Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

All I wanted.....

Laura Ingraham signs her new book in Perrysburg Ohio...was to pop into a newish bookstore in a newish strip center that I had never been to before...almost done with my current Stephen King ("Lisey's Story") and ready to pick up "The Cell" (yes, I know it has been out for a while....just never picked it up) What I was greeted with was an announcement over the store intercom stating "Good morning customers; if you are here for the Laura Ingraham book signing to begin at noon today, please make sure you have your books checked in, or if you need to purchase one, please visit the numerous displays in place throughout the store. Thank you." Hmmm...intriguing....I don't even know who this person is, but from the looks of the folks milling about in the store at only eleven o'clock, I thought it would be in my interest to pick up a copy of the book (to at least look at the book jacket) to find out.

I found that Ms Ingraham is a talk radio personality and author, categorized in the ranks of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Although not a political person by design, I am not really all that fascinated with folks on this side of the political spectrum, and I was really torn if the draw of getting an autographed copy of the book was that strong, considering. In a moment of weakness I picked up my Stephen King, and impulsively walked to the check out with the other book in my hand as well...I would be lying if I said that I didn't think of laying it down and leaving without it at least once before the woman at the check out took my money.

After paying, I walked back to the front of the store, where the followers of Ann Ingraham were assembling. The thronging tens of them were any make and description of quintescential midwesterner you might be able to the front of the VIP line a very round and plain looking woman with Dr Scholl's type sandals with stars and stripes on the straps, homemade cookies in a Tupperware container and a plain white envelope (which we found later to have a contribution, which was acknowledged before the rest of the waiting folks). The rest of the mix was very much the same...pasty white guys and their bossy wives/girlfriends, and outspoken older folks, both male and female, that agree with Ms Ingraham that America is going to hell in a handbasket and something has to be done about it.

My line companions were, to the front of me, a married man who was there because he heard of the signing while engaged in his daily listening and to the rear, a sometimes talkative and very opinionated older lady who had no trouble letting everyone around her know exactly her thoughts on anything and everything. As she engaged me in conversation and I realized exactly what I had gotten myself into, my mantra became "Nod and smile....nod and smile..." and for goodness sake don't say anything stupid!
Her opinions regarding politicians, family and the state of the country were about what I had expected, given age and obvious affiliation...I seemed to be nodding at the appropriate times, as it appeared that I was ingratiating myself to her somewhat. At one point, when engaging me in a little more personal conversation, she made a comment on my relatively dark tan...slyly hinting that my legs were very dark, but she bet that my "rear" was very white....I thought for a tick on just the right way to come at the topic, then gestured with an index finger that she should lean in a little so that i could talk quietly in her ear. When she did, I said only this, "No, my butt is just as dark as the rest of me...I tan naked in the tanning bed." With that I stood up again and smiled a little amused smile. She looked at me as if I had told her I eat children, took a step back, and did not engage me in personal conversation for the duration of our wait in line....she appears in the photo that is in the upper left of this entry (she, left and Ingraham, right).

In any case, I escaped unscathed, a signed copy of Ms Ingraham's book in my possession; the author spent no longer with me than absolutely necessary to sign the book...(perhaps she got wind of my nasty secret...***hearty belly laugh***). It was an interesting beginning to the afternoon...and I imagine that since I bought the book I will probably at least peruse it a bit....perhaps the next time I go to the tanning salon ;-)

That's it for now....till later, much love to you....


Saturday, September 22, 2007 wanna be a "voice talent"?.....

At work on Friday, while intent on something on my laptop screen, one of the "e" guys came over to the cube wall by my desk with a bundle of paper in his hand and asked me this question. Basically, what they needed was someone to read sound bytes for a project they are working on - they record the segments and then they are used in an interactive activity that they are building for a client. I was able to experience recording in the studio (first time I have really seen how it works) and when the project is all done (and as long as the script does not get altered again and get re-recorded by someone else) my voice will be representing interaction between a customer service representative and a customer in a training tool for a cable/internet service provider.

