Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Is For Other Cosmetic Luddites Like Me -- Solid Makeup Tips

When it comes to makeup application, I get by. I think I improved a little bit when I watch What Not to Wear and cut out some ads in magazines to show better ways to apply.

However, until my +Virtual Newsmakers hangout with +Terry Jacobs and +Cynthia K Seymour, I had a LOT to learn.

The good news is Terry was so wonderful in her simplistic descriptions. Geez, I never knew that powder on your lips before lipstick would keep it from bleeding. All these years of doing it wrong...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Education and the New Economy

How realistic is it for school curricula and administrators to find the resources they need to train all their teachers to teach digital media and to use digital media as a way of teaching in all of the classrooms?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

When Times are Tough, Know Your Rights When It Comes to Creditors

The good news is -- there is no debtor's prison.

That said, there are collectors and creditors who try to put you in prison through incessant calls, threats, and other tactics.

Many of these are in violation of the debt collection laws, which are on the books both federally and provincially (the laws are similar in both Canada and the United States). 

You only need to turn on your television to see how stable (not) the economy has been since 2009. Recovery has been better some centers, but that doesn't mean all of a sudden everyone is on Easy Street.

In fact, the average personal debt in Canada is over $100,000. 

No wonder the collections industry is on the rise. Those companies seem to have enjoyed a healthy incline at the expense of others' misfortune.

It may be easy to judge those who have fallen into the credit abyss, but most people are just one paycheck away from the homeless shelter. An injury, industry downslide, job loss, health issue, natural disaster -- anything can turn even the most financially secure to Collectionville. 

If you are in collections and the calls are excessive and downright harassing, check online for "debt collection violations" in your jurisdiction. There's a good chance you can cite the violation to the person acting it out and stop the behavior right there. If not, there are reporting options. 

Here is an example of prohibited creditor practices

No collection agency or collector shall
  • Collect or attempt to collect for a person for whom it acts any money in addition to the amount owing by the debtor;
  • Communicate or attempt to communicate with a person for the purpose of collecting, negotiating or demanding payment of a debt by a means that enables the charges or costs of the communication to be payable by that person;
  • Receive or make an agreement for the additional payment of any money by a debtor of a creditor for whom the collection agency acts, either on its own account or for the creditor and whether as a charge, cost, expense or otherwise, in consideration for any forbearance, favor, indulgence, intercession or other conduct by the collection agency;
  • Deal with a debtor in a name other than that authorized by the registration; or
  • Engage in any prohibited practice or employ any prohibited method in the collection of debts.
  • No collection agency or collector shall engage in conduct described in any of the following paragraphs with respect to the debtor, the debtor’s spouse, a member of the debtor’s family or household, a relative, neighbor, friend or acquaintance of the debtor, the debtor’s employer, a person who guaranteed the debt or a person mistakenly believed to be the debtor:
  • Publish or threaten to publish the debtor’s failure to pay.
  • Otherwise communicate in such a manner or with such frequency as to constitute harassment.
Know your rights.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When Does a Post or Website Cross the Line to Cyberbullying and Breaking the Law?

Cyberbullying is not unlike identity theft -- when there is a knowing and willful malicious act to discredit another person or business' reputation through a website or web post -- that is an act of cyberbullying.

Did you know that the act of cyberbullying is a violation of both Canadian and American criminal codes?

Because I am Canadian, I will speak to this issue from a Canadian perspective. That said, the laws are very similar and almost word-for-word equal in the United States. Note that I am not one to usually highlight specific words or passages in many of my postings, but I do want these terms to jump off the page to show readers that cyberbullying is indeed both a provincial and federal crime.

Cyberbullying crosses over to international borders of law enforcement when the post or website that originates in one country includes a citizen or link to a business or website owned by a person in another country.

The Criminal Code of Canada describes libel, to which cyberbullying falls under:

Public slander and false accusation is the spreading of deliberately falsified information that denigrates the honour and dignity of another man or woman or undermines their reputation.

That the victim materially suffered by virtue of the false claims.

That evidence existed at the time of the public utterances and offence proving such allegations to be false.

That actions of the accused contributed to the false accusations.

