Friday, June 27, 2008

Kick Ass Mom!

My brother just forwarded this scanned pic of my Mom. She was in the Navy...

She's seriously working that hat!

Jonesing for a movie!

It's Friday and normally this would be a time to catch one of the fantastic summer movies that are out. Unfortunately Senor Wallet is telling me I cannot this close to payday and with a big weekend coming up that I need to save for.

In light of that, I thought I'd think about past movies, and then I found this meme on someone else's post. Big thanks to Chris for helping me down a memory lane of movies. Entertainment Weekly listed the top 100 movies from the past 25 years.

- Bold the movie if you’ve seen it
- Put asterisks next to the movies you’ve seen and liked it. (this is where I change the rules a bit, if it’s bolded I saw it and enjoyed it, if it’s bolded and Red I saw it and hated it.)
- and of course... my comments ('snarky' or not)

1. Pulp Fiction 1994
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy 2001-03
3. Titanic 1997 (although I saw it 3 times in one week... that's 9 hours invested....ugh)
4. Blue Velvet 1986 (WTF was that about??)
5. Toy Story 1995
6. Saving Private Ryan 1998 (I saw this and had to sit on the front row... Death and destruction 25 feet high... overwhelming at times!)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters 1986
8. The Silence of the Lambs 1991 (I saw this immediately after seeing "Sleeping with the Enemy. I was tense for days!)
9. Die Hard 1988
10. Moulin Rouge 2001 (took me a couple of times to like it, but it was appreciable for it's use of modern music)
11. This Is Spinal Tap 1984
12. Matrix 1999
13. GoodFellas 1990
14. Crumb 1995
15. Edward Scissorhands 1990 (when we first saw the chunky Anthony Michael Hall. When I was at Clemson a friend of a friend was dating AMH. They received an invitation to the Oscars. AMH told his girlfriend "No, I'm not going. I'm not going until I'm nominated for one".... still waiting there are we???)
16. Boogie Nights 1997 (not liking it too much may have had to do with the fact that my car was being broken into as I watched it.)
17. Jerry Maguire 1996
18. Do the Right Thing 1989
19. Casino Royale 2006 (Interesting Prequel set in modern day...)
20. The Lion King 1994 (I remember first seeing the trailer for this in the Disney Store where I worked. If you know me, you know the sap I am for movie emotions,
21. Schindler’s List 1993 (I didn't know how long this movie was going to be before I went and kept wondering how they were going to end it when we were close to the 2 hour mark. It was a bit long, but damn well worth it! The little girl in the red coat was creepy as all get out!)
22. Rushmore 1998
23. Memento 2001
24. A Room With a View 1986
25. Shrek 2001
26. Hoop Dreams 1994
27. Aliens 1986 (This movie was pretty cool, but not sure it quite met the oomph factor of the first one. In the first Alien the first birth scene still gives me the willies! I remember reading that the cast knew SOMETHING was going to happen in that scene, but they were never told exactly what and only John Hurt knew what was coming. After reading it I couldn't believe they'd be that dumb or could realistically react. But, if you watch Veronica Cartwright's reaction, she is truly horrified. Very cool!)
28. Wings of Desire 1988
29. The Bourne Supremacy 2004 (This wasn't so much dislike as it was a "...meh" been there done that. Much like the Rocky movies... yeah yeah yeah.... what's next, The Bourne Geriatricy?"
30. When Harry Met Sally… 1989
31. Brokeback Mountain 2005 (Being the lone southerner in my office when that came out my coworkers were always asking me to do the "I wish I could quit you" line.... of course I paraphrased and obliged)
32. Fight Club 1999
33. The Breakfast Club 1985 (ahh the quotes and memories from that one. "Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?")
34. Fargo 1996 (Oooh, yah, I liked that one dontcha know?)
35. The Incredibles 2004 (Disney always amazes me how they can entertain kids and adults with 2 different sets of humor in one movie)
36. Spider-Man 2 2004 (really? this was listed as best movie?)
37. Pretty Woman 1990
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004
39. The Sixth Sense 1999 (I liked this as the gist of the movie was a nice twist that people caught at very different times. Sadly, M. Knight Shyamalan's movies never had quite the same impact because everyone knew something was coming. I did like how he put himself in one or the other. I remember in Signs, when M. Knight's character told Mel Gibson he was going to the lake because the aliens seem to avoid water I thought... "Mel, he WROTE the movie.. do what he says!"
