Monthly Archives: November 2012

Empty television calories

Buying into what is likely a popular fallacy, my roommate and I usually leave the TV turned on during the day to provide background noise for both his dog and mine. Although they seem to pay more attention to it during the evening than during the day (when they have more important things to do like sleep and bark at the mailman), it’s now become a habit of ours. My TV viewing time has dropped greatly in recent years due a heavy work schedule but tonight I was reminded how much television content can be a silent and relentless brain cell killer.


Empty television calories

Picture this: I was standing at the kitchen island, iPad in hand, alternating between accumulated Facebook newsfeed updates and a hot plate of assorted leftover green bean casserole, yams, and turkey. In the background, the young hosts of a popular “daily entertainment” program gushed enthusiastically (and practically breathlessly) about the latest “news”, ‘scandals”, and “updates” emanating from the lives of today’s “stars”. Lindsey Lohan had become embroiled in a bar fight with someone. Halle Berry had just listed for sale the house where her ex-husband had recently engaged in an altercation with her current fiancé. Matthew Perry had parodied Angus T Jones’s recent denouncement of his “Two and a half men” show. I think I heard mention of “the women of ‘The View’” having an opinion on same at one point. Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife criticized his recent decision to drive while his current wife was holding their 4-month child rather than using a baby seat. Alec Baldwin wasn’t wearing pants during an interview in order to show off his recent weight loss. Donald Trump provided suitable controversial sound bites in an attempt to condemn, or otherwise explain away, each irrelevant instance. And it suddenly hit me – what a deluge of empty television calories!


Who actually keeps up with this stuff?

It’s scary to know that people tune into this show to consume its fare of continuous self-promotion, Twitter feuds, and outrageous antics by “the stars” and others. And yet each evening at 6:30pm on the local NBC affiliate here in the Phoenix metro area this 30-minute barrage of cultural clutter airs. Indeed, the show bills itself as “the most watched entertainment news show in the world” or some such, so it is obviously a popular broadcast.


Read 10 pages of a good book daily

Which is why the foundational practice of Nerium International employees and its Brand Partners to read 10 pages of a good book each day is such a wonderful departure from the norm. Consider the math involved:

10 (pages of a good book a day) x 365 (days a year) = 3650 pages of information

30 (minutes in each show) x 5 (days a week) x 52 (weeks a year) = 3900 hours of empty television calories

This evening I delved into Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work”. I read several more than 10 pages because it is such a fascinating read. As I write this, my favorite contemporary Christian listener-supported radio station (K-Love) plays in the background. Its tagline is “positive, encouraging”, two words that could never describe the daily antics of Lindsey Lohan et al.


FULL DISCLOSURE

I’m a Nerium™ Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Christmas is coming fast

There are 24 hours in each day. There are 60 minutes in each hour. There are 60 seconds in each minute. Each day comprises 86440 seconds, and yet Christmas seems to be approaching faster than the math would make one believe.

 

Timeline of events

I’ve lived in my house for over 5 years now and each year one of my neighbors installs his Christmas lights the weekend after Thanksgiving. Each year the layout is the same, although this year he added some stars that hang from the trees in his front lawn. It’s a nice addition. The contemporary listener-supported radio station that I listen to (K-Love) has begun interspersing Christmas carols. At work yesterday a co-worker decorated her cube with festive Christmas decorations. Between now and Christmas I will celebrate the anniversary of my naturalization, my dog’s “gotcha day” (namely the day she and I adopted each other), and my birthday. The weekend after Thanksgiving I typically begin preparing my Christmas cards (the cards being mailed to international addresses have an earlier mailing cutoff date than those being mailed to domestic addresses), although I am running a little late on that activity this year. Articles about end-of-year tax tips have begun appearing in earnest on the Yahoo home page. The evening traffic that I encounter around the Chandler Fashion Center mall here in Chandler, Arizona has grown noticeably heavier since Thanksgiving and will continue to increase over the next few weeks.

I enjoy this timeline of events; this series of annual traditions and events that mark the passage to Christmas. They usher in that certain excitement that permeates the air at this time of year, that feeling of magic and innocence and the anticipation of something spectacular about to happen.

