January 31, 2010

OSCAR NIGHT PREP | "Up in the Air"

The first title to get crossed off my list of 17 movies to see before the Oscars was "Up in the Air." George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a corporate lay-off professional. He flies in, sets up in a conference room, delivers the bad news, and sends ex-employees on their way. He also delivers motivational talks on the side encouraging participants not to get bogged down by the "baggage" of their lives with his "What's in your backpack?" seminars.

His own career starts to travel towards elimination once a new, young executive proposes to take their company of transition specialist "Glocal" by making their global presence more local. Instead of traveling many miles to lay off workers, Bingham and his peers can simply phone it in by Skyping the "You're fired" message. Bingham's road warrior way of life with his empty backpack is in serious jeopardy.

Along the way, Bingham begins to appreciate the value of connections in his life as he attends his sister's wedding with a woman he's allowed to enter his "backpack." But fortunately, like an airplane barreling down the tarmac for take off, the movie manages to pull up just in enough time to avoid the sappy love story at the end of the runway. Add in a dash of quirkiness, and a heaping of excellent acting, and you've got delightful movie.

So, to meet my compulsive need to rank order everything, here's where "Up in the Air" falls in the list of the six movies I've already seen in my Oscar prep. Better than "Up" for it's superb acting and display of touching emotions, but just under "(500) Days of Summer" which is the better anti-love story of the two.

Here's my latest ranking:
1. Inglorious Basterds
2. (500) Days of Summer
> Up in the Air
3. Up
4. Star Trek
5. Avatar
6. Julie and Julia

Which movies have you seen so far? What's your ranking?

January 27, 2010

January 23, 2010

January 18, 2010

5 Must Reads for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. POST? Share your must reads in the comments section below.

January 17, 2010

What Will You See BEFORE Oscar Night?

Here is Entertainment Weekly's "25 Movies to See Before Oscar Night" which is on March 7. The list is in the order they recommend watching the films just in case you don't make it through them all. I also added the TOMATOMETER score from RottenTomatoes.com after each as another reference point.

1. Up in the Air (90%)
2. Avatar (82%)
3. The Hurt Locker (97%)
4. Precious (91%)
5. Inglourious Basterds (89%)
6. Invictus (77%)
7. An Education (94%)
8. Up (98%)
9. A Serious Man (87%)
10. The Messenger (91%)
11. Julie and Julia (75%)
12. A Single Man (83%)
13. Crazy Heart (83%)
14. The Blind Side (70%)
15. The Last Station (68%)
16. Nine (36%)
17. Star Trek (94%)
18. District 9 (90%)
19. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (93%)
20. The Lovely Bones (37%)
21. (500) Days of Summer (87%)
22. It's Complicated (57%)
23. The Young Victoria (75%)
24. Bright Star (83%)
25. The Informant (77%)

So far, I've only seen six of the movies on this list: Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Up, Julie and Julia, Star Trek, and (500) Days of Summer. I have no intention of viewing two of the films: Nine and Lovely Bones. That leaves 17 major motion pictures for me to watch before March 7.

Which movies have you seen? Which ones do you feel need to be added to this list? Which ones do you plan to watch? Feel free to copy the above list and post in your blog with your reviews and Oscar game plans. Leave an overview and a link to your post in the comment sections below.

January 9, 2010

LEARNING IN 2010 | 3 Valuable Resources

10 WAYS TO LEARN IN 2010 > from eLearning Coach this is a list of specific and concrete ways to play to various learning styles with 41 links to incredible resources.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2010 > eLearn Magazine collected predictions from 29 industry leaders. There are a few contradicting trends (what kind of impact will Google Wave have), but all are thought provoking. My favorite is "Use it or Lose it." What's yours?

> This post is from 2006, but I think Harold Jarche's point still offers guidance for effective learning in the year ahead. What can we do to include more doing and less telling. Or as Elvis would say, "A little less conversation, a little more action please."

January 6, 2010

When LPT Nerds Decorate

Here's a true sign of a Learning and Performance Technology Nerd, Christmas decoration job aids. For years, I was relearning the best way to display and arrange our Christmas decorations all over again after Thanksgiving. So a couple of years ago, I got the idea to create a few holiday decor job aids. I made myself a few notes, stuck them in the boxes we pack away in the attic for 11 months, and then when it's time to pull them out and put them back up... Viola! It's just-in-time learning.

I know; it's a sickness. But in fairness, my grandfather, who was an engineer by trade, would cut branches off his Christmas trees and rearrange them in holes he would drill in the trunk to help the tree look more symmetrical. Where others see compulsions, we Chandlers simply see the continual practice for our craft.

For now, I've packed my festive job aids away until next year. But in the meantime, I've developed another very practical job aid for my home life. The problem was I would often forget how long I had been wearing my extended wear contacts. I usually took them out on a Saturday and put new ones in on a Sunday, but I couldn't remember if it had been one, two (the recommended amount of time), three, or sometimes four weeks; and now, I have new contacts that last 30 days. I quickly realized the need for performance improvement.

I could jot the date in a journal or in my calendar, but I usually don't have those by my bathroom sink where I change my contacts. Then it hit me. I've recently discover how versatile dry erase markers can be. They work great on a number of surfaces, vanity mirrors being one of them. I simply write the date I put the contacts in on the upper corner of my mirror and know exactly how long my contacts have been in. It's like the annoying cling stickers those lube places put on your windshield when they change your oil.

WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE? I would love to read any examples of job aids you use around the house. Leave me a comment.

January 3, 2010

What is the WHY

I'm currently reading "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon. It's an engaging story focusing on two cousins in the late 1930's in New York who are working to break into the comic book industry as artists and writers.

As they begin to brainstorm potential characters for their first big pitch to a publisher, they start by listing superpowers, possible names, and costume designs, until Sammy "experienced a moment of global vision, one which he would afterward come to view as the one undeniable brush against the diaphanous, dollar-colored hem of the Angel of New York to be vouchsafed to him in his lifetime." Here's how Sammy shares his revelation with his cousin Joe:
"The question is why."
"The question is
why," Joe repeated.
"Why is he doing it?"
"Doing what?"
"Dressing up like a monkey or an ice cube or a can of fucking corn."
"To fight the crime, isn't it?"
"Well, yes, to fight crime. To fight evil. But that's all any of these guys are doing. That's as far as they ever go. They just... you know, it's the right thing to do, so they do it. How interesting is that?"
"I see."
"Only Batman, you... see, yeah, that's good. That's what makes Batman good, and not dull at all, even thought he's just a guy who dresses up like a bat and beats people up."
"What is the reason for Batman? The why?"
"His parents were killed see? In cold blood. Right in front of his eyes, when he was a kid. By a robber."
"It's revenge."
interesting," Sammy said. "See?"
"And he was driven mad."
"And that's why he puts on the bat's clothes."
"Actually, they don't go so far as to say that," Sammy said. "But I guess it's there between the lines."
"So, we need to figure out what is the why."
" 'What is the why,' " Sammy agreed.

They were focused on the wrong starting point. The WHY is much more important than the WHAT or the HOW. Good advice for all creators. What examples do have where you focused on the WHAT or the HOW when you would have been more productive to start with the question WHY? Share your experience in the comments below.