Friday, June 27, 2008

Idol Come Again

I just finished watching last night's Canadian Idol. Great show. They did group performances and they reworked a bunch of songs. A few of them, including Drew Wright who I think is good, did a great "Heard It Through The Grapvine" that was really good.

Then they announced you got booted. Two of them were shockers for me. And I guess I wasn't the only one.

It was funny because Tetiana and Shaun were like me - in shock. The other two knew they were going home and were laughing about it on the stage but Shaun was totally shocked. The other two are smiling but Tetiana and Shaun look out of it.

Check it out:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Canadian Idol, first cuts

I didn't watch last night's show live as I was having dinner with some friends but I have to admit that I was really shocked to see two of the people who went home. I thought Tetiana and Shaun Francisco were both really talented and not even in the bottom half of the talent pool... or even close.

As such, I have to admit that I am totally surprised by this. As always, I'm sure that regional voting really plays a big part at this stage of the competition. Both Tetiana (Ont.) and Shaun (B.C) come from provinces that have multiple contestants and many of them are talented so they probably just got lost in the shuffle that way.

I finished reading the recap and it appears as though they did some group performances... which sounds interesting... but I will have to watch the show tonight so that I can try to figure out what the story really was...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


For those of you that don't know, my background has been centered around email marketing... so spam is something I have had to deal with on a daily basis.

At my new position, I receive a tonne of spam because emails sent to certain aliases (the part before the @symbol) come to my inbox. Most go to my junk folder and I delete but I get about 50 of them a day. 50!

Seeing as I'm about 75% done my MBA, I thought this one was pretty funny:

Bacheelor, MasteerMBA, and Doctoraate diplomas available in the field of your choice that's right, you can even become a Doctor and receive all the benefits that comes with it!

Our Diplomas/Certificates are recognised in most countries

No required examination, tests, classes, books, or interviews.

** No one is turned down** Confidentiality assured


For US: 1-501-647-0781Outside US: +1-501-647-0781

"Just leave your NAME & PHONE NO. (with CountryCode)" in the voicemail

our staff will get back to you in next few days

I was laughing as I read it. First the spelling mistakes always make me howl.. but then I said to myself "wait there are no exams, tests, books, interviews..." what kind of program can this be??

Do they have a frosh week?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Top 12, part two

Tonight was the second half of the top 12.

Going first at this stage of the competition only makes it more difficult and tonight's first contestant was Jesse Cottam who did "Rebel Yell". Great song but he was pretty weak. Don't look for him to make it past the next two weeks.

Next up was Mark Day, aka the newf, he chose a quintessential girl song "How Do I Get You Alone" or should I say "Coming Out Without Saying You're Gay On National TV". He wasn't very good but might get the whole East Coast behind him...

I might as well say what I think about the Canadian Idol Judges... Farley and Sass are worth ignoring... Zack is an idiot and takes the focus off the contestants and puts it on himself and Jake Gold is usually spot on and I enjoy hearing what he has to say.

Jessica Sheppard did that "Get Here If You Can".. at least I think that was the name. She was pretty good but I wasn't really feeling the performances so far.

Ok so Shaun Francisco had big momentum in the auditions... he was sent home last year.... he did Coldplay's "Yellow" and re-arranged it a bit... he wasn't stand out amazing but very solid and has the chance to go pretty far. He's smart though and trying not to peak early (aka pull a David Archuleta). But he was playing a nice Gibson ES-335.

I have no clue what song Lindsay Robbins did but she was very average. She's the screaming rocking chick but it's not an original shtick. However I always admire people who just go for it.

Omar Lunan was next and wasn't that great... he has a good voice though.. he did "Every Breath You Take". so far though, nobody had really stepped it up and hit a home run..

Marie-Pierre did Amy Winehouse's "Trouble" which is a great tune but doesn't go over well with a french accent... they should just steer clear of the word "t shirt". She can really sing though and looked good up there...

The second Pigot brother has a great voice but performance wasn't that great. Song choice - Amanda Marshall's "Dark Horse" was terrible but he's going to be around.

