Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2010 in Joe's Life
Tags: , ,

Merry Christmas! Even when my immediate family doesn’t have to host our extended family, Christmas is a busy day in the Piehl household. Between celebrating Mama Piehl’s birthday (she’s a Christmas baby), dad cooking a big breakfast, and everyone rushing out the door to go see my mom’s side of the family, we’re all on the move… or trying to avoid the work. : )

Three Christmas traditions we celebrate every year are putting baby Jesus in the Nativity scene, putting the angel on top of the tree and celebrating Mama Piehl’s birthday before we open our Christmas gifts. I hope you enjoy the fourth tradition I started in college, a ridiculous card staring yours truly.

Do you have any fun traditions, trips, or special events that you do every December?



p.s. A Christmas note from my favorite show 30 Rock: Happy Holidays… is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas – Avery and Jack (View the full episode here.)

My colleague Ashley starts her morning off like every good PR professional should, she scans the major newspapers for important and interesting articles. One morning back in July, Ashley came across an article that made her say, “I would never do this, but Joe probably world.”

A few moments later I was reading about an opportunity to live in the Museum of Science and Industry for a full month!  After reading the Chicago Tribune’s article about this project I was hooked because I’m always looking for my next adventure.

The museum wanted to find an adventurous, outgoing person with a strong interest in learning about science to be their “roommate” and share their experience through blog posts and Twitter. When I told my friends and co-workers what I was applying for the reaction is typically the same “Wait! What?!? Why?” The answer is easy, when else am I going to have a change to live in the Museum of Science and Industry without hiding in an exhibit?

After visiting the museum on a “fact finding” mission, it occurred to me that I might not be able to handle the museum for a full month. Sure it would be a blast but a month inside a museum is a really long time. My doubts lead to nearly a month of procrastination and with literally 48 hours before the deadline decided I would regret it forever if I didn’t apply.

With the help of my amazing friends Amit, Abbey, Sean, Brendan and Ashley, we pulled all of the pieces together for my application and submitted it on time.

All of my materials were placed in an Ian's Pizza box because every good roommate brings pizza.

Clearly, I wasn’t selected but since so many people were supportive, I want to share with you some information from my application. Applicants were encouraged to have fun with the process and I hope you get a kick out of a few highlights from mine.

Name: Joseph Piehl

Nickname (if any; otherwise, you can make on up): Joe or “Inspector Gadget”

Name three of your favorite hobbies or activities.

1) Outdoor sports: I’m on two Summer softball teams, one Summer volleyball team, one Fall flag football team, I run outside almost every day (sometimes in the rain) and I learned to kayak on the Chicago River this summer. 2) Helping other people: I’ve spent more than 1 month on various service trips around North America. 3) Trying beers that I’ve never tasted: Every 2 weeks I buy a 6 pack I’ve never tried.

Name three of your least favorite hobbies or activities (yours or others’).

Except my application was better than the best pizza in Chicago.

My least favorite hobbies / activities that I’ve tried at least once in my life: 1) Coin collecting – I like to collect stuff but I couldn’t get into coins. 2) Washing dishes – Unfortunately I have to do this every day. 3) Cleaning the family hot tub when I visit Milwaukee. FYI – Twice a year a hot tub needs to be drained, scrubbed and then refilled with water. This task is not fun to do in the winter.

Let’s get this out of the way. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Are there any outstanding… please describe the circumstances involved, including time, place and offense, as well as any penalties  imposed.

No thank you! I’m “on the level.”

Now back to fun. List three adjectives that best describe you.

Universal, Passionate, Sociable

How would you rate your knowledge and understanding of basic science relative to most people?

Even though I can’t build a lightsaber or pick up a rock and know exactly what kind it is, I have a pretty solid understanding basic science across a variety of disciplines including geology, physics and mechanical engineering. The different jobs that I’ve had play a large role in this understanding and some of my favorite shows include the Discovery Channel’s “Modern Marvels,” “MythBusters,” “Dirty Jobs” and “Man vs. Wild.”

My one minute intro video:

The video that made me nervous to apply:

The winner’s video:

The finalists were flown in from around the US for an in-person interview and on October 6th the winner, Kate, was announced. Two weeks later Kate was living in the museum. Even though she was blogging and Tweeting about some really cool activities, she wasn’t the only one that did some awesome stuff!

My “Month NOT at the Museum” was also pretty unforgettable… but more about that in my next post.



The first year I participated in Movember, I signed on because it’s a great cause and I thought it would be a unique experience. Even though we’re still searching for a cure to prostate cancer, each year continues to be a sweet experience and this year WE raised some major cash ($970) to kick cancer in the crotch.

Unlike previous Movembers, this was the first year my team had more than two people. The experience was completely different because there was more enthusiasm, we turned heads whenever two or three of us entered the same room or bar, and we had more opportunities to nudge our friends into parting ways with their cash. (Just kidding. We didn’t nudge our friends/co-workers into donating, we blackmailed them.)

The White Russians (minus Owen Donnelly)

Before the month was over, all of our friends and co-workers knew about Movember and almost daily we were approached by colleagues that would say “[Insert name] told me I needed to check out your moustache” or “Are you part of the Movember crew? You guys look hilarious. Keep up the good work.” This year’s crew consisted of the following gentlemen:

  • Dave Bauer
  • Owen Donnelly
  • Brian Gabriel
  • Amit Patel
  • Joe Piehl
  • Danny Prokup
  • Mark Rasmussen

We all have funny stories to share but the thing I loved the most was watching someone’s facial expression the first time they saw me rocking a moustache. As you can imagine, the looks ranged from “you’re creeping me out” to instant laughter. However, I was a little concerned when people wouldn’t react and instead they thought my crazy cookie duster was my usual look.

The second best experience from Movember was the photo shoot I did during the final days of Movember. On top of having an awesome time raising money and aware, I now have a packed album of ridiculous photos.

Ladies, let me know if you want an autographed copy.

Many thanks to the wonderful people below that supported my team and me financially. Every donation brings us a little bit closer to a cure (and throwing a really big “We beat cancer party”).

The Movember Gala this past weekend. (FYI - Men with moustaches rarely smile.)

  • Sami Air
  • Melissa Chalus
  • Cathy Calhoun
  • Tim Cassady Jr.
  • Vanessa Daniele
  • Abbey Ervin
  • Caroline Guth Lainio
  • Jaye Hilton
  • Sarah Lang
  • Melissa Layton
  • Emily Luiz
  • Noelle Overly
  • Kimberly Piehl
  • Mama Piehl
  • Papa Piehl
  • Amy Pfeiffer
  • Elizabeth Stiles

This weekend a buddy mentioned that he wanted to participate in Movember but he wasn’t able to get a group together from his office and some co-workers discouraged him from participating. Clearly his co-workers didn’t understand the point of Movember and that had to suck.

If you had a similar experience this year, if you can’t convince a buddy or two to face 30 days of almost constant rejection from women, or if you’re a woman that would be intimidated to raise money by yourself, consider this blog post an open invitation to join my team next year.

Cheers from a clean shaven bro,