Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Performance Review and Self Appraisal

I'm already over a week past the deadline for submitting my annual Performance Review/Self Appraisal and I'm procrastinating. I sat down tonight to work on the form and I'm loathing it.

Instead of the 5 page report in which I need to outline my Major Areas of Responsibility, Performance Competencies, Growth and Development Plan, and Performance Goals & Expectations (for next year) can I submit this?

What Is Your Disney Personality Type?

INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving)

What is your Disney personality type?
Quick to see the best in people, you are good-natured and compassionate. You have a knack for finding the possibilities in your surroundings and are creative and idealistic. You’re a bit of a dreamer and can see outside of your proverbial provincial town.

(Answer is based on taking the Myers-Briggs test)

Belle never had to complete an annual Performance Review/Self Appraisal.

Monday, November 18, 2013

John Lewis Christmas 2013 Advert

Animation is such a magical way to tell a story, and I love good animation.  I went to college with dreams of becoming an animator and working for Disney so I have a strong appreciation for the craft.  Two of my favorite things, animation and Christmas, come together in this gorgeous short film for the Christmas campaign of John Lewis – a famous UK department store chain has become a symbol of the start of the British holiday season.

I loved this little film and was awed by the use of traditional animation over what I thought was live action footage.  Then I learned that this was done with stop motion animation!  Oh my goodness!  My love for stop motion animation is deep.  It bring together animation and theater (another one of my favorite things) with often amazing results.  The hand drawn figures were cut out of a ridged material so that they could be placed within the 3D models of the sets.  Utterly amazing.

To work on a stop motion film is another dream of mine.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I often say that I put the pro in procrastination.  I excel in putting things off until tomorrow, and I rarely feel badly about it.  But lately I have been feeling badly about it.  There are places I want to be, things I want to do, goals I want to achieve, but I keep putting it all off until later.  Until I have the time, until I have the space, until I have the equipment, until my website is finished, until my blog is set up perfectly.  Excuses, I've got a big box of them.

Starting something is always the most difficult part.  Well, no, keeping up a habit is difficult too.  It's all difficult.  I'm awesome on a deadline.  I'm terrific at getting a project done at the last minute when I know that it HAS to be finished and people are counting on me.  What I'm not so great at is keeping my own deadlines, counting on myself to finish something for me.  Accountability, I suck at it.

What am I to do?  One thing I won't do is apologize.  I know that there is nothing to apologize for, but it would be so easy to start by saying, I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've posted anything.  Besides, I'm the only one reading this right now, and it's just me taking a step.  I can't apologize for a step.  There have been lots of steps taken leading up to me writing this post.  One step at a time.

So why today?  I'm sitting at work frustrated.  I'm frustrated with the policies, I'm frustrated with thinking that I've finally gotten caught up only to have work returned to me for more information.  I'm frustrated at being frustrated that I don't do something change my situation.  Usually I embrace my friend procrastination, but today I didn't feel like a visit.  So today it was, not tomorrow.

What's in store for tomorrow?  I want to be one step closer.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome to Gotham City

Pittsburgh has been turned into Gotham City. The third Batman movie (The Dark Knight Rises) has begun filming here in the Burgh.

I took those two photos on Thursday night.

To see more Batman/Pittsburgh related photos, go here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Regrets?

Not my own words...but worth sharing.....

The top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds.

Tuesday May 31, 2011 - Courtney Boyd Myers

When Ms. Bronnie Ware, a woman who worked for years with the dying, wrote a list of the top 5 regrets people say aloud on their deathbed, we teared up a little bit here at TNW.

She posted the top 5 regrets along with her commentary on her website, and we’ve recopied them for you here below. But instead of just the grandmotherly bits of advice about dreams having gone unfulfilled, we’ve supplemented each regret with some rockstar advice on how to not have these regrets in the digital age.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

TNW Advice: We interview so many entrepreneurs here at The Next Web, some of whom will succeed, most of whom will fail. But it’s about going out and creating a reality out of what was once just an idea in your head. Today, due to the Internet’s accessibility, smart people are discovering that instead of getting the next big paying cog-in-a-machine job that they are able to start their own company and they’re receiving a lot of satisfaction from doing so.

“Yesterday, I had an epiphany that for the first time in my life, who I am and who I want to be are virtually one in the same. It’s so much more effective to be yourself than to pretend to be something your not because doing the latter is so emotionally taxing, you’ll never be someone that is fully committed. Being yourself pays dividends.”

