Game Show Fanatic

I loved game shows as a kid, even a really young kid. While everyone else was outside playing fun preschool suburban games like “Put This Stick Up Your Nose” and “Run As Fast As You Can Into the Pricker Bush,” I spent every weekday morning from 11 am-noon watching The Price is Right. The good version. Back when Bob Barker was hosting it. Yes, he’s still alive. He’s 95. I looked it up.

There were others I liked too. Card Sharks was good (I watched the recent reboot for about 5 minutes. Terrible). Joker’s Wild (didn’t watch the reboot). Sale of the Century.

When I was maybe 5 or 6, I decided that if I couldn’t co-produce a twice-annual meeting for CME professionals, then I wanted to be a game show host. The ones I admired were all skinny, gawky, white dudes, just like me. I was the next Bert Convy, a Bill Cullen just waiting to be discovered, a Wink Martindale with a normal name.

As I got older and school interrupted my game show habits (my elementary school nurse was partial to Password. Amazing how often I got a stomachache exactly at 10 am), I had to settle for those game shows that came on in the after school hours. They perhaps aren’t as well remembered, but there were lots of them and I loved (OK, liked) them all. Hot Potato had amazing graphics. That was my favorite.

Fast forward to 2019. No, I am unfortunately not going to be the next Bob Eubanks, but when it came time to figure out a session to anchor CMEpalooza Fall 2019, I figured it was time to live out my boyhood dream. And so was born The Great, Big, Play at Home in Your Jammies CME Quiz. It’s from 4-5 pm ET on Wednesday, October 16.

This session has everything a good game show needs:

  • Competition – everyone can play, for free, using the Poll Everywhere app or by going to a URL we’ll provide before the session (it’ll be http://www.pollev/cmepalooza). You need to be smart and answer quickly to rack up the points.
  • Catchy theme music — Derek has promised to sing “Edelweiss” at the start of the session
  • Really cool celebrity guests — If you liked Nipsey Russell or Soupy Sales popping up on every single game show in the ’80s, you’ll love the celebrities joining us for this session (they are also known as “faculty”). Each of our “celebrities” has been integrally involved in developing questions and/or serving on the planning committee for the CCMEP/CHCP exam so they know their stuff.
  • Prizes – Yes, even better than a year’s supply of Turtle Wax. There will be at least $500 in prize money to be given out. Medscape is currently our sole prize sponsor, but if your organization wants to join in, shoot me an email and we’ll figure something out.

Now, go away. The Game Show Network is doing a marathon of Supermarket Sweep reruns starting in 5 minutes.

Fear Not Technology

That shriek of terror you heard a few weeks ago at 9:15 am ET? Yeah, that was Derek when I emailed him to tell him that Google Hangouts On Air (GHOAs) were officially, finally, kaput. It was something that had been rumored for a while but frankly, we don’t listen to rumors (well, unless it’s a rumor about the Philadelphia 76ers trading a 2023 second-round draft pick for a third-string center. That we are interested in. [note from Derek: this feels like Scott is challenging me to work current 76ers third-string center Kyle O’Quinn into my next blog post. Challenge accepted, Kober!!).

As you may be aware, we’ve been using GHOAs (or its more recent incarnation, YouTube Live, which was the same thing with a different name) since the very beginning of CMEpalooza. It was technology that was predictable, reliable, relatively easy to master, and, of course, free. Being a Google product, it automatically linked to YouTube, making it easy for us to embed broadcasts on the CMEpalooza website and then archive. The technology wasn’t perfect, and we learned a lot about troubleshooting problems over the years, but all in all, it worked well enough and we knew how to use it for our needed purposes.

So then you can imagine there was good reason Derek began shrieking like, well, this when I broke the bad news to him. Truth be told, I was panicked a bit myself as I quickly searched the Interwebs for “Replacement technology for Google Hangouts.” I figured it would take a while – a day, maybe two – before we found something that might, maybe, work as a platform for CMEpalooza.

