Friday, January 30, 2009

Am I Too "Old School?"



I will admit to being a stickler about timeliness. Some of it undoubtedly comes from my controlling personality. And I like to think some of it comes from being raised to respect others while being responsible and honoring your commitments. Which is why I started today a little pissed off. OK, more than a little...

I was scheduled to teach a class this morning that started at 9 AM. The office we were using is about 30 miles from my house, which accounting for LA traffic is at least an hour drive on a good day, and can be as much as an hour and a half. So I got up at 5 AM and left the house by 6 to make sure I had plenty of time to get there. Gotta leave time for my morning Starbucks stop, which adds about 15 minutes to the process. Traffic was a little heavier than I expected for a Friday, so by the time I parked and got up to the classroom is was 8 AM - two hours after I left the house. That left me plenty of time to get ready for my students.

Speaking of my students, they have their own commute issues. But they have nothing extra to do to get ready, they only need to arrive, sit down and turn on their computers by 9 AM when class is scheduled to start. Apparently this is more complicated a task than it seems, because out of 10 students, only 4 managed to make it on time. That's right...less than 50%.

When I was a proud member of the JMU Marching Royal Dukes in college (yes I am a proud band geek), our director Dr. Rooney had a rule -- 15 minutes early is on time. That meant you were truly ready to go when rehearsal started, not still getting your instrument out of its case, or still warming up. You were ready. Even outside of band, I never would have dreamed of walking into a class late. Or being late to a group meeting. Or being late to ANYTHING!

I don't know how this lack of consideration for time has crept into our society. Is it because cell phones make it so easy to tell people you're running late? Are we stretched too thin for the hours in the day, and being late is simply a fact of life? Is it just an LA thing...traffic gets to be the excuse for everything? Or is it just basic disrespect for others?

Or am I just too much of a time Nazi with unrealistic expectations? Send me a comment and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Comeback Kids

Tonight was the first game for my Kings since the All-Star break. Our last home game before the break was that rotten 4-0 loss to Detroit, during which, it pains me to say, we barely showed up to play. So this was the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf for the hometown fans. Drew was back in the lineup tonight, completely healed and coming off a very successful appearance in the Young Stars all-star game, where he scored on Montreal's Carey Price, who is no slouch in goal.

The boys grabbed the opportunity and put on a great show tonight. The energy was up, the puck was going to the front of the net, and our recent scoring drought ended with a 5-2 victory over a young and incredibly talented Chicago Blackhawks squad. The most important goal (at least to me) was Sully's. He's being getting chances but hadn't lit the lamp in a while, so it was good to see him fire off a nice shot, especially on a short-handed breakaway. Way to go Sully!

But perhaps the biggest fun of the night was the 30% off sale on all Kings novelties! So I picked up some new bling to help support my Kings! This is definitely me, don't you think?



And the best part...it's reversible, so I can even wear it every day and still have it coordinate with my wardrobe! It's the little things that keep me happy.....



Now on to the "Hotties of the Night" for the Blackhawks. They're all very safe and skate warm-ups with their helmets on, but #2 Defenseman Duncan Keith stood out for me. And I think I see the promise of some good hockey hair peeking out from under that helmet :)



But I also gotta give props to Patrick Kane, who is just so darn adorable, in additional to being fun to watch.



And last but not least, Drew opened his lead in the Lucky Jersey contest with tonight's win. The current tally stands Drew 4, Sully 2.

Our next home game isn't until February 12, so I'll be checking out the Kings on TV and Internet radio until then. But it will certainly be a Happy Valentine's Day with the boys coming back to town!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is Anyone Out There?

My foray into the blog world started as a way to advertise my daily exploits to family and friends, avoiding the guilt of being so bad at making time to pick up the phone and actually call people. It's not that I don't love the people in my life, but I find the longer I spend in training, talking for a living, the less desire I have to spend endless amounts of time doing it away from work. Truth be told, after a really long day training, I just want to go home, pour a glass of wine and stare at the wall. Unless it's a hockey night. But I digress...

If I'm being totally honest, I will also admit part of the attraction to blogging was the thought of building a legion of followers waiting anxiously to read my insights on the world. Through the wonder of the Internet, I could be popular and admired! The nerd label that has followed me around since birth would be removed! As Sally Field famously said, "You like me! You really like me!"

