Rest In Peace. A sad day for Canadians.

I don’t pay as much attention to Canadian politics as much as I do to our neighbors down the street. Maybe because American politics affect my business as 100% of my income is directly correlated with the American corporate economy (that’s what I tell people). But really, they are just so much more dramatic, with almost a Hollywood movie style scripture to it. There seems to always be a protagonist in fight for the mighty good versus the bad guy who threatens the peace of the innocent. Whether it’s because a minority race and sex were up for vote or because there was always a war to win and people to rally, US politics had an easy, simple story to follow. I guess that’s what captures the minds of the American masses.  

 This past year though, one Canadian politician managed to make me listen to what he had to say with his charm and charisma (that’s what I tell people), but mainly because his goodness and care for Canadians showed through his words and his actions. He genuinely cared for his country and it’s a shame that cancer had to take him at such a pinnacle stage of his life and for all the Canadians that he would have positively affected in the years to come. I guess with this story, there was a good guy and a bad guy too.

While his actions are no longer with us, his words we can still learn from. This was from an excerpt from Layton’s last letter to Canadians:

             ~And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the worlds environment. We can restore our good name in the world….

..Consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done. My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

– Jack Layton 1950-2011

The Truth (as i see it)

Have you ever played the whisper game? You sit in a circle and whisper something in the ear to the person beside you. By the time it gets back to you, your original sentence of “I scored a hat trick and threw my gloves up in the air last night” has been mangled into “I nailed a fat chick and puked all over her hair last night.”

(LOL)

The truth is, that Truth is in the Eye of the Beholder. You hear all the time, that are 2 sides to every story, but really, there are 3. Your truth, My truth, and the real Truth.

When I was younger, I’d try hard to change the minds of people around me to My Truth because that was what I believed to be true, and if I was right, then you were wrong and that was that. Through my bullishness and constant barrage of ‘facts’ or ‘hear-says’, I would eventually convince my counterpart to concede. Wow, how stubborn I was, because even though they conceded to my ideals or thoughts, they didn’t truly believe or respect My Truth so nothing was gained. We see this everyday from the small and insignificant (what flavor a jellybean really is) to world issues (North Korea, Afghanistan, Vietnam, USA, USSR and every other war that has happened…in ALL of time). The issue is when one side has created a truth in their minds which they believe to be true and are too stubborn to see any other truth. I’m sure Kim Jong Il is a great conversationalist until you disagree on something.  (Maybe he’s ronery) What I’ve learned is that there is actually only One Truth. What used to be My Truth and your truth is simply just my opinion and your opinion with Truth skittering on edge.

With opinion, people go on to lay thick the eloquence on their convictions and beliefs on everything from politics to morality…and usually, they are very adamant about those views, saying them like they are actually the truth, not just “for me,” but truth, period.  Can you really blame a person though? The natural and first instinct of any living creature is self preservation whether it be life or pride, happiness or ego. If ones truth (opinion) threatens your happiness or your life, you will do all you can to fight against it, deny it and create your own story, gain followers and make that your truth to save yourself. How wars are started. (Even Star Wars)

Your best friend or your worst enemy won’t stand a chance against ‘The Truth’ that you believe.

Sadly this is the same with rumors, which are simply the skewed opinions and ‘truths’ that stemmed from people in between you and I. Like the whisper game, did I really sleep with a portly princess last night or was what I said somehow transformed before it got to your ear?

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that changing minds about truths and opinions does nothing. A person might not share the same Truth as you, but you still see it as your Truth so the least they can do is try to understand why you see it that way. Who knows, you might be right, you might be wrong, but in the end, we are the only ones that can change our mind of what we believe.

Chapters of Life

There’s no chapters in Life. No time to put the book down to reflect what just happened. No clear start and finish other than birth and death, and even then sometimes the lines seem blurred. Life just goes on, from one chapter to the next with no indication that a chapter is over. Sure when you graduate, get hired, get married, etc those are clearer starts to something that you could possibly define as new, but usually we won’t know that a chapter in your life is over until way well into the next one, when things are so different already that you finally notice a change in the color of your mood ring.

