Jun 29, 2008

Random Letter - Thanks to a Good Samaritan

Random Postal Stuff

So yesterday I checked the mail at our office PO Box and found I had received this letter. I wasn't sure who I knew at Maritech Resources, Inc. in The Woodlands TX. I rifled through all the people I knew in TX as I drove home and no one whom I remembered the location of was in The Woodlands. So, I began to wonder if someone at Maritech had seen something on our business web site that prompted them to contact us by mail. Funny all the thoughts that race through your mind as you process something like this. I was even more baffled when I opened the letter to find the contents pictured above. It took me a few seconds to process what must have happened. Someone appears to have purchased a book titled Cat & Mouse (I found one by that title on Amazon by James Patterson) on June 12th and discovered the photo and the two airline boarding pass stubs. Being the Good Samaritan that he or she was (I'm going to say "she" from now on as the writing looks to be that of a lady), and assuming the photo was ours and was a cherished memory she must have obviously sought out a Craig Kendall on the Internet and found our series of sites that are out there. The only one with a physical address listed is the PO Box for the business so she kindly packaged up the leftovers from her used book purchase and mailed them to us at that address. How sweet. Thanks to you Good Samaritan for trying to return to us what appear to be keepsakes.

Now, some interesting observations from the encounter. I'm not sure who the picture is. I've not read Cat & Mouse. The boarding passes might have been mine as I have been to Houston by way of Phoenix and have connected through Minneapolis before. The dates threw me as I have only been to Phoenix three times that I remember and it was odd that none of the boarding passes showed a departure from Nashville, Dallas, or Denver which is where I would have most likely originated going into Houston. Then it hit me as my mind flashed back to my college encounter with a second "Craig Kendall" that lived in the same small college town I had been in while attending college. I realized I could look up the OnePass frequent flyer account to see if it was mine which it was not. So, from my side at least, the mystery is solved. Sorry Good Samaritan, but the stuff you kindly sent was not mine. I've posted them here and maybe some Craig Kendall searching his name on the Internet will happen across this and I can return the favor by mailing him the photo when he contacts me. I love the Internet! Here's the possibilities I found on a search in the Houston TX area:

screen shot

Jun 19, 2008

TurnHere, Citysearch, 1515 Restaurant

One of the fun things Kendall Media Group appears to be branching strongly into is all kinds of video work. We got set up with several of the Internet video services who are contracting with local videographers for web commercial and how-to video shooting. TurnHere contracted us recently to produce, shoot, and edit a web-mercial for Citysearch for a local Denver restaurant which we completed on June 8. It went live this week so I'm very excited!

1515 Restaurant

1515 Restaurant in Denver

Jun 15, 2008

Commemorating Dad

Pa in pilot gearYou know, I don't know if it's just me, or if everyone struggles to remember stuff going way back. I think my first real memories of individual scenes from when I was a kid date back to the time of my dad's assignment to Germany (he's retired Air Force). I vaguely remember one night being left at some kind of kids care on base with my brother (and what seemed then like tons of other kids). I think I remember us getting some kind of little super hero flashlights for when it was dark there. I also vaguely remember, or think I remember some canvas cots all lined up one beside the other in rows and head to toe in columns. Maybe in a gymnasium on base or something. Who knows.

I also have mini video clip memories of the day John F. Kennedy was shot. I think that was because I paid super careful attention due to the obvious emotion and concern I saw in my mom as she monitored the news about what was going on stateside. I'm pretty sure we were still in Germany when it happened.

And I remember my brother and some of his friends thinking it was funny to scare the little brother walking through tall grass between our apartments where they could duck down and knew I couldn't see over the grass like they could to find them. Pretty scary when you're a little kid and all you can see is sky above and grass all around and the comforting hand of the person who can see disappears amidst laughter and "shhhh!, He'll find us!"

All that aside, as I reflect on Father's Day about memories of my dad, here are a few:

Favorite: Both my brother and I got motorcycles when we were kids so we could enjoy riding. When we were teenagers in New Mexico we went on a weekend camping/riding trip with my dad. It was quite the adventure. We trailered the bikes to somewhere in Northern New Mexico (near Madrid I think I remember) and set up camp in what seemed to me a desolate rock quarry area. I just remember the tents on lots of gravel and not much vegetation around. We had two tents, one for Kenn and I and one for dad. We were so tired I don't remember anything about the night. However, I will never forget breakfast the next morning. Seems we had remembered EVERYTHING when packing except more than one pot to cook breakfast in. Now understand, I love grits and I love corned beef hash, but first thing in the morning and cooked in the same pot... well, it looked like it had already been eaten and brought back up for a vote. Joking aside though, one of the qualities I remember about my dad that has influenced who I am was that no challenge would overcome him. When something seemed impossible he would always back off, think about it, and then solve it.

