Archive for the ‘eof’ Category

OFF THE AIR

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

been there done that

After 12 years of posting thoughts, brain farts, ideas, links, editorials and other stuff on this blog, I have decided to no longer provide updates on weidemannia.

Been there. Done that.

As you know, I had closed my social networking sites on MySpace, Facebook, Classmates, Linked In and many others I have since forgotten, because the initial thrill the Internet provided as a creative environment for me has turned into more of a chore. I am proud to say I have never “tweeted” and have no interest in the tweets of others. I just don’t care.

Perhaps, the straw that broke this old camel’s back was receiving over 25,000 spam-generated “gee this blog looks great – keep up the good work” comments posted on my articles – even though I had completely disabled commenting. I have no idea why they showed up, and 1 and 1 couldn’t explain it either – but based on the nature of the comments received, I believe some lonely Polish programmers who feel their actions of disturbance annoyance and are important to the betterment of the planet. Anyway, I am in the process of deleting all comments.

BUT, don’t be forlorn.

I am maintaining my epiclectic Flickr account, and will continue to upload images and photos there. Their method of preventing spam and blocking posters – when rarely required – is much less painful.

The images on the right will continue to link to my updates for those of you who happen to land here first for some reason.

Honestly, I expect no one to actually read this far.

If you do, let me ask you to take a moment and reflect on what you are doing with your time, and if it could be better spent by stepping away from the computer, laptop, smartphone and iPad, and taking a long walk in the woods.

Enjoy life!

Steve

Integrity

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Target Audience?

Friday, December 7th, 2007

I wonder if anyone else noticed that the annoying dancing girl on those ubiquitous LowerMyBills ads has been going through some changes. It appears they are now targeting amputee homeowners in Alabama.

Too weird for me.

Applause

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

What a way to end a year; and begin another.

Evidence of Life

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Although not official, it appears that there has been physical evidence of changes taking place that could make a dramatic impact on life, as we know it. A few more days, but I expect to see this “proof” with my own eyes and ears – and confirm the rumor.

The door has been unlatched, and is beginning to swing slowly into the room…

There’s Something Happening Here

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Suddenly, when least expected, there is some commotion just outside the long-closed and latched door. The knob begins to slowly turn…

"It’s All Inventory"

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

It’s funny how some times simple words or phrases can take on a new meaning when your perspective changes?

Over the last 10 years, whenever I may have rolled my eyes, or questioned the purchase of some strange trinket or thrift store find by my “roommate”, I was told that “Hey, it’s all inventory” – which was to dismiss any justification for buying the item. Made complete sense at the time since she is in the collectible business, and what may cost her a few dollars could in fact return 10 or 100 times more when sold online or in her antique store. She has a good idea for spotting the hidden treasures. And so the ever-growing “inventory” became a part of our home’s decor, and stuffing for our ever-decreasingly useful garage. All in the name of business.

Now that its coming time to put real market value to all of our belongings, it will be interesting to see the perceived value of this “inventory”. Because most of it was acquired after we became a legal entity, half of the “inventory” is suddenly mine. Not that I want any of it, but its worth needs to be considered as community property.

When I look back at EVERYTHING that I acquired in my life, I never once purchased it thinking of what it could be sold for later when it ended its usefulness. For example, I collect vinyl records, but have never sold a single one. Even though a few may have some unbelievable street worth, I have no intention of letting them go. Records, to me, are not inventory, but things with memories, meaning, value and permanence. Unsurprisingly, I entered into marriage with the same attitude.

Others, it is now apparent, considered a spouse just another piece of inventory.

What am I bid?

It’s Raining.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

After what seems like a bajillion days of dryness, today the skies have decided to shed some tears on the Southland. Welcome to fall, 2007.

No doubt the local TV news will crank out their “Stormwatch 2007 Doppler HD Turbo” graphics and over=report on something that nature has been doing on a regular basis since it all began.

A good day to stay indoors, and document all the accumlated assets we’ve acquired over the last 15 years so that we can split it up equitably, and I can move on to the next season of my life.

I guess the rain-slicked roads will be a continuous reminder to me that you never get advance notice when you are about to be blindsided.

Drive safely.

Scrambling Cockroaches

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Is it just me, or is the juxtaposition of the random sponsor add on this newstory about Country wide cutting staff a serious comment about the state of the entire mortgage and housing industry.


You KNOW the displaced, unscrupulous mortgage loan ‘officers’ and brokers that had been selling over-extended homeowners new loans they really couldn’t afford, are going to be jumping this new bandwagon. This way, they get rewarded for creating a situation they were rewarded to in the first place. Like being a bounty hunter, and knowing exactly where the prey is hiding.

I hate the mortgage business – and that’s why I no longer call it my profession.

With apologies to my previous clients.

Critical System Failure

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Well, today, the critical key components of the machine finally fried, and I don’t know if the motherboard will be able to recover. Its been in heavy use for a long time, but during the past few years, daily operations have become more and more sluggish – especially in the last six months. Can’t ignore them any longer.

I’ll make some calls on Monday and try to contact some experts to help me put some patches in place. However, I have my doubts if they will actually work in keeping the machine in operation. Frankly, I’m seriously wondering if it just isn’t time to change platforms altogether.

How did Foghat so eloquently capture this scenario?

The first time, I was a fool –
Never knew that love could be so cruel.
It happened to me again.
Third time, lucky.

The Inevitable

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I’m not proud of the fact that I haven’t been to the doctor in over 15 years. But seeing that I have passed the legal speed limit (55), and inspite of the fact that I have no pain, no sickness, no problems, and do not take any medications or vitamins, I went ahead and scheduled a “meet-and-greet” with a doctor at the local Kaiser Permanente. My check-up was on June 7.

I guess the big fear with guys my age is finding out you have issues with your prostate. Well, according to the doctor, there was no physically-identifable swelling or enlargement of this elusive gland. But I feel he and I have a much closer relationship at this point. I also am concerned with my PSA numbers, but am waiting to hear back on the analysis from the lab.

I was surprised that my blood pressure was on the high-side, but is not considered “high” blood pressure. I recall it was officially higher a few years ago when I was a proud member of the corporate workforce. Maybe 3 years of self-employment tends to relieve one’s stress. (Right. You ever tried to get a refinance completed working with third-party escrow, title, appraisers and lenders?)

I had 5 vials of blood taken, and they sent it off to the lab for a complete series of tests. Over the last few days, I’ve been getting nifty little emails from Kaiser letting me log in at the website, view the results and read more about any of the tests or results. Very informative.

Anywho, according to the results I’ve received so far, nearly all of my readings were smack-dab in the middle of the normal ranges. All organs appear functional and are doing what they are supposed to. So on the surface, my years of “hamburger, fries and a coke” and lack of exercise had no adverse imact on my health. See, everyone. I told you!

Well, I said “nearly”, didn’t I.

I have a follow up with the doctor next Friday to address my HIGH CHOLESTEROL. (Now, what have all the commercials and magazine articles and news stories told me I need to do to lower my cholesterol?) I feel like such an idiot, but I’ve decided that if anything is going to change, it has to come from within me.

Taking charge of the situation, I have begun a daily exercise ritual – to get in the habit of moving my sorry ass around more, and getting back into shape. Each morning I walk briskly for 45 minutes, and then come home and swim laps in the pool. (Finally, after 15 years of owning a swimming pool, I use it for something other than floating on a raft soaking up rays.) I also have started keeping a log of time walked, laps swum and bare-naked weight. I’ve recorded some yoga programs for the wife, and think I may also block out an hour each day to begin yoga-ing (is that a word?) At this rate, I’m going to have to get up at 5am to get all this stuff out of the way by 7am… which means going to bed at a “decent” hour. The hardest part of all this new lifestyle may be trying to go to sleep at 10pm.

Well, I’m sure the doctor will have some other ideas of what I need to be doing to control my numbers, but am sure that what I am doing will put me in the right direction. I’m not overly concerned, and am confident that I can put the numbers back in the normal range.

Will try to update the blog every so often to record progress.

Flip This Crook

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Ever watch A&E’s reality real estate show “Flip This House”?

Under the guise of being both educational and entertaining, they inspire the viewer to begin asking “Gee, that looks easy. What if we quit our jobs and get into this house flipping business big time. Imagine all the money we could make!”

Well, this afternoon, I came across a story about Sam Leccima, the “star” from a series of FTH episodes that reveals a different side of the story. Here’s the teaser from MyFox Atlanta:

What if you found out an American Idol contestant was lip-synching? What if the Bachelor was really married? How real is reality TV? The FOX 5 I-Team answers that question with one of America’s favorite reality shows: Flip This House. Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell found one Atlanta developer on the show, Sam Leccima, wasn’t telling the truth about his renovations.

MyFox Atlanta Expose

After watching, if you think Sam is the victim, feel free to visit his website and throw away your money.

Bigger. Harder. Deadly.

Friday, May 4th, 2007

New Century to lay off 2,000 workers as unit goes unsold

Associated Press
Article Launched: 05/03/2007 11:54:49 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES – Financially strapped subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp., failed to receive any bids for its mortgage loan origination business, forcing it to shut down the unit and lay off around 2,000 employees, the company told employees Thursday.

The Irvine-based company, which has been preparing to sell off its assets under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last month, notified employees during a conference call that they would be laid off effective Friday.

Speaking on the call, New Century President and Chief Executive Brad A. Morrice said despite a number of potential buyers for its wholesale and consumer-direct operations, “none of those potential deals have come to pass.”

The deadline for bids for the business unit was Wednesday. New Century’s request to extend the deadline was not supported by its creditors committee, Morrice said, adding that efforts to sell the unit had stopped.

New Century will retain only service personnel and about 250 members of its corporate team as the company continues efforts to liquidation, Morrice said.

“I realize that today’s announcement was not the news that any of us hoped to hear,” Morrice said, his voice quivering at times. “I would be remiss if I did not say how sorry I am for any grief or hardship that any of you may experience as a result of this situation.”

New Century had been the second-largest provider of home loans to high-risk borrowers, but it collapsed after a spike in mortgage defaults led its lenders to pull funding and demand that it buy back bad loans.

Yep. They bigger they thought they were, the harder they fell. Stay tuned for even more aftershocks.

Sending an Important Message

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Its a month later than intended.

Tomorrow I will be asking my supplier to cut me off. I am not going to ask for any more potential clients, and will be concentrating on working the clients I already have in my portfolio; as well as handling any responses to our direct marketing campaign.

The industry has changed dramatically over the last month or so, and while business has picked up, I’m not very optimistic on the way things are going. If I don’t shut off the flow of new leads, my rut continues to become more worn, and another week passes, and nothing effects the change I need.

This will cause other problems, but sometimes you have to make difficult decisions, go through pain and unexpected reactions, in order to come out on top.

HOLD ON – ITS ARMAGEDDON!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Asia dives on US subprime woe
Losses on Wall Street sets sell dominos falling in Japan and other Far East markets.
March 13 2007: 10:20 PM EDT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) — Asian share markets on Wednesday tracked heavy losses on Wall Street on fears about an intensifying crisis in U.S. mortgage lending, spooking investors nursing losses from a sharp sell-off two weeks ago.

Japanese stocks fell more than 2 percent, mirroring falls on Wall Street that were triggered by growing losses at subprime lending firms — those operating at the riskier end of the mortgage market — and weak U.S. retail sales.

Get ready to head to the bomb shelters, ’cause its the END OF THE WORLD!

New Carnage for New Century

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

“As of March 9, 2007, all of the Company’s lenders under its short-term repurchase agreements and aggregation credit facilities had discontinued their financing with the Company or had notified the Company of their intent to do so.”

Just desserts.

Knock. Knock.

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Knocking on previously-closed doors appears to have resulted in someone approaching and turning the handle. Now, waiting to see what’s inside and what opportunities might be offered.

Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

“Tracking the housing finance breakdown: a saga of corruption, stupidity, and government complicity.”

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.

Just because you’ve heard of the big names in the mortgage business, doesn’t necessarily imply integrity and ethics. Here’s one guy that is helping put together a list of “who’s who in the zoo”.

Funny or Not Funny?

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

This morning, I came across this youtube video of a crank-calling comedian named Tom Mabe, who is jerking the chain of some satellite dish salesman on the phone. Based on the comments posted, apparently everyone finds this hilarious and sides with Tom as he rants while the poor guy on the phone is trying to make sense out of it…

As you may know, I’m working with a mortgage brokerage, and we purchase our leads from what are purported to be reputable lead companies, with the names and phone numbers of people who have requested refinancing information. And depending on the lead source, we might pay $20-$40 for that name and phone number. So, when we call someone, it is in response to their serious request. We are not telemarketers and these are not cold calls.

Anyway, as I began listening to the recording, it sounded strangely familiar. 4 or 5 months ago, I had received a lead for a “Tom Mabe”, and was told I had called the scene of a homicide investigation. The dialog went pretty much as you hear on the recording. However, if you pay attention, 99 percent of the dialog is all coming from Tom’s babbling. A prank-call comedy bit with an unsuspecting audience member. Funny? I don’t think so; but I don’t see the humor in Crank Yankers either. I recall thinking it was probably the weirdest conversation I had, however.

Anyway, give it a listen…

So, it is my suspicion that Tom is not pranking telemarketers. He is filling in forms on the internet ASKING for people to call him. We get screwed out of $30 bucks so this guy can perform his little comedy act? I wouldn’t pay that to see ANY comedian at a comedy club. What gives him the right?

My opinion: “Tom Mabe is a Dick”.

