5 Questions with @Dogboyinc…Ramble

The search for a dog trainer plagued me and Rocknroll_ELLE for several months. First there was the “alleged” Dog Whisperer of the neighbourhood who is studying to be a zoologist who failed to show up or cancel last-minute several times. We would run into him and he would act like we went on a few dates and it went bad. Seriously. Next we went to a puppy class where we learned “your pet doesn’t work for beef jerky, it works for love” and apparently if that doesn’t work use a choking collar. I used the American Kennel Club for references and found one I liked but she was getting married and occupied with that.

Finally our neighbour insisted we use Dog Boy Inc. His logo is pretty awesome and I was glad that someone  I knew had used him before and low and behold we had a winner. Robert Haussman, aka Dog Boy, has trained Elle to even roll over and play dead aka “bang bang.” I think it’s an absolute necessity of any urban dog owner to get some kind of training for their dog and so happy I found a really excellent one!

1. What questions should a pet owner ask about a potential dog trainer?
The thing to be aware of when hiring a dog trainer is that training is a fairly unregulated field.

A. Ask if they have any certification. The certification council for profession dog trainers has a pretty good track record and has an online database of trainers for dog owners who are in the market.

B. I would also ask what their method of training is and be sure it is humane in nature and doesn’t revolve primarily around dominance, or shocking and choking your dog. Although leadership is a key element to a healthy relationship with your dog, many trainers mistaken this for the need to use force to force the dog to submit which is nonsense and has a tendency to do more harm then good.

C. Last I would ask for referrals. Be specific, if you have an aggressive pit bull than ask for a referral of someone with an aggressive bit bull who they have worked with.

2. In your opinion is training a dog necessary for urban dogs? All dogs?

I think training your dog is the ultimate way to spoil you dog. It is responsible pet ownership to be sure your dog knows what is expected of him and what is appropriate behavior in the humane environment that he shares with you. You can’t punish him for rules he doesn’t know he has broken. So yes absolutely!

3. A couple of weeks ago a delivery man who was mauled by 3 pitbulls in Brooklyn. There were signs posted saying ‘beware of the dog’ but he did not speak English. One of the dogs died in the mayhem and the other two were ceased and await action. Do you think those Pitbulls are trainable to be aggressive but not immediately attack a person who is in their space?

That’s tough to say. More than anything it is a responsibility issue for the owner. If you have dogs for the purpose of protection (which I am not a fan of in the first place) there should be preventive steps in place to ensure the safety of the community you live in. You wouldn’t leave a loaded gun out on the coffee table during a dinner party, someone could get hurt or worse. Pit bulls get a very bad reputation because of owners like this. These particular dogs we’re likely trained to be aggressive and poorly trained at that. I think it boils down to stupidity. And it is unlikely that the dogs will be able to be trained to be selective about who is and is not allowed on the property. This is an issue I take to heart since I love the bread and so many are put down each year because of stupid humans.

4.  In your experience, who needs the training more the humans or the canines?

Humans! Lol. Dogs are fairly predictable, humans are always a wild card…

5. A lot of new dog owners face the challenge of training their dogs but strangers want to pet their dog and throw off the behaviour. What are some tips for to avoid the awkward neighbor from rewarding your dog with affection while you are training your dog?

Try and involve them! Tell them you are in training and you can really use their help. They will either joyfully participate or recoil in horror. If someone is particularly uncooperative tell them your puppy is sick and highly contagious…lol.


5 Questions with @iancrogers…Ramble

The second week I was at Yahoo! I was sent to a meeting full of intensely smart people who were deciding things about the future of music and which ways to move forward. Two of those people were Karin Gilford and Ian Rogers who fell into the scary-crazy-smart category and really showed me that moving across the country to work at Yahoo! would elevate my knowledge.

There are some people you meet in this life that you admire without restraint. They are not flawless or claim to be, but they even inspire the most burnt out person to whom hope is a just a four letter word. Ian is one of those people. @iancr makes you think, makes you want to do your best and pushes you past that even when you think you are done. He will hear his employees out even if he doesn’t agree with them and find solutions. I beat him at Wii bowling and he even lost gracefully. (Sorry Ian, I have to make people see you are human.) These days he moves music digitally forward at TOPSPIN.

