Home for my rants, raves and general sharing of 'insytes'. Some of you will enjoy this gathering of text - others will wonder how I tricked them into giving me a Blogger's license...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Blackberry -vs- Treo

I am not the most tech savvy girl in the world, but I realized earlier this year I had a serious need for a PDA (no, not public displays of affection - I get enough of that). I needed a mobile unit that would let me get my phone calls, emails and text messages all in one spot. I also needed a good calendering system as Chris and I kept booking gigs (concerts, cultural events, parties) on top of each other - so we needed to sync up.

After lots of research, including polling of friends and business associates, we chose the Treo 650. To make the most of it, we both bought new phones and signed up on a family plan through Cingular. We thought we were so smart.

The first week was nothing but love with this new technology. It was like being at a Macy's shoe sale every day of the week. I loaded in my contacts and updated my calendar - oh the fun I shall have learning how to use this thing.

Then the calls started dropping and the Web would never connect even though I was paying $40 per month for the service. Add the screen freezing up on me constantly and I was ready to throw this piece of crap off the roof of our building. Of course, it did not help that we had serious billing issues with Cingular, but that is a story in of itself, so I will keep on topic today. You should be ashamed of yourself Palm - this was not ready for public consumption - especially not at the price tag we had to pay.

Five months later and the calls are still dropping, the Web is shotty at best (kills me how slow it is) and the screen freezes regularly so I have to pull the battery out to jump start it. Technical support at Palm? Nope - they are not interested. They place blame on Cingular and Cingular - places blame on Palm. Whatever happened to the buck stops here? Won't someone be accountable?

Chris and I were lamenting over our error in judgement at dinner one day and I mentioned moving over to the BlackBerry. Most of our friends either have the BlackBerry or the Treo, so we have a 50/50 chance of having a better experience.

I started checking out the features on the new 8700c, shopping for the best price as well as a new cell phone plan as I hate Cingular as much as I hate Palm right now. Then I read the article in eWeek about the patent suit Research In Motion (makers of the BlackBerry) is embroiled in with NTP. Seems there is a very good chance that Research In Motion is going to lose the email capability which is something I need to start using regularly. Darn. Just when I thought I had a good alternate. I am finally getting used to being 'connected' and it looks like I might have to keep my Treo afterall.

So it leaves me thinking life before all this modern technology came into the picture isn't sounding so bad right about now...

Note: I am not linking to either Palm or the Treo 650 as I do not want to encourage additional product sales for them. Unless of course, they pony up some decent tech support for me, then we can talk.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dave Grohl is a sexy man

The Foo Fighters kick ass. Blend dazzling melodies, riveting lyrics and a highly-energized front man and you have yourself the makings of a stellar show, one I got to experience in person Friday night in O town.

Tickets on the floor - so close I thought I even got a little of Dave's sweat on me. Goodie. I didn't even mind it was general admission on this level, though that feeling changed as the evening progressed. Everything was cool through Hot Hot Heat and Weezer. We were all rocking out, dancing and having a good time. Then Foo Fighters came on and all the youngins who felt they needed to be in front of me started pushing forward. Do they not realize I have earned the right to be at the base of the stage as I got to the concert early to ensure a good spot? It was unreal. I have experienced this before at other concerts, but this was crazy. I couldn't even stand up straight. Pushed left, pushed right, pushed back, pushed forward. At first I went with it, I can do this. I want to be close. Just go with the flow - no matter where it takes you. Then the mosh pit started. Eek gad. Is it really considered fun to get thrown across the room? Nope, not for me. I think I am getting old.

So we moved back. We still had a great spot, about 50 feet back from the stage. I don't know. Maybe I just needed a little more liquor in me...but I doubt that would have helped. I still had a great time and I would absolutely see them again next time they come through town...but I think I will opt for those choice seats slightly right of the stage with the 'controlled' audience. I don't need to be in the thick of things. I bruise way too easily.

As a mini tribute to one of my favorite bands, here are lyrics from Everlong (I think one of their best songs):

I've waited here for you

And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I'll ever ask of you
You've got to promise not to stop when I say when
She said

Breathe out
So I can breathe you in
Hold you in

Gives me goose pimples. See you soon Dave.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dalai Lama Visiting Stanford University

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is set to visit Stanford University on November 4th and 5th to discuss meditation, nonviolent conflict resolution, and is also hosting an academic conference entitled "Craving, Suffering, and Choice: Spiritual and Scientific Explorations of Human Experience". Silly me did not know this until today, now that tickets are sold out, my chances of being close to His Holiness are next to nil. Bummer.

