The problem in my house is that I made ONE mistake with regard to movies/TV and I cannot live it down. That mistake:

“Come on. I remember this movie. It is amazing. It was the first of it’s kind. You have to watch the original TRON with me”

I can admit I was wrong and I was VERY wrong. My rose coloured view of TRON has been tainted by age, time; remembering my youth and the beginning of science fiction movies.

Unfortunately, it was awful. The acting is bad and the effects may have been great for the early 80’s, but they just look bad now. So in our house whenever I suggest anything that is older than 5 years I get the “Seriously? You told us TRON was good and look how that turned out”.

Which brings me to Seinfeld. I am going to try it with my teenage boys, to see if it is dated or still funny. I know that reading The Economics of Seinfeld still makes me laugh. I saw Jerry Seinfeld at a charity event a year ago and it was great. I just don’t know how it will turn out.

You tell me, will it work or am I making another TRON level mistake?



When you enter a new country you are bombarded with new “norms”, how people do things will always be different. Part of assimilating into the new culture is a decision process of running through your own values, views and systems and determining where you will change.

In Tokyo, almost no one wears a bike helmet. In a city where biking is a primary form of transportation and hundreds upon hundreds of bikes line the streets, it is odd for me to see so few people without a helmet (usually only Gaijin wear helmets). It reminds me of the 1970’s when people had seatbelts in their car but no one bothered wearing them. I remember my parents buckling the seat belt together and tucking it into the seat to stop that annoying “Seatbelt not on” alarm bell. Scary.

Last night we had to run to the store and I wanted to bike. It was the first time we had ridden at night. There are not many street lamps in our area so it was quite dark. As I moved from the road to the sidewalk, to avoid a car, my front tire caught the cement edge and in a flash I slammed into the ground – hard.

What is still a bit nerve wracking is that only 30 minutes earlier I had debated not wearing my helmet as it was close and “no one bothers”. But I did and I feel very fortunate. Had I not, who knows what would have happened.  This is my helmet after the accident – cracked in 4 places.

2012-08-13 06.41.47


2012-08-13 06.41.54

A close call. That could have been my bare head. As a side note, the eggs did not break.



This year the hub-bub is all about Michael Buble’s new album. Of course, it was my first choice as the once a year Christmas CD purchase and it is good. Traditional music, in his jazzy style. But it won’t make it into my all time list. Not unique enough.

A contender for one of those slots is the A Very She & Him Christmas from She & Him. Featuring the quirky actress Zooey Deschanel (Think the sitcom New Girl, and the elf in Elf). I cannot get Christmas Wish out of my head … I find myself humming it all the time. Great album (I happened upon it at Starbucks).

I will add one holiday link. If you want to send a great Santa video to a child or to a friend for a laugh, one of the best of the season can be found here.




Not a tradition, but worth a post. We also booked out Stuart McLean’s Christmas show for a couple weekends from now and cannot wait. For those of you who don’t know Stuart, he is a Canadian storytelling icon. Sure, there are some who find his stories too sentimental, but in an age where the sense of community is quickly disappearing, it is a nice reprieve.

You can catch his podcasts here, or consider his Christmas CD filled with heart warming stories and humor or if you are in Canada, catch his tour … seems like he goes everywhere.




We have a few of traditions that have developed slowly over the years, the most important being that we ignore all Christmas music or references until December 1st, the day after our son’s birthday.

A few other elements which are becoming traditions:

  • A pantomime. This started in England and continues. This year we are seeing Ross Petty’s troupe perform The Wizard of Oz. It does not matter how old you are, a great family affair and I will always be one of the loudest ‘Booooers’.
  • A Christmas Story. Sure, there are lots of great Christmas movies. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, The Sound of Music (They escape during Christmas don’t they?) and of course those ones from our youth, Charlie Brown .. Rudolph … Little Drummer Boy and many others (Although animated, rubber character holiday shows seem to no longer be in vogue). But I always come back to this one. Every Christmas … it makes me laugh; the Red Rider BB gun with mom’s warning echoing through the house “You’ll shoot your eye out” and the double dog dare. A true classic … irony being that I had a BB gun and my mom wouldn’t let me keep it in the house for that exact reason (smile).
  • Great music. I have referred to a few of my favorites in the past and every year I buy a new CD. This year it is Michael Buble Christmas. We will see if he can stack up to my number two,  Harry Connick and my favorite .. BNL.

