Archive for August, 2010

Movie Reviews

Within the past month, I have gone to see a few movies and wanted to share my thoughts.  I will go in order of: go see in theater to wait til cable.

Go see in theater!!

The Kids Are All Right – this was an excellent movie.  The interactions between two married women (so irrelevant – I have had similar issues when I was married) are both stark, laughable and thought-provoking. It is a truly real look at marriage, in all its complexity.  You can clearly see their individuality but also how they interact with each other. Sometimes the incongruity is shocking.  The basic premise is that each mom gave birth to a child using the same sperm.  The half-siblings (remember, different moms, same dad so to speak) decide to meet the sperm donor, who is then invited into the family for a bit.  I will not share some of other things that occur because I think that it would ruin the experience. Rest assured, it is not plucky, not a typical or predictable movie. Or at least not for me.

Wait for Netflix, or cable

Eat, Pray, Love – sorry, thought this movie was disappointing as heck based on the previews. Bland, boring even at times. The things they added to the story to manipulate things actually made things worse, when usually it helps with stories like this.  The main character comes across as whiny, selfish, mad, moody, and unevolved by the end. I did not compare this to the book because I hadn’t read the book in about 3 years. For stories like this, I don’t tend to remember little details. I remember I liked the Italy part because I enjoyed hearing about the history. I liked the India part because I am half Indian and been interested in meditation at the time (and still). I hated the Bali part because of the house storyline (it annoyed me) and the love story (how friggin predictable). In one year’s time, she goes from a person broken and running away to the opposite side of the earth, only to fall in love and tie it all up like a bow.  VOMIT. And I don’t care that this is a true story – or her version of the truth. Because I still don’t buy it.  I didn’t when I read the book and I didn’t when I saw the movie. The best review I read of this movie and absolutely agreed with was “sit, stare, yawn” — holy crap, YES, that is exactly what this movie was. And Julie Roberts was not the right person for this movie. She was chosen to sell tickets.

Just wait for cable

Switch – I love Jason Bateman and therefore the main reason why I wanted to see the movie.  The previews reeled me in with him.  Jennifer Aniston – I think she’s a one-trick pony .. similar roles, similar movies.  Jason Bateman did not disappoint. I could have watched the entire movie with just him or just him and that kid. Yes, he was that good, that funny.  But overall, the movie was predictable as heck, archetypes and all, and basically contrived.  I knew this going in though – so shame on me!!

I am someone who goes to movies with a general perspective of ‘entertain me’. I can fully suspend disbelief, I have no thoughts of what’s next, and just sink in to the chair and enjoy.  When a movie becomes too predictable and I start thinking that is just like that other movie “….” and not nearly as good, then I made a bad choice. And no, I don’t often to listen to the reviews. I go see what I think will be fun.  The Eat, Pray, Love review came back to me after the movie when we were all talking about the movie and I mentioned it to everyone.

By the way, some tips to seeing a movie – general wisdom (or if you go with me):

1) Quit worrying about calories and other BS.  If you want popcorn, just friggin get it. And no, I don’t want to share.  I want my own.

2) I quite hate it when others turn to me in a whisper and tell me “this is going to happen next, just watch” or talk about other such drivel during the movie. No, you friggin watch! Turn your face to the screen and watch.  Quit talking.  The movie theater is not the place talk – the point is to be entertained and enthralled.  You want talk – go to a coffee shop or a party.

3) I repeat, do not talk during a movie. Ever.

4) Don’t friggin bump the back of the chair in front of you if a person is there. You know you hate it when it happens to you, so why do you feel the need to do it yourself? What makes you so dang special?

5) People go to the movies alone. It does not mean they are a loser.  People escape from work, their spouse, the heat, their kids.  Maybe no one else wanted to see the movie with them. Maybe they got stood up.  Maybe they are cooling off from a fight. You have no idea why the heck someone is in a theater alone so quit judging.

6) If someone is crying during the movie, because they are affected by something on the screen, quit staring!! Mind your own dang business! And don’t, and I repeat don’t, do that pat, pat, pat on the shoulder/leg/hand thing .. oh there, there your pat indicates.  Bite me!  I am enjoying the movie, I have an emotional connection to something, and you have to friggin ruin it because you think my world just crumbled???   Kind of goes back to point 2 – turn and face the movie screen. Watch. Remain this way.

