More life advice – What to do when your life feels planned for you.

Get to know Ori, good deeds, Information, Inspiration, opinion, rant, Tutorials 2 Comments »

The last time someone reached out for tips on life, and I shared it, the personal thank-you messages that I got were overwhelming. The other day I got a pretty heavy letter from Dubai. I am sharing the letter, and my response, in hopes that it will help others out. Feel free to share this post.

The Letter:

Hello… I hope very much that you can read this, as at the moment I’m in a bit of a pathetic dilemma. I would firstly like to admit that I am not a devoted fan to your blog, so I understand if you want to allocate your time answering somebody who is. But from what I have seen, you seem to be living life with the care-free attitude that I so desperately need right now. Maybe if the good samaritan within you is glowing and time allows, you can help me…

Soo, a bit about me… Read the rest of this entry »

I found the secret to success in Chicago

adventure, design, Get to know Ori, Inspiration, product review, travel 4 Comments »

I’ve been trying to better myself for a long long time… I think we all do.  We read books on weight loss or business or people skills…  we take courses on goal setting and time management… and yet, it seems most of us go back to our normal routine (Don’t believe me? It’s been proven that the average new year’s fitness resolution is broken in about 3-4 days).   23% of resolutions are actually kept.  35% are broken before January is up.

We know how to lose weight (burn up more calories than we ingest), yet… most of us are upset about our excess weight.  Knowing doesn’t seem to be enough.  Aftr trying so many times, we just give up and claim something like “Well, it’s my genes,” or “I come from a fat family, there’s nothing I can do.”

This doesn’t apply to just weight… it applies to so many parts of our lives.We just give up, put our dreams and goals on the shelf, and make an excuse.  We think that we were not meant to have that particular thing in our lives.

I’ve given up on drawing so many times in my life. I wanted to be an artist since I was a kid.  I’d always quit  though… ’cause it took a lot of work, not just spending money on fancy brushes.  Recently, I made this image, and I’ll tell you how I was able to do it in this post.

I’ve tried just about everything, and I’m fairly sure I found an approach for accomplishing anything, that works (for me).  I discovered it in Costa Rica in late 2010… but I did not take action until this year– but boy, am I glad that I did!

Read the rest of this entry »

My way of changing the world – take 1

adventure, announcements, business, Get to know Ori, good deeds, Inspiration, News 47 Comments »

My way of changing the worldConsidering that my reputation is one of being helpful, you’d never know that as a kid I was a shoplifter, a vandal, I blew frogs up with fireworks, and I was a jerk to many people – even my parents.

Good becomes bad, bad becomes good… where I used to cause trouble, I now work on helping. Whether it’s cheering up the sad, bringing families together, giving lectures to raise funds for the sick, making websites to raise a few thousand for a young poodle that needs an expensive surgery…. I now bat for the good guys.

I’ll remind you that good and evil are only opinions—history decides who the good guys are… and the ones whom the world consider to be bad, always consider themselves to be good. Thus, the guys who flew planes into the Twin Towers, they considered themselves to be freedom fighters.

We choose what’s right and wrong in our eyes. I’ll come back to that in a second.

You see, good and bad aren’t the only priorities that have shifted in my life.

For 6 years I have couch surfed (traveled around, based on who’s couch I’m crashing on next), and my priorities were meeting new people, and having adventures.

Traveling for 6 years can rack up a large tab.

I’m going to tell you how I paid for it, as you can do the same if you choose. More importantly though was that this journey has absolutely transformed my life- and I’ll discuss that too.

At first my parents contributed gas money. Then, after a year, they realized that this is not just a phase, and they withdrew their assistance. They wanted me to settle down and get a job (and get active in making some grand kids for them), but my travels were too much fun, and I was not going to quit.

I have not told this story to many people, it’s very personal, and I’m a bit twitchy to share it… but recently my best friends have busted me on not being intimate with anybody in my life… so here’s me pouring my secrets, so you can have an appreciation of the magnitude of things when I get to my point—and trust me, there is a point. Read the rest of this entry »

Have no regrets – don’t listen to people.

Inspiration, opinion, rant 11 Comments »
Regrets, these are not the droids you are looking for.

