Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Burgers at Sino, Santana Row

When we lived in Asia, Angie and I really grew to enjoy 'big city' life.
The assortment of restaurants, the range of arts, along with the ability to do these things without driving, ...

That doesn't really exist in San Jose/Santa Clara (yes, I know it does in San Francisco, but who can afford it?)...
with the exception, that is, of Santana Row.

It's within walking distance of our house, and it's got a number of excellent restaurants - Straits Cafe for Singaporean food, Blowfish for sushi, Thea for Meditereanean, and Amber Indian for (surprise!) Indian. We've also started frequenting Sino, a newer 'Chinese/Asian' eatery that is good, but more of a fusion restaurant.

The above shot has Angie posing with two Kobe beef mini-burgers that were pretty yummy.
Santana Row has tons of street side seating, so the show is always good (and Border's is nearby, so you can shop off a hangover, not that I would know...)

Taco Time! - Alviso, California

I went to lunch yesterday in sunny Alviso, at El Taco de Oro - purveyors of the finest $1 taco in the south bay (and I'm not kidding about that - I LOVE this place).

I was there with Mike, Gary, and Bill as we caught up on all the happenings in the past month.

Anyone who spends time with me knows that they will eventually become 'blogfood' for this site. You can see that Mike is clearly thrilled by that prospect.
Gary, meanwhile, is a little more camera-friendly.

We're eating in the vegetable department of this little Mexican store, because the garage is being renovated (I'm not kidding). This is a great disappointment to me, as the unfinished, unlevel former garage has an excellent Ensenada ambiance that I hope will not disappear.

While I remember, I also wanted to point any managers out there in the direction of Dilbert.com's fabulous mission statement generator. You ought to be able to get some milage out of this...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

How do you say Synchronicity in Japanese?

Strange how events align...

Yesterday, I received an email from an old friend, Megumi Tadenuma (Megurina, was our nickname for her). She's the one on the far right in the front row of the photo above.
I hadn't heard from Megurina in about 4 years, so it was a happy surprise.

Then, this morning, I received an email from Haemi Kaku (Haemi-chan is second from the left in the front row, in a powder blue yukata - a cotton summer kimono). Haemi is in Kumamoto, working with Grant (he's in the middle of the back row).

Haemi wrote to say that seeing Grant made her remember the day when this photo was taken.
Me too, as this was one of the best days I've ever had.

The day was a convergence of great weather; great friends; a fireworks (hanabi or 'fire flowers', in Japanese) show on the waterfront; a very generous supply of alcohol; pent-up expectations (Angie and I had staked out a prime spot the night before, and all of us took turns defending our desirable turf on the day of the fireworks); Haemi and Tomo's willingness to 'go native' in yukata; some slightly drunken private fireworks from our balcony (no one got hurt, though I think we all inhaled too much sparkler residue); and a lot of good fortune (Brent, Grant, and Jetsada all just happened to be in town).

It was the last time most of us were all together, and one of those days you wish you could bottle...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Celebrating Failure

I'm back in Santa Clara, after a long flight and a free upgrade to business class - Thanks Lufthansa!!
My first trip to Israel was an unqualified success - professionally and personally. Can't wait until I get to go back.

I always ask myself, after a training session - what did I learn?
(The photo above is from the 1st of our 2 sessions)
During this trip, I learned that my free flow of ideas and words gets me in trouble at times.

Three mistakes I made... shared so you don't do the same...

1) Using a baseball analogy while discussing team building.
Earth to Glenn - Israeli's do not follow the New York Yankees. (Basketball works, though)

2) Talking about evolution.
Hel-loooo.... It's pretty safe to assume that most folks in Israel have a different view on mankinds' development.

3) Telling a story based around Christmas.
Right. I'm in the Jewish center of the world, the home of Hanukkah, and I tell a lengthy story about a child receiving a bicycle on Christmas morning, expecting my audience to identify?
Smart, Glenn. Smart...

The good news? Israelis are smart, funny, and direct.
So, they let me know pretty clearly when I was off base.
It didn't cost me any good will, just a little embarrassment.

That, I can live with. As long as I learn from it...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Is Jerusalem Too Commercial? (from Israel)

We spent a day in Jerusalem last weekend.
It's an interesting city with an oversupply of history.

We had a pretty active debate over whether the area was 'too commercial'.

On the one hand - yes. I had expected a site with an overwhelming religious or holy feel.
I didn't get that.
The Western Wall had that feeling, but not much else.
Tour groups are everywhere. Cameras intrude on everything.
Shops and shopkeepers are packed into every spare inch.

