Here’s a test post to show off the new Press It button from CafePress. The rest of this text is just here for fun. But you can highlight any of it and the highlighted text will be added to products in a carousel that pops up when you click the Press It button!
You should also see a green, PressIt button atop the image here. Click and you’ll see what it does.
This is a neat way to produce revenue from your content — images, art or photographs; or even your writing — without having advertisements on your site. The content is yours. You are just making it easy for your audience to grab it and put it on a product.
So, if you’re Tweetable — i.e., you come up with pithy quotes like:
My web dev kid ate your honor student!
Your audience can highlight the text and make products from the pithiness!
Pretty neat, eh?
April 28, 2013 Leave a comment
On my recent trip to Belize for vacation, I had the fortunate/unfortunate experience of playing passenger in a Cessna, 8-passenger sling shot plane. We got on the first one in Belize City and, with several other passengers aboard, Nancy say to me, loudly over the buzz of the engine, “Isn’t this the kind of plane Buddy Holly was on?”
Anyway, they didn’t make any announcements … just flew. So I filmed some stuff. Here’s our landing in Dangriga, Belize, on the way back from our resort island stay. Buckle up.
The takeoff video is much less climactic. It seemed easier to elevate off the sidewalk than nail the landing like a Russian gymnast. Enjoy watching that one over and over.
April 9, 2013 2 Comments
As of tomorrow morning, it will be two full weeks since I had my ass shot full of testosterone in a desperate attempt to not become a woman. Not that I wouldn’t ever want to be a woman … or offend women … but, well, I wouldn’t ever want to be a woman. Y’all go through way too much trouble for my lazy ass.
And in an ongoing effort to provide you men and women with an inside look at what it’s like to deal with hormone therapy as a strikingly virile, masculine, manly man, I’ve been keeping a bit of a journal for you.
DAY ONE OF TESTOSTERONE TREATMENTS
I awoke with a full beard, a Harley tattoo and balls the size of watermelon that cling together like Gold’s Gym weights.
DAY ONE – END OF DAY REPORT
For lunch, I had a Mazda Miata. Complete with the unsuspecting accountant behind the wheel. Kinda like a mathematically inclined pickle spear.
Dreamed I single-handedly built 47 Habitat for Humanity houses in an hour. Woke up and shat a mobile home with a “Carter-Mondale ’80″ sign in the window.
Traveled and became furious I wasn’t picked for extra screening and frisking by TSA. Sat at a bar with six couples in the evening but couldn’t stop wondering what life would be like as a swinger.
Took the bandage off my ass. Neatly left behind was a tat that said, “Bad motherfucker!”
Bacon wasn’t enough. Also ate the griddle.
Ran into Chuck Liddell at a publicity appearance. Beat his ass and made him call me “Massah Jason” in front of his wife.
Got pulled over doing 74 in a 55. Cop said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I replied, “Because your hiding behind the threat of imprisonment to intimidate people in order to overcompensate for your small penis and father’s absence of affection is addictive.” Then I ate his face.
A goose hissed at me in the parking lot at work. I spat fire and fed it to a homeless family. Began hashtagging everything written with #testosteronebitch!
Stood for 45 minutes at the Shell Station selling my urine as high-octane, premium fuel. Made $690.
The good news is that I’m feeling better. The bad news is I’m scaring off friends and neighbors at a higher-than-normal clip. Stay tuned.
April 7, 2013 1 Comment
Depression is something you should take very seriously. Unless, of course, it has anything to do with the failure of a certain sports team, your inability to beat your high score in Angry Birds or the fact your recreational habits have taken a turn for the worse and all you want to do is lay around and smoke weed. In each case, you’ll feel better if you get off the drug.
I’ve had a couple of years of up-and-down moods that I’ve finally given up trying to understand. I went to the doctor and said, “I’m depressed or imbalanced or something. Fix my brain.”
My doctor is an exercise nut who believes the natural approach — diet and exercise — is how you handle your stuff. Since I have an intense fear of being medicated by more than the occasional bourbon cocktail, we get along great, despite the fact I rarely take his recommendations and am still fat, unhealthy and unmotivated. But that lack of motivation, I think, has something to do with this depression thing, too.
So instead of booking me on the Jason Falls International Tour of Antidepressants until we found one that worked, Dr. Bob wanted to test me for hormones. He didn’t explain, but I figured he wanted to make sure there weren’t any from Mexican donkeys flying around my system. (I assured him I only attended that show in Juarez once and was certain I didn’t touch anything, but a little double-check wouldn’t hurt.)
