Wednesday, May 31, 2006
If You Don't Buy My House, I'll Cry. An Open Letter To The People That Just Visited.
Here's an open letter I'd like to send to the people that just visited my house: **** Dear people that just visited my house, I don't know you, and unless you buy my house I'll likely never meet you. Please buy my house. Do you realize that I had to take an hour off work in scorching hot weather to rush home and clean up because you wanted to do a 2nd visit on such short notice? The least you could do is make me a grand offer for the place. Luckily for me I was able to get out of work and clean up, because my family makes a mess pretty quickly. It's mostly my son, but he's just a kid and the words "clean that up right now!" aren't quite registering. Still, he gives spontaneous hugs which are cute. I think you'll find the place looks great. Sure, it's a bit warm, but I turned the air conditioner on for you. I know, I know...it doesn't cool the whole place down, but that's cause the place is so big and airy; just the way you like it right? Anyway, I hope you buy the house. As you might imagine I'm fairly tired of cleaning, but this time, when I cleaned up just for you it was really more a pleasure than a horrible burden that left me sweaty, tired, behind in my work and irritable. Truly, I wanted to clean the place for you. Sincerely, Me. PS. I hope you didn't look under the bed. Or the futon. Actually, I'll apologize right now if you looked in the cupboard underneath the sink. **** Last week I wrote a post, Selling Your Home Sucks. I'm Sick of Cleaning. As you can see though, I'm trying to be more Zen about it. How am I doing? (Technorati Tags: selling your house, cleaning your house, staging your house, real estate)
Testing the IGotNewsForYou RSS Feed. Sorry About This (Darn Blogger)
Last week I was trying to move this blog to WordPress. In the process of doing that I published the blog to Blogger's hosting at "blogspot" thinking I would use that as an archive of my posts while I replace this blog with the WordPress one. I realized during the process that for now at least, I can't move to WordPress. So I switched the publishing back to FTP'ing the content of the blog to this URL. Two things happened: 1. I realized that the blog at blogspot was still there and I can't figure out how to delete it! If anyone knows how please let me know. Blogger has been totally unresponsive and no one has answered by question in the Blogger Help forums. 2. My feed stopped working. It looks like when I made the move to publishing the blog at blogspot, the feed changed its URL as well. So I've been posting new content since May 26th but I noticed it wasn't being picked up by the feed. Today I panicked and looked into it in more detail and hopefully I've solved the problem. So this is mostly a test to see if the feed is working correctly (as well as a general grumbling complaint about Blogger *sigh*)
MySpace Already Paying Dividends. JonBoy Donates a Book of Limericks to the Writing Contest!
Yesterday, I posted about my MySpace profile and my experiment with it. I contacted a bunch of people and within the span of a few hours I had 40+ friends, some of which came to my profile and commented, others which contacted me directly. I noticed that one of those friends, jonBoy (as he's known on MySpace) had written a book, called "What is a Limerick?" He looks like a funny guy, and the book looks like fun, so I sent him a comment asking if he'd be interested in donating a prize to IGotNewsForYou.com's Fake Funny News Writing Contest. A couple of messages back and forth through MySpace, and voila, jonBoy donates his book. Easy as pie and a great addition to the prizes we already have! The best way to read up on his book (and if you want to buy it!) is to check out his profile at authorhouse. You can buy the book directly from there and I think it could be a fun, unique gift for someone into limericks, poetry and silliness. I want to thank jonBoy (whose real name is Jonathan Dean) for donating the book, and take this time to thank all of the people donating prizes. This is also a good time to remind people that I extended the duration of the contest to July 14th to allow people the time to get their submissions in. So submit your funny, fake news stories as soon as you can! (Technorati Tags: limericks, writing contest, jonboy, myspace)
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Doing the MySpace Thing. IGotNewsForYou Gets Its Own MySpace Profile.
I've known about MySpace for some time but I never really looked into it in detail. I always thought it was for the kids, but I was incredibly wrong. So, I built an IGotNewsForYou MySpace Profile. Two people really inspired me to give it a try: 1. Mark Garrison, a writing contributor to IGotNewsForYou.com and early fan is a successful MySpace user. He's got his own profile and does some marketing work on MySpace as well (not sure if I can mention the company name, so I won't.) He's provided a ton of advice and I'm sure I'll be asking him more and more questions as things go along. 2. Jordan at tell ten friends has been using MySpace for awhile, and most recently wrote that 10% of his site's traffic is coming from there. I'm in the process of learning the ropes, building up the friend network, and we'll see how it goes. I hope to be able to report some interesting results in the near future. I also plan on adding a profile for myself on MySpace, whereas the one that's there right now is strictly for the website. My profile will focus more on my interests as a business owner, entrepreneur, etc. and I'll look for friends with similar interests. IN OTHER NEWS: The move to WordPress is not going to happen. The hosting package we have now (and our requirements for ASP.NET hosting) conflict with WordPress's need for PHP. So for now, I'm sticking with Blogger. Sorry for the confusion and blustering (I don't think I handled that very well!) but everything will remain as is. WordPress still rocks though... (Technorati Tags: myspace)
Tomorrow is My Father's Birthday, And Montreal Starts Its Festival Season
My dad turns 29 tomorrow. At least in his mind. Happy Birthday! Buying gifts isn't my forte, but luckily my wife knows what she's doing. She gave me the idea of getting my dad tickets to a show at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which starts July 1st, 2006. So I did. The Just for Laughs Festival is only one of many festivals that take place yearly in Montreal. Many Montrealers call this time (from mid-June or so through mid-August) "Festival Season", and with good reason. Upcoming festivals include: - Jazz Festival (June 29-July 9) - Just for Laughs Festival (July 1-July 31) - Blues Festival (August 10-13) - Fringe Festival (June 8-18) - Pee in the Street Festival - The Lament at Not Being in the NHL Playoffs Anymore Festival - Montreal Highland Games (this one isn't a joke) - Sleep with Random People Festival Actually, Montreal.com has a great listing of all the upcoming festivals. There's something for everyone, particularly if you're a comedy-loving, jazz-enthusiast Scot, who likes to pee in the street, misses hockey and sleeps around. Sounds like I'm describing just about everyone no? (Technorati Tags: fringe festival, jazz festival, just for laughs festival, montreal festivals)
Monday, May 29, 2006
Liz Strauss Thinks We're An SOB, And We're Thrilled!
