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Archive for October, 2011

Tweet the Love

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I was in a panic this afternoon.

Heading to Washington D.C. this week to give my opinion on some pharmacy stuff, I began freaking out when I realized that I really don’t have a formal black suit that actually fits my…ahem…body right now.  (Curses, law school – one of these days I’m going to lose the law school fifteen twenty I’ve gained!)  So…I decided to go to the mall and try to find a suit.

Once again, I was reminded that I loathe shopping and almost gave up, when I ran into Talbot’s on the way out of the mall to see if they had anything.  They had a black suit in separates that fit, but the total on the price tags were: spendy.  Really spendy.  So, I asked if they could help a broke law student out.  First I tried the half off coupon from one of their competitors (for students) – which they couldn’t take, but then they began to deal.  We got it down to a price I could live with, and I left with a black suit that fit, and they departed with some of my money.  I told them I’d tweet the love, which I did.

However, they don’t have a lot of peeps on their social media – which kind of shocked me.  How in the world, in this day and age, can a retailer not have big numbers on Facebook and Twitter?  Answer: they don’t focus on it.  But, I’m here to tell you, dear retailers, that you should focus on it.  In fact, you should make it a priority.  For it was not only a trip that sucked me into the mall today–but it was also a Facebook student coupon that did it.

Thank you, Talbots at Keystone at the Crossing – you saved me today!  However, I hope that your corporate HQ is reading this and gets on board with the social media stuff.  Because despite my own crappy Klout score, that’s where I am these days…online.

Random Acts of Coffeeness

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

One of my younger and brighter friends than me posted this story on Facebook today, and I dug it.  What exactly is it about coffee that brings out the best in us?  Here are some thoughts:

1. Coffee isn’t expensive – in fact, it’s cheap.  Even if we buy a $5 latte, where else can we go in a city, through a drive thru or to a place and have an entire order under $10 anymore?  Uhm….I’ll wait while you come up with something.

Bars?  Nope – my cocktail the other night alone was $12 in downtown Indy (nor do they have drive thrus).  Lunch spots?  Not really.  The only place I know of is Starbucks and coffee houses. (OK, maybe McDonald’s too, but that’s about it.  And BTW – I dig their coffee too.)

2. And yet, at the same time, it feels indulgent to buy coffee – all the money coaches constantly prattle on about how we should stay the hell away from buying our $4 cup of coffee every day…but it’s such an awesome little indulgence to treat ourselves, without going out and buying a Mercedes or a new pair of fierce Prada sunglasses.  A Mercedes would be a TON of $4 cups of coffee.  (We’ll stop at that comparison, since someone posting here splurged on the Prada sunglasses and doesn’t want to judge.)

3.  And a thank you gift card from a coffee shop actually has value – If someone gave me, for example, a grocery or big box store gift card for $20, I’d think, yeah, cool, but I can’t really get much with it.  But for some strange psychological reason, a $20 Starbucks (or coffee house) gift card seems like an amazingly awesome gift – probably because you’re going to end up using that sucker at least on 3 or 4 different visits, right?  Twenty goes a pretty long way with coffee.

4.  We third space at coffee places – the old adage is, when you’re meeting someone and networking with them, you should try and get them as far away from their desk as possible.  So, a lot of times when I network…?  Coffee is involved.  Even if I’m not drinking it in the afternoon, I love the coffee shop third spaces, because it is a place where people can actually breathe and not be intimidated by the stacks of work in their offices taunting them.  Coffee spots are like Switzerland: neutral spots where no one has the home court advantage, and places that I personally identify with finding and meeting new people.  Heart!

As I’ve said before, and will say again here: it’s not the really big things that count in life.  It’s the little ones.  We all can’t buy each other Caribbean cruises, ruby necklaces and houses as pay it backward or forward kinds o’ gifts.  But with coffee?  It’s seemingly a little thing.  However, it can be really really big when we go random and help out others–which is both little AND big.  I know that I’ve just got to keep on thinking about how I can maximize my own little things to help others out in a much bigger way.

If that’s through coffee, even better.

Take Every Chance. Drop Every Fear.

