1.23.2008

Weekend Recap

I had a nice weekend that kicked off with a fiasco at Brandy's. No incredible friendships were made with the drunk guy that was dancing all over the place, who tried to shove money in the waitress' shirt, and then wanted his tips back out of the jar when one of the strapping bartenders threatened to eject him.

On Saturday, Erin and I chatted on the couch and ate popcorn. This turned out to be a fine New York afternoon activity.

On Sunday, I left the city at 4:30 AM for a short trip to Whiteface. Mike and I took snowboarding lessons. These were both fun and frustrating. Fun: old dog learning new tricks! Frustrating: this was the most physically painful experience I've had in quite some time, making me question whether it was a good idea (but not enough to cancel another upcoming day trip). We went with Taylor and his friend. They were a fun group to take a road trip with. They are both rock climbers, and as such, they pay a lot of attention to natural surroundings, and get genuinely excited by them. It was nice to spend time with folks so appreciative of the natural world.

1.15.2008

Balloons and Jesus

We had reached our cruising altitude, but the little boy in the row behind me would not shut up. I was trying to put his cries into a shiny balloon and let it float up, up, away from me. This was a meditation technique I learned in an improve-your-life-in-the-new-year article.I figured it would make a good sleep aid, placing the errant thoughts of the day in balloons and watching them float away. In practice, I've mostly focused on putting distracting noises in the balloons. At home, the radiator rattling, or my lungs rattling. On the plane, the background buzz, the air flowing through the jets above our heads, the crying boy and his hiccupping mother. My balloons are red, the sky they reach up to is blue, and daylight is fading, and the tops of evergreens are there.

It wasn't really working because I wasn't thinking of nothing. I was stuck thinking about one line from a link Mike sent to an Evangelical Christian couple's debate on homosexuality. They believe they all have a personal relationship with Jesus. This stood in contrast to my experience. On the occasions when I pray, I don't address Jesus, but God, which I guess is kind of weird, since Jesus is more tangible. I suppose I thought why not go straight to the source, eliminate the middle man.

Dear Jesus, pray that this kid goes to sleep. Or pray for this whole family, because they are going to need all the help they can get.

In Sunday School, they tell you Jesus is everywhere, so why couldn't he be in #2B? The seat was empty anyway. I pictured him there, able to have a casual chat with me. I was sharing an arm-rest with our Lord and Savior. He was in his robe and sandals with his Pantene chestnut hair, not looking dressed for travel to Denver in my opinion, but definitely drawn from memories of a print my grandmother had hanging in her summer house.

Dear Jesus, maybe you can help me push these balloons up. And maybe you can tell me what last night's dream about my dead grandfather meant.

His hand touched and passed through my temple. This is what I imagined he would do to help with the balloons. I turned my head and squinted my eyes open; the kid was still crying. Outside my tiny window, there were tons of stars now. I thought about them for a while.

1.11.2008

Then We Came to the End

The problem with living like you're dying, as Jonathan pointed out, is that you would always eat the extra cream puff.

At work, there were meetings. The client was in the office. On another project, I have been mostly sending out data requests and attending meetings: Thursday status meetings with the core team to prepare for the Monday meetings with the larger team, discussing the monthly status meetings at their headquarters, and sending out an update of the status spreadsheet. On the third project, I have been working on a proposal. I like #3.

When the GD comes to town, you never know what will be discussed. Today's lesson I stumbled into was, "There's no happiness to be had in this life. You're either married and bored or single and lonely." Over the course of the same meeting, he speculated that he and my boss have different taste in women (you look like you'd like huge fake tits), and told me: "I mean, think about it: you'll probably never have children." I kind of love him.

Then We Came to the End. This book nails in glorious detail life in an office, right down to the double meetings (see above). If you make your living on the fringes of advertising, you might appreciate it a degree more, but it's great nonetheless. An ad agency in Chicago is falling on hard times. This is the first book I've ever read in the first person plural, and it is not gimmicky and completely makes sense. Distinct characters still emerge, and you will see yourself in them. You will see yourself in their petty office gripes, their paranoia, their absurd dialogue. But when the point of view switches to the partner, the boss, you totally can relate to her, too.

The book is saying something about work that I've not hashed out entirely, but I loved it. I thought about how I spend most of my days with these people but really only scratch the surface of who they are. That's why when the book switches point of view, it has such a lovely dramatic effect. Also: for as much as we bitch and moan and dream, there are times when work is the escape from life. This is the right place to be and the right thing to be doing. And the camraderie, the camraderie is good.

I was invited to join goodreads. I still don't know if there is much of a point (find out what your friends are reading!), but I figured I could at least try to write up reviews for the benefit of my own memory, hence the above.

1.03.2008

Status

On the past two eves of my death:

I took a map quiz of Africa, and forgot Zambia and The Gambia. They rhyme. I won't forget that! Today I did Asia, and I got the countries right except misspelled Kazakhstan. Victory fist!

Island Burgers and Shakes. Sprang for the shake this time. I will start going to the gym next week.

I spent the bulk of one day calculating local response curves. That is, determining the current market-level return on investment for local media activities as well as the cost to earn an additional sale.

Today I had to redo some of that work.

There was no milk on the fifth floor for coffee this morning, so I had to go down to the fourth floor. It always feels sneaky. On the rare occassions when I have to scavenge for milk, I play a scenario where I turn after opening the fridge, and a fourth-floor employee will be glaring at me, because she knows and I know that I don't work on that floor. Move along quietly. You didn't see any of this.

Courtney and I had our dinners at the kitchen table. When does that happen? It was nice.

I cleaned up a little for guests this weekend.

1.01.2008

Blew The New Year

It's the first day of the year, and I already forgot 3B, considering I said something not very nice about someone I don't really know. Technically, though, that was still in 2007.

Back to work tomorrow. Ew.