Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Cleveland Success Story

As many people know, I have a special love for a good burger. I often tweet about the stops I make along the way to various burger joints around Cleveland, and if my wife asks me what I want without offering any suggestions as to where we dine; my stock answer is, I could eat a burger.

Cleveland is known for it's spectacular blunders. The Drive, The Fumble, The Move, and now The Magic all seem to strike a chord with every Clevelander. Recently Cleveland has played host to federal investigators looking into the personal dealing with our county Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. Yeah, we have a politician who calls himself Jimmy. He had a press conference yesterday where he blamed everyone else investigating him as crooked, thus using the 'who ever smelt it, dealt it' defense.

What Cleveland needs is a success story for once. Is it wrong for me to be upbeat about a city that seems to never have anything going right for itself? No. I don't think so. Well coming July 1, to my hometown of Avon Lake, Ohio is a success story. It is a success story that comes out of a large blunder [yet again] in Cleveland, the high end restaurant that thought that Avon Lake had a ton of money, but then again didn't realize that we Avon Lakers were a bit cheap.

A few years ago, Cleveland started re-making itself. All of a sudden there were trendy little restaurants springing up in a part of town that is not know for its scene. The little borough in Cleveland, the Tremont neighborhood, started a revitalization. The Hallmark was a little restaurant called Lola. The brain child of Chef Micheal Symon, it went on to gain him notoriety and fame on the Food Network. Then he closed it. Was this the start of yet another classic Cleveland blunder? No. He moved the restaurant and retooled the old one. He moved Lola downtown, in the newly emerging Euclid corridor. A few years back the Euclid corridor made a cameo in Spiderman. You wouldn't recognize it now. The old restaurant was renamed Lolita, and thus out of one, came two, great places to be seen and eat in Cleveland.

Symon, since, has gone on to become an Iron Chef on the Food Network and built another restaurant in Detroit. A good ole Cleveland success story. Thank goodness. Finally.

Now with his latest creation opening up in Avon Lake, I can't wait to visit this newly minted, 'must dine' spot. I look forward to many adventurous meals there. I have usually played it safe while dining out with the wife. But like I said before, burgers hold a soft spot, and taking a look at the menu, Symon has created a burger we all love, but I still can't wait to see how he has made it his own. The Bar Symon Burger. Fried Egg, Cheddar. Two other things that I can't get enough of.

Funny thing. Cleveland is known as a city full of fat people. Is it no wonder that our restaurant scene has grown? God I love this city!

I can guarantee that you will be hearing about this on the Podcast. I can't wait to eat there.

**programming note**

The Throwing Quarters Podcast will be back with new episodes on July 14.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Captain Hook is at it again

Is it wrong that the death of Michael Jackson has met apathy? I mean, it is sad that a talent like that is dead, and the circumstances are shrouded in mystery, much like the life he lead. But at the end of the day, what did we lose? We lost a great musical talent that had a penchant for the peculiar, a thirst for the stage, the musical talent to fill stadiums across the world many times over, and the business sense to buy the Beatles catalog and live off the royalties.

The death of Michael Jackson has had everyone glued to the television for hours last night, and they were back at it this morning. Wall to wall coverage, much like the carpet in my living room, was all over the place and trampled.

It is fair to give the death of Michael Jackson air time. I get that. But when Twitter, Facebook, and my text message box blew up with people telling me that Michael Jackson was dead, then he was in critical condition, then he was dead again, then finally, CNN, Fox, TMZ, and even WKYC all reported that he was dead.

Then I got even more texts about it, and by 6pm I was tired of it. I didn't care about it. I called the wife on the way home from work last night to tell her how aggravated I was, then she was like, Holy Shit Farrah Fawcett AND Michael Jackson are dead? We then watched the wall to wall coverage last night.

Here is my beef with the news. I get what they are trying to do. They are trying to get viewers and put up content that is captivating, and can keep viewers tuned in. I get it. Sell the ads and put money in your pockets, but when they took his body from UCLA to USC and they followed the chopper and then got live video of the transfer of his body in a white sheet to the van, it suddenly went from, Michael Jackson was dead to, look at him, he's no different, in the end, than us. Being driven to the coroner in a white van. So that is when I threw my arms up and said, great, let's move on, because when I die, I doubt it will interrupt the regularly scheduled program.

