Thursday, July 31, 2008

Technical Glitches on the blog?

One reader writes in:

On both my home and work computers (not that I would ever do anything non-work-related on my work computer...)
As soon as the page loads, within a couple of seconds, it freezes up. Maybe there's just been too much controversy lately :)
Anyone else having this problem?
Drop me a note jer979 AT gmail dot com

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Testing out Firefly...

Look in the lower right corner of the browser. Click on the "start chatting" button. Let me know what you think....

Here's the service:

Updated: it seems to have crashed a fair number of IE users, so I took it out. Cool, yes. Functional value-add, alas no.

Perception and Social Media…

Loving the discussion that is going on among the readers on the post: At what price ‘social’ media?", but here’s another angle.

Let’s work on the assumption that we are all creatures of perception and, to some extent, it’s more important than fact.

Ok, good…

Now, I’m in a start-up business, right?

I’ve had some client wins and some setbacks. Well documented.

Potential clients want to associate with winners, right? They want to feel like they are betting on a proven commodity.

So, here’s the rub…

If my blog is a place where I can be open and honest with you, the reader, and I write about, say, losing a proposal, or a client not happy with my work (hasn’t happened, don’t worry) and I try to frame it within the context of personal development, am I taking too big a risk?

What if a potential client, who isn’t a longstanding FOJ, reads that post and concludes: “nice guy, but obviously not a winner. If others aren’t hiring him, why should I?”

Then, if that’s the case, the unfortunate end result could be an unwillingness by me to share what is REALLY going on via my FOJ blog.

Or, should I just do what “feels right” and hope that clients will have the courage to hire me even if others have decided not to?


Note: this is entirely hypothetical. All of my clients love me and people are knocking down my door to hire me :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In a split second….

life can change.

I was swimming in the pool, just doing laps.

All of a sudden, I feel a strong kick in my back.

I look up.

There are two lifeguards(!) in the pool, laughing. They had pushed each other in, but in their teenage stupidity, they don’t realize that their joking around could have seriously hurt the father of 3.

I was livid and I screamed at them, using words I’m not going to put on the blog (and remember these were lifeguards).

And then I was shaken.

Shaken at how close a call it was (or could have been). And what could have happened if I’d been seriously injured.

Perspective really matters, eh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mark Your Calendars…Jer979 on Tour!

  1. Completely pumped to receive a great testimonial from my NY Times best-selling client, Dan Pink 
  2. Delivering the Keynote at the Maryland Tech Council’s Event on “Building Your Brand Through Social Media” on Sept. 10
  3. Leading a discussion on “Marketing Survival Strategies for the Attention(less) Economy” for the DC Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association on Sept. 23rd.
  4. Creativity as the Key Driver for Profit” is the seminar I am leading in November for the Capitol Creativity Network

You were warned :-)

Sarcasm is Genetic…

My kids call me “Abba,” which is hebrew for Father.

The other day, Paco (3) and Tonka (4.5) were asking for things incessantly…

“Abba, this. Abba, that. Abba, I want cheese. Abba, I want yogurt.”

It was driving me crazy.

Finally, I said, “ok, for the next five minutes, no one says ‘Abba.’ I don’t want to hear it.”

Tonka sits quietly.

Paco looks at me and says,

“Jeremy, can I have some water?”

Wonder where he gets it… :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Anyone out there remember SilentFrog?

The Wall Street JournalImage via Wikipedia

It was the marketplace for “time buyers” and “time sellers” that was my start-up prior to joining Microsoft.

The objective was to connect people who needed small jobs (painting, errands, computers, etc.) with those who could perform the service.

You put in a request and within 24 hours, you got a list of people in your zip code, willing to do the job you wanted done, for the price you were willing to pay, and you could read feedback and ratings from other customers.

We had revenue, we were in the Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, but we didn’t have profitability.

Anyway, got a note from Ari Goldberg the other day and it was a trip down memory lane. This was the email that we sent out to our community members.

We like to think we were “ahead of our time.”

