Thursday, November 02, 2006

Caricatures of Me

For some reason, I get sketched frequently. Or else it's pure coincidence, and I got in the habit of collecting them along the way.

This first one I use like a logo -- I include it in my presentations and other places. It seems less glaring sometimes than a genuine photograph.

Back when I worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation for a time, I modelled for the animators in their "gesture drawing class," taught by the brilliant artist Walt Stanchfield, who was a talented Disney animator himself. (He worked on projects like "The Jungle Book.")

Modelling is a blast! But harder than you think. You have to hold each pose for a full five minutes or so -- so if you stick your leg up in the air on a whim, you have to keep it there for five long, excruciating minutes. Other models I know got bored and quit.

Here's what Walt published about me in one of his newsletters. Click to see anything in a larger size.
(Errata: the artist's name is really Gilda Palinginis.)

Here's a sketch one of the animators did that he presented me with. I'm still startled by his generosity, and extremely flattered. (No, I did not model for him -- he just turned up with this amazing drawing one day!)

And here is me as an anime character! My talented niece, Heather, drew these delightful sketches of me. Isn't she talented?

I can't decide which color I like better. Which one do you think reflects my personality best? (Click to enlarge them.)

Drafting my Personal Purpose Statement

I'm developing a purpose statement for myself. How does this grab you?

I am the spark that connects the Self to the bigger picture. When I take an interest in someone, I help them find their path and inspire them to follow it. I function reflexively as a catalyst and often nudge others toward their higher purpose. I experience and share creative insights that inspire innovation, impart vision, or empower others to express their potential. I seek the Universe's guidance, and strive to appreciate the many blessings woven through my life.

I mostly do these things anyway, so even if you think all that sounds corny it's still me, can't help it.

Because I got burned out giving away this sort of support without recognition, I became a professional Life Coach. That way I might devote myself to it, and be compensated and appreciated for doing it besides! Woohoo!

My Townhouse

Have I told you about my townhouse?

In 1999 purchased a 3-bedroom place behind the Roosevelt Hotel -- and was promptly punished by being voted President of the Homeowner's Association, sigh.

Sometimes I think this is a kewl place to be; other times I worry it's too urban (you should hear the racket on Saturday night!). But I'm thrilled with the new Kodak Academy Awards Theatre they've built across the street from The Disney Store, along with an amazing complex of hotel, ballroom, restaurants, theatres, and Studio stores -- all intended to "revitalize" Hollywood. (Real estate agents have been calling to ask if we'll sell because the property's become so desirable -- woohoo!)

Some Fridays when we stroll to the bank we stumble over a Star of Fame ceremony studded with celebrities -- and at Christmas we can simply wander up the street to take in the annual Christmas parade starting in front of the Chinese Theatre (okay, so that event is rather cheesy).

Inside, we have two parking spaces and my own washer & dryer (heaven!). It boasts a tiny gas fireplace, and two outside balconies. Two full baths are upstairs; a half bath downstairs. Three bedrooms, a good-sized kitchen, dining room, and "sunken" living room. It's 1,345 square feet altogether. It ain't the Taj Mahal, but I won't freak if you spill a drink either. Reasonably dreadful pictures are here.

We've been trying to remodel it some and decorate -- but it is a never-ending chore.

Addendum: now that I've bought a new house, I've put this one on the rental market -- but before it goes, here's your chance to see what it sorta looked like before we moved out.

Click here to view 12-picture slideshow.

Working at Walt Disney Feature Animation

I've worked in some unusual places in my life... One of the best was working for Walt Disney Feature Animation, where it was my privilege to work with the talented animators who created "The Lion King."

It was a fortuitous accident. I went out to Feature Animation to temp one time, and I ran into Karen Schmidt, a fellow graduate of my college's theatre department, who worked there now as a supervisor. It turned out she had one employee leaving, and another one coming, and there was a gap in between them that needed to be filled. She knew she could trust me to bridge it, so we made a mutually satisfying arrangement (through my temp agency, of course!).

I held the interim title of "Assistant Training Coordinator," or something fancy like that. It was a wonderful position!

In the wake of the success of "Aladdin," and given a "revival of the art of animation" now being extolled, the place was vibrantly energized as they prepared their encore production, "The Lion King."

For this project, in my new role, I arranged to bring in the live animals that the animators sketched. There were lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (Okay, not tigers and bears -- but there were lions and meerkats!) I also made some of the arrangements necessary to bring in Jim Fowler (remember Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom"?) to talk about the animals while the artists sketched.

