I’m just going to apologize in advance for the lack of variety in this weeks post, but two things stuck out to me this week as exceedingly blog-worthy. I want to build some suspense, so I want to start by talking about the first major catheter based surgery I was able to observe.
This was a fairly short week because of the zoo trip, but we still got a lot done. My favorite part was putting together my own recipe-- I put together a few different ganaches at home, and recreated my favorite one in the kitchen with Jeremy's help, as I mentioned in the previous post. The flavor of my truffles has changed over the course of the week, and I now realize it needs a little more work. Some other flavors we/I experimented with were spicy mango and basil truffles-- both delicious.
In addition to chocolate, I've learned a lot about how to cook everyday foods. Eggs, soups and stews this week, all of which will come in handy next year. i've been coming home and trying them out, which has been a lot of fun.
Because of a mix-up with a large order of chocolate that came in, we had to measure out ingredients for recipes containing white chocolate for nearly a whole day. Three large bags we recieved were close to their best-by dates, so we made several batches of recipes that need that kind of chocolate. To do this, we measured the ingredients (usually butter, cream, chocolate, invert sugar, and glucose, with some variation for flavors) into bags, then vaccum-sealed them and put them in the freezer to be melted and emulsified when they are needed in the future. A small side note- glucose is the biggest pain to work with. It comes in a large bucket, and is a clear substance (I can't think of a word to properly describe the texture of it, somewhere between honey and corn syrup, but much stickier and stringier) that seems to exist just to stick to things it shouldn't. It makes up a very small part of any recipe it's in, but measuring out exactly 17.5g of glucose is rather tricky.
I'm bummed that the project is nearly over, the past three weeks have gone by so fast!
This second week has been very similar to the first, although everything is going smoother now that I know what I’m doing (or at least more than I did). Thankfully, Jeremy is a very talkative person and we’ve amused ourselves while measuring out ingredients or running ganaches through the enrobing machine by talking about human nature, politics, Woody Allen movies, cooking techniques, and all topics in between. Today at lunch (Vietnamese sandwiches) we had an in-depth discussion about how to properly make a meat or vegetable stock with good deep flavor and how to properly sear meat. I have a feeling this all will really come in handy when I’m cooking for my section mates at Whitman next year. Jeremy is considering moving the business from a small kitchen with no storefront to a larger location downtown, with room to sell the chocolates to hungry/hedonistic passers-by. Earlier this week, we went downtown and spent an afternoon touring a potential location. It was really interesting to see how the space looks now (really trashed and with some very poor interior décor choices) and imagining how it could look in the future, with all of the awful ceiling tiles and linoleum removed and replaced with a cleaner kitchen, seating areas, and some color of paint on the walls that doesn’t make anyone who walks in want to walk right back out again. I also formulated my own recipe for a ganache this week: almonds, vanilla, and a little bit of honey in a milk chocolate ganache, enrobed in dark chocolate. I’ve attached a picture of this, along with some of the other slightly defective chocolates that I was forced to take home and give to friends. *sigh* Life is so difficult. Along with my chocolates (nothing on top) we have here the Portland Porter (three little grains on top), the Spicy Passion (white chocolate), Mint Tea (dried mint leaves on top), a water ganache (the round one by itself) and several kinds of tasty ganache left over when the ganaches were cut into squares for enrobing. My chocolate turned out fairly well, though I plan on tweaking the recipe a bit more. Maybe I’ll bring some of these in for my presentation. Sound good? This week has been just as great as last week! I’m learning more every day, and having fun to boot.
For my senior project I'm working at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)! It's a non-proft organization based near Powells in downtown Portland. (here!) They run year round exhibitions, have a stellar resource room full of rare art books, and are best known for a festival they run in September: the Time Based Arts Festival (TBA).
