Wednesday, October 31, 2007

say what?

i enjoy reading/hearing sound-bite-ready quotes and other corporate speak from spokespeople and pr folks. you know, the statements that make you say, "do they know someone with a brain is going to read this? do they really think someone will believe this?" it's sort of a nerdy outcome of my profession, i guess.

i was reading my grist newsfeed this morning and ran across a post on White House spokesperson dana perino's remarks on the health benefits of climate change, in response to the Centers for Disease Control's report on the affects of climate change (which some believe the white house played down). really? i wonder if perino actually levitates when she stands still, from the gyration caused by her spintasticness.

"Seriously, put a ball on my finger. See what happens."

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

so faaaar away....

i've been out of commission due to some new biznass at work and a crazy life schedule. they've combined to keep me off Woolard Speak and away from society. the craziness that has been the last few work days was made better by my new super-fantastic productivity machine. yup...for those of you who know me well, you know that it was a sad day was when i left barkley - for many reasons - including my having to give back my company-issued BlackBerry. i loved that thing. a lot. not only did it help me do my job better (and provide endless entertainment between co-workers), but it kept me scheduled, connected and engaged. not an easy task.

as many of my friends know, scheduling something with me is like throwing a dart at a moving target, while blindfolded and possibly in a snowstorm. i am not good at scheduling. i forget. i don't even remember in the first place. i have too much going on, yet still over schedule myself.

well, after doing some finagling with Sprint, i'm back on the productivity wagon with a hot little Palm Centro, which has done nothing short of changed my life in the past week. Interwoven Threads has grown to the point that the hours around 9-5 are packed with shipping orders, talking to customers and collaborators and working out donations. having the phone helps me keep logged into my e-mail as well as stay fresh on my calendar.

but it's also allowing me to be more productive. and i appreciate that almost as much as an updated, synced calendar.

so, i'm connected. i can text people without yelling at them for costing me 10 valued cents. i can check multiple Interwoven e-mail account plus my bank account. plus, i was a good line-tower and even added my work e-mail to the Palm. it's funny, now that i have it again, i'm not sure how i lived without it.

changing the subject....

one of my newly-favored pr shops (you'll understand why as soon as you hit the link) posted a hilarious video on its feed yesterday. it was exactly what i needed to remedy a day of annoyance. hope it will hit you in the funny bone as it did me. from the outdoor flacks at Backbone Media, i present you with a universal question answered.

japanese television is the best. when i lived there, i used to watch this stuff each night. my japanese roommate was dumbfounded at my entertainment level. what can i say, we got reality tv, they got race walking and samurai.

have a great wednesday, all. more substantiative posts soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Planet in Peril

new post on this new documentary at the Do Better Blog.

anyone want to invite me over to watch this tonight? :)

Labels: ,

Monday, October 22, 2007


pretty sure this will blow your mind.

That vending machine has feet

my friend moe helped me indulge my love for all things Japanese this morning with this link.

i love that the "experimental" designer likens this to ninja camo. man...i want one. just to throw on when people start boring me. i need to tap into my peeps in Tokyo to see if i might acquire this by Halloween.

"Are you supposed to be a vending machine?"
"No, I'm a modern-day ninja. Duh."

instead of running in the pouring rain this morning, i sat on my couch and made a mix for the rainy day. then i realized i haven't posted a mix on WoolardSpeak for a long time. So here. Happy Monday, this is what's in my ears today.

FM Radio - Joshua James
No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
Crystal Village - Pete Yorn
Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix) - Feist/Postal Service
Ricky's Theme - Beastie Boys
Boy With a Coin - Iron and Wine
Land of Sea - Chris and Thomas
On Your Way - Album Leaf
Silent Sigh - Badly Drawn Boy
Love in the Lies - Amos Lee
Orange Sky - Alexi Murdoch
Side with the Seeds - Wilco
Moonlight Mile - The Rolling Stones
Thinking About You - Norah Jones
Everybody Knows - Ryan Adams
To Be Alone With You - Sufjan Stevens
Screen Door - Jeff Tweedy
New Slang - The Shins
Chandelier - The New Tragedies
Paris is On - Paul Brill
Don't You Evah - Spoon


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

an argument for action

new post, worth absorbing, at the Do Better Blog.

check it.

hodge to the podge

random post.

1) things you should use your paycheck for, other than winterizing your home/apartment:
iron and wine - the shepherd's dog
band of horses - cease to begin
the white buffalo - EP
into the wild - the movie...but if you're a quick reader, read the book first. also, this is probably a good forum to ask who has my copy...i know a lent it out..please make yourself known.

