Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 things

I get geekily excited about weird dates. Since the new millennium began, I think I've written in my journal on every digit-repeating date (1/1/01, 2/2/02, 3/3/03, etc.) just so I could see the repetitious numbers across the top of my entry. Last year's 11/11/11 was given far more significance than it really deserved.

So it should come as little surprise that I am blogging today, February 29, the special day that we add to our calendars every four years and that made me skip my last Friday-the-13th birthday.

But the thing is, I don't like Leap Day. If it was in any month other than February I wouldn't mind it so much, but I think this month is extra short (even with the added day thrown in every four years) for a reason: it just sucks.

But who knows if I'll ever get to blog on this abnormal day again. The next time this day comes around, I could be retired from blogging, or the internet could have combusted with its overload of useless information, or I could have moved to a country that doesn't allow free thinking.

All of the above are highly unlikely, but, just in case, I'm going to blog something today so that some day I can look back at this entry, see February 29 at the top, and think "Cool," and then move on with my life, glad that I took the time to acknowledge the interesting date while I had the chance.

So here's 29 random things that have crossed my mind on my least favorite day of the year calendar.
  1. February 29 is the last day providers can attest for a 2011 meaningful use payment.
  2. I didn't have to make a lunch today.
  3. Last night I dreamt that I was in a juvenile delinquent camp at my high school and no one would tell me what the rules were. I found out through the grapevine that I had to work in the bindery on Saturdays, but every two weeks I would get four hours "off," which meant that I could invite a friend to come work with me. Lucky friend.
  4. I spent my entire shower trying to come up with a believable lie I could tell my boss so that I could work at home today (a.k.a., go back to bed for two hours).
  5. Then I remembered how boring  it was working at home last week, so I just came to work a little more ornery than usual.
  6. The sun may have shown its face this month, but it's a heck of a lot brighter in March.
  7. I can't believe I left my "My Fair Lady" music at my parents' house again.
  8. I'm hungry. My dad ate my dinner last night.
  9. I was rather shocked to find my phone in my pocket when I was certain that I had left it at home.
  10. I officially made it into the Word Nerd group on LinkedIn.
  11. I slept the entire night without waking up once. So now I'm groggy and a little disoriented because I didn't get my usual hours-long waking-up process.
  12. There is a stain on my BYU hoodie. That's embarrassing.
  13. I'm getting sick of my music collection again, so I'm listening to all my songs in alphabetical order now, which means I'm not allowed to skip any. You should try it some time; it's quite fun. I am currently on "Behold the Wounds in Jesus' Hands" by Jon Schmidt.
  14. I have a strange obsession with pizza.
  15. Here comes the annoying editor radar: "everyday" should be two words unless it's being used adjectivally.
  16. I am wearing a purple shirt today.
  17. Considering all the grumbling I've done today, it's gone by quite quickly.
  18. I need to finish this post because it's distracting me.
  19. It is currently 45 degrees in Midvale.
  20. Sometimes it's really hard to write like a man, and I have no idea if I'm actually doing it right.
  21. I want to banish the phrase "I know, right?" from existence forever. I'm talking balefire here.
  22. I feel like a student again this week: tired and unsure how I'm going to get everything done.
  23. When my nephews smile at me my heart instantly melts.
  24. I removed the BYU mug from my desk two days ago and no one has commented on its lack of presence yet. Weird.
  25. People automatically change the subject to BYU basketball when they think conversation is getting a little too shady for a BYU grad's ears.
  26. 3D printing is cool. And a little bit freaky.
  27. I'm sick of my short hair, but short-hair ponytails are still fun.
  28. If this were a normal February, I could stop this list right here. Actually, if it were a normal February I wouldn't be writing this post at all.
  29. I want to read J.K. Rowling's new book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The favoritest season of all: Construction

One of the nice things about winter is that construction projects (sometimes) halt for a few months. Workers will literally stop everything mid-project when the snows come, and don't usually bother to put machinery away or move those annoying orange cones.

Did I say that was one of the nice things about winter? Hmmm.

Only, this "winter," certain people didn't abandon their projects; the work must go on, despite the weather. People need buildings to live in and buildings to work in, gosh dang it.

After spending almost two weeks in the construction zone that was my parents' house, I returned to work after New Years only to be tossed back into the construction zone that is my office building.

