Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good food, hot coffee and a captive audience

I love networking, especially when food is involved.  I’ve gone to numerous ‘Business After Hours’ and they are good.  But, as they’re about networking bar style over food and alcohol the crowd is different. 

Now Business @ Breakfast, courtesy of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), is a horse of a different color.  Here, you sit at a round table as one of eight people sipping coffee and eating eggs, ham, fruit, or Danish.  Ah, good food, hot coffee and a captive audience.

Tony Giles of Morgan Stanley is the ever-cheerful emcee, who does not need a mic to be heard to the farthest reaches of the room. After an introduction and hello, we get a quick over view of the ‘rules of the room’.
You’ve heard of speed-dating; this is speed-networking.  One person volunteers to go first.  Moving to the right around the table, each person hands their cards off to be passed around with each person taking one, while they tell us who they are, what they do in one minute.

Tony must have a stopwatch, I never watched, but you don’t have to worry about going over your minute, because he calls time.  “All right number one, your time is up.  Number two – go!” And so on around table. 

When number eight wraps up, we play musical tables.  Again, Tony’s voice chimes out, “Everybody up and change tables.  Do not sit with the same people, you’re here to meet new people.  Everyone is smiling, laughing as we move from table to table, reminded perhaps of childhood games, musical chairs, trying to be first, etc.  It is fun and you meet so many new people.  Some head quickly to another table to be the first from their table to get there.  Some strategists, stay at the same table counting on seven new faces to show up.

BBA has a participating partner that provides breakfast for these event.  This morning it was Verizon.  Thanks Verizon – It was a great breakfast and the coffee urns were bottomless.

Thanks, too, to the Birmingham Business Alliance.  I made 35 new contacts this morning, and five said they need a freelance writer (that would be me).  The other 30? Well, everybody has a sphere of influence, and who knows but they might pass my name along to someone else needing my services.

If you’ve never been, you need to check out BBA's website for the next one - I’ll be there for sure with my blazer pressed and loaded – right pocket full of cards, left pocket ready to receive incoming cards.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Kind O’Green.

It’s St. Paddy’s Day and traditionally everyone, Irish or otherwise, wears green.

I don’t look good in green (olive complexion here); don’t own any green clothing; not buying any green clothing any time soon; thank you very much.  So, I took a lesson from all the little lapel cause ribbons everyone is always wearing and designed my own green ribbon out of a good ole greenback, a buck, moolah, money - now that's a Green I can wear.

I wonder at all the nicknames we give our money.  I’m sure some originated or were at least promulgated in the general population by writers of the hard-boiled detective fiction of a certain era.  Then again, as we are a nation of immigrants, we can look at root words. Take ‘fin’ for the five-dollar bill. Fin, also finnif from finf, is Yiddish for five.  A ten-dollar bill is called a sawbuck; a twenty is a double sawbuck. I looked it up, and a sawbuck is a real thing - a sawhorse shaped like an X (Roman numeral 10), so it does make a kind of sense.  The hundred is a C note. I notice when we hit a hundred it’s a note and not a bill – classier appellation or it could be simply that C-bill sounds somewhat odd. 

Money in general has various slang terms.  Say you’re “bringing home the bacon” or “he’s rollin’ in dough”, or “man, that’s a lot of lettuce”, etc., and people always know what you mean. Money has long been associated with abundance of sustenance or the means with which to provide it, hence all the food terms.

I remember in Texas, the old-timers called a quarter 2-bits.  Seems that coins were scarce and taking a hint from the Mexicans who did the same to their Peso, the dollar would be cut into 8 pieces.  Bet most cheerleaders have no idea what they’re referring to in that old cheer (2-bits, 4-bits, 6-bits, a dollar…).

The Legal Tender Act was actually several.  The first signed by Abraham Lincoln to help pay for the Civil War in Feb. 1862 authorized $150 million; the acts of July 1862, and March 1863, provided more money issued totaling $300 million.

The act was challenged, struck down, and reinstated a few times by the supreme court, but eventually it prevailed, and survives along with it’s many aliases to this day.

Money - My Kind O’Green!

It’s March 17, 2010 – Happy St. Paddy’s day:  Also on this day:
1762, The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City
1836, Texas abolishes slavery
1845, the first rubber band was patented by Stephen Perry of London, made from vulcanized rubber. Perry owned the manufacturing company Messers Perry and Co., of London, England.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Forward

Just a moment ago, it was 11:15 p.m. Saturday night, and in the next, it is 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning.  I've moved my few clocks forward, so I don't forget later at bed and oversleep tomorrow. 

I usually go to bed at midnight, but regardless of what the clock says, my head knows it's not really midnight yet, and so it will be an hour or so before I slip between the covers and finally douse the lights.

Strange thing, time.  There are days that pass in the time it takes for an ordinary three, and others pass in the seeming blink of an eye.

But, as we have only the clock to tell the time by, there's no real way to prove how interminably longer one day is from the other. I'm reminded of Einstein's train, and some days I feel as if I'm on on that train and holding on for dear life.

(c) Perle Champion 

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Journal née Diary

When I was a girl, just like when Anne was a girl, it was called a diary.  Published in the U.S. in 1952, I first read Anne Frank’s diary in 1958 when I was nine.  We had just returned from a post in England, and spent some time in New York City waiting for Daddy’s car to make it to port and off the ship.  From there we would drive to our new post in Pyote, Texas.  It was a long drive, and books were my constant companion in or out of the car.

An avid reader from an early age, I remember being amazed that a girl’s diary was actually a book.  I would ask for a diary that Christmas.  Alas, at nine, my days in west Texas were too full of doing to sit quietly and write.  That came much later, and now it is a daily ritual.

Although I’ve read many diaries and journals since then, the impact of one young girl’s diary has resonated through the years in my life.  It is a testament to the importance of a friend to tell your hopes, frustrations and aspirations to, even if that someone is a plain lined page.  

Anne’s diary is a look at another time and even the recitation of the minutiae of her days in such tight quarters through smiles and tears, informed me.  It was her friend, her confidant, even her therapist.

If more people kept a journal; had a daily conversation with themselves upon the page; there’d be less need of drugs and psychiatrists.  The past can only keep us from moving forward.  Committed our day to the page, frees us to move on to the next thing – the next moment. 

Historians vary, but the one I read said Anne Frank died today in 1945 at Bergen-Belsen prison camp two weeks before liberation by British troops.

© Perle Champion

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A Conversation with Myself 

Monday, March 1, 2010

My To-Do List is Too Long

I think sometimes that I spread myself too thin. It was a glorious sun shiny day, and I spent most of in the studio painting.  I have three paintings due to the gallery by Tuesday; a poem submission to shine for Wednesday; poetry contest due mid March and I haven’t even begun; haven’t posted the Blog regularly at all and that was on my to-do list; and I really need to finish the final edit of my novel; etc.

The art and poems are quick money; the novel is long range. The paintings are coming along.  Here are some rough shots in vitro.

Getting a novel published is a lengthy process.  I just want it off my desk and onto someone else’s, so I can move on to other things.  I’ve posted excerpts here, if anyone is interested.  Appreciate any constructive critique, as I don’t have a writer’s group at the moment.

I’m posting this then hitting the sack, as it’s after 1 a.m., and I need to get up and walk by 5 or 6 a.m. to walk my miles, then get back to the studio.  Living in a city as polluted as Birmingham, I have to get my walk in before the ozone lifts. 

Night, night.