Calligraphy class tomorrow. Yay!

My friend and co-worker Beckie has gotten me hooked on this addictive hobby of scrapbooking. (I'm glad, though, because now I'm archiving my photos, and in a way that's fun for other people to look at, too.) People stress about their writing, when it comes to scrapbooking, and I happened to notice that Creative Memories' "bold tip" markers are actually the chisel edge that's perfect for calligraphy, and they're the size of a C-3 nib, which is the size I use most often. So I made a pitch to Beckie, and here I am teaching a calligraphy-for-scrapbooking (a.k.a., "Neat Printing") class tomorrow. I've been promised "neat scrapbooking goodies." ^_^ Should be a good time.

And a co-worker, not in my immediate team but a member of the business side that we, as programmers, make products for, asked me to join him and some others for "happy hour." (Business professionals use the term "happy hour"?) So I've said yes, since it will be a good opportunity to meet more of the business side and improve the I/T to Business relationship (which is my project in our Employee Retention Corrective Action Team). A little paranoid piece of me is waiting to see if anyone besides the invitor actually shows up. I can't get a read on this guy. I just talk about Jon a lot and how I live with him and all.

At Ben's on Sunday, after playing some rounds of Dungeons and Dragons: Third Edition and after eating more home-made bread and cookies than any human should, we watched Cannibal: The Musical, a Rogers and Hammerstein-style musical about the only American to be convicted of cannibalism, with the unlikely writer, director, producer, and star, Tray Parker, co-creator of South Park. I was reminded of my friend Carmen's masterpiece, Red Zone Cuba: The Musical, the only musical about the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

"It's a Shpadoinkal Day" (Cannibal) and "Ruby, Where's the Tungsten Mine?" (Red Zone Cuba) are competing for Most Likely to Get Annoyingly Lodged in Your Head. Oh, how I suffer.

Lexical Accessing:

Since Saturday, I had been struggling with what to call the thingy that Toastmasters gave me for placing second in the contest. It has writing on it, but it isn't really a plaque. It stands up and has depth, but it isn't a statue, because it isn't shaped like a person.

Finally, yesterday, the word rushed into my brain like a college student late for an exam: Trophy!


My life is filled with so many synchronicities.

At work, I'm humming while I go through an on-line training module. I am humming "No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods. To amuse myself while trudging through this training module, I fire up AOL Instant Messenger and am surprised to discover that Jerry, an old friend from high school, is on. He is likewise thrilled to see me (though he gushes a bit more than I do). I had been thinking of him this morning, while trying to gauge how big a guest list I'll probably have for my wedding next year. Jerry tells me he works for a Broadway production company... the one that is doing Into the Woods. (And the cow prop, Milky White, is sitting 10 feet from his desk. Guess they get a lot of bull there, too.)

And then he tells me that I am the person who got him interested in Broadway shows, now a significant part of his life. He tells me he remembers talking on the phone together, listening to Les Miserables.

Lastly, while searching for an Into the Woods link for this post, I found a band named that, located in... central Pennsylvania.


This past weekend was the Toastmasters Area-level humorous speech contest, which I competed in because I won our Club-level contest. I won second place at the Area-level, and that's just ducky with me. The woman who won first really did an excellent job, and now I don't need to go to the District-level, which is a relief.

Jon played along at the contest, participating in the non-competition Table Topics activity they used to fill time before lunch. He did a great job; everyone gave him lots of compliments. The way Table Topics works is that you're given a prompt and then have one to two minutes to talk about it, unprepared and off-the-cuff. For this day's activity, each speaker drew a "hard" word from a bag and then gave a (probably made-up) definition and used the word as their topic. Jon drew "ankh." We're too much of geeks not to know that word, but he made up a fun definition anyway: a pygmy, two-foot tall elephant from India.

