Prep

Taking a break from cooking to show you how pretty my desserts are:

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Happy New Year!

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Paid Internship Available

My friend Matthew Zachary has a truly awesome paid internship opportunity available. If you or someone you know is interested in web/social media work for a fantastic, meaningful non-profit, read on.

Here’s the dish: He is seeking a web 2.0 rock star for a hip nonprofit cancer organization based in NYC. Is your feedreader too full? Are you the kind of person that reads about a new web service and immediately signs up? Do you consistently leave comments on blogs you read? Do you use Facebook almost every day? If so, we need to talk.

The I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation (i[2]y) has an immediate opening for a paid internship. The i[2]y Intern will help strategize and implement our outreach efforts by utilizing social media. The intern is responsible for but not limited to:

• Increasing our blog presence and engaging the blogosphere in general
• Identify and recruit bloggers who would make excellent guest bloggers
• Maintaining and increasing i[2]y Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Newsvine & Delicious platforms
• Engage and become a “regular” of the online young adult cancer community
• Apply SEO practices to i[2]y Web site and continue to educate yourself and the organization on new techniques learned in the area of SEO
• Train and mentor volunteers to become Web2.0 underling rock stars

Founded in 2007 by young adult survivors in their 20s and 30s for their own generation, the I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation is a global leader in the fight against cancer working exclusively on behalf of survivors and their care providers under the age of 40. A TIME Magazine Best 50 Website for 2007, we have helped bring the cause of ‘cancer under 40’ to the national spotlight and rallied a brand new generation of activists to improve early detection, advocacy, research and support for this forgotten population. We have also attracted various key stakeholders to support our vision, including Google Health. The Huffington Post, Gothamist, Lifetime Television, Revolution Health (Everyday Health), Motorola, Novartis and Eisei – along with strategic media partners J. Walter Thompson, MTV, Ruder-Funn, Krueger & Associates, Interbrand Health and Edelman.

Note: Applicants who do not already know about SEO should be willing to commit to learning and be ready to show us that they are making headway on that front.

Application instructions: Direct all inquiries to stupidcancer@imtooyoungforthis.org with “INTERNSHIP” in the subject.

Cara Ellison Third-Quarter Analyst Conference Call Transcript

CARA ELLISON: Good morning. Thank you for joining us this morning for our third-quarter analyst conference. I have with me today President Tom Marks, Chief Financial Officer Owen Kind, Chief Technical Officer Jonathan Timmons, and our Communications Director, Perry Kanaly. I am going to give some brief opening remarks, and then we’re happy to take questions.

The … the overarching picture of the company continues to be one of strong health. We’ve done a very good job of limiting the effects of the rather weak economy and we’ve taken every measure to cut costs and retain our talent. For instance, we have a 95 percent retention rate, which is about the average of the last four years…so we’ve not been too affected in that regard. Most of the five percent who have left have been voluntary….. I mean, sorry, I mean it’s been turnover from retirees, employees taking advantages of back-to-school bonuses and that kind of thing. We’ve been very fortunate indeed, and I think it shows just how strong the company really is.

We will be reporting a third-quarter loss of $120 million which is due to the American currency being slightly devalued overseas. The loss is entirely within International and we’ve taken proactive steps to correct the loss. Every domestic unit will report a strong profit this quarter, with the pipelines surpassing even our most optimistic estimates.

I see there are quite a few analysts on this morning, so I’ll open the floor for calls.

OPERATOR: Douglas Keane from Putnam Lovell.

KEANE: Good morning, Ms. Ellison and others. Congratulations on a great quarter. I’m curious if you can add some color to the loss in international….?

OWEN KIND, CFO: Hi Doug, Owen Kind here. I think when you

UNKNOWN: (unintelligible)

OWEN KIND, CFO: look at the loss, you have to take into account the entire world economy right now which…

KEANE: right

OWEN KIND, CFO: which is self-explanatory. Our investments have experienced a slow erosion with the general decline of the economy. We have strengthened our hedges and are very optimistic that the next quarter will make up the loss.

OPERATOR: Cynthia Bell from JVS.

BELL: Good morning, Ms. Ellison. Last quarter you said there were some enormous gains in Broadband. Could you update us on the progress there?

JONATHAN TIMMONS, CTO: Hi Cynthia, this is Jonathan Timmons. You’re exactly correct. When we spoke last quarter we had just launched our test markets. We’re presently in seventeen states, and the system is working beautifully. I could not be more excited about our progress. We’re breaking ground in five more states in the next sixty days. Our plan to be fully live in six months is still on target. Very excited. Very good stuff.

