Author: somechum

Stop the World, I Wanna…

Hammock

Ignore my alarm clock.
Rediscover my old record albums.
Powerwash something.
Dance like an idiot.
Adopt a dog.
Roll around in the grass.
Take a risk.
Remove the trumpet from under my bed.
Scoff at my e-mail.  
Sing in the shower.
Plan my next career.
Forget my age.
Toss a Frisbee.
Get lost in a book.
Play a practical joke on someone(s).
Eat lotsa chocolate.
Go back to bed.
Whistle.
Remember what it’s like to imagine.
Juggle.
Talk to God.
Try to write a song.
Blow bubbles.
Build a fort.
Write a thank-you note to a former teacher.
Go swimming.
Smoke a cigar and pretend I’m important.
Study the sky.
Kick my laptop.
Learn to play the guitar (and/or piano).
Get to know my neighbors.
Open a really expensive bottle of wine.
Avoid Walmart.
Hang up on a telemarketer.
Get sidetracked.
Crank the A/C.
Try to figure out Gary Busey.
Find a hammock.

Count my blessings.

Shower

This post was inspired by Let’s Blog Off, a community of bloggers united around a common theme. I’m honored to add my perspective to the mix. 

 

 

Pumping Up with the Partridges

The_partridge_family-show

You can learn a lot about a guy by checking out the music on his iPod.

Mine includes a diverse mix of classic rock, ‘80s pop, Christian worship, current artists and a few left-field head-scratchers thrown in for good measure.

I primarily use the device to fuel my early-morning workouts, and this eclectic tuneage caters to my audio cravings du jour. Buried within this mix, however, is also an unexpected favorite that has made its way into heavy rotation. 

While my fellow muscle-heads are jamming to Linkin Park, AC/DC and who-knows-what-else, I’m often cranking to the sunny strains of “I’ll Meet You Halfway” and “I Woke Up in Love this Morning.” Nothing gets my blood pumping quite like a Partridge Family chorus. I’m partial to the Up to Date album, which is the one that showcases all the Partridge birthdays on the cover (David Cassidy’s is this Tuesday, by the way).

Although it’s been well documented that the Partridge recordings actually feature Cassidy, Shirley Jones and a bunch of unknown studio musicians (rather than the complete TV family), I’m still a sucker for those catchy choruses, cheesy lyrics and infectious harmonies. Besides, I always did suspect that Tracy Partridge couldn’t shake a tambourine to save her life…

I think of my guilty pleasure as the musical equivalent of mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s comfort food that brings back positive childhood memories and contentment.

Unfortunately, it’s probably also grounds for my immediate dismissal from the neighborhood gym-rat association.

What the heck, it’s worth it. C’mon get happy.

 

This is the Story of Philip the Fly

Fly

When I was a little boy, my favorite stories centered around a clever insect named Philip.

Our Philip the Fly anthology included dozens of tales of adventure, heroism and just a little bit of mischief.

I think the coolest thing about Philip was that I always felt as if he knew me personally.

And in a sense, he did. You see, Philip the Fly came from the mind of my dad.

I’m not entirely sure when Phil made his debut, or from where he came (dad wasn’t exactly known for his creativity), but this winged protagonist was always available to star in a new story – seemingly on cue (also not an innate skill of dad’s). Nothing could comfort or satisfy this 3- to 7-year-old kid quite like a zippy fly with a personalized tale to tell.

Philip the Fly taught me about the power of a story.

Dad may not have been trained in English literature or creative writing, but he did possess that innate human longing for a good yarn.

Since the beginning of time, every culture on Earth has shared lore from generation to generation. Stories have been used to amuse, to entertain, to educate, to inspire, to provoke, to titillate.

And although the form factors have evolved from oral histories to cave drawings to snarky blogs, the core elements of captivating stories are remarkably constant. They inform us by engaging us – through our emotions and our innate desire to connect with others.

It’s sad to admit that I can’t remember many details of Philip’s escapades – and since my dad is deceased, they’re locked away for at least a while.

What I will always remember, however, are the feelings of anticipation, excitement and satisfaction that those encounters brought to my life.

Thanks, Philip. Thanks, Dad.

 

Let’s Get Phygital

Phygital

WELCOME TO THE PHYGITAL FUTURE.

So reads the bold greeting on the corporate website of Momentum Worldwide.

The intent of this marketing agency’s declaration, I’m guessing, is to position the firm’s talents in helping its clients understand and effectively synthesize “physical” and “digital” media. 

No question that’s a valuable asset for a marketing agency these days. But the fabrication of a ridiculously clunky word to express it, is laughable (at best).

I’m not sure I know anyone who wants to embrace a “phygital future” – with or without Momentum.

Nevertheless, the agency has launched a phygital blog, a phygital YouTube channel, and of course, has applied for a phygital trademark to prevent any phygital thieves from pilfering the term. After all, Momentum “has been phygital since 1987” and “is the first and only marketing agency for the Phygital™ world.Touché.

