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There’s a chill in the air tonight

Slick chalkboard colored stepping-stones


A plane passes by on a bed of galactic florets

Blankets of dark

There was no hurry

The sound soothing – a hum

The beacon blinks of many a journey, past

Of the current

Of further lands

The rubber’s burn soon down the road


Ears perked high


No sound


What do they feel?

The dog won’t get you…he just looks

Tonight, they don’t run

Do they stand in fear? Do they stand in trust?

Four ears rise from the wet soil below

The snow is gone…it has melted away, the sun has done it’s deed

Water remains…mud


Galoshes, a winter knit topping

Keep warm

The dog is naked

A world of his own

A moment of excitement perhaps

Long lengths speed in orbit

Eyes closed tight now


The music plays

To no distraction of his

A twitch of the brow, a shake of the leg

Tail, told not to move

To that, no control


Black and orange, six feet down for now

Krill for an afternoon

The hawk day next

Rise to the crust in a dozen

Flying high by Monday’s eve






It’s been awhile since my last post. Need to shake out the cobwebs. I plan on posting a great deal of work this semester…

It’s January 9th. After stepping outside today, I could’ve been told it was May and I’d have believed it. Windows raised, this day was dedicated to cleaning the living space. Yes, the fresh scent of bleach and the subtle ‘high’ compliments of fumes gathered in the tub area. No place to roam but straight up the snot holes. No complaints.

After a few hours of scrubbing away, the dog and I went for a walk. The air felt good and the views were great. Many girls (yup, college classes are back in session next week, guess who’s back at their apartments?…yeah-yuh!) walking their dogs. This means this guy will be walking his dog much more often. Stirred up a few conversations…let my dog play with their dog(s). The dog needs exercise and social activity, right? As I made my way back around to my place I heard loud cheering. A youth group was in the grass area running relays, having a good time. Those kids were loud. At times I miss the snow of the northeast but it’s days like this that create appreciation for the current location. I also miss being on the baseball field first thing in the morning and not leaving until after dark, closing out each day with use of a tennis ball (in place of the baseball – this could have caused some serious bodily damage in the dark).

It was also the day to visit the VCU bookstore for, uh, books. Seven books for one course (one of which is not in stock yet – though I’m sure you don’t give a shit). I’m an ad student forced to take a literature course. I chose British Lit post 1945. I gained a pinch of concern today considering the work demands this class may require. My ‘style’ class alone (ad class) promises to be a huge time consumer. I work full-time. The next 4.5 months may be a non-sleep struggle. However, a successful struggle. I. Hope.

This was also a day that involved a trip to my local super corporate money sucker store (Bullseye!). My hair is of a greater length than I am used to, so I purchased a brush. This will eliminate the step out of the shower, shake my head and off to work look I’ve been going with. I was close to getting it cut today, but then I stopped to think about that for two seconds. I have goals. I also grabbed four rolls of paper towels, four packs of gum and a hammer. I figured a hammer is an important tool to possess. After all, you can crush a skull with one if you need to. Not that I condone violence, but I don’t like guns (not that I’m a big anti-firearm person…it’s your life, do what you want with it. I’m not looking to voice my concern all over the radio airwaves). So if I’m ever attacked, I’ll face the person like a man…with a hammer. I’m sure it’s power can deflect bullets. I also need to readjust my bike rack for the car. The hooks are set for my old SUV and will not fit into the back of my new car. The VW. Wagon. I needed the extra back space for the dog…don’t judge. But the hooks. They need to be hammered. This is why I purchased the hammer. But there is always a benefit to the benefit.

I also realized the power of the in between sleep and conscious state. I’ve been going crazy in attempts to design a poster for an organization I am a part of. I was almost in blackout mode when the design made it’s appearance in my mind. So…now I just need to execute it. Although it’s safe to say this will not happen tonight.

So who’s ready for the NHL season to finally kick into high gear? I am! I’ve been watching the NBA. I have thought much less of myself during this period, but competition is competition and I need that in my life. It’s a man thing. Speaking of this, what’s the deal with this HBO series “GIRLS?” Not bad, right?

So at this moment, I am closing down the final clock ticks to my last free day for the winter/spring. Classes kick in starting Monday. I’m waiting for my blankets to dry out in the…get this…dryer. The dog is passed out cold in full dream-time shakes at the other end of the couch. Me. I’m just requesting my body allow a decent night’s sleep. I’ve recently gone back into insomniac mode, not finding shut eye until 3 am every ‘night.’ Not good for the spirit.

