Life

life

Spring Forward? Hardly.

Exhausted

I think of it more like a trudge. Or a slog.

Standing at the edge of the calendar’s most excruciating week – the seven days following Daylight Saving (no “s”) Time – I can’t help but wonder if it’s even worth the hassle.

The seeds of this tortuous ritual were planted in 1784 by a well-meaning Benjamin Franklin who, at the age of 78, penned a discourse on the thrift of natural vs. artificial lighting. He was serving as an American delegate in Paris at the time, and his essay included several humorous regulations to consider.

More than two centuries later, nations around the world use a variation of his concept to “conserve energy and more fully enjoy the benefits of daylight.”

And I think it’s a load of crap.

Let’s face it, the name is really a misnomer. Since we’re actually not SAVING one single footcandle of daylight, a more accurate name would be Daylight SHIFTING Time — but that’s hardly conducive to the energy-saving mantra that the U.S. government wants to convey.

What we ARE doing is snatching 60 precious minutes from a sacred weekend while confusing our bodies, minds, children and pets, along with certain clocks, phones and computers.

Several recent studies have called into question the actual energy-saving benefits of DST, especially if you factor in the increased use of air conditioning in the evenings (particularly in southern climates).

And we ought to consider the added health concerns of sleep deprivation, heart risks and overall surliness that accompany the sudden shift of schedules.

Guess I’m really just opposed to anything that messes with my daily routine. Thus, my insurgence will be on public display in the form of massive yawns, increased irritability and a general strung-out persona.

But this year, I’ve also decided to take a more positive, productive step by creating a calendar to count down to November 6. That’s the date, of course, when we revert back to STANDARD time.

Exhausted2

Very Grateful for a Very (Stylish + Comfy) Task Chair

Sitting has never been so sweet since I received my Very Task Chair from the very generous folks at Haworth.

Apparently, I was randomly selected from Haworth’s thousands of Twitter followers to win this stylish and ergonomically advanced new product.

Lucky for them, I just happened to be in dire need of a brand-new chair at my home office.

Special thanks to Haworth PR dynamo Julie Smith for graciously helping me to choose my ideal companion from among numerous fabrics, colors and finishes.

Bet you’re very jealous…

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My new chair, just aching to come in from the cold.

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The former top dog waits in the wings — and strategizes its next move.

Color Me Mortified

Shoes

Did you hear the one about the guy who wore mismatched shoes to work?

Allow that guy to tell you about it…

Yes, I recently wore one black shoe and one brown shoe to work — on the same day. And get this…it wasn’t my first time committing this particular transgression. Chalk it up to insufficient lighting, a messy closet and a pesky absent-mindedness that washes over me at the most inopportune of times.

I am, after all, the proud recipient of the HUYA Award from my fellow fraternity brothers (in recognition of my overall cluelessness). For the unenlightened, HUYA is short for “Head Up Your Ass” – as the accompanying wooden statue clearly depicted.

Turns out my recent shoe faux pas is just the latest in a series of fashion embarrassments. These include wearing mismatched socks, having dental floss stuck to my shirt, and discovering that my zipper was down at the end of a busy workday (never knowing whether anyone noticed – or even cared).

Mortifying as these transgressions may be, I take comfort in the fact that there’s an entire website community devoted to embarrassing moments.

I do hope I’m never compelled to contribute to it.

 

 

Joy to the World: Our Christmas Letter

Christmas-trust-fund

As another glorious year draws to a close, our family can’t help but reflect on the numerous blessings that continue to pour down on us.

Yes, we Plotkins have much to be thankful for.

The year began with our annual post-Christmas shopping spree at our city’s most upscale mall (spending a small portion of my hearty year-end bonus). We like to think we’re just doin’ our part to stimulate the world economy…

Heather and Mike continue to enjoy a wonderful marriage free from all conflict and strife. Given all the sad sacks running rampant, we feel so fortunate to have found each other.

The kids never cease to impress their teachers and peers with their overachievements. Jacob earned the “Outstanding Math Student” award (for the second-consecutive year), and Jordan nabbed herself a certificate for perfect spelling performance. And even though little Jo-Jo is too young to be enrolled in Montessori school just yet, her nanny assures us that the little angel is starting to show signs of accelerated learning tendencies.

This year’s Plotkin vacations included Maui, Vancouver and the Western Caribbean. We also squeezed in several random weekend getaways, just for kicks.  

We’re pleased to report our fair share of 2010 home improvements as well: installing a pool, expanding our south deck, and renovating our five-year-old kitchen. With a few more upgrades, our home should truly be Dwellworthy.

Unfortunately, the year also had its share of sad news. Aunt Jessie is slowly recovering from her second hip replacement, and Grandpa Paul continues to nurse his chronic bad back. Diabetes has sadly taken its toll on poor Grandma Wilkins as well. She is largely confined to her house and walks with a cane. 

We were so grateful to hear the recent news that cousin Jesse successfully completed his rehab program, and we remain hopeful that the third time will indeed be a charm.

On the charitable front, we donated several trash bags of gently worn clothes to Goodwill, and several of us spent nearly 90 minutes volunteering at the local Salvation Army soup kitchen. Sometimes it can be so gratifying to give to those who are less fortunate.