Location: Santa Monica, CA
Vocation: Decentralizer
Sign: Virgo
Blog: Fistfulayen

1)   How has your perspective of launching an artist using digital tools changed since you added the role of co-manager of Get Busy Committee?

There have been a lot of lessons in this; it’s been invaluable.  The two major lessons which come to mind now are:

1) Content is more valuable than promotion.  Not to say money spent on PR and promotion isn’t worth it, but the most important thing is to keep creating.  New sound and imagery is paramount.

2) Know and target an audience before you start.  Attention is moving from mass media to niches, but building your own niche from scratch takes a lot of time and energy.  If possible/appropriate, target an existing niche and see if you can get the folks within that niche to lift you up higher, faster.

2) You are one of the busiest people on the planet, aside from being the CEO of Topspin, Husband, Father of two and co-managing GBC –yet you always return emails within a day. What are your time management secrets?

Well, considering my inbox has 3890 *unread* messages (forget about un-replied-to) in it that’s unfortunately not true.  I’m pretty underwater from a time perspective and the unfortunate fact is I can’t actually do everything I need to.  My entire team is in the same boat.  Plus, we’re a startup so I don’t have the luxury of hiring an assistant or all the staff it would take to support acting on every opportunity that comes our way.

I think this is the case for everyone today.  There’s no shortage of input.  You could spend all day replying to emails, reading Twitter and Facebook, and at the end of the day not have anything to show for your time.  For all of us, prioritization and filtering is important. Some people choose not to participate in things like Twitter and Facebook to cut down on these distractions.  I’m convinced in the future an ability to prioritize and focus, an ability to use these tools for what they’re good for and not be distracted by them, will be characteristics which lead to success.

I have LOTS of room for improvement but here are a few of the things I do to try to remain productive:

I make lists.  In the spirit of GTD (Getting Things Done, the book, the technique) I put what needs doing onto a list when it comes into my head so I can process serially.  If I’m at my computer I record them in a program called Things, and I assign them to projects or tasks and put deadlines on them.  If I’m not, I just write them in my notebook and process them later.

I try to keep my blackberry and computer out of meetings, and not look at my computer when I’m on the phone.  I know my limitations, and if I’m talking to you while I’m staring at my computer, I’m only half listening, if that.  If I’m going to take the time for a meeting I want to focus, know what I am really getting of value out of the meeting, get it, and move on.  If I’m not getting or giving anything of value, the meeting just shouldn’t be happening.

I try to process email only twice a day, instead of looking at it all day long.  Unfortunately that isn’t enough time to get through every message, which is why so many go unread.  But I think it’s more important to spend a couple hours a day going through “the list” than it is to reply to every email.  I’d rather have unread messages than an overflowing to-do list.  Unfortunately at the moment I have both! But I’ll burn the to-do list down faster than the inbox.

I try to use all the tools available to do what they’re good at.  Skype and Google Voice have changed the way I communicate.  I route all calls to my cell and if not answered there they bounce to Skype.  If I don’t answer there they go to Google Voice which transcribes the text and emails the message to me.  Whenever possible I do meetings via Skype video instead of driving across town, flying across the country, or just having a phone meeting where you can’t get any body language as input to the conversation.  I’ll use Twitter to get answers to hard questions, Facebook to keep in touch with business colleagues who have changing email address and to schedule events, WordPress to communicate with large groups of people, LinkedIn to post jobs.  And I’ve used all of the above to schedule meetups so you can get some scale out of your own time and meet lots of people who you don’t have time to meet with during the course of the work week.

Anyway, I’m no expert here.  I don’t sleep enough, don’t see my kids enough, haven’t been skateboarding nearly enough, etc.  But on balance I do alright, maybe the above will be useful for someone.  I’m also open to suggestions!

