What was my favorite memory from The Apprentice? There were actually quite a few moments where I caught myself thinking: Is this really happening? I was just asked this question on a radio interview a few weeks ago. Once I spoke the answer, I knew that it wasn’t just for the radio audience, it was true.
Tonight, the Rutgers Lady Scarlet Knights take on the Tennessee Volunteers for the NCAA Basketball Championship. The game starts in 20 minutes and I am pumped up.
Regardless of the outcome, the Lady Knights are already champs in my book. The team doesn’t have a senior on it and started the year terribly. It got so bad that their coach took away their practice uniforms/gear because she said that they playing with their full effort and so didn’t deserve to wear “Rutgers” on the front of their uniforms. Players had to bring in their own gear and do their own laundry for a month
This same team, which no one gave a real chance, fought through one of the hardest paths to the finals in years. It’s a totally improbably turn of events. This team has heart. They’re intense and fight for every inch. I love it. They’re champions in my book already.
The way I look at it…I’m just calling it a few hours before the rest of the country notices. That’s all ‘winning’ is. The rest of the world noticing something that you’ve always known. Go RU!
3/28/13 – Another reason why I love sports. The Lady Vols rolled Rutgers in this game and Rutgers has been truly mediocre in recent years – but this is a nice memory.
I’ve got a series of thoughts on the Apprentice that focus more on my emotional reaction towards the other contestants. I don’t want to write about any of that stuff for at least a year, until I have more distance with time. But a frequent question I’m asked is around regrets and how I view the experience. So here goes:
There’s the saying that “as you make your bed, so just must lie in it.” I’ve always found the saying a bit empty and inadequate. I think a more apt analogy that describes many situations in my life and I think, my Apprentice experience, as well:
Life is about digging your grave.
In the broadest sense, we dig our graves every day,
Yup, you should go see The Namesake.
The book is one of my favorites. Years ago, when I first discovered it, I devoured it all at once by staying up all night. I was tired the next day, but also energized and moved by the words I had just read. There was such depth and soul to it. With every passing page, I felt more deeply tied to the characters. I identified with their struggles and their frailties.
The movie, The Namesake, is good. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, but have read the book, my advice is to not compare the two. The movie lacks the depth, character and nuance that makes the book stunning. But it’s still entertaining and quite moving. (thanks to my Blink 182 buddy Andy for inadvertently helping me discover that the movie finally opened in cincy!)
Go see it!
3/18/13 – I don’t think I ever watched The Namesake a 2nd time. While that might not be odd for most people, considering I’ve seen Braveheart more than two dozen times, it’s a bit surprising. Good stuff.
Sometimes I love TV. Like today. I just saw Barton College beat Winona State in mens college basketball to win the D2 National Championship. It was unbelievable: Barton was the underdog of underdogs. Winona had an undefeated season and led for much of the game. I was drifting in and out of sleep, but caught the last couple minutes.
Down by 5, a young man named Anthony Atkinson got me so fired up and brought me back to my childhood and the excitement of watching Jordan win playoff games.
I want to start by thanking my friends and family. I couldn’t ask for better. Frankly, you’re all better than I deserve. Your kind words of support (and your anger at your TV’s!) have helped me escape this bizarre experience relatively sane (or as sane as before anyway).
I write this for a broader audience, and so I start with an explanation of who I am and how I approached this. I’ll start with some of what you already know: I can be a pretty serious guy. Based on my portrayal on the show, not exactly shocking. So, fair enough. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed that I took the show seriously, because I approached it as a job interview. That every minute we were there, we were going to be judged. Judged not only by Donald Trump, but also by our parents, our best friends, loved ones, ex-teachers, everyone. So I made certain promises to myself: I wouldn’t talk behind people’s backs or resort to petty personal attacks, I would attempt to be intelligent in how I approached all situations, and I would try to not get caught up in the intenseness of the experience. I boiled it down into 3 words that I repeated when the experience got especially intense: Integrity, Intelligence and Grace. All in all, I’m proud of how I stuck to this.
Going back to my “seriousness”– that all stemmed from a responsibility I felt. Generally in life, I feel obligated to make the most of all the opportunities afforded to me. The Apprentice felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I vowed that I would tear myself to shreds, and work as hard as humanly possible to do the best I could. And I felt a responsibility to all the people who had sacrificed so much for me to get to where I was: My family (especially my mom), teachers, friends, etc. I’ve been blessed with so many amazing people in my life who care for me deeply and without who’s help, I would not be anywhere in my life today. So I’ve always felt pushed by a deep desire to never look in the mirror and feel like I’ve let them down. And that fed my seriousness in certain situations. For those of you who know me, the fact that I’m explaining why I’m “so serious” is pretty entertaining in the face of my constant group hugs, terrible nick-name giving, and my general stupidity. OK…this ends the long introduction to me.
