Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thirsty for Comments

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Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday - Wage Edition

This week I was informed I got a raise.  This is a great thing and it was based on merit and the idea was to reward the best employees with larger raises based on performance.  In principle, I have no problem with that.  The challenge was that some people got a 2% raise, some 1% and others zero.

In my world, as I said to many today, I was just happy to get anything and was thankful as a result.  I had not worked out what percentage I got because it did not matter to me.  I was pleased that our administration acknowledged my good work and was willing to pay me a little better as a result.  After five years of little or no raises, I am thankful for any support.  I guess this make me an administration butt kisser in the eyes of some but I am a happy guy.  I realize how lucky I am to have a job I love in an awesome place working with great people.  Not many people get that opportunity in life.

While this situation for me created a better work environment; it has created a lot of hurt feelings in others (some of which are very good friends and colleagues of mine).  There was much comparing of notes occurring in the hallway today.  It made for an uncomfortable environment walking the halls today with hurt feelings over a difference for most people would be a pizza a month.   I understand the frustration that some feel that they were not given their due for whatever reason.  This once again proves why again I would make a horrible Dean as I would have a hard time making these types of choices of who deserves raises and who does not.

This brings me to the question of whether merit based raises are really a good idea for the workplace?  Do they really motivate and reward those doing a good job or do they mostly just create bitterness within the work environment?  In my case, I would not work any differently if they paid me $5 or $5 million.  I would always give it my best.  That is just who I am.  My question for you is whether you think this is good way to allocate raises?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Scary Wednesday Hodgepodge

This is the 100th edition of the Hodgepodge...well happy anniversary Joyce (a true hostess with the mostess)!

1. What creeps you out?

Guys in their 40s+ who oogle college co-eds.  Really, they are between 17 and 21 years old.  Trust me, you have very little in common.  

2. What's your least favorite candy?

As I am allergic to nuts and especially almonds, so I will go with Almond Joy.  Sorry, but a chocolate bar that could kill me must go on my least favorite list.

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

Not really a fan of scary movies.  I think the scariest I ever saw was The Shining...

4. What part of life confuses you the most?

The part that says I am suppose to be financially solvent.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?

On my new diet I have been eating a ton of Pumpkin seeds as they are low carbs.  I do like flavored sunflower seeds too however. I am happy to report however, that I have now officially lost 20 pounds in two months.  Only 20 more to go.  What was that Bon Jovi quote? 

"Oh, we're halfway there. Oh! Oh! Livin' on a prayer."

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

Less hair, hopefully less waist - slightly more money.  Trying to live as peaceful and drama free life as possible.  I will however grow intellectually because I am open to learning and hopefully there are hundreds of students out there that I have helped to grow into mature, happy adults.

7. What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?

I love the random thought at the end and I would always like more comments from my fabulous visitors.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

To those who have had a bad weather week across the NorthEastern USA, I hope that everything is starting to come back to normal.  I wish that all your loved ones are healthy and got through the storm safely.  It was scary stuff.  

Wordless Wednesday - Bern, Switzerland

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Tuesday Coffee Chat - Halloween Edition

Congrats to Leslie on her first Huffington Post article. You can read it by clicking here.  The theme for the coffee chat is either the best prank you ever played or your favorite Halloween recipe.  Well my prank is inappropriate to post on the site and I am not much of a recipe kind of guy.  So I guess I am messed over on this one but I hope you all will indulge me going in a different direction today.

Yesterday, a major storm front hit the NorthEastern United States along with parts of my home province of Ontario.  The storm caused several deaths and millions (and perhaps billions) of dollars in property damage.  As of yesterday over 7,000 flights were cancelled (that number will be over 10,000 today) and millions were asked to evacuate thier homes.  With all that destructrion, I hope you will join me in taking a moment to wish all of those impacted by the storm well.  Further, please join me in hoping that there are no more injuries or deaths and that all will remain as safe as possible.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The First Listicle???

Thanks to Stasha for hosting Listicles...this weeks topic is:


Before I get into the Listicle, I know all of you are expecting me to get myself in trouble with this one and while that very well may happen, I plead the fifth to all below.  I know nothing of what I write.  Items may be just a figment of my imagination.  You can and should only guess at which firsts are real...

10. First Love - A girl named Nadine who I dated for six years...Scary, I had to look back to see a picture on a friends Facebook page to remember what she looked like.  Yes, my memory is that bad.  

9. First Love Making Session - A premature launch on my part...BTW - It has never happened since...Have I hit TMI yet?  BTW - I had to figure out how to properly put on a prophylactic - yes, a catholic education once again came in handy (well in reality it did...right in my hand) 

8. First Heather - I dated another Heather when I was much younger. In total, I have been romantically linked to three Heather's in my life.  I would say what they all have in common but divorce is too expensive.

