Monday, June 25, 2007

Traveling...sort of

First of all, I'd like to draw your attention to some new features of my blog. First, just under my banner you'll notice something that says "This week Greg:" This will be followed, weekly, by a description of where I am and what I'm doing that week. That way, you'll know whether I'm on the road or home, and if on the road where that road is taking me.

Second, just under my "About Me" section I've added a Mulletin Board - kudos and many thanks to my new friend Toffer (Now I know 2, though they spell it differently, but still - Weird!) for the idea. Since I see at least one mullet weekly, I'm going to do my darndest to get photos of the mullets I run across and I'll post them there.

Now, on to the real purpose of this post. I haven't really been traveling anywhere with my time off...except the Gateway, Provo, and the yearly migration to the Manti Pageant, but I have been taking trips down memory lane, and they've been filling me with laughter, so I'm going to post some pictures from my past (aaahhh!!!). Some of my favorite memories from the last few years, hopefully you'll all get a laugh out of my facial hair moments, my atrociously bohemian hair-do, and the fact that I'm making the same face in all of these pictures.

These are before and after pictures from my haircut. I was in a play called the Caucasian Chalk Circle (one of the worst shows I've been in BTW). We all had to grow out our hair and facials, thus the beard. When the play was over I decided to keep the beard and the long hair. I trimmed the beard to a goatee, and let my locks flow. Then I got an internship with Disney and had to lose the hair, so there it is. I'm not gonna lie - I kinda miss it. The hair, not the play.

This is the Off the Cuff superhero show. I was White Boy - word to your mother! And I'm holding a rubber chicken - the rubber chicken of truth, in fact - complete with its own superhero cape. The other Off the Cuff pic is from our "Fashion Divas of the Future" Show. That's really the only explanation I have.

Me and Miss Emily Hyde looking hot for our dance concert. Yes, I own the suit.

And this is a picture of me with a sculpture I made out of spare picnic supplies in the back of the Germany Pavilion at Epcot during one of my oh-so-productive cast survey shifts.

The last photo is of me and my goodest of good friends Tiffani. This was during the Caucasian Chalk Fiasco. We were facetiously trying to be hot, and ended up being absurdly so.

So, thanks for indulging me. I've got lots more pictures - me with a bright red satanic skull, me wearing the bottom half of a chicken-wire snowman, that one time I was Willy Wonka at the Elementary school, and of course the Butt dance (see the 'my video' link on my sidebar) - but I don't want to bore anyone, though it may, in fact, be too late for that. These were just some that brought a smile to my face, and will hopefully have the same effect on all of you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Breaking News

Well my faithful friends, I'm sorry, and not-so-sorry, to report that I have the next 5 weeks off. That's right - I have a job where I don't have to work for 5 weeks in a row. This certainly has its advantages:
Lots of free time to explore the world, make new friends, read, catch up on unfinished projects, make plenty of brownies, go on vacation, and sleep in my own bed for an extended period of time.
It also has its disadvantages:
Time to clean the bathroom, the inevitable boredom that will come because my normal friends are either out of town or have 9-5 jobs, a 5 week stint with no paycheck, and of course 5 weeks without a blog.

Now, I will be traveling during my 5 week vacation, and it's probable that I will sporadically add something to my blog from my travels, but it's not a guarantee. And even if I do write, I won't really be traveling for another 3 weeks, though I will be spending time in Provo, which is like its own country and I may have exciting things to report. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think maybe we just need some space. Some time to figure out where we stand and what we really want...or that I don't want anyone to think I've disappeared. Keep checking and you may be surprised! And just think - when I do come back in a consistent manner I'll be an actual professional speaker, and I'm sure that will bring up its own adventures...

Until next time!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

One Short Day

I like the public bathrooms in Ft. Lauderdale. In every hotel we’ve been in lately, all of the stalls are like little rooms. They have slatted wood bungalow-type doors. So it’s like doing your thing in a little private bungalow bathroom…only cleaner than an actual bungalow bathroom.

The last day of the workweek is always exciting. We do two events back-to-back and are done by about 3. Of course our flight schedule still doesn’t usually put us home until about 10, but we’re done working and it’s awesome. Plus breakfast is excellent on those days.

I met a girl today named Karyan. She pronounced it like carrion. How cruel is that?

Hauling a fully-loaded bell cart across carpet is roughly akin to dragging Jabba the Hut across sand on a bicycle.