By the way, I still have his phone number so if you are interested in calling his home phone in the middle of the night to see how he is doing, drop me a line. :)

Lets See Where This Goes

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I received a call from a sales rep for MortgageLenders.cc a few minutes ago. A year ago, we had an “unpleasant” experience with the company, so I decided to do a quick Google search to see what new dirt I might discover. Interestingly enough, I came across this recently posted video on YouTube.

What goes around may come around…

System Lockup

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

Appears that I may end up losing a lot of work and have to reboot again… Will wait a bit longer to see if things free up. However, I doubt if things will be ever running as planned.

Less is Less

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

If you want to win at life, as in poker, “you have to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.” Too many distractions can erode one’s mental effectiveness.

Use your Delete key TODAY!

Chrysalis

Friday, November 17th, 2006


Having relocated the office Labor Day weekend, and spending a month in getting things settled and back to normal, we have successfully launched our brand new, redesigned website. The new look is clean and fresh, and a much needed improvement from the previous mundane mortgage website template that had never been updated in 2 years and was, frankly, an embarrasment.

As we head into 2007, our goal is to prove to the world that we ARE different than the rest of the brokers out there. So, rather than buy a template from the bajillion website stores out there, we decided to go back to basics and buit a site from scratch that is aligned with our philosphy.

Keep it simple and personal.

Another very, very intersting thing is that without any conscious effort to promote our website with the search engines, we now are finding the Mortgage and Lending website on page 1 of Google’s search results – and sitting at the number 3 spot when you search simply on mortgage and lending.

Wow!

In the real estate business, they say location is everything. So, now that we have the location, our next effort will be to begin driving people to the website. Webtrends is active and we will be watching the reports.

If you are reading this, let me ask you to check out the site and let me know what you think. Have we differentiated ourselves? Do you want to pick up the phone and give us a call? When you do, make sure to mention “weidemannia sent you”.

My Cliff Notes Work Update

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Geeze… its’ been 8 months since my last update to this blog. To the casual reader, it might appear as if I finished my 2nd broker training class and then disappeared from the planet. I’m happy to announce, that is not the case, and I have just had other things that took my eye off of my blog maintenance responsibilities.

So, here is a brief overview of some milestones that were met:

MARCH – Started and completed State of Oregon Entry Level online course; 20 hours.

APRIL – Passed the proctored Oregon MLEB exam. Now certified as loan originator in Oregon for 2 years. Successfully closed a challenging loan for a client in Utah.

MAY thru AUGUST – Helped design and implement a direct marketing program for the company. Coordinated production of material with third-party marketing company, and was quite pleased with the product. On the other hand, the results were much less than expected. However, the mortgage industry has been in a slump for the first half of 2006, so we just tightened the belt and worked smarter – eliminating unnecessary overhead expenditures. Beginning to put more of a marketing strategy in place.

SEPTEMBER – Relocated our office to a much nicer location. New digs provides a real shot-in-the-arm as a moral booster, and purges us of the ghosts that had haunted the company a year ago. While still working our client database, I was also responsible for updating all of our State of California corporate, broker information, as well as records with the other states we work in, and the lenders with which we are approved. At the same time of the move, we switched our DSL provider, had to have the new facility wired for telecommunication and network, and move our servers and computers minimizing downtime. The ONLY glitch was that AT&T was unable to provide us with the DSL line in time, so we had to operate without email or internet access for a week. (Found out that it IS possible to live your life without internet or email.)

OCTOBER – The phones are ringing. People are returning calls, and seem to be taking refinancing seriously. Probably helped by some mortgage rates and indexes starting to flatten and drop.

The King is Dead

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

From a story in today’s LA Times:

Ameriquest closes 229 offices, lays off 3,800

The parent company of Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and Town
and Country Credit retail mortgage subsidiaries said Tuesday it will launch
a new business model that will result in the closing of 229 retail branch
offices and the layoffs of about 3,800 workers, effective immediately.

This week’s announcement comes on the heels of a $325 million nationwide
settlement in January, in which ACC Capital Holding Corp. and its subsidiaries
agreed to pay $295 million to consumers and make sweeping reforms of practices that states alleged amounted to predatory lending. Ameriquest also agreed to pay $30 million to 49 states and the District of Columbia for costs of the investigation or consumer education and enforcement.

Ironically enough, borrowed from the Ameriquest.com “best practices” website today:

Ameriquest was one of two lenders invited to participate in Freddie Mac’s Don’t Borrow Trouble consumer-awareness program. We continue to participate in events sponsored by this program across the country to help educate the public about the mortgage process and steps they can take to protect themselves from predatory lending.

We partner with various organizations to offer rescue programs to victims of predatory lending. Ameriquest is also working on programs supporting first-time home buyers in achieving the American dream.

Or should that read American Nightmare?

Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle, we can see that Ameriquest put its money to good use:

California law prevents lobbyists from spending more than $10 per month on gifts and public officials from accepting more than $360 per year from any source. But here, too, some companies spent lavishly.

Ameriquest Capital Corp., whose lending practices are a frequent target of regulators, spent nearly $30,000 to entertain lawmakers and staffers at Rolling Stones concerts in November. Ameriquest reported hosting 38 legislative staffers, including 14 who work for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez of Los Angeles, at the Stones concert in San Francisco Nov. 13. With catered food and drinks and related expenses, the evening cost more than $10,000.

Two nights later, 19 members of the governor’s staff had their turn at a combined cost of more than $6,000. When the band played in San Diego earlier that week, the company hosted Assemblyman George Plescia, his wife and 10 members of his staff at a reported cost of almost $4,000.

But because the law allows staffs to file separately, neither the governor nor the speaker were required to disclose the gifts made to their office.

Billionaire Roland Arnall, who built Ameriquest into the largest mortgage lender for poor credit risks, is shutting down most of his company to focus on being the new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

The embattled firm yesterday said it’s closing 229 branch offices, firing 3,800 mortgage staffers, and consolidating into just five call centers.

Arnall’s firm was hit earlier this year with charges by 49 state attorneys general that his company used bait-and-switch schemes to cheat customers into taking out more costly loans.

Congress held up his long-sought appointment as ambassador until he cleaned up the mess. Arnall recently paid $325 million in penalties and launched sweeping reforms the branch offices – which now are being closed permanently.

And in an article from the New York Post’s Online Edition:

Ameriquest’s Ambassador of Doom

Arnall’s firm (Ameriquest) was hit earlier this year with charges by 49 state attorneys general that his company used bait-and-switch schemes to cheat customers into taking out more costly loans.

Congress held up his long-sought appointment as ambassador (to the Netherlands) until he cleaned up the mess. Arnall recently paid $325 million in penalties and launched sweeping reforms the branch offices – which now are being closed permanently.

Sources said Arnall was preparing to sell the stripped down firm to HSBC, which has been on an acquisition spree and owns Beneficial Finance for consumers with bad credit. HSBC declined to comment.

Arnall, 67, earned his $3 billion fortune lending money at high rates to the 50 million Americans with poor credit. He was one of the top 10 donors to President Bush.

God help the Netherlands.

In case you are interested: Ameriquest Job Openings

Mortgage, Credit, and Ethics

Monday, March 6th, 2006

You know I have a strong opinion about ethics in the mortgage business. So when I find a site like this, I smile and get the feeling that there is hope.

Chock full of lessons-learned, and NOT the ranting of some wacko like you might think on first glance.

– The Fight Back forum has a few threads that are recommended reading for anyone that owns a home, or is considering refinancing. Ameriquest seems to get a fair amount of venom.

– Explore “Operation Fake Leads“. You may be able to take a part in destroying the lead system from within – and make some money to boot. [This is why I hate making calls to leads we purchase – I know we are spending money and buying bogus leads, probably from some of Christine’s disciples.]

Reinforces my opinion that the mortgage business needs to be completely reinvented; and my mind is always testing out different options and slants.

Broker Training: Course 2 Completed

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Took a month longer than I planned, since there were a number of distractions during the month, but I finally blocked out 2 hours and completed the Real Estate Brokerage and Office Administration course. 89% on this test.

Since these are online, open-book exams, there really should be no excuse for not getting 100% every time. However, my personal philosophy is to try to respond with as little research during the test as possible – and measure if I really know the content.

In this particular case, the subject covered much of the material that I had been exposed to years ago during my project management and leadership courses at Fluor.

Now cracking the shrinkwrap on Real Estate Economics textbook and targeting mid-March for the test.

Thanks for caring. :)

Honesty – Revolutionary Marketing Approach

Friday, February 10th, 2006

As you can probably guess by now, I’ve some strong opinions about the current state of the mortgage business – or rather all of the unproductive static that permeates the mortgage business. I’m a mortgage professional trying to make an honest living, and I have to differentiate myself – a real challenge considering the current pothole-ridden landscape.

At this point, the specific thing that is a burr under my saddle is spam email. I absolutely can not understand why anyone would read, let alone click on one of those hundreds of emails that all look alike, and tell YOU that you have been “pre-approved” for a $500,000 loan with payments of $800 per month – even though you have bad credit, bankruptcy, unemployed, etc. In spite of all the misspellings, pidgin english, and the ridiculous paragraph of nonsensical jibberish that appears for some unknown reason at the bottom of each message, many innocent homeowners DO click on the links with every intention of discovering how they can save so much money. The result of their inquisitiveness? They fill in a form on an anonymous website, and subsequently receive 100’s of phone calls and emails that irritate and overwhelm. If they aren’t prepared, they could easily be pressured into having everyone pull their credit, lower their scores even further, and force them to take a loan they are afraid to back out of.

So, I got to thinking, what would be the result of taking a completely different marketing approach using email as the delivery method. Let me offer my version of a prototype email that I believe would trigger action on the part of the reader, and get them the results they are looking for – without the pain:

Subject: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR REFI REQUEST

Dear Homeowner,

It is my understanding that you recently completed a form on the internet expressing an interest in a home mortage or refinancing. You have, therefore, received many more responses than you may have expected. 3-4 lenders may respond? Try 30-40 or more! A veritable feeding frenzy!

Before you delete this message, let me offer some advice:

DO NOT REPLY TO ANY MORTGAGE-RELATED EMAIL – not even this one!

DO NOT FILL IN ANY MORE FORMS ON THE INTERNET – you will open floodgates you can’t shut.

DO NOT GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY # TO ANYONE OVER THE PHONE. NEVER!

DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS FROM YOUR EMAIL – who knows where it will take you!

So, you are probably asking yourself “why is this guy telling me this?” Well, its because most people don’t realize what will happen once they press the “submit” button on one of those forms. Because I take my profession seriously, I can only try to educate in an attempt to correct the damage that has already been done.

IF you want to take charge of the situation, here are a few suggestions:

USE THE TELEPHONE – Pick up the phone and call the mortgage companies you wish to do business with, when it is convenient for YOU. And call the ones you DON’T wish to do business with and have them take you off their call list.

CHANGE YOUR VOICEMAIL – If you want the calls to stop, record a message to the effect “if you are calling about refinancing, this has already been taken care of ; so please remove me from your call list.” Believe it or not, this will work wonders at reducing the number of calls.

BE HONEST AND GET IT OVER WITH – If you happen to take a call at work or at home and have no interest in talking now, or in the future, don’t ask the caller to call back later. Guess what? They will and it will always be the wrong time. Tell them to take you off their call list. Tell them you have their name and number and will call them in the future when you are comparing programs. Or, tell them not to call you again.

In closing, if you have read this far, you probably realize that I am not “selling” you anything. Honestly, I am offering you information, and my services. If you would like to discuss anything I have said here, or would like to explain your refinancing goals to me, I would be more than happy to speak with you. I am a CA licensed mortgage professional, and work with a wide-variety of lenders, offering hundreds of loan programs that can be customized to fit your situation.

You can reach me toll-free in Southern California at 888-457-1777 x227.

Let me wish you all the best,

Steve Weidemann
www.mortgageandlending.com (don’t click this, right?)
15331 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92618

By the way, while this was offered as a prototype message, if you are seriously interested in discussing the refinancing of your home in California, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, contact me at the phone number or address listed above. I would love to speak with you.

Mortgage Leads: The Business of Screwing Business

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

In a little over a year, I have developed an extreme contempt for ANYONE involved in the business of gathering or selling “information” related to connecting people who are interested in refinancing with the investors or brokers that can provide them the money they are looking for. These “lead companies” make their money in a Ponzi scheme fueled only by the existence of email, the internet, and the uninformed.

Here is how I think it operates; and I dare someone prove me wrong:

Enter Level 1 – Bob wants to make money but has absolutely NO marketable skills. Somehow, he gets partnered up with this guy, Adam, that has the secret to unlimited wealth. For only $5, Bob purchases a list of people from Adam – lets say there are 10,000 names – that has information about their home, property value, when it was last sold, and email address. All Bob has to do is simply send an email to each of the names on his list. He doesn’t even have to read English or compose a sentence since the body of the email is contained on a CD containing sample email templates. Imagine sitting at the computer and, between sessions of playing Everquest, copy, paste and send email. Life couldn’t be easier! Adam has received $5 and moves on to locate other “Bobs”.

No doubt you have seen the spam and junk mail that flows freely into your email inbox, right? Ever wonder how someone could possibly know that YOU have been prequalified for a $500,000 home loan at 3.5% regardless of your credit history or bankruptcy? Reality check, people! They aren’t talking to you. They are playing the odds that someone out there will think it was targeted for them, and respond willingly. [My question to you: Are these people really interested in refinancing? I say, “no”.]

Now for the payoff. For EVERY person that receives the email, clicks on the requisite link, completes and then submits a “so you want to refinance” form, Bob receives $1 dollar! Do the math: Bob recovers his “investment” when only 5 people respond. Hell, that’s only .05 %. Everything after that is gravy! Bob envisions himself vacationing in the Bahamas and running his business from his Blackberry.