During one press junket, I managed to snatch a quick sketch of the Genie that Eric Goldberg drew for the TV cameras and left behind. Unfortunately, it isn't signed.

You can actually see me in the short documentary, "The Making of... The Lion King," which is featured on the "Aladdin" video. If you don't blink, you might spot a woman wearing a bright fuchsia suit standing in the back of the room. That's me!

During this experience, I got to pet the mascot of "The Lion King," Chester. Isn't he cute? It was fascinating how oily his fur felt, and easy to forget how dangerous he was. It's astounding to realize that mere months later, Chester looked more like the lion on the right.

The woman on the left is animator Ellen Woodbury, who was responsible for drawing the funny bird Zasu in the movie.

On the heels of "The Lion King," I was privileged to arrange Al Hirschfeld's visit to Disney Animation. It was quite the event, since Al didn't fly and would only travel to California by train (from New York). The animators thought Al Hirschfeld was a god!

The Hirschfelds reminded me of Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus. They were delightful people! And it was thrilling to be regaled with stories of what it was like to live in Paris in the twenties by someone who was actually there. That was a memorable experience!

I confess, of all the oddball jobs I've held down in my life, this one stands out as a very special experience. I was very sorry when it was time to go.

My interest in Personology

I got my qualifications as a professional MBTI type practitioner through TRI in 1996/7. (The training was in 1996 at Christmastime, so I got my test results and certificate awarded in 1997.) I trained under Dr. Linda Berens (a student of Dr. David Keirsey), and her two co-trainers, Linda Ernst and Melissa Smith.

Little did I know how much my life was going to change!

That same year, I attended TRI's first conference, and had the privilege of meeting both Dr. David Keirsey and Fritjoh Capra, a giant in the field of Physics. It was amazing to hear these two men dialogue, and grasp the notion of psychological type as interwoven with Systems Theory.

Then, in 1997, I flew to Seattle, Washington twice -- first to address the Mensa group there shortly after becoming a member (though it turns out I've been qualified to join since being a freshman in high school -- it's a long story, I'll tell ya later). My talk was on the topic of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, using the eight-function model.

This was my first formal presentation on the the eight-function model, and it seems that has laid the groundwork over the past decade for expressing what I want to talk about and better understand -- and help others to better understand.

On my second trip to Seattle, I attended an Internet get-together with fellow INFJs. (Yes, I actually went and met people I only knew through my computer -- and it was FANTASTIC.)

Then... in 2000 I attended that summer's TRI Conference and hung out with Katharine Myers (guardian of the MBTI) and all the swell TRI people, and was blown away by John Beebe's fabulous talk on the 8 functions (he originated the theory).

I also got engaged to someone who shared my passion in psychological type, and we began a type conversation that's still ongoing. He had taken his MBTI qualifications two years earlier than me with Margaret Hartzler of Type Resources. His preferences are for INTJ, and he originally began using type in his work as a project manager to do teambuilding.

We were enthralled with one another, and with type, AND we had some communication problems. We didn't always see eye-to-eye about type. Whenever we discussed the subject of Temperament, especially, the conversation seemed to go south. Finally, I threw down the gauntlet, laid down the law, drew a line in the sand. I told my fiance that if we were going to have this relationship, he would *have* to go to TRI and get proper training in the Temperament model!

Being the anxious-to-please fiance, he naturally agreed. Together, we signed up for a course at TRI in "Temperament for Type Users," and he got to meet Dr. Berens, Linda Ernst, and Melissa Smith, along with some others who were later to figure in our lives together.

Since Robin (my fiance) has a lifelong love of learning, he was delighted to improve his understanding of the Temperament model, and this knowledge put us on par for future type discussions.

That same year, I began traveling extensively with Robin during his work for a computer company. We met Steve Myers for drinks in London over the summer, enjoyed dinner with Otto Kroeger & Janet Thuesen at their magnificent house on Thanksgiving, and had pasta with Lenore Thomson and her swell husband Tom in Wisconsin shortly before Christmas. I also helped TRI publish a few books -- including one written by Dario Nardi and one written by Marci Segal (not to mention Linda Berens' books besides).

In June of 2001 I attended the biennial conference hosted by the Association for Psychological Type and met many of the luminaries of the Type community -- including Harold Grant, Mary McCaulley, and so many others I can't possibly mention them all. I have lots of pictures posted online here. to show what it was like.

