Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sickly Denial

Slow weekend. I'm still sick from my trip, and I helpfully
gave the cold to Cay. So we both layed around on the couch all
day yesterday and finished the video game Blue Dragon. Today,
we might start Eternal Sonata. It is that kind of weekend.
Rainy, gloomy, and sick - might as well play.

I'm dealing with my feelings about work by just going into
denial. If I don't think about it, maybe things will be fine.
And they may be. Who knows.

I want to love work and be proud of it, so I guess that is what
I will do for now. And still update the resume, when I feel
better, as insurance! With luck, it will be like insurance. I've
almost never had to collect on the insurance - but when I had to,
it was nice it was there.

Pooh, I thought about work again. Back to the video games!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I didn't get kicked off the island (yet)

Well we had the rumored layoffs yesterday. They were much deeper
than expected, every small group lost a couple of people - even
really good people. We huddled in the halls, waiting to see who
was taken. They swooped down on people in their offices and labs,
and they returned with a blue folder, and a stunned look on their
faces. They had an hour to pack up and say goodbye. There is no
good way to do layoffs.

I survived, and still have a job. But I really hate layoff days.
Whether you have a job or not at the end, you still feel
horrible.

The faith in your company is shaken. You have to say goodbye
to people you liked. Morale is in the toilet. You wonder if
you should start updating your resume. The company was smart
enough not to even try to make us work that day. They just
let us cling together, talking. And had a couple of meetings
to talk about it, that didn't make us feel any better.

The problem is we all really like this company and working there.
A bunch of the "survivors" went out drinking last night, and
that kept coming up. "We WANT to work there!" "I'm in denial,
I don't want to think the company might not make it". We
drank for about 4 hours. It was somewhat healing to be together.

We have our big, exciting move to a building built just for us
in a week. We were pretty excited about it, but now the joy is
gone. We just wonder how long we will get to be there.
We make good stuff, and we all hope that a miracle will happen
and we will get those big sales and contracts. And that because
our stock is down, no one will buy us, and lay off some more.

That is what I meant by changes and being unsettled, in the
last entry. I thought I had a comfortable future, and now it
is all up in the air again. I love being in the computer
industry, but it is a brutal industry. There is a lot of money,
but you have to put up with never knowing when your job will
end. Good Times, eh?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Unsettled

Tomorrow promises to be *interesting*, based on some rumors
today. The near future also may be interesting, based on
other rumors. Changes. Not necessarily good?
I'm feeling very unsettled.

You get in a groove you like and don't want things to change.
At least not drastically, or out of your control. I hope for
the best, but plan for the worst.

Otherwise, still feeling rotten from my cold.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

All Things Medical

I finally went in to have the vertigo treated. It is one of
those weird medical treatments that doesn't seem very medical.
They hang your head over a table and put you in various positions.
This apparently causes the loose calcium bits to flow around all
3 of your semicircular canals, and end up back in the middle
where they belong. They then settle into some hair like things
that hold them again.

I can't bend over and have to sleep propped up for 2 days to
make sure they settle into their home. I go back next week and
the physical therapist is going to teach me how to do the
positions to put the calcium bits back, if they should come
loose again. There is a 40% chance of recurrence in two years.

After that I stayed at home and dialed into work, because my
cold is really awful. I feel about as rotten as possible, but
at least I don't have vertigo! (small condolence!) I hope I'm
well enough to go to work tomorrow. I have to start packing
equipment up for the big move in less than 2 weeks. Besides
sitting at home being sick is pretty boring!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Done For!

The cold got me full force today. I was labeling equipment
for our move in 2 weeks, when the fever really kicked in and
I didn't want to be there anymore. I made it through the day,
but tomorrow may be dubious. I've got stuff to work from
home, if needed.

The next show is looking dubious. I've only gotten a quick
paragraph from two people so far. I hope everyone is just
procrastinating until the deadline. if not, I don't have
a show for next time.

I have gotten 2 more volunteers lined up to do traditional
shows, and I will gladly do those, but I was really hoping
that the new format would fly. I started the show because I
wanted more of a discussion on the big questions. My audience
seems much happier with listening, however. I suppose I need
to do what makes them happy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sick of Travel and Travel Sickness

Darn it, I have a really sore throat. I only remember one trip
where I didn't get sick, and I don't think this will be one.
My body is definitely trying to come down with a cold. I'm
slamming the vitamins and immune system boosters to try to
dissuade it from such silliness. It seems that if I am exposed
to any new germ, my body decides to try it on for size....
Why couldn't I be susceptible to making money, instead of
catching germs?

