What state sucks the most?


November 11, 2007 :: 8:13 PM
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keystone high vs. black river high :: near cleveland, oh :: october twenty-sixth two thousand seven

So. The Ohio Trip.

I’d just like to note that, with a few exceptions, Ohio wasn’t very nice to me when I did my 7 years hard time there.  On it’s second pass, it reminded me wahat an evil life-sucking state it is.

Tuesday, before I even left work, there was an incident.  (An ugly incident that I chewed on the ENTIRE WEEK.)  Then we dropped the dogs off at the kennel and they both freaked out.  They’d never done that before and I was just waiting for the woman to tell us that she changed her mind, she won’t take them.  We drove all the way to Batavia, NY and stayed at a Comfort Inn where I was told I couldn’t get the WiFi connection because our room was too far away.  HA!  Shows what they know.

Wednesday, we arrived in Sandusky, OH… home of Ceedah Pahk as it’s known here. Not our best idea, but it was between where he had to go and where I had to go.  We had some Marco’s Pizza because Jamie missed it and then we went to Target because I had to buy new pj’s.  (Yep. It was that sort of trip.) Couldn’t get on the internet to sumbit my accounting quiz.  Spent hours on the phone with tech support following up on calls they never returned.  Crashed early. No fun there.

Thursday, 6:30 AM, I go out to start the car so I can go to Toledo and… c’mon you know what I’m going to say.  The freakin’ car died. DIED!!!!  It survived a twelve hour drive to crap out in the parking lot of our hotel. I abused my AAA plus membership and had the car towed 70 miles to Toledo, where I had to be and where the closest VW dealer was.  (Yes, we should have taken my car, the NEW one, but I wasn’t driving the 12 hours so I wasn’t going to argue.)  I got stuck with a tow truck driver who didn’t want to be a tow truck driver, who smoked in the truck, ground the gears, blasted the radio, got lost twice, and almost got us killed several times.  Woo-hoo!!!!!  To make matters even better, the dealership wouldn’t tell us if they could get to it or not.  Of course, they were down two guys with a full schedule - why should I have expected anything different?

There were a few highlights—when I finally got to Toledo, I got to hang with my old co-workers, which was nice. But more importantly, the Ohio half of my brain was able to get Cute Printer Boy to take us to lunch.  Mmmmmm, Cute Printer Boy. Of course, he was just as hot as I remembered. And as married.  (*sigh*) The Ohio half of the brain and I tried scrapbooking a bit after lunch, but the freakin’ dealership was able to get to the car after all and we had to cut the crop short so I could get the car before they closed.  A new alternator—cost more than the hotel and the kennel combined.  So much for staying within our budget. *double sigh*  Spent more time that night fighting with the hotel’s WiFi tech support… no love there, no explanations why I couldn’t get online either.

Friday, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so I could see the R.E.M. inductee exhibit.  I was kind of underwhelmed.  I know they have an exhibit in Athens, GA as well and probably sent all the cool stuff there, but I was still hoping for more. I mean, they did have one of Mill’s bass guitars, Buck’s Rickenbacker, and Berry’s first snare drum, but nothing of Stipe’s.  If you know me well, you’ll understand why I left the R&R HOF completely bummed.  It’s like having a Beatles exhibit and leaving out Lennon.  Grrrrrr. After that, we headed to Elyria to watch Jamie’s brother coach a football game. Of course it was freakin’ cold and everytime I pulled out my camera it POURED.  I was resigned to actually having to watch the game until the last quarter.  At least they won - not that it got them into the playoffs or anything - but it could have been an ugly loss.

I know I grew up in an entirely different world than my in-laws, but wow!  All I can say is, it is nice to be upper-middle class.  Even our high school marching band was so much better than the ones these schools had.  I had my random ‘You know you’re in Ohio when…” moment when the Black River MB played Ozzy’s “Crazy Train”.  It was senior night for Keystone (the home team) and their MB seniors got to choose their own music and choreograph the routines.  Oh. My. God. It’s like the only move they knew was the DCI-inspired “get wicked close to the audience, plant your feet, bend your knees, lean back and blast the snot out of their eardrums” pose.  I will say this for the Keystone MB, they had the coolest drum solo ever.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be into their version of “Turn the Beat Around” as I had done a version of it in college, but as I said, they inserted this cool little drum solo which was totally awesome.  The bass drummers put their drums down and wore the snare drums on their backs.  I keep saying it, but it was just freakin’ mind blowing.  I certainly wasn’t expecting them to be that original.  (Of course it rained through halftime, so I couldn’t get a picture…)

Got back to the hotel and still no answer on the internet issue.  I finally had a moment of brilliance and hacked into their network.  Whoops! I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say it’s NOT a secure network if you don’t change the default passwords. Happiness ensued.

