Tuesday, January 30, 2007

If you need to get something out of your eye

Easy tear shedding to be had over at the NY Times website, where they are collecting people's comments on Barbaro, who sadly passed away yesterday. Call me cheesy, but I cried a little when I heard the news on the radio this morning.

To quote one of the posters:
"Rest in Peace with many fresh carrots Barbaro. "


Monday, January 29, 2007

Untapped genious

One of my projects at the moment is creating a birthday card that takes advantage of schmancy analytics to create a personalized message indicating what tests and treatments you may be looking at in the coming year. People like birthday cards, and we like engaging with people about their health. So, win win.

We're working on content that is all very professional sounding, meaning it's pretty blah and safe. For fun, I submitted the following for consideration:

1. Ode to Prevention
Prevention’s a word oft bandied about
But what does it mean, and what happens without?
Some quick, simple tests that your doc can arrange
Will give you some insight on your target range
For cholesterol, lipids, blood pressure and more
Peace of mind is a gift you can’t find in a store!

2. A Seussian Birthday
We hear it’s your birthday!
Hoorah and hooray!
So have you been eating
Five fruits every day?

In the year that is coming
We wish you the best
And want to remind you
Of some treatments and tests

3. Hallmark Tryouts
A flu shot, a Pap test, perhaps a vaccine,
When did you last have your cholesterol screened?
It’s a lot to keep track of
And that’s why we’re here
To help keep you healthy
In each passing year!

Haiku, limericks, and beat poetry available upon request.

I think they'll go with a more traditional approach...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Social science and running therapy

Yesterday wrapped up one of the more frustrating weeks I've had at work in a long time. Pressure from all sides to give definitive answers on ideas that franky are not developed. Trying to manage projects without the authority to actually manage anything. I was pretty much ready to quit and start up a business selling other people's crap on eBay, or walking dogs (even in this freezing weather).

Perhaps it is connected to the recent pseudo-scientific study revealing this week to be the worst of the 52 in a year, with Monday the 24th standing out as the worst day. How do I know it to be true? It's simple math:

Worst day of the year = 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA

The key to the above formula is as follows:
W: Weather
D: Debt
d: Money due in January pay
T: Time since Christmas
Q: Time since failed quit attempt
M: General motivational levels
NA: The need to take action

There are several flaws in the formula, including the assumptions that one celebrates Christmas, one overspends on holiday shopping, and one creates some sort of resolution each New Year. In fact, I would imagine that Christmas actually causes more stress, given all the family obligations. And all that annoying holiday advertising... That said, I think I'd move T to the numerator, counting the time since Xmas as a positive operator.

Others agree with me that there are some flaws to be found here. Reading through some of the comments on the article linked above, there are some gems. My personal favorite: "Rubbish - I was born on this day and I light up everyone's life."

One of the things saving me this week was the simple act of running. Not only did it warm me up as the mercury dropped (and dropped, and dropped again...), but it also just helped to stop my mind from spinning out of control.

I tried to stay outside as much as I could, although yesterday I gave in and hit the indoor treadmill. To make that a little less boring, I started playing with the settings every 1/2 mile or so. Incline change here, speed change there... Definitely made it a bit more interesting. Here's the breakdown, according to my Nike+ thingy:

It's been a pretty good week for miles, and technically I could still add to this week's count if I was so inspired. Sitting here in my pajamas, however, I am not sure that will happen. The miles from last night helped to keep me on top of a little running challenge I'm part of. I post it here because it is shocking to me that I could be in first place. Yes, that is my dorky comment on the right...

I'm in two other challenges at the moment. Participants are from who knows where, and the top four people just blow the rest of us out of the water in terms of miles. While I clock in just over 200 miles, the top folks are closer to 850. How can that be real? Still, I'm happy that I'm closing in on the top 50.

While it's fun running with strangers, I sure wouldn't mind if some folks I actually know would get hooked into this. Or maybe we can create something outside of the Nike+ gadget. A little healthy competition amongst friends? Winner picks the restaurant? Anyone in?