Enter Level 2 – All of completed forms from “interested borrowers” are routed to a central database run by SlimeBall Leads Inc. that pays Bob and the thousands of others like him that Adam conned out of their $5 bills. Now, SlimeBall has a product that they can market to interested consumers – in this case, mortgage companies, banks, lenders, investors. That is, the people with the money! (You see where this is going?). Slimeball’s marketing team begins a telemarketing program to hook interested purchasers of these leads.

Lets suppose Mr. Mortgage needs to buy leads. After being contacted by SlimeBall, and listening to their pitch of why THESE leads are better (i.e. confirmed, checked, validated, pre-screened, etc) they agree to purchase 20 leads per day at $20 each. SlimeBall promises that they will not be sold to any more than 4 other lenders. Money changes hands and SlimeBall Leads ends up with $2,000 each week. Now, because there is no honor among thieves, they sell this same “package” to 10 other lenders (who’s counting, right?) That’s $20,000 a week to SlimeBall for its hard work. Actually, since they had to pay all of the Bob’s for the leads, they only end up with a profit of $19,900. (Do you think they report this as income on their taxes?)

Enter Level 3 – After SlimeBall Leads has sold all of its $20 lead packages to its “A-List” companies, and a week or so has gone by, they now sell these packages at $2 per lead to secondary lead resellers, such as BabySlime Co. So, another $200 into SlimeBall’s coffers per reseller.

Enter Level 4 – BabySlime Leads markets its “special discounted” leads for only $5 per lead to brokers, lenders, mortgage companies in a similar fashion as SlimeBall. But because the price per lead is much less, the unsuspecting purchasers are willing to “give it a shot”. For every package they sell, BabySlime Leads make $300, for 150% profit. Multiply that times the number of BabySlime companies out there and you can picture this dysfunctional, fractal universe.

So just what part of the mortgage business is this anyway? You end up with all this money changing hands and very little business of refinancing homeowners taking place.

So today, I come across this “innovative” offering, which makes me ask myself “who’s zooming who?” Wonder how they make their money? I have changed nothing from the way it was posted on the net, and you can see it is a pretty lame attempt at trying to legitimize itself. What a crock of shit!!!

Enter Level 5

About LeadPortal.com

LeadPortal.com is going to bring Big Brother to the lead buying and selling business. LeadPortal.com will monitor both the lead companies and the mortgage brokers in the system and remove anyone who can not the follow the rules. Lead companies and mortgage brokers will have to agree upon a standard set of guidelines for lead returns and lead quality. LeadPortal.com will handle the lead return process to ensure that it is not abused by either side of the transaction. Mortgage brokers must prepay for mortgage leads and lead companies will not be paid for leads that are returned. LeadPortal.com will publish real time statistics for lead returns so it will become very evident very quickly which lead companies are selling bad leads and which brokers are returning too high a percentage of leads. This will self regulate all parties because if return percentages grow to high for a lead company, nobody will buy from them and if mortgage brokers return too high of a percentage, no lead company will sell to them. For security reasons and to keep parties from trying to circumvent the LeadPortal.com system, the lead company names and mortgage broker names will be held anonymous and will just be given ID’s by LeadPortal.com (who will know who everyone is obviously).

LeadPortal.com fills a void that has needed filling for some time now. A safe place for mortgage brokers to buy leads and a safe place for lead companies to sell leads.

Interested? Contact us at info@leadportal.com and we will put you on the mailing list for when the site will launch.

Out of Teeny Minds

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

ONCE UPON A TIME, there lived a young teeny tiny man, with his teeny tiny wife, in a teeny tiny house, with his teeny tiny family. His teeny tiny relatives and their teeny tiny friends constantly surrounded him. They spent all their time talking about teeny tiny things and teeny tiny people.

One day, the teeny tiny man, who we will call Tiny, woke up from his teeny tiny sleep with a not-so teeny tiny idea. He had a wondrous dream and knew that he was going be the most UN-teeny UN-tiny man in the world. So he set about to create a plan. He studied hard, worked hard, and became extremely intelligent and wound up becoming successful in BigPeopleCorporateWorld. He made UNteeny amounts of money and became quite wealthy at a young age. Tiny was happy, but his desire to achieve and acquire more-and-more continued to grow. So, he said goodbye to BigPeopleCorporateWorld and mapped out his plan for TINYLAND.

Because all his teeny tiny friends had always supported him with his new vision, he made sure to help find them opportunities and roles in TINYLAND. It is important to note at this point, that not all the teeny tiny friends and family had the same vision as Tiny, but they were more than happy to help him share his wealth. In fact, made all of his teeny tiny friends and family quite happy! “Hurrah” they would say.

Unfortunately, the world is made up of many people like Tiny, with fantastic ideas and visions for success, and they, too created their own versions of TINYLAND. In fact, many of them competed for the same business as TINYLAND, but were much more successful than Tiny. When Tiny’s income dwindled to nothing, this made Tiny quite sad. Even more so, the pressure that he now felt coming from all of his teeny tiny glomoners made him frustrated and angry. Even though Tiny had made it possible for them to surround themselves with all of the finest things in life, they offered no assistance in helping Tiny turn things around. In fact, they considered him a failure.

Desperate to save face with his teeny tiny friends and family, Tiny went back to the drawing board to design the next-generation TINYLAND. He called it SUPERTINYLAND, and it was bigger and better than anyone could imagine! He ventured out with his new plans and found others who believed in his vision, and, more importantly, were willing to pay him quite handsomely to develop SUPERTINYLAND into a reality. This made Tiny quite happy, and he looked forward to the day, once again, when he would be rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams.

Rather than tackle this new challenge with his personal desire, passion and drive on his own, he once again chose to bring along his teeny tiny entourage. Once again they would shout “Hurrah” with visions of $$$ dancing in their teeny tiny heads. Tiny would be their savior, once again and they would worship the ground he walked upon.

All was well, until opening day of SUPERTINYLAND.

Much to the dismay of the SUPERTINYLAND investors, nothing that Tiny had promised worked. Considering that Tiny had sold the investors of his teeny tiny friends and family being critical components of SUPERTINYLAND’s success, the investors realized that they had been foolish to believe the promises. As a result, they booted Tiny and his teeny tiny entourage to the curb.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Christmas Gifts

Friday, December 16th, 2005

He knows when you are sleeping.

He knows when you’re awake.

He knows if you’ve been bad or good.

But it really doesn’t matter if your name is on the list for staff reductions and the “gift” must be delivered before the end of the year and there is nothing you can do to stop the inevitable – so don’t even think about trying to protest or challenge decisions that are outside of the control of the person responsible for wrapping your “gift”.

Happy New Year!!!

Broker Training: Course 1 Completed

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

In order to prepare for the California DRE Broker’s exam, I need to successfully complete 5 college level training courses. My goal is to have all of them wrapped up by mid-May, 2006. Theoretically, this is the earliest date I would be qualified to take the California State Real Estate Broker’s exam.

Spent the last month reviewing the Mortgage Brokering and Lending Strategies material, and just passed the online exam with a 91%. Interesting side note, you only need 60% to pass. Seems like there may be a lot of marginal brokers in the business…

Next up (and I’m planning each of these courses to take about a month each) is Real Estate Brokerage and Office Administration. Will have this one over and done with by January 15.

See you then!

Constancy of Purpose

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Occasionally, without advance warning, adverse conditions put you in an ethical predicament, and while overwhelmed by all of the pressures and complications that arise, one may choose to take, what appears to be, the easiest way out that allows you to accomplish your short-term goals. Many people trade their values for the rewards.

However, most people are completely aware that you are treading down an extremely narrow path, on very thin ice, adjacent to a precariously slippery slope leading to a black hole of doom and despair. [Drama off]

It is those leaders with strong moral and ethical values, who are dedicated to those internal truths, that consciously choose to withdraw themselves from the predicament and remain on the true path – in spite of letting a brass ring slip past their fingers. This may appear to be a sign of weakness or failure to some, but in truth, I firmly believed a victor has emerged from the battle. A wise leader chooses the right battles to fight. In this instance, the ring is made of pot-metal, and has little value; so why take the risk?

Recent events have reinstilled my faith; its comforting to know I am associated with people that make the right choices.

Taking it to the Next Level

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

Ordered and received the requisite training materials to pursue getting a real estate broker’s license. From what I can tell, it appears the absolute soonest I could possibly be eligible to take the broker exam would be May of 2006; 12 months experience. Normally it requires 24 months experience, but I believe my previous college courses will allow me to shorten the period. Checking into this in more detail.

Anyway, the five courses and their online tests must be completed before then. That should give me enough time but don’t want to wait until the last minute. With 40 hours per course, spread out over a month each, that should be achievable and still let me have a life.

In the meantime, continuing to work the phones and the network. Actually having people return calls!!!

I’m a NUMBER!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

It’s official. Chapter 2 is now fully underway. Continuing down the path toward a Broker’s license and untold riches and personal self-sufficiency. Damn you corporations. Damn you to hell!

Status: PASS

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Checked the results page and was informed this morning that I have passed the state real estate salesperson’s licensing exam. Ta Da!

What Price Integrity

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

When I was gut-level programmed in my early years, I was taught the values of truth, honesty, integrity and ethics in everything I do and say. They have always been the foundation of how I approach life – and I have no regrets. Outcomes may not always have been as I expected, but I have always been proud of my actions. I have no reason do doubt that these were the right values to have made a part of my being.

However, I am rather troubled when it is suggested that “to be successful”, I would have to put these aside…

I have a feeling that my definition of success may be diametrically opposed to what seems to be the new fashion; and I have no intention of modifying my value system.

What will be the outcome? Let’s watch…

Now The Waiting Begins

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Today I drove to downtown LA to take the California Real Estate salesperson licensing exam.

After passing my online training course, and thereby qualifying to register for the licensing exam, I’ve been studying using some practice exams over the past 2 weeks, and went into the test fairly well prepared – at least as well prepared as the practice tests would allow. The 13 practice exams contained 160 questions each, so at least I had a good shot at retaining the 2080 questions and answers based on the quizzes.

The test was to start at 1pm, but I arrived at 12:30. Driving from Orange County, I’m glad I didn’t register for the 8am exam. No doubt traffic would have sucked, and I would have been late. As it was, driving in around noon, traffic was light.

The room of about 80 people were kept in line by the proctor (read: warden) as they sporadically entered the test room. For the 20 minutes it took to process everyone, check them in, lead them to their seat, and wait for the exam to start you could hear the proctor repeat her career-defining, well-rehearsed diatribe: “You need ONLY the BLUE paper – only the blue paper, your drivers license and a calculator. NO, the BLUE paper. Leave everything else at the table. Turn OFF your cell phones. Sir, I said the BLUE paper – not the yellow or white paper – JUST THE BLUE PAPER. Is that a purse? Did I say you could bring a purse? Is there printed material in there? Then put it on the table. Come back here – NOT the white paper; THE BLUE PAPER. THE BLUE PAPER. Not the yellow paper. Put that pen away.” Shades of high school, if I can remember that far back. Obviously, she was used to having to deal with some pretty stupid people in the past.

We were given 3 1/2 hours to take the exam, which consisted of 150 multiple choice questions with answers carefully plotted on Scantron forms using No. 2 pencils. I believe the study material I had been using did its job quite well – seeing that I completed the exam in 1 1/2 hours and felt confident that I didn’t miss more than a few. Most of the questions were clones of the ones on the practice exams, so it relieved some of the anxiety. And since you only need 70% correct to pass the exam, I am not expecting any problems.

I will be notified in the next 3-5 days from Sacramento.

Test Date Set

Friday, March 4th, 2005

Exam scheduled for Monday, April 18 at 1pm in Los Angeles…

Mortgage and Lending

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

My guess is if you have not refinanced in the last 2 years, YOU ARE WASTING YOUR MONEY!

You know that to keep your car in tip-top running condition, you have to take it in to the shop periodically and have it checked out. Well, the biggest expense you will probably make in your life is your home. So why wouldn’t you give your mortgage the same attention as you give your car??? When was the last time you talked to a mortage professional? The best part, the “check up” costs you NOTHING!

You owe it to yourself to see what Mortgage and Lending has to say – with no obligation.

CLICK HERE

First Step Taken

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

The last few weeks have found me reading and studying the real estate principles course book in preparation for taking my online test. This is a mandatory first step toward applying for the California real estate salesperson’s license.

After fixing the problem I had earlier in the day with my Linksys router successfully resetting itself to factory default settings, and killing my ability to connect to the Internet for 3 hours, I settled in to take the 100 question, open-book exam.

Two hours later, I submitted the test and was immediately advised I passed the exam, and printed out my course completion certificate.

Monday, I’ll be sending off my $25 bucks and the application to the California Real Estate Exam Board to get on the calendar for my state licensing exam; which could be yet another 4 or 5 weeks out. In the meantime, I plan on spending 2 hours a night with the Virtual Tutor that came as part of the course materials in prepping for the test.

I also am reading the real estate practices textbook, since I will be taking the online test for that in mid-March.

When all is said and done, I should have a 4-year California real estate sales license; and then pursue taking the licensing exams for a few other western states.

In the meantime, anyone needing a refinance, I highly recommend checking out http://www.mortgageandlending.com. A great bunch of people, and the painless way to get a refinancing program that is customized to fit your particular needs.

Tell them Steve sent you!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
– Elbert Hubbard

FantasyLandMortgage.com

Saturday, January 8th, 2005

When you thought you couldn’t find anyone to give you a loan, along comes the best site on the internet. Good for a laugh.

Shift Your Perspective

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.~ Carl Bard

What was that line from the movie Bullet – “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Keep looking ahead.

