Bella’s health scare

bellaBrandee (wife), Jackson (our dog) and I had a real scare with Bella (our cat) the past few days and we’d like to report a happy road-to-recovery. First of all, Bella has been extremely anxious over the past one year or so and extremely aggressive towards our dog, Jack, and we attribute it most likely to Feline Dementia.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bella, had a hard fall. She likes to jump into our shower/bathtub for whatever reason and on this particular occasion she didn’t quite make the leap over the tub wall and crashed to the floor. It seemed innocent enough but got both Brandee’s and my attention immediately. We watched her for about 10 minutes without any obvious problems but then she went into something like a seizure-like state where her legs were moving uncontrollably. It was very scary.

Awful, yet reasonable, thoughts were racing through Brandee and my heads such as ‘did she break a leg?’, ‘did she break her back?’, ‘did she get a concussion?’. After a few more minutes of observation she was agitated enough to want to walk on her own and we determined that a fracture of the leg or back was not likely. However, something like bumping her head, like a football concussion, which is neurological might have caused a sudden onset of these seizure-like symptoms. Over that night was one of the longest ever for both Brandee and me with worry for Bella. She was very lethargic, had lack of mobility, no desire to eat/drink…it was awful.

Bella is only 14-years old and due to her feral upbringing we are always especially concerned when anything happens to her as I’ve heard life-expectancy might be less than non-feral cats. However, I’m glad to report that after a vet-visit yesterday afternoon, and an anxious night for Brandee and I, that the vet’s prescription of a mild pain-killer/sedative has made Bella a happy kitty again. We love our Doctor so much! Dr. Nagle is awesome!


American passion for elections

electionWith less than one month until the American elections, passions, opinions and even out-right hatred is nearly at the boil-over moment. From my personal perspective I know this particular election is extremely important and I think most people would agree. And, also, while I have my own strong opinions on certain topics I would never blame anyone that might disagree with me. After all, our system of Government is supposed to be a democracy and reasonable people can, and should, have reasonable debates. So, therefore as the election nears I will continue to advocate about topics I care deeply for, yet I respect everyone’s opinion to agree, disagree or not care. All that I would ask is that if you do have an opinion, please make it an informed decision. That’s all I want to say about this topic for now – I’ll take my 5th Amendment right now to not incriminate myself on this blog post and take-a-knee.smiling-face-with-sunglasses


Cloud Business

Whether you know me personally or professional, most of you know that I have been a huge advocate of ‘cloud computing’ before it was socially or professionally acceptable like it is nowadays. I’ve had to endure the abuse of some of my seriously naïve co-workers with such criticism as ‘the cloud is not secure’ or ‘the cloud is just the internet re-branded’ or, my personal favorite, ‘no one can make money in the cloud’. These are the people that love the status-quo and refuse to go outside of their comfort zones even when a mega-trend like ‘cloud computing’ was raining on their traditional businesses. Personally I enjoy the criticism in the early days of ‘cloud computing’ because it really forced my thinking to be critical. The criticism made me really contemplate my professional career and I’m glad I made the decision to dive head-first into this cloudy future. As Marc Benioff, CEO of, famously once said the following:

“This is the heyday of the Cloud. This is the Renaissance. We are in the Great Time.”

 “So we’re still at the very, very beginning.

We are in the first innings of Cloud Computing.

This is still the Renaissance.”


coalitionMy career and my business is in an excellent position to capitalize on the big momentum for cloud applications and services. We are building an outstanding network of like-minded individual’s as well as technology partners. It is truly an exciting time to be building such an exciting future!

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Shaver Lake camping, September 2016


This past weekend from Thursday, September 15th, 2016 thru Sunday, September 18th, 2016 the boys and I made our annual trek up the to the California mountains for cabin-camping.

Cabin-camping isn’t quite as extreme as tent-camping because our living quarters typically have a solid foundation, roof, refrigerator and bathroom. In other words, we rent a house for the few days instead of living out of a tent.

