Posted by: somesangs | February 29, 2008


Oh. holy. cow. If you haven’t the time for Friday shannigans, please click ‘mark as read’ now. If you have any sort of affinity for coffee, please read on.

This email was written by a co-worker this morning after we had some conversations about a coffee-purchasing schedule for our small office. Don’t miss the Swanson amendment at the end of the email. Incredible. Enjoy.



In a spirit of democracy, non-partisanship and unicameral undertaking, there is going to be established a Coffee Consortium to address the needs of our organization.  Although a loosely-affiliated body of constituents have comprised this effort to date, a formalized policy and procedures is hereby enacted for the group. 

This initiative, the Kerry “Office Fresh and Flavorful Energy Effort”, or ‘KOFFEE’, will establish rules and regulations for the entire coffee consortium in the office.  The KOFFEE will be a deliberative and consensus building initiative, with guidelines established to take into account the various special interests and circumstances which naturally derive from broad-based initiatives such as this.

  • Basics – Extensive financial analysis by top officials has indicated it requires about $8.00 (U.S) per capita/ per month to fully fund and maintain the KOFFEE for The Impact Group. This is subject to variations due to seasonal needs, staffing needs, meeting times and visitors, and a general overuse of KOFFEE resources during times of increased stress and early morning meetings. However, the $8.00 threshold should maintain KOFFEE needs effectively going forward. 
  • Collection – Each KOFFEE constituents will be assessed their $8.00 on the 1st of each month, accounting for weekends and holidays, as appropriate.
  • As users of the KOFFEE, you are all subject to a ‘User Fee’ associated with this initiative. While not expressly a “tax”, this user fee is in the interest of all participants for viability and sustainability of the program.

Amendments – A KOFFEE Caucus in the East Wing brought to the attention of the Chair of the KOFFEE (me), that there are areas where assessments need adjustment.  The Chair is open to further amendments, but on a needs-based and consensus basis:

  • The Richer Amendment – The caucus has submitted the K. “Man, I love Creamer” Richer Amendment.  Mr. Richer will not be assessed more than the $8.00, however, due to his abundant and excessive use of creamer, it will incumbent upon him to actually obtain and deliver creamer to the office each month, according to needs and budget. This amendment has been ratified by the Chair.
  • The Smith Amendment – The Chair recognizes that although he partakes on a much more limited basis, he nonetheless, is responsible to contribute accordingly.  However, in accordance with various state and federal laws and age-discrimination lawsuits, the KOFFEE will not require Mr. Smith to with make the initial pot each morning, regardless of his time of arrival. ADA rules may come into account as well due to his borderline ADD/HD and general lack of need for caffeinated items throughout the day.
  • The Stulpin Amendment – A. not only provides the first pot each morning, her (ahem) ‘need for order and cleanliness’ in the KOFFEE region of the office often leads her to take inordinate steps to assist in the general upkeep of the area.  She will be assessed her $8.00, but the Chair calls for Honorable Mention for her efforts to maintain order and cleanliness.
  • The Polyak Amendment – Hereshallwith, no one shall produce KOFFEE which is so weak that it is transparent to the human eye. It is incumbent all on KOFFEE producers to use sufficient supplies necessary to create a hearty and substantive pot of KOFFEE, not some weak-kneed English Tea-looking substance.  As Mr. Polyak maintains ultimate ownership over all KOFFEE resources, this amendment is not subject to negotiation.
  • The Speaks Amendment – Given that Mr. Speaks is largely new to the KOFFEE world, he will not be required to produce any fresh pots of KOFFEE for a period of six months. The Chair has personally witnessed such as effort, and it is not pretty.  Training is imperative!
  • The Swanson Amendment – Ms. Swanson routinely has been witnessed as “abundant” utilizer of KOFFEE throughout the day. She shall work in conjunction with Kendal “Man, I love Creamer” Richer to obtain and maintain supplies for all KOFFEE needs in the office. As the Chair occupies space very near KOFFEE resources, the Chair is quite aware of patterns of use and behavior.  And, no, the additional runs to Caribou and Starbucks will not release Ms. Swanson of these responsibilities!

Please submit any amendments to the Chair as necessary for additional guidelines going forward. 

