Allow Myself to RE-Introduce... Myself
Hello Again, Steemit!
I've been here 2 weeks and I wanted to re-introduce myself since I now have a better feel for the community here. I have to say, it's been great getting to know some people here and see the community grow.
My Name is Tony
I made a video re-introducing myself to Steem:
I'm like 44... actually turning 45 soon. I have been blessed with a loving family and childhood. I'm single with no kids. I guess I haven't found the right woman yet. I'm that older single guy lots of groups of friends have where they wonder why he's single still. To all my friends' kids, I'm "Uncle Tony" because I like playing with kids. They get excited when they know I'm coming over and that's better than the alternative.
I have a website called TonyHerman.com (https://www.tonyherman.com/) and here's how it looks:
I'm on Twitter:
I Live in Madison, WI
(Yeah, our state Capitol Building looks like the one in D.C. and they've shot some movies here)
I've been living in the Madison, WI area since 2nd grade, which was around 1979. Madison is great and very unique. Wisconsin in general is just cool. I've you've never been here, you're missing out. It's not just cheese, cows and beer. Well, ok, there's a lot of that but we really do have 4 true seasons - not just winter and road construction (get used to the bad jokes). There are days where you need a heavy coat in the morning and shorts in the afternoon.
Besides the changing weather, the land here is beautiful. Lots of trees, hills and more lakes than Minnesota - I counted them. In Madison, there are 4 lakes. You get here and you're issued a boat - it's the law. Madison is very recreational. We know that our summers are limited, so we soak up every minute of it we can. There's always people outside running, walking... whatever. Disc golf is big here. So is Ultimate Frisbee.
The Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers... it really doesn't get any better than that.
The fans are loyal and will travel to any bowl game to get out of our winters for a few days (they're way cold). I really believe you can get into any fine dining restaurant where they require a suite and tie if you instead wear a Badgers shirt. With the Packers, the fans own the team. That's right - no single owner like every other NFL team. The Super Bowl trophy is named after a Green Bay Packers Coach (Lombardi). We won the first 2 Super Bowls. There's like a 25 year waiting list for game tickets.
I am an NFL team owner. Yes, I own 1 share of the Green Bay Packers, so I am an NFL owner. Cool, right? There are shareholders' meetings every year that I'm invited to. I've been to one and it was cool.
Madison is full of bike trails and micro breweries. There are separate stoplights for bikes and they get to start off in front of cars. We all have special sinks here with 3 faucets: hot, cold and beer. The only other place with more micro breweries is Seattle. I believe we're #2. Madison has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States, also.
With the University of Wisconsin here in Madison, there's a lot of technology, science and research. The UW holds tons and tons of patents on stuff, which is why they're always putting up new buildings downtown. The official bird of downtown Madison is the crane... as in construction (yeah, the bad jokes and puns just keep on flying - sorry).
So I grew up here and I've seen a lot of changes. Seriously, if you've never been to Madison, you should stop by. I've heard a lot of celebrities and famous people mention Madison. Chris Farley was from Madison and his family is still here.
I'm also a Badger. I went to school here in Madison and got my Bachelors of Arts in Communication Arts with an emphasis on radio, TV and film. Several of my classmates moved on to work in Hollywood and on TV shows. It's a fun major but there's one curse...
For years after graduating, I could not watch a movie just for fun. In school, we had to watch camera angles, cuts, lighting, sound - you name it. We studied it. There's a science to it and if you do it right, nobody even notices. That's pretty much the goal. Still, to this day, I catch myself watching those things but I'm able to enjoy movies even more knowing what goes into making them.
I Like Computers
Yeah, I'm geeky... always have been. That's how I was wired, so I can't help it. I remember going to the mall and I'd always want to stop by RadioShack so I could check out the computers and stuff there. I could spend hours in that store. Now, they're hardly around but back in the day, they were our Best Buy. The tech sucked but that's all we had. It was new back then and it was kind of exciting when you'd see new things come out.
My grandfather died in 1980. He didn't have much to pass on but I remember my brother and I got like $100, which would be like $500 today. My folks got us a Texas Instruments computer.