Liz Strauss is over at Successful Blog and recently I discovered that she had called me and IGotNewsForYou's blog an SOB. Was I insulted? Was I shocked? Was I depressed? None of the above! I was thrilled! On Liz's blog, at least in this context, SOB stands for "Successful and Outstanding Blogger". I guess begging & bribing really do work! She's even given her SOBs a badge: I'm now proudly displaying this in our sidebar as well. Here are Liz's thoughts on her SOBs, "They take the conversation to their readers, contribute great ideas, challenge us, make us better, and make our businesses stronger." Thanks Liz. I'm a proud SOB. IN OTHER NEWS: The move to WordPress is halted since my hosting company isn't supporting PHP properly. I'm very frustrated but still trying to find an answer. I foresee some interesting and fairly irate blog posts in the near future. (Technorati Tags: liz strauss, successful blogger)
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Attempting the Switch to Wordpress
Hello readers, I'm in the process of attempting a switch to WordPress, which I hope will be completed this evening. The feed, which I use Feedburner for, is currently: http://feeds.feedburner.com/IGotNewsForYou I'm hoping it can stay the same, since the URL of the blog should also stay the same, although the source RSS will be different. (So if anyone was using the source RSS feed which ended in "atom.xml" they will very likely need to update.) In case there are problems with the feed (or anything else), please take note of the fact that I'm trying to switch blogging platforms and that you should visit the site directly at http://www.igotnewsforyou.com/blog for any updates. Thanks!
Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing Posts Our Blogger Story
Toby Bloomberg runs a blog titled Diva Marketing which is a must read for any marketing, PR, blogging folk looking for insight and help. She recently started a new project called Blogger Stories, "...a new blog launched to tell the stories of how people have been touched by blogs. It's an opportunity for bloggers to tell their personal stories of how their lives have been influenced by social media." Toby invited me to write my and my father's story, the story behind IGotNewsForYou.com and this blog. She was interested in the "father-son" aspect of things, and I was happy to oblige. Here's the IGotNewsForYou.com Blogger Story! I want to thank Toby for the opportunity to tell our story and for both of her blogs, they've been very valuable and insightful. Blogger Stories is a great read; you'll find stories that I'm sure are similar to your own experiences with the value of blogs and how they've affected your life. (Technorati Tags: toby bloomberg, diva marketing, blogger stories)
Friday, May 26, 2006
Testing the move away from Blogger
Testing to see if this is still publishing where I don't want it.
Blog Traffic Experiments and a Marketing Survey: Two Outstanding Bloggers Need Your Help
Dave Navarro writes a blog titled, Million Dollar Leverage, which I only recently discovered through a Carnival of Entrepreneurship (or was it a Carnival of Capitalists?) Anyway, he's running a blog traffic experiment and he needs more volunteers. The idea is that you'll help him out with some experiment on generating blog traffic, and in turn each volunteer will get the results, as well as the opportunity to increase their blog traffic with the help of all the volunteers. It sounds interesting and worth a shot. Over at tell ten friends, Jordan has a quick marketing survey for small business owners. It's something he's put together to help with the direction of his company (which offers marketing/PR/etc. services to small businesses). There's no harm in helping out a fellow blogger (and his content is worth reading), so go over and take a look. (Technorati Tags: tell ten friends, dave navarro, increasing blog traffic, marketing survey)
Post to Your Blog Early in the Morning. Or So I'm Told.
Please read this article at: Post to your blog early in the morning, or so I'm told (Technorati Tags: problogger, blog posting in the morning, gillette razors, brushing your teeth)
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tell a Story at Sutori. A Story About the Good and Bad of Customer Service.
Over at HorsePigCow, Tara has posted about a new site soon-to-be-launched called Sutori. The site is meant to give people the opportunity to tell the world their stories about crappy and good customer service as well as stories about bad and good products. They've got a blog going that talks a bit more about what they'll be doing. It's a cool idea. Anywhere that lets people communicate (preferrably in a structured way so it doesn't degrade into stupidity) is a positive thing. I particularly like (and would encourage) the angle of positive stories, not because I think we should be brown-nosers with companies, but because it's rare that we experience great, or even good, customer service. When we do, as consumers, we should definitely talk about it. The bad always comes out, and I'm all for complaining (I do it here quite a bit) and uprooting the stupidity of crappy customer service, but it's nice to think about being able to help companies out by telling positive stories. Looking back at some of my recent experiences (and those of my father), I can see a market for having a place to tell our stories... Quality Tech Support from Canon a Shocker (positive story!) Guests Come and Go. Cable Guys Almost Never Show Up to Begin With (negative story) The Delta Hotel Disappoints; Pricey, Old and Hairy (Just Not a Good Combination) (clearly negative) (Technorati Tags: horsepigcow, sutori, customer service, canon, delta hotel)
Selling Your Home Sucks. I'm Sick of Cleaning.
