Entries Tagged as 'travel'

Visiting Stoystown, PA, Pennsylvania and the Flight 93 Memorial  

The Tower of Voices, Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA 2019

The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.

I’ve traveled a lot across the state of Pennsylvania in my life…mostly for business purposes.

On one of my trips there this summer, I actually did a little web surfing and realized that I had bypassed a very important place in my travels.

Stoystown, PA.

My personal feeling is that a lot of us have not visited this hallowed place. My point here is that each of us should.

It is in Stoystown, near Shanksville, that a common field became a field of honor on September 11, 2001. The 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 commandeered the plane from the terrorists, who hijacked it and were planning to crash it into the U.S. Capitol. The plane ultimately crashed in Stoystown, killing all on board.

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

Not for reasons of malice but likely more for reasons of geography, greater attention has always seemed to me to be paid to the crash sites in New York City and Washington, D.C. Not one of the three sites is any less important than the other…the tragedies were horrifically equal.

I write this today so that you may know, as a now proud visitor to the Flight 93 Memorial at 6424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563, I believe you too should visit this Memorial.

For your soul, for your patriotism and for your faith in your fellow man to do the brave thing when it is the hardest thing, you must visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

Flight 93 National Memorial's Wall of Names

Flight 93 National Memorial’s Wall of Names, honoring 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93 killed when the hijacked jet crashed at the site during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It is vast in scope, as one might imagine a remote, open field to be. There are three main sites to visit at the Flight 93 Memorial – you should visit them all and spend quiet time at each of them, as I did.

It is a beautiful place, especially in its simplicity.

It is an elegant place in its design elements and layout.

It is a reflective and thoughtful place where you learn about the people who died in defense of their country, the messages they left for their loved ones as events unfolded and the selfless bravery they each showed when bravery was their only defense.

18 years ago today, I know where I was and what I was doing.

This summer, I also knew where I was and what I was doing.  And I am eternally grateful that I did it.

Crash site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA

The boulder in the distance represents the crash site of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, killing the 40 passengers and crew on board who – in their bravery -thwarted a planned terrorist attack on the United States Capitol.

can you serve your customers this well?

The new Delsay suitcase

The new Delsay suitcase

The internet is full of complainers about bad customer service (I am occasionally guilty of complaining) which really doesn’t mean a thing to most businesses unless something goes viral and who has time for that?

Yet in addition to the occasional complaint, I also am of the school of “don’t recognize a problem without offering a solution” as well as “be as effusive in your praise as you are in your condemnation”. (OK on that last one, I’m not sure there’s an actual school).

So as you may recall from a Facebook post this summer (because where else was I going to share such useless information) I got a new suitcase. I know, the shock of that news probably still makes you woozy but stay with me here.

The brand of suitcase I bought was Delsay and I bought it not because of the brand (which sorry to say I didn’t know – not a student of luggage, just a very big user of it) but because of all the suitcases at the Marshall’s store I was in, it looked the best (believe me, I was in there for an hour checking every darn thing out).

So using the suitcase for about 3 months, the retractable metal handle was giving me problems. Sometimes it would open and sometimes not. Sometimes it would close and sometimes not. Both at completely inopportune times, like when a line of people behind me on the airplane are trying to get to their seats and I could not get my suitcase in the overhead bin cause the damn handle won’t CLOSE!!!!!’

Well one day on a trip (again after only about 3 months of use) the handle just plain broke. I wasn’t even angry. Not surprised but maybe a little disappointed.

I went on line to the customer service page of Delsay and saw there was a repair center in Buffalo at a very well respected luggage store. So I went over there to see how much the repair would cost. The gentleman at Militello’s Luggage was very nice and said before he quoted it, he wanted to call Delsay because it might be under warranty.

A bit embarrassed, I advised the owner I bought the luggage at Marshall’s – a discount store. None the less, he said he would let me know what he heard and then call me back.

Not only was it covered, but Delsay said forget the repair, we’re sending you a brand new suitcase. And not the same one, but, like a much nicer one than I bought. I had to pay $10 or something for handling.

Done! Done with joy. Done with a happy dance — that might have kinda creeped out the guy from the luggage store.

