Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's that time of year again.

It's that time of year again.

No, not Spring, Annual Review Time at work!

We've got this crazy way that we review here. The company I work for is a subsidiary of a UK company, so perhaps that’s how they do it on the other side of the pond.

The process we use is a bit convoluted, there’s a form that the employee fills out, there’s a form that the manager fills out and then there’s feedback form that other employees fill out about your performance. So basically everyone is working on everyone else’s review because of the feedback. I swear this year I must have gotten 8 of these feedback forms, I’m about ready to stop working with other members of the company so I don’t need to fill them out on an annual basis.

Then after all the forms are filled out, you have a meeting with your manager and you “talk” about what should be on your review, then your manager goes back, writes up the final review, you meet again to go over that (even though it’s the same thing as you talked about at the first meeting) after all of that, your manager assigns a “grade” to your review and sends it off to HR.

HR then uses this totally unreliable matrix to “assign” your merit raise; your manager doesn’t even get to do it.

So I hope that you have a Great Annual Review at your workplace and you get a big raise, you deserve it.
By the way, today is my 4 year Anniversary with my company. One more year and I get 3 more days of vacation, YEAH!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

How To Ruin an Appetite

Well this is my second time writing this, as when I went to publish it I got an error!

My mistake, I was thinking last week that I need to start writing outside of the blog software and then copying and pasting it. I guess I learned my lesson.

So today was a beautiful day, it’s been such a bleary bleak winter that we’re all excited about a 70 degree day.

Typically, my co-worker and I go home for lunch, we live across the street from each other about 2 miles from the office, so it’s really easy to go home. But today, he says, “Let’s find someplace to eat outside.”

The problem is, it’s not quite outside eating weather yet, so none of the places have their tables, etc. set up. We were on our way to one place we thought would have outdoor tables set up, when we passed a restaurant that we said we would never go to again, that had their outdoor tables set up.

We looked at each other and said, “Ok, we’ll give it another chance.” So we sit down and wait….and wait, and were almost ready to leave when the owner of the restaurant runs out, looks at us and says “are you ready to order.” We don’t even have menus yet.

So he grabs menus and hands them to us and literally after handing them to us, says “have you decided yet?” HELLO!!!!

But as I look up at him in disbelief, my eyes are drawn to the corners (yes that’s plural) of his mouth. He has this white foamy gunk in the corners of his mouth. Now I admit, we’ve all been there, but this was almost like toothpaste consistency foam, the kind of foam I imagine one would have if they had rabies, there was a lot of gunk up in there.
Needless to say, that’s a great way to ruin your appetite.

How to ruin an appetite

Today was the second beautiful day we've had this year to date. It's about 70 degrees, a nice gentle breeze, all the things that make you NOT want to be at work.

Typically, during the work week my co-worker and I go home for lunch (we live across the street from each other, about 2 miles from the office.) But, today he says, "It's so nice, let's find someplace outside to eat."

The only problem is, it's not outdoor eating time yet, that doesn't happen for about another month. So while we're trying to think of a place to go, we drive past this restaurant that we said we were never going to go to again (Long story short, last time we went, we had salad and soup and was $25), and they have a few tables set up outside.....we couldn't resist.

The guy that runs this restaurant appears to be a retired age gentleman that has no idea how to run a restaurant. He comes rumbling out of the restaurant, asks us if we're ready to order, we have no menus, silverware, drinks, etc. and we're like "we need menus."

He gets the menus and hands them to us, and literally says "Do you know what you want?" As I look up at him, I see that he's got this white stuff in the corners of his mouth.

We've all been there, you get a little smoosh, and you just wipe it away......I WISH, he had so much, on both sides of his mouth that I thought he had rabies and was foaming at the mouth. It was so gross, it totally ruined my appetite.

Climbing the Temple

On a recent trip to Cancun, my father and I jumped on an excursion to Chichen Itza. After an almost 3 hour bus ride, stopping along the way to look at cheesy, expensive trinkets, and stopping for lunch we finally made it to the site.

It was utterly awe inspiring. I don’t know how else to explain it, but after reading about it, and seeing pictures I was speechless. It was hot and the sun was blaring down, but to just be in that place was amazing.