I wish this amusing scenario were an isolated example of marketers run amok, but it seems to be part of a larger trend of creative agencies mashing up two real words into a single — often ludicrous — made-up word.

Cohn & Wolfe likes to call itself “bigtique” (meaning, I suppose, that the firm embodies both the creativity of a boutique agency and the depth of a global powerhouse). I wonder what’s wrong with just stating that fact without resorting to gimmicky word play.

It was the intersection of “Traditional and “Digital” that spawned Tradigital Communications, a firm that “helps companies solve the internet marketing puzzle.” I’m betting their top name choice was Phygital Communications, but it was already taken.

And, a China-based marketing communications consultancy has capitalized on all the “glocal” hoopla with the creation of Glocal Strategy. Oh, how I pity the poor receptionist… 

English has more than a million words, but apparently, we’ve exhausted all effective combinations and must create unique amalgamations to illuminate our creative brilliance.

Seems like blatant abuse of a living language to me. 

In fact, it’s positively absurdiculous

Olivia-newton-john-physical

 

 

 

This Fool’s Dilemma

Istock_seriouswithcone

For a guy who seldom takes anything seriously, April Fool’s Day presents quite a quandary.

You see, I live my life through a perpetual barrage of jokes, fibs and short-term fabrications. Ask any of my colleagues (past or current), and they’ll likely attest that whatever comes out of my mouth is not to be trusted – at least not without careful scrutiny.

So what’s this poor sap planning to do on this annual hoax-welcoming day? 
Join the crowd for some “business as usual”?

How ho hum is that.

Nope, this year, I’m going rogue. My goal is to endure April 1 without exuding a single shred of revelry.

I’ll live like a total dullard. 

And I’ll do it all on a Friday.

Now don’t taunt…

 

iPad 2, You Complete Me.

Ipad2

After last Saturday’s crushing denial of Apple’s newest coveted device, I debated whether I would subject myself to the same barbaric ritual two weeks in a row.

Honestly, it wasn’t much of a debate. The stubborn, competitive side of me beat the rational, level-headed side hands-down.

This time, however, I was wise enough to understand the table stakes before going into battle. I arrived at the mall at about 5:30 a.m. (beating my previous time by more than an hour). My reward for this lunacy was to earn spot #5 in line, which quickly slipped to #7 when two “friends” of those ahead of me arrived.

My position was a definite improvement from last week’s placement (#25), but it would be a few hours until I found out whether I would be walking out a champion or a stooge.

Thankfully, I walked out a champ. As did most of the roughly 100 co-fanatics standing alongside me. Not only had the store received a healthy shipment of iPad devices the afternoon before, but they apparently were welcoming a second shipment as we were standing in line. It was a good morning to be a lemming.

After several rounds of handing out vouchers to match individuals with their chosen model(s), the doors to the store officially opened. I must say the process was quite well-organized, and the Apple team could not have been more accommodating and friendly. One of them even high-fived and congratulated me as I left the store.

So what did I do when I arrived home? Did I tear open the box, fire that puppy up and begin savoring all of its innovative goodness?

Nope, I laid down and took a nice long nap. It had been a long morning.

And when I awoke, did I scurry to begin exploring the device I had worked so hard to secure? No chance. I had errands to do.  

Looks like it might take awhile for us to become acquainted. 

Applecrowd

Some of my peeps.

Bobbing for an Apple: In Pursuit of an iPad 2

Apple2

That was the scene at about 7 a.m. on Saturday at the Apple store in suburban St. Louis. Scads of eager iPad 2 cravers. Bleary-eyed, but hopeful we would emerge in a couple of hours with a shiny new device (or two).

I had arrived at about 6:45 a.m., earning spot #25, which was noted on the ragged cardboard square handed to me by a cheerful security guard (“You here for a computer?” she asked, to which I responded, “I think.”)

Little did I know my tentativeness would be so well-founded.

Turns out the majority of us early-rising lemmings would leave the building clutching little more than deflated tablet dreams.

At about 7:30, a well-meaning Apple employee explained to the growing crowd that the “inventory specialist” was currently reviewing all the available stock and would join us at about 8:30 to hand out vouchers that matched each person with his or her chosen device(s). He delivered the same speech several times, moving down the line of consumers so everyone could have the benefit of hearing the process.

“That’s nice of him,” I thought, while hoping the thorough approach meant the store had substantial stock to distribute to its 100+ waiting customers. 

Then promptly at 8:30, the “Inventory Specialist” made his anticipated entrance, explaining that they actually only had three models available: a white WiFi 64GB (the device I wanted), a black Verizon 3G 16GB and another one. Once again, he moved through the crowd, repeating the roster several times so the entire throng could hear his spiel.

What happened next is sort of a blur, but I’m fairly certain he didn’t even reach customer #10 before announcing they were completely sold out.

