A Slice of My Travel Life: The Bub from U-Dub

I’ve just boarded a 6 AM flight from Seattle to Newark.  Do the math- if the flight is scheduled to leave at 6 am it means that I’ve been up since 3:30.  You could imagine that I’m in a mood.

Just before takeoff I learn, against my will, that the young man sitting next to me is a student at U-Dub.  That’s the abbreviation for the University of Washington that everyone in these parts thinks is so catchy.  “Dub?” So now we’re too lazy to say a whole letter?  It’s a single letter for Pete’s sake.  I mean, I know today’s generation can’t communicate in phrases that exceed 140 characters in length, but this is one friggin letter.

Back to the youngster to my left.  Seems he’s a sophmore who has a layover in Newark, on his way to visit a friend in Italy.  That’s all well and good, but here is what I’m thinking as he tells me his life’s story.  You have GOT to shut that window shade.  It’s not quite 6 am yet and the sunlight is blaring in my eyes.  Blah, blah, blah…exchange student I used to know…blah, blah, blah…a few miles outside of Milan…seriously dude, I don’t listen to my own college-age kids for this long.  I don’t care about you and your roommate living in a hostel for a few weeks (just as an aside, didn’t you see the movie?)  Just shut that shade before I go blind.

Eventually he stops talking.  I think it’s because I started to close my eyes when he was mid-sentence.  He does not, however, close his shade.  I sat there quietly for a few moments, giving him a chance to come around.  Maybe he’d notice that the rest of the passengers shut their shade.  Maybe he’d heed the flight attendant’s announcement asking people to close their shades.

He doesn’t look like he has any intention to close it, however, because he’s staring longingly outside. What the hell is he looking at? We’re 33,000 feet in the air and the only thing he can see are mountain tops. Okay, maybe that was interesting for ten or fifteen minutes, but it’s been a half-hour already. You can lose yourself in thought by staring your tray table just as easily.

I’m waiting patiently for him to stop staring outside so I can tell him to close the screen.  I’m trying so hard to be patient.  Just stop looking out there for a second.  Please.  Truth is, I’m not so patient.  On the outside I seem calm, but this kid doesn’t realize that inside my head I’m stabbing him in the throat.  Seriously, what the hell is he staring at? Maybe he’s looking off into the distance and contemplating his existence.  Yeah, my ass.  He’s a sophmore in college- he’s probably contemplating beer. Dude, shut the window shade and let us sleep.

I waited for him to stop looking out of the window for just an instant.  I was waiting for an opening to politely ask him to shut the shade.  I was watching him peripherally like a hawk.  About ten seconds later he turned away from the window, closed his eyes, and fell asleep.  It all happened in an instant. All I could think was, OH HELL NO! The plane was as dark as the inside of a soda can, with one pinhole pierced in its side.  And I was smack up against the light beam. Although I was impressed with his ability to fall into his REM cycle instantaneously, I woke his ass up and had him close that damn shade.

EDM, where have you been all my life?

DJYou’ve heard EDM in the past, even though you might not realize it. It’s Electronic Dance Music and it’s the stuff that Skrillex creates (I’m sure you’ve heard his name banging around (see what I did there? If not, go listen to his tune “Bangarang.” You’ll be hooked).  As you’ll see, it’s basically it’s a DJ spinning loud, thumping…well, electronic dance music.  Oh, and it’s AWESOME.

The beat is intoxicating, provided that you listen to the right DJ. These guys/gals aren’t just turning on a record player, they’re legit artists.  If you want to give it a chance, listen to Steve Aoki.  You can find his stuff on all of the music services.  Better yet, listen to his podcast– he assembles some of the latest hot tunes (my goodness, I am so hip that I can’t take it).  Seriously, it’s a great place to hear the best EDM around today. You can also check out one of his songs below.

Conservative, Liberal, Punk, and Charismatic

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Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Henry Rollins. When did you ever think you’d hear those three names in the same sentence? Well, the punk icon Henry Rollins had a little something to say about the former two individuals. Short story: He thinks they’re similar.  Permit me to explain:

Regardless of your political affiliation, there’s something all professionals can learn from the band of political outsiders running in the 2016 presidential election.  Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are getting an awful lot of attention- and there’s a reason.  They are authentic.

I don’t care whether you like them or hate them.  I don’t care if you think they are dangerous to the country, or a breath of fresh air.  The question is why are people attracted to them?  The answer is because of their authenticity.

Don’t believe me? Listen to Henry Rollins’ interview with The Huffington Post. He hits on the key to their attraction— people think they are real.  They are fed up with the typical politician who feels like a plastic, stuffed shirt. And that, boys and girls, is a key part of charisma.

Part of developing charisma is about making connections with other people, and connections come from genuine interactions.  An interaction is genuine of you convey a sense of authenticity.  People need to believe that you are who you represent yourself to be.

Action item: In your next important business interaction consider whether you’re coming across as authentic.  Are you putting on airs? Are you making yourself out to be something you’re not, just because you think it’s the right way to behave? If so, stop it.
Photos from:
http://50.56.238.19/boston-lulz/2011/10/henry-rollins-brookline-booksmith/
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/26/10-questions-with-bernie-sanders.html

The Evil Trilogy Beats Klitschko

klitschko-fury-boxing-preview_3354893That Klitschko-Fury fight was a disappointment.  Not because of the outcome- I don’t really have any love for either fighter.  It was a disappointment because Klitschko basically lost the fight…inside his head.

