June 30, 2010

Potpourri: Shortchanged

Each of these deserve a blog post, and I’ve been trying to assemble them in my head, but it’s just not happening. So, rather than not post at all, here are some highlights.
  1. Went camping in Big Sur last weekend with Lovey. We had a great time talking, talking, talking, praying and talking some more. We stopped in Point Lobos where I saw my first wild otter and first baby sea gulls.

    We camped, biked and hiked through Pfeiffer State Park. We endured a Family Army camped all around us: they chatted until late at night and rose early to play badminton in the road in front of our site.
  2. Having been trained in the Jrex School for Solitude and Silence, this was not the sort of camping I’d expected. I guess I’d forgotten all the camping vacations from my childhood—in state parks that were JUST as crowded.
  3. In our prayer time Sunday morning, Lovey prayed about me and James staying ready, even if the dreams are fulfilled when we’re old. (i.e. dreams of starting an orphanage/medical center in a foreign country). That confirms two other times when people have prayed for me about those dreams and had the impression it wouldn’t happen ‘til we’re old.
  4. I was reminded of the Lord’s nudging in recent weeks to give him my dreams for my “A” life and even my version of the “B” life. To yield all that to him and find out what he’s dreaming for us. To obey that nudge, I downloaded a book that’s kicking my butt, “Plan B: What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought he would?”
    Here’s a link to a video summary of the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m3UE6JKNPQOMHK
  5. My Dad and sister loaded up a semi with all his stuff (including his 18-year old Saab) this past weekend. He’s moving to Seattle as we speak!
  6. Jrex was cc’d on three email forwards where the person he’d contacted said, “This guy sounds great, let’s set up a time to talk to him.” Those three are Vanderbilt (Nashville), Thomas Jefferson (Philly) and Southwestern (Dallas). He also got a call from Portland and they asked him to set up a time to come up for a 2-day interview. (Yeah!)
  7. He hasn’t even sent out all his letters yet! He’s trying to research each program to have a pertinent paragraph at the end about what they do and how that ties in with his skills. At this point, I’m telling him to go generic and get them all out. He could get offers before he emails final inquiry. (ok, ok, that’s just me being melodramatic, it will all still take awhile)
  8. In a reminder that we aren’t in control of our futures (see Plan B book), right after his call with Portland, he had a meeting with his advisor. Nice Egomaniac informed Jrex that Jrex’s salary may not extend past December. Jrex has been telling the jobs he’s hoping to start in the spring or summer (it takes a while for the University to set up a funding package). He was really hoping to use this year to get some good data so he can get grant money. Now the future is all even freakier.

  9. Not our will, but yours be done, Lord. Your timing. Your wisdom. Your guidance. (repeat until it sinks in!)

June 21, 2010

Because I'm lazy

I know my Dad wants me to post pictures of the event I just did, but I'm feeling lazy. Just found this link. It's an interview with our client from the booth and shows construction and on-site images. One of our Aussie partners was the creative director. I followed his lead and created the graphics that you see on the walls of the booth. When they show the behind the scenes footage, there's a guy sitting there who we hired as the exec producer for the live stage event. He just found out he won the job to produce the London Olympics. I guess I've started to take it all a little for granted--working with international level people and working on these events...but it's neat to remember that it is really cool.

I also laid out the YouTube background...


June 17, 2010

First one out the door!

Jrex has been working on his research statement and cover letter for the last month and a half or so. It's been interrupted with grant writing and experiments so it's taken a while. This morning, he contacted a friend at Univers1ty of Colorado's Cancer Center to ask whom he should email his packet. The friend wrote back and cc'd the contact, "Hey, I have an oncologist friend looking for an academic position." The contact replied, "Great! Have him send it along." Which meant that Jrex couldn't continue to gild the lily—time to ship it!


The targets thus far:
  • Seattle, Portland
  • UC San Francisco
  • three places in LA (ugh),
  • two in San Diego (I hope NOT! I don't like the beach and I'm not in the Navy or in medicine.),
  • Southwestern (Texas. Please, God, no)
  • Chicago, Ann Arbor
  • Univ of Colorado
  • Duke/UNC, (North Carolina), Vanderbilt (Tennessee)
  • Philly, Baltimore, and three in NYC
As you can see, the main focus is on the West or East coasts. I love so much about the midwest, but the first thing on our list of 'needs' for a city was access to mountains. Which eliminates much of the middle.

It really feels like we're just tossing our future up in the air and seeing which pieces come back. It's exciting and a little scary. If we have kids, they'll be shaped by wherever we end up. There's so many differences in each of those options. I can't wrap my head around all of it. I'm just trusting that the Lord knows what will be best for us and any kids we have.

My top choice, for selfish reasons, is Portland for easy access to my family plus having OTRmama in town. Philly or Baltimore are also appealing for access to tons of culture without the pricetag. If we end up in SF or NYC, we'll never be able to buy a house, and I'm tired of living in a place that makes hospitality difficult.

The process for all this is that Jrex contacts the institution and sends them a cover letter, a CV (doctor resume), a research statement and a list of referrals. If they are interested, they fly him out for a first round of interviews. If they are really interested, they fly both him and me for a second round. Then there's contract negotiations (which hopefully includes them paying for professional movers!). All of this will be happening over the next year.