In the interest of not writing a book, which this could easily turn into, I’m going to focus on one or two points from each of the last four horrifying episodes. Consider it your sneak-peak behind reality TV:
Ep 5: Honey
On the craaazy marketing jargon: from the emails I’ve gotten it’s clear
So far my posts have been pretty serious. I wanted to switch it up and share something dear to my heart. Food. To be clear, I don’t really cook. Over the last 3 years, I’ll bet 95%+ of my meals have been prepared by: Wendy’s, Skyline Chili, McDonalds, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Taco Bell, KFC, PF Changs, or some other restaurant. The cooking that I do, do breaks down to “cooking” frozen french bread pizzas from Stouffer’s. Those are great. And by “cook”, I mean place in the oven for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Anyway, my point was sharing an incredible link. Consumerist just posted the secret, off-menu items that you can order at many of the glorious restaurants listed above. Enjoy!
3/3/13 – I eat healthier these days, but not by much. This post is kind of embarrassing.
In NYC this week for work. The frosty mix of weather this morning reminded one of the reasons why I love this place so much. It can’t be stopped, only slowed. Despite gobs of snow and sleet heavily falling, the city soldiers on.
At first I admired how workgoers still packed the streets despite the harsh conditions. It might be a bad winter storm, but not enough to halt daily life.
Then I saw that stores were still getting their regular supply deliveries. Life as usual.
Before noon the massive shoveling and salting operations started everywhere! The city was not just persevering but striking back to improve it’s state.
Then, gasp, I saw the ultimate sign of New York. Construction. A few blocks off of Times Square, new construction was underway with the workers ignoring the massive snow coming down on their hard hats. Amazing. The city was building for tomorrow, even while today sucked. I thought it perfectly captured all that I love about this place.
It reminded me of NYC right after 9/11. My college roommate and I came into the city to volunteer on 9/13. The streets were deserted. But as we neared one of the FEMA sites near the convention center, it was absolutely jammed. New Yorkers were out in full force: Young to old, construction networks next to investment bankers, all there to do whatever they could. NYC has heart. And it’s the heart of a champion. It always moves forward.
3/1/13 – I remember this day. I haven’t spent a lot of time in NY in the past few years, but I still love the city. Reading this brought a smile to my face.
As a change of pace, I thought I’d share something personal. I love reading. Since I believe that what we love reading reveals a lot about us, here are four authors I adore:
Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for her first book, a collection of short-stories entitled, The Interpreter of Maladies.
Though it’s her follow-up, The Namesake, that’s my favorite, . It’s about an Indian American growing up in Boston and his feelings of being torn between worlds.
The book’s insight into
This blew my mind with its simplicity:
Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Blink) has another amazing article in The New Yorker. I’m calling it the article of the 10-day-old-year. He defends Enron’s ex-CEO, Jeff Skilling, by asserting that Skilling should not have been legally liable because he disclosed Enron’s sketchy bookkeeping in mammoth amounts of financial disclosures. Basically, Enron’s “deception” was hidden in the open and so they didn’t lie. Though the article is about Enron, it really isn’t.
The mind-blowing point is when Gladwell explains the difference between “puzzles” and “mysteries” using a distinction made by national-security expert Gregory Terverton. In a nutshell:
A puzzle just requires more information to solve. The article cites bin Laden’s whereabouts as a puzzle: All we’re lacking is information. The more information we have (for example, what city he is in monumentally narrows down our search) the easier it is to solve the puzzle. Or think of Wheel of Fortune: Each letter revealed makes the puzzle easier to solve.
A mystery requires analysis, judgment and experience. Fundamentally, a mystery has to do with uncertainties. As Gladwell puts it, mysteries don’t have “a simple, factual answer.” His example in the article is “what would happen in Iraq, post-toppling of Saddam Hussein?” 100 different people have 100 different assessments of what post-Iraq would be like. Simple, factual answer? No way. The example that popped to mind was the show House MD. While the information in the form of tests and investigation of the patient’s personal lives is absolutely needed and gathered—it’s the rigorous analysis and experience of House that cracks the nut. And true to form, there is almost always very strong dissent that his diagnosis and/or treatment is wrong and dangerous. That’s because these patients’ disorders are not puzzles, they’re medical mysteries requiring judgment. Medicine is firmly founded on the puzzle premise, which is why House is unique (and good television)—he also solves mysteries.
This is interesting to me, because I think we attempt to turn everything into puzzles– even the mysteries. An example would be any kind of major life decision: we cling to the notion that everything will be solved by one more piece of information. We delay decisions by weeks or months, claiming that we’re waiting to find out about X or Y. Instead, what we should be doing is spending serious time doing some soul-searching (another word for soul-searching: analysis) about what we really want, etc. Based on my personal experience, this is true for me. I’ve pinned my hopes of a clear decision on something a few weeks off or some milestone. I would have been better off doing the analysis (soul-searching) immediately, because in most cases my decision would have been the same regardless of the new information. But as Gladwell states, we don’t like mysteries because they’re not simple, and like most things in life—we take the easy way out.
2/16/13 – I’m much less enthralled with Gladwell today. While I now find the divide between puzzles and mysteries a bit murky and potentially simplistic (aren’t mysteries just really complex puzzles that could be broken down into much smaller puzzle pieces whereby additional information “solves” them and once all these puzzles are solved, the mystery is solved?), it’s still a really interesting concept. But, hey, if nothing else – we can watch Zero Dark Thirty and see Maya solve the mystery before our very eyes.