Skip to content

North Bend Oregon Trip – 2015


My hometown is North Bend, Oregon.

Many of my coming of age experiences happened there and I still have great friends in the area.

I try and get back at least once a year and this time it was awesome to see a few things finally starting to give economically in this historically depressed area of what Portlander’s call the “South Coast”. I personally prefer the “Redneck Riviera” (respectively).

My brother and I often say you can take the boy of the bay, but you can’t take the bay out of the boy. We both still appreciate the brine in the air, the afternoon wind kicking up, the clear summer days, the rain in all other seasons, and the fall fog rolling in. Referring to Coos Bay of course, the port that at one time was the busiest seaport on the West Coast. Those days have passed, so it was good to see the recently renovated Egyptian Theater doing well and a batch of logs on the docks.

The first view coming into town –

North Bend Bridge

The street we grew up on –

Edgewood Drive

Our old house is being well taken care of (great to see as there were a few bunk years) –

The Old House

Grandma and Grandpa’s old pad. This place rocked with a sunken living room (very hip) –

Grandma and Gramps Old Place

Heading up Newmark –


At the top of this hill resides our local TV station where we received the news of the world –


Good to see a record store still open in town –

Off The Record

Where we went to middle school (7th and 8th grades) –

North Bend Middle School

And where we went to High School –

North Bend High School Sign

The morning walk-up view –

North Bend High School Front Entrance

The field (reminds me of the one in Dazed and Confused and it felt that way at times too) –

North Bend High School Football Field

Keith was attending his 30th class reunion and it was fun to see old friends. One of the highlights of the events was a bonfire at Bastendorff. It was a perfect Oregon night and everyone was having a great time –

Classic Oregon Beach Bonfire

Also very tastefully done was a row of luminaries placed across the beach honoring classmates that had passed. A fitting tribute so their presence could be felt and respectively remembered –


One of our close friends, Byron, was included in the tribute –


The church on Thompson Road where our Dad was the Preacher. Gloria Dei Lutheran. Many fun times and growing up was done here in the youth group with good friends and close families –

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

A great spot for breakfast/brunch if you are ever in the area –

The Pancake Mill, Coos Bay, OR

Good to see a batch of logs ready for shipping, this town needs the commerce –

Ready to Go

Kim’s Oriental Market in Coos Bay (I just like the sign) –

Kim's Oriental Market

And so pleased to see the Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay in full renovation mode, even beating a target financial goal!

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

In the newly renovated theater, you have to go and see it! The pictures just can’t deliver the experience –

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

View from the balcony, so happy they blew out those lame shoebox theaters up there that were taking up space in the building –

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Even the crushed red velvet chairs are brand new…doesn’t that look inviting and comfortable. Perfect for a night at the movies!

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

Egyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon

We stopped at Winchester Bay on our way out of town –

Winchester Bay

We don’t leave town now without hitting our favorite spot for Oysters – The Umpqua Triangle…fresh from the bay this morning. Thanks for the tip Tony!

Umpqua Triangle Winchester Bay

We saw elk heading out past Loon Lake as well. Take that New York City…6 bulls in NATURE –


Bakersfield Trip – April 2015


One of the things I appreciate about Bakersfield is that it is still relatively untouched by hipsterism. It is just a little too far from Los Angeles to have the Sunset Junction/Silverlake contingent invade. And has a bit too much of a “reputation” to be considered a destination spot. The town has a rich American history that I am keen on to explore and experience. I love classic Americana art in popular culture, primarily in marketing and advertising. Bakersfield’s cup overflows with it.

Did you know the famous Steinbeck book The Grapes of Wrath was about this area?

Did you know that Bakersfield once had such a rich country music scene that it was dubbed the “Nashville of the West“?

Legendary and mega-famous country artists Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are both from Bakersfield. AND both MARRIED the same woman (at different times in their lives, respectively); Bonnie Owens. An exceptionally talented country music artist/singer in her own right.