 

FULL DISCLOSURE
I’m a Nerium™ Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


A new mouse/wrist pad

Although an independent brand partner with Nerium™ International, I also work full time at a Fortune 100 company whose number one value is safety. Following a recent ergonomic evaluation of my cubicle, a mouse/wrist pad was ordered for me and it showed up recently.

 

Change is uncomfortable
My previous mouse pad had gotten old and soiled so I had tossed it in the trash some time ago but not replaced it. As a result, I had become used to leaning my wrist on the desk while using the mouse. That positioning was not ideal, and definitely not ergonomically smart but, just like The Slight Edge teaches, not addressing the issue was easy to do. However, The Slight Edge also identifies this decision as a small error in judgment that has the potential for serious wrist health ramifications if left unaddressed over a long period of time, which was why my manager authorized the purchase of the aforementioned mouse/wrist pad.

The mouse/wrist pad initially felt awkward and uncomfortable. I had gotten too used to leaning my wrist against the curved edge of the desk but the gel wrist pack forces my wrist and lower arm to stay level. It also limits the free movement of the mouse that I had enjoyed previously. So my mouse movements now have to change. I know that, over time, I will get used to the new wrist position and it will soon become a way of life, but for now the change is uncomfortable and my resistance to the change is high. Luckily I’m on vacation this week for the Thanksgiving holiday so, once I return to my desk, the mouse/wrist pad will be a part of my work environment.

 

FULL DISCLOSURE
I’m a Nerium™ Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Life Quotes: #2 in a series

A recent poll on my company’s intranet asked employees to post their life mottos. Reading through the list, I found several that resonated with me so I decided to start a blog series based on my thoughts on why those specific quotes struck a chord with me while the others did not. I value your comments on this series; have any of these quotes (or my blog commentary on same) inspired you in any way?

 

The Life Quote
The notion of happiness was discussed at length, and in detail, by Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) during his presentation at last weekend’s Nerium International Fall Bash at the Anaheim Convention Center. So the quote “You are in control of your own happiness” resonated with me when I reread through the list of quotes that I had amassed previously.

Shawn is an excellent presenter and, if you ever get the opportunity to hear him speak, do everything you (legally) can to attend. He weaves detailed information about his research and field of study with dry self-deprecating humor that will leave you with stomach pains because you will laugh so much.

I ordered a copy of Shawn’s book earlier this week and can’t wait to get my hands on it. This weekend my tagline will be “Don’t bother me, I’m reading”.

 

FULL DISCLOSURE
I’m a Nerium Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD at my website; http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


A spelling error

We all know the “Location, Location, Location” mantra of real estate agents, so why isn’t “Spell-check, Spell-check, Spell-check” the mantra of web site developers?

Finding an incorrect spelling
Call me crazy, but given that practically every content creation software application includes a spell-check function, there is no excuse for spelling errors on web pages. Agreed that certain language variations spell certain words differently (the British English “colour” versus the US English “color” is but one example) and that the geographic-appropriate spelling format is typically used by default in most instances, but a spelling error in any language variation is still a spelling error.

Case in point: I am attending the Nerium Fall Bash in Anaheim next weekend (November 8-11) and previously booked a hotel room through a travel website. Earlier this week I decided to look at the hotel’s own website to determine its location in relation to the Anaheim Conversion Center (where the event is occurring) to see room pictures, location map etc. Not knowing the actual URL for the hotel I performed a Google search and then clicked on the first search result. The layout of the page content was clearly well-planned and designed, the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel logo was displayed prominently, and then I noticed it…the incorrect spelling!

Anatomy of the incorrect spelling
The incorrect spelling appears in the first of a series of 4 buttons located on the right side of the web page. In large capital letters, the button declares “AMMENITIES” in white text on a marbled blue background. The offending button appears below the fold so one must scroll to the midpoint of the page to see it, but once unveiled the spelling error stands out like a sore thumb.

The footer at the base of the page indicates both the individual and web design company responsible for creating the page so I emailed both of them as well as the hotel chain to make them aware of the error. Thus far, none have acknowledged my email nor have they corrected the error.

