Sunday, June 24, 2007

Back to the Productivity Search

As my loyal readers know, I'm not only about the absurdities. I've been doing my own search through the various apps for my own productivity package (here and here, if you're interested). I read all the various GTD blogs out there, because they're interesting, and full of ideas.

And all of this was fine and good when I kept my office online as an independent project person. Now I'm working for the government, and can't add anything to my computer, can't get to many of my fave Web2.0 sites, and I've only got Outlook now. What's a girl to do?

I need to start search for Outlook GTD tips, and think text & paper. So I'm always checking the GTD feeds.

And here's yet another great productivity blog that I've only just discovered -- Productivity 501 (doesn't hurt that he's also running a contest!). The name of the blog appeals to the intellectual in me, who would always like to think that I'm functioning beyond the first year, undergrad level. The author, Mark, is a business consultant, with a tech background.

My first browse this morning has netted me a very useful article -- on creating passwords. I've never taken passwords too terribly seriously over the years, but now, working for the government, I must. So here are some great tips! With this advice coming from a techie, I'll be applying some of these principles, as I change my multiple work passwords on a regular basis.

In another article, he's got a great argument for credit cards -- they protect you more against fraud:
"With checks and debit cards, you have to get your money back if it was taken by fraud. With a credit card, the credit card company acts as a buffer. The money doesn’t come out of your account until you pay the bill."
Overall, Productivity 501 has some very good ideas on the subject of productivity... plus a few more topics that strike the writer's fancy -- like his updates on Free Academic Podcasts. The entries on productivity are not, for the most part, which software to use, or tips on using Outlook/Gmail/fill-in-the-blank-program, there are blogs enough on those more technological tips. These are more personal, more personnel, and more about your whole life than just about what you do on the computer, which is a pleasant addition to the whole GTD roster.

All that said, I do have a problem with the site's accessibility. He does have a search box, and the bottom of each entry does have links to 'possibly related' entries, but browsing around I really felt the lack of tags, or some other kind of sidebar thematic linking. I found myself wanting to tag lots of the entries "tools" -- because he seems to share a bit of an obssession with me, finding the right tool for the job (that's my one beef with Metro in the kitchen, he's always using the wrong utensils!).

I continue the search for my own system!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wow! I'm floored.

Periodically over the last 12 years, I would do a bit of a phone book, Internet search for a friend I'd lost touch with. A great friend -- a drinking & travel partner, a confidante, a dance partner, a fellow adventurer, ready to go at a moment's notice ...everything you need in a friend, really.

Two weeks ago, when 'Samson' got in touch with me, I went all nostalgic. Actually forced a girlfriend to look at pictures of my two years in the Big Smoke...albums which were also full of this other friend as well. I've been thinking of him again.

So I looked online again.

And I found him tonight. Or else, he found me.

I'm feeling really pumped. Memories of our trip to Niagara Falls. Our flirtations (with the same guys sometimes!), our rather momentous bouts of 20-something drinking, our first-time karaoke...

The internet is a scary thing. (Or is it Facebook?)


Friday, June 15, 2007

SHH! Don't tell him!

If you've been in M. et Mme Metro domicile in the last couple of years, you would have heard the following:

He (a propos of what-have-you): "That sounds a lot like Dr. Seuss." (pronounced 'soyce')

She: "Please! It's Seuss!" (pronounced 'soos')

I tell you, do not visit 301 Useless Facts, and above all else, do not look at #38!



Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Will my job be this fun?

If this is legit, then the staff at the Smithsonian are having far too much fun:
We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be "Malibu Barbie."
It gets better:
3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it.
Now they're just teasing the poor guy:
We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
I'll probably run into all sorts of interesting, fun stuff...but I think I won't be blogging about work -- I'll probably have to sign a statement to that effect.


What more can I share?

Tagged again (here's my earlier post), with the 6 Weird Things about You "meme", this time by a woman who is weird in her own way. [I'm over a month late. Sorry.]

So, 'cause I love talking about myself [why else would I write a blog, now, eh?], here's some more about me:

I re-read books and re-watch movies, a lot. So much new to read, and I find that one of the best ways for me to relax is to watch/read something I've read/watched millions of times before. I'll open the book to the middle, skip the dvd to a scene halfway through...drop right into the story.

I prefer to take pictures of architecture and urban corners than people or flowers. It's so bad that I've got to get Creatrix to photoshop a picture of my husband and I together in Paris on our honeymoon!

Shopping for clothes is an activity I loathe. I have no respect for the fashion industry. I started watching The Devil Wears Prada with a sense of superiority, "Oh, a movie about the fashion industry...", started identifying with the main character (the woman who gets the job), then this scene showed up:
Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?
Andy Sachs: No, no, nothing. Y'know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. Y'know, I'm still learning about all this stuff.
Miranda Priestly: This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

I sometimes feel like I'm pretending to be an adult.

Okay, enough now. Feel free to tag yourselves.

Two days until the weekend, and then my new, all-grown-up-now job.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Celebrating the 30s

As I near the end of my own 30s, I have a friend who's turning the big 3-0 today.