40. Speed 1994 (good movie... not to be at all confused with the second Speed. Don't fault Sandra for that movie... she couldn't help herself)
41. Dazed and Confused 1993
42. Clueless 1995
43. Gladiator 2000 (They never showed the gladiator that Russel Crowe killed with a hotel room telephone)
44. The Player 1992
45. Rain Man 1988 (I shouldn't say I disliked this movie. But I remember being exhausted and wanting to kill Dustin Hoffman when it was over. I guess that's a testament to his acting and pulling off that part so very well)
46. Children of Men 2006
47. Men in Black 1997
48. Scarface 1983
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000
50. The Piano 1993
51. There Will Be Blood 2007
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad 1988
53. The Truman Show 1998 (although it was still "Jim Carrey as...." do we not see this about him and Tom Cruise?)
54. Fatal Attraction 1987 (I like me some Glenn Close, but leaving Ann Archer for her... not so sure. Maybe it was the hermaphroditic child they'd born that made him go looking elsewhere)
55. Risky Business 1983 (While the movie was alright.. I detest that it was one of the launching pads for the Tom Cruise machine. he's the same guy there that he was in Jerry Maguire.)
56. The Lives of Others 2006
57. There’s Something About Mary 1998 (I saw this at a theater with 2 60+ year old women sitting next to me. Not too bad until the masturbation scene... ugh! But they laughed harder than I did!)
58. Ghostbusters 1984
59. L.A. Confidential 1997
60. Scream 1996
61. Beverly Hills Cop 1984 ("Yes, I am Johnny Wishbone from the isle of St. Croix")
62. sex, lies and videotape 1989 (one of 3 movies in my life I got up and walked out on)
63. Big 1988 (who DOESN'T want a trampoline in their 4,000sqft loft???)
64. No Country For Old Men 2007
65. Dirty Dancing 1987 (The first movie I ever paid $5 for.. I thought I'd die. If I went tonight I'd pay $11.. hence my staying home tonight!)
66. Natural Born Killers 1994
67. Donnie Brasco 1997
68. Witness 1985
69. All About My Mother 1999
70. Broadcast News 1987
71. Unforgiven 1992
72. Thelma & Louise 1991
73. Office Space 1999
74. Drugstore Cowboy 1989
75. Out of Africa 1985
76. The Departed 2006
77. Sid and Nancy 1986
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 (Better with Ahhnuld as a good guy. The kid was whiny though. Didn't he go to jail for something?)
79. Waiting for Guffman 1996 (this troupe is always funny in that way that you either completely get. Completely DON'T get, or you get it here and there, but different spots each time you see it.
80. Michael Clayton 2007 (It was OK, but I didn't see what all the Oscar buzz was about. I do like Tilda Swinton though even though she was uber frumpy in this movie)
81. Moonstruck 1987
82. Lost in Translation 2003
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn 1987
84. Sideways 2004
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin 2005 (you have to give props to an actor as hairy as he was for having a real hair wax on his chest. Kudos Steve Carell. Just wish I enjoyed "The Office" more)
86. Y Tu Mamá También 2002 (What about my Mama???)
87. Swingers 1996
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery 1997 (although I did like the following two)
89. Breaking the Waves 1996
90. Napoleon Dynamite 2004 (didn’t see it, and still don’t like it.)
91. Back to the Future 1985
92. Menace II Society 1993
93. Ed Wood 1994
94. Full Metal Jacket 1987 (an old roommate was military and i ended up seeing far more military movies than I ever thought. I have to say this one was pretty good)
95. In the Mood for Love 2001
96. Far From Heaven 2002 (Dennis Quaid has held up very well into his 50's. I wish I'd known back in my 20's to be more healthy....)
97. Glory 1989 (Morgan Freeman can do no wrong. Excellent movie)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley 1999
99. The Blair Witch Project 1999 (I lived in Southern California when this came out and I got to see it on one of those weekends where "the lucky ones" get to see it before it's released nationally... aka, before the world knew it was a hoax... and it was far scarier than most people who saw it later would have thought.)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut 1999 (yes, it's vulgar, childish and sophomoric... but it was also funny as crap and musically... bravo for brilliance!)

