Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

24 Feb

eatthatfrog_detail2I’ve heard a lot about Eat That Frog approach and even used it but I never read the book by Brian Tracy. Last Christmas I got a copy in the mail (it was a gift) and digged in.

It is a short and easy 120-page read with lots of repetitions and no real insights but it was a good reminder to stop procrastinating and get things done.

As a note to myself (and all of you, of course), I am putting down below some of the ideas I highlighted while reading the book. Continue reading

Bond Girl Comes to the Bay Area

1 Oct

tumblr_mcu2rd7woG1qzk2apo1_500Lana Wood, best known for her role as Plenty O’Toole alongside Sean Connery in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, is appearing at a Bay Area pop culture convention. The actress will be a Special Guest at Campbell Con that will take place in Campbell November 7th, 2015.

Lana has appeared on TV in Playhouse 90, Have Gun – Will Travel, Dr. KIldare, The Figutive and Peyton Place. Her more than 300 TV appearances also include Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Police Story, Starsky and Hutch, Nero Wolfe, Fantasy Island and Capitol.

This is a very rare occasion to meet an original Bond girl, and a very special event for Campbell, being the city’s first very own pop culture convention. Lana Wood will be joined by other celebrity guests including Jon Provost, best known as Timmy on the popular TV show Lassie, Kathy Garver who portrayed Catherine “Cissy” Davis on sitcom Family Affair and provided the voice of Firestar on the Saturday morning cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

Also appearing at Campbell Con are Dominick Brascia, ‘”Joey” in Friday the 13th Part V, and  Debbie Lee Carrington whose credits include the role of Romba the Ewok in Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, as well as parts in many movies and TV shows including Total Recall, Men in Black, Seinfeld, Baywatch, Dexter and Bones.

Campbell Con will also feature an array of special guests from the comic book industry including renowned artists Chris Marrinan (Excalibur, Wonder Woman), John Heebink (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD), Joe Weems (X-Men, The Tomb Raider) and Mark Badger (Batman: Jazz, Spiderman Online), as well as Underground cartoonist Bruce Simon and Omar Morales, creator of the comic book CruZader: Agent of the Vatican.

Attendees will be able to not only meet celebrity guests but also shop from the variety of vendors and creators, take part in Magic and X-Wing tournaments and, of course, cosplay.

The convention takes place at Campbell Community Center from 10 am till 5 pm on Saturday, November 7th, 2015. Tickets available online only at www.campbellcon.com

Press passes available.

Interview inquiries Contact Marina Lukyantseva: (408) 637-8730, marina.lukyantseva@gmail.com

Mad Men: The End of An Era

19 May

On Sunday night, after 1 h 15 minutes of excitement, happiness, sadness, tears and simple astonishment, I grabbed my iPhone and updated my Facebook status to ‘Mad Men series finale sum up: Buddha’s smile’.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men Series Finale. Photo credit: vanityfair.com

If you watched the episode, you understand the irony. Yes, I was referring to Don’s expression while meditating on the perfectly green cliff overlooking the Pacific (dear Matt Weiner, thank you for ending the series in the best place on Earth aka California!). Did Don or Dick find inner peace? Continue reading

‘Optimizing AdSense’ Course

12 Sep

I’ve had my AdSense account for quite a while now, and also had it display ads on one of my blogs. I just signed up, added the widget and forgot about it. One day I checked my account to find a lucky number of 13 dollars! Wow, I actually made some money! I never took my time to study AdSense, and I realized I’ve been missing out. It was time to learn something.

May 2014 Google launched an online course called ‘Optimizing AdSense’. It is free, and anyone with a valid AdSense account (they ask for your AdSense ID) can register.

The course is entirely online and self-paced.

