The Friday Smile … La sonrisa del vierenes 210313

Well, here goes after a 3 month period without a smile. I hardly know where to begin ….life has been a roller-coaster: exciting, daring, fun, great experience – and plenty of screaming and hanging on for dear life!

The last quarter of 2012 saw me pretty much flat out on a few projects in the UK that kept me mainly thvivi canary 2ere through one of the most delightful Winters in history. That is if you are a cold-blooded frog who enjoys plenty of water! That combined with a number of lecturing stints in Spain and other parts of Europe just to keep me on my toes. The g Vivi managed to get across a few times and I snuck back to sunny Madrid as often as possible – but went the occasional weekend nose to the proverbial in England. A special thanks to Andy & Maria who put up with an almost permanent lodger with great spirits (mainly gin for Maria!).

Then year-end, my folks descended on Maria as well. Given she had me there, Vivi occasionally, Seb (their nephew from Spain as a semi-permanent lodger) and Steffi (their daughter) – she almostDads birthday reached sainthood simply through not physically damaging one of her house-guests! But Christmas was a great occasion with copious alcohol lubricating the family spirits. In December we also celebrated my dads 85th birthday which was also a special occasion – how an octogenarian can consume so much chocolate cake is beyond me.

The 27th of December saw me wave good bye to Vivi as she returned to Madrid to spend New Year and Reyes with her family and me to fly down to SA to spend 3 weeks with my DSCF0517boys who came up to meet me in Josie. We took over my parents house (they weren’t using it as they were still in the UK) and occasionally my long-suffering sisters kitchen for the occasional square meal. We had an incredible time together – many long talks, lots of laughs, tons of tennis, about 18 hours of House, mountains of movies and a relaxed time in general. Devon was about to start his first year of college in Stellenbosch and Marc moving into Grade 10. I am now officially the shortest of the three of us – so have to use bribery, manipulation and other montageMachiavellian traits to get my way- as the threat of “a hiding” would move Devon and Marc to paroxysms of laughter. Did I mention I have THE greatest kids in the world?

I arrived back in Spain in mid January and, in addition to normal Genesis work, I have been launching a new business with two co-founders. We set ourselves an incredibly tight time-line and, so far, have managed to stay on target. Mashauri Limited is a business aimed at mentoring (supporting and driving) entrepreneurs from their start-up concept through to reaching a stable business. It is primarily an on-line offer but supported by real-life, experienced mentors who each support one, two or a portfolio of ventures. For more info, you will be able to go to our beta-site in a few weeks.

The idea of developing such an on-line consulting model has been a dream of mine for a while, but thanks to my (highly tech-guru colleague with ideas even more grandiose than mine: Victor), we are close to making this a reality. More recently, we have taken on Xenia – our design expert. The fact that we are doing our bit to stimulate the economy through increasing the success rate of new and small business  owners is what is driving us – and we are initially launching in Spain where such an initiative is critical makes it even more important. Watch this space for more launch details – and anyone who is interested in becoming a Masharatti (what we call our mentors), please get in contact with me.

By the way, this new venture is in addition to, and complementary to, Genesis Management Consulting – so my business clients, do not despair – we will continue to improve lives through better decisions!

.
The short movie below is NOT ours – but it shows so well what we are trying to do and why. So I thought I would sneak it into the Smile.

So, I reckon spending time with my family and saving the global economy, is a reasonable excuse for the paucity of smiles. What do you think?

Abrazos a todos.

Simon.

Before the actual smiles, instead of the normal quote I thought I would include this video reminding us what a difference the small things can make – and how our deeds can inspire others in turn.

A few minutes of perfection

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An Emergency Call Centre worker in London has been dismissed from her job, much to the dismay of colleagues who are reportedly unhappy with her treatment.

It seems a male caller dialled 999 from a mobile phone stating, “I am depressed and lying here on a railway track. I am waiting for the train to come so I can finally meet Allah.”

