All posts by Alex Vinetti

Let Trump Run! Let’s Have Fun – Jon Stewart

Donald the Orangutan

I have to admit, I’m very excited about Donald Trump running for the American Presidency. Excited because I like how he talks about the real issues that are affecting the USA. Excited because he holds back no punches. Excited because he is so colorful. Excited because he will actually make the campaign fun, and ridiculous and real, all at the same time because he will swing at the subjects that other candidates never want to swing at.

  • YES, he will insert his foot in his mouth, often.
  • YES, he will call everyone a loser!
  • YES, he will ruffle feathers at every turn.
  • YES, he won’t be politically savvy on every issue under the sun.
  • YES, he is so full of himself it’s like watching shameless self promoting reality TV.
  • YES! YES!! YES!!! we could go on an on and on. lol!!

The truth of the matter is that the USA needs serious change if they want to be a great nation for generations to come. Change that most seasoned and professional politicians would never really endorse for fear of career suicide. Change that the gears of institutionalized government don’t seem to allow in individuals that need to conform and get elected.

The USA needs to do some serious work on their economy… and their foreign policy… and education… and international trade… etc etc etc. All things that Trump addresses, and for which I hope he will have more realistic and tangible policies once he becomes the President, LOL!! Cause building the Great Wall of Mexico is a great cocktail party solution when all your socialite friends are around, but a terrible political solution when you are standing in office.

I know we are Canadians that can’t vote in the next US Elections, but I wish we could. Because instead of putting a big fat “x” on my choices of bad or worse candidates, I would vote for Donald Trump!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There are two things that Trump’s candidacy will definitely and without a doubt accomplish:

  1. Comedians across the globe will have enough material now to ensure everyone gets their daily dose of laughter.
  2. Serious journalists and political commentators across the globe will also contribute to that dose.

Below you’ll find Trump’s Presidential Announcement, and a few other Trump party favorites.

-Alex Vinetti

I was a Turkey waiting to be carved

fat bastardFive years ago I was fattening myself up like a turkey impatiently waiting to feed a family of 25. I was overweight, under-toned and semi-crippled. I hobbled along with an ankle that was not healing properly. Bending down under my desk to pick up a pen made weird grunting noises come out of my mouth, and playing football in the park with my son made me huff and puff like an old asthmatic smoker.

losing healthAlthough I am not a poster boy for Calvin Klein underwear, a lot has changed in five years. All thanks to easy workouts and various home based workout programs. Today, I don’t hobble at all, I can bend down and get up and bend down and get up and bend down and get up without even thinking about it and I can maintain a moderate level of exercise for as long as I need to in almost any context.

Fitness is such a crucial part of my life now, and I can’t really imagine going back to where I was 5 years ago. All those of you that were once in horrible shape and transformed yourselves will understand what I am saying. All those currently in horrible shape (weak, hurting, overweight, etc) and not doing anything about ito exercise or nott should take a 15 second pause to ask themselves if they feel like doing something about it…. If you want to do something about it and don’t really know how, I would be happy to help anyone make the first steps to finding their own way. Keep reading, I have a few suggestions.

GYMS

For starters – I personally do not like gyms. They are always too busy. They are expensive. And they require an amount of time management that can get annoying. BUT, if you like them – sign up. They work if you have a good program. And they work even better if you have money and can afford a good personal trainer.

OUTDOOR ACroutine exerciseTIVITIES

YES! I love being outside. And if I can be outside and work up a sweat, I love it more. Brisk walks or hikes, or jogging or swimming, or riding your bicycle. Is there anything better than playing a sport with friends; squash, tennis, golf, hockey, soccer, etc. These activities, and soooo many more are just there – waiting. Waiting for you to decide to start.

HOME BASED WORKOUT PROGRAMS

These are the ones that I like. I like them because I get to do them in my house, when I want, without strangers gawking at me. These are probably the most versatile and flexible of all activities (and fitness isI actually find them fun.) Five years ago I started by doing free weights in my living room and today I do the P90X3 workouts regularly with a good friend of mine – daily.

