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Improv AZ

Testing the Sweat-Proof Tee

A few weeks ago, I was watching a video on Real Men Real Style (I’m interested in having more masculine options for work clothes), and I learned about the Thompson Tee. They claim their patent technology “stops 100% of underarm sweat.” This sounded too good to be true. I sweat constantly, even when doing mundane things like eating a warm meal and walking my basset hound.

I reached out to Thompson Tee and asked to test their shirt. They sent me the shirt of my choice to put through the ringer of my life and share how it did. I selected the men’s slim fit v-neck undershirt in black, size small. The fabric is super soft and you can tell by the seams in the shirt and how the shirt fits that there is padding through the armpit. It was super comfortable to wear, but I had to see how it would hold up in sweaty situations.

Photo by Jay Chatzkel Photography
Used with permission

Test #1 – Modeling
People who aren’t involved in modeling or photography may not know that modeling makes you sweat, between the lights and having to hold awkward poses. This shoot was my first time doing male modeling. I wore a chest binder, my Thompson Tee, and a dress shirt and tie for most of the shoot. Towards the end, I did a few shots in just my Thompson tee and slacks. I was pleased that at the end of the night, there was no sweat on my dress shirt.

Test #2 – Phoenix Driving
In case you didn’t know, it gets hot in Phoenix. During the day, our cars turn into ovens under the sun. When I first get in my car on a warm day, I often blast the A/C, or risk sweating buckets. I tested my Thompson Tee while wearing it with a dress shirt, and driving around with a friend visiting from out of town. After I dropped him off, I even turned off the A/C just see how the shirt would hold up while I was baking. Even after driving on a sunny day in Phoenix in a closed car with no A/C for 10 minutes, my dress shirt was still dry, even though I was definitely not dry inside my Thompson Tee.

Photo by Leslie Easton Photography
Used with permission

Test #3 – Mid-day Love Rally
The ultimate Thompson Tee test was Improv AZ’s Love and Complements Rally – standing at an sunny intersection (without shade) while holding a happy sign for 45 minutes in at least 95-degree heat. I could feel sweat sliding down my skin inside the shirt, but on the outside, I was completely dry. I even had friends touch my armpit to verify it. (They said I didn’t smell either – and these aren’t people who would be shy about that.)

Does the Thompson Tee work for containing armpit sweat? Yes.

Is it comfortable? Very. (And their sizing chart made it easy to discern which size I wear)

Thanks Thompson Tee for sending me a shirt and letting me test it out. It has definitely become part of my wardrobe (and that’s saying something given that I’m a minimalist).

Day 88/90 – Lunch with Stripes!

Day 88 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have lunch with Stripes!

Stripes and Me!

Stripes and Me!

I met Rachel (aka Stripes) at the inaugural No Pants Light Rail Ride in 2009 and then we became friends as two of the co-founders of Improv AZ. (She got the nickname Stripes because she wore awesome striped knee-high socks at the first No Pants Ride.) We did some awesome shenanigans together like Welcoming a Stranger at the Airport, a Freeze at First Friday, and we were co-captains of part of the 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride. Geez we had fun!

This is a freakin' cool kid!

This is a freakin’ cool kid!

And then Stripes moved to the east coast, got married, and had a baby. This week, they were all back in town because Stripes and her husband Paul were invited to give talks on computer programming. (Yeah, they’re wicked smart.) We met up for lunch at Carolina’s – Paul’s first time to this Mexican food Mecca with the best tortillas in Phoenix. I suspect they don’t have Mexican food like this back east.

It was so great to catch up with Stripes and meet her husband. I loved his 3-question test he gave each of his dates when he was still single:

  1. What’s the square root of 144?
  2. True or false: There is right way to put on the toilet paper roll.
  3. What do you do?

He and Stripes seem to be a good fit for each other. And they have the most adorable baby. In general, I dislike children (which I need to revise that to children over 6 months old) but this little guy was so cute and chill. I asked to hold him the moment I saw him. I love his big inquisitive brown eyes – always checking out his surroundings.