Grrlgenius note: I feel even more lucky that Ian made time to answer these questions – and, only hours after I sent them.

3) Did appearing on the cover of Billboard so early on in your TOPSPIN career add an extra layer of pressure to succeed?

Yes, it did.  To be honest, it was too early for that much exposure, but how could we say no to something like that?  It was great coverage, and I’m very thankful for it.  It’s been a lot to live up to but we’ve been working our asses off to do it every day over the two years since!

4) The female numbers continue to decline for women pursuing careers in technology while your daughter Zoe is earning a degree at M.I.T. What advice do you have for women on why they should pursue a career in such a male-dominated field?
Two daughters and a wife — I’m surrounded by smart, analytical women so sometimes I forget the field *isn’t* dominated by women.  But we’ve struggled to hire women at Topspin, we’re a male-dominated shop with only two women on our engineering team (Maria and Ana, but we have women in the company in business development, legal, finance, QA, and pro services) but not for lack of trying to hire female engineers, there are simply far less female resumes when you post a programming position.

Zoe attended a great UC program called COSMOS , which was established to take kids with an aptitude for math and science and nurture it before they decided it was “uncool”.  They mentioned they see this in girls particularly, that often they show skills in math and science early but by the end of high school they’ve lost interest. I highly recommend anyone (female, male, or in-between) who has a glimmer of skills here early stick with it and just keep going.  I didn’t know anything about Computer Science when I enrolled in the degree program in 1991.  I think some people think “Oh I don’t know anything about algebra, I’m not going to take that class” so they take an English class because, well, I already know how to read. You have to remember that LEARNING is what those classes are about.  Go in humble and ready to learn and you’ll do just fine.  Ask questions when you don’t know.  You’ll be surprised what you learn.

5) Why is information transparency a good thing and where do you draw the line at what to reveal?

Sharing is caring!  😉  Seriously, I’m convinced The Beatles were right — you get what you give. There have been so many times I’ve wondered if I should share what I was feeling, only to find there were other people out there who feel the way I feel, or who have feedback which could change the way I feel.

I generally only try to share things I think will be of value to at least *someone*. Not that it needs to be high value, but at least mildly entertaining or informative, etc.

People talk about “all the noise” out there online but those folks are really missing the point in my humble opinion.  TV, radio, and billboards are noise because they intrude where you have no choice.  If I’m reading a blog or a tweet it’s because I *want* to.  I control who is on my list.  Betray my trust and it’s one click for me to cut you out of my attention entirely.

Remember, the most awesome value of the Internet age have been people-powered, from Ebay to Amazon reviews to Yelp — even Google’s search results beat the competition because they were able to derive human intention through the links of the Web.  Information sharing + filtering and attention management is legitimate value creation.

5 Questions with @alywalansky…Ramble

There are people around the net that I’ve known for years. We cross paths at events so to try to pinpoint the source of when we met is nearly impossible. @alywalansky is one of those amazing, vibrant doing-it-for-herself digital wunderkinds and I have great affection for that and following her writing around the net.

Location: Brooklyn, NY (and wherever the interweb takes me!)
Vocation: Writer
Sign: Sagitarius

1) You’ve been able to live a glamorous life being a digital personality. What tips do you have for people who’d like to live the entrepreneurial lifestyle?

My  life doesn’t feel glamorous to me, but it certainly doesn’t  suck. Just stay true to your dream — once upon a time, if someone had told me I’d travel all over the world in the name of style, I’d say they were crazy!

2) As a fashion expert, you’ve come in to contact with many glamorous people. What has been your favorite experience with a fashion celeb (aka Anna Wintour) in the last year?

I have something really exciting, fashion celeb-related, coming up next week. I can’t say what it is yet, but follow my twitter and you’ll soon find out!!! I went to a brunch hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker a few months ago…that was an amazing moment in my life!

3) As a frequent traveller, where do you suggest people travel to over the summer?

