Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas! - "Christmas Night in Harlem" by Louis Armstrong

Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year.  In the fall, as I said in my last post, I love the changing color of the leaves, warm sweaters, mulled wine, and pumpkin patches.  Believe it or not, I actually don't mind snow -I just can't stand driving around in it!  (Lol!)  Growing up in the midwest, I have fond memories of making snow angels, snowball fights, and riding sleds down steep, snow covered, hills.  I moved to the Pacific Northwest, because I can 'visit' the snow almost anytime I like....but, I don't have to dwell with it for five or six months!

Some people view fall and winter as the time when everything dies or goes dormant.  They don't like the stark landscape or cool weather.  I, on the other hand, view it as a time for renewal.  It is the rest before the rebirth of spring and active summer.

For my family, this time of year represents a return to our normal routine.  My parents were school teachers, so long summer days were replaced with course planning and homework.

We also paused to  assess the past year, while setting goals for the new year.  We took the time to slowdown and catch up, cook amazing food, and reconnect with our community.

My holiday wish for this year is that we all hug the children in our lives a little tighter, be fearless with the phrase 'I love you', and fully enjoy what these last few days of 2012 have in store for us.

"Christmas Night in Harlem" by Louis Armstrong

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I found a jazz compilation Christmas CD in the bargain bin, during an after Christmas sale, at the record store around the corner from my studio apartment.  (Yes, it was indeed a RECORD store.)  This CD is titled "Hipsters' Holiday: Vocal Jazz & R&B Classics."  I'll be honest and say that I didn't recognize the jewel that I'd found.  This collection includes a copy of Eartha Kitt's version of "Santa Baby", Pearl Bailey's "Five Pound Box of Money", and three songs by Louis Armstrong: "Cool Yule", "'Zat You, Santa Claus", and "Christmas Night in Harlem."

"Christmas Night in Harlem" is my favorite song on the album.  It makes me think of our annual Christmas journey to downtown Cleveland to look at all the buildings decorated for the season.  My favorite part was taking in the window decorations at Higbees - our version of Macy's.  Then we'd drive over to General Electric's Nela Park to see all the light displays and the replica of the White House Christmas tree. Oh, the memories!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

"People out feelin' mighty good, in that good ol' neighborhood..."

I love decorating my Christmas tree!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Public Speaking: "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads

Public speaking is hard work.  Period.  Though I make my living training people on products my day job manufactures (and I hope to make a living pitching finished novel manuscripts), standing in front of a group of people is tough.  Especially when you want to be informative AND entertaining.

Last week, I gave a speech titled "Smart Buildings, Smart Homes: The Future of Building Intelligence" at a local trade show.  Some of you may read that title and think: GEEK.  But it's actually quite cool.  I'm talking Minority Report or Blade Runner kinda cool. And since I am a geek girl who reads and writes futuristic, my interest in smart buildings is actually on another level.  Add to this recipe the fact that my day job involves designing and making the new hotness in building automation products....well, let's just say that I had a lot of fun prepping for this preso.

This presentation was particularly personal, since I used my parent's journey from dirt poor poverty to the present moment as the back drop for the timeline of how far the technology has developed.  These advancement have taken a relatively short period of time.  Truly, it feels like the blink of an eye.

I ended my preso with a picture of my three year-old niece holding my sister's iTouch.  Yup - she can navigate that thing like a champ.  She loves playing 'Anga Burd', or rather, Angry Birds and she can find her favorite Thomas the Train videos on YouTube.  (Though we have to make sure that she is watching the correct and age appropriate videos.)

It was a great presentation, but  I didn't anticipate how draining sharing my personal information / family history in a public forum could be. <sigh>  But, it is an amazing story that I was glad to share.

The future is NOW, dear reader.  I hope you continue to enjoy the ride.

"Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads

I love Talking Heads.  Nothing says 80's like HUGE shoulder pads in blazers.  (Check out their Girlfriend is Better live performance video for even bigger shoulder pads - sheesh, lol!) Add the heavy synthesizer and raging drums in this song and you have one smokin', eighties number with staying power.

This song immediately came to mind, because my presentation really 'brought the house down.'   I was asked to speak again, next year....hmmmm, we'll see what my schedule looks like this time next year.

