Posted by: raesalley | February 11, 2014

Is art worth dying for?

Is art worth dying for?

According to Matt Damon, that’s one of the central questions asked in Monuments Men.

I’ve been interested in seeing this film since I first heard about it about a year ago. The cast sounds fantastic, and from the previews it looks like it will be gorgeous to watch. The brief late night visit on Daily Show by Clooney just made me more interested in the film, but only enough to put it on my IMDB Watchlist. But it was that snippet pulled from a video with Matt Damon that made me feel like I need to see this film.

I’m not sure what to think about that statement though. In an era where we’re seeing arts (in general) have cuts in funding and being dropped from our schools, what does the future hold?

Posted by: raesalley | January 24, 2014

Finished!

For our last night together, the group of us headed out to Shula’s for dinner. This is a serious steakhouse, inside a nearby casino.

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I smartly choose to crash after dinner as I know that I’m up today. I have six topics to cover in an hour and I have to do it three times. Since not everything I have to talk about will be something, I need to bring my A game. I start with the hardest group and work my way easier. By the third presentation, I’ve got my presentation down to a science and am anticipating their questions. But the best feeling, after starting late and going long in the first group, was looking at my watch as I wrapped the final session to see that it was time to call it a day for everyone – meaning no surprise questions or “while we have you…” discussions.

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Nothing is quite as nice at a meeting as unplugging, a blue screen in an empty room and knowing it is all done.

With all the work done, there’s a corn hole tournament to play. I skip signing up to play in favor of trying my hand again at pool. I get lucky on my first game and manage a quick run of decent shots to win, only to go down to a ringer the next round. I switch to watching the tourney to see my boss in a close contest before getting to walk away with the trophy.

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Hospitality done right…

Posted by: raesalley | January 22, 2014

Dinner fun

The big group dinner this week was on-site at the hotel, at their Equestrian Center. Some folks will be riding horses from here tomorrow, but one of the cuter things were the young ones running in their paddock. To get to the Equestrian Center, we met up near our conference center rooms and boarded a wagon to ride through a river and watch the sun set behind the mountains.

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The food is fabulous, as is often the case at these meetings. There were also some native artisans on hand showing their pottery and jewelry. Conversation flows and stories are told from the year. The temperature drops with the sun and people start to group around the fires. I find someone and ask if there are marshmallows somewhere, just wanting to toast one or two. The resort does one better and brings out a small spread of s’more fixings. We even taught one of our German colleagues the way of toasting, melting chocolate and graham cracker goodness.

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After heading back in as the chill descends, I learn how to play corn hole. There’s beanbags, a board and beer is almost required to play. We lose, of course, but it was fun and a great way to bond with some of my coworkers. But now it is time to crash before more meetings tomorrow. Halfway through now.

Posted by: raesalley | January 20, 2014

Traveling Mom

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Now boarding – Owl for PHX

Mid-morning yesterday found me heading to the airport with Owl for a flight from home to our Spring Planning Meeting in Phoenix for some warmth, sun and conference rooms. We have plans to get outside, but so much of the time out here is going to be spent in conference rooms staring at screens and some serious discussions. My first leg took me to Houston, where I left myself a large layover to take care of things while not getting lost in an airport I don’t often fly through. (My usual preferred hubs are Cleveland & Dulles).
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Dinner break!

I tend to schedule my layovers in two fashions – so close I have barely time to get to my new gate or long enough for a leisurely meal somewhere with a table and chairs. Since I planned on the latter this time through, I found a new-to-me slice of awesome – UrbanCrave. It’s a small (~4 tables & about a dozen seats at the bar) place with fantastic burgers and fries. Better yet, the burger was stuffed with bacon & cheddar. Yum! I got to sit, eat and use the outlet at my table to charge up for the next flight. Then it was off to catch the next flight. We got in with enough time to get checked in & nab a drink with some coworkers before crashing to prep for day one.

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Good morning to PHX – hope we have fun!

Posted by: raesalley | January 3, 2014

Who’s your Doctor Who?

It’s after Christmas, which means that the Christmas special has come and gone. And with that event, so ends the tenure of the Eleventh Doctor (or 13th? meh). In any case, we now have to open our minds to Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. Various places have written about how to get over the pain of “your” Doctor leaving (thanks Tor)…but it really is something only time can resolve.

