Out and About in the Freezing Cold

There was quite a bit of out and about this week.  Some very cool, some less cool.

Tuesday night I attended the NY Tech Mixer Meet-Up.  Well, I attended the fist half hour, had one drink, attempted to chat with some young tech geeks, realized this was not my crowd, and bolted before the demos began (it seemed to be only the young and geeky attendees from the NY Tech Meet-up.)  Making conversation with strangers is hard enough.  When you have nothing in common with the strangers and neither has anything to gain from the conversation, it is painful.  But, I gave it a shot.

Thursday night I ventured out in to the freezing cold again for a Voterbook Manhattan Meet-Up (a “grassroots organization to encourage participation in politics” formerly named “ObamaNYC.”)  I have had my eye on them for a while but have never made it to an event.  This was much more my crowd.  It was a small group gathered at the back of a bar.  People were supposed to bring ideas for getting Obama Re-elected.  I was there to learn and listen so I had no great ideas, but it seemed to be an intelligent, friendly group of people that I might enjoy spending time with.  Now I have to keep up with politics a bit more so the let me keep attending!

Saturday (I know, this was a big week!) I attended a very cool event called One Day University.  Renowned professors from top universities give 1 hour lectures at the Hilton hotel in NYC. It was a very well organized event with about 800 people in attendance.  Mostly around my parent’s age with a smattering of younger folks.   I LOVED four of the six lectures I heard.

The president of Bard College (a seriously impressive dude who is also a principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra) spoke about “What’s Right and Wrong About American Education.”  I have been reading a lot on this topic lately but he had some interesting unique ideas.  He was a very good speaker and a funny guy.

Richard Pious from Columbia gave a talk called “Obama’s Plan B: What to Expect in the Next Two Years.”  I took copious notes and learned a lot about “no drama Obama.”  Professor Pious broke it down in a way that made complete sense to someone who is trying to catch up on all of this.  Another awesome speaker.  I will be more informed at my next Voterbook meet-up!

Dr Harry Segal from Cornell gave an amazing talk on how psychotherapy works.  He presented a case study from four different perspectives of  how a student who can’t motivate himself to study might be treated.  He explained counseling (therapy “light”), medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.  He broke it down so well.  I am hoping the next time someone asks me how therapy works I can explain it as well as he did.

The “key note” speaker was former mayor Ed Koch.  He is 86 years old, busier than I am, and hilarious.  I am very glad I got to see him speak in person.

Overall, an awesome and tiring week of getting out there an learning new stuff.  I am especially proud of this because it is SO cold with non stop precipitation which makes everything require more energy.  As a reward to myself, today, I am hanging out with my TiVo and my Kindle and I am NOT leaving the house (except maybe to go to the gym because I was not jumping up and down while sipping wine and mingling this week.)

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