Don't have regrets

Regrets are a bitch. You never hear about old people on their death bed saying “I sure wish I spent more time at the office” it’s always stuff about “Wish I traveled the world, like I wanted”  “Wish I worked less, and spent more time with my family”  “Wish I took up guitar playing”.

So why the hell do we listen to people when they tell us Read the rest of this entry »

How to know what to do with your life…

business, Get to know Ori, Information, Inspiration, Marketing Lessons, opinion, rant 23 Comments »

“Hey I just wanted to ask you how you knew what you wanted to do with your life? I am a 24 year old female and have no idea what I want to do career wise. I am intelligent but don’t know what I am really good at and get frustrated easily working for other people. I have tried MLM and IM and really love it but haven’t made any money so get demotivated very quickly. I am confused.com so just wanted to know if you have any tips on how to change the path I am taking.”

I thought the reply was something that anyone can benefit from, regardless of age or occupation, so I’m posting it on my blog.  I suggest you share this- someone will appreciate it.

It’s a patented multi-step process that took me years to perfect, but I’ll share it with you, ’cause you seem cool.

Step 1: Read the rest of this entry »

Lie to me… tell me how we met.

humor, Inspiration 2 Comments »

That’s what she wrote.  Then she wrote:

We met at a U2 concert in New Delhi, India. You were walking backwards & stopped to light my cigarette w/ your Elvis Zippo. We became instant friends. You were Indian and I was American. You loved to take advantage of my ignorance and told me that chai was some magical potion that would make me feel like I was flying. You took me to your chai walla and bought me a glass. My head spun and I fell into your arms, your dirty fingers to my lips. “Shhhhhh…,” you whispered, “here comes a dragon.”

Will serendipity ever show an end?  I think and hope not.  You see, just recently, over the past two months, I’ve mentioned to a few friends that I’d love to get into writing short stories.  Just random ones… maybe make a form that people can submit raw ideas… like what you do with an improv troupe…. and I’d flesh out the story.  Only an hour or two a day.

This was a wonderful opportunity.  How we met immediately came to me, and this was my response:

I don’t remember being Indian… I thought it was in Spain… when I was wearing my rainbow bright socks, and a sweatband while rollerskating (yeah… quads) the wrong way while everyone else was running from the bulls…. you threw down a massive chain of salami links from the 2nd story, and swung me to safety. When I finished climbing through the window, I took my skates off, caught by breath, and jumped on you in gratitude… which was when the aged floor crumbled under the combined weight, and we fell through into the marshmallow fluff factory below. A sticky situation indeed. The rest of the evening was spent drinking good Spanish wine, enjoying pleasant conversation about our mutual world travels, and trying to remove the remaining fluff.

Lisa and I became fast friends… speaking in our first conversation as if we’ve been friends forever. Many personal topics were broached.  Many personal questions were asked.  Many stories of world travels were shared.

For those people out there who try to differentiate between Social Media, and the real world.. I urge you not to.  Sure, you can do certain things in person that you can’t do over the web… but the people out there– they are your friends, your lovers, your clients, your audience, your believers, your community.  And you can always meet up in person later.

Are there memorable people that you’ve connected with instantly through Facebook?

READING The Epic Tale of One Way Ticket to Maui

adventure, business, Couches, events, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, photography, product review, travel No Comments »

This is me reading out loud the way I got to Hawaii… and all the crazy stories that happened along the way. Thought I’d see how people like having it read for them.

Click the play button, or download it to your mp3 player of choice.
[wpaudio url="http://couchsurfingori.com/wp-content/uploads/movies/05-25-201-The-Epic-Tale-of-One-way-ticket-to-maui.mp3" text="Reading of The Epic Tale of 1 Way Ticket to Maui"]

The Epic Tale of One Way Ticket to Maui

adventure, business, Couches, events, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, photography, product review, travel 3 Comments »

Had to hit the beach within minutes of getting to Maui, with Craig Allen, and Terra Ganem“What are you doing for the next 2 months?”

“Seriously?  I hardly  know what I’m doing next week.”

“Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been thinking about that business idea you mentioned the other month… a lot… and you’re working Terra’s website anyways– why don’t I buy you a 1 way ticket, come stay with us, and if you want to get back, you have to finish the project, and get some sales!”

“Well, damn! For story-telling purposes alone, I have to say yes!”

