Saturday, October 30, 2004

Biggest fleas ever

I've only occasionally and peripherally ever been around flea markets and they all sucked. The same cannot be said about First Monday Canton. The thing is huge, covering acres of shopping. While it was easy to find folks selling absolute junk, there was plenty more available for purchase.

The weather started very cool, in the 60's when we left the house. But the sun, when we were outdoors and not under tree cover, was able to break the 80 degree mark, and it was too hot. We spent five hours there, didn't see everything, but did have an exhausting day.

Wagner 9160So, why did I agree to head out there? Well, I did it for Kristi, because I knew it would make her happy. And she wanted to go for me, so we could find a much desired antique fan for my upcoming birthday.

We ended up buying two! The first is a large oscillating Emerson that will need some professional clean-up. The second, a smaller Wagner-model 9160-looks fabulous, don't you think?

While I have not been able to locate this model during the initial research, I do know the 9260 series oscillates (this one does not) and was out in 1919. Please note, these fans are not child safe and should not be used around children.

So, Kristi gets credit for giving me some great stuff on a good day. And Purdue gets credit for making the day suck by losing a third straight game, this time to Northwestern.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Super Scam Artists

Today I went to hear a number of speakers at Financial SuperStars conference. I received a pair of the $149 tickets for free (just like everyone else), and drove to Arlington to hear the speakers. It was a day of sales pitches, with some motivational talk, inspirational anecdotal stories, and promises of future wealth thrown in. It was almost enough to make me develop my own seminar just to sell it to Barnum's public.

Now, I did take notes, and some of the information was interesting. But mostly it was a whole bunch of speakers talking about their method of achieving wealth, and therefore happiness, success, and good looks. The most interesting was the lawyer selling asset protection in a box, literally. While glossing over the legal, accounting, and tax work required to maintain his recommended structure, he talked about how everyone was going to be sued (is the average American really sued five times?) and how loss due to a lawsuit is unnecessary. His solution, a box with retracting handle and wheels, which would give you the forms required to register the necessary legal structures with the state. He did not cover that different states have different laws. He did offer a discount from $4,995 to $2,995. I saw at least 20 people purchase the kit. Honest. I probably should have told people the Business Organization Formswere available for free on the states' website, but I was too busy marveling at the amount of money they were raking in.

For all the success these guys claimed, the main thing Google points to is the fact this circus was not very welcome during a recent stint down under.
Australian Securities & Investments Commission acts against 'Financial Superstars' investment workshops

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Microsoft Emerging Business Team

Well, not that many of you will need this, but Microsoft has a new website up to help you answer a bunch of questions about your business.
How can MS help me get funded?
Can MS fund my startup?
Would MS like to buy my IP/product/company?
How do I connect with Microsoft since I'm just starting my company or new idea?
Check it all out at: Who knew they were so helpful?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Total Lunar Eclipse

I heard about the Lunar Eclipse while listening to the radio, probably NPR, but didn't think a thing about it. But Sandy told Kristi about it and we went into the backyard with the dogs to watch it tonight. I have to say, it was pretty cool (when the cloudcover wasn't blocking our view). We saw it go from a light shadow, to a dark shadow, from covering most of the moon, to all of it, and back again to just most. The moon itself was totally dark for only a brief time.

What was really amazing was the appearance of the shadow wavering on the moon. It's funny to think of the orbits and spheres as less than perfect and less than stable, but they sure didn't look all that stable from my house.

My Yahoo! Beta

Lately I have been using My Yahoo! Beta. You have to register and then customize the page for yourself, but I like what I can do. The Beta version is more attractive and has more options, so it is a definate improvement over what went before; in fact, it's probably why I use the service more.

Anyway, I left some feedback after initially setting up the My Yahoo! Beta and I have never received any acknowledgement of my effort. So today I left some more feedback.
I took the time to leave feedback recently and I did not receive acknowledgement of my effort. This lack of response leaves me disappointed and makes me want to *stop* using your products.