A few weeks ago my wife and I decided to put our home up on the market. The process is incredibly easy: find a real estate agent (there's one practically living in everyone's home already, waiting to pounce), sign some papers, have someone bang a sign out on the front lawn, and voila, your house is for sale. So what's next? Anticipation? Excitement? Nervousness? Nope. Cleaning. I've never cleaned so often and intensely before in my life. We've had at least seven or eight visits (including one open house), and before each one you have to clean up like a madman. With a kid (almost 2) tearing the place up like it's a playground, it doesn't make things easy. Well I'm sick of cleaning. Vaccuuming. Dusting. Picking things up. Hiding things (or as people call it "staging".) Every time there's a visit all of my bathroom stuff (toothbrush, razor, etc.) gets tucked away somewhere. Of course, I can't find it the next day, so I end up rushing off to work dirty, unshaven and with bad breath. Oh, you wanted to dry off with an actual towel after your shower? Sorry, those are hidden cause they don't match the wall color. Welcome to the life of someone trying to sell a house. Forget even trying to look for another place...we're too busy cleaning, we don't have the time. So when someone eventually does buy our place I'll be dirty, unshaven, tired and homeless (oh and don't forget the bad breath.) On a side note (or on a less sarcastic note I should say), if anyone does have "staging" advice or funny story selling or buying stories, I could use the pick-me-up! And my entrepreneurial mind can't help but think there has to be a business in "emergency cleaning & staging", where someone would rush in at a moment's notice, clean up, stage the place with flowers, accessories (maybe ones that you don't even own), etc. I know there are staging consultants but I'm talking about a combination of cleaning + staging, where I could call you and say, "Fix the place up, there's a visit at 3pm!" (Technorati Tags: selling your house, cleaning, staging a house, open houses)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I Want To Be A Successful And Outstanding Blogger
Does that title sound desperate or optimistic? Hopefully optimistic, and with all the great resources out there, it's just a matter of time...(and key product placement in TV sitcoms, but that's another story!) Yesterday, I participated in an "open mike" session at Successful Blog where a great group of people chatted about a number of critical subjects facing the Internet and bloggers today. Here are some highlights: - What's the relationship between Steve's moose and Ben's donkey? - Net Neutrality (Read more here) - Switching from Blogger to Wordpress. I've been thinking about doing this for awhile, and I probably will within the next few days. Any thoughts, insights, questions, etc. are appreciated. I've heard Bluehost is the way to go for hosting. - What actors would play all of the "open mike" participants in a movie. I tried for Tom Cruise but then went with Paul Giamatti. Sure Giamatti's not much to look at but he's got talent and seems like a nice guy. Apparently they do an "open mike" regularly (every Tuesday?), and you can check out all the details here. Thanks to Liz Strauss for the great blog on PR, branding, blogging and more. Definitely worth a read. (Technorati Tags: liz strauss, net neutrality, blogging)
George Bush in the News! Well, the Fake News. But Unlike Most News These Days, At Least This is Funny.
Very few people are in the news more than George Bush. Tom Cruise, maybe...but after that, it's all about George. So, without further ado, here's a newspaper page for George Bush. As one can imagine, this is fake news, generated by IGotNewsForYou.com. It took no more than a few minutes to do. I'm sure someone out there has George's email address right? If you do, please feel free to send along the link or email me his email address. As a disclaimer, I'm not playing political sides here. Last week we created a page for Bill Clinton. I'm fairly certain he hasn't seen it yet, but it would be something if he did! (Technorati Tags: george bush, fake newspaper, funny news)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
IGotNewsForYou.com Launches a Reminder Service To Help You Make People Laugh
We've been working hard over the last few weeks to improve IGotNewsForYou.com with your feedback and our own ideas. A lot of your feedback and our ideas gelled perfectly, so many of the changes coming up are no-brainers -- you want them and we want them. One of those changes launched today: our Reminder Service. The Reminder Service lets subscribers keep track of occasions they want IGotNewsForYou.com to remind them about (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, special events, etc.) It's incredibly easy to use and 5 days before an occasion's date you'll receive an email from us reminding you about it. To use the Reminder Service all you need to do is login to the site (assuming you're a subscriber). You'll see a "reminders" link at the top of the page (immediately under the "change password" link). Click the "reminders" link and it brings you to the Reminders Page. Here you can add reminders (edit/delete existing reminders) and keep track of the ones you've already put into the system. You'll also see a link "Send a page" for each reminder; so you can send a page/ecard/greeting to people right away. Hopefully this makes things even easier to use! If you're not a subscriber, then you can't use the Reminder Service. I guess that makes it a "value add" for subscribing, which is the best value on the site. For $14.95/year you can send as many IGotNewsForYou.com ecards as you like. Everyone knows a handful of people at minimum that they would send birthday cards to (let alone other holiday/occasion cards). If you send 5 ecards with a subscription that comes to $2.99/ecard, and it's hard to beat that price, especially for the fun you and the recipient will get out of it. To subscribe, click here. There's a few quick steps to the process, and you can pay with a PayPal account or a credit card. For subscribers, I would encourage you to login and try the Reminder Service. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Feel free to email us.
Practical Ways to Defeat Self Doubt
We all deal with self doubt from time to time, as entrepreneurs, employees, husbands, wives, etc. Last week I wrote a post titled, You're Not Rich Yet? Take a Step Out and Regroup which talked around the idea of self doubt. Mostly I was talking about how to deal with not meeting your expectations as quickly as hoped, and how to take a step out and look at things from a fresh perspective. Dave Navarro at Million Dollar Leverage (great blog name!) just wrote a post titled, "How To Prevent Self Doubt", and it's a great, practical guide. Often when we read discussions on things such as self doubt it'll be filled with psychobabble and loop around in endless circles of nonsense, but Dave's giving you 2 steps you can take. It's a well-written and well-thought out article, and it ties very well into what I had written about. We all face self doubt (probably several times per day!) but being able to battle it, overcome it and eventually prevent it from happening is a path to success I'm sure we'd all like to take. (Technorati Tags: dave navarro, preventing self doubt, million dollar leverage)
Monday, May 22, 2006
The Debate Over the Value of Mainstream Media. What Does It Still Offer Us?