Apparently “remain calm and stay on the line” was not considered to be an appropriate or correct response…

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I believe they are going to make a movie based on the book 50 Shades of Grey and I have managed to get a sneak preview to the theme tune music score.

shades of grey

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 And finally ….

Paddy took 2 stuffed dogs to the Antiques Road show

“Ooh!” said the presenter, “This is a very rare set, produced by the celebrated Johns Brothers taxidermists who operated in London at the turn of last century.

Do you have any idea what they would fetch if they were in good condition?”

“Sticks?” Paddy said.

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The Friday Smile …. La sonrisa del viernes 11112

Hola amigos y amigas,

Sorry for the lack of the smile over the last few months. I have just faced simply ridiculous work pressures inside a crazy travel schedule. I am not complaining – I thrive on this stuff, but it does take its toll on personal things. And when I do get home to Spain, I need to spend as much time as possible with the gorgeous one – who has been exceptional in putting up with my life in a suitcase. (Equally supported fantastically by Andy and Maria who have kindly received and cared for a semi-permanent lodger who rudely spends most of his hours at home on a computer – far, far beyond the call of duty of family!).

I am starting writing this on a Sunday on a train into London. It is an incredible Autumn day here. Sunshine, blue skies and leaves burning oranges and flaming yellows. So I decided it was just too good to spend another Sunday working – so off to Camden or Richmond (tbd), to wander around the street markets and parks.

I cannot possibly do justice to all that’s happened in the last few months in  a short blog. Highlights have been our Camino de Santiago that was incredible in so many ways and more than exceeded our expectations.  I have been thinking of writing a short e-book on the experience (arrogant, huh?), although I am not sure where I am going to find the time.

There is plenty of work right now – a few projects in the UK, some lecturing in Madrid (and Brussels later this month) that is not leaving much time for relaxing too much. But (the g, and getting more g every day – see photo above of Vivi and niece Alex – both of who will kill me when they see I have added the pic!)) Vivi and I still managing to explore cosy/cool new bars and restaurants in Madrid; with the occasional exposition thrown in.

Thanks to Doug & Dave from Atlantic, we had a great weekend in Cambridge. I have never really spent time around the hallowed colleges, but as we wandered around the quadrangles surrounded by ancient buildings with lead-paned windows, I could hardly stop myself from running in slow-motion humming: da-da-da-daa-daaaaaaaa-da (Chariots of Fire if you don’t recognize my hum).  Vivi and I extended the weekend to a night in a windmill in the nearby countryside – which included a real Sunday lunch in the local pub in a tiny adjoining village. And we are following up making the most of my time in the UK, by both taking a few days out to have a 4 day weekend at the end of November.

The Spanish economy remains dire and seemingly on the verge of collapse. Lurching from crisis to crisis; and only marginally better than Greece. However, as dire as it looks and as incompetent appear the politicians to resolve it, I have no doubt it will change as quickly as it came about .. and most of us will be better off for the experience. And even within the tsunami that is the current economy, there are still opportunities if you look for them.

On a more cheerful note – 007 returns and I really enjoyed Skyfall and have to admire the marketing and publicity hype that was generated by the producers. It made up for the latest Woody Allen movie (To Rome with Love) – and given the latter was Vivi’s choice, it gave me the right to select the next one – hence the “skit and donner”: James Bond!

OK. A few smiles below….. and I will try and be more regular (Smile-wise) in the future.

Abrazos a todos.

Siimon

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize their dream
Paulo Coelho

 

 

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Four guys have been going to the same fishing trip for many years.
Two days before the group is to leave, Ron’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going.
Ron’s mates are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do.

Two days later the three mates get to the camping site only to find Ron sitting there with a tent set up, firewood gathered, and dinner cooking on the fire.
“Shit Ron, how long you been here? How did you talk your missus into letting you go ?”

“Well, I’ve been here since last night. After dinner at home yesterday evening, I was sitting in my chair and my wife came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes and said, ‘Guess who ?'”

I pulled her hands off, and she was wearing sexy brand new lingerie. She said had been reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and she had a devilish look in her eyes!!!
She took my hand and led me to our bedroom. The room had candles and rose petals all over.
On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes !
She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.