Friday, October 28th, 2011

One of my most awesome friends posted an image with the title above in it on Facebook today.  I dug it.  I’m trying to live it too.

I have decided to head to Washington D.C. next week about a topic relevant to my first love and profession: pharmacy, after receipt of an awesome invitation last night.  My opinions will be my own.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to give some legislators a piece of my mind (don’t worry, in a good way) about where this country and health care are headed.

Honestly to my eBaker’s Dozen, and just between you and me, I was a little intimidated by this request at first.  But after thinking through what one of my very wise law professors stated to us this past week–being students of law, we should do what we can with Washington D.C. to help solve problems.  I’m not afraid anymore.  Bring it.

Dr. Albert is headed to Washington, opinions for all.  Dear D.C., you’re officially on notice.

Lastly, if the universe is calling you about something big – why not take a chance?  Drop every fear?  Just do it.  Seize the opportunity. Provided of course, that it hurts no one else and that you can make the world a better place by accepting the call.

Oh, gotta go…the phone’s ringing…

From a Black, Brown and Gray Morning To a Pink, Blue and Orange Evening

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I had to get up really early this morning to get to a meeting on time.  It’s more of a traffic hassle than anything else.  So, as I fumbled around trying to get ready, I grabbed my shoes in the garage while it was dark this morning not thinking much about it.  That is, until I got to my meeting, looked down 10 minutes in, and realized that with my gray suit, I was wearing black socks, and brown shoes.

Ugh.  Note to self: don’t get dressed in the dark.

It was cold, rainy, and the meeting wasn’t a great one either.  Bummer.  But as the day went on, it got better.  We had poster day for the P4 pharmacy students at BU, where the students present their senior year projects.  The 9 students on the children’s book about pharmacy apparently rocked the house (I can’t judge the poster myself as a faculty mentor).  Props to ‘em, they’re doing awesome work.

Then, I had a chance to meet with one of my mentors, and she got me all fired up about the disparities going on in politics and leadership in this country with women (you can see my vitriol/rant over at the other blog, if you like).  But the thing I like best about this particular mentor is that she always challenges me to think bigger, bolder, and that honestly, if I really want to…?  I can do anything.  Dig.

I ended the evening with better news: Evidence was cancelled tonight  at law school (YES!) and as a bonus – I went for a walk under a beautiful sunset and a pink, blue and orange sky.  Best of all?  An amazing opportunity to possibly do some work in Washington DC next week, if I can make it work.

Here’s my other note to self:  a day can start kind of ugly: black, brown, gray, rainy, cold, and generally blecky.  However, that same day can turn into a rainbow of amazing color in just one sunset.  Hopefully, you didn’t mix your socks and shoes up like I did this morning–and hopefully, you had nothing but cotton candy skies today.

5 Things a Writer Should Do Every Day

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A whole lotta lists floating around the internet and social media these days, so I thought, hey, Albert, why not your own list on writing?  Here goes.

If you’re an aspiring writer, or just a hack like me, here are 5 things I try and do each day to sharpen my saw, improve my craft, or just hack my way through a piece, or for that matter, a day:

1.  Reach out – this week, I talked to a NY Times Best Seller’s booking agent for talks, sent a random email to another writer in NY who wrote a book I greatly appreciated just to share information, and inquired with another writer to see if he’d review my new book (forthcoming to an eReader near you soon).  What is the commonality here?  I reached out.  I didn’t know and still don’t know some of these people, and some I’m sure ended up in the delete pile, but if you never reach out, you’ll never get new contacts and new ideas.  I’m a bit of a Kevin Bacon joke at law school with my Linkedin connections, but I firmly believe that one should “only connect,” as another writer said, and I make it a point to stretch my brain and my network each week.

2.  Write – I saved this until #2, but it’s the seemingly obvious choice for this list.  However, all those out there who aspire to write, yet come up with a lot of excuses need to see this one one more time.  Just write.  Just sit down, pull out the laptop, and start typing.  No laptop?  Just get a pen and paper.  Sometimes and some days, the muse never shows up.  However, the more you make it a habit, the better off you’ll be, and the more it will happen.  I take that back.  The more you do it, the more you will WANT to make it a part of your day.  You’ll actually crave it.  I do now, kind of like chocolate and coffee. You just have to start.