It was so great to see Stripes! It’s too bad my next trip back east won’t afford me enough time to visit them on their turf.

In case you missed it: Day 87 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Processing my grief and anger.

Day 76/90 – Dinner at Oden’s

Day 76 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have dinner with friends at Oden’s house.

Love this photo of Oden and me (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission)

Love this photo of Oden and me (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission)

I know Oden through Ignite Phoenix and Improv AZ. She’s freakin’ awesome. She is a self-proclaimed “Jewish mother” and somebody I can always count on. With one friend visiting from out of state and another friend recently moving back to the Phoenix area, Oden had a group of us over to her house for dinner.

It was a fantastic evening filled with good food and laughter. Oden cooked up a storm, including pulled pork, cheesy polenta, and homemade white chocolate ice cream for dessert. Everything was so good, and it was so great to see so many of my friends.

I also fell in love with one of Oden’s cats. His name is Broken – because he has a crick in his tail. He is an attention-loving talkative older cat – complete with a deep loud old-cat voice. He was so cute.

I left feeling stuffed, happy, and lucky to have so many awesome friends in my life.

In case you missed it: Day 75 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got a tour of the Fox 10 Phoenix TV station.

Day 45/90 – Oden’s Happy Hour

Day 45 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to see a lot of my friends at Oden’s Happy Hour.

Hanging with Oden - Love this Lady!

Hanging with Oden – Love this Lady!

Oden is one of my closest friends in Phoenix. We’re both organizers for Ignite Phoenix and co-founders for Improv AZ. She’s genetically awesome . . . like me!

Oden decided she wanted to see her friends, so she declared a happy hour! She gave us a date and time and we all showed up at Angels Trumpet Ale House. I love these casual chill no-agenda gatherings – just good friends and good conversation.

It seems like all of my friends and I are so busy that we have to schedule fun or it won’t happen. I’m so glad she organized this – it was wonderful to catch up with her and so many of my other friends.

In case you missed it: Day 44 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Hanging with the Cool Kids at Startup Grind Phoenix.

Kicked Out of Costco

Ignite Phoenix 17 Speaker's Bootcamp by  Brandon Larkin (Creative Commons License)

Ignite Phoenix 17 Speaker’s Bootcamp by Brandon Larkin (Creative Commons License)

My friend Alan made me a white board sign – it’s two small white boards screwed to a stick of wood. It’s basically a reusable protest-style sign. I love it. It’s a fun way to make a statement without saying a word.

(I’ve been saying for years that I need a shirt that creatively conveys the message “Stay away from me” for the days that I had hate everyone but have to leave the house but it’s so creative that people want to talk to me about my shirt. Now I have a customizable sign that I can use instead.)

Rosie needed a refill on her glaucoma eye drops and our doggie ophthalmologist said that Costco pharmacy had the cheapest price, so off I went with my sign to get her meds. I don’t need to buy anything by the vat or gross, so I’m not a member of Costco. It’s a warehouse of consumerism that I usually find overwhelming. (You can use their pharmacy even if you’re not a member.)

I walked in a 9:30am when they opened to drop off her prescription. The front of my sign said, “I bite. I really do.” My friends wrote that on my sign and I left it there – but it’s true. I do bite. The back said, “Be Awesome to Everyone.” It’s always fun to watch the reactions when you violate social norms. I walked in, dropped off Rosie’s prescription, and walked out without incident.

Fast-forward three hours when I returned to pick up Rosie’s meds. It was high noon at Costco – the peak of free sample time. By then I’d changed my sign to say, “Stupid should hurt” on one side (hat tip to Improv AZ’s Fake Protest Flash Mob) and “Stop doing things you hate” on the other (hat tip to Gary Vaynerchuk). Based on the parking lot, I should have written “Cool kids return their carts.”

As I walked through the door, I think someone said, “Do you have a membership card?” to me, but I was completely oblivious to the staff. I was on a mission to get Rosie’s meds. One of them caught up with me at the pharmacy where I’d lowed my sign and was politely waiting for the tech. I think she thought I was “special needs.” She was very deliberate with her words and explaining that the store was private property and when non-members use the pharmacy, they need to be escorted, but that I couldn’t bring my sign in the store again. (She had no clue that I’m the lawyer who literally wrote the book on flash mobs and pranks.)