It had a whopping 16k of memory (less than most images you see on a website). You could play games on it but it also came with a computing language called BASIC. I didn't think much of it until my dad typed in a few lines from the book that came with it and he made the computer run a program.
My mind was blown!
I started doing the same thing and quickly realized I could change what was written in the book and the computer would do different things. If you don't think computer programming is creative, then you've never done it before. A computer is a tool - just like a chisel on an ice sculpture or a paint brush to a canvas.
Back then, you had to store your programs on cassette tape because memory and disk space was expensive. It would take a few minutes to load up a program and it sounded like a phone modem. Sometimes it wouldn't work and you'd have to do it again or the tape would wear out and you'd lose your work. I'd write programs so large, they couldn't run... which was a problem sometimes.
I think my family got tired of me hogging the family TV to use the computer, so they eventually got me a smaller TV, which was like a computer monitor back then. Atari was big back then, too. There was one time my brother was doing so well on Asteroids that instead of watching a TV program for Sunday dinner, we watched him play the game. His food got cold. And I remember hearing my mom yell when we were trying to get to sleep because she killed her frog playing "Frogger."
Amber monitors and dot matrix printers soon arrived after we bought our first PC (personal computer). It had a whopping 40 MB hard drive and I remember the salesman saying, "you'll never fill that up." But then came Windows and, well... he was way wrong.
In college, I used my first Mac (a Power PC) because all the PCs in the computer lab were being used. I had to finish a paper. I worked on it and then I remember not being able to eject the 3.5" disk. Where was the button? The guy at the help desk said I had to drag the disk to the trash...
Drag the disk to the trash? I didn't want to delete it!
I asked if he was sure and he sort of rolled his eyes and said, "yes" so that is what I did and it worked, of course.
In college, my last year, there was one course on computer that I took. It was how to use Word and Excel and stuff. I'm glad I took that because I learned a lot of good tricks and shortcuts. I remember there was one lecture on the World Wide Web. Just like 20 minutes of 1 lecture... that was it! It was brand new and there wasn't much to say about it but I was intrigued.
My First Website and Domain Name
My very first website was on an AOL (American Online) server. They apparently gave you some website space back then. I didn't have a domain - it was just called whatever subdirectory name I gave it and it was called "The Background Deli." I created and collected a bunch of background images for websites (free downloads for poeple) and sorted them and created a nice gallery of them with thumbnails and so on. It got a lot of traffic, relatively speaking. I was making friends online because I had that website. It was cool.
After I had that for a while, I graduated college and got a great job right away. I remember buying my first domain name. I paid like $300 for it. So many domain names were available back then and I wish I would have seen that potential and bought a great one that I sold later for millions or tens of thousands of dollars... but no.
The website was called Madisonline.com and I own that domain today. I remember I let it go and then bought it again years later just for a memento. There's nothing there now. It was an email newsletter that had the weather and some announcements. It was my first e-mail list. I had maybe 40 subscribers or something and I'd call the local TV station twice a week and worked it out where they would recite the weather forecast and I'd type it in to my newsletter. Crazy but that's how it was back then - no automation... you had to do it.
First Website Gig and Best Day of My Life
Where I was working, I noticed that their website kinda stunk. Their marketing company set it up and there wasn't much there. I put together a proposal and set up a meeting with the President and CEO of the company and I asked if I could work on it for them as part of my job (I was ambitious). They let me have it part time, so I'd answer phone calls and then work on the website when I had time.
After like 6 months, they gave me the job full time. It was great. I had full creative reign and I started adding products they sold. They then started getting lots of catalog leads to the tune of over 700 per week! The salespeople loved me!
That New Years Day was killer! One of the best days of my life.
I'm in sunny California, in winter, in a Mustang convertible for a rental car with an awesome and hot girl I was dating at the time and the Badgers win the Rose Bowl. Not only did they win, our band completely showed up the UCLA band. I mean it was embarrassing for them. We went first and if you've never seen our band, it amazing. They high step and just steal the show The poor UCLA band had to go after us and it was a snoozer in comparison. We got to the hot tub at the hotel in Newport Beach and there were Wisconsin fans in the tub with us. We took over that town and literally painted it red. I let Patti drive the Mustang on Rodeo Drive and she loved it in a way only a female could.
