Sunday, April 26, 2009

Graffiti Practice!!

Ever want to be a graffiti artist, but don't have the balls to actually deface public property?

If that description fits you, today is your lucky day!

Fakeproject Corporation (what a great name...) has a free downloadable coloring book for aspiring graffiti artists.

Practice tagging without getting tagged!

*This is one of my favorite graffiti images of all time. It's a painting of Musashi Miyamoto (as portrayed by actor Mifune Toshiro). This was on the retaining wall for the train tracks at Sakuragicho Station in Yokohama, Japan - a particularly fertile location for graffiti.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crappy Presentations...

I work with some of the smartest people on planet earth, and yet...

And yet, the presentations that I have to sit through can only be described as torture. Well, not for everyone. Most people just look away and tend to their computer or blackberry.
But for anyone who makes an effort to stick through the presentation, it's somewhat akin to that scene in Clockwork Orange where Malcolm McDowell gets his brain pummeled with degenerate images.

Wait... did I say 'somewhat akin'? Umm, no - it's exactly like that. Or worse?

Please don't do that to anyone, I beg you.
Buy slide:ology, Presentation Zen, and Beyond Bullet Points -  and then practice their theories.
Promise me... please?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't Believe Everything You Read...

Here's something I had never seen before... at least not in the US.

I was driving down El Camino Real (the Kings Highway, but that's another story) to my workshop in Los Altos last week. I knew that the Residence Inn was near the junction at San Antonio Road, at 4460 El Camino Real (click to enlarge the image).

When I crossed San Antonio, however, I saw that I was in the 2600 block... Look at the San Antonio Inn. The address is 2650.

"What? Twenty more blocks?" I said, with a few f-bombs mixed in...

Then I came to my senses, and did a lap of the block, finding my destination.

Not only is one side of El Camino Real in the 2600 block, while the other side is in the 4400 block - both sides are EVEN!!
Hmmm... don't see that everyday, do ya?

Once again, though, I learned the value of trusting my instincts, rather than following the signs.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

14 Books on my Reading List

My reading list has grown dramatically, as I picked up a load of treasure at my two favorite used bookstores - Recycle Bookstore in San Jose & Bookbuyers in Mountain View. 

Here's what I picked up:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here Lies Treasure...

With Eric Mead at the CMOE workshop

Yesterday, my colleague Ken and I attended a two-part workshop by CMOE (Center for Mangement & Organization Effectiveness), in Los Altos California.

We spent the morning exploring "Applied Strategic Thinking", which included a strategy game called Journey for Jewels. Modesty won't prevent me from saying who won (ahem... the team I was on doubled the nearest team). The session was fun and information.  Definitely worth checking out.

In the afternoon, we spent time with CMOE's "Coaching Skills" workshop. This is one of my favorite coaching models. I first saw it about three years ago. I decided to take a refresher, since I was already there for the Strategy session.
I wasn't disappointed. CMOE has created a strong, research-based model that I use as the foundation of much of my coaching. 
I would highly recommend you take this course.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Visual Display of Text

Lyrics to "Chasing the Goddess", post-Wordle

This is just way too cool...

Wordle is a webapp that takes text and creates a graphic representation of frequency, through size. Got that?
You can manipulate the text, colors, and layout.

The image above is a Wordle representation of one of my songs, "Chasing the Goddess".
As a total word and image geek, this makes me unreasonably happy...
I'll be doing all my songs!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When a plan comes together...

I love it!

This was a very busy, but productive weekend.

I got my PT cruiser fixed (wheel bearing problem) just in time for warm weather.
I got my room cleaned just in time to not have Angie kill me (or to have anything fall on me).
I made significant progress on a work project.
I completed a paper for my class.
I booked us two weekends - June and September - at one of my favorite hotels in the world (the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego) at a 50% discount.
I rec'd two dvd's by my favorite director, Hong Kong's Wong Kar Wai. The films, Fallen Angels and Happy Together shound be on everyone's 'must-view' list.

yep... good weekend!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Art of Argument

While Angie and I were camping last week, we had the 'pleasure' of listening to an argument in a nearby campsite.

As we talked the next day, we decided that there were 6 reasons why people argue:
  1. Because they're right - these folks fall into three categories:
    a) Those that know they are right. Stay away from them. You aren't going to get anywhere, unless you're engaging in a Type 4 argument (having fun). In that case, party on!
    b) Those that think they are right. You can actually have a productive argument with someone who thinks they are right.
    c) Those that want to be right. Someone who's arguing about something they love (like family or religion) might fall in this category. You should ask yourself if this is an argument you're willing to win. The fallout may be too great.
  2. Because you're wrong - These folks don't have a right answer. They just believe that you're wrong. You'd better have a great evidence, because you don't have any credibility with them on this issue.
  3. Because they're obstinate - They have a stance. They don't know if it's right. They don't care if you're wrong. They are not going to move.
  4. Because it's fun (for them) - I sometimes fall into this category. I like to argue for sport, with no attachment to outcome. And, I love to watch tightly strung people blow a gasket. If you're highly strung, you probably don't want to enter an argument with me or someone like me.
  5. Because they think the situation calls for a 'devils advocate' - It often helps to get an alternative point of view. Some people occupy this role strategically. Others do it as a way of life. Occasionally, the position is assigned to someone.
  6. Because it helps them think - Debating helps me think. I'll sometimes argue both sides of an issue within a half-hour. I'm not tied to any position yet.

You can see that it's pretty important to see why someone is arguing.
And, it's just as important to understand why you are arguing.
Purpose changes the dynamics.

So, next time you're in an argument, try asking, "Why?"