Happily, it took all of about 15 minutes before we stumbled onto a website called StreamYard, which has a broadcast platform that was developed by two millennials who look like they graduated high school one night, rolled out of bed the next morning, and threw something together before heading to Taco Bell for a 4 pm chalupa. Here they are (I won’t even try to pronounce “Geige” but I will steal his hair. Heck, I’ll steal anyone’s hair):

Derek and I did some initial testing of the StreamYard platform, and found it intuitive, relatively easy to master, and, of course, free (for now). Like GHOAs, Streamyard also links directly to YouTube. It looks slightly different than GHOAs from a viewers perspective, but it’s a pretty decent facsimile. In some ways, it’s even better than GHOAs. They don’t have a lot of useless bells and whistles, they added some useful screen sharing features, and other small stuff that you probably don’t care about.

We wanted to wait until we had done a few AV tests with our Fall panelists before crowing about our sleuthing, but now that we have several behind us that all went smoothly, cock-a-frigging-doodle-doo. Yeah, that’s a rooster and not a crow. I know. Move along.

So here are today’s takeaways:

  1. Derek panics easily (another note from Derek: Am I worried that Scott just jinxed us by bragging about how great this new technology works? Of course I am!!)
  2. There are young people who are really good at technology and can create stuff in their sleep (as long as they are still living at home and don’t have to pay rent)
  3. CMEpalooza is saved.

And oh yeah, it’s a month(ish) away from our broadcast date of CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday, October 16). Don’t forget.

Last Day to Submit a Question For the Grants Hotline

Let’s talk about Dolly Parton for a minute.

You probably know that Dolly wrote “I Will Always Love You.” (Scott: No, we don’t)

You probably know that Dolly wrote “Jolene.” (Scott: What’s a “Jolene”?)

But did you know that Dolly wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” on the same day? It’s true! That is a pretty amazing day. (Scott: Perhaps not as amazing as when I learned to whistle and blow a bubble on the same day, but I’ll give you this one)

You know what you could write that would make it an amazing day for you? You could write a question for our Grants Hotline!!

(Folks, this is the best I have at this point. After four blog posts asking for questions, I’m all out of ideas. Plus, I’m going to the Willie Nelson concert tonight, and I’m feeling a little distracted. Did you know that when Willie Nelson was writing the song “Crazy,” his first draft used the word “stupid” instead? This is also true! Willie is 86 years old and still touring…incredible. It’s probably because he owes the IRS millions in back taxes, but I digress…)

Today IS the last day to ask questions for our Grants Hotline. We have gotten several, but would love to have a few more. Once again, here is the form for you to submit. Deadline is whenever the Willie Nelson concert ends tonight!

Top 5 Reasons You Should Stop What You Are Doing and Submit a Question to the Grants Hotline

5. It’s a good excuse to get you out of that phone call that should have been an email
“Hey, Bob. Really sorry but I’m going to have to bail on our call this afternoon. I have a major project I’m working on, and the deadline is coming up soon. No, no, don’t reschedule just for me. You guys go ahead.”

4. You can use it as cover while adjusting your Fantasy Football lineup
Speaking of fantasy football, let me take a quick moment here to remind everyone that nobody else cares about your fantasy football team. You might think we are interested in hearing you debate about whether to use Patrick Mahomes or Gardner Minshew as your starting quarterback, but actually no. We don’t. Tough but true.

3. Make it a fun, team-building exercise!
Step 1: Rent one of those sweet 15-person passenger vans so everyone can squeeze in together (people love that)
Step 2: Take the whole gang to Applebees and order Appletinis for all!
Step 3: Over some kind of (probably fried) appetizer, ask everyone to think of a question for the Grants Hotline
Step 4: Best question wins a free Southern Apple Fritter!

2. What else are you doing right now that is more important?
Admit it, you’re right in the middle of a Facebook post about your fantasy football team, aren’t you? I knew it! 