"My house is out of the ordinary..." prototype smart home in Spain - home owner interface. This video will blow you away!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friendship: "No Rain" by Blind Melon

I'm...different.  No, really, I am different.  Now, I don't consider myself to be weird or an extreme odd ball.  But I can say that I struggled to find my fit in the world. 

I discovered that I am a whole brain thinker.... too geeky for the artists and too artsy for the techno weenies.  So, I spent a lifetime learning how to swim in both ponds.  I admit that shifting between the two worlds has taken its toll on me.  In college and during the early part of my corporate career, I worked to bend and mold myself into what I thought was the "right" girl to be. 

Each phase of my life was filled with a cast of characters who came from all walks of life and lived all over the world.  Some of these folks became permanent fixtures and eventually grew to become chosen family.  Others passed through, leaving drama in their wake. 

Over the years, I came to realize that it is the support of God, my friends, and family (both inherited and chosen) who helped me immensely to grow and gain wisdom.  And despite all of my bending and twisting, somehow, I managed to become the woman I always wanted to be.

"No Rain" by Blind Melon

In truth, the lyrics to this song are rather depressing.  They reflect a deep feeling of loneliness and isolation, combined with an extreme longing for connection.  All of these emotions are the exact opposite of my post message.  However, I LOVE the video's message!

Yes, yes, dear reader, I selected this song based purely on the video. <gasp, then click on the above link>

Why do I like the video sooooo much?  Well, I spent most of my life feeling like the little 'Bee Girl.'  I was just wearing my tu-tu, doing my thang, feeling quite lonely in my life long quest of self-discovery.  Of course, I met a few bumble bees and doodle bugs in random spots along the way.  (Gerry, Tia, McGyver, Murph, and Tiffany - What up?!?)  Then I moved to Portland, OR.  And like the Bee Girl in the video, I found my wacky hive of eclectic friends. But we prefer to dance in downtown Portland and Forest Park.  Life is good!

"And all I can do is just pour some tea for two and speak my point of view..."

Heading to Race for the Cure in our pink Minnie Mouse ears

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bill Clinton, Spin Master: "Switch" by Will Smith

Though I am not one to attend political rallies or plaster my car with bumper stickers expressing my views, I do try to stay on top of what my politicians are doing.  Quite honestly, in the current environment, we can't afford to ignore what is going on in Washington, DC - regardless of your political leanings.

So, when I had an opportunity to hear former President Bill Clinton speak during the Solar Power International Tradeshow, I had to go see what he had to say.  Would you believe, in a room full of smart phones, they actually tried to stop us from recording his speech or taking pictures?  (I guess, Mr. Romney's campaign is learning how technology can cause Karmic repercussions the hard way....but I digress.)  Get this, though,...we were encouraged to Tweet during the speech and were given a hash tag to reference. Go figure.

It isn't often that I get to see a true Spin Master at work.  The marketing diva in me jumped with glee, as Bill gave us all a stern lesson on how to clean up our solar marketing messaging.  His basic theme was know your audience. The solar industry, as a whole, loves to use terms like "subsidies", "green", and "clean energy."  All of these terms apply, but have a more liberal spin.  To appeal to conservatives, we must use terms like "incentives", "ROI", and "job creation." Add these new terms with hard data and European case studies and you have a recipe that kills any 'show me the money' opposition.  Brilliant!

Of course, Bill had to pepper in a few subtle digs on the Republican candidates, but otherwise he stayed on target and gave some fact filled insights.

In truth, life is one long series of marketing campaigns for everything from wanting another cookie when you were a kid to negotiating your next promotion.  But, I just gotta believe that persuasion merely gets you a seat at the dinner table, while aptitude allows you to stay for dessert.

"Switch" by Will Smith

I just couldn't resist honoring Slick Willie (Bill Clinton) with a song from Big Willie (Will Smith).

(To all my global readers, I fully understand that "willie" or "willy" has an entirely different meaning in some countries - which is why the movie Free Willy had some marketing issues overseas. Though it is funny, no pun is intended on my part....)

Anyhow, until yesterday it was a toss up between "Gettin' Jiggy wit' It" and "Switch."  Both songs are fun and dance worthy, but "Switch" won out in the end....mostly because it is slightly more obscure than the jiggy song.

