Saturday, March 31, 2007

Something missing

It's been a good couple of weeks. I got engaged and Mariella threw me a great birthday party. My family and many friends showed up at DePompei's bar. Work's been pretty cool minus the flood. But I really miss Dad.
It's still strange not having him around to share good news with and call when I have questions. I know that he'd be happy for Mariella and I. I learned this week that he told a friend of his that i'd be engaged by the end of the year. He really liked Mariella.

Frog purse

Mariella and I went shopping at tj maxx. We saw this purse. I was going to get it for mom or mary until I saw the $600 price tag. At tj maxx?!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


This is a show from - Jack Black's new vh1 show/film contest wrapped into one delicious burrito.

Monday, March 26, 2007

It rained today in the creative department

Seriously. We were leaving a department meeting where I had just announced my engagement, when the girl at the front desk said there's a leak in creative. It was more of a deluge than a leak. Ceiling tiles were bursting from the weight of the water.

The entire agency pitched in to grab computers and file cabinets. Fortunately, my office was unaffected. I did grab my laptop and dad's license plate just in case water spread - it didn't.

Poor Kristen's office was the worst.

I used to be able to get away from flooding at work. What the hell, native americans should hire me to bring heap big rain to their crops. I don't even have to dance.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A really long and engaging entry

Yeah. I got engaged on Saturday - to my lovely girlfriend Mariella.

The whole process is a long story and I'm growing weary of telling it. So here it is:

Mariella and I went shopping for rings a while back. Must've been February. I surprised her and we went to Parmatown Mall. Most of the jewelry guys at the mall stores were D-bags. Everything was very expensive and pretty much every store had the same stuff. And actually the guy at JB Robinson's was rather refreshing. He didn't try to upsell us and just answered a bunch of questions we had. He actually steered us away from the more expensive platinum option. He even wrote Mariella's style preferences and ring size on the back of a business card. Which I promptly lost (this comes into play later.)

On March 10, I went to the Jewelry Factory in N. Randall. They have these ANNOYING TV commercials that shows the entire staff awkwardly waving at the camera at the end. Their prices are much more reasonable than the mall stores. I must've sent the sales guy back to the vault about 15 times to get different diamonds. I was looking for pretty darn close to perfect. I found a diamond I liked and picked out the band that Mariella had liked - white gold cathedral flat. (I remembered that part.) I wasn't sure of her size. I thought it was 6.5 but wasn't sure. So I called Mariella feigning that I had been talking to my sister Mary about ring sizes and Mary said that she was a 6.5. I allegedly told Mary that was impossible b/c her hands are much bigger than Mariella's, right? Mariella confirmed that was in fact her ring size so I was set. The guy was ringing me up and the manager (I think) came over and looked at what he was doing and said that the price on the band was wrong. That was the old price from the old book and the actual price was $21 dollars more. The salesguy apologized and explained was using the old book. They asked what I wanted to do, "I said I'm not happy about this but what choice do I have?" The "manager" took $9 dollars off my bill splitting the difference. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! I'm dropping several thousand dollars on this purchase and you're going to dick me on twenty bucks?! What the hell. But the diamond was one of the best I'd seen and seemed to be reasonably priced so, I bit the bullet and my tongue.

So I got the ring several days later and didn't really look at the band in the store. I was more interested in the rock. Upon further inspection, I noticed a mark on the band, so I took it back and they fixed it.

Mariella's birthday is March 15. I didn't want to do it on her birthday. That's too cliche. My birthday is April 2. Didn't want to do it then either. So I decided to do it on April 1 - April Fool's Day. I even went to Claire's and got a BIG fake ring. I was going to ham it up with that one and then give her the real one.

So on March 15 we went to her mom's for Mariella's birthday dinner. The girls at her work were telling her that they were sure she was getting a ring for her birthday. She wasn't. She correctly told them so. Her little cousin gave her a card that read, "You're old enough to get married. So you should marry Mark." Little did they know that I had the ring at home. I also beat her to her parents' house. So I was hanging out with them before she got there (that comes into play later too)

Mom knew I'd bought the ring. I called to tell Kevin to talk about his experience buying rings too. I told a few people at work. If dad were here, he'd probably have been the only one that I'd have told. But I don't have him physically here as a confidant so I had to confide in others. Well, word spread. I'm fairly certain the majority of my agency knows as does half of AAF-Cleveland. In fact, I was at a luncheon when someone came up to me and said, "I heard what's happening April 1st." It's not as though Mariella has a whole lot of interaction with any of those people except we're having a party for me next Friday, March 30th in honor of my thirtieth. And alcohol loosens lips and loose lips sink ships and ruin my best laid plans. So we had to accelerate my timeline.

Plus, Mariella kept looking at rings in nearly every store we went to. (I told her that she could pick the most expensive ring at walmart.) She and her mother were saving pictures and ads of rings for me. And Mariella found the card with all the ring information on it. She gave it to me a little upset saying that she was glad I was taking this so seriously. I egged her on a bit by overacting, saying I was SO GLAD she found that. Which made her mad. She didn't know I had the ring all along. But it was good to see that I remembered the right style.

