Birth of Changi, the cute elephant

I was supposed to go to dinner with my friends after climbing at Planet Granite. It was around 9pm on the 23rd of August, my 28th birthday. All afternoon I had been checking my phone at every moment I got, for S called me earlier that day saying “It looks like A’s going to give birth either today or tomorrow!” And I was supposed to take pictures of the event. No one was expecting it this early; she was actually due in mid-September.

In the brief minutes that I was distracted from checking my phone, Szilard had texted me again: “Come now! She’s giving birth!” The unread text sat on the screen of my iphone 6, as I was climbing a very tricky yellow-handhold 11B in the corner of the gym. The distraction continued in the form of friends crowding me in a circle, singing happy birthday in the gym during probably the most crowded time of day, as I pretended that I was also singing for someone while turning bright red. Of course they yelled my name really loud, just as A was probably screaming in effort to push a new life into this world.

My friends presented the “cake” aka a bunch of cut fruit in a cake tin, as the nurses placed an equally if not more sweet baby girl into A’s arms. My present had all sorts of fun things in it: figs cut in half, spears of pineapple, bright red strawberries, soft melon, and strips of dried coconut topped with unlit candles. In the same moment, S was gaping with awe at the soft-cheeked baby Changi with a bright red face, struggling to open her brand new eyes to this new world she rushed into. Was it really a good idea she must be thinking to herself? Unsure, she wails as she is placed on her mother’s bosom.

Mostly through my “slice” of the fruit-cake, I casually check my phone, and nearly choke on a piece of coconut. “Guys, I have to go, dinner is cancelled, my niece was just born!” After that, everything happened so fast: I throw my climbing stuff into my bag, jump into D’s car and we race to the curtly instructed location: West Pavilion, Purple Elevator. D drops me off, and I rush in the entrance, past the security guard. Having no idea where I’m going, I just feel my way through the hospital, looking for signs: purple elevator… purple elevator. As if I was being led, the elevator revealed itself in a corner; anyone watching me would probably have thought I knew exactly where I was going. Come on come on… open faster – I thought willing the sliding doors to open already.

Reaching the floor, everything looked calm, but I was anything but that. The lady at the front desk was my last obstacle. “I’m here to photograph the new child, last name is Suto,” I tell her. “Sorry, I can’t hear you, can you come closer?” Ahhhhhhh! But I put on a placid face. “The mother’s name is Arty.. I mean Tatawan Suto.” I say more clearly. The lady bobs her head, pulling out a sharpie as I’m tapping my foot impatiently and slowly writes on a sticker already marked with the date Aug 23: Suite 324. She points to a double doors, hands me the sticker-badge, and I’m on my way through the labyrinth of hallways and adjoining rooms, the 3 by 5 foot white poster board I brought floating like a sail in my right hand. I wanted to be prepped with a light reflector in case the lighting was awful.

I finally reach the door and knock. For a split second I thought I had the wrong door, as a low-pitched lady voice mumbles, “what?..” Then I hear my cousin S’s masculine voice as the nurse opens the door. He pushes past her and grabs the door wide open, with an even wider grin. I have never seen him happier, and I have known this guy for 25 years.

Let these pictures tell the rest of the story…

A set of meaningful quotes from the first two hours after Changi’s traumatic entrance into our world:

S: “I’m in love” [while holding a sleeping Changi in his arms]
A: “Nothing on my calendar matters anymore…”

Turning the gym membership model upside down

This idea came out of wishing my favorite yoga class was closer to my house. My thought process:

  1. There are yoga studios closer to my house…
  2. But I really like the teacher, she teaches at two gyms/studios, but I only have membership to one. The other one is closer to my house…
  3. I wish my membership extended to cover both places.
  4. So can I have a yoga-teacher membership?

That’s what this post is all about. What if… Students were able to choose a membership centered around a specific teacher, and she/he could teach at any studio/gym, the students can attend based on that membership. Then, the teacher simply gives either a flat fee or percentage of her/his class’s income to the gym/studio as rent for that hour of class.
Potential problem: how does the place that offers the room for the class prevent the users from taking advantage of other utilities in the space?
Potential solution: layout the gym in a way there is one entrance area for the yoga room, and a separate one for the rest of the space. The Yoga teacher could maybe pay more per class if the place includes bathroom/shower or other amenities for her/his students, or the students can pay separate for that (if they want). It’s almost like “itemizing” – pay for what you use.

