Tag Archives: Providence Train Station

On a Train Bound for Nowhere

On a Train (Yacht) Bound for Nowhere
Photo-A-Day #1584

Today was the 1st day of Affiliate Summit East. I started off at 5:30am with a quick shower and change and kissed and hugged Allison and I was on my way to the Providence Amtrak Station. I decided that travel by rail was better than driving down from home. I was right, On the train I had time to sit and watch a couple of episodes of Wine Library TV with Gary Vaynerchuk. I didn’t get to meet him tonight, dang, someday Gary we are gonna chat about the He-Man characters and other 80s stuff you bring out from time to time on your show. Getting into the station is not as easy as the directions lead you to believe. The directions take you to the front of the building, which is fine if you are dropping someone off but if you are parking in the garage – $8.55 max per day, information I could find NOWHERE online so I’m sharing with you. you have to go past the building loop around by the Roger Williams National Park. Good thing for the Roger Williams Paddle Trail and Ten Mile River Watershed Council. And then come back up the 1st street you come to. Then you park down in the parking garage. From there it is upstairs, scan your receipt get your tickets and wait till the train comes.

Trains are so much better than airplanes. Oh my God they are! The only problems I saw were that since you can just get on a train anywhere except for the 1st car (unless you are in business class) it is hard to know what seats are reserved and which ones aren’t. Well, I guess it isn’t too hard since there are little pink tickets that the conductors put above the seats. However, I failed to see them and the conductor made me go to the next car. I passed a person sleeping and who was sitting in backwards facing seats. I took the seat right behind them. Big mistake. That person woke up and proceeded to talk at the loudest volume on their cell phone, which kept cutting out. One young woman asked the person to please talk louder and that person said, “You better not be talking to me.” This was someone who was not going to let the conventions of modern polite society dictate anything that they did. So I sacrificed some of my hearing and just turned up my ipod. When Jimmy Buffett didn’t help lighten my mood I went the other way and listened to some angry hair band stuff. It wasn’t until that person asked the conductor what time it was and the conductor said, as the person asked again, “I heard you sir.” The person then said, “Maam!” It was then I realized that this “guy” behind me was actually a woman. A woman that would make Mike Tyson cry. So other than the constant running commentary about people using the bathroom and not being able to lock the doors correctly and the speakerphone shouting conversation for 2 hours of the ride the train was still better than flying.

When I got into Penn Station I hopped on the subway and was going to make a series of complicated connections but instead went to the next station went up to the street and walked to the hotel. Today was Dominican Day in New York and it happened that the parade route was straight up the avenue of the Americas, the same street as my hotel. So after a few detours and police roadblocks I made it to the hotel and up to check in for Affiliate Summit. The first person I saw was Brett Bumeter, also an IZEA Insider. Brett showed me where to go and I got registered and my badge and swag bag. Inside the swag bag was Chris Brogan‘s Book Trust Agents, some Verve! Energy Drink, a copy of Feed Front and a $100 coupon for new advertisers to use Sponsored Tweets as wells as SocialSpark. So, some good stuff!

I couldn’t get into my room yet and I wasn’t going to drag my suitcase through the meet market so I settled in for my 1st session which was Dynamic Shopping – Content, Conversion Analytics. I wanted to go to Getting Noticed Fast but was running late so I settled for this one. I didn’t get much out of it. But it gave me a place to relax, drop my suitcase and stop sweating from my walk across town. I have to say the panel was all over the place and no one really gives you much info. You have to buy their systems for that. No thanks, not that interesting. Brett was in that one and we sat together. After the session was over he left and I took his seat to power up my cell phone. I tweeted like a madman on the train – yet another reason it is better than a plane. I also took stock of my swag bag and other stuff. I met a guy named Greg from www.Home123.com. We chatted about IZEA and SocialSpark and I made sure that he knew about his coupon.

Greg sat in on the second session that was Personal Branding 2.0 which was done by Stephanie Agresta (@stephagresta) and Sara Austin (@pop17). The session was a good one but an hour was certainly not enough time to delve into all the topics. I kept saying to myself. The topic they are talking about now, I wrote a blog post about that months ago. Afterward I chatted with Stephanie and told her that I would send her some of those posts. I wrote it on the back of her business card so that I would remember, tweeted to myself and also am writing this now so I had better not forget.