Klitschko didn’t throw any serious punches the entire fight.  Why? It wasn’t his ability, because we all know that he has the skills. But those skills were never put on display. At first the approach seemed calculated, like he was feeling out his opponent.  Tyson came out in the first round moving erratically, in an apparent effort to throw off Klitschko’s timing. In that case, it would be wise for Klitschko to size him up.  In the second it seemed as if Klitschko was being cautious, reluctant to make a mistake.  The crazy-eyed Tyson was unpredictable and I could see why Klitschko would be worried about being tagged with an unexpected shot.  But the same reserved, unsure approach would continue throughout the fight.

It was incredible to watch.  Klitschko continued to shift constantly, measuring his opponent.  Round after round ticked off and Klitschko never pulled the trigger. You kept waiting for him to land a strong right that would open up the flurry of punches that we know Klitschko’s capable of.  But it never came.

There doesn’t appear to be any physical reason why Klitschko held back. He was in shape, he wasn’t lethargic, and didn’t display evidence of being tired or injured. It seemed as if something inside his head was holding him back.

Jim Lampley made an interesting statement during the fight.  He mentioned all of the distractions that Klitschko had faced this year.  The birth of a child, his wife’s treatment for post-pardum depression, and a few other things.  Sure, some will point to his age and the possibility that his drive has waned over the length of his decade-plus reign.  But to me, it looked like those distractions were getting the best of him. I saw a bit of proof during the stoppages.

Between rounds his corner pleaded with him to pick it up, but Klitschko’s response to their urging was telling.  He just sat on the stool, staring forward, virtually ignoring them. Nothing they said seemed to be registering.  Klitschko just didn’t seem “present.”

I think the distractions in Klitschko’s life outside the ring affected his ability to perform.  It probably wasn’t a conscious thing— he likely wasn’t thinking about those non-boxing issues during the fight.  But they were there and- as we’d say in my native New Jersey tongue…they messed with his head.

Distractions affect us all.  They’re part of what I call, “The Evil Trilogy” of our professional existence— procrastination, distraction, and neglect. They hold us back from excelling in a variety of ways.  Even if we’re not a prize fighter we can see how life’s distractions could affect our individual ability to execute in our own professional ring.

Klitschko came ever-so-slightly alive in the last round and we saw glimpses of his power. But even that effort was half-hearted. There was too much holding when he should have been making a frenetic attempt at a knockout. His distractions were so strong that they actually deadened his fighter’s instincts.  Instead of making a three minute desperate attempt for a win he held, danced, and seemed to accept defeat. The Evil Trilogy strikes again.

 

Photo from SkySports: http://www.skysports.com/klitschko-vs-fury/news/33472/10056597/booking-info 

Boxing News and Features — Official Web site of The Ring Magazine

I need sports to escape.  I’m not sure why I enjoy boxing so much, but I do.  I wish I could get more of it on TV.  It’s so hard to find fights to watch, other than the PPV offerings. This weekend there is Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury for the heavyweight belt.  I think it’s on regular HBO- at least I’m hoping it is!

RingTV. com, the official website of THE RING magazine, Bible of Boxing since 1922. The best boxing news, interviews, and pound-for-pound ratings.

 

B-Roll Could’ve Got Me In Trouble

I was taking some video for a documentary clip that I’m working on. Don’t go thinking I’m Ken Burns or anything– first of all it’s just a very short clip that I’m going to put into my powerpoint.  Secondly, I haven’t even made the clip yet and if I wouldn’t bet on it actually getting done.  Who has the time?  So basically, I was just taking a video. But here’s why I’m posting it: I was taking the video in Penn Station, New York and, in retrospect, I could have gotten in trouble.  Um, right? I’m not sure exactly, but I think I might forgo such filming in the future.

Chicago

I travel to a lot of US cities. It never ceases to amaze me how many of those cities roll up and close down at around 5:30 PM. There are a few exceptions to that rule. Chicago is one of them.

 

I’m no expert on the city — I’ve only been downtown for work — but it seems to be a lot more like New York or Philadelphia rather than, say, Denver or Seattle.

Getting Started!

This picture is a Dale Chihuly piece that I saw at his gallery in Seattle.  But that’s not why it’s here.  It’s here because it’s my first post
Oh, where to start…I’ve decided that I’m not going to make some grand explanation of what this blog is all about.  Stick with it and you’ll figure it out.  Here’s the short story: Let’s just say that it’s about lifestyle and, to me, that includes one’s professional life.  So it’s about our professional lifestyle…but that doesn’t mean it’s only about work- quite the contrary. It’s about my philosophy for living one’s life, in all aspects.  If I had to reduce it to just a few words, I’d say it’s about being daring, being bold, being smart, and pushing the envelope in a positive way.  It’s about being punk. I’m going to talk about all of the things that interest me….music, art, history, travel (including my crazy travel stories), and a lot more.  There will be substantive stuff that helps us all survive and thrive in our professional lives, some fun stuff that will provide some healthy escape from our professional lives, and still other stuff that will help us all grow in a variety of ways.  Welcome aboard!
Stuart