Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff luncheon

While I get to go to a lot of cool events due to my “past life” in the concert business and my mother’s really cool job as President of Town Hall Los Angeles, of which this was one of her events, I must say that this was one of the cooler!
Admiral Mullen was very well spoken, had a knowledgeable command of the topic, whatever it was as many questions were asked from the audience, and was in general (no pun intended) just a really nice guy! He spoke/responded about the Middle East, the Sub-Asian Continent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), Veterans Affairs. When a former Colonel who had been discharged due to medical reasons recently from active duty asked about what can be done re: veterans, etc. Admiral Mullen was open and straightforward and even told the gentleman that he should contact him directly via email and he’d look into it, as he reads and answers all his own email. I thought that was pretty impressive for such a high ranking official to be that approachable.
At the end of the event, for those high schoolers that were there (Town Hall Los Angeles always invites students) he handed out a number of “coins”. they carry the seal of the Joint Chiefs and say “presented by Adm. mike Mullen” and are really, really cool… I didn’t get one :-(. Was actually told now, they were for “special folks”. My mother got one though, so I guess that’s coming later in life with her hockey puck that Gordy Howe gave her :-)… He did offer something else that is even more cool than the coin, but you’ll have to wait to find out about that one….
Yes, that’s the Chairman as my mother was introducing him… See how close I was (and yes, I got to talk to him (and joke) quite a bit when the event was over… a really nice man!)
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People Really do Read This Thing!

Who would have ever thought that people actually read this blog/site/thing…? I went to pick up a friend for dinner and there it was, in all it’s glory, this site on the computer screen. I got the response, “well, I googled you and now I’m reading up on you.” Isn’t that just embarrassing :-)….
What can I say other than, I’m surprised. I am also glad that I write carefully, not mentioning any of those bits that could prevent me from getting a job, get me fired from a job, or worse yet, prevent me from getting a date :-)! I have always tried to write in a manner that only deals with me, and doesn’t “tell” abut others… kind of like the way at the end of a film it says, “names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Well, since I try to be careful about who I wrote about, I don’t have to change any names. That’s a good thing ’cause I probably couldn’t remember them anyway, yet alone after I change them!
As for other things going on right now… I’m watching the markets implode like the rest of you. I am involved in a couple of new start-ups, but again, so is everybody else it seems. I’ll keep you posted how it goes…. Oh, and I start the second of 5 wine classes tonight, hopefully on my way to a certificate in wine.

Police to Manage Film Location Security

There is an article in today’s Los Angeles Times about security on film set locations. It mentions how most of the officers that you see around town doing security and directing traffic on sets are retired, no longer active members of the police force.
Personally, I find this quite disturbing! While I live in Santa Monica, which is an independent city (Los Angeles is an amalgamation of lots of little cities inside a great big one), we have similar issues. And if you read my posts from the past, you can see that filming in Santa Monica can be a problem.
You might ask, “What’s the problem with this?” Well, the problem is that often times they “protect” the filming. Go and read the article, it talks about how they (the filming) often work past hours that they are allowed, create excessive noise and other things that disturb the surrounding neighbors/neighborhoods. The officers aren’t there to protect the filming, they are there to enforce the rules and protect the neighbors/neighborhoods.
If they aren’t doing their jobs by protecting those that are effected, then what are they doing? Are they just there impersonating a police officer? They wear police uniforms and ride police motorcycles even though they aren’t police. Isn’t this against the law? Can I dress up as a police officer and provide security…? I didn’t think so, and just because you are retired doesn’t give you the rights to put on the uniform again and act like police, especially when you are allowing film crews to not abide by the rules (time limits, parking issues, security, etc., i.e. breaking the law!).
Again, go read the article and you will be as shocked as I am… The LAPD sent out officers to spot check and found that often there are violations, which is why they are now looking to oversee these folks that do film security, impersonating officers! I say go to it!!!! The film folks say that it will raise costs, increase hassles and make them move filming elsewhere…. Then go! There is no reason that a film crew/comapny/industry should not have to follow the same rules that the rest of the public does.
A rare occurrence in LA, where the police have been investigated by the FBI, etc. I say go LAPD :-)!

Mt. Rainier Climb Near

So tomorrow is gear check and we head out to the mountain, meeting up with the rest of the crew early Monday morning. I have read quite about the trip and the climb… While I would be lying if I said anything other than that I was a bit apprehensive, but it is what it is, and it’s time to climb.



We will be taking the route up to Muir Camp, then staying a night 1000′ above that, and then up disappointment cleaver to the summit at 14,410′. All the reports (the most recent) have talked about how the climb is in great shape and the snow good for this time of year.



I have been working out, but I could have always done more. I’m not nervous about the climb, the snow, glaciers, crevasses, etc… my biggest fear is altitude!



Pictures will be posted as I can, most likely after the climb as I’ll be out of contact for three days or so. Wish me luck as I attempt the second tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, and what is considered to the most difficult.

