Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Colin Powell on Obama Victory

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wine On Line

This Blog is moving to HERE, to make your blog reading experience mo' better.

Are you a techno-phile? And do you also love wine? If you answered "yes", or even "maybe" to those questions, there's a lot to be excited about in the on-line wine world. There are opportunities to connect with fellow wine lovers through myriad blogs and winery review sites like the California Winery Advisor (image above). Or you can expand into an interactive web experience by connecting with fellow wine lovers on Wine 2.0 or the Open Wine Consortium. These are social sites that connect people who enjoy talking about wine with an international group of people.

Have even more energy than that? Try Twitter Taste Live: an on line group that hosts wine tastings and allows you to offer real time feed back as you taste along with people all over the world. Pretty crazy, but really fun! Want to be a spectator? Have you seen our own Hahn TV? Get to know our winemakers and the Hahn Family brands in detail. Check out the Huntington falcons, the Surfin' Cycles Gladiator winemakers, and the stars of the winemaking world in the Santa Lucia Highlands on Hahn TV.

This is Web 2.0. A variety of ways to engage you and give you the opportunity to participate. It may sound impersonal at first, but I have made connections on line that led me to meet great people, in person! Now I wouldn't trade my on line wine community for anything! They are smart, funny people that teach me about wine from all over the world. And I can stay connected to them between events through their blogs, and the social networks mentioned above. It is another way to share the wine experience with like-minded people who are also passionate about wine.

Below is a clip from the first North American Wine Bloggers Conference I attended for Hahn Estates in October, 2008. It is one of the greatest examples of successful social media in action, and a movement in the wine industry that is changing how we interact with wine online. Poke around and check out a few of the sites. There's also a fantastic log of Wine Blogs and participants from the WBC here: Caveman Wines.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lightning on the Canvass

I'm moving my blog over to WordPress. Click here to read more about Layla Fanucci. Please come subscribe there, with better features, easier to find, and more coming soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Homage to the Trojans (or The Mental Game)

Mostly, I've found you either love 'em or hate 'em. And I guess I can understand that, though I'm fascinated by the polarity. The USC Trojans' Football Team has passion. They also have talent, confidence, style, and tremendous (financial) support. Maybe that's what bugs people so much. From the other side of the coin, it might look like arrogance, pride (not the good kind), excess, and an entitled-spoiled smugness.

The Trojans live in Los Angeles, land of the beautiful people. The gentle omni-present sunshine warms our athletes year round. And except for the smog, traffic and general LA sprawl, there is little to complain about in SC life. All that may help, but that doesn't change the pursuit to be #1 in National College Football. Watching every weekend, I've learned that we still, ultimately, always have ourselves to beat first and foremost. We have seen our #1 ranked team lose this year against unranked Oregon State and last year against Stanford, right after two sound victories against Virginia and Ohio State, BOTH ranked top 20!

When there is no specific reason for losing, it comes down to the mental game. If you've ever won anything, you know that there are good days and bad days. Part of the practice becomes making the good days the norm when it comes to your mental game. Mental self-discipline, big picture vision, focus on the goal, a nimble ability to adjust, perspective; these are all essential pieces of the mental game. The Trojans demonstrate an excellent mental game most of the time. It comes down to self-discipline, the cornerstone of the mental game, and therefore a key tool for success. There's so much more already written about success. Also see Jack Canfield, Napoleon Hill.

Watching the Trojans every week gives me a chance to evaluate my mental game and learn from theirs. I find out where my pitfalls may be and what needs strengthening. It is also a pleasure to watch what works. It's pretty hard to argue with winning. Mark Sanchez & Pete Carroll(photos above) demonstrate in their successes and failures the terrain of the mental game. And how essential it is to keep your eye on the ball.

In homage to my Alma Mater:
Fight On, Gentlemen!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Left Can Be Right

I am buoyed; even cautiously optimistic. There are a couple reasons: 1. Today I pre-qualified for a home loan…possibly no big deal under normal circumstances, but in the current economic context, I’m thrilled. 2. Obama has pulled ahead in most polls that count, at least in the press. And 3. The Great Schlep, and everything it represents.

In addition to the humor of Sarah Silverman, indeed a bizarre ice breaker, the way The Great Schlep (TGS) invites people to come together for something they believe in is an inspiration. Think about this for a moment: TGS empowers Jewish grandchildren to fly to Florida to visit their grandparents and discuss voting for Barak Obama. Ok, forget that I also support Mr. Obama, the idea is still an inspiration bringing multi-generational families together, across states, for meaningful conversation about changing their country and their lives for the better. Despite what you think about either side politically, you have to admit that the more people come together to talk about politics, issues, our country, the more people at the table discussing the future and solutions, the better chance we have to actually find workable solutions for all of us.