In the blink of an eye…

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

something that has taken a long time to conceive, nourish, grow, build and develop can be completely undone.

It’s hard to really identify when you first decide what you want to do in life – what your vocation is to be. It is later in your life, when you truly realize that every single minute of your existence has been spent processing input from every conceivable source (i.e., personal observation, listening, experience, education, training, reading) and stowing pieces of this eclectic knowledge away in your internal memory banks.

Through the years, your mind assembles and reassembles these ever-expanding, and sometimes long-forgotten concepts until you begin to personally define where you believe you fit into the social and vocational structure of life. Some people are good with their hands; others with their minds; others with their voices and a million other possible talents. And it is through applying those talents, in an ideal world, you can transform your job into a career with which you bring a true passion and energy; giving you a sincere sense of purpose. And if you love what you do – and can make it a paying vocation – you can consider yourself successful.

Until.

You can never forget that as human beings, we are all living on this planet simultaneously; and that there will come a time when someone else’s vision of the way the world should be fails to coincide with your personal vision. In a matter of seconds, EVERYTHING you took for granted about what you have achieved can be destroyed.

If you believe you are in a position where you are successful and the world is your oyster, imagine for a moment that driving your Porsche home from work one Friday evening, after a long hard week at work, you are run off the road by someone who happened to doze off behind the wheel. As a result of your car hitting a tree at 60 miles per hour, you end up paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life. It really doesn’t matter if your accident was intentional or not – YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN ALTERED.

Should it have happened? Could you have avoided it? Will the driver be caught and punished? The answers to these questions really don’t matter. What DOES matter is that YOU must decide where you take your life from here.

Your life is always ahead of you. Your past continues to provide you with input and knowledge from which you will make your future choices.

Choose life.

What’s Really Important

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit ~ John F. Kennedy

Having devoted that better part of the last month in contributing my talents to an effort to bring together a universal spirit on the planet, this “quote of the day” I received seem strangely relevent.

Thought I would share it.

Letting Go Of What You No Longer Need

Sunday, October 10th, 2004

It’s Saturday, and after spending the morning in the office taking care of a few calls to prospective customers, I just sat down at the old ‘puter to check out myYahoo. I realized that I have been watching a number of different stocks for which I have had some level of interest. Included in that list were FLR and MEE – legacy stocks from my 401K past. However, no longer being an employee of the former, and having long ago moved my investment monies to other areas, I determined that there was no longer any real need to keep these in my portfolio. Out of sight; out of mind. In a similar vein, I am no longer watching the message boards or headlines for these companies. I don’t think I will be missing out on anything.

Action: I recommend that everyone periodically look around your personal spaces, using a third-person perspective and trim off the unnecessary fat. Like a garage that has exceeded its capacity to store all the crap you refuse to throw away, it is essential to hold a personal garage sale on a regular basis. It ain’t the garages fault – its YOUR responsibility. So I took action.

Now, back to focusing on the future – with a smile. I would hope that you find little slime or editorial about FLR on this site in the future. Waste of my energy.

Exploring New Waters

Friday, October 8th, 2004

Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done. ~ A.E. Hotchner



Timely inspirational message sent from the head of the office this morning. Seemed quite relevant, considering the past few months.

evhead

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

evhead: “So, while I think I’m likely to start another company sometime, I’m forcing myself to be non-committal at the moment. My goal is to develop some perspective, learn new things, rest, and explore (which, of course, will make me more certain that it will be the right thing if/when I do get around to starting something else). Not that I won’t be doing things — I expect to do some ‘projects.’ I don’t plan to disappear from the web or Internet or blogging (although, I’m not committing to anything, mind you). I still think it’s an incredibly exciting time, and we’ve only scratched the surface. (Duh.)”

It seems as if quite a few people are going through this introspection thing. Nice to know it happens to the best of us – and the neat thing is that he’s doing it at 32 years of age. Read Ev’s entire posting.

Report From The New World – Day 1

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Well, I completed my first day on the new job, receiving some excellent 1-on-1 training from the head of the company. Rather looking forward to working in this small, entrepreneurial environment, and being much more in charge of my future than in my past lives. As a loan officer, I will be in a sales role – one that my many years in the engineering company had never crossed my path. Even though my previous assignments required me to “sell” concepts to employees within the company, I don’t consider it the same thing. In the end, they had no obligation to “buy” what I was selling.

So, I’m looking forward to interacting with people in the real world – with all their problems, issues and challenging situations – and providing them with a service that might help them sleep a bit better at night; with a little more financial peace of mind.

That said, my nights and weekends will still remain focused on my pursuit of the passion. I spent the better part of last Saturday and Sunday completing some demo Flash animations for what could turn out to be an extremely influential presentation. Last Thursday, had dinner with Jeff of the BigBlueBall and brainstormed some killer ideas on a series of Flash FAQs. Excited about it and have jotted down a few notes and sketches on what they might look like. Promises to be a kick!

High-Paying Job. Interested?

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

The past few months have found me browsing the various job boards on Monster, CareerBuilder and the classifieds in the LA Times and Register – in search of the “right” opportunity. A few weeks ago, I came across one that caught my attention. Since I wasn’t interested myself, I didn’t save the ad; but am attempting to recall some of the key requirements of the position:

Position: Corporate Management Professional

Experience: Preferred; optional with proper sponsorship

Location: Southern California (subject to change)



Global Fortune 500 corporation seeking an experienced management professional with direct responsibility and authority for executing and completing high-stress projects on time and within budget. The manager will oversee a group of 50 experienced employees, each with over 20 years of on-the-job training, who are in no position to make any decisions without specific direction from the manager. The right candidate is expected to remain focused on the company’s bottom line and shareholder revenue targets, and will avoid introducing any changes or improvements that require behavioral changes on the part of the corporate management and executive management team.



Desired Skills:

  • Disregard for individual employee growth and development.
  • Caustic attitude and closed-door management style.
  • Owner mentality, vs coach or trainer.
  • Command and control style of communication. Graduate of GTT (Gestapo Tactics Tech)
  • Certified Black Belt in DAAQ-JDI (Don’t Ask Any Questions – Just Do It) management program.
  • Specialist in one-way, outgoing communication.
  • Uncaring and impersonal; never considered a “people person” by others.
  • Knowledge and experience with “team-building” highly undesireable.
  • Ability to apply ethics on a sliding scale, based on personal factors.

All candidates will undergo a 120-day probationary period during which time any observed non-compliant behavior will be grounds for immediate eradication of the position on any of the company organization charts, which releases the company from any financial or moral obligation to compensate the candidate for their time and effort.

Like I said, I had no interest in pursuing this. Would you?

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Not-e-Worthy – the birth of a blog with great potential.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

gladwell dot com / The Tipping Point, and New Yorker articles by Malcolm Gladwell – Thanks to Mike Oswalt for sending me the link. Some great writing.

Employed Again.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

You would think that I would have posted this with some fanfare as soon as I was offered the job. But the past week has been pretty hectic.

On October 4, I will be starting a new career as a Loan Officer with a local mortgage and lending firm. After 3 weeks of on-the-job training, I will begin building my pipeline and moving on my way toward helping people achieve the American dream – or possibly just help them to continue holding on to their American dream during tough times. Thanks to my chance meeting with Jack (mentioned earlier), I now have a new direction to build my personal abilities. It seems like an excellent way for me to begin interfacing with the public, while potentially being able to bring in enough income to pay the bills. A future “George Bailey”.

In parallel, the Flash consulting work has picked up, and I am happily building animations and movies to interpret some abstract thoughts and concepts into something that people can understand. Extremely nice to be able to work closely with people that have a passion for what they do. Looking forward to a long and profitable relationship working with Parnassus Consulting. This will be my “evening” job – the one that allows me to pursue my passion.

So, this is my last week of “vacation”.

I’ve notified the EU folks that this is my last week teaching the networking and interview preparation training sessions. But oddly enough, most of my co-instructors have found jobs and will also be leaving EU. Maybe by teaching we ended up becoming the best students of the material and parlayed that into employment.

"We Got Fired!"

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

We Got Fired! : . . . And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us by Harvey Mackay

This new book came to me via a link from the Achievement newsletter that I receive from AdvantEdge. Seemed appropriate to post a link here so I did.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

– Albert Einstein

Ready For A Change?

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

On Saturday, I received an email from Jack saying he had spoken to the head of the company, and has set up a meeting between he and I for Tuesday morning. Having taken a few days to consider this shift in gears as far as targeting a new career direction, I decided I am actually looking forward to doing something new and challenging. It will be a true test of my inner drive and strength. The pay structure is completely driven by commission – unlike any of my previous employments – and the potential for great rewards is dangling out there. I’m looking forward to the meeting and finding out the specifics of just how fast I can become a millionaire. (Maybe it IS all about the money.)

Another idea came to me in an email from RF about developing some artwork to support an upcoming game between University of Texas and Oklahoma U. [I get the feeling their’s is a rivalry akin to the USC vs UCLA battles we have here in So. Cal]. I put together some designs over the weekend, but it turns out there doesn’t seem to be enough time before when the materials could be delivered to customers, and when the came will be played. So this ends up on the back burner and maybe a better strategy will be put together for next years event.

NM notified me that we received a go ahead for an animated image map, and I will be meeting with them over the next few days to get a better idea of the client’s desires. This could be my FIRST paying gig! Also, we plan to discuss our ongoing relationship (which may be altered if this job opportunity mentioned above pays off.)

Sherry had worked hard all weekend getting her stuff boxed up and ready for some sales in the next few weeks, so today we did a “nooner” and went to the movies to see Collateral. A pretty intense action flick and some great acting from Jamie Foxx.

Turn Of Events

Friday, September 17th, 2004

PART 1 – Although I didn’t mention it on Wednesday, on my way home from the EU training, I wanted to swing by Albertson’s and pick up a few of the 2-liter softdrinks for 69 cents. (Watch the pennies and the dollars watch themselves).

As I entered the parking lot, I happened to spot my long-time boss and mentor leaving a deli with his son. I pulled the beemer next to Jack’s Z and got out and greeted him. We hadn’t spoken since the architectural alumni event a month ago. Wanted to know what was up with me. I mentioned that the car was still for sale. Oddly enough, he and his son had been discussing new cars – although the subject at hand for them was one of the new Hummer pickups. Anyway, Jack and I agreed to get together early next week for lunch. Just a casual meeting…

Later that afternoon, I received an email from Jack and he said his other son Jeff sounded interested. I emailed a few photos. That evening, I got a call from him and wondered when I might be able to let him see the car. We agreed that Thursday morning sometime would work best.

This morning, I drove the car over to meet he and his dad. After driving the car, he came back and said he would take it – ready to cut a check for me right then and there! However, I asked for a cashier check, rather than a personal check. He would go to the bank, and give me a call later to arrange the handoff. That gave me time to get all the paperwork together, round up the keys, and get the car washed. Bottom line: At 2:30pm, I was no longer the proud owner of a BMW.

The way I see it, it is a win for Jeff getting a beautiful, low mileage car for a well-below bluebook price, and I get a bit of relief on the financial side of things.

PART 2 – When I took the car over to let Jeff drive it, I spoke with Jack and he showed me around their new offices and explained their operation. He also wondered if I would be interested in possibly filling a position as a loan officer with their company! He sent me some material to review, and if I was interested, to let him know. I explained to him that I am still pursuing my passion and exploiting my creative side, but am very willing to commit to working with his firm. When I dropped the car back in the afternoon, I told him that I was very interested, and he was going to set up a meeting with the head of the company next Tuesday.

So, as I sign off, today was a very good day!

Oh, add to that that my friend Jeff being asked to fly to San Francisco to spend half a day providing his advice and opinion to a software development firm further reinforces what I have said before. Jeff’s day has come! It will be an interesting situation if he gets to a point where he decides to leave the corporate mothership; who will replace his role with the KM development team.

Good night!

Pursuit of Passion

Thursday, September 16th, 2004

Another Wednesday found me back at EU in the morning leading the training on interview preparation. Seems like a couple of the lead trainers may have found jobs, so I may move into the lead role. Perhaps ironic since I have not personally been heavily involved in actual interviews. Is the rule “those that can’t do, teach” being applied?

Attended the Orange County Multi Media Association’s (OCMMA) Business Interest Group SIG tonight. The focus of this group is to provide guidance and support on the business side of selling services to clients. Great presentation by Scott Inglish, president of OCMMA, explaining how he went about marketing his services the first year. Extremely relevant and some great advice. He was the guy I spoke to at last week’s Flash meeting – a good guy. Stressed the importance of having a “brand” in place with all marketing information. Relied heavily on snailmailings the first year (didn’t hear him mention email once), with followup phone calls. Used the approach of giving things away (i.e., tips, tricks, “did you knows”) on his mailers – similar to the kind of stuff you see on the flyers from real estate agents. Goal: Get noticed by being persistent. Also, another key is to focus on a niche market that you are targeting and saturate it. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant – there’s enough to go around for everyone. But position yourself to be the best resource for a particular service for a specific client base.

A guy named Scott at the meeting mentioned that he was kicking off a new internet service over the next week or so. Named “KSix” it is targeting a specific market. But is getting a lot of support. We spoke a bit, I gave him my card, and wished him success.

Came home with some great ideas. Will attend all future meetings of this group, which meets the third Wednesday of each month.

Note to self:

Stop using the phrase “trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up” when asked about future direction. Heard it used twice tonight by others. A meaningless platitude that sends the same message as “gee, I don’t know.” Personally, this always pissed me off when my kids responded that way, so why would I want to piss off others.

Clearly communicate your objectives with the response, “Well, I’m pursuing my passion which is [insert specific goal here]” This conveys purpose and self-awareness, and you will come across as a confident individual.

