Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Tubing Tuesday - Bad Country Songs Made Even More Annoying

Still feeling horribly. Given my feelings today, today's YouTube Tuesday is appropriate I believe.

Today's category, bad country songs that were made even worse by adding a sill dance to them - yet they're still played at weddings...

#3 - Cotton Eye Joe

#2 Boot Scootin Boogie

#1 - Achy Breaky Heart

Monday, January 30, 2012

Media Monday

I am really sick today...I didn't want to go without a post -so here I go.

January 2012, I brow my record for number of page views of this blog. While I mostly write the blog for personal reasons, I do like the fact that so many others take the time to read what I write, so for that I thank you. Here is hoping tomorrow is a better bloggy day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sundays in my City - v9 - Basketball

On Friday, the coach of the C of C basketball team, Bobby Cremins - announced that he was taking a leave of absence for undisclosed medical reasons.  While some will talk about his amazing coaching career, I will happily point out that every personal encounter I have had with the man - he has always been gracious and classy to me personally.  I have been told by several of his players that he treats them with respect and dignity.  I have heard several stories where he put basketball second to ensuring that young men playing for him focused on what was really important in life - their family, education or general personal well-being.  I wish him and his family the best during these trying times.

I showed you mine - now go visit other Sundays in My City post by clicking the link below:

Unknown Mami

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy - What I am sadly, pondering?

Is the best piece of evidence that supports that there is intelligent extra-terrestrial in the galaxy is the fact that they are smart enough not to contact us?

Would I do deja vous all over again?

How come we care more about the Superbowl than who will lead the country?  Why do I sense that this is not as bad of choice as it first seems?

When did the American dream come to include PAC money?

P.S. When was the last time I pursued happiness?  Perhaps I should consider trying harder to be happy - it works that way right?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fragment - v11

First, thanks to Ms. 4444's for hosting Friday Fragments.

This week I am going to be less loquacious and more restrained in my analysis...

  1. Conferences are like bars, fun while your there but you pay the price the next day - not sure they are worth it.  Yesterday, I posted part of the presentation I gave last week.
  2. My wife has a great blog hop she co-hosts on Thursdays on Actingbalanced.com called Thirsty for Comments Thursday - Check it out!
  3. I teach some great students - twice this week, I couldn't finish my lecture because of the amount of questions and comments I was getting.  I am truly impressed by their work!
  4. I have had the privilege to work with two of the best writers in my field, Dr. Litvin and Dr. Smith (no relation) - Yesterday, Dr. Litvin handed me an manuscript he worked on and I will say - no one makes my hair-brained/ half-baked ideas sound more intelligent than he does.   I spent months trying to make the article sing but within a few days he made it into an opera!   He truly is a master at his craft. 
  5. The last point broke my loquacious promise - so go read other FF by clicking the button below:

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tourism & Technology Thursday - Festival Trends...

Ever wonder how your local festivals are fairing - here are the latest trends from North and South Carolina.

Overall, festival attendance in the two states is up significantly on average (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - Average Attendance by Year

In this respect, local festivals may have benefited from the downturn in the economy.  Instead of taking a weekend away, many are deciding to stay in town and go to the local festival for their new and different experiences.

While total attendance is up festival budgets have been generally either held steady or reduced.  This is particularly due to sponsorship's becoming increasingly challenging.  Festival's have therefore had to become more judicious with their spending.  One of the ways they are reducing costs is by compacting the event into a shorter time period (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 - Average Length of Festivals (in Days)

As festival's have become leaner in their budget management and as a result of increased attendance, we have seen the average spending per guest decrease from over $7.00 to under a dollar today (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 - Average Spending Per Guest

So what does this mean for the festival attendee over the next year (fig. 4)?  There is a feeling of cautious optimism in the air.  For instance, while 57% of festival project an increase in attendance, only 12% are planning to raise ticket prices.  In another example of cautious optimism, while over 40% of festival directors are projecting an increase in revenue but only 30% are projecting an increase to their operating budget.

Fig. 4 - 2012 Projected Trends
Overall, this year can be described as one of hopeful transition from a down-turned economy to a more positive environment.  The festival directors all told are taking a more conservative approach to managing festival than in previous years.  It will be interesting to see how an industry previously known for taking changes will now unfold in a more conservative environment.  To view the report in its entirety, please click here.