Benefits:
The most desireable yoga teachers stay in business
More flexibility to teach wherever, and know that students will come to you!

Of course, this idea could be expanded to other fields too – teachers, tutors, chefs, coaches…

Crimp this subliminal Ad

This is the first post of my new category …while in the shower. Why, well who doesn’t have those occasional profound thoughts in the shower?
Metaphorical of course, it just means these posts are all about those random creative ideas I have during the day while doing something maybe unrelated. Some people might take their temperature to measure their level of health, but mine is measure of how many if any creative thoughts that pop up without me actively trying.

For instance, the other day I was climbing with a friend, and though I am at the gym a lot, I never closely observe, but do glaze over the climbing holds, subconsciously noticing the sparsely placed logos such as “So ILL”.

(These logos are all of the climbing hold companies). However, if I saw those imprinted logos anywhere else, I would instantly recognize them and rack my brain, where did I see that!! Eventually I would figure it out. What if, instead of just advertising themselves, they imprinted such subliminal logos or other simple ads of other targeted outdoor/active/sports companies onto their climbing holds. When I climb, I focus on one thing, getting to the next hold, and if at some point I sit there, breathing hard, pondering my next move, I might be staring straight at a hold maybe containing “Mountain Hardware” or “REI”. I may not actually think about my next trip to “REI”, but I still see the logo amidst this uniquely heightened sense of concentration.

I think this sort of subliminal ad placement would be even more beneficial for startups who want to get their name out there. And the imprinted logos are not distracting, same color as the hold. Look at this example: can you see the name “rock candy” in the top left of the hold? Barely, right, but it’s there. And if you climb a lot, the reinforcement works.

Not a bad idea… now how much should a hold-making company charge for it?? I’ll leave that up to the MBAs

The most rewarding computer shortcut

This morning, we get a message from Damir: There is a puddle next to my bed; I woke up to dripping water, so I’m moving. Soon, he comes down, saying he got upgraded to the executive suite as consolation.

“The bathroom is so big, the whole Wandzil team could dance the Macarena in the shower,” he grinned, “…Seriously.” Must be nice… in my room, I have to sit on the toilet sideways so my knees don’t hit the wall.

It had rained all night; all the canals that were previously dry were now filled with runoff. But the rain was a blessing, relieving us of the intense heat, but as soon as I pull out my camera, the lens fogged up! I didn’t know it could be more humid. Pretty soon we might be able to swim through the air, or at least the puddle in front of the Sto. Niño school.

“During breaks, the students use it as a playground, skin boarding,” the teachers laughed, pointing at the lake-sized puddle.

giant puddle in front of school

Today, our pupils were an assortment of teachers and parents.

To combat the gray sleepy weather, Lucille and Aziz introduced the chicken dance. ” Yay! » One of them shouted in glee. The rest of the class laughed pointing to her *preschool teacher*, she must dance this with her class all the time.

The rest of the group caught on, and soon enough the room looked like a flock of clucking chickens.

Dancing the Chicken Dance

Later once we put away our feathers and pulled out the laptops, I walked around the class, passing by Elena. She stared incredulously at the computer, then laughed as I kneeled down next to her.

“I can’t operate this thing,” she pointed at the screen.

Filipino Teacher

“Don’t worry, you can learn!” I encouraged her. Lucille had just showed them the shortcuts Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V to copy and paste text. Elena and her lab partner bit their lips as they concentrated on the task, finally making the magic happen. Their eyes lit up in joy, clapping their hands like a child who had just ripped the wrapper off their Christmas present.

“The key difference between the adults and the children,” Lucille pointed out “…is that the children click everywhere – they learn by making many mistakes. But the adults are afraid of messing up, so they don’t like clicking.”

Aziz Teaching

By the end of the day, it seemed like we made a good dent in their tech-fail-phobia: there were more and more keys being pressed, claps of success, smiles, and hi-fives.

clapping with joy

Only the second best thing to the computer shortcuts they learned, the ladies proudly held their certificates from behalf of the IESC program.

teachers with certificates