Thursday, April 29, 2010

Glynis... FTW!!!!

Fascinating and intriguing morning I've had. My head is full of questions, thoughts, concerns, desires, dreams and potential opportunities. What challenge am I going to place in front of myself? Do I have "the stuff"?

With my fancy-pants new haircut (it was a Locks of Love donation time) and positive outlook, I'm having a great day. Coupled with some inspirational quotes from the strangest of places, I wonder if this is the new direction my career may be heading? Who knows!

"Sometimes you are the dog, sometimes the fire hydrant." - as seen outside Veterinarian on Josey Lane.

"If you're not going forward, you are going backwards." - Nor'Kirk Church sign

"Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable or happy. The amount of work is the same." Francesca Reigler on Little Pink Book email.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

White copy on a black shirt

One of my favorite web comics is 'Questionable Content' (thanks to Rhett for recommending it a few years ago.) Each day, I take a few moments to immerse myself into the world of Martin, Dora, Hannerlore and more... my recent favorite addition is Marigold, who WoW geeky and introverted as she is, also is learning to take chances and try new opportunities.

To add to your feed, go here:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Something New

If you haven't checked out put it in your daily feeds to check. Cool News of the Day is full of innovation, ideas and general insights that come in short thought-starter snippets. If you like to learn something new everyday, this is the place to do it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Meet Dan for "Lunch"

Lane Bryant is challenging the networks with a new ad promoting their Cacique Lingerie line. Stating that the spot had been denied access on the air, with final approval in the 9:00pm hour of American Idol, the question is what is really controversial (if anything) about the ad.

A beautiful woman tries on various intimate apparel. She then looks to her phone for a reminder to "Meet Dan for Lunch". Slipping on a jacket directly over the chosen set and walking confidently to the door, she leaves for her date. The implied assumption is that she will be meeting Dan for an intimate rendezvous.

Is Lane Bryant drumming up the "controversy" for PR? Were the media networks nervous about the implication of sexual activities? Is is because the women is full figured and not a waif-thin "typical" lingerie model? Can you make any argument when Victoria's Secret spots air at the same time?

For full spot:

For AdWeek article:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dr. Evildriver or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Boston Roads

Learned quite a few things about driving around Boston, Massachusetts this past weekend.

One: Don't travel to Boston on the weekend of the Boston Marathon. Furthermore, do not expect to be able to negotiate the city with roadblocks and numerous pedestrians. Pedestrians will not adhere to crosswalks or signals. Much like a squirrel running in front of you, be prepared to stop.

Two: The maps Enterprise Car Rental will give you are wrong. Bring (or in my case buy) a GPS system. And preferably, get it before the last day of your visit. Boston is notorious for either NOT displaying a road sign, camouflaging it, or making it generally impossible to figure out where you are. One way streets will change. Names of streets will change. You will end up in Southie before you know it.

Three: As soon as it turns green, you need to move. Otherwise, you WILL be honked at repeatedly. To offset the frustration, honk back with "shave and a haircut".

Four: A word about round-a-bouts... they are evil. The potential for fun is there, but until you get used to them, you may end up reenacting a Griswald European Vacation scene. Why this country has round-a-bouts, I have no idea. Boston is NOT a grid city and the City Planners should be reprimanded.

Five: Try to relax. Easier said than done, but high blood pressure and panic attacks aren't going to help when Tremont goes one way and Washington the other and there doesn't appear to be a cross street.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Have you heard about The Buckle? Perhaps you've heard of Lucky Brand jeans? Named one of the top 50 Brands of 2009, The Buckle is a retail store (physical and virtual) selling designer jeans including men and women's fashion apparel. Based out of Nebraska, this company has flourished under a weakened economy with relatively little national marketing and media presence. How do they do this?

From word-of-mouth, high associate interaction, and a true "experience" for the customer, The Buckle has differentiated themselves in the marketplace.

"It's about the person's experience in our stores," Cody said, that famous modesty kicking in again. "Not because we had a cool ad. Our department just adds a little extra to the mix. People come back because they know we'll really take care of them."

Just like Trader Joe's, this is a stock that I would want to buy.

For more, please read this Brandweek article:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Promotions, FTW!

Yesterday, I bicycled down to Tom Thumb for a tasty sammich (had to use that coupon nearly everyday this week. $4 artisan sandwich good until 4/16.) I have had the Pastrami & Swiss Panini, The California Club, a Roast Beef with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions, and so on. So much better than Subway and I have now purchased 7 out of the 7 sandwiches needed to earn a FREE sandwich. (And yes, I still call them sammiches.) Coupon + Incentive Offer + Great product = WIN!

