Saturday, September 29, 2007

Canada's flag should be blue

Because we're in the nether reaches of Canada's east coast, I don't get home until Sunday afternoon, which means I get to spend the rest of my weekend hanging out with...well no one really.

In my boredom I made this video. For most of you this will be funny. For those of you who've met the boy whose face is in the video, you might just have to change your pants:



Oddity of the week - we didn't see any wheelchairs, walkers or oxygen tanks all week, it was like being in an episode of "The Twilight Zone". Until this afternoon when we got a wheelchair, a walker, and an oxygen tank. To top it all off the lady with the oxygen tank, who couldn't have been younger than 85, was wearing a bright pink plastic raincoat. These are the moments that make life worth living.

Because of the ultimate amount of boredom I'm experiencing this week I've been able to stumble across some pretty funny stuff this week. A prime example being The Gobbler.

I'm cold. I don't like being cold. I'm sitting in the airport in Sydney, Nova Scotia waiting for our flight to arrive and it's cold. Our flight will be cold. I know this because I've rarely been warm on a flight for more than about 10 minutes. When we get off the plane it will be cold. It will be cold in the morning when we rise at the crack of dawn to make our flight. That flight will be cold and when I get to Salt Lake, it will most likely be cold. All of this doesn't bode well for the future either. It's only going to get colder. I'm not a cold-loving person. I enjoy a few things that accompany the cold i.e. hot chocolate, sweaters, a fuller enjoyment of the company of others *wink wink*, but in general I'd rather it was warm. - As a side note I think my hands are more attractive when they're cold, but then I have cold hands...sigh...

Also, I'd like to learn French.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pea Soup

The fog is dense and...foggy...

The hand soap in this hotel smells like bug repellent.

Quote of the day: "He smelled like tequila shots and pee."

Stupid people moment of the day:
Greg: We'll be ready to go in in about 5 or 10 minutes.
Attendee: Can we go in yet?

When I eventually do get another job, I'm really going to miss that amount of free dessert that is currently at my disposal.

BAH!!!

I don't remember the last time I was this bored. It's consuming my soul.

I've been sitting a lot today, my back is not happy with this situation.

As an end to this entirely random day I had a bag of sunchips and a 'pizza burger' (a hamburger bun with pepperoni, mozzerella, and pizza sauce) for dinner.

Before retiring to my huge king-sized bed I watched a double episode of CSI. One where the casts from Miami and New York combine in their efforts to take down the bad guy. It was intense.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Noba Scocha

Ok, I thought it was going to be an amazingly great week, but it ends up that I'm totally sucking at life. I'm blaming Canada. Happens every time.

In other news, I took a delightful walk this afternoon. My walks have been rather consistently delightful as of late, and I enjoy that. My manager and I strolled along the edge of the harbor in the brisk autumn air and it was just refreshing. Nice to get out of the hotel, even if only for a moment.

There are far too many people in Nova Scotia with last names that start with either "Mc" or "Mac". McNeil, MacKenzie, McLeod, Macintyre, Maclennan, McLaine, McKinnon. It's Mclame!

The key cards in this hotel are atrociously unreliable.

I went for another walk this evening. It's a bit cold outside, but it was nonetheless delightful. I sat on the small boardwalk and stared out at the harbor contemplating my life and the frustrations I'm currently feeling (I just found out that I'm probably working again next week...and in Canada) and it was good. I'm feeling better and I guess I just have to deal with it. I love the flexibility of my schedule, but I'm not such a fan of its unpredictability, or the fact that I have to spend extended periods of time in Canada. I think in life I just want to have my cake and to eat it too, but as far as I can tell, that's the purpose of cake.

Several quotes that have made me laugh today, all from one Eric D. Snider (view his entirely entertaining and hilarious collection of writings here):

"I can say I have stood at the precipice of hell because I have heard Rosie O'Donnell and "Sesame Street's" Elmo sing "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (If what you hear is a brass-voiced Gorgon dueting with a shrill sock puppet, then yes, we are hearing the same thing.)"

"My attitude toward spiders is similar to my attitude toward ballerinas: I am in awe of your natural beauty and flawless instincts, but if you come in my house I will kill you."