Our flight this evening from Atlanta left AN HOUR LATE! Thus I'm posting this at almost 2 a.m. I guess it's lucky I was in first class. I got a brownie.

Fun with the macbook camera:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Generic Post Title

According to O - the Oprah Magazine, Utah has the highest percentage of married couple families in the country. Now, this is probably not a surprise to anyone - nor should it be. You're probably also thinking "Sure, but they also have one of the highest divorce rates." And though Utah does rank among the top states for suicides, anti-depressant usage, and bankruptcy, it's not even in the top 10 for divorces. And now you know.

This morning a larger woman in a wheelchair - who I incidentally enjoyed a great deal for reasons which will soon become apparent - asked, when handed her name-tag "What's the right breast to put this on?" I responded "I honestly have no idea" at which point another woman who happened to be standing line started laughing because she realized what the incapacitated woman had asked. She - the laugher - then said, referring to the size of the other's chest, "Honey, you've probably got enough room no matter what." The invalid responded with "I've probably got room for yours, mine, and anyone else's!" This was a most delightful repartie. I just laughed and sent them on their way.

We don't allow alcoholic beverages into our events. I think this is understandable. What's not understandable is why, when people choose to get their fire water, they do it 2 minutes before the event starts. We then have to inform them that they can't go in. So, we get to watch them chug their drink - always entertaining.

After our dinner presentation a woman came up to me and said "You did a good job. You were up there talking right?" I said, "No, that was Joanna." Funny.

I got to take a walk along the beach tonight. I saw people doing things in public that should be saved for private. I think I was attacked by sand fleas and/or mosquitoes, and I almost fell down. But it was a beautiful night.

Random picture:


Today I was going to tell of my adventures in the form of a photographic essay - just pictures, no words. But some of the pictures just required an explanation. So, rather than try to confine my comments to some pictures, I've decided to just have a regular blog with an abnormal amount of photographic accouterments. I apologize in advance if some of the pictures don't line up with the stories/comments/quips.

It was overcast this morning, so Whitney and I slept in. We decided to wait until Saturday to watch the sunrise since we have to be up early anyway. So rain or shine - we'll be there. Of course if it's overcast again, I suppose we'll just watch the clouds get lighter.

Our ballroom this morning was quite large. It was also set up horizontally. The speaker didn't like this, so we had to flip the room so that it was facing the long way. As we were thus employed, there were some fake trees that needed to be repositioned. They were rather tall, and though they looked weighty, the weren't. I grabbed one of the planters and began to drag it - quite easily mind you - to it's new destination. As I was happily relocating the pseudo-sappling, an over-zealous hotel employee warned - "Be careful, those are heavy!" Notice that he wasn't quick enough to do it before I started dragging the tree, only as I was in the very act - and with apparent ease. He quickly took over, so I didn't put up a fight, but instead moved on to other things.

During lunch a Russian woman showed up late. She got past my registration table before I could catch her, and after firmly saying "Ma'am" as loud as I dare so as not to interrupt the ongoing meeting, I followed her into the ballroom and tapped her on the shoulder. She then screamed. After I fruitlessly talked with her for a moment, I decided that it would do no harm to just let her in to have her free lunch (I could tell she wouldn't be getting anything out of the presentation). She wandered to the front of the room and interrupted what was going on. After the meeting she attempted to steal a small stack of Styrofoam coffee cups from the hotel, but the Tongan Teddy-bear stopped her.

We saw nearly 300 women at dinner. This means that we saw more people in one day today than I saw for the entire week my first time in Canada. Let me reiterate that Winnipeg was awful.

Something I don't like about Florida - nothing dries out here. I went for a run last night before bed, and the pool just looked too inviting to pass up, so I jumped in in my gym shorts. They're still wet. In Utah they'd be dry in an hour - maybe less. I like dry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Robert Stone's Wife

So much to write about today, hope you're all in for an entertaining ride...

Something I forgot to mention from yesterday - Our speaker has laryngitis which means I almost had to jump up and do the presentation yesterday...almost. I was scared out of my little pressed suit pants, but very excited for the opportunity, however she made it through, so I guess I'll just have to wait...

I think my company needs to sponsor a new game-show called "Spot the Attendee." Whenever we see a group of people accoutered with wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen tanks we immediately think "They're some of our attendees." The sad part is, we're usually right.