What a shame.
It's a shame, because success in the modern world is all about the customer experience, and my improved experience led me to wistfully and foolishly think I would continue to be satisfied. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Name that 'Vacation' movie

In a scene almost straight out of of Chevy Chase movie, a woman in Douglasville, GA came home from her vacation in Greece to discover the lights on and a strange car in the driveway. It turns out a stranger moved in with her dog, washer, and dryer. Not only that, the squatter has ripped up the carpet, replaced the pictures she didn't like on the walls, and changed the utilities into her own name! Good grief.

The deciding factor is determination

Tony had this link about why one guy is voting for Bush. Here's a snippet from a conversation the author had with a friend.
"I'm probably smarter than you are - in terms of IQ tests and grades in school. You're a multimillionaire, and I'm not - even though I've been in businesses parallel to you for as long as you. Why do you think that is?"

"Because I'm more determined than you are," he replied.

"Exactly," I responded.
This reason may be the best reason I have heard about why I should vote for President Bush rather than for Senator Kerry. As someone relatively close to the middle of the fence, this is a reason I can understand and appreciate.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Portfolio news

Just wanted to let everyone know that my 37 shares of GOOG are up 120% from the IPO price. Which only goes to show (a) I can get lucky and (b) I sure wish I could have gotten all 50 shares I desired...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bush / KerryTest - Where Do You Stand?

Cafe HedonistiX has a link to the Bush / Kerry Test. This 10 minute test/poll is pretty good at asking side by side comparisons about the candidates different stated positions. After completing the poll, you are presented with your results.
Based on the answers you chose, you scored 18 points for President George W. Bush and 22 points for Senator John Kerry.
Your views most align with the views of Democratic Candidate Senator John Kerry.
Despite this, I still plan to vote "None of the Above."

I've stated before, this election is all about President Bush and how people feel about his handling of terrorism, the war in Iraq, and the economy. Very little of this election is about Senator Kerry and his opinions. But I want to publicly state, "I hope John Kerry loses the election by a landslide."

Even though I disagree with Bush on a number of issues, the bigger issue for me is the state of the loyal opposition. The Republicans are well organized and funded and understand how to fight for an issue. Right now the Democrats are not well organized and only seem to understand how to fight against Bush. The Dems cannot capitalize or lead well with this as a long-term strategy and losing the national election in a big way might help them come to a new strategy. I realize this is a long shot and very unlikely, but it's about the only thing I see that has a chance.

It's not about wanting to vote for Democrats, it's about having a choice between two strong parties/candidates, something missing in the current election.

SNL and live music

If you've been watching Saturday Night Live for awhile, you've surely noticed a few slips in the live music acts, namely, the music is not live. I've seen a number of stars, Janet Jackson coming to the top of my mind, who were lipsyncing on the famously live program. Last night it was clear to see via TiVo that Ashlee Simpson was not actually singing on her first song. But the serious gaff came during her second set, when the band started playing one song, and the tape started playing another. The New York Daily News called it singing in the key of fake.

Really, it was kind of funny, to see her dancing while her voice started, then faded out, then started and faded out a second time. Adding to t he moment, she then walked off stage just as the band found it's groove and a commercial was hastily inserted. As Jude Law was closing the program he said "What can you say? It's live TV." Ashlee, being the young, impudent thing she is took the chance to say she was very sorry and blame the band for playing the wrong song.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A couple days worth of stuff

Well, after taking a couple days off, here is some of the stuff that's been happening lately. First, my car died, or rather, it would not start. I was at Steve's, helping him with his computer and the car would in no way crank or turn over. Five minutes later, everything was fine.

That evening I Kristi & I were watching 'Late Night with Conan O'Brian. Not our usual fare, but the opening bits were funny. We especially enjoyed Triumph the Comic Insult Dog as he interviewed the spin-miesters from both sides after the debate. Our favorite line was
Look! There's Ralph Reed, who used to pimp for the Christian Coalition. Now he reaks of Bush more than a k.d.lang mosh pit.
The next day Bentley was groomed and the car, after starting fine on three seperate occassions, refused to start again. *sigh*

The good news is I won the weekly poker game. It's not enough to pay for towing and a new ingnition switch, but it's a heck of a lot better than losing.

