Showing posts from 2010

Merry Christmas From the Bradley Residences

It's been a busy week, but it was packed with lots of fun and of course family.  The family (minus me) started off together on the eve of Christmas Eve at my grandma's house for some home made noodles (they're amazing, I had some of the leftovers), then we all met at Bayside to experience one of their 15 Christmas Eve candlelight services.  Not only was the lighting and music (led by Lincoln Brewster) spectacular as always, but the message and stories shared were uplifting and truly explained the "reason for the season" in a way that perhaps only Ray Johnston can do. We then headed to Fort Bradley (aka my house) for some Crab Cioppino, our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and then drove to Camp Bradley (aka my parents house) for dessert and Catch Phrase.
Christmas Day was spent at my parents house, where my two nephews got lots of great gifts, including Luke and Levi's favorites, a snow train and remote control boat.  After a prime rib dinner (another family t…

Making a Difference This Holiday Season

What happens when one company and a group of individuals are willing to make a difference? Families are helped. People are served. The hungry are fed. Children smile.

My company, Augustine Ideas, decided to make a difference for our community this year. Instead of sending each of our clients and vendors an expensive holiday gift, we sent them a treasure chest with a simple letter that a child had written to Santa.  Simply put, we gave our clients gifts to children who otherwise wouldn't have been able to experience Christmas. This year we adopted 10 families with nearly 40 children and wrapped hundreds of gifts for all of them.

Putting gifts under the tree is just one way we were able to help.  Augustine Ideas also took an afternoon and evening to cook two meals each for 25 families.  Luckily for us, one of our staff members also runs a catering business, so we were able to make some great, tasty meals (lasagna, caesar salad w/ homemade croutons, rice pilaf, chicken kiev, french b…

Roseville Galleria Struggles Under the Weight of a Flashmob

Tonight was supposed to be a memorable night for 500 to 1,000 people at the Roseville Galleria.  The idea, break out into song in the Food Court in an effort to spread some holiday cheer and perhaps break a flashmob world record.  The result however was an estimated crowd of 5,000 and as Westfield put it "The enthusiasm for the Hallelujah event tonight was far greater than anticipated by organizers," as the floor began to creak under the weight of the crowd the Roseville Fire Department was called in and the mall began to evacuate for the second time in two months (check out video of the crowd booing the announcement).

Social media takeaways:
- @scannerboy02 and @sacnews were the first "media outlets" (they supply video to most local TV stations) to report the news, a full 10+ minutes before any other representative from other major Sacramento news outlets (note this is only based on the reporters, assignment editors, producers and outlets I follow, which is a lot,…

1 Hour

When I worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, about $65 (now it's up to $74) would fund one minute hour of medical research. In doing more research for this post I found that in one minute the international space station travels 289 miles and 21,000 pizzas are put in the oven to bake.  If all that can be done in a minute, than surely my parents and I could accomplish a lot in one hour right?  Well we most certainly did.  We headed up to the Bradley Lodge with a trailer full of firewood (all that wood that we cut down and split over the last few years won't be ready to burn until next year), unloaded the wood, put a ton of stuff into our storage areas that had been at my brother's house, set my new laptop on on the wireless network and of course made sure everything was ready for when renters come up at Christmas and New Years.

After our quick trip, which didn't even involve turning on the water (we have to turn it off during the winter, otherwise the pipes would…

New Blogging Device

After about six years it was time for a new laptop.  I had quadrupled the amount of RAM and the hard drive, purchased a new power cord and the monitor had issues (as in didn't always want to work), so it was time to go shopping.  First I purchased a laptop from Fry's, but kept it sealed so I could return it.  Next I went to Sam's Club, where for a little bit less, I got a better laptop that includes a blu-ray player, webcam and finger print scanner among many other cool features.

So from here on out (at least for the next few years), this will be the laptop that I use on a near daily basis and of course, blog from.  I took the desktop image last year during a snowshoe hike through Big Trees State Park.