And thus, I agreed to come visit Craig Allen and Terra Rose Ganem in Hawaii….  Read the rest of this entry »

How to extract your video from a stream of videos

business, events, Get to know Ori, Information, Inspiration, Interviews, Marketing Lessons, Tutorials, video No Comments »

The other day I spoke at the 140Conf in Des Moines. Here’s my presentation:

The thing is that the organizer doesn’t have the footage for the event for another week… and when she does get it, she’ll have to slice it up, and then upload it… Having worked with other events, I know that she’s probably going to get hammered with requests for “Can I get my video so I can put it on my public speaker page?”

Since I’m a fan of the 140Conf and everything they do (Google Jeff Pulver – the dude is amazing!), I made a tutorial on how to cut your individual clip out of the live-stream, so you can have it and use it right now… that’s where the above clip came from. You can also use this method to record a live-stream (this particular example is using a playback… but you can use this for a one-time event.. like you would use a VCR / DVR).

So, here’s the stream: http://www.livestream.com/dsmamplifiedevents

And here’s my tutorial:

Now.. just a side note– this stream was donated by the company… You should consider if the event you are capturing from is copyrighted… so.. just watch out with that.

Run to hell and back….

adventure, Couches, events, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, travel 2 Comments »

Hell RunSerendipity shows her sexy face again. This time on April 6th. I was jogging – which is where I get many of my best ideas – and I call Brandie “I have an idea to help Japan, and help promote the book.” I told her, and svhe said “No!” “No???” “That’s right, no!” “But it’s a great idea!” Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Iowa!

adventure, announcements, business, events, Inspiration, travel, video 2 Comments »

Last time I was in Iowa, I spent a month with cage fighters, causing all sorts of trouble. This time (May 9th) I am going for a reason that I’m even more passionate about… speaking at the 140Conf.

While I speak at conferences, seminars, schools, and even lunches, one of my favorite events is the 140Conf. Perhaps I am just utterly fascinated by the founder, Jeff Pulver (A coFounder of Vonage, and the guy who went to fight for us regular people, so that Telecoms can’t charge us for calls made over VOIP), who is just so multi-faceted, and so caring.

The 140conf is an event with the slogan “Characters Wanted” — the format is Read the rest of this entry »

Must watch presentation

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This guy is amazing. He’s also dead now. This presentation is a must watch!

Happy Working Naked Day!

adventure, announcements, humor, Inspiration, video 2 Comments »

In honor of Working Naked Day 2011, I’ve made a video.

It’s 37 degrees out in Austin, so don’t expect that I’m going to go Streaking or anything like that.

If you missed yesterday’s blog post about Working Naked Day, you should read it ’cause I went in depth about the holiday.  What I say in this video that I didn’t say yesterday was that there are over 30,000,000 Americans that work from home. That’s not the population of Facebook or anything, but that’s a pretty formidable crowd!

Now, picture 30,000,000 million people naked.  Yeah, that is pretty gross.  But then consider that Naked just means free from the corporate structure, and then it’s not gross!  It’s 30,000,000 people that have chosen to go pursue their own dreams, or spend quality time with their families, or maybe just travel all over the world while working on a laptop from anywhere (that sounds familiar).  It’s an easy decision… all you have to do is make it, and take the first step.

If you’re not working from home, then spend a few minutes today imagining what it would be like if you could work from home. How would you spend your time? What would it feel like?  How much would you work?  Whom would you hang out with?  What kind of schedule would you keep?

If you are working from home, then spend some time reflecting on the freedoms that you do have, that you would not have if you were not working from home.  Then call some friends who are stuck at an office, and see how they are doing.  You get extra points if you’re calling them on video skype :)

Tomorrow is Working Naked Day, how will you celebrate?

announcements, business, humor, Information, Inspiration 4 Comments »
a girl working naked at her computer

Will you be working naked? (photo from fhmonline)

I’m not making this up! February 1st is Working Naked Day, and I am celebrating! If you aren’t, perhaps you should!  Let me tell you about the holiday.

Working Naked means Stripping yourself of the bonds of corporate World. Shedding that structure of the workplace.

Working Naked means working on your own terms, in what ever clothes you want, on your own schedule.  Basically, welcome to the world of being a home-based entrepreneur.

