Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year from the Tiki Bar!

Wishing you a safe and happy New Year from Sunny South Florida!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bloggin' sure is a lotta work, kids

I wish I'd gotten into blogging when it started to get big. I was a late bloomer, just started this April. Funny, I don't feel like a blogger, just a cat who has something to say. Maybe it's because I don't blog about celebrities or news. Maybe it's because I just write for me, and if other people dig it, that's in the groove.

Whatever...I've been doing this for 9 months, and I gotta's a lotta work! Holy cow! I maintain the "real" blog...Tiki Lounge Talk...and post at least three times a week. The content is 100% original...which means I have to research, write and design every post from scratch. I have to scan or take a lot of photos. It's fun as hell, but time consuming.

Then I have this site, where I just throw stuff on that doesn't fit the Tiki Bar theme, or where I rant and complain. Or pontificate.

Now I've started a third blog, are real blog, associated with the ad agency I work for. More work. But necessary...and fun.

On top of the blogs, there's the promoting on twitter, facebook, and myspace. I don't have nearly enough time to do it the way I really want to, but I'm keeping up with it. I've got almost 200 followers on Tiki lounge Talk's fan page...very proud of that, since I just started it last week.

Ok, well since I doubt anyone is reading this, I suppose I'll use my time for something more productive. Ciao!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Party in the Workplace: 10 Rules for using Social Media with Your Business

Written by Chris Pinto

If you’re reading this, you’re one of the millions of people who enjoy interacting with people on the internet in this ‘new’ phenomenon of Social Media. But SMN (Social Media Networking) is nothing new. It’s the same kind of networking we’ve done for decades, at cocktail parties and meet & greets, at seminars and workshops. It has simply become easier, more accessible, and a lot more informal.

Where yesterday’s networking events were strictly business (usually attended by people in business attire seriously looking to promote their products and services) online Social Media sites combine business life with personal life…and that, in many instances, can be bad.

There is a reason we have a “work face” and a “home face”. Most of us do things at home or with our friends that we would never think of doing at work. This is called “professionalism”, something too many people are lacking when it comes their online persona. For example, posting pix of last weekend’s hot date at the trendy club might be great for your friends, but your boss and clients might find your antics a little unsettling.

This is why it’s very important to be careful how you connect your personal social networks to anything that has to do with work. If you’re going to use social networking for work purposes, you’ve almost always got to keep it separate from your personal life.

How do you do that online? Not quite as easy as it sounds.

Because of the way everything is linked (the whole purpose of social networking), chances are your personal life and your professional life are going to cross paths. The only true way to protect yourself from having potentially damaging personal information broadcast to clients and co-workers is to not have any personal networking at all. Since this is nearly impossible for anyone who enjoys online social networks, the next best thing is to follow some simple rules that should keep you out of trouble, and keep you looking professional in the eyes of your clients and bosses.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow that will help you keep your online persona both fun and professional:

1. Limit your exposure.

2. Take control of your social networks.

3. Never post derogatory or inflammatory content.

4. Keep your political and religious views and opinions to yourself.

5. Keep your posts upbeat, well-written and professional.

6. Let your personality, not your personal business, shine through.

7. Don’t junk up your social network with ads and pitches.

8. Don’t let your social networking get in the way of real work.

9. Post relevant and interesting content.

10. K.I.S.S. -->Keep it simple, stupid.

Read on for explanations of each topic…

1. Limit your exposure. Depending on your job, there are a lot of things you might not want your co-workers or clients to be aware of. Partying with co-workers might be fun, but can result in some very embarrassing photos. Stay away from the camera. Have fun, but don’t do anything too foolish, and keep your drinking under control. If partying means more to you than your job, then by all means live it up. If you’re serious about your career, keep it cool.

2. Take control of your social networks. Every networking site has email and/or text alerts that let you know when someone has posted content that pertains to you, including tagging you in photos. Make sure you monitor these alerts constantly, and check each one for embarrassing or otherwise unwanted content. Remove as necessary. If the content is on someone else’s page, nicely ask them to remove any reference to you from their post.