Found this while restoring an old .pst file. Made me laugh so wanted to share but also saw that I still have two clients from then that are still active

From: []
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 11:51 PM
Subject: Welcome to SilentFrog

Dear Ari Goldberg
Welcome! We are excited that you have chosen to join the the Silentfrog community. Please keep this email for your records.
Now that you're a Silentfrog TimeBuyer, your next step is to log on with your username (email address) and password and visit your home page, where you can:
- search for local Time Sellers, view their ratings, and read feedback
- send job requests to find help and get things done
- view your
'Track Jobs' page to see the status of any pending job requests you've sent and select a TimeSeller to hire
- start building your personal TimeSeller list, where you can save names of Time Sellers you'd like to contact regularly
To help you out, we've answered some Frequently Asked Questions about sending job requests:
Should I send my request to multiple Time Sellers?
Not all the Time Sellers you contact will be available to do every job, so you can increase your odds of finding someone who is available to do your job by sending this request to multiple Time Sellers.
What if I don't have any Time Sellers on my own list? How does SilentFrog pick the Time Sellers to send my request to?
We base our selection of who receives your job request on several factors, including how close they live to the zipcode where you need the job done, a skill match with the task you request, their TimeSeller ratings and references, and the number of jobs they've completed successfully in the past.
Here's what other TimeBuyers have requested recently:
- Need babysitter for my 2 year old 1 evening /week
- basketball
- Babysitter
- Handyman
- Preparing Mailers
Thanks again for joining.
If you have any questions or comments , please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.
Asher and Jeremy Epstein, Co-Founders of SilentFrog

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

I’m a Benevolent Leader, You? least according to My personalDNA Report

Do you think this accurately describes me?

What are you? (takes about 14 mins)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is Christianity a Fraud? (Movie Review)

That’s the thesis put forth by the producer/director of The God Who Wasn't There.

He is a former fundamentalist Christian who essentially accuses the entire religion of being based on a questionable myth.

If that’s not enough to motivate you to watch it, not sure what else is there.

Felt sort of “Da Vinci Code-ish” at times.

As a non-Christian, I was really wondering how my Christian friends would react/respond to this one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Movie: History Boys

I wish I could recommend who recommended The History Boys to me because I want to thank him/her.

On the surface, it’s an early 80’s story about the pressure to get into Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, so it gives a very revealing look at the somewhat ossified approach to higher education there, but there’s a lot more.

The character development, IMHO, was very good. I felt connected to them (and there were many) and the numerous angles to the story made it quite rich. It felt a bit like a UK version of “Dead Poets Society” at times.

Solid film though.

Words Matter...Medical School and Weddings

I was chatting with Dr. Arnie Schwartz the other day about my "Principles of Successful Weddings."

Like the good med school professor that he is, he instructed me that "principles" are, in his world, based upon years of data, evidence, and analysis. If you don't adhere to a principle, you are liable for malpractice.
The pyramid of evolution of ideas goes from
  • Suggestions
  • Recommendations
  • Guidelines
  • Principles
Now, since I haven't done a thorough statistical analysis of how guests feel after different types of weddings, I suppose I can not call them "principles," but I am comfortable saying they are somewhere between Recommendations and Guidelines.

Of course, Arnie just needs to wait to have his mind blown when I do my book review of "Fooled by Randomness" (coming soon), but that's another topic!

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Satisfied Client Testimonial

A well-written (would expect nothing less from a NY Times best-selling author) testimonial on my services from Dan Pink.

Obviously, this made me feel pretty good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

remarkable light cover

this is neat. light cover of fluorescent at hospital showing kites and clouds

Posted by ShoZu

An FOJ who “gets” me….

One of FOJ’s best, Tjada is getting married.

Knowing full well my penchant for efficiency, all things digital, and more recently “going green,” she reached out to me via Facebook and wrote:

Could you please send me your snail mail address.

We are preparing for wedding invites. Only b/c it's you, let me know if you guys find it offensive or paper wasting to get an actual mail invite. I wouldn't dare say that to someone else, but I think I kinda get you.

And wouldn’t you know it?

The other day, she sent the ENTIRE invitation digitized. Love it!!

a good omen

turned on the car and saw trip odometer


Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The “Chiron” Rule…

It’s sales 101.

The executive assistant is just as important as the executive.

Whoops! I forgot that one.

