Early morning... dirty... caught in the act... Yes, this is the closest you will ever get to a racy shot of me.
This morning, I was introduced to the new trend of the internet and cell phones. Sexting. It's when people exchange racy pictures of themselves via their cell phones or posting on the internet. I am sure Twitter has something to do with this too.
Technology has brought us so many wonderful things, so is this the next?
Apparently Sexting has become such a big topic, that it was the lead story on CBS Sunday Morning (a show I never miss by the way.) The story was about teens and their ability to get into trouble over this. One guy forwarded nude pictures of his old girl friend (age 17) around to his friends. Problem was, he was now 18, which made him a peddler of child pornography. The local DA put him on the sex offender list, after threatening him with 76 counts of distributing child pornography, and a life sentence. The guy is now ruined.
One girl, who was 12, took a picture of her and her friend on the phone. The picture showed the two in what looked to me to be sports bras, but described as training bras. The local District Attorney brought the girl up on child pornography charges, saying that she was posing provocatively. For those of you who did not see the story, I will repeat the pose here.
Oooh. racy. I am going to be getting calls from around the country asking for more I am sure. Sorry if you are reading this in the morning, and I have just made you choke up a little bit over breakfast. Perils of the trade I guess.
My point is this. The way you are perceived online or by what you send out over the internet is your new perception. Did I worry about this picture being sent to my bosses? Well no, because I know my boss. The fact is, if you are worried about how you will be perceived, worry about your online image, sexy or not.
Case in point. I had a dear friend who was fired from her job this week. She posted comments and notes on Facebook about what "they said." She sounded bitter, but was quick to say she did not want her job back.
I quickly wrote her and told her that I thought while Facebook is a wonderful way to get things off her chest, that it could also be her downfall for any future employment. I wrote, in part:
"You see, any potential employer who is savvy now figures out a way to check out your online presence even more than they check out your resume and sometimes even references. The reason is that your history of when you let your hair down... your unfiltered personality is there for all to see...
So if a future employer was to go on there right now... the first words he would see associated with you are "bitch" and "not a team player." Not because someone said that about you... but because you said that about you. Think about it... those words were not posted by someone else... they were posted by you."
Just a few minutes after sending this, I saw where she had taken down the references to the past and delightfully announced she was moving on to better things. I was happy for her.
The comments I write here and on Facebook are written for all to see. I will admit, I have some privacy filters on my Facebooks as somethings are just for my friends, but even things posted there could be seen or read by anyone without reservation.
It's interesting as less than a year ago, I was called to the carpet by a client for posting a picture of myself with a college gymnastics team. The photo, taken by one of the coaches, showed me on my computer in front of the team in their pre meet attire (which is basically one piece swim suits) in the poses that they had used in the media guide. The comment I made on the picture was, quoting, "now, this is how a television producer gets inspiration."
The comment was made because I had used each of those poses as the basis for the look for the year. Cameos of each of those poses were made into animated dancing objects and created a cool open for the team's video show. The exact poses, in their competition leotards, were seen in the media guide, and on their video headshots.
The comment, however, apparently created some double entendre for some readers and I was asked to remove that picture from my Facebook page, and oh, and any other picture of a student athlete from my page. It was a dark day in my life, as someone perceived my thoughts as something other than it was intended. You see, the perceptions that others have of you online can trump the real meaning.
I put this to the test last night when I posted this status update: "Jon Horton has taken his 10 year old son to a bar for a soccer pregame party. I guess I am starting him early."
The comments started to roll in. "Tsk Tsk," from someone who is a teacher. :<0 href="http://sambaysabor.com/pitt.aspx">You can see what I am talking about here.)
My thought was to be funny... but calculated funny. Heck, my choice of shoes earlier in the week brought in five times the comments, but people know about my affinity for loud shoes!
So next status update, make sure you say what you are wanting to say, or at least explain it quickly, and you will find life a lot easier.
Just a little advice for you still lost in cyberspace from
This morning, one of my favorite movies was on. "Finding Forrester" is the story of a kid from the Bronx Ghetto that is given the opportunity, through fate and friendship, to work with a famous enigmatic author. Sean Connery played William Forrester, who was portrayed as the JD Salinger of the day. The basic scope of the movie was the value of words, and the difference they can make in people's lives.
