No excuses this time. Putting aside the post from LAX a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been away for a while. I could take the high road and say I was taking a ‘break’ from blogging, or that I was ‘re-evaluating’ what I wanted to do in this space, but I respect my readers (all 5 of you) too much to lie to you like that. No, the truth – the simple, damned truth – is that I kinda let my life get away from me since my last regularly scheduled broadcast. I’m not proud of it, but there it is.
OK, “let my life get away from me” sounds more dramatic than I’d intended now that I’ve actually typed it, so I guess I should qualify that statement a little bit. Over the summer my workload increased by several degrees of suck, and being…well, me…I was firmly of the belief that I could handle everything. I was proven quite wrong, and quickly found myself in the office until 7 or 8 at night trying to get everything done. (Although, in fairness, 7pm is a great time to GTD, because there are almost no distractions.) Sprinkle in some business trips, a generous helping of unexpected internal hurdles at work, and a heapin’ helpin’ of a certain Competition in Math, Science & Technology (130 hours worked in 2 weeks!) and suddenly it’s Thanksgiving.
(Alright, I guess I made some excuses. So sue me.)
So, with the formalities out of the way, I shall recall the good things that have happened since last I posted something remotely interesting in this space, in mostly-chronological order. I warn you now, some of the things on this list may seem a little mundane, but lately I’ll take any victory I can get, big or small.
July & August
- Went to San Francisco. Every six months or so, my work in scholarship administration takes me out to the Bay Area, so I get to see a whole bunch of great people who I would otherwise only ever see in person at SXSW. Over the course of two days, I managed to squeeze in window shopping on Valencia Street with Erica (we got mopped at the Pirate Store!), went to a cocktail party at Esin’s house with Jessa & both of their wonderful, crazy families, and caught a flick at Smokler‘s Sunday Cinema with urban mermaid.
Of course, it’s not all highly alcoholic neon drinks and Back to the Future. That Monday evening, I was off to Sacramento for my client’s scholarship awards banquet. I know it sounds hokey, but one of the best parts of my job is actually meeting the kids who win the scholarships and hearing their stories. Funny thing, tho, is that the parents and the students always come up to me at the end of the event and thank me for the scholarship, and I always have to remind them – all I did was move some paper and push some buttons…the students are the ones who did all the work. But regardless, I leave those events with a smile on my face and a much smaller stack of business cards in my pocket.
- Went to DC. From SFO, I got to spend all of one day at home (well, at the office) before heading off to Washington, DC for an application review committee. But at least I got to see Becca for a little while before her birthday.
- I would, of course, be remiss, if I didn’t mention Christmas in August, a/k/a Darren’s birthday. The highlight of which, quite obviously, was Ali’s gift of a shiny new Nintendo Wii. And as it turns out, the console I’ve scoffed at for the better part of a year is actually an insane amount of fun to play. I discovered that, after some practice, I’m quite good at Wii Sports Bowling, although I still pretty much suck at all of the other sports on that disc. Also, I can’t get my Wii Sports Fitness age below 50. *grumble*
- Turned 32, which didn’t feel terribly momentous, except for the fact that I actually managed to avoid going into the office on my birthday this year, thereby avoiding a repeat of 31’s disastrous day. It was a low-key affair – dinner, board games at Stacey’s place, some poker (I think) – and that’s fine by me. Maybe I’m getting old?
- CAN HAS NEW IPOD!!~! 32 was almost ruined by the lack of availability of a certain model of new iPod, but I managed to find it on 32.0.1, so it’s all good. (Sorry for the LOLCAT speak…I couldn’t help myself.)