Larry Borsato questions whether mainstream media is going to disappear or not as a counterpoint to Mark Evans' belief that mainstream media won't disappear because it's convenient. What now? Let me summarize: Mark Evans says mainstream media won't disappear because it's convenient. Larry Borsato isn't so sure, and wonders why else people would stick with mainstream media. I just wanted to throw a couple other thoughts into the mix: 1. Local News: As much as we've seen the expansion of online, local news and local-focused blogs, the mainstream media (particularly local/city newspapers) still give us the best and most local news. If I want to know what's going on around my city, or want to read about what's going on in my community, the city / community newspapers are still #1. And I don't see that changing for some time. 2. Expanding Our Knowledge: Granted, we can find anything we want about anything online, there's no question about that. But one argument I've heard for the benefit of newspapers is that it provides us with an accessible means to news we might not have been looking for. And I think Mark Evans is making this argument when he says, "...newspapers are designed to encourage discovery because you can quickly browse through several sections and read the news items that capture your attention..." Online, more and more effort is going towards finding ways of giving people exactly what they want. There's so much out there that systems are being designed to help us focus in on just the content we're interested in. And in many ways that's great, because now I can read 5,000,000 articles about a specific topic of interest. But the world isn't that myopic. There's a ton of stuff going on around us, and whether we're interested or not, there's value in being made aware of that stuff. Who knows, you might discover something that interests you, and you didn't even realize it. A newspaper helps with that, by using big headlines and images to grab our attention. It's there to say, "We found this interesting, and it might pique your interest as well." Almost everyone I know that reads a newspaper regularly has always had more diverse interests and could speak on a wider range of topics. The Internet is the great equalizer in many ways. It opens up such a vast amount of information that we could all become experts on everything. It's become very difficult for anyone (be it the media or a corporation) to hide anything. It's out there. But because of that, I think people are now trying to find ways of blocking "everything" out...because "everything" is just darn much. So all the information is out there, but you rarely hear of people just browsing around for the heck of it. People are online looking for stuff that specifically interests them, and they want it as quickly as possible. But people do browse newspapers, flipping pages, scanning headlines and they get drawn into the content. There's no denying newspapers are in trouble, but I don't think they'll disappear that quickly (if ever). Like any industry that's changing significantly and rapidly, mainstream media has to adjust, become nimble and evolve. (Technorati Tags: newspapers, mainstream media, larry borsato, mark evans)
Be Careful About Devaluing What You Offer
Please read this article at: Instigator Blog >> Be Careful About Devaluing What You Offer (Technorati Tags: lowering prices, entrepreneurship)
Friday, May 19, 2006
Anyone Know Bill Clinton's Email Address? I've got an IGotNewsForYou eCard for Him.
Everyone knows Bill Clinton's going to write a new book. Once again, I'm not breaking any big news story here. I have read a lot of funny stuff spoofing the news, and I thought to myself, "What could I say about this that's funny?" Then I realized, I could send Bill Clinton an IGotNewsForYou ecard. Of course, I don't know Bill's email address, but if someone has it let me know. In the meantime, I generated the fake, funny newspaper page using my own site (duh!) and I'm sharing it with everyone: Bill Clinton's IGotNewsForYou Page from Ben (When you click the link it's going to say "Hello Bill" at the top. We know everyone's name isn't Bill; the site is assuming the page was delivered to Bill Clinton via email. Just in case anyone was confused.) I think it's darn funny, and even though I don't know Bill personally (although I'll keep calling him "Bill" just the same) I have a sneaky suspicion he might get a laugh out of this too. Or he'll send the C.I.A. out to kill me. It's a toss-up at this point. Still, people will hopefully get a laugh out of my spoof on Bill Clinton, and everyone can send pages just like that one to anyone they like: friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers...all you need is a name, an email address and a bit of information about someone, and bam, you can make fun of them (and they'll laugh too, we promise)! (Technorati Tags: bill clinton, fake newspaper, hillary clinton, satire
Google Thinks This Might Interest Me -- Study: Chimps and Early Humans Interbred
Gmail is Google's mail program. I've used it for some time and aside from the fact that they seem to have regular connectivity issues (which actually seem to have disappeared most recently), Gmail is very good. Awhile ago they introduced Web Clips which show a headline link above your inbox to something of interest. You can customize the sites that it pulls from, yada yada. If you're interested you can read about it on your own. Now I know the Google Ads that appear on the right-hand side when you're reading an email are displayed based on the content/keywords of your email. For example, I was reading an email today with the words "rum & coke" in it and every ad on the right-hand side was related in some way to "coca cola". I'm not entirely sure if Google does this with Web Clips, although I suspect they might be because almost every time I read an email with the word "blog" in it (maybe the word has to be in there a few times; this isn't a scientific study), the headline at the top is blog-related. It's not as pervasive or obvious as the ads, but I get the feeling Web Clips aren't totally random. Actually, now that I think about it, some of the Web Clips are ads which might be what I'm seeing with this blog nonsense, cause I was seeing the same one over and over (which in part made me question whether Google is trying to personalize Web Clips at all.) It's a neat feature, but not something I've ever paid a lot of attention to...until today, when this headline showed up: Study: Chimps and Early Humans Interbred Is Google trying to tell me something? My arms are disproportionately long and I do tend to scratch myself more often than I probably should. Once, I tried to pick something out of my wife's hair (that didn't go well). While The DaVinci Code is all about Jesus and Mary Magdelene having a family tree, is it possible my family tree is a little less noble and inspiring? I might need to ask my father about this, if he'd just climb down from that rooftop... (Technorati Tags: discovery channel, men and chimps mating, google, gtalk, web clips, family trees.)
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Who Wants Heather Mills McCartney Now?
