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Author: ecsouza

Just a quick update!

  • We’ve set up Emi with her website, EmiPonceDeSouza.com … check out her freeze-ahead lunch project …
  • Our band, Wicked Shimmy, is performing at Magnolia Summerfest and Art Show on Saturday, August 6, from 6 to 6:45.
  • Also, my design was selected for the Summerfest poster! As a result, I was invited to submit art to sell in the art show. I will have ten pieces on display – if you’re around, check it out!
  • The kids are great … Eric Anthony will be performing with us on Saturday, and again on Sunday with the string group. Anya will be performing on violin, both with the string group, and with William, performing Turkey in the Straw in the youth talent show.
  • Swimming, track and softball practices … music, friends, a little travel around the region, and that’s what we’ve been up to!

 

In the summer of 1991, I graduated from high school and my step-mom got me a summer job in the “Cancelled and Denied” loan section of Headlands Mortgage Company in Larkspur Landing. I remember printing the phone list, and it was in two columns on the front of a letter-size piece of paper. I think there were 45 employees. And tequila Fridays.

Every summer and winter, I would be hired back, and worked with some great people within Headlands.

After college, I used my journalism degree to work at the Marin Independent Journal. My hopes of earning a reporter position by working through the composing (paste-up) department didn’t work, but then again, I only stayed four months before moving to western New York, just south of Rochester in my mother’s hometown. I first worked for Eastman Kodak in its emerging media division (Digital and Applied Imaging’s marketing team), taking care of high-end “new” digital cameras. But the long drive was less-then-ideal, and I took a job as a reporter for the local community newspaper in Hornell. I really enjoyed my time as a reporter and weekend editor, but decided I wanted to shift from the high intensity of the reporting scene to the design side of the business. I learned Photoshop, Illustrator and started learning how to make websites.

In May of 1998, I moved back to the Bay Area, into a studio apartment behind Smitty’s bar in Sausalito. It was a great spot for me. I went to work in San Rafael for Headlands’s Retail division, and there met Leslie Gibin and Pat McCauley. It was a fun time, and the company was doing well. I met my future wife, Emi, and then took a position as marketing manager on the wholesale side of things. I worked closely with a number. Steve Abreu. Peter Paul. Loretta Kelly. Sallyann Clarke. I still keep in touch with a lot of them.

Soon after, GreenPoint Mortgage purchased Headlands and S.A. Ibrahim moved in. It was a great time to be in a booming housing industry. Loan volumes were at record highs. I moved to Texas and started working remotely for GreenPoint in January 2001, with Shawna Foster, Xavier Grier and the rest of the team producing marketing material. I set up the first email database that GreenPoint had, getting AE Sales teams to send us their email lists for corporate communications. I produced the flyers and other design work, and worked on the Intranet. It was an ideal position for me, as my wife was by this point in Medical School and we were a young family in San Antonio. But in 2007, the industry imploded and we all know what happened there. When GreenPoint announced it would close, we were a week away from our third baby. I knew I wouldn’t find another position that would allow me to work from home (which was important to us with the kids and my wife’s demanding schedule). So I went to work for myself.

EC Creative Solutions was an LLC I formed in Texas. I developed websites and provided marketing services for a variety of clients. I connected with the owners of the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter and they kept funneling projects my way, making banner ads for advertisers. Usually, along with a banner ad, they needed website work as well. This was an industry in flux, and there were a number of entrepreneurial businesses being formed. People needed sites and landing pages for Loan Mods. Debt Settlement. Refinance. Reverse Mortgages. Title Loans. Payday Loans. They all needed web and design. And I needed clients.

One of those clients was Jordan Rolband, whom I became friends with. Along with another friend, programmer Mike Greene, we formed Delta Leads LLC, and generated leads by making landing pages, letting affiliates drive traffic to them, and selling the leads to the buyers. It was a great and exciting venture, but with my move to Seattle, we closed that business.

