June 21, 2011

So much STUFF

Remember when you were a little kid and you built a fort out of boxes? A barricade to hide behind? My bedroom feels like that right now. We are overly inclined to collecting books, and now that the packers have come and gone, the walls have boxes stacked all the way to the ceiling. From 9:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. two guys toiled away to fill box after box with our belongings. Tomorrow morning a separate team will come to load it all into the moving truck. Thursday (after a little bit of time in lab for Jrex and errands for both of us), we're off to the mountains for one last hurrah en route to Texas.

It's strange to be confronted with how much STUFF we own.

Compared to many people in Silicon Valley, we live simply. Compared to so many people in the rest of the world, we're already 'fat Americans' in terms of how much stuff we own. One of our intimidation factors in the Dallas house is that the stuff that filled this apartment to overflowing will only fill a guest room, a bit of an office, pieces of a living room, a dining room table in solitary glory, most of a kitchen, and part of a nursery. The list of things to buy is long and contains only the 'necessary' items, but what is 'needed' is profoundly more than most people own in the rest of the world. It's bizarre that being relatively well-off is one of the most confusing dilemmas I have.

One of our friends took vows as a secular Franciscan: voluntary simplicity. As much as part of me wants that, another part of me wants this house to look and feel 'finished' before the baby comes. I want a place where we can easily and cheerfully welcome visitors and Jrex's new colleagues. Not so much to show off, but for the house to feel warm, inviting and 'right'. I want beautiful art and wonderful (non-breakable) things for our kid to see, touch and explore. On the scale of "What would Jesus do?" I don't even feel like I'm on the radar anymore. I just can't imagine him looking online for a king-sized bed because it will 'fit' the master bedroom better than anything smaller.

Any ideas for how to be a grown-up who's been granted the keys to an amazing house while living in simplicity?

June 16, 2011

What the...?

As mentioned, I'm keeping my job after we move. Once moved, I'll be working on a new project, let's call it RemoteTechShow (RTS). Tomorrow is my last day in the office. At 3:30 pm my creative director rushed in and said, "They just scheduled an RTS meeting. I am so upset." I sighed and looked around my mostly empty cubicle. Last night I took home most of my stuff and didn't even have a notebook left. I grabbed a stack of paper, a clipboard and a pen and we walked toward the meeting room.

My creative director continued, "I have got to calm down, if I keep going like this I'm going to have an ulcer." I nodded sympathetically.

We walked into the room where no one was sitting at the table and a bunch of people were standing along the walls.


Everyone who was in the office was there.

I felt my whole face flush and I just grinned, shook my head and dropped the clipboard on the table.

"Thank you. You totally got me!" Lots of people came up to hug me and congratulate me.

There was chocolate cake and a Goodnight Moon book that everyone had signed as well as BabysRUs and Bed, Bath and Beyond gift certificates. The cake had a baby carriage with "Texas" on it and it said, "Aloha, Y'all!"

Many people have left the company recently without much fanfare, so I wasn't expecting any kind of a good-bye event except a farewell lunch with our department tomorrow.

Some surprises are good ones.

June 14, 2011

When was that again?

The Event already feels like a long time ago. Our lives are moving at warp speed. Since getting back, we've had a lovely Jrex-cooked gourmet meal, booked all our rooms for our drive to Dallas, done tons of errands, attended a graduation party for Graceful's husband, had my baby shower and had dinner with Lovey and Dovey after. Last night I had dinner with Smart Girl. The packers come a week from today and we pull out of town next Thursday. Phew!

However, I don't want to break my promise for pictures, so here are a few from the event.

This is our booth in the 'neutral' phase. When attendees entered the event, they walked right into the booth and were surrounded by all our screens.

More 'neutral'. These were the d3mo p0ds we suggested. Lots of people from the client company commented on how open and inviting the booth felt.

From facing the back of the booth, the view to the right hand side. Those stanchions were FULL of people once the show opened. The line curved around the sides of the booth.

Every half an hour all the video screens in the booth went black (except the ones for the game dem0 screens). Then bits of sound, or light or media began to creep onto the screens. Brighter, louder, MORE content showed up and ended with a finale featuring one of the six main game titles' trailers. Each time we did a wav3, all the attendees froze and started up. It was what we'd hoped would happen.

Here's the lighting during a wave for one of the sports games.

Below is a picture taken during the 'wave' takeover for the trailer for the new multiple player online game set in the era in the Star W@rs universe when the S1th return and the J3di battle them. The booth packed out every time this showed. Note the posse under the screen.

I am SO glad it's over. Glad it was a success in the end (after much blood, sweat and tears. Well, at least a lot of sweat and sleepy video/tech guys).

Now we're vaulting forward towards the move to Texas.

A friend commented a while ago that we're the most laid-back first time parents she's ever known. We looked at each other and laughed, "We haven't had time to think much about the kid factor! We're just trying to get through the next thing on the to-do list at any given time."

I'm looking forward to the drive for some time to pause and reflect. To think and dream together about what we want our family life to look like, what our expectations are for each other and for ourselves as parents, and to just enjoy each other. We've been drowning in logistics for months now, I think it's time for us to have some fun together.

June 6, 2011

Small World!

I'm in LA for the final stages of the booth build for our gaming client. We're in a hotel seven city blocks north of the conventi0n center, so I end up walking down in the morning and then taking a cab back at the end of the day. A few pics from yesterday, most are of the public library that's just behind the hotel...

The game shown up top is one of those featured in our booth.

So, we're sitting around the booth and I'm chatting with the guy who is in charge of the technology used in the booth, let's call him Bearded Geek. We've collaborated closely on this project and have a great working relationship. He and three other guys had been in a horrible accident this past Friday where someone ran a red light, t-boned their car and flipped it over the roof to land back on the tires. All four were in seatbelts, all four walked away from the wreck. That led into a conversation about first aid and he and I both started talking about a class we'd taken in college on Wilderness First Aid. Another person asks where I went and I answer, "I went to a small school in western Massachusetts."

He looks at me in surprise and says, "Did you go to Hampshire?" I was shocked since NO one ever knows about Hampshire. "Yeah! How do you know Hampshire?"

"I went there."


"Fall of 84 through spring of 89. I took a year off."

"What was your Div III?" I asked. A Div III is one's final project. It's somewhere between a normal senior project and a master's degree. Turns out he'd done the production and technology for a play that I'd seen my first year! I can still remember it because they'd used a lot of modern technology to tell the story of "The persecution of the Marquis de Sade as told by the inmates of the insane asylum and directed by Marat" (the title was something close to that).

This is the first time since I graduated that I've met a Hampshire alumnus (outside of a school-oriented event). The school is only 40 years old and only graduates 200-300 people a year, so there aren't that many of us. I liked him before, but it's fun to know we're part of the same club of wonderful, creative, eccentric people that Hampshire attracts. The other sweet thing he did was bring me little onesies for the baby with the logo of his company on them!

Overall the booth looks great. In the end, it's been painful, but the collaboration this year was MUCH better between us and the other two vendors. Compared to other booths in the show, ours is MUCH cleaner and more coherent. I can't post pics until the public opening tomorrow, but I'll let you see it then. The client did open the front of the booth and use our idea for how to handle demo stations, so I can semi-proudly admit that I was the creative direct0r for this booth. It will certainly sound good in future job interviews!