Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day #20 of 28: 1-Jan-2009

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."-Richard Bach

Welcome butterfly! Welcome 2009!

Jerusalem: clear skies, bitterly cold (for Jerusalem; this ain't Chicago), near freezing. Slight chance of snow tomorrow.

Taking a break from "other" reporting today.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day #19 of 28: 31-Dec-2008

Gaza death count nearing 400. Let's start today with a picture of a 4-year old girl, dead. 4 years old. If she were your daughter, your little girl?

1 day later, part of "Prognostication #2" is already coming true. Not Tel-Aviv, but Beer-Sheba. Why not just everybody stop? And that's not just a rhetorical statement, or is it?

**NGO Endeavors**
My work with the local NGO -- who by the way, has staff in Gaza (as of yesterday they were all physically safe but psychologically & emotionally traumatized, living in real fear of death from hour to hour, day by day. One of the directors called a staff member in Gaza, and she just broke down and cried, not knowing what the next moment would bring to her, her daughter and husband) -- goes on, albeit massively derailed from the original plan and the progress made during my first 14-days here. Software requirements continue to be discussed. A 1hour demonstration has been outlined to take place either 5-Jan or 6-Jan 2009. Their online accounting, which I learned just yesterday is GAAP compliant, will expedite the setup and configuration of the constituent and course regisration software, if/when selected. So, all in all, this continues to move forward inspite of the very difficult tensions not only in Gaza but in general around the entire area.

Day #18 of 28: 30-Dec-2008, cont.

Little peaceful protest at a US Consulate office in Jerusalem as seen from my hotel:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day #18 of 28: 30-Dec-2008

350+ death count in Gaza. (I'm getting conflicting reports on the exact numbers -- somewhere between 320-350 -- but given that the fighting is not over, I'll leave today's number as posted.)

**Protests Spread**

  1. Tanks & ground troops will enter the strip and chew their way through the territory.
  2. Long-range (un-predicted) missiles will strike Tel-Aviv and/or heat-seeking missiles will take out F16s fighters (un-predicted).
  3. Northern Israel border area will be breached (while all public focus is on Southern Israel)
Hope I'm wrong on all accounts.

On a lighter note... While I was channel surfing in Jerusalem hotel, I came across two very intense sports commentators each defending their reasons why futbol team "such-and-such" is better than the other guys. A heavy dose of reality, that inspite of what may be going on in one place, the status quo marches along unchanged. Enjoy the picture.

Sports Commentators

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day #17 of 28: 29-Dec-2008

9am local time:
Report from UN citing that 9 UN staff have been killed in Gaza.

7am local time:
No new news here. More death. More destruction. Smallish outbursts outside of Gaza, but trivial in comparison. Interesting observation from watching nearly 24/7 coverage on one channel or another (Aljazeera Arabic/English and BBC): nobody changes anyone else's opinion. Those fervently blaming the other side continue to do so. Zero sum game. Sad. Beyond sad. Day #2 of 3-day mourning throughout the Palestinian world.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day #16 of 28: 28-Dec-2008

Death toll continues to rise. Now at 271 dead, 700+ wounded. There will be more. This has now been called upon to be the 3rd intifada? Sad times indeed. So much for a peaceful ending to 2008 or beginning to 2009. This will cause pain for many people regardless of nationality, race, religion or creed.

Death & Destruction

Gaza: Israel F-16 fighters strike Gaza targets. Death toll up to 155 and rising. Hamas just concluded a Press conference. This escalation will only result in retaliation. More death.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day #15 of 28: 27-Dec-2008

Crisp air outside. Thin clouds veil an otherwise crystal sky.

Today: 1st ever "General Assembly" for this NGO in its 60+ year history!! Elections also a first, and the result will be a newly elected Board of Directors, where the term per the new constitution, is a 4-year term. Historical occasion and glad to be able to witness this event.

Intend to post here some interesting concepts found here about day-to-day transportation. (And you thought your commute was bad! :) Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day #14 of 28: 26-Dec-2008, Halfway Point

Today marks the midway point of my work and stay here: lat=31.7857, lon=35.2007 Lots to do still!

Invitation to dinner with CEO and his wife -- at the Ambassador. Fan-tab-ulous dinner, wonderful fellowship and rich conversation! What a treat!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day #13 of 28: 25-Dec-2008, Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!

Heavy rains during the night, now stopped. Lingering clouds waited only a few minutes, continuing to rain. Much needed here in this part of the country/world. A welcome sight!

Past, Present, Future - Jerusalem
Christmas Day Photo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day #12 of 28, 24-Dec-2008, Christmas Eve

Rain. 300 days of sunshine a year. And today it has to rain. The Shepherd Nights' Celebration in Beit-Sahour, just outside of Bethlehem, is tonight. Outside. :( Well by then perhaps the rain will be finished for the day.