Pre-Hump Day Update

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Not every day is upbeat.

Devoted time on Sunday to explore alternative approaches to quickly producing Flash animations, exploring cascading style sheets. Also knocked out a storyboard for another project. Storyboards are basically me sketching on paper, hardlining with a Sharpie, scanning into Photoshop, adding a few annotations, and creating a PDF. Posting them in our Yahoo group for review by the team.

Monday, my buddy Jeff, proud owner of BigBlueBall.com, mentioned he had been contacted by Warner Brothers regarding a potential business deal. Too freaking cool! I always knew that Jeff would “make it”, so maybe now its his turn. We met for lunch at Wahoo’s and brought each other up to speed on what’s been going on. I explained that I was on my way to turn in a job application at Staples. They are looking to hire someone for their Copy Center! [Hey, I’m fully qualified for that one.] I went in and filled out the online application in the store, and it took 30 minutes. For some reason, they just love these “character assessment” questionnaires to see if the applicants are unstable serial killers or loonies. Some of the questions are really laughable – at least to me. How would YOU answer this one: “Would you have a problem if you were required to NOT use cocaine either just prior to working or during work?” Then, they ask the same one again for alcohol, marijuana, and crack! Unbelievable. So, maybe I’m too normal to work there. As I left, one of the employees said that they would be reviewing the applications in the next day or two and “would be in touch.” I’m not holding my breath.

I tell you, there is this guilt that builds inside that says I need to be doing something that brings in money – while I’m trying to get this new career kicked off. But can’t help but wonder if I’m taking the easy way out. This issue will keep running around in my brain, I’m sure, until something breaks. But I honestly don’t see me doing any more of that Corporate life. I did my 30 year stint. So, now its me time.

Created another storyboard and spent the evening really focused on learning CSS. Went to bed around 11:45pm… a bit early for me considering over the past few months I’ve been putting in really late hours.

Somewhat surprised that I have not heard back from the BMW guy or his daughter – one way or the other. I figure that either they are trying to arrange financing, and don’t want to call until its in place; or the daughter has decided that the monthly payments may be a bit more than she wants to pay, since she is going to have to move to O.C. from Riverside when she starts her new job with a PR firm. Sigh.

This morning, I woke up at 6am, got my coffee, and sat down to pick up where I had left off on the CSS stuff. In the course of my reading, I came across a review of a CSS editor called TopStyle Pro. I pulled down the demo to give it a shot, and it greatly simplifies the process. When my 20 uses runs out, I’ll probably purchase a license. Great tool.

Putting on my KM consultant hat, I responded to the woman in Brazil with a bit of information about Fluor’s history with KM. Since the writeup I sent was public information, I don’t think it should be an issue. Also, pointed her to a few books by John Kotter and Melisse Rumizen that I think would be good for anyone starting out in the KM business; and gave her my 2 cents about the noise you see in the KM-related Yahoo groups. Caveat emptor.

Took Sherry out to lunch at Mimi’s today. Gee, we haven’t been there much over the past few months; and we used to go probably once a week. Probably not a surprise when you have to manage the budget more closely.

This afternoon, I created an interactive schematic flow chart to define the logic, variables and debugging of the Flash project. As I built the file, I’m thinking that the entire project may be perfectly suited for being a standalone Flash application, and eliminate the HTML pages all together – other than the shell from which the application runs. Will make handling variables much easier, as well as helping prevent it from being decompiled. While not complicated, its still the project of my design and I want to protect it from prying eyes.

Plan to spend the next hour away from the PC, and doing some reading and getting my paperwork organized.

Musical Aside: Listening today to Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, and laughed out loud at the lyrics to “The Strawberry Roan”. Seek out the song if you get a chance. Maybe its my failing ears, but I wonder if it would get airplay nowadays.

Warning: Couch Potato Zone

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

Life’s all about balance, right? So…

Today found me sleeping in late, but spending the morning with Sherry out and about doing a thrift store run. Hotter than hell here in the southland… Or maybe its just the humidity today.

Arrived home around noon, and found a message waiting from the BMW guy wanting to bring his daughter over to take a look at my baby. Gave me a couple hours to run it over to the carwash and get it spiffed up. They showed up and seemed pleased. After all, its in mint condition and thousands below bluebook. My loss is someone else’s gain. They were going to discuss it over lunch; I told them to sleep on it and there was no rush. Anyway… so far – so good. Sort of expect a call tomorrow letting me know one way or the other. Nice family.

Got the butt planted on the couch and ended up getting more than my fill of westerns on cable. Slept through The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and could only bear about 45 minutes of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West. Then, later tonight, Sherry was watching Eastwood’s Pale Rider, so watched that too. She then switched to HBO’s Deadwood and I bailed.

Decided to spend some time before bed playing with some more Flash routines…

Head Down

Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Walk and swim, and then took care of personal matters.

Took a project from a blank sheet of paper, through completed, fully-animated and soundtracked SWF file in just under 4 hours. Included a false start at some of the text effects, so the next one should be even quicker. At the back of my mind, I’m thinking I can develop a series of routines in a “text effects” library. Although, what I ended up creating is pretty straightforward. Here is where you need to look at what you are trying to accomplish and come up with a solution that is appropriate.

Added the project to the prototype.

Getting Loaded

Friday, September 10th, 2004

My son, David, surprised me this morning and called to indicate he was in town on a job interview; wondered if I was available to get together. (Just a minute, let me check my busy calendar… wide open!) When it finished, he stopped over and we spent a couple of hours catching up on the meaning of life and downing a Quiznos – his first one. Nice diversion to the day and he’s welcome anytime. Snapped a few pictures of him to update my resource files, so you should see his face appear a bit more often on weidemannia-produced images.

Received an inquiry from a consultant in Brazil asking for some guidance on KM. Found me in LinkedIn and valued my perspective. I told her I was more than willing to help, and asked for a bit more background. Don’t know where it might lead, but the whole KM things is based on collaboration and sharing knowledge.

Thanks to flashgeek.com, I now have some insight on how PowerPoint and Flash can live together in harmony. While I don’t have any specific need to know how to do it right now, I think its a useful technique to have in the toolbox.

Ended the day developing some simple preloader routines for the Flash Asset library that keeps viewer informed when loading large SWF files (i.e have a lot of sound or images). Each is a single frame that can be cut-and-pasted into the first frame of any movie. Ultimately, a well developed movie allows content to load without letting the viewer know it is loading. The order in which images are presented, or actions are triggered can help camouflage the long loads.

Giving Back

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Being a holiday week, I didn’t know how the EU handled the courses since Monday they were closed. Ends up they cram the Monday and Tuesday sessions into a very long day. So the 8 participants came into Wednesday’s session without having the luxury of letting some of the concepts sink in. Turned out we made references to things – like PARs – that made no sense to them. At the request of one of the students, stayed after the training for an hour to assist with formatting a resume. I get a real satisfaction from what I consider “volunteer” work.

Call back from a guy who had called a few weeks ago on the BMW. Still interested and may want to bring his daughter down on the weekend to look at it. It will be her car. It would be nice to find my baby a new home. A small sacrifice to help relieve some of the unnecessary financial pressures at this time.

Successfully eliminated some bugs I had seen in Outlook regarding an LDAP server and other address book related noise. Things are working well now.

Sherry and I enjoyed (is that the right word) Fight Club on FX. Now I’m planning on finishing a “glowing orb” Flash asset in the next hour or two. Requires doing some math functions in ActionScript. I don’t anticipate any problems, since it seems straightforward.

Administrative Stuff

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Spent the morning dealing with miscellaneous administrative stuff regarding EDD, EU, business finances, and project management. Purged the Notes databases and migrated project tracking information into Outlook’s Business Contact Manager (BCM). Goal: One place to do any one task.

So, I’ve determined that my nifty, cool Zire71 has no real value, other than to provide a way to carry my calendar and address book around without having to drag around the Day Timer – which I consider to be THE best place to document activities. [Something about putting pen to paper that just feels right!] I know that Outlook will manage my email. Part of my daily routine is to now review the Day Timer, transfer any relevant information regarding meetings, time logging, or business notes into the appropriate section of BCM. That’s the plan for now.

Created a Flash Asset library; which is nothing more than an organized directory structure on the hard disk. This will be a place to begin cataloging all of the cool routines and movies that perform a specific function or effect. It is critical that I have a way to quickly access the knowledge base. But realize, there may be more sophisticated approaches. Added a “soft button” routine to christen the folder.

Attended my first session of the O.C. Flash User group in Irvine. Group meets first Tuesday’s of the month. Figured there is no better way to dive into the pool than to surround myself with those with a common interest. About 16 people in attendance. Personable group of people, with a variety of backgrounds and skills. I consider this a great addition to my personal network, and exchanged business cards with a few people. I plan to stay involved with the group.

Monday Monday

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Teleconference with the consulting company to review my interest in providing graphic and animation support for the presentation for a potential client. I think it went well, and it seems there may be a chemistry among us. Next step will have some graphic files sent my way for development. Waiting to hear the results of their call with the client this afternoon.

Exploring the capabilities of Office 2003, I used Publisher for the first time and developed a letterhead. Carries the same look and feel as the business cards and website. Pretty nice application, and will consider it the preferred tool for developing all of my marketing materials.

Spent some time getting to better understand nested movie concepts in Flash.

Change is Good

Monday, September 6th, 2004

Implemented the new routine for personal organization. Should help clear the mind from clutter. (You wouldn’t know it from these posts, would you?)

Contributed to the Bill Gates’ personal retirement fund and purchased the Office 2003 Small Business Edition. More than I wanted to spend, but a necessary business investment for me. While I was primarily intending to upgrade my PowerPoint for its enhanced animation features, I ended up with Outlook 2003 and the Business Contact Manager. I believe that THIS is the solution to some of the problems that I’ve been trying to resolve with Notes, my Zire, DayTimer and Outlook. Devoted a good portion of the day to understand what features will be useful to me.

Called Justin and made all things right with the world. Had a good discussion, and he indicated that he has all sorts of ideas for products and comedy bits. As I’ve said before, he WILL end up connecting big time with his passions and realize the attention he deserves. He informed me that the independent film he starred in, has started to make the rounds at some small film festivals. If you happen to catch the disturbing “A Dark Tomorrow”, keep an eye out for Justin – he’s the lead character. I have not seen it, but he told me he asked the director for a copy of the DVD. He did warn me that the movie may not be suitable for all audiences. Still, its on his resume… May become one of those “Before They Were Stars” clips that E! pulls out in the future. I’m encouraged for him.

Knocked out a couple of story boards and posted them in the group.

Overall, a long day – but accomplished quite a lot.

Today’s Menu

Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Being the middle of the Labor Day weekend, I suppose I can say its time to do nothing. Well, today I need to: “hose off the concrete”, take the missus out for breakfast, call Justin and make up for my mistake, upgrade my software and knock out 3 storyboards.

Looking Back and Forth

Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Don’t know why I can’t seem to take 5 minutes each day to update the blog. I KNOW its easier when taken in small doses. Perhaps its because the most logical time to do it seemed to be at the end of the day – you know, wrapping things up. Well, I’m going to try to make it an every morning activity now. Make the first activity a summary of the previous day’s events, and a place to define the day’s agenda and plan of attack. Check back later to see if this is any more successful.

SUNDAY 29Aug04 – Applied some of my recent learnings and built a slick gallery interface for weidemannia design. Essential that the page makes it easy for people to see my range of work, while demonstrating my web design capabilities. Sent off a few emails to the network.

CONCEPT – Ended up making a run to Leslie’s when I heard the pool sweep’s hose sucking air. There are about 8 segments of hose and when the sun/chemicals have taken their toll, air begins to seep into the line. The only way to maintain its effectiveness is to replace the hoses that suck. I see parallels to corporate operations. Will ponder.

MONDAY 30Aug04 – Developed a first pass at an animated splash menu for the portfolio. When category is selected, the first movie in that section is displayed. Keeps the visitor from having to always start at the first image and then click the next button ad nauseum. Pleased with the result. Will consider using the category variables in the future to further focus the experience on the visitor’s interests. No call from RF, but figured my time developing my gallery interface would apply to the new application. Received a call from a guy in Rancho Cucamonga regarding the BMW and gave them my best price. Would consider and call back.

TUESDAY 31Aug04 – Finally received payment for the mexican comics, so shipped the package off. Lunch with KSC to get caught up on the latest lunacy at Bungo Corp. RF posted his brainstorm ideas for storyboards, and I added them to the table in our Yahoo group space. I now have a set of initial concepts for developing prototype movies. Closed the day providing a reworked guideline for the networking section of the EU training. Printed it and made copies – unlike last week.

WEDNESDAY 1Sep04 – Handled most of the interview prep training myself at EU. Having the outline, and using a planned approach seemed to make the material flow much better. Made a few notes to improve it in the future. Devoted the afternoon, evening and wee hours looking at variable handling in ActionScript. Goal was to have the gallery movie read an external table, loading variables, and allow the use of filenames without having to do any renaming. Got a big headache on this one, and with little progress made, sent off an email asking for assistance from a Flash-guru friend. I’m just missing something in the syntax. Guy called back on BMW and turns out he’s a broker. Wanted me to give him the car for 5 days while they checked it out. I told him if he want’s the car for 5 days, he can give me a check for what I’m asking. He can then have it as long as he wants. I sent him the pictures to give him a better idea of the condition. He was going to call after he looked at them. [No call received.] Sherry mentioned later in the day that somone called who had seen the car at the post office. When I called back and told him the asking price, it was out of his league. [I think he thought it was a Honda, and was willing to pay maybe $8,000.] So, the car is still available if you care.

