Category Archives: Uncategorized

Watch Your Assets: Keeping Relevant in the Work Place

The company you work for is nothing without your assets, and neither are you. It’s your assets—your skills—that got you the position in the first place. Whoever made the hiring decision saw how they could utilize your assets to achieve the company’s goals. But those skills that got you hired may not be enough to keep you employed.  If you don’t maintain your assets to be as sharp as possible; keeping abreast of changes in your industry, monitoring the competition, and polishing your marketability, they will become dull and of little use to your employer and you’ll find yourself either discarded or being replaced with a newer more up to date model.

These skills go beyond those you use on a day to day basis to achieve your employers goals, they also include the well-honed implements you used to land that job. These assets are just as important to keep sharp and polished as the rest of the items in your toolbox. Your contacts, networks, associations, and social profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter among others, are just as important to keep up to date. You should be sharing items in your social networks that demonstrate you are an authority in your field, and networking with other influencers and professionals in your industry. At no time should you ever put these tools on the shelf to devote all your efforts to your employer’s task before you.

Over the last year or so, that’s exactly what I did. I had withdrawn from my online social presence as work became more and more demanding. My Facebook page became a scrolling haven for regurgitated memes, my Twitter account a dwindling record of places I checked into less and less frequently as the shared check-ins from FourSquare fell by the wayside, and Google+ was just a catch basin for posts that could be shared across all three networks. But duty called, and I answered, ready willing and able to do whatever needed to be done, for the company that I was sure would take care of me as well as those as dedicated as I was, took care of it. My mistake.

Go ahead. Laugh. I’m laughing at myself.

Sure, I had been burned before, but I was naive enough to believe this company was different. They touted their own version of the Boy Scout Law, you know, “trustworthy, loyal, helpful…” But this company promised integrity as well. Upon hearing upper management talk about integrity in company meetings it was hard to believe they weren’t sincere, so like a runaway teen in a religious cult, I not only swallowed the Kool-Aid, but I helped mix it as well.

However, I am not here to bad mouth this or any other company. The fault here lies with me, not with them. Their loyalty is to their shareholders and the bottom line. It’s business, period. What I am here to tell you, is that like your employer, you need to watch your bottom line as well, if not better, than they watch theirs.

What you need to remember is that these tools, all of the assets you provide for your employer, are yours! Not the product they create of course, but the tools used to create the product. They are only on loan to your employer for as long as they feel the need to rent them, but like any rental item, the upkeep of those tools lies with the owner, not the renter. The benefit of performing this regular maintenance will serve you two-fold: Not only will you continually prove your value to your employer, but you will also be showing your peers outside the company what a valuable commodity you are, and perhaps improving your bottom line before your company improves theirs by securing a more lucrative job offer.

Don’t become irrelevant in your job, or in your networks. Keep your tools sharp and in good working order. Watch your assets. In doing so they will be ready when it is time to loan them to the next renter, and more valuable. Stay current and stay relevant. There will be other renters looking for the latest and the greatest, and there is nothing wrong with raising the rent when it’s time to sign the new lease.

Joy Ride in the Sierras

Mustang Xing... Double Yellows and Other Lines
Mustang Xing… Double Yellows and Other Lines

When the demands of our hectic everyday lives become too much, a road trip through the Sierras can be just the release needed to unwind and re-center. On a recent trip to Sequoia National Park we came upon some tourists who were looking to do just that.

As the distance between the front of our vehicle and the rear of their’s rapidly shrunk, it soon became apparent that they had lost themselves on the General’s Highway, the main road that travels through the park and on into Kings Canyon.  They were two gentlemen driving a yellow convertible Mustang, who were meandering all over the road… I’ve seen picnic baskets with less weaving.  So we settled into a nice 30 mph pace on the 45 mph twisty two-lane road without passing lanes and began speculating as to where they were from. The car was obviously a rental, and they had luggage, not camping gear, piled in the rear seat.

We had narrowed the occupants down to Europeans who had previously driven nothing larger than a vintage Fiat 500, and to them the Mustang must have been as bloated and cumbersome as an Excursion is to the typical mid-size sedan owner which explained their inability to keep the vehicle on the non-head-on collision side of the double yellow line. We also surmised that they lived in the city and had never seen a mountain road, because the Mustang could obtain speeds of near 50 mph in wide open straight-a-ways. Unfortunately these are few and far between and our happy-go-lucky tourists were much more likely to be travleing at 15 mph on even the widest of turns.