Later in the night when it got really ridiculous is when Anderson Coopers and CNN posted photos from a papparazi photographer who got a close up of his face, all covered in intubation gear and a breathing bag, and the paramedics working on him and they moved him from his house into the ambulance. That was unnecessary and disrespectful.

This morning Reuters reported that his death was a case of Demeral overdose. Yes it is plausible that he could have overdosed, but when it comes down to it, its all speculation. Until the coroner comes out and says, "this is exactly what killed Michael Jackson", put a lid on the conspiracy theories.

Here is another idea. Since most news stations are using places with tabloid journalism [TMZ],they can also now use my blog. You heard it hear first. The mysterious doctor was none other than the infamous Captain Hook. He finally came here to put Peter Pan to rest.

Say a prayer, play his music as loud as you want, light a candle. Let's move on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big news

I usually try really hard to come up with an interesting way to tell a story. Whether it is to go into detail and put you there with me, or just give you the rough outline, I try and take a different angle.

Well today I am not really going to go there. I am just going to give it to you straight up.

I have been working feverishly to get my Podcast better and more widely distributed. My last podcast was a smash hit by my total hits standards, I have decided that that podcast will be the last one of "this season". I have gone into my writing studio and started writing a bunch of stuff for the podcast. I have a lot on the agenda and my next Podcast will be bigger, louder, and more entertaining as ever. I have some special musical guests lined up. The Ohio Sky, Morality Check, and a new band, Vendetta Point will all make it onto the show coming soon along with great music from Papyrus Records. Not only will I be able to bring you great stuff from these guys, but we also were able to find a new comer to the professional photography industry and we can bring you video and photos, and with the help of Papyrus Records, great live concerts.

So what's content without a way to distribute it? I have tried to make my podcast accessible to anyone. With a live feed on this blog, to a dedicated Podcast page over at Podbean, I have even bitten off a piece of the forbidden fruit and it's now on iTunes. With all of those great avenues to bring Throwing Quarters to you on your computer and also on your portable music device, I have gone one step further. I can now bring you my Podcast from a mobile application for iPhones and Blackberry smartphones called Stitcher. If you have listened to NPR in the last 2 weeks, you will hear that they have a commercial for this app in every commercial break. Stitcher is really cool and yesterday I heard back from ther Senior VP of Business Development, Mike Ghaffary, and gave me the green light to have my podcast join the line up of other great Podcasts on Stitcher.

A lot has happened since my little interview with Tangobaby, but I think this is just the beginning of things to come. The wifey is working diligently on making the look of the Blog page and Podcast Page more professional using her graphic design skills, so when the new season of Podcasts launch, so will all the new art work.

I will be placing promos for the new season of the Podcast to hype it up, and I am going to ask for your help to spread the word. I can't wait!

But before I go, I do need your help. Since many of you are very photographically inclined and I want your input, I am wondering if anyone out there has a way to take or get a photograph that inturprets the title of my blog in an interesting way. This way I can hand them over the wifey [aka as the Throwing Quarters Art Department] and she can try and take each one and incorporate it into the banner. You can find my e-mail in the right side margin of the blog or click here.

Thank you all for the support, and thanks for reading! This is going to be an exciting summer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dog Parks, Garage Sales, and Enron

Yesterday on Twitter, I posed a question. What did Dog Parks, Garage Sales, and Enron have in common?

One of my favorite answers came from a friend of mine on Facebook. She said, "They are all full of crap."

How true is that? But what else did they have in common? They all had a part in my two days off from work.

Wednesday, as you might have read, was a day off/work day. Waking up at 5am and rubbing the sleepiness out of my eyes is never fun. It's like taking sand and rubbing it in your eyes. I totally feel for anyone who has to wake up THAT early on a regular basis, but then again, if I needed to get up that early all the time, then I would be used to it. Anyway, the rain was coming down pretty good that Wednesday morning. I could see all the best laid plans being washed away with the rain.