Unfortunately, there are no deep meanings or profound revelations in this song other than a shadow of the music industry's more than justified paranoia over free downloads in the line: "...don't download, go out and buy the record."  But then again, it has a catchy beat with a nice hook for all the video honeys to shake their rumps's a club song - and really, that's all it needs to be. "Hey!"

"That's what I'm talkin' 'bout..."

Our beloved Pres. Bill Clinton making a point on messaging.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Detoxing: "Carry On" by Martha Wash (Full Intention Club Mix)

In my "Balance" post (28 August, 2012), I stated that my plan was to do a detox and mental reset.  Well, I did just that this week and then some!

Normally when I detox, which I try to do annually, I do a juice fast under the care of my wonderful naturopathic doctor,  Dr. Stephen Bailey of the NW Naturopathic Clinic.  For only the third time in my life, I felt strongly moved to undertake a water only fast / detox.  (Now, I DO NOT recommend this course of action to anyone and by no means am I making any health care suggestions - please consult your own doctor.)

With tons of prayer and meditation, I drank six quarts of water daily for three and a half days.  I broke my fast with raw fruit, raw vegetables, and herbal tea.  After a day and a half, I reintroduced small portions of proteins back into my meals.

Just as I'd hoped, my detox cleared my system, gave my digestive track a rest, and profoundly increased my mental clarity and creativity.  I feel more in tune with my body, especially since I had to be extra sensitive to my energy levels and activity.  The time that I would've used to prepare meals, I used to work on creative projects and purge the clutter in my apartment.  I still have a ways to go on the apartment purge, though.  (Do I really need all of my MBA coursework from 2006?  LOL!)

AND - I started writing again!  I made some major headway on my novel.  Yup - this would be that piece I set aside and am now determined to finish.  In addition, I can say that I feel less overwhelmed and more rooted.

I spent time with my writing friends this weekend.  It was wonderful being with such a creative group of women!  My dear friend, Nancy Brophy, had us all over to her house to celebrate another writing friend's birthday.  Nancy's husband is a chef and culinary school teacher.  Her prepared a lovely meal composed of seasonal vegetables and baked salmon.  YUM!

Many thanks to Jessie Smith for inviting me to her writing focused birthday party.  There is really nothing like having a clear mind and beautiful, creative, and hilarious writing friends!

"Carry On" by Martha Wash (Full Intention Club Mix)

My best friend, Gerry Walker, gave me this remix track on a mix CD he made for my birthday.  He is a musician, singer, song writer, and author juggernaut with more talent in the tip of his pinkie finger than most people have in their entire body.  Needless to say, his music collection is quite vast and diverse.

I seemed to have this song on repeat mode the entire week.  I love the message and the beat.  Martha Wash has such a soulfully rich voice.  You really couldn't pick a more perfect vocalist for these song lyrics.  Plus, I had fun shaking my bootie to this beat, while I was shredding old documents and preparing boxes of stuff for donation.

"Carry on, When the valley's deep I'll be strong, With a mighty love to carry on, carry on..."

Happy Birthday, Jessie!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

50 Shades: "S&M" by Rihanna

Well, let me be honest and admit that I am often slow off the mark, when it comes to reading extremely popular fiction.  My boss, another avid reader, hounded me for two years to read The Hunger Games series. I didn't start reading Harry Potter until book four was out.  And I randomly picked up book six of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse Series, because I liked the tiger on the cover.  :D

So last April, during the RT Booklovers Convention, when everyone was a buzz over 50 Shades of Grey, I thought, "Yeah, I'll never read it.  If it's that popular, it can't be that good."  Yup - that would make me a "snob."  I'll admit that my tastes tend to veer towards lesser known authors, who write works with interesting, unexpected, and intelligent twists.  But even the biggest health nut occasionally eats a candy, the author and business woman inside of me wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  This week, I shushed my inner book snob and purchased the Nook book version of the first book in the 50 Shades series.

Many of my writing friends and several bloggers have ripped this book to shreds.  Lashing out (pun intended) that it is poorly written and that Ana (the heroine) is 'too stupid to live.'  While some of their comments are pure hateration, I see their point....I mean, how many times can one use the word "hot" and not annoy critical readers.  But, considering that it started out as fan fiction and grew into a phenomenon - I have to give E. L. James points.  Specifically, for her execution of character development.  I am currently reading book three, NOT because of the BDSM, but because I am eager to see how Christian overcomes his demons.  I've seen so many of my friends swoon at the mere mention of the name Christian Grey then comment on how he just needs TLC.  THAT, my friends, is called creating a great character!  He elicits an emotional response....need I say more?