Regardless of who wins this election, we will still (thankfully) live in the US together and work together and have to share in the problem solving, together. It is fascinating to me how what looks like a simple plan, have grandkids talk to their grandparents in a critical voting state, really has a thoughtful elegance, depth, value and meaningful level of uplift to it.

So I am buoyed. The Great Schlep is exemplary in its strength, grace & brilliance.

What are your thoughts?

Watch here:

How do you Hero?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Blue Angels: Strength, Grace, Brilliance

Have you ever seen the Blue Angels perform their Flying Stunt Show? It's an awesome, as in awe inspiring, sight. My kids and I watched from a friend's rooftop on Van Ness in San Francisco. The jets flew so low over us a couple times that we could read the numbers on the tail of the aircraft. My kids cowered from the boom. The building vibrated. And I couldn't help but catch my breath thinking about their brilliance, grace and strength.

It was a strange feeling. I'm what you might call a Peace Freak. In the 1980's, I registered Green to help get them listed as a new political party. I attended rallies against The Gulf War in the 90's. Since I had children, I find it even harder to imagine sending our young people to war. In 2003 I collaborated with theatre companies in the Napa Valley to present a reading of Lysistrata along with theatres all across the world in protest of our launching war in the Middle East.

But as I stood there on the roof in the sunshine in San Francisco watching the Blue Angels whoosh by me with a vibrating boom above a picturesque sailboat-dotted-bay, I was proud, in awe, and hopeful. On the heels of the last few weeks' economic and political news, we've watched our country descend into the worst economic turmoil in our lifetime. Politically, divisive and hateful speech has become common at some rallies; stirring a frightening and toxic force among our citizens. Watching the Blue Angels reminded me of our potential, our better selves. This seems ironic to me since they are also part of our military and as I said before, I'd prefer peace, in a big way.

So here they were in our fair city, people gathering to be together to watch this spectacular display of artistry and science and skill. It's one of those moments you remember forever. Maybe the Blue Angels in context within the rest of the political and economic muck and despair was jarring. Maybe it is a time when their artistry, science and skill can be especially appreciated. And maybe coming together with everything aligned under an amazing display of strength, grace and leadership is what we need more of right now. I'll be looking for it, imitating it and finding it.

Lt Gretchen Doane & LCDR Mark Lambert, photographs above are Blue Angels Officers.

I looked into the history of the Blue Angels a little since they stirred my curiosity.

A few facts:

  1. The Blue Angels first performed in 1946
  2. There are no safety or alternate pilots because, "The teamwork required for the high speed, low-altitude flying in the tight Blue Angel formation takes hundreds of hours to develop. A substitute pilot would not have enough time in the formation to do this safely."
  3. The average age of a Blue Angels pilot is 33 years old.
  4. The F/A-18 can reach speeds just under Mach 2, almost twice the speed of sound or about 1,400 mph. The maximum rate of climb of the F/A-18 is 30,000 feet per minute.
  5. The jets bear the official colors for the U.S. Navy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Opportunity: Don't Be Left UnConnected

It's getting pretty weird out there. Well, it probably has been for awhile. So what are you going to do about it? You have some options: My least favorite and perhaps one of the most popular positions is the fetal position. Either mentally or physically, people may consider adopting a curl-up-until-it's-over attitude. And maybe that works for some people. However, while I don't look forward to crisis, I do recognize the opportunity for, leadership, new deals, new connections and being the carrier of light across the darkness.

Marketing, PR and all new e-marketing opportunities are bursting with possibility right now. Twitter has posted their Top 50 Tweeples (are you connected to them?), AND is partnering with Current TV (watch their amazing "Hack-the-Debate" programming of the Presidential debates posting real-time tweets). YouTube is experimenting with click-to-buy placement with Blogging, Video blogging and many other forms of Social Media are exploding with popularity while corporations race to figure out how to maximize advertising in web's social-sphere. The video version of Twitter, 12Seconds.TV is about to go public, currently in their alpha testing phase. The Wine Blogger's Conference is completely sold out in Sonoma County with special guest, Gary Vaynerchuk this month. The list goes on as Facebook upgrades their applications and races to keep up with their users. Google is working on a browser (Chrome) that, when completed, will change the way the average Mom, Senior and student not just uses the web, but interacts with and seamlessly integrates online experiences within their lives. If you think that is dramatic, I haven't emphasized enough how life changing all of these tools will be.

So what does all this mean to you?