And then she said, “Do whatever you want.”

So . . . . here I am !

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SKIPPING CHURCH…
>
> A church Pastor woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was
> an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided
> he just had to play golf.
>
> So… he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick and
> persuaded him to preside over the services for him that day.
>
> As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room, the Pastor headed
> out of town to a golf course about forty miles away.
>
> This way he knew he wouldn’t accidentally meet anyone he knew
> from his church. Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all,
> it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!
>
> At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking
> down from the heavens and exclaimed, “You’re not going to let him
> get away with this, are you?”
>
> The Lord sighed, and said, “No, I guess not.”
>
> Just then the Pastor hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin,
> dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole.
>
> IT WAS A 420 YARD HOLE IN ONE!
>
> St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, “Why did
> you let him do that?”
>
> The Lord smiled and replied, Who is he going to tell?

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Bit South African … but NG Kerk is the conservative Afrikaans Church.

Four fundamental truths about faith:
>
> 1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God’s chosen nation.
>
> 2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
>
> 3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of
Christianity.
>
> 4. NG Kerk members do not recognize one another at Teazers.

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From the Edinburgh Festival

“I’ve never won an argument with my girlfriend. I’ve even lost arguments about how I feel.”

The other top 10 jokes:

1) “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.” – Stewart Francis

2) “Last night me and my girlfriend watched three DVDs back to back. Luckily I was the one facing the telly.” – Tim Vine

3) “I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister.” – Will Marsh

4) “You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case.” – Rob Beckett

5) “I’m good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet … I don’t know Y.” – Chris Turner

6) “I took part in the sun tanning Olympics – I just got Bronze.” – Tim Vine

7) “Pornography is often frowned upon, but that’s only because I’m concentrating.” – George Ryegold

8) “I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!” – Stewart Francis

9) “I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad.” – Lou Sanders

10) “My mum’s so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism … she wouldn’t fancy her chances.” – Nish Kumar

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The Friday Smile … La sonrisa del viernes 211212

Hola amigos y amigas,

Just a quick update, an end of year Friday Smile and a festive season wish.

As you are all so astute, you would have gathered by the paucity of Friday Smile’s that is has been a hectic year. Initially hectic through a lower level of work than normal (and hence MMM: manic-marketing-mode). Followed by the last two quarters  where I ended up by doing a years worth of work in 5 months (DDD: demonic-delivery-driven) including projects and a host of lecturing around the world (well Europe at least … that is the centre of the world isn’t it?). Culminating in everything finishing this week (today in fact).

So here I am in England with Andy & Maria, Stephie, Seb and my parents (arrived from SA last week). The gorgeous Vivi arriving here tomorrow and the a big family Christmas in England just around the corner. The 27th sees me hopping on a plane to SA to spend a few weeks with Devon and Marc in Josie and returning on 18th Jan. So any friends still living on The Reef AND staying there over the festive season – let me know, it will be great to get in touch.

Given you are all doing last minute Christmas shopping – well, what I mean is that I am about to go and do ALL my Christmas shopping, I am going to sign off now and simply wish each and every one of you a blessed Christmas period.

Look out for a bumper New Years Friday Smile.  In the meantime, I wish you all a truly Merry Christmas and a magnificent 2013. I hope to catch up with many of you in what I honestly believe is going to be a really incredible year. The world is full of opportunities and (if t does not end today), I am looking forward to enjoying them to their fullest.

Abrozos a todos.

Simon

And to leave you with some good advice:

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

 

 

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The Friday Smile …. la sonrisa del vierners 310812

Hola amigos y amigas,

Life is good in Spain – England – Spain – England _ ….. you get the picture. Some hectic traveling, some fascinating work and some good old fashioned “jolling” thrown in as well.

The UK has been great this last month with some passable weather especially compared to the rest of “Summer” (I use the term loosely) and with all the excitement of the Olympics. Everyone over there (I am now here (Madrid)) seems to have got firmly behind the games and Team GB; and one cannot not be affected by the energy and animation. The fact that we (note my return to being British) won a ton of medals, put on some good ceremonies and organised the whole thing pretty well has left the population continuing to wear Union Jack hats and wave flags.