Side note: Besides the over use of the word "hot", my other distraction is the fact that when I read Ana's endearment of "Fifty", mentally I hear "Fiddy" - as in the rapper, 50 Cent.  Now, Mr. 50 Cent has a wonderful smile and amazing laugh - wish us fans could see more of those elements of his personality, but then again, I'm not one for following celebrities....I've got my own life to live.  But when I think "Fiddy" I have to pause and refocus, before I continue reading.  LOL!

"S&M" by Rihanna

Oh, my....

Take my word for it, doing a Youtube search for S&M without adding  Rihanna's name to the search text can lead you down a dark rabbit hole.  Then, once I found Rihanna's video, I had to make sure I found the 'official' video without fan edited - ahem - extras.

Somehow, I felt this song and video was more than fitting.  And while I don't consider myself to be a prude, some of the images are a little more than interesting.  Rihanna is beautiful, of course, and she really knows how to work a latex outfit and blue lipstick.  Plus, I would surely fall and break my neck (or at least badly twist my ankle) in the heels / boots she gracefully runs around in during this video. <sigh>

The song is very dance-able.  I do love the tone of empowerment - she knows what she likes and she's not afraid to admit it - explicitly.

"Come on, Come on, Come on - I like it, like it..."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Balance: "Tightrope" by Janelle Monae

As August comes to a close, I am still in awe of the fact that I didn't have any day job, business travel.  No worries, dear reader, I'm back on the road twice in September.  <sigh>  As my friends would say, "I'm not complaining, I'm just explaining...."  Being home for an entire month really gave me time to re-establish some routines and think hard about what the future holds.

I'm not convinced that I want to be a corporate drone for the rest of my life.  And for the first time, in many years, I am starting to see a clear picture of what my next move should be.....nothing drastic, I promise.  Trust me, there are no major relocations on the horizon, but there is most definitely a refocus of my energy and efforts.

As my dear friend Doug, entrepreneur and mentor, said, "It's not a matter of talent and ability for us.  It really is a matter of time.  Where are we going to focus our efforts <in the short and long term>?"  His comments really hit me hard, because this VERY thought is what I dwelled on all weekend.  How do I want to focus my time?  And for me, it is truly about TIME and BALANCE.

So, what am I going to do?  The first target is to do a detox and mental reset.  Then redouble my efforts to finish my first novel - especially, since I have three agents and three editors that have asked me to submit.  Finding that balance between my day job and my writing is truly the golden ticket to even more adventures.

"Tightrope" by Janelle Monae

If you haven't heard of the ever lovely and FABULOUS Janelle Monae, then let me take a moment to give you a quick education.  Ms. Monae is a singer, songwriter, story teller, and performer tour de force.  Her two albums, Metropolis: The Chase Suite and The ArchAndroid, are R&B / Soul operas that tell the story of Cindi Mayweather - android #57821, who makes the mistake of falling in love with a human.  This act is illegal in the futuristic universe Ms. Monae creates via song.  There are chase scenes, near misses, and reflections on life intertwined in solid beats and subtle mixes.

One of the things that I love about the Tightrope video is that you can tell that all the dancers and musicians had a ton of fun during the filming.  You can just feel the positive energy flowing all around. Big Boi (one half of Outkast) is the featured lyricist on this track....but I think I spied Andre 3000 disguised in a wig and sunglasses, playing electric guitar, in The Palace of the Dogs Asylum band.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Plus check out the smooth dance moves - don't try that at home, trust me - especially after drinking a few glasses of wine - oh, wait, I'm detoxing... LOL!

"Now SHUT-UP, put some Voodoo on it...."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crazy Week: "Rollercoaster of Love" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

This past week was a real roller coaster ride, full of emotional highs and lows.  Unlike the song I chose for this week, there weren't any affairs of the heart involved (for me), but there was plenty of drama brewing and boiling over.

I guess, the overall theme for the week would be: Lost and Found Opportunities.