7. First Friend - My friend T - who is still my friend today.  We met in Kindergarten.

6. First introduction of Heather to my college friends - She came and saw our snow-pitch tournament.  Yes, it is soft ball played in the snow.  By the 9:30 AM game we were all intoxicated and playing naked in minus temperatures.  I can guarantee you there was some serious shrinkage happening, that is my story and I am stick with it.

EDIT: Heather asked me to add the point that she took no part in any nakedness because she is prudish and would not partake in any sexual deviance.  P.S.  You can check out her latest Eden Fantasy's post here.

5. First Felony - When I young (still in grade school) I created a matchbox bomb and blew the door off a teacher's garage.  Yes, it came right off the hinges.  

4. First Email - Was a naughty note to the girl who set up the account for me.  Yes, I did get a date but no the contents of the note did not happen.  She thought I was funny not sexy.  Story of my life.

3. First Fire Alarm - In grade school I created a time released pulley and lever system so that a fire alarm would go off ten minutes into a test.  It worked marvelously though if I had took the time I spent creating the system and put that into studying, I would not have needed it.  Then again...

2. First car was a Mazda Protege   I once hit 175 km per hour on the back roads of Northern Ontario in it.  I also jumped it once ala Dukes of Hazzard just to see if I could.

1. First Published Article - I wrote an article that I am still proud of today entitled, "Exploring the Popularity of the World Wrestling Federation’s Monday Night ‘Raw is War’."  

Music Monday


Apparently, I need more reading comprehension classes since I screwed up the topic last week...

I had a bunch but none are scarier than this song.  I know the thought of these guys coming back scares me...

Monday Quiz

Welcome to Monday Quiz About Me - hosted by Acting Balanced and Touristic

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! Grab the badge for your post if you like:

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sundays in My City - Bern Switzerland

Unknown Mami

Thanks to the Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City...

This is the first set of pictures from my trip to Europe - this set is specifically taken of Bern Switzerland.  I have another really good set coming up on Wednesday - so come on back to see them and link up to my Wordless Wednesday...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Six Word Saturday

Celebrating two years of Erik's presence!

Friendship Friday - Extraordinary Moments

Thanks to Create With Joy for hosting this hop.  

Question Of The Week

What are some of the extraordinary moments you’ve experienced during your lifetime?

There are so many moments...

I wrote yesterday about what a happy guy I am.  I have been lucky to have a lot of extraordinary moments in my life - let's see if I can get it down to a top five list...

5. Driving down the back highways from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Houston, Texas and getting lost.  It was that trip that made me decide that Heather was the one.

4. Getting tenure earlier this year - that is a great moment.

3. The moment I became mature enough to realize just how extraordinary my parents are.  They are wonderful and loving people.

2. Talking to my sister for the last is sad but definitely extraordinary...

1. Welcoming each of my kids into the world.  How can one not marvel at the birth of a child?

Friday Questions...


I feel like getting grilled today...

First up, Mama M.

1. Who wakes up in the morning with the kids, you or hubby?

My wife would sure be surprised if I had a hubby... Then again, Heather wouldn't mind if new hubby was more handy and liked to cook.  In our case, I do the waking up and getting ready for school routine.

2. Do you watch the World Series even if your team isn't in it?

Haven't watched the World Series in years...

3. What is the best compliment you have received?

You're a good dad...

4. Do/did you dress up to take your kids trick or treating?

Nope, I am a holiday curmudgeon...

5. Do you have a favorite bible verse? What is it and why?

Sorry, I am not the religious type...I am sure the Bible has great passages though.

Now its Hilary's turn to grill me...

1. My brain is my favorite is extra hemisphere-y.  

2. Thinking about politics makes me nauseous
3. It’s been a long time since I have gone on a vacation with just Heather...
4. I just don’t understand greed.

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Thanks to Mrs. 4444's for hosting Friday Fragments...

  • Today is Erik's birthday party - so happy second birthday big guy.
    • On a related note: Thanks for giving me the most tiring two years I have ever are indeed a bundle of energy.

  • Last week, Conde Nast not only named Charleston the best tourism destination in the USA but also added best destination in the world to its title.
    • On a related note: After travelling through Europe last week, the vibe Charleston has is unique and the service levels here are phenomenal when compared.  

  •  Freiburg Germany is a beautiful city.  It provided a great backdrop for the conference I was at.
    • On a related note:  While I like Freiburg, I loved Bern Switzerland!!!  Such a beautiful and historic city - comeback on Sunday to see pictures of  Bern!!!  You won't be disappointed... 

  • Just a reminder to check out Heather's two memes - the Monday Quiz About Me and Thirsty for Comments Thursday...
    • On a related note: Whoever writes most of the questions for the Monday Quiz is completely bonkers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Am I Content with Pondering?


Once again thanks to Brenda for hosting Pondering.  This week's theme is:

Are you content or living your dream?

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a pretty content person.  I could be living in a refrigerator box under a freeway overpass and could find the bright side.  That doesn't mean I do not strive to be a better parent, to provide my family with as best of life as possible or to try and personally grow (not physically but mentally) as I think the key to happiness is moving forward.  

