Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Meet Allen Kevorkov

With the theme of inspirational stories, once again I'd like to introduce someone who had quite the journey in life. Meet Allen Kevorkov and listen in his own words how far he's come and the fun and interesting things he's up to:

1. A little bit about goes! I'm a lucky father of two beautiful girls, Alina (3), and Natalie (10 months). They have the best Mommy in the world, my wife of 6 years, Kelly, whom I met through 11 years ago. Geez, time flies. Oh and we have two kitties, Molly (12) and Maxie (9). My first cat, Joey (12), stayed with my parents to keep them company after I moved out. I studied Business Administration and Marketing in college, and during my sophomore year, I started a business selling computers, computer hardware and accessories, as well as doing repairs and upgrades for friends. I guess they liked me because the word of mouth allowed me to build up a decent customer base, some of whom utilize my services to this day. At this time, I have one regular client and a few others, here and there. About a year after graduation, I started a full-time job as a Network Administrator at a small marketing firm. I was later promoted to Manager of Information Systems. I left the company after twelve years in 2013, when I shifted my focus toward email after joining a local eCommerce solutions provider as Deliverability Analyst.

2. It makes me feel pretty old, when I start to think how long ago I began playing claw machines. It's been a significant part of my life since I was about 5 years old. There was a little amusement park across the street from my house, and there was a small arcade, where I experienced the claw machine for the first time. It was a horizontal cabinet with a glass top, and the most common prize found in these machines were cigarettes. Clearly, these machines were intended for adults, but my Mom allowed me to play it, and I won three times in a row. That kind of success in claw machines was pretty rare, especially for a child, and it ignited a passion that has never left me. I bought my first machine 11 years ago and have since owned three others, two of which I still have in my basement.

3. Interesting facts... I suppose it depends on what is considered interesting, but let's start from the beginning. I was born in Baku, capital of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. I am an only child and I suppose you could say I'm spoiled, although I've always been very close with my cousins and spent a great deal of time with them growing up. Due to civil unrest in my neck of the woods, we were forced to flee our hometown, and my family was permitted to leave the country as Armenian refugees to start life anew. We landed on the US soil in January of 1991. The first couple of years were very difficult, as we learned to adapt to the new culture and lifestyle. I experienced a fair share of prejudice and bullying in middle school, which left a good dent in my confidence and self-esteem, but by the time I started high school in the fall of 1992, I had adapted fairly well and it was a much more positive experience with new friends in another school district.

4. I started my YouTube channel in 2006. I love entertaining my friends, and I've always wanted to make a science fiction type of movie on my own, using special effects, such as time travel to meet myself in the past or future. When I took a day off work to try to accomplish this, I quickly realized that doing this on my own would take a lot more time and patience that I was willing to dedicate to it, so my first YouTube post ended up being just a collection of special effect tricks in a video titled "How to be a Superman". I later made the video private, as I didn't feel it was a good representation of my skill. I am not exactly sure what prompted me to make my first Claw Machine tutorial, but with over 300,000 views, it is by far the most successful video on my channel. Speaking of which, May 28th 2014 marks the 7-year anniversary, since that video was posted. During the first year, I made 3 tutorial videos, after which I started working on music videos. After numerous requests, I revisited the idea of making claw machine tutorials 5 years later, and once I realized just how much the interest has grown over the years, judging by Matt's incredible fan base, I decided to create Be The Claw, the idea for which was inspired by "The Claw" from Toy Story and SpongeBob's quote "be the crane" from the Skill Crane episode. 

5. Music production is another big one for me. I started writing, when I was about 10 years old. I initially played piano, and a few years later, learned to play guitar as well. Throughout teenage years, I've recorded numerous albums on tapes and gave out to friends and family and it wasn't until my most recently album, published in 2009, that I started feeling more comfortable sharing my work with the public. I created a webpage and offered both digital and CD versions of my album. Music has always been a great companion through difficult times and gave me a voice that I seemed to lack otherwise. I have made a number of music videos to my songs on my own, which I have also posted on my YouTube channel. My music styles include soft rock, pop, easy listening, comedy and parodies. I also enjoy customizing cars, although it is an expensive hobby, which has taken a back seat after I started family.

