Friday, September 9, 2016

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Microsoft

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began his writing career before he became a basketball player. In his latest book, "Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White," Abdul-Jabbar shares his profound insight on the most socially relevant issues of our day, including politics, race, religion, gender, class struggle, sports, media, and seniors, and even some advice for future generations of Americans.  

At a pivotal time in our history and in the midst of a presidential race that threatens to divide us, Abdul-Jabbar explores the origins of bias and inequality that remain a stubborn part of America, 240 years after its founding document declared that all Americans are created equal. He contends that a prime cause is that many Americans, out of fear and sometimes ignorance, make too many false assumptions about fellow citizens who aren't like them. Abdul-Jabbar brings to these darker aspects of America a bright spotlight of reason and curiosity, illuminating the way to a more unified country.  

In his own words, Abdul-Jabbar is "an American, a father, a businessman, an education advocate, a journalist, a philanthropist, a history and jazz buff, a filmmaker, a novelist, a former global Cultural Ambassador for the United States, a political activist, and an active member of his community."  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Adele at Key Arena, Seattle 2016

Seeing Adele live in concert was quite high on my wish-list. Therefore, I was stoked to have an opportunity to do so!!


At KeyArena, Adele had them at ‘Hello’

Adele began her Seattle gig at KeyArena on Monday evening with a goddesslike entry, then "Hello” and “Hometown Glory.”

Adele, in a black, sequined floor-length gown, rose up into KeyArena from a dais at the north end of the hall like a goddess claiming her kingdom.

“Hello,” she sang, the first tune from her megahit 2015 album, “25,” then belted out that now-familiar descending hook about how sorry she was “for break-ing your heart.”

That quick-change shift from intimate revelation to full-throated hook was a template for an ecstatic, two-hour evening fans will not soon forget.  Adele knows how to wind up a crowd to almost unbearable levels of emotional tension, but her secret is that she also knows how to release them with a sigh — “It was just like a mo-vie,” she sang, on “When We Were Young.” “It was just like a song.”

Such calibrated emotion is the hallmark of historic divas like Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Amalia Rodrigues, and Adele is now in their league. Indeed, when her husky alto dipped low on “Million Years Ago” during a delicious acoustic set, she recalled the deep, sad soul of Dietrich herself.
With a 20-piece backup band, Adele offered a generous sampling from all three of her albums, emphasizing “25.”

The yearning “Someone Like You,” from “21,” was a highlight, as was her dramatic theme from the James Bond film, “Skyfall” and her signature song, “Rolling in the Deep.” She sang Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” with such conviction you thought she might have someone in mind.

Chatting at length between tunes, she said she had enjoyed her days off in Seattle. She looked quite fresh, even wholesome, avoiding her customarily colorful language, saying she was embarrassed about all her swearing at the Glastonbury Festival last month.

The crowd skewed female and adult, though there were plenty of mothers with daughters.

The two-stage setting was grand without being ostentatious. The show climaxed with “Set Fire to the Rain,” with an actual downpour around Adele on the smaller dais where she started the show.

At the end, she popped up on the main stage and said goodbye, a goddess of song who will no doubt come to visit this realm many times in the future.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A fun team morale event

A fun team morale event:

FLEE Escape Room Challenge - Egypt

Magician Mash Fung

An Urban Sprouts Terrarium Creation: My office finally has plants!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Andrea Bocelli at Key Arena, Seattle

For my birthday this year I wished for something memorable... something unique that I remember for the rest of my life.

Memorable it was - An Andrea Bocelli concert! It was no doubt the best orcestra and vocal performances I have witnessed live! Just outstanding! What a voice!

The tickets were very pricey... Well above that for average concerts. As a result there were still tickets available day-of on Ticketmaster. I gambled, hoping for the luck of the birthday. I showed up at the start of the concert ticketless. I lucked out getting tickets at a third of the face value from scalpers, with a bit of bargaining. Here's one for me vs the scalpers :)

Seattle is a unique concert destinations. Usually tours start or end in Seattle. In the start of the tours the performers are fresh and rearing to go. At the end of the tour, they are ready for one last hurrah and give it their all. It ends up being filled with passion in both cases. Today it was the start of the tour.

All performances were spectacular. Yet, I was over the moon when he performed my favorite piece from my all time favorite movie - "Nelle Tue Mani (Now we are free)"  from Gladiator!


Monday, May 30, 2016

Rainier National Park - May

It's amazing how the landscape of National Parks are transformed based on when you visit. In this late May trip, Rainier was still filled with plentiful snow. Reflection Lake was still frozen.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Diane Guerrero at Microsoft - "In the Country We Love: My Family Divided"

Diane Guerrero is an actress on the hit shows Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. She also volunteers with the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Resource Center and was named an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House. She lives in New York City.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided

The star of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin presents her personal story of the real plight of undocumented immigrants in this country.

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.

In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman's extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven't been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families like the author's and on a system that fails them over and over.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Arianna Huffington at Microsoft - "The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time"

I'm sold! I was greatly influenced by her talk and the book has been a great read so far...

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON is the cofounder, president, and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Her most recent book, Thrive, published in March of 2014, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was on the New York Times list for three months. Among her other bestselling books are Third World America, On Becoming Fearless, and Pigs at the Trough.

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington

In her new book, Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Thrive delves into the sleep revolution that is happening all across the world - a revolution that can transform our lives. Sleep, she writes, is one of humanity’s great unifiers, binding us to each other, to our ancestors, to our past, and to the future. Yet we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis of sleep deprivation, with devastating effects on our health, our happiness, our job performance, and our relationships. Only by renewing our relationship with sleep, she writes, can we take control of our lives, live more fully, be more engaged with ourselves and with the world, and more able to meet the inevitable challenges we all face.

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington introduced her readers to the importance of sleep as a part of redefining success through well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. The topic struck such a powerful chord, resonating so intensely with her readers and her audiences around the world that she realized the power of sleep needed a full exploration. The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal look at sleep, from its history through the ages and the current crisis of sleep deprivation, to the mysteries of dreams and the golden age of sleep science that is revealing all the ways sleep plays a vital role in our health, happiness, well-being, and productivity.

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna identifies the many ways our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted undermines our health and our decision-making, and ravages our relationships, our work lives, and even our sex lives. She takes on sleep from every angle, exploring the latest science on sleep, the manipulative and dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also presents scientific recommendations and expert tips on how we can all achieve better and more restorative sleep, and learn how to make the power of sleep work for us.

Most important, by highlighting the many areas where sleep’s benefits are being rediscovered - from the world of sports and technology to college campuses, the hotel industry, and even workplaces around the world - she points the way forward to amazing innovations, reforms, and inventions rooted in our new love affair with sleep.

In today’s 24/7 fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually harried, and sleep-deprived world, the hunger for sleep is only getting stronger. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on the worldwide sleep crisis, and offers a road map for how we can take back our sleep and transform our lives and our world.

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