This past weekend, a few of us Old Hatters went up to Moore to help clean up Veteran's Park in time for Memorial Day. We were joined by a few hundred other volunteers who ended up spilling over into the neighboring developments that were in the path of Monday's tornado. You never really know the force of Mother Nature until you're picking up baby blankets, credit cards, tupperware, cheerleading trophies and other bits of what used to be someone's home and life. It's completely heartbreaking.

But among the sadness, there were moments of awesome and funny. Awesome just to see the countless people from all over the state, and even from out-of-state, taking time out of their weekend to help strangers clean up. Also awesome were the churches and local businesses that kept us all fed, hydrated and possibly most important, not sunburned. Funny moments include Aaron and Deb simultaneously slipping on their bums in the muddy creekbed, getting covered maybe two minutes after we showed up. Later on, I'm pretty sure Deb jumped about 10 feet in the air when she saw a snake while cleaning said creek. According to her most recent retelling of this story, I think the snake was up to 12 feet long... we may never know.

One of the greatest things about living in Chicago is that we are close to some of the best minds in the business. It is a huge asset to be able to interact with inspiring people when you are stuck on something.

Yesterday, Tracie drove up to Chicago and we met with Dan Migala at his Chicago office. We spent most of our day brainstorming with a bunch of super minds and making plans for the upcoming year. Working away from our Norman office can be uninspiring, so Tracie and I make sure to get out and interact with each other and our clients.

And it isn’t a complete Chicago day without some Lou Malnati’s pizza, which we shared (kinda) with our friend Brad from the Chicago Fire. The Fire is such a great organization and it is amazing to hear about what they are doing to drive ticket sales.

In true Old Hat style, we finished the evening recapping the day at the pub. Being able to meet new minds and hear new ideas is what makes Old Hat the best. We strive to always keep our ideas fresh by surrounding ourselves with amazing people.

Updated 5/24/13 at 11:00 am

Hearts are heavy this morning at Old Hat World Headquarters. Just before 3p.m. CST yesterday afternoon, the town of Moore, Oklahoma, approximately 10 miles north of our offices, was devastated by an EF4/5 tornado

Amidst the devastation, droves of people have already began to help in whatever way they can and it should come as no surprise that the sports world is following suit.



Below is a list of ways that you can help the residents and first responders of Central Oklahoma no matter where you are.

WE'll BE OK T-SHIRTS

The "We'll be OK" design by Old hat designer Jared Stanley posted earlier today is up for sale. Check it out if you're interested in getting one. 100% of the proceeds will go to the OK Strong Disaster Relief which is part of the United Way of Central Oklahoma. 

OKLAHOMASTRONG.GOV


Governor Mary Fallin, in coordination with the United Way of Central Oklahoma, has established the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund to assist with the long-term medical, emotional and educational needs of victims of the May 20 tornado in Moore and the May 19 tornado near Shawnee.

http://www.ok.gov/okstrong/


RED CROSS


The Oklahoma Red Cross is asking people to donate by texting Red Cross to 90999 which will be a $10 donation.

Donations allow the Red Cross purchase needed supplies.

http://www.redcross.org/ok/oklahoma-city  

Those who are looking for family members can visit www.safeandwell.org.


SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army Arkansas-Oklahoma Division has dispatched disaster response teams.

Donations can be made to:

  The Salvation Army Disaster Relief
  P.O. Box 12600
  Oklahoma City, OK 73157

Designate Oklahoma Tornado Relief on all checks.

Donate by phone: (800) 725-2769

Text GIVE to 80888 for a $10 donation to the Salvation Army.


FEED THE CHILDREN

The Oklahoma City-base non profit is currently seeking donations of boots, gloves, tools, bottled water, non-perishable food items and cash.

Doantions can be made online at http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dotorg_homepage

Text DISASTER to 80888 for a $10 Donation to Feed the Children.


TEAM RUBICON



Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

Similar to our response to Superstorm Sandy, TR will activate volunteers from across the country to deploy to Oklahoma. Strike teams will work in the community, going home to home, providing damage assessments and expedient home repair. 

 It is Super Fan 5k time here in Norman.  If you are reading this blog you probably already have seen something about the 5k but it is finally here!!

When Zac first announced that he wanted to change to a 5k from Humayliation, I was excited.  Mostly because this was painful.  I have never had half of my face go numb like that without involving a trip to the dentist.  On top of that, it turns out I am a little allergic to the grass wherever we filmed that video.  Add in the pain of jumping in the air and landing on your back, I was happy to have to run a little for charity this year instead.  

