December 2011 Cover

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Our monthly magazine – SOKY Happenings – typically sports a cover created by a local artist, but this month Carrie decided she wanted something different. She wanted something edgy, something new, something wow. So she searched the far reaching expanse of the internet and suggested this…

Steampunk Santa?

Cover: “Santa’s Other Sleigh”
By George Bailey
De Leon Springs, Fl
www.geoarts.com

While not a local artist this month, this fellow is pretty good! We purchased the artwork and let him know how it would be used. We also sent him a copy of the magazine. Thanks George!

You can see most of our covers here.

The Morning After

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We went to press yesterday; it was the 54th time since we started SOKY Happenings back in 2007. This 92 page issue represents 4.5 years in the magazine publishing business – I am so proud. With our new staff, the day to day tasks such as sales, layout, copy editing, and even the calendar database (800 events) and deliveries are taken care of. This was part of my goals when I started this, to find a dedicated, talented and loyal group of people who care about our community magazine. Sure, we’re still involved, but most of the work is taken care of. It feels good.

Our busiest time is a few days before we package and send the magazine to the press. We receive everything from the troops, and do the final proofing and editing ourselves. Well, we uploaded yesterday and I’m face with “the morning after.” I got up at 03:50 a.m. with absolutely nothing to do. The early morning hours are quiet and peaceful. Just me and my thoughts on a chilly November morning.

As I sit at the kitchen table, I sip my coffee and write in my notebook. I draw floor plans, I write database tables, I crunch numbers both real and imagined, I dream and I plan. I do enjoy the morning. Typically, I’ll down three or four large cups of coffee, write about 5 or 6 pages of notes and then head down to my office to search something on the internet or to accomplish something I recalled while writing. This morning I wanted to look up some food ideas and found myself reading food blogs – again – and solidifying my poultry plans.

My Office

My Office 10/12/11

Today should be a quiet one – so Carrie and I are headed to the market – Sam’s, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc – to reprovision for our November cooking adventures. I’m not a huge fan of shopping, but with lists in hand, we will head out into the world and do our hunting and gathering.

She won’t be up for a while – I guess I’ll write another blog. :)

Thanks for reading.

Four Years in the Publishing Business

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SOKY HappeningsFour Years of SOKY Happenings
Feels Like Yesterday, Feels Like Forever

by David Francis
Anniversary Editorial : Page 19 of the June 2011 issue

I just finished paging through the June 2007 issue of SOKY Happenings, and my heart is filled with great pride in what we have become. We have evolved and become so much better than those first 36 pages, thanks in no small part to the many talented people who have helped make it better. While we have been the ones compiling the information and getting creative with the layout, SOKY Happenings magazine is a result of a fantastic, creative and willing community. From the hundreds of talented writers to the dozens of gifted artists — SOKY Happenings is a reflection of a great community.

Having re-read my first editorial, I am reminded of our first issue and what it took to bring it to the community. I remember the hard lessons and sleepless nights it took to create a resource that the community would find helpful and entertaining. I am also reminded of the people who helped, offered encouragement and sponsored our first unpublished issue four years ago. They are good memories, and those memories inspire me still.

Starting a business from scratch is one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done. Starting with nothing more than an idea — and the willingness to do the hard things — creating a business can seem overwhelming and impossible. It’s not enough to have a concept; you have to consider the little things like accounting, distribution, storage, expenses and, in the case of SOKY Happenings, content, layout, commercial printing and all of the skills necessary to bring it all together. I had experience with some of these things, but I had a lot to learn — and I learned those things because I had to.

If someone had told me that in order to make this business work, I would be required to work nonstop for 50 hours straight, I probably would have taken a pass. Not because it’s a hard thing, but because I didn’t think myself capable of such a task. It was required in order to bring our second issue to press, and I did it — with my wonderful wife, Carrie, at my side — due to the fact that I missed my deadline and had to work each hour until I was done. No naps, no breaks, just work! I had two months to get the first issue to press, but I only had three weeks to prepare the second. Due to the fact that I was still learning the software, hardware and techniques of publishing a magazine, three weeks was not long enough. Fifty hours straight — we just did it and we learned a lot from it, and we never had to do that again.

