Saturday, March 31, 2007

Georgia on my Mind

The pink tie was a huge hit. Probably because it has polka dots on it. And my hair was totally working today.

I’ve decided to go with the lighter version of the ‘dots’ background - I think it more accurately reflects the tone of my blog. Also, I've done some tweaking and I think I now like the look and feel of my blog in general. The color scheme has been slightly adjusted and I think my new font style has a 'world traveler' style to it. It's all very themed, you see. Enjoy.

Last night my roommates decided it would be prudent to watch Dawn of the Dead. Very graphic, definitely won’t ever be watching it again. This morning I turned on Rugrats as background noise. Tee hee.

Danielle and I have been termed “bosom buddies” by our manager. Key word – bosom.

Today I have to miss General Conference. This makes me sad. It’s been many many moons since I’ve been to a Saturday session, and several years since I’ve been to Priesthood. Maybe next time.

I got to use my ASL interpreting skills yet again today. This time it was to explain that we only had 15 minutes to refresh the ballroom, and later to ask for lunch a diet coke. People are always so happy when you speak their same language. Instant friendships are most easily formed on such grounds.

A resume of the day – the recommended number of adequate sleep hours was not attained, large, friendly black women approached, hilarity ensued. This has actually been one of the most fun weeks I’ve experienced in quite a while. We got pictures with the women of the conference today. One of them looked like the black version of Cher. We hand out personal organizers as free gifts to all who attend our conferences. This afternoon a woman came up to get hers and I said “You can either have the organizer, or me.” She said, “Can I have both?” – Funny. Even the croissant sandwiches were bearable.

So, after a week I’ve come to the conclusion that my speaker didn’t really hate me. She’s just hard to read. She really appreciated our work and recognized the boisterous and infectious nature of Danielle’s and my personalities.

As I was traversing the maze of airport security one of the guards at a checkpoint – a young man – checked our ID’s and boarding passes I was preceded by Joanna – our speaker – and Danielle, both of whom are tall, blonde, and gorgeous. When I got to the young man he said “Are you flying with them?” I said “Yes.” He said “Man, you lucky!” I love it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wigs and more

Fake hair seems to be all the rage among the women here - mostly the black women, but none are excluded. I've seen wigs of all shapes and sized, extensions, mullet extensions, hair-pieces, and a feaux fur coat. Our coordinator today was an energetic lady named Terry who suffers from a condition called alopecia which is basically hair-loss. She had a fantastic wig on. It looked like real hair - we really didn't believe her until she lifted her wig up for us.

This morning we woke up late and consequently we weren't able to shower. This is the one moment in my life that most nearly approaches a tragedy - Grecian in its proportions.

Tonight is what we lovingly label the "Friday Freak-show." This mostly comes from the fact that we're dealing with people who come to an internet conference as their Friday night entertainment. Tonight we had women showing up in everything from nursing scrubs to sequined dresses, truly a hodge-podge of the Atlanta gentry.

Danielle and I continue to have more fun as every day passes. This occurs for several reasons:
First we're really laid-back and the other two guys on the team are quite high-strung which makes for entertainment galore. I'm not counting our speaker because we don't really have regular or prolonged interaction with her.
Secondly we just love messing with people. Everything from wrong directions and bathrooms in the bushes, to donating your shoes to charity and eating monkey brains for dinner. It's been a delightful romp across the greater Atlanta area. We've decided that when I become a speaker, she's going to be my permanent sales rep. Now we just need a young, laid-back, yet hard-working manager to complete our mega wonder team of doom!

Carrabba's has good food. Their crab cakes are excellent.

When over a hundred women gather in a constricted hallway, few good things happen. Luckily that didn't last long.

Our speaker has lost her voice. Unfortunately I believe that I'm closer to the bottom of the replacement chain than the top. Fortunately she can still present, so we won't really have to worry about finding out exactly where I stand.

