Thursday, January 27, 2011

Impending Presentation of Doom

T minus 10 days. 

I have to give an hour-long presentation at work on February 7, and I am so not looking forward to it. I love my work, and I am completely comfortable with the material. Actually, if you and I were at a party and you mistakenly backed into a corner, I would instantly pin you there and talk about surveillance and infectious diseases in the United States for two hours, easy. But the thought of getting up in front of an audience makes me want to throw up, and then get up at the podium and throw up again.

I've done presentations before, but nothing as long as this one or to this kind of audience (it's a big group of way smart scientists). Imagining them in their underwear is not an options.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

I think I would feel better if I could get my slideset finalized, but I keep tinkering. I need to stop toying with the words and start practicing them. It's like writing a story- you can edit forever, but at some point you have to decide it's done. I've got tomorrow and next week to get the words set and to practice in front of any willing volunteers.

At least the hour includes time for Q&A, so really it's only 45 minutes. But, let's be honest, if I wanted to be a public speaker I would have become a politician or... some other career that requires a lot of talking. Salesman! MBA Business-y worker.

What about you, my fantastic bloggees? Anything you're dreading in the next few weeks? If you have to do something you hate (like, say public speaking), how do you get through it?

And can any of you explain to me why, when I have an impending deadline, this song gets stuck in my head? I hear the song in deepest part of my brain, and then I think of Gob from Arrested Development and I laugh hysterically. (Fun fact about me: This was my ringtone for the better part of two years. Everyone always thought it was the song from Rocky.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mini Vent Session

What I am currently thinking.
Today is one of those days when I have to remind myself to take a couple of deep breaths and to let things go (aka not be such an annoying control freak). Long story short- I've been working solo on a project for the last year. When I took this particular project over, it was a mess. Awash with bad grammar, confusing wording, misspellings, key information was missing... I spent the better part of a year trying to get it up to snuff. I worked really hard, but I'll confess, I got burnt out. About two months ago, I lost all my vigor. My fervor fizzled. I needed help. What I got was someone has started sprinting off in a completely bizarre direction (one that includes terrible grammar, missing information, and nonsensical ramblings, I might add).

What I am trying to think.
I shouldn't care so much. I know I shouldn't care so much. It's not a big deal, and I have other things I enjoy more and would rather be doing. But it's really hard to watch something I spent forever improving head for the toilet (and, again, I realize this is an exaggeration but I can't help it). Bleh bleh blarg.

Oh well, if I can finally say good-bye, then I'll have more time to finally finish something I've started writing.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I feel better. I also feel a little like Doogie Howser, MD writing into my secret diary. I love you, NPH!

I'm off to do the one thing that will officially erase my bad mood. That's right! I'm going to pour a glass of yummy shiraz and watch Scott Pilgrim! Hope you've all had a rainbow-y, unicorn-y day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Psychic Encounters

If I had to choose one word to describe myself, it would be logical. I love numbers and puzzles and solving for 'x.' I play KenKen constantly. When it comes to big decisions, I let my head take the lead. Don't get me wrong, my heart is still in the picture; it's just not driving.

But lately I've been grappling with a big decision, and I've come to the conclusion that there is no logically right or wrong answer. It boils down to whether or not I want to do this particular thing. Life's full of tough choices, ain't it?

Now to skip to a seemingly unrelated subject-
A few months ago, I went to see an art exhibition entitled, Woman's Image. The show was a collection of images (mostly photographs) depicting each artist's interpretation of what it means to be female in America. Awesome stuff, really.

The second floor of the gallery had a very interesting collection of photographs with questions written in pencil on the matting. On the coffee table was a book explaining that these were divinations from the Oracle, a photographer and artist who started dabbling with readings in 2006. The first thing my logic-oriented brain thought was 'What does this have to do with being female in America?' but once I got over that I started to appreciate the project. Even without the psychic element, the photos were gorgeous: great composition, beautiful color, and interesting subject matter.

To receive a reading, you call the Oracle on her cell phone (this is the 21st Century after all). You don't ask your question, but rather engage in some idle chit-chat. Wherever the Oracle is at that time, she snaps 3 photos. Those photos are e-mailed to you and then you respond with your question. So, the other day, I did just that.

Here's my reading if you're interested, along with a number of others that area really fun to peruse:

My opinion on the matter? It's not so much someone divining your future. Instead, the images provide a method for evaluating your thoughts on a situation. Everything has a million interpretations. If you want to see the positive one, you'll see the positive one. If you want the negative one, you'll see the negative one. Simple as that. But it's always neat to hear other people's thoughts too.

So, what do you guys think my reading means? When the Oracle does another reading, would you consider calling in?

Fun extra: One of my (many) favorite XKCD comics touches on the subject of psychics (don't forget to mouseover for an additional humorous comment):

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Two words

I just heard the two words that every grown woman is dying to hear:


I may be a tad too excited about this, but I cannot wait to go and play outside tomorrow morning. It’s already over two inches so far! I'm going to build the world's biggest snowman (using a modified Georgia scale, of course).

Herding Cats

"It's like herding cats."

Some of my finest work

This is one of those expressions I hear frequently at work, especially from upper management. And it always sets off some beautiful imagery in my head. Frenzied felines, with fur flying, running in all directions.

Interestingly, I find it applies more to my writing than to my life as a cat rescuer. At the shelter, I sweep, mop, scoop litter boxes, photograph the animals for our website, etc. While I do have to get one cats attention at time, for their glamour shots, I never have to get them all heading in the same direction at any one time (thankfully).

But with writing, after a while, I start to feel like a cat herder. I have a plot arc that was going fantastic and suddenly shot off for the mountains. Then there's the quiet, supporting character, happy to sit back and help, until she decided to be the star and pushed her way into the lead. It's not an easy job to keep track of what everyone is doing and where everything is going, and sometimes it's okay to let them run wild for a bit. But in the end, they all need to come together to form a cohesive story.

At least it's better than dancing with them, right?

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun celebration of the end of 2010 and the start of 2011. I slept in, emptied a few more boxes (I'm almost done unpacking!), worked on a super pretty Taj Mahal puzzle, and am eagerly anticipating my Thai food delivery (23 minutes to go- I hope they make good time).

And I had a mini-breakthrough with my YA mystery that resolves an ongoing issue and involves a secret eulogy. I'm really proud.

Definitely a good day. Plus, how cool does today's date look: 1/1/11?

The Thai food is here early! Best year ever!