Get this. An NBA player, that on a few occasions has had physical altercations and even ran into the crowd one night to punch a fan, has renamed himself “World Peace.” That’s the NBA for you. NHL…I await the 19th with open arms, a big smile and a bright orange jersey. GO FLYERS!

So as this year begins, I expect great challenges, great rewards and necessary changes. Changes that will increase the value of life. I also plan on getting out more (more dog walks for sure ;-)). Seeing all that is around. Taking in the presence of others. Engaging in culture.

Happy 2013!

I’m not going to rant about the lack of time I get to, well, live ‘life;’ however it’s amazing what an extra day can do to give a brief lift to the soul and provide an extra push. Though I wasn’t able to get in all I would’ve liked over a 48 hour period, the time spent was meaningful and beneficial.

I pulled into Bensalem, PA late Friday night. The dog played with the cousin’s dog. That’s what dogs do. I just wish there was a potion to throw at them when it’s time to pass out for the night, to get them to stop – some would say this would be proper training. Well…

Saturday was set for my little cousin’s first birthday party. I was able to spend some quality time at BJ’s with my cousin Rich (rock star life) and was reminded as to why I may choose to never marry (Megan…I am going to run your phone over with my car when I get the chance! 🙂 – cell phones: …for another discussion).

At the party, family I have not been able to spend any time with were there, sans my cousin Sean. It was a nice time conversing with my Uncle Rich, Aunt Cathy, cousins Tim and Rich. Some funny stuff going on. I was also introduced to the fact that I am not a charming individual by Megan…ESTEEM BOOSTER! Uhhhhh…….Megan, I’m pretty fucking charming. References available upon request.

To my Aunt Lisa, my apologies. I should be in the area next week with some vacation time. I’ll be around a few times before the year is out.

It’s fall time. It’s Mum time. This year I have been quite removed from the scene which has made me feel differently about it all. Not aloof, but as though I don’t really have a place…which I think is understandable. It may be a part of my own personality traits (I know, I should seek help for this). To the Ferko band, it’s as if I were there week after week which is a great feeling. It’s tough to walk into an organization that prides itself on attendance, commitment and excellence, knowing that you really haven’t stepped up to your membership role. All things considered, these guys are true brothers. Living in Richmond and going to school, the membership has done more than the imaginable and allow me to continue to be a part of this great thing. I could not be more happy to be wearing a suit this year and cannot wait to celebrate the remaining Sundays of 2012 within the walls of 2630 Bridge Street.

We (the Ferko band) had our Club Crawl on Sunday. It was a great feeling this year…very relaxed. A great time was had at each club we visited and I was able to see some people I had not seen in a while. It goes beyond working towards a 4.5 minute routine on New Years Day. For those that don’t understand Mummery, it’s a tough concept to explain. It’s its own culture. For one day, we line up for battle, prepared to tear the heads off of every other band. January 2nd, it’s back to being a fun-loving community. Thank you to the clubs that welcomed us throughout the day, provided a toast and most of all, that sweet taste of blackberry. It’s a Mum thing.

I had the pleasure of seeing Steve Morrone ( of whom I was in the Uptown String Band with – he is now with South Philadelphia. We talked a little about Mums, and then talked about a project he is putting together for a museum in Durham, NC. He showed me pics of the foam sculptures he is creating, which he is driving down later on in the month. He’s a great artist and now does amazing work with prop building. Check his work out!

Over the last two years, I have questioned my continuing to put myself through the struggles of travel to be a part of this thing. School is getting extremely demanding and work hours are all over the place. It’s tough, but nothing that is good in life comes easy. I’ve heard over and over again, “I thought you weren’t doing your band thing anymore.” It gets in your blood. Something I’m sure I’ll never be able to shake. You surround yourself with some of the best people to grace the earth. It’s the treasured time you spend with others. It’s those around you that make you a better person. Sure, there’s a common interest (some would say obsession) in the hobby, but there is so much more to it.

Take advantage of every second you are provided in this place. Be around those that make you a better person. Surround yourself with those that inspire and drive you. You may get dragged down from time to time, but get it all out. I am living a very hectic, stressful life schedule. I do this because if I wasn’t, I’d be leaving the important things out…there would be an uninvited void to things. There is no time for this. If you want it, you can make it all happen. If not…what’s the point? There’s a lot out there to do. There’s a lot out there to see. There’s a lot out there to be.