And now I'm sick; a cold or some such thing. It's not debilitating, but my body isn't happy. And Purdue's late fumble to lose another game is enough to send me back to bed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Family, part 1

Kristi took the day off work today. I had a meeting this morning, but I spent extra time sleeping in a very comfortable spoon with my wife instead of getting up early, eating a bite, and ensuring I was prepared. I did make the meeting on time, but by the time I got home, I was hungry. After lunch, Kristi & I went for a casual drive Monday afternoon drive and bought a pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch . We went looking for an antique fan and then to the airport to pick up my Dad.

He's flown into town to pick up a truck he purchased on eBay. We talked of the weather and Debbie's health, fasting and hope, sports and TiVo.

On the morrow I will make us breakfast and then he will drive almost 1,000 miles north to reach his home. While the visit has been short, it's been both worthwhile and enjoyable.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Reading with a dictionary

I've started a new book today, The Visitor, by Sheri Tepper. I've read some of her other books and enjoyed them, quite possibly because I agree with the message she's preaching.

Anyway, as I started reading this book, I noticed an abundance of words not in my vocabulary. As a long time reader, I am use to making sense out of the context of the words, and would have done so in this book, but the shear number of wordy surprises caused me to pause. And in honor of pausing to think about the rarity of this, I present to you a glimpse into the copious vocabulary of Ms. Tepper.
Page 1: priapic, mephitic
Page 2: pavé, sagacious
Page 3: arboreal
Page 6: adit
Well, I did know arboreal, recalled sagacious, and guessed close enough for my purposes on mephitic, but still, that's quite a list for six pages of a book, especially considering that one of them was blank (p.4).

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Poker Night

Kristi's in West Texas with the crones this weekend, visiting Historic Jefferson. It's not that the town name has the word "Historic" in it, but it's almost always said that way.

While they're out gallivanting through antique shops and taking ghost tours, the house became the center for a big poker tournament. Unfortunately, despite lots of people expressing an interest, only seven made it out for the tourney. We did have a great time, playing about 2-1/2 hours to determine Mike as the big winner ($205). In somewhat less time, Jim, myself, and Ronnie were determined to not be the winners.

Anyway, if you're looking to have some people over poker you cannot go wrong by using the fabulous Home Poker Tourney for information about everything related to running your own game or tournament. And if you are going to run your own tournament, I give very high marks to The Tournament Director software to handle the clock, blind increases, prize distribution, etc.

On a sad note, the Purdue Boilermakers fell to Wisconsin in a 20-17 heartbreaker.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Night Lights

It's a gorgeous night here in Texas, especially under the Friday Night Lights. I haven't seen the movie, but I did go to the Celina Bobcats homecoming football game tonight.

It was small town football at it's best. To get there, drive north of Dallas, through the bustling suburb of Plano, past the new mall in outlying Frisco, continue north past farms and ranchs until you get to Prosper (pop. 2,250), and then you're only a short drive away. You'll know where to turn, because most of Celina (pop. 1,750) will be turning left towards the high school and the lights shining down on the field.

The field itself is plush astroturf and the crowd must be number more than 1,000 people. You can tell the home team stands by the ocean of Bobcat Orange, filling the bleacher seats.

Walk past the items being raffled for school scholarships and find your place as the announcer asks you to stand for a moment of silence while the preacher with the megaphone intones a prayer for the youngsters about to play. And when the home team scores on the first play, catching a great pass and finishing the last of the 69 yards to the end zone, you won't be mistaken about who the proud father of that boy is.

We left after the third period. Celina Bobcats 41, Prosper Eagles 0. It was a good time.

It's Thursday for me

Well, it's 4AM on Friday, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's still Thursday for me. Funny, but saying it's not tomorrow until you go to sleep is something _____ used to say. I would use her real name, but time and my mind have conspired to steal her name away.

