More Self-Serving Social Media Marketing

social media marketing fail

The above image is the featured part of an email I received from a regional chain of hardware stores.  First off, not a prime candidate for an exciting social media campaign, but there’s always hope they can make it work.  My hopes were low when I saw the subject line “Let’s get social!”.

But fine, they want to promote their Facebook page, that’s cool.  What’s in it for me?

Oh, I get to explain how much I love your company?  I get to give you ideas about how you can make more money off of me?  I can alert you whenever I’m in your store so you know just how valuable of a customer I am?

Sounds great, where do I sign up!

About the only thing they got right here, is they seem to understand that their social channels are for existing customers – not awareness building.  But seriously, you expect the customer to opt in to even more of your marketing, at least throw them a bone.  Say their might be social-only coupons or sales.  Or maybe promise to randomly post how-to guides, since people come to your stores to buy supplies for major projects.  Hell, gardening tips would be a step in the right direction.

The funny thing is, what they promise here is exactly what the vast majority of social media campaigns deliver.  This company just happens to be up front about it.  Maybe that’s a positive?  At least I know right away that I don’t have to waste my time.

I don’t want to jam. Is that rude?

“We should jam sometime!”

If you play guitar, you hear this often.  I usually don’t even tell people I play guitar (it’s almost like I’m ashamed), but it still comes up eventually in conversation.  And if it happens to come up with another guitarist, all too often you’ll be presented with the invitation to jam.  If you’re one of the people who hear that and are stricken with fear or disgust, this is for you.


Please note that when I say “musicians” I’m mostly referring to western rock/pop musicians.  People that generally play in 3-4 piece bands involving drums, guitars, etc.


Why do I have to share?

Music is fairly unique as an artform, in the sense that sharing is almost demanded.  Most other artists (writers, photographers, painters, etc) will certainly share their creations, but at their discretion.  They’ll have a portfolio, gallery, blog, or some other self-curated sample of their work for the world to see.  And that’s assuming they even want to do so.  There are countless people out there creating art just for themselves.  Nobody seems to pressure them to share their work with the world.  Especially not other artists.


That’s where musicians are different.  Musicians always want to hear what other musicians are doing.  You have to show off your bandcamp site, or  soundcloud tracks or worse yet, perform live.  It’s almost as though the only reason someone would play an instrument is to present their playing to the world.  Is this being taught in schools and I missed it?  Is it a competitive thing?  I don’t get it, but while I’m fine presenting my own self-curated collection of sounds to people, I don’t want it to be on-demand.  I don’t want to be put on the spot, handed an instrument and expected to perform like a trained seal.  And more than anything else, I play because I enjoy it (not because you enjoy it), and more often than not, enjoy playing alone.


Music is less collaborative than you think

Western music has its clearest origins in the church.  Those in power dictated which notes could be used, how songs were to be structured, etc.  The new Justin Timberlake album sounds like it does because of what the church did ages ago.  And as music evolved, a composer took these rules and created songs.  That’s one guy, dictating what a group does.  Not a group of violin players sitting down and working out how a sonata will go.


In the modern era, so much music is dominated by individuals.  The Beatles had 3 strong songwriters, but they wrote songs individually.  Some of the greatest names in popular music history are solo acts (Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince; to name a few).  Even when there are multiple names on songwriting credits, it’s usually because one person wrote the song but had others fill in their parts.  The Rolling Stones are another great example, where Keith Richards would write the guitar part and come up with a vocal idea, and then hand it over to Mick Jagger to write all the words.  That’s two people writing the song, but working separately and alone.


So why do so many musicians not understand this?  My hunch is, again, out of competition.  If you’re jamming together, you have a chance to size up and show up the competition.  You can try to throw another person for a loop with a complex turnaround.  Or you can smoke them with your incredibly skillful licks.  This sort of thing plays out daily in guitar stores around the globe.  The one-upsmanship is what drives guitarists to play faster than anyone else, or louder, or heavier.


