Personal Evolution and Breasts

Radio - 92/365In spring of 1997 I was invited to be on a Battle of the Sexes radio program which I lost because faced with answering either “a Big Mac” or “an average woman’s breast” for which weighed more, I was too embarrassed to say the word “breast” on the air.

I cite this personal struggle, because I’m a firm believer that we must evolve as people, which I evidently have done in the intervening years. Last night I said “breast” in public about a hundred times, often to complete strangers who gave me money in return. What was the evolution from meek grad student to top salesman? Lots of rejection and a little success.

From fall 1997 to around 2001, I was a website generalist which meant I sold websites, acted as account manager, designed, and even developed those websites. I got rejected a lot on the sales side of things, but I learned from my mistakes. Eventually, we moved to a specialist model and so I was put in charge of design which is where I excelled.

I also started helping out with recruiting drives for the Minnesota Junior Chamber (Jaycees) around 2000. Going door to door and asking people if they are interested in volunteering their time in the community and then having the audacity to suggest they pay you for it (membership dues covered insurance for events, communications, and marketing materials) can be a tough sell if you don’t develop a thick skin and a sales tactic. I started focusing on selling the idea to the community leaders and getting them to help me identify potential members and publicizing it for me (I had always envied Tom Sawyer’s ability to get others to pay him to paint the fence, and thought there had to be more applications for that strategy in life). When I wasn’t getting others to sell for me, I found that humor and getting people to admit that they cared about something seemed to be my strong suits.

Fast forward to last night – I was at a pub crawl with Jaycees to help fund a charity bike ride (Disclaimer: I work in a marketing/technical support role for the regional RE/MAX franchisor and the event is being sponsored by one of the brokerages I support – RE/MAX Results). The crawl organizer was having little luck at getting those in attendance to sell the ribbons she had made to increase visibility/funding. The unwritten rule for Jaycee alumni is that if a current member will do the job, you step back and mentor them, but if no one is stepping up, you can show them how it’s done.

So I put the pink ribbon necklace around my neck and marched over to a table of three men and a woman and got their attention so that I could make my pitch.

“Pardon me, but I was wondering how you feel about breasts?”

I kept this as my opener throughout the night as it caught people off guard and they would smile as they pieced together their response which was usually “They’re awesome!” or “I am in favor of them.”

“So from what I’m hearing you say, you are in favor of them continuing or improving in quantity and quality?”

This would be met with a number of cheers and affirmations. The goal being to get them to vocalize that they cared about the cause.

“So this young lady that I’m with is going to be biking for breast cancer research, to help find a cure, and she’s looking for assistance in fundraising. For a buck, I’ll give you one of these lovely pins which you can wear proudly to express your support of breasts.”

At the first table, I actually pulled nothing as they claimed to be out of paper money (this was my one-off for the night as I averaged $3-4 at every other table). A guy one table over from them heard the pitch and came over to our table afterwards to buy three for his table, thereby starting my streak which lasted until I quit selling, so a 100%+ conversion rate.

I am sharing this story because it’s a personal evolution victory and would love to hear about yours. Also, it’s because I had a lot of fun making people laugh in exchange for money.

Creative Commons License Niklas Morberg via Compfight

Geek Out – Man of Steel Style

Superman's beardOn YouTube over the past week I’ve been bombarded with ads by Gillette regarding how Superman shaves. Canon from the books, Lois and Clark, and the animated series purports he uses a mirror to reflect his heat vision. I’ve never been a huge fan of that as he would have to trim his hair that way. How many times would he get super-sneezes trying to clean up his nose hair before he got it down right?

So I checked out the ad and thought for sure someone would agree with the way I had envisioned. Bill Nye’s theory was that he shaved by grinding his hair down like a power sander, which is laborious and doesn’t address his coiffure. Mayim Bialik suggests that he has an enzymatic lotion, which again, would give him Lex Luthor’s hair instead of that perfect spit curl. The final entry, from the Mythbusters, is that he uses the large hadron collider.

None of the experts got it – all of their theories are crap as they were paid by Gillette to think within the box of his facial hair.