OPERATOR: Jason Katz, Valiant.

UNKNOWN: [ Unintelligible. ]

ELLISON: Hello Mr. Katz, what’s your question?

KATZ: Ms. Ellison, thanks for taking my call. I was looking at the filings and they seem incomplete. I was hoping I could get a cash flow statement with your earnings?

ELLISON: Mr. Katz… you…you

PERRY KANALY: Katz, you’ve asked five times

ELLISON: Kanaly, thanks. I’ve got

KATZ: You’re the only financial institution that can’t produce a balance sheet or cash flow statement with their earnings.

ELLISON: Oh fuck you, Katz.

KANALY: ….withhold those.

[CROSSTALK]

TOM MARKS: …pausing for a moment? Convene in

KATZ: No, fuck you, Miss Ellison. You treat all the analysts like

ELLISON: Shut the fuck up, you asshole. You call here

KANALY: Perhaps other calls?

JONATHAN TIMMONS: Is this for real?

ELLISON: You call in every damn quarter asking

KATZ: Because you won’t give them to me!

ELLISON: We don’t do that at Cara Ellison Corp!
[CROSSTALK]

KANALY: perhaps arrange

ELLISON: Fuck you! You want to come here, to the office

KATZ: Bullshit!

ELLISON: I am on the fiftieth floor, you can come here any day and I’ll have accountants

KATZ: It’s all bullshit! Your accountants don’t

KANALY: Please, let’s

UNKNOWN: I’m not sure

KATZ: know what they’re doing. How could they… don’t even have a cash flow statement!

ELLISON: Look, bitch

KANALY: Oh God

ELLISON: you can keep lying

[CROSS TALK]

TOM MARKS: Please

KANALY: Where?

ELLISON: Fuck you. Fuck you, asshole…. Short seller

KATZ: Because your accountants don’t know shit!

KANALY: This is not… important

OWEN KIND: I have no idea.

KATZ: They just do what you tell them!

ELLISON: Bullshit! [CROSSTALK ] Could have called me… could ask to speak to OWEN or TOM or… or…. Anyone, and instead you do this drive-by shit

UNKNOWN: That’s it, I quit.

ELLISON: What? Who quit?

KATZ: You don’t take calls from me

ELLISON: Katz, you’re a short seller trying to devalue

KATZ: That’s your paranoia

ELLISON: Fuck you

[CROSSTALK]

TOM MARKS: Hang up. Operator, please

ELLISON: Fucking kill you, asshole.

UNKNOWN: Jesus Christ

[CROSSTALK]

ELLISON: Who quit? Who else? To quit?

JONATHAN TIMMONS: I quit.

ELLISON: No severance! Nothing! Who else? Anybody else? Okay then you get raises. Fuck you Timmons

JONATHAN TIMMONS: Lost control. You’re completely

ELLISON: Fuck you

KANALY: Deep breath…calm down

ELLISON: Shut up Kanaly

KANALY: Please

ELLISON: Fuck you

KATZ: Anytime baby

ELLISON: Shut up, asshole

KATZ: You ever gonna give me the cash flow?

END CALL

Picture Day

All these were taken today.

I liked how Enron was grouped in with other companies that failed – somehow lends credibility to the growing body of evidence that Enron was not criminal.

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I love running gloves; I’ve had these since I lived in Portland. Many years. And I was so excited to wear them today I snapped a picture.

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Self Portrait One

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Self Portrait Two

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Flowers in bloom, on December 28.

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I love it when I am minding my own business and the world starts to speak to me:

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Taking One For The Team

The party was in the ballroom of a downtown hotel. We arrived when most people were on their second cocktail, which was exactly where I wanted them. Though I don’t really drink, I like to know that others are. I tend to seize up in very large social situations. Drinking people are chatty people, and that works to my advantage.

Superprime found his people and introduced me. All the wives were lovely and looked slightly, indefinably out of place, much like I must have looked. And I wasn’t even a wife.

I took a glass of chardonnay and looked around. The company had splashed down some money on the shindig, which made me very happy. Not because of the money, but because in this age of bailouts, deficit, and recession, it’s heartening to see an organization actually acting like there is something worth celebrating: its employees.