3. Never post derogatory or inflammatory content. This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people think it’s ok to ‘talk trash’ about co-workers, clients, bosses, or even family members on social networking sites. “Venting” by posting how much you hate ‘Client A’ or think that ‘Boss B’ is working you too hard is an easy way to get canned. Unless you post to them directly, if you say something good about a client or co-worker, chances are they will never hear about it. Post something bad about someone and it will spread like wildfire. Use your head…never post anything you wouldn’t say directly to someone in person.

4. Keep your political and religious views and opinions to yourself. It’s very easy to get caught up in a discussion about God, guns, and government. Problem is, whatever stand you take, some of your clients and co-workers are going to be on the opposite side of the issue. This can be awkward with co-workers; it can be deadly with clients. Taking sides against a client on even the most inconsequential political or religious issue can cause them to drop you like a rock. Remember, if you’re using social networking for business, you want to build relationships, not destroy them.

5. Keep your posts upbeat, well-written and professional. This includes using correct grammar and punctuation. If language skills aren’t your strong point, get a co-worker to proof your tweets and posts before you make a fool of yourself. Don’t ever use street talk or slang, unless it fits your business. A bank branch manager posting “Yo, wat up yalls” is the equivalent of spitting on a customer. Also, never post anything negative. You may want to post how much you hate working overtime, and how tired and hungry you are, but it will probably come across as whiney and unproductive. Put a positive spin on everything.

6. Let your personality, not your personal business, shine through. The biggest mistake business people make on social networking sites is getting too personal about themselves with clients. Your clients want to know you; they’re interested in things you are doing and places you are going. What they don’t want to know is how depressing your life is. So posting about your trip to Disney World is great. Posting about your trip to the dentist to have an abscess removed is TMI.

7. Don’t junk up your social network with ads and pitches. This tip really falls under the heading of ‘how to market your business online’, but it can’t be stressed enough that social marketing is all about making relationships, not about pushing product. Your relationships will suffer and you’ll lose followers if you constantly barrage them with offers, commercials and products or services. Make friends. Be upbeat and positive. Let people know who you are and what you have to offer, the way you would in person. When they want a product you’re offering, they’ll remember you.

8. Don’t let your social networking get in the way of real work. So you’ve joined facebook™, you’re on twitter™, you’ve got a linkedin™ account and you’re digging™ everything you see. These networks take time to cultivate, and to maintain. Decide on a time limit each day, and stick to it. (Some businesses will decide this for you, and monitor your time on SMN sites). If you’re working on something important, turn off your SMN connections and software so you are not interrupted by incoming posts and messages. And keep your time on each site short…if your boss sees you on FB everytime he or she walks by, even if you’re sticking to your time limit, it’s not going to look good for you.

9. Post relevant and interesting content. It’s great to post videos of punk bands if you’re the manager of a Hot Topic. But if you’re a pre-owned Lexus sales manager in Boca Raton, that’s probably not a good idea. Make sure you understand the likes and dislikes of the people you are marketing to. Post content you think they will enjoy, and especially post things that are informational. The Hot Topic manager can post about where that band is playing, how to get tickets, and make suggestions on what to wear to the concert. The Lexus sales manager can post about the latest developments in hybrid cars, vehicle options, and when the new models will be out. It’s all relative to your customer base.

10. K.I.S.S. -->Keep it simple, stupid. Most people don’t have the time or the inclination to read long-winded articles (like this one) online. If it has to be long for informational purposes, bullet-point the major information at the beginning or the article (like this one) so that your readers can get a quick idea of what you are trying to communicate. If it’s something they’re interested in, they will read on. And remember to keep your writing interesting to keep your readers engaged. There’s nothing worse than reading through a post only to find you want to stop half-way through and grab a hamburger. Keep it light, keep it fun, keep it interesting, and your readers will thank you.

Comment always appreciated!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogging and Bad Grammer: When the hell did writers stop learning how to write?

Did you notice it?

The computer age, started with the UniVac Computer back in 1947, has revolutionized the world in many ways...but possibly the most incredible revolution has taken place among the writers' community.

Gone are the days when a writer (probably an excellent one) would be turned away from a fantastic career because the publisher was in a bad mood that day. Want to get published? Do it on the web! Want to publish a book? Do it for free with CreateSpace. Want to be taken seriously? CHECK YOUR WORK.

