Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Stop Believing

The truth may be known, but sometimes, there is no answer.

If I leave something behind, I leave behind the best and worst I’ve seen, and this: Don’t Stop Believing.

Before the season ended, not one fan believed the Habs would go far. Or even make the playoffs. Soon enough their best player was injured. And tonight, their most unsung hero was injured.

But I’ll tell you tonight’s defeat was not bittersweet.

Before all this happened, I lost a treasured belief in them, and I had a lot of treasure to lose. They gave so much of it back. More than I thought they could give back. Improbable comebacks, never done before, beating this year's best team. Then beating last year's champs. Two teams, with the league's best two players.

Not one of us believed, until it happened.

So many magical things in life can be summed up like that. In fact, I know of not one piece of magic that can’t.

Magic leaves us belief.

* * *
Law & Order ended tonight. 20 years. I have so many stories. These are their stories. Random intersections in charity, online, in public life or on stage. When you are randomly discovered in acts of kindness or inspiration – off the set - enough said.

Would I be surprised if anyone from Law & Order ran for President, showed their face in a big way for a cause, or lent a helping hand to an unsung musician?

The answer is an unequivocal, no.

Law & Order's Jeremy Sisto played after my friend Andrea Ramolo sang in her New York debut. Andrea and Jason Skiendziel drove 24 hours from Memphis to New York City and then headed off for an 8 hour drive in a winter storm to Toronto.

They’ve done this. More than once. More than one would like. A Sacrifice to make it happen. And what is it? It is a miracle.

There’s a reason why they’ve lasted this long.

Some people try to give relationship advice and they’ve never had one for 2 years, let alone 20. A lot of amazing things happen in 20 years. I know this from friends I’ve had for 35 years, 20 years, and even 10 years. So many people use the word “sustainability” without knowing what it means.

There are many chapters in life. There’s really no such thing as an exit. You live with it for the rest of your life. There’s running away, but not an exit. Exit is when you die.

What did i learn from staying? Persevering through adversity —thinking bigger, creates a bigger road. That’s a street in New York City by Chelsea Piers known as Law & Order Way.

It became a real street

There was never a road until many people walked on it.

* * *
Often in leadership, I wonder if we can lead the good while dealing with the bad. There are many reasons why we chase the bad. Avoiding denial, human nature, not letting the bad get away with it (so much of it now), and our human side sometimes gets the best of us in reaction. But you can do this so much (like the news) that you stop paying attention to good things.

We start to lose belief. Other people help us lose even more belief. And the bad will take hostages. The bad doesn’t care about you, or the person next to you.

I lost a brother, and I lost a friend Nicole Vienneau who just vanished.

My brother didn’t live more than 29 years. Nicole Vienneau disappeared at age 32.

Nicole Vienneau - her last word in her diary after seeing a sunset was "content."

Life is precious.

My brother, he never complained in life. 10,000 people followed him – and this is before Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. He started a movement by pure reputation.

Though I don’t talk about it much, the bereavement of my brother's passing was tarnished by acts some unnamed people chose to do around the time of his death, leaving a horrible residue, now two years later. I am helping investors chase what happened to their money. We know Oil Spill (I say symbolically). A lot of resources were exhausted, and it’s still ongoing via a third party now leading an investigation. It’s a difficult case as all white collar improprieties seem to be. But it’s also these things that getaway that cause our planet to be the way it is today. Do we simply say I accept, so we can personally move on?

Then came people who made Nicole Vienneau disappear, cowards. It’s funny how acts of the worst people distract, and later turtle behind even worse acts by others. Priorities always seem to help the bad cover up.

When it comes to chasing the bad, finding what happened to Nicole is my priority. Culprits in both cases, however, shouldn’t under-estimate my persistence. I believe nothing is impossible. When they think we’ve given up, not one breath of mine speaks that language. The memories of my brother and Nicole keep me going daily. IIlegitimus Non Carborundum was the slogan of a newspaper I once started. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. We’ve lived that slogan by example many times.

24 is a show that lasted a long time. If you ever ask yourself why you like the show, it might be because it shows how contradictory life can be. The bad guys look good. Good guys turn bad, and maybe good again. Few things are straight up when you chase something gone wrong. And that’s what we know.

I’ve often asked myself, as someone who’s thought big, forgiven big, if I could forgive people who tarnished the bereavement of my brother.

