Almost there...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Journeyman

Journeyman is amazing television. No one is watching it, which is a crying shame, but seriously, there is no show that does a better job of leaving you hanging on the possible permutations, and then never goes with the easy way out. Each week a new rock is overturned, adding richness to the total texture. It's a sci-fi novel developing rapidly with a weekly episodic hook to escort in the uninitiated. I am so very impressed. It is not Quantum Leap. It is not Voyagers. It is so much more complex and meaty than television usually gets. I'm almost certain it will die, a casualty of the writer's strike and low ratings, but that will be a terrible loss.

Two weeks ago, I thought we finally had a weak episode, until I realized that it wasn't what it looked like. It was a big wind-up for what happens when you go off track. This week was the pitch, and before the opening credits rolled, they'd caught me and elicited a blood-curdling scream. Intense. So intense, all through the episode. And never did it unfold simply and easily. Wog.

I'm also loving Pushing Daisies. I'm impressed that my two favorite shows are both brand new.

On the other hand, after Jaime Sommers decided to be a "rules" girl and talk to her boyfriend while on a mission, I'm so very done with the Bionic Woman. Ugh. That show is always taking the easy way out. So disappointing.

But seriously, if you're not watching Journeyman, you're really missing out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food For a Week - Photo Study

This is a fascinating photo study of family food choices and costs in different countries. Let us never forget the bounty that is lavished upon us in the United States where food is cheap and abundant today, but where it wasn't always so.

Perhaps most interesting is the parity between what the middle class Chinese family spends and the middle class California family spends, but I suspect that's a much higher percentage of the Chinese family's income where the California family probably spends far more on housing in terms of percentage of income.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gah!


I really love my grandparents. We have such different views on politics and religion, but for pretty much everything else, they're huge role models for me. They're both active, independent, hard working, love to dance together, Grandma still plays tennis in her 80's, Grandpa still gardens the better part of an acre every summer, and though they'd probably hate to be described as environmentalists, no one I know is more likely to recycle and compost and eat locally and avoid wasteful practices.

So just as I'm about to leave work and head home to eat leftover favorites from Thanksgiving (turkey with cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy, broccoli with almonds and caramelized onions, and leftover apple cobbler), I get a call from my mom. She's in so much trouble. She called me AFTER grandpa got out of surgery AFTER he's been in hospital overnight. Grandpa got a pacemaker because his heart wasn't doing a good job of keeping time. A resting rate of 27 isn't a good thing.

Grandpa's headed home tomorrow for a week or so of enforced rest. This will likely be a tough thing for him because he never just sits around. Meanwhile, Grandma is also recovering from a stumble on the tennis courts. Luckily, no broken bones, but lots of bruises.

They're getting older. I never thought it would happen. I always kind of figured they were indestructible. I can picture my mom and dad getting old, but my grandparents - they make the Energizer Bunny look lazy. I'm still hoping for another 10-15 years of their good company, but days like this make me fret.

Take care you two! I love you and wish I were there.

Dickens - The First Three Days

This weekend, I was playing Ariyana. Not only did I play her part, I fed her kitties, washed in her shower and slept in her bed. Sleeping that close to fair site is too nice. Bob has occasionally mentioned renting a room near site on some Saturday nights. Methinks the man may have a wise notion. I may consider seeing what HotWire or Priceline can offer me on Gaskells weekend. (Oooh... a quick check of HotWire shows a room available for $34, 3 miles from the airport. That's so worth it, considering gas to and fro would be about $7.)

Friday went oddly well. Everyone seemed ready. Things fell into place. I was everywhere I needed to be at the right time. I gave the first of 3 final performances as Belle. I'm really looking forward to being someone else next weekend. It is a bit of an emotional workup. And you walk away, and must instantly be smiles and sociability. The boys at the Green Man took good care of me, feeding me lemonade, and Quinn was the sweetest - he brought me a folio of Scharfenberger chocolates and warned me I was not to share (but I did just a little). He really is a dear and thoughtful boy. Turns out, I made Bates cry. He wasn't ready for the full force of the experience, and for whatever reason, I think Friday was one of my best ever. The timing was spot on and everything felt natural. But, net result is tears from our new Ebenezer. Luckily, the lovely ladies of Fezziwigs put him back together with plenty of hugs, kisses, and snuggles. I went off to Dark Garden with Josh and we did our muse and poet scene, with big laughs when I wound up the croquet mallet.

