Sunday, February 15, 2009

busy, but relaxing weekend!

It's been a fun-filled weekend here which has been relaxing, but busy at the same time. The weekend started early yesterday morning with a trip to the opening of the Munch exhibit at the Art Institute. They had a special members' preview in the morning and I went down with a friend who is a member :) The exhibit was really well done and I really liked how they hung most of the works with contemporaries who had influence on Munch and his own works. There were some nice Monets in there that I hadn't seen before which was a nice surprise! I really liked some of his street scenes and some of the series on couples in love. Definitely not the sort of image that usually crosses your mind when you think of Munch (The Scream, Golgotha, etc.)

After the museum, we made it up to one of my favorite Thai restaurants in the city, Roong Petch for some Massaman Curry with Mock Duck and 00 Tofu which definitely hit the spot! And I picked up some vanilla green tea on the way back to the train which was definitely very tasty :)

I spent the night watching this sci-fi bollywood movie, Love Story 2050. I thought it was sort of appropriate for v-day :) Despite the 3-hour length, it was actually pretty good. One of the dance scenes had dancing robots, which I think just really made the whole movie awesome! It was pretty high budget for an Indian film!

This morning, I met up with a really good friend of mine from MIT for brunch at Karyn's Cooked. It was really wonderful to catch up as I never get to see her now that she lives in DC. We had a wonderful time sharing fun stories of the last few years over fake sausage and scrambled tofu :)

The afternoon was filled with paper reviews. I'm on the PC for JCDL and had a few more papers left to review. I'm finally through them all and actually had a couple good ones this year. Sadly, due to Moto cutbacks I can't make it to the PC meeting. But at least I was able to put in some good reviews.

So I know all of that sounds like a crazy busy weekend. But it really felt relaxing. Art museums and catching up with friends is just such a nice peaceful way to spend a weekend.

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend! I'm jealous for all of you who have tomorrow off :)


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dentist 2.0

I really love my dentist. I spent way too long searching for a good one a few years ago and came across a guy who really understands turning a service into an experience (see The Experience Economy). Besides having like 10 honorifics after his name, he's also up on all the latest technology.

The office is going completely paperless/filmless and all records are digital. Before your appointment you have the choice of getting a text message or email reminder with a link that you can accept on the web. When you get there they hang up your coat and offer you a bottle of water and they know your name because they have pictures of everyone who is coming in that day on a screen behind the front desk.

Once you're in the chair, you get a remote to control a TV in front of you. All of the staff is amazingly friendly and they all do things together outside work, like running the Shamrock Shuffle next month! They're all super geeky and love showing you everything they can see and their thought processes when it comes to treatments.

And they have all the latest toys. This past time, I had a little bit of extra gum growing in between two teeth. They wanted to remove it and after explaining how it was getting in the way and causing no good, used this water-laser to chop it off in a few seconds. The amazing thing, they didn't need to numb me and it didn't hurt at all. New gadgets are fun :)

Oh, and after the appointment, they send you a web survey for feedback so that they can improve anything that wasn't totally up to your expectations!

Anyway, I wish more medical professionals would come up to speed on offering a true experience and make visiting a doctor/dentist something that's enjoyable and not dreaded. If you're looking for a dentist in Chicago, I definitely recommend Dr. Tomaselli.



Thursday, February 05, 2009

Boston, Part I

This week was the beginning of my spring semester journeys to MIT. For those that don't know, I co-teach a class, 21w.789 Communicating with Mobile Technology, with Ed Barrett. And yes, for those in the know, that's the Writing and Humanistic Studies department...which is a very interesting place to have a class like this. The class is about the human-centered design process and creating mobile media applications. It's basically my job at Motorola taught in 12 weeks :)

So Tuesday morning I made my way to O'Hare, standing out in the 4 degree weather to catch the train to the airport. My flight was canceled, but as I have one more month left of 1K on United, it was a breeze to get a nice seat on the next flight! Not too much later I was in snowy Boston making my way to MIT.

After some Anna's Taqueria and a few conference calls, it was time for class. We have a wonderful group of around 30 students. I'm really excited to see what they can come up with for their projects! It's going to be another great year!

After class, I made my way to Eastern Standard to meet up with my friend Helen and a bunch of our college friends for drinks. It was so wonderful to see everyone and catch up! And I talked Helen, Nicole, Erin, and Nancy into running the 2010 Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon with me!! It's going to be so much fun!!!

I stayed with my high school friend Susan and in the morning we made our way to Bagel Rising for wonderful tofu-cream "cheese" bagels. A quick T ride to the airport and I was on my way home!

When I got to the airport, I realized that my flight home wasn't direct. I had forgotten all about this as I booked the trip a while back. Non-stops to Boston are pretty crazy this year and it was much cheaper to make a stop in Charlotte on the way back. Anyway, I was in the airport down there and went to CPK ASAP to get a pizza to take on the next leg of the flight. I asked for a Hawaiian with no meat and no cheese, my usual CPK pizza. And the girl behind the counter looked and me really funny and said "What y'all orderin' ain't no pizza" at which point I was quite confused and asked if she could make what I was asking. She called back to the guy making pizzas and his response was "I ain't got no clue what that is, pizza with no cheese!" I explained, it's just sauce and pineapple, and he was like "OK. I can make that for you! But that's weird." Ah, the South.

Anyway, after getting to Chicago I made my way downtown for some fun data analysis with our mobile devices design team. It totally made my day, as did a fun dinner at Elephant and Castle. I miss working with that team!

In other news, I just accepted a request to be on the Program Committee for the Human-Centered Multimedia track for ACM Multimedia '09 so I'll be down in Cancun for the program committee meeting (on my own dime, but don't get me started on that) :)


Sunday, February 01, 2009

MIT...stating the obvious...

I was downloading a set of MIT Certificates to my new work laptop and in the process got the following message:

According to our records you last changed your password on:

Tue Sep 14 23:16:29 1999

which is more than a year ago.

Yes, I do think that 1999 was more than a year ago :)