That the actions of the accused were done with the intent to cause harm to the reputation of the victim.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, convictions for blasphemous libel:

Everyone who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, defamatory libel is:

Everyone who publishes a defamatory libel that he knows is false is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Even provincial laws show cyberbullying falls under their criminal codes, such as in the case of Ontario:

Defamation -- would lower the opinion of the person in the minds of others or cause a person to be shunned or avoided or exposed to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.

Cyber-libel is when someone has posted or emailed something that is untrue and damaging about you on the Internet.

Next cyberbullying blog: Criminal harassment, including debt collection violations.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Socialnomics Meets Webonomics

+Erik Qualman knows something about digital leadership. His Socialnomics videos have been the quintessential tool many of us have been using to educate others about the merits of social media.

If you really want to be inspired, check out his Ted talk

My co-host +Cynthia K Seymour and I were uber-excited about having Erik on our +Virtual Newsmakers show, after several months of planning.

As it turned out, Erik would Hangout from the passenger side of his car, en route to another city. 

No problem. But as mobilenomics met webonomics -- no video. 

No problem. We reverted back to traditional technology: the phone. 

A couple of Internet outages later, a Hangout was born. As always, Erik did not disappoint. So have a listen and learn how to step up your own digital leadership.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

See-Sawing Into the National Hockey League: Radoslav Suchy

Stories From the NHL Locker Room

Slovakia-born Radoslav Suchy’s journey to the National Hockey League might be typical, although not a well known. For the most part, it’s rare for a young player to make the grade on the first try. Things were no different for Suchy.

"Always my dream, when I was a kid, was to play in the NHL."

However, his venture to the Show started in Canada -- Sherbrooke in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League -- to be exact, and he didn't know a stitch of English -- or French.  

"I knew three words: 'thank you,' 'sorry,' and one that’s bad, starting with 'f.' I went to school for English, but as soon as I came to the dressing room, everybody was talking French. For two months, I didn’t talk to anybody."

Hindsight told Suchy it may have been a good thing he didn't know English. In the beginning, he found it very difficult, so much so, he seriously thought about going home.  

"I didn’t know how to tell them. So I stayed there."

The transition for any young player into the next level of competition is difficult, but especially for someone who doesn't know the culture or language.

When he met his billets he was painfully shy. 

"That was very weird. They were really nice. They offered me everything. I could eat anything in the fridge. But I was really shy. I remember the first time, I just ate a little bit. I didn’t want to eat too much. At night, at nine o’clock, I was still a little hungry but I was shy to go up and ask them for more food. I had to wait until they go to sleep. I was sneaking in the fridge when they were sleeping. It was a good laugh.

"(The billets) had some special food. The first time I had it, I didn’t really enjoy it. I was being polite and said I liked it. Then we got invited to (my billet) family friends. They asked what did we like, they would make for dinner. They said, 'He really likes the... He really enjoy it.' After a while, I got used to it. Now I really like it. It’s pretty good."

He had to get used to the smaller ice surface, and the hockey style was much more physical than he was used to. 

"The coaches always took me on the side, although I didn’t speak English, took me to the boards and showed what they wanted me to do. 

"The atmosphere was good because in Slovakia, we have just the parents in the stands at the junior games. In Canada, there’s real people even paying for that to see your game. The people recognize you on the street. In Slovakia, nobody knew that I was playing hockey. In Quebec, I’d be walking in the mall and people stopped me, asked for autographs -- kids came to me. I was really impressed how big the hockey is in Canada."

Suchy was traded to Chicoutimi in his last junior year in junior as an overaged junior. While Sherbrooke didn’t go far in the playoffs, Chicoutimi was a contender for the Memorial Cup. 

"They trade me for three young players. Before Christmas, they sent me home for a week. That was nice of the team. I asked them, 'Am I getting traded? Because if I am, I’m not coming back.' I wasn’t drafted, so there was no need for me to come back to junior. They said, 'No, no, no! Over my dead body.' So I went home. I came back. The first thing, the coach asks me to come into his office. They told me I had been traded. It was really hard. I didn’t want to go."

But Chicoutimi had a very good team and Suchy was able to star in the Memorial Cup -- where all the scouts saw him. 

