Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thank you, George Will

A few of my blogging colleagues are awfully focused on their personal dislike of Gov. Daniels and have had a hard time seeing the benefit in the George Will column. Frankly, I'm glad to see someone's finally noticed that Indiana seems to be on the road to recovery. It's been a little hard to hear the whole symphony lately with all the cacophony coming from the DST and time zone sections and the Delphi issue.

Dems argue buying floormats for the BMV instead of leasing doesn't draw much of a picture, but the overall culture of change along with some of the governor's larger economic successes paint a bigger picture. Frankly, Will makes Indiana look pretty good and as a state, we could use some of that. (Take note, Sen Miller the next time you decide to introduce some completely ridiculous piece of legislation.) Does Indiana lose college graduates at a high rate? Yes. But the numbers the Dems never trot out are those showing Indianapolis' under-40 population growing at a higher rate than 90% of other American cities -- and also the numbers highlighting "boomerangers" or those college grads who leave the state and later move back to take higher paying jobs, start families, and buy homes. Leaders like Daniels who want to keep the state on track economically are crucial to keeping these numbers up. (Ultra conservative, Old White Guy GOPers who introduce nutty social legislation? Not so much.)

One thing I've learned about Hoosiers -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- while I've been here is how they hate change. Folks from Indiana don't like progress and they don't like new ways of doing anything. Right or wrong, it's a perception that many in this state are going to have to change if the economy and business environment are going to be anything but home grown. Change can be painful. But Indiana can have a terrific future if we keep electing strong, brave leaders who aren't afraid to step on a few toes to get the job done. With the progress Daniels is making, Indiana is looking better already.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

'Tis the Season

Here in Indianapolis, we woke up to the first snow of the season yesterday! Lots of busy days to come while family and friends are traveling for holidays, parties, graduations (congratulations, nephew), errands, and shopping. This year, it marks for me the observation again of an age old family tradition -- in my parents house and mine: dressing the house.

Since I can remember, Thanksgiving weekend marked one of my favorite times of the year, the weekend we decorated the house and put in the tree. My mother always threw a formal luncheon at Christmas and the house was pristine. For eleven months of the year, big boxes marked "XMAS" lived on high shelves in the garage. For a child, they were filled with all the excitement of the season. The Saturday after Thanksgiving (or the weekend after that if we were traveling) was the day the boxes came down and we unpacked loved Christmas treasures -- I remember boxes of decorations for the tree (small frosted fruit baskets and bows), elaborate centerpieces with greenery and figurines, banners, garlands with frosted fruit, and all other assorted decorative pieces. It was a day to greet old friends and be delighted by ones I'd forgotten. I wasn't allowed to help with much until I was old enough to really contribute. (My mom was on a schedule!) Plus along with unpacking box after box came un-fun jobs like cleaning light fixtures, ironing endless bows and ribbon, and moving furniture readying the house for the holiday season. The entire process was capped by bringing in the tree (always live) and putting on ornaments. We always did this last -- usually on a Sunday night.

This year, since I'm gone on the weekend, today and tomorrow are my own days for holiday decorating. Since early this morning with the Macy's parade on the television, I've been taking up rugs, moving furniture, and bringing boxes down from storage. Later today, there will be window washing, touch-up painting, ironing, assembling garlands, sweeping, cleaning, and more. By the end of tomorrow, all will be ready for the tree next week. (A big, live Frasier fir every year.)

Over the years, friends have called my need to put the house in holiday plumage everything from pretentious to just plain weird. I've never corrected them because I just can't describe it to anyone who didn't grow up with it. But to me, decorating my own home was an extension of all my mother passed on to me. It was a sign of being grown up, taking ownership, taking pride, and wanting to express my joy of the holidays in a formal way. To me, building my first box marked "XMAS" was a wonderful process -- still containing all the mystery and excitement of the holidays just like when I was a kid. Opening all the boxes from storage still excites me in the same way! As I unpack, I find old, beloved treasures and new, wonderful decorations I'd forgotten.

If all of this sounds prissy and weird, don't worry, I'm used to it. Christmas and dressing my house has become a personal joy for me over the years -- as much as my mother's was to her. I realize now the real reason I wasn't allowed to help until I was older. She wanted the joy of reveling in it all by herself. I know that special pride and desire to do it all alone. (Plus, my mom often refused help so she could do things exactly the way she wanted -- a characteristic I inherited as well.)

