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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mentos and Diet Coke.... Update!

Remember couple of weeks ago when I posted the Mentos and Diet Coke video? If you haven;t seen it, check it out HERE.

Well, there's an update... Church of the Customer Blog reported on the reactions of the companies whose products were involved:

Mentos: "We are tickled pink by it," says Pete Healy, vice president of marketing for the company's U.S. division. The company spends less than $20 million on U.S. advertising annually and estimates the value of online buzz to be "over $10 million."

Coke: "We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it," says Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott. She adds that the "craziness with Mentos ... doesn't fit with the brand personality" of Diet Coke.

Hmmm.... Sounds like Diet Coke needs to take themselves a little less seriously!

And by the way, Diet Coke sales are down.

(HT: Church of the Customer Blog)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Live blogging from PDW - 5

I have a good, STRONG wireless signal on my PC (the same could not be said yesterday for Carlos and his Mac). Coincidence? I think not.

Live blogging from PDW - 4

Just found out that church planter, T-Mac (Tony McCollum), is here at the conference. Hopefully I can find him and hook up. Check out his blog, Churchwerx.

Live blogging from PDW - 3

Just a quick note on something I noticed here at Saddleback: they work REALLY HARD at being REALLY NICE!

I was waved at by every parking person, greeted in the parking lot by a volunteer who happened to be going to her car, and was warmly greeted as I entered the church. And it didn't seem to be "put on." They seemed genuinely kind and nice.

Way to go Saddleback!

Superman Rocks!














Quick post: just got out of the theater. The movie was awesome. Definately a recommend. They had a lot of great nods to the 80's version and Kevin Spacey is a great Lex Luther. See if you can spot Sir Richard Bransen (just look for him where you think he "should" be... let me know if you spot him).

For a great write-up on the Judeao-Christian themes, check out this HollywoodJesus article (HT: Phil Cooke Blog via Ethos). Or check out this article from CNN.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Purpose Driven Worship - Day 1 (Wrap-Up)














Wow... what an awesome first day. The worship was of the hook (of course). I love to watch Rick Muchow do his thing. The dude reminds me that it is OK to move!

It was great to hook up with Carlos from Ragamuffin Soul. A year ago he had no blog... no podcast... nuthin'. He was at this conference and went to a seminar given by Randy of Ethos. Now this year, my brutha is doing a seminar on blogging and podcasting. Way to go, Los!









If you haven't checked out his blog or podcast, give it a try. Los is a passionate worship leader (he also led worship at one of the festival stages during registration and is the worship pastor at Sandals church). He is really showing us all how to take our blogs and podcasts to the next level.

Had a great (albeit LOOOONG) dinner at a tasty Italian restaurant. Here's some of the team, ready to eat (dinner came an hour later!).










This restaurant had the creepiest bathrooms... it was like something out of Disney's Haunted Mansion.

















Looking forward to another great day tomorrow. Whew! Need to go to bed, but we're going out to watch Superman Returns!

See you tomorrow...

PS - anyone else blogging at the Purpose Driven Worship Conference? I have confirmed sightings of:
Found a couple more:

Live blogging from PDW - 2

I'm sitting in the NW corner of the Worship Center at Saddleback. We just came off a great worship time. Buddy Owens opened talking about balance and Rick Warren is talking now about worship.

But you know how God comes and whispers to you? I think it just happened. Tommy Walker just came out and sang a song called "Break Through." The words were the echoes of my heart. It was like God said, "I hear you... wait for it."

Amazed and looking forward at what is to come.

Live blogging from PDW - 1

I made it to SoCal and am at Saddleback. It's about 20 degrees cooloer here than it was in Fresno.

The drive here was like The Grapes of Wrath. There were so many breakdowns on the side of the road... and every one of them was a jalopy loaded with JUNK. It was weird.

Anyway, I'm here and looking forward to a great couple of days. I've already hooked up with Carlos of Ragamuffin Soul and am looking forward to meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones (sounds like I'm writing in a yearbook).

Most of all, I am looking for God to do a new work in me.

Quote of the Day

"Excellence is not an act, but a habit."
-
Aristotle

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Break from the Heat

As I said, in my earlier post, I am off to the Purpose Driven Worship Conference today. That should provide some relief from the heat we've been experiencinf in the Valley.

Forecast for Fresno... Monday-107, Tuesday-104, Wednesday-94, Thursday-98.

Forecast for PDW... Monday-85, Tuesday-77, Wednesday-76, Thursday-78.

Purpose Driven Worship










Heading out tonight to SoCal and the Purpose Driven Worship Conference at Saddleback.

Who's gonna be bloggin' there (or just there)?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Best Week Ever (Part II)













I charged my battery on my camera and loaded some of the pictures from our camping trip in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. It may be HOT in Fresno in the summertime (currently 99 at midnight), but this is in my backyard!

Click HERE for a taste of paradise...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Video (Cool)

Matt is a 29-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. He achieved this goal pretty early on and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around the planet until it ran out.

