Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hanging With the Wicked Smart kids, How do you Like Them Apples???

So Boston.  It was great.  Couldn't have gone much better actually.

On work:
The meetings were fantastic.  Informative, productive, more successful than I think any of us had originally anticipated, and have only furthered our excitement and enthusiasm in moving this project forward.  Nothing beats an education like the one you get through learning by doing.  The learning curve might be steep for us, but it's also such an exciting space to be in.

On travel
Boston gives next to no warning in terms of traffic.  You see a sign for an exit/detour/closed lane and it happens right away.  We put our rented Camry through it's paces, but it all worked out.   Even when we got stuck, in a snow bank, in a cemetery in New Hampshire, and dug our way out with a sign.

I couldn't have made this up if I'd tried.

On Cambridge
We were staying right in Harvard Square, which actually proved to be more boring than one would think.  Apparently, the wicked smart kids spend their weekends studying or something because it was surprisingly quiet for a college campus.  This was especially strange for 3 kids that had gone to state schools.  We still managed to have a good time though; ate, drank, danced, and were merry.

Also, you can't get into Harvard's library without a Harvard ID.  You can request a guest pass, but the process seemed to require a process more intense than that of applying for a passport.

All in all, Princeton > Harvard.

On Coffee Shops
Maybe because, like Seattle, Pittsburgh is often gray and rainy, so we have a large number of coffee shops on any given street, in any given neighborhood.  And nice coffee shops too.  Coffee shops that are warm and cozy, and have good lighting and lots of table space, and comfy couches, and make you want to spend your afternoon working there.

This is not the case at Harvard.  There are apparently only 4-5 cafes in the neighborhood, meaning that on a Saturday, they are swarmed and overflowing with students.  This lack of space resulted in us holding an afternoon work session at a Mexican restaurant.  As it turns out, margaritas and queso sauce, make for a pretty good time while outlining operational processes, and drafting financial projections.  Note to self: Hold more meetings at Mexican restaurants.  Note to Cambridge: More coffee shops.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back-Up Singers, Boston, and Sacrificing One Dream for Another

When I was 7, I wanted to be a back-up singer.  I had seen an episode of Full House, which had concluded with a performance by Jesse and the Rippers.  My young impressionable self decided that being a back-up singer would obviously be just about the coolest thing ever.

I told my Dad about my back-up singing ambitions, and he was more than supportive.  "I think that would be so fun," he responded, "being up there with the band, in the midst of all the excitement, it would be great!"

Then I told my Mom.  Her response was a little different.  "A back-up singer?!  Why don't you want to  be the lead singer??"

I did it anyways.  In college.  Katie Geise and the Polygons was probably my peak of coolness.

(KG & the PG's)

So, when the artist asked if I would be interested in singing back up with her band Big Hurry for their upcoming CD release show, I was thrilled.

Look at them!  Aren't they cool?  I have crushes on all of them!

However, as I grew up, my ambitions began to expand beyond that of being a back-up singer.  Somewhere along the way, the idea of entrepreneurship and being part of creating a business popped into my head, and has been something I haven't been able to shake.  Then, because of my current work in non profit, I became more and more interested in the newly emerging 4th sector, the triple bottom line theory, trade vs. aid, and how businesses can positively impact and perhaps even solve social problems.

Somehow, the stars aligned and I've found myself involved with a group of truly amazing individuals who are working on forming a social venture in Haiti.  There was some nice press on the project that was picked up by Yahoo a couple of weeks ago.

We have the opportunity to go to Boston this weekend to meet with some industry folks who can hopefully give us some more insight and education into how to make this operation work.

Unfortunately, going to Boston means missing the CD release show.  More than missing the opportunity to sing back-up and maybe play tambourine, I'm upset that I will be missing the show.  I have watched this band from their first public performance, evolving into the talented group they are now, and becoming friends with them along the way.  I'm sad to miss out on celebrating this major milestone with them.

So, if you are in Pittsburgh, I urge you to go to Brillobox on Friday.  Big Hurry puts on a great live show, they have awesome guests performing with them, it will be a great time.

As for me, I'll be rocking out to the the new CD on the plane to Boston, because watching a business evolve is pretty cool too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Being Swedish

(or, Precisely's advice on how to get through winter.)

While getting ready for work this morning...

Precisely: "Have you checked the weather yet?"
Me: "No.  Why?  What's it doing?"
Precisely: "It's 0 degrees out."
Me: "%*#$!!!" stamps foot  "I can't do this anymore!  I'm sick of my snowboots, I hate my puffy coat, and I don't want to wear 17 layers!"
Precisely: raises eyebrows "It's not patience.  It's not a toddler having a temper tantrum.  It's winter.  It comes once a year, and we have another 2 months of it, and you have to deal with that."
Me: sulks
Precisely: "Just be sure you bundle up."
Me: "I'm sick of all my winter clothes, I have nothing to wear."
Precisely: "Just be Swedish."
Me: skeptical look
Precisely:  "Put on the biggest sweater you own, a small skirt, some thick tights, and goofy shoes, and you'll be all set."

So that's what I did.  10 minutes later, Precisely comes back into the closet.

"Cute," he said. "Isn't it fun being Swedish?"
"I guess so?" I responded. "What will be fun is when it's warm again."
"hey," he said. "You're parents could have never moved out of Minnesota, and then you'd be stuck there, where it's really cold."

Truth.  Here's to another 2 months of winter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So far, the year 2011 has left me with more interesting entertainment than I almost know what to do with.

- The 4th Season of Big Love is finally on On Demand.
               Polygamy, gambling, affairs, smuggling, murder, politics, family, faith, cults.  What will those wacky Mormons get into next?

- For Christmas my Dad got me a subscription to the New Yorker.
              "You're a grown-up now," he said.  "It's time to start reading the New Yorker."  Which is AWESOME.  But, it comes once a week, which means I barely have time to finish one issue, when the next one comes.

- Precisely, for ages has been telling me to listen to the podcasts by radiolab.  I finally took his advice, and am full on addicted.  It is SO COOL!  They talk about all kinds of things, from lying and deception, to heroes and altruism, to success.  They interview really interesting people, and have a wonderful way of making science, math, and technology fascinating, even to us normal people who have little to no understanding of those kinds of things.  (Holly, if you're reading this, they did a brief episode on "the voices in our head" and how we can talk to ourselves, which was the discussion after dinner at Christmas.)

At this rate, I don't think I'll be bored until April.

Saturday, January 1, 2011



1. Talk less, listen more.
2. Eat less white sugar.
3. Read more fiction.
4. Strength training.  Just do it.
5. Man up and find a dentist.  Then make an appointment with said dentist and get your teeth cleaned.
6. Start using quality detergent or lavender water or something that will make your clothes smell AWESOME, and maybe encourage you to do your laundry on a more frequent basis than once a month.
7. Buy a hula hoop.
8. Cook yourself a good meal once a week.
9. Make your bed.
10. Tweet less, kiss more.