Superman’s Hair Care Secret

The closest was Kevin Smith who looked at Superman’s vulnerabilities and ruled out kryptonite (based on the reference he meant green kryptonite – which is an important qualification) and magic (his logic of Superman having to study magic being sound, but he could acquire an enchanted razor from one of Earth’s practitioners). Granted, he could keep around a lead lined charm with blue kryptonite (renders him human during exposure) for days when he wanted to stop by the barber and get a shave or a trim, but why would he choose to subject himself to the possibility of a nemesis dispatching him in such a condition.

The first part of the equation is that Jor El provided for technology for his son in his transport. Canon stipulates that he has a Fortress of Solitude holding the scientific wisdom of Krypton. If you read Reign of the Supermen which came after the Death of Superman, you would have seen that that fortress included a number of robots that maintain his sanctum and service him.

The second part of the equation is an understanding of his superpowers. They are derived from his ability to metabolize and infuse his body with yellow sun radiation. During “Eclipso: The Darkness Within” Superman was cut off from the Earth’s yellow sun and had to rely on fruits and vegetables to regain a portion of his power. Like Daxamites, Superman is vulnerable to red sun radiation as it suppresses his yellow sun powers.

So the solution – a barber bot in the Fortress of Solitude with the ability to generate red sun radiation in a targeted manner. Need a shave, the red sun laser targets the follicles, rendering them mundane enough for a standard razor to cut them. The same goes for his nose hair and coif. Who is going to believe that Clark Kent and Superman are different people if they both show up with poorly shorn hair? In addition, his Fortress sensors should pick up any incoming threat with sufficient time for the cantaloupe pomade to be applied, so as to avoid duplicating Lex Luthor’s iconic look in the event of a super-villain assault.

Cover photo courtesy:  Ben Northern

Summer Bucket List – 2013

Photo from Niagara Cave tripHave you created your summer bucket list? The goal is to be able to look back and say “this is what I pushed myself to accomplish.” So many years bleed into one another, and it’s easy to wonder what has become of your life, but having a list every year, helps remind you of what progress you have made – what positive change you have wrought in your life.

Last year I announced to the world my bucket list items –  I stood up to my fears of Lasik and dropped about 10 pounds over the summer (which the long winter unfortunately repaid in full, partly in muscle so I’m not despondent).

My big goal for this year was going to be to learn to ride and acquire a motorcycle, but early in the year I came to the realization that there was another goal to supplant that one – to improve my photography/videography skills. It is a skill set that has personal and professional significance beyond just the confrontation of fear that the motorcycle choice would have represented (two of my brothers had significant motorcycle accidents in high school, poisoning my interest in that transportation mode).

Toward that end I purchased a Canon T4i and have been working to learn the art of photographic composition, currently focusing on creating depth of field photos (example from my recent vacation) where only the item of interest is in focus. I’ve posted some of my shots thus far online if you want to peek at my progress.

I’ve also been improving my video production skills. I’ve been doing video production for work and here are 2 examples – the January monthly with a Flip camera and the May version with the Canon T4i and a lav mic. I’m also working on a video project for the family, a documentary.

Beyond that goal, I’m also working on my distinct lack of horticultural skills. My mother planted a garden every year when she was in Mabel, and my grandmother did her own gardening up until the time of her stroke. I’ve never had a green thumb because I forget to water and care for the plants, but I’ve kept a plant alive for 6 months (one out of three I bought at the same time) so I’ve gone ahead and planted some pepper plants, rosemary, basil, and partial shade plants (begonias and nasturtiums) in the area under my deck which has been unused for the past 4 years. I will post pictures as that project progresses.

I’ve also got some other optional items. I’m going to try and post to this blog once per week. I still want to set aside a weekend to learn to ride a motorcycle through one of those on the road training programs, but that will depend upon where I can fit it in and the weather. I went white water rafting up by Duluth once with my Upward Bound group and I’d like to return this year if I can find a weekend that works.

One that I’ve partially realized is the thorough cleaning of my downstairs which I let go back in 2011 when I was temporarily unemployed and never bothered to fully revisit after. I finally got through the emotional baggage of that time so with no personal demons lurking in the crawl space, I’ve made significant progress and hope to complete the project this weekend.