I finished my transaction and she escorted me out of the store. She even carried my sign for me. She seemed to soften a bit when I said I was there to get my dog’s glaucoma medication.

So now we know – when your awesome friend makes you an awesome white board sign, stores may not appreciate it as much as you, even if you’re quiet, polite, and legitimately there to make a purchase. And they might suspect you have a mental disorder.

My Favorite Things 2013

Oprah used to do a “My Favorite Things” show every year so I decided to do the same, but without all the freebies. Sorry.

I reviewed my calendar and Yelp reviews from the past year and here’s my list of my favorite things. Everything on this list is something I use or do and enjoy. I’ve not been compensated in any way for including anyone in this post.

Working Out
2013 half marathon pre raceFavorite Phoenix Area Race: P.F. Chang Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Favorite Place to get Running Shoes: Runner’s Den

Favorite Place to Work Out: Arizona Canal

Favorite Device for Sore Muscles: The Stick

Favorite Place to get Fixed when I Break Myself: Endurance Rehab

Food
Favorite Doughnut: Buttermilk bar from BoSa Donuts (open ‘til 10pm)

0702131205Favorite Mexican Food: Jordan’s

Favorite Greek Food: Greektown

Favorite Indian Food: The Dhaba

Favorite Dessert for Lunch: Yogurtland

Favorite Food Truck: Jamburritos

Favorite Dessert Food Truck: Mamma Toledo’s

Favorite Ice Krem (Phoenix): Churn

Favorite Ice Krem (Scottsdale): Sugar Bowl

Favorite Place for Late-Night Eats and Work: Gay Denny’s

Life
0511131339Favorite Dog Park: Margaret T. Hance Dog Park

Favorite Place for Shirts with Custom Verbiage: Brand X Custom T-shirts

Favorite Site for Shirts with Original Artwork: Threadless

Favorite Snuggle Wear: REI Yoga Pants

Favorite Person for Fixing my Sore Body: Thomas Porter

Favorite Shop for Music Geeks: Central Music

Favorite Bookstore: Changing Hands

Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Reality Show: Deadliest Catch

Favorite Place to Go When I Really Need to Escape: Firefly Room at the Phoenix Art Museum

No Pants Ride 2013 - Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

No Pants Ride 2013 – Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

Online
Favorite Webhost: Dreamhost

Favorite Social Media Platform: Twitter

Favorite Podcast: Savage Lovecast

Favorite Online Cartoon: Foamy the Squirrel

Favorite Site for Travel Suggestions: Roadside America

Favorite Site for Everything Else: Reddit

Events and Activities
Favorite Flash Mob: Improv AZ’s No Pants Light Rail Ride

Favorite Community Event: Ignite Phoenix

Favorite Place on a Friday Night: ASU Women’s Gymnastics Meets

Favorite Phoenix Geek Event: Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown (PUGS)

Favorite Place to see Who’s Who in the Local Zoo: Local First Arizona Fall Festival

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and perhaps it’s inspired you to try some of my favorite things. 😉

Reconciling my Personal & Professional Lives – or Not

A friend recently suggested I write a blog post about how I reconcile my professional life with the fact that I do flash mobs and wear pasties. My initial thought in response to that was “I don’t.”

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 - photo by Devon Christopher Adams

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 – photo by Devon Christopher Adams

For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a lawyer by trade, I do flash mobs with Improv AZ for fun, and yes, there are times when I appear in public wearing pasties instead of a shirt. I’m also a runner, a basset hound owner, a Star Trek geek, and a singer. My standard “uniform” is jeans and a t-shirt but my closet has everything from business suits to miniskirts and tank tops to ball gowns.

When I say that I don’t reconcile my professional and personal lives I mean that I’m not a different person in personal and professional settings. Wherever I go, I’m always me. There may be topics I don’t bring up in certain settings, but if they come up, I’m fine with it. There’s nothing I do in public that I wouldn’t own in any situation.