February 1st is a day kind of like Thanksgiving, but without the Turkey.  It’s a day of gratitude for those that have shed their workplace like a corporate suit.  It is a day to appreciate all the things you can do that you wouldn’t be able to if you were at a job.

For example- you can go to a theme park without having to wait in major lines, as you would if you went on a weekend.  You can go to the beach, or the park and read a book, because you control your own schedule.  You can bring your laptop and work by the lake, because no one says that you have to be in the office in order to be productive.  You can make sure to spend time with your family, or significant people.  You should definitely wear something comfortable- pajamas? boxers? nothing?

So, if you are a home based entrepreneur, then you should make sure to do something to celebrate your freedom, and you should also contact your friends that are working their corporate jobs, and remind them that they too can work naked… all it takes is a dream, and some hard work.

In this day and age of abundance, people are starting to seek passion and meaning, rather than just a place to pay the bills.  If you’re going to spend all your time working… you might as well be absolutely enthralled in what you do, and pursue your passion on your own term. You might as well work naked.

Happy New Year 2011!

adventure, announcements, business, Get to know Ori, humor, Information, Inspiration, Interviews, travel, video 2 Comments »

Happy New Year from Couch Surfing Ori - Ori Bengal

Who writes their happy new year post on January 7th?  I do! I’m on Tico Time ? Yeah… things in Costa Rica are pretty relaxed.  But.. it’s my last day! I leave today at 1PM, and I wanted to start my new year of blogging from another country. This blog post is very important to me.

Last year I started of writing about that new year’s resolutions are bullshit. I still think that.  Most people don’t even last 1 week! I do have a few declarations to make to you and the universe, but before I get into those, let me tell you something I’m really proud about.

January 1st was the anniversary of my Couchsurfing journeys starting!  I started on New Year’s day on 2007, which means I am now in my 5th year of couchsurfing! That’s also the reason that I wanted to send my blog post from here in Costa Rica… because that’s been a goal of mine which I finally accomplished: to couchsurf in another country.  I’ve been here for 5 weeks now on seven different beds.

As a kid I wanted Read the rest of this entry »

Ideas On Retainer is coming!

adventure, announcements, business, design, events, Get to know Ori, Information, Inspiration, Interviews, Marketing Lessons, Tutorials 1 Comment »

The Ideas On Retainer logo - a lightbulb over glowing designy stuffI’ve conquered a lot of fears, and grown my comfort zone. I’ve studied thousands of hours on so many topics, and met with so many different people. I suppose you could call it my life’s work.

Now I am going to have to deal with the fears that I’ve let push me over to not committing. Check out Ideas On Retainer– coming January 1, 2011 after the hangover wears off.

I even like my new logo that I designed :)

Costa Rica Birthday Surprise

adventure, business, Couches, events, Get to know Ori, humor, Inspiration, Interviews, party, photography, travel, video 1 Comment »

Celebrating 34 with friend and Patron

The brakes don’t work!  We were gliding forward, and I was certain that this is it…. I was going to run over my 1st person ever! Why were they riding their bicycle right there?  It was a good 34 years of being free.

To start off, I don’t know what my birthday surprise is, so don’t let the title fool you. It’s the night before we leave Tamarindo, and I’m in a writy mood (apparently, Writy is not a word, but it’s how I feel– so… screw you red-underliny thing (underliny is also not a word)). I have a funny story, and a good life lesson. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Birthday to me– in Costa Rica.

adventure, announcements, business, Couches, events, Get to know Ori, humor, Inspiration, party, photography, slideshow, travel, video 14 Comments »

I got my wish.  I’m couchsurfing in another country.  I have the most amazing friends I could have imagined, and even though most aren’t here with me, I feel that I am totally loved.  So, now I’m 34 — here’s the latest from Costa Rica.

1st, since you’re curious as to how I’m celebrating, I am going to learn to surf waves, not just couches.  I would’ve done it sooner, but I injured my foot when jogging barefoot on the beach. Read the rest of this entry »

Prom again.

adventure, events, Get to know Ori, humor, Inspiration, party 2 Comments »

Ori and Itay back in the day when Ori went to PromSo people who suffer PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) often get cured by reliving a traumatic experience again and again, in a controlled environment.  Well, I didn’t survive (or not surprise) a landmine blowing up my Humvee…. but I did go to Prom in high school.