Theo Tams was next and he was also really good in auditions. He did that "Apologize" song which was a really bad song choice for him.... he reworked it to make it as best as he could but please why do people pick these songs that can only be good as their original.

At this point the show wasn't as good as last night - at all.

Amber-Lee was country and pretty good but I was bored. She's like Jewel.

Adam Castelli has been a big favorite of mine and I think he could be in a band someday. He did the "The Mess-around"... classic boogie song which was a good choice. I think that is a Little Richard song or something.. anyways.. good performance. He's probably the only contestant in Idol history (US or CA) that I would actually have a beer with.

Katelyn Dawn was really good. She reworked "Hallelujah"... but Jason Castro owned that song on AI so no points for that choice... she should not have played the guitar though...

Overall tonight's show wasn't close to as good as last night's show. I think we might see one of people who performed near the start of each show go home..

Derrick Carter

From the Sullivan Room in NYC. This is house music.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 24, Night One...

Ok so tonight was the first 12 of the top 24. This year's show is going to be good.

The first two performances weren't very good but still, they weren't very bad either. The french girl I didn't know much about did a great Elvis impersonation. Then, the bloke did Blue Rodeo's "Lost Together" and it was not that great.

The dude from Northern BC, Gary Morisette was rocking. He's class and did a guitar solo so I love that he just went for it. Really original voice and great energy. He actually destroyed it.

Tatiana was also really good. She reworked "Feelings" into a sultry 70's lounge type tune. Really good stuff. Her and Gary were both really strong.

Mitch MacDonald from Cape Breton was also good. Lots of seasoned performers this year. But he did a Gavin DeGraw song... country ain't my thing. He should have done "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" by Big and Rich.

Paul Clifford from Port Moody was great in auditions. He has an insane growl to his voice but he song choice wasn't outstanding. He didn't let it rip though and that's a problem in this type of competition. Some time people should not play the guitar and just stand up and sing.

The competition really started when Earl blew up "All Along the Watchtower". He's really good.

I thought Lisa Bell had great funk and energy when she did the Doobie Brothers "Long Train Running". Mookie was sweet and he actually was named after Mookie Wilson who made a hit win the game against the Blue Jays as he was born.

He did Twist and Shout. Honest to God. It was really good. He also got an interesting voice and I thought he killed it. This kid could lead a band someday. And he used a classic Rickenbacker, the kind of guitar John Lennon used to play. In fact, the Beatles have a strong connection to that brand. Zach commented he's get the record deal so far and I have to say there are a few people in this year's competition that could be signed already.

©1999 Astrid Kircherr. Used with absolutely no permission.

I was really impressed with Drew Wright in the auditions and felt he was going to go far. He did Queen's "Under Pressure" and it he hit the crazy shreeking note at the middle. But the rest was flat for me. He's not going to peak early.

The Pigot brothers are both good and seasoned performers. The older one, Oliver was pretty raw and did a good number of him pumps. The ladies loved that. Some great energy to this point.

The french girl Katherine St-Laurent has an unreal voice and did "Total Eclipse of the Heart". That is probably one of the frenchest last names out there too. She has great tone and could actually sing much harder than she did. She was actually amazing.

Way more good performances than bad. Better so far than American Idol was this season so far.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Canadian Idol...

For those who don't know, Canadian Idol picked their top 24 this week. You can see them here.

A few talented people in the bunch. Word on the street is that the producers went out to find unsigned indie people and encouraged them to be on the show... which makes sense as they didn't want the bunch of amateurs they have been getting in recent seasons here in Canada where the winner is usually the only person who was able to perform well consistently. Last year, the final was hilarious. A 16 year old blonde Elvis who shouldn't have made it past round 3 and a good singer that sounded like the lead signer from The Watchmen.

Those of you reading from the good 'ole U.S of A will have no clue who they are. Which is understandeable as we here in Canada have what they call CanCon (Canadian Content) rules that mandate a certain portion of media be Canadian programming. So - Canadian radio stations have to play Canadian music which means that bands often get big in Canada based on that.

