Thursday, September 25, 2008

4 Years, 2 Dreams

Four years ago, as a freshman surviving the first month of high school, we were given a small assignment. In Life Skills class, a class taught by Peer Leaders, a group of Juniors and Seniors. It was simple, just write a letter to your future self. As an annual tradition, Seniors open their letters during the month of September... and today was the day I received mine.

Two things stuck me as amazing, in regard to the paths my life has taken over the last four years. Sure, I mentioned that when I was writing it, the top news was the fourth anniversary of 9/11, and that Hurricane Katrina had just struck, but these other messages I wrote to myself were more important.

"Self-- By the time I read this, I hope that...I have continued to work with the City of Rye."
At the time I wrote the letter, the only work that I had done with the City of Rye was a voulentary few meetings and a "modern" version of my Rye: 3D. The following two summers after writing the letter, I had the pleasure of being an intern in the City Planning Department.

Success? Yes.

"..I hope that... I have continued to succeed at SketchUp and hopefully gone to the users confrence (sic) once"
This one, this one I was most excited to read this afternoon... I wrote the sentence above during my freshman year because it was then when the first 3D Basecamp took place, back in 2005 in Boulder. Though I wanted to go, there was no way my parents would ever let me go.

Success? Yes, and so much more.
I went in 2008 (since that's what this whole blog is about...) and of course, I presented. It changed my life, and having seen today's letter only made me more proud of my accomplishments at Basecamp in June.

I wish that I had done something similar to this letter, but only let it sit idle for longer. I still have reletivly vivid memories of writing the letter, where I was sitting in the classroom, and what was going on in my life. Ideally, if I were to write another letter, it wouldn't be opened until the point in which I had forgotten about it's existance.

I wonder what it would include...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reflection: Yankee Stadium

I guess it just so happens that Yankee Stadium is closing today, this same year that so many things in my life are coming to a close.

The first time I ever went to Yankee Stadium was an Old Timer's Day back in '94 or '95. I've been a back a number of times, including three times this season, probably a personal record.

I do have one personal connection with the stadium that is about to close, however, but interestingly it comes from the opponent's side. My brother was given a gift for his Bar Mitzvah that changed all of our lives. He was to be the pre-game bat boy for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays on an August day in 2006. It was truly a day I'll never forget. We arrived at the stadium around 10 AM and were escorted into the visiting team's locker room, a sight most never see. Susan Waldman struts in, checking out the batting order, taking little note in the player's bare behinds near her. Some players are in the kitchen area, others are sitting around a table playing cards. My brother has since gone off to do his duty, something with preparing the bats and whatnot, but we remain in the locker room meeting some of the players and coaches.

Then comes the one moment that I'll never forget. We exit the locker room and make a left, then a right and look straight ahead. It's a long, upward-slanting hallway with a blinding light at the top. Upon reaching the end, I realize we're in the visiting team's dugout. I proceed up the three steps from the dugout to the feild to meet my mom who's there, waiting. After my foot lands on the dirt, I suddenly hop back into the dugout, until I actually realize that I can be on the field. Looking every direction, taking in each sight, and watching the Yankees take batting practice. Gradually I become more comfortable with the idea of being able to walk on the dirt and grass, and I eventually get about 3/4 of the way to the home team's dugout. My brother was given the opprotunity to meet his hero, Bernie Williams, the handshake of which encounter I have a great picture of. I also have a wonderful picture of Joe Torre hugging Don Zimmer, reuniting after a year of seperation.

But it's the few memories of that day, exiting the hallway into the blinding light, crossing the grass behind home plate and looking into the stands, and being escorted through a tunnel through the Yankee's clubhouse hallway, the same hallway which the team's greats have also passed through. are things I'll never forget.

To Yankee Stadium, you'll be missed, but thank you for providing a backdrop for a lifechanging experience.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Reflection: Opening Ceremonies

School's been in full swing (and by full swing, I mean moving at the speed of light) for a little over a week now. This past Friday, however, the [almost] entire school gathered for one of my favorite traditions of the year, the Opening Ceremonies (Pre-K was not present this year.)

Maybe I've progressively begun to enjoy this ceremony more as I've gotten older because I've gotten closer and closer in age to the people who take part, but it's one of the traditions during which the entire school takes part.

Over the course of 20 minutes, the band performs a few songs, our Headmaster speaks, the President of the Student Body speaks, and the 12th Grade Class Officers present the Class Flag.

Being the President of the 12th Grade, a position I was running for (Post: What A Day) when I began this blog, it was my job to unfurl the flag that the officers and I designed over the summer. I was asked to introduce them and the flag, something I had not been expecting to do, but happily did anyway.

I remarked to a teacher, a few days ago, how I remember my first Opening Ceremonies. I was in Mr. Brockman's kindergarten class. It's one of my most fond memories, mostly because of that visual component, the flag of the Class Of 1996. It was with this memory in mind that I worked to design the Class of 2009 Flag as one that the kindergarden class will remember when they graduate in 2021. Our design was simple and classic, and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it came out.

Normally, the President and Vice President of the class unfold the flag, an awkward and drawn out experience for the nearly 1,000 students, faculty, and staff in the audience. This year, I had two goals for the unveiling: I wanted all four of the Officers involved, and I wanted to do away with the unfolding process. Having the flag already unfolded and placed along a step below the stage allowed all four of us to take part, making a true spectacle of the event.

The flag of the Class of 2009 is now a memory, etched right beside that 1995 Opening Ceremony unveiling...


Friday, September 5, 2008

Microsoft: A True Underdog Story

Microsoft signed a $10 million contract with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to star in a series of ads with Bill Gates. The goal? To make Microsoft "hip."

The first ad has been released; watch the horror for yourself:

My only response is this: HUH?
That might be the most pointless advertisement I've ever seen. Did anyone find that funny? And why is Bill Gates acting, anyway?

Not only was that one commercial a complete failure (at least to me) at making Microsoft "hip," but the whole plan has been doomed from the beginning.

See, Apple can be called "hip" because "young people" are the primary consumers. Using a celebrity endorsement, like Seinfeld, doesn't automatically make you part of the in crowd. Why?
Let's assume, for example, that Microsoft is targeting the younger generation: college students.

Jerry Seinfeld is 54 years old. His hit TV show, Seinfeld, was aired between the years of 1989 and 1998. A college sophomore was about 2 years old when the show began, and 11 when it ended. This student was probably watching Barney, Sesame Street, or The Simpsons at the time, not Seinfeld. Even worse, Seinfeld wasn't even a show aimed at kids! It could be an equivalent to today's Two And A Half Men--a show who's target audience is 20-30 year olds!

By hiring Jerry Seinfeld, Microsoft simply missed their target audience! I'm their target audience, and I barely know who he is, never watched his show, and actually don't think he's very funny!