By now, you have either noticed the glaring typo in the headline, or you're one of those people who A) either doesn't care or B) doesn't know the difference. If you're a reader and don't care, that's fine. If you're a writer and you didn't see the spelling error, shame on you.

Time after time I read articles and blogs posted on the web that have foolish typos, incorrect grammar, and even entire words missing out of the headlines. Ok, an occasional misuse of "you" in place of "your" or an unintentional "the" floating somewhere may be acceptable. But kids, your computer has a wonderful spell checker. Why not use it already??? (clue: if the word is underlined when you type it, you did it wrong)

I just read an article on a PROMINENT blog site, about Social Networking. It was written by an industry "expert" (that term gets thrown around a lot these days; Social Marketing Expert, Paranormal Expert, Alien Abduction Expert...) whose grammar was pretty awful for someone who is supposed to be college edgeecated, and he left a word out of a headline. The whole word!

Doesn't anyone proofread anymore? Come on!

Ya know, in the ’50s, if you wanted a job as a writer, you had to be an expert writer. That meant years of learning the ins and outs of the English language, grammar, punctuation, communication skills and proofreading.

Today, you are all lucky enough to be writers - published writers - without even going to college. If you can write fairly well, and people enjoy what you have to say, you will be successful, at least in the context of web publishing. But you won't have the luxury of an editor, proofreader or typesetter to cushion you against the world. What you type is what gets read. Dig? The world is looking at your posts, and forming an opinion about you through them. Do you want them to think you're a dumb ass? Hell no!

Proofread your work before you publish. At least make sure there are no glaring typos, like in my headline. Learn the difference between "it's" and "its", "your" and "you're". You'd be surprised how easy it is.

By the way, make sure you always double check your facts too. Just for fun, I threw a bad fact into this post. Can you spot it?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Charlie Brown Christmas at the Tiki Bar

I'm in a groovy mood, so no evil rants tonight.

Ok, for some fun stuff...I wrote a nice little post at Tiki Lounge Talk ( about the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and why it's so special, especially to me.

• Couple of kookie things to mention: The CB special is from 1965. So for kids like me who were kids when this was still new...well, it's 44 years old now. Krazy huh? Talk about Retro!

• I have a dog named Snoopy. He is not a beagle.

• One of the first songs I ever tried to play on the piano was "Linus and Lucy" aka the Peanuts song. I was terrible at it. 30+ years later, I am an accomplished jazz sax player, but I still can't play this on the keys.

• I have a big, shiny aluminum Christmas tree.

Don't forget to stop by the tiki bar for a Christmas Drink!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Going Digital in a world full of TV's & Newpapers

This is just my goofy place to rant, tell stories, and blow off steam. If you want some kookie, kool and fantabulous retro-tiki fun stuff, please visit my retro-matic site at!

For those of you who don't know, I'm the Creative Director of an ad agency in Hollywood, Florida. Not quite like Don Draper, but I do have a bottle of Johnny Walker at my desk.

As C.D., I am responsible for coming up with hip, new ideas to promote our clients' products. I also design a lot of the artwork, and occasionally do some good old fashioned copy writing. Fun job, pay is decent, and I get a corner office with a view of the South Florida skyline. We specialize in traditional forms of advertising, ie, we don't build websites.

Last month we got hit over the head with a request from a restaurant client, somewhat out of the blue. The client told us they wanted our agency to take over all of their online advertising responsibilities, including Pay-per-click, SEO, and all that other krazy new-fangled stuff that goes along with teh internets. Well, we said, no problem. After all, we don't do all of our TV production in-house, or radio, or direct mail. We farm it out. So we'll farm this out too, just managing the operation. Right?

Well, not quite.

Seems this particular client doesn't think we know anything about internet marketing. Even though we've showed them time and again what they should be doing on the net, even though we've given them proposal after proposal outlining online strategies. We even set them up with a Facebook and Twitter account (which they never use). Even though I've made it my mission to learn a lot about online marketing, which lead to the creation of my real blog, Tiki Chris Pinto's Tiki Lounge Conversations, and eventually to this blog, my dark-side vent.

It appears we have a lack of communication with some of our clients. We'll fix that, immediately. But to do so, we're going to have to change our entire system. We're no longer going to be known as a traditional ad house. The market dictates that we become a digital-heavy agency with the added value of traditional media in our mix. For me, this means an exciting adventure into new, mod territory. At the same time it's Goddamned terrifying. But that should make it exciting too, shouldn't it?