Alfred E Newman MaskScariest: I don't remember much of the details, but when we lived in the San Fransisco area one night I got up late for some reason and met what I later found out was only my dad in a Alfred E Newman mask and trench coat in the hall. I don't think I want to know any more details.

Most Humorous: (Punked!) I worked at a stereo store just after I graduate high school. One of the perks was that we could bring equipment home to try out while the store was closed. One Saturday after a long day at work for me and a long hard day of working in the yard at home for dad, I had brought home some really nice equipment and an amazing record (yes, even though cassettes and 8-tracks were around then) of rain and thunderstorms. Just after sitting down to dinner I excused myself briefly and set the speakers in the hall right outside my door (where they would not easily be seen) and set the record to play from the beginning. I wish I had pictures of the complete problem solving looks on his face as he attempted to figure out where the freak and enormous rain and thunder storm had come from when he had just come in from what looked like an amazingly clear evening. Oh, and the sound of the water falling off the roof and hitting something... he was really stumped by what the rain could be hitting. When he got up to check, as he neared the sliding glass door it became clear something was out of whack and then his ears led him to the hallway where he found the speakers I had set up. The look on his face was priceless. Oh...wait. There's one better than this... ask him about night he came home from the theater where he saw Jaws and the plastic shark in the toilet!

Proudest: There are lots of times I remember to be proud of my dad. He was always the rock and everything seemed more stable when Pa (I started calling him "Pa" when I was in high school... daddy was just too childish to say as a teen and dad was not cool) was around. As an Air Force officer who promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Colonel he had many promotions, but there was only one the whole family went to. I know he went through many, but other than it being a lot like a graduation ceremony (people talking FOREVER ... but it was cool because they were talking about my dad!) I remember when he stood at attention to have his oak leaf clusters pinned on in Albuquerque. "That's MY dad!" I remember thinking.

Freakiest: When he almost drowned me capsizing our sailboat when he was learning to sail on a tricky lake and he used my back as the bottom to push off and get to the top. - haha, Pa, you know I had to put this one in here ;o) He still swears he didn't, but I think the footprint is still on my back.

Commonalities: Though I know my wife and children would like point out many more things my dad and I share in common, here's a few I'm fond of:

  1. Strong love for Mexican - I think we could both eat it 3x7x365

  2. Geekiness - we both love gadgets and tech stuff

  3. Love the outdoors - though I can't stand to be outside much in the South, out here in the West, where I grew up with daddio we spent lots of times outdoors doing stuff

  4. Motorcycling - My dad planted this love in our hearts early on. I still remember the day he brought his first Suzuki home when we were in Colorado Springs. Now I ride a Suzuki (haha, Pa, mine's BIGGER now!)

  5. Analytical mind - Though we were on very different career paths the skill sets we both seem to have are amazingly similar. Problem solving is one of our fortes.

  6. Temper - yeah, blah, blah, blah. Thankfully we've both learned to control it more as we've gotten older.

  7. Opinion - we both have one. Sometimes they're similar sometimes they are not.

So, here's to Pa on Father's Day. There's a lot more I could say, but hey, what would I post about next year?

Jun 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Some events in your lifetime pass and are never remembered again. Well, the date anyways. You may remember what actually happened, but the date not so much. Those are not necessarily etched in your mind.

This date however will likely be etched in my mind for quite some time. One year ago today I sat in the office of my supervisor at the company I had worked at for 11 years and was informed that my position was one of three being eliminated to make room in next year's budget for other types of personnel. I cannot describe the rush of things that go through your head in a moment like that. If you've been there you know what I mean.

A folder is pulled out and you go over all the paperwork related to severance and all. How crazy is it that once you are told you will be without a job they go over all these details and expect you to sign a piece of paper agreeing to all the terms right there as this amazing thought-flood is going on. Anyway, I elected to have a lawyer friend review mine before I signed and left the office.

I was told I could go for the rest of the day, finish the week, and then, though I officially was not finished until July 31, if I had transitioned all the stuff I was working on I was no longer expected to be in the office after that Friday. I have to say, all this flexibility and a generous severance package was the bright side of the coin but there still is no rush like being told you are being laid off permanently. (I guess that's different than being fired. Fired would be if you screwed up or did something immoral or illegal. Laid off is when the type of service you have to provide is no longer needed or organizational changes mean your skill set is no longer part of the mix.) Either way, after Friday the 15th I was gone.

One of the interesting pieces of all this was how Julie and I had already discussed that we wanted to have our own business established by the date the severance was set to run out. Difference was rather than working full time and at the same time laboring to launch a sustaining business, we now had a severance period to concentrate on establishing the new work and would not be looking at a two week notice and transition.

On the way to lunch the next day before going in to begin the transition and cleaning out process it hit me that this was the perfect time to move back to Colorado (where we had lived before going to Nashville). And, if we were going to be working to establish a business, it was better to establish it where we ultimately wanted to live rather than establish it and then relocate later. Hence, the whirlwind escalated. That was June 13. August 1st our house went on the market. August 6th we had a contract. August 26th we were out and on our way to Colorado to find our way. So, here we are. One year later. Since this is getting long, I'll wait till August 1 to update the status and reminisce about where the business is now.