Well, the test results came in and here’s the medical low-down on The Fallsman: I’m apparently a woman. At least hormonally. Yes, I realize this is impossible to fathom … I am the embodiment of manliness. But I have off-the-charts levels of estrogen and dangerously low levels of testosterone in my system.
I asked if this had anything to do with my man boobs. The doctor wasn’t amused. (His lack of enthusiasm could have been leftover from the fact I punched him in the nuts for leaving me hanging on the medical news all weekend, but still.)
There’s a lot I don’t understand yet … But will soon since this is at least 30 minutes worth of material for my first standup comedy album. But my depression and fatigue and moodiness are the direct result of being all femaled up on the inside. But you should see me in there! I’m fabulous!
We cannot, however, account for my lack of incessant chattiness.
(These are far too easy.)
I’ve been injected with my first round of testosterone treatments — big capsules injected into your hip that time release the hormone over six months — and my ass hurts. I’ll start my “don’t be a girl” pills tomorrow to reduce estrogen. Perhaps it will also curb my sudden urges to visit Target for no apparent reason.
Nevertheless, I’m well on my way to once again being a manly man. If this doesn’t work, you should come over for Stich-N-Bitch next month. I’ll roast some brie and whip up a dip with avocado. We’ll talk about our feelings and call ourselves Ya-Yas.
Granted, I don’t know if this is the problem or a symptom, but it’s a start. If this little silliness on my personal blog serves any purpose, I hope its that you now know a man — an inordinately masculine one, I might add — who isn’t afraid to say he’s depressed and get some help to deal with it.
Whether it’s hormone therapy, antidepressants or even therapy, you don’t have to feel helpless, alone or like crap if you don’t want to. If you ever run into those feelings on a consistent basis, ask your doctor. You’re probably not nuts.
But you may be a woman. Hopefully, not that one from Juarez.
March 25, 2013 9 Comments
My son turns eight years old today. It’s not a milestone birthday, per say, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the world has changed for me and my family in the last decade. Obviously, having Grant and Katie are the big bangs in that timespan.
I’ve also realized that the my focus on my career, the opportunity presented by writing a couple of books and the like has adversely effected my attentiveness to my family. To boot, the busy-ness of parenting has had a similar effect on my attentiveness to my wife.
I’ve realized recently that I’m successful professionally, but quite the failure personally.
Balance is hard. It takes in-human effort to produce humane results. While I’ve prioritized providing for my family, I’ve neglected being there with and for my family. That has to change.
I have no idea how to do this. But I know it’s going to take a fair amount of work. I don’t want to let off the gas pedal on one side, but know I have to press down on the other pedal at the same time. The complexity of being present at home while being present at work may overwhelm me.
But being a better father and husband is the best gift I can give my son. Here’s hoping I don’t mess this up any more.
March 21, 2013 2 Comments
New York City in 1996 was a neat place to live. I was young, single and eager to live the fast life. Of course, reality set in and I lived the stationery life watching all the fast life folks pass me by.
This did not mean the experiences weren’t worthwhile. And the occasional one taught me valuable lessons, like the one night I learned that in essence, we’re all the same.
A good friend and I both worked in Manhattan but lived outside the city. We would meet in Times Square each evening and have a few drinks or dinner , typically at the All-Star Cafe, then jump on our respective trains home. While the All-Star Cafe wasn’t exactly a “locals only,” off-the-beaten-path pub like I prefer, it was too close to the common transportation hub for our commutes home. Besides, not only did the bar area feature a circle of big screen televisions showing every major live sporting event concurrently, but it was new and trendy enough — even aside from the tourists — to attract women more likely to be interested in sports-minded lads like us.
We were probably there 2-3 nights each week for a couple of months and developed a pattern. Every other night, my buddy would hit on a fellow patron and wind up ditching me for the excitement of whatever happens when you leave with a different woman. The one-night thing was never very appealing to me, so I would finish my drink and sulk off to the subway, alone.
One night, he left with yet another bar angel. I shook my head and asked for my check. The lady sitting 4-5 seats down from me — who had been there before and struck up the occasional small talk — looked my way and said, “I think that’s four out of five nights he’s left you here alone.”
“Yeah. He’s a wild oat sewin’ SOB, I guess.”
