Saturday, September 26, 2009

Interesting San Francisco Attractions

Featuring the Legion of Honor and the Exploratorium

By: Kevin L. Nichols

Lately "stay-cations" have become more popular due to the sagging economy and the rise of gasoline prices. Bay Area families have to weigh the pros and cons a lot more carefully in order to determine what destinations they will frequent with the hope of saving a few pennies. Many will have to reconsider that annual Hawaiian or Orlando vacation this year. Nevertheless, all is not lost because San Francisco happens to still be one of the largest tourist attractions in the world. Here are two reasons why:

The Exploratorium

Founded in 1969, the Exploratorium still represents the best and brightest of California scientists and inventors. It is similar to a "declassified" (low level security clearance required) of a national research and/or weapons laboratory such as Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory or Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in that it has numerous experiments where everyday people can explore. Some of the amazing exhibits on hand can teach people about the intricacies of light in conjunction with the human eye, sound in relation to our ears, and the behavior of liquids, solids, and gases through various hands on and engaging experiments. The learning never stops and it is applicable for all ages. The Exploratorium is reasonable priced and parking is free. This is one location stay-caution that you will not forget.

The Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor is tucked away in a hidden area of the city near the Golden Gate Bridge. Its approach is mesmerizing with a beautiful overlook of the San Francisco Bay and notable landmarks of the city. It was originally built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I.

Rodin's Thinker, greets you as you enter the courtyard approaching the entrance. The Legion of Honor is a sophisticated museum which contains various paintings, ancient artifacts, murals, and sculptures. In addition to the mature artwork, it also has featured exhibits as well. I had they pleasure of having a docent lead tour of John Baldessari: A Print Retrospective from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. This was a fascinating tour of one of our local artist's collection. Schnitzer signature pictures use black and white photographs of usually random photographs where he infuses colorful objects, including dots, in innocuous places.

If you love art and would like to be exposed to a variety of masterpieces, you will not be disappointed by visiting the spacious and eclectic Legion of Honor on your next visit to The City.

Copyright 2009 – KLN Publishing, LLC – All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Day at the DeYoung

By: Kevin L. Nichols

These economic times require us to be more creative in finding worthwhile entertainment than ever before for ourselves and our families. This is why it is important to explore our local gems that we often take for granted as Bay Area residents. Recently, I visited the DeYoung Museum nestled in the gorgeously revamped Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and I must say that it was a breathtaking experience.

First of all, the lines were not long. The entire museum has been upgraded such that it has a state of the art cafeteria and restroom facilities (which are always nice while visiting with children). Further, most visitors are respectful of the rules, meaning that they speak quietly amongst themselves, the docents are extremely helpful, and the fact sheets placed next to the exhibits are highly informative.

Below, please find some of the magnificent ancient African masks, artifacts, and rugs that I found intriguing:

One piece that I found particularly provocative was Aaron Douglas’s oil on canvas “Aspiration” (created for the Texas Centennial in 1936). Despite knowing many of the purchasers, such as Dr. and Mrs. Coyness Ennix, Jr., Nichole Ennix, and organizations such as the NAACP and the Black Chamber of Commerce, I was deeply moved by what it represented. Essentially the piece articulates Douglas’s conceptualization of the connection between African/Egyptian and African American cultures and their respective historical progressions from slavery to freedom. It is deeply seeded with images of the “lone star” representing Texas, shackles, the North Star that led slaves to freedom, and the ancient pyramids in the distance. It was truly inspiring.

In the near future, I hope to share my thoughts on the King Tutankhamun Exhibit also featured at the DeYoung and I encourage you all to visit the museum to share in this once in a lifetime experience.

Copyright 2009 KLN Publishing, LLC All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

LinkedIn for complicated resumes

* by Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy, on Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:52pm PDT
Creating a LinkedIn profile is pretty straightforward when you have a job with a well-defined title. But I’ve been getting questions lately about how to create a profile on LinkedIn when what you're doing isn’t so tidy. Two scenarios that come up a lot are how to create one of these profiles if you have a slash career (e.g. yoga instructor/caterer), or if you’re unemployed (or, as some say, consulting).

There’s some overlap between the two scenarios because in both cases you are taking what feels like a standard tool and tailoring it to fit your needs. And the good news is that when you spend a little time with it, LinkedIn allows for a lot of customizing.

Here are a few ideas:

Play with your status updates. If you’re looking for opportunities, mention that in your status update so that your connections are reminded of it. The example above, which says "on the prowl for career and/or entrepreneurial endeavors," is a good model.

Use slashes or vertical lines between your different titles. Twanna Hines, a dating advice columnist, uses vertical lines to separate her various identities (including “sexpot,” which may not be an official job title, but gives you a good idea of what she’s about). I’m partial to slashes myself, and recommend keeping it to no more than three or four at any one time.

Be creative with the “Current” section. If you are between positions, consider identifying yourself with a title that reflects your desired position (e.g. “marketing director seeking opportunity in consumer products”). If you’re consulting or available for freelance work, give your consulting business a name and list it as a current position. This is also a great spot to list anything you’re doing on the side -- a column you write for a trade magazine, an officer position in your university alumni organization, significant volunteer work. Feel free to use several lines to describe your current positions.

Don’t forget to include websites. At the bottom of your LinkedIn profile, you can list a few Websites. If you have a side business or an organizational association with a Website, include it there. If you don’t have any websites associated with your work, use that spot to link to any other social networking profiles you want to highlight.

Include relevant keywords. If you have a few things going on in your career, make sure that you’ve sprinkled around relevant terms from your various interests throughout the profile and in the list of specialties at the bottom of the summary so that your profile will come up in searches on the site.