Have a wonderful opportunity with a highly respected company. The assistant is fantastic. She was funny, greeted me with a hug when I met her the first time, and seriously asked me to bring my kids while I met with her boss.

After meeting with Chiron’s boss, I was given permission to submit a proposal. GREAT!

Then, I promptly ‘disappeared’ only to re-emerge in Chiron’s life when her boss wasn’t answering my calls.

Chiron called me on it. In a BIG way.

“I don’t hear anything from you for two weeks. You don’t say hi. You don’t drop me an email saying ‘what’s up?” and now when you need something, you come calling?”

She was partly joking, partly serious.

And she was right.

I deserved it. I forgot that ‘power’ doesn’t lie only with the title.

I’m not afraid to make mistakes. Make ‘em all the time. I’m afraid when I don’t learn from them.

I’ve learned from this one. Calling it the “Chiron Rule.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Full Life vs. Doing It All…

During the 5 hour roundtrip to Michigan from Chicago with Josh Rogers (aka ‘Mishigas’ in Michigan), we had a number of very interesting conversations.

Given the somewhat ridiculous nature of our mission (though I suppose the trip itself was evidence that the “journey is the destination” since we had a great time hanging out with each other), Josh was talking about the idea of “doing it all” in life and living with no regrets. 

Over time, we realized that it is, of course, impossible to “do it all” since you can’t be in Michigan and Chicago at the same time, obviously.

So, we settled on the idea of a “full life.”

We want to be able to say at the end, whenever that is, that we lived a “full life.”

Question for you: what does a “full life” mean?

How do you know if you are on track towards living one?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Father's Helper...

In my continuing quest to break down gender barriers, I've brought in a "Father's Helper" for some Sunday afternoon assistance.

I'm keeping her name a secret, but she's a huge asset and I highly recommend the concept.

Facebook means true love...

My sister got engaged on Thursday night. Mazal Tov to them.

Of course, it only became truly official in a Web 2.0 world when they announced it on Facebook!

At what price ‘social’ media?

Say you are Pro-Choice. Would you buy a car from a dealer (assuming it was the best deal you had found, of course) if you knew the owner gave money to Pro-Life causes?

What about the reverse?

What about someone who supports Obama? or McCain? Or Hamas? Or enables Chinese suppression of Tibet?

Was talking to someone who sells products online the other day.

He’s got very strong political views. He was expressing concern about how “open” one can ‘afford’ to be in social media, given that there are those who would punish you economically (i.e. not buy your product) if they knew your political opinions.

He said, “I’m not willing to sacrifice profits for social media,” so he’s keeping his opinions offline.

A nice discussion of this in the comments section of my buddy Adam’s blog.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie: Downfall

For students of history, particularly WWII, Downfall is a fascinating chronicle of Hitler’s last days based on the accounts of his former personal secretary.

The portrayal of Hitler is eerie. You see his mania, his delusions, and the intimidation of those around him, even when there is no hope for victory.

The scene wher Frau Goebbels poisons her children saying that “a future without National Socialism is not a future I want my children to see,” just showed in a particularly poignant way, the extent to which the belief system was a part of the German psyche.

I seem to recall that this movie created a bit of an uproar in Germany, but I don’t remember the details.

Definitely recommend it.

I should note that the movie is in German w/English subtitles, so…

Die chance mein Deutsch zu ueben hat mir gefallen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is “Happily Ever After” Anachronistic?

One of the benefits of making 1100 birthday calls per year is that you gather some interesting data over a respectable size population.

I haven’t done the full analysis of the average age of the people I call, but let’s say, for arguments sake, that the mean is roughly mid-30s.

This past few months, I’ve noticed a disproportionately large number of people in two categories.

  1. people getting divorced
  2. people disillusioned with their careers and looking for “major change.”

Is the mid-life crisis coming on earlier?

Paco had a playdate the other day and I was chatting with the mother, whose parents got divorced a few years ago in their mid 60s. This came on the heels of a couple I know who, in their 50s, have decided to get divorced as well.

She mentioned that her husband was speculating that this would become more and more common in the years to come.