We had a dream to create something that would benefit the entire community, and from what we’ve been told, we have done it. We accepted the challenges, overcame adversity and had the patience to let it grow and flourish. (The patience part was probably the hardest part.) And so, here we are, exactly four years later, plugging away and doing our best to bring you a magazine you’ll find useful and entertaining.

This magazine has never been about Carrie and myself; it has always been for and about the community. The community has responded in many wonderful ways, from the more than 300 advertising sponsors over the years to the more than 100 writers who have been so eager and willing to offer their contributions to SOKY Happenings and the community.

We have received countless comments, letters and emails from the community that encourage us and let us know that our efforts are appreciated. This praise keeps us going and inspires us to continue to make the magazine better. Sure, we’ve received some criticism, but that is to be expected — and frankly, it is appreciated as well.

Over the years we, have been told that our magazine has helped local organizations and their efforts to raise funds or awareness for their respective causes. We intended to be helpful, and we are grateful that we have been.

Some of the most cherished praise comes from our advertising sponsors, who continually affirm that their sponsorship is helpful to their business. We seek companies that we can help, and we try our best to serve our sponsors and offer them value. When we receive comments that confirm our intent, it is most gratifying.

I stated our purpose in my first editorial four years ago as follows: “In short, the SOKY Happenings magazine will be focused on people, places and events in our community. It will be written by and for the people of South Central Kentucky. It will focus on the places to go, things to do and people who make it happen.” Sure, it has evolved into a little more than that, but we have remained true to our vision and will continue to do so.

There is one more memory I would like to share; it happened about two years ago, and it touched me so deeply that I’ll never forget it. I received a phone call from what sounded like a very old man. He asked me who I was, and once he was convinced that I was the person he needed to talk to, he proceeded to tell me how SOKY Happenings had changed his life. The man told me that he was in his 70s and had been a shut-in with his now-deceased wife for the past 10 years. He said he wanted to thank me because the magazine had helped him re-assimilate into the community in which he was born and raised. He said that he didn’t know what he would have done without it. Then he said thank you, then he said goodbye, then he hung up. I sat there with the phone in my ear, my jaw dropped, and a tear in my eye thanking God for the gift.

I guess when comes down to who to thank, I have a lot of people to thank. We are grateful and humbled by the support we have received. We will continue to work hard for you and continue to bring you a magazine you enjoy and can be proud of. It’s the active and involved readers who make SOKY Happenings so popular and effective, and I personally thank you for reading, for supporting our sponsors, for your continued encouragement… Thank you for picking up and choosing to read SOKY Happenings.

A Little Birthday Party

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Birthday on the inside porch.Monday November 15th - We had a few friends over to celebrate Vicki’s Birthday. The usual crowd mostly, Vicki, Paula and Robin plus me and Carrie. Nothing extravegant but we did a cheese tasting, had some tequila and then I introduced the ladies to Wii bowling. Oh what a hoot!

Since Wii only acomodates 4 bowlers, I sat this one out and I laughed until it hurt. Once they got the hang of the controller, they all were jumping around the living room, screaming and cheering each other on. It was hillarious… especially considering I was the youngest person in the room, I can’t imagine what young people would have thought of us.

Tuesday Nov 16th was a heavy work day and a day of ‘socializing’ rest. We have been going strong for almost a week now and Carrie decided to make some tortallini and chill in front of the TV. It was nice to just rest for a change.

Wednesday Nov 17th, I got a wonderful phone call from one of our sponsors. He had a national managers meeting and used our magazine as an example of effective advertising. He pressed the other managers to “find something that works and invest in it.” Then, he doubled his ad size in SOKY Happenings. WOOT!

