Mobile Marketing

When we were in Issaquah we were working hard at finding work as a Family.  We were convinced we would find something where we can work together, because we had realized over the past year how powerful we were as a team.

So we researched Mobile Marketing. Mobile Marketing are tours that are set up to promote products.  You see these kinds of promotions at festivals and events where they are set up with cool vehicles and free samples.  So we built a resume and took some photos to send out to the companies who hire for this kind of work.  Thought it would be cool to have a Family representin’ Family products like X-Box, Sony, Microsoft, even the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile.

We set up the house as a photo studio and started taking photos to send out.

Then this photo helped change everything.  You will find that had become the logo for all things barenaked.  But we had not yet locked onto the name barenakedfamily, it was still GregJennandKids.com.

But we considered MooMooand Bunny.com among other names.

We even went to local stores to generate creativity and we took photos wearing their clothes.  Secretly.

Gregissonotahunter.com?

The Tiger Woods look.

Hyperlite boards created by our friend Herb O’Brien, H.O. Water sports.

We had tons of fun taking these photos and were feeling like we would be a great fit with Mobile Marketing.  We sent out tons of proposals and resumes to the companies, but the world was not really ready for us yet.  We put a huge amount of work and time into this but were able to come out of it with an abundance of information on this type of work.  Years later it helped us when we were working with BNFamily Foundation and the tour proposals we had to come up with.  So it was a  good use of time after all.

But all months come to an end as July ’02 let August ’02 roll in and we still felt clueless but closer, to something… not sure what.  Feeling frustrated without knowing what our purpose was, we continued to out pictures on the website for friends and Family to see what we had been up to.  The website was also continuing with the lame writing and cheesy photos, but we didn’t know any better.

July ’02

After coming home from Roche Harbor we settled into our cute two bedroom, 700 sq. foot rental duplex right in the middle of downtown Issaquah.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  We could walk to everything in town and lived right next door to the skate park.  We took our stuff out of storage and set up with the few things we kept before hitting the road.  Our friend Van hooked us up with a guy who we could borrow more stuff from and, well more on that whole thing later.

We lived on the bottom and three young single guys lived on top.

Ahhh…the taste of fresh picked blackberries that grow everywhere in Issaquah.  We would pick them anytime we went on a hike.  Sunny likes them a lot.

We also found Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle and went to pay our respects as all Nirvana fans do.  We thought this was his house at first and asked a few of the neighbors if we were right.  Turns out we were not.  We were still honing our Pro-Fan abilities then.

We found Kurt’s house and for those of you who don’t know who Kurt Cobain was ~ he was brilliant.  Came from a small town in Washington.  Parents divorced.  Kurt lived under bridges.  He had passion.  He was bright eyed.  Started a band.  He started taking heroin.  He got famous.  He changed music as we know it.  He had a family.  He loved his family.  Bought a house.  Traveled the world.  Stood up against the music business.  He tried to get out.  But they wouldn’t let him.  Suicide sucks.  We love you Kurt.

There is a public park right next to his property that has been taken over by the emotion he left behind. We ran into the groundskeeper in front of Kurt’s old house and got to talk with him for a little bit (having kids helps make adults look a little less crazy fanatic like). The guy told us that the garage that Kurt’s body was found in had been torn down. The house sat empty for years before the current residents purchased it. They knew little about Kurt and his profound effect on millions of fans and the music industry. They soon learned. The groundskeeper told us there are always fans milling around the house, and most tend to be respectful and safe. However, there was one that found the gate open one day and came racing inside the grounds in her car, jumped out and ran inside taking snapshots of the place like some crazy paparazzi that doesn’t respect trespass laws. She left as fast as she came. Other fans throw mementos and flowers over the fence on a regular basis. There are candle light vigils held in the park on significant days in Kurt’s life. We miss you Kurt. But we gotta get back to Issaquah for the…

Fourth of July parade through downtown Issaquah.  Warning – lots of cheesy photos but cool to see tons of Dads involved.

