Citibank Wellesley something different

I just got back from a wine tasting in a Bank. The bank reminds me more of an apple store in it’s spaciousness but all the people working there are all solid knowledgeable bankers who are putting the relationship R bank in Banker. I know a banker who just retired from banking to start his own insurance agency, and I thought Steve was the last great Banker. Perhaps the staff at Citibank understands this and is developing their business from the outside In.

Super Pets Critter Trail three just say no.

I came home yesterday after food shopping and was greeted at the upstairs door by my daughters Pet Gerbil Max. Wow I thought how cute, greeting me like a dog, this was quickly replaced with shit the mouse is loose.

I had bought the Critter trail three for my daughters two hamsters Max and Ruby for Christmas. This came with tubes and multiple levels for climbing and a wheel to spin in. It was built like a birdcage and had a petting area I thought how cute my daughter Sabrina will love this.

After a month however the Gerbils began de-construction first eating away the yellow shelves until they were too dangerous to climb. Then they went about eating the bottom out of a second deck as well as the petting area, actually eating a crevasse between the tube and petting area which was later their escape route. I also needed to constantly vacuum around their cage because they were constantly flinging shavings, poops and anything else they could chuck out of their cage.

Originally we had stored the Gerbils in a fish tank with a gerbil lid and after I rounded up both the vermin they are now safely back in their original home. I have left a few messages at Super pets International in Elk Grove Illinois. I explained that even a guy from Geneva Illinois now knows that plastic is bad for chewing animals.

The best bet is to speak with a real pet store owner so they can tell you the read deal not a sales person at Petco, or worse pet smart who much like a doctor pushing meds recommended by pharmaceutical sales people will sell you something a rat will eat through. The people at Petworld on Route nine near Pizza Hut are real knowledgeable, and know their stuff. Doing a search about Gerbils before you buy anything plastic is also a good idea. Two red flags I ran through during my hurried Christmas shopping.

Max and Ruby appear happy back in their fish tank, and I am glad to not have to dust bust around their cage again today. You should also please checkout the Super pets site at Superpet
which has a cute picture of kids surrounded by their pets near their feet which is apropos if you think about it.

Hanging out in JP

I went out with Sharon and her friends Julie and Dean this past Friday and had an excellent time. We met up at Latino Restaurant on Centre street to eat at a place that was found on Yelp. The place was packed with people mostly locals I suspect and everything was in spanish. The waitress we had helped us out but it was touch and go for awhile. The good news is they have much of the food already prepared and you can see what it is you are ordering.

I had a steak combination plate that came with a steak, Salad rice and beans all for 10.50 which was pretty reasonable. Yelp said it got crowded which it did, and that the food was inexpensive which it was. The crowd was a bit loud but most were guys unwinding over Carona’s after a long work week.
If you can get past the noise you well receive a good dinner value with plenty of food. You can see Yelp reviews @ .
After we finished all our food we were all off to the Milky way bar and lounge. This is a old school basement bar also on Centre street with a very nice bar, pool tables, food live music and 10 lanes of yes Candlepin bowling. There was also an ethiopian band featured on this night and there was an 8.00 cover. We had a few wines at the bar after putting our names in for bowling.
We listened to a few warm up bands both were rather bad but thats ok, it was still live music. Dean said the first band was the equivalent of musical sominex or something like that. They all seemed stoned but then I was drinking wine so who knows.
Midway through the second band, a large group of people dressed in S shirts. The Bowling buzzer interrupted our listening of music and we went off to bowl Candle pins for about an hour. I had to relearn scoring Candle Pins ( I grew up on big balls) but Dean had an idea and He Sharon and Julie all did our best to have fun and not hurt ourselves or others surrounding us.
We were finishing up our one game when the Ethiopian band went on. And we danced to their funky Ska-esque beat. The band had a singer, trombone, C flat sousaphone, accordion and guitarist I think. The place was packed around the stage and everyone was grooving.
We left around 12:30am I think and headed out into the cold for home. It was the first time I had been up in JP in a long time and it was definitely worth the trip. Thanks to Julie and Dean for inviting Sharon and I. For more on Milky way lounge see their website at
I hope to get the name of the Ethiopian band later today.