4:30pm, Shepherd's Grotto. No rain, but fairly cold, for here. Small, incredibly international group of people. Very interactive worship service with readings and singing in both Arabic and English. (First time ever, I've been singing Silent Night and on my left and right both people were singing in Arabic. Stereo Arabic :) We were all singing to the same tune, just each in his own language. Truly fascinating.

6pm, Brief visit to the introduction of the Shepherd's Nights Festival. Somewhere around 800-900 people, many, many children -- some with their families, some from local schools, and yet others from local orphanages. Wonderful to see this gathering. (Unfortunately, my ride had to leave so I too left early.) Seeing the crowd and the arrangements, however, leaves no doubt there was fun to be had for all.

Scanning the stage prior to the event beginning

Ceremonial Opening by:
Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal (Arabic: رياح حنة ابو العسل

Ellen's Birthday Cake & Christmas cake as well!

7:30pm-12:30am - HUGE dinner gathering, 35-40 people, at Michele's home. His wife had prepared massive amounts of food. Two French guests were visiting, so French was added to the already fluid mix of Arabic and English. Good times, great food, wonderful conversation! As it neared midnight, we watched the Christmas broadcast from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Dignitaries abounded. Cannot even begin to list them all: PNA President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, others from Dubai, consulate ambassadors from many countries among them, and most important from a ceremony perspective: Italy, France, Spain.

Day #11, Part II - Family Bring & Share

Photos/Video clips of a wonderful evening event, including Santa distributing gifts to the children. Song, prayer, balloons, food, fun for all! Enjoy!

Informal arrangement of seating allowed for TONS of fun for the children and the balloons. Also where the swarm of children like 5-year olds following the ball in youth soccer.

Andre' (CEO finished welcoming the people); hands off to Elham

Board Chairman sharing a scripture reading.

University Art/Music student(s) performing

Children playing "musical chairs"

Elham leading a song. Santa's arrival!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day #11 of 28, 23-Dec-2008

Well the whopping 1.5% of the population that celebrates Christmas here is getting ready to do so. If you think about it, imagine a party of 200 people, 3 of them are celebrating. It's ironic that in the "Holy Land", this event is marginalized to the point of non-existence -- except for the fact that a lot of folks travel to the Holy Land during these special times. So, here too, there's a highly visibile and important element of "retail sales" inexorably linked to this event.

What follows is a series of pictures of Santa Claus and video clips of the 1st ever Childrens' Christmas Celebration here, featuring Ballet & Dance.

Here comes Santa!!

And a couple of still shots of Santa and the Kids!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day #10 of 28, 22-Dec-2008 - Shrapnel

Today calls for another, my now 3rd visit to Beit-Sahour to visit with their Membership guru Anton to discuss their current home-grown version (in MS-Access) of a potential Membership system, listen to his thoughts.

Actually, unplanned, I was shown their current accounting system, made by an award-winning local company BISAN. This changed my entire thinking about what their potential membership and program registration solutions can now be. More later in the week, or even next week, on this topic.

(click image to enlarge)

This YMCA logo on a whiteboard was made by children of the community of Beit-Sahour. The unusual characteristic of this art work is its material -- shrapnel (!!). The children used pieces of shrapnel from exploded shells that had struck this facility during the early days of the 2nd intifada.

*note: you can also see glue marks that spell out YMCA in the center. The director told me that originally that all those letters of Y-M-C-A were actual bullets. But he said that some of the other children, over time, had taken them off the whiteboard -- probably as souvenirs.

Also, I was shown an upright piano, that still has a large-caliber bullet stuck in the side of the wooden upright section!

Day #9 of 28, 21-Dec-2008

GOOD MORNING J-E-R-U-S-A-L-E-M!!! (a la Robin Williams' style). "Free" day today. Quiet morning even for a Sunday here. BIG Holy week ahead!

Wandered around the immediate area taking in the scenery and getting a feel for my immediate neighborhood. Weather accommodated nicely. Cloudy but no rain. Found the neighborhood "Cellcom" (mobile phone) store - closed. Will try again tomorrow. Looking for GPRS (data) capabilities to add to the N95. A want, not a need.

Cracked open Seth Godin's "Tribes"; saving the last 20 pages. Good read. Quick. Reinforcing not so much earth-shattering.

Meeting with staff for drinks later this evening. All in all, a relaxing day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day #8 of 28, 20-Dec-2008 (updated 6:45pm)

Just in case your Middle East history is a bit rusty (mine was/is), here's a reminder of how different things were -- completely reversed -- as little as just 64 years ago. (I say "little" as 64yrs in the history of Jerusalem is but a drop in the proverbial bucket.)

Below is a picture from 1944 of Five Palestine Pounds, the currency at the time.

Today, of course, Palestine does not have its own currency; they use the New Israel Shekel. There is also no such thing as a Palestine "passport". Lucky ones have Jordanian passports or Syrian passports that allow them passport privileged travel. The others, still lucky, have an Israeli ID, which upon special permission, can allow them to travel to specific countries for specific purposes. The unlucky ones cannot travel outside of the West Bank and/or Gaza at all.

