Tuesday, January 13, 2009

freddy y joel's muy cupcakery

there's a recession....economic hardtimes....poor economy....blah blah blah. i'm tired of hearing about it. i'm tired of thinking about it. and i'm tired of it constantly affecting everyone's thought processes. it's so narcissistic. what about everyone else? all we think about it ourselves. how selfish. so i propose we quit worrying about our own economy and start helping out someone else's. hey, what goes around comes around, right?

so joel stein writes a column for time magazine every week. if i could i would post a link to last weeks column, but it's just impossible, so i'll summarize it. there's this nonprofit website, kiva.org, where you can give small loans to third world entrepreneurs. so stein donates $25 to a baker in nicaragua. now for a normal person, this would pretty much be the end of the deal. but stein decides he has some suggestions for this baker to help his business. he calls kiva and has a volunteer go down to the 'little mango bakery' and translate for him via cellphone. stein suggests a name change for the bakery, to be named after stein himself and that freddy (the baker) should focus on cupcakes over empanadas. freddy is amazingly cooperative and accepts the name change but includes his own name. he even agrees to try selling cupcakes. freddy even suggests they try selling the cupcakes to the local grocery stores. stein also discovers that the cupcakes will be transported by bicycle because freddy can't afford a car. he has to pay for a new floor and roof for his bakery. so they get off the phone and this is where i think the story gets interesting. stein still isn't done. he has more ideas for his new baker friend. he calls a woman who co-owns a famous cupcake business in california. he tells her all about freddy's bakery and asks if she's thought about taking her business global. she tells him that in the future they would be excited about opening their cupcake stores worldwide, but that it's a more likely to happen in the very distant future seeing as they don't yet have six stores in the states. but this woman apparently decides to humor him, or is really just a kind soul. to quote stein, "so sprinkles (this woman's cupcake store) agreed to give Freddy y Joel's $750 and a strawberry-cupcake recipe in exchange for regular reports on sales of that cupcake as well as a list of our three best-selling flavors. We agreed not to open a Freddy y Joel's in California, and in return Sprinkles would stay out of our section of Managua".

now i admit that the tone of this article is humorous and many elements to this story could be fictional. but i think that the basic story is true. it is, after all, time magazine. freddy now has a lot more money for his business and all it cost joel was $25 and one phone call. anyway, i think that's pretty impressive. if you're interested in reading the actual article let me know and i'll send it to you. in the meantime, check out kiva.org, and see what you can do to reach out and help someone else's economy. you never know, you just might end up helping yourself too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

beating sarah to the punch

this last week sarah flew in from utah to visit me. yay!! it was a pretty awesome week, if i may say so myself. and i'd like to tell you all about it. but that would take way too long, so i'll just briefly describe it. on wednesday sarah, a couple friends and i went up to st. paul to the science museum. we spent the day getting exhausted and touching surfaces that children had spit and snotted on. a plus side to it being winter is the fact that i always have my gloves with me. i was pretty successful at not touching anything without them. the only problem was that the touch computer screens didn't register my gloved hand. i tried to steer clear of those as best i could. we also watched the omnitheater movie which is the least fun one i've seen to date. it was about the effort to restore the lake sturgeon (very endangered and horribly ugly) to the great lakes. my favorite part of the film was when they "egged" (in relation to "milking" a cow) a 120 year old fish. i never knew that one fish could have so many eggs in it. totally gross. why do people eat caviar again? yeah. it was a really fun day and i think everyone learned something new. but i think the highlight of the day was the subway restaurant. we left the museum with the idea of getting food somewhere on the drive home. we had completely forgotten however that it was new year's eve and that even 24-hour mcdonalds had closed at 6pm. so after stopping a few places and discovering this problem we headed home even though we were starving. halfway back we drove through this dinky town which happened to have a subway with a huge OPEN sign on it. we pulled up thinking they must have forgotten to turn off their sign, but no, they were actually open. food, glorious food. i do believe it was the best subway i have ever eaten.

on thursday we went to lisa's house across the mississippi river and sat in her hot tub. it was quite lovely, except when the wind blew (i don't think sarah believed us when we told her that if your hair freezes it can break off) and also when we had to run from the hot tub back to her house. but luckily that wasn't too often and the run inside was only like 20 seconds. on friday my older sister gave us a tour of the Mayo Clinic which was actually pretty interesting. she showed us the labs where all the tests are done. it was pretty cool because it was somewhere that i had never really visualized before. we also had to walk several miles and i think we were all pretty exhausted. we went extreme bowling that night. while i scored less than 50 points in the first game, my 13 year old sister got 4 strikes in a row. i must have missed out on the good bowling gene.

on saturday we went up the the mall of america. we first went to the aquarium underneath the mall. the coolest part was petting the stingray (plural) and sharks. we stayed for quite awhile trying to touch all the sharks so i think everyone really enjoyed it. then we went shopping. and shopping. and shopping. it took us much longer than we had predicted to shop the entire mall. we were more than exhausted but i also discovered one of my new favorite stores: Martin & Osa. it's named for a very famous and adventurous couple in the early part of the 20th century. i might just read their book. i also learned that abercrombie has five different stores under four different names. they all have the same clothes, strong cologne smell, and excessively loud music though, so i'm not sure of the need for such stores, but i guess teenagers will buy anything. we also learned that the girls who work at hollister aren't allowed to wear makeup, which sounds sexist to me, although i can't quite specify how exactly. after we FINALLY finished shopping we rode the rides in the amusement park located in the middle of the mall. it was fun and all, but one of the rides was extremely painful. it also made me crazy dizzy and i don't like being reminded of how old i am getting. i really think the highlight for everyone was petting the sharks. it sounds strange but it was really relaxing and enjoyable. i have also decided that i would like an arabian bamboo shark for a pet. they were quite friendly and they really enjoyed being petted. i'm going to have to find out if regular people are allowed to own one of them.

on sunday we went to church, watched a couple movies and then sarah flew away, back to warm weathered utah. fortunately and unfortunately it was really warm while sarah was here, usually between -10 and 10 above. she didn't get to experience the insane cold that we oftentimes get to feel. oh well, maybe next time.