It was just a great day. The whole trip was great. It was free and I actually made money on it. Yeah, there was a huge blizzard in Chicago and they gave me a $1600 voucher to stay 2 more days, so I did. I later sold parts of that voucher (after using $200 of it to upgrade to First Class) to friends since it was transferable.
My Own Website Company and Travel
All of that lead up to me having my own website company. Two guys I was acquaintances with needed a website, asked if I could do it and then later asked me if I wanted to start a company after their trip to India. We worked out a business plan and Webstix (https://www.webstix.com/) was born. That was in 2001 and we just passed our 15 year anniversary!
I have employees in India and I've been there over a dozen times.
I've gone through Frankfurt, Toyko, Singapore, and Taiwan. I got stuck for 6 nights in Frankfurt when there was that Icelandic volcano eruption. Lufthansa flew me into it, so they had to put me up in a hotel until we could fly out. It was great staying in Germany for about a week... really cool place and that's where my dad's family is from, so that was cool. I met a Canadian who worked on oil rigs in Russia and we hung out all week. I've also staying in Singapore a couple times where I have some friends.
In India, I've traveled to Delhi and Agra where I saw the Taj Mahal. I've also been down to Kerala. My team is in Chennai and I've traveled around that area, too.
I love India. The food is great. It's hot and kind of stinky... yeah, but the people are really great. Things are different there but once you calibrate your expectations, it's easy to handle. I do get sick there. I've had food poisoning and regular colds but that's part of the experience, really. You sort of have to expect that happen.
My team there is just excellent and I have a whole set of friends in India since I've connected with a few churches there and so on.
With the churches, I've got into the slums. We met AIDS patients to make sure they were taking their medication and just to spend time with them and visit with them. I didn't want to whip out my camera when I was there but here's an image that is pretty much what it was:
When we went to one house, something interesting happened. I walked into this small slum village and all these kids started coming up to me, smiling. They were holding my hands as they wanted to touch me. I wasn't sure what was going on, so I turned to an Indian guy in my group and his response was, "It seems you're somewhat of a spectacle."
Apparently, they don't get too many white guys there. They wanted to come and meet me, so I spent a few minutes with them.
We then went to a house and there were 2 kids there. They were laughing and giggling and excited. Their mother gave them something and they ran off. We were talking for a few minutes and the kids came back. I was with 2 other guys and the kids showed up with 3 bottles of Pepsi. They opened them and handed them to us.
I drank about a third of it to be polite and then asked the kids if they wanted the rest. They turned to their mother for approval, she shook her head yes and the kids took turns taking sips for that bottle of Pepsi. It might have been the highlight of their week. I also felt very honored as their guest.
By the end of that visit at the house, we found out that the guy (the head of this family) wasn't taking his medication. He drove a rickshaw taxi and when he would take his medicine, it would make him not feel good and he could not go do his job and earn money. I asked the guys with me how much he would make in a week and it came to like $20 in US dollars. I had like $40 in rupees on me and I emptied out my wallet. He didn't want to take it but I pretty much made him. It was just really impossible not to do that.
Since I've visited India and the slums, I look at the things people complain about here and US and I chuckle. I think "first world problems" to myself.
I encourage everyone to go see a third world country at some point in their life - the earlier the better. You'll get a perspective on things that is absolutely priceless.
Religion sucks! It does. Don't do it.
Religion is following rules - I mean, who likes that? You follow a bunch of rules and you might get into heaven. How vague is that? It's terrible.
I just follow Jesus and his teachings. I don't call myself a "Christian" really since there have been a lot of bad things done in the name of Christianity. Instead, I follow Jesus. I'm not better than anyone else or perfect (very far from it) but I'm forgiven. I have a free pass into heaven no matter what I do because Jesus paid the price for all my sin. I accepted that gift of grace and I'm in, baby! I'm building me a mansion there!