So, today as I dress the house, as usual, the spirit of my mother is close by. Now I can share this with her in a way I never was able to as an adult. And I know she appreciates every bit of it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


First the parking tickets (two weeks ago) and now this! Last night, my enjoyment of the new Harry Potter movie was significantly decreased when afterwards I discovered my wallet had been lifted from my purse during the movie! Stolen right out of my handbag sitting the seat next to me -- by one of the three teenagers sitting behind me. One of my credit cards (brand new still needing to be activated) was on the floor in the row behind me.

I don't keep much useful stuff in my wallet besides the obvious and cancelled all credit cards within half an hour. (Heh -- take *that*, wallet stealers!) Getting a new driver's license is a pain especially since I'm taking a driving trip on the weekend. I'm off to the bank today and the BMV for new cards and licenses. Luckily, one of my credit card companies is overnighting me a new card and it will be here on Weds. (Always a hassle to lose the B&N card, the Body Shop card, and the card full of punches for $20 free stuff at the beauty supply store.) Otherwise, I lost $4 and a Starbucks card. Still. What a hassle. So much for giving credit to the youth of today. I hope all this atonement is going to be worth it! Thank goodness they didn't get the whole purse (one of my favorites) or my phone. Replacing the phone and lost numbers would be a *much* bigger pain in the ass.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tonic Ball -- Tonight

I know tonight is a busy night if you're into the arts in Indianapolis. It's opening night of Indianapolis Opera's The Merry Widow (where I'll be) and the dinner for the opening of IMA's contemporary galleries (if you could afford the mere $150 ticket price). But if you like live music and you're looking for something fun to do tonight -- and cheaper -- hit the fourth annual Tonic Ball at Radio Radio in Fountain Square. The $15 ticket is a fundraiser for Second Helpings and the event features 16 local groups who will play two songs each -- one original and one Rolling Stones cover. Groups listed are Jennie DeVoe, Zero Boys, Otis Gibbs and more. Tickets are available at Luna Music, Future Shock, or through Second Helpings and at the door for $18. Bands kick off at 8:00 p.m. Also, before the show stop by the Wheeler Center down the street for an art show featuring 100 works by 100 artists -- all available for $100. The art show is free. This event sounds like a blast and if I didn't have "obligations" (read: season tickets), it would be my number one choice for tonight!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Indiana Christmas Story

There is one thing everyone remembers about Jean Shepherd's Indiana holiday comedy, A Christmas Story -- the leg lamp. While it's not really one of my favorite Christmas movies, I can see the appeal from a Hoosier perspective and can understand what's made it into a Christmas Classic. (What do I know from classic? Love Actually is a classic Christmas movie to me.) Good for us that the Indiana Historical Society appreciates the appeal and is reveling in it this holiday season. They'll be showing the movie non-stop on December Saturdays and carrying an entire line of A Christmas Story movie merchandise including the iconic "major award" leg lamp. (Having a leg lamp on display in your front window for all of your neighbors to see is a fantastic idea, especially if it embarrasses the hell out of your family.) Through their gift shop and online store, they feature a whole line of merchandise. The leg lamp snowglobe and Ralphie-with-his-tongue-frozen-to-the-lamppost lunch box are my two favorite pieces. They're showing the movie free at the Basile Theater at the Indiana Historical Society on Dec 3, 10, and 17th continuously from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It might a good chance to check out what all the hoopla is about -- and get your own leg lamp, of course.

Police Catch the "Toe Sucker"

Somehow, I can't help but think life in Indy just became a little less interesting. From Indychannel.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Big Pimpin'

Woke up to a shout-out from the Indiana Blog Review this morning for both this wee blog and Feed Me/Drink Me (which not surprisingly has twice as many daily readers as Hoosiers Ate My Brain.) And, gentle reader, please don't be confusing the Indiana Blog Review with The Review of Indiana Blogs or with Blog Indiana for that matter. Who knew?

Finding Angel Employees

From what I heard in a few sessions at the Indiana Venture Conference, Indianapolis could use a service like this for bio tech and high tech start-ups. Hiring executive staff for equity instead of salary isn't unheard of, it's just sometimes hard to find the people to connect together. Enter PeopleConnect in San Francisco -- an employment agency like no other. From the SF Chron.