Now, on the way out of Tom Thumb there was a bright maroon NASCAR car, a tent and people setting up. I cruised on over to see what was happening and a lovely lady informed me that Beringer Wines was on site for tasting, provide recipes, and have the opportunity to take your photo with their Beringer Wine sponsored NASCAR car. While intrigued, I didn't see a clear connection between NASCAR, Tom Thumb Shoppers and Beringer Wines. Perhaps the MRI data is much higher than I would anticipate.

(Side note: a few years ago I worked on a fun Beringer Wine promotion from a strategic alliance perspective. But this was an online promotional game driven via hang tags on bottles in-store... and the prizes were diamonds or $$ off online diamond purchases. Not quite the same as wine tastings with recipes at a Tom Thumb on a Tuesday midday... oh, with a NASCAR play.)

A great promotional connection came to my email this morning however. Dove Hair Care & Glee. Simply go to the sponsored site and play a casino style slot machine, match up three products and win. Grand Prize is a VIP makeover, a la Glee fantasticness. The lead actress, Leah ?, has such gorgeous hair, I could see the tie-in. That, and everyone wants to jump on the Glee bandwagon. But, to make it a BETTER promotion, they will deliver a free sample of their latest Dove Hair Care product, Fiber Actives, to your door (while supplies last.) Chance to win + Free product = WIN.

I'll let you know when/if the free sample arrives, about the product and whether I would purchase it again. My assumption is that Unilever is smart enough to provide a generous coupon with the sample for any Dove product. In the mean time, I'll be biking down to Tom Thumb to get my free sandwich.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scooby Dooby

I adore Craig Ferguson. I would like to set up camp in his audience as a hobo and he can feed me chicken. I'd even be willing to polish Geoff the Skeleton Robot Sidekick's feet. That how much I heart Craig.

Ok, so this video is random, but that's kinda why I love him even more. Listen to this song, Brazilian lounge music, who could hate that?

"Foodies are people who love food and love talking about food. They're like Trekkies but even fatter." - Craig Ferguson

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just a perfect day

I returned home from a lovely bike ride along the Carrollton Greenbelt this morning. The city has recently expanded a portion near our house, with new paved paths to link all the way from Hebron to Beltline. Granted, we only made it as far to the Disc Golf fields and my thighs are burning, but it was so pleasant and warm outside.

Stopped at a park bench and chatted with an older gentlemen, Chris had an extra Gatorade and he was happy to share. Lots of people walking their dogs, going for a stroll and enjoying the ponds. With the exception of the gnats flying into my face, it was a perfect morning. And yes, we spent a considerable amount of time at the children's playground on the swing set.

I really need to invest in a digital camera to share these photos, but holler if you'd like me to mobile them to you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Networking & Nepotism

From an article on
But it's not just business owners who are reaping the rewards of network strategy. Women in corporate America, too, know that when it comes to making big career jumps, their Rolodex is much more valuable than the help wanted section. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that only 5 percent of people obtain jobs through the "open" job market, while 48 percent win their positions through referrals.

More than half of open positions are filled from referrals... I cannot say I am surprised, since all but my very fist job out of college were via a referral or foot in the door.

My rolodex is not massive, but healthy, and I keep in touch with many people from various work/school activites. In fact, I'll be lunching with previous co-workers this afternoon at Twisted Root. Between LinkedIn, this blog, Twitter and Facebook I have established an online presence. So now the question remains, where is the next opportunity and who do I know that may connect me?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

They have four legs, don't they?

A beautiful Thursday afternoon, sun is shining, birds are chirping and there is a light breeze... granted this will all go away soon when the 100 degree summer + humidity rolls right on in, but for the meantime, I'm outside as much as I can.

As I type this, my cruiser is patiently waiting for me to hop on and go for a meandering ride through the Greenbelt. The only problem is Chris, the MacGuyver of the day, who is determined that the pugs are going with us on a ride.

The boopins, fat chubby little doggies who when walking more than 250 feet and sit on their butt in protest... how are they to go on this ride? A child bike stroller. I. Kid. You. Not. You've seen them, the mothers out on their bikes trailing the toddlers behind in a canvas-style cart? Yup, that's what Chris is currently creating in the garage. A pug bike cart.

More to come on this ingenuity and innovation... and the result of dogs on a bike ride later.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Please rise for the Jury"

Have you ever been selected to be on a Jury? I traveled to Denton County Courthouse on Monday morning, turned in my forms, and sat with a book for a few hours assuming that my name would not be called. Sure enough, I was one of twenty people to be chosen from on a misdemeanor case to be tried the next day. (Deep sigh of relief that I wasn't chosen for the felony murder case.) I have to admit, I was a little excited at the prospect of seeing our legal system in action.

This particular case would only need six of the original twenty for actual deliberation and Jury Panel for a DUI. What would be my chances from this lot to be selected? I was a Constitutional Law major, this usually disqualifies me right off the bat in San Diego.