Even if they were a little fruity.

Or a lot fruity. They were there. And that rules.

At the local park where we hang out often and now lived across the street from, the festival followed with some events and a pie eating contest.  The kids always have hated pie, but for some reason they started liking pie when they heard about the contest.  Hmmm.

What?  I like pie.  For real, I do.

OK, well, yes, yes I do like pie.  Why are you looking at me like that?

I love pie, emmm emmm good.

The kids have not touched pie since.  They do not like pie.  I repeat they do not like pie.

Yet another parade in Seattle, we have soooo many pictures of people we don’t know ~ Why do we do this?

Cuz ya wicked retahted. (…and that was an olympian)

Greg was a little too excited to find our Bronco that we had to sell when we hit the road. It was our favorite ride in the whole world, ever. We found it back in Issaquah after some serious use by the guy that bought it.  We got the Bronco after we bought our first new car ever, a baby blue Ford Windstar Minivan in Austin, TX.  So not us.  Well, as we drove our minivan around our son Austin started gymnastics at a local place and we ended up with a ‘My son is in gymnastics at…’ bumper sticker.  Jenn remembers thinking should I put it on the minivan?  YES, she put it on the minivan!!!  Gahhh…What the heck would you do in a situation like that?  Well, after that our friend Greg Hudgins saw it and flipped out.  You see Greg is cool, and he fell on his knees screaming ‘You didn’t, NOOOOO you didn’t put the gymnastics bumper sticker on the minivan.‘  Crying profusely, he was shocked at our actions as a fellow cool long hair Austin dude.  After that we took the sticker off, but we already felt violated.  Soon after, we traded the minivan in for the Bronco (which cost us dearly, but was well worth it).  Big Texas tube bumpers, four wheel drive, and roll bar.  We then went to dinner with Greg Hudgins and afterwards proceeded to drive over the giant curb when we left.  Greg respected us again.

We then sold it to a young guy and was sure that it would have a good home.  Well, it did.  Notice the missing part of the bumper.  It also had a few more dents and the tires had clearly been used as in drunk spinning and smoking.  Used and abused as a strong truck should be. Good.

At the local community center we would often go and play with the kids.  They set the kids up with all kinds of programs and friends.  Good times.

Greg and our neighbor Mike would often stop the game for a Broadway musical.

Shannon is our friend and now Mike’s girlfriend.  We owned her before Mike did.  We became great friends with Shannon years ago when she moved from Apple Valley in California to live with our Tiger Mountain neighbor and her uncle, John Lennon (aka: Van). She had since rented her own apt and would come to our rental and spend time with us. Mike lived upstairs from us with those single guys that would complain about our constant partying, but he was one of the cool ones that would come party with us. He and Shannon did the hookup at one of our late night Raves. They have been together since Mike quit listening to the Tom Leykis radio show.

During our time in this rental, we would spread out and were actively working on what was next for us with work.  Had a lot of ideas and spent many hours working at them.  Spending time with Shannon and Mike was a nice break for us.

This is what happens when you park in our spot.

Shaun was Mike’s other roommate upstairs and took us out on his boat to wake board on Lake Sammamish.  These guys all worked for H.O. Water sports, formerly known as O’Brien, making wakeboards and accessories.  But the owner Herb O’Brien had a drug problem  and went to jail when he was caught smuggling drugs inside water-skis.  He was ordered to give up rights to his name and multi million dollar business when he went to jail.  But in true Trump style business, he came back, used his initials H.O. for the name, and built up his business to another multi million dollar business with new skis, wake boards, and apparel.  We were later invited to an employee party with Shaun and Mike at O’Briens estate.  It was wicked.

Video that we will probably never watch.

Shaun and these guys lived for wake boarding. All their money and time went to their sport which is probably why they didn’t like the crazy Family living downstairs.