Thanksgiving 2010

In a twist of events, we had more than 5 feet of snow during Thanksgiving 2010, in years past we have been able to enjoy meals on the deck, listen to my brother play the guitar while in the sun and get things done ... like use the chain saws.  This year however the snow blower got a work out, clearing more than 4 feet of snow off the deck when we arrived.  Thursday we enjoyed a game of Thanksgiving Pinochle before dining on turkey and my personal favorite, stuffing.  On Friday Eric and my mom's cousins came up to enjoy the Bradley Lodge with us, we put up the Christmas Tree and we played lots of Wii (bowling, Wii Fit, ...).  Saturday we woke up to snow, played a full round of dominoes and it continued to snow throughout the day and the deck ended up with 15+ inches of fresh powder.  We also ventured outside, using our snow shoes to take a little adventure around the property and fired up the snow blower again just minutes before our snow plow service came to do the rest.

A 3 AM Wake Up Call

After 15 months it was time to head back out on the road for a business trip.  This time, just a quick trip to Fresno for a live shot at Specialized Parts Planet with Great Day on KMPH (Fox, Fresno). I started out with a workout at 24 Hour Fitness in Roseville, then headed to Turlock for a meal at Panera before checking into my hotel, looking at my e-mail and of course asking where I should eat via Facebook and Twitter.  Three people recommended I head to Dog House Grill.  I knew it would be a good place when there was no parking spots left, but I finally found a place and went inside.  After one look at the menu I recognized a similarity to a San Luis Obispo favorite, Firestone Grill, that suspicion was later confirmed by the same three friends and as I enjoyed my tri-tip sandwich and fries.

Monday I was awakened by my cell phone alarm and a wake up call at 3 am and made it to Specialized Parts Planet by 4 am to meet with the client and make sure everything was ready for our live sho…

An Expensive Water Bottle

We live in a nation of discounts, deals, specials, coupons, Groupon and more.  We shop at discount and big box stores. We look online to see if there is a better price.  But what about making a difference?  Are we willing to spend a little bit to help someone?  Are we willing to make a difference? Are we willing to change a life?

I got my World Vision Gift Catalog a few weeks ago, I wasn't going to buy anything, money has been tight this year, but then I looked.  I realized that despite money being tight by my standards, I have more than most.  I have water to drink, food to eat, a job to go to, a bed to sleep in.  So I decided to buy the most expensive water bottle and coffee mug of my life.  At $70 each, I know I could have gotten a cheaper one almost anywhere, but no where else can my purchase go to make such a difference.

So what gifts will you give this holiday season? Will your gifts make a difference or will they just end up in the hallway closet? Yes you can give gifts to …

Happy Birthday ... To Me!

My birthday weekend started out great, Facebook Places came to my Blackberry Storm on Thursday night, then my boss purchased pizza for the office and announced that we would be getting massages next Friday, then it was off to the Bradley Lodge.  Although some people don't think you should be staining the lodge and shampooing the carpet on your birthday I didn't mind at all.  Saturday my parents had some friends up to the lodge for lunch and dinner, then we celebrated my birthday in style with some great wine, salmon and for dessert a cake (and cupcakes) topped with Reese's Pieces from Sam's Club, accompanied by two gifts.  First up Weird California, which features almost everything weird in California, including San Luis Obispo's famous "Bubble Gum Alley." If you know how I choose hotels for business trips, then you will appreciated gift number two, a flip waffle maker ... it's amazing and now I might have to cook breakfast more often, just because it…

A Day With Family

After a quick trip to the gym with a friend for some cardio and conversation I met my parents at my house and we headed to Loomis for brunch at the High Hand Conservatory.  I didn't really know what to expect, but I was immediately impressed.  The nursery was beautiful and the conservatory reminded me of a cross between the butterfly exhibit of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the dinning room and patio of Tower Cafe.  The food and the service were great as well, I had a shrimp and crab omelet, while the rest of the family had artisan sandwiches and a squash soup.  After our meal we headed through the gardens and into the expansive art gallery before heading to the Auburn area to check out the region's wine country. Although we only made it to one winery (we tried for more, but signage was lacking and a few appeared to be closed for private events) it was still fun and I think we chose the right one to go to.  Vina Castella in Auburn had fabulous grounds, the vineyards were cha…