A lot of people, myself included, often make the mistake of waiting for the next chapter to begin, or waiting til this one is over. One of my friends knew he was going to get laid off a while back, perhaps even a year ago, that his position was going to become obsolete. Now he’s 2 months away and he’s still waiting for the axe to drop. His response? “I’ll figure it out.” I’m sure he will, but in the meantime he’s letting external factors control his life. Stop waiting and go do something. Change will happen whether you do something or not, but if you’re proactive, you can at least control the cange instead of being a victim of change. Think about all the different chapters in your lives. When you were in school. When you were dating your first boyfriend/girlfriend. When you were playing in the backyard as a child. Even last year, when you were single and now you’re not. When did you first notice that things weren’t the way they were? This will continue throughout your life until you die. I’ve been saying WTF at every turn of realization…

WTF…I actually graduated?! What happened in the past 4 years?! WTF…I’m doing this as a career?! I thought it’d be something else. WTF…I’m in a relationship?! How’d that happen, we were just hanging out everyday. WTF…I’m 30, single and no kids?! I thought I’d be 2 wives in and 5 kids by now. WTF…I have 3 kids?! I remember getting a dog, how did I end up with a family?!? WTF…I’m retiring? Wow, never thought this day would come. WTF…life is over?! what happened? Where did time go?

All those things you’re waiting for to happen probably won’t ever turn out as you thought. Tolle says “This too, shall pass.” that this moment, no matter how perfect or imperfect it is, won’t last. Don’t wait for the next chapter to start or end, because it’ll come and you won’t even know it, because it’ll come in a fashion that is completely different than what you’d expected. And why should it happen the way you want, when you’ve done nothing to help it along that path? Write your next chapter yourself, MAKE the start you want to see, MAKE the end you want to happen and be the author of your own life.

Alcoholic or Workoholic? Can I be both?!

Wow it’s been a busy month! It’s been a while since I posted so my apologies to all the blog readers who come expecting to see something. It’s disappointing I bet. Like going to the theatres expecting to watch a movie that you were waiting all week to go see and then having it be sold out. Then you have to figure out what to do now because you expected to spend the next 2 hours nomming on popcorn and spacing out watching some medieval guy cut up goblins (or watching some middle aged ladies try to recapture their youth by spending lots of money, sleeping with every guy under 30 and complaining about why they’re single. I mean, come on. It’s kind of obvious why you’re single. But in that case, maybe missing the movie is a good thing…) Either way! Sorry it’s been a while since my last posting. (maybe you don’t even care. you’re like…”wth, who’s this dude think he is comparing his blog to one of the best chick flicks ever…”)

I wish I could tell you that I travelled to the Bahamas and sipped on coconut juice while lounging on a hammock by the crystal blue and green ocean this past month. But I can’t, cuz I didn’t. I’ve eaten out alot this past month…is that worth mentioning? I love trying new restaurants; the ambiance, the food and service of somewhere new almost makes it like a mini-vacation in your own city as you’re experiencing something new. Other than eat out alot I havn’t really done much summery stuff. Alas, what I have to report as my reason of non-posting blog neglectance is that…*drum roll*… I’ve been working alot.

YAY…

Sad really, summers almost over and I havn’t done half of the things I wanted to do. But work hard and play hard I guess! (I’m just kidding…I don’t work or play hard…)

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Some Shiny Yellow Rule and Whatnot

Treat others like you would want to be treated. Simple enough no? Every relationship or interaction you’re in involves 2 people. Ordering coffee at Starbucks with your barrista or having lunch with a friend or shopping with Mom. The best and easiest way to get more out of them, or out of anybody really, is to give more to them. Sounds crazy right?

– WTF is he yapping about. I gotta give what?! –

 At a restaurant, you’re nicer to the server, you get better service. You help a friend move, he happily helps you back. You take care of your clients, they keep doing business with you. It’s a GIVE and take, not a take and give. I always find it so interesting how the way people conduct businesses is so correlated to how people treat relationships. So many of the subtle nuances can be transferred interchangeably between the two at all stages. I had a mentor when I was at Business Objects and he always preached that in order to be truly wealthy, you need success in both work life and personal life, a perfect balance of both with neither defining who you are entirely.

– WTF? I have to master both?!?! I’ll NEVER be happy! –

No you chump. The secret is to master one and see the similarities between the two. Follow one set of rules for both work and personal.

Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. During the past 10 years, the company has grown from almost no sales to more than $1 billion in annual gross merchandise sales, driven primarily by repeat customers and word of mouth. Below is an excerpt from Tony’s book that describes how Zappos approaches vendor relationships. I’m going to put an * next to the nuances. Make the connections as you see it.

This goes to show that any relationship you carry whether it be professional or personal, can be as successful or as horrible as you wish it to be with the Golden Rule.

The typical industry approach is to treat vendors like the enemy. Don’t show them any respect, don’t return their phone calls, make them wait for scheduled appointments, and make them buy the meals.

It’s a wonder people don’t realize that business doesn’t have to be done this way.