These guys were living rich with little money. They worked to pay for what they love to do ~ got a deal on wakeboards and such and spent their money boat payments, an apt near the lake, a truck to tow the boat, and beer.

During our stay in Issaquah, we got to take a drive that we hadn’t done before on Chuckanut drive. Seriously ~ Chuckanut is not a sport but is a cool drive north of Seattle that winds along Puget Sound to Bellingham near the Canadian border. Bellingham is a really cool college town of just the right size and comes up on our list of places we could consider living for some time. Above is a view of Mt. Baker from Bellingham.  Volcanoes like this are a common sight in Washington ~ Baker, Rainier, St. Helens, Hood, and Shasta are all in the same chain of volcanoes in the area and are more powerful and unpredictable than people and nuclear weapons.  They are covered by glaciers and are only seen a few days out of the year because of the amount of rain and over cast skies in the area.

Back in the Seattle area, we saw the Blue Angels.  This is on one of the floating bridges going into Seattle.  Notice how long they are.  Right before the show the bridges are shut down to traffic and people are allowed to walk on the road.  We thought it would be very cool to walk to the middle and sit to watch the water and show.  We didn’t know that they were going to shut it down to people during the show… when that time came a guy had to walk all the way to the middle to get us and walk all the way back with us in front of thousands.  Embarrassing.

As road people, we learn that you don’t need to live in one place to build close friends and relationships. We talk to the Nodlands on the phone about once every 2-3 months and it turned out they were in the Seattle area when we were. We tend to stumble across each others paths around the country a couple of times a year. They came by to see us when we were in Issaquah with Akumi from Japan.  Akumi saw the NHK TV documentary in Japan that our two families were featured in (and how we met the Nodlands). Akumi contacted the Nodlands and asked if she could come over and travel with them for a few weeks.  She was going to college to study the travel industry and would actually get credit for this.  This would also be her first trip to America, so her dad arranged to come with her and check the Nodlands out before leaving her with them.  They spent a few days together and when he felt comfortable he went back to Japan and Akumi got to travel for two weeks with the Nodlands.  She had her first barn dance experience with them as well as seeing the desert.  She was impressed with the vastness of the desert, because where she comes from it is packed with buildings and people.  Nice socks Ed.  Real nice.

Mitch and Max Nodland have grown up on the road and their adventures are chronicled on roadschool.com. The Nodlands have been living in houses in Arizona and San Diego since around 2003 after something like seven years in an RV. They got the San Diego house (Mission Beach cottage) for a home school project where the kids were to learn how to purchase, renovate, and sell real estate after Max showed an interest in the real estate market and found a great deal on it in late 2002. They have since finished renovation and lived in it, let us live in it, and decided to keep it for some time. Then they found a great deal on a house with a big workshop in Arizona and bought it to build sand rails. One of their last road adventures before purchasing and living between the houses was to Alaska in the winter to run buffalo up the frozen Yukon to the sisters homestead. Can’t make this stuff up.

But what’s interesting is what happens from living on the road ~ you run out of stuff to see and do and challenge yourself to be creative in your adventures outside the box. It gets old to hear from people that can’t get out of the box ~ how do you do it? Assuming that you have to be rich to do something like this. Not the case. The Nodlands have a job that pays them a median income that they do over the internet, ie: telecommute. We used home equity that equaled less than a median annual income to cover expenses for about a year of traveling and brainstorming Family biz opportunities. We’ve met so many that live on the road working in construction, medical fields, internet and telecommuting, camp hosting, vending, performing, contracting, taking any job along the way and moving on. It’s being done by people that are no different than those that choose to spend their time and energy working ‘inside the box’.

Our boxes are just different and we only sleep and eat in them spending most of our time ‘out there’. Akumi was overwhelmed by the RVing Families staring at her.  When we first met her, she shook our hands and said ‘You veddee famous in Japan!’  After the Nodlands left us in Issaquah in our apt, we had this feeling like leaving everything behind again and hitting the road again.  We really missed the road after a year out there.  Not that we were unhappy, we just felt well, we weren’t sure how we felt at that time.