I gained 3 pounds on the trip, wiping out the last 2 months
of weight loss. I had gained 3 back before that - so everything
I lost this summer is back. While the Alli diet pills didn't
work for me, I think I'm going to use their online meal plan.
It is a good one, and you plan out your week of food,
substituting meals in their suggested plan to find stuff you
like, and then print out the plan, recipes and a shopping
list for the week. A nice feature.

Their meal plan is very similar to The Fat Attack diet which
did work once of me. In addition I'll steal an idea from them
which is to add pectin to juice, which helps cut hunger and
fill you up. Also I've found chewable fiber tablets from the
drugstore helps a lot with hunger, especially at bedtime.
The plan is a little too high in carbs for a diabetic, but I can
substitute the bread and pasta for low carb versions of the same.

However, for lunch today it is a big bowl of chicken soup
with lots of garlic. My favorite "I'm getting a cold" meal.
What a drag this is!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day 5 and home again

Yesterday was too long! I was up at 6am, I managed to get a few
hours of sleep. I was still fretting over the loss of my DS and
games. Then it was finish packing, check out of the hotel.

I went looking for a Starbucks or coffee shop (because I didn't
want to leave my stuff alone in my hotel room while I ate at
the hotel restaurant) and didn't find one! Someone should notify
Starbucks that they have managed to miss putting a shop every
two feet in a busy business locale!

So it was off to work for my last day. I had to drink their
coffee and eat out of the vending machine. Not the healthiest
way to live! At one point during the day, my boss wanted to sent
me to the West coast, to a customer on Monday! I said I would go,
(hey, they pay me!) but I was thinking I wouldn't have much time
to recover from this trip. I needed some sleep! Luckily she then
decided not to send me, at this time, though I'll probably have
to go out there sometime. I finished out the day and said goodbye
to all the wonderful new people I had met.

I decided to drive down to the airport in Philadelphia by the
back roads, to try to see some of the area, and avoid the crush
on the freeways. The back ways were also packed. It was only about
20 miles, but it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. But I did see
a lot of the beautiful area.

I thought I had lots of time to catch my plane, but the drive took
extra long, I had to drive around the terminal 3 times to find
my rental car return, the shuttle bus driver told me to get
off at the wrong terminal, and I had to take a shuttle back
to the right one. I had been planning a sit-down dinner at the
airport, since I hadn't really eaten all day. But I got to
the gate area about 20 minutes before boarding so I just grabbed
a muffin.

Got to the gate, and at boarding time they announced that we were
missing out flight crew. They were on another plane that wouldn't
be there for 2 hours. So they gave us $10 coupons to go eat.
I wasn't that hungry at that point, so I just had a slice of pizza.

At last we took off, and got in at 1 am this morning. I'd been going
for 21 hours, by the time I got to bed. And oh! My wonderful bed!
I slept well for the first time in 6 days. I wonder if I can pack
my bed in my luggage, for my next trip?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day 4 out east - troubled times

Today was actually quite good until now. I had a wonderful
day at work, got to know a lot more people, and was feeling
pretty good when I got back to the hotel.

After a quick dinner, I started packing up, as I have to check
out in the morning. Only to discover My Nintendo DS game system,
with all of its games and spare battery which I had left on the
desk was gone.

I searched the room 3 times, I just didn't want to admit that
someone stole it. It was such a nice room and a nice place,
I didn't want to believe it. I finally reported it to the
hotel. I feel kind of shaky. I know it happens, it just hasn't
ever happened to me while traveling.

I'm mad because that is what I was going to use to keep busy
while waiting for my plane, and on the 3 hour trip home.
I hate being bored, and now I don't know what I'll do.
To say nothing of the $250 I'm out.

This turned out to be a very expensive business trip - I had
to buy clothes, and now this. I didn't choose to come on this
trip, it was required of me by work. I wonder if I'd feel better
if it was a vacation of my choosing?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day 3 in the East

I might as well admit it. I'm not going to see much of anything
on this trip. I'm just too blasted tired. Up at 6 am, got some
breakfast, off to work at some unnatural hour of the morning.
Another long day of meeting people and learning too much.
Only a protein bar to eat.

Back to the hotel, exhausted. Every part of my body hurts. I
just can't find my "sleep number" on that bed. I wake up really
sore. Even the marvelous tub only helps a little.

I was so hungry from not eating, I stopped in the hotel bar/
steakhouse, as soon as I got back to the hotel, and had a huge
salad, and a hamburger. And a beer, which did more for the pain
than anything.