- Got jammed into an elevator with Colin Powell and Nancy Peloci. But I’m getting ahead of myself – I went back to DC in September for another client’s big-time press conference and luncheon at the Library of Congress. And when I say big-time, I mean big – the First Lady was supposed to speak, although she had broken her foot, but the Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, was there, along with half of Capitol Hill (including Ted Kennedy, who is a surprisingly eloquent speaker). Following a Bataan Death March-like walk through the bowels of the LoC, the luncheon was headlined by the former Secretary of State, with the Speaker of the House as a warm-up act. Both are quite compelling orators (also, Colin Powell is ridiculously tall), and in retrospect, I wish I had paid more attention and spent less time worrying about making the return train to Jersey (which I did, in fact, miss). But on the way out of the luncheon to make that train, my colleague James and I ended up jammed into an elevator with Powell and Peloci. (James just happened to have business cards at the ready.)
- Got paid for crazy overtime. I said I was going to list the good things, and while, yes, October is where the wheels basically came off the wagon that is my sanity, I did earn quite a bit of green in the process. And that, my friends, is a good thing.
- Got a new all-in-one printer. I warned you that some of these things would be mundane, but I really, REALLY hated my old Epson Stylus Photo RX600. With a passion. Seriously…Epson? You’re On Notice. Also, my new HP is five kinds of awesome.
- Ate with my hands. Which is to say, I had Ethiopian food for the first time, when we went to dinner at Makeda’s for Jen’s birthday. I think I ate too much of the strange skin-like bread.
- Went to a forum on global warming. Long story short, we’re managing an essay/scholarship contest for a group that was sponsoring a forum on global warming out in LA earlier in the month. (Hence the recent update, live from LAX T-5.) I got to hear Dennis Kucinich (nice guy, interesting ideas, but hasn’t got a chance in hell), Hillary Clinton (well-rehearsed & wooden, got heckled), and John Edwards (remarkably passionate, amazing speaker) talk about their plans to address the climate crisis, should they get elected in a year’s time. Although I wish more of the candidates showed up to speak, it was an informative afternoon, and I’m looking forward to working with this client. (As a side note, at the VIP reception – yes, la-de-dah, I’m a VIP now – afterward, I’m about 95% sure I was cut off at the entrance by Sheryl Crow. Also, saw Richard Simmons at the airport…but I think I mentioned that last time.)
- Became the lead singer (and occasional bassist) for Skeletor in a Fright Wig. Alright, I guess this one will take some explaining. I’ve Twittered at length about my love of the Guitar Hero franchise…well, Harmonix, one of the original GH developers, has expanded the metaphor with Rock Band, which adds bass, drums, and vocals to the mix. I suck out loud at drums, and I’m not too great with the chords on the guitar line, but I do well enough on bass, but 10 years of musical theater training are paying off on vocals. The game is remarkably addictive – even more so than Guitar Hero, because just like being in a real band, it’s a cooperative effort. (As to the name of our ‘band’…well, remember that Richard Simmons sighting? I was describing him to Darren as we drove back from getting burritos last week, and between the eyes, and the hair, the best way I could describe it was “like seeing Skeletor in a fright wig”. The name stuck, and a legend was born.)
- Finally got a decent single-cup coffee maker. After suffering mediocre coffee courtesy of my HomeCafe brewer for the last few years, and not wanting to pay through the nose for a Starbucks fix every morning, I finally decided to spring for a Keurig B60. (The 20% coupon, store credit, and rebate offer for free coffee at Bed, Bath & Beyond helped the decision along a little bit.) So far, so good, but I’ve been burned before. (Literally – that damn HomeCafe thing used to spray coffee everywhere, even on me on a few occasions. I’m glad to be rid of it.)
I’m sure I glossed over some things, but that pretty much gets you up to speed on where I’ve been for the last 5 months or so. Next week I’m in DC for a cup of coffee, and the week after that, it’s back to the Bay Area (yes, again; yes, already – it’s amazing how fast time goes by when you’re not chronicling the events of your life on a regular basis). And astoundingly, SXSW is only 3(ish) months away. But in the short term, I’m looking forward to some time off at the end of the month, and generally getting things back under control at work. Oh, and providing you with regular updates of my escapades, of course.