For as much as we were a couple, oh, so many years ago, I'm glad I am where I am today. Kristi & I may never be skinny models, and lately she's getting good at getting mad at me, but she's mine and I'm hers and that's the way I like it.

And frankly, sometimes I think we are on the verge of taking our marriage from good to great. So, even though sometimes we seem stuck I'm happy and I think we're making progress; still learning how to better relate to each other and give each space and fill up the empty spots.

Let's all raise a glass to that idea.

Nick Nolte's Diary

This stuff is great. I don't read Vance anymore (hmm, where is that link?), but it was fun for a time. And today I ran across a great set of daily entries in the wonderful Nick Nolte's Diary. I liked the first few so much I went through his entire diary, starting just a couple months ago. He is engagingly honest and open about his life. Here's one of his humorous entries.
Backyard excitements

I had been researching soft liners for the pool online this afternoon. Then I heard a crash and got to the windows onto the breezeway in time to see my two gardeners struggling to pull their mower out of my ditch as the mower's engine spewed a jet of gasoline skyward. It reminded me of a similar event that happened on the set of a movie I worked on. Except replace the mower with Sean Penn, Diary. Anyway, with the excitement over I went back to my research. I would have offered them a lemonade or some such from the kitchen, but my dishwasher doesn't always get my endorphine-loader regimen residue off the glasses, as my kendo instructor Leon knows all too well.
Thanks to J-Walk for the link.

Update: This diary has been renamed to "Not Nick Nolte's Diary" and now has a disclaimer above each entry about how the following is a piece of fiction. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Comments on the Third Presidential Debate

I post, in it's entirety, an excellent letter about tonight's debate.
From: ****@****.***
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 9:47 PM
To: ****@****.***
Subject: a post-debate confession....

So I just finished watching the last of the presidential debates...

I know we've got a decent tradition of moving past politics here and
getting to the core and deeply important values that we all share: those
of BEER and DARTS. However, I hope that you will begrudge me a small
moment of commentary and reaction to this whole great circus that we, as
Americans, call the selection of our leader.

There was much discussion of family in this debate, including especially
the wives and daughters of all of the candidates. From the heartfelt
exchange between Cheneny and Edwards over the fact that Cheney has a
lesbian daughter, to the repeated mention of Laura Bush, Teressa Kerry
and their daughters. And we have seen, as tonight's moderator aptly
mentioned, that all of these men have strong and meaningful women in
their lives. Especially I believe that Kerry's daughters have proved
themselves to be apt and competent in these matters. In fact, I'd love
to have dinner and extended conversation with Kerry's daughters, as they
appear to be quite intellectual and engaging women.

Now, while I believe that both sides in this contest are rich white men
who are entrenched political operatives, and we're again in a contest of
"lesser of 2 evils" that plagues America, I must also admit that I
have somewhat of a leftist leaning in these matters... but...

However, tonight I must say that in one way I'll have to break with my
core beliefs....

When it comes down to it, I'd really rather nail a Bush daughter (or
better yet, both Bush daughters) than Kerry's girls.

Well, maybe calling this an excellent letter was an overstatement, but it was a humorous.

Snap searches

I just found out about a cool new search engine. While I'm not sure I would want to go into business where Google and Yahoo and Microsoft are competitors, this is really cool.

Just check out this search I did for "Poker" on Snap. The interface for the search results is very clean, shows related keyword searches, gives key info from webpage, and allows for great refinement based upon five key factors.

Based on my quick tour, you should really give Snap a try.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Childishness and Cleaning

When I'm at home, I hate to be told what to do. Or how to do it. I am overly sensative about the Parent-Child-Adult roles, and anything that comes close to placing me in a child role results in a Rebellious Child (Passive-Aggressive being my mode of preference). I think about this when I'm doing work around the house.

