Friday, September 4, 2015

Life's Too Short, Grab a Donut!

Dear Members and Constituents,
Why are you here? No, this is not the super-sized question with extra ketchup (i.e. why were we put on Earth?), rather, it’s just the medium-size, hold the fries variety (i.e. what motivates you to come to work each day?). Think about it. On average, we spend 30% of our week at the office (that’s 45% of our waking hours!). Such a large time commitment begs the question: why do it? It seems to me one way to over-simplify the problem is to view it as a continuum which starts with fear and culminates in fulfillment. In this lens, many of us start-out on the fulfillment side (change the world). Somewhere along the way fear creeps-in (bills to pay, mouths to feed). This pendulum may swing back and forth throughout our adult lives, depending on macro and individual circumstances. Ultimately, I would hope you’re doing it for more than just a paycheck, after all, there are so many ways to get paid, so why not do it with pizazz! Sure, no job is perfect and inevitably there will be some drudgery that comes with your job description. Still, if you’re not spending a fair amount of time on the fulfillment side, you should check your motives and attitude. In my experience, there’s always a bright side we take for granted. Of course, if the cloud-to-silver-lining ratio is whacked, you can always make a change. Today’s jobs report has the unemployment rate at 5.1%, a 7 year low (Colorado’s is 4.3%!) –you have to imagine the job market is fairly healthy. I think telecom is the cat’s pajamas (we make the world a smaller place), however, if I had to switch, I imagine a career in donut confectioning might be fun (making people’s lives sweeter). If 40 hours a week of smelling the permeating deep-fried sweetness of donuts is not your cup of tea, you can simply swing-by Ed’s office (he’s still out) and grab a guilty pleasure. Rusty Corne (donut boy) delights us with four dozen LaMar’s confections (three dozen of which are specialties). So go for the gusto and grab a double-handed donut. And once you get back to your desk write me a note telling me what else is good about your job.

Happy Friday!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Donut Infatuation

Dear Members and Constituents,
Remember that first infatuation? Young and innocent, pure and authentic. Not quite sure what the attraction meant and not quite ready to take it anywhere, something in your inexperienced brain just flipped. Eyes like deep opalescent pools of marmalade, lips like ripe plums ready for the picking and hair like waves of silky wheat blowing in the wind. Lost in the feeling. Restless nights filled with visions of unreachable perfection and implausible stratagems to break the touch barrier. Ah, touch. That often overlooked sense seems to somehow hold the key to bliss. A shoulder bumped in passing, a casual tap. A cheek caressed, a handshake, a hug. If only you could gather the courage to touch that blissfully oblivious someone. Why that senseless urge for a seemingly ephemeral connection? Like a slow motion drop of water dissolving into an infinite pool, you envision an invisible energy exchange connecting you to that timeless someone; a moment forever etched into your senses. Nothing has changed yet nothing can ever be the same. Remember? Of course you do! Perhaps touch is more transcendental than we give it credit for. Stephen Hawking seems to think so… Then again, it may just be a sweet notion held by a sappy old man. Speaking of sweet, Jennifer Mecaller delights us this morning with four dozen donuts, eagerly awaiting your attentions. As usual, they’re sitting in Ed’s office (who is out, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, so he won’t be touching these babies –or cramping your style when you do).

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Honk if you Love Dounts

Dear Members and Constituents,
A car parked at the Level 3 garage (pictured) got me thinking about bumper stickers. Yes, bumper stickers, that passive-aggressive way to share something about yourself with your fellow commuters. Peel the backing, place the sticky side on your car and voila! You’re ready to show support, boast membership, crack an inside joke or mock others’ views. Permanently. Indiscriminately. Bumper stickers are a convenient means to broadcast your politics (for or against), national origin (pick an obscure three letter abbreviation), sport (26.2, 13.1 or 0.0), beliefs (fish, with or without legs), what you’d rather be doing (catching fish, preferably of the legless variety), advertise a product, or share how your group “does it” (can I get one that says “Level 3 employees do it around the corner or across the globe”?). There are even donut bumper stickers. You have the classic “bad cop, no donut” (because, let’s face it, there’s no way you’re getting off with a warning) and Voodoo Doughnuts has one that reads “the magic is in the hole” (yeah, not getting one either).