This certainly sounds like it’s easier than traditional tent-camping, but I can assure you that we challenge ourselves in many ways to make up for the convenience of having a roof over our heads.


I have been fortunate enough to participate in this fun event for roughly the past 4-5 years. It’s my understanding that this great tradition has been happening for years prior and I’m so grateful to participate with these guys, and have great fun planning with our wives.

Each year our destination is different, however, generally we choose a location somewhere in the Yosemite National Forest. Sometimes we go more north and sometimes we go south. This particular year we went East! We ended-up near this place called Shaver Lake in California.


Upon arrival at the location we all were very excited, as always. These cabins were a bit particular though. Why? Because the pathway to the cabin involved a 30-or-so yard walk from our parking place to the cabin itself. You might not think that’s a big deal but when you have as much ‘gear’ as we bring it makes a huge difference. Anyhow, that was a big difference from our typical situation because usually parking is more reasonable.

We ended up staying at this place called Cedar Crest Resort in Lakeshore, CA. The people were super-duper nice, no doubt, and we loved their friendship. We must honestly say though that the accommodations weren’t the best, nor the worst. The cabin was clean but not nearly as spacious as advertised on the website which was interesting but being the manly-men that we are; we overcame. In all seriousness they had four couches in one room and we each commandeered one of thcampfire-and-roughageem!


After we got settled into the cabin and got our gear settled-in it was time to ‘camp’! So what was the first thing that my amigo’s immediately did? Start the BBQ grill and a campfire, of course!

Our group this year consisted of 6 total dudes. This is the largest number of campers since campfireI’ve joined the festivities. The four other guys, other than myself, I have known for a while and really appreciate their friendship. This year, however, a rookie was introduced to the gang. This rookie-guy was an absolutely wonderful person! He was such fun, entertaining and a great person to talk with. I can’t wait to hang-out with him again. It is always so much fun to have new people join the group.




This is a beautiful picture of Frank (who is our fearless leader) and his beloved puppy, Aussie. This is a photo just before Frank took Aussie on a long walk. I know both of them really enjoyed this.

Frank is a great animal lover overall and I really appreciate this quality because he is an absolutely decent person. Thanks Frank!

Aussie is terrific fun among this group of guys. We love having Aussie join us for camping and he loves being in the wilderness. Frank is such a wonderful ‘daddy’ for Aussie that it’s borderline-sickening. Just kidding Frank-Buddy!

In all seriousness it’s really fantastic to have Aussie and Frank with us. I could not imagine spending a weekend without these two entertaining guys.


So once we got settled, it was gametime for us six guys and Aussie!

Whether it was happenstance or not, a football was brought by one of my fellow campers. Maybe they had heard the legend of the Kevin Neal Golden Arm? Regardless, as you can see in the photo, my football grip has perfect technqiue which allows me to throw perfect spirals at every release of the ball.

In addition to perfect grip and technqiue, my unbelievable accuracy to hit a received in a full-motion route is simply amazing.

LOL, yeah right! If that were all true then I would be playing football on Sunday’s instead of camping with 5 other dudes in a cabin drinking beer all weekend.

golden-armOverall, I would have to say that this was certainly a fantastic experience. What I enjoyed most was the conversations with the other guys. This was really special to me. These guys are smart dudes and have a lot of common sense. It’s absolutely refreshing to have such great discussions, debate controversial topics like adults and agree that the Cowboys stink! J

So, in summary, let me please provide my ratings:

  • Location: Lakeshore, CA = 6 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Cabin: Cedar Crest Resort = 4 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Fellow Campers: 5 dudes and Aussie = 10 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Food: 9 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Drink: 7 out of 10 Steeler Stars

I had a lot of fun guys and I look forward to next year!




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9/11: 15 Years Later

I will #NeverForget, EVER!!!


This Sunday, September 11th, 2016 is the fifteenth anniversary of the awful terrorist attacks on the United States in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland using commercial aircraft as the weapon of death and destruction, as disgusting as that may be. Naturally this day is filled with a lot of sadness, as it should be, but it’s also a day of great inspiration and hope for the future.