Sacramento Mountain Lions and Lincoln Brewster

I've wanted to go to a Sacramento Mountain Lions for awhile now, but never took the time to buy a ticket and go.  With Bayside selling tickets and Lincoln Brewster performing at the pre-game "Fan Fest" and at half-time I decided to attend.  Weather and the World Series seemed to take quite a few people away from Hornet Stadium, but it was still a lot of fun to hang out with a former co-worker who now works for the PR firm in charge of the Mountain Lions, see Lincoln Brewster (from a lot closer than I am used to) and of course watch some football.  Although the Mountain Lions lost in the last seconds of the game, I enjoyed the atmosphere, the Frisbee catching dogs, being on the field for the concert, hanging with the Chick-Fil-A cows, the fireworks, seeing Denzel Washington and the enthusiasm of the fans.  Here's to hoping that tonight's game will not be my last.

"It's My Mall" - Roseville Galleria

Today marked the first full weekend that the Roseville Galleria has been open since the fire that destroyed or damaged a large portion of it.  Although more than half of the stores remain closed, many more seem to open daily and people are returning too.  Many have said that the mall is not just a place of commerce, but is a place that helps build a sense of community.

Today Westfield hosted a community spirit day with a Halloween event for children, stores handed out candy to customers and mall representatives allowed community members to write inspirational quotes on the new (semi-permanent) wall that separates the open part of the mall from the closed portion. After getting my free "It's my mall" t-shirt (this time they remembered to thank the Roseville PD, they "forgot" in last Sunday's Sacramento Bee ad), I took a walk to the far corner of the parking lot to look at all the restoration semi trucks. For now the closest thing to seeing the restoration in…

Roseville Galleria - Rebuilding Together

Just a quick post to show pictures of the newly reopened Roseville Galleria (as you may recall I helped break the news on Sunday). Only 41 stores open today, although about 70 have permits that basically say they can open when they are ready.  A few more, including Banana Republic will be opening tomorrow.  In speaking with a sales associate at GAP, they confirmed my suspicions that the person that started the fire (okay "suspected" arsonist) did not come out wearing GAP clothing as he originally claimed.  It was most likely Anchor Blue or a similar store.  The mall did have a smell a little bit like smoke and cleaning products, but overall was clean and comfortable.  The wall that has been constructed to block off one section includes quotes that were written on the Galleria's Facebook page.

An Accidental Omission? Roseville Galleria Ad Forgets Someone

The Roseville Galleria incident on Thursday proved to be an amazing show of coordination between dozens of agencies.  It only makes sense to thank them, right?  Well Westfield (the owner of the Roseville Galleria) decided to do just that. They asked the Roseville Police Department to compile a list of all agencies that were involved and then purchased a full page ad in today's paper.  To the casual observer the 34 agencies thanked seemed like plenty. The omission? The Roseville Police Department.

There are two basic ways to take this.  The first: They made the list and forgot to add themselves (similar to when you count a group of people and forget to count yourself).  Second: Westfield intentionally left them off the list because they could be the ones that ordered the malls fire suppression sprinklers turned off, meaning a fire that would have caused minor damage to just a few stores, caused major damage to 3/4 of the mall and will close parts of it for months.