There have been instances in my life that have tested me but I realized that with hard work, an open mind and a force of will, one can get through just about anything a better person as a result.  I fully admit to myself and the world that I am not perfect (or even close to it) but I try my best to be as good of a person as I can be.    I try to do the 'right thing' consistently and people know that, so I think that saves me a lot of grief.  I am willing to fight the good fight in the name of justice.  In doing so, others know my resolve is genuine and I keep my conscious clear as a result.  I do not like to let injustice lie.

I think I am living my dream because my dream is pretty simple.  I do not need things or stuff.  I realize what is truly important in life.  Health, liberty and love.  I want to be a good person who tries to make a positive impact on the world. I let myself be an open book but I am choosy as to who I let into my world. I look to surround myself with people who make positive contributions.  I am still working on talking less and listening more thus choosing my words more carefully and trying to give them more meaning as a result.  I am working to develop my intellectual and emotional range.  In summary, I am working to enhance my dream, not achieve it.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirsty for Comments

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Pour Your Heart Out - Servicape & Charleston

Last week when I was in Europe one of the biggest differences I found in relation to my home in Charleston was the level of service.  In particular, there was an air that service was just that, a job to be performed.  In Charleston, southern hospitality rules and service is taking care of a guest.  I think performing a service is more than just a job.  It is an opportunity to make someone's life a little bit better. As a professor, I could just teach my classes, do my research and perform the duties to task but something would be lacking.  At the heart of service is to care.  Care about others, care about providing the best experience possible, care for your profession.  A true service professional provides an entire experience - not just lip service.  True service, is about creating and maintaining relationships.  It is about connecting to your clients.

Those who only look at it as a financial transaction lose something in creating the overall experience for the guest.  It is akin to going to a prostitute for sex versus making love with someone you care it.  Yes, the acts may look similar but the feeling is totally different.  Hospitality and tourism services are about creating genuine moments and relationships.  They should be based on authentic experiences.  At the heart of creating those experiences is a genuine wish from the hosts to make their visitors feel like guests.

Last week Charleston was named the best tourism destination in the world by Conde Naste travel.  While Charleston has a good product it doesn't have an Eiffel Tower or an iconic feature.  So what makes this place special compared to New York, San Francisco, Paris, London etc. etc. etc.?  The difference here is that you are our guest.  It is a pleasure to have you come to visit us and we let you know it.  You are not just a profit center to us - you are a person who needs to be welcomed and treated with respect.  This is the Charleston difference.

Follow Who? Social Weekend Hop

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Surf the Earth Costa Rica

Hi all,

I am still recovering from my trip to Europe.  I picked up a nice airplane cold on the way home.  I am therefore putting off showing my pictures of Europe but you are not going to be disappointed.

One of the privileges of being a professor is that you get to meet and teach great students.  One of my former students, Philip Hall, opened a surf company in Costa Rica called Surf the Earth Costa Rica (I have added his bio to the bottom).  He has since started to expand his operation to include all types of tourism.  These are pictures from his and his guests adventures in Costa Rica.

Phillip's Bio

"My name is Phillip Hall. I grew up in South Carolina, in a small town called Pawleys Island. I graduated from the College of Charleston and started majoring in Business Administration and then switched to Hospitality and Tourism Management to better my education in the exact areas I wanted to learn more about. I took more classes in hotel and resort management because my ultimate goal is to own a hotel and restaurant in Costa Rica. I wrote many of my college papers on business ideas for Costa Rica because I have been traveling there since I was 18. I have always known that this was where I wanted to live, so I made it happen. Right after college I went on a cross country trip to say goodbye to the States, and then I sold everything I had to move to Costa Rica. I have now been here for three years and all my dreams are slowly getting put into place. I moved down here to start the company Surf The Earth Costa Rica. It is surf and tourism company that basically takes people on the vacation of a life time. I handle every part of a guest trip and I'm a personal 24/7 concierge. I know the country of Costa Rica very well. I have traveled to every part of the country so I have the ability to show people the right places to go and the things avoid all over the country. My next business venture was into the party planning business for; weddings, bachelor, bachelorette, ect. My partners and I developed a very big and beautiful website for this business and we decided to take our knowledge of advertising and website development into another business all together. We sell our knowledge and skills to be used to improve a business's online presence and we have some tricks of the trade to help push websites to the top of Google searches, which is a very important tool in this present day business world. One of my personal skills that I bring to the table for all of these businesses is photography and filming. One of my great passions is taking pictures and editing movies. I have editing all kinds of videos for my business, tour businesses, instructional yoga videos, sales videos, FAQ videos, surf movies, and the list goes on. Now my partners and I are using our knowledge of the industry in this country and teaming up with Jaco Laguna Resort to build there online websites, photography, videos, marketing, sales, and helping run there tourism onsite. We are there to make sure every single guest is taken care of and has the absolute best vacation possible. This is my next venture in life and I can't wait to see where it takes me."
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