Monday, January 30, 2012

Korean Barbecue

Growing up I was an extremely picky eater.  Over the years I have completely changed and love so many different food items and types of food.  But I have never been particularly interested in Korean food.  So when I group of people decided that was what we should eat this weekend, I was a little hesitant.

I searched the internet and tried to find an item that I might be interested in.  Turns out, they have Korean barbecue.  The meat is served raw and you cook it at the table over coals.  I'm typically against cooking my own food but this was a fun experience.  We went with the marinated beef and I must say it was delicious.  The flavor was very good and even though the meat didn't look especially high quality it was very tender.

They also served the barbecue with 7 different sides.  Some I liked.  Some I didn't care for.  But it was an interesting experience and I would definitely recommend the barbecue to anyone else looking for something new to try.

One member of our party has developed a taste for foreign food and ordered a soup that is typically reserved for Koreans.  The server immediately questioned his decision to order it and commented that its not for Americans!!  Priceless.  But he did order it and he did enjoy it.  I even tried a bite which included some type of intestine. A little chewy if you ask me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

An Inconsistent Truth

Anybody know about Phil Valentine's new documentary An Inconsistent Truth?

I had heard about it from Phil on his radio show.  I won't claim to be a dedicated listener, but I do find myself listening somewhat regularly to Phil.  Well, we had the opportunity to attend the Nashville premiere of the movie and it was really good.

Phil and the team that worked on the movie really did a great job of making an informative and entertaining documentary that addresses the other side of Al Gore and 'Global Warming'.  It was most interesting to see Phil interview people on the street and ask them about global warming.

He had picked a spot near Vanderbilt University in downtown Nashville and started off by asking if people believe in global warming.  They all said yes (I wonder if any said no, obviously they weren't as relevant to the film).  Not a single person could explain why they believed in global warming.  Of those that understood global warming was caused by CO2 they were asked to say how much was in the atmosphere.  Let's just say we are all pretty uneducated about the subject.

The other very interesting part of the movie was the footage from Al Gore's testimony to congress and fact checking against his statements.  Al Gore is so full of it.  He made exaggerated claims and made some flat out lies.

Very good movie.  I recommend everyone watching it and hearing about the other side of the issue!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rental Car

Yesterday I dropped off my car in order to have the rear bumper fixed.  I was hit from behind over a month ago and the insurance had finally been taken care of it.  I was going to need a rental car and the last thing I wanted was to get stuck in some small, crappy car.  In order to prevent this, I made sure the insurance agent I was dealing with requested a full size car for me.  I jokingly demanded a hybrid (I only drive hybrids!) but told him I really did need a decent car, because I do have other people ride with me quite often.

Well,  when the rental car employee showed up to give me the car, it was a small crappy car!  I could tell by his body language and his facial expression that he knew this wasn't the car I was supposed to have.  I had already done my best to notify the body shop I was coming and the rental company that I was headed to the body shop.  They said they were only 5 minutes away so they would be right over.  At this point, I had been waiting over 15 minutes.  Is that a long time?  Not too bad.  But if you tell me 5 minutes, and it takes 3 times as long, I'm going to be annoyed.  So you can imagine I wasn't happy go-lucky about this compact car with no power windows, stains all over the seats and it rattled like a tin can.  The employee told me they could swap the car out later but this was all they had.  I said, "What is the point of the reservation?".  No answer.

Not sure where to place the blame, I left in my tin can.  Maybe the insurance agent didn't do as he said.  But then I looked at the paperwork and there it was!  A black Impala (a full size sedan) was marked out in place of my Hyundai Accent.  OH!  So it was not the insurance agent at all, there was another car for me that the rental company gave to someone else.

No problem.  I just called them back and let them know I expected the car to be swapped out before the end of the day.  After getting to a manager, we had it arranged for a new car to be brought to me before the end of the day.  I will compliment them on doing the right thing and getting it taken care of quickly.  I felt a little bad about making them do it, but at the same time it is what I would have done for a customer in the same situation.  It was the right thing to do.

So for the next couple of days I am driving around in a new Malibu (it's even silver, my favorite color) and I am a much happier person!  By the way, I was very nice about the situation and thanked them profusely for getting me a different car.  I was not a rude person demanding that they fix it or else!  I find the best way to get what you want is to ask nicely and be persistent!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tennessee Tornado

We get a decent amount of tornadoes in TN.  Not too much, but enough that we have tornado sirens installed near our house!

