Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Running trail

Okay, so get this. Some of the girls and I have been running near the canal in the mornings before work. So today I thought I'd look to see if there were any trail maps online so we could see how far we've been running. By googling the following word combo "jogging trail biltmore pheonix az," this is the first link I got:

http://www.kpho.com/Global/story.asp?S=1773613&nav=23KuMAVF

Not sure when this happened but it must have been pretty recent or they wouldn't still have it on their website. Creepy, huh?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Haircuts

Haircuts are very stressful events for me. Before I go, I'm always really excited, but inevitably I leave feeling freaked out and upset. Its like the ultimate exercise of communication and trust (excluding roadtrips). I think one of the problems is there is no common agreement between parties on the meaning of certain adjectives - like the difference between wispy and bald. To be fair, I suspect the other problem is that I'm slightly neurotic. But, anyway, as you may have guessed, today was no exception. The girl used like 10 gallons of wax and I had to come straight home so I could wash it, only to take a nap and wake up looking like a sesame street character - I think they're called muppets? Anyway, after having a mini-breakdown, I styled it and it looks much better. But, I'm still a little bit shaky.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Monterey pics

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The deep-fried twinkie stand.

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View from the pier in Monterey.

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Fish.

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More fish.

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Star fish.

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Not sure what this was.

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Jelly fish.

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Looking up from our table at dinner.

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Sven at dinner.

Monterey

Last week, Sven was in San Jose for work, so we made the most of it went to Monterey for the weekend.

Our first stop was the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, which came highly recommended by Sven's coworkers. Initially, I was a little bit confused - I'd never been to a boardwalk before and didn't know what there was to do. There were lots of kids running around on the beach, along with a lot of rides and carnival food, but where were all the adult activities? Where were the sushi and wine bars...? It slowly dawned on me that all of Sven's work contacts had families and we would find none of these things at the boardwalk. So, we laid on the beach for a little bit and Sven took a cat nap (are you at all surprised) and then we rode this thing called "Fire Ball".

After that, we felt obligated as good Americans to try a deep-fried twinkie (complete with powdered sugar and chocolate dipping sauce). We are both ashamed to admit that it was actually really good. Sadly the enjoyment life is only about 3 bites, and then its seems completely revolting and you can't eat anymore. Overall, the best part about the boardwalk was that as we were leaving, I found a twenty dollar bill crumpled up on the ground and Sven found a penny. That means that after parking - $10, 1 ride - $6.75, and 1 deep-fried twinkie - $3.00, we actually made 26 cents :) :) :) Obviously, I was delighted.

We spent the rest of the evening at fisherman's wharf and had seafood for dinner before checking in at our roach-cabin motel. Saturday, we went to the famous Aquarium in Monterey. The aquarium was totally awesome, but what really made an impression on me were the screaming children. I realized that when you have kids, you can no longer go to the places you love. Instead you have to go to kid-friendly places, which means there are a ton of other kids who are not well-behaved and not nearly as tolerable when they yell and whine about having to go to the bathroom. The other thing I'll remember is how Sven made it a point to see what all his favorite sushi dishes look like. It was a little bit cute, but a little bit disturbing at the same time. I guess its okay since he didn't try to explain how they taste to any kids.

From there, we went to a nearby winery and tried a few wines. The guy pouring the wine was really nice and I came out half-way drunk. Then to dinner, and back to the crapmotel. Sunday, nothing noteable really - Sven showed me around Silicon Valley and then the Crowne Plaza where he steals jelly.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

chicago pics

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This is the view from our hotel!!

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The suite.

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Soldier Field.

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The fountain from Married with Children.


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Downtown Chicago.


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The Pier.

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St. Charles at the Q-center.

Lose the Blues in Chicago

Oh my God! Chicago turned out to be so fun!! Sven and I had already paid for a hotel room, a plane ticket, and tickets to see the Blue Man Group for this weekend when I found out we had training on Saturday. If I was talking to you in person, I would spend 10 minutes bitching about what a bunch of BS that is, but I'll skip it for now. Long story short, the faculty wouldn't budge about Saturday, and we almost decided for Sven to stay in Austin. Luckily, we didn't.

Originally I planned to spend Friday night here at St. Charles and go to Chicago after training Sat. However, it turned out a friend rented a car on friday and dropped Rachel and me off at O'Hare where we met her husband. We went to the hotel and by a bit of luck got put into a suite on the 32nd floor of a 33-story building with a view overlooking downtown and the navy pier. No kidding - my ears popped on the way up. We weren't supposed to have access to the parlor, but the door was open!! How to describe the sheer unbridled childlike joy I felt when walking into that room... imagine giving a banana tree to a monkey who has not been fed in weeks.

Anyway, so I almost went to pick Sven up at the airport but since he didn't know I was in town I was afraid I'd miss him. So instead, I ordered champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and was waiting for him when he got to the hotel. (He didn't check his messages, so it was a total surprise for him that I was there.) Rachel and Alex went to bed early, so Sven and I enjoyed our snack with a beautiful view of the city alone. It was absolutely perfect.

Saturday Rachel and I got up early and went back to St. Charles for class and then had to go straight back for the Blue Man Group. The show was great. Usually during stuff like that, I'm thinking, "Am I having $50 worth of fun right now?" "Is it going to get better near the end?" "This isn't what it looked like on TV." "Shit, I need to make a haircut appointment soon." But, I can honestly say my thoughts never strayed - the whole show was very entertaining. After that, we went to a little pizza joint and then home to bed.

Today we rented bikes from the hotel and then rode over to the planetarium and the navy pier. At the planetarium they had this theater which is like a sphere so we saw a show about Egyptians and their take on the stars. Content wasn't too impressive but the special effects were nice. The most fun part of the day was riding around on the bikes though. I never realized Chicago was so pretty - there was a bike trail that went directly along the edge of the lake from our hotel to the navy pier. Lots of fountains and parks. Very nice. It was a great trip. I'll post pics later...

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Consultant Boot Camp

Today I learned some very important things about becoming a consultant. First, I learned that all consultant-speak words are interchangeable and can be used in any order to give an acceptable response. I spent most of the day making a list of these very important words and can now communicate as follows:

"While integrating the cross-group coordination for pig farming, it is essential to leverage the functionality matrix to enable technology resolution, solution-consistent containment synthesis, and repeatably deliver innovatively enhanced stage-containment resources. Furthermore, the time-to-market reusability will impact network-driven risk architecture to anchor mitigation assets in quality-assured tangible client quality managment assessment and integrate global focus-powered leadership towards framework extraction."

And you could absolutely reverse the order of all the words and it would still sound okay. Isn't it beautiful? Because do you know what that means? Yeah, nobody else does either. Its totally awesome.

Also, I should mention that there is a group of fraternity boys here in some sort of leadership convention. Today I passed one of their meeting rooms and the session title was "How to be a gentleman." Man. I just can't get over it - I've been looking for that room my whole life. But, here's the really sad part: I was just in the elevator with one of them and he freely scratched his nuts the whole way up. So, maybe the classes are too ambitious - they should probably start out with "How to be normal."