After the PDA seminar in the morning, I was planning on getting Audrey, getting Freckles to the vet, and then maybe hit the zoo to renew the zoo membership. We wanted to take the dog to the dog park too but then again, we needed sun, but we got rain.

So I got the monster and her older sister Katelyn from their mom's. I enjoy spending a lot of time with Katelyn because I used to see her all the time when I was with her mother and I loved it. Now I see her every once in a while. There is a whole other blog on how that turned out, but I will save it.

The long and the short of it is, we went through the day and then after dinner we took Freckles to the dog park. It was new and Audrey wanted to take Freckles so badly, so about 9pm we decided that since the rain held off for the evening we could go to the dog park. When we got there, we saw how large it was. Maybe close to 1 or more acres of nothing but fenced in yard. Freckles ran and ran and ran. I haven't seen this dog run so much. Another doggy mom came with her dog and then Freckles had a play mate. They ran, wrestled, and ran some more. Audrey had such a great time. Now he got all worn out, he decided he needed to find a place to lay down. In the entire dog park, there was mud puddle. Of course MY dog found it.

Thursday was Garage sale day. The city I live in had a complete citywide garage sale. Wifey and I were on a mission. We needed some dressers, rocking chair, and maybe a new bed set. Now like my friend from Facebook said, Garage sales, like dog parks, are full of crap. Two hours into the hunt we were still empty handed. We saw some items but they were in really horrible condition. Right as we were about to give up, we saw them. A set of dressers that matched. They didn't look to good, but then again we didn't want to find something that was plug and play. What we found was 2 dressers that were structurally sound. We decided that it needed a sanding, paint, and new hardware. Project. We got both items for $10.00. Not $10.00 a piece, that was a total price.

Now high off the good find, we loaded them up and took them home. With the garage having all the room we need, we can work on it indoors. We unloaded and then we went out again. We found the glider we were looking for by chance. This glider was in fantastic condition. The cushions were worn well, but then again, the finish and structure were in fantastic shape. $30.00 and we took home a $500.00 glider rocking chair with ottoman. We know it was $500.00 because we saw the same one at Babies R Us for $500.00. Another supurb find. New cushions later and it will be ready to go.

The garage sales were like the mud puddle at the dog park, except the mud puddle at a garage sale is awesome. Lots of junk [wide open space in the dog's park sense] and then 1 mud puddle [good stuff in the garage sales sense].

Now when talking about Enron, I watched a documentary. Go rent it on Netflix, Blockbuster, or where ever. It's called Enron: The Smartest Guy in the Room.

If you want to be in a bad mood for the rest of that day, watch it. Enlightning and disgusting all at the same time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm just helped someone!

I am sitting in a pda class showing someone how to use their blackberry. The karma gods are smiling.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Part of me wants to rant.

I am just too frustrated with the situation still to talk about it.  It has nothing to do with mommy to be or Audrey, but with work.  Surprise surprise.  

Look for a blog tonight I think, if work hasn't kicked my ass again tonight.  I am worn out from putting my happy face on at work, when I am constantly being worn down from customers, bosses, and contradicting messages about helping current customers and new customers.  I will explain if I ever calm down, which I hope I do.  This nagging headache has been killing me for 2 days too.  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We interrupt this broadcast to....

Well this week I am going to postpone my podcast.  I have decided to spend my time outside in front of the grill.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deadbeats Unite

I continually find myself between a rock and a hard place.  This week started out on a great foot.  Everything was clicking, and like I said in an earlier post, I was waiting for the bottom to drop out.

This week I have been shopping for a new car.  The wifey and I discussed what payment increase, if any, we could afford, and I promptly went shopping for a new car.  Now many people are like, no problem, they go, pick out a car, and they leave with the car if it fits their budget.  Not so much with me.

First they have to do that pesky credit report with me.  I knew what I could and could not afford.  I knew what I wanted as an interest rate.  I knew that if I combined a certain amount of negative equity into the price of the car I wanted, I knew what I could afford.  