I may tell Senor Wallet to kiss my butt and go to the movies anyway!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TMI Tuesday....

Happy Tuesday everyone!

1. Do you believe anyone truly likes their job? If so, why?
Yes I do. I believe at the true core of that question, the answer is yes. I do, I love the job that I do. There are parts of it that annoy me, of course, but I do love what I do. Back when I worked in the ER I loved that job, but there were things and/or people that annoyed me. I guess it's easier to say that people like their job description... its the other bullcrap that can come with it that makes you wonder.

However, I can say with sad experience, that sometimes people have to take jobs they truly dislike to make ends meet. My heart goes out to these folks for biting the bullet and doing what needs to get done. Shovel that shit honey, it will get better!

2. Do you 1) live to work or 2) work to live 3) not see a difference?
Sometimes I feel both 1 and 2. Even with a job I like, sometimes it feels my life is a continuous cycle of get up, go to work, go home, go to sleep, get up, go to work.....etc. But ultimately I think/hope it's that I work to live.
3. How many hours do you work a week?
Usually 45 to 50 although it doesn't seem that much. I get in a groove and time escapes me. If I'm on-site at a conference it can go up to as much as 80 with 16+hour days.
4. What was your safety item (i.e. blankie) from when you were little?
I had a stuffed Cat in the Hat doll. He went everywhere even when I was in the hospital in a croup tent. The humidity of the croup tent wreaked havoc on his felt hands and feet so after a few visits he lost them and sadly was a 4 point amputee for a while. (I tried to find a picture of a croup tent but couldn't. Imagine a plastic drape over the bed where the air is kept humid and cool to help the respiratory tract heal. How I watched TV through plastic is beyond me....)
5. Have you ever used food during sex?
No. Best to keep those two worlds apart.... I wouldn't want my lover to get jealous of m&ms... :)
Bonus (as in optional):What is your guilty food pleasure?
Creme Brulee... and lots of it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rest in Peace and Laughter

If you know me you know I love Stand Up Comedy and dabble in it myself as a hobby. Many comedians have made me laugh so hard I cried and couldn't breath. Some comedians made me long for the 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back that I lost watching their nightmare of a set. And a very special few not only made me laugh, but think. This weekend we lost one of those comedic greats.

George Carlin passed away unexpectedly this weekend from heart failure. I'd like to think that it was Heaven calling him up for a live performance. Heaven just got funnier!

Here are some of his great one liners.

As I'm typing this and remembering some of George's material, I realized a strange connection in recent losses. A connection for me anyway. As I said, George Carlin's material often made me laugh and think. Politics was always a target for George, and not just the "Dubya Bush is a dumbass" comedy (that's too easy). He took the political scene and dissected it, baring it open for laughs, but made you come away thinking "yeah, he's right" (truth is comedy)

So while George Carlin taught me to question the bad side of politics, Tim Russert was someone who taught me a lot about how the political scene works. Tim Russert passed away June 13. While I'm no political animal, and I certainly never watched a politically oriented show (Meet the Press) for more than the length of time it took me to find the TV remote, I did learn from him through his appearances on shows like Today.

Where people like John McLaughlin are too intimidating and it is like learning from your cranky old preacher, Tim Russert seemed like a trusted neighbor who could talk with you, not at you. His smile and laughter that usually accompanied his appearances on the Today show made it seem that he was happy to share his world with you no matter your level of experience or participation level. I think these traits are sorely missing from the political arena.
Thanks to both of these guys for enlightening me in their own way to the real world around me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Voting Republican!

Thanks to my sister Sandy for forwarding this to me....

Dog fighting victims

Thanks to Lea from SC for forwarding this to me!

From the Main Line Animal Rescue website:

The Third Twin

Oogy Close Up

When Oogy was four months old and weighed thirty five pounds he was tied to a stake and used as bait for a Pit Bull. The left side of his face from just behind his eye was torn off, including his ear. He was bitten so hard a piece of his jaw bone was crushed. Afterward, he was thrown into a cage and left to bleed to death.

I am not a religious man, but I can only conclude that at that moment God turned around and paid attention. The police raided the facility, found Oogy, and took him to Ardmore Animal Hospital, where Dr. Bianco stitched him up and saved him. This coincided with the last weekend of life for our cat, Buzzy, who was 14 at the tine. My sons and I had taken Buzzy to AAH for his last visit. The staff had gathered Buzzy in when out comes this pup to be walked that looked like nothing more than a gargoyle. He covered us with kisses. The boys and I fell instantly in love with him.

Life goes out one door and in another.

"This is one of the happiest dogs I've ever met" Dr Bianco said. "I can't imagine what he'd be like if half his face hadn't been ripped off." Then, Dr. B said, "I am not going to tell you the things this dog has been through". Dr. B's assistant, Diane, took Oogy into her home for several weeks to foster him and make sure he was safe and to crate train him. Once Oogy came into our house, for my sons, then 12, it was like having a little brother. Whatever they did and wherever they went, there was Oogy. Oogy had to get involved in whatever the lads were doing. He became known as The Third Twin.

Dr. B thought Oogy was a Pit or Pit-mix and would get to be about 45 pounds. By the time of his first check up, Oogy weighed 70 pounds. When we walked in the door for the visit one of the women who works at AAH exclaimed "That's a Dogo!" I asked, "What's a Dogo?" She said, "I'm not sure." We went on line and learned that the Dogo Argentina is bred in Argentina to hunt mountain lion and boar. Oogy can run about 30 miles an hour, all four legs off the ground like a Greyhound. His leg muscles are so strong that, when he sits, his butt is a half-inch off the ground. Dogos hunt in packs. Dogos hurl themselves against their prey and swarm it. Oogy has a neck like a fire hydrant to protect him when he closes on his prey. He is built like a Pit Bull on steroids, with white fur as soft as butter and black freckles. Fully grown, Oogy is 85 pounds of solid muscle, but he does not know this and sits on us. He absolutely craves physical contact. He is full of kisses and chuffs like a steam engine when he is happy. He has a heart as big as all outdoors. One of the traits of the breed is that they fully accept anyone their family does. It is not unusual to come home and find three teenagers on the floor playing a video game and Oogy sprawled across their laps like some living boa.

