Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Travelease

Pretty Cool! This site tags and tracks flights that you search for on travel/airline websites and alerts you when the prices drop. It continues to track the flight prices even after you buy your ticket so you can qualify for a refund or travel credit from the airline if the price for your same flight drops before your travel date. Most people don't know that most all airlines offer a low price guarantee and will refund/credit you the difference in price.

The Day The Music Died.

Well the first of many of my favorite online music stations signed off last night for the last time in light of the Recording Industry Assoc of America's Rights and Royalties Board decision last fall to dramatically increase (300 %) the royalties internet radio must pay for songs. Understanding that most internet radio stations cant afford the new royalties, the legislation was simply designed to shut them down.

For those of you who don't know, the recording industry is notorious for being one the most greedy industries in America. These people have exploited musicians and artists for decades, making millions of dollars on their backs, only passing along a small percentage of the revenues generated to the performers themselves. They are so threatened by the popularity of internet media and too ignorant to figure out how to leverage it themselves, they would rather create legal hurdles that cripple the industry than work with the stations on a mutually agreeable solution.

Of course many of the stations will bounce back, relocating their servers to Europe, but it just irritates me that the RIAA yields so much power. it's because of jackasses like this that we are quickly approaching a pay-for-everything lifestyle. Radio has always been free to listeners, except to those willing to pay for non-commercial satellite radio. Internet radio still has a relatively small saturation and niche stations like Music One are only helping to promote wider awareness for the artists themselves. If traditional radio folks had it their way, they would only allow music to be played on your home or car stereo.

Friday, May 25, 2007

We Are The Machine!

Web 2.0 explained brilliantly

Geko!


The GIECO geko visited my porch yesterday afternoon.
He demanded payment.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Used Car Salesmen of the Apocalypse.

This Guy goes to a bar, drinks to oblivion, gets in his car and drives drunk, exceeds the speed limit while talking on his cell phone and plows into a tow truck that was assisting a stalled vehicle. He drunk driver died at the scene.

As if that’s not bad enough, the family of the drunk driver is now suing the following people:


1. The Bar who served him drinks for “allowing” his blood alcohol level to reach 2 times the legal limit.
2. The tow truck driver who was assisting the stalled vehicle for not moving the car and himself out of the road quick enough.
3. The tow Truck company for shits and giggles (and deep pockets)
4. The owner of the stalled vehicle for allowing his car to get run down to the point where it stalled on the highway.

Where the hell did common sense in this country go? How could a licensed/barred attorney take on this case with a straight face? What level of denial must a family be in to move forward with such a ridiculous lawsuit?

Trial lawyers are helping our country go to hell in a handbasket by ignoring the gross negligence of their clients in hopes of hitting the mother load. I used to hold them in high regard, now I just see them as bottom feeding, money grubbing, opportunists who are ushering in a new age of limited personal freedom for their own selfish personal gain. For those of you who are championing John Edwards this election season, I hope you'll do your homework. His contribution to this problem has now manifested itself in 28,000 sq feet in an exclusive neighborhood in NC.

Makeovers, Milestones and Memories

When I moved to Houston in 1997 my life changed. In a very literal sense I left my old self in the deep south and built a new life for myself in Texas. I reinvented the person that I was, I forced myself to become comfortable with my sexuality and for the first time in my life my friendships/relationships were built on full disclosure and lived out in the open.

A close friend of mine used to drag me out to the gay bars in Houston on occasion to accompany him on his never-ending quest for the perfect boyfriend. I would reluctantly go even though the types of bars he frequented catered to a younger crowd and I couldn’t have been less interested in that demo. Nonetheless, I would tag along get quasi-drunk and watch the infantile drama unfold from the front row.

One particular Friday night I was again reluctantly at the aforementioned bar with my friend and a guy walks up to me and says hello. We were both the same age and our conversation flowed like silk. He was cute, had a job and seemed like a fish floundering out of water in that place. He grew up in a small town in North Dakota similar to my upbringing in small town NC. We both shared that special something that small town folk do, so basically he had me at hello. We connected. In a very gentlemanly, straight-out-of-1950’s manner he asked for a legitimate date and I agreed on the spot.

Mark was my first real boyfriend. I had dated around before but always very discreetly and usually with disastrous results. Mark was different, he would grab my hand in movie theatres or in restaurants and for the first time in my life I wasn’t worried about what other people thought of it. He would write me letters and cards and consistently did things to show how much he appreciated me. Mark and I stayed together for about 6 months before our differences slowly reared their ugly faces and the relationship fizzled. I ended it, abruptly and immaturely and Mark never forgave me for it. He faded into the crevices of the big city and we rarely ran into each other afterwards.

Since our split Mark struggled with relationships and bad influences. The gay community can be vicious when you’re young, inexperienced and cute. The fast crowd scooped Mark up and swallowed him whole. I was disappointed that he let himself get caught up in it, and couldn’t bring myself to even approach him the last time I saw him in public years ago.

I received an email from an old friend in Houston today. He told me that Mark died a few weeks ago. He took his own life. I froze after I read it and haven’t been able think about anything else since. I ripped apart my storage room looking for the box that I saved with all of his letters and cards in it. I found the last letter that he wrote me, where he explained how overwhelmingly hurt he was about our breakup. The last line in his letter said “I hope you’ll do me the courtesy of responding to this”… Sadly, I never did.

