Saturday, November 21, 2009
Nonetheless, I find that exploring in SL is easier as a male. I've already had to block users from landing on my property, and have twice been slapped while wondering around all dressed up. Sad thing is, I've set my properties at PG, so what's up with that?
Regarding getting a bigger place, I'll postpone the major land purchase and building rezzing until after the holidays to avoid tier upgrade charges which I've just learned about. I'm am at the point now, with a yellow shirt, Khaki pants and funky blue shoes, to rez an office, install appliances and demontrate the potential of using SL to simulate work related activities to the decision makers in December.
Whew, the SL learning curve is steep, and me and my teddy-bear are ready for bed.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday was a good day. Not just because it was a stay-home vacation day, but because I got to travel to new and exciting locations and experience wonderful adventures, even sleeping in a box under a bridge, just to see what it was like.
How did the adventure begin? After morning toast and coffee and having checked my bank account balance online in RL, I signed into SL bound and determined not to make another real estate blunder. There I met LL employee Perry in online chat and learned about the pros and cons of rent vs. buy, island vs. mainland, private party vs. Linden.
Why is owning property important? It's not about me anymore. After a month exploring, and renting I'd decided to get a dog, and now needed someplace for him to live. I didn't want him to disappear again if I forgot to pay my rent, and anyhow, stability is important even for a virtual pet. So with Perry's advice, I signed into the land auctions, and after looking at several bid on a property that would provide me with access to ocean view, nearby homes and plenty of room for my burmese mountain dog to roam.
What will you rez on it?In my explorations over the past month, I've accumulated a 2 story house, a modern office with office furniture, a mercedes and several miscellaneous items of furniture. But I don't own the land yet, and I have no idea how much owning the land will cost me, as land use fees are based on parcel size or prims or some other concept that the LL employee on the youtube video equated to a gas tank that you could fill.
So what did you do?With 1 day and 11 hours on my hands I began exploring. I'd already been to the great wall of China, but found a link to 'featured' spaces. Being somewhat adverse to digital perversions, I choose to visit locations rated PG. I found Mexico fascinating, rented a free horse and rode it along the shore, listening to waves crash on the beach. Later I transported to a famous pub in Dublin, then back to Nebraska and finally to someplace in the great white north where I took a nap in a cabin I found there.
Now more about the horse.
Apparently when you rent a horse, you put it on like clothing, and then when you ride it gallops in line with your avatar's hip swing. You'll notice it's odd to nap with a horse attached, whether in the sand, or on a hammock, but curiousity got the best of me. Although the information card said the horse would only work in Mexico, I had no trouble teleporting to Nebraska and wondering around with the horse there, before heading to the north pole.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I'll spare you all the photos, but here's a litany of lousy stiching projects that started with my jr. high school cheerleading outfit in strechy-polyester and mis-matched thread, and ended last week with shimmery skirt fabric and a lop-sided zipper. My disgraces include:
- A red and white polka dot mid-drift peasant top in 7th grade with uneven puffy sleeves.
- Infant t-shirts that were too scratchy for the baby to wear.
- A little red-riding hood in velvet that didn't quite fit Kaelynn's head.
- A blue bunny suit for Billy that he wore, dripping sweat, off the plane to surpise his sister.
- Elastic baby dresses with poorly pulled gathers, and ill fitting straps.
- And numerous snap-up baby onesies that the little ones were too young to protest.
But in the last few weeks, motivated by a group of women sewing at work, I've tried again and had success at last, in creating a skirt, that fit, with a zipper, that worked. I'm the one with a hand-drawn face. http://sososewing.wordpress.com
Of course it wasn't all success. See my second try below. The upholstery fabric was a bit stiff. And that pocket you see? I gave up after several tries to attach it inside out. But progress is being made, nonetheless. I wore the skirt to work, and it didn't even fall apart until the end of the day - a side seam split. Note to self "must double-stich next time."
Perhaps its just global weather distribution, kind of like global wealth distribution only with warm winds and late blooms. Think what you like and do what you think best in any case. We all have to share this little blue dot in the universe.