I didn’t stick around for the 3rd session because I was getting a bit tired and I wanted to go relax before heading out on the Valiant Yacht tour with MarketLeverage. Dina Riccobono got me a ticket to get on the yacht so I didn’t have to stow away. I got down to the lobby and hung around until my friend, and fellow IZEA Insider, Heather of BoatingBeautifulBritishColumbia came by with her friend and famous blogger Murray Newlands. We talked and used our Xshots and had a great time hanging in the lobby. Then it was time to go and we made our way out to the limos. MarketLeverage does things in a big way. There was a little wait but things worked out in the end. Heather and Murray took a different limo and I hung out with Brian Hawkins (pingo.com) and his friend Ryan. Brian is the Affiliate Marketing Manager for Pingo and he’s based in Boston. So I think we’re going to have to catch up after this weekend for sure. Brian, Ryan and I chatted about all things IZEA and SocialSpark, Sponsored Tweets and PayPerPost while we waited for our limo. I was getting hungry and I had managed to miss getting something for lunch like a dolt. So I ran across the street to a vendor and got a pretzel and a diet coke. That pretzel tasted so good! The limo for us arrived as I was getting my change, which makes sense because the transportation always comes when you are not sitting there right on top of it, waiting.

As we rode across town I talked with Udi Schlessinger of The Industry Review (The Industry Review). He’s one interesting guy. We had a great conversation that extended on to the boat. We went up tot he front of the boat and chatted, we were joined by Kim Rowley of www.KiMarketing.com and John Daly of Name Connect, LLC. After talking a while I realized that Kim was actually a person who had taken part in my CPC opp on SocialSpark but she was not part of my crew. I blurted, “You’re the Glitch!” Apparently my street team was so large that it threw a strange sort of glitch into SocialSpark that allowed people not on the crew to take opps. We’ve since gotten that fixed. It was fun talking with John and Kim and taking shots of the NY sky. The clouds were awesome. I didn’t take the good camera – why, don’t ask, I’m an idiot and wanted to be more mobile.

I did take many photos with the Xshot though and tried to give out all the business cards in my pocket, I gave out many but not all. The boat ride was a lot of fun and there were so many big name guys on the boat like John Chow, Zac Johnson and Jim Kukral. John was videotaping everything and at one point was in the gallery with Casey Thompson asking her about the dinner and video taping. I only know this because I was passing by the window and saw him in there and took this shot.

John Chow and Casey Thompson

The meal was fantastic and Casey Thompson was such a sweetheart. When we passed by the Statue of Liberty Casey was out at the rail talking to one of the crew about how beautiful it was. I then went into the galley and introduced myself and asked if I could take a photo with Casey. I used my Xshot but forgot to zoom out from the previous shot so we are a little close up in the photo and there is no statue behind us.

Casey Thompson and BenSpark

Later on someone else took a nice shot of the two of us.

Casey Thompson and BenSpark

Casey was really nice and worked so hard. She made some delicious appetizers, main course and great dessert. I gave her one of my cards. Later on a woman that I met, Erin, was saying that she wanted to meet Casey and get her picture taken with her but her camera had died. I was only too happy to help out. Here is how that shot came out. I ended up being handed camera after camera by various people for additional shots. No problem I love helping in that way.

Also on board I was interviewed by Dina Riccobono for MarketLeverage TV. She totally nabbed me on the spot about what Affiliate site was my favorite. I’ve got my love for IZEA which is not really an affiliate site, they do so much more with the sponsored conversations and sponsored tweets, so I went with MarketLeverage as they have been so good to me and my family and there really are some great opportunities with them. So not slight on my IZEA peeps. I love you guys. Dina gave me two shirts that say “I’m On a Yacht!” Affiliate Summit East 2009. That is a take on the Andy Samberg tune, “I’m on a Boat”.

Sadly it was time to dock and head back tot he hotel. Ont he way back I had a lively talk about Transformers, G.I. Joe and the 80’s toys I love with Jim Kukral (thebizwebcoach.com) and Thiago Prado of (whataboutbrazil.com) as well as Udi (we caught back up). Jim challenged me with some great ways to monetize my blog as well as some ideas for podcasts. We’re going to talk more on this. Well, that is it, Affiliate Summit East Day 1 in the can. I’m heading to bed. I’m sure I left some things out and I apologize if I left out any person, I tried to catch everyone. I did try to talk less and listen more but man I was so fired up with all the fun topics and things we were talking about I had to catch myself more than once and ask more questions of the people I was with. Still working on that. Thanks again Dina for getting me on the MarketLeverage Yacht.

BenSpark and Dina Riccobono

Here are the rest of my photos from Day one of Affiliate Summit East.