Unless you live under a rock or are too obsessed with American Idol to notice the world spinning around you (*shiver*), you'll already know that Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills McCartney are separating. Ok, so we're not breaking any big news there. But since IGotNewsForYou.com is all about bringing you topical news (granted, it's fake and funny, but that's exactly the point), we wrote the following story. If you want to put someone in this story and send it to them, you can! Just fill out this quick form and this story may appear, along with a whackload of others in a newspaper-style format. ********************************************** Fear Factor Finalist Freaks Montreal resident Benjamin Yoskovitz was on the brink of winning the grand prize of $50,000 as he entered the final round of Fear Factor, the smash-hit TV show which preys upon the physical and psychological phobias of its contestants. In previous rounds, Benjamin had successfully eaten poisonous toads, been covered with hundreds of tarantulas, and been towed as live bait for great white sharks. Yesterday’s challenge was too much, however, for our local hero. When asked to go on a date with the now-single Heather Mills McCartney, Yoskovitz visibly blanched, trembled at the knees and dry retched, before declining. "Every man has his breaking point," he told reporters. ********************************************** As one would expect, the blogosphere is full of chatter on this subject. Here's some link love to those that ranked highest on Google's Blogsearch for, "paul mccartney separating from heather": * Paul McCartney To Lose Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars * Why Sir Paul's 'genius' could save him millions * Paul McCartney: Heather Didn't Marry Me for Money * Paul McCartney's Cracking Up (Technorati Tags: paul mccartney, heather mills, fear factor, paul mccartney separated)
Moms Know Best. Kids Don't. And Husbands...Well Husbands Are Just Clueless
Over at The Peach Pit, Peaches has written about a recent conversation with her son about school supplies that made me laugh. All kids are like that, but it's still funny. It sounds like conversations I'm bound to have with my son in the future. He's not quite 2 yet, so our conversations are more along the lines of: Me: How are you little man? Him: Blue. Blue. Blue. Blue. Me: Yes, the pillow is blue. Him: Pillow. Pillow. Pillow. Pillow. Me: (mixing a gin and tonic) Do you want the pillow? Him: More. More. More. More. Me: (drinking the gin and tonic) On the other hand, my wife would probably aruge that this sort of conversation is better and more productive than some that her and I have: Wife: Did you clean the cat litter? Me: (Sitting on the couch) I will. Wife: Do you have cat litter? Me: (Still sitting...) I think so. Wife: Why don't you check? Me: There isn't any. Wife: There's some in the car. Me: (In a panicked tone) All the way downstairs? (we live on the third floor) Wife: (Beats me with a lamp. Yes, it's happened. Ok, no it hasn't...but it probably will...) (Technorati Tags: the peach pit, talking to your husband, talking to kids, absurd conversations)
According to Miriam, Jews Are Giving Up on World Domination
Miriam is reporting that Jews don't want to run the world any more. I suppose that might be news to a few of them (including some in my family), but if you don't pee in your pants reading Miriam's report, well... I only found Miriam's blog a couple of days ago, and so far I've enjoyed it immensely. She's got a great sense of humor. (Technorati Tags: jews rule the world, miriam's ideas, miriam)
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
A Cop Peeing on the Street
With a title like that, you'd think I have a picture. Sadly, I was driving and didn't have time to pull out my cellphone and snap one. Plus, I don't think cops take kindly to having their picture taking by random people speeding in their cars. Still, would he have noticed me? I swear he was peeing on the side of the street. Yup, that's right...in mid-afternoon, heading home, I'm driving by and see a cop car parked to the side. Naturally I slow down and wake up (cause driving asleep is dangerous, don't ya know!) and I see the policeman standing by his car, facing away, on the sidewalk, and he's shaking...that recognizable motion that all men know instantly: "the shake after peeing move". At least that's what it looked like he was doing. What else could he be doing on the side there, by the bushes? So now, our cops are peeing in broad daylight. Or perhaps my eyes deceived me...I guess we'll never know... (Technorati Tags: cops, weird sights, cops peeing)
You're Not Rich Yet? Take a Step Out and Regroup
Please read this article at: Instigator Blog >> You're Not Rich Yet? Take a Step Out and Regroup (Technorati Tags: entrepreneurship, starting a business)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The Carnival of Capitalists at The Virtual Handshake
Participating in Carnivals is fun, and today one of my blog posts was published in the Carnival of Capitalists, hosted at The Virtual Handshake. The post was about cultivating customer loyalty through great customer service and support. Since it was on this blog, I'm sure you read it right? I do a lot of reading (other blogs, magazines, etc.) and probably don't give out enough props, so here goes: Please Stop with Your Chinese Math is a great article about entrepreneurs going to VCs and saying, "The market's huge! We only need a super small percentage of it to be successful!" There's a fallacy in there which every entrepreneur should realize. (Of course in my mind, I'm saying, "The greeting card/ecard industry is HUGE! All IGotNewsForYou.com needs is 1% of that and woohoo!" Easier said than done, my friends.) Pam at Escape from Cubicle Nation is writing some great stuff on being an entrepreneur. One recent post in particular struck a real chord: Developing your entrepreneur chops? Get comfortable with tough feedback. Been there, done that. Lots of learning there for entrepreneurs. Creating Passionate Users is a great blog about business, marketing, technology and generally covers a lot of interesting topics. Plus they often have some pretty funny graphics on the site. One of their recent posts, What if managers had to do tech support? is a great example. (Hey! I'm a manager and I do tech support! It makes me a better manager...) So there you have it. Kudos to all of these bloggers for their great content. And if you want more information on the Carnival of Capitalists, check out the main site. (Technorati Tags: carnival of capitalists, virtual handshake, business pundit, creating passionate users, escape from cubicle nation)
Corporate Culture Confusion: Naming Meeting Rooms
Please read this article at: Instigator Blog >> Corporate Culture Confusion (Technorati Tags: where the hell was i, charlie hatton, corporate culture)
Monday, May 15, 2006
Stag Parties Are Still Fun, Even if We Can't Party Like We Used To
Phew. That's a long title to get to these three points: * I'm older than I used to be (in fact it was my birthday yesterday). * Stag parties are still a ton of fun. * I can't party like I used to. I've just returned from a weekend of festivities in Toronto, where I celebrated the upcoming nuptials of an old university friend. The usual gang was there, along with some people I hadn't met before. He's getting married in a few weeks, and that's another party I'm looking forward to. In the old days, partying for 17 hours was easy...natural even. Today, not so much. A few thoughts now that my head is clearing: * Woodbine Racetrack is a lot of fun. I've never been to any form of horse racing, but we had a great time. It was a great way to start off the day. I ended up winning a few bucks, and after a few races we were all right into it. Plus there's a buffet at one of the restaurants that's exceptional. * Toronto has an insane number of pubs. There's a pub on every corner. I'm amazed the entire population isn't stumbling around drunk. * Chinese food at 5am tastes incredible. * Jagermeister helps digestion (Ok, I'm not sure that's true, but one of the guys swore by it.) * Picking up the tab for 10 guys after 4 hours at a drinking establishment is financial suicide. Truth be told I didn't pick up the tab, the damn thing was so long it was like a roll of toilet paper...40 pints of Kilkenny, 30 shots of Jagermeister, 30 Guinness...wow... And finally, even though it was only for a couple days, it was nice to leave my computer at home and disconnect. No email. No web surfing. No technology. Just good old fashion partying...at least to the extent that I can do it at my age... (Technorati Tags: jagermeister, stag parties, toronto, woodbine racetrack)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Military Spouse Appreciation Day: May 12, 2006
