Woah. Alright, so nearly two months in, the video my guy Gryf filmed of me talking about the 2019 Harley-Davidson XL1200CX Roadster has now received over 45,000 views on YouTube.
I wish I had more time to commit to creating unique, relevant content like this for the brand. This video shows the value it can provide, especially from a macro, national or international standpoint.
Check out the video here:
Prior to this video, I had some success at Harley, creating one-offs of the major units that entered the dealership. These videos were simple walk arounds, no audio but for free YouTube music, and no people. Averaging around 1,000 views each (some well below, some in the mid 4 digits), I decided to try mixing it up.
My marketing #2, Gryf, was behind the camera while I took a chance and stepped in front. I wanted it to feel natural, just me talking about what I liked on the bike, things I saw, how it made me feel. I didn’t want it to be a sales pitch, and I didn’t want it to be overly technical.
Editing was all done using iMovie on my laptop. In all, it was an hour-long process, from filming to editing. The longest part was rendering the file, which I let my laptop do as I completed other tasks.
Videos like this, when they attract tens of thousands of views, are great to generate brand awareness, while simultaneously helping boost SEO both through Google and via YouTube.
Search “2019 Harley Roadster” in both of these search engines, and you’ll likely find my video near the top of the results.
I remember my days at the helm of an e-commerce marketing department fondly. This data from Internet Retailer and Digital Commerce 360 comes as no surprise. The rise of online commerce, specifically mobile commerce (which posted 55% YOY growth on Cyber Monday), is here to stay and will continue to grow, changing the face of retail on the way.
What I find equally fascinating is the move to e-commerce sales on Black Friday. This snippet from the article, in particular, shows the scope of these trends:
Despite having the largest sales day, Cyber Monday had the lowest online sales growth compared with the other Cyber 5 days. Online sales on Thanksgiving grew the most year over year at 28.0% according to Adobe.
What the article fails to outline, and the item I’m most curious about, is the division between company-owned sites versus marketplace-based sales. How did marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart fare? How did stand-alone company sites fare? What were the trends there?
As for me, I largely stayed out of it, opting only to pick up a handful of brand new cassettes from Burger Records.
In fact, Andi and I bucked our annual trend of driving by major box chain retail stores in Burlington on Thanksgiving to see how many people lined up on the big turkey day. Had we ventured out, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see fewer people lining up in favor of loosening their belts and picking up their phones while sitting on the couch and taking it A Christmas Story from the comfort of their living rooms.
How has it been over a year since my last update? I swear that, at some point, I made a public announcement that I began a new job on the management team at our local Harley-Davidson dealership. Guess not.
Well, the past year has been a busy one. Where cycling was a huge focus leading up to the job-track change, it fell to the wayside after starting the new position.
Work hours extended. My schedule shifted. A period of adjustment. Health was no longer a focus.
And it showed. Looking back at a photo of me taken in February 2018, I could see just how much the new position impacted my body. I had gained 15 to 20 pounds. Around that time, my wife and I vowed to make a change: we would renew our effort on personal health. The journey would look different than either of us ever thought.
For the first time in both of our lives, we became gym rats.
We joined our local gym, Riverside Health Club, and committed to going three times a week. Simultaneously, we began using an app called LoseIt to track our calorie intake.
As I’m a numbers junkie, let’s review. I’m getting personal here:
• Roughly 174 pounds
• 28% body fat
• Size 34 pants
• M to L shirt size
Not that great, but not terrible. The weight was my heaviest ever, though just by a few pounds. Body fat was a surprise, though I don’t believe it was in the terrible category, just in needs improvement/i>. Medium shirts were starting to get tight; my gut was starting to show.
• Roughly 138 pounds
• 11% body fat
• Size 30 pants
• XS to S shirt size
Monumental change! The quantitative stats show radical improvement in my health, including a glowing physical at the end of last month in which cholesterol, blood pressure, heart health, and everything else they track was in the excellent category.
But just as important have been the qualitative stats. Improved health has increased my self confidence tremendously. For the first time in my life, I can literally run for miles. Focus has shifted from weight loss to muscle gain, a further boost in confidence.
My wife, too, has seen monumental improvements in her health, having experienced similar changes in metrics. Certain aches and pains she has experienced for years — her shoulders for example — have now disappeared entirely!
I’m looking forward to what the future will bring. For me, I’m sold on dishing out a little cash for a gym membership. Well worth it for the betterment of my future.