Dwight Yoakum and Buck Owens once did a famous duet (written by Homer Joy) about the town. It even went to number one on the Billboard Country Chart in 1988 – “The Streets of Bakersfield” The video here.

Do you remember that the The Rolling Stones sing about it in their hit song “Far Away Eyes“.

Dubbed “The Food Basket of the World”, The San Joaquin Valley produces 12.8% of the United States agricultural production. Imagine for a moment your local grocery store without any avocados or almonds.

This area of California also is one of the nation’s most productive and important oil producing areas. A strategic national resource that helps the United States be more self-reliant.

Have you seen the Daniel Day Lewis movie “There Will Be Blood“? That’s the oil rush story about the valley area around Bakersfield. An excellent movie by the way, regarded by many as one of the best films of the 2000’s.

One of my favorite mid-century modern artists also is from the area – Johnny Ramos Instagram.

Below are a few pictures from a recent trip in April 2015 that I made to Bakersfield to see Merle Haggard with my friends at the historic (and well kept) Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield.

If you like these images, I made another post here a while back that you can explore too.

The history of American music, oil, cattle, art, and agriculture, all can be experienced to varying degrees in Bakersfield and the valley that it anchors.

In Bakersfield you can even drop by the dollar store and pick up a Brut knockoff simply titled…”Macho”.

Yes you can, and it’s no Fabergé.


In the Belvedere room at The Padre

Padre Hotel

Mural in a Bakersfield alley –

Mural in Bakersfield

It’s never too late kids –

Merle Receives High School Diploma

On with the show –

Merle Haggard Live at the Fox Theater Bakersfield

Merle takes the stage –

Merle Haggard Performing at the Fox Theater

This historic Woolworth’s location in downtown Bakersfield now is this antique shop with tons of great stuff –

Woolworth's Bakersfield

The golden age of advertising –

The Golden Age of Advertising

And the golden age of art in useful design –

Vintage Typewriter

I have no idea what is going on here –

What?!? Is that!

Famous Fisk Tire advertising campaign (designed in 1907) still resides on the top of a building in Bakersfield – “Time to Re-Tire” –

Fisk Advertising Time to Retire

There is a significant Basque population in Bakersfield and a few historic family-style restaurant spots like Wool Growers and Noreiga’s. Both provide a dining experience not to be missed. We ate at Noreiga’s this time around and it was excellent.

Noreiga's Restaurant in Bakersfield

3 Reasons Why the MSN Home Page Is Not Mobile Friendly #Mobilegeddon


I was reading about the upcoming Google mobile update and I thought to myself this morning, I wonder how Microsoft is doing?

I was surfing around so I dropped by the home page….and gasp!…It is not mobile friendly.

According to the Google test the following three main issues prevent the MSN home page from being mobile friendly –

1. Content is wider than screen

2. Links too close together

3. Mobile viewport is not set

Good news is that the #Microsoft home page is mobile friendly. Maybe it is just taking a minute for to catch up!

Actual test link here.

Read more about #Mobilegeddon here and here and from Google here.

Is Microsoft ill prepared? Comment below.

See attached screen shots.



Germany Trip 2015


A few pictures from our recent overseas trip to the IWA Show in Nurnberg, Germany

Flight out of Newark was delayed due to ice –

Waiting in Newark

This took about 10 hours –

Flight Path

Once we landed we got settled in at the most awesome hotel ever. If you ever get a chance to stay here, do. The staff are very, very nice and the overall service, morning food spreads, and coffee are exceptional. A+.

Hotel Fackelmann

Why does coffee in Europe just taste better?