I know there is the constant argument that "actions speak louder than words," but I also totally believe that words on their own can provide the foundation for so many things, be it inspiration, or motivation, or compassion.
One year ago today, I started typing words on a screen without a care for where they might go. I didn't know if they would fall on deaf ears. My first blog was about how I had started on Facebook and MySpace and how I was moving into the blogosphere. My inspiration came from the blogs of two close improv friends, who still have their blogs going today.
Over the past year, I have tried to share parts of my life with you, in hopes that the lessons I have learned, and the chronicle of the journey I am taking, could possibly help someone through a tough day by their compassionate tone, their ability to make you laugh, or their ability to connect on a personal level with each and every one of you readers.
I do not pretend to be a poet. I do not pretend that my words are something important. They are just pieces of me that I want to share with you. One hundres thirty one pieces of my mind, my heart and a little bit o' soul.
So if you are new to the blog... I wanted to share some of my favorite entries with you in hopes that you might enjoy a little bit of my world, which could lead to your world being a little better.
The fourth entry "On the subject of going to Rehab" still ranks among my favorites. It was a journey in life taken through the lyrics of a song that I know was not written about me, for me, or really has anything to do with me. However, I seem to identify with it for a reason that is so "out there."
There are a lot of remembrances of my hero... my dad. The first was "On the subject of Lost and Found" which marked the two year anniversary of his passing. It's interesting as today, I received the final document from his estate, nearly three years after his passing. He is never far from my mind, and I hope in reading stories, he won't be far from yours.
This past year has brought along some incredible challenges for many of my friends... and the story of two of them are told in "On the subject of Life's Challenges." It tells the story of two friends and life changing challenges that brought courage and hope to both... and I think it will help you count your blessings as well.
I am a hugger, but have come to find there is a lot of meaning in hugs... or at least I think so in this entry from late July.
The earliest I ever wrote a blog was one Saturday morning so early, breakfast places weren't even open.
Many blog entries have been about self-realization and those moments you know that life will not be the same again. Then - there's a different me.
Last Thanksgiving, I wrote about what I was thankful for... and apparently it means even more now. Friends, real friends, were the subject of my thanks, and just a few weeks ago, my wife said nothing less than the fact she is thankful for my friends as well. The reason... they allow me to be be me. And that, my friends, is truly a blessing.
While I wrote 100 entries in 2008, I have only authored 31 in 2009. Many of the posts were inspired by those Facebook lists that everyone did for a while. 25 random facts, 48 questions were all part of the fad. They were also what led to me doing the mother of all Facebook lists.
When I clicked over to 300 friends on Facebook, it marked a wonderful time in my life, so I wanted to give thanks to the people that helped me get there... thus "300 friends, 300 stories." Never have I had so many people talk about the positive meaning of connections as I did from that post. I did a 400 version as well, but nothing was better than the original.
Life has become busy, but never too busy to try to inspire others. "Same Person, Different Life" told the stories of some of my long lost friends who I had reconnected with after many years, only to feel like I had found new friends.
The inner search for meaning in life allows for "refocusing" when life seems to be really stinking at the time. But when you have a realization that you believe may help others, it seems effortless to share it. "Into the Blue" was a blog about a dream, but I received so many notes that said the imagery helped them see a magical place in their lives.
I realize this might feel like a "Greatest Hits" album and you all want some original material. I promise I will get to some in the very near future. There are lots of words stuck in my head, and many stories to tell. I will get to them this summer... including an incredible journey to Alaska.
Thank you all for being such wonderful readers. I hope my "words" have made a positive difference in your life.
I have the worst boss in the world. He is demanding. He won't let me take any time off. He is a workaholic. He is impossible to be around sometimes. He expects me to work most holidays, but this year, I'll show him.
On the other hand, he can be lazy, with a daydreaming mind and absent from the office for days on end. He never calls, or sends e-mail and he spends a lot of time on Facebook and writing his own blog.
Some days I hate him, but most days, my heart has a soft place for him. I know he can have his challenges, which is why I can understand what he is going through.
He is driven to reach his goals all the time, but he's suffering from mid-life crisis, attempting to figure out what he wants to do in his life. At the same time, he is the one that makes the company run so I have to be supportive.
