Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Loyal readers of this blog know that I have a slightly strange crush on (one of) CNN's Senior Political Correspondent, David Gergen. He is the voice of reason in the mad mad world of politics and cable news commentary.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see him in person AND hear him speak

He was speaking as part of The Cambridge Center for Adult Education's "Wicked Smart" series at the First Universal Church in Harvard Square. Matt joined me (I think he wanted to make sure I didn't try to run off with Mr. Gergen) for the 1.5 hour interview session. He spoke about a broad range of subjects - the economy, foreign policy, the Obama administration. But the topic that was most surprising and endeared him even more was his passion for education.

He became absolutely animated (if you've seen him on AC 360, you know what a change that is) when talking about the need to invest heavily in K-12 education, of its importance to every aspect of the nation, and its necessity to achieving our short and long term goals.

He's so wise. And that's why I have a strange crush on him and why I was so happy to finally see him in person

(BTW, he was on AC 360 later that night wearing the same tie. I got irrationally excited about that. )

Thursday, April 23, 2009

End of an Era

You may have noticed that blog posts have slowed a bit. That's because last Monday, I finally got staffed. I'm working on an 8 week case and actually spent Tuesday in Chicago leading a 3 hour meeting (yes, that's a 3 hour meeting with the client exactly 7 days after we started the project).

Hours aren't much crazier than usual but it is cutting down on my blogging time. Sad, especially since these is so much to blog about! But I'll try to catch up this weekend so stay tuned :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Patriots' Day!

Welcome to the world of the quintessentially Boston

Today is Patriots' Day, perhaps the most exciting day in the year to be in Boston. The Red Sox game starts at 11:00 so you can start drinking before Noon without feeling like an alcoholic and the Boston Marathon is broadcast on the local networks so you don't have to feel like a lazy drunken slob and stand on the marathon route to cheer on the runners. Many people have the day off and those that don't wish they did. And, this year it's not raining AND it's above freezing. So all in all, a very good day.

So why doesn't the rest of the country celebrate Patriots' Day too? Good question. It could be because they're not as patriotic as us Bostonians (although I think some people in the Red States may take offense to that assertion). Or because Bostonians will take up arms (again) and revolt against the powers that be (again) if you take away a holiday focused on drinking AND baseball. But I'll let you decide. Here's the history of Patriots' Day (thank you Wikipedia):

Patriots' Day (sometimes incorrectly spelled Patriot's Day or Patriots Day) is a civic
commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and state of Maine (once part of Massachusetts), and is a public school observance day in Wisconsin. Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington,
, (around 6am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts (around 9am). In the morning, a mounted reenactor with State Police escort retraces Paul Revere's ride, calling out warnings the whole way.

I also think there's a nice symmetry to the fact that Tax Day is occasionally postponed to accommodate Patriots' Day. Good to know that the idea of "no taxation without representation" is alive and well (although this time the lack of representation would be due to, again, the lawmakers and taxpayers likely being drunk and/or at a Red Sox game).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sweet Victory

Before the baseball season started, I told Matt that if the Indians won only one game all year that I would be happy as long as that one game was the Yankees home opener. Nothing could possibly be more awesome than handing the Yankees a loss in their first game in their brand spanking new ballpark.

And the Tribe did just that. After spending the first week looking like they'd be lucky to win one game (any game) all season, they went to the Bronx and beat the Yankees 10-2 on Thursday night. Then, as if that were not awesome enough, they had a 14-run second inning yesterday to beat the Yanks 22-4 (interesting stat, the Yankees' 4 worst losses in history are all to Cleveland).

As a native Clevelander, I say: Go Tribe!
As someone who's lived in Boston, I have to say: Yankees suck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Matt Jarman's Day Off

You need to expect the unexpected when working at a start-up. Add this to Matt's already manic work ethic and it leads to very very long hours and few weekends off (which works well, since, depending on the case that can often be my schedule too).

But Friday, Matt took the day off (well, half a day, but that's HUGE progress)!

I went to his office at Noon (figured that my physical presence would help minimize the chances that "something came up") and we did 30 minutes of cardio at the gym in his office. Then it was off to lunch, a couples massage at our favorite spa, shopping, and dinner downtown.

It was a wonderful and relaxing day and I am SO proud of Matt for finally taking a day off!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I want to be Juicy Bling Bling

Last night, while uncomfortably wedging myself into half-pigeon and trying very hard to focus on my breathing (which is hard when your leg is threatening to snap off), our yoga instructor announced that he wants to be Juicy Bling Bling.

The proclamation went something like this: "Let go of all that the world is putting on you. That you are letting the world put on you. Let go of the person the world is trying to make you be. Become the person you want to be. Breathe into the person you want to be. I want to be Juicy Bling Bling."

Now, I know that I'm supposed to be present and focus on my breathing, but when a Scottish man named Gregor announces that he wants to be Juicy Bling Bling, it is VERY hard not to laugh

BTW, Juicy Bling Bling is apparently a doll he bought for his fiancee's daughter and he wants to be this doll because with a name like Juicy Bling Bling, you're unstoppable. Umm, ok.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Every journey begins with a single step

I'm about to be a published author.

There are notebooks scattered (in mostly secret places) around our apartment where I've jotted down thoughts and stories for years. In down times at work, I've taken writing classes and, for a few months, was part of a writer's salon in Cambridge.