Speaking of the magazine, we have made some significant changes over the past couple of months. The first is a new salesperson who used to own her own retail business. Angela has been able to relate well with local businesses and has brought a lot of new sponsors on board. And then there’s Jen – our new creative director who is taking care of the layout of the entire magazine. This month was the first month in 40 that I have not had to lay out the magazine. Needless to say, it looks much better now that we have true artist in charge. We have added a few new features and sections and I am confident we will be up to 100 or more pages early next year, even with the smaller font size. I expect that we will be in a position to open a new office/gallery early in 2011. I am very proud of our little magazine and what we are able to do for our community.

Today; I have to go take photos Blakes beer of the month now (read sample beer). I do like this job. (grin)

That’s all for now, Signature Chef’s event tomorrow and then the theater on Friday. I hope to have more pictures then.

Thanks for reading.

~David

Press Day Number Thirty Six

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Oh how time flies! I finished the 36th issue of SOKY Happenings on Monday – that’s three whole years of the magazine and it feels good. We started 3 years ago with 36 pages, 20 sponsors and a huge knot of worry and dread. This issue has 92 pages, more than 90 sponsors, more than 40 writers and the future feels great. We are already planning to go up to 100 pages in our anniversary issue next month. WOOHOO!

Putting together the May issue was complicated by a number of things. It seems the change in work environment complicated the process because this is the first issue since we moved our offices home. Carrie is upstairs and communication was an issue. (Which will be resolved with a wireless intercom.) Another key factor was our organization. Normally, we have two grease boards filled with notes, reminders and new sponsors with their status – we did not get those boards on the wall until last week so we were less organized than usual. It’s fixed now, but it did cause a huge problem when there were 14 ads that needed to be approved on Monday morning when I’ve normally had that done by Friday. Then there’s the internet.

The DSL isn’t going to cut it!
While AT&T suggests that we would have enough bandwidth to accommodate our needs, it just isn’t so. It took well over 2 hours to upload 258 Mb. I don’t know if they throttle FTP down on purpose or it’s just our speed, but it seemed maxed out at 26 Kps the whole time. Downloads are also slower, but day to day browsing didn’t seem affected.

SOLUTION!
Our salesperson Cynthia brought over this new fangled gadget she got from Bluegrass Cellular. It is a modem/router that connects to the internet via the cell tower and 3G network. I had a chance to try it out last night and the speed was awesome. I even tried uploading to the printer server and it went up at 85kps and was rising when I interrupted it. It seems plenty fast enough and even got a signal in my basement. I will be getting one of those for sure and the $60 per month for unlimited usage seems affordable enough.

I’ll write further about the changes because now I face another decision as to whether I need DSL and telephone service or not. I have some testing to do with not only the Vonage phone system, but also the new alarm system.

Speaking of Home Security…
I asked a local security company to come give me a quote. I received a flyer in my newspaper box that stated I could have a security system installed for under $70 so I gave them a call. Even without door sensors, and no fire monitoring, the installation/equipment came out to $626. WHAT? Yeah. AND, the monthly monitoring was to be $25 per month. So I did a little research and found that I can get a complete wireless system for under $200, install it myself and have it monitored for $9 per month. No, I won’t mention the local company because I like them and I don’t normally bash local businesses on my blog. I will however post my sources for the system once I am satisfied that it works.

Bonus! IF, and that’s a big if, I can use the Bluegrass Cellular internet to be my link to the monitoring company, there will be no outside wires that can be cut! The system has battery backup, and the modem has an 8 hour battery as well – so even if the would be burglar cuts my phone, and power lines, the wireless system will still be able to communicate. I like that!

But first – I have an urgent technology issue that I must resolve today. It involves all of my websites and databases. I’ll write more on that when I’m done. BUT, if this site goes down for a day or two, now you know why. Well almost.

Other than that – things are great! We are really enjoying this new office situation!! There is more peace and fewer complications. My efforts to “simplify” and un-clutter my life continues! Carrie was surprised how much “stuff” I threw in the garbage as we moved the office. I tossed things that I’ve been holding onto for years. It felt great. Currently, my office is a huge mess because I had to interrupt the organization to publish a magazine. It resumes today and will continue until it’s done.