Iphone video problem solved…

I worked with two 2nd tier Apple techs who were both very good last thursday. Steven Brown in Final Cut Pro and  Roger Johnson from iphone support. We had the problem of the iphone playing back a demos music but unable to process the dialogue my client wanted to hear also.

What we found was that a stereo mix down with two tracks of voice cancelled each other out in the itunes mixdown. Usually two tracks of audio is preferred.  We found that if you take the one channel of voice over with music it plays fine through the speaker on the iphone.

The same is true if you post a youtube video and then try and play it thru iphone also. You need to mix it down as a mono Aiff file then reimport it into your timeline. For FCP editors here are the steps. 

Here are the steps for exporting a mono audio file from stereo DV audio in Final Cut Pro.

1. Mute all audio tracks in the timeline except the tracks with the DV audio

2. Select the sequence in the Browser

3. Go to File/Export/Using QuickTime Conversion…

4. In the Save dialog change the “Format:” to AIFF and leave the “Use:” at Default

5. Click Options and confirm that the audio is 48 kHz Stereo Linear PCM in the Sound Settings dialog and click OK

6. Save the file with desired name in your desired location

7. Import the mono AIFF file into your project

8. Mute the DV audio tracks

9. Place the mono AIFF on a new audio track

10. It will now play out of left and right channels with the stereo music track and will sum to mono w/out phase cancellation.

Hope this helps others down the road. Thanks again Steven and Roger at apple.

Interesting video problem with the iphone

I recently shot and produced a demo for a Professional Seminar speaker and then made him DVD copies etc. I also sent him an iphone version directly from Final Cut pro the editing software I use in all post production.  Funny thing is the music played all the way through but his voice was lost after it was synced to the iphone from itunes. You can hear the music thru the little speaker but not music and dialogue. If however you plug in the headphones you can hear both mixed down tracks perfectly.

I have been searching for a cure to this. The first is just up load it to youtube and play it on iphone there. The 2nd is to send the edited piece as an email file and play it off the email.
Either way you can get around the iphone import glitch and I will keep looking for the  real solve online.  I have left questions in a few forums so perhaps a RT solution will present itself.


Being thankful

I am awoken today surrounded by my kids and both sadly are sick. My son CJ who is flying to Florida later today to see his grand parents is got a raging head cold full of snots and poor Sabrina my youngest cannot keep G2 and water down.

It’s hard as a parent to see your kids sick, you want the best for them and you hurt when they hurt, and I am sick because they are sick. All I can do is take care of them and comfort them and hope that they will be ok.  
I want to thank My love Sharon for being such a good soul yesterday when our plans on Valentines day went so horribly awry. I also want to thank her son Alex for being a trooper and rolling with the day. I hope you guys had fun bowling although it’s not really bowling unless it’s with the big balls.
CJ, Sabrina and I thank you both and we are all very lucky to have you both in our lives. We are very thankful.

Isn’t everyday Valentines Day?

If you are in a meaningful relationship with someone is not everyday Valentines day? Does not the sight, sound or smell of the one you love close to you not elicit a reaction of warmth, fondness and caring. Why is it that hallmark beats us all down once a year with this mid winter obsession that saying I love you everyday to that special person means nothing unless it is also said with magnitude on February 14th.  

Why are we all acting like lemmings?  Why do we buy the cards, the roses, the chocolates? all at inflated prices on that one day? Are we helping the economy?
I read that people spend on average about 102.50 per person on gifts for Valentines day. Would investing that money not be a better idea?,  ok maybe not today but some day soon?
My daughter Sabrina made me a hand written valentine and I have it on my refrigerator. I adore it because it is simple, and written from the heart along with pictures she drew of me ( I am always round in her pictures) but the message is what counts. She has made me lots of art over the years but this one is special for valentines day… Ok I get it now,  I guess even I can learn from writing a blog.
Happy Valentines Day Everyone
PS …  Sharon I Love and adore You !

Finding your voice on the internet.

