Thursday, January 19, 2012

We're Moving

This year, I've given my website a complete overhaul. New design and new weekly content that will make you feel "tingly" in all the right places.

Thanks to all who have dropped by and shared a beer with me here on Blogger but I will no longer be posting here. I'm moving the party to my newly redesigned home
Won't you join me?

If you've subscribed to this blog, you can also subscribe HERE. You won't be sorry...promise.

See you on the other side...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WARNING: Listening to Stupid People can be Hazardous to your Success

Ever wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning with the best idea you've ever had? You can't wait to get to the office to tell someone about your great idea but when you finally do, your idea is shot down by your colleagues! You start thinking that maybe your idea wasn't so great after all and you abandon it but a few months later someone else in your office receives a promotion with the very same idea!

What happened was...well, maybe I should let international motivational speaker & sales trainer Victor Antonio explain in this hilarious video called "The 3 A.M. Story":

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 and The End of the World: An Observation

This post originally appeared over at under Social Media, Space Aliens, and The End Of The World

As the year 2012 looms (December 21, 2012 to be exact), we’re certainly going to be hearing more and more about the end of the world drawing near (remember the Y2K madness?). There exist many different theories on how the world will actually end. Many believe the prophecies by the ancient Mayans whose "astronomically precise" calendar supposedly terminates on that date. Others believe the end will come in the form of deadly radiation from sun storms, while still others believe it will be the Armageddon predicted in the book of Revelations that will do us in.

Recently, I came across the great song “Pets” by Porno for Pyros on my ipod. The song makes the claim that: “we're like the dinosaurs, only we are doing ourselves in much faster than they ever did.” The song goes on to ask: “Will there be another race to come along and take over for us? Maybe martians could do better than we've done?” And at that moment, a thought occurred to me: What if that’s how the world ends? Space aliens with superior intelligence alight on Earth, numb our brains and make us their slaves (pets)?

I then recalled the 1996 film, “Independence Day” - same premise, right? Evil space aliens try to take over Earth but we devise a strategy, fight back and take back the planet (thank you, Will Smith!). So why would aliens suddenly think they could come back and successfully take over Earth in 2012? Surely, the end result would be the same…right? But then I started to think about the world today and a shiver ran down my spine. I slowly began to realize that the world as we know it has been considerably dumbed down since 1996; before Lil Wayne, Jersey Shore, & social media. I came to the chilling conclusion that we are, indeed, ripe for an alien takeover! Here are my top reasons:

Have you listened to the songs on the radio lately? My 13-year-old daughter (who controls the car radio) tortures me every time we ride in the car together. Whatever happened to the great hit songwriters/bands of decades past? Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Simple Minds, Sting, R.E.M., Lionel Ritchie, Smashing Pumpkins, Prince – can’t anybody write a decent song anymore? Today’s popular music makes the output of bands like The Bangles, Flock Of Seagulls, & Hall & Oates seem like slivers of genius. Rap music has been the biggest offender. The lyrically-clever, socially conscious hip-hop of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Ice Cube, and many others of a generation ago has given way to the dumbed down lyrics of Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, & Drake. Why? The aliens are controlling the radio waves!

Need much be said here? Sure, there are still plenty of good shows on TV but if you spend enough time flicking through the many cable channels, your brain might go numb with the stream of self-absorbed, shallow, and shameless characters running rampant on reality TV shows (checked out the offerings from Bravo recently?). The message? Party, have fun, get laid, get paid, be stupid…very stupid. What’s happening? Aliens have already taken human form and are masquerading amongst us in the forms of Snooki, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, & the Real Housewives!

With reports of a looming global oil shortage, warnings of rapidly diminishing drinking water supplies, rising air pollution levels, global warming causing a potentially catastrophic rise in our sea levels, the still unknown environmental impact to our oceans by the dumping of chemical waste and oil spills - is it any wonder that Mother Nature is pissed off? She’s returned fire with an arsenal of deadly earthquakes, tsunamis, & cyclones leaving hundreds of thousands dead in her wake. It appears that over the past few decades, her patience has grown short; she’s grown tired of our repeated violations of her. I’m certain that the aliens are aware that if they don’t act soon, there may not be much of a planet left for them to inhabit.

