Vacation Neuroses: An Inner Dialog

•December 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If I take a vacation but don’t SAY it’s a vacation, or at least if I spend some portion of that vacation worrying about non-vacation things, then I don’t feel like I SHOULD be worrying about the fact that I’m on vacation when I SHOULDN’T be vacationing. This really isn’t a vacation, or a staycation, or a working vacation-like…thing. I’m not here willingly, or knowingly. When I get back, I may be confused about WHAT just happened. I may also be confused WHILE it’s happening.

Also, if I take a vacation and SAY it’s a vacation and really GO on vacation, then people will think I CAN take vacations, and also that THEY can take vacations, and neither one is good because truly being able to be ON vacation means people don’t need you to NOT be on vacation. I CAN’T really take a vacation, for various reasons having to do with demand for my presence, my admirable orientation toward diligence, and my inescapable lifestyle plight.

In this way, the FIRST few days of a vacation can be relatively vacation-like, whereas the LAST few tend to be consumed with the idea that the vacation is ENDING (even though it never began) and, to some extent it was a REAL vacation, from which I may well return to some unforgiving evidence that I should NOT have taken a vacation OR (worse yet!) that I am perfectly free to go on vacations whenever I want. Except that the promise of my NEXT vacation seems oh, so tragically distant.

It’s also possible that by the end of my vacation I will NOT feel like I was ever on vacation at all, which is where I will get the idea that “I need a vacation after that vacation”.  And even if I DON’T get that idea, I would do well to express that to the people who have NOT just returned from vacation, in order to impress upon them that I can’t readily TAKE vacations, and that we are ALL in this vacation neuroses together. Other people are LUCKY they did not just have a vacation! Even after a 3-day weekend, I would do well to say “I could use another 3 days to recover from those 3”. Or I might just say “it was great” and into this void will either go everyone else’s tortuous assumption that of COURSE it couldn’t have been great and he’s just sparing me the tortuous details, OR how in the world do you manage to ENJOY these vacation-like periods (or at least that confusing segue period from vacation back into non-vacation time)?

I would do well to remember that vacation is a state of mind, and it may be that the simple act of not calling it a vacation will help travel me there without all the baggage.

Other solutions include: 1) retirement, or 2) becoming a citizen of most European countries.

About.me: On The Social Stage

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Check out my about.me profile!

I love this idea – nice CMS and front end design, backed by a simple but robust dashboard. It’s like your face online. And it’s just nice to have a simple hub for your cloud-based identity. The folks at About.me got me into the beta nice n’ early and were helpful when I lost my login stuff.

I have to say, though, that when confronted with the need to populate the giant image area and luxurious profile box, I got some sort of social media stage fright. It’s just so… big. It’s like the social media Soul Train spotlight dance. I defaulted to my innate defense mechanism to make everything small, black and white, or evasively clever. So I’m not sure I’ve optimized my use here. This may be version 1.0, or even 0.1.

Sign up for the beta at http://about.me/.

 

Iron Man 2/Norton: Eliminate Online Evils

•April 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The new Iron Man 2 promotion from Norton by Symantec. Norton fights cybercrime. Iron Man fights bad guys, too. So go read a digital comic. Play an interactive sweeps game for a chance to win fun prizes. And, of course, join the fight against cybercrime. What could be wrong with all that? Nothing, I say.  http://www.norton.com/ironman/

Robert Mondavi Is Alive And Well

•April 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The year is 19… let’s say 50. American’s subsist on a steady diet of Wonder Bread, Jello, and Kool Aid. There is no Food Network, no wine aisle at your average supermarket, no Trader Joe’s, no Williams-Sonoma, no such thing as organic.

Somewhere along the way in the year’s since then, the culture of food started changing in America. Of course, Jamie Oliver would argue that it didn’t change enough, that the Wonder Bread regime is still firmly in place. But there is also a strong and vibrant food culture that owes much to movements begun by people like Julia Child and Robert Mondavi.

A few years back, industry giant Constellation Brands bought the Robert Mondavi family of wine brands for a whopping $1.2 Billion. It made a big statement about how much equity the Mondavi name had built while Robert Mondavi was helping to build Napa Valley and the culture that surrounds it.

The new website at http://www.robertmondavi.com/ is the first true, unified reflection of what he had in mind all along. The first time his story is told, and reinforced with the brand(s) he created to form the full picture.

The new site takes you through the timeline of how his vision evolved, integrates the on-site events and educational programs that helped make his ideas accessible. It’s peppered with his quotes and ideas, and back-ended with a CMS to keep it all fresh. And above all, it creates a brand platform, using everything from color palette to navigation to content and imagery, where everyday wine and expensive wine can co-exist in a cohesive vision of gracious living.

Somewhere, Mr. Mondavi is tossing back a nice Cab and smiling. Although he probably has some suggestions for improvement.

The 404 Page Revisited

•April 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ever gotten to a page where it says you aren’t on a page? Where it says you haven’t found a page, right there on the page you found? That existential paradox inspired the copy for the  404 page copy shown below (and soon to be used at places like this:

“Page Not Found”? And yet, here we have a page.
“Wrong page”? Is there such a thing?
“Page doesn’t exist”? Then what are you seeing and reading?
“404 Error”? Wherefore art though 1-403?

It’s true. You may have ended up here, reading this, with the conscious intention of being somewhere different, reading something else. But here you are. After all the clicks, and links, and backslashes, and refreshes, and returns, after everything you’ve been through in your life up to this point, you’ve arrived here, at this page, in this time. This page, then, is not an ERROR. It is your DESTINY!

Let me tell you, my friend, there are no accidents. You will walk out of here a better man, woman, person of non-specified gender, or child.

If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that you are never more than one click away from something hilarious, shocking, revolting, enlightening, heartwearming, headscratching, or just plain odd. Perhaps this page strikes you in one of those ways. But the NEXT page you visit? Sky’s the limit.

So where do you go from here? That’s really the question. Do you go backwards, retrace your steps, and try again to go wherever it is you thought you were originally headed? Or is there someplace you really, subconsciously want to be next? Make that a conscious choice now, while you’re on a roll. Because rest assured, the next page you visit will be just as much your destiny as this one.

In closing, perhaps the old Chinese proverb says it best: “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed”.

Welcome to where you were meant to be. Good luck with where you are headed.