Ultimately, each party is out for the same thing: to take care of the customers, grow the business, and be profitable. In the long run, it doesn’t behoove either party if there’s only one winner.* If vendors can’t make a profit then they don’t have money to invest in research and development, which in turn means that the products they bring to market will be less inspiring to customers, which in turn negatively affects the retailer’s business because customers aren’t inspired to buy. People want to cut costs and negotiate aggressively because there’s a limited amount of profit to be shared by both sides. As a result of this “death spiral,” most retailers fail.*

We wanted Zappos to be different. We decided to create collaborative relationships in which both parties shared the risks, as well as the rewards.*We found it much easier to create alliances when partners aligned themselves to the same vision and committed to accountability, knowing we’d all benefit from achieving our goals. Not only does this approach get both sides pulling in the same direction, it creates an environment and culture where people are inspired and passionate about what they do.*

We implement this partnership mentality in many ways at Zappos, but it all begins with the Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d like to be treated.* When vendors fly to visit our offices in Las Vegas, they are greeted at the airport by one of our Zappos shuttles. If it’s their first time visiting our office, we give them a tour. We offer them drinks and snacks to make them feel comfortable. This is all far from industry standard, but if we were in their position, I’m sure we wouldn’t mind being treated this way.

July 29th, 1979 plus 31 years

Lets dance a style

Lets dance for a while

Heaven can wait we’re only watching the skies

Hoping for the best but expecting the worst

Are you going to drop the bomb or not

Let us die young or let us live forever

We don’t have the power but we never say never

Sitting in a sand pit life is a short trip

The music is for the sad man

Forever young, I want to be Forever young

Do you really want to live forever? And Ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1nbvplgElw&feature=related

The poster in my gym

Credibility killed the Cat (or there lack of)

Recently a close friend of mine came across a killer condo in Yaletown. This place was serious pimp (opposite of ‘falsely pimp’ where the pimp-in-question tries too hard whereas ‘serious pimp’ is au natural and just…flows) with views of False Creek marina to the South and Downtown core to the North. Spacious and bright with an artful decor in a tasteful red, white and black motif, this place had everything a perfect bachelor pad should have; even down to the Heineken Beer-Tender Krups B95. Unfortunately it was short lived. The landlord decided to move back in after less than 2 months tenancy and was ‘evicting’ my friend. Now normally this wouldn’t  have been able to happen according to the BCREA, but there were extenuating circumstances which would be best left to another posting on its own.

 

He found another place in short notice though. This new place was 2 buildings down and was higher and larger. It was leasing for a great rate so there were multiple applicants for the condo. Being a landlord, when multiple people apply to rent your condo, you want to look for several differentiating factors such as: will they pay you on time? Will they trash your place? Will they stay for the term of the lease and not bail early? Applying for a place to rent (or buy) is like applying for a job. You put your best foot forward and hope the interviewer/landlord/mortgage broker likes what they see and deem you better than the rest. As a landlord and manager though, one thing I rely on more so than what the applicant tells me is what their references and experiences tell me. People will often lie for themselves, but other people are less prone to lie for other people.

 

My friend had 3 references on his application. The first reference was his company which he owned. It’s a franchise company and he’s been very successful at building and growing the business to a thriving, self-sustained enterprise. The 2nd reference was a friend whom he’d grown up with who was now an RCMP and his 3rd reference was me. Needless to say, the landlord never made it to calling me as a global company with franchises worldwide and a police officer was good enough. He had enough credibility to beat out the competition and he’d spent a lifetime building that credibility. On the opposite spectrum, I had a friend who wanted to purchase a condo this past month with his girlfriend and was turned down because his credit was horrible; because he didn’t do what he said he would do and pay back the money loaned out to him by the banks. Now, 7 years later like that little Italian kid you used to pick on, it’s come back larger and stronger and kicked his ass.

When you tell your friends that you’ll do something, do they believe you? Do you come through? What about if there is a deadline at work? Do you deliver? Your ability to say what you mean and do what you say. Personally I always do what I say, otherwise I wouldn’t say it. If I’m unsure if I can deliver, I’ll say nothing first until I’m sure. Everybody has that friend who says “I’m going to start a business!” or “I’m going to do this or that!” and never end up doing it. Like the boy who cried wolf, people will eventually tune you out like the bathroom fan that stays running all day. It’s a simple enough principle and one that has been drilled into our heads since we were young but why is it that it’s such a hard concept for some people? I notice that a lot of monkeys will say what they say in the heat of the moment and worry about the consequences later. The thing with credibility though, is that it takes a lifetime to build. Each and every action that we take and every word that we speaks increases our cred meter, both personally and professionally. All we have is our reputation and once that is tainted it takes a long time to build it back so be good with your actions and words, you never know what references you’ll need in the future.