I attended five Affiliate Summits in Las Vegas and New York, and learned a lot about how the game is played from both sides of the fence. I’ve worked with terrific publishers who have given us great leads. I also learned about the seedier side of the industry, and worked hard to eliminate the low-converting sources.

In 2012, we moved to Seattle, and have fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest. I’ve continued to develop websites and work with clients. I have been writing. I’ve been enjoying having a flexible schedule to spend time with my children and my wife. Emi’s schedule as a Neonatologist is erratic, so we understand and work with that. I feel blessed that I’m at a point where I can take the challenges I want.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been working with Mortgage Compliance Magazine, managing their website and doing occasional design and writing. Publisher Ben Slayton was friends and worked with Peter Paul. And I’m again in touch with old friends from Headlands and GreenPoint, looking at other fun and new projects.

It’s been nearly 25 years of working with people from the old Headlands days. I’m excited to see what the next years will bring.

Use whatever cliché you’d like. “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” … “You Are What You Wear” … “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” …

Mid-80s hair band-references aside, there’s a reason those quotes have been as used as they have. People will judge you by your personal presentation.

Personal presentation (have I shaved today?) and professional presentation (are the icons on my page loading correctly?) both help me determine how I want people to see me and to interact with me.

This new website is a start. I haven’t used it much since we’ve moved to Seattle, but it needed an update, since I’m selling my services for developing websites. My old site was 6-years-old, orange, sliced-image-heavy HTML . I’ve learned a few things, and I’d be doing myself a disservice not to show my best face. Put my best foot forward. And shake it all about. (Yes, you also get occasional children-song-references.)

Plus, I got some new cords and winter shirts, and I’m shaving pretty regularly. So there’s that.

In any case, I understand the importance of a professional presentation. Of how it can help get you better results. Of how being nice and clear in your messaging is better than scolding your dogs. Unless of course your associates are dogs, in which case, scold away.

A song has been running through my head … here’s a little Joan Jett to close out this post.

 

By William Souza-Ponce, as told to his adoring father.

“Exactly,” says William.

 The mutants and the city of Abalar’s soldiers are in war, while the Jedi council doesn’t know anything about it.

The soldiers contact them and ask for help.

The Jedi council sends a bunch of ships, one boat, and a Jedi master. But what they do not realize is that they will not make it.

While the soldiers are fighting, the mutants attack them from above. Luckily, the soldiers have planes and helicopters. No spaceships. But planes and helicopters. While one of the mutants tries to take out a bazooka guy, one of the reinforcements shoots that guy down.

“Finally!” Says the bazooka guy.

Then a helicopter realizes that they already have a helicopter. So he’s like, “They already have a helicopter? Then why did they call for me?” So he didn’t attack – he was just thinking of why they called him, as one of the mutants took him out.

Then he realizes, right as he gets wiped out, that the others didn’t make it. The Jedi made it, but none of the others did.

After the mutants take out most of the army, the Jedi quickly pulls out its light saber. “Wait, this is a dark saber?” asks the Jedi, realizing that her light saber was a dark saber instead of a light saber.

Suddenly, one of the mutants shoots laser beams at the Jedi. The Jedi realizes with the Force that she has to retreat. Then suddenly the laser beam went through the dark saber. That’s when the Jedi didn’t make it.

Later, without realizing it, all of the mutants wiped out themselves by blowing up the whole entire city of Abalar. But not the whole planet, luckily.

THE END.


“The Ghost Ship” & “The Bizarro Super Powers… by Sidney_Tucker

This morning, looking out the window, I saw the tree starting to have little white flowers … a harbinger of spring, so to speak. And while the cold rain is still falling and we’re planning on going skiing again next week, it’s obvious that we are on the way out of winter.

So many things have been going on keeping us busy! Here is a brief update, in lieu of regular posts. But of course, those are found easily enough on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve signed up to assistant coach both Eric Anthony’s and Anya’s baseball and softball teams. William decided not to do tee-ball again this year … we’ll see if he wants to play next year. I get it … it can be a boring sport when you’re so little. He did great playing soccer, which was faster-paced and pretty simple. Run after the ball, don’t touch it with your hands, and get the ball into the net. They all played soccer this past season.

