(hit play, then read...yes this blog is very stand by me, the wonder years, the sandlot-esque - if an ad plays before the song JUST WAIT 30 SECONDS)

Picture it, the year 2011. It was the year of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wallstreet protests, Steve Jobs and Amy Winehouse passed away, a gallon of milk cost $3.39, Kate Middleton and Prince William got married and Charlie Sheen was fired from the show Two and a Half Men. It was also the year a fresh-faced 23-year-old named Tricia Robben started at Old Hat. She was a quiet young lady. A graduate of THE Kansas State University. A Wildcat through and through. I liked her already. She was filling the position of Print Project Manager - the hardest and most stressful position at the company. 

Geoffrey Rogers, print designer / basketball short wearer extraordinaire, was in his fourth year at Old Hat with not a care in the world except Pop Tarts and Hungry Man frozen dinners.

 

Geoff's first thought about Tricia: She has a lot to live up to after Todd (Adams, former print manager and roommate, not love interest). 

Tricia's first thought about Geoff: He was quiet, but really good at his job.

A couple of weeks in the power went out and Tricia went around to each designer, she asked how she was doing, and what she could do to make their lives easier? Geoff replies, "You've been rocking it. I've been impressed."

Fast forward three years to the beginning of 2014 and Tricia and Geoff start hanging out a little more, but it was just a friendship. I mean, they went to see Despicable Me 2 in the theater, but Geoff sat a seat away from Tricia. "Lololz. No i do not consider that the first date," Tricia says.

Those of us who know Geoff and Patty well (i like to call Tricia "Patty" and she loves it), could see something early on. They're both caring and really goofy people. Something just clicked. I don't know how else to explain, other than you just know. Work fraternization - smerk smaternization, guys. It was Geoff and Patty. Like Pam and Jim or Leslie and Ben.

   

 

I had my first inkling when they were both on the OU Campus and Geoff was filming the penguin dougie. I thought they're a good team...at doing silly dumb stuff.

 

Now, I'm told their first official date was either the first time they went to the zoo or the Globetrotters. I imagine it was something like this:

 

A year and a half later and we're just three days away from their wedding day. I'm really happy and really excited for two of my very favorite people. You two deserve all the happiness in the world.

FYI- we may or may not have a dance planned for Saturday. 

The Office - Jim and Pam getting married dance [ JK Wedding Entrance Dance Style ] from Larsen on Vimeo.

Just a public service announcement: 

If you are traveling out of the country, your passport must be valid 6 months after your return date. 

Happy Halloween! The photo above is me in front of my favorite house in Kansas City. It’s my favorite because of the amount of inflatables in the yard. I hope one day to have this many in my yard. I think it will take years of begging my soon to be husband that it is acceptable to be that tacky. He’ll come around…

I am not dressing up this year, I have some other stuff going on right now (aka moving and getting married next week). But I hope your costume is stellar or spooky…or cute, like I was when I was a care bear. (below)

In other news, The Royals are up 2 games in the World Series! I’ve been a fan since I was a young kid. I wish I was in KC to experience this time!  

And, the interactive dept has been working hard on this new site-check it out!

 

Have a good weekend-don’t eat too much candy!

You like that play on words? There's a lot more where that came from... well, no, not really. I just realized today was my blog day so I'm keeping it super short (you're welcome).

So today we held the first of many Old Hat/Third Degree productions, and probably one of the most important efforts by both sides. I'm talking about the Chili Cook-off Contest!

I don't want to brag too much about the Old Hat side, but we did take 1st place (thanks to Tanner) and also a share of the 4-way tie for 2nd place.

Here are the final results:

1. Tanner Naeher

2a. Katelyn Drake

2b. Kriste Day

2c. Zac Logsdon

2d. Deb Livingston

3. Misty Copeland

Here's a look at the chili, after we ate it all.

 

In other unrelated news, I just got back from a shoot in Orlando for the American Athletic Conference basketball media days. We had a good time- got to talk with the WBB coaches and players, and the MBB players from around the conference too. I'm looking forward to the PSAs we put together for both sides.