On Wednesday, I contacted her brother Vince via email. I needed him to set up a meeting with her Sicilian father - a mandatory step if I ever expected to attend any family events. I really like her father. We're on good terms but by her family's standards I don't talk that much and I've never called their house or stopped over without her. So it would be out of the ordinary if I just show up out of the blue. And her mom has a bit of a hard time keeping secrets. So she couldn't know b/c then her aunt would know and her cousins would know and it was a very realistic possibility that Mariella would her of the engagement from someone besides me. So Vince played a critical role. We brainstormed a few ideas. Dad didn't go anywhere without mom or without her knowing where he was. We determined that it should go down on Saturday. Vince was going to find someway to get his dad to a restaurant where I would meet them for breakfast. I left my house on schedule when I got a call from Vince who went out the night before and overslept. He was heading to his parents and would meet me there. So, I get to the restaurant and Vince texts me "Mark...don't kill me...i got home and they have people sorry i got up so late...but i think they planned this already...ill help u do watever we have to to make sure you get him alone." Who has guests on Saturday at 10 in the morning?! At this point, I'm like "screw it. I'm nearby. I'm going over there." I told Vince to let them know that I'm coming. He apparently didn't realize that I was so close b/c I walked in to hear him say "Mark's said he might stop by." His dad was outside with a friend grafting a cherry tree. So I went in to talk to Vince. I had an alibi in that I had some posters I got from the office when we were cleaning out a drawer. They were some posters from the 80s that we did for an eyeglass client - hilarious, especially the "sport" shades. Mom was in the kitchen with one of her foreign friends. I said I was in the neighborhood so I brought these by for Vince. Her friend commented on how nice they were - not understanding the humor. Her mom offered me cookies and coffee but I said I had to get to cornhole. I went outside to do the deed following Vince. I tripped on the garage door frame - which I've done before Vince chalked it up to nerves. I wasn't nervous - yet. We made small talk with Dad and his friend. The conversation is punctuated by bits of Italian which is fairly common and I typically think that they are just talking about me. Dad's friend went to put something in his car, so I seized the moment and that's when I got nervous. I said something like "Mr. S, I'm going to ask Mariella to marry me and I'd like to ask your permission first." I showed him the ring and he shook my hand and said something like (it helps if you do it with a thick Italian accent) "Mark you know my daughter (pause) and you are old enough that I hope you make the right decisions. You have my permission." Phew. So we made some more idle small talk with his friend who returned from the car. I had to get to cornhole. So I left. When I was driving away, I started thinking about what he said, so I texted Vince to confirm: You're old enough. I hope you're making the right decision. Vince confirmed but assures me that's not exactly what he meant. So regardless it was on.

I had volunteered to help at the Cleveland Cornhole Championships before any of these plans were made. So I went there did my stuff and left - I'll try to post about the event b/c it was rather interesting.

I went to Mariella's house. She had to work in the morning and went to the store afterwards, so I beat her to her house. She came in and I told her that she had to help me with my physical therapy (I hurt my back in February. And started PT on Thursday. Mariella's a PT but she claims, probably correctly, that I wouldn't listen to her directions, so I had to go to someone else.) My therapist had given me sheets with illustrations of the exercises to do and actually recommended that Mariella help me apply overpressure. So I started showing her what exercises I had to do - hamming it up quite a bit. She got mad and said that if I'm not going to do them correctly I shouldn't do them at all because they wouldn't help anything. I assured her I'd try. I showed her the back extensions I had to do on the floor. She said that was better. I said that there's this one I'm not really sure how to do at all. And I got on the floor on my knees and arched my back and stuck one leg out behind me. I said I don't think I'm doing this right. I asked her to look at the sheet (which I had my friend Paul doctor) to and see. She was mad at this point. She didn't immediately see the bit we edited. I got down on one knee got out the ring and asked the question. She said yes. And I'm extremely happy.

Love you, baby.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Calvert DeForest AKA Larry "Bud" Melman.

Henry the comedian

My 4-year-old nephew sent me this joke:
knock knock
who's there?
banana who?
Banana knock knock

Which reminded me of this internet classic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A revolution in business-to-business communication

We've got an AAF-Cleveland luncheon today. Our speaker is Wally Snyder, AAF president and CEO. If you worship in the church of advertising, this guy's your pope.

So I figured I couldn't wear my typical promo T-shirt. So, I changed the game with the promotional neck tie.

It's in support of our April speakers, John January and Tug McTighe of American Copywriter Fame.

For centuries, businessmen have been wearing fabric around their neck and unless it's got a Warner Brothers character on it, it's not saying too much. I've finally harnessed it's true marketing potential.

I hope Wally's impressed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Leo & Screwdrivers

I love tools.

I was surfing toolmonger and read the review of the FatMax Xtreme Demolition Driver Set. I was intrigued when the review claimed that these screwdrivers would withstand things you really shouldn't do with screwdrivers b/c that's the sort of thing I'm always doing. And I really love my FUBAR.

So I decided to add them to my Amazon Wishlist for my approaching 30th birfday. (HINT... HINT...)

