Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's About @#$%ing Time!

Yup, after all the talk, all the planning, all the waiting…the new RMS Sound Studios has finally broken ground. I feel so…dusty. Actually, all the dust is currently contained in the new space. 3,200 square feet previously occupied by Classic Country Antiques (Betty has moved her operation just up the street) now an empty box, but soon to contain 2 new, extra large control rooms each with a roomy voice-over booth, a big ole live tracking room and, yes, a new restroom. (I know how much everyone liked the old ones, so we’ll bear that in mind as we decorate). I’ll tell you later about all the state-of-the-art this and world-class that. For now, I’m just happy to be moving forward. Strange and exciting times here in Birmingham. Stay tuned.

The Mound

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses

Most that know me know that I tell lots of funny stories. Well, some people think they're funny. This one is true. Take from it what you will.

You have probably heard of St. Therese of Lisieux aka "The Little Flower". It's said that when one asks for her help in prayer that they or the person they are praying for will, as an acknowledgment that the prayers have been heard, in some way come in contact with roses. St. Therese has been quoted as saying...

"I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven, doing good on earth."

In the winter of 1991 I thought my life sucked. I had had my first heart attack two years earlier, my business was going nowhere, we we're broke, my marriage was shaky, my infant son was not well, throwing up everything he ate, and so far, it had been a cold winter. Seeing all this, my mother-in-law, without my or my wife's knowledge, began a nine day long prayer, called a novena, to St. Therese on our behalf. Remember, no one other than my mother-in-law is aware that this prayer has begun. On Jackie's birthday, Dec 30th I sent her flowers...a dozen red roses. My aunt Laura also sent her flowers...a dozen white roses. This is where it gets interesting. Several days later, a winter storm dumped about 6 to 10 inches snow on the ground. I was trudging through it to the shed in our backyard to get a snow shovel when I smelled them. So sweet and strong I stopped dead in my tracks to see every one of the rose bushes we had planted the previous spring in full bloom! The red, pink, a peach colors of the petals and the green of the leaves a shocking contrast to the pure white of the snow that surrounded them. I called Jackie out of the house and we both just stood there in amazement. It is without a doubt one of the most surreal things I have ever seen. When Jackie called her mom to tell her, she responded flatly "I'm not surprised, I've been saying a novena to St. Therese for you guys". Did it work? Well, we'll be married 20 years in October. RMS is expanding again after more than 20 years in business. My Son? A senior at Shrine of the Little Flower High School (yeah, same saint) and doing just fine thank you. And I became Catholic a year later in 1992, (I think my mother-in-law sneaked that prayer in) and we are parishioners at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak. And the story goes on...

A few weeks ago, Jackie passed a kidney stone (ouch). She had several tests that also revealed a 3.5 cm mass on her kidney. Without telling me or anyone else she began the novena. On Friday, before the dreaded appointment with the surgeon, she received 4 dozen beautiful roses from my staff (thanks ever so much, guys). The prognosis? Excellent. While about 80 percent of these tumors are malignant, this one was caught early, is small enough to be removed using robotics and very small incisions. No chemo, no radiation and she gets to keep her kidney. As I say, take from it what you will. Thank you, St. Therese.

The Mound

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Everything Is Gonna Be Okay

A dear friend of mine calls me every so often and says, "Tell me everything is gonna be okay".
I remind him that everything is cyclical, clients come and go, relationships come and go and that, ultimately, things work themselves out. Easy enough to say but for some, especially now, believing it is another matter. I'm sure my friend asks me for this occasional reminder because it gives him comfort. But it's temporary. Stress builds, situations change and the universe seems to pile it on, to the point where he needs another reminder. Just about the time I get the call, things for him seem to quiet down, work comes in, checks come in and I'm again proven right. See...cyclical.

I know that for many of us times have never been tougher or scarier. But it can't last forever. It can and will get better. Jobs will come back, the economy will improve, our industry will grow and this town, this state will recover.

Now, you may be saying "Mound, please remove your enormous head from your ass and look around!" And if you are saying this, I know who you are.

Everything is gonna be okay.

The Mound

No problem

I do not believe there is such a thing as a "mid-life crisis". And even if there is, I'm not having one.

Of course, I've been told that I do exhibit all of the classic symptoms. The motorcycle, the tattoos (got a new one on Sunday), the earrings, the goatee. The whole "biker" vibe. To me, these are just fun transportation and decoration. To some, they are outward signs that there is something wrong with me. There isn't. Yes, I'll be 50 in October and I suppose that does qualify as "middle age", but that isn't a crisis. In fact, it's anything but! I've managed to survive half a century on this planet and I feel pretty blessed to have made it that long. I've had multiple "close calls" and sometimes lived a little too close to the edge, but for reasons unknown to me, I'm still here. Every day, every moment is a gift to be enjoyed. So that's what I'm doing. It's only a crisis if there's a problem. Other than the beard being itchy, my ears being hairy, tattoos being painful and life being too short...no problem.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Freedom Baby, Yeah!

Marna's husband, Larry stopped by the studio with their grandson Ben today. What a precious little man!

After seeing my big two-wheeler in the parking lot, Larry mentioned to me what a great day it was to be out on the bike. He's right! It's 12 noon, sunny and 80 and the road is calling. In fact, it's screaming. As most of you are aware, motorcycling has become a passion of mine. In late June I did a 1250 mile trek around our beautiful state on my own, then in late July, Communicores Dean Saigeon joined me for an 8 day, 1900 mile trip on our pimped out Victory Motorcycles that took us to places like Mackinaw City, Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Munising to see the breath-taking Pictured Rocks, all the way up to Copper Harbor. What an experience! You owe it to yourself to travel and enjoy this amazing State of Michigan. However, for those that haven't, a video of our travels is in the works. Dean brought along his new Kodak HD hand-held video camera and I strapped on a new Contour HD helmet cam and we documented the entire journey. Not only will you be awed by the scenery, captivated by our narrative and thrilled by our motorcycling expertise, but you will surely be impressed by how much Dean and I can eat and drink. Especially me.

Well, gotta go wash and wax my baby. It's a beautiful day to be out on the bike.

The Mound

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You should have a blog!

Alright then, I WILL!

OK, now what?

I know, I'll complain about stuff. How about when an advertiser has something good going and decides to change it, just for the sake of change. Makes me crazy. Today, an agency producer sent me a rough cut of a new TV spot to look at and asked me to help them choose some new music for it. Thing is, it looked a lot like the old TV spot. Same format, graphic treatment, same pace, same announcer, you get the idea. I suggested that since they were sticking with the same look and feel they should consider keeping the track the same. Campaign equity, branding, message consistency, I used all the buzz words. "Nope, we're tired of that music". Not the end client, mind you. The agency is tired of that music. Perhaps that's because they've heard it about a hundred times for every one time the television audience has heard it. Honestly, I'm sick of it too, having heard it about a hundred times more than the folks at the agency have. But the TV audience is no where near as in tune with it as we are. In fact, when I asked one of the folks that works in my office about it, she said "I like that music, I know when I hear it, even if I'm in the other room that it's a (insert client/product name here) spot".

But why should I care? After all, a music drop is a music drop, right? I get paid the same either way, right? Nope, still makes me crazy.

That felt really good. I think I like this blogging thing.

The Mound