Many people have opinions on the above; these, however, are simply the facts. True.

The rest of this post will be audio/visual w/ pictures & video. Enjoy!

Starting with a bit about The 2009 Olive Tree Campaign.

(Below: On-site Beit-Sahour video clip)

(click to enlarge)

(Below: Shepherd's Grotto plaque video clip)

(below construction details)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day #7 of 28, 19-Dec-2008

Here in the Old City, the religious trifecta: Friday, Muslim; Saturday, Jewish; Sunday, Christian. Today is the 1st of 3 special holy days.

I was told the Arabic writing is in "Persian" style. Also told that was odd for 1965 given the circumstances, etc. Well, I think it's just beautiful!

Day #6, 18-Dec-2008, Beit-Sahour

"Amplify" was the word of the day today, and the operative word going forward in my work here with my NGO brothers/sisters.

On the way to/from Beit-Sahour the usual checkpoint show passports/IDs, stop the car, open the trunk (making sure as NGO workers we don't have any WMD or illegal substances ;) - we didn't so they let us pass, both times, and we completed our round-trip visit without incident. However, the return trip was enhanced enormously by the best Falafels in the country. True.

Have coordinated a possible meeting on Monday 22-Dec with NGO director and independent news reporting agency -- in a first effort at identifying our "amplifiers" to help us spread the work of this very good work, farther & faster. Stay tuned...

*notes: thanks to a social media friend, @sleepdog on Twitter, I'm including here a link to a powerful presentation about "Amplified Individuals, Amplified Organizations" Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Art Lovers Open-Air Exhibit: “We consider youth as a national resource & treasure that we must take care of and develop.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day #5, 17-Dec-2008, Jericho

Visual Potpourri from Jericho visit on 17-Dec-2008

Jericho: Shadi, IT Director @ YMCA Vocational Center

Banner designed/printed by Graphics Department at YMCA Jerico

YMCA Vocational Training Center (VTC)
Poster designed/printed by Graphics Design Department

Entrance sign at: "Al Baiara" (The Ranch)

George (left) and Michele (right) discussing by the waterfalls and children's pool at "Al Baiara" (The Ranch)

Jericho IT leaders (left) in conversation with Michele (right)

Day #4, 16-Dec-2008, Ramallah

The 9:30-10:00 start time, found Michele and I in conversation in the Lobby of the Hotel waiting for my ride to show up. The culture is definitely "Mediterranean" influenced :) -- but more conversation is good as it provides an excellent learning opportunity. And besides, I do not have anything else scheduled to do; this is why I'm here: to learn.

Hytham arrived. (I had met him on my brief visit back in 2004; he was the President of the Birzeit University Alumni. And I had momentarily forgotten how well-connected this guy is. For my friends in Houston, you'll understand if I compare Hytham to Art.)

Hytham had just returned from an International, 10-day humantarian conference for youth. He took 5 young leaders from Palestine. The conference was in Beirut, Lebanon. They were joined by other young leaders from: Lebanon, Finland, and Greece. (Yes, Greece. This was exactly during the riots in Greece!) So we spent the time from Jerusalem to Ramallah getting caught up on each other's activities, and soon enough we arrived at the Extension Services Unit offices in Ramallah.

There in the offices, I was first introduced to Sammir. He proceeded to tell me of his work which is with the "Micro-Finance" (for which they had just been awarded a special, top-level award by Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Very powerful programs! He also then showed me 2 summary Case Studies: 1) describing a family in Gaza: husband, wife, and 9 children.

The man had contracted Polio as a child, limiting the use of his legs. They were living in a small, run-down 2-bedroom apartment. He and his family were identified as "below poverty" and qualified for candidates of one of Sammir's micro-finance programs. He receives training, opens his own Grocery Store, gets a larger home for him and his family and is deeply indebted and thankful for the work of Sammir and the Micro-Finance program and training from the YMCA.

I then spent a few minutes with 2 young men (who by the way do not have the necessary paperwork to meet with me in Jerusalem -- although Jerusalem is only 20 miles away) who are in charge of the Information Technology operations for the YMCA of Jerusalem. Both recent University graduates: one with a degree in MIS and the other in Software Development. They share with me how little anyone else in the YMCA understands anything about IT and/or Software, etc. I share with them how common this is -- not just here in Palestine but, in fact, all over the world. This meeting was short, and it will be continued with another, longer, dedicated meeting to better understand their potential to help their organization.

Quickly, then off to the Ramallah YMCA -- a palatial footprint of a brand new building, sitting atop the lone hill at the bottom a volcano-like crater in the middle of Ramallah. Looking up, the City of Ramallah is visible, lining nearly a 360-degree view, as one scans the top of rim of this crater. Likewise, the people of Ramallah, can all see the YMCA; it's the only structure in that entire area. The first building. As such, all the basic city services needed to be extended to that area for the YMCA -- water, sewage, electricity, roads, etc. As a result, now, the surrounding land values have increase anywhere from 5x to 10x's in value. (i.e. from $25,000 for a plot of land to over $250,000!)