Pretty cool huh? This ROOT place just gets more and more interesting every day!

That's it for now....till later, much love to you....


PS - to my friend who just had surgery....I am thinking of you and look forward to hearing from you when you feel up to it <3

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wildwood Metropark in autumn....

On the covered bridge at WildwoodThis was a beautiful weekend to be outdoors....the skies of Ohio were blue and bright with the occasional cloud from time to time and the air was cool and beginning to give a hint of the autumn that is coming soon. I spent an afternoon in the park, walking and taking photos of the changing leaves, the autumn flowers and the interesting structures that are on the grounds. The photo at the left was taken in the covered bridge...the water below meandering slow and calm beneath, causing the sunlight to flicker and sparkle on its surface and casting an interesting shadow dance on the ceiling inside the bridge.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and had time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather in Ohio....I look forward to many more cool and beautiful weekends...and as they happen and I find photogenic places to go, I will share them here with you....there are a few more photos of the park (and me) in the current additions to my Flickr account, accessible by clicking on the Flickr banner at the right.

Till later, much love to you....


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thanks for not being part of the "nerd herd"....

I was recently congratulated on my ability to leverage my "technology prowess" without draping myself in the mantle of IT superiority with this very humorous and heart-felt compliment. In this age when every person in most industrialized countries are dependent on technology of all types to conduct business, stay connected and get through their daily lives with some level of competency, the roll of the IT professional has moved well beyond the "geek in the server room", with black plastic framed eyeglasses held together with tape, to a more accessible, friendly and customer-oriented facilitator, charged with the task of assuring that technology "works", in whatever capacity the user requires.

This recognition has contributed greatly to the success of the group Geek Squad, whose affiliation with the company Best Buy as their on-call, on-site tech support professionals has set a new standard for the IT geek and their place in the home/small business technology user's arsenal of technology resources. The Geek Squad image, although slightly reminiscent of the quintescential geek, shows younger folks, male and female, bedecked in their chosen "geek uniform" (admittedly spec-ed out to inspire confidence and be unintimidating), but still "cool". Their manner is also the product of specific training...their approach is meant to make them easy to talk to, friendly and cooperative; totally contradictory to what so many people have experienced in IT support experiences of the past.

In my job, I take the "Geek Squad" approach - which is easy for me, because it was not THAT many years ago that I was on the other side of the tech support equation...I also have been able to leverage my skills in a more personal and accessible private venture that I call "Creative Tech Solutions"; offering my help to home folks (mostly people that I already know) with their home and small business technology challenges....the best part? Success for the folks I work with without a lot of pain....IT is looking better every day....hurray for the geek squad...SO LONG, "nerd herd"!

That's it for now....till later, much love to you...


Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Toledo Blade and WTVG TV13 Toledo Present....

Thr Root Spelling Bee TeamThe Scripps Corporate and Community Spelling Bee to benefit "Read for Literacy"...When I was working in the Creative area of the office (Park or "Garden" level)on my very famous and successful "deployment project", I commandeered a desk within very close proximity of the proofing staff...the two ladies who single-handedly assure that every "customer-facing" Rootster is articulate and erudite in their written communications. These amazing women also assure that all materials produced for clients are grammatically accurate and all spellings are correct (not only for US customers, but also for Spanish,French, Japanese, and British English, just to name a few) These ladies have participated for the last two years in this spelling bee event for charity, there presence funded by donation to "Read for Literacy" by Root. This year, one of our two proofers is occupied in a very important and time consuming project and was not going to able to attend. This is where my close proximity to them and my penchant for writing, proofreading and innate spelling skill came into play. The ladies were aware of my "mad skills"; I have a reputation for being a little wordy but interesting in internal emails....on an impulse one day about two months ago, one of the ladies mentioned that the contest was coming up and the team was a "man" down...she suggested "You should do it this year!" Without a moments hesitation (or thought, really) I agreed. Not until later, when I started to discuss the process with them, and later still when I was issued my expansive notebook of the half of the alphabet I was to study, did I realize what I had gotten myself involved with.