In September 2001, Robin and I arrived at the Women's Symposium at Hartwick College just in time to witness the conferring of a posthumous honorary degree on Isabel Briggs-Myers, creator of the MBTI! It was a wonderful event, and many type "celebrities" attended, despite the recent terrorist attack and all the fear of flying. I did a slideshow, if you want to see it for yourself!

And in February 2002, I took training with Steve Myers to qualify for administering his unusual MTR-i assessment. I created another slideshow about what that was like.

Since then, I've been traveling around the country and meeting other Type professionals, like Barbara Brown and Liz Hallows in Texas.

I was fortunate to attend the 2002 TRI Conference. It was brilliant because it offered us a way to experience type in context through a simulation of an organization (designed by Barry Oshry). It was a mind-blowing event, and I had some amazing insights about the practical application of type. I'm still digesting the experience!

In February of 2003, Robin and I co-presented three models of the TRI Methodology(tm) for the Share Conference in Dallas at 3 separate one-hour sessions. This was our first attempt at publicly presenting together, and we were mostly happy with how things went. Based on that success, we were invited back -- so six months later we attended Share in Washington, D.C. in August 2003 and presented 4 sessions. That experience was again gratifying, so we did it again February 2004 in Long Beach.

In September 2003, we presented Kegan's theory of "discourse" at the fledgling APT Los Angeles (a new chapter we hoped to get off the ground). I won't say it was a smashing success, but I'm not wholly embarrassed for trying out something new, either.

In October, my husband and I were privileged to help with the "Convergence" conference, a two-day conference focused on Type and Temperament and its applications in business settings. It was wonderful to gather with people we appreciate and respect, and be allowed to swim in the same waters with leading thinkers on this topic we so much enjoy.

Speaking of leading thinkers, Robin and I have been thrilled to develop a relationship with Dr. John Beebe, probably the most influential person in the type community today. He allowed us to attend his presentation on the movie "Gods and Monsters" at a Jung Institute conference in Los Angeles, and we drove to Sacramento in May to take in his groundbreaking lecture on "The Crisis of the Third Function" -- an experience we're still talking about and digesting!

We got to see him present again in July at the APT Conference in Toronto, Canada -- along with many of our other favorite people in the Type community, both new and old! I have a little photo essay about our trip here.

We helped put on another Convergence conference in La Jolla in October that was awesome (I'll get pictures up eventually), and had a great time interacting with some of our favorite people in the type community.

In November, I staffed the booth at the National Career Development Conference, and went on to take the 3-day Career Coach training. I am now a certified JCDC -- Job and Career Development Coach -- WOW! I get to put little letters after my name now, isn't that cool?

In 2005, I did a lot with Type. We went to Florida to hear Dr. Beebe speak at a Jungian event. Robin and I presented five sessions at Share twice (once on the West Coast; once on the East Coast); we presented at an inner city Los Angeles high school (Foshay); we ran a 16types eXchange in Boston; ran another one in North Carolina; attended the international APT Conference in Portland; AND even helped put on the Convergence conference in the San Francisco area. Whew! So many pictures!

I also become MBTI Certified that year, and a highlight was chasing John Beebe down in Memphis, Tennessee for a four-day workshop that was TRANSFORMATIVE. It was a really remarkable experience that I'm still unfolding.

Subsequently, I presented Dr. Beebe's model of Archetypes (types of the Shadow) at the APTi Conference in Bribane, Australia in 2006, and then presented it again at the APTi Conference in Baltimore in 2007. Dr. Beebe himself attended this session, and he pronounced it "wonderful!" (He only suggested I change *1* word -- a miracle, coming from someone who prefers Ti!) The session was also attended by Isabel Briggs-Myers' son, Peter Myers. On his feedback form, he said he was 81 years old, enjoyed our session, and he "learned something about himself." Wow.

Last month, my article on "Relationships and Type" was presented in the APTi "Bulletin," a peer-reviewed journal on the subject of personality type. That feels pretty good, and now I'm developing another series of articles for them, and also for the BAPT Journal (British APT). So there's plenty more to come!

Now I'm doing fun things with type under my coaching banner. As a "psychological type coach," and "self-discovery specialist," I feature a number of "Self-Discovery packages" that can be done over the phone -- I think I'm a pioneer in this regard! Check me out at

It's an understatement to say all this activity is sheer ecstasy for my Personology side!