I'm not sure if I have ever heard them before but last night I definitely did.  I'm not a light sleeper by any means so I was actually woken up by my wife.  But once I awake I was able to hear what a tornado siren sounds like.  I would compare it to the sounds I imagine used to go off when we were concerned about bombs during world war I and II.  Just like in the movies.

We have a 2 story townhouse and the safest place during a tornado would be in our downstairs bathroom or closet underneath the stairs.  My wife was rightfully concerned (there were sirens going off!) so she spend a couple of hours hunkered down in our bathroom, waiting the storm out.  She told me I could stay in bed if I wanted to, but I'm assuming she probably didn't want me to.  Unfortunately, I was sleeping in my underwear and the thought of getting up, getting dressed, and going downstairs was not appealing to me.  So I stayed right where I was.

Turns out no tornado ripped our house from the ground and threw me across the street in my underwear. For this, I am very thankful.  I'm not too sure if my wife will be mad at me or not.  But for now we are both fine and the house is still standing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Man in the Mirror

I think that most people would agree, it is easier to see fault in others than it is to see your own faults.  People are quick to point out problems or shortcomings of others, myself included.  I have developed over time a very strong self confidence.  I am curious if other people think that I am unaware of shortcomings because of my confidence.

The truth is that I am very aware of most failures that I have.  I believe one of my strengths is being very self aware and also having an understanding of how actions and words affect people.    I feel like I have the ability to put myself in other peoples shoes and understand the thoughts or reactions they would have to a situation.  Anyone that knows me is probably asking, if that's the case, why are you so rude sometimes? I feel like I understand, that doesn't mean I always care!

So my curiosity is if I am as self aware as I think I am.  And also, are other people more self aware than I think they are.  On average, I feel like most people don't have a clue what type of person they really are.  I know that I have so much to learn and develop.  I try on a constant basis to develop myself in ways that allow me to be a better person, a better leader, a better husband, etc, etc.  It's not easy. And I'm not always making progress.  And sometimes I take a couple steps in the wrong direction.  But overall, I am so far ahead now than I was a few years ago.

I hope that you can say the same about yourself.  That you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses.  That you are making a conscience effort to improve on your weaknesses and continue to develop your strengths.

Try looking in the mirror, decide what it is you want to improve about yourself (not just physically).  Then create a plan to make that improvement. And most important of all, execute the plan!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Emotional Quotient

I think everyone has heard of an IQ.  But I doubt many people have heard of an EQ, or emotional quotient.  I often take for granted the knowledge and skills that I have been taught, assuming that others have the same knowledge.  I forget that many success principles were taught to me at a young age.

So the idea of an Emotional Quotient is really quite simple.  It is your ability to deal with your emotions, to control them rather than allowing them to control you.  As we were recently talking with a team member about his attitude, it suddenly occurred to me that he needed to understand his EQ and learn how to develop it.  Typically, this team member can be a little grumpy in the morning.  And worse, whenever his tasks seem to pile up or more than one thing is presented to him at a time, he gets very negative and doesn't handle it very well at first.

As I started to explain EQ, it made sense to me.  I was very thankful to this because at least he was willing to acknowledge the problem.  I know that one talk with him about it won't immediately change things.  But at least being aware, he can now start to make an effort toward improvement.  It really is something inside of you and a habit that has to be developed over time.  No one can increase there EQ overnight!

So how can you develop this emotional quotient and how will it help you?  For me, my EQ was developed through hard work and tons of rejection.  I can remember in high school I had an extremely short temper at home and often times blew up at people.  I controlled it pretty well at school and in other situations, but at home I just couldn't handle it.  I have to attribute my many summers of door to door sales that allowed me to really deal with problems and not let them effect my attitude.  I always had to be in a good mood or else nobody would want to talk to me.  And that was not good for sales!

Obviously this helped with my sales then and now.  But to this day, whether there is a problem at home, at work, or anywhere else, I am able to control my reaction and deal with the problem logically.  It is so rare that I make an emotional decision about anything. My wife tells me I actually have too much patience at times.  This has helped me to manage people, have better relationships with friends, and a better relationship with my wife.  I'm not perfect.  Home is probably still my weakest area and the times my EQ gets the lowest.  But I'm always working on it!

Just google emotional quotient and you will find much more information out there about it.  And if you need help developing it, I'm always here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Boat

For some reason, I get ideas in my head. Most of the time I don't stop until I find a way to complete my idea.  I might be in trouble right now.  I have this idea of upgrading boats in my head and it is really getting to me.  I can't stop myself from looking at boats on-line, emailing people about boats, and thinking about upgrading.