All my life, I've lived in the past. I sport fedoras, not because they are retro-cool, but because that's what I would have worn if I lived 60 years ago. I talk the way my grand father's and father's generations did, because that's just how I yap. I drive a 53 Chevy, and for every day use I have a PT Cruiser Convertible Hot Rod that's made up to look like something out of the 30's. I play jazz and swing sax and listen to Glen Miller, Duke Ellington and Elvis. To me, a computer is a glorified typewriter with a built-in filing cabinet and encyclopedia, and changing the ribbons is a krazy pain because I can't find them. Yet here I am, halfway through my kookie life, and I've got to totally switch gears in order to keep my little gig.

Totally? Well, no. Actually the way I look at it, the internet is just another opportunity to exploit, another place to paste up tons of ads, except it's powerful enough that I can show ads to the people who might actually want to see them, and leave everyone else alone. No matter what anyone says, there will always be newspapers and magazines (although they will change drastically), TV ads and radio commercials. (They too will change, to accommodate TiVo and XM). But as those mediums become less usable, the internet will rise to the call. And it looks like I'm going to be riding the top of that wave, or drown trying.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Working on the book, "Murder Behind the Closet Door"

I know that a lot of blog readers are also writers. If you're a writer reading this, you know how much fun, yet how difficult writing can be...especially if you take on a 600 page novel.

In 2002 I got laid off from a job as a graphic designer. I decided two things: one, I'd look for a much better job that suited my talents, and two, I wouldn't spend my idle time at home being idle. So, as I looked for a great job, I also did a few things around the house...built some bookshelves...worked on my 53 Chevy...and started writing a book.

I never intended to publish the book. I never even intended anyone to read was really for me, a collection of memories from my youth, dreams, nightmares, and ideas. I had no outline, no real plot...just a basic story idea, a style in which to write it, and a lot of little facts to stick in for fun.

After I wrote the first few pages, I showed it to my wife. To my surprise, she thought it was actually good...really good, worth developing. Now, my wife ain't the type to just say something like that to make me feel good. If it sucked, she would have said so. And since she reads two to three books a week, I took her word for it.

So I continued on, free-flow, just typing along anything that came to mind. And after about three weeks the first draft was completed (except for the end). But it needed a LOT of polishing. And an ending.

On and off over the next year I played around with it. I got the great job I was looking for after only three months, so the time I had to devote to it was getting slim, but I'd stay up late and work on it until two in the morning, sometimes three. This got me a lot of writing done, but also got me a hell of a lot of typos!

Over the next two years, I added entire new chapters to it, re-arranged it, edited it, cut things out, added things in, expanded characters, and eventually came up with an ending that I liked, that made sense. I insisted that all of my characters made choices that made sense, not ones that made it easy to propagate the story. This made things a little harder, but it made the story a lot better.

I wanted to write a book that I would enjoy reading myself. Now, seven years later, I've gone over it and over it, knocking out the goofs, tweaking things here and there, looking at it from an editor's view (ow) and finally getting it in the final stages of being production ready.

I've got a few more typo's to fix, and a couple of lines need to flow a little sweeter, but besides that the book is finished. I have no delusions of ever getting an agent or publisher to seriously look at it, since the publishing industry is so tight and so impenetrable. I wish I knew someone in the biz, because I think this book could really take off. It's got murder, sex, violence, ghosts, suspense, and mystery all wrapped up in a well-written, easy-read package.

The story takes place in Wildwood and Ocean City, New Jersey, primarily in the winter of 1978/1979, with flashbacks to the 30's and 50's. It gives the reader a real sense of what things were like at the time, and will bring back a lot of memories for those who lived through that era.

Tonight, I managed to get through final proofing of a dozen pages. I found an average of one typo per page, mostly small punctuation issues or things like "then" instead of "them". I have only about 300 pages left to proof, then it's off to CreateSpace for printing, so I can at least get a couple of books for myself and friends. Sure, it will go up for sale; I'll market it with what little budget I have, and maybe even sell a few copies. Maybe, if lady luck smiles on me, someone with clout will notice it, and if they think it's good enough I might even get a book deal. Well, I know there are a million+ people thinking the same thing about their books, so I won't hold my breath. But I can dream, can't I?

