I wrote a post a while back about Janie Thompson. It’s a fun story, how we met. I almost can’t believe I’m typing this right now but I knew this day would be here sooner than I wanted. Janie turned 91 last August and a few weeks ago she had a bad fall in her kitchen. She has been hospitalized and in a rehab center since then and yesterday she passed peacefully with her family around.
She means a lot to me. My experience at BYU was enriched 100 fold because of her. I counted a few of them up and I think I’ve been to over 30 of BYU’s top performing groups’ shows with fantastic seats because of tickets she gave me since 2006. I’ve been set up on dates with at least 3 of her grand-nieces and met some truly amazing people that are members of her family. And she’s a rapper. Check this out:
She really has been everywhere. She took the Young Ambassadors from BYU (and the Young stands for Brigham Young, not youth) to perform in countries all over the world. Always well received. This is an article that KSL did today: Article
During my student-dom at BYU I would usually visit Janie about once a week and take out her recycling papers. On many of those visits I would go in and chat with Janie and I’ll be darned if there wasn’t a conversation we had where one of us didn’t break out into song. It was usually her
One thing about Janie that always, always amazed me was her ability to remember every last thing I ever told her. She always knew what was up with my school, work, dating, everything. I’ll miss very dearly. She’s really changed my life.
This is a picture of she and I at the musical she put on in the (then) Provo Tabernacle for Provo’s Freedom Festival in 2008.
And finally, here’s a documentary BYU on Janie’s life. She’s touched so many for good.
Update: the video posted below is a JOKE. Don’t take it too seriously
This is the name I tried to use while making a facebook profile for my car. Turns out Facbook doesn’t think numbers and letters could be a real person’s name. Shwatever, facebook, shwatever (said with Swedish accent).
I’ve never named one of my vehicles. I think it’s weird. You name people, pets, and ships, but not so much cars and motorcycles. So for the sake of making a facebook profile for my car so we could be in an ‘open relationship’, at least temporarily for hilarity’s sake, I had to choose a name that had solely alphabetic characters. I chose “Princess Beemer VonBeemersen”. It’s German, it’s lovely. Ever since I saw Enchanted I pretty much wanted to marry Amy Adams and she was a princess. Then I saw Tangled and I wanted to marry Rapunzel, too.
There is a great misconception as to what is a princess. Allow me to clarify: normally when you hear a girl is a ‘princess’ that means they’ve had everything handed to them, have never worked a real day in their life, and expect perfection and happiness to effortlessly fall into their lap at all times. Nay, friend! That chick in Tangled could paint, play guitar, really cared about people, and was fearless. Similarly the princess in Enchanted was so resourceful that she made a dress out of curtains. Yeah. That’s my kind of girl. She also had no malice in her heart. Hard to find.
Anyway now that I feel like I’ve seen those Disney movies too many times . . . back to the car. This thing freakin rocks. No kidding. I shopped long and hard and for me it’s a perfect match right now. It’s got power, handing, bassy bass from 2 subs under the front seats, great brakes, heated seats (for the ladies), and sex appeal. Yup. Booyah. It’s black on black with aluminum trim. The car is sick. I love it.
So I went for a little joyride the other day and happened upon an icy parking lot. After doing some donuts I was wishing for someone to be around to film me. Then I thought: ‘hey! I can film myself! I’ll just put my camera on that snow bank over there!’ So that’s what I did. Then after watching the videos and clicking on a random artist on Spotify I realized that it would be funny to put some sensual R&B to my sliding car. And here’s the end result:
I hope this video has brought you some joy. 10 points for guessing the song at the beginning.
I haven’t blogged in forever- that explains the lengthy length of this piece. I was reading my friend’s super rad blog again and I got all motivated to write.
This post is about the people who have shaped who I am. If I could be more like the following list of wonderful people I would be some kind of all-knowing super hero that shoots lasers out his nose into the sky, illuminating the world and spreading baby unicorns and peace roundabout the land, for the good thereof.
Here they are in order of appearance; besides the last two
My older brother has been my hero pretty much since I can remember. He’s never been afraid of anything and is always looking for his next adventure. As kids we were all over the place. We sledded of our roof, mooned innocent bystanders, caught snakes, grasshoppers, and praying mantises. We built countless model airplanes and cars, we blew these models up with illegal fireworks, set stuff on fire, and were never afraid to discharge a firearm whether doing so was a smart or thought-out thing. Home-made silencer. Enough said.