Last weekend saw my friend Kevin Gleeson visiting Madrid for the weekend. Plenty of eating and drinking and, (don’t tell his friends or family), a bull-fight as well. I think he left beginning to understand why Madrlienians are called “gatos” (cats) – because they stay out all night. It was great to catch up and show him around a little, even if he did look a little tired on the second night after an early dinner (10pm)!

Birthday season here and my eldest (Devon) just turned 18 – can you believe it and about Phototo start his matric exams (and hopefully start studying too!

And Marc turning 15 tomorrow – also incredible. Young men now, no longer boys!

As usual it has been good to spend some time with the ever-kind Andy and Maria and Stephie- although not sure how long they can put up with a semi-permanent lodger without putting a star rating outside the door. Vivi (the gorgeous one) is also well and putting up with my frequent flyer lifestyle with limited complaining; and I am hoping she does not get too used to it!

And now, she and I are about to hop on a train for Galicia and start our Camino de Santiago de Compostela, which is a pilgrimage made by thousands every year to the town of Santiago de Compostels (there’s a surprise) where the remains of St James are said to have been taken. It is one of the 3 most famous Christian pilgrimages in the world (others being Rome and Jerusalem). ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James ).

There are plenty of different reasons for doing it … some do it for spiritual reasons, some do it for the walk in the country, others as a vacation, …. whatever. I believe it is an incredible experience and many come back reporting significant changes in their lives through getting in touch with themselves, their purpose, their God, their direction …. For me, it will be a chance to unhook from the world (including email, phone and news), spend quality time with Vivi, enjoy the journey, seek some answers, and re-set my life compass a little if necessary as I try and clear the smog between my soul and my maker. Whoops, that may sound a bit profound, onto the more mundane….
Backpacks still to be packed and last minute closing up of work responsibilities mean this is going to be a really short Smile. Starting now.

Have a great couple of weeks everybody and enjoy the beginning of Spring/Autumn  in whichever hemisphere you may find yourself. For my English friends, the changing of the seasons are more dates than weather patterns – so for you: enjoy the heros’s of the Paralympìcs!

No real jokes today as I am short of time to source them (double next time, I promise), but I thought I would leave you with an interesting article which is going to go with me on the Camino:

“I think therefore I am not”.

And next Smile I will sound less like the monk that had his Ferrari stolen and more like Simon again!!!!

Abrazos a todos,

Simon

 

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The Friday Smile (220712) …. La Sonrisa del Viernes

Hola amigos y amigas,

Its Friday – and here is The Smile. Incredible. Well, actually I am cheating a little as I started it last Saturday in England and have not had the chance to finish it until now … so read from the beginning.

Wow it really has been a long time without The Smile. And comments  have moved from the “where’s The Smile¨to “are you still alive” – and so I must no longer procrastinate and just get down to it. Much water under the bridge including marathons completed and many air.miles. It is a little easier today (Sunday) to get down to writing The Smile, as I am in the UK for the weekend and I have some time between The Tour de France (well done Wiggins, Cavendish, the whole Team Sky team and England) and an outing with the English Giffords to see The Dark Knight. You will note as I mention various sporting events that have happened my nationality will subtly change to match the winning nation – the advantages of being a citizen of the world! However, I am going to have to be changing nationalities quicker than a chameleon changes colors from next Friday once the Olympics begin! Although Zuma seems to be able to change his spots depending on his audience, so I have some role models (not)!

The reason for the long silence have been two-fold: firstly, we have been facing some tough economic times in Europe that have kept me nose to the grindstone – long hours, long days and long weeks. However, no complaints. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a challenge – and what I may lack in brain power, I make up in perseverance. The good news is that, as they always do, things have already turned and I am looking to face a period of more work than time – admittedly the type of challenge I prefer to deal with!