For more information on Murder Behind the Closet Door visit my official website at

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow? What's snow?

I've heard it's snowing in parts of the US. I seriously can't remember the last time I saw snow.

I think it may have been the winter of 1999/2000. I dropped my car keys in three inches of snow, which sat on top two inches of pine needles and oak leaves in New Jersey. It took a rake, a shovel, and two hours to find them. That's when I decided to move to South Florida and never look back.

I do miss snow; I especially enjoyed watching snow fall during the night, when everything was very quiet and still. There's something magical about watching snowflakes fall from the night sky, shimmering in the light of a street lamp. It's trying to get around in it the next day I can do without.

I hope to see snow again someday, while on vacation. But mark my words, unless I get an incredible deal on a 20 acre vineyard, I'll never live where it snows again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just because you are a Republican doesn't mean you have to be a mindless, annoying prick.

Tiki Lounge Talk, my full-blown tiki-retro blog, is all about having fun...with a cocktail, a kool car and a hot chick. This little corner of the world is where I get to mouth off about the dark stuff...stuff that annoys me, or just makes me want to blow stuff up.

Today I saw a truck that had some little stickers plastered all over the back of it. It was a work truck, an electrician's. I'm pretty sure if I still had my big Caddy, I'd have driven this a-hole off the damned road and into a building.

The stickers were supposed to be 'clever', but what they were, were just plain stupid. They were, as follows:

Palin 2012
• I'll keep my gun, my freedom and my rights, you keep the 'change'
• No-bama
• Don't blame me
• Welcome to the Socialist States of America
• In God we trust

So, if you're a democrat you are now saying, "Yeah! What an stupid a-hole!" and if you're a republican your probably saying, "yeah! He's right!" Well, republican, dem or in between, a jack ass is a jack ass, and he certainly was a jack ass. He also neglected to use his turn signal.

Let me say at this point, that I am a capitalistic, gun-toting, crappy-fuel-economy-car-driving guy who really doesn't want the government to interfere with my life by passing laws that 'require' me to do things I don't really want to do. But at the same time, I believe in equal rights, logical gun control, electric cars and serious reform of the health care and banking industries. So what does that make me?

It makes me a good old fashioned, intelligent, free-thinking American. Someone with a brain who doesn't buy into all the extremes that both sides are slinging. I can look at both sides and ascertain the facts myself.

Does carbon monoxide from cars contribute to global climate change? yes. Is global climate change a cyclical process? yes. Are we headed for an ice age that we can't really do a damned thing about? yes. See how easy that was?

Did the last eight years of Republican rule break the world? yes. Is Obama any better than W? Yes, but then again so is mold.

Does Obama have all the answers, and will he make all the bad things go away? No. Would have McCain and Palin made all the bad things go away? Hell no. See? very easy.

I have a Florida State Concealed Weapons Permit (AKA License to kill) which under FL state law allows me to carry my cannon of a .45 Automatic nearly anywhere, and gives me the right to use deadly force if my or someone else's life is in danger. You know what I fear most? Not the guy who might mug me at the gas station at 1am. I fear the yahoo with the bumper stickers that say "Palin 2012" and "I'll keep my gun, you keep the change", because that guy is truly insane, AND he has a gun. That's the kind of whack job that ends up walking into a mall and shooting everyone he sees, for no reason other than the angels told him to do it.

So, I guess if anyone reads this, there will be some pissed-off dems and reps, but you know what? I don't give a rat's ass. Now go have a drink and calm down. No matter what your affiliation, you better damn-well believe in MY freedom of speech. If you don't, get lost. There's no room for you in my country.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mod Movie Mondays at the Tiki Bar

I've started a new feature at Tiki Lounge Talk (AKA Tiki Bar Talk) - Mod Movie Mondays, where each week I'll give my suggestions on movies (and the best booze to go with them) from the mod and atomic eras. I kicked it off with the top of the psychedelic flick list, Barbarella. If you haven't dug this reel than dig it soon. Jane Fonda is far-out and beautiful as hell, the sets are wild, the story is crazy and its got the perfect amount of camp and silliness to make it a primo pick. Check out Tiki Lounge Talk for more pix, info and fun stuff.