Category Archives: I Noticed

Your Life’s In The Tank

I tried this simple experiment
and I recommend it for you too

It began by wondering what I did that I completely forget about within the last week.
What am I taking for granted?
All the things in any given week go by so quickly.
I wondered if I’m so used to things that they go by unnoticed.
Is what I’m doing on purpose?
Is it what I should be doing?
Am I doing good for anybody – for my family, for me?
This hit me as I was gassing up.

When I was back in the truck I noticed that my display said I had 485 miles to use on this fill. I had the thought, now what was I gonna do about it? It felt like a poignant thought at the time, you know those ones that have an element of weight to them. They give you pause, make you go Hmmm.
Well, there’s no time better than now.
This is the moment!

I grabbed a little notebook I keep in the truck and I wrote the miles at the top of the page. My new goal was to write the date on a new line and what I was doing on that trip every time I got in the truck until the next fill up.

Easy enough.
Getting the kids to school, shopping for food, going over to an older couples house to help with their computer and email, bringing my daughter to pickup her friends to hangout, everyday stuff mixed with a few extras.

Looking back after the week I got to appreciate what I did and see that it did fit into my life the way I want it to. Sure there’s tweaks and things I could do more efficiently, yada yada but it was at least on purpose and doing some good. I’m going to do it again and get a complete month worth to see if it holds true.

It’s a traveling diary I suppose. Maybe more suited to a guys world, I dunno. I only wrote what I did, no comments or feelings about it. I got to process those on the re-read – and it was good. I’d recommend it, it’s a good read. It’s quantifying the results of this section of your life.

Sometimes a little rear view mirror perspective shows the path you’re on in another great way that also keeps you on course.

Whadya think?

When What’s Seen Isn’t The Real Story


Your facts are deceiving


To start with how about we don’t make things into such a big offense?
Our fuses get lit so easily it seems.
Other people are always the problem aren’t they?
They just don’t get it.


Have you ever seen this scenario?
You’re trying to find a parking spot in a crowded lot. There’s one, you think. As you roll up to it,  you see that there’s just barely not enough room for you to squeeze in because of how one car was crossing the parking spot lines and taking up two spaces. It’s not a Ferrari or something you could find a reason for. So you start wondering what’s wrong with that person. You go park far away and walk, murmuring to yourself the wrong of that situation.


Days later, you’re back looking for another spot. You find a close spot and it’s like it was two days previous. This time though, you can squeeze in, so you do. You come back out after shopping and the other cars are now gone, leaving your vehicle with room around it. Others looking for a spot see you and make rude gestures and even shout at you from the safety of their cars. You look at your park job. You are exactly in the middle of the painted lanes taking up two spots. Other cars have filled in around you to occupy the proper lanes on both sides. You also don’t have a Ferrari. You now are the problem parker.


It’s not always what you think upon first glance.


This isn’t a real serious situation.
Still, people get bent out of shape about this level of infraction.
It does serve to  illustrate how we can look at something as a fact without allowing for any explanation and immediately think the worst of people.
How much of that will you bring into your day?
How you react is mostly who you are.


Sometimes when we pause, we’re in a bad spot.
Sometimes, even when we’re settled in nicely, we call out others for the many available injustices when it’s only us that needs to be corrected by decency.


Check your facts to see how they’re parked.


What’s With The Bumper Sticker Anyway?

What I want you to know about me fits on an 11″ x 3″ rectangle

The bumper sticker is so analog. It’s such an archaic way to tell us what you think.


First off, We don’t care that much about yours.
At best it’s amusing. At worst, those who don’t agree will give you a look – you know that look too.
What’s with the need to even display such a statement? My dog is smarter than your honor student, or Calvin peeing on Chevy or something political.
That’s the first thing you want us to know about you? Are you out to travel around and spread the word or do you just want to be known for that opinion-above all the other ones you got?


It’s kinda passive aggressive, avoiding any discussion about the controversy you wanted us to see. You’re making some really big statement and there is no discussion available.
Of course, what passers by do with it pulls them down a level too.
If someone doesn’t agree, the look in passing is the entire discussion. It’s about all they can give to the conversation. “I don’t like your bumper sticker. Let’s get a look at you…aaah, well you must be an idiot. We’re done here, also as I pass, I’m gonna have my car give you a little attitude, so be ready for that.”


I’m not saying I have an alternative yet, but I just see the flaws in this particular one.
What if each car’s license plate number could be texted, and the bumper stickers were digital displays of their message but also could post messages from the people in traffic. Now we’re headed into new territory. All the controversial ones would get people texting so often that the owner would just tear it off.
It might end badly.
People are a bit too used to the car being protected environment to spout off in.
Maybe the bumper sticker will be a catalyst for social change?


…maybe not.


Certain cars are more likely to have an opinion rectangle.
It’s usually a Prius or a Subaru.
Bumpers, in fact, the entire backs of these vehicles are very often get to know me space.
It’s the rear window for trucks. Or mudflaps reserved for naked women silhouettes.
You’re forcing us all to talk about you behind your back, and it probably isn’t good.


