2008 Archive

My First Tweetup – #roctweetup 12-29-08

Wed, 31 December 2008

For the last few months I’ve been using Twitter as an excellent learning tool. It has provided this work-from-homebody some much needed “presence” from other smart marketing professionals. It’s as if they’re in my office feeding me their expertise, even though many of them I don’t even know.

Another goal of mine has been to use Twitter to get more networked within the Rochester, NY market. After all, working remotely for a company in Chicago is great, but it doesn’t help me meet local professionals. So, I started following Rochester, NY marketing and IT professionals, designers, Kodakers and people from local advertising and PR agencies. The easiest way to do so was to find people in Rochester, NY on twellow.

Along came a ‘Tweetup’
On a whim, a couple of Steves (Hersh and Boese) called for tweetup at Tully’s on December 29. As it was retweeted about town, I mulled over the possibility of going to a good bar to meet some complete strangers on my holiday break. I haven’t been able to attend similar gatherings by the Rochester Social Media Club usually because of one conflict or another.


photo from Tom Collins

This was a fun event. Not of the epic proportions that Silicon Valley boasts, but a great way to connect with 10-12 great people over beer and good food. A few things I learned:

  • If you tweet about bacon, you’ll immediately be followed by the Twitter Bacorazzi. Good to know @sbjet. Also, good to know that you are an HR Technology guru at RIT.
  • Highland Park Diner serves peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. I did not know that, @Tom_Collins.
  • @y2vonne has a ton of different local business events and blogs to look after. It’s going to take some time to read your prolific bloggery.
  • I heard about Fat Pride for the first time from @AmpleAliveness. She has a very interesting perspective on life and size diversity issues. It was cool to connect Coach Ann’s interests with my wife’s Personal Training business.
  • @shersh knows much about Oracle systems through his consulting business and shares my disdain for the current state of the Buffalo Bills.
  • @KellyMullaney has a lot of web design going on and is starting up a twitter background design service.
  • @AnaRC can whip twitter into a frenzy in online events associated with FamilyEden.com

I’m sure I’ll take the time to go to more events like this in the New Year. I’ve got no better resolution than that. Thanks to everyone who attended. I really enjoyed your company. Oh, and have a look at Tom Collins’ recap of the event as well.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking | 1 Comment »
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‘Review Ninja’ Featured in Hudson Legal Video #4

Sat, 20 December 2008

Just in time for your holiday enjoyment we’ve launched a 4th video in our Hudson online video series that I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year. In it you’ll find some quality coverage of the people who manage huge document review projects (sometimes 200-300 people) and keep their cool under pressure.

Shot on location in DC, New York, and Charlotte, it is meant to close out the behind the scenes view of our Legal practice, before moving on to some videos of our Financial Solutions practice (coming up in January 2009).

Lessons Learned in Production
The prior video in the “monthly” series launched on July 30, 2008. And here we are in December. I had always assumed there would be some risk with featuring employees in a video project. In this case that risk was realized because 2 of the original ‘stars’ are no longer with the company. We hit the editing suite for some creative ways around our missing characters and still managed to maintain the integrity of the original message. However, it cost precious months in the launch schedule.

Here is a good lesson for any video project: expect staff changes. Prepare leadership for the possibility. Do your best to mitigate the risk that having any one staff member leave can cause to your video project, then cross your fingers. Once the video is live, do your best to convince the team that the video remains a viable representation of the company no matter who is featured. It is a snapshot of a team at a time and place in an ever-mobile business environment.

Posted in: Projects, Web Video | No Comments »
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Bruce Clay Interview: SEO Ranking is Dead

Fri, 05 December 2008

In the spirit of stashing useful web strategy video in a spot that I can remember it, here’s an excellent video interview by WebProNews with Bruce Clay on the future of SEO and how it will move away from ranking and placement.

Here’s the things I learned.

  1. Biased results based on web history: No two people will be able to look at Google results and get exactly the same rankings.
  2. Intent based search: The engines will decipher your search words and give you results based on whether you intended to shop or do research. How you design a page for one intent or another would affect its ranking in results
  3. Universal Search: Search will dive into video and images better than today. Sites with video, for instance will fare better. Doing SEO will be more than just keyword research and writing techniques. Text-based gateway pages would not be as effective, nor will linkbuilding have as great an effect.

