Craft'za 2012

The first annual Minneapolis Craft'za in the Soap Factory was a huge success. Our parents watched our kids on Saturday so we could focus on the show. I mostly walked around all day, taking photos and talking with vendors, as usual.

A lot of my coworkers showed up; that was fun! We had a hot dog stand outside serving delicious pork wieners. This was the first event to be featured on three different TV channels! Turnaround was great and there were no major disasters until someone pulled the fire alarm about 15 minutes before closing time. I didn't spend as much as I normally do, but I did pick up a few little gifts.

Nobody bought my pokémons. I thought about opening an Esty shop to sell them, and even created a banner image, but that was as far as I went. First I need to finish projects for both my classes, send out applications for the next event, and start my Christmas shopping I guess??

Shiny

Glitter Pigeon
This is the last one I have time to finish before the show. It was the most difficult to make (the glossy glitter paper was much more finicky than paper card stock) and the most difficult to distinguish the details in a photo. Oh well! I hope someone buys it!

Overwhelmed

Right at the time when we want people to be most excited about our craft fair, that's when I just want it to be over with. Makes sense. The week leading up to the show is the busiest one, and the tasks only keep piling up each day until they're finally either completed or irrelevant.

It's great to see other peoples' enthusiasm though! And I do enjoy the day of the show, after all the pieces have come together, and I'm just soaking in it. But not as much as I will enjoy emerging from the other end, sipping a cocktail and basking in the satisfaction of a job well done.

Pika-cut

I made more art. It looks better in person; the texture and layering of the paper is washed out in the photos. What you really can't see is the depth in these frames. The figures are mounted with bits of cardboard so that they pop out from the background.
Electric Rat
Smoke Monster
Magical Fish
They will be on sale this Saturday at Craft'za! You have to acquire all of them!

Papercut Pocket Monsters

I have a tendency to get obsessed with stuff. Not, like, in a compulsive way. Just that I get really interested in something and I can't stop thinking about it all the time.

I mean, look at this. In January and February I devoted my spare time to carving rocks. In April, building tiny robots was my jam. Then I focused on studying for the GMAT for a few months. In summer and fall I was obsessed with clothes.

Right now all I want to do is make cute, colorful, Pokémon papercut artwork. Take a look up there at that thing I made! Good thing I don't have a bunch of other high priority stuff to do right now! Oh wait, oh no :(

Puny Project

We're researching Puny Entertainment for the team project in my Organizational Behavior class. When we were planning MIX I had a hankering to create comics, and all this is making me want to make something (our craft shows have a mild contributing effect but at this point they're sort of background noise).

We visited their temporary studio space in Minneapolis and interviewed Vincent Stall (a.k.a. King Mini) about what makes Puny tick. Then I've been reading about folks like Julia Vickerman (who does animation for Yo Gabba Gabba in the LA office) and Erin Pearce (voice of Toodee & miniature landscape artist). I love creative people. They're so... creative.

I'm especially intrigued by paper cutting right now. Stay tuned for the inevitable experimental craft project!


Happy Valentine's Day! XO, Etsy from Etsy on Vimeo.

Craft'za: coming soon!


Totally Binomial

I always learn better if I can apply my lessons to video games. As warned by our professor, I am finding lots of real-world opportunities to use tools from our Statistics course. One of those was in the Facebook game Outernauts (a.k.a. Space Pokémon).

Part of the game involves battling creatures, which you can capture and collect. When you attempt to capture a new beast, the game will tell you the probability of success. Today as I repeatedly tried (and failed) to capture a monster I wondered: what are the odds that I really have a 39% chance of success (as the game claims), given that it took me over seven attempts to capture?

This is a job for the Binomial Distribution! It turns out that the probability of zero successes in seven attempts  is 3.1%. Suspiciously unlikely, but I ended up successfully capturing it on my eighth attempt, so this story has a happy ending.

Statistics Comix

(click the pic to embiggen)
Of anything, I never would have guessed that my Statistics class would inspire another Bob the Golfer comic, but here we are. Maybe the collegiate atmosphere of UST has rekindled the desire that drove me to create this strip from high school through undergrad; who knows? I saw the gag and I went for it.

"I already know that!"