Respectfully submitted,


K. “KOFFEE Chair” Smith

Posted by: somesangs | December 27, 2007

A Sweet Peeps of 2007 Sang

It’s been a hectic year. I could easily slip into 2008 plowing ahead with my career, relationships and education. I’d rather take a minute to remind myself where I’ve come from and who has helped me get there. Without further ado, here are the 2007 Sweet Peeps Awards:

Best Decision Of the Year Award was given anytime I listened instead of talked.

Best New Relationship Award (n.) is hard to award (v.). Since there are so many layers of relationships, I’m picking what I feel to be the most unusual…Tweeple, of course! In some way, each of these people have taught me something or given me a hardy laugh…in most cases both! I won’t use this space to delve into the pros and cons of Twitter argument. I will say “Nice to meet you! You’ve been great to know in 2007!” to: Paull Young, AnnOhio, Connie Reece, Sarah Wurrey, Doug H., Jim, Michael Denton, Luke Armour, The Dude, Doug E., Critt Jarvis, Jackie V. and others.

Drinking Buddy of The Year goes to my roommate Laura Dahle, without whom I would have had no one to spend Wine Thursdays with drinking red vino and discussing current Indians stats.


Lifetime Service Award goes to @AnnOhio for rocking the giving. This lady sends more gifts to our troops, writes more cards, gives more advice and more surprises, and hugs more stuffing out of people than anyone I’ve ever (not actually) met. 🙂 You definitely motivate the people around you to be selfless, Ann…thanks.

High Point of the Year was change. Personal and professional…there was much change in both arenas and all of it caused stretching and change…and it was fun.

Most Proud Moment Award– Affirmation on big decisions from people I respect. Rob Jewell is one of them…check out his blog, PR on the Run.

Kind Act Award goes to Connie Reece and gang for the birth of the Frozen Pea Fund. Read the whole story here.

Low point of the Year was … need I mention the happenings taking place in Boston this fall? Boo.

Holiday Award goes to Megan Bailey, my sister, for locating the PERFECT color green sheets. Really…I’m that excited about them.

Anthem for 2007 was “Faith and Compromise” by Matt Wertz.

Regret Award goes to no one…suckers.

p3253410.jpgBest Night Out Award goes to the Giftedson family trip to Nashville. I’ve never written so many haikus and re-named pseudo-family members with such vigor! Ladypants, Pounder, Doc Holiday…you know who you are.

Worst Night Out Award goes to standing outside Jacobs Field (“So close! So far!!”) and losing the clincher…Tribe, you’ve caused me much pain this year!

Best Relationship Award goes to the friends that have stuck: Erin, Faith and 3.


Worst Relationship Award is awarded to all Kentuckians. Disclaimer: This is the second year Kentuckians have won this prestigious award. Congratulations!

Best Concert Award goes to the Pre-K class at Hudson Community Chapel. More specifically to the kid who pushed the chin of the cute blonde girl away while screaming “Quit LOOKIN’ at me!!” directly following applause.

Best New Album Award – Jose Gonzalez, In Our Nature; Chris Thile, How to Grow a Woman from the Ground Up; Patty Griffin, Children Run Through and Matt Nathanson, Some Mad Hope. You didn’t think I could narrow this down to only one, did you?

Most Reliable Award goes to the Man.

Best Film Award goes to White Christmas. Watching this with Peg Swanson this year was a highlight.

Favorite quote of the year: “Yes, Courtney…our cab driver would rather have a haiku than payment.” -Uncle Ladypants

Rate 2007 on a scale of 1-10: 9


Plans for ’08: Running (jogging may be more accurate) the Nashville Half Marathon, moving ahead with a Master’s degree, learning the art of spoiling nephews, taking time to be quiet and listen and becoming more patient.

In the spirit of New Years, reflecting and a little fun, I’ll tag Paull Young, AnnOhio and The Dude! Feel free to take a pass…just be sure you have a good excuse such as holiday drinks or pressing Twitter convos. Or just leave your comments here…what were your best of’s for 2007?

Happy New Year, all!

It’s a retro sang…


I’m a huge fan of clever music. I think I share some strange hereditary trait with C.C. Chapman, who clearly has the bug as well. Accident Hash, his music blog, is full of independent goodness. Check it out if you’re feeling musically constipated. (That term is trademarked by moi…don’t even think about it…) This list is a bit mainstream…but makes me happy nonetheless.

