Wednesday, August 30, 2006

 

My First Fiscal Year 07 Blunder

Now that the OWU 2006-07 Fiscal Year has begun, we (the Annual Fund Staff) have started to contact all of the Annual Fund volunteers. The most recent contact has been an e-mail from OWU containing the following (the names and passwords have been changed):

Welcome Joe Schmoe,

Your application has been approved by our administration team.

Your account with the following details:
Email : joeschmoe@whatever.snort
User Name : #)@#*)*
Password : $&@(T^

has been activated. We welcome you to our online community
and trust that together we will grow.

Enjoy the experience!

Kind Regards,
The Ohio Wesleyan Annual Giving Staff

NOTE: This email was automatically generated from Ohio
Wesleyan Annual Fund Volunteers Resource Site (http://owuannualfund.net/site).

Some people may have received this and thought "why is Ohio Wesleyan using one of those phishing schemes to get my information? I thought only Chase and eBay did these things. I'll make my gift- they don't have to stoop this low."

We weren't trying to steal information (yet). What happened was that while I was filling in the current volunteer's information, the website was generating an e-mail response to each e-mail address I entered. I didn't realize it until I was informed by a volunteer.

And yes, I do have a degree in Computer Science- it just isn't that obvious because the Volunteer Website never seems to work. I should have just gotten a degree in Awesome Blogs.

Shameless Plug
Having to pay for everything on the Internet is beginning to become a disturbing trend- at least for me. I grew up when the Internet was just coming into its own, and one could find everything for free. Now you have to pay to watch sports highlights or read stories about the Browns (stupid ESPN Insider- as if ESPN and SportsCenter already hadn't sold out enough, now you have to pay a premium for horrible opinions. If I wanted those, I would talk to a Steelers fan).

Not only that, but now if you download songs, you can be arrested and sued. You mean to tell me that I could go to jail for downloading (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew? It is a cold, hard world we are living in.

The same is true with Internet radio- many of the best stations are now pay to listen. But there is hope. If you go to http://www.woxy.com, you can listen to a great station with no commercials for free. The music is from indie bands and small labels, the DJs aren't all that bad, and it's FREE.

Gender Bending
After sitting in a meeting for a couple of hours, sometimes my mind begins to wander. I can't help it. In those times of imaging myself hitting a homerun in Jacobs Field or saving the world from certain destruction that I may only hear part of a conversation or sentence. Then, out of nowhere, my ears pick up something- then I take that fragment completely out of context.

Yesterday, a majority of the Development staff was in a meeting with a representative from the OWU database vendor (and yes, it was a rip-snorter of a good time). When the topic of discussion moved to table maintenance, the moderator of the discussion asked if anyone in the meeting was able to change records. Everyone was silent (and this is where my mind started to wander) until an unnamed Champion of the Annual Fund (you know who you are) said "I can change gender whenever I want."

This statement snapped me back into reality. I'm sure that the Champion meant that she (or he, dependant on her/his mood at that particular moment) could change a person's gender on their Ohio Wesleyan record, but all that I heard was "I can change gender whenever I want," which to me, in my state of spacing out, sounded like "I can change gender whenever I want." So I replied "You mean like one of those jungle frogs in the rain forest?"- which made me laugh.

No one else seemed to have this reaction.

I don't care, I still think it was funny.

Below is a picture of sex-changing frogs:


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Keep On Bloggin' in the Free World

What is the purpose of this blog? What is a blog? For that matter, why use the word "blog"- it's such an ugly word- couldn't they find something that was a prettier combination of letters?

So many questions and so little time left in my work day.

A blog, according to wikipedia.com, is a connection from one entity to another, such as person-to-person, organization-to-person, whatever. It is like an e-mail, only posted on the World Wide Web so that everyone can read the musings of a certain person (like me). Sure, you can limit the access of a blog to certain individuals, but then you take away the freedom of the blogger and begin to kill the notion of free speech and unlimited access to information that has made the Internet so prevalent in today's society.

Blogs are often at the same time lauded and criticized for the inherent lack of structure and control. They create credibility with their readers, as blogs are often one person's opinions on news and events within the world, their organization, or their lives. This use of honesty and timeliness creates a connection between the blogger and the reader that creates trust. Blogs that are blatantly cheesy or positive all the time are not blogs- they are public relations pieces that are the same as everything that the organization sends out already. Blogs gain readership and popularity through open and honest dialogue that is interesting and timely, thus establishing credibility and (hopefully) enhancing the relationship between the organization and the reader.

The goal of this blog is to give the Ohio Wesleyan Annual Fund a human side. Too often, development offices view their constituents as potential donors or numbers- a means to a goal. On the flip side, individuals view the development office as only asking for money and quickly moving on or "Those guys who always call and ask for money during dinner." The reality is that all of us want what is best for the University and care how we reach that goal.

