Winning the lottery

On a long car ride last weekend, Joe and I began discussing what we’d do if we won the lottery. We both agree that we’d need to continue with the passions we have – neither of us are the type that would be happy lying on a beach for the rest of our lives. Turns out, Joe would keep his current job, which makes me totally happy for him. I had always said I would as well, but realized this last time, I might not. I definitely like the work I’m doing right now, but realize the contributions I could make without having to worry about an income. I love every single thing I am doing with Girls in Tech right now and look…

I began this post on August 14th at about 7:16am. I don’t entirely remember what I was doing back then, or why I didn’t finish it, but I remember it was right after BlogHer. I was just about to dive into the most amazing entertainment + technology idea ever, and I know this for two reasons.

  1. Over the summer I was contacted by a recruiter from EA within video games. I entertained the idea (ha! get it?) and went through the interview process. All my interviews had to be phone based though because of timing and a big sales meeting or something so everyone was out of town. I remember doing one of them from the hotel room in Chicago. You know how sometimes you talk yourself into loving something you didn’t know you did before? It was this experience that propelled my love for the entertainment industry and the connections it has with technology. I ended up not getting/taking the job, but enjoyed the experience nonetheless and am happy with the outcome.
  2. At BlogHer, I met a man. I don’t remember his name, clearly it was a close relationship we formed. I think he liked my dress… and I liked that he had a purple triangle coming out of his well-fitting-suit pocket. It was a dark grey, not black, and I think that goes so well with purple. So we went for a drink. It turned out that he worked for HBO. So, of course, cliché!, I pitched him my TV show idea. The premise was making technology cool by writing a sitcom about how some girl uses tech and is cool too. It would be like what Harry Potter did for wizardry (hah! I get this reference now) or something. After talking to him though, and having my idea completely shot down (well, he acted interested, but he was hitting on me and I can tell the difference), it started to evolve a little more. And that’s where I really got excited.

From there, the idea transformed into me wanting to create some reality show or even just a documentary on how important technology is to the entertainment industry. The ideas I tossed around were like, following Taylor Swift on tour (or maybe Lady Gaga!) or being on the movie set for Jupiter Ascending (because I really was there and was in awe of the technology required to manipulate the content into sci-fi.) highlighting all the technology required to pull those things together. I’ve always felt that breaking down the stereotype of tech being ‘men coding in a basement drinking mountain dew’ is a step towards closing the gender gap. Plus, being the fangirl I am, I knew it would have gotten Katie excited about tech back in the day. [Katie, for those of you who don’t know, is me in a time long ago.] I tweeted my excitement…

and

Eventually the idea became a webcast in which I’d start out by interviewing local technology women, and then expand into local entertainment-type things, maybe the news station or something like that, and grow from there. It was the tiered approach. The first video is being filmed next week actually, highlighting a woman working in video games! And that’s all well and good, right?

Well, then I was on my way to a Macalester board meeting (go Mac!) when I heard John Rausch being interviewed on the radio. This name isn’t necessarily supposed to mean anything to you unless you are a crazy cat in the music industry… but he was one of the sound engineers on Taylor Swift’s RED album and is from Minnesota. So… what if I just skipped all those tiers and cold emailed him to see what type of awe-inspiring content we could make to engage girls in technology??

So, that’s what I did. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Advertisements

You’re doing a duathlon?

“…Duathlon? Well, I’m going to MIT!”

This is what I wanted to say to the two lovely ladies in the elevator this morning. They were actually really nice. They were chatting about working out and how one didn’t go swimming this morning because it was -9, but she is doing some triathlons and a duathlon this year so she’s still gotta get cracking. I felt jealousy, kind of like “well, yeah, well, I’m going to go to MIT!” as if it were a competition and I still wasn’t as cool as she is because she’s an athlete.