Yeah… it was pretty sad.  I didn’t give a crap about the people in my school.  I didn’t get along with them all that well. It’s not that we didn’t get along, it’s that I didn’t know  who I was back then.  I guess you could say I’ve come out of my shell since then.  I was working at the movie theatre, and this girl Sharon came in.  She was kind of hot.  She had huge boobs.  Back then, that was probably good enough reason to take someone to prom.

To the left is my awesome tuxedo picture.  Yup.  I feel like I should be a waiter or something.  May I grind some cheese for you for your salad?

So, I did not hook up with Sharon. Nowhere near.  I had fun drinking with the group.  Riding in a limo was cool’ish.

So today I’m flying out of Austin, to go to Social Media Prom.  That’s right! Me and the rest of the computer nerd misfits who never felt they fit in (which apparently, is most people) are now enjoying and connecting on social media, but the real world is way more fun.  So, what is Social Media Prom?

Well… who cares?  It’s another excuse to hang out with friends and celebrate!  These days I’m not shy and quiet.  These days, I’m rowdy, and way more confident.  I’ll dance.  I’ll sing.  I’ll tell jokes the whole evening.  So– I WAS going to show up in a Kilt, with a Tux Jacket, and this shirt.

Graphic EQ Shirt

My prom shirt.

Yeah. Tuxedo-Tshirts are tacky, so I have to be innovative.  The only thing is that there was a problem with the kilt place, so… now I may just wear a regular tuxedo with this tshirt.

Look… I may play poker with bulls, and train with cage fighters, but I’m just a big nerd!  I’ve been building PCs since 6th grade.  I was hacking video games at 7th grade.  I spend a lot of time in front of the computer.  I was using dating sites before they were considered safe.

So…. yeah… this seems awesome, and even cooler, it’s presented by Funny Or Die.  I love Funny Or Die!  If you haven’t heard of them, just watch this clip that launched them:

Social media has allowed me to connect with some of the people from Funny Or Die in person at various other events.  Amber Osbourne introduced me to Patrick Starzan at a nightclub in Vegas, “You have to meet this guy!  You’re twins!” (not identical… just non-stop corny jokes).

I actually had 3 girls fighting over me!  This is way better than high school prom!  And we can legally buy the booze this time, and the kids that are the cool kids are the people who embrace life, and have a lot of personality… not the people who have a fancy jacket. My official date is Brandie. , my business manager.  She’s become invaluable, and I wouldn’t want to go with anyone else.  I have so many ideas, and if it weren’t for Brandie, many of them would not get executed.  I can’t tell you which dress she’s wearing… but here they are:


I’m voting for the 1st one.

Anyways- the point is that I am always looking for unique and memorable experiences, preferably with great people that I can share them with.  I can’t think of much that will be better than this.  I predict a lot of fun, and I challenge you to go find some cool fun event that makes you feel silly.  Go to some vintage shop, find some crazy costume or outfit, and own it!  Post the pictures everywhere!  Heck!  Post a picture of your prom pics!  Leave a comment!  My prom picture rocks!  I was a younger, dorkier me, and my little brother Itay was all adorable and puffy and tiny.

These days he is 6’2, 240LBS of solid muscle, and he hates that darn picture :)

Actually doing something

business, good deeds, Inspiration, Marketing Lessons, rant 4 Comments »
dolphins getting slaughtered in japan

dolphins getting slaughtered in japan

23,000 Dolphins get slaughtered each year.  I wrote about this when I saw The Cove. But while writing and “getting the word out” is a good start, is that enough?

In this day and age, we get flooded with causes– and we have more opportunities than ever to help.  But, what do we do about it?  ”I posted a link to the Youtube video on my Facebook Wall!” is not really a huge investment, and probably isn’t going to get all that much accomplished.  Yet, that’s the extent of what most of us do.