Ammon has always been such a baller. he lead the way on all these adventures and sometimes I felt a little like Chuckie from Rugrats thinking “I don’t think this is such a good idea” but as long as Ammon was there I pretty much felt safe and wasn’t worried.
Teenage years brought a little more gusto to the mix. By this time we had motorcycles that would triple the speed limit. We used to drag race them which was awesome. He then went into the Army to find some more adventure. I didn’t go with this time but I thought it was cool that we were fighting battles simultaneously, I was on a mission and he went to Iraq. While in the Army Ammon ninja threw a huge black guy trying to beat the crap out of him on his birthday, and did a cage fight. A little later he rode a bull. Yup. Here’s the cage fight:
Holy crap that video still gets my adrenaline pumping. He’s the one that wins. Chokes the dude out.
Two days ago Ammon and his wife had their first baby and Tate the Tank was 11lbs 4oz. The doctors said he was pretty strong for a baby and he already thinks he can roll over and hold his head up ha ha.
In the Missionary Training Center Hugh was my branch president, or bishop. He is 6′ 8″ and not small in stature. When I first got into the MTC he said “Your mission has STARTED” and everything changed for me. He finally made being active in the church cool for me. For some reason I never really felt I had met a compelling example of gospel obedience up to that point. People in the church always seemed pretty nerdy or two-faced to me. Hugh was different. He had loads of self-confidence and knew exactly who he was and what he wanted at all times.
Knowing him caused me to re-evaluate what I wanted out of life and make some changes. I decided that I was going to be active in the Church and live what that really meant. I decided to read the scriptures which I had never done with much consistency up to that point. I felt that this was such an important thing that I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning pretty much my entire stay at the MTC reading. I finished the Book of Mormon then read through the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the New Testament for the first time. It was great. I really felt like a new man.
Hugh was part of the biggest turning point in my life up to now.
Janie is one of the most amazing, talented, hard-working, inspirational, loving, listening, aware people I have ever met. She is simply a wonder. To know that people like her exist really makes me feel better about the planet and life itself. It’s also motivating. I have a whole topic on this blog about her. Here’s how we met. She started BYU’s Young Ambasadors and Lamanite Generation, now known as Living Legends. Early in her life she sang with Tony Bennett and personally knew Mickey Rooney. She also served on the Young Women’s General Board for 16 years.
Seriously one of the coolest people ever. She called me today and it was so great to hear from her, I usually go visit a few times a month. I have so many great memories of Janie since I’ve lived here in Provo and consider her one of my closest friends.
I met sister Hall in January of 2007 when I was fresh off the mission. I saw Men’s Chorus do a dress rehearsal of some Disney songs and it totally rocked. 200 very talented guys rocking it out and having tons of fun. I tried out for the BYU Men’s Chorus. After getting past the graduate student screening it was time to meet my maker, the Welsh-accented lovely sister Hall. I was nervous about auditioning so I had my friend Kip give me a crash course 2 days before. Under “experience” on my application I put “one hour with Kip from Singers” to which she replied “what makes you think you can sing in the Men’s Chorus???” ha ha. I looked her square in the face and said “because I want to”. She said “do the University Chorale (an unauditioned choir class) and come see me in the fall”. That’s exactly what I did. Oh yeah and did I mention I was extremely sick for that first audition? Yes I was.
Men’s Chorus was an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade. I got to hear from her 5 days a week which was like a motivational speaker mixed with an LDS general authority every day. I also got to sing in General Conference in April 2008. Look for the guy on the end with a wicked sun burn from snowboarding. Men’s Chorus totally rocks. Here’s them doing a flash mob. I wasn’t part of this but you get the idea.
Nerd power. Men’s Chorus rocks, if you’ve never been to one of their shows it’s a must.
Winter semester 2007 I was taking a Spanish class and a couple kids came in asking for volunteers to mentor kids. They espcially needed people that spoke Spanish to help out with the kids whose parents spoke Spanish. I was feeling really lucky at the time because I was able to quit a crap telemarketing job because of some financial from my sister. I needed to study extra hard so I could get into the accounting program at BYU. I decided to be a mentor.