I studied in my usual way...the method I have used since my high school years....wait till the last minute...(gasp! I must be so shocked!!!)...frantically pawing through page after page of word lists this past weekend and looking at the lists every chance I had during the day at work the last few days.....I was really starting to panic....there was no way that I was going to be an asset to the team (more like an "A**" I thought) I was worried that I would make Root look foolish since their name was affixed to everything involved with us being at the contest, and I was more upset about the prospect of letting the ladies down who had enough confidence in me to ask me to participate with them. Both of them were generous and kind as they assuaged my fears...."Do your best, and Have Fun" they both advised...."we know you will do just fine".

Today, as we were getting ready to leave for the competition, the lady who was not able to participate this year made a point of finding us to wish us luck. She also provided us with a mesh pouch with a half dozen small polished stones inside...each stone, she explained had a "power"...which it would impart to us, as we held them in our hands as we spelled. I was grateful for her thoughtfulness...and held tightly to one of the stones the entire time....feeling its smoothness and concentrating on its power (strength) it was easier for me to sit on the platform with the 34 other teams and actually feel that OUR team had as much of a chance as anyone else there to be successful.

We arrived at the venue in time for a very quick attempt at the lunch provided, the officials were introduced (one of them a teacher from the school district in which I was the Help Desk Tech before I came to Root) then all the participants were herded into the hall outside the contest room to be lined up for introductions and the walk to the risers where we were to sit. The entry was made through open double doors, each team being announced by business affiliation and then the individuals' names....they went to great lengths to make this part exciting and fun.....each team entered the hall through a cloud of "smoke" to the strains of some triumphant sounding musical fanfare (probably Rocky theme, now that I think on it!) The announcer was the voice of the Toledo Mudhens (who happens to be the sig other of one of our folks at the office) Our team was introduced as "The returning 2006 champions, Root Learning, team members Alma ******* and Vicki Timman"....I would be a liar if I said that this part was not fun (in a contrived sort of way)

We proceeded through the first round with the local celebrity talking heads who were participating for WTVG going out on the word "condolences"....we quietly offered ours as they left the platform. Round after round, continued to be teammate with her own set of "mad skills" assuring that we were right on with every word we were asked to spell. Ultimately we were in a small elimination group of four teams, where we finally met our killer word...."halophyte"...pronounced badly by the word guy....but that's OK....we still ended up with a very respectable 3rd....a little trophy to display in the office with our names engraved on it, and a good experience this year that will make it easy for us to accept next year, if Root decides to participate.

When we returned to the office, the folks there already knew how we had finished. The Creative team had already printed posters of congratulations and as we arrived we came upon them affixing the posters to every entry/exit door on both floors of our matter where we went, folks stopped us to congratulate...and also to hear the killer word....everyone was interested and excited that we made it in the contest as far as we had.

The photo at the top of this entry is of me and my teammate, proofer was taken on the platform only a moment or two before the competition was to begin, so the quality is questionable at best, although it does generally reflect our positive attitudes as we embarked on this literary adventure this afternoon.

Hope you enjoyed my view of the day....that's it for now....till later, much love to you....


Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day weekend...

Fallen Timbers MonumentEveryone has had to work at least part of the weekend, with the young one working on Saturday AND Sunday and the firstborn working Monday....I even went in on Saturday, trying to get my head around the stuff that will be coming up fast and furious on Tuesday morning. The young one was off today and went to play "Guitar Hero" with a couple friends. I decided to do some sight-seeing....went to Maumee Bay State Park, Farnsworth Metropark in Waterville to eat my dinner (cut veggies with dip and a Jones Green Apple) by the Maumee River, and on the way home stopped at Fallen Timbers Monument in Maumee. Photos from the roam-around are on Flickr, if you are interested.

Well, back to it...stuff to get started before tomorrow morning...hope you had a relaxing weekend...till later, much love to you...