TechCrunch50 Judged by Someone Who Committed Securities Fraud

So the TechCrunch50 is about to happen in early September. One of the judges that will be rating/reviewing the companies is Henry Blodget. While Mr. Blodget is a smart man, no denying that, he has also committed securities fraud and has been banned from the securities business for life!!!!
Mr. Blodget did settle without admitting guilt, but if you didn’t do something shady, why would you settle and take a lifetime ban…? What did he do… well, he said one thing as an analyst, and in emails said the opposite (good investment by mouth, bad investment by email). So if he’s been caught doing this before, why would you trust him? Kind of like the old “bait and switch”….
What makes matters even worse is that no where on the site for TechCrunch50, in the blurb, or even in the CrunchBase listing does it tell the truth… It does espouse about his accolades in the securities business, but it doesn’t mention that although he was voted/rated/ranked as one of the top analysts, he is now banned from the securities business for life…. That’s not a good thing!

New Car… Another Mini Cooper S!

So it finally arrived… my new Mini Cooper S! I got up yesterday morning and checked the website, as I do every morning (yeah, I know, I’m sick) and it announced my car as, “at retail”.
I patiently waited for 9:16am, I didn’t want to seem too eager and call at 9 on the dot, and asked for my salesperson. I’m told that he won’t be in until 1pm… I’m crushed! So I email him hoping that he answers his email when he’s not at the office, which I find out he does :-)!
We email back and forth and he gets the ball rolling on his end…. the paperwork is done (so all I have to do is initial and sign), the car is prepped, etc. I return my rental car and figure out how to get downtown to the dealer. That was a whole other adventure which was cool, and I’ll write that up later today, I took LA’s mass transit rail/subway.
But I did manage to get my car mid-afternoon and am driving it happily, but not as I type this. Here’s a bad picture of it taken at dusk with my iPhone camera (and emailed, so it decimates the quality)….
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And Folks Wonder Why Parking is Messed Up!

So you have read me rant about parking in Santa Monica for a while. This morning as I walked home from breakfast with the boys, I saw this…
Parking Huh
Notice the pylons, ratty old things with no markings. There is some paint on the street, but no damage that would prevent use to the actual street or parking space (it’s just a small crack from a root… while yes, I agree it needs fixing or it will just get worse, it’s not like it’s a gaping hole… :-)).
There are no signs posted as to what the pylons are there for. There are no “No Parking” signs on the pylons, or anywhere else for that matter…. Nothing.
And folks wonder why I get so frustrated with the City of Santa Monica. City personnel tend to “cut corners” and do things the easy way and fail to follow through. They don’t double check their work and it shows! Of course I speak in generalities, and it’s always one bad apple that spoils the bunch…. But if you don’t like being called out for poor service in a general manner, then do something about it. When you see/hear/learn of your co-workers doing a poor job, tell them. Point it out, be proactive! If you don’t, I will, and it makes you look bad :-(….

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Ticketmaster Spin-Off, LiveNation Spin-Out

It’s been a busy time in the ticketing business since I last posted about it….
Ticketmaster has bought a secondary ticketing company (a ticket broker). This gives them more access, systems and a larger footprint in the broker/secondary ticketing market. They are already putting it to use by linking to them via their website for events that are sold out in the primary ticket market. They’ll make their money back on this purchase quickly….
Over at Live Nation, the chairman as resigned over a “turf war” with the CEO of the company… very interesting. It’s been written up all over the place, so I won’t bother going into those details, but… What’s the ex-chairman going to do? He tried and failed to buy his old company back recently. He has a non-compete with them re: the concert/promoting business. Taking a couple years off from this business can be deadly, trust me…. Not only has it impacted me, but Fred Rosen, the former head of Ticketmaster is still in demand, but not like he used to be :-)… the business has changed so much that it’s tough to stay on top of trends…. and many who ran it in the past are stuck in those times.
One of Live Nations “other” issues… they are leaving Ticketmaster this year to do their ticketing in-house so that they can garner more revenue from it. Good Luck! I’ve developed a couple of ticketing companies and know that just replicating what Ticketmaster is doing isn’t going to win over any hearts/minds. If you want to make money in ticketing, you have to change the business model, which I’ve been screaming from the mountain tops about for a while….
Which is a good segue to the latest ticketing news… Ticketmaster is being spun off from IACI. Again, you can read about the details elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if Ticketmaster can be more nimble as a solo entity. The reports mentioned that they will expand internationally, which is good, it’s where the growth is for them. It also mentioned that this growth will overcome the potential loss of revenue due to Live Nation leaving.
Wanna know more… ping me and let’s start a conversation!

My New Mini Cooper S is En Route!

I can’t wait…. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a new Mini Cooper S. I had had a couple in the past, this will be my 3rd Mini, but the first time that I ordered a car. When I did, I was given a production number so that I could follow it’s progress…. Well, here’s the latest, it’s en route :-)!
Mini En Route
I can’t wait for it to show up. As it is, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get it in time for the return of my current car, so I am going to have to rent an econo-box for a week or two, bummer :-(. Very cute marketing of the Mini though, “sea-wheels, great buffets”, very cute… 😉

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