Good stuff.

Hat tip to Cheezhead.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing SEO/SEM | 1 Comment »
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New to My Christmas List: Accordion Hero

Mon, 01 December 2008

Santa, for the perfect Polish Christmas surprise could you please bring me Accordion Hero? I really hope that the Chicken Dance is one of the songs. Or is that only on Accordion Hero: Wedding Edition?


I can’t take credit for this one, but whoever did it is brilliant

Here’s the trailer for the yet-to-be-released game:

Happy Holidays!

Posted in: Holidays, Life, Video Games | 1 Comment »
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The Rz-Team Deer Hunt 2008

Sun, 23 November 2008

Last weekend was one dedicated to our friend the white-tail deer. With an amazing buck adventure already behind me this season, I was really looking forward to helping my Dad bag a deer, and Uncle Terry get some action. He flew up from Florida to the frozen tundra to enjoy the changing of the seasons – archery to gun season that is.

Terry came into town on Thursday, so he’d already had an entire day in the woods by the time I got to Conesus Lake, where we hunt. That night he told stories of watching a buck in the woods mill around all day long just outside of bow range. The only shot he took was this nice photo.


Apparently this buck was more interested in napping than grunt calls and rattles

With visions of bucks dancing in our heads we all turned in awaiting our first day.

Friday’s Balmy Bow Weather
I took Friday, the last day of archery season off from work. We were in the woods at sun up in what turned out to be a 60 degree November day. The deer agreed with us that it was a better day to sit out in the sun in shirt sleeves than to be walking around the woods. By 10am we had seen nothing, so we called it a morning. For the rest of the afternoon we played with guns – always a manly activity. We went down to my Dad’s barn and sighted in our shotguns for Regular season. I was the only guy to hit the paper plates consistently at 50 paces. While I thought that was a good omen, it actually was not a predictor of what was to come. In a critical strategy move, we also threw up a small ladder stand right where we’ve been seeing deer come in and out of the woods all season. THAT ended up being our best decision of the weekend.

Our Friday night hunt came soon enough as the days don’t last too long this time of year. For the 4th straight session, Dad didn’t see anything in his stand. We were all shocked at how his stand went cold after we kept seeing SO many deer there earlier in the season. At 5pm on the dot I scooted off to a volleyball game at Hot Shots. Terry was conspicuously silent on the radio when I told the guys I was leaving. When I came back to the lake later on, I got the scoop on a miss that caused Terry a sleepless night. At 4:45pm, before the radio call, a doe had meandered toward the ladder stand VERY slowly. It took until 5:05pm for it to get close enough for a perfect shot. As Terry recounted it, the shot was completely dialed in to the heart. Our resident master of the perfect shot was getting pretty cute with his technique, no doubt wanting to show us how an arrow can be put into the size of a silver dollar from 25 yards. When he let the arrow fly it went straight and true directly…into the ground. As Terry put it, the hunting target he uses is flat and a deer’s underbelly is round. It likely took off a couple hairs from that round part of the real deer, and that was all. That little incident has Terry thinking about larger target areas for next season.

Freezing Cold and Driving Rain. It Must Be Opening Day!
The opening of Regular Season was upon us Saturday morning and I knew the weather was going to be awful. Unlike most opening days, we saw no deer activity, and heard very few shots. By 9am my blaze orange cotton jumpsuit was soaked and bloated like the Michelin man, and Dad was wringing out his gloves.