At work: a co-worker's poor judgement led to their termination.  They were a really nice person, smart, with unlimited possibilities....but one horrible choice led to their demise.  I mourned the termination of my friend.  (I hope they land on their feet, despite the poor state of our economy.)  But at they same time, I recognize that it was their decisions that led them to this exact place and time.

Personally: two of my dearest friends cancelled their wedding.  It is true, that it is better for the decision to be made now than to find themselves in divorce proceedings later.  However, this fact doesn't make sending out "the wedding is off" notices, returning gifts, and separating any easier.  He made the choice.  She has to move out.  They have to heal.  Sounds simple, but the reality is much more messy.  We, the friends of both, are struggling, too.  How do you help one without offending the other?  The truly sad part is that they do, indeed, love each other and that the wedding was only two weeks away.

So, those are the lows of the week.  The high points were wonderful!  I reconnected with a dear friend who now lives in Oregon.  Another sweet voice from the past sent me a warm message from California.  My family is doing beyond well, they are awesome!  We had a team lunch, to celebrate the launch of a new product, at the Portland City Grill.  I am starting a new project researching opportunities in Latin America.  And I hung out with my writing friends at a book signing at my favorite indy bookstore, Jan's Paperbacks.

My hope is that I am now entering a period of calm.  Soooo much negative energy was swirling this week, it's time to get some positive juices flowing!

"Rollercoaster of Love" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

The original version of this song was titled Love Rollercoaster and was a huge hit for the R&B funk band The Ohio Players in 1975.  Given the fact that I was born and raised in Ohio, this song was played often on the radio in my youth.

One of my favorite bands, Red Hot Chili Peppers, covered this song in 1996 for the film Beavis and Butt-head Do America.  This film is not anything to write home about, but the Chili Pepper's cover of Love Rollercoaster is a real treat.

"Your love is like, a roller coaster, baby, baby...."

View from our private dining room at the Portland City Grill.

What memories does this song bring to your mind?  Let me know - leave a comment below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sipping Pinot: "Red Red Wine" by UB40

It's a very rare occurrence for me to give up some portion of my weekend to hang out with customers.  I am typically on the road so much that my weekends at home are savoured like tiny morsels of Swiss chocolate.  Now, when I say that I stay 'home', that doesn't mean that I stay 'in' my house.  I usually have plans with friends or go exploring.  There are always loads of things to do in Portland.

So when an important client informed me that he was flying his wife in for the weekend after a few days of meetings, my co-workers and I went to work on planning a day of wine tasting and making lists of recommended sites for the balance of their stay. 

I work with a great group of folks and many are now dear friends.  We cover each other's backs and have fun along way.  My clients just happened to be great people, too.  As the wine and conversation flowed, we all realized that our client/vendor relationship had morphed into friendship.

At the end of the day, people do business with people
And, naturally, people prefer to do business with people they like.

"Red Red Wine" by UB40

So...I hadn't actually noticed, until now, that the lead singer is actually drinking beer and NOT wine in this video.  It was the 80's...was anyone concerned about continuity (or color coordination) back then? I mean, REALLY?

Though this song is about drowning your broken heart in glasses of red wine, it remains one of my favorite summer songs.  It's also great for workout cool downs.

"Red, red, wiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnneeee....."

Wine and yummy snacks at Colleen Coleman Winery.

What memories does this song bring to your mind?  Let me know - leave a comment below.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bonus Track - What Was I Thinking?: "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill

This past Saturday. Stacey, Mindy, and I headed to Washington to participate in the Zombie Run for Your Life 5k.   Ok - so some of the runners said that it was a little shorter than 5k, but who's really taking the time to count miles when zombies are chasing you!

What the HELL was I thinking?  I guess thinking about STARTING your training on race day is a little late, huh? <sigh>  I was on the fence about actually attempting the course until it was time to line up for our heat.  The organizers were kind enough to line us up based on speed: Appetizers (fast runners), Entrees (medium speed runners), and Dessert (the slow pokes).  I looked for the "After Dinner Liqueur" sign without success.

(For those of you who don't know me, I have struggled with weight loss my entire life.  Though I have walked several 5k courses and trails, I have never attempted to run one until now.)

