Sunday, January 31, 2010

Resolutions revisited

One month ago I wrote my blog entry, My 2010 resolutions.  While I think there is room for improvement, focusing on positive behaviors to incorporate into my daily routine has been easier than those resolutions that focus on eliminating bad behaviors.  At the end of December, I indicated that I was going to make a concerted effort to:
Smile at strangers and say "hello" or "good morning".  I've been fairly successful with this resolution.  I'm a one-man PR machine - debunking the myth that Bostonian are surly and unfriendly.  However, when the wind is howling and it is way below zero, I'm far less inclined to smile at anyone let alone say "hello" or "good morning". 

Mind my manners.  I give myself thumbs up, and this has been easy to do. I've noticed many appreciative smiles; esp. with opening doors.  Certainly there have been those who have ignored the gesture or not noticed the "please" and "thank you", but I'm still going to smile and say please - even if I'm the only one who notices.

Value my personal relationships.  This past month work has been very busy, and it is this third resolution that has challenged me the most, but I'm giving this my best effort.  I have spent time with friends and chatted with new acquaintences, but I promise to make more of an effort with this resolution moving forward.

Additional personal goals included focussing on my health by working out and being more selective about what and when I eat (I'm a late night snacker).  With these goals I have mixed feelings about my success.  Even in just the past four weeks since the start of 2010, I've had good and bad weeks. I'm not sure if making resolutions is still en vogue, but I'm curious if anyone else has been struggling with their resolutions or if 4-weeks later they are all but forgotten?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Watch this video: Lost Generation

This post is for all the optimists in the world. Take a listen and pass it along.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CA gay marriage ban cost state $490 million

According to an article in today's WSJ the gay marriage ban is costing San Francisco $37.2 million a year and the state $490 million over three years.  These statistics are based on estimates of lost revenue and taxes the state would have received from same-sex marriages during that time.

This seems like a drop in the bucket for a state facing a $20 billion budget gap, but it is yet again another interesting argument against prop 8 and one that has financial implications - probably disproportionately for Northern CA and the SF bay area.

I concur with Dr. Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy who says in the article that the greatest potential cost could be to the state's reputation as a haven for all people. "If we do something that makes them feel unwelcome compared to other places they might live, we'll lose talent."   To that I'd like to say, "Yes" and "Welcome to MA" where same-sex marriage has been legal for years.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Precious to me

Time together is precious to me
Because away and apart is hard to be
I do amire and truly love thee
Simply because you are precious to me

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hotel Prince De Galles - Paris, France

On Christmas day my partner surprised me with news that he had purchased airline tickets to take me to Paris for my birthday this spring.  Since then, I've been perusing websites and looking into possible hotels to book our stay.  Initially, I wanted to return to Le Marais, but I was unsuccessful in finding a property that I wanted to spend my birthday so I started looking into other neighborhoods.

Earlier today a friend suggested the Hotel Prince De Galles.  He had stayed there a few years ago and was very complimentary.  When I visited the site, I found a special - stay two nights get the third free. Have I mentioned that I love it when I feel like I'm getting a deal?  Armed with the knowledge that friends really enjoyed the property and the opportunity to stay in Paris for three nights but only having to pay for two nights proved to be all the incentive I needed. 

After I booked the hotel, I stumbled across the blog, The Best Luxury Hotels in the World. Check out the link to the blog for some more photographs of the hotel.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Contemplating switching teams

I have a slight problem at home.  My Dell PC has been having all sorts of issues, and I've reconciled myself to the fact that I need to upgrade my home computer when I get my tax return.  While I'm not excited about dropping a wad of cash to buy a new computer, I know I'll be very happy once everything is in place. 

With the exception of my time at college, I've always used a Personal Computer (PC).  On a few occasions, I've had to use a Mac and truthfully, I've found them difficult to use - mostly because what comes naturally to me after years of working on a PC does not always translate with Apple computers.

However, I'm now seriously considering switching teams and jumping on the Mac-bandwagon.  Frustrations with computer viruses and several other annoyances have really started to tip the scales.