A second “excuse” is that I was knocked by the sudden death of a close friend of mine: Alan Wallace who I have known since the late 70’s. One of the greatest human beings I have had the pleasure to know. I could write pages about how incredible he was in so many ways; and at times he has been been a mentor to me, a source of inspiration, a role model – but always a true friend. He leaves an amazing family: Heather and the girls, Coll, Stella, Marlene, Greg … ; friends all around the world and a footprint of kindness and goodness that is indescribable. Hamba kahle Al, and rest in peace. I know you are still watching over all of us.

Then, (the gorgeous) Vivi and I also went through a house move – always an event that can test patience and relationships – although we managed to stay in good humour for 98% of it all. Moving from a larger place to a smaller home did not make it easier. Compounded with the fact that both of us in our enthusiasm for the new place, did not notice that there were no wardrobes or hardly any cupboard space. If any one even breathes the phrase “improving lives through better decisions” – I’m gonna kill you!!!!! 🙂
Anyway it is in the heart of old Madrid (Barrio de las Letras) if anyone knows it. WikiP describes it:
“A neighborhood west of Paseo del Prado, north of Calle Atocha. Famous for being the “literary” neighborhood of Madrid where many famous writers lived or spent their free time. One of the prominent landmarks is the house of Cervantes where he died in 1616. In the last years, it became a nightlife mecca with thousands of Madrileños and tourists walking around and bar-hopping along Calle de las Huertas and Plaza Santa Ana”
So, as the writer of The Friday Smile, you can see I am in good company.

It really is a great area to live. Weekends see us popping down to one of the local bakeries to buy croissants or breakfasting in one of the (many) Spanish coffee shops or bars (the majority of which double as restaurants). Then often wandering around looking at the many interesting little shops (arts, antiques) in the area. We are still only about half a kilometer from my favourite running park (El Retiro), I simply have to pass through the Museo del Prado to reach it. And as for restaurants and drinking holes, we are really spoiled for choice – there are literally hundreds within 5 minutes walk from our front door. We can both walk to our Spanish workplaces in less than 15 minutes (10 for me) and it is close to the airport shuttle bus too. Admittedly, living in the hear of a city was the brain-child of Vivi who used to live in a similar area, but I am gradually adapting my South African need-for-open-space living to the idea and thriving on all the benefits.

Weather patterns have been crazy, Really hot in Madrid from early June (upper 30’s) while England, up until a few days ago has had the worst Summer in recorded history. Rain. Rain. More rain. You can see in every third back garden, the owners building some large, wooden boat-like structures – and even the animals all seem to be moving about in groups of two! But, despite all this, a really strong national spirit and the majority of people really getting behind the forthcoming Olympics and waving their soggy flags left over from the Jubilee! OK, there are always going to be a bunch of gripers and whingers moaning about traffic jams, transport in general, queues, etc – but this is England and even the English have got tired of talking abut the bad weather of the last 2 months – so the Olympics are an easy target. But me, I am really excited by it all and it is going to be a wonderful time to be here – which I will be in the weeks at least, although returning home for the weekends when I cannot convince the G Vivi to make the reverse weekend trip!

Its been a great sports few weeks for all my nationalities: Eurocup football (main and U19) (Yo soy español); Tour de France (Rule Britannia); recent cricket (Shosholoza Proteas – best cricket team EVER!) – Wimbledon …. hmmm (damn Scotsmen have no staying power 🙂  ).

Both of us working through the Summer holiday months (July & August), but we are going to take a weeks break in the UK in September (no fixed plans yet – either back to my roots n Exeter or perhaps going to opposite end of the Isles and spend some time in Scotland (Helloooooo Freda! Helllooooo Rob!). Then taking a week and a bit and walking part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Google it). It’s a well-known pilgrimage which thousands of people do every year – for a variety of reasons from spiritual to just plain exercise (made popularly famous by Coehlo’s book: The Pilgrimage). I am really looking forward to it and other than taking the right stuff in our knapsack and having a start and end point, we will do very little more planning than that (note to me: no lists Simon!) other than a rough plan of distance per day but we are even flexible on that.

