Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How FedEx Field Brought My Son and Me to Tears…

Paco is a big soccer fan so when I heard that the US was playing Brazil in an international friendly at FedEx field on May 30th, it was a no-brainer.

I bought some tickets on StubHub and, well, that was the high point of the event experience for us.

Now, I’m sure there are others who go to FedEX Field on a regular basis, but I’m not one of them.

Which meant there were a few things I didn’t know…maybe I should have done the research beforehand, but I didn’t….and my son and I didn’t have the experience we envisioned.

First, I didn’t know where to park so I ended up in the lane that required $40 for parking, which I didn’t have because I don’t carry that much cash.

We ended up parking about 1 mile away and walking to the stadium. By this time, the game had already started and our excitement was palpable as we approached the gate. Finally, we were going to get in…

Or so we thought.

When we showed our tickets, the usher blocked our way.

“No backpacks allowed inside.” He pointed to the sign.

Sure enough, a very long list of prohibited items and backpack was on them.

I had brought some food and water for the boy, but also binoculars so he could watch the game, some sweatshirts, etc.

I pleaded. He wouldn’t budge and he wasn’t so nice about it.

Paco started to cry. “It’s my first game!”

I got choked up. I felt like I had let him down.

The usher instructed me to move away from the gate.

We stepped away and tried to figure out what to do. We couldn’t walk a mile back to our car and while the thought of abandoning my bag, water bottles, etc. crossed my mind, I wasn’t sure that was the way to go.

We tried another gate. Same result.

Poor Paco was really upset and, you know what? So was I.

We had been to Verizon Center where a backpack had not been a problem, but not this time on this night.

Instead, my 6 year old son and I stood outside the stadium in tears, unable to have the desired father-son bonding experience.

It was not where I wanted to be….not at all.

Fortunately, we were able to make lemonade out of lemons and sell our tickets (whereupon Paco said, “well, at least those guys will have a good time at the game.”)

We walked back to the car, hand in hand, enjoying each other’s company and creating an unexpected memory based on common rejection.

I was so impressed with is maturity as he quickly regained his composure with a good sense of humor.

Father and son bonded after all.

Keep Your Permissions As You Want Them…

Over time, you’ve probably given permission to a ton of apps to use your personal profile info.
Check out and go in to make sure that you are still comfortable sharing the info with these sites.
If you haven’t used them in a while or don’t remember who they are, remove the access.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What does the end of the Space Shuttle program mean?

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-memb...

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-120 crew head toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A occurred at 11:38:19 a.m. (EDT). Onboard are astronauts Pam Melroy, commander; George Zamka, pilot; Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, European Space Agency's (ESA) Paolo Nespoli and Daniel Tani, all mission specialists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interesting conversation with my uncle Pablo (yes, that’s his real name) a few weeks ago.

It was right after the Space Shuttle was flown on the back of a 747 to Washington, DC area to be parked at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum.

He was lamenting the fact that America was once known as the pre-eminent explorer in space and now, if we want to send an astronaut to space, we have to rent space on a Russian vehicle.

He viewed this as a serious setback in America’s stature in the world.

My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t phased by this change of priorities and said, “hey, we can still explore space, but it’s a lot cheaper and safer if we have robots do it.”


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Meeting 3.5 Years in the Making---Thank You Social Media

I’ve had some great moments when it comes to having “social media friends” that I meet online and, then, at some point, I meet them in person, but this one may be the
And, it proves just HOW valuable these social tools can be.
About 3.5 years ago, Monique Elwell introduced me to Aliza Sherman.
We exchanged emails and decided we would meet up at the upcoming 140 Conference in NYC put on by Jeff Pulver.
That didn’t happen.
But over time, distance, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, we stayed in touch.
I have a HUGE amount of respect for her deep understanding of how social tools change the way society operates.
Now, there are many unique things about Aliza, but one of them is that she lives in Tok, Alaska.
Of course, when I visited Alaska last September, my first thought was “finally, I get to meet Aliza.”
Unfortunately, whereas we all might think “oh, Alaska is Alaska,” in fact, Tok is 7 hours by car from Anchorage.
So, it didn’t happen…again
She did, however, introduce me to Tyler Arnold, the man who epiotmizes the idea of the “world is flat,” and her brand value continued to grow in my eyes.
(Aliza’s ability to run a Global MicroBrand from Tok is a close 2nd).
Still, we hadn’t met and given her relatively distant location from me, it didn’t seem likely that we would just “cross paths.”
Until I showed up at BWI airport on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.
Like any good netizen, I was looking for an outlet to charge my various devices and I spotted one where only one plug was being used.
It was connected to a Mac.
Next to the Mac was an iPhone.
I looked at the woman using the Mac and said, “Man, that looks a hell of a lot like Aliza Sherman,” but since my only image of her was her Twitter profile pic, I hesitated. (Also, I mean, what are the odds of someone from Alaska being at BWI in the middle of the day on a random Tuesday?)
Then, I did what any good social media maniac would do, I checked Foursquare to see if she had checked in (she hadn’t, though I had…1 point for me Smile)
Checked Twitter under her profile…nothing.
Finally, I pulled up her contact card (funny, how this was the last thing) and figured I’d call her to see if her phone rang (but I didn’t have her cell number, just an email).
Then, I said to myself, “this is dumb…worst case scenario, it’s not and I have 2 seconds of embarrassment.”
I walked over and as I did, she smiled.
She knew as well…from my Twitter profile pic.
So, 3.5 years, countless emails, FB posts, Twitter updates, blog posts, and more…and the personal connection was made.
The tools didn’t make the connection, but the connection was only possible because of the tools.
That’s was so exciting and revolutionary about today.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Coffee and Life