Now it's 7 pm, and I can't really get up the energy to go
anywhere. I think I'll take a walk around the hotel, since it
is still really nice out. Then settle in for some videos on the
computer, and attempt to get some real sleep. So far, sleep
has been in hour bursts, with lots of restless thrashing.

Adventure is good, but there is no bed like home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day 2 in the East

Day 2 of the business trip went fine. I got up at 6 am, because
I collapsed at 9 pm last night. I tried out the Jacuzzi bathtub,
and had breakfast at the hotel. Work was good, because I learned
so much, and my head is quite stuffed. I had lunch with a co-worker
and he showed me some new routes to food and my hotel. It gave
me confidence to venture further away from the office and not
get hopelessly lost.

I didn't want dinner again in the hotel, so I found the mall,
and had a lovely meal at the Cheesecake Factory. I've never
eaten there, and found the food to be quite amazingly good!
Pricey, but quite worth it. (Especially when you are having
a hard time feeding yourself on a trip.)

I sat on the patio and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. The servers
and bus girls stopped by to chat when they found I was a
business traveller from Minneapolis (and comment on my accent).
It was very fun and friendly, and I didn't mind eating alone at
all. They took very good care of me. I topped it off with an
exquisite Mojito drink - the best I've ever had. Thanks, my friend
Dave, for introducing those to me, several years ago. Mmmmmmmm.

Back to the hotel, and after playing on the Web to relax, I found
the fitness center at the hotel. I only did bike and treadmill
for 20 minutes, and I was done. Still feeling the effects of
long travel.

So I think I'll watch some videos on my laptop until I'm tired.
That is all the adventure I want for today.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All the comforts of home!


Misplaced in Time and Space

I made it to Philadelphia. Getting up at 3:30 am was weird but
driving to the airport at 4 am is a dream. There is absolutely
no one out there. The airport was fairly empty too. I could really
get to like a late night schedule. The city doesn't feel crowded
at all.

The plane trip seemed really short. The whole plane slept for the
1st hour of the trip. It was a small Embrarer 175 jet. I like small
planes except they are a lot bouncier than the bigger planes.

We landed and it was a daze of getting my luggage, catching the
shuttle bus to the car rental, getting the car (I got a Ford Escape -
really comfortable), and negotiating the strange freeways for
about 45 minutes to the office.

The day blazed by getting to meet everyone and getting down to
doing work. By 5 pm I was getting fried, and drove off to find
my hotel. I realized I hadn't eaten anything but a protein bar
since 3:30 in the morning. I staggered into the hotel sports
bar and finally had some food (and a beer).

My room is a surprise. It is an "exectutive room". I didn't know
I was an executive. I was worried about being uncomfortable as
I always am in hotels, because the beds are too hard, and you cant
get a good soak in the tubs. I have a king sized Select Comfort
"Sleep by Number" bed, and a huge Jacuzzi tub! The room is huge!

I'm too fried to do much else. I'm going to bed early tonight!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Almost time...

Weird. I have to be in bed in 4 hours if I have any hope of
getting so sleep tonight. Then 5 hours of sleep and up at
3:30 am to catch the plane to Philadelphia. Then hopefully
I did get some sleep because I get there about 9 am their time,
then get the rental car, and off for the 40 minute drive to
the office.

Then I get to work all day, then go find my hotel to check in,
and settle in for the week. Just talking about it makes me
tired!

I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to eat during all of
this. Nothing is open that early at the airport, there is no
food on the plane (it is a little one, an 88 seater), then
I have to rush to get to work. Hopefully there is food around
work and I'll managed to take a break and get some!

Travel is always such an adventure. You get down to the basics:
how in the heck to get enough sleep, food, and find your way
in a totally strange city. Well, here goes!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Countdown to ?

I spent the day packing, and picking up a few toiletries for the
work trip next week. I hope this all turns out well, and I do
well. I'm always fearful that I'll get sick or be an idiot or
something. It generally works out fine, so I should not worry.

But as I told a friend at work, I don't believe in the "Power
of Positive Thinking". I much prefer to think everything will
be horrible, and worry about it. Then when everything goes well,
I'm always happily surprised. Hey, it works for me.

I wrote my talk up for the next U.Q. podcast. I'll record it and
post it tomorrow. It will keep me from fretting about the trip!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Calm before.....?

I wish I had something fun to report, but really nothing new.
I'm doing fine, working and playing video games. I'm enjoying
myself, but enjoyment is often very calm and nothing to write
home about.