Saturday, we went to the Toledo Zoo.  On Pumpkin Patch day.  All the gorillas were off exhibit because they get stressed out by the costumes, the zoo was overrun with rugrats, the hippos were inside, and it was raining. *sigh*  I wore a bright red BU sweatshirt and had so many people do doubletakes because in Ohio if you’re wearing red you’re wearing something with either a buckeye or Ohio State on it, not a little Boston Terrier.  Left the Zoo in record time and headed to Jamie’s Aunt Alice’s house for a party.  It’s not much of a secret that I prefer Jamie’s brother to his sister, but even their kids fall on the same sides of that dividing line.  SIL’s kid was obnoxious and BIL’s kid was so cute.  Apparently, his first word was ball, second word was football.  No doubt he belongs to BIL. Apple will not fall far from THAT tree.  His poor wife, she’s got another boy coming in 2008. 

After the family reunion, we headed to Ann Arbor for dinner at our favorite restuarant, BD’s Mongolian BBQ, and the BU/Michigan hockey game. We quickly realized we couldn’t have picked a worse time to cross the border. There was a football game that afternoon, so Ann Arbor was crazy packed. We couldn’t get to Yost because of all the traffic and ended up turning into some random parking lot.  As we pull in, we see a group of kids in BU jerseys!  Woo-hoo!  We hung out with them a bit - one of the girls was all impressed we came all the way from NH to see the game and took our picture for her scrapbook. They were so much fun and really made me miss that part of college—you know, the insane road trips and the meeting of random strangers along the way.

Once we got in the arena, we ended up sitting behind Pete and Jenny.  Who save $8 on their seats because they sit in the obstructed view section.  Jenny had done a Thanksgiving tailgate at the football game earlier, had no voice, but still ended up talking our ears off.  Pete, too, got all excited when he realized we were from Boston.  Did you know the U.S.S. Constitution is in Boston? *sigh*  It was amusing to hear Jenny yell the Michigan cheers at first, but as we quickly fell down into a deep hole, it became more depressing. The Michigan students were chanting “Let’s go Rockies”, “Warm up the CAH!” (instead of “Warm up the bus”) and “We want CHOW-DAH”.  Cute, but uninspired all at the same time.  I’m pretty sure we wound up on CN8—the two BU fans, with Red Sox caps, sitting in the middle of yellow Michigan jerseys watching their team lose. How New England.

The best part of the entire trip? Using the 24 hours in the car to do my advanced accounting midterm.  I got the highest grade in the class on it.

Just do me a favor—if I ever say I’m going to Ohio again, please please please lock me up somewhere until my brain comes back.  I will NEVER set foot in Ohio again.  My in-laws want to see me, they can come here.

The David and teh Dork


November 10, 2007 :: 1:27 AM
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with david allen :: boston road map :: november ninth two thousand seven

So, I got to commune with one of my heroes today, David Allen.  His Getting Things Done system, GTD, has literally changed my life. So worth it to sit in the same room as him and listen to him bring his book to life.  The Q & A sessions are always worth the price of admission as well. Plus, there was the reception for Connect members afterwards.  And, of course, I had to have him autograph my copy of “Ready for Anything”.

I met a guy named Julian - who took this picture & emailed it to me (Thanks!!!!!!) - and a guy named Wayne.  Wayne was cool - had some high powered gov’ment job in Utah and serves as a Mormon Bishop.  I had a bazillion questions for him on that, but I kept to the PC, “so are you going to do anything fun while you’re in the Hub” thing.  I did crack him up - told him that if he was going to do the tourist thing he had to go to “Fenway Park, no I’m sorry that’s Fenway Pahk.”  (Coming from Connecticut, I don’t have the accent. I’ve been told that CT is the place where accents go to die - I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds about right.)  He was amused I’d busted out the fake accent because he hadn’t heard it yet.  Fake Bah-stin accents, just one more service I provide.

I’m so happy I went, even if Jamie (or the poor co-worker that got sent with me) don’t get it.  They don’t need to understand my addiction, they just need to support it.  *grin*

Ugh


November 02, 2007 :: 10:45 PM

I’ve got pix and stories, yes.  LOTS.

