Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No Go for OK Go At "Don't Go" Party

After I quipped that I should invite my favorite new band to our "Don't Go Into Labor" Day Party, Jeff suggested doing it for real. He said "Do. Invite them to your party. I think that's a very cool idea and one that you could leverage in your own 'power of social media' story."

So I did.

I sent an evite to the band OK Go. I invited them to come chill with us in the backyard for a few hours. Maybe play some badminton, hang in the hammock, listen to the End of Summer mix I made on iTunes, have a tall cold one. You know...just chill and raise a glass to the end of summer.

Alas, they cannot make it. But at least they were kind enough to reply. Here's what they wrote:

"Thanks for the invite Mary & Dan. Wish we could make it, but OK Go is going to be in CA this weekend. See you next time in KS! Damian, Dan, Tim, Andy"

Gotta give these guys some props for actually responding to the evite. After checking out their web site, blog, message board, myspace page, flickr group, podcast, newsletter, videogame, YouTube group and some of the fan based interactivities they have in place it's clear these guys get it. They are authentic and their using every arrow in their cyber quiver to get people on the OK Go bus. The best part of all of this, is that it is working. They're talking to fans and fans are talking back. There is no wall between the band and the fans.

Check out the YouTube OK Go dance group. They've challenged fans to video tape themselves doing one of the bands' dances. They've got 154 entries so far.

And the Fan Correspondent idea. Brilliant. Here's how they describe it:

Here's how it works: We'll pick one Fan Correspondent for each show and give them a ten minute interview with one or more band members plus free reign to document the show on video in any way you want--you can interview fans, fight the merch guy, or just set up the camera and let it roll. It's all up to you.

There are only three rules:
1) The band interview will be no more than 10 minutes
2) You have to use your own video camera
3) You have to edit and upload your footage to our YouTube group within a few days of the show

I'll definitely invite them next year, but with more than a weeks notice so they can plan accordingly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Emmy Award Awaits...

Okay...indulge me for a second here...I came up with a new TV show idea.

It's about a guy who built web sites for the sole intention of collecting email addresses that he could sell to spammers...he was a real dirt bag. Then one day he won the lottery. Things looked good up until the time he walked out of the 7-eleven with his winning ticket, got hit by a car and the ticket blew away in the wind. No longer a lottery winner, this guy decides it's time to make up for all the pain he caused selling email addresses to spammers. One by one he seeks out everyone whose email address he sold and tries to make it up to them. Name of the show?

My Name Is URL.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My Favorite New Band

I cannot stop watching this video. It is simply brilliant. Makes me want to do two things... go to iTunes and buy some of their music and... dance on a treadmill.

I want to meet these guys... I'm gonna invite them to our labor day party. Seriously.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It Really Is The World Wide Web

Who knew I'd be known world wide? Certainly not me. Certainly not anyone who knows me. But apparently I've started developing some international attention. In the past few weeks I started tracking where visitors to this blog were coming from. While 95% were coming from the states (thanks for all the traffic mom!), 5% were from overseas.

In the past month I've had international visitors from:
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Phillipines
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • Israel
  • Czech Republic
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • United Arab Emerates
Okay, technically speaking Canada is not overseas. I know that. But seriously, Canadian's reading my blog? No way. Totally unexpected. Had to make the list.

And just why are they coming? To read this. Amazing isn't it. It is to me. Quite surprising really. So, I started thinking... A dangerous pastime - I know! But if people from all over the globe are interested I think I'll write a few more posts about life with the big dog. I've got a whole years worth of stories from life on the road to share. Question is, what should I write about next? Here are a few potential topics I've been thinking about:
  • Celebrity Encounters
  • Traffic Court
  • Getting Arrested
  • Lost in Montauk
  • Candid Camera
  • Goodwill Hunting
  • Hotel Tips
  • Road Safety
  • Long Distance Dating
  • How to get on TV
  • Hot Dog High
  • Paul Simon's Driveway
  • 4th of July
  • Super Bowl
  • All-Star Game
  • Late Night With David Letterman
  • Miss America Pageant
  • Howdy Doody Festival
Any other ideas? Requests? Fire 'em my way. This could be a whole new direction for the blog... who knows?

So to my international fans (ha!) I say: Thanks. Merci. Dank u. ありがとう. Danke. Σας ευχαριστούμε. !ךל הדות, הדות. dekujeme Vam. terima kasih!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Some Assembly Required

Last week I purchased a very nice bookcase from Costco. It came in a great big box with lot's of pieces and needed to be assembled. I have put together lot's of furniture that needs assembly. Chairs, desks, small bookshelves, a kid size bed. Sometimes I have read the instructions, other times not. This time I did and it made my day.

Check out the tools required:

The instruction booklet outlines thirty steps necessary to assemble the bookshelf. A friend is required to help with ten of them. A friend is needed to help you position and hold the base upright, lift and install the right side into the base, lift and install the left side into the base, install the fixed shelf into the holes of the partition and left side panel, install the fixed shelf into the holes of the partition and right side panel, slide the apron under the left side, partition and right side, elevate the top of the unit approximately 3 1/2" off the floor and place foam under it, and of course to carefully set the unit to its upright position and move to the desired location.

The particular evening I chose to put the bookshelf together I did not have a friend handy. It was late at night and Mary and the girls were fast asleep. So I chose to go it alone. I managed okay, but could not help but think while I was assembling the bookcase that I would have had more fun had I had a friend with me.