"Nothing good ever happens when people squat."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Unlike any other

I shared a room with my speaker last night. This is a rarity as the speaker usually gets their own room, but since we're staying at Paul Bunyon's Sea-Shanty Hideaway there was only one non-smoking room, so the two of us shared and the manager braved the world of smoking rooms. Point being that my speaker said he was going for a jog this morning and I saw him leave the room in his crocs. I was going to just laugh out loud, but then he came back. I guess he just went to his car to get his exercise clothing because he then proceeded to change into his running shoes.

Last night I dreamed I was Harry Potter, but I didn't do anything exciting. I think maybe I was actually just myself with Harry's wand. I used it to open stuck drawers, make ceiling fans go faster, etc. Then my dream shifted and I was backstage watching a musical that was some weird mix between Hairspray, Wicked, and Thoroughly Modern Millie - bizarre.

Another anomoly occurred today. We didn't have to work. Instead we had a 5-hour drive across Nova Scotia. Along the way we saw lots of trees, almost lost a projector, and my manager was nearly verbally assaulted by a woman who was a few crayons short of a full box. It was fun, and Nova Scotia really is beautiful. I like driving in the day rather than at night.

Toward the end of our drive we stopped at a place called Lewisborough Fortress. It's a French stronghold from the 1700's. To actually go to the fortress one must pay $17, so we just sort of looked around the little visitor's center and then left. It was rather anticlimactic.

I went to spend a relaxing half-hour in the hot tub this evening and ended up spending a rather mediocre 20 minutes in the luke-warm tub instead *sigh*. When I got back from my less-than-spectacular relaxation rendezvous I took a quick shower and noticed that I still have an odd tan-line on my back from a trip to the beach in June when the smearer of my sunscreen did a less-than-spectacular job.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New...really?

I hate it when you're obviously in the middle of something i.e. reading, or browsing important sites on the internet, and someone feels it would be prudent to strike up a conversation. What's that all about really?

So my manager is totally cracking me up! This is going to be a great week. For those of you who've seen it, he keeps quoting the shoes video (let's get some shoes, betch) and it's just making me laugh.

Lunch today was rather delightful. My manager and I took a stroll along the boardwalk and ate a fried lunch in the shadow of a rather large private yacht. The weather was gorgeous and it was a pleasant respite from the constraints of the brightly carpeted ballroom.

I finished HP7. Loved it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love the word ducky.

I think bright red lipstick is an awesome and absurdly underused fashion statement.

Our GPS unit is nearly useless this week. If you miss a turn (which is easy to do since it says things like "turn left" in the middle of the freeway) it sends you on the most hairbrained and random route recalculations. Today we traveled 10 miles out of our way just to turn right back around and head the way we came. Useless I tell you!

I think when a hotel has a slogan that uses alliteration, that's a bad sign. Tonight we're staying in a hotel called the Heather Hotel: Famous for Fabulous Food. It looks like a cross between a small town diner, a sea shanty, and a lumberjack lodge. Trouble.

On the upside I had the most wonderful piece of cheesecake with dinner.

Potterized

I apologize for yesterday's absence from the blogging world. I was completely enthralled with HP7 and couldn't tear myself away to post anything. However, not much happened yesterday aside from the beginning of my HP7 adventure being hampered by a conversation between a rather pretentious old woman with too much eye liner and someone on the other end of her phone regarding the finer points of diaper changing.

You know, I never get tired of the view from the window of an airplane. It never ceases to leave me in a state of awe.

I'm now in Canada...again. Our week should be rather awful in terms of a business standpoint. We're going to see a third of our guests for the entire week on Saturday afternoon alone. That leaves pretty sparse numbers for the rest of the week. I guess it's a good thing I've some money in savings. But it should be a fun week regardless. Tomorrow is just a travel day and my manager is a really fun guy. He keeps me laughing, so I think I'll enjoy myself this week even if I don't make any money.

Friday, September 21, 2007

There's a piper down!

Friday...that means just one day left. For some reason I am especially anxious to get home this weekend. I hate feeling anxious. Uncertainty and I don't get along so well. Bleh.