I’ve also had an auditing final and an advanced accounting midterm… BBS

Road Warrior


October 26, 2007 :: 12:49 AM
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on the road :: comfort inn, sandusky, oh

Got an email from a friend wanting to know how I GTD on vacation…. Here’s your answer.

A) MacBook Pro.  I never leave home without it anymore.
B) True Writer Fountain pen by my good friends at Levenger, which goes with…
C) Moleskine (with apple logo sticker!)
D) Jr. Circa notebook.

Freakin’ exhausted but I do have some good road stories to tell. More when I can stay awake.

My GTD system…


October 07, 2007 :: 8:13 PM
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my office :: finally clean :: october seventh, two thousand seven

I’ve noticed that I have a lot of resistance to using spaces that don’t make me happy.  I’m not a big fan of my office because I don’t like the way the painting came out… so my office is almost always a mess.  Just another reason to stay out of it.

It’s amazing what finding Levenger desk sets on sale can do to inspire me to finally get the mess under control.  (And some unscheduling and GTD didn’t hurt either.) (For those really curious, I bought the entire Claremont set and it came out to about 50% off. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve wanted that set…)

Here’s what command central looks like.  All the wood furniture on the desk is the Levenger set. You can’t see it, but behind the chair is my hPDA dock.  I use a pocket ruled moleskine as my go everywhere inbox.  EVERYTHING goes in it. Notes, receipts, MTBA charlie cards, you name it. (I LOVE the pocket in the back!) I have a tiny pocket sized calendar there (with “It’s time to crank the widgets” on it).  I also keep a Jr. sized Circa notebook with a personalized cover there as well.  (Right now, the cover features reunion pictures of me, the other half of my brain and my little brother.) Inside the Circa, I have bits of two sets of the old colored tab dividers—blue, red, green, red, blue—I like it better balanced.

The Circa is divided as follows:

  • In front of the first tab: NA lists—@ computer, @calls, @errands, @home, @ waiting for and some smurfed 3” x 5” index cards
  • Behind the blue tab: Levenger Things To Do checklists -> Auditing and Advanced Accounting classes—all homework due dates
  • Behind the red tab: Random lists—Info on the trip to Ohio, books to read, pre-project brain dumps (If I think I want to do something, I write down everything I can think of.  During my not-quite-weekly-or-even-monthly review, I decide if it stays on my radar, goes S/M, or becomes a real live project.
  • Behind the green tab: unused Levenger Project/Goal Planner forms. (Not a huge fan of these, Corrie has some nice ones that just don’t quite do it for me… I may do my own. Someday.)
  • Behind the second red tab: more lined Circa paper
  • Behind the second blue tab: more Things to Do pages

This is really my second go at GTD.  I tried it & went to a Roadmap - got really excited, refined my system, was cranking widgets like there was no tomorrow and then fell off the wagon HARD when school and work got incredibly busy and I couldn’t be arsed to keep it up.  (Right when I should have dug in deeper… *sigh*) After work calmed down a bit, I got back into it there and it’s paid off in spades! I’m trying to bring it back to my personal life.

I’m having a little success - my biggest problem is that I’m impatient and have trouble deciding what’s a real project vs a S/M.  I’m also still having trouble with the contexts and really drilling down to the next action.  I don’t know why work can be so concrete and my personal life so fuzzy. My guess is that at work, I’m truely “cranking widgets” (invoices into QB, invoices into inventory system, invoices into QB, lather, rinse, repeat).  Home is more like “an amorphous blob of undoability”.  “Fix shower in bathroom”—yeah I can break that down into N/A, but then I get all freaked out about it.  It’s our (unfriendly & unskilled) builder’s fault it’s broken; repairing it means ripping out the kitchen wall (and dishwasher and cabinets) and I just can’t go there right now financially or emotionally.  “Paint scrapbook room” - do I really HAVE to? (All the next actions in the world won’t get me motivated there.)

Writing that out, I just realized my problem.  I’m a planner.  I think eighty steps ahead of where I should start, so before I even commit the item to paper, I’m all freaked out about the zillion steps it will take to get from “paint scrapbook room” to “finally enjoy being in scrapbook room”.  Maybe I should just really focus on the next action & the proper context, huh? *grin*

It’s Sunday night, it’s the start of a new week, and my office is clean… maybe it’s a good time to do a review.

ETA: Dave gets my GTD at home problem. I feel better now.

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