I’ve often asked myself if I could forgive people who may have irreparably harmed Nicole Vienneau. I wonder what I'd be capable of doing when I find them. I don’t have the answer. Nor does Jack Bauer.

But what I can say, the people who did these things have done nothing to change my mind in bigger way.

I also know I can chase them for the rest of my life. The memories of my brother and Nicole fuel me everyday. They were some of the best kind of humanity. And if we can’t defend the memory of people like that, I really don’t know what value we hold in life.

* * *
There are heroes who let us down sometimes. They once represented a strong voice that meant so much to us. And then one day, like 24, they’ll betray what they’re about. They’ll betray us. They’ll betray everything we believe in.

He wrote When Heroes Change Professions

It can lead to no good of course. There are idiots who will beat us down to beat us at their game. A trap from which there is no victory.

In leadership, I always wonder if one can lead the good when chasing the bad. I see this question constantly, as I chase people who made Nicole Vienneau disappear or hid what happened to investor funds. Two unrelated acts of inhumanity. I can tell you one thing – chasing the bad is far more work than chasing the good. More time than to find that unbelievable magic that makes a dream come true.

Yet in life, the bad has its way of taking more time.

It may even take up years of time or a lifetime. Some days, you might even lose yourself. It’s why I quit journalism, after chasing one too many stories of crime.

What I do know is that there are many inspirational people who don’t have to get their hands dirty like I am called upon sometimes.

To you who make good, I see you no differently than my daughter who is better than I.

You have a chance. You can inspire. When you were born, you knew no bad. It didn't matter. When you flow the magic, that’s all you need to know. Everything else will come.

If you know the magic, if you’ve seen the magic, you’ve lived the magic, you know what can come.

Tonight 24 ended. Tonight Law & Order ended. Tonight the Habs ended. But they left us belief.

Don’t stop believing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010



#Missing painter
Emily Carr grad #Missing
#Missing jogger
Vancouver Marathon runner #Missing

#Missing yoga student
Happy spirit #Missing
#Missing cyclist
Empty roads #Missing her

* * *
#Missing daughter of late David Vienneau
Global TV reporter’s daughter #Missing
#Missing daughter of Toronto Star writer
Canadian elections debate moderator’s #Missing girl

#Missing avid book reader
#Missing map reader
#Missing travel guide reader
#Missing Lonely Planet

* * *
Fan of George Michaels #Missing
#Missing woman once asked me to sing Careless Whisper
Fan of Michael Jackson #Missing
#Missing woman once danced to Billie Jean

#Missing woman once traveled with me
Our route, the same as a #Missing man
#Missing man in Into the Wild
Made treasure map of poems for woman, now #Missing

* * *

#missing the sand dunes of Oregon
#missing the Hall of Mosses in Olympia's rain forest
#missing Sooke pot holes, stars beaming clearly at night
#missing Sunshine Coast, dew glistening the morning

#missing the time when we had strawberry wine and lobster at Hillside Estates
#missing the time when we rode horses on Galiano Island to the Valley of Echoes
#missing the time when we bathed in hot springs north of Tofino
#missing the time when we saw a sunset at Wreck Beach, dipping into the ocean

* * *
With her in 2002, I read English Patient - a man saved by Bedouin crossed a desert to find a woman #Missing
On a boat to Vancouver Island, that #Missing woman and I heard a song called A Thousand Miles
"You know i'd walk a thousand miles." I hear it echoing to find that #Missing woman.
#Missing the time when teens on a ferry sang this song, and we saw a pod of whales jump out of the water

That #Missing woman didn't smoke
That #Missing woman rarely drank
That #Missing woman didn't wear designer clothes
That #Missing woman knew happiness in simple things

* * *
Soccer player #Missing
Ex-technology customer manager #Missing
Real Estate office manager#Missing
Ex-ESL office manager #Missing

#Missing Westside Storm women's soccer team striker
Ex-Blackberry Electric Mail staff #Missing
#Missing CB Richard Ellis staffer – thanx for fund-raising to find her
Ex-Bodwell College staffer still #Missing

* * *
North Toronto grad #Missing
Eric Lindros schoolmate #Missing
High school fashion show contestant #Missing
#Missing schoolmate of Deirdre Glen