But there was something else starnge. It seemed to take two of them to manage the gear shift. Each took turns leaning toward the center and reaching across and with each motion, the car would veer even further to the left or the right. Odd. Especially since this was obviously an automatic.

Just as they seemed to finally get the shifting situated, and picked up the pace to a respectable rate, we approached a section of one-lane road that was controlled by a signal which would alternate between east and westbound traffic. While we waited for the eastbound traffic to clear the driver hopped out of the Mustang and began talking very loudly in a foreign language, which I still say was European, as he began to adjust his loose fitting shorts… and wipe his shirt… and then wash his hands… and legs… and… ew. That wasn’t a gear shift the passenger was shifting was it?

Look fellas, the Sierras is a great place to get  release, but that’s not what we had in mind. We appreciate the tourism dollars, but save the peep show for the hotel room, and leave the “joy riding” back in your home country.

Suddenly texting while driving doesn’t seem quite so bad. Someone wanna pass him a wet wipe?


Undocumented Speeders on the Rise

Suzuki SX4
Suzuki SX4 Sport Hatch – a car recently involved in an undocumented speeder sting by CHP.

There’s a growing number of people who are being treated unfairly by the unjust laws in our country and action should be taken immediately to give them amnesty rather than persecute these poor souls any further. The plight of undocumented speeders on the highways and byways of this great nation are many. They take to the road seeking a better life than the clogged commuter lanes and congested freeways they have to commute upon in their homeland, and only speed on open roads because it is so prohibitively expensive and difficult to qualify for a racing license in order to speed legally.

Undocumented speeders, the politically correct term for illegal speeders, just want better commute times so they can spend more quality time with their families and get to work on time to avoid losing precious pay to hourly wages.  They come from generations of undocumented speeders, some going back to before the automobile was invented and they actually raced horses through the dusty, boardwalk-sided dirt streets of the old west. Because those streets were raced upon by their ancestors, they have every right to continue to speed illegally on the streets of America today.

It would be a simple act of congress to reform the process for becoming a legal racer in the United States. An amnesty plan to forgive all those speeding tickets received thus far, a racing license to make all the undocumented speeders legal, and of course free race tracks and cars should be issued to every community. In addition, special classes on speeding should be taught in schools to help explain the adversity that undocumented speeders have had to overcome. But conservatives and opponents to speeding claim that in doing so, these speeders would take away jobs from NASCAR, F-1 and NHRA drivers to name a few.

Meanwhile, on the mean streets of the U.S., law enforcement officers have taken to racial profiling, pulling over and stopping vehicles driven by people who appear to be of race descent, even if they were not speeding at the time and have never been under suspicion of being racial before. With budget cuts in states like California, speed traps are becoming ever more common as the stewards of the empty state coffers see an increase in shaking down undocumented speeders as a  means of increasing state revenues.

It’s a sad day when for generations your family has sped on these lands, and the current inhabitants prohibit you from doing the same as your fathers, and their fathers before them. Please write to your congressman and ask for the persecution of undocumented speeders to stop. Amnesty and your tax dollars to make speeding legal is a much more humane way of dealing with the issue rather than burdening these poor helpless speeders with traffic fines and the threat of losing their driving visas. We’re a better nation than this. We welcome the tired, the poor, the hungry… and even the speeders.

God bless America.

Freeway Liberation Day

Happy Freeway Liberation Day!

Yesterday, as thousands of Southern California high school and college seniors walked the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and set off to celebrate their new found freedom (enjoy it while you can, the summers are only going to get shorter from here out!), they set into motion the machinations for an even more noteworthy occasion,  “Freeway Liberation Day.”

Yes, today was the day that all those know-it-all “adultlescents” are too hungover or stayed up too late to wake up early and jam the roads of So. Cal. with their “I can text and drive, those accidents only happen to other people” attitudes and various other forms of mobile and audio distractions that populate their cars. Speeds of 70 mph were achieved on some of the most congested freeways across the southland including the infamously notorious CA-91. It was a great day to be late for work, because odds are you could make up the time. I did.

So hat’s off to the Class of 2011, and thanks for a wonderful Freeway Liberation Day! Join me in thanking a few of the class valedictorians:

You in the Nissan Sentra… the one who’s going 60 mph in the fast lane because you’re too busy talking on your handheld device while semis in the right lane pass you until the guy behind you tries to get around you and then you speed up. Yeah, that’s not gonna create tensions and the potential for an accident. Didn’t miss you. Happy graduation!

