April 25, 2009

Spring (please don't) Break (anything)

"Are you guys sure you'll be ok in the room alone while I'm at my conference?"

"Mom, we'll be fine, really. We'll probably just swim or walk over for food or something."

(door closes)

April 13, 2009

Netflix is the best strategy game ever!

I know it is supposed to be a movie rental service: we choose a movie, they send it to us, we watch it, send it back, and they send us the next one on our list (que). That's the movie rental version. That's where the game version begins.

I have compiled some strategy tips for others playing the Netflix game (based on an unlimited, one movie subscription, with the whole family sharing access).

1. Keep your movie at the top of the que. Once you have chosen your movie the enemy will log on and move their movie to the top of the que. You will need to monitor the que closely to be sure your movie is at the top at sending time (kind of like bidding at the buzzer on ebay).

2. Make sure your movies are still in the que. Another easy form of sabotage. The enemy will log on and delete all your movie choices from the que, leaving only theirs.

3. Mail movies back in public mailboxes. If you use your home mailbox, the enemy will take the movie out of the mailbox. This gives them time to reset the que before mailing it back.

4. Keep your movie with you at all times. If you leave it laying around the enemy will mail it back before you can watch it. While you are searching for the lost movie, the next movie on the que is already on its way to your home.

5. Guard your password. The serious enemy will log on and change the que, then change the password. Once the movie is successfully sent they will change the password back, leaving you to think that you were just typing the password incorrectly yesterday.

Maybe it's a good thing we haven't given up our Blockbuster membership....

April 3, 2009

It depends on your definition of cool....

We got to do the coolest thing today! I am in New York (for the first time my life) with my daughter and her school orchestra - so if I want to be truly accurate I have done a lot of cool things today. Right, back to the story.

We were dropped off at Rockefeller Plaza in the pouring rain at 8am after an 18 hour bus ride. After the organized tours we had free time and my group of kids wanted to go to Carnegie Hall. When we arrived our clothes were soaked despite our umbrellas, the raincoats had served as a really effective way to channel water right down our backs, and our shoes were squishing as we walked.

As we opened the door and stepped in we were greeted by "Greg" and directed to the ticket table for tours. "Are there any parts of the Hall we can see without going on the tour?" I asked. His answer was the expected "no" but he offered to sell us tickets to a concert that night. "Thanks," I said, "but we have to meet our group for dinner." He offered two other opportunities for us to return, but I each time we had another event planned.

We either looked really disappointed (or really pathetic) because he said, "Hold on." He talked briefly with another guide and said, "Would you like to watch the rehearsal?"

He escorted us into Carnegie Hall and directed us to seats near the back. We watched more than an hour of a closed rehearsal for the New York Pops Orchestra. At one point I looked over at the four kids with me; one held back tears and the others sat watching every moment.

That was not the highlight though. The highlight was realizing that I was with a group of teenagers who would consider special admission to a rehearsal at Carnegie Hall the highlight of their day.