Either way it rei…

From a Twitter Rumor to Confirmed by News10 - Roseville Galleria Reopen

It's no secret that I'm a little bit addicted to Twitter, Facebook and the news.  It's also no secret that I have been following the fire and its aftermath closely since it began on Thursday morning.  Tonight around 5:30 I saw tweets from a friend that said she had heard a rumor that parts of the Roseville Galleria could reopen within a week.  I quickly spread that good news, saying that I hoped it was true. After a few minutes I decided to play it safe and post that it was just a rumor, I also sent the information to a friend at News10.  Soon after that the Mayor Pro Tem of Roseville posted on a friend's Facebook page (he's running for City Council) that clean up crews were making great progress, I quickly sent this information to News10 as well. Within 15 minutes of getting the information from me, she had contacted a member of the clean up team and confirmed the fact that parts of the Galleria could reopen as early as Thursday, just one week after the initial in…

Roseville Galleria Fire

As the news broke around 10:30 this morning, I noticed it on Twitter.  I figured it would be taken care of quickly, just another hostage situation.  By about noon everything seemed to be okay, the suspect was in custody and the bomb squad was on scene to see if there really was a bomb.  Around 1:30 everything changed. A huge plume of smoke could be seen from my office miles away and from throughout the Sacramento region.  I watched with thousands of others online as the mall we have come to know, love and frequent literally went up in smoke.

That said, this post isn't just about the fire, it's about how social media was utilized in the response.  "Roseville Galleria" quickly became one of the top 10 worldwide trending topics on Twitter (number 5 to be exact). Roseville residents and workers not only went to their office windows to look, but took out their phones, snapped and posted pictures, took videos and helped local media get a more complete picture of what was g…

From Staining to a Wedding

The weekend started off with a massive project at the Bradley Lodge, my dad and I stained nearly all of the main level siding and everything that could be reached from the roof.  It was a fun project and in the end it turned out great and will help protect the lodge from both sun and snow. Inside my mom and grandma worked to change over the lodge from summer to winter (clothing, sheets and decor).

Late Saturday evening I was officially invited to a friend's wedding on 10/10/10 and helped them find a beautiful hotel for their first night as newlyweds (Thank you Ashlee and The Citizen Hotel). The wedding was in the bride's parents' backyard and was truly beautiful.  The bride and groom radiated with a love and that energy was evident throughout the afternoon and evening. From the ceremony to the reception to dinner and cake it was amazing. It was a great evening to hang out with some friends and see two friends tie the knot to start a life long journey together.


My parent's celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary today (check out last year's post a picture from this day 39 years ago).  All I can say is Thank You.  In a year of uncertainty for me, they were there.  They were there to talk, there to help and there to take me to the Bradley Lodge for rest, relaxation, distractions and more.  They have always been supportive, always been available and always willing to help, no matter the cost or the time commitment.  I can only hope that one day, I will be to my children what they are, have been and will continue to be for me, my brother and my nephews.


Ferrari + Car Crusher = All in a Day's Work

Well this week was pretty amazing for a variety of reasons, but Thursday stands out as the best (and most interesting) work day.  First I woke up at 5 am and headed from Fort Bradley to Specialized Parts Planet in Rancho Cordova for a series of live shots on Good Day Sacramento.  The idea: have fun, while showing that buying used auto parts from Specialized Parts Planet is more cost effective and better for the environment than buying new parts from the manufacturer. We took a door off a Mercedes that would retail for $800 to $1,000 new, but used it is only about $400.  You can get everything from a tail-light to a hood for almost any car you can think of at Specialized Parts Planet, even Ferrari's.  After playing with cars in reasonably good condition and a 2003 Ferrari for the first few shots we moved on to the main event, the "CRUSHER." The reporter played hang man ("Good Day Sacramento" was the answer) and Tic-Tac-Toe on a few cars before watching them get …

Real Life

I had the amazing opportunity to not only see Lincoln Brewster in concert, but hear songs from his new CD, "Real Life" and get an advance copy about two weeks before its official release (in Lincoln's words "an official bootleg") on September 28th.  After watching the concert and singing along, all I can say is that there will be a few new worship songs being sung in churches across the country very soon.  The first single, "Reaching for You," may quickly become a classic, while "Real Life" serves as a bio for Lincoln and will be inspirational to many.  Beyond hearing Lincoln, I also experienced a worship night with Matt Redman and Christy Nockles.  Matt Redman may be best known for writing "You Alone Can Rescue" and "Blessed be Your Name" in the wake of September 11th and Nockles for her work with the 268 Generation (Passion Conferences) and "Healing is in Your Hands."