This year has been especially rough, as I know it has been for many. His way with dealing with it has been to dive in to projects outside of work to make him feel accomplished until the world stops spinning so fast. It takes away from the time he can spend with others, but it seems to be working as the more time he spends on these project, the less he is apt to bitch about others.
So on this Memorial Day weekend, I am spending some time away from the boss, but I continue to hope he will be more understanding to me when I go back to work on Monday. Wait... Monday is a holiday? I wonder if he expects me to work on Monday. Let me check.
Okay, he said for the first time in a while, that I am welcome to take the holiday off and spend it with my family. He encourages me to go take a day trip with the wife and kids, but also to remember there is work to be done and to be in the office first thing on Tuesday morning!
Can't he just let me enjoy the weekend? Nope, because he is always worrying about the next project and building business and being all creative so that his clients can have nothing but the best. Why can't he just chill and enjoy life?
Damn, it's tough to be your own boss, but I will happily live with him. I have to.
This blog began upon the inspiration of two friends from an improv class I took last spring. The class, Jet City Improv's 201, was a gathering of people from many walks of life. To me, it began as an opportunity to try a new style in improv education. I had taken almost a year of classes leading up to that class, but nothing had really clicked.
The teacher was a talented young man named Doug. Like my previous teacher, his brain ran on 78 while the rest of the world runs on 33. Through his guidance and ever present kind words and motivation, I began to understand what this world of imagination called improv was all about.
Meanwhile, I found myself in the middle of a new kind of people. None of them were tied to any work I did. Few were the sports types I usually hang out with. And each one could make me smile with an action or just a few words.
These were my friends... and by the end of the class, they felt like family.
My "Rehab Blog" entry tells the whole story of how I felt about those moments. However, the story has grown into a new dimension.
After a couple of more sets of classes, my friend Sarah had the idea of forming a group to do improv together. We called it Dutch Oven, a double entendre name inspired by something that she said in a warmup game. We met at the Ram to discuss the idea with fellow classmates Paul and Ilias. We were all so busy, we did not know how it would work out.
Using Facebook, we put a plan into action, forming a group and inviting all the members of the 201 class into the group, and set up our first "playtime." We asked some members of another class who we liked (and caught our eye), to join us. It was at the cabana of Amanda's complex and it was a fun time. I took the lead in some ways to get us through the class, but it was a group effort.
We met again, this time at Ann's house, the same night as the Jet City auditions. Here, we were joined by a new group of friends. At this rehearsal, those of us who were not auditioning did what we could to help those who were. We even went to the audition and cheered our comrades on.
That was the last time we ever got together to play, which was a shame as it seemed like things were really starting to click. However, life got in the way, as everyone had their own lives to live.
Following a workshop, Sarah and I tried to get the group back together by holding a gathering at a local bar, but by this time, many of the group were on to their own thing. Dutch Oven was to be a casual gathering at best, but not a group. When everyone went their separate ways, Sarah, Paul and I stayed behind and talked.
"We still want to do this, right?" I said to Sarah. We were all in agreement. We wanted to do something, but what? There was a fourth person there. Deb, who had thought that this was just a post class gathering, saw what had happened and added her thoughts. The four of us left the bar that day knowing we were going to do something.
So back to the drawing board we went. First with a new Facebook group to communicate with each other. Then we went on a search for people who we believed would create wonderful chemistry with the rest of the group. We found one in a classmate who seemed to be that "girl with something special." Another came from an old friend from an old show. One came from the magical family of Spring 201 and another from my 301. And the final piece, someone we saw in a showcase that just rocked our socks and made us laugh with everything he did.
Next, I consulted with a good friend from Jet City Improv to talk over the format I had in mind. I wanted to do a different kind of improv show... one with more risks and interaction with the audience. The inspiring performances of Teatro Zinzanni provided a basis for many ideas. A show within a show where no one would ever be sure who was a part of the show and who was not. When I discussed the idea, my friend thought I might be onto something. So I sent out the show idea to everyone and many came back with a confused reply. They didn't see my vision.
So now I had the show idea, and brought together this group, but I knew that for success, that for one of us to be the "leader" was going to be problematic. I had taken an improv directing class from the man who wrote the book on the subject, but I knew I did not have the experience. But I also knew, from examining my own faults, that I have a tendency to take over a room. I don't know if it's my size, or my booming voice or just my personality. I didn't want to place that on the group, so I went in search of someone who would want to grow with us.
