Maybe I should change the name of this site to PingSerendipity. Yes, two blogs in a row are about those weird little coincidences in life.
A little set up first:
To promote the PingWi-Fi brand, I started a thing a few years ago where I send out little blurbs called HisTweets on Twitter. The HisTweets are little factoids on “this day in history” with a little PingFlava added, and usually a side order of YouTube video regarding that event in history.
Here are a few examples of some historically significant HisTweets we sent, and the accompanying links.
- Histweet> This day, 1940, 200 people died in a dance-hall fire in Natchez, Miss. Natchez Fire
- Happy Queen Mum Day! Queen Elizabeth II is 87. Queen Mum Is Fun … #GirlsWantToHaveFun montage.
- Histweet> This day, 1902, financier Cecil #Rhodes left $10M for scholarships at Oxford. Here’s a recipient. Favorite Rhodes Scholar
We also do dedications from time to time for celebrity birthdays or milestones in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Here are a few tweet examples, from our last PingFloyd Day to commemorate Pink Floyd, of course:
- PingFLOYD Day concludes with the second coolest concert idea ever – Live at Pompeii Floyd Among The Ruins #PinkFloyd #PingWiFi
- Sweet acoustic version of our favorite Gilmour/Floyd as PingFLOYD Day continues on the ping … Wish You Were Here #unplugged
- Time to get your Floyd on … PingFloyd Day continues to honor Mr. Gilmour’s BDay! More Floyd
- David Gilmour of Pink Floyd is 67, so, we bring you PingFLOYD Day! Rock on you crazy diamonds! Crazy Diamond #PinkFloyd #SXSW
What does any of this have to do with Wi-Fi? Well not much. Like I was saying it is a brand building strategy with social media. And of course on seemingly rare occasions – those day when we do write about Wi-Fi — there is usually some music or entertainment involved. So … “works for me.”
All that being said. Here was the most recent Serendipity ping thing. As I tweeted the events of the day, on April 21, it was the birthdate of the infamous Red Baron of Germany. You probably know, he was Baron von Richthofen, and he was a deadly flying ace, credited with winning 80 air battles in WWI.
As I was tweeting — but before I mentioned the flying ace — I received an e-mail. I had a new follower on Twitter, totally, absolutely unrelated to anything I was doing at the time.
I am a curious sort so I opened the e-mail and looked at the profile of the new follower. It was some travel writer/tech guru from Germany. I had never heard of his hometown before — Kiel — but it caught my eye. (My ex once sold makeup in retail, and one of the brands was Kiehl’s.) So, like I said, it caught my eye.
The HisTweets continued … Then I had this idea. A few days ago on the Web, I had seen that there was also a German flying ace (WWII) named Pingel … Rolf Pingel.
So, in the Red Baron tweet, I also fired off about Rolf Pingel, with a link to his Wikipedia information. (I think it is cool, even though we American Pingels fought on the winning side in WWI …)
Histweet> This day, 1918, Baron von Richthofen, German “Red Baron,” killed in WW I. But Rolf Pingel lived on – Uncle Rolfie
Here’s the punchline. Guess where flying Ace Rolf Pingel was born.
Kiel Germany. (Had you heard of Kiel Germany before?)
Originally, I discovered Uncle Rolfie a while back, doing the old Google search of “Pingel.” Interesting … in WWII, the Germans issued collectors cards for the flying aces, almost like our baseball cards.
Anyone want to trade a 1945 Rolf Pingel rookie card?
Man I like this kinda stuff. And, if you do too and want more PingTweets, do follow: Ping On Twitter
Know what I sayin?
My friend Randy and I were just texting about how much we enjoy those serendipitous little things in everyday life. Here’s why we were on the topic.
Two weeks ago, back home in The Texas Panhandle near Vega, he and I were at the ruins of an old stone wall of a sheepherders’ camp on a remote ranch, a site where Billy The Kid once hid out when he wasn’t stealing horses or whatever.
As we looked at the wall, I made a remark about that great film “Shawshank Redemption.” “Ha, maybe if we move that stone, we’ll find a note from Andy.” (You’ve seen Shawshank right?) We didn’t disturb the wall, but later that very evening, at my sister’s house, I turned on the TV. Guess what was airing that night on one of the movie channels. You got it. Shawshank! AND, at the very moment the picture appeared, the film was at the scene where Morgan Freeman is digging around at the stone wall and finds the letter from Andy (Tim Robbins). What are the odds?