A couple days ago I signed up for a joke e-newsletter called Mikey's Funnies. I'm curious to see what it's like and looking at the possibility of advertising there. In today's email (there's 1 a day) I read about Military Spouse Appreciation Day. It's the first time I've heard of it, but apparently Ronald Reagan (in 1984) declared the Friday before Mother's Day as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Whatever your thoughts about the current war in Iraq and in Afghanistan (which for Canadians hits very close to home since we've got a lot of troops there), and whatever your political views, you can't help but feel something for the spouses that watch their husbands and wives go off to war. The spouses of military folk have to be pretty strong, and I imagine they're a very tight-knit community. So kudos go out to the spouses of our military people, and tomorrow give some thought to the stress, suffering and strength of them all. Oh, and if you want to send an IGotNewsForYou.com page/ecard/greeting to celebrate the day, you can! Just go to the form, fill out the information about the recipient, and select "Military Spouse Appreciation Day" as the occasion. I'm sure there are tons of troops and spouses that could use a good laugh these days. (Technorati Tags: military spouses appreciation day, mikey's funnies, ronald reagan)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Fathers-4-Justice May Be a Good Cause, But Their Tactics Suck
Fathers-4-Justice is an organization that advocates fathers' rights when dealing with child custody issues. If you're interested, here's their website: http://www.fathers-4-justice.ca/. I'm all for fathers' rights, and like many advocacy groups, these guys have as much a right to exist and pursue their cause as everyone else. But their tactics suck giant, enormous donkey testicles. Yes, you heard me right. That was rude, but it just has to be. Granted, after a nice beer and a dinner out, I'm calmer, but still... Early this morning, a man climbed a billboard high above a major bridge between Montreal island and the South Shore. He had previously gone to a Fathers-4-Justice meeting, and while the group dissociated themselves from the stunt and the guy, they had pulled off something similar a few months ago. Because this guy is up there above the bridge, the police had to close the bridge. That caused massive gridlock on the other bridges connecting Montreal and the South Shore, and massive gridlock throughout the city itself. He was there in the morning and by the time rush hour hit this afternoon he was still up there. It took me an hour to get home, where normally it takes 15-20 minutes. Apparently he's still up there now. The police won't go get him, so they wait it out, hoping he eventually gets too thirsty, hungry or maybe has to crap so bad he comes down on his own. On the radio this morning, one announcer suggested they put a net below him and shoot him with a tranquilizer gun like they would an escaped animal. Not bad, but might I suggest a bazooka instead? The Gazette has a blurb online about the ongoing incident. This guy has no right to screw with other people's lives for his cause. He's wasting my time and ultimately his, since he can get absolutely no sympathy through his tactics. It's idiotic and pathetic and it makes me want to tell fathers to go jump off a bridge...wait a second...that's a perfect idea! (Technorati Tags: fathers for justice, fathers 4 justice, man on billboard, montreal traffic)
Dan Janal at PR Leads Donates Prize to Writing Contest!
Dan Janal runs a business called PR Leads which helps business experts get publicity. The service helps reporters looking for information on specific topics find the experts they need (i.e. you), so you don't have to hunt down the reporters to get publicity. I haven't used PR Leads, but I've been a regular reader of Dan's blog for some time, where he gives away tons of insight and information about the PR world. Last night, Dan confirmed his prize donation to our Fake, Funny News Writing Contest! The writing contest was set to end May 12th, but with this new prize, I'm extending the contest for 2 months, so the new end date is July 14th. This will give more people time to submit their fake, funny news. Oh, right, so what's the prize? The prize is a CD of an interview that Dan did with Joan Stewart, "The Publicity Hound", on how to create your expert image so reporters will call you when news breaks. At Dan's blog, in a post titled, How the press decides what to write about, he goes into specific details on what the interview contains. If you're interested in PR or need help with PR, this CD is going to be worthwhile. This is a great prize, and I'm really excited about it. It's the kind of prize that could help a ton of business people, entrepreneurs, authors, etc. Thanks to Dan for the donation. Here are some important links to check out: * PR Leads * Dan Janal's blog about PR * Joan Stewart's Publicity Hound (she has a great email newsletter and blog too) * IGotNewsForYou.com's Funny Fake News Writing Contest (Technorati Tags: dan janal, pr leads, getting pr, joan stewart, publicity hound, writing contest, fake news)
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
IGotNewsForYou Uses Customer Feedback to Improve
We've been live for about 1 week and so far we're very pleased with the feedback we've received. From "very cool" to "f****** hilarious", people that are receiving IGotNewsForYou pages are enjoying a good, hearty laugh. I wanted to thank everyone that's given it a try so far, and I'm sure we'll see more and more people trying it over the weeks to come. In the meantime, we're working tirelessly on the feedback we've already received. We don't have huge enough samples to make major changes just yet, but here's some things we've already done or are planning to do: * Across the newspaper-style page (check out a sample) there's a black bar with a headline in it. A few people pointed out that we should use this space to highlight the occasion for which the page is being sent. For example - say you send a page for someone's birthday; the message in that black bar will very clearly point that out. Currently, the occasion is highlighted in a short blurb just above that and to the left, but for some, that's not prominent enough. So we're switching things around to make it clearer. * The samples that are online (there are 3 of them: 1 regular, 1 raunchy, 1 for female recipients) have been updated so that users can see what it's like to click on headlines and get new stories immediately. When a page is generated by the site it displays a list of stories, but many of them can be changed by clicking on the headlines; this lets a user be more selective and hopefully find the perfect stories for the recipient. * We've increased the number of stories that appear in certain positions, so that people have more choice. * We've added an email newsletter sign-up on most pages of the website. For most blog readers this may not be necessary, but for others that don't frequent the blog, the email newsletter is our way of keeping in touch. * We're writing a bunch of new stories, which get put into the system on a regular basis. We've got hundreds already, but the more we put in, the more personalized things become, and the more humor people get to choose from. There have been a bunch of other small changes/tweaks made to the site and the system, all in an attempt to make it easier to use and better. Feedback is essential to the success of any business. We knew IGotNewsForYou.com wasn't perfect from day 1, nothing really could be. The feedback we get, and the insight we get from people using the site are super-important, and helping already. Thanks again to everyone that's tried it, we hope you enjoyed it and come back soon! (Technorati Tags: customer feedback, fake news, igotnewsforyou
Monday, May 08, 2006
Iranian President Writes George Bush
"This letter will self-destruct in..." KABOOM! Oops. I just read an an article on the Globe and Mail website about this letter, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent George Bush via the Swiss ambassador (to Iran). Aside from the fact that the letter was smeared with fine, Swiss chocolate, it was "just a letter" as the article points out. I'd hardly think so. One can only imagine what's in that letter, although lots of blogs are already surmising its contents: LEAK: Text of Iran President’s Letter to Bush Iranian Letter Unexpected Santa (Random picks from the top of a blog search for postings about this subject.) I'd venture to say the letter doesn't say that much at all, but it should be incredibly interesting to see if we can find out. That's assuming the letter hasn't blown up. Have we seen any smoke coming from the White House? (Technorati Tags: iranian letter, george bush, iran, iranian president sends letter)
Friday, May 05, 2006
Send a No Pants Day Greeting!
