Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Do I Have A Treat For YOU

Yeah...you. You heart bacon. What's left to discuss? Everyone knows my thoughts on pork belly and the such. Enter the "Bacon Smack." Discuss.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Beginnings

New beginnings are a normal part of anything. Fact is, we start dying the day we are born. Quite literally, life is nothing more than the search for new beginnings. Over and over again.

Which is the reason why I am so intrigued by this Craig's Lister. Here is a dude who posts a call for a "Holiday Girlfriend." That's it. A girlfriend for the holidays. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. Sharing in the festivities, dressing up, stuffing yourself with dressing and all the other crap in between. Kinda cute but moreso interesting from a social perspective. Is the dating world ready for so much honesty? I wonder.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Dear John Letter to Jordan Bastean, Our Traveling Soldier

Dear Jordan,

I'm so sorry to inform you that it is over. I'm so sorry to tell you that you will never grow up to become the great man you were meant to be. You will not be able to give your mom grandbabies and you will not be able to show up your dad when it comes to beating his best time in the Chicago Marathon.Your life has been cut short and that's a fact.

But I want to tell you how proud we are of you. Like everyone else, I want to hug you one last time and let that crooked smile burn a permanent memory into my mind's eye. If only I had known the last time I saw you was going to be the last time I saw you alive. I know this is the most unfortunate news because you had so many plans, so many goals and so much to accomplish in this shitty world. The funny thing is, you were so damn positive that no one wanted to stand in your way. We couldn't bear to tell you to be more careful and we didn't dare to try and dissuade you from joining the military even during a time of such global unrest. We knew from the time that you were little that you were made for greatness and we knew better than to question your pure intentions to make life better for those who needed it most.

Please know that we all take solace in that; the fact that you were so technically prepared as an expert marksman and soldier and you were so humble and caring at the same time. You were meant to be the person you were way before you made the decision to go into the Marines and now we must all tell ourselves that you are in a good place. A better place.

I'm not going to lie. Telling ourselves that you are in a better place is a rather bitter pill to swallow. We are still in shock and may be for some time. Forgive us if we convince ourselves that you are merely off traveling as part of your tour of duty instead of grappling with the reality that you are gone. You were way too young to die and way too good for us to let go. Our collective hearts break for your mom and your dad; both who lived lives dedicated to their only son. I don't mean to layer on the pressure, but you were the apple of their eyes, you were the sun in their solar systems. With your departure, it's like the plug has been pulled and they are struggling for air. I can say that because I happen to love your dad like a brother. And I won't let myself think about what it feels like to be a parent of a fallen soldier. I'm tough, but I'm no Marine. It's something I'm not prepared to face. What I am prepared to do is stand by your mom and your dad and be as strong as they need for as long as they need. You will be my muse, dear Jordan, and I will ask that you guide us down this road of healing as only you can. I will ask that you allow us to quickly get to a place where we can remember your stellar qualities more than we focus on the extraordinary life that was so tragically cut short.

So I send you this note, dear Jordan, because we love you and miss you dearly. I send you this note because you need to know that we will look out for each other during this terrible time and we will remember your goofy ways, your honest eyes, your genuine and strong handshake and your soul that will forever inspire us to do better, to look for the good in people and to fight for the right to live a fair and honest life as you had for the tender 19 years that your presence graced this planet.

Rest in peace, J.

We love you.


Your family and all others who will forever wait for their traveling soldier to come back home again

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs Delighted the World Through Discovery

It was Jobs' job, indeed, to thine own self be true. But what about the customer? Steve wanted that job too and he certainly did a helluva job. Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide, said a recent NYT article. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

Which is somewhat funny, considering he created products that people tend to hold more dear than most personal relationship. Ask anyone who claims to be an Apple advocate; would you rather lose your [iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc] for a day or not talk to your [mom, dog, child, etc.] and a fair percentage would opt to stay connected to a Jobs' labor of love over their own.