After fair, since I didn't have to make it all the way home, I went to dinner with Bob, Laura, Sherman, Alex, Emily & David at Nona's Kitchen. Yummiest French Onion soup ever, in a vegetarian base. You all must go eat it. Yummy. Yummy. Yummy. Even if Joreth is evil and tried to crack me up during my window, he is totally forgiven for his leet cooking skills and his supply of champagne over the weekend.

Saturday morning I woke up before the alarm went off after 8 1/2 hours of sleep. Have I mentioned how cool it is not to have to lose 2 hours a day to driving? Oh yeah. Kitty snuggles were had and off I went back to site. Day two was not as smooth on several fronts, starting first with the ants having found our food shelves overnight, and while there was no food left on them per se, there were a lot of very tasty crumbs, so they were having a fine time. I started my morning by sculling the kitchen, wiping down every shelf and circling each shelf leg with alcohol gel to provide a barrier. This worked well enough until Babs brother could arrive with ant stakes which they apparently enjoyed more than the food and we had no ants at all on Sunday. We also started really noticing an issue with the Fezzi daughters. By Saturday, there had already been more than one occasion where we couldn't muster three for opening tableau or the queen's visit. But, in each case, Miss Thatcher was there and was happy to stand in. After being pressed into service twice and nearly a third time, I decided she should officially be a daughter and turned to Mrs. Bloomingstock and said, "What's a name meaning dependable?" She replied "Constance." And so it was done: Miss Constance Fezziwig. Sadly, our new daughter could not be there on Sunday, so Sarah was pressed into service for the Sunday morning tableau. This led to me starting to rail about back in my day when I was a daughter we were here at 9:30 dressed every bleeping day without fail after walking uphill both directions in the rain from the muddy parking lot and we liked it dammit! Ahem. But many thanks to the lovely young ladies who filled in. As soon as we can think of another name for dependable or trustworthy or somesuch, I suspect Sarah may become a daughter officially as well. Saturday afternoon was my second Dark Garden window, this time with Quinn. Needing something that required no props and low preparation, we opted for something we both know very well: dancing! I haven't seen any phots from either day yet, so I don't know how it looked, but reviews were positive. Saturday night, I opted to head home on the premise of spending a bit of time with Flonk before he had to return to West Hell, but after stopping to feed kitties and scoop litter, I made it home just in time for them to be headed to bed. So, I soaked my feet in the Johnson's Foot Soap and hit the hay.

Up again too soon, I headed back for day three. There should never be a day three in a row for Dickens Fair. It's just not right. And it's definitely not right on the first weekend. But day three started with Elizabeth giving me a present just because she thought I might need a pick me up for day three. She was totally right, and my prezzie totally rocked: black cherry print galoshes. OMG SQUEE! I can't wait til it rains!!! Thankfully, Anthony (our backstage czar) was back so I gave leave to my duties keeping things tidied and gave him a big hug. Oh how I missed him! I gave Mr. Scrooge the old sendoff one last time and made it out to have one more post-breakup cup of lemonade. Martin missed his cue at the end of the day and so we didn't have the Ebenezer and Ebenezer scene, which was fine by me. It was just like the last day of fair. We sang our new short carol-out and settled briefly on the bleachers for a quick pat on the back and off to home. I made it home before 9, showered up and was in bed by 9:30. About 9 hours I woke up to go pee. About 3 more hours later I woke up again to snuggle the cat. About 11am I rolled out of bed. With the work conflagration time shifted by a month, I spent my day having lunch with Fred, doing the laundry, putting away some things in the attic, doing a little work, and finally heading up to Alameda for more dancing.

