June 30, 2010
It hit the news Tuesday morning that Lady Gaga would be appearing at MIT (specifically, the MIT Museum) with Polaroid to do a photo shoot and unveil a new line of cameras. I've done work with the MIT Museum before and know a bunch of the people who work there, so I e-mailed and asked what the scoop was. I was told that there would be a private exhibit viewing at 3PM and a press conference beforehand.
"Cool! Do you need anybody to serve food/hold doors/be a token MIT student?"
"Sorry, I just got word that it'll be invited press only."
"Shucks, well, thanks for trying."
Of course, 10 minutes later, it hits the MIT Bloggers list and there is plenty of excited chatter about whether we'll be able to get press passes. I told them what I heard from the museum and then felt obligated to e-mail the museum again and ask about the definition of "invited." That's when I was told that there had been a change, that I could get in and that I was invited to a design brainstorming session. EXCELLENT! Then, after a phone call with the museum, I was given passes to invite 12 students (myself included) to the event. DOUBLE EXCELLENT!
Bloggers, friends, and strangers were all added to the list. The twelve of us showed up at the museum Wednesday morning at 11:30 for the design brainstorming and free lunch(!). The gist of the brainstorming session was, well, the head marketer said "I have concept drawings and renders of two potential new cameras for Polaroid and I'd like your input on them."
We were shown the two cameras (which I'm probably not allowed to share a lot about, but I will use their code names), "The Tank" and "Bellows." Both were definitely influenced by Gaga, and we weighed in on the pros and cons of each. The con was pretty heavy, that there simply isn't a need for physical pictures anymore. Polaroid kept talking about how pictures are "stuck in the computer," and while that may have been true several years ago, pictures have found a very happy home in computers, especially on the Internet. We asked him "What can I do with a physical picture that I can't do with a digital picture? Why should I buy this camera?" His answer? "An instant picture makes the experience more emotional and instant." Eh, good luck with that approach. There were some good ideas, specifically the idea of sticky backed instant pictures ("Look at that silly thing, I will take a picture of it, scribble something witty on my instant photo, and stick it to that silly thing") and potentially pictures with geotagged barcodes on them, but other than that, why do physical pictures exist?
After the meeting we were given WAY too much pizza and then were told to get out of the museum for 2 hours. Apparently the entire place got locked down for the arrival of Lady Gaga and nobody was allowed to be inside. Where the actual photo shoot was going to take place was a secret, but we found a bunch of people who had heard little bits of info from different sources and pieced together that Lady Gaga would be doing her photo shoot on the third floor of the building we were currently in. A few of our number knew their way around the building so we started our way towards an elevator to get up to where the shoot was going to be (a plan doomed to failure). We made sure to bring pizza and salad as an excuse for a visit (Gaga needs to eat, right?)
We made it to the elevator and were promptly stopped by a police officer and a museum employee. Ooooh boy, that was quick. "Where are you guys headed?"
"Oh, you know, just, wandering."
"Ok, well you can't be here, you need to leave."
"Ok, not so much wandering, as looking. You know, just wandering, looking, stuff like that."
"I'm sorry, you can't be here, you really need to leave."
*ok, how long can we stall until Gaga needs to use this elevator?*
"Well, um, we can't leave, because all the doors are locked and we can't get out."
"Really? Hm, well, hold on." The lady scampers off and finds somebody else.
"Alright, you can leave by going out this way."
"No, we tried that."
"It works now."
"But we can't, you know, wander and look for people if we leave."
"You need to leave."
"BUT WE HAVE SALAD AND PIZZA!"
And, before you know it, we were on the street with the commoners. A small crowd had gathered to wait for Lady Gaga to appear. The waiting wasn't too bad, we chatted with Dave Barber (you either know who he is or you don't), some other Gaga fans, and then eventually, two black SUVs rolled up and, wouldn't you know it, Lady Gaga was looking out the window of one of them. Just checking things out, looking around. People freaked. Then, 3 seconds later, cars were parked, Gaga was in the building, and that was that. 3 seconds. Unbelievable.
What were we going to do for 2 hours? We weren't allowed back in until the press conference and none of us had anywhere else to go, so we just stood there, walked around a bit, and stood there. Seriously. For 2 hours.
