Registered Since: 2008-10-07 17:19:56
Profile: In the Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufrain says, "The Pacific Ocean has no memory" I really hope that's true, because when I lived in Mexico, I peed in the Pacific Ocean a lot, practically every day, and if it remembered, it probably wouldn't let me back in.
Posts by King:
Posted by King on 03.05.2008 at 10:17 am
[This is Part Two of Aaron's "Campus Division in Cambodia" story. Here's Part One and look out for the subsequent tales in the coming week...]
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
After a few hours sleep we got up to explore the city. Our itinerary was to take us to Cambodia later that night, so we had limited time. Our consensus was to visit a nearby Pagoda. There were golden statues and tributes to Buddha all around where people could light incense and pray to Buddha and hope for good luck. The atmosphere was peaceful, serene, refreshing and relaxing, a good omen for things to come.
(L-R: Me (Aaron), Natasha, Damara, Niko)
We regrouped at the hotel to catch our next flight to Cambodia.
We arrived later that evening in Siem Reap, the second largest airport in Cambodia. This was the type of airport that lets you step right off the plane into the fresh air before entering the airport. The night air was crisp clear and refreshing, but alas we were ushered inside to complete yet another round of customs forms and visa applications. For all the bureaucracy of international travel, it really is still worth it.
When we stepped out the other side, some Rood to Read staff, our tour guide and, driver were there greeting us with a giant Room to Read banner welcoming us to the country.
The fanfare and pageantry was far from over. At the hotel, some dancers in full regalia perfomed a traditional Cambodian dance, complete with flower petal tossing. At first, we did not even realize that this grandiose performance was for us, it was so over the top. It was quite a humbling experience. After posing for some photos with the dancers, we showered up and went out for a delicious dinner at Khmer Kitchen.
We were joined by Tith from Room to Read, and were able to get some good preliminary information to prepare us for our upcoming days in Cambodia. We went back to the hotel, relaxed a bit, and then slept in amazing comfort. The next day was to begin our tours of the temples in the Area. Our fearless tour guide, Sor (yes, pronounced as in “sore nose”) gave us the option to start as late as we wanted. Let’s be honest, we chose 10AM, to make sure we were properly rested and ready to go.
[To Be Continued...]
Posted by King on 01.12.2008 at 8:11 pm
Our first experience on the streets of Vietnam was a breathtaking one; not in the “oh-wow-this is so amazing and beautiful-I can’t even breathe-I’m so happy” kind of way (which does technically describe their sunrises over the South China Sea), but rather breathtaking in a “hyperventilating, oh-my-god-we-are-all-about-to-die” manner.
First of all, you need to know that Vietnam is the land of the motorbike. Motorcycles and riders outnumbered the cars at least twelve to one. The only cars out there were primarily taxies and delivery trucks. Now imagine a very fast river, with rapids pounding all over rocks, water cascading everywhere. Now substitute water and rocks for very large mass of these bikers and cars, and you have this amazing fast paced moving stream of traffic. Traffic lights were few and far between, and even then only occasionally obeyed. It was like a huge stampede of wild horses running through the jungle. Really fast.
Our taxi driver speeds away from the airport at a fairly fast clip, (tough to say, we were too nervous to do the metric conversion). Upon approaching the intersection of vehicular chaos, our driver did not slow down a bit (as we might have expected), but if anything accelerated, and dove right in. Amazingly, it was perfect. Not a single rider was overturned. It was like the traffic was one single organism, moving as one. Some motor bikes swerved a bit, some slowed a bit, and our taxi immediately became engulfed as part of the stream, picture perfect osmosis. We then proceeded to begin passing and merging other vehicles with complete abandon, again with no harm caused. It was like every single rider was completely aware of his or her surroundings. We even saw many bikes with families on them, a mother, father and small child all sandwiched on one fast moving bike in the middle of the stream. At a certain point we had to let go and imagine we were actually watching a high speed chase in a movie, and hope to high heaven there would be no overturned fruit trucks in this scene.
Upon arriving safely and soundly at our hotel, our driver then had the audacity to demand a big tip on top of his already jacked up price as a reward for how quick he got us there. Let’s be honest, I gave him 2 dollars, cause I was definitely impressed.
Posted by King on 11.29.2007 at 10:55 am
You may also have heard the fancy business jargon: “With the certification, Better World Books joins a growing international network of purpose-driven businesses dedicated to setting a new standard for social and environmental performance, creating benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.”
How ironic, a statement that explains how B corporations are different from a standard “C Corporation”, but uses the same confusing business-speak to do so.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a business degree, and I respect and understand the need for very specific language and multi syllabic nomenclature in order to be effective within the business world; however, I also understand how corporate vernacular can sound ridiculous to the average human being.
