I’m a picker, I’m a grinner, I’m a lover and I’m a sinner… but mostly I’m a plumber who writes poetry and works as a barista on the weekends

264 tailor New York

This photo got a fair amount of ribbing on Twitter all last week by the interior design community, architects and some other folks who will remain unnamed. It was a good bit of fun as we poked at how this current recession was driving folks to diversify skills and service offerings from one store front. It also produced a lot of puns that, in hindsight, are probably a bit too embarrassing to recall. You can check my twitter stream for the fun and mayhem if you want. I think the photo was discovered by @concretedetail

By the way, this is a real tailor shop in New York. Their Facebook fan page is here. I suggest you like them for all sorts of reasons that might occur to you after you read this post (you are gonna stick around for that long, right?)

Most people are confused when they get to this blog for the very reasons that it is having problems getting traction. It can’t be defined in the nine-second sound byte requirement. And I’m sure I lose readers because I don’t get to the point fast enough for them to decide to stay. On the other hand, I am convinced I keep readers because they give me some patience and trust that eventually I will be worthwhile reading, like a Steinbeck novel or a Thurber story. (Seriously, guys if you picked up the pace in the first few chapters….)

“So, is it a dog blog? Oh, wait, you talk politics… now you’re talking social issues and education…” thoughts wander off, finger clicks…

“Oh, good you rant about the evils of society just like me and … wait, are you a dog? thoughts wander off, finger clicks…

“Another one of those personal branding…. no, wait, he’s talking marketing? …. design? thoughts wander off, finger clicks…

My publicist rails against me for not being able to focus and write about any one thing for too long. “I don’t know how to package and sell you,” she laments between deep sighs, during which time I’m almost sure she is slinging back the remains of a bottle of Syrah she popped at the beginning of our conversation ten minutes ago. “Media wants experts at SOMETHING.”

I’m giving her some time to think about my “packaging.” She’ll find something eventually because she is the very best at her game. And she will be super-passionate about it because she will have solved this huge puzzle of “What is DogWalkBlog” that has been hanging over me since I started writing this little collection of stuff in 2005. I’m not in a rush because I’m enjoying the journey too much. I’m not sure I’ll like the destination.

I’ve always had this condition. I want to be everything all at once all the time. In college when I absolutely had to declare a major, I picked English because to me that signified a juxtaposition* of the absence of a commitment and the presence of a full-on commitment. “You’ll never get a good job with an English degree,” my narrow-minded idiot of a freshman advisor warned. She was right, but that has not stopped me from having a fantastic experience. And making a ton of money off employed and mentally-jailed people along the way.

Wait a minute.. I thought you were a dog? How can a dog do all that stuff? *Sigh* Move along quickly… you’re gumming up progress.

And because of my condition, I worry that I am entirely unemployable. I look at job sites all the time and get befuddled by the continually narrowing of choices I am required to select. Geography, industry, sector, specific job… forget it, I’ll just stay out here paying my own insurance until that cost becomes too painful. I don’t envy friends between the AARP and Medicare age who are out looking for a job. They have too much life experience to stuff into one job description, yet they must to appease the hot-shot HR folks.

I have the same problem with my corporation. I write a blog post or an article and then look on Businessweek, OPEN, Digg or some other cataloging site and just stare at the categories I’m supposed to smash this multi-faceted gem of knowledge into. I end up not doing anything which probably hurts my SEO and Google ranking and all that crap. Chris Brogan kinda lamented the same thing a few blog post back, only not in such a whiny howl as I’m doing here. (I searched for the post; I couldn’t find it right away so I’m hoping Chris will drop the URL in the comments.)

I worry that I have not taught my son well. During a recent lunch with Saxon Henry, she turned to him and asked, “So, what is it that you do?”

Without drawing a breath, he said, “I cook.”

I was dismayed and proud all at the same moment. He had his elevator speech nailed down which showed that he was paying attention to my rantings about getting a good carnival bark. He got it that the world expected short, direct, decisive answers to direct questions.