At 2:30 things started to get crazy again. Press had showed up for the press conference and were lined up by the front door. Fans, without press badges, were lined up where Lady Gaga's cars were parked. Where would she show? It was a decision that, unfortunately, I didn't make well. I chose to go inside with the press in hopes of seeing her, but that was right as Lady Gaga left out the back, completely ignoring the press, left out the back, stopping and signing autographs and shaking hands with all of the fans.
Oops! Oh well, life is full of choices, sometimes you get lucky and other times you don't.
The press conference was meh. The CEO of Polaroid was there, that was neat, and so was another head honcho, and they did reveal the photo of Gaga they took during the photo shoot, but most of the reporters were miffed that Gaga never showed up for the press conference. I was a bit miffed as well.
The impression I was left with is that Polaroid appears to be using Lady Gaga to bring in the cameras, then hiding her and announcing new and exciting products that, in the long run, will probably not save the twice-bankrupt company.
Harsh, I know, but we'll let Polaroid try to prove me wrong.
June 27, 2010
Today is "fix my bike so I can get to work day." More about biking to work later, but for now, listen to this. I started my day off by heading to Economy Hardware and the bike shop to get some metal epoxy and a screw for my rack on my bike. The weight of my bag is taking its toll and I have to use my 3 years of mechanical engineering education at MIT to duct tape, epoxy, and bolt it back together to reinforce it.
On the way to the hardware store I stopped by my bike (which I keep locked up outside) and, lo and behold, the back bag was open, my track jacket was on the ground, and everything looked rather rummaged through. Wonderful. Damage done? Extra tire tube was stolen, along with my bike pump and patch kit. I was not thrilled. But, I can't really get too angry because I don't lock my bag up, mostly out of convenience. I can see now that that habit has to change. But, even with a locked bag, the bag is still only velcroed to the rack, how do I prevent them from stealing the whole bag? Affix it to the bike rack? Cable lock?
Anyway, both Economy Hardware and the bike store were closed until noonish. Now my trip to Economy will include the purchase of a new tube and new bike pump, a nice little $40 expenditure I didn't expect, perfect way to start my week. The trip to Economy will now include the purchase of a small lock for the bag.
But, like I said, it was my fault, and to give whoever stole them some credit, they did leave my track jacket, chain oil, and tire inflation can in the bag. They just went after the emergency flat materials, meaning they probably needed them. I'm making enough money this summer that I can afford to replace what was lost, but still, it's not fun.
Also, the bike gets parked inside from now on. Maybe. It'll be a bit of a hassle, not sure it'll be worth it if I'm locking everything, but it may.
Hey, it's only been what, a million years since I've done any real writing for this blog, right? Well, that's about to change (yay!) and I'm about to start updating again regularly (or as regularly as I can). What I discovered is, while writing for my MIT Blog, it became very very difficult to update this one. I don't know if you've tried to maintain two blogs but, well, I have now, and it wasn't exactly successful. So we're back to this one again after a few years of hiatus, and I'm glad.
I don't have a whole lot now, this is mostly an "I'm back," but look for stuff coming in the future. A lot has changed with me since I last wrote in this blog, I'm a different person. I've experienced three years of college (hard college), Web 2.0 has blossomed into a tweet-erific, reddit-tastic, farmville nightmare. So much of what I could write in here is probably already posted elsewhere on the internet, everything travels so quickly, so I'm left with a question:
Do I repost cool stuff that I find?
Do I write original content?
My time at MIT, if it's done anything at all, has certainly hurt my creative writing ability. Everything is so technical that, even with classes designed to prod the creative part of my brain, my ability to "write entertaining things for fun" has vastly diminished. This makes me sad. Maybe starting to write for fun again will help nurture my dying creativity. In order for this to happen, I'm leaning towards "write original content." This could be hard, because I've already filled this blog with so much original content that, with any more, well, you may know more about me than I do. Maybe not. Like I said, a lot has happened in three years, and this could be a good chance for you to get to know me again.
One thing vastly different between this blog and my MIT blog is the readership and what each was trying to accomplish. Everything I wrote at MIT was looked at with a critical eye, picked apart, and many times flung right back at me (maliciously at times). Here, there are no rules, no stigmas, and the people reading will probably not consist of nearly as many current students. I'd like to get back to my previous reader base, the wild wild users of the internet that DON'T live on the same campus as I do. I like anonymous strangers reading my stuff, it's pleasant.
So there, a quick welcome back and some thoughts. Are you ready? I am.