I landed at PICA just as things were starting to really heat up for the Time Based Arts Festival. When I got to work on Monday, Beth Hutchins showed me bike parking and I got to sit in on a lengthy meeting regarding prep for the event. Everyone at the meeting placed post it notes of ToDos for the next six months. Each month was more filled than the last in a sea of sticky paper. The meeting ran a couple hours. It was perfect preparation for jumping into the organization.
After the meeting Kristan Kennedy, the visual arts currator, showed me how to set up the current installation at PICA. Right now PICA is exhibiting the priemere installation of Andrea Geyer's "Three Chants Modern": a video piece exploring women's role in institutions for modernist art like MOMA which was founded by a group of women who credited themselves by last name. The ~20 minute video loops throughout the work day and can be heard all around the office. It's very powerful.
Afterwards, Roya: my off campus mentor and the community engagement manager at PICA, showed me my desk at PICA and introduced me to my first project.
PICA runs a grant giving system called the Precipice Fund. The Precipice Fund gives money to up and coming artists, art galleries, and collectives. Recipients include 12128 Microresidencies a contemporary exhibition space on a boat docked in Portland, the Experimental Film Festival in Portland, Container Corps, an art publication studio and many many others.
My first project at PICA had me turning Precipice fund updates from grantees into blog posts in Wordpress. I learned quite a bit about navigating Wordpress as a tool and formatting text for blogging. The work should be surfacing over the next few months!
Since PICA requires a lot of community outreach, my second project had me researching local visual, performance, and liberal arts teachers in the Portland area and compiling their contact information into a spreadsheet. I dug through multiple college sites to find professor focuses and emails to pull together a more complete image.
My third and most recent project has been centered around pooling together evidence for out of country performance visas. To get into the USA and perform you need a specific performance visa. To get such a visa you basically need to be able to prove that you're well enough known nationally to cross the border. The system is fairly old fashioned so internet articles are less convincing than print sources. I've been pooling together articles proving that artists are well known internationally by digging through online databases for articles and googling for reviews.
I also came in at an interesting time because someone had stolen thousands of dollars worth of books from the resource room the week before I got there. The books were taken out and sold to Powells. Powells is now returning the books as they pull them off their shelves. Part of my work has also been helping to clean resources up. That means I've been tallying some expenses and helping to figure out what's around and what's not.
It's been a very productive week and I'm looking forward to whatever comes up next!
Wow, I don't even know where to start with this week. I guess I will break down how I have been spending my time, before moving into a specific experience I had this week, then I will end off by looking forward at the weeks to come and what my senior project has in store. Unfortunately, this week included a lot of time away from my senior project courtesy of the AP Chemistry and AP BC Calculus tests, however that did not deter me from spending as much time possible by Dr. Gupta's (my mentor) side. While with Dr. Gupta, my days were evenly divided this week between Marquam Hill and the Center for Health and Healing on the waterfront.
The first week has been really fun, I am starting to learn the ropes and learn what is done on the job. The very first thing I did after getting set up at my desk in the picture below is we went to a sales call. We meet with a client and discussed what she wanted. She was looking for her living and dining room to be reorgsnised and possibly partly refurnashed. Since then I have gone to many sales calls and in construction sites that Jason is working on. I have also spent much of my time on a program called sketchup making 3D renderings. So far I have made my college doorm room to learn how to use the program. I then made a few diffrent options for a wall that is being added into one of Jason's clients bed room.I have also been using a program called AutoCAD which is used from everything from making blue prints to designing engins. I have been using AutoCAD to make blue print esque floor plans for several of Jasons clients.
In addition to working with an internal medic, I am also following a physical therapist. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, I work with Dr. Mir at the internal medicine clinic, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I follow physical therapist Jim at Westside Physical Therapy. By interning in both internal medicine and physical therapy, I am able to observe how different areas in health care collaborate. Dr. Mir refers many of his patients to Westside Physical Therapy, most commonly sending patients with cases of diabetes or back and knee pain.