Like this last week, when I was cleaning. I really enjoy a clean house, it's one of life's little joys as far as I'm concerned. Coming home or walking around and noticing that everything is in it's place, the place is neat and orderly, the carpets vacuumed and floors washed, the surfaces dusted, the furniture polished, the bathrooms clean and mirrors sparkling, the bed made, etc. All of it gives me a little thrill.

Which is kind of funny, because I stop before the point that gives me a thrill. In fact, our house is pretty much never at that point. When I do a good cleaning mode going on, I'll get the kitchen and vacuuming, sometimes the bathrooms and rarely the bed. I don't mind cleaning. Once I get started it's an enjoyable experience. I enjoy the moment, the action I take, the effect of my work.

I don't like the thought of cleaning. Maybe it reminds me of chores growing up, when my mother told me when to clean and how to clean. (As an aside, Mom once sat me & my sister down and told us how to clean the toilet. Julie thought it funny I never cleaned the outside fo the bowl and I thought she was simply daft for not understanding you had to clean inside the bowl!) And more than disliking the thought of cleaning, is when Kristi asks me to clean. Actually, she does not ask me to do that very often. She's much more likely to ask me to do something to the yard. This never fails to piss me off.

I'm not saying it should make me mad, but it does. One of the things I think about is how she doesn't do shit in the yard. If all I ever did in the yard was water (and most years that is all I have done in the yard) it's still hours a week. Watering the pots, cleaning off the patio, setting up and moving the sprinkler across the lawn; it's not much, but it's a heck of a lot more than the 5-15 minutes a month she spends in the yard. To her defense, she doesn't like yard work, doesn't like getting dirty, and doesn't have much experience doing the work.

Now, as I write this, I am perfectly aware that I'm whining, but the point I'm trying to make is that this is how my childish mind reacts when she asks me to do anything more than water. Heck, sometimes I get mad when she asks me to water.

New Story / Same Topic: Years and years ago, a good friend made dinner for a bunch of us, including his roommate, my girlfriend, and someone else from the crowd we hung out with. He and I had a reservation to play racquetball for that evening and he asked if my girlfriend would clean up while we went to play. She cheerfully said "Yes" and proceed to clean the table (and eventually the kitchen) while we ran out the door to our scheduled match. What amazed me about this interaction was the idea that he even asked the question. I couldn't imagine asking her to clean up.

So let's combine these items. I don't like be told what to do. I don't like others to ask me to do work around the house. (Please note, I'm much better if you ask me to work with you.) And I don't ask other people to do work around the home.

In the years we've been married I've only asked Kristi to do something for me a couple times. And I don't think it has ever been to clean the house or work in the yard. Recently, I have asked her to make me a meal when I've been working and I'm hungry.

I'm starting to think this is a problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't have this problem at work, I got over it early in my career.

Hmm, well it's something to think about. Feel free to post your advice, but you should know I may ignore your message if it sounds like you're telling me what to do. :-)

Update: This post should not be interpreted to read that Kristi is an ogre (she is not), nor that Kristi does nothing around the house (truthfully, she is the primary caretaker of our home). Rather, this post should be read only as a commentary on my own thought processes...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Help for the uber-geek

The Washington Post has an article that at least some of you need to... pass on to a friend, yah, a friend. It's about Addicted Gamers, Losing Their Way and how at least some folks want to help those teens and adults who might be a little to close to their computers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Time for a laugh

I don't usually do this, but it's so good I'm willing to make an exception.
An American golfer playing in Ireland hooked his drive into the woods.

Looking for his ball, he found a little Leprechaun flat on his back, a big bump on his head and the golfer's ball beside him.

Horrified, the golfer got his water bottle from the cart and poured over the little guy, reviving him.

"Arrgh! What happened?" the Leprechaun asked. "Oh, I see. Well, ye got me fair and square. Ye get three wishes, so whaddya want?"

"Thank God, you're all right!" the golfer answers in relief. "I don't want anything. I'm just glad you're okay, and I apologize. I really didn't mean to hit you." And the golfer walks off.