I am also now part of a local writers’ group – Magnolia Chapter One. We just put together a website (Thanks Raven!) and are meeting monthly, reviewing our writing projects and getting valuable feedback. I’ve been continuing to write my book, and have been loving the experience of researching the period in which it’s set. I’m also really lucky to have such a fantastic editor “in-house” so to speak. Emi has had great feedback, and is a huge help in getting the most out of the text.

Work has been going well for Emi, too … we are so glad we came to Seattle! She really likes the practice, and has been making lots of great relationships in the hospitals where she works. She just ran the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon, and has signed up for two more half marathons this year.

The kids are doing well. Eric Anthony and Anya have their first communion in May, and William will have his next year. They’ve all been doing Sunday School (lots of coloring pictures about what they see in church and hear about from Bible stories). I updated the website for Our Lady of Fatima parish, and have been talking with Father Phil about setting up a podcast for him to record and publish his homilies.

We’ve been taking advantage of living up here and have taken the kids skiing a few times this winter at Stevens Pass. We’ve all taken lessons, and the kids are already skiing the “blue runs” (intermediate level).

I’ve been doing a few contracting projects for work, which has been nice to continue as I’ve been writing. I put together and have been maintaining the website for Mortgage Compliance Magazine, and recently wrote an article featuring S.A. Ibrahim, the CEO of Radian. I’ve known S.A. since our days with GreenPoint, and it was nice to reconnect with him.

We’re excited that baseball is back, and have gone in on season tickets for the Mariners with some of Emi’s partners. Can’t wait to get back to the ballpark!

It’s also nice to have Emi’s parents living up here nearby. It’s so nice for the kids to be around their grandparents.

Other recent projects … I’ve done some other websites and design projects, including:

I’ve been helping my friends Tamura, Monica and Darnell from The Feminist Wire, and they’ve been doing a tremendous effort and getting great results on their website.

We’ve been continuing to work with the kids on music, and recently purchased two ukuleles … Eric Anthony has taken to it and has been making great advances. I walked by him practicing the other day and heard this great little picking pattern he came up with. Their new teacher is terrific, and thinks they’re ready to pick up the guitar again soon.

Let’s see, what else … I’ve been volunteering with a couple of local groups. I’m the registrar on the board for Magnolia Little League, and also doing communications on the board for the Catharine Blaine K-8 PTA, doing the weekly newsletter and email broadcasts.

So there we go! A quick update on life here in the beautiful pacific northwest. Long story short, we’re loving Seattle, and life is great. 🙂

I just realized I haven’t posted here for a long time! Here is a brief update on what’s been happening with me over the past few months …

  • I won the election for president.
  • I won Powerball.
  • I defeated the Taliban.
  • I won America’s Next Top Chef
  • I achieved Nirvana

OK, not exactly. But here’s a little update …

  • Eric Anthony and William are playing baseball! I am coaching Eric Anthony’s team (The Discovery Wellness Sluggers – a great little team of 8- and 9-year-olds) and I’m assistant coaching William’s KOM Consulting Green Machine tee-ball team.
  • Eric Anthony has been growing by leaps and bounds. Last night he tried his hand at catching!gunnar-EA
  • I kept up my quest to lose 15 pounds. I’m stuck at 10. But hey, it’s better than sitting around and eating Snickers.
  • I’m getting ready to go fishing on Thursday for trout at American Lake near Tacoma. I love Springtime!
  • My writing continues …
  • Emi has been having a lot of fun organizing and using our new Silhouette Cameo cutter and color printer. We’ve been labeling everything. Seriously, everything. My keyboard is now labeled. I’m surprised she hasn’t labeled my pants yet. (I hope she doesn’t read this and get the idea.)
  • We went in with Emi’s work group on Mariners season tickets … looking forward to opening day!
  • I’ve been working on a new affiliate site and have been getting some decent organic traffic. www.OfficialLicensed.com
  • Eric Anthony, Anya and William participated in their school’s Variety Show, and did a fantastic speed-reading version of John “Mighty Mouth” Moschitta’s Robin Hood. It was a riot!
  • Anya’s dance recital is coming soon … she’s been doing ballet and tap. My little beauty. 🙂
  • Anya and Eric Anthony are both taking weekly guitar lessons. The latest song … El Condor Pasa. Their instructor, James, is terrific!