Photo Credit |@BaysidePictures


Today, my youngest nephew, Levi, was dedicated at his church, Central Peninsula Church in Foster City.  It was great to see him, his parents and brother and other family and friends at the after party in Redwood City too.

If you are free this week there is lots going on from a Social Media in Politics seminar on Tuesday night (Sept 21), to concerts at Bayside Thursday and Friday with Matt Redman and Lincoln Brewster.  Lincoln Brewster will also be leading worship at all Bayside services this weekend with music from his new CD, coming out in a few weeks, but you can get a copy early if you come to church.


My last post about this day in history was two years ago. It was a hopeful post about "Greater Things" to come and despite a preacher's initial intentions to burn the Koran, the devastating loss of life and property in San Bruno and an economy still struggling to recover I have to believe that there are truly greater things to come. On this day, we not only remember the thousands who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, but we remember our troops serving around the world, the ones that lost their lives not just protecting our freedom, but the freedom of others, the families affected by loss and we remember to pray.  There is hope in this time of looking back, it is not just a time of mourning, but a time to look ahead, look up and move forward, while never forgetting a day in history that brought a country and a world together.

Camp Bradley - 2010

With an official logo designed and the now required "Free WiFi Hotspot" sign in position, "Camp Bradley" (my parent's house in Sacramento) had one of its largest gatherings of family and friends this Labor Day Weekend.  25 family members plus neighbors and friends arrived to the camp on Saturday with a sense of excitement, joy and a desire to experience the wilderness of Camp Bradley, while enjoying all the comforts that a home in the city has to offer, including flush toilets, nice (clean) showers, a fully stocked kitchen, multiple refrigerators and freezers, a dishwasher, running water, pool, electricity and of course WiFi and 3G coverage.  This year Camp Bradley visitors enjoyed swimming in the lake (pool), the famous ranger presentation (looking at pictures from past events and slides from before some of us were born) incredible food (at least one meal was prepared by each family attending), sleeping in the wilderness (tents in the backyard), satellite TV u…

New Beginnings

As many of you saw yesterday, I have accepted a full time position with Augustine & Associates as a Public Relations Specialist.  I have been working with Augustine on a freelance basis for the past two months (you may have seen my posts about Specialized Parts Planet coverage) and based on that work they decided to hire me on full-time.  Although I have been in the office part-time over the last four weeks, today was my first official day (I got to fill out lots of paperwork) and Tuesday will be my first full week of 8 hour days since I was laid off in September. It has been and will continue to be great to be part of a dynamic team of individuals that are truly world-class.

My Job Search Statistics:
659 - e-mails labeled "Jobs" in my Gmail Inbox 
100s - of contacts (and new friends) made at Tweetups and other networking events
100s - of tweets and Facebook status updates
70 - blog posts
24 -  "job search" blog posts
5 -  major resume revisions
4 - oil chan…

It's Almost November

Well Sam's Club has out Halloween items, Costco has out Santa and reindeer, but my sights are on November right now, not for my birthday or for Thanksgiving, but the election.  No this is not a political blog, no I will not tell you which way to vote, but as some of you may know I sit on a volunteer committee for Citizen Voice.  One of my projects is to find a representative from each side of the nine propositions on the California ballot and set up debates between the supporters and the opposition.  Each debate is 10 to 15 minutes long and is then placed on the Citizen Voice website for every Californian to watch.  Why do I do it?  Why does Citizen Voice take the time to film debates for each proposition?  Simply because it is important to have informed voters and with a voter guide numbering nearly 130 pages, we all recognize that very few people will actually read it from cover to cover, but perhaps they will watch videos from their computer or smart phone.  This year may not h…

Woody Woodpecker

Well, we may have cheated a little bit, using two chainsaws, but I thought Woody Woodpecker needed a little shout out.  After half of the tree came crashing down onto the Bradley Lodge in December and we had the other half cut down professionally in July, it was time to cut it up into rounds so that we could use a log splitter in a month or so. The whole project, cutting 30 rounds only took about 2 hours and with a little luck and some skill, no one was gravely injured and no limbs were lost.  Thanks to Eric for all of your help and for trying out your new toy at the Bradley Lodge!