Blonde bimbo in the VW Beetle? So happy not to have to try and navigate around you as you put on your eyeliner this morning. Glad you weren’t here today! Happy graduation!

Oh, and Honda Nation boys? What a peaceful commute at even 70 mph to not hear your lame-ass fart can exhaust as you have to floor it to weave in and around each and every semi in an effort to get to class on time, yet never seem to gain enough ground to get out of earshot with your “please say excuse me” sounding exhaust. So nice not to hear you! Happy graduation!

Corolla S drivers, one and all: I know you know better than me because I admit it, I no longer know it all, but that S doesn’t mean shit… or maybe it does? Thanks for staying the Hell out of the fast lane for once, no you cannot keep up with the flow of traffic in that car despite the S. Wish you weren’t here! Ooh! Wish granted! Happy graduation!

Yes, there are many others, and I invite you to leave well wishes for your favorites in the comments section below. I hope your Freeway Liberation Day was just as happy as mine was. Unfortunately, like every holiday, I will have to pay the price tonight on the commute home as the class of 2011 once again take to the freeways to embark on another evening of partying and begin the process of mucking up the roads once more–only this time, with parchments that they believe confirm that they really do know it all.

God help us.

Flagging Google For No Flag On Flag Day

Baby Waving the Flag that Google Won't
Baby Waving the Flag that Google Won’t

I’m a former Boy Scout, a Cub Scout Leader, a writer, a photographer, and an SEO analyst, but before all of that, I’m an American. The first thing I did this morning when I arrived at work was to update my profile picture on Facebook to one of my son as an infant waving the Stars and Stripes. I think it’s the least we can do when we have men and women over seas risking their lives in honor of that same symbol of freedom. Apparently that’s too much to ask of Google.

While the search engine giant can create special “doodles” for Pac-Man, Charlie Chaplin, Martha Graham (I had to look her up to even see who she was), and can even make way to fly the Russian and Philippine flag, it seems creating a special doodle for Flag Day isn’t worthy of Google’s attention as the business as usual logo adorned the search giants page today.

I recommend letting the folks at Google know how you feel about their over sight (or was it an intentional dissing of our symbol of freedom?). Below, find the address and phone number where you can reach Google. Take a moment to send a note or at least make a call, and please pass this along to everyone else who thinks the U.S. Flag has just as much right to adorn the Google home page as the Russian and Philippine flag does.

Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: +1 650-253-0000
Fax: +1 650-253-0001


An Even More Inappropriate Display of Mr. Weiner

ef090-anthonyweiner-facts-glenn-beckI realize this is a bit late to the party, but with Anthony Weiner and his penis perpetually popping up in inappropriate places I have to share. Well…that and the fact that a broken plug-in kept me from posting this here earlier.

When Anthony Weiner’s penis exploded to the forefront of pop culture it spread faster than Britney Spears legs getting out of a car. The difference, of course, is unlike Mr. Weiner, Britney didn’t aim her junk at anyone in particular. So, while her exposure was certainly inappropriate, Mr. Weiner’s was much more inappropriate because it was obvious he only wanted one person… at a time, anyway… to admire his namesake, not the whole world. So rather than a random flashing, his intent was directed and malicious.

Also remember one of the first rules of childhood staring competitions: “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”  Britney didn’t take a picture, but Mr. Weiner did, so he obviously wanted it to last longer. I wonder if anyone has asked his wife if that’s the only way it will?

Regardless, Mr. Weiner initially denied sending the picture saying his account was hacked, but later admitted that it was indeed his Mr. Weiner, as more women came out of the “wood” work complaining about his “junk” mail. And once again Mr. Weiner was popping up all over the place inappropriately now with the hashtag #weinergate. But this is still not as inappropriate as the place where Mr. Weiner most recently popped up, and this time it was through no fault of his own.

Where I am most appalled is while posting to a Facebook discussion about Mr. Weiner’s weiner, Facebook asked both myslef and the person who’s page I was posting to, if we wanted to “like” Mr. Weiner.

Really Facebook? A man who is on the verge of being labeled a sex offender and you offer him up as someone to like? Classy.