Oh My Gosh!

Oh My Gosh!
Photo-A-Day #1576

Somewhere along the way Eva picked up the phrase Oh My Gosh! She is very emphatic as she says it too. We’re not sure who actually gave her that one but she is loving it and she was entertaining quite a few people at our friend Jen’s party tonight.

Today was a busy one for us. We started out with a little Blue’s Clues as this is Eva’s new favorite thing. Thank goodness for Noggin on Comcast on Demand. I’ve gotten into watching Blue’s Clues too. I love it when Eva says “Ska-doo”. We watched for a bit and then I mowed the lawn. Finished that up and we walked down to the North Attleboro Farmer’s Market that happens in our town every Saturday from 9-12 in front of Community School. I really like that there is a quick little place that we can go to on a Saturday morning as a family and purchase very fresh vegetables and other foods. There is a blog too for the Farmer’s Market, way to use new technology to help with a traditional style program.

On the way back we stopped at a new market in town. They have great falafel and gyros. Allison stops there for those once in a while and I like to see new businesses in town succeed. While there we picked up a gyro and also some Turkey Hill Ice Cream. This was a Limited Edition flavor that is something that is so simple that it should have been made so long ago. A mocha based ice cream with cookie dough and cookies and cream, fantastic! I had some of that tonight and yeah it was fantastic. Does Turkey Hill have an opening for a blogger taste tester? I’ll throw my hat in the ring!

Then it was time to get some things done for Affiliate Summit East. I was in dire need of Business Cards so the other day I tried making some online at FedEx Kinkos. I saw that I needed to get a rush on the cards in order to get them to me on time for the conference. So I figured that I go to an actual FedEx Kinkos shop and see if I can get the business cards printed today. The local FedEx Kinkos near me does not print anything. Nothing. They have a kiosk where you can design your own business cards and other things that are sent to a place where they print them all and ship them to you or to the store. So I went to the kiosk and tried to upload the business card that I had designed on the computer in the proper size, or so I thought. I ended up going with editing a design that they had but I did get my photo on it as well as my logo on the back. With all the little extras and the rush I ended up having to overpay a bit. So I guess I should have planned better. Here are the two designs that I was thinking of doing but didn’t end up able to use them. Let me know what you think of the designs that didn’t make it.



. This is the final one, however it is just the proof on yellow paper.

#ase09 business cards done ...

You’ll have to come visit me at Affiliate Summit 2009 and get one. The front has a nice blue on it and uses blue and black writing. The back is black and white.

I got back to the house and there was a message from the Hilton that I’ll be staying at for Affiliate Summit. I looked closer at the reservation and realized that I had made it for August 8 – 11 that meant that I’d be going down on Saturday and back on Tuesday. That won’t do. I’m heading down Sunday. If I headed down to Affiliate Summit on Saturday I’d miss the annual Wing Off. And believe me I am not missing a Wing off! So I made the change and saved a boatload of money. So happy about that because the business cards are going to set me back and then I’ve decided to take the train from Providence to New York’s Penn Station to get to Affiliate Summit. The fare is only $117.00 and I decided that train was better than driving. I get 3 hours down and 3 hours back to get things worked on. I’m pretty sure I’m going to save money and sanity over driving and using the valet.

So on to tonight. This evening we had a good time having dinner with our friend Beth. We had the corn on the cob that we got at the Farmer’s Market as well as the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. It was delicious. We did make a good choice buying the food locally. We’ll try and get there more often.

After dinner we headed over to our friend Jen’s for a little party. Eva of course charmed everyone and I got to talk to quite a few people about blogging and the upcoming trip. I met a guy who works for GyPSii, which is a mobile app for updating where you are and what you are doing. We talked together about Utterli, Zannel and Radar.net. It was a very interesting conversation and I’ve signed up for GyPSii which is apparently huge in China and is starting to catch on here.

After talking with that guy I talked with another guy who was really interested in my camera. We talked about my Photo-A-Day project and how he did paranormal investigations and debunked photos of suspected paranormal sightings. We also talked about how something small mentioned on the blog can become something really big, for example, Fry Sauce is something I mentioned on the blog once and then I did a contest and now I get comments occasionally on the Fry Sauce posts. It was pretty fun to talk with these new folks. I’m really getting geared up to meet new and exciting people next week and dusting off the rust on my conversational skills was just the thing I needed to get ready.

When I got home from the party (I took Eva home early) My tickets to the Market Leverage Yacht Party were waiting for me. Thank you Dina Riccobono