The letter was dated May 9, 1998…Mark died on Wednesday, May 9.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cause and Effect

I spent the last few days at a pretty impressive agency media event surrounded by colleagues, vendors and equals and I realized as I was having conversations over drinks and corporate food that I really love my job. Unlike some people, I love the work that I do. So many people I spoke with bitched and bitched about their hours, clients, work load, bosses, departmental struggles, etc and I honestly couldnt relate. My agency builds and manages interactive media campaigns for non-profit, 501-c, advocacy, public affairs and political organizations, and there’s a sense of goodness and true accomplishment that hits me every time I launch a new campaign. Unlike in the past when I was helping various companies contribute to their bottom line through online sales one unit at a time (and a complete loss of work-life balance), now I’m helping organizations literally save lives, transform governments and energize constituencies and a I love it. All of the media technologies are the same..imedia, search, email, social networks but the message is completely different. Web 2.0 and social media itself has revolutionized the way advocacy/NFP organizations approach users on the internet. Now we can hold 2-way conversations with the end user so our advertising messages are no longer confined to a 728X90 web banner that most people pay no attention to. Causes require conversations! We initiate and drive conversations that may cause someone to buy an eco-healthy alternative fueled vehicle or donate time at a local AIDS mission or more importantly donate money to a greater human cause. I now understand why people like my mother devote their lives to non-profit organizations. It gives me a good healthy dose of do-goodin’. Honestly for me it’s a perfect marriage of 2 things. Interactive media and cause marketing.

I spoke at the event this week and I didn’t really even have to prepare. Although I was nervous about it, when I got on that stage in front of several hundred people I didn’t have to dig deep for meaningful things to say. My words flowed out like they were being fed directly from some sort of cause marketing guru. I surprised myself even. That’s when you know you’re in the right place, when you can communicate your cause naturally. I had lots of people approach me after my panel and ask questions, swapped cards and I got asked to speak again. So I officially wasn’t kidding myself.

It’s great to know you’re in the right place..I plan on staying here a while.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tico Time Travel

This time tomorrow I will be enroute back down to Costa Rica for a little rewind, redux, reunion, or whatever you want to call it. The Alabama Joe's, Richard and I have coordinated a much needed vacation to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side. Francisco will be tagging along with us as well. We are staying here, which is indisputably the nicest place on the beach. Manuel Antonio is widely believed to be the most desirable beach destination in Costa Rica. I may have to disagree there, Guanacaste is much more my speed. Manuel Antonio is very rainforesty, jungly, full of monkeys, iguanas and other slithering wildlife. The beach there is a protected national park so there are very few hotels or restaurants right on the water.

I'm looking forward to seeing my old haunts and re-connecting with the people I know there. I'm also looking forward to seeing Fransicso. He is beside himself excited about my coming back, I just hope my departure wont be nearly as difficult for him as it was last time. I thought he was going to tie himself to the wheel of the airplane in some sort of kamikaze avoid-the-inevitable, go out-with-a-bang, dont-leave-me-here kinda stunt.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Aussie Bound




Thanks to an airline error that's sure to get someone fired and Stratocade's impervious ability to locate and exploit these mishaps to the travelling public (namely me), we have snagged some biz class seats to Australia for next to nothing. Looks like 4 of us will be spending 12 days down under this Christmas with enough left over to REALLY enjoy ourselves.

Good-Frickin-Day Mate.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another Golden Moment

I recently saw Rue Mclanahan here in In Austin at the Zach Scott theatre. She discussed her long career and gave anecdotes about her life in film, stage and TV. Having seen Bea Arthur’s one woman show a few years back, I have Betty White left to see now to complete my Golden Girls, gay, trifecta. It’s amazing how you pigeon hole actors in their most famous roles and expect them to act just like you remember them. Rue was much quieter, slower and subdued than I expected. I did not realize that she was first cast as Betty White’s character, Rose. The nit-witish lady from Minnesota. Betty White had already been chosen to play Blanche, the southern belle ‘whorish’ roomate. I think in the end it all worked out. Coming from Oklahoma, Rue was much more apt to speak convincingly in a southern accent and Betty pulled off her role as Rose effortlessly.

I heard a few people in the crowd mentioning how great that show was, and I agree. I can watch every single episode today and it doesn’t feel dated. It was the first real show that showcased a group of friends living platonically together. They tackled issues like drug use, homosexuality and religion before it was en vogue to do so. Something about those old ladies connected with a greater audience that remains the same today. Kids who weren’t even alive when the show originally aired watch faithfully now and adults like myself can’t help but to stop channel surfing when we hear that fab theme song.


Finger on the gay pulse

Ultra Nate's remake of an 80's classic.. complete with internet masterbation sequence and a live blow up doll. You know you wanna see it.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Fav Home Accoutrement


I have a new favorite product in my house. It's Method's 'cut grass' air freshener. It reminds me of the mid-90's GAP unisex cologne 'Grass'. I loved that stuff so much that when I took some old clothes to Good Will a few years ago, I could still smell it on the shirts. To me there's really nothing more soothing than the smell of freshly cut grass. It reminds me of summer and always puts me in a good mood. You can buy this stuff at Target or anywhere else they sell Method products. They also have a candle in the same scent. Basically my house smells like a giant blade of grass, and I loooove it!
Other scents I think they should consider?
  1. Freshly sticken match- love that smell.
  2. Grocery Store Freezer- Open the door and inhale deeply.
  3. Hint of Gas pump Fume- Deadly but delicious!
  4. Cookin' Collard Greens- Only true southerners will appreciate it.
  5. Puppy Smell- A cross between corn chips and fresh straw.