May 31, 2008

Camera's Back, Made A New Friend

That's me and Cindy Sheehan. Turns out she's running for Congress.

5:30PM Today was the reason why were here, YFEST 2008. It was a little smaller than I thought it was going to be, but fun nonetheless. There were dancers, hip-hop artists, and some amazing high school speakers. Hearing about what these kids do - most no more that sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) - floors me. Even if older generations don't get their act together and start making real change a reality, although I hope they do, I have full faith that us young folk can straighten the ship out.

This is about to sound really weird, but my biggest take away from this afternoon will be a song by Jewel. Yes, that crazy Alaskan got to me today. One of the student perfomances was a young woman who sang "Hands" (video below), and she was great. I know you are probably thinking, "What did those hippies do to Sam?!" But I promise, I still have all my wits about me. It was the chorus.

My hands are small, I know
But they are not yours
They are my own
And I am never broken

The theme of this year's YFEST was the "Power of One" - no relation to the book or movie. But in the context of that line of thinking, the thought that my hands can do great change was pretty moving for me. Starting a movement is great, but highly improbable. Leading thousands of people to change their way of thinking isn't really plausible. But I can doing great things with my own hands. Even though they are pretty small.

"I can change the world /With my own two hands."

Triple Play & The Bridge

12:00PM - Day One (1) ended in fantastic fashion, and today ain't bad either. After dinner last night (seafood overlooking the bay), Dana, Candi, and I all headed to AT&T Park to watch the Padres take on the Giants. The game went thirteen innings (13), and included a triple play. I had never witnessed one live before, and it was pretty amazing.

Then this morning, I took my bike (on generous loan from ZPG) and took a ride to the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm liking this city. Just got a call from the front desk - the camera came in. Awesome. Now we're off to YFEST. I'll see you from there.

"I saw the groundball and I was thinking: one, two - wow. I don't think I've seen that before."

May 30, 2008

Don't Worry, It's Not Beautiful Anyway

8:35AM Landed in glorious San Fransisco, CA. It's beautiful weather here. Mostly cloudy and 55 degrees. I'm not that good at math, but I'm pretty sure that's almost half the high temperture in Phoenix today... Just saying. But don't worry, fate had its way with me. I left the camera I was so anxious to bring on my desk. It's being overnighted here, and I'll be back behind the shutter no time.

Now, off to grab a bike from Jonny over at Zero Per Gallon. I'll be mobile this weekend. And I might just have some pictures to prove it...

"The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera."

A Little Excited

1:10 AM - Technically, it's Day One (1) of my trip. In reality though, I'm still in Phoenix. On the bright side, I'm only five (5) hours away from boarding my flight. Wait, that's a bright side? I think I might be tired... One more episode of 30 Rock, then bed. I promise.

What I'll be living out of for the next week or so.

Nothing like a guy with a gas mask on to make a TSA guard feel safe.

"San Fransisco has only one drawback. 'Tis hard to leave."
Rudyard Kipling

May 29, 2008

85,000 New Friends

I am excited.

Tomorrow morning at precisely 6:30AM, I board a plane to San Fransisco, California. I'll be spending the weekend there hanging out with some of the brightest high school kids this country's got to offer. And by brightest, I mean those most likely to come study Nonprofit Leadership & Management with me here at ASU. Saturday is YFest, which is a huge annual event that New Global Citizens puts together to celebrate the accomplishments of their members, and they invited us as the College of Public Programs to come out and share a little bit about what we are all

On Sunday night, I board a plane headed to Washington D.C., and the 2008 Nonprofit Congress National Meeting. There I get to meet a whole bunch of important people in the Nonprofit Sector, and hopefully get smarter by osmosis.

Last fiscal year, over 85,000 new organizations applied for 501(c)(3) status, so I'm hoping the conference will be well attended. I am also hoping to talk to a few people about the responsible use of technology in the Sector - and the possibility of making this news story the status quo. And I'm also looking forward to taking a tour of the NPR studios. Anybody want a Nina Totin' Bag while I'm there?

I stole my sister's laptop and camera for the trip - so I will be "live blogging" for the conference and updating the page pretty regularly. Hopefully. Unless I spend too much time at the beach or dining with Congressmen. But enjoy the weather back here, huh?

"I have two ears and a heart, don't I?"
Jack Donaghy
(In response to the question, "Do you like Phil Collins?")

May 22, 2008

Oh, English Humor...