After a while, Superprime’s boss joined the group. Over dinner – which was actually quite good – I began to relax a little better. His boss’s wife is Marla; I was seated beside her and we ended up having a lot in common. Conversation with her was easy, and within minutes, I felt like we were friends. So when she invited us and approximately forty others back to her house for an afterparty, I had no problem mustering the enthusiasm to accept.

When we walked through the door of their home, Marla grabbed my arm and said, “I have the best drink. I call it a Redheaded Slut. You’re going to love it.”

I looked to Superprime, who smiled encouragingly. At the bar, Marla handed me a martini glass full of a red liquid. The fumes coming off the drink nearly burned the film off my eyes. “You’re going to love it. So Christmasy,” she was saying, and poured herself one. “To new friends!” she chirped. I admit: I was completely charmed by her. I though she was an interesting person, and a genuinely kind person, and I could totally see us going out for drinks without the men. It was all very auspicious. Indeed, to new friends.

I clinked her glass and took a tiny, tentative sip. The red fluid was sticky and tasted like Hawaiian Punch and high octane jet fuel. I had a mild attack of tachycardia, followed by my ears burning – and possibly bleeding. The intense sweetness of coconut and banana was apparently designed to cover the disgusting taste of whatever evil alcohol she had used in the drink. I forced myself to swallow.

“Great!” I said, smiling with tears in my eyes. The room was starting to spin. I get tipsy very easily anyway; I am lampshade-on-the-head-dancing-around-in-my-underwear-drunk after half a light beer. But this wasn’t that silly kind of drunk. Instead, I felt like I was falling down a very long, vertical elevator shaft.

Two other women had arrived at the bar, and Marla busied herself making two of her Redheaded Sluts for them. I looked across the room to Superprime. He was talking to his boss, and the lights from the Christmas tree behind him created a sweet frame – this great guy, this man. I felt a wave of such tender affection for him that I don’t know how I remained standing. He felt the weight of my stare and looked over. He was smiling. Something coded and intimate passed between us.

I said to Marla, “I see Superprime, I’ll be right back.”

I set the drink on the bar and sidled up beside him as he was talking to his boss. There was a group of seven guys – his coworkers and boss – and they seemed tight. Watching him interact with the guys was an interesting experience, something I would have to jot down later in my anthropology notebook. I sort of leaned into him, my stamina mysteriously sapped from the drink. His arm came around me, and he pressed a kiss to my temple.

Marla was busy passing out her Redheaded Sluts. I was trying not to meet her eyes. Then she walked over, holding the glass I had left on the bar. “Is this yours? Did you not like it?” She looked so incredibly sweet, all blonde and blue eyed and endearingly proud of her drink. I imagined her practicing her Redheaded Sluts for days before the party, asking her husband and neighbors and kids if it tasted okay. Maybe she’d substituted gasoline for Belvedere Vodka because she ran out at the last minute and all she could think to do was siphon the Super Premium from the BMW in the garage.

I looked at Superprime and his boss, all his guy friends, and the women who were drinking elegant flutes of champagne. He and the guys looked so much like a team. There was just something about them that intrigued me, cohesion and respect and something male. But in that moment he was separate from them. He was looking at me and something delicate flickered in his eyes. Images kaleidoscoped through my mind: feeding me cupcakes in bed, the sweetness in his eyes, the softness of the skin of his chest, the way he traces his fingertips over my back when I am going to sleep, the way he takes care of me when I have a headache. The guys – his team – and his boss – were watching.

I smiled as I took the glass of the sticky Hawaiian Punch and jet fuel and in one long gulp, I drank it all down.

The Cara Ellison Year-End Round Up For 2008

Word of the year: Bailout.

Person of the year: Me. I deserve it, it’s my life, I am the person of the year.

Store of the year: Recession in NYC.

Best trip of the year: New York City to sign a book deal.

Number of first kisses: 2

Number of friends lost: 2 (M and my friend Brian who died at the age of 27 while on vacation in Vietnam.)

Number of friends made: 8

Strangest Enron story of the year: The 5th Circuit’s flat refusal to issue a ruling on Jeff Skilling’s appeal.

Best Enron story of the year: Scott Yeager’s double jeopardy motion being heard by the Supreme Court.

Worst Enron story of the year: Hirko broke my heart with that guilty plea.

Other good Enron news of the year: Ken Rice is among us again and working at a hedge fund.

Most unreal moment: seeing the damage of Hurricane Ike.

Best moment: After having my appendix removed, I was completely alone. There was nobody I could call to help me for even basic things like buying food or bending over to pick up a sock. And strangely, I knew I would be okay – and I was. It was perhaps the first time in my adult life I knew that the very best person in the whole world to take care of me, was me.

