Saturday, February 25, 2012

Golf Club and The Creepy Killer

There are two of us left at the lab.  It's early evening.  It's dark.

My co-worker, G, packs up. 

Jamie:  I'm about ten minutes behind you but can you please lock me in?
(turn the knob on the door so the code is needed to get into the lab).

G:  Sure.  See you.

About three minutes later I get a text from G:

FYI someone is creepily hovering on the steps

I'm waiting for the second part of the text that says "I'll come back and we can walk out together."  Kind of wondering what level of concern prompted a text but not a rescue.  I write back and ask.

I'm not worried worried.  But I decide that I'll feel more at ease (and potentially appear more intimidating) with some type of defense.

I look around the lab.  Aha!  Golf Club.  Perfect.  Almost poetic.

I'm getting ready to leave and step outside the lab (but not outside the building) to use the restroom.

In the foyer of the building I see the back of a big guy in jeans and a hoodie standing purposelessly

Jamie (thinking):  Holy shit.  It's the killer! (yes, he went from being a creepy guy to the killer).  He's in the building.  Attack?  Get back in the lab.  Krav Maga.  Cross Fit.  Get him in the balls and then the face.  Go for the eyes (this is a split second worth of thinking).

The killer turns around.

It's a co-worker.

I start laughing hysterically.  

And kinda wish he hadn't turned around.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Golf and Studs

On Friday night my boss sent a few folks from the lab to a charity auction to obtain items the lab might enjoy (in other words we bid, he paid).

My hovering skills (part of the auction was silent) resulted in obtaining both items I chose for the lab.

Item #1
Two golf lessons for ten people.

I put it to the lab like this - "You people need more practical skills."

Item #2
We'll get a private concert from three MBA's who describe themselves as "studs."  They'll come to the lab and sing top 40 songs.  I made a bid.

Someone came over and remarked "Hey look, we're up to XX amount."

Jamie (says):  Are you one of the three studs?

Jamie (thinking):  He's good looking in that generic MBA kind of way.  Please say yes.

Stud:  Yes.

Jamie (says):   I'll give you stud-ly but where are the other two?  And do you know Rebecca Black's Friday?

Jamie (thinking):  Please say yes.

Stud:  Over there (points).   And yes.

Jamie (thinking):  MBA's all look the same.

Jamie (says):  Approved.  I own you.  Start rehearsing.

Jamie (thinking):  It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.

Somehow I missed "Friday" at the height of it's popularity.  So, now I play it every Friday and try to get a little dance party going.  I usually only have one other person who will rock out with me and that's enough. It also bothers the crap out of someone else who then requires we listen to 18 minutes of classical music as cleansing.

I can't wait for these guys to show up and sing it.  We're going to try to schedule all of our events around the same time (to hell with the research about spreading out enjoyable experiences) and call it a carnival.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reconsidering Retirement

When I first arrived in Florida I was floating in the pool gazing at a palm tree and thought: Travel to Florida is great motivation to save for retirement.

After eight games of Scrabble (and then some Connect Four) I reconsidered and decided being in Florida is just good motivation never to retire.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting Real In The Whole Foods Shopping Cart

Now I'm on the inside looking at my list.
Hummus, Pita, Jamie, and a Lemon Twist.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


The study of behavioral economics yields unexpected insights that can challenge our assumptions and experience of the world we live in.

It also yields results to which many respond "Duh."

Sometimes I think "Duh" might be funny alternate name for our lab (the lab already has a very funny name that I've not yet been able to say with a straight face).

The "Duh" response can undermine the impact of an empirical exploration of a topic or the discovery of a nuance that might lead us to question conventional thinking.  It's sorta arrogant too.

I was presenting research to a corporation last week.  Here's how I set things up:

"One of the things I like working at a place called The Cntr 4 Advncd Hndsght* is the opportunity to ask people what they think the results will be before they can remark that they're obvious.  So, before I move on to the next slide please take a moment to consider the outcome."

And I waited a good solid moment.  

I didn't want to be pedantic by asking for people to share or write down their hypotheses but unprompted, some folks did.

Perhaps that added some (relative) zing to my results.  They weren't earth-shattering but there was an important difference in conditions I wanted to highlight.  

The conversation that followed was better for it. Obviously.

*using abbreviations to keep Google off this.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why I Might Not Be A Good Social Scientist: Reason #4

I default to participation versus observation.
I was in a social setting where I was meant to observe people playing a game.
The first question was asked, I knew the answer, I jumped up and rang the bell.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Random Delights

I'm just back from an adventure in Minnesota.  The temperatures and lack of snow were unimpressive.  Had it not been for a "Youbetcha" at hotel check-in I might have wondered if I was in the wrong place.

Actually, I was at the wrong place at the time of the youbetcha.  It did not occur to me that there were like three Hiltons downtown.  I was pleased with the relative luxuriousness of the hotel and room when I finally got there.  Of utmost importance however:

I was in Minnesota for work.  We've been working with a corporation in Minneapolis addressing business questions using behavioral economics.  My personal highlight was sharing research I had done on their behalf (hotel products were a close second).

I learned a lot observing my boss manage conversations, draw on research and respond to questions.  Also, he can be extremely blunt and it's quite entertaining.  It's never ill-intentioned or disrespectful.  Just pointed.  With good reason.

As part of my research I spent my Friday night outside of a MN town called "Ham Lake" playing a modified version of Family Feud with perfect strangers.

Very random delights.

Unique Scandinavian Design?

You can't put a round peg in a square hole.
You also can't put a triangular piece of glass in a rectangular window frame.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A few posts ago I wrote about my father and the death of his very close friend.  I noted that his faith would provide him some comfort.

It isn't.

My father is deeply religious and believes in a heaven.  Of believers.

His friend was not a believer.  They will not meet again in an after life.  His friend is gone.  Forever.   My dad's faith is strong and there are no exceptions or reinterpretations.  I respect and admire his commitment to his principles.  They have brought him profound comfort, peace and joy but often times the depth of one emotion can be matched by it's opposite.

In an effort to better understand the origin of this belief I've started to study the bible.  My limited understanding of the contents suggest an element of interpretation.  I have no intention of trying to change what my dad believes.  I truly want to understand what guides him.

I'm not religious but I am interested in the study of it.  A year ago I took a class about the Philosophy of Religion that explored arguments for and against the existence of God.  It led me to wonder how my very logical father reasoned his faith.  It led me to ask him.  The depth of his faith is such that the question of the existence of god isn't a fathomable question.

I admit that as much as I admire my dad's faith I wonder about the idea of set of prescribed beliefs rather than reasoned or discovered guiding principles.  There's something inflexible about the former and slippery about the latter.

I've explored the question of my own spirituality and I cannot embrace the idea of a god.  I can ask the question, but sometimes I wonder if I've truly allowed myself to fathom the idea and if I any less flexible in my so called exploration of the topic.

I just don't know.

Carleton brought me to Dan so I brought Dan to Carleton.

A nice note I got after the event:
You gave Carleton a great gift last night.  Dan's talk was a big hit, generated a lot of buzz and discussion, and modeled expansive thinking about important issues coupled with scientific discipline.  It was wonderful.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Jamie's Halftime Show

Madonna was great.  But imagine how awesome it would have been if you heard the first few notes of Vogue, a shadow of Madonna and then this.

I'm too easily entertained.

I had a brief moment of, something, watching the ads.

It's possible I'll be more on the hook for clever remarks about the commercials tomorrow than I ever was at the agency.  It's also possible I'll be the only person who watched the game.