Ok. Not to bore you too much, lets get on with a few smiles (below).

Abrazos a todos,

Simon

We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body.”  

“When in doubt, just take the next small step”
Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

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Mother Superior was on her way to late morning prayers when she passed two novices just leaving early morning prayers on their way to classes.
As she passed the young ladies, Mother Superior said, “Good morning ladies.”

The novices replied, “Good morning, Mother Superior, may God be with you.” But after they had passed, Mother Superior heard one say to the other, “I think she got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”

This startled Mother Superior, but she chose not to pursue the issue.

A little further down the hall, Mother Superior passed two of the sisters who had been teaching at the convent for several years. She greeted them with “Good morning Sister Martha, Sister Jessica, may God give you the wisdom for our students today.”

“Good morning, Mother Superior. Thank you and may God be with you.” But again after passing, Mother Superior overheard, “She got up on the wrong side of the bed today.”

Baffled, she started to wonder if she had spoken harshly or with an irritated look on her face. She vowed to be more pleasant.
Looking down the hall, Mother Superior saw retired Sister Mary approaching, step by step, with her walker. As Sister Mary was Rather deaf, Mother Superior had plenty of time to arrange a pleasant smile on her face before greeting Sister Mary.

“Good morning, Sister Mary, I’m so happy to see you up and about. I pray God watches over you today, and grants you a wonderful day.”

“Ah, good morning, Mother Superior. I see you got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”

Mother Superior was floored! “Sister Mary, what have I done wrong?” I have tried to be pleasant but three times already today people have said that about me.”
Sister Mary stopped her walker and looked Mother Superior in the face.

“Oh, don’t take it personally, Mother Superior. It’s just that you’re wearing Father Murphy’s slippers..”

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OK, it has improved iin last few days, but this was really funny last week:

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Here are some good caricatures and a few amazing ones. See who you recognise:

Caricatures

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Quickies (non PC)
When I was a kid people used to cover me in chocolate and cream and put a cherry on my head. Yeah, life was tough in the gateau.

The local deli ran out of milk again due to the freezing weather, fortunately, my elderly neighbour Ethel has plenty stacked up on her doorstep.

If you get an email telling you that you can catch Swine Flu from tins of ham then delete it. It’s Spam.

Such an unfair world. When a man talks dirty to a woman its considered s€xual harassment. When a woman talks dirty to a man its £2.50/min (charges may vary).

Just booked a table for Valentine’s Day for me and the wife. Bound to end in tears though – she’s cr@p at snooker

With my ailing memory, I’m thinking of changing my password to “incorrect”. That way when I log in with the wrong password, the computer will tell me… “Your password is incorrect”

 

 

 

 

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The Friday Smile (200412) … La sonrisa del viernes

Hola amigos and amigas,

Prepare your self for the shortest smile ever. But I have been pretty swamped with things and still am, but wanted to get a quick Smile out to let you know I am alive and kicking (actually more like “alive and clicking” given how much time I have been glued to my Vaio screen recently).

It has been the normal relaxed life in Madrid – the occasional tapa, occasional vino or cerveza (or 2) and enjoying the Spring weather despite the occasional downpour that seems to never happen if I have umbrella in hand.

Work-life has been pretty hectic. Serious marketing to fill a few holes looming, co-launching a new product with my colleagues at Atlantic in the UK and, as you must all be aware, unless you have been without internet connection for three weeks, the launch of The Genesis Strategy Genie. “Strategy – at your command” (to be read slowly with a deep, echo-ey voice!). OK, just in case you missed it, go to the Genie web-page at Genesis Genie and he even has his own Facebook page at Genesis Genie Facebook – go along and “like” him!
In seriousness, if you you have a friend or colleague with a small or medium sized business who may be grappling with a strategic issue or needing to craft or review their strategy -pass the link on. You would be doing them (and me!!!) a favour.