Oogy hated the crate, and would bark and bark whenever we put him in. This puzzled me because I had been told by people with crate-trained dogs that their pets love the crate and feel secure in its confines. When Oogy was about eight months old, we hired a trainer who also happened to be an animal "whisperer". We introduced her to Oogy and she sat on the floor for a full five minutes talking to him. We could not hear a word she said. When the trainer lifted her head her eyes were brimming with tears. "Oogy want you to know" she said "how much he appreciates the love and respect you have shown him." Then she asked about his routine. I started by showing her where he slept in the crate. She said immediately, "You have to get him out of that box". "Why?" "Because he associates being in a box with having his ear ripped off." It was a smack- myself-in-the-forehead moment. Oogy never went back in.

Given what Oogy endured and what he is bred for, people are constantly astonished that he loves animals and people as much as he does. Walking with Oogy is like walking with a mayoral candidate. He has to meet everyone. A number of people we encountered in the neighborhood early on told me they were afraid of Oogy because when they would walk or jog by the house Oogy would bark at them and trot parallel to them, and given his size and looks … But everyone falls in love with Oogy. By the end of their initial encounter they are rubbing, petting, even kissing him on the nose. Oogy kisses them back. Because of the way he looks, when people meet him for the first time they almost always ask if he is safe. I tell them, "Well, he has licked two people to death …"

Dog with the boys

For the first year and a half of his life, part of Oogy's face was normal and the other part looked like a burn victim's. People who saw him in passing could not grasp the duality. As Oogy grew, the scar tissue spread. He could not close his left eye, so it wept constantly; his lip was pulled up and back. Dr. B said Oogy was in constant pain. So, in January 2005, Dr. B. rebuilt Oogy's face. When all the scar tissue was removed there was a hole in Oogy's head the size of a softball. After removing the scar tissue Dr. B took grafts and pulled the flaps together and sewed Oogy back up. Now Oogy has a hairline scar, but other than that looks just like any normal one-eared dog.

An essential part of this story is the fact that AAH has never taken a dime in payment for anything they have done for Oogy. I never asked them for such an arrangement. When I went to pay the first bill I was told, "Oogy's a no-pay." I never asked why this is. Oogy is their dog. We are just lucky enough to look after him.

Because some of his jaw bone was removed in the initial surgery, some of Oogy's lower left lip droops and a repository for dust and dirt. It is second nature to us to pull the detritus off his lip when we sit next to him. One day I told my sons that when they tell their children about Oogy, they will remember this routine act of kindness. I think that, on some level, every day we try to atone for what happened to him.

Last summer Oogy had ACL surgery; his body ultimately rejected the steel plates and developed an infection so his leg had to be opened up a second time and the plates removed. When I went to pick him up following the second surgery, the Technician who brought Oogy out said, "This is a great dog, I really love him." I said, "Yep, we're lucky to have him". The Tech looked at me and said, "No, you don't understand. I see hundreds of dogs each week, and every once in awhile there is a special one. And you have him.'

When I related that story to Dr. B he said, "But we already knew that."

Oogy's name is a derivative. The first day I was told we could adopt him I was thinking, "This is one ugly dog." But we couldn't call him "Ugly." Then I went to a variation of that from my youth, "Oogly," and his name followed immediately. Two years after we named him we learned that Oogy is the name of the Ghost Dog in the film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas".

(actually, the dog's name was Zero, the bad guy's name was Oogy Boogy.... but I like the ghost dog analogy so don't get concerned with the error - Chris)

This is not inappropriate.

On a recent Saturday afternoon Oogy was curled up on the couch asleep, his head in my lap, and I was thinking about his life is now as opposed to the way his life had been before. Would he have sensed he was dying? Was he conscious when the police put him on a rubber sheet and took him to the Ardmore Animal Hospital? Oogy went to sleep in a world of terror and searing pain and awoke surrounded by angels in white coats who were kind to him, who stroked him gently and talked softly to him. Instead of people who baited and beat and kicked him, he was surrounded with healing mercies.

I realized then that Oogy probably did not know he had not died and gone to heaven. So I told him. I said, "Listen pal. It only gets better after this."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vile Bile and endless word vomit

Over at Max's Dad, my namesake told a little tale about how Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church and his group of.... you know, I can't even come up with a word vile enough to describe these folks... anyway, these people were in Omaha yesterday picketing the funeral of a Boy Scout who was killed when the tornado hit their camp.

Did you catch that... they were PICKETING THE FUNERAL OF A CHILD! A Boy Scout no less. I know the Scouts have been under fire the past few years, but still. Both myself and my brother were scouts and I can surely remember that Scout Camp never had anything happen that would invoke the wrath of God! If it had our scout master would have had my ass before God had a chance to register!

I was trying to find a picture of Phelps for you and, sadly, I found this video instead.