I worked with a kid over the summer then got paired up with Mike in September. He was 9 years old and super cute kid. His biological father left when he was 3 and passed away in prison when he was 7 years old. His step father who pretty much raised him had three more children with his mom and they split up when Mike was 8. You wouldn’t know it from getting to know Mike, though. He has always been a very happy, smart, and motivated kid. I feel lucky to know him.
We try to see each other every week and do something fun whether it’s play frisbee, soccer, get Jamba Juice, go to a football/basketball game, or go on an unexpected crazy snow hike. Mike has greatly enriched my life and I’m so grateful for him. He’s the closest thing I have to a son and he has made me look very much forward to having children of my own.
Last and anything but least are my parents, Don and Tish Parker.
They are amazing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to raise 6 children. Three boys, three girls, and we’re all doing great raising our own families or preparing to do so. My mom and dad are super cool. They have certainly allowed me to make my own mistakes and be free but at the same time have given much-needed guidance at the right times. I owe them a ton. They always paid for sports I did as a kid and came to all my games. They paid for me to serve a mission, too, which is something not all parents can do. Since I’ve been at college they always came to my choir concerts and come down here often to do fun stuff or take me out to dinner and buy me groceries and things like that. It’s awesome. Couldn’t ask for better parents in college. It’s kind of nice that they moved up here to Utah from AZ, too. And nice that my dad introduced me to the joy that is late model BMWs, ha ha. Theirs is way cool and they let me drive it a lot when they first bought it. Yea, even to LA where my brother and I left for our super sweet cruise last summer.
I shant leave out my other siblings. My younger brother Eric has been my best friend for a long time now. We share a ton of interests and no one can make me laugh like him. We were in a band together, rode motorcycles together, and have been roomates for the past 3 years. Eric rules. It’s his birthday soon! My sisters rock, too. Emily is fun because we can talk about BYU and music and stuff. She’s brilliant and I love her personality, she funny, too. Ahlena is like Yoda. She’s a great listener and she’s always very interested in what you are doing and what you have to say. If she gives advice it’s always from the heart and is timely and usually needed. My youngest older sister Anna is super cool, too. She owns a dance studio and is always lotsa fun. Her daughters are super funny and I love hanging out with them. I got to go there earlier this year for a trade show, soooooo nice to stay with them and see them instead of staying in some lame hotel. They might be moving out west some time soon which is super exciting!! It will be awesome to have Anna and her family nearby.
Steve Jobs was one amazing dude. I can’t believe the amount of impactful things he helped develop in such a short time. Including Pixar! Nuts that he founded Pixar after Apple let him go.
In honor of beards everywhere, I give you bearded Jobs:
Today I was looking at old Apple product presentations he gave on Youtube. It was really inspiring. I have a great opportunity with my next move with Parker Planners and getting some inspiration from the Jobs really helped. He’s definitely someone who trusts himself. More so than your average dude. One thing I found very useful in a video about the iPod Nano was that he said you have to start with the human experience and work backward toward the technology. I think his products really do that. Steve said he’s tried it the other way around many times and failed many times; having the scar tissue to prove it.
That’s so awesome. Thinking about people has to be the first step in product development. It’s about how we live, think, feel, observe, and interact with our surroundings. Our lives are improved so much when designers take a second to consider the human experience. I want to be one of those designers.
Here is the original iPod intro video. Mimic this thought process with another product and you’ll make money. After the first 4 sentences it’s clear they know what they’re doing. Bam.
AHHHAHAHHAHAHH the days of beloved Jetta are coming to a close!!! As I type this the eBay auction has 2 hours left. This car has been an integral part of my life for these reasons:
# 1 It brought my Dad and I back from my mission. It was lovingly given to my by my 2nd cousin who lives in Valencia, CA. They drove it to Ventura where the mission home was and we drove it back to Kaysville, UT.
# 2 It was purchased by my great uncle in Cedar City, UT brand new in 1986 and has been owned by family members ever since.
# 3 This is the first car I’ve ever owned and also my first vanity plate: “PLAN IT”. I get a lot of laughs and compliments about that. I figure it’s motvation to succeed with ma business.
# 4 This is also the car I gave my first ride to Janie Thompson in. I can end a sentence with a preposition if I want to. Lotsa memories, lotsa memories.
