Thursday, October 30, 2008

i'm 27! today. and i spent my birthday at a work conference, the ESRI Wisconsin User Group (EWUG). but it was good, and on wednesday i and two of my coworkers gave a 45 minute presentation in front of 100+ people. i was a bit nervous, but it went really well, and at least ten people came up to me over the next two days to let me know that i did an excellent job, so that felt wonderful. it has been quite a few years since i've given a lengthy presentation in front of more than a dozen or so people. it was nice to learn that i still have strong presentation skills. i also learned a few other things including:

  • a) i have some awesome coworkers (some evidence: they brought a ganache chocolate cake all the way from madison and surprised me and e. [her bday is saturday] at midnight, it even had the coolest swirly candles i've ever seen!). i feel so fortunate to have such lovely friends at work.

  • b) i will never be able to keep up with most other gis-ers/wisconsonites when it comes to going out. after getting up at 5am to come to the conference e. & i were ready for bed at 1:30am after a relaxing hot tub/sauna session, while the rest of the party stayed up much much much later going to multiple venues.

  • c) i learned how (and most importantly, how not to) drink from a boot! the ewug beer boot was passed around. who would have thought that there are rules on how to drink from a boot? i was a bit confused at first. were they kidding me or what? but after some observation i figured it mostly out. how to flick the boot for good luck/respect before and after drinking, how to properly position the boot (toe out/up), and how to drink S-L-O-W. that last part i didn't do so well and ended up being splashed by the famous boot bubble (although not the one that occurs at the very end). hilarious, embarrassing, and fun.

  • d) maybe, maybe, i want to investigate nursing a bit further. it still completely interests me. maybe becoming a certified nurse midwife, or just getting a master of nursing. in the hot tub i met a nurse practitioner who specialized in emergency care. he had just flown in from japan from another conference and was giving a few presentations the next day. one of them, the sociology of trauma, sounded so fascinating to me. i almost skipped the morning gis session to attend his instead (but my selfish body wanted the extra 30 min of sleep instead, plus in the end it was good that i stuck to the ewug sessions, because they were pretty helpful).

  • e) maybe, just maybe, i'd like to continue in my gis vein for the long haul. should i get a masters in geography? a gis certificate? hmmm. i think i'm just being open to lots of new ideas recently. and itching to learn and discuss again.

  • f) i'm good at winning raffles. at conferences, i'm 3 for 4 now (conference #1: ipod nano, #2: ESRI tea mug, ESRI Geography hat, & ESRI beer glass, #3: ESRI book which i will never use, but hopefully can sell on ebay. ;)

  • g) i'm finally picking up the gis lingo. after five years now i can say that in this conference i knew 95% of the terms and abbreviations for once. that's a big feat, considering my first technical conference i had no idea what they were talking about most of the time! we tried extra hard in our presentation to leave abbreviations out and explain things clearly, hopefully that helped the other newcomers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

i just got back from the pabst theater in milwaukee where paul & i along with two friends, saw Of Montreal. at first, i wasn't sure what to think. i kept going back and forth between "this is fun" "this is entertaining" to "this is weird" "this is creepy" and at one point "this is terrible", but in the end i thought it was a good show. highly entertaining.

the lead singer must have made at least 10 costume changes (white frilly blouse, stripped to tshirt, stripped to no shirt, stripped to just golden undies, painted red, black leather cheetah jacket (no pants), then a fanny pack (no pants/no shirt), then a blue sequen top (no pants), then a quilt/robe thing, then something i can't remember*, then back to just undies again with golden goop, then a horse costume, then for the grand finale, up from a casket covered in whipped cream). ok, that was 14 changes, and i'm sure there were more that i forgot. plus all the backup dancers, about 5 of them, also kept changing into weird costumes.

*oh yeah. i blocked it out already. this was the worst part of the show, and made paul physically sick (and i was also nauseous)....he hung himself with a huge noose. it was only for about 60 seconds, but still. HATED IT, hated it, HATED IT! it was terrible horrible and should not have been in the show. that and the weird fake-naked costumes on the backup dancers in one song.

they had great visuals going on. sometimes animation behind the stage on screens, sometimes on the mini-stage within the stage, and a lot of the time they broadcast their movements live onto the screens from mini-cameras they had mounted on microphone stands. brillant.

they mostly played music from their latest album (which i hadn't heard before so it was all new to me), but there were some hits from the first. i probably wouldn't go out and buy their new album, but it was definitely great to see them live. they rocked at 95% of their songs (there were a couple where it seemed like the sound was a bit off and i would have preferred to hear the lyrics better). also, they ended with nirvana, which was awesome.

ps. they happen to be playing at the riviera in chicago tonight and then have many upcoming concerts. so if you happen to be in the area and have time, go see them (just close your eyes for the middle part)!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

It might snow today. I am not ready for winter. So instead I curl up in blankets and watch Maui Fever on, which I just found out that one of my childhood friends stars in. I would love to be laying on a beach in my (non-)bikini right now.

I am sore from raking leaves. Raking is a full body workout and now I also have blisters. Also, I totally missed a party I was supposed to go to last night because I fell asleep at 7:30pm. Lame.

So the only news around here is that I signed up to be an Election Official and had my poll worker training yesterday. Now all I have to do is show up at my assigned poll station on Nov 4th and work like crazy helping people vote from 2pm-10pm. It's going to be a long day, but I think it will be a good experience. One perk is working for the state is that I can "volunteer" at the polls and still get paid.

Monday, October 06, 2008

and now the madness begins: trying to find a flight home for christmas without paying and exorbenant amount