Now I'm not saying The Watchmen were only popular because of this, but you see my point...

Today is Friday and I have finished week 3 here at Laplink. So far, I have been really having a blast. I get to be involved in everything from package design to product design to online marketing to business development. This is a great company with a great future and I feel really blessed to be able to participate in that.

However, let's see how I feel in a year from now after the Xmas rush is over.... hee hee.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm getting my feet wet

In case you haven't been watching the news recently, six severed feet have washed up on the various shores around Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

They don't know exactly where they came from or who they belong to but they were found with shoes on them... one was a Reebok and one was Adidas.

Perhaps this the most brilliant gorilla/viral marketing campaign ever?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nice hat

Saw this guy while driving back from Bellevue yesterday... one of the funniest things I've seen since the photo-bombing site.

I actually thought he had a pet racoon on his back from a distance... I wonder who he's voting for in the upcoming U.S. election?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Someone posted this funny website on a message board....

Photo-bombing is the concept of a photo that is ruined by someone doing something stupid in it. It is not always intentional, but often is and is not always in the background...

They have developed a whole site around some of these shots. Here is a pretty funny one.

What a tangled world wide web

I was thinking the other day... it was back in the fall of 1995, when I first saw the Internet, in the form of the world wide web. Mount Allison, where I did my undergrad, was the first school wired in every room. I remember getting my computer hooked up a month or so into school.

I had email and everything, including a direct to server slow dial up... back then, Yahoo was THE site where everyone went to find things. A band I was into, Phish, had phans that really grabbed a hold of the medium in order to keep in touch about shows. If you go to and poke around, you can read all about it, it's pretty interesting how early they were on that train...

Even back then, the web fascinated me. I remember trying to learn HTML and make a simple html page for myself that was basically just a few links - but never hosted anywhere. Oddly enough, I took a marketing class that had a few sessions in the cpu lab where we made pages and spoke about internet marketing. When it came time for a project, my group created web portal for baby boomers called This was about 1997, I think and our biggest hurdle was convincing our class people would buy stuff on the 'net....

I moved off campus in the third year and my web access diminished severely. I had to unsubscribe from a few of the e-newsletter I was on...and never did much but send a few emails... I got side tracked into other things, like finance... and didn't come back to the net really until about 2000 when I quit TD Watherhouse to work at Flonetwork, a email marketing company and ASP with a product called Flo.

I always wonder what would have happened if I hadn't moved off campus, or if I hadn't gotten side tracked by finance... or if we had actually moved on that business plan for a web portal years before the tech boom.... and subsequent bust.

This past week, as I entered back into the web marketing world I was struck once more by just how far the web has come... and how diverse it is... In 2000, email marketing was just getting started and we had to convince people that it worked. These days, it is a given in any e-marketing mix - even to the point of being "old" and tired.

Even search marketing and pay per click... where you bid or pay for keywords/ads that are placed on pages where people find them... is getting tired... Now, the big new thing is viral stuff... where you hand the content over to the customer and they run with it... so you see pages being tagged with delicious, digg, stumble.. heck, go to any site and you'll see tonnes of little icons for these types of sites... I counted twenty on a site just today.

Each day that I sit down at my desk I have about 10 different channels to check on... it's insane... but at the same time, super fun and dynamic... but the times, they are a changin'..

So what does this all mean?

For marketers, or as some say, marketeers... it means that we have to be:

Smart: You have to know your customer, how they behave and what they think about. You need to know what sites they go to and how they use the web. Then you have to figure out how to get there efficiently because if you don't do the second part, you will choke on opportunity. Evaluate everything that comes down.. does this fit with my value proposition?... my target market?

Vigilant: You need to be constantly monitoring how you're doing. It is not 1960, when you filmed an ad and put it on TV.... you tweak search copy see how it works, tweak it some more... you need to keep your head on swivel at all times. What are your customers saying about you? Where are you in the search engines... how are your affiliates doing?