The listing seems normal enough:

Then I scrolled down and saw this:

Well, that makes sense. It was a popular movie. But this next bit of the all too eager Amazon up-sale webcode struck me as odd:

So I will enjoy the movie better when I have a screwdriver in hand? Maybe Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg would be more convincing if I'm wielding a socket set too.


I know this is extremely short notice but the deadline has been extended if you're hoping to play in the Cleveland Cornhole Championships. You have until Thursday (3-22) @ 9 am.

What's cornhole?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Crappy music from the office next door: update

"Life is a highway" Rascal Flatts

Did anyone really have to redo this song?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My neck tattoo

Went to see Joan and Kristen at Mavis Winkle's on St. Pat's Day. Joan gave me a fake Jameson's tattoo. I put it on my neck and Mariella and I went downtown. At least 6 people asked me if it was real and many more looked at me with disgust. I'm so hardcore.

Day off shopping trip

So I took Friday off. And on day's off I like to go shopping. I hit Big Lots this time.

These glasses have mirrors inside so "You can see behind you just like a real bunny!"

When did rabbits develop that power?

America: The Pop Tart.

These would be cooler without the American Idol tie-in.

They had "American Gourmet Cookies" including the California edition.

And Guam?!

As a former shot putter, I was excited to see this.

And disappointed to see the rest of the box.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy Birfday, Mariella.

A celebratory photo of the jumping monkey pen to wish my girlfriend a happy birthday!


If you don't like blood and guts don't see 300. But it's one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I think I liked it better than Sin City - which I liked a lot.

I'm off to work on my Spartan abs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Media Frenzy Continues

Mariella and I had our photos in the Plain Dealer's Friday Magazine for attending the lackluster Barry Williams event. Mom thinks it's bad for my image that I'm being seen as the kind of person that would attend a Barry Williams show. I say any publicity is good publicity.

But the quote of the day goes to my friend Kev:
I don't know how you navigate the frenzied local media juggernaut that constantly surrounds you. A lesser man might be consumed by the fame and vanity!

Skating the Cuyahoga

We were shooting a commercial yesterday in downtown Cleveland. It's for the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. We worked with the incredibly talented Authentic Films.

We went to some pretty cool locations around town. And Mariella, Mary, Joan and Kristen came down to be extras.

The spot's going to be fantastic.

If you look closely you can see one of the skaters in this shot:

C'mon. Are you serious?!

Mariella and I went out to hear her uncle's band play on Saturday night. And we've been to a number of shows, so we're starting to recognize some of the regulars. But this guy was new. Maybe he's French. Maybe he's an artist. Maybe he really likes berets.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Clicking for Charity

Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland is in a contest with hospitals throughout the U.S. to receive a Fun Center from the Starlight Starbright Foundation for seriously ill children. All you need to do is click here and choose Metro Hospital.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What is wrong with this picture?

Jeff Dunham is a ventriloquist and this is his CD.

Let me rephrase. This is his CD with audio of his act and he's a ventriloquist. For his act to have merit don't you have to see him not moving his lips? I've seen his act and even with the visual of him and his puppets, it's still not funny.

Why does this product exist?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Patriot

This is the artwork that I'll be donating to the AAF-Cleveland Auction. You can't tell but the white of my face is glittery.

It's the latest in my self-portrait series.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Suburban Coyote

I went to my house in Bedford to pick up my mail. And two houses down, there was a dog wandering around the front yard. As I got closer, I realized that it wasn't a dog but a coyote.

I called the Police's non-emergency number and the dispatcher said the animal warden was already alerted. I guess they got a number of reports.

Bedford's a pretty domesticated city. There is a wooded area between my house and Chanel High School. But developers are tearing it out to put in a new housing development. So I assume the coyotes are being further displaced from what little place they had.

I'm a talking cereal box

That's right. We did a website for Harvest for Hunger. And I'm the voice of Bob - short for Banana Oat Bran. Make a donation to hear the whole act. The rest of the characters are pretty amusing too. I'm particularly proud of Sam Cheese's Cheese National Anthem.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Greg Brady Boredom

Right now, Mariella and I are sitting in the Palace theater watching barry williams/greg brady perform. how is it? well, not good enough to prevent me from blogging during it.
I never really enjoyed the brady bunch to begin with. I only went b/c it was supposed to be a fundraiser for AAF-Cleveland and i'm the prez next year.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My ADDY Wardrobe

This is my newest AAF-Cleveland promotional shirt. I'll be wearing it to the Cleveland ADDYs tonite. It's in support of our April speakers, John January and Tug McTighe of American Copywriter fame. I met John at a conference and frankly I think he's one of the smartest, funniest guys in the biz. And Tug, while I've never met him, amuses me to no end. I still laugh at his fledgling extermination service "One Man and a Pan." So I'm thrilled they're coming on:

P.S. I know that lime green and orange isn't the most complementary pairing of colors but it's definitely going to stand out from the smarmy sea of black coming to the show tonite.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


My coworker is playing the worst song ever once again. Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.

Grrrrrrrrr! This is when a Peelander-Z album comes in handy.