The New York Times article that details the life and times of Steve Jobs may be considered an official obituary, but it's way more than that. It's a tribute to the very idea of innovation and connectivity that is such a critical component to overall human growth. It has a link to Steve Jobs' patents. It has a section for reader submissions to invite people to contribute their thoughts on how he touched their life. It offers page after page of fine detail of a life well lived. A baby born out of adoption, a child with electronic genius, a Cupertino high school dude and his Wozniak best friend and all the adventures that became so worldly known; a date with Joan Baez, a crush on Bob Dylan perhaps (who could blame him for that?!?!) a birthday party with Ella Fitzgerald, a personal corporate jet, a little LSD here and a little that there, a handful of children to adore and a few decent patents.

It's inspiring, this curtailed life. Makes you think that there should be more and at the same time, reminds us to smile about the fact that it happened at all.

Not at all an exaggeration, Steve Jobs quipped more than once that Mark Twain was inevitably correct in his 1897 New York Times article detailing an illness and an exaggerated death. This time around, Jobs' own New York Times obituary ends with,

If he had a motto, it may have come from “The Whole Earth Catalog,” which he said had deeply influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, ends with the admonition “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

“I have always wished that for myself,” he said.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Discovery vs Search. Need Your Opinion.

I'm a little bit obsessed with this idea of discovery versus search. In technology and in life, it's so much more delightful to discover something than to search out exactly what we were looking for. Why? Because we are pesky human beings. We come with these wonderful, evil things called emotions. These terrible brilliant emotions drive us to do and say strange and perfect things.

In the world of technology, this is a happenstance that can and should and will and is being exploited. Did I say the word exploit? Ooops. What I meant was, technology is starting to understand the human need to search and discover better in order to make our online, digital and social experiences more fulfilling. Why? Because so much of what we do is digital, social and online. Why not make it delightful instead of just another task to accomplish or another box to check off.

Without giving away too much of my own opinion, tell me what you think. Do you prefer to stumble upon something and then be the first to share it to everyone who will listen or do you prefer to find exactly what you set out looking for and don't want to try something new when you already know what works?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Don't Think So

In my entire professional career, this is the best email that I have ever opened.

And it's not even an email. It's an auto-response.

My response? Damn. I need more people with personality in my life. I don't need drama and I don't want more conflict. I want creativity, innovation, passion and love. I will take all the challenges that come with those requirements and I will call them opportunity. Opportunity to create, innovate, be passionate about and fall in love with. Is that too much to ask for from corporate America?

I don't think so.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A recipe and I don't even cook

A recipe for turkey burgers and fancy toppings. All for you. From me. Enjoy.

Today my company had a little meeting to talk about recent job cuts and expected growth plans and the bad economy and brand awareness and all that jazz. 

They also sent us a recipe from a certain trashy-talking bad-ass culinary expert of sorts. He's got his own show, but now I've got his recipe for little turkey burgers. I'm just saying.

Makes 8 sliders
16 oz ground turkey meat, preferably dark meat
.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in white wine or water
1-2 Tbsp cooking oil, preferably canola or grapeseed
1 large shallot, small dice
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 ½ Tbsp fresh sage leaves, about 10-15 finely chopped leaves
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
To finish:
8 mini-burger buns, brioche or seeded
8 small leaves of butter leaf lettuce
Crumbled goat cheese
Prepared Cranberry sauce
Whole Grain Mustard (optional)
Mayonnaise (optional)

Soak porcini mushrooms in room temperature white wine or warm water until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms, squeeze out excess moisture and chop into small bits.
Preheat a small frying pan over medium low heat. Add cooking oil to heat through. Sauté shallots until tender and translucent. Add chopped up porcini mushrooms and sauté about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage & paprika and sauté about one minute more. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mushroom mixture with turkey meat. Season with salt and pepper and moisten with the olive oil. Continue to stir until well combined.
Divide slider mixture into 8 even portions, form a small ball and press into a pattie. Lay slider patties evenly apart in sauté pan or grill and cook for 4-5 minutes with a touch of olive oil. Open buns and lightly toast in the oven or under a broiler.
To finish: if desired, spread the bottom buns with small dollops of mustard and/or mayonnaise. Lay a lettuce leaf on the bottom slices. Place warm sliders over lettuce and top with about a teaspoon of cranberry sauce and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese. Lay top bun over & serve.