BRAND STRATEGIST

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ask a different question

What do you REALLY do? 
To provoke a whole room to react to the unexpected sound 
of live opera at their dinner table. 
In this digitally obsessed era I'm on a quest to dis-connect 
and go beyond Facebook "likes" and tags in a tweet.
My intent is to reinvent the conversation 
starting with the question I most commonly hear.
What do you do? 
One day I walked up to the CEO of Western Union
while crashing his company event
and asked him that same question.
When his reply was just the title on his business card, 
I realized this was not the response I was looking for.
How do you change the conversation?
By adding an unexpected surprise to the situation.
So I went the Marriott Marquis
and snuck in a professional saxophone player with me. 
The attendees of this event crash
asked for an encore. 
You see,
what will happen if you
ask a different question? 
It's like switching up the handshake
and at the last second going in for a high five.
That's how you will really
feel the sound of a surprise.  

Cheers,

Professional Crasher

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Being Human

Being Human 2013 @ The Nourse Theatre 
September 28th 9am-5pm 

BACKSTAGE: J-Me, Peter Baumann (Founder of Being Human), Richard Davidson (renowned neuroscientist), 
Paul Ekman (pioneer in the study of emotions) 
Being Human was by far the best conference I've ever crashed. Across age brackets, industries and roles this was an event meant for anyone. Being Human is a daylong exploration of human nature in the light of cutting edge science, philosophy and evolution. A quote I overheard while eating lunch in the courtyard of the Nourse Theatre, "The one thing I'm learning, is that I don't know anything."
The Nourse Theatre Courtyard
This is the second year of Being Human and it was obvious they were onto something incredible. This was like no other conference. Try to imagine the energy felt when not one person in the room wants to talk about how to increase sales or app downloads -everyone here just simply wanted to better understand who we are as people and how we relate to one another. There were four sessions and each had three speakers give individual presentations then do a round table discussion, and as much as I would have loved to share the insights on all of them it's just one more reason why you should attend yourself. [Strategy Suggestion: Given how intensely insightful this conference is, distributing pens and notepads next time would provide a convenient way for attendees to easily capture their own take-aways.]

Excerpts from the opening speech given by Peter Baumann, the Founder of Being Human (pictured above with me backstage), "Today we count anything and everything we can get our hands on. In this frantic pursuit to try to analyze and measure our world, our consciousness is pre-occupied with symbols and ideas while our interior experience is often left behind taking a backseat. When we recognize how much we label each other, how much we categorize one another -black, white, hispanic, asian, conservative, progressive, gay, straight, and even our names Jack, Simone; we can forget that they're labels because behind these labels in each of us there's a rich inner world. When we really look at it from an objective perspective we like to explore both worlds of being human -the world of logic and understanding and how science can help us shed a light on our private inner world. Why? Because a clearer view of human nature may help us understand each other better and increase our tolerance, empathy and build more respect and dignity for one another. Perhaps we can find this "meta-OKness" -a fundamental OKness with being human. That no matter what experiences we have -if we're embarrassed, full of guilt, shame, doubt or worry, a fundamental OKness because there really is never a moment that we're not human. We can't really do it right, but we can't really do it wrong either so perhaps the more we understand the more we can become comfortable and at home with being human."

This new understanding is part of a growing trend I've been noticing in many conversations I've been having lately, and Being Human was at the forefront of it all.

BACKSTAGE: Robert Sapolsky (one of the leading neuroscientists in the world)
I caught up backstage with Robert Sapolsky, one of the leading neuroscientists in the world. Robert Sapolsky was the first speaker at the event and talked about his latest findings on what makes us human. With a perspective that studies animals and the range of our uniqueness, some dynamics that were considered uniquely human are now being observed in other species. For example, similar to humans, vampire bats exhibit tit for tat reciprocity and killing is also not uniquely human either as actually the leading cause of death in male baboons is other male baboons. Also, just like other species', variable reward schedules drive our dopamine pathways crazy -you can see that vegas slot machine designers know this very well. It turns out dopamine is not about reward, it's about the anticipation of the reward because when adding a "maybe" to the equation the dopamine rises even higher -nothing drives us to do stuff in a goal directed way more than a maybe thrown in there. Humans display empathy in realms of abstraction like no other species though. We recoil when we see a dog paw stuck in a trap because we feel the pain of a member of another species, or a character in a novel  -like how we feel sorrow when watching Na'vi in Avatar which are computer generated pixels yet we feel terrible for them at times. The term "Theory of Mind" is the understanding that an individual has different thoughts, information, emotions, empathy (happens with humans between the ages three to five) which primates also have this ability to do. Taking it one step further to the understanding of what one person knows about that other individuals knowledge is called "Secondary Theory of Mind" -which is a uniquely human thing, hence why we're the only species that can sit through an entire Midsummer Night's Dream and understand it. It also turns out that we're not the only species that divides the world into "us" and "them." Humans, however, are the only species willing to make that divide based on ideology, whether you speak the same language, wear the same clothing, if you eat strange foods, etc. "Brine shrimp would be green with envy at the cultural complexities that we humans can invent." How we deal with the "them"s is one of the greatest issues for the future of humanity.