“Would you not like to be, sittin’ on top of the world with your legs hanging free?” -DMB

Before class today, I hit up the Mac lab in an attempt to rework the features of my book cover before it was due. The font, the binder color (from hunter green) and an edit on the back cover copy. I also increased the size of the trees on the front cover to lessen negative space and create a more dominant approach of the forest (of which the main character was trapped after his plane went down in the Canadian woodlands).

My professor is pleased with the outcome, as am I…and this makes the world a happy place.

The only drawback is that I do not own this book (which I should) and we were to copy the dimensions to wrap the book with. I used relative dimensions from another book. So…come Wednesday, the cover will read Hatchet, but the reading will be “A daily dose of history.” You think this will confuse the reader?

Either way, an educational read.



We run a weekly caption contest in our copywriting course. The professors choose a winner and loser each week (both coming with high praises, as you can imagine).

This past week, the above picture was the subject…and we were to put our caption skills to the test. We each come up with five, the professors discuss and the winner is crowned (or given some really great prizes).

The winning caption for this week:

“Fresh Texas Sushi” (hold your applause. please. it’s embarrassing. – nahhhhhhh, go ahead. thank you!)

So what did I win? Pictured below is a large 4H t-shirt and a bag of roasted seaweed (expired). I could not be more happy. A tear began to trickle, my flesh began to bump and the smile did not leave my face for five seconds.

I only hope that I am able to keep up this level of creativity and build up my winning collections throughout the semester. There will be a case built if need be.

Trading Cards: Johnny D.

Card #2 in the Jos. A. Ferko String Band trading card series:

Johnny D.

Johnny D.: One third of the “Brothers Danfi,” Johnny is a true fan of the Lawrence Welk Show. (take in the strange countenance of Welk as he plays^).

An accordion player for the Ferko String Band, Johnny has also earned his way into the organization’s Hall of Fame (HORRAYYYY JOHNNY! – now what? you’ve got nothing to work for). His first year ‘up the street’ was 1996 as a marshall.

Johnny can always be seen with hands on hip(s), a cigarette and a Miller Lite. He’s also great for philosophical discussion and the ‘go to’ guy for U.S. political information (really…this guy can quote any Presidential/campaign speech that was ever communicated to the masses – even those quotes that were stated behind closed doors! WOW-WEEEEE!). LBJ is Johnny’s political hero, and adheres to the line “if you do everything you are supposed to do, you will win.” This has transcended into Johnny’s winning way of life…the true #winning. He’s also a fan of Stephen King and has a knack for memorizing quotes throughout King’s work…which is impressive to those who know what he’s talking about (if we could only find those people, he may start to make some sense).

It’s a smart idea not to speak of “Murder, She Wrote” while in the same room as Johnny. He may make his way on top of the bar, angered in attack mode. A chair or two (maybe even a meatball or christmas tree) may also soar past your ears. However, discussion about M*A*S*H* is welcomed. It’s also unwise to bring your homeless friends and their cart of goods within reach, for fear of losing all possessions to a local body of water.

There is nothing more inspirational than watching him pace the floors of Stella Maris church on New Years morning, with the look of determination on his face. Most would call this the ‘game face.’ Believe me when I say that game face does not begin to describe the level of intensity and focus that is going on in that cranium, pre-parade. Like a caged tiger. A caged liger. A single glance is enough to make one piss their pants in fright.

Just taking over a cell phone recently, Johnny still lives life without a driver’s license and cable. Some may wonder how he does it, however he’s good with an episode of Welk and utilizing the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transporation Authority services.

Spending time at the Jersey Shore, being involved in Philadelphia politics, playing music with the Ferko band and taking in the stench of urine on the SEPTA bus is what makes Johnny happy (and let’s not forget the beer and cigarettes).

At the club, Johnny is always covered in smile. Through discussion, talking with hands and ‘directing music’ while singing a song brings an animated trait about him. Johnny is the catalyst of great times. An individual that makes all of those around him, a better person.

But don’t get on this guy’s bad side. He’s a great person to have in your life…however, it’s an extremely bad thing to be in conflict with him…………………VERY BAD.

Here’s to you, Johnny!

Grab yourself another beer. By drinking one, you’ve deserved another.





Mike Norton: the inspiration of this new blog category (Trading Cards).