THURSDAY 2Sep04 – Spent the morning developing 3 storyboards using pencil and paper. Very traditional method for creating them. Fine tuned the process of taking the pencil/paper drawings, scanning them into Photoshop, applying necessary filters, and then loading the cells into Flash. Results is that I can assemble movies rather quickly to establish the flow, and then replace out the artwork later as the story is refined. Works GREAT! Combined all of the storyboards in a PDF and posted them in the group. The afternoon and evening allowed me to build a complete prototype movie, including animation and sound. Posted it in the group to get feedback from RF. Is this on the right track? Result: Good understanding of some basic ActionScripts that control desired actions. Productive day! I look at all time spent on this as being an investment in being able to sell the product. The compensation will follow. At least, that is the justification I’m using to focus on this fun stuff, rather than the pursuit of a corporate position.

FRIDAY 3Sep04 – CD gets a self-performed haircut. Determined he is also a “3” all over. Call from ML catching up on the last 3 years. He also went through EU and gave me a few tips he learned, and the name of some other organizations that he felt were more helpful in finding him a job. He ended up in his current job with SCE based on a personal connection to a long-lost coworker. Power of the network, again. Unfortunately, he wasn’t aware of any openings at SCE for someone with my background. During our discussion however, he said something that hit home; I provided my 30 second commercial, and his feedback was that I lost him. He suggested I lead with my “creative” side, and mention my architectural background. That training allows me to take ideas and create structures and pictures as solutions. I like that brand: I create pictures of YOUR ideas. More efforts tuning the gallery design and functionality. Closed the day with 2 hours of ActionScript reading.

SATURDAY 4Sep04 – Slept in late. Submitted online application to Borders (read: proactive seeking of employment to bring in revenue). Sherry and I had been there yesterday afternoon, and I spotted their “we’re hiring” sign. Thought, what the hell. What I found most interesting about the online application, is that they ask applicants to complete a personality assessment. I kid you not, the first screen that appears says “page 1 of 47”, and there are 5 questions per page. You do the math. I hope I passed. :)

Received lead on some presentation Powerpoint/Flash work and responded and believe it would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my abilities. Looking forward to this… Involved importing work from Illustrator, which comes across pretty nicely in to Flash. When I tested it in Powerpoint, I realized that I need to upgrade in order to get the advanced animation features that I was used to on my previous corporate laptop. Off to Staples.

COLD WATER IN THE FACE – Realized I completely missed Justin’s birthday on August 24. That’s the first time that I have EVER forgotten one of my kid’s birthdays. You don’t know how shitty that makes me feel… While I may have justification to explain away my actions because of my personal career situations, it reinforces that my priorities are not in order.



ACTION: Create the balance that you profess, Steve.

A Day of Rest?

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Not really.

Offered the front yard the attention it deserved. As I think I’ve said before, I find the activity of hand-weeding and getting the house in order provides me with a lot of time to think. The plethora of metaphors come quickly, and I take mental notes to remember to use them appropriately when they can help someone grapsp a difficult concept.

Sherry came across a fantastic deal on some vintage merchandise at a local estate sale. The downside is, she needed a rather large chunk of change to make it her own. On the surface, the only appropriate reaction, considering our current financial situation, would be to pass up on this. Maybe later when things are more stable. However, she convinced me this merchandise would move quickly on eBay or in the shop, and that our return on investment could be in the 200-300% range, if not higher. We agreed to tap the savings for this. She came back excited – she hit the MOTHERLODE! The plan is to begin posting this online and get our return on investment sooner, rather than later.

Again, perhaps my giving a bit more attention to the retro-resale business can create the income necessary to stay solvent while pursuing the independent contractor business as well…

On the personal development front, spent a few hours investigating online Flash resources, usergroups, and such. Sent in reservation to attend the OC Flash User Group, which meets the first Tuesday of each month. Rubbing elbows with the knowledgeable can increase my network, as well as provide possible connections to subject-matter experts if needed down the road.

Developed a Powerpoint template for weidemannia design. Carries the color scheme through from the website and business card. Wanted it to be clean, and not cluttered with images that would distract from the content. After all, I envision that most of the content for my presentations will have more graphics and illustration, and having imagery in the template would reduce its impact.

Put together a brief presentation that captures business system concepts. This will be used to serve as a calling card, as well as a freebie give-away to potential clients, to demonstrate my ability to use graphics to convey complex relationships. Could reinforce my ability to provide services to businesses in a fashion similar to what a sketch-artist does in court where cameras are not allowed. Super nichey.

Friday On My Mind

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

Even though the phrase immediately brings to mind the Australian music group “The Easybeats” from the 60’s, I’ve discovered there is more to life than music. (Although, not much more.)

Started the day with a morning walk/swim and clocked in at 214lb.

Spent most of the day working on the functional design of the web application, designing in maximum modularity to allow it to be enhanced easily for individual clients. This application will be simple and elegant. As Robert Browning once penned less is more. I will attempt to remain true to delivering on this goal.

Teleconferenced with RF this afternoon and we discussed the business side of our relationship. Developing a business plan to keep us aligned on the mission. Decided to create a new entity so we can each pursue other activities independently, using our sole proprietor status. This weekend I plan to devote a lot of time and energy to getting these organizational ducks in a row. Will be chatting again on Monday afternoon.

[I do have to wash the car tomorrow, in case that guy from earlier in the week decides to stop over.]

Manana.

Accomplishments of the Day

Friday, August 27th, 2004

Began the day with my walk/swim. Invigorating! Should have started this routine years ago. Weigh in: 216lb.

Decided I LOVE the new home office arrangement. Having an additional table/desk changes my entire perspective on working from home. I’ve created my homecubicle with a view of the pool. Ran to Staples to get a few desk accessories.

Ended up with 2 bids on the book of Hitler WWII war photos on ebay… closes in 2 days so lets see how high it goes. Still waiting on the PayPal confirmation on the comics. Hopeful.

Submitted application for business corporate card. Need to isolate business and home expenses.

Moved ahead with reorganizing my various webs and domain names, created a few aliases and cleaned things up in preparation for the web application that RF and I are putting together. Built an initial skeleton to begin defining flow of the site. My personal goal is to make this: Simple and Elegant. Taking a very methodical and disciplined approach to storyboard and do the conceptual design work before diving into the coding. Also thought about setting up a Yahoo group where we can collaborate without having to deal with all the email noise. Will discuss it with him tomorrow…

Created an Warhol-like version of a photograph and have discovered some pretty cool techniques in Photoshop that make it pretty straightforward. Since it was a request from a friend, I won’t post the image here. But will perhaps create another one using a picture of my dog, CD. He won’t mind if his face is plastered all over the net.

The Lord Giveth and Taketh and Giveth

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Since my last post, here’s what has been happening in my world…

eBay – Turns out that selling the comic books to the guy from Uruguay is getting complicated. The international shipping costs were excessive, so he wanted to use a Miami mailing address – but needed to confirm it. Also, he decided to have a friend in Spain (?) pay via PayPal, but her account seems to be inactive and is trying to straighten things out. Since I’m in no real rush, will just sit back hope that it works itself out.

The Car! The Car! – Received a call from a knife dealer in the San Fernando Valley asking about the car. Seemed willing to drive 60 miles to check it out. Depending on whether he successfully sells his car this week, he may stop over this weekend. If so, that would help relieve some of the impending financial issues. Also, one of the neighbors stopped me this afternoon and wanted to know the specifics on the car – she had a potential “buyer” on her cellphone, and was playing middleman asking questions and providing answers into the phone. So… will continue hoping that someone bites the bullet.

Door of Opportunity Opens – Monday afternoon, I ended up chatting with RF, mentioned in my post from a week ago. Turns out that our previous buisness venture is of even more interest now – expecially since my time and talents are very available. After speaking for an hour or so, I believe there will be some immediate application for lmy total immersion in Flash ActionScript last week. Also the work I had done for him two years ago is still valid and I can pick up where we left off. While we are still in the planning and development stage, I am very excited about this opportunity. Working out the legal stuff right now. If this could become a career, it would rate a “10” on the “follow your passion” scale. FUN STUFF!!!

Door Closes – Today, I received a call from the consultant with whom I’ve been conversing. Unfortunately, the possibility of providing some consulting services for the customer that was being targeted seems nil. In light of their current situtation and lack of progress, the company seems a bit unclear as to which path to take but is attemting to solve it from within. However, they know I am still available to help them if necessary. Will keep in constant touch with the consultant, who indicated he will be passing my resume to others that he thinks might be able to use me.

Someone Might Be Knocking – MO sent me an email today indicating he had lunch with BJ, someone with whom I have worked in the past. Apparently, after BJ was “released” from the company a few years ago, he went to work with a major CAD software vendor. Now they are contemplating developing a KM component to compliment their software suite. Since they might need a KM consultant, MO asked if he could forward my contact information – I told him absolutely. Will see what happens..

[Its really comforting to know that people with whom I have built prior friendships, are actively networking to get me connected. Great feeling.]

Home Office – Ran to IKEA today and picked up another tabletop and legs. If I am going to work out of my home office, I need more table space. I have now successfully crammed two 5′ x 2’6″ tables, a dresser, an armoir (with the tv), a 7′ tall bookcase and 2 – 7′ tall x 40″ wide shelf units (where all the records are) AND a leather recliner into a 12′ x 12′ bedroom. Actually, it is extremely efficiently layed out (my background in space planning comes through!) and should help.

Building Momentum

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Started out the morning with a brisk 45 minute walk, followed by 18 lengths of the pool. Beginning to look forward to this daily ritual to introduce some physical change in my life. Its a good thing.

Completed my self-directed training using the “Teach Yourself Flash MX ActionScript in 24 Hours”. Ok. I have a good overview and understanding of the basics. However, it got a bit vague when it went into CGI and Javascript since I don’t have a background in either. However, the author insinuated that if you are a Flash developer, you probably aren’t expected to be a whiz at CGI, so ask someone else for help. Good. Thought it was me. [But, if you know me, I will probably be adding CGI and Javascript to my toolkit – albiet in small chunks.] Next step is to start going through another book I picked up, “Visual QuickPro Guide – Macromedia Flash MX Advanced”. Complete saturation.

Helping out Sherry last week, I posted some Spanish-language comic books to sell on eBay. Well, they ended up going for almost $4 bucks apiece. Couldn’t believe it. Traded a few emails today with the Uruguayan buyer.

BUSINESS BOOK CONCEPT: Idea came to me in the shower this morning after my workout. Deals with organizational change, and that there may get to a point when a corporation just wears out from all the change initiatives and loses its functionality. I’ve got the metaphor defined, and will begin fleshing out the details. But my gut says that this might be something that could some day deserve an article somewhere… who knows. [Read: delusions of grandeur.]

Rollovers, Scrolling and Pull-Downs

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Got up early and dove back into the ActionScript book. If I let too much time pass between sessions, I lose the momentum, since most lessons build off the previous one. But it does get a big hard on the ass, sitting on one of those crappy, leather “executive” office chairs. [Can someone please tell me why they can’t manufacture these with a dense-enough foam in the cushions so they retain their shape when someone sits on them?]

Checked the LinkedIn portal to see what was new. Entered “knowledge management” and “California” into the search engine to see what came up. Only 20 jobs showed up, but spotted a listing for Gateway in Irvine. Position for a senior manager of the eSupport and customer service group. Reading the job req, I could check off all of the boxes. So – even though you have been reading about me pursuing other directions – I ended up creating a new version of the resume and filling in the online job application. Strictly an impulse thing. Received the confirmation emails from Gateway that the application was received. Don’t know whether to expect a call or not. But I would rather be in a position where a company wants to hire me, and I have to turn them down, than the other way around.

Sketched out some thoughts for a website that would be the portal for selling my photo manipulation skills for people on a budget. Will use Flash to glitz up the site and put some of my new skills to the test. In addition to creating a potential revenue generator, I end up with an online portfolio of my work.

ABOUT FANTASY VINYL

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

If you frequent weidemannia, you might have noticed the past few postings titled “Fantasy Vinyl”. [If you missed them, check out the links on the Previous Posts listing on the right-hand menu.]

On first glance, they seem like regular album covers. Right? But if you are perceptive – and I think you are – you will have determined that some of the faces shown on the covers don’t seem to match the images in your memory. And you are right. [If you click the Fantasy album cover, you will see the original album cover for comparison.]

MY GOAL: Alter history for the better!

OFFER – I would love to create a personalized, custom album cover for YOU, too! Simply drop me an email, attach a few of your pictures you would like me to incorporate, let me know which album cover you want “enhanced”, and I’ll create your cover for absolutely NO CHARGE for the time being. Browse my gallery of album covers at Epiclectic’s Vintage Vinyl – to get some ideas.

Wouldn’t it be great to not only tell your friends you were with the band, but you can SHOW THEM THE ALBUM COVER TO PROVE IT?

MY MISSION: To Make YOU Smile. Period.

Saturated in ActionScript

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

Created a new version of a logo for Arizona Robbins Designs. Moved from hand sketches to scanning the sketches into Photoshop and then manipulating scale, layer, color, etc. Also, introducted a formal font to the design. Ended up creating a web page that contains all of the comps, and then using email to keep in touch with the client, located in Tennessee.

After that, I spent most of the day continuing to soak up the ins and outs of ActionScript. I’m getting smarter. Better watch out.

My better half, Sherry, received a call from the owner of her antique mall in town. A woman, whose mother had passed away a few months ago, now has a house full of “old stuff” and rather than hosting an estate sale “mad house”, let the owner know that she would interested in selling directly to individual dealers – at a fair price – before it went public. Well, while funds are not exactly bulging in the household right now, there are a few hundred dollars that could be used to help her buy inventory. So, we headed over there to see what we could find. I went with her in case there was a need for any “heavy lifting”.