Kris exiting the woods after a lovely morning in the rain

We headed in to dry off, and Terry-of-many-gadgets stayed out in the woods underneath his umbrella. At about 3pm Dad and I returned toasty and rested. The rain stopped, and you could hear a pin drop for most of the afternoon. Then, right about 5pm BOOOOMMM! Terry’s 20 gauge rang out from the lower stand and then a second shot. I quickly flipped on the radio. Terry said “Look out in the bean field, the doe’s coming your way!”. I didn’t see it, didn’t see it, then I saw it…a deer came out of the woods into the field. I radioed “I see it, what do you want me to do?”. Terry said, “Is it down?”. In that time I had lifted the gun and put the sight on the deer. I squeezed the trigger and KABLOOM my 12 gauge rang out. The deer dropped in its tracks. I observed for another few seconds, then got on the radio and said, “NOW it’s down!”.


A long trip from Florida ended up providing a big smile

After no action for 3 straight days that was quite a flurry of excitement. I was happy to be Uncle Terry’s wingman and put in the finishing shot. We had to do NO tracking. THAT would have been a great result of the day that was yet to come. We field dressed the doe then took it back to the house where we hung it on my Dad’s car hoist.


“Hanging around” the doe prior to our fish dinner at deer camp

There, I gave lessons to the guys who taught me to hunt on how to undress and quarter a deer. We had it in the fridge by 8pm. I finished off the night be frying up some walleye from our 2008 Cabonga Trip.

Gale Force Sunday and a 5 Hour Odyssey
Sunday, we were all somewhat pessimistic on our prospects. 40 MPH gale force winds and 25 degrees rounded out our weekend of weird weather. I went out to the ladder stand before sun up with Uncle Terry in the high stand 100 yards away. At ten to seven with the light just getting bright enough, and a stiff wind in my face, I saw 2 deer crossing the bean field behind me at what must have been 60-70 yards. With my knees knocking I braced myself in the tree and took aim. The deer which I thought was a doe inched closer and came into the opening that I considered to be in good range. I squeezed the trigger and the cold morning air was split open with the crack of my 12 gauge. The deer moved a few more feet and I took a hurried second shot which apparently missed, and the deer scooted off into the woods.

The best part of the shot was that it came right after Terry had radioed me that it was OK to shoot into the woods (the other hunters around us had not shown up for the day). It seemed to him that I was waiting for his permission to shoot, and BOOOMMM I wasted no time.

I was hoping that Terry would come down out of his tree in time to get a shot at the second deer which was still hanging around 5 minutes later. Unfortunately he and his Fall Guy had a fight in the whipping wind causing him to get stuck in his tree. By the time he arrived on the scene, the trailing doe was gone.

It didn’t take us too long to pick up a heavy blood trail into the woods. We radioed my dad on our progress after we followed the doe an initial 100 yards. He stayed in his tree until 9am after we already tracked the tenacious doe through thick brush, pines and a meadow. The blood trail went from large pools of blood to pin-head spots and back again. We thought for sure I had gotten a really good shot because of the ease with which we could follow the trail at certain points. After 2 hours we kicked up the deer in a heavy golden rod field, and for the first time found out it was a spike buck. We saw the antlers and a pronounced hobble in the deer, but it managed to scurry away. Getting increasingly frustrated from what was already 2.5 hours of tracking, we asked my dad to make the long journey from his stand to where we were in the field. We thought for sure we would stalk the deer for only a few more feet and would find it. Not so much!

Thank Goodness for Dad’s Fresh Set of Eyes
When Dad arrived, we trailed the deer another 300 yards across another meadow, into new woods, and down into a gully to a stream. The last blood was right before the stream so we thought for sure it had crossed and went straight up the other side. No blood. We searched 3 fresh trails near the river’s edge. No blood. We back-tracked the trail, no blood. For 1 hour we looked for any sign of blood, ultimately ending with a grid search. What was a steady trail suddenly vanished. Tired and inexperienced on these long trailing expeditions I had pretty much given up. Not my dad. Some 50 yards down the stream bank, suddenly he yelled “BLOOD!”. The deer had walked downstream and exited the water there. No sooner did we follow the trail another 30 yards, and we scared up the deer again. This time Uncle Terry trailed the deer aggressively, trying to tire it out. Finally, he got on the radio and said he could see it and get a shot. I told him to take the finisher just like I had done for him the night before. BOOM! At noon the tracking was over in a reedy bog, deep in the woods. We were probably a mile or more from my first shot.