Try to pack light – but smart. I’m in Zürich this week, and suddenly – they are having a cold spell. It’s 30 degrees here!!! My best advice is to try to layer, whatever the season – I currently have t-shirts, hoodies, and cardigans with me – and they all work with both jeans and skirts. That way, I can adapt to the weather and not have it ruin my trip.

4) How has technology effected fashion trends?

SO much – I love that I can send wardrobe queries — I have them all the time!!! – and have them judge. But also, you can compare prices online and never leave your home!

5) What are the best simple solutions to keeping your skin healthy and glowing while you travel?

Hydrate! Drink as much water as possible – flying dries you out, and changing hours/schedules can mess with your system as well.

5 Questions with @shazzzadd…Ramble

Believe or not there are people in the music industry who bond over music. Seriously, recover from your shock because that’s how I bonded with @shazzzadd over our shared love of Coldplay. We had quite a laugh going to see Coldplay the night after a company trip to see AC/DC that blew out our eardrums. I couldn’t hear properly for a week but nothing could damper our shared joy over our slightly muted Coldplay experience full of tears when Chris dedicated ‘The Hardest Part’ to Jennifer Hudson, whose family tragedy had occurred the week prior.

Now Shazza and I continue to share our cultural loves and tips and laughing while we do it. She is generous to (almost) a fault as the saying goes and is wonderfully creative.

Location :  London
Vocation:   working out my future
Sign:           Scorpio

1. You recently went on a trip to India. Where did you go and what were some of the highlights?

I went to Kerala, Southern India and it was incredible.  The locals call it  “God’s Own Country’ and I can certainly see why they call it that –  It’s a beautiful place; very green and lush.  I stayed right on a beach in a resort called Varkala that I highly recommend. The weather was rather different from London, over 105 degrees most day – the best place was sitting on the beach, under an umbrella catching the cooling sea breezes !  They say “mad dogs and English men go out in the mid-day sun” and the Indians certainly thought that way….they would come and walk along the beautiful beach as the sun was setting and they played cricket and volleyball at 7 am in the morning.

The highlight of trip was being taken to see some Elephants.  It was just me and a guide and I met the most incredible elephant (see photo). He’s 38 and is the superstar of the elephants world; the second biggest in Kerala who
travels the country fronting important religious festivals.  He simply was magnificent, and he certainly knew it; although he was gentle and loved the attention I gave him.  It was a fabulous experience as I wasn’t part of a big group – it certainly felt very special….

2. How India inspired your creative mind?

Kerala is such a vibrant place.  It is full of the most incredible colours and smells – I’m an avid photographer, and I ended up taking over 2,500 photos in 3 weeks!  I had my macbook with me, so could upload my photos every day.  I’m passionate about taking photos of animals and people – and there were certainly a lot of both categories.  I love being able to put my photos straight on facebook, so my friends could experience my holiday with me.  I always travel on holiday alone, and I think my friends enjoy my photos, and knowing I’m still alive !

3. What are your current creative projects?

I was recently made redundant from my job – I had worked at the same record company for 16 years, and I now have a lot of time on my hands.  As well as photography, my main hobby is card making and all kinds of crafts.  My home is over-run with everything craft related….so my first current project is a complete overhaul of my stock….I have a small apartment, so I really need to be organised.  I need to make the most of not working and get some projects together that I have been wanting to do for a while.  I want to get some of my best photos printed and framed so I can get a stall at  my local craft market. Together with my home made cards and other craft projects I hope to have some nice gifts to sell.

4. As a music industry veteran you’ve worked with some huge names including two icons- the first Michael Jackson who’s 1 year anniversary of his death is coming up in June which connects him to the other who is in the news right now, George Michael. (FYI people MJ passed on George Michael’s birthday June 25th. I was going to do my first ‘vlog’ but it didn’t seem right.) What were ‘the Michaels’ like in person?