"What a nice guy," the Leprechaun says to himself. "But it was fair and square that he got me, and I have to do something for him...
Click here to read the rest of this very funny joke. Courtesy of a Silly Old Bear who has also done some cool tweaking to the standard blog code too.

Christmas is Coming

The following items are for Santa. This my Christmas wish list.

Both items on my wish list were found in AD (Achitectural Digest for those of you not in the design industry).

Lina Leather Folding ChairFirst, and the item that prompted me to make this post, is a steel-framed leather folding chair from Lina. I think it looks great in tobacco, don't you agree?

Called "handsome and comfortable" by a designer in Great Designs Under $100 (Oct 2004, p.278), it's available from Design Within Reach.

Peter Behrens. Fan Model No. GB 1. 1908.The second item I want is an antique electric fan, preferably in mint condition. By antique I mean "classic," one produced before 1916, when elegant lines could still triumph over safety. Peter Behrens' Fan Model No. GB 1, produced in 1908 sets the standard for this dream item.

This fan was the centerpiece of the May 2004 'Great Design' issue, with a larger picture on p.186.

Actually, getting a Peter Behrens' fan is about impossible, but there are a number of good fans from the time period with diligent searching on eBay.

Monday, October 04, 2004

New thoughts in the middle of a conflict

Wretchard of Belmont Club, has once again opened my mind to a new thought. While discussing Robert Kaplan, he states the following.
Robert Kaplan summarizes the real task before America in the coming years. It is not to find "an exit strategy from Iraq", as if there were somewhere on the planet it could hide from terrorism; nor is it simply to find Osama Bin Laden as some, ever anxious to reduce the current conflict to a law enforcement problem, would claim as a goal. It's task is to hold back the dark until a new global civilization can find its footing.
The American military now has the most thankless task of any military in the history of warfare: to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization that, the more it matures -- with its own mass media and governing structures -- the less credit and sympathy it will grant to the very troops who have risked and, indeed, given their lives for it.

Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships and the emergence of new democracies -- whose short-term institutional weaknesses provide whole new oxygen systems for terrorists. Iraq is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard. To wit, the upsurge of terrorism in the vast archipelago of Indonesia, the southern Philippines and parts of Malaysia is a direct result of the anarchy unleashed by the passing of military regimes. Likewise, though many do not realize it, a more liberalized Middle East will initially see greater rather than lesser opportunities for terrorists. As the British diplomatist Harold Nicolson understood, public opinion is not necessarily enlightened merely because it has been suppressed.

I want you to stop and think about this for a minute; the concept that we are living and suffering through the birth pangs of a new age in self-government. That we have been living with military dictatorships since the beginning of governance, and the struggle we are part of is the world growing up. In fact, the struggle is hundreds of years old, will likely continue for the foreseeable future, and to avoid helping in this difficult time can be related to killing a toddler because they cry and throw a temper tantrum.

Wow, have you grasped the scope of this one. We are just babies, struggling as we learn to walk and talk and think. Unfortunately, we are babies with laser guided missiles and landmines and bombs strapped to our willing chests.

This gives me hope for our race--that we can one day achieve a peaceful co-existence with each other. I don't think I'll be alive to see it come to fruition. And the chances of dying in this struggle are unfortunately much too large, but maybe my descendants will be able to live in that grown up world.

Bush-Kerry for Co-Presidents

I've lifted the following post, wholesale, from Cafe HedonistiX.

According to what David Brooks wrote in the NYT (via IHT), 'The Best Ticket for America Would be Bush-Kerry'.
In weak moments, I think the best ticket for America would be Bush-Kerry. The two men balance each other out so well. Senator John Kerry can't make a decision; President George W. Bush makes them too quickly. Kerry changes his mind by the month; Bush almost never changes his mind. Kerry thinks obsessively about process questions, but can't seem to come up with a core conviction; Bush is great at coming up with clear goals, but is not so great about coming up with the process to get there ....

Each cast of mind comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. The mechanically minded Kerry is much better at talking about realities like securing the Iraqi border. On the other hand, he is unable to blend his specific proposals into guiding principles ....