Bicycle Repair Man!

Things are coming together on the PCB front. More on that next week.

"The Lakers would like to see Kobe go on a tear. He's been very quite early, not looking for the shot."
Merv Albert

May 21, 2008

Ride Of Silence

Today is the National Ride Of Silence.

On May 21, 2008, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

The Ride Of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors, no registration fees and no t-shirt. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

This isn't just a made-up issue. Just last night, a woman was killed in Tucson on her bicycle. Share the road, friends, and start seeing bicycles!

"We put our lives in the hands of everyone else on the roads every time we enter them, regardless of our mode of transportation."
David Veatch

May 20, 2008

Wacko Tree-Huggers

Quinn and I are company men.

Meaning we carry a certain sense of loyalty for the companies we work - and have worked - for. This means that Quinn will always use Dial soap, shop at Home Depot, and buy Lort's furniture. You think I'm just embellishing for blog's sake. But next time you're over at my house, take a peek into Quinn's bathroom. That smell? Dial.

It's a little harder for me, though. In the last five (5) years, I've probably had close to twenty (20) different jobs. Seriously. However, I did stay one place for a really long time (read: two years).

Yes, I called the Big Green Giant home for a long time. Long enough to be able to see, smell, and taste differences between coffees from different regions of the world. Long enough to order a complicated drink with precision. And long enough to defend its practices. That's right, Sam the anti-Wal-Mart guy is a fan of Starbucks. We all have our weaknesses.

Anyway, I had a habit of reading the quotes on the back of the cups when I worked there. And along with drinking copious amounts of coffee, the addiction stuck. I still do it just for fun, whenever I am at a store I grab a few cups of each size (the difference in space availability affects the length of the quote) to scan for good ones.

If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you (hopefully) notice my use of quotes. I don't just make those up. I search relentlessly for them. I'm an addict. I told you that already. Well, I found a golden one. I laughed out loud when I read it. People stared. I stared back. Ok, so I didn't - but it would have made the story a whole bunch better...

The author of this quote founded a website that is definitely worth checking out. It's called Grist: Environmental News & Commentary. There are articles on how to make backyard weeds into pesto and other edible items, what the greenest shaving cream is, and even a place to prepare yourself against "unbelievers" (Environmental Apologetics?). They are also looking for Development Director, so if you're looking for a new job...

Enough build-up, already! I'll see you guys later.

"So-called 'global warming' is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don't let them get away with it!"

Chip Giller

May 16, 2008

My First Reader Prompt - Ego Warning

Those of you who know me - and probably even those who don't - are very aware that I struggle with my ego. By struggle, I mean sometimes it's hard to fit all my awesomeness in a 1250 word biography... That being said, I feel pretty honored that someone sought my idealogical position on something. Ok, so that's not really what they did. But it sounds better. And it's pretty cool, if you ask me. But then again, I might be a little biased...

Anonymous asks:
I think you must frequent the internet quite a bit with all the web links you continuously throw down, but have you ever been to They have shirts for sale (only $20) and if you purchase before June they claim that 100% of the profit will be used to feed a child for an entire school year. That's a big deal. Perhaps even worth writing about?
First off, I do frequent the Internet. In fact, you can find me any number of (8) ways. So come say hi, somehow.

1) Twitter - @samuelisaac
2) Email - samuelisaacrichard [at] gmail [dot] com
3) Facebook - /profile.php?id=501086509
4) Myspace - /samuelisaac
5) Linked In - /pub/7/b40/625
6) All Voices - /users/487
7) This Blog - You're here already... Duh!
8) Our Website - StAR - Student Ambassadors for Recruitment

Ok, let's move on. Before yesterday, I had never been to Africa Aid, and I'm bummed that I hadn't stopped by earlier. The site is really put together well. It's easy to navigate, easy to find out why the organization is in existence, how you can help, why you should help, and where the money goes. All important aspects from a donor's perspective - which is who the website (and any nonprofit's website) was created for.

There is a lot of information there, so I'll let you decide how much you want to learn. But know this: Right now, when you buy an Africa Aid t-shirt all of the profits go into the School Lunch Program they fund in Ghana where forty-two thousand (42,000) Liberian refugees are living. I'll be sporting mine some time next week when it comes in. So buy a t-shirt, because you will anyway. And Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't feed children with their profits...

Looks like fashion might just be able to fight poverty after all...