That’s all for now – Thanks for reading.

(Moved from old website on Nov21st, 2010)

 

Blog 2010

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Whew, where does the time go? I have been spending most of my “blogging time” doing other things, enjoying life, updating Facebook and taking it easy. Things are going great with the magazine! April will enjoy more than 1,000 events, more than 80 sponsors, more than 44 writers and one great community that enjoys and appreciates our efforts. I am truly grateful for all that has been accomplished.

I’ve also spent more time reading this year. A LOT MORE! I’m on my 6th novel of 2010. I am really enjoying historical fiction and though I’m on my 6th, there are four more sitting on the table to read. Frankly, this is more reading than I’ve ever done and I really like it. Who would think that I would even want to read? I mean I do read all of the articles for the magazine, including those that are not published each month. Then I read them again during proof. Then, when I have time off, I read some more. Weird, but much more relaxing and enjoyable than typing out senseless blogs about not much of anything I think.

Things are changing again. A good change, even if temporary. We finally got DSL out in the country where we live and even though It’s not as fast as the 10mb we currently enjoy with cable, I’ve tested it and I think it will be fast enough for our needs. So the BIG change is I’m closing my office in town and moving it to the house. With the kids all gone, I can use the family room in the basement as my office and Carrie can convert the third bedroom to her office. I may write more about the move and how I overcame some of the obstacles.

We had DirecTV installed in three rooms so I can won’t miss my news which I have become obsessive about, but also so Carrie and I can have more variety at home. She has one in her room too since she still wakes up some nights. I had a landline installed (gasp), mostly for the security system but also because it was cheaper to buy phone service with DSL than to get DSL alone. (Weird but true.) I changed my business phones to Vonage resulting in a savings of over $60 a month and it has some really cool features. After turning off the cable, phone service, electric, gas, water and not having to pay rent anymore, we will save nearly $1,000 per month along with having the convenience of working from home.

Temporary? Well sort of. We are on the lookout for that “perfect” location for the business. I would like a nice place on the square or a historical building. I plan to wait until next summer or maybe even the summer after that. I have found that we really don’t need an office just yet since all of our employees are freelance/contractors anyway. The planned office would be used for general reception as well as a meeting place. Since I wanted the ability to work from home even if we had a cool office, I figured this is the time to bring my office home and plan for a future office while I save money for the fixtures, equipment and doodads.

Another big change relates to my websites. Actually, as it pertains to how my sites are made available. I’ll write more on that after the change which is likely to take the next 2 months.

So there you have it, my first real blog of 2010. I know, still as boring than ever but it is what it is. I do appreciate hearing from my friends in town who ask, “Why don’t you blog anymore?” It makes me feel good that people actually read my ramblings. Now that the office is at home, perhaps I’ll be inspired more often. Who knows? but I’m sticking to my rules and keeping it from becoming another old man’s place to bitch and moan about stupid stuff. That would be easy! Maybe that inspires a new blog in and of itself.

That’s all for now! The magazines come in the morning and then we move the office this weekend. It’s going to be a busy week because I want to be ready to start working on the May issue before next weekend. HERE GOES!

(Moved from old website Nov 21, 2010)

It’s been a while for the ol’ blog

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It’s been a while since I blogged. It sure hasn’t been due to a lack of activity, actually quite the opposite, Carrie and I have been very busy with holiday events (see below) and putting together the December issue of SOKY Happenings. I’ve been keeping my “friends” updated on Facebook almost daily, but the blog has been an afterthought.

As I look forward to the coming new year, a glance back on the year that is concluding, I see many things that I am proud of, and many things I intend to change. I guess those thoughts can be saved for my year end blog, but suffice to say, I’m already drawing up plans for change in 2010.