Ceili was sparsely attended last night, but we had some special guests - Alisa (visiting from San Antonio), Janelle (newly transplanted back from West Hell), and Michael Murphy (who teaches set dancing). It was a lovely night of sweaty dancing and a few hands of Zombie Fluxx.

I survived the first weekend with nothing a good solid twelve hours of sleep couldn't fix. Next weekend should be better.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Almost Ready

The weekend is shaping up to be especially busy, even for Dickens. I'll be playing Belle this weekend since Erin will be out of town. Dark Garden has asked me to do two windows, one on Friday at 4:30 (with Josh) and one on Saturday at 5:30 (with Quinn).

We're headed to Sacramento for a quick there and back again on Thursday for Thanksgiving with my grandparents. I made cobbler again last night. Grandma had suggested a healthy pie alternative to my mom that was pumpkin in custard cups with no crust and non-fat Cool Whip. The first half made me shrug. The second bit made me squeal, "Ew! That's not food!" In fact, there's no variety of Cool Whip that remotely counts as food as far as I'm concerned. It's a toxic blend of hydrogenated oils and corn syrup with other gross stuff just to make it worse.

I volunteered to make apple cobbler instead. But I have to admit, it takes hours. Peel, slice, core, trim, and cut apples, mix topping, toss apples with cinnamon and flour, lay out apples in baking dish, pat on topping, and finally into the oven for an hour or so. While baking, I dyed my hair so that I wouldn't have a skunk stripe to go with my Victorian hair style on Friday. Then I tidied up the kitchen and clogged the sink. Oops. So, out to Target (which is thankfully open late for the holiday season), got some Drano, and back to battle with that. Hopefully between a couple of rounds of Drano and some ordinary decomposition, the apple peels will be on their merry way down the drain. This morning I put away a few odds and ends and dug out the old Belle costume. I really don't want to associate the new dress with the old character at all, so I'm hoping the old dress will be in good enough condition to weather the weekend. It looks fine, but a try on will tell for sure.

Slap! Bang! Here we are again, here we are again, here we are again. Slap! Bang! Here we are again. What Jolly Dogs are we!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oooooh.... pretty.

Honda just sent me email about their new production hydrogen vehicle.

Fire's Out... For Now

Well that was interesting. The project that kept stealing all of my time just set back its schedule by a month, pushing the roll-out into January. This is good because it means that I don't have to try to compose all of the user materials between now and next week for a business process that's still unclear. The downside is that I now have 3 major projects vying for my time come January. Whereas everything was neatly laid out earlier this year, everything is piling up in a big train wreck in January and February. Hmm.

The other good news on that is that everyone agrees that January is the time to try to clone me again. We tried that 9 months ago and failed because there aren't a lot of people looking for work with communications, curriculum design, training, consensus building, web-based learning development, and documentation experience. Better yet, someone with all of that background and a familiarity with Stanford. Yeah.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Aw... Cute Little Astrology Thingy

Lets101 - Free Online Dating



It's all the nice things people say about Geminis without all the crazy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Klutz

I feel like I've been especially clumsy lately. Between trying to slice off my finger in place of the salami, landing on both knees while dancing this week, bruising the back of my arm on the door handle while trying to move the trash can to catch it so that I could go visit the restroom without having to have 2 keys, and the usual assortment of dropping this while trying to juggle that, I just feel like a totally graceless klutz. So if I could ask the universe for a present this year, I think it would be to gain some gracefulness and not manage to injure or embarrass myself through klutziness for a while. That'd be a nice Christmas present.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stress Management

When things go really wrong, one thing I can do is tackle the tasks I can get done. Taking something off the to-do list and putting it in the Done column makes me feel better. Tonight I stayed late and finished the Unanet timesheet user job aid. It turned out fairly pretty, save for one annoying Word formatting nuisance I can tackle tomorrow with a fresh mind.

Gah! Fucking Windows!