Hollywood Awards Ceremonies

1998 was a big year for me with awards shows.

For the second time, I got to attend the Granddaddy of them all -- the OSCARS (check out my dress -- click it to enlarge it)!

Yes, I got to sit with all the stars and rub shoulders with them, right down there in the first 18 rows. The difference is, I was working. I was a seat-filler for the evening (if you call that "working"!).

When you're a seatfiller, they hold you offstage until the commercial break. When the stars leave the audience (either by winning or going onstage to present an award), the event producers don't want TV viewers to see all these empty seats on camera -- it doesn't look right! So they send seat-fillers in to make the audience look fully populated during every commercial break. When the star returns to his/her seat, whoops! You're outta there! You get back in line and wait for your next rotation. (Actually, the more times you rotate, the more different places you get to sit! It's really fun.)

Of course, the dreamiest moment is when YOU (the lowly seat-filler) actually appear on-camera amongst all those stars, and ma and pa watching TV at home in Smalltown USA get to see YOUR shiny face amongst all the stars. (I never got that lucky, sigh.)

Anyway, the two years I did it were when I was doing consulting work with The Walt Disney Company, who were also in charge of the broadcasts. Subsequently, the seat-filling was taken over by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and now you have to be an employee, or related to an employee, in order to score the privilege of seat-filling. (Sigh!)

So... back to my volunteer stories. We were -- in 1988 I believe? That year I also volunteered with the Los Angeles Ovation Awards -- a black-tie ceremony held annually to honor local stage productions. (It's the L.A. equivalent of the Tonys.) For this event, I was a celebrity escort, meaning I made sure certain stars got backstage properly in order to present an award.

During this event, I rubbed shoulders with Joan Van Ark, Mariette Hartley, Nathan Lane, Annette Bening, David Hyde Pierce, and CAROL BURNETT!!!! (Wanna guess which celebrity thrilled me the most?)

During Ovations ceremonies in years past, I've gotten to hobnob with Michael Jeter, John Ritter, Bill Paxton, Beau Bridges -- too many names to remember.

I did the Ovation Awards again in 2000, and this time met Patrick Stewart while escorting Millicent Martin around, and Kevin Spacey walked right past me backstage. (I'd have reached out to shake his hand, but I felt too icky groupy to do it.) I hung out in the dressing room with Linda Hamilton and Joanne Worley (she's a scream), and I rubbed shoulders (literally) with Gary Marshall.

The following year, I dragged my husband along to help me, and again volunteered at the Ovation awards. Our duties were to hover backstage and escort all the winners back to their seats. This time we were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gary Marshall, Joann Worley, Shirley Jones, and Paul Dooley. (Unfortunately, they banned all cameras backstage, so I can't provide proof!)

In 2003, we did the Ovations again (this is becoming a habit!). Lily Tomlin was the emcee, so we hung out with her and provided encouragement. As the evening wore on, she displayed signs of stress, so Robin gave her a neck and shoulder massage, which she really appreciated! Gives new meaning to the expression "rubbing shoulders with the stars"!

We also hobnobbed with James Farentino and Sally Struthers, both winners in their categories.

I was there against this year, sans husband, and here are some pictures to prove it! Let's see -- we have David Hyde Pierce:

Then there's Doug Savage from Desperate Housewives:

and last (but hardly least!), the host of the evening, Neil Patrick Harris. (Hey, I used to know Neil when he was too young to get into the Magic Castle and was assisting Ed Alonzo!)

I can hardly wait to see what interesting people show up next year!
(To learn who did, you can click the link here.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"It's a Blonde Thing"

After mentioning my article in the writer's lab, several people have asked to read "It's a Blonde Thing."

This was published in the October 2006 issue of the Mensa Bulletin, and I must mention that they had a 1200 word requirement. Thus my article is 1200 words long. Not 1199, not 1201 -- but precisely 1200 words!

So if you sense it could have been longer -- you are right!

The article is posted on my life coaching website here.

You will need Adobe Acrobat to read all of it.

I'd love to hear your comments (click below to enter them).


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flying the Friendly Skies (Not)

Hello from Baltimore... at last.

It started this morning by arriving at LAX three hours before our flight was due to depart. By a stroke of luck, we ended up checking in via the First Class queue, so we navigated that obstacle quickly and pleasantly. As a consequence, we were allowed to ride up the First Class escalator, which sent us through a very short security line. It was pretty much a breeze -- more pleasant than many trips I've taken! (I heard it was dreadful in the "regular" security lines.)