A little under a week ago, my personal domain name, which matches the name my parents gave me, started to get overridden (lol) with lots of posts about cycling in and around Skagit county.
Then I thought, “This is ridiculous. It should have its own domain.”
True, I have a portal for FensePost, my original music blog which recently received a fresh breath of life and is going through somewhat of a resurgence. Why should my love and passion for bicycling be any different?
It snowed a few inches last night, so it’s somewhat of a Snow Day. They say that people west of the Rocky Mountains cannot drive in the snow. I admit. We suck at it.
Skagit County Snow Driving Fail
After waking at my normal 5:30am time, the decision to stay home was quickly made as I watched the neighbor attempt to head to work. After a few tries, I grabbed my camera, and here’s the result:
Mind you that he had already made several attempts before I started filming.
4 inches (or thereabouts) of snow doesn’t sound like much, but we live at the bottom of a 7% grade hill with an elevation gain of about 80 feet over 0.2 miles. Water frequently cascades down the road making it especially tricky if it freezes over.
He finally made it out, while I decided to play it safe and not attempt the 30 mile, one way trek to work. No need to risk it in my little 2 wheel drive Fiat 500.
The song is a royalty free Yakety Sax sound-alike from Orion Williams so I can monetize the video once that’s set up in my YouTube account.
This was my first attempt at adding visual commentary to a video, and in iMovie it’s quite easy. The program uses drag-and-drop so it’s fairly simple to embellish videos with text and music alike.
Adding audio commentary is something I plan to try out in future biking & cycling videos.
Last year I came close to hitting 2,000 miles on my trusty Trek 2.1 road bike. I beat my bicycling milage goal of 1,500 miles by almost 30%. And, over the course of the year, I climbed over 8 miles on those two wheels.
Achievements included my fifth or sixth (I honestly cannot remember) time riding the STP, making the 200 mile journey from Seattle to Portland over the course of two days. I also completed my second Bike MS Deception Pass Classic in which I raised an evil $666 to combat Multiple Sclerosis.
I’m at it again in 2017, and this time I’ve set two goals. First, I’d like to cycle 2,500 miles. If I can keep up the pace and stamina, I’d prefer to shoot for bicycling a full 3,650 miles, or 10 miles a day on average.
As January drew to a close, I topped 250, so I’m well on my way to $3k.
To accompany me on my bicycling journey this year is a new inexpensive action camera, the Apeman A66.
On January 31, I filmed my first YouTube video. Today I edited and posted it on YouTube. I’m still learning the camera, but it’s pretty fun to be able to film and edit rides so easily. Enjoy!
Of note, I still needed to drop the date logging feature on the video, which I have since done. The audio could also use some help.
For my second video, which I filmed and began editing today, I make a cameo at the beginning and then ride up Little Mountain. The Little Mountain hill climb is nearly 800 feet, is a great workout, and rewards the rider at the top with a stunning view of the Puget Sound. It’s truly amazing on a sunny day, but today was not that.
Stay tuned for more as I hope to make posting my rides a regular thing. I’m also planning to explore the YouTube monetization feature, as well.
Aside from a handful of music-related musings on FensePost, the number of which I can count on one hand, and a few foodie posts here at AndyFenstermaker.com, 2015 is shaping up to be the first year since the ’90s in which I have essentially NOT blogged.
I would like to change that.
But who knows if that will happen. There are certain points in life where priorities change.
Where music was once the go-to for me, this is morphing toward cycling and cooking. I have logged 600 miles on my bike this year alone, and with two 200+ mile rides in the near future, I’ll easily top 1,000 miles in 2015.
The photo below, for example, was taken a few weeks ago on a 50 mile trek from Mount Vernon to La Conner, out along Padilla Bay and north to Edison, then back to Mount Vernon.
All of this is a bit deceiving. What this post really is, is an announcement of sorts.
Less than a week ago, my wife Andi was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. We are in our early to mid 30s, and this disease is likely to impact us for the rest of our lives.
I have always wanted to ride Bike MS, but not necessarily because of the cause. Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to become empowered.
Today, I commit to riding Bike MS to help raise awareness of MS and do my part to erase it from the lives of families like mine. Please help out and support me, my wife Andi, and the countless others impacted by this disease.
Click the image below to visit my personal Bike MS page donate.
This is far from likely to be the last post with the phrase “Courtesy Penzeys Spices” attached to it. Just under a year ago, my parents introduced me to the culinary company, based out of my birth-state Wisconsin, with a jar of Penzeys Frozen Pizza Seasoning and Penzeys Arizona Dreamin’. These two spices kicked off a slow but rapidly escalating obsession.