Let the music begin .. and let the snow stay away until the 22nd (smile).



I was listening to the Harvard Business Ideacast Know your Power Persona on the way to the office on Monday which centers on the impact that our family life has on who we are today (good and bad). The podcast featured Maggie Craddock who wrote the book Power Genes: Understanding Your Power Persona–and How to Wield It at Work. From their website:

We’ve all joked about it: the domineering father figure as top manager, the boisterous elder brother type as heir apparent, the caring mother hen on the executive team. But that leaves the rest of us in the workplace as a gaggle of siblings battling for recognition, resources, and rewards from our "parents". Next thing you know, we’re doing exactly what we did when we were kids to get what we need at work–trying too hard to please, acting out, brownnosing. Yet these responses aren’t productive in the workplace. In "Power Genes", executive coach Maggie Craddock reveals how to kick those old habits and use your power more effectively to advance your career. Craddock identifies four "power types"–Pleaser, Charmer, Commander, Inspirer–and explains how to diagnose your type. Next she walks you through a process for avoiding your type’s signature destructive reflexes and replacing them with new behaviours. She also shows how to interact productively with other people–peers, bosses, employees–of each type. "Power Genes" helps you jettison unproductive habits and take charge of your workplace relationships.

It is a good 12 minute listen, and made me reflect on a realization that I had a few years ago – my childhood still impacts who I am in ways that I have just come to understand. I came to that understanding through the book Overcoming Your Strengths’. I referred to it here in a different context. Lois Frankel made a very interesting point on tough childhoods midway through the book (pg. 132):

Ironically, those who are unable to be humble are often raised as children in households so withholding of praise and affirmation that the child must call attention to himself or herself or otherwise fade into oblivion. The behaviours that we learned to survive difficult childhoods later become the cause of derailment.

I was pretty fortunate, I lived in a good home, was never concerned about whether or not I was loved, was imbued with a strong Dutch work ethic and ‘never give up’ attitude and surrounded by a very rigid – black and white view of the world (which I railed against). But they made me who I am – good and bad.

Once again, I was reminded just how important the parent’s role is. The impact is profound.



A couple weeks ago we attended a parents evening on Facebook. I am not a big Facebook user. I have it turned on, I have pictures posted for friends and have connections to a host of old and current friends. It is a convenient way to stay in touch. But I don’t post … because I blog.

The evening event was hosted by Chris Vollum of Social Media Trust and was titled Facebook 101 for Parents. During the day he had held 3 sessions for the lower, middle and upper schools. I consider myself pretty technical, but I was a bit naive on Facebook as I have not invested the right amount of time into understanding it (our boys are just now showing interest). The biggest eye openers for me were the long term impact that Facebook activity can have on children. I am very personally aware of what I write on this blog, but do children of 14 or 15 think before they do something off the cuff?

The photograph of his slide is chilling .. sent to a student who was enrolling in the University of Connecticut:


Consider these statistics from a University of Massachusetts study that polled 453 college admission departments:

  • 26% are actively researching students through search engines
  • 21% are checking out social networking profiles like MySpace and Facebook

More concerning is just how open most people are on a few fronts:

  • Too many people do not understand the privacy settings. They may think that they are just with their friends, when in fact, they are wide open. The speaker showed a random woman in Florida who had her university info, birth date, and a host of other private pieces of information up for everyone to see. A identity theft just waiting to happen. Sophos has a good guide on how to lock down here.
  • People post too much. As per the last part, they are wide open and then they post everything. He typed in ‘Friday vacation’ and up came hundreds of posts from people talking about how they were going on holiday on the weekend. He told the story of a friend who posted ‘leaving today, coming back late next Sunday night’. The only thing missing was which mat the spare key is hidden under.
  • Facebook policies are changing and people don’t understand it. Last fall Facebook reset everyone’s privacy settings and if you had a fully locked down profile, you had to go back in and set it back to ‘locked up’. And they will do it again.

A very eye opening and cautionary evening.