Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grammar Police! Pull your keyboard over!

Your vs. You're

Your is ownership of an item. You're is preceeding an action in most cases. It is a contraction of you are.

Your bike. Your shoes. Your long list of items. Your personal assistant.

You're going away. You're reading. You're running in first. You're lost.

Their vs. There vs. They're

They're going to set up their tent over there by the bushes.

They're is contraction of they are. They are is always doing something.

There is a place. Over here, over there. Go there. Eat there.

Their is ownership of item for more than one person. Their tent. Their SUV. Their running shoes.

note: When using their, remember the word refers to people, not a group or organization. Use it when the subject is an organization/company. Example: Microsoft is a huge employer. It has over 35,000 regular employees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"But of course you are." (Connery James Bond)

Presenting the same, or similar, material can be monotonous to the reciever. Equally so for the presenter, or the content provider. What determines the level of "staleness" of content? In television, a half-hour show format is 21-24 minutes of content broken into 3 segments (usually). Content comes in 7 or 8 minute chunks, and continously changes. The delivery medium is the same, although that is changing some with the growth of Internet delivery and Tivo.

So what's my point? When content gets stale, it has to be refreshed. But when and how? Usually things are stale long before it is noticed, and repackaging content only goes so far.

How can we present content that creates a "Wow!", yet is sustainable through the lifecycle of delivery systems. What type of "preservatives" can we add as content providers to maintain freshness?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Move along. Nothing to see here. Keep it going.

Have you ever received a email that asks you a bunch of questions? Like a personality query that has some random rule/procedure to it.

These questions are fun to answer, and sometimes they provide a little gut check. Imagine if a company was able to get these surveys out to the general public. Say, Sears or Gap, or perhaps Verizon. There could be little questions like; Who decides on the home purchases? What store/company do you hate to shop?

It may not be glamorous, or scientifically or truthfully accurate (but are phone surveys?), but dabbling a little corporate questions in a chain email survey might give more insight to the company. I dunno, I'm just spit balling this idea.

I recently had one sent to me, and it is supposed to be one word answers. This is what my responses would be if I could answer completely. The questions aren't all personal, and I'm going to write my initial response to the question.

Rule #1:
If you open this you GOTTA take it.

Rule # 2:
You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone
messages you and asks

Rule #3:
Only answer True or False

Round 1 - Have you ever...
Q: Kissed someone on your top friends (myspace)?
False. That's just gross.
Q: Been arrested?
Q: You like someone?
True. I like a lot of people. Shouldn't this question be "Are you in love with someone?" Moving on...
Q: Held a snake?
Q: Been suspended from school?
Q: Been fired from a job?
False. I have quit without notice before.
Q: Sang karaoke?
True. But not in a bar or club.
Q: Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?
True. And my DVD collection is proof of that (why did I buy Pearl Harbor?).
Q: Laughed until you started crying?
Q: Caught a snowflake on your tongue?
True. And in my eyeballs, up my nose.
Q: Kissed in the rain?
False. It doesn't rain all the time in Seattle!
Q: Sang in the shower?
Q: Sat on a roof top?
True. Up on the rooftop click, click, click...
Q: Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on?
Q: Broken a bone?
False. But I have had a couple of nails go through my feet.
Q: Shaved your head
True. I bet a wrestler that if he made it to state, I would shave my head.
Q: Played a prank on someone?
True. Numerous times, but nothing on the level of "Punk'd" or anything.
Q: Had/have a gym membership?
True. Yes, and I think I went for a month.
Q: Shot a gun?
True. But I don't own a gun, let alone many guns, that would necessitate an entire rack.
Q: Donated Blood?

Round 2 - Who was the last person...
1. You hung out with?
2. Last person you texted?
3. You were in a car with?
P. Jeff on the way back from Saturday races.
4. Went to the movies with?
Myself. Saw Fantastic Four #2.
6. You talked to on the phone with?
My mommy.
7. Made you laugh?
Myself. Every time I look in the mirror.
8. You hugged?
AK or Cheeks- in a manly way, by the way.

