The Winner and a Reminder

And the winner is? #986. JJ, you won! You are officially a lucky person. I sent you a note with details, so check your spam filter.

As for the rest of you, it is officially the last day of March. When the Verizon campaign started, many of you promised that you’d finish three things off your life list this month too. How’s that coming? If you haven’t already commented about your victories, please do today, so I can read what you’ve been up to and include you in the roundup.

If you haven’t gotten started yet, do it! You have 24 hours to rock. Reeeaaddy? Go!

Free Stuff! Verizon Service and Palm Pre Plus Giveaway

Update: The Giveaway is closed, thank you all so much for reading and commenting. The winner announcement is over here.

Hello. Would you like a free Palm Pre Plus, and $300 worth of Verizon Wireless service? Yeah you would. Let’s discuss that further.

As you know, I’ve been partnering with Verizon this month to knock a few things off my Mighty List, and as part of the campaign, I’ve been using a Palm Pre Plus.

The idea was to see if the phone would be useful to me, and to find out whether Verizon would be better than my iPhone service provider. Of course, my iPhone service doesn’t work at my desk and garbles half my phone calls, so I’m a little angry about that. Angry in a “hurl my phone against the wall” kinda way. But I can be demanding when I’m paying through the nose for something that doesn’t work. We’ll discuss that more later.

For now, let’s talk about that giveaway. Verizon is offering a $600 Palm Pre Plus for free. It looks like this:

The winner will also get $300 of free service from Verizon, which looks like this:

Well, technically cellular service is invisible. It’s more something you sense in your soul when you don’t feel like hucking your phone out the window during a conference call. So in that way, Verizon is sort of like inner peace, but with less yoga involved.

I’m not required to review the Palm, and frankly I didn’t plan to, but a few of you said you were pondering new phone purchases and asked me what I thought. So here’s the stuff I liked:

Making calls. Primarily, I enjoy using my Palm as a telephone that will call people when I dial their numbers — people with whom I can have complete conversations until we mutually decide it is time to hang up. I carried both my iPhone and Palm with me while friends got used to my new number, and I can’t tell you how many times I called friends on the iPhone so they’d recognize my number, and then had to immediately call back on the Palm so they could hear what I was saying.

Dropping it in soup. So. Right after I activated my Palm, I kind of dropped it in soup. I was freaking out, thinking I’d have to admit I’m a terrible phone parent and ask for another phone. But then I just dried it off with my napkin and it kept on working. I did have to scrape some dried soup out of the charger port with a safety pin, but otherwise it didn’t even cough. Nice.

Taking photos. The phone takes killer photos, you guys. Here’s what a snapshot looks like straight out of the phone with no Photoshop intervention:

See what I mean? (Bryan took that, by the way. Thanks, B!)

Also, it has a flash! On the phone! Which means you can use it just like a regular point and shoot without having to lug around another gadget.

Making videos. You can record video on your phone. Do you hear me? We are living in the future, y’all:

Typing. I know not everyone agrees, but I like the tactile feedback of buttons when I’m typing. Some people find the buttons too small, but I didn’t have that problem. In fact, I actually used my phone to send email for the first time in my life because the email is so well integrated and it’s so easy to type.

Applying lipstick. Yeah. The phone has a compact on the back:

(Photo from the Palm Info Center, which has a detailed review if you’re looking for one.)

When I first saw it, I was irritated. Like, “Oh, I’m a girl! I want a girl phone that helps with my lipgloss.” Then I used that stupid mirror three times before I even activated the phone. My makeup has been flawless for the last month. Curse you, user testers and your uncanny insight into my demographically predictable needs!

Downsides? Because I use the camera and video constantly, I run the battery down pretty fast, which can be frustrating. So you might want some sort of battery backup if you’re not religious about charging your phone every night. Also, I tend to be an early adopter of mobile applications, and betas aren’t always available on the Palm. I realize that may not be a problem for… most of the world, but there it is.

All in all, this is a good phone on a great service. I actually think it’s a smart choice for bloggers because the camera and video are superior and it’s much easier to type, so you can do mobile updates easily.

The Giveaway

If you’d like a Palm Pre Plus for yourself, not to mention a lot of free service from Verizon Wireless, please leave a comment below promising that you will not use your new phone to text while driving, and that you will not drop it in soup within 24 hours of receipt.

Now for the fine print: You must be 18 or over to enter and live in the U.S. Multiple entries will be disqualified. Comments will be open until Wednesday morning March 31, 2009 at 11 a.m. PST. I’ll choose winners randomly using, and will announce later that day. Good luck! My fingers are crossed for you.

Mighty Life List: Market Street Tour

Yesterday was so good. It was gorgeous, I got dressed up cute to celebrate the sunshine, and Karen was in from Houston. I met her and a few friends downtown for breakfast, and afterward I called Jordan for a quick coffee at the St. Francis while I waited to take my first city tour.

It was the Market Street tour thorough San Francisco City Guides, a non-profit that hosts dozens of free walking tours. If you live here or plan to visit, I recommend them; I learned a lot.

For example, San Francisco is the second most densely populated American city after NYC. It’s mostly built on sand, and half the Financial District used to be underwater. When they do construction downtown, they sometimes unearth ships. This city is like a fairy tale.

Also, I had no idea that this view of the Ferry Building was blocked by the Embarcadero Freeway until 1989. The Loma Prieta earthquake made it unstable, and it was demolished. Farewell freeway.

Some of the buildings on Market Street are triangular because Market cuts across the city street grid on a diagonal, creating triangular lots and confusing the hell out of newcomers trying to get oriented.

I’d never noticed this plaque several blocks up from the bay that indicates where the shoreline used to be. During the rush, the bay was filling with abandoned ships and garbage, so the city began to sell “water lots” with the understanding that they’d eventually be filled in with dirt atop the rubbish.