He received an invitation to try out with the Phoenix Coyotes. 

“I was in camp, and I didn’t have a contract. We had already played five exhibition games. They sent some guys down, and I still hadn’t played one game. After I got called, I was going to play the next day. I played the one game, and right after, they called me and tell me they are offering me a contract. At that point, I would take any contract. Then they sent me down to Las Vegas."

After a couple of months in Nevada, Suchy broke his finger. The Coyotes sent him to its minor league team in Springfield to get healthy. As he healed, his ice time increased due to three injured defencemen.  

“The second year (at Coyotes camp), the coach says, 'We have too many defencemen. You’re going to play forward in the camp.' I think, 'Oh, my God. What am I going to do?' So I just play forward. I had also played one NHL exhibition game as a forward. Then they sent me down. I didn’t really have a big shot of playing in the NHL."

In his third year, Suchy came into training camp and made the team. Although with eight defencemen in the preseason lineup, he was a healthy scratch for five games.

Facing Chicago, +Jeremy Roenick was suspended for high-sticking Tony Amonte, which meant moving a forward up into the lineup. With too many players on the roster, Suchy was the odd man out and was sent back down.

“I thought, okay, that was my chance. I didn’t play any games. I’m down in the minors and the general manager from the Coyotes came down and said, 'We want you to stay down here and play a lot. Up there, you’re not going to play a lot of games. You’re not going to have a lot of ice time. We have too many defencemen.' Luckily two weeks later, one of the defencemen got hurt. Then I got called and played a few games. They decided I’m going to play the rest of the season. I’m glad I never gave up and kept working. I kept hoping that I’m going to make it."

And he did.

Never give up on your dreams.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stories from the NHL Locker Room

If there is one thing we learn from working in sports, regardless of the position, there is no end to great stories.

Some are funny, inspiring, and some just give you an insight into the people and atmosphere of the game.

I spent over 20 years living in a locker room.

My time goes back to the Wayne Gretzky dream team years of the +Edmonton Oilers of the mid-1980s to the Jonathan Toews era with the +Chicago Blackhawks.

As a freelance reporter, I can tell you first-hand that life in the NHL is not all that glamorous. Yes, we had fun. Yes, there were moments you can count as the times of your life. But for the most part, the professional sports life does not reflect what most fans see during the three hours of game time.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and not much of it is what you'd classify as glamorous.

That said, it's during those behind the scenes moments when the best stories come out. It's time I shared more of them.

Coaching Drills

I had the good fortune to watch one of the greatest players practice almost every day. Here is a clip of Jarome Iginla I took from one of those skates.

There was one moment, when all the players, including the goalies, had long since gone to the dressing room and Jarome was still on the ice getting one-on-one coaching from multi-Stanley Cup winner and Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe. Much like the drill you see above, Jarome meticulously shot at the same spot at the net from the same spot on the ice over and over until every shot hit the target perfectly. If it didn't, Lapointe would point his stick and yell out some instruction.

But not all drills seem all that skill developing.

Dave Lowry and friends during a public skate at the Calgary Saddledome
Dave Lowry has enjoyed a lot of years in the NHL as both a player and a coach. He mentions a fellow to whom many will shake their head in acknowledgement at -- a fellow I knew from junior football. Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the man, but there are many who thought he was just plain nuts. He's no longer here to defend himself, but Bill Laforge certainly had a reputation.

"When you’re a young kid, your dream is to play in the NHL," recalls Lowry. 

"I was 19 and went into Vancouver for my first camp. Teams (clubs broke up their training camp squad into teams) that lost the game had to run a mile in their gear. You had two minutes to get your skates off and you had to run. Unfortunately, I was on a team that didn’t win a game in training camp. We spent a lot of time running. 

"One of the drills Billy had for us was he had his 13 stations. One was jumping in and out of the bench. One was fighting with another guy, sparring in a circle. Another was running in and out of sticks and having to run in and hit the boards. Another had players lined up on the top of the circles on both sides and you had to skate as hard as you could and run over each other behind the net. I thought, if this is what pro hockey is like, I don’t know if I want to stay."