3.  Thank others – I made it a personal goal of mine to thank at least one other person each week in writing.  Thus far, with the year almost over…?  I would say that I’ve been pretty loyal to this goal.  Get some awesome stationary, a really cool pen, and rock it.  Go old school.  It’s so refreshing to get a hand written note in the mail on top of all the junk and bills, isn’t it?  Yet, many people just don’t do this anymore.  However, writers do.

4.  Read – Again, I know what you’re thinking–thanks, Dr. Obvious–but it really is important to read if you want to get better at writing.  You’ll see different styles.  You can learn how to respectfully disagree and pen opposition.  The pen truly is mightier than the sword, and all of us can read and open our minds, so hopefully we never have to pick up those swords in the first place….just sayin’.

5.  Develop eccentricity – This one I’m throwing in for fun.  The best writers were and are quirky.  Hemingway: I think of Miami, his house, and his beard.  Poe: I can’t blog enough words to cover what I feel when his name is conjured up.  Each writer has his or her own eccentricities.  I’m personally superstitious, and very curious about the world….so my quirky comes from asking a lot of questions, and avoiding ladders and black cats crossing my path.  The bottom line on this: it’s about your purple cow.  What is it that you want to be known for?  What’s your voice?  To whom do you speak, and what is it that you want to say?  This is what I mean when I say develop your uniqueness.  This is what can make you an interesting writer…and an interesting person.

That’s all I have.  To those who write those fancy and long 99 things lists…more props to ya.  I could only dig up 5 on writing today.  Take my advice with a grain of salt, as I’m certainly no NY Times best-selling author…yet.  Neither am I a perfect writer, but I don’t aim to be.  I just aim to write, and let the “good enough” evolve…

Happy Diwali

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This morning, I had an unusual email in my inbox from a contact on LinkedIn.  He wished me “Happy Diwali.”

Since I’ve never been wished happy Diwali before, I had to look it up.  (And I apologize if any of what I’m about to share is incorrect–because I got it off Wikipedia.  If you’re a student reading this–do as I say (don’t source it in your papers) and not as I do today.)

Diwali is the Hindu for the Festival of Lights.  It can also denote the achievement of nirvana (awesome).  There are also allegedly vanquishing of demons involved, as well as fireworks, other lights, and sweets (my kind of holiday).  But what I liked BEST about Diwali when I looked it up?  It is also part of the start of the new business financial year.  So, from my interpretation of this holiday–it means that people actually are combining spirituality with business.  S-C-O-R-E!

I honestly think we should consider bringing Diwali to the US as a holiday.  Why?  Because I personally believe that business has lost its way in the US.  We’ve been so busy for so many years chasing the almighty dollar, that we’ve forgotten the spiritual side of starting a business and the “why” of trying something new (to attempt to make the world a better place).  If we could get back to the why, we might be that much closer to nirvana, sweets, and fireworks.

Happy Diwali!  I’m digging my newly discovered holiday.  Hope you will celebrate with me–and think about your own Festival of Lights.


The Road Not Taken

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Checking in on Foursquare this evening at Law School, I put that I was pretending to be heading to “How to Write a NY Times Bestseller” class.  Instead I’m headed to health care law and law & public health.

But I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – nearing the end of my law school career: what would I have done in place of law school?  I asked the question the other day over at Facebook, and one of my colleagues said she would have bought a taco truck instead.  With the economy being in the you-know-what-er for law students, I’m starting to think her taco truck idea really wasn’t that crazy after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that I had the chance to go to law school, and hopefully graduate from it.  The icing on the cake is that I’m also a first generation college grad in my family too.  I heart education.  But sometimes I think about design school, or a MFA, or some other path I didn’t take (or didn’t take yet) in order to further my education–both in the ivory tower as well as the real world.

Did I take the right path?  Who knows.  And there’s always time to go back and take the classes I wanted to take later on…that’s I guess the silver lining in this.  But other than awaiting my Erin Splitter in the mail, I guess I can really only take one path at a time.  I’ve also asked for my time machine.  Still waiting on that to show up too.  Not to get too Robert Frostian on ya’ll (especially on a tough Monday): do the best you can with what you’ve got…and keep on moving forward, peeps.  The road not taken now might be a road you encounter again in the near future.