Round 3 - Either/Or
1. Sun or moon?
Both. Sun because I can partake in many activities. Moon because I really like a bright, full moon night.
2. Winter or Fall?
Winter. If it's going to be cold, be cold. Plus it rains a lot more in Fall, the leaves get nasty.
3. Left or right?
Left. It may be a free right, but left is the road less travelled by. And if it's the wrong way, 3 lefts make a right.
4. Sunny or rainy?
6. Have you been out of the country?
Yes. And no, I haven't been to Mexico since '86.
8. Do you want to get married?
No. I want to pine away somewhere and be cooking for 1 my entire life. I really want to say does a bear...
9. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
Twirl. Where's the option of sucking it in? The ultimate, messy way of eating spaghetti.
10. Do You Cook?
Fortunately, yes. Eggos, toast, scrambled eggs (hit & miss). I have been known to lay down some tasty dishes from time to time.
11. Current mood?
12. Be serious or be funny?
Funny haha or funny strange? 'Cause I bounce between the two quite regularly.
13. Drink whole or skim milk?
Whole. We are talking about cow milk, right?

Round 4 - Last 72 hours have you...
1. Kissed someone?
Nope. And thanks for the reminder. I'm going to listen to Celine Dion and eat a half gallon of ice cream. Maybe finish off the day with a marathon of Titanic, Love Actually, and Affair to Remember.
2. Sang?
3. Been hugged?
4. Cried?
Nope. Men don't cry. There's no crying in baseball!
5. Liked someone you can't have?
No. Here's another questions that doesn't make much sense.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Put the bunny down." (Con Air)

The other day Kat Tongg handed me a "Grammar & Proof Reading Class" pamphlet which is designed to improve speed and accuracy for proof reading materials. A small seminar for the low, low price of $125 or something.

Me being me, I joked to Kat about betting money if I found an error in the pamphlet. I start reading the first page and come across this:

"No longer do you have to spend hours spell-checking, or pore over countless grammar books trying to find the correct rule."

Not kidding. Right there on the front. I think I'll pass on the class. If you're still scratching your head on the error, the writers had a homophone problem. Pore vs. pour. [Ed. Note: My sister corrected my English terminology. I incorrectly used the term synonym instead of the correct term, homophone.]

They also abused the parentheses in the mailer. (Which was redundant; if you're going to have another sentence, write another sentence.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007


NASCAR has it's head somewhere where it doesn't belong. NASCAR is attempting to sue AT&T to block AT&T from car sponsorship in the NEXTEL Cup. As title sponsor, NEXTEL most likely is pressuring NASCAR to prohibit competitors from sponsoring, or else Sprint/NEXTEL will pull the plug on the official sponsor of the Cup series.

That sends a great message to companies who are looking at sponsoring in a racing atmosphere. "Sure, go ahead and sponsor a car. Oh, it conflicts with OUR official series sponsor. Take your $100+ million elsewhere. We don't want you here."

I can understand NEXTEL not wanting competitors, but remember, it's the NEXTEL Cup. Not the Champion Spark Plug Cup or Whoever-comes-along Cup. They have the title naming rights. If Jeff Burton or Ryan Newman win, it's still going to be the NEXTEL Cup.

I look at it this way: If NASCAR is successful in removing AT&T from racing, it opens a precedent to remove ALL competing sponsors throughout all NASCAR series. For a list of Official Sponsors of NASCAR, click here.

It's a long list, but here are some highlights that NASCAR might want to take a look at. And for now we'll ignore cars vs. cars, like T. Stewart's Home Depot Chevy vs. J. Johnson's Lowes Home Improvement Chevy.