If you have read this blog with any regularity, you know I am going to say it. “God’s sense of humor, I like to call it.”
It’s been a season of serendipity.
Today the Ping team here in Fort Worth completed a photo shoot with another Vega guy, Doug. Doug and I grew up in the same Texas Panhandle town of about 900 people, but because of our age difference had never met. Some 400 miles further South, in Fort Worth, we met about a year ago. Doug and I had seen each other a lot in Fort Worth, since we frequent the same Starbucks … a lot.
But one day about a year ago, Doug broke the ice, in such an interesting way.
Doug approached me in the Fort Worth coffeeshop and said, “Hello sir … hey, this is going to sound kind of unusual, but did I just see you in Vega, Texas at the Oldham County Roundup?”.
He had in fact. I try to go to the old timers’ reunion every year back in the Big V. Somehow I didn’t see him, but he had spotted me and recognized me, but we didn’t talk or meet until we were both back in Fort Worth.
Ha … we laughed about each of us having long hair, although that is not the norm in Vegaville. And of course that we see each other in Fort Worth all the time. Two caffeinated strangers …
A few months passed and one day I found out that yes, Doug owns the other motorcycle parked out front most of the time. Yet another similarity for this story.
Then the next thread to intertwine was about the hair. I mentioned that I was growing mine long to donate to some unfortunate child through the Locks of Love organization. You guessed it. Yes, Doug also is about to donate. So, what the heck. Today we went out in the parking lot of Starbucks and did a Locks of Love donor photo with motorcycles.
Doug is saying goodbye to his longhaired ways in just a few days so he can donate. As for me … I am going to try to stand it a little bit longer. We’ll see.
Locks Of Love
The long hair. The same home town. The motorcycles. The same Starbucks … and some people think we look alike — he a younger more fine-tuned version …
My new friend Aziz asked if Doug and I are brothers. Ha … my old friend Reagan asked on Facebook if we were the Allman Brothers. (see photo) And of course one of the baristas made a crack about us being bruthas from anutha mutha …
Anywho … as Doug and I were chatting, I mentioned my recent trip to Oldham County, and the brick wall … remember the brick wall story? … where Billy The Kid once hid out. Doug surprised me once again. Doug’s grandfather once worked on and around that historic ranch … the one with the old stone wall and Billy The Kid and all. And that’s where Doug’s father’s ashes are scattered.
Moral of the story … strike up a conversation with a stranger at Starbucks today. You never know where it might lead.
Know what I sayin?
Let’s just say for a second that the Wi-Fi hotspot at your favorite Starbucks is working for a change … and you’re about to grab your favorite blogging chair … but “What’s this?” … Someone is seated “in my chair?”
I mean, if a guy can have a regular pew in church (which I have, quite territorially for 27 years) then surely one can call dibs on a favorite chair in Starbucks. Ha, talk about entitlement. The baristas at my Starbucks refer to one of the easy chairs beside the bar as “Kent’s chair.”
Ha … this “ownership thing” has even trickled down to the clientele. My new friend Aziz — a student with a new set of Dr. Dre Beats headphones and the most sweet/glorious collection of expensive NFL and NBA ball caps ever — hopped up the other day to give me the seat. “No, go ahead,” he insisted. “It is your chair.”
I like this guy!
Anywho, call me spoiled, creature of habit or whatever. I got no problem with that!
So what to do if one of the “uninitiated” show up and sit in your chair, unwittingly?
Hmmm … we called in the research department on a Sunday and together we came up with a list of offensive strategies:
Crazily, drop down on one’s hands and knees mumbling, “I’ve dropped my best vial of white spores.”
Smack crack chew, and pop with two or three pieces of Super Bubble just within earshot. (For added results, bite off 2-3 fingernails and a hangnail, add to the mix.)
Sniff armpits (one’s own thank you) and ask the seat invader if they too love the smell of fresh brewed.
Call up the utility company of choice, telling them you wish to suspend service for an account that doesn’t really exist, answering all of the questions quite verbose, loudly and courteously, remembering to enunciate and phonetically spell words that could be misunderstood over the cellular technology.
Tell the squatter that your Facebook photo features you kissing your Ruger 9mm pistol and invite them to friend you “Or else!”