How Does the Squirrel Cross the Road?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

On my way into class this morning (yes, I go to class on Saturday mornings of my own accord) I spotted something…unusual.  For those who don’t live in Indy–we have a major road into downtown Indy called either Binford Blvd. or Fall Creek Parkway (it just depends on where you happen to be on the road) but what’s unusual about this road is that based upon the traffic flow and time of day, the center lane changes direction – so you have to pay a little extra attention to what time of day it is if you happen to be in the center lane.  I digress.

Anyway, I’m in the center lane this morning (south bound in the morning = safe) but there are huge metal traffic lane signs crossing the 5-6 lane highway denoting which lanes to drive on–and which to not drive on.  What was unusual this particular day is that there was a squirrel on top of the metal lane crossing bar about 3/4 of his way across the highway.  First thought: clever squirrel–rock on.  Second thought: I’m that squirrel.  Third thought: aren’t we all the squirrel?

First off, props to him (or her) for figuring out a way to cross the road, semi-safely (I say semi-safely, simply because teetering on top of a metal pole about 30-50 feet in the air isn’t exactly “safe” in my book, but hey – it beats the street full of traffic!)  Secondly, whenever someone asks me “What’s next?” for me in terms of my own life or career–I feel much like I’m sure that squirrel does – about 3/4 of the way there, albeit dangling, just trying to get to the other side–in one piece.  Third, we are all, if we are trying to make our lives better, just like that squirrel.  We’re all about 3/4 of the way there.  Right now, we’re just trying to complete the journey.

As for getting to the other side and what’s there…?  Well, stay tuned on that–for you and me, my baker’s dozen.  For the squirrel–I think he officially made it to the other side as I passed him.  As for me and the rest of us…?  Hopefully, we’ll make it.  As for what is there when we arrive…?  That’s TBD.  But that’s what makes it fun…not knowing.

FRE 401

Friday, October 21st, 2011

O.M.G. I cannot believe I’ve resorted to this as a topic for my blog, but I’m going to do my best to make it fun.  That is, as fun as Evidence can be.  It’s a loooooonnnnngggg stretch.  Here goes.

So, you might have thought that “FRE 401″ stood for the federal rules of evidence, rule # 401. Ha! Psych!  Fooled you.  It’s actually going to stand here for the federal rules of Erin, #401.  But – they both stand for the same thing: relevance.  Is a piece of evidence relevant to the case at bar?

Both for Erin’s rules and the federal rules, whether or not something is relevant is in 2 parts: 1. probative, and 2. material.  That is – does the evidence have any probative value, and is the fact material to the case??  For example, at least the in Federal Rules of Erin, is the fact that Erin likes ginger cookies relevant to her case?  Maybe.  Well, is it probative (making it more or less probable) and is the fact material to the case?  In this case, ginger cookies and e liking them might be admissible if “Foods Erin digs” were on trial.

Thankfully, that’s not on trial.  And again, this blog post makes zero sense to those of you who never had the joy of law school.  And it probably still doesn’t make sense to those of you who DID.  But that’s ok, I’ll keep plugging away at trying to understand the federal rules…so we can in turn make Erin passing Evidence…relevant.

Discussing Delivering Happiness

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

At work, we’re doing a book club on Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.  I know, dear baker’s dozen (yes, just got informed of my 13th regular viewer this morning – yay!) that you are sick of me talking about this book.  But, my reply to that is: good.  Great.  In fact, have you read it yet?  If not, here’s my discussion guide that I’m handing out to the universe.  Use it.  Put together your own book club and beat the d guide up from over use and abuse – that will make ME happy!  And until everyone is happy, I’m probably not going to shut up about Tony’s book.  It’s that important, and it’s that good.

Of course, if you have suggestions on how to improve it, please contact me and let me know.  We haven’t done the book club yet at work, so I’m totally open to having a really awesome chat around this book and making it the best it can be.  That’s where you come in…but only you can read it first before making suggestions–OK?  Trust me, you won’t regret it.