Hell is, other people

There are endless articles out there documenting the lives of introverts.  Many, dare say, most artists are introverts.  It simply gets written off as being “moody” or “reclusive” or even just “artsy.”  The truth is, they just prefer the ability to think and process things completely and without distraction.  That in depth take on issues is probably what leads to creating abstract work.  It’s what allows them to imagine things that don’t yet exist.  It’s why they don’t like to present in progress work.  And jamming, flies in the face of all of that.


Yes, social interaction is required if you ever want to be known as an artist.  But it is not required for creating art.  Personally, I do my best songwriting work alone and late at night.  There is nothing to get in the way of creating.  It’s quiet, it’s calm, there is nothing else to think about.  If I’m playing music in a band setting and somebody presents a new song idea, I’ll prefer to take notes and work out my part at home later.  I know a lot of people who operate the same way.  Sure, something could be thought up on the spot, but it might be less than ideal.  The time and stress involved in doing that could be much better spent understanding the song as it was written rather than just jumping in with a reflex-driven idea.


Our musical tastes aren’t the same, probably not even close

This is the one thing that amuses me most about the concept of jamming.  If two chefs meet, and one of them is a strict vegan and the other works for a greasy burger joint – they wouldn’t likely be eager to cook for each other.  But if you play late 80’s eastern European death metal and I play mid 90’s garage rock… why should we try to bring those sounds together?


Yet most musicians don’t even wait to ask that question.  They just discover another person that plays, and assume they want to jam.  At least ask the question of what kind of music the person enjoys listening to and performing.  If it sounds like there is a match in styles, then pursue further.


No matter what, I’m a jerk… or a hack.

Despite all logic and reason, in the end, the outwardly-focused jammer wins.  If you shrug off or flat out deny their request, you’re going to be looked at as a jerk.  There’s no nice way to do it.  If you try to make up excuses, you’ll probably get tagged as a jerk who can’t play.  It’s just assumed that being at all talented involves the ability to collaborate and improvise.  The only thing is, everyone assumes there is only one way to do that.

I know jamming has its merits.  I’ve done it plenty of times and it can even be fun in the right scenario.  I’m not saying it should never happen, but just hoping someone out there can at least understand the perspective of the anti-jammers.

Les Paul Smartwood Project: Complete!

So back in, oh maybe ’99 or ’00, I got this Les Paul Smartwood.  I guess it’s technically a “Smartwood Studio”.  I believe the wood on this one is Peroba, but I really don’t know anymore.  I do know that it was ugly out of the box.  I got it for a very low price because nobody wanted it and it was seemingly built on a Friday afternoon.  Frets were all overhanging, setup was horrid, and again, it was ugly.

Here’s the only shot I have of the guitar kind of in its original state.

les paul smartwood studio
les paul smartwood studio

 Promptly stripped and sold all the gold hardware, ripped out the nasty frets, bought new hardware/electronics, started to paint… and then it sat.

And sat…

Until about two weeks ago.  July 2013, probably 13-14 years later.

The only real inspiration for finishing was a pretty logical one, actually playing guitar.  Been getting together with a few buddies regularly to play; myself and the other guitar player both had fender-ish single coil guitars into fender-ish amps.  I showed up with my Gretsch from time to time and it was a little magical with some contrast in sound.  Got me thinking of how much better it’d be with a solid body humbucker guitar.

Oh, I have one!

Shit!  It’s in 50 pieces.

So I got to work.  Put in new frets, 6105 wire that is actually round and not sanded down to a pancake like Gibson does.  Painted, pumpkin orange on top, black on the sides/back.  Threw on hardware, all chrome.  Pickups – Duncan JB/Jazz (which was a cool combo when I bought them, back in ’01), which I don’t love but they sound good enough through my setup.  Amazingly, it all works and looks pretty okay.

les paul smartwood studio 1


les paul smartwood studio 2






Braun PED Case – Enough Already?

All the talk lately is how Ryan Braun refused to talk to MLB about the PED case.

This is not a defense of Braun. He likely cheated and deserves the suspension.

This is a question of what the hell is the point of all this. The league’s view of PEDs needs to change. We aren’t looking at a generation of fans that is still hurt by Pete Rose or even the strike. The current and future fan base, the young families that stadiums desperately try to cater to, grew up with McGuire & Sosa making the most exciting baseball in decades. They grew up with Clemens being the best pitcher ever right in front of their eyes. They saw Bonds… Well, let’s leave him out since nobody likes him.