 

Here's a creepy painting that was at the end of the hall at our hotel... pretty cool though.

 

And to tie in videos and painting, I heard Bob Ross' entire collection is now available on YouTube. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I hope you'll find your inner artist and paint what your heart desires.

The other day I was listening to some commentary of one of my favorite shows.  In the past the extras like commentary that come on DVDs has never been something that interests me.  Recently I have started listening to these more and have really started to enjoy hearing what people were thinking when they created something.  The process they use will never be the same as mine, but getting a peak into their mind as they created something consumed by millions is interesting to me. A couple months ago we launched http://timetoshinememphis.com/ .  It was a fun project to work on and one that fits in with a lot of the other stadium/facility project sites we have been doing recently. Their football team is currently shining quite brightly! Below is some commentary from the team that worked on the site.

Memphis was a great client to work with on this project. They were very enthusiastic about the process and gave us great feedback during the design and concepting phase. We were very happy with how the creative turned out and we love how the site looks.

Dustin Schmidt, Creative Director

Creating the video player behind the content and writing the javascript to animate and show the video was my favorite part of this project.

Tanner Naeher,  Senior Web Developer

What stood out to me on this project is the decisiveness of the team at Memphis.  In major renovations like this there are usually a lot of people involved and a lot of people who want their say to affect the decisions.  Memphis came to us with a plan and stuck to it.  It allowed our team to work with consistent content and create a beautiful website.

Kevin Kelly, Director of Interactive Media 

I started re-reading a book by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly. She's brillant! She's a social scientist and researcher who has spent 13 years studying vulnerbility, courage, worthiness and shame. Sounds deep, confusing and/or uninteresting, I know. But she was recently on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday discussing her new book Rising Strong and the information she shares is eye-opening. It'll make you think "I do that". If I could embed a YouTube link of the entire hour long interview, I would, but it's not available. So I've linked in a few segments that are 3 minutes each. So if you have some time today or throughout the week, I encourage you to take a listen. 

Happy Monday! 

 

 

I used to play a lot of Words with Friends.  It was pretty much the only game I play on my iPhone and I’ll be honest, I refused to play with people that I couldn't beat at least half the time.  I stopped playing Old Hatter, Robert Smith, because I could never win.

One thing I have noticed when playing is that when it’s my turn, my first thought is to figure out what the longest word is that I can spell out.  I want to cover a double or triple-word if possible… I want to put a Q on the triple-letter spot.  And I want to use a lot of letters.  Sometimes I’ll stare at the “board” for a while and get so frustrated because I can’t find a long word to create.  And about that time, I’ll happen to see a triple-letter spot that has the letter ‘i’ next to it.  It’s at this point that I slap my forehead, place my Q and end up with 31 points rather than the 12 I probably would have gotten if I had been able to play my 6-letter word somewhere.

We do this all the time.  We “walk over dollars looking for pennies."  We look for the most complicated answer to the question because we assume that since it’s a complicated problem, it must have a complicated answer.  And sometimes it IS a complicated answer.  But why start there?  Why not start with the simple answer and work from there?  You might find the perfect answer somewhere in between there and the most complicated one.  You’ll save yourself a lot of time, a lot of stress and you’ll be a lot more satisfied with your simple solution if you arrive at it toward the beginning rather than after having exhausted every other option.

And sometimes, the simplest answer can reap the greatest rewards.

Examples

You might not want to read past this point.  Some people will take the above and apply it to their own situations and be good.  Others like to hear examples of where this has worked here at Old Hat.

We had a web designer leave a few years ago.  Our immediate reaction was, "Oh crap.  We have to find someone immediately.  They have to be really qualified.  They have to start soon."  And so on…  A couple weeks went by and after reviewing some resumes, interviewing some people, etc., we started to think, "Wait.  Do we have to replace this person at all?"  We realized that the client that occupied most of our web design team wasn't going to have as much work for us in the coming months.  We also recognized that our print designers were perfectly capable should the need arise for them to step in on some web projects.  So we went back to the most simple answer to the question… which was that we wouldn’t hire anyone. 