I try to broaden my understanding of different religions and cultures through related seminars, concerts, exhibits, films, and other cultural events. I want to be part of shaping the world to become a better place not just for me, but for generations following. Exposing yourself to masters of compassion such as the Dalai Lama cultivates the love cats within ourselves.

I will be completely honest - I am not up to date on the trials and tribulations of the Tibetan people, and know little of what they have had to endure under China's rule. I do know that I am inspired by great people. Selfless people. I am curious to know more about this God-man who has been a tireless advocate for peace and religious understanding. The Dalai Lama has been living in exile from his ravaged homeland for most of his adult life - and yet he continues to live, breathe and preach tolerance and mutual respect to our fellow man. I am moved by his quiet perseverance. He is not just about positive thinking, it is all about positive being.

One of the books I have read by the Dalai Lama is the Art of Happiness - there are four key points and I thought important to share them:

1. The purpose of life is happiness.

2. Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances, or events—at least once one’s basic survival needs are met.

3. Happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts and minds, through reshaping our attitudes and outlook.

4. The key to happiness is in our own hands.

I have a purpose driven life. I am happy. They say good will makes you feel good - and I have the will to do good. Watch out world - here I come.

Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination

Thank goodness. Feeling a sense of relief that this Bush crony is no longer a contender.

What a scary society we live in if what you know is not as important as who you know. The Miers nod coupled with the recent fiasco surrounding FEMA's Michael Brown are two recent examples of someone completely ill fitted for a position being given the job because of who s/he knew. I have seen this happen time and time again within the 'bubble' of the tech world, but little old naive me was hoping it was not as wide spread as it seems to be.

My confidence in this administration steadily declines. (I know, hard to believe I still have confidence with all that has happened over the last four years). I crave a sense of stability and sign of intelligence within our Federal government. Is this too much to ask?

Please stay Judge O'Conner. I know you are 75 years old - simply ignore my politicians post as I think you are the exception to the age rule. I understand your husband is not well and it is critical you spend as much time with him as possible. But please, please look at the fragile state our country is in and give those of us who still believe there is such a thing as keeping your mind open and voting cases based on merit a glimmer of hope here. Stay at least until I can go to law school, pass the bar, sit on a local bench for year and then relieve you. I promise to start studying now.

P.S. If you want a funny read, there is a great Harriet Miers blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'd look good driving a BMW 650i convertible...

I was on the phone with my dad last night moaning over the inability of my car to just roll over and die as I want a new ride something fierce. With the 2006 models coming out this month, my car is now 12 years old and last week the odometer clicked 203,000. I had no idea motors could last this long…

You see, I come from a long line of car lovers who believe you should buy a new vehicle every 2-3 years, and the proverbial domino effect runs wild in our clan. My mom or dad would start it by going out and buying a car. Then we’d be chatting and I’d get the itch. I’d drive my new ride over to my sister’s house and whalaa – she was off to the dealership. Fast forward 2-3 years and we’d start the cycle again. If only we had timed it better, we might have been able to capitalize on dealership discounts for multi-car purchases.

It was always a great feeling as you never quite lose that new car scent, the leather is always soft on your tush, you don’t have to deal with this thing called ‘maintenance’ and if something does go wrong – you exercise your warranty option. That is surely worth a car payment or two isn’t it?

So why have I kept this one for so long? I have never really been in love with this car. It was simply a vehicle to get me to and from work at the time. It doesn’t have any get up and go – in fact, I am always amazed that I don’t get creamed when trying to merge onto the freeway. It is a 4-dr sedan, so it is far from sexy. The sunroof is broken and I refuse to pay $2,500 to fix it. I need a new antenna and the dealership thinks $500 is a reasonable price – no thank you. There is a weird smell coming out of it that has eluded three different mechanics. What gives? I had every intention of replacing it after a year or two, so it boggles my mind how I can still be driving this clunker today.

Could it simply be there has not been a car to make me go ‘oooooohhh’ in 12 years? Hard to believe, but I think so. Lord knows the Marketing departments of the car manufacturers work overtime in trying to sell us a new lifestyle, but nothing has made me stop and drool. Then enter the BMW 650i convertible. Oh my God. I think I am in love. In fact, Chris, sorry baby, but I want to cuddle up to this tonight. Wow. What a work of art.