I am proud that I have been keeping up with Kung Fu and even lost a good amount of weight, 25 lbs according to the scale, but even more “fat” as it converts to muscle. I will start an aerobics class this week in hopes of trimming more of the fat. The new year will bring yoga and weight lifting to improve flexibility even more, and bulk up muscle in the right places. Carrie is excited. (grin)

The magazine is doing well! We trimmed it down this month from 84 pages back to 68 mostly due to the lack of event writers this month. We still had over 30 writers and about 80 sponsors, so it’s a good issue. We won a state wide award this month too, but I have not received the particulars so I will post that when the information arrives. We were invited to the awards banquet but were unable to attend due to the work necessary on the December issue.

Much of my enthusiasm for next year revolves around the magazine business. I have been working on the business plan and I foresee 2010 to be a life changing year. I know I have rambled on about this in the past, but there were too many variables that forced me to delay my plans. The economy sucking as bad as it has played a key role in my decisions to delay. But, with the growth of the magazine and a solid plan for the future, the time just might be right to take the logical step in my business.

I am planning on some major changes in 2010, and instead of waiting on January 1st, I have already begun to make some of the changes. Some key changes are to make a conscious effort to “de-clutter” my life; to stop putting things off so much; to be more organized; to follow through better; and to be more willing to do the hard things. This is a reoccurring theme in my life, but to revisit it and make the decision to do better, I can continue to improve my life. It’s worked in the past. It’s funny, I can remember writing similar goals last year at this time, and looking around my office I can see some success over last year, but there is room for improvement.

On my old site I had a quote at the top of the pages, “If you want things to be different, you must be willing to do different things.” In my effort to continually improve my life, I tend to look at the things I want to be different and then make the changes necessary to effect change. I’m not always successful, but making the effort to better one’s self is far better than to wallow in a hope that would never come to pass without effort. I want many things to be different by this time next year! I have a plan, I have the ability, I have the experience, and I have the desire, all I need to do now is execute the plan and do all of the things necessary to achieve my goals… “not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” From the “We choose to go to the moon” speech by John F. Kennedy on 12 September 1962. I may not be going to the moon, but I have lofty goals to be sure.

I’ve made many improvements this past year and I have the determination to continue to improve and to achieve what I believe is the next logical step toward my goal of freedom and prosperity. (Primary Aim)


Carrie and I at Entourage Tapas for a birthday party and to take photos of the chef. 19 November 2009


November 14, 2009 – Heading out to the CHF Charity Ball fundraiser.


November 12, 2009 Carrie and I headed to the Celebrity Chefs Auction for the March Of Dimes. Yep… beard is gone… for the weekend.


Carrie and I enjoying our fall weekend! Preparing to watch Alabama beat LSU (which they did). 7 Nov 09

Carrie thinks I’m crazy for sharing this one because we are so “relaxed.” True, I don’t wear baseball caps, and Carrie made that shirt waiting for me to come home… we are who we are and I thought that is good enough reason to share!

(Yes, I’ll be loosing the beard before the March of Dimes event on Thursday.) LOL


Halloween 2009 – on our way out to enjoy the night.

Pre Independence Day update

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I wrote a long blog on June 21st, (Father’s Day) that rambled about my personal feelings about the day. I didn’t post it because it was a little more personal that I intended. Suffice to say, I never knew my father which is what inspired me to be the best darn father I could. History (and opinion) will determine if I was successful, but I gave it my all.

Update on Kung Fu training:
It’s going very well! We’ve had 10 sessions so far and I’m learning a lot! What used to take the whole hour is now being done in half the time. This allows Sam the time to teach me new things and work on my form. I’ve also starting working the heavy bag a little. I’m kicking a little higher, moving much better and over all, I feel like I’m getting a good workout. The scale and the waistline remain unchanged, but Carrie says she can see a difference.

Water
I am now getting a weekly therapeutic massage on Fridays. On my first visit, Mellissa used up a gallon of lotion and told me that I needed to drink a lot more water. Actually, she said that I need to drink 1 oz of water for each pound which is more than 2 gallons per day. I haven’t been able to consume that much, but I am drinking more than 1 gallon plus the coffee, cokes and “other liquids” throughout the day. Carrie has mentioned several times that my old man wrinkles on my face are going away and that I look younger and healthier. Either she’s being very nice, or it’s working. I know one thing for sure, it has helped my flexibility! Even Melissa has commented on that.