Many groups hire coaches, but I was looking for someone who wanted the opportunity for authorship. I wanted a partner in collaboration. And someone who wanted a show to call theirs as well. So I sent a Facebook message to someone who I had remembered from an old class. I had never shared a stage with her, but I have been mesmerized every time I see her perform. Many of us had given her the nickname "the ringer" as she looked like one of those players hired as a professional to come in and make a rec team be awesome. I asked her if she would consider growing with us. And she said yes!
We began rehearsals with a "table read" so to speak, as I tried to explain in voice what I had written on the page, and that description seemed to click with the cast. This idea of improv in a non traditional performance space seemed to challenge us all to try something new.
Rehearsals became a magical world of unlocked doors. The Ringer knew how to bring out the best of us, by opening our eyes to new perspectives on the approach we knew about improv. Week by week, we were learning new things, and taking copious notes so that we would have a workbook to use to develop ourselves as improvisers.
Now, the challenge was to find the space, and I did in the most unlikely of ways. I was meeting with someone two exchange some information at a tea house in Ballard. I noticed that there was a small stage that actually had a table with chairs on it. I saw the setting that I had imagined when I had come up with idea of a "central relationship" that would drive our show. When I saw this venue was the home of music of all kinds, and stand up comedy, that they might be open to something new.
Sure enough they were. The place is called the Chai House in Ballard, and their talent booker was intrigued by this show within a show, and last week, he booked us for our first show on the second Friday in September... a day with an infamous name... September 11th.
I thought, to myself, is that the best day to start something new... and then I said, if that day can be remembered by a few people for something positive, then it can only be positive.
And so, Breakout was born... and you can follow us on our Facebook fan page as we work up to our premiere. We'll have preview videos and photos as we lead up to the opening night.
For me, this has been a lesson in persistence. I did not want to give up on a dream, so I just threw all my knowledge into it... from producing to to using Facebook, everything came together. I can't wait to see how it will all turn out.
Hello, scale. You have been nice to me. Last year, you fell faster than the stock market. I liked that. Um, the scale, not the stock market.. that stunk.
Now you are "trying to make an adjustment" and have those numbers go back up. I mean the scale and the stock market this time. For that I am mad at you. (the scale, not the stock market.)
For months, people have been glowing at me. Or is that gushing.
"Oh, you have lost weight."
"Oh, you look so good."
"Oh, Mr. Clooney."
Okay, maybe not that last one, but people have been much nicer and more complimentary.
I have found it easier to bound up the stairs at work (um, when I feel like getting to work.) I have found it easier to get to sleep (now that I take Ambien again.) And the half coke/half diet coke mix at Chipotle has been working like a charm! So much that I now have three of them before I am finished, and that's after I have stopped and had one at the local Circle K to wake me up in the morning.
And I am writing more than ever. At least, that is what I intend to do, but something is always coming up like life or work or going to the gym. Wait, I haven't been to the gym so that's not the reason.
I looked at the calendar and it lies to me to. It says I am old now. It says I am more than half way to 90 and that I could go all Jack Bauer cliffhanger any minute. Damn it!
So, Mr. Scale. I am talking to you. I am tired of you mocking me, and I am going to attempt once again to prove you wrong so you will once again feel so right.
I have a premiere to get ready for... September 11th (lovely day for a premiere, but I don't forget it.) I want to take the stage happy with my looks to make people laugh with me instead of at me.
Will you be my friend again? And by that I mean a real friend, not one of those people who wants to Facebook friend me after hearing I was a slim guy who turned out to be portly.
Okay, I am leaving now. I see a pair of warmups and running shoes in my future. I'll see you later.
I am being an awful husband this year for Mother's Day. I know it. I can't help that my soccer team scheduled their game against my son's former favorite team on Mother's Day. I can't help that one of my classes is scheduled for Mother's Day. I can't help that one of my rehearsals is sched.. um.. wait a minute. I scheduled that one.
I am an awful husband.
Of all the saluting holidays, I should understand the significance of Mother's Day. After all, I was a Mother's Day baby. However, that may explain it, as it seems that important things always seemed to be scheduled on Mother's Day.