# 5 The Jetta has prevented me from marrying a gold digger. I go to pick girls up and they have to love me for who I am
# 6 I took it on a 3,000 mile road trip in the summer of 2007 that completely rocked. It was Provo to Phoenix (sister) to LA to Santa Barbara and Santa Maria (mission) to Sacramento, CA (cousin) to Portland (grandparents) to Jerome, ID (mission buddy with many moo tows) to Kaysville, UT (parents). I found out on this trip that a) I’m kind of crazy in a car by myself as evidenced by the crazy videos I took b) the car can do 515 miles on one tank of diesel and c) I ain’t afraid of road trips and doing what I feel would be fun/good.
# 7 Some value other people’s possessions very highly as evidenced by the $2,225 price right now on eBay. It’s still got 1 hr 50 mins at this point. Kelly Blue book is $750.
Here’s the little you tube video I took to help sell it:
The world needs a new acronym. I give you FEGF. Friend’s Ex-GirlFriend. This last month I ran into and almost took on a date like 4 of these people! What? August has turned out to be an interesting month.
On an unrelated note Eric and I went and played some basketball tonight and after getting packed twice by this 6′ 5″ dude I scored on him with a fadeaway jumper. Take that tall dude.
On a car note I have decided what I will buy in the coming months. A BMW 328xi. Yes, folks the B’mer of balance. Fast, reliable, 4 doors, good in snow, bump in stereo, chick magnetism, FREAKING AWESOME. And not too outlandish. If you’ve never driven a late model BMW I assure you of their ability to alter your opinion on whether nice cars are worth it.
I was visiting my friend Janie (one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met) the other day and I saw this newspaper on their end table. It’s Janie’s brother-in-law Tom Lee in front of a class at UVU. He was on the team that helped put the man on the moon and teaches astronomy.
Notice the headline- “If you don’t do the things you like, you might as well die.”
Sounds like Dennie Butterfield has experience in both doing what he loves and doing what he hates. The message makes me think of a commencement speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford University given in 2005. Skip to 7:30 when the introduction is done. Jobs’ message is great. His point is that you’re going to die. If you’re going to die, you have no choice but to do what you love if you’re going to be happy.
It’s a cliché phrase but you really don’t want to ‘live someone else’s life”. If you try, you’ll be unhappy. Parents, the market, tradition, friends; no one can know your path but you. Life’s about being bold enough to decide.
I love it when non-college-grads give commencement speeches!! Check the innovative shade device at 12:51.
Me likely music. I just discovered the joy that is Pandora for iPhone! It’s so awesome! It plays the music you like for free and even finds new stuff for you.
On a semi-related note my last two trips have had official theme songs. Song of the Trip in New York was Shiver by Coldplay. Don’t know why but this song was stuck in my head the whole trip and it was relevant in some cosmic way.
Not a bad tune. So I just got back from Chicago and Song of the Trip there was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. It’s a girl artist and it’s a little more on the happy slappy side but whatever. For reasons unknown it was stuck in my head the whole trip so I had to listen to it over and over. The video is a little odd.
In other music news I got a piano!!!!!! AHHHHHH!H!H!HH!H!H Oh man I’m so pumped and I love!! It was roughly 1/2 the price of a new one but works perfectly! Gosh I’ve wanted a piano so bad for so long this is fantastic. Can’t wait to learn how to read music. And yes it’s the same one I posted about a while ago. It’s wonderful and now sits in my office. Mmmmmmmmm. I’m currently writing this blog post on my piano because I’m about to learn some musics from you tube and play them.
Do note that this fills the keyboard requirement in my life and not necessarily my full piano requirement. Though the 88 VERY nicely weighted keys are beautiful to handle, I pine for a Yamaha baby grand and will own one some day. Either that or a Steinway. Whatever works.
Today I received some of the highest praise a person can receive. My nephew Simon said to his parents “Uncle Ethan is a hero!” The reason? I rescued a small battery-powered row boat from a treacherous pond fountain. I rolled up my pants and started wading through the shallow, dirty pond. I looked around for a bit and then decided to plug the fountain spouts with my hands and feet then I saw it under the water still rowing away. Haha.
Just finished Outliers by Malcom Gladwell and I loved it. One of the best books I’ve read in a while. It’s practical but motivating, which sometimes seem to undermine one another. Interestingly Gladwell is able to inspire by simple, real examples; truly a feat if you ask me. Many people can’t see the connection between others’ success and their own.
Go poofy haired guy! He looks like a mix between Christopher Walkin and Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine.