Today is No Pants Day! It's always celebrated on the first Friday of May according to the "official" No Pants Day website. They've got all the information there on what we're celebrating, where, why, etc. At IGotNewsForYou.com we think No Pants Day is great -- heck, we spend most of our time working on the site without any pants on anyway! Today is a perfect day to send an IGotNewsForYou greeting/page/e-card to someone in honor of No Pants Day. It's easy to do, and I'm sure you can think of a few people that would appreciate such an exception holiday. And, to prove my dedication to the holiday, here I am, sitting in my office...sans pants. And I was also alerted yesterday to the fact that it's also Cinco de Mayo today! Woohoo! A double celebration. Well, guess what? When sending an IGotNewsForYou.com page to someone, you can also select Cinco de Mayo as the occasion... Happy No Pants Day/Cinco de Mayo to everyone! (Technorati Tags: no pants day, cinco de mayo, igotnewsforyou, fake news, e-cards, greeting cards)
A Bear Walks into a Grocery Store...
That sounds like the start of some lame joke right? But actually it's not. Earlier this week, a young black bear walked into a grocery store in Peace River, Alberta, right through the automatic doors and headed directly for the pastries. The bear apparently had a thing for strawberry pastries/pies and ate somewhere in the realm of 10 pies before having his (or her) fill. The people in the store were eventually able to coax the bear out, no problem at all. Except for one idiot that decided to snap pictures with his camera phone and got too close. What makes you think you should be sticking a camera phone, or anything for that matter, in the face of a bear? Well, as one can imagine, the bear bit the man, but barely injured him (I believe it was a light hand injury). And now, since the bear has hurt someone it has to, by law, be killed. Authorities have setup a trap outside the grocery store in the hopes of catching the bear, at which point they kill it. I think that's lame. Bears can be dangerous, no question, and if a bear goes on a rampage in the wilderness, well, it probably needs to be put down, but this little fella just wanted a snack, and until some obnoxious picture-taker decided to get in the bear's face, the bear was relatively harmless (although I'm sure the people in the store were scared). So the bear needed a sugar fix? The way humans encroach on wildlife, you'd think the laws could be a bit more flexible for circumstances like this...one can only hope they don't catch the bear and the bear stays away (yes, I'm sure the pies were good little bear, but they ain't worth dying over). As for the guy snapping shots with his camera phone, you could have probably done it from a bit further away without disturbing the bear. Just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*. And, when it comes to wild animals, respect 'em, cause they're usually tougher and more dangerous than we are (unless we've got guns, trucks, or other animal-killing accessories.) I could only find a short version of the story here, but it makes no mention of the dufus with the camera. (Technorati Tags: peace river, black bear, camera phones)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
No Pants Day is Tomorrow! Don't Forget Clean Undies
From A Perfectly Cromulent Blog I learned about No Pants Day which is officially tomorrow, May 5, 2006. There's even an official website it looks like at http://www.nopantsday.com where you can get all the assorted information. For the ladies: skirts and dresses don't count. For the Scots: kilts don't count. There are a few events going on in the U.S. that they make reference to - pub parties where everyone shouldn't be wearing pants (sounds like a normal evening in Montreal really), and they're encouraging people to take pictures and upload them to Flickr or send them via email to the site. That might be a bit dangerous...one can only imagine what sorts of pictures they'll get, but like reality television, we can't help but be intrigued. I think the most important thing, and from scanning the No Pants Day website it seems to be missed...PLEASE clean undies. No stains, streaks, tears or rips should be allowed. No undies that you've been wearing for 3 days cause you were too lazy to do laundry. Thongs are fine. Not for men. Ok, men can wear thongs too, but dang... Will I go pantless tomorrow? Good question. I'm out of college so I couldn't just explain it as a "radical, freedom fighting move of a drunkard university student", and would have to explain to my office what I'm doing. I may, we'll see. Depends a lot on the weather here. It's still a bit chilly...with shrinkage factor and all that, could be a dangerous move on my part. (Technorati Tags: no pants day, not wearing pants, clean underwear)
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Daycare Allowance Makes Me Rich: NOT!