“Never been into that myself.”
“Wanna go home with me?”
March 4, 2013 Leave a comment
A carefully worded email is always bad news. I got one today, as did all the other Maker’s Mark Ambassadors, from Rob and Bill Samuels Jr. The email informed Ambassadors that due to rising demand and lack of supply, Maker’s Mark would now contain less alcohol content. What that means is they’ll water it down (with mineral water, most likely) to spread the supply of bourbon around and produce more bottles than originally possible.
The exact wording of the explanation was this:
We wanted you to be the first to know that, after looking at all possible solutions, we’ve worked carefully to reduce the alcohol by volume (ABV) by just 3%. This will enable us to maintain the same taste profile and increase our limited supply so there is enough Maker’s Mark to go around, while we continue to expand the distillery and increase our production capacity.
We have both tasted it extensively, and it’s completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago. We’ve also done extensive testing with Maker’s Mark drinkers, and they couldn’t tell a difference.
Being a fan of Maker’s Mark, someone who used to work with the brand (though it’s been four years since I’ve had involvement and a lot has changed) and an informal bourbon ambassador to the social media world, it came as no surprise that several people wanted my take on this development. One Facebook thread I was tagged into was full of outrage about the move. And that reaction won’t be limited.
First, let’s remind ourselves that the laws of supply and demand are hard to manage. In the bourbon industry, they’re impossible since your product is put away in rack houses years before it will ever go to market. Master Distillers don’t have to produce enough inventory to fill the demand today. They have to predict what the demand will be two, four, seven, 10 or more years from now, depending on how long the spirit in question is aged. For Maker’s Mark to have accurately predicted the demand and boom in the bourbon industry five to seven years ago (which is the age range for Maker’s Mark), would be like picking the winning lottery tickets three or four weeks in a row.
That said, there are several different ways to deal with a spirit shortage. You can raise prices and explain that the stuff is so good, you can’t keep up so consumers will need to pay a premium to get it. You can water it down or mix it with other spirits to increase supply, but this typically sacrifices quality. Or you can run out and have pissed off customers. So, Maker’s Mark had to do something that wasn’t going to be popular, one way or another.
So they decided to water it down, but claim to have preserved the taste. It’s not as potent, but their email says, “We’ve made sure we didn’t screw up your whisky.” Until consumers can try the new iteration of Maker’s Mark and compare, they’re just reacting on principle, not fact. So the outrage online is unqualified.
Still, let’s be realistic:
- Most consumers won’t notice or care. The taste differences, if noticeable, won’t be to most people because they mix bourbon. Most bourbon drinkers won’t notice because they’re not complex-palate, taste savorers. For probably 80 percent of the current drinkers of the brand, this change will make little difference.
- The 20% of Maker’s Mark fans (I’m estimating) who do have complex palates and sip the bourbon to savor the flavor will be comprised of two groups: One that tastes a difference. The other that doesn’t but claims they do. Either way, both will be mad about it and probably switch brands until they forget about the change or realize they’re being silly.
- There will be a very small number of people who will boycot the brand or will decide that the 3% makes a difference and they’d prefer another bourbon. They’ll switch and that will be that. They’ll probably settle for Maker’s Mark when it’s the only real bourbon a bar serves, but will otherwise pick another brand.
- Many other distilleries are either doing, or considering doing, the same thing, but probably aren’t as forthcoming about it to their customers. So give Maker’s some credit here.
But that brings us back to the principle of the matter. Maker’s Mark defined the premium bourbon category. It opened the door for all these other premium and super premium bourbons and created a new category of the spirit. It has always been a brand founded on principle. It’s a bourbon so good, you want to share it with your friends.
Now the company is sacrificing quality to sell more bottles. It has eschewed the family heritage the Samuels clan has always been so ardent to hold on to, despite it being owned by a huge corporate conglomerate. That attention to detail and quality is being tossed aside because they have an opportunity to sell more bottles of a lesser mixture rather than raising the price and saying, “Sorry. This stuff’s so good, we’re selling out.” The family name is all over the brand, but the decision here is clearly being made by the bottom line of the big company that actually owns it.
It’s the principle that matters. And by tossing principle out the door, the brand that defined premium bourbon, in many eyes will be premium no more.