To be in the middle of the “city” and to see how advanced they were as a civilization was mind boggling. The sculptures, the structures, the acoustics, the mathematical anomalies, to see it all in action was overpowering.

It was so hot that my dad was concerned about me climbing the temple. I told him it didn’t matter how hot it was, I was, etc. I had to climb it. Two of the four sides of the temple have climbable stairs, the other two have large areas of stairs missing. It was only 91 steps to the top, 91 narrow steps, 91 steep steps.

There is no way to walk up the steps standing straight, so bent over, hand over hand, head down, periodically looking up to make sure no one was in my way I headed up the temple, no stopping.

The view from the top of the temple was out of this world, the thing that struck me was even though the land is so flat, the only thing you could really see was the area’s just surrounding the temple. Everything else was thick jungle and there were no other landmarks to speak of, you could see for miles above the jungle.

As I stood at the top of the temple, I suddenly felt very guilty becuase I knew that during the time when this temple was built, there was no way that I would have been able to climb it, and now there were hundreds of people just clamoring all around it.

We only spent a few hours at the site, but it was amazing. To be at the far end of the grounds and hear someone from the top of the temple, as though you were standing next to them, ask their friends on the ground “are you gonna climb up”, to the echoes that were repeated 7 times in the ball court, to the way the echo of a clap sounds like a bird chirping off the temple, it was all amazing.

Friday, March 25, 2005

A Sure Sign of Spring

Even though it’s snowing and gross here today, I saw a sure sign of spring – Canadian Geese. Check out the picture.

I was on my way back from having my car tested for emissions, it passed but then I knew it would.

I have a 2001 Ford Focus that has 13K miles on it. Everyone is always amazed that I have so few miles on my car. But living in the city, I only drive to and from work (2 miles each way) and to the grocery store (4 blocks) and the likes of Target, Costco, Wal-mart (about 6 miles each way). It’s funny because when I bought the car I needed it, I was driving back and forth to the airport several times a week as an air courier, but then I got a desk job and I hardly drive. The good thing is that I only have to fill up on gas about once a month…but now with gas at more than $2.37 a gallon.

It sort of makes me mad that prices are that much, but I don’t feel bad for the big SUV, Hummer, Jeep drivers that have a 25 gallon tank and get 3 miles to the gallon….oops!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Should I tell my mom?

One of my Mother's best friends in the world has a son that is also gay.

I've recently been in touch with my him via email.

From the conversations we've had, I've sort of determined that neither of our families talk about us being gay, even though everyone knows.

So, in addition to being best friends, they have something much closer in common than they realize, yet they're both afraid to tell the other their "secret."

Should I tell my Mother that her best friend's son is gay and that his parents they both have someone to talk things over with?

Or should I not? Seriously.

Are you Popular

Check this out to see when your name was popular

If you can't open cheese

I opened a package of cheese today, well I don't think that I can really call it cheese, I think the politically correct phrase is processed cheese.

I love opening a new package of processed american cheese slices. They're all nicely individually wrapped, they're all organized, you pull the string and the one side comes completely off, but you've still got a nice little container to hold everything. It's just a great packaging deal!, pus it's they're yellow.

As I'm pulling out the first slice of cheese, sorry processed cheese, I notice that on the little flap where you open the individuald slice, there's inkjet lettering. First I didn't pay any attention to it, and then I realized that it was the word "Open" written both ways, and arrows pointing in the direction of the flap.

So WHEN did we become a society that requires a company to print on a slice of cheese how to open it?

I mean, yes, they are a little tricky. I admit, that sometimes I have a difficult time finding the correct side to open. But that's usually because it's sealed so well. But come on, if you don't find it on the first try, what do you do?

You turn it over?

If it's not on the side you're trying to open, guess what, it's on the other side!

But you know what, someone probably called the processed cheese maker and told them they couldn't open the package and eventually suffered from malnutrition because of it, and so they sued the manufacturer. I can just imagine someone sitting there staring and staring at a slice of cheese and wondering "how the hell am I going to open this thing?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It's over

WHAT? What's over? Your relationship?

No, not my relationship, but then you're reading this from the top down, not from the bottom up, so you have no idea that I'm in a relationship.

But I figure that if I'm doing this, I should do it right....who knows what's going to happen in the future.