The stigma of divorce is certainly gone and perhaps, with changing perspectives on marriage, people will become more and more likely to view life partners not as “forever,” but as segment-appropriate. She focused on the “me-ness” of the Boomer Generation, but you could also touch on (see yesterday’s post) the ability for people to live on their own (provided they have money or some security) and for women to not necessarily need men.

So, do you envision a day when people have one partner for the no-kids stage, another for having/raising kids, and another for “golden years?”

Will we start having marriages that have "planned obsolescence" as part of their founding philosophy?

paco gets tested at allergist

here is his back afyter five minutes

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Maintenance and the Never-ending To-Do list

It may be true that the longer you own your home, the more likely you are to try and fix things yourself.

However, I realized today that there’s another variable. Obvious, but it dawned on me nonetheless. I’m slow, what can I say?

That’s the time vs. items list.

I’m now at the point where the amount of maintenance items (a slow drain that needs to be snaked, a light switch that  needs to be replaced, hedges that need to be trimmed) is slowly beginning to overwhelm me.

I can see why I should just call someone to fix it.

Of course, there’s the value equation. Yes, the drain is slow, but is it the end of the world to wait another week or two to fix it?

Not really.

Ah, the joys of home ownership.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

State 46 in the record books...

With the help of good friend, Josh Rogers, I was able to cross the 46th state off my list, Michigan.

We left Chicago around 7, got to New Buffalo (below is the "welcome to Michigan" sign as we drove by at 80 mph) and walked into Lake Michigan.

Chicago, on the other side, was in the midst of a massive storm which we witnessed, lighting and all, a powerful, awe-inspiring moment.

As the storm clouds moved in rapidly, we turned and headed for the safety of Jimmy's Bar, had a beer and were back at home by midnight.

A great night, worth of "Remember (the) Maine..." and a Carpe Diem moment.

Hereafter, I will refer to this event as "Mishigas in Michigan."

Book: The Future of Men

In short guys, shape-up to what women want or you, too, could be outsourced.

It’s easy to say that the authors are wrong, but what if they are right?

The Future of Men: The Rise of the Ubersexual and What He Means for Marketing Today offers up the following analysis:

As the world moves to a more conceptual, information-intensive existence, man’s traditional ‘value-add’ and ‘competitive advantage’ was brute strength.

In an intelligence/cognitive society, that’s not necessarily so. What’s more, women’s natural strengths at consensus-building and empathy may be more suited to the modern workplace.

Add to that the fact that modern society enables women to live completely fulfilling lives without men (including reproduction) and it makes a husband/mate a “nice to have” accessory, not a must-have.

So, the modern man must adapt…or face extinction.

I was a bit skeptical when I picked up this book (which my wife got for me, but she claims she didn’t know the message and thought the subtitle of “what it means for the future of marketing” would be reason enough for me to read it), but I have been thinking about it non-stop, since I finished it.

And, I know to whom I sending it :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shameless self-promo in Jewneric

I'm featured today in Jewneric: A New Platform for the Jewish Voice » The Jewish Leadership Series: Jeremy Epstein

Thanks to Dave for the honor

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Movie: Pride and Prejudice

I’ll admit it, I’ve never read the book (started it, but didn’t finish), but the movie of Pride and Prejudice made me wish I had.

The representation of the period struck me as highly authentic. As a history buff, it was fascinating to think about how the relationships between the sexes has changed so much over time.

Highly recommend this film.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

red bull mobile

at pa turnpike rest stop

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gas: Where are you cutting back?

Saw a report the other night saying that "gas prices are rapidly becoming the #1 issue in the election."

Perhaps that is true, but the conversation turned to how/where people are making sacrifices/choices due to higher gas prices.

Here are some of mine.
  1. Our kids go to school a few blocks away. We do our best to walk whenever possible.
  2. Definitely doing a better job of consolidating multiple stops into one trip
  3. I've downgraded my coffee from mid-range to basic (hey, it's caffeine that's all I need.)
  4. Eating red meat less often (down to 1x per week used to be 2)
Now, granted some of this may be due to the entrepreneurial effort we are undertaking and not entirely due to gas, but I can definitely say that gas has the most "mindshare" when it comes to inflationary costs.