On the other hand, I was secretly hoping he would say something like, “I breathe! I live! I create art! I ensure the survival of the human species! I am changing the world and being here with you now, having this conversation, I am changing your perspective on one little thing which you will share with another and they will share with another and eventually that spark of an idea will move a mountain.” Maybe he did it during the course of the conversation and I missed it. Maybe he does this in the company of his close friends. I hope he does.

Maybe the good-natured ribbing of the twitter this past week was an uneasiness with our own insecurities about our life choices or the fact that the skills we all worked so hard to master and hone will be marginalized and eradicated by the job market within weeks during the next recession without apology or remorse. Maybe it is an admission to our inner selves that we have “sold out” our humanity by defining ourselves as just one thing; Joe the Plumber, Bob the Builder, Frank the Blogger. Maybe some of us define ourselves more narrowly on the outside so that we can be more free to be ourselves inside without others imposing expectations on us.

Maybe the world really is mostly made up of one-dimensional people and I’m out here being strange with a few other lost folks.

I’m ok with that.

*That is my street cred. If you can’t work “juxtaposition” into something that runs at least 1,000 words, your English degree ain’t worth a tinker’s damn.


Football’s “Big Game” ads

On Monday, every blogger will turn into a marketing expert and analyze the ads from The Big Game* fifteen different ways in hopes that you won’t realize they don’t know crap about marketing or advertising. Several of them will actually know what they are talking about, but those people will be so non-confrontational that you probably won’t read them anyway.

Over here at the DogWalkBlog, we’re going to stick with what we know; dogs and dog-related accessories. Our entire criteria on judging the effectiveness of any Big Game ad is whether or not they have a dog in them. Then, we will list them further on down this page and tell you why we think they were cool or lame.

Fair enough?


*Super Bowl is a trademark of the National Football League (NFL) and DogWalkBlog did not pay any money for the rights to use it. So, we’re saying “The Big Game” (until the NFL clamps down on that one as well)


PR Pitches

If you are pitching something to DogWalkBlog, READ THIS FIRST. Failure to read this and pitching us anyway will likely get you bit real bad. You have been warned.

1. We are NOT a dog or pet blog. If your product/service is focused on the pet market, don’t pitch us.

2. Don’t ask us to do anything for free, for a link exchange or anything other than cold, hard cash. Really. Dogs have needs and they ain’t cheap.

3. We do not accept samples for anything.

4. We do not do product or service reviews.

5. We do not do giveaways, contests, lotteries or drawings. Too much legal crap.

6. We are open to accepting advertising, but only short (3 month) commitments at a time and only for placement that will fit in the right sidebar. You should be prepared to pay a lot of cash, minimum one comma in the amount.

7. We don’t accept unsolicited guest posts. We will NEVER accept sponsored posts. Ever. The FTC rules are just too much of a pain to deal with and life is way too short.

8. If we don’t reply to your first pitch, DO NOT SEND ANOTHER. Really, we’re not ignoring you. We just said no.

9. If you have ever been told by anyone in your family or a friend that you are an annoying, pesky a**hat, just stay away from us and go pitch someone else.

That pretty much covers it.

What is the Y-word?

A couple days ago, I was listening to some cable news show, I think it might have been MSNBC, ranting on about Dr. Laura’s use of the n-word. The content of the show is not important. What is important is that we have reduced our discourse of fairly substation discussions of our culture into “baby-babble” where parents would spell out words that they didn’t want little Johnny to hear.

Are we all three-years old in America? The answer is Y-E-S.

And this got me thinking that every letter in the alphabet should have its own dash word that you can’t say in polite company. Why should F, C, B, N and R get special treatment? (you do know what those words are, right? Ask a nearby teen-ager or Old Fart)

At the risk of putting DogWalkBlog on every Nanny-watch list and banned from every school library, I’d like to open up the comments to suggestions for each letter. Some, of course, have already been reserved so there is no need to discuss those (really, please don’t)

Hopefully, at this end of this little exercise, we will have an authoritative list of twenty-six dash-words.