September 11th, 2001, was, with a single doubt THE most memorable day of my lifetime. It was absolutely surrealistic, like I was in the twilight zone, and certainly not in a good way. As with most of you I might imagine, it’s like a bad nightmare that doesn’t seem real, yet you know it is and can’t get rid of it from your memory banks.

On this 15th year memorial, I would like to share three topics about this important day in the hopes of more healing which are (1) My Memories, (2) Inspiration from Sadness and (3) Future Generations.


My Memories

I woke up early to watch the stock market news on TV at 4am PST (7am EST) as I normally do. It was like any other normal day until about 5:47am PST (8:47am EST). At. 5:47 EST the first plane hit the North Tower of World Trade Center. I left for work at 6:00am PST thinking this might be a horrible accident, and as tragic as it might be a few casualties, then end-of-story.

However, unfortunately, it was no accident and when I got to work it became clear that the United States was under attack.

At our work office of 100 or so persons, my office had the only TV in the building, and I’ll never forget the stream of concerned persons coming to the office to get updates. You have to remember that in the early morning hours this event was still unfolding. I witnessed a full-range of emotions seeing these people come to witness the events unfold. Caring, sadness and loss. The attack seemed to be getting worse and worse by the minute. Watching these powerful images on TV together left us helpless on how we could directly help, however, I GUARANTEE, without a doubt, that we were together in spirit for the victims and fantastic responders.

In particular, I’ll never forget how ‘empty’ I felt on the drive home that day. I vividly remember the emptiness of the highways. I remember each American Flag that was proudly flown along the highway I traveled. And I remember this horrible, awful, disgusting kick-in-the-gut that my proud country was attacked by such cowards.


Inspiration from Sadness

The memory of 9/11/01 typically invokes a feeling of sadness among most people. I’ve heard that something like 20% of Americans were personally affected by this tragedy. And to be sure, it is a really sad day, yet it’s also a day of Inspiration.

However; today, as I’ve seen with each memorial for the past fourteen years there is wonderful stories of inspiration from the families and loved ones of those that were lost. Their strength to speak-up and be public about their loss is simply amazing to me. These families are awesome!

Specifically, during the remembrances’ I witnessed on TV today, never did I hear a disrespectful word uttered, nor a vicious attack and only love for others. Each and every person that spoke today did with grace, dignity and confidence. These were such an inspirational bunch of people that have suffered so much incredible loss. It was so beautifully sad actually.


Future Generations

Now it’s time to move-on and future generations that are affected by the events of 9/11/2001. One of the things that really struck me profoundly was that High School Freshman this year weren’t even born or were just infants on that terrible day. That means this whole new, next-generation of American’s will not have lived this personal experience or felt the pain of this awful reality. They can only learn this through teaching in some form or another and we MUST tell the Truth.

It’s important that we continue to share the true facts and not a fabricated narrative. Those who committed these crimes are clear, why they did it is clear and what they want to achieve is clear.


These 2,997 innocent victims of the 9/11/2001 attacks are hero’s that did nothing wrong and deserve nothing but for their stories to be told and #NeverForget. Their crime was going to work on that day – that’s all -, trying to make a positive difference for themselves, friends and family; if you can believe it.

God Bless to all 2,997 killed, the thousands injured and the millions of families forever affected.



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Dad’s Oklahoma homecoming

Slide1Today is the final-final for official remembrance of my wonderful father as he is memorialized in his home state of Oklahoma.

Therefore, I would like to share my ‘Celebration of Life’ eulogy for my beloved father, Floyd Neal, as delivered in California earlier this year.


What a sincere honor and a privilege it is to Celebrate The Life of My Dad with you. Dad is a wonderful man and we’re going to celebrate his beautiful life today in the best capacity ever; right? I will use the words such is ‘is’, ‘will’ or ‘are’, in the present-tense because his legacy is strong and endures forever.


Slide2Ok, now that we determined we’re going to have a wonderful celebration for Dad today, let me first acknowledge of few folks who are a huge part of Dad’s family who, unfortunately, could not be with us for this celebration but join us in spirit from many miles away.

