Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

This week's featured e-mail is from a reader named Lawanda from Brooklyn, NY. Lawanda writes:

Dear Dr Wang,

My sister put me up to writing in. Eighteen years ago I married a man who turned out to be an alcoholic and later lost his job. Then a year later I gave birth to twins: a boy and girl who eventually became two of the most ungrateful children in New York. Their father left me before they were born, and to this day my kids blame me for their father's absence growing up. I have spent the past 18 years trying to please my kids to earn their love, but nothing worked. As a result I have lived an empty life with no companionship for myself. I want to find me a man and start living my life again. What does the future hold for me oh wise fish? Will I find a man who will take care of me for a change?

Sincerely, Lawanda

Dr Wang replies:

Dear Lawanda,

I'm glad you listened to your sister and wrote in to me. I consulted The Great Bubble Wall to meditate on your whole story. Your dedication to raising the twins is admirable, although it came at quite a cost to you. Your son and daughter view your emptiness as a reflection on your home. I see that there have been several men over the years who have expressed an interest in dating you, but you resisted their advances because of your kids. One man in particular is recently single again and may be interested in dating. I'm not certain but his name is something like Dwayne. You should call him and offer to make a fried chicken dinner one night. He will be thrilled to see you, and will help you regain your self confidence as you spend time together.

This man will help the relationship with your children as well. They key is for you to find some happiness, and your home will have a different atmosphere to it. There is a pleasant surprise in store for you. You and Dwayne will take a long overdue vacation to a tropical destination. While snorkeling, a school of yellow tang fish will pass by and inspire him to propose to you. It will be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Keep swimming upstream,

-Dr Wang ****************************************************************

"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, psychic betta fish "Dr Sidney Wang". Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rick's Roadshow: The Sportsman's Show

As I mentioned yesterday, last week Rick's Roadshow was a business trip in Seattle. The primary purpose of the trip was to attend a Sportsman’s show (fishing, hunting, camping, etc). Before I go any further, I should state that a) I hate fishing; and find it incredibly boring beyond belief, b) I have little-to-no desire for hunting. (I actually do know how to fire a shotgun, but even the idea of standing around shooting clay pigeons seems strange.) And: c) Camping seems like torture. My idea of camping is spending a night at The Ritz-Carlton or The Four Seasons, not in an RV camper (just a personal preference there, don't anyone get offended).
Did Someone Say Camping?

above: Where would you rather camp out for the night?
Dressing the Part
Since this was my first Sportsman's show, I decided to immerse myself into the goings-on and learn as much as possible. I had carefully planned what to wear: a classic casual winter look from Brooks Brothers seemed just the right approach, I thought. Rich amber-colored corduroy pants, a burgundy plaid shirt and a navy blue cable knit sweater. I completed the look with a new pair of glasses with Brooks Brothers frames. I looked as though I was spending a weekend at Balmoral Castle in Scotland to watch a fox hunt with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. As I approached the entrance to the show grounds, I immediately realized I had grossly miscalculated the crowd and was a tad bit overdressed. In fact it was a sea of blue jeans, timberland boots, and hunting gear or hats emblazoned with logos. Now don't misunderstand me, I am not insinuating anything about the crowd-I met some nice folks who were very interesting. But let's just say I stuck out like a sore thumb. Luckily, I found a navy blue windbreaker to throw on whcih made me feel more comfortable. Ever the diplomat, I managed to assimilate as much as possible and adopted a folksy manner of speech which deflected unspoken questions about me. At least twice I was asked if I were a Democrat or Republican, which I thought was an interesting opening question from a stranger.

Going Hog Wild...What a Boar!
Once inside, I made my way through the expedition hall visiting the booths with every imaginable item you would need to hunt, fish or camp. I’ve never been one for blood sports, but I personally don’t have a problem with hunting as a sport, as long as it is regulated. While at first it was a little unsettling seeing all the animal heads mounted in the taxidermy booths, they really didn’t bother me at all. I am a happy carnivore, but as far as I know, meat comes from those nice little plastic trays in the grocery store. I did see some photos and a video of what hunters do after the hunt is finished. And that was gross. I was strangely fascinated yet repulsed at the same time. I decided to compartmentalize those images neatly in a little box back in my mind and swore never to subject myself to seeing it again.