2) i finally got the fairway flyer back this week! after almost two months at the bike shop, they found the correct replacement parts. i rode it around all night monday, super excited. now it's in my garage waiting for more chrome polishing and some new hardware - some of the screws have lost their threading, etc. but it's amazingly sound and rises like a dream. right in time for winter...sheesh.

3) i'm shopping for a trainer for my roadie, on which i'll spend the winter pedaling in place in my living room. anyone know of good training dvds? i'm actually excited to spend more time on the bike this winter...i hate running in the super-cold mornings, this would give me a nice alternative.

4) i am pretty obsessed with wine library tv's video blog.

that's about it. enjoy your wednesday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nau rockin', new Interwoven Threads shirts!

as i continue to grow my clothing company, Interwoven Threads, i keep an eye on other businesses that have changed the traditional business model, especially in its relationship to sustainability. nau clothing has been one such company. i'm certain you've read a bit about it (if not, a simple googleaction will reveal a bundle of write-ups), but the gist is, the company sees itself as a world-changing organization...not just an outdoor clothing company. read this quick description.

i follow nau's blog: the thought kitchen. today, a post announced a new effort on the company site to be more transparent. described as, "stories about our products and practices and the issues that aren't so black and white." beautiful. the effort is called "grey matters" check it out here. nau is a leader, not just in production and sustainability, but in the supremely important field of transparency. kudos.


speaking of Interwoven Threads, things are hoppin'! just returned from the post office where i shipped 10 shirts off to all corners of the U.S. the bump in sales probably came from a little promotion i'm running to kick-off the new shirt (designed by seth gunderson): while i'm waiting to get the new shirt online and looped into the merchant service for orders, all purchases between now and the time you can buy it online will be free of pesky shipping and handling costs!

that's right. for those of you in KS, you'll pay a bit of sales tax, but for the others, you can dress yo'self in the latest design for just 25 bucakroos. simply shoot me an e-mail at and give me your size.

here are some photos from the shoot - check 'em, order 'em, rock 'em. and remember each purchase creates a donation of one shirt to reStart, where it will be given to someone that truly needs to be clothed.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

this vs. this

i like this better than this. and not just because one was swiped red-handed from this.

i also don't understand how people don't see the incredibly obvious comparison between this and this.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chicago Marathon organizers: press send.

much of Woolard Speak is devoted to how companies can better communicate with their key constituents. to follow up on yesterday's recap of the Chicago Marathon, i want to highlight a few ways marathon organizers and those involved with the marathon could have cleaned up (heck - maybe even prevented) the pr crisis that's ensued. as of this moment, two full days after the marathon was canceled due to heat, i have not received any communication, or even a follow-up mass e-mail. the internet is booming with comments, quotes and stories told by runners, spectators and volunteers.

so, here are some's simple PR 101.

1) send an e-mail. the marathon organizers were diligent about sending pre-race e-mails to registrants. a simple recap of what happened, why and how it will be fixed next year should have been a) already drafted generically as part of their crisis communications planning and b) sent by now.
2) consider issuing a credit or discount for those who ran this year to be used to register for next year. the marathon is at great risk to have a major decline in participation next year, based on a bad experience this year. a little discount will go a long way in retaining runners and showing some goodwill.
3) encourage sponsors (Sprint, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Gatorade Endurance, Volkswagen, etc.) to take creative communication liberties. i know i'm thinking like a marketer here, but how powerful/relevant/meaningful would it be for Gatorade Endurance (which many are saying ran out, was warm, was not served properly) to send a coupon and a tongue-in-cheek e-mail about hydration. it would be met well by runners.
4) share the marathon's contingency/crisis plan. go public with what was in place to ensure safety and how that might be tweaked next year. that instills confident and addresses obvious questions from the runners and public.
5) bottom line, communicate. somehow. organizers are reaching the point where any e-mail will be too little too late. just do it. the database is in place. press send.

the power of talking...we preach communication and yet often overlook the simple solutions to big problems. humans are a forgiving lot. in this case, we runners get that it was unseasonably hot. but we also know that many things broke and broke severely. we want to hear from the people responsible. sometimes just hearing is all it takes.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chicago Marathon Canceled

i always head to (and head home from) marathons with the confidence i'll have a plethora of war stories. this year's chicago marathon was easily the most disappointing experience i've had as a runner. i'm sure you're aware that the chicago marathon was canceled yesterday, due to excessive heat. i finished, but like the majority of the other runners, i was forced to walk in the final miles. here's a good story of the event, and you can follow a number of links to other stories from the Trib.

bottom line, it was hot. and moreover, very humid. and for those who've run this marathon before, you know that shade is nowhere to be found along the route, which made it worse. one person died on the route, which is the largest of the tragedies that occurred yesterday. there were countless others who were suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, fatigue and broken spirits.

