Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beautiful Day at Biltmore

It was a little chilly at moments when the wind blew. But mostly it was a magical day - thanks to sunshine and a couple of free passes from our friend Christine.

Stella said that next time she's going to paint her fingernails when she tours the house.

I wish the batteries on our camera hadn't died. I'd have taken a photo of the "tree that snowed" white/pinkish petals.

We're thinking of getting year-round passes. Biltmore is great!

Marian's On a Mission

Marian is determined for us to go through every room of this house and declutter. It's a great idea, actually. Yesterday we went through the kitchen and found dry-goods we had forgotten we had.

She really wanted me to throw away the microwave popcorn. Are you kidding? That stuff is great. I promised I'd eat it, and soon.

There's Gatorade, some dried beans that are perfectly okay to eat, and even some wild rice that Tracy Phillips left behind when she moved about a year ago.

But today she's moving toward the dining and living room area, and I'm a little concerned.

"You think we can move that credit card machine?" she asked.

The credit card machine for our business has found a space next to our family telephone. I really don't know what else to do with it, honestly. But I suppose today will find me testing out phone lines in the basement - just because I'm an understanding husband who believes world peace begins right here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raleigh and Back

Today we returned from a couple nights in Raleigh with Susan and Randy, Marian's aunt and uncle. We love hanging out there. It's where we tied the knot and where Marian spent a lot of her childhood.

There were a lot of funny things that happened, but one in particular is worth mentioning:

After finishing a wonderful Outback take-out steak dinner to celebrate our new company, Marian shared something she'd heard from her brother, Arendall, concerning his time as an Outback Steakhouse manager.

Apparently there are a number of tricks that employees play on unsuspecting newbies:

1. They tell them that, after running a credit card through the machine, they have to speak into the machine the name of the card. For several days the new employee can be observed running a card and whispering to the machine, "Discover," "VISA," "Mastercard."

2. Employees are allowed to eat desserts that, for whatever reason, don't get served to diners. Veteran employees have been known to substitute whipped cream with lard - something that feels greasy-weird for days in a person's throat.

3. The thing that really sticks out, though, is a little trick played with the pumpernickel bread which comes free with every meal. When water is added to pieces of the bread, it is able to be shaped into something that looks a lot like - you guessed it. New employees will enter the staff bathroom to find something that looks pretty alarming on the walls, the ceiling, the toilet seat - and so on.

Marian's uncle tested this story, and found it absolutely accurate. The untrained eye simply cannot tell the difference. So, with the housekeeper on her way to their house today, Marian's uncle ...

We're waiting for a full report.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


After four years of working really hard and developing a fairly sophisticated video product, our investment has paid off: Yesterday, along with an investor/partner, we signed the papers for a new company called Zoom Factor, Inc., which will market video solutions to communities and industries across the country.

Zoom Factor has purchased rights to intellectual property developed by Stellar Media, putting that company in the black.

And for the first year at least, Zoom Factor has the capital in the bank to operate and show progress.

The last half of 2008 was tough, full of moments of extreme doubt, anxiety, and worry. At Thanksgiving I vowed to cover my bases and apply for full-time jobs, just in case. I applied for between 50 and 60 jobs over the next four months. Number of interviews granted: Zero. It's a similar story I've heard from friends at least as qualified as me.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us to make this new company successful. And I'm struggling to line up the people I need to run the old one. But, looking around, I'd say I have it really good.

With a little of the stress relieved, we might even have time to blog again!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is Anybody Out There Still?

If anyone is still looking at our blog, please let us know - and we'll start posting again.