I like granola bars...and sandwiches.

I'm having a rather serious dilemma - I'm about to the middle of HP6 and I'm trying to decide if I just want to plunge on through, or if I want to save some for the plane ride tomorrow. What to do, what to do...

Pop-rocks.

A woman came today dressed entirely in blue. She had a beret and her shirt had polka-dots. I laughed inwardly.

One of my favorite things in the world is when old people can't hear themselves talk so they don't realize that the volume of their voice is about 18 decibels above where it should be. Cracks me right up. It does make for some awkward situations, but there's always humor in awkwardness.

The organizers we give out as free gifts are pictured in people's invitations with a cell phone and a PDA, this is to show what one can carry in the organizer. I think it's funny when people are upset that they're not receiving a cell phone and/or PDA (like any company would actually give those things out to everyone for free). What's funnier is when people find out that the organizer comes with a free calculator and are completely appeased.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Uh...este....uh...como es?


At a professional business-oriented seminar designed to help further one's financial success, a hunter orange/camouflage trucker hat is never a good sign.

Mail-order brides make me laugh.

I accidentally swiped my blue sharpie against my light tan suit-coat. Not a good combo. I'm hoping it comes out at the cleaners, though I'm not very optimistic about that actually happening.

I seem to be in a funk of thought today. I have a friend that I email quite frequently. When I email I can usually pontificate for pages on whatever subject suits my fancy at any given moment. Today I was at a loss for words. It was quite odd. I still feel that same sort of dearth. I think it might be because I just want it to be Saturday and my brain won't really focus on anything else. Out here on the road I'm rather constricted as to what I can do/say/wear etc. in my normal life that's not so much the case. As Powerline says in A Goofy Movie: "If the sticky wheel's always gettin' the grease, then I'm totally devoted to disturbing the peace." I feel like being like that right now. I just want to break out.

My speaker hates the movie Footloose, tries to put the moves on his wife if she happens to be asleep when he gets home, and wears flat front pants. He's an enigma. A slightly arrogant, yet nonetheless likable, enigma.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Aaarrgh!!!

Fer those who miss'd it, today were Nation'l Talk Like a Pirate Day yaarrgh! And here's hopin' ye didn't miss it ye lilly livered land lubber's and languid lugubrious lollygaggers! AAARRGH!!!

Our hotel doesn't have an exercise room, so I went running outside this morning. It wasn't cold enough for sweats or a jacket, but I could still see my breath, it was odd.

There seems to be an infusion of Slavic folks around these parts. Who knew the East Coast would be so popular with them?

A rather rambunctious lady today insisted that I wear a name tag. I have a company-provided name tag, but I don't know where it is at the moment. I told her I would make myself one at the first available moment. I walked past her table again after a few minutes and she was rather disappointed to see that I still hadn't donned one. She gave me hers to wear with a challenge that I wear it for the remainder of the day (a total of about 20 minutes) which I did.

I had the most entertaining walk this afternoon. We're in a town called Northampton Massachusetts, it is, in short, delightful. There are about 4,528 cafes and restaurants strewn pell-mell about the city. I don't know how any of them survive. Today's walk was a bit different than yesterdays. More urban, and I listened to my up-beat workout playlist as opposed to Nora Jones, but it was equally uplifting. I noticed a lot of highly amusing things as I was meandering the streets: Three girls crossing the street while walking in sync, liberals flung willy nilly in coffee shops and on monument steps discussing why president Bush is the worst thing to happen to America since synthetic fiber, I even saw a pirate. I found one of the most fantastic vintage shops in creation and bought a sweater vest. I also bought a Venus fly trap which, with my cousins approval, will most likely adorn some nook or cranny of our condo. The following are items I didn't buy, but nonetheless made me laugh:

Ok, Huggy Jesus. And it's only $3.99. Maybe it's sacreligious, but it's hilarious!


Now this one just kills me. Battling unicorns. "Little Princess" vs. "Destructicorn" I mean, wow. I'm trying to decide which part of this is the funniest. The names, the fact that "Little Princess" and "Destructicorn" are written in the same girly font, the fact that they're trying to make the black unicorn badass by adding a skull tattoo to its haunches, the fact that Destructicorn also has a rainbow, but it's an evil rainbow, or maybe it's just the fact that someone actually thought this up and put it into production. It's all just so absurd that all you can do is laugh.