A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt the idea of dancing everywhere he went and recording it on his camera. This turned out to be a very good idea. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I'll send you the link. It's funny."

The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride long-lasting gum. They asked Matt if he'd be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they'd be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.

At the start of 2006, Matt left on a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal.

Matt dances very badly, but most people don't seem to mind.



Check out Matt's first video from his 2005 trip:



For more info about Matt, check out his website.

Best Week Ever

Father's Day week...

I look forward to it every year. It is almost always without fail the best week of my year.

Why? Because I spend the week with my oldest son camping (usually up in the middle of nowhere). We hike, fish, play cards, talk trash, wrestle... whatever we want to do.

Past hightlights include catching some monster trout, playing for "Uno Champion of the Universe," and a wrestling match that ended when I accidentally go cracked upside my head with a 5-D-cell MagLite (ouch!).

This year included an awesome bike ride, exploring some caves, hiking, and climbing to the top of Moro Rock (plush some fishing, card playing, trash taking, etc.).

I will post some pictures as soon as I recharge the batteries (yep, we burned through them both!).

Untill then, know that it was again my best week ever. And next year, my other blonde boy gets to come!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Best Father's Day Gifts


Before you go out and buy that ugly tie for Dad, check out Guy Kawasaki's suggestions HERE (the link is working now... sorry!) for what to buy him. Hilarious!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Funny (and Cool) Video

Usually, I would not post a long video - and today I'm posting two. So sue me!

The first is pretty hilarious - it's the President (the real one) doing a press conference with a W impersonator. The other guy is the president's inner monologue. Very funny.

Unfortunately, Google video won't allow me embed this one, so click HERE to watch it.

The second video is just plan cool. Randy from Ethos is posting from the Willow Creek Arts Conference and mentioned that he had just seen this sand artist and that it was really cool. The one here is not the one that was at the conference, but it gives you an idea what he's talking about when he refers to "sand art" (it is WAY cooler than I expected).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What Makes Great Managers?












"What was your best day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did you enjoy it?" Those question may be some of the keys to the productivity of your employees (and you). Check out this great leadership article from Marcus Buckingham at Catalyst monthly:

What sets a great boss apart from an average boss? Research on this is rife with provocative writing about the qualities of managers and leaders and whether the two differ, but little has been said about what happens in the thousands of daily interactions and decisions that allows managers to get the best out of their people and win their devotion. What do great managers actually do?

In our research, beginning with a survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization and continuing during the past two years with in-depth studies of a few top performers, we've found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets the best managers apart from the rest: they discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. Average managers play draughts, if you like, while great managers play chess.

A manager's approach to capitalizing on differences can vary from place to place but it is a tremendously powerful tool that leads to three outcomes. First, it saves management time; second, it makes each person more accountable; and third, it builds a stronger sense of team because it creates inter-dependency. It helps people appreciate one another's particular skills and learn that their co-workers can fill in where they are lacking.

When you capitalize on what is unique about each person, you introduce a healthy degree of disruption into the workplace. You shuffle existing hierarchies, existing assumptions about who is allowed to do what, and existing beliefs about where the true expertise in a company lies. At some point, however, managers need to rein in their inquisitiveness, gather up what they know about a person, and put the employee's idiosyncrasies to use. To that end, there are three things you must know about someone to manage them well: their strengths, the triggers that activate those strengths, and how they learn.

To read the the rest of this insightful article, click HERE.

After you read it, post a comment: What was your best day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did you enjoy it so much? Or, what was your worst day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did it grate on you so much?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Catalyst












I have never been to the Catalyst Conference. It is for "Next Genereation Leaders." I think I'm getting to old to be "next generation " in the eyes of the next generation. In my mind I am 22 (my wife says 13).

But I digress...

The Catalyst Conference has a monthly podcast. You can subscribe to it in iTunes (the only way to fly) or download the MP3 files HERE. They even have a blog and a monthly E-Zine.

Awesome!

Check out the Catalyst website. It is unbelievable. This is how I want our church to be. This is my goal. Their use of technology in creating community and buzz is admirable.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quote of the day













"Not to be accessible to the greatness of the Holy, is always the mark of a certain mediocrity of soul."

Hale-Yeah! posted this quote yesterday. I'm not sure where it is from or who originally said it. The quote is by Baudelaire and is in Brennan Manning's book, Reflections for Ragamuffins. It has been rattling around in my dome for the past 24 hours - I even lost some sleep over it (woke up thinking about it at 3 a.m.) this morning.

The phrase "mediocrity of soul" is an incredible turn of a phrase - and I believe a true one, for if we do not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and changed by the greatness of God we will truly suffer a a certain mediocrity of soul.

HT: Hale-Yeah!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Thanks for 10,000!

Two Blonde Boys just topped 10,000 hits. Thanks for your support!

To reward your faithfulness, here's a little fun on a Monday morning (that I meant to post on Friday)...