However, unlike my time at Dr. Mir’s clinic, I do not commonly see diabetic patients trekking through a weight loss program at Westside Physical Therapy. The most common case I see at physical therapy is recovery from joint or muscle pain. Many of the patients I have been seeing these past several weeks were sent to PT because, for example, they were in a motorized vehicle accident, had torn a muscle while playing basketball, or had to do knee replacement surgery.
Although the patients are referred to PT for a diverse number of reasons, most everybody has a somewhat similar plan for recovery based exercises. Patients will do both cardio and strength training workouts at PT. A PT patient during a strength building session would first start off with biking for 5 to 10 minutes. They would then warm up a specific portion of the body in order to prepare for the specific muscle training that fits the patient’s case. Then, the patient would enter a muscle workout, where the PT will guide the patient through various exercises that will help strengthen specific muscles in need of recovery. During cardio, the PT will help a patient keep fit without damaging any of the tissues that are related to the patient’s case. They would start out with a bike session of about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enter into various cardio exercises.
That is the basic gist of what I have been observing at Westside Physical Therapy, and what I have been doing other than internal medicine these past several weeks.
My sole task for Sandy this week was the complete cataloguing of uniforms - an immense task, but one that will inevitably save everyone involved with athletics a few headaches. I began by photographing all of the uniforms I could find in the weight room closet, front and back, and after condensing them all into one document, began to organize them. I paired the home and away uniforms for each specific team with one another so that someone looking at the document could easily find what they're looking for. After pairing up the uniforms, I then set out discovering whose uniforms were whose - whether it be JV or Varsity, Boys or Girls, Middle School or Upper School, every uniform had to be labeled. I am still in the midst of this process as I am typing this. The reason for all of this is so in the future, I can create a large spreadsheet the holds all of the data regarding which uniforms have been turned in and which haven't. Sandy is still relatively new to Catlin, and thus isn't familiar enough with each uniform to know which is which. Hopefully I will be able to have pictures of the uniforms alongside the data, so that anyone can know when tracking down uniforms what they look like, and which ones are missing. That's really all I worked on this week - it was a shorter week and Sandy was also out on Thursday and Friday, which severely limited our interaction. Hopefully I'll have a juicier final blog post, but for now, that's where my senior project is!
So week 3 has come and gone, and now its time for another installation of rap pun titled blog posts about my experience working with GLIDER. Unfortunately, I was not able to work with GLIDER nearly as much as I would have liked to last week, because of several events that were out of my control. I worked a full day last Monday in the east side office on a new blog post about trends in employee tenure. Using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the blog post was supposed to demonstrate how workers are working more jobs over the course of their lifetime, and that lack of job security has interesting consequences for our modern economy. I have to draw my own conclusions on what this means for the "millenial/Gen Y" work force. It was a challenging blog post that realistically would've taken all week for me to do well, but several things prevented me from finishing this post last week. After the day off on Tuesday, when the seniors went to the zoo with the first graders, the GLIDER team went to San Francisco to go to a conference called "Under The Radar" to pitch to VCs and companies that might be interested in their service. They stayed there from Wednesday through Friday. I planned to work from home, if not for the AP fiasco (my entire Calculus II class had their BC scores cancelled, so I took my retake test Thursday morning and had to spend my entire day from home on Wednesday studying for it.) For that reason, I was really only able to work on this blog post on Monday and Friday last week, and wasn't able to finish by the end of the week. It might seem ridiculous, but that's life, and I have to roll with it (or GLIDE with it.) I'll be working on this blog post into next week, but I really want to have an awesome last week with GLIDER, so I plan on taking in as much as possible before my time is up and working really hard. At some point in the last week, we'll move out of the dark, gloomy east side office we share with Sprintly into the new, entirely our own office in the Pearl, which I am very excited about. According to Justin and Eli, the conference went really well; everyone loved what they were doing and they had a ton of engaging conversations from people who wanted to get involved. Not much else to report now, but I promise my blog post following the end of my last week will be spectacular.