Oh my it's been a good day. I had roast beef and carrot cake for dinner, I finished HP5 and have now started HP6 which I should have finished by the time I get home Sunday thus allowing me to finish it all up with HP7 next week. The rest of the week looks promising, at least for my sanity. Work hasn't been so hot, but it's hard to care when you just don't care.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It was so cold! - How cold was it?

I love free brownies.

Our morning crowd was fairly mainstream. They all seemed like average people. That's kind of weird.

I went on the most invigorating walk this afternoon. It's a lovely day outside. Warm, but with a touch of pre-autumn coolness in the air. The scenery was gorgeous. I strolled along a winding, tree-lined road while listening to Nora Jones and just thoroughly enjoyed myself. Of course the brownie I ate before my walk certainly helped.

I found out this morning that I'll be on the road again next week. I have mixed feelings about this. It'll certainly be good for my wallet, but that means I'll be gone from home for another full week, I won't have a chance to settle into my new home, I won't see my friends for another week, and I won't be able to talk or text because I'll be in Canada. meh.

I wonder sometimes if people are listening to me. Or if they are listening to me, why don't they believe me? Twice today I had to explain something at least three times to the inquiring party. They asked the same questions, I gave the same answers. I wasn't speaking in tongues or using some sort of demented slang, I was speaking plain, very understandable English, yet they were still confused. I don't get it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Connecting

We flew from Salt Lake to Tampa and then to Hartford Connecticut...I don't get it either.

For the first time ever my food portion size at the airport was proportional to the price I paid for it. I was rather amazed.

I'm re-reading Harry Potter five to gear up for my eventual perusal of the 7th book. It's rather good you know.

Last week on my week off I bought a house...ok, so it's actually a condo, but it's completely adorable. I'm rather excited about it. I got everything unpacked and put away before heading out on the road this week, so I'm feeling pretty good at this point.

So, my week has started off rather pleasantly. Let's hope that keeps up!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday in the park

The man who owns the world's worst toupee (no, not Fred Adams, this one was worse. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true.) came to our event today - for the second time! I don't know how he thought we wouldn't recognize the toupee. These people floor me.

If it takes effort to shift your weight from one leg to the other, tham means there's too much weight to shift and you need to loose some. If I ever get to the point where I have to special order my pants, get the extender belt on the plane, or heaven forbid, buy two seats on the plane, someone needs to smack me.

Rubber bands are fun

I dance. This is what I do. It's what I love, and I happen to be half-way decent, so I dance. My speaker this week freaks out whenever I dance. Today he said "Stop that homophobic...uh..." and continued to stammer because he couldn't really figure out what he wanted to say. I said, "Hey you're the homophobic one here!" he said, "You're right, I am homophobic!" in a proud manner. This is not a good thing to say to me. Luckily for him we're going home in about 2 hours, otherwise I would have sooo much fun making him feel uncomfortable. I like to keep people guessing.

Missouri has more aggravating construction than any place I have ever been. But we survived, and now I'm going home.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rays of the Marriott light show

Thoughts on life in general: Because of the nature of my blog, I don't get to expound as much as I'd like on how I feel about life in general...at least I don't think I can, but then I remember - this is my blog and I can do whatever I want! So here goes.

I have a friend who is going through...if not a hard time, at least a bit of a rough patch. I like to think that I'm a good friend and that I'm there for people (maybe I'm delusional), but being on the road makes me feel a bit helpless, a bit detached, a bit...useless. I don't like that feeling. It's hard to feel supportive and encouraging when all you've got is a phone and you can't just run over and give someone a hug and a plate of fresh baked cookies. But I guess I should just be thankful I have America's most reliable wireless network (also God's preferred wireless network for those who wanted to know) and don't have to rely on a horse to get my message to its destination. I hope you know I'm there for you, even if I'm stuck hundreds of miles from home, alone in the middle of a midnight mid-west thunderstorm. ;)

The guys on my team this week focus a lot on women in the conversations of the day. Like...a lot. Their theories, opinions, tastes, past, present, future, advice, etc. etc. etc. That gets kind of annoying, but this morning I had to laugh. My fellow sales rep likes older women and says to me, "You aren't attracted to older women are you?" I just smiled and laughed to myself.