This subject was transitioned and expanded next by Susan Fiske PhD, Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, to elaborate on the way that we see different kinds of people (the "them"s) and these are a few interesting facts from her studies.
Susan Fiske's studies
-We categorize people along two dimensions: friendliness towards ourselves and competence towards their intents. 
-The most reliable finding in neuroscience is the medial prefrontal cortex lights up when we judge and perceive other people, except those we consider to be low competence / low warmth. 
-When thinking about whether that homeless person likes broccoli, they automatically become more human.

Susan Fiske (Professor of Psychology at Princeton)










Richard (Richie) J. Davidson had no hesitation opening up to talk about human emotion, and ultimately how well-being is actually a skill. Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist that's spent nearly 40 years studying the human brain and emotion because, "Emotion is the stuff that gives life color. It's the quality that propels us to act, it's what enables us to approach the things we love and withdraw from the things that maybe problematic." Emotion is the key ingredient that distinguishes one human being from another. When we think about human diversity and our collection of people that we know, and who those individuals are -the emotional characteristics are the ones that typically are the most salient.
Richard Davidson (neuroscientist) showing first visit with the Dali Lama
It was in 1992 when Richie's world view began to shift as it was his first meeting with the Dali Lama and Richie was invited to talk with him about the possibilities of using tools of modern neuroscience to investigate the changes that were occurring in the brains of individuals who spent years cultivating certain positive, constructive, virtuous qualities of their mind. The Dalai Lama challenged Richie asking him, "Why can't we use the same tools that we use to measure anxiety, fear and depression to study kindness and compassion?" There was also another idea that was transitioning at the time, Neuroplasticity -the notion that the brain changes in response to training and experience. This provided the conceptual framework in which we can now understand how the systematic practice of certain mental skills can actually change the brain and provide the underlying substrate for enduring transformations in our experience and behavior. They started out having long-term meditation practitioners come into the lab to analyze the MRI scans going from a neutral state to a meditation state in very short blocks, where they were generating a state in which love and compassion permeated the whole mind with no other consideration, reasoning or discursive thoughts -global compassion. Recording the brain electrical signals in the MRI machines showed a visible considerable difference detected in the brain state during meditation. Resilience is how rapidly you can recovery following negative events and it turns out that people who recover from hardship more quickly are also more resilient -and have a higher state of well-being. Mindfulness promotes resilience and allows people to recover more quickly from traumatic experiences. Also, looking at kids capacity to regulate their attention and emotions (self control) in relation to adult outcomes show that kids that are better at self-control later down the road have better health, earn more on income, and have the fewest adult criminal convictions. These findings have led Richard Davidson to develop a kindness curriculum for preschoolers to understand the impact on the development in promoting compassion. Initial evidence show that it's changing the kids' minds in positive ways, for example, it's led to an equitable distribution of stickers (currency for children) as opposed to before the curriculum that had heavy favoring of friends. Change your brain, change your behavior.  www.investigatinghealthyminds.org