And then I remembered Marissa Mayer and this article I read about her being a marathon runner. If she can be techy-awesome and smart and still do athletic stuff, why can’t I? So, I’m thinking I’m going to do a full triathlon this year. It probably won’t turn me into Marissa, but what if it did? 

Summer Travel

I’ve been wracking my brain the last few months about what I should do with my summer. While speaking with my interviewer at MIT, he strongly suggested I take time in between work and starting school to decompress. It makes a lot of sense to take time between – I can only imagine what a shock it would be to go straight from working my corporate job to flying out to Boston to begin classes right away.

So, I’ve been exploring tons of ideas of what to actually do. Here are some things that have made my list:

  • Road trip across the USA
  • Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
  • Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
  • Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
  • Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
  • Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
  • Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
  • Work with a girls coding program in NYC
  • Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
  • An Internship

Road trip across the USA
This would only be fun with Joe. Road tripping alone would not only be semi-boring, but it would also need to be done without a car as the only car is Joe’s. This could, however, be combined with some other idea. If I go to Thailand for a few days and then come back, Joe and I could spend a few extra days eating donuts on the road out to Boston. Just sayin’

Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
I emailed my bff from my time in Chicago, asking if there was anything we could do together…

I was thinking, what would it look like if I visited you? Is there anything cool we could collaborate on or create during my time there? Is there anywhere you’d like to go that you might want a partner for? All these ideas are running through my head, and surprisingly (only surprising in that I’ve only known you three weeks in person) you’re on the short list of who I’d like to spend my time with.

Basically she is this amazing woman who also runs a women in technology group up in Canada and is on the very short list of anyone I would ever co-found a company with. Her and I getting together would make things happen.

Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
This is a good idea on the outside. I want to test myself physically… if I could join the Marines just to go through boot camp, I would. However, I couldn’t find many places that were more “get ripped” vs. “fat camp”. This Luxury Boot Camp could be good, but is only a week long. Bikini Boot Camp is similar, minus the mansion. The Camp lets kids join, which scares me off right away. At the end of the day, something like this might be fun to do with another lady, but wouldn’t leave me looking like Kara Thrace.

Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
This month long writing retreat in Greece would be beautiful. I could fully devote myself to a goal (finishing my book) while enjoying a new culture and city. There will even be a resident instructor that focuses on memoir writing. It’s a long time to spend away though… and I might get bored staying in the same place the whole time.

Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
On the MIT Admit site, a fellow admit mentioned that she will be spending two months in Nepal prior to orientation.

If you join me, we can also go hiking in the Himalayas, learn some Nepali, eat loads of dhal bhat, see all the stars in the sky ever, go asian safari-ing…

While this would seriously be one of the coolest, most amazing opportunities full of adventure and learning and on my own-ness slash some scary parts, it’s too open ended for me. Plus, if we didn’t get along it would be a very awkward start to business school.

Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
I was nearly 100% sold on this trip. It includes physical activity (yoga), adventure (traveling to 3 different areas) and writing. It would be a small, intimate group of mostly other women, most of whom would be older. It would be awesome. It also over laps though with a really good friend’s wedding, so, basically it won’t work. I could get in late or something, but then I might just prefer one of the other trips. Also, I wonder if the long classes would be good or bad – would it be better for me to just go on a trip where I can write rather than where I would have actual assignments?

Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
Part of me feels like I should learn more coding or development type skills if I’m going to go to MIT and start a company with someone. On the other hand, I’m actually pretty good at following lines of code from my computer science and math classes. I’m just not sure if I would meet the requirements of Hacker School… or is that impostor syndrome talking? Also, living in NYC for three months would require more travel for Joe and I – we’d go through withdrawal otherwise… aww

Work with a girls coding program in NYC
Girls Who Code is a great organization out of New York City. They put on a intensive summer program for girls to learn programming and discover their passion for technology. I don’t think they have any open positions nor are they looking for temporary summer folks. Yet, I would love nothing more than to help put together this program or something like it.

Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
I’ve never been to Asia. During college, I had signed up for a j-term trip to China, but without enough interest from other students, the trip was canceled. Still, it feels like the next place for me to visit. I randomly searched “Thailand adventure tour” and was brought to the g adventures website. They have a healthy supply of exactly the “world adventures” I am looking for. As of right now, I’ve narrowed it down to two:

  1. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/essential-vietnam-and-cambodia/AVEV/2014/
  2. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/indochina-explorer/ATIC/2014/

Fun? Absolutely. Spendy? Very much so… Worth it? Haven’t decided…

An Internship
I applied to a Management Leadership for Tomorrow program, which among many other things, offers support to students pursuing their MBA in a select number of programs. One perk of this program is having access to a few internships during the summer before the MBA program begins. Because MIT is one of the few partner schools, I applied and would be very excited to get this opportunity. However, I’ve received mixed messages. On the website, it looks like applications are only being accepted through January, but in an email I received from a partner school, they said they are reviewing apps through April (on a rolling basis).

This would be a great opportunity if it were to work out, but I’m nervous about waiting so long before making a final decision.

So who knows what I’ll end up doing – it may be any one of these items or something entirely different. Have a good idea? Let me know…

Jamaica: Day 5

The title I had decided on for this post before I even began to write it was “How Hanson lost a fan in Jamaica.” It was going to be a scathing post, about how no one cares about time or others or has any respect in general. Let’s just say, it was going to be a hyperbolic over-simplification of one snippet of my experience here.

So, on day four of the Jamaica experience, Hanson was hosting a photo shoot where everyone had the opportunity to get their picture taken with the three brothers. Joe and I were just having lunch when people started lining up at about 2:30pm. Joe and I thought they were a little cray-cray because they weren’t supposed to start pictures until 3pm and who would want to wait for a whole half hour during their vacation?

An hour later, Hanson finally made it to the party. At this point, at least 90% of the people in attendance of this week were in line. We sat at the bar keeping an eye on things… We assumed that, being paid attendees and all, we’d get pictures no matter what. They wouldn’t cut the line off at a private party, even if Isaac did have his solo show at 5:30.

Surprisingly, the line was moving fast. When it dropped past the original 2:30 mark, we jumped in line. 10 minutes later I was shaking hands with all three of them. They were super nice and friendly and being as it was a little after 4:30 I couldn’t believe that they were still in high spirits. Any love that was lost from them being late was regained in their cuteness and approachability.

We also got a laugh out of them. Initially, I told Joe we should do 2 pictures: 1 with just me and then one with the both of us. You know, in case we break up, I still want good solid memories of this weekend without having to trim him out. As an alternative, I said he could stand on the end. But wanting to feel the biceps of Zac as much as anyone else here, he couldn’t resist standing in the middle. So, as we were approaching, Joe told them why I needed two, just in case we broke up. If you know any of their songs, you know they understood…

And then just like that, I’m all in love again. Plus, they put on an amazing 2+ hour show last night and I did have a great weekend. I just can’t stop by wondering… do they expect to catch a plane with that time keeping?

Jamaica: Day 3

Friday night after blogging, we went out to dinner at this nice Mediterranean place. Joe had turtle and I tried some of it – not bad at all! Next we went to the piano bar, one of the four or so bars they have here. We met a lovely couple from New York and ended up chatting with them for about two hours until the first show of the weekend started.

They were a bad influence. I think we not only drank more than we would have on our own, but we also did two shots. The concert afterwards was amazing though. Joe and I were dancing together on the beach singing like fools probably. Hearing live Hanson while my toes pranced around the sand, a wave brushing me every minute or two was perfection.

