The Return from a Long Absence

First off to all of my readers, I apologize for the nearly 5 month absence (one Jays blog in April broke it up, but still).

I thank everyone who has continued to read this blog. I was astounded to login in today to find at least 20 hits a day to my blog, wow! Thank you!

I wrote a blog back in February that received an unexpected reaction that left a remarkably bad taste in my mouth, which snuffed out my fire for writing this blog for a period of time.

As many of you know I won a contest to see my then favourite band and to have the chance to meet them. Things didn’t work out quite as planned due to some miscommunications and a lack of organization. The band was great about it all, however their management left something to be desired. The response of their management to what I considered an honest and relatively positive blog (given the reaction I could have had) was disappointing to me, as a fan and as someone who was trained in the public relations profession. I was asked to remove my blog and offered free swag to do so; a bribe for all intense and purposes, a bribe that never actually came to fruition.

I thought at one point that I might edit that blog and repost it, but that never happened. All that happened was that I was left with anger and disappointment and the inability to enjoy my once favourite band and an uncertainty of what to write next on my blog.

While I can now listen to my former favourite band without gritting my teeth or the desire to turn off or change the radio station, my enjoyment of my once favourite band has been tainted. Alas it is time to move on and bring life back to this blog of mine.

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I’m a little late on this topic, given the mass amount of attention it has gotten over the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to address the name change to the John Labatt Centre.

I am disappointed to see the current branding of the John Labatt Centre end; but it was to be expected.

I have to say, I was not thrilled to hear the proposed name change to Budweiser Gardens. We go from a classy sounding, award-winning venue to a venue that sounds trashy and like nothing more than a place to go get drunk off an average (somewhat redneck) american beer that in my mind I associate most strongly with Nascar. My mind sees the Budweiser Branding plastered across the front of a nascar for some reason.

I talked to various people who said they would no longer feel comfortable taking out of town clients to the JLC, if it was branded the Budweiser gardens, it doesn’t exactly scream professionalism.

I also need to point out the obvious, I sure hope this branding doesn’t come into effect until after the 2012 World Figure Skating Championship or else our city’s global branding is going to take a hit. Also when you think Figure Skating do you think, hmm I want to crack open a bud? Combining the two just doesn’t make for the best combination.

I was really hoping that the JLC would retain community branding. I was told that it is just a business decision. And while I understand that, I can’t say that I agree with it and I don’t know that it is a business decision, I see it more as a money decision, because business in this city has proven to be more community driven than this decision was. Business in the city of London make business decision, but they don’t abandon community in making that decision. While many companies may work on projects that take them out of the community, they still are deeply rooted in this community giving back, supporting community, building community. This decision wasn’t London Business decision (to me at least), this decision was all about the money.

While there are many negatives to this name change, it is just that, a name change and that is all. Sure it isn’t great that the world is going to equate London Ontario with Budweiser, but there isn’t much we can do about it at this point.

Thankfully though the only thing that is changing is the name. While I am disappointed with that, I am happy that everything else, at the moment, appears to be staying the same. The team at the JLC is remarkable. They have worked tirelessly to grow that arena into a world-class facility. Service is impeccable, marketing, promotion, everything about that team is outstanding. They have brought HUGE acts, shows and events to this city. That team has given this city that kind of experiences that were once relegated to the bigger cities like Toronto.  The building is still the same, the team is still the same, it is just the branding that has changed.

The JLC may become Budweiser Garden and it may be what outsiders come to know our entertainment venue as, but to us, the people who have been invested since day one, the JLC will always be the John Labatt Centre and it’s the people inside of it and not the words on the building that make that true.

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Last year I wrote a blog title 27. It was somewhat of a challenge to myself to find a way to get my life on track. Life had been beating me down since I finished University at 21 (almost 22) and college at 23 (almost 24). Staring down 27, I was determined to make some changes, to force life to give me what I wanted, what I deserved.

Well, 28 is 9 day away and I have to say, sometimes a little extra fight and a bit luck is just what you need. I pushed myself to get out there more and forced myself to overcome social discomfort and get more involved. I started attending geek dinner, making some great geek friends. I joined Emerging Leaders and while I haven’t been the greatest at always getting out to their events, I made some other great friends. I lucked out and made a friend on twitter last year, a fellow brock alumni, who just happened to be leaving their job in the communications field here in London. Turned out, it was the perfect opportunity for me. I applied for the job, nailed (in my opinion) my two interviews, had the perfect references and I landed the job. On August 15th ( a day I’m happening to take as vacation) I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary. I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job since I’ve started. I’ve gotten great feedback from some of the people I work with, from some clients that I’ve had the opportunity to help. I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool projects that I am very proud of. I’m getting a lot experience, that is bolstering my confidence, which had been broken down during the 3 year job hunt.

I still don’t quite have the social life I thought I would at this stage in my life, but that is what happens when you and your friends grow up and grow apart and are spread across vast geography. But I got great colleague who also fill the friend role in life. We’ve made a habit of going out approximately once a month to celebrate making it another month in our jobs, as three of us all started within a week to 10 days of each other.

There are still things I’m working towards in my life. Paying off some bills, finding that work/life balance. Evolving life from organized chaos to straight organization (my space at home isn’t exactly cooperating with that all of the time). Establishing me time and space.

I have a good start though and things are going in the right direction. I’m getting better understanding of myself, what I want, what I don’t want and what exactly I want my life to look like.

27 was a pretty good year, I’m looking forward to what 28 has in store.

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Well that’s it folk, my first blog back after a hiatus. To everyone who follow for blue jays info, sorry, I haven’t been on the ball this season. I have lots of thoughts, I just hadn’t had the inspiration to write, here’s hoping for a better second half after the All-Star break, for both the Jays and my writing about the Jays.

Thanks for the continued support!

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