Take for example, the day I was born. Yours truly came into this world at 6:05 AM on May the 12th, 46 years ago. On that day, my Dad rushed Mom into the hospital for what was an uneventful delivery of a boy who just happened to be a dividend of the first vacation my parents had alone since their honeymoon. In the interest of full disclosure, my sister was conceived on their honeymoon, 13 years earlier... so you can see where this is going.
Anyway, Dr. Roger O'Donnell saw my Dad after the delivery and told him that Mom would be spending the day resting. That came as great news to my Dad as he was to play for the Columbia Country Club Championship that day. He was leading the tournament.
He went to the club and promptly walked to the first tee and handed out cigars to this championship seeking group, and simply stated "my wife has just given birth to a 10 pound, 2 feet tall baby boy. Would you like to concede the game or play?" They played alright, and my Dad shot a 77 to win the championship.
Upon arriving back at the hospital that afternoon, my Dad walked into the room. Mom was holding me, and Dad was holding a silver goblet, the championship trophy. He looked at her accomplishment and looked at his and asked "So, what have you done today?" and tossed the silver goblet on Mom's bed.
(Note: When my Dad passed away, one of the few things I brought home with me was that trophy as its significance was not lost on me.)
So that is the basis for my Mother's Day celebrations, so you can see why I am a awful husband. Okay, to be clear, that is one of my Mom's favorite stories, so my Dad was not an awful husband. It was that they had a special understanding of who they were as a couple.
Ten years ago this weekend, I was preparing to welcome into the world my second child. There were lots of tears that weekend, and not all of joy. I had just flown back to Seattle after being in South Carolina for my Mom's funeral. My wife could not join me for the event as she was on bed rest, and I did not think it would be a good idea for her to even trying to take the trip.
My son was scheduled to be born on May 13th, but Gale, the wonderful wife that she is, was able to convince her doctor to move the scheduled c-section up one day... so that he would share his birthday with mine. I had no golf tournament to attend that day, so I was in the delivery room with her. Okay... that would have never happened.. the golf tournament, I mean.
About 6 weeks earlier, I had been on the phone with my Mom in what would turn out to be my last ever conversation with her. It was on that phone call that I told her that we had decided to name the baby Drew Spencer Horton, to which she responded, "that's wonderful dear, I have a whole bunch of towels and things with his initials on it."
Drew was named after my Mom, Drucie, and the initials were designed to match hers. We had no idea she would never have the opportunity to meet her grandson.
However, a few weeks ago, the towels were delivered to our house with many other items from my parent's house, along with a portrait of my Mother and a 300 pound solid marble sculpture of her, both of which now reside with great "regalness" in our dining room.
So here we are ten years later, and I am surrounded of memories of Mom, especially the fact that I live Mother's Day every day I look into my son's eyes.
While it is not fair to my bride, maybe it is a little appropriate that I am spending my Mother's Day the way I am, sharing the afternoon with the living spirit of my Mom, then doing my own thing.
Don't worry, I will find a way to make it up to my wife. The karaoke CD I bought her will make her giddy with song, and I am sure a week or so of Honey dos to boot!
"I'm not over the hill. I'm just on the back nine." - A pillow that belonged to my Dad that I brought home with me from his house.
In just 6 days, I will no longer be 45 and lost in cyberspace. Yes, the calendar page turns and with it, the sense of being young.
I know it is just a different day, and the world does not change. The perspective, however is beginning to change. On my radio is still the music of a 20 or 30 year old. My sense of humor is more of a teenager than a middle-ager. Life's dreams, goals, and challenges - now, that is a different story.
Last week, I was privileged to be given access to Seattle Golf Club to tape a series of interviews with some golfers of the past from a local university's program. In this role, I was able to talk to people with a wide range of memories from those who won a championship two years before I was born to those who just recently graduated. While all the stories were wonderful, I related more to the stories of the older generation than the younger, and that both surprised and saddened me.
Listening to the stories of the older golfers was like listening to my Dad. The camaraderie, the memories, the love they had for each other, all became very apparent. It was the kind of story I had not heard from a member of that generation since my Dad passed away three years ago.
Walking through the locker room at that club brought another fact into focus. The design of that room is eerily similar to that of the club that my Dad belonged to in Bethesda, Maryland. At "BT", I felt as though I was part of an incredible privileged group of people who had made a difference. At the Seattle Golf Club, I sadly felt like a visitor who had not achieved what I believed I could where I could be amongst the members.