#Missing my hockey team-mate from Roundhouse Community Centre
My #Missing friend
My #Missing travel companion
#Missing ultima player, a game I never played

* * *

#Missing horseback rider
English trot #Missing her
#Missing camper
Outdoors #Missing her

#Missing mountain climber
Valley of echoes #Missing her voice
#Missing outdoors woman
Breath of fresh air, her breath #Missing

* * *
#Missing hiker
#Missing hitch-hiker
#Missing vegetarian food lover
#Missing lover of Okanagan peaches & seasonal delight

#Missing Vancouverite
#Missing British Columbian
#Missing Canadian
#Missing former Torontonian

* * *
#Missing woman’s Dad known to Prime Ministers
Daughter of retired Fortune 500 woman #Missing
Bird photographer’s daughter #Missing
Daughter of man who died of pancreatic cancer #Missing

#Missing fiancée – he searched for her everywhere
#Missing sister – he searched for her everywhere
#Missing step-daughter – he searched for her everywhere
#Missing mother’s daughter – she’ll never stop searching

* * *
#Missing step-sister – they wrote
#Missing friend – they wrote
#Missing co-worker – they wrote
#Missing ex-girlfriend – he spoke

#Missing person blog
#Missing person poem
#Missing person news
#Missing person on YouTube

* * *
frugal traveler #Missing
Woman #Missing would not take taxi over a bus ride or free ride
#Missing woman, she wore no make up
Woman #Missing didn’t own an iPod or computer

#Missing solo traveler
#Missing hotel guest
Only #Missing tourist in Syria
Unseen outside hotel, day she was #Missing

* * *
Memories of the #Missing, they linger
I remember everything in that #Missing woman's room
Everything that #Missing woman had was treasured by her
Everything that #Missing woman did could be written down

#Missing spirit
#Missing socializer
#Missing Katie Holmes look-alike
#Missing woman who resembled Jackie-O

* * *


Jacqueline Nicole Vienneau, 5' 6", 130 lb, brown hair and brown eyes, is #Missing

* * *

No #missing person ransom asked
No #missing person reward claimed

* * *

Nicole who is #Missing went by her middle name
At 32, she went #Missing March 31, 2007
A #Missing tourist's last written diary word was “Content”
In a new city, how could anyone go #Missing in her first 48 hrs?

#Missing in Middle East is a different world
Syria didn’t notify #Missing woman's family
They only knew of her #Missing when emails stopped
Nations now follow search for Syria's "only" #Missing tourist

* *
#Missing person, last known whereabouts found. 24 hrs after brother blogged May 1st
#Missing woman, belongings found. Still at hotel May 3rd
One month, four days, after she went #Missing,
#Missing person posters first posted, May 4th

#Missing person news, national and international, spread May5th
Missing woman's brother and fiancé flew to search, May 12th
#Missing woman's mother and step-father flew to find her, June 17th
Only a #Missing woman’s diary told the truth - everything else binary, true or false

* * *
Local police cleared this #Missing woman of being political threat April 6 (and said nothing)
Family notified Foreign Affairs of this #Missing Canadian April 19 (when her emails stopped)
Family notified RCMP of this #Missing Vancouverite April 23 (they didn't know what to believe)
RCMP notified Interpol of this #Missing Canadian April 29 (local police didn't want help)

#Missing woman didn’t email again
#Missing woman didn’t touch bank accounts again
#Missing woman’s passport was never found again (Canada JP588938)
#Missing woman’s visa expired April 6, 2007 (Syria # 000166020)

* * *
#Missing, last seen Cairo Hotel, Hama, Syria, March 30-31, 2007
#Missing, passport unused in Turkey, next destination
#Missing, DNA & dental records with Interpol
#Missing tourist, local police don’t want foreign help

#Missing woman, red hat, red T-shirt (white-sleeves, arms covered), khaki pants, blue jacket
#Missing woman, visible a football field away
#Missing woman, shades, New Balance shoes – blue and gray
#Missing Olympus camera and blue Mountain CO-OP bag

* * *
#Missing woman traveled to Africa, Asia, Latin & North America in her life
#Missing woman was traveling last in Middle East
#Missing woman's files kept in Canadian government secrecy (Google it)
#Missing woman unseen outside of hotel when she went #missing