We have a lot of pictures showing how much fun we were having, but at the same time we were really struggling to figure out what to do next.  At this time we were considering lots of things and bought a huge dry erase board that we kept in the living room to brainstorm the ideas we were coming up with.  At this time we also started compiling all the pictures we took on the road and started organizing them for a website we first named GregJennandKids.com cause we couldn’t think of anything we liked.  We thought it would be a great way for friends and family to see what we had done in the past year.  We thought that our Family would be proud of the accomplishments we had made that year and the way we reconnected as a Family.  Hmmm…we would start learning more and more what it means to be part of a Family.  The good and the bad.  And we fit into both of those categories.  We worked for about six weeks at ideas of work ~ mobile marketing, Fuzion! (before we knew we would call it that and what it would become), t-shirt business, hot dogs, carnies, construction, etc…We would work for ten to twelve hours a day most of the time building the site and thinking of ways to generate income. We still had a little savings, most of which we didn’t want to touch but use to launch a biz.  And what’s up with this GregJennandKids.com business?  Lame!

June ’02

Did we say smile? Because we meant OOC as in Out Of Control ~ calm yourself little girl…

After a year on the road we went back to Issaquah to visit all of our friends.  We weren’t sure if we were done with full time RV’ing so we decided to put the RV in storage, rent a place, get some work done, and figure out what we wanted to do next.  After all, we left here to find some kind of work we could do as a Family and it was that time to start doing what it was going to be.  It was great to be back home and see our town.  If you didn’t already know Issaquah is the best place to live.

And we’re addicted to Red Robin ~ one of the best places to eat. We hung out with one of our friends Nick from the kids school.  Nick lived up the street from us and is a wicked cool kid.  We sure missed him.  We took Nick out to our favorite restaurant Red Robin to catch up.  When steady income wasn’t a problem we ate here at least once a week, sometimes more.

We also visited the Microsoft Campus where Greg used to work.  It was strange to be a visitor here, but it didn’t bother us.

MiWoli, aka: Mike Wolinski, worked with us at Microsoft and runs Dells team there. When we first were moved to MS by Dell in Oct ’98, Greg was supposed to hire four people to help, then budget cuts left us alone there for about 1.5 years. Mike was one of the first to come on next, he had already lived in the Seattle area and was brought in by a new VP at Dell. Mike knows people (if you know what we mean) and was a great addition to the team. The team then grew to something like seven people by the time Greg bowed out in May ’01 to be barenakedfamily. We keep in touch with Mike because he’s not only likeable by those he gives a rip about (like us, hopefully), we may need a job eventually. Mike also did a pretty cool task of Greg’s job not long after we left ~ Greg was responsible for delivering ‘Gold’ code to Dell when MS would have a major product release. When Windows XP was released, Mike got picked up in a helicopter by Bill Gates to ‘deliver’ the gold code back to Dell. Nice media event, but they actually dropped him off at the airport after a few minutes and he he had to figure out how to get back to the office to Fed-X the package to Austin like it always happened.

We saw some of our other friends from school.  Things are still the same there too.

When the kids scored a homerun and smashed a window, they blamed it on Greg.

We took a trip to the waterfront in Seattle where we used to spend a lot of time.  People told us that we would hate the rain when we moved up from Texas, but it was a nice thing being that we were always in a drought or it was super hot in Texas.  We also got addicted to Starbucks coffee and all of our extra money went there.  And Red Robin.

Seattle is an awesome place and the people are wonderful there.  There is so much to see and do.  There are amazing views of Mt. Rainier from the city and the snow pass is just about thirty minutes down the highway. The beach is a few hours away and is one of the most beautiful ones we have ever seen.  Canada is also just a few hours away, and ya’ll know how we feel about Canada.  Love it!  When we moved up there we explored Washington more than most of the locals.