What a relief to have caught up to this buck; a magnificent animal.

When we examined the deer we found 2 unusual things. The first was what a crummy shot I had taken. I got the deer in the back leg which caused plenty of bleeding, but is not a vital hit. The second was the fact that the deer was missing one of its antlers after I had seen 2 earlier. Apparently the world’s most fluky finishing shot had sawed off the second antler.

Dad went down the road to get the truck and in the meantime, Terry and I field-dressed the deer – only my second buck ever. We had to get permission from a farm well down the road from our hunting grounds to allow us to drag it out. I’m not proud of the poor shot I took. I am however very proud and grateful to my Dad and Uncle Terry for helping me fulfill the promise of being good sportsmen in the field.


A great deer hunting team. This day tested the mettle of all of us

The first few days of the week I spent processing the results of our productive weekend. My father-in-law was great to help me out with that task which I’ve now begun to enjoy. We already have our sausage back in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m bummed my Dad didn’t get one this year because he certainly put in his time. It was a great hunt nonetheless, showing how great team work leads to a memorable experience no matter who takes the first shot. I’m looking forward to next season already.

Posted in: Hunting, Life | 2 Comments »
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Twitter for Learning in IT

Thu, 13 November 2008

I just wrapped up a post on IT Hire Wire on using Twitter to learn within the IT industry. With the majority of Twitter users still being from the Social Media side of the world (consultants, wannabe consultants, gurus, experts, wanna-be experts), I thought it was important to point out to IT workers how valuable an asset Twitter can be for their professional development. Now, to keep the piece short I focused on only a few ways to purely take from the network essentially by following smart people. I’m fully aware that Twitter is even better when you are participating actively. But, I think this level of extroversion and participation is still a turn-off for many. That’s why people should still get into Twitter just to better learn from those highly active members.

The reason Twitter is such a compelling professional learning tool is that you can be a fly on the cubicle wall of the best thinkers in IT. Think of it like the world’s biggest shadow program. Instead of reading another dry Ruby on Rails book, you can follow the guy who invented it, David Heinemeier Hansson, or sit next to Sam Stephenson as he programs with it every day.

Read the entire post here, and let me know what you think.

Posted in: Blogging, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking | No Comments »
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Quick Review of LinkedIn Apps for Blogging

Wed, 29 October 2008

I was amped today to see that LinkedIn has launched its application platform. The first thing that I wanted to do was add my blogs to the site to enhance their visibility to my business network. I started to use the WordPress application.

I installed it, and within minutes realized that it was only intended for WordPress.com blogs and not for self-hosted WordPress installations. Boo!!! My website, and my current pet blog project IT Hire Wire are both self-hosted WordPress installs.


You can try to enter your self-hosted blog, but you won’t get very far

I tweeted Mario Sundar to see if there is self-hosted compatibility coming. We’ll see what he says.

—UPDATE 10-30—
The WordPress App DOES support self-hosted. They’ve been working out the kinks. Read the tweets from @tellyworth. So far I’ve found that you can only have one feed into the WordPress LinkedIn App. When you add it to your profile, I don’t think it appears on your Public Profile. It also appears before your resume. I’m not sure that’s a great User-Interface. If you add a lot of apps to your LinkedIn profile, it has the potential to cloud your personal brand. I see these apps as additional interesting areas of content to be explored AFTER your review my credentials.
—END UPDATE—

Not to be defeated, I moved on to trying out Blog Link by SixApart. That experience was a whole lot more rewarding, but still has a bit of a caveat.

When you first install Blog Link you’ll notice on the “My Contacts” tab that it immediately goes out into network and pulls blog entries from any connections that have a blog listed as a website on their profile. This was amazing! I found blogs I never knew existed, which just goes to show you that you ought to list yours in your LinkedIn profile. Then I had a look at the “By Me” tab, and I had a couple of hiccups.


