Before and After – A Marketing Disaster

As an admission, I am officially behind schedule on the blog but we need to delegate blame to a guilt trip a certain person placed on me.  Apparently queuing up a few posts is second on the evil meter only to kicking an elderly woman down the stairs because she is impeding your timeline to rob a convenience store.  Being haunted by the stigma this would bring to my parents, I was forced to immediately stop using the post buffer to compensate for busy times of the month.  Of course, now I am left foregoing all charity work and our annual prairie dog mission of peace to free up enough time to bring you this month’s quota.  When those dogs take up arms and start ravaging our countryside that person is going to have some apologizing to do!

I’m to close to completing my 4th year of blogging to blow my quota now, so it’s time to get to it.  Today’s post comes to us courtesy (and by that, I mean lack of courtesy) of Bridgestone.

As a little level setting, Linda and I finally gave up dealing with all the annoying problems we were having with our Dodge Durango.  The car was actually fun to drive when it was actually working but it was plagued with electrical problems.  This was similar to problems we had with our Grand Cherokees.  During our hunt for a new car we were ignored by a dealership while trying to buy an Explorer (shocking at the time because they were in the middle of the economy crisis and cash for junkers was in full swing).  After a few other failed dealerships we broke down and checked again at Dodge – guess what, they decided to get out of the large SUV business with what appeared to be a failed attempt with the Aspen.  Frustrated, we stopped into Toyota, had a wonderful experience and promptly came home with a brand new SUV (built in San Antonio so hold the complaints).  This vehicle has been mechanically free of errors since we bought it with the exception of the special deer magnet (link here).  BMW could learn a few things from this automaker (link here).

Now is good time for the BEFORE shot:

hit the jump to read “The rest of the story”.

Continue reading Before and After – A Marketing Disaster

Confront Thy Fears – Halloween Party Pt 1

I see my absence from posting hasn’t shocked anyone into calling out a search party.  Alas, all is well, but life is a little hectic at the moment.  We had Teacup Agility Nationals this month, new international assignments at work and of course in the midst of all this is our annual Halloween Party.  If you recall from a previous post (link here), Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and both Linda and I enjoy decorating up the place and having some of our friends over for a few libations while enjoying a bonfire.  This year we expanded our haunted trail, but more on that in the future for today is all about orange colored foam and implements of destruction.

So first off, a quick quiz.

  • What is my favorite Halloween activity?
  • What is my most feared and despised occupation … hint, some would call it a phobia?

Queue annoying Jeopardy music.   Please put your pens down, it is time to reveal the answer.

Did you answer correctly? I will also accept decorating and scaring neighbor kids for the first answer, but ANY answer other than #$@#$%^&$ clowns is completely unacceptable. So it was time again to add another pumpkin to the collection. This one officially brings the collection to 18. As with the last 5 or 6, I wanted to make my own pattern. Half the fun is trolling Google Images trying to find the perfectly lit photo or image to transform into a scary nightlight. This year turned out to be a little frustrating. After trying all my favorite keyword searches like ghoul, demon, vampire etc. I kept coming up empty on good specimens to transform. This step takes a tremendous amount of time and I didn’t have time to waste on an image that wasn’t going to produce a nice silhouette for a pumpkin. There were one or two that might have worked, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Time to take a step back and go at it from a different angle. A self assessment was needed to figure out what would make this year’s carving memorable. An inner dialog  was initiated with one common question. What creeps me out? If there was something out there that scared me, made me uneasy and gave me the heebie jeebies, what would it be?  A certain president jumped to mind, but quickly dismissed it since American voters have wised up to socialism so what else was there? … and then a light bulb went off. There is really only one obvious answer. It was time to confront my phobia head on… take it by the big nose and beat it into submission. To say I was unprepared for what was ahead would be an understatement. A few key taps in the Google search field S C A R Y  C L O W N produced a collection of images so hideous, so vile and so demonic that I broke out in a sweat and nearly screamed. However, I was committed to this task and no mime loose in the department store lipstick aisle was going to deter me. Slowly I navigated through the thumbnails which were not surprising 85% pictures of Pennywise but there was not an image that had enough contrast required to produce a good stencil. Still sweating from staring at all those clowns, I was forced to switch to my secret backup. Here is a tip to keep between the LifeIntrigued family shhhhh tattoo stencils make great pumpkin stencils starting points shhhhhhh. Turns out our crafts have some similarities and one of the reasons I enjoy watching tattoo artists and their reality shows. A quick jump to and within seconds I had the base image. Disclaimer. The image selected can be found by entering Scary Clown in the search field. I have no intention of providing anyone else the stencil above and all rights remain with the original creator. Now I have already blogged about how the transformation from image to stencil goes (link here), so I will not bore you with those details again.

Hit the jump to see some additional comments and pictures of the final product.

Continue reading Confront Thy Fears – Halloween Party Pt 1