I guess everybody has their drive-by opinions, some just display theirs.
Come to think of it, that’s what Facebook has become for many.
The repetitive bumper sticker.
I get your political opinion already. Extreme? Nooo, not to you. Other than getting to know you, what are you hoping to accomplish with all your opinions you’re calling facts? Right or wrong, your Facebook page, like your bumper sticker makes me want to know you less.


Your 15 Minutes Of Fame – Revised

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

Back in the TV age, Andy Warhol spoke about everybody getting their 15 minutes of fame.
We are no longer in the TV age. VHS is gone. DVDs are soon a collector’s item. We are deeper into the connection age.


One, possibly two generations have now grown up being connected by the internet.
The driving medium of the generation has changed it’s generations attention span.
We connect differently because we connect differently.


We used to see people staring at the TV in a dopey state. It’s not too much different today in the way we all are looking at our devices. Except that things within our controls today keep us moving more than in the TV age. Swipe to that, Switch apps, snap someone, tweet a thought, oh, who messaged me, my alarm is set for, let me check my calendar, I gotta find out if – Siri lookup…hold on, lemme get a picture of that…


Today we get tiny amounts of captured attention per person mostly.
Unless we are digitally hanging out, we get about 15 seconds to check out this persons story, or see their latest post.
Andy Warhol’s quote, if given today, might have a shortened timeframe.
In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 seconds.
I hope that our somewhat new ability to reach people actually lets us reach them.
15 seconds is a short window.


I Think I Saved Someone Today

My mistake.
It was my fault,
I admit it.

It was my morning drive in.
There is a section where I take a frontage road and it has a quick left, then right turn to make. There was a car waiting, unsure whether I was going to continue straight or make that quick turn onto the frontage road.

Here’s where I’m a Dufus, did I spell that right?
Anyway, I didn’t blinker.
Yes, I’m that guy from time to time.
If I’m taking my drivers test, I’d have gotten points taken off though I don’t think
they’d fail me for that offense. I mean it’s not criminal, just legally inconsiderate.

The guy waiting though – this was his switch.
I hit the big red button.

As I made my selfish turn, moving past him, I look and see him pressed right up to his door window, yelling what I can only guess to be fire siren loud, with his face as red as the fire truck that would make such a sound. He was shaking that head he owned for impact, in a way that I was supposed to feel the weight and intensity of, so as to teach me some lesson that I would never again break.


I imagine that if you were a traffic officer, being off duty would be hard for you.
You see the road offenses happen, you’re trained to see them, but when you’re off duty you’re not able to have the same authority with all the tools by your side and you have to let it go.


As soon as I saw this guy’s display, I was glad to have just swallowed my sip of coffee
before the turn or else I would have had a spit-take to contend with.

I burst out laughing. Wow! I caused that?
This guy was hanging on by a thin thread.
I guess I saved someone.
Not him.
But I gave that valve a release.

What if someone at work would have unknowingly hit another one of what must be many buttons on this Baron? There could have been an incident. Someone was all ready to step in a big pile of red buttons he laid out there.
I hope that on this particular day when that minefield was crossed by a co-worker and a red button mine went off, that he just reacted by cursing them under his breath. Maybe snapping a pencil or an extra forceful two or three mouse clicks.
Tough life if that’s the norm.

He looked normal otherwise. You never can tell.
I suppose the right thought should be that you never know what another person is going through and this one moment wasn’t their best.
They should be treated with compassion.

Yeah, maybe.
But what’s also pretty likely is that there is a pattern of this.
I mean, c’mon, that was a major display.
I’m in no position to judge.
I am in a position to notice.

Oh well, that was fun, now on with my day.

I always hope that a little bit of thinking can slowly release the valve enough to avoid a pressure blowout.

There’s big red buttons laid out there and they squawk when you step on ‘em.


“Nothing makes me want to eat like eating”


Said as my buddy and I are walking through a Costco
eating the free samples of food they give out.

Without realizing it, he stumbled on
the best marketing principle working today.
Live in it for a minute
Give people for free what they might like.
Let them try it.
Once you have any form of participation,
you have potentially earned the seed of of trust.
It’s a gift.

It’s likely that something in you will bring you closer
to that experience you were just given.
You may want to share it or get one for yourself.
By interacting with it, you have mentally pre-purchased. 

When an insurance agent offers to buy you a Starbucks
to get to know you, it’s not about the coffee.
Accept it and go or know it and say no.
Your connection to his offer it speaks to trust.
And your trust is what moves you to action.


Such a great statement is made when the obvious comes out to play.


Use the right precept – no manipulation
Is the focus on the product being a benefit –
considering the consumers point of view?
That is the question to ask yourself
on either the consumer or sales side of marketing.