Mary Alice, Dad’s perfect sister, who lives in Oklahoma would have loved to be here more than anything. Then John and my older brother, Mike, and Mike’s son, Logan, from Florida.  It was very special to see the genuinely respectful relationship that Mike and Dad established over the past few years.


Slide3 Dad became an Angel and went to Heaven on April 21st and he had a lot of terrific company waiting for him when he got there. They must be having the reunion party like no other up in the clouds.  It’s heart-warming to know that he is in the presence of such great people.

Dad is an Angel in Heaven with great people such as Aunt Ruth, Aunt Lydia, Uncle George and, of course great Uncle Al.

Dad is also with his mother and father, Lynn and Mama Georgia. He is with his three older brothers, Jewell, Gene and Carl. Dad is reunited with someone he really respected, Mary Alice’s husband, Leonard.  And, of course, he is finally, again, with our youngest brother, Robert Matthew. Actually I’m sort of jealous for the good times they must be having.


Slide4Today, as Dad wanted, is all about you; his friends and family. So for this very reason I would like to share some great moments and stories that are his legacy.  I will share in the most fitting fashion I could possibly imagine that speaks FLOYD NEAL; through a  crossword puzzle!

For those that might not know, Dad loves crossword puzzles and he would work the daily, complicated, version in the newspaper and always completed it without cheating. He is blessed with a great vocabulary (all self-taught by-the-way) and a constant desire to always learn new things.

So for Dad’s 92nd birthday I made a request on my personal Facebook for friends and family to contribute one word that would fit into the crossword puzzle starting words of FLOYD NEAL. The response was absolutely amazing and we quickly filled a complete crossword puzzle as you can see.


Then for his 93rd birthday I had every intention of making this exact cake seen to the left but this turned out to be a tad too ambitious and Brandee, rightfully-so, suggested that I temper my ambitions and we made brownies in the letters of his name as you can see in the right photo. These were a big hit as Dad certainly has a sweet-tooth.

For the rest of my talk today will be in the theme of a crossword puzzle. The following are your, friends and family, statements which I would like to share in return of my gratitude to everyone for your attendance today and your contributions to sharing Dad’s legacy.

Slide5 Friendly

Sometimes Friendly might be an overly used term which could unintentionally cheapen the meaning of the word but Dad is simply a Friendly person by-all-accounts. His Friendly nature is evidenced in his body of work, which was his life and legacy. To-a-person whether you where his immediate family, friends, co-workers or a complete stranger, never an ill-word of Floyd was ever mentioned. In fact, just the opposite. People where always sharing great stories or memories of his Friendly personality.

Slide6 Loyal

The words ‘Loyal’ and ‘Floyd Neal’ should be synonyms because the meaning is exactly the same. Dad was always so supportive and loyal for others. He was Loyal to his business associates. He was always so Loyal to his friends. And, of course, he was always so Loyal to his family. I can tell you for a personal fact that Dad’s Loyalty has always provided me with such confidence to be the best I can be in life.

Dad always provided me with such positive energy to challenge myself to be better. He knew I was a hard-worker but he taught me to work smarter. He engrained into my very spirit a sincere compassion for other people’s success which I value so much to-this-day.


Never would anyone accuse Dad of being a shy person. He was extremely Outgoing. There was never a person that he wouldn’t enjoy striking-up a conversation with.

One story that demonstrates Dad’s Outgoing personality is the time that John and I took him golfing for Father’s Day of 2007. As you can see in the photo John had got us matching Sierra Nevada shirts so we put them on and headed to the golf course.

The course was a bit busy that day so the three of us were paired with two young guys, probably in their early twenties. So it was the five of us out there: four 20 to 30-something year olds and Dad who was 84 at the time.