No Regrets

Every Monday the majority of us smash our alarm clocks on average about 3 times, snoozing in a good 20-30 minutes after we’re supposed to wake up. If you’re smart, you’ve set your alarm for 20 minutes earlier the night before, but usually what that does for me is I then end up hitting the snooze 5 times, making me really late anyways. The alarm clock, a daily reminder that we are controlled by someone else, something else, that forces us out of what we want to be doing (sleeping) and what we have to be doing (working). If we all ran by our own clocks, there wouldn’t be a need for the alarm.

We go to work and do our thing. Some of us flip burgers, others sell software. Some lead other people, others are managed. My friends are roofers, IT guys, public relations managers, teachers, sales guys, realtors, delivery drivers, etc. Some of them work 20 hours a week and others work 60 but most of us work for our money. Of course, living in Vancouver, we all know our fair share of DD’s (and if you think I mean designated drivers, I applaud you for your innocence).

One thing that we can get lost in is our work. We immerse ourselves in what we do to better our careers, to get that big bonus or close that big deal. We put in extra hours after work or on weekends, often neglecting our personal lives. We sit in coffee shops at 9pm putting that final touch on the proposal or tweaking the graphics on your clients website so it’s just perfect. Two of my best friends even moved across the continent to a different country to pursue a ‘higher work status’. All this, in hopes to gain credibility and eventually higher paying jobs or more contracts. In the end, what we are doing essentially is simply trading our time (limited) for money (unlimited).

If you look at all the best moments in your life, they are rarely when you are by yourself. All of the best memories you will ever have, will be with other people.

Time is a limited commodity. In our lives, time is the most non-renewable resource and is the most valuable thing that we could share with another person. As young adults, we don’t really see beyond 5-10 years of our lives and sometimes we take for granted how short a time we’re here to make an impact on other people, on matters and on the world. I once had a conversation with a World War 2 veteran while sitting at the mall. He was probably in his 80’s, tall and carried a pretty big frame on him and we were both waiting for our significant others while they shopped (yes age has no buffers when it comes to accompanying your wife/gf to the mall). When we finished our conversation, he leaned heavily on his cane to stand up and said to me “Enjoy your youth while you still have it son.” I looked at him and thought of him in his younger days. Probably a healthy, active guy, physically and mentally able to do whatever his mind wished him to. Fast forward 40-50 years and all you have is memories of what you did and thoughts of what you could have done.

I’m hoping to have more memories of what I’ve done than thoughts of what I could have, should have, would have… but didn’t do.

It’s easy to get caught up in work and the need to succeed financially. But don’t lose sight of why we work to begin with; to have more freedom to spend time with our circle of people, doing the things we enjoy. I mean, isn’t it all of our goals to make more money so we can have more free time? Don’t let work control you or define who you are, but rather, see it as a means to an end, something that will help enhance your life and not be your life. My job title is Account Executive of Corporate Software Sales. It’s not who I am, but what I do sometimes. I am also a Son, Brother, Friend, Boyfriend, Hockey player, Realtor, Rider, BBQ’er, Writer, Blogger, and the list goes on. The more I can add to that list, the more people I touch in my life. Can you add to your list? Your call.

Parking Tickets in Vancouver

Here are some of the top tricks and tips for avoiding getting a parking ticket in the City of Vancouver.

 

Parking Secret No. 0. Be nice to the Parking Guy You never know when they’ll let you off.

Parking Secret No. 1. If there’s one place you should make sure to plug the meter, it’s in the 800-block of Hornby, right in front of the Law Courts. That’s because parking officers are testifying in traffic court and often write a few tickets on their way in or out. The Starbucks at Helmcken and Howe is also a danger zone: it’s right across the street from parking headquarters and where many parking officers go for coffee. I lived upstairs from this Starbucks for 5 years and watched the Yellow Jacket gang ticket every car even when they’re off shift.

Parking Secret No. 2. If you’re running into Future Shop at Broadway and Pine and figure you’re safe in a permit spot for a minute or two, think again. More people receive permit-related tickets in the 2500-block of Pine than anywhere else. That’s because a resident calls parking enforcement about three times a day to complain about illegal parkers. Other blocks under the constant watch of irate residents include the 2400 blocks of Bayswater and Trutch and the residential streets around Langara College.