Official Sponsors

Allstate (Official Insurance)
Geico Insurance in Busch Series
Best Western (Official Hotel)
Holiday Inn in Busch Series
Budweiser (Official Beer)
Miller Lite car, Miller Lite race sponsor (at least there used to be)
Chevrolet (Monte Carlo) (Official Pace Car, Official Passenger Car)
Ford, Dodge, Toyota all have competing models.
Coca-Cola (Official Soft Drink)
Pepsi at tracks and associate sponsors, Pepsi 400 race
Dodge Charger (Official Passenger Car)
See Chevrolet above
Old Spice (Official Antiperspirant & Deodorant)
I just want to say: huh? how much did that cost?
Sprint NEXTEL (Official Series Sponsor)
Point of argument: Alltel and AT&T/Cingular
The Home Depot (Official Home Improvement Warehouse)
Lowes Car & Lowes Motor Speedway
Toyota (Official Partner/Manufacturer)
Tylenol (Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR)
Goody's sponsor the #43
UPS (Official Delivery Service)
FedEx #11 car

Promotional Partners
Gulfstream (NASCAR Prefers Gulfstream)
So that's what my membership buys? Mike Helton's Gulfstream?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"You're it until you die or I find someone better." (ST)

9) Sometimes teams will have to hunker down and ignore the other just to be focused on the goal. It doesn't mean there is tension or they don't care. See #7.

Imagine you are creating the world's first craft that will orbit the earth. That craft has numerous systems for its operation, meaning there are numerous project teams going for the same goal. Everyone is under one banner. What happens when the orbital craft booster team can't figure out a proper firing sequence? Do they run to the rocket propulsion engineers? Sure. The brainpower of the bunch could solve the problem. But what if the rocket propulsion engineers are facing their own problem? Like creating enough boost to lift 800,000 pounds off the Earth.

Teams going for the same goal not only need to be talented enough to solve its own problems, but also need to work autonomously. Some teams don't need to know certain details because they are not relevant to the others. The rocket propulsion team doesn't really need to know that the interior wiring team used black, white, and striped wires because in a green or red light environment, colors look similar.

In your team communications, what information is really necessary for the other teams to accomplish the goals? Does finance need to know the color of the box is blue to signify water and calmness? Does marketing need to know the new 400,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility will be delayed 4 months because of a labor dispute?

Information should not have to be drilled down. It takes a bit of tact and skill to ask the correct questions, and direct people to the answer that is needed to move forward.

So when a team is focused on accomplishing its goal, everything is white noise until it affects the forward progress of the teams.

Monday, June 4, 2007

"Hey Peter....What's happening......." (OS)

8) Be prepared to fight for some territory between teams. Just hug it out. Hug it out.

If you want a particular asset, fight for it. Or at least provide sound reasons for getting your own. Don't just throw a tantrum and expect to get your way. If the teams begin to step on each other's toes, than catch it early and resolve it. Maybe it's time to expand. Also realize that whatever asset is in the tug-o-war, objectively look at which team needs it the most.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

"Nobody puts Baby in the corner." (DD)

I just thought this was funny. Imagine if it really happened.

"Nobody tosses a Dwarf!" (LOTR:FOTR)

Ever wonder why drive thrus are on the opposite side of a fast-food joint? It's not because it's a better safety system to keep moving vehicles away from walk-in customers. It's not because it's a efficient use of land. It's not because it allows drive-thru customers the opportunity to see which workers smoke, or do worse than cook your food.

It's because having a drive-thru on the opposite side (that is- you can't see it when you pull in) is a customer will never know the line is backed up until after you order and get caught in the labyrinth.

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice...
7) If everyone is focused on the same goal, no one should feel left out or discouraged.

Everyone on the team has different skill sets and abilities. Along those lines, they have their own expectations of performance. I don't expect to run a 4.4 40 dash. Prolly not even 6 sec. Same with other expectations. Have goals, aim for them, and have respectable expectations.

Additionally, everyone on the team has varying degrees of responsibility. Just because the Head Coach won "Coach of the Year", that doesn't make the lineman coach any less valuable. And on the other hand, the authority and responsibility is quite different between the coaching levels.

It's the end result- performance- that matters. The different roles culminate to create a winning team.