Ending this post is a little piece of news I just got last night. I think I am going to a small house party next Saturday to meet Hillary Clinton. Ah, the benefits of living in Manchester, NH during presidential campaigns. I already had to turn down the opportunity to meet Barack Obama (which I'm still sad about). What should I talk to her about?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mid Day History Lesson

I am a trivia collector. Random bits of info enter my head and don't leave. Want to know the names of Rocky's turtles? Just ask. How many ridges are on the edge of a dime? No problem. Sometimes I find myself randomly poking around for information. So I wasn't surprised when I suddenly had the urge to review some of my Manchester trivia. Knowing about the town in which I live is one of my hobbies (habits?) and I generally become a pseudo tour guide for people that come to visit. Whether or not they want this type of tour is not as certain...

That said, I found a few sites of interest. They listed facts I knew (first capital city of New Hampshire was in Exeter, our main street, Elm, is believed to be the only main street in the country ending in two dead-ends), and some I didn't (in 1828, about 400 mill girls walked out of the Dover Cotton Factory enacting the first women's strike in the United States, Levi Hutchins of Concord invented the first alarm clock in 1787).

I do love living New England, where there is a true feeling of where it (it being the America experiment) all began exists.

And Manchester, from a NH standpoint, is important for many things, if nothing else for being the town where General John Stark lived (his house is on Elm Street, sitting there sort of lonely looking). If you don't know him by name, you will know him by a toast he offered (via post) for an anniversary reunion of a Revolutionary War battle:

"Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Manchester morning sights

Three things work noting this morning:

1. I saw someone running near my neighborhood. A rare and pleasant sighting!

2. As I approached a stop sign about two blocks from my office, I noticed a fire truck approaching. I held still. As I sat there, a total of seven fire trucks and the firechief's red SUV arrived. Never have I seen so many trucks in one place, outside of the news. All the firefighters ran to a house that didn't appear to be on fire. So, either it was a major drill, or a major false alarm. The firefighters looked pretty disappointed that there was nothing to save.

I wonder if it was just a cat stuck in a tree?

3. Entering work from a back door, I watched as two women stood by a dumpster, smoking. It is maybe 15 degrees out there. The whole scene was pretty ugly. What an unfortunate addiction.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Much better now

I didn't hit my 6 mile goal, but whatever. I feel much better. It was one of those days that I knew in my soul that I wanted to be anywhere else but the office, but didn't leave. Man, was I in a rotten mood.

Once I hit the pavement I started feeling like me again.

I ran a nice little 4.5 mile loop that I can easily increase to 6 or 8 if I'm feeling a desire to run about a bit more. I like loops. There were a bunch of people out on the route, which surprised me. I am generally the only person I see out running whenever I am in the streets of Manchester. I guess I haven't been running around the right neighborhoods.

It is a cold, clear, and beautiful night out there. I was actually overdressed. I don't have any options for cold weather jackets aside from my soft shell, and that is a toasty little creature. By the end of the run my pockets were stuffed with my gloves and hat. I would have shoved my jacket into my jacket pocket if I could have.

Oh - Lance Armstrong (via Nike+) congratulated me for hitting the 250 mile mark. That was nice of him. He's popped in before to announce my best mile time, which is also kind.

A few minutes after arriving home, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I had screwed up P's work schedule (even though she reminded me of it last night) and she was actually coming home. Things are always better when she's around. For example: I had planned on eating potato chips for dinner, but with her home I was insipred to cook. I didn't cook for her, mind you, but I was a little embarrased to eat cheddar and sour cream chips when she was right there... It was good all around.

We watched the L Word. Again, what a dumb show. There was one kinda sweet moment when Bette gives a soliloquy about her boss (played by an overly plastic surgeoned Cybill Shepard), but that was about it for any sort of genuine dialogue.

I noticed that the lesbian night at The Planet was on Thursdays. That has been my experience in real life - at least in Boston. Is that a universal thing?

How can it only be Tuesday?

This week is molasses. I feel like it should already be next Wednesday...

Our home has dried out at this point, and if I were 10 years younger I might be up for letting the ceiling mess stay for a while. As this stage, though, I think I should be more adult and work on getting it fixed.

