Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ode to a Honeycrisp Apple

A short poem to my favorite breakfast food, as inspired* by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
the last Honeycrisp Apple
that was in
the fridge

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
it was delicious
so sweet
and so juicy
*And by "inspired" I mean "plagiarized"

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mr. Emaw's Neighborhood: Chapter 1 — The Elevator Incident

It struck me one day that over the years, I've had some pretty interesting neighbors. In fact, the people I've lived and worked next to have always been much more interesting than I am. So I thought I'd do a series of posts about some of them.

This story takes place about ten years ago. It was shortly after the first internet bust but before that quaint little (by today's standards) Enron financial implosion.

When the web startup I'd been working at closed up shop and headed to New Jersey, I took my first job at a cube farm corporation. It was a pretty good gig. The hours were flexible and me and a few other guys had a shared hard drive where we stored all the mp3s we downloaded from Napster.

I was lucky as the new guy to get a cube adjacent to a wall, so I only had one cube neighbor. We'll call her Janet. She was a great cube neighbor. Pleasant personality, always smiling, great sense of humor. She was a recent college grad and had snagged her job after doing an internship for the company.

She kept me up to date on all the pop culture news of the day.
She was one of the first on the block with one of those new-fangled "TiVo" devices and would give us daily updates on celebrity gossip and the latest exploits of the characters on Survivor and
The Geena Davis Show.

Janet was the social glue for our core group. There were about five of us who started having lunch together daily. As a group it was easier to rationalize, or maybe just ignore, the fact that you're leaving for lunch a few minutes early and getting back a few minutes late.

It was during one of these lunch jaunts that The Elevator Incident happened.

On these lunch outings, we typically would pool rides since it was ecologically the right thing to do and it provided a certain level of mutually assured destruction for getting back too late from The Olive Garden.

Anyway on this particular day, Janet and I had arrived back at the office from lunch. We strolled into the elevator, hit the "6" button and waited for the lift to deliver us to our floor.

As a joke, I always used to like to bounce the elevator a little bit by doing a few quick knee bends — kind of a fake jumping up and down when the other person's not looking to make them thing the elevator is falling or something. You know, for the laughs.

Well, to this day I maintain that that little stunt had nothing to do with our elevator doing an emergency stop between the first and second floors.

Nonetheless, stuck it was. Not moving, door closed and to make matters worse the emergency phone inside the elevator didn't work. It could have been my imagination, but I swear the lights were flickering and the vent fan had turned off.

Janet was ready to freak out. To calm her down, I told her that the building probably wasn't on fire and there almost certainly wasn't a Twilight Zone-style nuclear holocaust going on outside.

Still,I knew that if I couldn't find a way out of this, it wouldn't be long before we hit DEFCON LUDICROUS. But before I tried my daring escape through the ceiling access hatch, I pulled out my cutting-edge circa 1999 Nokia cellular mobile telephone.

With my phone's antenna extended, I dialed up the security desk to apprise them of our situation and get a maintenance dude to get us out of here.

Next I called my manager to let her know that Janet and I are stuck in the elevator, no, for real, we're in the elevator and the elevator stopped between floors. No, she's okay at the moment What? Well… of course we both have all of our cloths on…I mean, I slipped my shoes off but we all have our own coping mechanisms…

Before I was done with the call, an elevator technician had opened the doors. About waste level (for me) was the first floor ceiling/second floor floor. We were looking up (to the second floor) and a small crowd of or coworkers who had come to watch our daring escape. You can imagine the entertainment value we were providing.

The janitor elevator technician told us the plan was to help us crawl up to the second floor, then worry about getting the lift running again. Being the chivalrous sumbitch I am, I insisted that Janet go first. I would be able to help boost her up and, more importantly, if the elevator were suddenly to let loose it wouldn't be me getting sliced in half by a gigantic guillotine.

Well, to make a short story longer, we made it out of the elevator car safe and sound and had a good laugh for the next few hours and came away with a mildly amusing story to boot.