So, on to what's actually over. My movie is over.

I've been dabbling in movies over the last few years, it's been fun, so last year about this time I was talking about going home to PA in the summer, and two of my friends said they'd like to go with me.

I grew up WAY out in the country...way out. So after they knew this, they still wanted to go, so I said, you know what....let's make a movie.

So we came up with this big story line, characters, involved my parents...and we filmed this thing when we went out there.

I worked on it for about 4 months and then set it to the side for a little bit, so that I could refocus on it...but the problem was, I didn't want to get back to it.

I had edited it down to about 45 minutes, I have everything finished except the very beginning 60 seconds and the last 10 minutes or so, and the last time I really worked on it was more than 5 months ago.

So I came to the realization today, it's over!

I'm not sad, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't complete it. But it was a grand idea, and I learned A LOT from it. And thinking about it, that was my goal wasn't it? To learn, I learned a lot, learned how to do things, how not to do things, how to get shots that I wanted so I could edit.

So I'm happy that it's over, it's no longer sitting out there just waiting and waiting, it's closed now. Now I have the chance to move onto something new. But this time I've got a whole lot of experience to go along with it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Question of Jury Duty

Have you ever been on Jury Duty, not just called but actually served on a trial?

The reason I ask, is that there's a question that's been gnawing at me.

Even though I didn't campaign for it, I ended up being the Jury Foreman, when we started deliberations one of the other members asked what my name was....but we never introduced everyone else.

Of course when we were half-way through I thought about it, but by then it was way too late to bring it up.

So my question is this:

If you were on a Jury, did the entire group introduce themselves?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not as easy as I thought

Just got home from a 4 day stint on US District Court Jury Duty.

No need to go into the case, etc. But the guy was up for 13 indictments in total.

We (the Jury) recieved the case today, right before lunch. So we had a nice leisurely lunch on the US Goverment (thank you) and then started into deliberations.

Somehow, I got picked as Foreman, the funny thing was when we were receiving instructions from the judge and he was telling us what we would have to do, the first thing he said was we would have to pick a foreman. At that moment I looked over at the prosecution table and made eye contact with one of the lawyers, it was prophetic and freaky at the same time.

But I prattle, so we're going down the list of indictments and we're voting, we get to one we can't make a decision, we say we'll come back to it. Go down the rest of the list and come back to the one we had trouble with, we take a vote 8 Guilty 4 Not Guilty, we deliberate, take another vote 9G 3NG. We talk some more, the three jurors say they want to sleep on it.

So we're discussing it, trying to find out why they're holding back. Finally it comes down to me reading the instructions from the judge telling them what we CAN make a decision on and what we CAN'T. Basically that we have to judge the facts of the case, not the way that we interpret them, that the facts tell us one thing and that's the only thing we could go by. So finally after an hour, reviewing evidence, reviewing testimony, they either decide to give up or see that they only thing they can judge is the fact of the case.

We ended up finding him guilty on all charges. When we proceeded back to the courtroom I had to go last since I was foreman.

It was a very strange experience, here we were making a decision that would affect who knows how many people in the future. I thought it would be a simple cut and dry kind of decision, and at some points it was when we were sitting in the jury room....but when it came down to the judge reading the results, I was nervous.

I couldn't look at anyone in the court, I had to set my focus on the judge, I tried to look around but the times I did I saw the defendants mother shaking her head while the judge kept reading off Guilty. I saw a brief smile on the prosecutors lips and I saw a bit of defeat in the defender when he realized that he had lost another case.

It was not as easy as I thought.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How do you dress?

How do you dress when you think you're going someplace important?

Not the grocery store or the post office, but maybe someplace nice for dinner, or perhaps the theater for a live show.

I was recently on Jury Duty and there was this one guy who wore converse sneakers, ratty jeans, a t-shirt with some type of mexican poncho pull over. He wore almost the same type of outfit for 4 days, perhaps he didn't realize that he was going to be deciding the fate of an individual.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Feeling like a gigilo

The first night on my vacation, my parents had planned to eat out to a place that had a seafood buffet, sounded yummy.

While we were waiting for the bus to take us to dinner, we run into these two women that they had met earlier in the week.

