Sunday, June 19, 2011

In the Meanwhile

I made some interesting choices this summer. I migrated from the tech gold rush in the Valley to spend 8 weeks in a fairly sleepy Michigan town, Grand Rapids. I'll be doing many things I've fought hard to avoid previously in life:
- driving a car, everyday, everywhere!
- living in a place that is 96.9% white.
- working for a large corporation in a massive corporate building in the middle of nowhere with tinted windows, security badges and suits (a place where corporate protectionism and idealism still resides)
- (the worst) living in the suburbs!

However, I signed up for the adventure and in Week 1, I've found many pleasant surprises.

This place boomed from the automobile and furniture industries, so it has strong roots in art and design that are still palpable. There are old art deco buildings scattered throughout the city, tons of small local artist galleries and many cafes that are quintessential expressions of small town kitsch. Charming to say the least. And everyone, I mean everyone, wants to chat about anything and everything. Kind-hearted, honest, pleasant, smiling people.

But digging below the pleasantries, the elephant in the room is palpable too. What will be of this place over the next quarter century? With most youth migrating away and primary industries in decline, how long will old money sustain this town?

There's a population that are fighting tooth and nail (but with a Mid-Western kindness and subtlety) to keep this place relevant over the next quarter century. But, realistically, as the US economy moves from a manufacturing-based to services-based economy and as companies' primary assets change from plants and materials to people and ideas how can isolated towns compete with well-connected cities?

Time will tell, but in the meanwhile, people continue to celebrate their family and community. The most important parts of life anyway.

An arguably hipster bar, The Meanwhile, in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, where a few entrepreneurs have pushed to keep the arts and cultural scene alive.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

TIM = This is the Midwest

Sunsets at 10.
Plenty of Beautiful Blonde Shampoo, but no Brunette stocked.
Air is a melange of horse poop and sweetgrass.
Everyone really wants you to have a good day.
More Churches than McDonalds, more McDonalds than people. Not really.
"Catholic school: It's worth it."
American flag as the primary living room decoration

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Basement Make-up

Saw too many girls with basement make-up today: did their make-up in really poor lighting and way over applied. Blush is the worse. Just look in some natural light when you come up please!
You're beautiful, and this will also save you money!

Monday, July 26, 2010




Like for three reasons:
- Adopts a broader definition of 'national wealth' beyond GDP
- Overcomes *ignorant* majority rules issue of democracy
- Data / predictive model driven policy enforcement, none of this finger waving!

Still though, somewhat of a shame that money is still seen as the bottom-line mechanism of motivation, and secondly, I don't necessarily agree that policies should be determined solely by the betting market. Didn't we learn something from the market crash? Even the experts can be guilty of jumping on the bandwagon, not predicting a low probability event and totally missing the target.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Um...this guy way one-ups Steve Jobs and Apple launches

Here we are, invited into his NY (assuming?) apartment for a fresh-of-the-boat, sneak peak at Boxee-Box (I'm actually more interested in how he's doing this launch rather than the product haha). Amid the casual side burps, gitty-boy grins and box of wheat-thins, we hear about this new product being 'broadcasted' of course on something he also created. (?!)

And it's totally cool that the box still has some odd wire hanging out. We, the users don't mind. This guy has a ribbon around his head. He's real. No corporate veneer here.

Can we say power to the people?


Dash along dash,

you've had your time in the sun, but really you're quiet slow - look, buffer space required on each side, who has the time for that, and you permit - encourage - non-essential clarifications, thoughts, ramblings, like now. Enter dramatic, pithy replacement:
he's cuter too.

Surprising Eponyms

you don't say:
Fettuccine Alfredo – Alfredo di Lelio, an early-20th-century Italian chef invented the dish for his wife at his Roman restaurant and popularized it among tourists.

Eggs Benedict – at least two main accounts. Lemuel Benedict, a New York stockbroker, claimed to have gone to the Waldorf Hotel for breakfast one day in 1894 while suffering a hangover. He asked for a restorative in the form of toast, bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce on the side.

Oh Henry! – the candy bar introduced by the Williamson Candy Company in Chicago, 1920, was named for a young man who frequented the company store and was often commandeered to do odd jobs with that call. - Haha guessing he didn't get any royalties.

Philippines - Philip II of Spain

Saudi Arabia - Muhammad bin Saud

jovial - Jove / Jupiter, of Roman mythology

ritzy — hotelier Cesar Ritz - a duh!

fallopian tubes - Italian 14th century anatomist and member of the clergy, Gabriele Falloppio, also first known advocate and inventor of condoms
Eponyms, egotistical or charming?