Start warming up a neti pot nearby.
Exercise the fine art of public sleeping in the closest chair, snoring at will.
Awake from the fine art of public sleeping, wave hand in front of face, smile as if really pleased with onesself and go back to sleep.
Turn your music up louder than even Aziz’s (I like to say Aziz’s's’s … I digress). Finish your iced drink, then really go after that last shard of ice in the bottom of the cup, USING that little green straw for all its worth.
Hand the person a religious tract, telling them God has asked you to personally deliver the copy to them.
Dang. I could have stopped at number 6. The dude left and my chair is open. Good thing. I was about to “pull out the big guns,” remove my shoes and do “Three Little Pigs” in different character voices, while harvesting toe jam with a pocket knife.
Gotta run, before someone else beats me to my chair.
Know what I sayin?
I love me some Schlotzsky’s.
They were one of the pioneering eateries to offer free Wi-Fi, and at least in Texas, they are pretty much everywhere. (Darn it. I saw something about a Schlotzsky’s opening in New York or maybe New Jersey after I just left there recently.)
Anywho … great sandwiches and you can just blog and tweet and Facebook and IM and whatever in their shops — that is if you can keep your hands off The Original for a little while.
Quick side note: I first fell in love with their buns, et. al, in college years. I was managing a stereo store and across the parking lot was a Schlotzsky’s. Ha … I can vouch that it is a good thing that other lard ass “Jared” didn’t fall in love with Schlotzsky’s. Let’s just say, they are not recommended every day. But … I was a beanpole and did it anyway. Here’s the interesting thing. As I got to know the staff, I recognized the name of the asst. manager.
Her name was Cindy, like my sister’s name, and I recognized this woman’s full name because she had been a high school track star, so her name was in the newspaper all the time. Being an avid sports reader, I knew her name like my own … or my sister’s or whatever. It got more interesting. I mentioned this new friend to my mom … and Mom told me the rest of the story. My mother had shared a hospital suite with Cindy #2′s mom, when she had my sister Cindy.
Ha … if you have been following this blog, you may realize this is not once, but twice I have met people out of the blue, who entered this world, sharing hospital rooms with my mom, when she was delivering. Ha … we’re a big family so I guess the odds are in our favor. And raise your hand if you have ever heard me say “I love a coincidence.”
So … Schlotzsky’s is like a member of the family, so to speak.
A couple of years ago, I traded e-mails with some of the corporate PR types for Schlotzsky’s down in Austin. We are supposed to get gether one of these days just to compare notes on Wi-Fi and travel and blogging. Meanwhile, my colleague in high places, I had several of your fresh baked buns in various locations around Austin during SXSW.
… Pulled the Triumph over in Waco and Hillsboro for an Original too, to and fro …
But sadly, SXSW was right after my birthday and I did not have a print out of the coupon Z-sky’s sends to me every year for my birthday. I used to say this about the fax machine — now it’s the printer. … I just don’t use or typically need a printer anymore. Everything is an electronic document or PDF or JPG or whatever. So, the way I figure it, since I am saving the landfills from more empty toner cartridges and lots of paper, I think Schlotzsky’s owes me dozens of sandwich. I mean … I can be entitled too, right?
Well, meanwhile the electronic offers keep coming from the sandwich people. The other day they told me i could have a free pizza if I bought a 44 oz. soft drink. Hmmm … If I ordered a 64-ounce schooner of Coke, could I have two pizzas? And would that piss off what’s-her-name in the White House? Ha … if that is the case, I am down. The bigger the gulp, the better. Or was it Bloomberg who initiated the war on soda? Whatever ….
Say … what ever happened to the Trenta iced tea at Starbucks? Did the no good, calorie-counting spoil sport soft drink warlords quash that too?
I digress …
So, yet another electronic coupon has come my way, and me without a printer. It is just wasted on me. Has this happened to you? Or am I the only one who is over the laser printer revolution?
Well … being the tech savvy (joke) guy I am, and because I am cheap and be wantin them free sandwiches, I contacted corporate-Sky’s again. I offered a solution.
“How about you guys do an app. like everyone else under the sun, so that I can take an electronic bar code coupon on my iPhone, and then I can redeem it.?” (You know, sort of like how I stick my phone in front of the scanner at Starbucks and it makes a beep and then magically produces a venti green tea frappuccino?) Let’s do that Schlotsky’s.