I worked with Michael Jackson in 1996 and it was an incredible experience.  I had to stay in a hotel with the travel party for a few days overseeing the visit.  He was a very private man, so didn’t spend as much time as I would normally with an artist, but when I did he was extremely charming.  I didn’t actually ever work with the “other” Michael – George – my boyfriend at the time did and I was very lucky to be able to travel with Wham! on their first US live tour in the early 80’s.  It was my first ever trip to America; I travelled with 2 other girlfriends of the crew and did a whistle-stop tour of LA, Dallas, Boston and NY.  Wham! played in small theatres; that could have been sold 3 or 4 times over by the time the band arrived in the States.  I had just started working in the music business at the time, and this trip really cemented my love of music, and the working in the music business bug was formed.

5. Film stars are so glamourous and this year you attended The Golden Globes in Lalaland. How did you end up there and what were some of the highlights?

I’ve been to all sorts of music-related award shows, with the biggest music stars in the world, but nothing could match my excitement to actually attend this year’s Golden Globe Awards.  I have a very well connected friend who took me.  LA is one of my most favourite places in the world, so just to be there was fab anyway – although unfortunately I bought the London rain with me; I have never seen rain in LA, so imagine the disappointment of needing to use an umbrella to walk down the red carpet.  I had said to my pal (who goes to the Globes often) that we would be  s l o w l y  walking down the red carpet – I wanted to take in the whole experience….I really wanted to walk using “pigeon steps” – do you know that saying in the US – tiny steps, but I that would make me look stupid.  I couldn’t believe how narrow the red carpet was and how every single person was a face I recognised …..I had to be careful not get too excited as I knew there were hundreds of camera lenses trained to follow all on the red carpet. So I kept a poker face and squealed silently when I saw Gerard Butler and George Clooney!

It was even more exciting inside when I saw the size of the room – a regular sized hotel ballroom.  Our table couldn’t have been positioned better – everyone had to pass us so I literally saw every single actor/actress in that room.  As well as loving music, I just love movies and to be sitting surrounded by the great and the good of Hollywood was a dream come true.

Thank you Shazz that was splendid. I’m so happy to have someone as giving and wonderful as you as a friend. xx

5 Questions with tidepooler…Ramble


@tidepooler has always been a breath of fresh air and creativity. She is so sweet and easy-going it’s addicting to be around someone so genuine. We worked together at VH1, where she always remained upbeat and willing to work out even the most tedious of problems. One of my favorite things about Celeste is her design aesthetic. She was always putting items together in a truly beautiful way with a smile on her face.

Since our Viacom days Celeste got married and moved to Berlin for a few years and then last year moved to the West Coast. I wanted to check in with her to trace how this has effected to her creative mind.
Location: Berkeley, California
Vocation: Freelance Writer
Sign: Leo

1) How do the design aesthetics differ between Brooklyn, Berlin and California?

These three places mentioned together makes me think of the architecture. Berlin has so much history, which a lot of the architectural design stems from. You’ve got these gorgeous pre-war buildings that survived the bombings, with crown mouldings, wide-planked wooden floors, and beautiful French doors that open out on to little balconies. Some of them still have their old porcelain coal heaters. Then there are the incredible platenbau apartment blocks from the 1960s

Always in-style

that are so fascinating. A couple of my favorites include this one with sliding windows in different tones of green, then there’s one down the street from it with a big rainbow painted across the facade. Brooklyn of course has all those wonderful Brownstones. I love those Victorian marble mantelpieces. In contrast, California seems so new, but also very retro. We had to get a car when we moved out here, so we got a 1983 Mercedes wagon. It just seems to fit the California aesthetic. Plus it runs on biodiesel – very California.

2) What kinds of items are you knitting these days? I think the most amazing thing I’ve seen by you was the green ‘butt warmer.’

That’s a genius item that really should have made me a millionaire. I’ve actually been working on the same scarf for over three years now. You might be imagining some epic 40-foot neck wrapper, but sadly, it’s only now nearing normal scarf length. But my latest craft project is making dolls! I’m having so much fun creating characters named after my six aunts: “Astronaut Patty,”

Marie Antoinette

“Mary Antoinette,” “Cathy Cat,” “Susie Blue Bear,” “Princess Margaret,” and I haven’t decided what the “Laurie” character will be. I’ve been wanting to make something to sell on Etsy for a while now, and am so happy to finally have come up with something. Check out my shop!