Friday night was so amazing that Saturday kind of sucked, mainly because we slept terribly and were hung over for half the day. But, we managed to awake before breakfast was over and then went out to Tie-dye with Zac. I was pretty excited for this, it was the first activity that we were doing with them. The event was supposed to start at 11a, but didn’t kick off until after 11:30. Why was it so late? A few people remarked that they had seen Zac outside of the bathroom, so it was clear he was already at the resort. Sitting out on the lawn waiting didn’t kill me, but its kind of like he wasted part of our vacation by being a “oh, they can wait until I’m damn well ready” type of celebrity. They’d never struck me this way before. I guess that’s what happens when you fly halfway around the world for some married men ;)

Our tie-dye shirts look awesome though. I’m the most proud of my tie-dying abilities I’ve ever been. It was Joe’s first time… it shows.IMG_1532

After swimming on the beach and taking a short nap, it was time for the first solo show, by Taylor. It was sprinkling on us just a bit, which made for an even more enjoyable experience when Taylor changed the lyrics on a whim “standing in the rain…” etc. We were so fricken ready for dinner afterwards – still not feeling quite well, I decided to go all out with Fettucini Alfredo, yes, breaking my January resolution. But I needed the pasta to help me feel better! It didn’t. I then felt more sick. So we went back to the room at 8pm and crashed, skipping the Saturday night show. We were both completely okay with this though because it was just the “fan club” songs, of which we did not know many (if any).

Thoughts so far: holy cow a lot of women have Hanson tattoos. I’ve thought of getting one, sure, but never actually pulled the plug.

Also, why aren’t they staying at the same resort? I get that they are celebrities and all and need their space from a bunch of fangirls… but, I thought we’d see them a bit more than we actually are. Next time I go all fan girl, its gunna be on a cruise so they can’t escape bwahhhahahahha.

Here’s to a lovely, not so hammered, day 3.

Jamaica: Day 1

Let me start by saying: I’m a big Hanson fan. I’m no where near the biggest Hanson fan. This has never been more clear to me than this morning, when at 10am people were already sitting out in front of the stage saving their spots for the 10pm concert. In Jamaica. Sitting, in one spot, all day. Just sayin’.

I knew the male to female ratio would be small, given that we are at Hanson’s Back to The Island event in Jamaica. I don’t have a truly accurate estimate yet, as some people are still coming in (we got here a day early). On the bus from the airport to the hotel though, Joe was the only guy out of 16. At least two people have asked him if he is with the band. Let’s just say there are tons of women.

On the bus ride over here, I reminded myself that women are my friends and not my enemy. Over the last few years, through college and even more so through my involvement with Girls in Tech, I’ve really grown to love and appreciate women. As a young girl, I was not this way. I’m sure it could have stemmed from a multitude of reasons, most prevalent in my mind is that I was weird. Girls didn’t want to be friends with the weird girl, boys were more apathetic. I think a bit also had to do with the small town Minnesota mentality that most had, whereas my mom raised me to think critically and be open to others. Not believing in god and being open to sexualities beyond heterosexual made me a walking target.

College was really the first time I had close girl friends. It was new to me, but I was at college and open to experimentation. I loved it. I realized that there is so much more I get from my girl friends than guy friends. They were able to relate in ways I never knew I wanted. There was never any weird sexual tension, or expectations that the relationship could turn into anything more. I really think that finding those people my freshman year is what allowed me to fully flourish into the person I am today. They accepted me – big burps, stories about pooping, and all.

And then I went into technology and that was liking open a big jar of wax. Actually, I’m not sure what the analogy means, if I even have it right. Wait! I think I mean can of worms. Yes, let’s go with that. I opened a big can of worms.

It took me a few months to realize how starkly male-predominant the technology world is, but once I did, I was like “this is crazy!” Then Girls in Tech happened. I saw all the ins and outs of society, understood what it meant to be a feminist, and how important it is to value and support other women rather than take on a competitive stance. The twenty of us really have to stick together. Just kidding, there are a lot more than that. But, if you have time, read this article about some of the challenges women face just by being on the internet.

