said how. He wants to give the banks a bail out [that means giving them more money] although he said they are all greedy. To give them more money is to assume the know what they are doing. How does that make sense. Their system is failing. His stimulus bill calls for spending more money while we have a huge deficit in the budget. How does that make sense?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

PodCast #3

Well this week I had to fly solo.  

Steve was going to join me, but he had to tend to the family things on this Easter Sunday.  Look for him next week.  It will be hilarious I think.

Highlights from this week's Pod Cast.
1. Intro Music is from a great Cleveland Band, The Ohio Sky.  They sent me some tunes from their new CD to play.  
2. The Presidential Hotline is in there
3. A new movie is coming out next summer about the Pirates of Somalia, and we have a sneak peak at the movie trailer.  They make reference to the hot lesbian cheerleaders of the Panthers and R. Kelly is in it.  Sounds like a great movie.
4.  Coming back around is the Ohio Sky.  They have a show coming up on April 17th at the Grog Shop.  Please check it out if you are in town.

Mobile listeners, please click here to listen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Where to begin?

Over the past few days, I have had a ton of things on my mind, so before my brain explodes, I feel the need to vent!

So I will start at the top. 

I have been feeling:

My wife, god bless her soul, is a part of a community theater program.  It's really a fantastic group of people.  Many of her friends are my friends on Facebook and they come and see me if they have problems with their cellphones.  You get the picture.  So when she went to a recent meeting, some of the people mentioned that my tongue is a bit filthy.  You know.  I say the bad words.  Shit, piss, fuck, bitch, damn, and I commonly use the Lord's name in vein, like God Damn.  

I get that I probably shouldn't say those types of things in public.  I get that they are a bit immature.  I get it all.  Are their complaints, if I can call them that, warranted?  Maybe.  But what irritates me is that they talked to my wife about me.  I don't care that they did, but if you have a problem with me, please please please come and talk to me.  I am not going to kill you, yell at you, or anything like that.  Just come to me.  I don't need that kind of bullshit.  Nor does my wife need to deal with that.

Pissed Off.
Work has started off pretty slow.  I had the first 2 days of the month off, and I got off to a slow start.  I have been last in the store in new activation production [new activations is the metric that really really counts].  That isn't because I suck.  It's just because the beginning of the month gets a ton of new walk in traffic.  I can honestly say that there are 3 reps [including me] that do a decent job at generating their own traffic.  So to be losing to luck, pisses me off.  It's not that the other reps suck, it's just that I am that much better.  Egotistical?  Absolutely, but that is what separates me from them.  If they were in my position [last place] they would shut down and say, oh well.  Me?  I push harder to catch up and pass them.  

So I work, and I work long hours, pisses me off, because they fluff off and get walk-up traffic.  

On the other side of the coin, I have been kicking ass the last few days at work.  I have been in last place all month to now, pulling myself up to second place in the store.  My hard work has been paying off and the satisfaction of a job well done is rewarding.  Unlike my counter parts, who get lucky, I work for my paycheck where as they show up.  That is probably why my customer satisfaction results are heads and tails better.  The store average for customer satisfaction is 64%.  That means 64% of my store's customers would recommend my company to a friend of family member.  If you break it down to an individual rep level, I am batting 1,000.  Every customer that I deal with, would recommend my company based on the interaction with me.  Does that make me feel good?  Why yes, yes it does.  My company pays attention too.  The CEO sent me an e-mail today from his BlackBerry.  He said way to go, keep it up, and nice numbers.  Our CEO pays attention.  It's nice to know the CEO is watching and giving you the seal of approval.

This past Wednesday Jenn and I found out that a baby girl is on the way.  So the name is set, and all that is left is to get a bunch of stuff for the baby's room, paint, put together all the baby's furniture, actually give birth, and bring the baby home.  Of course this means a trip to the baby superstore, Babies R Us.  That place is the Costco of baby shit!  So we figured out which crib we liked.  Bedding is up in the air.  There is an argument I would like to win.  Of course you will need a stroller, car seat, and car seat base.  You can purchase them all together as a travel kit.  It's nice, but Jenn would like the traditional type of stroller.  I want the 3 wheel style, but Jenn doesn't like the patterns on them.  So I guess I will defer to you.  If you can help me find a stroller/car seat/car seat base combo kit all in one that is green and cute, it would help me out, because this is the only objection she has to this type of stroller.   

And here is the much anticipated photos I have promised!  Check out the foot!

We didn't get the 'money shot' photos taken, just because we could see what she was talking about, but didn't need to photo to prove it.  Even if we had them, I am sure it violates the terms and conditions of the user agreement with Blogger.  Anyway, we know its a girl!

Wow, I feel a little better now.  I get Easter off!  Sleeping in tomorrow as well as posting Podcast #3.  Anyone figure out how to get the podcast in itunes?  Just want to make sure it all works.  I don't use iTunes ever, but I am told that it should work because of who hosts the PodCast. 