Acting Balanced

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Downtown Charlotte

For some reason, I never have any luck with weather when travelling to Charlotte...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You Tubing Tuesday - More from the Charlotte Conference

Yesterday, I blogged about some of acts that performed at the Carolina ShowFest.  Yesterday, I talked about my person favorite Underhill Rose.   Here are some of the other acts that performed in hopes of getting booked at festival and event in North and South Carolina...

The Southern Fried Jazz Band was very good!

While not my personal style, the work of the Cockman Family Bluegrass gospel was fabulous...

and just for fun - here is my own clip of Underhill Rose warming up...

And here is a clip of them finishing their set

Monday, January 23, 2012

Charlotte & Conferences...

I had a great time presenting at the annual Carolina ShowFest Conference this weekend.  The fun part of this conference is that it has a large industry presence.  It is actually mostly an industry trade show with some speakers (like yours truly) thrown in.  One of the best parts of this conference is that performers are present with hopes of being booked at various festivals and events.   My personal favorite of the performers was a band called Underhill Rose.  This is not my usual style of music however, they did a tremendous set...what voices!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sundays in My City - v9 - Views from Hampton Park

Once again, thank you to Unknown Mami for hosting this hop...

Unknown Mami

I seem to be spending a lot of time in parks lately - the kids love to be outdoors and climbing but you don't always want to see the kids, so here are some of the things I saw while they played.  Hampton Park is in Charlston, SC and located near the Citadel.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy - Big Week at the College of Charleston

What a big week on the C of C campus.  With the Republicans in town for their primaries, the number of high profile speakers on campus was phenomenal!  None however, was more impressive than yesterday when Stephen Colbert saw over 5000 attend his rally...

Here is a clip of  the speech...it was brilliant!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fragment - v10

This has been an extremely busy week here in Charleston.  The Republicans are coming to South Carolina and the campus has been abuzz with speakers and tv shows airing from our campus.  Today Steven Colbert and Anderson Cooper are on deck - while I find both interesting I wish I didn't have to be on campus dealing with the traffic and congestion.

P.S. I am apolitical by the way.  Since I am not permitted to vote in the USA, I do not form an opinion about the parties and politicians.  I just know that had a tea party once when the key theme was 'no taxation without representation'. I pay taxes, yet have no vote...hummmm.

I am getting out of town this weekend.   I am headed to Charlotte to present at the annual ShowFest trade show and conference.  It is an honor to be invited to speak to the 200+ festival directors from across North and South Carolina.  To make sure I don't get too big of an ego - here is the description of my session in the program - I promise I would have sent you a better picture if you asked...

P.S. I am presenting an annual study we do of Festival Directors. To see last year's results, click here.  One of the most interesting findings from last year's was that festivals in North and South Carolina spent approximately $33.7 million in producing their various events.

Will someone pease let me know when I can get some sleep?

The world of the week adrenaline.  What I am running on at the moment.

 I work with a great group of people and I am not just saying that because they may read this... In all seriousness, I must finished my annual report and I look at the things I did this year and very little of it was done in isolation.  It was a great reminder of how much I enjoy working with the people I do.

Once again, thanks to Ms. 4444's for hosting FF.  Click the button below to see read more frags.

Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Mascot Dance Off

Our local sports teams do an excellent job supporting local charities and event.  This clip shows a dance-off between Charlie T. Riverdog and Cool Ray at the beginning of the Kids Marathon in Charleston last Friday.

Thanks to the South Carolina Stingrays and the Charleston Riverdogs for being such good corporate citizens!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Tubing Tuesday - Mission Accomplished

Went and saw Mission Accomplished: Ghost Protocol last night.  It was a very good movie but it reminded me of famous songs from spy movies theme songs...It is amazing how as soon as you hear these themes you know what movie their associated with.

I never realized this was a Moby tune - you couldn't get father away from Jason Bourne

The KING of movie theme songs!

Sorry, I just had to use this version...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Media Monday - Human Trafficking

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States.  One of his dreams was for all men and women to live in a equitable and free society not just in the  United States but around the world.  While his message has resonated and lead to change in many places, sadly there are locales and individuals who do not share his dreams.  One of the saddest stories is that of human trafficking in India (see videos below).