I've come to the conclusion that, in general, people know what they're talking about when at work. I hate it when I give an instruction such as "We only need this part" or "Fill this out" or "This one is fine" or "No, you don't need that/one" and people say "Are you sure?" Of course I'm sure, that's why I said it. I've been doing this for a while now and I know what I'm doing. I know what I need from you and what you need from me. Questioning that only aggravates me.

Now is the time in my week when I'd like to elaborate on my team and its dynamics. We're fairly certain that our manager has a slight crush on our speaker. This is understandable since our speaker is the walking personification of Barbie. However it's slightly awkward because the manager is married. Now, nothing inappropriate is going on, in fact everything that is happening is more just entertaining for us. He rather dotes on her. The fact that she's high maintenance makes their relationship rather like that of Hyacinth and her husband in Keeping Up Appearances though our speaker isn't nearly that obnoxious. We have two cars because of our numbers. They ride in one car while Whitney, Sam, and I ride in the other. As we were leaving this morning Sam made the comment that our manager was driving Miss Daisy. It was so funny because it was so true. Our manager is one of those uptight people who is detail oriented - almost to a fault. He was instructing Whitney earlier today on the finer points of cutting paper. He's also terrible with directions and has had to pull over to the side of the rode about 4 times in the past couple of days while driving around to gain his bearings and let us know what's going on...though we don't really care.

Sam is one of my new favorite people. He's a large Tongan man. He played professional football in Europe for a couple of years and in the US for a total of 3 days. He used to be a cop in Dallas and now works with us. He could break you in half if he so desired, but really he's just a big teddy bear. Plus he's hilarious. He's so chill and we have a great time pimpin' it out in the mini-van.

Why anyone would choose to go by the name 'Girt' is beyond me. It sounds far too much like 'girth' for comfort.

Hands-free Marge came to our dinner session. Fanny pack and all.

We just pulled up to the hotel we'll be staying at for the next three days. It's literally right across the street from the beach. There's a walkway from our hotel, over the road, to the beach - fantastic. Whitney and I are going to watch the sunrise tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kiss of Death

I handed two elderly women their planners this afternoon and they each thanked me by giving me a kiss on the cheek! Delightful. I, for some reason, immediately thought of the Dementors from Harry Potter, but it really wasn't bad at all.

The beach is about 7 minutes from our hotel, so Whitney and I drove down during our lunch break. When we arrived we saw that the beach was closed. The red swim flags were flying, and it started to rain. So much for fun in the sun. As a result, though, we found the Cheesecake Factory. On a side note, and I never say this, but I think this picture makes me look fatter than I really am. Not fat, lest anyone should doubt my own self awareness, just fatter.

I wonder at the size of the female bladder. It constantly amazes me that more women can't sit through and hour and a half without retreating to the restroom. I feel like turning into a parent i.e. "You should have thought about that before we left!" Incidentally Whitney and I cruised around in the minivan tonight after dinner. It was P-I-M-P!

My favorite word - chortle.

I just got off the phone with my friend Tara. While chatting I realized that I know which snacks they rotate in the Delta snack pack. Oreos and shortbread, two different kinds of crackers with cheese, and raisins. Sad.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thank you for the music

I've come to the conclusion that my life is a musical. I really decided this quite some time ago, but it's been strongly reiterated lately. I read e-mails people send me, I read blogs, I have experiences and I think close to 90% of the time my reaction is a song.

The cast of the Golden Girls really does live in Miami. They came to dinner. Geriatric women with too much makeup and some seriously gaudy jewelry. I could do nothing but laugh.

I had a realization today - I'm a professional. People take things I say as credible information from someone who would know. This scares me a bit. I got a small glimpse of myself through someone else's eyes. I looked like a competent, intelligent, tenable source of counsel - it was a bizarre feeling to say the least.

I'm annoyed by screw-off shampoo caps.

Every once in a while we get a man at the women's conference. At these moments it's nice to have some fun. I therefore say things like "Well sir, you might feel a little out of place tonight..." One man tonight said, with a stoic, wide-eyed stalker face, "Oh no, I like it." He even had a molestache - creepy.

Perk of the day - hot tub access. And let me just say that some swim suits were never meant to be worn by some women.


I didn't get an upgrade. :( Delta lied. I may have to seek retribution.

The lady who checked us in at our hotel was named Eva Green. 10 points for anyone who knows why that's funny to me.