This week was a wild one. I fulfilled a lifelong dream, grew a few gray hairs, became a fence-posting master, and suffered temporary deafness due to my proximity to gunfire. Are you on the edge of your seat, chomping at the bit for the next details (especially about those fences)? Read on.
The most intriguing part of this past week, by far, was assisting in the district track meet. It gave me the best glimpse at what an athletic director's job really is, and how he/she interacts with coaches. Essentially, Sandy is like the coach of the coaches. She has to make sure everyone is doing alright and they're happy, but also that they're staying within the rules and treating their players correctly (as well as fulfilling their coaching duties). An AD has to know most things about most sports, not being an expert in any particular discipline but having enough knowledge of the sport's workings to make unbiased and intelligent decisions. This is also important because she's readily accessible on-campus, and is therefore often sought out when there are questions or issues regarding sports. She has to be prepared to deal with these, because coaches aren't always on campus. I have really garnered a lot of respect for Sandy and her line of work. It's not always a thankful job, but it's an absolutely essential one. Even though I'm most likely not pursuing a line of work in her field, I want to apply Sandy's work ethic wherever I end up; keeping everyone happy, but not over-extending oneself and having to retract on your previously overzealous statements (i.e., don't promise what you can't deliver). This is also particularly relevant to someone such as myself who hopes to become involved in international diplomacy one day.
Now, back to the track meet. On Thursday, the day before the meet, I loaded all of the necessary gear into the Gator and drove it down to the announcers booth, where I helped Catherine (Sandy's assistant) to set up the tech hub. In doing so I got to pilot the glorious Gator, if only for a short while. Those scant few minutes were a blur of joy (because really, once you've seen Facilities whirring around in them, their allure is truely ineffable). I was very impressed when the tiny wooden frame with a scoreboard on it was turned into the meet's center for organization, time management, and number crunching. It was obvious everyone involved knew what they were doing. Next, I had to set up the camera at the finish line, making sure that everything was plugged in properly and that nothing was blocking the camera's view.
My task on Friday was to follow and aid Sandy wherever she needed the assistance while also learning her roles in the operation of the meet. I began by setting up the blue and white fences that separate the field events from the crowd. This was a fairly straightforward task that simply needed doing. Afterwards, things started getting dicey, as we soon realized that the starter (i.e., the person who shoots the gun to start the race) was misinformed about what time he needed to be here and had to be rushed to the starting line of the first event. To make matters worse, the system which tracks the start of the race and sends said info to the announcers booth was having serious issues. This was really frustrating to all of us, as it was the most up-to-date system available and it still wasn't functioning. Fortunately we managed to get everything running again before the runners had to wait too long.
That's all for this week!
This week was very exciting! I knew my way around the bakery and understood the process, so the bakers trusted me to work with the pastry dough a little more. Although my alarm was still set for 4:45, I decided to start waking up to something brighter! I hooked my ipod up to my alarm clock and woke up to Britney Spears’ lovely voice singing her 2000 hit: “Lucky”. With a catchy tune in my head, I was ready to start another day at the bakery.
This is the spray gun we use to egg wash the pastries. It makes an awfully loud noise that wakes me up pretty quickly in the mornings.
This is a display of cookies that I cleaned. There are chocolate chip, coconut chocolate chip, and oatmeal cookies in it!
This is the tray of cooked pastries we keep in the middle of the bakery, so that the cashier can easily acess fresh pastries and give them to the customer.
This is a pinwheel. This is the pastry we get from the Division location (minus the apricot, I put that on before taking the picture).
We then have to create little wells to hold the different fillings. You can see the filled pinwheel on the right. It has raspberry, apple, and blackberry jam, as well as a cheese custard.
These are strawberry flowers. You have to make little wells and fill them with strawberry jam. They're topped off with a piece of strawberry in the middle.
Then we bake them and put them on display! Here are some cheese, raspberry, and raspberry/cheese croissants.