This is what inflames passionate hatred in the hearts of millions who use Microsoft products. I went to the bathroom, had one hallway conversation/instant meeting, and came back to find my computer mid-reboot. Did it stop what it was doing to ask me if I wanted to save the changes to the documents I was editing? No! Did it reopen those documents in unceremoniously closed without permission so that I can easily get back to work? No! Did it just do what it wanted because it knows what's best for me? Yes! But guess what? Losing my work is NOT what is best for me. Gah!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fire!

After an entire summer of little to do at work, lots of time to work on finishing my APM courses, and many days where I just plain went home early, the fire that started in late September has now grown into a conflagration and there is just more to do than I can possible do between now and December 1st.

I work best like this. I can do this. I shall not panic. I also will get things done in a reasonable time frame and will not bring my laptop to the first weekend of Dickens. I hope.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Schwag Rebellion

So for the third time in a month, I've been offered a shirt with a company logo on it. First was Remedy. Next was the IT Services Open House polo shirt. Just now it was a Zimbra shirt. Invariably, these shirts are produced in China, shipped across the ocean, and a logo is added either here or there, and they are distributed and generally worn once or never or as gardening garb. I had to take the Open House shirt because it was the required uniform, but I've refused the other two on the principal of avoiding excess consumption. I just don't need these shirts. I don't even like these shirts. Most other folks don't actually like them either. A quick trip through Goodwill will show how many corporate logo shirts end up unwanted. Why is this such standard schwag associated with software products? How do we bring sustainable practices to the worst offenders: the marketing department?

Take me to the Blueberry Pressing Room!

I just went to lunch with my coworkers. I'm changing reporting structures so that I now report to Christopher instead of Jim (which only makes me a little sad), so we took the whole group out to lunch at the Faculty Club. Now I'm stuffed and I have to do work. This is not good. I just wanna put on a comfy pair of jammies and curl up with a good book.

In other news, generally it's better if you dance on your feet instead of your knees. Last night Shauna put an "Anne's Wedding Reel" demo on the set list. Not sure why, but I went with it. We hadn't practiced or anything and after the past few weeks of it being very chilly in the dance room, I'd opted for long sleeves and my wide leg stretchy pants. (It was, of course, not chilly in there at all last night.) On the lead around, my sneaker caught in my pants leg and I landed on both knees. Luckily, it was both knees to spread the pounds per square inch impact out a bit, but still, I've got very bruised knees this morning. This also makes me want to put on a comfy pair of jammies and curl up with a good book.

But I have too much to do!
- iPass Tech Express presentation doc
- Unanet training guide
- update Project list for Unanet
- write an article on Sustainable IT for Speaking of Computers
- review the Remedy docs Chris Lundin started and comment
- prepare a survey for virtual phone volunteers
- kick-off meetings for the Integrated Email & Calendar (Zimbra) implementation

But I still want my comfy jammies time dangit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fall Leaves

I love crunching through fall leaves. Each variety makes a different sort of crunching. On my way over to the 1:30 Remedy 7 meeting, I walked through one set of larger leaves that felt like crunching tortilla chips under my feet and another set that was more like a Lay's potato chip. Altogether, they were just satisfying to walk across. Turns out the meeting was canceled so I headed back, crunching through different leaves on the return trip.

The Woman in White

I finally finished Wilkie Collins The Woman in White. It was just the right thing before getting swept into the world of Dickens. Collins was a friend and contemporary of Dickens and The Woman in White was originally published in serial form in Dickens' magazine All the Year Round. It does suffer occasionally from the serialized nature, but not nearly so bad as some of Dickens' works.

The book is also a good reminder of what it meant to be a woman in that era. Laura's marriage contract (and the financial obligations that go with it) are arranged without her ever being involved in the transaction. This ends up costing her her entire fortune ($20,000 pounds). Her sister has no fortune of her own, and no beauty to win a suitor, and lives entirely at the discretion of her sister. It's also interesting to see how things worked. Daily postal service was a given, even out to nearly uninhabited towns. Records were highly fallible and usually had only one copy that wasn't necessarily especially securely stored.