so here's the rundown of my personal experience. first of all, sorry to post no pictures of my own, but i left my camera in a cab. bad news.

we had a crew of six from our usual running group at the start. from the moment we lined up in our corral to start, we knew it'd be a warm one. luckily, we'd ran a number of high-mileage runs in the kansas heat. (we'd also run in lots of shade and had the benefit of Ma Woolard's sag skills)

our group set off pretty fast (too fast, probably, considering the heat) and was on pace for a 4:00 finish. we felt good, well trained. it was at the split when the heat got bad (and the route got out of the partly-shaded city streets). the sun was very harsh and the water stops at that point started getting pretty shoddy in terms of volunteer power and availability of liquid. people were so hot, they were taking more cups/dumping much of the water on their heads/taking extras with them, which definitely put the hurt on the supplies.

at about mile 14, our group was split in twos, at various places along the route. i was still feeling great, fast, light, but all of the sudden got hit with heat exhaustion and spent a good five minutes vomiting. if you've ever experienced this symptom of heat exhaustion, it's horrible. comes out of nowhere, cramps set in, you expunge all the fluid that you badly need. the good news was, i felt better and kept running.

from that point on, i couldn't keep anything down. it was drink and puke. puke and rally. repeat. then, by mile 16 or 17, i was cramping up and losing energy (not to mention pretty dehydrated from not keeping anything in). it's worth noting that i showed up to this race in probably the best running shape of my life, after a hot summer in training and had been well disciplined with my fluid and food intake to prepare.

people started dropping like flies, the water stops were baking and the gatorade/water was warm. we had to pour our own drinks many times because the volunteers were overwhelmed with the demand.

by mile 20 or 21, they'd canceled the race. we'd dropped our pace considerably and i was pretty focused on just finishing - the Did Not Finish mark is something we runners fear. with the decision made that the race was canceled and volunteers/police demanding we walk or rest, most people began walking, realizing their times wouldn't be official and started finding shortcuts back to the finish, or simply collapsing. at that point the medical tents were packed (we stopped to ask for salt tablets to combat cramps and all they had to offer was some leftover energy gel from runners who'd been ambulanced away - ridiculous).

i'm not exaggerating when i say it looked like some sort of strange skinny-people apocalypse. everyone was trudging dejectedly, water jugs were laying everywhere, fire hydrants were spraying water across the street and the cops were making announcements from their loudspeakers. ambulances were streaming by. helicopters telling people to stop running.

the good news was, at about that point our group came together randomly. it was a stroke of serendipity and the emotions were high as we all listened to each other's stories from the past few hours. cramps, more vomiting, injury, no energy, physical and mental letdown. you train for months. you change your eating and social habits. you do everything right. and for something out of your control to prohibit the realization of a goal is very hard to take.

we made it across the line, running the last 300 yards, hand in hand. to say it was anticlimactic is an understatement. normally, when i hit mile 24 or so of a marathon, i'm filled with energy, butterflies and an amazing feeling of accomplishment. yesterday, i just wanted to cross the line because it was that much closer to my hotel. i wanted it to be over.

it was, hands down, the worst athletic experience of my life. and easily one of the most frustrating experiences i've had overall.

so what happened? here's my take, for what it's worth.

the start time was 8, which, is just stupid. especially when the marathon was moved up two weeks from it's usual later Oct. date. and when race organizers knew this would be uncommonly hot, steps could have been taken to start earlier.

multiple people who were miles behind me from the get go, have said their water stations just flat ran out. two people i heard from today said they didn't have ANY water for miles at a time. that's inexcusable. they should have doubled the amount of stations ahead of time - especially in the final miles. we were lucky that we had run fast enough to be far enough along to avoid being bused back or diverted.

i'm not buying the race organizers' excuse that they weren't prepared for people to take three or four cups of liquid and then dump more on their heads. it's a marathon. people are going to go to any measure to stay healthy. you expect it and address it, not return the blame to the people who are just trying to get one foot in front of the other.

Sprint was a presenting sponsor. they failed to take advantage of a huge opportunity and marathon organizers failed to include this sponsor in a contingency plan. their presence at the finish line allowed people to make free phone calls (this happens a lot at marathons, and normally these free calls are used by runners to find family members). at the minute the race was canceled, those Sprint folks should have mobilized their hired help and headed to the last miles to offer free calls then. that's when people needed rides and simply needed to tell people that they were safe and would be walking it in. bottom line, they could have gained some major points and been a truly beneficial part of the race with some forward thinking.

according to many of our spectators, the marathon organizers' communication to them was just plain poor. before they canceled the race, they announced that it would turn into a fun run...whatever that means. to me, it means they had no idea how to implement a contingency plan and needed filler. to say our families were worried about us is an understatement. there was not clear direction to where bused-in runners would be dropped off.