When I was first getting involved in social media professionally, I asked if I should have separate Twitter accounts for my personal and professional lives. The audience responded with an astounding “NO!” They said that people want to know the whole person so there’s no reason to separate the personal from the professional sides of my personality. They said that some people will seek me out because I’m different than others in my field – and that has totally been true! I had one person schedule a consultation with me after his daughter saw me at one of my speaking engagements. She told her dad that he’d like me because I swear.

Have there been repercussions? I wouldn’t call them repercussions as much as natural consequences. There are people who are turned off from me because I’m bold and don’t conform to the traditional lawyer stereotype. And that’s ok. On the flip side there are people who like that I’m different and that my personal and professional lives are integrated. It’s so much easier to be one person instead of trying to maintain separate professional and personal lives.

The only thing I do keep separate is my Facebook page. If you’re not my friend in real life, you don’t get to be my friend on my personal Facebook page. My Facebook page is where I put things that only my friends find interesting, but I’ll still own everything I post if anyone asks. If you’re not my friend in real life, you’re better off liking the law firm’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter.

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I Met Charlie Todd!

I’ve known about Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere since he uploaded Frozen Grand Central to YouTube in 2008. I was fascinated by their creativity and boldness from the start. I went back and watched all their videos and read all the blogs from their missions – it was captivating. I subscribed to their YouTube channel and I joined the now-disbanded “Urban Prankster Network” online.

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie and I have exchanged emails and messages over the years after I helped co-found Improv AZ and I started digging into the legal issues surrounding flash mobs and pranks. He was always friendly and helpful, but since we lived on opposite sides of the country, we never met in person.

A few weeks ago, I got a note from Charlie saying that he was debuting his film “We Cause Scenes” at SXSW. The film follows the story of Improv Everywhere from the beginning to where it is now. I love this story because Charlie didn’t start out trying to create this group. He was just a guy who was having fun with his friends and he embraced the opportunities that allowed it to grow into his career. I was so excited. I immediately put his film at the top of my SXSW to-do list.

I met Charlie about an hour before the film in the convention center. When I saw his familiar face, threw up my arms, and screeched, “Charlie Todd!” I gave him a big hug and chatted for a few minutes before claiming my spot in line. It was so great to meet him in person but because we’ve been conversing for years, it was like seeing an old friend.

The movie was fantastic. If it comes to your city, go see it. It’s a great story.

During the Q&A after the movie, Charlie announced that Improv Everywhere was doing an MP3 Experiment in Austin. I of course rearranged my schedule so I could go. We were given a place, a time, an MP3 to download, and we were told to wear a certain color shirt and bring an uninflated balloon. You’ll have to wait to see the video to see what we did, but we had a blast. It was so great to do a mission with my prankster brothers and sisters.

I give my friend Jeff Moriarty a lot of credit for helping me become the person I am today. If he hadn’t organized the first No Pants Ride in Phoenix, there never would have been an Improv AZ and I wouldn’t be a flash mob attorney and blogger. Watching Charlie’s movie reminded me that I have to give him a lot of credit too. He was the one who came up with the idea for the original No Pants Subway Ride and he was the one who decided to invite the world to participate in 2009. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have given Jeff his launch into the official prank/flash mob world.

So thank you Charlie. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

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No Pants Light Rail Ride 2013 – Me & My Shadow

My law school alma mater holds an annual networking auction to raise money for its pro bono activities. Local lawyers and ASU law school professors offer opportunities to network – usually lunches and letting students tag along to hearings and depositions. Since I can’t be normal, I auctioned off the opportunity for a law student to shadow me at the 5th annual No Pants Light Rail Ride – participation mandatory.

I was tickled when 1L Michael Ortiz, someone who has never participated in a flash mob before, purchased the item and came along for this year’s ride. He agreed to be interviewed and share his thoughts about the experience.

Mike & Me on the light rail platform, Photo by patrickem from Flickr

Mike & Me on the light rail platform, Photo by patrickem from Flickr

Why did you bid on this item?
I was interested in meeting you and getting a better understanding of what an intellectual property attorney does. When I saw that the No Pants Ride was mandatory I interpreted it as a challenge and experience which would take me out of my comfort zone.