"Only 1/3 of U.S. foreign aid is spent on health, education, nutrition, agriculture and infrastructure, while the lion's share goes to consultants and transportation of food."
Jeffrey Sachs

Almost Official

I say almost, because it's not really official. Like, we don't have any of the paperwork turned in, and no board of directors. But hey, we have a video! It's the twenty-first (21st) century. And that's as good as official...

I'm pleased announce the formation of Phoenix Copper Bikes. Thanks to Matt (director) and Andrew (actor) for making this happen. Send an email to samuelisaacrichard [at] gmail [dot] com to be put on the PCB mailing list. Enjoy!

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
Albert Einstein

Live United

New campaign from United Way. The local chapter will roll out their version chock full of local sports celebrities and everyday schmoes early this fall, according to my source. For now, enjoy this. Pretty simple, consistent, and hopeful, I'd say. Review on Africa Aid, at the request of "Anonymous" forthcoming later this afternoon.

"Hold on a second there, sweetie."
Sen. Barack Obama

May 15, 2008

It's All Marketing - And Margaritas

My sister is fond of saying, "It's all marketing!" She is also seventeen (17), and vulnerable to any type of marketing. In fact, she probably wants a Nikon camera even more now that Ashton is all over their commercials. Being fair, though, I'd probably consider buying jeans from Gap (or "The Gap" as Mark likes to call it) because of this commercial. And my future iPod purchases will be greatly affected by this ad:

Point is, marketing is important. And not just for iPod, Gap, or Nikon. Nonprofits have to effectively package their idea, their mission, their vision for the consumer culture we live in. Enter Jimmy Buffet. That guy? Oh yeah, the great Sikh of the Spongecake & Salt Shaker has got a few things to say about the principles of marketing...

According to Katya, from Getting To The Point, Buffet is a "marketing genius." And after reading what she had to say, I am proudly on that bandwagon. Katya argues that Jimmy adheres to three solid principles that every organization can learn from:

1. Simplicity: He stands for one thing. To me, that thing is life as a margarita - carefree, hammock-lying, drink-sipping relaxed happiness with a little salt around the edges. From his music (Cheeseburgers in Paradise, anyone?) to his restaurants to his books. Which brings me to his…

2. Consistency: It’s about the margaritas as life, folks. Always. Visit his website. The name? Of course it’s Note: excellent lead generation on the page with the email sign-up. Nice touch.

3. Hopeful: The allure of something happy is strong. Remember that when you tell stories. If you go dire in the telling, remember that people want hope and happiness as the punchline.

Simplicity, Consistency, and Hope. Man, that sounds familiar...

After musing on these concepts for awhile, I came to the conclusion that my sister might be onto something. The organizations I am most excited about, give regularly to, and volunteer with have simple messages, consistent actions, and hopeful visions. It might just be all about marketing...

"It takes no more time to see the good side of life than it takes to see the bad."
Jimmy Buffet

May 14, 2008

Chengdu Update

So, it turns out that Chengdu - the city in China nearest the epicenter of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake this week - is a Sister City of Phoenix. Crazy.

The City of Phoenix has set up a fund for relief, and people can make donations at any Wells Fargo branch. You can also call the Sister Cities Office at 602-534-3751.

Article From Phoenix Business Journal

Wells Fargo Branch Locator

Update #1: Philanthropy 2173 just posted updated numbers on Disaster Aid. Check it out.

Update #2: New technology for mobile solar power. Could help with Disaster Relief.

Update #3: Wells Fargo waiving fees for remittance to China.

Thanks for your concern.

"I endorse Barack Obama."
Sen. John Edwards

May 13, 2008

Twelve Thousand & Counting

Last night on NBC, Brian Williams super-imposed a map of the "lower 48" onto a map of China (fine, the engineers on the news show did, but you get my point). The image was breath-taking - but not in the good way; the blast radius of this week's 7.9 magnitude earthquake affected an area in China equal to the distance from the tip of Maine all the way to Yuma, Arizona.

In crises like this, aid organizations are vital to the survival of local citizens. But choosing one to give to can sometimes be a difficult decision. Nancy over at Getting Attention just wrote a great piece on Mercy Corps, and how they respond best to these situations with financial donations. It is her opinion, but I share it, so I'm posting the link here.

Mercy Corps Communicates Best

Twelve Thousand people is a lot of people, and the counting isn't done yet. Please consider how you can help - even if that's keeping the Chinese people in your thoughts and prayers. To learn more about the events perspiring in China, here is a link to NPR's up-to-date coverage of the incident.