As a marketing guy, I can appreciate the dogmatic loyalty that Apple users have for the Mac and I have been impressed by the way the company has consistently brought consumer-savvy products to market that seem to be both easy to use and even easier to integrate into their computers.

However, as enamored as I am with Apple's product line, I still have worries about PC applications converting easily since I use my home computer as a back-up to help me do editing and other work during the week. I am also unimpressed by the cost of the Mac.  However, I've decided to remain open minded until I make a visit to the Apple Store on Boylston Street to see what they have to offer (and what it will cost me).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is it a pink slip?

For more than a year people have been talking about the constricting economy and mounting job losses.  I have sympathy for people who find themselves suddenly out of work, because this happened to me back in August 2001. It is easy to lose your confidence and grow despondent, but adverstiy does not have to equal failure.  As with all challenges there are opportunities - maybe they are not apparent and require  us to "get creative", but they are out there.

I recently heard about the movie, Lemonade, and thought this was worth sharing.  I've included the movie trailer.  There is also a blog that I believe is written by the director of the film called Please Feed The Animals, which is worth checking out.  Lawson Clarke is the name of the gentleman atop this entry. After he was laid off he started his own copywriting business. He had an interesting quote on the blog mentioned above which I thought I'd share for those who may be looking for work and feeling a bit lost.

“Don’t be the person looking for a job.
Be the person doing something interesting.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How big is Pete Bouchard?

Check out Pete Bouchard's weather forecast.  Pete is the meterologist on Boston's NBC local news program.  I love how his eyes dart to the side after he says deviously, "almost as big as me".

This video was removed from YouTube. 
Too bad it was very funny.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts is holding a special election today to fill the two years remaining in Sen Kennedy's US Senate seat.  Anyone who follows my blog or knows me will be able to surmise who I voted for, but rather than dwelling on a candidate of choice, I'd like to suggest that if you are a MA resident to go and vote.  Regardless of outcome or impact in D.C., it is the one act of civil service anyone over the age of 18 can exercise. 

I voted around 10:30 this morning and inquired from the poll workers if the snow had impacted voter turn out.  I was told emphatically that turn out (at least in Ward 7 - Boston) has been quite high.  If you have not voted - stop what you are doing and vote today before the polls close.

Unless you live under a rock, chances are you have heard that the Republican Scott Brown has won the open seat in the US Senate to fill the remaining two years of Sen. Kennedy's seat.  This represents the first time that a Republican has been a US Senator from my state since 1972.  Brown was not my candidate of choice, but I do wish him well and the best of luck. I hope he is as moderate as he portrayed himself when running for office.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tweet tweet:

Do you happen to use twitter? You can follow me at

Friday, January 15, 2010

What health reform means to me

The heated debate over health reform has not ended but some of the "heat" from the debate has subsided. Whether this is because people are exhausted or disgusted is not clear to me, but lately I've been thinking about why I favor reforming our system. I'm not a fan of the legislation in Congress right now, but I'm not interested in criticizing it. If you have an opinion on drug re-importation, malpractice, insurance reform, pay-for-performance or anything else hit me up - I have an opinion I’m happy to share.

I've always found it curious that I am encouraged to see my dentist every six months, but my doctor only once a year.

What I would prefer to talk about is making our system more nimble and innovative. I would like our system to provide incentives for people to check-in regularly depending on their age and health status. Checking-in doesn't necessarily mean seeing a doctor - it could be meeting with a nutritionist, talking to a trainer or seeing a therapist. I realize that this brings to mind a whole host of practical questions related to co$t but as we grow older and more people are living with chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, etc...) This is the type of care that can actually help people.

I've always found it curious that I am encouraged to see my dentist every six months, but my doctor only once a year. Certainly my body is more complex than my teeth. How could a mid-year check-up with a nurse or clinician to review my prescriptions, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc not be beneficial? For the past year the debate about healthcare reform has been shaped by competing interests.  Reform has become a dirty word for some and the Holy Grail for others, but for me it is about re-thinking how we provide care, what constitutes "care" and how to make care accessible to everyone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Work is getting a little out of control as deadlines are hitting faster than a Lindsay Lohan / Paris Hilton smack down.  I do find some solace in the fact that my entire team is completely stretched so I don't feel as if this is either just my imagination or I'm the only one struggling here.