7) If the person with you wants to watch the credits, let them watch the credits. If you are so dang anxious to get out, then go and plan on meeting in the lobby.

8)  If the movie says it starts at 8:45, then that means you are in your seat no later than 8:40.  I love the previews and hate to miss them. If you aren’t a fan, then come join me at 9:00 when they are most likely over.  I’ll save you a seat.

9) I love seeing movies. I like all kinds – comedy, drama, horror, documentary, independent.  Movies I have less desire to see – action/shoot’em up crap.  I feel like I am watching the same movie with different people.  I also know that others think the same of comedies, or Will Ferrell movies, etc.  Everyone has their preferences.  Honor that. If you realize that your friend Samantha only likes sci-fi and you like them on occasion, you aren’t really going to be movie buddies.   Don’t give in just so you can see a movie together unless you know the person will do the same for you.

10) Ultimately, it’s entertainment.  Sometimes it’s educational (did you ever see the documentary Murderball, Food Inc., Man on Wire, March of the Penguins?).  But ultimately, it can be an experience.  A memory of a first date for example.  Just enjoy!

August 29, 2010 at 11:23 am 1 comment

This explains it

Now I know why I have such a hard time sleeping!!

August 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment

Are you Struggling or a Super Star? Research Opportunity

From Lisa Haneberg:

My colleague and pal, Lisa Edwards, is working on her next book and would like to invite you to participate in her research. This book will be very cool and her research seeks to uncover how various types of performers approach their work and how they differ. If you would like to participate and then follow the progress of the research, click on through below. Here is the short invite from Lisa E.

============================

From Lisa Edwards:

I would love to invite you to be a part of my next book!

  • Are you energized by your job?
  • Do you believe you could be more effective?
  • Are you struggling to succeed in your work environment?
  • Do you have a track record of producing results?

If you agree with ANY of these statements, you may be eligible to be a part of my next book on personal effectiveness and performance at work.   Learn more about how you can get involved by clicking here.

Thanks!

August 26, 2010 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Cancer-ish

I haven’t spoken much about this lately. Mainly because there isn’t a lot to say, from my perspective.  I am living each day the best I can.  I still seem to get tired most in the late afternoons, early evenings. The nausea is nothing like before and glad for that!  I still have that chemobrain thing where things take a bit of time to form before I can speak logically (and less jumbly) but this can easily be mistaken for exuberance or dorkiness too!! But really just living in the moment and taking it as it comes. I have more tests in September and that will provide more information of how things are going.

Other than  that, I continue my quest of doing new things or going to new places as much as possible and getting to know some friends more deeply than I had before. This has provided so many bright spots. It may sound trivial to some, but as a single, sometimes it does not come as easily to just go out to this festival or that concert.  Sometimes others cannot make it or join you and you really want to go.  Do I then go alone? Sometimes. I have also become more of a joiner as well as more spontaneous.

Some personal moments lately have really highlighted for me the love I have for Omaha. It is my home and I am wonderfully at peace here. I have not had a place, in my adult life, that has felt this way to me. So I continue to embrace this with less trepidation and more gusto.

So the cancer is a part of me that guides me.  Sometimes I nap for 3 hours or sleep for 13. Sometimes I spend the entire day with friends in Lincoln, or go to the Outdoor Market, or Jazz on the Green, or join a new book club. Or like today, go to a wine tasting (of sweet wines, my fave!!) and then to the Greek Fest with a gaggle of friends.  Life is made up of moments and I am enjoying all of them.

August 21, 2010 at 9:26 am 3 comments

Mess of Me

“Mess of Me”

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain´t no cure they could sell
Ah, there ain´t no drug to make me well
There ain´t no drug

There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
It´s not enough
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive!

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It´s hard to free the ones you love
Oh when you can´t forgive yourself
Yeah forgive yourself!

There ain´t no drug
No, There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive!

AHHHHHHOOOOO!

There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
No drug to make me well
There ain´t no drug
It´s not enough
I´m breaking up
The sickness is myself
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive!!

Lyrics courtesy of Switchfoot

August 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

Broken Dreams

“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

Lyrics courtesy of Green Day.