June 14, 2010

Like the other 1% live

I have never in my life ordered room service in a hotel. This job is the first one where I've had to travel for work, and therefore, has exposed me to the hotel world. Growing up we vacationed in tents and borrowed vans. If we stayed anywhere, it was all of us crammed in a motel room together. When Jrex and I vacation now, we stay in either a tent, a friend's house or a Bed & Breakfast, rarely in a motel and never in a hotel. No chocolates on the pillow for me!

Even staying in hotels on an expense account, I have a hard time letting anyone help me with a bag. I don't like having my room poked through by a stranger, so I usually leave the do not disturb sign up on the door all day. Weird and sad, right?

The past two days, I spent them mostly wandering around looking for something to do. The booth was as expected, not what we'd proposed. Sigh, but whatever. This afternoon I was happy to fold shirts for a couple hours (we had to fold them up and use the sleeve to wrap them into tshirt bombs to throw from the booth stage for giveaways). THEN we had a moment where I found out it was a good thing I came down and hung around.

I was chatting with the graphic installer dude about what goes where. We looked over at a side wall and I commented that I'd designed the graphics for 14 feet high, but I wasn't sure when they were going to add the last four feet of wall. Turns out, it's cause they aren't. They gave me a face-on elevation that included a segment of another wall. And, remember how they NEVER supplied me with 3D renders of the art in the booth? Apparently, despite me including "14ft" in the graphic file name, they didn't notice! So, at 6:30 pm I found out I needed to redo two VERY large format files on my non-souped-up laptop.

By the time I got to the room at 7:30 pm, it was worth any price to just work and not have to worry about food. It wasn't nearly as good as Jrex's cooking, but it felt lovely and decadent to have someone bring me a tray.

It's 2:10 a.m. Lovin' life in LA!

(I hope I get time to tell you about visiting my hubby's sister, husband and Asian niece last night for dinner...)

June 11, 2010

We're off to see the wizard

I used to spend time crafting blog entries. Now, I try to just get something up. I've realized how happy I am when I see new entries on other blogs and am trying to return the favor.


There's just not that much happening. The hardest thing to write about is contentment. No drama, no ongoing story arc. Just another day of riding to work, designing something, riding home, walking the dog (while reading something on the Kindle), making dinner/straightening the apartment, chatting with Jrex, reading some more and going to sleep. That's it. It's a hard-won peace after years of working together on our marriage. I'm enjoying it, but it's just not good blog fodder.

The only 'new' thing is that tomorrow I head to LA for a big gaming convention. There's been plenty of drama around that. The vendor who built the booth is just doing whatever he wants and not listening to us even though we were hired to be the artistic directors. I'm going down early to help monitor the set up, but given the track record so far, he's not going to listen to me anyway. So, I'm fully expecting an exercise in futility. I fought SO hard for our vision of this booth, but in the end, he just cut us (and the client for the most part) out of the process. He's never sent us renders for what the booth will look like (we should have been approving the engineer drawings and definitely viewing renders). I'm excited to experience the convention itself on Tuesday, but dreading this weekend where I'll be at loose ends without a real reason to be hanging around.

I've figured out my diplomatic answer if anyone asks me what I think of the final booth (which I forsee won't match our renders/drawings at all):

"As long as [vendor owner's name] is happy..."

June 7, 2010

What ifs vs That Was It?

In each place we've lived, I've heard about events and wanted to check them out. Jrex has grown increasingly reluctant to participate in my "We should do this!" suggestions. Some have been hits (The Maize maze, the Kinetic Sculpture race, a jazz club in Baltimore, Duckpin Bowling, Dame Edna), but he's right, many have been very underwhelming (I'm obviously an optimist, cause I can't remember any of the bad ones!).

The thing is, I have a general life principle to avoid leaving regrets or what ifs in my past. So I keep venturing into the potentially bland unknowns. Sunday I grabbed a friend and checked out the Sunset Celebration. Sure, I learned I could smoke salmon using a wok and learned how to stuff and fry squash blossoms, but it's not something I'd travel out of my way to attend a second time.

Another recent "That Was It?" experience was Maker Faire. I'd seen billboards and postcards for the past three years, but was always too involved in a big client event to be able to attend. This year, no more client, and free tickets! Jrex couldn't join me (something about writing cover letters and research statements...excuses, excuses!), so I wandered around by myself. I'll let the pictures tell the story:

So, what's been your biggest missed event? What was your most underwhelming?

June 2, 2010

Nekkid Shakespeare

I've watched 2 out of the four episodes in a BBC series called Shakespeare Retold (Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth). Each play is done in modern times and is stripped of the Shakespearean language. You'd think that would leave a hollow shell; instead, you experience the characters and plots laid bare. Which exposes how BIZARRE the plots can be, yet how even within strange set-ups, the responses and changes the characters navigate are profoundly true.

Of course I got the DVD from the library only because James McAvoy is in the retelling of The Scottish Play (I'll watch anything with him in it). They set Macbeth in a kitchen with McAvoy as The Scottish Chef, Duncan as the restaurant owner and Duncan's son as an underling learning the trade from McAvoy. The witches are three quirky men in a dump truck. The Chef's wife is the hostess and goads him into killing Duncan. Watching everyone descend from a busy, intense, yet happy kitchen into darkness is awful.

None of these substitute for reading or, better yet watching, an actual Shakespeare play, but they are great as a supplement before diving into the linguistic gymnasium of one of Shakespeare's plays.