Carpooling helps, so does buying local produce. At the end of the month however, if there are still flowers blooming in my yard, I'm going to start getting suspicious.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Siding should be done in the next few weeks thanks to Brian's cousin Jim driving up to help. Then it's caulk and stain and the outside will be done. Here's the stain colors we've chosen.
Additional Interior Views and Exterior Views are out on my YouTube Channel.
p.s. This is a before photo.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
A friend emailed this question to me suggesting I email it to see how people would respond. Here are the answers from some of my friends. Now you know.
If you saw ME in a police car what would you think I got arrested for?
- Stealing flowers from some nursery to put into your own yard. Thief!
- If I saw you, I’d think you were doing observations for a project. You know. A ride along.
- Disturbing the peace with your crazy “end of the road” neighbor. Quit driving on “his” road!
- For streaking down Dodge street
- There would have probably been some sort of "incident" during a presentation at work, something that escalated to a level requiring the intervention of professionals from various disciplines......law enforcement, the psychiatric community......
- This is funny – I cant even fathom, hopefully not for trying to strangle your youngest daughter after spending a week with her and a housefull of kids :P
- If I saw Laura Handrick in a police car, I would think 3 possible scenarios: 1. She went berserk because thought she heard bees coming through her phone 2. She was actually making a training video, and got stopped for speeding on her way into a small Nebraska town 3. She was accused of abusing her company's email and internet usage policies
But the best was from a friend who said she could just not imagine that I could do anything wrong. Oh bless you! (And for the record, "Streaking Down Dodge Street" made me giggle, but I would never do it because Plattsmouth is just too far away to run wearing only a birthday suit.)
A week to set up. Two days to tear down. Wet towels and mattresses, sandy floors and sticky cabinets. It was great to have the kids here for a week of Oma Camp Omaha. And now that we've done that, let's consider a cruise next year. I can hear it now, quiet ocean, kids arguing, door 'click'ed and locked. Peace at last.
Here's what we did and didn't do. We went to the Zoo, we went to FunPlex, we shopped at Pamida and Target for school supplies, we played Wii, we played in the boat, we ate at Vidlaks for breakfast, and attended mass at St. Peters, we had BBQ chicken, and bought corn at a country farm, we colored with sidewalk chalk, told ghost stories in the tent and watched "Hotel for Dogs" and "Horton Hears a Who" both several times.
We didn't make it to a hydrant party, a drive in movie or a corn maze (they don't open till fall) and we never made it out to a bonfire, a picnic at Mahoney, or the WildLife Safari. Although Kaelynn helped make garlic bread, Nathan helped make Blueberry Muffins and Kristen made brownies, we never did make it to a soup kitchen. We didn't go horse-back riding, or hike the Platte river, or go the Plattsmouth pool, but I think the kids had a great time while they were here.
The best part? 70 degree weather most of the week. Nice.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
How do I talk to C-Suite about $ Needed for Learning & Development? (ok, I'm paraphasing). Consider the following examples in scripted format as if you are the ISD:
THE BAD EXAMPLE:
ISD: "We need $10K for an EPSS system, because print manuals are too cumbersome."
VP: "Huh? Why can't they just look it up on the Internet?"
ISD: "That's what I'm saying. We can convert our content into html and link it, and it will only cost $10K."
VP: "Oh, sorry, I've got a phone call. Budget cuts. I come by later to talk to you. Gotta go."
A BETTER EXAMPLE:
ISD: "If we provide pricing tools just in time for the sales team, they'll be able to do their quotes on the spot. That will save a follow up meeting and wasted calls, and we've estimated it will improve our close rate by 30%"
VP: "That's $2M a year! Why haven't you done it yet?!"
ISD: "I just need your approval on this $10K investment for a Knowledge Management system that will link from their F1 key. I've already run this past IT and the Sales Managers."
VP: "I love the way you think." Signed. Done.
NOT SO GOOD NOT FOR PROFIT APPROACH:
ISD: "I think we should have a video that can be downloaded to people's IPhones. It's really cool. We can do it for $20K."
VP: "We don't have $20K. Don't you know there's a recession going on?"
