foursquaring for Vaccines

I use foursquare, which is part online game, part social media, part easy advertising for businesses. When I visit a place and “check in” I tell the world or just my circle of foursquare friends that I’m there, or that I’ve been there. foursquare seems to be great for local businesses – they can offer specials for checking in once (“show a cashier that you checked in and get $5 off your total at check out”), or offer loyalty programs (“check in here three times and receive a free Margarita”). foursquare is free for users, it’s a way for local businesses to advertise to their target market, and there’s a silly point program so you can compete with friends. From what I understand it’s similar to Facebook’s Places, but I don’t use Places, so I’m not sure how accurate the comparison is.

I’ve used foursquare to tell my friends when I’m visiting somewhere extremely cool or out of the ordinary (It was fun to tweet via foursquare that I was “checking in” to the sky deck of the Seattle Space Needle last month), and to get good deals ($5 mojitos at Stella’s Fish Cafe!). But yesterday I used it to SAVE LIVES!

I stopped at a Walgreens in South Minneapolis last night, and when I opened up Foursquare I was interested to see that Walgreens was offering a special. I stop at that particular store pretty often, but had never before seen them offer a special. I opened the tab and saw this:

I went online to learn more about the offer, and it turns out that through October 8th, Walgreens will donate one flu shot voucher for every valid foursquare or Facebook Places check-in. And you can go onto their Facebook page to vote for one of five groups that will receive a percentage of the flu shot vouchers (the organizations are Feeding America, the National Urban League, AmeriCares, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the American Diabetes Association).

How cool is that!? I love technology. And corporate giving. And vaccines. Win!

foursquaring for Vaccines

Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life Minnesota is tomorrow – Thursday, April 28th.

Go out to any one of a gazillion and ten participating restaurants, and the restaurant donates a portion of your food bill to The Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit agency which each year serves one out of four people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. The Aliveness Project offers an on-site hot meals program, food shelf, integrative therapies, case management, holiday baskets, HIV educational services.

I’m getting up early to have breakfast at Anodyne Coffeehouse in South Minneapolis before going in to work.

And for dinner I’m going to Joe’s Garage in Loring Park with a bunch of friends.

There’s an entire list of restaurants throughout Minnesota that are participating in Dining Out for Life.

Where are you eating?

Dining Out for Life

First World Problems Contest

We are so lucky and have so much.

I, personally, have lived a charmed life.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have problems and complaints, but I’d say my frustrations are pretty minor.

For instance, this morning I stepped in cat vomit as I was getting ready for work.  While untimely and disgusting, stepping in cat upchuck hasn’t damaged me in any apparent permanent manner.  When it happened I had instant access to water and soap to wash my foot, a clean pair of socks, and a designated rag, scrubby brush and special carpet cleaner to make the watery, hairball-filled, partially-digested food mess disappear.

Then there are the frustrating, petty experiences that I can’t complain about, because to do so would would make me look like total a total asshole.  Like my annoyance this morning at having to settle for a Cherry slushie because the regular Coke slushie machine was broken.  What asshole would even put a “problem” like that in print?  Oh…

A broken slushie machine is an example of a First World Problem.

Urban Dictionary defines First World Problems as “Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.”

Aw, crap, I don’t know which 1 carat diamond encrusted platinum ring to buy!

In my far from exhaustive Bing search I found several websites that catalog examples of First World Problems, a Facebook site, and a Twitter hashtag devoted to these usually intentionally funny anecdotes of the issues that nag at those of us living relatively high on the hog.

As human beings we tend to get wrapped up in ourselves, but we also know that somewhere someone else has it harder than us.  The thing that I like about highlighting our First World Problems is that it illustrates just how silly we can get about our day-to-day experiences, and it serves to remind me that there are bigger problems to address.

So let’s address them – at least in a small way – and have a good laugh at ourselves in the meantime.

I introduce to you, my dear readers:

The First World Problems Contest!

Here’s how it works:

  1. In the blog comments post a First World Problem (FWP) that is plaguing your day.
  2. At the end of the contest I will compile all of the entries and create a poll of my favorite 5-10 FWPs.
  3. YOU, the readers, will have to opportunity to to vote for your favorite FWP.  The submission with the most votes wins.
  4. I will email the winner a $25 Kiva gift certificate! is a microlending website that allows individuals to loan money to low-income entrepeneurs from all over the world.  You go to the website, browse the small business owners or groups who are seeking funds and then you lend your $25 to someone who wants to put it to good use.  The business owner repays the loan over time (if all goes as planned), then you can choose to roll your returned investment into another loan!

The Hubby and I participate in Kiva.  We enjoy learning about the work that others are doing in different parts of the world, and it feels good to be a part of an organization that is getting these entrepeneurs the funds they need to help their businesses grow.