CHECK – Thank my brother for the sweet book
CHECK – Test drive 2011 BMW 335i DOUBLE CHECK. I was rippin’ around a roundabout and the salesman said swear words ha ha ha
CHECK- Get haircut from Molly at Sport Clips
CHECK- Make progress on my wonderful business
CHECK- Eat at a fancy pants restaurant with my parents
CHECK- Hang out with my buddies down here in P-town a.k.a Provo
WORKING ON IT- Buy myself a Piano if I don’t have one by the end of the day Ha!
After work today I was feeling like a walk so that’s what I did. I cruised around my hood and decided to visit The Great Janie Thompson because I haven’t seen her since my NY trip. I just love visiting that woman. She’s always full of smiles, stories, and laughter. On my way back she called me and said she had a book she wanted to give me. It was “Women of Character, stories of 100 Prominent LDS Women” by Susan Easton Black. Janie signed inside the cover of this book for me and it says this:
The second full day of EFY was a great one. This post is probably more for me than you, fair warning.
This morning I woke up before most of the people on my floor, earlier than I normally get up. I really miss mornings. That’s a big part of why I felt like superman on my mission I think. Getting up early is like guaranteed progress. You can’t spend the wee hours pondering and come up with bad ideas it seems.
This morning my troops gathered and Andrew gave the devotional. He’s a great kid. He’s good at leading groups and taking initiative. That’s part of being captain of the defense and an all-state middle line-backer probably. Gotta love football kids.
Next it was breakfast time. I am truly impressed with the Cannon Center. So many BYU programs are just quality. The food was great, good presentation, they even cook up the omelets as you come by. Clean, organized, easy to navigate. It’s a top notch place. The lady that runs the show seems to really care about the operation, too. Later in the day I was sitting on a ledge and she politely came by and asked me to hop off her counter top with just a look and a gentle gesture, it was awesome.
Then it was big group meeting time. The leader guy got people involved and brought people up to the front to get a little embarrassed and teach a lesson, nice going.
The kids went to classes next. EFY teachers are quite effective. I think it takes a lot to teach the youth. Heavenly Father really is selective about who he allows in positions to lead and influence youth. One brother who taught today was very effective in suggesting that real friends seek out their loved ones and watch over them spiritually. Another teacher taught about dance etiquette and teen’s greatest fears.
Parents thought the greatest fear of a teen was nuclear war, getting kidnapped, and parents getting divorced. Kids said that their greatest fears were being embarrassed in front of a group, being alone, and not having friends. He gave a great message on acting and not being acted upon. Part of that meant asking girls to dance (for guys), and to separate yourself from a group or buddy when a slow song starts. It’s hard to capture his ability, skill, and humor here. They guy had me going right along with the youth. Very effective teacher.
We then had some free time where I hung out with Dallin. He wants to be a sniper in the Army and has a keen taste for Jamba Juice. He’s always saying things like “Gosh, Ethan! Why are you such a stud?” kinda nice to have fans like that.
Dinner time. Cannon center again and I was impressed that they prepared the pasta in a big sauce pan and made each batch with special care in cool cook clothes. Fine job. After dinner we all met up at these tables with permanent umbrellas. I showed Chandler how to do that thing where you hang sideways on a pole. We got in a little trouble but it was worth it, now he knows how.
Time for some dance lessons. I first showed the kids how to do a waltz box turn. They picked it up pretty quick! I was impressed. Also I was very impressed at their willingness to participate and dance with the young women. Also the girls are so eager to talk to and be with the boys it’s really cute. Jenna and Alyssa taught the peanut butter jelly dance to everyone which was nice, I didn’t really know it.
I then showed a couple break dance moves to the guys and even one of the girls! Emma is super fearless and was top-rockin and coffee grinding with all of us.
We then headed over to the dance dance. As we were waiting to go in a short dark-haired girl named Emily in my company was asking me about my finger. During part of when I was talking to the group I had my hands big and spread out in front of me and one of the girls noticed my finger was crooked. That was from when I cut my finger on a table saw as a freshman at ASU. No biggies now, works great. She also asked a lot about my business and other stuff. What a sweet girl!
The dance was killer tonight. I shook my groove thing all over like crazy. One thing I need to mention is rapping. During introductions on the first day I told the kids that if they were good I was going to do an improv rap for them. We took care of some business and an hour later they stomped and clapped and I rapped and rapped. One kid even said “how long did it take you to memorize that?” Wow! Surprising. I told him that was a huge compliment. It was all totally from the hip.