Of all the solicitations that Mr. Weiner is accused of engaging in, I find Facebook’s solicitation of Anthony Weiner the most inappropriate.  Facebook, like the representative from New York, we wish you’d keep your Mr. Weiner to yourself.

Bad Plug-in, BAD! Google Analytics 3 codes for WordPress

Sorry, been down trying to determine the cause of an error that was occurring on the site preventing me form uploading photos. The culprit was the “Google Analytics 3 codes for WordPress,” plug-in, don’t use it until they update it for the latest version of WordPress. When I updated to the newst version of WordPress last week, this bad boy wreaked havoc with my site, but we’re better now…uh… well, not having that issue anymore anyway. I’ll be back with snarky comments tomorrow about Anthony Weiner, Facebook and the Mitsubishi i-Miev.

Google +1: Let Your Friends Pick Your Search Results?

Google +1
Google launches +1 June 2, 2011

I hated high school… well… not so much the school as the whole social dynamic and the class hierarchy that accompanied it. Being ranked and classified when we should be defined by our individuality, is not a concept I’ve ever been comfortable with. I’m a person, not a jock, brain or druggie. But of all the clicks in high school, the ones who perpetuated them the most were the jocks, because they were the muscle, and they could.

You know who I’m talking about, the idiots with the hyperactive gland problems that earned them a spot on the football team and therefore a right to terrorize their fellow classmates. Yeah, I’m talking about you Jeff Moore–the big bully who’d cause smaller and usually more interesting people to disappear into the shadows to avoid your wrath.

Like King Kong who they so effectively emulate, these bullies were seldom, if ever,  brighter, or as articulate as the undersized and underclassmen they intimidated, yet they stood out from the crowd by simple virtue of being able to beat on their chest and bellow louder than anyone else around them. Yeah, that’s about what sums up a good chunk of what it took to be popular in high school.

Here we are 30 years later, and while the arena may have changed, the dynamics look like they are not about to. This time around, high school is the internet and it’s starting to look like the new school bully may be Google. Tomorrow, Google will launch +1, allowing users to “like” pages and in theory define your future searches based on what’s “popular.”

The problem with this is, just as your campus King Kong was popular for all the wrong reasons, judging by what passes for entertainment on television these days, the public will have a chance to once again get it all wrong when it comes to choosing what we should find in our search engines, just as they’ve mucked up our choice of television shows. Can’t say I’m looking forward to having my search experienced mucked up with reality TV shows and American Idol references.

We’ve all had to search to the the to fifth page and beyond because we couldn’t find what we’re looking for, what happens when the popular vote places even more of those misguided search results we don’t want ahead of the results we do?

Certainly, at times I may be interested to see what my friends like relative to the search, but I also like to mine a few of those web gems from the bowels of the internet myself and be the first to share them.

As long as Google allows us to search without a little help from our friends, +1 could be a fun new way to interact with our friends socially on the net. But if it becomes the standard for determining which results are best suited for our searches, then Google becomes no better than a bullying King Kong on the internet, forcing those not as powerful into the dark recesses of the web and casting it’s ill begotten light on crap we could care less about just because some of our less intelligent friends find it amusing.

And that’s the real difference–a lot of us grew up and don’t run in social packs and welcome friends from all walks of life, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say–or search for. I’m an individual and I treat my friends as such and I expect the same from my search results, to be individualized, not the product of a popularity contest.

You’d think a bunch of computer nerds would remember just how fun popularity contests were in high school and would know better.

There’s Some Balls Under the Hood!

Ray_LaHoodWhen you set the mileage standards for the rest of the United States to live by proclaiming “we’re not just sitting around waiting for high gasoline prices to come down,” you have to have a pretty big set to say it with a straight face as you show up in your Suburban. that’s exactly what transportation secretary Ray La Hood did according to Jalopnik.

Nothing like shoving higher fuel economy standards down the automakers throats to force new car buyers into more fuel efficient vehicles and then ride around in the type of vehicle you say is the problem. Drive as I say, not as I do.

We could cut him a little slack if he was a member of the joint chiefs of staff and had to have a small platoon of Secret Service Agents in the vehicle with him, but for Christ sakes Ray! You’re the Transportation Secretary! You’re not in charge of nuclear missile codes or the whereabouts of key CIA agents! You should be showing up on a bus or some other form of mass transportation! At least a Chevrolet Volt. The government bailed out GM out so sell competitive fuel efficient vehicles like the Volt, not so the General could sell more Suburbans.