I suppose it must be that time of the year.There is a lot that needs to get done and with the holidays sadly a thing of the past, life goes back to business as usual.  Fortunately, I lack hobbies, dislike most of what television is offering these days, and I do enjoy my work.  However, I can't help but feel as if my desire to move forward has left me feeling a kinship with the saying in the photograph above... Am I alone here or is anyone else feeling the same way these days?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brian's birthday party in Austin

This past Friday I surprised a friend who now lives in Austin, TX, and as near as I can tell - he had no idea. As you may recall, I visited this couple back in October. I wrote about that trip and included some photos in my entry, Weekend in Austin.

The birthday weekend was filled with a lot of laughing, eating, drinking (and crashing from either too much eating or simple exhaustion).  Laura and Brian certainly pulled out all the stops, and I shudder to think how many empty beer and wine bottles are sitting at this moment in their recycle bin on the sidewalk.  No doubt the neighbors must be seriously considering an intervention.  However in their defense - there were a lot of us at the house. I've included a group photo from Saturday night after we gorged ourselves at a smokehouse / BBQ called the Salt Lick.

Brian, I'd like to wish you a year of good health and happiness, and Laura thank you for all your hard work - it was fantastic, despite some bone-chilling temperatures (check out the photo below to see what cities were actually warmer than Austin on Brian's birthday).  Lastly to the friends from San Francisco, Houston and elsewhere it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Haiku for You

Casual encounters

a random meeting
the handsome smile is trouble
temptation abounds

This was a poem I wrote quite a long time ago which I found while reorganizing files on my PC.  Since I've been posting a bit of poetry lately, I thought I would include it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Changing my diet (just a bit)

I've joined the masses with a renewed commitment to making my health a priority in 2010.  Age is playing a cruel joke on everything from my metabolism to my physique which makes staying in-shape even more of a challenge. I am trying to make sure I go to the gym regularly and modifying my diet slightly by abstaining from eating after 10pm and changing some of the products I buy.  For example, I just purchased Soy Milk (with no sugar), but I have to admit I'm afraid to try it in my Life cereal maybe I'll muster the courage to try it tomorrow morning.

Recently the New York City Health Dept. made news with the commercial I've included below, which encourages people to skip the soda.  I've never liked soda much, but it got me to thinking about things I could easily modify in my diet (i.e. no need for a muffin every morning).  Who knows how long I'll be able to maintain my "no muffin" policy, but if the scary no-sugar, soy milk turns out to be yummy and I can decrease the amount of processed sugars and preservatives I eat - I'm doing my body good, right?  I'm no nutritionist but it seems logical.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nana's poetry

My grandmother, "Nana" loved to write poetry, but I never realized this until I opened an e-mail from my mother with the poem below. It is dated February 29, 1988 and was written shortly after our family had visited our grandparents who were at that point spending each winter in sunny Florida.

According to my mother, Nana was always writing poems.  It is amazing to think how much she continues to touch my heart even though she is no longer here. 

Little Drummer Boy where did you go?
The tv is quiet don't you know
You all left so quickly or so it seemed
We loved all you children to break the beam
Of quiet that's here or so it seems

And quiet Robbie who is creating a story
And sweet dear Beth who's doing her own thing
Susan like a record who goes round and round
Helps Tim tap with a rythmical sound.

It really was quiet on the following day
No kids to talk to and show them the way
to keep on loving us we hope and pray
As we love you all every day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In 5-months I will be flying to Paris, France to celebrate my birthday for a quick 4-night vacation, and I can hardly wait.  My preference would be to stay in Le Marais, but I have not booked anything yet.

Le Marais is a centrally located Parisian neighborhood packed with fantastic restaurants and cafes and is easily accessible to the Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou and most of the gay night life in the city.  No doubt I will be looking online and reading what people have to say on to try and figure out where I want to book my stay.  If you have any suggestions - please send me an e-mail here or through my profile on TripAdvisor

Until then I think I'll just have to rent out Baz Lurmann's Moulin Rouge a few more times...