Tomorrow, the pink tie's a-comin'-out. And this sentence is yet another moment for those of you who know me intimately to smile to yourselves and give a little chuckle.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pink Bags-a-plenty

Medusa came to the workshop today. I've seen some crazy hairdo's in my time, but this one takes the cake. The only picture I was able to get was a veiw from the back with my camera phone. Oddly enough it doesn't look all that different from the real-life version. I was rather frightened when she walked in. I talked to her after the presentation and when she nodded her head, or moved it in any way her hair would wobble like it was going to fall off. Odd.

We've decided that since we're dealing with women this week they need something visual...and cute. So we've devised a system of putting all post-seminar, pre-workshop information in a dainty pink bag with a little ribbon on top. I'm about pinked out - and we still have two days left. But it's fun.

I'm having a week where I realize that the more I learn, the more there is to learn. It's slightly disheartening, but then I remember that I'm only 23 and I've only been doing my job for 3 months.

I bought a new macbook computer. There are things I really like about it, and there are things I don't so much like. I think it balances out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's raining...women.

So, these women’s conferences are fantastic – especially when we get a few stray men. They feel slightly awkward and out of place – it’s rather entertaining.

Now I don’t know what it is about plastic surgery, but sometimes – most of the time in fact – I’m of the opinion that people should just age gracefully. There was a woman in her mid-sixties that came to our conference with a pair of breasts that couldn’t have been more than a couple of years old. And believe me, she displayed them proudly.

Today we had an upset costumer. She let us know by waiting until 10 minutes into the presentation and then standing and yelling out for all to hear that we should have paid for parking, served her meal when she wanted, and not advertised falsely. The fact that she accepted an invitation to attend a free conference where a meal and free gift would be provided at no cost makes her, at that point, quite an ingrate. We were a bit nervous about the rest of the crowd feeling similar sentiments until she yelled out “I’m hungry!” with a southern lilt in her voice. At that point everyone laughed and the presentation continued.

I’m really having a lot of fun out here. The female sales rep – Danielle – and I, get along quite well. Today when people asked where the bathroom was, we kept telling them they could just use the planter in the hallway. It was most entertaining.

I’m watching a show called dangerous drivers and the phrase “shifty chauffeur” was just used – amusing.

I think our speaker doesn’t like me much. Our first night in town we were sitting down to a charming meal at the waffle house, and I informed her that I don’t much like sales. Being that my current career is in sales, I think I left a bad taste in her mouth. It could also be that she’s a gorgeous, driven, successful woman and I’m a goofy 23-year-old recent college graduate and the hierarchy of high school has simply prevailed in the business world.

I’m still being entertained by the male/female dynamics of my team. Especially since the women are rather attractive. And because of the age difference involved, and other extenuating factors, I can be a mere observer of the events as they unfold. Delightful.

Current book recommendation – Out of Darkness by Keith Terry.

Also, I experienced allergies for the first time this week. There is a thin layer of pollen covering the city of Atlanta and giving a sickly green tinge to everything in sight. This pollen took my sinuses on a rollercoaster ride yesterday afternoon. Not such a pleasant thing – I don’t recommend it to anyone. Avoid Atlanta during the spring.

I didn’t know it was possible, but I found something better than a brownie – sort of. It’s actually a cheesecake that uses a thick chewy brownie as the crust. I don’t think it can get any better.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pollen count

Another week has finally arrived. Two weeks off was rather refreshing, but I’m ready to be back at work. A little precursor to my adventures this week – I talked to my boss on the phone last week and he informed me that this week we’ll be doing women’s conferences. Now for a normal week we have, at most, 1500 people register for our seminars. On the way to the airport my manager informed me that we currently have 3700 people registered for the week. Also, they will all be women – no men. I think I’m going to be in my element this week.

I happen to be the youngest person on my team, and I’m almost convinced that I’m the youngest person currently working for the company. I’m in a team of 5 this week, as opposed to 3. My speaker is a woman as is one of the other sales reps. I think we’re going to have some fun. I feel like everyone’s cute younger brother. It’s an odd feeling, but not bad.

On my flight to Atlanta the stewardess who got my drink for me had really big lips – not everything contributing to the size of her lips was put there by nature.