How did you feel before the ride?
When I woke up the morning of the ride, I was already nervous. As I drove to the meet-up point I started to feel a bit anxious, but as soon as I saw some pantsless people already assembled at the light rail stop, my anxiety and nervousness disappeared.

What was your initial reaction/thoughts/feelings about being pantsless in public?
I think knowing that others would be pantsless as well made me more excited to take my pants off. I wasn’t nervous at all and I thought it would be more fun than anything. The sight of numerous pantless people is something else, and the feeling of camaraderie among us pantless folk made the entire experience even better. In all honesty I felt pretty comfortable in my underwear; it wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had thought.

What were some of the highlights from the ride for you?
I think the best moments were witnessing the reactions of people getting on the light rail filled with people wearing no pants. Some of the best reactions were people trying to NOT act surprised. Drinking beers with fellow No Pants Riders was also a highlight for me. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

Would you do a flash mob again?
Definitely!

What’s your advice for anyone considering participating in a flash mob?
I would say that there is no other experience like it; you meet awesome and fun people, make memories that are unforgettable, and you get a rush that lasts long after the flash mob has ended.

I had a blast hanging out with Mike at the No Pants Light Rail Ride. I’m glad he enjoyed the experience and that he got to see what it’s like to be an organizer of the event. I was pleased to see that the next batch of law students has some open-minded people in it who want to challenge themselves outside the academic arena.

You can check out more pictures from the 2013 No Pants Light Rail Ride on Flickr and via College Times, Phoenix New Times, and AZ Central. The video from the ride is expected to be released soon on Improv AZ’s YouTube channel. If you live in the Phoenix area and want to participate in a flash mob or prank with Improv AZ, please add yourself to our email list and you’ll be kept in the loop on our upcoming shenanigans.

A Year Without Holidays

When I was looking back at 2012, I noticed I didn’t celebrate many holidays last year. It made me realize that holidays serve as anchors and when you don’t celebrate them, it’s harder to notice the passage of time. Instead, the weeks just blend together.

In school, our lives were filled with anchors – the start of the semester, due dates for papers, exams, mid-semester break, between semester breaks, internships, and the holidays acknowledged by the school (Martin Luther King Day, Labor Day,  Thanksgiving, etc.). These somewhat continue to influence your life when you have kids. When you work for a traditional company where you work in an office, the days the company is closed for holidays are the anchors (Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s).

I work for myself so I declare the holidays the company celebrates with a day off. In my first year of business, the main weekday I didn’t work was my birthday. That is a tradition I intend to continue. When I did a summer internship with the Army JAG, the commanding officer in the office required his people to take off their birthday if they were single or their anniversary if they were married. I thought that was a great rule.

Captain Kirk Birth StoneI recently realized that most holidays aren’t important to me, and thus, I don’t celebrate them. I don’t drink, so the traditional drinking holidays do nothing for me (New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo). I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because I don’t need Hallmark to tell me when to tell someone I love them. I’m not religious so celebrating Easter seems sacrilegious. I enjoy my friends and family so I’ll use Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day to hang out with them – but even then I prefer low-key celebrations. I do send Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards to my parents and call them on these Hallmark holidays. I’ve never been into Halloween so I tend to ignore it unless I’m attending a costume-required event. My family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are awesome, but even then I like that they’re mellow occasions. If I’m surrounded by too much fanfare, that’s not really fun for me.

I like my smaller dorky celebrations – like visiting an outer space themed restaurant on the Future Birthdate of Captain Kirk and getting together with people to eat pie on Pi Day. The other big events on my calendar are things like Ignite Phoenix and flash mobs with Improv AZ. These aren’t really anchors because their dates aren’t fixed, but those are probably the closest things to anchors I have.

Sometimes I wonder if not celebrating holidays makes me a scrooge, but I think it makes me an introvert who doesn’t need Hallmark, calendars, or societal pressure to know what days are important to me. I don’t mind if you celebrate holidays; they’re just not for me.