So lets break it down for a second. Capitalism itself has a bad reputation to many people. You hear “Capitalism”, you think “big evil corporation exploiting people”. And then you hear things like “the best way to make your operation more robust is by improving your economies of scale“, and you think “who actually talks like that?”. ( I will admit, I occasionally speak like that) But let’s face it, Capitalism itself is powerful. What if we could harness this power, and use it for good?
Well, that’s what it means to be B Corporation. The power of Business, the intention of goodness. It’s like using a Hybrid cars made out of recycled parts to deliver meals on wheels to hungry people.
Or in our case, it is selling books to promote literacy.
You may have noticed that I used the word “ironic” a couple paragraphs up here. Being that we are all about literacy, I feel compelled to clear up how this word is often misused. Many people have said “that is ironic”, when they actually meant to say “that is humorous”, or “that is unfortunate”. Irony means achieving a result that is the opposite of your intentions. The best example is Oedipus, from Greece. He was given a prophecy that he would someday kill his father and marry is mother. Clearly, that is not something he would want to happen… so he moved far away. As a result of his departure, he ended up not even recognizing his parents later in life, and (SPOILER ALERT!! Stop reading if you do not want to know the fate of Oedipus) he ended up in fact killing his father and marrying his mother. Poor Oedipus.
Now, I could say “how ironic that I warned you of ‘spoiling’” the Oedipus story. But that would be wrong. It is not ironic at all, just humorous that I would use a spoiler alert to protect you from learning the end of a story that has been around for millions of years*, when typically spoiler alerts are only used for new stories.
1. Better World Books is proud to be a B Corporation.
2. B Corportions are awesome.
3. Irony is a powerful literay device if used properly, but with great power comes great responsibility.
4. Times were tough in Ancient Greece
*Hyperbole used for effect.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, b corporation, hilarious posts
Posted by King on 11.28.2007 at 7:39 am
From Left to right pictured are Rod Risley (Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa), Xavier Helgesen (one of the co-founders of Better World Books), Al Gore (former Vice President of the United States), Aaron King (Director of the Campus Division for Better World Books, and the guy writing this post), and David Murphy (CEO of Better World Books).
Now I know because I am standing behind Mr. Gore, I look like I was photoshopped into this photo.. but trust me, I was there, it is just a trick of the light. If this were a court of law, I would say “look, you can see the shadow from his shoulder on my suit jacket, I really was there!”
So, I would love to say that Al Gore, while contemplating his next initiative to help the environment, heard the news that Better World Books and Phi Theta Kappa were teaming up to run book drives on college campuses around the country, keeping books out of landfills, providing funding for Phi Theta Kappa chapters, and most importantly, raising money for literacy programs.
When Al Gore heard of this wonderful partnership, he immediately arranged a meeting with us to encourage us in our good work, and then took a photo with us.
Unfortunately, the above tale would be a fabrication; yes, we do have a great partnership with Phi Theta Kappa, and yes we have saved millions of books from landfills, and raised a lot of money for Phi Theta Kappa and literacy too.. but Al Gore did not set up any meeting with us.
Mr. Gore was gracious enough to be one of the speakers at the Phi Theta Kappa conference in Nashville in April 2007, and there was a Photo Session Scheduled where a select group of conference attendees got to stand in line and cycle through for a Photo Op with Mr. Gore. We had about 15 seconds to say hi and tell him about our program, but lets be honest, Mr. Gore met thousands of people that day… so lets just say I am not expecting any invites to his house for coffee anytime soon.
While we were waiting for our 15 seconds with Mr. Gore, we a got a chance to meet Kevin Sharp, country music star, cancer survivor, and inspirational speaker, another one of the presenters at the conference. He had hosted his own photo op the previous day, and now got to experience the other side, waiting in line just behind us for the chance to meet Al Gore.
So let me close by saying: Mr. Gore, it was very nice to meet you, I won’t be offended if you don’t remember me, and thanks again for inventing the internet, allowing me to post articles like this.
I hope that Better World Books can continue to work with Phi Theta Kappa and all of our amazing partners to someday save enough books from landfills and raise enough money for literacy that Mr. Gore features us as a great way to help improve the world in whatever his next project is.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, Al Gore, conferences, literacy, Phi Theta Kappa
Posted by King on 11.26.2007 at 12:52 pm
I just read about this amazing concept: Getting laptops for everyone in the world! They designed a new robust amazing laptop, made it cheap, made it fun… and i wont try to do it justice here, check it out: http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php
For a limited time, you can “give one, get one”, buy one of these bad boys for yourself and send one to a child in need. and, it is tax deductible! Load it up!
I just did it, I feel great about it, and I can’t wait to get my new toy….
Also, you get a free T-mobile wi-fi access for a year… wow, this thing is practically free!
[Ed: check out the news about the recent spat with Intel and other things at One Laptop Per Child News]
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, computers, literacy, off-topic
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