One major draw-back with bumper stickers is the lack of an “ACK” to your proverbial “PING”. For the most part you don’t know whether or how your message has been received (I suppose the “honk if” genre circumvents this pitfall and there’s some debate as to whether hand gestures count as feedback). Even so, for the most part, if the only other Norwegian Grateful Dead fan in town who runs ultra-marathons, hearts Chihuahuas and gets gassy when people drive too close behind them is directly in front of you, there’s no practical way for you to connect. Given the limitations, I admit I don’t fully understand this compulsion to self-vandalize our own vehicles. Perhaps the satisfaction of telling the world you have an Apple computer is its own reward. Then again, if you live in Boulder and drive a Subaru, I think there’s a law mandating you must have no less than four bumper stickers (preferably political in nature). As for Jeep drivers’ self-evident bumper stickers, I’m sure I wouldn’t understand.

In any event, whether you are a tree-hugging, welfare-state, Huffington Post liberal or a gun-toting Fox News conservative who’s proud of your gas-guzzler (or somewhere in the middle), it’s comforting to know the back side of your car can scream these and many other messages to your fellow drivers with little fear of repercussion. It’s also comforting to know Igor Nikolic (donut boy) has delivered four dozen delicious donuts to Ed Stocker’s desk (who is out for a second consecutive Friday). So come enjoy some peace, love and donuts. Hey, that would make an awesome bumper sticker!
Happy Friday!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Come Now, Donuts Are Standing-By

Dear Members and Constituents,
I have a confession to make: I watched an infomercial this week. I forget the specifics, but somewhere between their patent-pending this and volume purchases of that, my mind started to wander. Suddenly, I was transported. There must have been a disturbing grin etched on my face as I imagined an infomercial of a different color –from the perspective of a fictitious, amoral and unscrupulous company. Now, before I take a stab at committing this script to paper (I should say bits in this case), conjure-up your favorite “infomercial pitchman” (here’s a compilation of bad infomercials, if you need some inspiration). Ready? OK.

Tired of expensive toys? Wallet worn-down from buying useless trinkets that hold your child’s attention for a few hours, at best? Have your kids been invited to yet another pointless birthday party? Stop! Don’t spend another twenty of your hard-earned dollars at the Walmart toy aisle! Did you know today’s children will play with the average toy for two hours before it’s donated or goes to a landfill? It’s like throwing cash into the compost heap. It stinks! Finally, there’s a solution! Introducing Mediocre Toys. Built to last as long as your kiddo’s attention span, we use only the shoddiest materials. Why pay more for durability when we all know where that toy is going after the party? Sourced exclusively from under-developed nations with no environmental protection laws or enforcement, our raw materials are cheap! Our state-of-the-art process is designed to cut corners every step of the way –no costly quality control department here! But wait, the savings keep piling-on! Our sweat shops are strategically located in countries with lenient child labor laws. We pay our workforce (think of them as our kiddos) an average of $1 a month –that’s four cents per sixteen hour shift! And all these savings get passed straight to you, our customer! As a bonus, most of our toys use lead. We all know smart kids ask lots of questions and tend to rebel in their teens. Lead is a heavy metal known to hamper brain development –which means, you guessed it, less questions growing-up and easier-going teenage years. So call now. Semi-fluent offshore operators are standing-by.

Alright, that was pretty bad. Maybe there’s a good reason it’s been three months since I’ve been allowed to address you. Fortunately, the donuts are good. Austin Hurt, donut boy, delights us this morning with four dozen delicious donuts. And, while these donuts may last as long as my attention span, the similarities with mediocre toys end there. Ed is out-of-office today, so, be as unscrupulous as you like with your donut selection… there’s no one there to judge you.
Happy Friday!

