Sunday, February 07, 2010

E-waste and Best Buy

As a former location scout myself, I follow with great interest the blog Scouting New York.

This one really caught my eye as it pulls together advertising, recycling, location scouting and NYC - all things near and dear to my heart.

Click on the link above and add Scout's blog to your RSS feed while you're at it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Little Etiquette, Please

etiquette |ˈetikit; -ˌket|
the customary code of polite behavior in society
Here's one that crossed my mind a few weeks back. It's short and sweet and a good way for me to ease back into the blogosphere.
When you telephone me at home, and my wife answers, before you ask to speak with me, make a point to exchange a pleasantry with the lady of the house. "Hello Steve's wife, this is Bob. How are you? Did you have a good Christmas? Well, that's lovely... Is Steve available?"
There, wasn't that easy? Unless it's an emergency and you've no time for pleasantries, I find it terribly rude not to acknowledge or greet the person who answers, especially if you know them well.
photo credit: Christian Montone

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Got Change for a Nickel?

Cash is dead. Am I the only one mourning? These days, I always seem to be pouring out a little liquor for the once-almighty dollar. It seems in this plastic world we live in, hard currency gets zero props.

I like physical representations of things. For music, I like CDs and LPs. For money, bills and coins please. However, since debit cards arrived on the scene and ATMs became ubiquitous and VISA and Mastercard started handing out credit cards to the unwashed masses, cash has steadily been losing its cachet.

If people want to use plastic to make all their purchases, I'm cool with that. What burns me up though, is when my neighbourhood barista looks at me funny when I want to pay for my coffee with a hundred dollar bill. "Sorry, we can't break that. Do you have anything smaller?" They've got nerve telling me they can't break a hundred, when they've probably done a thousand in sales before 10 AM. Then again, maybe all their customers paid with credit or debit or pre-paid cards, in which case they really can't break a hundred.

Coming from Japan, where I spent half of the last decade, I find this near-contempt for cold, hard cash in Canada galling. Japan is still a cash society (although that is changing as people start using their mobile phones to pay for all kinds of things). I could pay for a $2 beer at 7-11 with a $100 bill, and the clerk wouldn't even blink. You can put a ¥5000 bill ($50) in a vending machine for a soda and you'll get $48.75 change with your refreshing drink.

I get the convenience factor of using plastic to make purchases. I understand that by not carrying cash you have less to lose if you were to ever get mugged. But for the minority of us who like to see how much we're spending, please don't diminish my customer service experience. My cash helps to pay your salary. It makes no sense to refuse it. If my money (the paper kind) is no good in your establishment, I will take my business elsewhere. I guess you are recession-proof and don't have any problem watching would-be paying customers walk out the door empty-handed.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Am I Sad About Michael Jackson's Passing?

In a word: No.
I've been sad for and about MJ for many years. He's lived a sad life which only got more bizarre as time went on. I've had no expectations for a sudden positive turnaround in his fortunes or his strange behaviour. 
I did not expect a triumphant return to form or unprecedented comeback as a result of the shows he was scheduled to perform in London this year.
I believe he is better off now. His pain - both physical and emotional - is no more. 
As one anonymous person put it in the comments section of a news report:
"The real Michael Jackson has been dead for years."
I'd have to agree. 
I'll keep enjoying Michael's music for the rest of my life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bringing Back the Jets? Think About This.

I checked in on Twitter this afternoon and the tweets about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's comments were all up in my feed.

BlackBerry™ mogul Jim Balsillie is fighting to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and bring them to Hamilton, Ontario. Meanwhile, Bettman was quoted in an affidavit as saying that, "if the team did return to Canada, it would be to Winnipeg." This, from a conversation in April with Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes' lawyer.

So here we go - the can of worms reopens and all the Winnipeg Jets fans get excited (this happens at least twice a year).

I was at the Manitoba Moose game last night at the MTS Centre where they beat the Houston Aeros in game 1 of their AHL playoff series. Just under 10,000 fans attended the game at the arena which has seating for around 14,000.

While it's great to see a big crowd out supporting the Moose, one thing I couldn't help but notice was how uncomfortably crowded the concourse and concession areas were during the intermission between periods. The food, beer, and washroom lineups were unreasonably long. It's actually quite a challenge just to walk a lap around the concourse without getting "stuck in traffic". 

DJ Hunnicutt, who was at the game with me, made an astute observation: this building, pretty though it is, just doesn't have the capacity to house an NHL franchise.

Assuming they would need a sellout every game just to be able to support a pro team, the MTS Centre facilities just feel too small to accommodate all those fans. Some people perhaps don't see the forest for the trees on this issue, as comments from a recent Winnipeg Free Press article would indicate:

"...we now have an NHL Caliber (sic) State of the Art arena with ZERO obstructed seats..."

In the same article, writer Tim Campbell calls the MTS Centre, "NHL-suitable."

Is it really?

I'd love to see Winnipeg get back into the NHL, but all the angles need to be considered. If it's a little more than cozy with 10,000 fans in the building, how long would it be before people started griping once there are 14,000 at every game?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Our Most Basic Human Desires

Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams was a recent guest on Charlie Rose. During the talk, Williams offers that the Internet has evolved over time to "more efficiently tap the most basic human desires." 
Among those desires, he says, "the desire to connect with other people socially is a big one." 

I'm not so sure what is social about sitting alone at a computer (see photo above). Even when people gather socially nowadays, often they feel the need to start showing each other videos and clips on youtube, pretty much grinding any genuine conversation to a halt. That ain't sociable!

As I get more entrenched in social networking and the phenomenon of social media, I actually feel like less of a social creature. I spend more hours per week than I care to sitting at my laptop and the computers at school. Poor time management is partly to blame. I really need to develop a system for how much time I spend online. But I also feel a lot of pressure to keep up with the onslaught of information that comes from Twitter, facebook, the blogs I follow, and email.

I can scarcely remember the period in my adult life when I didn't "need" to be in arm's reach of a computer all the time. I vaguely recall reading a lot more books, watching more movies (something I feel I haven't had the time to do much these days), playing more sports, going for more walks, hanging out with more friends, even talking on the phone more. It's all of these things that I miss and that I need to reconnect with. Information overload is really doing a number on me at the moment. With spring on its way, and school soon finished, I am determined not to let the Internet use me anymore. Time is too valuable. 

Twitter's Evan Williams on Charlie Rose:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Recycling Photo Exhibit Makes Big Splash

Pardon the radio silence as of late. I'd been busy preparing for the launch of my photo show. The opening of "Your Recycling: Where Does It Go?" last Thursday was a resounding success (imho).

Ongoing (till Mar. 6) at the OnWard Gallery in Red River College's Princess Street Campus, the opening reception had about 75 attendees. CTV news and CBC Radio 1 both came down to interview little ol' me. I spoke to the crowd about the project and what I had learned. Jim Fogg, the GM of the Manitoba Public Stewardship Corporation, was kind enough to address the audience. He put on a clinic about recycling and a very engaging Q&A session followed. 

This morning I was live on CJOB Radio's wake-up show talking about the project. The media attention has been exciting, and all thanks to a well-crafted media advisory that I carpet-bombed the local news outlets with last week (thanks BB & MLL!). I've experienced first-hand the power of good PR! This gives me hope for my future. Thank you to everybody who attended and all the well-wishers from afar. The evening would have meant nothing without you.