Thanks to everyone who helped us through the amazing transition train we've been on. Here are some of our transition support super stars to whom we are SO SO grateful:

Ray and Katie Carman who helped with the whole house sale/purchase thing (even so far as traveling to CO for a scouting trip Jul 26-31) as well as being amazingly supportive friends to lean on, and were gracious enough to host a drop by for folks who wanted to come by and say good bye before we left. Oh and hats off to Ray who was the packing/loading ANIMAL! We never could have gotten out of there if it were not for you guys.
Todd and Monica (as well as AJ and Ashley) Donaldson who opened their home to us in CO while we house hunted and were here for us to lean on at the CO side of our journey.
Scott Wendland, Chris Papetti, and Tripp Karrh who graciously labored to help load us up, drive out on the trek from Nashville to Denver in the dual-26-foot-Penske-truck-with-car-carriers-Pathfinder-motorcyle-trailer caravan, and unload and stuff all the stuff into storage buildings.
Our awesome kiddos Jes & AK who helped with lots of stuff and checked in on us to make sure we were making it okay (oh and have since relocated to CO as well... what sweeties!). You guys were so strong and never showed any nervousness which helped mom and dad not worry so much about leaving you in TN.
John and Debbie Revell who helped pack and were amazing pillars of support for us when the pressure began to mount.
Denver and Amy Bierman who were the rocks we leaned on. Though we know you were incredibly busy (Denver with the whole Next Great American Band thing and Amy months from delivering London) crushed by our leaving, you continue to be incredibly encouraging and full of support emotionally and spiritually through the transition.
Kathie Hill of Kathie Hill Music who was one of my first clients back in 2005 and who patiently endured during our moving right in the middle of her launching WAM! a whole new revolutionary product line for kid's music.
And everyone else who encouraged us and whose thoughts and prayers supported us in the transition.

So, we press on in Life 2.0 mode one year later.

Jun 11, 2008

The Green Meanie

BeforeI've always heard people who can grow stuff referred to as having a Green Thumb. Well, since I'm the opposite of that I guess I'm the Green Meanie.

As the snow melted off this Spring it became obvious that some issue had developed with a section of our front lawn. We've had landscaping people look at it and they all are stymied. Everyone rattles off a list of things they think it could be, but then they eliminate all of them pretty quickly because it looks like nothing they've ever seen that have those conditions.

MangeIt's very disconcerting. When we moved into our house I thought to myself, "Finally! With a sprinkler system and established grass, surely we won't embarrass the neighbors with our lawn here." HaHa. Right!

So, I contacted the folks who put the lawn in months before we ever bought the house and the girl I talked to looked our address up and informed me I had called on the last day of the warranty. I won't go into all the long litany of interactions that followed. Suffice it to say that I essentially reached the point that I realized they were not going to honor the warranty after being told by their own folks that it was very weird and like nothing they had seen and acknowledged that the grass had never taken root in the areas where the mange (that's the name we've given the condition) had set in. It's like it was sod that had just been put down today except it was dead. It could just be lifted up with no roots and a smooth dirt bottom existed on the downside of the dead grass rug.

(Side note: Later the same day I called the landscaping company when I checked the mail I had gotten a letter from our HOA manager informing me that if the problem was not corrected we would receive a fine. Good grief!)

So, while I was standing in Home Depot, grass repair supplies in my buggy, I made one last attempt (I owed the landscaping company a payment on the backyard sod which had been put in a couple of weeks before) to leverage my position and attempt to get my hands on some of the scrap pieces which I had seen evidence in the vacant lots in our neighborhood were cast off after an installation. This time though, I was not so nice with the guy. I shared with him how VERY frustrated I was at the lack of communication the company provided through most of my dealings with them to date (except when they wanted money... they were very timely and persistent in those contacts) and with the lack of willingness to accept responsibility for sod that never took root but appeared only to grow on the surface for the previous year. I emphasized how frustrating it was that during my first contact regarding the issue I was informed that it was the very last day of the warranty only to be told the lawn was now out of warranty when I finally got to talk to anyone to follow up. So standing there with $55 dollars worth of repair supplies I pleaded to be informed of a location where I could stop by and pick up some of the scraps that were to be cast off from an install which I could piece into my mangy spots.

To my surprise, after discussing the approximate square footage of the areas affected, the guy asked if they could drop off several rolls of fresh sod at my house later the week when they came to collect the check for the work completed in the back yard. I was shocked. I just about fell over. Finally! I jumped for joy, put my repair supplies back on the shelves and headed out of the store.

Yay! Maybe my neighbors won't be embarrassed by my mangy lawn anymore after Thursday! I wonder if I should have someone else affect the repairs so my greenie meanie-ness doesn't kill the repair grass or what's left in the front?