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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Carl Cooks: Super Simple No Bake Fresh Peach Pie

The peach season has arrived and here is the easiest possible way to enjoy their sweetness in a very quick no bake pie.

About 6 large ripe peaches (yellow, white or both)
Sugar (1 cup)
Cornstarch (2 tablespoons)
Peach Gelatin (1/4 cup)
Graham Cracker Pie Shell (store bought)
Hot Water (1 cup)
Whipped Cream, Ice Cream or topping of your choice

Peel Peaches & Cut into chunks
Bring water, sugar & cornstarch to boil until it thickens
Add gelatin and stir until disolved
Cool mixture and fold into peaches

Fill up pie crust with peaches and gelatin mix
Chill in fridge to set up
Slice and top with whipped cream or ice cream

Dessert* is Served!

*But you'll find it just as tempting for breakfast the next morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

REV FOR A DAY! I Play The Officiant For A Wedding Ceremony Scene In The Upcoming Video For Train

Move over Reverand Ed Holt! Actually, my good friend, Ed, was kind enough to loan me his robe for this unbelievable video shoot on Treasure Island. I was lucky enough to be asked by my friend and local wedding designer, Michelle Barrionuevo-Mazzini (aka MB) of MB Wedding Designs & Events to play the part of the officiant for a wedding ceremony scene in the upcoming video for the band, Train. Michelle was hired for her wedding expertise and to design the Chapel at Treasure Island as the set. There was plenty of time to frolic backstage while we waited for production so MB and I posed for this shot in the cast room.

As if this scenario wasn't fun enough I quickly learned that the premise for the video story line was a take on a scene from the classic 1967 Dustin Hoffman film, The Graduate. This crew under the direction of famed rock video director, Bill Fishman was not fooling around. They even secured a red Alfa Romero just like the one in the original movie.

What a setting for the shoot and what an appropriate place for a Train video!

Train is based in San Francisco. This brand new video is for the title cut to their latest album, Save Me, San Francisco. I do not want to ruin the great surprise in the story line but I will give you a little hint with this photo of the bride and groom. I had an absolute blast working with Lauren Fletcher (left) and Katie Logan (right) as they paused for a moment here to take a break from long day of shooting.

As I said the video will be out soon so I am going to say no more. I will say goodbye for now with this shot of Rev. Carl and Pat Monahan of Train who played the starring role. Thanks Pat for letting us all in on your great nod to "The Graduate."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sir Paul McCartney Live – It's All About BIG

When my good friend, Steven Lee, first suggested we go see Paul McCartney at the AT&T Park last night I must admit to being just a bit reluctant. It's not that Paul is known for disappointing. To the contrary I saw him perform twice in one year in San Jose and was just as amazed the second time around. But when tickets are $250 a seat you want to make sure you get your money's worth. The best adjective to describe last night was B-I-G. Our first clue was when we were greeted by the massive sign that hung below the clock on the AT&T tower.

Whether you are a huge Beatles fan or not seeing Paul McCartney live is a very big deal. Everything about this production was huge and it started with the massive stage they constructed in center field. This shot is of my friend, Howard Friedenberg, with the stage in the background. We were standing near home plate for this picture which was just about as far away as you can get from the stage area.

Although our tickets said 7:30 for showtime it was 8:30 when the band finally charged onto the stage. Massive video screens in a portrait layout flanked both sides of the stage which also entertained us with old photos and memorabilia while we awaited the performance.

No warm up act, no intermission and not much chatter in between songs. It was an onslaught of three solid hours of music, lighting, videos and even fireworks. The fog had rolled in but the magnitude of this show brought the outside temperature up at least ten degrees. We had the good fortune of sitting just 23 rows back center stage.

The other highly entertaining factor was the sea of fans who were all there with equally high expectations and enthusiasm. These two characters spent much of the evening posing for photographs.

For those of you who are curious I kept a set list on my iPhone notepad.
1. Venus And Mars/Rock Show/Jet Medley
2. All My Loving
3. Letting Go
4. Got To Get You Into My Life
5. Highway (The Fireman)
6. Let Me Roll It (Jimi Hendrix Foxy Lady riff & story)
7. The Long & Winding Road
8. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
9. Let 'Em In
10. My Love
11. I'm Looking Through You
12. Two Of Us
13. Blackbird
14. Here Today
15. Dance Tonight
16. Mrs. Vandebilt
17. San Francisco Bay Blues
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something (began just ukulele then full band)
20. Sing The Changes (The Fireman)
21. Band On The Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back In The U.S.S.R.
24. I've Got A Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance Medley
27. Let It Be
28. Live And Let Die
29. Hey Jude
30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back
33. Yesterday
34. Helter Skelter
35. Sgt. Pepper Reprise/The End Medley

The other thing that makes Sir Paul deserve his title is the sheer talent of entertaining. From the quiet acoustic only version of "Yesterday" to the explosion of fireworks in "Live And Let Die" he moves brilliantly from not-a-hush-in-the-stadium-crowd to near hysteria. Your only option is to be completely engaged.

My parting shot is one of several I took when the video camera was tight on Paul singing. These images were so large they loomed over us sitting closer to the stage. But they were also in complete proportion with the scale of the entire show. At 68 Paul McCartney could be just resting on his laurels but instead he is out there continuing to over deliver to his fans. A splendid time was guaranteed and had by all. Thank you Paul for the great ride down the long and winding road.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More Random Acts Of Great Customer Service Commited

If this story sounds familiar it's because I was just raving about another great customer service experience I had recently with Oakley.

This time it is all about bike racks. We cyclists need a way to hold our bikes while we clean and do tune ups. It takes a specialized device to hold the bike and still allow you to turn the crank. My experience as a Mobile DJ with the tripod company, Ultimate Support, has always been great. So when I discovered they made bike stands as well it was my obvious choice of brand.

So a couple of years ago I purchased the Ultimate Support bike stand from my favorite local cycle source, Spokesman Bicycles, in Santa Cruz. It was beefy with candy apple red tripod legs and massive fittings. I was confident to suspend my expensive Specialized all carbon fiber Roubaix road bike on it.

But lately I noticed a weak link in the design as the rubber padding on the jaw grips had dried and deteriorated. As you can see from this photo the grips without some padding would not clamp down on the frame with the same soft touch. Carbon fiber is the preferred material for super light weight bike frames but it also relatively soft and subject to crushing under pressure.

When I contacted Ultimate Support they told me their cycling products division had been taken over by Feedback Sports in Golden, Colorado.
I was a bit reluctant to call Feedback because I was now yet another step removed from the original manufacturer. However, any hesitation of mine vanished instantly with their customer service main man, Sammy Rutherford, on the other end of the phone. Sammy was quick to recognize my problem with the jaws and offered to send me a brand new pair at no charge.

WHAT!?! I was just calling to see if by any chance I could still purchase replacement parts for this rack which is way out of any warranty period. Sammy was quick to explain how important customer service is at Feedback Sports and he certainly practices what he preaches. So just in case you haven't followed my story, THEY STOOD BEHIND A PRODUCT THAT THEY DIDN'T EVEN SELL!

I told Sammy about my recent great experience with Oakley and sent him the link to my post about Oakley. I am delighted to be telling you another exceptional story of first hand customer service thanks to Sammy and the folks at Feedback Sports.

Needless to say I am a very happy camper following my recent experiences with Feedback Sports and Oakley. If this kind of customer service became the norm instead of the exception, it would certainly put and end to consumer cynicism. I don't feel it should go unheralded and you can bet that I will shout out whenever it happens to me again.

So "Dear Feedback Sports...That's my feedback and thank you very much."