One of the things I think a blogger needs to do when starting out is figure out what he or she is going to write about. Is it going to be personal or professional? Funny , sad , full of factoids or just ramblings and gems from the cranium.

I have been blogging for a little while, I actually had another blog I started a few years ago but that became like a personal attack on any bad customer service experience and while funny and cathartic I think blogging negatively all the time is just bad karma. So be mindful if you blog negatively, it’s ok to be honest about your experiences but then let it go.
Blogs do not have to be long, in fact  short  "snackable content"  is preferred so your message is short, and sweet and too the point.  The only other  important thing I can recommend is hitting spell check before you hit publish post.
Write about what you like about, what you know about and don’t be afraid if the blog you write isn’t perfect. It’s about what you like and want to talk about. it can be about nothing in particular.  If Seinfeld wrote a blog would it not be about nothing? Nothing can be interesting. 

Do you know Zoe Foods?

A good friend from college and colleague Karen Vigurs Stack of 602 communications asked me to sit in on a brainstorming session yesterday on how we can help her friend Tori Stuart save her company Zoe Foods. Zoe Foods makes all natural, healthy heart smart products such as granola cereals and  protein and fiber bars. They are local in MA based in Needham, and have fallen on hard times in this economy.
We thought maybe we should have people who are fans and customers of Zoe foods to write blogs about the products. While I am not a customer yet, I am now a fan.

Before yesterday I knew nothing about Zoe Foods other then what I was forwarded in an email about our strategy session.  I am also have never been a fan of granola, or energy bars. They all taste well Yucky.  I eat energy bars purely out of necessity before I ride 50+ mile bike rides and on the rides themselves to keep me supplied with energy. There is nothing worse then bonking while climbing a 60 degree grade hill.
The Granola’s are all natural, heart smart, healthy and don’t taste bad either.  I have opened all three boxes ( a big no no) but I had to try them all in order tow write this blog.  My favorite is the cinnamon raisin but the Honey Almond and Cranberries and Currants versions are both tasty and now that I have opened all three boxes I will be eating them in the days to come.
The Bars are good tasting also, better then I have had recently.  There are three choices and I liked the Chocolate delight best, but Chocolate peanut butter bliss and Peanut butter paradise were also both good. I fear I may have over fibered myself but this too shall pass.
All their products have 8g of protein, 7g of fibre and Omega 3s (100%). This translates into a healthy heart, and isn’t this National Heart Month after all?  Didn’t I hear that on Oprah?
One interesting fact I learned yesterday is that if you do not fart 14 times a day you are not getting enough fiber. I am not sure how this is calculated exactly but when the numbers were presented nobody in the room refuted them.
 If you are curious about finding out more about the tasty, healthy and heart smart offerings at Zoe Foods please check out their website
I am a fan of Zoe Foods now and I plan to be a customer once the boxes I opened are finished, which won’t be that long my kids haven’t tried it yet but that might be another blog.

Riding the Bolt Bus.

I rode the Bolt Bus to NYC and back recently and I must admit it wasn’t bad. I rode the bus lots in college and I figured I would check it out. What you get is internet access on the bus, an electric outlet in the seat in front of you and a decent value on a round trip ticket for about 30.00. The buses are new, nice and the drivers seem skilled although the driver on the way back had a near miss at 70. Not good but I was way in bac
k and could be mistaken.
I tried in vain to video chat with my friend Phil. He mentioned I was drifting on and off so trying video from the Bolt Bus internet connection proved fruitless. Their connection to satellite must be intermittent as is the wifi. Sending email is fine however.
While a good ride, I guess the one qualm I have is the lack of trays like in a plane or train to support the weight of the laptop. You will need to use your knees for your lap hence the word laptop or across ones lap.  I know it’s a pain but you can do it. A pro book 17 is perfect for this situation.
Make sure you book in advance cause Day’s do sell out on Bolt Bus.  I enjoyed my ride on the bolt and would recommend it. It reminded me of my college days and travel that was more fun and less responsible. Only in this case I saved lots of money over the Accela which is much more responsible.