Helen Fisher also studies the brain, however her focus is within human relationships, love and attachment. In 2005, Match.com asked her, "Why do you fall in love with one person rather than another?" Timing & proximity, ethnic and socio-economic background, similar degree of intelligence, similar degree of good looks, similar level of education, similar religious and social values, similar reproductive, economic and social goals -but maybe we have some biological make-up that naturally draws us to some people rather than others. That's when Helen Fisher began to look into the biology of the brain to see if she can find any trait that was linked with any biological system. Helen found four that are all linked with a different constellation of personality traits: Dopamine "Explorer", Serotonine "Builder" , Testosterone "Director", and Estrogen & Oxytocin systems "Negotiator", which led her to create a questionnaire (56 questions) to see what degree you express those traits linked with each one of these biological systems. It's now been taken by 13 million people in 40 countries. We're all a combination of them, but we express some more than others. Helen examined them to see who is naturally drawn to whom.
People who are drawn to people like themselves.
Dopamine "Explorer" -curious, energetic i.e. Richard Branson
Serotonin "Builder" -social norm compliant, cautious i.e. Mitt Romney
People who are drawn to the opposite of themselves
Testosterone "Director" -tough minded, analytical i.e. Steve Jobs
Estrogen & Oxytocin "Negotiator" -empathetic, prosocial i.e. Oprah Winfrey
Helen Fisher (Biological Anthropologist)

Studying the data with couples in love they found activity in a tiny little factory in the base of the brain called the Ventral Tegmental area, that makes dopamine and sends it to many brain regions linked with wanting, craving and obsession. Helen also found activity in the nucleus accumbens that is linked with addiction. The question then remains, can romantic love last? People that were married for 20 years and still claimed they were madly in love with their partner were put into the scanner to find out. Sure enough, the same activity in the Ventral Tegmental area linked with feelings of intense romantic passion and attachment were activated, however there was one difference with activity found in the base of the brain region linked with calm/pain suppression, and found no activity in the brain region linked with anxiety (when you just fall in love you're anxious and all of that is gone in long term love). What the brain scan on the biochemical research showed regarding grief over loosing love -is that time really does heal a heartbreak. Ultimately, we're all left wondering what is the key to a happy long term relationship? It turns out, this thing called "positive illusion" -the ability to overlook everything you can not stand about that other person and just focus on what you do. Love is the most important thing we do with our lives. Helen Fisher ended her speech on this,  "It's a basic drive that evolved millions of years ago and along with it are going to be all kinds of myriad different brain systems that enable us to pick the person that's right for us."

After hearing Helen Fisher, I was inspired to put together a piece of my own in an attempt to quantify love myself. For those of you that don't know me personally, I do spoken word  www.QuantifyingLove.com

Laurie Santos (primatologist) and Justin Garcia (evolutionary biologist)
Primatologist Laurie Santos jumped on stage in the afternoon to talk about her time spent with monkeys. Laurie exposed what could perhaps be the curse of being human, "We might end up over-conforming because her studies show humans are much better (stricter) at imitation, even when it might not make intuitive sense."

David Eagleman (neuroscientist) 
David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, talked about the future of being human centered around the "umwelt" -German for surrounding world from our own perception and senses. David Eagleman described this notion with referencing a memorable quote from the movie the Truman Show, "We accept the reality in which we are presented." The bottom line is that the human umwelt is expanding and is no longer limited to our biology. For example, in this photo of the slide behind him a magnet has been implanted into a fingertip to easily sense the flows of a pipe by simply rubbing a finger over it. David Eagleman and his team are in prototype experiments to help blind people "see" images. MPH, is the scientific term David Eagleman coined that stands for Mr. Potato Head model of evolution representing this discovery that you can plug in sensory receptors and the brain figures out a way to use that code. From David Eagleman's determinations, what the future looks like will involve technologies expanding our umwelt even more, and changing what it means to be human.

Marquese Scott aka Nonstop
This is Marquese Scott aka Nonstop. He's a dubstep dancer described as a "big deal on Youtube" having obtained five million views in one week, he was also featured on the Ellen Degeneres show and although many of us missed his performance (because we were outside eating lunch) I still give him a thumbs up. Marquese Scott Performance at Being Human

Leaving with a sense of awe at how remarkable it is that we know such little about ourselves, yet how amazingly functional we can be.

CRASHED IT... for the love of Being Human!

J-Me 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Breastfest Beer festival

13th Annual Breastfest Beer Festival @ Fort Mason
Saturday July 13th 2-6pm



It's an event at which beer pioneers and festive attendees come together to give back to the community committed to beating cancer, and I support this cause so I CRASHED it to find out what Breastfest was all about. In July 2000, the first Breastfest was held hosting 16 local breweries and now it's grown to 60 breweries, local food purveyors and Bay Area musicians who join together to help women gain access to alternative means of cancer therapy. It all began when a daughter watched her mother fight breast cancer and was shocked to find that alternative medical treatments were rarely ever covered by health care plans. The Breastfest Beer Festival was born as a way to help raise money for the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic (CMCC). The CMCC is located in Oakland and San Francisco, and is a non-profit clinic offering alternative medical treatments for low-income women diagnosed with cancer (because they're four times more likely to die from their form of cancer than those living above the federal poverty line). To level the playing field for survival, I drank beer to help fight cancer at Breastfest.

