Garden 2009

One of the best features of my new place is the huge, hillside yard.

I now how 2 areas as vegetable gardens with: Tomatoes, zuchini, cucumber, peppers, cantelope, corn, and basil!

Yay!

09 garden (terrace)

We lost Michael a long time ago

Michael Jackson has passed.
But, as many people tweeted, “We lost Michael a long time ago.”

Even so, he was certainly important to me for a chapter.
I was attending an “integrated” public Junior High.

Michael Jackson was the bridge between my world, and the kids from the other side of town who were bussed in.
Everybody liked Michael.
He was black.
But he wasn’t hard and gangster.
(That came later, with rap.)

He was our Cosby.

Sadly, I was done with Michael long before Thriller.
(The bootleg RUN-DMC cassette tape I got at the swap meet changed everything.)

But for one period in Junior High, Michael Jackson was my Hero.

I’m relieved to hear his tortured body is at rest.

About my client

I got some criticism via a comment posted by one of my heroes. I wrote the following response, then deleted it. It felt icky to be defensive. He is entitled to his opinion. Hopefully his opinion of me isn’t affected.

re: FreeCreditReport.com

The name is troublesome, I agree. And something I have discussed at length with my contact there.

They give you a $15 credit report with FICA score, for free, if you sign up for a trial of their credit watch service. If you don’t cancel after a week, then you are billed (recurring) for the service.
But none of the fees are hidden in fine print.

It is much like the stamps.com service that the USPS runs. Or nearly every adult website. A free trial becomes a recurring paid service if you don’t cancel.

There is some confusion because you can get a free credit report from the government (linked from the Freecreditreport.com home page) . But the proprietary credit SCORE costs $12-20 no matter what. FreeCreditReport.com allows you to get that score free, when you sign up for a trial.
If you are a new to free trials and recurring billing it is easy to be confused. (Hell, I am very familiar with this stuff and I accidentally paid the USPS $180 over the last year because I forgot I ordered a sample back of print-at-home stamps)

NOTE: I am not an official rep of the company. But I have signed up and canceled the service as well as looked into a number of complaints. I found it to be confusing at times, but no more shady than anyone that uses free trials and recurring billing.

Trying To Do Good (plus me singing)

In addition to “touchy-feely” projects like HugNation, my company, Royal Pink Productions also does consulting for Fortune 500 companies. I’m very lucky to have amazing clients and creative projects.
Recently, FreeCreditReport.com (responsible for a series of uber-catchy commercial jingles) asked me to help grow their Social Media network.

While in the process of pitching ideas, I found out a friend of mine had Cancer. Since he is straight-up awesome, he decided to take his diagnosis and turn it into a fund-raising/awareness raising game. (See “BlameDrewsCancer.com”)
As I was putting together proposals for marketing efforts, it occurred to me:

What if instead of spending the money marketing TO people, we ASK people to subscribe to our page and then give that money to charity? If we could use social media to do the job of spreading the word, then the money earmarked for those ads could go directly to a good cause.

FreeCreditReport.com agreed to give it a try:

FreeCreditReport.com® is going to donate $1 to the American Cancer Society for every person who signs up as a new fan in honor of #BlameDrewsCancer. This charity campaign will end on June 23, 2009 at noon PT or until the total donation amount reaches $10,000, whichever occurs first.

AWESOME!!

We launched it yesterday and the promo lasts for a week. So far it is going much slower than I hoped (We’ve only raised $100 of the 10,000 allocated.)
I really hope the experiment works. It would be so amazing to keep brainstorming cool ways to give money to charity.

If you want to help raise some money (and show that the experiment works), please “Become a Fan” of the FreeCreditReport.com Facebook page.

Thank you!