I'm just so grateful for what Jesus did for me that I do my best to serve him. He's there to comfort me when things go bad - because knowing Jesus doesn't mean life will be perfect... no way. You just have more help than everyone else, that's all and it makes a huge difference. We all know that we're not making our home here but in heaven by serving Jesus.
If you know me, you know I'm not a perfect person. I mess up. I don't act right all the time. I'm very human but that is who Jesus came to help. When he was on Earth as God's son, he hung out with robbers and prostitutes - not the perfect people.
Some Christians and churches do some strange things. I don't like how Christians capitalize pronouns that refer to Jesus or God. In the original languages the Bible was written in, there were no capital letters, ok? It does not matter. You don't go to hell by writing "him" instead of "Him." Having a weird, cryptic way of writing, speaking and acting is not what it's about and I reject all that crap. It doesn't help anyone get closer to God so it has to go. Let's not be clones (that's a Steve Taylor reference that nobody will get).
Find a good church that just tells the truth and trusts God to grow those seeds, it's simple. I have found a church that I feel acts the right way and what they do is true and honest. I can tell because they're reaping the seeds they've planted. There are people getting healed all... the... time! It's normal. The power of Jesus is there and it naturally attracts people. There's no perfect church because we're in an imperfect world but take a look at where you go and pray about it.
I started teaching skiing in 2006. I had a friend of mine ask me in the spring of that year if I'd like to teach skiing. I said I sucked at it. He said it didn't matter and they'd show me what to teach people. So, ok... sounds like fun!
Becoming an instructor was one of the best decisions of my life. It has been so rewarding. I have a whole set of skiing friends. I go on lots of ski trips. I've skied in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. I have ski instructor friends with houses in Colorado... which is AWESOME! Wow, what a great place. I really love Colorado. I've never been there in the summer and I hear that's amazing, too!
I've been teaching for 10 years and I do it 2 nights a week and then on Saturdays. We mainly get people up for the weekend from Chicago. I teach beginning adult lessons, intermediate adult lessons (group and private lessons) and private kids lessons. It's so great. I now love winter more than summer.
So far, I've achieved Level 1 and Level 2 certifications from PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors Association - USA). I'm now coaching the Level 1 candidates as I go for Level 3 and then for Educational Staff. I plan to ski for a long, long time.
It took me 2 times to get each certification. I failed taking each one the first time and then passed each one the second time. I've got great coaches and support - more than other ski areas. Seeing how others had a big disadvantage, I decided to write a book on how to pass the PSIA Level 2 exam.
It'll be out a year in November and I've sold like 40 copies and gave away another 15-20. That's not overwhelming but it's a somewhat small target market, so I'm not disappointed there. I've received some great reviews on it.
Music / Drumming
I took trumpet and baritone in school sine there were like a million drummers. I then learned some piano/keyboard and then picked up the drums. It's hard to practice if you don't have a drum kit or anywhere to practice, so I'd tap on stuff and use any drum set I had access to.
My church needed a second drummer, so I started there and just kept the beat - no fancy fills or anything. I then got better and better and got comfortable playing in front of people. It was really fun playing in a band - there's a dynamic that you can't quantify. If you've been in a band, you know. You can communicate through what you play and you learn how each person plays where you can work together during a song. The drummer is a key part of that is and if often doing some leading while they're not really the leader. It's an interesting role.
I did that for years and then found myself being the leader of the worship team. I wasn't the lead singer but I lead the group by picking out the songs and our devotionals, etc. It was really cool and going well until the lead singer left.
There was really nobody to take his place and lead, so I remember we tried having me lead from back where I was playing drums and that didn't work... like, at all. We then had the pastor's son start playing drums and I was out in front... like, leading the singing - whoa!
I'm not a great singer. Get me in the right range and I actually can sing but it's a narrow range. What I found out was that all you had to really do was get the first few notes out and when everyone else would join in, you could sort of fade out a little... so, that helped.
And I didn't want to just stand there and sing, so I bought an electric guitar and started teaching myself chords. I got to the point where I could play some songs all the way through and maybe just miss a few chords in other songs - the harder chords. There were other people playing bass, guitar and piano, so if I'd cut out, it wasn't too noticeable.