The insurance people sent out a claims inspector to check it out, and she estimated the cost at around $200 higher than our deductible. She also let me know that we could potentially lose our "no claims filed" discount of $207 if we went ahead with things. Stinky. So I closed the claim, and we'll find another way to git 'r done. Suffice it to say you may come over for dinner and find there is a hole in the kitchen ceiling...

The claims person was nice. We ended up talking for a while. There is a part of my aura that encourages relative strangers to tell me their personal details, and thus I know that she had gastric bypass surgery in October. And that she still throws up a lot of her food.

Sometimes, I wish I didn't have this part of my aura.

On the bright side, it is nearly 5pm and it's still light outside. I am going to head out running from my office tonight, as it is flatter here than at my home. I am not really in the mood to have the last mile of my run be uphill. I'm feeling ready to nap right about now, but I credit that to the fact that I live in a cube world and have had one too many meetings today. That just doesn't inspire activity. Once I hit the chilly winter air I'll be fine.

Goal is 6 miles. I made a bet with myself that if I didn't run 75 miles in January, I'd give up chocolate for all of February. I'm going to hold myself to it, and can't imagine going all of February without chocolate. Shortest month or not, it's a long time. I thought the half marathon would put me ahead of the game, but it acutally put me behind, given the days I took off before and after. My own naivite got me.

That said, I'm off to layer up and get out there.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The cats are fine, but..."

Not really the way you want a conversation to start. But that's what I was told when I called home from the road, after a text message was sent reading, "call before you get here."


"The cats are fine, but there was a little incident."


Here's the innocent beginning: Apparently P went to turn on the hot water this morning and, when nothing came out, she turned it off. Turning the spout to no avail happens sometimes in our old house. For some reason the pipe leading up to the upstairs bathroom will freeze up in the chill of winter. I don't think it happens anywhere else in the house.

Also necessary to know for this story is that we have two bathrooms and while the sinks look identical, the handles for the hot water actually turn in an opposite direction from each other when turning on/off. In other words, one of them needs to be turned clockwise to stop running, while the other one needs to be turned counterclockwise to achieve the same result. It's one of those little quirks that we know about, we've laughed about, but haven't done anything about because it doesn't impact anything on a larger scale.

Or so we thought.

Back to the story at hand: P turned the hot water knob completely in one direction, and as nothing came out she went to turn it off. She couldn't remember the direction that turned the water off (it sounds silly, but would you if you didn't see the physical evidence of water stopping?) so turned it in the direction she thought was correct and assumed that all was back to normal. She left for work, thinking nothing of it. What she didn't realize was that she had actually turned the hot water knob to full blast, and while it didn't work initially, the water did start flowing as the day went on and the pipes warmed slightly.

You can see where this is going.

By the time she came home from a hard day at the hospital, the upstairs bathroom was flooding and water had seeped through the floor, into the kitchen directly below it. A decent chunk of the ceiling gave its life. The water continued to drip from the kitchen ceiling, through cracks in the kitchen floor, and into the basement.

Like I said, old house. It's one big domino effect.

Poor P felt terrible, and did a major cleanup effort prior to my arriving home. I didn't see any of the puddles - only the small amounts of detritus that continue to leak from the ceiling. And the grody yellow drips that fall every few minutes.

Luckily, the musical episode of Scrubs was on tonight, and that was a great pick me up. That, a little vanilla tea, and two cats to pat.

Oh, well. What can you do? Here's hoping our home insurance covers it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My television debut

I am about to share something secret and private with you. Something I'm almost ashamed to admit... I visited the L Word website. There - I said it.

The show is like a train wreck, you know? Each week we watch, each week we ask why we watch, and then we watch again the next week.

On my brief visit to the site, I saw the growing list of characters, and noticed that one is named Jodi (spelled correctly, I might add). Upon further investigation I discovered that Marlee Matlin is joining the cast as an "intensely talented and free-spirited sculptor" who will eventually sleep with Bette. I wonder if, when it eventually happens, Bette will be wearing the fabulous white Stella McCartney suit that she wore in seasons past. Now that would be hot.