Mindy and Stacey actually had trained and lined up with the other Entrees.  I lined up with the Desserts.  Let me tell you something....standing in a line, nervous, and feeling VERY alone in a crowd of people is one of the worst feelings on the planet.  Stacey came over and gave me a big hug.  She smiled and said, "Just have fun."  I almost cried.  In fact, I'm crying (right now) as I am typing this up.  Her simple statement was exactly what I needed to hear at that instant, in that moment.  It is hard for me to express in words how much her support meant to me standing at that starting line.  I will always love her for that simple act of kindness and encouragement.  Now fearless, I waited for our start countdown.

I did manage to finish the course.  It was a HOT day, so I needed to make a few water and shade stops along the way.  I had a blast teasing the zombies, though.  One even gave me a bear hug - which left me slathered with fact blood - yuck! And when I crossed the finish line, caked with mud and soaked from head to toe in nasty, muddy water, I was glad that I overcame my urge to bail.

Stacey and Mindy waited at the finish line for me.  Cold water from a fire hose never felt so good!  It was a GREAT day and I did, indeed, have fun.

I want to take a moment to give a shout out to the guy that gave me a leg up out of the last mud slide pit.  Thanks dude - I'd probably still be standing waist high in mud without your help!

"Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill

Zombies eat brains. Combine this 'fact' with how insane I felt before starting this race and Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain" immediately came to mind.  Though this track contains some 'beef' digs on Chub Rock (no pun intended), it has a rousing refrain that still fills the dance floor.  Plus, you can tell the guys had fun both writing and performing this rap - especially when you see them perform it live.

"Insane in the membrane...Insane in the brain...."

Where's the "After Dinner Liqueur" line?  Yup - I lost all my lives along the way.
Quick Note: I will be changing my post days to Sundays this week forward.  I think of Sunday as the start of my week.  Therefore, I feel it's a better day to reflect on my previous week.

What memories does this song bring to your mind?  Let me know - leave a comment below.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Manners: "I'm Afraid of Americans" by David Bowie (feat Nine Inch Nails)

Simple question here....What happened to manners?  Are parents teaching and enforcing manners in their homes?  I am sure that many bloggers have written rants about the demise of our culture and the downfall of our society due to our lack of etiquette.  I DO NOT believe that we are going to hell in a hand basket, but I do think that technology has inhibited our ability to empathize with our fellow man.  It's just way too easy to post a mean spirited soliloquy when you can remain shrouded by a goofy screen name.

Take the Denver movie theatre shootings, as an example....I am floored that some online comments have questioned the manhood and bravery of the folks in the theatre.  It's real easy to play "Monday Quarterback" and talk about what you 'would have done' IF you were in the theatre.  My bet is that unless you are combat, special ops, or police trained, you would run for cover - that's called being human...It's a real basic 'fight or flight' response.

A little closer to home, for me, has been some of the comments posted about my friend Elle Zober.  Elle is a beautiful, funny, and creative soul.  She has an AMAZING eye for photography.  In fact, she took the picture that I use for my profile.  Elle is recently divorced and is trying to sell her home.  She found a very creative way to market her house in a near dead housing market.  Her sign has garnered national media has also garnered vicious comments on her website, blog, and voicemail.  Who are you (cyber bullies)?  And why do you feel a need to comment on anyone's weight, looks, or marriage?

The wild thing is that all of this negativity is completely unnecessary.  Just say, "I'm sorry for your loss." and move on, no other opinions are needed or required.

"I'm Afraid of Americans" by David Bowie (feat Nine Inch Nails)

I love this song and the associated video.  I have long been a David Bowie fan and the addition of Trent Reznor's driving score only enhances the underlying tension in "I'm Afraid of Americans" lyrics. Plus, Mr. Reznor lends his spooky presence as 'Johnny' in the video.

As a writer and artist, I believe in freedom of speech.  I also believe that God is watching over us and holds us accountable for what's in our hearts.  And I know that 'karma is a bitch'.

"I'm afraid of Americans..."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tales from the Road: "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth and Scandal

In the past, I've had jobs that were more than 85% travel.  Just think, 85% of my life was spent away from home on business trips.  With all of my gold, silver, and platinum levels on various airlines and at a number of hotel chains, I was pretty much treated like a queen where ever I roamed.  I remember one trip to Orlando, Florida where the hotel clerk and I bonded over the fact that she was also from Ohio.  She upgraded me to their penthouse suite...the room was large enough to comfortably accommodate ten people, plus servants....good times, at no extra charge. 