Over the holiday, there was a bunch of rebroadcasts of previous episodes of Doctor Who, including a marathon of the various Christmas specials. We had them on for background noise, as Gummi Bear actually enjoys Doctor Who (her favorite seems to be Dinosaurs on a Spaceship). But she kept looking at us like we were crazy because we’d say we were watching Doctor Who and as David Tennant would enter the TARDIS she’d ask “where is he?”

Then it hit me: Matt Smith is my girl’s Doctor.

My husband and I have different Doctors…but we came to the series at different points in our lives. I enjoyed the Ninth Doctor, but really it was David Tennant who sold me on this time & space traveling alien. I’ve bonded with friend’s over his tenure and sniffed back tears over “I don’t want to go.” But it never occured to me that my girl would have Matt Smith as her Doctor. We laugh over the Doctor voicing one of her cartoon characters (Twigs, in Tree Fu Tom) and she looks at us like we’re crazy…and it is because she doesn’t recognize Tennant.

Next season is going to be very confusing. Hopefully we can get her through it.

Posted by: raesalley | November 21, 2013

HoHoHo Frackyou.

Yes, I use GMail. No, I don’t need you to teach me filters.

So, Google, in a questionable move to “assist” you in managing your email has moved from the passive (here’s how to use our awesome filters!), to the slightly helpful (and we’ll tag things for you in three different ways and sort it via SmartLabels!) to the Facebook-screening authoritarian (we sort your stuff in tabs if you don’t sort things already. You will like it). This has resulted in every single bloody company that uses email to communicate to send an email to their subscribers with an “@gmail.com” a message saying “don’t miss our email! take action now!”

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I understand it is the holiday season and that many of these companies want that share of your wallet. I understand we’ve had a downturn in the economy and the overall wallet – especially around the holidays – may be smaller. But one of the fastest ways to irritate the living crap out of me is to tell me I MUST do things in order to get things from you.

I discovered filters before there were smartphones to chirp at us every time we got an email. I would have GMail open as a browser window (and later as a tab, once that became a thing) and Google was nice enough to tell me when I got email. This was important as I worked somewhere with cruddy cell service and people who would need to get information from me but not enough to call me at my day job. Email kept us connected. But, given that I had one email address all of my vendor relationships were also through that email address and I kept notifications and it would just be about an upcoming sale. I didn’t care about that at that second and wanted to stop getting told every second someone wanted my money or my time. Filters saved that.

There have been many improvements – like unlimited filters – that have come since then. I also understand Google’s strong desire to be helpful by creating these filters for people who don’t have the time or inclination to bother. A girlfriend of mine had something like 5k emails unread in her inbox. If that was me, I’d be on the floor twitching. Heck, I get bothered by having outstanding unread emails in my Promotions folder and I try to only clear that out twice a day – and only at a computer. I get that by creating three major filters for an inbox that Google has done something amazing for many people who want to sort emails from loved ones into a single view and maybe only glance at the Promotions (buy me!) and Social (I haven’t figured out how to turn of FB/Twitter/Instagram notifications via email) when they’re in the mood. But the audacity of some of these companies to presume that I may “miss” their latest deals if I don’t have it delivered to the Primary box implies that a sale on shoes or coffee is as important as the email from my family trying to orchestrate Thanksgiving dinner is insane.

I spend enough time looking at my phone when it beeps at me saying that I have new email – either work related or people I actually need to stay in touch with in my personal account. I don’t need someone who is just trying to tell me I can save money somewhere I spend money is having a sale. I get these emails so that when I am willing to spend money at this location, I can save a few coins. Occasionally they tell me of things I didn’t know existed or the deal is good enough to make me spend money I would have spent there anyway earlier than planned. But overall, emails from these places belong in the Promotions filter.

Just because America is a consumerist society does not mean that consumerism should be our Primary focus. Family, friends, things we love doing. Not you with your buy-me-now alerts.

Posted by: raesalley | November 20, 2013

GoldieBlox and the Princess-ification of our Girls

By now, hopefully, you’ve seen the video or read the article on Slate for GoldieBlox latest commercial using the Beastie Boys and how awesome STEM is for girls.

Why can’t my girl be both a Princess:

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and and a hammer wielding destroyer:

shed building requires strength (and beer for adults)

Personally, I cannot wait until this comes out so I can buy a set for the Gummi Bear and we can build things together. Until then, I will have to be happy with our occasional fits of Lego building houses for the giraffe & elephant and the crazy towers with her blocks.

Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a site I follow fairly regularly, points out that colors are for everyone. Toys are for everyone as well, and just because something isn’t colored pink doesn’t mean that my daughter should not play with it and only her brother should touch it. I follow PP&BB because it helps me feel less alone in my fight (and occasionally helps me find locally parents who think the same as I do as we share the same articles). It also provides a more articulate discussion than I could ever manage.

I was raised playing legos and with the belief that I could be anything I wanted. I initially went into a STEM career and left, not because I was the only woman, but because I ceased caring about my field. Now, I’m back in a related world and occasionally wonder if there had been more exposure to all the different flavors of STEM if I would have found the right one for me. In any case, I’m happy with who I am but want to make sure that my daughter and my son are exposed to the same things and the same chances and are not limited by what they are but filter based on who they are.

And sometimes a little bit of Beastie Boys gives me hope that is possible.

Posted by: raesalley | November 18, 2013

Weekend Roundup

I could cheat and post backdated things for Saturday and Sunday, but in reality I missed those two days. Nobody is perfect, and the entire point about this NaBloPoMo exercise is to work at getting better, not be perfect. Backdating feels a bit like cheating – like only putting the good foods down in your diet journal. That isn’t to say I haven’t done it. There have been a few already. But those were already written in my head but due to kids/life/insanity it just didn’t get into the site. This weekend, I didn’t even have that.

Part of the reason lies squarely with how smug I felt Friday. Buddy Roo was good but not perfect about his shots, so I thought nothing of it. Until he woke me up at zero dark early. And wouldn’t go back to sleep. Then his sister woke up because he nap after dinner bled straight into bedtime and she had a full night’s sleep by 5am. Get him sort of asleep again, but she is up for the day and we have had our daily dose of coffee before 10am. The Bald One and I spent the rest of the day rather confused. We did run some fun errands, which involved ordering Gummi Bear a hat similar to her brother’s and doing a full grocery run for the first time in a long time. Then it was time for bed again.

Saturday night I realized Buddy Roo was having his 4month sleep regression period as he wasn’t too interested in eating most of the day because the world was too interesting. Instead, he woke me up at 3am to eat. I’d be less annoyed than I was if I hadn’t just been able to stretch out in my own bed after falling asleep with Gummi Bear in hers. Luckily, he was quick about it and I was able to get another two hours of sleep before he woke me again to start the day. I think this, plus my general suckiness at drinking water at home led to the seven hour migraine that kicked my butt that afternoon. I get them so infrequently that I usually spend the first three hours feeljng like crap before I remember why this might be happening. Thankfully, the Bald One had the night off. As soon as Buddy Roo was down for the count I shuffled off to our quiet, dark room to lay in bed with my frog on my eyes. By the time this morning rolled around I felt human.

How was your weekend?
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Take this guy + a two hour nap to defeat the worst migraine. If not, have a hot dog and puke. Sad, but true.

Posted by: raesalley | November 15, 2013

CJ: 4 month update

Buddy Roo actually celebrated four months on the outside on Monday. Today he visited the doc to get the official stamp of progress. Unlike his sister, he is a solid child weighing in at the 36th percentile. This explains the serious arm workout we have been getting and reminds us we need to balance our baby carrying. Poor kiddo got the expected battery of shots to go along with his visit, so I planned on working from home after the doctor visit since I expected that shots plus teething would mean bourbon for someone before the end of the day. No bourbon, but luckily no epic crankiness either.
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Does that look like the face of an unhappy camper?

The other exciting to us thing was that we caved and reupped our Netflix subscription. This lead to Gummi Bear being thrilled for several hours while Buddy Roo slept off shots, the Bald One catnapped and I worked. I rediscovered Magic School Bus and introduced it to her, which lead to some funny discussions later. Then, after dinner when she collapsed for her nap I finally got to see Skyfall.

Just another quiet night here in Suburbia

Posted by: raesalley | November 14, 2013

Proof is in the printing

Part of why I enjoy my job is the variety of stuff I get to work on. Yesterday, I spent a bunch of time talking with field guys about a software package and checking in on two other systems. Today started with a more civilized cup of coffee and looking over a hard copy proof before the final okay to print a thousand copies. It will look fabulous and I am happy to see it done. It will be more interesting to see how it gets used.

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