Business
Things are going very well for SOKY Happenings magazine! We picked up several new sponsors, some even signed on for a year. We also enjoyed some significant renewals. Next month is set up to be another record sales month already! I am making some changes and looking for a real office for the company so we can hire some more people. I’m very excited.

The “other” business has been a little frustrating. I’ve tried to get this started but due to a number of influences, it has not. I hope to hire one or two more people next week and get this off the ground. It is key to my overall success and early retirement. (Funny, I thought early meant 45 years old, that’s in 6 months, I guess early is 50 years old. LOL)

A very recent business development… which could prove quite profitable revolves around web development and technology. It’s still in concept and I’m waiting for more information, but if it comes to pass, I will likely be hiring one or two full time developers this month to write the site as well as get the technology part of my corporation off on good footing. Web development has always been part of my long term plan, but this new gig could offer the opportunity to get it going sooner rather than later. More to come. (UPDATE: Didn’t pan out.)

That’s about it…

Things are going quite well! We will receive the July issue of SOKY Happenings very soon and I thought I would post an update. I’ll post more about the magazine next.

Thanks for reading!

 

July 2009 SOKY Happenings: Wine Snob mystery solved, and new monthly mystery.

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(Editorial for the July 2009 issue of the magazine.)

The July 2009 issue of SOKY Happenings brings some new articles, some mystery and—back by popular demand—the SOKY Snapshot Scavenger Hunt!

SOKY Happenings is a monthly community resource offering an exhaustive calendar of events broken down into week, day and even hour. There are more than 1,000 events in the July calendar, listing everything from toddler time at the library to sporting events and business gatherings with the Chamber of Commerce. The calendar is your LOCAL reference guide to what’s happening in South Central Kentucky.

This month’s cover was selected about two years ago when I fell in love with it while it was on display at the Brickyard Café in Franklin. Bonnie McBain’s painting, “Maine Oh Maine,” depicts a peaceful country porch with an American flag blowing in the breeze. I love this painting so much that our salesperson, Vicki J. Fitch, purchased a full-sized reproduction of it and presented it to Carrie and I for our 25th wedding anniversary. Thanks to Vicki for the gift, and thanks to Bonnie for painting it and allowing us to use it on this month’s cover. www.bonniemcbain.com

The SOKY Frugal Wine Snob also returns this month revealing his identity. Having lurked in the shadows with the protective blanket of anonymity, Bill Singletary decided the time was right to come out into the light and let people know who he is. This is his effort to be held accountable for his recommendations and make himself available for suggestions and comments.

The mystery in this issue is the introduction of a brand new monthly feature by Rachel Walston. Rachel writes in the opening, “Think you know the people of South Central Kentucky? In this new monthly feature, we’ll introduce you to someone whose name or title should be familiar, but there’s a hitch—all the obvious details have been left out. Can you tell who’s who from their lesser-known details? Put on your thinking cap and keep reading!” The rest of the article can be read on page 5.

The Snapshot Scavenger Hunt is something we introduced in our second issue two years ago. We recruited the assistance of a real photographer this year (instead of doing it myself as in years past), and Daisy Baxter brought her talent and vision to the hunt. She spread out the playing field this year, incorporating Fountain Square Park and the new Circus Square Park and all roads in between.

The contest is easy: simply bring your copy of SOKY Happenings downtown and stroll through the parks and the facing roads. Identify all of the images and send in your form. We will draw a winner from all completed forms and the winner will receive $100 in cash and a $100 gift card from Mariah’s/Buckhead Café.

We are also introducing another monthly feature about gourmet coffee. R. Justin Shepherd, owner of Spencer’s Coffeehouse on the square in Bowling Green, will offer his insight, ideas, anecdotes and intimate knowledge of the dark brew each month.

