Sunday, September 24, 2006
Improv and retreat
I've been working on a couple of "extra-curricular" activities: I'm taking an improv class, and helping plan a retreat. Both are fun :) and both are great for keeping me busy and meeting and interacting with different groups of people.

Last quarter (?! are we on quarters?) I took an acting class, and that was very cool. I liked having something to look forward to one night a week after work. This time around I'm taking Improv, and its interesting. Much more interactive, and imaginative than the ACT 1 class. We are usually up on our feet and doing a game or something the entire three hours. The time flies by, and its challenging and fascinating. I like that it completely eleviated all the stress I had from work the first time I went. It was like group therapy or something.

So, I'm on this team that is planning a day-long retreat for San Damiano Retreat Center. Our theme this time around is "change" and the day is intended for "young adults" which quite broadly spans ages 18-40. I think that's a bid wide, but we didn't define that age group ourselves. The last meeting before our retreat (in October) was today, at my apartment. It was funny to cram 10 people into the 891 square feet of my place. But, we did OK. And we have everything all done :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006
Lightsaber training
I went to the park today with Brad, and we got to see two guys "practicing" what seemed to be choreography for a lightsaber and combat fight. I got out the camera, and Brad made some sound effects.

You can see, at the end of the second "take" I start shaking because I'm trying not to laugh. What you miss is, at the very end, the man next to us said "those guys are good." So funny.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Pending Approval
My most recent project at work is launching tomorrow. Right now, at 10:13pm I'm logged in and waiting for a vendor to finish some of the MD5 validation code, and finish up the site. Unfortunately, this vendor has waited 'til the last moment to address some critical bugs. Yay! What a fun couple of days! And Yay! all of the project managers were standing there when I was being very direct and unwavering on the phone with the lead tech person at said vendor. And yes, I could feel myself blush because I don't like to be loud or fearsome on the phone, but c'mon! We've got less than 24 hours til launch!!

It harkens back to the early, heady days of the 'net. When I worked at Quokka Sports (now defunct so perfectly safe to mention) and I'd get an anxious producer calling me, wanting to update the front page with some breaking sports news either very late or very early. I'd hop on the computer, fire up the dialup connection, get the old HTML editor (Homesite was my software of choice) going and update away. Sometimes I'd need to pull in some assistance and see if there was someone else on IM who'd help. Then we'd push those changes and email everyone and there would be much cheering. The internet seemed so simple then, back in '00. *sigh*

Friday, September 08, 2006
September 11, 2006: I honor Christian Hans Rudolf Wemmers
On September 11, 2001, Christian Hans Rudolf Wemmers was attending a tradeshow in the World Trade Center. Chris was the director of Product Management for Callixa, a software company. He was one of the 2,996 that lost their lives on this historic day. This tribute is part of the 2,996 project, and you can read all of the other memorials by clicking here.

Chris Wemmers moved from Ahrensburg (a town outside Hamburg), Germany to Jackson, Michigan, as a 16-year-old exchange student. It seemed to be his life long dream to move to the United States. "When he was a little boy, he already knew that one day he wanted to live in California because of the sunny climate," writes his sister, Sibylle Dircks, in an e-mail message from Germany. "He always enjoyed the American way of life, the friendly, polite people, who were so different to Germans."

Chris Wemmers is remembered as a fun, loving, engaging man, who had the ability to immediately endear himself to others. Even in college, at Stetson University, he and his fraternity brothers at Delta Sigma Phi were often involved in "hijinks and fun." One fraternity brother remembers great times drinking beer, and listening to Dylan's "Highway 61." Another remembers that he "exhibited a sense of class and purpose."

Later, Chris attended Thunderbird American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale Arizona.

Sometime after college, he moved to San Francisco, where he worked at Prism, Luminate, and Callixa. Many co-workers remarked on his love foosball. One coworker from Luminate, fondly recalled his foosball matches with Chris:
"Chris and I would play foosball on the average of 3 times a day. It always began with one of us stepping into the other's office and making gestures with our hands like we were turning foosball handles - that was the invitation. Our games were usually close and much taunting and psychological positioning occurred and, truth be told, the 'psyching out' was the most fun part."

Chris truly loved San Francisco, and was known to offer a warm welcome to friends visiting from throughout the US and the UK and Germany. He enjoyed great food, in "trendy restaurants in the financial district" or a "nice French restaurant in Haight-Ashbury." His friend, Rebecca Cleff, remembered that he loved the Bay Area because "he could go for a 10-mile hike through the forest, over hills and to the ocean during the day, and then a great restaurant and show in the evening."

Chris loved hiking the hills in and around San Francisco. Many people recall spending time with him, looking over vistas of the City and taking in the views, especially those of Twin Peaks. Ms. Cleff remembers how he told another friend that if he had to die, he'd prefer to just go to the top of a mountain and disappear." Chris vanished on top of an urban mountain," she wrote in an e-mail message, "an incredible metaphoric combination of his favorite places."

Back when I decided to join the 2,996 project, fate brought me to Christian Hans Rudolf Wemmers, a San Francisco resident, attending a trade show in NYC. As I am also from the Bay Area, this research and memorial is especially poignant to me. I humbly offer the video above, hosted by You Tube. It includes photography I shot at Twin Peaks, the Financial District, and Ocean Beach in San Francico, mostly on 9/10/06, specifically for this project. These are all places it seemed Chris enjoyed, and were mentioned by his friends and family in tributes at I'm honored to be a part of this project, and happy to have had the experience of getting to know a little about Chris Wemmers' life.

Research for this memorial was done on the following sites:

Thursday, September 07, 2006
Thievery and Skinny Pants
It's been awhile ... today I'm inspired to write because of two things. Some weirdo girl on MySpace stealing content, and GAP's Skinny Pants campaign.

The Claudia chronicles.
So this girl on MySpace started stealing content, and posted it as her own. She totally plagariazed content from at least three super cool bloggers: Amalah, MetroDad, and Mr Nice Guy. This sucks, and its creepy. She even went so far as to hotlink images from Amalah's site. Anyway, take a few minutes and visit those nice people.

Two weeks ago, Gap did a "take over" of the Montgomery BART station, with their "Black Skinny Pant" campaign. What this means is that every ad, in the whole station, is for these Skinny Black Pants. The ads usually stay up a month.

I have issues with begin with, nearly the same day these ads went up, the media was running the story that 2/3s of all Americans are either overweight or obese. 66% of us. My first question is - what is GAP thinking? What does this message say to most consumers? It seems to me that it says that GAP isn't catering to 2/3s of the public. But likewise, what is this saying to the public and how they feel about themselves?

The next issue I have is the TV spot. It uses old footage of Audrey Hepburn (or a look alike) meshed with "Back in Black" by AC/DC. They call the pant the "Audrey." I'm sure an executive somewhere is saying "its hip, but classic. its edgy, but timeless. its hard-rocking, but innocent." I think what they're actually saying is "it won't fit most of America. it will appeal to someone who listens to over-played heavy metal now relegated to high school pep rallies, and likes very old romantic movies that harken to a time long gone." or .. We have no idea who we're marketing to, or why.