I love the boat that we have, but it has a few shortcomings.

1. As we have become boaters, we've learned we would like to have a little more space and power for our boat.  It doesn't have to be much bigger, but our current boat is pretty crowded with just 6 people and really crowded when we load up 8 or 9 people.  The engine works, but it really is underpowered for most of what we do and especially when we have 6 or more.

2. As an inboard/outboard the take off and time to plane is crazy long.  Just not wanting that in the future.

3. Wakeboarding is a really fun activity.  We aren't extremely serious with an watersport but boating is about fun.  Lot's of people like wakeboarding and we would like to have a tower.

4. Our next boat needs to be a crossover, good for both skiing and wakeboarding.  With skiing still a preference right now.

Plus, we have been spoiled by driving and riding on Mastercrafts.  I want one.  Plain and simple, this is a want and a desire.  Maybe I will find a way this year, maybe it won't happen for another year or two.  But right now I've got a bug and its bad!

Monday, January 2, 2012

North Korea

I enjoy learning about history, especially when it comes to war.  I enjoy Band of Brothers and the Pacific as well as documentaries.  With all of the recent news about Kim Jong Il dying and his son taking over as the leader of North Korea, another documentary caught my attention.

I believe it was a special produced by National Geographic but it has investigative reporter Lisa Lang in North Korea.  She was there with an eye doctor that was performing thousands of eye surgeries in 10 days. They were supposed to  be documenting this humanitarian trip but they were actually trying to get as close of a look inside North Korea as possible.

I've never learned or studied much about North Korea.  So it was extremely interesting to see how divided and secluded the country is.  I don't support communism but to me, this was an extreme level of communism.  It really seemed to be on the edge of one giant cult.  Thousands of people had come for eye surgery, most were blind because of a lack of normal healthcare in most countries.  The problem was a simple fix and this doctor would be training other people to also perform the surgery after he left.

North Korea actually had some medical equipment which had been donated by other countries. But the leadership had never done anything with it.  After each person was taken care of, they would get up and praise the Great Leader. They are oppressed by their leader and have been for decades, yet they treat him and think of him as a God.  It was terrible to see how brainwashed these people are.

Now you can only show so much in a documentary and you obviously are trying to make a statement, so they can be skewed.  But much of the information was factual and I felt sorry for the people of North Korea.  It seemed like there were many of people that would love to escape but have no way of doing so.

It will be very interesting to me to see how North Korea continues to exist while the world grows into a global environment.  It also made me fear what crazy things they might do.  I support war when war is necessary, but to be honest, I don't know why war should ever be necessary.  If we could remove the crazy from the world, we could all just get a long and treat each other with respect.  I know that won't happen!

Food Inc.

So my wife and I had a gathering at our place for New Year's Eve.  I kept explaining it was just a gathering, but everyone kept acting like it was a party.  Either way we had a good time.  So the day after was spent cleaning the house as quickly as we could, and then relaxing on the couch.  We found entertainment in the documentary section on Netflix.  After I watched a great story called Pulling John, my wife got involved and said she had to pick the next one.  Food Inc.

It was an extremely interesting documentary about food.  The changes in how our food is produced.  How instrumental corn has become in all things food.  The government policies and involvement in food.  Overall, I really enjoyed watching it and took away quite a bit.

I'm not one to worry about where my food comes from.  And I didn't have some drastic change in thinking that is going to change my diet completely.  As my wife sat there feeling sorry for some of the  animals and cringing as they were killed, I was more interested in the difference of processed vs organic.  I was more interested in how businesses are responding to the market.  I was especially disgusted by one business using its money and power to bully farmers when it came to patented seeds.

What did appeal to me was the call to vote with what we buy.  I do believe we should eat healthy food and we certainly shouldn't have of fear possible death from the food we eat.  As a business owner, I want to support other local businesses.  I think what is important is for them to be able to compete financially.  Sometimes, it is just too expensive to support local businesses.  But I do know I will be making more of an effort in the future.

One part of the documentary had Wal-Mart employees going to an organic farm.  The owner or person from the farm immediately commented about how she had never been to Wal-Mart.  Personally, I support supply and demand.  Customers are demanding organic options so Wal-Mart is delivering it.  I'm fine with any business that does not desire to be in Wal-Mart, but I think the person in the movie came across and ignorant with her comments.  She had an attitude of superiority.

Overall, I enjoyed the documentary and took away an attitude of wanting to buy more local.  I hope we can do that.