Due to the heat of the day and Dad’s age we all agreed that we would take it easy on him. This quickly changed and the match became truly competitive as us young-guys were hitting it longer but far too often in the water, under a tree or completely out of bounds. Meanwhile, Dad was consistently hitting it not as long, yet right down the middle. Of course we wanted to show-off our skills and Dad whipped us all with his better strategy, logic and consistency. It is a wonderful memory.


Youthfulness was gifted from Dad’s beloved mother, Mama Georgia. She lived to be nearly 103 years young and she possessed youthful compassion for others until her last days.

One story of Mama Georgia which I would like to share is famous among friends and family. You see even in her late 90’s see was fairly independent still living in her own home. She had many much ‘younger’ friends in their 80’s or early 90’s. One-day Grandma was spotted walking down the street by herself with some sort of meal in her hands. I can’t recall exactly whom stopped and asked her if she was lost or alright considering her age. She quickly answered, “well I’m delivering this meal to my friend because they need it.” Her friend was something like 15-20 years younger than her but yet she truly put others first.

Dad also had this gift of Youthful compassion for others. As recently as early April he was having such fun at John and Rachelle’s wedding. Then on his birthday this past April 13th he was being the typical practical joker that he loved to be.


A Dedicated man-on-a-mission is surely what my father was when he left Oklahoma at an early age. He was Dedicated to make something spectacular of his life; and that’s exactly what he did.

I heard that he jumped some rail-trains, at an extreme passenger discount I might add, and headed to California. As I recall when he finally arrived in California, Dad, Aunt Pat and Aunt Rosalie became united as an extended family. They all became closer as a family and they all were, not only Dad, to succeed in establishing great families of their own; which, I’m gladto report, they all have done. This is sincere Dedication.

I’ll always cherish the great memories of visits Aunt Pat and Uncle Al’s house with Dad where we always enjoyed so much fun.

Slide10 Nice

Nice is not a debatable adjective to describe Dad’s personality. He just is genuinely Nice and that’s the end of it. Mr. Floyd Neal is, without a doubt, one of the nicest people in the world. He always conducted his professional and personal life as such.

Over the past 1 ½ years Dad had spent a lot of time in the hospital constantly dealing with different strangers such as the doctors, nurses and other care-givers. Each of these exceptional persons gave great care for Dad, which I really appreciate. All these terrific care-givers would always comment on how Nice he was and his wonderful sense-of-humor. Dad was always Nice enough to come up with a witty comment that always kept a smile on people’s faces.

Several of his favorite witty go-to answers were: “How are you feeling Floyd?”, “Well, with my fingers of course” he would answer. Another favorite was “How did you sleep last night Floyd?”, “With my eyes closed of course”, he would enthusiastically answer.


Dad was a savvy business man for sure. His style was to earn business through sincerity and honesty. Yes, believe or not, you can still be honest in business and still be successful. In fact, one of Dad’s stock brokers through the years, EF Hutton, had a slogan at one time that said “We make money the old fashioned way, WE EARN IT”. And that’s Dads business philosophy. In his machining business, Timpe & Neal, he was a stickler for quality to earn the trust of his clients. He would often tell heartwarming stories of working with HP, IBM and other technology giants.

He was very proud of the fact that he purchased a struggling business at the time and eventually had the shop running 24×7 hours, 365 days per year. “We never had to close the shop or shut the doors”, he proud explained. Eventually, Dad would sell his interest in his Company to his business partner and begin his semi-retirement as a stay-home Dad.


Dad is an Awesome family man.

In addition to golf, another sport Dad really enjoys is water skiing. We owned two boats growing up and Dad took us boating, and water skiing in particular, as often as he could.

After a few false starts and several boat trips, Dad finally taught me to ski. I’m a ‘two-planker’ and I never learned to use just one ski. However, from I understand that Dad was pretty darn good on single-ski. Dad was always tasked with driving the boat so he couldn’t ski himself so when it came down to teaching Matt how to ski, that responsibility became mine.

Dad had the Awesome patience to drive the boat and make repeated passes to circle-around and straighten the line after many, many crash events by Matt. I wasn’t such a good teacher but I was privileged to work with Matt and teach him this skill that Dad had taught me.