We really had fun and we had that good band dynamic that again, you really can't explain unless you've done it.
I Love Internet Marketing
Internet Marketing (IM) combines a few things. I'm a problem solver and I like puzzles, so figuring out how IM works is fun for me. It also involves computers, which you know I like. It also involves teaching others how to do it and you know I like teaching, too. The side benefit is that you can make good money at it.
My first success came in like 2005 with Amazon. I set up a store and it was sort of the "perfect storm." I had the right software running on the right domain and was able to cash in. It only lasted about a month and a half but I was instantly making like $125 per day. It was the Christmas shopping season and Amazon sent me a check for $4500 so that got me pretty excited about making money online.
I then joined an IM group / study course where I paid $600 for some training. This was in 2009. With that training, I was able to rank websites #1 in Google really easily. I'd set up sites and make money on ads. At one point, I brought in like $4400 in a month. I later sold that website for $12,850!
Now, my focus is much more on my own business - not that it wasn't all that time, no way. I'm looking at retirement more and It would be great to retire well before I'm 65 or 67 and I can actually see that happening.
Going to the Track
I love speed! It has to be speed where I'm in control, though. If I'm not in control, I hate it and it's scary... I really don't do that anymore. With alpine skiing, you get control of your skis (with the proper training, of course). I had a jetski for a while and I loved that thing - I was always out on it. I had a couple friends who took their cars to the track, so I thought I'd check that out.
At first, I went to the track and was basically the pit crew for my friend. It was just autocross on a track (Blackhawk Farms in South Beloit, IL) and not wheel to wheel. I got to see what it was like and how things ran and then I decided to try it for myself.
I took my Acura RSX the first time and I took the beginning course. That was fun, so I went another couple times with that car. The big upgrade I did was when I got racing brakes on the front. Wow, huge improvement!
Now, if you've never been on a track, you wouldn't think better brakes would make you go faster but they do!
You're not going in an oval - you're making lots of turns. There are just 2 straightaways, so the rest of the time... you're turning. You have to brake to get through turns and when you have great brakes, you can stop later. Stopping later gets you through turns faster, which makes your lap time better. See?
On my 40th birthday, I took my brother out to Las Vegas for a few days. We hit the track there and we each got to drive Lamborghinis! I loved it. It's a quarter-million dollar car!
It was a blast! The instructor that rode with me gave me perfect guidance around that track (not an oval) and I even ended up passing up my brother. Here the video of that ride:
"It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." - Ferris Bueller
The last car I took to the track was my 2009 BMW 328i XDrive - so it's all wheel drive with amazing handling. I did not put racing brakes on it yet and I was in the intermediate group, so I had Corvettes on my tail like flies on a horse but it was fun.
The next time I go, I think I'll work on getting a race car - a car that's specifically set up for the track and not a "daily driver." I don't know what it will be - maybe a late 90s M3 coupe or something like that.
And I had an 1988 Toyota MR2 for a few years. I've always liked these cars. It's mid-engine, rear-wheel drive and it was supercharged. Turbo and superchargers are about the same - they both work to get more air into the engine. The difference is a turbocharger uses the car's exhaust to power an intake fan where with a supercharger, it's another fan that works off the engine. So with turbo, you're waiting for it to build up where it's instantly there with a supercharger.
I have 2 other dream cars I'd like to own. One will be a 1967 Mustang coupe. The other will be a Toyota MR2 MK2, which is a 1990s MR2. I'd love to convert it to a TRD2000GT, which looks a lot like a Ferrari.
The suspension on the MR2 was designed by Lotus.
Outdoors and Camping
Along with skiing, I like kayaking, camping, bicycling and volleyball. Outdoors is great. I spend too much time on the computer sometimes and getting outside is refreshing. I've been taking walks most days this whole summer - either in the morning or after dinner in the evenings. It helps me clear my head and maybe listen if God wants to tell me something.