Anyhow, it's a fun mystery novel that's well worth the read if you like Victorian literature.

Facebook

Arg. I finally surrender to Facebook. I'm not yet sure why I should join this after Friendster>Tribe>Orkut>LinkedIn. It won't be getting any time investment. But I draw the line here. No one is going to talk me into MySpace. I've hit way too many insanely loud and annoying pages via MySpace to ever want anything to do with it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Unanet

This project is bad for my waistline. The project manager left me a little Ghiradelli square - 60% cacao with finely ground espresso blended in. Yum. It's the perfect antidote for the late afternoon blahs when I've been staring at the Project file for way too long. The meeting earlier went well, but not I have to effect all the changes we discussed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dark at 5:15

Wow it gets dark early all of the sudden. (I know, I know, DST.)

Dickens Daze

And then I turned my life and my will over to Dickens.

Saturday I headed to workshops and did the workshops and rehearsal. Rather than going out to any one of the fun options out there in the world (Mobster's Ball, Vampire Ball, or the SF Speakeasy party), I opted to come home, eat pizza and watch a movie while sewing hooks on my dress for costume approval the next day. I finished that about 12:30 and headed to bed (completely and utterly forgetting about DST until NPR said "The time is seven o'clock" when my alarm went off at what I thought would be 8am). Back to sleep a little, but up and at 'em for more Dickens workshops. I promptly struck fear into the hearts of all at lunch with me by having just finished my Cockney language workshop and still being mostly in accent. Fezziwigs rehearsal went well, including the bit where Surrey came and told us about the feel of London in the first Christmas after WW2. It's a good flavor for what we're trying to recreate, even if the timing is a hundred years off. Wrapped up and headed home to put together my bonnet with the knowledge from my Victorian Millinery workshop. After an hour of shopping and three hours of fussing with my hat, it's starting to look almost froofy enough. At Jo-Ann's, I found a truly fabulous pinecone/berry/holly thing for $1.19 that really makes the hat.

So from waking to sleeping, both days were utterly consumed by Dickens. I woke up this morning wondering why my alarm was going off on Sunday. Then I remembered it wasn't Sunday, it was Dickens season.

Dreaming of Unanet

It worries me that I woke up this morning after dreaming of how to lay out job aids for project set-up for individual user time cards this morning.

Just talked with the project manager, and he has promised me mai tais at Trader Vic's for all of the extra not-my-job work on this project. This doesn't change the fact that I have to reconcile the project list against the Finance list before I leave today. It also doesn't mean that I get out of resetting the org hierarchy to actually match the published org chart. It just means I have a nice result to look forward to in the future.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Busy Busy Day

I thought today might be a little busy. It went from a little to a whole heck of a lot busy. I take this pause now because I need to reset my brain before diving into the org chart again. Oh yes, Unanet ate my life. And before I go tonight, I must write an article for our newsletter saying Unanet is close to being done (ha!) and to please keep entering time in the old system. I just keep waiting for the muse to strike on that one and it isn't there yet.

But, on the plus side, I finished hemming my dress for Dickens last night, and I expect to sew on the hooks during morning meeting or my first workshop tomorrow so that maybe, just maybe, I can do costume approval and get that out of the way. I took the advice of several and did not use scissors, but instead just folded up a huge piece of hem. This didn't give me a cutting of the fabric to create a pocket, but that's okay. I can either have a mismatched pocket or no pocket.

Okay, must write to more managers about abbreviations for their organizations. Must come up with inspiring newsletter article about Unanet. Must email SIP Phone volunteers. So... sleepy...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hooray!

Though I must admit I'm quite satisfied with my current crop of TV shows (with Pushing Daisies being unbelievably perfect again this week), the even better news is that Joss Whedon is returning to weekly television, perhaps as soon as this spring with a new show starring Eliza Dushku. The new show is called Dollhouse. Yay!