I would be in the water with Matt and coach him on the proper body position, then also hold his ski’s at the right angle with just the tips out of the water as Dad instructed. “Just the tips! Just the tips! Lean back and relax. Let the boat pull you. Don’t lean forward.”, Dad would teach.

Eventually working together, I’m glad to report, that Dad, Matt and I got Matt to learn the skill of water skiing himself.

I had never considered Water Skiing in Heaven but now that I consider-it I guess Dad and Matt are enjoying Awesome times Out on the Lake right about now. Dad is an Awesome Father.


Dad is an incredibly Loving person. No one would ever deny this fact. He is a Loving father to his four sons; Mike, me, John and Robert. Dad loves all of his sons equally, without exception.

He is proud of each of our individual personalities and he always supported whatever we wanted to do with our lives.

After Dad sold his business and joined semi-retirement he purchased a motorhome. The main purpose, and most of the usage, was the Neal Family annual trip to Oklahoma to visit Dad’s Loving family.

Every year, without exception, we would make the journey and it was always so much fun with great memories. Dad enjoyed taking us on stops along the way such as the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest as well as other landmarks.

Of course the highlight of every trip was the arrival in Oklahoma to visit with our family. Dad, and I know the rest of us as well, enjoyed all the wonderful times with Grandma, Grandpa, Jewell, Audrey, Carl, Christine, Gene, Mary Alice and the rest of the extended family. These memories are an amazing testament about the decency of a Loving Family.

Slide14 So there you have it; a crossword puzzle summary of a great man. I would like to say that Floyd Neal is a Friendly, Loyal, Outgoing, Youthful, Dedicated, Nice, Entrepreneurial, Awesome and Loving person. He lived his life with great dignity, passion and led by example. Dad leaves a terrific legacy that others should aspire to.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks, today is about Celebrating The Life of My Dad and Dad always want to celebrate others.

Slide15So, in closing, what you are seeing on the screen now (I’m sure it’s tough to read) is many, many random notes from family, friends and even strangers commenting on Dad’s legacy. Comments such as ‘good dude’, ‘nice guy’ and ‘tinkering in heaven’ where Dad truly touched people emotionally. This is a great testament to a great man.

Dad is reunited with his loving mother and father, his three older brothers and his youngest son. Please enjoy the big celebration in the sky Dad; I can hope to only be half the man you are.  Until we meet again.






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The decency of the Russian people

russian_american_handshakeThere is a lot of current political talk about the embarrassing DNC e-mails and possible Russian ‘hacking’. Since I’ve had a lot of personal and professional interactions with Russian culture and, in particular, Russian people, I feel obligated to share this important perspective with others for your edification. This is NOT my opinion on politics, just rather my experience.

Let me briefly describe from which I will share my perspective.

  • From a professional Russian perspective, I had worked with a Russian-headquartered company for roughly 4 ½ years and visited Moscow one time in 2012.
  • From a personal Russian perspective, I got to meet many great and sincere friends.

I have to be honest that my initial, stereotypical, assumption was that Russian’s would be war-mongering people from the former USSR. It’s just a fact that my only previous Russian experience was during the Cold War-era and maybe that’s your experience as well if you’ve not had a chance to interact with the Russian people directly. Whether this stereotype was true back in that era or not, I do not know. All I can speak of is my experience from 2011 until today.

So let me just summarize, in my opinion, the Russian people themselves because a whole society should not be stereotyped based on the actions of a few. Imagine if every American was stereotyped based on American leadership. The many Russian people I know are:

  • Nice, considerate and eager to learn about other cultures
  • Hard-working and extremely thorough to complete tasks
  • Strong in their conviction and well-reasoned
  • Love nature and the outdoors
  • Likes to take care of business first, then small-talk

In this modern-era of decisive politics, international and domestic unrest a challenging economy, I share this personal perspective of the Russian people because they are people just like us. They care about others, they care about family and they work hard for the benefit of everyone.

I’m extremely grateful for my Russian friends.

Thanks (благодаря),


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