The room they originally gave us didn't work, so darn all our luck they had to upgrade us to a suite.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Duvet Dreams

Dear Diary, after observation and intense study the empirical evidence seems to strongly suggest that Taylor is, in fact, insane.

Now, at this point in my week of posts from the flowered land, one might be wondering "What is Greg's random obsession with Taylor this week?" Well, here's the answer. Taylor and I were chatting on Monday night while waiting for the rental car. I wrote something down to write in my blog (if I don't write things down, I often forget them) and he inquired as to the purpose of my notes. I told him about my blog and he said "You should say I'm awesome in your blog" thus Monday night's post. Well, I'm really good at taking things from funny and appropriate right on into awkward and sketchy. I don't just push the line, I get a running start and head for it at full speed - hence the random obsession. On that note, remind me to tell you about a bag of cherries I experienced...

Bliss of the year - Not only have I been upgraded on one flight next week - I've been upgraded on all of my flights! That makes the fact that I'm flying out on Sunday night - less than 24 hours after I get home - and the fact that I'll no longer be working with my attractive blond friend because apparently there's another team doing women's conferences and the staff member of that team is butting heads with the speaker, so they had to do some switching - more bearable.

Random factoid - ginseng tea should only be consumed when prescribed.

We have a new winner - someone showed up 2 hours early. I really think that's a record. I mean, my word, the only thing I know of where you have to show up 2 hours early is for an international flight. Where do these people come from?

I want to own a candid video that someone has taken of me wandering - aimless and confused. I think people look so funny in that situation, and I'm sure I would look equally amusing, if not more so.

Socks + Sandals = Disaster (yet oddly adorable after the age of 72)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Spunk and a fruit cup

Dear Diary, Taylor told me a joke - what's do pirates and players have in common? - It's all about the booty.

As I walked down the isle of the conference room removing conference related debris from the classroom style tables, I pondered the meaning of it all. Suddenly the ballroom door opened and a weathered face, whose accompanying body was accoutered in pink, forced itself inside asking "Is this the right place?" This is a common question, so of course we responded in the affirmative. "Well," she brazenly queried "Why am I the only one here?" - "Maybe because your AN HOUR EARLY!" I felt like saying, but didn't...

I used my Spanish today. It's better than I thought it would be, though I had to struggle on through at points.

I met a very spunky woman who will turn 90 in February. This woman had such a zest for life. He was more alive and vibrant than many people I've met who are only in their 40's. I hope I'm a spunky old person.

It's raining. This causes the humidity to rise dramatically when combined with the temperature and has two very apparent effects on my immediate person - First my glasses instantly fog up whenever I leave an air conditioned region, and second I find it extremely difficult to breath *gasp gasp*

So, I think it highly amusing that my call for comments spawned 6 comments - 5 of them from one person - thanks Leah, you're my hero...and Dad, love ya!

We just got back from watching Ocean's 13. Good movie - much better than the second one.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thousands of people

Dear Diary, Taylor is a hero. He saved someone from being locked in a freezer this morning.

We're staying at the Hilton. They made our attendees pay $10 for 2 hours of parking. Outrageous? Yes. Especially since I can park at the airport for $6 a day. Who would have the gall to charge more than the airport? But I guess Paris needs that new pair of shoes...*rolls eyes indignantly*

I think I've decided I don't like my new haircut. It looks fine, I just don't think it' Besides it accentuates the fact that I'm graying and balding.

Whoever invented toilet seat covers for public bathrooms is my personal hero of the day. I would hug him if I could.

There needs to be a beach in Salt Lake. After two weeks of being close to the coast and being able to walk along the beach and just ponder the intricacies and eccentricities of life - I'm beginning to need a beach. I get one next week too.

I seem to be experiencing a dirth of comments. So, this is a call for comments of any kind. Whether you know me or not; whether you have anything minutely relevant to add or not; whether you support Mitt Romney for president or not - leave a comment. I just want to see how many I can get. Especially if you don't know me. I like to get random comments from unexpected strangers. If you know me, or know of me, and need to be anonymous *wink wink* feel free to do so! Even if it's not on this post, as this post seems to be lacking content...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Grand Floridian

Dear Diary, Taylor isn't gay, but I do think he might have hair plugs.

This beats all - the maid knocked on our door this morning. This may not seem out of the ordinary, that's what maids do. But the 'do not disturb' sign was on the door. As far as I'm concerned, that's akin to sacrilege.

I am sooo thirsty. Despite the outrageously humid conditions, I just can't seem to consume enough water.