Setting something like this takes a lot of work and preparation.  Kelby has led our efforts to put this event on and she has done a great job.  Initially, I thought I would run the 5k, but I wont.  I will be taking photos of the event as Old Hat’s third string photographer.   When everyone that has talent is gone, they turn to me.  I am excited to do it and I am excited for the race to be here. 

Giving back in some way or another is something I love about Old Hat.  Ironically, I am not a fan of being on websites or filming myself and posting it online.  I try to keep a tight lid on what gets out on the interwebs about me.  When I applied for Old Hat, Zac asked if I used Facebook.  He asked because he could not find me on Facebook and it would be a part of my job.  I keep my account locked down as much as possible.  When Robert tagged me at a restaurant in North Carolina, I almost un-friended him and then quickly logged on to undo what he had done.  I am not trying to hide; I am just not one to broadcast my life to the world.  The point of this rambling is that when it comes to giving back, I do not even think about it.  I ran for an hour on a treadmill last week, broadcasting my receding hairline to the world but really did not care.  I am not near as entertaining as Zac, Robert, or Tricia but I wanted to do it to help out even if I bored the audience to tears.   Twenty years from now, there will still be a video of my failed attempts to be a real soccer player and embarrassing myself online but I do not care because of what Old Hat is doing to help those in need.  

The Super Fan 5k is raising money for Norman Public School Foundation and the Mary Abbott House.  Both are great causes and the money is definitely going somewhere that it is needed.   We are still accepting donations so if you have not managed to get to Norman for the race, go to http://superfan5k.org/donate and help Old Hat support two great causes.  And who knows, after this weekend we may have a few more embarrassing videos to put online. 

This week we are having our Super Fan 5K event to raise money for charity. I am volunteering my services as DJ for the event, so I have been thinking about what music I am going to play. So this week, I have decided to deviate from my normal tech talk and speak about what music means to me.

Some of my earliest memories involving music would be riding in the car with my mother, and a song would come on the radio, and she say, "This song brings back memories" (and then irritatingly start singing it). At the time, I didn't really understand what that meant, not really having a music taste yet nor having any big events to associate with any music. But now, I find mysylf on occasion mumbling those same words. Some good memories. Some bad. But always evoking some sort of emotion.

I have played music ever since I was about ten. I started with the saxophone in my elementary school band. Eventually picked up a guitar. Learned a little technique on the drums and keys. Started a band. Became a rock star. Just kidding about the rock star, but we were kind of known for a little while in Norman and Oklahoma City. Music to me can be so many things. Whether listening to or composing, music can be an escape. An inspiration. A friend when things are dark. Provide a little levity when things are good. But most of all, music always enhaces the emotion.

Which kind of brings me back to what we do here at Old Hat. We have a motto here, "We amplify the sports experience." Sports, a lot like music, can evoke so many emotions as well. And the marriage of the two can be downright EPIC. I am constantly impressed with what our Productions Department is able to create. I can watch one of their hype or intro videos and I am ready to take the field. So, in a way, music and sports kind of go hand in hand. Even in movies, there is an indelible link between music and sports. Who cannot listen to the opening measures of "Chariots of Fire" and not envision runners on the beach, or think about the movie "The Natural" and it conjure up the horn fanfare of Roy Hobbs last home run.

 

Music and sports. It just kind of works. And probably the most lasting link between the two for me... I cant hear The Alan Parsons Project without hearing the words in my head...

"FROM NORTH CAROLINA..."


EXCITING: Weather--FINALLY! We missed the whole spring season…but I'm okay with it. It's warm and I like the warm weather. The allergies that come with warm weather though--NOT EXCITING. 

EXCITING: How I Met Your Mother--WE FINALLY SAW THE MOTHER. She isn't just in Ted's Imagination, and she is (hopefully) not dead. Waiting 8 seasons to meet her--NOT EXCITING. 

EXCITING: 24 IS BACK. Fox announced that Jack Bauer will be back in 2014. Jack Bauer is my favorite Bad A**. and I've missed him. Having to wait a year to see him again--NOT EXCITING. 

EXCITING: K-State won the Big 12 Championship in Football and Men's Basketball, and are currently leading the Big 12 in Baseball. I was in Manhattan last weekend for less then 24 hours. It was the best. Leaving though--NOT EXCITING.