It seems the L Word may become the next Will and Grace. High profile cameos and whatnot. People showing they aren't afraid to play gay or gay friend. I don't think that came about on Queer as Folk - maybe it's because that show was truly unwatchable...

I think there's something larger going on...

In checking the NY Times just now, I saw that the article I've been tracking re: questions to ask prior to marriage, continues to rank among the top 10 most emailed. It sits comfortably at #9. In reviewing the larger list, there seems to be a pattern is emerging... At #4 is an article from June 2006 that compares dolphin training to marriage relations. True animal husbandry, if I were to make a pun of it.

And sitting at #1? An article exploring a recently released factoid revealing a slight majority of women are now living sans spouse. It seems they are referring solely to male-female relationships in this one, so I may falsely be counted in the majority on that one. I doubt same sex marriages (or equivalents, pending your state of residence) would tip the scales, but it's worth noting.

So, either the NY Times is semi-obsessed with relationships, or it's readership is.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Some thing don't change

I'm all excited on the inside given the past two weekends of sheer fun. At work, nothing has really changed.

This morning, I checked in my mailbox and found an interoffice mailer. From the first floor. I work on the second floor, and the mailboxes are maybe 30 feet from my desk. That said, why the person couldn't simply walk the item over to me and drop it on my desk is beyond me.

Someone on the first floor once asked me to interoffice them something. I told them I'd be more than happy to walk it down. Truly, it's not that hard.

There's a weird impersonal feeling around here sometimes. I really do work in The Office.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back in Manchester

Phoenix is come and gone. All in all, a great trip.

A brief recap of the race, and the surrounding trip:

  1. The first day I arrived, I went to see Catie Curtis in concert. Totally different than seeing her on the east coast… The crowd was frustratingly sedate. Still, I enjoyed it. Catie is a good storyteller, and generally has an anecdote for each song. Sometimes they fit, sometimes they don’t, but I always find them entertaining, and definitely reminds me of why she is so good to see live. Prior to one of her songs, she looked out into the crowd, asking me to ID myself. She informed the room that I was in Phoenix, hailing from NH, for the road race. She then relayed a story of someone asking her on her plane ride if she was running in the marathon, saying “she looked athletic.” She indicated no, just playing a gig and laughed, as she doesn’t see herself as particularly athletic. (No one asked me if I was running the race on my way out… J ) That little shout out led to some words of encouragement from strangers after the show, which was nice. One guy identified himself as a Nashua native, and we had a little New Hampshire moment.
  2. The morning of the race, I went with the rest of the cattle into my assigned corral. I was in corral 14 out of 30. Waited about 30 minutes there prior to starting our actual run – I can only imagine how long corral 30 had to wait… It was an unusually chilly morning in Phoenix – maybe 30 degrees? – and I watched lots of people hopping about trying to keep warm. I managed to find a patch of sunlight, and parked myself there to gather warmth. Between that and my determination to soak in every moment of this, my first ½ marathon, I was fine.
  3. The mayor of Phoenix was in my corral. I saw his arms pop up in a political wave when it was announced just prior to our release, but other than that he was just another runner in tights.
  4. For some reason, Born Again missionaries decided to post themselves along the first half mile of the race. There were four of them, staggered two to a side, and positioned far enough apart that when one left your site, another one appeared. They were easily identifiable given their enormous neon colored signs letting us know that if we didn’t accept Jesus into our hearts we’d burn in hell (one of my least favorite approaches to making one interested in any particular sect). The first two people were actually yelling at us to accept Jesus, warning us of the consequences laid out in their signage. The last guy was simply wishing us a good run, which I felt was at least a kind gesture.

That whole part was a bit weird, and thinking about it kept me occupied for the first mile of the race. Why here? Why at the start? Was it because we were a captured audience? Do sad, empty-feeling people (which, to me, seem like the most likely candidates for conversion via the neon side methodology) enter into marathons? I imagine this would be a low incidence conversion territory.