The Conversative government unleashed their budget yesterday and the $1,200 ($100/month) daycare allowance for children under 6 came through as expected. But, the allowance isn't quite "free money" -- the government is going to tax you on it based on your income bracket. So they give you money, only to tax it and take it back. What's the point of that? I have to wonder how much it costs for the government to go through that entire process? To setup the administrative infrastructure to handle the allowance and give it out in the first place, only to make sure it's taxed and take it back. What will I end up with? $5. Actually, I have no clue what I'll end up with, unless you're an accountant or you read the budget with a fine-tooth comb, most of it is gobbly-gook, and very few people really understand how it will impact them. The Conversatives are lauding their 28 tax breaks, and yet income tax is going up for low income earners. And in Quebec (where we have to take into consideration provincial tax too), the last number I saw was 51% -- that is, including all taxes, we're taxed at a 51% rate (the highest tax bracket, which I think starts at about $15,000 year in salary *chuckle*). For every dollar I earn, I have to give away 51 cents in tax. That's sick. Anyway, I'll take the Conversative government's $100/month for childcare (I have a kid under 6) and then come tax time I'll give it back. Or maybe they'll tax it right off the bat, I don't really know actually. But I don't really see how this money makes that big a difference - after you've taxed it and take into account how expensive daycare is. In Quebec we have that supposedly amazing daycare program: $7/day. There's a 2-year waiting list. My wife and I would have had to put our son on the waiting list before he was born, heck, before he was even a twinkle in our eye. (I don't think you can put kids on a list before they're born.) So, instead of $7/day we pay $26/day, which comes out to approximately $520/month. That $100/month (taxed: so I'll probably get $50-$60/month *maybe*) isn't even making a dent. Now I chose to have a kid and I don't expect because of that I should automatically get a handout...people without children don't get the $100/month...but giving money the way the Conversatives are doing it, just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Why not address the real issue: create affordable daycare spaces. One could argue that as soon as the government puts their hands into something (like daycare) they'll botch it up so it's better to just give money to the people, and I do agree with that somewhat (the government botching part), but I think the $1,200/kid thing is just a flashy thing that the Conversative government thought would look good at election time, not necessarily the best solution (same goes for the cut in G.S.T.) I think the Conversatives will run the government in a tighter, more fiscally-responsible way than the Liberals, but I also think the promises they made that they're executing on now were done because they're "sexier", not necessarily the best way of doing things. What are others in the blogosphere saying? Here's some links that came up high on Google's Blogsearch: * Canadian Budget Changes * Encouraging Budget * Federal Budget Highlights (Technorati Tags: conversative government, federal budget, canadian budget, gst, childcare allowance)
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
To the Golf Course We Go...But At Least The Habs Tried
Well, you can't ask for much more than that game, except a win of course. The Habs dominated, while the Canes played like they were holding out for that one, lucky shot...of course, they got it. The Habs hit, shot, crashed the net: did they read my to-do list for them? (Nah, they just knew it had to be done.) Sadly, one lousy shot, tipped in off the defenseman's stick surprised Huet (who stood on his net most of the series) and that's all. The Habs lose 2-1 to Carolina, and in 6 games bow out of the playoffs. Kudos for a decently fought series...but they should have had it. Ah well, hindsight... Enough of that. Now I'll cheer for a couple other teams I guess, but it's never the same. As Tommy pointed out in a comment on my post below, once your team is gone, it ain't the same. He's a Stars fan; and they really got slaughtered. With hockey on the backburner, I can now focus even more time on IGotNewsForYou.com - so people: send pages! Get the pages rolling, spread the word, and help us make IGotNewsForYou.com better and better. (Technorati Tags: habs, montreal canadiens, hockey, playoffs, nhl)
Habs Have to Win, But I'm Not Optimistic
Call me a pessimist if you like, but I don't think the Montreal Canadiens are going to even up their series tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Sad, but true. I've been a Habs fan all my life, even when I lived in Toronto Maple Leaf territory (*shiver*), and I've been a season ticket holder for a handful of years. I used to have more time, so I'd go to 20-30 games a season, but this year I only went to 3 or 4 (the rest of the tickets were sold). Sadly, I think this year we won't see any miraculous first round victory by the Canadiens, they just don't seem to have the oomph required. In Sunday's game they only woke up in the 3rd period when suddenly they realized hockey was a contact sport. The Canes, in their defense, are a better team; they showed it in the regular season and they haven't collapsed (as I thought they might due to their inexperience and especially after those first two games with Gerber the Sieve.) But I blame the Habs for their current predicament, because unlike the New Jersey Devils, the Hurricanes are a beatable team. I still hold out hope, and I want the Habs to prove me wrong and win tonight, forcing a game 7, where all hockey fans know, "anything is possible." In the meantime here's what we need to see tonight:
- Hitting. Hitting. And more hitting. The defensemen are doing a decent job of hitting (particularly Dandenault and Bouillon) but the forwards are playing like pansies (minus Begin). Finish your freaking checks, this isn't Pee-Wee.
- Charge the net. Take a chapter out of Rod Brind'Amour's book and charge that goalie. Interfere a bit, stand in front, create some traffic. The Canes are mauling Huet and often, they're getting away with it. When did hockey become a polite game of chess? The Habs have to sacrifice, crash the net and put Cam Ward off his game.
- Show some emotion. This is the playoffs, not preseason. Where's the spirit? Where's the heart? Where's the sacrifice? I haven't seen much of it (again, except Dandenault, who deserves serious kudos even though he had a lacklustre season: his experience in Detroit is shining through.) No one is truly stepping up and putting their bodies on the line in a moment of desperation.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Our First Weekend in Business
It's been a hectic weekend since we went live on Saturday afternoon. Lots of tweaks to make, little things to iron out. I wanted to thank the people who jumped onboard right away and started generating pages of content; you were are first real "beta testers" and you've helped us a great deal. Lots of emails went out over the weekend to friends and family, and we're now waiting with a wee bit of anticipation as those people check out the site for the first time and start experimenting with it. More emails still have to go out, which is our second "marketing effort" if you will, after this blog. This blog was launched a few months ago to start generating awareness and interest in IGotNewsForYou.com. I think it worked quite well, and it's a testament to the need for a business blog. Without it I wouldn't have had the same ability to connect with a great number of people that I reached out to or reached out to me (many of whom are linked on the left-hand side), particularly those with other humor/satire blogs. The emails to friends and family is our way of "seeding" awareness of IGotNewsForYou.com. Each person we tell about it will hopefully send a few pages to other people, thus telling them about it. Those people in turn send pages to others, and so on. Hopefully we see a snowball-rolling-down-a-hill effect... In the meantime, press releases are going out over the Internet to start, including our first one about the launch. I've published the release on NewsVine and it goes out on PRWeb on Wednesday. More releases and PR strategies will follow. It's been a wild ride so far; but I fully expect it to get even wilder and more interesting going forward. When starting a business there's no time to really sit back and say, "Wow, nice job. We did it." I'm not one for sitting on my laurels anyway, but there's no harm in congratulating yourself for getting the business up and running...now comes the hard part...actually succeeding. (Technorati Tags: newsvine, prweb, pr strategies, press releases)