This is an answer we may not have come to without going a couple weeks without anyone in that position.  However, we would have saved everyone a lot of time if we had just entertained this option from the get-go.  Learning from my mistake, this is the first option I entertained the next time we had someone leave Old Hat.  It was obvious almost immediately that this was not a good option and that we had to replace that person asap.  But having started with the simplest solution and working from there, I was a lot more pleased with the thought process.

I really can't think of a lot to say right now, so I thought I would share some pics from my family vacation.  I think I am more exhausted from the vacation than work, but it was good to spend time with my family.

Here we are leaving the city (our neighbors took this pic):

This is where we broke down on our way there:

This was dad getting mad when we got there and the park was closed:

lol Ok so that was not really from our vacation, but it sure felt like it at times... So here is my actual vacation.

We went to several parks down in Florida.  My family got there a few days before I did, so my first day was a day at Coco Beach. It was fun.

Coco Beach

My Parents:

View from pier:

 

Some random guy catching a fish while we were there:

Universal Studios

Curious George greets us.

Hogwarts & Butterbeer

Jurrasic Park!!!

Visited the Homer's favorite spot:

Met Barney there:

Had my first Krusty Burger & yes I would like fries with that:

Caught Chief Wiggum hard at work:

And then the haunted houses and creepy guys came out! It was a lot of fun:

I don't think she liked me trying to take a pic with her:

Little BoPeep

And we called it a night at 1:05am!

Hollywood Studios

Me acting like a big kid again

And the end to another long day... didn't take as many pictures... you lucked out! ;)

Bass Fishing!!!

Much more relaxing! Other than the 3am wake up after going to bed at 12:30am.

Magic Kingdom (2 Days)

Belle was gorgious! Sadly didn't get a picture with her.

But I'll be your beast, Belle! lol

Epcott

The aquarium was amazing!!!

My little sister and Mulan!  I got my picture with her too... and Belle this time... and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)... but haven't order the pics yet!

The end!!! Time to get back to buiding awesome websites.  Hope you enjoyed it!

I recently read an article about how venues across the country are looking to improve the fan experience. Not shocking, I know. But the way they're doing it is by providing fans with the comforts of home while at a game. This isn't shocking either, seeing how most people would rather be sitting at home in a comfy recliner, flipping through multiple games (with the ability to pause the game), go grab a drink and some food at their leisure and fast forward to the live game at any point. You just can't match that level of empowerment at any venue. Combine that with bad weather, lots of walking, ticket costs, sitting by obnoxious fans and missing out on everything else going on in the world and it's not surprising that it's hard to get fans to games.

So how DO you truly provide a home experience at a venue? I'm not really sure, but I thought I'd throw some ideas out there about how I would best feel at home. The whole idea being that everything surrounding the game is done just for me (and maybe a friend or two I take with me). Probably not going to be a lot of practical applications to this, but who knows…?

In no particular order (but we'll just say chronological, since that's the order I'm going to put it in):
Pre Pre-game. My perfect pre pre-game would be hanging out on the field, throwing the ball to a couple of the receivers as they're getting warmed up, talking with coach a little about the game plan and probably giving a few pointers based on last week's performance (after he asked for my advice, of course). I'm not looking to run the team here, just offering a few insightful observations. Once the team is done warming up, I'd go back to my tiki hut on the sidelines and resume my traditional pre-game massage.

Pre-game. I'm all for the band taking the field and doing their thing, it's tradition after all. But instead of the normal marching band routine, it turns into marching band karaoke. I get to choose from my list of favorite karaoke tunes and grab a microphone while the marching band plays back-up. Welcome to the Jungle would be my karaoke debut, with a live solo performance by Slash. There would also be multiple fog and bubble machines around the field, but just the standard amount of pyrotechnics.