Unemployment rates are at record highs and close to two million people face the prospect of running out of benefits in the coming months. A recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc., estimates that a staggering five million houses and condominiums will go through foreclosure over the next few years. One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government. And we’re not alone. Most of Europe is also in the middle of a debt crisis; having fallen victim to their own credit-driven housing boom. We’re bruised and beaten; morale is low; our fighting spirit is waning. In Sun-Tzu’s “The Art of War” he states that, “The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord”. If there ever was a time for an alien takeover, this is it!

How could one of the greatest cultural phenomenons in the history of the world be making us stupid? When Lady Gaga has more than three times the following of Bill Gates on twitter, you really have to ask? Social media has created the perfect medium for distraction. It’s noisy – and the more people who get on twitter & facebook – the more noisier it gets. Information flashes by our timelines in the blink of an eye; links to blog posts that promise to show us “How To Monetize Your Blog”, idiotic proclamations such as “Marketing is dead!”, FarmVille, Mafia Wars, TEDx (ideas worth spreading?), infographics showing dramatic shifts in traditional business paradigms, online “influence” (who has it and how to get it!), SEO, ROI, klout, thought leaders…lions, tigers, & bears, oh my!

In Orrin Edgar Klapp's 1986 book, “Overload and Boredom: Essays on the Quality of Life in the Information Society”, Klapp contends that “constant inundation with information has led to nothing less than the attrition of meaning.” Redundancy and noise, Klapp asserts, have replaced resonance and variety in the modern world (Pssst! This was in 1986!). Moreover, the pioneering neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, who in the 1970s and 1980s, conducted a famous series of experiments on primate brains, believes that our brains are being “massively remodeled” by the constant distractions and interruptions the internet bombards us with. The long-term effect on the quality of our intellectual lives, he said, could be “deadly”! Ouch.

The endless stream of information has made us believe we know more than we really do (“How to Become a Thought Leader in Six Steps”) and that we’re better than we really are (klout score). I fear that when the space aliens finally do arrive, many in our society will undoubtedly think the aliens have come to “engage” with us; to begin a “conversation”. They’ll baffle us with their über-advanced communication tools (oh, what amazing apps they must have!); they’ll begin to "build trust" with a pimped-out facebook fan page, their following on twitter will render obsolete the likes of Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher & Britney Spears; self-proclaimed “thought leaders” will flee the internet and burn their books – shamed by the superior intelligence of the aliens. The tabloids will be abuzz with reports of aliens partying with the cast of “Jersey Shore” at The Beachcomber in Seaside Heights, NJ. And before we know what hit us…well, let’s just say our fate will be decided in less time than it took the British to subdue the army of Zanzibar in 1896.

Maybe martians can do better than we’ve done. Perhaps, they’ll come to show us the error of our ways, to warn us of our own impending doom if we don’t smarten up.  Then, after a while, return to their planet and leave us a better, smarter people. Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure – we’d make great pets.

Don't you think?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

5 Things You Can Learn from Ventilator Assisted Children

This post originally appeared over at

Back in March, I was given the opportunity to shoot a documentary film on the VACC Camp here in Miami. VACC (Ventilator Assisted Children Center) Camp is a free week-long overnight camp for children needing a tracheotomy, ventilator, C-PAP, BiPAP, or oxygen to support breathing, and their families. The children come from all over Florida and the United States to partake in activities such as swimming, going to the beach, boat rides, field trips, campsite entertainment, and structured games. For many of the children, these are activities they could only experience at the camp.

The camp, which celebrated its 25th year in 2011, was started by Dr. Moises Simpser, Director of the Divisions of Pulmonology and Pulmonary Care at Miami Children’s Hospital. Simpser, who was born and raised in México City, México, became passionate about a camp for ventilator assisted children (several of whom were his own patients) after his own children were old enough to attend summer camp. He believed every child should have the opportunity to enjoy the highest quality of life possible, regardless of their health.

Since 1986, Simpser and his small but dedicated staff, enlist the aid of several dozen volunteers (many of whom are teenagers and medical students) to create a camp where these special needs children get to enjoy activities that are not readily accessible to technology dependent children. Moreover, the camp gives these children (and their parents) the chance to meet other campers who face the same challenges they do. Many of the children are wheelchair bound and have limited, if any, movement from the neck down.