 Natalie is in a know-it-all phase. We could tell her that she was adopted, that Jenna is pregnant, or that she is getting a pony for Christmas, and the response would probably be the same: "I already know that!" Or sometimes, "mama told me that already!"

Natalie started her second year of preschool in the fall and is taking dance class. She is a good big sister. She has an invisible friend named "Cora." She has a pet caterpillar named "Silly Cad" (it's silly because it won't eat the leaves Natalie gave it). Every night after bath time, I wrap her in a towel "cocoon" and she turns into a beautiful butterfly.

Paisley is a cuddler. She is mobile now and scoots around on her butt very effectively. It appears likely that she will skip crawling altogether. Her hemangioma is shrinking but that eye is slightly astigmatic. Since she's bound to need glasses anyway, this is not really a problem.

Jenna's grandma died :(

Best in Class

My MBA adventure has begun. I had my first class on Saturday morning (Stats with Professor Lawton). Every Monday starting tonight will be Organizational Behavior. My free time is reserved for homework. And we're trying to launch a Craft'za in November. So that's my life for the next three months.

We need to use a Windows-only program for Statistics and that's a problem with our home setup right now. We have one desktop with a corrupt install (currently disassembled), one desktop running Linux, an iPad, and a MacBook Pro. Kind of a stupid number of computers actually.

But it turns out a new copy of Windows 7 costs over $80, and that didn't make a whole lot of sense when I could get a whole new computer preloaded with Windows for $75 on Craigslist. So I'm now the proud owner of a cute little Eee PC.

Labor Day Weekend

We spent another long weekend at the lake. This was Paisley's very first visit to the Krueger ancestral home! We did the traditional activities: boat ride, grill, and yard games. Group photo!

Natalie watched movies in the car. The short drive up to Alexandria was like nothing at all compared to the previous weekend's Door County trek.

I'm terrible at mini-golf. Natalie had fun. We've been going to Casey's since I was a kid and this year they added 9 new holes to the course.

I like this photo because a trick of the light makes my arm look deceptively buff. I don't need no CrossFit.

The Little Dipper and Cafe has endeared itself to me even more by acquiring a Ms. Pac-Man machine. I destroyed the previous high score while enjoying a root beer/vanilla flavor ice cream cone.

Cowgirl

Natalie riding horses at the Carver County Fair

Twins with Natalie

 I mentioned before that our company held an event on the Budweiser Deck earlier this year, and our whole family was there. So this was not, technically, Natalie's first Twins game. But this time we went just the two of us and sat in regular seats and ate ice cream out of tiny helmets.

 Natalie was in a good mood for the first four and a half innings, until the ice cream, popcorn and water ran out. Then she was ready to go home. Also by then it was after 9:00--way past her bedtime. The score was 0-0 when we left Target Field (the Twins ultimately lost 0-1).

More than anything, she was excited to ride the train. We parked on Lake St. and rode the light rail downtown. Next time I could save a lot of money by just buying a light rail pass and taking a round trip without getting off. She would have enjoyed that just as much!

Door County Wedding

Packed the family into the Vue and drove to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, for our third wedding of the year. The trip out was not too bad. The drive home--well, let's just forget that ever happened and agree to focus on the positive parts of this vacation.

The wedding was outside and it was a hot day. I ditched my coat immediately after the ceremony. There were a lot of children in attendance and our girls had a great time running around. Paisley wiggled her toes in the sand on the beach and I dipped her feet in the waters of Green Bay. Natalie had some trouble though: during dinner she slipped backwards through a folding chair, and later she flew off a swing and landed in a heap on the ground.

The swing incident was already past her bedtime and later during the reception she passed out in my arms. But first, little shawty fire burning on the dance floor! She and I were the first ones dancing when the music started. Paisley was the life of the party while Natalie slept.

The adults had a good time too. We hung out with some friends we don't see very often (the side trip to Appleton was the one good thing about our return trip--well, that and stockpiling wine at the liquor store). I wish our friends would get married more often!

In the news

ReconRobotics is featured in today's broadcast of All Things Considered on MPR. I was recruited to be a demonstrator and hand model at the last minute. I ended up in three of five photos in the slideshow!

Accepted

I got acceptance letters last week from both Carlson and UST. So I got that goin' for me. Which is nice. I feel like I ought to be more excited, but honestly, once I got those GMAT scores there was never any doubt.