Very few people think about this topic.  I guess that is because it is so heinous most people do not believe one could have it in them-self to buy and sell another human being (let alone a child).  While no one knows the number of people who are bought and sold, it is substantial (then again, in my view, one person is too many).  It is one of the saddest realities around the globe.  In light of Dr. King's message, please remember those who have no one to fight for them.  May we one day live in a world where all of us knows peace.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sundays in my City - v8 - Brittlebank Park

Once again thanks to the Unknown Mami for hosting this hop.

Unknown Mami

This week's edition is Brittlebank Park in Charleston.  A wonderful park set on the banks of the Ashley river.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy - Kids @ Play

This was a trip to the park with the three kids.  It is amazing how their lives are now chronicled as a result of an online world.

Friday Fragment - v9

Once again, thanks to Mrs. 4444's for hosting FF. Click the button at the bottom to see more great FF posts!

Classes have once again began. It looks like I am going to have about 105 students this term over three classes plus three independent study students and a honors student. Busy but not crazy.

P.S. The classes seem to be very good...lots of participation and good questions already!

I had an old British prof when I was an undergrad whose first words to the class was. 'look left, look right - one of the three of you is not passing this class.' Somehow, I don't think I could pull that off and be believable.

One does not know about lack of sleep until they have children.

Had lunch with a alumni this week that was a lot of fun. I really like seeing my former students post graduation. It is very interesting to see how they grow and develop. I however, am not in any way, amazed that they are in successful, happy lives upon graduation.

P.S. Good people can find success with hard work and effort. One can take short cuts to success but it tends to be fleeting and not sustainable. People know who are the real deal.

Word of the week - paregmenon. I was guilty of this three times this week in my lectures. Hope the students don't know what it means.

I love Google Scholar but this week I found thanks to one of my colleagues Google Scholar Citations.  In 2011, my articles were cited 31 times.  The graph is going the right way...

P.S. Heather still says she has more people visit her blog - www.actingbalanced.com in a day than will probably ever read all of my academic articles combined.  Sadly, she is probably right.  How can I possibly compete though with Yummy Apple-Chai Cookie recipes.

Wishing you all safe travels...

Now go visit some other FF by clicking...Mommy's Idea

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tourism & Technology Thursday - New Hotel Search Engine Room Key

One of the biggest battles in the hospitality industry is between the service providers like the airlines and the hotels and the book engines like Expedia & Travelocity.  The main issue being that the airlines and hotels do not necessarily like to pay the commissions asked for by the booking engines.  They also do not like the lack of control over how their product is packaged and sold.  As a result of this this uneasy relationship with the online booking engines - six hotels chains (Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels (most known for the Holiday inn Chain), Marriott and Wyndham Hotels) have created their own search engine and book site called Room Key (see screen shot below).

The site is still in Beta testing mode.  I did a quick search for Charleston, South Carolina for January 14 - 15th.  The site came up with 26 hotels (see screen shot below).

One of the most interesting features of this site is that you can narrow your search or view your in a variety of different manners.  In the next example shown in the screen shot below, I narrowed the search by moving the bar around price range and star rating.  I moved priced levels to between $100 & $200 and star rating to between 2 & 3.  The search was then narrowed down to six choices.

 I then clicked to map the locations of the six properties (see screen shot below).

I then chose to book at the Residence Inn Charleston Downtown/Riverview and when I clicked its link, it took me directly to the Mariott booking page for the property.

The advantage to this engine for the consumer is that I can then book using my various rewards programs that would otherwise be unavailable if I was booking through one of the online travel agencies.

My Review

The interface is clean and easy to use.  The results are comparable to all of the other sites.  The prices were the same at Expedia and Travelocity.  The downside is that unlike Expedia and Travelocity - you can only book hotel rooms on this site.  You can not yet book an entire trip experience.  If however, you are just looking to book a hotel room, this site is one which makes it quick and convenient. Add to that the comfort of making the research with the property itself (no third party involvement per se) and the ability to use rewards points - this site is going to provide heavy competition to the online travel agencies.