Yeah so?
Your initial reaction to this blog might be exactly that – yeah so? No-one’s perfect and bad spellings happen. Which is a fair argument, and I am most certainly not affiliated in any way with the Spell-Check police. However, I will remind you that it’s 2012 and practically every HTML editor and free web page creation application features a basic spell-check utility. Indeed, some of them run the spell-check dynamically so you become aware of your spelling errors seconds after making them.. Absent a spell-checker, it’s hardly difficult to copy your page content into any text editor or email application to utilize its spell-checking capabilities. Having a peer review the content is also a sure-fire way of catching most incorrect spellings.

The bigger deal with incorrect spellings in web content, apart from how badly it reflects upon the content developer and institution, is how the average consumer might react to the content.

Malicious websites
Consumers are becoming more aware of malicious email messages and many of the elements that characterize such email hold true also for malicious websites. One of those characteristics is incorrect spelling – ‘course, how someone can spoof a valid website and still introduce spelling errors is beyond me but there you go. So I was somewhat amused by how my appreciation for the page changed once I noticed the spelling error – my first reaction was to leave the page immediately! Had I actually clicked through the page and made a reservation I would still be fretting about whether I had compromised my credit card.

Another spelling error appears
While looking at the page again as I wrote this post I discovered ANOTHER spelling error! The text in the page tab reads “Welcome to Travelodge Aneheim! – A Disney Good Neighbor Hotel” (the redaction of the hotel chain’s name was my decision; the incorrect spelling of Anaheim was not). Perhaps I should email the good folks at Disney instead.

 

UPDATE: I received an email from the manager of the hotel in question, which included in the body the email he had received from someone at the corporate level of the hotel chain. Apparently the previous owners of the hotel franchise for that location had commissioned the webpage but it should have been taken down several years ago and the current owners of the franchise were unaware of its existence! So my reporting of the spelling error actually helped correct an issue that had existed for several years. Which proves that when you click the “Contact us” or ‘Contact the webmaster” link on a webpage, someone on the other end does receive your email and acts on it where appropriate.

 

FULL DISCLOSURE
I’m a Nerium Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD at my website: http://www.nerium.com/default.aspx?ID=shywitness


Life Quotes: #1 in a series

A recent poll on my company’s intranet asked employees to post their life mottos. Reading through the list, I found several that resonated with me so I decided to start a blog series based on my thoughts on why those specific quotes struck a chord with me while the others did not. I value your comments on this series; have any of these quotes (or my blog commentary on same) inspired you in any way?

The Life Quote
We are all familiar with the “Carpe Diem” quote but the version that a coworker posted was “Carpe the heck out of this diem!” I got a kick out of it because it both dilutes the formality and rigidity of the original phrase while making it something that most of us can relate to and even adopt more readily. “Carpe Diem/Seize The Day” sounds quite the noble pronouncement of one’s intentions, but there are days when the only thing I have any interest in seizing is my alarm clock so that I can launch it against something solid in order to stop its incessant bleating. Especially at 6:50 in the morning as Fall’s grip on the Phoenix metro area becomes more evident, and the morning sun less so, it’s not hard to envy my two dogs as they roll over and settle back to sleep. Their morning routine doesn’t start until I’m showered and dressed, at which point they line up for some petting and then breakfast.

Difference of word positioning
I’m reminded of an elderly priest (those who attended 10am Sunday mass at Our Lady of the Rosary church will remember Father Boucher) who, during one particular Sunday morning sermon, commented that most people wake up and say “Good God, morning!” rather than “Good morning, God!”. The simple act of switching the positioning of those two words effortlessly changes what might be a groan-filled exclamation into a positive affirmation.

Which is why the inclusion of “…the heck out of this…” caught my attention; it recognizes the lofty effort of seizing every day, humanizes it a little, and turns it into the rallying cry of an achievable goal. Plus, it offers a little leeway on the amount of seizing that one has to do.

FULL DISCLOSURE
I’m a Nerium Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD at my website: http://www.nerium.com/default.aspx?ID=shywitness


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