Don’t bother me with things I don’t care about.
Marketing is not solely a numbers game.
Numbers without precepts lie.
Make it easy for me to see your point of view
and I will choose the experience.
It’s not the words,
it’s the experience that brings us back to the product.


We all know when we’re being sold to.
It’s just that, when it’s done with the right spirit,
we don’t mind one bit.


My son has some kids mouthwash.
Good I thought.
Breath is kickin’ in the morning!

So he’s gargling one morning.
After spitting it out he gives me a little uuugh.
I asked him what that meant.
He didn’t like the taste.
He asked me what is it that makes it taste that way.
I figured mint but it was beyond that.
I checked the ingredients list –
it said flavors – that’s it.
How obstinate is that?
Flavors is not an ingredient nor a taste just the same as red isn’t.

I’m switching brands.

Pffft, I can’t – that one had The Avengers on it.



Cars are awesome.
They do so much more
than just get you there.


I know a lot of people buy a car with that as the sole reason,
maybe gas mileage or safety among them,
but to me that’s not why I buy a car.
I wanna drive it.
I wanna feel the engine at work and have a good experience every day.
Even just to look at it can bring you to happy.


I could not own a Prius.
I get why they make ‘em and I’m glad for it.
I just can’t do it.
I know Prius people aren’t fans when someone pulls up behind them
at a stoplight in a Suburban, big truck or a muscle car with a loud,
powerful engine even at idle.
The Prius’s bumper sticker tells what they think.


Some, like myself, view the car as fun.
It’s a little daily amusement park ride.
Others view it solely as a means to an end.
These are the same people who eat out of necessity
rather than living out daily the joys of food.
I have friends who have told me these things.
I like ’em, but I don’t get ’em.


There are so many great cars out there that if you like the car experience,
it doesn’t mean you have to spend big money to get a cool car.
Some won’t be as reliable, ok, true.
But hunt for something different, get into it.
Rather than the bumper sticker, your car tells the story about you–
at least at that point in your life.
Without kids, only those to whom it doesn’t matter would drive a mini-van.


The Prius has got no driving pleasure.
Not by my definition.
It’s toooooo practical.
It’s more like the airport tram you take from terminal to terminal.


You know what your Prius says about you?
I was too bored to find out,
I drove away – audibly.


I recently became a recipient of a gift
sent with postage due.
Not expensive but not cheap either.


When a gift isn’t a gift
While the surprise of a package makes you feel
a little giddy at the wonder of it’s contents,
the note informing me of postage due
gave me the unwanted job
of trekking to the post office to get it
and to pay for the shipping.
It also caused the package to be delayed
until the next day.
You know it’s in town but you can’t have it.
It’s like being a kid at Christmas seeing the presents
under the tree just looking at you
but you can’t open any of them.
Here you go, I got you a present – it’s an errand.


So now I had some skin in the game.

The extra work assigned though,
the part where I participated in it without my approval –
that makes it not a gift.

What C.O.D Really Stands For
Was it cash on delivery or did C.O.D. stand for something else, I thought.
I considered turning it down and having it sent back.
It’s like a sales call at that point.
Or a game show.
“Would you like to buy this gift box I hold at your door for $20?”
If I knew what was in it, then I could choose whether I wanted it or not.
If I shake it to find out and it breaks, that’s on me.
In hindsight, turning it down would have been too big a statement
but it would be the right statement to make.


The bigger the gift, the higher chance that it has
some of the “giver’s” intention embedded in it.


How about this:
If you’re gonna give a gift, and call it that,
make it a gift in total.
No strings attached.
Nothing that the receiver is supposed to do
without their prior knowledge.
No force.


A gift is not about the giver.
If it’s conditional, make it known before giving it.
Y’know, a condition of the transfer.


Be generous. Give gifts.
It’s great thing to do.
But whatever they do after that is their business.
You’ve done something nice for them.
That’s it.
If you cannot do that, don’t give it.


Don’t make your gifts a Condition Of Demand.


I’m trying to get this.

I see people with their tongue pierced.
Well, maybe I don’t see it at first, but there’s tells.


They talk a little different when they first get it done.
They work real hard to get their mouth to act like it used to.


I don’t get the appeal – like I don’t get odd flavor combining with ice creams.
How did this go from something somebody did and you called them a little nuts
to something a lot of people do?
How do you get an idea like that to reach critical mass?
What’s the selling point?


What you must get from having a metal rod installed into a
fleshy taste pole in the middle of your head has to be greater
than the pain of getting it done.
It better, cuz I can only imagine that the pain is great.
And by great I mean horrible.

I was never that young where this could have appealed to me.
…and I’ve done some stoopid stuff.
For the record, I have no problem with it.
I just don’t get how someone would want to do that.

I guess I feel the same about childbirth.
Totally worth it, but that’s easy for me to write –
my part was going out for bubble gum pistachio ice cream.


(link is to one of the creators of bubble gum ice cream – gotta love that! )