This weekend I'll be packing for my trip, and recording my
show. Nothing earth shattering, decent weather, no disaters.
I can deal with that. Hopefully I'll have more to talk about
when I'm on the road. I'll bring my camera...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vertigo Report 'n stuff

I saw the doctor today, and it is as I suspected from all my
web reading. I have BPPV, a condition where little calcium
deposits wander into your ear canals (where they don't belong!)
and make you think you're tipping over when they hit the
sensors in there. Leaning your head back, or laying on the
affected side - various head positions can trigger it.

She gave me a medicine patch to wear for my trip next week, that
may help (related to motion sickness medicine). Then I start
physical therapy the next week when I get back. The intent
of the therapy is to coax the little calcium b*st*rds back to
where they belong. As usual, this is all going to take awhile.
Why is medicine always a long drawn-out affair?

Other than that, I'm digging into my new project, and starting to
really enjoy myself. I love learning new things. I'm actually
starting to get excited about my trip, where I will meet lots
of new people and learn a great deal (I hope!). It seems I first
am a little fearful of traveling to an unknown place, and then
start craving it.

Is it aging, that makes us want the familiar? I don't remember
being resistant to adventure when I was younger. It is something
that I think one should battle against. I don't want to become
old and set in my ways. I think the key to youthfulness is
always trying the new. I'm that way about technology, (always on
the forefront) but I need to apply it more to my everyday life.

I admire the old people I've met on road trips, who got an RV
and spend all of their time traveling. They have this sense of
wanting to always see what is over the next mountain. They seem
fresh and spry. I hope I will be like that. My main problem is I
have no sense of direction, whatsoever, and I am perpetually lost.
When I have to get somewhere important, I'm sure I'm going to
blow it, and be late. When I'm on a road trip, where it doesn't
matter where I end up, I'm much more confident.

Oh heck, adventure ho!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bad Geek!

I feel like a geek failure. I tried to install BootCamp on
my Mac computer, and I failed. Well, I failed to install
the Windows part. It started the install and then wouldn't
take input from my keyboard. I even tried another USB
keyboard.

I didn't totally want Windows, I just thought it would be
handy to have around. Oh well, not worth the hassle, but I
just lost some "cool" points in the Big Book Of Geek.

Fall seems to be in full swing. The trees are starting to
change, the weather cooled off to a comfortable 65 degrees,
and the sky in that startling intense blue color.

My friend Sharon from work and I are going to try to take
walks every day during lunch, because it is just so nice out.
Fall is my favorite time of year, so I plan to quite enjoy
the next two months.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Traffic-orama

I contemplate the universe, and spend the day playing video
games....

I should have been recording my next show. I know generally
what I am going to do with it. Since I'm going to be out of
town this is the perfect time to try a new thing. I'm going
to ask a big question (one I haven't asked before), discuss
what my initial thoughts are, and ask the audience to send
sound files or email with their thoughts.

If I get some responses, the following show will present
the replies, and maybe a summation from me. And then the
next question. Anyone who has been on the show, and anyone
who hasn't, can be part of the slow motion discussion.

I have to get this up before I leave - next weekend at the
latest. Today was a bad day to record. The 2 major freeways
near me were closed this weekend, and I swear all of the
traffic ended up on my street. There was continuous noise
and traffic, and cars screeching to sudden halts, and honking
at each other. I saw the most amazing bad driving this
weekend, drivers were so impatient, frustrated, and pulled
lots of dumb maneuvers. I can't believe they all didn't
just crash into each other.

I guess, between the bridge being gone, and all the major
freeway closures, we've reached our limits in ability to
get from "here to there".

I hope next weekend is a little quieter...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mentally Prepared

I'm resigned to going on this trip. I've printed the maps,
figured out how (sort of) to get from the Philadelphia airport
up to the Valley Forge area (not easy, lots of confusing merges
onto different freeways) and how to get from work to the hotel.

I actually bought some new shirts today for the trip. I tend
not to buy clothes often enough, and all my attire is looking
a little worn. I spend all my money these days on technology,
and fixing the house. I forget about fixing up me, most of the
time.

I'm also diligently doing the vertigo exercises (aptly named
because doing them causes some amazing spinning room experiences
the first few iterations) in the hopes that I can get the
vertigo under control before the trip. I think their main
purpose is to get your brain used to being dizzy.

You have to get this other therapy from the doctor to reposition
the calcium chips that have wandered into the wrong place in your
ear. I don't think I'll have time to get the treatment before
the trip, so I'd better just learn to cope with it. I see the
doctor on Tuesday to see if we will proceed with that.

So all that is left is admitting I have to get up at 3:30 am on
the 17th to catch my 5:25 am plane. I detest getting up early,
but that is just crazy early. Maybe I can convince myself that
it isn't real - that time of the morning is a pretty nebulous,
non-existent time.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Trippy!