So there. My choice has been made for me. I knew if I waited long enough – it would come. And so it has. I went online and checked Kelly blue book today and much to my astonishment, the piece of metal I spent $40,000 on in 1994 is now only worth $4,000. How can that be? I understand the logic of depreciation…but that bucket of tin has lost $3,000 per year over the last 12 years. I might as well throw that bugger away now. Well, ok maybe that is going a little far, but unbelievable how little value that car now holds. Especially, if I factor in taking off $2,500 for the sunroof and $500 for the antenna. I am now driving a car that is worth less than a Yugo.

So I picked myself up off the floor and brushed the carpet lint off my sweater. Ok, the worst part is over. I know I cannot count on my car being a ‘down payment’, but hopefully the dealership will look favorably on me (I am sure I can find a tight top) and will honor the $4,000 Kelly Blue book value.

So on to cars.com I go...

2006 BMW 650i Convertible
Vehicle Price: $81,195.00
Down Payment: $0
Trade-In Value:* $4,000.00
Sales Tax: 0%
Interest Rate: 6.83%
Term (Months): 60
Monthly Payment: $1,522.36
Total Cost: $95,342.00

* This of course takes for granted they would actually give me $4,000 for my heap.

$1,522.36 per month to just get into the drivers seat. This doesn’t factor in gas, insurance (which is horrendous with a San Francisco address), maintenance, etc. Where is that multi-million dollar winning lotto ticket when I need it most? ‘To the pain’. (For all you Princess Bride lovers) To come so close to greatness and have it so far out of my reach. It just isn’t fair.

So I called my dad to commiserate some more. I was hoping he would feel sorry enough for his little girl that he would share some lucky bucks for a down payment so it would bring my car payment down to a reasonable figure per month. But no…instead I hear ‘you know honey, you should have been making fake car payments into a savings account all these years when you didn’t really have one so when the jewel of your eye actually arrived – you would have the moolah to buy it without a second thought.’ Ummmm…thanks dad.

He laughs and in the same breath says….’so I sold my truck and your mom and I are now looking for a replacement vehicle. What does this BMW look like?’ The cycle begins again…

So reality sets in and I look down at my key ring realizing I don’t have it so bad. Yes, I would love a zippy new ride. Do I want to give up the things I do just to drive my dream car. No. I shall drive my tried and true vehicle into the ground and hopefully follow my dad’s advice so when my bucket of tin finally retires to the car graveyard – I will be ready and able to buy perfection.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

When free isn’t good enough.

Chris and I belong to the San Francisco Film Society and enjoy lots of perks with our paid membership. Not only do we get first choice for tickets to films in the annual San Francisco Film Festival, but also throughout the year we receive invitations to special movie screenings and parties hosted by the Society. This benefit, if actually used, completely exhausts the cost of the membership – and actually puts us in the green - which is a huge bonus as we are movie aficionados and spend a bit of cash in theatres. Note to self: Need to buy stock in Sony as they own the Metreon.

So tonight I was all set for a special screening of ‘The Weather Man’ starring Nick Cage. Was I dying to see this one – no – but a free movie is a free movie and well, it would give me something to blog about. :) So with my pass in hand – I head off to the AMC 1000 on Van Ness with thoughts of buttered popcorn and Reese’s pieces floating through my mind only to arrive to a line of what seemed to be 500 people trying to get into a theatre that sits 300. Hmmmm…this could be a problem.

This screening was a shared venture between people who actually paid for tickets and those of us who received free passes from the Film Society. Those who paid are golden as they get in no matter what. Those of us on a free pass are trained by the Society to arrive early as seating is limited and it is a first come-first served environment. No worries I thought. I am here 45 minutes early –- they are surely going to let me in. I am invested. I bought my water and my popcorn, so they wouldn’t turn me away. Wrong. After waiting in line for 15 minutes, I catch sight of our Film Society master party planner, Alex, and pose the question….’so Alex, how is it looking tonight?” to which she grimaces and says….’well, if you are at the back of the line, you might make other plans’. So, seeing there was only one person behind me and 499 people ahead of me – I hung my head and headed home.

The 10-minute ride found me stewing about the lack of desirable outcome. Not so much for missing the movie – but for all the effort and ‘expense’ I went through to get there. First a shower. Then the time it took to do my make-up (beauty does not come naturally to me). Don’t even get me started how long it took me to do my hair. Parking in the garage, which even though I was only there for 20 minutes – cost me $2 (of course this is relatively cheap by SF standards). The popcorn and water for $7. Standing in line, the gas it took, etc. Bummer. If I factor in my hourly rate, I realize this free movie just cost me $109 and I didn’t even get to see the show.