Talk about a total mood killer.

Several in the crowd just peacefully dispersed (I’m guessing it wasn’t their first time around this block…)

Others thought this dude had some ‘splainin’ to do
– “How many iPads did you actually have”?
– “Why can’t you tell us earlier when your stock is low”?
– “How come you didn’t you get any AT&T models”?

His sheepish responses amounted to: “We don’t have control of what they send to us,“ “We’re not allowed to disclose specific numbers” and “You’re welcome to try again a different morning.

Not exactly stick-to-your-ribs answers.

But my fellow buffoons and I left the premises without incident, feeling more than a little disappointed and taken advantage of. 

I’ve read all sorts of conjecture that Apple may be intentionally stockpiling its inventory to drive demand (and ongoing publicity) for its newest, hottest product. But I find it hard to believe that Apple intentionally wants to piss off its customer base – and when 90 percent of customers leave a store completely dissatisfied, it strikes me as a real customer-service problem.

Alas, Apple ain’t talking – or delivering.

And so, I will live another day (or week/month/etc.) without experiencing the joys of Flipboard, Netflix, Dropbox, Google Earth and Twitter on the iPad.

I’ll live.

If only there were a suitable substitute 

Afterword:

Given the recent tragedy in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and cancellation of “Two and a Half Men,” I know my iPad envy is fairly insignificant. OK, it’s ridiculously insignificant.

But cut me some slack here. I willingly chose to delay purchasing an iPad until the second-generation device was introduced. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to finally satisfy this pent-up desire.

Cardboard

For the scrapbook: the official number denoting my place in the pack. 

All My Favorite People are Broken

Don’t worry, I won’t be naming names. But let’s face it, most of us are a pretty sorry lot. And the rest just hide it better.

Which is why I am so entranced by a song on Over The Rhine’s latest – and probably greatest – CD. It’s called “All My Favorite People Are Broken,” and like most OTR songs, it’s pithy, profound and hauntingly beautiful. 

The overall gist of the tune is: you’re messed up, and I’m messed up. And that’s OK. We need each other.

Now that’s a message I need to hear.

Lyrics

Spring Forward? Hardly.

Exhausted

I think of it more like a trudge. Or a slog.

Standing at the edge of the calendar’s most excruciating week – the seven days following Daylight Saving (no “s”) Time – I can’t help but wonder if it’s even worth the hassle.

The seeds of this tortuous ritual were planted in 1784 by a well-meaning Benjamin Franklin who, at the age of 78, penned a discourse on the thrift of natural vs. artificial lighting. He was serving as an American delegate in Paris at the time, and his essay included several humorous regulations to consider.

More than two centuries later, nations around the world use a variation of his concept to “conserve energy and more fully enjoy the benefits of daylight.”

And I think it’s a load of crap.

Let’s face it, the name is really a misnomer. Since we’re actually not SAVING one single footcandle of daylight, a more accurate name would be Daylight SHIFTING Time — but that’s hardly conducive to the energy-saving mantra that the U.S. government wants to convey.

What we ARE doing is snatching 60 precious minutes from a sacred weekend while confusing our bodies, minds, children and pets, along with certain clocks, phones and computers.

Several recent studies have called into question the actual energy-saving benefits of DST, especially if you factor in the increased use of air conditioning in the evenings (particularly in southern climates).

And we ought to consider the added health concerns of sleep deprivation, heart risks and overall surliness that accompany the sudden shift of schedules.

Guess I’m really just opposed to anything that messes with my daily routine. Thus, my insurgence will be on public display in the form of massive yawns, increased irritability and a general strung-out persona.

But this year, I’ve also decided to take a more positive, productive step by creating a calendar to count down to November 6. That’s the date, of course, when we revert back to STANDARD time.

Exhausted2

Penny From Heaven

Check1

At first I thought it was junk mail. It had that mass-mailer look and bore the logo of AT&T (an entity known to distribute its share of direct marketing pieces.)

But then I noticed those two magical words on the envelope — “Accounts Payable” — and my eyes lit up with dollar-sign dreams. 

Might I have overpaid one of my bills or earned a generous rebate, I wondered?

I tore open the envelope with reckless abandon and discovered the icy truth: it was a check for .01. That’s right, one penny. A single Abraham Lincoln.

The_All_New_Lets_Make_a_Deal_-_Zonk.mp3
Listen on Posterous

These clowns spent many pennies to print and mail a check to me for a single penny.

Given that I receive two separate invoices from AT&T each and every month, I have to wonder why they didn’t just deduct a cent from one of my next bills.

Maybe they were afraid I would have demanded a full cash payout instead.

Apparently, my logic is different from that of AT&T, as I will not be spending many pennies in gas to visit my local bank and cash my silly little check.

I will, however, drop it into my silly little recycling bin. Seems like the most responsible thing to do.