For my 4-6 cups per day, this is just GREAT news.

Java drinkers live longer…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Purple Day…

The other day, Lakkanen and Tikkanen were arguing about a skirt. Apparently, it was too short for Tikkanen, but she didn’t want to give it up.
It was annoying.
There was a perfectly good skirt for Lakkanen that she didn’t want to wear. It was purple.
“Nadia,” I said, “isn’t today Purple Day at school?”
She looked at me.
“I think it is Purple Day.”
I felt a bit bad about the deception and I had to cover my tracks when I got to school and she ran up to her teacher, showing her the purple dress.
Still, we got everyone dressed, to school, and avoided a big fight.
Sometimes the white lies, I mean purple lies, are ok, aren’t they?
Note: Please do not use this as an indictment of my integrity. If you do, well then, you either don’t have kids or are a jerk. Or both.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A TSA First…Passenger #1

Had to take an early morning flight to SFO the other day. Left the house at 4, was at the airport and checked in by 4.45.IMG_20120327_044733
Apparently, the TSA gates don’t open until 5am.
So, for the first time in my life, I was the absolute first guy to go through screening and security. Passenger #1 that day.
The wait was easy Winking smile
I was so excited, I had passenger #2 document it for me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Internet History…Revisited

In 1998, a small, barely noticed history of the Internet moment occurred.
My friends Jeff and Sarah were getting married. I was living in Japan.Noah Invite Scan
They sent me an email asking for my address to send the invitation.
“Guys,” I wrote, “you know I won’t be able to attend, I don’t want you to waste the money and besides, shouldn’t we be doing this all digitally now anyway?”
They agreed and I believe it was the first e-Vite ever sent!
Back in March, Jeff sent me a note…
“It’s been 14 years and my eldest son is about to become a Bar Mitzvah. It seemed appropriate that we invite you digitally first.”
Mazal Tov to the Doshnas!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Birthplace of the Constitution…

Took the kids to James Madison’s home at Montpelier. The site is in the midst of a $25 million restoration project and it’s pretty inspiring.
There was a lot to see, but perhaps the best part of it all was when we were in Madison’s 2nd floor library and the movie said, “over the winter of 1786 before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, Madison read more than 400 book in 6 languages about all elements of political thought and history.”
From there, he came up with the “Virginia Plan” which ultimately became the US constitution. Pretty epic stuff.
You think about all the times you hear the word “constitutional” or “unconstitutional” and to think that it all began in that room.
I really felt a sense of history.
She said, “I thought Dolley Madison had really pretty dresses!”
James Madison-Montpelier trip (1)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Update on Solar…Carbon Offset

So, after two months, system seems to be working well and I’m about break even. My favorite part (and I’m willing to actually pay for this in hard dollars) is the carbon offset number.

If you are interested in saving the planet as well, here's the link to get an estimate for your own solar panels.
(full disclosure...if you do sign up via this link, we both get some $).


For the financial argument for it…see here.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

I don’t know what I am doing…

The NFO took a trip and I was home for a few days with the 3 kids.
We had been set up for success…clothes were taken out and sorted, meals were prepared, and our nanny was on point.
I had a few jobs…one of them was to make lunches.
Towards the end of the week, I realized we were better off (and saving time) if the kids just told our nanny what they wanted.
After a day of that, I turned to Nadia and said, “how was lunch today?”
“It was great. I ate everything.”
Then, I asked the wrong question: “who makes the best lunch? Mom, Amsale, or Dad?”
“Mommy and Amsale!”
“What?!” I asked.
She looked at me and calmly said, “It’s because you don’t know what you are doing!”

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Being Your Daughter's Hero...

Caught up with a good friend of mine the other day named Ted Rubin.

Ted is a divorced Dad of two and shared a story of waiting in line with his teenage daughter for about 6 hours to get a CD signed (or something like that) by members of one of her favorite bands.

I said something to the effect of "man, you're dedicated, I'm not sure I would do that."

His response was illuminating:

"Your girls are still young. They still think you are all knowing and all-powerful. Hold on to those moments. As they get older, it gets a lot more difficult and you don't have as many chances to be the you seize it when you can."

Sound advice. I'm going to go hug my girls right now.