You start with Pre-Course Assessment to test how much you know about AdSense. No worries, it doesn’t affect your final score or anything. It just helps you to see where you are and to identify the areas you need to study. However, you are free to take the entire course, not just parts of it.  Continue reading

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Series Finale

4 Apr
Photo credit: eonline.com

Photo credit: eonline.com

March 31, 2014 12.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the HIMYM finale, and many were left disappointed. To be honest, I was one of them.

As the credits rolled out, several questions ran through my head, ‘Why did they kill off The Mother?’, ‘Why did they spend the entire season building up to Barney and Robin’s wedding and then made them get divorced?’, ‘How come Ted got together with Robin again? and ‘Wait, what about the pineapple?’ I felt what many people felt: I felt I was cheated on.  I was totally pissed.

I also have to confess: I could not help crying. Crying over a sitcom, really? Not many movies or books can make you cry, not to say alone a TV show. But it was a sign of something done right.

The next day I was still thinking about it, and the day afterwards (and yes, I was getting misty). Weird, right? I had to do something about it, and I did. I re-watched the finale and the pilot – and it all started making sense to me.

What did we all expect the finale to be? Ted finally meets The Mother and they live happily ever after. A fairy-tale ending. But let’s be honest: does it always happen in life? Not at all.

Me and many other devoted HIMYM fans got pissed because they wanted to see something nice and sweet, something they can only dream about but they ended up getting something bittersweet they know first hand: LIFE.

Barney and Robin get divorced after the entire final season being set over their wedding weekend. Now tell me: don’t know that one couple (or maybe a few) spending weeks, months and years and a fortune planning a legen – wait for it! – dary! wedding just to find out the marriage is not working.  It happens.

The Mother (I still prefer to refer to her as The Mother despite we now know her name) gets sick and dies. Very sad indeed, but it happens – people go too soon no matter how much they love and are loved.

Ted goes back to Robin. Yes, it might be a mistake but don’t we all make mistakes? Who said your favorite sitcom characters are supposed to do everything right even if it is the series finale?

The pilot and the finale form a frame, but it doesn’t matter as much as those 9 years in between, all the pain and love the characters went through, all the things they did and did not. Ted in the finale might be holding the same French horn but he is not the same pilot Ted. He is a man who accomplished what he wished for: he met the one and started a family. The same with Robin. That successful globetrotter journalist might have 5 dogs again but it is not the same Robin who just moved to NYC from Canada hoping for a big career break. Can it work now? We don’t know, and we are not supposed to because it is another story. The story of how Ted met the mother of his kids is over, and we did learn about it.

But it is not the main thing. By the finale we pretty much know how Ted met The Mother, we just haven’t seen it yet. The finale sums up many life lessons we learned from the show:

Life is unpredictable, and anything can happen.

Friendship is beautiful but people do grow apart.

You can’t live in the past and have the same life over and over again.

Sometimes you just need to say ‘Good bye’ and let people go.

Love doesn’t always make sense and comes in many forms.

Good things come to you when you are ready for them.

Never stop believing. 

Life is about making choices – and not always we make the right one. 

People live and learn, and get older, and still make mistakes. 

Don’t be afraid to open your heart and love, even if you risk to get hurt. 

Cherish every moment of your life – big or small – and be thankful for what you had, have and will have.

Do you want me to tell you the finale scene that made me  emotional the most? It was not Barney meeting the true love of his life – his daughter. It was not Lily and Ted’s E.T. goodbye. It was Ted and The Mother wedding and the snapshots from their life together.

I could totally refer to all those stupid fights for nothing, those 5 am Christmas mornings, those lazy Sunday afternoons and those happy and sad moments our life consists of. Don’t we all have it? We do, and how often we forget about the ones we love and our feelings for them, how often we get buried under meaningless things we spend our time and energy on and forget to love and cherish what life gave us.

HIMYM had its ups and downs, and Season 9 was the worst with several episodes being just a waste but, after reflecting on the finale and the entire 9-year run, I can only applaud the cast and the crew. They managed to create something very special: a sitcom that is bigger than a sitcom, a show and characters you grow to love and care about, and, most important, a show that makes you reflect on your own life and come to peace with it. A bigger than life show is the one that brings real life to the screen, even if it makes no sense at first.