The business purpose for me attending was related to all the dogs at the show. There are many “working” dog breeds whose instinct tells them how to assist their master in a variety of sporting activities. And with this comes dog training, supplies and specialized foods to boost a dog’s performance while “working”. That was where I fit in.
Dog Training Seminar

above: Famous dog trainer Dan Mar conducts a seminar at the Sportsman's show on obedience and hunting dog training. He is the only trainer to ever place three dogs four times at the Vizsla Club of America National Championship (2005). His appearance was sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods, one of my vendors. His training philosophy is centered around positive reinforcement and showing love to the dog.
A Good Time Was Had By All
The show was an eye-opener for me, but I have to admit that I enjoyed myself immensely and learned a lot. But don’t expect me to buy a camper or a gun anytime soon. I’ll stick with the Ritz-Carlton and dinner procured and prepared by a chef.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rick's Roadshow: A Visit to Seattle

Welcome to another edition of Rick's Roadshow. This segment usually covers things I see and do while traveling on business. I never leave home without my camera, so I usually manage to capture a few photos while in between the work portion of my travels. Last week took me to Seattle, Washington, which is one of my favorite cities on the West Coast. I've been to Seattle many times, so I won't bore you with all the factoids of this great city. I was actually quite busy with work and didn't have much free time during daylight hours, but here goes:
above: downtown Seattle, view of Sixth Avenue, it has the "big city" feel to it.
above: The Public Market at Western Avenue, I love meandering there.

above: The world famous Pike Place Fish Company, where selling (and buying) fish is fun.
The Intergalactic Darts Championship Tournament
Saturday evening I went out with some friends for a drink after dinner. We enjoyed a friendly game or two of darts. I suspect there was some sort of intermittent planetary disturbance while I was playing. My darts seemed to veer to the left, probably due to surge if gravity, no doubt.
above: Action Shots of our dart game. Later, I was distracted by something shiny and drifted away from the game. Someone took over for me. Apparently the problems with intermittent gravity surges stopped because his score improved.
above: It's all in the fingers...
Stay tuned for day two of Rick's Roadshow! Tomorrow I have exclusive coverage of the Sportsman's Show, which you don't want to miss!
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday Art Review: Sculpture from the Palm Springs Art Museum

For this week's edition of The Sunday Art Review, I decided to feature some sculpture from the Palm Springs Art Museum. We have a marvelous collection of works on exhibit, on various mediums. I'll let the works speak for themselves, and hope you enjoy them s much as I have. My apologies for (once again) forgetting to jot down all the artists and titles of each piece. I'll number them in the event you want to refer to them in a comment. Above left is "Number 1" (such an original name, n'est pas?)

above: "Number Two"

Above: "Number Three"

Above: "Number Four"

Above: "Number 5"
Which one(s) do you like best?
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Saturday Seven: A Few Favorite Authors

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I am a voracious reader and usually have at lest two books going at any given moment. Back in June I did a post called "A Peek Into The Library" about some of the books in my library at home. I do not profess to be an expert or authority, but I enjoy the escape that books offer, particularly when I need the distraction. This is not intended to be a definitive list of "the best" authors. Almost certainly after I publish this I'll remember someone else that I like better than one on this list! I like an author who makes me yearn for "just one more chapter" in all of their books; you know, the book that you don't want to end. So this brings me to another scintillating edition of:
The Saturday Seven: A Few Favorite Authors
#1 Kristen Gore- A young, budding author with a sharp sense of humor and unique perspective of politics, having lived it from the sidelines.