The basic concept of tech executives working for equity isn't new. For years, founders of startups have compensated themselves and a few key employees with stock options instead of cash. Recruiters have occasionally placed executives in such situations and taken their own payment in the form of stock.

But PeopleConnect is the first search firm to market a program of recruiting employees who will work for equity. "A friend of mine calls them 'angel employees,' " Shapiro said, comparing them to angel investors, who fund early-stage companies. The concept has its roots in the collapse of the Internet bubble. A serial entrepreneur with an eclectic background, Shapiro ran baseball fantasy camps and started a high-profile business buying and selling used Levi's before launching PeopleConnect in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.

The company thrived for a year. Then the bubble burst, VC investment and tech hiring ground to a virtual halt, and PeopleConnect found itself struggling to survive. Many recruiters left the field. But Shapiro saw an opportunity: matchmaking for companies that needed employees but didn't have cash, and unemployed tech veterans who wanted to work and didn't need a paycheck right away.

"I saw early-stage companies presenting (to investors), and a lot of the time being told, 'If you had more people on your team, we'd invest,' " Shapiro said. "Meanwhile, there were people out there who loved the startup craze and would rather be employee No. 6 than 60. They're not necessarily wealthy people, but people with some money saved up or a working spouse."

Their concept is an interesting one. Judging on the number of people I know here who have businesses even in traditional industries but need help growing or those with the intellectual property who need help with commercialization, the idea of helping entrepreneurs find partners excites me. Many states like Indiana are small enough that major start-ups have resources through a relatively small VC and funding community. But even in small states -- especially ones like Indiana with a burgeoning start-up community -- there's a need for help. PeopleConnect should find an angel employee to help them take this to areas across the country with the best opportunities. Read the entire article.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Go Pokes!

Nice work this weekend from the Oklahoma State University Cowboys who upset 13th ranked Texas Tech on Saturday! A nice end to a pretty grim season. Next up -- Basketball. (And in the meantime, Oklahoma City is playing host to the New Orleans Hornets and happy about it.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Warming Up All the Right Parts

See? Here I was just the other day expounding to a friend about how blogging has really helped me keep writing and how it forces me to articulate common themes running through today's world. Oh, well. Some days you just have to blog about Japanese heated bras. I think Citizen's Gas needs to put flyers for this product in its envelopes when it touts keeping your thermostat on 65 degrees this winter! I'd wear it -- and for the right guy? Maybe even the scarf/ear flaps thing.

Heated Bra For Winter

TOKYO (AP) -- The Japanese government wants workers to dress warmly this winter and save energy. And a Japanese company is giving an unusual lift to that campaign. Government leaders have been promoting their "Warm Biz" drive nationwide. Now Triumph International is offering the Warm Biz Bra that the company said will add "a little fun and chic to office wear."

The bra has removable pads that can be heated in a microwave or hot water. It also features long, furry straps that wrap around the neck, like a scarf. There also are matching shorts. The company said the material helps save warmth, thus cutting down on the need to turn up the heat.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's a Pointer Kind of Day

A sampling of a few intelligent things flying around the blog-o-sphere today:

Mark Cuban to tackle piracy? Ohhh, *Print* piracy. Hey, the guy's worth $3 billion. He probably feels like he can tackle anything right now. Joe Wikert has all the skinny at A Book Publisher's Blog.

Are we getting a little stressed about a job? Over at Confessions of an Exhausted Mind, Brian's getting a little tchetcy about having all those resumes out there. Dude, you passed the bar, what more do you want? Oh, wait, you actually want a job as a lawyer? Well, that's a whole other matter.

Voters say "no" to intelligent design: Doug Masson pulls together the data from a Pennsylvania election yesterday where 8 members of a school board who voted to include the pseudo-creationism theory in curricula were swept out. Maybe this wacky democracy thing really does work.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Book News Roundup

Busy busy this week while I conduct a little bidness. So here's one from the vault, boys and girls. Actually, just from, um, last week. (Hey, I can a few of these in advance, so sue me.) No, seriously. Launching the company this week, so here's a little news from book world.

