Sunday, October 15, 2006

Paddy O`Leary's Irish Pub Review

We went for drinks last week after work, and on the recommendation of my boss, we checked out Paddy's in the Beddington mall. It's a little north of the Beddington & Centre St. intersection, on the east side.

The place was fairly empty, despite the hockey game promotion. They were having problems with their sattilite, so the game was confined to the main bar. The waitress was new (they all seem to be these days), but friendly enough. Smoking is allowed, but it wasn't the usual "smokey" bar. They seem to have a good ventilation system. We had a pleasant little corner by the fireplace, and after the usual jug of beer we ordered some food. We ordered a plate of nachos and some calimari. This place used to be a pizza joint, so I know they have a good kitchen in the back. They've put it to good use. The nachos are as good as any other pub's, and the calimari was fresh and not chewy. Yeah!

The only disappointment was the lack of variety of beer. Lots of the usual domestics, so there were many different brands, but I was expecting some imports on tap. Especially since they're advertising themselves as and Irish pub.

Definately going back. It might even become a regular stop.

Update December 2006 - A caveat: If there's a hockey game on, they crank up the TV, and it becomes not so pleasant. Grr. So close.

Real Beauty

Having two teenage daughters, these advertisements (1, 2, 3) from Dove really hit home. Thanks for putting this up Karl. Now I'm going to go tell my daughters that they're beautiful.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Who Concert Review

I know it's been ten days since "The Who" played Calgary, but I thought to put this up for prosterity's sake anyway. It's become a tradition for a big concert (Crosby, Stills & Nash or Santana for example) to be announced in the summer for the fall. Same this year, I bought Cathie tickets for The Who this summer, and they played the Saddledone last week.

Overall it was an excellent show. The crowd was on their feet and singing so loud at some points that it was hard to actually hear the band. That's pretty loud. Then they would play something of their new album, and everybody lost the groove. We knew the good stuff was coming again, so we forgave them because of "who" they were.

The light show was brilliant. I especailly liked the animated & movable screens that really kept the show going. (Me being the geek I am, I spent half the encore trying to figure out how they got them to flip.) My only complaint about it was being blinded at random intervals as the coloured spot lights swept the audience.

Overall, a great concert and well worth the weekly groceries. The kids like mac & cheese anyway. Probably the only chance in my lifetime that I'll be able to see them live - no regrets there.

You Can't Hire Change

I blogged a little while ago about effecting cultural change at corporations. OK, somebody else blogged about it, I snitched it. I'm a "C" list blogger, whadya want?

Regardless, I was having a beer with a former co-worker of mine (let's call him T.), who got recruited by a local oil company that was looking to become more efficient, bring their corporate processes up to speed, and to drag their project management processes into reality. His first challenge was to the document management department. It's one of those places were the staff can give you a 20-year history of why things are done the way they're done. When asked why are they are doing it that way now, it doesn't make sense anymore - will repeat the 20-year-history of why things are done the way they're done. It's a variation of "that's the way we've always done it."

To me, that's a huge red flag. My immediate reaction will be ". . . and now we're going to change it."

Here's is biggest problem: he has no credibility, and he doesn't have the relationships within the company. So the staff have found ways (in the incredibly immature, passive-aggressive, crippling, self-preservational, and instinctually way that staff in disfunctinal companys do) to block, back-stab, and work-around him.

For cultural change to be credible it needs to be driven from the top be sustained over years . Otherwise it will be business as usual until this latest management fad passes, and people can go back to doing things the safe (for them) way they've always done it. Right now, T's fighting inertia from the bottom and indifference from the top. It's an oil company, they're making money hand over fist right now, so why should they change? That works until the price of oil drops or another company that's more mature comes along and starts eating their lunch.

If you manage a company you get one thing. If you lead a company, you get something else. Leading starts with the president, not from somebody a forward-looking vice-president hires.

So T's looking for new work. He promised them a year, and that's all they're likely to get. I'll be happy to get him back working for us.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Getting your climbing rope clean can be a pain - but not with this washer. Homemade & less than $10.

Creative Commons Music

This site is cool: music uploaded under the creative commons lisence. Intentionally free music. Tagged, searchable, and sortable. It hasn't hit critical mass yet, but I think it's a good idea that will take off eventually.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Costume Props Made Easy

A black suit and
. . . and hat: Blues Brothers
. . . blue latex gloves: the "Blue Hands" from Firefly
. . . PVC, glue, and silver spray paint: Men in Black - instructions here

Pumpkin Time

Yes, it's that time of year. Yeah! My best Halloween trick was the year I hid under a pile of leaves in the front yard, and waited for one of my Scouts to come along. Hehehe. Simple but effective. I'm not sure, but I think he wet himself.

Top Ten Lies

My wife Cathie is going into business making custom costumes & designs, specailizing in period & 'geek' wear. I came across this hard-won experience and thought it might be good advice for anybody going into business in the creative domain.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Great Escape 2006

I spent the weekend at a Scout Event called "The Great Escape". It's basically a mini-jamboree, which involves the Scouts spending the night doing an orienteering exercise while at the same time avoiding "capture" (being tagged) by the Scouts. Check out the pics on my Flikr site.