 Jeremy Kennedy, Market Manager  at St. Killian Importing
Jeremy Kennedy, Market Manager at St. Killian Importing, is bringing Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer into the U.S. because Americans love ginger (and ginger beer) and it's time that we had the chance to taste Crabbie's too as it's now the No. 1 bottled beer in the UK. It's genuine ginger beer, not beer flavored with ginger. Crabbie's (4.8% ABV) is highly carbonated with a spicy flavor that's intensely ginger; the ginger in Crabbie's is steeped for up to eight weeks to produce its deep crisp flavor of floral and honey notes. It's a unique recipe containing real ginger and a secret blend of spices that was carefully selected by Scottish merchant-adventurer John Crabbie in 1801 when he first imported ginger from the Far East, and Crabbie's still ships all the way from Asia (which probably explains the Elephant Trademark). Crabbie's suggests serving it over ice with a slice of lemon or lime, making it a solid drink for Dolores Park. Crabbie's also works well tossed into a variety of ginger beer cocktails, like the Dark and Stormy or Moscow mule. With centuries of experience behind Crabbie's, it's a uniquely refreshing beer for the ginger lovers, plus it's Gluten-Free (which is kind of a big deal right now). 

Indian Sandwiches: The works, with pita and naked
Delicious. Who was behind this taste that I single-handily voted as the best food at Breastfest? Kama Food Lab was only a couple months old in the mobile food industry and it was obvious they were off to a strong start. Let this picture speak for itself, at Kama Food Lab they don't stop working, they focus on continuously improving and let the food do the talking.
Indian Sandwiches: Juicy and spicy frittkis (fritters cooked Indian tikki style) triple layered with crunchy carrots, red onions and red cabbage tossed with a variety of chutneys and masala sauces, wrapped in a griddled pita bread -or you can order it naked (the sandwich that is) without a pita. 
The works: A healthy and flavorful combination of local grown vegetables and herbs, green beans, cauliflower, peas, mint, cilantro, potatoes, carrots & onions along with Indian cheese (paneer); smeared with green mayo and tomato garlic sauces with a dash of their homemade tamarind sauce plus cilantro mustard topping. 
Navin Poddar, Co-Founder of Kama Food Lab 
It's one of those foods that are nearly impossible to create at home, hence why their dishes are organically created in the Kama Food Lab first. The menu at Kama Food Lab takes the best parts of Indian cooking -balanced spices, strong flavors, bright colors, and interesting textures and then mixes it up with some surprising ingredients recognized in the U.S.. The concept of the food lab lies behind a culinary experience that is constantly evolving and improving like a science project in a lab. Kama Food Lab is simple but inventive; it's where fresh local produce join unusual ingredients from the Indian cuisine producing a mesh of global flavors within the traditions of India.  


Don Payne, Master Distiller (and daughter) at Cahill Winery

24 Degrees is one sneaky product. With no online presence and 24% ABV it slides it's way into restaurants that have only beer and wine licenses -because they're a distilled Chardonnay with the maximum amount of alcohol allowed. Clear and potent with a faint citrus aroma, it makes an ideal stand-in for a white tequila in margaritas. Don Payne is a Master Distiller and produces 24 Degrees at Cahill Winery in Sonoma County. He starts with 100% California Chardonnay and runs it through a traditional, artisan-quality pot still, resulting in high-proof alcohol that's blended to 48 proof -making 24 Degrees my favorite high proof "wine."