I had a very busy second week working with GLIDER. Between juggling the two projects I've had to work on that I described in my last blog post, Eli was in and out meeting with investors, on the phone with potential business clients, etc. (he even added over two more hours to his work day.) Meanwhile, Justin and Cameron are as busy as I've ever seen them. So I'm glad to be of any sort of help, and I'm learning a lot observing Eli managing this company.
The first project I worked on was helping Eli research and compile a list of businesses with over 100 employees that have been seeded by venture firms that Eli is connected with. I had to find out the names of their CEO, COO, VP of Sales, VP of BD, and their sales operations managers are (which wasn't easy, the information on linkedin often differed with the information on databases like crunchbase and on the company websites.) I think that next week either Eli or I will be reaching out to some of these people to try to pitch GLIDER to them so they can use it in their actual businesses, as an alternative to having to manage their contracts and sign deals the way they currently do.
The second project I've been working on has been helping Justin with content for his blog, The Future Of Work (http://futureofwork.glider.com/). The blog is meant to be a stand-alone project that discusses how "smart enterprise" tools are disrupting enterprise as usual. The premise is that, today, because of how seamless and successful consumer tools like Facebook and Twitter are, workers expect the same quality of performance from the tools they have to use at work. Often times, the IT departments of their work give workers tools that they'd prefer to substitute for technology they are more familiar with, so when workers bring in their own technology to be more efficient to work (BYOD = bring your own device), the IT departments and CIOs can be the last to know. Services like GLIDER that are making work much easier and far more efficient are disrupting entire industries. I spent the majority of last week working on a blog post that discussed this (it'll get published next week), with links to various articles and a big shout out to one of my all time favorite comedies, Office Space. I also helped on a running series called "The Business Setup" that showcases the different technologies that modern businesses use to be more efficient, like Github or Hipchat. I've learned a lot of interesting things by managing this blog, like the "Flesch-Kinkaid Readability Test," which uses a formula that involves ratios between words in a sentence and syllables in a word throughout the text to indicate how comprehensive and difficult the reading is. For example, on a 1-100 scale, a blog post should score above a 50 (fairly easy to read or skim). The text in blog posts can't be like text from Dickens or in Heart of Darkness, which would probably score close to 0, if not in the negatives.
Next week should be a little less busy. Besides the senior/first grade trip to the zoo, the GLIDER team is going down to San Francisco for another tech conference that would introduce them to more VCs and angel investors called "Under the Radar," so I'll be working from home those days. We also move into the new office in the Pearl next week, which I'm excited about (more food options for lunch), so I suppose I'm helping Eli move furniture on Monday.
A quick anecdote about the week: on the second floor of my building, there's a modeling agency and I always see the two women who scout potential models walking out of the building at the same time as me whenever I'm on my lunch break. So they invite me into their office one day after work to have my picture taken and meet their boss, and when I come in to see the open casting call, I literally see some of the cutest girls ever, who aren't even that much older than me. So I come in, everyone's all smiles, I'm making nice conversation with this blond girl on the couch waiting to have my picture taken, when they tell me that I'm too short. (Really hurt my pride with that one.) It's not like I've ever felt any desire to model, but I feel like it would be funny to have girls see my face going into an Abercrombie. Knowing me, the whole thing would be very ironic. Anyway, this story has made for some funny jokes in the GLIDER office, and hopefully I get into more funny encounters in the new building in the Pearl.
Here's a video featuring GLIDER from the Wall Street Journal: http://live.wsj.com/video/what-does-it-take-to-be-the-next-hot-start-up/B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F.html#!B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F
Here's an article about GLIDER from Tech Crunch about GLIDER's launch at Disrupt in NY: http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/29/glider-launches-at-disrupt-ny-with-saas-that-automates-approving-and-signing-contracts-adds-intelligence-to-deal-flow/
In the picture below, Eli is writing something up on the whiteboard and Cameron looks super engaged.