But, adapting to an environment, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is, is part of the human code, so we adjusted.
  • We continued to use the conference room / break room / storage area for meetings and soon ignored the people that would walk in to squeeze something into the fridge, make copies, or fill the room with smells of coffee.
  • In what was supposed to be a short arrangement (a couple of days) but that has stretched on for months so far, others were forced to take on an office roommate and just deal with the extra conversationalist in the background when trying to demo a product or close a sale.
  • Some were forced to wait 20 extra minutes for lunch because that was less scary than interrupting an important meeting taking place behind closed doors where the fridge was located.
  • Every week someone says, "Where did the microwave go?!" 
  • No one even reacts when the power goes out.
  • Half the building is in darkness, so the support guys have to huddle in their little cubicles and do all of their work by lamplight.
  • One of the elevators is accessible only to the construction guys, which means the rest of us have to either take the stairs (gasp!) or wait an eternity (about 45 seconds) for the other elevator to make the trip back to the 2nd floor.
  • There is only one way in and out of the office. No more shortcuts.
  • And, of course, the sounds of demolition and rebuilding are just charming. And I've heard the men's bathroom is even more charming, especially in the afternoons.
That was all before, when the construction was mostly taking place in areas we didn't need to be in.

Now, the construction has moved on to the center of our office, the hallway that divides the support/tech people from the sales/marketing/finance people, the hallway that leads to our only exit.

So now, in addition to all of the above,
  • we must enter the unsteady, one-way tunnel of Sheetrock and plastic tarp whenever we want a drink or need to use the bathroom,
  • the pounding just got ten times louder,
  • the fire alarm goes off all the time,
  • even more people have been displaced from their offices,
  • and it's a lot colder in here all of the sudden.
But alas, it's hard to phase us humans, and despite the extra grumbling, the work does go on. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On being an introvert

Most of the time, I like people. I like learning about their backgrounds, trying to figure out what type of person they are based on the things the don't say, and listening to their dramatic monologues. People entertain me, and I think that, for the most part, people are good. So I'm a fan of them.

Sometimes, however, people annoy me, and the only satisfying company I can find is, well, myself.

Thus is the common conundrum of the introvert: liking and understand people, but not wanting to be around them all the time.

Some common characteristics of introverts:
  1. Introverts generally have to be dragged to parties and social functions, and then need at least a day to recuperate from them.
  2. Small-talk skills are pathetically non-existent, though listening skills are above average.
  3. Introverts are deep thinkers and are very good at entertaining themselves.
  4. Being singled out feels a bit like having a heart attack
  5. Introverts may be in their element when presenting something to a large group of people, but tend to hide in the shadows when interacting in small groups.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where being a talkative, go-getter type person is not only considered normal, but is preferable in most spheres. Introverts are usually coined with terms such as "loner," "taciturn," and "guarded," while extroverts are described as bighearted, warm, and empathic. It is true that the extroverts are usually easier to get along with, but because introverts are very much a mystery to the outgoing types, they are largely misunderstood, at least among those who don't give their brains time to process information before they start spurting out words.

Common misconceptions of introverts:
  1. Introverts are either (1) rude, or (2) extremely sweet with no opinions of their own.
  2. Introverts hate people.
  3. Introverts are arrogant and/or unintelligent.
  4. If someone is lost in thought, clearly that means that something is wrong with them.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people try to tell me what I'm thinking. Rather than letting me speak for myself, they'll make their own conclusion and announce it to the world as if it were undisputed fact. I love the words of Jonathan Rauch, a self-proclaimed introvert, who said:
The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still we endure stoically, because the etiquette books--written no doubt, but extroverts--regard declining to banter as rude and gasps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts' Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."
Pure gold.

So, a little advice to the extroverts out there: don't be offended if the introvert doesn't talk to you, don't worry about their emotional well-being when they say they want to be alone, and please, don't talk down to them. Introverts are usually peaceable, easy-going creatures. Until you annoy them, that is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day experiences

After I hit the snooze button six times this morning, my exasperated alarm clock greeted me with this statement: "Punxsutawney Phil has indeed predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter." My first thought was, "What winter?" I have yet to experience my first magical snowfall of the season, and seeing as we're already in February and it hasn't happened yet, this winter is dead to me. I don't care what the all-knowing groundhog says.

A few weeks ago I was browsing through channels (probably waiting for a basketball game to start) and came across one of the classics of film, Groundhog Day. Tyrel used to make sure we watched this every year on February 2, just like he made sure we watched Independence Day on July 4. Though none of us have literally had to relive the same dreary day over and over and over again, I'm sure we can all relate to that helpless feeling that tries to tell you that winter, the work day, school, or a particular struggle is never going to end.

However, there are some experiences that I don't mind reliving day after day, year after year. For example . . .

I usually succumb to that itch I get about every 15 months to read Harry Potter again.

Once a book makes it to my favorites list, the thought of never reading it again is too depressing.

I've seen every episode of Gilmore Girls, er, more than once, and the dialogue still kills me.

The transition to fall is always magical.

Holidays, particularly the 4th of July, Labor Day, General Conference, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, wouldn't be nearly as special if we didn't get to revisit them every year.

Weekends. Need I say more?

Kimberly and I use the same strategies every time we play Risk or Star Wars Monopoly. And we never get bored.

So, uh, happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Since I'm boycotting winter, I've decided to celebrate this inane holiday by pondering the happy side of repetitiveness rather than injure my brain trying to wrap my mind around the idea that if the sun is out, clearly that means more winter.