If you’re expecting clever insight into the world of public relations and marketing today, please click ‘Mark as Read’ and visit Bill instead. It’s Friday…and I’m coasting into the weekend with this great new playlist:

1. Say – John Mayer
I think this is his new single. It’s listed under Pop on iTunes…which scared me…but I ended up enjoying the heck out of it.

2. Our Finest Year – Better Than Ezra

3. I’m a Sucker for a Kind Word and By My Side – Copeland
If you haven’t seen Copeland live…it’s a must. Killer lyrics.

4. I’ve Got You and Sleepsinging – The Damnwells
Another must-see live band…anyone who can play a steel guitar and NOT cause me to hum “Achy Breaky Heart” wins. Sleepsinging is one of my all-time favorite tunes.

5. You Belong to Me – Elvis Costello
When is the last time you busted out the Costello album? Today’s the day.

6. If You Find Her – Future of Forestry
Ok, this one’s a little sappy…don’t listen if you’re prone to gag or cry in response to anything romantical. 🙂

7. Killing for Love – Jose Gonzalez

8. Yes You Have – Leeland

9. Bleed Together – Lovedrug

10. Time is Running Out – Muse

11. Somebody More Like You – Nickel Creek
Not to be confused with Nickelback…I shiver at the thought…

12. Maybe, This Time – OK Go

13. No Bad News – Patty Griffin
You know anything by Patty Griffin is incredible…epitome of talent.

14. Hold You in My Arms – Ray LaMontagne
Ray’s story is sick…if you haven’t heard it, here ya go.

15. The Words We Say – Straylight Run

16. Better Together – Jack Johnson

There it is…get to downloading, push play and work away…

It’s a ‘good tunes for working sang’…

La la laaaa,


Posted by: somesangs | November 29, 2007

A Service Sang

This FedEx commercial cracks me up. I know what it’s like to work with someone resembling one of these characters, and I’m sure you do too. Here’s a shocker:  Perhaps our co-workers watch this and think of US! Doh!

Follow through, follow up, respecting someone’s time…all of these things make you desirable to work with. Do you make things easier for the people you serve or add small tasks to their to-do lists first so that you can help them when it’s easier for you?

A Lesson From Mrs. Cell Phone Customer Service:  How To Make Friends With Clients/Co-workers/Heck, Anyone…
Stated simply, I like good service. It makes sense that we continue to utilize and work with companies that provide adequate service, co-workers that are helpful and even keep friends that are easy to be with. The person serving doesn’t have to change my life, just give me what I need without making more work for me. Read:  the complete opposite of the effect these FedEx yahoos are having on their co-worker.

Think of a time you’ve gotten killer service. You know what I mean…you call your cell phone provider because when you push seven, your cell displays two; or you call your mom and the connection makes her sound like Donald Duck. Mrs. Cell Phone Customer Service apologizes for the inconvenience, assures you the problem will be taken care of that day and delivers on her word…no more work for you. That’s good service.

Mrs. CS didn’t have to ask me about my day, crack jokes or make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. All she had to do was NOT add more degrees of difficulty to my life.

Take notes. Make friends.

“If you don’t add to my life…I’m subtracting you.” – @AnnOhio
What is frustrating is when people add to your to do list. My Twitter friend @AnnOhio says “If you don’t add to my life, I’m subtracting you.” I use this policy with vendors at work, Tweeple on Twitter and, to some extent personally when forming new friendships.

Good advice for young professionals is this: Make people’s lives easier. While it’s good to ask questions, do what legwork you can on your own. Go into a work situation knowing more than you need to…it’ll save you from asking someone else to spend their time explaining. Not sure of every detail of an assignment after it’s given? Find what you can, chisel your list of questions down, then ask them. Do more than you’re asked when it’s helpful. They don’t call us the Google generation to be witty…please don’t get me started on the hundr, no, thousa, no TONS of resources we have online. Use them and serve well.

How can I help you?


Posted by: somesangs | November 9, 2007

An Update Sang…

Somesangs started as a way to stay in touch with the few family members I have that know the definition of RSS. Recently, I’ve been tossing around the idea of blogging semi-regularly and with purpose. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been making a list of topics as I come up with them and trying to determine whether or not I’d have anything worthwhile to say.