As I finished cleaning up I read one last part of the instruction manual. It read:

"We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed assembling your bookcase and that you will make good use of it."

That sounded like something a grandpa or favorite uncle would say while giving a gentle pat on the head... "Well, that's a mighty fine looking bookshelf isn't it? As long as you took the time to assemble it you might as well make good use of it. But before you run off and play, what say we take a seat on these here rocking chairs on the front porch and enjoy a tall, cool, glass of lemonade? Ah, yup. Building a bookcase. That's a good days work. Makes you feel like you got somethin' done. Good job son."

So, thank you Plycraft Industries Incorporated. And a big thank you to the Plycraft Industries Inc. copywriter who took what could have been a very boring job of writing out instructions and instead made it fun and memorable. I will look for more of your products in the future because you put a smile on my face.

Thank you my friend. Thank you.

"The thing about bathtubs is...

... you never want to get in the bath, but once you do you never want to get back out."

-Hannah Duff, Age 5

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cat Tales

We had a cat a few years ago. We called him Thomas. His full name was Thomas J. J. Duff. The "J.J." stood for "Jumpin' Jehosaphat." Mary named him. Despite a few hard nibbles on an occasional passing ankle, and bringing live (and sometimes not live) bunnies into the house, Thomas was a good cat.

One day Thomas did not come home from his daily prowl around the neighborhood. Two days went past and he still was not to be found. I cruised the streets calling out his name, called the pound and local animal shelters, let the neighbors know he was missing and left food out for him. After three days it was becoming more and more likely that he was not coming home.

I wasn't sure how to break the news to the girls. I thought it might be good to get them used to the idea that he might not return, but not say it was definite. I wanted to ease them into the realization that he was gone. So on the fourth day I said to Hannah "Have you seen Thomas around?"

I thought this was a good way to start the conversation. I did not want her to panic if I said he was lost. She responded with "No. Do you think he ran into the street, got hit by a car and died?"

I was floored.

"Um, yeah, well, that may have happened. All we know is that he hasn't come home for four days and I wanted you to know that I've looked real hard for him. I don't think he'll be coming back."

"Okay. Can we get another cat then?"

Clearly she was okay with him being gone... As long as we got a replacement.

We did not pursue getting a new cat for several months. Then a woman who worked at Mary's office sent an email note out that she had found a stray that was litter box trained. She said she did not want to keep it because they already had two cats. She dropped of "Casey" at our house on a Saturday afternoon. We had asked her to bring the cat by so that we could see how he got along with the girls. It was our intention to check this guy out thoroughly before we decided to keep him or not. The woman who brought him left our house before we really made a decision. She just kinda said "Well, he's all yours. Good luck." And then took off.

We kept Casey in the basement for a while to make sure he got acclimated to his new surroundings and we were sure he learned where the litter box was located. Slowly he began to explore the rest of the house. But Casey had a problem. He had anger management issues. His idea of exploring was to go straight to the girls bedroom and pee all over the walls. He would even leave nice brown packages for us to find.

After a month of trying everything we could... save getting a kitty psychologist involved, we took Casey to a shelter. He would not get along with the girls. Looking back on it, the woman who brought him by the house must have experienced the same thing. Though he was a gorgeous cat, he crapped all over the place. I was more upset with that woman than the cat. She had to have known.

And yet, the girls still wanted to have a cat as pet.

It took several months before Mary and I were ready to try again. This time we went to a shelter to seek out a cat of our own. In Kansas City there is a great animal shelter called Wayside Waifs. They do a tremendous job taking care of stays and neglected animals. Thomas was from a shelter and we had always said we would get our next pet from a shelter.

We took the girls to Wayside Waifs so that they could help pick out our new cat. I was thinking the girls would pick out a kitten, but when Mary pointed out these two handsome adult cats, the girls fell in love. They were Maine Coon cats. They were five years old and they were brothers. They had been in the shelter for a month and a half and no one had yet adopted them.

Mary had said she'd consider getting two cats so that they could keep each other company during the day. As our luck would have it, the day we went to the shelter was a buy one get one free day. Plus, since these guys had been there for several weeks, they were available at a reduced rate. Mary is always looking for a bargain, so we got em!

The shelter had given them the names Lance & Roy. I wanted to name them Hank & Frank. Hannah and Grace won out and they now go by the names Fluffy & Furball.

And they are the nicest cats in the world.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Crack Cookies

"Hi. My name is Dan. I am addicted to Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies."

Yesterday I bought some cookies from the store as a treat for the girls for behaving exceptionally well while their mom was out of town. I consider it bribery after the fact. It's the least I could do, right?

When Mary came home today she saw only one cookie left. She took a bite and said "I cannot resist these cookies. They are like crack to me."

So I went back to the store and bought another batch. I ate one while one the way home. We only live four blocks from the store. I think Mary is right. If crack came in cookie form, Lofthouse would my dealer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Scintillate, Scintillate Globule Vivific

Scintillate, scintillate
Globule vivific
Fain would I fathom
Thy nature specific
Loftily perched
In the ether capacious
Strongly resembling
A gem carbonaceous
Scintillate, scintillate
Globule vivific
Fain would I fathom
Thy nature specific

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For Jenne

Okay, so maybe it's not quite the same as going through chemo, but I too once lost all my hair - and not on purpose. I haven't shared this photo in public since they shaved my head as part of my rookie inititation to the Fordham hockey team. I was not proud of the look.

So there you go Jenne. I thought I'd share to give a smile. I look like a moog, don't I?