EXCITING: It's 5K Race Week in Norman! I've recruited a bunch of friends to run this weekend and I'm excited for them to be able to see the crazy/fun side of Old Hat. Most of them don't really believe we ever work, but we do. If you saw me running last week on the treadmill, you will understand why i think running is NOT EXCITING. (but props to people who like to do it). 

EXCITING: Last weekend I was in a wedding in Kansas City, and have more weddings coming up. In the next two months I will get to travel to Memphis, Nashville, Oregon, and Lawrence to celebrate friends and family. I love going to weddings and it will be fun to get out of Norman for a couple weekends. However, being in Lawrence--NOT EXCITING. 

EXCITING: Lots of Old Hatters have been Buying/Renting houses. I am moving into a house this summer, which I am PUMPED about. However, packing--NOT EXCITING. 


Whats exciting and not exciting in your life these days?

 

 

Sup guys! How are we doing today?!? Not much to report lately so I think it's time to reflect on the past year. If you know me, you probably know how I quit facebook and twitter this time last year. I have my reasons (and I'm tweeting again now!) but that's not what this blog is about. What it IS about is all the awesome stuff that happened in the time that I wasn't sharing my special brand of stupidity with the world. Let's see what everybody was up to.

Some dude jumped from space and landed on the earth.

Some chick jumped from a helicopter and landed on the Olympics.

Not to be outdone…CATS.

Obama was reelected. I heard twitter was going nuts throughout the whole campaign. Lost in all the madness was the fact that we have a lefty in office with a sweet J who hoops in sweat pants with his shirt tucked in. Democracy in its purest form.

Dustin quit social media all together. Again.

Old Hat made the move to the other end of the building and pimped out the new office.

Manti Te'o fell head over heels, got worked and looked like a complete fool…and that was just in the championship game. At least he had a nice young lady friend to turn to in his darkest hour…

We sent a rover to Mars…and then let a 5th grader drive it.

There's a new pope. He likes soccer.

Duey visited Old Hat headquarters.

Tricia started a grueling diet and exercise routine.

Some league called the "NHL" where they play something called "hockey" (what is that?) went on a lockout. Well it's back now. AND. IT. IS. WIERD. (thanks Deb)

THIS is a thing now.

In a somewhat ironic turn of events, little suburban weirdos all over the world are giving Harlem a bad reputation with good, clean fun.

That girl that was always ditching art class in high school popped up in Spain with something to prove.

Welp, I'm sure some other things happened. History is made every day…so says the History Channel. But what do they know? I've never been to a pawn shop, swamp, or seen an alien or bigfoot. That's all they show these days #amiright? History has never looked so EASY. So do something today. Something good. Something historic. Something worth tweeting about. You never know who's watching.

This week was a busy one with Teacher's Day, Nurses Week and Mother's Day all falling around the same time.  All "holidays" that have come about to remind us to thank people who we might forget about during the year.  Sure it's second nature to thank someone after they do something for you, but a thank you is even more special when it's just on a regular day.  A surprise thank you feels great!  I received one this week from Jamaal Walton at Alabama.  He left a voicemail checking in and before he hung up he said, "And thank you for everything you've done for me through the years.  I really appreciate our friendship and I'm fortunate to have you in my life."  What if you received awesome messages like that everyday?

At Old Hat, Zac got us in the habit of writing thank you notes to people we care about each month because we want to make sure they know that we appreciate them all the time.  So it was awesome to see this tweet from Scott Jurgens on Tuesday:

I love sending notes personally too.  I have a stack of "Thinking of You" cards that I pass by everyday to remind me to send a handful every month to those who I've known all my life and those who I just met.  I also love getting together in person, especially when I can surprise someone with a visit.  Being out and about with friends and family has been a priority the last few years, which is why I started using Mint.com to still keep me on budget.  I often get emails saying, "you've exceeded your budget for Restaurants" or "you've exceeded your budget for Bars", which I usually make adjustments to stay on track for the month.  But when I get the email that says, "you've exceeded your budget for Gifts", I'm just fine with that.

So whether it's a surprise thank you or done on a designated day, there's no better feeling than telling someone you are grateful for them.  I don't know what I would do without the nurses who are taking care of my brother right now.

And the ones who take care of my Dad three times a week:

And the teachers who have helped me navigate my way to an amazing career and an even better life.