Our list of contributing writers continues to increase and we are so very grateful! SOKY Happenings is authored by people in the community who have a passion for their topic and a willingness to share. We are honored to be able to bring you their thoughts and ideas each month.

I would also like to, once again, thank our sponsors. SOKY Happenings is free to the public, thanks to continued financial support from our sponsors. We do our best to provide our sponsors with effective advertising and value, which includes a full color ad, monthly changes and bold listings in the calendar, as well as a free webpage on our website with their information, current advertisement and a map to their place of business. SOKY Happenings’ guide format also offers our sponsors the opportunity to be seen all month long for one small investment. Please take note of our sponsors which are listed online as well as on page 4 of the magazine and if you see fit; please use their products and let them know you saw them in SOKY Happenings.

Thank you for reading SOKY Happenings.

Big Changes Are a Coming!

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Updates on Nov. 27 2010 are in blue.

Technology changes; Long (personal) story short, I’m upgrading all of my web servers!! I’m moving everything to a more secure environment that has better performance. All of my domains, websites, email, databases and everything. I’m closing, deleting, removing and otherwise eliminating many online services and files! This is all in the name of consolidation and simplification of my life and technology. This continues but due to a lack of strategy, is still pending.

Personal changes; starting Monday (May 25th), I have a private trainer/Kung Fu fitness instructor who is going to take this “white, wide and weak” old man and transform him into a lean mean fighting machine. I’ve put this off for far too long! I’ve gained way too much weight! And I’m so out of shape that I got sore playing golf this week and I even had a golf cart. Sheesh. Just 4 years ago, I was much thinner and in much better shape – I plan to be there once again and build upon that. I will be learning the basic of Kung Fu while working my core strength, building stamina, reducing weight and improving my waist line (which is pushing 45″ at the moment.) My goals are simple, get my waist down to 35″ and be able to run 1.5 miles in less than 10 minutes. I want to improve my muscle tone as well and that is why I won’t be as concerned about my weight as I am about my shape. Fact is, I was in the best shape of my life when I weighed close to what I weigh now, so the scales will have little to do with my objectives. Actually, it is quite possible that I will weight up to 275 by the first of the year, that is if I can get back into the gym like I have been in the past and meet my measurement goals for back, chest, shoulders and arms. Update: Did the Kung Fu thing for about a year, lost 30 lbs and feel great. Next chapter will be weights, and stamina starting in 2011.

Warning, I will be creating a new section of this website that will journal the progress. The plan is to include photos and stats over the next six months. That said, I probably won’t start posting until some progress has already been made. (grin) I will also divulge the name of my instructor and the gym at that time. Never did that – still considering it.

Business changes; if progress continues as it has been, it is highly likely that I will be hiring as many as 10 people in the next 30-45 days. (Didn’t happen.) For those who know my objective, you already know that I have longed for a team of motivated and creative people for a long time. I have put into motion what is necessary to build my business very quickly and allow me the ability to create a wonderful team, which means I can be about the things I want to, and not about the things I have to. I am still not ready to “announce” the new company, though many of you know what it is already. Let it be said however that we have made a great stride in that department and I am more confident than ever that it will become a reality sooner than later. Even still, SOKY is poised to redouble in the next 90 days when my plan comes together. It has grown – see post in Nov or Dec 2010.

Family Updates:


Jesse
is back from Afghanistan! YEA! He brought his parents a “mission flag” which is an American flag that flew on a combat mission in theater! That was sweet! He is settling in though life has been offering its fair share of challenges, he will do fine.


David and Jennifer
have returned from TX! YEA!!!! They have been there for about a year and are now at home. We are happy!


BG Hotrods, game 2


Carrie and I
have been having a great time! Loving life and living it to the fullest.


Barren River Park May 2009


Barren River Park May 2009


Hotrods Victory night – May 13th 2009 WINNER!