How about you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

josh drives me to michigan

Posted by ShoZu

navy pier in chicago

Posted by ShoZu

Abstract Rainbow...

Never really appreciated abstract art until Tonka showed me this. She said "it's a rainbow."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Family Road Trip 2008 Version....

3 kids. A minivan. Driving across the Midwest on the way to Chicago.

I feel a bit like Chevy Chase in "Vacation," but with portable DVD, GPS, laptop, 2 phones, FM Tuner for the iPod, I just need more cigarette lighters.

I tell people that when you travel by plane with kids, you take the amount of time you need and just multiply that by three.

For road trips, so far it is looking like 20% increase in time. Adults would drive from DC to Columbus, OH in 6 hours or so. It took us about 8.2

We were doing great, until Paco got a case of carsickness and while we were cleaning it up (now I know where the term "blow chunks" comes) from", a MASSIVE storm rolled in and we got drenched. Of course, at that point the wind was so strong that it closed the door on my leg. Yes, that hurt...a lot!

Even in the days of $4/gallon gas, it's still cheaper to drive and there's something mythical about the family road trip.

I feel the memories getting formed and the bonding time is certainly rich. The kids are asking GREAT questions:
  • what do the numbers on the side of the road mean?
  • why are the colors on the mountains so different?
  • what's a Buckeye? (my Ohio cousins are big fans!)
  • why are there orange balls on the (power) lines?
I love seeing their curiosity and having the chance to give them an appreciation of American culture and history.

I'll tell you one thing, the more I sit in it, the more satisfied I am w/the Honda Odyssey. It's a very well-designed and functional car.
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Thank You Note Bankruptcy and the Beauty of a Blog Community…

I was just loving the multiple, varied, and challenging responses to my post on Thank You Note Bankruptcy as they came in.

This is why I tell people that I think the comments are the BEST part of the blogging experience. I like how commenters respond and build on each other. This is what makes us a mini-community and why people say that “blogs are conversations.”

So, jump in and add a comment.

Now, onto the matter at hand.

There were some AMAZING comments. What’s better than having your readers quote back your previous posts to you and telling you that you are a hypocrite?

I’ll tell you: NOTHING! Well done, Ben.

Now, Gadi led the charge in asking for my response. And, if I were smart, I would have buried this in the pre-4th of July deadzone so people wouldn’t see how much of a beating I took, but you know me and 2400 posts into the FOJ blog, that’s not how I roll.

Anyway, there are two points here.

  1. Is it ungrateful to not write a note or at least somehow acknowledge the gift?
  2. What is the point of the gift-giving process?

Let’s dispatch with number 1. I’ll grant that it’s ungrateful to not acknowledge. I’m all in favor of acknowledging, I was just asking about notes. The consensus seems to be stop blogging, write some T.Y. notes. Ok, done.

Now, the second point, for which Jamie and Keren were the primary proponents, that gift-giving is about BOTH the giver and the receiver.

Jamie wrote:

when you shun the whole process, or try to engineer it for some people, you are taking away something from them. Gift-givers get something out of going out of their way to give you something. At least I know I do. I enjoy thinking about a couple or a family on a special occasion and trying to figure out what they need and how I can give them something to help with that need.

And Keren wrote:

While I am not opposed to registries, gift-giving is neither entirely about the recipient, nor entirely about the giver - it is about both. Which is why, sometimes, there is special value in the giver going outside of the registry box to think about what would be a good gift for the recipient (although, as I have said before, the process should not be unduly influenced by the giver's own preferences).

But, here is the part I can’t reconcile.

Both of them say that one of the best parts of the process for the giver is in the effort to try and find that good gift for the recipient. Their intentions are pure, they want to get a “fit” based on a whole slew of criteria. Great.

But, as we all know, some times the giver is wrong in his/her assessment of what is a perfect fit. (Let’s assume that a portion of those were from people with Keren/Jamie pure intentions.)

So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Keren/Jamie’s of the world (hereafter: KJ) are right in their “out of the box” thinking 65% of the time that a non-registry gift is a good fit. Whereas, if you give a gift that is off the registry, it is 100% certain that it is a good fit.