In a nutshell, nothing is free regardless of the many claims to the contrary. Every choice has an opportunity cost and that cost is not always monetary.

Sometimes ‘free’ just isn’t good enough.

So I will try again when the next invitation comes around and hope for better luck. Am I willing to show up two hours before the show to ensure I get a seat? No. Even bringing a book would make that a painfully long and uncomfortable wait, as I don’t know any theatre that has splurged on Berber carpeting or comfy cabin chairs. Maybe I can hire some college kid to hold my spot in line for me. Yeah, that’s it. Give them $20 and a bag of popcorn – then my ‘free’ movie only costs me $32 (if I splurged and bought myself some too) in lieu of $109. I am a genius.

Have to pay to play...

I was this close. That is....had I actually bought a ticket. Wow. What would I have done with $340 million dollars? I think I would buy more than a vacation and a sports car, but to each their own.

Back to work I go.

Monday, October 24, 2005

To blog or not to blog…that is surely the question.

I am a newbie to the blogosphere and find myself with a fascinating dilemma. I started this online 'journal' to keep my friends and family up to date with what was on my mind as it seems there is never enough time in the day to make those 20 phone calls or send those emails. This is way more efficient. So far, so good. I could rant, share my ‘insytes’, expose my inner being…warts and all. I would simply hit 'Publish Post' and whoosh – away went my thoughts into the black hole I thought was the blogosphere – sitting dormat while the next little nugget of Kristie’s ‘insytes’ was being developed. Never in my wildest dreams did I think anyone unknown to me would be interested in what I had to say and to be quite honest, I wasn’t even sure if some of those people who love me would take the time to sort through my madness. This is where it all went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. Well, kind of.

A friend of mine has a great Marketing blog and was kind enough to mention me on her site. Cool. Sweet of her to let the world know I have been unleashed onto them. :) Tara even went so far as to call me a ‘brilliant’ woman, but I think she might have had a few cocktails during lunch that day as that might have been a slight exaggeration of the word. But I digress…fortunately for her, and unfortunately for me, her blog has been well received and read by many. It seems a fellow Marketer's interest was peaked and she decided to check out my blog hoping for some sign of intelligence. It took her the most recent post, which at that time was about my sinus infection. Lovely. Not exactly how I wish to introduce myself to strangers. Funny to me (or embarassing depending on how many beers I have consumed when I start thinking about it) - she blogged about the first impression this left her with and it ended up Squidoo's blog. Geez, nothing like putting a spotlight on the darn thing.

Note to self: Check out that Squidoo software once released and then write something intelligent so there is at least one sane point of reference for people to click too. Ha!

So this is the risk you take when you put your stuff out there.

It is interesting to me as I now understand just how far my words can reach and that what I say does affect people (good or bad). What a crazy feeling I have now as I write. I feel empowered. Frightened. Enlightened. Wary. Open. All at once. Wacky stuff I tell you.

Will it make me more cautious of what I put out there? No. It will however, help me hone my writing skills to ensure my message actually gets across to the reader – known or not. I am a Marketing girl at heart and thought my communications skills were dead on, but it seems there is quite a bit of improvement needed on my end. Lots and lots of improvement. As I reread that post, I realize I didn’t get the message across I had started out to share – doesn’t matter now, but I had gone in wishing to express my dissatisfaction with Western medicine, the crappy little HMO plan I signed up for at work and the horrible scheduling process at UCSF (my group of 'specialists' only work on Friday mornings from 8am - 11am and there is always 50 of us trying to get in at once). But instead, I focused on my fear of nasal spray and my longing for a witch doctor to move in next door. Whatever. It worked at the time.

This 1.2 seconds of attention did make me evaluate the whole sharing with the world experience. This step back was surprising to me as I am pretty outspoken and don't usually worry what other people think. What it boils down to is while I realize what I say can be/is a reflection on not only my other half, but friends, co-workers, my employer, etc. - you just can't think about this too much or you stifle your creativity. What was that? You didn't realize I had any? Funny guy you are. Hardy harhar.