The building is about 85% completed, construction-wise. There is external landscaping yet to be started as well as the building of the primary access road to the YMCA. That road has been the main reason for a 3+ year delay in opening the facility. However, just as I arrived 4 days ago, funds of over $800,000 had been secured by the City, specifically for the purpose of completing construction of the road--hopefully in 3-4 months' time.

Here are a few pictures inside and on the roof of the facility. (By the way, now people in the city have expressed an interest in adding Bowling Lanes to the facility. Oh great! No problem. You'll see huge square stump/pillars on the rooftop; the architect designed those as support structures to additional floors to add whenever the need arose. Well the need has already surfaced, and the facility hasn't even opened yet!)

1/2 size Olympic Pool

Large conference/multi-purpose room

roof top view - stump/pillars

Hytham standing between the low-depth view (not seen at the left) and the 1/2 size Olympic pool in the background

Day #4: 16-Dec-2008

Planning on visiting Ramallah site today. Yesterday spent afternoon, about 4 hours, discussing membership record-keeping (excel spreadsheet; 1 line per member only about 15 columns of info). Have about 1,000 (Active & Inactive) members in that spreadsheet. Fundraising/donors all tracked by hand and anonymously -- which is VERY important in this culture. Deciding not to touch automating philanthropy at this point. Instead explore integrating Membership and Program participants tracking via a simple stand-alone system (or perhaps a simple jump-start on-line system -- depending on how reliable telecommunication connections to the internet are). Considering reaching out to 2 known & trusted providers, albeit stateside. Most of today's findings will depend on the real/perceived extremely HIGHER volumes of members and program participants that have been alluded to regarding the pending, soon-to-be-opened Ramallah location.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Eve Celebration: Just outside Bethlehem

Shepherds' Nights Festival

Very much looking forward to this event. Apparently the Mayor of Bethlehem joins with the YMCA of Beit Sahour in reading from the Bible about the birth of Christ. The Shepherd's field land has been a part of the YMCA property for decades.

Check out this ad/picture that I clipped from a local English publication: "This week in Palestine" (and the text from within the picture describing the event)
5:50am (GMT+2) been up for an hour.Planning day. Not able to be as interactive w/ social media as I'd like, because very socially engaged :)
Lunch w/Friends: Falafels. Genuine. Delicious. Cheap. Did I mention delicious? :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

YMCA Receives "Economics Creativity Award"!

Cairo, Egypt
The Jerusalem YMCA, on 16-Nov-2008, in Cairo Egypt was awarded the prestigious "Economics Creativity Award" from the Arab Thought Foundation. This is a first for any YMCA!


Day #3, 15-Dec-2008

The call to prayer from a nearby minaret ushers in a new day. Feeling somewhat caught up on sleep; althought I felt like that for about 5 hours yesterday, then crashed. ;) We'll see. Lots to do. Plans to work. Meeting with General Secretary and his key staff today to go over various ideas. I believe their web site will emerge as a major topic of discussion. Rightly so. It's definitely Web 1.0 brochure-ware, static, out-of-date and does not serve a rat's chance of helping them market all the wonderful work they have done and are continuing to do.
5:41am local time. The 1st Adhan rings out from the minaret welcoming the morning. Amazingly, now the birds are also awake & singing. True.
3 Simple Photos of my room:

Day#2 - Lunch: Roasted Lamb kabob, naan bread, Onion Soup, fruit dessert, Lemonade and coffee. Delicious. First full regular meal following late morning/early afternoon jet-lag induced nap. Following lunch asked hotel reception where I could get a 3-prong grounded plug. Basically went down Nablus road to the wall of the Old City, then turned left. Kept walking about 2-3 blocks with the open market place in full bloom. Vendors of everything shouting over each other to get their wares noticed -- actually at times it seemed they were shouting in unison a kind of "communal chat". I just kept on track, knew where I was going and what I needed. Nothing of the "tourist" wandering around -- especially since I was on my own. Just blended in. Quest achieved, I simply reversed the process and ended back at: Jerusalem Legacy Hotel. Working on posting 2-3 snapshots of my completely renovated accommodations. Very contemporary indeed.

28 Days in Israel & the Middle East (GMT+2)

Volunteering for USAid funded NGO. Social work, living and working with all people throughout the region. Goal: make a difference in people's everyday lives.

Stay tuned here for additional updates. Don't know how much or how little telecomm access to the Internet I'll have during the engagement.

1st Full day in Jerusalem. Last night, complete tour of the newly renovated Jerusalem YMCA. An amazing difference between now and the last time I was here in 2004! Completely renovated areas. Much left to do, but night and day difference! The new General Secretary Andre' has indeed moved mountains!