I had been e-mailing my car salesman for two weeks, trying to find the car that I was looking for.  Hoping the rebates on the '09 models would be awesome, I set my sights high.  I wanted a Fusion, with sync.  Minimum price with rebates was just a little too much.  So I down sized, give me a Focus with same features.  That put it with in $9.50 of what I pay now.  Now click here to see why I only want a Ford.

Well the credit report comes back and I am confused.  What do you mean I only qualify for a 25% interest rate?  That is what happened when I got my last car, but desperation closed that deal.  But 3 1/2 years of perfect payments on my first car, and I got another car and we have made perfect payments on that car, and plus over the past 2 years I have paid off all my debt down to my cars only, my credit score has grown to less than 100 points of my last credit report.  

How can this happen?  It can be frustrating.  5 years ago I sat looking at my credit report, and I was flirting with bankruptcy.  Many people talked me out of this.  They said, "Oh, you're not in that bad of shape, just pay it down."

So that is what I did.  With my wife's superior skills of money management, I paid off my student loans, I paid off old credit cards that were in default.  I paid off EVERYTHING, but my cars.  I ran my credit and wow, it went all the way up 200 points at one point.  Then something else from close to 5 years ago hit my credit report and dropped it back down 100 points.  The item was less than 200 bucks.  It killed all the work I had done.  Now 6 months later my score has not MOVED!  It is still there.

I was told by many people, go to a department store and get a credit card and get something and pay on it every month.  Well with this world wide credit crunch, my credit isn't even good enough for that.  

So I want to personally thank all the stupid people out there who were offered loans with an interest only payment from Countrywide, Citibank, Chase, and what ever other bank also offered these.  It wasn't the banks fault that the loan defaulted, it was yours.  What part of common sense told you that ONLY paying interest for 5 years was a good idea.  Sure the interest on a $350,000 home was only $1100.00 but eventually you have to pay principal too.  Now with interest where does it put your payment.  You NEEDED to do you research first and you didn't.  If someone gave me a gun and said I could shoot anyone I want and not get in trouble doesn't mean I am about to pull the trigger.  So you failed and you brought the rest of the economy with you. Now you have people who refused to declare bankruptcy when it was so easy and try and do the right things and now we are getting the crappy deals. 

Now the epilog to the story.  The person who was so ADAMANT I NOT declare bankruptcy recently did what they told ME not to do.  Now they went from NO credit to, having gotten a new loan for $250,000 for a new house, has 2 new cars, and a 750 credit score.  They gave up and I fought to do the right thing.  

How is this fair? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I find myself.......

Sitting up in the morning, thinking, and typing on my wife's MacBook Pro.  I am secretly longing to have one of my own.  Besides the small differences in the mouse pad, and not having a right and left click button is driving me nuts, but for the most part I love it. 

The one thing that I have learned to love about Apple is that their design and ergonomics are wonderful and as they modify their iPhone and make it more inline with what I sell, I also find myself wanting to sell them.  It's not that it is superior to what I sell, it's just another product to sell, and the more choice I can give the customer, I more opportunity I have to capture their business.  

One thing I have really learned to hate is that registering a Podcast with iTunes is proving to be difficult.  It took me about 3 hours after work last night to figure it out.  With any luck, you should be able to search my Podcast in the iTunes Podcast directory, rather than having to go directly to my Podcast website and subscribing that way.  

Worn out isn't the word, but it's close.  

But I am currently working on a few things for my next Podcast.  We may finally get to talk to the guys from The Ohio Sky as they are playing another show I am going to try and get to on the 16th.  I might have some live tracks live from the Grog Shop.  If all goes well, we will have my buddy Adam Watt recording the live performance, my friend Moe photographing it, and you listening on the Podcast.  If you want to hear more from the Ohio Sky you can check their music out on Podcast #3 and then I play more on Podcast #4 and talk about how their show was.  

Until then, take care.  I have a busy day lined up today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Because I asked!


This week has gone so smoothly, I feel a little bit uneasy about how awesome it has been.  This month at work has started so slow, I find myself scraping the bottom of the leader board for the first time in over 3 years.  I have never gotten so far behind.  I blame this on vacation and my ability to bounce back from them.  It usually takes me a few weeks to get back into it.  Well I think that all ended yesterday.  