After our fun morning, we decided to take a trip down to Arnold, where my dad got additional information about renting a log splitter (see above for the reason), we went to a Calaveras Humane Society fundraiser and art show and of course stopped at my mom's favorite store ... The Outhouse, despite the name it is a great store and for the first time I played with what is supposedly one of the "World…

Fire Near Fort Bradley

Although I was no where near Fort Bradley while a 434 acre grass fire was burning a mile away, I was still part of the action and helped get video to both Fox40 and News10.  My former roommate called me around 4:00 pm asking if I was home, I said "no" and then found out there was a fire burning in empty fields near my house, although not too scared (knowing that it would have to burn through lots of houses and jump a 4-lane road before coming close to mine), I was interested in learning more.  A few minutes later he sent me a text message with a video, I watched it and again thought all would be fine.  About an hour later, Fox40 tweeted asking for videos, I responded that I would send one, News10 quickly asked for the video as well.  Within minutes I e-mailed the video in and my former roommate and I immediately became sources of information as the video was posted on both websites.

The lesson from this ... don't just sit on the sidelines when watching breaking news, help…

Squeeze Inn

After attending the Sacramento Tweetup at ChipolteDowntown and seeing a friend from the Sacramento Bee, I noticed that she had purchased the same deal ($10 gift certificate for $4) at The Squeeze Inn, a Sacramento institution.  I've known about The Squeeze Inn for most of my life, seen it featured on Dinners, Drive-Ins and Dives, followed news developments after an ADA lawsuit was filed against them and they decided to move from their original location and so on.  All of that said, today was my first experience at the world famous establishment.  The "Squeeze with Cheese" was amazing!  A well cooked hamburger with grated cheese piled high, making a "cheese skirt" around the burger, placed on a bun and served to hungry diners.  The fries were not as good as I was hoping for, but overall I enjoyed the experience, the burger and especially the cheese.

Nephew Sitting

I was never one to babysit neighbors' children, not because I did not want to or turned people down, but because I was already among the youngest on the block, so the opportunity never presented itself. Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with my nephew and for the first time it was without his grandma, grandpa or parents in attendance.  It was only for a few hours, but we had a great time.  We went on a walk around the neighborhood, he especially enjoyed walking through the water in the gutters from a neighbor washing his car and picking up a stick and hitting piles of yard waste.  After our walk we played with his trains, cars and a new set of foam blocks that his grandparents got for him at Costco (well in all honesty, I built large towers of blocks and he crashed anything and everything into them). After a dinner of Mickey Mouse themed mac & cheese, chicken and applesauce he decided it was time to watch most of A Bugs Life and about 10 minutes of Jungle Book befor…

Good News

This week was full of good news.  On Monday I had an interview with a public relations company in downtown Sacramento (I do not know if I will make it to round two yet), on Tuesday I had an interview with the public relations/advertising agency that I have been doing freelance work for (see previous posts about Specialized Parts Planet), later that same day they offered me a part time position working in their office for about 25 hours a week.  Although I am still looking for a full time position, this could lead to that and/or help me continue to build a more robust portfolio of work experience that I can take with me to other opportunities as they present themselves. Most importantly it gives me a huge burst of confidence that all of my hard work, persistence, networking (which will continue), education (through "webinars" and events) is paying off in ways that I may have never imagined.

Beyond interviewing, I also went to the Bradley Lodge, where my mom, grandma and I pain…