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Dad was a Righteous Man

My father, John C. Peters, Attorney at Law, died on February 24th, 2009.  He was a good man, he also loved to party.  He was often described as the life of the party by family and friends.

He helped quite a few over the course of his life.

He didn’t like Me much.  He rarely helped me.  I can remember when he said “No.” to my request for $500.00 to replace the tools that were stolen because I had a job as a motorcycle mechanic that I was starting the next Monday.  I lost the position because I didn’t have any tools.

Of course, he was trying to counteract the lifestyle of the spoiled rich kid.  I may not agree with how he did it, but he was a self-made man, he expected me to be the same way, I suppose.

He was a righteous man and he could recognize that quality in others.  It made him a born leader.

And he didn’t see that in me.  I had disappointed him too much as a child.  I liked to joke around and he always took me seriously.  So I didn’t live up to his great expectations.

When we moved to West Hartford, Connecticut, for my last year and half of high school, I was all excited to be moving to a new place and making new friends, checking out new girls, racing my motorcycle on new tracks.

But the motorcycle racing attracted the wrong crowd.  Spoiled boys, gearheads and hoodlums.  That was quite different from Omaha, when we lived next door to Warren Buffet and his family.  The guys that kept hanging around me in West Hartford lacked any direction or a sense of responsibility.  And I could not discourage them to leave me alone.  I guess if they had one good quality, it was that they sure were persistent.

I actually liked a couple of them, but some were just up to no good.

One guy I was just starting to like, Kieth, who rode his motorcycle everywhere, was killed right after we decided to be friends and look  out for each other.  10 days afterwards I heard he was killed a couple of days after we talked.

I heard it like he hit the back of his head or neck on a trailer hitch.  The guy I dislike the most shook him to revive him.  Later he found a piece of his bone and made a roach clip out of it.  Sick.

I never told Dad.

I hate death.

Dad died before we straightened out some things.  But he had a new wife, a new family, new responsibilities, and he loved the West Hartford area.  He protected his family.  And his new family treated him well.  He deserved that.

He always hoped that I would do something with my art.  I guess that’s the one thing he could be proud of me for.

And I am told he loved me.

But he never met his 8 year-old blackbelt grandson (my son, Maximilian).

He kept me out of college, though I wanted to go. Heck, I wanted to go to the Rhode Island School of Design.  But I had setup motorcycle school first.  What did I know?  Motorcycles were my life back then.  So he made me chose between the American Motorcycle Institute (motorcycle mechanics classes) and the Rhode Island School of Design.  The thing is that he made me chose once the motorcycle school was already setup and expecting me.

He wouldn’t allow me to get into a college after that.  I tried to enroll in a couple of colleges, but I had to wait until I was 24 years old to get in because he refused to sign a document declaring that I was independent, even though he kicked me out of the house at 18 years old.  I never did get that.  I finally started college shortly after I turned 25.

Some of the crumb bums (trying to be civil, here, I call these particular scum by worse privately) that called themselves my friends in my West Hartford days actually stole my racing engine.  My father did work hard at getting it back.  I still have it, a Bultaco Pursang A.  But by the time I got it back the season, maybe 2? was over.

There went my racing career.

I suppose I should have appreciated his efforts more.  I really did appreciate it, but I don’t think he felt like I did.

But I was not actually a great kid.  When the rest of the family went to the Dominican Republic, I stayed behind and threw a party.  A few close friends?  That’s not what showed-up.

One time I was sweet on the Seventeen Magazine cover model and started talking to her, getting very into her.  My hoodlum “friends” surrounded us.  I made a deal with them, they would leave her alone.  She would leave and they would follow me.

I told Dad these guys were no good, that I didn’t want to be their friend, but I doubt if he believed me.  Besides, they had fellow lawyers as fathers.

Too many things were left unresolved with Dad’s death.  This was a shame, but I guess we don’t always get the closure we expect.

We had a memorial at the Malloy Funeral Home in West Hartford on Saturday, March 21st.  Most of the family reconnected.  It’s unfortunate it took that for the reconnect to happen, but it is good that something good came of his passing.  There were many family & friends, new & old, in attendance thinking and saying great things in the celebration of his life.

I took some great photos at the reception.  I plan on sending them by DVD to his family & friends as soon as I can.

It was great to see everyone.  I was able to reconnect with my brother and his family, and with my sister.  It was so good to see them, as well as see my father’s new family and speak with them.

Once again, he did a great thing, by getting us all back together.

I wish I could have spent more time talking to everyone, exchanging business cards and catching up.  But there is so little time and my brother’s family was hosting my cousins from out-of-town.  And Ed & Mary Beth are expecting their first born, so I was happy to follow along with whatever was required as like my wife’s pregnancy, I understand theirs is also a tough one.

