Go Hoos

August 24, 2009

I’m a Demon Deacon living in the land of the Wahoo. It’s not a new situation for me – as I recounted in another post a couple of years ago, though I’m a certified Charlottesville “townie”, I guess I’ll always bleed gold and black.

Ironically enough, a friend of ours owns the unrivaled mecca for all things U.Va. Mincer’s is a U.Va institution right up there with the Rotunda and the White Spot. My earliest memory of Mincer’s was when U.Va won the men’s ACC basketball championship in 1976, and “ACC Champion” t-shirts from the store flooded the halls of my middle school (and claimed a prize spot in my dresser drawer). It’s now thirty-odd years later, and with four kids who are as firmly ensconced in their allegiance to U.Va as I was at their age, we’ve given the store our fair share of business over the years. We therefore didn’t think twice when Mark asked us if we wanted to be in a commercial.

We showed up at the store at the appointed time, and were all given different U.Va shirts to wear. Actually, the kids got shirts – despite the muggy temperature, I was handed a heavy hooded sweatsht. Maybe it was payback for my asking if it would be OK if I wore a Wake Forest belt for the shoot!

When the time came for what the kids and I were convinced would be our quick ticket to Tinseltown, we were told to stand in a clump outside the store, and “act natural”. How do you get a 6-year-old to act natural when he has a big television camera pointed at him? We did our best, taking comfort in the assurances that they would only be using a few seconds in the commercial, if that. And then, it was over, and they were on to the next group. No one even asked for our autograph….

We were all prepared to wind up on the cutting room floor. But, we did wind up getting our 1.5 seconds of fame (upper left-hand corner):
I’m not quitting my day job, and the phone hasn’t exactly been ringing off the hook with agents wanting to sign on the next child star. But, it was fun.

So head on down to Mincer’s, or check them out online. Just don’t buy any of the “No Wake Zone” buttons!


Technically speaking

August 21, 2009

There is certainly tech-savvy blood in my family. I have one cousin who is a television photojournalist and another cousin who is a news director, both of whom work with complicated cameras, satellite trucks, editing equipment, and who knows what other sorts of high-tech gadgets and gizmos on a daily basis. I have an uncle who was a radar intercept officer on an F-4 Phantom jet, where he dealt with a jaw-dropping array of dials, gauges, buttons and switches, at supersonic speeds, no less. I have a brother in law who is a master plumber and carpenter, and could probably give MacGyver a run for his money.

I, however, generally need to enlist the help of my teenaged daughter in order to get the remote on the DVD player to work. I could have used her (or one of my cousins, or my uncle, or my brother-in-law, or somebody) today when I found myself trying without success to assert an air of technical confidence and competence as I fiddled with the cables connecting a computer, projector, DVD player, PA system and other assorted hardware, trying to figure out where the sound had gone. Oh, and did I mention that I was doing so in front of a room full of lawyers, all of whom had paid a significant sum to attend the seminar that had just come to a screeching halt due to the aforesaid technical difficulties? Good times….

Presentations 101

August 20, 2009

Anyone who has ever had to give a speech or presentation can probably rattle off a number of survival/success tips. Speak to the back of the room. Maintain eye contact. Don’t read. Speak slowly.

These are all decent guidelines. They are, however, pretty basic, and I would never (knowingly) sign anyone on to speak at one of my seminars who had to be reminded of them. I was therefore happy to come across legal consultant Matthew Homann’s Ten Rules for Presenters. The next time you step in front of an audience (or classroom, or jury, or congregation, or whatever), take note of these rules. Your listeners (and whoever was responsible for getting you up there in the first place) will thank you!

A Different Image

August 19, 2009

OK, this won’t be a long or particularly thoughtful post, but I’ve just gotten home after a 2-day business trip, and I have exactly 11 minutes to get something posted in order to remain on Blawger Island.

One of the benefits to my job (planning/overseeing continuing education seminars for lawyers) is that I get to work with some extremely talented people. All are good lawyers – the adage that “those who can’t, teach” doesn’t apply in my business. However, not all of them are much fun to be around – some wear their talent on their sleeve, with egos as big as their reputations. Often, though, they are the most warm and interesting people you could imagine. Such was the case with the speaker I’ve been working with over the past couple of days.

Oh, that the public’s image of lawyers was based on people like this….

Something to Shoot For

August 18, 2009

I often tell people that the only award I have a chance of winning in an ultramarathon is the “Best Blood” award (some offer a prize for the best/bloodiest injury, typically incurred while tripping over a root or rock).

I’ve found another one to shoot for – the world’s slowest marathon. Better get started if I’m going to beat this guy, though – 54 years!

Two on Twitter

August 17, 2009

One of the blogs that I follow is Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs. The site has recently featured two articles on Twitter. In each, O’Keefe defends Twitter as being not just useful, but downright indispensable – or soon to be, anyway. In “40% of Twitter is mindless babble. So what?”, he lauds Twitter as a networking tool. In “Twitter Search for lawyers and law firms: Why it’s so important”, he takes it a step further: “In the near future you will not be able to live without (the) real time conversation and information” that Twitter offers.

I dunno. Whenever Twitter comes up in conversation, I have a hard time defending it too vigorously when a scoffer shakes his head and says “I don’t get it.” For every “how to” or “essential rules” tweet, there are half a dozen more announcing what somewhat ate for breakfast or letting the world know that they are getting ready to walk their dog.

How do I know this? I tweet. After all, in the immortal words of Bluto Blutarsky, it don’t cost nothin’.

But I’m still not convinced that it’s worth much more than that.

Les Paul

August 14, 2009

The last place I expected to see a tribute to the passing of electric guitar legend Les Paul was on an employment law blog. But, there it was, and a nice tribute it was indeed.

As any guitar afficianado knows, Les Paul wasn’t famous as much for his playing as he was for the guitars that bear his name. While I know which end of a guitar goes where, a paucity of both time and talent has rendered me a much better air guitarist than the real thing. And, when I play air guitar, it’s always a Les Paul.

Jimmy plays one. Pete plays one. Jimi was best known for his Stratocaster, but he played one as well. Same with Stevie Ray. The list goes on and on, but those are four of my favorites….

Thank you, Les. Rest in peace.

PS – Blawger note: While my time stamp says it’s Friday the 14th, my clock in Virginia says it’s 12:19 a.m. on the 15th. I’ll defer to Judge Carter on whether this is a qualifying post.