Fueling the fire was, again courtesy my parents, was a Christmas gift: a subscription to the company’s catalog and an introductory set of spices including Cajun and Chinese Five Spice.
The first catalog arrived and seeing the deliciousness that was the Kai Pa Lo recipe (courtesy to Penzeys’ one Jennifer Sombutamai), I had to try it.
Note: Kai Pa Lo is traditionally made with pork, but this recipe called for chicken. I dig the meat swap; the chicken comes out super juicy and the result is totally mouthwatering.
Tonight I’m making it for the second time; the first was a knockout success.
Here’s what you need:
1 TB. canola oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced*
1 TB. minced garlic*
3 TB. soy sauce*
1 tsp. Penzeys Roasted Garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 tsp. black pepper*
4-5 chicken leg or breast quarters
4 cups chicken broth
2 TB. brown sugar*
4 soft-boiled eggs
2 TB. Penzeys Chinese Five Spice
1/4 tsp. salt*
3/4 cup rice
*These are slight variations from Penzeys’ recipe, which called for 1 diced medium yellow onion, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 TB. soy sauce, white rather than black pepper, 1 TB. brown sugar and no salt. I embellished it to my own personal taste.
Step 1: Prep the Onions & Minced Garlic
Sauté the minced onions in a large pan. I use my Le Creuset Everday Pan. Add the garlic after a few minutes, then push it all to the side.
Step 2: Make the Chicken Rub
Combine the soy sauce, roasted garlic and pepper. Mix well.
Step 3: Prep the Chicken
Douse the chicken in the liquid-y soy sauce rub and place in the pan. Sear each side for a few minutes.
Add the chicken broth. Yes, all 4 cups. Bring to a quick boil then let simmer for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken every so often.
Step 5: Prep the Rice and Eggs
Add about 3/4 rice to a rice cooker and let it do it’s thang. Soft or hard boil the eggs.
Step 6: Make It Sweet!
While the chicken soup is simmering, mix together the brown sugar and Penzeys Chinese Five Spice.
Step 7: Bring it Home
After the chicken has simmered about 45 minutes, pull it from the soup. Toss in the sweet mix from step 6 and stir lightly. Pull apart/shred the chicken with two forks and replace into the dish, letting it simmer and soak in the juices for another 10 minutes.
This super easy and delicious gluten free zucchini bread recipe comes courtesy my mother, who found it on Hillbilly Housewife. I’ve modified it ever so slightly slightly to fit my preferences (and those of my wife) over the course of more than one dozen bakings.
Given my passion for cooking, I’m hoping to post more recipes here in the future. Some will be old mainstays, while others will be new favorites as we find and master them.
Let’s get to it!
Step 1: Get Your Ingredients
This is one of my favorite parts, as it totally plays to my OCD. I always pull out all my ingredients in advance and display them so I can easily pick and pull what I need as I go. And, as I go, I put them away as well. Makes for a tidy kitchen!
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3/2 cup shredded zucchini (do not peel)
3/2 cup all purpose Gluten Free flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Once you have them displayed as pictured above, now it’s time to get to work!
First, the variations. Hillbilly Housewife (see her original recipe here) calls for 1/3 cup vegetable oil rather than 1/4 cup butter, which is what I use. She also adds walnuts whereas I do not. Finally, rather than mixing separately, I mix the wet ingredients then blend in the dry to use fewer dishes.
Step 2: Preheat Your Oven!
This one is easy! Preheat your oven to 350F.
Step 3: Mix Your Wet Ingredients
Combine the eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well with a whisk or — my preference — a high heat baking spoon scraper. It’s easy and, since you’ll be using it later, means one less dish to wash upon completion. For my bowl, I use my green Le Creuset 2 quart Batter Bowl.
Step 4: Mix In Your Dry Ingredients
Add in your dry ingredients including flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and xanthan gum. Stir and mix well by hand. Again, I use my trusty ol’ baking spoon scraper to mix as its not too difficult and uses fewer dishes.
NOTE: I tend to mix it until the dough starts to form but the dry ingredients haven’t fully absorbed into the wet. Then I move on to Step 5. This helps introduce more liquid into the dough and makes mixing a bit easier.
Step 5: Shred and Add Zucchini
Cut the ends off a medium-sized zucchini and grate it using a cheese grater. One medium zucchini should yield approximately 3/2 cups. Combine it with the dough and mix until it nice and consistent.