"I felt like I was walking through a cement factory."
Earthquake Survivor

Taco, Burrito, What's Coming Out Your [Budget]?

Just about a half an hour ago, I got a text message from KTAR telling me that, "ASU is eliminating 3 men's sports - wrestling, swimming, and tennis - to save more than $1 million annually." It's about 6 weeks too late for an April Fool's joke, so i was a little caught off guard that the largest university in the country found it necessary to cut three sports programs for financial reasons. I went scouring to find a complete story - and I found one.

These are the first cuts in programming in fifteen (15) years when, back in 1993, men's gymnastics, archery, and badminton all got the boot. Today's decision was made by Lisa Love, Vice President of Athletics, and backed up by Dr. Crow. Here is Ms. Love's official statement:

"The profile or our operations budget and donation base does not lend itself to the sponsorship of 22 athletic teams. While our revenue streams are achieving a positive trajectory, they are simply not keeping pace with the current size and scope of the department."

Current size and scope of the department? I'm not quite sure that's the fault of the swimmers, wrestlers, or tennis-ers. Pretty sure that these people shouldn't take the fall for mismanagement. All three of these teams can be considered "successful," unlike the department's handling of a recent incident...

Our wrestling team won the NCAA national championship in 1998. Not to mention two of our wrestlers went on to the Olympics ('92 and '96) to win silver medals. And that success wasn't short-lived, either. Just this season, ASU sent a handful of wrestlers to compete at the national championships. Our men's tennis team had an amazing season this year, and our swimmers had a record-breaking year.

Sure, I might have a little chip on my shoulder. I played tennis all four years of my high school career, and wrestled for one of them. My dad and his brothers all wrestled during high school, and my dad now coaches the freshmen wrestlers at Ironwood High School. And not be forgotten, both of my sisters, and my girlfriend, are swimmers.

Don't get me wrong, I like football, baseball and basketball. In fact, I enjoy all three of those sports at the collegiate level way more than at the professional level. But come on people, how about some due diligence?! This is a university with a multi-billion dollar budget, and you can't find a little room for two sports with rich, thousand-year histories, and one of the most popular sports world-wide? Disappointing. Hey, here's an idea - get paid less.

I have to get back to work now. But I just couldn't pass this story up. Thoughts?

"Who's that swimmer swimming in last place? It's Me! It's Me!"
The Spartan Cheerleaders

May 8, 2008

School Is Out! (And A Cool Update)

I'm taking summer school starting in July, but I'm calling it quits for the next two months. An educational vacation that I'm very much excited about. Looking forward to getting Phoenix Copper Bikes off the ground, and spending some time horizontal and dreaming.

A few posts ago, I posed a question about volunteerism, and what happens when different groups of volunteers are at cross purposes. Well, it turns out that this might be a hot topic. Michael from NoLA Rising (the guy in the video) caught wind of our little discussion, and posted a reply. I'll repost a portion of it here, but please go check out the other comments. People put a lot of heart and soul into their responses. It'll be worth it. I promise.

Can't wait to get back into the [typers'] seat!

"Just for the record, we never broke up. We just took a fourteen year vacation."
The Eagles

From Michael:

The video was done by a local news station,, and the buffer mentioned in the story was given the opportunity to respond but refused to do an interview because it included NoLA Rising. It was not out of shyness because he has called this exact news stations for stories to his benefit many times and tightly controls the nature of the interviews when they occur. So, it certainly not that the news was biased or one-sided...amazingly, this news story finally made the story balanced.

Of the more trivial, he has said that I was not a former Marine and that I was someone who moved to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina to do what we New Orleanians are calling disaster-profiteering. To counter, I produced both my Honorable Discharge from the USMC and my birth certificate without another word of it.

Of the more scandalous, he has told members of the press that i was a loser, a degenerate and the biggest pain in the ass he's ever met. In addition, he said I associate with criminals and likened me to a member of the church of satan. And, on point to some of y'alls inquiries...I have never met this man other than when he arrived at an art festival with a police officer to have me cited for the fines in question presented in the news story.

Even then, he did not stay to meet me. He pointed me out to the police and scurried away. Early on, I called him after finding his number online to try and discuss these issues with him. He has never returned my call. In a news story to print media here in New Orleans, he HAS made the statement that he considers my artwork vertical litter that leads to "other crime".