Mind you, there were a fair share of deeply religious types running. I saw shirts decorated with “Got Jesus?” or “Running every mile for Jesus” or similar slogans. That seemed innocuous enough, and heck, good for them. It is when it is so forced that it feels somehow desperate.

  1. A friend suggested to me that I assign each mile to a person, which I did. It was a soothing exercise. Lots of shout outs to people who hold a special place in my heart. P got both mile 4 and the .1 at the end. J
  2. At the 10k mark, I thought back to the Tufts 10K that I had run with P a few years ago, and mentally noted the difference in my conditioning, and simply how my body felt. I still think back to the days of awful back problems and eventual back surgery, and the brief moment where I essentially lost the ability to walk (thank heavens for my fabulous wife!!!). Every time I run I appreciate the various parts of my body working in harmony.
  3. Around mile 8, I passed the pacer for my initial goal time. That felt good, and I knew I had plenty of miles ahead of me to methodically break away even further. My time was finally posted: 2:11:47. Works out to an average of 10:04 per mile, which is better than my initial goal of 10:15. Yay, me! My Nike+ thingy should have also provided me with this information, but due to my fussing with it in the early part of the race, I lost about .5 miles, and had to start the workout session on my Nano over again. After kicking myself for the next half mile, I let it go and instead stared out into the beautiful, red hued Arizona hills in the distance. That cured everything, and I was back on my way.
  4. All the training really paid off. I felt a blister coming on around mile 10, but as of today I can only feel a little bit of soreness creeping in. My quads might need a little extra attention. But my post race recovery was quick, and I wondered how others prepared when I saw them cramping up. People that, on the surface, look like they would be in better shape than me. Go figure. Perhaps just a bad day for them.
  5. I slapped a lot of kids' hands along the way. I have been one of those people that sticks out their hands and yells encouragement to runners from the sidelines, so it was a little like returning a karmic favor. Plus the little kids get a huge kick out of it. I heard a few squeals of pleasure after I made contact and moved on.
  6. I did it! I can’t wait to run again.

Next up – the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

PS – the NY Times article on questions to ask before marriage remains on the top 10 most emailed articles. Crazy. As of today at 8pm, it is back up to #3!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

1/2 marathon completed!

I am sitting in Phoenix, having finished my first 1/2 marathon. All went very well; I think I beat my goal time by about 5 minutes. I may never actually find out, as my last time didn't seem to register. Perhaps the chip on my shoe went funky. If that's the case, it'll just be a forever mystery. Or maybe I speeded up to 6 minute miles for the last stretch? You'll never know...

In the end, I think I averaged about a 10:12 mile time. Good enough for me!

It was a cold morning (35 degrees?), and at the starting line we all huddled in the rays of sun that we could find. After 30 minutes of letting al of those in front of us launch, off we went. I saw some shirts that made me cry (who wouldn't cry at the guy who is running for his son in Iraq?), some silly outfits (superheroes, people in dresses, etc.), and lots of people simply doing their thing. It was great.

The orange I ate after finishing was perhaps the best orange I have ever eaten. The hot shower I took when I got home was perhaps the best shower ever. I love my warm, dry socks. Life is good.

I am surprisingly peppy for having gotten not much sleep last night (too excited), and running 13 miles. One of my friends who came to spectate is watching the Patriots game (read: napping), and I am off to walk around with my other friend.

The only thing I really need to get on our outing is some coffee from Quick Trip - it's a gas station/convenience store that has an amazingly wide array of warm beverages to mix and match. Kind of like Jelly Belly jellybeans, but hot and liquid. It is akin to crack... My last mixture was s'mores hot chocolate and coffee (a great white trash mocha) - I may just make that addictive little beverage again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Did you ask the right questions?

I think I need to start keeping a tally of where a semi-recent article on marriage stands in the "most emailed" section of the NY Times. Originally published on December 17th, it has remained one of the 10 most popular stories. It will move up and down (it dangled at 9 for about a 1/2 day, then moved back up to 5), but has yet to leave the list.

Currently, it sits at #4. It's been there for over three weeks, and it is #4. It's not like it's been a slow news time...