Kayaking is full swing now. I've set a goal to take a picture each time I go, so I've posted that here on Steemit:
I think I've gone 3-4 times since that was posted, so I'm getting close to 30 times. We have a guys canoe trip planned in about a week and a half where there will be rowing, brats, beer and wild adventures.
Guinness, Whiskey and Cigars
My absolute favorite beer is Guinness. Going to St. James' Gate is on my bucket list. That stuff is awesome. With my first glass, I remember thinking I needed knife and fork to get through it. It grew on me - along with whiskey the last, few years.
I learned how to drink whiskey about 3 summers ago. A fellow ski instructor was working on making their own Wisconsin bourbon (which is out now) and I got a taste of it at about the 3rd year. Joe explained how to drink it to enjoy it - so not like a shot of Jim Beam. There was all this flavor I didn't know was there. Wow!
My friend, Ben, started a whiskey club and I am a founding member. We've tasted them side by side and recently took the tour over at J. Henry & Sons (http://jhenryandsons.com/). There's a lot more to it than I thought. It's really interesting, fun and I've met even more people... I now have whiskey club friends!
Cigars... well, I don't have them often because they're just not good for you. When I do, it's usually when I've been out skiing, canoeing/kayaking or on a vacation. It just goes with the whiskey. My favorites aren't the big stogies but ones that have a mild flavor - not Swisher Sweets (that's basically candy). Right now, I like the CAO Gold Honey. The one before that was the CAO Moontrance.
I do not condone the use of tobacco or other drugs... remember, I'm not perfect.
I'm not huge into books. I don't read a ton. Most of the reading I do is Internet Marketing articles online, reference or my Bible but there's one author I've gravitated to. His name is Donald Miller. His book "Blue Like Jazz" was great and I absolutely loved "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" which just hit me hard and totally relates to Steemit...
It relates because we're all writing our own story with our lives. The book covers his journey with making a movie (with Steve Taylor, who I referenced earlier) and his bicycling trip across the United States. I couldn't put it down and I want to read it again but have a highlighter and mark up the best sections... and there's almost one on every page.
I really want to help people - be it my website design clients, people who need some extra income, people who want to get better at skiing or kids in the slums of India. I've learned you don't have to go very far at all to find someone in need. Everyone needs help of some kind.
Not long ago, I heard someone say we each have our own pulpit. We all have our own circle of influence. There are enough people all around us that need some love. The problem is, we don't see it - especially in America.
Of course, I'm not perfect nor am I the model citizen or even better than most people... no way. You don't have to be. Just do something small - hold the door for someone, smile, pick up some trash (making someone else's job easier for them) or even just make someone laugh who might be having a bad day. It all starts there - not something huge. It's the little things.
"The Little Things. There's Nothing Bigger, Is There?" - Vanilla Sky
(That stupid movie makes me cry every time!) :-)
And Now There's Steemit!
The latest thing is obviously Steemit. I've got skiing friends, India friends, whiskey friends and I now have Steemit friends! How cool is that?
So far, I've made a few posts and I've commented on a lot of posts - along with upvoting them.
For instance, I tried these banana pancakes this morning:
They were delicious! I can't believe you can make pancakes out of 1 banana and 1 egg. I had to go buy more bananas today so I could make more!
Good job, Norene!
I also like the "Daily pick of hidden gems"
There are a lot of creative people here, too! Lots of people are trying to make this community better, it's so cool.
With all the writing I've done, I have to say... people's mistakes just stand out like a sore thumb but that's fine. I'm not the best writer out there by any means. If the best writers only read what other best writers had to say, they wouldn't be able to read very much. It's just that once you've done it a lot, you get to know the rules better and things stick out. It's a curse, actually and ignorance is truly bliss - so if your writing style, punctuation and everything stinks and you're out there writing anyway, I'm actually a little jealous.
Writing here on Steemit is different. I've written hundreds and hundreds of articles for Internet Marketing and then a few books, so it was kind of getting to be the same and kind of boring. I see Steemit as a new challenge since it is a bit different, so that's really good. I look forward to hanging out here a lot.
If you like this, please throw me an upvote and follow me! I'll try to reply to all comments, too.