What I’m Listening To?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted the songs that I’m currently in love with. So, here’s what’s rockin my socks.

This song is hotter than wearing nylons in a south Floridian summer. I love the simplicity of the song, and this video. Hello Mackelmore

If you and I are friends, you know that I have a special place in my heart for Florence and the Machine, so two songs are currently on the list:


This artist had the bubble-gum-I-hate-it-already song of the year, but her follow up, is so much better. Take a moment, give it some love. Carly Rae Jepson…

This song fills my heart, It just grabs the right place, holds on, and says, “I’ve got this, you take a moment to relax.” Calvin Harris, with Ellie Golding

This song has me cranking the radio to max volume. You should listen to the deep lyrics and the vocalistic power behind these words. So Breathtaking. Emeli Sandé

Eurovision’s Number One! I’m still so madly in love with this song. Here’s Loreen’s official video…

For this one, you need to click play, and crank up your speakers. I. Don’t. Care. I. Love. It. –Icona Pop. Do eeeeit.

…And this song just steals my breath. Every time. Find the love in this song, even if you have none in your heart.

I’m holding my life together with all available appendages. I’m trying to come back to post. I’ll be back soon. Join me here… What’s going on in your life? How may I be of service, my dears?

In the meantime, will you click play on one of the above songs. That’ll serve as your hold music as I get back to business. If you need another little nudge.… This is just for you. Yes, you.

Schnikism: 2012 in review

Wow. This is somewhat interesting. LOL

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Adult Candy Cane Fudge

I went on a tour of a local distillery recently and got a taste of Eastside Distilling’s Peppermint Bark liqueur. It was delicious, but it got my taste buds wondering, “what can I do with that?” So, I came up with this delicious fudge recipe.🙂

Eastside Distilling Peppermint Bark Liqueur

Adult Candy Cane Fudge

2 – 10oz. packages Dark Chocolate bits
1 c. – Milk Chocolate Chips
2 (14 oz) – Cans sweetened condensed milk
1 t. – Vanilla extract
1/4 c. – Eastside Distilling Peppermint Bark Liqueur
1/2 c. – Crushed candy canes

Dark Chocolate Chunks

1. In a large saucepan combine the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the vanilla and liqueur.
3. Spread out on a 13×9 glass baking dish.

Candy Canes

4. Dust your fudge with the crushed candy canes.
5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Peppermint Fudge

The fudge will keep for several weeks, if you have the willpower, in the refrigerator.

Candy Cane Fudge

A New Schnikism: Ken

I’ve got a great job. But, it’s hard work. And tonight, I stayed late, frustrated that some seemingly simple task was taking me forever and keeping me from spending time with my loved ones. So frustrated, was I, when I left work that in my head I was talking to myself as I walked to the bus, trying to think of a way to make it better. I entrenched in my thoughts, angered, tired and ready to go home.

As I walked, man stopped me on the street. He held up a paper and I immediately thought he was asking for directions. Impatiently I listened to him, looking for a way to cut him off as he launched to his tale of how he was down on his luck, really tired of living on the streets and trying to get into a local work program. One that would allow him to stay off the streets, get a shower, shave and regular haircuts.  At first, I just wanted him to stop talking and let me say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help,” so I could get on my way. I was cold and tired, ready to go home.

As I listened to his story, there was something about him; his honesty, his frankness, and a little something in his eyes as he looked me square in mine. “Tonight, I’m just trying to get a bed at a hostel for the night. I have spent all day gathering cans and bottles and have worked my way to up to five bucks. I know you’re busy, I know you want to get home, I just need a few bucks so I can reach my goal.”

While he was speaking, it sunk in; I have a great life, I have had some amazing things happen to me this year. I have been blessed and I have been fortunate. Before he could finish, I reached for my wallet and handed him the last cash I had, it was only fifteen bucks, a moment earlier I was trying to decide if I was going to stop at Starbucks for my five-dollar coffee. I thought spending my money this way was a much better investment.

When I handed him the money, he looked at me with a bit of astonishment and gratitude. He stuck out his hand and shook mine. “Thank you sir, my name is Ken and I really appreciate your generosity. Thank you for believing in me, I won’t let you down. Merry Christmas.”

It took me a moment to catch my breath, I wished him a Merry Christmas as well and headed on my way to catch my bus. In that moment, my whole night changed.

I know you won’t Ken.

How To Say “I’m Sorry” The Right Way

I got an email today from Go Daddy. If you’re familiar with them this week, it is probably because a human error, somewhere in the system, caused many, many websites to break. By “break,” I mean: “stopped delivering your customers to your website.” Things like this happen every day, just usually not on this large of a scale.

I’m sure their customer service representatives heard more than an earful from their customers. I know their customer service representatives could do nothing in the interim regarding the outage.

I’m still a Go Daddy customer for two reasons: First – It’s really hard and expensive to move an Italian domain: (Schnik.it) many of your great hosting companies do not deal with international registry. Two – I’m not uber-technical, I really just need somewhere to register those domains that I use and Go Daddy fits that bill.

I got this email (pictured below) this morning. It’s Go Daddy’s official apology for their whoopsiedoodle the other day. There are a couple of notable things I caught in the email.

First, in no uncertain terms, they apologize and again in the first and second paragraphs. Three apologies in the first three written items. That’s apologizing done right.

Second, they explained the problem, issue, or defect, in layman’s terms. They didn’t say “The Flux Capacitor experienced a ground-shift failure and we let the horses out of the playground to wiggle the chain and rattled some widget plugins.” They said: “The service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.”

As a customer, I don’t really want to know why, generally. I want to know what’s being done to fix it. That’s covered in the same paragraph.

