Magpie Matchmaking

Jan 29, 2010 in Life

matchmaking1.jpgLast night I went to Magpie for Stephany’s fan club meeting (on Mondays we meet at Oxford’s). Sitting at the end of the bar overlooking proceedings. Two chaps walk in and set up shop near me. They were at Jines before to get a sandwich but there they just closed the kitchen, the waitress advising them to come here. The oldest of the two orders a turkey sandwich to go.

We start chatting. The younger of the two is an area native, the other from the Bronx and they learn that I am from Amsterdam. The guy from the Bronx asks how I ended up here in Rochester from such a happening place as that. “A woman,” I answer. I ask him about the Bronx and now being here? “A woman,” he answers. Then a girl comes past and he stops her. It is the waitress from Jines. He strikes up a conversation and starts to interview her.

> “How old are you?”
< “26”
> “Are you married? A boyfriend?”
< “No, no”
> “I have three sons,” he says and we start to relate their virtues: a good education (Alfred State), employed (the oldest is shoveling snow as we speak), from a good family (the Bronx, the Yankees!), lives in a safe neighborhood (the fine municipality of Penfield). Then he digs out his cell phone and calls his son Jason.

“Where are you?”

“We’re at the Magpie Pub. You need to come over.”

“You’re not busy, are you?”

“There’s this really nice girl, good looking, who wants to meet you.”

“Okay, well, maybe later then.”

We chat some more with the girl and then she wanders off to sit elsewhere at the bar. The three of us go back to talking about the Bronx, Penfield, Rochester and Amsterdam when some time later Jason indeed shows up. Dad’s friend looks around and says that the waitress is still here. I look up, see her sitting at the bar and walk over.

“Can I borrow you for a moment?”, I ask her. She gathers her drink, purse and coat and I walk her over to our little corner at the bar. There I put my hand on Jason’s shoulder and I say to her: “I’d like you to meet Jason. Jason, this is the girl we called you about.” They shake hands and take the table just behind us. They chat for quite a while, I believe phone numbers were exchanged. Romance blossoming.

Pleased with our result we turn our attention to Stephany to see if she could be matched with one of the remaining sons. “I have to get them out of the house,” the dad says.

I didn’t get such a phone call from my dad when I was 25. Okay, no cell phones but still. How different life could have turned out if I had!

Social network here, there and everywhere

Oct 20, 2008 in Life

dashboard21.jpgHow the world has progressed from mailing lists and bulletin board systems. Where is Compuserve?

I continue to find “social networking” fascinating. I put the term between quotes; it is not as if humans weren’t socially networking before the founding of MySpace or Facebook. All these nodes in the world wide web do underwrite that humans are social animals first. The success of the telephone a century ago, the ringtone explosion, Japanese teenagers sending each other grainy photographs on their mobile phones and so on.

Social networking intrigues me both personally and professionally. I live in Rochester, NY but most of my family and many of my friends are elsewhere – personal web sites, Facebook friends, twitter updates all help staying in touch with each other and so over a distance of thousands of miles and six time zones I still know that Gero is stuck in a 3 1/2 hour traffic jam due to a truck accident. I have to say though that much of my family is disappointedly cyberspace-inactive. Professionally it helps maintaining connections with peers in the industry while we all move positions, change jobs – and it adds to a manager’s ability to stay aware of the professional well-being of remote colleagues (Facebook status updates can give interesting hints on a colleague’s gearing up for a job change). In my usage I try to separate LinkedIn contacts and Facebook friends between professional, work-related and personal respectively although the line is rather blurry.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter are all so successful also because they feed into the narcissistic tendencies of many of us allowing us, encouraging us to twirl our experiences, our virtues onto the world. I happily do. Yesterday I went on a bike ride. Before the ride I twitter that I am about to do this and I twitter upon return. The pictures from the ride need to be uploaded to my .Mac gallery, to Flickr, to Facebook and I need to write about the ride on this blog. The stats recorded by my bicycle computer are uploaded to BikeJournal. If I read something interesting on cycling or social networking then I need to bookmark that to del.icio.us. And in between I need to worry about my Technorati authority (only 2, what’s up with that?). All this easily takes much more time than the bike ride itself.

Am I profiling myself enough? How much would my personal brand gain if I also joined Friendster, Friendfeed, Plaxo, Livejournal? Heard the other day that World of Warcraft is becoming Golf of this millennium – the place where business deals get done. I never played golf so maybe I have a shortcut here?

At the same time email is still a key communication tool. With the 11066 unread emails I have as of this writing, keeping up with all the twitter messages, facebook status updates, flickr discussions etc etc how do you stay abreast of that deluge of information? How do you know what to pay attention to and when? How to avoid being interrupted by each incoming email during writing a paper or software? Last week I unfollowed someone because he was just twittering too much.

An MIT project now implemented at MovableType, Action Streams, can be useful. Action Streams allow you to aggregate and share your actions and profiles around the web in one place. Maybe that can optimize my “post ride”-workflow?Ambient information devices then help you assess the state of information waiting for you. There is the Chumby – love to get a few of those. There’s the glowing orb. The cute rabbit by Nabaztag.

For now I am starting in a cheap and simple way. Our Mac Mini is supposed to be our media server but actually spends a lot of its time on my desk. By keeping it in Dashboard mode I can have occasional glances at stock quotes, the weather, San Francisco web cams, IP addresses on our home network, Dutch headlines, Facebook and twitter updates, and a world clock.

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