Parking Secret No. 3. For parking-meter tickets only, every driver in the city is entitled to one “courtesy cancellation.” If you call 604-257-8732, and ask nicely, the city will usually waive your fine. Each licence plate gets only one free pass over the life of the vehicle.

Parking Secret No. 4. The worst day of the week to park illegally is Wednesday. Parking officers work a nine-day fortnight and the one day virtually all of them are on shift is Wednesday. Not surprisingly, it’s also the day the most tickets are issued: 20 per cent more tickets, in fact, than on a typical Monday.

Parking Secret No. 5. The riskiest time of day to park illegally is in the afternoon, between noon and 4:30 p.m., since that’s when the various parking shifts overlap. However, there is a slight dip in ticket-writing between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., when many parking officers are on their lunch breaks.

Parking Secret No. 6. As long as you’re not blocking a rush-hour route, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. is “Happy Hour” for illegal parkers. Starting at 3:05 p.m. every weekday, parking officers from all over the city converge on routes such as Robson, Davie and Broadway to hand out no-stopping tickets and order vehicles towed away. As a result, enforcement of all other offences — such as expired meters and permit zones — drops off considerably for about an hour.

Parking Secret No. 7. Enjoy your Sunday brunch without fear of a parking ticket. The first shift of parking officers doesn’t start on Sundays until 11:30 a.m., much later than on other days. There’s a proposal before city council to move the start time to 8:30 a.m. but, for now, your chances of getting a ticket before noon on Sunday are slim.

Parking Secret No. 8. Night owls can rest easy. The first shift of parking officers starts at 6:15 a.m. and the last clocks off at 10:30 p.m. There are some exceptions for special events, but for the most part there is little to no parking enforcement overnight. However, this could change: a report has gone to city council proposing a new shift that would run until 2 a.m.

Parking Secret No. 9. A five-minute grace period exists in most no-parking areas, such as permit zones and commercial loading areas, so you’re allowed to stop briefly to pick someone up or drop them off. That also means a parking officer has to observe you sitting in such a spot for at least five minutes before writing you a ticket. Be warned, though: no such grace period exists for areas where you’re not allowed to stop at all — like rush-hour routes or bus zones — or for spots with a meter.

Parking Secret No. 10. All parking meters are not created equal. Downtown, where there are dedicated meter-checking foot patrols, the typical meter is usually checked by a parking officer at least once every two hours. In contrast, the meters along Commercial Drive and in Kerrisdale don’t have dedicated foot patrols and so may be checked as little as once a day.

Parking Secret No. 11. If you’re going to park illegally, don’t put on your four-way flashers. It provides no legal protection and just draws attention to your offence. “What it says to me is: I know it’s illegal, but I’m only doing it for awhile,” said parking officer Sherry Wevill.

Parking Secret No. 12. Just because there’s no chalk on your tires doesn’t mean you’re necessarily safe in a two-hour parking spot. Instead of chalking, some parking officers log the position of each car’s tire air valve in their hand-held computers. If the position hasn’t changed by the time they come back around, they know your car hasn’t moved. Other officers put a small stone on top of each tire or check tailpipes for signs of condensation.

Parking Secret No. 13. When the time runs out on your parking meter, you always get a two-minute “grace period”, regardless of whether you paid for four minutes or an hour. During that grace period, the meter will display a solid “000” instead of a flashing “0000” and you will not receive a ticket. However, the grace period also means if you tell an officer the meter just ran out, they know if you’re lying.

Parking Secret No. 14. You can get a ticket even if your meter is fully paid. Along several rush-hour routes, such as Robson, a meter will accept your change even though you’re not allowed to park there between 3 and 6 p.m. Stickers on each meter warn parkers of this fact, but dozens of paid-up parkers are still ticketed and towed every weekday.

Parking Secret No. 15. There are no parking enforcement officers working on either Christmas or New Year’s Day. Vancouver police will respond to complaints about serious safety violations, but your chances of getting a ticket for anything else on those two days are virtually zero.

Dear Diary…

GIRL’S DIARY

TUESDAY 11th May 2010.

Saw John in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so I thought it might be that.

The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat.

All through dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed, and didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me or to what I was saying. I just knew that something was wrong.

He dropped me back home and I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated, but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on.

After about 10 minutes of silence, I said I was going upstairs to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh, and a sad sort of smile. He didn’t follow me up, but later he did, and I was surprised when we made love.

He still seemed distant and a bit cold, and started to think that he was going to leave me, and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep.

BOY’S DIARY

TUESDAY 11th May 2010.

Canucks lost the series to Hawks 4-2. Got laid though.