The Fancy Food Show 2011: An Outsider's Experience

Fancy Food Show 2011

I’ve never been a foodie. When I was a teenager, the most experimentation I did in the kitchen was figuring out the exact amount of time it took to make the perfect hot pocket (the answer is 2 minutes and 35 seconds). I sometimes at a box of cereal a day, sometimes as a dinner meal. And I loved Chef Boyaree, that wonderfully tasting but oddly orange pasta in a can. It was a staple in my diet until the end of my undergraduate college years, when a compassionate friend refused to let me eat that brand anymore out of principle (she was Italian).

Continents of the Mind

Continents of the Mind

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Until that exact moment, several thousand miles of ocean separated two populations with different languages, culture, and belief systems. Why were they different? I believe it was strongly influenced by the physical, geographic barriers that isolated these groups for several millennia, allowing each group to evolve collectively within their population but independently of the many other human societies on the globe.

Creating Finish Lines

Track and Field Finish Line

The first blast from Coach Taylor’s whistle was the harbinger of doom. The instructions were simple: sprint, and sprint, and sprint; with 100% intensity until the whistle sounded off again, which allowed us to go back to our ‘recovery’ jog (e.g. shuffling our feet across the indoor track). But there was no solace in this gentle strut around the oval. Each athlete had their ears sharply tuned to that whistle: fearing it would sound again while praying that it wouldn’t.

Who Put a Textbook in the Fridge?

A textbook placed inside of a refrigerator

The evidence sat right between the jar of mayo and a microwave container full of meatloaf. I can't say it was the first math book I ever brought home during my high school years, but it was probably the only one that was chilled to 40 degrees F. I couldn't tell who was more confused: the one who found it (mom) or the one who placed it there (me). I had zero recollection of how it go there, which is the point I'd like to make.

Half-hearted, Half-bridges

A bridge with a gap in it.

Imagine I'm a NJ resident trying to commute to work in the morning. How useful is it to try and drive over a bridge that is half constructed?

Imagine I'm a baker trying to create a successful business. How many sales will I make if the pastries are half-cooked?

Imagine I'm trying land a job against a large pool of applicants with impressive resumes. How competitive would I be if I finished only half my college courses necessary for the degree that is required for the position?

Assuming Enthusiasm

Coach Brooks, showing his enthusiasm during an MIT track meet.

YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED. These letters, about an inch in height and brick red in color, caused a client of mine to go into a mild panic attack. How much business would they lose if they lost their email marketing service? The results could be devastating for a small company with clients spread across the US and Europe. But mailchimp takes spam seriously, and will flag an account regardless of whether the action was an innocent mistake or not because they have to in order to ensure the highest level of email deliverability—a critical component to their business. Still, the swiftness and severity of Mailchimp's response can catch anyone off guard, particularly when the sender assumes that everyone on the list is eagerly awaiting their newsletter. Instead, a significant number of people receiving the email flag it as spam.

The Four Agreements - Day 84

Relapse: Making a lasting change is not an easy task. When I started this journey almost 3 months ago, I planned on using a combination of daily exposure to the materials, daily exercises, and journalling to give myself the best chance at success. While I can certainly commend my progress, I can't help but feel like I've had a relapse.

The problem when things start going well is that I get overconfident in my ability to no longer do the very things that brought me there. The hope was that the emotional and mental high's would carry enough momentum to keep me going through the occasional low. But sometimes life can throw a lot at you at once, and kill the momentum (or send you flying back in reverse).

Lawns, Laws, and Deserts

Grass and Desert Juxtaposition

Scenario 1: A homeowner in an gated community in Arizona forgets to turn their sprinklers on before going on vacation for a week. They return to a scorched lawn and a home owners association (HOA) fine for $50 tacked to their front door. The offense: not keeping their lawn beautifully green.

Scenario 2: A member of a african village in or around the Sahara desert gets the novel idea to plant some beautiful bushes outside of their sleeping quarters. He returns one day to angry villagers cursing his name and threatening to uproot his bushes. The offense: wasting precious water on a non-essential decoration.

Make It a Gold Start Day!

A Gold Start, Gold Star Day

In elementary school, nothing was better than a gold star for a job well done. Yes, a colorful A+ was nice. Yes, a 100 with a little exclamation point and a smiley face was cool. But nothing beat stickers, which were only doled out by the really cool teachers. And if that sticker was a gold star, it was the equivalent to ice cream after a little league win (i.e. pretty freaging awesome!)

I returned back to my love for gold stars in college when I was an RA. When someone did something really well, I would tell them they should get a gold star. They would just sort of laugh at first, until I actually took out my pack of them and put it on their hand or forehead. It's funny how something so simple could bring out a smile in people, even if they thought I lost my mind. It's as if it returned them back to their childhood when people made it a point to recognize and appreciate their accomplishments.