Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being Relevant

I gave my 3rd lecture at Cal Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks today. The first 2 lectures were on storyboarding and they asked me back to do one for an Advertising Principals class. As I was compiling a PowerPoint together, I realized, man, this is all old stuff. Disney classics, 101 Dalmatians, Merry Poppins, Rescuers Down Under, The Santa Clause – all pretty ancient. I am so not current anymore, I thought - I’m going to get laughed out of the classroom. But then no, the principals are all still the same, so I went with it.
As I talked and presented the slides, the students were all very engaged and the time went by surprisingly fast. What surprised me even more was, after it was over, I looked up from packing up my Mac and was amazed to see a handful of students had lined up to talk with me. They were so thankful and sincerely nice. One girl said “it’s so amazing to see and meet the person responsible for all those movie covers we had in our home – that was so much a part of my childhood magic, thank you.” And here I though they wouldn’t relate. Life is great.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Extra Mile

Although I was never asked, I felt compelled to write up my observations on how two employees of the Santa Barbara chapter of Invited Home go the extra mile. Many times I could have easily been put out by the numerous calls and texts that come in after Kim Klein’s day is done. And I’m not talking about when she’s a manager on duty. I’d have every right to put up a stink but I don’t. Instead, I’m impressed. I only wish I had a company she and Annick could work for. I’d be a lucky man. This kind of initiative and professionalism is an endangered species in the working world today. Justifiably, Annick and Kim could just shut off their cell phones after an eight-hour day and ignore everything. But they don’t. Countless times Kim puts her dinner, friends, plans and even me on hold. Even into the wee hours of the evening, Annick and her are passing texts back and forth planning how to continue to give excellent service to the vacationers in Santa Barbara.

A wise man once said, “The true character of a person is tested by how they act when the chips are down.” When Kim gets a call it’s usually a problem, sometimes a BIG problem. But only a seamless calm is seen from corporate and that’s the way it should be. Kim’s tone with clients comes from one of understanding. Emphatically putting herself in the shoes of the woman with no hot water and a wedding to attend. She magically defuses the anger by sympathizing and rapidly moving into action. I have never seen her give up when the chips are down. Never.

Annick. If superman had a doppelganger she’s it. She has x-ray vision. I’ve witnessed it. At twenty yards she can see smudges on the piping of a throw pillow. She is meticulous. She is the yang. Without her, the universe would spin out of control. Yes, this may sound extreme, but her eye for detail cannot by underplayed. It astonishes me how she can walk through a house and see every flaw in a single pass. This takes a special eye.

Together they are the perfect complement: expert client handling with kit gloves and a tacit ability with attention to detail. I only wish I was so lucky to have them working for me. So I wrote this because someone has to know.       

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Wake up to the fog lifting, the sun begins to poke through. Pour a cup of coffee. Anacapa island, the oil rigs. Gulls sail past large palms trees towards the beach where groups of sandpipers scour the water's edge leaving their familiar footprints in the sand. A low flying group of California brown pelicans bank hard and move out to sea. The tide recedes exposing pools chocked with sea urchins, and periwinkles. A train blows its horn in the distance. Silver clouds linger across the mountains and the grey morning sky gives way to blue.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


The fog came back. It silenced the crashing waves and blanketed the landscape with its covers. Pinholes of light are airbrushed in tiny glows and the wonder of what waits beyond fills my head. I dare not venture out. I know nothing’s out there but my bones tell me otherwise. Even the foghorn sounds foreboding. I’ll wait it out.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


My name is Michael Bayouth and I am the father of the groom. I would like to start off by saying on behalf of the brides parents Maureen & Jim and Taylor’s mother, Karen and myself, I’d like to give a warm welcome to all the relatives and friends who have joined us here on the East coast to celebrate Beth & Taylor’s wedding. I know that many of you have traveled long distances to be here. Thank you all for coming to help celebrate their special day and thanks to Karen for organizing this rehearsal dinner or booze-cruise as I’d like to call it. As I look around this boat I realize how many friends Beth & Taylor have and I hope that you all have a great evening. 

Today, I must admit that I am the proudest Dad in the world.  Taylor, good job! 
I think that you will all agree that Beth is stunning.  Karen, and I and his stepmother, Jan are all very proud of how he has grown up and we are delighted that he has found someone who he obviously loves and cares for very much for.  I wrote a letter to Taylor on the day he was born.  I had thought that I’d probably read it on a day like this but he lost it.  And no, I didn’t make a copy of it.  But he grew up always going for what he wanted in life.  Whether it be a certain salary he thought he deserved a job or in this case - Beth.  For example, once we were vacationing at the beach and a large, beautiful yacht was anchored just off shore.  It appeared that no one was on it so I told him that the maritime laws state that any vessel unmanned can be claimed as salvage.  The next thing I knew Taylor was swimming out to the yacht with his buddy and boarded it.  No fear just intention.  Needless to say this didn’t go over well with the owners who were sunbathing next to us on the beach.  I had some tall explaining to do.

The point I’m trying to make here is that Taylor always has gone for what he wants.  He’s not shy.  So, Beth, considered yourself boarded

I am probably not the best person to give advice on marriage but I do know that in a marriage there comes a time when you stop painting the town and start painting walls and ceilings.

You must choose the right partner for the right reason and I think that they both have done this.  Marriage is the meeting of two minds, of two hearts and of two souls. It is clear that Beth & Taylor are a perfect example of this. Anyway Beth & Taylor do not need my advice.  (Raise glass)  A toast.
May they be blessed with happiness that grows and with love that lasts and have a peaceful life together. I wish them enjoyment for today, the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams for tomorrow and love and happiness always.

The Bobbyjohnny

Of the three brothers who lived here, two were very evil. Bobby and Johnny. And very cruel to their sweet young brother, Tim. But little Tim had a breaking point. Tim was only four when he killed them both for payback. Two years later Timmy’s parents are barely hanging on because Timmy’s not so sweet anymore. Possessed by his evil brothers for their murder, Timmy has taken to doing bad things. Timmy’s got the Bobbyjohnny.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I was following Kim. The day had purpose. The freeway in Montecito seemed scarce of other cars as we drove through the grey morning fog. Fog. I felt isolated, reflective. Today, I thought, I’m turning 60. The anvil dropped. Then, traveling further inward, “This is kind of considered the end of your life by some. Jesus.” 

We were coming back after a night staying in a beautiful house perched atop the mesa in Santa Barbara. Kim had swung it for us from her vacation rental company she works to celebrate my birthday. It was lovely, the dinner, the wine, the view.

I thought about that incredible view and all the thinking I did on that balcony yesterday. Trying to stay conscious and keep it all in perspective and regard it only as a number. “But, sixty,” I thought, “Craig T. Nelson had just died on Parenthood and he was only in his early seventies! I only have ten years left!” I thought, rounding it down. 

Wayne Dyer had bailed on me and I was slipping down the side of the mountain into the boiling magma below. “Damn, life is almost over! This is just not fair. It went by so fast. And, I was just getting the hang of it, too. My cell phone beeped.

I glanced at it. “Taylor.” Probably, a day early, happy birthday post, I thought. I slid the text open and read it. “Hey family! Beth saw the OB today and he thinks baby isn't low enough for us to wait much longer. We've decided to have baby tomorrow, via cesarean, at 8am. Yay! Happy birthday, dad!” 

Suddenly all my doubts and fears about being an old, dying man, vanished, sliding simultaneously off the frame of my consciousness, like somebody had suddenly jerked the pegboard away they were all hanging on. 

I’m going to be a Grandfather. Life’s is not over. It’s just beginning.