Point is, the current generation of fans has only known steroids. Not just baseball, but football, cycling, basketball(evem though there are no stories), golf (those long drives, think about it), etc. It’s made sports so entertaining for those fans.

And isn’t that the point?

Sports is not a sacred institution. Teams move, rules change, hall of fame players get cut, traded, or quit. Thinhs change all the time and we don’t care as long as the product on the screen stays enjoyable.

It’s time to move on from this outdated view of the rules. I know Selig is a dinosaur and won’t change his mind, but everyone else needs to stop siding with him. Sports already is better because of drugs, has been for decades. Let’s start accepting it and move on.

Milwaukee Bucks Passing on 2013-14 Season

The Bucks are seemingly going all in on the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes, and most likely everyone will lose.  Since the end of the 2012-13 season, they’ve done the following:

  1. Dropped their interim coach
  2. Let Monta Ellis walk (note – this is good, but the points and random moments of entertainment [1 entertaining moment for every 5 head-smacking moments])
  3. Drafted a guy who won’t be ready to play in the NBA until 2021
  4. Let Mike Dunleavy Jr walk
  5. Said they want to make Brandon Jennings the face of the franchise
  6. Traded JJ Reddick for 3 stadium dogs and a weeknight parking pass

One can only imagine how many half-hearted 3’s Jennings is going to be tossing up with 18 seconds left on the shot clock this season.  It’s only a matter of time before Ersan gets traded for Otis Thorpe’s expiring contract… because, if they kept him on the team, they might risk scoring 70 points now and again.

It’s pretty obvious they are just throwing this season in hopes of striking gold in the next draft, but it’s a bad move.  Here’s why…

History: According to, the Kohl-era Bucks have terrible luck with the draft.  Sure they’ve had atrocious GMs, but even a moron can get a #1 overall pick right.  The Bucks though, despite all their mediocrity, have won the lottery in years when there’s no top-tier players available.  Nobody was saying Chris Paul should go #1 back in ’05, and Bogut is solid but hardly a franchise cornerstone.  The time before that, when they got Glenn Robinson, could’ve gone better if they picked Kidd… but they likely never would’ve had anyone around him.

The Owner: Herb Kohl is a bad owner.  He interferes, he hires people he can boss around, and he is working to stick the people of Milwaukee with the tax bill for a new stadium that won’t even go to vote (he’s said in interviews that he’d likely go that route, no public vote).  Bad owners generally don’t land once in a generation talent.

For the fans: One season with a playoff series win since the 89-90 season.  That’s the entire lifetime of most of their fans.  This team has bottomed out plenty of times before in the Kohl era with nothing to show for it.  Now they want to do it again, at the same time they’re asking for the taxpayers to pay for a second stadium in town in less than 15 years for another perpetual loser.  They’ve already done buy-one-get-one season tickets numerous times in the past… are they going to leave out the “buy-one” part this year?

No, the Bucks shouldn’t go another year of fighting for a 7 or 8 seed only to get swept by Miami and company.  But it’s far too late in the game to try and sell everyone on another tank-job.  Probably the only thing that could begin to rebuild trust among the fans would be to get Kohl 100% out of the ownership role and turn over basketball control to someone who has proven they know how to build a team.  That’s not likely to happen while they’re still in Milwaukee.

Rodgers & Matthews Contracts – Hurting the Team?

By the time you read this, it’s entirely possible Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews will have new contracts.  It’s widely assumed they’ll average $25m and $13m a year respectively.  That’s $38 million – just to avoid math mixups.  Plenty of folks are in a panic about those numbers.  They feel each player should take less to help the team.

For the sake of comparison, let’s see how other potential playoff teams are paying their top two players and how it compares to what Green Bay is about to do.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan – $12m (1 season)

Roddy White – $7.7m (2 seasons)

Total – $19.7m

Difference – ($18.3m)

Notes: Ryan is in the last yearof his contract.  He may not sign for more than Rodgers, but quite possibly for more than Flacco.  Julio Jones will be up in 2 years.  That $18 million in extra cap room is all but gone after this year.


Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco – $20.1m (6 seasons)

Haloti Nata – $14.5m (3 seasons)

Total – $34.6m

Difference – ($3.4m)

Notes: Baltimore also has Suggs at $12.7m for the next two years.  They also have to re-sign Michael Oher.


Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo – $19m (7 seasons)

DeMarcus Ware – $16m (3 seasons)

Anthony Spencer – $10.6m (1 season)

Doug Free – $10.2m (4 seasons)

Brandon Carr – $11m (4 seasons)

Jay Ratliff – $8.2m (5 seasons)

Miles Austin – $8.5m (4 seasons)

Jason Witten – $7.4m (5 seasons)

Total – $35m (top 2)

Difference – ($3m)

Notes – The Cowboys are going to have a fire sale after the 2013 season.  They also have Dez Bryant up after 2014.


Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning – $19.5m (4 seasons)

Champ Bailey – $10.8m (2 seasons)

Total – $30.3m

Difference – ($7.7m)

Notes – Ryan Clady and Von Miller will each be signing big contracts in the next 1-2 years..


Houston Texans

Matt Shaub – $15.3m (4 seasons)

Andre Johnson – $13.2m (4 seasons)

Total – $28.5m

Notes – Is Rodgers worth $10m/year more than Schaub?  Yes.  Also, this will change whenever they make JJ Watt the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.


Minnesota Vikings

Jared Allen – $17m (1 season)

Adrian Peterson – $14.9m (5 seasons)

Total – $31.9m

Difference – ($7.1m)

Notes – Not sure what they’ll do with Allen, but that’s a lot of money when you don’t have a QB


New England Patriots

Tom Brady – $14.1m (5 seasons)

Vince Wilfork – $11.1m (2 seasons)

Total – $25.2m

Difference – ($9.8m)

Notes – Also have Mankins at $9.6 for 4 years, Mayo at $8.7 for 5 years, Gronk getting PAID in 1-2 years


New York Giants

Eli Manning – $20.3m (3 seasons)

Chris Snee – $10.1m (2 seasons)

Total – $30.4m

Difference – ($7.6m)

Notes – Rolle gets $9.2m/year, Cruz is going to get huge money


Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger – $16.3m (3 seasons)

LaMarr Woodley – $12.2m (4 seasons)

Total – $28.5m

Difference – ($9.5m)

Notes: Looks good until you add in Ike Taylor ($10m – 2 seasons), Polamalu ($10.5m – 2 seasons), Lawrence Timmons ($10.5m – 4 seasons).


San Francisco 49ers

Vernon Davis – $7.7m (3 seasons)

Carlos Rogers – $8.2m (3 seasons)

Total – $15.9m

Difference – $22.1m

Notes – This is where hitting the jackpot with a rookie or 2nd year QB really can pay off.  The 49ers will get hurt in the next couple seasons when Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree, and Donte Whitner all get new deals along with Patrick Willis getting into the big money part of his deal.  They have very few players signed beyond 2014.



Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford – $19.1m (3 seasons)

Ndamukon Suh – $15m (3 seasons)

Calvin Johnson – $17.5 (5 seasons)

Total – $51.6m (3 players)

Notes – The Lions are a terrible team, and that’s why I put them in here.  Some people may point to them as an example of why it’s bad to give such a large portion of your salary cap (in their case, about 42%) to 2-3 players.  However, the careful observer should note that it’s less a burden if you’re giving all that money to the RIGHT players.

In the end, the Packers giving big money to Rodgers/Matthews doesn’t look that out of whack compared to other teams.  In the cases where teams are benefiting from signing their stars to long deals 2 or so seasons ago, the difference is about 1 veteran starter worth of cap room.

The Packers do have a lot of contracts coming up in the next couple seasons, but if they move fast they can potentially get some bargains (ie – if they want to keep Newhouse, they probably can do so real cheap.  They may get a reasonable deal signing Shields before he has a chance to play 2-3 straight good seasons).  Raji is the big question mark, but if they decide not to keep him around that will leave a fair amount of cap room for other signings.