After playing around with some photo filters (subject: my dog), my friend here (Mike) told me that I could do better. So…he was the guinea pig. After I saw the final product, I took notice to an idea to make ‘trading cards’ (really…just photo filtered pics) of the Ferko String Band, out of Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Mummers).


Bio (a card would not be fitting without it):

FIRST PRESS PLAY FOR MUSIC (it’ll make more sense this way…mood. all about mood!)



Mike hails from New Jersey and plays alto saxophone for the Joseph A. Ferko String Band. He began playing in String Bands as a bass saxophonist for the Polish American String Band in the 1989 parade (though he acted as a band marshall for a few years before suiting up for the big day). He claims to remember his first time at ‘the hall’ when his eyes left his music to seek out Pat Ciarrocchi, Mummers broadcaster at the time (he thinks she’s one. fine. dame.). P.A. thanks YOU Mike Norton for fifth prize, worthy of a third prize that year.

Mike is a family man. Wife. Daughter. Dog. He is also in the midst of chasing his dreams of being the next Jackie Chan by attending karate classes. And Mike…well he’s a champion on the softball field as well. Quite a fan of the big ball. Go long or go home, right there Mikey?

“Norton” can be seen dressed in gym shorts, ball cap and t-shirt even in the chilly December air (brrrr…I’m getting cold just thinking about it – cheesy 20’s broadcast voice, please).

Speaking of cheese. Norton is happy to strike up conversation of intellect around a plate of cheese and cracker at any time.

Here’s to you, Norton!

A lover of life and BBQ. Striver for success. Possessor of happiness. Mike Norton is sure to put a smile on the faces of anyone around.


History of Advertising: Summer 2012.

We are currently looking at Maslow’s “Hierarchy of needs” and how this structure relates to advertising:


As an assignment, we were to take a print ad, point out the appeal and then CHANGE the appeal on our own to target a different area on the Hierarchy of needs pyramid.

I chose an iPhone print ad that simply stated “It’s OK to stare.” This appeals to the self-actualization level due to the luxury appeal that this ad conveys. I decided to change the ad into the sense of belonging category by bringing an element of family to the ad. Below is the original ad followed by my own reconstruction.

As you will see, I placed the text “When you need to see her” to relay the message that this device will bring family and loved ones closer together by use of ‘facetime,’ which enables individuals to communicate in real time while seeing each other live on the other end by use of the phone’s camera. No matter where two people are located, the facetime feature is able to somewhat fill the void of being apart.






While reading up on current events in the advertising world tonight, I came across an article (ADWEEK) that put a spotlight on a new type of model and face to a brand. This face belongs to a 10 month old down syndrome girl named Valentina Guerrero.

As one that appreciates the art of advertising (and am currently studying creative advertising – VCU!), I understand the importance of making a mark and separating/creating a brand as far away from the competition as need be. Bold. Edgy. That’s what it’s all about. What is going to grab the audience attention?

With this new campaign, I believe that Delores Cortes (DC) will make a huge stamp on the world. Placing a child with down syndrome goes against ALL of the standards and in light, shows the appreciation and beauty in everyone. I like to think that DC has done this for all of the right reasons…to go against the grain and TRULY portray an individual that may not be a self-starving, makeup covered, airbrushed ‘fake’ to make the product (in this case, swimwear) look ‘great.’ I like the idea because it creates a ‘real’ brand that the average American is going to connect with (and by reading the comments on the story…leave everyone with the reaction of ‘awwwwwwwww’).


This is advertising, folks. Money talks. Awareness, audience, IMPACT means everything in this industry. I was a bit disturbed to actually think that little Valentina may be used as a prop for attention (as is the case for other models). Ten months old? Is that a bit young? Even though I plan on creating impacting material, I hope to always keep a high ethical standard at bay.

This is a beautiful idea. I am not familiar with Delores Cortes. I do hope that this campaign is being conducted with only the good in mind, and not just as a way to use an extremely young child to gain exposure in order to stack paper.

I am a fan of ‘real’ women now modeling and am a fan of ANYONE modeling for the purposes of advertising. Babies are chosen to model all of the time. There should be no discrimination. Again, I am a fan of the IDEA. But to take a ten month old child with down syndrome and expose her to the world…I am not 100% positive that this is the right thing to do (though great if the intention was not 100% profit driven – which in the world of advertising, the assumption is that it is).

(****DC is donating 10% of profits to help fund the Down Syndrome Association of Miami****)

Illustrator Bear.