I know it is not necessary, but I want to add a disclaimer here as it doesn't fit at the top of the site: This blog was never intended to represent me as a Marketing professional or to share ‘insytes’ into the company I work for (which will never be mentioned by name here as this is a personal blog and I am sure my CEO is issuing a huge sigh of relief now. If you absolutely must know - simply Google my name…and whalaa). And no, for the record on the Google search, I have not had metabolic surgery. That is some other KW, who I am sure is as fabulous in her right, but she has a different story to tell. Ok, where was I? Oh yeah. Personal blog. One day I might share my thoughts on a cake recipe or the need for re-organization in the Federal Government. I will most certainly write about the snot in my head again as it has yet to clear and the drugs are done - I know you all are staring at your screens waiting for that text to roll in. I think the beauty of the blogosphere is that I can write what I want. People can think me ‘brilliant’ or they can think otherwise. If you are looking for some profound nugget of marketing genius…might I suggest a little Seth Godin? Me, I just want to share my thoughts. I tried painting and failed – so this is the next best thing.

So whether you know me personally or not – stay a while. Give me a chance. Or not. That is the beauty of this beast. You can sift through all the chatter and find those people or things that move you. There will be plenty of those that don’t – you just simply hit 'next'.

Rock on fellow Marketers. Hello to the other women bloggers out there. And a big shout out to my snotty brethren. I raise my handkerchief to you all.

Happy birthday grammy.

October 24th. My grandma's birthday. Though she passed away 11 years ago, this day cannot come and go without me thinking about her. What a lovely woman. I wonder if she knew how much how her love and spirit moved me then. And...continues to move me today.

I keep a photo of her on my fridge and her sweet giggly laugh sounds in my ears anytime I think of her. Wow. So cool people can affect you that way. May I be as lucky to move someone as my grammy moved me.

I miss you.

Politicians scare me.

We have a calendar at work which provides a dumb quote for every day in the year and it is interesting (or should I say frightening) to me how many of them come from our illustrious politicians.

For example:

"There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are alson unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know that we don't know."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, trying to clarify the war on terrorism, during a pentagon briefing.

"You know, Tim, that's one of the things that will be debated."
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, after being asked by NBC's Tim Russert why he didn't use buses to evacuate residents in accordance with the city's evacuation plan

"I AM the federal government."
Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building

"You know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say."
Former President Bill Clinton addressing the people of Philadelphia in the Courtyard, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA.

"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."
David Dinkins, Former New York City Mayor

"God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ...' And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it."
President George Bush, as quoted by former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath, during a top-level meeting with Bush in June 2003

I know there are 1000's more where these came from - this is just what I pulled off the calendar over the last week. There is so much I want to say on this subject - just how much, how often and to whom are all up in the air. It is easy for me to say 'we really need to band together to ensure dimwits like this do not get into office - just how exactly do we do this?

Is there a politician out there that is worthy of our vote? I am not so sure there is. Maybe we need a viable candidate on a third party ticket who will not vote one way just because his/her party says too. Why do we need to be Republician or Democrat anyway? Let's start blending together and making this a better country for ALL. Stop the bickering in the Congress and the Senate. What a waste of time, energy and money. Let's strike a happy medium and be socially liberal, financially conservative. Doesn't that have a great ring to it? Let's take care of our own FIRST. I agree we should help others outside the U.S. - but when we choose to raise millions of dollars for Tsunami victims and then just step over the homeless person on our own doorstep - it has to make you wonder where our heads are at.

So many people think getting Bush out of office would make all the difference. Do you seriously think we would have been any better off right now if Kerry was in there? Others are putting their hopes on Hillary for 2008. Please. Can you really get behind a woman who would put her dignity aside and won't divorce the man who continually cheated on her as she knew it bettered her chances to advance in the political ring? What about McCain? Dean?

What would I look for in the perfect candidate: I want someone young[er] in office - let's say 45/50. Putting a 70 year old in the hot seat just seems wacky to me. Someone who worked HARD for a living. Let them have started in the mail room and worked their way - honestly and without malice - to the CEO's chair to truly appreciate *everyone's* position. Someone passoniate about turning this country around. Intelligent. Let's not forget well spoken. A woman would be cool - but I won't vote for her if her platform is not solid. This is not a gender race - it is all about the issues. And if I can be so bold as to add a request for them to have a sense of humor as well - to me, that would make a well rounded candidate.

So, where are you? Maybe I am looking at you in the mirror. Or you standing across from me in the checkout line. Maybe it is the one that I wake up to every morning. Or that women in the red shirt. I don't know - let's just find that person and give them the tools they need to help us all make a difference. Our lives depend upon it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Californians...we are an unique breed of people.