The Shell Building was erected in 1939. After its construction, the war precluded plans for any new skyscrapers for thirty years. The next one went up in 1959 right across the street:

It was at 1 Bush Street, and it was the city’s first glass shell building. Look at how dramatically architecture changed in those thirty years. You can see the Shell Building’s reflection in 1 Bush’s panes. Neat, huh?

The De Young Building was San Francisco’s first skyscraper, and it was built in 1890. In 1962, it was covered with a glass “skin” to modernize it, sort of like the building at 1 Bush. In 2007 it was restored, and the architect who revealed the original face called it the architectural equivalent of raising the Titanic, which is awesome, if a little self congratulatory.

In 1875, a Shirley Temple-type child star named Lotta Crabtree dedicated Lotta’s Fountain as a thank you gift to the city. After the 1906 earthquake, San Franciscans gathered here to find loved ones. Now survivors and San Franciscans gather every year at 5:12 a.m. on April 18th to commemorate the date and celebrate the city’s survival. That’s just a few weeks away, so set your alarm clocks.

One tour down, four to go. This is fun.

As always, a big thank you to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring my Mighty Life List. They’re helping me work toward “Knowing San Francisco like the back of my hand,” and they also gave me a Palm Pre Plus. I used it to take notes on this tour and to take a bunch of the photos, including the one of the Shell Building, which is my favorite. Thanks, guys.

Mighty Life List: How You Doin’?

Hey, did you choose three things to cross off your life list this month? How’s that coming along? Did Jen get her learner’s permit? Did Lis frame the photos for her first show? Has Nicole had her baby? (I suspect so. It’s be a while since that last post.)

As for me, I’ve done three things, but one of them wasn’t part of my campaign with Verizon, which means I get to do one more thing with a benefactor on my side. Sweet. As I mentioned, Verizon has been great about supporting long-term, better-life projects, so the last goal I’m working on for the campaign is:

Get to know San Francisco like the back of my hand.

This could take a while. In fact, how will I know when I’m done? I’ve attended the Black and White Ball, but I’ve never done something untoward in the Transamerica pyramid. I’ve visited Alcatraz, but I’ve never mooned tourists on the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a tough one to check off decisively.

So I did what any good list maker does in this situation. I made a sublist. I decided I’ll “Know San Francisco like the back of my hand” when I:

1. Crown a favorite burrito.
2. Take five tours.
3. Finish 7×7’s Big Eats Top 100.
4. Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat.
5. Choose the fifty best cocktails.
6. Choose my fifty favorite shops.
7. Photograph all the public libraries.
8. See the view from Coit Tower.
9. Write up mini guides to the main neighborhoods.
10. Choose my top ten things to do when you visit.

That’s right. I’ve begun to make lists about making lists. (Take that, Escher!) It’s a lot to tackle, but I’m getting started in these last couple weeks of March.

And what about you? How are your projects coming along? Tell us in comments so we can cheer for you, because you are great.

A huge thanks to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring my Mighty Life List. They’re helping me cross off a few goals, and they also gave me a Palm Pre Plus. I’m using it to take photos and video of my escapades, and to make actual phone calls that don’t disconnect unexpectedly at awkward moments. Thanks, guys.

Je Ne Parle Pas Fran├žais

So, one of the items on my Mighty Life List is “Be conversational in seven languages.” I studied Spanish for years, and I think language really shapes how I think. Knowing another language besides my native tongue has given me an alternate way of looking at the world. Knowing Spanish specifically makes me sometimes want to cry when I hear a guitar playing at night, and makes me more willing to be the first one dancing at parties. That could also be the tequila of course, but I digress.

When I first made my list, some part of me thought the simple act of writing things down would magically make them happen. Like once I realized that I wanted to pick blackberries and make pies, I’d just find myself passing blackberry bramble on a walk one Sunday with a bucket in hand.

As I’ve started to cross things off, it has genuinely surprised me that I have to plan fun. I guess some part of me thinks that fun will just happen, even very specific types of fun, and that I shouldn’t have to actively put aside time for that stuff.

It took around three years of lessons before I could get the gist of most conversations in Spanish. So if I start now, it will be about fifteen years before I can cross off this goal.

On Wednesday night, I got started. Verizon is sponsoring French classes with Bryan, which we’ll be attending until we can speak French. I’ll keep you posted.

Merci beaucoup to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring my Mighty Life List and helping me achieve my dreams. They’re making my site more interesting by helping me cross off few more goals, and they also gave me a Palm Pre Plus. One that completes calls. Thanks, guys.

Mighty Life List: Choose Your Own Adventure

So, I have news. News that warrants a celebratory hair flip:

(It’s helpful to have one of those on hand.)

The news is that Verizon Wireless is sponsoring my Mighty Life List! Yes they are! We are getting this done, y’all.

I’ll be working on three items this month, and I’ll tell you all about them right here. What I’m hoping is that you’ll commit to doing three things this month too, and keep us updated via comments. At the end of the month, I’ll do a roundup about all the living we got done.

I’ll tell you more about my goals as we go along. Verizon gave me a new phone and the idea is to use it to help me tackle my Mighty Life List, so I chose goals that are more about living my daily life thoughtfully, and less about jet setting. Also, I’ve added “Tattoo a Verizon logo on my bicep” to my list, so I’ll be starting there.

Oh, but I kid. It will be on my ankle next to the Celtic gecko.

Now for you! What are you doing this month? Something awesome? Tell us.

A huge thanks to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring my Mighty Life List and helping me achieve my dreams. They’re making my site more interesting by helping me cross off few more goals, and they also gave me a Palm Pre Plus. One that completes calls. Thanks, guys.