So with my high score, stellar references, and work history I'm an incredibly desirable candidate, right? What kind of fat scholarships are coming my way? Well, nothing from Carlson. I told the admissions director up-front that St. Thomas was my top choice and asked what he could do to make their costs comparable (their estimated cost for a part-time MBA is $67,032 versus $47,353 at UST). He told me if I was applying for full-time we could talk, but there's no scholarship available for the evening program.

OK then. UST offered a Dean’s Scholarship that covers the cost of one course. Asking around, it sounds like this is their best offer. So for that (and numerous other reasons) I will be attending the University of St. Thomas in the fall.

Full Paisley Post

 I guilted myself into writing at least one whole post about my second-born. Paisley is at a really fun age. She is talking up a storm. Such a smiley, happy baby! She turns one year old next month!! :-o

 On weekend mornings I take care of the kids while Jenna sleeps in. Every night Natalie asks me, "will you be home when I wake up?" She loves these days. But usually Paisley is the first one awake, and I get to spend an hour alone with her--sometimes even two--before her big sister rolls out of bed.

Paisley loves playing in the water. She might actually enjoy learning to swim, instead of being terrified by it like Natalie (and I) were. She likes reading books, bopping her head to the music, and pulling up the towel over her head to play peek-a-boo after bath time. I love her very much. The end.

The GMAT: Nailed it!

The official GMAT score report is in. I got a full six out of six points on the Analytical Writing section of the test. Funny story: this is the first part of the test, and as I was doing a final read-through of my essay, the time expired.

As I watched the clock run down, I was thinking in the back of my mind that this was okay. But then I started to second-guess myself. Throughout the next three hours of the test I worried that this meant it hadn't been submitted! It was a huge relief when I finished and the administrators were able to confirm that, in fact, everything I had written was saved.

Overall score is the same; 710, 92nd percentile. I aced the Verbal section and sucked it up on Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning. Overall, I got the results I expected. I would recommend Total GMAT Math to other test-takers. My score would have been a lot worse without it.

Déjà vu

Eight years ago I was floundering. Even though I had just completed my undergrad the year before I was already feeling stuck in a dead-end job and afraid that I was wasting my life. Trying to find another job was too hard* so instead I applied for law school.

It was the perfect plan! Protection from having to make grown-up decisions for another couple of years combined with a huge salary increase. There was only one problem: it would have been a huge mistake. I needed more time out of the academic womb to figure out my place in the world and where I wanted to go. Graduate school was not the place to do that. Now, eight years later, I'm excited to begin MBA coursework and confident that the experience will be beneficial.

Differences aside, I can't help but reflect on what it was like to go through that application process in 2004. I applied to nine different schools (nine!) and was rejected by every one. By the end it was actually a relief. This time I'm calm and curious to see who extends an invitation (I applied to Carlson after all so I'll be attending one of the two AACSB-accredited Minneapolis programs).

*Maybe I'm being a bit harsh; I did start planning the Craftstravaganza that year.

Paisley berry face

Sometimes I feel bad for not writing about Paisley. Natalie was the star of this blog before and after her birth; not just its primary topic but its raison d'être. Paisley is just a victim of second-child syndrome. Other than the occasional emergency, we've seen it all before.

Besides, I haven't been blogging much in general for the past couple of months. Did I really write nothing about the full Arimaa set I sculpted with modeling clay? Taking Natalie to the newly-opened vintage gaming mecca Zap Arcade?? Our company party on the Budweiser Deck at Target Field?!

Well maybe I'll get to all those eventually. Meanwhile, if you find yourself starving for Andy news, I started a Tumblr about my thrift shopping adventures and scored some great finds in July. On Sunday I'm flying out to Las Vegas for another trade show, so you might also get another post bonanza like the one prompted by my trip to San Diego. What happens in Vegas yadda yadda yadda but what I eat and drink in Vegas is fair game.

Four on the Floor

Natalie's 4-year birthday party. Her aunt Holly made an amazing cake as usual. Jenna went overboard as usual and filled the house with candy! It was great.
I painted the classic playing piece design on foam core and we made some gingerbread girls.

The candy kingdom. The kids drew cards and raced down this path to the "castle" which was filled with candy decorations.