1. We really really really really need more questions
We have received a few, but I would love to have a bunch more. Yes, you technically have until Friday to get your questions in, but why not just do it now and help me keep my blood pressure down? Here’s the form for you to use:

Three Announcements You Should Definitely Read

Announcement #1: Google Hangouts On Air Is Dead But CMEpalooza Is Not

Here is an abbreviated version of my email exchange with Scott yesterday morning:

Scott: Google killed Hangouts On Air last month. It’s gone.

Me: Well…that’s not good.

Scott: Nope. We should probably find an alternative.

[googles “Google Hangouts On Air alternative”] 

[clicks first link he sees]

Scott: Problem solved. I found something.

Me: Great. Let’s use that.

And that’s pretty much how it all went down (minus a few swear words and inappropriate gestures.) Google did indeed kill Google Hangouts On Air (GHOA), which is the platform we have used to run CMEpalooza since it’s inception. And in about five minutes, we (Scott) found an alternative to use that is pretty dang close to the same as GHOA. We are still testing it out, but have been pleased with how it has performed during our trial runs. I really don’t think you will see much of a difference. With the certainty of death, taxes, and the Phillies bullpen blowing a 3-run lead, CMEpalooza will continue on.

Announcement #2: The CMEpalooza Archive Has Been Updated

I updated the CMEpalooza archive to include all of the sessions from 2019 CMEpalooza Spring. We now have a total of…I don’t know how many sessions. Honestly, it was sort of a stressful day and I didn’t bother to count them. It’s a lot. I’m going to guess it’s 97 sessions in the archive. Ninety-seven sounds like a good number. It’s also the same number of times I banged my head on my desk when I found out GHOA was gone.

Announcement #3: Send In Your Questions For The CMEpalooza Grants Hotline

Yes, they’re not due until September 13, but why wait? Click here and send them in now!! 

The Grants Hotline is OPEN!

The following is a factual statement: the #1 requested topic for CMEpalooza (Every. Single. Time.) is “More content about grants.” It doesn’t matter how many times we do one, people want more. With that in mind, now is your opportunity to get all your grants-related questions answered. The Grants Hotline is officially open and operators are standing by!

Our Grants Hotline session is scheduled for 11 AM ET during CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday, Oct. 16), and the concept is fairly simple. Submit your question via one of the methods listed below and our expert panel will answer it*. That’s it, that’s the session. The more questions you ask, the more content we have.

*I feel obligated to state that your question needs to be related to the grants process, panelists can opt out of questions they aren’t comfortable answering, and we might not be able to get to every question. So for all you wisenheimers who want to come up with a “hilarious” question that you think will “make our day,” I mean, go ahead, but you’ll be wasting some of your wonderful creativity on an audience of, maybe, two people.

How to submit your questions:

Option #1:

Option #2: Text your questions to the Grants Hotline at 267-666-0CME (0263)

We are going to leave the Grants Hotline open until September 13, so you have two weeks to get your questions in. After that, you will just have to wait until CMEpalooza on October 16. Rumor has it that our fearless moderator will be showing off his Hotline Bling dance moves at the end of the session. Tune in to find out! (note: he didn’t actually tell me that he would be dancing, nor did I ask him, but he also didn’t not tell me that he would be dancing, so who knows?)

Welcome to the End of Summer

When Derek and I flew down to our multi-day, tropical, semiannual CMEpalooza retreat earlier this summer, we spent many days thinking and strategizing about the future of our wildly-successfully extravaganza.

Me (said silently): “We’ve come so far in 5 years, but we could go so much farther. How do we expand our footprint and impact on this world so desperate for our education?”

Derek (said aloud): “I wonder how many more banana daiquiris I can consume before Happy Hour pricing ends?”

Yes, we all get there in our own ways, but once our focus sharpened (the answer, Derek tells me, was five. Five more banana daiquiris), we did indeed come up a lot of exciting and innovative ideas. Alas, all of those exciting and innovative ideas unfortunately were forgotten the instant that our kindly cocktail waitress told Derek after banana daiquiri number 4 that, “You look like you need a vacation.”