So in return, I must advise you, nay order you to only buy your travel luggage from Delsay. Period. No one else ever again – Delsay is the brand to buy for your luggage. Cause mistake can happen occasionally and Delsay professionally fixes the mistakes.

And I have not had a stich of problem with my new bag. Thank you Delsay.

sunday night in washington, d.c.

audioconnell_the white house_2011

Like many of you on this Sunday evening, I took a lovely evening stroll (which was lovely except for the sweltering heat and building humidity).

My Sunday stroll took place in one of my favorite cities, Washington, D.C.

I’m here because tomorrow morning I’m scheduled to testify before Congress in a closed session on the ethics of watermarking voice over auditions. Even with the wars, unemployment and the looming fiscal crisis (well, there’s always one hanging out there, isn’t there) Congress has its priorities clearly in order – investigate the voice over watermark.

Rest assured, on behalf of the industry, I shall give it my all.

You can see some other D.C. stroll shots here.

audio’connell in boston

On a windy, damp and foggy evening in Bahsten, I had the good fortune to meet up with my friend and fellow SunSetter Awning voice over talent Lee Gordon for a little dinner and a bunch of voice over talk.

Lee is smart as a whip on the regional radio scene and when you get a couple of old radio guys chatting it up, well you better have the waitress bring another bread basket cause we’re going to be here awhile!

It was a great treat to see Lee who I will see again in September at Faffcon 3.

a quick lesson in social marketing, social media and voice over

Father and son voice actors Donald and Kiefer Sutherland

People ask me alot about how I succeed in my search engine optimization, why I seem to be alot of places on the web and “how do you do that?”

It involves pixie dust and eye of newt, to be sure 😉 but I think a better example would be a recent experience I had that describes it pretty well.

I subscribe to Google Alerts with a bunch of key words – I want to know what those words uncover on the web for me.

One of those terms is voice over talent (because I is one, ya know).

Reading a day’s post headlines in the Google Alerts, I was directed to the blog for the very popular advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy New York who evidently have the Delta Airlines account. Following its merger with Northwest Airlines, Delta is now the nation’s (or world’s or galaxy’s) biggest airline.

Anyway, the agency has a blog (oooo, is that social media at work? hint) and they did a post about their recent TV spots for Delta. These spots feature the voice over genius of Donald Sutherland.

Damn those Sutherland boys (Donald and Kiefer), I just KNOW that every spot they were picked for, I was the client’s SECOND choice for voice talent. I just know it! You’d think those boys could say no once and a while! 😉

Anyway so I watch the spots and they are magnificent. They are well shot (in black and white no less), well edited, superbly written and the voiceover is as I said genius. You can see them at the end here. I say that not only as a marketing, advertising and voice over professional but also as a frequently flyer and not always on Delta.

So bringing this back to the lesson:

* With a free subscription to Google Alerts to find information that is customized for my likes

* I found a blog post to a major advertising agency’s blog (maybe they could be my client some day – why not?)

* Who produced some amazing TV spots that fill my creative mind with more ideas

* Which also included a wonderful voice over performance that I can also learn from

* And without even any of the parties knowing it (Delta Airlines, Wieden+Kennedy, Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland) I am telling you (and showing you) about their work which now makes it viral.

* If you share this story with even one more person it makes it more viral

And all of it is social.

Any questions?

audio’connell in milwaukee

Lori Lins Talent Management

A quick trip to Milwaukee on Friday for some biz that went successfully.

On the way to the airport, I had a bit of extra time that provided a nice cushion before my plane left so I GPS’d (on the great i-phone) the office of my voice over agent in Milwaukee, Lori Lins of (not surprisingly) Lori Lins Limited Talent Management. We partnered in 2007 but I had never met her and only communicated via email. As the stars seemed to align on this trip, I stopped by unannounced just to say hi.

Had they said they were busy or otherwise occupied, I would have been cool with that as mine was a bit of a drive-by. But Lori came right out to greet me and we chatted for a good 15 minutes about my career, her agency and the VO business in general.

Naturally, I forgot my camera in the car (stupid!) so I didn’t get a picture with Lori but the quick shot in the blog spot through the passenger window of my rental car (again, courtesy i-phone) at least proves I was there.

My thanks to Lori and her staff for being so gracious. And Lori, Nancy Wolfson says hi via Twitter.