Imgaine, two widowed sisters, from Texas, in their mid-70's, living about 2 hours apart in Florida, having about 30 weeks of timeshares between them and always going on vacation together. Now add to that a penchant for champagne with strawberries(I heard the Dom word said more than once) and lobster.

Long story short (I know too late). I ended up having a laugh filled "lobster cruise" dinner with these two wonderful women. We laughed, and drank and made most of the busboys and other patrons raise an eyebrow or too.

I felt so dirty!

Here's Proof

I'm back, but not really

Hey I'm back from vacation, honestly there's nothing like a week of laying in the sun doing nothing.

I went on vacation with my parents, but we had a great time, we shopped, we ate, we played dominoe's. My parents are really cool, I literally spent no money while I was there.

My parents own a timeshare, and good friends of theirs own the adjoining week, so they all go down for 2 weeks. So by the time I get there, they've already been there for a week.

My Dad meets me in the lobby, I took a shuttle from the airport, really easy! We go to the room for me to change, we see the rest of the gang down by the pool. Hilarity ensues as we're going down the stairs as they're coming up the elevator. We're then going up in the elevator as they're going down the stairs!?! And that was just the start of the vacation.

But as to why I'm back, but not really. I'm now sitting on a Jury in the US District Court. I got a jury notice about a month ago, but got it postponed one week. Unlike the local county jury duty, it's not a one day you're out thing. You have to commit to a two week period where you'll be available to go to court. Well really, you don't have to commit to anything, the government TELLS you when you'll be available for them.

So, what fun, on vacation for a week and on Jury Duty for a week. I really don't want to go back to work now! I think I'm ready to retire.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Timeshare living

Have you ever stayed a week in a timeshare? It's really hard to explain, it's sort of like being home but you're not.

It's like they take your neighborhood and move it to a tropical location. Since you go every year during the same time period, you see the same people every year, and the turnover in front of house employees is really slow.

So imagine this, there are some people that you recognize (like the cashier at Walgreen's or the lady at the Dry Cleaners, or that weirdo you see every morning on the bus) and then there's some people that you quasi-recognize (the guy that lives on the same street as you, the girl that lives at the end of the hall on the 2nd floor, that guy you keep running into in the bathroom because you're both on the same pee schedule after drinking beer all night).

You see some employees that you remember (the desk clerk, the girl in the grocery store, and of course those timeshare selling people ) and there's those neighbors (the couple from Sweeden, those crazy Canadians and those ol so Blazin' Brazilians) that you remember from last year.

It's bizarre how you remember people, maybe you played bingo with them or played roulette and they really won, or maybe they were just sitting at the pool next to you and you sort of bond. You find that one thing between you that you have in common and that's what you go with, it's a wonderful way of knowing someone.

Because honestly think about it, everyone is wonderful on vaction. Who's an asshole on vacation. No One! Even assholes have to take a break.

So I like timeshare living because everyone's nice, almost Xanex Nice!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

So we said it

So we finally said the "l" word.

YES, that "l" word.

After 9 months my boyfriend and I finally said the Love word.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The time is gettin close! Major Excitement

I'm getting ready to go to Cancun for a week. I am so psyched!

My parents own a timeshare week there and another couple friend of theirs owns that adjoining week, so the 4 of them go down for two weeks every year.

I think this is their 4th or 5th year going, but it's actually only my second time. I remember a few years ago my parents saying "oh come down" but I never did. So last year instead of us meeting up for Christmas, we met up in Cancun in March.

WOW!!!! The place they stay at is beautiful, and Cancun itself is beautiful (except for all the tourists).

Funny thing, I have a friend that lived in Chicago here, near me, and about 2 years or so ago, he decided to move back to Mexico. I couldn't remember where he said he was going, but last year I ran into some friends of his and they told me how he was working at this resort, selling timeshares, etc. In Cancun.....well long story short, come to find out that he works AT the resort where my parents own! What kind of coincidence is that?

So, Cancun has a lot of great things:
- my Parents
- my Sister
- my Friends

I'm looking forward to seeing my parents (even though I just saw them on my birthday this year, not a usual thing at all. Work sent me to Florida for 3 days and I stayed with them), their friends B & A, and my friend O! Unfortunately my sister has been so busy with work that she's not going to make it this year.

That's ok, we'll have a beer for her, or twenty!