Tweak your summary section often. Use the summary section to tie things together and tell a story about what you’re doing or want to be doing. And get used to tweaking that often. Every six months I seem to shake up the mix of things I’m doing, and I specifically mention that in the summary section of my profile.

Focus on your recommendations. Though it’s nice to collect recommendations all the time, it’s especially helpful to have a few solid ones when you’re looking for new opportunities. If you can identify a few people who you know think highly of you, ask if they’d be comfortable writing one for you. If you want people to think of you for more than one kind of opportunity, make sure that you have recommendations that reflect those various skills. While you’re at it, cruise around the site and leave recommendations for those who’ve made a positive impression you.

One final thought: While these tips are focused specifically on LinkedIn, the ideas behind them apply to any site where you’re creating a profile from a template.

Have any of you devised creative ways to customize your LinkedIn profile or other online profiles?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Going ‘green’ by car sharing

By Kevin L. Nichols and sons

Going GreenOne can assume that most Bay Area families own either one or two automobiles.

Many people rent cars for a myriad of reasons. Some rent them for longer trips or if they need more space, while others rent cars to prevent further wear and tear on their own cars. Some want the comfort of driving a newer vehicle with more technological amenities, such as GPS and satellite radios.

Having these luxuries, however, can get expensive. Not to mention, some people want to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the environment. Moreover, what about those who only need a car for a few hours and do not want to pay for gas, additional auto insurance and the increased depreciation on their vehicle? Many turn to car sharing.

Going GreenCar sharing is not a new concept, but it is growing very popular here in the Bay Area. In conjunction with the recent “going green” philosophy, this phenomenon allows individuals to rent cars for a short period of time, such as one to three hours, for a fraction of the cost of owning a car or renting a car from a traditional car rental company. In addition to a $6 to $12 hourly rate depending on what car is chosen, gas and insurance is included in the rental price. Unlike most rental car companies, these cars are usually eco-friendly cars (either hybrids or low emission/ good gas mileage vehicles). This service provides its members with 24/7-access to a fleet of unattended vehicles from convenient locations, such as BART stations or parking lots in urban areas. Two leaders in this industry are local companies named City Car Share and Zipcar.

Both companies offer a seamless process to get you in a vehicle as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can fill out a simple application online or over the phone, pay a nominal registration/membership fee and then you will either receive either a “fob” (City Car Share) or an electronic “key” (Zipcar), much like a credit card, that unlocks the doors of the each vehicle at the time of your reservation. Then you reserve the vehicle of your choice at the location of your choice. All cars are required to have at least a half of a tank of gas in them and are equipped with credit cards to replenish it before you return the vehicle. It’s also nice to have an adapter in each vehicle for your iPod.

Recently, my two boys, ages 5 and 8, and I test drove both and here is what we thought of our experience:

City Car Share

Our first introduction to the car sharing concept was with City Car Share. Its mission is “to improve the environment and quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting car sharing as a means to reduce automobile dependence, ownership and usage.”

We picked up a 2006 Honda Element at the North Berkeley BART Station. This probably was not the appropriate vehicle to test drive since the rear seats were harnessed on the ceiling when we arrived. With two small rambunctious boys, patience was not on our side. Nevertheless, we figured out how to readjust the seats and were on our way.

The process was seamless. One fact that resonated with us was that City Car Share is the only nonprofit car sharing organization, is certified green, has affordable rates and offers discounted rates to other nonprofit/community-based organizations.


Zipcar’s slogan says that they “are redefining the way people think about transportation.” They offer a range of fun cars such as Mini-Coopers to premium BMW 300 series.

We test drove a hybrid Nissan Altima and my boys loved it immensely. None of us could hear the engine and felt that we were definitely doing our part of reducing congestion by sparing the environment from another low gas mileage/gas guzzling vehicle on the road. The reservation process was simplistic and the vehicle was practically brand new.

Overall, the car sharing concept is a reasonably priced alternative to owning a vehicle if you live near a metropolitan area with a sophisticated public transportation system. According to City Car Share, “the American Automobile Association estimates that the nationwide average monthly cost of owning a car is $500” per month, so $50 to $60 a month for car sharing is a viable option.

For more information about car sharing, visit www.citycarshare.org and www.zipcar.com.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author and the president/CEO of KLN Publishing, LLC, located in San Francisco. For more information, www.klnpublishing.com.

Copyright © 2009 The Globe Newspaper Group, LLC - All Rights Reserved.



According to recent data by the state Department of Education, about 17% of California students drop out of high school. But, if you're African American and live in Alameda County, that number shoots up to about 35%, likely higher if you're a Black male.

The Twenty-First Century Foundation's Black Men and Boys Initiative and Actor-Director Mario Van Peebles invite you to participate in a free public screening and discussion about new ideas to improve educational outcomes for African American boys in Oakland.

BRING YOUR "A" GAME is a new documentary film that, in Van Peebles' words, "sheds light on the resilience and influence of Black males." The film will be used as a springboard for discussion and more importantly, action.

The film is hosted by Van Peebles and includes innovative special effects and interviews with prominent Black men such as Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Cornell West, Spike Lee, and others. Its message, one that President Obama has spoken about, is clear: a high school diploma is not enough.
We must bring our "A" Game!


Oakland Musuem - James Moore Theatre
1000 Oak Street
Oakland, California 94607

Saturday, September 19, 2009
9:00AM-5:00PM for YOUTH

Open to African-American males between 9th and 12th grade. Lunch (for youth only) will be served.

Space is limited.

Mario Van Peeples
Kevin Powell

Click Here

CALL 510.909.7423

How are Oakland Youth
Bringing their 'A' Game?