.... Bush, by contrast, is steadfast and resolute. But his weakness is statecraft. That is the task of relating means to ends, of orchestrating the institutions of government to achieve your desired goals .....

I'm still writing none of the above, but I would consider this idea...

Office Update

Last Monday: Work on the office begins. It took two guys six hours to whittle the old wood floor off of the concrete.

Last Thursday: After the installation on Tuesday, and letting the glue cure on Wednesday, I've finally started to set-up the office. I wish the desk was always this neat.

Setting up the bookcases.

Filling the bookcases with Bentley's help.

What the desk looks like when it's clean....

Last Saturday: Here is the bookcases as I take everything off of the center section. I had to move it from the wall to fix the phone cord I didn't test earlier!

Big Tex says, "Welcome."

This is one of the photos Kristi & I took while visiting the State Fair on Friday.

The day can be summed up by the following quote from Kristi, "I got everything I wanted at the State Fair, and all you got was a funnel cake."

The bumper cars were fun, the games obviously rigged (or we would have won), the show with trained dogs was good, and the weather hot, but better than many days.

The fair was fine, and my last trip to a statefair was in IL, back when the Osmonds were cool enough to be touring state fairs, and Jimmy was the highlight. Which just goes to show it's been awhile.

What I do miss from those early trips were the 4H tents with all the livestock. I cannot tell you why I miss the smell of horses, cattle, and pigs, but the fair doesn't seem right without 'em. And I miss the Milnot (r) presentation.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Business that Almost Was

A few years back Tony, my brother, and I formed a company, Bros. Davidson, LLC. One of our ideas was to use the company to run a cart or kiosk in a shopping mall. You've seen them, they usually sell the everpresent sunglasses, silver jewelry, or cellphone covers. At the time both of us had day jobs and didn't know what to sell, so we went on to invest in another idea, PartyBlocks. Awhile later we parted with our partner in PartyBlocks and got back much of the money we invested.

This summer I came up with another idea for us; sell high-end poker chips and related items at a mall kiosk! It seemed like a great idea, poker is now on multiple television channels-building huge interest in the game, internet gaming sites are still growing in popularity, and home poker games are popping up everywhere. I Over the summer I purchased some good poker chips from eBay and knew the margins had to be fairly decent so this seemed like a real possibility.

The first thing I did was tell Kristi. A few days later I talked about it with an old friend who had come to town for the weekend. And the next day I talked about it with my brother. Everyone agreed, this sounded like a winner of an idea. I didn't start acting on it until the end of the week, when the friend called from out-of-state to say, "Hey, I've talked to a few folks and this is a winner. You should really be pursuing this."

The next few days were a hectic scramble to develop the concept, uncover suppliers, find the correct mall for our market, ensure we had the funds necessary, etc. I was extremely worried when I discovered a one mall had no available kiosks or carts for the holiday season. I was bouyed by the Galleria, the high-end mall in Dallas, because they looking for someone to sell exactly this! Holy Cow, this could really work.

I worked the weekend while visiting with Kristi's parents and feeling sick, but everyone loved the idea and I wanted this to work. We decided to do business under the name "Lone Star Poker." A business plan was sketched out and a bunch of applications for various malls were completed and sent off. Tony selected the product and I developed a sample product catalog to show the mall management our professionalism and what we were going to do.

Then I waited. I started following up with the malls to find out what was happening with our application. And in the end, it turns out that they signed someone else to sell this product category in the malls we were pursuing. To make matters worse for my state of mind, the malls were signing people to sell the same product during the two-three business days I was doing research and working on developing the idea/business. Further, the malls loved our presentation and resume of relevant experience! They were very supportive and offered other product ideas that might work, but I'm somewhat hesistant about them.

The end result... the week I spent talking instead of acting cost me a small business. It's foolish to think, "If I had this idea in May I could of had a bunch of kiosks across the city or state." But oh the frustration of missing this opportunity by mere hours while I was dithering. ARGH!