The twenty of us went up to the fourth floor and sat in the audience benches while the State of Texas Prosecution and the Defendant's Legal counsel asked us a series of questions. I should note now that the Defendant was present during this period and he was wearing an Army uniform. He did not speak, or really look at us, but he was there. A young man of about 26 years old, the bars on his chest indicated he had served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (as it was then called) and while I did not recognize all the bars, he most likely had four years of military service. Whether the rest of the potential jury members knew this, I just don't know.

Back to the series of questions... The Prosecution wanted to know if we would be able to determine a verdict of guilty if a breathalyzer test was not available, as long as the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt of the Defendant's intoxication. The also wanted to know if we had served on a Jury before and the case/outcome. Finally, they asked if we had any stigma against Police Officers. (I am paraphrasing a bit here, but that was the gist of the three questions.)

The Defense asked surprising questions, to say the least. Were we aware of the Tea Party and what were our feelings on this political movement? Are you a Republican or Democrat? How strongly are you tied to your political party? I was confused how this was applicable to a DUI case, especially as we were not asked if we had military service or knew of someone in service. However, the legal representatives apparently knew as we have to indicate military involvement on our initial forms, as well as our profession.

After these had been answered, we left the courtroom while the six jurors were to be determined. I was lucky number thirteen which meant my chances were decent to be selected. (Starting with Juror number one, either the Prosecution or Defense can dismiss a candidate. This can be done up to three times on each side.)

We were called back into the courtroom and names were read for jury involvement. I was the last name called.

Dismissed for the day, and informed not to read the news or do any research, I went home to await the next morning when the trial would begin. I was still excited about the opportunity to be a part of the process and awaiting the evidence to unfold. Yes, I had a good glass of wine as well.

I arrived at the courthouse, to our little jury deliberation room, wearing my Juror badge as identification and cup of coffee in hand. The other five Jurors arrived... a young music teacher, a mid-thirties pharmacetutical rep, a stay-at-home mother, flight attendant, and IT systems manager. We were an interesting group and had good personalities and attitudes.

"Please rise for the Jury" the Bailiff called out as we filed into the courtroom. Once again, the Defendant was wearing his Army uniform. Counsel waived opening arguments and the Prosecution launched right into the evidence. Two Policemen, one after the other, took the stand and walked through the facts of the case. The Defendant had been pulled over on an expired registration, apparently weaving in the road. At this point, the Officer went through standard and non-standard field sobriety testing. After a length of time, the Officer placed the individual under arrest for driving under the influence and took him to jail. At that point, a breathalyzer (or Intoxicator 5000 machine, something along those lines) was performed. (More to come on those results.)

We were shown the video documentary of the field sobriety testing and subsequent breathalyzer test. The actual video footage of the initial stop was not available, due to an administrative error on digital records archiving, it could not be proven that the Defendant was weaving in the road, or making lane changes. Breaking for lunch, and reminded not to discuss the trial, I had a turkey and swiss sandwich from Arby's with a lemonade. It was pretty delicious, love that horsey sauce!

Back to the courtroom... the Prosecution witness was a technical expert on Breathalyzer testing and maintenance. A lot of technical mumbo jumbo that confused and disoriented me. It was then reveled that the Defendant's breath was found to be 0.15. At this point, the State rested.

The Defense began with a character witness, a Major in the Military who supervised the Defendant, speaking to his trustworthiness. Then the Defendant took the stand. Clearly upset and nervous, but respectful, he admitted to drinking alcohol on the night in question, but did not feel that he was intoxicated. Prosecution argued with him at some length about the amount he drank, which was never clear, and then rested. Final arguements from the Prosecution were fiercly delivered, persuading the Jury that the Defendant was intoxicated and should be found guilty of DUI. The State of Texas notes that anything over a 0.08 alcohol absorption is defined as intoxicated.

The Lawyer for the Defendant then challenged us on the validity of his client's intoxication and urged us to review the footage again. Prosecution was able to rebut, with the same argument that 0.15 is legally intoxicated, despite any loss to metal or physical abilities. It was an "or" situation... if the Defendant had lost mental or phyisical faculties OR an alcohol absorbency over 0.08, then he was guilty of driving under the influence.

We then retired to the deliberation room, I honestly thought that it would be a quick discussion... I was wrong. We reviewed the video footage again. The Defendant was able to say the alphabet clearly from B to S. He was able to count backwards from 52 to 26 clearly and quickly. He was able to walk heel to toe, with a few adjustments, pivot and take the nine steps back. He was able to raise his leg off the ground and hold it, albeit hopping towards the end. We were not able to see the eye stigma test as the footage was too far away.