Feeling sorry for them yet? Don’t. Know why? Because as tough as you think these kids have it, they don’t feel sorry for themselves. The truth is, I learned more important life lessons during my week-long shoot at the camp than I could have ever expected...

1) There Are People Out There Who Still Give A Damn

OK, so I kind of knew this already but that’s where it always begins, yes?  Someone has to first give a damn about something and then get others to also give a damn before any great thing gets done. Dr.  Simpser, who has remarkably very little tolerance for the word “no”, has gotten other people to give a damn about a camp for these children…and it hasn’t come easy. From securing a location (A.D. Barnes Park in Miami) and eliminating any safety hazards, to arranging transportation for the children (many of whom have oxygen-equipped wheelchairs that can weigh up to 500 pounds), providing daily meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks), boat rides (courtesy of Shake-A-Leg), overnight medical staff, and about 1001 other things that need to happen for a camp like this one to be successful. Simpser’s dogged determination and that of his staff have kept this camp in motion for 25 years. Funny what you can accomplish just by giving a damn.

2) You’re Only As Normal As You Think You Are

As part of my documentary shoot, I wanted to speak to several of the campers on camera to get their views on the camp as well as their own condition. Annelise, who has attended the camp for 6 years, was one of the children I interviewed. Annelise is confined to a wheelchair and needs to be connected to a ventilator 24 hours a day so that she can breathe. Betrayed by her muscles, she can muster just enough movement in her arms to get a chop stick in her mouth so that she can reach her blackberry to send text messages and update her facebook page (she puts most “normal” people to shame with the speed of her texting). When I asked her how she deals with her limitations, she replied, rather defiantly, “I don’t know about them (the other campers), but I can do the same stuff that normal people do.

So many people see themselves as inferior because they feel they’re too fat, too skinny, have too many pimples, have too little hair, have boobs that just aren't big enough, suck at sports – while a young girl who can’t breathe, walk, or eat on her own sees herself as “normal”.  I guess “normal” is just a state of mind, isn’t it?

3) Setting Goals Is Important

Maylan, who lives in Miami and is cared for by her mother, was another camper I had the pleasure of interviewing. Maylan faces the same challenges as Annelise: confined to a wheelchair, needs to be connected to a ventilator 24/7, and has limited movement below her  shoulders. When I asked her what she sees herself doing over the next 10 years, I was quite surprised by her answer. She hopes to somehow attend John Hopkins University and go on to become a psychiatrist so that she “can help people with their problems”. After she retires, she plans on returning to school to become a marine biologist and live by the ocean. “I have my whole life planned out”, she said with a grin that would light up a cave.

You think goals are just something you write out on a piece of paper because that’s what your Tony Robbins audio book said you should do?  For some people, goals are what keeps them going; gives them a reason to get through another day; gives them the strength to look life in the face and say, “You’ll never get the best of me until I’m done with these things.” I took a fresh look at my own goals and realized that, compared to Maylan’s, they were pretty weak – I'm gonna change that.

4) You Only Have One Life

Chris was another camper I was able to interview for my film project. Chris is perhaps one of the most popular kids in the camp. He can talk “smack” with the best of them, is a die-hard Lakers fan, and can often be seen zipping along on his motorized wheelchair at its top speed (which is pretty darn fast!). Chris, who made the journey with his mother all the way from New York City, suffers from an unusually rare disease known as Thanatophoric dysplasia - a severe skeletal disorder characterized by extremely short limbs and folds of extra skin on the arms and legs. Infants born with this affliction are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure. Chris has managed to make it to 13 years old and it’s his mother’s steadfast belief that the main reason for that is because he looks forward to VACC camp every year. I asked him how he manages to keep such a positive outlook on his situation and he replied, “You only have one life so enjoy it as much as you can. When the time comes, that’s the time – that’s it.”  One life. We all know that…right? We’d never let fear, envy, anger, or resentment keep us from making that one life a purposeful one, right? A remarkable one, perhaps?  Of course not.

5) Helping Other People Can Change Your Life

VACC Camp is made up solely of volunteers. Dr. Simpser is a firm believer that you get way more from people when they volunteer for service than when you pay them (don’t get him started on that). Many of the volunteers are teenagers who give up their Spring Break to assist the campers for the week. VACC Camp staff  go to the local High Schools to recruit new volunteers every year. Once enlisted, volunteers must complete several basic medical training sessions (these are mandatory). At first, students sign up just to get the community service hours (and the fact that three free meals are also provided daily). But as volunteer after volunteer confessed to me, the camp ultimately becomes a life-changing experience.

Several of the volunteers I spoke with were on their second, third and fourth tours of duty with the camp. Many of them stated that they look forward to the camp every year and couldn’t think of spending their Spring Break doing anything else (did I mention these were mostly teenagers?). Volunteers are assigned specific campers and they become their “Buddies” - they help feed, clothe, and bathe the campers as needed. As the week goes by, there’s a bond that develops between the volunteers and the campers. To the young volunteers, there’s the good feeling that comes from “mattering” to someone else but during that same week, they also begin to understand that the campers matter to them as well. One of the volunteers put it this way: “These kids have a really hard life but at the same time, these are probably the happiest people you get to meet…ever. You can’t help but change and become a better person for it.

When we stop to help others, we help ourselves, too.

Reflection [video]

Here's a video I produced that illustrates what VACC Camp is about much better than words ever can. Enjoy...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nome, Alaska: Images

This post originally appeared over at

Back in October, I traveled to the small, sleepy city of Nome, Alaska to shoot (and co-star in!) a documentary-style feature film on UFO sightings, alien abductions, "little people", and all things paranormal (seriously).

Located on the edge of the Bering Sea on the southwest side of the Seward Peninsula, Nome, with a population of 4,500, is probably best known as the end point of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Nome is also known as a city where people disappear. From the early 1960's to 2005, 24 people reportedly went missing, 9 of whom were never found. Rumors of a serial killer on the loose to alien abductions began to spread. In 2005, the FBI was called in to investigate. They attributed the disappearances to excessive alcohol consumption and a harsh winter climate. The recent film, The Fourth Kind (supposedly set in Nome but actually filmed in Bulgaria and Canada) which is loosely based on true events, makes the case for alien abduction as the cause for the disappearances.

During the Nome Gold Rush of 1899-1909, Nome was the biggest town in Alaska with a population estimated over 20,000. What remains from Nome's Gold Rush architecture isn't very grand at all as the city has been battered by devastating fires (1905 & 1934), and severe storms (1913, 1945, & 1974). It still possesses, however, a mysterious charm.

Images include Downtown Nome, the White Alice Communication System on Anvil Mountain, Cemetery Hill, and the breathtaking coast of the Bering Sea. Enjoy the sights...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Things I'm Thankful For

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, I thought I'd join the fun and share a few things I'm grateful for (besides my God-given talent and rugged good looks).

In no particular order after the first:

My Family: They rock. Nuff said.

Honeycomb cereal: Makes for a great midnight snack (not to mention the Vitamin D!)

My Best Bud: Your best bud pales in comparison (trust me on this).

80's Thrash Metal: Rocked my world as a teenager.

My mischievous pug: He's no Lassie, but you could do a lot worse than Buddy.

Peanut Butter: Do you really need a reason?

90's Alternative Music: It still rocks.

Great Filmmakers: Nobody better than Kubrick.

Bacon: Makes everything taste better.

Kidney Transplants: Gave my wife a whole new lease on life after 9 years of dialysis.

Are you an organ donor? Takes 30 seconds, just go HERE and register. Oh, by the way, it saves lives. Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Filmmakers and Ruined Family Vacations: A Short Film

[This post originally appeared over at]
Filmmakers see the world a bit differently than others. A filmmaker's eyes are a camera that's always recording. There are times, however, when a filmmaker needs to know when to put his "camera" on standby and just enjoy the moment. A good example would be while on vacation with his family at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. As this short film illustrates, having a father and/or husband who happens to be an overzealous filmmaker (an award-winning documentary filmmaker, in this particular case) can tear a family apart...

Featuring my daughter Miranda & wife Madelyn | Written & directed by Dan Perez | Produced by The Perez Family | Music by Brimstone127 & lowercasenoises | Special appearance by Buddy the Mischievous Pug