Saturday, August 25, 2007

No place to hide

Arghh, the word that best describes me over the last 2 weeks: tired. My first official project at work was close to launch and I had to put in a LOT of hours. The sad thing is, it's still not over. But I think the long hours are behind me, at least for a little while.

I miss working part-time, but I really, really enjoy my new job. It's *exactly* the kind of work I want to be doing, so the long hours aren't as bad as they could be.

Disturbing things I have seen downtown on my commute:
1. Drug deal in broad daylight (not even a little bit subtle)
2. Woman applying deodorant while crossing the street. (Ick.)

I took a nice long nap with Spike today in Dog Bed. I also caught up on a bunch of mail and bills, and did laundry and dishes. So it's been a nice "homely" sort of day.

We had a lovely dinner last week at Jak's Grill in the U-District with John, Jenna, and Tai. Great food, and not overly pricy like you'd expect from a steakhouse. YUM.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You can stand under my umbrella

I guess it's time for my weekly blog post during my Project Management class. More reading from slides but the instructor said we might get out early. One can dream...
It's funny how some people start out annoying me right up front and some take a few weeks to become annoying. There's an interesting dynamic when adults are in a classroom setting which reminds me so much of elementary school.
There's a person in my class who just has to comment on everything the instructor says. "at my company we do it this way." If it was somewhere interesting maybe I might care. And if she didn't need to pipe up every 2 seconds maybe it would be OK. grrr.

The group exercises are the worst. People get all riled up about how to do the exercise and want to argue about it. Dude, we're not getting a grade for this or any credits even. And seriously this stuff isn't rocket science. If you don't understand a simple exercise, how do you expect to lead an actual project with all its inherent ambiguities?

Ok, I'm done ranting now. I just hate taking classes where I'm not learning anything and I have to wait for the slow learners to catch on. I know that sounds very bitchy, but there you have it. My time is valuable and the stupid hoops that PMI is making me jump through to get their certification are grating on me.
I sort of miss Caltech and feeling like I need to work hard just to stay on top of things. I could almost feel my little brain cells working overtime.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And your digital downloads

I love the Internet. Of course there are the obvious reasons: 24/7 information availability, not having to talk to annoying people on the phone to find out basic stuff, and the entertainment value of say, YouTube.

My top 3 favorite uses of the Internet right now:

1. Netflix - a seriously BRILLIANT idea. No late fees, you can add movies to your list when you remember them, so you aren't fumbling around at the video store trying to remember the name of that movie your friend recommended, and you don't even have to leave your house. Well, except to walk to your mailbox to pick up and return the DVDs, which come in their nice pre-addressed, pre-paid envelopes. Beautiful!

2. Amazon's Mechanical Turk. I know I'm about a million years behind, since this launched 2 years ago, but I discovered it when I read a story in Wired magazine about missing computer scientist Jim Gray. It's a place to list labor-intensive tasks that cannot be done by a computer, like evaluating whether two product listings on Amazon are the same, or identifying lampposts in satellite images. People sign up to complete these simple tasks and get paid a few cents for each one. I've made $0.58 in a couple of hours. No, I'm not going to quit my day job, but it's oddly relaxing to do some of these simple tasks. Makes my idle Internet surfing seem somewhat productive.

An example of the brilliance that came out of this system: The Sheep Market. People were asked to draw a sheep facing left for 2 cents each. Thousands of entries were submitted and you can peruse them if you click the link. Woo hoo!

A more useful task on the Turk: volunteers pored over thousands of satellite images trying to find a sign of Jim Gray's boat. They yielded one highly probable image in that data, but they still didn't find him.

3. JeanSolutions. For only $14 and the cost of postage, these folks will hem your jeans, keeping the original hem intact. I assume they do some sort of origami folding trick.

Because I'm so short, every new pair of jeans I buy needs to be hemmed. Since a longer length is in fashion, I'm just a hair too tall to buy petite jeans but too short for regular length jeans to fall at the right place.

My usual alterations lady is great, but we had trouble getting our schedules to line up, and she doesn't preserve the original hem - she just chops them off and redoes the stitching at the bottom. Since jeans have that extra fat rolled over seam thing on the bottom, the hemmed ones never quite look right.

So tomorrow I'm sending off my new Nordstrom Anniversary Sale jeans to Philadelphia to be hemmed. I'll post later on how they turn out.

So, why do you love the Internet? Post me some good stuff in the comments, y'all!

Friday, August 10, 2007

These twisting turns of fate

Wow, this blog is becoming a sort of "Week in Review" because the weeks just go by so quickly. Leslie, Jorge and dogs left this morning, which was sad. It was nice to hang out with them, but hard to really spend much time with them since they were here during the work week. But we had a couple of nice homecooked dinners, Leslie and took a jewelry class, and we got to hang out most evenings.