In February 2002, when I worked for American Academy of Pediatrics, the AAP Committee on Adoption released a study finding that children adopted into a home with same sex parents could flourish just as well as a home with opposite sex parents. The study was to show that health care for all adopted children should be the same no matter the parents who adopted them. (oddly, there were physicians who would not treat children of same sex parents). This study in no way said that homosexuality was normal or gay marriage should be allowed. But you wouldn't believe the shit storm we had to endure in the month or so after that was released. Flash forward to October when AAP's National Conference was being held in Boston, MA. I'm the convention planner who was told that the Phelps group had obtained a permit to picket our conference because of the statement.
I always hate their type of propaganda because someone may, not fully knowing Phelps' stupidity and narrow mindedness, may actually follow on. However, amongst all the signs they held saying "God Hates Fags" and "AIDS Kills Homos" or "Matthew Shepard is in Hell" they had signs that said "Thank God for 9/11" and "Sept. 11 was God's punishment"
I remember the counter-protest by the GLBT Medical Association and the support we received from our attendees when they found we had re-routed the shuttle system to lessen their exposure to this rabble. But I mostly remember how absolutely pissed off he Boston Police were having to be present to protect the Phelps group. Gay Bashing you might be able to get away with, cracking on 9/11 barely a year after it happened... not going over well with Boston's Finest. In my fantasy mind, that police officer snuck over to Phelps' hotel room that night and sodomized him with his billy club.... and Matthew Shepard was giggling his ass off in heaven :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conference Post

I'm on site at a conference this week. (don't worry, no port-a-potties needed)

It's in Chicago which means I can stay in my own bed which is nice. It's at the Ambassador East Hotel which has the historical Pump Room Restaurant. As soon as you start walking into the restaurant you see tons of pictures of the famous people who've come to eat at the Pump Room since it opened back in 19XX. I don't know when it opened, but I saw a picture of a very young Milton Berle so it had to be a good while back.

My reason to post about this is a simple thing that proves to be not so simple to some. I am not a Neurosurgeon.... but I could take a bone saw and a scalpel and get inside the cranium and do what I think would work. Would I have the desired, effective outcome? I doubt it. SO, why is it that someone who is not in my field thinks it OK to come behind me and change my logistics without consulting me.

While what I do is not rocket science, there is truly an art and finesse and yes, a little bit of psychological science to meeting planning. If there wasn't research done on both logistics and the most effective situation and environmental methods conducive to adult learning, then every time you went to a conference it would be the same theater set up with someone lecturing to you from a podium for 10 hours a day. (This ain't your grandfather's conference anymore!)

Sorry, I'm on a rant that I cannot express to the person who went behind me thinking they knew my job better than I do. It's rather rude and unfortunately there wasn't time nor staffing to make the change so the bad set up has to last all day (unless I want to pay a $250 room change fee on my already stretched budget) Most of me feels bad for the attendees who are cramped into a 3 person per table classroom style set up. But the tiniest part of me is glad because I've already heard rumblings from attendees about being cramped. Attendee evaluations are the easiest way for a meeting planner to say "I told you so" without actually saying it. It might look like it's working from the front of the room, but the end result is the impression the attendee takes away with them.

OK, rant over... The world is pretty again!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Tools of my Trade

As many of you know, I'm a convention & event manager. Special or boring, big or small, formal or casual, events are what I do. Granted, it's not rocket science, but what job is... aside from actual rocket science? However, often times there are tools that help you bring just a little more ease to your mind and process. For years I've enjoyed a handy tool that MPI puts out that's like a cardboard slide rule that helps you figure out how much space you'll need for X amount of attendees in Y type setting. Say I'm going to have 4,000 people and want them to see the presentation in theater seating, my little handy-dandy space calculator (dubbed "The Comfort Calculator") tells me I need a function space with no less than 36,000 square feet of space.

Today in the mail I received a new type of tool.

The Special Event Portable Restroom Calculator.

I shit you not.... (pun intended)

This little slide calculator takes the number of your attendees and the time length of your event and tells you how many portapotties you need. And even has a special window if your event has alcohol served with it! Say my Blogapalooza event is going to have 75,000 attendees, we'll be serving Sidetrack Slushies and it's going for 10 hours. I need 685 portapotties.

Catch that... SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE big ole buckets of human waste.

This seems to be quite an important tool they've sent me because I'm sure you don't want to get his part of your planning incorrect! It's just no matter what priceless information this tool gives me, my mind keeps going back to... That's a lot of poop!

I also think it's funny how the sales pitch printed on the tool doesn't even mention what they sell or do... it rather goes without saying:

At XYZ Services (name removed to protect the innocent), we understand events. The unpredictability, the pressure, and the need to get every detail right. It's why you can trust us to ensure that one critical part of your planning process is fast, easy, and stress-free. Rely on the industry's largest provider. We're ready to help.

Now, imagine if they could say what they're REALLY thinking.