-Brett Martin, the CEO and Founder of Sonar, a hot new social, location-based mobile application.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

TNW Advice: We are really hard workers here at The Next Web, in fact, I am pretty sure that @Zee hasn’t slept in the past 36 hours. But being a Dutch-based company, our roots are in relaxation. We know how to unwind after hard days.

If you need some literary inspiration, read up on How To Disconnect, A Primer and The value in jumping off the social media train.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

TNW Advice: Expressing your feelings to loved ones and blogging or tweeting your thoughts are two different things. People often use Twitter as a soap box to express their anger or resentment over things they can not control. We’d like to take this time to remind you that as much as we love living in the virtual world, sometimes a hug, a long chat over a glass of wine or a phone call to a loved one far away is more valuable than any social media valuation, no matter how ludicrous.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

TNW Advice: At first glance, this is a relatively easy problem to tackle as social networks, namely Facebook, have allowed us to keep up with too many friends and social connections. My best friends always say, “Thank god for Facebook, because I know you’re alive.” And this is slightly concerning. My best friends have to follow me on Facebook to know I’m alive? Use Facebook to keep in quick contact with friends, but defer to real life for those that matter. Pokes, Likes and Comments are not the same as ladies’ lunches, beach trips and dinner parties. Make the time.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have sillyness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

TNW Advice: If you’re reading this, chances are you have a long way to go before you die. So, please, allow yourself to be happy. Smile in the sunshine, kick the ball around with your son, have a glass of wine with your wife in the afternoon, move to Argentina, buy yourself a Kindle for the love of reading; whatever it is, be good to yourself.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh Bother

I'll go see just about any animated "kids" movie alone, but I think I might have to borrow a kid or two to go see Winnie the Pooh with me. I think it looks adorable. Plus, it's hand drawn (love!) and She and Him have 4 songs on the soundtrack! I really do want to see it, but will it look really weird for a 32 year old to walk in alone? Maybe I can follow in behind a family and pretend I'm with them. It'll have to wait until after this weekend, though, cause I'll be seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 double feature. Sorry, Pooh. The studio wasn't paying attention when they picked your release date.

I haven't thought about the Pooh Bear in a long time. I started seeing some previews recently and memories came back. Some good, some frightening.

I don't remember which came first, my love for all things Pooh or people finding out that I fancied the yellow bear. I just remember that I must have told someone in my family that I liked Winnie the Pooh. Big mistake. Never tell anyone that you like something because you will receive gift after gift with said "like" tattooed all over it. So, people started buying me stuff with Pooh Bear on it. This wasn't just when I was little...oh no. This went well into my teen years and even followed me to college.

I had:
  • stuffed animals - including one HUGE Pooh Bear that an exchange student my senior year of high school was given and couldn't take it back to New Zealand with her. I was supposed to take care of him till she could come back for it. He went to college with me and later I think he was re-gifted to some child.
  • bed sheets - which were given to me when I was around 16 and used as wrapping paper for a new stereo. Both went on to college with me. The stereo is still around but thank god I graduated to more adult bed spreads.
  • slippers - I got two pairs of theses. The part that went around the foot was all red and perched on top of the toe was Pooh's head. Pretty terrifying and never worn. The first pair was gifted to me by my brother and the second by a cousin. I returned the second pair and the first lived buried at the bottom of my closet until finding their way into a yard sale.
  • bank - I think a boyfriend my freshman year of high school brought this home for me from a beach vacation he took. The bear took up a lot of dresser top space but sure did hold a lot of change.
  • tee shirts - I was wearing one in a senior picture. If you think that's dorky...see the next line.
  • embroidered denim overalls - yeah, I was the definition of cool. Bought them for myself too.
  • wall art - I cut out anything that had Pooh or his friends on it and taped it to my wall.
I am proud to say that I am a recovered Pooh-a-holic. The only signs left are two small stuffed animals (Piglet and classic Pooh) which live in a footlocker along with some other adorable plushies I've been keeping to give to my future generations.

After seeing a preview for the movie, I started thinking about the circle of life. No, not the one where animals eat other animals, but the one where things from our past somehow find a way of circling back around to us. This year I started keeping bees.* Bees make honey. Who loves honey? Winnie-the-Pooh :) He sings about it, dreams about it, and spends his days trying to figure out how to out smart the bees so he can fill his jars and his belly. See, the circle of life.

*A new hobby means a new theme for people to gift. Family and friends - please refrain from gifting me bee stuff. Right now, it's manageable, but I can see this getting out of control really quickly.

Monday, July 11, 2011


One of the most brilliant and creative videos I've ever seen.

I keep noticing new moments every time I watch.