What is it about ageing? (I'm not even going to start with the big MLC!) When I turned 30, I was in Korea, so it actually happened when I was 28. 'Twas no big deal. I also grew up with a dad who wasn't mentally old until his health caught up with him -- about 80. Mom was 24 years younger than him, and has still forgotten to age. (So why is it that my sister is all weird about her age? She still tries to tell people she's 29!)

Anyway, back to my friend. This morning I searched for some positive statements on 'women turning 30' and in 10 pages of Google hits, only got 2 that were mostly upbeat about moving out of the 20s. The 'oh no, my life is ending' tune that everyone sings is really just annoying.

People! The 30s are better than the 20s!

Proof #1
People take you seriously now.

Proof #2
You've survived your 20s and no longer need to learn things like how to pay bills, how to apply for a job, how to dump a guy gently. (Okay, so you may need refresher courses, but you've done the 100 levels.)

Proof #3
You'll no longer annoy older people with your "I discovered sex" attitude. We can invite you to parties now.

Proof #4
In this day'n'age, you can continue to do the things you enjoy. It's not like you have to give up rock climbing, beer swilling, and movie may just find you prefer a better brand of beer.

Ack. I could go on, but I won't, because I'm finding that I'm the other cliché: a 30-something pontificating on the 20s.

Ah well.

Happy Birthday!


Friday, June 08, 2007

A Hate-on for Microsoft

The computer here at Kidsfest had a huge crash awhile back...conveniently enough (!!) 10 days before the Festival.

If that wasn't enough, when we got a pretty much empty loaner from the shop, a guy here downloaded the new MS Office 3-month trial onto it...Not my first choice, but I was busy.

Then, a woman came in to do some work for us -- brilliant. I was swamped, and she was going to be of definite use. I put her on the new computer, and then when we opened up the all-new MS Word, it was a completely different interface.

Now, I'm mighty skilled with computers, but it took me 30 minutes of f**king around to find "Save As"! Folks, there's something wrong with that.

Then of course, NOTHING you create in this new version of Office can be read ANYWHERE else, even the last version of Office. You have to realize that, and save everything to a different compatibility.

Then today, I needed an Avery template, to make some labels. If I want one that's compatible with this new version, I have to go through the hoops to have Microsoft check my program, make sure it's valid, paid for, etc. Go to the Avery site, and their downloads aren't compatible, of course.

So now, I'm blogging while I download Open Office on this computer.

The next computer I buy will run Linux.

Microsoft, GET STUFFED.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I'm a catalyst for the unexpected.

Yesterday, a very close friend I haven't spoken to in maybe 4 years contacts me (finally!), and it's like no time has passed at all. I'm sure we could still drink beer until the wee hours of the morning, dancing or playing euchre.

Today, a very close friend I haven't spoken to in maybe 2 months contacts me, and in no uncertain terms, breaks off the friendship because I've been uncommunicative. (Uh, hello? I've been busy?)

So no more drinking beer until the wee hours of the morning with that one.

The absurd is not always amusing.

Anyway, call that person you've been meaning to call. Today. Just in case.

For me.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Samson Returns

Interesting how one reference in a day to Samson can quickly become a trend. Recently, I started posting again on my Flikr account, and today I uploaded a picture of Samson getting his eye gouged out (previously seen on my blog here):
Then, this evening out of the blue, the phone's my best buddy in the world calling from the Big Smog.

Folks, this is a guy I haven't heard from in years (before you all give me shit, yes, I did try to contact him...left messages with his mother even!) -- and from the sound of it, he's still the same sweetie I've known for mumble-mumble years. Prodigious, Samson-like strength of a liver, long Samson-like hair still un-shorn after all these years -- I can just picture the long, curly head banger hair, as always confusing the guys in bars.

Yes, I teased him about being 40-something with 20-something hair, but who knows what change would come over him if he cut his signature locks?

For me, it's the jeans & t-shirts I've worn since high school. Oh, the t-shirts have gotten nicer, and I sometimes wear dress(ier) pants, but it's time for me to change...this free spirit has landed the job with the Feds. I see suits in my future. What else will change?

Are we not all hanging on to something from our 20s that we just can't let go of?

And if you are stopping by, my Luddite Samson, let's not let another few years go by, okay?


Rented a brilliant movie this week, and I've already watched it 3 times: Stranger than Fiction. It's another of those rare but wonderful films that are hard to categorize, so they use words like "comedy" -- because that's what one expects from someone like Will Farrell.

Rent this movie, watch it. Then come back here and we can discuss the choices one makes in life...

Like the choice I'm making to leave my rather up'n'down work life of networking my way into interesting projects for the possibly mundane 9-to-5 of a government job.

No more Farmers' Market (I'm giving my notice this week). No more Festivals. But, I'll be in a position to help organizations like the Festival get grants to create jobs, so that "working for an Arts Festival" will no longer have to mean "little or no money".

Now I have to shop for some clothes, because I've pretty much been wearing nothing but jeans for two years!