According to their logic then, they’d rather have a 65% chance of having a perfect fit and a 35% chance of giving a gift that isn’t right than taking the 100% guarantee.

But, I guess it comes down to process vs. results.

I am focused on results, not on process. So, for me, that doesn’t work.

If I give you a gift, I want to KNOW that I have given you something that you value.

(Maybe that’s a global micro-brand thing, I don’t know, but I know the reactions I have had (and I’ve seen from others) when you get a gift that is just a dud. You want to be grateful, but man, who really needs this thing, right?)

KJ, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on the process of gift giving.

They enjoy the thought, preparation, search, the creative aspect of aligning all of the factors that come into playa, and challenge of finding the perfect fit.

To me, that just doesn’t make sense, since I’d rather have the bird in the hand, so to speak.

Frankly, it also seems a bit selfish. If the gift is FOR the other person, then the only thing that matters is whether it benefits the other person or not. In the KJ scenario, they are perfectly happy that they enjoyed the process of finding the perfect gift even though they actually didn’t accomplish that goal 35% of the time (or whatever it is, but we know it is less than 100%).

I guess KJ likes the self-deception :-)

The process (and results) are about the recipient, not about the giver, nor what I get out of the process as the giver.

I’m going to pay for this one.

Ok, readers…you smell blood in the water, now go for it!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fight back against aggressive drivers….Help test the site

So I was driving the 3 kids in the minivan, obeying the speed limit…

Don’t know if I was an easy target, but on three separate occasions, I was confronted with an overly aggressive driver.

One of them flipped me off. One of them honked. One of them rolled down the window and yelled, “Bitch!” No joke.

I was infuriated.

Now, I didn’t want to return the gesture or get into a shouting match. Not only would it send the wrong message to my kids, but with road rage these days, you never know, right?

So, I went to my strength. Technology. And, together, with a great friend, we’ve put together a site that gives all of us a way to vent our frustrations at aggressive drivers.

But, we need your help.

First off, we need a name (but that can come later).

For now, we need an assessment of the experience of using the site (not design, just functionality).

  • Does it solve a problem?
  • Does it make you feel better?
  • It it easy to use?

So, next time you come across some jerk on the road, here’s how you can retaliate without his (or her) even knowing.

  1. Use your phone and send a text message to 41411

    The format of the message has to be:

    DRIVR [2 Char State] [license plate#] message (optional)

    For example:
    Drivr MD Luv2Drv loser!!
    Drivr NY abc123 jerk!

  2. You can also use Twitter: send a tweet to @Drivr
  3. Or, you can just visit the web site and fill out the form
    (plus, you’ll see a ranking of most aggressive drivers in every state…eventually)

So, what do you think?

On the wish list already, submit by email

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A (brief) Visit from the Fire Department…

Gianni woke up at 5 am and it’s a good thing she did.

The NFO smelled a horrific smell, woke me, and after not being able to determine what it was, we called 911 (got the non emergency number), opened the windows and took the kids outside.

As a taxpayer, I was thrilled by the quick response from the Fire Department, who were here quite quickly in full gear.

I did feel a bit embarrassed, as the house was clearly not burning down (thank God), but they did a thorough check anyway.

The culprit, an overheated ballast in our kitchen that was at 300 degrees F (they have a wicked cool visual thermometer/heat detector) and was melting the plastic.

Paco loved it…he loves fire trucks. The NFO went back to bed and I took the team for a walk around the  neighborhood until 7.

More joys of home ownership.

More on outsourcing you…

When we lived in New York, I would always call a friend, Josh, when I needed parking advice.

Either someone with a car was visiting or I had one for a few days and I’d say to him:

“Ok, we need the car from 10am-1pm on Tuesday, then from 8am-11am on Wed. and from 5pm-9pm on Thursday,” and Josh, who knew all of the street cleaning and parking rules by heart, would develop a customized plan.

Something along the lines of:

“ok, park east of Broadway, but not south of 110th st. Then, move your car to anywhere below 96th st., and sit in it-double parked for 30 minutes, before moving it west of Columbus…”

It was phenomenal.

Well, apparently, Josh is no longer needed.