At XYZ Services, we understand events. The unpredictability of your "Taste of" event causing the shits, the pressure of people bitching because they have to wait in line to piss and the need to get every detail right because if not, they're gonna piss on your registration table. It's why you can trust us to have allllll the crappers you're going to need for your beerfest. Rely on the industry's largest mobile sewer. We're ready to help with a staff of 75 people who hate their jobs, but luckily, do it anyway.

The little tool even gives you a helpful hint without calling a spade, a spade.

"The number of restrooms should increase if over 50% of expected attendees are female"

Just what are they trying to say?

I wonder if they have any with little couches off to the side since so often I see two folks going in at the same time and I don't think it's #1 or #2 they're thinking of.....

While you think on that, let me leave you with a video I've adored for years. Any bad day I have had can be made better by watching this. Maybe she needs one of my event's 645 portapotties.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Memezapalooza Part Two

TMI Tuesday was just that... a bit TOO much information.... So instead here's the second installment of the Memezapalooza so I look like the cool kids!

1. What was I doing ten years ago?
Funny that this question came now. This past Friday was my eight year anniversary of moving to Chicago! I've been so used to answering the 10 years ago question with an answer involving health care. Now that I think back to it, ten years ago I was back in school at Clemson changing careers and getting a completely unrelated degree from health care. By 98 I was halfway through the PRTM (Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management) program. I think I was writing part time for The Tiger and working on campus in the College of Engineering & Science in College Relations. I was a non-trad student at 32 surrounded by the 18-21 year olds. It wasn't bad until two things happened. At Clemson we had our birth dates on our IDs. One day in the library the young'un behind the counter giggled and said "They made a mistake on your ID!" As I scanned it trying to see what they misspelled, she pointed and said "It has that you were born in SIXTY-six, oh my god! that would make you...." and she stopped, realization FINALLY dawning on her.

Another age faux pas was when one of my coworkers at a local pub found out my age, she didn't believe me. She asked to see my ID and as it was clicking in her mind that I was that age, she says... "But... you write for the Tiger..." (Like there's an age limit....) Ahhh youth.....

2. What are five things on my list to do today?
1. Finalize details for conference starting next week
2. Details for California Conference
3. work work work work work
4. Cook dinner/lunch
5. play with the dogs that I'm sitting for.

3. Snacks I enjoy?
Potato chips... but I won't buy them. Opening a bag equates with it being completed within 24 hours.

4. Things I Would Do If I Were A Billionaire?
Wow... Billionaire... I've never played that high before. But....

Give some $$ to family and friends with the provision that they can only give up to 30% of it to charity. I know that sounds callous, but my sister, God love her, would give it all away and continue living how she lives now. Sandy, honey, you have a bejeweled seat waiting for you in heaven already for what you've done for God's creatures already! Even Jeebus thinks you need to spend on yourself a little.

Keep working (honestly) until I was replaced and the replacement was properly trained. I'd also find new offices for the association I work for and set them up with a paid 20 year lease. I'd also set up a protected fund that would generate income to augment their salaries and benefits.

I've had a couple of ideas for businesses that I want more to be a part of than be the one who runs it so I'd partner with someone (or pay them handsomely since I'm a billionaire now) and have them help me set them up. I couldn't ever not work at something at all. I'd be too bored. So I want something that I can come in and out of at my leisure.

I have a couple of charities I'd toss some money to. One, however, would have to do some SERIOUS ass kissing to get it and then get the money on the proviso that I get to fire two people point blank.

I've never been the big house or power car type person. Since I'm a billionaire, I would buy a modest place in my favorite cities but have bigger places in Chicago, Southern California and Sullivan's Island, SC.

Travel a lot having friends and family join me a various points.

5. Three of my bad habits?
1. Saying "I know, right?!?"
2. Letting my first impression of someone be a lasting impression
3. Procrastinating

6. Five places I have lived?

7. Five jobs I’ve had?
1. McDonald's/Burger King (it's all the same)
2. Delivered Seneca (Seneker) Journal to stores in the 'vette!
3. Electrician's assistant (go figure...)
4. Health care (Lab to ER)
5. Convention & Event Manager

8. How did you name your blog?
A completely unrelated idea popped up when I was thinking of a blog name. The purpose of this blog was to help me move myself from the doldrums I was in the end of 2007 and improve my life in 2008 through various ways. I was becoming my own project. One of my favorite young comedic authors Dennis Hensley (who I've corresponded with) had a birthday party for himself and based it on Project Runway and called it Project Hensley. I thought that was such a fun idea I had hoped to do it as well and call it Project Christopher. The birthday 2007 idea was a bust (much like most of 2007) but it seemed like a good title for this little blog. The "As Seen From Up Here..." is a reference to my height. Too easy eh?

TMI Tuesday

Monday, June 9, 2008


The first thing I do on my computer each day is run through the blogs of the usual suspects. Seems like everybody is getting tagged for one of several memes... except me! I was on Bunny's site and decided I needed to look like one of the cool kids so I borrowed a couple. One today, and one tomorrow or Wednesday.