While I haven’t determined with absolution that it’d be worthwhile to more than a handful of people, I DID say outloud: “Kait…since when do you NOT have something to say about ANYthing? So there it is…my decision to embrace my fledgling addiction. Stay tuned.

Talk too much,


Posted by: somesangs | September 11, 2007

A How and When to Manage Up Without Getting Fired Sang

I just read a great post by Phil Gomes on managing up. I posted a comment there, but then I got to thinking…look out!

So many young professionals I talk with, no matter their field, are often stuck wondering how to lead stale ideas that are losing effectiveness in the direction of fresh ideas that stick…without pissing off The Boss (that’s first name, The; second name, Boss), coming across as an ignorant academic or sounding like a mouse in a den of old lions.mouse.jpg

In my office, our favorite word is stank. We like to “add stank to” collateral materials and, my personal favorite, “throw some stank on it” … “it” being anything caught in the crossfire of our overuse of this ridiculous word. What I like most about this phrase is the irony of it for most young pros.

A lot of online ideas The Boss wants to utilize for clients are outdated or off-target…and we know it. Essentially, these ideas stink…and not in the way we want them to. These are ideas that are stanky and exciting for lagging digital immigrants, but are outdated and far from effective…stinky. (In no way does this post represent my boss…he’s actually a pretty cool and with-it dude.) Young pros with foresight consider their future at Company Not With It and weigh it against:

  • the client’s pending dissatisfaction from a failed digital attempt at effective PR,
  • and against rubbing The Boss, who offers job security and raises-ching-ching, the wrong way. (Please, young pros, rub appropriately.)

Your reactions are usually from among the following – the safe, undisruptive route: to say nothing, do your work and get your paycheck; the frighteningly honest route: to confidently and boldy proclaim the good news of social media, ‘ta heck with The Boss’ feelings…this is business!; or the middle of the road route: to object in that polite tone your mother taught you and back down at the first signs of resistance…and oh yes, there will be resistance. What do you choose? What do I choose?

I’m lucky enough to work for The Boss that is young-ish and hip, but please trust me, I have also worked for quite the opposite. My advice? Feel out your employer, then decide what’s important to you. Are you passionate about carving a name into the PR sidewalk, being known for your innovative ideas and with-it social media strategy? Speak up! But…do so kindly and humbly. They DO have 20 years of experience on us, now. If the company isn’t ready…is this the company for you?

Are you just getting your PR feet wet? Don’t want to stir up the sleeping, newspaper-only-reading giant Boss just yet? Send links about the effectiveness of the social media strategy you’d like your company to embrace. Ask for a one-on-one meeting with The Boss to talk about some ideas you have for strategies for specific clients. Do your homework and back-it-up to The Boss.

copy-of-brookes-wedding-don-home-moving-august-2007-020.jpgPeg Swanson, the actual motherload, always told me, “Just ask. The worst that could happen is that they tell you ‘No.'” I always rolled my eyes and gagged a little, but that ole’ girl is pretty smart. The worst that could happen here is that you do some research, learn a few things about developing strategy and show The Boss that you’re interested. What’s so bad about that?

Overall, be cognizant of the experience and strategic understanding that comes along with 20 years of experience…and ask questions. The best thing we can do to help our wise elders embrace social media is to keep using it effectively. Get into it. Blog. Read blogs. (Particularly Paull’s and Bill’s.) Comment. (Don’t waste your workday finding new bands on MySpace…this I do not advocate.) Twitter. Follow. Make friends. Make followers. And for cripe’s sake, take the ridiculous pictures of yourself half-naked doing a keg stand off FaceBook! Immerse yourself in what you believe is so effective. Meet people who are immersed with you…people who could very well introduce you to your next The Boss!

It’s a being-a-young-pro-is-so-dramatic-at-times sang,


Posted by: somesangs | August 30, 2007

A Nephew Sang!

He’s a boy, he’s a boy!! The nephew-fetus is officially a little MAN. His talents already include creating indigestion and sucking his thumb.

To be developed: being an Indians fan, playing the drums, fishing, being nice to girls, camping, “building shit,” belching and playing shortstop.