 

Another Issue (#23) of SOKY Happenings

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I have just finished putting together the April issue of SOKY Happenings magazine. This one is an additional 8 pages (68 total) and enjoys quite a few new advertisements. Everything is getting easier, but the graphics take the longest no doubt.

There are 206 graphics files, all of which must be created, formatted, resized, placed and checked in the layout. All images must be in what’s called “CMYK” color. This is because of the printing plates that are created to print the magazine. We use 4 colors to create everything from logos to photos, it’s quite amazing really. Each original image is modified so that it is in that CMYK color mode, but also so that it is exactly 300 DPI (dots per inch).  It sounds confusing I know, I was very confused at first especially since I spent 10 years honing my skills to compress graphics so they would load faster online.

The DPI is very important because this is more or less how the ink it put on the paper. Too many dots per inch and the ink bleeds, too few dots per inch and the image loses quality. So as I go through the process of laying out the magazine, I open each image in PhotoShop and check the size to make sure it matches the size in the layout, then the dots per inch and then the color mode. I save it and then replace it into the layout. It takes a lot more effort to do it this way, but I have learned that the effort invested now will pay off later. I have also learned that cutting corners will result in poor quality which will be duplicated 10,000 times.

I know… blah blah blah… techno-babble… blah blah blah!

It’s my world and has been for the past 2 years. I remember this time two years ago when I was making the difficult transition into the print business; I was just learning this stuff as well as how to work with the Mac computer and Adobe InDesign. Everything seemed so difficult that I never thought I would catch on. But in the end, persistence and attention to detail has resulted in great success of the publication. Once learned, two years of experience has resulted in being able to layout the entire magazine in 3 days, vs. the 2 weeks it took me to layout our first one which was half the size. (Actually, closer to 4 weeks for the first issue if you count up the man hours; I was living at the office and working every waking hour. There were too many nights that I didn’t sleep at all back then… man I’m glad that’s behind me.) Three 10 hour days to layout 68 pages! Whodathunkit? Especially when it took fourteen 16 hour days to layout 36 pages just 2 years ago.

The commercial press stepped it up a notch this month too! They are turning this out in record time allowing us a few more days to collect information for the calendar and accomplish the editorial copy editing, take photos and layout the magazine. A couple of days to print instead of a couple of weeks, another great improvement for SOKY Happenings.

So here I sit in a very quiet office with essentially nothing to do. Oh, I’ve got plenty to do, but it’s the day after I go to press when I feel accomplished even if somewhat exhausted. I think I will take the day off and work in the yard, read a book, grill some steaks and just enjoy the peace.

Other updates:

Dave and Jen have an apartment! Yea!! The come back on April 24th, Yea Yea!!!

Jesse left for Afghanistan last week. He should be in the “war zone” by now. Carrie and I are very proud of him.

Carrie is doing well! She has been letting her hair go grey and it looks great. She only has a little more of the dyed hair left which will probably get trimmed off very soon. I told her that I wanted her to do some kind of glamour photo shoot if and before she decides to dye her hair again. She brings up dying it every once in a while, when she asks me I simply say, “Whatever you want dear, it’s your hair.” (See? I’m learning. LOL)

Carrie has also starting going to the gym. She seems to like the group yoga classes. We have also sponsored Vicki at BAC so Carrie has someone to work out with. Vicki is our friend, and our salesperson for the magazine. I really need to get back in the gym. !!!!

That’s it for post press day. I’m going home, starting a fire in the pasture, chill on the porch and just enjoy the sunshine.

 

The Calm Before the Storm

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Updates made on Nov 27th, 2010 are in blue. Note; after reading this a year and half later, I feel inspired, happy and sentimental. I’m glad I wrote it, and I’m glad I revisited as well. I hope you enjoy a peek into my heart.

As with most Sundays, I find myself in the office trying to tidy things up before the week begins. This Sunday however, I’m tidying things up to prepare for the next 6 weeks. Tidying as in emails, disk drives, bills etc, since Carrie and I already did our spring cleaning of the office. Spring Cleaning? No, it’s more like a complete office detail.  More

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