Alphabet Meme
A is for your age:
42, and I truly don't see it as old. I think it's because I don't feel old. Honestly, I don't feel as old as I feel that some of the twenty-somethings are just stupid. (yeah, reverse ageism ain't fun is it sonny?)

B is for your burger of choice: Bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions

C is for the car that you drive: C is also for CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) Don't own a car.
D is for dog's name: Don't have a dog of my own either. If/when I get one the next dog name on my list is Bariel

E is for an essential item you use each day: Glasses. I'm not terribly blind, but it's funny how sometimes I'll forget to put them on while running around getting ready in the morning and I don't realize it until I walk out the front door and it's the first time anything is far enough away from me to realize I can't see it.

F is for your favorite television show: Heroes.... DAMN when does Fall get here?

G is for favorite game: Cranium! The best of all worlds!

H is for hometown: Seneca, South Carolina (or for some of the locals... Seneker)

I is for instruments played: Learning new instruments has been a passing hobby of mine. Not to say I play them well, but in order of learning: sax, cymbals (yes, there is learning to that) clarinet, flute, trombone, marimba, Irish fiddle, tin whistle, didgeridoo

J is for favorite juice: Orange Juice. (Drink Your Juice Shelby!)

K is for what you'd like to kick: I'm assuming we're talking habit here... I can name tons of those WHO I'd like to kick. Giving in to food I think would be the biggest thing to kick.

L is for last restaurant you dined at: Zia's Trattoria in Edison Park (suburb of Chicago) I had never been to Edison Park before, but happen to be taking a new way home and BAM, there it was. VERY good place and huge portions. I had a full lunch the next day too.

M is for your favorite Muppet: Cookie Monster. He made gorging on Oreos and Chips Ahoy sexy!

N is for number of piercings you have: Absolutely ZERO! And that's not a stand against them... I'm just a big chicken $hit.

O is for overnight hospital stays: How long do you have while I count up? I essentially grew up in a croup tent. I can remember 3 separate times (I think) when my dad was alive. then broke my arm, then had eye surgery, then had wisdom teeth out. I think that's it. Since then everything has been outpatient.

P is for people you were with today: Coworkers (in order of my seeing them) Ann, Katie, Wendy, Verlanda, Pat, Kim

Q is for what you do in quiet times: Sleep if I can. Read books that don't require thinking or see movies that don't require thinking. I use my brain all day... he needs a rest sometimes.

R is for regrets: Not being able to be with my mom more in the last year of her life.

S is for status: Poor White Trash... is that a status?

T is for time you woke up today: I'm dog sitting for a dog with kennel cough... I woke up at 1:30, 2:45, 3:10 (scary one, more on that another time) and 4:30

U is for what you consider unique: People who exude hospitality not because they have to but because it's just their nature and upbringing. Sadly, it is more unique than you know.

V is for favorite vegetable: Lima beans with corn (succotash baby!) Although I'm beginning to like vegetables I never wanted before, beets, asparagus, artichoke hearts.

W is for your worst habit: I'll save you and not describe my WORST habit having to do with my teeth. A close second is my saying "I know, right?!?"

X is for x-rays you have had: Oh Lord, Dental through the years, elbow 5 or so times pre/post surgery, hand 5 or so times pre/post surgery, sinuses pre/post surgery, 3 or 4 chest xrays for work. And while not direct XRays, I'm sure I've been exposed enough to count 2 or 3 more given my time in health care.

Y is for yummy food you ate today: I made turkey spaghetti sauce last night with some fresh basil and a few other goodies I found. I'm quite pleased with myself!

Z is for zodiac sign: I'm on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces so it depends on what book you're reading as to which I really am. I usually take whichever one has a better horoscope that day. I think it's kind of cool that I cusp two that go together (fish and water)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Over/Underrated Friday

I'm sorry, don't hate me, don't take away my geek card.... but this weeks Overrated is....


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I do love Indiana Jones and I was as jazzed as anyone else when the first mutterings of a 4th movie came out. And don't get me wrong, it was a good movie! It's just... I don't know....

When the first movie came out I was entranced. I remember my mom kicking me out of the house one Saturday while she did the BIG clean. That was when you could go into a movie theater and stay. I sat through Raiders of the Lost Ark from the 11am show until the 7pm show finished watching it over and over; each time being just as mesmerized as the last time.

When Temple of Doom came out.... well, we won't even talk about that. Everyone has their Jar Jar Binks to contend with.

Then Last Crusade came. The subliminal title could have been "Indiana Jones and the Grand Apology for Temple of Doom" Because it not only made up for the 2nd movie, but established a fantastic relationship between Indy and his father and Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. THAT movie had adventure and the height of comedic dialogue without cracking wise.

Enter the Crystal Skull. It's light years beyond Temple so it's a good movie, but I felt... disappointed. Indy can't live forever fighting the Nazis. They've been out of vogue for so long they've made it to the Vega star system and back. Bringing him forward a few years to battle the Soviets was a good idea. I adore Cate Blanchett and she did a good job with the role she was given, but.... again, I don't know.

