Gratitude from College Summit USC Workshop

I’m just now getting a chance to do a recap on my first College Summit workshop, which happened at the end of June. We already know that the CS workshops are phenomenal, and that I highly recommend volunteering at them.

I had a great time co-rap directing with my best friend Karla at our alma mater. It was a perfect recipe for a great workshop,  and I met some great alumni leaders and volunteers. But to top all that off, we had a fantastic group of 50 students from Arleta High School with whom I literally fell in love. It’s hard to describe it when that magic moment happens at a workshop, but it happened with us at USC. Volunteers and workshop staff do workshops for many reasons, but I cannot describe the real draw, which has something to do with the love that encompasses the entire workshop. This is what makes volunteers keep coming back year after year, and this is what makes the workshops succeed.

Below are a couple pics from the USC workshop, and a tribute that one of our students, Jay Jay, made for us via youtube.

50 Peer Leaders at College Summit USCCollege Summit USC Fighting On

This is a video capture that Jay Jay uploaded of Karla and I at the banquet:

Hopefully that gave you a small taste of why I love College Summit workshops.

Back from a Cathartic Journey

I knew my month-long trip was going to be awesome, but I didn’t really expect it to be as life-changing as it was. I just got home today, and I’ve got a lot more processing to do on the entire trip from LA to North Carolina to New York and then Miami, but let’s just say it was a cathartic and freeing adventure.

I’ll write more about it later, once I get some proper sleep in my own bed (instead of 4 hours a night on a mushy hotel pillow).

For now I’ll leave you with this short review from Steve on our GALA performance of USS Metaphor in Miami: GALA and the Fabulous USS Metaphor.

All I can say is the house was rockin’! It’s an sharply satirical look at the military’s insidiously ridiculous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and it’s available on DVD. I really recommend it for anyone who enjoys a great show, enjoys Gilbert & Sullivan and who understands how stupid the whole policy is.

Picturing Excess

It’s 3 am, and for some reason I cannot fall asleep. Well I suppose it has something to do with the month-long, action-packed, 8,000-mile, cross-country trip that I’m starting tomorrow… first to Sausalito for a BUILD work retreat.

As a parting gift, here’s a fascinating TED talk by artist Chris Jordan, who blends visual art with unimaginable statistics to uncover the excesses and truth in American culture.

1 million plastic cups are used on airline flights every 6 hours and virtually none of them are reused. What? Insane. I’ll definitely be using my travel mug on my flights.

Catch you all in July!

Upcoming: Elaborate tour of the South and East Coast

I’m really looking forward to a crazy, fun, and travel-filled summer filled with multiple trips to the South, a quick visit to NYC, and a full-circle trip to USC to facilitate a workshop with Karla at our alma mater. I signed up for this new Twitter-like social-networking site called Dopplr, which touts itself as an online tool for frequent travelers. Anyway, if you’re on it, add me, and I’ll see about posting my Dopplr badge on my website (I’ve added the application to my Facebook already, but we’ll see how long it stays on there). It’s a good way to keep track of where I am at any given moment, and to see if there are any locational overlaps between you and your friends (Oh, you’re going to New York then, too? Let’s meet up at Hiro on Sunday!).

Till then, you can see what I’ll be doing / going in the next few months in the table below:

EOY Beach Party with Incubator students in Santa Cruz, CA
June 9
Going to the beach with 50 students… for work! I love this job.
BUILD E2 Orientation
June 10
At the office
Karla in SF
June 11
BUILD Mentor Appreciation Night
June 12
At the office
BUILD Staff Strategy Retreat at the Headlands Institute in Sausalito
June 23 to 25
College Summit workshop at USC, Los Angeles, CA June 25 to 30 Facilitating a College Summit workshop at USC with Karla.

I’ll have a free night on Sunday, June 29!