It’s the very last line that caught my attention the most:

It’s an honor to serve you. As always, please call us 24/7 at 480-505-8877 — anytime, for any reason.

How many people in customer service ever say, “It’s an honor to serve you. And, call us anytime, for any reason.” How does that make you feel? I think companies spend far too much time trying to get their customers to stop calling them. I’m pleased when someone encourages it.

I said this before, I’m a Go Daddy customer out of convenience, but their customer service in this experience really goes directly to the right tone, the smart response and it makes me quite pleased as a customer service representative. So many companies I’ve worked for in the past really liked saying “We’re sorry, but…” instead of “I’m Sorry.” We often see apologies from big companies done really wrong, it’s nice to see one done right.

Sorry Seems Like the Hardest Word.

Published – My Day With Lanai Golf

I got the ultimate opportunity to golf the Challenge at Manale Bay on Lanai, Hawaii. I’ve also been asked to report my experience for a great travel magazine. My guest post is over at Sharing Travel Experiences — Click to read my amazing amateur golf experience report. Also, here are some great photos from the course.

Cave Dwelling

I heard yesterday (Saturday) was going to be really hot, so I thought it would be cool (pun intended) to hide inside the earth for a bit. Near Mt. St. Helens, Washington, there’s this part of the park called Ape Caves, which is a former lava tube.

Ape Cave Lava Tube
(Used under creative commons, thanks iwona_kellie!

As we began our descent into the cave, there are a couple things you notice: a stark change in temperature – from 90°(f) to the average temp inside the cave of 45°(f) – and there’s a really interesting breeze blowing through. Immediately, you’re struck with a decision. A decision you have to make quickly because if the cave is busy there’s many people behind you, pushing their way in. Your two choices are this: Take the lower (or easier) cave or take the upper (harder) cave. In “life+art=reality” and in spelunking, we took the more challenging road.

As you make your choice and walk further into the cave. You lose all sense of perception as your mind, and optical nerves, adjust to the reality of complete darkness. The cave walls seem to absorb all extra noise and soon you find yourself in a weird, yet comfortable, sensory perception deprivation state. It’s blissful, almost, you’re now on your journey, flashlights in hand and ready to climb throughout this former volcanic river.

Cave Wall

Then the real “climb” begins. As you’re walking into (or out of) the cave, you have to climb and scurry around, having chosen the more difficult path. Over large boulders of rock that once floated through the canyon, watching your head for low hanging objects, squeezing through tight spaces requiring you to use your mind and body in unison to get through a difficult pass. Inside each pathway, I noticed there were almost always two decisions, two routes to take, the more difficult and challenging (or sometimes impossible) route and the relatively simple, well-traversed route. Many times you didn’t know the outcome of your choice until you took that first step. Then, it was too late to go back and start over.

Placing your feet in the correct spot was one of the more challenging tests. Each rock was either: solid and stable, shifted slightly, or was completely rickety. The problem was, no matter how many ways you tested it with your toes, you really didn’t know which state that rock was in until you put your full weight onto it.

Much like life, you never know the outcome of something, unless you give it your all. Having scurried through the cave; I did not fall once. I doubted myself many times; but, I did not fall. I have some bruises, sore muscles, and reminders of low-hanging stalactites. But, every step I took turned out, in the end, to get me to my destination. I never considered turning around. I kept putting one foot, in front of, or high above, the other. My spelunking partner and I made sure to support each other in each difficult pass, every challenging route, and every moment of rest, including moments to stop and look around at the cave’s beauty.

The toughest challenge was wall-walking. If you’ve seen someone rappel down the side of a cliff or mountain then you’ve seen someone do this before. You grab the rope, lean all of your body weight into your legs, and walk up the wall. Yesterday was my first experience with this.

There’s a part of the path which used to be a lava-waterfall and it is only about ten feet tall, but it’s still challenging to climb. Having examined the wall, I noted it’s cover of cave-slime, instantly you’re nervous about placing your feet on the wall, afraid of slipping. Up I went. I grabbed the rope firmly, leaned back, took a deep breath, placed my feet on the wall, and pulled myself up. The adrenaline kicked in and I went for it! Up the wall I climbed, over the edge and sure-footed on the top. A challenge overcome.

There were a couple places in the cave, where the groups bunched up, waiting for the last climber in their team to navigate the pass. As with life, there’s always one or two people who are impatient or unwilling to wait for someone else. There were a few of those inconsiderate people in this cave, trying to climb over/around others to get through faster. Luckily peer pressure, in this case, succeeded in forcing them to back off and wait their turn.

As we rounded a corner, we started to see light. Which gave us hope. Nearing the end, (or so we thought,) spirits lifted, we walked a little faster, and started looking around. Only to find out, it was a skylight. A place where the cave had collapsed the roof, giving us only a small peek into the outside world.

Cave Skylight

We pressed on, undeterred, and made it through to the end. Climbed out of the cave and made the hike back to the car in blue skies and beautiful weather. Challenging as the hike was, the reward was really worth it. A day spent with a friend, pushing myself to new limits, understanding what I’m fully capable of: climbing a wall of slime, seeing how nature survives in darkness, and coming through the other side.

All these things, I think, we deal with in real life, I just don’t think we take enough time to celebrate the successes. In that cave, especially in the extreme darkness, I felt great fear. No cellphone service, no light (except from our flashlights,) fear of bats(!) and virtually no sounds (except for our breathing.) Well worth the experience.

Lake Merwin through the trees

While I never intended, when we set out yesterday, to come back with a fable of cave dwelling and it’s application to real life. There are so many connections to be made here: People climbing over you to get ahead, feeling alone in large caverns, being unsure of your footing and pushing yourself to do things outside your comfort. Job well done!