Next we found our departure gate and settled in for a two-hour wait to catch our plane. Thank heavens for computers and iPods, since two hours waiting in the airport is not very comfortable.

When it came time to board, National Guardsman and TSA officials descended on the boarding area and lined up trestle tables in front of the boarding ramp. When our "groups" were called, we were subjected to random luggage searches by about ten of these security personnel. An over-aged Boy Scout rifled my purse thoroughly, no doubt hoping to find contraband chapstick or hand lotion. He seemed friendly albeit disappointed when none was found.

As he rooted enthusiastically through my purse, I found myelf thinking about how I grew up in farmland -- America's heartland -- a native-born citizen of this country. In fact, I was born on an Air Force base while both parents served active duty. I thought about how my high school drill team marched in patriotic parades. My father was active in the American Legion, so I was occasionally pressed into service to support their activities, from supplying beer to helping with graveside ceremonies. Dad also served in the National Guard, so I spent time hanging around the local armory and knew several servicemen.

It seemed ironic to be subjected to a handbag search with such a red, white and blue background. I never imagined I would be subjected to such treatment in my own country. It made me feel like crying. This irony turned unexpectedly bitter when I learned that my dark, bearded, Australian, non-citizen husband breezed through the same checkpoint pulling his rollaboard without getting any challenge whatsoever. Does this make sense to anybody??

When we changed planes in Dallas, the procedure was significantly less formal. As part of their boarding announcement, they mentioned how we probably already knew we were not allowed to have liquids, gels, or creams aboard the plane, and would everyone abide by that? There was no show of force during the boarding phase -- no uniforms, no random searches, not even a question asked by airline personnel.

Once aboard, there was an announcement over the PA that if we bought drinks in the airport, we were not allowed to have them aboard (you naughty children). So someone would be coming down the aisle soon with a trashbag to collect any such drinks from us, thank you. It was about the lamest "security measure" I have ever encountered. The contrast with Los Angeles was startling.

To aggravate matters, it began to rain in Dallas and we were trapped on the tarmac for two hours before we took off. The annoyance of that delay made the security nightmare pale in comparison.

But just when you think you might laugh it off, you remember how the British crew that attends this conference every season -- friends of ours, all of them -- were told on Friday they could not come. IBM announced they are key personnel and not allowed to travel to the U.S. due to the risks involved. I wonder how many more faces will be missing tomorrow once the sessions start. :-(

Some things can really take the joy out of travel.

-Vicky Jo, who has logged over 100 flights since 9/11

I Wasn't Going to Blog

I wasn't going to blog. I really wasn't. I didn't want to get started in a new technology and start something new I would have to maintain. And who knew how long this blog trend might last anyway...

Don't I sound like an unmitigated snob? Hunh.

But wait. Remember, I've been around the technology block a few times by now. I unloaded an expensive BETA video player not that long ago. I was using internet connectivity way back in the 80s, when it was this obscure thing nobody knew about. I actually got bored with it and quit using it! Then the World Wide Web caught on, and *everybody* got involved. So I was dragged into the trend, under protest, feeling like I'd already "been there, done that." And now, of course, it's become a staple in my life.

I sometimes say I've forgotten more than most people know. And I believe that's true, not merely bragging, as demonstrated by the paragraph above. (I am so dating myself!) I've been noodling around with websites the past few years. In my opinion, it will eventually become as common knowledge how to put a website together and get it online as it is now for people to do word processing. (Mind you, I started training people to use computers back in the days when Word Wrap was considered a minor miracle!)

So I was gonna let the blog thing pass me by. Just skip it -- let it go -- fuhgettabouttit.

But then I got like my third crappy comment in my personal website's guestbook -- something to the effect that I was boasting too much. And it pissed me off. Like I don't have enough to worry about in my life without other people taking whacks at me anonymously online. Sheesh!

So I'm going to begin converting my personal webpage into a blog. I think it was a blog before, but it was all run together. Breaking it down will make it more palatable for visitors, easier to swallow somehow. The way it is right now, I think the torrent of information is unsettling.

Besides, by now I've set up other blogs to link with some webpages I've posted online. I developed them so people could comment on stuff I've written, and I discovered how easy they are to do. I mean, really easy. (SO easy that I heard myself telling my husband how *he* ought to have a blog.) So I guess I convinced myself.

Hello blogging world -- here I am.

I hope you find something worthwhile from my efforts.