Thus was born the International CMEpalooza Summer Promotional Road Trip.

In early August, I spent several days lugging my family around Montreal speaking to countless potential CMEpalooza consumers about our event. I don’t speak a lick of French, but just kept saying “Mon dieu!” every time a question was asked of me. “Mon dieu!” just seems like a catch-all kind of phrase although I admittedly don’t really know what it means. I only got a few questionable looks.

Derek meanwhile took on the more difficult task of traipsing through the United Kingdom spreading the good word about CMEpalooza (note from Derek: this is true, though technically speaking I drove, not traipsed. Nothing like hurtling down the narrow streets of Cornwall at 55 MPH to make you feel alive!). His sullen, slightly disgruntled personality seemed perfect for the task, and I’m told by reliable sources that he fit in just fine. Alas, his introverted personality restrained him from actually, you know, trying to talk to anyone about CMEpalooza, but I’m assured that he used some sort of Jedi mind tricks to do what he promised.

And now we’re back again, settled in to domesticity in our homeland, with at least 2 new subscribers to our blog and 1 likely new viewer of our Fall sessions. That’s the owner of the ice cream parlor, or café crème glacee (see, I did learn some French!), around the corner from our Montreal accommodations who I saw, oh, every 4 hours for 7 consecutive days before he finally asked, “What the heck is this CMEpalooza think you keep talking about?” Mon dieu, monsieur!

You’ll be hearing much more from us in these next few weeks – we promise – about our Fall meeting coming up on Wednesday, October 16, as we ramp up our preparations and connect with our panelists to see what kinds of kooky ideas they have spun off of our original concepts. Meanwhile, enjoy your last few hours of summer this Labor Day. Derek suggests a banana daiquiri.

The CMEpalooza Fall Agenda Has Arrived

Anyone else have a nagging spouse? I sure do!

(She doesn’t read the blog so she’ll never know I told you – mums the word, people)

But when it comes to Derek and I, it’s often up to me to play the role of the nagger to the nagee (is that a word? Let’s pretend for today that it is).

Day 1 Nag: “So, how are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Silence)

Day 2 Nag: “I repeat, how are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Crickets)

Day 3 Nag: “If you don’t answer me, I’m going to tell everyone in the blogosphere that you still wear Aquaman Underoos (It’s true. He does. Don’t ask me how I know). One more time — How are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Finally, a response)

“Sorry, I was busy watching replays of the Game 7 of the 1986 Philadelphia 76ers-Milwaukee Bucks series on YouTube. Can’t believe Doc missed the game winner. What am I supposed to be doing again?”

The man never lets me down.

But to Derek’s credit, as usual, he rose to the task, got himself organized, adjusted the waistline of his Aquaman Underoos, and got to work. He begged, pleaded, and cajoled. One success led to another, and then another, until, “Yes, Scott, yes, my sessions are ready. Sort of.”

And so, on this last day of July, we indeed have an agenda to present for CMEpalooza Fall. It’s pretty great. Click here for the CMEpalooza Fall agenda.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some laundry to do, groceries to buy, and plants to water. You’ll have to wait another week or two before we start telling you more.

Coming dear!

 

A CMEpalooza Fall Agenda Sneak Peek

Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter. – Earl Weaver

Exactly one month ago, Scott wrote a blog post trumpeting “We have momentum!” We then proceeded to write a grand total of zero blog posts since then. That’s some momentum. Personally, I blame the heat. It’s been so hot in Philly, the dog swore at me when I tried to take her out for a walk. Who knew greyhounds had such a potty mouth?