It isn't a long article - it lasts 301 words. Just a simple listing of questions you should ask prior to marriage, without any fanfare. My current favorite is number 12: "What does my family do that annoys you?" Not "Does my family annoy you?" but what about them is annoying. I guess it's universal...

Who are all of you people that keep emailing this? And why aren't you talking to your significant others?

Joining in the gadetgy fray, and race countdown

Ok, so after reading a friend's post, i may have changed my opinion on the iPod phone. Kudos to Apple for continuing their reputation as the pretty electronics people. I envision their employees as wearing high end jeans, tight ribbed sweaters, and cool urban kicks. Maybe a snarky t-shirt here and there, although that seems more of a PC thing.

I remember when the first combo telephone answering machines were coming out. I was nervous to purchase one, as I worried that if the phone broke, thus went the answering machine. It seemed wasteful in a way. Nowadays, more and more people are looking into smartphones, which allow you to carry all of your contacts, calendar, music, and files in one (quite compact) space. What if it drops into the bottom of your laundry basket, or the toilet, or is otherwise lost? I wonder if there is an emerging counseling field specializing in the loss of personal gadgetry and the high levels of inconvenience and personal pain that creates...

I guess you can lead a horse to totally cool water, but you can't make it give up its frugal nature.

In other news, I am five days away until my road race in Phoenix. I ran 10 miles on Sunday no problem (beautiful day, felt great) and haven't run since due to time constraints. That and my unwillingness to get up before 6am. Anyhoo, tonight is my last run (likely 5 miles) prior to the race. I can't decide if I'll be better off for such a light week mile-wise, or if that will hurt. Or if it just doesn't matter. In any case, I fly out to Phoenix tomorrow!

I have started collecting talismans for the race. I got a pair of socks from my wife, who can't make the race in person, which I will wear for the first time on race day. I recieved a beautiful, simple, handmade necklace from friends that I will wear as my only piece of jewlery. Another friend has been sending daily running-related inspirational thoughts and encouragement as an introduction to the running community, which has been really lovely and appreciated. In the less talisman but still fun bucket, I got myself a red Road ID bracelet, both for the race and beyond. As I run alone so much, I thought it would be a good idea.

There's a song brewing in my head about my recent 10 miler, particularly as I had to go through a tunnel that is long and dark. This tunnel previously served as my unofficial end of the line, limiting the distance I would go before turning around. Having run through it (and back) and survived, I think a victory song is in order. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Going Postal?

File this one under, "Did you know?

The Postal Service created a song with more staying power than Cher on a "farewell" tour. What started as a fun side project for Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello produced a law suit from the actual Postal Service. According to Wikipedia:

In 2004, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter citing their trademark on the phrase "postal service". After negotiations, the USPS relented, allowing the band use of the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at their annual National Executive Conference. Additionally, the USPS website sells the band's CDs.

I checked it out - it's true. You can purchase a few of their singles on the website. It seems quite out of place, sitting side by side with a Ben Franklin DVD and "Ultimate Mancini." The description itself seems that it may have been written by Sherman, the kind postal worker who has worked the desk of a small town NH post office for the last 25+ years:
"How do you form a band when you live miles and miles away from your band mates? Telephone? Videophone? Airplane? Train? Boat? Car? No, you use the U.S. Mail. Ok, that problem's solved; all the tracks are laid, the CDs are burned, now what do we call ourselves? This was the question for Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Dntel and Figurine's Jimmy Tamborello.

They decided since the United States Postal Service was the lynchpin of their collaborative efforts, they would name their band, Postal Service.

Using the name Postal Service under license from The United States Postal Service..."

Think they've sold any?

Sunday, January 7, 2007

I can't do this all on my own..

No, I know I'm no Superman.

Or am I? According to a recently completed quiz, my personality befits most closely the Man of Steel. While my theme song has no lyrics, I've certainly been used in any numberof songs. I guess you could say I'm a bit of a metaphor.