Contest Details and Guidelines

  • Comments are open NOW.  Entries will be closed at 8pm (+/- a few minutes) central time on Sunday (1/9/11).
  • On Monday I will post the poll with my favorite FWPs.  The poll will be open until 8pm (+/- a few minutes) central time Wednesday (1/12/11).   I will tally your votes and announce the winner on Thursday.
  • The Kiva gift certificate will be delivered to the winner by email.
  • Anyone can post, and you can enter as many times as you like, but my top favorite entries will not include multiple submissions from any one contributor.
  • If the winner does not wish to claim the Kiva gift certificate, the contributer with the next greatest number of votes will have the option to accept it.  And so on.

I think that’s it.  Disclaimers…hmmm…I’m sponsoring this contest all on my own. is not involved with this blog.  Once you get the gift certificate, we’re done  – don’t get mad at me if you lose your $25 investment.  I recommend understanding how the lending process works before you get started.  (Kiva’s About sections and Terms and Conditions are a good place to begin)

Thanks in advance to everyone for visiting my blog and for participating in the First World Problems Contest!

First World Problems Contest

My crazy morning

I lost my wallet yesterday.  I couldn’t find it last night.

This morning I woke up at 3am so that I could pull a 4:30am – 1pm shift.  I normally work about 8am-5pm, but I have to be in Stillwater this afternoon at 3pm for my last day of scuba lessons. 

At 4am I called the last place where I used my wallet, which was Cub Foods in Stillwater.  A nice lady (especially nice for 4am) actually answered, but she told me I’d have to check back in with lost-and-found at 8am.

I left home at 4:05am and started driving to work.  About a mile away from home I realized that I needed to turn around to pack a lunch since any lunch money I had would be in my lost wallet.  I also snagged a roll of laundry quarters to pay for the $5.50 parking lot fee that I would need at the scuba lesson place.

I arrived at work at 4:45am and realized that my access badge was in my wallet.  I sat in my car and played on my iPod and smartphone from 4:45am to 6am.  At 6:00 my first coworker arrived and let me into the building.

At 8am I called Cub Foods – they have my wallet!  Woo-hoo!

I’m going to get some breakfast to celebrate. 

Enjoy some XKCD.  This comic is like my morning – it’s the complicated way to get where you’re going.



Wallet photo source

My crazy morning

Pay It Forward Day

Remember that Haley Joel Osment Pay It Forward movie?  Did you know that an entire social movement has sprung up around the concept of “paying it forward”?  From the Pay It Forward Foundation’s website:

The premise of the novel Pay It Forward is one that any person can implement in his or her own life, at any time. It begins with doing a favor for another person– without any expectation of being paid back. Indeed one would request that the recipient of that favor do the same for someone else: ideally for three other people. The unconditional favors can be large or small. As the fictional 12-year-old Trevor observes, “It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending who you do it for.”

Trumpets please!  Today is International Pay It Forward Day!  The Pay It Forward Day’s website claims participation from 28 countries around the world.  In the US there have been five state proclamations, one county proclamation, and 12 city proclamations declaring April 29th Pay It Forward Day.  So get out there and do some good!

In honor of Pay It Forward Day: 

The hubby and I finally joined and made our first microloan!  You can visit our lender page and learn more about the shoe salesman from Palestine we (and 82 other lenders) are supporting.

Today I corralled six coworkers and went to lunch at Santorini’s in Eden Prairie to support Dining Out For Life.

This is a fun idea I heard from a friend of mine: I plan on doing drive-through for dinner, and I’m going to pay for the person behind me in line.  I’m giving to ask the drive through guy to give the person behind me one of the Pay It Forward cards.

photo source

I’d love to hear from you if you are doing anything above and beyond for Pay It Forward Day.

Pay It Forward Day

Need a kidney? Try Facebook.

It’s the crazy month from chaosville!

I’m involved in two projects at one job:

One is scheduled to be done by end Q1 (March 31st).  I’m leading this project, and directing the work of five people.  In the department scheme of things it’s a low priority project, but as a personal goal it ranks very high on my personal success plan (ewww…company-ese).  In real language – if I drop the ball, I look like an incompetent dumbass, and I’ve wasted the time of at least five co-workers.  I like this project, so devoting time to it isn’t a problem, so much as over-devoting time to it is.

The other project is a high-profile company objective that is affecting corporate financials, so *everything* associated with this project is a priority.  Each experiment needs to be done about five minutes before marketing or QA thinks of it. 

And I’m still pulling 20 hours/week at the bookstore.  Yipee Skippy.

On less stressful note, we put all of our tax return and a chunk of bookstore money into the gaping maw that is our credit card debt – and paid off another credit card!  Yeah!  One (smallish) credit card and one (larger) credit union loan to go!  It’s time to start reading the MCAT study guide again…!!!

There’s a great article in the Variety section of today’s Star Tribune (author: Kristin Tillotson) titled Friended for life.  In a nutshell:   Christ Strouth needed a kidney, Scott Pakudaitis had a kidney, and no big deal because hey, they’re friends.  Well…facebook friends.  These guys were friends of friends…they barely knew each other…and they conducted all of their conversation about the transplant and donation via social media like Facebook and Twitter.  This story is pretty amazing.  I was always in awe of the generous people who donate bone marrow (ye-owch!), but an entire organ? Christ Strouth also has a video of his story on youtube:

Need a kidney? Try Facebook.