Apparently there's a competition going on in our team. We're getting the opinions of random women i.e. attendees, waitresses, front desk girls etc. on who's the most attractive of the guys on our team. I don't know why we're even trying because the manager is a fairly attractive older Latin guy. He's like the Latin version of George Hamilton. Frankly I don't think the rest of us even stand a chance. I, being a scrawny, clean-cut, white boy, certainly don't stand a chance when we're asking none but the most blue-collar of women. I've resigned myself to this fact and am just entertained by the entire idea. Now, if we were asking artsy, indy, or emo girls, I think I'd sweep it.

It's a week of smelly people. It just is. We can't avoid them.

We use hand sanitizer at the end of every event. It's affectionately been re-named "Attendee-be-gone" and I think with good reason.

The Marriott, which is right down the street from us, and can thus be easily seen from my hotel window, has lights adorning one side which perform a nightly show involving the entire spectrum that's quite entertaining. It's a color-changing, shape-shifting, multi-patterned extravaganza. At one point the wall of the Marriott looks like a plaid picnic blanket. It's pretty cool. Here's a video, sorry you can't experience the full coolness of it all, but my technology can only do so much. If you wait til the end of the video, you'll see the hotel turn into its own marquee:

video

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Kansas City, Cheifly

We're staying on the 25th floor of the downtown Raddison, consequently my ears pop every time I go up to my room. I've also discovered that the fire exit stairs are rather dusty, which would most likely prove disastrous in the event of an actual escape from a fire.

My job, as much as I'm not entertained or uplifted by it, provides an endless supply of priceless moments, like Carol the circus lady (who came back today, BTW), the bra-less wonder, and the "Son-of-a-bitch!" guy. Today that moment came in two forms. First the old man who put in his dentures while walking through the doorway of the ballroom. I had to turn around and walk away to keep from laughing at him. And second, the girl at the front desk. I was chatting with her in my free time and she mentioned something about leather clothing (she's a model on occasion and sometimes gets free clothes.), she said "I mean, I look good in leather, but it's not my thing." So funny.

I think the quality of a sandwich is directly proportional to its ability to fall apart. The less secure the contents of a sandwich are, the better it will be. This is a time-tested, and proven theory. That's why Carl's Jr. commercials work.

We had Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Consequently my my mouth enjoyed - while my GI tract was pummeled with - a brownie bottom cheesecake. Mmmmm...

Two more days...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Duct work

It's time for another venting post. I think God is trying my patience right now. Luckily he's allowing me to keep my sense of humor through the whole thing. Case in point:

Carol came to our presentation and hour and ten minutes late. We were literally just finishing up. I pulled her aside and explained the situation and she proceeded to explain to me how her credit report was being affected by charges from 7-8 years ago and how her friend needed to get on the ball for some reason or another. This is all supremely aggravating because she was an hour and ten minutes late, and then thought that the information she was giving me was relevant to something which, obviously, it was not. I did find out in the course of her ramblings that she works at the circus and that made me smile.

I hate, though hate is a strong word so I think I'll say I strongly dislike, the following types of people: Smelly people. Their scent seems to permeate everything and linger for hours. Belligerent people. No one likes them and they do the world no good.

I love the following types of people: Cute old people, like the old woman who attended our lunch session (though she was less cute after I saw her swiping the pens from the tables on her way out.) My favorite old person of the week was from yesterday. Her name was Lucretia, but her nickname was Mazy. She was an airplane mechanic during WWII. I thought that was so cool! I said "Like Rosy the Riveter!" and she said, "Yes, only Mazy the spark plug cleaner." So funny, so adorable.

A highlight of my day was when we were playing some hoppin' music before our evening session and my manager - who is 40 years old - started breakin' it down like he was Shakira. It was awesome. The guy has got some moves. I think it helps that he's Latino.