Cheers... To the brewing industry camaraderie around pushing the limits to beat cancer

CRASHED IT #73 Breastfest!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pinot Days

Pinot Days Grand Festival Tasting VIP @ Fort Mason 
June 30th 12-5pm 


This was the 9th annual Pinot Days and I crashed it to check out the different styles of Pinots, because this year they continued with their official (and unofficial) theme to celebrate Pinot's diversity. Pinot Days was created out of the love for the "noble grape" and is now the largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world. I learned that the best way to promote Pinot Noir is to create opportunities for wine lovers to taste in a setting where the wines are accessible, the offering is stylistically and regionally broad, and the winemakers are able to share their passions and vision. Look, swirl, smell, sip, swallow /spit -to maximize the amount of wine tasted they told me not to be afraid of using the dump buckets. I'm not afraid, it's just spitting into a dump bucket always makes me feel weird when it's not past 2 a.m. and in my own bathroom. They told me to acknowledge the fact that there was no way I was going to taste all 170 booths -although I did walk away feeling like I covered most of them, these were the three producers that stood out for me.
Mahoney Vineyards - Ken Foster, Winemaker (left), Francis Mahoney, Founder (right)

Mahoney Vineyards: Francis Mahoney founded his vineyard in the 1970s with the aim of growing grapes that would rival those of Burgundy, and he was one of the first to recognize the Carneros appellation as an ideal climate for Pinot Noir -where it's notoriously difficult for grapes to cultivate. Mahoney Vineyards is the culmination of over 40 years of experience growing and producing wines in the Carneros region over their two estate Vineyards- Las Brisas and Mahoney Ranch. With very limited production bottlings, Francis and his wife Kathy carefully craft wines in small quantities from their 160 acres releasing four specially made Pinot Noirs from Mahoney Vineyards. Francis believes wines should be made to match the vineyards soil and climate and he's quick to credit winemaker Ken Foster, a veteran hand at Pinot Noir, with playing a critical role in his success story, "Ken keeps the winery working and when there is something to do, he does it" -and with that, everyone could benefit from a Ken in their life.


Carter Raff, Owner of Raff Distillerie
Raff Distillerie: I first spotted them at the Craft Spirits Carnival and they were by far the most potent thing on the palate at Pinot Days -which made me curious, what was Absinthe doing at a wine event? My theory as to why they were there stems back to the late 1800's when Absinthe became popular. Emperor Norton Absinthe is an herbal spirit made from wormwood, anise & fennel seed. It starts with 189.9 proof neutral brandy from the finest California grapes and once it's distilled, it's naturally colored with herbs. As Absinthe gained in popularity, the wine makers became jealous and spread lies about absinthe saying it caused hallucinations and could even make you go insane. We know this to be untrue, as bottles over 120 years old have been tested and were found to contain no hallucinogens of any kind. These rumors became legend though and by 1915 absinthe was banned all over the world, and that's why I think Raff Distillerie was there -to make up for lost time. Raff Distillerie is a small batch distillery situated on Treasure Island taking over the old navy brig. Locating the distillerie in a prison adds character as the maximum security cells have been converted into bottling areas and the old guard room has been turned into their lab. Here are some percentages that stuck out for me about Raff Distillerie...
  • Carter fabricated 90% of the equipment he uses from scratch, which provides him an intimate knowledge of exactly every part in the machines, being able to subtly adjust to affect flavor and personally fix parts.  
  • Made from 100% California grapes, it comes out as a beautiful blueish-green-gold with a bold taste of black licorice and slight woodiness. 
  • The most important fact here (from personal experience) is that the absinthe is bottled at 68% alcohol, 136 proof.
Chris Bickel Owner of Monterey Chocolate Company
Monterey Chocolate Company: In 2010, Chris Bickel began Monterey Chocolate Company -an organic, artisan chocolate company located in Monterey CA. All his chocolates are hand crafted using fresh, organic, seasonal fruits, herbs and nuts from local farmers, infused into organic and fair trade chocolate. The idea of creating this company came from the crowds. Chris would give his experiments (chocolates) as gifts, and as the requests came in and the chocolates popularity rose, it inevitably became a business. He told me, "being able to bring joy to someone with chocolates is an amazing feeling" -and I'm sure many women would support that. Partnering up with the farmers that grow the fresh berries they put into their chocolates, they feature wine, season fruit and spice infused chocolates and here a couple of them The Port Chocolate: An organic dark chocolate infused with Port wine and covered in ground cacao. This chocolate is for Port lover's. An intense chocolate beginning with a caramel, spiced raisin finish. Cherry Noir Chocolate: An organic dark chocolate infused with fresh cherries, vanilla beans and covered in ground cacao. The most chill chocolate guy I've ever met, he told me his motivations behind it all, "To have the ability to take people from the world's distractions, even it for only an instant" -brings him a sense of accomplishment and success.