Go see some other Thirsty for Comments Thursday Posts by clicking the button below:

Acting Balanced

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You Tubing Tuesday - New Term Edition

Today begins a new term - so what better than some YouTube clips 
to get motivated to go back to school... 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Media Monday - Hotel Rates Are Up

A very interesting report in the Economist outlines how Hotel rates have been rose in the USA by 4.3% in 2011 (average daily rate = $107.56).  New building of hotel rooms however, only rose 0.6% indicating that the confidence in this growth is tenuous.

I believe this trend will continue.  America in terms if HTM is becoming a mature market with limited growth potential.  This is mainly due to the short-haul market maturing and the long-haul potential being potentially stunted by the recent developments in the airline industry (see this post as a prime example).  This means that if American hospitality companies are to continue to grow profits, they will have to either merge, expand beyond the USA borders and raise prices.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sundays in my City - v7 - Kid's Play

First, thanks to the Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City.

This weather this weekend has been fabulous - I love being able to be out in a T-Shirt in January.   This is just a few pics of our play at the park yesterday.  Charleston is such a wonderful place for families...

Unknown Mami

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy - Babymoon

Not that we do not have enough subareas in tourism (e.g eco-tourism, dark tourism etc.) a new term was raised to me today that I had never heard of previously, babymoon.

A babymoon started off as a couple travelling shortly after the birth of a little one as sort of a bonding experience.  The term has since evolved to mean a trip taken shortly before the little one is born as a last hurrah for the parents.  A last chance for the couple to bond before the little one arrives.  The term has also been used to describe a trip in which a couple has decided to try to start a family while on said trip.  Does this count as a well conceived conception?

This seems like an interesting phenomenon.  Has anyone out there taken a babymoon or would like to?  What would be the motivation for such a trip?  Do you think this trip is more for the man or for the woman?  This is such an interesting type of travel and I would love to learn more about it.  For my industry colleagues out there, has this ever been a market for you?  Fascinating indeed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Fragment - v8

Once again, thanks to Mrs. 444's for hosting FF - you can click either here or the button below to see more frags.
  • On the bus this morning, I had the most interesting conversation with the driver Scott about the phenomenon known as Deja vu.  

  1. One possible explanation for the phenomenon is that one is seeing slights tears in the time/space continuum.  If one believes existence occurs on multiple plains than this makes sense.  
  2. Another postulation is that there is indeed a deity who provides us views in order to help us understand ourselves and the world around us.  
  3. My personal theory of the phenomenon is more in the behavioral psychology realm. Personally, I think we are get good at the predicting behavior of others at the subconscious level.  When a given situation occurs and when our predictions are proven to be extremely accurate, we concoct this idea that we have seen this before in order to easily explain the situation away.

  • You may now discuss your theory of choice among yourselves...
  • Speaking of weird moments - yesterday was one large one featuring a special guest star - 'role reversal.'  My wife came to meet me for lunch and met one of my colleagues in the hall.  She got into a whole discussion of research and blogging while I was off chasing the little one down the hall.  Later in the day she informed me that she want to attend a conference in May.  Did I want to come and take the kids while she was attending her conference.  A fun day!
  • Continuing on, when did becoming a university professor require a computer science degree?  Yesterday, I found myself designing my course websites, using our learning management software.  Heck I even added a QR code to my syllabus...

  • The word of the week - troglobiont.  What I feel like since I am working with all of this potential technology.

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tourism & Technology Thursday - Crossing into USA with iPad

Since the signing of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), USA customs officials have been strict about passports being mandatory to enter into the country.  Last week, as reported in the Globe & mail here, a gentleman by the name of Martin Reisch was able to enter into the USA from Canada using a scanned copy of his passport which was located on his iPad.

This issue is complex.  When crossing a border, the guard scans the passport which checks the individual's records (and includes the picture of the person on a passport)  against a series of databases as well as recording the individual's entry (date, type of car, license plate & travel partners).  If the guard can scan the bar code from a copied version, there should be little issue with using it.  In reality, the passport maybe an outdated concept.

Think about this for a moment,

What if an individual could provide a fingerprint scan which is used at a border?   Each person when crossing could provide a finger print scan and one would not have to worry about losing their passport.  Yes, there are privacy issues but are they any worse than the full body scanners used at airports (a future Tourism and Technology post surely).  Heck, updating your passport could then be done online with you uploading a picture and updating your information.  Interesting story indeed...