Measure Twice… Office Closet

We have an office of sorts.  It’s that bedroom that’s directly adjacent to your master bedroom so you don’t really want people sleeping there (especially if you have a guest that snores).  Right now it’s got a cute, but ultimately small and useless, desk.  There’s also some exercise equipment and a few other things that kind of fit an office theme (file cabinet, shredder, etc).

It looks like a mess with everything out in the open.  And again, the desk is useless.  So we’re turning the closet into an office space.  It’s a wide and shallow closet.  Over 9′ wide, right around 2′ deep.  Probably perfect for a real long desk (place for both our laptops to rest, printer, etc) and some tidy looking shelves and storage.

First step, rip everything out.

closet empty

Next, need some electrical.  First time using those remodel (old work) boxes, and they really are quite handy.  Will put in a light switch soon (currently a light with a pull chain).

closet outlet

Next update to this should show the table top in as well as some paint.  Not quite sure what to do about the work surface yet as boards that cover the entire length go to 1′ wide, don’t really want two boards deep.  Also don’t want more than one board wide… Wife also wants something that swings/folds out as a sewing station, which will be a whole other adventure.

The Palomino – Everything you need to know about Milwaukee…

Trying something new and randomly going to post about bars/restaurants that I either really love or really hate. Oddly enough, I’m not putting these in the “hate-love” category. I figured it best to have one section dedicated to nourishment.

First up, is a place that gets a very bad rap around town for various reasons. The Palomino.  Well, it’s pretty highly rated on most sites, but since it’s a mainstream hipster hangout, you’ll find the elitist hipsters bashing the place.  Yes, the late night crowd can be painfully annoying (but not rowdy!).  Yes, it’s dirty.  Yes, the service can be very slow.  BUT!  It’s still great.

First off, this place is Milwaukee in a nutshell.  It’s a dirty old bar on the south side of town, there are hundreds/thousands more like it.  It’s gone through a renaissance in recent years as the neighborhood has turned from old Polish ghetto to hip urban hangout.  You can get a big greasy burger with a side of something deep fried, as well as some of the better vegan grub in town.  You can listen to the Black Keys on the jukebox, as well as cheer for the Packers.  And there’s a lot of drinking going on.

My favorite part about the Palomino, is that it’s mainly soul food.  The #1 thing I miss about my short time living in Texas is the food, and this place does an admirable job of capturing the southern eats.  I dare say it’s a more realistic interpretation of southern food than the uber popular Maxie’s Southern Comfort (although, to be far, Maxie’s does try to jazz up dishes from all over the south, where Palomino sticks to the greasy staples).  They do a great burger, an admirable poboy and the brisket is pretty good considering it wasn’t smoked.  Although, I’d get it on the sandwich if you’re a real BBQ maniac.  The vegan dishes are pretty impressive.  I would actually take their tofu/seitan buffalo wings over a LOT of the wing options in town.

Oh and if it’s late at night, and you’ve had a few too many drinks, getting a basket filled with tots, mini-corn dogs, jalapeno poppers & cheese curds is pure bliss.

My only complaint?  I wish they had fried pickle chips instead of spears.  I don’t think the south has come to an agreement on which is better, and I know the spears are a bit more common… but the slices of pickles are so much more enjoyable to munch on.  You end up with like a 1.5:1 pickle to breading ration instead of like 8:1 with the spears.

NFL Week 17 Pink Slips – Sorting Out the Mess

It’s Black Monday in the NFL and jobs are opening up left and right.  Here is the rundown of who is out, as of this post… only covering head coaches & GMs.  Completely random order.

Philly: Reid is gone, which everyone knew was going to happen back several weeks ago.  He won a ton of games, but not the big one.  Suffered lately as he’s gone away from dominant line players and put all his chips into the skill positions.  Word is the Eagles want to bring in an experienced head coach to turn around the existing roster.  Sounds like a bad move, as they are making the assumption that they currently have a winning roster.

Cleveland: Holmgren is on his way out and it looks like it’s just in time.  Seems his entire model failed as the coach & GM are out.  The Browns competed all year, but had one of the worst QBs in the game and a general lack of talent on offense.