As you might think they fell in love with the rapping and they’ve asked for it about 4 times now. The girls have seen about 2 by now. One happened totally spontaneously after we broke some dance. It was awesome, they were so into it. Gosh I love these kids.
Call EFY cheesy all you want, but in my humble opinion it is a program that is divinely inspired. It’s really in the details here. Sure the counselors aren’t perfect and like any summer camp it has some kinks, but overall it’s not hard to spot God’s hand in giving youth some of the most meaningful and building experiences of their life.
What is it that is up my people’s. Today I embark on a new journey to a foreign land. I journey to a place narry inhabited by a Parker since the late 1990′s. I journey to college dorms.
But why? Why you ask? I’ll tell your curious soul; worry not old friend.
You see my sisters lived in the dorms long ago but my brothers and I did not. I’m going to be an EFY counselor this week and will be living in Heritage Hall for 6 days. I’m really looking forward to it. EFY can be a crucial turning point for a lot of youth that may not have had testimonies. I know I needed it as a youth and for me that big change happened in the Missionary Training Center.
I’m so pumped for it! We had an all-day training yesterday on campus at BYU that was enjoyable. This is a very special place. There is absolutely nowhere like BYU in Provo. No better place for youth in the Church. The other counselors I’ve met are great people and I feel fortunate to be able to associate with them.
Oh day, glorious church day! Man I love Sundays. I went to church early for a meeting then came back and made pancakes for my roomates followed by a glorious nap on the couch. Ahhhhhhhhhhh yes. I hope your day is filled with diamonds and mythical creatures prancing about while they bestow hope and good fortune on all.
As they say in Southeast Asia, peace out and love someone,
It came and went. Have you seen the movie though?! It’s awesome. Talk about a theatrical masterpiece aimed at improving the human condition. My roomate was watching it on netflicks last night and I couldn’t help but join. Can you imagine living the same day over and over like that? I think a lot of us would go through the same cycles as our friend Phil.
At first he succumbed to his most base instincts. Because he knew there would be no consequences he ate tons of sweets, smoked, drank, snubbed his friends, and seduced a pretty lady using information he gathered the previous day. He messed with people and was a slave to appetite.
Stepping up from the purely physiological to love and belonging, Phil then tries to convince his co-worker Rita to like him. He learns everything about her day by day and does well impersonating a perfect gentleman. This only leads to a stream of disparaging shut-downs. In agony Phil kills himself every day for about 2 weeks, each time waking up at 6am in the same bed to the same song.
I think it’s cool that he decides to improve himself after all that. I love how he changes in the movie. Cliche or lame or whatever I could watch it again and again. By the end of the movie he really cares about people. He learns Piano, French, ice-sculpture, and how to dance. Sooo way cool. Makes me want to get a piano.
I want this piano!!!
Yeah. New birthday preference for sure. This one is similar to the piano my sister had in Houston, TX. I loved that thing. It could make all kinds of different sounds plus it had drums built in and everything. Wannawannawanna. It could go in my kitchen in front of our whiteboard. Booyah.
Post Script: You must understand that my true and living desire is for a real piano. Yes, I realize this is really a glorified “keyboard”. I know, I know. Worry not, though, for a long long time I’ve wanted a black Yamaha baby grand. But somehow I’d be willing to do the Steinway thing if circumstances dictated, hmm.
Howdy Y’all it’s been a while. Did you know New York is also known as Gotham? I thought it was just Batman.
The last few days of my life have been mind-expanding and literally life-changing. I recommend travel to places that are in every way different than what you’re used to. You grow, you learn, you love people more, you earn a respect for life and those who have more/less than you, and are given a vision of the sacrifices of literally millions of people who have gone before whose efforts improve your life at the current moment.
New York City is all that and a bucket of chickenchips. It’s the real deal. I love this place. The people I’ve encountered are so genuine and dedicated. The food is amazing. This is in part because if they don’t perform they’ll go out of business almost immediately and then it’s someone else’s turn to dish out mama’s recipes to the masses. Talk about economics. In this place it most definitely is survival of the fittest.