Chris and I were invited to a screening of 'The Californians' Wednesday night at the Metreon starring Noah Wyle, Illeana Douglas and Kate Mara. I didn't intend to write about it today, but as I rolled the characters and the story line around my head some more over coffee, I realized I had actually lived parts of this movie - so why not add my $0.02.

The plot: A slick, smug developer Gavin Ransom (Noah Wyle) has a dream: make millions by blanketing the coastal hills of Northern California with flamboyant mini-mansions. His sister Olive (Illeana Douglas), a raving environmentalist, thinks otherwise, and aims to stop her brother's land-gobbling plans. When Zoe Tripp (Kate Mara), a beautiful folk singer, joins Olive's cause, Gavin gets thrown for a loop, falling hard for the striking young woman with the golden voice. Caught between Olive's righteousness and Gavin's affection, the idealistic and innocent Zoe, coached by her parents (Keith Carradine and Valerie Perrine) and a maternal environmentalist (Cloris Leachman), must choose between a cause she's grown up supporting, or the affections of a man who stands for everything she believes is wrong.

The Californians pokes fun at any individual or group that clings so close to its cause that it loses sight of its goal. I think it is worthy and recommend everyone see it. The only negative comment (if I could call it that) was I thought it had more singing in it than necessary. But it provided interesting characters, good story line embroiled with personal conflict and a couple of good one liners to boot.

This story really opened my eyes and several times throughout I found myself questionning what character I wanted to support - do you try to make as much money as you can and develop that beautiful untouched patch of earth or do you leave it to the salamanders and the field mice? I think I leaned slightly more towards Olive, the saver of mother earth - but she was so extreme, I felt sorry for Gavin the developer and was rooting for him at times. Strange.

In 1975, my family bought an acre in Clayton which housed a small gathering of people at the base of Mt. Diablo. Clayton was considered a 'horse' town with a single lane road to get you in and out. There was a small grocery store, saloon, beauty salon and a pizzeria. That was it. Our family lot was in a cul-de-sac at the top of the hill shared by one other family, the Seeno's, and both our families broke ground at the same time putting up 2500+ custom homes which was a pretty big deal back then.

The Seeno's owned a development company that had been turning the beautiful hillsides of the East Bay into mini housing developments for several generations and were a big part of turning Clayton from a small ranching community into the new Blackhawk development - think Atherton, Hillsborough, Tiburon, etc. I didn't really care when I was younger as it meant I had more friends in the neighborhood, but as the years past, I started to resent the increased traffic, the longer lines at the store and the never ending flow of excavators, cement trucks, roofers, etc. I saw Clayton lose the essence of what made it great. It once was a community where deer came into your backyard, kids played in the streets and families left their houses unlocked. Today it is nothing but a sea of smog and snooty people - and everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones' - which California is famous for. We have so much...but we aways want more. Of course, I can't imagine living anywhere else (well, except for NYC) and I am the first to admit (good or bad) I fall right into the California mold...

I don't fault the Seeno's for taking the opportunity to build back then because I know if they didn't - someone else would. I can't blame my dad for wanting to build a nice house for his kids to live in - even though it meant we developed a plot of pristine land and probably forced a field mouse out of his home. Do I feel strong enough to stand on a soap box or lay down on a train track to inhibit progress? No. It will happen with our without me. It does, however, make me wonder how our communities can continue to grow at this fast pace, and what effect it has on the environment, and if there ever can be a happy medium - but this post is already getting way too long, so I will continue that discusson on another day.

Go see the movie.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

October is the best month of the year...

I am a lucky girl. I made plans to meet a couple of buddies this weekend for a combo birthday / bachelorette party in Chi town and the city just happens to be the host of game 1 of the World Series that starts on Saturday featuring the Chicago White Sox - who with their win over the Los Angeles Angels - advanced to their first World Series since 1959, the the second longest drought between appearances. (Chicago Cubs hold the number one spot there).

This is cool as I love baseball. This makes me lucky as all the girls coming on this trip love baseball too.

This surely turns our girlie weekend of debauchery into the girlie weekend of debauchery with a baseball chaser - BONUS!! I am sooo excited. I doubt we will be able to scalp tickets at any reasonable price, and not being a White Sox fan makes spending $1k per ticket for nose bleed seats a little 'crazy', so we will probably settle on barstool in a local sports bar close to the park full of die hard wishful thinkers mulling over all the reasons the
SF Giants didn't make it to the show this year. And no, I don't think it is solely because Barry was out for most of the season...