I sat in between a rather large man and a tiny woman on my flight. This was awkward because the space on either side was unbalanced. The miniscule figure to my right actually got smaller as she curled up into a ball in her seat and took a nap. Interesting.

The other young man who is a sales rep with us this week is an intriguing study for me. He’s a typical testosterone-filled ego-driven male. He’s competitive, over-confident – especially when it comes to women – and a bit arrogant. I like watching him.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A week in...

My week in Pennsylvania was filled with occurrences. Whether any of them are worth relating is another question.

I think we really hit the jackpot as far as lower class, uneducated, stagnant people go. I don't think I've ever seen more gathered in one location. Not that I'm judging them, most of them can't help it. But some can and that's what bothers me!

Aside from that here are some highlights from Northeastern PA:

First, our trip to the airport on Monday was even fraught with adventure. We saw someone hit a bird, and the bird was still alive and flopping around on the pavement. It was kind of sad. I hope it didn't suffer too long.

At baggage claim I saw the aunt from "Nanny McPhee" walk up and grab her baggage. She wasn't nearly as ostentatiously dressed, but she had the same haircut and nose.

During our first event I think the old and disabled were out in full force. We had at least two oxygen tanks, a walker, and a colostomy bag. We also had a table fall on a woman's ankle and they had to call the ambulance...well I don't know if they had to, but they did it anyway. Sort of a much ado about nothing situation.

We stayed at a Day's Inn our second night in PA and the room was equipped with a floor to ceiling window that looked out onto the indoor patio, and a cinder block ceiling. High quality if I've ever seen it. A word of caution to those who dare to stay at the Day's Inn in Danville - breakfast ends promptly at 9:30. If you arrive at 9:32, there will be no breakfast left.

Later at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre I was taking a break in the men's restroom and noticed that music playing over the system was very much 'sexual encounter' type music. Two soulful black people singing about how they love and want each other. In the same vein as "You're havin' my baby." Why this was playing in the men's room I'll never understand, but I got a laugh out of it.

By the time Thursday rolled around I was nearly fed up with the people that were coming. None of them could listen or follow directions and they all seemed to have the education of a second grader. I was frustrated. At that very moment a ray of light shone on my dismal world. Her name was Linda. Linda is an 81 year old woman from Brooklyn. No normally a woman like this would be accompanied by an equally decrepit man, a wheelchair, or a nurse, but all Linda had was a large fur hat and one of the most amazing coats I've ever seen. It looked like a Persian rug. I expressed my admiration for her coat and she started a conversation with me - in her old woman Brooklyn accent - about how the people of Pennsylvania have no style and don't know how to dress. She said they all look like they should be washing floors. I was most amused. She quite literally made my entire week.

Another true highlight of my week was a brownie from TGI Friday's. Now I'm a fan of almost any brownie, but this wasn't just a brownie - it was an experience. I recommend it to everyone.

To top off my week I had a first - we had a service animal attend one of our events. A standard American poodle named Noah. He was a beautiful dog and very well behaved.

And what week in my world would be complete without a mullet sighting? This mullet was particularly special. The man had curly hair. The business end of the mullet was a poofy widow's peak, the party part of the mullet flowed down his neck and over his shirt collar like water out of a dream. It was truly a sight.

Pennsylvania - land of the Amish, the dutch, and the nation's #4 St. Patrick's Day parade (which is actually held the week before) was...well...different. On Saturday when we left the hotel for the airport it dawned on me that I hadn't been outside for 2 days. This is sad. Especially since upon leaving the hotel I saw a huge Salvation Army store across the street. So, at the end of a 5-week working spree it's good to be home and have not just one, but two weeks off to rest up for my next adventure.

Fear not, faithful readers, I shall return in two weeks time armed with my computer (I decided that the obnoxious nature of airport security wasn't as annoying as not having a computer for a week), my rapier wit, and the endless throngs of knowledge hungry people that flock to our 90 minute seminars. Plus, I'm going to use the next two weeks to memorize the seminar presentation and audition to be a speaker for the company. Wish me luck and send me your happy vibes!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

San Adreas is at fault

For the first time in my new career I saw a butt crack today. It was large and highly unpleasant - alarming in fact. These are the people I meet. These are the people I love.