Talking to the members of the championship teams, many doctors or successful business men or golf pros, I was transported back to a time when time on the course was time spent reconnecting with my Dad. A bad day on the course was better than most good days in the office.
The last time I shared a golf course with my dad was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We played in a father/son tournament, and finished just two strokes out of the awards. We came so close, but it didn't seem to matter. The next time I would see him, he would be recovering from heart surgery, unable to even get to a golf course let alone play.
The last time I saw him, we talked old golf stories, and looked at some pictures. We knew that no matter what would happen, we always had that weekend at BT.
Now, I get ready to make the turn and head to the back nine. I haven't set foot on a golf course to play since he died. It seems too painful as if I hit a good shot, that would always be the one I would want to call Dad about.
The trip to Seattle Golf Club brought with it other thoughts. Would I ever live up to the life where I felt I could belong? My life has taken such strange turns lately. My old self would be longing for the "club life" or the "good life" as my Dad always called it.
My current friends, the ones who make me happiest, are not club types, but rather ones that seem more "touchable" and more "reachable."
I don't want to give up the dream of success that allows me perks and privilege, but I never want to lose touch with the friends who have shaped my life.
The conflict seems like a 20 foot putt to force a playoff in a tournament. Making it keeps the dream alive. Missing it doesn't mean the end, but it makes you wonder what if.
Right now, the question of "what if?" seems to be taking the shape of "what could be?" Exciting and scary all at the same time.
What lies on the back nine? Do I play an iron and play it safe or go for it with the "Loco" driver that was my final golf present from my dad? I step up to the tee soon. And frankly, it's a daunting task.
Sometimes I write just to write. Many times, it's to get something off my mind.
Yesterday, in the midst of working, I told my co-worker how absolutely infuriated I was getting about the hype being given the "outbreak" of the swine flu in the media.
There are so many stories worth telling that to see the first 11 minutes of a newscast dedicated to the Swine Flu and how you are going to get it sickened me. Yes, I meant the pun.
So, in the spirit of a previous blog entry, I decided to create the Whine Flu Pandemic Central. I planted all the seeds with links about whining and such. I even took some clipart and gave it the logo treatment. Then I put out the all out effort to recruit people to "Become a Fan"
Line by line, word by word, I used humor to get out my anger at the overreaction of society to something that really does not need that much attention. And oh, by the way, did you happen to notice it's sweeps for television... that lovely time where news operations bring out the heavy lumber to tell you what you need to know so you have to, I mean HAVE TO tune in to that particular news that night.
I would understand it if there were hundreds of deaths instead of dozens of cases of this sickness throughout the country, but these stories seem to be nothing but scare tactics.
Case in point. Five schools in this area have been shut down for a week because of a "suspected case" of swine flu.
Meanwhile, just one block from my office, a doctor who was also suspected of having swine flu, treated many youngsters, not to mention had contact with parents. If this was so serious, wouldn't that entire clinic be shut down and every one of those kids alerted to inform their schools of the situation so that they could shut down, and all the businesses that this woman went to, including the place I probably had lunch, have signs saying there is a danger here?
Now I guess you might say it would be poetic justice if I caught this thing after having this opinion, but why aren't people mad as hell and not going to take this stuff anymore?
Then, yesterday, I saw a story on HBO about schools eliminating Dodgeball or Musical Chairs or any competition where there are definitive winners and losers, as they say it might hurt the morale of the people who could be excluded or, dare I say, lose.
If that were not enough, there is a school that has banned the game of tag because of the possibility of injury. Their solution, shadow tag, where you tag the person by stepping on their shadow. Oh, we aren't finished there. The school has banned all touching. I mean no touching. That means a pat on the back, a high five, a hug. These have been replaced by the "Air Five" and "Air Hugs."
Where in the hell is society going?
Well, I guess there might be one thing the two subjects I have ranted about have in common. If there was a no touching policy at all schools, the chance of spreading Swine Flu may have gone down exponentially.
I am getting off my soap box... turning off the faucet.
I am a 46 year old television producer who has a family of four, two dogs and three cats. I always found myself working on computers, now after joining MySpace & Facebook, I find myself lost in Cyberspace... like a 46 year old in a 20 something world.