The Nation Stationery show has been fun. I love trade shows; meeting and working with like-minded people is so fulfilling. The first day we only made one sale, but I got to use my new credit card reader from Square! What a cool company; they have truly changed the world and how it does business. I can’t think of a more useful or empowering tool for small business in 2011. The buyer was a small family-owned bookstore. Benjie and I talked to a ton of people, nearly everyone that walked by. Very little immediate success compared to the last show. We were pretty darn discouraged.
(double-stick taping planners to your head is lowest of the low, folks)
It’s times like this where you wonder if all your big dreaming really was for the birds. Hard not to feel like the kid standing in front of a borrowed Ferrari with his eyes shut.
We made another sales board like last time and even lowered the number we had to get for everyone’s 20% discount. Only 100. For a show with something like 8000 buyers that should be nothing, right? Turns out stationery stores rarely carry planners. And the ones that do are hesitant to buy something in a declining market. There you have it. A super fun trip to New York scorned buy a lame-sauce kick off to what should have been our most successful business venture yet.
Is this the end of Parker Planners as we know it? Does the train run over the beautiful damsel? Will Benjie and Ethan be able to dig deep and pull from their car salesman genius and football beast roots?
No, yes, and yes. Too bad about the damsel but we kept on keeping on and were rewarded in the form of conversations with some of the largest retailers in the world. I can’t post here which ones or what they said but suffice it to say we have a few conversations to finish when we get home. I was shocked today at the show. I have a page full of business cards that, if we struck a deal with any of them, Benjie and I would be able to live anywhere we wanted and drive whatever we wanted.
Bigger risk, bigger reward.
Ok here’s a great NY story for you now. Hold on tight ’cause this one’s pretty dope-a-licious if I may be so nerdy.
Sunday. First day of the trade show there’s a hotty two booths down. She’s got the kind of looks that make her virtually unapproachable by most men’s standards. Bombshell. Why try?
Monday. Benjie and I got to know the people around us a little better including hotty McHotstuff. Turns out she lives in LA right now and has had a fairly successful career in film, TV, and commercials. She’s done theater and soap operas in NY, commercials and movies in LA, and a some modeling. Probably a jerk? Wrong. Cooper is way cool. Surprisingly cool, actually. We got a picture.
Tuesday (today) was a great day at the show and Benjie flew home (less great, you can’t leave the booth with just one person there plus he rocks). Because I was all by myself after that our buddies next door offered to bring me along to have dinner with them which was so kind. They are some of the most interesting and and generous people I’ve met in a while. We went to a great Greek place in downtown Manhattan. That restaurant was for real. Greeks ran it and the food was very very good. Oh so yummy and my hosts even offered to pick up the tab which was like rain from heaven. They called it my “celebration dinner” for starting conversations with those big-box retailers.
Wow I just love life right now. I love how you think you know what you want until something way way better happens. Can’t live without a certain thing in your life? Can’t be happy until X or Y happens? Wait until the big man upstairs gives you A and B and you’ll wonder why you ever wanted the first thing.
Cooper is so awesome, we happened to have about a 40-min bus ride (probably traveled 2 miles) from the convention center to Times Square-ish where we got to chat. She knows a lot about show-biz and was really engaging to talk to. One interesting fact I learned was the soap operas are filmed with virtually no practice. Because they’re on nearly every day of the week you get the lines the night before and just spit them out the next day, usually in one take. it’s what makes them so goofy. I think she was on As the World Turns for a while.
Yeah, not every day you hang out with well-cultured and mega-beautiful actresses. She plays some mean violin, too. It was an attention-grabber for their booth at the trade show (as if she wasn’t already).
OK so back to some NYC fun. Benjie and I tried to save on expenses where we could so lodging of course was one area where we got creative. The first two nights (for Benjie anyway. I missed my flight in SLC so I took a red-eye and got in at 6am Saturday morning) we stayed with a friend of a friend who lived on the 6th floor of a building up on 174th street. pretty nice place, fun. Sunday night was a mystery until Saturday night so we booked a Super Motel 8 in NJ across the river from the convention center because it was only $109 per night instead of $200 like the cheapest place in NY. It was a bit of an adventure in and of itself.