I can honestly say that my first vote for guilt or innocence was different than the end result. Elected to be the Presiding Juror (actually a coin toss between myself and the stay-at-home mom) we communicated back and forth with the Judge that we were having difficulty coming to a unanimous decision. He urged us to continue. At 7pm, I demanded the Judge bring us food. (Well, not that the Judge had to bring it, but two of us were getting cranky with low blood sugar levels.) Grilled chicken salad, it was decent. Did I mention that our cell phones had been taken away for the day and we couldn't communicate with anyone?

By 8pm, we were now at 5 to 1. Did the State of Texas prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant was intoxicated while driving a motor vehicle? Tears were shed. Frustrations were had. Fortunately, no uncomfortable arguments or violence, but it was a heated discussion. The six of us in that room had the power to effect one man's life forever. Granted, it was a misdemeanor DUI case, but we took it as seriously as a felony murder conviction. We reviewed all the evidence, we put aside or personal feelings as best as possible, and did not allow the potential punishment or ramifications sway our judgment. It was one of the most difficult decisions to make, but we finally came to a unanimous resolution around 8:30pm.

Composing ourselves and walking back into the courtroom, we took our places. I stood up, opened the document and read clearly for the Legal Counsel, Judge and Defendant to hear.
"We the jury, find the Defendant..."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Be Okay

You don't know for certain what will happen tomorrow, or even later today. So stop fighting against it, and don't waste your life with worry about what might or might not be.

Be okay with what will come, and you'll be able to handle it. You'll even discover some pleasant surprises.

Make your very best plans to be as effective and as productive as you can be. And be okay with the fact that everything won't go according to those plans.

Life is a process of constant change, and in that change is powerful energy. In that change there are always new possibilities being born.

Be eager to explore the new treasures that each moment brings. Look for the value and goodness in every new circumstance, and you'll surely find them.

Be okay with not knowing exactly what will come. For whatever it is, you will know what to do to make your life and your world the best it can be.
-- Ralph Marston

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Universal Effervescence

There is a photograph on my library wall of my mother sitting cross legged on the ground next to various statues of Thai Buddhas. I think I took this photograph in Bangkok around 1999.

She is calm. She is smiling and beautiful. She exudes a feeling that makes you want to inhale and exhale a deep breath.

With one glance at this photo, I am instantaneously transported into my happy Zen place. What is the object, photo, song that can do that for you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Meaning in Work

After a challenging day, I sat down in the kitchen with a glass of wine to try and settle my mind. So many various things kept popping into my mind that needed to be addressed. Work. House. Bills. Health. Friends. Exercise. Organizing. Family. Marriage. Hobbies. Und so weiter und so fort.

Whether from sibling psychicness or random happenstance, my brother called at that moment to check in and talk. Without going into detail, he made a recommendation that I listen to the Mosaic podcast led by Erwin McManus.

Video and podcast can be found here:
Reality Check: Making It Work For You
There is a brief introductory spot, then operatic short production, then his presentation.

For anyone who has a job, is looking for a job, a small business owner, a freelancer, people who love their job, who hate their job, anyone trying to find meaning in their work... this is the discussion for you. What is the meaningfulness of work and how meaningful is that in your life?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hop On Board

It was a beautiful Spring afternoon in Dallas. Glorious 74 degree weather with fluffy white clouds, deep blue sky, and perfect amount of wind... one might think they were back in San Diego. I was enjoying the drive to an appointment, window rolled down, listening to my local NPR station (KERA) when a story came on about Haiti and Bus Drivers. Yes, Bus Drivers.

Apparently, these Haitian Bus Drivers need to spend thousands of dollars to keep the exterior of their transportation fresh and lively. Murals of the city, paintings of religious figures, depictions of celebrities or just random chaotic color to attract the eye, these buses are not only a focal feature of the town, but also an absolute-must for the citizens. But how can this impoverished nation and its citizens afford to spend such money on decorating the exterior of a Bus?

The attractiveness of the Bus was a subtle cue to the pending rider, "Look! I spend money on my Bus! Therefore, I must spend money on the general upkeep of this vehicle and I can transport you safely!" The rider would then choose to pay for transportation on the brightly displayed Bus, versus taking a chance on the unpainted, undecorated Bus nearby. (There is no official inspection of Buses in Haiti. Riders beware.)

I thought about this story quite a bit over the past few days. When determining which fruit to select at Tom Thumb, is the pure attractiveness of this apple mean that it will be more ripe and tasty? Watching the 'Women Who Lunch' meet at La Madeleine, hair coiffed and nails painted, wearing the latest slingback shoe, is that how they were able to secure the bright shiny bauble on their left hand?

How important is the exterior, when the engine and brakes are really what is most important to successfully arrive at your destination?

As I am about to embark on my own journey, this story will stay with me and hopefully be my litmus test for future endeavors. And with the resurrection of this blog I hope that you will travel along with me. I'll try to work on the bright, shiny colorful exterior... but feel confident you believe I've been maintaining the engine.

You can find the related story here: