Friday, May 29, 2009

In other news

One of our News producers had her final day with us today and I've been granted the opportunity to take over her duties until we find a replacement. I'm pretty stoked about it because up until now I've been helping build content for the topic hubs: Discovery Space, Discovery Tech and Discovery Earth - and only small projects for News.

Now I feel like I've finally come full circle and I really enjoyed the work.

First news slide show -

First news article produced -

On the homepage...

In other news, I gave a speech to the graduating 8th grade class at my old prep school, The Country School, yesterday. I talked about opportunity and how to make success something you seek, not wait for. In all honesty, I hated my prep school when I was a student there because I was small and dorky and obnoxious so I was often teased - sometimes it wasn't me, like when a boy called me a poor hick for not having a yacht.

I went into it expecting to be speaking to younger versions of my formal classmates so you can understand why I was dreading it, but it wasn't that way at all. As soon as I started speaking, every kid in the room was listening, asking me questions, and giving me high fives. It was an awesome feeling to finally be a cool kid in middle school and I realized I shouldn't have been such a hypocrite or let it get to me. Ahh the beauty and pain of hindsight.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Best. LinkedIn. Email. Ever.

From: Tom Kari
To: Me
Subject: Join my network on LinkedIn

Tom Kari has indicated you are a person they've done business with at Statistics Canada:

Dear Ms Effron. Sorry to use LinkedIn for this, but I couldn't find another way to email you.

I loved the solar images on the Discovery site. Quick question. In image number 8, it looks like the area of the flare is similar to the area of the Sun that is masked out. Is the flare really that big? If so, it's incredible!

Thanks again.

(And if you ever have any questions about Canadian Government statistics, I'm your man!)

- Tom


I'm super siked for.... REAL HOUSEWIVES OF DC!!!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Musing

- Tried to write an "Ode to an English Muffin" because I was mad at how they fall to pieces when I try to put them in the toaster, but it ended up sounding very weirdly sexual so I scrapped the idea. I think it was the 'nooks and crannies' that did me in. That, and I couldn't handle multiple "that's what she said"'s from Nick.

- Analyzing the current furniture inventory in my rental house and how we're going to scale it down to fit it all into the new apartment. Kitchen things alone will fill one U-Haul truck.

- LOL'd when a Twitter follower reminded me about "O RLY?" and Prairie Dog "O RLY?".

- Figured out what tattoo I would get if I had the guts to get one. Maybe one day.

- Keep going back and forth about cutting my hair shorter and adding color. Definitely like this chick. But actually more like Julia Stiles' pre-punked out hair. My mom will hate it.

- Finally reached the series finale of West Wing a week ago, but I'm not ready to watch it. I've heard I'll cry.

- Discovered Advil PM for my back pain at night and what a good night's sleep feels like.

- Rediscovered love and new appreciation for Nirvana, Green Day, Sublime and other angry music I listened to in the '90s. And yet, Trisha Yearwood's "X's and O's", Faith Hill's "Someone Else's Dream," and James Taylor's "Mexico" still warms my heart.

- Succumbed to the "I work at Discovery" hair style - the messy bun. It happens on a daily basis.

- Finding it difficult to believe I graduated college a year ago. Today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"I Have To Do This Reality TV Show To Support My Family"

Or as Jorge put it: FDR Comparison FAIL!

After Rod Blagojevich was denied a bid to travel out of the country to tape "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!," his wife, Patti has graciously stepped in to fill his place.

Why? Well just like regular people in America, they have a mortgage and children so Patti says she needs to work. And why join a board of directors of some billion dollar non-profit like regular millionaires when you can use money from a reality TV show to pay a personal chef to make organic mac & cheese for the kids? Pffft. Sold.

"I do want to say how proud I am of Patti. You know, she's willing to step up and do something like go into the jungle," Rod said. "Neither one of us are celebrities; I prefer to be compared to people like Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and others in history, not these comparisons."

Seriously - they're high right? Or at least delusional?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food Porn

A concept I never quite understood - nor did it sound appetizing - until I saw this food blog on Melissa's Facebook page. Now I get it.

Combining photography with "simplifying daunting recipes" for good home cooking so perfectly fits into the category of "Things Lauren Loves" that I just want to read and make everything Deb, the author, blogs about. From raspberry cake to goat cheese pasta sauce, this is really a food blog I could spend days on. I crave. I can't step away from the table.

While the topic of simplifying recipes for the average cook isn't revolutionary, the genius of it is how Deb presents her ideas and work on the blog itself. Her writing and layout are so clean and concise. So much white space punctuated with fabulous colored photos or fresh ingredients makes my mouth water!

See for yourself - SmittenKitchen blog

Speaking of photography, Erin and I have updated our photo blog. Have a look.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Feeling HOT

Your skin has more the four million pores. A section of skin the size of a quarter has more that 600 sweat glands. I know what it feels like to have every single pore and every single sweat gland activated.

Sounds gross? Sorry. It was just hot.

Bikram yoga, or "hot yoga," is when you do yoga stretches in a room heated to 105 degrees. For those of you who read my blog, you already know my first Bikram yoga class - first yoga class ever, actually - was on Saturday morning.

Photo is not me nor can I do that.

I did not die as previously expected, but I was more sweaty than I've ever been in my life. I looked like I had been caught in a rain storm, but I left the class feeling very light, refreshed and comfortably exhausted. Understandable when I've been told you burn more than 800 calories in one class.

I did have to lie down for the last 15 minutes of the class because I drank to much water but didn't eat enough so I felt sloshed. However, making it through 75 minutes out of a 90 minute class without leaving the room or passing out on my first try made me pretty pleased with myself. My only complaint is that afterwards I felt like I couldn't quench my thirst or satisfy my hunger all day, no matter how many bottles of water and bowls of pasta I consumed when I got home.

Most importantly - my back felt better, and continues to feel better today. I'm still aware of the injured spot on my trapezius muscle when I move around, but instead of feeling like someone is continually punching the wind out of me, it just feels mildly sore. Trust me, it's a huge improvement!

I've signed up for another week's worth of classes. I may have found a new hook! Plus, bonus is it's MUCH cheaper than seeing the chiropractor.

If you decide to try something like this, bring friends along. It was so helpful for me to have my coworkers Kasey and Betty there because it made me more comfortable and relaxed, especially since it was Kasey's first time too, and Betty had done Bikram before so I could watch her if I needed help. The best of both worlds.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Heffron Ranked 2,337

One of my friends had this link in her gchat away, "How popular is your last name?" and intrigued, I thought I'd give it a try.

Going by the 2000 Census (so says the site)...

Only 340 people share the last name "Effron" with me, but a whopping 2,337 people have "Heffron" as a last name. I guess those Polish/Russian ancestors had a thicker accent than my side of the family.

Curious "Efron" didn't come up in their database. I've had scores of people ask me if High School Musical teen pop star Zac Efron is my brother. No, but Zach Effron who's 29 and works for Goldman IS my brother. See..

Zac Efron. Famous. Teenager. Not my brother. (left)


Zach Effron. Not famous. Not a teenager. Is my brother.(right)

It's a dream of mine to one day meet Zac Efron, flash my driver's license and get cut a deal on the family fortune. Or at least invited to some hollywood parties.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Will passing out really help my back feel better?

In the never ending quest to find relief for what has become a chronic back pain problem - massage, acupuncture, chiropractor are what have failed for me so far - I'm attempting a "sure-fire cure" on Saturday morning that has me absolutely terrified.

Bikram yoga is not your mother's "bend over and hold this dog position for a while" yoga. It's the "hot one," as people say, where you're doing specific, easy yoga stretches in a room heated to 105 degrees. Some people say the heat allows your muscles to be more flexible so you can dig deeper into the stretches. Others say it'll make you throw up.

It's common practice with Bikram that as a beginner, your goal for the first class is to just get through the class, even if it means just lying down and doing nothing.

Either way, my friend and coworker Betty recommended it to me as a fellow athlete and someone who used to suffer from chronic back pain as well. She claims it was the only thing that worked for her after years of seeing chiros and physical therapists. As an active 22 year-old who should not have the trapezius muscle pain of an 80 year-old humpback, I'm up for anything, because, frankly, I want to be active and I hate being in pain.

Err... at least I was up for anything until my other friend and coworker Kasey, who is accompanying me on Saturday, sent me this as a tease...

And now we're both quite scared. Especially since I've never done yoga before.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life Goes On

It's unusual for me to not post an update for several days, but Karey's death and then getting through her funeral took a toll on me, zapping me of all creative juices. I even felt guilty about writing the previous post on the super heroes in Cincinnati because it was something that made me laugh and I didn't feel right about laughing at anything when I should be mourning.

And then I realized how silly that was and how Karey would have said, "pffft girl, don't worry about it." Life goes on.

Coming back to work on Friday was difficult, but I was so relieved to have something positive to focus on. And what started as a rainy, cold Friday turned into an incredible weekend.

Fearing I would drown in a sea of hopelessness, two of my coworkers asked me to go out with them in D.C. on Friday night after work. We eventually ended up at Marvin on U Street and in the middle of sipping my Amstel Light, I noticed a girl who looked strangely familiar. Did I go to school with her? Does she work at Discovery? I couldn't place her until one of the guys we were with said, "Hey! Did you see some of the contestants from Top Chef are here?" Bam! It hit me. It was Jamie from Top Chef Season 5.

Being the D-list celebrity magnet that I suddenly am (see here, and here) and a HUGE fan of the show, I went over to introduce myself to Carla, Jamie and Ariane -- all from Top Chef Season 5 and visiting Carla who lives and has a catering business in DC. Carla was the most pulled together, but Ariane was absolutely wasted and showed me everything she bought at American Apparel. Jamie, a lesbian, shook my hand and then promptly asked me, "Oh dude, can I sign your boobs? I would really love to sign your boobs." It was pure class. And that's all I have to say about that :)

Saturday was a much calmer day than Friday night. Tad and I met Roberto and his girlfriend Rena for a delicious shabat lunch before hitting the DC streets for the European Union Embassy Row Open House. Despite Roberto and Rena carefully planning out our route to only hit the embassies serving free food and wine,the lines were so long that were only able to get into Spain and Portugal -- two countries I can now say I've visited since the embassies sit on sovereign soil.

Waiting in line outside of the Spanish embassy...

Bonus: Spain's embassy hosted flamingo dance shows...

Waiting in line outside of the Portuguese embassy (this was when we got up to the door, not to mention the hour we spent on the street)...

And we were invited to meet the Portuguese ambassador Joao de Vallera in his office before enjoying native Port wine and portuguese baked bread...

Finally Sunday, I was home for Mother's Day. I had several good laughs teaching my mom that back space on the keyboard works the same as delete just in a different direction, and showing her how to use the itunes gift card I bought her. She had a good ol' time downloading 70s rock hits and Bob Marley of all things. A fairly quiet afternoon that finished with taking my 3 P.M. on Sunday photo and a home cooked meal of fried chicken and pasta salad.

It was so refreshing to be busy and outside after the 11 days of rain and all that went down last week, that I have to say it was one of the best weekend's I've had in a long time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Allegiance Assembled!"

Thanks Jorge for sending me something to make me laugh during this rough week. It was too good not to share.

A group of real life "super heroes" - spandex and Mexican wrestling masks included - have taken over the streets of Cincinnati to fight crime, feed the hungry, give money to the poor, keep the peace and whatever other Batman-esqe nonsense they come up with. That includes arresting criminals and hooligans with hand cuffs, tasers and pepper spray.

You mean to tell me some unemployed punk whose adam's apple hasn't dropped yet is walking around tasering people without preconceived legal consequence?!?


Ohio and Kentucky have laws on the books that allow "citizen arrests," which is just what it sounds like. What they're doing in Cincinnati is perfectly legal.

Kudos to the reporter for delivering this story with a straight face. Watch it here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

We miss you, Karey

A close childhood friend of mine was killed in a car accident yesterday. The world has lost a beautiful person who will be greatly missed, and will remain forever in our hearts. The Webster family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Love always to you, Karey.