3) How does living abroad open you up creatively?
It’s such an amazing experience because everything is foreign. The language, the cultural expressions, the atmosphere… So it’s always exciting. I love that. Berlin is very special in terms of creativity. It’s a vastly international city, filled with tons of artists from all over the world. I really got the sense that you could do whatever you wanted artistically. People are constantly experimenting there. And of course there’s judgement, but at the same time there’s this remarkable sense of freedom. I don’t feel like you have that here in the United States, I guess mostly because it’s extremely difficult financially to pursue your artistic endeavors.

There is art in everything!

4) Your apartment was recently featured on Apartment Therapy which landed you a blogging spot for them. What will be your main focus to write about?

I’ll be writing “Green House Tours” for Re-Nest, Apartment Therapy’s green living site, and I’m super excited about it. I’m looking for beautiful, exquisitely decorated homes, that tie in eco-conscious elements – things like sustainable design, salvaged materials, repurposed spaces, small spaces… I’ve been wanting to break into the home design realm for ages now. One of the reasons why I started my own blog, Tidepooler, was so I could write about the home, in addition to other things that interest me, like weddings! (note: wild applause for @tidepooler!)
I love writing about so many different topics. In a single morning my brain could switch between scientific research, travel , jazz , Germany , and now green homes!
Try not to be set in stone!
5) How will you accommodate your space when your family expands?
We just bought a crib yesterday! Got the “Gulliver” from IKEA. It’s a really nice design and seems
sturdy. It’s still in the box, in a little interior room of our loft apartment, which will be the baby’s room come June. Right now it’s our super-sized walk-in closet, but I’m excited to turn it into a cute nursery. I got a green chenille rug from Target the other day for just ten bucks, and my friend Carly sent me the sweetest Matryoshka doll mobile, which I’ve already hung over the spot where the crib will go. It was a serendipitous gift because I’ve been infatuated with this Matryoshka fabric for a while, and now I think I’m going to have to go ahead and get some. Every baby should have a crib skirt to match her mobile!

5 Questions with @vangorkomm…Ramble

The best part of working at Yahoo! was getting to be part of a huge group of some super smart people – the new geek chic one might say. It could be an intense enviroment and it takes many moving parts to make it happen every day. The benefit? Other people who could expand your own imagination.

My first crush was on the Bo Duke aka John Schneider (still looking good my friend), giving blondes a special place in my heart. At Yahoo!, I noticed this tall, blonde guy – @vangorkomm who made astute comments in meetings, then being the life of the party the rest of the time and said to myself ‘I gotta be friends with that guy!’ Last year @vangorkomm’s easy-going nature and good grooming landed him as the face of “funemployment.”

Location: Santa Monica, CA
Vocation: Mobile Experience Guru
Sign: Virgo
Web: http://www.mikevangorkom.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/vangorkomm/

1) As an advocate of ‘funemployment’ what activities do you suggest for the newly unemployed? Do you have golden rules ie once you get sorted?

First, I suggest putting together your resumé and applying to a dozen or so jobs online. Next, forget about your resumé and the dozen or so jobs for which you just applied and refocus for a few weeks minimum. At least once a week try something you’ve NEVER done before. Anything. For example, I recently fired a handgun for the first time, took a Spanish class, learned to surf, and hiked up a mountain in Brazil.

The rest depends on other factors such as being single or a homeowner. Either way, try to travel outside of the country. There are PLENTY of inexpensive places to travel that will provide you with a new perspective on your life and your profession. Challenge yourself & have an adventure. Take the time to step back, analyze where you are at in your life and think about where you’d like to be.

Most importantly: Don’t sit at home! BE SOCIAL. There are numerous networking events in Los Angeles, so get out there and introduce yourself to a bunch of strangers. Remember when I told you to put your resumé together and apply for a dozen jobs? You will not get any of those jobs. But sending it out made you feel a whole lot better, didn’t it? 🙂 Now get out there! Meet people! Most of the events are free and you have nothing to lose. Break down barriers, walk up to strangers and introduce yourself. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities might present themselves.

