Now blogging …

This blog may make a comeback later this year, but for now, my thoughts, both personal and professional, can be found at at


In praise of poker and “changing tables”

As you may know from prior blog posts, I spent my summer working on a movie for the ProjectTwenty1 Film Challenge and preparing my oldest to head off to college.  Kudos to our writer / director for being nominated in the best writing catetory, and I’m happy to say, my daughter is doing very well at Lehigh.

During those hot summer months, I also listened to Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness as I drove from location to location, Walmart to Target along with many detours.  Within the experiences of the author lie the reason for the recent hiatus from this blog.

In the book, Mr. Hsieh discusses his experience as first an investor and then the CEO of Zappos.  I bought the audiobook because I prefer to hear nonfiction as if the writer were in the room with me telling his or her story, and every year I choose a recently published business book as a starting point for a number of lessons in my eCommerce class.  This book was perfect!   Mr. Hsieh and the founders of Zappos experienced so many aspects of entrepreneurship I still refer to different quotes as I guide my students through preparation of their own business plans this month.

However, it was the section on poker that really got me thinking.

I don’t gamble.  In fact, my own mother was very angry with my father’s mother when she taught myself, my sister, and my cousins how to play blackjack one cold winter Sunday afternoon.  (I’m named after that grandmother which explains a lot.)  I come from a home where if you worked hard, did the right thing, treated everyone with respect and kindness, you would be rewarded in many ways including financially.

That hasn’t worked out that well for me at least so far.

Just like my mother who’s known as the “Energizer Bunny” to friends and family alike, I just kept on going, doing the best I can.  Then I heard Mr. Hsieh talking about the benefits of “changing tables” and even leaving the table for awhile.  I think I already knew what he was saying but needed to hear it said out loud (again, a benefit of audiobooks).  It’s been almost a year since AsburyPop, and I’ve met many wonderful, talented people and become involved in too many deserving activities as a result.

At the end of August, I decided it was time to step away from the table.  Could be, I’ll return to the table I was at this past year, but I may just try my luck at a new table.  Might have the same dealer and some of the same players, but it’s still a new table!

Before the teachers and students I’ve worked with for eight years think I’m abandoning them, think again!  You may just be the “new” table: a different outlook, a new set of challenges for the school year, and some new players I’ve met over the past year.

Maybe  doing my best to work hard, do the right thing, and treat everyone with respect and kindness might just prove to be the right way to live after all!  …and even if it isn’t, taking the time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going is a valuable endeavor over the next few months.  Stay Tuned, and thanks Tony Hsieh!

UPDATE: I’ve been asked if I’m “quitting” anything that I do.  NOPE!  I’m just reassessing where I put my time and efforts.  I’ve stepped away from the “table” to get some perspective, that’s all.

ProjectTwenty1 Video Diary – Day 5

On the last day of the shoot, cast, crew, and zombies came to my house for what we called “Gorefest”.  In this entry, we see David Meditz, SFX genius, turn a baby(doll) into zombie lunch, hear how Stango envisions blood splatter on the side of my garage, meet our enthusiastic zombie extras Kristine Knowlton, Michael Sweeney, Karisa Hunt, Paul McCue, and my son Joe Fadem, hear more music from No Wine for Kittens, and of course hear Cameraman Stango speak yet again… you know how production companies have those weird voiceovers? Like Bad Robot(s) and Pretty Matches Productions (I watch way too much Bravo).  Well, Stango is now my company’s audio!

ProjectTwenty1 Video Diary – Day 4

On Day 4 of shooting, we moved to The Showroom, Asbury Park’s own movie theater.  Mike (the c0-owner) opened his place up on his day off at 9 a.m., and we learned he’s a man who needs his coffee.  Zombie Bill makes an appearance to prove a point, @CraigMahoney is seen on camera, @megh28‘s contribution of a poster prop serves as a scene focal point, and Cameraman Stango actually speaks at the end of this entry!

ProjectTwenty1 Video Diary – Day 3

Today we shot at Restaurant Plan B, my favorite restaurant (no, seriously, I don’t eat out much on a teacher’s salary, but when I can, I go here).  Closed for the day, the owner was gracious enough to give us free reign of the place.  Yet another great location on Asbury Park’s Art Bloc, Restaurant Plan B provided a great place for our characters to have a couples night out.  Kudos to Rachel Kelly (who conquered a very difficult line of dialogue) and Keith Laviola who share their thoughts on our production in this entry.  Finally, many many thanks to Chrissy Epp & Brian Napoliton who served as VERY last minute extras plus my daughter Sarah who took time out on her 18th birthday to play yet another diner in the scene.

ProjectTwenty1 Video Diary – Day 2

In this episode, we meet Dominique Aro, our incredible makeup artist, and see Josie confront Adam. Shot at the Salowe parental abode, see more behind the scenes footage from Team TacovsGrilledCheese (“like” us on Facebook if you want to know why we chose that team name).

ProjectTwenty1 Video Diary – Day 1

This month, VoxPopNJ, in association with NJFA and Elephant/Bunny/Dinosaur Productions, is filming our first short movie for the ProjectTwenty1 Film Challenge.  Today we filmed our first scenes at Parlor Gallery and Words Bookstore in Asbury Park, NJ.  Check back here over the next week for daily video diaries of our adventures in filmmaking as well as information on the final film, all our participants – they’re volunteers, and we thank them as best we can, generally with food – and when you can come out to support us at the ProjectTwenty1 Film Festival in October!