Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Heaven Left Me Feeling Slimy

This past weekend was spent at a Westin Hotel in Las Vegas. Aside from getting some really great work done, the best part of the weekend was experiencing the Westin "Heavenly Bed". It was by far the best hotel bed that I have splept in. I was on board with the experience being "heavenly".

The concept of delivering a heavenly experience extended beyond the bed to other parts of the room. They had provided heavenly towels, heavenly pillows, heavenly shower curtains (which were curved to give extra room in the shower - how heavenly).

When I woke up the first morning of our stay at the hotel I felt refreshed. I did indeed have a heavenly night's sleep. I was buying into this brand experience 100%. I was "all in" as they say in Vegas.

Leaving the comfort of my heavenly bed I strolled merrily to the bathroom to take what I anticipated to be a heavenly shower. I may have even been whistling a tune. Something perky I'm sure. I turned on the water to just the right temperature - not scalding hot, but not luke warm- somewhere in between.

I stepped into the shower and put shampoo in my hair and grabbed a bar of heavenly white soap. And this is where I got mad at the Westin. What I discovered in the shower made me temporarily forget the heavenly night's sleep I just woke from. The hotel had not delivered a 360 degree heavenly experience. In fact there was just one element that I experienced that almost ruined it all for me. The water that came out of the shower head was soft. And I hate soft water.

Now, I know I shouldn't necessarily blame the hotel for the soft water. It was probably out of their control. But I did spend quite a long time in the shower trying to get the slimy soft water feeling off my body, face and hands. I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in the Aviator. I just could not get my hands clean. I scrubbed and scrubbed them to the point where they were starting to feel raw.

Later on in the day I shared my frustration with Sam, Mike, Ky and Julie about the soft water. Julie actually prefers soft water. For her the experience very well may have been 100% heavenly. But for me and the rest of us who prefer hard water to soft, the Westin was running a risk of failing to deliver as strong a brand experience as they could.

I know this may be asking a lot of a hotel to be able to control the water, but wouldn't that be something if they asked upon check-in to the hotel "Welcome to the Westin Mr. Duff. Would you prefer hard or soft water for your stay with us?"

Now that would be delivering a heavenly experience.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Not Quite The "Big Orange Head" But Close

A man walks into a bar with a pile of dog poop in his hand. He straddles up to the bar, turns to the man sitting next to him and says "Hey, look what I almost stepped in!"

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Celebration of Cake

I had delicious piece of cake today and I was reminded that I had written a post about cake back in January, but never uploaded it. Here it is... a few months later, yet still relevant I think....

This past week we celebrated my wife's birthday, were with our friends as their baby girl was baptized and attended the funeral of my brother-in-laws mother. Each event was a celebration of life.

One was a celebration of a life just beginning. One was a celebration of a life in progress. And one was a celebration of a life completed. The common link with these three celebrations? Aside from me and Mary? Cake. Cake was served at each function.

That isn't really surprising. Cake is often served at birthdays, baptisms and funerals. It got me thinking though... a serving of cake is really a symbolic way of celebrating life. We don't have cake every day, so does that mean we aren't celebrating life everyday? That seems wrong. I think we should celebrate life everyday. Life is too short to miss an opportunity to eat cake.

I've spent, oh, just about three minutes thinking of some suggestions for opportunities to serve cake and to celebrate life. There are really lots of opportunities. Here are a few:

At the Olympics. The Olympics are all about celebrating the world coming together right? And great athletic performances? Cake could be served at the medals ceremony. Two pieces of cake for each reason to celebrate.

After the Royals win a game. If they ever win again we'd all be celebrating wouldn't we? How about after they win everyone in attendance gets a piece of cake? I'd be more likely to attend and I think the players would play harder if they knew cake was on the line.

After completing taxes. No one likes the pain of filling out all that paperwork. Why not celebrate getting it done with a nice piece of cake.

There are lot's of everyday events we can celebrate and have cake:
  • When you get the car washed.
  • Getting a good report card.
  • Getting out of a speeding ticket.
  • Spring cleaning.
  • Finishing a long book.
  • Finishing a bad book.
  • Writing a book.
  • Getting hired.
  • Getting fired.
  • Giving birth to a child.
  • Not having to be the one who gives birth.
  • Finishing a post you started three months ago.
  • Not having to do laundry.
There are many opportunities to celebrate life each and every day.

I'm off to bed now to get some sleep, think about simple everyday events that I can celebrate and the next time I'm going to Costco to get one of their incredible sheet cakes.

So my point? Simple. Eat cake and celebrate life.

What are you going to celebrate?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Why I Love PBS

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... in no particular order here are the reasons why our family remains "cable free":

1. PBS Kids (CyberChase, Clifford, Arthur... and on and on...)
2. Frontline
3. Keeping Up Appearances
4. Antiques Roadshow
5. As Time Goes By
6. Austin City Limits
7. Independent Lens
8. Nightly Business Report
9. Monty Python's Flying Circus
10. Red Green
11. Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations
12. Nature
13. Mystery!
14. BBC World News
15. Nova
16. Charlie Rose (for his guests)
17. American Masters
18. Rick Steves
19. Ken Burns
20. American Experience
21. Globe Trekkers
22. This Old House

Sunday, May 07, 2006

What's In A Name?

The girls have been suggesting names for the baby. Let's just say that the names they've come up with would certainly make family history.

At first Hannah wanted a baby sister she could call Patsy. This is directly influenced by a book we gave her prior to Grace's arrival on the scene. In that book a girl named Hannah was told that a she was going to be a big sister again. She decided that since she already had a little brother named Sam that this one would be a girl. She would name it Patsy. Patsy would have red hair, like chocolate swirl ice cream and her first word would be "Hannah".

So... Hannah's first choice for a girls name is Patsy. Grace on the other hand wants to name the baby Orange Juice. Orange Juice? Yes. Orange Juice.

When asked what a good name would be if we had a boy Hannah suggested Benjamin. That is the name the parents gave the baby in the book (it was a boy of course). Grace wants to name the baby Orange Juice.

Then Hannah thought it would be a good idea for mommy to have twins. Twin boys in fact. She would name them Hank and Frank. We tried to tell her that we knew there was only one baby on the way, but that did not sway her away from telling mommy that she needed to have twins. Grace didn't get the idea of twins, so no input from her on naming them.

Then today Hannah started talking about baby Benjamin again. Grace heard this and interrupted by saying "We are going to name the baby Orange Juice!"

This time Hannah took note of Grace's suggestion. I guess hearing it for the fifteenth time set her off. The dialogue that followed went something like this:

"Orange Juice? We can't name the baby Orange Juice."

"Yes we can" said Grace

"No we can't. What would happen if you asked for a glass of Orange Juice in the morning and daddy put the baby on the table instead? You can't drink a baby."

"Then we'll call the baby Milky"

"But you might ask daddy for some milky and then he'd put the baby on the table again. And you might try to drink it!"

"Then we'll call the baby Hudengakepdapoo!"

That just made Hannah and Grace break out in an uncontrollable fit of the giggles. Mary and I giggled too.