A-word: Open for suggestions
B-word: Closed
C-word: Closed
D-word: Open for suggestions
E-word: Open for suggestions
F-word: Closed
G-word: Open for suggestions
H-word: Open for suggestions
I-word: Open for suggestions
J-word: Open for suggestions
K-word: Open for suggestions
L-word: Open for suggestions
M-word: Open for suggestions
N-word: Closed
O-word: Open for suggestions
P-word: Open for suggestions
Q-word: Open for suggestions
R-word: Closed (thanks, Sarah Palin!)
S-word: Closed
T-word: Open for suggestions
U-word: Open for suggestions
V-word: Open for suggestions
W-word: Open for suggestions
X-word: Open for suggestions
Y-word: Open for suggestions
Z-word: Open for suggestions

Suggest away in the comments!


Get your own ham; it’s all about self reliance

When my son was just shy of his fifth year, we found ourselves in an Old Country Buffet on a Saturday afternoon. For those of you not familiar with the format of the all-you-can-eat-for-one-low-price buffet, these places usually have a lower price afternoon service that did not include carved meats and a higher price evening service that started about 4:00pm. For the extra savvy buffet-goer, it was generally known that if you came in about 3:30 or so and stalled a bit on some salad, you could sneak in and get the good stuff for a lunch price. I did not partake of this little loophole but sometimes, we found ourselves in that limbo time.


How much does it cost you to exist for one hour? Size matters

How much does it cost you to exist for one hour? Have you ever asked?

Just for a rough guess, add up all the expenses of replacing the stuff that breaks, the cost of going to your job, your mortgage, taxes, tuition bills, gifts for relatives and friends, etc. Then divide by 8,904 (the number of hours in a year, assuming an extra 6 hours to offset for leap year.) How much is that? Is it higher than the US minimum wage?* If it is for you, you no longer have to wonder why you are broke. If you work forty hours a week, there are an additional one hundred twenty eight** uncompensated hours your wage does not cover.


Design that tries too hard to be cool

I was stumbling around Twitter, opened the door to what I thought was the restroom and found myself staring at this:

I frantically searched for the remote control to change the channel before anyone else walked into the room and realized this was not a movie set for an adult film; is a real bath tub.

I admire the craftsmanship. I get the quirkiness of the design. I can appreciate the “cojones” it takes to commit to something this big, this odd as a bath. I get all that. I’m not sure what is most disturbing; the foot sweat pouring from the faucet or the obvious hooker-heels look.

But it still tries too hard to be cool. And too hard is just never cool; it is uncomfortably awkward.

This blog post is part of an informal “blog-off” where a pack of know-it-alls brazenly comment on one topic selected at random by somebody at random who couldn’t run out of the room fast enough. We tell ourselves our opinions on this stuff is influential, but most of the time it won’t make a damn bit of difference. That being said and my conscience clear now that I have warned you, I encourage you to drop by the list of folks below and see what their reaction to the shoe tub is:

Links on name go to the blog post; twitter goes to twitter!

Alexandra Williams @Alexandrafunfit
Nick @cupboards
AventeTile @AventeTile
Rufus Dogg, AKC, PhD, DS @dogwalkblog
Madame Sunday @ModernSauce
Mr. Paul Anater @Paul_Anater
Becky Shankle @ecomod

Dangerous walkway in Englewood, Ohio

There is a walkway path along the Stillwater River in Englewood that connects Grossnickel Park and that new lake along Wenger road. While we generally support walkways in parks, the stretch of walkway that passes underneath Interstate 70 is very, very scary and probably quite unsafe.

Here is a short video of us walking underneath it. Notice the crumbling cement and lack of any containment cage. One of these days, a truck is going to blow a tire and those rubber shreds and steel belts will kill a jogger or dogwalker. Just don’t want it to be me.

I know Englewood is doing a ton of improvements all over the place. Can you send a crew to weld a cage in place? Thanks. I know you have the money because you cashed my tax check.