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Friday
Aug012008

Memories of Camp brought to the surface by Lisa Loeb

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing my favorite musician and favorite client Lisa Loeb perform at Joe's Pub.  The show wasn't an ordinary Lisa Loeb show.  This was a show celebrating the release of her kids record called Camp Lisa.  The commemorate the CD she sang songs from the record and had people come up and tell their stories of camp.  I felt inspired and wanted to write MY camp story as well.

Although I have very good memories of camp (this one included) this is kind of a sad story.  It's about the loss of your first love in a very real way.   After you read the story, feel free to download the song that I wrote about this boy and about this experience.

Let me begin by saying that this is no ordinary camp love story. It's different, partly because it's mine but partly because I have nothing left of it but a few pictures and some rapidly fading memories.

The story of my first love begins at 14 years old in the summer of 1995. We were all wearing flannel shirts in summer and the Reality Bites soundtrack was on heavy rotation.

I'm not quite sure when I first noticed him. He was a barely overweight, sweet looking boy with the greatest head of curly hair I had ever seen. I vaguely remember asking him what he would do for a Klondike Bar while waving my metallic frozen confection in front of his face. From that moment on, we were the inseparable, perfect camp couple that everyone wanted to be.

Most of that summer flew by and only poorly maintained memories are still available to me. I do remember his leather cabby hat that he used to encapsulate that massive head of curls. I remember the two of us singing Stephen Sondheim's "I Am Unworthy of Your Love" on stage in front of a theatre full of confused children. I remember making out every night on the blacktop outside of the boys bunk.  But mostly I remember walking. We would parade down a dirt road, hand in hand from the mess hall back to our bunks. At some point he would stop me, look up and say "this is the most beautiful place in camp. ". With his head pointed towards the sky we would stare at the sunlight trickling through a heavy tangle of branches and trees.

After that summer we did our best to "stay together". We made phone calls that were just a bit too long, we dabbled in a new technology called "email" and I even made the trip across the country to spend the week with my love.

By the first day of camp the following summer, he had forgotten the love we shared and broke up with me.

Roughly ten years went by and news of a camp reunion quickly spread. I wasn't particularly excited about seeing anyone from camp. That is, except for him. What was he like? What had he done with his life? My curiosity led me to type his name into a web search. The first result was some kind of news story about someone with the same name, but it couldn't be him in the story. Next result, same news story, still it couldn't be him they were talking about. Third result...his fathers name. His father thanking the police department for aiding in the search, thanking the people who said prayers, thanking the people who attended the funeral of their 24 year old son.   He had gone hiking, then missing and then his body was found almost 3 months later. I wept for his family. I wept for the fear he must have felt. I wept for the 14 year old boy that I loved who will never get to see his camp friends 10 years later.   A few weeks later at the camp reunion, I sat in the middle of that dirt road with my head raised high to feel the small rays of sunlight dry up all my tears.


When She Looks Up

Wednesday
Jul232008

SeamlessWeb: food for the lazy

I'll admit it, I am a lazy lazy new yorker.  If I can order anything without having to go into a store or pick up the phone, I'm happy.  That's why I was thrilled when a few years back, I discovered seamlessweb.  Unlike it's other delivery counterparts, seamlessweb was easy, quick and had a much slicker interface than all the other sites out there.

There are 2 things about this site that stand out for me.  First, they allow you to tip on the site so you don't have to deal with figuring out the tip in the heat of the delivery moment. This is important.  I can't tell you how many times I've over or under tipped someone because my math was a little off that day.  Seamless web takes most of the guess work out of that by giving a suggested tip.  One thing I wish they did was give the percentage option.  I like to tip 15-20% and I just want to make sure I'm giving the guy who makes $2/hour a big enough tip.

Second is that they actually have specials.  Often seamlessweb will run 20% off deals for certain restaurants.  This is pretty great because it makes me try new restaurants that maybe have a deal instead of running to my old standards.

Some other great features is the ability to check your history of orders.  Remember that amazing burger you had last week?  You can reorder it.  Remember that awful indian food you had a month ago?  Don't forget to give that  place a bad review.  I do with the interface for this history part was a bit more intuitive.  I often click on the page, expecting to see a summary of what I ordered, but instead I'm prompted to rate my experience.  I kind of wish it was the other way around.

I do have 1 gripe with my seamlessweb profile page.  I do have the ability to store several different addresses so I can order from home, work, my in-laws, all with the same login.  However, I can only store 1 phone number.  That's a little strange.  I'm forced to use my cell phone even though I don't often answer my cell phone at work.  Whatever, I'll deal but it would be great if they could figure that out.

Anyway, that's my little mini review of seamlessweb.  It seems like they are doing great things and I can't wait to see what they come up with around social networking and just simply improving their product.

Friday
Jun272008

Lifeline Gallery

A good friend of mine has a tough job.  He does marketing and tech stuff for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  It's an organization that helps people who are thinking about committing suicide or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

A few days ago my friend helped launch this site The Lifeline Gallery which is an interactive gallery of people's stories of loss.  They discuss their own battles with suicide or how they are dealing with loss.  The concept is quite brilliant.  A person creates an avatar or likeness of themselves.  They can either call in their stories or type their stories and the computer will speak the words.  This creates a beautiful quilt of visual stories all dealing with suicide.  Although the site is tough to stay on for too long, I think it really addresses the issue in an engaging, tasteful way.

Please support this cause and check out the site.  I think you will find it as moving as I did.