ISD: "Yes, but our training - how to feed the world in 8 easy steps, needs to get out. Mobile technology is the way to go."
VP: "Find another way. The training budget was slashed this year."
BETTER NOT FOR PROFIT APPROACH:
ISD: "We've calculated that we can reach an additional 120,000 potential donors by providing our content in a mobile format. If only 2% donate, that increases our ability to provide food by 320 truckloads a year. That's enough to feed 30,000 families."
Chairman: "Do it. We'll find something else to cut from the budget. Our goal is to feed the world."
ISD: "Thank you"
Chairman: "Keep bringing me solutions like this and you may find yourself on the fast track."
BAD SOFT SKILLS REQUEST:
ISD: "We really need to do some team building around here. People are just acting all wierd since the layoffs."
VP: "What's the impact?"
ISD: "Impact? Bad morale? Stress I guess. It just needs to be fixed"
VP: "Sorry, but maybe I can write a memo or something. The last thing we need around here is more group hugs and tree climbing."
BETTER SOFT SKILLS REQUEST:
ISD: "Since the layoffs, people are having a hard time focusing, and our productivity is down about 25%. I know you don't want to cut more staff. I'm thinking you might want to consider approaching this transition in a way that will improve performance and get us back on track faster."
VP: "I'd like to tell them to snap out of it! But, okay, let's hear what you've got."
ISD: "People will get back to 'business' faster if we take a Transition Management approach that addresses their underlying fears, concerns and issues. I'd like to bring in a consultant who helped company xyz get back on their feet in about 3 weeks, saving months of lost productivity."
VP: "It's worth the money to me if we can get shorten the time it takes get productivity back on track. If we're off by even 10%, that's thousands of dollars a day wasted! Can you do it for under $10K? OK then, let's go!"
POOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUEST
ISD: "I'd really like to learn Lectora, but the software is $2K , and I'd need an upgraded PC, Monitor and offsite training. The class is in Vegas. About $8K in all? Probably not a good year to ask, right?"
VP: "You've got that. Your PC will have to last you another year."
ISD: "Oh well, maybe next year."
VP: "Let's hope the economy turns around by then."
BETTER PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUEST
ISD: "I've been thinking, we've got $120K set aside for outsourcing our elearning development work this year. I'd like to cut that amount by 80% to offset the reduced income and traffic."
VP: "80%?! I'm all ears. I was thinking to cut it by 50% anyhow and just apoligize to our internal customers. You know. We've got to do our part."
ISD: "If I can get trained on, and obtain access to Lectora, we can do the ongoing programming updates ourselves AND our development time should be faster because we won't have to ftp files back and forth to India, dealing with timelags and communication issues."
VP: "Get me the specs, and I'll walk them over to IT. No reduction in output? Great idea."
So when you want to get top-management to buy into your OD, HR, Learning & Development or any other expenditure you've got to do three things.
1) Find out what they care about. And figure out how they count it. #Customers? Comp. Store Sales? Reduced battlefield deaths? Fewer missed calls? More cases sold? More votes? Fewer teenage prostitutes? Whatever. Find it.
2) Provide solutions that fix, improve or pave the way to make the organization better. Show them that the math works by building a case to demonstrate for example, how incremental increases in X (your solution) = more of Y (organizational goal/metric/$).
- More Webinars ($10K) = Fewer Travel $ Expended ($1.2M) <--- A true example
- Investing in a $30K LMS will reduce $500K organization wide in OSHA fines.
- Providing information online ($5K) to prevent 3,000 hrs wasted search time ($150,000)
- Hiring 2 interns ($10K) to allow us to forgo one consultant ($50K) for the project
As Michael Hammer once said, "the soft stuff is the hard stuff". It's our job to figure out how to impact the soft stuff (people, and their knowledge, skills and abilities) and prove that by doing so, the organization is better off in some MEASURABLE way.
Got an ISD initiative you can't figure out how to measure, or sell upward? Comment or send me a tweet @PearlFlipper and I'll do my best to help you work the math.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
There's the IBM policy, the list from 123, the AP policy, the policy from SHRM, the policy from ASTD, even the point of view of the IFA, And the lawyers. About 30 polices later, we realized they all attempt to do the same basic thing: CYA. For your own policy however, first you'll have to decide which kind of policy you want.