I got a sunburn last week in California and I'm now peeling. I hate peeling, it makes me feel leprous - plus it itches.

Our commute this morning consisted in walking from our hotel room to the conference center. The CC is a separate building from the hotel, so we walked outside - which sort of goes without saying. As we approached our destination we saw a camper parked in front of the doors. We though "Oh look, one of our attendees camped out overnight to get a good seat." Funny, yes, but sad because this wouldn't have surprised any of us.

I got an email from Delta today saying that I will now be sitting in seat 4D on my flight to Ft. Lauderdale next week. That's first class - in so many ways.

Here's something I'd like to share with everyone - happy list

I appreciate the beauty of people. Both physical and otherwise, but physically beautiful people rarely appear in my current line of work. When they do it's a much welcome respite from the lack of teeth and common grooming habits that seems so prevalent in the world today. This is especially true when their grandmother is waiting for them and describes them as "Blond, blue-eyed, and really good-looking." Now normally when a grandmother says this one thinks "Right, at most this person is moderately attractive" so when it turns out that the grandma is not, in fact, biased, but telling the absolute truth - that's a bonus.

Tonight = free steak dinner.


This is an addendum, but totally necessary:

The following sign was seen on our way to dinner - "Adult Toys, We bare all" and then just below that "Trucker Discounts."

Thoughts from this week's Speaker -

"The closest anyone in my family comes to watercolors is my grandpa. When he was senile he used to paint with his poop."

"It takes a brave man to wear striped socks. Pippy Longstockings and homosexuals - those are the only people I know that wear striped socks." He said this after he saw my striped Old Navy socks. Little does he know...Pippy and I are tight. Consequently, after our dinner conversation, I think he might be slightly homophobic.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Humidity makes me giddy

Dear Diary, I think Taylor might be gay.

I LOVE being back at work. It's good to have vacation and time off etc. but there's something to be said for good hard word - not that what I do is necessarily good, or hard, but it is work. It's just good to get back into it. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 16-year-old self that...

Mullet sighting. Right off the bat, no waiting. Ducktale mullet. This is quality, Anakin, right off the nascar circuit, stuff.

Sometimes I am such a child, like when I ask for cookies and milk during the beverage service on the airplane, or the fact that the most exciting part about going to the beach is building a sandcastle, or when I buy 10 episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe from the $5.50 bin at Wal-mart.

I gave myself a haircut - it's different than the haircut I usually give myself and I'm trying to decide whether I like it.

There was a couple tonight who looked like a cruise ship. The man had on white trousers and a captain's hat and the woman was wearing a red and white horizontally striped shirt. I was waiting for some shuffle board and a midnight buffet.

I don't know why I even brought my suit coat this week. It's hot and I won't be wearing it. For an unexplained reason when I first had this thought it came out, in my head, as 'I don't know why I even brought pants.' Though that would also relieve some of the discomfort...

Dear Diary

I'm working with a kid named Taylor this week. He's freaking awesome.

I don't like it when people call me things like 'champ' or 'sport'. If they're being facetious, that's one thing, but when they're less than 10 years older than me and are saying it in all seriousness- not ok.

So, last week on vacation I only managed to get through about 30 pages of David Copperfield, thus my adventures with young Davy will continue on into this week - and possibly next, it's a really long book, and that's always daunting.

Yesterday - Monday - was a random day. I'm chalking it up to sleep deprivation. I got to bed around 2 am on Sunday and woke up around 7. I just couldn't sleep anymore. The few hours of sleep I did get were extremely restless. Due to this, and other factors which I'll choose not to disclose, I was literally on the verge of tears for the greater part of the day. I was afraid I'd have an emotional breakdown on the plane. Luckily I was able to sleep. That, combined with the energetic 6-year-old I was seated next to (he was going to Disney World, so I totally understood his excitement) and my decision to avoid a book about the Holocaust made for a very pleasant flight. Also, I had an excellent smoothie for lunch.

The high point - and coincidentally the turning point - of my day was when I found out that next week I'll be doing more women's conferences. The week of conferences we did in Atlanta was probably the most fun I've had yet in this job. It's the same team next week, sans the over-confident karate master. So, we should have a great week, plus it'll be a blast. A week in sunny Florida surrounded by women and a man who thinks homosexuality is caused by fetuses being exposed to hormones in meat. That's right folks, the cure for homosexuality is vegetarianism! But I digress...