Today following a little needed rainfall, there is a crispness/freshness in the air around Jerusalem. Sorted out English vmail prompts (changed from Hebrew); confimed working local phone number. Access to friends' Cellcom numbers as well.

Slept for equivalent of 2 nights' sleep. Hopefully now fully jet-lag free. (Yeah, right.)

Quest for the day: a grounded 3-prong electrical adapter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tel Aviv bound! Hope my flight isn't delayed by 13 hours like @jeffpulver 's was :( I bought Seth Godin's "Tribes" to read, but not 13hrs ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"What a difference Brilliant Design makes!" Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [eg. iPhone vs. iPhone wannabees; Blackberry vs. BB clones, etc.]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - Just in time SIM!

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Advantage comes not from the spectacular, or the technical, but from a persistent seeking of the...edge."Tom Peters,Re-imagine![sharp edge]

Friday, December 5, 2008

3 microprojectors - Wow! That's small! -
"Today's triumph (or setback) is just one step in a long journey." Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [Don't give up - either way.]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Small Task = B-I-G Opportunity. Don't e-v-e-r accept "small" as a "given". Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [I've seen this so many times.]

Monday, December 1, 2008

"Grow via quality services and customers, not via growth for growth's sake." Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [Quality is Job #1 - to steal a phrase]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

w00t! 2008 Hurricane season ends today! (30-Nov) Yeah, I know, you just. don't. care. (Except if you live in an H-zone, like H-town ;)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Handy Latin phrases: Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.(I think some people in togas are plotting against me.)
What's your external focus ratio? How does it compare? EF = A/S + I/P, where [c:Tom Asacker]
Saturday morning. Caffeine. Is. Kicking it! Brilliant. Now for the 2nd cup.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beijing vs. Shanghai

*note: due to technical difficulties point updates not captured; however, it has been determined that indeed the Beijing - Shanghai - Guangzhou (#china20, #cnbloggercon ) contest was a draw!

Everybody's a winner!

A little running (friendly) contest during @china20 between @elliottng and @christinelu

@elliottng - Beijing

1) Blue skies last 2 days
2) Hosted the 2008 Olympics (@Bundini)
3) Has Tsinghua Software Park (@rfannin)
4) Beautiful Marriott Hotel (@christinelu) (?)
5) Beijingers are great hosts! (@christinelu) (?)

*comment: christine is not helping her Shanghai cause here :)

@christinelu - Shanghai

1) Shanghai has the Mori Building

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"How do you generate word of mouth? Excellence, of course."-Tom Peters, Re-imagine![Well, bad word of mouth spreads faster w/less effort.]
Monthly breakfast meeting with CEO. Always special.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Listening to: Erik Mongrain. (and seeing is believing, 1person, solo)
CNN today: "Obama launches Web site to reach public" - man, where have you been? This is *not* news. Old school news=FAIL!
DFPS site: - Question: How else can one know about site "updates" if there's no RSS, no notify subscription options???
"The age of mass production is fading fast. The emerging economy is based on knowledge, imagination, curiosity, and talent." - Tom Peters

Saturday, November 8, 2008

On board,1st Class(!), Houston bound. Already a productive global citizen today.
Going from 2˚C/36˚F to 26˚C/80˚F :) Heading to ORD now; towards IAH in a couple hours. Oh yeah, bumped to 1st Class - W00t!

Friday, November 7, 2008

CNN: Holograms, say 'to-mah-to' I say 'to-may-to' or is it?
GM vs. Joe the Plumber - So GM runs business poorly and US Govt to bail them out? Outrage. Business incompetence = bankruptcy. Sorry.
Got crisis? Get Ushahidi!
Pre-caffeinated twitterverse: there's a marked difference in Australia, UK, USA, China, Uruguay. We share the addiction. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Like Goldman-Sachs Execs, Bush shld get a bonus:Bush administration conceded Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by deadline no longer possible.
"Ndio imewezekana!" - Swahili for: "It has been done!" ("Yes we can! Yes we did!") from a long time college mate from Kenya. So excited!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - the REAL celebration, 403 yrs. old.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

USA: You can vote however you like - You'll be dancin' :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama 346, McCain 192. Final answer. [help from: ] :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wow! Twitter's @comcastcares , on a Sunday afternoon/evening, responds to my service inquiry. Volunteers to replace cable modem. Epic WIN!
Chicagoland, watching Lions & Bears, in 65+F/18+C weather. On November 2nd? Chicago? Lovin' it.™

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sweet home Chicago!
Waiting @ IAH.
Chi-town bound!