And of course my Mom who is the first one to help anyone anytime, and still manages to be there for me everytime.

So get out there and thank someone, today and everyday!

 

 

 

 

As a guy who designs posters for a living, I can't help but notice them everywhere I go. I see them in restaurants, on the street corner and even my kid's school (comic sans anyone?). Most of the time I hardly pay any attention to them because they all look like this.

   

 But when I go to the movies, I always make a point to stand outside the theater and look at all the posters for the movies showing inside. In the past, movie posters were vibrant, unique pieces of art. Each one had the potential to become as memorable as the movie itself. Posters designed by Saul Bass (Vertigo) and Greg and Tim Hilderbrandt (Star Wars) are now considered classics of cinema. 

      

However, these days the folks that design movie posters have gotten lazy. Instead of creating an imaginative, engaging poster to advertise the movie, these designers re-hash the same old poster over and over again. For every type of movie there is, it gets the standard Hollywood poster design to go along with it. 

 

What's that? You need a poster for a super hero movie? Ok, how about the hero standing on a ledge? Maybe over looking the city he's sworn to protect? Not moody enough for you? Ok, how about rain? Yeah! Lots of rain!

 

Oh, your movie is a "buddy comedy"? Ok, how about the stars standing back-to-back with goofy looks on their faces? Because nothing screams "We're in this together" like that!

 

Hmm. You’re making a quirky, independent movie? Ok, that's easy. Those are supposed to be yellow.

 

These are just a few examples. There are tons more here http://www.buzzfeed.com/pauljamez/15-common-movie-poster-themes-2kjh

I know how hard it can be to design a memorable poster. It's not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of creativity, talent and work. Movie posters today seem to lack even the slightest bit of creativity. They're boring and unimaginative and rely too heavily on cliché design motifs and templates. However, there is a small movement among artist and graphic designers to re-imagine the movie poster, to give them new life. The folks over at Alternative Movie Posters http://www.alternativemovieposters.com/ are artist in the true sense of the word (not just some dufus playing around in Photoshop, like me and probably most of the movie poster designers). These artists are able to distill the essence of a movie into just a few iconic images. They're fun, creative and interesting to look at. It's a far cry from the same poster you've seen over and over again at your local movie theater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know what's difficult?  Running a business.  Raising children is tough, sure.  But the results of your failures aren't quite as immediate.  If you screw up in raising your kids, you probably won't realize it until they're meth addicts or shooting at people from a clock tower.  Running a marathon is difficult.  But it's difficult for 18 weeks leading up to it and then for 4 hours during (or if you're a complete stud like me, 3 hours and 35 minutes).  Running a business is always difficult.  It never gets easy.  No matter how well things are going, there are always new challenges.  Back me up here, Trip Durham!  And if you screw up, people lose their jobs.  If you screw up BIG, you lose everything.

Off-Season Preparation

One of those difficulties we face every year is how to be properly prepared for the onslaught of "busy season" for the upcoming year.  Right now we're in our "dead season" which doesn't mean that we don't have lots to do.  It just means that compared to August, September and October, the spring months are a breeze.  But Old Hat has been around for 9 years and each year we have seen exponential growth in the amount of work that we have coming in.  And it seems like each year we are understaffed through those busy months.  What I am faced with each spring is making sure that we are properly staffed for that time period but not OVERstaffed.  We don't want to be put in a position where we have to lay-off someone after the busy season ends because we don't have enough work. We also have to decide when to bring in new people in order to train them and have them ready for busy season.  If we hire too soon, we're putting money toward an unnecessary payroll expense for someone that doesn't have anything to do.  If we hire them too late, busy season comes and they aren't properly prepared.  So every May/June, we have to decide who we're hiring, how many people we're hiring and when to bring them on.  Hire too many and we spend too much on payroll and profits suffer.  Hire too few and everyone is miserable all fall because they're working too much.

Painful Growth

Growing is painful at times.  And even though you can analyze past successes and failures, study your numbers, etc... it's all just a big guessing game.  Sometimes I guess right and sometimes I guess wrong.  I've gotten better at it over the years but last year we had the biggest jump in growth we'd ever had and there was no way to know it was coming.  It seems to have just happened.  Do I prepare this year for that level of growth?  Or do I prepare for what we had typically done in prior years?  Or is this the year where it all levels out and we hardly grow any?

Your guess is as good as mine.

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