Other than socialising and working, I have also been doing Forrest Gum impersonations and been in training for the Madrid marathon on Sunday. Its been great to get back to a good level of fitness and have enjoyed some great runs. One notable one was a 32km run with (the G) Vivi, having hired a bicycle, cycling alongside until we stopped in the Caso del Campo for lunch (mainly liquid) and took the Metro (tube) home. The next day, Vivi who is not accustomed to sitting on a small bicycle seat for 3 hours could hardly walk never mind sit down. To her extreme annoyance, I showed no signs of tiredness (which is not the same as I had no tiredness!).

Anyway, here we are  with 48 hours to go. Good weather prediction (6º to 20º and sunny). As fit as I’m going to be. Today I picked up my chip, free T-shirt and bag of running goodies alongside a host of other healthy, chatty, slightly-wired runners – which left me with the great sense of pre-race nerves (even after 53 marathons), adrenalin beginning to flow and sense of positive expectation and excitement. The marathon is the frst “Rock n Roll marathon (US events company) which means every 10 km or so there is a rock n roll band belting out loud music, cheerleaders, etc – its going to be great. So – wish me luck and think of me at 09h00 on Sunday as we all set off down Paseo de Castellana – or at about 15h00 as I sit in the Plaza Santa Ana for Vivi and my traditional post-run lunch (plus friends) guzzling cañas by the dozen – solely rehydrating you understand.

A quick note to say though, that I am humbled (yep – even me!) by my friend Elise de Beer (and hubby) who are doing the Iron man on the same day – so they add a 3,8 km swim and 180 km cycle race to their 42,2km run. Well done guys, I am truly proud of you already!

Football? Lets talk about this next Friday. Real Madrid & Barca in La Liga tomorrow – the winner probably wins the Spanish league. Next week both teams in the second part of their semi-finals Champions – to possible tee up a Real Madrid – Barca final. Lets see what happens. I would be confident if it were not for that damn Messi …..

Well I promised a short Smile, so that’s it for now. The real smiles below.

Have an awesome weekend and a relaxed week.
Abrazos a todos.

Simon.

You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.

“Out of the silver heat mirage he ran.  The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire.  Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation.  With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins.  It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation.”
– James Tabor, from “The Runner,” a short story

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British film director Sir Ridley Scott launched a global film making contest for aspiring directors. It’s titled “Tell It Your Way”. There were over 600 entries …

The film could be no longer than three minutes, contain only 6 lines of narrative & be a compelling story. The winner was “Porcelain Unicorn” from American director Keegan Wilcox.

It’s a story of the lifetimes of two people who are totally opposite, yet very much the same – all told in less than 3 minutes. Quite amazing what you can do in 3 minutes of film!

You’ll see why it won.

Porcelain Unicorn

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Very punny!

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Typo.

PMS jokes aren’t funny; period!

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have mysteriously vanished. Now the police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.

Velcro — what a rip off!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.

Venison for dinner again? Oh dear!

The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault.

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 One for my 2 nephews (Wes & Charles)

Lying in bed the 72 year old man was seriously ill. Knowing that death would come soon the man called his lawyer.

“I was thinking how you told me I could get a law degree if I had enough money to buy one. How much does it cost again?”

“It’s $65,000,” replied the lawyer. “But you are dying! Why would you want to have a law degree now?”

“That is none of your concern”, replied the dying man. “I want you to get me that law certification!”

Within the week, the sick man had received his law degree. Of course his lawyer quickly came to his side, to make sure the bill would be paid in full.

Within moments the old man began having trouble breathing and was gasping for air. It was clear he would not live much longer.

The lawyer was going nuts not knowing why this man would want a law degree and pay so much for it when he knew the end was near.

“please, please can’t you tell me why you wanted this law degree so desperately before you died?”

Barely able to speak and on his last dying breath, the old man said,

“One less lawyer…”

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A professor was giving a big test one day to his students. He handed out all of the tests and went back to his desk to wait.

Once the test was over, the students all handed the tests back in. The professor noticed that one of the students had attached a $100 bill to his test with a note saying “A dollar per point.”

The next class the professor handed the tests back out. This student got back his test and $56 change.

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