But as wimpy Texans. Uh, Texas Canadians we mean.

The kids always wanted to go swimming up there but the water is cold. One hot summer day we went to the river with our friends Shauna and Leland to go swimming. The kids were so excited to swim but when they touched the water, they wimped out. Shauna and Leland jumped on a rope swing and dropped in so Austin decided to do the same, but when his toes touched the water he decided not to ~ unfortunately he was already on the rope over the water. He hung as long as he could and was appalled that we didn’t help drag him back to shore on the rope (as if we could). After screaming and throwing a fit, he dropped in and came out purple. The kids didn’t ask to swim outside anymore in WA. We enjoyed the indoor heated pool at the community center in Issaquah.

Amy, Elle, and Duane are great friends of ours we love to hang with.  They live in Alki Beach in Seattle and we love going to their waterfront apt.  They have awesome views of Puget Sound from their living room. Amy used to work at Microsoft with Greg but left after their baby was born and Duane started his own company with some high tech thingies and such.  We also spent one of Jenn’s very cool birthdays with them complete with the Big Pimpin Limo, dinner at the Space Needle, and endless driving around Seattle.  We are really close to these guys because we all share a lot of the same feelings about life around the time we met.  We were making the bucks with a great job, had the love of our spouses, living in cool places, searching for some sort of spiritual meaning, and trying to do the right things all while kind of feeling empty inside. So we filled the voids with lots of food, drugs, alcohol, and sex and had babies and bought too much stuff while medicated heavily. (not really, but kinda).

We went to the hydro boat races they do every year at Lake Sammamish where Ted Bundy found victims.  They bring in all these high dollar boats that are lifted in and out of the water by a crane then race ruthlessly around in circles hoping they don’t crash. There’s live music, food, and vendors and tons of people.  Honestly, we go for the music baby.  The boats are kinda cool too.

Why do girls always flock to the guitar players?

The rest of the band sure would like to know. Here they are trying to get in on the attention.  Yeah, thanks.

Daisy loves hanging out the window no matter where we are as long as we don’t go over thirty miles an hour and Greg is not holding her. He tends to throw her out the window at passersby to laugh.

We were hanging out at the local park we used to go to all the time and we met Amy.  Amy is from this area and  is a cool girl.  We hung out with her for a few hours and talked about life and such, we really enjoy meeting people like her.  Kind of makes the world feel more real.  Amy stopped shaving back in high school because she was tired of it hurting all the time.  She was totally upfront with her reasoning about shaving and has never given a crap about the remarks she gets.  She appreciates the fact that it is different from most.  Now she sports some tufts and actually is really clean about the whole thing. It’s still kinda freaky seeing armpit bushes pop out every now and then.

Then we strangled Daisy.  No, Daisy does weird tricks.  She likes to jump into Jenn’s arms and she caught her in mid act. It’s very chiropractic.

We went and visited Ted Bundy’s place which is located down the road from where we lived.  Our friends Leland and Shauna first took us here years ago.  It is in the middle of some woods off the highway and you have to leave your car on the road to walk back to it.  It is really creepy and there are lots of local legends about him and his parents who lived right next door.  You can see what’s left of his house which was torn down years ago because people kept going out there.  But people still go out there. Weird and creepy people.

The kids love looking around the property.  They have no idea what they are looking for, but they are looking.  You can see the roof line of his house.  There are parts where you can see into some windows laying on the ground.  He picked up a few of his victims at Lake Sammamish, the local park that we often hang at.  There were also some victims found in this same area.

Austin was pretty ready to go early on.  He is easy to scare and he knows we love to do that.

This was Ted Bundy’s parents house that is still standing.  The story goes that his parents used to keep watch over his property because all the local kids kept going out there.  Story has it that they were pretty crazy as well and would often come out yelling and running the kids off.  Their house is open so we went in and walked around. It was one of the creepiest things we have ever done. There were tons of newspapers everywhere and odds and ends laying around.  There was a second story so we went upstairs and looked around.  The house was very old and had holes in the floors so we had to be careful as we walked around.  The inside had graffiti all over it and there were beer bottles all over. Don’t try this at home. Only seasoned experts should attempt this.

