Ignite Denver

Occasionally it occurs to me that I didn’t do much sharing after my spark at ignite (way back in February). So here’s the recap. (ignite is an event where anyone can give a five minute speech, a “spark,”on any topic. You prepare 20 slides, and they auto-advance every 15 seconds.)

I feel like I should be more self deprecating but…too bad. I was really happy with how it turned out. I practiced, practiced, practiced and so even though I was nervous onstage, I had run through my talk so many times, I could have done it in my sleep. Like in my head in the moment, I was a little worried that the entire audience would be distracted by how much my knees were shaking, but in the video I look cool and confident and well practiced. Because I was. Funny that.

And you guys, my hair looks so good. Of all my takeaways, I’m seriously so pleased with how long and shiny my hair is in this video.

It was really nice having friends in the audience, I think there were about 300 people there total and I had about a dozen in my cheering section. I was the last speaker before intermission, so it was really fun to be able to finish and then go talk to my friends right away.

Buuut…awkward. Then everyone who came with me left at intermission. Leaving a big 12-person sized hole towards the front of the theater. At the time for some reason I found this embarrassing, but clearly it wasn’t the end of the world.

I had a blast, and I’d recommend it to anyone with the time and interest. It was harder than I thought to match a talk to the 15 second slides. I estimate I put in close to 20 hours writing my talk, putting together the slides, searching for free/uncopyrighted images to use, and of course practicing over and over. I had a few jokes that were timed to the change of a slide, and it took a lot of rehearsal to get those timings down just right.

My advice to anyone else planning to speak at an ignite event?

One, have a clear message. Twenty slides of memes might get you some laughs, but you still need some engaging content.

Two, practice 900 billion times, enough so if you get really nervous, your brain can go on auto-pilot and still finish.

Three, get (and use) feedback. We had a mandatory rehearsal a week before the event. Some of the speakers got feedback like, “I was confused about this part of your talk” and then…it was exactly the same in their actual spark.

Four, make sure you include your twitter handle somewhere in your deck so you can connect with people in the audience. And then shamelessly brag by posting screenshots of people complimenting you.

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I also found it helpful to drink one beer before going on (and then several after) but to each her own.

The next one in Denver is June 13th. I will be there, enjoying being in the audience, but I’m definitely mulling over topics to maybe try again for the next one. How to ride your bike like a lady? Nine ways to wear yellow cardigans? Semi-colons are your friend; do not abuse them?

Hello, Mountain Standard Time! You are a site for sore eyes.

It’s time for my twice-annual rant about Daylight Saving Time. Everyone says it wrong, people use the wrong time zone delineators, I like my “extra” sunshine in the morning. Blah blah blah. I’m just going to be lazy and link to past rants.

I leave one clock on standard time in protest, and it will be right again until March, hooray.


There are a couple of things you don’t really want to start a conversation with me about because I act like a know it all and I have me some opinions. Daylight Saving Time is one, Common Law Marriage is another.

An Open Letter to the Person I Just Met at Happy Hour

Hello, coworker in another department/friend of a friend/girl at my alumni happy hour meet up,

I’m sorry that I somehow brought up my relationship. I didn’t mean to. It’s not like I try to insert Chris into every conversation as soon as possible.

And then, as sometimes happens, someone asked how long we’ve been together or how we met and it comes out that we’ve been together for *gasp* ten years. And we’re OMG NOT MARRIED.

“But whyyyy?”

And I either make a joke about waiting until we need new towels so we can register, or I give a sort of serious answer about how we’re doing quite well despite our lack of state licensing for our relationship.

And god love ya, you thought it would be clever and cute and good conversation to exclaim, “But you’re COMMON LAW marrieeeed!”

“No. We’re not.”

“You arrrrre. Seven years! #fact”

Ugh. Here are some real facts:

You can’t get married on accident. I mean, drunk in Vegas, okay, but there’s no magical combination of joint checking plus anniversaries and a shared bathroom that makes you married.

You can only establish a common law marriage in ten states (though it would then be recognized in all 50 per the full faith and credit clause).

Colorado is one of those states, but, like the rest, one of the key, main, crucial, primary factors is “An intent of both parties freely given to become married.” Every state has an element of intent and agreement of both parties. You can’t trick someone into being common law married to you, and you can’t just fumble through life and suddenly discover you are married.

Why? Because it’s real effing marriage. It’s not some cute, funny, haha fake marriage lite. Common law married? Same thing as real married. As in, you can’t legally marry anyone else, or if it comes to it, you have to get a “real” divorce.

You know what’s also common among every state that allows marriages to be created by common law? No time constraints or requirements. Not seven years, not three, not five, not eleven. Not eleventy billion.

Maybe you didn’t know all of this. And that’s fine. But here’s a new rule:

When you and I are in disagreement about my marital status, I win. I’m right. Both because I have the facts on my side and because it’s my relationship and YOU DON’T GET A SAY.

Anyways. Yeah! This weather! I know!