We’re especially thankful to you, our cherished family and friends, for your tireless love and support. May you join us in pausing to remember the true reason for the season.

Lotsa Plotkin Love

Mike
Heather
Jacob
Jordan
Jo-Jo 

Kids

 

Giving Thanks for a Bountiful Harvest

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About 20 years ago, my dad started a Plotnick family tradition. Prior to launching into our annual Thanksgiving feast, we would go around the table and each share at least one thing we were thankful for.

A corny exercise to be sure, yet this ritual developed into a cherished family tradition. Responses typically ranged from the trite (“my health”) to the heartfelt (“being blessed with great friends”) to the downright shallow (“having four TVs.”)

In the spirit of said tradition, I’m pleased to reveal that I’m thankful for Twitter and the bountiful virtual harvest of people it has brought my way, including (but not limited to):

Special friends from @HOKNetwork: 
@anicajeanne@knd7@ArchiDame@sustainableguy@jeffsetter@jvandezande
@jodephinea@johncantrell and another couple phantom tweeters.

A real Motley Crew:
@NextMoon@GinaRMiller@AllisonBroSco and honorary crewmate @bsco12. 

Elite tweeters from SMPS D.C:
@reillybri@mike_kohn, @markitectureDC and @ErinOrr (a fellow AEC turncoat).

Divine communicators from IABC St. Louis:
@dorasmith@Mgwilson and @loiterstein

A band of merry #SoMegos:
@galvinium@HollyBolton@scottdbutcher and @a_kilbourne.

A world-class: 
author (@judywriter), blogger (@GemmaWent),
consultant (@newvoodou), photographer (@BradFeinknopf), 
ringleader(@SuButcher), CMO (@kirstensibilia), 
futurist (@Urbanverse), entrepreneur (@KellyFerrara) 
and family man (@Matt_Hawk). 

With gratitude…

MIKE

Harvest

 

Greenbuild with Envy

Frog

Anyone who’s ANYONE in the building professions is heading to Chicago for the biggest, brashest, greenest trade show on the planet: Greenbuild ‘10. Unfortunately, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines this year, having traded my architectural pedigree for an alternate one in the global payments industry.

I experienced my inaugural Greenbuild last year in Phoenix, and I had a blast helping to capture Green Aha! Moments from willing conventioneers.

This year, the HOK booth (#1122) will showcase the firm’s prototypical design of a market-rate office building with net zero emissions (check out the free companion iPhone app). And, in signature HOK style, the firm also will invite passers-by to share their ideas for moving beyond net zero.

Anyone who’s ANYONE will be there. Tell ’em SomeChum sent you.

 

Get Thousands of New Followers…

…Be Worthy of Following.

Twitter

Pardon the glib counsel, but I’ve grown weary of the get-rich-quick-without-lifting-a-finger schemes being peddled to greedy little tweeters.

I’ll admit to being intrigued by these “services” – particularly during my primitive tweetin’ days, when I naively bought into the hype about the importance of building up my raw numbers. I assumed more followers must mean more power and influence.

Silly, silly boy.

The truth is, thousands of random, disengaged “followers” are virtually worthless for anything other than puffing up one’s sense of self-importance.

So, tempting as they may be, I will forego these promises of a gazillion instant Twitter followers and opt to get mine the good old-fashioned way. By earning them.

 

 

Savoring My Two Days of Transition

Funemployment

I am a man “in transition,” perched on the skinny platform between my old job and my new one.

I’m trying hard to enjoy this rare moment in time when I’ve got absolutely no deadlines to meet, no commitments to fulfill, and no projects to feel guilty about neglecting.

You might wonder why I didn’t build in a bit more cushion between my gigs. You wouldn’t be alone in asking that question — I’ve been called everything from a workaholic to an idiot.

The truth is, I wanted to honor my commitments to my previous employer while holding off the eager beavers at my future one for as long as possible.

So here I sit, savoring my wonderful Saturday and Sunday in transition. Unemployment never felt so sweet.

Relaxing

What Your Donut Tendencies Reveal

Donut

I’ve come to realize there are really only two kinds of people in the world: the glazers and the freestylers.

Glazers are laser-focused on donuts of the classic glazed variety. When bringing a dozen treats to the office, for example, you can be sure they’ll come armed with a box of absolutely uniform dough rings. Conversely, the freestylers like to mix it up a bit – a few crullers here, a jelly or two there, and a bunch of cream-filled confections to fill in the gaps. Variety is the spice of their life.

What’s most telling to me about these divergent donut tendencies is how they illuminate the true essence of what each camp values most: consistency or variety.

(Who needs a tired-old Myers-Briggs questionnaire when the Krispy-Kreme index will cut to the core of one’s very being?)

In case you’re wondering, I’m a definite freestyler. No question about it. I can’t begin to fathom why someone would want to limit her choices to a single (however delectable) variety. Don’t get me wrong, I can savor greasy glazed donuts as much as the next guy, but I just can’t resist being beckoned by the colors…the flavors…the fillings…the sprinkles…the shapes…did I mention the flavors?

Any glazers out there who want to make a compelling case for their worldview?

Donuts-portland

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