2) How much did the ‘fun’ factor go up once you were interviewed by the LA Times about being funemployed? Do you think a warm weather state is the best place to be unemployed?

The fun factor went up a bit as the whole thing started to grow and grow, but it was also all a bit embarrassing.  While I was enjoying some time off and being lazy on the beach, I realize many other people were struggling to find work, support their families and keep their homes.  However there were a few perks from the experience: I received three job offers and two dates!  🙂

California is definitely a great place to be unemployed.  Luckily I was laid off right before the summer, so I spent a portion of every single day on the beach. I can’t imagine what I would do with my days if I was back home in Iowa this time of year.  I love being outdoors and have enjoyed being even more active and exploring some new areas of SoCal.

(ed. note: California has the 5th highest unemployment rate at 12.1- it is fun and full of actors and sunshine. Mike’s home state of Iowa has the 4th lowest rate at 6.6% but it’s so cold.)

3) How has your passion for technology been reignited by a break from the every day stress of the daily grind?

Very good question.  Technology has always been my passion, but I grew very restless with the web world because it just wasn’t evolving at a pace that excited me.  Stepping back, I was definitely able to pinpoint what I liked and disliked about my job at Yahoo! and my career in general.  I’ve never been one to work on something unless I’m incredibly passionate about it (many times to a fault), so I started focusing on the things in my life that excite me, and new areas of technology in which I wanted to dive deeper.   Some of the new mobile experiences have definitely reignited some of that passion.

Right now I’m really enjoying digging in on some new experiences using augmented reality, GPS-based gaming and virtual goods.   Everyone knows I’m a big Apple fanboy, so of course I’m having a blast brainstorming & creating some new user experiences for the iPad. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve encountered such a blank slate of endless opportunities and the opportunity to create brand-spanking-new user experiences and set some standards in a new space.  Most importantly I want to continue to be challenged, learn something new every day, and have FUN doing it.

4) What’s next for you?

Well, after this interview I’ll probably compile some code, go for a run on the beach and then catch up on last week’s American Idol.  🙂

But seriously, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me about this in the next 30 days.  It involves some renewed entrepreneurial spirit around much of what I mentioned above, and I am incredibly excited.

5) What makes Iowans unique?

The best thing I can say about Iowans is how incredibly selfless they are.  Every time I go back to visit, I’m always amazed at how many Iowans I meet whose occupations & lives are built around others, not themselves.  Their purposes in life are to help others succeed, to support their friends, family & communities.  For most, their lives don’t revolve around what car they drive or their status in the community.  But I think my favorite aspect of Iowans is how incredibly socially & technologically progressive they are, all while maintaining this level of selflessness.  It’s an impressive balance and one for which I continually strive.

Also, we love corn.  Holy crap corn is good.

5 Questions with @JamesLaRosa…Ramble

I was introduced to @JamesLaRosa by our mutual friend @jrjeffrey in LA. They had gone to college together and now ventured West, like we told them too, go West… When I really ‘fell’ for James was during a night out dancing at Cherry, the 80’s night at a gay club (now Hip-Hop on Robertson- quite a scene to see on a Saturday night.) James can dance like no other. He also is ridiculously funny, punny and knows has all the best drink specials on lockdown in Weho.

Mmm yummy! And the donut looks good too.

James is able to translate his wit to writing. Last year I was watching a Syfy Scary Saturday Shark movie marathon and got so excited to see “Written By James LaRosa” at the beginning of ‘Springbreak Shark Attack’ causing me to squeel for a good thirty seconds.

Location: Los Angeles
Vocation: Screenwriter, sports writer
Sign: Virgo
Web: www.tennischannel.com/columnists/larosa.aspx

1) How do you approach writing a film from scratch vs. being a script doctor?