Still Think you can't be outsourced?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Pak ‘n’ Play

As I’ve written before, there are some moments in parenting where you know it’s a transition. And others, where it happens and only later do you realize it.

Well, I just moved the Pak ‘n’ Play out of our bedroom. Gianni is officially in her own crib every night.

Moment noticed.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cell Phone Presence…

One of the big ideas in technology is that of “presence.”

You know how you can change your status on Instant Messenger or Skype to say “I’m Away” or “Online?”

Well, I was making some calls this morning at 9am EST. I was about to call a friend to say Happy Birthday. He travels a lot. What I didn’t know was…what time zone is he in?

Now, you could say, “just call and if his phone rings, that’s his problem, he should have turned it off.” That may be true, but I’ve woken a few people up enough to know that they aren’t happy when you call early (even if you have no way of knowing.)

So, why not an integrated presence for cell phone system?

You say “I’m online and available” or “offline.”

Then, when I pull up your number on my phone (which is connected to the network, of course), it tells me if I should or should not call you (or if you are in a meeting, etc.)

This day is coming, for sure. I just need it now.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Video of Civilian killing Bulldozer Terrorist

Now that everyone is a journalist, you see stuff that may not normally make it on a TV. This is graphic.

My thoughts are with those killed and injured by the terrorist in Jerusalem today.

Michigan Road Trip--Finalized

My efforts to get to Michigan are not new.

In addition to the wonderful fire extinguisher from the Lowenstein’s, our other guests, the Licht’s, brought a proposed itinerary for a family trip to Michigan from Chicago (since one set of parents has a house there.)

Once he read on the blog about the planned 6 hour excursion, Jacob modified the itinerary as follows.

Care to join us now?

Friends-Only Abbreviated Michigan Trip to New Buffalo, MI

75 miles from Chicago

First Stop:

Public Beach in New Buffalo


Second Stop:

Drinks on the rooftop patio at The Stray Dog Bar and Grill

245 N. Whittaker St New Buffalo, MI 269-469-2727


Third Stop:

Joe Jackson’s Produce 2 E Buffalo St New Buffalo, MI

FOJ Google Blog search...

Just added a new Google search bar (right side) for searching this site.

Let me know if it helps or hurts the experience.

Wedding Best Practices…

As we’re headed into the summer wedding season and I’ve had the conversation a few times, here are my suggested “best practices” for wedding planning.

Feel free to add

  1. If your wedding is on a Sunday (and a non-holiday weekend), the wedding should start NO later than 2pm
  2. Plan your wedding as if you were going to be a guest there
  3. It’s not your wedding, it’s your parents’ wedding. When your kids get married, it’ll be your wedding.
  4. And Jewish weddings only (100% duplication of the smorg at the Tisch-you don’t want a conflict of interest for the guys)

And, if you need help, check out the 100 item project plan for my wedding.

Some other wedding posts/highlights

  1. CD’s as place cards...
  2. Email Weddiquette....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Paco’s Quips…

Scenario #1. Looking for a missing hat.

“Paco, where is your hat with the truck on it?”

“I don’t know. It’s a mystery!!”

Scenario #2: Coming back from camp, I tell him that on Sunday, we are going to a “BarBQ birthday party for America.”

Paco: We’ll have to bring a present then.

Me: Well, you don’t really have to bring a present for America to this party.

Paco: I guess we don’t need a card either, since there is no one to give it to!

Epitaph, Take 2 and the Digital Natives

Still could go with the ideas in version 1 of the epitaph, but have another one.

It’s tied to my self-perception as a technology early adopter.

How about this?

“Sent his first email in 1991.”

This came up the other night when I attended an event and was talking with 2 guys who were 23 years old.

The conversation turned to demographics and how I am Gen X and they are (not Gen Y) rather “Digital Natives” or “Millenials.”

One fellow remarked that he knew he was a digital native because when he first started getting interested in girls, he didn’t go home and call them, he IM’d them.

I listed my accomplishments for the guys, who were born the year after we got our first Mac to demonstrate that I could “run with the Digital Natives” crowd, those who grew up online.

Some guys buy Porsches to stay young, I try to get 23 year olds to stand in awe of my techno-street cred!!