Leslie, TJ and I watched 'Beauty Shop' last night, which was hilarious. I do looove Queen Latifah. It was a really funny light and fluffy movie. Just how I like 'em. I want to be entertained, not educated (random documentaries), or depressed (Schindler's List).

Last week I saw most of 'High Fidelity' and didn't make it all the way through the movie. There were some entertaining bits of dialog, but it was just annoying watching the main character make an ass of himself. The book was kind of like that too, but fairly well written so a little easier to take. Plus I read it while on vacation so I had a higher tolerance for annoyance then.

Work is going well, and getting very busy. But it's still balanced so I'm only working about 8-9 hours a day and not putting in any evening or weekend time, which is fabulous. Yes, Virginia, there is life outside of Microsoft.

Have I already professed my love for Rob Thomas? Not because of his supposed "hotness" (I never did think he was attractive!), but because he writes the Best Pop Songs Ever. They aren't just fluffy ear candy to be vicariously enjoyed a few times before you get sick of them - they're pretty complex (yet still catchy) and the lyrics are awesome and always seem relevant to my life. And his voice is clear, and masculine, and distinctive without being annoying. (Unlike the guy who sings for Five for Fighting - brilliant songs, crappy singer.)

I discovered Matchbox 20 quite by accident in 1997, when I picked up a random CD in the now-defunct used CD store Disc-Go-Round in the U-District. They let you listen before you bought, and I fell in love with all the songs on "Yourself or Someone Like You" because they sounded sort of like Counting Crows, another college favorite of mine.

That summer, I noticed they were playing a show in a high school auditorium in central California, so I went to see them. It was an amazing show, a tiny venue and I was one of the few people who knew all the songs. I met the band (and Rob!) backstage and got my CD signed by them. I saw them live again in 1998 at the Seattle Center, when they had become very popular. That too was an amazing show because Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows just showed up for a few songs at the end. My favorite was when they played "Mamas Don't Let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys".

After that I bought every Matchbox 20 album (even when they became Matchbox Twenty for some inexplicable reason). "Yourself or Someone Like You" is still on my top 5 favorite albums of all time, and one I take on every road trip I go on.

I dragged TJ to see RT live last summer at Marymoor and he did not disappoint (Rob, I mean, though come to think of it, TJ sat quietly and let me enjoy the whole concert too!) My new favorite song is the one he did for "Meet the Robinsons" - "Little Wonders" which is just a gorgeous, moving song. I listened to it four times today. It's got a little bit of U2 vibe about the beginning. Yes, I'm a little bit obsessive that way.

OK, the meeting of the Rob Thomas Fan Club is now adjourned. You can go now.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Are you out there?

I'm sitting in my Proj Mgmt class which has largely been a disappointment. It's mostly been a rehash of the info in the previous one I took, and I could learn more just reading the assigned text for 15 hours. But I need the hours for my PMP credential so here I sit in class listening to the instructor read from the slides.

Today Leslie and I went shopping in glamorous Factoria. I am newly in love with Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann's, both great places to get good quality clothes at a huge discount.

I found the silver glitter resin bangle I've been coveting for months but couldn't find after the first time I saw it at Macy's. I also found the tiny The Sak purse I wanted for my travels - one that fits into my carryon bag. And of course, shoes. One pair of silver Reef Butter flipflops I've been coveting on Zappo's for months and a pair of Merrel pseudo athletic walking shoes for work. And a cute teal corduroy hat, because TJ likes me in hats.

Yay for a day off and successful discount shopping!

Friday, August 03, 2007

We get a little crazy

Today is the post of quick updates, before I need to go get my yearly fasting blood glucose test. Which is sucky, since I haven't eaten since last night and I'm already hungry.

Here are the pictures of my road trip with Spike to Vancouver last month. Here's one of my favorites:

Update on Dansko shoe situation: The size 38s arrived in the mail, and alas, they were too big in some spots and just fit weirdly in others. So I had to return those as well. So sad! Fortunately, I had free shipping and Nordstrom allows you to return in-store, so I just took them with me to work one day and returned them.

This entire week has been a shopping free one, the first one since I started working downtown. However, I've met several friends for dinner this week (Hi Rinki! Hi Jenn! Hi John and Jenna!), so I just traded vices. (Shopping for eating out.)

Pogi is staying with us for the weekend - yay!

And Leslie and Jorge are coming to visit with their two dogs, Milou and Lola, on Sunday and staying through next week. I haven't seen Leslie in over a year, so I'm pretty excited about that. And for a brief time on Sunday, we'll have 5 dogs staying with us. YAY!

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