Why have I told you all this? Because sometimes being in situations with hundreds of Hanson Fangirls brings me back to the bad place of not loving every woman. I know that in practice this is okay, but I also think I’ll be happier if I remember that not everyone here is an enemy. Assuming I have enemies is something that puts me on guard and has no place in my Jamaican vacation.

In other news, there are not one but two nude beaches at the resort. We found the first one by surprise this morning when we were sitting on the beach and looked off to our right. The second one we found while sitting in the lawn chairs out on our back yard. It now make sense that the only wifi we can catch in our room is: GRANDNUDEBEACH.

Truth About Love: P!nk

Oh my gee, oh my gee. Pink is so amazing. Seriously, best concert I’ve ever been to.

I’ve known about this Truth About Love Tour since it was first announced about a year ago. I tried to get floor tickets the morning they went on sale, but I don’t think they were selling those at the time, so I skipped it. Instead, I asked for the tickets for Christmas!

I didn’t get them. Which is okay, I got lots of other great things. But I still had this nagging desire to see her because when I was in 6th grade I saw her for the Missundaztood Tour, and she blew my socks off then too. So, this morning I woke up and I’m all like “damn, I’m going!” I went onto Stubhub and found a general admission pit ticket for less than an arm and a leg (but not by much).

After happy hour, I went and stood in line beginning at like, 6:15p. Doors opened at 6:30 but the show didn’t start until 8p. When I went to Taylor Swift the other month, there was no food or drink allowed in the pit so I thought this would be the same and was prepared to just sit there and read my Kindle for an hour or two. But then I got in and everyone was super friendly and I met some great people. These great people, beyond providing stimulating conversation (one was a cop!) also saved my spot for me when I needed to get a bottle of water.

My intention was to get the bottle of water and mix myself a vodka-water with the flask in my purse. But, then I realized that if I were singing and dancing a lot I may become dehydrated and want water. So, I bought a bottle of water and then a vodka-water cocktail. This provided the best of both worlds because then not only was I able to continuously refill that bottle with flask+water, but it kept my thirsty-water safe. You guys, I went to college.

Anyway, seriously, best concert ever. And I think it was made even better by the fact that I went alone. I love Joe to pieces and have enjoyed every concert I’ve been to with him, but we’ve also been together for 2.5 years and I’ve forgotten how much I fucking love my independence. And then the whole show was about Love and how you have to love yourself before you can love others and I was just like, oh em gee: that is so true. Therefore, I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend a few months in Nepal, but more on that later.

Do you think I was close enough?

photo 1 photo 3 photo 4

Harry Potter, the time has come

I didn’t read Harry Potter as a child, mainly because I was rebellious and didn’t want to conform to the image that society had created for me. It also seemed like a series completely out of my realm of interests and for years the first-generation hardcovers have sat on my bookshelf. Now that I’m in my upper-twenties, I’ve decided that I’ve been in the dark too long… So, I’m reading it now. And, by “reading it now” I mean “Joe is reading it to me.” Because there is nothing like being read to sleep every night.

Another reason I never read the books is that I don’t read fiction. To some, this is like saying “I don’t drink water” or something similar on the crazy scale. But, it’s just the way I roll. To avoid thoughts that I’m illiterate, I’m half way through The Corner Office, and it is a great read. I’m going to be the best non-fiction-reading-CEO ever.

Resolutions

I decided to make some New Year’s Resolutions because it seems like that’s the thing to do when one writes a blog based on the cliché nature of her life… 

But doing something for an entire year sounds hard. So I’m just going to do some things for a month at a time. Each month will have its own resolution. I thought I was pretty awesome with coming up with this idea all on my own, but then 12 minutes later I received an email from Gretchen Rubin’s blog to which I have subscribed to because of my love for Happier at Home. It reminded me that the idea was really hers. So… maybe I didn’t come up with it myself, but it is still the plan.

Image

 

So far so good. I’ll keep y’all posted on how it goes… any advice from others who have kept resolutions?