P.S. If you have not read it yet, check-out my new post on Level 3’s blog (shameless plug).

P.S.S. During this three month hiatus, I had the opportunity spend a week in New York City as a tourist. I think I found what Denver has been sorely missing: a donut pub!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Presidential Donuts

Dear Members and Constituents,
I love my Friday morning commute! Having skipped breakfast to make room for donuts, my body goes into auto-pilot as my mind wanders. Answering the world’s pressing questions, such as, should I get a bullet-proof vest to protect against flying shrapnel from my car’s airbag?  The majestic clouds and mountains assembled on my dashboard remind me I have yet to make good on my resolution to carry a camera with a telephoto lens. News reports on the grand sheik of a mosque make me ache for a milkshake. Switch stations. Blast the radio, knowingly butchering The Cranberries’ Dreams. Asynchronous air drums, inharmonious hollers, and an oblivious driver make for strange sideways glances from my fellow commuters. Hit the brakes, I’ve arrived! (thank God for auto-pilot reflexes!).

As I walk up from the parking lot, one final glance at the foothills (by now bigger, but framed by duller skies). Will donuts be here? Yes! Chris Hynes (donut boy) delivers in style. Four dozen LaMar’s donuts that would make Washington, Harrison, Lincoln and Reagan proud (for you Jeopardy fans, who are U.S. presidents born in February?). As you ponder your plans for this Friday the 13th/Valentine’s/Carnival/President’s day weekend, head-on down to Ed Stocker’s vacant office (he’s on PTO, but donuts aren't). And remember, decisions are always better with a half-eaten donut in your hand.

Happy Friday!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Donut Chef-D'Oeuvre

Dear Members and Constituents,
What sets a great work of art apart from the rest? Take a musical masterpiece, for instance. It uses the same notes as lesser works (88 on a modern piano). It is arranged according to a set structure dictated by the scale the piece is composed on.  It has themes that repeat, like all the rest. It follows a certain rhythmic pattern. Yet there is something about an inspired composition that stands-out. While there are many dimensions that go into making a magnum opus, it seems to me a key variable is knowing the rules intimately and then selectively choosing which ones to deliberately break. That unexpected sharp or that silence where a note should be create a certain element of surprise. An anomaly which contrasts with the familiar fabric of the expected. Like salt on a dish, break a couple of rules and the experience is enhanced; break too many and you’ve ruined it. That’s why we don’t enjoy the sound of a child pounding a piano (unless, of course you are their adoring parent to whom everything they do seems cute). And so too it is with donuts. Ed Stocker is out today (unexpected) but the LaMar’s donuts today’s assigned donut dude -Tom Langer brought-in are sitting next to his office (familiar).

Happy Friday!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ten Year Donutversary

Dear Members and Constituents
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Bill Gates was onto something when he said this (or was it Abraham Lincoln? I can never trust Google anymore). Ten years ago Mr. Gates was still running Microsoft, and Ashton Kutcher had not yet invented the iPhone. The word Facebook might have triggered thoughts of your church's photo directory -not the new religion it’s become- and Twitter was just the glitter in someone's eye. In the ten years since I started Level 3's Friday Donut Club, two of my kids have gone into college, my youngest was born, I got a second master’s degree and a brand new hair color -gray. I sometimes joke that telecom years are like dog years. That being the case, the club was founded a lifetime ago. What will you do this next lifetime? (time will pass whether you want it to or not, might as well do something with it, right?)
This morning, Mr. Stocker was kind enough to entrust me with donut duty and let me write you this note. He was also kind enough to chauffeur me to two distinct donut purveyors (we carpooled). So come celebrate with me, and share your stories of this past decade.
Happy Friday!