The flood gates of retail sales unloaded on my store, and I went from famine, to a feast of opportunity.  It was amazingly wonderful to be so busy my head was spinning.  My phone was blowing up all day with e-mails, txt, and phone calls from customers, my blog, and my friend Julie from Tangobaby.  Jules over at Just Jules also had one of her classic, 'Ask Jules' blog segments, and unlike the 1st installment, I got to submit a question.  Go over and visit her, and if you like her blog, which I hope you will, hang around and follow her blog.  She does a great job.  

As I got home after my busy day, I pulled up the stat counter on my blog, only to learn that with Tangobaby's help, my single day page load count record was shattered.   So many of you and many of Tangobaby's friends tuned in to see what we had to talk about.  I hope I didn't disappoint, and I had a lot of fun.  At one point yesterday, there were 148 simultaneous streams of the PodCast going on at the same time, by far the most I have had.  I even had to upgrade my Podcasting package with my hosting service, because all of you maxed out my bandwidth.  So I guess a thank you is in order.  

This whole week has been a great week.  Tomorrow is my version of Saturday, because of retail, I don't get the weekends off, but tomorrow is another doctor's visit with the wifey and the baby.  Wifey gets to have her glucose test for gestational diabetes.  Then after that, we get to have a quiet lunch, then we are going to pick up Audrey from her last day of school together and promptly drive to Pittsburgh.  

Why Pittsburgh?  Well we have friends there, and the wifey and I, plus a couple friends pooled our monies together to get them the mother of ALL house warming presents for their newly renovated home.  I cannot tell you what it is, for fear that these particular friends check in on the blog, or a few other friends might tip them off as to what it is.  I can tell you that it is something I would want to have.

Anyway.  Thanks for tuning into this week's Podcast.  If you are a fan of iTunes, you can click here and subscribe using your iTunes, and then you can take the Podcasts with you on your mobile devices.  

Stay tuned.  There is a lot to talk about.   

Monday, June 8, 2009

Podcast 7 Presented by Papyrus Records featuring Tangobaby

What a great show we have in store for you.

We finally have a partner in the Podcast world in Papyrus Records. A local Cleveland record label who specialized in singer/songwriter music has signed on to help out the Podcast by giving us exclusive tunes and support in producing live broadcasts around town. I want to thank Atom Watt for all his help and support.

Visit Papyrus Records on the net on Twitter [@papyrusrecords] and e-mail your submissions for consideration at atomwatt@papyrusrecords.net.

This week's tunes are brought to us from Carrie Sample and Zach Watt. Both are exclusives and I think their music is fantastic and refreshing.

On top of all the Papyrus Records hoopla, we also had a blogger buddy on again.

I want to thank Tangobaby for taking time out of her packed day to come on and talk about all the great things she is doing out in San Fransisco [intentional or not]. I hope you find her stories as fascinating as I did.

Without further adieu, I give you installment 7 of the Throwing Quarters Podcast.

As always, mobile users can click here.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Everyone Does It.

After much prodding from my friend Julie [There are 3 of you], I am posting this post. I caution you to read at your own risk. If you are eating, stop reading and come back later. If you are not eating, but intend to eat shortly, eat first, then come back once it's all settled.

There, you have been warned.

Julie was following my twitter/facebook status message feed yesterday and today and I posted very little. First one was that my day was going to be a rough day. [yesterday] and that, Yesterday was not fun, I'm sure I would blog about it, but then again, no one would want to read it.

Well a few comments and txt's later Julie wanted me to post what ever was rough about my day.

I post this with trepidation, but then again, I could care less, because let's face it, we all do it.

Over the past few years I have been fighting a battle with myself. Since I can remember I have never been regular. It was always an event. It happened once in a while, never on a regular basis, and it was either feast or famine.

When I was child and my parents split up, I was only 2 years old. I didn't show depression, but my childish mind manifested depression in a different way. I would not sit and cry. Instead I would hold it. I wouldn't go for a month at one point. I had to get an enema once because it had been so long.