But, like all insecure people, I was terrified of sending my writing out to be published. It is so personal, very very much a part of me, and to get rejected would be devastating. But, when I graduated from HBS, I made a public promise that I would refuse to be afraid and instead welcome the rejections "as evidence of a dream pursued."

In February I took a class all about the business of getting published - how to find publications and approach them, building a resume, negotiating rights, etc. With my considerable downtime and inspired by the old book smell of Baker Library, I sent an essay to a few publications, just to see what would happen.

Less than 24 hours later, it was accepted by Puffin Circus, a new literary journal out of Pennsylvania.

The story may or may not appear on-line and if it does, I will definitely post a link to it here. The bound version of the journal will probably come out sometime in late Summer (submission deadline is June 30) and, of course, I'll keep you updated on that too.

I am about to be published. It is a single step towards one day - maybe, hopefully - writing the novel that replaces Moby Dick in the American Lit canon and spares millions of kids the irritation of discussing "Call me Ishmael" for 50 minutes. (Hey, we all have to have a motivating goal)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mentor on the national stage

Diana and I have a long held theory that EVERYTHING is somehow connected to Ohio. If you live outside the state and pay attention, you will find that Ohio is mentioned with an eerie frequency in news stories, conversations, and interactions with strangers.

But this week, our dear little Mentor made the front page/top headlines on both CNN and MSNBC.

One story is happy:
Natasha's lesson helps save Ohio girl

One is sad:
Parents sue school over bullied son's suicide

But at least neither is as embarrassing as the news out of Newark, Ohio (just east of Columbus)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Joys of Old Book Smell

Things may be slow at work for me but some of my co-workers are still diligently working away on cases for their clients (thank goodness). As such, I've been tapped to help one of the teams develop a business plan for the business they are creating for their client.

You may assume that, as an MBA, I have some clue about how to write a business plan. I do not. I understand the concept and, like most other MBAs, can talk about it rather convincingly. But I have never actually written one. In fact, I'm not sure I've even seen one.

But this feeling of absolute cluelessness is not a new one for me and thus I know exactly how to handle it. Google + HBS = enough information to be dangerous

So today, instead of going into work or lounging around the apartment in my bathrobe, I walked across the river to my alma mater and Baker Library. Baker was under construction during my 2 years at HBS so I was quite excited to use it. Convincingly disguised as a student, I didn't need to show ID to get access to the Reading Room (photo above, not too shabby, eh?) and spent a lovely several hours hunched over one of the giant desks typing away. But my true joy came when I went to the Stacks.

The Stacks are accessible only by an elevator located just outside the Reading Room. They are in a sub-basement of the library, in a sterile room that simply overwhelms you with light beige the moment the elevator doors open. The bookcases are on tracks and you have to crank giant wheels to pry them apart and create enough space for you to walk between them and find your books. But the best, most absolutely wonderful, simply joyful part is the smell - it smells exactly like a library filled with old leather bound books. Damn, I love that smell. It's the smell of history and knowledge and discovery and if someone bottled it and sold it I'd buy a case.

It reminds me of grade-school trips to the library, hunched over the card catalog, wedging a stack of books between my cupped hands and clenched jaw, slamming them down on the check-out counter and listening to the ca-thunk of the date stamp on the card before the librarian slips it back into its pocket and flips the cover shut.

Those days are over. Not because I'm old (which I am) but because everything is on-line. No more card catalogs with drawers filled with manually typed index cards. No more checking out a 300 page book just to have access to the 2 paragraphs you need. No more ca-thunking stamps or envelopes. Just computers and bar codes and Google.

Yes, it makes life A LOT easier but I also feel like I miss out on something. The triumph of locating a book on the shelf. The satisfaction of finding the passage the perfectly sums up and supports your thesis. The comfort of believing that the more books you have, they easier your paper will be to write

And, of course, the old book smell of a library

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You have chosen... wisely

Now that I am firmly immersed in crazy Sauna Yoga, it is time to re-balance the universe and become obsessed with something that requires minimal to no (preferably no) movement.

Enter: Wii LEGO Indiana Jones

As some of you will remember, when Matt and I went to LEGOLand in Billund (Denmark) we spent hours playing LEGO Star Wars and, when we got back to the US we purchased our own copy (but it was for the PS3 which doesn't really work anymore, so we haven't got to play it much). When Matt heard that LEGO had an Indiana Jones game coming out AND that you could use the Wii nunchuk as Indy's whip, he quickly bought a copy.

It lay untouched for about a year until one lazy Saturday we decided to unwrap it and play a bit. Since then, I have been obsessed. Wide-eyed, non-blinking, drooling, snapping, bossy obsessed. I am manic in my insistence that we beat every single element of every level (Completed, 100% True Adventurer status, post, and all artifacts). I haven even gone so far as to go on-line and find a manual of hints so that when I get stuck I can get un-stuck (but I never read ahead and only use the manual once I really feel like I've given it my best shot 20-30 times because to do otherwise would be cheating)

So far, we've completed all the levels in the first movie and I've achieved all the elements in the first two scenes of the first movie. We have a long way to go but, with Di and Adam as examples, and some slow decision making by my client, I'm sure we can make it!