If you liked Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club (about a mystery solved by Boston poets Wordsworth, Longfellow and others), you'll like his next one, The Poe Shadow about a young lawyer investigating Poe's death. Look for The Dante Club on the big screen soon. The script will be making the rounds in Hollywood later this year from Imagine Entertainment...If you like historical figures in fictional settings, check out the upcoming The Name of Action from Jeb Rubenfeld where even Sigmund Freud solves a Manhattan murder....Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) has a new book coming next May about the Boston Strangler. A Death in Belmont delves into the criminal justice system at the time and all that it involved....Publishers note that the biopic Capote (in theaters now) has generated interest (and, unusually for a movie tie-in, actual sales) in both the Clark biography the book was based on (Capote: A Life) and In Cold Blood, as central a character in the movie as dear old Tru himself. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as the flamboyant author, by the way.

And in Ft Wayne: And on the smaller side, Hyde Brothers Booksellers, Fort Wayne, Ind., has opened an 800-sq.-ft. addition that took five years to build and contain some 40,000 books, according to the Journal Gazette. The 13-year-old store had been crammed with 125,000 volumes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush's Empty Pockets

Heh -- A South American reporter asked President Bush what he carries in his pockets. Bush pulled out a white handkerchief:

"Es todo," Bush told the Spanish-speaking reporter, meaning the handkerchief was all. "No dinero, no mas. No wallet."

The Argentine reporter, who interviewed Bush at the White House with other journalists from the Latin American media, asked the president if he even had a watch.

"Si, Timex," Bush said, thrusting out his wrist to show off a timepiece that had his middle initial, W, on the face. "But I'm not supposed to be endorsing products."

As a woman, I'm fascinated with the stuff men carry around in their pockets. Sure, we girls have handbags, but we have stuff -- you know, lip gloss. Guys have to get business cards, wallets, mobile phones, keys, Blackberrys, pens, change, and all manner of other things stuffed in there. And they still have to look good with no sagging pockets or unsightly holster belts. (As Indy Men's Magazine fashionista Julia Spalding says: "No gadget is important enough to have its own holster.") So, here's a little tip-o-the-hat to the men out there toting all that stuff. Just think, you only have to become leader of the free world to empty those pockets once and for all!

Thanks to the Erudite Redneck for the pointer. (BTW, he thinks Bill Richardson will be the next GOP Presidential candidate.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Seeing the Big Picture or Why Blogs Don't Suck

I've always been good at seeing both sides of a story, but there are days when I just can't understand the point of view of some people in this state. It's not stupidity -- although you couldn't tell the difference -- but it is a persistent inability to think that Indiana could be anything more than the insular little island they see. Yesterday, I was disheartened by John King's column in Intake on how much blogs suck. Was this guy on a deadline? Did he spend 20 minutes doing actual research? Did he just find a couple of links and surf around? He seems to have checked out this blog thing in an informal way and found nothing but crap. He couldn't understand that maybe there was something more to this phenomenon considering how many seemingly intelligent people use or have blogs, or that maybe he was missing a piece of information to help him make a competent decision. Maybe he just doesn't get it or he was trying to be funny. Either way, it was a lot easier for King to overgeneralize and say blogs suck -- and therefore -- bloggers are worthless, too (except, apparently for music bloggers. They appear to be "pretentious assbags.")

While one guy's opinion in an Indy Star driven advertising vehicle aimed at 20-somethings doesn't really amount to a hill of beans in this world, what many in the mainstream media have overlooked is the amount of detailed reporting going on in blogs reaching an entire audience they're missing. Case in point: the trial balloon launched this week about intelligent design legislation paired with three poor economic and academic reports for Indiana. Many bloggers caught what the big news outlets missed, a very clear picture demonstrating a devastating cause and effect. Extremists in our legislature will continue to scare away young people, professionals, and corporate dollars. When will people notice that there is a direct correlation between ridiculous proposals like limiting reproductive rights or teaching intelligent design in schools and that fact that we can't get companies to expand, relocate and/or bring families here?

In the meantime, here are some great articles on the topic by just a few Indiana bloggers who saw the big picture this week, did some excellent writing, and who, coincidently, don't suck.