In other news, we went shopping for Halloween mask supplies on Saturday (yay!), and my African violets (gift from Dad) have started blooming (double yay!). I'll be taking an SQL database class next week, which should help me feel slightly qualified for my job. Our friend Ben got the new Dungeons and Dragons edition, recently revamped and re-released by Wizards of the Coast (now an arm of Hasbro, the Unstormable Citadel of Fun (thanks to Jeremy B. for that title)), so on Sunday I played (here's a big surprise) a halfling rogue (barely indistinguishable from an elven thief). Yay, geekdom.

The Mix 94.7 Retrofest was on Saturday, before the Party At Bruce Sterling's House (see below). It was fun, though the local, modern band Dysfunction Junction had more energy and played more songs we knew than the 80s bands we were there for.

And poor Flock of Seagulls. I believe the term we used in the 80s, before the current "poseur," was "wannabe." In their defense, it was awfully hot out.

Bleah, time for a new poll. Results of my Shameless R&D are that two folks haven't ever bought a copy of Monopoly (1 under $10 and 1 over $50). The other five voters figured it should be $20 to $25, which is what we'd been thinking would be reasonable.

Now, then, let's have something more fun, shall we?

A party at Bruce Sterling's house. *ahem* A Party At Bruce Sterling's House.

And I was there. He lives in Austin. How cool is that?!

Oh, Jon came, too.

And then on Sunday, we celebrated our friend Chris's (1 of many) birthday with a barbecue (but not that barbecue). It was much fun. And we gave Chris a DVD of The Dark Crystal, which I am deciding, more and more, was a really awesome gift.

Which reminds me that I hadn't mentioned that Jon got converted from a contractor to a full Apple employee the other day and will soon be purchasing a DVD-playing "snow" iMac with his 25% discount.

[Sharon waits on hold...] You know that "Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received" schtick you get when you're on hold? You know why it sounds dumb? Because single items aren't in any order. They should say, "Calls are answered in the order in which they're received," or, better still, "Calls are answered in order," preferably followed by, "and we'll get to yours as soon as possible."

But anything's better than today's entry: "Your call will be answered in the order it was received."

Nectarine pits make for good, low-tech gore.


I took an organizer class yesterday. They gave me a planner and a four-hour class on how to use it. "Four hours?" you say? Yep. And well worth it. Clutter is off my desk, I know where everything is, and I know what I need to do and when I have time to do it.

I feel in control.

And tomorrow is Mix 94.7's Retrofest, with the great 80s bands Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, The Outfield, and The Knack. Aaaaaannnnd, my awesome friend Ben won four free tickets (on two separate attempts) and is taking us. How cool is that?

And then 20 minutes after 5, it's sunny.

Stupid Texas weather. 20 minutes to go on our bet, and then it pours.

I'm cold.

We have a friendly wager going on in the office. The weather report predicted a 40% chance of rain today, and the sky, during our staff meeting this morning, was all gray and forboding. On the other hand, lamenting about one's parched, dying lawn is a recreational activity for Texans. It doesn't rain often.

So the bet is thus: If it rains, right here, in this part of Austin, on our parking lot, before 5:00, then those of us who said it wouldn't (me, included), have to go outside and play in the rain for five minutes (this is losing?). If it doesn't rain, then the rain predictors have to provide bagels for our next staff meeting.

'Course, I can't see a window from my cube...

I won. I won! Our Toastmasters club had a club contest, and in the humorous speech category, I won.

I feel all the more important because they gave me a snazzy, hefty medal that I don't know how to hang in my cube.

I talked about my old roommate Marci and how I tried to pull a stunt she had used to cook a frozen pizza with a toaster. (Hers was on the floor, with a paper towel in front of it. Mine was, um, up on a table, with nuthin' but air in front of it.) It's a fun story that I enjoy telling. I guess that helped.

Anywho, wow. And yay, me.

I'm underappreciated, I tell you. *ahem*...

After you eat a lot, you should increase your kinetic energy. After you drink a lot, you should decrease your potential energy.

Ahead of my time, ahead of my time.