You still have a minute to figure out where you will fit in. But only a minute. When New
Media goes super-nova, you could be left unconnected. And thereafter, you'll be running to catch up. Whatever your business, you must find out how you will thrive online. Meanwhile, the bottom line is still your communication and connection to your customer base. Nurture and nourish that relationship; especially during tough economic times. They will remember that and thus be even more loyal customers. A sense of connection, security and belonging is important anytime within our community; it is invaluable during these times and will go a long way in defining the quality and commitment of your online community. You'll extend your reach and achieve greater bang for your marketing buck this way, while offering something of value to your client base. And they won't forget that. You can't beat being human. It's way better than being a corporation...even if you are a corporation. (for more details on this perspective, check out this post on the Silicon Alley Insider) Then you become that light in the darkness...and that light is contagious.

I have two thoughts from Bill gates to leave you with.

"There will be two types of businesses by 2010- those that are online and those that are out of business."

"The Internet will help achieve "friction free capitalism" by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Experimenting in the Bedroom: A query

I'm a curious person. So I have to ask:

How do you experiment in the bedroom? Not specifically, I mean, I don't want details. But what I'm asking is, where does your inspiration for trying new things come from? As a writer, I know you can't sit around and wait for inspiration. And as a runner, I have certainly tried to go out and chase it. But I'm wondering...where do you go in search of inspiration in the bedroom? Books? Fantasies? Imagination? Your partner? says: "research on sexual fantasy points to the fact that a healthy sexual fantasy life goes hand in hand with a healthy overall sex life. "

We don't generally talk about our sexual lives within our peer groups, so it doesn't seem likely to find inspiration there. The little porn I've seen certainly lacks imagination. And I've been married and know how interest can wane over time. But this is one of those times when I envy the French. They seem to have a healthier perspective on sex.

Confirmation: there is a Sexual Attitudes Scale (S. Hendrick & Hendrick) that the Journal for Sexual Research talks about " reflecting a variety of values, attitudes, and orientations to sex, attempting to address traditional areas of sex attitudes (e.g., permissiveness, premarital sex) as well as sexual responsibility, what sex "means" in an emotional sense, and so on." And finds, "the French appear as more permissive, less responsible, more instrumentalist, and less interested in communion than the U.S. participants" (p. 213)"

Ok, I'm all for it! But the "a healthy sex life starts with good communication." line isn't usually part of the parents talk about the birds and the bees...nor is it covered in Sex Ed in school. JT and I are both "bringin' sexy back" !

You may consider this post my contribution to the conversation and to better sexual health! And though I'm not French, I'm curious enough to ask. What are your thoughts?

Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. "Yes" is the answer.
~Swami X

PS. Have you done your kegels today?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hulu: (better) TV Online

Don't yet know Hulu?

It's an online TV service; but the service is all in the website format...beacuse it's free. Hulu is a spuremely clean, easy to navigate, content rich site for online TV & movies. ALL of the NBC & FOX content they still have the rights for is there...and frankly, that's a load of content.

But you'll have to check it out when your cable goes on the fritz, or at the office when you're doing, um, research.

ome of what I like about Hulu:
  • Free
  • Very good quality player (better than YouTube)
  • Amazing variety in selection
  • Current events/News i.e. Presidential/VP Debates
  • Significantly Fewer commercials than regular TV
  • Movies, News, Reality TV, & loads more
Content includes:
  • The Daily Show
  • The Tonight Show
  • The Simpons
  • The Family Guy
  • Fringe
  • Heroes
  • House
  • 30 Rock
  • Prison Break
  • The Office
  • Arrested Development
  • Men in Black
  • The Scorpion King
  • Liar, Liar
  • Jumanji
  • Lost in Translation
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Some Like It Hot
So if you're still reading this, get over to  
Or are you not a TV/Movie, News fan?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Coming This California Wine Life

A quick review

A 12Seconds Wine Review Video

And, a question from the Bedroom...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

12Seconds: Here's to keepin it Pithy

A Kiss on

I'll "study" this deal more closely over the next week or so and report back to you...but 12Seconds is a share site where you can post 12 sec. video pieces to share...duh. But it is so supremely easy, fast and may I say a FABULOUS addition to Social Media. More Soon!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Google Chrome

It is essential that I add a bit of technology for Everyman/Everywoman to this blog.  I will also include reviews and comments I find so that you know this is not just my own the point of supporting the average techno-phobe AND techno-phile at home and work.  

So the latest (and I mean this month) tech thing you need is Google Chrome:  It is Google's new Web Browser.  Here are my favorite things about it:

  • It is Free.
  • It is SUPER easy & fast to download and use immediately.  
  • The Tabs are very cool, easy to use and every NEW tab opens a set of thumbnails of your MOST visited sites.
  • All your bookmarks will be saved into the NEw Google Chrome.  AND there is an incognito mode if you don't want these saved.
  • Independent Tabs: IF something crashes your internet...only the open tab will crash...the reat will stay open, intact!
I could go on, but you'll have to see it in action.  
I have had it for a on both my work & home computers.  Makes IE & Firefox look pretty outdated.

Other reviews & Write Ups:

Now tell me what YOU think.