Friday, October 31, 2008

"People can't live with change if there's not a changeless core inside them." Stephen Covey. [i.e. know who you are, what you value]
"It's up to each of us alone to figure out who we are, who we are not,and to act consistently with those conclusions."Tom Peters,Re-imagine!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"My concern is creating an environment where good people want to hang around."Tom Peters, Re-imagine![Amen.Keep brilliant people challenge!]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Escher-esque whoa! [USA] FCC vs. Consumer guess who loses? (hint: not the FCC) ;) [USA] - going the way of the dinosaur? Say it ain't so. Anyone else heard this?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists,human rights groups,communists, vegetarians… vegetarians?
Jay Lo (our own Jennifer Lopez) new Blackberry service activated. I was just there for "moral support". Hey it's Jay Lo ;)
"What the 'suits' need to know about IT (and Social Media) …the effects of ignorance on organizational performance."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeling elite now. Microsoft's PDC2008 in L.A. also notes streaming live @ 8:30 PST (P"S"T). No, it's still PDT. ;) []
100-day plan for your new job. Not only, but especially for @steveheye Enjoy!
"The tiny spontaneous, *human act* has enormous power." - Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [wishing for more of this esp. from "corporate types".]
Bloody Monday! 21 3Com phone systems jumped to CST; nice move except it's 1-week too early. Web services out on major POS across enterprise.
♺ @kosso: Australia to filter Internet. epic FAIL! Petition here:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

100% wind-generated electricity. Just switched. It's the right thing to do. Go green. 1 step at a time, in the right direction. Feels good!
♺ @jeffpulver - Act NOW for better (USA) internet Access! []
♺ @loudmouthman, "You should fire your Web agency when..."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nice, slow 2.5mi walk, on a mild Autumn 80F/26C day. Smell of freshly-cut Bayous; the usual Autumn cuttings. Really. Just. Relaxing.
"Cell phones to connect to the internet...sounds strange." 12-Aug-1999 only 9 years ago!
Migrating from closing host (over 8 years!) to new host.Some mobile apps circa 2000, when WAP was an infant, still work w/only minor tweaks!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Have a collegial, supportive…zany, laughter-filled environment...where politics is as absent as it can be in a human (imperfect) enterprise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The rabbit: a Flemish Giant Rabbit. That's 1 stone, 3 for my UK friends. 1 stone 3! A rabbit?
Annual fundraising kickoff! Star of the event: 17pound (7.7 kilo!) rabbit, compliments of the Houston Zoo - a partner.
Raise hell, constantly question 'the way things R done around here,'and never,ever rest on R laurels.Today's laurels are tomorrow's compost.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"They say improve & maintain. I say destroy and Re-imagine." Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [Well he would say that, and mostly I agree.]
"defrothifies" - newest buzzword? ;) Wie sagt mann auf Deutsch?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The reports of's death are greatly exaggerated. Hear ye! Hear ye! (or see )

Saturday, October 18, 2008

6mi/10k jog today. Finally. Temp has cooled down to 79F/26C. First time in a l-o-n-g time. Felt great. Now knackered. Prolly see Palin @SNL.

Friday, October 17, 2008

RT @steveheye - USA Presidential candidates & phones:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Avoid moderation in all things." Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [man I just love the wackiness; think/do Xtreme everything!]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Credit to Tom Peters, Re-imagine! on that previous post. I hope he does a 2009 daily desk calendar!
"I want clients who make me dig deep, who push/drag/shove me out of my box (we all have one) and force me to use every ounce of my talents."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CNN - Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency 'cult of corruption' - "illegal drug use and inappropriate sexual relations"
Relaxing to Robin Trower "Day of the Eagle" - seriously, you gotta catch the whole thing to understand.
WTH? Corporate "Websense" (a Google company) rules just auto-updated & now block/limit sites like Twitter to 60min./day.Changing rules now:)
"Are you still holding true to the DREAM?" -Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [have to admit, at times I seem to lose grasp to the existential yo-yo.]

Monday, October 13, 2008

Santa? Please? - 'Teradata releases 50 petabyte data warehousing appliance.' Drobo that!
Social Media w/ Prime Minister Gordon Brown @ Reuters! , , and

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday night...FOOTBALL! (OK, American Football). New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers. Go San Diego! (lived there for SuperBowl!)

Ike Stats by Centerpoint Energy

According to a full page ad in 12-Oct-2008 Sunday Chronicle

  • 6,400 poles
  • 332,045 ft. (62.9 miles) and 828,106 lbs wire & cable
  • 4,463 transformers
  • 1.4 million gallons of fuel for 7,000 vehicles
  • 2.1 million lbs of ice
  • 859,543 meals
  • 94,155 nights in hotel rooms
  • 11,000+ mutual assistance crews from 35 states and Canada
[metric equivalents]
  • 6.400 poles
  • 101.207 meters (101km) and 375.623 kilos wire & cable
  • 4.463 transformers
  • 5,3 million liters of fuel for 7.000 vehicles
  • 952.500 kilos of ice
  • 859.543 meals
  • 94.155 nights in hotel rooms
  • 11.000+ mutual assistance crews from 35 states and Canada

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#Ike: 895,543 meals; 94,155 nights in hotel rooms; 11,000 mutual assistance crews from 35 states & Canada. Largest power outage in Texas.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tell a friend: For a higher cause... 4tzqow is growing:
"Market Power = Story Power = Dream Power." - Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [best $14 ever spent on this 2008 daily desk calendar - inspiration!]

Thursday, October 9, 2008

♥"I am on a…mission. A mission to Drive Dilbertian Cynicism and Cubicle Slavery and Terminal Insipidity out of the Workplace."-Tom Peters.
Zimbabwe inflation hits 231,000,000% (two hundred thirty-one MILLION(!) percent)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"The Future of Beer" What? You talk about a depression... ;)
"Sustained success" is silly. Make today matter. - Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [hard to argue with the latter -- make. today. matter.]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Getting Things Done" - ultimately is not about 'power' or 'rank'. It's about PASSION and IMAGINATION and PERSISTENCE.-Tom Peters, [♥ it!]

Saturday, October 4, 2008 - Shrinking Columbian Coffee, 270cups down to 240cups, same price(!)
Exploring the new "" offering (3.0 v). Potential. Still some rough edges / inconsistencies. Will plow forward anyway.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Leadership is...the Ultimate Responsibility! It's an assumption of accountability."-Tom Peters, Re-imagine![Gee, someone tell Wall Street.]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

32C/90F on 2-Oct-2008? Gizza break. And this is Autumn? Anything in the 20C/70F range would be a welcome relief. 29.970404,-95.420627
Dishman#2, brasileiro com paixão. (passion) Also learned of HUGE brazilian sections in Boston! Hello, Boston! May never leave if I ever go.
typo: "...well-aligned..." - kick the "h" out of it. ;)
"Find Heroes. Do Demos. Tell Stories." - Tom Peters, Re-imagine! [Wow, so well-alighned with social media.]

#ike - Day #20

Still "missing".

OK, it's actually .204% (2 tenths of 1%). Day #20, finally.

Massive cleanup (trees, debris) continues in the 5,000 square mile region.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint               2,258,000 0%           4,606
Entergy Texas                  392,600 0%                 -  
Sam Houston                  115,000 0%                 -  
TNMP                    66,000 0%                 -  


Blogged with the Flock Browser
Dishman Day #2. Day#1. Satellite dish on roof. (where else?) 3-Floor Home. Dishman, no ladder. FAIL. Promised to return,didn't. FAIL#2.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cometh the "dish" man. Post-Ike re-pointing satellite dish from Hubble to TV satellite. I'll miss these ;)

43,000 customers still without power, post-Ike, Day#19

19 days later...

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint               2,258,000 2%         42,902
Entergy Texas                  392,600 0%                 -  
Sam Houston                  115,000 0%                 -  
TNMP                    66,000 0%                 -  


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Love rollercoaster (Ohio Players) not to be mistaken for Wall Street.
☣ Study: Cell phones dirtier than toilet seats -
'Wall Street will get its house in order when it snows on Mars.' Oops, cannot use that line any more. ;)
"Where 'products' and 'services' once were, now 'solutions' will be." - Tom Peters, Re-imagine!

Ike: Death Toll increases to 32

Day 17 - 112,900 customers still without power.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint               2,258,000 5%       112,900
Entergy Texas                  392,600 0%                 -  
Sam Houston                  115,000 0%                 -  
TNMP                    66,000 0%                 -  


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Vote Appears to Catch Bush by Surprise" - Wall Street Journal online. [Vote] - substitute ANY word you'd like. Still valid. ;)
Post Ike Stress Syndrome - downtown 4th/5th floor electrical panels fail. Corp datacenter on 4th. Oops. CEO's birthday is today; BB addict.
#ike Day 17: Here the 7% (167,000) still without power speak their minds:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

#ike Day 16: 270,960 customers without power. Still. And over 400 people still "missing". After 2 weeks, it ain't over folks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman..."...failure to communicate..."

Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman ..."...failure to communicate..." via Newman's Own...
Hoping Paul Newman's family sees/senses the *global* outpouring from fans and friends. Decades. Global. Legend. Humanitarian.
RIP, Paul Newman. My personal favorite: "...failure to communicate." Etched into my brain decades ago.
#debate Word count from - observations here: Example: tax=52 times, economy=16, spending=41, etc.

Debate: Word Count

Interesting random "count" of words used in 2008 1st Presidential (USA) debate:

*note: words and their derivatives (i.e. "tax" would also include "taxes")

Word  # of times used 
tax                          52
spending                          41
war                          39
Iraq                          38
billion                          35
Afghanistan                          34
Iran                          32
economy                          16
Qaeda                          15
crisis                          15
financ(e)(ial)                          12

Blogged with the Flock Browser
#ike Day 15:386,500 customers still without power. Approx. 1.159million people. Only 9 cities larger than that. e.g.Boston+2weeks no power=?