Home based workouts don’t need to be complicated, or long.  Anyone can start by doing a few push-ups, a few squats, a few crunches and a few lunges in front of the TV – equipment is not even necessary. Eventually you graduate to a few more, and then to something harder. Crossfit has a few “girls” workouts that are easy as pie.

There are actually hundreds of short workouts out there that can probably tickle your fancy. Men’s Health is full of different workouts of all kinds. It’s just a question of finding one that you like and doing it.

Beachbody has dozens of workout programs to choose from – all workouts I recommend. Sites like Muscle and Strength, or Men’s Fitness are also options.  The Internet is actually chalk full of options for someone that wants to workout from the luxury of their living room.

SECRET TO FITNESS

The secret is simple – commit over time, be regular in your frequency, and bring intensity to every workout. That’s it. Whether it’s hiking or swimming or sports or doing some kind of home based workout program, you have to, 1) do it for morea year from now than a few weeks, 2) do it more than twice a week and 3) when you do it – you gotta sweat.

I understand that this sounds like some sort of RAH RAH Infomercial. But the truth of the matter is, being unfit (and consequently often unhealthy) is a major societal problem that is sooooo easy to fix. We are smart educated individuals who must understand that we need to take a few minutes a day to make sure our body gets the love it so desperately requires from us.

– Alex Vinetti

…and then there was design…

let there be lightA most interesting question “What is Design“, by a fellow blogger Kai Matthews has given me the inspiration to provide my view on what design is.

Just as not only philosophers think and contemplate life, or mathematicians count,  I think that not only designers design. Design is actually an inseparable part of the human condition. It is something that we all do. Some do it better, and others identify themselves as designers, but everyone on earth is a designer.  There is nothing in the world around us that we have created that is not designed (product, or process or rules or what have you):

  • We designed simple tools to kill saber-toothed tigers.
  • We designed strategies to trap those tigers.
  • We designed social hierarchy.
  • We designed alphabets to reflect language, and grammar to bring meaning to it.
  • We designed plates and cutlery and shelter and clothes and vehicles.
  • We designed the printing press, computers, the Internet and software.
  • We design experiments and laws and business processes and social programs and religions, etc…

The divine creator designed nature to function perfectly. Plants grow, animals live, and the world evolves within a very well designed set of natural rules, as does the entire universe. In the Book of Genesis God took 6 days to design everything, and then “…God created humankind in his image…” which I interpret as meaning he gave us the ability to do as he did – that is, design the world as we want it!!

I’ve often heard that what makes humans different from animals is our ability to choose. The fact that we have choice. This to me is baloney. I’ve seen dogs and cats make all kinds of choices as you have as well. They choose which lap they will sit on, they choose which meat to eat or not and whether or not they will fight one another for it. But nowhere in this world have any of us ever seen a species modify this planet as much as we have – that is the gift given to us by our divine creator.

Let’s stop squandering this divine gift and start designing a world we can all be proud of.

– Alex Vinetti

I gave birth on a road trip to New Jersey

Yes, you read that correctly. I gave birth on a car ride – IN THE CAR! I gave birth to an idea. Something magical and beautiful and exciting! Something we have decided to call Connect Book. An idea that I will discuss another day.

And like every birth, it involved labor. In my case the labor took about 8 hours.idea birth

I love the process by which “things” are created. And when I say “things”, I mean all “things” like; theoretical humanities concepts, business strategies, physical real world products, projects, and process based solutions.  All these “things” start as an embryo of an idea sparked by an observation or thought, and if given the proper nourishment – they grow and evolve.

I’ve had my share of creative births in my life, most of which have been work related, all of which required a few key elements. Elements I would like to share with you in order for you to have your own creative birth.

  1. A seedling or embryo of an idea that flows through your head. Something interesting or different.
  2. The openness to grab on to the flowing idea and inspect it for a few moments. Wondering what it is. And filing it in your head properly for the next steps.
  3. Selecting the right person, or persons to talk about the idea.
  4. Taking the time to properly brainstorm the idea until everything has been hashed out.
  5. Voila! Birth!

Let me elaborate these points a bit further.