Indy Scribe -- An Indianapolis Star Quiz for You
TorporIndy -- Mitch Daniels--We Could Do Worse
Masson's Blog -- Journal Gazette Editorial on Intelligent Design in Science Classes (with an assist by the Indiana Law Blog)
Sneer.org -- Pass Me Some Intelligent Design While You're Up

Friday, November 04, 2005

Two Parking Tickets in Two Days

Not only has this new work arrangement thrown me for an organizational loop, but it's also blown my parking karma! I always feed meters, but everyone has those days when you have to overstay your welcome by a few minutes, right? I figure for every day that I push it, there are just as many when I leave time on the meter for someone else. But the last couple of days -- nailed twice! Yesterday in Broad Ripple and today on Mass Ave. Yesterday's was justified -- I just gambled and lost running late for a meeting with no change. But today?! I got a ticket right after the time ran out! Well, at least I can write two checks and put them in one envelope. I don't know what I've done to use up so much of my parking karma, but hopefully, paying these will help.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Technology Report: Growing Indiana's Economy

I made some notes earlier this week for a blog post on the report released by Scott Jones at the Technology Summit earlier this week. While we all crow in our own little ways about the progress we're making economically in this state, Jones reminded us that we have a long way to go -- and that while we're making progress, it's small progress. Electing Mitch Daniels who at least recognized we have a problem was a big first step. Does Mitch step on his own political toes sometimes? Sure. Does he avoid the limelight and become frustrated with political posturing? Absolutely. But a lot of that has to do with why he decided to run in this first place -- to get something done -- and to help put Indiana back on the map from an economic standpoint.

Jones' study was a reminder that we still have a long way to go. And across the state, it's going to require not only a lot of work and but also a recognition of the problem. Organizations like BioCrossroads and Techpoint are doing their part to try to help drive change, but we, the citizens and business people in this state, have to step up and do our part, too.

And Indy Star's editorial board pretty much wrote today the post I had drafted earlier in the week. (And, said it much more clearly, I might add.)

A Note on Time

There's seems to be some confusion with a few folks I've talked to (and who've posted) who think that the sun will be coming up at 8:30 a.m. this time next winter. To clarify: In the winter, the sun will rise and set at the same time it always has. We are currently on Eastern Standard Time. The sun came up at 7:30 (or earlier) this morning. The upcoming observation of DST will not change our winter time at all. In the past, we've just remained on Eastern Standard Time year round.

DST will change our summer time. If we had observed DST this year, we would have "sprung forward" in the spring and "fallen back" in the fall. In the summer, we would have moved our clocks ahead and the sun would have gone down an hour later (giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evening and having the sun rise at 5:30 a.m. instead of 4:30 a.m.) We would have fallen back to the current time we're on (and will remain on): Eastern Standard Time.

Now this doesn't factor in that the Federal Government has extended DST a couple of weeks on either end for next year, so, yes, there will be a bit of adjustment -- but the whole country will be involved. Everyone who's been through DST knows there are times of the year where it's dark really early, then the time changes and it's light again! (Yes, it's confusing, but once they've been through it a couple of times, Hoosiers will be changing their clocks like old pros.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do You Think I'm Sexy - Pt II

There's a larger message with the keepers these guys must be and the whole farmersonly.com idea, I'm just not sure exactly what it is. Hey, we've all had those nights that somehow spun wildly out of control, we just didn't end up naked in front of a Wendy's. Or, well, maybe you did. From Indychannel.com:

Men Accused Of Fighting Nude Outside Restaurant

WASHINGTON, Ind. -- Two men were arrested after they were seen fighting in the nude near a fast-food restaurant in southern Indiana over the weekend, police said.

Aaron G. Clark, 22, and Samuel Petty, 19, were charged with public intoxication. Police said neither was wearing clothes as they fought Saturday night near a Wendy's restaurant in Washington.

Police didn't say why the men were naked or why they were fighting.

Hey, the guys themselves probably didn't know why they were naked or fighting!

Staples to Open Downtown

Yea! Looks like it will be on the westside between 10th and 11th. It's one more reason to skip schlepping to the Northside! Now, if we could just get a Trader Joe's down here, we'd be all set -- I'd never have to go north of 64th (and I'm not really committed to that dry cleaners.) From the Star (who probably doesn't know or care that their new web site bites.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Do You Think (My Tractor) Is Sexy?

Yee-Haw! They'd have this service in Oklahoma if there were enough people who *weren't* farmers to date. Oh, well, this is in Ohio -- which is close enough to Indiana for me! It's the newest trend in online dating: Farmersonly.com -- If you like country music, a nice pickup and someone who's not afraid to cry when their favorite combine breaks down then this site is for you.

From Indychannel:

It's an online dating service with profiles of nature lovers, farmers, and those looking to find old-fashioned love in a new way. Miller said his site caters to people with the old-fashioned traditional values of America's Heartland. There are about 1,800 profiles listed.