Thursday, May 29, 2014

cc watch: Tales, More Tales, Further Tales of the City

I was able to read the first book, Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin, decades ago. I couldn't recall the story but I remembered it was fun reading. I knew years after, that they made TV mini-series of the book. But I never got around to remembering to download. Until recently.

The first season had 6 episodes. Set in 70's San Francisco but produced in 1993, the series was fun to watch. And it didn't disappoint with the male nudity factor, though still just behinds. I won't get into the details but it was typical soap opera fare, with twists and turns and with very colorful (rainbow flag-colorful) characters. I was shocked to see my crush from the 90's, "The Rocketeer" William Campbell, playing a hot gay doctor. That certainly made me want to finish the season.

The second season also had 6 episodes. It was produced 5 years after but was supposedly just a year from where season 1 left off. They brought in new actors to play old roles. That was jarring at the start. I had gotten familiar with the Season 1 characters and my brain kept on resisting. Until I realized that the actor, Paul Hopkins, is way sexier as Michael Tolliver than the first season. The way the story unravels was still very credible, pretty much as Armistead wrote it. I noticed though that there were a few more scenes of gratuitous male nudity, frontal at that, in Season 2. But these were from the extras rather than the main characters.

The series ends with Season 3 as one 3-hour episode. This was produced in 2001 though the show itself takes place about 6 years after. By this time, the stories had gotten a bit stale and it needed a different plot twist. So it introduced new characters interplaying with the old ones (and old cast, no new faces this time). And lo behold, even the hot male characters were (finally) in their frontal birthday suits.

So, other than those snippets of nudity, is the series worth watching? I enjoyed it, though not in a delirious kind of way. The third season ranks least among the three. I felt it was just going through the motions. But what the heck, I've always been the type to see things through till the end.

So go watch it. If only to see hot couple William Campbell and Paul Hopkins kiss and naked. LOL

*all images lifted from

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

CC updates: Challenging Habits

After that gastrointestinal upset, I am finally back to 'normal' programming. Bowel movement is normal. (TMI. I know.) Workouts are regular. Even that daily abs routine is back to three circuits per day. (I follow the 7 Minute Workout app in iOS. One circuit is 7 minutes. I downloaded, i.e. paid for the Core workout. The Full Body program comes free.) It really takes me two to three full weeks from a lull or break to get into normal programming. That's age for you.

I have noticed that I have been quite productive at work, too. I have finally zeroed my paperwork backlog. Funny that I would still call it 'paperwork' when all the documents are electronic. But despite being so gung-ho about the business this year, I still have moments of doubt and even defeat. I look around industry and see how the competitor has gobbled up share in all aspects, throwing tons of money to secure leadership. Just a few short years back, we were on top. But they were relentless in their campaign. We had to bow down.

But we are not out of the game. We can't be. I have much too much at stake, including jobs and lives of people. So I wrack my brain, and everybody else's to make sure we recover sharply this year.

Mom has been getting some dizzy spells lately. The specter of her stroke last year hung like a heavy cloak as Dad brought her to her neurologist. Thankfully, it's nothing of that sort. Plain positional vertigo, he said calmly. And that calmed her, and all of us.

Lately, I have been feeling quite burdened by the financial responsibility I took on recently. I have started to penny-pinch again. I just have to make sure I have enough to tide me over, till that responsibility wraps up in four years. I had been so comfortable financially in the past years. This is certainly humbling.

It should be good for me. It was time to curb some excessive habits anyway. First to go was the daily dose of Starbucks. That was partly motivated by my gastrointestinal problem. Limit myself to 2-3x of Starbucks per week. Our suki baristas must have been wondering about me.

Then the weekly massage came next.. I resolved to limit that to twice per month.I am struggling with this. I so enjoy some good muscular kneading weekly, with that culminating happiness after an hour or so of arousal. The aching muscles and joints after my run or workout scream for touch therapy. But I shall bite my lip and bear it.

There are many more in the list that had to be given up or deferred. Ultimately, i am humbled by this. It is not painful, just uncomfortable.

I guess it all boils down to challenging habits. I think ultimately, there is some character-building opportunity in challenging whatever habits one has accumulated through the years. Just because one had gotten so used to a certain way of doing things doesn't make that immutable or even necessary. One develops resilience as habits give way.

So there. I have been working on developing resilience, in the face of changing circumstances in cc's life.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leadership, stylized

I was interviewed yesterday by an MBA student on leadership styles. It got me thinking, rather quickly, about my 'style'.

His first question threw me off. "What was the journey towards developing your leadership style like?" I was taken aback because I never saw it as a conscious path of sorts. I started discussing my career path instead, emphasizing the points when I started to 'manage'. I pointed out that I started 'managing' even when I didn't have any direct reports (I don't like using 'subordinates'). I had to accomplish many things through people, though I don't supervise them. That's where I got to 'lead', with no formal structure supporting this role. It honed my emotional quotient. I had to build credibility, exercise empathy, reach out to be able to make things happen.

Then eventually, I assumed formal management roles and responsibilities. In a sense, it was easier. Technically, I could just pull rank and get the job done. But because of habit, I rarely played that card. I still used my 'informal methods', and made sure that the environment I built allowed the people to grow, to be empowered yet accountable. Not everybody responds in the same way though. So I would use the 'stick' from time to time.

I believe I have been effective to a certain extent. The company has grown. But the latest challenges are making me rethink my strategies and styles. My leadership has not delivered the results that were needed. I need to evolve.

My style may have an unchanging core, but the style needs to adapt. Technology offers me new ways to reach out, learn and manage, perhaps more effectively. It also gives me access to infrastructure (systems and policies) for more consistent management and control. I need to be on top of that.

The core of my 'style' is relational, even familial. I rely on the formal and informal pathways to influence and to get feedback. Leadership by example, service leadership. These are key terms I like hearing, and I try to practice. Finally, I like inspiring people towards a goal, a vision. I'd like people owning that dream and be motivated intrinsically.

What's your leadership style like? How do you get people to do what you want them to do, what should be done?

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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Open Fabcast 3 & 4

Two Episodes, Back to Back!!!

The conclusion...

Music credits:
“I Got A Boy” by Girls’ Generation
“Winter Rose/Love Awake” by Paul McCartney & Wings
“The Game Is On” (from the soundtrack of BBC's Sherlock, season 1) by David Arnold & Michael Price
“Take A Chance On Me” by Erasure


The Open Fabcast, Part 4

Music credits:
“Do It Again” by Robyn & R√∂yksopp
“The Game Is On” (from the soundtrack of BBC's Sherlock, season 1) by David Arnold & Michael Price
“Runaway” by Kanye West Feat. Pusha T
“Love Is A Bourgeois Concept” by the Pet Shop Boys

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Friday, May 2, 2014

The Open Fabcast 2

Probably the most contentious of the arrangements...

Music credits:
"Let It Go" (from the soundtrack of the movie "Frozen") by Edina Menzel
"On The Move" (from the soundtrack of BBC's "Sherlock", season 1) by David Arnold & Michael Price
"Hanky Panky" (from the soundtrack of the movie "Dick Tracy") by Madonna

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

We, the laborers

To all of us who toil daily
no matter the lot or circumstance
for an honest day's wage
despite conditions, mood or temperament
Upon our shoulders are built
Companies, societies and nations
This is our day
Each drop of sweat, or sigh from weariness
We honor today
We may be unsung, underappreciated
But just for this one day
Our labor is recognized
Loved and prayed for.

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