#2 Paul Theroux- A tried-and-true versatile author with a long list of really enjoyable books. He is a travel writer, but has also written some laugh-out-loud books like Hotel Honolulu too.

#3 Patricia Cornwell- I've been reading her for over 15 years and still enjoy her books.

#4 Jim Collins- Ok, a little stuffy here, but his insights into corporate America actually inspired me to work smarter.

#5 JK Rowling- What needs to be said? She is a modern literary genius.
#6 John Grisham- This guy packs a powerful punch with nearly every book. Very prolific, always reliable.
#7 Ken Follet- I like Ken's perspective on things. His writing style stimulates my mind and leaves me thinking long after I've finished his book.
Who are some of YOUR favorite authors? I'm feeling generous today, so ALL COMMENTS ARE FREE TODAY.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sisi Palm will get the axe

I ran across this article about a really old palm tree in Vienna Austria that has to be chopped down. Not sure why I care or that it's that interesting but here you go. I'm traveling in Seattle at the moment so I didn't have any time to write today's post! This entire article is directly from yahoo news:
"Sisi Palm Will Get The Axe"
Officials said Thursday the majestic 170-year-old Chinese fan palm must be chopped down before it breaks through the glass ceiling of Europe's largest greenhouse.
The palm has more than doubled in height to 82 feet over the past 18 years alone, and is getting too tall for its enclosure in the iron-and-glass Palm House on the grounds of the Schoenbrunn Palace.
Experts say the tree wouldn't survive if they tried to prune it — and if left alone, its huge spined crown threatens to destroy the greenhouse, an architectural treasure. "You can't cut back a genuine palm," said Brigitte Mang, director of Austria's federal gardens. "It would either die or break through our glass house."
Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists line up to view the tree, which was 44 years old when it was moved indoors in 1882 and named in honor of Sisi, the wasp-waisted wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

They also line up to tour the Sisi Museum in Vienna's Hofburg Palace, which is devoted to the empress' life and untimely death. She was fatally stabbed in 1898 by an Italian anarchist.

The imperial couple enjoys a cult following among Austrians and foreigners alike. Last week, local media were abuzz with reports that a Hollywood film, "Sisi," is in the works starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sisi and Tom Hanks as Franz Joseph.
The beloved palm — a seedling in 1838 — is part of an imperial tradition.
Sisi's tree once grew next to a similar palm that had honored her predecessor, Empress Maria Theresa, the only woman to lead the Habsburg monarchy. Sisi was said to admire her palm and sit beneath it whenever she found herself pining for the Mediterranean, her favorite part of Europe.

But modern botanists knew the palm would run into problems. Its fate was sealed in 1990, when workers transplanted the tree from a giant urn to a hole in the ground dug deep below the Palm House floor — meaning it could not be moved. Mang and Gerhard Tichy, the master gardener at Schoenbrunn, said officials delayed until virtually the last moment their decision to cut down the Sisi Palm next month.
No one, they concede, wants to see the tree go. But they're not about to let it ruin the Palm House, which was designed by the architect Franz Segenschmid.
Austrian officials say it's the continent's largest glass greenhouse, and at 364 feet long, 92 feet wide and 82 feet high, the pavilion's green iron curves and 45,000 panes seem straight out of a Jules Verne novel.
The tree is slated to be felled Feb. 18. Tichy said it will have to be done carefully to avoid harming the dozens of other tropical plants crowding the climate-controlled Palm House.
If it's any consolation, palace gardeners are already cultivating a successor: a small Chinese fan palm. They hope it will grow as quickly as Sisi's famous ankle-length hair and become a new centerpiece for the imperial greenhouse.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Line Up

Following is an informational post for music fans all over.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual event in the Palm Springs area that features many genres of live music including alternative rock, hip hop, and electronica. The event draws huge crowds every year and also features large sculptural art on display from up and coming artists. The outdoor event has several stages with tents set-up, each playing live music continuously. The stages are: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and the Sahara Tent. This year's festival, which will run April 25th, 26th and 27th has been described as one of the most diverse in the event's history. This year's line up include the following artists:

Friday April 25th

Jack Johnson, The Verve & The Raconteurs

Also: The Breeders, Fatboy Slim, Tegan and Sara, Madness, The Swell Season, The National, Animal Collective, Slightly Stoopid, Mum, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Stars, Battles, Aesop Rock, Midnight Juggernauts, Does it Offend you, Yeah?, Minus the Bear, Spank Rock, dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Diplo, Adam Freeland, Santo Gold, Jens Lekman, John Butler Trio, Vampire Weekend, Dan Deacon, Architecture in Helsinki, Sandra Collins, Busy P, Cut Copy, Black Lips, Datarock, Professor Murder, Reverend and the Makers, The Bees, Porter, Rogue Wave, Modeselektor, American Bang, Lucky I Am.

Saturday, April 26th
Portishead Kraftwerk Death Cab For Cutie & Cafe Tacuba

Also: Sasha & Digweed, Rilo Kiley, Dwight Yoakam, M.I.A., Hot Chip, Cold War Kids, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, DeVotchKa, Flogging Molly, Mark Ronson, Turbonegro, Scars on Broadway, Islands, Enter Shikari, Calvin Harris, Boyz Noize, Junkie XL, Cinematic Orchestra, Jamie T, The Teenagers, VHS or Beta, Carbon/Silicon, Erol Alkan, Yo Majesty!, Little Brother, Bonde Do Role, St. Vincent, Akron Family, MGMT, Institubes DJs (Surkin, Para One and Orgasmic), James Zabiela, Sebastian, Kavinsky, Dredg, The Bird and the Bee, Grand Ole Party, New Young Pony Club, 120 Days, Yoav, Electric Touch, Uffie.

Sunday, April 27th
Roger Waters (performing "Dark Side of the Moon"), Love & Rockets & My Morning Jacket

Also: Spiritualized, Justice, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, The Streets, Metric, Danny Tenaglia, Simian Mobile Disco, Booka Shade, Murs, Dmitri from Paris, Autolux, The Field, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Les Savy Fav, The Cool Kids, Sons & Daughters, Sia, Holy F%ck, Black Kids, Black Mountain, The Annuals, Kid Sister w/A-Trak, Man Man, Duffy, I'm from Barcelona, Manchester Orchestra, Deadmau5, The Horrors, Austin TV, Shout Out Louds, Plastiscines, Brett Dennen.

This event always sells out and tickets are hard to get, so plan ahead. My friend (and regular reader of this blog) DJBenWu will be making a road trip all the way from Indianpolis to attend Coachella this year. Rock on Ben!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

This week's e-mail is from Frank in Rolling Meadows, NY. Frank writes:

Hi Dr Wang,

I'm engaged to a really sweet girl who is very religious and has been "saving herself" until we are married. I have been OK with this because I suffer from erectile dysfunction. The problem is I have not told her this, in hopes that I can fix the problem. Our wedding is just six months away and I am still having problems getting the old boy to stand at attention. I have hinted around with her about this and she laughs it off and tells me she will make it work. Believe me, if I could, it would be working now.

Wilted, Frank

Dr Wang responds: Dear Frank,

I'm sure it was hard for you to write this e-mail. By that I mean the act of admitting it was hard, not "it" was hard. There is a fundamental issue at stake of open, honest communication, which you must deal with. The Great Bubble Wall indicates that there are some issues hidden deep within that you must confront before you complete your nuptials. It appears that you have a fear of intimacy, even with yourself. You are wound up as tight as a clam in at low tide. I suggest that you get some counselling to explore this issue.

I also recommend that you buy an aquarium and buy some tropical fish to breed. It is a long held belief that fish bring good luck and fortune. Be sure to buy a male and a female fish, and let nature take it's course. This coupled with the counselling, you will overcome this problem before your wedding and you shall shrink no longer.

keep swimming upstream -Dr Wang

"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, psychic betta fish "Dr Sidney Wang". Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Farewell Heath Ledger

I was saddened to hear the news of the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger on Tuesday. He was a talented young actor who died far too soon. Below is the article from the New York Times:
Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, the police said.