First. Our heads flow with thoughts all day long. Most of us have the same thoughts flowing over and over, like obsessions, but sometimes amidst the obsessive and habitual thoughts are new thoughts.  Just like a river will flow water continuously, sometimes a piece of driftwood passes by. And if you are paying attention, you will see the driftwood, and identify it as something interesting and different.

Second. You must extend your hand to grab that driftwood or it will flow by and disappear downstream. You must walk down onto the shore or even into the water and reach for it. Pick it up. Look at it. Find it cool, and put it in your knapsack. At this point an artist would probably be able to create a beautiful sculpture of a swan with the driftwood, without the help of anyone else. But for myself, I enjoy steps 3 and 4.

Third. This third step, from my experience, is critical.  Interesting ideas need to be poked and prodded by more than one person.  Persons that do not judge or discredit. Persons with the same awe for that piece of driftwood that you have. If they don’t – they aren’t the right person (or group) for your birthing process. Another person that understands the beauty and potential of that driftwood will be open to doing the fourth element properly.

Fourth. A good old brainstorming session. A session without a short deadline. A session where all ideas and words and possibilities and theories and concepts are accepted and noted and played with. A session that will allow you to come to the conclusion that the driftwood should be:

  • sculpted into a beautiful swan
  • as a symbol of the beauty of flowing ideas and the seizing thereof
  • and donated to the local museum as such
  • along with it’s story
  • so that everyone who sees it can understand the process by which it was created
  • and that they can themselves give birth to magical, beautiful, and exciting ideas.

– Alex Vinetti

Baseball in the Park vs Video Games in the Bedroom

Like many parents, I have found myself telling my 16 year old to shut down his computer and not spend too much time playing his “damn” video games – especially when he isn’t getting stellar grades in school. Actually, I should correct myself, kid on computermy son does not play video games, he plays a video game, – League of Legends. I often prefer he be playing baseball in the park but I have very little influence on this. And by looking at the parks around my neighborhood, neither do many other parents – the parks are empty!

I think I am speaking for most of us when I state that as parents we want our children to be socializing with their friends, right! We want them running and moving around outside, together, and understanding real social relationships, right!! We do not want them glued to a screen for hours on end, by themselves, looking like anti-social hermits, right!!!

Well, although I want my son to be “outside” with his friends, I have come to the realization that the fact that he ppurple nurplelays this video game in his bedroom has actually allowed me to be involved in his socialization process more than if he were in a park. It has also (and oddly) been a point of reference for us to talk about personal and interpersonal issues along with complex group dynamics issues – something I feel we could never have done if he were in the park with his friends giving each other purple-nurples!

Here are some of the very real subjects this game has allowed us to discuss.

  • teamwork, strategy, and knowing your role on a team to achieve success.
  • communication with teammates, opponents, and friends.
  • self-control and making the right decisions even in moments of stress.
  • dealing with non-cooperative individuals and dysfunctional groups.
  • understanding triggers for anxiety and anger.
  • making the best of a sometimes not so good situation.

All good life skills and lessons right?!!… oh yeah, and it’s showed him how to use Skype for group calls!! lol!

A few months ago I even had a discussion with him about this video game that allowed me to draw parallels to some of his poor exam performance at school. Parallels that have allowed me to talk to him about real ways to help him do better on school tests. A discussion that will, in the future, allow him to better deal with mental traps which he creates for himself.

little-leagueI’m lucky. I’ve infiltrated the teenage bubble. I’ve found a way, through his video game, to have very meaningful discussions with my son. And although I have this deeply entrenched feeling that he would be better off playing baseball with neighborhood kids after school, I understand that those are not the only ways to learn, interact and socialize.