From scratch, I’m usually working toward a single scene. A moment that got lodged in my head that I somehow have to get out.  Oftentimes it’s the ending, so I’m working backwards a lot. Creating a world that will give that scene as big an impact as possible.  Needless to say, when I finally write that scene, I’m mainlining it like crack. Don’t interrupt because you’re gonna get bit. Rewriting is another animal. Whether it’s performing surgery on my own script or someone else’s, I’m usually spending most of my time trying not to f*** something up.  Whether it’s someone else’s moment, or an amazing character, or a huge set piece the studio can sell in a trailer, the project is still alive because of it and it’s your job not to kill it. It’s like playing Jenga. Do it right and you’re a star.  But pull at the wrong thing and it all falls to shit.

2) You wrote the amazing ‘Spring Break Shark Attack’ – are you a big fan of shark movies? How much research was involved?

What I did was, I took Jaws, renamed the characters, and voila. Actually, I was approached to write a disaster movie for CBS. While I’m not a huge shark movie fan, I love disaster movies, like “Towering Inferno” and “Earthquake.”  Put a bunch of actors together, kill them off one by one in some grisly way…heaven. When I learned they wanted to do a shark movie, I thought, huh. Not exactly a disaster. But I could kill a bunch of people so I was in.  Most of my research was documentary stuff.  Shark behavior, survivor stories. Let me tell you, if I was freaked to go in the water before, I for sure ain’t goin’ in there now. We actually filmed in open water off the coast of South Africa and all I could think was, you poor actors.  I may have had in my contract that Kathy Baker couldn’t go in there. She’s a three-time Emmy winner. Let the kid from Young & Restless get eaten.

3) As a tennis aficionado you landed a coveted spot blogging for Tennis Channel. What is your favorite grand slam to cover?

The first one I ever covered was the French Open, so it has a special place in my heart. I’m most at home at the U.S. Open. I see all my NYC peeps there, I know all the secret passageways to get from court to court and avoid the crowds.  Plus Tennis Channel has an amazing hospitality suite inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. But while Wimbledon is almost too impressive to enjoy – I’m intimidated just using the bathroom there – you can’t beat the history and the overall sense of holy crap I’m at Wimbledon. Plus you can buy a can of match-used balls for 5 pounds a can. That’s three Christmas presents right there.

4) Congrats on your recent marriage. Due to CA not recognizing a same sex union, you were married in MA. How has this affected your view of California and why do you think Prop 8 hasn’t been successful yet?

It’s popular to be down on CA after the whole marriage debacle, but I’m much more down on politics.  The whole campaign was a deliberate mindf***.  Starting with the fact that “Yes on 8” meant “Yes say no to gay marriage.” So you see, Prop 8 was successful – successfully confusing.  I’m lucky in that my family is from Boston, so they could see me legally wed. My husband is not so lucky, as his family is from L.A. and aren’t Rockefellers, so they couldn’t afford to fly out and have that for themselves.  Collateral damage.  Massachusetts treated us great, and I’m so proud to be from there.  That said, I won’t be happy until gay marriage it’s recognized nationally. That’s really the one I care about.  If you knew the Federal taxes we have to pay above and beyond heterosexual couples just to put our spouses on our insurance, it would piss you off.  It pisses me off.  It’s thousands of dollars a year.  Screw the emotional trauma, Uncle Sam is raping my wallet. We’ll get there, but not soon enough.

And thanks for the congrats. He’s pretty awesome.

5) As a new dad of a puppy, what has been the most surprising part so far?

He looks like a puppy but he’s actually a 1 or 2. He’s a rescue, so he’s a man of mystery.  Where did he come from? How was he treated? The biggest surprise is how quickly he’s integrated into our little unit. We’ve had him less than a week and he’s already part of the family.  Okay that’s cliche. How about this: it’s hard to kill a dog.  I thought taking on a pup would require all these extra responsibilities, and if I failed at one he’d die.  But really, just keep the bowls filled and he’s a-okay.  I was worried about kids for the same reason, now this gives me hope.  Though I imagine I’d have to do more than keep its bowls filled.  Maybe some crate training with that one.