We scoped out Nuremberg –

Nuremberg Map

Did some shopping –

Jack Wolfskin

Lots of people smoke in Europa, I just like the art on the packaging and the machine –

Cigarette Machine Europe

Saw some incredible sights, I like the architecture –

Nuremberg Church

This was an iPhone shot on the street of the King’s castle up on the hill, the picture doesn’t quite do this view justice –

Nurnberg Castle



Had some GREAT food at the Nassauer Keller, this a shot looking back up the steep stairwell down to this dungeon gem –

 Der Nassauer Keller zu Nürnberg Stairwell

From the show –

Star Wars Stormtrooper Display

Let’s head out, back to the states. Quick #PDXCARPET comparison at Airport Nürnberg –

Carpet Comparison at Airport Nürnberg

Time to head back with a stop in San Francisco

Frankfurt Airport

San Francisco Airport

Well, we better eat some more amazing food, Marty knew the spots to go –


Barbacco San Francisco

Good to be home –

PDX Pillar 2015

SHOT Show 2015


As many of you may know, we head out to Las Vegas each year for the annual industry pilgrimage to the SHOT Show. The Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show that is frankly, one of the largest (and most exciting) trade shows on planet EARTH.

We are always a bit frantic leading up to the show, getting everything in place for our new product releases, finishing touches on the booth, supplies, meeting schedules, contacts, publicity prep, and the to-do list…and the wish to-do list(s).

You can see my past post from the 2014 year’s festivities here.

I arrived at CRKT from a music industry background (WMG), so it is always a bit surreal just walking through the show doors. If you could imagine entering a Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, or Walmart Sporting Goods section…on 11…then you are pretty much dog paddling on the surface. Big brands from Nikon, Under Armour, Glock, Outdoor Channel, Realtree, and heritage brands like Buck Knives and Colt all set up and plume their brand feathers much like a peacock in the dredged heat of Santa Monica Blvd. and Western Avenue. There is even an odd behavior that I’ve picked up on the last few years; an emotionally charged manifestation that I have been referring to only as…”booth envy”. The good news is CRKT doesn’t have much of that since our leadership is steady and we’re confident in our unique selling proposition. The bad news is that when you traffic the congested carpeted lanes of the show aisles you are often stopped and barraged with something along the lines of “did you see….________’s booth this year?!?” Meh, I’m not easily impressed.

If you’ve gotten this far you must have some interest in the show, myself, or CRKT as a brand. Thank you for reading. We’ve got a great team. As the Marketing Manager, I’m proud. I know we’ve got distinctive, useful, goods at a great price. Our designer roster is simply the best assembled roster of designers in the industry. Talk to Ken Onion, Lucas Burnley, Jim Hammond, Alan Folts, James Williams, Liong Mah, Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical, there are many, many, great designers that collaborate with CRKT that make my job as a strategic marketing professional much, much easier. Surround yourself with great talented designers, guess what happens, great (and in this case; useful) art.

We’ve worked with the Blue Collar team for the last few years, they helped us come up big with the 20th Anniversary brand refresh. We’ve been tight with their team ever since. Every time we’ve tasked them with a challenge, they have delivered for us. I can’t say enough great things about their team. See our collaborative work and a great blog post from them here.

Great photo Ben, I’m glad we were able to utilize it! Even if Flavio was a little embarrassed (modest) for being up on the big screen.

To 2015!

CRKT SHOT Show Booth - 2015

CRKT SHOT Show Booth – 2015




Study: In Social Advertising, #YouTube Converts More Customers Than Anyone Else


A great read.

This study shows that #YouTube converts at the highest rate for social sites in the consumer conversion funnel.

Link to study post on Venture Beat here.

A past post I made on Facebook Advanced that helps explain the conventional wisdom on the e-commerce conversion funnel – here.  Hmm…it seems like that link may not be working, check out the past post archived here.

The past post image reference –

Conversion Funnel by Joel Bornzin

Conversion Funnel by Joel Bornzin





Hagg Lake – Memorial Day Weekend


Just thought I’d share a couple of photos taken out at Hagg Lake this weekend –

@Hagg Lake Memorial Day Weekend

@Hagg Lake Memorial Day Weekend

@Hagg Lake Memorial Day Weekend

@Hagg Lake Memorial Day Weekend