Yep, lotsa balls under La Hood. Unfortunately, no brains.

Parenting in a YouTube Sensation World

Remember those parents who were suing recording artists because their brainless kids did stupid things that either got time in jail, injured… or worse, because they were supposedly emulating actions described in the lyrics of the artist’s songs? You know the one’s I’m talking about, the one’s who were looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of parenting. I feel sad for their losses, but curse their cowardice and inability to take responsibility for their actions or lack their of.

This blog post, however similar, is not about them.

This is a different type of stupidity altogether. Sure, ultimately parents are to be held accountable over all, but society has to take part of the blame here on this one as we have allowed it to permeate every aspect of our entertainment, from magazines and tabloids, to internet, to TV, to even our news.

What is this new problem? The acceptance of dirty laundry and stupidity as well as asinine antics as acceptable forms of entertainment to achieve your five seconds of fame with.

It started with Jerry Springer, Ricky Lake, and the Maury where guests are invited to share stories such as how they had an affair with their grandmother’s, boyfriends’s conjoined twin while she was asleep in the same bed and I’ve had 2,496 men paternity tested and I still don’t know who my babies’ father’s are and assorted other ghastly and unbelievable tales that one just shouldn’t make public, let alone air on television.

One could argue that the show is to make people feel better, that they are not the only one’s to be going through this tragedy. But with the way society seems to be deteriorating I argue it has had the opposite effect and has only made it more acceptable for other people not to choose a responsible path. I’m sorry you don’t know who you’re babies’ fathers are, and you can have sex with as many conjoined octogenarians as you want, I could care less, but society was much better off when you were ashamed of that fact, not proud enough to broadcast it to millions of viewers.

The problem has only escalated with sites such as YouTube, MetaCafe and Break, as the stupidity is no longer limited to what producers could fit into a 30 or 60 minute time slot, but you could now air your stupidity for the world to see 24/7 with the hope of going viral which brings me to my case in point.

A lot of viral videos are viral for a reason, they are funny, and/or clever, usually include some sort of stunt we wish we had the balls to do ourselves, and/or are just plain mesmerizing. Take for example the video that set me off which features champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. hooning it up in a parking lot and eventually taking out Happy, the Carl’s Jr. star-shaped mascot. Funny stuff, right? Obviously it was staged, who goes around with a full camera crew, hits a walking restaurant icon and runs, right? I have no problem with this and if you’re child emulates this without staging it, yes, you’re to blame.

Here’s where I have a problem: This video hits just as summer break hits, and many kids will be getting their new driver’s license and/or a new car as graduation presents to kick off the summer. There’s something about being behind the wheel that makes us all forget a good deal of common sense when our friends are around and we want to impress. Throw in the additional temptation of instant stardom and now we have a recipe for spectacular disaster, but hey, it’ll go viral and you’ll become a star, right?

So you’ve got the staged of part of your own YouTube stunt down (look out Ronald McDonald), now let’s talk about your drifting performance. Guess what? Odds are, you’re not a pro. Reenacting this stunt, or some other you may feel more comfortable with shouldn’t be practiced by anyone not on a closed course, especially if you’re not a professional. You know that fine print on the new car ads telling you these actions should only be performed on a closed course by a professional driver? It doesn’t appear on this video. Granted, that’s probably why they are more boring, but there is a reason for it. Warning or not, how many kids do you think are going to resist the urge to become a YouTube sensation? Especially when the odds of failure have an equal chance of netting you stardom as a successful stunt. It’s not about success or failure, it’s about witnessing stupidity at it’s rawest form.

Carry on.

Oops. You took out a mailbox? Oh… and that parked car? Wow, look at your new car, is not so new looking anymore…and it only turns right while the rear wheels go left and billows blue smoke from under the hood? Bummer. But hey, it’ll look great on YouTube! Sorry about the fines, the property damage and anyone you may have accidentally run over in the process, that’s the price of fame, right?

I hope when the time comes, I’ve taught my son well enough to realize it’s not cool to be a YouTube star for the wrong reasons. But when there’s a whole new generation of kids who don’t know which notch in their mother’s bed post their father is, and are no longer afraid to do the nasty with their own grandma in the same bed, there’s a whole class of people that are going to make that job a lot tougher for me.

Thanks for providing an even lower common denominator America.