I was extremely frustrated today. With people, with Kansas, with my job, with the fact that everything closes between the hours of 2 and 5, thus leaving us without a morsel upon which to dine and satiate our appetites...sigh...

Unfortunately I don't really have a way to relieve those frustrations until Saturday, luckily I have a way to relieve those frustrations on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

MO shizzle!

I love things that make me laugh. This morning's things - two commercials I saw while exercising. The first was the Herbal Essences commercial with the biker guy. The other was a Shout commercial where washing machines are launched, quite violently, from various parts of suburban dwellings. I just laughed out loud.

Today our events were held in an old mansion. I honestly felt like I was on the set of "Gone With the Wind." I had to keep reminding myself that I was, in fact, still in Kansas. A very Dorothy-esque sort of afternoon. The most incredible part is that the mansion was inhabited until the 70's. Pretty cool.

I love Target. I don't know how often I can say that.

My manager is probably the craziest driver I know. He's from Chile. I don't know if that has anything to do with his complete lack of smooth driving skills, but I have to blame something. I think he forgets there's a break pedal until it's almost too late for it to be effective.

I think I've officially reached the point where I would rather pay for every meal on the road than endure another turkey croissant. I believe this is a milestone.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Speaking of which...

I did it...it was fantastic. Now normally this presentation takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half - I finished in about 45 minutes. I don't know how that happened. I wasn't talking all that fast and I covered everything I was supposed to. Anyway, I felt really good about it even though the result wasn't exactly stellar. Not bad for my first time. I even got a couple of compliments.

Our presentation tonight was in one of the most run-down hotels I've been to in quite a while. They had Styrofoam cups for water. We used the wall as the projection screen. It was just funny.

The last couple of times I've been to a restaurant I've ordered a specialty-type drink and said "Can I have that with my meal?" Both times they've brought it out well before the meal. Am I really being that unclear?

I realize that the food they serve you at restaurants isn't going to look like the picture, but tonight I was especially disappointed in how different the actual food was from the picture. It really was kind of a let down.

Bonus - we're staying at the same hotel all week, which means no unpacking and re-packing, I can just chill in my same room for 5 days straight. I like that.

Now, I get to go back to being a regular old sales rep. We'll see if anything comes from this speaking stuff. If not this blog may cease in its current form...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Speakeasy

Thursday, August 30, 11:26 a.m. ...ish:

There I stand - alone in the clothing isle of the Dollartree. I was searching for socks. Not just ordinary socks, but socks that would rock on 80's night at the club. The day's plans included fixing my new phone, wandering around the shopping center down the street, and lounging about the house reading. I get a phone call, the following is the conversation exactly as it happened...or at least a paraphrased version of the most important points of exactly what happened.

"Hey Greg, how's it goin'? You're home this week right?"

"Yeah, why? What's up?"

"Well, we've got something kind of different planned for you, this'll be good for you, lots of fun."

"Ok..."

"Next week we're going to send you out a speaker for one session on Monday night, so we need to you to brush up on the presentation. You up for it?"

"Well sure, ok!"

Exactly as it happened!

I'd like to refer the reader, at this point, to my post from August 8, labeled (insert dramatic fanfare). Now you might understand my life a little more. I'm just grateful they had the courtesy to call me on Thursday morning instead of Sunday night so I at least had time to prepare.

In my preparations for the adventure of my life I realized that I would need two things that I didn't have - the current Powerpoint presentation (I have it, but it's in XML format, and thus not compatible with Mac), and a clicker. I discovered a program that converted the Powerpoint so it now works with Mac. I also discovered a program that will convert my Apple remote into a clicker. So, it all worked out!

I hope all the effort I've had to exert over the last several days, combined with the mental stress of the entire situation, pays off in one form or another.

My manager didn't show up today, so at this point it's me and the other sales rep. We managed to transfer one of the rental cars into the other guy's name and found a hotel for the night. I hope I get reimbursed for this. If not at least I'll get a king-sized bed all to myself.

As an end to this post I'd like to request the prayers, thoughts, happy vibes, good vibrations, faith, hope, feelings of good-will and every other positive anything that you all can send my way. Tomorrow's gonna be quite the day for me.