Lemme know.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pictures to Follow Soon

There is much to be celebrated. December 31 was a huge day for me and my wife and daughter. That is the day we discovered that we were pregnant. I mean my wife when I say we, but she didn't get pregnant by herself. I helped. I promise!

The stars were aligned that night for us. That was the day Jenn's parents were in town. It was the day we were going to have my mom out for dinner. It all worked out.

Well 3 doctors appointments later, we finally got to the Ultra Sound. Now I posted photos of the Ultra Sound earlier, but that was just a quick, check for a heartbeat kind of Ultra Sound. It wasn't one of those measure this child kind of Ultra Sounds.

Well today was the day. We got to find out what was really growing in there. Boy? Girl? An Alien from another dimension. Knowing me, that is what would happen.

The room was dimly lit. Not that weird back alley dim, but that warm and inviting dimly lit. As Jenn unleashed the belly the goo came out and off to the races we went. With every click of the machine, with every hum, buzz, and blurred image, we came closer to the climax of this particular climax.

First things first. There is only one of them in there. Thank God! Twins run in both sides, and according to the human genome, we are due for another set of twins. The technician took us on a guided tour of the womb. It was like that guided tour at the art museum in 5th grade. It was ok, but you weren't there to appreciate the art, you wanted to get to the guts and bolts of the visit. Was it a boy? Was it a girl?

Before I tell you what we found out it was, let me take you through the name progression.

Before we stepped foot into the room I told Jenn from the beginning that I wanted to have a boy name and girl name picked out. The name we argued over for a while was the boy's name.

Jenn is Irish, I am Irish and Solvak. So when it came to boy's names we like Sean. I wanted it to be Sean S-E-A-N. The Gaelic spelling and pronunciation. Jenn wanted Shawn. The ignorant American spelling. Although we are ignorant Americans I believe that your heritage should be honored in your names and not necessarily you label [see also: Afican American].

When it came down to it, Jenn like Alexander as a boys name better. I told her I didn't care which name it was, I just wanted something unique. I didn't want to name him the homogonized John or even Jack. I wanted Sean, but I would compromise on Alexander because I could call him Xander. I'm sorry I think names that start with 'X' are pretty bad ass.

For the girls name we came to a consensus pretty easily. Addison. Easy, modern, yet with the old world feel. Mackenna would be the middle name, although Jenn really wanted it as a first name, I wanted Addison. I compromised on Alexander, she caved on Addison, but Mackenna would be the middle name.

So before walking into the room, it would be Alexander Robert or Addison Mackenna.

After about what seemed to be 3 hours [that's 40 minutes in impatient Dad speak] we found out.

Addison Mackenna should arrive in early September and I couldn't be more thrilled. Sure I would like a son, but hell, I will take another daughter. I already know what I am doing when it comes to potty training and what not.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Only in Cleveland

I am truly thinking about going outside and chopping down my neighbors blue spruce and putting it up in my house. Snow on the ground just doesn't feel right unless I have a Christmas Tree up.

This morning has not been a good morning thus far. The dog was whining way too early to be normal. My ears alerted my brain that he wanted out. My eyes cracked open to see the time on the clock, and at 3:45am, he would be fine. 7am rolls around and he starts to whine again. I rolled out of bed, which is probably the same as watching an elephant get up. They roll and you never think that they could sling that huge mass onto their feet. Well like the elephant, I eventually was able to pull myself upright.

I noticed one thing in my house that I usually don't. God, it was freezing. Last week I decided to turn off the heat because it was 55 to 60 degrees outside. With me living between 2 other condos, there was no point to have it on.

Last night a snow storm blows through, drops measurable snow on the ground, and I forgot to turn the furnace back on.

Now it all brings me back to my last point. It's April, the daffodils are starting to come up and there is snow everywhere. I swear to god Cleveland, Ohio is the only place you can experience this sensation.

Sunday I woke up and it was 60, then Monday morning it was 45 in the morning. By noon a sweater was put on, by 5 a snow advisory was on, and now by Sunday it will be 70 degrees.

Only in Cleveland! I remember one year when I had on my air conditioning and heater on in the same day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The much awaited follow up podcast

Well it has been a crazy week. What's better than some awesome music. This week's podcast we had a ton going on.

1. Opening Song is by This Awkward Silence, a local Cleveland Band with a very likable sound
2. Muse012 aka Amber from Twitter
3. A bunch of cover tunes
4. And at the end, a blooper reel from Audrey! at the end.

21:42 is the time!

I must warn you. This Podcast is rated R. Not for children, but nontheless, it's still funny.


For my Mobile Device users, click here to get the downloadable version

Roller Coaster

It's early. 8am on a Sunday is not usual. This is what happens when you forget to tell your BlackBerry to let you sleep in. I forgot. Ever forget? I did.

So I have been up for an hour or so now. This far I haven't gotten anything done at all. I am just sitting here sipping some coffee and catching up on my favorite blogs.

Yesterday was a roller coaster. I went from being on top of the world, ready for anything, to tired, then over to depressed when I realized that work was coming to an end and I was going home to an empty house. Jenn went and visited her sister in New York [Auburn area] for our niece's birthday. It was really a weird day. I had the sense of loss that I was missing something.