So Chi town here we come. Do I care who wins? Not really - just happy to be near it all. However, I will preface this by saying...if the Cards happen to beat out Houston this week, I will be rooting for
Ozzie's alma mater....ever so quietly though...as I don't want to get my ass kicked.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Sinus infections suck.

Being sick bites, especially when I have been battling the same sinus cold off and on since May. Yuckie. Of course, I was not the sharpest tool in the shed and compounded the problem when I signed up for scuba lessons while still sick... I was going to St. Thomas in June with some of my girlfriends and wanted to get certified before the trip. I had waited until the last minute and even knowing I wasn't quite 100% healthy (felt a solid 92%) - I jumped in the pool. So Chris and I are swimming around like good little duckies when I drop down to the deep end and all of a sudden felt my head explode. Hmmmm. That's odd. What on earth could have caused that? DUH.

Needless to say - the pool exercises stopped. So did the ability to hear in my right ear. Seems when you have a sinus infection you shouldn't be doing anything to cause extra pressure inside your nogin - nothing like a little hemmorage in the eardrum to wake me up and realize the stupidity of my ways - especially as it almost prevented me from taking my trip. Luckily enough though, I got the green light to fly. I just didn't get my diving certificate. So, as the girls strapped on their tanks and dove into the warm turquoise waters of St. Thomas - I sat on the deck of the sailboat and made sure the ice didn't melt in their rum punch.

Fast forward four months later and I am still battling the sinus infection. The hemmorage cleared itself pretty quickly, but the pressure is still on the right side of my head and antibiotics don't seem to be curing it. Sure it is better. But it is still there which is preventing me from feeling 100%. So, I just started another dose of antibiotics and just for fun this time - my Western quack has decided to throw in a little steroid to reduce any inflammation that could be preventing the drugs from getting into the deep regions where the pressure is, and for good measure, because she knows how much I hate anything up my nose - gave me a nasal spray that has to be used twice a day. Lord help me. Aren't there some herbs that can take care of this? How about accupuncture? Shoot - I'll even work with a witch doctor just to avoid having to use that nasal spray.

Thinking I would be clear of this by now, Chris and I had signed back up for scuba lessons which are scheduled to start in two weeks - and my symptoms haven't really changed yet. If the head is still plugged, I cannot dive. This could possibly move the arrow up the suck meter as we are headed to Jamaica during Thanksgiving to attend one of my buddies weddings (Hi Jenn!) and the resort we are staying at provides two free dives per day. Totally included. I am praying this last dash at trying to cure the crap running through my body really works as I will be really pissed if I miss that diving opportunity. There will be, of course, lots of other things to do...but I feel like I have been waiting for this moment for so long...

With that, I would like to give a shout out to Mitch at Mitchell Scuba. If you are in the Bay Area and looking to get your diving certificate, give him a call. He is a hoot to 'play' with and an extremely patient and understanding man. Love ya Mitchy and hope to be swimming with you soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lovecats Unite!

I just finished reading Tim Sanders' 'Love is the Killer App - How to Win Business and Influence Friends'. Wow. What a great book. One of those books that inspires you to want to be a better person and finds you immediately rereading it again to make sure you soaked it all up.

I have always believed in sharing your knowledge, connecting people within your network and showing compassion to those around me - but somehow it really hits home seeing it in print. Funny how that works...

What it boils down to is nice, smart people do finish first. If you wish to be successful in business - or your personal life - you need to be a lovecat. What do I (and Tim of course) mean by 'love?'. He used a definition from Milton Mayerhoff in the book 'On Caring': 'Love is the selfless promotion of the growth of the other'. Yep, that about sums it up. Basically - when you help others to become the best they possibly can be, you are loving and you grow too. Everybody wins.

After reading this book, I did one of those life recaps - both in business and on my personal side. I believe I am on the right track. Can I do better? Absolutely. All of us can. One of the glaring points that came out of the exercise was realizing I need to diversify my reading list. I had always leaned toward Koontz or King as I love a good mystery. Thankfully Chris is a book monster and has been gracious in his lovecat ways to share his knowledge and expose me to these type of books - shall I go so far as to call them self-help? This Sanders guy has some good stuff to say, so he is now on my radar. Now I need to return the love. Yes, Chris enjoyed the Harry Potter book I gave him - but I am sure there is more out there. I also need to improve my memory. I am very good at certain things - but my memory is shotty at best. Doesn't help to read more if I can't retain the info. Think they have tapes for that. Or maybe I will try some of that gingko biloba stuff. Or...maybe I'll go crazy and do both. Why not?