I’m no activist.  I tweeted and facebooked about “The Cove” – which is how I had found out about this horrendous activity of dolphin slaughter.  I even blogged about it.  I know, I know… giant contributor to the cause, right?  Well,  Tim Burns (the brother of one of my insanely awesome couches, Rob Burns) watched the same movie… but instead of writing a blog, he really did something. He dropped everything and Read the rest of this entry »

My 140Conf Smalltown Presentation- Putting your small town on the map while having some fun.

business, Couches, events, Information, Inspiration, Marketing Lessons, Tutorials, video 6 Comments »

I was asked to speak at Jeff Pulver’s 140conf again.  This one was the first of his Smalltown series, helping people in small towns leverage the real-time web

I enjoy public speaking, and I like Jeff and what he’s doing, so I agreed, and then had to figure out what to present on.  I titled it Putting your small town on the map while having some fun”  -  the absolute best part was after the event when dozens of people from various small towns thanked me for helping them.  They said it inspired them, it gave them solid ideas, it was fun, it was really helpful.

That’s who I wrote this for, so… that meant a lot.  Anyways- enjoy the presentation, and leave a comment with your thoughts… I’d love to know what you thought of it. If you like it, share it.

The importance of keeping your word

humor, Inspiration, music, party, video No Comments »

In 2007 I met Skizzy when I couchsurfed with him, instead of staying in Alabama where there was a tornado.  We adventured all over the place, from road trips, to crazy skydiving events.  We’ve been through a lot. When he started dating Alyx, I thought from the start she was brilliant.  She was (is) pretty, hardworking, polite… clearly has had good parenting.

Alyx found an embarassing old VHS tape of Scott dancing, and asked me to convert it to digital. I said that I would, and that I would post it when it was least expected. A year later, I gave Skizzy the VHS back. He said “Couldn’t convert it, eh?” I replied “It’s difficult to find a VHS player, let alone one that converts to digital.” – but I never said that I didn’t get it converted. Almost a year after returning the tape, here’s the video, posted online, after it’s been long forgotten:

If we’re not careful, all our analog memories shall fade.  It’s fairly simple to get your VHS tapes, 8mm films, slides, and photos converted to digital, so that you can humiliate yourself and your friends and family… er… so you can share and relive those precious memories.

Why not go find your own faded memories, and put them online, tagging all the participants :)  You’ll brighten not only their day, but also all that they are socially connected with.

More importantly though, always keep your word.  This was one of the more difficult things  I’ve had to do– to have this video, and actually wait until it was forgotten about.  But, damn, I feel GREAT posting this.  Many people got a smile today.  Check out some of these comments!  Leave your comment below, and make sure to like / share this.

Comments of what people thought of Scott Wise Dancing

Blog World and the 140Conf Roadtrip

adventure, business, Couches, events, Get to know Ori, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, Interviews, Marketing Lessons, photography, travel No Comments »

The World's Largest Truck Stop

I just drove from Las Vegas (Sunday 1pm PST) to Detroit, Michigan (8pm EST Tuesday). It’s about 2110 miles.  I want to tell you how crazy Blog World was in Vegas.  I’ll try to do a short version, though being short-winded is not my strength.

Vegas: Fun! Tons of friends from all over the world.  Met new ones.  I love memorable meetings- When I met Deb, it was at a club, and Kate said “Give her a foot massage” “Ok” – so.. I’m on the floor at this club, this woman is writhing in pleasure, and that’s when we made introductions.  We’re great friends now.  I even danced!  A lot!  Like, pick the girl up, swing her around, Salsa, Cha-Cha, swing, hip-hop… who knew?!  I wasn’t even drunk.  Good mood can make a huge difference.

Read the rest of this entry »

Social Hub In A Small World Network – aka – wtf?

business, Couches, Get to know Ori, Inspiration 7 Comments »
A picture of a social hub

Social Hub Network

So, I’m sitting here on the beach, where I’m couch surfing, and having a conversation with Jason, who is a neuroscientist (obsessed), and had actually reached out to me…. how he found me?  *shrug*  Actually, just asked him– he says his friend hosted couchsurfers, so he told him about that, and then he wanted to start his own blog, then found a blog about couchsurfing…. which caught his attention ’cause he had thought about couchsurfing, and that happened to be my blog.  Then he read my stuff, and I sounded like a cool person, and he saw I was near by, so he contacted me.  Actually, he thought also that I could teach him how to blog, so when contacting me he said I could crash his place on the beach, if I set him up with a blog.  Cool… just learned that while typing (real time blogging, sweet!).  Ok… back to what I was thinking…. Read the rest of this entry »