Once I was older I would come to realize the harm I had done to not only my bowels, but also my colon and intestine. I would try and stay regular, but all the damage I had done to myself as a child has slowly come back to haunt me. It wasn't just something I did. It had become permanent damage.

About 7 years ago my doctors said I might be developing Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It was still unclear, but as the years past it has gotten progressively worse.

Over the past few months I have felt the effects of IBS over and over again. It's either feast or famine, like I said before. Well I have been on a famine for about a week and a half. Usually I can force myself, but it would be very uncomfortable, and who knows the damage I might be causing, but not this time. Yesterday I called my doctor. I told him I had been feeling increasingly lethargic and I haven't been able to go for about a week or so. He was concerned and told me to go to the store and get Magnesium Citrate.

I knew what this meant, and boy did he know how to ruin a good day off. For those who want to know what Magnesium Citrate does, here is what happens.

First you have to choke down the 10oz bottle of the 'lemon' flavored liquid. I use the term lemon loosely as it really doesn't matter what they label the flavor, it will still taste like crap. [yes, every PUN was intentional] Once you choke it down, you have to down another 8-10oz of water to make it work.

Once your stomach rejects it and sends it into the intestine, it uses osmosis and pulls water from your body into your intestine, and like liquid draino, it liquefies anything you got in there, and induces your intestine to vomit [basically]. It cleans you out, and from what I read in trashy tabloids, celebs use this stuff on a regular basis. I don't know how or why they would intentionally down this crap on a regular basis, but to each their own.

Well close to 1 hour after the intestine Molotov cocktail, off to one of the 2.5 bathrooms of my house I went to. I felt like I was banished. Sitting in a pool of agony, my intestines emptied in a tidal wave of cramping and splashing. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, and to put someone through this is outlawed in our Constitution by the 8th Amendment.

I read an entire Newsweek cover to cover, and then started on the New York Times on my BlackBerry next. To tell you that I am a little sore would be a drastic understatement, and like I told my brother yesterday, I feel worse than a train tunnel at an Elton John party. It was awful.

But like my doctor told me, it will help me with a few OTHER health problems I have been struggling with. Weight. Over the last 5 years I have gained no less than 30 pounds. I am not fat, and many wouldn't believe that I tip the scales at close to 230, and also energy. Many of my issues tie into my IBS and to get that under control, is to get everything under control.

I meet with a nutritionist in a month to discuss an eating plan. I hope she has good news because I cannot live without hamburgers with lots of cheese nor can I live without red meat, which can contribute to IBS.

I am going to try and combat this with just diet alone, because popping a pill is exactly what I don't want to do.

Today I have had loads of energy, and I hope this will help with work too, because I have been so tired I can't focus or have enough energy to pursue sales. I know this will help.

The White House

I must say, a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch anything and everything about life in the White House, or life as a President of the USA. The History Channel has done a ton of stuff, Discovery has also done a bunch, and NBC has a tradition of following around a President for an entire day. They tell you what it's like to work in the Office of the White House [read: West Wing].

NBC's special on the 'Obama White House' is very similar to the 'Bush White House'. Meaning, the the scenery was the same, but the plot lines, people, were all different. The biggest thing that I noticed about the special was how laid back Obama was. Now, Brian Williams says in the beginning, "we are here to show you what life is like in the West Wing, and the White House is here to show you what they want you to see." So with a grain of salt I say he's laid back. It could have been a schtick, but then again, it could have been genuine. During the special I am sure Obama 'scheduled' his trip to '5 guys' for the cameras, but then again, I have gotten a '5 guys' craving in the middle of work before too. I never offer to buy for the staff, but then again, I am not a millionaire either.

So I am going to recess back into my obsession that is politics. I am not a trained observer, nor am I a credibile resource for comprehensive political coverage and I get that. I am an entertainer, just like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reiley, Jim Alger, Keith Olberman, and yes, even Brian Williams. So I cannot wait until the next glimpse into the life of Our President.

My favorite special regarding the President is the 60 minutes interview with President Bush right after the 9/11 attacks.