Your results:

You are Superman

Superman 80%
Robin 75%
Green Lantern 75%
Spider-Man 65%
The Flash 65%
Supergirl 60%
Wonder Woman 55%
Iron Man 50%
Catwoman 45%
Hulk 40%
Batman 30%

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Tomorrow I shall sleep past 7

This week I felt like an actual New Hampshire resident. Yesterday I made the time to volunteer to help with the inaugural festivities of our Governor, John Lynch. My big political contribution? Handing out yogurt.

It was a fun job, actually. More than handing out local dairy goodness, it was more of a schmooze opportunity. Say hello and thank you to the state employees, try and foist a yogurt or three on them, make small talk. The only down side was that I had to be there at 6:30. Which meant getting up around 5:45. Psychologically, getting up before the first number reads 6 is tough.

The flow of the event was well done, with people entering the main hall (where I was) for coffee and yogurt, and then being directed either to a photo op line (with the Gov and his wife) or a breakfast line. Either the breakfast line was slow, or the photo line was fast, because it was clear that the wait was much longer for food.

In a weird way, I didn't want to leave the event. Between enjoying my minor task, enjoying the time I was spending with the other volunteers and staff, and just a general sense of happiness at being involved in a small way with our state government, I was feeling happy about being a New Hampshire resident. Maybe I don't need to head back to Boston after all... Ask me again in three years. :)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

You are an obsession...

As I type this, I am sitting on the bus heading down to Boston. It is 6:40am, and there is traffic on the highway. I got my ass out of bed early specifically to catch the early bus and miss some of the traffic. What do all of you people do that necessitates getting up so early to drive into the city? The sun isn’t even up.

I am looking out the window at people sitting by themselves in their cars. Do they do this everyday? It can’t contribute to a positive temperament.

On the bright side, sitting on the bus frees me to do other activities. I’ve caught up on a few podcasts, including a Pop Candy podcast about people who obsessively collect things. There was a Pez collector, a Star Wars fanatic, and a man who collects Debbie Gibson memorabilia. Each of them verges on OCD, although they seemed reasonable about how much of their life savings they are willing to plunk down to feed the habit.

The last guy, the lover of all things Gibson, never came out and said he was gay. He used the word nerd, which is perhaps southern for gay. The Star Wars collector named his own Yoda tattoo as the favorite part of his collection. Does that even count in the technical sense?

As a sidenote, when looking for Debbie Gibson pics, I was amazed at the number of adult-oriented shots. I know she's all grown up and going by Deborah and has done a lot since her days as a Long Island young'un, but... Electric Youth no more!

I’d recommend the Pop Candy podcast if you have the patience to put up with the host, Whitney, who is a terrible interviewer. How she got this job is beyond me – it’s an argument for being in the right place at the right time. When she speaks with guests, you can tell they are clearly trying to lead her in a certain direction, but all she can come up with is what is on the cards in front of her.

In the recent collector’s discussion, the Pez lady was surprisingly interesting, and clearly knew the history of Pez. Her favorite piece was from 1947, created after the partition of Germany, and stamped “Made in the US Zone.” After laying out the initial story on this, the interviewee paused, waiting for the follow up. Perhaps a question on other dispensers that reflect history? No. Instead, the deeply relevant, “So do you actually like the candy?”

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Rosh Hashawhat?

Every once in a while (read: weekly) someone makes some sort of weird comment pertaining to Judaism. Last week it was someone proclaiming to me, "It's a good thing I'm not anti-Semitic. Because I'm not."

Um, thanks?

Two weeks ago, prior to Christmas, the comment of the week went as follows:
Coworker: "Do you put up a tree?"
Me: "No, we don't have a tree."
Coworker: "Is that because of the whole Jewish thing?"

Um, yes?

And just now, as I was telling a coworker about the engagement party I went to this past weekend: "Is it going to be like a Bar Mitzvah? Or, what do you call it... A Jewish wedding?"

Bar Mitzvah, Jewish wedding, same diff.

Monday, January 1, 2007

nu wave never died

Warning: this will get stuck in your head. Perhaps the best track off the album... It'll fill any post punk/nu wave jones you might be feeling. Enjoy!