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Posts Tagged ‘Syracuse’

Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Us How To Be Smart And Still Have Fun

A couple of nights ago my friend Scott and I took in a live event at the Landmark Theater where the one and only presenter was the fabulous Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. His first question from the stage was “Do you people know what you’ve come to hear about?” It turns out I wasn’t the only one wondering about that, since I only remembered that he was coming and that we bought our tickets last fall.

deGrasse Tyson as cartoon

It turns out the tentative title of the event was The Best And Worst Science in Movies and Commercials. I’m glad he went in this direction because I’ve watched a lot of his lectures on YouTube over the years and even though I was ready and happy to hear him talk about all that same stuff again it was great knowing he’d put together something new. I also noticed that we weren’t the first people getting this lecture as one of his slides showed he’d presented it in Kentucky.

He covered a lot of movies and commercials, although he beat up on one of my favorites, Armageddon, only giving it credit for one true science fact. What I found really interesting is that I only knew half the movies he talked about and not a single commercial… which were mainly beer commercials. None of that mattered though, since he made all of his observations pretty funny and relevant.

He made a very interesting statement early on, something that I, as someone who likes to write and has two video channels, can use in a different vein. He said that it’s always better to know the science of something you want to show before you either try to keep things accurate or want to go in a totally different direction.

As an example he used a clip from one of the Expendables movies (none of which I’ve seen) where the character of Dolph Lundgren says something that he reports as Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity when in actuality it was his Second Law of Thermodynamics. The thing is, Lundgren the person would have known the line was incorrect because he had a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical engineering. Truthfully, not knowing the film, I’m sure there was meaning somewhere, but I understood his point. lol

Of course there was one story I was expecting and it’s the one he closed with, that being his interactions with James Cameron about the stars and sky being wrong in the movie Titanic. I’m not going to tell the story here; instead I’m going to let him tell it:

All in all, it was a great night of science, laughter and fun. I was sorry I missed the last time he came to this area in 2014 because I was out of town, but after seeing him this time I know I’m going to work hard to see him if he comes back this way again.

Our Snow Defines Us

We might as well stop fighting the funk and own up to it; the snowfall the central New York area gets defines who we are and the type of people we all. It’s not just regionally, but across the nation. I applaud the area for its prominence. lol

Syracuse Liverpool snow

You won’t believe this but last year the Syracuse area got around 73″ of snow, which was our lowest snowfall since the 2002-2003 season. That low and Syracuse still finished 2nd nationally; curse you El Nino!

So far this year Syracuse is sitting at 67.4″, most of that coming during the big storm in November, which counts towards the season. The last week temperatures have been in the 40’s… in January! Very un-CNY like, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, I know the north country gets a lot more snow than Syracuse does, but there aren’t any cities up there with a population of over 100K so that doesn’t count nationally. Still, I remember all the major snowstorms that used to hit Oswego when I went to college there, including one horrific day when I got on a bus just as a winter storm hit on the day before Thanksgiving that ended up being a 6 1/2 hour ride covering, what, 35 miles or so… and ending up at Wegmans on Route 57 and having my dad sitting in the car waiting for me (we didn’t have cellphones back then); win!

You want to know a secret? Have you ever thought about how Syracuse got to be known for its snowfall? It’s all about… sports!

Syracuse wasn’t on anyone’s radar as a destination before ESPN started broadcasting Big East basketball on its network back in the early 80’s. It quickly became a Monday night staple in basketball fans lives, and led to their having Big Monday games with other conferences across the country. Those early commentators often led with tales about the weather, which either mentioned the amount of snow or how cold it was and a legend was born.

Syracuse has won the Golden Snowball, which is a New York state fun competition for the snowiest city on a yearly basis, 11 out of the last 12 years, and 47 out of 75 years, although we get to throw out the first 11 years because, believe it or not, since the snowfall totals weren’t captured at the airport none of them are considered official for the contest. Winning 73% of the time isn’t all that bad. 🙂 Syracuse is also the 5th snowiest city in the world; now that’s saying something!

There are a lot of people in the Syracuse area who hate being known for snow. I’m one of those people who basks in its glory. It’s better to be known for something that ignored and thought of as… well, not something special. 🙂

Enjoy it people; unfortunately, this year I don’t see an NCAA visit for either basketball team… sigh…  

Are We Too Busy For Real Networking?

“Oh the times they are a-changing!” – Bob Dylan

I’m trying not to consider myself as being all that old. I’m also trying not to seem overly nostalgic. Yet things have changed, and not all of them for the better.

PMA Fresh Connections Retail 2016 Produce Marketing Association via Compfight

Last Friday I had lunch with one of my local buddies. He said that he hardly has any friends and doesn’t get out much except for work. I mentioned that I thought he was a great connector and he said that part was sometimes true, but that it was very hard actually getting people to get out of their comfort zone to actually meet him or others he’s trying to connect with each other.

I’ve noticed the same thing over the last bunch of years, but I had to mentally step back and consider this. I thought to myself “Heck, if this good looking young guy has this kind of trouble, then what am I griping about.”

When I first got into business on my own back in 2001, there was no shortage of places where people could and would network together. I really was just getting my footing at that time because I’d mainly worked out of town, so I didn’t know that many people in the Syracuse area. This was also before the days of social media, so maybe it was the only way we could connect with each other.

Back then, I was meeting someone new for lunch every few weeks or so. Occasionally it was with a new organization I was checking out, but for the most part it was one on one. Truthfully, most of the time it was with people who were hoping I’d become a client, which never happened, yet they’d know who I was moving on from there; I could live with that.

Then I left town for a year to consult at a hospital in Westchester County. When I got back home, I noticed that things had changed somewhat. It was harder to get people to meet individually for lunch. Some people wanted to meet for coffee before 8AM; that wasn’t happening since I not only try not to get up that early but I don’t drink coffee. However, it was a low number; most people just weren’t interested.

It was pretty quiet for a while there. Then we started having things like Tweetups and other organizational get togethers of hopefully like minded people, and that was pretty cool. We even had a Tweetup kickball game that was amazing (and hot!).

Then I left town again, this time spending 18 months in Memphis. Now it seems that even the planned networking events, such as the Liverpool Chamber events, don’t draw all that many people… at least not close to the numbers they used to.

Other events are also down drastically. Last year there wasn’t a single tweetup locally, and there was only one very small get together of a local blogging group that had a pretty successful start but fell pretty much off the earth. As far as I know, there are no plans for anything in 2016 at this point.

As for lunches… not counting my friends, in 2015 I met 1 person for lunch, and in 2016 I’ve now met 3. Two of those were people who asked to meet me, which means that my record for asking and getting people to meet me for lunch is pretty dismal.

Maybe I have it easier than most others since I mainly work from home. Maybe I’m living in the prehistoric era of networking since most people connect more with each other online, and when they have a free moment they’d either like being with friends and family or off doing something on their own.

I had thought it was only me until I had lunch last week with my buddy. Folks, it seems there’s a serious disconnect as it pertains to local networking. I refuse to believe it’s just here in Syracuse; this has to be more of a national thing. How funny it is that I can interact online with people all around the world yet I can’t get a local person who I’ve met at least once in person to meet me for lunch.

Oh well, life goes on. At least I’m not scared to eat lunch alone; Twin Trees loves me. 🙂  

Copyright 2016