By allowing this blog to be as open and honest as it has been is because the leadership of Ohio Wesleyan are willing to allow this connection to be made; and we can laugh at ourselves and the situations presented every day. In their book The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in an Organization, James Kouzes and Barry Posner define credibility is defined by three criteria: trustworthiness, expertise, and dynamism. Leadership is then a direct result of credibility.

OWU is a leader because they are willing to let this credible connection to be created. We can laugh at ourselves; we have fun while working; we love Ohio Wesleyan and enjoy improving the University for the future.

Annual Giving News
The Fall/Late Summer mailing is at the printers as we speak. Check your mailboxes.

The Team OWU goal for this year has been set at $145,000.

Latest Item That Has Nothing To Do With The Annual Fund
Below is my favorite famous-guitarist-hitting-someone-with-their-guitar moment ever.





I think my favorite part is Mick Jagger's apathetic reaction and his outfit. Notice how he watches the entire episode without missing a word in the song. After beating the guy, Keith Richards nonchalantly puts his guitar back on and continues playing. True professionals.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

Dog Days of August

Dogs feature prominently in the lives of many and in sayings that linger and carry on through generations. There are the "dog days of August", and here in Central Ohio winters bring too many "three dog nights." I've heard people say "hot dog!" enthusiastically and they weren't ordering lunch.

During special weekends here on campus you see alumni, parents and friends who dress like they have been "puttin' on the dog." And, recently I heard a new sentiment--not really a phrase but a thought that proves dog prominence: "I don't know where dogs go when they die, but that is where I would like to go."

I think our Annual Fund can be described using dog terminology, too. Our volunteers (and staffers, too) "work like dogs" all year with the shared mission of garnering as much support as possible to fund learning and students. We seek out the "big dogs"--and work to train the "young pups" who later serve as our great volunteers. We appreciate everyone who gives and "doggedly" works so hard and gives so much. Doggone it, we really do.

 

Calendar Update

I know that many of you are getting all antsy in your pantsies to know the Annual Fund calendar for the 2006-07 fiscal year, and I am happy to report that it is almost finalized. I say 'almost' because while yes there is a calendar, we hold the right to change, delete, or add anything we want on the schedule- so it will be almost finalized until June 30, 2007, which is New Fiscal Year's Eve 2008 (wait until that party- it will be a humdinger). That is when we will begin 'almost' finalizing the 2007-08 fiscal year schedule.

Ah, commitment is a refreshing dip in a cool swimming pool.

Some AF Calendar highlights:

August 21- the first 2006-07 Jason Thompson Direct Art Series piece (also known as the Fall Mailing) is mailed out.

September 10- Browns vs. Saints (Home opener- I have tickets)

Late September- student callers begin calling in support of the Annual Fund.

October 22- Browns vs. Broncos (I have tickets, Browns record: 5-0)

October 23- Jason is off to recover from festivities of October 22 (Browns record: 6-0)

October, November- more mailings, calls, Annual Fund stuff.

November 26- Browns vs. Bengals (I have tickets, Browns record: 10-0)

November 27- Jason is off to recover from festivities of November 26 (Browns record: 11-0)

December, January- Holidays, other stuff.

February- Browns win Superbowl.

Oh yeah, mailings, calls, etc.

Skip to April 4- Jason's birthday

June 30, 2007- Annual Fund makes goal, blog wins Pulitzer Prize.

As you can see, we have a busy year ahead of us. I'm not sure how we'll fit it all in.

An Explanation of Last Week's Blog
There have been some questions as to why there was a picture of David Bowie in the last blog and what he has to do with the Ohio Wesleyan Annual Fund. To those who say "I don't understand what Labyrinth has to do with OWU and the blog, even though David Bowie did look funny in that picture," or "Just because David Bowie hasn't made a good movie since Labyrinth doesn't give you the right to make fun of his Livin' on a Prayer-era Bon Jovi hair in this blog," I submit the following:

David Bowie, whose captivating (yes, I did use the word "captivating") performance in Labyrinth catapulted him into other various TV and movie roles in the 80s and 90s. This included a guest star role on the TV series Dream On as Sir Roland Morecock (episode 15: entitled "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told") which aired July 7, 1991. On that very same episode, the role of Judith Topper was played by one Wendie Malick, who was a 1972 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan, a former OWU commencement speaker, and a supporter of the Annual Fund. I am also a supporter of the Annual Fund and a writer of this blog.

Connection made.

Now you know how Bowie (also known as the "Thin White Duke") is connected to OWU and the blog. Ol' DB (as I call him) and I are basically BFFs (Best Friends Forever), and it is all because of our OWU connection.


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