Yikes! I'm really going to Pennsylvania for a week for
work. I just booked the trip. I hate traveling alone for
work, though. The last couple of trips I got to go with a
group, which was lots of fun.

This is just me, going to get trained in on the new
project. It will be a frantic learning experience to come
up to speed as fast as possible.

I hate eating alone, and sitting around in my hotel room
at night. I can be adventurous, but not so much on my own.
For a day or two, it isn't bad, but for 5 days, it can get
old.

The hotel has a workout room, and a pool, I suppose I should
make use of them. In that area, I don't know what to go see
except Valley Forge and the mall. I'm not exactly sure what
is even at Valley Forge! It wont be fun like Japan, but I'll
just have to look at it as a sort of mini adventure.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Whiplash into a new direction

Hey I was kidding yesterday, about life giving you surprises.
Today at work, I'm suddenly on a different project and may
be traveling for work in a week and a half.
Just when I was settling into a comfortable (but dull) rut.

Teach me to mouth off. Of course life never listens when I
think I should win the lottery...

Now I'm really trying to keep up with the exercises that are
supposed to help vertigo. I gotta get this under control in
the next week and a half, before I have to fly for work.
I hope plane travel doesn't affect it. In theory the
therapy exercises are supposed to help in 10 days. I'm also
going to see the doctor on Tuesday, though she'll probably
just send me to a specialist.

And on the show front, one listener of the show gave me the
advice that I think I will follow. Try the new monthly
question format, but don't abandon the old format, if I get
an interesting volunteer. I"ll give it a try!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to things

Good news, I got the results back from the mole biopsies.
One was totally benign, the other had some displasia (wasn't
cancer - yet, but might be someday). Since the doc cut
them out so totally, I should be fine. Still 3 days to get
the stitches out, which itch a lot.

So there. I'm the picture of health. Or something. Now I
just have to take care of the vertigo. After much reading
and some advice from a reader, I'm pretty sure it is BPPV
which is a benign form where calcium deposits get loose in
your ears and unbalance the heck out of you.
There are ways to make them settle down and behave.

The deciding point on my show is coming up rapidly. I should
do something by this weekend, but I'm still not sure what.
I wouldn't want life to be clear cut, I guess. No surprises.

Monday, September 03, 2007

How Expected!

Well, my weekend turned out exactly as I had planned.
That is actually rather rare. I got a huge dose of video
gaming in, and put in the bathroom floor.

We just went and bought the moulding to finish it off.
I'll post a picture after that part is done, maybe tomorrow.

The extra bonus this weekend, is we found a big,
wonderful Indian Grocery store, called Curry Up. It is in a
northern suburb, Maple Grove, which is a bit of a drive, but
not bad. The reason this is so cool, is that we have gotten
into cooking real curry. Where you get all the whole spices and
fresh curry leaves make it from scratch. It is insanely good.
Doesn't taste anything like the pre-packaged curry stuff.

This grocery also had some snacks that are so good, I can't
believe it. I've never tasted anything so fragrant and
wonderful. Oh, yeah, I think I was supposed to be on a diet.

Back to the real world tomorrow. I'm not ready! Don't make
me go! So I guess I'll finish off the evening with more
escapism...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I'm So Dizzy" (who remembers THAT song?)

Yes, I've been too busy video gaming to write. Sorry!
I love "Blue Dragon" and we are having lots of fun with it.
Games like this come along so rarely - maybe 2 or 3 a year
that really appeal to me. I don't game that often, just in a
burst when a really good RPG comes along.

My plans for the 3 day holiday weekend? Well, video game,
go to a party, and put in a new bathroom floor. A little work,
a little play. It still feels like this is the wind down for
summer (even though the weather looks quite warm for the
foreseeable future). But darn it, the trees are starting to
turn colors already! They are early this year, I think.

I'm still having the vertigo every day now. I don't know
why, it just started out of nowhere and stayed. I've done
a lot a research, and don't have a lot of hope. People who
get it sometimes live with it for years, and doctors aren't
very good at diagnosing the base problem.

I've sort of gotten used to it and learned to operate around
it, even though I don't like it much. My current hope is
some people get it from a neck injury or strain. My neck
and head do hurt and it gets worse when I put pressure on
my neck. Some chiropractors have had good luck fixing it,
by fixing the neck. If I still have it next week, I think
I'll pursue that route.

I guess now I truly am a "dizzy blond"!

The blog title mention is from the song "Dizzy"
by Tommy Roe - 1969

"I'm so dizzy, my head is spinnin'
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it's you, girl, makin' it spin
You're makin' me dizzy"