– Alex Vinetti

The Kingpin of Quebec Medicine!

kingpin standingSomehow I feel that the medical system in Quebec has a loose resemblance to an organization that Hell’s Kitchen’s Kingpin would run. To start, I have had my share of bad experiences with the medical system in the last 15 years. None of which I am insinuating are the current Kingpin’s fault. But all of which have been the fault of every other political drone who refuses to initiate real change in our system. There’s lots of talk, and lots of promises, but no real difference in the actual services we are getting.

gaetan barrette standingPersonally, I feel some of the recent tactics the health-care system is employing could be ones that Wilson Fisk himself would use to enrich his evil empire. For instance, this week a family member of mine, living around the corner from Lasalle Hospital, was told by that hospital that they couldn’t do anything for him and that he would have to go to the new McGill Superhospital, which is a 20 minute drive away with a $25 parking fee (he can walk to the Lasalle Hospital.) He does not have a car – so it’s well over an hour to get there by bus and metro.

Today, my father couldn’t even make it to his appointment at the McGill Superhospital by car because of detours and blocked roads.

This is crazy!! It’s like a money-making scheme gone bad. People show up to local hospitals where parking is free or much less than $25, and they are turned away and told to go to a hospital that has very difficult access and which is very expensive to park at. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS CRAZY PROVINCE OF OURS!!!

The glass is getting pretty full. I’ve had administrators of hospitals give me the run around. Ombudsmen ignore me. Nurses don’t take me seriously AND doctors flat out lie to my face! My grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s, is being pumped full of drugs in a government-run health-care facility to keep him docile. My grandmother has been manhandled by the system and is now waiting and waiting and waiting for an operation. My father has had a number of incompetent doctors and nurses mess up major medical procedures which have caused him considerable discomfort and pain and hassles. AND my son was recently given a prescription that was basically wrong and revisited by another doctor one week later! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!

I have officially had it with Quebec Health Care!

Is anyone one else as frustrated as I am? Or is it just me?

Any real solutions out there?  Please. I’m all ears… Honestly.

– Alex Vinetti

I Wouldn’t Fire Tony Stark Either

fired againEven though I am the “Alex” referred to in John’s “Difficult People,” I agree with almost everything John says. Well, almost everything.

Dr. Gregory House and Sherlock Holmes are just as real to me as, well, Tony Stark and Clark Kent. And I wouldn’t fire any of them if they worked in my organization. Fortunately, I don’t need to worry about this because they’re not real people, John! They’re fictional characters. And fiction needs to create characters that exemplify certain qualities in their purest form so that we can understand the message a writer wants to convey. And they are always the suavest, smartest, strongest of the bunch.

The point I am trying to make here is that real people do real work, and real people are (unfortunately) expendable if they are a real problem. Individuals do not save organizations, unless your name is Steve Jobs. Continue reading I Wouldn’t Fire Tony Stark Either

High School Teaches Us to be Constipated

There have been a number of recent discussions in my household regarding the toilets in my son’s school. I know this isn’t as cool as talking about the school’s football team or as academically proper and intellectual as talking about math or science or history, but this has been a real issue recently. An issue that I would assume most households would not discuss in as much detail as we have.

Without getting into particulars, the discussions had to do with the fact that he simply and categorically will not use them. As much as I try to talk some sense into him, I get nowhere. He flat out said “I rather die than use the toilet at school!” So actually, I’m four paces behind even starting to get to nowhere: a feeling I assume many parents of teenagers sometimes have. If nothing else, this discussion ends up being one of those moments that allow me to exercise my already well developed parental patience muscle (you know, the exercise that starts by closing the mouth and breathing through your nose).

bathroom-stallMy son has been telling me that the kids at school are animals. They kick the door, try and figure out who you are, throw things in the stalls, peak at you over the stalls, and simply make using the toilets impossible. Furthermore, he explains to me that the toilets are gross, and that most of his friends don’t even use them either. I almost can’t believe him and feel he may be stretching the truth a bit.  So I once again tell him that it can’t be that bad, and that he just needs to find a time when no one is there to use the toilet. “Dad,” he says, exasperatingly, while looking at me in disbelief, “it’s like you never went to high school. Don’t you know how it is?”

Am I that disconnected? Has dad finally become too old to understand what teenagers live and feel? This comment struck such a chord that when I brought him to school at the end of lunch I decided to randomly walk into the first bathroom I could find. Here are the facts of what I saw (all of which I have photographic proof of on my iPhone, but for which I will spare you the sight): Continue reading High School Teaches Us to be Constipated