More soon!

******************

OK, Anya just read the post. She came up to me and taped this to my leg. So yes, now my pants are labeled, too.

Eric Souza Pants

 

It’s been raining pretty hard lately. Emi’s been on call two of the past three days, and it’s been hard to be motivated to do anything except have “lazy days” as the kids are home for Thanksgiving week.Anya helping Emi make the cranberries for Thanksgiving

This morning I took the kids to the Seattle Aquarium, and we had a great time there, but other than that (and a few errands run), we’ve hung out around the house.

It’s days like these that can be difficult for me in my challenge to lose 15 pounds before the end of the year. I’ve had to resist temptation more than normal. I know I don’t really need to eat, but I am regularly finding myself thinking about food more than normal. So I usually grab an apple or some baby carrots to munch on and tide me over until mealtime, but today was more difficult than it should have been.

Tonight I went back on Facebook and looked through old photos. We all have pictures of ourselves that we don’t like too much for one reason or another, but I intentionally looked back at pictures of me when I was heavier, and then at ones when I was more fit … just to remind myself that I look happier, healthier and better when I’m not as heavy.

I don’t want to lose momentum. I’m nearly two weeks into my challenge, and I want to continue moving in the right direction. We’re having our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday (since Emi will be on call Thursday we just moved it up a day … have to be flexible with dates in our family) and I will need to watch my consumption from that meal and after.

So I’ve allowed myself a couple of “treat” luxuries. A couple of nights ago, I had a small cup of Emi’s homemade “rompope” (like a spiked Mexican eggnog). This afternoon I made the kids a hot chocolate, and I had one too. And now I’m thinking about it, wondering if it was worth it for me to feel guilty. Then I feel weak … not only for having it, but for feeling guilty afterward. Hell, if I’m going to indulge, I should enjoy it, or what’s the point?

Anyway! We’ll see how things are progressing. We have a pretty full week ahead with parent-teacher conferences, holiday portraits, and of course, Thanksgiving.

Pocket Your Dollars Book, Carrie Rocha Book, Pocket Your Dollars 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make

I am so excited for my blogging friend, Carrie Rocha! I met her and her husband at an Affiliate Summit a couple of years ago, and we’ve kept in touch since, talking about her money-saving efforts and her new website, pocketyourdollars.com. It’s a great personal finance site that helps people get out and stay out of debt.

Carrie just wrote a book, and it’s Barnes & Noble’s Deal of the Day through Tuesday November 20 at 8:59 EST. It won’t be on store shelves around the country until January 1, but through Tuesday morning, pre-ordered books are being offered at half-price ($6.99) at BN.com. These copies will ship on or about December 19, and this offer is not available in-store.

This $6.99 price is the best price we’ll see for this book, or its Kindle or Nook versions, for months. If you want to buy this for yourself or as a gift, NOW is the time to do it.

The book is called Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make. It’s a great angle for a personal finance book in that it doesn’t start with the budget worksheet, but with your attitudes about money. Here’s how Barnes &  Noble summarizes the book:

“Carrie Rocha, founder and owner of Pocket Your Dollars.com shares the secrets that will help you change the way you think about money. Seven years ago, she and her husband were surprised to discover the mountain of debt they’d accumulated. They knew they’d have to make big changes. Thirty months later they were debt free and have stayed that way ever since.

How did they do it? It wasn’t through a step-by-step financial program or spending plan. It turns out, budgets can’t fix everything—real change takes an attitude adjustment.”

Go ahead and pre-order your copy today.


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