On the other hand - no. It's not too commercial.
Why do I say that?
Because I suspect that Jerusalem felt much like this 2000 years ago.
The shops were there, the shopkeepers were there, and so was the hustle and bustle.
This is probably the appropriate way to honor old Jerusalem.

It would actually be a shame if we were to mark the whole area as 'holy'.
I'd always rather see a living culture than a sterile museum.

A Leadership Lesson in Reverse (from Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, Israel)

Last Monday, on our first day in Israel, Angie and I took a tour of the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa.

It's a holy place for followers of the Baha'i faith.
One of those Baha'i followers, a German woman named Eva, led us on our free tour of the garden and gave a lesson in leadership skills at the same time.

We were attached to a group of about 20 high school students from America. They were hot, hungry, and didn't really want to see these gardens.

As Eva started the tour, the students chatted all the way through her talk. I started to wonder how she would handle this situation.
She didn't make we wait long to see.

About 30 seconds into her talk, she stopped.
"You know what?," she asked. "I know this information. I don't have to hear it. If you don't want to hear it, we'll just walk down in silence. That's fine with me".

Wow, I hadn't seen the 'angry professor' method used in a long time.
It didn't work when I was in school, and I doubted it would work now.

The kids shrugged and kept talking. They didn't care about hearing the lecture, I guess.

That's the problem with threats - you have to follow up on them.
Well, Eva really wanted us to hear her story, so she started getting angrier.

That didn't work either.
She struggled her way down the entire garden, unable to hold either their attention or her composure. It was very painful to watch.
She was a nice lady with no presentation or leadership skills.

The amazing thing is that she was telling a story about a religion that involved money, politics, and murder. If you can't hold the attention of 15-year old kids with that story, you're doing something wrong.
After all, religion is story. If the story isn't any good, there won't be a religion at all.

So, what did I learn?
You can't force them to listen.
If you want to hold their attention, tell a compelling story...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Dead Sea - Israel

Just how dead is The Dead Sea?

This dead....

Oh, the irony.
This is what we mean by 'dry humor'.

I'll follow up with more pictures from Israel, later this week.

Floating the Dead Sea - Israel

I've had trouble getting access to blogger.com since I got to Israel.

Finally, I'm on.

What can I say?
Work has been great. The weather has been great. The food has been great. And the people have been great

This weekend, we made the journey to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.
If you don't know, the Dead Sea has so much salt that you cannot sink.

Here I am, doing my superman impression on an oily bed of water, in front of the Dead Sea Holiday Inn.

Olives - from Israel

One of the treasures of the Mediterranean is fresh Olives.

We've been eating a lot of these little green flavor bombs over the past week.
Just can't get enough...

The trees are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

This morning I had spicy olives for breakfast.
It's a first for me, but I hope not a last...

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Dance me to the end of time... from Seoul

Here's a shocker... we saw more dance today.

We took a taxi up to Samcheonggak, where we saw an afternoon dance show.
It was a story that was almost impossible to follow, but it didn't matter, because both the dancers - with their brightly colored hanbok - and the dances, were beautiful.

Afterwards, we headed to Insadong.
The temperature was perfect for a stroll, so we took a walk down the street, where we found another performance.
It included dance, martial arts, singing and swordplay.

Hope we see this much excitement in Israel!!

Friday, June 2, 2006

Dance, Dance, Korea 2

I mentioned that everyone seemed to be dancing yesterday.
Here's a glimpse of what I was talking about.

Angie and I wandered into an outdoor session of Korea's "Show Music Tank", an MTV-type program that features new Korean music.

We watched for about 90 minutes, and saw about a dozen music acts, ranging from rock to rap.
Most (10 out of 12?) featured choreographed dance moves.

As we made our way past the 4 major shopping malls that surround Dondaemun Stadium, we saw that each had a stage in front of it.
"Show Music Tank" was in front of Doota.

The other three malls had - a dance competition stage, a karaoke competition stage, and another dance competition stage.
When we returned to our hotel at 11pm, none of these showed any sign of slowing down...

Dance, Dance, Korea

The Fan Dance, Seoul, South Korea

We got over to Korea House again (number 24 in Seoul's Best 100)
No dinner, just the show. I got into the second row, and got a few good shots of the world famous fan dance.

I've mentioned before that I love dance.
Anything that combines music, beautiful women, and photography is a winner in my book.

Rhythm is life, and life is rhythm - at least if you doing it right - so we all dance, even if we don't know it (or aren't very good at it).

Many of my favorite cultures are singing and dancing cultures.
Bali, Thailand, and Hawaii top the list; but Korea ranks surprisingly high as well.

Tonight, we were in the Dongdaemun Stadium area, and it seems like Seoul is breeding a population of super-dancers. They were everywhere.