Well, she came away with a MOTHER LODE! If there was a bigger chunk of “liquid assets”, she would have bought everything in the house. Based on her preliminary estimates, she will easily get a 600 – 700% return on her investment.

Gets one seriously contemplating about this antiquing business as a possible career direction. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some) inventory is continually coming back into the market as people pass on. If one has enough cash on hand to purchase whole homes-full of stuff, you can make a nice piece of change. But it takes money to make money…

IDEA: Create an antique collective. People contribute funds to purchase antiques and receive a percentage return on investment when it sells.



Now that the BMW ad is now online with Autotrader.com, I received absolutely NO more calls today. I’m beginning to wonder if anyone goes there anymore. (Perhaps people are getting a bit tired of the internet… nah.)

Expanding Capabilities and Network

Thursday, August 19th, 2004

Started the morning with a half-hour walk (solo, no dog or wife) and followed by swimming 10 lengths of the pool. I like getting the blood moving and am intentionally forcing myself to do this every morning to make it a habit.

Decided that Thursday’s are going to be devoted to personal growth. Since I believe that enhancing my Flash MX skills will provide me a better basis for applying Flash to meet clients’ needs, I knocked off 4 chapters of my SAMS “Teach Yourself Flash MX ActionScript in 24 Hours” book. I plan on creating a Flash component on my weidemannia design site as a way to display some of my work, and my Flash skills. Have started sketching out a few concepts for a contextual navigation system. Stay tuned.

This morning I received a call from Ann, a local staffing firm recruiter, about a position in a local company looking for a marketing director. While I told her that it is not really the path that I’ve decided to pursue, she told me she would send me a list of contact with a number of large firms she has dealt with. It’s nice to know that she is looking out for me, and is not being driven by putting me in any shit job just to get her cut. Her advice was that networking would be the key to finding the right opportunity for me. We agreed.

And after checking the AutoTrader.com website a few minutes ago, discovered that the Beemer is still not listed… real professional operation, what?

Take A Giant Step

Thursday, August 19th, 2004

It was a good day, today.

Started off doing my part to give back to the EU and co-lead the networking/interview preparation session. Only three members today, so maybe that’s a good sign; fewer people needing help to find employment. Or, it could have been there were only three guys that wanted to do something about it. At end of session, decided the material needs some rework (in my opinion). So, I will rework the handouts to align with the material we are presenting, and post to the newsgroup.

Left the EU office at 1:30pm and met the principal from the consultant company at Starbucks. Had a very enlightening conversation – for two hours. I think there may be some good opportunities in solidifying the relationship. And I received an email later this evening indicating that he and his partner were impressed with my artistic and business skill set. Next step: Perform a ride along with him to a potential client in the south county – possibly early next week.

Left Starbuck’s around 4:10pm and then off to Stadium Brewery for my monthly meeting with one of my old buddies from the marketing team. Great conversation, appetizers and the house’s Amber. Left a bit after 7:00pm.

Finally, received confirmation that weidemannia design is now officially registered as a fictitious business name in the state of California. I AM SOMEBODY!

All in all, a good, productive day. Feeling positive!

ACTION PLAN: Continue learning ActionScript and develop Flash MX interactive capabilities. Highly desireable creative art skill to have. Also, run through the Illustrator tutorials to understand how to do the cool stuff that is so easily done in Flash.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the BMW is still not showing up on Autotrader.com. Looks like another call is in order in the morning.

Knocking On The Door

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

A couple of things happened today that appear positive on me being able to move in the new independent direction.

BUT, selling off the BMW is a critical activity, because it will ease the financial situation. The revised price is shown in the latest hardcopy issue, but still not showing up on the AutoTrader.com website. I called and they confirmed something was wrong on their part, but 12 hours later, it is still MIA. [Damn that internet technology.]

Opportunity 1: Had a phone interview with one of the two principals of the local consulting firm about opportunities. After a 15 minute phone chat from his car, we agreed to meet tomorrow at their office. I believe there are real synergies with what they do, and the skills and passion I bring. He indicated that some of their goals have had to move to the back burner since they have been so busy. Bringing on consultants to help execute their work, allows them to begin focusing on their goals. Perhaps, I can be a means to help them achieve those ends. Bottom Line: Looking forward to an upbeat meeting. While he said there may not be any full-time work right off the bat, they have a few irons in the fire. I’m encouraged, since this type of consulting is exactly the direction that I want to move, as I head toward being an independent contractor/consultant.

Opportunity 2: A Greenvillian colleague and friend IM’d me from Houston, after running into one of my contacts from the past. I was asked to contact “RF”, who said that he may have something that is “right up my alley”. If it is based on what I had done for him in the past, it could be Flash related. Sent off an email to him and am awaiting his call or reply. RFs a good guy.

Remaining positive about developments.

Last Week In Lake Forest

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

OK. I know I said in my last post that I was going to update blog this daily. Well, I haven’t; so what are you gonna do, lay me off? Too late. But that said, a lot took place over the last week, so here is a day-by-day accounting for the public record:

WEDNESDAY 11Aug04 – Put in my 4 hour per week payback to EU by assisting with the networking/interview prep portion of the training. Smaller group this time. Probably the widest range of personality types I’ve seen so far.

Called Autotrader to lower the price on the BMW. Its a steal at $25.5k. Let’s see if it gets any callers. (Other than one on the first day it ran, nada. zilch. zero.)

THURSDAY 12Aug04 – After doing some real soul searching, I decided not to pursue the GSA position in Washington D.C.. While it was a long shot, if I were to be interviewed, I believe that I would not have had the skills they desired, and I would not have been happy with the requirements of the job – it would have been a stretch. Add to that the complete disruption of everything involved in a relocation, I decided to shift my focus to things a bit closer to home – or at least home based. [I think it was a good decision, but hopefully don’t look back years from now and look at this as a bad decision. Having recently viewed “Defending Your Life” on cable, I am probably a bit sensitive.]

FRIDAY 13Aug04 – Friday, the 13th. Let’s see what happened. Started off the morning chatting on the phone for an hour and a half with my friend and facilitation coach. We picked up like where we had left off. Looking forward to meeting up with him soon and reconnecting on a regular basis. [My email to him from a few weeks ago, as part of my networking attempt, worked! Maybe there is something to it after all.]

Had lunch with another longtime friend and supporter who happed to be on the coast this week. He informed me that “CP”, one of the spoiled, executive wackos at Bungo Corp, had sent out an email telling everyone he was going to leave the company and pursue opportunities elsewhere. This can only relieve pressure on the overworked marketing team that had to endure his insanity. [I really wonder if the counsel my ex-boss had given me to “ignore CP” indicated that he was really coaxed to get the hell out of Dodge.]

One of the other EU trainers contacted me about meeting for coffee. She expressed an interest in a SCORE sponsored consulting workshop scheduled for Saturday, as well as wanted to know more about knowledge management. Agreed to meet sometime next week, if she didn’t make it to the Saturday session.

Explored the ever growing LinkedIn network, which is now integrated into my Outlook toolbar.

SATURDAY 14Aug04 – Attended the “so you want to be a consultant” workshop. Picked up some great tips. Also, spoke with a couple guys that might be good contacts in the future. One was with Xerox for 20 years and expressed how they never could get KM implemented. Another is a well networked project management type guy. Goes to a lot of the networking events – my guess is those are perfect resources for consultants to find clients. One of the recommended paths is to join a large consulting firm to gain exposure and experience to the process, and develop your own consulting business as a moonlighting effort or on the weekends. The ultimate goal is to transition to self-employment, and not be forced into it. Decided to pursue the job opening with Accenture. Stopped by B&N on the way home and picked up a copy of “Consulting for Dummies.”

[Opportunity knocks, and porch light goes on!]



Received an email from another good friend and supporter with contact information of a consultant we met a few years ago. I checked out his website, Parnassus Consulting, and realized that THIS is what my calling in life is all about. In a nutshell, his team uses graphic illustrations – what they call “strategic illustrations” – as a primary tool in helping organizations visualize with the issues and path forward for dealing with change and improvement. HELL, I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS! So, I drafted an introductory email to him, attaching one of my illustrations to demonstrate my work, and sent it off. Anxiously awaiting a response or call. In the meantime, I decided that I probably could easily create a website that would show off my artwork portfolio. Ta-da! Linked it to the design.weidemannia.com website, but didn’t make the link too obvious. Still plan to refine the page, but it is a start.



Ended the day by logging on to Tickle!, taking a few of the premium tests to find out more about myself, and then sent an email canceling the subscription. Figured that this $14.95 continual monthly drain on my bank account was unnecessary.

SUNDAY 15Aug04 – Read a third of “Consulting for Dummies” and helped Sherry out at the shop for a bit, and posted a couple things on eBay for her.

On the job pursuit front, ended up drafting a custom resume for the Accenture position – Workforce Transformation Manager – and completed the online application. It must have been because of all the lessons learned in the past, but before I hit the submit botton on the form, I copied all the ASCII resume that I had drafted into Notes for safe-keeping. (You know how it goes when you finally get the sentence structure just right, and then the application locks up – you lose it. Well, didn’t want that to happen to me.) As luck would have it, the system DID LOCK UP, and said that I had exceeded the 120 minutes allotted to complete the form – which was a lie, since I had only accessed the site 15 minutes earlier. But luckily, I copied the saved content into the form and submitted it again successfully. Received a confirmation email from Accenture that basically said “We got your application. We will contact you if interested.” Real warm and fuzzy, don’t you think? Don’t know what to expect, but even though the position might require a lot of travel, it could be a fantastic learning experience on my way to being an independent contractor.

TODAY 16Aug04 – Read a few more chapters of Consulting for Dummies.

Received a reply from the consultant, who remembered me and expressed an interest in us getting together to chat. He said that a full-time position is not in the immediate plans for his company, but they are using independent contractors for some of their work. He is interested in seeing how we can work together. He mentioned a possible opportunity in Orange County regarding a small firm rolling out a website and a knowledge management system, and suggested we jointly do a pro bono meeting with her. THIS IS ENCOURAGING!



There. That’s all the typing for now. [Note to self: A little bit every day is easier to make routine.]

Networking On Steroids

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Reading the business section of Monday’s Register, I found an article on networking websites. One concept that caught my attention was a highly-praised site – LinkedIn.com.

The idea is pretty simple. Once you register (its free while still in Beta mode), and provide what could turn into a fairly detailed resume of your experience, goals, objectives, strengths and accomplishments. You then sent out invitations to your close personal contacts and suggest they join the “club”. And like any other MLM program, the network grows exponentially. So, within 10 hours of me sending out invitations to 40 people, only 7 of my friends registered. However, my personal network reached over 550 people!!! These are people that are connected and contactable via the personal network.

Now, I am able to search on job openings, and find people in my network that may be connected to those organizations, through their personal network.

I’m doing a crappy job of explaining it, but I suggest you take a look for yourself. I find it intriguing. But the real value is if a job materializes from being involved.

The Process Engineering Toolkit Manager tools for Enterprise Projects – blueprints, plans, documents

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

One stop shopping. It’s as simple as that…

Writing My Book

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

I devoted the better part of today investigating the requirements for submitting a resume online for a KM-related position with the G.S.A. A quick glance at the job description made it look pretty darn attractive. I kept saying to myself “I’ve done that!”

As I read more and more of the fine print that goes along with applying for a government job, the sun begins obscuration by darkening, forboding and roiling cumulus nimbususus… :) But, since I made my decision to seriously pursue this opportunity, I dove into the red tape with scissors in hand.

I registered on the site, and answered the questions about my veteran status, citizenship, etc. Didn’t take too long. I saved my work and left the site, only to discover that when I logged in a few minutes later, all of the information had been retained! [Why did I have my doubts?] I noted that in the field where you are to cut and paste your resume, I left it blank since I wanted to know what exactly the questions were that I would have to respond to in my document. It says there is a 16,000 character limit on the resume (which, I think amounts to about 4 pages.)

Cross-referenceing the job posting with the various linked reference documents, I discovered that there were an additional series of “vacancy questions” that I would also have to respond to. Didnt’ see them on my printout, so I went back online. Found the additional 16 questions that MUST BE ANSWERED, I realized that this is going to require some serious attention. Simply attaching a resume and hitting submit was NOT going to work. The questions are in pairs, with the first asking if I have experience in a specific area. If the answer is Yes, then the second question requires an essay response – with a limit of 4,000 words each (1 page). I printed it off so I could determine the right plan of attack. Couldn’t fill these out on the fly.

So, for the last 4 hours, I’ve been doing a braindump for each of the essay questions to get the salient points captured. I plan on tomorrow being Captain Wordsmith to make sure they are each targeted responses to the specific questions being asked. The instructions made it clear if I did not complete the form properly, it could be discared without being reviewed. So, we be following the rules this time.

Time estimate: 4 page resume + 8, 1-page essay questions = 12 page job application!!!

While I see this as a time consuming effort, I honestly believe the process has been quite enlightening because it is drawing things out of my past that I had completely forgotten about. As a result, I have a plethora of new PARs to add to my list.

Goal for Tuesday: Complete essay questions. Rework resume to include all of the specific information required per the instructions. [Seems doable to me – at this point.]

Rubbing Elbows With Success

Monday, August 9th, 2004

Someone once said that you need to hang around people that are successful in order to become successful yourself. In an attempt to gain knowledge of something I know very little about, I participated in a half day seminar on small business, sponsored by the city.