Since blogs have a place to post comments, I would have type-written proof of the value of my ideas! Once the blog was started, I sent a mass email to everyone in my address book, suggesting they check me out from time to time. And I waited for the attaboys, you-go-girls and compliments to start rolling in. And I waited some more. And when the comments didn't come with the frequency I expected (I've received exactly 23 to date...yes I counted) I went through a brief period of feeling like the entire blogging exercise was pointless. Was there anyone out there? And did they care?

Then the holidays rolled around, and I started to feel differently. I received Christmas cards with hand written notes about how this friend or that enjoyed knowing what was going on in my life. People I visited with recalled posts they liked. Even now, a friend will occasionally call or meet up with me and start a conversation with "I forgot to mention, I loved your blog about _____. I just didn't post a comment."

And I learned an important lesson. Just because people aren't commenting doesn't mean they're not listening. Or that they don't care. As human beings, we touch the people around us in ways we cannot always know. But keep sharing, and people will find a way to touch you back.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Joining the Conversation

I am not a trendsetter. While I'm also not a complete follower, and I do credit myself with the occasional original idea, I will never be the first person to try something new. To a degree, I think it's because of the way I learn, which tends to be more visual and kinetic. If someone can show me the way, or tell me which buttons to push, I'll follow, then eventually make the new gadget or process my own and put my unique twist on it.

My forays into the world of social media have been no different. While lots of my friends were getting on MySpace, I was just figuring out how to Google. The thought of introducing myself to the on-line world seemed like the rough equivalent of placing a personal ad in the newspaper. Then two things happened this year that helped me change my mind. People I respect started paying attention to social media and sharing their experiences. They were the first to show me the way.

And then I met Staci Shelton.















Staci and I met in person for the first time in Tampa, FL this past October. We are both trainers at Progressive - Staci in Cleveland, OH and me in Los Angeles, CA. The meeting was an annual gathering for people associated with our Claims University to share ideas and plan for 2009. It also focused a lot on expanding the use of social media as a training tool. But the cool part is that we had already met weeks before this event. Staci was my first introduction into the concept of using social mediums to "join the conversation" that is happening in the world all around us.

I was working on developing a job aid for a project, and a co-worker asked if I was familiar with "mind mapping" tools that could be helpful to create visuals for our project. I wasn't, so my co-worker said, "Get in touch with Staci Shelton. She's doing a similar project and my be able to help you."

So I sent her an e-mail explaining who referred me and asking for help. She responded with some terrific sites I could explore, and a sample mind map she was creating for her project. I now had my visual example to help me learn, and I was off and running. And I discovered how much fun mind mapping is!

Soon after, I joined Facebook and saw Staci's face grinning at me frequently, so I added her as a friend. We began chatting every so often, and I learned more about her from reading her frequent status updates and posts. She got me interested in new things I would never have explored before. And an on-line friendship began. When I got to Tampa, I scanned the room and spotted her bright smile instantly. We waved and grinned from across the room before a break allowed us to meet "officially." And we haven't stopped talking since.

Unlike me, Staci is an adventurous information junkie. Through her, I've learned about Twitter, Delicious, Ping, Ming...I could go on for days. I value her knowledge and experience as a social media expert, coach and motivator. She is such a tremendous resource, she's probably the first person I would contact for advice to solve a problem.

More importantly, she's a great friend. We discuss our interests in music, photography, and philosophy, to name only a few. We both drive convertibles, adore bargain shopping, and love meeting new people. And she's a stellar example of how technology can bring people together, now matter what distances us. We only have to be brave enough to join the conversation.

So if you see Staci on-line somewhere (and she's lots of places) take the time to get to know her. She'll change your life! I know she changed mine.

And make sure to tell her I said hello...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trivial Pursuits

I spend a fair amount of times on planes, traveling for both work and pleasure. And since the gypsy in me won't stay still, and I'm borderline ADD some of the time anyway, I'm always looking for new forms of in-flight entertainment. Most of the time, this DOES NOT involve reading the airline's travel mag. Most of the time, they're pretty uninspired, and mainly a rehash of cool things to know about places I've either already been or have absolutely no desire to go. But I do admit I enjoy Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine, especially "The Numbers," a section containing interesting tidbits of entertaining knowledge.

Here are some fun facts I learned on the 7:50 PM flight back to Burbank from Sacramento last night. File them away for your next game of Trivial Pursuit....

  • The longest lab experiment has lasted 82 years. A physicist wanted to measure the fluid properties of pitch...you know, the tar-like stuff they use in roofing, etc. Why he would even want to do this is an experiment in itself! Turns out the stuff is not very fluid. After 21 years, only 2 drops had fallen. They're expecting the 9th drop somewhere around 2012, so mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate!
  • The fastest production car can go 257 MPH. Now as a car person, THIS is cool to know. The vehicle is called the Shelby SSC Ultimate Aero, it has 1,183 horsepower, and looks AWESOME! Definitely worth a web link....check it out! http://www.shelbysupercars.com/news-100907.php
  • A $1 bill lasts 21 months. Apparently they wear out fast, and once commercial banks see signs of too much wear and tear, they ship the stuff off to the Federal Reserve to be shredded. By way of comparison, the $100 bill lasts 89 months. I imagine even longer in the current economy, if you can even find one.
  • We get a new word every 98 minutes. Apparently a group called the Global Language Monitor in Austin, TX tracks trends in the English language and decides whether to give the word it's seal of approval when it gets used enough. So we have Texas to thank for adding "blog," "ginormous," and "Rickroll" to our everyday discourse. At the current pace, English will have 1 million words this April. No wonder people in foreign countries resent having to learn English...who really needs that many words!

And although it wasn't in "The Numbers" section, I also checked out an article on a company called "College Hunks Hauling Junk."

http://www.1800junkusa.com/

So as you're planning your Spring reorganizing, get yourself a little eye candy at the same time! And send them my way when you're done...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Historic Moment

The inauguration of our nation's 44th president rightfully dominated the landscape today. I could hardly talk to anyone, watch TV, listen to the radio, or read anything printed or electronic without considering the social and historic impact of that president being the first black male to hold the post powerful elected position in our country. And as I continued to ponder this monumental event as the day went on, a couple of thoughts occurred to me.

The first thought I had is, "Why is inauguration day not a national holiday?" Granted, it doesn't happen every year, but it's certainly more important than some of the holidays we celebrate. Then, I thought it should actually go beyond a national holiday -- it should be a total national work stoppage day so every American can watch the entire event. I actually missed the live version of the excitement since I was teaching a class today. But that wouldn't work, since it probably takes thousands of people working to make the entire event happen. Really, what would an inauguration ball be without bartenders?

The second thought I had was a more profound one. I realized this inauguration is the first truly history altering event MY generation has been actively involved in making happen. Even though many historic events have happened since I was born - the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, or man walking on the moon, for example - those events happened because of the actions of my parents generation. For all the apathy and immaturity we've demonstrated in other situations, this time we got it right. We own this one.

Now it's time to work together on the next piece of history. I'm ready. Are you?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A New Point of View



For the Kings game against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, I decided it was time to look at things from a different angle. Still bummed out from the Drew incident Monday against the Lightning, which left him out of the line-up tonight, I needed something else to distract me. Nadine wasn't able to attend the game, and gave her tickets to friends from Michigan who would appreciate the Wings visit. This gave me an excuse to buy a ticket for a different seat, so I decided to see what the view looked like from center ice. I found an affordable seat in Section 101, row 8. This section is directly between both team benches, so it was fun to watch to coaches and staff and well as the players...reading lips to see who's swearing is always fun!

Plus, I got to look over at our regular section and wave to the regulars! Looks like most of them gave their tickets to Wings fans too!



Major fun watching the guys come out from the locker room after each period!




And a better view of my buddy Sully!



Front and center for the opening face-off!



Unfortunately the Kings lost 4-0. Not surprising since Detroit has a team full of all the same guys that won the Cup last year, and they're second overall in the Western Conference standings so far this season, behind only the on-fire San Jose Sharks. The biggest bummer of the night was Kevin Westgarth not being in the line-up in spite of his call-up from the Kings AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.

Pretty sad when the only silver lining of the night is the hotness of two Swedes on the Wings team. So without further ado, my opposing team "Hotties of the Night."

#1 - Defenseman & Captain Nicklas Lidstrom



Hottie #2 and Best Hockey Hair - Center Henrik Zetterberg.




And a very honorable "Hottie" mention goes out to Wings head coach Mike Babcock (on the right in the photo below). He's got great hair now...I can only imagine how hot he was in his hockey playing days!



With no win again for the Kings, the Lucky Jersey Contest remains Drew 3, Sully 2.

Let's hope we get out of this losing rut soon, and that Drew gets back on the ice. Tonight gave me an interesting point of view, but it's just not what I was looking for....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lightning Strikes a Blow

Horrible loss for the Kings tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning...in more ways than one. First, we lost the game, which was bad enough. Even worse, we lost Drew midway through the second period. I try to love all hockey players, but I now consider Tampa Bay's #76 my sworn enemy! He's a monster named Evgeny Artyukhin, the Lightning's 6'5" 259lb Bolshevik that put on the offending hit that took Drew out for the rest of the game.

Here's the video....

video

And a link to the story on NHL.com....

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=403830&cmpid=rss

Kudos to Drew's linemate Sean O'Donnell (#6 in the video) for sticking up for him, even if it meant a cross checking penalty. After Drew limped off the ice bent over in half and didn't come back, I was thinking the worst - cracked ribs, etc. Nadine was guessing concussion. When I got home and checked my favorite Kings blog (Rich Hammond is the BEST hockey sportswriter in LA), I was somewhat relieved that the diagnosis was a right thigh contusion, which probably means a bone bruise. Poor kid is gonna be hurting tomorrow. I'm sure he'll miss a few games as well. As long as he gets patched up in time for the Young Stars game, everything will be OK.

No Hotties tonight...I'm too mad at Tampa Bay. And no changes to the Lucky Jersey contest due to the loss.

Get better soon Drew!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Date with the Devils

Spilling my margarita at the very beginning of the first period should have been the sign...this was gonna be a bad night. In the game I was watching, our guys got abused all night without penalties being called against the New Jersey Devils. Apparently in the game the officials saw, the Kings deserved a slew of penalties , 3 of which resulted in power play goals for the Devils and a final 5-1 loss by the Kings. Not much else we can do but write this one off and focus on the next game vs the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

One humorous moment of the night was the return of the "Marry Me Doughty" girl. She was displaying this exact sign Thursday during the warm-up skate as well. It was funny watching the other guys poke at him to make sure he saw it! All the little girls love Drew!



I feel like I've been neglecting Sully a little lately, so I thought he deserved to be the video of the night. He had a team-high 6 shots on goal, and even though he didn't score, he made a great effort. Enjoy!

video

As for the opposing team Hottie of the Night, all the Devils skate with their helmets on, so it was hard to tell from a distance who was worthy. But the dream team of Zach Parise (#9) and Patrik Elias (#26) (pictured below) isn't a bad way to start. They're both tied for the league lead in goals right now.



And in honor of Nadine, who believes short guys should get the love, we have right winger Brian Gionta of Rochester, NY, who at 5' 7" is one of the shortest hockey players I've ever seen. He's in the center of the three player grouping below, and you can tell he's at least 6" shorter than the guy on his right!



And finally, Drew maintains his 3-2 lead in the Lucky Jersey contest...no win for Sully tonight. Hopefully next time....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Revenge is Sweet! (aka I love roast "Duck")

After a tough loss at the Honda Center in Anaheim Tuesday, the Kings returned home to Staples Center tonight for a rematch with the dreaded Ducks. This time, I'm happy to report we came out on top, in spite of almost giving the game away towards the end of the second period. We also gave a natural hat trick (that's 3 goals in a row) to Ducks rookie Bobby Ryan, but personally I have to respect any player that gets one in their career...not easy to do even under the best circumstances. But we kept our heads screwed on and maintained composure, so I'm proud of our boys. Personally, I think the refs were biased against the Kings, failing to call high stick penalties after not one but two of our players got their helmets knocked off! And those were just the obvious penalties that never got called in our favor! But as I overheard someone say in the stands a few games ago, great teams overcome stupid officials, so we'll chalk tonight up to growing pains on the road to becoming a great team.

Drew Doughty gets the video of the night thanks to some great penalty kill work in the second period. For you hockey amateurs, a penalty kill is when a team is down one man, either because one of their own players did something stupid, or because the refs need glasses. I don't remember which situation caused the need for this penalty kill, so I'm gonna blame it on the refs. Anyway, here we have our favorite rookie and 3 other Kings playing against 5 Ducks. But we all know Kings are better than Ducks anyway...

video

And with the win tonight, Drew also takes the lead in the Lucky Jersey Contest 3-2 over Sully.

Next up...the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. GO KINGS!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Start of Something Good

AWESOME start to the new year on the hockey front, with a BIG win for the Kings against an always tough Flyers team. Nice to have some bragging rights against my Philly girl Tammy and my entire family after how much they've reminded me of the Dodgers complete meltdown in the playoffs this year. I LOVE LA!! Especially great since Sully scored the game winning goal in shoot-out with his patented high glove side shot.

And also on the new front, Nadine's hubby John got to wear his brand new Drew jersey! Looking good John!!




And the best "new" thing about the Kings...our new goalie Jonathan Quick, who was called up from Manchester when we traded Jason LaBarbera to Vancouver. Jon defended his first penalty shot tonight with an amazing stop. Way to Jon!!! Here's the replay....

video

Speaking of looking good, we return to the opposing team "Hottie of the Night" report with two qualifiers from the Flyers.

My #1 Hottie - Center #18 Mike Richards. Hotness seems to be a team captain requirement this year!



And coming it at a very close #2, Left winger #9 Scottie Upshall.



The Flyers also beat every team we've seen so far this season in the crazy hockey hair category. The two biggest standouts are #32 Riley Cote and #19 Scott Hartnell. Riley gets my vote based on length below the helmet.



Hartnell just plain scares me. Kind of like a greasier version of Carrot Top. Guess not all boys from Saskatchewan can be as cute as LA's own Jarret Stoll :)



Most importantly, the Kings win tonight got Sully another point in the "Lucky Jersey Contest." He and Drew are now tied with two wins each!

Next home game...vs. our arch rivals the Anaheim Ducks on 1/8. GO KINGS!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Back in Time

I'd like to think that the start of a new year means moving forward, but today it seems I'm getting sent back in time 15 years. Because that's how long it's been since I've washed my clothes in a laundromat!



I left work early today, feeling like I was coming down with the flu. Not good since I have a solid meeting schedule the rest of the month, part of which involves flying. So after napping for a few hours and feeling marginally better, I figured I'd better get some work done while I had motivation. But when I hauled my laundry basket down to the garage, I found a pink Post-it note from Rosie saying the washer wouldn't drain and she was calling for help to fix it. Unsure how long it would take for "help" to arrive and having not done laundry since Christmas break at my Mom's, I was a little desperate. And pissed off. Now in the grand scheme of things, this is simply one of life's little inconveniences. I'm not dying of cancer or anything. But when you're already not feeling great, even the little problems suck harder, dammit!

So I loaded my laundry and detergent into the car, scrounged up some dollar bills (a challenge for someone who pays for EVERYTHING with plastic), and drove a block down the street to the nearest working washing machines.



The next hurdle was the machine directions. What do you mean I have to add fabric softener ONLY during the rinse cycle! My magic washer at home adds it automatically! Now I have to pay attention to what I'm doing....ugh!!!!!

There was some good news. People with interesting lives and working appliances don't generally do laundry on Friday nights, so it was pretty empty, and I got three loads washed in just under 30 minutes. And the dryer at home still works, so at least I didn't have to spend very long in laundry hell. And now I have clean clothes!

Of course, the most entertaining part of visiting a laundromat in my neck of the woods is the language gap. Even though all the instructions on the washers are in English, everything else in the place is in Spanish. So if you don't speak English, you know what detergent to buy but have no idea how to wash your clothes? HMMMMM......



I hope our washer is working soon... At least I'm a little less pissed off now that I've vented!