Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hang memories on your Christmas tree

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Thought I’d share a tip we use around here that makes me happy at least once a year.

When traveling, we follow a pretty strict “no souvenirs” policy, with one exception – we try and pick up something we can hang on the Christmas tree, to remind us of the trip.

Key rules:

  • It can’t be an ‘official ornament’.
  • It gets stored when the tree comes down.

In the past we’ve repurposed totem keychains from Vancouver, thimbles from NYC, and a baby sock with a Cubs logo on it. There’s even a brass armadillo from Austin that’s hanging courtesy of some old twist ties.

Here’s why it works:

  • It gives you something fun to look for when you’re on vacation.
  • It makes you feel good when you decorate the tree every year. You think back on these fun trips, versus thinking,  “look, a shiny ball”.
  • It gives visitors to your house something to talk about.
  • Perhaps best of all…it gets stored away most of the time – so it’s not cluttering up your house!

Speaking of happiness in general – there’s a great book called Stumbling on Happiness that’s essentially a summary of various research studies about the kind of choices that typically make people happy – the results will almost certainly surprise you.

Here’s one tip from the book: If you have a favorite dish at a restaurant – don’t waste your time ordering other items to see if you can find a second favorite at that spot.  Odds are low.

Another tip: over the long term, you’re more likely to be happy with a purchase if you bought it from a “NO RETURN” policy…how counter-intuitive is that??

Why so quiet around here?

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Happy 2010 Everybody!

I’ve had some people commenting on the lack of postings here. Their comments generally go something like: Your blog sucks so badly why do you even bother? These are typically the same folks who complain that my LinkedIn profile is basically the same as it was when I signed up a year ago.

Both these things are true.When it comes to new technology, I’m kind of a dabbler. Not exactly an early adopter, but close. Eventually I wound up with a Linux box, a Mac and a PC at home.

Well, when I initially bought the much sought after domain, it was more of an experiment. We were building a micro-site for my job…and I thought it’d be fun to try it out as well.

What I discovered is that if I’m bothering to develop “content”, I like to have it relate to my professional/volunteer life versus whining about minutia like why the City isn’t picking up Christmas trees till January 18th!

In this regard – feel free to check out my 5 or 6 case studies, from circa 2008/9 etc. on the Nortel On Nortel website. Me and MJ had a hand in basically most things on there, either editing or writing. These’ll probably go away soon, as Avaya has bought that part of the business, and gotten some great folks in the deal.

More recently – here’s other stuff that’s been keeping me away from here:

  • Kicking butt at the day job.
  • Putting finishing touches on my first iPhone App. Hint: focused on Soccer moms and dads and beer league warriors.  And rocks, if I do say so myself.
  • Studying for language testing. Who knew that those French Grammar rules from Grade 7 could be such fun – again!
  • Still running the website at Common Sense Crossings to mobilize the east against the latest InterProvincial bridge charade. Also participating in the NCC’s workshop to envision the Greenbelt in 50 years.
  • Managing the Racing Rabbits web page for the Nakkertok Cross Country club. A truly great place to ski, and learn to ski. And you can ski at night without the Golf Course owner getting mad at you!

However – I commit to get my LinkedIn profile up to date by end of January. Who knows – maybe somebody will be checking it out…have a great 2010!

Battle of the Blades – this fall’s best new show

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Today  on the Inside the CBC blog, there was a posting that talked about the success of Battle of the Blades, with the premise that anything to do with hockey in Canada is bound to succeed.

I disagree –  this series had all the earmarks of a train wreck. But it has turned out to be insanely popular and I think I know some of the reasons why.

  • Cross demographic and gender appeal. This is a show you can sit around with the entire family, including grandma and watch. Having a wide age range of retired players makes this happen. Grandma can wax nostalgic about Ron Duguay in the seventies, while her grandkids remember Jamie Sale and Salt Lake City.
  • It’s almost live. It airs a few short hours after shooting – meaning that there’s no chance to overproduce it, or filter out the authenticity. Witness how poor Kelly Hrudey’s stumbling analysis on opening night (summary: gee I like girls and you’re a girl) was untouched. I was killing myself laughing reading Tweets that referenced Hrudey as the broadcast went on.
  • The host. Is there a more universally appealing host than Ron MacLean? All that Olympic capital is put to use here.
  • Location. Finally – Maple Leaf Gardens put to good use! What Canadian wouldn’t tune in to see the old lady on Carlton Street.
  • There is actual talent on display. I don’t mean the hockey players. The women are phenomenal athletes – it’s incredible how they can carry a performance, and Barbara Underhill on hockey skates (Kurt Browning too) was truly amazing.

Keep it up CBC – great show! But give credit to alot of smart decisions made along the way – it wasn’t a gimme.

Changing the tires on this car

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Greetings. Over the next year I’m going to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook. Oh, wrong project.

This is a transitional page while I move my stuff over from my old Google Sites pages – I threw those together as a sandbox for some work I was doing for a local cross country ski club – Nakkertok. The club site is moving to WordPress shortly – and I’ve been meaning to learn it anyhow…so here goes!

Chris Brogan convinced me to take the plunge and actually pay somebody to host this puppy. So far so good – despite me getting hit with the PayPal glitch that people complain about in his comments. Tech Support has been awesome getting that sorted out.

The old page is here if you want to check it out.

I’m also on Twitter as @patboule