As I evaluate the meaning of life, I have a strong gut feeling that I will have my own small business – of some sort – that will provide me with the opportunity of pursuing my passions. And being a realist, it will not happen by simply hoping or praying. Therefore, it is essential that I take action to gain the knowledge I need to make it so.

I now know about the Small Business Development Council, the roles C.P.A.’s, lawyers and bankers play in the care and feeding of small businesses, and the critical importance of having a meaningful business plan in place before anything else. Came home with a stack of references that will serve me as a fantastic primer on the subject.

However, developing a business plan will take some time – a few of the speakers said it took them 18 – 24 months to get them completed. (Yikes!) And that a banker will want to see it before they will consider granting you a loan. So, its obvious to me that I need to start building my business plan for my dream business. [To this end, I have started an outline consisting of each major section, and will begin brainstorming to add pieces to the puzzle. Keywords that will be included: music, records, vinyl, graphics, internet, photoshop, coffee, hangout, baby boomers, retro.]

I also decided to file my “fictitious business name statement” with the county, so that the world will know about weidemannia design. I also posted my “shingle” on the internet, as a starting point for sharing the collateral and links of the business as it begins growing.

BUT, the most important thing that came out of Saturday’s session is that I cannot wait until this potential dream business is up and running. We need to pay the bills now! So my actions will be split into two specific directions: 1) find a job and 2) develop a business plan. Time will be set aside for each. But finding a job IS JOB 1.

I will continue my networking, with an evening session on Monday, and another small business networking lunch on Tuesday at the local Dave and Busters. Ready to start handing out business cards, delivering my 30 second elevator speech, and sending out more hooks. Still will be submitting a resume for the GSA position in Washington D.C. (Its due no later than August 12.)

Also, checked with the old HR group to find out about how I can validate my security clearance. They said that as long as I’m on LOA (through Feb 05), it will remain active. Any future employer could check it out by looking into JPAS (?) or calling the HR contact. This is nice to know, since having active clearance could open some doors – especially with some of the aerospace providers.

Plan The Work. Work The Plan

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

The past two weeks have really found me getting serious about the pursuit of the next chapter in my life as a worker-bee.

Thanks to the sponsorship of California’s EDD, I’ve been participating in workshops put on by a group of displaced professionals in transition, called Experience Unlimited, or EU for short. Its sole purpose is to help its members find employment. It is run as a club, and you need to become a member in order to take advantage of its offerings and resources. To be a member of the club, you commit to volunteering 4 hours each week to continue supporting the efforts of the club – until you get a job. As a result, there is no cost to take advantage of this support group – its absolutely FREE! From what I’m told, this type of counselling can run into the thousands of dollars.

Well, I completed the workshops last Friday, and can honestly say it is well worth the investment of 5 hours each day. The program covered getting grounded and ridding yourself of slime, developing your 30 second commercial, developing a list of your accomplishments (called PARs), resume development, job search, and networking approaches. However, I think the most worthwhile was the time devoted to the interviews. After a bit of preparation, you go through a mock interview with an HR manager. This is videotaped, and afterward, you are critiqued by the group. Extremely enlightening and makes you much more aware of how other people see you. The following day, you repeat the process with the hiring manager; again videotaped and critiqued. This becomes your “lovely parting gift” at the end of the class. Extremely valuable. Many people may have anxiety about doing it, but it is the best training you can possibly get to prepare you for the real thing.

So, armed with a fresh load of knowledge, my agenda for this week is putting the plan in place, and identifying specific goals and objectives to be accomplished each day. This process of searching for a job is serious, and should be treated in the same manner you perform in a paying job. Bottom line: It is more critical because it MUST be performed successfully in order for you to HAVE a paying job!

While I am keeping detailed records of my activities in a database on my computer, my plan is to summarize my activities dailly on the [eof] blog. This provides a visible record of me achieving my goals, for anyone that is playing the home game.

– Yesterday, spent a good amount of time developing my initial contact list – people whom I will be using as a foundation to build my network. As new names are uncovered, they get added to the list. I can see this being how multi-level marketing schemes work, and if you think about it, isn’t that exactly what I am trying to do? Market myself?

– Identified an interesting position from the EU mailing list that I am considering pursuing. It requires a paid relocation to D.C. and while the job description and salary range sounds perfect, don’t know if I am comfortable with leaving the west coast; at least at this stage of my job search. However, I plan to submit a resume anyway. Remember – You never get a job offer if you don’t apply!

The race has started.

The Other Manifesto

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Untitled Document: “History remembers the artisans and thinkers, all the others fall away like sand on a beach, we are the most important people as we make the world and reshape it in our own vision. Without the painters, sculpture’s, artists, writers, architects, designers, filmmakers musicians and performers the world that we life in would be a drab and dull place to live. We give the world colour and texture, and yet, humanity takes a dim view of our relevance, it feels that we need to fit into its rules. Rules of functionality and uniformity where everyone is a product, but we do not and can not fit into there mould, as we are more, and to force us to abide be these rules would render us unable to fulfil our true potential, and we have a commitment to history. We must spend our lives in the pursuit of creativity to achieve our full potential, anything is a waste, and we have no idea how long our lives well be so must realise our dreams and ideas or the they my be lost for ever. I believe that everyone sees the world in completely different ways, so there are, in effect 6 billion versions of reality so that every time someone die a version of reality dies with them. This is what creative endeavour is about, is expressing your interpretation of reality to others, as it is often a unique and wholly different way of looking of the world, that gives other a window onto other ways of thinking. “

Ethics Is NOT Seasonal

Saturday, July 17th, 2004

You would think with all the noise going down regarding the executives in Enron, corporations would be taking this whole ethics thing pretty seriously.

However, when you begin to understand about all the inbreeding and backroom politics taking place to perpetuate the facade of propriety, it makes you want to turn your back on the corporate world and open a sandwich shop.

Does anyone really think that destroying hardcopy documentation is an effective way to change history – especially in today’s world of a world-wide, peer-to-peer and one-to-the-world medium?

Honesty is the best policy. Justice will be served. Hidden evidence has its way of making itself visible.

[ See Smoking Gun ]

Misery Loves Company

Thursday, July 15th, 2004

foxylawyer.com – I happened to find this blog that describes a lawyer who is keeping a diary of her “change of life”. Captured here for comfort – knowing that we are never alone.

How to Get ‘Em to Do What You Want ‘Em to

Thursday, July 15th, 2004

How to Get ‘Em to Do What You Want ‘Em to : Distributor Sales: “So, the first step in getting your sales people ‘to do what you want’em to,’ is to decide ‘what you want’em to do.’

Ideally, those things proceed directly from your strategic plan. For example, if your strategic plan says that you want to penetrate a new market segment, then you should expect your salespeople to make X calls per month on that segment, or create X new customers within that segment, or do X amount of sales with that segment, or achieve X amount of gross profit with that segment.

The first step is to develop your strategic plan, and then to create expectations for your sales force that directly support that strategic plan.

What, you don’t have a strategic plan? That’s too bad, you’re definitely at a disadvantage. But, you’re not disqualified. Just start at step two, and create precise expectations for your sales force. Develop a list of the three to ten most important things you want them to do.

Bringing in a certain amount of sales or gross profits should be one of them, but only one of them.

Next, make sure that your list of expectations are easily, accurately and fairly measurable. This can be difficult. Much of your ability to manage your sales force depends on your ability to measure sales behaviors.

If you’re highly automated and use effective sales force software, it’ll be a snap. If you’re not effectively automated, it’ll be much more difficult. “

City Approval Required

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

While reviewing the Lake Forest City website, came across this interesting piece of information for those of you who might be thinking about opening up a business in the city.

BUSINESS LICENSE NOT REQUIRED – The City does not require businesses to obtain a business license in order to operate. However, certain businesses require City approval. If you plan to conduct any of the following business activities, please contact the Orange County Sheriff Department at (714) 647-1868 for a Law Enforcement Review.

– Bingo

– Coin dealer

– Dance instructor/dance studio

– Escort/escort bureau

– Figure model, nude/figure model studio

– Gun dealer

– Interlocutrix, nude

– Introductory service

– Junk collector/junk dealer

– Massagist

– Peddler

– Pool room

– Public bath/massage parlor

– Public dance

– Rap session, nude

– Secondhand dealer/thrift store/pawn shop

– Taxicab stand

The Little Things

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Returning to the campus to meet with the manager of the technical staffing company, I happened to pass a colleague in the hallway. He stopped and wanted me to know how shocked he was on hearing of my demise when he came back from vacation. Many people in the company will begin to see the company from a different perspective, after seeing how good, dedicated people can be discarded without remorse. He apologized for the way the company treated me.

He volunteered to provide a personal reference if needed in my new pursuits.

It is those types of connections and interactions that I will miss the most. When you enjoy what you do, and you are surrounded by your friends, life is wonderful. Cherish those moments.

Making Progress

Friday, July 9th, 2004

Uncovered a few opportunities and leads that somehow seem to feel right.

1 – Placed a call to the head of a technical resource staffing agency about submitting a resume, and interested to hear when he called back, that they themselves might have a recruitment position with their team for which he thinks I might be well-qualified. Sounds interesting, and an interview and discussion is scheduled for this afternoon. Nice to know my previous relationship with him could prove valuable.

2 – Yesterday, I completed an online application for a branch manager position at a well-known CPB firm, for an opening in Orange County, pretty close to home. Based on my experience, and the requirements for the job, it seems like the fit is perfect. However, I expect that salary could be a factor; I don’t know what the job pays. If I don’t hear from them today, I will call them on Monday. A great opportunity to get a better understanding of the retail business. [If this materializes, a number of close friends will give me nods of approval – looking down the road. They know who they are.]

3 – Playing phone tag with a friend/colleague/consultant with whom I’ve worked closely over the past 3-4 years. He tells me his financial services company is growing rapidly, and thinks there might be some opportunities for a person with my background and skills. In browsing the career opportunities on their website, and looking at the formal positions to be filled, nothing seems to be a clean fit. However, we’ll see what might come of the lead…

So, for today, things look somewhat promising.

Pre-existing Conditions

Wednesday, July 7th, 2004

The letter said “Declined”.

Apparently, if one has seen a doctor for ANY condition, that is seen as a “risk” to the medical insurance companies and they are in a position to decide whether they want to help or not. In this case, we were kicked to the curb.

COBRA appears to be the only feasible option at this time.

Looking at the current financial situation – without emotion – the BMW has been posted on AutoTrader.com. Hopefully, the money saved on lease payment and autoinsurance will offset the increased cost of health insurance.

No regrets – enjoyed the ride while it lasted. But sometimes you just have to do the right thing.

Independence Day

Sunday, July 4th, 2004

Take time to reflect on and appreciate everything you have.

Independence Day 2004

Sunday, July 4th, 2004

Let’s see just how independent can one person be?

Last week involved; applying for alternate health insurance [ to avoid getting raped by COBRA ]; applying for well-deserved unemployment insurance from the state [ to help put a temporary bandage on the arterial bleeding ]; and exploring the vast wasteland known as monster.com [ where one realizes that there are a lot of jobs out there that one is not qualified for ].

Sobering.

[ Hey, pass another Smirnoff Triple Black Ice, and let’s enjoy the fireworks celebration. ]

Office Space

Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

Bravo broadcast Office Space tonight. Enjoyed watching it, and matching the characters in the movie, with the characters in real life. I feel very “Peter-like”.

Frequency Modulation

Monday, June 28th, 2004

For some reason, FM seemed to sum things up for me today.

Paradigm Shift to Reality

Saturday, June 26th, 2004

An individual’s commitment to a corporation is probably better measured by looking at specific, individual accomplishments. Over the course of your employment, each task you are assigned, or challenge that is encountered, assessed and successfully overcome must be recorded and remembered as a significant event in the permanent record of your life. This is very important; This is your legacy.

Unfortunately, many believe that the most important factor is the number of years they have dedicated and committed to working for a single employer. After all, how often have you heard some of the gray-hairs mutter, “Damn it. The company owes me, after all I’ve done for them. The bastards.” once they have been cut loose by management and are required to seek work elsewhere. Rather than go postal, it is recommended that one sits back and reflects on each of their past accomplishments – their legacy – with pride.

Over time, all companies will change. They are organic and must adapt to the environment. The business climate is always changing, and executive leadership and board of directors respond. Organizations are modified, offices are expanded, others are closed. That’s the nature of the beast.

The challenge, from the individual’s perspective is to always remain cognizant of this situation, and not become complacent. Just because you originally hire into a company to perform a certain job, you are probably guaranteed that over time, your job will change and morph as the company goes through its normal growing pains. Your degree of flexibility and adaptability may allow you to ride the beast as it bucks and darts from side to side. In other instances, you no longer wish to remain associated with the company, realizing it has transformed into a potentially lethal, rabid, blood-thirsty animal.

They say the average person in the U.S. will change jobs 7 times over the course of their career. In the old days, someone who received their 30- or 40-year service award was considered a well-respected elder in the corporation – a mentor and fount of knowledge. It is a much different situation in this millennium. If you have 30 or 40 years of company service on your record, you are a prime candidate for “reduction in force” activities. After all, you are considered overpaid for a job that most likely can be performed by someone much younger for much less. So, senior people are released with little thought to the long-term corporate impact. Result: Budgets are reduced and some executive gets a bonus for hitting their target this quarter. Short-term goal met.

These corporate sniping incidents are rarely well publicized or challenged. None of the sniper’s peers would dare question the destructive actions of someone that has a loaded weapon. After all, the weapon could be turned on them and they could get mowed down by “friendly fire.”

So the damage continues unchecked and no one is held accountable.

Prediction

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Cosmic soothsayers have forseen yet one more catastrophic event occuring within the fortnight. The purging of the tainted wizards must continue. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided.