THE KILL: Cheetahs

What can I say, I have not been blogging for a very long time. For me, blogging has always been a pastime where I post up random thoughts, photos and observations as a way of taking 30 minutes each day to reflect.

Over the last year my time has been very focused, leaving little spare room. In the Sales Transformation framework, the year has been consumed moving through the first 3 stages – Learning, Vision & Planning and Transformation. I look forward to moving from the Transformation to Adjustment Stage in the coming months/weeks.

In the meantime, I will be editing the photos from our safari in Africa over the coming weeks (I have deleted down to 4K excluding Istanbul. I have a lot to sort).

As these pictures suggests, there were more than a few stories to share.

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Look closely at their noses …

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My new Canon 5D Mark IV took time to get accustomed too. In part because I am SO incredibly out of practice, but once I got the settings right – specifically, C1-3, wow. I love the internal GPS, was surprised by the battery life, and while I should have spent a lot more time learning the video before leaving – got a few good movies (Need to work on that).

And yes, objects are as close as they appear. In this case, perhaps 2m away from an open sided Range Rover in the middle of God’s country (The Serengeti reminded me of where I grew up in Alberta, wide open plains).

STIHL SAW

Study after study suggest that memories are heavily linked to the senses; sight, smell and sound. According to this study it is because of where memories are stored:

Sights, sounds and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories. A new study in rats suggests why: The same part of the brain that’s in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least in part, for storing emotional memories.

Spring has sprung in Tokyo and as in so many other four season cities around the world, that means construction. As I walked to the subway the other day I passed a construction site with a large safety wall blocking my view. It was early so the crews were just starting up … and in this case one of the crew was starting up a Stihl saw. I could not see it, but I instantly recognized the sound.

The ‘almost flooded’ coughing as the single stroke engine caught, followed by the high pitch whine as the operator revved the engine. It has been more than two decades since I put myself through university on summer construction sites – driving heavy equipment, lugging blocks and spending hour and hours bent over a Stihl saw with a diamond blade. At that moment, the memories felt like they were from yesterday.

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LANCE ARMSTRONG versus THINGS I CARE ABOUT

 

Everyone is writing, talking, tweeting and blogging about Lance Armstrong. Me? I don’t care. His fall from grace is neither surprising or noteworthy (sports and Hollywood falls from grace are everyday occurrences). As long as these sports are ultra-competitive with the high stakes of money and fame, people will push the limits and many will do “whatever it takes”.

That being said, it is JUST sports. It isn’t world hunger. It isn’t about faking the cure for cancer. It is weekend entertainment. The only difference between Lance and the other dopers in his sport is that he got caught. The sport is LITTERED with dopers including the godfathers of the sport like Merckx (who would have doped even more if the stuff had been invented).

The real point of all of this is that society has misplaced their faith and should re-evaluate what is important. Who they look up to. I don’t see anyone writing about that. And I still say watching sports on the TV is boring (smile), give me the latest episode of Wilfred any day.

A few interweb items that did catch my attention:

  • The Hutzler 571 banana slicer on Amazon.com.  2,404 reviews and counting. My favourite review “Once I figured out I had to peel the banana before using – it works much better”.
  • Academic buffoons, the only way that you can describe the staff at Dawson College in Quebec who expelled a student who exposed and reported vulnerabilities in the schools network and software. Sure he kept going (because they had not fixed it), but instead of expelling him they should have enlisted his support.
  • The apology that Lance Armstrong will never give. Well written.

And a photo from a cab in Malaysia – couldn’t get much clearer:

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HOW TO BUY IN THE US or CANADA FROM ABROAD

 

Living abroad you face many challenges; such as accessing websites to maintain your subscriptions and being blocked because of where your IP address is (i.e Japan) and buying things in another country that are not available locally or way over priced (In Japan, most frequent is “not available”).

The simplest way to re-sign for subscriptions is through a VPN service like StrongVPN which make it look like your PC is in that country via a local IP address. Relatively simply and one I use all the time.

As for buying things, that really comes down to how often you travel home. In my case, going to Canada is an “almost never” scenario. But the US is more frequent due to a US based HQ. But that doesn’t fully solve the problem as many websites require a US billing address. A few examples:

  • Try to sign up for a on-line service out of the US (i.e. a music service ) and you will be out of luck unless you have a US credit card and billing address.
  • Several websites will require US billing and shipping address when buying goods due to fraud concerns.

Very difficult, or so I thought. Turns out that you can change your billing address on a Canadian credit card to another address for a period of time (30 days, 5 days). I did it with Amex, changing my billing address to the hotel I was staying in for 5 days to process the orders. Voila, order away and when I arrive at the hotel my goods will be waiting.

I will also use this trick to renew a few online subscriptions, opting to pay the entire years fee in one lump sum.

Neat trick.

TIME TO LEAVE

 

Well, Tokyo here we come. Reflecting back on work over the last 3 years, I had the opportunity to do a few very interesting things with clients. My top 3:

#3. Play in a pro-am with Louis Oosthuizen at the Mike Weir charity event the day before the Canadian Open pro-am. Capilano is the prettiest golf course I have every played. Ever.

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Louis is a great guy, although a little shy. For the record, my least favourite moment was when I picked it clean out of the bunker jumping it onto the next tee and an older woman exclaimed “Oh dear, that isn’t good”. My favourite moment …. outdriving Louis with a 300 yard bomb. I let him hit first (smile).

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#2. Joining a SWAT team for a day – rappelling down a building and shooting a fully automatic weapon for the first time. It had been a while since I have shot a gun (other than paintball with the boys) and had never shot full auto (shotguns, hunting rifles, my .22 as a kid), but shooting comes back to you quickly.

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And last, but not least, my most interesting client event over the last 3 years.

#1. Playing hockey at a client event at the Bell Center in Montreal. Although wearing Guy Lafleur’s number didn’t help my goal scoring. I suffer some kind of Montreal curse … Multiple games, more than a few heartbreakers, but no goals. Standing at the line in the Bell Center (I keep wanting to call it the forum) when the Canadian anthem played gave me shivers – truly awesome and distinctly Canadian.

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That is me on the left and the goalie making an insane save to keep my record at a whole bunch of assists and no goals … The slacker in the number 76 somehow got a bunch of goals (you know who you are) and wouldn’t let me forget it for 2 months. See the goalie lying on his side? The puck is teetering on his shoulder. I flicked it up twice and ….. no joy (And it would have won the game). My shame forever caught in this photo on the jumbotron (smile).

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I will miss you Canada. Ciao for now.