Cheers... To all of the styles and forms of Pinot, and the wonderful makers who create it!

#72 Pinot Days

Monday, July 29, 2013

Nesquik

J-Me, undercover as a Happiness Scientist

Private Preview Party @ Nesquik's Happiness Laboratory

Thursday June 20th 6-8pm 

Bunny (middle) Daniel Koch, Marketing Manager Nestle (right)
If Nesquik could create a feeling that they want you to have, it's happiness. Nesquik built a Happiness Laboratory to capture, create and share moments of happiness with you -by playing with bubbles (and lots of them). The Happiness Laboratory has existed for an undisclosed amount of time, yet this will be the confirmed first that they ever welcome any outsiders in. They were opening the doors to the public for four days so I crashed the preview party to see first-hand, before everyone else, what Bubbleverse was about. With this, Nesquik produced one of those moments that just stop you... when you can't simply help but smile.

J-Me bottom left (with signature hat apparently)
Delightful, whimsical, pure, charming, absurd and magical -brought to you by Nesquik. This is the story of what happens at the Happiness Laboratory: They say follow the line that speaks to you as you navigate around the bubble artist (many children's new dream job) as your able to freely play with bubbles outside in this made-up bubble park. You're then greeted at the entrance by a happiness scientist that asks you funny questions like when you last skipped (not work that is). You enter into this Willy Wonka-esque Laboratory where your given a rainbow lab coat, gloves and googles as another happiness scientist fills you in on the background of the lab. You're handed a beaker to infuse happy memories into it where they explain the science behind how bubbles are formed -from happy moments. You observe through glass doors another scientist with extreme levels of happiness handling liquids that are glowing within this enclosed room, then your led through a tunnel that brings you to...
Bubbleverse
Bubbleverse! Bubbleverse takes your whole surrounding and enters you into a world of bubbles. Imagine standing in a crazy blizzard but instead of snow it's bubbles (some filled with fog) and there are multi-colored strobe lights and it smells like... chocolate. That's Bubbleverse -and the second it was gone, you start to miss it. Here, have a Nesquik -to remembering those little moments of happiness. Then you receive a print-out to reminisce on a captured happy moment taken of you at the Happiness Laboratory.
Instagram instant print-outs





The wall of happiness
The walls within the Happiness Laboratory were used to record and share people's happiest moments... "Eating pasta with my hands in the park"... "Meeting my wife"... "Dancing under the full moon in the desert"... "The first time my son put a booger on my face" ... "Learning how to ride a bicycle"... "Bubbleverse!" 
Undeniably happy, thanks to Nesquik 
Cheers... To remembering those little moments of happiness, with Nesquik! 

CRASHED IT #71... Nestle Nesquik USA

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guardsmen

Guardsmen Bachelor Auction
@ Ruby Skye
June 19th 7-10pm


J-Me (in middle)  Posse of Women (surrounding)
I crashed the Guardsmen Bachelor Auction at Ruby Skye because among 25 eligible bachelors, I knew it would be easy to round me up a posse of women (that's me in the middle). These women were ready to put out, money that is. It's for a good cause though and that's really why we're all here. The Guardsmen Bachelor Auction proceeds contribute to send 2,500 at-risk youth to outdoor education programs and provides scholarship support to more than 250 students at Bay Area private schools each year.

Another Guardsmen success story?... No

The bachelors were accompanied by some spectacular date packages which have included memorable experiences with private jets, cooking with celebrity chefs, helicopter tours of wine country and over-nights in the fantasy suite (although that part was not confirmed). I counted the ratio of women to men to be roughly 30.5 to 1, which makes it a huge untapped gold-mine for single straight guys, especially when they don't have a price tag. Yet somehow, over the years women have paid thousands of dollars to purchase a man for the day and have now gotten stuck with them for their entire lifetime. In it's 10th year of auctioning off men, they've actually come away with a few success stories. In 2005, Teola bought Matt on the open-market and he is now the father of their two children. In 2006, Chloe claimed Ken for the a date package to Sonoma and two years later they were hitched. Also that year, Michelle decided to attend on a last minute decision that would change her life forever, as that's where she met Jerry (Jerry's first and last Bachelor auction).
Bachelor: Jeff Tandaguen, Firefighter.

Bachelor: Connor Pritchard, Producer/Author




SOLD!