Chicago: Lovie is probably in the category of overqualified coordinators.  They excel at every aspect of coaching their respective side of the ball, but can’t handle being a head coach (or aren’t ready).  There are plenty of them out there, Dom Capers, Josh McDaniels, Wade Philips, etc.  Good chance you’ll see Lovie at the helm of a top 5 defense in the next few years.  That should earn him another head coaching job, and that opportunity may prove whether he wasn’t ready or isn’t qualified.  No idea where the Bears will go, but I’d put my money on it being an offensive minded coach.

Arizona: With a 65 year old Kurt Warner at QB, this team was one of the best in the league.  With the cast of high school caliber QBs they’ve had since, they’ve been horrible.  Can you blame the coach for this?  Tough to say, but somebody has to take the fall and it’s probably fair that the GM is gone as well.

KC: Pioli still has his job, today.  Crennel, probably the worst coach in the NFL, is gone.  Surprise?  Nah.  People who know how things really work in New England are still laughing that Scott Pioli is employed, but I would guess that won’t be for long.  If he survives to the start of the 2013 season, that may be his last chance.  I hope, for the fans sake, that he is gone before that time.  Chiefs fans won’t be able to take another unqualified Patriots cast-off being named head coach.  “And the next coach of the Kansas Chiefs is, Charlie Weis.”  Ouch.

San Diego: It’s about time!  Not necessarily for Norv (although, if you were fed up with Marty, how do you think of Norv as a suitable replacement?), but for AJ Smith.  This guy continued to put out a worse and worse roster each year.  It almost seemed as though the Chargers never had draft picks, because you rarely heard about young players developing into stars (at least in the past 4+ seasons).  Yet, they weren’t exactly making a splash via trades or free agency.  Complete patchwork team.  Whoever comes in, will have to tear the whole thing apart and will have a very tough decision to make with Rivers (he could be part of a trade that would really accelerate rebuilding, assuming there’s a desirable QB in the next 2 drafts).

Buffalo: Is this really a surprise?  Not sure what to make of the situation, as I don’t think Gailey is a logical choice for a head coach in any era.  However, I’m not sure what else anyone expected.  Buffalo needs to seriously build via draft, not waste time with record free agent contracts, hopefully contend in 3-4 years.

Carolina: They’ve been mediocre at best.  Despite all the fantasy hype of Cam Newton, Carolina just always feels like a team going nowhere.  Like, they’ll always be a 4 to 6 win team, that might sniff .500 now and again.  And they are in a division where Atlanta & New Orleans should at least be tough for several years to come.  Tampa is no Kansas City, either.

New York Jets: There have been several great articles about what went wrong with the Jets.  But, they are another lesson that you can’t win by trying to game the salary cap.  The next GM needs to stockpile draft picks.  What’s curious is they have made no move on Rex Ryan.  This means either A) The new GM will have the task of firing him. or B) They will have to find a GM that wants to work with Ryan.  Rex may very well be a capable head coach, but if they are going to handcuff the new GM before they even interview, that’s a bad sign.  Hopefully it’s option A (or at least the new person will have the choice).

Who is next?

There may very well be more firings… Oakland has been dumping coordinators/assistants and there’s plenty of talk they may be looking for a new head coach.  Detroit has to be at least considering their options.  You never know if Jerry will change his mind about Jason Garrett.  And there’s the Jacksonville job.

All this could mean up to 11 head coach openings, maybe more (there could be a surprise or two out there).  The pool of desirable candidates includes, Chip Kelly, Bill O’Brien, Bruce Ariens and then all the old guys that are on TV.  That means plenty of teams will be taking risks, like on coordinators from the various playoff teams.  And more than likely 7 or 8 of these teams will be in the same position 1-3 seasons from now.

Update my Fender Champion 600 project

I still need to do some visual stuff.  I plan to put some snazzy tolex, but am a little afraid since I’ve never attempted it before.  Keep exploring things to change the sound beyond speakers/tubes… transformers and whatnot.  But it seems everything out there will make the amp break up substantially earlier.  That, I do not want.  At any rate, it’s looking better and sounds great.


fender champion 600 1x12