6. Anything else... To people, who haven't met me in person, it often comes as a surprise that outside of YouTube, I am generally fairly shy. I have wonderful parents, who traveled across the world in search of a brighter future for me, and they have always supported my somewhat unusual obsession with claw machines. My father used to take me to amusement parks and arcades with the sole intention of playing the claw machine and I am grateful for that. I became addicted to the Internet in high school because it opened up a whole new world of people and way of communicating. It allowed me to make many friends that I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise. I enjoy talking to people online, and the three traits I value in people the most are kindness, generosity, and sincerity.

7. Where can I be found? I'm pretty Googlable, but my claw machine website is, which I created in 2012 in hopes of uniting all the fans out there. I started using Twitter recently, in light of my invitation to join Matt in NEN / Sugarloaf's Twitter Chat. My Twitter handle is @betheclaw and all my posts automatically end up on my Facebook page at My Youtube channel is For anyone interested in my music, that can be found at and

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Light

The view from my back porch was breathtaking. A tree filled with glorious pink blossoms. They had appeared after a long winter's sleep when the sun began shining.

A tiny seedling pokes its head upon my windowsill. Italian bean seeds which I placed into a small plastic container to encourage growth. Their faces turned toward the light, soaking up the sun. Even though I turned the planter completely around last evening, when I walked through the door this evening, their cheery faces were once again pointed out the window as if basking and enjoying the bright sunny day.

We are like that too. On a warm day, don't we gather outdoors enjoying the rays of warmth as they light up our faces? Sitting on my porch swing while it's still light outside after a long day's work, only to return indoors as the darkness begins to descend.

The topic of light reminds me of something, a saying I've always loved. It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

On my darkest of days, when I'm lonely, when I've been hurt by a loved one, when a sharp retort at my job causes me to feel less than, I must remember the light. When arthritis with its tendrils of pain snake through my back, or when I feel I can't walk another step, I must remember the light. When sadness threatens to choke out all that is good, when past thoughts creep up, snaking their way into the recesses of my soul, I must remember the light. When I'm tempted to speak badly of another, when ill-chosen words with my spouse make me wonder if there's anything good, I must remember the light.

Light reaches into a dark room, illuminating the way. My heart and soul are like that too, as precious light flows into them, illuminating, chasing away any sadness, any gloom which lurks there.

We speak light into another's soul when we freely give words of encouragement. We become light to a darkened world when a kind deed, perhaps unnoticed, touches a person more than we'll ever know. It's a choice, however, this light. For it isn't easy at times. How I long to express in an angry moment, words which would cut to the quick, words which could destroy. I must remember the light.

As I walk through the darkened days, I pick up my candle, illuminating the path before me. Sometimes the corners are very deep with gloom, and other times, only the tiniest flicker of my candle of hope remains. But I must press on, I must not give in to darkness or despair. I choose the light. I choose the path which is set before me, for good or naught. The candle will not be extinguished, for it's flame is strong. At the center of it is the heart of God. And He is my true light.

Friday, May 16, 2014

We just want to be loved

Hello everyone. I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Piggy, and yes, I'm a cat. Some of you may know me from Facebook and others of you may know me from my human, Matt3756 YouTube videos. If you've never met me before, then welcome, and glad to meet you.

I'm choosing to write on my grandmother's blog today to tell you a little bit about me. 

A few years back, oh, maybe seven or eight, a wonderful human named Rick adopted my sister Vision the cat and I. We were rescued from a neglectful situation. There wasn't much food where we came from. Rick was very kind to us and gave us a warm home and all the food we could eat. Before you knew it, I'd gained some weight, well, quite a bit actually, but began trusting humans once again.