Check him out…


It’s a thumb-suckin’ sang…

Welcome to the family, little buddy,


Posted by: somesangs | August 7, 2007

8 Sangs.

I’ve recently found myself in the 6 social media degrees of Paull Young, my new Twitter friend and crazy talented blogger. Give this blog a read if a) you are a young PR practitioner, b) you’re in the mood for a laugh (try the ‘humour’ tag), or c) you enjoy figuring out the meaning of Australian slang. Connie Reece (a new Twitter friend of mine, great communicator and official SOB) also recently posted this. Check out her adorable mother!

Here they are…in no particular order…8 Sangs.

1. I once managed to convince my college roommates that we needed a live, 16-foot Christmas tree in our third floor apartment.and that we needed to chop it down ourselves…and that we could, indeed, strap it to the roof of Katie’s 1989 Malibu.

I give you…my greatest. idea. ever.


2. Last year I moved to Nashville, TN for a couple months to be with my sister and enjoy my quarter-life crisis. Our good family friend, John, played bass for country star, Josh Gracin. Subsequently, my new friends were all of John’s friends…people I like to call “‘I work for famous people’ people.” When you make friends with this group, you have weekend-long birthday parties dubbed Kait-a-palooza that look like this:


3. I’m turning into my mother. Which is a lucky thing.


4. I’m not an avid fan of cats…but I think my cat, Vito (he’s Italian), is pretty cool…in part, because he lets me do obnoxious things to him, like take this picture:


5. My first trans-continental traveling happened last year on a trip to Thailand. Due to a typhoon in Tokyo at the time of my connection, all flights were canceled coming in and going out of the Tokyo airport…I know, right? I was re-routed to Frankfurt, Germany…the opposite direction around the globe. One of my favorite memories has been that first completely UN-American experience. After my 10-hour flight, I found my way downtown at 7 a.m. Frankfurt time, found the ONE pub that was open on a Sunday morning and had a warm beer and bratwurst with my CPA friend from New Jersey that I’d met on the flight. Random hilarity…I’m a fan.


6. I hate the anxiety that comes along with finding whomever you’re meeting at the airport. My sister once picked me up from the airport sans the traditional paper with my name. Instead she made an enormous cardboard cut-out of my head. I got even this year at our family camping trip:


7. Every odd-numbered year, I do something that seems impossible to remind myself how small I am, how many things I have yet to learn and how much I rely on family, friends and the Big Guy. This year I’m riding in the MS150 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It all started with this half-marathon run beside my best friend Brooke:


8. I’ve been singing with the same band from Toledo, OH since I was 16. Talk about good stories! This was one of my favorite shows in Michigan…


Thanks for the motivation, Paull…good fun!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…yesss…


Posted by: somesangs | July 30, 2007

A New Apartment Sang.

Tonight I’m signing the lease on an apartment that I would injure someone to live in! Luckily, that wasn’t necessary.

The backyard is a full-blown nature preserve. Lots of blue heron and other sweet creatures to watch…am I turning into my mother or WHAT? The land used to be home to a celery farm…that’s right…celery. They turned the barn into this apartment…take a look…




Come visit! We’ll make a fire, drink coffee and talk about…sangs…

. . . somesangs-1282.jpg

Posted by: somesangs | July 26, 2007

Finally…a PR sang…

Kent State University has an incredible public relations program. I am proud and boastful. With each passing day as a newbie in the industry, I am more and more thrilled with the knowledge and experience I stockpiled those years ago. Ta’ hell with programs that don’t teach students to WRITE well…or that strategy isn’t just as important as collateral, or to pitch like telemarketers (Phil Gomes hits the nail on the head).

I admit, Prof. Bill Sledzik and his cronies lay it on thick…grammar, spelling and punctuation entrance exams, a capstone class that will give you ulcers (trust me, I know)…heck, I had to master InDesign! But, because of the hardball we graduates had to play in the program, we know all the words to “Who’s Laughing Now” … and some of us even edit our boss’ personal thank you notes…

Check it out. And send your kids…perhaps they’ll turn out as good looking as:


It’s an AP style sang.

“Clear, concise and accurate, dang it!”

…      somesangs-1281.jpg

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