 

 

 

 

 

Goals and resolutions

1 Jan

It is this time of the year again. One year ends, a new one starts. What do people do? Write down their New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t do that. I do my goals instead of resolutions.

Frankly, I don’t even like the sound of the very word ‘resolution’. It sounds like limitations. Now think about those common resolutions. Quit smoking, stop eating fast food, spend less time online etc. Very often it is about NOT doing something rather than doing. Negative, not to say very seldom fulfilled.

Goals are different. They are certain things you DO want to do or achieve. Goals guide us and help us make our life more meaningful. Yes, there are times when you just don’t feel like being guided by your goals and just want to go with the flow. It happens, but I’ve realized that for most time I am more productive (and happier, too!) when I have my goals set.

Now, when talking about setting up your goals, it is important to do it in a proper way. I follow the simple SMART principle. I am sure many of you are quite familiar with it but it is worth reminding.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time-Bound

For example, instead of just saying ‘I will lose some weight’ say  ‘Shed off 10 lb by May 1’. Just an example. I need to lose (I am not telling you how many) pounds too.

I’ve been doing my goals for the last few years. Normally, I break my goals into 2 major sections: Personal and Professional. Then I break them down into sub-sections. Under Personal I have Health, Sport, Educations, Self-Development, Travel, Culture etc. Under Professional I list all my projects and set goals for each one.

Once your New Year’s goals are set, it is important to constantly review them and write down your monthly, weekly and daily goals and objectives. It does help. Of course, there will be changes and adjustments, it is normal, but having your clear, realistic and measurable goals always on hand does make a difference.

Goals are positive, productive and encouraging. Resolutions are not. Goals help you move forward and do new things. Resolutions are about stopping doing old things. No wonder resolutions are seldom fulfilled.

Wishing you all to set and achieve all your goals in 2014.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Mad about Mad Men

6 Dec

mad_men_fb_cover_photo_by_chadski51-d4jrt3g

I’ve just finished watching Season 6 of Mad Men. I know, I am a little bit behind on it but it is not too late to enjoy a great show.

I have to admit: I am a huge Mad Men fan but it took me some time to become one. Of course, I had heard a lot about it from my PR&Marketing friends but for some reason never gave it a try. Then I saw it on the plane. It was some episode from Season 2 or 3. I left me wondering why everyone was so crazy about the show.

Until last summer. I was browsing Netflix looking for something to watch and all of a sudden thought about Mad Men. Season 1/Episode 1, and I was totally hocked. To understand Mad Men, you need to start from the very beginning and see how the characters are developing through time.

I can go on and go explaining why I love the show: great writing, good acting, fantastic sets and amazing fashion. No doubt, many viewers watch it for that special 60’s allure. It is there, and retro has never looked better on the small screen before.

I enjoy all that too. But for me the biggest interest in the show is not the dress Joan is wearing today (they are all great, yes), not the plot twists, and not all those secrets and mysteries about Don.

For me it is the industry part of it.

I’ve never worked in advertising but having B2B experience, I can relate to the Man Men world. It is an universe in itself, but the show makes you feel a part of it.

Watching the show, you can feel the atmosphere in the office when things are good and when things are bad. You are like a fly on the wall in that meeting room where the team is pitching to an important prospect, and it is go big or go home. You can feel the joy of winning a client and the disappointment of losing a big account.

It is you, not Peggy who is walking down the hallway and makes that secret happy jump after her first ever copy was praised; it is you, not Pete who is working hard on getting a client in for a meeting but losing it when he thinks he got it; it is you not Don who is thinking what to say to save the day. You’ve been there – you can relate.

Man Men is not a fairy tale. Not every prospect and not every idea goes through. Like in real life, and that’s why make believe works here, and that’s what makes the show really great.