The police said Mr. Ledger, 28, was found naked on the floor near the bed in an apartment in SoHo that he had been renting. The chief police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police did not suspect foul play.
“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding that there were no signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were any illegal drugs found in the loft, which takes up the entire fourth floor. Neighbors said Mr. Ledger had occupied it for several months.

Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills was found on a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills had anything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the apartment found other prescription medications in the bathroom. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday.
Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.
Mr. Ledger had become a familiar figure in his SoHo neighborhood — and something of a fixture in gossip columns — since moving there after he broke up with the actress
Michelle Williams
, who played his wife in “Brokeback Mountain.”

There were reports of hand-holding and lip-locking with various actresses and models, and sightings at restaurants and cocktail bars. He had clashed with paparazzi in Australia, but in New York, where there is no shortage of problem-causing partygoers, “he certainly wasn’t one of them,” said Paul Sevigny, an owner of the Beatrice Inn, a West Village club that Mr. Ledger frequented. “He was really polite and nice,” said Mr. Sevigny.

The police said Mr. Ledger’s body was found after a masseuse arrived at the apartment at 2:45 p.m. for her regular appointment with Mr. Ledger. A housekeeper let her in and knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. No one answered.

The housekeeper and the masseuse pushed open the bedroom door and saw Mr. Ledger, unconscious, on the floor. They shook him but could not revive him, and then called for help, the police said. The housekeeper told officers that she had heard him snoring in the bedroom around 12:30 p.m., the police said.

As word of Mr. Ledger’s death began circulating, fans and camera crews converged on the street outside the apartment, at 421 Broome Street, between Crosby and Lafayette.

Neighbors said Mr. Ledger was friendly. Julie McIntosh, a hairstylist at a salon a few doors down the block from the apartment, said she saw him on the street once or twice a week. She said she had seen him with his 2-year-old daughter a couple of times.

“He seemed happy,” she said, recalling how she had run into him outside the salon last month and joked, “When are you going to come in and let me wash your hair?”

Others in the crowd said their first reaction to word of his death was disbelief. Nicole Vaughan, 24, a law student at New York University
, was in a seminar about Jesus when someone sent her a message about Mr. Ledger. She checked the Web, then walked to the apartment “because of the way our generation is; we sort of feel we’re a part of each other’s lives.”

More recently, Mr. Ledger had made the rounds in Manhattan.
A cocktail waitress at a downtown hotel bar that regularly draws celebrities said he showed up one night last week with some friends, ordered bottled water, as he always did, and stayed for an hour or two. “He looked fit,” said the waitress, who would give her name only as Renee for fear of jeopardizing her job. “He looked healthy.”

The Associated Press reported that his father, Kim Ledger, called his death “tragic, untimely and accidental.” An uncle, Neil Bell, said the family was taken by surprise. “He was in good spirits and having a wonderful time on this Terry Gilliam
movie,” he said, referring to “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” scheduled for release next year.

Mr. Bell, whom Mr. Ledger once cited as the inspiration for his character in “Brokeback Mountain,” added: “They were all flying to Vancouver for a shoot on this movie. Heath flew into New York to go home for a bit.”
Mr. Ledger’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said that she was too upset to talk about Mr. Ledger’s death.

The Carol Channing Doll New Video

The Carol Channing doll is starting off 2008 right, with a brand new shiny big square cut diamond broach for her lapel (see photo left). "Baubles such as this one can make a girl simply giddy" Miss Channing doll said. "Having this new diamond broach has made me want to burst into one of my favorite old songs I used to sing, so check out my latest video" Carol continued. And so, without further ado, here is her newest video, brought to you exclusively on this blog:

-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.

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