the sad thing is, the marathon will suffer for this. marathons thrive on word of mouth. heck, i'm going to freakin' Dallas TX to run a marathon this winter only because friends love it and have extolled its organization. people talk. you go back because you had a good experience. and now the chicago marathon will have to compete with runners spreading negative stories and spectators reacting negatively to their legitimate fears and in-the-dark experience.

the most positive thing the chicago marathon has going for it right now is that it's in chicago. where the neighborhoods come alive and the citizens come out of the woodwork to support the runners. the quote in the above article says it all: "The city was fabulous, but the race was horrible."

i can't tell you the amount of goodwill i saw. people going into their homes to get water bottles. people buying bags of ice and handing it out. the community - all the neighborhoods that come alive - really provided a crucial role in the runners' health.

kudos to the volunteers who also bared the heat, and the demand that they surely didn't expect to address. kudos to the city of chicago for staying out till the end and cheering us on. kudos to the always-festive crowd in Pilsen, which provided more hoses and buckets of sink water than i knew existed. kudos to the spectators who jumped into the water stops to help and ran to assist sick runners.

it was a brilliant show of humanity, and i was blessed to witness that.

my heart goes out to the man who died. it makes me sick to think about this. and i hope that those who were ill or overextended are getting better today.

i also couldn't ask for a better crew of running buddies, especially my dad, who stuck by my side mile by mile as i was losing my proverbial lunch and being too stubborn to stop running. we all stuck together as we had very little left to give, and most importantly, reached our goal as a group.

here's to a better run in Dallas. here's to the people of chicago. here's to my friends and family who showed up to cheer and waited for us to finish.

to end on a much brighter note, my good friends kevin and allison got engaged at buckingham fountain after the race. congrats to this great couple! talk about turning lemons into lemonade...speaking of lemonade...that sounds pretty good right now.

Friday, October 05, 2007

the city

heading to chicago today for the marathon. this one should be a little different than last year in that we won't be freezing our cheese, but instead sweating our cheese. 85 and humid is the outlook for race day. we have a reservation for 18 on saturday night to carb up. pretty cool. our group includes the usual suspects from my running group, a few former coworkers, some significant others, moms, maybe a pet or two. should be fun.

i am looking forward to not bundling up for this. i'd rather be hot than cold when running, plus i theoretically shed the drag that i had last year with three layers and a Tyvex jacked. certainly made packing easier this morning. i'll be popping electrolyte pills throughout, which should keep me nice and balanced so i don't have to drink all the Endurance in the known universe (pictures, which are very cool, were found at

i'll post more after the race. if you're running, best of luck.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

where do i apply?

spot-on recruitment video from BBH London (see how i used the whole "spot-on" thing there? and how it worked in context?). funny thing is, the kid is a lot like the people we all work with triple his age - but he dresses nicer. via the Beyond Madison Avenue blog.

andrew the planner and i sit in our own little planning/strategy sphere in our office. there's a table between us where we keep smart things and sometimes take naps. i'll hear andrew cracking up and then about two minutes later - like clockwork - i'll get a little IM from him with a link to whatever was responsible for his laughter. said IM happened this morning, and yielded the above video.

(that's andrew)


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dove does it again

all i can say is wow. again. wow. one surefire way to grow brand awareness is take a brand position that can be wholly ownable. Dove's done this and now kept on that successful strategy.

kudos to Ogilvy & Mather for the solid follow up to Evolution.

so i'm reading Agency Spy just now and darn near spit out my turkey sammich when i saw a photo of my agency's neighborhood (and the neighborhood of basically every agency/creative shop in KC) and then a question posed: "When you work in a smaller city like Kansas City (that has about ten shops and not all of which are stellar) and you want to leave your agency, what do you do?" yikes. this came on the heels of Agency Spy's post about Bernstein Rein losing client USAA.

first of all, i think the last time i saw the linked "Advertising Agencies of Kansas City" site was when I was a junior in college and was searching for a job. pathetic. the list excludes lots of talented agencies including some i've worked for and now work for. they should have dug through the AdClub of KC for a better view of the city's ad agencies.

second of all, "less than stellar" is just irresponsible and inaccurate. i guess it's nice to be sort of mentioned in Agency Spy? BR will be fine. smart crew, tons of talent, and their recent new biz wins are nothing to minimize.

but they do ask a good question...what do you do in a city this small?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Reverse graffiti

via Andrew the Planner and Good Magazine, check out this inspiring video of graffiti artist Alexandre Orion's reverse graffiti project. it's beautiful in concept and bittersweet in context. my favorite part: the end of the video and the result of Orion's work.