Ha … I just got the response from a very well-meaning, polite customer service rep. over at muffaletta-ville. He suggested I go to the public library and print the coupon. (Sarcasm spoiler …) “Yes … I will get right on that … and drive five miles, circle downtown for thirty minutes to find a parking spot, pump a buck into the parking meter, get a bruise near my crotch from the turnstile in the library door, fail to produce a library card because someone borrowed it and has un-returned books on breastfeeding overdue since 1990, do some fast talking and get in anyway and print out a coupon for albeit a great sandwich, but alas, just a $5-sandwich.”
How about we just work on that app., Schlotsky’s?
Know what I sayin?
March 14th, 2013 · Tags: Arts
Dave Grohl said he wasn’t the world’s best drummer and probably wasn’t even the best guitar player in the room at his SXSW Keynote Speech during the festival’s music week. But, along the way to superstardom he was left to his own devices and found his own voice.
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March 13th, 2013 · Tags: Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi
The weirdness keeps on keeping on here in Austin for yet another day at SXSW — the South By Southwest Festival — which brings together the worlds of film, music and interactive for one big burnt orange rave – 24/7.
The PingWi-Fi contingent has drifted in and out between the three categories listed above for live music, film red carpets and blogger lounges. All over the city, we have sampled some of the world’s best Wi-Fi access from the funky blended juices at Halcyon at 4th & Lavaca to the mysterious tribal elixirs of SquareRüt way out south on South Congress to the perennial favorite coffee at Mozart’s on the lake.
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I guess I just have a knack for being in the right place at the right time … sort of. Because out of all the hundreds of concerts where Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips has hopped inside his space ball and walked over the audience, flawlessly, the PingWi-Fi team picked the one show where everything went wrong. Two thirds into Coyne’s space walk over the people in the crowd, the power at his show in Denton, Texas went dead. The lights went black. The sound went silent … and there was Wayne, marooned way back in the back of the crowd, frantically trying to turn the ball around and head back to the safety of the stage.
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February 17th, 2013 · Tags: Arts · Cities
Last night may have been one of The Fort’s finest hours. In a relatively small venue – Live Oak off Magnolia — Fort Worth music heads circled up around one of the best musicians in the world — Donald Fagen … composer, producer, studio musician extraordinaire, co-founder of and singer for one of the true supergroups — Steely Dan.
Rather than some arena rock spectacle or an elaborate black-tie classic concert for PBS, it was local band — Oh Whitney — that brought the Steely one to Cowtown for a little pickup game.
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February 13th, 2013 · Tags: Arts · Cities
The Clash, 1983 – pingwi-fi.com
Do you know a band we should talk with while we’re at SXSW in a few weeks? Send us press information …
Meanwhile, as we prepare for SXSW music/interactive/film in Austin, we thought it would be fun to post a few things from our archives … a few of our favorite things from the art side of PingWi-Fi … MUSIC!. If only we had a post of our Stevie Ray Vaughan interview … (working on that). Hmmm … maybe even the Willie Dixon tapes with the founder of Buddy Magazine? Maybe …
Anywho, here’s some music from our back pages.
Rock The Casbah Director at SXSW:
The Flaming Lips further north, at NX35:
The Clash of course:
SXSE of Down Under:
Metallica in New Zealand
Reggae from South Texas:
South Padre Festival
My cult is blue:
Don’t Fear Buck Dharma
Ween in Boston:
Devo Is As Devo Does:
Crack That Whip!
Cracker In Louisville:
Who You Callin Cracka?
Celeb Spotting at SXSW:
Smith Westerns, British Embassy
Up & Coming in Brooklyn:
More Brits at SXSW:
The Home of Tina Turner & Stax
Shakin Booty with KC
We been Slaid:
Jerry Jeff Walker, Mr. Bojangles
Know what I sayin?
February 8th, 2013 · Tags: Satire
I opened my big mouth last year and said I would grow my hair long to be donated to Locks of Love. That was about 12 inches ago. Now, not unlike a perfectly straight part down one side of the scalp, my thoughts are divided into two camps.
On the one hand, I want to keep the long, Wavy Gravy look, because frankly, I just don’t care. It is fun, no matter what others think. So … hmmm … maybe I will keep the long hair hostage here with me.
On the other hand, it may be time for a rescue to find a better head for this hair.
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