Keith L. McLane, Auctioneer 

The first bachelor that came out that evening was Jeff Tandaguen, the firefighter. The lady that originally claimed him ran away and Jeff had to be later re-bid (unless that was just a ploy to have his abs come out again). After Jeff, the Bachelors following were reluctant to take off their shirts. The man that I thought was the most impressive on stage was the Auctioneer Keith L. McLane so I tracked him down in the VIP section of VIP (it does exist). Keith is one of only eight auctioneers in California to have achieved the National Auctioneers Association's Benefit Auction Specialist (BAS) designation. Even before I knew such a thing existed, I could tell he'd had some experience in this fast-talking scene by the way he handled the bid-and-ditch situation.

Hypnotic's drunk schwag bag 

Hypnotic also popped up at the Bachelor auction that evening and targeted the ladies with their signature blue drinks, and handed me an assortment of items that had their logo on it. Strategy Suggestion: Don't just brand random items because you can. None of these schwag items had anything to do with Hypnotic alcohol (well maybe the underwear). Also, putting your logo across the front of sunglasses is asking people to never wear them in public. Your branded schwag is out of control right now Hypnotic -sober up.


Cheers... To the ladies that are willing to buy a guy for a "good cause"

CRASHED IT #70 Guardsmen Bachelor Auction!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Craft Spirits Carnival

SF Craft Spirits Carnival @ Fort Mason Center
June 15th & 16th 1-5pm 

I crashed the Craft Spirits Carnival in an attempt to figure out if it was possible not to be drunk within a grand selection of  over 100 handcrafted ultra-premium spirits of all tastes: Mezcal, Absinthe, Whiskey, Bourbon, Vodka, Grappa, and more. It's pretty much like wine tasting but with shots. This event felt like a carnival even without the circus being there, but to add onto this chaos there was an edgy Vaudville-style carnival spectacular (not your childhood carnival performers) including Hubba Hubba Burlesque, Molotov and Dixie Delish's wild rodeo routine, Mendo Project contemporary dance troupe, and Kara Nova the pole acrobat. 

Bulleit Neat




I was welcomed in with a Bulleit Neat, which is 1 1/3 Bulleit Bourbon enjoyed in a rocks glass. Bulleit Bourbon is produced with a high rye content and proprietary grains and yeasts -using this unique 175 year old recipe. It's aged not a drop less than six years. I'm no spirits judge, but I would describe Bulleit as "good" so I found someone that came up with a slightly more elaborate description than my one word (but very similar to what I was thinking). "Bulleit is a deep amber color with highly polished aromas of creamy vanilla, pickling spices, and buttery pralines. A delicate silky entry leads to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body of honeyed grain, sweet baking spice, vanilla bean and pralines. Finishes with a long, rich fruity caramel, peppery spice and mineral accented fade. An elegant sipping or mixing bourbon." I was just impressed on the award winning bottle design that reflects elements of the Frontier Age, with a unique flask design, raised glass lettering and a cork stopper.


Strip
Strip and Go Bare, at least that's what Emily and Ben told me to do. They're changing the way we party by creating the first sparkling cocktail made with all-natural ingredients. Strip uses only high quality organic vodka and after more than 300 different formula variations, they flavor it with Eureka lemons, tart tahitian limes and a blend of Turkish apples (to give it a well-rounded finish). It's not sweet, and always smooth. They add in some bubbles and bottle it at 10% alcohol by volume. Because it's stripped of any additives or extra sugars, it's gluten-free and lower in calories than any other cocktails on the market right now. Relying on fresh fruit to flavor the drink, this organic sparkling citrus cocktail will have your body thanking you in the morning. 


When things started to get crazy
Julie Schaller. Butchers Daughter 
I had a meat and greet with Julie Schaller, The Butcher's Daughter (actually granddaughter) that is of "Schaller & Weber" the legendary German-American sausage and speciality meat company. Julie has been eating pigs tails and knuckles since she was a little girl and now carries on the tradition with a vintage street vendor cart. The Butcher's Daughter is available for private events and parties in SF to bring all the great meat products to many people who had never experienced some of the best in pates, cervelat, bockwurst, just to name a few. Julie, the third generation of Schallers, is using this mobile "meat boutique" to keep this authentic German deliciousness alive. 

Everyone falls... It's how you get up that matters most
CRASHED IT... To proving that you can't leave the Craft Spirits Carnival sober