We took the kids on some hikes we used to do around our house.  The woods there are full of trees, flowers, water, and animals.  There are lots of trees that have fallen because of the windstorms that go through the area.

The trees are so tall and can fall over with winds of about only thirty miles an hour. Windstorms in Texas are called tornadoes ~ 30mph is nothing! Unless you’re dealing with 100 ft + trees…

Seattle Mariners Baseball star sighting ~ Jay, the bald white guy on the team.  The Seattle Mariners baseball team mostly lives in Issaquah and are often seen eating and shopping with their families.

We took these photos secretly while dining at Red Robin, again.

We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and decided to do something we always wanted to do since we lived there.  We took a trip by ferry to the San Juan Islands and rented a little cottage out on the water!  This was our first time out to the San Juans so it was really exciting.

The ferries in Washington are more like huge ships with cafes!  They can hold about 250 cars and about 2500 people.  It’s a pretty inexpensive ride and fun with the whole family.  They have several decks that you can hang out on.  We used to to take the ones out of Seattle to some of the outlaying Islands in Puget Sound just for the fun of it.

Inside the ferry is a nice ride unlike the low rider ferries in CA that keep bouncing the hydraulics to show off while playing that loud rap music through enormous subwoofers.

True barenakedfamily style we took the kids with us on our anniversary.  We brought our new friend Amy along with us to sit with the kids when we wanted to ‘be alone’ on the San Juan Islands.  But we prefer to have them with us as much as possible and we enjoyed Amy’s company just as much.

Another photo for you to say ‘why do they take pictures like this’?  Well what the heck would you do in a situation like that?

Amy won.

Inside the lodge where we stayed in Roche Harbor with our new desk friend.  Turns out our friends the Nodlands had their honeymoon here, we learned this when we house-sat for them in Mission Beach and noticed a painting of a familiar lodge.  Guess we’re almost as cool as them.

The place has a hotel and cottages situated throughout the property with walking paths all over.  There are docks and restaurants as well and even a little chapel.  There is no TV or phone and pretty much no entertainment out there, you come to get away.

Amy hung with the kids in one of the gardens as we walked through the property one day.  There were many cool places to sit and relax like this. We found a playground the kids liked to play in with a great view of the harbor.

Our decrepit cabin was filled with hooks hanging off the roof and had several signs saying not to go in.  The door swung open as we walked by and we heard some creaking noises coming from the inside. When we looked inside the lights shut off and a door slammed shut so we hauled!

Actually, this was the little cottage that we stayed in. It was a fully furnished two bedroom with a huge kitchen.  It was so awesome!  We had our own bedroom and Amy and the kids shared the other together.  When it came time to leave we decided to wake Amy and the kids with a blast of Metallica as loud as we could get it.  Scared the crap out of those lazy people.

Our view from the cottage we stayed in was incredible. It was a great place to stay and we even had our own little yard.  There weren’t many people out there when we were there and it was so quiet, till we turned on Metallica.  You should go see this place if you are ever in Washington.

At the end of this trip we found a cute little place to rent, two bedrooms and about 700 square feet.  It was a perfect amount of room for us. Don’t think we will ever be able to go back to anything larger than that.  Anyway, we arranged a six month lease on the place which was situated right in downtown Issaquah.  We were excited were ready to pursue work that we could do together as a Family.  We had toured the country for about a year and we were having to start doing what’s next.  During that year of traveling we had been thinking about what we could do as far as work and came up with all sorts of ideas.  We still had some money in the bank that would help get us started.  At this time we set up an Internet connection, phone, utilities and started living. Or something like that.  It was at this time that we launched our first website ~ GregJennandKids.com.  That name would not last.