Stephen Rader and I were talking on the phone before I saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Stephen is BIG movie geek so was very excited about the movie. He was ragging on a friend of his who, after seeing Crystal Skull, said "I don't buy it". I was agreeing with Stephen that it is fantasy film and that she should have responded with "Don't worry, it wasn't for sale!" But now I think I understand what his friend meant. All of Indiana Jones' world is fantasy and such, but this one just seemed far too stretched. Don't worry, though, Stephen, I buy it.

I guess what it boils down to is. It was a good movie, but I was around first hand for the original. I liked all 6 of the Star Wars movies, but when Episode I came out and I left the theater, I had the feeling of being let down. I've had nearly 20 years to wait for this movie and I'm left with a feeling of loss. I miss the original, but I still like the current....

I also miss the 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back having to see Shia LaBeouf with that STUPID hair.... but I digress

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yay Murderer!... (huh?)

Showtime has a history of series with characters or themes off the beaten path. One of their series is Dexter. Played by Michael C. Hall (also of the great Six Feet Under), Dexter lives in Miami and is a serial killer with a purpose. He witnessed his mother being murdered with a chainsaw when he was 3. His adoptive father (a policeman who found him in the shipping cargo container in inches of his mom's blood.. do you see the serial killer foreshadowing?) recognized the demon inside Dexter and spent Dexter's formative years helping Dexter recognize the demons and how to take care of them. Dexter now kills people who, honestly, deserve it. Drug dealers, murderers who were not convicted, etc.

I've not watched this series in prime time, but decided to give it a go when I found it on iTunes and I could watch video on my iPod (thanks brother man for the fab gift!) Now I'm about two-thirds the way through the second season...

OK, if you're watching the second season and are not as far as me, be careful, I'm not going to give away much, but it might be a spoiler here. Proceed forewarned.

...and they're right on the verge of finding out that Dexter is doing what he's doing. So you're wondering why I'm bringing this up? I'm worried that they're going to catch him!

Bravo to the writers of this show because you've actually made me pull for a murderer. Yes, he's getting rid of society's filth and doing the job regular justice can't do. I still don't condone murder. But I find myself liking him to the point of thinking he'd be a good friend, if he had them.

If you haven't watched this, check it out. It is very interesting writing and there are great side stories, without getting too deep into the side stories. Besides, any writing that can have me pulling for a serial murderer has to be pretty creative eh?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

This Man's Best Friend

In my recent posts I've doted on my mom, sister, brother and sister-in-law. I feel I've been remiss in overlooking some very valued parts of my family. The dogs. To date none of my siblings nor I have had any human children, but I am still "Uncle Chris" to an ongoing brood of animals. At present (correct me if I'm wrong sibs) I am currently Uncle Chris to 3 dogs, 10 cats (counting my extended family) and one squirrel. All of these belong to the sibs as I do not have pets of my own because my work has me travel far too often for a pet to be properly cared for. I firmly believe that a pet is family, and not an accessory.

I do want to do an extended, immediate family "ode to my dogs" but that will require pic scanning and proper story telling so don't think that you won't get to meet them. But right now, I'm talking about one dog. The dog that was my best friend growing up. He came into my life when I was 10 and passed away not long after I turned 24 or 25. (can't remember, but he was quite old) Roller had lived the life of Reilly and knew, more than anything I'm sure, that he was loved. He was a pure-bred boxer (his mother, Tink was my family's first boxer) and exuded all the best traits of the breed (and some of the worst..boy was he a fart blossom!) He was my last dog and the desire to have another boxer has never left me.

You'll meet Roller soon, but for now, in honor of Roller, I wanted to share a site that I ran across yesterday. Boxer Rescue LA.

Rescue shelters of all types are to be commended for the work they do. Watch this video that BRLA put together that tells about what they do, but more importantly, where their dogs come from.

What I guess I'm getting at for the rescue is, if you're thinking of getting a dog (or cat, or horse, or bird, etc) check out the pounds or if you're one of those who prefers a pure bred dog, Google these rescue centers with your preferred breed. They're out there and there are plenty of dogs, mutts and pure, that are great dogs and need good homes.

Now if you have a dog (or cat, or horse, or bird, etc) of your own, go find him/her and give them a big ole sloppy smoochie for me! (well, just wave at the cats for me, I'm allergic)

PS. The picture at the top of this post is a sweetie named Breezy. She is currently up for adoption at BRLA. I wanted to put a picture at the top of the blog post and the look on her face caught my eye immediately!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I am alive

wow, it's been nearly two weeks since my last blog. Life has been pretty hectic and my creativity (aka, bitchy musings) have been in a lull. All is well, though and I'll be coming back online soon. Hopefully TMI Tuesday will be a good one to kick off the reboot.

Hope you're all enjoying June! (where the hell did the first half of the year go?)