This is what happens when you work retail. I was missing something. Audrey's Father/Daughter dance was last night and because I found myself in retail, getting a weekend off was like asking if you can drown your new puppy in the bathtub and having you be cool with it. I was about to leave work when I got a text from Audrey's mom. It was a photo of Audrey and her older sister [my step-daughter] at the dance. I know Audrey's step-dad took her, and part of me was happy she was able to make it, the other part was pissed that I was missing it because I had to work. I know Audrey was having fun and that is all that matters.

Well it was 8:25 and I was out the door, but the dance didn't end for another 35 minutes. I had time to drive there. For those not familiar, I work in Westlake, Ohio and she goes to school in Berea, Ohio. With light traffic, its easily a 30 minute ride. I cut it in half to try and make it before the end of the dance.

I arrived and I found Audrey. Her face was precious. She was so excited to see me. I have never gotten a hug from her that was so embracing. I don't know how her step-dad felt about the whole thing. Part of me was grateful for him being able to take her, and part of me didn't want to steal anyone's thunder. I did thank him for taking her, but if I stole his thunder, oh well because being Audrey's dad is my thunder to steal. I don't know, but all I know is that I got there for the last 2 songs. YMCA and then Butterfly Kisses as a finale. I got to dance with her for the last dance and I got to go home.

She left with step-dad after we had a moment in the parking lot. I was walking her to the car and she started to cry. I asked her why she is crying and she said, " I want to leave with you." I told her that it was her night with mom. She then asked, "Who is going to take care of me because I was going to be alone tonight?" It warms my heart that she likes to take care of me. She just wanted to keep me company because she knows how much I hate being at home with out Jenn or her.

She ended up leaving and going back to mom's. I then went back home and farted around on Facebook, cleaned up the house a little, and went to bed relatively early. 11:30 or so.

I am looking forward to tonight. Jenn comes home, and I get to post PODCast #2. I have a special guest coming over to share some music with us. Two awesome things! Excited isn't the word, but it's close.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Enjoying a quiet morning

The sun is shining, the air temperature is slowly taking that chill out of the air. The sun is making that awesome soft light as it's filtered through the blinds on my floor to ceiling sliding glass door. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is rich in the air as well as rich as I wash the sleep out of my mouth, and fuel the animal that is waiting to come out. I just made an appointment to get my much overdue haircut.

Today is the day I need to get things done. I have two days off a week to get things done, and thus far I have gotten nothing done except a small part of the upcoming PODCast. I am particularly proud of this next PODCast. It was actually planned out, rehearsed a little, and even got permission to use music. I feel so proud.

It's funny. I called a few Cleveland bands to ask permission to use their music, and none of them got back to me, but the national acts, they were on top of it. I wonder if that is why Cleveland bands are still Cleveland bands. They are great, but their follow up sucks.

This is just a short one. Just thought I would stop in and say hello. I also came up with a new mathematics law.

Twitter+Blackberry=Twitterberry > Twitter + Computer = Tweetdeck

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

End of March!

I looked down at the time. 7:45pm. The night was quickly running away from me. I had only 15 more minutes left in this sales month, and I need to find 9 more activations, and fast. In my business pipeline I have close to 20 lines, ready to activate, but they are all waiting for various things to happen before they do. I have 3 lines waiting to hear back from their corporate office to see if they need to mobile broadband cards. I have another 5 waiting for their contract to be up so they can leave their iPhones behind.

There I was, 7:45pm on March 31, looking at them as I finished with a last minute sale. They were all mocking me. I was looking at the 9 more I needed to put me over the 100% mark. This was the retail sales equivalent to bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, and there is a full count. All the pontificating I have done all month to try and prove to these sales reps [kids] that 100% is attainable if you work hard enough for it. Look for the sale. Ask for referrals. Do all these things and you will get 100%. Now all that seems to be white noise against the background of 85%. The best rep [me] only had 85% of their goal.

On paper that looks to be pretty horrible. But I am not one to stress about the shortcomings of the month. I had plenty of them, but for the most part it was a successful month for me.

I was able to come into a store who needed someone on the floor who was aggressive, and be that aggressor. I was able to get to 85% without having a damn thing lined up before I walked into the door besides a 5 line deal. So I started absolutely cold. I should have finished last, but because I was so aggressive, I was able to lead the team all month, with the exception of 1 day where someone else pulled ahead. Am I tooting my own horn? Yes I am. Do I deserve it? Yes I do.

I am looking forward to this month. I have a pipeline that is ready to close. I just have to turn on the faucet. My goal is probably going to come in again at the 60ish mark. I have 1/3 of that business already to close. I just have to find 40 people who need new lines of service and I will have my month. That's 3 or so per day, for all 22 days that I work in 1 month. It's totally doable.

This is what I love about sales. When 1 month is over. The counter goes back to zero and it's time to do it again. Pick yourself up and move on.