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Archive for May, 2012

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” 

― Gene Roddenberry

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Thanks for staying with us!

Here’s an idea. Don’t name your company something that it is not. If you sell cod liver oil, Mr. Delicious isn’t the right name. Use something more like Cod Liver Oil Inc.

Same goes for the Quality Inn we stayed at. I suggested a few name changes, like the Low Quality Inn, the Sub Quality Inn, the No Quality Inn (to be blatantly blatant). Or the more esoteric, ‘Quality Inn?’

I’m not sure if it was the unnerving stains on the furniture, the bathroom door that had its lock-handle smashed out (someone really had to go I guess) or the odd smell, but Quality was a word that just didn’t resonate with our experience.

Coke makes a product that is undeniably horrible for you. But it tastes good. They don’t call it Carbonated Sugar Water with Artificial Caramel Coloring, but they also don’t call it, Super Healthy Drink Water.

So perhaps the Quality Inn might like to change their name to ‘The Shemblderemn Inn’. No expectations, no promises to the consumer. Just wacky made up, fictional hijinks. Then again, maybe Quality Inn means for their current name to be ironic.

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Attending a lecture or talk or presentation too often means experiencing a PowerPoint Presentation that is more punishment than entertainment.

I’ve presented a few PowerPoint forced marches myself. And Ken Levine is right: most often it’s a lazy thing to rely on. Ken Levine has pointers on some of the elements that can make a presentation better and avoiding PowerPoint fatigue is one of them. He has great general notes about how to make a presentation dynamic and interesting without using a graph or pie chart.

Doing what I do, drawing and writing for kids, I have two or three general presentations. But I alter them to appeal to the age of the audience I am speaking to. For instance, one of my presentations is called – Drawing Stories. From the title you might think it’s about telling stories using art. Otherwise known as narrative art. And you’d be right. But the talk itself can be altered to speak to first and second graders using picture book examples or older students and adults by using a much broader selection of work.

Whatever tools you use when you give a presentation communicating your enthusiasm for what you do and why you feel it’s vital is the most important aspect. That and having snacks available when it’s done.

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States are small out here. I mean really small. You can fit Rhode Island into Oregon over 9,000 times. Just walking into the Dunkin Donuts store from the parking lot I went through three states.

New Hampshire has a famous state motto: Live free or die. It should be Drive fast or die. What’s weird is the speed limit changes every 50 feet. As I’m driving an out of state rental car, I’m careful to stay within spitting distance of the speed limit. But in New Hampshire it goes from 65 to 55 to 45 rather randomly on two and three lane roads. And I keep trying to drive the speed limit, when most locals obviously have the libertarian ideals flowing through their gas tanks, because they pretty much just go 80.

I keep getting passed by cars with bumper stickers that read ‘Mom farted and I can’t get out’ and everyone yelling ‘Come on grandpa, move it!’.

I stopped by Lake Winnipesaukee the location for one of my favorite films, What About Bob.

Of course the film was shot in Virginia, but visiting the lake helped me take a vacation, from my problems. It’s all baby steps of course. But I am feeling better!

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I just saw you.

When I visit the East coast I am reminded of long forgotten things from my youth. Like humidity.

Is it a cultural advantage that the West Coast rarely, if ever, gets nailed with humid weather? Probably not. But it should be. It does offer some nice things to balance out the fact that it can make an 74 degree day feel like it’s going to kill you – it’s good as a conversation starter.

” It sure is hot and humid today.”

“Yeah, it is hot. And it’s so humid I’m GOING TO GO OUT OF MY FREAKIN’ MIND!”

Whenever I visit New York City I see people I know. I mean, I see copies of people I know. Doppelgängers.

The city is full of them. I think there is a look-alike in New York for everyone in the country. I know that’s not mathematically possible but I still believe it.

See this statue below, you can ignore the title on its base. That’s actually my 7th grade History Teacher, Mr. Danson. Doppelgängers can take many forms. But I swear it’s him.

20120524-214250.jpg

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What can you say about New York City that hasn’t already been said?

It’s always busy and filled with one of a kind attractions.

Like the 7 story Baskin Robbins on 5th Avenue. Over 18,000 flavors. Only in New York.

Or the 90,000 square foot store that sells nothing but shoe inserts. The best selection in this hemisphere. Or the collectible stores. My favorite is Office Memories, which sells only old magazines from doctors offices. They had the April 1972 Highlights which I fondly remember.

You spend a lot of time riding elevators in New York. In one restaurant you had to take the elevator up 6 floors to use the restroom and down 3 floors to wash your hands.

Actually I spent much of my down time at Books of Wonder. It’s an easy place to spend a few hours and a difficult place to walk out of without spending a few bucks.

And did I mention the cheesecake? Good thing I’m walking 18 miles a day.

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Shop till ye drop

Spending time in Connecticut, a state I will never learn to spell correctly without the application of technology.

Visited a mall. I know, I know…but there was a need for some additional rain gear for our stay. Malls smell the same. Look the same. Little kids are still scared to step onto the escalator without a parents hand. Build-A-Bear shops still defy logic (how can they afford that much floor space to store batting?). The only difference from our west coast Mall Experience is the legally mandated Dunkin Donuts being every 18 steps. I think I’ve developed diabetes since we landed. Chocolate glazed goodness…

Off to more adventures soon. The big city calls out to me. And I’m not talking about White Plains. Expect my New York City updates over the next few days. Unless I collapse from medical issues. “Doctor! This man needs two CC’s of chocolate glazed donuts stat!”

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