Gutsy: If you're going to get into the viral stuff, then you have to be ready to turn your content over to the public. That takes massive guts because you can't control it anymore and you might not be able to stop it or turn it back.... you need to do your best upfront and hope that you don't hurt your brand. Not many people in upper management have the balls to do this and go all the way....

But this is what makes marketing so fun... how many people get to say that they are required to be smart, vigilant and gutsy on a daily basis... heck, I am usually required to be all three over 1o times in one single day... what more could you ask for?

Friday, June 6, 2008

David Archuleta News

So this season's American Idol winner David Cook is in a studio somewhere working on his album while the runner-up, David Archuleta is making news.

Seems Archie has been signed to a record deal with 19 recordings/Jive. He also had to cancel a concert that was planned for this weekend. (source)

Not a big deal except it appears his father was involved in the planning of the concert - which is classic Daddy Archie. You may recall he was being branded a nightmare in the press and there seemed to be tension around his involvement with David during the show.

I would love to go see the tour this summer but it's not coming to Vancouver... Tacoma, WA is the nearest to me... and I suppose the chance of someone wanting to join me for a road trip is probably ZERO.

I wonder... do they sell beer at these shows?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Doppelgänger

Due to the power of the mobile internet, I have received word that my doppelgänger has been spotted in NYC at Yankee Stadium just now.

... Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

new Stride gum commercial

I don't really give a crap about TV advertising but I thought this commercial for Stride gum is pretty funny... although they are using that bold white text that is so common in ads these days...

Monday, June 2, 2008

First Day

I started the first day of my internship/new job at Laplink. I am working for their Canadian subsidiary in their Vancouver office.

We have an intimate space just east of Cambie and Broadway that reminds me of when I first started working in e-marketing. The office is quiet - however I wonder how long until they all realize I am one of the loudest people in Canada... Perhaps I will have to turn over a new leaf here at Laplink Canada...

I am going to be spending this summer diving into their marketing and outlining some plans for how things are going to taken to the next level. In the fall, I am going to move into part time to finish my MBA until May 2009 while working here full time. On the surface that may sound like a raw deal but trust me - I spent the last 8 months working like a dog at school so this won't be any worse. Plus, I think this is a great company and a great opportunity for me to apply what I have learned.

You would think I would be nervous on my first day - but I haven't been. Everyone here is super nice and I really think there is a great fit between me and the company. This is exactly the type of situation I wanted to be in when I graduated - so yes, it came a bit early but you gotta jump on the train when it is leaving the station.

Anyways, just finished logging into my new email account and we are working on getting me all set up at my desk....

I might be pretty busy this week with work but I hope you all have a great week and a wonderful start to June - three weeks until summer begins!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Back to life, back to reality

Got back yesterday afternoon from my week in Kelowna. It was amazing. If the weather is nice, which it was for every day we were there, then the driving up there is filled with great views and amazing roads.

The Lake Okanagan Resort was great. We had a great room on the water with a great view:

As you can see, the weather was unbelievable. We spent most of our time relaxing but we did visit a few amazing wineries.

The first day we rented a driver and went to Rollingdale Winery. A friend of ours recommended it and we had a lengthy tour of the property followed by a pretty intense tasting experience that included some barrel tastings. We bought a few bottles each and headed out of there a few hours later...

The next day, we decided it was best if we tried to hit up a few wineries. We started with a few that were near Rollingdale. The first was the famous Mission Hill, known for the really nice grounds and clocktower.

We took a tour of their facilities, including the wine cellar, where I was able to get a good picture of what their barrel set up looks like.

They had some great wines and I walked away with a few nice bottles.

Next, we went to Quail's Gate for some lunch and some tastings. They are just down the road from Mission Hill and have some great Pinot Noir's. Of course I grabbed a few and we had a great lunch in their amazing restaurant that overlooks their vines.

We tried to go down to the Naramata Bench but the road was closed for an hour so the traffic was crazy. Instead we turned around and hit up the Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Now we didn't take the tour but the deal is that they have a pyramid over where their wine cellar is, so the energy is transferred to the barrels and then to the wine.

All in all a great week up in Kelowna. I highly suggest a visit.

If you want to see more pictures, check them here.