Whole City equivalents with NO POWER...for 2 weeks?

Context: 386,500 'customers' is approximately equal to 1.159million people. In a 2005 census estimate there are only 9 cities in the US that have more than 1.159million people.

So imagine whole cities like: Detroit, San Jose, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., Memphis, Baltimore, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee -- for 2 weeks with NO POWER.


 # of Customers 
CenterPoint         2,258,000 17%       383,860
Entergy Texas            392,600 0%                 -  
Sam Houston            115,000 0%                 -  
TNMP              66,000 4%           2,640


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Branding is the hard-earned Certification of True & Cool Distinction within the org's sphere of influence, enormous or minuscule."TomPeters
#ike Day 14- 457,540 Customers still without power
If 1 "customer" represents approximately 3 people, that's still over 1.3 million people!

#ike Day 14 - 457,540 Customers still without power

If each "customer" represents approximately 3 people, that's still over 1.3 million people! 2 weeks later.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint         2,258,000 20%       451,600
Entergy Texas            392,600 0%                 -  
Sam Houston            115,000 0%                 -  
TNMP              66,000 9%           5,940


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Think about your {mission} in terms of: Story. Adventure. Smile. Focus. Plot. Reason for being. Passion." Tom Peters, Re-imagine! {my word}
#ike Day 13 - illegal immigrants (undocumented works) will be the linchpin in Ike cleanup. [gee, what a surprise...not!]

#ike Day 13 - 520,882 without power.

Interesting headline:
Undocumented workers will be linchpin in Ike cleanup — Hurricane Ike's destruction is sparking one of the largest rebuilding efforts the state has seen in decades, but at the same time is highlighting a thorny facet of the region's labor force: A lot of the recovery work will be done by illegal immigrants.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint         2,258,000 22%       496,760
Entergy Texas            392,600 2%           7,852
Sam Houston            115,000 13%         14,950
TNMP              66,000 2%           1,320


Blogged with the Flock Browser
#suspending #ike recovery *not* an option.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

#ike WOW! 47% of "customers" in my neighborhood still don't have power. Counting my blessings.

#ike Day 12 - 621,380 customers NO power; 250,000+ NO running water

Oh, and traffic signals in the USA's 4th largest city - most offline - some won't be fixed until November. Try running your city without traffic signals for just a couple weeks.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint         2,258,000 26%       587,080
Entergy Texas            392,600 5%         19,630
Sam Houston            115,000 3%           3,450
TNMP              66,000 17%         11,220


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

#ike, Day 11 - 787,500 customers remain withOUT power. Temp soars to 32C/90F. Next? Tempers.

Ike, Day 11 - 787,500 customers remain withOUT power

Temps reach 32C/90F and 3/4 of a million customers have NO power.

 # of Customers 
CenterPoint         2,258,000 32%       722,560
Entergy Texas            392,600 10%         39,260
Sam Houston            115,000 12%         13,800
TNMP              66,000 18%         11,880


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, September 22, 2008

#ike Day10 Scenario: for every 100 traffic lights; 90 of them are dark; 9 flashing red; 1 working. And that's an improvement!
" is... the principal reason for emotional attachment (or detachment) relative to a product or service or experience." Tom Peters

Ike: 917,448 Customers w/ Power Outages - Greater Houston Area

Today's numbers (derived from the %s)

# of Customers
CenterPoint 2,258,000 36% 812,880
Entergy Texas 392,600 18% 70,668
Sam Houston 115,000 18% 20,700
TNMP 66,000 20% 13,200


And to be clear, a "customer" is not 1 person, but typically 3-4 people (a.k.a. "household")
Blogged with the Flock Browser
1st day of Autumn. Temp = 32C/90F and it's Autumn?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

#ike Day9-5000 sq. miles of massive destruction. Wooden everything ripped/twisted/uprooted: trees, fences, utility poles. Steel stood strong
#ike Day9 - Clever deception - 1,169,642 customers still without power.Unbelievable for the 4th largest city in the USA.

Clever deception: using %

(reports are now only using % instead of real #s - real number equate to real people. % avoid that.)

CenterPoint:46% out
Entergy Texas:22% out
Sam Houston:25% out
TNMP:24% out
CenterPoint         2,258,000 46%    1,038,680
Entergy Texas            392,600 22%         86,372
Sam Houston            115,000 25%         28,750
TNMP              66,000 24%         15,840


September 19, 2008

Power update: CenterPoint reaches halfway mark

CenterPoint Energy (9 p.m., figures rounded)
1.12 million customers without power
2.258 million total customers
50 percent out

Entergy Texas (4:30 p.m.)
177,955 customers without power
392,600 total customers
45 percent out

Texas-New Mexico Power Co. (7 p.m.)
28,750 customers without power
115,000 total customers
25 percent out

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative (7 p.m.)
30,822 customers without power
66,000 total customers
47 percent out
Blogged with the Flock Browser