College Summit workshop at UNC-Asheville, Asheville, NC July 2 to 6 Facilitating another College Summit workshop at UNC Asheville with Zenia. Never been to North Carolina, but have heard that it’s beautiful.
Quick Vacation in New York, NY  July 6 to 11 Visiting Tony in New York. Finally a vacation!
International GALA Chorus Festival in Miami, FL July 11 to 20 Performing with SFGMC and lounging at the beach, I assume. Bring on the sun!
Back to SF July 20
Back to the city after 3.5 weeks of jetsetting.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank College Summit, and particularly Oudete, for rocking out and allowing me the immense privilege and opportunity to be a Rap Director at USC and UNC Asheville. I can’t wait!

Efficient Travelling

Years ago, a fortune teller told me that spring is my best season, and I have no reason to not believe that because who would not love the blooming flora and the renewed sun of the season? But spring also marks the beginning of my favorite activity: traveling.

And I surely have been been traveling a lot over the last month–I went to Hawaii for a week and then Los Angeles with my students this past week–and it’s not ending soon! Here’s a quick list of where I’m headed this season:

  • April 9-13 – St. Louis, MO for College Summit Workshop Staff Training
  • Some weekend in April- Las Vegas, NV to visit the family
  • Last weekend in June – Miami, FL for a College Summit Workshop
  • Fourth of July weekend – Charleston, South Carolina for a College Summit Workshop
  • Second weekend in July – New York, NY to visit Tony
  • July 11- 20 – Back to Miami for a GALA Chorus Festival

And with all of this traveling (especially for month-long jaunt to the South in June and July), I am striving to travel as lightly and efficiently as possible. Here’s a neat blog post with 36 tips on efficient traveling:

  • Pack just a few clothes with only a couple complimentary, solid colors — no patterns. Black is a good idea if you need to be able to dress up and be casual.
  • Pack only what you can carry on to the flight.
  • Leave the laptop behind, as well as blackberry and any other tech gadget. For computer addicts, being away from the internet’s constant flow of data for a few days recharges and relaxes you in ways that you never experience at home.

And here are my own tips about passing through that sometimes dreadfully slow Security Checkpoint

  1. Put your shoes on the conveyor belt first – I usually only travel with a carry-on bag and backpack/”personal” item. This can sometimes get bulky, especially if I bring a laptop. By putting my shoes on the conveyor belt first, obviously it will come out first, and I can put my shoes on first as they scan my bags, laptop, toiletries, etc.
  2. Put all pocket items inside your jacket pockets – Generally, you will need to take off your jacket and place it on the conveyor belt as well. If you already have your wallet, cellphone, keys, etc. in your jacket, you save yourself some time and confusion.

Vegas for Thanksgiving Week

I had a great time in Vegas for Thanksgiving, and I have a few pictures that my brother took from the week. What did I do you in Vegas, you ask? Well, I slept, relaxed, watched cable (caught up on “Top Chef” and watched some hilarious “America’s Most Smartest Model”), and played Xbox and Wii. On a side note, I played this excellent 360 game called Portal, which was super enjoyable and super original. Check it out!!!

Anyway, here are some select pictures from my week off; they are mostly of me and my family eating dinner, and playing at Lake Las Vegas. Click this link to see the rest of this set from flickr.

Eating a turkey leg

Ice Skating at Lake Las Vegas


Lake Las Vegas


Christmas time at Lake Las Vegas

Click this link to see the rest of the photos on flickr.

Busy next few weeks

I am going to be having a crazy next few weeks with all sorts of traveling. Wish me luck as I try not to go insane while living out of a suitcase.

April 6-8 – Las Vegas for family Easter weekend
April 9-13 – San Diego for BUILD college tour
April 27-29 – Washington DC for College Summit core staff retreat
April 30 – Concert at Davies Symphony Hall
May 1-4 – Boston for Merrill Lynch’s Growing Up CEO (I’m chaperoning for 4 BUILD students)
May 12 – BUILD’s 8th Annual Business Plan Competition