Needless to say, I was a card carrying member of the 'Road Warrior' ranks for almost ten years. 

I still look back on those days and wonder how I survived living out of a suitcase.  I eventually quit that job when I realized that I had friends all over the world, but no one to have coffee with while I was actually at home.  {If you haven't seen that movie Up in the Air (aka Mileage, My Life in Japan) starring the ever yummy George Clooney, check it out if you want a feel for what road warrior life is really like.  The scene where he returns to a drab apartment with an empty fridge, after living it up at a posh hotel, was my reality.  My sister even commented once, on the state of the contents of my refrigerator, "You've got gourmet, chocolate covered, dried cherries and no milk!"}

In my current job, I am a Director of Business Development for a technical products manufacturer.  I'm worse than a geek...I'm a geek with an MBA.  And now I am back on the road, but NOT 85% of the time.

When thinking about my business travel, song choices like Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" and Elton John's "Rocket Man" would have made perfect sense, but they are also totally predictable. I chose "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth and Scandal, because I felt fearless this week.

"The Warrior" by Patty Smyth and Scandal

This week, I traveled to Boston for a SunSpec Alliance event and site visits.  I found myself climbing on rooftops looking at solar cell array installations with a group of funny electricians, engineers, and all around techno weenies.  I fought against my vertigo to gain access to an amazing view of downtown Boston.

Looking at all of my stuff laid out in my hotel room brought back memories of my road warrior days.  I hummed "The Warrior" to myself all week....well that and Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero" - but that's another story for a different post.

I love the video for "The Warrior" in all it's 80's glory!  I'm not sure of why her hair and make up gets wilder and wilder as the video progresses - I guess this is her transformation into the warrior, but she seems pretty darn bad ass from the start.  My favorite dancer is that guy lounging in the ropes...the net dancers are a close second....they coulda skipped the interlude with the iridescent, plastic girl, though.  The whole song and video just oozes with 80's 'girl power' and for this reason, it will always have a cozy place in my heart.  Cheers to all of the road warriors and rocket (wo)men out making money for themselves and their businesses!

"I AM the warrior....Victory is MINE..."

View from my hotel room in Boston.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Intro: "Kick Push" by Lupe Fiasco

Welcome to Morgan's Mix Tape: My Life in Song. 

Let me begin by confessing that I am not a musician, nor am I in any way affiliated with the music industry.  (Ok...I used to play the flute in my high school band and I own a VERY dusty guitar that I don't know how to play....but, somehow, I'm sure these two facts don't earn me any musician street cred.)  I am merely a fan of almost all forms of music.

In this weekly blog, every Friday I will post a song that appropriately summarizes my adventures or random thoughts.  My day job, as a marketing professional and business development director, requires a significant amount of travel.  I am slogging through finishing my first novel.  I also just officially hired the services of a professional matchmaker.  (Intuitive Matchmaking)  Life is most definitely in full swing for me and I have plenty of stories to tell!

So, in this my inaugural post, the first addition to my mix tape is:

"Kick Push" by Lupe Fiasco

I often listen to this song at work and when I am writing.  It makes me think of my childhood in my hometown of Cleveland, OH.  I grew up on the east side in the historically black, Lee-Harvard community. 

"Kick Push" is about finding a positive means of escape from day-to-day troubles.  I love the line "...freedom was better than breathing..." and the fact that the main character had to work hard at the skills needed to obtain his freedom.  I also totally dig on the fact that his girl says, "I don't need to ride your's. I got mine right here."  Translation: "WE can be together AND you don't have to carry ME."  Skater girls rock!

I was born with a mild case of wanderlust, so I can relate to this need to roam free.  My escapes were reading, music, and dancing.  Since my family didn't have money for extensive travel, I researched the places I wanted to visit.  China was at the top of my list.  It was a real pleasure to finally visit Beijing in January 2010.  (Paris, France is still on my list - though I have passed through Charles de Gaulle airport a few times, I haven't had the opportunity to stay in Paris.)

Sit back, relax, and listen to this mellow groove with a rich horn track, while plotting your next escape into serenity.

"So let's kick...then push...and coast."

I made it to China in January 2010!  Above is a picture taken on a VERY cold day at Tiananmen Square.