August 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

charity: water

BigOmaha and Silicon Prairie News shared charity:water with Omaha and I was happy to donate to the cause. I received this email and wanted to share.

the 2010 september campaign launches August 16.

charity: water was born in September. It’s always been our biggest month of the year. A month where we work with all of you to make a huge impact. A month where thousands around the world give up their birthdays to fight the water crisis alongside us.

This September, we’re bringing clean water to a place many people have never heard of: Central African Republic (C.A.R.). It’s one of the poorest nations in the world, and three quarters of the people here live without access to safe water. Life expectancy is 47 years.

Our local drilling partner here is Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), started by Jim Hocking. Jim grew up and lived most of his life in C.A.R. and is passionate about a group of people called the Bayaka.

The Bayaka were one of the last hunter-gatherer societies in the world, until the logging industry pushed them out of the forest. Now, they live on the outskirts of villages, facing rejection and abuse by locals who see them as animals that belong in the jungle. They are often denied use of water sources and have to wait until dark to collect drinking water from village wells. Many end up using dirty streams and ponds instead. We recently traveled to C.A.R. to tell the story of the Bayaka people.

This September, charity: water hopes to bring clean water to 90,000 people in C.A.R., including 100% of the Bayaka people. We’ll need to raise $1.7 million to do that.

You can lend your support to our cause right now by “liking” charity: water on Facebook. We’ll be posting exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of our team in Central African Republic, and other updates throughout the September Campaign — all on our Facebook page. But you have to “like” us to get them! Join our community on Facebook and help us spread the word by recommending us to your friends!

– the charity: water team

August 16, 2010 at 8:50 am 2 comments

545 People

This was shared with me by my friend Bob and it really hit me.  This was not written to be political, but instead apolitical. Read it from a citizen’s perspective, from your own viewpoint. Hope it hits you too.

545 PEOPLE — By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget.  The president does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.  The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.  In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.  They have no legal authority.  They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.  I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.  The politician has the power to accept or reject it.  No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.  They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.  No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.  The president can only propose a budget.  He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.  Who is the speaker of the House?  Nancy Pelosi.  She is the leader of the majority party.  She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.  If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility.  I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.  When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it’s because they want them in IRAQ.  If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.  Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Sales Tax
School Tax
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Excise Taxes
Property Tax
Cigarette Tax
Medicare Tax
Inventory Tax
Real Estate Tax
Well Permit Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Inheritance Tax
Road Usage Tax
CDL license Tax
Dog License Tax
State Income Tax
Food License Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Gross Receipts Tax
Social Security Tax
Service Charge Tax
Fishing License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Building Permit Tax
IRS Interest Charges
Hunting License Tax
Marriage License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Personal Property Tax
Accounts Receivable Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened?  Can you spell ‘politicians?’

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper. What you do with this article now that you have read it………  Is up to you.

August 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Right and Wrong about PA

I am a BIG fan of Phil Mickelson. I have been for more years than I count. He was my go to guy after Nicklaus moved to the Senior Tour (who is still my all-time favorite golfer).

I appreciate that Phil shared his story about Psoriatic Arthritis (PA) in recent days. But he’s got it wrong and I have no desire for the wrong information to be out there about a disease that many suffer from and others are now learning about. First, it was mentioned during the Masters that he was suffering from a chronic disease. Commentators mentioned it often and for some reason, I knew he had PA. Why? Because people don’t like to share this one because others assume that means you have psoriasis.  Psoriasis for some is just awful, especially if it covers large areas of skin that others can see. I have had psoriasis for most of my life but believed I always had dandruff.  For me, it is the worst on my scalp and ears.  Just awful.  Rheumatoid Arthritis does not have this stigma. I wish he hadn’t waited to share, since he has since shared.

Why do I care so much if he gets it wrong? Because I have psoriatic arthritis.  I was not diagnosed in a matter of days or weeks as he was. His journey started in June and had the help of the Mayo Clinic. He has admitted that the pain came and went, so without knowledge, he too could have been a longtime sufferer. But for most of us, it takes up to a year or more for a diagnosis. For me, it took over 2 years, one unnecessary and painful surgery that has forever ruined the mobility in my left foot, and many doctors (and a ton of money).  When I finally was referred to a rheumatologist, it took months to get an appointment.  When I moved to Omaha, NE, again it took months to establish care with a new doctor. There are not enough doctors in this field, no matter where you live.