It was around that time Rick's young nephew Matt moved in with us. We hit it off right away, he and I. Time went by and we became inseparable. I enjoyed cuddling with him, even let him film me as he made his crazy videos. 

My sister Vision became sick and left us to go over the rainbow bridge. It was at that time I really bonded with Matt. He and I moved into our own home almost a year ago now and I have lots of room to play, lots of great food and treats, and wonderful windows to look out of at all the pretty birds.

One day Matt came home with a wriggling gray kitten. I took one look at it and told him to bring it back to where it came from. But getting into the spirit of things, I decided it would be best for all involved if I'd at least try to be nice to it.

Her name is Goober, and she is now my adopted sister. We enjoy plotting destruction together, and she even lets me bathe her, which is kind of nice.

My grandma is a writer, and asked me one day if I would mind if she wrote a fantasy story about me. I thought it would be a great idea. So gram's been working on a manuscript, and we're hoping to get it out as a book very soon. We had a lot of fun collaborating on ideas. I hope you'll enjoy a "tail" about me and my adventures and let us know how you liked them.

For now, I want to thank you for your time, and remember: your cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, all your pets and your dear friends and family are much like me and you. They, too, just want to be loved. 

Love, Piggy

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Love ourselves unconditionally

Last week on Facebook I wrote what I felt was a controversial topic: loving ourselves no matter what our size and shape. Today, I'm going to add to this. Love  ourselves no matter our ages.

We've earned those crows feet and laugh lines, every bump, wrinkle, bulge and gray hair. A long lifetime of raising children, dealing with death of loved ones, aging parents, divorces. All of these have taken their toll on us, and many of us have dealt with some of these numerous times.

As a child, I was a nervous little thing. You see, there were serious issues going on around me, unstable conditions at times. My fears were very real and life was chaotic. It was no wonder food became a comfort. Yet at another time, years later, when a husband walked out on me, leaving me for another, food would no longer matter, and my appetite would suffer.

I'm in my fifties now, living in a culture obsessed with beauty, stick figure barbie doll actresses and models. Diet ads and fads abound. And I'm tired of it all, I tell you. Tired of hiding behind huge, baggy, loose clothing thinking I'm the world's worst human being because I enjoy an ice cream cone, piece of cake or candy bar. Tired of thinking I can seriously lose ten or fifteen pounds to be the "ideal" weight, perhaps the weight I was as a young girl. No, I've earned my love handles, you see. In the real world I live in, my size should not matter. I don't care if you're size 2 or size 22, you are a beautiful woman of God.

How long should it take us to stop the obsession, to give permission to love ourselves right where we are, how we look, at any age, regardless of dress sizes? Why can't we buy clothing that accentuates our good points without worry of hiding the bad? Why can't we eat that brownie without guilt in front of another who is giving us "the look", the one which says, "oh my gosh, I can't believe she's going to eat that."

I've known ladies of all sizes. My own mother was particularly overweight most of her life. A beautiful woman nonetheless. In her older years, food hasn't held the appeal it once did, and she's lost an incredible amount of weight. This was nothing she felt she HAD to do, it was just one of those things I suppose.

I hate something. Why is it that when we see someone who's lost weight, we say: "you look so good?" I say to this: "What did I look like before, crap?" Why can't we learn to compliment our sisters at any size, any age?

Think about it. Don't you enjoy hearing someone say your hair looks particularly good today, or that top looks great on you? If you can't come up with one nice thing to say sometime, then tell a person they have a great smile. A smile is one of the single most beautiful face lifts any woman can have. It lights up the countenance, erasing frown lines and worry. 

You are beautiful, girl. So put that outfit on, get that haircut or style you've always wanted. Wear the sequins, the baubles, get the tattoo. Do it for you, not for anyone else. And to this, I add: pick up that paintbrush, the pen and paper, the crochet hook or some other artistic outlet. Enjoy your life, live it to the fullest. And by all means, love, love, love yourself unconditionally.