Eventually, I left that company for other professional pastures. It was eventually acquired in a corporate merger, and I kind of lost touch with Janet and the rest of the crew. It happens sometimes. Friends and neighbors go their separate ways.

Janet and I actually work at the same company now. She sits not too far from me on the same floor, but we don't have the same rapport that we had then.

And she still refuses to ride an elevator with me.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Word

Here's the Rated-PG version of this video that's been out for quite sometime. I just like the concept of a word association exercise in a video format.

You can see the PG-13 Rated version here if you want.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New dirt on The Mission Dirt Pile

From what I could tell, the little tidbit of news didn't get much play earlier this week. At least if it did, I didn't see it in the usual local newscasts, websites and Twitters I follow.

Just a short few paragraphs from the Kansas City Business Journal that popped up in my RSS feed reader indicating that there might finally be some movement in the development of what has become known as The Mission Dirt Pile.

When the Mission Dirt Pile was first created, I was living a couple of blocks north in Roeland Park, a cute little inner-ring suburb peopled by families just starting out, elderly couples (and singles) who are dying out and your random urban chicken enthusiast.

We really liked living in the RP. Characters like the crazy pot-smoking retired lady a few doors down just added to the texture of the neighborhood. So we were pretty happy with the then Mission Center Mall property was slated to be demolished.

It was quite something to see the old mall go through the stages of deconstruction on my way home from work each day.

The proposal was to replace the mall with a "lifestyle" center that would include a high-rise boutique hotel, condos and street level retail. Somewhere along the way large aquarium was thrown in for good measure.

Keep in mind this was back in 2006, a more innocent time in America. A healthier General Motors was reporting losses of only $8.6 billion, AIG gave a sincere apology to government regulators for its deceptive business practices, and the Blue-ray Disc format was introduced to American consumers.

More importantly, the country was in the midst of a real estate boom the most thought would never end. So when developers presented the renderings of The Gateway lifestyle center, most of us were pretty excited about it. It was reported at the time that some people even put down deposits on some of the condo units before ground had even been broken.

Of course, we all know what happened to the real estate market, not to mention the rest of the economy. All that was left of The Gateway development was a giant mountain of dirt and broken dreams.

Well, fast forward to last Monday when we learned that the development group has new partners and may be close to resuming work on the project, possibly breaking ground as soon as next summer.

According to the article in the Kansas City Business Journal, the developer, The Cameron Group LLC, received an extension on a critical deadline that allows them to retain $63 million in sales tax revenue bonds for the project.
[Cameron Group's] Tom Valenti said his new partners, which include RED’s Tim Schaffer and Caymus’ Dave Harrison, add credibility to the project.

“Having RED and Caymus being involved sends a message to the community here that this is real and it is going to happen,” Valenti said.

Valenti said the Gateway project will be built in two phases, beginning with the aquarium and apartments.
It all sounds very promising. Certainly a nice retail/business district will bring in more revenue than a big pile of dirt. Definitely it will look much nicer, though the opossum's and foxes that now live there might have some objections.

Of course it remains to be seen whether we are near enough to the end of the current recession for this to actually happen.

I guess we'll know by the end of the summer.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Happy Birthday Dave Brubeck

Yesterday was Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday, which still makes him a youngster to my grandmother.

Anyway, he probably doesn't hang out much on the internet, but I wanted to post this video of one of his most recognizable and most covered songs in honor of the occasion.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday Blogthing: Merry Christmas from the Cup Size Choir

It's about that time of year for the more cutting edge of creative agencies to begin releasing their Holiday viral advertising tactics.

While the effort by European lingerie maker La Senza lacks the cute innocence and tongue-in-cheek humor of local shop VML's Handbell Hero from a few years ago, but it does have several elements that make for a good viral tactic: It's interactive and empowers the audience to be content creators, it provides easy sharability, and most importantly it has seven scantily clad hotties. Here's the link to my little musical masterpiece.

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