The good news is that, despite our lack of blog momentum, we have actually been doing some work behind the scenes, and our CMEpalooza Fall agenda is rounding into shape nicely. It’s not quite ready for prime time, but I thought I would at least give you all a sneak peak into what I think might be our best agenda ever (and yes, we say that every year). So, here are a few things you can expect in the 2019 CMEpalooza Fall agenda:

  • An exclamation point in the title of a session
  • A reworking of the lyrics to Drake’s Hotline Bling
  • A Back to the Future II reference
  • Pet rocks, mood rings, and Cabbage Patch Dolls
  • A CME detective
  • Quizzo!
  • Mystery session(s) (to build suspense)

If that doesn’t get you excited for CMEpalooza Fall, then I don’t know what will. Fingers crossed, we hope to have the agenda close to finalized and posted in the next week or two. Stay tuned!

***

On a more serious note, I wanted to offer a brief tribute to my dad, Don Warnick, who passed away a few weeks ago. Perhaps this is a silly place to do such a thing, but Dad was extremely proud of CMEpalooza, even though he didn’t really understand how it worked or what I do. He was my sounding board when I first came up with the idea for palooza, encouraged me to give it a try even though I expected it to fail, and loved the fact that I was creating something new and unique. The least I can do is mention how important he was to me and to the development of CMEpalooza in one of my blog posts. I think he would have gotten a kick out of that.

We Have Momentum (Finally)

A few weeks ago, Derek wrote about an upcoming meeting of the austere CMEpalooza planning committee that was on the calendar after weeks and weeks of coddling and begging. As those of us in the industry are familiar with, getting anyone to carve out time in their schedule for a planning call can be quite painful.

Well, imagine dealing with a whole cadre of egos (“My time is more important than your time”) where any affront is taken personally (“Wait, why are we rescheduling this meeting because she is unavailable? I told you I was unavailable, and you told me that was too bad. I hate you guys.”) and perhaps you have a sense of what Derek and I have to deal with on a semiannual basis.

OK, OK, so perhaps our planning committee isn’t quite as austere as I hinted at earlier. OK, OK, perhaps it is just Derek and I. Nonetheless, scheduling was a bit more challenging this year than most.

As you may recall from Derek’s near-catastrophic snafu with jury scheduling this spring, he is not always great at planning around important events in CMEpalooza-ville. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he bailed on our first meeting when he realized he had to see the dentist to get a few cavities filled. That’s what a lifetime of Laffy Taffy every night after dinner will do to your teeth, folks. (Note from Derek: Tough but fair.)

I was to blame (well, kinda sorta) for the second cancellation – water damage to our property caused by massive construction going on next door that is slated to be completed… oh, sometime in 2068.

But never fear my feathered friends, Derek and I persevered! Our personal assistants stayed with it, cross-referencing dates and times to find a Friday afternoon where we could both sit down and talk through ideas for CMEpalooza Fall.

But alas, another chink in the armor. Derek chose a Mexican restaurant near his house as our meeting spot. We show up. Oops. “I guess it isn’t open for lunch,” he says.

For some people, this would have been the last straw, but again, we persevered! Fortunately, another mediocre restaurant was located just across the street. What luck! OK, OK, there are lots of restaurants within a few blocks of where we met, but I’m simply trying to create some drama here.

Anyway, we sat down, ordered our iced teas and lemonades, and got down to business.

Let me approximate how these planning meetings typically go.

Me (rifling through many pages of notes and doodles during my preparation for the meeting): “So, what session ideas so you have for the next CMEpalooza?”

Derek (rifling through a blank notebook): “I dunno. Maybe something about grantors?”

Me: “So it’s on me again, eh?”

Imagine then my surprise last Friday when Derek actually had, gasp, several good ideas! I mean it everyone, a week at the beach must have sparked a few neurons into creative overdrive deep within Derek’s cerebral cortex. Between my mediocre ideas and his, we actually have a good collection of topics and formats for the Fall meeting (Wednesday, Oct. 16). We still need to flesh things out, get moderators/presenters on board, negotiate schedules, and everything else, but hey, at least we’re building momentum.

Let’s just hope life gets out the way for a while.