The book gives six key benefits of being a lovecat. I am sure there are 100's of benefits, but this seemed like a good short list everyone could easily remember:

  • You build an outstanding brand as a person
  • You create an experience
  • You have access to people's attention
  • You harness the power of positive presumption
  • You receive exceptional feedback
  • You gain personal satisfaction

I feel I have a good brand. People know I am true to my word and I won't make promises I can't keep. Reputation is everything in this world. Do I create an experience? Sure - whether that is deemed positive or negative...I'll need to think on that one a little more...hopefully more the former - actually, yes...more the former. People do listen to me. They may not always follow my advice, but they still ask the questions. Positivity kicks ass. I have a great circle of friends and co-workers around me willing to share the love. I have a good life and I am happy with the relationships I have. Would like more of course, but I think that is natural.

I also need to encourage those around me to become lovecats. This is a longer term 'project', but one I take on gladly as I know it will help to make this world we live in a better place and the best way to do this is to lead by example. I have a good start on the process I just need a little refining on my end and I think this will spread like a wildfire.

One last quote from the book and then I am done. It is from the Dalai Lama who once said 'Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to to enjoy it a second time.' You know, he is a pretty smart guy too. Maybe I will read more from the Dalai Lama. Guess I should buy stock in Amazon.com - looks like I will be making them a bit of money.

Rock on you lovecats.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Guess I should have paid attention in Math class...

Phew. The accounting for the Web2point1BrainJam is finally done. It is always interesting to watch the inner shopper in me come out to play. Doesn't matter what I set out to get - I always overbuy. Shoes. Food. Supplies. Shoes. Clothing. Shoes. It is a deeply rooted philosphy as I come from a family where the mantra is 'it is always better to have a little extra - just in case'. Applying that mantra to shoes works for me. When dealing with stick it notes, legos and paper products - best to put that stuff back into stock rotation so I can make more room for shoes. :) So, I spent the last day returning the odds and ends we didn't use to make sure the expenses were as minimal as possible and we now have a final accounting of the event. Of course, I will not burst Chris' bubble as I know he wants to be the one to make the announcement, so stay tuned...

Reviewing the feedback on the blogosphere and the personal conversations I have had recently gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. The support for the BrainJams is overwhelmingly positive, so I know this is the start of an amazing ride and I look forward to all the new friends we make along the way.

Ok, off I go...heard Macy's was having a sale.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh look. She did it. Kind of.

Here I am. Finally. After months and months of talking about it, I finally have my own blog. Why did it take so long, who knows? I had the means. I had the will to write. I could easily find the time. Maybe it simply boils down to the fact that I like to write in a certain font and I could not get what I wanted set up on my profile. What gives? Do the techies developing software not realize there are people like me who are visually stimulated and, quite admittedly, a little quirky…who like pretty fonts? I just can’t explain it. I read as I type and reading in Arial throws me off. I can set up my Outlook anyway I want - why not my blog or my online journal?

Oh boy, can’t believe I break into the world of blogging with a rant about the lack of pretty fonts available to me. Hmmm…maybe it is better if these Web 2.0 tools stay with techies and don’t land in the hands of marketing people. Please make it easy for me to change my fonts so I don’t have to go back to a life using Word and/or hand writing letters. Eek gad - did we really used to do that? :)

I guess this is a perfect example of why we need to push the idea of Web2point1. What is Web2point1 you ask? Quite simply - it is a belief that everyday people should be able to use the fabulous tools coming out without having to know how to write code. Look, I am lucky enough most days to get my Treo to work - asking me to write a paragraph of HTML to ensure I get the right font (like how I circle back?…) is just plain ridiculous and will ensure I do not use your tool. That is, of course, until my live-in superman Chris sets up the blog for me with all the bells and whistles so all I have to do is type. Thanks baby. You really are the best.

Plain and simple…make it easy for us common folk to grasp this stuff. Spend more time learning what it is I need to make my life simpler and create that. Can you imagine the things we can accomplish if technology greats spent a day in the room with someone from say HR or Marketing to hear about their pain points - then solved those pain points with amazing technology? Wow. Just gives me goose pimples thinking about it.

There is so much to be gained if we take a moment to step back, try to see the world through someone else’s eyes and listen to what is going on around us. Yes, listen. What a concept. I am far from perfect on this practice, but I am trying and hope this is a trend that sticks. We all need to take those baby steps to better our communication skills, and help those around us secure what is needed to ensure this world moves forward in a positive manner.