Check out your By Me tab and adjust the websites you have listed on your profile accordingly

While the links that I list in my profile for my blogs are for humans to use and get to the front end of the content, the best URL to get a clean feed into a feed reader is much different. In the case of this website, krisrzepkowski.com, the best human readable URL to get to the front-end content is http://www.krisrzepkowski.com/blog/work/, however the way to get to work-related entries into a feed reader is to use my feed URL (http://www.krisrzepkowski.com/blog/work/feed/). Using this, I won’t be feeding my stories of deer hunting and hanging out with the kids into my LinkedIn profile.

With IT Hire Wire, the best feed to get my postings on the multi-author blog turns out to be a feedburner URL (http://feeds.feedburner.com/ItHireWireKrisRzepkowski). Again, this is not the human-readable content URL I would want someone to click on within my profile. Because Blog Link opted for simplicity (which I admire), by using only the websites you have listed in your profile instead of requesting en explicit feed URL, you need to make a choice.

I’d prefer Blog Link to request feed URLs for the entries it shows in By Me, and allow your profile website to be separate. One last question on Blog Link. What do the up/down arrows do? I can’t for the life of me figure that one out.


Does anyone know what this does?

—UPDATE 10-29—
I figured out that arrow thing. It actually scrolls the entries, it’s just an unconventional control, and depending on what is showing on your screen, it is difficult to see that anything changed.
—END UPDATE—

Let me know what your thoughts are on the new blog integrations with LinkedIn. The intent of these apps is noble, and will build a significant traffic stream of business related readers the likes of which we haven’t yet seen.

Posted in: Blogging, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms | 2 Comments »
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My First Buck – a 7 Pointer!

Tue, 28 October 2008

Archery season for deer started last weekend in Western New York, and my dad and I have spent a lot of time already chasing after our white-tailed furry friends. This past weekend, Dad decided to take some time to spend with Mom (a smart idea). Since Tricia and I weren’t doing much after our High School Musical 3 fun with the kids, she told me to go sit in the woods. So, that’s just what I did early on Sunday morning. I saw plenty of deer – even a couple of bucks – 100 yards from my tree stand. Frustrated by everything being too far away, I took a trip to Gander Mountain to get some “attractant”. Literally some doe pee.

Yep, they bottle deer urine. I don’t want to know how they collect it.

Sunday Night Special
Sunday afternoon, I gobbled up some golabkis while watching the Bills lose to Miami, then headed for the woods. I decided to sit in my dad’s tree stand for the first time because he’s been talking about all the deer he’s seen at night from there. I dragged some attractant around the area and hopped up into the stand around 5:00pm. It was a windy afternoon, but temps were in the 60’s, so I didn’t even need my cold weather gear.

At around 5:45 as I was standing there bored, probably singing a Rascal Flatts song in my head, I turned over my left shoulder and my eyes bugged out! A buck was standing broadside in front of a row of corn about 20 yards from me. I froze. Then the deer put down its head to munch on some grass. I slowly raised my bow and drew back the arrow. The deer took a few more steps beyond a fencepost that was obstructing my shot, and I let it fly! I saw it hit a little bit high, but I knew it was a good shot nonetheless. That’s how fast it all happens…from bored to shot in the air within about 20 seconds.

Tracking in the Dark and in a Thunderstorm
Since I was all alone, my first call was to my dad who was 40 minutes away. He said to get down out of the tree and see if there was a blood trail. If so, he’d make the trip and help me track the deer. Sure enough, there was a blood trail. When I called my dad back, he was already on the road. I called my wife and father-in-law next to give them the good news. I got out my surveyor’s tape and began marking blood every 20 feet or so, listening and watching closely for any activity. At about 6:15pm I saw a deer jump up and bound away from where the blood trail led. I thought for sure I had spooked the deer I shot – never a good thing.

I was mad at myself for being over-eager, but at the same time I was kind of worried. It was getting dark and a black thundercloud rolled in. I told myself to stand still until my dad would arrive in a half-hour. During that time it started to pour, freaking me out that the blood trail would wash away. Not to mention lightning streaked across the sky which didn’t seem real safe. Luckily, after about 10 minutes, the rain passed, and the skies cleared.