Left behind, photos of #Missing woman
Left behind, luggage of #Missing woman
Left behind, bus stop instructions for #Missing woman
Left behind, sight-seeing instructions written by #Missing woman

* * *
Left behind, #Missing person clues
Left behind, #Missing woman’s diary ending March 30
Diary told of Swiss man - yet to surface - dining #Missing woman, in Damascus, March 17
Registry told of Amin Ben Yahia - yet to surface - Algerian passport, born 1984 to Abba and Monica, only visitor March 31 at Qasr Ibn Wardan, #Missing woman's destination. Gatekeeper said he was Swiss

No gatekeeper saw #Missing woman (no passport logged)
No bus driver saw #Missing woman (no passport logged)
No taxi driver, shepherd or shop-keeper saw a #Missing woman
Only a hotel clerk said he saw a woman #Missing that day

* * *
Amin stayed next door to #Missing woman at Riad Hotel. Only guest headed to where she was headed next day
#Missing woman's last witness still her Cairo Hotel clerk. Did he offer a car with Amin?
Only he said he saw #Missing woman March 31 (830am) – asking about a bus to get there. He offered a car, she wanted a bus. He quit his hotel job soon after.
Human trafficking spiked with 1.5 million Iraqi refugees, when many women went #Missing

Turkey, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi - #missing women could be anywhere
Desert Bedouin routes - #missing women could be anywhere
Satellite images, barren lands - #missing women could be anywhere
A Tunisian woman interviewed - a #missing woman could be anywhere

* * *
Diary told of #Missing woman meeting Czech couple at Crusader castle Krak Des Chevalier (March 25)
Finding a #Missing woman is like a quest for the Holy Grail
Diary told of #Missing woman traveling with Czech couple to Palmyra, dining and staying at Citadel Hotel (March 25-26), no longer recommended by Lonely Planet
#Missing woman jogged in the morning Czech man said
Diary told of #Missing woman touring country’s main attraction in Palmyra (March 27). Czech man said Czech couple had already left town

Diary told of #Missing woman seeing Bedouin country(March 28)
Diary told of #Missing woman taking bus to Hama, afternoon check-in at Cairo Hotel (March 29)
Diary told of #Missing woman's day trip to Apamea, where people saw her read a book (March 30)
#Missing woman socialized with Americans in Hama at Cairo Hotel (March 29-30), they recommended where she was headed before she went #missing

* * *
RCMP/FBI/Microsoft said #Missing woman's Hotmail login failed from a web café near hotel with bad connections (830pm, March 30)
Hotel clerk said #Missing woman asked for bus stop instructions (830am, March 31)
#Missing woman left behind instructions to bus stop
No one saw #Missing woman outside hotel...her trace stopped there.

#Missing woman left diaries behind
#Missing woman emailed she wanted to come home March 28, 2007
#Missing woman just vanished without a trace
#Missing woman a cautionary tale in Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon (2008), page 171 & 239

* * *
A stranger doesn’t know a #Missing person

* * *


Last words of a #Missing woman's diary:

"Hyper glowing lush green meadows and mountains. The sky was ultra deep blue. The wildflowers colourful and abundant. Vista heaven...I treated myself to figs and strawberry ice cream (not at the same time) once I finally dragged myself away from Apamea. I had taken my book with me and spent a long while just relaxing with the birds, butterflies and sunshine. Now I am back in Hama writing while the sun is starting to set. Content."

~ Nicole Vienneau, March 30, 2007


Monday, May 10, 2010

Let Down


Don’t let me down.

I tried to figure out away of writing this short, not long. Hard to do when there are so many stories of people who disappoint.

First let me disclaim. I am still alive. I still have enough friends who are shining ambassadors for the human race. I still remember every friend who helped me get through, and compete to championships. And I still hear every word of inspiration.

Don’t let me down.

Julian Lennon tweeted, the more dirt you throw, the more ground you lose.

Don’t let me down.

Yes, they deserve grief. The people who took money, the people who delivered nothing, the people who damage, the people who break trust and only care about how they look. How they are treated (not you). The self-serving people who pretend they represent all that is good. Self-help, helping themselves. The people who create the merry-go-round of who’s not wrong. No apologies.

He said. She said.
They make you waste so much time. These people who spin, blurring lines between true or false.

But the world deserves you more.

Don’t let me me down.

You are genuine.