We took a shuttle thing through the Lincoln Tunnel under the river and popped up in North Bergen where our delightful hotel was. Plus side: hot shower, ironing board, two beds, complimentary breakfast, shuttle back to NY, etc. Strange/Needs Improvement Side: wireless internet didn’t work so we asked the front desk what was up. They came to our room with their own laptop, showed us that his computer was working, denied any claim (changed the subject) that the laptop was modified at all and refused to let us check any other room for a signal. I don’t know about you, but when when an iPhone 4, an iPad 2, and a new gen Macbook can’t get wifi it may not be our devices.
Strange/Needs Improving Side (cont): The internet worked in the lobby so we went out there to do some webbing. While there several people came in asking for hourly rates. Yeah I’ll let you figure that one out. Plus the bed sucked.
Good times, New Jersey. Thanks! In defense of NJ I did meet a couple very nice ladies from Princeton at the trade show.
and . . . it’s not even over yet. Here I lay on my airbnb.com bed typing away through some nice high-speed internet in East Villiage New York. It’s like a dream. I wonder were I’ll be when I wake up.
As a grande finale of the whole thing, a special dance number performed impromptu in Central Park filmed by my never failing business partner Benjie.
Warning: the most important part of this whole post is at the bottom. It’s a video that describes with frightening accuracy (agony?) the feelings of my corazón. Oh man, it’s so hilarious.
I normally don’t get that excited about sports nor do I watch sports often. This BYU stuff as of late is pretty exciting though. I can’t wait until the game later today! BYU is in the sweet 16 (final 16 teams of the NCAA tourney) for the first time in 30 years! That’s 1981 folks! That’s when Danny Ainge took us there nearly single-handedly kinda like Jimmer is doing right now.
Ainge played in the NBA for a while and is now the owner of the Boston Celtics, so that’s what the Jimmer has to look forward to I guess. The game is on at 5:30 our time. MMmmmmm yes. We are playing Florida who we beat last year in the NCAA tournament in the first round. People are still talking about Jimmer all over. National news to the max. Magic Johnson said Jimmer was the real deal. Here’s a video about Jimmer that borrows music from another popular rap song.
Another thing I’m excited about right now is the Parker Planner for iPhone. We’ve been working on it for a couple weeks now and it’s coming along. This thing’s got potential. Email me if you want to beta test, otherwise look for it in the iTunes store in about a month.
Well now that I’m not a full-time student any more I have to figure out what to do with the rest of my time. I do work most of the time. Whether I’m at the office or not there’s usually something to be done. I like that. The business is always on my mind and it’s great to always have something to be thinking about, caring about, and building. I’ve gathered up the 5 books I’ve started recently and have them in a stack on my desk. I’m going to finish them one at a time so I finally just do it.
They are: Think and Grow Rich for the 3rd time, MBA Admissions, Delivering Happiness, Outliers, and The World is Flat. All great books with high recommendations. For me so far Think and Grow Rich tops them all by a LARGE margin. It’s like doctrine reworded for those who may not be Christians. Besides the Standard Works of the LDS faith, it’s my favorite book.
My ward has a temple trip on Friday, we’re going up to Salt Lake and doing baptisms and sealings. It should be fun, I’m looking forward to it.
Today I watched Google interview Lady Gaga. Yes, like an executive from Google interviewing her with the audience being google employees. It was really interesting. My favorite thing she said was about writing down your creative impulses right when they happen. She mentioned the night before that she had a great idea about a costume while lying in bed so she got up and wrote it all down and then went back to sleep. She said:
“If God calls, you pick up the damn phone!”
Nicely put I think. How many of us have great ideas and just let them pass us by? A lot I’d say. Way too many.
PS Totally favorite song of the weekkk!!!!!
If I had a nickel for every time this has occurred in my life I’d be a rich man ha ha. “Oh, yeah. It didn’t work out. Turns out she was totally ugly and I didn’t even see it. Uh, yeah- and probably gay”. Ahhh the excuses we make when we get rejected.
I’m at CAMEX right now. It’s the yearly college market expo of glory and wonder. So far so cool. I just saw Blake Mycoskie speak- founder of TOMS shoes, he’s way cool.
I’m really hungry and I gotta pee really bad but I’m so pumped to get out stuff to our booth!!! I just want to get this thing rolling!
I wad considering buying some kinda junky trade show food but I just asked this guy where to get good food and he told me about the spot. Literallly, it’s called “The Spot”, ha ha. He said it’s real good soul food we’ll see how it goes.
Be said “yeah they even got a steam table goin” probably 4 times. I promise to document said steam table. Maybe I’ll give it a hug.