I realize I have been lapse in my responsibility to bring you good humor - well, at least humor - on Fridays for the past few weeks. I've got to admit that I hit a dry spell. Everything I found was either not that funny or WAY TO RACY to post.

Today's entry is less about the overall humor of the clip and more about the "fun" of it. It's what happens when two guys with WAY too much time on their hands push the outer limits of what can be done with Diet Coke and Mentos (the Freshmaker).

Have fun!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?









This just in from the BBC:

The 'Mosquito' sonic deterrent device was installed by the Wyvern Theatre in an attempt to stop groups of up to 100 youngsters from gathering around Theatre Square.

It was named the 'Mosquito' because the sound resembles that of a buzzing insect. And it works by emitting a harmless ultra sonic tone that generally can only be heard by people aged 25 and under. In trials, it has proven that the longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes.

Crime Reduction Officer Bob Walton elaborated further: "Effectively, it's a transmitter which sends out a specialised frequency noise which according to the manufacture is particularly audible to young people under the age of 25.

He said: "I'm in my fifties and when it's turned on all I can hear is a very faint buzz. But I understand from young people who have been exposed to the noise, it is very annoying."

Swindon's anti-social behaviour co-ordinator Cheri Wright says it is working well.

She said: "We had a meeting with local retailers arounds here - after it had been installed for around three weeks - and feedback was really positive.

"Everyone was saying there has been a marked reduction in criminal damage and problems with the shops, so they've really welcomed it."


I first read about this story at TheSneeze. But what was really amazing was some of the testing that Ochen K. did.

Check this out...

Here is the sound they are using... CLICK ME. Sounds to me like ordinary street background noise.

Accouring to Ochen K., there is actually a sound there about 15,000 Hz. He used his spectral analyzer to find it. Here is what the same sound sounds like when the "Mosquito" noise is slowed down a little... CLICK ME.

It seems that most humans are born with the ability to hear frequencies from about 20 Hz (low) up to 20,000 Hz (high) but that range shrinks as we get older. The guy in England created the device to target young people who could hear that higher frequency. AMAZING!

Check out your threshold at Ochen K's site. It will blow your mind.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Great Poetry










Yes, there is a kinder, gentler side to Two Blonde Boys. Today I read one of my favorite poems and was reminded of the beauty of poetry. "The Road Not Taken" is one of my all-time favorites.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


That never gets old... Thanks for the reminder, Randy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Video, Video, Video...








Sounds like YouTube has them scrambling...

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Yahoo Inc. is reprogramming its online video service so it's more like YouTube.com, an Internet upstart that has amassed a large audience during the past year with a free Web service that encourages people to post and share homemade clips.

Under the changes unveiled Thursday, Yahoo will store homemade videos on its own site for the first time as it attempts to build a platform for people to browse and rate the clips. The videos will be separated into different categories, including a section devoted to the most-watched selections.

Those features mirror YouTube, which has become the Web's most popular video channel since a pair of twentysomething technology whizzes started the San Mateo, Calif.-based company a year ago.

Now, Internet heavyweights like Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo are trying to chip away at YouTube's early lead as the rapidly growing number of high-speed Internet connections make it easier to transfer and watch online videos.

Just two weeks ago, Google Inc. retooled its video service so a special piece of software would no longer be required to upload clips to the online search engine leader. Meanwhile, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL is testing a service, called UnCut Video, that accepts clips.

Since launching its video service in late 2004, Yahoo has focused on indexing the clips available on other Web sites.

Although the company intends to continue indexing material from other sites, Yahoo is betting it will be able to lure more visitors and give them more reason to stick around longer by creating a unique video library through submissions from its 208 million registered users.

"We felt this was a necessary next step in our evolution," said Jeff Karnes, Yahoo's director of multimedia search.

Yahoo has been adding more attractions to its Web site to maintain its status as the Web's most trafficked destination and spur even more spending by advertisers - the main source of the company's revenue.

By accepting homemade videos, Yahoo risks showing material that infringes on copyrights or contains pornographic scenes. Both of those problems have cropped up on YouTube, despite restrictions prohibiting users from posting such content.

Like YouTube, Yahoo will depend on its own users and copyright holders to flag rule-breaking videos so they can be removed from the site. To minimize the chances of an offensive video appearing before a big audience, Yahoo editors will screen all the clips that are featured on the service's front page, said Jason Zajac, the company's general manager of social media.

Yahoo will have to make up a lot of ground to catch up with YouTube, which boasts of streaming more than 40 million videos per day.

In April, YouTube attracted 12.5 million U.S. visitors, well ahead of MSN Video's second place service at 9.5 million visitors, according to Nielsen/NetRatings Inc. Yahoo's video service attracted 2.6 million visitors, trailing rival offerings from MySpace.com, Google and AOL, as well as YouTube and MSN, Nielsen/NetRatings said.

Although it leads the rest of the video pack, YouTube still hasn't proven it can make money as it subsists on $11.5 million in venture capital. Yahoo, in contrast, earned $160 million during the first three months of this year and ended March with $1.4 billion in cash.


Read orignal article HERE.