My dad got to the field at around 6:45 coming from the direction where I had last seen my deer bound away. It was dark, and we both started looking for blood again. For about 15 minutes I followed the trail, and my dad looked further up the trail. When I reached the point where I thought the deer had bedded down I asked him if he was picking up the trail. At that point he said “I don’t see any blood, but I DO see YOUR deer!” “Really?”, I said because I thought for sure the deer would be 50 yards away or more from the last spot I had seen it. AWESOME! I was so excited.

7 Points of Bliss
When we finally found the deer, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my first buck, and a much bigger one than I could tell from my vantage point so far up in a tree. We counted 7 points – 3 on one side, and 4 on the other. I called the family to give them the good news, and let them know I wouldn’t be out all night in a thunderstorm tracking the deer. Then we got to work on field dressing and dragging the beast to the truck. After all that sweat and energy, I asked my dad to take a picture. His ‘uh oh’ reaction gave me a sinking feeling. See, I purposely had not brought a camera with me so as to not ‘jinx’ my hunt, but in all the commotion I forgot to ask Dad to bring his. All we had was my iPhone without a flash and we snapped this blurry pic in the headlights:


I thought this might be my only proof

Getting the Photos and DIY Deer Processing
I had intended to bring the deer over to Steel Sausage, our favorite deer processor in Avon, but Tim wasn’t open Sunday night. So, we trucked it to my Dad’s garage and hung it from his car lift. That thing can hold 5 tons – and was probably the most overkill you’ll ever see for a deer hoist. For us, it worked perfectly.

The next morning before work, I tried to take it to the processor again, but I wasn’t hitting his hours of operation. So, we decided to bring the deer back to Webster and find a processor closer to home. And finally I was going to get my pictures! My lovely wife helped my pull the deer from my truck for some poses on the front lawn of my house. I like to let my neighbors know that I keep it real. Here’s some glamor shots:


What could be more American than a Bills flag, my daughter and a buck in my front yard?

Gary convinced me to process the deer myself (which we’ve done together before), so we decided to use my bike hoist in the garage for something other than what it was intended for…


This is a great way to get bikes out of the way…


…and a convenient way to process your deer

Mason wore a tribute shirt to school in honor of the buck, and got an anatomy lesson when he came home. He was really excited about the deer – making a request to keep the antlers. I gently told the boy, that those antlers are DADDY’s, but that he’s very welcome to look at them whenever he wants to 😉


I’m willing to bet not many of Mason’s buddies get a sight like this every day when they come home from school

Tomorrow night Gary and I will finish processing and grinding the meat. I can’t wait for my trip to Tony Costanza’s to get some of the best sausage on the planet made. If you are ever at my house ask for a sample, you won’t believe how good it is!

Thanks to my dad for helping with the tracking, hauling, and for use of the stand that I used to get this guy, and to my dad-in-law for the processing. It was great to share this with you guys. Getting my first buck was an awesome experience.

Posted in: Hunting, Life | 8 Comments »
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Super Anna and Super Mason

Fri, 10 October 2008

It’s fun stuff Friday. In today’s episode I make Mason and Anna another silly Internet creation. They really do love this stuff. Click on the posters below to see their debuts as old school Super Heros.

They seem to be channeling one of my all time favorite TV shows – Greatest American Hero.

Posted in: Kids, Life, Oddities | No Comments »
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Shout Out to Marc Krolczyk – Sr. Interaction Designer at Kodak

Fri, 26 September 2008

My good friend Marc Krolczyk did a nice interview on the Official Kodak blog 1000 Words. He has been a fixture in the Rochester design scene for more than 10 years, dedicating his Masters in Communication Design from University of Buffalo to a long career at Xerox as a UI designer. Recently Kodak wooed him away to apply his talents on digital cameras and other new digital products. It will be great to see Marc’s touch on the Kodak Product User Experience. He has an endless supply of innovative ideas for how products and their interfaces should work in our everyday lives. I know he’s pumped for the new assignment, and I can tell his mates are pumped to have him there. Marc Krolczyk. Real American Designer.

Marc Helmet
Marc beta testing a new “Monthy Python” image quality setting on his camera

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Workplace | No Comments »
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aboutkris

This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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