Worst moment: The whole summer was bad, but in retrospect I think most of the pain was from depending so completely on someone else for my happiness and then feeling tetherless and helpless when he wasn’t dependable.

Miles flown in the cockpit of a plane: 1500.

Miles flown as a passenger in a commercial plane: 1700.

Number of books read: 14

Number of marriage proposals: 1

Number of marriages: 0

Quality of the year, on a scale of 1-10: 8.1

Merry Christmas

I am supposed to be sleeping. Despite the fact it’s Christmas Eve, I have a raft of obligations and things to do and, predictably, they all take place in the morning. So sleep is my friend. But I canna sleep.

I have tears rolling down my face as I type this. I am trying very hard not to sound like Evita. Please bear with me. It’s Christmas, you see, and I have something to say.

I canna sleep because since seven o’clock this evening – it is just after midnight now – my BlackBerry has not stopped ringing and buzzing. It seems that every person I have ever known either in real life or through my blog is calling and writing to me and saying the kindest, sweetest, most generous things – and for the first time in a very long time, I feel connected to the world in a very real, solid way. A friend calls and says sorry we haven’t spoken since June, it’s just been so busy, and then in ten seconds we’re talking about how our lives would not be the same without the other person, how we deeply treasure the experiences we have brought into each other’s lives.

This has been going on all evening. Forgiveness and “I never told you this” and “I just called to say I love you.”

It is positively cinematic. I catch a glimpse of myself pacing the floor, my BlackBerry to my ear, tears streaming down my face – smiling through tears, I think that’s my very favorite emotion – and I know this is so unlikely and so special.

I am floored.

For many years, I hated Christmas. I slept as long as I could through the day just so there was less of it to experience. I detested the happy people and the silly movies that always made Christmas out to be a panacea for all the bad luck during the rest of the year. Perhaps there is some universal wish for people to experience a great reconciliation at Christmastime.

This Christmas seems wonderfully different – this whole year has seemed different to me. I moved to a city I hate. But in the year I’ve been here, I’ve learned to hate it less. Not because it suddenly became a cool city with great skiing and beaches, but because of the people I’ve met here and the people I’ve met in other places while I’ve been here. I have been blessed with an embarrassment of riches in this regard. I’m blessed in general – my friends are my tribe, they are my people and I love them.

And so many of them have made their presence known tonight – this outpouring of love is just overwhelming! It’s the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. It is everything that Christmas is supposed to be. Thank you. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

Rex Shelby Wins Motion For Continuance

In an unusual move, Judge Vanessa Gilmore granted Rex Shelby’s request for continuance of his retrial pending the outcome of Scott Yeager’s double jeopardy appeal before the United States Supreme Court. This is great news for Mr. Shelby because if the Court clarifies or changes the law based on Yeager’s case, that change is applicable to Shelby’s appeal.

This is a great day for justice, and of course, one supposes, a great day for Rex Shelby. We here at Cara Ellison Corp send our very warmest, best wishes to Mr. Shelby and his legal team. Huzzah and Merry Christmas!

Retro RTG: Listen To It

It rests beneath your collar bone and behind your ribs.

It beats sixty times a minute. One hundred thousand times a day. Two and a half billion times in a lifetime.

But have you ever really heard it?

Not the thud of its beating, but the voice that speaks to you. The voice that knows what makes you happy. The voice that knows what makes you sad. The voice that Knows.

There is a place, not too far away, where people heard the voice, and they listened.

It said to them, build something. Build something that is not meant to be temporary. Build something that is not meant to be something for everyone, but everything to someone.

Build a monument.

For some, the monument is a 400 horsepower engine. For some it is a three-minute mile. For some it is a company, encased in a glittering skyscraper. And for some, the monument is life itself.

Somewhere along the way, we stopped listening to the Voice. Our ears became tuned to other things. Stock reports. The six o’clock news. Then one day, as we’re putting the forks in the dishwasher, we catch a glimpse of the joy in our children’s faces – and we remember.

We remember what it felt like to listen to the Voice. To play. To go where it leads us. We remember the joy of creating merely because it pleased us. To find the ideal… by default.

We are children and we are happy.

You know the truth. It is not too late. Your heart is still beating. The voice is still speaking to you. All you have to do

is listen.

Me and New York City

Drudge Report reports
New York City will get eight inches tonight.
Not to be forward or impolitic
But so will I.

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