The two options are:
1) To allow blogging, social media and conversation to take place between workers and customers (hey, it's informal learning, relationship and trust building).
2) To prohibit social media, at all costs, with some draconian legalese (er, whatever).
<-- this image borrowed from, um, someone's blog.
1) Protect your company, brand, image, proprietary content and all that. You wouldn't air you dirty undies outside the front door of your office building, so why do it on the internet?
2) Use your own voice and identify that voice. If like me, you have your own personal blog, or are addicted to Facebook and Twitter, then be clear that you're not speaking on behalf of the company. I'm not. That's why my online persona is PearlFlipper, geez. Sample disclaimer: "The opinions expressed on this site are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my employer".
3) Don't answer PR/Marketing queries. If you're hanging out in the blogoshphere, someone is likely to contact you about 'official' information. Send them to the PR department, or the laywers, if you have some. Realize you're not the company spokesperson, (unless you are . . .)
4) If you're working on company equipment, well, let's be fair and keep it work related? IM to ask questions. Follow your customers on Twitter and pay them compliments on Facebook, but schedule your movie date on your own time, after hours or during lunch. Have some respect.
5) Comply with all the other rules you agreed to in the Employee Handbook, Code of Conduct, Values plastered in the elevator lobby and all that. In other words, don't do or say anything that wouldn't be appropriate on the job.
6) Obey the law. Don't post other people's content without permission, download music illegally, take credit for ideas that aren't yours, or ahem, anything else prohibited by law.
To be safe, have a lawyer take a look at your policy, and let them add all those extra words. But then jump right in and start trusting your people to use their judgement and lever ALL the productivity tools available on the job and within the blogosphere.
P.S. The opinions expressed on this post are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my employer. :-)
Friday, June 5, 2009
Lisa contacted me last year on Omaha Rideshare and our schedules coordinate most days, saving us each about $50/month. The best part? The 45-minute commute seems so much faster when there's someone to talk to.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
On a recent trip to Chicago, I splurged on a few new tops, a dress and shoes, but for the most part I've been delighted to pull the summer wardrobe from storage and realize that I have years' worth of clothing and don't need anything 'new'.
As far as housing, we're resigned to finish the flip, market both properties and live in whichever is left unsold. I love the lake, for the reason that it gives my family a destination to visit.
But I love the flip for the reason that it could prove us able to turn a $22K investment in to a beautiful, albeit quirky, hillside home with mini forest. Notice the meadow where the deer must have slept? The apple tree? The narrow shady hillside? I kind of hope God prefers us to live in the smaller house, because then we'd also have privacy, more family time, no house payment . . . Any advice? How are you adapting to the economy these days?
Monday, June 1, 2009
Case in point. On her first visit, she noticed I had a lot of items with embellishments. Jackets with brocade, slacks with stripes, and blue suede shoes with little turqoise beads. What I lacked were the basics to pull them together along with a mis-conception about what pieces might work. Stiff-collared blouses and silk were too fussy for me, but I didn't know that that bright cotton t-shirts were perfectly appropriate to wear under a jacket at work. I didn't dare wear heels, but later learned to buy flats with peep toes.
I've also learned that all brands aren't the same and was reminded yet again this week while doing laundry. On the right you'll see a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt purchased three years ago at The Gap. It's laundered well, and I learned that the sleeves can be folded back if I'm wearing a 3/4 length jacket.
We're making progress on the Flip house this summer thanks to my brother Steven's recent trip. He installed the fireplace, and did a beautiful job tiling the shower with the $1.99 marble I found at Menards. But what he did most was inspire us to continue. He helped identify the products to buy, cedar trim, brick molding, slate flooring and shared his tools so that we could sand and stain the french doors. I was excited to learn to use a wet tile saw. Brian gained confidence in trimming out windows. So Thank You Steven. Even though you're younger than me (same age as Brian), you've always had a way of coming through as my big brother . . . showing us the way to begin again.