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?