For Phil to have the kind of debilitating effects of not being able to move due to PA in his hips, knees, shoulder and finger, I find it hard to believe that after 3 Enbrel shots he is 90% back to a normal quality of life and has even said he will be cured in no time but definitely in a year.  I don’t doubt the pain he suffered. Not one bit. But when I was at my worst, waiting to see that rheumatologist in Raleigh, NC, my left knee would blow up and look like an elephant knee. They would drain it constantly.  My right hip would be so painful, I could not even roll over in bed or do much else.  Quality of life – nonexistent for me.  When they took blood, my sed rate (a marker of how much inflammation is in the body) was over 500. Normal person: under 20.  You don’t get cured. This is a chronic disease for life.

Yes, I too have used Enbrel (and other drugs). But when they saw how bad it was, I was giving myself injections twice a week.  Phil indicates he has given himself 3 injections, one each week.  Maybe his PA responded that fast but I highly doubt it when I think of all the people I talk to in support groups who have had the same symptoms he mentions; that I have mentioned. Even with twice-weekly injections, I was not pain-free after 3 weeks like Phil. But if this happened for him, I am very envious for the quick response because I know the benefits of a diminished quality of life to one that seems “normal” again. Yeah for him!

I think Phil needs to be careful about saying he will be cured, that he will stop taking any medication after one year.  PA is NOT a disease that has a cure. One can only manage it.  It is very true that you can have a flare up and things are awful and then some days or a week later, you may feel just fine or it moves to other body parts. This does happen and he needs to prepare for his life to be like this.  He needs to look at Bob Murphy, another golfer with PA, as a guide to what he has been through on the Tour and what he still going through over 20 years later.

Why do I care so much? Why am I little agitated? Because he has the ability to bring about awareness to this disease and awareness is always of benefit. But I don’t want others to have false hope or inaccurate information. As I type right now, my right index finger cannot bend at all. No matter what I do, it is pretty much straight right now.  It has been like this for about two weeks. I am already on medicine for my PA, but even medicine will not prevent flares sometimes.  There is no predicting which joints will be affected, or when, or for how long. And the medicines I have been, they lose their effectiveness over time and new ones must be explored.

I am thankful Phil is sharing his story but hope this brings to light that his doctors have not informed him properly on what PA truly is, what his life could be like, and what to expect. And that is the biggest tragedy of all.

August 12, 2010 at 9:17 am 1 comment

Suck up or self monitoring?

I often think about suck up’s in the office. I find these folks ridiculous.  It is my belief that one moves forward professionally based on skills and talents, not on how much you can butter people, hang on their every day, agree with everything they say, and basically do their job for them. Boot lickers. Suck ups. Brown nosers. Whatever you want to call them, I abhor it.  And I am not capable of doing it.

However, an article in Bloomberg’s Business Week in June discussed the concept of high self monitors, or those persons who are adaptable to social systems. They even used the word chameleon.  To me, suck ups to adapt to each person, but I do not think they refer to the same thing.   High self-monitors adapt to fit the situation. They are still themselves, but more understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, personalities, linguistic level, etc.  The key, again, is they are still themselves, not a mini me of the person they are with. One experiment they discuss is a person shaking her leg and without realizing it, high self monitors will begin to do the same.

There are some that are natural self-monitors.  The article indicated Bill Clinton and Oprah.  I will let you be the judge if you agree or agree not.  At times, I have considered myself this way. I have learned how to get along with just about anyone due to all the moving I did growing up. I never thought moving around was beneficial at the time, but as I have gotten older, I have seen how this knowledge became a part of me that I never knew existed.  I have worked with many companies and have been told on more than one occasion that it has felt like I have been a part of the team forever and not just started working there a few months ago.  Why is this?

The article goes on to say that there are ways those that are not naturally high self-monitors can learn this.  First, be vulnerable. This, as you know from many prior posts, is the key to leadership but also to life in my opinion.  In this case, just sharing a treasured memory can be seen as vulnerability because it has great meaning to you and you have allowed another to share in this.  Sure beats talk about the weather.  Another option is proximity. If your office is in the corner, by the windows because you liked the view, consider the disadvantage you have in not being more in the thick of things with others on your team.  How do you create more connection when you are away from them like that?  And lastly, if you know of someone who you see as a high self-monitor, spend a bit more time with them.  What they do can be contagious!

Suck up’s take note – being a mini-me will only get you so far.

August 4, 2010 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

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