As for me, I’ll probably still ask for Maker’s Mark when travelling. It’s more widely available than most other bourbons I enjoy, and less kick doesn’t much matter to me. I don’t drink to get drunk. If the taste is noticeably different, I may switch up my preference from time to time, but I’m not going to be melodramatic and boycot or whine about this change. That kind of rhetoric is about the person in question, not what they’re drinking. The change is what it is and I love Maker’s Mark, even if I don’t like what this decision means from a principle perspective.
The brand will recover from this just fine. They’re too big not to. But the passion many have for it will begin to wane. And that’s too bad.
February 9, 2013 1 Comment
We’re programmed from an early age to do what other people do. We follow the crowd, even those of us who occasionally march to our own rhythms. From infant mimicry to adolescent fitting in to subliminal, follow-the-crowd behavior ubiquitous in adult life, even we humans simply execute the code.
As this pondering recently intersected with yet another year’s physical resulting in the reminder that my health habits are killing me, it occurred I should look at de-programming myself. Call it “lifestyle change,” if you wish, but the specter of some evil developer I’m fighting tends to motivate me more.
The first experiment in de-programming was to simply focus on the output of certain foods and beverages. No, I’m not talking about analyzing my stool — but rather focusing on how I feel after consumption, both in short- and long-term intervals.
- Immediately after I consume soda or sugary drinks, I feel bloated, slightly uncomfortable and belch a lot. Immediate after I drink water, I feel cool, calm and refreshed.
- An hour after I drink soda, I’m focused on the aftertaste or film of plaque around my mouth and am craving another soda. An hour after I drink water, I feel healthy and perhaps crave more since that’s a generally positive mode.
Yes, I also have to pee. But that’s consistent between the two.
We’re programmed by media and mates, short-term fixes and the busy-ness of life, to consume food and beverage in the short-term. What will taste good? We’re not programmed to consume either in the long-term: What will feel good?
Have a burger or pizza for lunch. Then measure how you feel about 2:oo p.m. or so. The next day, have a salad for lunch. Then notice the difference.
Granted, my love of certain cheeses, sugars and dead bovine will interrupt my feel-vs-taste decision-making, but this approach seems to be gaining momentum in my daily habits. My hope is that it will help me from continuing to be sucked into the funnels – marketing ones, habit ones, short-term fixation ones – and consume with long-term feeling in mind.
Perhaps it could help your thinking, too.
February 9, 2013 6 Comments
The vision has always been clear. I’d lounge on a hammock most of the morning, reading, thinking, readying myself for a day of work. Once of clear mind, I would step into the blue sea, let the white sands massage my toes and the Pelicans stare longingly, again disappointed a mid-morning treat from the human wasn’t in the offing.
I would then retreat to my computer and compose. The local adolescent entrepreneur would fetch me newspapers and rum drinks from the tiki bar at the end of the road to fuel my prose. And words of grandeur would spring to life on my screen, and later on pages in front of you.
By late afternoon, hungry for food and break, I’d dive into the ocean, soak up just enough sun and surf to make my bare skin tolerable to visiting tourists, then rinse off for my evening. My stroll to the Tiki Hut might include small talk with the souvenir lady or the entrepreneur’s father … Mi Padre … who is good at fixing things. Then a seafood salad and cervesa while the local soccer teams play on the television in the background.
Some tourists might intrigue or inspire me into curious conversation, but by early evening it’s back to the cabana for more composition. As the to-go pitcher of rum drink dwindles, the work ends. I lie back in the hammock to enjoy the stars and imagine what those not living in a Caribbean paradise are doing with their lives.
Tomorrow, I will do it all again. Perhaps a friend will visit next month. Perhaps not. But this is how I imagine life as a writer of things.
Life as a liver of life has gotten in the way, of course. But this week, I’m living the dream.
January 22, 2013 4 Comments
Speaking as a reasonable facsimile for a human who happens to also consider himself a writer, I am fond of good grammar. When I see bad grammar, it predisposes me to think the person that offered is either careless or ignorant, which speaks none-too-highly of them. Certainly, I wouldn’t resist urinating on them should they suddenly burst into flames, but still … you are somewhat less of a person if you don’t know the difference between your and you’re.
However, there’s the all-important element of context. I do not expect proper placement of modifiers from, say, front line workers at Wendy’s. Which brings me to an important point:
Most Facebook posts are performed via mobile phone by people with fat thumbs and attention-deficit disorder. And besides, Facebook is not a term paper, so all you grammar nazis can go fuck yourselves.
That is all.
December 26, 2012 5 Comments