My father was loved and will always be missed by many.  I am very sorry to see him go.  Of course, I wish he wouldn’t have passed so soon.  But the memorial was a great celebration of his life.  And he did enjoy a long and full life.

He often reminded me that I was the eldest of a generation.  I really never knew what that meant.  I guess I was supposed to be a good role model and I failed him there.

But I hoped that he will understand me in the long run.  In a way I think he did.  He didn’t like to keep in contact with me.  He said “No news is good news.”

I always loved the man, I always will love him.  I guess I just wish we could have understood each other more.

One of his favorite songs reminded him of our relationship, as he explained it to me.  I think it’s called “Cats in the Cradle” by Cat Stevens (I’ll correct the song title in that sentence later if I find it named something else).

-His eldest son… Douglas Peters

April 11, 2009 Posted by | Parenting, Social Communities, The Human Condition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Skinny on the Groups List View Bug in Google Groups

Do you use GMail (Google Mail)?

Google had gotten so good at spotting spam and hiding it for a while that a bunch of us who were internet industry professionals that are sick to death of spam (and malicious hackers), that we wound-up using Gmail more often than our own business email.  Heck, I hardly ever send any email from my business account, anymore.  That said, Google has since gotten so radical on the spam that my business address was somehow blacklisted as a spammer.  Now, we have a love/hate relationship.  As I said, I barely even use my business address anymore.  How in the world would they even know it?

I’ve tried to address the situation, but every “Google Help Group” post falls on deaf ears.  Matt Cutts doesn’t even acknowledge My existence on Twitter, at all. I have asked him LOTS of stuff to no avail.  The dude probably has Me blocked for all I know.

But that is neither here nor there.  Like it or not I am already stuck with Gmail as my choice “avoid spam” webmail client since I am already running quite a few groups out of Google Groups.  Especially since Yahoo has absolutely no concept of spam/scam protection at all.  I think the Nigerians are camped-out at Yahoo!

Anyways, I do run quite a few Google groups, but please don’t take my word for it, here’s a list:

The Web Design related Google Groups:

With so many groups to manage, I need a decent free email/webmail service and Gmail has proven itself top notch.  So I was really miffed when the Google Groups index page list view stopped listing all the tasks I needed to to to administerate my groups effectively.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem, and as true to form, Google still has no technical support for all these kick-ass free services that they are providing in order to have an audience for their advertising.  And despite the fact that the services are free, make no mistake that this business model works a very effective profit for them.  It really isn’t like they are doing us any favors, because if they didn’t provide these free services someone else would (and does).  But Google does do it well, usually.

After posting to more Google Help Forums, trying to contact Matt Cutts on Twitter, contacting a member of Google through Twitter that didn’t have any help for me, I pondered this problem long and hard.

The reason that I wasn’t getting the management task notification links in the list view of the groups index is because I was suddenly listed as a member in some of these groups.

You probably wouldn’t understand why this is a big problem for me if you don’t run a couple  of Google Groups on your own.  But it really is simple, I’ve actually been running these groups for several years.  Although I do get email notifications of new membership requests,  once I click on the link and go to a group to view the requests and aprove or deny them (based on whether or not they actually included a personal message that was relevant to the group and their email address lacks words like “spam”, “crap”, “junk”, “bot”, “data”, or “miner”), I then usually head to my groups list index and handle all the rest of the tasks listed.

After doing that for so many years, this becomes a habit.  And always upon returning to Gmail I immediately delete that email which got me started.  But no matter what I did I could not break that good habit and I wound-up deleting the whole thread of all my member requests from all the Google Groups.  Of course, without the index not working right and listing all tasks at hand, I had just deleted the info I needed.

Yes, I could go back and forth through the trash, but that was a waste of time, as well.

Finally, I figured it out.  It came to me as I kept pondering what had changed at my Google account.  A while back, because Google had blacklisted my business email address, I thought I would show Google I was actually a good steward and added my business email address as a secondary address to my account through my profile.  This primary email address also sarted with a “D”, and my current gmail address starts with an “S”.  The fact that it was positionally more advanced in the alphabet than my Gmail address may or may not have anything to do with the bug.  But although I was logged in with an @Gmail.com address, the system seemed to be picking up on my @SymbioticDesign.com address.

So, The skinny on the Google Groups index list view bug is simple, if you have an alternate email address listed on your Gmail account it ALSO has to be listed in each group as an owner or manager. Else, especially if the alt email address precedes the current gmail address alphabetically, you will be listed as a member in the groups index when you go to check on your groups.  And of course you won’t se that there are required tasks to address.

Luckily it is a simple fix, go add the alt address as a member or group owner and you will restore the functionality of your groups index.

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Google, Social Communities | Leave a comment