My managing career has extended beyond last night. Our manager did arrive, but this is his last week with the company so he's just letting me do the managing. Basically that means I do the intro for the speaker and fill in the right boxes on the paperwork. Not too hard. If I had to deal with hotels, caterers, car rental etc. etc. etc. that might be a little harder. But maybe one day I'll be there!

Back to an earlier rant - It's amazing that people continue to fill their own information in the 'guest' section of the registration card, even after I say, pointing to the appropriate area "I need your name and phone number here, and your guest's information in this section." I just don't get it. People just don't listen. Why don't they teach classes in listening? It's probably the most important part of communication, but no one can do it!

Sadly there have been few, if any, opportunities for pictures this week. I did want one of the aqueduct, but I didn't have my camera and I haven't been back - I'm afraid of contracting Ebola or something equally sinister.

One more week down, one more to go and then I get one off. Next week I'll be in PA. It should be frigid and adventurous.

I'm grateful to have a college education and be able to correctly use words such as pedantic, lugubrious, tempestuous, and banal. Life is more fun with big adjectives.


My flights home from California took me from Fresno to LA then to SLC. Why the roundabout route? No one knows. It could be that the Fresno airport had no direct flights. It had a total of 15 gates, and though it's an international airport, I doubt they fly many places besides LA and Tijuana. However the plane ride was rather entertaining. It was a double prop plane and there were only 9 of us on board. Plus if I'd flown direct from Fresno I'd have missed the gorgeous sunset over the ocean in LA.

Next week I'll be in Pennsylvania. One of my stops is Scranton - home of "The Office." Exciting times. However due to the extremely obnoxious nature of airport security I'm going to try a week sans laptop and see how I like it. But fear not faithful readers, I'll take note of the week's adventures and post a summary blog when I get home. The only downside I see to this situation is that I don't have time to run to the Library before I leave for PA, so I'll have to be creative in my entertainment efforts.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The 80's never left

I've seen several fashion feauxpas this week including, but not limited to, a leather coat with poofy sleeves, a banana clip used by a woman wearing a denim vest complete with lace sleeves, and blue velvet stretch pants. Exciting times.

Today I got the opportunity to be a manager for one event. The manager I was working with is going to Australia next week, so they shipped him home to prepare and our backup manager doesn't get here until tomorrow, so for dinner I got to be the manager. It was pretty easy. Being a manager for the whole week might be a little more difficult, but for one session it was ok.

For lunch today we had a deaf couple come in and we were sans interpreter. I know enough sign that I was able to communicate that fact with them, and let them know that they should be ok because most of the information is presented in the power point slides. This whole situation is rather odd because on Sunday of this week I made a new friend at church who is deaf and I interpreted, or tried, for him in priesthood.

I had a strawberry banana waffle for breakfast and a ma and pa waffle house just down the street - delightful.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Registration takes cognitive complexity

On our registration forms there's a section for the person who received the mail. This section already has their name and address filled in. All they have to do is enter their phone number and e-mail address. There is another section right beside this section for the information of whatever guest this person decides to bring. It says things like Guest name, guest address, guest phone number. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who fill in their own information there. I guess writing the word 'guest' 18 times isn't enough information to let these people know that we want their guest's information because we already have the mail recipient's info.

Speaking of filling out forms. I've realized that to fill something in and to fill something out means exactly the same thing.

Tonight we had two drunk people come to the dinner session. We had to ask them, politely, to leave. Good times.

I walked to the McDonald's to get a McGriddles for breakfast this morning and there was a canal alongside the road I was walking. There were two shopping carts and an office chair in the canal. I was expecting to see a dead body. It reminded me of my days in Richfield bumping into 'dead cows' in the canal and trying to avoid catching a disease while enjoying the cool refreshing water.

I'm glad I remembered my electric shaver this week.