Game time. Once the smoke and bubbles cleared, it's time for the game. I'd have my recliner in the 1/3 back position on the 50 yard line, 7 rows up, eating a juicy swiss and mushroom burger. In addition to a headset, I'd have the full playbook on my iPad and could select the plays to run. Every now and then I would inadvertently make a bad play call because my greasy fingers didn't register correctly on the iPad. There'd be no trick plays because every play is a trick play in my book (so I guess there'd actually be a lot of trick plays).

Half time. After an enjoyable first half of perfect play-calling and mediocre execution, I'd go back down to my tiki hut on the sidelines and sit in the hot tub for a few minutes while catching up on all other scores on the jumbotron, while also catching my favorite episode of Arrested Development (PIP display). I may even get a little power nap in as the band plays a favorite concerto faintly in the background.

Third quarter. I overslept at halftime and am awakened by a running back being tackled into the side of the hot tub. I make the replay on the jumbotron in slo-mo and everyone cheers. The call is personal foul- unnecessary roughness, and I decide to take my normal seating back on row 7.

Fourth quarter. I opt out of play calling in the third and fourth quarters, and coach needs me back on the headset after the opposing team gets a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth. I reluctantly give in to his pleading, and with time running out on our own 5-yard line, I call the Presbyterian bounce pass and it works like a charm. The crowd goes crazy and I do some crowd surfing from the comforts of my recliner.

Post-game. After a few post-game interviews, the chopper lands at center field to take me home. We stop by Dairy Queen for a Reese's Blizzard.

TBT

I have a box of dark chocolate hershey kisses on my desk because #busyseason

 

also i am getting married in a month and #woah. 

 

So, in honor of Throwback Thursday, here is an Old Hat Haiku from a couple yeas ago. I didn't write it. It was written by the penguin in the photo above. But I'm throwing back to it on this blog today.  


Rice Krispies are good.
Gotta add some sugar though.
Snap. Crackle. Pop. Yum.

Beep Boop Beep KAPOW!
Onomatopoeias, yall!
Grrrr WOOP! Honk swoosh BOOM!

Train goes by with pride.
The little engine that could…
Could? DID. Done. Choo! Choo!

So cold yet no snow.
Come, sweet precipitation.
Make the BRRR worth while.

Jordan. Jazz. Game 5.
Shots flew like H1N1.
Thirty Eight. Sick. Eew.

Brown bears speak loudly.
Koala bears talk softly.
Bears don't rawr the same.

The roar of the snore.
The pool of the drool. Sleeping.
Please do not disturb.

Comfy fruits sleeping.
Bananas in pajamas.
Ssshhh. Breakfast awaits.

Eyeing some cuties.
You know…little oranges?
Mmmm. Hubba Hubba.

Relaxing. So Chill.
Kick back. Sink in. No troubles.
Bloop Bloop. Bubble bath.

I have spent a lot of time in my garden for the last six months.  It has been a lot of work, but at this point in the year, it is pretty enjoyable work.  Why? Because all I really have to do is walk out and pick things to eat.

That has definitely not been the case throughout the last six months.  With twenty-seven inches of rain in twenty-nine days, it has been a struggle.  Plants have gotten sick and/or needed constant attention.  I have faced more bugs or diseases this year alone than all of my previous years combined.  I have spent more time on garden forums than I want to admit and have read through a 300 page garden reference book.  It has not been overly enjoyable, and it is a hobby that has it ups and downs.  Through it all, being able to harvest has driven me.  This Saturday I made gumbo. About half way through, I ran out of peppers and okra.  It took all of two minutes to walk out and pick what I needed from my garden.  It was rewarding.  

I find that busy season for Old Hat is a bit like harvesting my garden.  The stress level is definitely different, but the steps we take to get here are very similar.   We spend more than six months reviewing our processes, creating new products, and telling the sports world about them.  This year we have added an extra source of information in Marketing Automation that is producing more data than we have ever had.  We are able to see what people are doing, clicking on, reading, and looking through on our site.  It allows us to target our products to those that we know are interested.  It is a great service and another product we spent the off-season preparing for our clients and ourselves.  Zac blogged in detail about it here 

You should check it out and then we can all be harvesting at this point in the year!

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